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.

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