New York Music Daily

No New Abnormal

Tag: sham 69

Old Punk Rockers Never Die

Over the course of their colorful 35-year career, Canadian punk icon Joe Keithley and his band DOA have never lost sight of their populist politics or their sense of humor. Among other achievements, DOA had the distinction of being the band on Jello Biafra’s corrosively seminal 1991 ep Full Metal Jackoff, the Bush I era dissection of rightwing divide-and-conquer politics which remains as spot-on accurate today as it was then. And they’ve got a brand-new album, We Come In Peace, out on Keithley’s DIY label Sudden Death Records which shows that they may be bloodied but hardly unbowed after all these years. The songs are catchy, tight and surprisingly eclectic, Keithley still sings with a gob in his throat and has nothing but contempt for the ruling classes and their collaborators.

The opening track, He’s Got a Gun kicks off with a nasty pickslide, imagining what happens when a Tea Partier goes postal. It’s classic tuneful oldschool punk, guitar wailing all the way through the chorus as the bass goes up and hits the highs, hard, with a cruelly funny ending. Boneyard, featuring Hugh Dillon is a ghoulish, lickety-split galloping Motorhead-style riff-rocker, while Dirty Bastards, with its bagpipes (?!?) is a solidarity march, sort of a more authentic version of what Big Country was going for back in the day. Built around a vintage Euro-siren hook, Do You Wanna taunts would-be right-wingers. Bloodied but Unbowed (the title track to their well-loved 1983 lp) is just as catchy and perceptive as it was then: “I see cameras always being used, I see brand-new laws as they tighten the noose, I see freedom disappearing, I see Patriots [meaning US long-range missiles] rising…”

Bring Out Your Dead has a tongue-in-cheek, metaphorically loaded zombie theme and an unexpected slide guitar solo. They speed up the Beatles’ Revolution (and give the lyrics a bit of a needed update), cover Toxic Reasons’ War Hero as Subhumans-style punk reggae and return to reggae a little later with the considerably mellower Walk Through This World, referencing the Clash version of Bankrobber. We Occupy, a timely ska-punk anthem, is a duet between Keithley and Jello Biafra; with its call-and-response vocals, Who the Hell has a Sham 69-ish vibe, while Lost Souls echoes Social Distortion with its semi-acoustic intro, Rhodes piano and anthemic grandeur, and Man With No Name ventures into ghoulabilly territory. The album ends with a new acoustic version of General Strike, a well-loved track from their 1985 album Let’s Wreck The Party. Not a single bad song here: they mean it, man. Songs of freedom to sing (and drink) along to as the revolution makes its way across the ocean from Syria and Greece.

Out of Order’s New Album Kicks Ass

In one way, Caitlin Millerick’s Russ Meyer-style graphics on the cover of Out of Order’s second album, Hey Pussycat! are a dead giveaway to what’s on the record: these three women don’t mess around, going for the jugular every time, ten songs in just over 28 minutes. But their music isn’t the least bit retro: guitarist/singer Lydia Lucy Lane, bassist Gilliey DeSilva and drummer Erin Millerick have a sound that’s completely their own. Raw, slyly assaultive and unselfconsciously defiant, their noise-punk blends unbridled Distillers-style vocals, searing, occasionally feedback-drenched guitar and a supertight, nimble rhythm section. John Sharples’ rich production looks back to the 80s in the best possible way, heavy on the high midrange, drums up just enough in the mix to showcase Millerick’s powerful chops without drowning out the rest of the band.

The opening track Impossible balances Motorhead stomp, classic punk riffage, ringing dreampop echoes and an absolutely corrosive, jagged guitar solo: “I am impossible to please” is Lane’s uneasy mantra. The second track, a whoah-oh step toward emo-punk is followed by the absolutely scorching Dirty Love, which is catchy as hell, like Shellac set to a punk beat, with a deliciously murky outro. Don’t Do That Baby takes a bluesy oldtime rock tune, gives it a crunchy punk bounce and just enough menace in the vocals to add a scary edge. The acidic Rosy builds from an abrasive verse to another catchy-as-hell punk chorus, Lane’s half-spoken vocals underscoring the song’s bludgeoning sarcasm.

There are a couple of lickety-split hardcore tracks here: Gimme Noise, with its wicked minor-key riffage and Horror Show, a pretty irresistible invitation to join the party. Teddy Homewrecker (NYC) works a midtempo Sham 69-ish vibe, a cautionary tale about a male slut: “You’ll need rehab when he’s through,” Lane warns. “He kissed you, he kissed me too.” The album ends with two killer tracks. The deliciously harsh Nobody Cares scorches from catchy punk chromatics to ominously echoing atonalities on the chorus, while the equally caustic Therapy builds to a literally screaming pitch out of noisy hardcore. Where should this great band be headed? To the Warped Tour, for starters. But not at some cheesy side stage next to the nacho concession at the edge of some Walmart parking lot: they need to be front and center where they can get the entire crowd to go nuts. They’re at Local 269 on July 19 at around 10: onstage, they add seriously evil guitar feedback, give DeSilva extra space to show off her supersonic fingers and let the drums go completely wild.