Recently Esquire magazine rated Pittsburgh, PA as #1 in their poll of “Cities That Rock” within the United States. Many of us Yunzers were confused by this achievement. First off, New York and Los Angeles were not included on the scale, but how did we still manage to beat out Cincinnati, Denver, Minneapolis, New Orleans and San Francisco?
The article cites the Clarks, Modey Lemon, and Rusted Root for our lucky fortunes. The latter has broken up and were really the only band to “make it” out of the Steel City. Vaguely mentioned in the article though is our deeper underground scene where the talent pool is being agitated. The Vacancy are ready for a national tour bringing along Sixtyfour, who have a brand new E.P. under their belts, Better Off Dead would fit well in the current Hardcore upsurge, and the Camera are beginning to make a buzz with the Indie kids. A-F Records rounded up two of Pittsburgh’s finest in Punk Rock and that point is strongly emphasized on this collection.
The Code, the areas finest politically charged Ska-Punk ensemble handles the first half of this split. Despite this band’s sound being heavily derived from Operation Ivy the first two tracks “In Hope” and “Revolution Now” are more of a straight-up 3-chord Punk Rock songs with gang vocals calling out “What we need is a revolution to break the chains of this disillusioned system that’s fucked so put your fist up and revolt!” It took two songs for the band to settle into their custom fit, but finishing up their effort is the Crack Rock Steady intense “What’s It Gonna Take,” which highlights their half of the split.
Anti-Flag might be the most famous Punk band to rise out of Pittsburgh, but deep down in our hearts Chris #2’s side project Whatever It Takes was the most loved. The three tracks served up here by WIT prove why our hearts were let down with their demise. In a pattern that mixes the best of Hot Water Music and Lifetime the guitars roar on “Both Can’t Survive” supported by backup vocals via Will Perza (Better Off Dead) the band rises to new heights on the most memorable song on this disc. Brawny guitars and drums arrive again to guide “In The Orchid” whilst “Lips Surrendered” vocally demands you hear this band out.
These six tracks originally appeared and sold out on a rare 10” vinyl put out by Spent Records, but due to an overwhelming response A-F Records has decided to remix and remaster them for a re-release on CD. If you too are scratching your head as to why the Three Rivers received a better rank than your city I urge you pick up this split as it’s a perfect example of what Pittsburgh Punk Rock is all about.