To close my American week, today we're gonna have some Resist. Now, I am sure most of you have already heard of this band from Portland, but it is unlikely you know their very first demo "United States of Apathy". And, as usual in these sorts of situations, you can count on me to solve this. I should open a hotline or something.
I guess Resist was one of the most famous and influential American anarchopunk bands of the 90's, along with Destroy, Disrupt, Antischism, Aus-Rotten and Resist and Exist. Although they were not the catchiest, nor the fastest, heaviest band around, their great and honest political lyrics, along with some heavy touring, ensure that they enter the punk-rock canon. In fact, you still see a lot of people with Resist patches in Europe so they must have done something right. There is something I have always found a bit off about Resist. Despite them not being really special music-wise, I can hum to pretty much all of their songs and it's not like I play them that often either.
Anyway, this is early Resist we're dealing with here and the most obvious influence would be early US hardcore, a genre that I am not very familiar with to say the least. There is also definitely UK82-inspired tunes there, but they mostly sound like an angry and raw American hardcore band. You can feel that they were a pissed off bunch of angry teenagers and there is a sense of urgency that cannot be faked (and no, just having a "raw sound" is not a substitute). Most of the songs on this recording would find their way on the first eponymous Ep but "Goodbye", "Uncle Sam", "Grow up" and "Subversive action" were left off. Songs here tackle the daily shit that the government put people through: "Get ahead" is about corporate greed; "Social security" is a great song about poverty and despair among the elderly; "Think again" is about nationalism; "Uncle Sam" (that appears in a different version on their first Lp) is about the American nightmare and "Sellout" spits on bands who give up on their values and politics to join bigger labels. At the end of the demo, three live tracks were added and they epitomize well the intensity and the anger of the band on stage.
Unfortunately, my copy of the demo (the third edition apparently) hasn't been xeroxed properly so it is impossible to decipher the lyrics (I had to look at the records for that). You can still see the ugly mugs of the band members, which is always a plus.