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Neurotic Text: Society Dog "....Off the Leash" EP

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Society Dog "....Off the Leash" EP

For all the continued interest in '70's punk and '80's hardcore, the bootlegs and reissues and websites and discographies and cover versions and fanzines, there are still many great records from the period that have yet to attract the attention and credit that they deserve, and this 1981 EP, their second, is a fine example. With its surging guitars, sneeringly sung vocals and rough melodies, "Off the leash" is very much a '70's punk record, but the rawness and increased pace of the delivery indicate that it's not the '70's anymore after all. Society Dog's sound is very much like that of their peers the Subhumans, Black Market Baby, Negative Trend and Really Red, and they would've been a perfect fit on the "New York Thrash" LP alongside Kraut and the Undead; this is "hardcore" in its very first incarnation, about 10 seconds before the Dead Kennedys, Bad Brains and Minor Threat would push it into straight thrash territory.
Prior to this, the band appeared on the "SF Underground 2" comp EP in 1980 and issued a debut EP, "Working People", also in 1981. This was the short-lived outfit's final release, but vocalist Johnithin Christ (whoa sir, lay off the cheese...) soon surfaced with new band Code of Honour, who achieved a great deal more notoriety than Society Dog through their highly rated 1982 split LP with Sick Pleasure (aka COH minus Christ), "What are we gonna do?" EP (1982) and rather unfortunate "Beware the savage jaw" LP (1984). Every record listed here was on Subterranean, who have every right to their claim to be San Francisco's first hardcore label.

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