joshthevegan: (screamy)

The way Rancid released "Let The Dominoes Fall" is a media blitz of the highest degree. The internet caught wind of a new Rancid project to be released as far back as a year ago, all over their last few tours Lars Fredriksen had been announcing a new record to be released on their own label, Hellcat Records (I know this because I saw them last August) and dubious preliminary announcements had been flooding Myspace and other social networking sites for months. Leading up to the actual release, you could stream the album for free on basically every website on the internet, you could pre-order the album for a chance to get (in my case) a T-Shirt, several stickers, 3 reversable posters, guitar picks, a copy of the Roots Radicals E.P. on CD (?) an acoustic CD, a DVD of the making of the album, and. . .oh, yeah, the actual album.

Is "Let The Dominoes Fall" everything it's choked up to be? Well, that's a complicated question. Yeah, it's a fantastic Rancid record, but, really, are any of them bad? I certainly don't think so. The differences between this album and its predecessor, "Indestructable" are not really that huge. They are both well-produced punk records with a tasty ammount of ska, soul, and hiphop-influenced tracks mixed in to create what is by now the classic Rancid blend of styles. Both are chock full of personal stories, both are a bit angry (though always hopeful about the end results) and have fantastic sing-a-long tracks throughout. The only thing seperating these two records is the media hype behind one ("Let The Dominoes Fall") and a major label behind the other ("Indestructable.")

What I think is really great here is the acoustic side of Rancid that is emerging on this project. Songs like "Civilian Ways" (a great country-tinged song about soldiers returning from the current war and becoming part of society again) allow Tim Armstrong's songwriting ability to shine through in a way that no other musical style would allow.

"Let The Dominoes Fall" is destined to go down in history as Rancid's "comeback" album, though I disagree with this sentiment. This band never went anywhere (in terms of writing great music) they just remembered how to embrace fame in a very punk way.

Let The Dominoes Fall - 9 out of 10.
So, those of you who have read my writings for awhile (and care) will have noticed that I am a big fan of Uncle Tupelo, and the subsequent bands that formed out of its demise: Son Volt and Wilco.

Well, ever since Yankee Hotel Foxtrot was released (by Wilco) and Rolling Stone hailed it as a masterpiece, Jeff Tweedy has been releasing crappier and crappier music in an attempt to live up to that legendary status he believes he deserves. From bad soundtrack releases (Chelsea Walls) to bad side projects (Loose Fur) to just straight up awful Wilco releases (Sky Blue Sky) Tweedy has proved that he is willing to go to all lengths to release the most obnoxious hipster bullshit possible.

So, in keeping with this, June 30th will mark the release of Wilco (The Album), which will be the biggest, steamiest pile of manure that Tweedy and co. could muster. If you have the stomach, you can stream it now over here, but do so with trepidation.
joshthevegan: (screamy)

Marking their 25th Anniversary as a band, "Coaster" is the 11th release by punk rock legends NOFX. The title is a cheeky reference to the direction the music industry is taking where compact discs are becoming obsolete and not much good to many people except as something to rest your drink on.

I must admit I was excited at the beginning of this month when I found out that in addition to Anti-Flag, Rancid, Bob Dylan, Green Day and many other bands that I enjoy, NOFX would have a new album to kick this summer off. I rushed to the record store right after work and picked up my copy for a steal: $8.

Over the last couple of years and albums, NOFX has embraced their old age, alcoholism and "career" as a punk band and renderred songs on these subjects that range from hilarious ("60%," "Mattersville," "Theme From A NOFX Album") to bland ("Wolves In Wolves Clothing.") "Coaster" is no different, and fans will find few surprises within it's twelve tracks. "First Call" is a festive celebration of the morning after being no reason to stop the party, "Best God In Show" mocks the simple mentality of blind faith in religion, "The Agony Of Victory" is yet another send up of the band's ever-growing age; all firmiliar subjects, packed with a few new twists on the jokes.

As a complete product, the album is enjoyable, though not remarkable. The instrumentation is very good, as would be expected, the production is clear, though not slick (which is definitely on purpose, as the band thanks many early punk bands by name in the liner notes as inspiration over the years) and the songs are catchy without being too bubble gum-y. As far as NOFX albums go, it won't go down in history as ground breaking by anyone's standards, but I'm sure they didn't intend it to. NOFX has not been a band seeking to expand its audience beyond the core that's already on board, and so "Coaster" is not a failure at all, it is just another chapter in the story of an aging punk band.

Coaster - 7 out of 10.

New Dylan

Mar. 11th, 2009 05:40 pm
joshthevegan: (woody)
It was brought to my attention that Bob Dylan has a new album that will be released some time in April. (Just in time for my favorite seasonal activity: Dylan and Grillin'!)

Coming on the heels of his "comeback trilogy" as many people are calling his last three albums, expectations are high. I can't imagine that it won't be fantastic. I'm probably going to get a pre-release copy and will, of course, let you all know my take on it.
To the rhythm of a timebomb ticking away )

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