Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Acting unaffected by this hand of fate

Why hello there internet people, and welcome to another episode of Wednesdays With Andrew. In store this week is an absolutely tantalizing playlist to enjoy, featuring tunes from the likes of Transplants, Arrogant Sons of Bitches, Lifetime, 88 Fingers Louie and so much more.  Ok less talk, more punk - let’s kick it.

Annnd the web player link –

The Network – Teenagers from Mars

We kick off the week with The Network’s new wave-ish cover of the Misfits classic Teenagers from Mars.  Although they don’t stray too far stylistically from Danzig’s original vision, they do slow it down, add a clanky, somewhat metallic feel to it and also eschew the Misfits’ typical lo-fi sounds for a more refined production. This track is off The Network’s debut (and only) album, Money Money 2020, released in 2003. Although the band tried to hide their identity through weird monikers (Fink, Captain Underpants…the Snoo??), it came apparent pretty quickly that this was just a side project for the dudes from Green Day. Come on Billie Joe – we could recognize that voice from miles away!

Transplants – Tall Cans in the Air

Up next we have the punk-hop sounds of SoCal supergroup Transplants. The band got its informal start in 1999 when Rancid/Operation Ivy frontman Tim Armstrong and his longtime friend and Rancid roadie “Skinhead Rob” Aston started playing around with Pro Tools and writing beats for fun. Pretty soon they decided to formalize some of the material and put out an album, which is about the time they enlisted the help of Blink-182 drummer Travis Baker. Tall Cans in the Air is off the Transplants’ debut eponymous album, released in 2002 through HellCat Records. The song, like much of the rest of the album, has a fun and loose vibe to it, highlighting the dueling vocals of Tim and Rob, heavy bass lines and silky guitar runs.

The Big Sleep - Pinkies

Pinkies is a soulful tune from Brooklyn’s The Big Sleep, off their 2008 record Sleep Forever. I believe the song’s biggest strengths lie in the arrangement and production, as opposed to the notes and chords that make up the song - Pinkies is noisy and transcendental, skillfully leveraging guitar pedals, atmospheric melodies and pervasive drums to create an alternate reality for the listener to get lost in. The rest of the album is equally creative, not relying on conventional song structure or musical arrangements; definitely worth checking out when you have a spare 42 minutes.

Lifetime – Turnpike Gates

If you’ve been even marginally paying attention to Wednesdays With Andrew for a while, you’ve most likely realized that I am a huge fan of Dan Yemin, who has earned celebrity status in the melodic hardcore punk scene. Before founding the almighty Kid Dynamite, Yemin was the lead guitarist for New Jersey punk outfit Lifetime. Formed in 1990 in New Brunswick, Lifetime built their signature sound around 2-minute or less songs, blazing rhythms and pop-laced melodies. Going against the grain of the general thematic content of their contemporaries in the NY/NJ hardcore scene, singer Ali Katz emphasized more positive and personal themes through his lyrics. Turnpike Gates is off Jersey’s Best Dancers, their 3rd full length and last release before disbanding in 1997.

The Saints – I’m Stranded

(I’m) Stranded is the title track off Australian punk rockers The Saints’ 1st LP, released in 1977 on EMI. Channeling the popular UK and US punk movements of the time, The Saints created a savage, unrelenting and scathing sound for its fellow citizens in the far east.  Although the band has slowed down somewhat of late, founding member and lead vocalist Chris Bailey is very active and The Saints are still playing bills. Happy fun fact for the band – in 2001, the Australassian Performing Rights Association (or ARPA…kinda like the RIAA for our friends down under) included “I’m Stranded” in its Top 30 Australian Songs of all time.

88 Fingers Louie – Summer Photos

Now we move on to Chicago greats 88 Fingers Louie, and their catchy little tune Summer Photos. Off the 1998 album Back on the Streets, Summer Photos showcases the band’s talent in blending raw emotion with thoughtful songwriting and sing-along choruses. Although the dudes in 88 Fingers Louie are busy with other projects (like Rise Against and Our Darkest Days), word is they are writing and recording new material, which would potentially mean their first release since 2009!  Did You Know? The name 88 Fingers Louie is inspired by a character from The Flinstones: he’s a shady piano salesman/gangster.

Japandroids – The House That Heaven Built

The House That Heaven Built is an instantly memorable youth anthem from Canadian rock duo Japandroids. This track drives forward with a focused energy and purpose, while retaining a somberly reflective quality. The House That Heaven Built is off Japandroids’ 2nd LP, Celebration Rock, which received critical acclaim from the likes of Pitchfork and The AV Club. Originally from Vancouver, these two canucks have been rocking and rolling since 2006. Be on the lookout for Japandroids’ new album, Near to the Wild Heart of Life, which is slated to drop January 27 2017.

Ex Hex – Don’t Wanna Lose

Don’t Wanna Lose is a garage-y, bubblegum tune from DC punk chicks Ex Hex. Walking a fine line between fuzzy and coherent, distorted and poppy, loud and soothing, this rollickin’ anthem has something to please the whole family. Don’t Wanna Lose is off Ex Hex’s debut full-length Rips, released through Merge Records in 2014. These gals have been gaining a lot of attention, playing large shows like SXSW, earning glowing reviews from Pitchfork, and supporting national acts like Speedy Ortiz.

The Arrogant Sons of Bitches – Kill the President

I guess it’s time to dust off my ‘Where’s John Wilkes Booth when you need him’ shirt I made in November 2004. The Arrogant Sons of Bitches capture some of my current feelings with their belligerent ballad, Kill the President, off their final studio album Three Cheers for Disappointment. Shortly after the release of this 2006 record, frontman/songwriter Jeff Rosenstock started focusing on the also-now-defunct Bomb the Music Industry! Rosenstock is famously devoted to DIY punk ethic, releasing free music online and offering free stencils for fans to make their own home made shirts. Rosenstock is currently pursuing a solo songwriting career (check out his latest release, Worry) and still active with his crowd-sourced indie label, Quote Unquote Records.

MxPx – Letting Go

We end this week’s playlist with MxPx’s Letting Go, which was one of nine short tracks (clocking in at just over 18 minutes) from their 2001 Renaissance EP. This EP was the only one MxPx ever did through Fat Wreck Chords, and they had to promise to not include any songs about God in order to meet Fat Mike’s anti-religion policy (he also has a ban on anything emo, haha!). Letting Go is what you’d expect from MxPx – fast and energetic, oozing with pop, with driving vocals provided by singer/bassist Mike Herrera. I always get a ‘teen angst’ vibe when I listen to MxPx, which runs counter to their lyrical content – I realized recently that Herrera’s high vocal range just makes me think of high schoolers. Huh.

Alright, that’s it for this week guys. Hope you enjoyed the music, and keep tuning in every Wednesday for more hot n ready punk rock. Next week we have some great tracks on deck, like the Smiths, Assorted Jelly Beans, Dicks and Social Distortion - it's gonna be fun. Hit me up if you have song suggestions or if you’re a band and want me to play your shit. Keep gettin’ schwifty; later gators.

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