“This One Thing On Bandcamp” is a weekly feature that digs deep into the archive of music available on Bandcamp.com to find indie artists worthy of your attention
In the wake of this ugly, bitter election season, things are tense. The air is thick with anger and fear and frankly there’s very little chance that’s going to change anytime soon. Some have suggested that this political climate will lead to a new renaissance of punk rock; a return to the pissed-off, politically charged attitudes of Dead Kennedys and Black Flag that will re-energize punk scenes everywhere.
Washington D.C. hardcore group Pure Disgust would argue that the renaissance isn’t coming, but that it’s already here. Throughout the unrest of the waning Obama years, they have taken the stance that this country was f***ed up way before we voted Trump into office.
Musically, Pure Disgust follows in the footsteps of D.C. hardcore predecessors like Bad Brains and Minor Threat. In true hardcore fashion, few of the songs make it past the 2-minute mark. In that short amount of time, the guitars come hard and mean. Drums pound at a blistering pace, and the bass lays down a thick, fuzzy foundation. Singer Rob Watson leads the charge with his guttural growl, digging deep into a well of rancor and revulsion. For the few moments that Pure Disgust slows down, the pure aggression driving this group is merely amplified with crushing riffs. All of this is accomplished with impressive precision, with hardly a note or a beat out of place.
While the music is the hook, it’s the lyrics that make Pure Disgust the right band for a disenchanted, disenfranchised nation. “Normalized Death” takes on the persistent shooting deaths of black Americans across the country. Watson laments how the deaths have become commonplace and increasingly ignored by much of the American public. With Watson being a black man himself, it’s a blast of depressing honesty when he proclaims “I am no longer safe”.
He’s also not afraid to damn those he deems guilty; on “White Silence” Watson spits venom at white liberals who are too afraid to speak out against institutionalized racism: “White silence is compliance/White silence is violence/You claim you’re for equality but only when it affects you”. It’s a vicious picture of the realities of being black in America, and it’s delivered with undeniable ferocity. If their raw honesty upsets, enrages and alarms you, then this band is doing their job.
In just over 15 minutes, Pure Disgust captures the full disillusioned fury of the last few years. Between the tight, precise hardcore sound and the ruthless lyrical attack, this band has already re-ignited the spark for the new wave of D.C. hardcore and paved the way for more to follow. So, if you think that political punk has been asleep for the last four years, then it’s probably time for you to wake up.