Monday, 27 April 2009

Brief history of pop-punk that I listen to

So I was bored, and decided that I'll just list a whole bunch of albums that are completely awesome that I listen to quite alot. The genre happens to be pop-punk, but don't let that fool you, there'll be no Blink-182 or Green Day shite in here...

So let's start then, shall we? It's 1976, the year an album by a band whose influence on pop-punk continues today, is released. It's obviously the Ramones, whose first 3 albums are pretty much gorgeous in every way. Ramones in 1976, with Leave Home and Rocket to Russia both released in 1977. Blitzkrieg Bop was one of the first songs I learned to play on guitar, probably because it was only 3 chords the whole way through. 3 albums mostly filled with songs about girls that essentially showed how pop-punk should be done, and that'd be drawn on by countless bands for years to come. So here they are :

So the next pop-punk band to emerge after that who I love would probably have to be Descendents. Now everyone who knows about pop-punk knows about Descendents, and most likely will tell you that Milo Goes to College (1982) is their best album. Whilst clearly an awesome album, I still prefer ALL (1987), probably because Karl Alvarez's bass gives me eargasms, and because Clean Sheets is most likely my favourite Descendents song of all time. There are some fantastic songs on other albums though, like Suburban Home and Bikeage from Milo Goes to College, Cheer and Get the Time from Enjoy! (1986), and Ace and Silly Girl from I Don't Want to Grow Up (1985), but still, ALL comes out on top for me.

After 1987, Milo (lead singer of Descendents) actually did go to college (or grad school, whatever) so that pretty much put Descendents on hiatus, and ALL was formed, who were essentially Descendents with a new singer. More eargasm-y bass was prominent in my two favourite albums of theirs, Allroy Sez and Allroy's Revenge (1988 and 1989, respectively). There's a change in singer between these two albums but they the albums don't have a dramatically different sound, they're both pretty boss. Allroy Sez is most likely my favourite of the two though, with songs like Just Perfect, Pretty Little Girl and Hooidge. Fool and Bubblegum from Allroy's Revenge are both unbelieveably good songs too however, and funnilly enough are both written by Alvarez.

So whilst ALL were going about there business, there was another fantastic pop-punk band just releasing it's best stuff. I am of course referring to Screeching Weasel, who in 1988 released my favourite album of theirs, Boogadaboogadaboogada with such great songs as Love, Stupid Over You, Sunshine and Supermarket Fantasy. Then in 1991, they released their second best and also awesome album My Brain Hurts which contained the fabulous Veronica Hates Me, Cindy's On Methadone and of course, My Brain Hurts.

So now we're into the 90s, a pretty good decade for pop-punk if I don't say so myself. This is when the Queers released some of their best work. Their best album is definitely Love Songs for the Retarded (1993) with songs like Daydreaming, Teenage Bonehead and Debra Jean. My second favourite came in 1995, Move Back Home which had maybe my favourite Queers track of all time, I Can't Get Invited to the Prom.

Of course, we can't talk about pop-punk in the 90s without mentioning The Mr. T Experience! My personal favourite of theirs is Love is Dead (1996) even if only for I'd Do Anything for You, and I Just Wanna Do it With You, but you can't forget Our Bodies Our Selves (1993) with More Than Toast and Even Hitler Had a Girlfriend, and Revenge is Sweet and So Are You (1997) for ...And I Will Be With You and When I Lost You. Dr. Frank (lead singer and guitarist) even wrote a book which came out in 2006 called King Dork which I own and have read, and isn't half bad!

The Lillingtons also managed to release one of my favourite pop-punk albums in the 90s as well, Shit Outta Luck (1996) which contains a cover of Buddy Holly's Oh Boy that would've stolen my heart regardless of what the other songs on the album were like. Luckily the other songs are great too, especially Lillington High, Pom Pom Girl and Tonight.

Of course, I can't write about pop-punk without at least mentioning the band who got me hardcore into it in the first place. That band is the Vandals, whose 1998 album Hitler Bad, Vandals Good basically gave me the bug. I Know, Huh? and If The Gov't Could Read My Mind showed me how awesome pop-punk could be if done right, and for that I'm eternally grateful. Quickening (1996) is another great, with the likes of It's a Fact and Hungry for You, and we can't forget Fear of a Punk Planet (1990) which had the voice talents of Kelsey Grammer incorporated in the song Phone Machine, as well some other great tracks in Pizza Tran and Join Us for Pong.

And so we enter the new millenium, and there's not a whole lot of pop-punk that blows me away. Don't get me wrong, there's a few albums and bands that were really quite good, just nothing spectacular. That is until I discovered the Ergs!, whose 2003 album Dorkrockcorkrod (yay for palindromes!) restored my faith in pop-punk. Once again the bass is, at times, astounding, just as in ALL. I would heartily recommend, in addition to Dorkrockcorkrod, the album of B-sides and singles Hindsight is 20/20, My Friend (2008) which has some fantastic songs like Hey Jealousy, Introducing Morrissey and 1000 Letters. Sadly though, the Ergs! are no more, which means I'll never get to hear them live, and one of my favourite bands of the DECADE won't be releasing any new material. Heartbreaking :(

I think that about wraps it up for this entry, and it's been a long one. I'm sure I've missed out a couple of things, but hey it's nearly 2am and I'm aching to go to bed. If you've any recommendations on the pop-punk front, don't be shy!

Saturday, 25 April 2009


Blog blog blog! First post! I'm Graeme, I like music, football, films and the odd video game, so I imagine that's what I'll mostly write about. Well, that and what I get up to in my life, which isn't alot.

So..uh...let's see, I think for my first post I'll talk! I've just recently dug out my Nintendo 64, Super Nintendo and NES, connected them all up and to my telly, and now my room is a mess of console and wire, but I've found I don't have as many SNES or NES games as I want, especially NES. So I'm going to head out to Edinburgh soon and have a poke about, see what I can find. I'm not going to look too much on eBay, it infuriates me to no end (no matter how obscure the item is I'm looking for, there's always at least one other bugger who wants it too and is willing to pay 1p more than my max bid, the arsehole!). I'll be sure to update with anything I find in Edinburgh, though.

I'm still waiting for a couple of DVDs in the post, namely Doctor Zhivago and an Alfred Hitchcock collection with 14 films in it, none of which I've seen. I really should be revising for exams and the like but I don't have it in me at all, I'd much rather sit around watching films, playing old consoles and buggering about on the internet. Infact the days have pretty much been merging into one another, so much so that I continually forget what day it actually is. I was reading about the Chelsea - Barcelona game and thought "Is that tomorrow?" then realised it was Friday and the game wasn't for another 4 days...

I joined the Album Club at Avalanche Records not long ago, the first CD came in the post a couple of weeks ago, was by a band called The Flowers of Hell. It was shit though, definitely hoping for something better next month...

Anyway, last night I watched a film called Harvey, with James Stewart in. It's about a warm, well-mannered man named Elwood P. Dowd (James Stewart) who happens to have a six foot three and a half inch rabbit that only he can see named Harvey as a companion. I thought it was excellent, very sweet, funny and just a joy to watch. My favourite part in the entire film was this line, said by James Stewart's character:

"Years ago my mother used to say to me, she'd say, "In this world, Elwood, you must be" - she always called me Elwood - "In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant." Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me."

It brought a smile to my face instantly, and with that, I'm off to try and be as pleasant as I can.