Random Records with Steve O

Antonio Vivaldi - The Four Seasons

Steve O - April 13, 2014

The Four Seasons

Wait a minute, this isn’t punk rock! Well, thank you Captain Obvious. Did you know the first hominin-made tools are from around 2.5 million years ago? They were rocks with one side stuck to create an edge. It took about a million years for someone to turn the rock over and hit the other side, creating a bi-facial tool. A million years. Think about that. I think you’re needed back there Captain Obvious.

[Captain Obvious walks off, dejected, to his time machine.]

But I digress. Antonio Vivaldi is probably most well-known for this work, The Four Seasons. You probably know some of these melodies without realizing it. Melodies in the first movements of “Spring” and “Winter” are some of those classical melodies that are known in popular culture for some reason or another, kind of like Beethoven’s Ode to Joy or Grieg’s In the Hall of the Mountain King. You know it without knowing you know it. How’s that for mind bending?

Anyways, I highlight The Four Seasons because it’s the time of year where you can get weather that feels like all four seasons. Last week I went out wearing my winter coat. Today I went for a bike ride wearing shorts. The weather is unpredictable. So Vivaldi gives us a feeling for all four seasons. From the uplifting spirit of “Spring” to the melancholy of “Winter”, this has it all. “Summer” has those relaxing moments where you’re just lounging around followed by sudden bombasts (like at the very end of the first movement), just like an arriving afternoon thunderstorm.

And that’s one of the coolest things about classical music. The dynamics. It can get so soft and calm you have to turn the speakers way up to hear it, and a split second later it can be so overwhelmingly loud, that you rush back to those same speakers to turn it down. It’s dynamic element, those sudden bombasts of noise and furor are just like punk music. Just listen to Night on Bald Mountain (also known as the best part of Fantasia) or anything by Wagner (Kill the Wabbit anyone?) for proof. Captain Obvious might have missed that. But Captain Subtle Observation sure caught it.

- See more at: http://changetherotation.com/random-record-the-four-seasons.html#sthash.iArEZ68w.bAA6ZaqX.dpuf

Recap: Against Me! at Durty Nellies

Phil Collins - April 7, 2014

Friday night Against Me! headlined a show at Durty Nellies in Palatine. The band is on tour in support of “Transgender Dysphoria Blues,” the excellent new album they released in January. This album is significant on two fronts, the first being that this is the first album Against Me! has released since lead singer Laura Jane Grace came out as a woman. Second, the band released “Transgender Dysphoria Blues” on their own Total Treble Records after putting out their last two albums on Sire, a subsidiary of Warner Bros. Records. So, this album cycle marks a new era in Against Me! history, likely the fourth era (pre-“Reinventing Axl Rose,” “Reinventing Axl Rose” and the Fat Wreck Chords years, the Sire years, and the current era.) There seems to be more positive buzz from the punk community around “Transgender Dysphoria Blues” than there has been around the band for quite some time, and for good reason. The album is catchy, incisive and angry. It embodies what excited so many people about Against Me! in the first place. They played the majority of the album at Friday’s sold out show, opening with “FUCKMYLIFE666” and blasting through “Unconditional Love,” “True Trans Soul Rebel,” “Drinking with the Jocks” and “Transgender Dysphoria Blues.” The album’s closer, “Black Me Out,” was a raging anthem toward the end of the set. The band recently released an interesting shadow puppet video for that song. Check that out below.

Against Me! played plenty of older songs as well, closing the night out with “We Laugh at Danger and Break All the Rules,” a still resonant anthem of DIY tours. They also played “Walking is Still Honest,” “Pints of Guinness Make You Strong” and “I Still Love You Julie” off “Reinventing Axl Rose;” “Cliche Guevara,” “Sink, Florida, Sink” and “Turn Those Clapping Hands Into Angry Balled Fists” off “As the Eternal Cowboy;” and “Don’t Lose Touch” and “Miami” off “Searching For a Former Clarity.” An unexpected highlight was “Ocean” off of “New Wave.” I completely forgot about this song but it has a neat Latin bounce and the band performed it with passion.

Seeing Against Me! in such an intimate venue felt special. The other times I have seen them were at Warped Tour in 2006, the House of Blues in Chicago in 2007, Lollapalooza in 2010 and Riot Fest in 2013. Durty Nellies, of course, is the smallest of those venues by far. The band put on a great show each time, but this show had a more intimate feel simply because it was in a smaller room. Openers Laura Stevenson and the Cans and Cheap Girls put on fun sets to start off the night. Against Me! recently announced more tour dates, including a show at The Rave in Milwaukee on May 14 and a show the next day at Castle Theatre in Bloomington.

- See more at: http://changetherotation.com/againstmedurtynellies.html#sthash.AoN3s96H.iYIaURyf.dpuf
Kettle Rebellion (proto-Mischief Brew) stream long-lost album
Phil Collins - March 26, 2014

Kettle Rebellion

Folk punk enthusiasts: Mischief Brew have unearthed a long lost album from the band’s earliest days, when they were called Kettle Rebellion. The eight song album will be released April 1 on Fistolo Records (250 copies, Oxblood vinyl.) The album was recorded in 2002 and the masters were promptly lost or stolen. According to the story circulating around the web today, some tracks leaked online over the years. Eventually, Mischief Brew found that they did have these recordings in bits and pieces and were able to reassemble them for this release. Kettle Rebellion was formed in 2001, toward the end of The Orphans’ run. After the Kettle Rebellion recordings went missing, the band decided to pursue other interests but soon got back together as Mischief Brew.

This is not the kind of finding that happens every day, so enjoy it. There have been many exciting releases so far this year, but at 12 years, this is by far the oldest. Punk News has the album streaming in full so there is no need to wait one more day to hear these songs. The songs sound like Mischief Brew in their full-out electric form, which makes sense if they were written while The Orphans were still active. Mischief Brew is currently working on their next studio album, “This is Not For Children.” Earlier this year, they released a career-spanning collection of demos called “Thanks, Bastards!” Stream or download that release for free on their bandcamp page.

- See more at: http://changetherotation.com/kettle-rebellion-stream-album.html#sthash.eh5iz0qB.dpuf

Reel Big Fish don’t stop skankin at Durty Nellies

Phil Collins - March 25, 2014

Reel Big Fish, one of the banner bands of the third wave ska revival in the 1990s and still one of the most fun ska bands around, brought their Don’t Stop Skankin tour to Durty Nellies in Palatine on Sunday. They played songs spanning their 20-plus year career, from their classic sophomore album “Turn the Radio Off” through their most recent release, 2012’s “Candy Coated Fury.” The crowd at the sold out show responded just as well to the newer tunes, especially “Everyone Else is an Asshole,” the opener of “Candy Coated Fury.” The band opened with two songs from “Turn the Radio Off,” still the album they are best known for and one of the staples of mid to late 1990s pop culture. They started with “Everything Sucks” followed by my personal favorite song of theirs, “Trendy.”

For their biggest hit, “Sell Out,” the band brought a little girl on stage to help sing and she knew every last word. Donning lead singer Aaron Barrett’s ever-present sunglasses, she was a crowd pleaser. Someone posted a video of this happening on the youtube that better captures the vibe of the show than any of the pictures I took, so here you go:


The lead singer of opening band Beebs and Her Money Makers came out to sing a couple songs including “She Has a Girlfriend Now.” Reel Big Fish also played “Slow Down” off my second favorite album of theirs, “Monkeys For Nothin’ and the Chimps For Free,” “Suburban Rhythm” and “Beer” off “Turn the Radio Off,” “Somebody Hates Me” and “Thank You for Not Moshing” off “Why Do They Rock So Hard?” as well as covers of “Garden Grove” by Sublime, “Self Esteem” by The Offspring and “Take On Me” by a-ha.

This was a big show for Durty Nellies to book and it will be followed shortly by another big show: Against Me!, Laura Stevenson and Cheap Girls on April 4.

- See more at: http://changetherotation.com

Liner Notes: The Bruce Lee Band- “Community Support Group” 7”

Phil Collins - March 22, 2014

Community Support Group

Welcome to Liner Notes, a new feature in which I will talk about the production design, packaging, and process of buying a particular record. I am building a collection of vinyl. The look and feel of the record is important to me, otherwise I would be satisfied to have all my music solely in a digital format. People do not buy records because it is convenient. They take up a lot of space, they are fragile and they get dusty. Record collectors do not mind these drawbacks so much because of what we get in return: big artwork, full liner notes and the tangibility of vinyl.

First up is The Bruce Lee Band’s “Community Support Group” 7-inch released on Jeff Rosenstock’s Really Records in January. Rosenstock, of Bomb the Music Industry!, appears in this iteration of The Bruce Lee Band on bass, organ, saxophone and vocals. Mike Park, founder of Asian Man Records, is on vocals as always. This time out the band also includes Mike Huguenor on guitar and vocals and Kevin Higuchi on drums. The band has included different members on each of its three releases. Mike Park has been on vocals for each release, backed by Less Than Jake and RX Bandits, respectively, on the first two releases. “Community Support Group” contains the first new songs from the group since 2005. I bought this one online directly from Really Records, which is now sold out of the limited pressing. The label says there is a full-length on the way this summer.

This 45 rpm 7-inch was pressed on translucent orange vinyl. This may be my only record in this color. Blue, red and even pink are a lot more common. Orange is much more rare, but it has an appealing look. The liner notes on the back cover spell out the roles of the impressive selection of musicians involved in the record’s five songs. Chris #2 of Anti-flag contributed vocals for “Tanning Depression,” one of my favorite tracks on “Community Support Group.” Dan Potthast of Mu330 shouts the “aghs” on the opener “Agh!!!.” Sean Bonnette of Andrew Jackson Jihad did vocals on “We’ve Got the Money, We’ve Got the Power.” Sean McCabe and Dave Renz were on trombone throughout the 7-inch. Jeff Rosenstock also had producing, mixing and recording duties. It is great to see him so heavily involved in such a gleeful ska punk project after the dissolution of his well-respected band Bomb the Music Industry!

The cover art is a compelling image, although I cannot tell exactly what is going on. It is an old black and white photograph of two men in uniform, walking across a mountain of what appear to be scrap parts. Parts of what? What kind of uniforms? Tell me if you have any more information. The back cover does not offer many clues. It is another old black and white photograph, apparently taken nearby. A broken down old car is parked, or likely abandoned, in the dirt near an actual mountain. The liner notes are printed in visually pleasing symmetry on the back cover photo: black text on the light part of the image on the left and white text on the dark part of the image on the right.

- See more at: http://changetherotation.com

The So So Glos release animated video for “Blowout”

Phil Collins - March 15, 2014

Brooklyn punk outfit The So So Glos released this fun animated clip for the title track from their 2013 album “Blowout.” The song itself is a rolling bundle of firecrackers. It is mostly instrumental, with periodic shoutouts. The animation style matches the goofy enthusiasm that is integral to the song. The album, the third full-length from The So So Glos, is frenetic from front to back.The band is now wrapping up a week of shows at SXSW in Austin, where they seem to have become a staple.



If you live near Chicago and like Folk Punk you’d be totally missing out if you didn’t come to this.  This is going to be cool as fuck.





If you live near Chicago and like Folk Punk you’d be totally missing out if you didn’t come to this.  This is going to be cool as fuck.


Road Report: The Lawrence Arms in Rhode Island

Steve O - March 9, 2014

The Lawrence Arms

So I realize that while I usually write about random records, I’ve done a couple of what I feel like calling Road Reports. The last Streetlight Manifesto shows in New Jersey and Good Riddance in Cambridge, MA. Well, now let’s add the Lawrence Arms in Pawtucket, Rhode Island to the list. (What a stereotypical New England name, right?)

Yes, I drove almost three hours to see a band that I’ve seen so many times I’ve lost count. Crazy? Likely. But it was also a great time, as every Lawrence Arms show is. This one had the added bonus as I was able to cross Rhode Island off the list of states I’d been to. It was the last holdout on the east coast until you get all the way down to South Carolina.

The show also featured Elway and the Copyrights. Despite having seen the Copyrights a bunch, I don’t really know their songs too well. But they’re all fast and catchy, and they played songs like “Shit’s Fucked,” “Sleepwalker,” and “Charlie Birger Time,” so I was happy. As for Elway, I’ve been getting into them a lot lately. Kinda like Chris-only Lawrence Arms. They were great live, and pretty funny too. Their debut record, Delusions, has some great songs, off which they played “Passing Days,” “It’s Alive!” “Whispers in a Shot Glass,” and “Kristina’s Last Song.” Check them out, especially if you dig the Lawrence Arms songs starring Chris.

As for the Lawrence Arms, the rare tour is in support of their fantastic new record, Metropole. Having seen them in Chicago so much, I’m used to seeing them in packed buildings with people going crazy. I assumed a similar situation out here, especially since people have been deprived of regular Lawrence Arms shows. I was somewhat mistaken. It was a small venue, as was the crowd. It certainly didn’t feel packed. They opened with “Them Angels Been Talkin’” and everyone pretty much just stood around. It wasn’t until “Great Lakes/Great Escapes,” the fourth song in, that people really got moving. Even then, it still seemed calm. But I guess my expectations have been distorted after so many hometown shows.

As for new songs, they played “You Are Here” and “Seventeener (17th and 37th),” both of which they played at the New Year’s Eve show back in Chicago. But they also played “Acheron River” and “October Blood.” All four got good receptions. They played “Porno and Snuff Films” for the first time in, according to Brendan, five years. The set list also featured “On with the Show,” “The Raw and Searing Flesh,” and “The Disaster March” off The Greatest Story Ever Told, which just reminded me how I’m still waiting to hear “The March of the Elephants.” “The Raw and Searing Flesh” and “The Disaster March” were the closers. Personally, “The Disaster March” has long been one of my favorites, and was a great end to a great night. Except for the awaiting long drive back to Albany.

When Flying Feels Like Falling release new song

Album due out this Spring

Phil Collins - March 3, 2014

Chicago punk band When Flying Feels Like Falling released “Class War,” the first taste of their upcoming debut album. It is exciting to hear a studio recording from this band. I have played their excellent live album into the ground. Will the new album contain studio recordings of tracks from that album, which was recorded at Reggies, or will it be mostly new tracks? It will likely be a mix of both. “Class War,” in any case, is a new catchy number. This band writes the choruses of pop punk songs while retaining the influence of the crack rock steady and crust punk scenes. Enjoy “Class War” and catch When Flying Feels Like Falling at the 7th Street Space in DeKalb this Saturday with Davey Dynamite, Praise the Sinners, Butchered and Morphine Squirtgun. They also have a Chicago show this weekend, at Reggies Rock Club on Sunday with Burndoubt, Nick Van Horn and Lasers.

Dave Anians - February 17, 2014
Hey, here’s a new edition of Green Dot Sessions! It’s been a bit, but this is a good one.
Henry Brawlins (Kevin Sawa) is a songwriter/poet/drummer/singer/photographer. He writes and plays for The Stockyards and Sleeping is my 9 to 5. He’s got a lot of passion and a lot of things to say. His work is very real and really good.
We talked about art and music and punk and drumming and you can just read it.
The Stockyards:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=EeQKxQZIEb8Sleeping is my 9 to 5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YDSrWrOdvE&feature=player_embeddedRead the full interview here

Dave Anians - February 17, 2014

Hey, here’s a new edition of Green Dot Sessions! It’s been a bit, but this is a good one.

Henry Brawlins (Kevin Sawa) is a songwriter/poet/drummer/singer/photographer. He writes and plays for The Stockyards and Sleeping is my 9 to 5. He’s got a lot of passion and a lot of things to say. His work is very real and really good.

We talked about art and music and punk and drumming and you can just read it.

The Stockyards:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=EeQKxQZIEb8

Sleeping is my 9 to 5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YDSrWrOdvE&feature=player_embedded

Read the full interview here