2¢ Worth Living the 2¢ Life: 1997–2007 LP

So, this is an anthology of a decade’s worth of songs from this Las Vegas band. The problem with this is that there have apparently been multiple lineups of this band, and it’s a noticeable difference. On one hand, you have a band that sounds fun and vibrant and very much a punk band, on the other you have a band that is more akin to late ’90s/early ’00s alternative rock. The difference between the differing lineups is almost night and day, and perhaps the “punker” lineup and the “alterna-rock” lineup should have been separated by A-side and B-side so that the listener could literally choose a side.

Front Line Outside Your Window 12″

Now here’s a young punk band from San Jose who has a good sense of melody and writes some pretty catchy thrash in the style of SOCIAL D or D.I. Even though they have one of the stupidest, most immature covers I’ve seen in a long time, I think they have a future.

Mercy Music Melody and Truth LP

This album kicks off with a song that sounds like it could be an out take from an OLD 97’S record. From there, the hits keep coming. There’s also a kinda subtle ONE MAN ARMY vibe here, too. MERCY MUSIC has made an unbelievably catchy album that I could see getting some decent rotation from anyone who comes across it.

Suburban Resistance SRIII: Songs of the Dead LP

Melodic punk out of Las Vegas with strong vibes of NOFX, ALL, and BAD RELIGION. Some tracks veer more toward pop punk, while others more toward hard rock. Still, there are some with more of an edge, such as “Resist.” With anthemic lyrics like “Reject false divisions, they’re used to restrict you / Refuse to tolerate processed hate / Remember while you still exist / You can’t be brought down as long as you resist,” SUBURBAN RESISTANCE could be just straight-ahead punk, but this LP shows their range of interests, influences, and ambitions. There’s something for everyone here.

Suburban Resistance Suburban Resistance LP

Snotty, melodic SoCal punk all wrapped up nice and ready for the big stage. Songs about partying (and the dark side of partying) and fierce determination in the face of just trying to fucking get by, from a Vegas outfit (that’s Las Vegas, which is not in Southern California) featuring members from ’80s skate punks the FACTION and ’00s Upstate NY DIY rippers WAR SQUAD. The backing “whoa-ohhh”s aren’t really for me (there are a lot of them), and the lyrics to “Fools” (maybe about getting along in the face of getting called out…?) give me slight pause, but these fellows know exactly what they’re aiming for, and if gruff, catchy adult punk is what you’re after, then you’ve surely found it on the debut from SUBURBAN RESISTANCE.

The Drab The Drab cassette

An eight-song venture that showcases well this band’s older-style raw punk and the singer’s Johnny Rotten fixation. Live, I’ve gotten a bit bored, but this tape is quite well done and a good change of pace.

The End Revenge / No Morals 7″

Adam (ex-FACTION) and friends come up with a couple of almost power-pop tunes, which means lots of melody and hooks powered by punchy and guitar-oriented backing. Good effort.

The End If You Still Believe 12″

A little too weird for my tastes. Starts out with catchy SoCal punk but, hey, what’s with all these goofy Top-40 keyboards? It’s too bad, because the words don’t really anything and in the end (geddit?) the music doesn’t either, just a musical candy bar.

The Faction Greatest Grinds LP

Skate punk legends the FACTION have reunited the original lineup to re-record twelve of their best in one convenient collection. All the favorites are here, including “Skate and Destroy,” “Lost In Space,” and personal favorite “Let’s Go Get Cokes.” Unlike most bands that have recently re-recorded classic material, this doesn’t come off as a phoned-in cash grab. The band still sounds great and the songs haven’t lost any of the energy of the earlier versions. Listening to this makes me wanna go skate in an empty parking lot right now.

The Faction Room 101 and Growing Pains LP

Notable not only as one of the first skate punk bands, but also as a skate punk band with an actual pro skater in their lineup. As can be surmised from the title, these are demo versions that would eventually appear on their first two releases: fast songs about skating, cops harassing them about skating, etc. They’re legends of the style and if you’re a diehard for it, you’re already picking this up. I haven’t ever successfully stood on a skateboard, so skate punk never endeared itself to me. This music usually just reminds me of shitty older dudes at shows I went to growing up, who love to use pejorative slurs and say charming shit like “If you dont wanna get hit, get out of the pit.”

The Faction No Hidden Messages: 40th Anniversary Edition 2xLP

As the title indicates, this is a 40th anniversary reissue of this South Bay band’s 1983 record, with a bonus LP’s worth of live tracks from a 1983 show in San Francisco. This reminds me of my first days into punk rock and going to the On Broadway in San Francisco to see whoever was in town. With other bands like CODE OF HONOR, the FACTION were the founders of skate punk hardcore. Quicker in pace, but still quite melodic, this has stood the test of time. 1983, 2022, 40th anniversary? Come on, guys, do the math. This was a great listen.

The Faction Corpse in Disguise EP reissue

The FACTION were O.G. skate-rockers, widely known as the band in which Powell Peralta legend Steve Caballero played bass. With the exception of a few song snippets from skate videos back in the day, I had never really heard much of their catalog, so this 40th anniversary edition of their 1984 EP was new to me. They sound kind of like a chilled-out TSOL on these four songs, which, by the way, are not the same four songs that appeared on the original release. So is it really a reissue? Either way, it’s still suitable headphones material for some casual ripping, and I really can’t hear it without picturing fat, fish-shaped boards with big wheels flashing at the top of vert ramps.

The Faction Collection 1982–1985 2xLP

San Jo’s pioneers of the skate rock thing give you a nice remaster of their complete ’80s recordings collection. Featuring skateboard pin-up legend Steve Caballero, you get the high-fiving bro factor in full effect on songs like “Tongue Like a Battering Ram” and “Skate and Destroy,” which aren’t so bad musically. You also get early gems like “Room 101” and “Yesterday is Gone,” so there’s some merit to this collection. Still, it’s hard for me to get through this in one sitting. I’d much rather hear the likes of LOS OLVIDADOS, DRUNK INJUNS, or even FREE BEER when partaking in the sweaty ballsack rock of yore but still, it’s a nice history lesson to the youthful shredders of the future. Dude.

The Faction Yesterday Is Gone EP

The first release by this South Bay band. It reminds me a lot of CODE OF HONOR, with the instrumentals going from thrash into reverse gear, and the vocals mixed way up front to accentuate the strong lyrics.

The Faction Late Night Live 2xLP

I’m not sure that the kids are clamoring for an archival double live LP from 1984, but I admit this is a pretty good account of this classic skate punk band from San Jose. You get twenty live-on-radio renditions (a couple are interview segments) of selections from their first few records across four sides at 45rpm. The audio is great, basically raw studio-quality. Limited to 250 copies, this is for the skate punk ’80s USHC fanatics only.

The Faction Dark Room 12″

Slowing down the pace, five of the six tracks here are mid-tempo punk. While they maintain their overall California HC sound despite the change of pace, the FACTION do throw in bits of funk, etc., too. Personal-type lyrics.

The Faction Corpse in Disguise EP

“Corpse in Disguise” comes out as a MISFITS-influenced tune with an unrefined rocky sound. It’s got all the catches and hooks, but like most FACTION melodies it lacks something which is hard to put the finger on. The entire EP has a metal/rock flavor, though the lyrics are getting more intelligent with each release. The FACTION drives a powerful, energetic set live; in the studio, what emerges isn’t usually the same. A young band that’s bound to grow.

The Faction No Hidden Messages LP

The FACTION are a bunch of typical California teenagers who are currently going through their “punk rock” phase. Musically, they have that entertaining skatecore-cum-beach punk sound, which is mainly divided here between crisp mid-tempo numbers with melodic teen vocals (like “Why Save the Whales?” and “Being Watched”), fast thrashed-out songs with a spunky quality (like “Running Amok” and “Fast Food Diet”), and a couple of slow rockers (like “Not Mine”). From a lyrical standpoint, the LP should be entitled No Important Messages.

These Roving Years These Roving Years CD

Mid-tempo punk with positive lyrics about not giving up and standing up for each other and such. It’s catchy enough for me to have found myself bobbing my head a bit, and if this was on in the background while doing something else my foot would be tapping for sure. The thing here for me was the lyrical content. While I enjoy positive, uplifting lyrics, this came off like a punk rock version of motivational speaking to me, and that kinda turned me off a bit. Like I’m not sure if it was the singer or the simplistic lyrical style, but it just kinda seemed hokey. I suppose there are worse things than having a positive outlook on life, though…I guess.

V/A Do You Remember Rock’n’Roll? LP

A new San Jose comp, featuring the FACTION, FRONTLINE, STIKKY, ORANGE CURTAIN, LOVING END (yech!), NO WARNING, JET CRASH MIRACLE, STEVE CABALLERO (yech again!). Wish there was more choice material from STIKKY and FRONTLINE, and NO WARNING show promise, too.