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Youth Brigade

Formed in 1980, Youth Brigade played shows with hardcore bands, but its music didn't focus on speed or brutality. Instead, the Stern brothers wrote songs that addressed the concerns of conscious young men of the day, like existential angst and criticizing a power-mad government vastly streamlining society in favor of the wealthy. The Sterns also put their ideals into establishing the Better Youth Organization in an attempt to combat the image of punk-rockers as violent, nihilistic, aimless rebels. With a national BYO tour, documented in the film Another State of Mind, the Brigade didn't exactly change the world, but it did inspire a generation of punk-rockers afterward. With the current decade feeling like déjà vu for anyone who lived through the '80s as a teenager, Youth Brigade seems somehow as relevant as ever.

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Tom Murphy is a writer, visual artist and musician from Aurora, Colorado. He was a prolific music writer for Westword and a documenter of the Denver music scene.

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