Posts Tagged ‘punk rock

30
Apr
08

Agnostic Front “Victim In Pain”

By the time this record came out in 1984 I had rejected hardcore completely, as well as most types of current music other than what I was playing myself. I was aware of this band, but never gave them a chance, because by this time I thought it was all over, and hardcore punk was pretty much music for frat houses and sweaty weightlifter guys. So I listened to this record, now,  expecting to cringe, and I was surprised at how much I like it. On a technical level, it strikes me as a pretty great example of this type of music from this time period. It’s lean, energetic, and, of course, angry, but also really pleasing musically, with compelling songs and playing. I mean you hear the inspiration, and a certain joy of making music. They do a lot of that usual hardcore thing, extremely fast tempo that then shifts into a slower, more human scale, compelling tempo. It’s like the hardcore song “hook.” It might be overused, but it works extremely well. Really, a lot of this record reminds me of punk rock when I really liked it, early Black Flag, and Minor Threat, and bands from Ohio that I really liked. I’d say it was nostalgia, though I didn’t think I was nostalgic about hardcore. But listening to this kind of transports me to a bar in the Cleveland Flats, it’s a sweaty summer night, and I’m drinking a bottle of Night Train, and generally things feel pretty edgy but good.

There’s a nice black and white live show photo on the inside of the album cover (which opens, and contains the lyrics). They’re young, have shaved heads, and lots of tattoos, but look like nice guys. I looked them up on the internet, and they’re still together, and still playing, like a lot of bands are, which always surprises me, because I can’t even imagine still being in a band that I was in that many years ago. Or maybe I can. Their website and MySpace page has pictures of them, older of course, more tattoos, and it looks like they’ve gone through a lot of band members over the years, but they’re still doing what they believe in, which is inspiring enough. The art on these sites makes it look like it’s an ad for a video game with lots of weaponry and blood imagery, but this might be mostly due to promoting their newest record, called “Warriors.” But, I mean, when your band is together for over 25 years, imagine the spectrum of fans you must have. You could literally have three generations attending an all-ages show!

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15
Apr
08

Aerosmith “Draw The Line”

I guess this is Aerosmith’s 5th album, and when it came out in 1977 I had already decided that they sucked– I don’t remember why exactly, because I never DIDN’T like the two earlier records I had– though I never liked “Dream On” from their first record. I remember when “Rocks” came out, I just hated it– I don’t remember why– just because of the cover with the diamonds. Or did I actually hear it? Anyway, I don’t recall ever hearing any of this record, or ever being much aware of its existence. I think when I got into punk rock I just really cut a lot of stuff out of my world.

It starts out almost sounding like the Aerosmith I remember and liked so much. The second song, “I Wanna Know Why” is pretty good– it actually sounds a lot like something from the first solo David Johansen record from almost the same time. It goes on for too long, though, and has too many elements– and the record just goes downhill from there. Though the Joe Perry song is kind of weird; it really reminds me of that Klark Kent (Steward Copeland) song, “Don’t Care” which came out about the same time.

The first song on side two, “Kings and Queens” just totally reminds me of everything that went wrong with rock music in the 1970s and why we (punk rockers) rejected all of it. Steven Tyler and Joe Perry will be the first ones to tell you that they did too many drugs, but I don’t want to presume that drugs are the reason this sounds so bad. Maybe it was too much touring, or too much eating at Taco Bell. At any rate, most of this record is like an aural representation of constipation.

The cover, a pathetic caricature of the band by Al Hirschfeld is just really… sad. It pretty much says “end of the line.” They probably should have called this record “End Of The Line,” or R.I.P. But I love Aerosmith! I’m glad they didn’t OD and die, and I’m even glad they kept playing and recording. I just never want to see or hear this record again.




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