Local Record Label Drugged Conscience Is Making Miami Punk History
We weren't part of the first wave (New York City, Los Angeles, London), we didn't invent hardcore (Washington D.C.), and we burn through venues so fast that we've never managed to forge a long-term institution like the Gilman Street Project in San Francisco or ABC No Rio on Manhattan's Lower East Side.
The SoFla locals know the real story, though.
They could tell you all about the Mutiny in the Grove, the famed squat at the center of Miami expatriate Erick Lyle's early SCAM Zine mythology. They could recount a time when South Beach was overrun by filthy maniacs instead of too-clean guidos. And they could provide a detailed account of the scene back when kids from the suburbs were flocking to all-ages shows at the Alley, a converted warehouse space in Allapattah.
|Diet Cokeheads' Nasal 7" on Drugged Conscience (Read Crossfade's full review.)|
It all started in 2005 when Donaldson (then a resident of Naples) founded Drugged Conscience to release the debut cassette from hardcore revivalists No Fucking Way. A couple of years later, the label boss relocated his operation to Miami. But he never forgot his Gulf Coast roots. He still cites Ft. Myers post-hardcore/screamo outfit Jiyuna as a major influence, particularly its signature packaging which often resembles origami more than a record sleeve. "Their stuff is always really impressively fancy," he explains.
|Cult Ritual's Third EP|
Along with Cult Ritual's unforgivingly blackened sound, Donaldson's label helped spearhead the whole mysterious movement by creating packaging and promotional materials that featured stark-but-subtle, high-contrast images of oft-masked hooligans and thugs. "Artwork sets the mood," he explains. "It helps define the release."
Recently, though, Cult Ritual broke up. It could have been a major blow to Donaldson and Drugged Conscience. Yet despite the demise of its marquee band, the label hasn't slowed. Quite the opposite, really, as the band's end resulted in a tidal wave of emerging ensembles riffing on the post-hardcore concept.
|Merchandise's (Strange Songs) in the Dark 12"|
Already, both records have garnered a great deal of praise on the blogosphere, and it looks as though the Drugged Conscience era of Miami's punk history is only just beginning.
-- Matt Preira
Score all Drugged Conscience releases through the label's website druggedconscience.com.
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