I was listening to Tim Armstrong and Friends on satellite radio and they made mention of Crab Core. This is a type of punk rock that I assumed came from the Boston area. They played a band that reminded me of this awesome punk rock band out of Oregon. The band was none other than Crux. This is an underrated band that no one really talks about, because they didn’t sell a lot of records at the time. However, despite the lack of sales, they put on one hell of a show and their records are well produced and filled with punk rock fury. If you like Crab Core, then you already know what this band sounds like, but hey, you may have never heard of them. Whatever the case may be, Crux “Failure To Yield” is one of those records that you don’t want to sleep on.
Hell, you don’t want to sleep on any music, right? In 1995, I was only a mere pre-teen and I was already into a lot more punk rock than you are. I’m sorry, but I had no friends, loved music, and was spending any dime I had on it. I had amassed quite the collection by the time I had to sell it all off in 2011 because of a divorce. Crux is one of those bands that I fell in love with via a compilation disc that I picked up with an HM Magazine. They had “Wasted Day” on the compilation, and I immediately ordered “Failure To Yield” from Tooth and Nail Records. I got the cassette, and it was awesome.
Crux goes through a frenetic mix of punk rock anthems, playing as fast as they can, with youth crew style vocals here and there. If you’re a fan of 7 Seconds, then you’re going to love what Crux has to throw at you. You swear that these guys are like brothers of SNFU and 7 Seconds with a little Pennywise mixed in. They put you through 18 tracks of frenetic punk rock so fast, that if you blink, you will miss some of the finer notes.
Crux really outdid themselves on “Failure To Yield’ and it’s a shame more people haven’t heard their records. If you’re looking for new music, love punk rock, and that Crab Core, old school punk rock flavor, with a new school edge, then you owe it to yourself to listen to this stellar record. Crux is one of those bands that you’re going to love, and no one else will know what you’re talking about. Trust me, I live it daily.
Every record has a story from the people that wrote it, perform it, and the fans that listen to it. My story is one of heart break. “Plans” came out in 2005, and I immediately picked it up. I was a fan of theirs for some time, but I didn’t become huge fan until this album came out. The album was one of those records that you play so much, you have to buy another copy because you wear it out. For me, this reminds me of my life at the tail end of my college career, switching jobs, and trying to be a good guy. It played me through my first marriage, and it was part of my life as I would wake up at 4:15 AM every day for years.
The lyrical elements of “Plans” really focuses on life in general. There is hope, sadness, heartbreak, and so much more. The instruments take you through a journey of the heart, mind, and soul. There are moments where you will tear up, and will reflect on your own personal life, and then there are points where you visualize so much about the world around you.
This record is a heart wrenching one for me because it reminds me of my marriage rising up and then crashing in 2011. There are things that break us down, and things that bring us back to that place of yearning, and this is one of those records. “Your Love Is Going To Drown” is a true statement in the first song of this record, as it leads you through the kaleidoscope of what Death Cab For Cutie does best.
“Brothers on a Hotel Bed” is the one song that still rings out to me. If you’ve ever been on the tail end of a relationship, you know how that is. You love each other, but you are not going to be doing anything together. It’s weird, it’s repulsive, it’s the end. You’re not even really friends, and yet you’re sharing a bed to literally sleep.
There are 11 songs on “Plans”, and it is perhaps one of my favorite records from the band. Every son on this record is great, and you will find that you can relate to a lot of it, if you’re an adult. I discovered this record in my twenties, and now that I’m in my 30s, I can still say it’s one of the finest slices of life.
Looking back on the record, and listening to it with fresh ears, I can truly say that it is one of my favorites of all time. It may be your next favorite record, if you haven’t heard it. I recommend it.
1999 was a hard year for me. That was the year that I went to the suburbs for the first time. I moved from West Los Angeles to the Santa Clarita Valley. My parents were trying to work things out and a new house and a new neighborhood was their secret to success. It felt apart. I was thrown into a new pantheon. I was raised in private Christian academies and then was thrown into public school. I made exactly 0 friends. No joke. I didn’t make one friend at all. I tried, but it didn’t work, I don’t know why people didn’t accept me. What I did have was a growing record collection, and I grabbed anything that I could, and that included Jimmy Eat World’s “Clarity”. This release from 1999 showed progress for the band, which had put out a drowning album with “Static Prevails”, which I reviewed here. This was different, this was interesting, and yet it still rang of Sunny Day Real Estate, and the modern emo scene that was starting to become bigger and bigger.
The Radio Single Album
Perhaps the biggest thing that you will denote from “Clarity” is the fact that the band was able to get one hell of a radio single from it. “Lucky Denver Mint” is one of the best songs that the band has ever written, and it’s featured on this record. The rest of the songs don’t have the same caliber of catchiness, but they are still good. In fact, I love the opener, which reminds me a little of Plankeye’s releases as they grew on Tooth and Nail Records. “Table For Glasses” was a slow moving, melodic song that breaks into the drums of my favorite song from the band. From there, the album carries on over an hour of music that really impresses, especially if you got the expanded edition which clocks in at 1 hour, 10 minutes.
Lyrically Balanced, and Alternative To The Alternative
1999 was the same year that a lot of punk bands put out records. Turn on rock radio and you heard a lot of noise coming from the Epitaph Records line up, Reprise Records, Atlantic, and more. Those labels were churning out anything pop punk that they could, meanwhile Jimmy Eat World was an alternative escape for fans of rock music. This record would have been a huge hit in 1992, when all sorts of bands were getting to test the waters on MTV and more. Instead, it got stuck in the midst of punk rock’s pop phase, and didn’t get as many fans as I think it should’ve. Of course, they would build, and build until “Bleed American” would bring them to the mainstream in a whole new way. “Clarity” feels polished at times, and it feels like the band’s trying to break the mold, yet aren’t quite as catchy or “radio” friendly as they could be.
Star Rating For Jimmy Eat World “Clarity”
Jimmy Eat World “Clarity” is a great record. It features a lot of highs and lows, and some introspective lyrics that helped me understand teenage angst and more. It is a heavy album in terms of lyrical elements, and it has a lot of great guitar work. It’s a pop, emo, indie album that was released on a major label. It’s the same kind of pathos you’d expect from Sunny Day Real Estate, and it’s a much easier to swallow recording. It never strays from the path of the Jimmy Eat World sound, and it paves new landscapes through several tracks, including “Lucky Denver Mint”, “A Sunday”, “12.23.95”, and even a demo of “Sweetness”. Overall, this is a great record, but not yet their best, so it gets a 4 out of 5.
As we begin a new year, I am going to be dumping in a lot of reviews from my record collection, movies, and books as well. To start things off, I’m going to be going through the chronological catalog of Jimmy Eat World. If you are not familiar with the band, this will be a treat for you. We go back to 1996, as we skip the debut record from this perennial hit maker, because I didn’t get the first record, I got the second one first. I’ll go back to the 1994 self titled release eventually, but let’s start with “Static Prevails” which was the major label debut of the band. I recall the first time I ever heard about the band, Carson Daly said that this was the hardest working band in rock, and with that, I had to look into their records, and picked up this option on vinyl.
The Little Brother of Sunny Day Real Estate
This record stands tall against the rest of the records from Jimmy Eat World. They sound more like Sunny Day Real Estate on this record than anything else. Long from the late 1990s sound that would make them a household name, there’s a lot of slow jamming on this record. Some reviewers noted that the record company held them back, but I’m going to disagree with that notion. The main reason is because Capitol Records also released Less Than Jake records, and they were not held back. Why hold back here? The songs are not upbeat, if that’s what you were expecting, and in some moments they drone on and on.
50 Minutes of Alternative Rock
If you’re fan of distortion pedals and shoegaze, than “Static Prevails” is one hell of a record for you. Combine the influences of Poor Old Lu, Starflyer 59, and Sunny Day Real Estate, mix them well, and you get 50 minutes of alternative rock that doesn’t sound like a Jimmy Eat World record at all. In fact, try to even get in the mood with this album on, and you’re going to get shut down cold. I would know, I’ve been rejected plenty of times, thanks to my emo, and indie loving soul. What does work well here, however, is the constant flow of sounds, static even, and songs like “Claire”, “Call It In The Air”, “Episode IV”, all work well to elevate the record to a whole new level of integrity.
Star Rating For “Static Prevails”
All Music blog gave this a 3 out of 5, and I think that All Music sucks. This isn’t a 3 star record, and it is not a 5 star record. After listening to it a few times today, I can give it a solid 4 stars. The main reason is simple, it’s a band evolving into an alternative sound. They aren’t radio friendly yet, they are putting together the pieces, and it’s a great major label debut when put into the context of records that came out in 1996. I like it, and dare I say love some of the tracks. Still can’t get any affection from the ladies with it, but hey, not every cassette tape you put into the dash is going to get you head.
If you’re a fan of ska music, reggae, and of course punk rock, then you’re going to love this latest release from Peg and The Rejected. With the release of “4th Wave”, the band has put their names on the short list of the best ska and punk bands yet again. Imagine the power of Rancid with the precision of The Skatalites and a little bit of Two Tone thrown into the mix. The energy found within the tracks here represents a new movement for the band, formerly recognized as The Dingees.
A Mixed Bag of Ska
I throw the term ska around a lot, but honestly, that’s the best way to describe a majority of the songs. This becomes especially true with the use of horns throughout, especially on “Sound So Soothing”, and “Sing It Out At Street Level”. However, there is a lot more here. The bass lines and the focus on rocksteady really pushes the envelope a little, leaving the banner of just “ska” and turning into reggae and a more two tone approach that you’d expect from the UK. This is very evident on “Language of Lies” which is great turned up to 11, with the bass line and horns mixing a reggae and jazz element that you won’t find with a lot of mainstream music today.
A Dancing Record
Just when you think that the boys are going to go soft with their mix, the band puts together some dancing songs including “Still Don’t Know How To Party”, which has that stellar punk/ska mix that you’d expect from the third wave ska movement that made so many rich. That’s not all, through the latter half of the release, you get a lot of great points of interest, with lyrics that are very much political at times. There’s a lot to this record, and while I say it’s danceable, it’s far more than that. It’s a throwback at times, it’s a forward leaning record, and it really does encompass the sound that many bands keep trying to pull off, but fail. My hope is that this record lands on the same map as The Slackers “Red Light”, and The Pietasters “Awesome Mixtape #6”, because it’ definitely in there as far as mixing punk, ska, reggae, and even a little rocksteady, if you ask me.
Star Rating For Peg And The Rejected “4th Wave”
I wish I had a lot of money. I wish I had a record label, or power within the music industry. Peg and The Rejected has put out one of the best ska/punk records of 2016, and I can only hope that people actually listen up. You have to give these guys credit. “4th Wave” is a stellar record, recorded with a great sound, focused and rejuvenated with a sound that is refreshing. You can’t go wrong with this one, which is why I’m giving it a 4 out of 5. It’s one of my personal favorite records of 2016, and I have one of the best jobs in the world, freelance blogger and idiot. (ghost writer actually)
I was 15 years old when “Armageddon Massive” hit my stereo. I’m the product of “Christian” culture, but had a mean anarchist streak within my life. While most kids just shook their heads in agreement to whatever the church and school was telling them, I had a lot of questions and was reading a lot more books than even the teachers. You couldn’t tell me that there was a black and white element to anything, and that’s where I found myself consuming as much ska, punk, and hardcore records. That included anything from DIY, independent labels, and of course the sound coming through Southern California. I wished I lived in Orange County, but hey, I wasn’t anywhere near there. I lived near the beach, Venice, and well, The Dingees released a record that should’ve warranted them an opening slot on Rancid’s tour through the mid 1990s. But they got stuck with the moniker of being a “Christian” band. In those days, I bought anything and everything labeled ska, punk, hardcore, metal, reggae, and my record collection was deep for a teenager. Every dime I had went to records. I lost them all in a divorce, but hey, here I am waxing poetic on music again.
Christian Bands Don’t Always Play Worship Music
The moniker of being a Christian band meant that the majority of the musical audience immediately thought worship music, or lyrics that were overtly preachy. That’s not what The Dingees pushed at all. Even though they may have been within the label mates that did, and they were booked across churches and shows that were entertainment for Christians, they had a lot more to their lyrical onslaught, and sound. In fact, if you were to rip that label away from “Armageddon Massive”, you would think that this was the little brother of bands like The Slackers, The English Beat, and Operation Ivy. That’s what you hear with the chaos that comes at you with “Ghetto Box Smash”, only to pump the breaks into a more Trojan Records ska sound with a bit of polish that was coming through the late 1990s studio reggae and rock sound.
Two Tone Glory With A Punk Rock Swing
As you play through the 11 tracks and even the hidden track found on The Dingees “Armageddon Massive”, you are either going to love them or hate them. Most of my friends at the time were idiots, and only listened to a handful of bands. They included Project 86, Stavesacre, and Living Sacrifice. I was the odd man out because on my walls were posters of Reel Big Fish, Hepcat, Sublime, Hatebreed, Pennywise, Blink 182, Mxpx, and of course a poster I ripped from a magazine of “Armageddon Massive”. I was the only person in my crew that liked ska, and to this day, feel that The Dingees didn’t get their fair share of the glory of the late 1990s ska boom that others were getting. As you listen to the tracks, you get a sense for the kaleidoscope of talent that Pegleg, Bean Hernandez (Unashamed!), Jeff Holmes, Ethan Luck, and the guests put on this record. If you’re a musical historian, you know all about ska, reggae, two tone, punk, and the mix of sounds that went through Jamaica to the UK and the United States through the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. This album, “Armageddon Massive”, has an old soul. Listen to tracks like “Workin’ Man’s Blues”, “Betrayal”, “Carry On With The Countdown”, and “Deadman” and juxtapose them with the best from Trojan Records, and you’ll see that this record has roots.
Star Rating For “Armageddon Massive”
I still maintain that The Dingees did not get the marketing push that they deserved. They were also mired to an extent with the “Christian” moniker. Had this been released by Hellcat Records, Epitaph Records, and not BEC Recordings, we would be having a different discussion. This band has so much to offer, and despite their 1998 offering, the band showcased a finely tuned recording of ska, punk, reggae, and dub on par with some of the best works from the late 1990s. I give “Armageddon Massive” a 4 out of 5. If you’re not a fan of ska, reggae, or punk, then this record will not fit in your musical collection. However, if you’re like me, and you enjoys this style, then by all means, this is a cut above a lot of the records you probably have heard 100 times before. Let this one sink in, and you’ll be blown away by what could’ve been, and what currently still breathes life.
You can pick up The Dingees “Armageddon Massive” fairly inexpensively by clicking here.
Did you pick up “Armageddon Massive”? I know I bought it 3 different times in my life. Drop me a comment.
The band that is Nofx has been one of my favorites since I was a teenager. Ever since Epitaph records sent me a paper catalog, I have been listening to their music. It even got me in trouble when I was going a religious school. Whatever the case is, all these years later, I’m still a fan. I’ve seen the band play twice, and it’s always a fun showcase of punk rock glory. I recall I even saw them on my birthday, which was a nice gesture from my ex back in the day. As the band keeps pushing forward, they release Nofx “First Ditch Effort”, and it’s 13 songs and around 33 minutes of music. I didn’t know what to expect since Green Day put out a terrible record, and didn’t have much hope for long time bands putting out new music, but this was a surprise gem.
Personal and Frenetic
The band has always found a way to mix hardcore punk anthems with stellar songwriting, and simple bass lines. This is no different as the band goes through soft, hard, and outright chaotic songs. There are personal lyrics that are absolutely insane. From “Six Years on Dope”, to “Happy Father’s Day”, to “I’m a Transvest-Lite”, there’s a lot to explore on this. You could either take it at face value, or you can dance a bit, and enjoy the punk rock onslaught that the boys in Nofx are still putting out.
Same Old Nofx
For those that are looking for an evolution, this is not it. Nofx doesn’t change their style, doesn’t give you anything new, and just plays to their strengths. Why not? It’s amazing that they just keep pushing forward the same old style, but with new lyrics, and fun elements. That’s why I love the band. They don’t bend to the radio, they don’t want to be pushed into the limelight on anyone else’s terms. They are pushing political, snotty punk rock, and it’s not even that polished. This is NOT Green Day, that’s for sure.
Star Rating For Nofx “First Ditch Effort”
It’s refreshing to hear Nofx continue to push their music to all the same levels. I love them, and this record is a dynamite piece of wax. I didn’t pick up the “pink” edition, but you can find that if you look hard enough. I give this record a 4 out of 5. It’s not as fun as “Coaster” but it’s really good overall, and that’s something that I will definitely state today and months from now as this will get a lot of spins on my record player.
Ah, the years that made Green Day a household name in punk and alternative music were grand for me. I got in a lot of trouble for loving the band, and my stepfather even beat me once because I was listening to secular music. Well, jokes on him, but that’s not important right now. Green Day came through another release schedule with a few singles off of this record and it is now released. Green Day “Revolution Radio” is out now, and it’s an album that is going to make a lot of fans mad, and some indifferent. I’ve had a chance to listen to it, and now am offering my review of the 12 song, 44-minute opus.
Not Your Standard Green Day Record
If you have fond memories of their first 3 or 4 records, stop it. This is not them at all. This is another progression for the band. The band has put together 12 songs that are absolutely polished, even more so than their previous records. If you liked the dichotomy that was Uno, Does, Tre, then you may like some of the tracks here. They are all disjointed if you ask me. The first song for sure is not what you’d expect. With the lead singles of “Bang Bang”, and “Revolution Radio”, I thought for sure we would get a return to form, but nope. The band is not playing punk rock; they are playing alternative rock ala Goo Goo Dolls at times. While that’s not a bad thing, it’s definitely not what I expected after the first two singles were put out.
A Boring Outing With A Crap Name
The name of this record was supposed to harken back to the punk rock glory of the music Green Day was putting out. At least that’s what I was getting from it. Instead, it’s a sterile injection of alternative rock and roll, radio friendly lyrics, and a softening of what once was one of the most dynamic rock groups in the world. While there are tracks where they seem to find their past, most of it is slow moving, boring, and lackluster. Sure, there are a few gems, but this is far removed from what they did in their past.
Star Rating For Green Day “Revolution Radio”
It may seem like I’m being very harsh, but you have to remember, I’ve been listening to Green Day since 1992. I love the bands early work, but it seems like they have been going towards more polished, straightforward rock albums than punk. That’s fine, change is good, but for a long time fan like myself, I would have appreciated a bit more ruckus on this record. Instead, we are given a polished, safe, and simple record that sounds like Green Day, but without any of the edges that made them standouts in the mid-1990s. Then again, they are older, richer, and medicated. Maybe that’s good. I give this record a 3 out of 5. It’s ok, not great, and really leaves a lot to be desired if you ask me.
Today I was listening to a classic punk rock album and wanted to know a bit more about it. What happened was simple, I looked for Allmusic.com, which used to be my go to website for reading up on bands and other notes, and they blocked everyone. If you don’t pay them, or unblock your ABP extension, they will not let you see their site. Unless you know what I know. It’s easy to read any page with an HTML browser, or you can simply not load everything. I didn’t load their pages, I simply read their content, for free mind you, and gave them a middle finger. I don’t support this notion that every site has to ban readers, it’s the internet. Don’t tell me how to consume media, especially on a record that came out in 1997 and you’re not going to get money from, no one is visiting your page for that except for a random idiot, that being me. So with that in mind, let’s talk about Furious George and their release from 1997, “Gets A Record”.
More Than A Clever Name
At first glance, you’re going to find that Furious George “Gets A Record” is a classic punk rock record. It has a little pop to it, but the majority of the music is in the same plane as you’d hear from guys like The Ramones. Released in 1997 on Recess Records, this has a low-fi, garage punk sound to it. The band name is the first thing that you are going to notice, since it is in honor of the singer, but more importantly it’s like Curious George, which you may denote from the album cover above. With the release of this record, you’re going to find that several fast moving punk rock tunes with guest appearances from Dee Dee Ramone and Joey Ramone!
Star Rating For Furious George “Gets A Record”
There’s not a whole lot to say about this record, other than it’s Ramones style punk rock. The lyrics are funny, brash, and right on par with what you’d expect from punk rock in the late 1990s. It’s not really poppy, it’s lo-fi, and it has a lot of fuzz on the recording. Despite the minor studio flaws, if you can call them that, the record is a solid composition of clever songs, with melody in mind. I am giving Furious George “Gets A Record” a 3 out of 5. Stand out tracks for me include, “I Gotta Gun”, “Bananas”, “Orbit”, “Gilligan”, “Pumpkinhead”, and of course all of them! There are 16 songs, and right under 30 minutes to keep you entertained with furious punk rock style.
Q-Unique “Marvels Team-Up” came out in 2013, and it immediately made waves for hip hop heads. I was not paying attention to Q-Unique, but today, upon putting this record on, I became a true believer. This is not your average rapper, and it’s a shame that this record wasn’t on the top 40 of hip hop. While there’s a lot of mumbling idiots in rap, guys like Q-Unique are putting together some incredible hip hop songs, and it’s amazing what you hear when you pay attention. With the release of Q-Unique “Marvels Team-Up”, the MC brings out some friends and some killer beats to rhyme over, completely changing a lot of perceptions, and bring around a lyrical flow that is definitely welcome to the true hip hop fans overall.
Featuring Big Hitters
First and foremost, when you put on this record, you’re going to see a lot of guests on this record. Q-Unique is the main rapper, no doubt, and he has a great flow, but he brings through a lot more. In fact, there’s so many guests, that you’re going to be floored by who is on here, especially if you’re a fan of underground hip hop. Some of the guests that show up on this record include, Ill Bill, Phil Harmonix, The Sargonites, Sean Strange, Vinnie Paz, La Coka Nostra, Slaine, and others. He works through some single tracks as well, but the guests on this make the record stand out amidst a lot of releases that came through in 2013.
East Coast Soul
If you’re a fan of East Coast hip hop, then you’re going to love the flow and beats that are on this record. I was wondering where Esoteric was, because he would fit very well with this crew. I’m assuming he was busy with 7L and others, but that doesn’t matter, Q-Unique holds his own on this record and it’s absolutely compelling to listen to overall.
Star Rating For Q-Unique “Marvels Team-Up”
As far as hip hop records are concerned, Q-Unique “Marvels Team-Up” gets a 4 out of 5 from me. It’s a solid record that has 15 tracks, 46 minutes of music, and a lot of lyrical prowess front and center. My favorite tracks include “Listen To The Words”, “Learn”, “Wars Goin’ On”, and of course the record as a whole.