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November 16, 2009

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So, I’m a punk snob. It’s sad because I’m not that guy who’s like, “I only listen to obscure punk that nobody’s heard of.” Or the dude who’s all,”I only listen to the REAL punk by the ?°»70s pioneers.” I’m not even the dude who says, “It’s only punk if it has a purpose – or no purpose at all.” Punk has become one of the most prestigious of all genres of music. It’s really quite silly, but it makes sense because it has no rules, yet it has strict rules. That’s what I love about punk music. I like punk that I should be ashamed to like, i.e. Blink 182 (PRE-“Take Off Your Pants and Jacket”). That’s right, I said it. I like that I can be super “moved” every time I listen to “In My Eyes” (Minor Threat). I like that I can listen to The Stooges and really understand why they titled a record “Raw Power” because that’s exactly what it is. But I digress. My point is, anyone who loves punk music SHOULD be a punk snob. If you hear punk you don’t like, it sucks, plain and simple. Punk is not to be tolerated; it is not “gray area” music. It is to be loved or hated. I absolutely HATE a ton of popular and “cool” punk bands for my own special reasons. But that’s what keeps punk alive: passion.

It seems all the recent punk bands I have come across either suck at actually playing musical instruments, or they’re trying too hard (but trying hard not to look like they’re trying so hard – you follow?). I got the Cloak and Dagger album, “Lost Art,” and I thought, “Oh great, here we go with another crappy punk attempt.” I couldn’t have been happier to hear the opening track. DUDE! It kills! Right? A band with rhythmic taste, an ear for hooks, and some good ol’ pissed off frontman action. I SO love a band that is easy to listen to, but I love a band more who makes me want to kill one of them so I can join. This album follows the (no) rules: It sounds like it was recorded straight off the mics and left to sound as it should, you know, raw! Eleven out of 13 tracks are under three minutes; who wants to hear a punk song drag on? It has pop hooks all over it, guitars and vocals alike. I’m talking international level HOOKS, kind of like The Hives (that’s right, the HIVES) to name a hooky band. I love that! I love songs that rock nuts and get stuck in my head! Cloak and Dagger can definitely play their instruments, but not like metal dudes or math-rockers, there’s a TON of SOUL in there. YES! I think this is one of my favorite records of 2009 and I hope it catches fire because there’s something there that makes up for me only being 30 and missing the first movement. I am officially going to enter this album into my permanent rotation. Nice work. Nice work.

Indie Rock Reviews

Bob Villain