Tag: Punk rock

MUSIC REVIEW | Titus Andronicus – The Monitor (2010)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “A lot more wide ranging than the punk rock genre definer would usually indicate.”

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When you do a Google search for “Titus Andronicus band”, the description for their official site reads, “Specializing in punk since 2005”.  How could I not be impressed by a band undertaking such a noble endeavour for over a decade?  That’s the kind of thing that makes it feel like it’s my musical civic duty to listen to at least one of their records.  One of their records like The Monitor.

Namechecking New Jersey before declaring, “Baby we were born to die” is an obvious reference to the 80s, studio rock and roll of people like Bruce Springsteen.  But A More Perfect Union has none of their slick sheen of those songs or that era.  There’s a lo-fi, dirt to this song, even when the playing is air tight.  And the wavering in Patrick Stickles’ voice gives everything a raw sincerity. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | White Lung – Paradise (2016)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “Every song on Paradise is unmistakeably the work of one band”.

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I love punk rock.  But technically, I can probably only claim to really love 90s, Californian punk rock, because that represents a solid 99% of the punk I listen to.  So in an effort to drag my musical tastes into the modern day, I’m giving White Lung a red hot crack with their latest, Paradise.

What happens if you take the instruments, effects pedals and overblown production grandeur of a band like Evanescence, then use them to make some angry girl punk rock?  You get Dead Weight, one of the most exciting introductions to an album and a band that I have heard in a long, long time.  The same aesthetic, now with added spooky keyboards works just as well on Narcoleptic. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | Social Distortion – Social Distortion (1990)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “I like all of these sings individually.  But ten Social Distortion songs in a row does get a little redundant.”

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80s and 90s Californian punk rock fills a fairly large section of musical library.  Bands like Bad Religion, The Vandals, NOFX, Guttermouth represented almost all of my listening in the early 2000s, and they still get a regular run today.  But it’s a time and region so rife with amazing music, there are bands I’m aware of and like, who I still have never really dedicated much time to their work.  Including Social Distortion.  Which is why I just listened to their self titled record, Social Distortion.

Punk rock rawness with a big, mainstream metal sound, So Far Away has a super slick, studio sound.  But the voice of Mike Ness is too real and gritty for any engineer to ever polish completely.  It’s such a great way to open an album, and announce its intentions.  They might be punk rockers, but Social Distortion never let that be an excuse for lazy song writing, structure or half assed execution. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | The Vandals – Fear of a Punk Planet (1991)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “Sometimes, I just need something light and fun from my punk rock.  Sometimes, I just need the Vandals.”

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Picture it, Brisbane Australia at the turn of the millennium, a young Pete Laurie gets obsessed with Bad Religion, and very quickly sees that obsession spread to their So-Cal contemporaries.  Snot nosed teens in the 80s who kept their bands together long enough to perfect their craft and become punk rock elder statesman in the 2000s.  What that meant was literally dozens of records to catch up from bands a like NOFX, Guttermouth and The Vandals.  While Bad Religion tackled the big issues, Guttermouth focused on giving society an adolescent middle finger long after their own adolescence were over, and NOFX graduated from finger giving to tackling big issues.  But The Vandals focused more on keeping it light, fun and tight.  With a constantly changing line up over their first few years and albums, things began to solidify with Fear of Punk Planet.

The Vandals have always specialised in the mundanity of life.  They’re not system fighting, issue driven, machine against raging punk rockers.  They’re much more interested in giving the small moments of everyday life a kick of punk energy.  Like having a crush on a local Vietnamese pizza delivery girl in a song like Pizza Tran.  It’s A.D.D, frantic pace never gets in the way of its punk edge.  An edge that still somehow manages to shine through on the mix of glam rock, hair metal and disco that is The Rodge. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | The Clash – Cut the Crap (1985)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “Is there a worse final album from a band this revered?”

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By the mid 80s, The Clash were seven or eight years, and five albums into being a hugely successful, internationally renowned band.  They had played a major part in taking punk rock to the world, and released several records that are still seen as masterpieces three decades later.  Then, they fired half of their seminal line up, lead guitarist Mick Jones and drummer Topper Headon.  One album later, the band would be completely broken up and much mudslinging would ensue.

In this revisit of the band’s discography, I’ve been kind of dreading this last album.  It doesn’t have the greatest reputation, and I was always partial to the slightly poppier tendencies of Jones and the way he counter balanced the aggression of Joe Strummer.  But now, I just found another reason to expect the worst form Cut the Crap, it’s not on Spotify.  Every other studio album, live release and compilation is on there right now, for your listening pleasure.  But no Cut the Crap, almost like the surviving members of The Clash would prefer to pretend it never happened. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | The Clash – Sandinista! (1980)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “It’s a long haul, but one that only feels like hard work in seldom, fleeting moments.”

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When it comes to musicians and bands, there’s prolific, then there’s posthumous 2Pac, and then, there’s The Clash.  As a recording band, they were only in existence for eight years, in which time they released six studio albums.  At least four of which are still seen as classics.  In their first four years alone, they released four albums.  Including the double vinyl London Calling.  And this, the beyond epic, triple vinyl monster that is Sandinista!

A monster that starts amazingly strong with Magnificent Seven.  Built around what might be one of the greatest basslines in rock history, Joe Strummer’s seething anger is at a clenched maximum from the get go, setting a very high bar for the record to maintain for staggering 35 more tracks. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | The Clash – London Calling (1979)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “Such a varied, wide ranging album sonically and stylistically.”

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Before I started listening to London Calling for this review, I already had an intro half written in my head.  I was gonna talk about how it was the pivot point between The Clash proving themselves with the first two records, then using the mainstream mega success gained here to attempt something a little more ambitious with the triple album epic, Sandinista.  Turns out I was wrong about all of it.

While London Calling is the iconic record and image of the band today, it’s predecessor was actually a bigger chart hit back in the day.  And as far as ambitious, epic records go, I had no idea that London Calling was itself just that, with 19 tracks clocking in at well over an hour.  So while I assumed this would be the most familiar Clash album in this career retrospective, I was really pumped to realise just how blind I was going into this legendary and important piece of rock and roll history. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | The Clash – The Clash (1977)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “One of the most important records in rock and roll history.”

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When people talk about the origins of punk rock, bands like The Ramones, The Sex Pistols and The Clash are usually pretty quickly mentioned.  Here’s the thing, I like the Ramones, but I think they basically just sped up and turned up classic 50s rock n roll.  And I think The Sex Pistols were basically nothing more than a manufactured boy band, not much different to New Kids on the block or One Direction.  But The Clash, they’re a band I can get on board with being hailed as pioneers.  Not just in punk rock, but in rock in general.  So, I decided to make my way through their catalogue for Bored and Dangerous, starting where they did, with their eponymous debut, 1977’s The Clash.

With its urgent, impatient drums and Joe Strummer’s just as urgent vocals, Janie Jones is a pretty amazing way for a band to kick off their debut album.   It might not be as loud, or fast, or heavy as punk would become, but that doesn’t mean it lacks any of the attitude or energy.   It sets such an urgent tone, Remote Control comes off as almost restrained and pretty in comparison.  In two songs, this fledgling band pretty much justifies being the revered icons they have been for almost four decades. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | Dag Nasty – Can I Say (1986)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says; “I have no idea how consistent their output stayed over the years, but Can I Say makes me really interested to find out.”

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In the early, early 80s, Brian Baker was a founding member of hardcore, punk rock legends, Minor Threat. Since the mid 90s, Brian Baker has been a core member of one of my favourite bands of all time, and by far my absolute favourite punk rock band of all time, Bad Religion. I may have listened to Bad Religion more than any other band in the last 15 or so years (I even stole the name for this site by bastardising one of their song titles), and Baker’s blistering guitar work is a big reason why. Which was I was stoked to discover that he had another band in between his two higher profile genre definers. A band called Dag Nasty, which released an album called Can I Say.

Straight away, Values Here makes me think Dag Nasty must have had a big influence on Pennywise.   The making the best of the limited vocals approach of Dag Nasty’s Dave Smalley can definitely be heard in the voice of Jim Lindberg from Pennywise. While Baker’s octave spanning, riff heavy guitar work makes this single guitar band so much bigger. A tactic employed by guitarist Fletcher Dragge in pretty much every Pennywise song worth your time. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | Suicidal Tendencies – Suicidal Tendencies (1983)

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After its sonic mess of an intro, the second Suicides an Alternative/You’ll Be Sorry really kicks, I feel like I’m back in a time, place and scene I never experienced in real life. This is exactly what I assume certain sections of LA sounded like if you were a punk fan in the early 80s. And I know that seems pretty obvious since this is a release from an LA punk band in 1983. But why and how does it give me a sort of sense memory?

Something so unique to this band, and one of the reasons I’ve always known I needed to listen to more, is the vocal stylings of Mike Muir. He has a certain frustration and desperation to his voice, like he almost can’t believe the world has got to a stage where he has to sing about the things he’s singing about. Like they should have been sorted long before he ever got behind the mic. And the fact that a song titled I Shot the Devil opens with the line, “I shot Reagan”, kind of perfectly explains the frustrations I can hear in his voice. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | Ramones – Ramones (1976)

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I’m a big punk rock fan. Mainly of 90s, Californian punk rock like Bad Religion, Guttermouth, The Vandals and NOFX. Which I’m sure traditional punk rock fans would think makes me a poser. I like The Clash, I find the Sex Pistols supremely over rated. But to me, my love of 90s punk rock has always made me a little scared to give the Ramones a go. I like what I’ve heard, but it sounds so simple and innocent. I also think it all sounds exactly the same. How many times can I hear the same song with s different name? And if I don’t like it, am I bad punk rock fan? With my fandom on the line, I took the plunge anyway, and listed to Ramones.

Opening with one of the songs I have heard plenty of times before and assumed represented everything else I’d hear on this record, Blitzkrieg Bop is a cool enough two minutes of poppy punk and gets the job done without ever outstaying its welcome. Which leads into an early pleasant surprise with Beat on the Brat. It’s not like every other Ramones song I’ve ever heard. Despite its simple guitar sound, it’s almost a little 80s new wave and pretty far from what I expected from this record. While still sounding exactly like the Ramones. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | Cutters – We Are the Quarry (2014)

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In a scant 87 seconds, the opening, titular track manages ethereal tinklings, anthemic declarations, soaring guitars, rolling bass and a whole lot of energy that makes it impossible to not to get a little pumped about what this record might have to offer. Next up, Cutters and We Are the Quarry offers something more straight forward, in your face, but no less interesting in its mixing of classic punk rock, and something a little more modern and jangled in Good Morning Boys.

If a lyric could ever embody the sound of a song perfectly, it would be, “I will set this town on fire, burn this country to the ground” from Savage Nights. This explosion of a song is those words brought to musical life. Then it’s time for a breather with X-Cutioner’s Song and Excitable Liefeld. Two songs that prove that Cutters don’t need high volume and high energy to make a song highly interesting. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | The Coathangers – Suck My Shirt (2015)

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I recently googled, “Best female punk bands 2015”. Immediately, all I could think was, why I didn’t I do this long ago? I love punk rock. I love girl fronted rock of any denomination. It seems so obvious now. And the first bounty of my labour is The Coathangers with Suck My Shirt.

Like the record cover suggested, this is old school, stripped back, no fucking around punk rock. Opening trio Follow Me, Shut Up and Springfield Cannonball are all simple power chords or single note, progressions, driving four-four beats and not a single frill to be found anywhere. This is the kind of record where even The Ramones might suggest slowing things down and complexing things up a little. And that makes for an awesome start. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | Dot Dash – Earthquakes & Tidal Waves (2015)

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Dot Dash is made up of ex-members from a variety of Washington DC bands. The one I was most familiar with was Minor Threat. So before I pressed play on Earthquakes & Tidal Waves, I had a preconceived notion that was all punk rock and hard core based. And if Earthquakes & Tidal Waves had delivered on that preconception, I would have been a pretty happy camper. Instead, Earthquakes & Tidal Waves gave me something much more unexpected, and therefore, something much more interesting.

Punk at its most melodious, Winter of Discontent is the perfect opener. Because it shows that melody doesn’t necessarily mean softening anything. There’s still room for shredding guitars and plenty of attitude. When the bouncing bass line of Flowers gives way to lyrics that list off dance fads from across the decades, it shows a great combination of tribute and throwback, without becoming a cheap imitation. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | Rollins Band – Weight (1994)

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I’m a huge punk rock fan.  I’m a pretty big Henry Rollins fan.  So I should love Black Flag.  But there’s something about the hard core approach to punk that’s never grabbed me.  Maybe I’m too milquetoast and suburban in my musical tastes, but I as much as I appreciate aggression in music, I don’t want it at the expense of melody.  Which is why I’ve always preferred my Henry Rollins music in the form of Rollins Band.  Rollins Band was loud and angry, but went beyond the ironically strict rules of punk rock, delving into hints of metal, funk, blues and straight up rock and roll.  While Rollins Band kicked off pretty much immediately after Black Flag disbanded in 1986., the real breakthrough for Henry’s titular band was 1994’s Weight.

Restrained by Henry standards, Disconnected gets things started with a held back tempo and deliberate brooding.  But the rock is there straight after on Fool.  Rollins vocals are often half spoken, half sung, but he gets so in the pocket of the groove of Fool, that while it might not vary much in pitch, there’s still a real melody to it.  And the shredding guitar solo from Chris Haskett doesn’t hurt either. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | Misfits – Walk Among Us (1982)


When there’s a classic band I know I need to listen too, I always assume that I should start with something from nice and early in their career.  When I go to their Wikipedia page and see that there are 18 names listed in the ‘former members’ section, I know for a fact that I need to start nice and early.  Misfits and Glenn Danzig are names that I know I need to be more familiar with if I’m going to call myself a punk rock fan.  So here I am, with their Danzig fuelled debut, Walk Among Us.

Immediately, I see that it’s 13 tracks in 24 minutes.  That’s an awesome sign for two reasons.  One, almost every song ever recorded would be better if trimmed to some degree.  So to see a band working so economically is always promising.  The other upside is, even if I hate it, it’s only half an hour of my life.  But three and half minutes in, and I know I don’t have to worry about that.  Because 20 Eyes and I Turned Into a Martian are the kinds of songs that prove breakneck speed and a total lack of extras doesn’t mean a sacrifice in melody or musicality. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | ***SWANSONG WEEK*** Dead Kennedys – Bedtime for Democracy (1986)

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I love punk rock.  Yet for my entire life, I’ve actively avoided the Dead Kennedys.  I don’t know why.  They’re supposed to be a very important and influential part of the punk rock story.  Actually, I do know why.  It’s because Dead Kennedys front man, Jello Biafra, seems like a complete dick.  The few times I’ve been unfortunate enough to hear or see an interview with him, he just comes across as his own biggest fan.

He’s not funny, he’s not insightful and he’s not some hell raising anarchist sticking it to the man by telling it like it is.  But his smug, smarmy delivery makes me think he thinks he’s hilarious, he thinks he spouts truths that the rest of us could never even understand, and he thinks he’s the last great punk, railing against the system.  So, on that positive note, let’s listen to the Dead Kennedy’s original farewell, Bedtime for Democracy. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | The Buzzcocks – Another Music in a Different Kitchen (1978)

True pioneers in the world of punk rock, The Buzzcocks might not have quite the notoriety or layman recognition as their contemporaries The Sex Pistols, but I’d say their reputation is a little more enduring to anyone who has even the smallest interest in the genre. While the Pistols were basically a manufactured boy band whose songs were little more than a nuisance to get in the way of their posing, The Buzzcocks seem more like a an actual band of actual musicians who’s music came first. What am I basing this on? Mainly on wild conjecture, ill informed opinion and not much else. But that seems fitting when talking about 70s punk rock.

Like The Ramones, their equivalent across the pond, opening songs Fast Cars and No Reply show a Buzzcocks reliance on simple chants, a four-four machine gun approach to rhythm, and as little vocal range as possible. It’s a beautifully simplicity approach that works because it’s so beautifully simplistic. (more…)