Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Working for the rat race

Happy Wednesday you silly waffles, and welcome back to Wednesdays With Andrew, your weekly (over)dose of punk rock tunes. OK so I was really behind schedule, and I was tired and hangry, possibly to the point of mild delirium, while writing this one. So bear with me as  I stumble my way through today's playlist, which features some outstanding tunes from the likes of Slothrust, Dillinger Four, Paint It Black, Iggy Pop, Dag Nasty and much, much more.

Annnnd here we go with the web player link, for all you scoobies.

We kick off the playlist with a rousing call to action, If The Kids Are United, courtesy of those rowdy Hersham Boys of Sham 69. Like a lot of material this seminal 70s UK punk band put out, this track is characterized by marching power chords punctuated by piercing solos and runs, chant vocals led by frontman Jimmy Pursey, and that unmistakable pogo, makes-you-want-to-jump-up-and-down sound.

Last Communion is a sonic salvation from omnipresent punk force Dillinger Four. This track is off their 2000 full length, Versus God, which was their second (and last) album released through Hopeless Records. Proudly and loudly hailing from the wastelands of the American midwest, D4 has been a reliable source of incredulous and snotty punk rock since 1994; although they stay active with live shows, they haven't released new material since 2008. So, uh, guys when can we expect some fresh tunes?!

Who Wrote Holden Caulfield is a Green Day song as old as time itself. This track was originally included in their 2nd studio record, Kerplunk, which was released  in 1991 through Larry Livermore's Lookout! Records, and was their first album to feature mainstay drummer Tré Cool (side bar: meet the Pete Best of Green Day! - This harkens back to a time when Green Day was still considered 'true punk' (note the ironic quotation marks there), playing shows at 924 Gilman with bands like Op Ivy and Screw 32, and contributing to that early 90s, East Bay sound.

My man, Iggy (snap, crackle and..) Pop, comin' at ya with his lugubrious ballad The Passenger. This 4-chord, la-la-la track may sound simple enough...but does it also hold the answer to the age-old human question of 'why'? Why are we here? Why does the universe exist? Probably not. But Iggy Pop never ceases to amaze and astound, so keep vigilant.

Circles is a punchy, throaty and pop-laden anthem from undisputed melodic hardcore champs, Dag Nasty. Formed in 1985 by guitarist Brian Baker after the break up of Minor Threat, Dag Nasty was one of the main acts throughout DC's Revolution Summer. Circles was part of their debut album, Can I Say, which featured their new singer, the illustrious Dave Smalley. Dag Nasty is up and at it once more, playing shows in North America and Europe, with original vocalist Shawn Brown.

Our next track, Z, is born out of the depths of imagination of French electrician/house music magician Mr. Oizo. Keeping in line with his contemporary frères of the blue-blanc-rouge, like Daft Punk and Justice, Mr. Oizo focuses compositions around a core idée fixe while invoking ear-catching synth sounds. Unlike his more radio-friendly brethren, however, he brings a darker and stranger timbre to his tunes, challenging the listener's sanity with terrifying aural imagery.

Cubicle is an addicting song from one of my favorite newcomer bands, Slothrust. This New York trio, who met and bonded over blues-soaked psychedelic rock while they were all students at Sarah Lawrence College, have been cranking out tunes and touring heavily since their formation in 2012. To test a hypothesis, I put Cubicle on repeat to see how many cycles I could handle before cracking....6 and a 1/4 times. Pretty fucking good for someone with as much musical ADHD (and real ADHD for that matter) as me. Good on you Slothrust, good on you. OH FOR ALL MY DC PEOPLE - they will be playing Rock N Roll Hotel August 12. Make sure to come out and get weird with us!

We're gonna end this confusing stream of consciousness with CVA, the title track from Philly hardcore act Paint It Black's debut studio album. Clocking in at a generous minute and a half, CVA is one of the longer songs on an album that features blazingly fast, super aggressive yet still strangely alluring ditties. Fun fact - frontman/wordsmith Dan Yemin incorporates the phrase 'fistycuffs' into the song Womb Envy, also on this record. Well, at least I think that's fun.

That's it for this week's playlist. Be sure to keep tuning in every Wednesday for more of your favorite punk rock anthems, garage rock gems, and all the weird stuff in between.

Oh, and here's a limerick for your troubles:

There was a young artist called Saint
Who ate a whole sampling of paint
The whole of the spectrum
Flowed out of his rectum
With colorful lack of restraint

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Came without warning

Ahhhh, poop jokes. Just the sort of high-brow humor and semantic amuse-bouches that one comes to expect from these little WWA sessions. Happy Wednesday, campers, and welcome to another punk-soaked midweek playlist. We have a bunch of uplifting and at times combative tunes to help you make it through your day, including songs from Violent Femmes, Millencolin, No Use for a Name, Teenage Bottlerocket, The Pharcyde and more. So stop farting about, and go LISTEN NOW.

Annnnnd the web player link for all you goofs.

Last Friday Teenage Bottlerocket released their latest project, the highly anticipated Stealing the Covers. This album represents the band's uniquely warped take on the concept of a record devoted to covers; instead of rehashing the same old songs we already know and transforming them into pop punk anthems, these Wyoming ruffians decided to curate their own special list of songs, all written by totally obscure and under-valuated bands, to create a completely different and unexpected experience for the listener. Robocop Is a Halfbreed Sellout, written and originally performed by Sprocket Nova, a band from their hometown of Laramie, was released a couple months ago as the teaser single to get us all pumped.

Time to Get Tough is a fervent and moving tune from those LA reggae dudes of The Aggrolites. Getting their start as a backing live band, and after that a more Wrecking Crew-esqu backing studio band, for various artists, the gang were quickly inspired to break free and set out on their own path. The Aggrolites like to blend a style of 60s soul and funk with early ska, letting the silky smooth vocals of  singer/guitarist Jesse Wagner and the sly organ playing of Roger Rivas take center stage. This track is off their sophomore studio effort, The Aggrolites, which was the first they did through Hellcat Records.

Now for the dope bass lines and "yeah yeah" choruses of Kiss Off, from those folksy Wisconsin motherfuckers of Violent Femmes. This song, like their other hits Blister in the Sun, Gone Daddy Gone and Add It Up, was off their self-titled 1983 debut album. And yes, it went down on their permanent record...the album went platinum and is widely considered to be one of the most important records of the 80s.

So many broken Kinder eggs! Up next is Softworld, courtesy of the silly, sassy, scintillating, spry and skankin' Swedes that make up Millencolin. Founded in the quaint, medieval town of Örebro in 1992, at the height of the 90s skate punk renaissance, the band, still boasting its original core line-up, has remained active ever since. Softworld is an echo-ey and punchy track off their second LP, Life on a Plate, which was released on Epitaph's Swedish sister label Burning Heart Records (also based out of Örebro...what a coinkydink)

The Marked Men are a lo-fi, garagey punk quartet based out of Denton, TX. Reminiscent of like-minded fuzz rock acts like Jay Reatard or  Jeff Rosenstock, this Texas foursome doesn't hold any punches when it comes to writing fast, chaotic, yet thoughtfully arranged compositions.  A Little Time is the opening song off their third studio album, 2006's Fix My Brain. Because my blog is essentially nothing more than "Six degrees of John Reis" I suppose I should note that Fix My Brain was published through the mighty Speedo's Swami Records.

Ya Mama is a middle school vibey diss track from the brilliant minds of The Pharcyde, off their debut 1992 album Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde. Now, admittedly, I don't really understand a lot of the burns, for example this lyric: 'Naked on a mountain top, tootin' on a flizoot. Ridin' on a horse drinking whisky out a bizoot' I get it, but I don't get it, ya know? 'Glass eye with a fish in it?' Regardless, it's an awesome song with a great beat. DID YOU KNOW alert: Kinda like Tupac, all four original members of The Pharcyde started their career as backup dancers before focusing their energy into making dope hip hop songs.

Well there comes a time in every young playlist's life where things just start to go off the rails and get weird. This week, that particular honor falls on the delightfully moody fellows of Echo & the Bunnymen and their song Lips Like Sugar. The band formed in Liverpool in the late 70s by vocalist Ian McCulloch and guitarist Will Sergeant,  accompanied by a human bassist (Lee Pattinson) and an electronic drum machine ("Beats-O-Matic 2000") While maintaining separate solo careers, Ian and Will are still very active in the Bunnymen project, and they continue to write new material and tour.
editor's note - it has come to my attention that I have 100% fabricated the name of the drum machine

Jj is a hauntingly pretty and super jangly tune from DC quartet Priests. Original lyrics conveyed through a soulful singer, fun guitar runs buoyed by a dominant rhythm section, this song checks all the boxes. Priests has been around since 2012, releasing EPs as quickly as they could write new material. Jj is the second track off their debut full length album, Nothing Feels Natural, which they released earlier this year through their independent label Sister Polygon Records. You can get a taste of the full album, and purchase it, here.

It's good to know old bands are still kickin' it something fierce. Our title track for today's episode is courtesy of 80s DC hardcore outfit Scream. For all my British brethren, Peter Stahl and the boys will be playing in the UK in early August... 8/3 in London at The Underworld, 8/4 in Leeds for the Bloodstains Festival and 8/5 in Blackpool for UK Rebellion Festival. Make sure you take this opportunity to go see a classic, live!

We close out today's musical slip n slide with Do It All Again, a Groundhog Day loop of a song by Colorado Springs punk outfit Nobodys. Off their 2016 album Hussy, the mid-tempo track seeps out sugary melodic hooks and a catchy chorus that you'll be hard pressed to NOT sing along to.

Well I can't wait to do it all again next week, kiddos. Be sure to tune in next Wednesday (and the wednesday after that, etc) for more sonic and written debauchery. In the meantime, continue to send me cool shit, new tunes, poop jokes, whatever.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Deny everything

Cheerio Wednesday willows, and welcome to yet another installment of Wednesdays With Andrew. On today, a solemn day that we remember Jean (not -Luc) Picard's important contributions to the field of astronomy, we have a playlist that, dare I say it, is pretty outta-this-world. ::SHUDDER:: OK, moving on. Today we feature a ton of awesome songs, including tracks from some greats like Channel 3, Pixies, Dropkick Murphys, Tiger Army, Circle Jerks and more. Go LISTEN NOW

Annnnd of course the web link for all you heathens.

We kick off the week in (typical) blistering fashion, with skacore legends Capdown and their track Faith No More. Originally monikered Soap, these boys from Milton Keynes, England decided to change the band name in order to better reflect their political attitudes (Capdown being short for Capitalist Downfall). Perfectly blending punk/hardcore tempos and attitude with more easy-on-the-ears elements borrowed from ska, dub and drum and bass, Capdown promises to be a crowd pleaser for listeners of all tastes. Faith No More is the opening tune off their sophomore LP, Pound for the Sound, which was one of the most worn-out CDs I had in high school.

Maaaaan I TOLD you I was gonna be playing a lot of songs off 88 Fingers Louie's recently released album, Thank You For Being A Friend. Enjoy Meds, featuring some deft riffs from lead guitarist Mr. Precision over the steady, soulful vibes we've come to expect from these guys.

Well, once again it has been brought to my attention that I have been neglecting wonderful talent..this time in the form of seminal indie noise pop band Pixies. And once again I have kept good on my word to rectify the issue. This week's playlist contains not one, but two tracks off these Boston maniacs' latest album, 2016's Head Carrier. Although it is a bit weird to listen to the Pixies without the wonderful Kim Deal, all in all the album is a very refreshing and consistent listen. The title track oozes with that rudimentary, deeply original and thoughtful Pixies sound, while Baal's Back hints at a more aggressive, biting approach...and which gives a distinct impression that songwriter "Jack" Black Francis was listening to a lot of AC/DC while writing the tune.

Speaking of cool bands from Boston...Worker's Song is a laborious and upbeat call to arms from those pesky lads of Dropkick Murphys. This song if off their 2003 album Blackout, their third record to feature current lead singer Al Barr, who joined after original vocalist Mike McColgan left the band. As can only be expected from these crazy Celts, Blackout's credited instrumentation features some gaelic flare, including the bagpipes and the bodhran.

Not That It Matters is the brand-spanking-new single from  SoCal old timers Channel 3. While retaining the snottiness, speed and grit that defined their seminal sound during the 80s, Not That It Matters also reflects a new direction for the band, showcasing some forward-thinking and mature songwriting from original band members Mike Magrann and Kimm Gardner. This tune is the second teaser single in anticipation of their upcoming August 18th release of Put 'Em Up, an album produced by Jay Lansford (think Agent Orange) and which will mark the first original-content LP from the band in 15 years! Go check out the first single, The God That You Deserve,'s an awesome track.

Alright, pack up your chewin' tobacco and lasso up a comfy seat..featured next is a psycho cowboy ballad from one of the most esteemed names in the psychobilly genre, Tiger Army. Reigned by vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Nick 13, who is the only original founding member, Tiger Army has been going strong since their first show at the infamous 924 Gilman venue in 1996. Outlaw Heart was featured on their debut, self-titled full-length, which was released through Tim Armstrong's Hellcat Records.

We will close out the week with the pummeling sounds of Living for Life, courtesy of Venice Beach crossover thrash band Suicidal Tendencies. This song is off their latest release, World Gone Mad, which dropped in 2016 and marks their 12th (and possibly last) studio album. Not surprisingly, given the incredibly high personnel turnover that ST has been through over the years (vocalist Mike Muir is the only remaining original member of the band), the album features some new players...not least of all ex-Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo, whose presence is palpable throughout the track.

Hooookaaaay, that's enough fun for one Wednesday. You better have enjoyed all the tunes, otherwise cooome on. As usual, send me your thoughts, feedback, gif suggestions, candy, music ideas, candy, etc. L8rg8r

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Stick the fucking flag up your goddam ass, you sonofabitch

Happy national hangover day, you filthy Wednesday warriors, and welcome to the 50th (!) installment of WWA. Kinda hard to believe it has been almost a full year since the inception of this weird and redundant sonic experiment. We've got buckets of awesome songs to celebrate our golden anniversary, including tracks from bands like Vandals, 88 Fingers Louie, Dizzee Rascal, Strike Anywhere, Propagandhi and more.


Annnnd here's the web player link for all you dinkle donks.

We kick off our patriotic playlist with a salute to the red, white and the form of Propagandhi's stellar track Stick the Fucking Flag Up Your Goddam Ass, You Sonofabitch. These restless and riotous Canucks channel their political discontent through blazing guitars and screamy vocals, supported by a pounding, fast-as-fuck, four-on-the-floor rhythm section. This catchy little ditty is off Propagandhi's oft-revered 1993 album, How to Clean Everything, which is probably one of the most-listened-to records in my personal collection.

Gaaaah I have been so fucking excited for the resurrection of one of Chicago's finest punk contributors, the brilliant 88 Fingers Louie. A mere 18 years after their last original release (the 1999 split EP with Kid Dynamite), the band dropped their newest album, Thank You for Being a Friend, late last week. I have listened to the album a few times already, and I gotta say, it sounds A LOT like 88 Fingers Louie. Keeping their core around soulful and melancholy melodies and harmonies, heavy bass lines underlying thick guitar tones, and front-and-center tom-heavy drums, this whole LP sounds like the band of yore. Today we're only including the first single from the record, Advice Column, but worry not...we'll be throwing on a bunch of material from the album in the coming weeks.

Brake Lights is a staggeringly potent track off pop punk quartet The Bombpops' latest album Fear of Missing Out, released earlier this year through Fat Wreck Chords. Pulling heavily from 90s era skate punk bands like No Use for a Name, Green Day, Tsunami Bomb and the like, The Bombpops are wont to create highly produced, melody-driven tunes that rely on the use of grungy guitar tones, power chords, fast rhythms and keeps-you-on-your-toes song arrangements. The band was formed in San Diego in 2007 by co-frontwomen Jen Razavi and Poli van Dam, and have cultivated a large cult following on the west coast.

Cheeky Londoner Dizzee Rascal serves up our next tune, Dream. An early pioneer of London's grime scene, which incorporates elements of electronica, ragga jungle and UK garage, Dizzee broke out in the early 2000s with his critically acclaimed debut album, Boy in Da Corner, and is still an important fixture in the scene today. True to form, in this song he tackles important subject matter through his characteristic cheerful beats and sanguine lyrical style.

YAAASSS, give me more of that good old-fashioned Swedish garage punk. I Don't Wanna Go To The USA is a rockin' travel agency jingle from Stockholm band/ex-Village People reenactors, The Baboon Show. Off their 2010 album Punk Rock Harbour (which, yes, features plenty of cowbell), this song encapsulates all the decadent glam and punk rock attitude that permeates throughout everything these Baboons touch.

Next up we have a couple of pop-infused songs from those NYC indie rockers The Drums. Blood Under My Belt is the first single off their latest album, 2017's Abysmal Thoughts. Riddled with sun-drenched surf guitar riffs and layered, reverb melodies, the song is rooted by its punchy rhythm section. This latest album was The Drums' first release through ANTI-, a sub of Epitaph Records. In honor of happier days and more patriotic times, I'm also including their hit song Let's Go Surfing, which was part of their breakthrough, eponymous debut studio album. It is my firm belief that at this very moment, Obama is riding the waves, a sic semper tyrannis flag rippling in the wind with a Camel 99 slowly burning in his mouth. Godspeed, Mr. President.

We close out today's playlist with Sunset on 32nd Street, a rousing anthem from melodic hardcore band Strike Anywhere. A staple in Richmond's vibrant punk scene, Strike Anywhere has been putting out blistering political statements and head banging tunes since 1999. This track is off their debut album, Change is a Sound, released in 2001 through Jade Tree records. Scuttlebutt on the street is these bold Antifas are currently working on their 5th studio album, which is slated to drop later this year. 

Alright, time to crawl back into bed. Hope you guys had fun blowing shit up to the soothing sounds of punk rock, and remember to tune in next week for more playlist high jinks. Comportez-vous mal, les mecs.