OK, last time in "RECORDS YOU NEED TO HEAR" post I wrote about 5 fast and pissed off hardcore punk records from the 2000´s but this time it is something different. This time I will say something about 5 pop punk bands/records from the 90s. If you are into punk rock, melodic punk or pop punk, call it whatever you want, you need to hear these 5 records. If you are into metalic grind or some other boring shit, then skip this post and go listen to some extreme metal, I could not give a flying fuck. But if you are into good pop punk, stick till the end with this post. Of course, I could easily choose some more obvious choices of great 90´s pop punk bands/records like Descendents or ALL but I choose to rather write about some bands that are not so well known as some other pop punk bands from that era. Also, I will probably write about Descendents and ALL in some other posts in near future. All 5 of these records are pretty great Summer music, so there you go.
BROWN LOBSTER TANK – Tooth Smoke LP/CD (1995. Dr. Strange Records)
Brown Lobster tank was a great melodic punk rock band from Orange County, California that recorded one of the best pop punk records in the 90´s and you probably never heard it. Line up was consist of Ken Conte on vocals, Travis Buchanan on guitar, Guy Julian on bass and Steve Sanderson on drums. They existed from 1994. to 1996. if I´m not mistaken, at least during these years they released their records and in 1996. they changed the name to The Tank and continued to play great pop punk. Ken also later sang in Implants and Guy and Steve played also in Gameface. Tooth Smoke is kind of their second album, because in 1994. they released a tape called Our First Album on their label called Boring Records. That tape has pretty much the same songs that Brown Lobster Tank re-recorded for Tooth Smoke album in 1995. that was released by well known pop punk/punk rock label Dr. Strange Records from Southern California. Besides that, they also released couple of solid 7 inches in 1995. and 1996. Two of those has mostly the same songs that are also on the tape or Tooth Smoke album but their last 7 inch called Overflow before they changed the name to The Tank has 4 songs that I haven´t heard yet, so I would love to hear this EP (anyone can help with that?). OK, let´s talk about the Tooth Smoke album. There are 14 songs on the album, 13 originals and an X cover – Los Angeles which is a X classic song from their first album Los Angleles from 1980. Production is cool, not too slick, just the way I think that pop punk band should sound. I also love the wacky cartoonish cover. As for the sound of Brown Lobster Tank, I would say that they were definitely influenced by Descendents and Big Drill Car. Luckily, they didn´t brought any metalic rifs into their sound like Big Drill Car has in some songs, Brown Lobster Tank „borrowed“ the poppy and melodic side of the Descendents and Big Drill Car and made a perfect blend of a melodic punk rock. Lyrics are mostly the love themes and they are not too serious pus there are few kind of jokey songs. I must say that I´m not too thrilled with the first song on the album - Ripe, because it is kind of too long in my opinion and not the best choice for opening song. But, the rest of the record, I can´t get enough of it. The seconds song – C. H. I. X. should be the opening song of the album, in my humble opinion. This song is so good and it is also the fastest song on the album and kind of different than the rest of the songs, just listen to this perfect fast and melodic punk tune. As for the rest of the album, I like more the love songs (F. U. B. B., Bebo, Sunshine, Bah...) than their jokey songs (Homebrew, Ron Jeremy...), but they all flow pretty cool through the album. I like the ending of the album, it is a instrumental song called Joy that reminds me of Descendents a lot, very nice, laid back and slow California sounding Summer punk rock tune. Lots of these songs ended up on compilations that I did for me and my friends and I strongly recommend you this album if you are into melodic punk rock.
Get it here: Brown Lobster Tank - Toothsmoke
GAMEFACE – Three To Get Ready LP/CD/CS (1995. Dr. Strange Records)
Gameface were/are another pop punk/emotional punk rock band from Orange County, CA. They formed in 1991., broke up in 2003. and then reunited in 2013. There were various line ups of Gameface through the years but, vocalist/guitarist Jeff Caudill and guitarist Todd Trout are the only remaining original members of the band. Three To Get Ready is their second album and my favorite Gameface record. This album, their first album and few first EPs are the ones capturing pop punk sound, later Gameface brought some more emoish influences into their punk rock, but remined pretty cool melodic and emotional punk rock band. On Three To Get Ready, the line up was consist of Jeff Caudill on vocals, Todd Trout on guitar, Paul Martin on bass and Phil Hanson on drums. I´m not sure in what bands the rest cof the line up also played but Jeff was also in Ice, March, Collateral Damage and Your Favorite Trainwreck. There are 14 songs on Three To Get Ready album, 13 originals and Time After Time which is a cover of Cyndi Lauper and it is kind of a hidden song at the end on the album. I like the very thick production, even though this is pop punk, the record sounds very powerful. As for the sound of Gameface on this album, I could go again with Descendents influences but, those influences are not that obvious here and unlike some other pop punk bands of that era, Gameface were much more faster. The opening song Start Me Over is a perfect to be the first song on the album and the second song Ten Blue Sticks is even better and it is my favorite song on the album. Not that other songs are bad, far from that, but I do have some more favorites on this album that I like little better, like: Guess What, June, Gibberish, Undone... Those are all great songs! Only Chance We Get has some more emoish slower parts and kind of reveal in what direction will the band take on their later albums. Lyrics are mostly personal, about relationships and themes like that. Anyway, this is a great melodic punk rock record and you should give it a listen if you like fast and melodic driven punk rock.
Get it here: Gameface - Three To Get Ready
G-WHIZ - ...Hook LP/CD/CS (1994. Medical Records)
G-Whiz was a pop punk band from Chandler, Arizona, USA that existed from 1989- to 1994. and they had some reunion in 2000.´s I think, but I´m not really sure when exactly, there are not that much information on the net about G-Whiz. ...Hook is their second and the last album and they also released few seven inches and split sevens that were later in 2002. re-released together with the first ablum on a compilation called: The Pop Punk Singles Collection 1989. – 2002. on Boss Tunegae records. ...Hook was also re-released in 2000.´s together with few unreleased old and new songs on a compilation called: She Has That Plastic Alternative Indie Emo Punk Rock Mannequin Look! ...Hook is my favorite G-Whiz record although they have some great songs on their other records too. The line up on ...Hook was: Ed Richards on vocals, Kevin Carl on guitar, Greg Gleason on bass and Angel Nevarez on drums (except for the Run song where Jimmy Kurnutt played drums). I honestly don´t have a clue if these guys played in any other bands. There is 11 songs, actually 10 songs and one 23 seconds joke song on ...Hook and these songs make this one of the best and unique pop punk records. G-Whiz was also under heavy influence of Descendents, ALL & Big Drill Car, but didn´t actually sounded like those bands, mainly because G-Whiz was much slower which is one of the reasons why it takes quite a few listens of their songs to get into their sound. But, when you get used to G-Whiz hooks and melodies, you´ll want to hear them more and more. Anyway, from these 10 great songs, few were also released on some of their seven inches but in different versions and I gotta say that I love more these album versions. Production is great, nothing much to say here and lyrics are of course love themes. Don´t know what more to say about these great pop punk songs except that Run is total hit and the fastest song on the album, sounding very ALL-ish, can´t get enough of that song. So, get this but prepare yourself for more than just few listening, as I've said before, it takes some time to get into the G-Whiz unique punk rock tunes. Oh yeah, I put the download link of their re-release with bonus tracks because the sound is much better on that one than the rip I have of the original album.
Get it here: G-Whiz - ...Hook reissue
HUFFY – No High Five CD (1997. Metoo! Records)
It is a bit of a stretch to call Huffy (from Burlington, Vermont) and this album a pop punk, but this band is so good, that I just have to put them here. And to be fair, there are lots of pop punk hooks and melodies on No High Five album, the only thing is that Huffy was such a great band that you can´t just say that they were influenced by some particular band. Huffy made their own version of pop punk and they did it so great that you don´ t need to hear any modern music after you hear this awesome record, haha. I´ve carried away a little bit here, butr really, since I've first heard this record, it remained on my playlist non stop. Huffy existed from 1994. to 1998. and they are one of those bands with not much information on the net. I don´t think that their line up changed, Tim Lauben was on vocals & guitar, Jeff Brown on bass and Nate Wells on drums. All I know that Tim Lauben also played in Snowplow, My Own Sweet and The Red And The Black, I don´t know where other members played. There is 11 songs on No High Five album, the last song is actually unlisted, so let´s call it the Untitled song. From first song - 50-Yard Dash to the last Untitled song, you will experience one of the best summer souding punk rock albums ever recorded. There is no bad song here, Tim voice is great for these songs, sounding like more punk rock J Mascis. Some slower songs (Boil, Splinter, Untitled song...) kind of give of Dinosaur Jr influence, but as I´ve said before, Huffy is more on the melodic punk rock side. There are some emo-ish influences also on few parts on the album, like great So Yeah song which I assume is a love song and I could argue with you that it is one of the best punk rock love songs ever written. The rest of the album is consisted of faster more up beat songs and Chopper Pilot is definitely my favorite one. The song California is actually recorded in 1995. and was first released on their demo cassette called Sunny Drive Time. Except that demo, Huffy also released a seven inch in 1995. with two great songs from that demo. Both the demo and the seven inch are also worth finding. If you like this album and want to hear more Huffy, let me know and I will supply you with more Huffy music. I don´t know what else to say except to go get this great melodic punk rock record!
Get it here: Huffy - No High Five
PARASITES – Rat Ass Pie LP/CD/CS (1998. Go-Kart Records)
Parasites originally started in Livingston, New Jersey in 1985. but didn´t released much until the early 90´s and after that they recorded and released bunch of records, including numerous 7 inches, splits, live, six full leghts and two compilations. Later the band relocated to Berkley, California and the band is still active, they still tour and they released their last album in 2013. Over the years Parasites had many line up changes and the only remaining original member is Dave Parasite (vocals & guitar). I´m not sure who is in present Parasites line up, but on Rat Ass Pie album that was released in 1998. on Go-Kart Records, except Dave, the line up was: Scotty R. Cofer on bass and his brother Daniel Cofer on drums. It is possible that these guys played in some other bands too, but I don´t have any knowledge of that. Anyway, Ratt Ass Pie is fourth Parasites album and in my opinion their best, although I highly recommend all of their other records because they are filled with great pop punk songs. There are 14 songs (and one hidden short and fast punkish song) on this album that has a pretty cool production. The band on the record sounds tight and their fast but emotional pop punk is just perfect here. I can´t compare their sound to any particular band, but on some Parasites records you can hear some clear 60´s pop influences, but not so much on this album. Still, as I´ve said already, This album is full of great hooks, melodies, tight musicianship, great clean and melodic vocals and of course, most of the songs have love theme in their lyrics. This album just have everything that a great pop punk band should have. I wanted to single out some of the songs as my favorite, but the thing is that this album doesn´t have a one bad song or even an average song, every song here is a pop punk hit. Only song that is different from the rest of the album is the last song Carve Your Initials that is more emo-ish acoustic song, but it is still a very good emotional song. So, it seems that I don´t have much to say for this album except that you get it and listen to it, especially in the summertime and of course, if you like good melodic punk rock.
Get it here: Parasites - Rat Ass Pie