This is an mp3 blog attempting to document the gross amount of music I listen to. About once a day, I'll post something I like. If you're a copyright holder on anything I host, get in touch, and we'll settle things in a steel cage instead of a courtroom.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Gentlemen Jesse and His Men rule school, that is all

The first and only time I met Jesse Smith, I was tripping balls on ecstasy and ran my mouth too damn much about the Zero Boys and "the fuckin' keg, mannnnnnnnn." He was super nice, though, and put up with my ramblings about unappreciated hardcore and my vain attempt to wow myself into the Atlanta scene in order to get a job writing for local fuck-you rag Stomp and Stammer. I had just seen his crazed punk destructo band The Carbonas tear the FUCK up in Rob's basement (where Rob's House Records gets its name from)

Based on what I saw that night, I had no idea he would go on to form a band of pure, undiluted power pop, nor would I have guessed how fucking glorious that band would be, standing shoulder to shoulder with greats like Shoes and The dBs. The burn-down-the-suburbs ferocity of the Carbonas didn't really hint at the stupidly catchy choruses or toe tapping basslines or awesome harmonies.

This really is one of the best records that came out last year, and one I cannot suggest picking up enough. Don't let the good scores on Pitchfork scare you - this actually sounds like music.

Highland Crawler -

The Rest of My Days -

You Don't Have To -

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

My teen idols had muscle tees

Insubordination Fest made me think of an Anti-Flag show I saw when I was 15 or thereabouts. This will make sense in a minute.

I doubt I'm sacrificing much cred when I say my parents used to drive me to punk shows. Your parents all did too, and you're lying if you've ever said otherwise. This means I got dropped off a good hour before the first band went on. This is in drastic opposition to now, where my friends and I weigh seeing the opening bands vs. how much more pot we want to smoke before stumbling off to the Ottobar.

ANYWAY, one of the big shows that required parental driving was Less Than Jake/Anti-Flag/New Found Glory/Teen Idols. I think this was around 1999/2000. Anyway, New Found Glory had just struck it huge with their very first radio hit, so Nations (now only requiring pat downs for weapons, not drugs!) was PACKED and it was an equal measure between bros who liked LTJ, dress up punx there to see Anti-Flag (me) and junior high kids in orange Abercrombie shirts and frosted tips.

For those of you unfortunate enough to have been to Nations before it got torn down in the city's vain attempt to turn the Anacostia ward into something safe for middle class white people, you will remember that it was divided up between a huge open floor and balconies that stretched all the way around the club. Between sets, there was this massive exodus on the parts of both groups. After New Found Glory's set, the mass of orange parted like the seas and allowed in all the kids who were trying wayyyyyyyy too hard with patches and safety pins (once again, me) while they all scampered off upstairs to await chaperone pick ups.

(I would like to point out that I spent the entirety of NFG's set in the upstairs lounge trying desperately and fruitlessly to get this punk chick's phone number. Even then I knew they were bullshit, but I had no idea that they would sound like the fucking Beatles compared to the wave of screaming crybabies who would follow in their wake.)

But before any of this, before any crowd shifts and typical teenage boy awkwardness and snuck in whiskey in the bathroom, the Teen Idols came out to keep the crowd of hormonal angst at bay while Anti-Flag finished their vegan imported scones or whatever. And they fucking KILLED.

At that point in my life I was slowly being turned onto the 50's aesthetic (mostly through monster movies and rockabilly rarities comps), so when a group came out before a bunch of Angry Punx and Cool Rich Kids (not that the two are mutually exclusive) with pompadours and old microphones and sang super catchy songs about porno and pill popping and aliens controlling your brain, it was kind of a shock but in a good way, at least for me. At that point I was mostly concerned about American military involvement during the last 20 years and how much teachers suck ass and how dare they tell us what to think. (I point out for the third and last time that I was there to see Anti-Flag.) I was in a really awkward relationship at the time (she would eventually come out as a lesbian, if the third party accounts are to be believed), and someone singing about girls in a way I didn't think was completely lame was kind of a revelation. That and Heather was super hot and while this is an incredibly sexist thing to say, the lizard part of my 15 year old brain responded quite hard.

So they're getting back together to play Insubordination Fest just down the street from me and I'm excited to see them again. Their last album blew and Heather quit so they hired Another Girl Bassist (which I have my own issues with but will probably put up with just so I can hear "I'm Not the One" live again), but Insub Fest is the land of second chances. Bands that would never be able to pull off a successful reunion tour on their own are treated like the Rolling Stones by the thousand assembled drunk pop punkers, and for that I will be grateful. If I'm going to experience them again, I would much rather it be with people dancing and singing and STOKED instead of incredulous early birds waiting for this week's new pop idols to grace them with their very existence.

What else can I say? It's pop punk at its finest. They put out three really amazing records on Honest Don's, and that's a better batting average than almost any band or their ilk has ever managed. Here's hoping they don't fuck it up. (And word to the wise - if their merch booth has a kissing jar, be prepared to have Keith give you smooch.)

Let's Make Noise In the Bathroom:

Test Tube Teens:

Midnight Picture Show: