Posts Tagged ‘Punk’

The Suckers – Sour Grapes

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

The Sour Grapes album cover depicts a fox disdainfully turned away from a branch of grapes that hang just out of his reach.The newest album from The Suckers is finally available to download for free in the music section. There, you can listen to or download individual tracks or the full album zipped up. There are 17 songs on this record, and I’d go as far to wager that some are even a little catchy. The music is pop-punk, in the vein of The Ramones, Screeching Weasel, Teenage Bottlerocket, and other bands of their ilk. Each song has slightly more than three chords and an attitude.

The cover art, which depicts the literal fable “The Fox and the Grapes”, is a photo montage made from free images courtesy of the Morgue File, and these authors deserve due credit: aquaio, jak, badeendjuh, and missyredboots.

“She Looks Like” by Ten Foot Pole

Monday, July 2nd, 2007

… is currently what I believe to be the Best Song EverTM. Excerpt:

And I bet she likes dogs and would never hurt a creature
She’d snowboard so high that I almost couldn’t reach her
She’d never tell a lie and she’d leave her friends to be with me

ALL / Descendents

Tuesday, April 25th, 2006

I’m really tired of people saying how much they like the Descendents over ALL… it’s the same band, for Christ’s sake!

So, unless Milo Aukerman is pretty much the band, shut up! Apparently, ALL and Descendents songs are routinely switched and demoed between the two bands. Milo doesn’t even write all the songs!

So back off, and give the ‘band’ (Karl, Stephen, and Bill) some credit, as opposed to just the singer. They both rock!

Your Punk Rock Friends

Friday, July 2nd, 2004

Current Listening: Swingin’ Udders — “Next in Line” (Fat Music Vol. 3: Physical Fatness)
freedom’s the only thing you need but the truth is something few understand and an unwelcome reality now it’s dark and black and sad and gone you express and repress the thing gone wrong

I just got an e-mail about my article on the Nerds With Instruments website, Dave’s Ten Punk Tips. This letter was of course filled with hatred because they thought I ‘didn’t get it.’ If the person had actually read the essay, he might have found that I was being sarcastic. So far, I’ve gotten about 15 hate-mails, and 1 message from someone who ‘got it.’

So, being the punk expert I am, I have decided to create a guide to punk rockers. As always, send comments to nirvanasongs @!

The Old-School Punker

hardcoahicuh imbelisus

The epitome of punk rock. No job, no respect for authority, can barely speak without drooling over everything. These guys hate everything. Unemployment, employment, the government, anarchy, everything. The only discernable skills they have are the ability to sneer for hours on end. They only go to shows to say how terrible punk rock has become. They don’t own any records released after 1985. If a band signs to a label that most people have never heard of (i.e., Epitaph, Fat Wreck Chords, Hopeless), then they immediately hate the band, even if they were its bigger fan before.

The Hot Topic Punk

gothicus lame

Covered in tattoos, piercings, and eye shadow, these punks live a twisted, troubled life. Mainly from the ass-whoopings they receive at the hands of the Old-School Punkers. These punks have a lot in common with typical goths, except that their self-hatred is only feigned. See, some goth found out a long time ago that girls with low self-esteem and scars on their wrists would sleep with him if he acted depressed and deep, too. Now, goths really feel that way, but the Hot Topic Punk only feels that way when he sleeps with one of the said goth girls and finds out that he got some new, interesting, collectible venereal disease.

Whereas Goths are generally sincere, this species really couldn’t give a damn. They listen to AFI, in an effort to look cool. When asked why they like that type of music, they generally reply, ‘because it’s so deep.’

The Skinhead

docmartenicus humongicus

Never weighing less than 300 pounds (all muscle), these punks are the behemoths of their class. Contrary to popular belief, not all skinheads are white power idiots – most of them are just idiots. They bray on and on about being working class, despite the fact that the bands they listen to generally stay in four-star hotels and only interact with the working class when they want a Big Mac. These guys don’t consider a mosh pit to be cool unless bones are breaking and blood is flowing.

The Emo Brat

cryingabouteverything withtheirstupidglassesola

This species orginated when the thin, whiny kids who used to hang out with the jocks realized they couldn’t get any because they did not run around like big idiots and try to ‘score’ with big, muscular men. So they decided that they would become introverts and cry about everything.

Whereas the Hot Topic Punk at least is willing to pierce himself to get laid, the Emo Brat only puts on stupid, thick-framed emo glasses. Their haircuts, moussed and sometimes spike, are vestiges of their jock heritage. They spend most of their time on weblogs, writing about how their (often) imaginary girlfriend just dumped them and writing stupid, stupid poetry about it. They like to wear workshirts too and bray about how they’re ‘so totally individual’, despite the fact that every one of them listens to Thursday, Thrice, and other such bands with stupid names.

These punks often keep journals about their suffering, and whine about never getting jobs, despite the fact that they refuse to work a day in their lives. Most are in college, and try to justify their bad grades with excuses ‘depression.’ But they’re not fooling anybody.

High School Punks

punkrockus knowitallis

The worst of the lot. These kids are whiny, know-it-alls, and trendy as hell. Their lyrics are sophomoric, trite, and often about girls. They play shows with their screaming high school friends and record demos with money that their mommies and daddies gave them. They often get expensive guitars and Marshall stacks as birthday presents, and if not they can afford to buy them because they don’t have real expenses, like rent/car payments.

Fortunately, this is a short-lived species. After about two years, they realize how stupid and idealistic they were, and either give up music for real work or turn into a crusty Old-School Punk.

Remember, nobody is as punk as me, nobody.

Questions, comments, disagree? E-mail:

Review: Bad Religion – The Empire Strikes First

Sunday, June 27th, 2004

The Good: Everything Bad Religion is known for: catchy, thoughful, fast songs, plus a little bit of musical experimentation.

The Bad: Too many tom-tom breaks in the bridges.

The Ugly: Ewww — black, white and red for the cover? Since when did Bad Religion have to knock off the White Stripes for a color scheme?

Bad Religion’s got a strike against them.That strike, of course, is the fact that they’ve been around for over two decades. With this longevity comes a stigma: of course, the old stuff is better. Ask any crusty punk who was at a show in ’88, and he’ll tell you that How Could Hell Be Any Worse was better than anything Bad Religion is putting out now.

But I say screw that. Why give a band demerits for having longevity. AC/DC’s been around forever, as well as the Rolling Stones… well, maybe they deserve a few. Anyway, Bad Religion should not be docked because they’ve been on this earth longer than I have. If a band gets docked, it should be for writing shitty songs or not showing the least bit of change.

Thankfully, Bad Religion has evolved artistically. The Empire Strikes First has its share of warp-speed songs under two minutes, but it also has a few slower number that give you a pensive respite from the breakneck tempos. The first song — if we really can call it a song — is a slow, vaugely regggae (the extra ‘g’ is for great!)-ish intro to the album’s first song proper, “Sinister Rouge.” This track demonstrates what BR does best — soaring vocal harmonies (there’s even an opera singer adding heft to them), high-octance but tasteful guitar solos, and pissed-off-but-still-melodic vocals that actually have something to say — in this case, a rant against the Catholic church, “Comin’ back for more / To even the score.”

The record maintains its pace until thingsd slow down a bit with the first single, “Los Angeles is Burning.” The single must be making some sort of impact, because my friend Patrick, who only listens to the radio, mentioned it to me. It’s catchy and in a major key, which is a rare occurance for Bad Religion. It’s also pretty straightforward for a song written by Brett. I think it’s actually about fires in Los Angeles. Anyway, I can’t help but singing along.

Next up on the list of artistic changes is rap. Yes, rap, thanks to Sage Francis, another Epitaph artist. I’m sure some punx (notice kewl ‘x’ in spelling) screamed ‘Sellouts!’ upon first hearing this, but I like it. I’m not a fan of rap, but it fits the song somehow. There’s some nice interplay between Graffin and Francis, and it shows BR branching out. Hmmm… maybe next time, an album of polka music? Anyway, the rap comes on top of a little tom-tom riff courtesy of Brooks Wackerman, which would be okay but the next song, “God’s Love,” has the same damn thing in its bridge. C’mon, guys, couldn’t you put one song in between these two?

The First really slow song is “To Another Abyss.” This song’s got some great vocal harmonies — when Greg and Brett (maybe?) sing “purity” together it gives me goosebumps. The song’s 4 minutes long, but doesn’t really drag. The only problem I have with it is that the little lead guitar line (it sounds vaugely like a slide guitar, but it’s just a ghost bend) that comes in at the end of the chorus and ends the song sounds just like the lead guitar line from “Superheroes” from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Every time I hear it, I think “I’ve done a lot / God knows I’ve tried / To find the truth / I’ve even lied.” I love the way this song ends — just the fading chord with feedback rising, a little groove on the ride cymbal, and then the guitar hook — God bless it — again.

The title track is another slow one, but what a damn-catchy chorus. Like Aretha Franklin, Bad Religion knows that when you spell something out in a song (in this case, E-M-P-I-R-E), people will sing along. This song, like “Let Them Eat War,” is an attack on America’s policy in Iraq. Bad Religion rarely is so blatant in its politics, so this is a nice change. Unfortunately, this song also has a tom-tom break in its bridge. Gettin’ a little old, guys. The album ends strongly, with a slow, introspective song that has some neat poetic devices (one rhyme sound, “said”), some poetry that I’m guessing was written by Gurewitz (“Beyond Electric Dreams”), which dissolves into feedback and overlapping-vocal madness, and the last song — “Live Again (The Fall of Man)”, which is a great way to end the record — Fast, bouncy, catchy, and with a serious message — if you could give it all up for heaven, would you?

Except for my stupid little quibbles, this is a great album. I think it’s better than pretty much anything they’ve put out. True, it’s not montonously fast and there are some artistic experiments, but they lean in the right direction. This is one of Bad Religion’s top two or three records ever.

Review: The Rocky Horror Punk Rock Show

Tuesday, March 16th, 2004

Review: The Rocky Horror Punk Show

The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a tad bit tame these days. After all, with women kissing on awards shows and other ‘lewd’ acts on network television, nothing seems shocking anymore, and Rocky Horror, even with its blatantly hedonistic overtones, suffers as a result. The same might be said of the film’s music — and rock ‘n roll in general. In its heyday rock ‘n roll was shocking enough to prompt several cities to attempt to ban it. Now, a rock song plays in almost every television commercial and supermarket; rock’s backbone, its backbeat, is as natural to us as a microwave or a ride in a car.

How interesting this album should be. Punk rock reinvigorated rock ‘n roll in an age when it was dying, when guitar players took no shame in indulging in twelve-minute solos. Punk was based around three chords and the truth. The music from Rocky Horror is itself similar to punk — from listening to the original soundtrack, one got the impression that the instrumentalists were bashing the hell out of their instruments in much the same way as Dr. Frankenfurter was bashing the hell out of his new playthings in the sack. This album should be just the thing to reinvigorate the 35-year old movie, giving it new energy and purpose.

Sadly, it does not. Some of the highest-energy tracks from the original soundtrack are some of the dullest here, and the vocals are to blame. Granted, most punk singers probably have not had experience in the theater or acting, but you’d think their performances would carry a little bit more emotion. Rocky Horror’s best-known track, “The Time Warp”, is given a particularly lackluster performance here. The Groovie Ghoulies’ vocalist doesn’t give any heart to the words he’s singing, he sounds nasally monotone throughout. In the context of the play, the Transylvanians are ga-ga over this dance: it is the center of their world. The Time Warp should make listeners want to get up and dance, but all I wanted to do was hit the next track button on my CD player. “Hot Patootie” is another one, changing Meatloaf’s impassioned ode to Saturday night makeout sessions to an almost militarliy-barked chant does not work. It drags, and the synthesizer in the background doesn’t help much. “Dammit Janet” suffers particularly in the vocal department.

The tracks that work best here are the lesser-known ones. Luckie Strike’s version of “Rose Tint My World”, clocking in at over just a minute, gallops along, with sincere performances from all its vocalists. “Wild and Untamed Thing”, one of my favorites, is given an interesting instrumental make-over, but once against the vocals drag the performance down. Perhaps the best all-around treatment comes from Ruth’s Hat, who soups up “Superheroes” enough to give it punk weight, but keep the track’s trepidated feel, merging the two perfectly. “Over at the Frankenstein Place”, “Sword of Damocles”, “Sweet Transvestite”, both versions of “I Can Make you a Man”, “Toucha-Toucha-Touch Me”, and “Science Fiction Double Feature” (understandably, since the Me First and the Gimmie Gimmies did an entire album of show tunes, this among them) are other standout tracks.

The rest of the tracks sit somewhere in the middle, not dragging but not kicking me out of my chair, either. Middle-of-the-road, just like most rock today. Bottom line: the album needs more passionate singing. Perhaps if the bands had approached this as scenes from a play, instead of individual songs to cover, the album would have come off a lot better. As it stands, it’s a good concept implemented poorly.

A (Strange) Dream

Tuesday, June 17th, 2003
Current Listening:
REM: “Why Not Smile?”
You’ve been so sad
It makes me worried
Why not smile?
You’ve been sad for a while
Why not smile?

I’m typing this thing on an original iMac keyboard, which means that ever seven or so characters I hit a wrong key because the damn thing is so small.

I believe that last night I had the weirdest dream I’ve ever had. It actually had some sort of plot for a while, until the Dream Randomizer™ in my brain decided to throw all that crap out the window.

It starts out on a desert island country with an opressive dictator. When I say desert, I mean desert. As far as I can remember, there is no water on the island whatsoever. So maybe its inhabitants collected rain water or something. And when I say dictator, I mean dictator. People who oppose his will are thrown into prison or are torched with gasoline. Seriously.

Surprisingly, I was not a character in this dream. It was a little short guy who, upon reflection, reminds me of Ziggy. So we’ll call him ‘Ziggy.’ All the people on the island were short and vaguely cartoon-character proportioned: you know, their heads were twice the size of normal heads.

Now Ziggy was a model citizen. But he was always thirsty. So he started digging in the sand one day. Pretty much randomly, since the entire island was basically a sandbox with houses on it. And an Exxon gas station. I remember that it was an Exxon station acutely. Anyway, after days of digging, he found a hose with running water. Yes! A hose. Just like that. Buried in the sand.

The protagonist of my Dali-esque dream

Now, for some strange reason, Ziggy had to be clandestine about his discovery. I’m guessin it’s because the dictator would have taken the water for himself. So Ziggy showed one or two of his friends and gave them drinks. He kept the hose secret and kept it safe.

Rumors began to spread about the water hose, and the dictator sent out guards to find the person who was so selfishly quenching the thirst of the populace. Ziggy decided to compose a Jack the Ripper-style letter to taunt the king, so he did so on one of those pieces of paper with the lines on which kidnergarteners learn to write. I am not making this up.

This is where the dream gets weird.

While he was going into the ocean to deliver it (apparently, it was a message in a bottle), he ran into a mermaid. Kind of like Ariel, but lacking the sea-shells, if you catch my drift (ooo! nice pun). She had black hair. She gave him a letter, then went off. This is a paraphrase of the letter:

Dear Desert Island Kingdom,

We are writing this to laugh at you. We live on the island across the ocean [how could they inhabit an island if they’re mermaids for God’s sake?!]. We don’t wear any clothes and have plenty of water and eat fruit all day long. So there!

Disheartened by this letter, Ziggy dropped it back into the ocean and went home.

The next day, the soldiers came and arrested him. Surprisingly, it was not for being the “Hose Bandit.” They pulled an Al Capone on him and got him for theft, building sand castles, and ‘eating cheese.’ I swear to God I am not making this up. To punish him, the dictator made him work in a gas station.

The last part of the dream, the only part I was in, was me coming in while the dictator (who I guess now was only the Exxon station’s manager) berated Ziggy. I asked if they had any custard doughnuts (a favorite of mine), and Ziggy pointed to one which was huge and covered with black frosting. The dream ended there. Sadly, I didn’t get to eat the doughnut in the dream.

So my Interpunk stickers came today: Screeching Weasel, The Riverdales, The Queers, and the Ramones. My guitar was also finished up today. I think I’m going to name it “Gwen”, after Peter Parker’s first love. It was, after all, my first guitar. Electric. My first guitar, my Yamaha acoustic, should be called “Liz” after Parker’s high school crush. Yes. I am a geek. For those readers who don’t know, my newest guitar, an Epiphone SG, is named “Mary Jane” after Spider-Man’s wife. Anyway, my guitar has tuners again so I can tune it without trouble. I also picked up Radiohead’s new album, Hail to the Thief, and a new set of strings. Know how much this cost me? $32, and with my $10 gift certificate from the Battle of the Bands that NWI won, it was only $22. I was afraid I’d plonk down over fifty bucks. Now I might even go to the Warped Tour. I need to call my buddy John and see what he’s doing; he usually goes.


Thursday, June 12th, 2003
Current Listening:
NOFX: “The Separation of Church and Skate”
When did punk rock become so tame?
These fucking bands all sound the same

Killing the Hare came over to practice; I joined them to jam out on “The Jungle Song” and an acoustic/electric version of “Blitzkrieg Bop.” Then I went up to Lake Como for Brooke’s “Bye Bye in Germany” thingie. She’s going to Germany for a month.. I wish I could leave the country. But I hate foreign people! (joke). They burned her homework. John Springer was up there; I hadn’t seen him since January during our coinciding Winter Breaks. He goes to MSU, not UM, but I forgive him for that.

This is from my “I was gonna write it in the Blog but blew it off” Archive:


The Science Complex is an ominous building. Huge, menacing, it resembles a miniature Death Star perched below Mount Jumbo. When you factor the dark windows (it was 9:00 PM when I visited it) and the strange whirring fans, it became something otherworldly, like some building from a third-rate Sci-Fi Horror movie (like Gremlins II). But I journeyed within despite the acute terror which had accumulated within me. I did, after all, have to get science credits or I would fail the course.

The interior of the building was much more inviting. There was a Coke machine and a couch in the lobby. What sort of maniacal genius would furnish his hellish anteroom so hospitably? It took a while, but I found the room in which the experiment was being conducted. It wasn’t much of an experiment: no electrodes, no test tubes, no monkeys in cages. Just a form and a questionnaire sheet. They weren’t even terrifying questions: “Have you ever believed you could fly?” No, I am not Superman. I finished the questionnaire, exited the building, and left the once terrifying Science Complex behind.

2002 Top 10 Albums #10: Ben Weasel – Fidatevi

Wednesday, June 11th, 2003

The Top Ten Albums of 2002

#10Ben Weasel – Fidatevi

Ben Weasel has always been known for being, well, a dick. He has a certain way with words in his lyrics that really pushes the snot out. His exploits on his own message board, deriding his fans, are legendary. So when I picked up this record, I expected a lot of snot. Instead what I found was a lot of heart.

It’s hard to imagine, but Ben has always been at least a little grown up. Screeching Weasel’s second-to-last album, Emo was filled with introspection. Some people say it’s their best record (I disagree, I think the more-upbeat Anthem For A New Tomorrow deserves that honor). Think of Fidatevi as its sequel, and this is one of the few rare instances when the sequel is better than the original. “Fidatevi” is apparently (I’m guessing here) Italian, it means “trust in yourself” and “trust in others.” Very uplifting words, but does this record manage to live up to its message?

This record has a confessional feel. The first words out of Ben’s mouth are, “I’ve got six guitars I can barely play and a questionable singing voice as well.” If anything were emo, this album would be it. Ben really has grown a lot since writing songs about Jeannie’s uterus. Perhaps unrestricted by having bandmates to satisfy, he delivers an honesty that you can feel. I get the impression that he’s put on airs in his previous records (sample: Television City Dream‘s “Count to Three”: “I’ve been styling since you wore short pants / Now I’m taking names and kicking ass”). All that is gone: there is no tough-guy posing, real or implied.

The music itself is at the same time punky and laid-back,. Perhaps the standout track, musically, is an acoustic guitar and piano cover of the Kinks’ “Strangers.” The guitars sound more clean than anything else bearing the Weasel brand. Matt from the Teen Idols supplies drums, and Danny Vapid plays guitar and bass and even sings a little bit of lead (“Indecision”). It’s kind of a family affair, but Ben’s touch can be felt all over the record.

Above all, this record is peaceful. It’s nice to know that agorophobic Ben Weasel, not afraid to spew hate at anybody who deserves it, can find a little peace. That means there’s hope for the rest of us. Emo is usually though of as staid, whiny music. Although Fidatevi occasionally approaches whining, it never quite gets there. It is an emo record, then, for those of us who can’t stand it: calm, honest, and emotional without being sappy or whiny. Fidatevi? Absolutely.