The Last Word, 35 Years Later
A major tragedy of early hardcore is how many amazing bands never really got their due. Small runs of EPs, a few appearances on compilations and five shows that one guy recorded that’s barely audible has sadly been the entire discography of far too many amazing hardcore bands. One of those bands whose work we never had enough of is Washington, D.C.’s Youth Brigade.
Made up of members from The Untouchables and Teen Idles, Youth Brigade only put out one record, Possible E.P. released in 1981 by the, at the time, very young Dischord Records who also rereleased those songs on 1981: The Year In Seven Inches. But other than a few songs on the influential Flex Your Head compilation of D.C. hardcore bands, that was all we ever got from the band. Thankfully, 34 years after its original recording, hardcore fans young and old can dig into Youth Brigade’s Complete First Demo.
And the name says it all. This record contains 8 songs, most of which never had an official release and serves as an excellent time capsule from the early 80s, the golden age of hardcore. Like any good hardcore demo, Complete First Demo is loud, fast and to the point. Clocking in at under 9 minutes, this record manages to pack quite a punch. Within the first 30 seconds of the album (and don’t blink, that’s the entire first song, “I Object”), longtime hardcore fans with relish in the glorious feeling that is listening to hidden gems from an old favorite and new listeners will get a master class in the D.C. hardcore sound.
Youth Brigade still manages to get some catchy hooks in their short songs, at 1:15 “Moral Majority” is one of the longest songs on the demo and the chorus, which takes a swing at Reagan and the right wing, will no doubt be stuck in your head for days. And before you know it, the self titled “Youth Brigade” is closing out this assault on your eardrums (which is meant entirely as a compliment) and you’ll be wanting to start the record over again. And why not, surely you’ve got 10 minutes to spare?