Friday, August 29, 2008

God is an Astronaut - All is Violent, All is Bright

God is an Astronaut - All is Violent, All is Bright

God is an Astronaut is an Irish post-rock trio that began in 2002 with their debut album, The End of the Beginning. What sets the band apart from many of their post-rock predecessors and contemporaries is that they find a way to fuse electronica with post-rock, to create an intriguing and innovative blend of music that re-defines in many ways the boundaries of post-rock. The three members of the band play a surprising amount of instruments between them; Torsten Kinsella plays both guitar and keyboard in addition to occasional (and very sparse) vocal duties; brother Niels plays bass and lead guitar interchangeably, as well as handling the visual displays at live shows; and drummer Lloyd Hanney also handles synthesizer duty. Telling you this serves little purpose other than to point out that only three people contribute to this incredible abridgement of melody and noise, a feat impressive in of itself and even more impressive when you see that each musician is pulling double-duty here. On their second album, All is Violent, All is Bright, they perfect their unique approach to post-rock, creating a beautiful and substantial album that stands alone in a sea of imitators.

Alone in a sea of blinding snow-white fog, a man searches for something. The background is obscured and undeveloped, and what is visible is entirely unrecognizable. The colours everywhere melt into an uneasy balance between black and white, an all-encompassing array of monochrome lifelessness. This is the album cover for All is Violent, All is Bright, but it could just as well describe the landscape that God is an Astronaut is working upon. Grounded by strong rhythmic drumming, the band hurls wave after wave of obfuscating electronic haze at the listener, both serene and majestic in its composition, relenting only for obligatory periods of rest. And with this strategy at heart, the band successfully creates a tender and desolate atmosphere, one that fully enraptures its audience and leaves them pleading for more.

God is an Astronaut show an impressive set of dynamics on this album, towing a thin line between the intense lows, reeking of insularity and isolation, and soaring highs. The music can drift from endless waves of cold, unyielding distortion, to forceful, blindingly bittersweet climaxes and back again within an instant. As an added bonus they waste no time in doing so, never pausing for a moment, always finding a way to keep their music interesting and exciting. Unlike many other bands of the sort, there are no overly drawn-out silences used to build up the music, no endless arrangements of noise that only serve to bore the listener. With All is Violent, All is Bright, God is an Astronaut perfect the art of grabbing the listener’s attention, be it through beguiling piano chords or haunting synth melodies. Even when they’re not going for the big climax, they remain remarkable in their catchiness and captivating in their brilliance.

But not only do they captivate; they also manage to move as well. The music has a dour sweetness to it in places, one that makes listening to it a highly emotional experience. Where their debut was catchy and consistently entertaining, the band ups the ante here, adding an emotive sensibility that often underlies the cold, bleak landscape which they paint upon. It sounds weird to say this about a post-rock band, since no words or vocals are used as a manner of expression, but what sets All is Violent, All is Bright apart from the band’s previous release is the aforementioned emotional depth. Among the cloud of synthesized haze the group utilizes so well, they manage to convey a very real, and very relatable feeling of isolation. It is that this sense of isolation is so well conveyed and that the band takes such care in translating it, that the album ultimately succeeds.

All is Violent, All is Bright reflects the best effort to date of one of post-rock’s freshest and most interesting acts. That the band can express intense desolation in their sound, as well as utilize catchy and memorable rhythms like no other, puts them on a higher plane when speaking about the best post-rock acts today. And on a personal note, this is possibly my all-time favourite post-rock album, one that always remains vibrant and brilliant upon each successive listen.

All is Violent, All is Bright

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Bandits of the Acoustic Revolution - A Call to Arms EP

Bandits of the Acoustic Revolution - A Call to Arms

Following his departure from Catch 22, citing a desire to further his education rather than tour, Tomas Kalnoky began to embark upon writing more ambitious and expansive songs. This included adding classical and folk elements to songs already written, as well as entirely new material that transcended the boundaries of ska as it was hereto known. Utilizing an astonishing variety of instruments and styles, this project of his would eventually be known as the Bandits of the Acoustic Revolution. A total of fifteen people would contribute to the eventual A Call to Arms EP, released in 2001, playing instruments as diverse as the familiar ska sounds of the trombone, trumpet, and saxophone, to the classical string sounds of the viola, cello, and double bass.

The EP begins with a simple introduction, titled "This is a Call to Arms", the name of which, just like the EP itself, is derived from the Ernest Hemingway novel A Farewell to Arms. It comprises of a simple, yet infectious swelling of the horns, interspersed with an acoustic section of harmonic vocal intonations, before both parts speed up in leading into the first full song of the album.

"Here's to Life" was originally written whilst Kalnoky was a member of Catch 22, and would later appear on Streetlight Manifesto's debut album, Everything Goes Numb, two years later. It chronicles the lives and depressions of many of Kalnoky's literary and artistic heroes (as seen in the footnotes in the CD jacket), including J.D. Salinger, Albert Camus, Vincent Van Gogh, as well as the aforementioned Hemingway. Continuing musically much in the same way as laid out in the previous song, with the same song structure and swelling of the horns, it remains denser and more meaningful in it's arrangement, thanks to Kalnoky's wistful lyrics. He delivers his lines with an intense devotion to the subject at hand, mourning the losses of these artistically tortured and withdrawn men.

The next song is a remake of a song not just written, but performed and recorded while in Catch 22, "Dear Sergio". It plays out like a more traditional example of third-wave ska, bursting from the seams with energy while retaining the appeal of a pop song at its core. Where it improves upon the original is in it's acoustic guitar work, which compliments the brass of the horns far better than in the original, as well as an additional verse that further flushes out the theme of the song, railing against the cause-and-effect of obligations in modern society.

The first song performed exclusively to the EP is the fourth track, "It's a Wonderful Life". The song is a laid-back and somewhat jaunty tune, almost oblivious to the underlying threat it faces. The story told is of a man going to war, likely either the first or second world war or the Spanish Civil War (just judging by Kalnoky's usual subject matters), who is fondly reminiscing over the times he spent with his wife. The final cry "Oh to die for such a wonderful life" belies the tragedies of war, and instead draws attention on the what the main character is willing to give up to protect what he holds dear. The focus seems to be on the sacrifice itself, made great by the larger picture it represents, shown by the flashbacks to his wife and to all his treasured memories. Just the fact that he could feel so strongly about someone makes the sacrifice worthwhile, and makes life worth living, no matter what perils may await on the battlefield.

The final song, and in many ways the best song, is the rather verbosely-titled "They Provide the Paint for the Picture-Perfect Masterpiece That You Will Paint on the Inside of Your Eyelids". It begins with an ominous acoustic guitar part, highlighted by Kalnoky's equally quiet and understated singing. This part follows a second-hand account of an old man, paranoid and detached from society, warning the speaker never to become too trustful of the powers that be. Eventually, the music picks up in pace dramatically, horns flowing and swelling with passion, lending a sense of the epic to the whole affair. The lyrics are top notch, spewed so fast the listener can barely keep up. They reference a number of anecdotes as related by the speaker, that are similar in tone to the tale of the old man. One is about a boy who "wanted to be a soldier in the next great war, he wanted to kill and fight and maim but not be told what he was fighting for", and the other verses are just as dour in tone. The speaker is greatly concerned about what he sees around him, and goes back to the memory of the old man as a sort of prelude to his own cynical beliefs about the people and world around him. What comes out of it is an anthemic tale of paranoia and pessimism in relation to society.

A Call to Arms is to date, BOTAR's only release, but its innovation lives on. This EP pushes the boundaries of what ska is, and by doing so, creates a unique and enjoyable collection of songs. Kalnoky's ambition and drive for perfection is both what fuels these songs, as well as what has kept the band from as of yet releasing any further material. As is, we'll just have to make do with this for the time being.

This is a call to arms

Friday, August 22, 2008

This Post Has Been Brought to You in Glorious Extra Colour

For the uninitiated, today marks the release of the final episode (via Adult Swim's website) of the third season of the Venture Bros. Which makes it at least another year before anything new will be released, likely sending me into a cycle of depression that only handful after handful of Xanax can overcome. So to recognize this, I figured a Venture Bros. related post was in order.

The show is in essence a satire of the old Saturday morning cartoons of the 60's and 70's (Johnny Quest, Scooby-Doo, among many, many others), as well as being a thematic extension of the space-age values of the 50's, where children were taught to believe they could grow up to do anything, and oh so many cheesy educational shorts concluded that colonies on the moon were just decades away. Naturally, every character is a failure in this world, a victim of failed potential and crushed ambitions. From the creators:

Publick: "This show... If you'll permit me to get 'big picture,' This show is actually all about failure. Even in the design, everything is supposed to be kinda the death of the space-age dream world. The death of the jet-age promises."

Hammer: "It's about the beauty of failure. It's about that failure happens to all of us..." "Every character is not only flawed, but sucks at what they do, and is beautiful at it and Jackson and I suck at what we do, and we try to be beautiful at it, and failure is how you get by." "It shows that failure's funny, and it's beautiful and it's life, and it's okay, and it's all we can write because we are big fucking failures. (laughter)"

Sprinkle in a frighteningly large amount of pop culture references, and you got the basic gist of it. Of course, that doesn't actually tell you what the show is about, but I'm not looking to go into a lot of detail here. Just that it's hilarious. Look into it.

Now, I figure there are two ways I can make this music-related (not that it really has to be, but w/e). One, I can point out that the oft-brilliant composer of the show is J.G. Thirlwell, better known for his long career as industrial music pioneer Foetus (among numerous other aliases and side-projects), and that a Venture Bros. Original Soundtrack is apparently on the way; or two, I can post the best cover of "Mars, Bringer of War" ever recorded. Being as prolific as I am (cough), I decided to do both.

That's right. Shit's a capella.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Transistor Transistor - Erase All Names and Likeness

Transistor Transistor - Erase All Names and Likeness

We draped ourselves in noise...

This is the sole line during the break of “Power Chord Academy”, and it sums up this album and this band’s approach to music perfectly. The riffs run together like something written by Sleep, but while still keeping the fire and speed of a hardcore band. Guitar lines dance in and out of this wall of noise, constantly changing in tone and spectrum. Screams reverberate throughout the background, adding to the caustic, droning melody. And all of it is fucking fantastic.

Hailing from New Hampshire, Transistor Transistor plays a heaving mix of hardcore that amalgamates a number of heavier influences while still retaining the speed and power of their namesake. In their early years, tours with bands such as Hot Cross and Wolves made them well known by regional fans for their energetic and lively performances. In 2005, they released their first full-length album, Erase All Names and Likeness, which infused the heavy rock stylings of earlier releases with a more dynamic and offbeat take on songwriting.

Musically, the band is top notch, relying on the steady melodies of the guitars and the forceful, pace-setting dynamism of the drums to guide each song forwards. The guitars on this album act like stoner metal on speed; slow, drudging repetitive riffs turned into fast, drudging repetitive riffs. On many of the tracks, you can almost see a comparison to Queens of the Stone Age, or to a lesser extent, Kyuss, only with less emphasis on the bass and a much murkier feel. Also worth noting are the hints of drone that pop up here and there when the music escalates. And yet, you can often see a number of swelling guitar lines that run away from the stoner metal aesthetic, flying upwards to create a number of crescendos that still manage to retain the cacophony of the music. It works, thanks to the bass guitar’s work in grounding these soaring melodies, allowing the lead guitar to cut right through the rolling electric noise of the bass in order to enhance and focus the peaks of the song.

Thanks to the density of the guitars and the “wall of sound” esthetic they create, the band unleashes a very dark atmosphere throughout, which is likely where most of the ‘screamo’ comparisons come from. There is something very mysterious and ominous about Erase All Names and Likeness, and it serves to create a very tense listening experience. It is this atmospheric tension which steers many of the longer songs, specifically the last song, the thirteen minute “A Sinking Ship Full of Optimists”. The band utilizes the aforementioned tension much in the way a Funeral Diner or Envy might, building through a quiet/loud structure in order to create a harrowing and foreboding environment.

But while the heaviness remains apparent through Erase All Names and Likeness, it is the vibrant energy that flows throughout that gives this album life. The band does an excellent job of bottling the energy of their live shows into this studio recording, and the passion with which they play is apparent. Much of this comes from the vocals, which slash through the noise with a number of ear-splitting screams and powerful shouts. The music is layered just so that the singer’s voice can barely overcome the droning excursions of the guitar. The two forces end up fighting with one another for supremacy, saturating one another through their tonal similarities. This disharmony enforces the underlying austerity of the content, adding further dissonance to an already disharmonic record.

On Erase All Names and Likeness, Transistor Transistor creates one of the best hardcore albums of the decade, coupling the sounds of their heavier predecessors with their own particular mixture of menace and balls-to-the-wall velocity. It’s fast, noisy, and decisively relentless in its approach to hardcore. However you look at it, this is a must-have for fans of heavy, throttling rock music.

we'll sink until we float


And as a related aside, Transistor Transistor recently (a few months back) released their second album, Ruined Lives. To anyone interested, you can order it from any number of places linked here.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Bad Brains - Bad Brains

Bad Brains - Bad Brains

What else is there to say about Bad Brains? Originally a jazz fusion band named Mind Power, these early hardcore luminaries would eventually adopt a grinding rebellious attitude to their music, turning into one of the bands who would shape 80’s punk rock at its core. Formed by four black Rastafarians, the band was an oddity in the D.C. scene, espousing peace and love one second, and furious anger the next. Known early on for their energetic and chaotic live shows, as well as their technical superiority when matched against their peers, Bad Brains would reach much notoriety within the D.C. hardcore scene, eventually being banned from a number of clubs and being forced to re-locate to New York (which would become the subject of the song “Banned in D.C.”). They released their first album in 1982, the self-titled Bad Brains, an album heralded to this day for its influence, as well as its innovative blending of numerous disparate genres.

One of the most interesting things about this album is the unique way the band incorporated a wide number of influences into a fast-paced and dynamic form of hardcore. Guitarist Dr. Know could shift from searing punk rapidity (“Attitude”) to lumbering metal heaviness (“Supertouch/Shitfit”), to gentle reggae beats (“Leaving Babylon”) with skill and proficiency in each area. This new and novel take on punk music was almost unheard of, as the band could jump back and forth between slow, lulling reggae tunes about inner peace, to short, frenzied bursts of anger taking umbrage at anything and everything.

But it wasn’t this duality that made the band great; it was their frantic, psychotic take on hardcore, brimming with energy and ethos from start to finish. It was singer H.R.’s notable wails, screaming each note with passion and fury. It was the way the bass played with the guitar to create an ominous heaviness not unlike Black Sabbath in songs like “Fearless Vampire Killers” and "Big Take Over". It was the way the band created intensity out of nothing, almost bridging over into the sort of horror punk bands like the Misfits were playing at the time. It was the combination of these and many other things which made them unique, and which made this album unique.

With their self-titled debut, Bad Brains created a classic, a punk masterpiece that refuses to play by anyone else’s rules. By summoning a number of contrasting influences into one package, and playing it with energy and conviction, they ended up influencing a generation of future artists.

What else is there to say?

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Blood Brothers - ...Burn, Piano Island Burn

The Blood Brothers - ...Burn, Piano Island Burn

Straight out of Seattle, creating some of the most viciously hyperactive music I have ever heard, come the Blood Brothers. A five-piece hardcore/post-hardcore outfit, the Blood Brothers lasted from 1997 to 2007, playing an experimental and incredibly frenetic form of punk full of anger and aplomb. On ...Burn, Piano Island Burn, the group employs a more varied offence than seen in previous releases, as each song seems to seamlessly switch back and forth between fierce, balls-out hardcore and slower, more rhythmically-coordinated pop music. Considered by many to be the Blood Brothers’ magnum opus, …Burn, Piano Island Burn is an album full of convulsive, frantic music, one that refuses to let up to the very end.

The vocals will be the most obviously apparent thing noticed by any first-time listener, and rightly so. The vocal duties of the band are traded back and forth between the low-key, ominous cries of Jordan Billie and the blood-curdling screams of Johnny Whitney, showcasing an interesting duality between the two that reflects the diversity of the music. Billie often takes center stage while the music is still building in intensity, whereas Whitney shines mainly during the chorus, as his shrieks blend seamlessly with the high-octave onslaught of the refrain. Lyrically, the band covers a number of subject matters bordering on the morose and the gruesome, often utilizing disturbing surrealist imagery and metaphors to transcend the situation (When Cecilia's throat slit like a second set of lips/she drooled braille bibles onto the brothel bed spread). To call it morbid would seem like a measure of stating the obvious, but thankfully, it doesn’t come off as simple shock value due to the removed and sullen manner in which these lines are delivered. Rather than revel in the violence which the band deals with, Billie’s vocals remain oddly detached most of the time, neither celebrating the brutality of characters such as “The Salesman, Denver Max”, nor condemning them. It seems more of an exploration of these people, and thereby an examination of the society that creates them, rather than just pure vicarious misogyny. Songs like “Ambulance Vs. Ambulance” support this claim by taking a critical look at the products of mainstream society in the first verse, and then providing a more specific examination of an everyman who cheated on his wife in the second (You'll never see your wife and children again/ so tell us what was going through your head/when you looked into their eyes and said "no thanks I'll take the hooker instead"), all of which is linked together through the colourful backdrop of a hospital ward. By combining their two-pronged attack with such imaginative and multifaceted themes, the Blood Brothers feature one of the most unique vocal and lyrical assaults in all of punk.

Of course, it is worth pointing out that …Burn, Piano Island Burn is not an easy listen, and could prove quite beyond the reach of many. Musical harmony is thrown to the background throughout most of the faster tracks on this album, with the band resorting to a voracious mixture of discordantly creative instrumentalism in its place. The guitar feels jagged and unrelenting, almost bloodthirsty in its ability to drive the songs forward, and the bass complements its squealing perfectly. To a first-time listener, it may seem like nothing more than noise, with no thought given to melody at all, but over time, patterns emerge which shows the band's distinct attention to detail in creating each song. The instruments act as a piece of the story being told, intermingled with and subject to the topic at hand, rather than being counted on solely to dictate the pace. The guitars slow and the bass becomes more noticeable to suggest an ominous passage in the song; the music picks up, coalescing into a cacophonous explosion to denote a feeling of dire importance into the song. Much like a surrealist painting, the sum of the seemingly disparate parts work together in creating the message of the whole.

With …Burn, Piano Island Burn, the Blood Brothers create their best work, combining the frenzied, no holds barred appeal of past efforts while acquiring a more listenable, pop-oriented styling that would eventually become front and center on Crimes. Bizarre, morbid, and utterly demented, this is one of the most unique punk albums of the decade, and also one of the best.


Monday, August 4, 2008

The 30-Minute Soundtrack to Some Entirely Uninteresting Event

Just a playlist I created a few days ago while going from Point A to Point B that I felt like posting. The common theme here is "songs I felt like listening to at the time". Original, no?

1. Give Up the Ghost - (Its Sometimes Like it Never Started)

Fantastic opening song, one that works well to build into the rest of the playlist. Only a minute long, it shows a more experimental side to GutG than the traditional Boston hardcore sound they usually employ. Makes a near-perfect segue into any similarly high-paced song.

2. Vendetta Red - Vendetta Red Cried Rape on Their Date With Destiny

The opening track off a pop-punk concept album dealing almost entirely with rape (Sisters of the Red Death). To call it a bizarre combination is kind of understating it a tad. Regardless of the subject matter, or the general crappiness of pop-punk, this kicks a fair amount of ass. Featuring a good deal of morbidity ('they made love to your face with a box cutter') and a strong set of pop hooks, this is Vendetta Red's catchiest and arguably best song.

3. A Perfect Circle - Blue

Call an optimist, she's turning blue
Such a lovely color for you

I just really love the chorus for this song. The sarcastic wordplay, the way the song builds directly to it everytime, the way Maynard's voice sounds almost indistinguishable from the music... it's a nice bit of passive impassionate catharsis. Cold and indifferent, yet strangely emotional.

4. Modest Mouse - A Different City

I'm a rather large (read: raging) Modest Mouse fan, so I figure this is as good a time as any to point out that Lonesome Crowded West and The Moon and Antarctica are two of the greatest albums of all time, both brilliant in their execution, and remain a true peak for Modest Mouse that they probably won't reach again. You can take pretty much anything else by this band, I don't need it. And while they have created individual songs since and before the two aforementioned masterpieces that reached similar plateaus, no album has even come close. We Were Dead... even bordered on mediocre.

Anyway, the reason I choice this song was because of the presiding feeling of isolation that permeates both the music and lyrics (I want to live in the city with no friends or family/I want to look out the window of my colour TV) and how that blends well with "Blue". Not to mention, the corkscrew guitar at the beginning is absolutely fantastic.

5. Please Inform the Captain This is a Hijack - Karma Collection Day

I've probably said all I have to on this band, but this is pretty easily my favourite song of theirs (including the self titled EP). It combines every positive aspect of PITCTIAH (the epic feeling, the revolutionary attitude, the layering of the guitars) to create the soundtrack for the next great civil uprising. Hypothetically speaking, o' course.

6. Smashing Pumpkins - Doomsday Clock

Say what you will about Zeitgeist, or Billy Corgan and his rather questionable poetry (*BLINKing WITH FISTSSSSSSSS*), but when the Pumpkins go heavy, good things happen. Like angels serenading the heavens with tunes of rejoicement, or something like that. It reminds me of back when I was just getting into music and listening to Melon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. Namely, having to wade through song after song of dreary dream pop when all I wanted was another "Zero". Hell, it didn't even have to be a "Zero", it could have been a "Fuck You", or an "X.Y.U." I was willing to settle. But noooo, just more ambient, airy textures with Corgan softly whispering over the drone of what sounded like James Iha dying inside (I could be wrong).

Anyway, Zeigeist was supposed to be the Pumpkins' attempt at a rock album. Well, it was, kinda. The dream pop remained, it was just turned into pop rock instead. Much better. A number of heavier songs salvaged the album though, and this is one of them. Heavy guitars, pounding aggression, Corgan whining like a scolded child that has been possessed by Satan, it's all there, and it's all relatively paint by the numbers. I mean, if you think about it. But I don't care. Because as far as the Pumpkins are concerned, it's really all I've ever wanted.

7. Transistor Transistor - And the Body Will Die

If I were to summarize the thoughts going through my mind as I listened to this song, the phrase "OMG THIS IS THE HEAVIEST FUCKING THING EVER" would probably appear quite a bit. It's not really true, but it has a certain esthetic quality to it. The guitars in this song act like stoner metal on speed; slow, drudging repetitive riffs turned into fast, drudging repetitive riffs. And oh my, it's a beautiful thing.

8. On the Might of Princes - For Meg

Possibly the greatest song ever, I think. Yeah, let's go with that. Blisteringly emotional, ridiculously intense... a perfect closer to a great album (and a decent playlist). Alternating between chants, screams and spoken word, the message presented always remains simple and honest. Not groundbreaking, not revolutionary, but sincere. Unreserved in both music and content. And fucking amazing.

where you are and where you want to be

Friday, August 1, 2008

Naked Raygun - Jettison

Naked Raygun - Jettison

Storming out of the 80’s Chicago hardcore scene, Naked Raygun quickly became one of the most prominent and influential bands of their time. Blending post-punk stylings with the speed and fury of hardcore, they created a distinct niche for themselves, never being afraid to experiment with their sound or to diversify their attack. In 1988, they released their fourth and arguably best album, Jettison, which, along with Big Black’s Songs About Fucking, would act as a harbinger for many of the musical trends occurring in the Chicago scene at the time.

On Jettison, the band takes the ferocity of previous releases and tames it somewhat, relying more on strong hooks and powerful storytelling to get their point across. The vitriolic sentiment once pointed at government and military now seems more introspective, and the power of the lyrics is gained from within rather than aimed at afar. Rather than continuing at attacking the false ideals of trickle-down conservatism that permeated the times directly, they focus more on the affects of those policies. Whether it be a lament for the wastes of war (Soldier’s Requiem), or a detailed description of inner-city life (Ghetto Mechanic), the strategy works in creating a wholly realized atmosphere that encompasses the album as a zeitgeist of the times.

Which isn’t to say the fury is gone; merely re-directed in its approach. The same bottled hope and frustrations that appear on so many punk albums of the time appear here as well. The caustic anger is thick and unrelenting, giving an anthemic feel to many of the songs. This succeeds in really driving home the despondence of the themes that emerge throughout, striking a delicate balance between anger and dysphoria. The guitars are just as dense in their assault, fashioning vivid, broodingly atmospheric soundscapes. Distortion surrounds these guitars, as you can practically hear them crackle and fizz at times. Yet as rough as Jettison sounds at times, it also shows off an incredible set of pop hooks to it, as Naked Raygun utilize cutting guitar riffs and haunting backup vocals in order to effectively build the mood of the album. It shows the innovation of the band that they can create catchy punk tunes that also work as blistering hardcore masterpieces at the same time. That they can remain arty and subversive, yet still pull off a memorable pop-influenced hook that will stay in your head for days.

With Jettison, Naked Raygun created their magnum opus. It’s a high-speed expedition through the graveyards of the 80’s, as dense as it is epic, and as intelligent as it is irate. With the ability to combine pop sensibilities with the furor and velocity of hardcore, Naked Raygun set themselves apart from the pack and prove themselves as true luminaries of the American Underground. From a personal standpoint, this is the best hardcore album of the 80’s, and an absolute must for anyone with any interest in the genre.