Black Coffee Howl

One of the few hardcore bands I like is ASD from Indianapolis, and the guy who does vocals, Shawn, is a friend. One thing I like about ASD is they have not embraced that chest pounding, hyper-masculinity that is so prevalent in recent hardcore bands. That posturing overcompensates for insecurities and takes away whatever the band has to say. The other thing I like about ASD is they are rooted in The Blues. Strip away the technology and listen to the chord progression you will see what I mean.

ASD, when Shawn started, came from a song he wrote, “All Seasons Die”, and that remained until last year when Shawn chaged it to All Suckas Die. The direction of the band has not changed, but with each song, Shawn is digging deeper. The new album has not yet dropped, but ASD released a new song last week, “Running These Streets.”

When I listened to this song, I became excited. The way this song is mixed the bass speaks goes beyond that place the vocals are unable to touch. The drums and bass take the words to another level. I do speak with some bias because Shawn is my friend, but that is not why I like the music. Shawn and I came up in similar neighborhoods on the east side, and like many people on the east side, we had to learn how to navigate through some tough situations.

When I first took Ronnie through my neighborhood and the streets I used to walk she looked at the condition of the road, buildings, and people. She was nervous. “Is this a bad neighborhood?” I shook my head,   “No, this is a tough neighborhood.” She cocked her head, “What’s the difference?”

“People here focus all their energies on surviving moment to moment. No one has time to go after other people. In the truest sense of the word they’re beat. However, if you bother them they will unleash all their desperate rage upon you. If you mind your own business here and show respect, people leave you alone.” Now there are areas on the east side where people will gut you for the few dollars in your pocket, but that’s not where I grew up, and neither did Shawn.

Shawn pulls from that life, and, though he is agnostic, he also pulls from that faith. Not faith in divine intervention, but faith that things will be as they will be while he puts in the work. He believes life is simultaneously difficult and beautiful, and that’s what he roars into the void of beats and guitar riffs. This is the essence of The Blues. Naming that which eats at your soul and bring you to tears, singing it out, and after that release there is freedom. ASD joins in chorus with The Psalmist, with Jesus on the cross, and Allen Ginsberg’s “Eli! Eli! Lama sabachthani!” howling for the hope in resurrection. ASD has restored my faith in hardcore and returned to the music’s foundation in The Blues.


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