After faltering in the late nineties and early oughts, it seems as if vinyl has finally vanquished one challenger (cassette) and is looking for a tag team victory with iTunes against the flagging CD format. This blend of old music format and cutting-edge digital representations of music is mirrored perfectly in OFF!. OFF! is the new project by Keith Morris (Circle Jerks and Black Flag), taking up residence with Dimitri Coats (Burning Brides). What results in the First Four EPs release is an absolutely furious barrage of songs that barely break a minute a piece.
What results with this release is a resurrection of the take no prisoners hardcore style that the aforementioned Morris-lead bands championed, with an urgency present that was lost in the basement and garage recordings of each. There is a clarity to cuts like “I Don’t Belong” that has not been heard in music in well over twenty years; the posturing and machismo drops away to showcase a stark vocal and instrumental assault on the senses.
The 4 7-inch releases here may be a little unwieldy, but it links together the past and present in a way that works perfectly with the band’s tracks. The drum lines laid down by veteran skin-smacker Mario Rubalcaba (Earthless) and bassist Steven McDonald (Redd Kross) further fill out these tracks, and will undoubtedly provide listeners with a sense that OFF! would even shine brighter in a live format. Dust off your record players, buy a copy of the First Four EPs, and listen to some of the most intense and affecting stuff to come out in the last decade or two.
Top Tracks: Upside Down
OFF! First Four EPs (4×7”) / 2010 Vice / 16 Tracks / http://www.viceland.com/vicerecords