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Friday, July 12, 2013

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Addl. $3 at the door for 18-20. came out of nowhere in 1982, this punk rock/hardcore fireball with the bright yellow sleeve. In one sense, The Zero Boys’ Vicious Circle was yet another example of how U.S. punk seemed to peak coast to coast that year. For the first time, it was truly a continental revolution, beyond just the initial, mostly coastal enclaves of New York, L.A., San Francisco, Toronto, Vancouver, Portland, Seattle, Houston, and Akron/Cleveland. Yet, with all the attention paid to these more established scenes, and those newly emerging in Washington, D.C., Boston, Detroit, and Chicago, who would have expected an LP this loaded with sheer intensity, unfettered zeal, up-front smarts, massive hooks, and blockbuster chops to come from little, corn-fed Indianapolis?

The young Midwest quartet was surprisingly tight, with a precision rarely associated with the new American hardcore: leaner, faster, meaner, more riotous, and eight times more explosive than on their previous, respected "Livin' in the '80s" 7" EP. And the recording quality was impeccable, zooming past like an amplified dragster. "Civilization's Dying" (with its insightful tie-in on the then-recent shootings of the otherwise completely-unrelated trio of John Lennon, president Ronald Reagan, and Pope John Paul II!), "Dirty Alleys/Dirty Minds," and "Hightime" all zipped by so fast and hard, yet crystal clear, whole others such as "New Generation" and a re-recorded, suped-up "Livin' in the '80s" were Who-like "My Generation" calls to arms for the new, exciting scene. Singer Paul Mahern ("Paul-Z" on the sleeve) was like an uncaged rabbit, singing so quickly yet so clearly, you didn't need a lyric sheet. Behind him, lightning-quick, adroit guitarist Terry Hollywood and punishing drummer Mark Cutsinger had their hands full keeping up with the fastest bassist in U.S. underground history this side of The Minutemen's Mike Watt, the truly outstanding David "Tufty" Clough.

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