TSOL Ghost Train / Never Go Home 7″

Oof, let’s get this over with. I’m not here to declare that bands shouldn’t be allowed to continue releasing music nearly 40 years after inception, and I’m aware that many loyal fans (presumably over the age of 50) are allowed to remain loyal no matter what. Alas, as a rabid fan of everything T.S.O.L. through 1982 (even Beneath the Shadows), and even JOYKILLER (’90s Epitaph project featuring Jack and Ron), I’m unable to get on board with this 45. I admit I’m momentarily charmed by the vocal melodies on the choruses as they’re very signature Jack Grisham, but these songs remind me of the ones I’d skip on the JOYKILLER albums. The loose rock feel does nothing for me and the sleeve art does not befit TRUE SOUNDS OF LIBERTY. I can’t imagine most contemporary fans of punk music finding this the least bit relevant.

TSOL Thoughts of Yesterday 1981-1982 LP

It’s about time! This collection of tracks from 1981-2 sports a series of outstanding tunes by vintage TSOL, including one clinker (“Weathered Statues”): the rest is dynamic, upbeat, guitar-oriented TSOL at their best and near-best.

TSOL Change Today LP

The revamped line-up of T.S.O.L. makes its debut on this highly-produced album. I was prepared to dislike this after seeing the rock-star atmosphere they projected live, but there’s a lot on here that’s likable. On about half of the songs, they pack a good punch and the new singer’s annoying Jim Morrison delivery is minimized, but others are less worthwhile. Although it’s better than expected, give me their first 12″ any day.

TSOL Beneath the Shadows LP

From their inception, TSOL’s finest efforts used both hardcore energy and a fiery dramatic tension to fuel their compositions. Sadly, there’s surprisingly little excitement or drama on their latest LP; instead, they’ve opted for a heavily atmospheric approach to hold together a set of weak post-punk songs. I will always admire TSOL’s contributions to the California punk scene, but I cannot recommend this record.

TSOL Weathered Statues EP

A huge disappointment. This is so lame it’s hard to believe TSOL put out one of the best punk EPs of 1981. “Man & Machine” is alright punk, “Statues” is embarrassingly wimpy and pretentious, and the others sound like substandard out-takes from the LP.