5 Killer Cover Songs: Youth of Today

Photo courtesy of Revelation Records

Not many bands exist for a short time but leave such a legacy that an entire subgenre of music is named after them. Luckily for us, Youth of Today is one of the exceptions. Initially active from 1985 to 2000 before reuniting a handful of times, the band made their mark on the '80s US hardcore scene, spreading a message of positivity while still managing to create a catalog of iconic music that bands still pull from to this day.

Together with a handful of New York and California-based bands, Youth of Today laid the groundwork for Revelation Records, which is still active after more than 30 years of operation. Many bands have tried to imitate YOT, but only a few have succeeded in recording quality covers of their work. So take a stand and check out these awesome tracks.

Coke Bust, "Slow Down"

Straight edge and power violence are two phrases you don’t usually see grouped together, but one of the best bands to ever do it is Washington, DC’s Coke Bust. Blending the lightning-fast drum attack of Chris Moore (one of the most fun drummers to watch live), gnarly guitar riffs and Nicktape’s mean barking vocals, the band manages to rile up an audience into a circle pit, punk pogo and hardcore stomp all within the same 45 second song.

The band knocked out this vicious cover of “Slow Down” on their original self-released demo cassette in 2006, later re-released on 7” by Headcount Records. The breakneck pace of the track knocks a few seconds off the original runtime but keeps the urgency and fury of the original. The speed of the song coupled with the quality of the recording strangely reminds me of Bones Brigade, who coincidentally enough were also melding the same genres together around the same time.

Death by Stereo, "Break Down the Walls"

As you might have guessed from this series of articles, I’m a big fan of cover compilations. Whether it’s songs from one band or one label, I usually dig hearing a variety of bands tackling songs that aren’t their own. The Revelation Records compilation, PastPresent: Breaking Out the Classics, was a big deal for me: lots of bands I grew up listening to covering bands that shaped the foundation for hardcore in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Orange County hardcore punk mainstays Death by Stereo lean into one of three Youth of Today covers on the record (the others by Ignite and Good Clean Fun) with the classic anthem “Break Down the Walls." It’s pretty true to the original, with the sole difference of DBS vocalist Efrem Schulz relying less on Ray Cappo’s signature cat yowls and more on his own attack. It’s a really fun record with some wild GI Joe-inspired album artwork, so if you’ve been sleeping on it, remedy that as soon as possible.

Weekend Nachos, "We Just Might"

Who would have guessed that a band with a name like Weekend Nachos would be as prolific as they were during their tenure? From their 2004 demo to Apology, their final LP released in 2016, the band shook the underground scene with downtuned blend of power violence, hardcore and sludge, topped with vocalist John Hoffman’s signature satirical and scathing lyrics. Seems like a weird band to cover Youth of Today, right? Well, on the band’s 2006 split with Chronic Bleeding Syndrome, they take on “We Just Might” to rousing success.

The song strangely fits the band’s style, especially in their early days, and blends right in with the remaining tracks on their side of wax. This was probably the most straightforward cover they recorded and released - others being a short Jellyroll Rockheads track and the left-field 7” containing two Weezer covers released by emo label Run for Cover — but it works.

Stretch Arm Strong, "Disengage"

Not even someone like Kevin Bacon could connect Youth of Today to Counting Crows, but Stretch Arm Strong were dead-set on being the ones to do it. The band selected a song by each band - “Disengage” and “Angels of the Silences” — to be the content of their side of the split 7” with Erie, Pennsylvania’s Christian straight edge band Disciple (this was before the band went by xDisciplex A.D.). SAS are probably the band that makes the most sense on this list to cover Youth of Today: a positive hardcore band with slight leanings towards the religious, or so you’d think due to their relationship with Tooth And Nail Records.

But the cover works, which I think has more to do with the more melodic leanings of later-era YOT than the proficiency of Stretch Arm Strong. The wildest thing is you can really hear the influence in the song. Regardless, it’s an interesting listen coupled with the Counting Crows cover that precedes it on the split.

Monster X, "One Family"

Here’s a band we don’t talk about as much as we should in 2020: Albany straight edge grind band Monster X. The band went in big on the cover records concept in 1998, releasing an eight-song 7” via Gloom Records and Excelsior Hardcore titled To the Positive Youth, splitting the release with East and West Coast sides. The songs are pretty faithful instrumentally, but the stick in the spokes of To the Positive Youth is John Moran’s disgusting vocal attack, which I’m sure at the time was a real shock to the Youth Crew purists.

It’s a really cool take on “One Family”, which I enjoy immensely given my proclivity for both genres Monster X managed to blend seamlessly. All of the signature YOT notes are there: the stops and starts, the drum fills, and the bass lines that almost seem intimidating despite being linked to such a positive band.


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Tagged: 5 killer cover songs, youth of today