Thursday, July 29, 2010

Review #141: Meat Puppets - Up On the Sun (1985)


Year: 1985
Genre: Punk Rock, Folk Rock, Psychedelic Rock
Sub-Genres: Post-Punk
Label: SST Records
Tracks: 12
Length: 33 Minutes
Style: Happy
My Rating: 6/8

Even in the beginning, the Meat Puppets were always a little different from their hardcore brethren -- they frequently injected psychedelic rock elements into otherwise thrashy songs, had a taste for country music, and a bizarre LSD-influenced sense of humor. Of course, this uniqueness attracted the attention of none other than SST Records, who released their first LP. By 1984, they came out with their second album, which was very different from the first, and expanded fully upon their new country and folk-influenced style of music. Curt now sings in an earthy, warbly voice rather than a raving Darby Crash-like growl, and the music became mostly slower, and less hardcore-oriented. In 1985, the band released their third album and fourth release in total, "Up On the Sun", which expanded on the sound of "Meat Puppets II", and it was not very popular with most of the hardcore crowd at all. However, this release was one of the various albums in the year 1985 which marked the beginning of a new movement which eventually broke into the mainstream in the early '90s. But enough with that. Now's the time to listen to "Up On the Sun", the third Meat Puppets album ('cause I've already reviewed everything before this)!!

1. Up On the Sun
Mid-paced beat. Strong bass, noodly little guitar sounds, and calm, clean vocals from Curt Kirkwood. In some parts, there's a bit of vocal harmonizing going on 'tween the Kirkwood brothers. Very folky guitar sound.

2. Maiden's Milk
Very neat-sounding guitar playing in the intro part! Both the bass guitar and lead guitar play in harmony, going up and down the scale, sounding great. The lead guitar really sounds nice on this song. After that, the song speeds up a little, and the bass-line here is great in just about all parts. Beautiful lead guitar. Reminds me of ice and snow and stuff. Everyone's whistling... there's no lyrics, so I guess that means it's virtually an instrumental aside from the whistling. In the later parts of this song, there's another beautiful, deeper-sounding lead guitar two-note tone going on. It sounds like a ringing bell. It's a really nice song.

3. Away
Similar speed to the song before it. Beautiful harmonized vocals in the chorus section. The vocals sound a bit mumbly in other parts, but in a good way. In some parts, the guitar sounds really twangy like a banjo or something. Definitely one of the best songs on the album!

4. Animal Kingdom
Even faster than the song before it! This song's evidentally about animal kingdoms being everywhere... amazing, ain't it?? There's weird animal-ish sounds being made with the guitars also. Pretty neat. It's actually one of the shortest songs on the album... just a minute and twenty seconds.

5. Hot Pink
Another song I enjoy a lot. It takes the speed down a few notches, and there's really good vocal harmonies here. Great bass guitar melody in the build-up to the chorus section, combined with those funky little lead guitar melodies that overlap. And then in the chorus, the lead guitar sounds like an 'Animal Kingdom' itself... I used to have these little cassette tapes about "Frog and Toad" when I was really young, and the theme tune for those tapes sounded like the lead guitar on that part of the song... probably why I associate it with animals! But yes, this album's about all sorts of things that are the color of HOT PINK. "Pink"... te-he!!

6. Swimming Ground
They made a 7" single for this song a couple years later. This one's pretty fast, and the guitar melody here sounds really nice with the effect they used for the guitar here! A little bit of falsetto background vocals here. Kurt sings here about how one of his favorite places he knows of was a little swimming ground far away from civilization. After this song ends, so does Side A of this album... let's listen to what's on the other side, now.

7. Buckethead
The guitar here almost sounds like ska in some parts. In other parts it just sounds like folk music on speed. Great bass melody, once again. These Puppets of Meat sure are talented musikians, hur hur! In the mid-section, there's a spacey part with echo-y sounds of guitar strokes and little animals from the Animal Kingdom. The melody goes up a couple octaves in the ending part... something done in a lot of pop music but rarely ever in punk rock.

8. Too Real
Typical Meat Puppets power-folk with a little bit of Black Flag-style punk-metal riffage sandwiched inbetween. And this evolves into a nice guitar solo starting in the middle of the song.

9. Enchanted Pork Fist
Starts out with a very fast section, similar in speed to their early work! Sorry, but when I hear "Enchanted Pork Fist", I giggle a little bit. Just sounds funny. The song slows down a bit for the main parts of the song. Holy shit, they must've eaten those RED PISTACHIOS! I never could figure out why they made red ones, I mean, they just painted they red, and like the song says, they really DID get your figures red! I dunno what was the point of it. Great psychedelic-sounding guitar solo mid-song. The song ends in a manner similar to how it began.

10. Seal Whales
I bet a Seal Whale would be really cute. I bet they WERE really cute, until they all were killed in a mass-extinction when the sharks realized how fucking TASTY they were! This song iz another instrumental piece, with folk guitar playing and stuff. There's one part about 2/3 into the song where there's a bunch of false endings, but by the end of the song it's all back to normal n' shtuff.

11. Two Rivers
Another fast type of song. Watery guitar melodies, and a dark bass riff. One-third into the song, Curt begins singing in a lonely, echoey voice. It's a tad mysterious-feeling.

12. Creator
Yup, this one's pretty fast too. It's quite energetic, with really nice guitar melodies. I swear I heard him say something about alligators. That's kind of funny. "Making love to open windows"? Gotta have a HUGE dick to do THAT!! Anyways, this song's not very long, so, there's not much I can say, but it's pretty good.

So, THAT is "Up On the Sun". This iz probably the most recent Meat Puppets album I've ever listened to, so as I expand my knowledge of these meaty ol' puppets, I will try to bring you more reviews of them. In some ways I enjoy this one more than "Meat Puppets II", but in other ways I don't. It's not quite as raw or "punk" feeling as Meat Puppets II, but it sure does have some really good songs which all have a really good sound and feel to them. A lot more psychedelic folk stuff going on here. I wouldn't say this one places as much emphasis on country either, here. But yeah, Up On the Sun is good and you should listen to it! Stay Legit.

Top 3 Favorites:
1. Maiden's Milk
2. Hot Pink
3. Away

Friday, July 23, 2010

Review #140: Government Warning - Paranoid Mess (2009)


Year: 2009
Genre: Punk Rock
Sub-Genres: Hardcore
Label: No Way Records
Tracks: 15
Length: 28 Minutes
Style: Angry/Political
My Rating: 6/8

Government Warning is a band from Richmond Virginia blah blah blah blehh blah blah blah blooh bleh blah blah blabber blibber bleebber blubber blakkety-blak! Anyways, the band has released various EPs since 2005 when they formed, and their first LP was released in 2006 and titled "No Moderation". Now, their latest album, titled "Paranoid Mess" was released in 2009, and it's very good. Alrighty, now... time to listen, shall we?

1. Rot and Decay
Starts out with a screech of feedback. Then the song segues into rumbling drums and fiery rhythm guitar, exploding into a very fast thrashy song. Pretty good riffs throughout the song.

2. Nowhere to Go
A more straightforward thrash piece. Excellent riff in the chorus part. Extremely speedy! Not very long, though.

3. Urban Warfield
This song's a little more mid-tempo than what we've heard, so far. Can't find lyrics for any songs off of this album, so I have no idea what these songs are about other than what the titles suggest. There's a guitar solo at the end of the song.

4. Endless Slaughter
It's a fast song and probably about killing or some shit like that. I like how the drums sound in the chorus section of the song. The riff gets a whole lot better in the second half of the song.

5. Stop Again
One of my favorites from this album. It starts out with a pretty neat slow intro. Then after that, the song speeds up a little bit and the first verse of the song begins. I love the chorus riff, and the vocals in that part. A bit of lead guitar here, too. Then after the second chorus, there's a bridge section with a fucking awesome beat that punches you in the face alongside some nice chords! The chorus repeats one last time before the song ends.

6. Revolving Door
Begins with an insane drum solo and the main riff, before cooling down into a more conherent thrasher (yet again). But it's got a pretty good chorus. Some of the riffs used here are actually a little more complex than just three chords. I guess this wouldn't be a bad soundtrack to running around in circles through a revolving door over and over again. That would be pretty fucking funny!

7. Blurred Yellow Line
A blurred yellow line... like in the middle of the road? I suppose they're kind of blurred. Who knows! This one has a tempo more like "Stop Again" or "Urban Warfield". There's a pretty neat solo in the middle of the song. The vocals sound good here. Yet another solo! The section played at the end of the song has a neat riff. Then the bass gets pretty heavy. That's the end of Side A.

8. Disengage
Starts with a noisy intro. The verse section has a really good guitar riff. Every now and then you'll hear little bits of backup guitars which sort of play alongside the main riff for short bursts. Oh, and this song is also fast. Just in case you were not sure. Heh.

9. Hour After Hour
HOUR AFTER HOUR! HOUR AFTER HOUR (after hour)!!! AAAAUUUUGHHHH!! OOOHHH, THE AGONNNYYYYY! In later parts of the song they throw in a few extra sections with different riffs to add variety to the mix.

10. Glued
Love the beat here. It's pretty fast, but not, like, ultra-fast. But it just sounds good here, y'know? Yeah, this song iz pretty good. Not sure what it's about. Sometimes I cry myself to sleep at night 'cause I don't know what these songs are about... *sniffle*...

11. Factory Line
And this song is extremely fast! This band's gotta have a pretty good drummer, I'll say that. And let me not neglect the bassist... the bassline here is actually pretty good in the chorus, which is only about half the pace of the verse section.

12. Shot Fulla Holes
Also extremely fast... this one's okay. I can't really think of much great to say about it, though it does have a pretty awesome solo in one part of the song.

13. Global Warning
This one's an instrumental! It's just a slow song with a really good verse riff and an okay chorus riff, but it sounds really cool. The verse riff sounds like you're being surrounded by an army of evil robots that are trying to take over the world. It's a pretty awesome song. Some parts of the song implement more metalish strokes of the guitar strings.

14. Paranoid Mess
The song that the album is named after, and one of the best songs here! There's not much wrong with this song, it's very paranoid-sounding like the title suggests, and it's a mad, energetic piece of action, pretty much the whole core of the album. It captures the intensity and chaos of a paranoid person in American society. The vocals here sound really good here, also.

15. Enough Is Enough
The longest song on the album (three and a half minutes), and it sounds very different from the other songs on the album. The chorus part is really catchy, even though I wasn't very huge on the verse part. There's a guitar solo towards the end of the song.

So yes, that's "Paranoid Mess", and it's the newest offering from Government Warning. The same year they released this they also recorded a 7" single called "Executed", so that would be another recent Government Warning album. There are a few moments that feel a bit weak in my opinion, but for the most part it's a pretty good, solid album it should be worth a listen. The band's music here is also a lot more, well, musical than some of the other hardcore bands -- there's always an occasional break from the typical verse/chorus/repeat mode that's so common these days. So, yes yes, Paranoid Mess. Check it out!

Top 3 Favorites:
1. Stop Again
2. Paranoid Mess
3. Global Warning

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Review #139: Scream - This Side Up (1985)


Year: 1985
Genre: Punk Rock
Sub-Genres: Hardcore, Post-Punk
Label: Dischord Records
Tracks: 11
Length: 37 Minutes
Style: Wild/Political/Emotional/
My Rating: 7/8

Scream was a punk rock band from Washington D.C., formed in 1981 by Peter Stahl, Franz Stahl, Skeeter Thompson, and Kent Stax. In 1983, the group released their first album called "Still Screaming", which was released on Ian MacKaye's Dischord Records label. That album earned the band success and the style was very politically-oriented, fast, loud hardcore punk. Well, this was their second album, and they added another member to the lineup; Robert Lee Davidson, to play the guitar, and here their musical style began to change and become more melodic.

1. Bet You Never Thought
Some of the guitars here seem a little cleaner than some of the more fuzzed-up sounds the band had offered before. Many nice guitar leads here. The song has a rather 'large' feel to it, but it's still quite energetic. There's a lot of backing harmonized vocals as well from the other band members. In the second half of the song, the beat becomes faster. There are a few parts where everything stops and it sounds like the song is going to end, but then the music all returns just before it all gets a little too off-course.

2. Things To Do Today
A very fast song similar to their earlier stuff, but even better! I love the guitar riff, here. There's a really fucking great funky little guitar solo midway through the song. Peter's vocals can be beautiful at some times. Ooh! Another great metal-ish solo at the end.

3. This Side Up
This one's a bit more dark-edged. The tempo is speedy like the two songs before it, but the riff in many parts seems more bleak. However, there are little shimmering streaks of optimism in the song, with the chorus and it's pretty good. You can hear the sounds of breaking glass at the end of the song.

4. Gluesniff
An anti-drug song about a man who sniffs glue. Begins with a beautiful acoustic intro, with Peter singing in a more monster-ish sounding voice as the glue-sniffer, and after that part, the song explodes into a noisy foray into the user's mind. This one's kinda fast, but not nearly as fast as the other songs before it. However, the complete chaos and energy to this one makes up for it. The vocals are excellent! Around the end, there's some nice group chorus vocals.

5. Still Screaming
Yeah, I'm guessing that the first album was named after this song. Funny that it didn't even get on that album! Well, it's a pretty long song, so BRAAACE YOURRRSELLLVEEEEZ (say those last two words in the voice that Peter uses in the intro of "Gluesniff"). But yeah, this song doesn't sound like anything else by the band I've heard. This song has elements of ska, with a post-punk sort of feel and even a saxophone! Feels like walking through the rain in a city or something in the evening time. Hey, in one part, we even get to hear a SCREAM! Who woulda thunk? Anyways, it's a very unique song. And, it's the end... of Side 1.

6. No Money Down
Yup, feel those chainsaw-sounding guitars. Some parts feel almost like early emo, and other parts of the song more just straightforward hardcore. Also, nice lead solos, which the band apparently had plenty of. There's a twist here, and the song ends in an acoustic section with the band singing "got no money -- no money down...", as the song fades out.

7. Show And Tell Me Baby
Some parts are angry-sounding, and others are more melodic sounding.

8. The Zoo Closes At Dark
Begins with a clippet of a person sayin' "that kid's makin' too much noise!". This is a very fast, rage-filled song. Excellent riff and drum beat. It actually kind of reminds me of a song I wrote myself, riff-wise (that song will be featured on a split album with Diehatzu Hijets very soon).

9. I Look When You Talk
Starts with only an acoustic guitar and the drums. Then it explodes into a piece that combines both the electric guitar and the acoustic guitar -- something that's always sounded real cool to me. It's a nice song, with a good riff, and a more upbeat style. Lots of variety and different sections to the song, adding to the mix.

10. Iron Curtain
This song sort of reminds me of crossover thrash (a mix between thrash metal and hardcore punk), mainly because of the song's riff and of course, the large usage of lead guitar. The beat is pretty cool in the chorus section. Nice vocals, nice everything. The second half of the song uses a different beat and tempo and echoey vocals, feeling more like later Black Flag.

11. Walking Song Dub
The first part of this song has a very wispy, aquatic feel to it, and the guitar here sounds much more gentle and mysterious. No lyrics in this part, just some humming to the music. This is interrupted by the sounds of street traffic, and then the song goes into a reggae/hip-hop-sounding song, with some heavy usage of samples and lots of whistling as well. The guitar melody is nice in parts of the song. Once again, very long (almost seven minutes), like the song "Still Screaming". And that's the end, the end. The end, the end -- that's the end!

With this being the first time I've ever listened to this album, I must say that I'm extremely impressed -- a huge improvement over the album before it! It retains the fury and style of hardcore punk, but it's for the most part a very experimental album and I like it. After this album, they released "Banging the Drum" in 1986... that one's pretty good also. But yes, check this out for sure if you can. It's pretty awesome.

Top 3 Favorites:
1. Things to Do Today
2. Gluesniff
3. Still Screaming

Friday, July 16, 2010

Review #138: The Stooges - The Stooges (1969)


Year: 1969
Genre: Punk Rock, Garage Rock
Label: Elektra Records
Tracks: 8
Length: 34 Minutes
Style: Rebellious/Fun/Mysterious
My Rating: 8/8

The Stooges... well... what can I say? They're a pretty damn good band. This album is truthfully all I've heard of them. In fact, this is probably the oldest album I really really like. And I guess that makes me sort of musically ignorant, but I still like this record. The Stooges are usually considered to be sort of the early leaders of the "proto-punk" (a.k.a. punk rock before they had a name for it) movement, and it really shows here. They also play garage-rock styled music (similar to the Velvet Underground and a lot of modern indie-rock bands). I like the harder stuff better, personally. If this was the first band to sound like this, then that's pretty damn impressive. The group formed in 1967 and supposedly also used household objects in their early performances. The band's famous frontman, Iggy Pop, often performed shocking stage antics such as cutting himself, cussing, diving into the stage, and fighting, something was emulated by future artists in the decades to come. By 1968, the band was signed to Elektra Records and began recording their first album. This the result...

1. 1969
1969. 19... 69. 19. 69. 69. He-he! "69"... ohohohoho! The song begins with a slow intro and a wah-ooh-wahh guitar sound effect. Then the rhythm changes and a more normal-sounding guitar riff is played, and there's hand-claps as well. This song describes boredom and apathy towards the then-new year of 1969, in which Iggy expects nothing exciting to happen. Actually, they say some pretty exciting stuff DID happen in '69. I wasn't there, though. It's kinda fun, 'cause with the guitars, there's always something happening in one ear and then something else happening in the other. Bring on the funky guitar noises and great lead solos! Iggy lets out a truly animalistic scream towards the end.

2. I Wanna Be Your Dog
A classic. The first song I'd ever heard of the Stooges from, 'cause Sonic Youth covered this song and put it on one of their albums. This version's better, though. One of the first great punk rock songs, with a deep-cutting riff, sexy lyrics, and nice little ching-ching sounds alongside the beat. And the solo is fucking amazing... you have to listen to know what I mean (if you haven't already). Not much else I can say. Great song.

3. We Will Fall
A very slow, loooong song. Not as hard or energetic as the two songs before it, it incorporates an ancient tribal chant continuing throughout the entire song. Iggy sings in a softer, less abrasive voice. To be completely honest, this song doesn't interest me a whole ton, but maybe that's just because I'm not mature/stoned enough. If you love the Velvet Underground, you'll probably really like this one, 'cause that's one band this reminds me of. A lot of little treakets of lead guitar whisping around along the sides of your ears, like bats in a dark cave. The faint droning sounds feel like a candle in the dark, as the chants and singing echoes throughout the stony walls. That's what this song feels like to me. No drums, just soft beats, probably made on a different instrument. But yeah, this iz the end of Side 1.

4. No Fun
Now for something a little more up-beat! The riff is pretty nice here, and there's some more clapping to the beat of the song. Now the lyrics, I feel like I can relate to. Being alone and bored, having trouble deciding whether to go out and do nothing or stay at home and do nothing. That's just the way it goes. Ironically, the song is pretty fun-sounding in itself. Halfway through, we get another nice guitar solo. "Well, come on!"

5. Real Cool Time
Now, Iggy decides to have a Real Cool Time instead of No Fun... anyways, originally, the Stooges had only written five songs for the album -- the four songs that have just been reviewed so far, and a song called "Ann" which comes after the fifth song on the album. Well, it'd be a shame if they stopped there! Elektra did not feel that they had enough songs for an entire album, so the group was forced to write three more songs in order to get their album released... and these songs were really good! This is the first of these songs, and it's the best song on the album in my opinion! Unfortunately, it's also the shortest. Oh my (and boo-hoo)! Oh well. One of the greatest guitar riffs, a steady bass-line, and just orgasming wahh-wahh guitar as well! Geez, this song sure ROCKS. I'd fuck to it. Just listen to it!

6. Ann
Another more garage-y song. It's a somber, depressing love song. Kind of blues-y, also. More emphasis on the bass guitar, here. The song gets louder and more aggressive around the end of the song. Then it sorta fades out.

7. Not Right
Know what? I think that it's "Not Right" to have "No Fun". Hee-hee! This one is sort of like the first hardcore punk song in a sense, 'cause the distortion is pretty up here, the riff sounds like that genre, and it's more speedy and aggressive than a lot of the other songs here. However, there's also a lot more emphasis on lead guitar and such here. Another song I really like on this album.

8. Little Doll
This one reminds me of heavy metal a bit (a genre this band also influenced). Not a whole lot I can think of to say for this song, but it's another love song and one of the songs that the band wrote in order to please Elektra. Thus, the lyrics are pretty simplistic here. But, that's the end! THE END.

Well, I probably didn't do this album enough justice with this review. Some old-timer who was actually THERE when this record came out or hipster will probably read all this and jump on me for not worshipping such a historically significant record hard enough. Well, sorry! Yeah, most people think either the Velvet Underground or the Stooges started the whole punk thing. Which is a pretty good accomplishment alone, in my opinion! I'd die happy if I'd done that. But, this album should appeal to all fans of hard rock. Well, most of 'em. It's pretty ahead of its time, this sound has become the standard in rock n' roll. And deservingly so. Back in 1969, this was the face of underground rock! And they weren't from New York or England... they were from Detroit in Michigan! I actually own this album on vinyl (bought it for about $19) and I listen to it quite often. You should also if you're interested. Well, I'm pretty thirsty, so I'm gonna leave it at this for now. Bye bye!!

Top 3 Favorites:
1. Real Cool Time
2. I Wanna Be Your Dog
3. No Fun

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Review #137: Social Distortion - Mainliner (Single) (1981)


Year: 1981
Genre: Punk Rock
Sub-Genres: Hardcore
Label: Posh Boy Records
Tracks: 2
Length: 5 Minutes
Style: Rebellious
My Rating: 7/8

Social Distortion formed in 1978 in Orange County, California. The band's original line-up consisted of Mike Ness (vocals), Frank Agnew (guitar), Timothy Maag (bass guitar), and Casey Royer (drums). The band soon became associated with the rising Southern California punk/hardcore scene, and by 1981 the lineup now contained Dennis Danell, Derek O'Brein, and Brett Liles. In 1981, the group were signed to Posh Boy Records, and released their first single, with the songs "Mainliner" and "Playpen".

1. Mainliner
This song's about drug abuse. It's pretty fast. Nice riff. Nice solo, also. A good melodic sound, not very "hardcore"-sounding.

2. Playpen
This earlier version of the song is played in a different key than the later version on the "1945" 7". It sounds better. The production is more gritty. The vocals aren't harmonized, it's just Mike singing by himself. Great drumming. The lyrics describe the street life of punk kids in the California scene. The better song on this record in my opinion. Ooh, another solo! The song gets progressively slower and more sloppy at the very end.

Yup, it's short, but what'd you expect? It's a fucking punk rock 7" single. What the hell. Anyways, it's a pretty good way for a band to introduce itself, 'cause these two songs should win the heart of any fan of good music. Not much else I can think of to say, but a year after this the band released two more singles and began recording their first LP, which happens to be one of my favorite albums of all time (Mommy's Little Monster). So, check it out -- if you can't find the original issue, the contents can all be found on their 1995 compilation album called "Mainliner: Wreckage From the Past", along with a lot of other early Social Distortion stuff. Oh, and by the way, my name is now Chuck. I dunno what the last name is going to be yet. But call me 'Chuck' for now until I think of one. Seeya.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Review #136: Black Flag - Everything Went Black (1982)


Year: 1982
Genre: Punk Rock
Sub-Genres: Hardcore
Label: SST Records
Tracks: 25
Length: 63 Minutes
Style: Angry/Rebellious
My Rating: 7/8

In the first half of the band's career, Black Flag went through more vocalists than toilet paper! Well, not quite (I hope, at least), but there were several vocalists before Henry Rollins, and in some aspects these incarnations of Black Flag enjoyed more success. "Everything Went Black" contains just about most of the stuff that Black Flag recorded in the late '70s and early '80s that didn't make it on any records. We hear very early versions of songs that later became famous, and the band's transition from a snotty, more metal-influenced version of the Sex Pistols to what came close to their mental phase that reached full bloom when Henry Rollins joined the band.

It's a double LP, so each side (except for the last one) is dedicated to a certain phase of the band. Side A of the first slab has all of the Keith Morris (of Circle Jerks fame) stuff, and the songs are somewhat slow. The B-side of that same vinyl has Ron Reyes/Chavo Pederast, and it's slightly rougher than their '78 cuts, but it has the least material on it. The second LP has a Side C featuring early '80s recordings with Dez Cadena and his extremely aggressive vocals, enough to fill out an album in its own right. And lastly, Side D is just an audio collage of early Black Flag radio promos. When the band first released this album, they were still in the middle of legal trouble with MCA, forbidden to release any more music, so initially the record was just released under the names of the performers in Black Flag featured on this album, alongside the famous four-bars logo. By 1983, the album had the Black Flag name on the cover again.

1. Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie (Keith)
The first part of the album kicks off with some Keith Morris, so these songs would fit in nicely on "Nervous Breakdown". This is my favorite version of the song. The beat is really cool. It actually slows down after the intro, but then we get a real rockin' riff and a those confrontational vocals from Keith. In the second verse, it gets even slower! The lyrics are bratty and awesome. "I've got problems of my own, they ain't the kind that can't be solved with an... ATOM BOMB!". Eventually, a later version of this song was one of the songs on the first LP, "Damaged".

2. I Don't Care (Keith)
Eventually Keith made (much to the dismay of Greg Ginn) this song his own by playing a faster version on the first Circle Jerks album. It's a classic anthem to teenage apathy and recklessness, especially to average girls.

3. White Minority (Keith)
A satirical song that makes fun of white supremacist groups. Nonetheless, I really like this song. Nice guitar riff-age in all parts. Later sung by Ron Reyes on the "Jealous Again" EP.

4. No Values (Keith)
Another Jealous Again track done with Keith Morris. This version of the song is slower. Oh well... twice as much fun, right? This song's about killing people and shit like that.

5. Revenge (Keith)
"You rollin'?", asks Keith. Not "You Rollins?", as some idiot who doesn't even exist might believe, 'cause ol' Henry Rollins was in Washington D.(i)C.(k) at this time servin' up some iced cream. Keith's spoken intro to this song is a lot quieter and calmer, not quite the same as the yelling, reveling manner that Chavo did it in. It's not a very long song, but you probably knew that. It's fast, though, compared to the rest of the Keith Morris songs. JEALOUS AGAIN!

6. Depression (Keith)
Wonderful riff. It's about being depressed, but this song's not very depressing, I'll say that! It's fast, and it perfectly describes the situation of many depressed people, but the song has a pretty positive outlook on the whole thing -- "I've got hope it's gonna get better... JESUS CHRIST... they fucking better!" Note how different those lyrics are from later versions of the song. Yup, this one made it all the way to "Damaged".

7. Clocked In (Keith)
This song to me just feels like a generic Black Flag song, riff-wise. You might ask me how that is so... it just feels that way to me. But it's still good... the chorus riff is great!

8. Police Story (Keith)
A song about those people we all love to hate. The song describes the situation with the L.A.P.D. -- "the city's run by fucking pigs, they're taking the rights away from all the kids", proclaims Keith. When he insults one of the officers, they throw him in jail. Another time he gets beaten with a billy club. The lyrics here are extremely memorable in every way and I'm surprised Black Flag isn't a classic rock band already.

9. Wasted (Keith)
Even though he already recorded "Wasted" with the band for "Nervous Breakdown", this version is a tad faster. The final lyric is altered from "I was wasted" to "I was wasted and still am!". End of Side 1.

10. Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie (Chavo)
Now Ron Reyes takes a whack at mastering "Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie". And here, the song is much more aggressive and fast, with the vocals a notch more angry, and the music more violent this time around!

11. Depression (Chavo)
Very similar to the first version, but with different vocals, and slightly different lyrics. I like how he sings.

12. Police Story (Chavo)

13. Clocked In (Chavo)
Yep, good song with Chavo singing. See my description of the first version.

14. My Rules (Chavo)
Another real good song! Later on the band recorded it with Henry Rollins as a B-side to the T.V. Party single. Short but good. End of Side 2.

15. Jealous Again (Dez)
Now for the longest part of the album, the Dez Cadena years (er, year)! Starts off with someone saying that the band can now play, and then it cuts to a hilariously poorly played "song" (if we can call it that) on a piano. Then after a bit of that, we hear the song "Jealous Again", now sung by Dez Cadena! In some parts, his voice gets real wild. It's a great break-up song with a nice guitar riff and a fast beat. "Bitch."

16. Police Story (Dez)
More stories about the Police. Here, Dez's voice sounds harsher than ever. More energy to everything, and now the guitar leads are getting wilder than ever! Instead of saying "I may serve time", Dez sings "I waste my time!". Yup, this song got on "Damaged" also when Henry got a hold of it.

17. Damaged I (Dez)
The fastest version of this song you'll ever hear! Dez sings instead of speaking, and I can't even understand what the hell he's saying. It sounds awesome, though. I guess this is my favorite version of "Damaged", just for the fact that it's so energetic. In 1981 the band put a slower version of this song on the "Louie Louie" single, and then an even slower, even more fucked up version on "Damaged" (didn't see that one coming?).

18. Louie, Louie (Dez)
This a different version of the song than the one on the 7". The recording quality is different and the lyrics are almost completely different. A Richard Berry cover. Black Flag truly makes this song their own, and in some ways could be compared to the Richard Berry in the sense that the band repulsed and frightened mainstream audiences back in the 1980s like the Mr. Berry did in the 1940s.

19. No More (Dez)
This one starts off with an extremely memorable, ominous intro which consists of a droning bass continuing in one note, very slowly getting faster and faster, and almost a minute into the song, each bass strum is accompanied by a drum hit, getting faster and faster until the whole thing has gone from droning into pure speed! Halfway into the song, it changes into a fast thrashy piece with a great riff, in both the verse and chorus! This song sings about wanting to break free from being a mere slave to the system. Later featured on "Damaged" with Henry.

20. Room 13 (Dez)
Didn't the Circle Jerks also do a song about something called "Room 13"? Yeah, this is a fast proto-noise song with riffage punctuated by a second or two of guitar noise and feedback. Feel the thumping bass drum in the chorus. DAMAGED!

21. Depression (Dez)
This version's angrier than the rest, and features neat backing vocals in the chorus section. You can feel the depression in Dez's harsh but weary-sounding voice. Slightly more abrasive guitar sound here. I can't decide whether I like the version that Chavo or Dez sings more...

22. Damaged II (Dez)
In this album, "Damaged II" is actually longer than "Damaged I"! It's a wild, aggressive, hard-rockin' romp through anger and disparity, with a few pauses to breathe inbetween... this song really rocks. It's seemingly endless, but that makes it awesome. Also, check out the weird sounds Greg occasionally pulls off with his magic guitar.

23. Padded Cell (Dez)
Nice intro! This one's pretty fast, with occasional breaks in the tempo. And something about MANIACS!

24. Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie (Dez)
This really is the last song on the album. This song one last time. It sounds very similar to the version on the Damaged LP. Not much else I can think of that hasn't already been said about this song. Dez's vocals seem to have a different flow to them than the other ones. And the difference in tempo between the main parts and the guitar-less parts is greater. End of Side 3.

25. Crass Commercialism
This track occupies the "Side D" of the album (opposite of the Dez Cadena side). It's about 17 minutes of commercials for Black Flag shows. The first one is kinda funny and features Dez Cadena going off on a monologue about how he's sick of being so damaged in life, and he finally decides he's going to end it all... by going to see Black Flag at the Fleetwood at Redondo Beach! And it's gonna cost $4! He's gonna have to steal it! Just gonna end it all with Black Flag! An instrumental version of "Damaged I" plays in the background. The next one features a girl who's a "Black Flag slave" who spray-paints the Black Flag logo all over town! It's from about 1980, as they advertise the then-forthcoming "Jealous Again" EP as well. "DAVID! THE GORILLAS ARE KNOCKIN' YOUR DOOR DOWN!!". Many of these commercials contain very funny little skits featuring friends of the band and members of the band. It's just too bad there's hardly any "good muff" loving Black Flag anymore. Damn, that'd be great. Another commercial plays a mock-police conversation (or maybe even real), in which a cop warns another cop of a disturbance of a club, getting pumped up to "beat up some punkers". By the end of the commercial, they realize the punkers are Black Flag are too much for 'em, so they have to call the National Guard! Soon choppers can be heard. Another one features the Devil himself, telling fans that if they keep coming to Black Flag concerts, their hell will be on Earth and that when they die they can only find bliss. Another religious-themed promo features a punk rock preacher, calling the blessings of God upon the "shaved little heads" of the world's punk rockers, complete with organ music playing in the background. We hear such things as Adam Ant himself telling the world that his band sucks. Then in another instance we meet the forgotten secret member of Black Flag, "Johnny Stash", who plays us a country version of "No Values" before the announcer provides info on the next Black Flag concert. Then there's a commercial featuring an argument between a boy and a girl, laden with references to Black Flag song titles. The very end is a skit featuring two very stoned/high people conversing about things such as a "gelatinous hump" and radioactive waste, and many other sings. Very funny. Yep, definitely a great part of the album, even if it's not quite a "song". Can't believe how many girls used to like Black Flag. I need some good muff, dammit.

A lot of people love this album, and for a good reason, also. It shows the evolution of the band from their early days to the days just before Henry Rollins. It also shows what was happening 'behind the scenes' during the days of their first few records for those who weren't there to see it all happen. This is the Black Flag that just about EVERYONE (who isn't totally lame) loves. Always fun to hear the different vocalists go through different versions of the songs, and to hear the band have some fun doing it. I've said a lot, though. It's gonna be hard to pick a top 3. But I shall. Enjoy some videos, too.

Top 3 Favorites:
1. Damaged I (Dez Cadena)
2. Depression (Chavo Pederast)
3. Damaged II (Dez Cadena)