Second (3rd?) generation punk from 1987 from Sunderland's HDQ, taking their lead from the US wave - powerful, but retaining the melodic content as opposed to the faster than the speed of Discharge approach of their UK contemporaries.
In 1992 during the "grunge" explosion, the album Mush by Leatherface was widely acclaimed by many people as the best UK release of the year, and the perfect antidote to the whole Sub pop thing. It topped the Indie album chart for several weeks, and went on to sell in excess of 15000 copies. Apart from the songwriting and voice of Frankie Stubbs, the other notable factor is the unmistakable guitar sound of Dickie Hammond.
Prior to joining Leatherface, Dickie's own band HDQ recorded and released three albums between 1987 and 1990 - of which the debut album You Suck! is now being made available for the first time in over ten years, and for the first time ever on CD.
The album was a pioneering release for UK hardcore punk - it was one of the first UK hardcore punk albums to really fuse together the old school punk style of bands like The Ruts and the melodic American Hardcore of Dag Nasty, and at the time of its initial release was a breath of fresh air and an alternative to the heavier Britcore of bands like Napalm Death and Extreme Noise Terror.
On the back of the great reaction to the album, the band started to tour abroad, where they would regularly play to 500-2000 people a night all over Europe. In 1990 when the band decided to split (so that the three of the four members who were also playing in Leatherface could concentrate solely on that band), their final gig saw them headlining a festival in France to 15,000 people. HDQ were a great live band.
If you haven't heard HDQ, then you are missing out on a very influential and highly entertaining hardcore punk band. Reference points? Well, you could use my favourite from a review of the band from a Chilean fanzine - "Imagine The Ruts with The Edge on guitar playing "Babylon's Burning" at twice the original speed".
By Aston Stephens