As someone who takes the subway every day, I’m disappointed in myself for never having thought to pair albums with various lines. So I give loads of credit to Kings Destroy vocalist Steve Murphy for not only coming up with the idea (not to mention his preference for express trains and disdain for the L), but executing it. As you’ll quickly figure out, his band’s roots stem from the very city whose subway cars he has obviously spent a lot of time riding. So, in honor of A Time Of Hunting, the band’s latest record that was just released on Sanford Parker and Bruce Lamont’s War Crime Recordings, we welcome you to ride along with him through four of the five boroughs. Feel free to listen along here.
The D train runs express in the Bronx. If you stand up front and look out the window at the tracks rolling by at 50 mph, you see SMITH and SANE spray painted on every single I-beam. SANE bombed the Brooklyn Bridge before passing away too young. His brother SMITH is a living legend. This album, especially the Void part with its raw, noisy, discordant and shockingly dark tones, from 1982 is a perfect way to spend time on the subway.
Bl’ast!–The Power Of Expression (1986)
These guys produced some of the most crushing music of the era. Again discordant but organized and thoughtful at the same time, juxtaposing deeply thoughtful songs like “The Future” with angry punk/surf songs like “Surf and Destroy”. They blew people away with their loud CBGB matinee. I took the 4 train there that day. It ruled.
Their last foray on Atlantic. Even weirder than usual for them, with lots of trippy parts mixed with their trademark heaviness. Sometimes you’re standing in a crowded subway stopped between stations and the oppression of being locked in a cement and steel vault 40 feet below the concrete jungle sets in your mind and you just need to block it out. You know people are getting pissed off and you could be there for one minute or one hour. It’s part of riding that damned steel tube for transportation. You turn this album up and and check out of reality, man. It’s a dark freakshow and its had a permanent effect on my psyche.
Bauhaus–In The Flat Field (1980)
NYC’s most efficient subway from Queens through Brooklyn to Manhattan. What better way to ride this bad boy to the Lower East Side to have a drink at Motor City than to listen to Bauhaus’ first album, kicking off with “Double Dare” and heading straight through “In The Flat Field”. Roll seemlessly through town with your goth look with the almighty “Stigmata Martyr”. You can’t go wrong with this album and you can’t go wrong on the J train either.
Boogie Down Productions–Criminal Minded (1987)
The 5 train is a true New Yorkers’ train, servicing a huge part of the Bronx, including the projects that KRS-One lived in. This seminal hip hop album featuring DJ Scott La Rock (RIP) changed hip-hop with its style and message. With samples from AC/DC to James Brown to dancehall reggae
and inflammatory lyrics that ignited cross-borough lyrical warfare, it stands the test of time and has an important place in hip hop and NYC history.
Cro-Mags–The Age Of Quarrel (1986)
If you have to ride NYC’s official hipster subway line from Manhattan to Brooklyn, I feel for you. It sucks. It’s overcrowded, it’s not serviced well and don’t get me started on the “ridership”. If you are forced to ride this bastard, put your headphones on and turn the Cro-Mags up to 10. Let the Cro-Mag army invade your skull. This album was written for this subway–“Malfunction”, “World Peace”, “Show You No Mercy” and “We Gotta Know” will have you giving off such a negative vibe that perhaps you will gain some extra space.
*Order a copy of A Time Of Hunting here.
**We update one Spotify playlist for each new Decibrity entry, so feel free to subscribe to that here. Past entries include:
Call of the Void
Saint Vitus Bar
Soilwork (Dirk Verbeuren) (Björn Strid)
Ancestors (Part 1) (Part 2)
Kowloon Walled City (Part 1) (Part 2)
Aaron Stainthorpe (My Dying Bride) (Part 1) (Part 2)
All That Remains
A Life Once Lost
Witchcraft (Ola Henriksson) (Magnus Pelander)
Vision of Disorder
Anders Nyström (Katatonia) (Part 1) (Part 2)
“Best of” Rush (Part 1) (Part 2)
Greg Mackintosh (Paradise Lost) (Part 1) (Part 2)
“Best of” Meshuggah
Shane Embury (Napalm Death) (Part 1) (Part 2)