Remember when Hopeless Records used to be cool? No, I’m serious. I don’t mean cool in a “hey I’m in a 16 year old punk phase” cool, cool in a “yeah, they’re cool…for a SoCal punk lable” cool, or any other such sense. I mean the cool in a “hey, we’ve signed two of the best pop punk bands in California (Samiam and Fifteen…until both of them started really sucking), the best fucking garage rockers from New Mexico (Scared of Chaka who, in a matter of speaking birthed The Shins, giving them both a keyboardist and a guitarist), the best nerdy synthpunk (Atom and his Package), the best gutterpunk in the world (Kid Dynamite), the best (sorta)political punk band in the whole fucking world (Dillinger Four), and one of the best bands in the world (The Weakerthans), not to mention the new project from Jesse of Op Ivy, Common Rider. Common Rider broke up just about the same time Hopeless Records lost their minds and started signing 5th rate pop punk bands that all sounds alike. And, sadly, it looks like Thick Records in Chicago is quickly going down the same road. Enough pop punk talk; “Prison Break” is a great song from the last Common Rider full length (they released a mediocre split with some ska band a year or two later). And the song Prison Break is about as good as the label got; a topic usually reserved for shitty hardcore rap songs or country songs from the depression is here given its most gritty and engaging rendition. Jesse clearly had lost none of the energy from his Op Ivy days, and read up on dynamics and time signatures in the meantime. What a payoff.
Wanna know what else is really good? The new Andrew Bird song.