Monday, September 19, 2011

Strung Out - Twisted by Design

★★★★★ Tracks:


After Suburban Teenage Wasteland Blues it would take two years for Strung Out to release another full length album, and I was about out the door and on my way to college when it arrived. The 90's punk rock I spent a lot of my teenage years listening to was left behind, but nostalgia still found me shelling out $15 for the occasional Fat Wreck-chords release. Twisted by Design further emancipates Strung Out from the Bad Religion/NOFX copycat moniker by the group's continuing slide towards pop-punk. That I still carry this with me some thirteen years later must say it still holds up decently, or maybe I'm just a punk-rocker at heart... as I type this in slacks and collared shirt on my lunch break. “Exhumation of Virginia Madison” and “Deville” are the best representations of the album as a whole, songs which might call to mind early Blink-182, but the highlight is “Paperwalls.” Take a song about relationship struggles and put it in the hands of sophomoric Fat Wreck-chords punk-rockers, you are begging for a piece of shit, but Strung Out defies the odds as they do with most of Twisted by Design.

Strung Out - Suburban Teenage Wasteland Blues

★★★★★ Tracks:


I think Strung Out was my favorite band for about two weeks in my first year of high school. This was probably only because all of the other Fat Wreck-Chords bands like NOFX, Lagwagon, Face to Face, were claimed by my other friends, naturally forcing me to pick a group no one else had. Truth is Strung Out’s first album wasn’t very good, but when Suburban Teenage Wasteland Blues came out the group added some pop sensibilities to the trashy, metallic punk-rock they ripped from their influences (Circle Jerks, Husker Du, Bad Religion). Poppier, catcher, crisper, the group that some ancient months ago was my favorite group had a legitmate record, at least as far as underground skate-punk was concerned. There are some songs that surprisingly hold up very well, one of which I still regularly stuff in my playlists -- “Solitaire,” I had always though to be a simple little love song, might actually be a somewhat cryptic account of first-hand struggles with drug addiction.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Stryder - Jungle City Twitch

★★★★★ Tracks:
Summer Coat
This Is the Time

The Stryder was in heavy rotation when I first met my wife. And she must have found it more silly than stupid as I half-sang/half-rapped along to the ultra-cheesy lyrics sung on songs like “Crook” (Let me pat you down / Are you wired? / Don’t you make a sound / Were you hired?), or “Billy” (And you’ve been trying way too hard and got too much to prove / When all you gotta do is do the things you gotta do), or “Summer Coat” (It’s the first day of summer and I’ve already worn my winter coat) because she's still with me today. As I sit here now and play Jungle City Twitch I can’t help but feel embarrassed knowing the few readers here will laugh their asses off listening to this clip, all the while still helplessly digging the thrashy punk rock, amateur rap and boy band fusion The Stryder attempts to hilariously mash together.