I owe a lot of my college year discoveries to the website absolutepunk.net (now chorus.fm), a youthful music site promoting and sharing many of the burgeoning punk/pop punk/ska/alternative groups of the early 00’s. While a number of groups I discovered there would go on to huge success (Fall Out Boy, All-American Rejects), many like California’s U.S. Crush would remain obscure despite creating excellent music.
The group, formed in 1997 after the dissolution of frontman Denny Lake’s former band Atomic Boy, released their one sole album before disbanding. I downloaded the band’s single “Bleed” from AbsolutePunk.net (I believe it was one of their free mp3s of the week), and the song has managed to stick with me nearly two decades later.
Opening with an industrial guitar riff and lyrics about feeling a loss of humanity (“I’m just a sidebar, I’m just an after-thought”), the song starts building on the pre-chorus, evolving into a unifying anthem about standing strong against all odds (“We bleed, we break, we stand together, yeah we gotta do it”). A perfect track for fist pumping, head banging, and soundtracking a rebellion against corrupt government forces, it deserves far more attention than it received during its release. Hoping someone a Virgin/Immortal Records reads this and gets the album officially up onto DSP services. Until then, you can find it unofficially on YouTube below.