Another Year of Beauty

Live

Nothing says “I love and appreciate you, happy birthday” quite like NOFX’s 2007 live album, They’ve Actually Gotten Worse Live!. In the celebratory mood, the Prudent Groove wishes a heartwarming happy birthday to its favorite fan, and its number one supporter…

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, KIDDO!

With love, the PG.

Tan

TanSo 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.

Super Seven Sampler #2

SevenObsessions are born, not necessarily made. Am I willing to save up, and eventually fork over $1k for a Rocket from the Crypt record, perhaps… does this tidbit of information have ANYTHING to do with tonight’s gesture? Well, decidedly, no. Released in 1985 on both (this) blue, and white vinyl, this 7-track 7” titled, Mystic Records Super Seven Sampler #2 features some pretty solid hardcore licks from Doggy Style (not what you think), Wall Flowers (again, not at all what you think), and the then titled, NO F-X. $10 for this guy back in 1998 was a bit of a head scratcher, but looking back, I can’t imagine ever thinking twice about this record’s purchase. Indulge the senses, kiddos!

iFloyd

iFloydThe SO is out of town, which means bachelor weekend for this here guy! So the first thing I do… start organizing my 45s… Apart from deciding to start a new RFTC 7” collection, I discovered this outdated sticker / sampler album insert. Titled iFloyd, the now defunct 14-track sampler featured a few previously unreleased tracks (from Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, Against Me!, and Dead to Me), and a slew of classic Fat Wreck Chords mainstays, reminiscent of the old Fat Music comps. Unsure of what to do with this dinosaur, I decide to leave ‘em shoved inside one of the 45 boxes, to be discovered again at a later date. Happy Friday, kids!iFloyd_back

Post-O-Rama

ORamaIf you haven’t noticed, we’ve been swimming in the urine-infested pool of pop punk lately, and even though our fingers are beginning to prune, we’re not ready to towel off just yet. Released in 1994 by Epitaph Records, this first of (so far) 10 comps in the Punk-O-Rama series features early 90s classics by NOFX, Pennywise, The Offspring, Rancid, Bad Religion, and SNFU, among others. As the only version release on vinyl (then again in 2014 on limited green), Punk-O-Rama (vol. 1) stands alone, kicking the dirt with its boots, desperately waiting for his brothers, volumes 2 – 10 to come out to play. Punk-O-Rama is a pure, pop punk classic.

Don’t Play This Side

No_PlaySo reads the b-side label to this single-sided 10” from pop-punk favorites, NOFX. A compilation of obscure 80s hardcore songs, 2011’s NOFX (the album, not the band) was released on (this, single-sided) 10”, 7”, and 12” picture disc formats. If you know them, you love them. If you’re in the dark, you’ll likely remain there, as this is not music for the masses.

Live Suck

LiveI’ve seen them live, and, in fact, they don’t suck. In general, perhaps, but for all the tomfoolery and blatant side poking they flamboyantly indulge themselves with, NOFX is a solid outfit, and a wholesomely prominent collective, “across the board.”

Do they rustle the feathers of social abnormality? Well, of course, and damn well they should! No effects are a necessity, no matter how it’s spelled.

Kill All the White Man

LongestLineNOFX, the pop-punk outfit you love to hate, or love to love (as was the case throughout the sprouting years of my 20s), has been pushing their nimble-tongued, middle class anarchy since 1983, and it’s sometimes easy to forget that one of their paramount members, the illustrious Aaron Abeyta, didn’t appear, gloriously manifested as El Hefe, until 1992 with the EP (featured here), The Longest Line.

WhiteLineProviding guitar, vocals and yes, trumpet on the fan-favorite Kill all the White Man, El Hefe was the last “new” member to join the crew, a brigade that’s still selling out shows some 31 years later. If you can stomach rock-n-roll with a bratty attitude (brattatude?), punk of any sort, or are generally game for tongue-in-cheek wit, then NOFX may be just the bastards you didn’t know you were looking for.

NO F-X

NO F-X CoverBack when NOFX was NO F-X, the now prolific and household-recognizable band was signed to Mystic Records. In early 1985, then again in 1986, NO F-X released their first two EPs for the label (NO F-X and So What If We’re on Mystic). Both EPs, along with a bunch of early demo tracks (1988’s The Album) made their way, without the band’s permission, to the 1989 comp, E is for Everything, then again to the exact same comp (with a different name), 1992’s Maximum Rocknroll.

NO F-X VinylThe version featured here is a reissue of a reissue of a reissue, and was promptly released in 2008. Not that any of this matters, because, like it should, the music speaks for itself. Stripped of the tongue-in-cheek humor the band is now known for, these 22 tracks are much more straightforward, dirty hardcore punk rock. Fans of the band’s later material (Ribbed, Punk in Drublic, Heavy Petty Zoo) who haven’t stumbled across this gem may hear it and not know it was NOFX (or, NO F-X).

These poorly recorded, poorly played songs have a certain charm and angry grace that inevitably gets abandoned when money and opportunity get in the way. In that regard, Maximum Rocknroll is a great collection of classic hardcore by a much younger, haven’t-yet-made-it NOFX, and is worth seeking out. I guarantee it.

Me & Julie Down by the Bowling Alley

Me First CoverEvery 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.

Me First VinylAllow me to introduce you to the band:

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

101 Bands Playing 30 Second Songs

FatIn June of 1999, Fat Wreck Chords released the optimistically ambitious Short Music for Short People, a novelty album featuring 101 bands spanning the punk rock spectrum in 30 second bursts. With grandfathers like Black Flag, Descendents, Circle Jerks, Misfits and Youth Brigade, to Fat mainstays Lagwagon, NOFX, Wizo and Strung Out, to fellow Epitaph Records mates Bad Religion, Pennywise, The Offspring and The Bouncing Souls, Short Music for Short People, as enjoyable as it is (and it really is), becomes exceptionally laborious when attempting to search for 1/101 of this record’s contents for just a 30 second reward. Lucky for me, I had a brief moment of clarity as a 19-year-old twit and picked up the compact disc version as well. That’s all gone as we wake up each day amongst the digital rays from our digital sun and pull up our digital socks and drive our digital stick-shift vehicles to our digital jobs to earn our digital wages and continue to get looked over for those digital promotions, but that’s neither here nor there.

Fat BackAs hilarious as it is catchy, and as arduous as it is enduring, Short Music for Short People is an aggressive achievement worthy of any open-minded listener. Also, you can learn how to make a bomb out of household objects on track 45, courtesy of The Offspring. Don’t try this at home, kids.

Survival of the Fattest

FatCertain albums carry unintentional weight heavy enough to destroy the basic foundation of a listener’s musical experience.  Survival of the Fattest, the 2nd of the Fat Wreck Chords comps serves as one (of maybe a handful) of these crucial albums. Timing is everything… be it love, a career, no lines at your local record shop on Record Store Day, and what is deemed important say, in 1996 (when this album was released), wouldn’t necessarily wear the same badge of importance as it does in 2013.

Fat BackYou see, I was a budding teen when I acquired this album (of the compact disc persuasion at the 1996 Vans Warped Tour in Milwaukee), and its function as a concrete door-opening battering ram unleashed a lifetime of new and exciting music both directly and indirectly involving the 14 bands contained within it. My love affair with NOFX, albeit cooled to a slight simmer these days, was solidified with this album. The same goes for Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, Lagwagon, Propagandhi, Good Riddance and a personal favorite, Strung out… essentially the soundtrack to my late teen years. From there, I would go on to collect any and everything NOFX-related (I’m still searching for 1994’s Don’t Call Me White 7”, although I’m not sure I’d really listen to it much these days), every Lagwagon album and 7″, and any colored vinyl reissue of early, classic Fat albums (mainly Propagandhi, Lagwagon and Good Riddance). I can either blame Survival of the Fattest, for this neverending quest of obtaining the “perfect” collection, or I can thank it for opening my eyes. I haven’t necessarily made up my mind yet.

(A few side notes: 1) This album holds so much adolescent importance that I bought a second, sealed copy just in case my first copy scratches or up and walks away. 2) This was also the album my buddy and I were listening to when we totaled his father’s 1988 Monte Carlo SS. Oh, how impressionable young minds can be.)

Recent Additions 8/18/13

Recent Additions

Yesterday was a good day in terms of record pecking. I was able to find the following four albums (two firsts and two comps) for relatively cheap (it’s not only about the find… it’s also about the deal, as you all well know).

First up is The Rolling Stones’ self-titled debut, The Rolling Stones. Now, there were two copies of this album over at Record Surplus, and both sleeves were in pretty good shape. The copy I left behind was priced at $35, but the version I brought home was only $5. Record Surplus is thoughtful enough to provide listening stations (available, albeit restrictive, in five minute intervals). The record looked a bit choppy, but after a test spin, it proved to be only visually perverted. Score one for The Groove!

Second is Tim Hardin’s first album, Tim Hardin 1. I’m absolutely loony over Tim Hardin’s brand of white boy blues (after discovering his 1967 released, 1963-1964 recorded album, This is Tim Hardin). If you don’t know Tim Hardin, you don’t know anguish. It’s as simple as that.

Third and fourth are two of the three part series of early 80s UK punk comps titled, Punk and Disorderly. I’d first heard of these comps via NOFX lyrics in the song, Punk Guy that go “He should’ve been on the cover of Punk and Disorderly.” With 16 tracks apiece, I eagerly look forward to angry meditations in UK punk.

So, there you have it. British Invasion, White Boy Blues, and early UK Punk. Not bad for a stroll down to the corner shop.

1980: London Calling

London CoverFive days after the conclusion of a decade filled with orange, brown, swagger and abundance (the 1970s), the United States saw a paramount release that that would transcend every other album released throughout the rest of the decade. On January 5th, 1980, Americans received a message from across the pond. It was a message of conflict, disdain and unforgettable beauty. This message… the uncompromising London Calling.

Five days into the 80s, and the decade saw its best work… crazy. Released a few weeks earlier in its native land (December 14, 1979 in the UK), London Calling became the owner of the #8 spot on Rolling Stone’s list of 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. #8… all time. 8… out of 500! This isn’t news to the majority of you as you probably already own this treasured album, and if you don’t, I’ll pretend not to know you in public next time I see you… seriously… GET this album!

Calling BackBridging the weathered gap between Hard Rock, Punk, Reggae, Lounge Jazz, Rockabilly and Ska (to name a few of the many genres defining this “epic” album… it was actually released on Epic Records in the states, so HA!), The Clash were able to showcase their angst towards authority, their cry for better paying jobs, their thoughts on civil war, love, and the church, and they were able to do it by staying within the confines of the social attention span. The Clash found that the message of insolence, distrust, hope and liberation could reach more ears if the music was more accessible to a broader audience.

Everyone who has ever learned to type has written about this album, so anything I say here won’t be groundbreaking. I will however express my personal affection towards this gem, and try to offer its beauty onto others. I’m a London Calling pusher, essentially… and I’ve got a quota to meet, so shoot up!

Rudie LyricsReally quickly, I’ll get into this then I’ll leave you the hell alone. It was July 1997 and I’d just turned 18. I was sharing a room with my best friend and we were both in our infant stage of record collecting. He with his Jimmy Durante, Glenn Miller and Dean Martin, and I with my Beastie Boys, NOFX and Doobie Brothers. There is a little store in Madison, Wisconsin called Half Price Books. If you’re from the Midwest you’ve undoubtedly been there. It was at the East Side location where I found my calling of the London variety. I’d already owned 1982’s Combat Rock, and was eager for more from the almighty Clash. Anyway, to make a long, drawn-out story short, the first side to the first record (London Calling is a double LP, btw) instantly became the soundtrack to our summer, with Rudie Can’t Fail becoming our favorite, miss-quotable song (substituting “chicken-boo for breakfast” instead of the proper “drinking brew…” something I still do to this day).

Maybe it was because that summer saw us living on our own for the first time, but for us, London Calling equaled liberation. Few albums attach themselves to such monumentally important moments in an individual’s life. The acute notice these moments, and they never forget them. London Calling, for all its global importance, still manages to satisfy my local, nostalgic needs.Offensive Boyo

Cleanliness is Next to Grooviness

PropGrowing up, Saturdays meant one thing: cleaning. Rain or shine, root beer hangover or not, when Saturday reared its ugly head, you knew, at the very least, you were going to clean the house.

Sprouting from a household of three (my parents being the other two), we assumed the old “divide and conquer” strategy and cleaned the entire, two-story house. Now, as an adult shaped boy-child, Saturdays are STILL synonymous with cleaning. So, as my beautiful counterpart and I clean our pad, I suggest Propagandhi’s 1993 major label debut (if you consider Fat Wreck Chords a major label), How to Clean Everything.

It’s political pop punk from Canada, and it’s proven to make you clean faster. It’s also available on transparent gold vinyl, as you can clearly see (see what I did there?).

From Los Angeles to San Francisco

photoI’ll be up in SF for a few days, but still wanted to submit my daily post. While up here, I thought I’d comment on SF bands that I find interesting (idea by Jason Hardwick). So, here is a list of a few SF area bands that I dig, with a youtube vid link to accompany them. Enjoy!

Blue Cheer

Their version of Summertime Blues is considered, by some, to be the first “Heavy Metal” track ever recorded. Blue Cheer formed in 1967.

Dead Kennedys

Riddled with legal battles throughout their tenure (mainly 1985’s obscenity trial over the artwork from their Frankenchrist release), the Dead Kennedys were among the first US based Hardcore bands to gain discernible popularity in England. They formed in 1978.

Faith No More

Starting in 1981 under the name, Faith No Man, Faith No More saw a revolving door of lead vocalists until landing Mr. Bungle’s Mike Patton in 1988. 1992’s Angel Dust was considered to be highly influential throughout the 90’s and early 2000’s. Their recent reunion notwithstanding, they parted ways in 1998.

Huey Lewis and the News

Gaining popularity at almost galactic proportions, HL&N were a personal favorite of mine throughout my childhood. Huey’s cameo in Back to the Future still makes me chuckle. Huey’s real name is Hugh Anthony Cregg.

Jefferson Airplane

The first from the SF area to gain mainstream success during the psychedelic rock boom, Jefferson Airplane would morph into Jefferson Starship, then regrettably, just Starship. They formed in 1965 and ended their initial run in 1972.

Creedence Clearwater Revival

CCR was a band that I thoroughly enjoyed listening to when riding in my Dad’s truck as a youngin’. Thinking they were a Southern band until I got wise, CCR, since the early days of my youth, has never been far out of reach. That can’t be said for many bands I’ve come across. I think the majority of my childhood musical favorites were deemed “not worthy” during my first years as a teenager. I blame Lords of the Underground and Onyx. CCR began as Tom Fogerty & the Blue Velvets, then changed their name to The Golliwogs before settling on Creedence Clearwater Revival. CCR disbanded in 1972.

NOFX

Oh, NOFX. There was a point in my life where I could simply not get enough NOFX. Those years have been put to sleep, but I still reminisce from time to time. Although they formed in Los Angeles in 1983, they currently create crass melodies up in the bay area, hence the inclusion on this list.

Operation Ivy

Active from only 1987-1989, and releasing only 1 studio album, Op Ivy went on to become underground cult Gods. Influencing such notable bands as Green Day, the majority of the Fat Wreck Chords cast, Sublime, and eventually turning into Rancid, the band of 4 energetic punk (ska-core to be specific) got their name from a series of American operated nuclear tests conducted on the Marshall Islands (in the northern Pacific Ocean) in 1952.

Primus

Avant-Garde Metal sensations, Primus launched into the public’s conscious back in 1984. Since then they’ve experienced several lineup changes, but never lost their original voice, bass player and lead singer Les Claypool. Claypool’s label, Prawn Song Records is a parody of the Led Zeppelin owned, Swan Song Records.

The Doobie Brothers

Another one of “those bands” that my father frequently played, the diggity Doobie Brothers are the subject of comedic utterance by Michael Douglas in the 1984 classic, Romancing the Stone. Don’t remember the line? Here it is. They also created some pretty bad-ass music. I’ve never met someone who’s admitting NOT liking the D. Bros. (They formed in San Jose, I know, but it’s close to SF. Give me a break.)