Music News

Hit Pick

Punk rock sure has come a long way since the days of three chords, battered amps and shredded knuckles. Just don't tell The Hacks. This mosh-pit-scarred trio -- playing Saturday, June 28, at the Ogden Theatre as part of Blister 66's Summer F**king Jam -- is the type of band that turns "throwback" into a term of endearment. Bassist Brad Jones, guitarist Brett Damage and drummer Brian Childs draw inspiration from the two main streams of early-'80s punk: British Oi! and good ol' American hardcore. Like Sham 69 bombing the Adolescents or Wimpy-era Queers sodomizing the Business, the Hacks play gritty, grimy anthems punctuated with lots of "Heys!" and "Yeahs!" On East Colfax Avenue, the group's debut CD that was issued last year on its own Switchblade 9 imprint, songs of cheery belligerence are strung together with scruffy distortion and bass-propelled, feedback-scoured breakdowns. All three members contribute vocals, which are for the most part hoarsely grumbled tirades against landlords, backstabbers and motherfuckers. The band is also responsible for two of the standout tracks on Undead in Denver, winner of Westword's 2002 "Best Compilation Album" award: "Vodka" and "It's OK" are raw tours de force of drunken rage and ragged sentimentality. The Hacks' sole concession to anything post-Reagan is a passing nod to late-'80s Bay Area legends like Blatz and Crimpshrine (whose "Fucked Up Kids" is paid loving tribute at the end of East Colfax). With spastic hooks and whiplash riffs, the Hacks put on the kind of show that's guaranteed to make you wake up with a sore neck the next day. "Ain't it fucked up how things change?" Jones growls on the song "5th of July." Sure is. Thankfully though, in a world of punk "progress" and pretension, change is not very high up on the Hacks' list of priorities.
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Jason Heller
Contact: Jason Heller