Descendents Release Missing Link 9th & Walnut Album

4.0 out of 5 stars

The Descendents are one of the oldest active bands in punk music today, and their new album 9th & Walnut (named after the streets where they formed) is actually a fascinating story that brings some of the very first songs that the original members of the band played as early as 1977 to the bands most iconic lineup (consisting of Tony Lombardo – bass guitar, Milo Aukerman – vocals, Frank Navetta – guitar, Bill Stevenson – drums).

The fascinating part is that Aukerman was not part of the band when these songs were written, and they were never recorded (except “Ride the Wild” and “It’s A Hectic World”) for release on any of the previous albums.

Aukerman himself didn’t know the songs existed. So, when the pandemic caused them to take a break from putting out new music, they actually got a chance to go back to old music that could be released as new.

The album actually was partially recorded back in 2002 by the rest of the band (minus Aukerman) as they knew the songs from their formative days, but got put on the back burner as there were no real plans to release it until Aukerman added vocals.

Then Navetta died in 2008 from a diabeties, and that,along with Aukerman’s career as a biochemist, really put anything to do with the band on hold for quite a while (though the band did keep in touch, record songs off and on, and tour sporadically).

This album is the second album in the return of the band since Aukerman came back to the band full time, and with the songs being short, poppy and punky, you get a great sample of how the band went from a surf-pop type band to the “melodic hardcore” (as Aukerman once said of their sound) band that they have come to be known for. 

I especially liked the Dave Clark Five cover “Glad All Over” because, to me, it is one of the most unexpected songs for the coffee-loving cynics to put out as a cover, and if you have followed our blog, you know how much I dislike cover songs and albums, but this one is truly a great piece of work.

Aside from that one, I would say the whole album has a more fan-based enthusiasm than a true “here’s a bunch of great songs” type of feel to it, because almost all of the songs are about one minute long...which isn’t an uncommon thing for them, but they definitely have longer songs in their catalog.

Also, I am not sure I have ever seen an album with so many short songs on it. It’s pretty cool though.

It is still great to listen to the album as a whole to hear some pretty good punk songs from an era in the late 70’s that was much more known for disco and rock ballads than for punk music.

Check out 9th & Walnut as it won’t take much time to get through all 18 songs, and you will be pumped for the rest of the day too.

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