Worn have been making a name for themselves in the Wilkes-Barre hardcore scene for a few years (and also have members in Choice To Make), with a handful of EPs/singles dating back to 2016, including releases on Pop Wig, 12Forty Records, and a Live on Axe to Grind EP. As mentioned, they’re now gearing up to release their full-length album Human Work this Friday (3/5) via From Within Records (who also just dropped that killer Malice At The Palace EP). The album was recorded, mixed and mastered by Will Hirst (who fronts Maniac and drums in Restraining Order), who also lends his voice to the track “Tangled Crown of Paranoia.” “We wrote this record over the duration of 2019 into the summer of 2020,” the band tells us. “A lot of the themes and lyrics on the record were written pre-pandemic is it’s a little ironic how things turned out.”
The album whips by with ten tracks that almost all clock in at under two minutes (and never reach three minutes), and if you like straight-up, no-frills, ass-kicking hardcore, you should definitely not sleep on this. It’s not exactly “metallic hardcore,” but Daniel’s gnarly vocals and the dark, thick guitar sound makes this a record that metalheads and hardcore kids can definitely agree on. There’s some thrash, some D-beat, some double-time circle pit fuel, and some classic stomping hardcore, and the sonic fury is matched by genuinely purposeful lyrics that — to quote fellow Wilkes-Barre hardcore musician Ned Russin (Title Fight, Glitterer) — “[question] the necessity of war in the bluntest of terms and tones.” “Blunt” is right; this album is fueled by vitriol for corrupt politicians and a broken system, and Worn do not mince words. Hardcore has always been a genre filled with anger, and this album points that anger in the right direction.
Human Work officially drops Friday, but a full stream premieres in this post. Listen and read Ned Russin’s full description below.
Ned Russin (Title Fight, Glitterer) on Worn’s Human Work:
The thing about the modern age is that as soon we announce it, it becomes untrue. Modernity needs to be contextualized, for life now is different than it was 20 years ago and will be different 20 years from now. But despite the ever-changing nature of our reality, there are some things that have stayed the same throughout history, namely ceaseless and needless wars passed off as morality. Worn are a hardcore band from Wilkes-Barre, PA from their modern era. Their new LP is a violent pushback against this worldview, one that questions the necessity of war in the bluntest of terms and tones. So when Worn asks us “Who do you trust in the modern age?” we all know the right answer.
Best Punk/Hardcore/Emo/etc Albums of 2020
20. Envy – The Fallen Crimson
19. War On Women – Wonderfull Hell
18. The Suicide Machines – Revolution Spring
17. Svalbard – When I Die, Will It Get Better?
16. Mil-Spec – World House
15. Call Me Malcolm – My, Myself and Something Else
14. Soul Glo – Songs to Yeet at the Sun
13. Respire – Black Line
12. Ska Against Racism
In 1998, Mike Park put on the Ska Against Racism tour with the goal of bringing back the anti-racist politics of ska at the height of the genre's mainstream success in America. "I felt like [ska] was becoming so manufactured as this fun wacky circus music and the original politics were gone from the 2 tone movement," Mike told us earlier this year. "The whole 2 tone idea is black and white equality. Did kids even know that?" Now, 22 years later and with the help of Bad Time Records and Ska Punk Daily, the Ska Against Racism name was revived for a new 28-song compilation featuring some of the bands from the original tour (Less Than Jake, Mustard Plug, Five Iron Frenzy, and MU330) alongside other veterans (Tim Armstrong/Jesse Michaels, The Suicide Machines, The Chinkees, Hepcat, Buck O' Nine, Left Alone, Big D and the Kids Table, etc) and a slew of newer bands who are keeping ska alive today (Kill Lincoln, We Are The Union, JER, Catbite, The Best of the Worst, Omnigone, The Skints, The Interrupters, Half Past Two, Bite Me Bambi, etc). It not only connects the established veterans with the new guard and functions as a who's who of the current ska scene, it's also a mission statement for today's ska scene and a declaration of the values that these bands stand for. "Mike [Park] wanted to bring [the politics] back for his generation, and I feel like now we need to make that statement again," Mike Sosinski from Bad Time Records/Kill Lincoln told us. "It's almost like a waypoint that people can look to in time and be like, alright, ska in this generation, this is where we're at, and it's no longer just anti-racism, it's anti-homophobia, anti-transphobia, anti-sexism, it's just acceptance of everything but hate."
The compilation will benefit The Movement for Black Lives, The NAACP Legal Defense Fund, The Alpha Institute, The Conscious Kid, and Black Girls Code in perpetuity, and the anti-racist, anti-bigotry message lies not just in the benefit aspect but also in a lot of these songs. From covers of classic anti-racist ska anthems that remain depressingly still relevant today (Kill Lincoln doing Skankin' Pickle's "David Duke Is Running For President," The Doped Up Dollies doing The Specials' "Racist Friend") to newly-written protest songs (JER's "Breaking News! Local Punk Denies Existence of Systematic Racism," The Best of the Worst's "Illusion of Choice," Omnigone's "Swallow Poison," Mustard Plug's "Unite and Fight," etc), the message of Ska Against Racism goes much deeper than just the album title. And with so many genuinely great songs that are exclusive to this comp, Ska Against Racism is just as essential as the albums by all the bands featured. Comps aren't as popular in the streaming era as they were in the CD, cassette, and vinyl eras, but Ska Against Racism is poised to become one of those scene-defining comps like Mike Park curations Misfits of Ska and Plea For Peace were two decades ago.
11. Anti-Flag – 20/20 Division
10. Teenage Halloween – Teenage Halloween
9. Kill Lincoln – Can’t Complain
8. Higher Power – 27 Miles Underwater
7. Touche Amore – Lament
6. Record Setter – I Owe You Nothing
5. Gulch – Impenetrable Cerebral Fortress
4. Strike Anywhere – Nightmares of the West
3. Stay Inside – Viewing
2. Infant Island – Beneath
1. Jeff Rosenstock – NO DREAM
See #45-21 here.