One Cross Apiece/Put it in Writing 7-inch



I fondly remember the moment when Drive Like Jehu came to play Philly on their Yank Crime tour. To this day, that album still punches me in the gut and hasn’t lost the immediacy and rush that jolts me alive when the opening to “Here Comes the Rome Plows” kicks in and everything is alright with the world for the next seven minutes. Therefore, my younger and hopelessly awkward doppleganger raced to the front of that seedy bar and basked in all that can be transcendent about those shows where everything goes right and each song drives you a few inches closer to losing your motherfucking mind. It happened that summer night and I swore allegiance to everything having to do with Rick Froberg from that moment onwards. I’ve stuck to my guns since then, so I now embrace the new single by his latest band, Obits.

What I love most about Obits is they fulfill my long festering wish to hear a punk band obsessed with Credence Clearwater Revival since these two seemed like a natural combo ala peanut butter and jelly. Yeah, half of their stuff veers a bit into the bro vibe of his previous band Hot Snakes, but the other half is so mind-bogglingly great and grooves in such a scruffy, intense way. Froberg channels John Fogerty, but reimagines him as a much more aggro fellow and somehow CCR marrying Drive Like Jehu makes perfect sense. This new single reaffirms my faith my love of a good riff as “One Cross Apiece” relies on a repetitive one that walks a fine line between Devo and Queens of the Stone Age. Now that is a questionable combo ala pretzels and salsa, but it somehow works some magic and gets the head a-noddin’ and the toes a-tappin’. Eventually it gives way to some Peter Hook-esque bassline and Froberg starts ranting about some apocalyptic world where God speaks through men and uses him to defeat his enemies. The flipside is all about furious strumming of guitars and furious pleading and it reveals yet another side of a man whose music has yet to disappoint this humble soul.

Various Artists

Killed by Death: Volume One

Johan Kugelberg is somewhat or directly responsible for many things that I love in life: Ugly Things magazine, The Monks reissue and the major label debut of Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments and V-3 as well as his crowning achievement, the first four volumes of Killed by Death.

The early Killed by Death comps document punk’s most belligerent and brilliant moments circa 1977-1982, but later comps piss in the bathwater and shine a light on lesser mortals. However, the first four volumes may be the most primal collections of punk I’ve heard. It belongs next to the Nuggets, Pebbles and Back to the Grave compilations as a logical extension to their documentation of the rawest nubs of rock. You can hear the groundwork for hardcore and other offshoots of punk in each track. However, these tracks bear little resemblance to British punks like the Clash, Sex Pistols, Buzzcocks and the Damned. The Ramones, Dead Boys, Voidoids, Dickies and Pagans were more up their alley.

Punk has always been a singles scene for me. Outside of the Wipers, Wire, Clash, Pere Ubu, Drive Like Jehu, Cheater Slicks, Oblivians, Saints and Real Kids, I cannot name many punk albums that I will listen from end to end without complaint. Therefore, these comps appeal to me because they skim the fat and leave us with the most lean, deserate sounds of American punk. Personally, I strongly believe the first volume of Killed by Death is flawless in every way. It captures the crude, ham-fisted glory of all that was great about this era in music.


These Are Not Fall Colors (K 1994) (NEW LINK)

There once was a time where you couldn’t simply click on a link and drag titles to a playlist and burn a mix in mere minutes. My formative years were spent with grubby and worn mixtapes that took hours to complete. It was a pain in the ass to fast-forward past songs and you tended to listen to entire mixes and albums since, for better or worse, you were along for the ride. The benefit of this format was that I tended to listen to the same things over and over until they grew on me.

Lync’s These Are Not Fall Colors was one of these albums. Initially, it seemed like a pedestrian K/Kill Rock Stars punk screamer in the vein of early Unwound and Drive Like Jehu. However, I loved me some Unwound, so I kept listening to it since the songs were raw, loud and poppy enough to inject some adrenaline into my weary form. Eventually, the duds transformed into diamonds in the rough and my likes turned into loves.

This album was released on K Records in 1994 and its members contributed to Beck’s One Foot in The Grave and went on to form the excellent 764-Hero as well as Love in Laughter and Satisfact. However, These Are Not Fall Colors stands as the pinnacle of these musicians’ careers. It’s noisy, brash and sloppy, but sad and weary at the same time. It predates emo and serves as a blueprint for the genre that was trampled and ruined by many lesser souls. Sam Jayne’s vocals are so hoarse and pleading that he’s able to make his sweet sentiments sound much tougher than they really are. One of the hidden punk or indie-pop gems of the 90s, Lync deserves your attention and hopefully your love.