[Vinyl Vednesday is a weekly feature about three favorite vinyl finds. It’s not meant to be a dick-measuring contest, but it kinda is one. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with your own big finds!]
Records: Armalite’s Armalite (2006) on white, Fake Problems’ How Far Our Bodies Go (2007) on black, and Peter, Paul and Mary’s The Bet of Peter, Paul and Mary: Ten Years Together (1970) on black.
Thoughts: “Super group” gets tossed around a lot. Most bands that get that label might have one or two songs, but can’t top its’ members other works (Them Crooked Vultures < Foo Fighters + Nirvana). One group that actually lives up to the name is Armalite. The band is a who’s who of punk lifers – Dr. Dan Yemin (Lifetime, Paint It Black, Kid Dynamite, my dreams *swoon!*), Atom Goren (Atom and His Package), Mike McKee (Kill the Man Who Questions, Amateur Party), and Jeff Ziga (Affirmative Action Jackson). What you get here is 24 minutes of pop-punky hardcore. Think Kid Dynamite with Atom and His Package’s melodies – toughxcore and insanely catchy. My only complaint about this band is that they don’t play nearly enough shows. OK, time to play “Dan’s Hands Melt” 100 more times…
OK, I’m back. Fake Problems got slagged with the Against Me! tag when they started off – Tom Gabel’s Sabot label released a bunch of their stuff too – but they’re pretty different. If anything, they’ve taken the folk-punk tag in the opposite direction – more indebted to Creedence Clearwater Revival than The Replacements, country-fied ‘n’ bonerfried, and thoroughly silly. How Far Our Bodies Go collects 15 of my favorite FP tunes [NOTE: The album is only 13 tracks long. Two of the tracks combine songs].
ARBITRARY MUSICAL SEGUE!
I got into Peter, Paul and Mary after I saw footage of them performing at the Newport Folk Festival (I think). Their harmonies grabbed me right away. Like the members themselves, the vocals were warm, even playful at times. I opted for this greatest hits package, which showcases some stellar covers of tunes like Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind” and John Denver’s “Leaving on a Jet Plane.” “Jet Plane” is given a cascading multi-part vocal that’s just lovely; I prefer it to the original. The group’s originals are a mixed bag – “If I Had a Hammer (The Hammer Song)” is uplifting; the cynical “I Dig Rock and Roll Music” is kinda douchey) – but overall, I’m glad I picked this up.