• Ruin

I’ve been sticking mostly to new music when I contribute a 12 O’Clock Track, but between the death of Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys on Friday and my post yesterday about Spot’s old photos from his hardcore days, I’ve been sucked into a nostalgia vortex. Probably my favorite Philadelphia hardcore band from the 80s was a peculiar outfit known as Ruin, most of whose members were practicing Buddhists who usually dressed in all-white clothing onstage. The band only made two albums, and their second, Fiat Lux, betrayed the classic-rock foundation that could be heard in their earliest stuff. I don’t know of another hardcore band back then who were covering Leonard Cohen songs—they did “Master’s Song” on their killer debut, He-Ho, and “Famous Blue Raincoat” on the follow-up. Early on they were fond of crazy tempo shifts, usually zigzagging between thrash and slower metallic vamps. Live they were amazing, with an intensity that was almost hypnotizing.