Archive for December, 2014

KTOTT BEST OF 2014

Posted: December 21, 2014 in Reviews

Trawling through the records I have listened to this year, I realised that it had been a better year for music than I remember. I really struggled to whittle it down to ten. I could have definitely had a top 20 and them all be good albums. As it is, this is the top ten I am left with, which would, outside of the top 5, probably change if you asked me tomorrow. First world problems, right?

Anyway, as well as my ramblings, below there is also Read Hard’s (from Read Hard’s Classic Pop Punk Picks) best of, which includes a couple of EPs (sacrilege!) and also a couple of Norwegian bands, which are not church-burning black metal.

There is also a 2014 Spotify playlist of my favourite songs of the year, because I am a dirty sellout. Think of the 0.000002p that the artists will get by listening to the playlist!!

As this will be the final post of the year, in a punk rock attempt to be festive, I have posted a couple of ‘alternative’ Christmas songs, both of which have been recently recorded: one is Coventry-based Wasted Daze’s cover of “Do They Know it’s Christmas Time At All?”, and the other is our very own Read Hard’s “Moptop Christmas”.

The final thing to say is that there is now a printed zine of Keep Track of the Time: a 2014 collection. A sort of best-of of this year; my favourite things that have been up on this blog over the past year (interviews, reviews, etc) in printed form. If nothing else, it’s a bit of extra toilet roll for you. If you would like a copy, get in touch at: keeptrackofthetime@gmail.com

See you in 2015.

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My top ten of the year

1. Against Me!- Transgender Dysphoria Blues (Total Treble)

For me, this was easily was the record of the year. I mean, yes, Transgender Dysphoria Blues was clearly great in terms of lyrics and what it stood for, with Laura Jane Grace’s emotions just dripping from the record. That would have already been an interesting record, but what made the album stand out were the great songs, and the hooks, melodies and pure passion within these. From the stirring centrepiece of the record “True Trans Soul Rebel” to the pure catharsis of anthemic closer “Black Me Out”, this was, and I try not to say this lightly, a true, modern-day punk rock classic.

2. Lawrence Arms- Metropole (Epitaph)

Like The Greatest Story Ever Told, this was a complete record, which was more than the sum of its parts and took a while to digest, but once digested, I would put it just behind the aforementioned 2003 album. Metropole retains the instantaneous catchiness of yesteryear Larry Arms, but simultaneously moves them onto newer, more intriguing ground, something which is reflected in the thematic content throughout: fondly remembering the past, but acknowledging the present. The fact that it produced one of the funniest music videos in years with “Seventeener (17th and 37th)” is just a bonus.

3. Martha- Courting Strong (Fortuna Pop!)

One of my favourite ever debut albums. You have to remind yourselves sometimes that all Martha had done before this was an ep. This is pure punk- pop goodness, that sounds like it could have been made in the era of The Undertones, yet without sounding pointlessly retro. Courting Strong would have been worth a place on this list simply for the perfection of the song “1967, I Miss You I’m Lonely”, but thankfully the rest of the album is great too. An new, interesting take on nostalgia from Durham’s darlings.

4. Joyce Manor- Never Hungover Again (Epitaph)

The surprise hit of the year for me. I had appreciated a few of Joyce Manor’s songs in the past (particularly “Constant Headache”), but Never Hungover Again took them to a whole new level entirely. They remained relatively lo-fi, but the production was much cleaner and more suited to their style. That, along with the tighter songwriting, led to such songs as the pulsating, blink-and-you’ll miss it “Catalina Fight Song”, the catchy-as-shit “Heart Tattoo” and the heartfelt, crushing closer “Heated Swimming Pool”. This was the sound of an emo band not forgetting what melodies are.

5. Banner Pilot- Souvenir (Fat Wreck)

Chances are if you know Banner Pilot by now, you will know exactly what they sound like: gruff, romantic, driven pop-punk that fits in well at things like Fest. They largely continued down that same avenue with Souvenir, but there slight adjustments: more direct songwriting, real slow-tempo moments and a more subtle approach to melodies. There was a kind-of evolution here that brought this album above their previous one. And here, I will do something incredibly pretentious and quote my own review from earlier in the year, to suggest why they are the best at this gruff-punk thing: “Thematically, we are on similar ground with Souvenir: Banner Pilot invite us into a world of back alleys, dive bars and fading dreams, where the bleak winters are soul-crushing. But, amid the bleakness, what Banner Pilot have always had, and which many of their contemporaries don’t, is hope; the sun parting through the clouds”.

6. Cloud Nothings- Here and Nowhere Else (Wichita)

This is probably the only release on this list that could also be on NME’s best of countdown; it is punk-y and grunge-y, but it appeals to the indie crowd as well. I heard “Psychic Trauma” first, which has one of my favourite key changes ever, and then “I’m Not Part of Me”, which has one of the best choruses of the year, and I just knew then that this record was not going to be bad. Here and Nowhere Else is an apt follow up to Attack on Memory that condenses down its scrappy, scream-y brand of indie-punk into (minus “Pattern Walks”) 3 minute pop nuggets. Delightful.

7. The Creeps- Eulogies (It’s Alive)

Putting Eulogies at 7th makes it look like it was just alright, but this positioning says a lot more about the high quality of releases this year than The Creeps’ fifth full length. They are not a band to rest on their laurels and there has been a not-insignificant evolution since their last LP Lakeside Cabin or even 2010’s ‘Follow You Home EP to their slowly-chugging, melodic punk rock sound. Their horror themes now tell tales of suicide and inner turmoil, while their riffs are now chunkier and meatier. Possibly the most consistent traditional pop-punk band going right now.

8. The Copyrights- Report (Red Scare)

I didn’t used to be a huge fan of The Copyrights, but 2011’s North Sentinel Island finally won me over. It is probably one of the best pop-punk records of the past five years. I feel that The Copyrights have progressively got better with each release, but that this latest one was a slight drop-off in quality. But that is not too much of a knock. It is still high quality songwriting and anthemic pop-punk throughout, with “This World is Such a Drag” and “The New Frontier” being stand-out tracks.

9. Cayetana- Nervous Like Me (Tiny Engines)

Female-fronted, harmony-led, indie-pop-punk is pretty prolific right now, from Lemuria to Swearin’ to UK-based Doe, but Cayetana are my discovery of the year. Nervous Like Me is a fantastic debut record, full of beautiful harmonies, catchy hooks and emotion in bundles. Cayetana are heartfelt and passionate, but manage to avoid many of the traps that come with those tags, letting the quality of songwriting speak for itself.

10. La Dispute- Rooms of the House (Big Scary Monsters)

Perhaps the odd-one-out in this list of pop-punk, indie and grunge, but screw it: when it’s good, it’s good. La Dispute’s third LP was the scream connoisseur’s choice. Avoiding many of the clichés of the genre, Rooms of the House was head and shoulders above anything the band had done before, with a running theme throughout, a spoken-word song and a good loud-soft dynamic. La Dispute do what the best horror films do well and take the ordinary and turn into something chilling in their Rooms of the House.

This year, I also enjoyed: Caves- Leaving; Chumped- Teenage Retirement; Johnny Foreigner- You Can Do Better; The Kimberly Steaks- To Live and Die in West Central Scotland

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Read Hard’s Top 10 of the year


1. Tacocat- NVM

To make a list like this isn’t always simple, there are usually lots of albums and EP’s released during a year. To pick a number one was quite easy, however. I’ve actually heard the album in its entirety once, but listened to sporadic songs every now and then, but that one listen made there be no doubt that this is record of the year. I saw the band in Brixton, London in November and they were great live too. “Crimson Wave” is probably song of the year! Tacocat are from Seattle, Washington and play a mixture of surf rock, garage and pop punk and deal with feminist issues like cat calling (in “Hey Girl”) in a humoristic way as well as singing a song about anarchy in the lovely “This is Anarchy”. Another great song is “Party Trap”, which won’t leave your head after you’ve heard it. Tacocat is a female fronted band, but one of the songs “Alien Girl” (with an intro very similar to Billy Bragg’s “A New England”) is sung by the dude in the band and that song is probably in the top three songs on the album: this just shows to me how great of a record this is and I can’t wait to listen to it more!

2. Frk. Fryd- Hjertebank

Frk. Fryd are from Stavanger, Norway, which is my hometown. They’re an all female band who play pop punk with some influences from Foo fighters and the Pixies. Before I heard the album, I read a terrible review in the papers and I got so pissed at the reviewer that I just wanted to check out the album more. The album is very well produced and one could say it’s too well produced to be a pop punk album. I find it interesting and to me it might be exactly how Pop punk should sound in 2014. All the songs are sung in Norwegian, most of them in thr eastern Norwegian dialect, but the last song called “Bittert mareritt”(bitter nightmare) is sung in the Stavanger dialect and is featuring the singer of the “Bergen-band” Hjerteslag, so it’s also in Bergen dialect. For lovers of Pop punk, in addition to the good production, on the first listen it might even be too “Pop”, but after a few listens there’s no way to remove the songs from your head. The songs “Skyene”(The clouds), “Blod og honning”(Blood and honey) and “Svikets barn”(The child of betrayal) are instant classics and catchy as fuck. The latter also has a very similar chorus to the song “Less Than Zero” by the obscure band Lonely Kings from Santa Cruz that I used to listen to when I was 14, so I don’t know if they took inspiration from that or if that’s a coincidence. I guess both songs also draw a resemblance to “A New England”, maybe the Kirsty Maccoll version more than Bragg’s, but an inspirational song, huh? The album was produced in by Yngve Andersen (from the band Blood Command) in a studio that is in my neighbourhood in Bergen. When I saw them live, I just couldn’t help jumping around and singing along, even if I had only heard the album once.

3. Mikey Erg/Warren Franklin and the Founding Fathers split EP

I got the pleasure of reviewing this Split EP for “Keep Track of the Time” and I feel like I gave it quite a positive review, which I think is well deserved. In fact, I think it’s gotten even better with time. I still think the lyrics “You never heard “My aim is true”/You could care less what Brian Wilson sang” are heartbreaking and that all the songs on this EP are some of the greatest songs of the year, even if none of them (except maybe the Warren Franklin song) are truly originals, as Mikey Erg also put out “Three Cheers for the Liberty Bell” on his Barrakuda McMurder split.

4. Hvitmalt gjerde-Ville venner

Another Norwegian album, this time from Bergen, Hvitmalt gjerde play Surf rock (with vocals) mixed with garage and 60’s beat music. I’ve already seen this band four times and I still can’t tell if they are better live or on record. This album sounds way better than their previous self-titled album, the production sounds marvellous and it blows my mind how good Norwegian records sound nowadays. The song “Et kyss til”(One more kiss) appeared in the big Norwegian movie “Beatles” where the band also made an appearance as the band Snowflakes. The song suited the 60’s climate of the film and was maybe the highlight of the entire movie. Every song on the album isn’t perfect, but the great ones like “Et kyss til”, “Duene”(The pigeons) and “I ended av byen”(The end of town) more than make up for that.

5. Masked intruder-M.I

When I had finished my list I was looking for something I had looked over and it appeared I had missed Masked Intruder’s new album, and though it’s not as good as their first one, it’s still good compared to most music that was released this year. My favourite songs on the album are “Locked Up and Lonely” and the two more doo-woppy tracks “Stars” and “Almost Like We’re Almost in Love”. “The Most Beautiful Girl” is also a grower. The most disappointing tracks are “I Fought the Law” and “Hey Girl” that are nothing compared to the Crickets and Tacocat songs of the same names, nor do they compare to the rest of the album.

6. Safety Razors- Worst Record of All Time

This is a great album from the band Nancy. And I think they are way better than Nancy. The best song on the album is “Sincerely, Bruisy” which has a sample from an internet intervention by a polite Welshman, that was nicknamed by me. The band sounds like Dillinger four with mixed with some more Emo bands and some of the melodies are almost Milencolin style. I think this is a very underrated album and worth checking out!

7. Barrakuda McMurder- ‘A Cigarette Meet Date’

After the Steinways broke up, Grath Madden has been in several bands and projects like House Boat and Science Police, but I think his random project Barrakuda McMurder is the best one, the “Slow crawl” 7’’ is one of my favourites! The new record is a mini version of “the Decline” in only four minutes. For those who purchase the record, there are also some bonus tracks. The middle part song sounds like it could be a new Screeching weasel song.

8. The Muffs- Whoop Dee Doo

I love the name of this album, it just sounds so happy! The Muffs made some of my favourite albums in the 90’s, like their self-titled and Blonder and Blonder. The band is still going and they seem like the band just can’t go wrong. Kim Shattuck still writes awesome songs and out of the old bands making new stuff, they are the best one this year!

9. Cloud nothings- Here and Nowhere Else

I knew nothing about this band before I saw a poster that they were playing near me. At the same time Dave also reviewed this album for the blog and I checked it out, agree that the album is not as good as the last one, but it has some really good songs like “Psychic trauma”. I ended up seeing them, their equipment seemed kind of fucked and I couldn’t hear the vocals, and they didn’t play that long, but it was still a pretty good show. I saw 4/10 bands on this list, that’s pretty impressive to me!

10. Me first and the Gimme Gimmes- Are We Men? We Are Divas

Another old band making a record in 2014 is MFAGG, who only play punk covers. This time they are singing songs by famous divas. Spike Slawson’s voice is great as always, almost too great for punk rock. His old band Swinging utters’ newest album (which is the second he doesn’t play on) also nearly made the list. I recently listened to all SU albums chronologically and the new one was great, even if Spike doesn’t sing on it. Another old punk band that didn’t make the list were the Adolescents, that made an album that kind of sounded like Turbonegro. Most of it was mediocre, but there were some pretty good songs on that album, too. Still, MFAGG gets the 10th spot; maybe it’s nostalgia! I’ve always loved the Gimmes, and this album is way weaker than their earlier output. The best song on the album is the Culture club cover “Karma Chameleon” that is mashed up with the Buzzcocks’ “Everybody’s Happy Nowadays”, and it sounds sweet. The rest of the album goes from OK to pretty good. The album title makes me love the album even more.

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BEST OF 2014 KTOTT SPOTIFY PLAYLIST:

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Wasted Daze- “Do they know it’s Christmas?”:

Wasted Daze- Do they know it’s Christmas?

Read Hard- “Moptop Christmas”:

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Comic Strip: Eddy Jellyfish pt. 2

Posted: December 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

Yes, that is right! We have more art-y goodness from Eddy. 3 strips, all untitled: enjoy!

Eddy Jellyfish 4

Eddy Jellyfish 5

Eddy Jellyfish 6

 

The No Marks - Light Of One cover art

Light of One is the debut full-length from Liverpool-based The No Marks, apparently named so because of the two singers in the band being named Mark. They comprise of former members of older UK punk bands like Down and Outs and Blocko that I don’t know a huge deal about, but I do know that I like this! The No Marks play a brand of melodic, tuneful punk rock that has its heritage in Leatherface and Hot Water Music. The musicianship is excellent throughout and I love some of the guitar melodies, particularly in the title track. The vocals are gruff, snotty and melodic, while the hooks reveal themselves over repeated listens, in a similar way to Leatherface. The No Marks have a driving, punch-y anthemic punk rock sound throughout that becomes unmistakeably theirs, but I like that they change things up now and then, and when they do, they produce my two favourite tracks from Light of One. “Not Working” is a hard-hitting, fast-paced raspy punk song that calls to mind early Hot Water Music mixed with Bangers, which has a slowed down middle section (including a clip from a real (?) documentary on joblessness in Merseyside), before bursting into an anthemic closing section. “Lighthouse” is also brilliant in showing what can be done with about four lines of lyrics. It kind of sounds like it could have been on alternative radio in the mid-90s alongside Jawbreaker, with its catchy-as-shit chorus: “Don’t wanna be a phone-call away”. That is probably a good guide for the whole record: updated ‘90s punk rock hits for the ‘Fest’ generation.

Check ’em out here: https://brassneckrecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-no-marks-light-of-one-2

DB

liphom

I will open this review by admitting that this is only a partial review of the pop-punk all-dayer in Manchester, as, thanks to train delays and sleeping too much, I missed the first four bands. So, if you want a comprehensive review of this gig, look away now, but I’m sure that Munters, Junior Vice President, Werecats and Get Human were all awesome. The good thing is that at such a packed gig, I still had SIX bands left to see, so all was not too bad in the world.

Anyway, back to what I actually saw, and band number five came on the stage: Andrew Cream, backed by a full band. I knew very few songs by Mr. Cream before this gig, but I’ve listened to pretty much everything since. They were really excellent. He has been gigging on the DIY punk circuit for a while, but only recently has he been backed by a full band. I’m not sure if this is going to be a permanent thing or not, but it really worked to bring out his sound better. The sound, if you were wondering, is passionate, yet melodic, personal folk-punk ditties. Andrew joked that he was the odd-one out in a pop-punk all-dayer, but when it works this well, who gives a shit? Next up were local pop-punkers and crowd favourites Don Blake, who play fast and melodically. All of their songs are short, sharp segments of poppy fun. The vocal melodies remind me quite a bit of Mike TV. They apparently rattled through 17 songs in their set, and I felt quite worn out by the end just watching them.

Surf’s up with The Lemonaids! This is Glasgow’s best (and only) surf-punk band. They have described themselves as Beach Boys meets The Ramones and that is not far off wrong. They play super-happy, super-melodic, highly-energetic pop-punk, all clad in Hawaiian shirts with a focus on all things surf. Yes, it is pretty generic Ramonescore, and admittedly, I found listening to the album a bit much when I first heard it, but The Lemonaids rule live. They are full of the energy perhaps lacking in their recorded material (which I find with much Ramonescore). So much fun. Most of the hits played here are from their most recent album Back to the Beach. Next up were The Kimberely Steaks, and more pop-punk from Glasgow (and indeed include at least one member of The Lemonaids in their line-up). But rather than surfing and beach babes, The ‘Steaks deal with isolation, boredom, alcohol dependency and Streets of Rage. Much more suited to Glasgow. To Live and Die in West Central Scotland is one of my favourite punk releases of 2014 and they did not disappoint live. All of the best songs off that were played, including “On My Mind” and “My Quarter Life Crisis”. Live, they do not mess about and shred through their set-list at super-speed. It may be the Billie-Joe like vocals, but they remind me of, even more so live, early Green Day at twice the tempo. Like if your Kerplunk cassette had got caught and started playing at the wrong speed. But yes, this was ace and when I felt like the All-Dayer really started to get MENTAL.

And then the Zatopeks came on. This was the band I was probably most excited about seeing. I had seen them before live, but when I wasn’t totally aware of just how awesome they are. Plus, I realised how much of a rarity this live show would be these days, with a high percentage of Zatopeks members now residing outside of the UK. Anyway, this was great. The set was full of energy and passion, with singer Will de Niro spending most of the time off the stage. And the hits were played, oh yes they were. I like that there was a decent variety of stuff played, spanning over all three of their albums, including “City Lights”, “Turkish Bread Chronicle” and the ‘political section’, which comprised of “The Daily Mail” and “Politics”. I hope it’s not too long before they are back. And finally to the headliners Lipstick Homicide on their first ever European tour. It took me a long time to get properly into this band, and I realised during watching them here that I now definitely was pretty fucking into them. LipHo killed it. Energy, passion and precision: it was all there. There was not an ounce of fat on their set. Most of the songs played were from their latest LP Out Utero, with the main exception being a cover of “Today the World, Tomorrow the Girl”, during their spontaneous encore. This is one of the few times when I have felt that an encore has been deserved. An awesome end to an awesome day. I think pop-punk is still doing alright, y’know.

zatopeks

DB

The first pop punk pick was Screeching weasel’s Wiggle: Danny Vapid, Ben Weasel and Danny Panic performed on the first album that was picked, and they are also the first ones that get a double dip with their other band the Riverdales! On this side project they used their actual names Dan Schaefer, Ben Foster and Dan Sullivan. The Riverdales tried to stand out as a new band and sounded quite different from Screeching weasel, for one both Ben Foster and Dan Schaefer did vocal duties. The band is described as a mix between Ramonescore and Oldiescore. The name of the band is from the Archie comics, and Riverdale is the town Archie and his friends live in. Screeching weasel also had a few possible references like “Veronica Hates Me”. Ironically, Jughead from Screeching weasel is not in the Riverdales. Another idea for the band was that the lyrics were supposed to be sillier than Screeching weasel and that one could sing about silly things and still make good tunes. The band recorded five albums until they disbanded in 2011 after the infamous SXSW incident. The self-titled is the first one, the second one is Storm the streets, the third is phase 3 and after a long break they were back with the two modern classics Invasion USA (in 2009) and Tarantula (in 2010). Something the later records have in common is that the Schaefer songs are high in quality, maybe even better than the Foster songs. I think 2009-2010 were very good years for Vapid, and he might actually get a third dip with a Methadones album.

Riverdales was released June 7 1995 on Lookout records. The album cover is black and white with the band playing. The album was re-released on Asian Man records on October 10 (my birthday, yay) and had a different album cover, a picture of the Chicago skyline. The album was produced by Billie Joe Armstrong from Green day, with whom the band went on a long world tour. The sound of album is very similar to the two first Ramones albums rather than their later ones and some of Foster’s songs could easily also have been Screeching weasel songs. I first heard the album when I got it for my birthday in 2007 (a year after it was re-released) and I had only heard “Back to You” before and it grew into a great record for me. This is definitely still my favourite Riverdales album!

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1. “Fun Tonight”: The albums starts with the song “Fun tonight” which proclaims that “We’re gonna have fun tonight!” which seems like an apt introduction for what is ahead us on the album. The song, however, is not very fun. This is one of my least favorite Ben Weasel (Foster) songs, and I actually skip it quite often. I also need to add that I very rarely skip songs. It’s just kind of boring. Gay movie director Bruce LaBruce who talks in the “I Wanna Be a Homosexual” intro and appears on the cover of the “Pervo Devo” 7’’ directed a video for the song that was never released.

2. “Judy Go Home”: Musical references to the early Ramones albums needs some lyrical references as well. The second song on the album is a reference to the second song on the first Ramones album: “Judy is a punk”. The Ramones-y tambourine on the song sounds very authentic. The song is about a girl who is totally punk and she doesn’t care about people talking about her and tells her to go home.

3. “Wanna Be Alright”: A Foster song about wanting to be alright. The protagonist in the song tries everything, from turning the music up to taking pills just to be alright. It’s a song that really shows the simplicity of the Riverdales with the lyrics in the chorus just being “Wanna wanna wanna be alright”

4. “Back to You”: The song I first heard on the album and probably still the best one, and one of Vapid’s best songs to date! There’s something very Ramones-y to the song, but one also hears this and think “this is the Riverdales”. The song was released as a single with “I Won’t Forget You” as a B-side. The 7’’ cover was the band posing in Ramones style, which was appropriate. The song was also on the soundtrack for the brilliant movie “Angus” alongside Green day, Ash, Weezer and the Muffs. The song appeared when Angus and Melissa had their dance at the school dance. The subject matter of the song isn’t new, it’s about someone wanting someone, but not repeating the mistakes of the past and going back to them. The solo in the song is maybe my favorite part and it’s sort of reminiscent of the Queers’ “From Your Boy” also from 1995.

5. “Not Over Me”: Another song that could easily be a Screeching weasel song, and I think one of Foster’s most underrated songs on the album. And it seems to be continuing the theme of Schaefer’s song. The protagonist in the song is not over the person who has left them, but though the other person is not over the protagonist either, refuses to go back to them.

6. “She’s Gonna Break Your Heart”: One thing about Schaefer’s songs on the album is that they have very repetitive lyrics, which is really effective and works! This song is simple and has a clear message to someone (maybe the protagonist in the two earlier songs) that the girl they like will only break their heart. I don’t know if this is referring to one specific lady or a general misogynist message, but I’ll guess it’s the former. The song has some nice vocal harmonies, which gives the simple song a nice little touch, and another thing to get it stuck in your head. This is inspired by the Ramones, indeed.

7. “I Think About You During The Commercials”: This is the song with the reference to “The Hearse Song” of unknown origin. Ben sings “The worms are crawling in, the worms are crawling out, the worms are playing poker on my snout”; in the original the worms play pinochle. In the song “Last Night” on the Screeching weasel album emo, Ben again brings in this reference, this time the worms tap-dance on his snout! The song is probably the strongest song on the album lyrically, possibly also melodically. The song’s subject is also similar to “99” on Screeching weasel’s How to make enemies and irritate people, in which the protagonist replaces a past lover with 99 from the show “Get smart” and uses the TV as an escape from heartache. In “I Think About You During the Commercials”, he only thinks about her during the commercials, but she also drops by disguised as the girls of “Melrose Place”. I’m sure I could put in some psychoanalytical theory on this and complete this Carnival of Schadenfreude, but I’m gonna drop that. The second verse starts with a reference to “The Brain that Wouldn’t Die”, which is not only Ben Weasel’s live album from 2009, but an old movie and an episode of the Mystery science theater 3000. MST3K was about to play an important role in the history of the band. Their two last albums Invasion USA and Tarantula both mostly took their titles from the show and we ended up with getting brilliant songs as “Werewolf one”, “Teenage strangler”, “King dinosaur”, “Time chaser”, “Master Ninja” and “Crash of the moons”.

8. “Rehabilitated”: I’m not sure if this is originally a Foster song or a Schaefer song, Foster sings it on the live bonus track, but Schaefer sings it on the album. It’s a really great song! It’s about a troubled girl who has mental problems and drug problems, but now she’s rehabilitated and doing better. She’s like Cindy in “Cindy’s on methadone”, at least how one would hope that Cindy turns out. And the singer wonders if her parents let her listen to Black flag in the house anymore. The great use of tambourine in the song almost block out the rest of the percussion, which makes a really cool sound that you could hear on the two first Ramones albums. The backup vocals in the chorus almost make it sound like an oi! song.

9. “Plan 13”: A horror-esque song telling the stories of Sue, who is babysitting and then a killer is murdering both the kids of Lucy who is on a date making out to 50’s/60’s Doo wop star Dion and later gets murdered too. The song gives the feeling of 50’s and 60’ horror movies and has references to the lover’s lane and phone operators. I have no idea what “Plan 13” is, it could just be a reference to the bad luck number. The album also has another number reference, the “27” logo! This remains one of the biggest mysteries for the band. Screeching weasel also mentioned the number “27” a lot, their debut self-titled album had 27 songs on it, the song “Something Wrong” had “27” in it, and the band made a song called “27 Things I Wanna Do To You” as well as releasing an EP called “Formula 27”. The number is, however, because of the logo, mostly associated with the Riverdales. In spite of that a lot of fans link the number to this type of pop punk in general.

10. “Outta Sight”: This song continues the oldies theme that also fits the Archie comics theme and also continues the Schaefer repetitive lyrics theme, which goes well together. The lyrics to the song are mostly “Little girl, you’re outta sight”. It’s a pretty catchy song with handclaps in the bridge. It’s not really a standout track though.

11. “In Your Dreams”: I read in an interview that someone thought this song sounded like the Everly brothers. Even if they’re famous for writing songs about dreams, I’m not sure if I agree; I think it’s got more of a doo-wop sound to it than Everly brothers. The song is kind of like a lullaby and ends with the comforting voice of Ben Foster that the listener will be held, praised and watched over and that everything will be all right and sleep is near. It sounds like it could almost be sung to a child. It could also be a response to his earlier song with Screeching weasel “Don’t Turn Out the Lights” from My Brain Hurts, where a child-like protagonist is scared of the dark and isn’t able to sleep. This song would be a perfect end to the album.

12. “Hampton beach”: Like “Fun tonight” is kind of a meh opener, “Hampton beach” is also a meh closer. It’s not a very good song, and Schaefer’s least good song on the album. It’s probably a tribute to Rockaway beach, I think Hampton beach is in Chicago, and that ain’t Hawaii.

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Bonus track: “Two-headed Girl”: On the re-issue from 2006, an entire concert is part of the bonus tracks, including “Give it up” which ended up on Storm the streets. Other than that, there were four bonus tracks: “I’m a Vegetable”, “No Sense” the heartbreaking song about a girl traveling coast to coast and the protagonist that won’t forget her, “I Won’t Forget You” and “Two-headed Girl”. I think “Two-headed Girl” is the best one and kind of sounds like a movie. Foster sings “She doesn’t have any split personality/And she’s not a freak just because she’s in love with me”, it’s a sweet love song that could be taken literally or metaphorically. It also has always reminded me of Weezer’s “No One Else”.

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I definitely think this album holds up just as well as a lot of the classic Weasel albums, even if the opening and closing tracks aren’t their best. A lot of time you will listen to it and actually think you are listening to the Ramones, and if I’m gonna be honest most bands that try to sound like the Ramones fail miserably, but the Riverdales actually do it well! The next album is going to be Appetite for Adrenochrome by the Groovie Ghoulies.