Wednesday, May 3, 2017

A monster by the age of five

Howdy, Wednesday warriors, and welcome to another dumpster fire of a punk rock one-man song circle #wwa. We have some really great tunes in the mix this week (cough, cough...per usual), thanks to the tireless efforts of all the artists out there pumping out awesome music. This week, the line-up includes some heavy hitters from bands like Fire Party, Death From Above (1979..don't sue them!), Bad Religion, Voodoo Glow Skulls, Fear, Teen Idles, Deerhoof and more. Go listen, be fruitful (like, eat a mango) and enjoy.

Annnnnd here's the web player link for all you web browsin' mutterfockers

We'll kick off the week with a classic tune from the Offspring. Bad Habit is their ode to road rage and off their 3rd studio album, Smash, which is when the band really started to blow up. Back in my day, Bad Habit was every elementary/middle school kid's favorite song to sing, solely because of the gratuitous expletives: "you stupid dumb shit goddam motherfucker!!" Did you know - Smash has sold over 11 million copies globally, which makes it the best selling album off an indie label (Epitaph) of all time.

I finally got around to watching zine boy Scott Crawford's documentary Salad Days. Really awesome work, with some incredible footage and insightful interviews from some of the main players in DC's 80s harDCore scene. For me, as someone who grew up in the area after the first couple waves had already passed, it was especially interesting to see some of the conflicting opinions and infighting within the scene, as well as hearing about some of the external factors that played a part in shaping the music and art that was produced during that time. Anyway...that was the impetus to include a couple songs from that era of DC punk in this playlist...enjoy the Fire Party and Teen Idles tracks!

Say Goodnight is an energetic and fun song from those crazy hijos de puta of Voodoo Glow Skulls. This was the second track off their fifth studio album, Symbolic, which marked a culmination of their trademark VGS sound heard in earlier releases, while also showing a more mature and polished production. Guttermouth's Mark Adkins intros them in the opening (Poltergeist 2-themed) track, We're Back. To this day, Voodoo Glow Skulls remains one of the best live shows I have ever been to.

 horror 1980s poltergeist GIF

Right On, Frankenstein! is one of the best names I've ever heard for a song, and is courtesy of Toronto dance punk duo Death From Above 1979. This was the second track off Death From Above's sophomore full length, 2014's The Physical World. This album was produced by renowned engineer Dave Sardy, who has worked on projects ranging from Red Hot Chili Peppers to STP to Helmet to The Ting Tings and Nine Inch Nails, and you can definitely hear the grunge/fuzz pop influence come through.

Let Them Eat War is, surprise surprise, a scathing political diatribe from those political punkers Bad Religion. The song is off their 13th (!!) studio album, The Empire Strikes First, which was released on Mr. Brett's Epitaph label in 2004. True to form, Let Them Eat War is a pop punk arrangement driven by a catchy, palm-muted verse and sugary sing-along chorus. However, this song does have an interesting addition of Sage Francis, rapping over a half-time breakdown during the bridge of the song. I always give two-thumbs up to any cross-genre collaboration, even if it comes off a bit cheesy - so well done guys!

San Francisco's Deerhoof is a refreshingly strange art rock band that has been active since 1994. Blending pop structures with erratic noise rock sounds, Deerhoof has not shied away from experimenting with instrumentation and arrangements. They are also a shining example of DIY ethic, producing and releasing their own records and taking up the mantle of 'tour manager' themselves.  Criminals of the Dream is an airy tune off their latest album, 2016's The Magic.

I included a couple of songs this week from Fear, the prominent and critically lauded hardcore act out of Los Angeles. New York's Alright if You Like Saxaphones is off the band's debut album, released in '82, and serves as a great example of frontman Lee Ving's brand of tongue-in-cheek and irreverent sense of humor.  Neighbors, featuring vocals from Fear's super famous fan John Belushi, was recorded in 1981 but was hiding in Lee Ving's basement only to be released a couple of years ago. I won't go into the whole story, but click here to find out how this song led to a rowdy SNL musical performance, complete with bussed-in punk fans of the likes of Ian Mackaye and Harley Flannagan.

We're ending our WWA playlist today with 5, 6 Kids, written by Michigan post-punk outfit Bear vs. Shark. Who would win that fight? This song was off their 2005 LP, Terrorhawk, which was pushed through Equal Vision Records. The album is an interesting marriage of sounds, pulling from a lot of varying influences. Emotive and rhythmically interesting, I hear a lot of At The Drive-In in this tune, albeit with lead screamer Marc's hardcore vox on top.

Well that's it for today Wednesday wussies. Hope you had fun, let me know what's missing. If you're a band, friendly reminder to keep making awesome music.


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