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Rival Schools 

With J. Majesty and Shuteye. Friday, June 15, at the Agora.

The problem with the New York hardcore scene of the late '80s to mid-'90s was that it was essentially invisible to anyone outside of the New York City metropolitan area. The news got around that some sort of scene was spawning a batch of pretty smart rough-and-tumble rock bands. But it ultimately remained a fairly regional phenomenon, while Seattle's grunge renaissance ruled. So while the members of Rival Schools were wailing away in such notable bands as Youth of Today, Gorilla Biscuits, and the genre-busting Quicksand, the rest of the world remained oblivious to what amounted to a productive movement. Yet the sound thrived, and through it all, no one person embodied the New York hardcore sound as much as Walter Schriefels. The omnipresent Schriefels was seemingly involved in every project spawned by the scene, playing guitar, singing, producing, and basically becoming the movement's torchbearer. So when he went silent for the last five years, you had to figure it was only a matter of time until he reared his hardcore head again. Joining other New York scene notables such as bassist Cache Tolman, guitarist Ian Love, and former CIV drummer Sam Seigler, Schriefels formed Rival Schools, a sort of supergroup of New York hardcore veterans, as a reaction to the so-called rock that currently owns the nations' airwaves. With an album due out on Island/Def Jam, Rival Schools already has a leg up on its predecessors. If you mix that with a hard-edged yet accessible sound (call it a less cheesy, infinitely smarter version of Bush -- which, in and of itself, ain't no great feat), serious indie rock cred, and an enigmatic group of diverse talents, you have something that deserves to cast a wider shadow than the original New York hardcore scene did.

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