When you’re an influential musician, people tend to ask you what you’ve been listening to lately. Here at 5 for 20, we’re just as keen to find out what records loom large in our favourite artists’ memory banks. So, we’re asking folks for their top five records of the last 20 years.
This week we hear from Damian Abraham, MuchMusic host and lead singer of Toronto hardcore band, F--ked Up. Already Polaris Music Prize winners for 2008's The Chemistry of Common Life, the band has made the short list again in 2012 for their brilliant "concept record," David Comes to Life.
The band plays at the Fuji Rock Festival in Japan later this month, and has some Canadian dates planned for September. As expected, professional wrestling enthusiast and amateur rapper Abraham has come up with an eclectic list of somewhat obscure records that touched him in some way.
"Twenty years ago, I was a lost soul," he says. "A 13-year-old exiled early '90s hippy (OK, I really just did acid a few times and wore a Grateful Dead shirt until I got busted by the cops trying to get beer underage and my mom forbid me from hanging out with those kids anymore ... thanks, mom), until I met a kid named Nick who told me to buy Sonic Youth’s tour video 1991: The Year Punk Broke and it changed my life. Since then my life for the last 20 years has been dominated by music; it's even become my job by some stroke of luck.
"The following are my five favourite records that came out in the last 20 years. I'm not saying that these are the 'best' records of the last 20 years because that honour probably belongs to some records that I find unlistenable."
Seasons in the Size of Days by Integrity (1997)
Dwid, the lead singer of Integrity, is the greatest hardcore vocalist of all time. He is one of the main influences I have on my vocals and the lyrics, which were only available with purchase of Dwid's noise side project's 7", take the dark lyric to a ridiculous level (e.g. "Angels hover above like vultures/Prey/Pray/Sickened flesh decay”). This is the final record the classic Integ lineup did, and they went out with a masterpiece. The Pet Sounds of metallic hardcore.
Wind of Pain by Bastard (1992)
The style of hardcore played by this and many other bands in Japan is sometimes referred to as "burning spirits." This record is referred to around my house as the apex of aggressive music. Motörhead-meets-Discharge insanity. A wise (at times) man once told me that this was the greatest hardcore record of all time, and I am inclined to agree.
Ill Blood by No Warning (2002)
This is the record that ushered in the era of Toronto hardcore that F--ked Up (my band) came up during. This is to New York hardcore what the Rolling Stones were to American blues: obsessive fans a world away that formed a band to play the style of music they loved. But also like the Stones, the result was a heavily indebted yet obviously different-sounding band. I sing some backup vocals on a few of the songs, but I assure you even if I had just been there to clean up the studio after the recording it still would be on this list.
Pussy Whipped by Bikini Kill (1993)
I'm not going to belittle the sonic power of this record by trying to give context to it as a Riot Grrrl record. Placing some sort of de facto justifier on it distracts from the fact that this record is a masterpiece of real rage that does not need any sort of qualifier. That being said, this record did come out of the Riot Grrrl scene, which is one of the most positive movements that has ever come out of punk, giving young women a collective voice in a scene where all too often they are unfortunately still marginalized. As a young, dumb kid, this record made me think about things in a different way. Even the unbelievably lame sync placements the song “Rebel Girl” has had can't ruin this record.
Soundbombing by various artists (1997)
Rap was the first music I bought as a kid, but I fell out of listening to it as I got into hippy rock. A friend of mine made me a mixtape with the R.A. the Rugged Man track from this record on it and it blew my mind. I went out the next day and bought this record. It's a fantastic compilation that shows the promise that Rawkus Records held in the late '90s. It's also the record that really got me actively engaged with buying hip-hop records again. The followup, Vol. II, is a classic of equal measure and both are still something I revisit frequently.
Keep an eye on this page for news about F--ked Up.
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on Jul 18, 2012