Tag Archives: Fat Wreck Chords

Album Review: NOFX – First Ditch Effort

NOFX - First Ditch EffortI can sit here and blow a bunch of smoke up all the buttholes of NOFX, but for the sake of time and whatnot, I will skip a few paragraphs of introduction and get to the point.

Chances are if you are reading this, you already know of NOFX and do not need to read any type of introduction, but just in case you have no idea who I am speaking of, I will put in a small, small intro.

So here’s my review:

NOFX have a new album.  It’s called First Ditch Effort.  It’s freaking good.  After 4 long years, the foursome is back and have taken their 13th release and made it a personal triumph of sorts.  I should mention that the band has been around for 30 years now too.

Impressive.

This album was not like the others.  Where I was used to drug fueled witty pokes at anything and everything, this album was serious and seemingly was written from torn pages of the band’s personal journals.

“Six Years On Dope” started with Fat Mike and Melvin arguing who should scream / sing the song.  This romper of a track was a confessional tale of sorts with both Melvin and Fat Mike disclosing their lower times of hardcore partying.  Not surprising, the track was catchy as hell, but destructive in hearing all these two have been through.

“Happy Father’s Day” continued with heavy riffs and had Fat Mike more or less vanquish his father figure.

“Sid and Nancy” is a punk rock conspirator’s dream track in that Fat Mike and crew suggested Nancy Reagan killed Sid Vicious.  Providing an insight to what happened by the hands of Nancy proved to be quite interesting to listen to and very well could become the start to what would be a killer cult movie.

“California Drought” referenced Fat Mike’s current cleanse he been experiencing after years of recreational drug use.  The positives were null in this track as Fat Mike sung about the struggle on wanting to use when he knows he can’t.  It was cool to hear El Hefe supply a horn solo in the middle of this track.

“Oxy Moronic” was brilliant.  Pointing the fingers at the big pharmaceuticals with plenty of tongue-and-cheek references to the thousands of stupid drug names, this track was all about exposing the doctors who prescribe for profit.  See below for the Funny or Die created music video.

Listening to “I Don’t Like Me Anymore” was like listening to Fat Mike have an intervention with himself.  The content of this song was nothing positive, but man, this song ripped.  If this track is what makes Fat Mike feel better about his actions and future, then I would say this is a win.

Maybe it was because of the NOFX autobiography released earlier this year exposing the truth of the band, or maybe it was just for the hell of it, but “I’m a Transvest-Lite” was all about Fat Mike and his cross-dressing tendencies.  As he is open to his dressing preferences these days, the song talked about his secret over the years and how he’s ok with not going full forced cross-dressing as he is too lazy to apply makeup.  He ended the track perfectly with: “You gotta know it’s not just girls who wanna have fun.”

Listening to “I’m So Sorry Tony” was tough for me and really had me bumming after listening to it for like four times in a row.  For years now, I have been waiting for this song.  Ever since Sly left this world, there have been songs and tributes, but I’ve always wanted to hear Fat Mike’s take.  This song was all heart and took it past band mates to a family level.  Forget that Sly was an amazing musician, Sly was also a voice of reason and an inspiration and Fat Mike really emphasized that in this song.  Listen to this track and you’ll get chills, especially the ending…

“Generation Z” could be the last song Fat Mike and crew ever write and I would be ok with it.  This track was about the foreseen sad future according NOFX as seen by the youth with them being the last.  Not holding back, Fat Mike wished his daughters nothing but the best in this messed up world.  Being a father myself, it was kind of rough to hear the lie: “so we tell our daughters and our sons that they’re not the  final ones to see this planet as a decent place to live.”  As if that did not hit me hard enough, hearing Fat Mike’s kids perform a spoken word, just left this record ending in a whole mess of emotions.

It’s been a couple of weeks since this album dropped and I admit I held off on finishing this review as I just kept telling myself to listen to the album one more time.  With each listen, I am becoming a bigger fan of it.  It’s intense to hear an album full of realizations from a band that used be known for partying their asses off.

Having seen this band at least 15 times live in my life and have called myself a fan of them since I was about 17, I can see that these Peter Pan punk rockers are finally growing up a bit and cherishing all they have accomplished.

NOFX is touring with Pears and Useless ID and I am hoping I can check them all out:

10/22/16 Waterfront Park – San Diego, CA
11/02/16 Crystal Ballroom – Portland, OR
11/03/16 Showbox SoDo – Seattle, WA
11/04/16 Commodore Ballroom – Vancouver, BC Canada
11/05/16 Commodore Ballroom – Vancouver, BC Canada
11/07/16 Union Hall – Edmonton, AB Canada
11/08/16 Union Hall – Edmonton, AB Canada
11/09/16 MacEwan Hall – Calgary, AB Canada
11/11/16 Burton Cummings Theatre – Winnipeg, MB Canada
11/12/16 Cabooze on the West Bank – Minneapolis, MN
11/13/16 The Rave – Milwaukee, WI
11/14/16 House of Blues – Cleveland, OH
11/16/16 Sokol Auditorium – Omaha, NE
11/17/16 Liberty Hall – Lawrence, KS
11/18/16 Gas Monkey Live! – Dallas, TX
03/10/17 On A Cruise Ship – Miami, FL
03/18/17 Pot of Gold Music Festival – Chandler, AZ

 

Watch This: NOFX – “Six Years On Dope”

NOFX dropped a new track today and it is bad ass.  Check out the lyric video below:

“Six Years on Dope” is a new track off of First Ditch Effort which drops this October.  The song reflects years of substance abuse by the band and really is not meant to be taken in comical form.

NOFX

To say I am excited about their new album is an understatement.

Album Review: Face To Face – Protection

954_cover_450I am getting to that time in my life where the bands I grew up with and adored are hitting those milestones that make you realize how fast time is moving.

Face To Face have been around for 25 years now.  Seriously?  25 years already???

It certainly does not feel that long, but they did form in 1991, so it makes sense.  This So Cal punk rock band has been a favorite of mine since the mid-nineties and still are to this day.

So, how do you celebrate two and a half decades of being a band?  You release an album with help from an old friend.

Today, Face To Face dropped Protection on Fat Wreck Chords.  Without even breaking down the album yet, I need to tell you that this album is killer and certainly celebrates this band in the best way possible.  Listening to the album in full, it is clear Trever Keith and crew recorded the album for the fun of it for their fans.

“Bent But Not Broken” started off the album with some force.  I loved the quick baseline but loved more hearing Keith sing on what I interpreted as not giving up.  Following was “I Won’t Say I’m Sorry”, a track that has memorable lyrics that got stuck in my mind regarding denying fault.

“Double Crossed” reminded me of a much younger Face To Face complete with hard  bass lines and group vocals.  “See If I Care” to me almost sounded like a statement to those who ever doubted the band.   I’m sure it is about some ex though, still, I like my take on it.

“Fourteen Fifty-Nine” was another track I just dug a ton.  I think the thing I most about this track was how it spoke on the sad current state of affairs when it comes to entitlement.

“Keep Your Chin Up” was an upbeat positive track aimed at those who could use some confidence.  “And So It Goes” closed out the album and was as energetic as the very first track.

To he honest, I have not been this excited by an album for a long time.  Protection is exactly what I was hoping for by a band I have adored for more than half of my life (mind you all, I was about 15 when I first discovered them).  Still full of emotion and plenty of energy, this band certainly does not sound like they have been around for a quarter of a century.

I am not praising this album just because I like what I currently heard.  I am saying this because there are so many bands out there who lose their style that made them great as they mature and go through changes.  Face To Face has certainly seen their fair share of changes over the years.  Hell, I thought they were going to call it quits forever in the early 2000s.

I’ve been listening to Protection almost daily for almost 2 weeks now.  That is saying a lot right there.   In fact, I was not even the biggest fan of their last two releases.  Protection though for me is very up there next to their self-titled and  Big Choice.  I know, bold statement by me, but this album was seriously a great listen.

I am stoked the band dropped Protection.  I hope you are too.

Interview: Trever Keith of Face To Face

FaceToFace45020 years ago, I didn’t care about many things in  life except for punk rock.  I lived and breathed the genre and knew that it was for me.  I fit the role, spoke the language, and enjoyed every single second of it.

I grew up, but refused to leave my love for punk rock behind.  The best times of my life were fueled by the music and filled with other advocates of the genre.  There’s no way I could ever give up something like that.

When I think about the bands in the 90s that meant the the most to me, Face To Face was at the top.  This So-Cal pop punk outfit was the soundtrack to so many episodes of my life.  Their music is timeless and never has grown dull on me.

Fronted by Trever Keith, the band is celebrating 25 years of being a band this year and decided to put out an all new release on a label that is an old friend of theirs – Fat Wreck Chords.

I am actually in the middle of reviewing their new album Protection, but became so amped while listening to it that I wanted to reach out to Trever Keith and just throw a bunch of questions at him.  Of course he was cool with it.  Check it out…

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BHP: First things first, Face to Face is back with Fat Wreck Chords for an all new release in 2016. How did the band and Fat get hooked up again?

TK: I finally figured out that it would be a good idea and I emailed Erin and asked if she wanted to hear our demos. She did and then told Mike. It was very easy

I have to put this out there… I was stoked Face To Face got back together in the late 2000s. You once told me there was a remote chance the band would regroup, but nothing was certain. Was it the fans that brought the band back?

I would say so. We have such a loyal following. The real appeal for us was getting to play live again as face to face. The fans make the live show what it is. We missed that. There is nothing else like it.

The new album is incredible.  What did you guys do differently this time to capture a younger sounding Face To Face and put it in your new material?

We just went back to a simpler more immediate style of arrangement and song. I think they convey the message more clearly. There was a simplicity and honesty to our earlier records. We tried to key into that.

It seriously sounds like you all had fun recording this. This was not a forced release by any means. Am I correct in stating that?

Absolutely. The whole experience really feels like it zoomed by.

“Bent But Not Broken” sounded like a war cry to me as in Face To Face is still here and not going anywhere soon. Was that the intention?

It’s not about us as a band, although I would agree with your sentiment that we intend to stick around for a while longer. It’s more about the type of person who is unwilling to think outside of their dogma.

What is your favorite track off the album? I dig “Double-Crossed” and “See If I Care” a ton, perhaps because they hit on some of my harder times in life.

“Keep Your Chin Up” is probably my favorite song

So, who all is in the band this time around? Scott is, I know that much. 

Danny, who has been drumming with us since 2008, is on the record and so is Dennis Hill who has had guest guitar spots on both records since we started playing again.

Can we expect a proper US tour for this release?

That depends on what you mean by “proper”. I can at least tell you that we plan on hitting all of the big cities.

So how does it feel to be back in the band doing your thing?

Amazing

The band has been around since 1991, did you ever think that Face To Face would ever be around for this long?

I never doubted it, but I never really thought too much about it. It’s not surprising to me. They know what they’re doing over there.

Now that you all are more seasoned musicians and humans for that matter, how different is touring versus back in the 90s?

We get tired easier. There are naps…

I remember seeing Face To Face at the Warped Tour in 2010 and literally yelling at kids to get off their asses and get closer to the stage. Did it bug you seeing those kids more amped to see new acts over yours, or were you guys too busy playing to your true fans?

Trying to focus more on the people who were there to see us.

Out of all of your albums, which one would you consider was your finest?

Protection.

In 2008, you dropped a solo release called Melancholics Anonymous. Personally speaking, I loved that album and still listen to it once in a while. Do you think you will ever go that route again?

I doubt it. It was a fun record to make and I even did a brief tour supporting it. These days Face To Face is enough for me.

What do you think about the music these days? Are there any newer acts that impress you?

Western Settings, Iron Chic, Radioactivity

Finally, this is more of a personal question… Why was Big Choice never properly released on vinyl? That promotional album is the white elephant of all LPs out there to me and one day I would love to have a copy in my hands one day. Seeing the album passed the 20 year mark, I’m just curious why it never made it to the turntable.

I am reissuing Don’t Turn Away, Big Choice, and Face to Face on 180 gram colored gatefold, limited edition vinyl in 2016 on my Antagonist Records label to celebrate our 25th Anniversary as a band.


Can I tell you how excited that last answer made me?  I did not even get to close the interview down, I immediately looked if those LPs were up for pre-order yet.

Face To Face’s new album Protection drops March 4th on Fat Wreck Chords.  Head on over to pre-order it by clicking HERE.

Check out a new track off the release:

Here’s the music video the band just released for “Bent But Not Broken”:

25 Years of Fat: My Favorite 15 Fat Wreck Chords Releases

It really freaks me out that 20 years ago, I graduated high school.  For the most part, I hated  that school I attended and can not say many nice things about it to this day.  Let me rephrase, the school itself was not the issue, it was the experience I went through growing up there.

I will tell you though that I had a solid core of friends there who all helped me through the bad times and ensured the good times were plentiful.  Lucky for me, one of my good friends introduced me to Fat Wreck Chords.  I am forever grateful for that.

Fat Wreck Chords has been around for 25 years now.  They remain an independent label and continue to pump out amazing releases.

Fat Wreck Chords

I can not imagine Fat not being in my teenage years.  They supplied the soundtrack of my life and have continued to do so.

In an attempt to look like all of the other sites out there posting random things, I thought I would post 15 of my favorite Fat Wreck releases.  Here we go…

Survival Of The Fattest
Fat Music Vol. II: Survival of the Fattest

-This is the one release that I will always hold near and dear to me.  I fairly certain I snagged the cassette version of this back in 1996 at the Warped Tour and was immediately introduced to some of my favorite bands (well, technically it was after the show was rained out and my pals and I were driving home listening to it).  To this day, I will throw this album on the turntable and relive some of my teenage days.  Best comp ever.  That Diesel Boy song still rules…

Useless ID
Useless ID – 
Symptoms

-Hands down, this is my favorite Fat release.  I am still amazed at how good this album is.  To this day, I listen to it quite regularly.  It’s catchy, it’s powerful, it’s just good.  I can not wait for their follow-up.  If you are not familiar with Useless ID, you need to change that.

NOFX
NOFX – I Heard They Sucked Live

-When I think of this live album, I think of when I would listen to it front to back and recite not only the lyrics of the songs, but also the drunken commentary by the band.  I think the best part about this album is that I acquired the original pressing that I used to listen to from my friend a couple of years ago.  Talk about a keepsake.

The Loved Ones
The Loved Ones – Build & Burn
Dave Hause and crew rule on so many levels.  Out of all of their albums, this is the one that I hold dearest to me.  “I Swear” gets me every time.  You swooner Dave…

Flatliners
Flatliners – 
Cavalcade
-This is the perfect Fat release.  Everything about this album is incredible.  If you disagree with me, I could care less.  This is my blog, not yours.

Descendents
Descendants – Cool To Be You

-Sure, their SST Records releases are far superior than this one, but still, this is a great album by one of the best bands out there and I think it is bad ass that Fat was able to release it.

Rise Against
Rise Against – Revolutions Per Minute

-Who’d a thought some little band from Chicago would blow up and turn into rock stars?  Spite how their music has matured into more of a rock sound, this album slays.

No Use For A Name
No Use For A Name – Leche Con Carne

-RIP SLY (I can not believe it’s going on 3 years…).  Thank you for putting together one of the best albums ever.  This one album holds some of my favorite songs ever.  If any of you punkers out there have not listened to this album 400 or more times in your life, you need to reevaluate your status.  This album paved so many paths for future bands.  Respect.

Swingin' Utters
Swingin’ Utters – Here, Under Protest
-This album may hold a different style of what the Utters used to possess in their earlier years, but I love everything about it.  I remember the first time I heard it and how I questioned how it was possible for them to drop such a quality album after 8 years of nothing.

Old Man Markley
Old Man Markley
-Old Man Markley was so different from the rest of the Fat roster and I immediately fell in love with the album the moment I heard it.  The folk-rock-bluegrass sounds are unique and fun, not to mention the band puts on a hell of a performance.  You haven’t lived until you’ve seen someone shred a washboard.  Trust me on this.

Face To Face
Face To Face – Don’t Turn Away
Two staple songs of my life exists on this album, “Disconnected” & “You’ve Done Nothing”.  I someone decided they needed to create a documentary about my pathetic existence, these two songs would need to be on the soundtrack.

Me First and the Gimme Gimmes
Me First and the Gimme Gimmes – Have a Ball

-I remember the first time young punk rock me heard this album in its entirety.  I thought it was the greatest thing in the world.  Who’d a thought taking lame music my parents listened to and putting a punk rock spin on it would be so amazing?

Banner Pilot
Banner Pilot – Collapser
I could have easily just listed all of Banner Pilot’s albums on this post as I adore them all, but for the sake of variety I chose one.  This album contains so much energy it’s ridiculous.

Strung Out
Strung Out – Exile In Oblivion
This band has definitely matured over the years.  I am sure a lot of you can agree they are almost metal now these days.  The technical punk rockers completely won me over on this album.

Against Me
Against Me! – Searching for a Former Clarity
I always like to remind myself how much I thought I hated this band.  Sad thing is, I never gave them a chance.  Once this album came out, I realized what I was missing out on.  I love seeing how far this band has gone and can not wait to see what they have in store for us fans in the future.

Given the history of Fat Wreck, I think it is safe to say we can expect plenty of releases coming at us moving forward.  As of late, they have been building up their roster.

What are some of your favorite releases?  Comment below if you want.  Someone’s bound to read them.  Enjoy.