Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Square pegs stuck in round holes

Happy fucking Wednesday, boys and girls, and thanks for tuning in to this week's episode. We got some choice tracks today spanning across multiple eras of sound, from iconic champions Minor Threat and Bad Brains to brand spankin new acts like Modern Baseball and Curse Words, and everything in between. Open your favorite beverage, give in to your darkest desires and let's get this hootenanny started.

...and of course, the web player link for all you folks who don't have the spotify app:

Down By Law – Gruesome Gary

We kick off this week with a schoolyard singalong from influential punk band Down by Law. Part of the Epitaph family in a flourishing 90s punk scene, DBL quickly made a name for themselves through thoughtful songwriting, technical prowess and dedication to their live sound and their fans. Founded in 1989 by only original member Dave Smalley (who already made a huge impact through his former bands Dag Nasty, DYS and All), Down by Law is back in business after a long hiatus in the 00s. Gruesome Gary tells the story of the rise and fall of a school bully, and is off DBL’s 4th full-length, All Scratched Up.

Modern Baseball – Tears over Beers

Tears for Beers comes off Philly outfit Modern Baseball’s debut album, Sports. This 12-track release was recorded and produced in the Free Studios at Drexel University, where the two founding members were attending at the time. Artfully blending diverse stylistic elements, ranging from indie folk to emo to rock, and with an inescapable bittersweet timbre, these guys keep you guessing where they’ll go next. Modern Baseball has made plenty of waves, especially in underground music circles, through their devotion to their fanbase and unwavering commitment to stay unpretentious and rooted in their music.

Minor Threat – In My Eyes

Jesus, I may as well turn this playlist/blog into an Ian MacKaye fan club. Arguably, he has enough groundbreaking material and diversity in his art to still make it interesting each week. In My Eyes is a blistering and unrelenting anthem from iconic DC hardcore act Minor Threat. The kings of DIY, Minor Threat released all of their material through their own Dischord Records label. Crack open a beer and enjoy this tune from the founders of the straight edge movement!

Bad Brains – I and I Survive

Next up is a track from equally important member of the DC hardcore community, the rastacorian (see, it’s easy to make up words) dudes of Bad Brains. I and I Survive is off their 1983 sophomore album Rock for Light, which is a schizophrenic mélange of breakneck-speed hardcore and an off-tempo groovin’ calypso reggae. This particular song embodies the latter style, with meandering guitar and vocal melody lines layered over a rocksteady rhythm section. Although I and I Survive provides the listener a glimpse into the stylistic diversity of lead vocalist H.R., it really doesn’t do him justice. Go check out more Bad Brains songs and you’ll see what I mean.

The Offspring - LAPD

It is my hope that oftentimes as you listen to these playlists, you’ll discover new artists, maybe fall in love with a band you had no idea existed. Well, that certainly is not the case with our next track, from uber-famous The Offspring. LAPD is featured off their 2nd studio album, Ignition, released in ’92 on the Epitaph label.  Pulling from the sounds and themes of the times, this song contains elements of grunge and punk, with some surf undertones, to create a jarringly jangly reproach of the nation’s third largest police force. Unfortunately, this is quite a propos with everything we’ve been seeing in the news lately…Happytimes fun Wednesday fact – some dicktard skinhead stabbed lead guitarist Noodles at one of the band’s earlier shows in the 80s. Nazis definitely make Orange County way less fun.

The Cure – Fascination Street

Now it’s time to get weird with British gentleman Robert Smith and his omnipresent band, The Cure.  The West Sussex rock group was a cornerstone of the burgeoning new wave and post-punk movements in the UK, famously pushing stylistic boundaries and delving into gloomier and more introspective content. Fascination Street, a single off their 1989 Disintegration release, is notable for its extended bass intro and for further establishing The Cure’s gothic pop sound .

Curse Words – Strange Shapes

Stoner punk goofs and self-described “beer models” Curse Words proves that punk rock is alive and well in our nation’s capital. Drawing from a wide range of influences, from bubblegrunge to forward-thinking pop punk, the dudes of Curse Words have created a unique sound that’s getting a lot of attention. Irreverent to the end, and dedicated to the art of the face-melt, they pack a punch at their live shows. Strange Shapes is off their 2016 EP Better Luck Next Time, recorded at the legendary Inner Ear Studios, and walks us through one of their more chemically-enhanced journeys. If you’re in the DMV, go check these guys out next time they play!

The Bouncing Souls – True Believers

True Believers is a hook-driven tune from Bouncing Soul’s 5th studio album How I Spent My Summer Vacation. Built around lead man Greg Attonito’s delightfully unique melodies, and complemented by thoughtful bass and guitar parts, True Believers underscores why these boys from New Jersey have built such a strong and committed national (and even global) following. Bouncing Souls have been around since 1989 with only a couple small line-up tweaks, and they show no signs of slowing down, releasing their 10th studio album to date this past July.

Blondie – X Offender

Up next we have new wave group Blondie, led by the incroyable ex-playboy bunny and punk symbol Debbie Harry. X Offender (originally titled ‘sex offender’ before THE MAN shut that down) is the first single off their eponymous debut album. “You wanted the love of a sex offender”…provocative and sarcastic, X Offender details a lady of the night’s crush on her arresting officer, and her schemes to perpetrate love with him. Hugely popular, both commercially and critically, Blondie has sold over 40 million records worldwide and was inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame in 2006.

7 Seconds – Busy Little People

We conclude this week’s shitshow with the song Busy Little People, from melodic hardcore legends 7 Seconds. Formed in Reno, NV in 1980 by brothers Kevin Seconds and Steve Youth, 7 Seconds were influenced by, and experimented with, multiple genres, including west coast hardcore, funk, new wave and punk, to create a long-lasting and hard-earned legacy in the biz. This track is from their LP Soulforce Revolution, released through the Restless Records label in El Segundo. 7 Seconds are themselves busy little people – they are still recording and touring today.

Alright Dragoons, that’s it for us this week. Parting ways is always hard but we’ll do it all over again next Wednesday. Keep in touch, feel free to throw out song requests, and if you’re a band or label and want me to play your shit, just let me know. Andrew out.

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