Hello all and long time no speak,
Apologies for the lack of Strictly Punk material of late… I’ve been working my arse off and just not in a position to make my usually acerbic punk rock musings. That or I was sat watching My Keepon dancing to various songs as I tried to find the best song for it to dance to… ‘Ace of Spades’ was awesome. On with the show…
Pennywise – All or Nothing
Pennywise are back after a hefty 4 year absence with a new record this week, All or Nothing. Not just back but back on former label Epitaph after a brief flirtation with Myspace Records (remember Myspace? It was like facebook before facebook).
Lead single and opening title track ‘All or Nothing’ starts with the familiar driving drums and bass, so far, so Pennywise, but when the vocals kick in… there’s the change! It’s no secret that founding Pennywise vocalist Jim Lindberg called it a day with the band and left to form identi-Pennywise band The Black Pacific so Fletcher and co. had to fill the gap and they did so with Ignite frontman Zoli Teglas.
Right, exposition out the way and back to the song…. When Teglas’ vocals kick in there is such a difference. Long time diehard Pennywise fans would stand by former vocalist Lindberg till hell froze over but I’ve got to say, he was an average singer at best and Telgas takes Pennywise into a new league and makes them sound fresh for the first time since their 1989 debut. On All or Nothing they don’t sound like a band who’ve been kicking around plying their trade for over 2 decades, they sound young, interesting and potent.
‘Let Us Hear Your Voice’ sounds like a group of fresh faced teens playing out of a van, not old punk rawk codgers who’ve played a million shows. It’s a slick fist pumper that I’ve returned to again and again this week. The slickness continues on ‘We Have it All’. It’s got the triple fast tempos of old but rather than sounding like a band going through the motions they sound like they give a fuck again. Four months in and this is my front runner for record AND comeback of the year and I can’t wait to see this incarnation of Pennywise live. Jim who??
4 and half out of 5
The Offspring – ‘Days Go By’
This week has been a good one for new material from So Cal legends as The Offspring have also let loose some new stuff. At midnight Eastern Standard time last Friday night/Saturday morning the bands new track ‘Days Go By’ was released. On the same day the band stated the new record of the same name would be out June 26th.
Offspring singles are generally pretty momentous occasions for the seasoned punk fan. Where the overall quality of the records has dipped over the years the lead single at the very least usually has something about it, think ‘Hit That’ from parent album Splinter for example. So how does ‘Days Go By’ compare? Well, it’s polished and poppy for sure and on an initial listen I wasn’t sold but I persevered. Live this song garnered some controversy for sounding not unlike The Foo Fighters ‘Times Like These’ but this studio recording seems to have tamed those elements and it sounds more like its own track. There’s still Fooy undertones but I think this is more in the overall vibe of the track, think of the poppiest rock track the Foos have recorded (‘Learn to Fly’ maybe?) and you’re in the ballpark. ‘Days Go By’ isn’t entirely charmless though, it’s well written but seems to lack the oomph! of lead singles of old like ‘Come Out & Play’, ‘All I Want’ and the aforementioned ‘Hit That’.
Then, later in the week the band announced another track was released for other parts of the world, the interestingly titled ‘Cruising California (Bumpin’ in My Trunk)’. Now, I’m an Offspring fan, a huge one, I fucking love these guys but this track is an abomination. The use of The Ramones famous “Hey Ho Let’s Go” makes me cringe as does Dexter’s almost rapped lyrics. It’s all very well making songs mocking modern life and the state of music, ‘Pretty Fly’ was just that, but don’t make a bad song to do this, you’re defeating your purpose. Saying ALL that though, to play devil’s advocate and give this track a glimmer of hope it might work in the summer, windows rolled down in the car bombing down the motorway… I just need to wait for the sunshine to test this theory out.
As if one Offspring story wasn’t enough the band are celebrating the 20th anniversary of their seminal Epitaph debut Ignition. If the two new songs left anyone a little cold this week this news should delight diehards, myself included. The band will play the Ignition album in full plus a selection of the bands best other songs.
June 5, Shepherd’s Bush, London
June 6, Shepherd’s Bush, London
June 11, Bataclan, Paris
June 17, Ancienne Belgique, Brussels
June 18, Melkweg Max, Amsterdam
These dates are alongside their other European festival dates, none of which are in the UK so right now if you want to see the ‘Spring this year your best bet in the UK are these shows. The band rarely play songs from Ignition in their normal set list so this’ll be a real treat for anyone who’s never seen the band pre-circa 1997.
Adam ‘MCA’ Yauch passes away
Adam ‘MCA’ Yauch passed away on May 4, after a battle with Cancer. He was only 47 and leaves behind a widow Dechen Wangdu and is survived by his daughter Tenzin Losel Yauch.
The Beastie Boys, though predominantly a hip-hop act, were genre splicing pioneers, blending alternative rock, punk & funk with rap. The band was founded by Yauch as an NYC hardcore act with Yauch on bass duties.
The band’s snotty frat rock debut License to Ill was among the earliest rock/rap crossovers and its monster single ‘Fight For Your Right (to Party)’ has a bludgeoning punk riff right through it. As the 1990s came around, the Beasties kept delving into their punk history, on songs like dirty funky ‘Gratitude’, which is dosed up on distortion and the epic ‘Sabotage’. Its tongue-in-cheek ‘70s cop show video is famous as its bad ass guitars.
However Yauch is remembered be it; as the bass playing rocker, the eloquent MC or the peace loving, Tibet freeing Buddhist he will be missed by us all. RIP.