Ben Azzara - drums, poetry Gregg Foreman - guitar, vocals Garrett Rothman - bass, bg vocals Vanessa Downing - vocals

Record reviews of the punk band Junction from 1989-1993

Junction - Swingset

From the Collegian, Tuesday, Nov. 30, 1993, by Jason Cherkis

No local band was more infuriating than Junction. Changing lineups faster than the employees at McDonald's, the group used breaking up as part of its creative process. It's only fitting that they release their almost two-year-old Swingset EP after calling it quits for the final time. Or maybe not.

On Swingset, we get Junction's traditional playground -- guitarist Gregg Foreman, singer Vanessa Downing, bassist Garrett Rothman and drummer Ben Azzara. Fortunately, this lineup was their most formidable. With the EP's six songs, Junction is able to capture the frenetic, melodic punk sound they once honed diligently at the VFW.

I might even say they've gotten funkier, distancing themselves from the ho-hum of Dischord bands like Jawbox. From the stop/start of"Timepiece" to the chugging aggression of "Booster" the band offers up its tightest rhythms. It is an improvement from its last EP, 1992's Falling and Laughing.

While the musicians push and shove for position, Downing is there to bring the music together. Eschewing the fashionable screaming, Downing's voice is honest, resonating above all else. She actually sings.

Despite the somewhat slick production, the band delivers the goods on most accounts, saving their best song "Ivy" for last, as if to remind us of how much better they could have become.

Joe says: 'Falling and Laughing' kicks $#&*

From the Collegian, Tuesday, April 21, 1992, by Joe Warminsky

I know you. You've picked up a copy of The Daily Collegian time and again this semester and seen stories about music shows at the Veterans of Foreign Wars post on Barnard Street.

But you've been too scared to check out the real rock. Instead, you pulled out your well-worn tape of something boring and time-tested and drank a brew, feeling smug that you wouldn't have to stand next to big guys in ripped jean jackets and listen to shitty garage music.

You were glad that the punks stayed inside the Diner or on West College Avenue.

You were tickled that people would actually pay four bucks to see a bunch of locals jack off on their guitars.

Well, the band Junction might have something to say about that. Their new EP, Falling and Laughing, available in local record stores, is a testament to the growing group of State College performers who don't give a fuck if you want to rot your head off in a bar.

It has four songs that will make you itch, yell, dance, sing and wish you had paid attention when the weird kid next door told you about the weekend's hardcore show.

I know, I know, hardcore is for skaters and misguided burnouts. But try to tell me that Falling and Laughing is a petty attempt at rock and roll.

These are well-written, well-recorded, hip, electric tunes that could make the band mainstays of college radio and elsewhere.

Take the opening track, "Sister." Vanessa Downing's voice is ripe, sweaty and vicious. She's no Go-Go -- she's a diva backed by three men who know what they're doing: bassist Garrett Rothman, guitarist Gregg Foreman and drummer Ben Azzara.

"Big Machine," "Basking Bridge" and "Admirable" aren't as epic, but they still kick my ass.

You probably would have difficulty finding a young band that plays as emotionally and knows how to manipulate hardcore's air of chaos so successfully.

Actually, Junction really doesn't play hardcore. They float in a genre that has bits of Sonic Youth, Blondie, Rush, Jane's Addiction and the Pixies. This stuff belongs at CBGB, not in a converted bingo hall.

But for now, you're going to have to catch them underneath the "big board" at the VFW -- or on your stereo.

And don't be startled if you like it.

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