It finally appears that Spring may be here - at least, let’s hope! It’s been a brutal winter in these parts and I really don’t want to see anymore of the white stuff on the ground. Time for new beginnings. Now having said that, this column is all about looking backwards again.I just recently saw Mike Doughty (of Soul Coughing fame) in concert (Ruby Vroom’s 25th anniversary tour - where does the time go?) and while prepping for that, I’ve been stuck on the oldies. Next time out I should have some reviews of newer albums, but I am taking some time with these before committing to an article.
Mighty Mighty Bosstones More Noise & Other Disturbances
The Bosstones’ second album released in December of 1991 is a scorcher. Yes, I said 1991, not 1997. Some of you may be under the impression (see what I did there?) that Mighty Mighty Bosstones were a one-hit wonder of a band that everybody associates with the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it popularity of ska in ‘97. Guess what? You are missing out on a lot of great music if you ignore them. While they are still putting out good records, this album represents them at their best: full of punk energy and a great horn section on top of some great tunes. Singer Dickey Barrett has a voice that can shred a beer can (when necessary) but still can sing his ass off. This album was a little more straightforward than their first (there was a little more variety on that one) but it does not bore you. Single “Where’d You Go?” was featured a few years later in the movie Clueless (along with an appearance by the band) and was a minor hit for them. There is a little social commentary (mostly on the track “Guns & The Young”) but this is meant as a good time party album and succeeds at that. The horn section shines brilliantly throughout the album, but the two standout tracks are “He’s Back” and “I’ll Drink To That” and the guitar is not all just ska upstrokes. There are a few very ‘90’s moments, mostly in “Bad In Plaid”, but they are pretty forgivable. Do yourself a favor and go out and give this one a listen - it will definitely help drive away the winter doldrums and get you thinking about your playlist for your first BBQ of the year!
fIREHOSE Live Totem Pole EP
Released in 1992, this is a live EP (hence the name) recorded in North Hollywood 1991. The album is a quick listen, not much more than 20 minutes and features the band playing seven tracks, five of which are covers. fIREHOSE was formed from the ashes of the legendary Minutemen, after that band’s D Boon died in a car accident. fIREHOSE would continue on in much the same vein as Minutemen combining punk, funk, free jazz and other music forms into one big stew. This EP is a good primer on some of their influences. There are covers of songs by Blue Oyster Cult, Public Enemy, Butthole Surfers, Superchunk, and Wire. Despite the covers, it really gives you a feel as to how powerful this band was. Unfortunately, the band would call it quits in 94, with Mike Watt (bassist) going on to release solo albums and working with The Stooges in the early-to-mid 2000’s as well as with J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr. This one is hard to find, as it was discontinued shortly after it’s release. Snatch it up if you can find it.
Current Listening: Peter Gabriel Plays Live, Green Day Insomniac, Follow For Now Follow For Now, Teenage Bottlerocket Freak Out!, Soul Coughing Irresistable Bliss, Masked Intruder III