Blatant Dissent: 1985-1986 12"

Blatant Dissent: 1985-1986 12"


Tags: · 80s · hcpmf · melodic · punk · reissues
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Blatant Dissent’s story is the story of evolution. They started in Dekalb, Illinois, in 1983 as a cover band. Over the next few years, Blatant Dissent developed and recorded their own distinct brand of midwestern indie-skate punk. By 1988, the evolution was complete and they had become Midwest noise-rock stalwarts Tar.

Their music had the backbone and energy of hardcore punk but Blatant Dissent were too smart and well informed to play run-of-the-mill uniform hardcore. Their style was also illuminated by the innovations of contemporary bands including Naked Raygun, whose Jeff Pezzatii produced their first session. Also influential were Chicago punk pioneers Trial By Fire as well as innovative national acts like Husker Du, The Minutemen and The Replacements.

After an initial demo, Blatant Dissent eventually recorded a total of 22 songs over two sessions between 1985 and 1986. Recorded by Iain Burgess and Steve Albini respectively, these sessions offer insight into the development of the group as they tightened their song writing and laid the groundwork for later becoming Tar.

During 2021 the original multitracks were remixed by the band with Steve Albini at Electrical Audio in Chicago. The music was subsequently mastered by Carl Saff and pressed into 160 gram vinyl in Chicago at Smashed Plastic Record Pressing.


Our take: I remember picking up Blatant Dissent’s 1985 7” Is There a Fear in the late 90s or early 00s—back when you could still find cheap 80s punk 7”s to take chances on—and I always thought it was an enjoyable slab of melodic, Chicago-style punk/hardcore. Now, Alonas Dream gives us 1985-1986, which fills out the band’s story with all the tracks from Is There a Fear plus additional ones from the same session and another session recorded a year later. If you enjoyed the Sluggo reissue we wrote about a few weeks ago, Blatant Dissent will be up your alley too. They sound like a mid-80s hardcore punk band, specifically the ones who chose not to go metal, but to channel their growing musical sophistication into crafting hooky, energetic, and memorable songs. The first session compiled here, from which Blatant Dissent culled Is There a Fear’s four tracks, reminds me a lot of DC’s Marginal Man (as well as the second side of the aforementioned Sluggo record), and if you dig that style of post-Minor Threat / 7 Seconds style melodic hardcore, it’s hard to imagine you won’t like them. You can still hear that DC influence on the 1986 session captured here, with Blatant Dissent’s sound expanding to incorporate elements that wouldn’t be out of place on a Scream or Beefeater record. While I’ve just dropped a lot of DC comparisons, Blatant Dissent also wears their Chicago influences on their sleeve (they were from the college town of Dekalb, Illinois), particularly in the soaring, whoa-oh lead vocals, which are straight out of the Naked Raygun playbook (Naked Raygun’s Jeff Pezaati even produced the 1985 studio session). As those artier influences continued to color Blatant Dissent’s music, they changed their name to Tar and released a bunch of influential noise rock records on Amphetamine Reptile and Touch and Go. 1985-1986 also features the liner notes, photos, flyers, and other contextual info that helps to deepen your understanding and appreciation of the music, so if you’re an 80s punk nerd, you know what to do.