12 O'Clock Track: Degenerics, "Send in the Clones"

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Proof that DIY touring through the basements and legion halls of America can sometimes actually yield results, I caught Jersey hardcore-punk band the Degenerics by chance when they opened for some less-than-impressive punk band at some unaccommodating, dilapidated venue in, I think, the late 90s. The specifics don't matter, obviously. I most remember beelining for the merch table immediately after the Degenerics set and buying whatever vinyl release I could afford.

Today's 12 O'Clock Track is "Send in the Clones," the opener from the band's sole full-length album, Generica, released in 2000. (They did later release the 2007 album Generic Record Collection, featuring their entire output, seven-inch EPs and all.) As evidenced by the eerie Middle Eastern-tinted guitar intro not 30 seconds into the track, the Degenerics were no cookie-cutter hardcore-punk band that blew through minute-and-a-half rippers chock full of simplistic guitar riffs and ham-fisted drumming. Guitarist Frank Piegaro (later of Ensign) flaunts his shredding chops and willingness to experiment throughout the album while vocalist Craig Fu Yong works over each song with a snarling intensity and distinct, raspy scream. The fortuitous discovery of these dudes remains one of my best reasons to get to the show a little early and catch the openers.

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