Click here to read about the covid-19 policies for our Raleigh shop.

Spitboy: Body of Work 12"

Spitboy: Body of Work 12"


Tags: · 90s · bay area · hardcore · hcpmf · punk · reissues
Regular price
$28.00
Sale price
$28.00

Spitboy blazed trails for feminist musicians in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond during their brief but impactful life, touring the United States, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. Releasing records on labels such as Ebullition, Allied Recordings, and Bay Area punk institution Lookout Records, they stood solitarily against what, at the time, was an almost entirely male-dominated sub culture of punk and hardcore. Formed in response to the homogenized masculinity of the late 1980's and early 1990s scene, their brash and abrasive style of music was paired equally with their confrontational live shows, and unwillingness to tolerate preconceived gender roles and social norms within the punk scene, and American society at large. Body of Work (1990-1995) features fully remastered versions of the band's complete discography plus liner notes by Billie Joe Armstrong and Vique Simba.


Our take: Don Giovanni Records collects the entire recorded output of 90s punks Spitboy on this great-looking gatefold double album. I missed Spitboy the first time around. I was an early teenager during the years when they were an active band, and with one foot on the Nirvana > Sonic Youth > Fugazi punk path and another on the Green Day > Rancid > NOFX path, I had little frame of reference for the music they were making. Add in the expected immaturity of a teenage boy and the fact that, by the time I heard Spitboy, elements of their sound like the grooving rhythms and dual vocals had been coopted by nu-metal (ironically the bro-iest of subgenres), and I didn’t have a way into their music. However, I know they were an important band to many people, so I was excited to give them another try with this collection. It’s funny, while I hear plenty of the grimy Bay Area hardcore that I expected, the comparison that came to mind most often when I was listening to Body of Work was Jawbreaker. While the vocals are very different, as in Jawbreaker’s music, Spitboy’s songs let the bass form the melodic and rhythmic backbone, with the guitars not so much riffing as providing texture through dense, complex chords. Spitboy’s sound trades Jawbreaker’s pop undercurrent for something more like early Neurosis’s apocalyptic chug, but there’s something similar in the approach. As one would hope, Body of Work’s packaging gives plenty of space to Spitboy’s lyrics, which were a huge part of the band’s appeal. I’d love to say that Spitboy’s lyrics feel ahead of their time, but the world is still a long way from catching up. I’m sure there’s space for this kind of expression in other genres, but I rarely see this style of personal, introspective lyrics in the current hardcore scene, and when you do, it’s typically from cis men. Reading through the lyrics, I’m struck by this sensation of feeling wounded, and the mix of dissonance and aggression in the music compounds that feeling. Spitboy’s lyrics and music are challenging, but the challenge is still worth taking up.