Anarcho Punk Albums book review

The first publishing from long time punk site punkonline.co.uk came across my desk. It was a great read packed with a large amount of info from the pioneers of anarcho punk. This book consists of interviews with the bands covering their founding andbthe road to these seminal debut albums such as Crass’s Feeding of the 5000 and Subhumans day the country died. It was freaking great. 20 years ago when I got into punk those were 2 of my first albums. It also covers Zounds and Icons of Filth. The book is fairly cheap or free to read on Kindle unlimited. So get a fucking copy already and read it. Also do be kind enough to review it on Amazon. It means a lot to the author and bands who put this time capsule together for us.

-C Fish

Welcome to the American Fall

The new Anti-Flag album dropped today. It’s the most stoked I’ve been on a new punk album in years. I saw them live a couple weeks back. The new one is a call to action against the neo-liberal order of the previous 8 years and this alt-right status quo the rose of Trump has given us. Stand out track on this is When The Wall Falls. Anti-Flag wrote a kick ass ska track. This is the album we need now. From us old dogs who may feel a bit jaded to the scared kid that may be gay, trans or simply not about the shit happening in these times. This is a battle cry to hold the line and remain human. As always we’ve got this. I’ll see ya when the wall falls.

– C Fish

Writer’s note: stay tuned for a full Punx In Solidarity style Anti Flag article late fall/ early winter. 

Skate Life

Vehicles and oblivious pedestrians are a potential enemy.

Texting and riding is treason.

When you’re out you scan for new spots.

It’s not some toy, it can be how you get around as much as an outlet.

It leads to injury and adventure.

You’ve learned some creative first aid.

You may by about tech and trick and I may be speed in style, but we’re in it together.

Security guards who don’t get it are a drag.

Those who do are our enablers.

You don’t “grow out of it” if you’re real.

If you ever age out you’ll still smile when you see your old setup.

You know surgery is an eventuality.

You take the injuries willingly for the sake of getting gnarly.

Rainy days turn into a risk assessment.

You have a love/ hate relationship with summer.

This was probably the basis for learning how to use tools.

You have a keen insight on packing for day trips.

THIS is skateboarding.

It’s the ride of your life if you just start pushing.

– Maty Almost

Punk Rock Guru Maty Almost

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Maty Almost

Maty’s Corner #34 Close But No Cigar: Millencolin

Maty’s Corner #34

Close But No Cigar:

Millencolin

            Starting in 1992 out of Orebro, Sweden was the flag ship band for Burning Heart records and one of the first skate punk bands I went crazy over, Millencolin. Their name is taken from a skate trick named Melancholy. These guys are an amazing blend of some heart wrenching lyrics and straight shredding. Well, for those of ya who don’t know these guys, let’s solve that problem.

            1994 saw the debut album Tiny Tunes. This was initially released in Europe on Epitaph’s sub label Burning Heart. When it was released in the U.S. the band was forced to rename it Same Old Tunes and change the cover art due to a lawsuit from Warner Brothers. This album was primarily straight ahead skate punk with a few ska punk songs. Stand outs on this include Mr. Clean and Da Strike.

            1995 dropped Life On A Plate. This continued their blend of skate and ska punk songs. Their playing continued to tighten up. Stand out tracks on this include Bullion and Vulcan Ears. This was another solid effort from Millencolin.

            1997 gave us For Monkeys. This had a break out single for this band with Lozin’ Must. An honestly great song. Their sound was getting harder on some songs in this album. The other stand out on this was Twenty Two.

            2000 was Millencolin’s break out release Pennybridge Pioneers. This was their jump from Burning Heart to Epitaph. They had dropped the ska sound and every track on this is solid punk rock. Stand outs on this are Fox, Penguins and Polar Bears and No Cigar. The album title is the English translation of the band’s home town. No Cigar was featured in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2.

            2002 was Home From Home. The Millencolin sound plowed right along in this album. In some was the sound hardened up more on singles like Man or Mouse and Kemp. The true stand out on this album though was Punk Rock Rebel. This is a tribute song for that old dog that got ya into punk to begin with, we all have one.

            2005 gave us Kingwood. There are number of notably harder tracks on this one. Some are at more of a break neck pace than anything this band had done prior. The stand out is a dark and sad song known as Shut You Out though. It’s not a slow song by any means though, it’s a punk rock ballad you can thrash a ramp to.

            2008 was Millencolin’s most current release Machine 15. Through all the years and albums this band hasn’t slowed up one bit. Aside from these releases the singe Nikola has released 4 solo albums. The band continues to tour and are said to be working on a new album. They even had a Vans shoe which I’d like to see come back. So lube up your bearings and play some of the Pennybridge Pioneers at your next skate session.

-Maty Almost

Maty’s Corner #9 Punk Rock Changed Our Lives: Minutemen

Maty’s Corner #9

Punk Rock Changed Our Lives:

Minutemen

 

            Starting in 1980 outta San Pedro, CA was one of punk’s most musically interesting and intense bands, the Minutemen. Consisting of Mike Watt’s bass genius, D Boon’s lyrical prowess and George Hurley’s above and beyond rhythm. They were a blend of punk, hard core and funk. They put out 10 recordings in 5 years. All of which were collected on Post-Mersh 1-3.

            1981-83 was The Punch Line and What Makes a Man Start Fires? These make up Post-Mersh Volume 1. These recordings give an immediate sense of what this band was about. Every song had a point and urgency about it. Some of it sounds like half psychotic Bukowski ramblings, but there was still something that felt important about it.

            1983-85 was Post-Mersh volume 2 which covered Buzz and Project Mersh. The vast majority of there songs go by rapidly, typically under 2 minutes. This gave us I Felt Like a Gringo, great song. Their amazing sound evolved through these recordings.

            1981-85 was Post-Mersh Volume 3. This covers the famous and important Paranoid Time EP, Joy, Bean Spill, Politics of Time and Tour Spiel eps as well. The first stand out from this is Definitions. Much of their best work is from the songs encompassed here. One of their biggest songs was Corona off of Double Nickels On The Dime. It was the Theme song for the show Jackass. Now that you know this amazing band, hear the music and let it marinade your brain!

 

 

-Maty Almost

Maty’s Corner #33 I Was Wasted and Became Damaged! Black Flag

Maty’s Corner #33

I Was Wasted and Became Damaged!

Black Flag

 

            Starting in 1976 Hermosa Beach, CA was Black Flag. That’s right; the most influential hard core band predates most punk. Though from 76 to late 78 they were known as Panic. This amazing unit has burned through more people than an urban wild fire and their influence on both punk rock and skate boarding has had the same effect and intensity. Their ranks have included some of the South Bay scene’s heaviest hitters, including the Descendent’s Bill Stevenson on drums for five years. So drop in and learn or review a thing or two about these guys.

            Black Flag’s first releases are best summed up by The First 4 Years comp. This came out in 1983 and collects all the tracks for Nervous Breakdown, Jealous Again, and Six Pack) arguably the best EPs by any band ever). This covers the first three vocalists. That was Keith Morris who would go on to front Circle Jerks and OFF! Chavo who would return and professionally wound this band a few decades later. And Dez Cadena who would move to guitar for some of the band’s best material.

            1981 gave us Black Flag’s first full album. This was the beginning of the Rollins era. One of the most power house front men in punk and most of rock. This is opens with Rise Above which is a song that has a life of its own. Off of this we also got Six Pack and T.V. Party. This is one of the most influential albums in music itself.

            1984 gave us My War. Instead of trying to re-create Damaged, they chose to evolve creatively. This was much to the chagrin of many punks. It’s part hard core album, part doom metal. I don’t care what anyone says, it’s fucking amazing. This album was influential for many sludge artists, such as Long Beach’s Dystopia, check ‘em out if you want some heavy sounding shit.

            1984 gave us the strangest album, Family Man. It’s part amazing spoken word by Rollins and part weird instrumental stuff. It has one of the creepiest Ray Pettibon (Black Flag’s artist, Ginn’s younger brother and founding bassist) artwork. I’ll admit he Greg Ginn instrumentals on this album seemed a bit self indulgent, but it’s still a pretty cool album.

            1984 (yes they managed to record and release 3 albums in a year) brought us Slip It In. It opens with the gnarly sex song title track. The other stand out is an all time favorite of mine, Black Coffee. This went back to what Black Flag was doing on My War. Which was a good thing after the avante whatever on Family Man.

            1985 brought out Loose Nut. The best track off of this was Annihilate This Week. This album saw further experimentation of the Black Flag sound and Rollins continuing to deliver everything the only way he can, amazing. There are a couple other great tracks off of this. Despite all the complaints, I give the band props for never trying to re-create an older album.

            1985 also busted out with what would be their final album for 28 years, In My Head. Notable tracks off of this are Drinking and Driving and Retired at 21. This had a few more straight up songs than some of the previous albums. Still as good as anything Black Flag had been putting out.

            2013 Black Flag had returned with a new album that I have no kind words for. Chavo was back on vocals and the delivery was an absolute abortion. What The.. is an apt title for this thing. Chavo was so bad that then manager Mike Vallely shit canned him mid show on the tour and took the mic to finish the tour out. So now skate boarding’s bad ass of Mike V is the voice of Black Flag. I am hopeful for the next album and subsequent tour. So Check out those other Black Flag releases if you’ve not given them a chance before. And don’t let Greg Ginn’s legal drama cloud how awesome this band is.

-Maty Almost

Maty’s Corner #32 Keepin’ The Ape Drape Alive: The Vandals

Maty’s Corner #32

Keepin’ The Ape Drape Alive:

The Vandals

 

            Starting 1980 outta Huntington Beach, CA is The Vandals! One of the most recognizable bands in punk. They are survivors of the 1980’s hard core scene who managed to stay punk and not just give up, even after the exit of founding vocalist Stevo Jensen. Along with being a legendary band, they also appeared in the punk rock favorite cult film suburbia and were a staple at the legendary Cuckoo’s Nest during its existence. All while poking fun at everything including punk itself.

            1982,84 and 89 mark the Vandals’ first release. This was initially two separate releases being Peace Through Vandalism and When In Rome, Do As The Vandals. The compilation was released on Mike Ness’ Restless Records. These releases saw The Vandals as a strange mix of hard core and cow punk. It was different from the rest of the musical landscape of the time. These were the only two releases with Stevo as he chose to leave the band. This release contains many of the Band’s best known songs.

            1989 saw Slippery When Ill which was straight up cow punk from this band. This was mostly as a joke on the resurgence in popularity of country music. A great, if not unconventional album. This was the start of Dave Quackenbush on vocals who was rather seemless as he sounded so much like Stevo.

            1990 saw the beginning of The Vandals being a beloved skate punk band with Fear of a Punk Planet. They were still weird as always. This album even includes an odd cover of Summer Lovin’. This was the start of a new era for the Vandals.

            1995 saw them sign to Nitro Records and release Live Fast, Diarrhea. This is a great album. It included the popular song And Now We Dance. The band gained notable popularity due to a song off this and a character wearing their shirts in an episode of X Files. This whole album is solid and has been a favorite of mine for years.

            1996 came out with what was my first and still favorite album The Quickening. This album largely pokes at Anarchism and Nihilism. It tears into a few other themes as well. This and the first release are always what I refer newcomers to as far as this band goes. Another great track is Aging Orange that tears into the music industry.

Settings

            Later in 1996 gave Oi to the World. The Vandals Christmas classic. It’s played in my home every year. Also gave the premise for the Vandals Winter Formal show that occurs in Anaheim every year. Aside from the title track my other stand out is Gun For Christmas. This album was released on Kung Fu Records where the band would later go on to stay.

            1998 gave the release of Hitler Bad, Vandals Good. Another solid one from this band. This has a number of great songs such as People That Are Going To Hell, My Girlfriend’s Dead and Ape Drape. This album had a lot more humor than the face kick of The Quickening.

            2000 gave us Look What I Almost Stepped in. It opens with another middle finger to the music industry. This album would see Brooks Wackerman leave to join Bad Religion (can’t blame him). From here The Vandals would leave Nitro for their own label of Kung Fu.

            2002 saw Internet Dating Super Studs come out. It features 43210-1 which is the theme of The Show Must Go Off series. This album largely poked the humor at internet culture. A stand out off this is Unseen Tears of the Albacore.

            2004 brought us The Vandals most recent release, Hollywood Potato Chip. The title is a reference to “love” stains left on a couch, you’re welcome for that. This album is a bit more aggressive than their last few. It’s like a lot off of The Quickening. So if ya didn’t know the Vandals, go forth and rock the fuck out now!

-Maty Almost

Maty’s Corner #31 I Wanna Be Unusual, I Wanna Be Punk Rock: Guttermouth

Maty’s Corner #31

I Wanna Be Unusual, I Wanna Be Punk Rock:

Guttermouth

Starting in 1988 from Huntington Beach, CA is a band with no middle ground on fan base, Guttermouth. One of the more influential skate punk bands, their lyrics definitely tapped into the attitude and these guys were exactly that. Led by the extremely sensitive Mark Adkins this band knows how to make ya feel special and loved. Actually, they don’t give a crap. Whether you think they’re awesome or they fucking piss you off, if you’ve heard them, you’ve strongly reacted. If you’re able to hang, enjoy the ride, if not, get off the ramp now!

1991 saw their first album titled Full Length. The cd version includes the Puke and Balls EPs. All of this was released on Dr. Strange Records. It would be reissued by Nitro in 1996. These first releases established the band’s presence as a hard driving fuck you of a skate punk band. Songs like 1,2,3, Slam and Bruce Lee Vs. The Kiss Army let us know that things aren’t that serious, so have a good time.

1994 dropped in with Friendly People. This really turned up the offense. Songs like P.C. set the tone for a band that that the “ethical” crowd wasn’t gonna dig on. 10 years after this album they would manage to get pushed out of a warped tour for upsetting a number of bands by not following the established punk rule of falling in line with the democrats. So much for punk being about having your own ideas and opinions.

1996 came out with Teri Yakimoto. They had started getting better musically. The tongue in cheek kept right on going. They had even been working with some harmonies. The Guttermouth sound was still true, just improved.

1997 saw what this band’s best album, Musical Monkey is probably. With songs like Lucky the Donkey, Lipstick, and Do the Hustle nothing was safe or sacred here. The entire album is hilarious and just rages through 28 minutes of punk fucking rock. It’s definitely my favorite. Do the Hustle is also known as Skater’s Anthem. If you don’t know why, find and listen to that song now, then come back to reading.

1999 brought Gorgeous. This would be their last release on Nitro. This had a more aggressive sound than their previous releases. It continues to be as good as their other albums. A highlight track on this is Viva America, reminding us that things could be worse elsewhere in their unique way.

2001 saw their first release on Epitaph. This saw Guttermouth move back to the sound of previous albums. There are several great songs on this, such as Can I Borrow Some Ambition and Secure Horizons. The latter track sounds halfway like financial advice from Mr. Adkins. Also an intimate look at relationships with She’s Got the Look.

2002 gave us Gusto! They got a bit more experimental with the sound here. It’s still good. The opening song is a stand out. The usual insult of the whinier contingent of the punk scene. Scholarship in punk and Contribution are also great tracks. Critics and fans bitched about the album being so different. Well, fuck the critics, and if you love a band, you’ll learn to adjust.

2004 saw Guttermouth sign to Volcom Entertainment and release Eat Your Face. The cover looks like a joke on the over angry crust punk bands who feel a need to put some fucked up looking starving child on every bands’ fucking album. Note: calm the fuck down Profane Existence, your making punk a dousche instead of a threat. Moving along, this is a great album seeing this crew go back to the sound we know and love so those who can’t adapt could stop freaking out. Great track here is Surf’s Up Asshole.

2006 saw what is their most recent release, Shave the Planet. Best track on this is My Chemical Imbalance. This is as good as their whole catalogue. They are currently active on Hopless records touring. Hopefully they’ll put an album out sooner or later. No go put on some Guttermouth and fucking shred!

 

-Maty Almost

Maty’s Corner #30 D Term Nation Strikes Small Town: The LINE

Maty’s Corner #30

D Term Nation Strikes Small Town:

The LINE

 

            Starting in 1995 outta Big Bear Lake, CA was the LINE. The most unique and interesting skate punk band and my personal favorite. The music is a blend 90’s skate punk, 80’s hard core and a bit of stoner metal. These guys blew up pretty big in my hometown scene of Big Bear, CA. This band was put together by Ryan Immegart (Volcom’s first sponsored snow boarder and co-founder of Volcom Entertainment.) Info on this band has been difficult to come by, so some parts of this article are on the fly, appropriate I’m sure.

            1995… maybe, saw their first release, Self Titled Again. Right at the drop in these guys were more technical players than most of their contemporaries. This album is shows influences like Guttermouth, but has instrumental skill akin to and above Propagandhi. These guys defiantly had their shit together before hitting the studio.

            1997 brought us their second release Auricle. While still being to the core skate punk, they had evolved in their playing. I tend to think this distinction might have a bit to do with why they didn’t get as big as Pennywise for instance. The stand out track on this is Destructive Preservation. Don’t get me wrong, I love all the other bands I’ve mentioned, the LINE just had something going on that no one else was trying. It takes pretty big balls to take a risk, something to be expected from one of the gnarliest snow boarders.

            2000 came out with Dissimilar. This album featured what is probably this band’s biggest song D Term Nation, one of my favorite songs period. The song became pretty much a theme for snowboarding and skate in my town. It really meant something when the Winter X Games happened about 2 miles from where I lived. The entire album is solid. This saw them experimenting with a bit of thrash and metal influence but keeping true to their punk roots.

            2001 saw what would be the LINE’s final release, Monsters We Breed. The musical progression of this unit continued on. The stand out on this is Earthworm Crisis, I think it’s about a prisoner awaiting execution for some horrible crime. Damn shame this band hung it up, but the 4 solid releases keep living on. Get a hold of this stuff, then grab your skate or snowboard and fucking shred the gnar!

You can get their music at http://volcomentertainment.bandcamp.com/

-Maty Almost