Hundredth – “Youth”

There’s this documentary that came out maybe 15 years ago called Between Resistance & Community: The Long Island DIY Punk Scene. Like its subject matter, the film is unpolished, amateurish, and almost impenetrably insular, but it’s also a pretty fascinating document of a very particular subculture. Around the time of the film’s release, a number of Long Island hardcore bands (most prominently: Brand New, Taking Back Sunday, and Glassjaw) were gaining global notoriety, a development that both disgusted and emboldened the parochial “scene” that loosely surrounded those bands. The members of that scene — maybe a couple hundred people, most of them teenagers — subsequently closed ranks and adopted an ideology so dogmatic it seemed tyrannical.

The central tension of Between Resistance & Community arises when one of the small scene’s more compelling young bands, On The Might Of Princes, is offered (and accepts) a deal with Revelation Records. Now, in the real world, Revelation Records is a pretty legendary independent hardcore label: co-founded by Youth Of Today’s Ray Cappo; responsible for genre classics from Judge, Bold, Gorilla Biscuits, Underdog… In the real world, signing a deal with Revelation Records is not “selling out.” But as far as those basement-cloistered On The Might Of Princes OG fans were concerned, signing with Revelation Records was an unforgivable betrayal, and the film captures their fury and revulsion, their dismissal of the band, their mockery of the band. It’s uncomfortable and ugly. On The Might Of Princes were branded as pariahs and summarily excommunicated by their “community” in absolutely vicious fashion. And why? Because they wanted to grow.

Granted, people have been howling “Judas!” at evolution since Plato’s cave, but that mindset takes on steroidal proportions in hardcore, a genre/culture/lifestyle that has almost erased all lines between art, artist, audience, identity, and ownership. Paradoxically, purely as a style of music, hardcore itself is pretty limited (and limiting). There’s only so much space to be explored in a form with such rigid parameters. Most hardcore bands have exhausted their creative potential after one LP, and most of the people in those bands want to try other things at some point.

Which brings us to the matter at hand: Prior to their upcoming RARE, Myrtle Beach, SC’s Hundredth had released three LPs of melodic hardcore, and those three LPs had won the affections of a fairly sizable audience. But after LP3, 2015’s Free, it was pretty clear the band had nowhere else to go with the sound on which they’d built their name. But they wanted to keep going. They could have changed their name — a relatively risk-free play in the hardcore world, although it relegates all your future work to “side project” status, if not “afterthought” status. (You’ll notice that nobody has been clamoring for a Jets To Brazil reunion.) Instead, they changed their sound.

RARE barely even alludes to hardcore, at least superficially; this is a shoegaze album from beginning to end. And it’s a really good shoegaze album. It’s impeccably crafted and unusually confident. But it’s not a derivation of My Bloody Valentine or Slowdive. It’s not dreamy or amorphous. RARE draws from less-referenced bands like Catherine Wheel, Swervedriver, and Hum. It’s heavy and hooky, full of sharp angles and clean lines. Hundredth know how to build tension and maximize impact, and these songs are a study in terseness, which gives additional force to their explosive bursts, and those sections emphasize the smooth glides that emerge from the blasts.

Of course, as bands like Envy have shown us, there’s a lot of territory shared by shoegaze and hardcore. And as bands like Alcest have proven, you can follow your bliss all the way to Hopeland and still come back screaming. So from any point of reasonable remove, RARE doesn’t seem like quite the abrupt or irreversible shift that it might to people who are standing up-close. But the people who are standing up-close are the ones who’ve been standing there the longest. As such, Hundredth took a pretty big gamble here, but I think it pays off. If you’re new to the band, you should find plenty to love about RARE. And if you’ve been following the band for a while already, you should follow them now. They’re growing. But so are you.

We’re premiering RARE’s second single, “Youth,” today. Spin it below. And below that is “Neurotic,” the album’s first single, which you should also check out, if you haven’t already. FWIW, I don’t know if either of these tracks qualifies as RARE’s very best material, but they’re pretty representative of the whole and they’re really goddamn good. Listen.

RARE is out 6/16 via Hopeless. Pre-order it here.

Here’s “Neurotic.”

Hundredth are on Warped Tour this summer. Here are the dates:

06/16 Seattle, WA @ Centurylink Field North Lot
06/17 Salem, OR @ Oregon State Fairgrounds
06/21 Albuquerque, NM @ Balloon Fiesta Park
06/22 Phoenix, AZ @ Fear Farm Festival Grounds
06/23 Las Vegas, NV @ Hard Rock Hotel
06/24 Salt Lake City, UT @ Utah State Fairpark
06/25 Denver, CO @ Pepsi Center
06/27 Nashville, TN @ The Fairgrounds Nashville
06/28 Metaire, LA @ The Shrine On Airline
06/29 Atlanta, GA @ Lakewood Amphitheatre
06/30 Orlando, FL @ Tinker Field
07/01 St. Petersburg, FL @ Vinoy Park
07/02 West Palm Beach, FL @ Perfect Vodka Amphitheatre
07/04 Wilmington, NC @ Legion Stadium
07/06 Charlotte, NC @ PNC Music Pavilion Charlotte
07/07 Camden, NJ @ BB&T Pavilion
07/08 Wantagh, NY @ Northwell Health At Jones Beach Theater
07/09 Hartford, CT @ Xfinity Theatre
07/10 Scranton, PA @ The Pavilion At Montage Mountain
07/11 Virginia Beach, VA @ Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater
07/12 Mansfield, MA @ Xfinity Center
07/13 Darien Center, NY @ Darien Lake PAC
07/14 Burgettstown, PA @ Keybank Pavilion
07/15 Holmdel, NJ @ PNC Bank Arts Center
07/16 Columbia, MD @ Merriweather Post Pavilion
07/18 Cuyahoga Falls, OH @ Blossom Music Center
07/19 Cincinnati, OH @ Riverbend Music Center
07/20 Noblesville, IN @ Klipsch Music Center
07/21 Auburn Hills, MI @ The Palace of Auburn Hills  
07/22 Tinley Park, IL @ Hollywood Casino Amphitheater
07/23 Shakopee, MN @ Canterbury Park
07/24 Milwaukee, WI @ Henry Maier Festival Park
07/26 Maryland Heights, MO @ Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
07/27 Bonner Springs, KS @ Providence Medical Center Amphitheater
07/28 Dallas, TX @ Starplex Pavilion
07/29 San Antonio, TX @ AT&T Center
07/30 Houston, TX @ NRG Park
08/01 Las Cruces, NM @ New Mexico State University Intramural Field
08/04 Mountain View, CA @ Shoreline Amphitheatre
08/05 San Diego, CA @ Qualcomm Stadium  
08/06 Pomona, CA @ Fairplex Pomona

Tags: Hundredth