Husker Du playing I Apologize at Love Hall, 1985
Montana: Deranged Diction
Deranged Diction not only has the honor of being the first hardcore band from Montana – it’s also the first band of Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament. (Additionally, guitarist Bruce Fairweather went on to play in Seattle grunge staples Green River and Mother Love Bone.) Their first and only album, 1983’s No Art, No Cowboys, No Rules, is a politically charged reaction to the Reagan era, equal parts influenced by Ament’s love of angry Boston hardcore, and founding vocalist Tom Kipp’s adoration of the noisy, chaotic, California band, Flipper.
Required Listening: No Art, No Cowboys, No Rules (1983)
Nebraska: Bent Life
Nebraska’s finest hardcore band once described themselves as “Loud. Aggressive. Precise.” And that’s pretty accurate. The band hails from Lincoln, Nebraska, where – again, according to the band – “there is absolutely no hardcore scene.” It’s remarkable that such a powerful, tight sound could come from a scene so desolate – though, perhaps it helps that Bent Life’s sole LP, 2016’s Never Asked For Heaven, was produced by Terror drummer Nick Jett.
Required Listening: Self-Titled (2012)
Nevada: 7 Seconds
(Very) recently defunct 7 Seconds may have been far less aggressive than some of the other bands on this list – but they were just as confrontational. Founded in 1980, and influenced by west coast punk rock like that of The Dils (whose EP, 198 Seconds of The Dils, may have incidentally played a role in inspiring the band’s name), 7 Seconds were one of the first bands to refer to themselves as “hardcore.” And despite veering into pop punk, alternative, or even proto-emo over the years, they have lasted as one of the most important American hardcore bands of all-time.
Required Listening: Old School (1991)
New Hampshire: Backstabbers Incorporated
Yes, GG Allin was born in Lancaster, New Hampshire – but he was a) not a band, and b) associated solely with the New York City scene. Meanwhile, for two decades, Backstabbers Inc. have crushed it as a hardcore band that incorporates elements of grindcore, crossover thrash, post-hardcore, and death metal in their music. Anchored by guitarists / vocalists Brian and Matt Serven, the band have before been involuntarily tied to the straightedge scene due to the Servens’ sobriety and veganism – but it’s best to judge these Portsmouth, New Hampshire thrashers solely by their music.
Required Listening: Kamikaze Missions (2004)
New Jersey: Misfits
Forget hardcore for a second: American music wouldn’t be the same without the Misfits. In fact, their contributions to hardcore have often been overshadowed by both their foundation of the horror punk genre, and providing a launchpad for founding lead vocalist Glenn Danzig to launch a solo career as a chart-topping heavy metal crooner. But their hardcore roots are especially apparent on their first two full-length albums: hardcore purists tend to favor Earth A.D. / Wolfs Blood (1983), but their debut, Walk Among Us (1982), is a superior record.
Required Listening: Walk Among Us (1982)