Moonraker is a band I can relate to. They make me laugh, they make me cry; they kinda feel like the Simpsons mixed with Jawbreaker. They do a great job channeling the comedy and tragedy of youth into the familiar template of midwestern punk. While I can definitely detect trace amounts of Dillinger Four and Lawrence Arms in their blood, Moonraker have managed to carve out a niche of their own consisting of endless pessimism and an internal monologue crueler than Micheal Jackson’s dad.
Power-violence can be a tough jar of pickles to open. With it’s impenetrable song structures, dissonant melodies, and broken telephone production; the genre feels almost set up loose the audience. Blank Side’s EP ‘Etheric’ does a pretty good job making the more challenging elements of the music accessible.
What an odyssey the career of Against Me! has been; from anarcho-folkpunk, through mid-western americana, to transgendered themed rock’n’roll. Ever since quitting the teenage politics of anarchism, Tom/Laura has been missing a muse or subject to his/her writing. ‘Searching for a Former Clarity’ was mostly about fan back-lash to selling out, ‘New Wave’ about the stale nature of modern music, ‘White Crosses’ was the band running out of lyrical steam. The most interesting moments on these records we’re the brief allusions to his double life as a women.
Summer is over, technically. It gave us some new EPs and LPs from a couple of our favorite bands. Here’s 3 that earned a steady repeat on our black mirrors:
For me, Beggars Banquet is the greatest Rolling Stones album there is. A lot of record nerds will say that Exile on Main St. is better, or that Sticky Fingers produced better singles. These are just detached judgements build on party lines; Sticky Fingers for the radio people, Exile for the hipsters. Thematically all the songs on the album are about poverty and suffering (hence the title) but all of them offer some sort of glimmer of hope. To this day I’m still not sure if the Stones are singing about God or Socialism. Is ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ really about the devil or is it about historical materialism? Is prodigal son about Jesus or Lenin? It depends on my mood.
Last year was probably the most creatively bankrupt year for the punk scene in my lifetime. It felt like their was nothing new to get excited about. Dead to Me released Moscow Penny Ante, which was good but not quite as good as Cuban Ballerina or their EPs. Joyce Manor was probably the most notable new band on the scene, with their infectious reinvigoration of pop-punk.
2012 so far feels even worse then 2011. The Sidekicks, Cheap girls, and the Brendan Kelly solo outing all disappointed me with their new albums. That being said, the Menzingers kinda surprised me and released their best album ever. And the Classics of Love debut was not too shabby either. The Sharks made a good record too. Here is what we think about the freshest batch of new releases from our favourite bands:
In 2003 the Business released an album where every single song is about soccer (‘football’ to them). Myself not being any kind of sport fan, it’s strange how high in esteem I hold this album. It could be that the band sings passionately about their day to day life, it could be simply that all 12 tracks on the album are solid. I think it’s remarkable that they can write 12 songs about soccer and somehow make them all different. The first track “Hardcore Hooligan” is about the rising prices of game tickets and the greed of football clubs, the next track “Southgate” is about an English football player who missed a penalty shot, “Terrace Lost It’s Soul” about gentrification and it’s relation to football.
Scrolling through my massive MP3 collection, I happened across a long lost pop-punk extended play I should tell you about. Hi-Standard is a Japanese band who were on Fat in the 90s. They sing mostly in mispronounced english, playing music stylistically similar to NOFX.
The Re-Volts are a band not too many talk about, though they have key members from One Man Army, Dead to Me, and the Swingin’ Utters. Spike from the Swingin’ Utters and Me First and the Gimme Gimmes sings on all the songs. They have only one release, a six song, self-titled EP. It’s hard to find, I got mine at a show. You can get it from Pirate Press Records.
More often than not, a rock album of any significant begins it’s critical and commerical reception with a period of scorn/hatred/ignorance. The reason for this is manifold, but any seasoned listener should be able to attest to the experience that significant albums often take time to sink in, sounding better with each listening.