Release Date: Oct 9, 2012
Record label: Odd Future
When Tyler, The Creator decided, in May this year, to make troublesome Californian dope fiends Trash Talk the first non-rap artists to sign to his Odd Future label, it made a lot of sense. It’s no secret that Lee, Garrett, Spencer and Sam are into hip-hop, and Tyler himself directed the video for Trash Talk’s 2011 single ‘Awake’. Sure, it’s true that the Sacramento quartet’s three albums so far – 2007’s ‘Walking Disease’, 2008’s ‘Trash Talk’ and 2010’s ‘Eyes & Nines’ – are best consumed in a dingy basement by those who are hardcore at heart.
At their best, the rough punks in Trash Talk sweat hardcore down to its essential nubbin on 119, their first record for Tyler, the Creator’s label. There are fist pumps and breakdowns aplenty here, and while the group’s penchant for humid power-dirges threatens to sink 119 in its middle, they’re unbeatable—but only when they skip the accoutrements and just bang away at high speed. .
Trash Talk's 119 comes with a narrative that's as old as the dichotomy between the mainstream and the underground. The ferocious Sacramento hardcore band rose to national prominence on the strength of its last two records-- 2010's Eyes & Nines and 2011's Awake EP-- which shored up underground punk tradition with the straightforward evangelism of bare-knuckle Luddites. Trash Talk didn't push the hardcore envelope, and that was the point: their job was to keep the flame going by spitting gasoline into its dying embers.
Sacramento’s favorite hardcore outfit (now residing, appropriately enough, in Los Angeles—the “119” is the address of their warehouse) jumps on board with Tyler, the Creator et al on the Odd Future Records imprint, resulting in just a single track with rapping. Otherwise, this is more of the same straight-up, classic-leaning hardcore, with very effective frontman Lee Spielman tearing up the proceedings. .
Progression can be a tricky maneuver to pull off for a hardcore band, as finding the right balance between structured accessibility and primal punk chaos is much easier said than done, especially when you’re followed by a legion of fans who’d be satisfied if you never changed. It’s this progression, however, that the Sacramento hardcore act Trash Talk took on so naturally only a year ago. After building a reputation for years as one of the most uncompromising and devastating hardcore groups on the west coast, Trash Talk gradually started to distance themselves from the grind-punk of earlier releases in favor of songs with more defined riffs, tighter song structures, and recognizable hooks.
The past two years have been very good to Sacramento hardcore blazers Trash Talk. Years of hard touring behind their frankly terrifying live show, one of endlessly flailing limbs, shredded vocal cords, and the distinct possibility of being nailed by frontman Lee Spielman during one of the frequent instances in which he turns himself into a human projectile, resulted in a meteoric rise in prominence. That this rise went hand-in-hand with a creative blossoming only sweetened the deal.
In 2012, hardcore punk-metal foursome Trash Talk signed to Odd Future's label for their fourth album, 119. Perhaps they were accepted as the only non-rappers on the label because they had assisted Tyler, the Creator in live renditions of "Radicals," or due to a mutual interest in skateboarding and weed, but it's more likely that, like OFWGKTA, Lee Spielman, Garrett Stevenson, Spencer Pollard, and Sam Bosson are full-on aggro. Adrenaline, angst, and violence fuel 119's whip-crack running time of 14 songs in 20 minutes, and because the songs are so exhausting, two of the best songs, "Swing to Pieces" and "For the Lesser Good," are under a minute long.
Following hardcore’s salad days, most of the genre’s best releases have diverted from tradition through use of expansive instrumentation, extended song-lengths, and/or full-blown plotlines – think of your Zen Arcades, your Relationship of Commands, your David Comes to Lifes. But Sacramento’s Trash Talk have arrived at the helm of contemporary hXc thanks to a more classicist approach, with their faith in seeming anachronisms: Agnostic Front’s pacing, Circle Jerks’ hooks, and an implacable fury that was once reserved for good ol’ Henry’s most savage stage antics. Assuming the band’s approachability would consequently skyrocket, some fans cried wolf, as it were, after Trash Talk signed with the major-label-affiliated Odd Future Records in May.
Listening to a hardcore band’s recorded output is a little like reading a novelization of a movie. The book will give you the whole story, all the dialogue, maybe even a scene or two that didn’t make it into the final cut, but only at the expense of… well, everything that makes a film a film. Similarly, a hardcore album can give you a bunch of songs, but that’s not really the point, is it? Hardcore, in its purest and most undiluted form, is visceral, cathartic; it’s a primal scream codified in the signs and signifiers of an underground DIY culture with more than three decades of history.
Trash Talk may be the first band that isn’t hip-hop to sign to Odd Future Records, but this shouldn’t really come as a surprise—the Sacramento natives have spent the past year touring with Odd Future and share the same fanbase of angry young white kids that love skateboarding, smoking weed and fucking shit up. They fit together, especially since hip-hop and hardcore are both mainly dependent on vocals and rhythm, rather than melody and harmony. Trash Talk’s scathing latest release, 119, is named after the band’s address in Los Angeles, a warehouse where the members live, skate, party and wrote their record.
THE MOUNTAIN GOATS “Transcendental Youth”. (Merge).
On the face of it, the alliance between Sacramento hardcore band Trash Talk and notorious hip hop collective Odd Future may seem unlikely. On closer inspection, however, it makes perfect sense.The two acts have forged a strong bond over the past year primarily by playing a number of extraordinarily incendiary gigs together - and now Trash Talk have cemented that bond by signing to Odd Future Records for the release of their second album, ‘119’. The two groups share a propensity for visceral, unrelenting output and a youthfully fearless attitude; these attributes are exceedingly strong on ‘119’.Brevity is very much the key for Trash Talk.