Sunday, March 21, 2010

Review #86: Black Flag - Six Pack (Single) (1981)

SIX PACK (Single)

Year: 1981
Genre: Punk Rock
Label: SST Records

5 Minutes (Very Short)
My Rating:

"Six Pack" is among the most popular and well-known songs by Black Flag. It's somewhat the signature song of the Dez Cadena era, the Black Flag vocalist who had rough, harsh vocals like no other. Some consider his vocals even more brutal than Henry Rollins. They never really released an album with Dez, but they did release two singles, and some of his lesser-known work is on the compilation titled "Everything Went Black". The single also contains two B-Sides, which I personally consider better than the A-Side... funny how things work, isn't it? Well, the cover is an early work by Raymond Pettibon, portraying a punk painting himself into a corner because the band believed that "punk was painting itself into a corner." And while that could be summed up as the main philosophy of Black Flag, this record, along with everything that came before it is linear and "normal" enough for just about any self-proclaimed punk fan to enjoy. I wouldn't doubt that the ironic nature of the title song was lost on some early fans, though...

1. Six Pack
Begins with a downbeat bass-driven melody, and an abrasive guitar section. The intro suddenly transforms into a speedy, upbeat song about a guy who dislikes most people and would rather just spend all of his time with a six-pack of beer and get wasted.

2. I've Heard it Before
The intro is a spoken (or should I say 'yelled') piece with a lot of lead-guitar and a beat that progressively gets faster and faster. The main section is a faster part like in "Six Pack". The chorus is pretty catchy. A classic teenage rebel anthem about being tired of hearing the same rhetoric forced onto you when you wanna break free from the useless rules! Something I've definitely been feelin' lately.

3. American Waste
My favorite song on the 7"! It's got a great riff, a fast beat, and great lyrics. It's about feeling lost amidst the large American system, not wanting to die as another slave to it, but living for your own dreams, not "burning up in the heap" like the rest seem to mindlessly do.

As I said before, it's a classic punk record and if you were to ask some random person what their favorite Black Flag album was (if they've even heard of Black Flag), they might just name this one. It's short, but satisfying. The band released another two-song 7" record with Dez Cadena on vocals and one side contained a cover of "Louie, Louie" by the Kingsmen, and another side contained "Damaged", the first slow song Black Flag ever did. The song "Six Pack" on this single would later be re-recorded and sung by Henry Rollins on the band's debut EP. But, I'm not really even supposed to be writing any of this because a few days ago I got grounded for -- GASP -- making my own rock music! How depraved of me, right? Well, even this record gives me comfort that someone else expresses the same sentiments as I am, right now; in a world where even my own friends are preaching to me about what's wrong or right in life and slowly growing up before my eyes. It's nice to hear from someone else that it's okay to rebel.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Review #85: Dead Kennedys - Give Me Convenience Or Give Me Death


Year: 1987
Genre: Punk Rock
Hardcore, Post-Punk
Label: Alternative Tentacles

51 Minutes (Short)
My Rating:

If you hate to hear this, I'm sorry, but some politically-charged rock is just plain bad. I can understand if you want to use music for a platform of promoting your politics, but if your band's beliefs are sucking the creativity out of its music, then maybe you should consider being something else. I don't like feeling like I'm being preached to in church when I'm supposed to be listening to something enjoyable. Still, the Dead Kennedys are a different case. Their music is so artistically captivating that you can fully understand what they are trying to tell you in the emotions, music, tones, and lyrics used. You WANT to listen. Always interesting and far from un-entertaining, part of the secret to the genius of the Dead Kennedys/Jello Biafra is their ability to portray a situation from the antagonist's point of view. Listening to a Dead Kennedys song pits the Bad Guy against YOU, as he proudly and coldheartedly informs you of how he is going to tear you and your country down. You hear these words, almost induced into a state in which you believe that you are actually hearing the politician/dictator/government/religious leader/corporation speak right to you, and it makes you mad. You WANT to fight back now, and it doesn't take any more bullshit preachiness. Not just this, the Dead Kennedys were strong advocates against what might now be considered "posers" in the scene; the lugheaded assholes sticking around to smash some heads and listen to music that sounds exactly the same again and again. The band experimented with psychedelic rock, western music, swing, and electronic music, adding to their zany flair. The band's politics and music and built them a large fanbase and the band existed for nearly a decade until breaking up in 1986.

The band released many albums, but they did many other things as well, such as writing songs that never made it onto this album and releasing 7" singles with other songs on 'em. This album does its best to keep a hold of all of the odds and ends left over from the Dead Kennedys' career, about a year after they disbanded, and it's the last Dead Kennedys release approved of by Jello Biafra, the original and true frontman of the band.

1. Police Truck
Originally the B-Side to the "Holiday in Cambodia" single. It's an upbeat song about asshole pigs who like to ride around, get wasted, beat up drunks, and sexually harass women they arrest. When someone asks them if they're "doing something wicked", they reply "No siree, Jack, just giving out tickets!" -- HAH!

2. Too Drunk to Fuck
Originally the A-Side of a single. An energetic surf rockish songy. One of their most famous songs. Basically making fun of drunk people and the stupidity that often ensues in drunkeness. Yes, I'm guilty too! I think my problem is that I'm too sober to fuck, to be honest. My favorite line was at the end about having diarrhea. After the song ends, you can hear a person puking into a flushing toilet.

3. California Uber Alles
Ah yes, the most famous Dead Kennedys song second to you-know-what. It compares the far-leftist mayor of California, Jerry Brown, to a hippie Nazi, enforcing his "mellow and hip" lifestyle on all citizens of California! This version is a little different from the Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables version in that it's older than that version and it's a bit slower as well.

4. The Man With the Dogs
The B-Side to the "California Uber Alles" single. We've all seen this man at one point or another, probably more than once. He hangs out in the city with his only companions, two dogs. People are creeped out by him. He bares all. He does not pretend to be any more than he is. However, he observes the others who he despises as being no more than mere rodents, and dreams of the day when he can "crack open their masks."

5. In-Sight
The B-Side to the "Kill the Poor" single. Another song with awesome lyrics. Basically about a group of douchebag friends who sneer and laugh at a "weird kid" from their school who sets his papers on fire, sits in a corner, gets bored by their behaviors, never hangs out with the girls, and often gets beat up. As the friends graduate and begin "planning their careers", the kid who they think is so weird remarks that they're "getting old". And they are.

6. Life Sentence
The B-Side to "Bleed For Me". A very fast song about something I have seen happen so much around me. Once-rowdy high school kids grow old, worry about being mature enough and their careers while they lose their youthfulness. Something I don't wanna fucking do. Therefore, this song has a lot of meaning for me. It actually seems to be a continuation of the theme on

7. A Child And His Lawnmower
The lyrics are about some guy who shot his own lawnmower because it wouldn't work and was dragged into court because of it, only to get right out after paying the fine. The moral here is to not be a macho destructive idiot because "if you did, you'd have half a brain left". One of the shortest songs on the album.

8. Holiday in Cambodia
The most famous Dead Kennedys song. Now being used in car commercials, video games, and the like, it is quite well-known in mainstream music fandom possibly for those reasons, and also because it's just a catchy, fun song. This iz the version from the single in 1980. This version mocks the mainstream "liberal elite" kids who think they've "seen it all from daddy's car", but back east "their type don't crawl" -- telling the kids who think American life is tough to cheer up because even the hardest times in America are still "a holiday in Cambodia". The vocal harmonies in the chorus are great.

9. I Fought the Law (And I Won)
Another happy, poppy sort of song. However, the lyrics are about a pretty serious situation in America; the Law can't even obey its own damn laws! Being in the KKK, shooting people, stealing money -- it is revealed at the end that the narrator here IS the Law! What irony.

10. Saturday Night Holocaust
The B-Side to "Halloween". It starts extremely slow, noisy, and creepy, with curious musings of a small town on strange smells and auras of poisonous material pervading their town as they try to ignore it all and get back to work... the fries at A&W are tastin' a little strange, and beyond their sight there are PEOPLE locked into cattle cars! That's when the song gets faster and a lil' more serious, as he goes over a plethora of social problems in the good ol' U.S. of A... the song ends in a quiet, sensual wooing to the girl with "Barbie doll lips" and a "spandex ass" mentioned in an earlier verse in the song.

11. Pull My Strings
This song was recorded at a live concert. It's about your typical dumbass "rockstar" who plays music just to get rich and live a life of luxury, with their lack of creative talent just to make a quick buck. The song parodies "My Sharona" in one bridge section, and another section of the song is done in a reggae style. This song still applies to all of the fucking fools in the mainstream music industry today.

12. Short Songs
Another live recording. It's a short song about, well, short songs. It's a short song for the sake of being short (half a minute). I have, however, written shorter songs than this. Not to brag or anything. Hehe.

13. Straight A's
More live Dead Kennedys! The song's upbeat, but it's pretty dark, lyrically. It's about a 16-year-old nerd who devotes his whole life to getting good grades in school due to pressure from his family and his school, as people laugh at him when he fails at something; leading to him contemplating suicide. He eventually does off himself, but "nobody remembers him", except for when they for a brief moment think about the possibilities... and then go back to their horrendous social structure that killed their boy in the first place!

14. Kinky Sex Makes the World Go Around
A mock-phone call from the Secretary of War to Margaret Thatcher set to a spooky Dead Kennedys soundtrack... the plan involves sending the amount of "useless" young people off to war, putting them on drugs, giving them guns, and dispatching them into many different 3rd-world countries. The sad thing is that this is all being done to "boost economic growth"... sad, isn't it? Well, it's not a real phone call, but this doesn't seem too far off from the truth, y'know... 'specially since the economy's not doing so well, right now. I might also add that during the entire dialouge of the phonecall, Margaret Thatcher is moaning in orgasming in a somewhat creepy way.

15. The Prey
This one's about a mugger whose "prey" are people with a lot of money, looking at the size of their wallets and sneakin' up on them until he can strike. You can feel yourself following in the footsteps of the song's protagonist, as you imagine yourself following an imaginary victim. This song is done in a slow, mellow, bassy style... sorta like lounge music.

16. Night of the Living Rednecks
One more live song! This song was completely improvised, featuring Klaus Floride, the bassist playing a bebop-style bassline and an accompanying beat, in which Jello begins telling a story about a time he was in Oregon, late at night, and is harrassed by a group of jocks in a blue pickup truck which looked like a "life-sized Hot Wheels car" yelling "HEY FAGGOT!" at 'im, and pouring water on him, much to Jello's dismay. He later met the douchebags again, as they asked him where the nearest McDonald's was, and Jello didn't know, so they poured water on him again, to which this time Jello responded by throwing a rock at their truck. And, like all over-reactive douchebags, the jocks responded by threatening violence, screaming "WE'RE GONNA KILL YOU, FAGGOT", as Jello was extremely nervous, attempting to hide. Taking cues from a group of mocking onlookers, he decides to actually pretend to be insane, begging to be put away in a mental hospital... the jocks don't like this, and call the POLICE on him. Well, the police arrive, clear up the mess, and everyone goes home. The End. Jello tells East Bay Ray to fix his guitar so they can play another one of their "real songs"...

17. Buzzbomb from Pasadena
Something of a sequel to the song "Buzzbomb" from "Plastic Surgery Disasters" with a TWIST -- the song is sung by an old lady! It's pretty funny in that aspect, hearing an old lady sing macho-typical lyrics about her muscle-machine car which she seems to love more than people. The journey ends when a group of cops corner her at a 7-11, shooting her car up and eventually killing the elderly driver.

"Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death" was a result of many different recording sessions which spanned the band's career, from the earliest 7" singles to out-takes from their later records to demos and live recordings. It was released a year after the band broke up, so it can be considered their "last album" in a sense. While there are many other great songs that the Dead Kennedys wrote and albums they released besides what's all here, even this album really does sum up what the band was all about. The band actually reformed in 2001, but without a certain key member... JELLO! Well, Jello had opposed to the idea, and continued his activities of playing in other bands, performing spoken word pieces, and political activism. The band actually did in fact, SUE Jello Biafra himself over legal disputes over who owned the songs (even though Jello wrote nearly all of 'em). The new band did things that it would have spat upon under Jello's control, such as performing at a Coca-Cola sponsored show at one point, and allowing their music to be used for large corporations such as car companies. Because of all of this controversy, the band once again is not performing anymore since 2008. Jello Biafra is currently the frontman for a band called "The Guantanamo School of Medicine", a band which could be considered his own modern-day equivalent to the Dead Kennedys.

Top 3 Favorites:
1. Life Sentence
2. Night of the Living Rednecks
3. Saturday Night Holocaust

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Review #84: The Melvins - With Yo' Heart, Not Yo' Hands (Single) (1990)


Year: 1990
Genre: Punk Rock
Grunge, Post-Punk
Label: Sympathy For the Record Industry

8 Minutes (Short)
My Rating:

I read somewhere that Buzz Osborne considers the early grunge band Malfunkshun one of the greatest bands to come out of the Seattle scene. Though they never released an actual record (they were featured on the Deep Six compilation) during the lifetime of frontman Andrew Wood (an LP was finally released in 1995), they accumulated quite a positive reputation, and were one of the top bands of the early grunge scene in the mid 1980s, before the word "grunge" was ever even once used to describe it! Judging by the release date of the album (Andrew Wood passed away in 1990 right before Mother Love Bone's debut LP came out), this was likely a tribute to the man, or at least a sad case of irony. It's also interesting for having two different B-Side tracks, little-known cuts that many Melvins fans have not heard. These include the short-but-sweet sludge-punk beauty of "Four Letter Woman" and the humorous sample-laden "Anal Satan".

1. With Yo' Heart, Not Yo' Hands
As you might already know, it's a Malfunkshun cover. The lyrics seem somewhat sexual, maybe a dark love song of some sort. It's slow and quite lead driven. The riff is sinister and bleak. The song ends in a final blitz of feedback and noise that feel like electricity. It's over four minutes long. Now let's listen to the next songs...

2. Four-Letter Woman
It took me awhile to figure this out, but I think the "four letter woman" is Lori. L-O-R-I. Like, from the Melvins. She plays bass guitar on this album. The song variates from hardcore punk pounding to sludge-metal thumping, with a murky, cool riff. Buzz's vocals are great in this song, he makes great use a vibrato technique in the sung section. The song ends in a section similar to the part that precedes the verse section. The song is under two minutes long.

3. Anal Satan
This one to me totally sounds like a Butthole Surfers song. Yet the Melvins are indeed demented enough to come up with a song like this. The song ends with Buzz yelling "YOU'RE GOING TO THE PRINCIPAL'S OFFICE!! YOU'RE GOING TO GET A SPANKINGG!!". The song uses a heavy amount of industrial/hip-hop style sampling, slowed down fragments, sped-up clippets, and clips of Dale from the Melvins dissing Bruce Pavitt from Sub-Pop Records for not originally putting out this record like they intended. The main lyrics are clips of two different voices shouting "ANAL! SATAN..." -- quite a fun song, showing the Melvins deviating from their main trade. The song ends with a semi-musical fanfare from what sounds like a chainsaw.

Well, I thought it was quite good for a somewhat obscure 3-song 7" vinyl EP record thing that you put in your record player that spins it around so it can play a pattern of sounds based off of the grooves in the aforementioned piece of plastic that creates noises that do in fact resemble the Melvins playing music for you. To be honest, the A-Side I didn't enjoy as much as the B-Sides. Say what you will. I just haven't gotten ultra into it, yet. I actually liked the original Malfunkshun version better. I guess that iz to be expected, though. One thing I noticed about this album's art though is a certain kreepy kreature that is also on the art for the "Oven" single from 1989... do you think THIS guy is the "Anal Satan" we've been hearing about so much?

..........(Exhibit A) ....................... (Previous Sighting, c. '89)

Now think about it before you judge... if Satan DOES exist, then nobody living knows what he looks like so we can not instantly be sure if he really IS a red guy with horns. Maybe because, as we all know, that the Melvins have been to Hell and back (Brian Walsby drew him), they have indeed seen the guy -- and THIS is what he looks like! Also, note the position that his neck arises from... it could be a pretty damn long neck, sticking out of the collar of the man's shirt, all the way from inside... the ANUS! This could indeed be the Anal Satan... a proper reminder to eat a non-Satanic diet... like, of sacrificed baby-meat and stuff.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Review #83: Hüsker Dü - Zen Arcade (1984)


Year: 1984
Genre: Punk Rock
Hardcore, Post-Punk
Label: SST Records

70 Minutes (Long)
My Rating:

Many say that this album was something of a major turning point for Hüsker Dü as well as punk rock in general. Regarded as one of the first "alternative rock" (whatever that is) albums ever, it's essentially a hardcore punk record with a lot of creativity and new experimentation -- pianos, acoustic numbers. It's even a rock opera! -- possibly the first punk opera ever. The story is pretty simple, but the colors used to portray it give the ride much more depth. What IS that story? Well, basically, a young nerd living in a broken home with incessant fighting and abuse between his parents, alienated by the distress, finally decided to seek true escape from the miserable life and runs away. As he experiences new things about the "real world", the new lands filled with hope and excitement quickly transform into a world darker than where he was in the first place, as he fights to survive. What's the ending?? Well, we'll just see at the end...

1. Something I Learned Today
A near-epic yet seemingly simple opener. Begins with pattering drums with a curious bassline which explodes into a fiery, brave riff which seems to promise new worlds of exploration. The lyrics seem to provide insight into the mind of a disillusioned child. Still, the song just barely scratches the two-minute mark.

2. Broken Home, Broken Heart
In this song we get to peer into the physical realm of our protagonist's existence... a realm where there is little peace even in a place of supposed safety: his (her?) home. With Mom and Dad fighting all of the time, the song explains that it's difficulty for him to even get any sleep at night. Coolest part, musically: the instrumental part punctuating each verse and chorus with the twice repeated four chords and the drumming that accompanies it. Great for dancing. One of the greatest songs on the album.

3. Never Talking to You Again
Here, we take a break from the seemingly predominant thrash style to an acoustic ballad. While when listened to on its own it could be mistaken for a typical "breakup" anthem, but when placed in proper context; it's about the album's hero "giving up" on his caretakers and seeing their foolishness and destructiveness, leaving them behind for something that seems brighter ahead. The vocal harmonies are beautiful here. For that reason and just the melody, I also love this track (just like the two before it).

4. Chartered Trips
Here's where the adventure really starts to take off -- the hero, according to the song, "packs up his belongings in a nylon carry-all". As he takes off for his long journey, he imagines the sights and sounds and places he may see down the road ahead, optimistic as can be. Like every other song here so far, the melody is beautiful and truly personifies the emotion communicated through the song in a musical format, especially in the chorus.

5. Dreams Reoccurring
This one's really weird. It's basically a creepy, avant-garde jazz-punk piece which seems to be played backwards. With that said, it isn't very long, but interesting enough. No vocals or lyrics, either.

6. Indecision Time
The riff and such are much darker than the initial upbeat feel of the album. Lyrically, it's where the harsh reality of the hero's situation sinks in: "you wonder if life could be much worse"... sleeping on the streets, plagued by paranoia and fear, unable to figure out what the hell to do next. The noisy swooping guitars are reminiscent of uncaring automobiles driving by.

7. Hare Krsna
Accompanied by eastern clattering of an instrument I feel unable to name, the song is melodically done in the style of an Asian religious chant, as supposedly the song is about the protagonist's decision to turn to religion to bring the missing light back into his light. Incessant mumbling and musical moaning can be heard in the background. With that being said, it's a much happier-sounding song than the track before it, and here we have yet another diversion from the standard hardcore formula that already sounded captivating when Hüsker Dü played it. End of Side 1.

8. Beyond the Threshold
A song about feelings of isolation in a crowd land of strangers, wishing to revisit those who may have actually loved you, but unable to do so even if you tried. The vocals have an effect on them to make them seem as grating and unfriendly as the character's situation. Lost in the concrete jungle.

9. Pride
Hopeless screaming of hard-to-understand lyrics already by themselves painting a picture of the pain and confusion of the young and innocent hurled into a world of darkness and evil. People who mug you at the slightest pang of offense, jerks in general, the greedy, those who are cruel to the needy, it's a place that's fucking seedy. Still, the guitar solo done here is damn excellent and sexy.

10. I'll Never Forget You
When you finally find someone in a natural disaster of a world that you feel like you can trust, it's a bit risky, because we all have a tendency to get tired of unwanted guests. But when you throw away the people who really need your company... the results are just not good. The vocalist continually and erratically screams "I'LL NEVER FORGET YOU/I'LL NEVER FORGIVE YOU", just as if he's actually experiencing the subject matter of the song as he sings it. The riff is totally badass.

11. The Biggest Lie
Slow, droning intro. Basically about how the people most vulnerable to harm are those who actually be themselves, and the average, mundane life is a result of "the biggest lie".

12. What's Going On (Inside My Head)
The music here is abrasive, almost sounding like No-Wave music, here. The protagonist of the song realizes that he didn't "listen enough" to what other people had to say to him and feels that he only listened to himself too much at times -- feeling insane as a result. Towards the end of the song, some piano also accompanies the raging guitars and the beat. When the song seems like it's about to end, it all returns back like a boomerang at twice the normal pace just before exploding into some post-punk noize stuff.

13. Masochism World
As a means to escape the frustration and real pain in his current life, the character in the story decides to resort to a new sexual fetish for S&M, as the lyrics consist of things he may have said or thought during this. Midway through the song, there is a chorus of soft female vocals. The tempo sort of lags in a fashion that's hard to explain, but it's real cool. The final few seconds of the song are another noise section.

14. Standing By the Sea
They say this was actually an out-take from the "Metal Circus" sessions, but they evidently found the song worthy enough to make it onto their next album. The title basically sums up the song. The instrumental parts of the song have the sounds of the crashing of waves against the shore, adding to the feel, as the lyrics describe the viewpoint of the lonely protagonist standing by the sea listening to the sound of the waves. End of Side 2.

15. Somewhere
The riffs on this one are great! This song features the main character daydreaming about "somewhere", a place where he can forget about his troubles, feel like he belongs, and feel at ease and safety. The second half of the song features a backwards version of the riff being played alongside the regular riff, adding to the dreamy aura of it.

16. One Step At a Time
A short, psychedelic instrumental piano piece. The melody played on the keys is beautiful, underneath a calm sea of bizarre but peaceful sounds and great chord progressions. The song is less than a minute long.

17. Pink Turns to Blue
In this song, it is said that the main character begins to turn to drug use, distorting reality in hopes of making it more peaceful against the harsher reality, as "pink turns to blue" in his eyes. There's a little piano used in the beginning parts of the song, also.

18. Newest Industry
Like the track before it, it's melodic hardcore punk with a little piano thrown in. It's about the deterioration of the American industrial realm and how society and the government are unable to maintain it for the wars and other meaningless projects they'd rather keep around. And the riffs and such are great, here.

19. Monday Will Never Be the Same
Much like "One Step at a Time", this is a short, sad little piano piece, reflecting the hopelessness and sorrow beginning to drip from the eyes of the protagonist. Not very long, but very powerful and helps to shift the consistency of the album.

20. Whatever
Back to ol' Mom and Dad, the song has the parents of the main character wondering why their son chose the path in life he did... perhaps it was because of their neglect that "he turned out wrong", as he lives in his own world where he feels safe from the surrounding harm. The mid-section is pretty nice to listen to, as without any vocals or lyrics you can feel the void disconnection between the two pieces who have come so far apart.

21. The Tooth Fairy and the Princess
Something strange is happening... music played in a similar fashion to "Dreams Reoccurring"; backwards instrumentation, as voices whispering all around the protagonist's head repeatedly say "Don't give up", "don't let go", and "don't give in", among other things as the character tosses and turns in the bed he has, falling into a strange hole through reality that ends with one loud scream as the voices tell him to "Wake Up". End of Side 3.

22. Turn On the News
It was all a dream. The whole escape was just a the character losing his mind. But he's woken up. Back to the real world. He "turns on the news", as we hear little clippets of broadcast news playing in a storm of chaos until the main part of the song starts up. The lyrics are musings on why the bad things in the world happen and why the world works the way it does sometimes. "All this uptight pushing and shoving keeps us away from who we're loving." Amazing guitar solo here.

23. Reoccurring Dreams
Well, Reoccurring Dreams DO occur, don't they? Well, this dream reoccurred (the one in track 5), but this one izn't backwards anymore. It's a long instrumental symphony of jazz-esque punk rock, extending just 14 minutes long! And that's the end.

Well, it didn't end GREAT or anything, but it was better than the hero dying alone on the streets or something like that, I suppose. And it all works very well. Probably one of the longest hardcore punk LPs ever. This album marked the shift from hardcore punk to post-punk and a new change in Hüsker Dü's sound. Pretty good, huh? Well, I thought so. I can imagine buying this album in 1984 and being BLOWN AWAY by the quality of it. Of course, now there have been at very least a handful of songs that have been written that are better than the songs from this album, but this stuff was completely top-notch for its time and still is! Well, if you're punk and haven't heard this, listen to this album NOW. It will totally change your perception of what punk rock can do for you.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Review #82: Sonic Youth - Confusion is Sex (1983)


Year: 1983
Genre: Punk Rock
No-Wave, Noise
Neutral Records
35 Minutes (Long)
My Rating:



1. (She's In a) Bad Mood
The guitars sound like ringing bells. The bass is ominous. The lyrics are only "She's in a bad mood/But I won't fall for it/I believe all her lies/But I can't fall for it". The beat is highly varied and interesting. Hell, they get these guitars to sound like pianos in the end. Maybe they are actual pianos. But Sonic Youth was pretty weird back then so they probably just sprinkled some of their magic Sonic dust of Youth on their guitars to give them special Sonic Magic. Thurston sings this one.

2. Protect Me You
It's probably like, "Protect Me AND You" or "Protect Me, You!", but they forgot to add in that extra word or punctuation mark or somethin' like that. It's even slower and more depressing than the song before it. Kimmy Gordy sings this song. The lyrics are very depressing as well and seem to be chronicling the struggle of a young girl to survive throughout various stages of her life. Like metamorphosis. Like, the 10-year-old is just a lil' tadpole, and the 18-year-old is a full-blown Frogotron-5000(tm). She asks the "demons that come at night" to protect her.

3. Freezer Burn/I Wanna Be Your Dog
Two songs een one! The first one is "Freezer Burn". It's a droning, creepy, ambient piece with creepy, droning, ambient noizes going on around your ears. It eventually goes into the next song, "I Wanna Be Your Dog", which is a cover of the '60s punk-before-punk classic by the Stooges. It is taken from a live recording, so, the quality is a lot less clear than the other songs, but definitely still listenable. Kim sings. A very fun song.

4. Shaking Hell
The song is mainly driven by a quirky bassline accompanied by breezy, mystical guitars and a somewhat uptempo beat. Midway through the song, it changes to a slower, clamer piece with Kim Gordon on the vocals, singing about a girl who has lost her virginity and innocence. It ends somewhat abruptly. End of Side 1.

5. Inhuman
Begins with clanging, clattering, anarchic noise. Thurston sings this song. Really cool beat, accompanied by pounding, shrieking guitar noizes. The bassline is really cool. My favorite song on the album.

6. The World Looks Red
Another one on the album I really like. Throbbing, high-pitched guitar accompanied by swooping, floating-round guitars. The beat is somewhat fast for the album. Thurston sings, and his vocals are great here. The lyrics are pretty trippy and bizarre.

7. Confusion is Next
Once again, I love this song. It's a slow, crazed song involving Thurston's thoughts on what humanity must do to become free, involving such beautiful self-instructions such as "take your tounge and stretch it out..." -- Pure genius. Pure genius. SONIC TOOTH!

8. Making the Nature Scene
Another one with Kim Gordon singing the lyrics. The lyrics sing about how the city and civilization have forgotten of the past of humanity as a part of nature and encourages humans to "make their own nature scene".

9. Lee is Free
This is an instrumental, so there are no lyrics or vocals. Just more sonic droning and clanging. So, to be unpretentious about this, I cannot say that I necessarily enjoy this track that much. It's interesting for a minute or two I guess, though.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Review #81: The Melvins - Gluey Porch Treatments (1987)


Year: 1987
Genre: Heavy Metal, Punk Rock
Sludge, Grunge, Hardcore
Alchemy Records
38 Minutes (Long)
My Rating:

It was the end of an era and the beginning of an era. The Melvins were moving away from their more linear punk origins into something entirely their own. They were becoming more individual than punk. Heavier and slower than grunge. They arguably created the genre of grunge themselves, and even that wasn't extreme enough! This album could be considered the first "sludge-metal" work ever. The production is murky and uncrisp. The music is most of the time, very slow, very heavy, and very unpredictable. The lyrics are even considerably more serious than a later Melvins album. It is the next logical step after what Black Flag had done on "In My Head" about a year and a half prior. This was their last work with Matt Lukin on the bass guitar. Their last work as a Seattle band, before the whole thing with that really even started to take off. This is Gluey Porch Treatments, a true monster of an album which blurs the line between punk rock, heavy metal, and things about rock n' roll you probably didn't even know existed! Let's take a look, shall we?

1. Eye Flys
An extremely slow bassline begins the album. This is punctuated by an occasional single drumbeat. Eventually a buzzing wave of feedback soars in, adding to the ominous mood. By about shortly after midway through the song, the feedback evolves into a droning rhythm guitar, continuing on along the repeated motions of the other instruments. After around four minutes into the song, this all changes into something that sounds a bit more intricate, and eventually Buzz starts to sing his era-typical snotty, angry vocals. The whole song is over six minutes long, and it's one of the most famous Melvins songs in the fanbase.

2. Echo Head
Shortest song on the album. A quirky, speedy little song with shifting rhythms, somewhere between hardcore punk and '80s Melvins weirdness.

3. Don't Piece Me
Starts with a speedy guitar intro sounding like something fast is going to happen (I'd imagine it was done to piss off generic punkers), but then it segues into a piece that it slow, but not nearly as slow as Eye Flys. It could be considered a grunge song in this regard. The second half of the song seems to be a re-hash of the last part of "Show Off Your Red Hands", an earlier song that was recorded for the first EP but not released on any record until 1989.

4. Heater Moves and Eyes
This is a very slow, emotional, great song. The first half has a lot of punch to it and the riff is awesome and the whole song really good and it's one of the best songs on the album. The second half of the song is one of my favorite moments of the album. The final half-minute of the song contains a neat little guitar solo.

5. Steve Instant Neuman
This is a re-recorded version of "Disinvite" from the band's debut EP from 1986. My favorite part is the chorus that goes "Disinvite" in the song. It's pretty damn awesome. After the first chorus is a solo. Then there's the shorter second verse. Then the chorus again -- DISINVITE... DIS... YOU DIS-INVITE...

6. Influence of the Atmosphere
This one is also extremely slow. More unpredictable twists and turns in rhythms and riffs. Some might hate that, but I think it's part of the charm in songs like that. I think the lyrics might be about government propaganda ("you're the adult to reign", "I look into your glass eye") and the dark truths behind them.

7. Exact Paperbacks
This is one of the faster hardcore-sounding songs. My interpretation of the lyrics (which all on this album are quite strange) is the ineffectiveness and likely ignorance of users of American "democracy". The first half is more pounding, and the second half is more flowing and speedy.

8. Happy Gray or Black
The first part of the song is fast and punky. The quick energy is drained away about 1/3 through the song and replaced with a slow, heavy darker part of the song that dirges on with, once again, very interesting drumwork from the Mr. Dale Crover.

9. Leeech
They say this song was originally going to be a Green River song (it was written by Mark Arm and Steve Turner), but the band disliked the song and gave it up for the Melvins for it to be a "Melvins song". For this, the general vibe of the song is somewhat different than the rest of the songs here. About halfway through the song, the rhythm guitar disappears, leaving only bass and drums to be heard. Then the bass guitar disappears as well, so all that is heard for the remainder of the song is the beat. End of Side 1.

10. Glow God
Another short song. It's an instrumental, starting with a constructed guitar melody which halfway through transforms into rhythm guitar, with the beat consistently speeding up and slowing down.

11. Big as a Mountain
A hard-hitting fast beat punctuated with a bass-drum-composed pause accompanied by guitar feedback. Buzz sings in this one (like all of the songs except for Echo Head and Glow God). This one ends a bit abruptly.

12. Heaviness of the Load
As the title suggests, it's pretty heavy. Feels like a dumptruck of heavy metal is continually dumping large quantities of... heavy things on you with roll of the drum. The lyrics seem to describe war and the American arrogance to spread its way of life to as many parts of the world as it can.

13. Flex With You
Hard-rockin' weird non-stop fast-fuck beats and neat guitar work. Halfway through the song begins the "main part", which has a more distinct verse and chorus riff, and vocals from Buzzy. One of my favorites from the album. The title of this song is actually taken from a line in the song that comes after this one.

14. Bitten Into Sympathy
Very slow and dark. Maybe it's about the self or the brain or the nervous system or something cool like that. I'm not entirely sure, sir.

15. Gluey Porch Treatments
YOU! The intro a little more mid-tempo, and the sung verses are pretty fast. The beat gets even more intense at the end with the final lines of the song!

16. Clipping Roses
This one's medium-tempo with a riff and a beat that sound like they'd be at home on Ozma (the album after this one). The lyrics are about, well, clipping roses.

17. As It Was
This is another re-recording of a song off of the debut EP, "Easy As it Was". Unpredictable but entertaining drumming, very slow. Matt Lukin supplies backing vocals on this song. Sort of somewhere between Black Flag and Black Sabbath.

18. Over From Under the Excrement
What a title! This is actually supposed to be a re-recording of "Over From Underground", an early Melvins song, I think. It's an instrumental song, so there are no lyrics or singing. Very slow and heavy. Very twisty and turny in its melody. Ends with a final blast of noizes.

Over twenty years later, this is still musically above the norm. It's STILL ahead of this time. A lot of punks back in the day hated this album and the Melvins because it was so slow, weird, and unlike anything they had ever heard before. I can see WHY someone would not like this. This is not conventional rock music -- it's largely experimental and dark. However, some of us DO get bored of listening to the same verse-chorus patterned music that's been around for ages. This music cures that sickness. Within the year after this album came out, Matt Lukin was kicked out of the band, and the Melvins relocated to California to continue their trade which continues to this very day. The band recruited Lori Black, also known as Lorax, and released Ozma after searching for a new label for a long time. As a result, the initial pressing of this record is somewhat hard to come by. But the Melvins re-released it on a CD with demos of the songs as well, so you can still easily listen to these songs!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Review #80: DrunkDriver - Fire Sale (Single) (2009)

FIRE SALE (Single)

Year: 2009
Genre: Punk Rock
Hardcore, Noise
Fashionable Idiots
6 Minutes (Very Short)
My Rating:

DrunkDriver is a hardcore punk band from New York in the United States. They have existed since about 2007, released one LP, two EPs, a single, and a split album with Mattin. They are preparing to release their second LP by the end of this month. They play their style dischordant, abrasive, loud punk rock that's noizy on the outside, and hardcore on the inside. This is one of their newest releases.

1. Fire Sale
A repetitive riff and beat with almost no variation in song structure, but luckily, it's a good riff, so it works. The beat pounds like a tireless hammer and the riff is like a wheel that never stops spinnin'. The vocals and screamed, yelled, moaned, and groaned, and pretty much cannot be deciphered. One other thing I noticed is that the level of noisiness of the song gradually increases throughout the whole thing -- it starts relatively clear-sounding, and ends as little short of a wall of white noise.

2. It Never Happened
This one's a lot slower than the a-side. Lots of static fuzz and feedback everywhere. Towards the end of the song, a semblance of melody is brought on by a few on-and-off chords... the somewhat predictability of this is eventually broken off by an ultra-fast thrash section accompanied by scream vocals which lasts for a little while and then the song ends.

As I said before, they're releasing a second album later on this month, so I'll be real interested to see what sorts of things go on in that one -- the sample song posted up on the band's MySpace is real fun to listen to! As a two-song single, it leaves a little to be desired, but it's good and unique enough, so I recommend it for, say, a Pissed Jeans or Flipper fan. They'd probably like this. Well, that's "Fire Sale", hope you liked my review... see ya next time.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Review #79: Ecoli - Judas Cradle (EP) (2009)


Year: 2009
Genre: Punk Rock
Hardcore, Noise
Stress Domain Records
8 Minutes (Short)
My Rating:

Ecoli is a hardcore punk band from Bay Area, California. They formed around 2005 or so. They have released two 7" EPs, a self-titled one and now "Judas Cradle", their newest record. I don't know much else about them so I'll just dive into the reviewing part.

1. Shut Up and Suffer
The first thing noticable is that while the band is a hardcore band, the instrumentation is pretty technical, the song structures are relatively complex, and unpredictable. Alternates between typical very fast tempos, lagging slow tempos, and ultra-fast beats in the very end. Lots of guitar leads used as well. Shortest song on the EP.

2. Gestation
Starts with a slow, depressing intro, totally exploded by an ultra fast beat and a neat-o riff. The chorus riff is real cool, too. The song ends with a guitar solo. Longest song on the album.

3. Giardia
I like thiss one. Once again, extremely fast!!

4. The Gimp Box
Starts with a whomping riff. Fast but not too fast. Two-thirds into the song, the riff and the tempo change to something even more legit. End of Side Uno.

5. Acedia
Slower in the first half, really fast in the second half. Has a somewhat surf rock feel to it.

6. Revolting Hallucinations
Kind of a spacey feel to this song. shfjdfhdkh

7. Judas Cradle
Opens and finishes with a certain bizarre lead-guitar riff. More of those crazy alternating rhythms and tempos. Not very long.

8. Self Cognizance: Chud Baby
The intro is made up of noizy guitar leads accompanying the very swift beat. In the first verse, the rhythm guitar takes over. In the first verse, it's vocals and lead guitar. Very intense.

As I said earlier, while it's extremely fast and thrashy, there's a certain complexity and diversity to it which sets it apart from being just another run-of-the-mill punk band. I don't know the lyrics and they sure are sung really fucking fast so I couldn't decipher them. On the EP before this, I think the main topic was supposed to be racism, judging by the song titles and the cover art. But I'm clueless here... maybe the songs are all about lil' retard babies with funny mechanical hats? Who knows, anymore... who... knows... dude...

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Review #78: Pissed Jeans - Shallow (2005)


Year: 2005
Genre: Punk Rock
Hardcore, Noise
Parts Unknown Records
32 Minutes (Medium-Length)
My Rating:

From Allentown, Pennsylvania, Pissed Jeans is the most well-known noize-punk rock n' roll band of today! Now releasing albums on Sub-Pop, the band is well-known to the hipster crowd, which is reluctantly now part of the mainstream. So along with No Age, Pissed Jeans are the only two noise bands right now that scrape the barrier that divides the mainstream and the underground. But while No Age's melodies are essentially innocent-sounding and poppy, Pissed Jeans's musical heritage can be traced more back to '80s hardcore and noise rock such as Flipper, Black Flag, and Stickmen with Rayguns. The lyrics are usually brash, pessimistic interpretations of mundane activities and aspects of life that most people would not wince at -- masturbation, boring girls, horses, and the depressing acts of self-courting and self-rejection. But while they have a bit of "indie-kred" now for being on Sub-Pop (and they're probably one of the only good new bands on that label nowadays -- it's weird listening to "Sub-Pop 300" and having these stupid boring "indie" bands lumped in with the likes of L7, Mudhoney, and the Afghan Whigs. The Pissed Jeans and No Age tracks were the only good new ones), they did have to earn that level of respect, first. They did release a 7" single sometime before this album, but they REALLY took off startin' here. So let's talk about summa them Pissed Jeans songs now!

1. I'm Sick
Brad gets REALLY fuckin' sick in this song! He's got EVERYTHING. A headache, a fever, a runny nose, he can't sleep, and he's even got diarrhea!! I'm surprised there's not a healthy dose of AIDS there to top it off as well. Having been sick a few weeks ago, I understand the true soul-stinging pain associated with these lyrics. Being sick fucking sucks. The musical aspect of the song starts out with some schizophrenic punk-jazz pounding and a fast tempo in the verse. The chorus is slower, resembling grunge to some degree. Poor guy.

2. Boring Girls
Now I totally don't relate to this one. This one's pretty much the opposite of how I feel. Like, I can un-relate to it. See, it's about wanting to see more BORING GIRLS in life! And I'm trying to GET AWAY from BORING GIRLS (double-song reference!!) , ya see? So you catch my drift... ironically, it's my favorite song on the album. It's a one-chord near-classic punk anthem about what the title is called. Seriously, it just sounds great. Brad's voice is accompanied by a very high-pitched version of his own voice in some parts. Maybe it's Alvin. Or Simon. OR Theodore... Whatever, I really like this song!

3. Ugly Twin
Begins with a quiet bass intro which abruptly turns into something more heavy and monstrous. It's much slower than the two songs before it. It's about Bradley Fry's alleged "ugly twin", who looks just like him and rides the same bike -- but BRAD'S the one who gets arrested when his twin gets caught with pot! Oh, what a shame! Things really are lookin' down for Brad. They sure are. Basically like a song from My War if there was a comedy element injected. That seems to be the basic premise of Pissed Jeans, anyways. This iz the longest song on the album (7 minutes long).

4. Ashamed of My Cum
Really cool riff in the verses. Sounds like something Greg Ginn could dream up. The lyrics seem to describe an emotion and situation I felt plenty when I was 13 to 14 years old... y'know, your hormones are just raging so much you can't seem to resist the urge to whack off, but in the end you feel "dirty" for doing it... the lyrics also even moreso describe the feeling I feel now -- I whack off, but it's never quite satisfying enough. That's the end of Side 1.

5. Closet Marine
One of the first Pissed Jeans songs I heard. Some parents end up raising kids are secretly gay and they feel the need to hide it from their parents or else they might be persecuted. The protagonist of this song is in a situation that is very similar, yet very different at the same time. You see, this kid's MARINE. Like, from the Army. He was born that way. He can't help it. That's who he is. But he's afraid. He doesn't want his parents to know. There could be dire consequences if they knew...

6. I Broke My Own Heart
This one sounds like a Flipper song. It's hilarious, but a bit sad at the same time. It's basically a song telling the story of a man who fell in love with himself and tried to gain the love and affection of himself, and has a successful relationship, but ends up being rejected and dumped by his own self, resulting in probably decades of depressions which would eventually lead to a suicide not even fucking mentioned in the song because if you heard that part you would probably get so sad that you'd kill your ownself, and thus, the entire Pissed Jeans fanbase would become extinct, including the band itself (unless they hate their own music or something -- probably kill themselves due to the utter shame of it all in that case).

7. Little Sorrell
Little Sorrell is a horse who lives in a glass cage and "never got to die", won a medal, but is a very mean horse. This is one of the faster songs on the album, like "Boring Girls" before it.

8. Wachovia
This is a slow, very noisy song. The song's lyrics seem to describe the streets of a boring, generally lame town. "At Wachovia the lights never go out!", the final lyrics proclaim.

After establishing their "evidence" of legitimacy as a good rock band, they were eventually signed by Sub-Pop who noticed their weirdness and talent, yadda yadda yadda... if FLIPPER was called "loser rock" back in their day, it would clearly be an overstatement compared the tragically familiar poetry written by the band which has a name which is referred to as being known by the moniker, "Pissed Jeans". The lyrics are so deep they don't need any bullshit symbolism to be credible. The truth is that if your life at the moment is anything short of "exciting", you are living these songs. Probably, at least. But I shore doo like that one song called "Boring Girls". It kicks ass, y'know? Well, I'm off. That's my Legit Music Review for today. Hope you liked it!


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Review #77: Social Distortion - 1945 (Single) (1982)

1945 (Single)

Year: 1982
Genre: Punk Rock
13th Floor Records
7 Minutes (Very Short)
My Rating:

Social Distortion write good songs. Even before "Mommy's Little Monster" they were writing truly great stuff. Well, anyways, this was their second release after a single called "Mainliner" from 1981. This single has three songs instead of two, though, which makes it near EP-status, I suppose. Whatever. All of the songs here are pretty solid, so if you're going to buy a 7" single, get this one. 'Cause it's better than a lot of albums.

1. 1945
Despite being the A-Side, this is my least-favorite one on the single. Still, it's by no means bad at all. The song opens with the sound of a siren going off. It's a fast song describing the after-effects of the atomic bomb on Japan in World War II. Very cool solo towards the end.

2. Under My Thumb
I actually used to think Social Distortion wrote this song too. Turns out it's just a Rolling Stones cover. Still, the band makes it their own -- it definitely sounds like something Social Distortion would have written. It's basically a song about gaining the affection of a girl who once fucked you around. Beautiful riff and melody. Wonderful solo.

3. Playpen
I like this one a lot, too. It's pretty slow compared to the other songs here. It's about kids having fun and throwing a party with loud music and beer and drugs in peace -- only to be persecuted by their neighbors, the police, and people who just think they're weird. Once again, the riff is awesome.

Later on in the year they released this, they recorded "Mommy's Little Monster" and released that album in 1983. This was truly a great era for Social Distortion (but their music has always been good). These songs truly capture the fear, alienation, aggression, and desires of young punks and a lot of kids in general -- alienated from the world, reluctant to grow up, wanting to live life the way you want but with just about everyone who stands in your way saying "no". The world is not a friendly place for the punk. But music like Social Distortion's waves the beacon of freedom high, letting one know that he/she is not alone, and that you can try a different path in life and still make it. That's the message I get, anyways. But yeah, I like this record a lot. Try it aut.

(The Album Art to a Later Print of the Record)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Review #76: Death Piggy - Love War (EP) (1984)


Year: 1984
Genre: Punk Rock
D.S.I. Records
8 Minutes (Short)
My Rating:

You've probably heard of GWAR. Well, before GWAR, there wuz a band called Death Piggy. They formed in 1983 and stopped around 1986 or so. Punk Rock. This was their first record. It iz notable that the lead singer on this album is David Brockie. He would later become Oderus Urungus of GWAR. Still, he already sounds much like himself on this album. Enough about GWAR. More about Death Piggy.

1. G-O-D Spells God
In this song, the band welcomes you to their world... it's the World of Cheese... where G-O-D spells "God". Just like in the world I'm in right now -- WAIT, I'M IN THEIR WORLD. I don't see much cheese, though. It's relaxing, short, and clam. However, it quickly segues into...

2. Splatter Flick
... THIS SONG! It's a song about a slumber-party massacre in a splatter flick in which everyone probably dies and entrails and blood probably splatter everywhere. The riff for this one is so fun.

3. Eat the People
Another slower song about a person who simply can't control their appetite to the point of eating any person who they eat. David asks the people-eaters what they say to the people that they eat, and if they eat their feet (golly, that sure would be wasteful).

4. Fat Man
This one's real fast compared to the other songs. The chorus is a group chant of "WE LOVE YOU FAT MAN!". Hell, the song makes me want to eat. A lot of these songs are about eating-related topics, really. Awesome riff. I like the mid-section too. Has a nice roll to it. David can be heard about to puke at the very end. End of Side 1.

5. Nympho
Shortest and fastest song on the album. More lyrics about eating food. Mainly condiments on a sandwich. And baloney and salami.

6. Bathtub in Space
This one's a slow song. It's about being in a bathtub in space and being totally stuck. That situation would suck pretty bad. But sounds like the song's protagonist turned out alright because he's around to sing the song after this.

7. No Prob, Dude
See? He's okay! He even says "no prob, dude" -- see? He's doin' already. However, he lets us know that this boy won't eat fondue. And 'e won't be subdued, either. It's faster than "Bathtub in Space" but slower than "Nympho".

8. Mangoes and Goats
Starts out as a little love-ballad about mangoes and goats. However, a little "bump-bada" enters the mix and turns into a mysterious-sounding fast song about, well, the same damn thing. And that's the end, kids.

Okay, if there's one thing that's for certain here, it's that these guys were REALLY FUCKING HUNGRY! Seriously, just about every other song is about or contains a reference to food -- First song, it's cheese. Third song, it's eating people! Fourth song, it's about eating everything. Fifth song, it's about sandwiches. Seventh song, fondue. Eighth song? Mangoes. And I'm sure goat is considered a delicacy in some cultures. Maybe the producer should've given them a little snack break in the studio in-between recordings. I think the guys would've liked that. Now, you might ask what this all has to do with GWAR? Well, in the mid '80s, there was a Death Piggy show. They wanted to do some special for this show. They started the show with an acted-out intro involving the crew dressed in mutant-warrior costumes choppin' eachother up and squirting blood everywhere. This was an important event, though, for this minor performance act spun off into its own band soon enough. But yes, this is a good thing to listen to if you are hungry. It makes me hungry. It's about food, dammit. FUCKING FOOOD!!! AGSADHADASDASGDSAGSADGGGGGAGARRRRGGGGGHHHHH

Monday, March 1, 2010

Review #75: Flipper - Generic (1982)


Year: 1982
Genre: Punk Rock
Noise, Hardcore
Subterranean Records
40 Minutes (Long)
My Rating:

It is March 1st. The snow is slowly starting to melt. A period of change is at hand. This period of change is known as Flipper. Maybe. Anyways, back in 1982, punk was starting to become a little less weird and a little more formulaic. You had your hardcore, "traditional" punk, and new-wave. Innovation was slowly being pushed out for these already-existing archetypes. And I think regular hardcore can still sound good even 30 years later. But by 1982, it was already known what was to be expected. Hard rhythms. Mile-a-minute tempos. Lyrics about suburban angst or politics. Leather jackets, shaven heads or spiked hair, metal studs placed anywhere applicable. Every punk and his brother (if he had one) wanted to sound just like the Sex Pistols or Ron Reyes-era Black Flag or the Circle Jerks. In other words, punk was becoming conformist in its own cliches and ideas and fashion. Then one band came along and challenged the norm. This was before "My War", or before the Butthole Surfers got REALLY weird, or grunge. Flipper. Described by critics of the time everywhere as "loser rock". Off-key vocals. Slow tempos. Little-to-no melody. This style of music STILL turns heads. A conformist will beg you to turn it off. Show no mercy.

Well, what I'm getting at here is that this iz the first full-length album by Flipper. The band had been releasing various 7" singles throughout the first few years of their career, and it finally culminated in this. It's the definitive Flipper album. These are the songs that come to mind when somebody hears of Flipper. The first deliberately slow-and-sludgy punk album. This paved the way for bands like the Butthole Surfers and the Melvins who were heavily influenced by this musical style. The album art is an intended parody of the art for "Yellow" by Gang of Four.

1. Ever
This is a song for the listener. Like most of the others songs here, the slight melody is directed by the bass-guitar. It's a reassuring downer of a song for those of us who feel alone in life, sickened by the order of the world, all-but-completely hopeless for much good to come out of our lives. "Ever see a couple kissing and get sickened by it?" -- Yes. "Ever wish the human race didn't exist and then realize that you're one too?" -- Yes. It's a nihilistic song, but it's really comforting in that aspect. Will assures us that he has felt that way too so much. The hand-claps throughout the song help preserve the rhythm. The perfect song to listen to when you feel like shit.

2. Life is Cheap
A more discomforting take on nihilism. This is seriously one of the most powerfully depressive basslines I've ever heard. Will Shatter sings in harmony with a sped-up version of his own voice. The song's premise is simple -- life is a scam. Unfair, dangerous, pointless, and just strange. The extra voice is like a deformity -- that extra part that didn't ask to be exist in the first place and cries out in the pain of its own existence harder than you ever could. I listened to this song a lot in the months before I left church because it perfectly described how I felt about life then.

3. Shed No Tears
Beautiful melody (it's there, just maybe not to everyone's perception). Bruce Loose sings this one. The song reminds the listener to "shed no tears" for the person who has been killed for what they have chosen to be. The Martyr for choosing to die. The Cop for holding the gun and keeping the prisoners. The Nun for forcing darkness upon her 'flock'. The Suicide for finding greater peace in death. The second half of the song is completely instrumental.

4. (I Saw You) Shine
This song is fucking long. Eight and a half minutes long. Dark, emotional lyrics. Like the song before it, the first half has vocals. The second half is without lyrics or vocals. End of Side 1.

5. Way of the World
One of Flipper's most well-known songs. The bassline is actually somewhat catchy. The basic idea of the song is that the "way of the world" is unfair, biased -- not everyone will get their way in life. And it's not right. First Flipper song I ever heard.

6. Life
A somewhat happy-sounding song that pretty much sums up my feelings on the meaning of existence. Life is about life. That's all. As the song says, I too believe that "Life is the only thing worth living for." -- so appreciate life, because it's the only thing that's real. Bruce sings here. Will joins in too sometimes. I really like the riff.

7. Nothing
Faster than most of the other songs on the album. It's pretty much just a song about Nothing. The riff is pretty cool.

8. Living For the Depression
The fastest song on the album. Only fast song here in a conventional sense, really. Catchy chorus with a neat bass in that part. I believe the song is supposed to uplift a simple lifestyle free from true collapse. The song ends with the shouted line "I'm Not Living My Life to Be... A REAL CHEAP FUCKER LIKE YOU, COP-OUT!!".

9. Sex Bomb
Often said to be the most famous Flipper song. It's also the most experimental one, with lots of saxophone, screaming and yelling instead of vocals, no real lyrical content, and samples and weird sound-effects played over the main riff and beat. It's the second longest song after "(I Saw You) Shine", being over 7 minutes long. This iz where it ends.

A lot of people in the hardcore scene then and even today hated Flipper. They were awkward, depressing, slow, weird, and proud of it. However, Flipper helped save punk rock and keep it great in my opinion. They inspired a still-active onslaught of bands that preserved what in my opinion is the best interpretation of punk philosophy. That, and this music is just really cool. Hell, I have a Flipper button on my jacket (it says "Flipper Rules OK??!!"). This album is honest as hell. But all of this Flipper is starting to disorient my ability to write a coherent review so I think I'm just going to get to my final point now: kdjhadjaksdsal;dasaduhaslmasds,dmaskafsgdfasgd876qeyq3hqwagdasagdasadgjasdgjadgsahd sbd sa dbsab dsadnadbvsavdvadvnsabvdbsvadsandasndbsvan THE END GOOD BYE