Known for its glamorous 1970s punk rock scene, New York City matched the grim urban reality of the 1980s with a rawer musical uprising: New York hardcore. Bands of misfits from across the region gravitated to the forgotten frontier of Manhattan's Lower East Side. With a a backdrop of despair, bands like Agnostic Front, Cro-Mags, Murphy's Law, and Youth of Today confronted their reality with relentlessly energetic gigs at CBGB, A7, and the numerous squats in the area.
Tony Rettman's ambitious oral history captures ten years of struggling, including the scene's regional rivalries with D.C. and Boston, the birth of moshing, the clash and coming to terms of hardcore and heavy metal, the straightedge movement, and the unlikely influence of Krishna consciousness.
With a foreword by Freddy Cricien of Madball, who made his stage debut with Agnostic Front at age seven, NYHC slams the sidewalk with savage tales of larger-than-life characters and unlikely feats of willpower.