|Photo by: The NJ Underground|
Key Tracks: “Wiped Out,” “King Kong Brigade,” “Harbor Freeway Blues”
“Punk is dead, man,” your ultra hip acquaintance scoffs through an exhalation of clove cigarette smoke. “Anyone who thinks differently needs a reality check.”
“I don’t think so, man,” you say, irritability seeping into your voice. “Have you ever heard of OFF!, Keith Morris’ new band?”
“Keith Morris? I thought that guy was dead.”
“Uh, no. He’s very much alive. Anyway, this new OFF! record is pretty rad. Maybe if you give it a listen…”
“No, thanks,” your acquaintance waves off your seemingly innocent suggestion. “If I wanted to listen to cantankerous old men bitching about the government, I’d visit my grandpa at the old folks’ home. Besides, what’s Keith Morris without Henry Rollins? I mean, it just sounds like he’s trying to resuscitate Black Flag. Ugh. Let it die, man.”
“Okay, first of all, I’m pretty sure Keith can survive without Henry. Second of all, OFF! sounds nothing like Black Flag. This record is a little cleaner, but it’s still got that abrasive delivery. It’s ferocious, man.”
“Yawn.” Your fists involuntarily clench at your acquaintance’s reaction. “I’m sure it’s 'ferocious' or whatever. It’s also been done before. Remember Circle Jerks?”
“Just listen to the record, man. Here’s the first track. It’s called "Wiped Out." Doesn’t that guitar intro just punch you in the gut?”
“Okay, that’s not bad,” your acquaintance reluctantly admits. “Whoa, next track already. These guys get right to the point.”
“Yeah, man. The songs are really short, but they’re like these nuggets of pent-up animosity. Keith just spits venom on "I Got News For You." Or what about this line in "Cracked?" He says, 'Are you kidding? / We were playing too fast? / Have you been smoking pot / Or is your head up your ass?' Says it all, man. Punk rock is supposed to be quick and painful.”
“I get that, but these tracks just kind of blend together. They need a little more variety, you know? They need better hooks or something.”
“Whatever, man.” Your acquaintance is quick to brush off your accusation, leading you to believe that the only punk record he owns is an album of Ramones singles. “What’s this track called?”
""King Kong Brigade." This has to be my favorite. It starts off innocently enough with that clean guitar strumming, then it begins to pick up a little. And just when you start bobbing your head, Keith hits the words 'king kong brigade' with enough force to demolish a brick wall. And listen to this minor chord pattern. It sounds like a fighter jet circling a target, man.”
“Alright, alright. I can dig this. This next track is pretty awesome, too. The distortion is so raw.”
“What, "Harbor Freeway Blues?" Yeah, this is a great song. But the last three tracks definitely leave the right impression. The record ends strong with "I Need One (I Want One)." It’s so aggressive. And that scream at the end? It’s the icing on the cake.”
“I guess OFF! isn’t that bad. Not as good as Black Flag, though.”
“So what’s your favorite Black Flag record, anyway?”
“Probably Road to Ruin.”
“But that’s a Ramones...“
“Well, I’ve gotta go, man. Thanks for the tunes!”
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