Album closers are a tricky business. This is the last song the listener will hear, you want it to be good. You probably don’t want it to be your heaviest or most energetic (I suppose there are some exceptions to this), it’s a good time to get epic and wordy. These are the album closers that we feel do a good job:
I think shows and records are the two chief outputs of a band (I suppose I’m ignoring minor things like t-shirts, dvds, merch, etc.). There are a lot of bands that make awesome records but don’t pull through in the live show. Sometime the problem is the band plays the songs kinda sloppy live and they can’t really reproduce anything close to their recorded sound in a live setting. Other times the problem is that the band doesn’t offer any energy or spectacle at the show; they just kind of play their songs and leave, pretty much the same experience as listening to one of their albums.
It’s been a pretty average year for music, not as bad as last year, but overall still pretty mediocre. What’s most notable to me is that this year lacks a real front runner, or a new band to blast out of the margins and take the punk world by storm. The list features a lot of established bands and their 3rd or 4th album. There are some new bands and first albums on the list but I would classify most of them as underdogs who I found by accident and aren’t universally known. There also seems to be no movements or emerging trends (mid 1990’s skate punk, mid 2000’s folk-punk, etc.), just echos from yesteryear. Then again, I could be just getting cynical and angry with age, time for my quarter-life crisis jazz phase I guess.
Cover songs are something I don’t recommend new bands do. I’m often at a local show trying to take in some new music, then the band jump into a cover of something everybody knows (“Fortunate Son” and “Blitzkrieg Bop” are common ones). The audience will compare and contrast the classic song to the band’s original material, which will often reflect unfairly on the band because the audience is more familiar with these songs. As a band, the last thing you want to be remembered as is that band that plays some other guy’s song. It’s true that covering “Freebird” will get you some cheap applause, maybe get some feet on the floor, but it’s a shortcut that becomes hard to escape as the fans become accustomed to you covering whatever they want. Set the expectation of your shows to be about your own artistry, or you’ll end up one of those sad irish pub guitar singers playing Oasis to assholes all night.
The Kinks are a band with an interesting story. They were part of the british invasion, having a few hits in the beginning, songs like “You Really Got Me” and “All Day and All of the Night”. Later in their career they made more experimental and complex albums, which didn’t do as well commercially and are under-appreciated to this day. They’re a band that had many ups and downs and had to work hard for what they got. We’re not experts, and we probably missed some awesome songs. Our list stays away from some of their super-hits, instead we try to shine the light on some stuff a casual listener may not know.
A guitar solo in punk rock is a bit of a contradiction. Normally a solo is where a musician can show off. In punk rock there are no musicians, everything is easy, and everyone sucks.
Over the years punk expanded, sub-genres emerged, conventions were challenged, and things changed. Nowadays everything and nothing is punk rock. Kanye West is punk rock; the same way that Jackson Pollock is an artist or Cheez Whiz is a food. Here are the solos we feel stay true to the tradition: