John A. Duerk

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“Simply being straight edge doesn’t make you better than anyone else, especially if you embrace and perpetuate a lot of the fucked-up aspects of mainstream culture.” –Eva Hall, p. 28 Gabriel Kuhn has done it again.  Nearly a decade after his initial effort to capture the political elements associated with straight edge, he offers us another well-conceived title, X: Straight Edge and Radical Sobriety, published by PM Press.  Without question, it is… Read More

Even in the punk scene, thoughtful idealism can be really hard to come by.  The day I found Dissent’s self-titled LP (1988) at Toad Hall in Rockford, Illinois, I discovered a great record that originated in one of the most unexpected of places.  Without question, I connect with the band’s leftist political consciousness and I appreciate anyone who has the courage to champion a cause.  So, what caught my attention as I… Read More

When I listen to Ignite’s A War Against You (2016), I can’t figure out if it’s an arena rock-influenced melodic hardcore record or a melodic hardcore-influenced arena rock record.  In my opinion, many of the guitar leads and chord progressions, combined with the vocals and slick production, make it sound like more of the latter.  Hardcore purists may deride them for continuing down a path that began on A Place Called Home… Read More

If you enjoy H2O’s Nothing to Prove (2008) as much as I do, then Use Your Voice (2015) will be a solid companion album worthy of adding to your music collection.  It has plenty of catchy guitar riffs and intense, rapid fire drumming across the eleven tracks for those of us who dig melodic hardcore.  To me, Toby Morse has the right voice because he can both scream and sing.  As for… Read More