3 Punk Albums and 1 Rock Album That You Need to Listen to Right Now
It has been a decent amount of time since I got to actually sit down and write album reviews. So, due to the giant backlog I have of albums, I am going to rattle off about 4 new album reviews today, and I think they are all really good albums.
Let’s start with probably the most notable release for punk fans out there, and that’s the DEBUT album from the new project by Sam King (Get Dead), Ceschi Ramos, and Fat Mike (NOFX) called Codefendants, and we will continue with a lot of other punk and rock reviews that I think you will also enjoy.
First things first, the album title is related to the musical genre that lead singer Sam King has dubbed this project’s style. He says, “I just call it crime wave and leave it at that.” So, if you are looking for an explanation of what the crime wave genre is, well, you’re going to have to listen to the album, because I scoured the internet trying to figure out what this album and this project was going to sound like before it came out, and I was incredibly confused by what the media was saying.
And it’s no wonder, Get Dead, King’s other project has been labeled “acoustic folk punk” for over a decade, and if you have ever seen Get Dead live, you would know there is nothing “acoustic” or “folk” about their shows.
I will tell you that Ceschi Ramos and King grouping together on this effort has created an incredible combo of punk music that is inspired by the streets and blends some hip hop elements into the music (with 2 or 3 songs having actual rap verses on them).
But DO NOT mistake this for a hip hop or rap project, because that would be completely off base, and it would negate the fact that King has been writing songs with a hip hop flow to his singing for years.
When I asked King about whether or not the last Get Dead album sort of was a catalyst for going into the Codefendants project, he agreed that it was probably the first time he was getting a lot of positive feedback for the rapping he did on the intro of the album.
If you want to really get the jist of this album, I would say go straight to the song “Brutiful” though. It is an absolute gem of a song written with a lot of pain behind it, but also giving the aspiration of light at the end of the tunnel.
A lot of the songs have been infused with the past legal experiences of both King and Ramos - Ramos was imprisoned over a marijuana charge in Connecticut, King has disliked law enforcement since his childhood when cops arrested his mom - who had 3 kids and 2 jobs - for not having her registration on her car up-to-date. This distrust in the police and the criminal justice system made a bond that fully comes alive in the music.
For the full effect of it, I would suggest watching the music videos that Codefendants put together with anonymous street team Indecline. Start with “Suicide By Pigs” and just sit in awe of what they put together. Also, it is worth mentioning that Brendan from Mercy Music has a prominent role in the video series.
The line that stands out most from the whole album comes from this song as well where I believe it is Ramos who sings, “Turning pipe dreams into pipe bombs with you.”
Seriously, this is what art from music to visual media looks like. An overall great combination, and the album itself is excellent.
The UK band Dude Safari put out one killer album earlier this year, and I have listened to it about 15 times and just haven’t gotten the chance to write a review, but suffice it to say, this is a HIGHLY recommended album if you like some of the alternative rock of the 90’s (think Weezer, Superdrag) you will absolutely enjoy this as well.
The album kicks off with probably the most rocking and my personal favorite song, “Lead Balloon.” It is high energy, loud, and a killer melody. It’s pop rock at its finest.
The album has a bit of diversity in sound which is always a good thing too. This is evident just going from track 1 to track 2 (“Bug Hunter”) which goes from pop rock to a bit more of a dark sound that might fit more in the early nu metal sounds.
I am not sure there is a song on this album that I would say doesn’t belong, because when you listen to how the music weaves between sounds, I think it becomes clear these guys just want to make awesome music regardless of the “label” that one song might get versus the next.
The song “Big Worse” might be one of the most iconic sounding songs on the album. It’s literally like being transported back in time to an era when big guitars used to inspire mass hysteria. It’s a big song that sounds incredible all the way through.
A lot of the album reminds me of Cage the Elephant lyrically for some reason. I have no idea why, but having listened to every song by that band, I can feel similarities in both timing, meter, and subject matter of Cage’s first few albums with this one from Dude Safari. That’s a compliment and not to say that they sound the same. I honestly don’t think ANYONE else may draw that comparison, but I think it is worth noting.
This is an album you need to check out.
I will be the first to admit that I have known of Frenzal Rhomb for most of their 30-year run, but I CONSISTENTLY have not listened to a lot of their music just due to the sheer volume of music that exists, and it sucks that I don’t have more time in a life to listen to more Frenzal Rhomb.
The Aussie band’s 10th full-length album (and first in 6 years) The Cup of Pestilence is great. It’s fun, it’s fast, and it doesn’t ever get boring like a lot of skate punk albums can over the course of an album.
This album is good throughout, and while it is hard to know what my favorite Frenzal Rhomb song is of all time (I would have to go back through a vast catalog), I am going to put “The Wreckage” up for consideration, because it is a great song and is a true Aussie love song with the line, “And you act like a cunt, but my love never ends.”
Another “instant” classic is “Instant Coffee.” I am not a coffee drinker myself, but I swear every time a punk band writes a song about coffee, it is somehow good. This is no exception.
Want another banger? Well, there are 17 more on this album, but let me direct you to the song “Those People” which is potentially the song of the year! It’s a social reflection in the most comically sincere way possible.
See, now I am torn. I take it back. This is DEFINITELY my favorite Frenzal Rhomb song of all time.
There are 19 songs on this album, but for those who are going to say something like, “I ain’t got time to listen to that many songs,” well, I would beg to differ, because the whole album is only 32 minutes long. Is that punk enough for you?
I could spend two whole pages talking about this album, but if you like punk music, just go listen to it. It’s a rad album.
If you like punk rock that has harmonies and fast riffs and beats like Descendents and ALL, then you are going to love NOT. And for good reason.
Lead singer Davey Warsop put this project together with Brendan Scholz and Jarred Cooper of Mercy Music and they bonded over their mutual love of those two bands above.
Turns out that they can make an INCREDIBLY good album that 100% fits as an homage to their predecessors while still making it fresh, fun, and not coming off as a rip off in any way.
I actually can’t even explain it, because as much as I like Descendents, I would say that NOT somehow took their sound and made it feel immediately modern and relevant. Not that Descendents ever felt stale or anything like that, but when you listen to them hundreds of times, it’s something you just kinda get used to.
Hardcore fans of ALL, Descendents and Bill Stevenson in general may feel like its a slap in the face to put an album out like this, but I would say it’s a lot more like a pat on the back and a big fucking “Thank you, Bill” love letter.
And for those hardcore fans, guess what, the band themselves also consider themselves hardcore fans. So, maybe instead of gatekeeping, enjoy the ride.
I am not saying there ARE critics like that out there, but I would be willing to bet there are.
One of the best songs on the album in my opinion is “Alien” which is about Warsop being a Brit living in America. It’s actually this song that reminds me that Warsop is, in fact, British, because his vocals don’t sound British at all.
Skate punk fans who also like how melodic punk was fashioned by Descendents and ALL will absolutely enjoy this album.
The album is 14 songs of just punk rock goodness.