Kill Your Idols was a hardcore punk band from Long Island/New York City, New York. The band was active from 1995 through 2007. They were signed to SideOneDummy Records.
Their releases on SideOneDummy were Funeral for a Feeling (2001), a split with 7 Seconds in 2004, and From Companionship to Competition (2005). Other notable releases by the band wereNo Gimmicks Needed and This is just the beginning... which were released on the New York hardcore label Blackout! records, owned and operated by Bill Wilson.
The band released many 7" EPs, splits with other bands (including Full Speed Ahead, Fisticuffs, Voorhees, Good Riddance, and Poison Idea), compilation tracks, and full length LPs in their 11-year run. Most of their records were released on vinyl as well as compact disc. Some were released on different colors of vinyl, different sleeve covers, hand numbered tour presses, and picture discs, making their records a favorite among collectors.
They cite Poison Idea, Negative Approach, Sheer Terror, Agnostic Front, Minor Threat, Warzone, Sick of It All, and 7 Seconds as some of their influences. KYI was very fast and had a loud, dirty, dual guitar sound with shouted vocals. They employed hints of melody in their song structure. Although they derived many of their influences from California and D.C. style hardcore, they were considered a New York hardcore band.
Crime In Stereo formed just after the turn of the millennium when the musicindustry was mass-producing Long Island’s fashion metal and emo bands, much like William Levitt cranked out low-cost housing generations earlier—housing that became the model for scores of post-World War II communities. Crime In Stereo made a conscious decision to remain true to the Long Island scene they were bred on, a more melodic version of New York’s hardcore sound. They’d follow the model built by bands such as Silent Majority, Kill Your Idols, Milhouse and Inside. Their first album, Explosives and the Will to Use Them [Blackout 2004] was both blueprint and bully-pulpit.
If it seems as of late, I’ve stopped sitting around talking about the bands I hate, maybe I’m starting to relate…
Two years later, Crime In Stereo stepped off the soapbox to record their Nitro Records debut. The Troubled Stateside is a study of a touring band, the industry they're up against, the state of their nation, and their impending adulthood. It’s a Long Island punk rock autobiography that hasn’t been told since Silent Majority’s 1997 album, Life of a Spectator. Why the thematic shift?
Incapable of holding down real jobs and can’t make rent, so for a life in the arts we deem ourselves destined…
“It’s easy to sit at home and dis on other bands,” says guitarist, Alex Dunne, “and complain how big business is bullshit.” But then you’re on the road with student loans hanging over your head and health insurance to pay. Life, like it’s gripping brass-knuckles, hits you in the ace. "We're not looking to get rich, nor are we going to change our sound," Dunne continues, "but we recognize as a full-time, touring band we now operate in the business world. If we want to continue to do what we love we gotta get kids out to the shows and sell some records."
Just how much Crime In Stereo love music is not readily apparent. Sure they spend as little time at home as possible, but they’re not simply killing time. Both Dunne and singer Kristian Hallbert have near terminal health issues. While they won’t bring the subject up, and you certainly won’t hear them complain, you will notice them coming through our town again and again. Every time Crime In Stereo are on the road they risk financial and health ruin. That explains the wealth of insightful lyrics like these from “Slow Math:” “And who here will say the rate of pay for their working day is not outweighed by their fatigue? The new math of debt and dreams.”
This world has other sorrows than love.
Crime In Stereo also take on America’s short-sightedness. They juxtapose titles like “Sudan” and “Bicycles For Afghanistan” with lyrics keenly reflecting middle-class suburban ennui. “So much of this country is surrounded by wealth and affluence,” Dunne says, "that it's hard to get past the everyday convenience of our own lives and be aware of the consequences of our actions on other people. Being an American is like living in Disneyland compared to the rest of the world. I'm not complaining. It's great if you're of the privileged few. But I definitely acknowledge that it is a luxury most will never experience."
Coinciding with The Troubled Stateside’s thematic shift is its expanding sound. During their incessant touring schedule Hallbert sharpened his vocal skills. “On this record we didn’t have to rely on guitar lead melodies,” explains Dunne. Producer Mike Sapone also pushed Hallbert in that direction. The vocals carry a lot more of the melodies especially on songs like “Gravity / Grace.” One senses the band’s ability to move the genre beyond the teenage angst of heavy guitars and shouting vocals. And album closer “I, Stateside” blends the energy of earlier efforts and the new focus on melody with its soaring guitars and chorus vocals for a new hardcore epic.
Nevertheless, Crime In Stereo’s hardcore roots open the album with “Everything Changes / Nothing Is Ever Truly Lost,” and remain intact throughout. Songs like “I’m On The Guestlist Motherfucker,” “Bicycles For Afghanistan,” and “Slow Math” are standard Crime In Stereo fare. They’re fast, aggressive and pay off live with their shout-along fodder.
We’ll fix the fat and ugly with incisions. We’ll stash the Gay and liberal up in New England. We’ll keep the Black and poor in (or under constant threat of) prison. And they’ll all feel blessed just for being part of the vision…
As hard as it is for touring bands to meet the demands of life while out on the road, Crime In Stereo do anything but feel sorry for themselves. In fact it’s just the opposite. Touring brings them face to face with the realities that many Americans face. And they aren’t pretty. Crime In Stereo’s The Troubled Stateside sets its mark way beyond a mere hardcore autobiography. It very well may be this country’s punk rock jeremiad.