Archive for the 'Punk' Category

No Age-C’mon Stimmung

This is a very Zombie Rotten Mac song. Can’t link so I will e-mail him about it. The simple directness of this, along with the driving hookiness, that it isn’t too trebly, that it comes across as an amazing song by some random high school band, or maybe the opening band on a 5 band bill that you have no expectations for are what make me love it the best. Many people do have a lot of expectations for the new No Age, and these guys definitely have it, or at least I think they do, and I am not trying to belittle them with how this post comes across. This is a song that has a lot of stylistic antecedents, but comes across as completely fresh and effectless. Super good.

St. Rosa and the Swallows – The Thermals

A second straight “Coming Attractions” post, and get used to it, because there are a bunch of shows coming up in the next few weeks. I first saw the Thermals at the 2009 Pitchfork Festival, where, if memory serves, they played on the East stage in between sets from the Walkmen and Grizzly Bear (might have been before the Walkmen, in fact it probably was). I was going to just see the Walkmen and take off, but ran into some friends and stuck around. I didn’t give them much thought until their 2010 release Personal Life, which I didn’t love. But that’s OK, because I dug into their back catalog, and these days I probably listen to The Body, The Blood, The Machine at least once a week. They’re probably one of a handful of bands I’d currently call “my favorite”.

They’re playing Lincoln Hall tomorrow night (5/16) and I’m really looking forward to hearing them play in that space, because aside from the production on their first album, More Parts Per Million, their sound is pretty clean, and Lincoln Hall has absolutely tremendous acoustics. So far I’ve only seen them at festivals and at Logan Square Auditorium (not a great place for a show, but probably a great place if you’re looking to hold a Quinceanera for your 15 year old daughter). They’re a little too power-poppy to be punk, and a little too punk to be power-pop. But their stuff is almost all up-tempo major key, which means it’s more or less like aural crack for these ears.

Raise What’s Left Of The Flag & Screaming At The Wailing Wall – Flogging Molly

Ten pounds of Irish folk/punk in a five pound bag. If Shane McGowan were actually as dead as the press has long insisted he’s supposed to be, no doubt his shade would be looking on in whiskey-soaked approval.

Offical video for “Raise What’s Left Of The Flag”

Live version of “Raise What’s Left Of The Flag”

Fan video for “Screaming At The Wailing Wall” using a time-lapse sequence of the Wailing Wall combined with pretty graphic Iraq war footage.

Bonus track: “Kilburn High Road” – live. Sound quality here is a bit soggy, but this is probably my favorite tune by these folks.

Digital-Joy Division

This might not make anyone want to hug a puppy. It is spare, dark and jagged. Somewhat relentless for Joy Division, and it is always tough to watch someone before they killed themselves. A Joy Division/Ian Curtis bio-pic just debuted at Cannes. I certainly expect this song to feature, it is one of their many high points.

Skin Deep/No More Heroes-The Stranglers

Double shot today from the Stranglers, an English band flitting between New Wave, Punk and a little Goth. The first number I find hypnotic for some reason. The simplicity of the keyboard along with the very specific sound they use, paired with the confident, matter of fact vocals somehow just grabs me. I really like the song. The second number is an earlier and bigger hit for them from the late 70s. You can hear the punkish sneer, but the vocals are too smart and too jokey for straight punk and the music points straight at New Wave.

Skin Deep-The Stranglers

No More Heroes-The Stranglers

Clampdown-Clash/ Clampdown-Strokes (cover)

This is my favorite Clash song. There are lots of great Clash songs, but I don’t know if I really feel any of them as much as this one. The disciplined, propulsive riff is what does it, it is the best way to pair the quoted hate speech of the lyrics. It gives it the stomping feel appropriate for the content. This live version is from that SNL knockoff “Fridays”- you might or might not remember that Michael Richards and Larry David were on it. Andy Kaufman hosted once and would not break character. I think there must have been a melee or something. This version is less loose and more robotic, more metallic, closer to the album version than other versions, but with some extra echo. This is how I like the song because it is essentially the band wearing a costume, and the part is better played with half-dead eyed sneering and stomping. Aif has some Clash at his place.

Clampdown-The Clash

Which leads us to our cover by The Strokes. I really don’t care what the haters say about the Strokes, and it is not necessarily relevant to their cover here. It is incredibly faithful, with an even greater sheen that the Clash’s costumed take. It is 25% closer to a Gary Numan dystopian robot future, but in Julian Casablancas world they’ll probably be sex robots giving him blue balls. As drunk as Julian is or is pretending to be the band just turns in a professional androidesque tight karaoke swing around the park. But the measured tempo and the angular crunch are the strengths of the tune, so in this case I think it works. Please feel free to get on the high horse and claim blasphemy, that’s what comments are for.

Clampdown-The Strokes