By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
Seaweed:Actions and Indications (Merge)
Seaweed is an emocore band with gloomy lyrics you can make some sense of, rather than having to wade through their self-indulgence. Seaweed can also rock, as they do on the Fugazi-like anthem "Red Tape Parade" and on their fine and fitting cover of Joy Division's "Warsaw." The band's two guitarists are skilled at devising portentous chords to go with songs about sad eyes, scars and bad luck, the best of which is the devastating "What Are We Taking?," about completely giving up hope. Mostly, though, while the lyrics are somber, the music bolts at a slam pit's pace.
Screeching Weasel:Television City Dream (Fat Wreck Chords)
The undiluted snotty-punk Television City Dream is another classic Screeching Weasel record, following the band's brilliant EP Major Label Debut, which seemed at the time of its release as pissed-off and obnoxious as any record ever. Not so. Television City Dream is even more odious, and the lyrics even more biting, with leading punk-rock pundit Ben Weasel mouthing off on a variety of subjects, including his own rotten generation. On "We Are the Generation X," he screams, "My generation is full of shit/My generation don't give a shit about nothing/My generation puts on an act/My generation will sell its ass like it's nothing/'cause my generation's nothing/My generation is fat and weak/My generation can barely speak without whining." There's also "Dirty Needles," a public-service announcement set to an infectious pop-punk beat that asks junkies not to use their pals' hypos, and "Dummy Up," which, like a lot of rap tunes, advises folks not to say a word to the cops when questioned. Why did Ben Weasel waste so much time with his lame-ass, Ramones-influenced other project, the Riverdales, which nobody really liked? Screeching Weasel, who never tour and have never played L.A., are one of the greatest punk bands of all time, with a library of timeless albums recorded in the space of a decade.
Knowledge:A Gift Before I Go (Asian Man)
This record comes out after the death of Knowledge's singer, Nick Traina, a 19-year-old manic-depressive. (His mom, author Danielle Steel, has written a best-seller, His Bright Light, about his life.) You'll find no hint of Traina's depression in these way-better-than-average, upbeat ska/punk tunes, which boast harmonies that sound like they were sung by an entire bar full of people. Knowledge, named after an Operation Ivy song, also pull off merciless New Yorkstyle hardcore numbers like "Stomp Out" and "Inikwity" and catchy ska tunes like "Clinton Youth," segueing nimbly from one to the other. Lyrically, it's ska- and reggae-influenced stuff about how we all need to unify and love one another, which I guess is okay if you're a goddamn hippie!