Wednesday, March 29, 2017

DO the hustle

Good morning Wednesday weirdos, and welcome to another 35 minute descent into the noise cacophony that is WWA. I'm hustlin' too hard this week for the normal write up, but never fear we have you covered with all the good music stuff, sans the fluff. Featuring tracks from T.S.O.L., Operation Ivy, Osker, This Is A Standoff and everything in between, we cover the gamut for all you eclectic purveyors of good sounds. Enjoy, and keep having fun.

And here's the web player link for all you other fizzledings.

Oh, and here's some Shel to chew over:

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

This noise is all we've got

Alright, alright, we find ourselves once again at this most curious of weekday days. The middle of the week, at the edge of sanity, too late too go back and too daunting to crawl forward. Or whatever. It's Wednesday, which for all we care means punk rock. Wednesday = punk rock playlists. So let's light this gasoline puddle. This week we feature tracks from some formidable bands, including Off With Their Heads, The Pogues, Guttermouth, The Casualties, Minutemen and a lot more. Without further ado..

Annnnd here's the web player link for all ya other dingles.

May as well kick off this week with The Sick Bed of Cuchulainn, an echo of a hangover from last Friday's raucous St. Paddy's day celebrations. The Pogues, formed in 1982, were one of the earliest Celtic punk bands to gain international prominence, meshing the political movement of punk with traditional Irish instruments, like the tin whistle and accordion. Although yours truly has quite a bit of Irish blood running through my veins, I had to look up Cuchulainn online to find out that he is an old Irish mythological hero.

Civilization's Dying is a noisy street punk tune from Indianapolis quartet The Zero Boys. The song was part of their debut LP, Vicious Circle, a whirlwind of an album comprising of 16 songs and clocking in at just 26 minutes. Despite the aggressive and chaotic sounds, frontman Paul Mahern is actually quite fucking zen...he currently teaches yoga in Bloomington, IN.

Let's keep the Midwest theme rollin' with Nightlife from Off With Their Heads. Hailing from, donchya just know it, Minnesota, these guys have been playing their style of straight forward, heavy, melodic punk since 2002. This song lends some of its lyrics to lead man Ryan Young's podcast and online punk merch store, Anxious and Angry. 

We typically don't delve into ultra-technical songs here on WWA, but I could not resist jamming Kascade by Animals As Leaders this week. Formed in Washington D.C. in 2007 by Absolute Guitar Being Tosin Abasi, these guys figure prominently in the 'djent' scene, which I learned is basically progressive metal made for guitar geeks. The opening title of 2014's The Joy of Motion. Kascade is an easy track to get lost in, and will give you a headache if you try to follow along to the battling guitars and drums too carefully.
Image result for jorge herrera

Up next is an earsplitting anthem courtesy of longtime punk contributors The Casualties. We Are All We Have is the title track off the New York City crusts' 8th full length album. Jorge Herrera, lead singer of The Casualties and proud owner of the Hellraiser of haircuts, has been the only consistent member of the band since they kicked off in 1990.

Unlike Trump's fever dreams about Deep State, Old State is a very real thing. Like Budweiser, these guys call St. Louis home and go down smoothly with wings. Porch Swing is off the band's sophomore EP Perspectives, and is a melancholy and biting track which weaves chaotically through various tempos, all the while not losing any of its intensity along the way.

So, uhh, this next track is essentially the UK Oi! way of saying "Fuck the Police" and it's awesome. Hailing from south London, Hard Skin has been belting out working class tunes since the early 90s, and are still going strong today.  Because I care about all of you, and I know you want to know, I counted how many times they use the word 'cunt'...66 times. A couple of my other favorite zingers in this one..."the only good copper is a strippergram" and "Ten inch truncheon three inch dick"

I Only Have Eyes for You, which coincidentally is a cover song, is by far the most well known track by 50s doo-wop crooners The Flamingos. These guys are Rock and Roll Hall of Famers, and their sophisticated vocal sound has been cited as one of the most influential elements of pop music history. Oh and if you don't think this track earns a place in these WWA playlists...well life ain't burger king, you can't always have your way.

Soundtrack to the End of the World is an appropriately named title for a song released in 2016, a grease fire of a year that saw societies all across the globe crumbling into madness. Soundtrack is off New Car Smell, one of two EPs that Guttermouth dropped last year. The songs on New Car Smell remind me of the grittiness and aggression seen on old albums like Friendly People, albeit more polished and possibly more cohesive. Go bonkers, guys.

We're gonna close out this week's carnival with Canadian anarcho-punk group Subhumans. This is a raucous and angry anthem encapsulating the energy and emotions that made the Subhumans, well, subhuman. Oh and don't take this the wrong way - I love you guys. I also just love this song which just so happens to be titled FUCK YOU.

OK Wednesday warriors, that's a wrap for the week. Thanks for sending the song requests, oh and that one ricin-laced letter. That was very thoughtful. Have an awesome week guys, and stay rowdy.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

I'm fucking loco

Alright Wednesday warriors, gather around for another one-man song circle. Lots of great tunes to get through today, including a bunch of tracks from relative newcomers like Metz, Posers and Remo Drive, as well as some classics from Pennywise, Buzzcocks, Ramones and Heckle. Even though we're living in a topsy-turvy world right now, we can still take comfort in the little things, like the consistent and frenetically soothing sounds of Wednesday With Andrew playlists. Enjoy kiddos.

And here's the web player link for all you web surfers.

Kickin' off today's playlist with a Philly band, discovery of whom is courtesy of my main man Mike D. Posers are a rocking four-piece outfit featuring dual vocals (think 70s act X) and a brand of fun, fast and frantic pogo/pop punk. Exist is a counter-fatalist tune off their 2016 EP Posers, Too. I hear they have a wildly enjoyable live show too, so be sure to check 'em out next time they swing through your locale!

So my OTHER buddy named Mike (everyone's got 2) introduced me to Remo Drive this week, and my heavens are they good. Hailing from the northernmost crust of the continental USA (read: Minnesota), these goofs include a healthy dose of teen-o whine in their brand of fast and furious garage rock. Yer Killin Me also happens to be the perfect case study on how to make an awesome DIY music video; check it out here. Oh yeah and Mike, if yer readin' this, congrats on the baby!

Freedumb is the eponymous first track off Suicidal Tendencies' 9th album. Helmed by original vocalist and band leader 'Cyco' Mike Muir, these Venice Beach punks cite a wide range of musical influences, spanning from Ramones and Sex Pistols to Kiss, Van Halen and Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Fun fact of the day - Mike Muir is the younger brother of Jim Muir, one of the early members of the infamous Dogtown skateboarding team.

No, And So I Watch You From Afar is not your little cousin's middle school emo band. They are a hard-hitting 4-piece prog rock outfit from Belfast, and Big Thinks Do Remarkable is off their 3rd studio album All Hail Bright Futures. Quasi-instrumental, this track is an explosion of big bass tones and rhythmical arrangements with complex key and guitar parts leading the charge. Don't get too comfy, the song just does not slow down.

Up next is Pure Auto, a hot mess of a song from Ottawa noise rock group METZ. Dissonant guitar tones and a punctuated rhythm section drive the song forward as band leader Alex Edkins serenades us with Biafra-esque flare. Pure Auto constitutes one half of METZ's latest 2 song-single, a statement that's as confusing as the sounds they're able to produce. Like all their previous releases, they released this abomination through Sub Pop.

Final Chapters is a sonic treat from longtime political punk rockers Pennywise. This song is a deep dive into the band's past; it is off their 2016 release Nineteen Eighty Eight, which is a remastered compilation of their earliest 2 EPs, dating back to (you guessed it) 1988. And yes, I will be including Tim Curry gifs from Stephen King's It every fucking time I play Pennywise. OH speaking of, anyone else excited for the It remake dropping later this year??

Guys, it's not just about traditional punk music. At the heart of it, these playlists are really just a violent knee-jerk reaction to how lame the DC radio market is, and to compensate for the shit stew that is Clear Channel/ifartradio. With that in mind, I am pumped to include Hazey by Oxford indie funk masters Glass Animals. These guys have produced some of the most played songs in my household for the past couple of years.

De Nalgas is a rowdy, 'fuck you' punk band from Mexico (pronounced Meh-He-Co), formed in 2010. Vergaviota, like many of De Nalgas' other singles and EPs, was financed by the Terrícolas Imbéciles label, and produced by Molotov bassist Paco Ayala. OH SHIT, using my keen Internet sleuthing skills, I just found out that 'Nalgas' means butt cheeks in Spanish. Ha cooool.

We're going to round out this week's raucous list with a classic tune from seminal English punk band Buzzcocks. Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn't've) is a mouthful, double-contraction of a title and was Buzzcocks' hit single off their sophomore album Love Bites, released in 1978 through United Artists Records. Lead composer Pete Shelley was inspired to write the song in a van outside of a post office after watching the musical Guys and Dolls the night prior. Proud Canadians, and frequent WWA featured artist, PUP did a cover of the track in 2015. 

Alright guys that's a wrap for this week. If we're not already friends on Facebook, add me for urgent and VERY IMPORTANT updates. Keep on doing your thing, send cool music my way, and don't die between now and next Wednesday. Toodles

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

I just thought "well, fuck it man"

Good morning, Wednesday warriors, and welcome to another episode of WWA! I hope you've got your skankin' shoes on and you're ready for me to cram a healthy dose of punk rock down your earholes. If not, well, BYE BITCH. This week we have some gnarly tunes from staples like The Queers and Iggy Pop, balanced out with newer sounds from bands such as Heartsounds, Fat Heaven, La Resistencia and more.

And here's the web player link.

Let's kick this party off with a catchy track from Dillinger Four's debut full length, Midwestern Songs of the Americas, released in 1998 through Hopeless Records. Probably the 2nd all-time most popular artist/band out of Minneapolis (......), D4 has diligently laid the groundwork for the next wave of pop-driven, aggressively irreverent punk bands.

Arthead, off Satanic Surfers' Keep Out! EP, is a jazzy little track, and serves as a prime showcase of drummer Rodrigo Alfaro's polyrhythmic chops. Sadly, Rodrigo eschewed the percussion role to become the Surfers' lead vocalist after Ulf Eriksson left the band in 1995. Still an awesome band, but not quite as potent as the Ulf /Rodrigo combination.

Ska SUCKS...

...I love Propaghandi (How To Clean Everything is one of my favorite skate punk albums of all time), but I have to disagree with that sentiment. I could sit here giving all sorts of well-researched counterpoints and metrics on units of happiness per person listening to a ska song, but I'll just let Gangster by The Specials do all the 'splaining for me. It's LITERALLY impossible to not like this song. It's like if you saw this GIF without getting a tender heart boner:

cute puppy

I'm showcasing another track off Brooklyn newcomers Fat Heaven's release Tough Luck. Turning Into a Monster is a mid-tempo pop punk anthem, that has all the hooks and bass runs you could hope for. This is one of my favorite new bands, I highly suggest checking out the full album on Bandcamp.

My Congressman by Fifteen is a searing critique of America's failed war on drugs, and was written by someone who knows something about it; lead songwriter and vocalist Jeff Ott spent 11 years living on the streets in Berkeley, and a large portion of his life has been spent fighting a battle with drug addiction.

So randomly enough, I was inspired to include Resiste, a track from SoCal skacore outfit La Resistencia, because CNN, global purveyor of fake news, did a cool little overview of LA's Chicano ska scene this week. I shit you not, the title of the story was "Picking It Up..Again" well played, CNN. Reminiscent of their neighbors and brothers-in-horns, Voodoo Glow Skulls, La Resistencia likes playing fast and loose, heavy on the brass, and they never shy away with a 2-step hardcore breakdown.

Up next is Highway Robbery from Oakland melodic hardcore outfit Heartsounds.. Blistering guitar runs punctuate the throaty dual melodies of the song. Drawing from inspirations across thrash, skate punk, metal, and even emo (I mean come on, the band name Heartsounds?) these dudes remind me a lot of Strung Out.

Is that Paul Rudd??

See Ya Later Fuckface is a polite little song from longtime East Coast punk icons The Queers. Formed in the frozen tundra of Portsmouth, NH in 1981 by Joe Queer, Wimpy Rutherford and Tulu, the original line up dissolved after a few short years. However, Joe Queer has reformed the band a few times with new members, and The Queers have become a household name for pop punk. Public Service Announcement - for all my mid-atlantic bretheren, The Queers will be playing alongside Guttermouth and Agent Orange March 14th at Baltimore Soundstage. Get in on the action

It's only fitting to end this week's playlist with the last track off Post Pop Depression. Accompanied by Josh Homme's trademark sludge guitar tones framed around rhythm-first riffs, Iggy spends the last half of the song berating the listener with a slew of self-reflective rebukes and half-coherent threats, in true Iggy form. YEAH I'M TALKING TO "YOU"!

Alright guys, that's it. Stay classy, comportez-vous mal, and see youse next Wednesday! As always, my proverbial door is always proverbially open to song suggestions, positive feedback, threats, etc. Keep in touch!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Wednesdays With Harry?!

Happy Wednesday folks, and welcome to the 30th week of WWA! 

Guys - very special episode to mark our pearl anniversary (in weeks, not years..) of doing this shit. My main man Harry has curated a fantastic playlist that feeds off the stranger and crustier edges of 60s psychedelic rock. Love the proto punk selection, and couldn't agree more with the sentiment on punk rock being more about experimentation and attitude, as opposed to rigid sonic categorizations. 

And here is the web player link, for those of you lugs with no Spotify desktop app.

Take 'er away Harry...

"I fucking hate Pink Floyd." 

It used to almost be a badge of honor for punks in the emerging scene of the mid 1970s to rebel against stadium rock. That's what punk was all about, right? Rejecting the over-marketed, over-commercialized, over-engineered world of corporate record labels? Yeah, it's been done before, but I'm here to talk about why Pink Floyd was a foundational influence to modern punk. An extra 40 years of perspective helps too.

If you're still with me, awesome-- you're in for a ride. If not, fuck off, you're not reading this anyway. This week's playlist is in 2 parts: the punkest Pink Floyd songs and later songs that were influenced by them. 

Pink Floyd (I'm not going to call them 'Floyd' or 'The Floyd' because it makes me sound like an asshole) wasn't always about gigantic stadium shows and spectacle; in fact, that's a big reason the group fractured in 1985. Our playlist opens up with a good example of something that was never a commercial darling: Interstellar Overdrive. Yeah, it's psychedellic and I can forgive anyone that can't take the full 10 minutes, but do yourself a favor and listen to at least the first 2. The raw riffs and pounding bass lines here were some of the first of their kind over 50(!) years ago when it was written in 1966. Coming out of the 50s and early 60s era of clean-cut, non-offensive 2-minute pop songs, Interstellar Overdrive used some cutting edge delay effects and mixing meant to create a sense of disorientation. It was referred to by the band's manager Peter Jenner as "the weird shit." Deference to Syd Barrett is nothing new to the indie/punk scene but he wasn't the only element that created this sound.

There's no official release of Vegetable Man or Scream Thy Last Scream available, so here's are a couple covers by Jesus and Mary Chain cover and the Vegetable Men, both of which are pretty true to the originals. They're acid-soaked, deranged outtakes from then frontman Syd Barrett. If there was ever a godfather of experimental, non-radio-friendly brilliance, Barrett's your man. You can literally hear him slipping into insanity as you go through his catalog.

Getting into the post-Barrett era when David Gilmour entered the band, we are treated to some really dirty, heavily improvised tracks. The Nile Song is one of those with a ton of distortion, chord and solo heavy with rough vocals. I love it. It's a great example of what the band gets to do when left to their own devices and, when you consider this was written in 1969, you start to hear some proto-sounds that would eventually evolve into metal, punk, and grunge. The Nile Song is what I would point to when anyone wonders how Pink Floyd could have influenced Nirvana. We've also got One of These Days, with a driving bass line and some killer sonic guitar.

Finally, rounding on the OG Pink Floyd contributions, I had to add something from the latter stadium rock days. Sheep is off their Orwellian Animal Farm-themed album ("Animals," go figure). Lots of quicker guitar work and angry (the concept wasn't so contrived at the time) lyrics, it's a much cleaner sound than the earlier entries and the last one I would consider as a spiritual predecessor before things took a turn for the modern with The Wall and later, softer efforts.

The Soft Boys have never been shy about the sources of their influence, so I chose Queen of Eyes which, yeah, it's not the hardest song ever, but you can hear the 1960s crystal clear here.

With straight up collaboration, The Damned's second album was actually produced by Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason. The whole album is a really good, clean followup to their debut. I picked Creep, because what the hell.

We've got Psychedelic Punkaroo by Twink and the Fairies, and disagree with me if you want, but I can swear I hear something in the background piano and beat that brings me back to that first album from 1967.

Finally, we finish off with Dark Asteroid by The Damned. This song is a straight up tribute to Syd Barrett and you can practically hear the riffs getting pulled out of older Pink Floyd songs.

In the end, it's really more about attitude and experimentation from the 60s and 70s that helped pave the way for that later punk sound. While there are some songs and bands directly influenced, a lot of the early experimentation and the desire to slip some different sounds in between the more commercially known singles is what helped shape the legacy of Pink Floyd. It's why they went from being hated by punks to what's now kind of a guilty pleasure. 

Yours strangely,