Thinking of remodeling your lackluster bedroom? Why not try some punk-infused industrial goodness, aka LARD?! Math lesson: 101. Q: Dead Kennedys + Ministry = ??? A: LARD! I can throw a stone, hell, SEVERAL stones, MULTIPLE times, at everyone I know, and I won’t find ANYONE who’s into this band. Sounds like I need a new group of friends, does it not? Truth and honesty shoved down your throat with not so much as a chaser… let the LARD begin…
While prepping for a trip to the East Coast, let’s once again focus on the West Coast magistrates, Seattle’s The Murder City Devils. Rereleased in 2009, the band’s debut self-titled album struggled to stretch its indie wings, something that would over-abundantly come with their sophomore follow-up, 1998’s Empty Bottles Broken Hearts. Although certainly not the band’s most prolific moment, The Murder City Devils cements its deserving place in the collections of those who like their ear candy rough around the edges, yet melodically substantial.
Released on Asian Man Records back in 1997 as AM023 (the early pressings), Christian ska favorites, Five Iron Frenzy knocked out a three track 7” by the goofy-ass name of Miniature Golf Courses of America Present Five Iron Frenzy. I lost interest after their first album, 1996’s Upbeats and Beatdowns, but longstanding fans tell me I should have held out. Five Iron was a great alternative addition to the late 90s ska / softcore punk wave, and this little masterpiece encapsulates an era that would be scorned and beaten in this weary day and age. Better keep the sacred memories locked away in the past where they can’t be disturbed, or something like that. Happy hump day!
This sealed copy of Ec8or’s 1997 comp has been on my “to digitize and enjoy on the company iPod” for the past 4-6 years. It’s now 2015, and I’ve still not broken the musical seal. Did I set her aside as a reminder for a weekend project? Nope… and back into the cavernous stack she goes. Perhaps in another 4-6 years, I’ll think of her again, and maybe this time, her seal will be broken.
So Long and Thanks for All the Shoes was NOFX’s 1997 neapolitan follow-up to the marginally successful 1996 album, Heavy Petting Zoo (in and of itself, a follow-up to the heavily successful Punk in Drublic). This version, pressed on tan vinyl, was an exclusive to 500 copies, and was offered directly from the Epitaph Record website. Also released on black (original), brown, clear pink, green, solid pink, and solid brown, So Long and Thanks for All the Shoes can be enjoyed in a variety of flavorful, and deliciously vibrant colors. Sugary-sweet pop punk for your ear’s sweet-tooth.
File this mistake under, “adolescent oversight.” This is as much an edition for collectors as the New Edition is a rival for most influential band of the 80s. You see, in 1997, big band music was big; at least it was where I grew up. It was a nostalgic glimpse into a well thought-out hoax, perfect to rival the Macarena and Aqua’s Barbie Girl. Commercial radio was sick-to-your-stomach-painful in the late 90s, and my overexcitement for something… ANYTHING different proved to be the better of me.
I had, in my faded understanding, neglected to grasp the fact that Great Hits of the Great Bands wasn’t a proper, cohesive release. I’d recently contemplated offering it up to the corner thrift if it weren’t for the sentimental value it (lethargically) held, but instead, I’ll keep it show the very simple, yet painful fact that very, very little has changed in the past 17 years.
Oh, the Beatnuts… seminal late 90’s hip hop badassery that, without question, kicked the living shit out of everyone with this 1997’s single featuring Big Punisher & Cuban Link titled, Off the Books. When your non-hip hop enjoying SO storms into the room early in the morning, quite excitedly I may add, and asks, “What is this? I like it!,” you know you’re either spinning something John Reis related, or The Beatnuts.
Tuesday morning bombastic bass is perfect for everyone within earshot, and no beat bouncing, wall vibrating, domestic disturbance flirting tracks kills quite like Off the Books. Do yourself a favor and check it out.
Having just returned, unscathed, from an overnight impromptu camping trip, one couldn’t help but spin this 1997 debut by Bronx helmed Camp Lo. Collaborating with both Trugoy from De La Soul and Butterfly from Digable Planets, with the majority of the producing done by the Jay-Z famous Ski, Uptown Saturday Night is unobtrusive, yet no less hard-hitting sophisticated hip hop galvanized from jazz and funk roots. Camping is fun, and so is Camp Lo… makes sense to me.
Every so often the (pitcher beer ordering) mood for late 90s pop punk versions of mid 70s radio hits rolls down the cherry wood lane of life and lands a perfect strike (phew… that came desperately close to being a run-on sentence… I miss those). Times like this, it’s comforting (although not really) to know Me First and the Gimme Gimmes is good for a round, and some damn good classic covers.
This, their first full-length released on Fat Wreck Chords back in 1997, features pop punk-ified versions of John Denver, Kenny Loggins, Paul Simon, Billy Joel, Neil Diamond and some other hit-making individuals of considerable musical talent. Covers, not unlike Social Security, are the third rail of musical politics. On one hand, paying homage to a classic can be somewhat of a respectful gesture, but on the other hand, these lazy, talentless bastards could just be riding the coattails of other, more innovative artists. Lucky for all involved with today’s post, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes is comprised of a lucrative series of already established bands, so the results are smooth and well produced.
Vocals: Spike Slawson (of the Swingin’ Utters)
Lead Guitar: Chris Shiflett (of No Use for a Name and Foo Fighters… in that order, the order of importance)
Rhythm Guitar: Joey Cape (of Lagwagon)
Bass: Fat Mike (of NOFX fame, also the owner and operator of Fat Wreck Chords)
Drums: Dave Raun (of Lagwagon)
A pop-punk all-star band if ever there was one, Me First is deserving of a listen from fans of that 70s drawl, and bay area pop-punk. Now, set up those bumpers and let’s go bowling (courtesy of The Prudent Groove Lanes Across America Bowling League*).
*Does not exist
As we struggle to gasp for the last remaining breaths of 2013, few certainties remain that remind us just how far the sailing ship of man has yet to trek. 1) People will continue to ignore their wailing car alarms at 4am, 2) that strengthening divide between wonder and disdain will persistently drift further apart and 3) if you don’t believe The Ice of Boston by The Dismemberment Plan to be the quintessential New Year’s Eve song, then you are the poster child for our collective lack of progress.
The Ice of Boston perfectly captures that self-reflecting social collapse that pits us squarely in the face of our central, unabashed core. There is no escaping this chamber of truth, and though the bulk of us spend a series of lifetimes attempting to ignore and dismiss our gut reactions, we seldom ever completely dissolve our issues by year’s end, and go along in celebrating another 365 steps closer to death. Sometimes it’s healthy to abandon hope with the ringing in of a new year, and sometimes our mental metamorphosis can create lucrative opportunities we may not have otherwise perceived.
The Plan never released The Ice of Boston on vinyl, which is indeed an unfortunate reality. The single off their 1997 album, The Dismemberment Plan is Terrified, The Ice of Boston EP (on compact disc) remains the sole release by the band on Interscope Records, and is without question a necessity amongst any serious music collector.
If you haven’t heard the track, make it numero uno on your 2014 list of overly-ambitious resolutions. You can find it easily enough on youtube or download it on iTunes for only $0.99. Whether you’re from the east coast of Sri Lanka or North America, the ice of wherever can, and usually will be dark and slippery.
Here’s to another goddamn new year!
As a wide-eyed and furrow-browed youngster, I was a huge fan of Swing Music. While attending the local tech college, certain courses were required that involved physical movement (you see, it was Wisconsin, and in the winter we’d have to constantly move around to keep from freezing to death), i.e. racquetball, swimming, and the newly added Swing dance class.
It was 1997, and every 18 year old worth his weight in overzealous ambitions was an enormous fan of the 1996 classic, Swingers… and I was certainly no different. I owned the soundtrack, the DVD, and of course, several quote spilled posters that littered the walls of my shared 3 bedroom apartment on Madison’s west side. I wanted to be a Swinger (in the film’s sense, not the 1970’s shag carpet sense), and my semester learning the lively and energetic basics of Swing was arguably one of my best months of post high school education, regardless if I’ve forgotten all the moves.
Fast-forward a good 6 or 7 years to a little record shop in Ventura, CA (no need to move around there, the temperature seldom drops below 55). I became friends with the owner and I was given a quality deal on 13, 3 LP box sets celebrating the Swing era. The series is titled, quiet appropriately, The Swing Era, with each set focusing on 3 to 5 year chunks. Currently on the platter is 1930-1936 and features a lot of Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey and Casa Loma. This, as well as every other set includes a 64-page hard cover book focusing on the intricacies throughout the era during that set’s well, set of years.
I may never again do the Lindy Hop, but with 78 sides of quality Swing spanning the genre’s entire history (13 sets of 3 LPs each x 2 sides), I’ll certainly have the material handy if the jittery bug should ever bite again.
Chances are, you’ve heard this Grammy winning song on TV, in a film, or blasting from the alley around the corner from where you get those delicious French pastries. If you haven’t enjoyed this, which I’m convinced is the Chemical Brothers’ most popular track, you should take it for a spin around the ol’ block.
Editor’s note: I’ll be out of the office on holiday for a bit and will, obviously, be away from my music library. I haven’t decided exactly what I’ll post about, but come hell or higher gasoline prices, I’ll post something after every sunup. I’m sincerely looking forward to getting the hell out of Los Angeles for a little while.
No. 2) You have the right to food money, providing of course, you don’t mind a little investigation, humiliation and if you cross your fingers, rehabilitation.
No. 3) You have the right to free speech (as long as you’re not dumb enough to actually try it).
These rights, as described by the late, the prolific, the prophet, Mr. Joe Strummer, are your responsibility to learn and digest. It is of the utmost importance that you educate (and mentally set free) your immediate family, coworkers, daycare professionals, gas station attendants, hot air balloon operators, garbage disposal fixers, and sad children with orange-tinted hair. These rights need to be understood, as I imagine Mr. Strummer would have wanted it that way.
For good measure, I’ve offered a little insight into my obsessive-compulsive nature. Apparently, on Thursday evening in late July, back in 1997, I felt it was a good idea to preserve the receipt to my purchased copy of Combat Rock. $3.98! The Clash were the soundtrack to that, the first summer out of 1) high school and 2) my parents’ home. The Clash were, and will always be, at least for me, a monumental symbol of freedom. It sounds just as gigantic and paradisiacal today as it did over 16 years ago.
Know your rights.
Not many people enjoy BS 2000, which is interesting considering this album has only ever been release on vinyl. To say the music is unconventional would be an understatement. To say the music is unlistenable, distasteful, or simply, not music, would be like judging a book by its opening sentence. BS 2000 is most certainly an acquired taste, and once the walls of ignorance are torn down, the appetite for more becomes primal.
With its 23 tracks, this debut side project from Beastie Boy, Adam Horovitz, and teammate, AWOL Amery Smith, is a brilliant collection of looping Electronic Breakbeats, pitch and time-altered samples, and various other momentary flashes of abstract genius. In Brian Newman’s well written, but point-missing review of this album on allmusic.com (he gave it only 2 out of 5 stars), he explains, “Listening to BS 2000’s self-titled debut album is almost the equivalent of watching a Federico Fellini film or reading a William S. Burrows passage.” This is a fairly accurate assessment of the music, and certainly a proficient crew to roll with.
Absolutely unsuitable for the masses, BS 2000’s music cuts and runs at the same moment you’ve finished tuning your ears in order to ingest the wall of head bobbing, groovy noise. The album is only 33 minutes long, so when you take into account the number of songs, you get a pretty good idea of how short these all-but-throwaway beats are.
This is a must listen for any fan of the Beastie Boys, and anyone who enjoys experimental, abstract sounds. There is definitely a clear rhythmic beat to each and every track on this album, so don’t misunderstand me and think this is a boiling pot of erupting noise. Listening to it as I type, and having not given it a spin in a while, I’d almost forgotten how damn good these hodge-podge beats are. If you’re in the market for this album, but can’t find it, email me and I’ll hook you up.
Nobody beats BS 2000.