Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Never Punt!

Well, howdy there folks, and welcome to another edition of Wednesdays With Andrew. We got some spicy little numbers this week, so I think you'll be pleased. Listen below and follow along with my hastily assembled notes....comportez-vous bien, chulos!

Here's the web link:

88 Fingers Louie – 100 proof

Chicago has a long and storied history of churning out great punk rock acts, and melodic hardcore outfit 88 Fingers Louie is one of my personal favorites. 100 proof is off their 1998 album Back on the Streets, and stays true to the band’s melancholic and rhythm-driven spirit. Between the haunting melody lines, chugging guitar and colorfully-toned bass (including a dope ass solo), this song has something for everyone. Although the band went through their fair share of internal struggles (including alleged golden showers and fist fights), members of 88 Fingers Louie went on to be core members of more renowned acts, including Rise Against and Alkaline Trio.

Meat Wave - Network

Speaking of Chicago, I am throwing in this next track from Illinoisans (I thought it was Illinoisers, but I was autocorrected. It should be Illinoisers) Meat Wave, last minute. These guys opened up for Australian anthem rock powerhouse Violent Soho at last night's DC9 all-ages show, and goddam they were good. It's like if Igor Stravinsky was in a noise rock band. Seamlessly blending a sound at times math rock, hardcore, garage-y punk, or all of the above, Meat Wave continued to build up the dynamic throughout the set, ultimately whipping up the packed room into a frenzy. This track is called Network and is off their latest release Delusion Moon. P.S. - big ups to DC9 for continuing their tradition of all-ages shows...there were a lot of young bloods in the crowd, which is always great to see. P.P.S. - if you're upset that I didn't also include Violent Soho in the mix this week...don't worry, I'll be featuring them a lot in future episodes.

Descendents - Hope

Next up is Hope, from old and familiar heroes Descendents’ debut full-length, Milo Goes to College. Released in 1982, the album is named after biochemist and lead singer (Dr.) Milo Aukerman, and his caricature for the cover art would go on to become the Descendents’ long-standing and infamous mascot. The rise of the irreverent band in the 80s and early 90s signified a big turning point for punk/hardcore scenes, and led to the increasing popularity of the pop punk and melodic hardcore subgenres. Fun fact – I never realized they spelled their band name wrong until Microsoft Word just now informed me! I guess I’m not great at spelling!

Lagwagon – May 16

Now we turn to seminal punk rockers Lagwagon and their catchy-as-hell track May 16. Part of the punk revival movement in southern California in the early 90s, Lagwagon quickly rose to popularity while making a conscious decision to not pursue the same type of commercial success some of their contemporaries, like Green Day and The Offspring, achieved. Turning down multiple offers from major labels, Lagwagon instead decided to stick with Fat Wreck Chords, and have produced 10 releases to-date through the label.  May 16 is off their 5th studio album, Let’s Talk About Feelings.

Tilt – Annie Seagall

Tilt is yet another example of a great punk band that emerged from the 90s west coast skate scene, and was a shining and lauded member of the Fat Wreck family until they disbanded in the early 00s. Distinguished by the gruff and unrelenting vocals of leading lady Cinder Block, Tilt quickly made a name for themselves, and would eventually be one of the supporting acts for Greenday’s Dookie tour. Annie Seagall is a haunting tale about the despair and desperation of a young girl from Victorian years whose precociousness and sensuality led to a label of “hysteria” and a life in the loony bin. Pro tip – we’ll be featuring Cinder Block on next week’s all-grrrl show so make sure to tune in.

T.S.O.L. – Code Blue

This song is about as gross as you’d imagine, given its central theme of wanting to fuck the dead. Alright sickos, if you really want, you can follow along with the lyrics here. But Code Blue is a hell of a tune, underscoring 80s horror punk T.S.O.L.’s unique blend of musical styles, hook-driven melodies and their ‘I don’t give a fuck and neither should you’ attitude. Interesting tidbit of the week – T.S.O.L. (True Sounds of Liberty) keyboardist and songwriter Greg Kuehn went on to procreate, and his sons Max and Elvis are both founding members of one of my favorite current bands, FIDLAR.

Streetlight Manifesto – A Moment of Silence (into) A Moment of Violence

Last week I featured Tomas Kalnoky’s Catch 22, and this week I have included a couple tracks from his new/current band Streetlight Manifesto. Back-to-back tracks off their debut release, Everything Goes Numb, A Moment of Silence and A Moment of Violence act as the perfect counterpoints for each other, transitioning from a soulful, thoughtful and chill vibe to an aggressive, at times chaotic, cacophony of sound. Composed of many well-known and experienced ska musicians, Streetlight Manifesto continues to pull large draws for their shows in New Jersey and beyond.

Fat Randall – Letting Go

This next track comes from rowdy Dubai punkers Fat Randall. Letting Go, off their 2016 release Keep It Down, is an infectious tune that brings a fresh perspective to pop-driven skate punk. Speedy, loud and melodic, Fat Randall at once provides a sonic homage to its influencers/predecessors, like Lagwagon and NOFX, while bringing youthful energy and irreverence to a scene that hasn’t had enough of it lately. Keep an ear out for them as Fat Randall continues to build off their success and grow their global fanbase.

Ruth – Polaroïd/Roman/Photo

I randomly stumbled across this tune recently. I can’t find too much on these guys, but I did discover that Ruth was a short-lived, 3-piece act out of Paris, France.  Blending their interests in krautrock and synth pop, and driven by a strong desire to make people dance, they created one album in 1985, Polaroïd/Roman/Photo, before disbanding shortly afterwards.  Although they only sold about 50 copies after its release, this album was re-discovered in the 2000s, and is now a must-have for collectors and dance enthusiasts alike.  Watch the slowed down Pulp Fiction gif as you listen! It makes sense, kind of!

Pinhead Circus – Foghat

Next up is Pinhead Circus, hailing from the beautiful state of Colorado. With their growling vocals, jarring drums and focused guitar runs, Pinhead Circus provides us a refreshingly distinctive and fun sound. They have been quietly playing, recording, breaking up, getting back together, playing, breaking up, getting back together, and on and on through the mid-90s to today. Foghat, off a self-titled EP release in 2005, is the result of one of these many brief reunion stints.

Toxic Narcotic – I’m so Thirsty

OK so I am personally not a huuuuge fan of this song by Boston crust punkers/environmental activists Toxic Narcotic. BUT it was one of the theme songs for our college flag football team, Scrawny White Boys (side note: our career record was something like 1-16. We only won once because the other team didn’t show up.  NEVER PUNT!) Toxic Narcotic developed a large fanbase through their speedy rhythms and unwaveringly gritty, raw sound, and were very active in many punk and hardcore scenes throughout the 90s and 00s.

Fury 66 – Blue Strip

We round out this week’s playlist with a little diddy from 90s melodic hardcore act Fury 66, a band that shared 3 of its members with Good Riddance. This tune comes off Fury 66’s album For Lack of a Better Word…, released through Session Records. Fuzzy but soulful, with a gritty somberness, Blue Strip winds us through an emotional tale of a young girl coming to terms with her pregnancy.

Alright kiddos, that's all for this week. I hope you were marginally amused, and please let me know if you have any feedback or song requests. For all you social junkies, follow along on for extra treats. 

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