Read Hard’s Pop Punk Picks #4: Steinways- Gorilla Marketing

Posted: March 29, 2014 in Read Hard's Classic Pop Punk Picks

Gorilla Marketing cover art

Last pick was Go for it by SLF and I tried to go back to the early stages of Punk. This one is Gorilla marketing by The Steinways from 2008 which will show that an album doesn’t have to be old or from the 90’s to be a pop punk classic. Gorilla marketing was their second and final full length. The one before was Missed the boat, which I had indeed missed the boat on. I’m pretty sure I saw the video to “I wanna kiss you on the lips” on YouTube once and thought it was funny, but never bothered checking the album out. I remember Ben Weasel talking on his radio show about how great the new Steinways album would be if they hadn’t sabotaged themselves by swearing too much. I don’t think I considered purchasing the album before I heard “Manhattan boots” on the great Canadian radio show “Rocket to Russia”.

What really struck me as awesome with the band were the four personalities in the band: Grath Madden, the lead singer and comedian, who really spoke to me in his song about sweat pants(which I will get to later), Ace hole, the guitarist who showed us that it’s possible to write an unlimited amount of songs about getting drunk and fucking up with girls, Michelle Shirelle, the bassist who on their Rocket surgery 7’’ showed us that songs about necrophilia don’t have to be long, dark and sung by a creepy man, but rather could be 15 seconds, catchy, funny and from a female point of view and Chris Grivet, the drummer who got mentioned in just about every episode of Weasel radio back in the day as Mr. Weasel’s arch enemy. He was the drummer in the awesome band The Shy guys (who I probably will get back when I pick “Breaking Up is Hard To Do”)

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Gorilla marketing was released on June 24, 2008. To me, it’s a way better album than Missed the boat and I think the title is pretty clever. The album cover is simple, yet effective. Yellow background and a gorilla holding up a Steinways banner, Gorilla marketing!

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1. “Arena Rock”: Starts with a guitar solo, which might explain the title, and the lyrics are about getting old. Like his song “Fucking February” Grath sings about the winter being over, but he can still feel it being present. This song is some of his finest work, lyrically. “Deciding’s still like guessing/and sometimes things are still depressing/I mope around, rocks rolling in my shoes”

2. “Missed the Boat”: I always liked it when a band wrote a song with the same name as their album, but put it on their next album instead. This might be my least favorite song on this album, but it’s still pretty good. It’s another of Grath’s funny, yet depressing tristesse songs. It’s about wasting your life away drinking soda and eating fast food.

3. “Oh My Fucking Gosh”: It’s one of Ace’s songs and it’s catchy as hell. “You got me in trouble, so much trouble now!” It’s seems to be about a girl from a band called Challenger and the protagonist feels like a dick and he claims he watched her more than Paint it Black, which might be a reference to the movie from 1990, but I don’t know.

4. “Fuckmarket Pharmacy”: The music is the exact same as Missed the boat’s “Fruitmarket Fantasy” and the lyrics are about ditching work because of not getting to sleep the night before and instead sitting at home and writing songs and in the end concluding that you should probably go to work anyway . The song touches on a lack of inspiration and having a continuing theme in every song “Dear girl, my girl, oh girl, I wanna girl you girl” (“Dear Girl” is a song from Missed the boat as well). He also claims he wrote this song before he stole it from himself. Surprisingly enough, this does feel like a complete different song than “Fruitmarket fantasy” and Grath also continues the success with his other band: House Boat.

5. “Oh Angela”: Now this is the song that really made me love the Steinways and made me purchase the album. The intro has fantastic and the “oh Angela” part could have been a great chorus, if Grath wrote choruses. The song tells the tale of someone waiting for a girl to call him, but is fully aware that she won’t and he has waited for years and is ready to wait another one while he’s choking on the chances he has blown.

6. “Attaching Transmittals to Erection Drawings”: The song has a funny name and I never get it right without reading it for a long time. Another song about getting old and being bummed out about it. The song starts with the protagonist getting a new job because he got fired from his last job. He later realizes that he needs a vacation, but in fact his whole life has been a vacation.

7. “Half Baked Heartache”: This is a pothead love song and probably Grath at his most romantic. He makes cornbread sound like the ultimate aphrodisiac. The song has female vocals from his bandmate, Chelsea, in Short Attention (which is a band you should check out if you like 20 second songs). The song is about the protagonist having a feeling that everyone else thinks he and his girl are crazy, and he goes from caring about it to not caring about it, to in the end concluding that it’s everyone else who is crazy and all he wants to do is make out with her, how cute is that?

8. “Manhattan Boots”: Now this is a song you might not want to go out in public and sing. In the lyric sheet on the cd it says “Can you believe I wrote this song? It’s pretty embarrassing really”. The song is about being at work and wanting to jerk off while looking at all the girls passing by and in the end he expresses the jealousy he feels towards the guys that gets to have sex with these girls.

9. “The 400th Blows”: This song shows more of the failed ambition and depressing work scheme of the protagonist that re-occurs time after time in Grath’s compositions. The song starts up with a great drum beat and bass line that helps really form the melody of the song, and this might be one of the most underrated Steinways songs.

10. “Good Morning Sunshine”: The perfect song for lazy slobs to use as an alarm clock. What better way to wake up and face the day than with Grath telling you you’re a lazy piece of shit? The song reaches its catchiest peak with “Good morning Sunshine, wake the fuck up, WAKE THE FUCK UP!”

11. “It’s My Hair”: A song from Michelle Shirelle. This song serves as a contrast or possibly an answer to the previous song. It’s a song everyone can relate to. “Got stuck, ran out of luck/wasted it all on a morning in bed”. The song also expresses the protagonist’s longing to get the fuck out their current predicament and go far away.

12. “Senior Prom Jr.”: This song shows how much of an eloquent rhyme smith Grath Madden is. Since I got this album, this has been one of my favorite Steinways songs. It’s quite short song, but it says so much in little time. The song ends with the line: “One kiss, one beer/and while it was pretty fucking lame/It was probably the highlight of my year”

13. “Good Grief”: Another song from Ace hole and maybe his best song along with “Always Never”. And isn’t it great to, for once, have a chorus is in a song? Just for one song? And it’s a great chorus too! The song tells the tale of a drunken guy wanting a girl to ditch her boyfriend and come dance with him and then of course, make out.

14. “(Nobody Wants To) Make Out (With Me ((Because I Wear Sweatpants): A song from the first edition of the legendary PPMB songwriting game which gave us classics like “Jazz is like the new coke” by the Ergs! And “Her new company” by the Tattle tale and of course “Making out okay” by the Ricky Davis experience. The song is about being a nerdy kid that can’t get the girl of his dreams, because he has chosen to wear sweatpants, which is the nicest piece of fabric one can wear. This song is a classic and it’s quite different than the rest of the band’s output, with its hip hop beat and synths.

15. “CGI”: The song starts up pretty slow, and like Manhattan boots there is a certain creepiness to this song with lines like “In a couple of years/your sister’s gonna be hotter” and later the song gets sped up. I used to mishear the lyrics in the middle of the song and thought Grath sang “You’re like my favorite Charlie’s Angel” and I thought that was great and was disappointed when that was not what he sang, oh well.

16. “The Internal Cowboy”: A short instrumental outro to this great album, I think the title is a parody of Against Me!’s “As the Eternal Cowboy”

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I just realized that in three out of four albums in the column, the bands have started with the letter “S”, oh well, the next album will be The Queers’ “Love Songs For The Retarded”. They start with the letter “Q”.

 

 

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