Live Fast Jeff Young: Vol. 7 - PARTY TIME!

What's up Sorry Staters?

It's been a while since I've written one of these things! But starting now, #LiveFastJeffYoung is back in full effect baby! Did y'all miss me? It's hard to believe that around this time last time last month Skemata and Drugcharge were still on tour together. Overall, I would say that tour was a total success and a lot of fun! -- But after being in a new city every day for 30 days and spending a good portion of that time getting trashed, I can say that I am happy to finally be back in Raleigh and hanging at good ol' Sorry State.

Speaking of getting trashed, we've got a fun topic of discussion this round for our blogs! I am sorry to say that I missed a blog idea or two while I was gone, but at least this time we get to talk about something I can get down with... PARTYING. Here's the thing though, I've given this concept some thought, and I think there should be some restrictions: Our choices for songs to discuss can't just be music that is functional as it pertains to partying because, let's face it, music in almost any form can be deemed appropriate music for a party. It's a much more involved task to form a list of songs that are actually about partying. There is a part of me that is just itching to bombard you with cheesy 80s heavy metal songs about partying, but I'll admit it seems a little on the nose. I've decided that I'm strictly going to use examples of party songs that are more Sorry State's bread and butter, and when looking for party-themed tracks in the punk realm, there actually are quite a few worthy examples. I couldn't help myself though, if you've never seen the music video for "Party All Night" by Quiet Riot then you should definitely check it out. It's hilarious -- and there are punks in it!

When I first started to try and think of punk songs that fit our theme of discussion, I literally thought to myself, "Maybe I should try to think of songs that literally say 'party' in the lyrics." Paricularly around Halloween time, a go-to favorite would have been "Partytime" by 45 Grave, but I heard through the grapevine that one of my associates might already be discussing that tune in his blog post. So after abandoning that idea, it got me thinking... Party? Where can you party? You can party... ON THE SAND!

"Beach Blanket Bongout" is a standout track on the Blatant Localism EP by Phoenix, AZ's skate rock all stars, JFA. Lyrically, the song is pretty simple, but still helps you to envision the landscape for what the youthful activities of JFA might have looked like. In all honesty, the song is pretty comical, but the announcement of this self-proclaimed "punk outing" opens almost like an invitation. I'm talkin' suntans, babes, brews, and everything in between! I find myself enjoying the mental visual of a bunch of bleach-haired skate rats piling into a van and hittin' the Venice boardwalk! Within a few words, JFA also establishes conflict between their rowdy bunch of punks in tow and the hippies who are infringing on their turf. The lyrics set the stage and are rambled off in this slow, blasé fashion, but the stuttering, stilted rhythm of the verses emphasize the final punches and makes them all that more impactful. It seems crucial that the resolution at the end of each stanza is always "FUN." Sure, upon deep analysis one might dismiss this song for being pretty silly. But funny as it may be, it's still a party anthem amongst coastal punks. And party songs are supposed to be lighthearted, right? Maybe if you're a kook then you won't get it, but to clarify: surf punks we're not, but skateboard? Skateboard we do.

In my comprehensive list of party-themed punk songs, I had a few honorable mentions like "Drug Party in 526" by GBH or even "Color Me Impressed" by The Replacements ("everybody at your party, they all look depressed"), but I decided "Let Us Play Your Party" by The Spits would be more fun to talk about. I get a kick out of the general lack of concern and rudeness exuded by this band. This song opens with a little skit that is like an added bonus of slapstick comedy before a perfect dose of Ramones-fueled chanting: "LET US PLAY. YOUR PARTY." Who even knows if "Hellcore House" is a real place? But I feel certain The Spits' inspiration to include the idea of some random kids asking them to play their punk house stems from real experience. But you can bet that when these Michigan synth punks aren't pounding a six pack in the alley, all it takes is some free beer to get them to rock til the night is through. While JFA provides a lucid scene of the beach punk party, The Spits portray a risky undertaking that most of us are familiar with, which is of course a band playing a house party. What a joyous occasion, because who doesn't relate to the notion of unapologetically getting trashed while raging in a stranger's house? Some lyrical details are true to my personal experience because a party that gets out of hand is often accompanied by a nervous host for fear of consequences issued by the landlord or the police. And sure, maybe there will be some puke on the carpet or holes in the walls from punks playing with your dad's bowling ball, but that's the whole point! Throw caution to the wind and make the good times last before the cops show up!

Alright, now let's talk about some records! I have been away from the store for a good chunk of time, so there's a few things that came into Sorry State over a month ago that I missed the chance to talk about (ie the Haram LP!), but I'll try to limit my choices to records we've gotten into the store more recently. Here we go:

Machine Gun: S/T 7" - Debut vinyl release from Philly hardcore band Machine Gun. This band seems to be channeling a brand of 80s US hardcore that until recently had been lacking with newer bands. Machine Gun's sound and aesthetic are absent of any pose or fashionable identity, it's all power and urgency. They pack 10 songs onto one 7" and it's all fury. I'm also attracted to bands that just seem to not give a fuck -- middle fingers drawn. If the Poison Idea-mimicked layout is any indication of Machine Gun's sensibilities, then you know you're in for some blazing USHC done the right way.

45 Grave: Sleep In Safety 12" - How appropriate to discuss the reissue of this 45 Grave record on the party blog, right? What's funny though is I hadn't listened to this LP all the way through in years and had completely forgotten "Partytime" appeared on this record. Not only that, but I guess the song was repurposed for Return of the Living Dead, which is also known as the "Zombie Version", but had reworked lyrics. The lyrical themes on this album version are much darker and intense, much different vibe than the song I remember from the movie. Pretty interesting. Aside from that hot track though, Sleep In Safety, for being known as a classic of death rock, has some pretty diverse sounds going on. If "Partytime" is an example of the more rockin' tracks, a song like "Slice O' Life" is much moodier and even has beautiful melodic moments. I've enjoyed rediscovering this LP, I think 45 Grave had some visionary and stylistic musical ideas to offer.

The Uglies: Keeping Up With The Uglies 12" - Australia's The Uglies come out swinging with their debut LP. First things first, the recording on this LP is loud and powerful, but still raw and organic sounding. With an inclination toward snottiness, The Uglies don't sound too far removed from something out of the Lumpy catalog. If anything, The Uglies are way more aggressive, channeling some 80s CA hardcore vibes with catchy riffs and songwriting, but still sounding contemporary by hitting all the marks and launching into slithery dance parts at opportune moments. Contemporary as they may sound, with songs like "Make Punk Great Again," The Uglies also offer a critical and scathing commentary of their surroundings. Definitely blistering and full of attitude. Jam this.

Das Drip: Demo CS - I must say, I would be remiss if I didn't at least give a few thoughts on one of Raleigh's coolest and most interesting new bands. When I heard that Rich and Josh from Bodykit were returning to stringed instruments to form a hardcore band, I knew it would be anything but typical. Self-identifying as "mid-brow hardcore," Das Drip create an intense and chaotic, yet efficient barrage of noise. While not entirely tuneless, Das Drip have a claustrophobic sense of musicality that abandon "big riffs" for a more dissonant, herky-jerky formation of songs. The goal is to knock us over the head with short, exhilirating bursts that are played in such a way that I'm sure induce callouses for the players. The music is toppled by a vocalist who contributes a fittingly harsh diatribe of personal testimony. Check this shit.

U-Nix: S/T 7" - I remember when I first heard about a new Portland band's demo tape, I was blown away! But now with this new 7", U-Nix gives us more rage at higher fidelity. After that Nosferatu 7" earlier this year, Lumpy Records seems to be snatching up some rip-ass hardcore bands. U-Nix seems unafraid to play go-for-the-throat, blazing fast hardcore that is truly anxiety-inducing in its unpredictability. Skemata played with these dudes on tour and it was a jarring assault on the senses. Not unlike Machine Gun whom I mentioned earlier, U-Nix seems to adopt the same appreciation for being deliberate and immediate. Where Machine Gun execute hardcore more rigidly, U-Nix are much more manic, but explosive and energetic.

On the personal front, even though Skemata is taking a break after embarking on our full-US tour, I'm still excited to return to working on my other bands! Vittna has been working on new material and plans to record in early January. For a record maybe? Who knows! Also, I think I maybe briefly mentioned it, but I got a new project called Scarecrow along with Dr. Daniel himself of Sorry State rockin' the bass. Here's a video of us playing in Raleigh the other night:

Like I had done in my previous blog posts, I wish I had am extensive list of upcoming shows in the NC area, but unfortunately there's not a lot to discuss. Still though, we're bringing in the New Year hot with this one:


I think that'll do for this round. Thanks for reading!

'Til next time,
-Jef Lep

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