My love for old school hardcore stems back to my teens listening to bands of the likes of Youth of Today, Judge, Agnostic Front, Black Flag, Minor Threat, 7 Seconds and many more. Got to admit I am still trying to wrap my head around today’s modern interpretations of hardcore, guess I am an old school hardcore kid till death.
So here we are with 2 Minute Minor, formed in 2016, is a positive old school style Chicago hardcore band, and immediately before even getting into the album, picture bands like Minor Threat, Black Flag and even old school D.R.I. (D.R.I. bit will explain later). So get your boots ready for some pit slamming, two-stepping hardcore old school style music done right. Consisting of Wiley Willis (Vocals) who formed this band which is reminiscent of the late 80’s to early 90’s sound; passionately screaming for change. Bob Shields (Guitar) plays punk rock riffs with pure power and he’s perfectly out of step. Zach Birdier pounds aggressively on the drums so we remember the one thing that still holds true. Virgil Lloyd’s (2nd guitar) brings us back to Old Tyme Hardcore and creates a heartbeat for the songs. Noam O (Bass) walks the bass so we don’t forget the struggle or the streets, laying down the low-end road map. 2Minute Minor now offers up to you their debut “A Goons Best Friend”, a hard-hitting dose of reality that will help you to navigate through your life just as making this record has helped 2Minute Minor enrich their own.
If you have that love for old school style authentic hardcore then pick up this album now…no I am serious, stop reading this review and go get it, then come back, put it on real loud, and blast the plaster off the wall as you begin reading this review and nod your head in agreement to what I am saying next. Every now and then a band rises up from a genre that every component of it works well as unit, and is positioned both through its music and lyrics to have a positive impact on the music scene within its community and beyond. 2 Minute Minor is such a band. With the world we are faced with today a band like 2 Minute Minor, is like an iron knuckle buster of positivity to that.
Now with every new band on the scene its always great to know what this band is all about, it helps in our decision making whether we like the band or not, but more over it helps to get the bands heart out, and combine that with the music if it’s all good it can be powerful stuff, and add positivity to the mix it has the potential to change lives for the better, and in some cases getting guys off their butt’s and doing something positive for once in their lives.
2 Minute Minor draw from the Old school pioneers of hardcore, and the finger prints of that era is all over this album. For Wiley himself, 2 Minute Minor is homage to the music he so loves. It’s also that love that gives, “A Goon’s Best Friend” that authenticity and honesty that helps lay down the heart of the band through the music, and solidifies the positive message that the band brings. Thus this heart speaks with a raw positive message, no frills and fancies, just pure undiluted hardcore. The message of the band is one of a message of unity, a cry for hope, in a world that is so torn apart.
It’s clear in the music they are not trying to create something new, and as a band they have taken the approach of if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. This is another reason I like the band, because for years now the hardcore scene has been trying to almost fix something that ain’t broke, and hard core music today, or at least the modern interpretations of it, and there are many, are watered down progressions of it for me. Yeah music evolves and so forth, and there needs to be space for it, but it just doesn’t hold the same impact for me, that genuine old school hardcore has.
Lyrically Wiley Willis, the vocalist told me he is greatly influenced by……” My biggest influence is Raybeez (RIP:REST IN POWER) from Warzone, Jack (Choke) Kelly of Slapshot, the bands: Chain Of Strength, Minor Threat, Uniform Choice, Breakdown and Black Flag (Rollins years). I’m Influenced by the skinhead youth movement, the youth crew movement and the straight edge movement. Lyrically I just try to put a positive spin on life. We deal with so much trash everyday that it’s nice to have a positive scream force in my ear at times. We are all brothers in this band and all have different thoughts and ideas about what life, a spiritual connection and our culture look like as individuals. I would not change it for anything. Our differences make us beautiful and special.”
Now that we have set the foundation, let’s get into “A Goon’s Best Friend” which is being released through Zap Records run by Dave Emmerson of hardcore punk band, The Old-Timers. “A Goon’s Best Friend” starts off like a raging tornado with, “Change My Life”, hitting full taps old school style. Reminds me a little bit old school Black Flag fronted by Henry Rollins. I can imagine an instant circle pit forming from the get go….even I moved the coffee table in front of me out the way, so I don’t do injury to myself as I try to one man mosh around my lounge. “Follow Your Own Path” reminds me a lot of D.R.I., especially when Wiley Willis shouts out “Follow Your Own Path”. It’s a great track that keeps the pace and rawness of old school hardcore going, and again no frills, no fancies just pure hardcore. “Prime” does not waste time getting going and rushing like a runaway train, at this point my wifey is concerned that something is going to break in the lounge as I two step about, hoping the neighbours are not going to give us a call, as after every track I seem to put the volume louder and louder as I immerse myself deeper into the album. Next up, is “Unwritten War”, also a tornado infused super charger, nitrous driven song, at this point my age is showing and I need to sit down and reassemble myself. Man I have had not so much fun listening to an album in a long while, especially one that not just moves your feet, but thrusts your body into a one man mosh-pit attempting to body slam one’s self. “Stand Firm” is another great song filled with positivity and proclamation. Love the gang vocal parts and the tempo that goes along with those parts. It’s a great song, which lyrically makes a firm stand. “We’ve Had Enough” is a real tough guy song, and gives Wiley a bigger than life presence vocally behind the momentous drumming and driving guitars. “We Will Prosper” Again hitting hard with positivity and two-step beat down, this song builds strongly on the others before it, and when it gets going Wiley again gets me thinking of Kurt Brecht of D.R.I., and his vocals really work well with the music that can at times give it a little of a thrash/speed metal feel at times, but I say that cautiously, as not to take away the fact that 2 Minute Minor are primarily a old school style hard core band. The album sprints to the end with the anthemic, “Goon Crew” track, though sounding nothing like Suicidal Tendencies, “Join The Army” it in some ways hold similar sentiments and is a fitting end to a great album.
2 Minute Minors release, “A Goon’s Best Friend” is a no frills, no fancies old school style hardcore album that hammers down hard from start to end with an aggressive pace filled with positive and hope filled sentiments and proclamations. Really take Minor Threat, early Black Flag, and mix it with a little Youth of Today and lightly sprinkle it with some D.R.I. for extra saltiness and you have 2 Minute Minor.
Is “A Goon’s Best Friend” worth buying…? HELL YEAH! It’s short and sweat for those of us who have short attention spans, and is packed full of heart, sincerity, hope and positivity, all things the world today needs more of. This first release is a great album to hit the ground with for the band, and holds true to the authenticity of old school hardcore and is a true homage to the great old school style hardcore bands of past. At the end, my wife and kids probably think I am crazy and fortunately no furniture was broken in the process of listening to the album. Just saying this album should have a warning sticker on it, it’s an album that does not just get the foot tapping but invokes ones whole body into a self slam dancing riot. This is some great ear candy from these hardcore positive boys from Chicago.
Written by Donovan de Necker
1. Change My Life 01:55
2. Follow Your Own Path 01:43
3. Prime 01:42
4. Unwritten War 00:59
5. Stand Firm 02:21
6. We’ve Had Enough 01:28
7. We Will Prosper 01:53
8. Goon Crew 02:10
Noam Ostrander – Bass
Virgil Lloyd – Guitar
Bob Shields – Guitar
Zach Bridier – Drums
Wiley Murder Willis – shouts
Record Label: Zap Records, Jun. 2017
‘Change My Life’ single (2017)
“A Goon’s Best Friend” (2017)
Video for “A Goon’s Best Friend” (teaser)