Just an American Band / Live In '84

Just an American Band / Live In '84

Though it formed in Texas, a move to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1981 branded Verbal Abuse as a Northern California punk band. Just an American Band/Live in '84 remains one of the best underground twofers of this genre. It's got a total of 27 tracks: the first half is a reissue of Verbal Abuse's 1983 debut album, Just an American Band, and the second part is a live recording of the band opening for The Ramones in 1984 at The Ritz in New York. “Power Play” opens with a feral blast of hardcore thrash in the Black Flag vein, relentlessly pulverizing the eardrums for just under a minute. The following “Leeches” also delivers blow after blow of anti-muse insults, making good on the band’s moniker. But check the chorus here—it slows down to reveal a slight nod to the skate-punk side of Suicidal Tendencies. “I Hate You” follows suit with a mosh-friendly swagger that’s conducive to skating empty backyard pools. Hyperactive covers of Grand Funk Railroad’s “We’re an American Band” and Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid” are fun standouts.

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