Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

I Knew Every Ooh Yah (Ooh Yah)


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Naked Ape - 2 EPs

This flyer would have been a dream show for me back in the 90's. Some people might not be familiar with Triggerman (featuring future Ignite/Killing Flame singer and ex No For An Answer guitarist), but Naked Ape are probably the underdog on this bill.

I've always loved OC hardcore, going back to Uniform Choice and the more straight forward bands. But in the late 80's and early 90's, that area seemed to expand the sound in the best ways, mixing in pop punk, indie rock, DC influences and more. Back then I mail ordered everything I could from labels like Workshed, Nemesis, Ringside, etc. When I finally got to visit the area, I went nuts at Zed's Records and got to see a show representative of the area and time: Ignite, Circle Storm, 1134 and Gameface (although they didn't end up playing).

So in the course of my record buying frenzy, I discovered Network Records. I believe the label was started by an ex Outspoken (and many other OC bands) member and showcased the more varied side of the OC hardcore scene. The label already had a good track record with a Gameface 7" and the Stone Telling album, so I took a chance on a band called Naked Ape.

Naked Ape were definitely the farthest outside the hardcore scope at the time, even for the Orange County stuff I was into. Very "alternative" sounding, but with strong vocals and a little bit of bite. Gameface might have been poppy, but these guys almost sounded like the Gin Blossoms! (The other day I actually tried to revisit the Gin Blossoms to see maybe I didn't give them a fair chance back in the day. Nope, they still stink.) There are some "cooler" influences going on, like post Taang Lemonheads or maybe Buffalo Tom, but I could have seen these guys getting bigger in the alterna boom of the 90's if they would have had the same media saturation as similar bands on big labels. Or if you dig later Gameface or Jeff Caudill's side project, March, this really isn't too far off.

They only left us with a small recorded discography, but according to an old Myspace page, they also had a demo and an unreleased album, both of which I would love to hear. (ahem!)

Until then, enjoy their 2 eps.

Laws Of Gravity CDep (Network Sound, 1994)
   01) Lazy Saturday
   02) Green Light
   03) Loaded
   04) Mine Tastes Like Purple
The Band Without Fear 7" (Lethal, 1995)
   01) Understand
   02) Mr. Man
   03) Somebody's Out There

Naked Ape - 2 EPs (vbr 0)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Check Out: Murmurs

Probably one of the most criminally unknown pop punk bands in recent years is the Seattle band, Snuggle! Their sole album Zero Real Hearts (on 1-2-3-4 Go! Records), blends speedy guitars, rapidfire drums and cool basslines with a singer who more than resembles Jason from Samiam. Probably the best East Bay (sounding) record since the glory days of Lookout.

Unfortunately, I don't think Snuggle! ventures out too far from Seattle and they have little to no web presence, so I'm not even sure if they're still around, although they did just release a song on a 7" compilation recently. And from looking for information on them yesterday, I came across Murmurs.

Murmurs features at least one member of Snuggle! (the singer, who also has an acoustic project called Pipsqueak). Their sound is a little beefier than Snuggle!, reminding me a little of The Fucking Cops. With the same familiar voice that I really enjoy.

They're set to release a limited CD and cassette called Fly With The Unkindness, which can only be streamed from their bandcamp page as of yet. Of course they're playing SF soon when I'm not there anymore. Hopefully I can get the album somehow soon.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Check Out: White Lung

If you haven't heard White Lung yet, their album Sorry is one of my favorites from this year. An awesome mix of garage rock, post punk and hardcore, with melodic female vocals and one of the more interesting guitar styles I can think of in a while. Breakneck jangle with plenty of cool intricate parts.

But if you need an introduction to the band, check out their new European tour 7" on bandcamp. The first song, "Two Of You," is my favorite by them so far. Fast and melodic with crazy, noodley guitars. I have a tiny toy guitar at my parents' house that makes a really similar sound to the guitar part in the song. The second song is no slouch either with discordant guitars and a slightly more aggressive approach, but just as catchy.

And you can't complain about 2 awesome songs for 2 dollars Canadian.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

After Cannibal and Grease 2,

This is probably my favorite musical:

Commando: The Musical - Jenny And Me

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Flag Of Democracy - 23 (Buy Our Records, 1988)

I'm sure a lot of suburban punks like myself were only familiar with FOD by name from their mention in the Dead Milkmen song "Bitchin' Camaro." That was pretty much my only knowledge of the band for years, until I lucked upon this CD along with the CD of Adrenalin OD's first 2 albums, both on Buy Our Records and both now long out of print. I've actually never seen a copy of either CD before or after that.

I was already a fan of Adrenalin OD's raw thrash sound, and Flag Of Democracy was in a similar vein, but I noticed that they seemed to have more of a sense of melody. Listening to them now, they almost remind me less of a hardcore band and more of a pop punk band playing at hyperspeed. And even though the vocals are completely spastic (the singer was often compared to Jello Biafra), there are still great harmonies and backing vocals. That weird mix of mania and melody reminds me a bit of The Accused, another favorite of mine.

Although their debut, Shatter Your Day, has more of the "hits," 23 is a great followup with songs like "You're Fucked," "Teen Beat" and "All That You Need" displaying their humorously cynical look at things. Plus it was my introduction to the band, so it remains one of my favorites.

FOD is still going these days with 7 albums under their belt. They released an album about a year ago that is as great as ever. They've also just re-released Shatter Your Day with tons of cool bonus stuff. Hopefully a remix of their 3rd album, Down With People, is on the horizon since it's their muddiest sounding recording. Still awesome though.

Flag Of Democracy - 23 (I've replaced the download link with the bandcamp link since the preorder for the remastered reissue of 23 is available here.)

Monday, September 17, 2012

And this is craaaazy...

The Bevs - Call Me Maybe

If you didn't hate this song before, well, then you're like me. It's actually pretty catchy. But this "cover" is a little disturbing.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Ed - Nailed To The Board (Agipunk, 2007)

Ever since the Italian label FOAD Records reissued the Wehrmacht albums a few years ago, I've been checking in with them on occasion to see what other stuff they have on the horizon. Besides the long overdue reissue of the first Lethal Aggression album, they're also about to release the discography (including a brand new album) of current Italian thrashers, Ed.

Ed's first album, Nailed To The Board, is one of my favorite hardcore albums in recent years. Cruising by in just under 15 minutes, it's a blistering mix of Verbal Abuse, RKL (whose "Think Positive" is covered) and classic Italian hardcore. Bones Brigade would be a more contemporary comparison. Fast as fuck, but still throwing in time changes, wailing solos and a good sense of melody.

Apparently some of these dudes also played in Ban This!, who were also really good, playing more of an Annihilation Time style.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

To all my loyal reader:

I'm away from home for the month, so no updates for a couple more weeks. Until then I'll leave you with a cryptic hint of the area where I've been spending my time:

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Palomar - 3.5 (Self Released, 2005)

So JGoon and I used to write record reviews for Punk Planet. It was a good chance to write and get free music and then trade in said music for good stuff at Amoeba (when even shitty review CDs were actually worth something). Punk Planet wasn't quite either of our steez though. I think it was ultimately an important zine with a broad content of music, politics and DIY information. And while it provided a wider spectrum of "punk" (especially following the period when MRR was confining their definition and coverage of the music side) it just went too far outside my interests. In depth articles about publishing and emo didn't really speak to me. I moved to Spain for a year so I had to give up receiving my bi-monthly PP care packages. But they had started to edit our reviews around the same time (not for grammar or punctuation) so we had both sort of soured on the whole thing. Punk Planet folded soon after, probably because of our absence.

However, I did get to check out a bunch of bands I probably wouldn't have heard otherwise. Like Palomar. I received their third album (creatively titled III) and loved it right away. The female vocal harmonies were super catchy and pleasant and every instrument stood out. Just perfect indie pop, great for summer driving music.

And though I loved their followup album, All Things Forests, I hadn't really listened to this EP much since reviewing it, until recently. I'm usually more of a fan of full albums, and back then I don't think I was immediately ripping every CD to mp3, so some EPs got stocked away in my collection. But this is a nice addition to the Palomar collection, with a few rougher versions of All Things Forests songs and a few unreleased songs. The first song on here, "Whoa," is one of my favorites by them, and it's interesting to hear in a slightly more primitive form.

I believe this EP was only available in download form officially. My copy was a CDr with a taped on label. I'm not sure if my CD drive at the time even liked that. It was also very quiet, so I boosted the volume a little. Enjoy.

And check out their bigcartel site for a good deal on their CDs, including a T-shirt. I want to order soon because I still haven't heard their most recent album, Sense & Antisense.

Palomar - 3.5 (R) (vbr 0)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

R.I.P. Dennis Flemion of The Frogs

The Frogs - These Are The Finest Queen Boys (I've Ever Seen)

Although I made a pretty mean mixtape back in the day, my friend trumped me by introducing me to The Frogs with the song "Hot Cock Annie." My friends and I became instant fans of the entire It's Only Right And Natural album, and later discovered that the band was actually from our hometown of Milwaukee. I'm not sure how I had missed out on them up until that point, or how they became endeared by some of the biggest alternative bands at the time like Smashing Pumpkins, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Beck, etc. Of course, these were the days before something went viral every hour, so funny songs, prank calls and videos were more of a rarity, getting passed from friend to friend via dubbed cassettes or VHS tapes. Remember The Tube Bar?

Sadly, I never got to see The Frogs live. I thought their songs might be too lo-fi and ridiculous to translate live. But from watching YouTubes and hearing anecdotes of their shows over the last 2 days, it seems like I missed out. I'm just happy to have the term "snoot snout" in my vocabulary.

A nice little obit for Dennis can be found here on the Matador Records site.

And here's a considerably revved up version of "Hot Cock Annie" if you're only familiar with the album version:

The Frogs - Hot Cock Annie (Live)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Nuclear Assault - Survive (IRS, 1988)

Although I do really like Municipal Waste (segue), it's hard not to think of 2 other thrash forefathers (happy 4th, y'all!) when I listen to them. One is Tankard, the original beer obsessed thrashers from Germany. And the other, at least vocally, is Nuclear Assault.

I followed most of my favorite punk bands into crossover in the late 80's, but I wasn't into a lot of straight up metal at first. The complexity, the song lengths, the operatic vocals, they didn't really speak to me. It wasn't until Slayer and Nuclear Assault that I started to get it.

Nuclear Assault was one of the thrash bands with more obvious ties to hardcore. Their style of metal was a little more aggressive than most, Danny Lilker had been in S.O.D., their name would pop up in the thank you lists of New York hardcore bands and John Connelly's lyrics dealt with a lot of social and political issues.

I remember my friends and I buying metal albums, having never heard the band, only to be totally disappointed when the vocals kicked in. Overkill and Annihilator were 2 of those for me. John Connelly and Sean Killian (Vio-lence) seem to be 2 other vocalists that a lot of people couldn't get into, but I really like their voices. Like I mentioned earlier, Tony from Municipal Waste reminds me of Connelly, but he can't really match that menacing, high-pitched shriek.

Now, my favorite Nuclear Assault album is actually Handle With Care, but since that album is still in print (and semi-recently re-released), I'm sharing their second album Survive, which is no slouch by any means. I've also punched up the volume a bit since the original CD is super quiet.

Survive features the song "Brainwashed," which was the first video I ever saw from them on Headbanger's Ball. It's interesting to think of the lyrics to the song now. Even though the internet is quickly replacing all forms of media and providing us with seemingly unlimited information and choices, are we really that much more informed, broad-minded and better off than we were in the 80's?

Radio, an insidious form, helps shape your thoughts making you conform
Programming music easy listening, help you achieve that moronic grin
Playing you regurgitated pap, selling products that are mostly crap
Rarely hearing music you want to hear, it has an effect over all these years

Why don't you think for yourself
Live in this self made Hell

Television, the idiot tube, helps to raise our children as fools
Watch the news, see what they want you to see, our awareness is limited by network VPs
Moronic sit-coms and one-sided news, alter your feeling, give you conformist views
Why can't you get that garbage out of your head, you'd be better off to read a good book instead

Why don't you think for yourself
Live in this self made Hell

Newspapers, what do they say? Not much I think when they want school kids to pray
Getting the facts from some daily news, you hate the system but adhere to its views
Blaming the dead because they can't complain, shielding officials holding them above blame
You'd better wake up and see what's plain to see, or end up a willing part of the machine

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

There's a fine line between awesome and moronic

Municipal Waste - You're Cut Off


Apes Of Wrath - Booze

You be the judge. They both look like cartoons to me. (And this is from someone who loves Gang Green.)

7/04/2012: Update - I started writing this in my next entry, but this is probably a more fitting place.

I really do like Municipal Waste. They were one of, if not the first of the crossover/thrash revivalists. But unlike a lot of similar current bands who deliver a competent rehash, Municipal Waste have taken the crazy, party vibe of some 80's thrash to a more fun and ridiculous (in a good way) level, on record and especially live. The first time I was supposed to see them, they couldn't make it because apparently the night before the show, one of the band members was doing flaming shots at a bar and had lit his arm on fire. The first time I did actually see them was at The Fest. The show had filled to capacity while we were waiting in line, so JGoon and other people started climbing over a wooden fence to sneak in. The fence broke before I could climb over, so I crawled on my back underneath a small opening in the fence, narrowly avoiding a very aggressive bouncer and then walked nonchalantly to the outside bar to order 2 beers. It was a pretty fitting entrance to a show full of beer bongs, boogie board crowd surfing, guys dressed as wizards and general mayhem not unlike another of their videos.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Missing Persons - Spring Session M (1982)

I used to watch A LOT of MTV when it first went on the air. And then for maybe 10 years after. At the beginning, every band seemed flamboyant and weird, even for the 80's. Every video seemed iconic. But one band that always stood out was Missing Persons. That was probably in part due to lead singer, Dale Bozzio.

For a strange New Wave band, they had a lot of videos that were in regular rotation on MTV in the early days. And in each of their videos, Dale was always oddly and scantily dressed. As a kid, her punky sexuality scared me a little b/w made me feel funny in the pants. Her weird and revealing style could definitely be seen as an influence or precursor to Lady Gaga (especially according to youtube comments) with lots of tape, little fabric and wild makeup and hairstyles. She actually started out as a Playboy Bunny, which led her to L.A. and then to working with Frank Zappa with her future husband and Missing Persons drummer and co-founder, Terry Bozzio.

Although a lot of 80's bands are remembered as much, if not more so, for their style, Missing Persons' first album had a string of hits including "Words," "Walking In LA," "Destination Unknown" and "Mental Hopscotch." Spring Session M is probably one of my favorite New Wave albums, combining a sense of punk, hard rock playing ability, plenty of keyboard and catchy pop melodies. And besides Dale's unique look, she also had a unique singing style, hitting high notes with an unusual squeak. Terry Bozzio had a unique and energetic drumming style of his own as well, as you can see from any of their videos.

Missing Persons put out 2 other albums, but I can't say that I listen to them that often. There are some good songs here and there, but nothing as solid as their first album. The band and the Bozzio marriage split soon after the release of their 3rd album Color In Your Life. Their albums were re-released on CD a while back, but are all out of print now.

Missing Persons - Noticeable One

This is the 1995 CD Reissue version.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Bands still make videos?

Obits - Pine On

So Primavera Sound is going on here in Barcelona. I'm not a huge fan of any of the bands playing, except maybe The Cure, but luckily Veronica Falls and Milk Music are playing for free in the park tomorrow. I missed Obits today in the park, but I've seen them before, and laziness won out.

This video is actually almost 3 years old, but I hadn't seen it until a few days ago. I have actually watched a lot of these upside down face videos on Youtube though. (This one is probably my favorite.) So this video really spoke to me.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Hook - Compiled Feelings (2006)

So the other day there was an indie flea market type thing and I was stoked because they were going to show Thrashin' and another roller sport related movie. Well, the "screening" version of Thrashin' turned out to be a VHS dubbed copy off of the TV, in Spanish. :(

But, while trying to find directions to the flea market, I came across a bandcamp link for a song called Thrashin' by a band called Hook. Sounded promising. It turns out they were a local Barcelona band who played pretty good 90's skate punk ala old Fat Wreck, Epitaph, Dr. Strange, etc.

Unfortunately it seems that they broke up a few years ago, but their album "Compiled Feelings" and a few of their other EPs are all available for free on their bandcamp page. They also have a funny Thrashin' inspired video on youtube. Follow the links at the bottom to stream the album or go to their bandcamp and download their stuff.

Hook - Thrashin'

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Gundown - Pride (2012)

Another good local Spanish band, who actually share members with Col.lapse, mentioned below. I've seen them a couple times and really liked them, but haven't checked out any of their recorded material until now. Luckily their album and new ep, "Pride" are on Bandcamp for free. I especially like the layout of the album cover above because at first look it just looks like "ENDLESS LOADS." Yeah, I'm dumb.

The last time I saw them, they opened for Leatherface, who were missing their bassist and drummer for some reason. So Dickie and Frankie proceeded to play a sloppy, rhythm section-less show, accompanied by a seemingly never ending supply of beer. It was still great.

But if you enjoy that gruff, Leatherface, No Idea type sound, check these guys out. You can preview the ep below or click on the links to go to their Bandcamp page and download their stuff.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

U Get So Damn Sexy, Lemme Get The House Key

Bangs - I Know U Like (Ft. Clik Fablice)

Beats: like whoa
Flow: for days
Dance moves: slammin'
Asians: hired
Clik Fablice: there
Bean Bags: cold lampin'

From the dude who brought previous bangers like:

Bangs - Take U To Da Movies

Bangs - Meet Me On Facebook

Monday, April 23, 2012

Check Out: Col.lapse

A good local hardcore band I just discovered recently. I see a lot of bands described as sounding like Dag Nasty, which mostly just means they end up sounding like melodic hardcore. These guys do a fairly accurate job with the Dag/DC sound, without being completely derivative. One song does remind me a lot of Egg Hunt. Nothing wrong with that. They fit in well with fellow modern revivalists Give and Remission if you dig later 80's hardcore that didn't involve finger pointing and sportswear. Oh, and getting stabbed in the back.

You can check out a few tracks from their album Última Esperança below. I debate posting the entire album because I'm not sure how many people outside of Spain are actually going to track down an LP only release, or download an album that's all sung in Catalan. But you can pick up the LP from B-Core Records or download it from Amazon, eMusic or iTunes.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

SNFU - Better Than A Stick In The Eye (Cargo, 1988)

I'd be hard pressed to remember the name of any punk/hardcore band members, even singers, since, oh, say the 90's. Maybe due to downloading, maybe old age or maybe the fact that bands don't have the same longevity or impact that they used to.

A band with longevity and impact up the wazoo is SNFU. And Chi Pig is a name and singer that's hard to forget.

Like with most bands in the 80's, I first heard about SNFU through Thrasher Magazine. Apparently the band first came together through skateboarding as well (Chi Pig has even started to resemble Animal Chin a bit). Never having heard them, I picked up their second album If You Swear, You'll Catch No Fish on cassette and loved it right away. Not quite crossover, they were definitely heavy and tight as hell, mostly thanks to the dual guitar work of the Belke Brothers. But the heart of their unique legacy was, and continues to be, Chi Pig's maniacal lyrics, energetic stage presence and artistic vision for the band. Their discography is a consistent display of cool cartoons, paintings and photos. Their first album was infamous for "borrowing" a Diane Arbus photo, forcing the band to change the cover art right before heading out on tour.

The last time I saw them live was the mid 90's, but even then they were an explosive ball of energy. The Belke Brothers were still in the band and Chi was doing his signature headbang, and bringing out props and puppets throughout the night. My favorite memory of the show is when Chi picked up a half full cup of water and flung it like a rocket across the venue, hitting my friend right in the head. Something about it just made sense.

So the album I'm actually sharing is their third album, Better Than A Stick In The Eye. If you didn't know, each of their albums has a 7 word title. I've heard people say that this album doesn't compare to their first 2, but those are the kind of people who don't like anything past a band's first 7". While a little more metallic than their other albums, to me this is a perfect progression from If You Swear. Really, between their first 5 albums (including Something Green And Leafy This Way Comes), I don't think I could pick a favorite. They're all great in their own way.

The CD is really quiet and a little muddy sounding, so I tried to brighten it up a little and boosted the volume. Sounds way better, I think.

If you haven't seen the documentary about Chi Pig and SNFU titled "Open Your Mouth And Say...Mr. Chi Pig," you should check it out. There's also a section on them in the documentary, "Let Them Know - The Story Of Youth Brigade and BYO Records." Or just look up some of their old concert footage on youtube.

SNFU - Better Than A Stick In The Eye (R) (vbr 0)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Driver's Seat, Yeahahahah!

Sniff 'N' The Tears - Driver's Seat

One of the only good things about the second season of The Walking Dead was hearing this song during a random scene. Actually the end of the season got a little better, but the rest was like Little House On The Prairie, only with more drama and less death. Hopefully next season they hire T-Dog to babysit Carl so that a) T-Dog gets some lines and b) Carl stops going missing! Just get eaten already! You and your dumb hat!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Grimes, Or "Grimey" As He Liked To Be Called

Grimes - Oblivion

I can't say that most of her other songs are knocking my socks off, but this song and video are pretty fun. This description is pretty accurate and funny though: "Her music sounds like a baby voice goo goo gaa gaa-ing over some bleep bloop music." Haha!

Also, check the dude at 1:58.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Intense Degree - War In My Head (Earache, 1988)

Although I generally don't like Florida (ask JGoon his thoughts on Miami), I've had some good memories of visiting the St. Petersburg/Tampa area for the past 25 or so winter holidays. But these days, most of the things I liked about the area are gone. The local arcade closed down, the flea market doesn't sell the Winger anymore, Evos went from all vegetarian burgers to "humanely raised beef" (sellouts!), it's hard to find other 37 year olds to skate with...

There were a few great record stores there too, but of the ones I frequented, only Disc Exchange in St. Pete remains. And I've long since depleted their stock of rare punk and hardcore records. I used to always take a day trip to Tampa that involved the SPOT (Tampa skatepark), Evo's and a bunch of record stores. Vinyl Fever, a long running alternative/indie record store was the latest to close. My favorites though were Sound Idea and Ace's Records.

Sound Idea was a great punk store that many people were probably familiar with from their MRR mailorder ads, the owner's label, Burrito Records, or his bands, Failure Face and Murder Suicide Pact. They always had a great selection and they had shows in the back room sometimes. I was supposed to see Municipal Waste there one time, but they didn't show up because apparently one of the band members had burned himself doing flaming shots the night before.

But the real gem for me was Ace's Records in Tampa. Tampa was the home to death metal in the 90's and Ace's was renowned as one of the best metal stores in the country, if not the world. A lot of metal musicians worked there too. Although I've never really been a fan of death metal, Ace's carried enough thrash, rare imports and hardcore to keep me browsing for hours. They had a vinyl section in the back where they had an insane surplus of cheap, sealed thrash, crossover, hardcore and punk records that I would spend most of my Christmas money on.

Which brings me to Intense Degree. (Finally, eh?) This is one of those records I picked up just based on the look of it. From the sticker description, a song called "Skate Bored" and a singer who looked a little like Tommy Stupid (The Stupids being another fave band I discovered from Disc Exchange), I figured I'd like them. With ultrafast drumming and grindcore-like speeds, they resembled early DRI or Siege musically, but the vocals were a little more melodic, similar to The Stupids, which made me like them even more. Plus the recording was super clean for this style of hardcore. If you like any of their fellow countrymen like Heresy, Ripcord or Concrete Sox, this album fits in nicely. I've picked up their other records over the years and if I remember correctly, they're not quite as fast or as good as this debut, but I should revisit them.

Too bad I can't revisit Ace's anymore.

This is the CD version with bonus tracks from the North Atlantic Noise Attack compilation.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

For My Gramps

One song that reminds me of him, and one to remind myself:

Lawrence Welk - Adios, Au Revoir, Aufwiedersehn

The Damned - Life Goes On

Friday, March 2, 2012

Allied Records

My post about Peaceful Meadows reminded me of what a great label Allied Records was. It was started in 1990 by the graphic designer, John Yates, who was also working at Alternative Tentacles during Allied's 9-10 year run. Besides designing album artwork for the Dead Kennedys and other AT bands, he has also designed and created artwork for bands like Propagandhi, Jawbreaker, Bad Religion, Alkaline Trio, Promise Ring, His Hero Is Gone, Hot Water Music, Screeching Weasel, Green Day, NOFX and many others. Oh, and he also published a zine called Punchline. (Man, am I a lazy piece of crap!)

Despite the "big" bands that Yates has worked with over the years, Allied Records was a champion of smaller, underdog punk bands of all kinds. From pop punk (Dogs On Ice, Stink, V.Card) to sludge (Scrog, Buzzoven) to folkish peace punk (Strawman, Political Asylum) to emo (Fuel, Friction, Phleg Camp) to noise rock (Fiddlehead, St. James Infirmary) to hardcore (Unamused, Antischism) to spoken word and more. There were some more notable bands who had Allied releases or showed up on compilations like Jawbreaker, NoMeansNo, Dillinger 4, J Church, Jawbox and Hot Water Music, but even they had a fraction of the notoriety that they have today.

Speaking of those particular bands, there was definitely some overlap and kinship with fellow label, No Idea Records, who had releases with many of those same, and similar, bands. I'm not sure if Allied was more of an influence or peer of No Idea at the time. While No Idea is synonymous with bearded Fest punk these days, it's always had a varied roster like Allied as well. Allied even released a Bombshell album, which featured none other than No Idea's head honcho, Var. (From what I remember it wasn't that great.)

And what made all Allied releases great was the design and aesthetics of each one. You could always identify a Yates release or design by its political statement, working class sentiment or simply its tasteful style. Each Allied release was like part of a collection that you'd want to hold onto (even if the music wasn't that great).

Allied's final release was the vinyl version of the only official Jawbreaker live album (which was eventually released on CD by Blackball Records). It was a very limited edition and I don't even remember hearing about it until it was long sold out, even though I followed Allied and MRR pretty closely at the time. The label could have capitalized on Jawbreaker's popularity, as well as Green Day and the Offspring opening the door to commercial punk possibilities, but Allied quietly called it quits, staying true to its variety and its ideals.

Music for the proletariat.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Liberty Madness - ST (Kink/Sengaja, 2011)

This album would have made my Best Of 2011 list, if I hadn't just found about about them in January or so of this year. I don't even know where I heard about them (though I can probably narrow it down to "somewhere on the internet"). Fast and tight melodic hardcore with that similar start/stop style to old NOFX, RKL or Satanic Surfers. And of course some style of their own.

They're offering the album free from their website. Or follow the link below.

Liberty Madness - ST (320 kbps)

Edit 11/28/2013: Seems their website and download are gone, but they're now here on bandcamp.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Peaceful Meadows - No Justice, No Peace (Allied, 1998)

This is one of the first bands that I had in mind when I thought about starting this blog. I've never heard anyone talk about them and I think this album is totally overlooked.

I'm pretty sure these guys were from the San Diego area and were peers/buddies with The Neighbors, who were also pretty great and under appreciated. Both The Neighbors and Peaceful Meadows started out as pretty basic, fast punk bands, but evolved into something more. I have Peaceful Meadows' first album, "Maximum Party," but I don't remember much about it despite liking this one so much. I thought there were 5 people in the band at that point, but maybe I'm wrong. I do remember this album being a big change in improvement anyway.

On "No Justice, No Peace," the 3 members of Peaceful Meadows blaze through 16 songs of tight and melodic punk that straddles the hardcore side. They also provide a hyper cover of Cringer's "Kill My Boss" which is the poppiest moment on the album, but fits in with their other song titles like "Dull Razor Belief System," "Corporate America #1," "Hypocritical Punk" and most succinctly, "World Of Shit." I'd compare this album with the 2nd Christ On A Crutch album or maybe Life Sentence. Each really fast with a sense of melody, but not really sounding like most other bands.

I should revisit their first album again. They also have a split 7" with Stink that I need to rip someday for the unreleased song.

Peaceful Meadows - No Justice, No Peace (vbr 0)

Thursday, February 2, 2012


These guys are pretty badass:

Soggy - Waiting For The War

Crazy Detroit style rock from France. You gotta love a singer who looks like an actual microphone. More info and a download for their only album can be found here:

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Neal's Best of 2011

Yep, so I'm finally chiming in with my Best of 2011 list for my own blog. Besides the DRI
reference, the blog title is also an ode to my laziness. Even as an old fuddy duddy, I'm still
surprised to find so many new bands and albums that I like each year. 2012 is already off to a
great start with Classics Of Love, Nada Surf, Jealous Sound, Criaturas, etc. Plus I'm still
discovering bands/releases from 2011 that I missed. And as much as I'd like to add new finds like
Male Bonding and Street Chant to my 2011 list, I'm going to stick with the releases that I
actually listened to most last year.

* Albums *

Too bad this was released in the fall, because it's the perfect summer driving soundtrack. Catchy, melodic and slicker than Trent Dibb's jheri curl. And I'm always a sucker for that thick bass rumble. People have said that this sounds a little too polished (even some old Blink 182 comparisons), but to me they still retain that Dillinger 4 bite with an improved sense of songwriting.

With rapidfire lyrics, frequent gang vocals and the unofficial motto of "Fuck you, get pumped!", urgent is the word for Direct Hit! Catchy and anthemic punk, but chaotic at the same time. Their first album reworks songs from their previous eps and while I miss the earlier rawness and feel that the vocals and bass could be louder, judged on its own, this is a thoroughly enerjetic and awesome album. I got to see them in a Milwaukee bar once, but I think a beer soaked basement or warehouse show would be a much more suitable setting for them.

Musical comedy is a tricky genre. But these guys have the perfect mix of intelligence, stupidity and incredibly catchy songs. Plus they have better beats than the majority of hip hop these days. While some of these songs rely on the videos to fully appreciate the joke, luckily those videos are included. The thought of Michael Bolton popping into screen and singing, "Now back to the good part" will probably never cease to bring a smile to my face.

There's only so much metal that jumps out at me these days, but sometimes it just takes something classic and simple like this to do the trick. Straight forward metal with a foundation in Venom's black metal and Motorhead's speed rock. Plus enough solos, leather and evil imagery to make your parents think you're worshipping the devil and smoking drugs.

A lot of bands these days seem to be going the darker, post punk route. But Night Birds brighten things up a surfy, classic SoCal punk sound. Less Greg Sage, more East Bay Ray or Mike Palm. There's even an Agent Orange style instrumental in the middle of the album. Great cover art too!

Even though the Hot Snakes are one of my favorite bands in recent years, I think I'm one of the few people who feel like they ran their course. With the Obits, Rick Froberg and company still lock into those melodic grooves, but they slow it down, turn up the reverb and replace the Wipers influence with a more R&B sound (in the British sense).

Like Rick Froberg, Walter Schreiffels is a hardcore veteran who also has a knack for great songwriting, no matter what the genre. On their second album, Rival Schools continues their mix of melodic post hardcore with a 90's alternative sound. This time there's further experimentation and some mellow moments that Walt has explored more recently with his acoustic projects.

While their albums on New Red Archives are classics, Samiam is a band that has really only improved with age. Astray has gradually become my favorite album of theirs, but this one might beat it out with the number of listens it's been getting. Jason and Sergie are the only original members left, but the formula hasn't changed: powerful and emotional melodic punk that remains one of the best and only vestiges of the Bay Area's pop punk legacy.

Although people dismiss the 90's EpiFat Skate Punk sound, it had its place and provided one of the few respits from generic moshcore and boring emo that permeated punk at that time. And just like back then, there are still bands that manage to bring something new to that sound. Stolen Youth take a similar route to newer Propagandhi or Strung out, mixing fast, melodic punk with a powerful, metallic thrash element. There are some moments of straight up crossover as well, similar to Municipal Waste or Bones Brigade. This one definitely speaks to me.

This awesome Wisconsin band finally releases an album after years of teasing us with scrappy, fuzzy punk pop songs committed to multitudes of 7"s and cassettes. Napalm Dream further realizes their mix of poppy punk rock, lo fi exploration and hardcore sensibility. Like a mix of the Descendents and the Replacements, with the former's rhythm section and the latter's alt tendencies. Like an album from the 80's or 90's, this might not be immediate to a new listener, but it's that much more rewarding.

This probably falls outside my usual "comfort zone" of music, but damned if I'm not taken in by these catchy, reverb-filled tunes. Imagine the Mamas & the Papas mixed with indie pop. There's definitely been a recent resurgence of 90's indie fuzz and 60's coastal pop and Veronica Falls takes both and creates lively songs built around somber lyrics.

Instantly familiar and enjoyable, Yuck manages to channel 90's indie rock while making it still sound fresh and vital. Jangly indie pop with male/female vocals and the occasional guitar wail straight from the school of J. Mascis. The cover art even resembles some old Dinosaur Jr./Neil Blender artwork. Count me in.

* Eps *

The first song on this ep hooked me with a kind of Devo-esque hectic new wave sound, but the rest of this 7 song ep is more straight ahead punk with a touch of post punk thrown in. A hard band to categorize, but an easy one to like.

Like a more hardcore version of Dinosaur Jr., with muddy vocals and plenty of cool guitar wailing. I'm looking forward to more from this band.

More great straight ahead punk rock, with an emphasis on rock. Hopefully a teaser for an upcoming album.

If you know Seaweed, you know what to expect on this 2 song ep, their first recorded material since 1999's Actions And Indications. I don't know if they'll ever top Spanaway, but these songs fit nicely in their timeline and I hope there's more to come.

The Stupids are still cranking out blazing fast hardcore with a sense of humor. This short ep combines their recent comeback 7" along with 3 outtakes from their new album. I can't believe I missed seeing them (with Agent Orange) by a few hours the last time I went to London!

* Reissues *

So after Bosstuneage Records introduced me to the awesome Exit Condition through a best of-type CD a few years back, I went out (via the internet) and tracked down almost all of their vinyl releases. Now Bosstuneage has the nerve to release their full discography on 2 CDs full of awesome British melodic punk. Their early demos and Pusmort 7" show the bands' promise with a speedier, hardcore approach, but their lone album, Days Of Wild Skies is a melodic punk classic, up there with Leatherface's Mush.

While the Gaslight Anthem seemed to be the new kings of the heart on a sleeve, working class punk, I think this compilation of early Sharks EPs is better than the last 2 Gaslight albums. Sharks replaces the Springsteen with a more Billy Bragg feel, tempered with soulful vocals and catchy, mid-paced punk songs. I'm looking forward to their new album this year.

VOID - SESSIONS 1981-1983
While nothing will top their side of the classic Faith split, any Void is good Void. Especially cleaned up versions of their earliest demos which had only circulated around the internet in very poor quality previously. Completely raw and unhinged hardcore that has never been duplicated.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

JGoon's Best of 2011

1. YUCK - S/T
This album has been my “go-to” record of the year. From start to finish an amazing album. I even re-purchased it just to get the B-Sides that are just as strong as the rest of the original album. It’s all been said before, but this IS the best “90’s band” of the last 20 years. Dinosaur Jr. guitar shredding, Pavement fuzziness, & Smashing Pumpkins beauty. This band seems to have come out of a time machine taking all the good parts of these bands and becoming a Voltron of Alternative Rock and restoring the faith of Rock N Roll in this curmudgeon’s heart.

Welcome back Joey. This is their finest work since Persistence Of Time and it seems like the logical step forward since that album. By far my favorite Metal album of the year. If you gave up on these fellas since the John Bush era, do yourself a favor and check this one out!

My God if Ben Weasel can’t write a ditty as pretty as a titty! I know it’s not cool to like Ben, but you can’t deny his songwriting capability. Melodic, heart-felt, and by golly you can bug out to it. I’m gonna go stick my dick in the mash potatoes. Pop-punk heaven. If Ben puts it out - I’m buying.

I just used a couple Beastie references in my last pick’s comments and I’ll one up that by picking this for my number 4 of the year. The raps are more “Check Your Head” era with lines like “Ad-Rock’s in the bathroom with chocolate fondue” and “I’m runnin’ wild like rats in the Taco Bell”. They thrive in the diversity of sounds on this album. Bouncing from old-skool hip hop to reggae to their punk-tinged beginnings this was a welcome back to the sound that made them relevant in the first place.

I’m not the hugest fan of the Foo, but this album is their best by far on the whole. “Arlandria” recalls the good feelings of “Everlong”, Bob Mould MAKES the song “Dear Rosemary” and after seeing the video for “White Limo” I can’t get the ferociousness of Lemmy out of my head. These songs and more would have been staples on the radio back when that meant something.

My first favorite album of 2011. Mike Ness takes his time between records and it always pays off. A lot of people aren’t happy with the country-tinged leanings of the last couple of albums, but I feel that they have evolved comfortably since the Another State Of Mind days. The difference between them and a lot of the bands from this era is that they do it well. Mike Ness may be the coolest motherfucker in all of punk rock.

Just like Social D, Samiam consistently deliver great albums taking their time in stride. I’ve been a fan of this band for a while, as well as all their side projects, but I can’t help but feel their best material has been in the last 15 years beginning with “You Are Freaking Me Out” in ‘97. These guys should be selling out arenas.

Danny Vapid’s best project since Sludgeworth. This is their sophomore release and they don’t miss a step from their fantastic debut “Yeah, Whatever”. Punk flavored 80’s power pop paying homage to their fellow Chicago brethren Naked Raygun, this is a must have for 2011 bound to have you singing along.

After releasing a bunch of digital Eps, this Milwaukee pop-punk band released their first proper full length this year. I probably would have put this in the top 3, but 99% of this had already been released. I actually enjoy the original recordings better than what’s on this album - they sound a bit more energetic and urgent. Still, this is an amazing release and highly recommended. They knock it out of the park like Prince Fielder.

“What?!” You say?…”Rihanna?!” - well fellas, I have a soft spot for pure pop done right and this one had tracks imprinted in my brain to the point I had to stop listening to it because it was driving me crazy, making it hard to fall asleep at night. Yeah, there are some clunkers (the ballads mostly near the end) but I’ll be damned if you can’t respect songs like these. It’s melodic, sexy and more accessible than M.I.A, but with the same attitude.