I’ve Listened to These Recently…

…while attempting to teach my dog how to “wonder.”

Artist: Fucked Up
Album: The Chemistry of the Common Life
Format: Mp3

With their last outing, Hidden World, Fucked Up (aka F***** Up, or just unnamed, in the mainstream press) asserted themselves as the new wave of hardcore punk. Now with The Chemistry of Common Life, they’ve become the Refused of the 21st century. With dabblings in psychedelic nomenclature, balls large enough to “jam out” on a punk record, and the best vocals, courtesy of Pink Eyes, heard ’round the world, these Canadians are out to destroy your life and let you hit them in the face while they do it. Unabashed, unapologetic, and downright smart, Fucked Up are going to be here for a while, even though they already have been. Huh? As Pink Eyes put it, “To get popular in Canada, the Brits start to like you, then the Americans. After that, the Canadians will finally get a clue. But you know what? We’ve been around for a while already. Welcome to the party!” Oh, and  word to MTV Canada: if you invite a band that despises you to play on your show (and they’re called Fucked Up, for chrissakes) expect the bathroom you shoved them in to get, um, fucked up. Pun intended.

Artist: Harvey Milk
Album: The Pleaser
Format: LP

Now with hipsters coast-to-coast creaming their pants for Harvery’s latest, Life…the Best Game in Town, thanks to the well-written Pitchfork review, good old Chunklet magazine (smartly) jumped on the cash-in and re-released The Pleaser on fancy double LP gatefold vinyl. Old fans rejoice! New fans…$25, please. The last album before the breakup and reunion, this saw the band in their early glory. Downright rucuous blues. Pounding heavy southern rock with live tit-bits thrown in so as to hit yourself for not living in Athens to witness the greatest heavy band to be birthed in the capital of outsider music. It is classic rock in both age and importance.

Bonus points for performing in shorts:

Artist: Danielson
Album: Tri-Danielson Alpha/Omega
Format: LP

I hate to be that guy, but I’ve been into this fellow/family since the first album, A Prayer for Every Hour, was released on the we’re-Christians-but-not-really-wait-yes-we-are label Tooth & Nail back when I was in high school. His abrasive high pitched squeal pissed off everyone around so I clung dearly to it. Unbeknownst to me at the time, Danielson, aka Daniel Smith and various friends and family, would continue and produce some of the most memorable, demanding, rewarding, and downright brilliant albums of the late 20th century into the 21st. Way before some hippie Banhart dude would come along and revive freak-folk for the new set, Smith & co. were penning pop-folk-freak-kitch celebrations like “Btwn the Lines of the Scout Signs” (a gospel exercise in taking the power away from the middle finger and turning it to good), “Rubbernecker,” “Pottymouth” (an audio skit in which a female, most likely Christian, goes on a date with a guy that has a razor tongue. It is chuckle-worthy as she attempts to explain to her friend this “strange language” spoken whilst dropping a bowling ball on his toes and many other innocent activities), and a thoroughly entertaining cover of Ken Nordine’s “Flesh,” an obvious choice akin to their beliefs. In short, this re-release (courtesy of Smith’s own Sounds Familyre label) celebrates the childlike humor, the strong songwriting, and all-around likabilty of a group once damned to just make every listener cringe.

Artist: The Walkmen
Album: You & Me
Format: LP

As mentioned before, I like these guys. So much so that I turned down the opportunity to review their live show, reason being that even if they played a bad show I would love it. I settled for the opening band.

You & Me hit the shelves a little over a month ago, though I’ve been fortunate enough to delve into it since a few months prior. “Mind-numbingly exceptoinal” is the term that comes to mind first and foremost. Throughout the record, first to last song, the voice of new rock ‘n roll, to be discovered by a yet-unborn generation, swaggers through the drones and escalations with such cocksure sensibility that to question its importance would be simply uneducated. It is denying God’s existence to his face. If that opportunity actually arose.

I will not go into specifics…however if they are playing in your town go see it. Without a single stage prop, idiotic ‘tween-song banter, or even rock star moves, these guys had the packed house at the Metro dumbfounded for the entire one and a half hour set with the simple power of talent and songwriting.

The Walkmen are my Rushmore.

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