Re-Flex Your Head
Before Black Flag changed the punk and hardcore game forever, easily their most notorious vocalist Henry Garfield (better known as Henry Rollins) joined forces with other members of early DC punk band The Extorts to form State of Alert, or SOA. During their one active year as a band, S.O.A released one short 7”, No Policy, and contributed a few songs to the now legendary Flex Your Head DC hardcore compilation. Now, 30 years later, they have released their first eight-song demo, from December of 1980 and it is a must buy for any hardcore and punk fan. Including songs that long time fans will recognize from No Policy and a few other short and angry singles, this demo will serve as a great flashback to the salad days of hardcore punk as well as a quintessential introduction for any younger punks who might find it.
The demo opens with one of the longest songs on the record at one minute and twelve seconds, “Public Defender.” A song about the familiar fear of a punk running into the police, this track will transport you back to a mosh pit in someone’s basement in 1980 and before you know it, you’re slam dancing with the best of them. And, of course, no old school hardcore record is complete without a short and sweet song about beating the snot out of someone, as is proven by the insanely catchy “Gangfight.” The record ends with a cover that many hardcore fans already know well, as it was also performed by Garfield’s musical partner in crime Ian Mackaye’s old band the Teen Idles, “Stepping Stone.” For an album shorter than some songs, State of Alert’s demo packs one heck of a punch.
It’s been over 30 years since State of Alert stepped out into the hardcore punk scene, and their music is still just as relevant and “kick you in the stomach” passionate as it was then. The release of this demo will help propel old hardcore fans who had traded mohawk gel for Rogaine right back to their teenage years and will likely draw in a whole new generation of young punks. With all the (not entirely accurate) battle cries of “Punk is Dead” these days, this album is exactly what we needed to set everybody straight.