Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Near-life experience

Helllllllooooo Wednesday warriors, and welcome to this week's installment of WWA. Hope you're all enjoying this Wednesday, and a special Constitution Day shout-out to all my listeners in Kazakhstan. This past week has been great for punk rock, and good music in general, and we'll be showcasing brand spankin' new tunes from Propagandhi, Gogol Bordello, Wavves and Queens of the Stone Age. Will also have plenty of oldies but goodies from some of the greats, including Black Flag, 98 Mute, Strung Out, and more.

You may notice I am using a new music streaming service, Soundsgood. I am still building out all my playlists on Spotify, but Soundsgood will allow you to stream from whatever service you prefer (Apple Music, Soundcloud, Youtube, Napster (what!?), Deezer, etc). Let me know your thoughts or feedback on this, as I am excited to give you punks more listening options.

Without further ado, let's get crackin'

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

Alright alright alright....kicking off the middle of the week with Propagandhi's new single, Failed Imagineer, part of the upcoming Victory Lap album which is scheduled to drop at the end of September (the 29th to be exact). Although Propagandhi has matured and honed their art, sonically and thematically, throughout the years, you'd be kidding yourselves if you thought they had completely rid themselves of the snotty-nosed punk attitude of their early How to Clean Everything/Less Talk, More Rock years. This should be evident right as the track hits with bassist Todd "The Rod" Kowalski doing his best Paul Stanley impersonation, half-laughing, half-screeching "we're gonna have a rock n roll party tonight" Will there be a lot of technical, metal-inspired guitar riffs?  Sure. Double bass and complex, layered rhythms? Yeah you betchya. But Propagandhi will still be bringing a lot of that skate punk energy, and working around melodically-centered hooks to keep all us old fans in the fold. Victory Lap will be their first full-length record in over 5 years, and the first with new guitarist Sulynn Hago.

Daisy is a sea-sickness-inducing song from Wavves' latest album, You're Welcome, which dropped earlier this year. See, I told you this playlist was gonna be chock full of good new shit! True to form, Daisy incorporates that unmistakable Wavves' surf guitar sound and those over-the-top reverb vocals, supplied by singer-songwriter Nathan Williams. You're Welcome is now the 6th (critically acclaimed) studio album from these west coast beach rats, quite a feat considering they were only formally inducted into the rock scene back in 2008.

Up next is the (non-legally-binding) last will and testament of San Francisco dudes Dead To Me. I Wanna Die in Los Angeles is a rockin' track from the ex-One Man Army lead man Jack Dalrymple, and his merry band of men, and is part of a 3-song EP of the same name released in 2016.

These days you can't seem to escape the term 'Alternative Country'. Which is fine and all, though I gotta say pretty much everything in my life to this point could be described as alternative fucking country. Although this musical movement has been around for a long time now, it is good to see a more mainstream rejection of the atrocity that is pop country; and on the other side of the coin, it's always healthy to try out new genres and learn to appreciate different types of (good) songwriting. Timebomb, courtesy of Dallas ensemble Old 97s, is a pounding and catchy Americana ballad, full of twang and soul. Old 97s, alongside contemporaries like Uncle Tulepo  and Drive-By Truckers, are widely considered to be one of the pioneering forces behind the 90s alt-country movement.

Alright let's shift into a slightly higher gear here with a Strung Out tune from their third album, Twisted by Design, which was originally released in 1998 through Fat Wreck Chords. This record marked a new era for the California quintet, keeping the speed, energy and pop glaze of their previous releases while doubling down on showing off their technical prowess. Alongside contemporaries like Belvedere and Lagwagon (and playlist neighbor Propagandhi), Strung Out is one of the main forces in the punk scene eschewing the 'keep it simple stupid' punk rock mentality, preferring instead to write more complex and multi-layered compositions.

Queens of the Stone Age has fucking done it again, with the release last week of their seventh studio album Villains. Although the album is still painfully poetic and full of dark imagery, it does seem a bit lighter and more upbeat than their previous LP ...Like Clockwork.  The Evil Has Landed was the second teaser single for Villains, whetting our appetites with trademark Josh Homme vocal harmonies and crunchy guitars, not to mention a sped-up, Era Vulgaris-esqu ending section, a couple weeks prior to last Friday's full release. If you haven't listened to this record in its entirety several times by now, you got to get on it. Like now.

Well let's keep it in the family. Up next is Die On A Rope, one of my favorite tunes off The Distillers' curtain-closing (read: last) album, Coral Fang. Led by the indomitable and abominable Brody Dalle, The Distillers had a few really good albums in their relatively short-lived career. Coral Fang was released in 2003, less than a year after the very public and bitter divorce between Dalle and Rancid's Tim Armstrong, supposedly after Armstrong spotted Dalle making out with (current husband and baby daddy) Josh Homme...wait wait wait, is this a fucking music blog or a grocery store check out tabloid. Moving on...

Last week we blasted a tune from one of my all-time favorite bands during high school, punk powerhouse Uncommonmenfrommars. After the band broke up in 2013, brothers Trint and (self-styled) Shit Ed started working on separate projects. Evil Seed is a song off the latter's new act, Not Scientists, which also includes UMFM bassist Big Jim. Off their sophomore effort, Leave Stickers on Our Graves, the track features pretty guitar riffs, edgy melody lines and a heavily syncopated rhythm section.

Black Flag! TV Party!

Last Friday was a huge win for good music. New QoTSA, new Gogol. We're gonna close the week with Did It All, which is the opening track for Gogol Bordello's brand new release, Seekers and Finders. The song is an appropriate introduction to the album, taking no prisoners throughout its sonic rampage. It starts off as a hard-hitting, fast as hell anthem before eventually devolving into a wanton groove, completely embodying the hedonistic feel of the wanderlust crew that makes up Gogol Bordello.

OK, that's a wrap peep hole.  Let's shut this rock n roll party down!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

SMASH white supremacy

Howdy there ladies and fellas! Happy Iranian Day for Doctors, and welcome to the latest installment of Wednesdays With Andrew. This marks the first full write up in a couple weeks, so let me formally welcome you back to the mix. And what a mix it is. This week we got Rancid. We got Ramones. We got Big B, T.S.O.L., This is a Standoff and much more. So, without further ado, GO FUCKING LISTEN TO THE PLAYLIST

Oh, and the web player link for all you webels.

Oh. Hellz. Yes. Spotify just added my favorite album from (DC-born) French punk rockers Uncommonmenfrommars, 2001's Vote For Me. We'll go ahead and kick off the week with this piece of sliced gold...Tatoo is a hard-hitting (yet cheery sounding) rebuke of all things intolerant and evil. I would also rank it as being in the Top 5 Ringtones of All Time list. If you haven't had the chance to listen to this album in its entirety, go check it out, NOW. My buds and I would go see these guys play every time they came to our town on tour; they killed it live, and they are super chill dudes to boot.

Track Fast is a fast track off Rancid's Trouble Maker, released earlier this summer. The opening song off what marks the seminal punk band's 9th studio album, to me it's reminiscent of the Life Won't Wait/2000 era for the group. It's the sonic equivalent of a train that's gone off the rails, incorporating pounding rhythms and affronting, twangy guitar licks. Since the song clocks in at under a minute (and that is NOT enough Rancid for one sitting), I am throwing in Junkie Man, which is off one of my personal favorite albums, ...And Out Come the Wolves.

This next one goes out to my own little Cuban hottie. Havana Affair is a glazed donut of a song from trailblazing punk band Ramones. Off their debut self-titled album (released all the way back in 1976!), the song features everything you'd expect from these Queens rockers: simple song structure built around 4 power chords, punctuated by sharp syncopated breaks, and sugary melodies courtesy of Joey Ramone. Although all four original members of the band have died, its hard to imagine that their music or impact will ever be forgotten.

Graveyards is a melodic shotgun blast from Canadian outfit This Is A Standoff. Blending complex guitar lines and rhythms, borrowed from 80s thrash metal bands like Megadeth and Slayer, with the raw energy and speed of the 90s skate punk movement, This Is A Standoff provides an aural smorgsaborg, rife with interesting things to listen out for. Do those pop-laden yet piercing vocals sound familiar at all? The band was formed in 2007 by Steve Rawles, founding guitarist/vocalist of cult favorite, melodic skate band Belvedere. Speaking of fucking Belvedere, DID YOU KNOW - that band is still very much active, having released a new album last year (The Revenge of the Fifth) on Bird Attack Records, and still actively touring. See them next time they swing by your local watering hole!

OK I think it's time to inject some zen vibes on this week's journey. Next up is a chill track from Las Vegas-based wordsmith Big B. Part of the original line-up of OPM, Big B struck out on a solo career in the early 2000s. Here Comes the Lightning is off his 2013 LP, Fool's Gold...this album features a lot of cool collaborations, including songs that feature Slightly Stoopid and Dirty Heads.

People! Places! OK, for this next track I gotta give a big ups to dude man Yvann. He showed me this song Monolith last week, and I am really digging the moody, neo-post-punk vibes. This was the cardinal track off the self-titled, debut studio album released in 2012 by Stockholm-based noise act Holograms. The whole album has an oppressive timbre, featuring synth-heavy hooks, straightforward four-on-flour bass drum and distorted amelodic vocals. If you dig this track, go check out their brand spankin' new latest full-length release, Surrender, out now!


Goonies-loving band Slick Shoes, hailing from the deserts of southern California, have been playing fast skate punk since their inception in 1994. Father Son Picnic is off their first EP Rusty, and the band uses it to show some teeth, focusing less on a single pop hook and more on the overall rock n roll feel of the song. Side note: some things simply don't change...when I checked Slick Shoes' Facebook page this week, looks like they're still touring with MxPx!

Our penultimate selection for this week is T.S.O.L.'s soothing ode, Flowers By the Door. This song was part of their 1984 album Change Today?; aptly titled, as the record was released after founding vocalist Jack Grisham left the band. Indeed, Change Today? marked the first album with Danzig-sounding motherfucker Joe Wood on singing duties, while the band's sound also drifted away from their early hardcore influences and more into the realm or art and goth rock sounds. Jack is back at the helm, and the reunited gang released a new record, The Trigger Complex, earlier this year. 

We'll close out the week's playlist with a punch to the head, PEARS' combative track Victim To Be. Off their first studio album, Go To Prison, the song encapsulates these Louisianians' brake-and-go style of speedy, catchy hardcore. Speaking of victims and punches to heads, here's a quick concussion update: I am still showing symptoms, like concentration difficulties, headaches, dizziness...but all in all, things are going pretty well and I have been able to avoid being attacked since!

Okie dokie, annie oakley, that is a wrap. Thanks for tuning in, warriors, and be sure to come back next Wednesday for your weekly fill of good, punk(ish) rock.

Portez-vous bien et comportez-vous mal!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017


Gooood morning Wednesday warriors, and welcome to another installment of Wednesdays With Andrew, your weekly go-to for all things punk(ish) rock.

Now, I fucking hate to say this, will be deprived, FOR A SECOND WEEK IN A ROW, of my normal thought-out, carefully crafted write up. I suffered a concussion in the very early hours of Sunday morning and cannot spend a lot of time in front of a screen. Lucky for you, this means all the good music with none of my rambling thoughts on the subject matter.

The reason for the concussion is that I was assaulted by a very non-punk rock individual. Considering this occurred hours after the Charlottesville tragedy, it certainly gave me pause to contemplate the senseless acts of violence that people (of many diverse backgrounds!) perpetrate. These outbursts have reaffirmed in me the belief that violence is never the answer, and truthfully does not solve shit. Nothing like taking a good beating to confirm that you're a pacifist!

Anyway, here's a good article on ways to support victims of the Charlottesville attack, and to stand up to hate more broadly.

Annnd here's the link to the web player.

FYI for anyone wondering - the title was my patient ID when I was in the ER.

Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Resting beach face

Hey there Wednesday warriors. I am off this week on vacation, channeling my inner Poseidon and enjoying the great Atlantic.

This means less talk and more music for you. YOU'RE WELCOME. Enjoy the tunes!

Annnnd the web player link for all you posers

Spicey out.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Funking super starlight freaks

Well howdy there Wednesday wranglers, and welcome to another installment of Wednesdays With Andrew, your one-stop shop for punk rock, rehashed gifs and half ass puns. Today's a doozie of a playlist, featuring some real dope tunes from the likes of Buzzcocks, Pennywise, Smoking Popes, Jamiroquai, White Flag, Praise and more. I mean, just look at how fucking happy that old man in the Norman Punkwell looks, listening to today's WWA?!? Don't you think you should be more like him? LISTEN NOW:

Annnnnd here's the web player link for all you cowhands

Today's opening track is courtesy of SoCal punk rock staple, and one of the louder contributing voices during punk's 90s renaissance, Pennywise. Alien is off their critically successful record Straight Ahead, and quickly became a fan favorite, as well as a gateway drug for people who couldn't get into some of Pennywise's earlier, harder, faster stuff. Fun personal fact alert - I recently found my high school band's terrible and amusing cover of this song. Send me an email if you want the mp3...the Legend of Gannet Harne lives on!

Meet Me After Work is a feel-goodish track from Australian indie pop quintet Split Seconds, featured on their 2016 full-length Rest & Relocation.  The song exudes summer tones and Beach Boys-y vibes combining a strong melodic vocal lead with well-placed harmonies peppered throughout. But don't be lulled into a false sense of innocent comfort; these guys infuse darker themes and big crunchy breaks into their pop ballads. Split Seconds also owns the (fake) "best play on words for an album name" Award with their record Neil Young and Dumb.

Drawing from the powers of predecessors like the venerable Kid Dynamite, pacific northwest band Shook Ones don't pump the brakes at all while delivering their style of fast-as-hell, abrasive melodic hardcore. It actually took a whole lotta convincing when I first heard them that those sugary/scratchy whoa whoa whoa vocals were not belted out by Kid Dynamite's Jason Shevchuk. By the way, if I am comparing your band to Kid Dynamite...that's like the biggest fucking form of flattery I could give. Nothing bad at all to say about any of Shook Ones' tunes...go check out their sophomore album, Facetious Folly Feat, on which this track Pheasants is featured.

God, I fucking looooove Jamiroquai. Led by singer and headdress aficionado Jay Kay, they have been the indomitable forerunner in London's acid jazz scene since forming in 1992. Shake It On is the opening track off their latest album Automaton. Released in January of this year, this record marks their first original content in over 7 years. Did you know, (barring psychical limitations, like being a quadriplegic) you can dance to any music...but did you knooow, it won't be as fun if it's not Jamiroquai.

Our next track is a whisper of a ghost of a long night out. Morning After is Buzzcocks' ode to hangovers, and represents a newer era (circa early 2000s) for the Manchester punk band. Buzzcocks is one of those special bands that just keeps putting out good stuff periodically, and always remain true to their own, self-defined guiding principles of what makes up a catchy tune. Whether it's something they released in the late 70s, 90s, 00s or 10s, you will always hear that trademark 'Buzzcocks blend' of glazey power pop songwriting and the energy and speed that defined 70s era punk.

Crash into My Life is a ballistic anthem from Baltimore's melodic hardcore act Praise. Off their latest 7-song release, 2016's Leave It All Behind, Crash into My Life sounds like an amalgamation of 80s DC punk and 90s NYC hardcore acts like H2O, punctuated, and differentiated, by blaring vocals and multi-layered guitar runs.

Shock to the System sounds like it belongs on the soundtrack to that silly Angelina Jolie movie, Hackers. It's very possible it is on the soundtrack to that silly Angeline Jolie movie Hackers. I don't know. I do know that this was off Billy "Fucking" Idol's concept album Cyberpunk, which was inspired heavily by the cyberdelic subculture of the late 80s. Steeped heavily in thematic imagery of anarcho-atheism, futurism and virtual reality, not to mention alluding to the brand new concept of the 'internet', Idol incorporated a lot of technology and synthetic sounds throughout the album.

Ya know, Rage Against the Machine is a touchy subject in some circles (see: next song), but I am quite partial to the music that Zach, Tom and the gang came out with. Often imitated but never really successfully duplicated, the angsty foursome definitely put riff-heavy rap rock on the map. Although they may be indirectly to blame for some unforgivably awful ear-shit like Limp Bizkit, they more than redeem themselves with their two first, gem-filled albums. In My Eyes does not appear on their debut self-titled or Evil Empire; rather, it was their tribute to Minor Threat on RATM's fourth, covers-only, album Renegades.

Rage Against the Machine Are Capitalist Phonies was White Flag's contribution to Fat Wreck's compilation of diminutive songs,  Short Music for Short People. These L.A. jokers also included the track in their 2006 album, T is for Twenty.

We end our playlist with the Caterer kin and their band Smoking Popes. Much like the genesis of Hanson, these 3 Chicago area brothers started playing and writing music together at a very early age. Need You Around was the first single off their sophomore album, 1995's Born to Quit, annnd was featured in the cinematic masterpiece that is Clueless. Ugh, as if! Although lead singer Josh Caterer is often compared to older crooners like Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin, I get more of a Morrissey vibe myself. For all my DC peeps: scuttlebutt on the street is that the Popes will be announcing a Fall show at Black Cat in the coming weeks...stay tuned!

OK that's a wrap folks. Thanks, as always, for tuning in and we'll see ya again in 168 hours. Toodles!