Cold Dark Place (Welfare)
By Scott Hefflon
Welfare Records has been fighting the good fight for 27 releases as of Ashers‘ six-song 7″/CD. I think the number is higher because of 7″s and LP versions of CD releases, but for old-school punx who dig vinyl, they’re probably glad someone still makes records. And reissues old Boston punk/hardcore from Boston’s punk heyday, the late ’70s and early ’80s. Recently, Welfare has caught the attention of new fans by scooping up The Hammer Bros., who’ve deserved a push for a while, but have yet to sign with anyone who’ll get it for them, and giving a home to Ashers, a new band formed by ex-members of Crash & Burn and The Unseen. If that doesn’t sound tasty to you, you’re reading the wrong review, skippy. Crash & Burn were barnstorming rock, filled with speedy riffs, vocal howl, and gasoline for blood. The Unseen, while more mohawk fashion-conscious than I care for, are/were pretty damn hardcore. They obviously spent almost as much time crafting their street punk anthems as coordinating their outfits, and seeing as street punk is easier to write than a rent check, that was enough effort to make ’em good.
Here ya get six songs, opener is an instrumental, and by the end of song one, you’ve got the chorus down, and gotten used to the “bwah bwah” vocals. Oh, and there’s a cover of Tom Petty’s “I Need to Know,” which is pretty brave for punks. They make it sound so much like their own that it took me half the song to realize it was a cover.