There was a moment in the evolution of California punk and hardcore when the music took a hard turn toward politics and DIY ethics. This was a push against the restrictions of the previous decade– against the jock ideas about who could belong to punk, and about what punk could be. Love could be placed with anger. Sensitivity with frustration. Concerns about inclusion, sexual identity, privilege, and racial violence were better illustrated by really hard music.

Most important to the whole stance: Poses don’t fucking matter. Just be real. Be human.

In the middle of this moment, the California band Downcast put out a few records, played almost 200 shows over four years, and then was gone. Live, when everything connected, they left audiences standing quietly, sometimes crying.

Legendary hardcore label Ebullition Records, closely connected to Downcast’s sound and a heavy influence on their ethical stance, went on over the following twenty years to produce a catalog that still defines this strain of the hardcore music scene. Serious, smart, and unapologetic about giving a shit. All of this was before the bittersweet moment when punk went mainstream, when Nirvana pulled back the curtain on a rich underground scene, and ushered in an era of heavily filtered, safely redacted music.

But music with heart still matters, just like it always has. It’s the perfect platform for a strong message. And this is why members Kevin Doss, Greg Doss, Brent Stephens, and Sean Sellers are picking up where they left off. This time around, Ebullition Records teams up with the pioneering noise label Three One G. No reunion. It’s another chance to put effort into a shared passion. This time around, Ebullition Records teams up with the pioneering noise label Three One G. There’s a good reason for this pairing; these are all the same people who came of age in the resistant, political, determined hardcore music of the nineties.