Every once in a while, a band emerges within the hardcore community that shatters expectations and raises our level of enjoyment, encourages our self-worth, and promotes a sense of pride of what this community can produce. Personally, there are three things that any giving project must have in order for it to have a successful run. Originality to break the mold, dedication or the drive to continue, and talent because that’s a fucking given. It seems as if these days hardcore has reached a mindset that forsakes most, if not all, of these unwritten and arguably unnecessary prerequisites. It’s almost as if kids care more about image or reputation more so than providing their fans with a raw, respected, and impassioned deliverance of music. Personally, I’m glad to see that people are out there giving music a chance but can we please do it for the sake of personal creativity and self-expression and not towards boosting one’s ego or image? This is hardcore, there are no winners in this game, baby.
Speaking of which, the band we are quite stoked to bring forth to your attention is an act that will soon be played heavily on your playlist after reading this article. Just, a Brooklyn based hardcore unit is comprised of members of various other projects from several genres spanning over 15 plus years of influence. This is inherently true upon first listen as this band mixes a heterogeneous collection of musical direction stemming from a multitude of styles. Seriously, at one point you can hear the tumultuous anarchy of 1980’s hardcore punk while the next minute you are in a diazepam daze of reverberating glare that only the 1990’s was ever able to produce accordingly.
An integral point that should be laid out before the listener is that this isn’t just another hardcore project nearly as much as it is an art project. When asked about the direction of this band, it was said that Just is “all his brain, his pen, and his art.” You may also know of his other project, No Honeymoon.
Hardcore has always been more than glaring guitars, screaming heads, or the violent discourse it tends to manufacture in a live setting. It is an art that takes the innermost sentiments of which we love and expresses the hate within our problematic world in a manner that is both poetic and artistic. Instead of dropping a fire merch collection or worrying about the band’s’ image or adhering to public demands, Just only cares about producing something worthy of its true self.
II is the second self-titled record and first in terms of bringing forth a full length to light. A vibrating warmth of tonal clarity matched with aggressive undertones that possess a lyricism style that is rather vengeful in nature. Furthermore, the attitude is fucking spiteful with topics that range from existential thought (Dream) to battling the demanding stress and pain of living life in the big bad city (Dusk). As I said earlier, this formation of music is paired with multifarious sounds and influences. All without sacrificing the simplicity and energy that punk offers us. No song stretches for more than a minute or so and the writing was constructed with both a professional and fervent mindset.
“Mostly, we’re influenced by fun times and the macabre, punk, Raymond Pettibon, and 1980’s hardcore.”
It can be a tricky task in combining dissimilar genres for the sake of creating something fresh and original. Often times, it ends up with something that sounds distasteful or shitty for a lack of better terms. Fortunately, this was not the case on Just’s freshmen full length as they were successful in producing a seven inch that orchestrates the use of harmonious leads while combining disorderly rhythm sections in the writing of II. With such forceful tracks like October or Trick, the craving desire that makes you want to put a head through a wall or call someone out on their bullshit becomes tenfold. You know? That anger that rests anxiously within each and every one of us. Regardless if we wish to admit it or not, this record has a tendency to express such an emotional outpour of aggravation on the opening track alone…
On the same token, tracks like City or Gut yield a melodious sense of reverberation that more and more bands seem to find as a gratifying addition to incorporating to any given piece. As for as personal opinions go, far too many bands are cheaply mimicking the gorgeous echoes of glaring reverbs and the saturated chorus of the 1990’s. Now, I’ll never call a band out for their failures or misfortunes because nobody is above that. What will be said is that very few bands are able to draw a distinct line between influence and inspiration. Carry a sense of due diligence with your writing that neither undermines your own talent or completely constricts your sound to the likes of someone else. For “hardcore’s sake,” projects such as the ever popular Turnstile or West Coast riff train, Mizery, were efficacious in bringing forth an intoxicating sound of harmony paired immaculately with a loaded tone. As is the case with Just so please do give the open eye and open set of ears on this banger because it still holds roots to a punk sensibility. This isn’t an aesthetic nearly as it is an art project focused on raw, energetic and impassioned music. More importantly, punk-hardcore.
Oh, and for the record, Just sounds entirely separate and distinct from those mentioned above.
II was engineered and mixed over at Barbershop Studios (New Jersey) by Kevin Kumetz with support from Mike Kalajian over at Rogue Planet in mastering this fucking gem. The record dropped last Friday as an independent release and with no external support. Seriously, the DIY mentality is fucking perfect and leaves no doubt or question that these young men are in it for the right reasons.
This isn’t just another hardcore band, this is Just.