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Washington, D.C. hardcore, commonly referred to as DC hardcore, sometimes referred to in writing as harDCore, is the hardcore punk scene of Washington, D.C. Emerging in late 1979, it is considered one of the first and most influential punk scenes in the United States.
Punk in Washington, D.C. found its origins in the district's former centers of 1960s counterculture. Georgetown University became a key location due to its heavy student population, and student radio station, WGTB. The station was run under little supervision from the university administration, and therefore became a voice in the early 1970s for cultural radicalism that had faded since the end of the 1960s. Dupont Circle, becoming more known for its diverse and LGBT-inclusive community, also became important, as well as socially-restless Adams Morgan.
Washington first saw touring punk bands such as the Ramones in 1976. Early bands such as Overkill, the Slickee Boys, the Look, the Controls, and White Boy (all influenced by out-of-town acts) found refuge in old hard rock clubs. Originally facing harsh opposition from traditional rock fans, the bands played on mostly off-nights, towards young audiences. The Atlantis, located in the ground floor rear room of the Atlantic Building, the same site in the city's downtown area that would eventually house the original 9:30 Club, was a short-lived but popular venue, hosting primarily punk bands. Also crucial to the scene was the founding of Inner Ear Studios by recording engineer Don Zientara. The studio would soon produce records for both the Look and the Urban Verbs.
Among the earliest DC punk bands were the Bad Brains, the Slickee Boys, the Teen Idles, Minor Threat, S.O.A., Chalk Circle, Iron Cross, the Velvet Monkeys, Void, the Faith, Youth Brigade, Government Issue, the Untouchables, and Scream, all of which formed in the late 1970s and early 1980s. In the mid-1980s during a time period quoted by some as "Revolution Summer", bands like Gray Matter, Embrace, Rites of Spring, Soulside, Three, and Rain emerged. Other DC hardcore bands from this time period are Fire Party and Dag Nasty.
Dischord Records, owned and run by Jeff Nelson and Ian MacKaye, both formerly of Minor Threat, is responsible for the distribution of a multitude of DC hardcore records, both early and current. As a result of Dischord's prominence, very few D.C.-based bands who were not on Dischord have received much attention from outside of the DC metro area.