SuperBad Brains

First album will slay you.

If you ever had the pleasure/pain of seeing Bad Brains, the real Bad Brains,

led by the unpredictable HR, then you know the sheer force of their blunting

delivery, the genre-disrespecting blur of reggae and hardcore that was their

calling card nearly 20 years ago. You know how bassist Darryl Jenifer can open

your head like a tin can with his fleet riffs, how guitarist Dr. Know flies

along the fret board like a cartoon character with his ass on fire and how HR,

bellowing one moment, walking off the stage the next and sneering in fast

forward if he comes back, can punch a hole through your unsuspecting speakers.

For those who never experienced the band live, the issuing of their first

studio album, Black Dots after all these up and down years, is

revelatory, if not downright essential. Part thrash a la the Dead Boys "Sonic

Reducer" ("Don't Need It"), part stutter blues/funk ("Why'd You Have to Go?"

proves, at the very least, that Jon Spencer has a deep record collection) and

part unhinged aggression ("Black Dot"), this sixteen-song speedball baby

explains a lot for those trying to assemble the hardcore puzzle. The album,

which represents the first full-length recording from one of the leaders of the

early 80's D.C. hardcore scene, was recorded at DC's Inner Ear studios, and,

for the most part, finds the quartet exploring their trademark hard style,

though curiously devoid of the reggae/dub overtones that would later both

distinguish, and sometimes, dismantle their legacy. Terrifically lo-fi, this

set, comprised of previously unreleased tracks, as well as early versions of

soon-to-be classics like "Pay To Cum" and "Banned in D.C., does much more than

lay the seedwork for the eventual rise of the Black Rock Coalition and bands

like Living Colour. It erects the very framework for most of hardcore, black,

white or (blood) red.