FMF Episode #43 – Kids

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DJ: Hello everyone and welcome to another round of  Feel Me Flow!  This week (past year and a half, let’s be honest) has been a tumultuous and news-filled week for America.  Nearly every one has been talking about children being separated from their families after seeking asylum at US borders.  Photos and audio recordings have been trickling out of these buildings that should make any human being’s skin crawl, yet America still fights over what should be done.

The news brings a heart-aching reminder that kids are the future of this world and it is our duty as adults to set them up for success, not hold them back.  Today’s episode is all about the kids.  Rock and roll wouldn’t exist without the youth, in fact, its probably more relative to youth than anyone.  Everyone experiences some rebellious tendencies growing up, whether it be to skip school and throw stuff off of a bridge or to not write your name in cursive on your finals test, everyone fought the power at some point.  We’re gonna hear all kinds of tunes about problem children, hungry children, wild children, cool kids, bad kids, good kids, stupid kids, sinister kids and a brand new Set 4 Score from The Trust Fund Kids out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Kicking off our show, which is filled with some great punk rock today, is the pioneering English punk band Sham 69.  The band’s name is said to have come from a worn-down piece of graffiti that read “Walton and Hersham ’69”, a reference to the football club that won the Athenian League Premier Division in 1969.  Bay Area punks Rancid would go on to cover this track for Tim Armstrong’s Hellcat Records compilation series Give ‘Em The Bootfeatured on the second installment in the series.  From Hersham, England here’s Sham 69 with “If The Kids Are United”.

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DJ: We featured San Diego beach punks The Frights on our Surfing episode last year with a track from their debut EP.  Their 2016 sophomore LP You Are Going To Hate This was produced by FIDLAR’s Zac Carper and definitely sounds like it.  The neo-surf punk sound of mixing in electronic drums and noises is present throughout the entire release and represented well in “Kids”.  The Frights are releasing Hypochondriac on August 24, 2018.

Jersey Oi! punks the Bouncing Souls did what they usually do and referenced an 80s movie for their song “Kid”.  The lyric starting the second verse, “Is it true when we get old our hearts die?” comes from the John Hughes classic The Breakfast Club.  “Kid” comes from the Souls’ Hopeless Romantic LP, one that also features the soccer chant homage song “¡Olé!”.  If you’re keeping up with the World Cup right now, you’re probably tired of hearing “¡Olé!”, seeing as how it’s basically the sport’s theme song!

Before the Souls told us about being a good kid, the Black Lips sang their ode to “Bad Kids”.  The mainstream’s introduction to Black Lips was perhaps their 2007 album Good Bad Not Evil, with at least a few songs from the album making it onto movies around that time.  “Bad Kids” and “Veni Vidi Vici” were both featured in (500) Days of Summer and “O Katrina!” was featured in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.  We played Scott Pilgrim’s fictional band Sex Bob-omb in our FMF Summer Solstice episode, something of relevance considering yesterday was the Summer Solstice!

NOFX questioned why kids were so damn good these days on their 1996 LP Heavy Petting Zoo.  “What’s The Matter With Kids Today?” finds the band asking why kids aren’t drinking, smoking, fighting, and fucking, instead opting for staying home, going to school, and listening to their moms.  The tune would gain a sequel in 2000 when the band released Pump Up The Valuum would feature the track “What’s The Matter With Parents Today?”; an equally perplexing question.  Rancid not only covered Sham 69’s “If The Kids Are United”, but also 6 NOFX songs for their NOFX/Rancid BYO Series split album.

In our next set, we try a little kid empathy.  The next track has made a comeback in the last few years being featured in SNL skits and commercials for multiple brands.  The Five Stairsteps were a family band made up of Alohe Jean, Clarence Jr., James, Dennis, Kenneth “Keni”, and briefly, Cubie Burke.  The Burkes were originally known as the first-family of R&B, that is until little Michael and The Jackson 5 would change the world.  If you’re a parent struggling through some of these trying times involving kids, maybe let them know that “someday, things are gonna get easier; things will be brighter”.  Here’s The Five Stairsteps with “O-o-h Child”.

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DJ: Vampire Weekend completely rejuvenated the indie rock world with the release of their 2008 self-titled debut album.  Featuring clean guitars, echoey-but-tight drum hits, and poppy, light sounding songs, the band appealed to a broad range of people.  From that debut, we played the album closer and fifth single released from the LP “The Kids Don’t Stand A Chance”.

Ian North formed Milk ‘N’ Cookies in New York in 1973.  The band had a pre-punk, glam rock sound that was somewhere on the rock spectrum between T. Rex and the New York Dolls but wasn’t able to gain traction with their debut self-titled album.  After the Sex Pistols broke through a bit later, Island Records wanted to push Milk ‘N’ Cookies’ material and hoped for more recordings, but the ship had sailed and the band’s steam fizzled out.  From that only release, one that would get a 3xLP re-release from Captured Tracks, we heard “Just A Kid”.

Bass Drum of Death jumped into the set for a bit with “Heart Attack Kid”.  The cut comes from the FMF staple album GB City, one we’ve featured a few cuts from.

“Kids” was one of the first tracks MGMT recorded, appearing on 3 EPs prior to also appearing on their debut album.  The song would eventually bring the band into a legal dispute with former President of FranceNicolas Sarkozy.  Sarkozy’s UMP party used the song without permission on several occasions before offering the band a €1 gesture. MGMT sued and eventually squeezed about $38k out of them for the use, but what the hell?!  Some people.

We’ve got one hell of a set coming up now.  Kicking things off for our set titled What Are The Kids?, we’ll have The Who playing “The Kids Are Alright”.

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DJ: The Kids Are Alright. The Kids Are Alt-Right. The Kids Aren’t Alright. The Kids Are All Wrong. The Kids Are The Future.  Part of me wants to do a playlist entirely on what the kids are.  Wrapping up that set was pro skater Steve Caballero and his band The Faction.  The Faction was an all skater punk band formed in the early 80s, only sticking together for a few years at a time.  Steve invented a grip of skateboarding tricks, most notably the ‘Caballerial‘ or ‘Cab’.  Steve knew that kids were the future and with their 1986 mini-LP Epitaph, he proclaimed in song.

Lagwagon’s “The Kids Are All Wrong” proceeded “May 16” on their 1998 LP Let’s Talk About Feelings.  “May 16” is known as one of the golden cuts from the Tony Hawk Pro Skater video game series soundtracks.  The Lagwagon gem made its way onto the Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 soundtrack, joined by the likes of Bad Religion and Naughty By Nature whom we borrowed our namesake from.

Before Lagwagon, we heard The Offspring doing a tune from the same year.  Americana brought the band from the rock scene to the mainstream pop scene with the release of their single “Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)”.  “The Kids Aren’t Alright” was released as a single almost a full year after “Pretty Fly” debuted and although it isn’t their highest-selling single of all time, to this day it remains one of the highest regarded fan favorites.

Bad Religion put out a brand new single on June 20, 2018 titled “The Kids Are Alt-Right”.  I’m kinda surprised it took so long for someone of this caliper to hit that pun right.  There are a few tracks by lesser-known bands on Spotify with the same title, but this will be the one people remember.  Channeling The Who’s “My Generation” for the verses’ aural accompaniment, the cross-busters are back with perfect social commentary on the sad state of today’s affairs.  Glad to see punk’s smartest pioneers back in the game!

Next is The Replacements with a track from their EP Stink (Kids Don’t Follow Plus Seven).  The band included a recording from one of their shows in Minneapolis that was shut down due to noise at the beginning of the album’s opener.  Have a listen!  Here’s “Kids Don’t Follow”.

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DJ: Morristown, Pennsylvania’s Kevin Connor released The Trust Fund Kids first demo in December of 2016.  The band’s official debut single “Waiting On You” was released in February of 2018, and the second single leading up to the new album was “Mercy Me”.  “Mercy Me” pulls from the neo-surf groups like Wavves and Cloud Nothings while still holding a strong sense of originality.  You’ll hear faint horns in the background, synths, and a yearning lament coming from Kevin’s vocals.  Keep an eye on this band, we’re expecting big things from this great new sound!

King Khan has been releasing solo EPs and singles for the last couple of years.  During our FMF Trees episode, we played “A Tree Not A Leaf Am I” from the Never Hold On single.  For his third single in the series, Khan focused on human rights and the abusive powers being used against them.  According to Khan, “Children Of The World” was written about police brutality.

Screeching Weasel frontman Ben Weasel (Foster) has had plenty of run-ins with controversy, including the 2011 SXSW incident that involved him punching two women in the face.  Apparently, a woman in the crowd spit, thew ice cubes, and a beer bottle at Ben, to which he slugged her.  Then another woman thought to be known as the club owner, approached him from behind trying to prevent the attack which in turn had Ben slugging her too.  Yikes.  The incident prompted Fat Wreck Chords owner Fat Mike to say they had no interest in releasing future Screeching Weasel records.  From their Fat Wreck Chords debut Bark Like A Dog, that was “Cool Kids”.

Bleeding Knees Club hails from the Gold Coast of Australia.  Their debut 2012 album Nothing To Do was recorded in New York City with Dev Hynes. The band released a new EP in April of 2017 called Chew Gum, which they toured Australia for throughout May 2018.  From their debut LP, though, we played “Problem Child”.

Coming up in our fifth set, we bring the soul.  Two of the greatest soul/r&b albums of all time were released to the public within a year of each other.  Marvin Gaye’s What’s Goin On and Curtis Mayfield’s Super Fly soundtrack were groundbreaking not only in their sound and progressive conceptual album nature but also for bringing more attention to the violent and crime-filled lives of inner-city minority children.  These albums are pristine, superfluous, just down-right top notch.  First up is Curtis with the lead track from that Super Fly soundtrack, “Little Child Runnin’ Wild”.

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DJ: From the 2013 comeback album Desperation by Oblivians, that was “Little War Child”.  The Oblivians had broken up by the end of 1998. Jack Oblivion and Greg Oblivian reformed their original blues-rock band Compulsive Gamblers to fill the rock void.

Night Beats referenced one of our previously played bands The Who with the naming of their third LP Who Sold My Generation.   Clever, no?  After recruiting a new bass player in 2014, the band signed to London-based label Heavenly Recordings and released their third album in January 2016.  Who Sold My Generation features throwback blues riffs piled onto a garage punk aesthetic, a perfect concoction for our palette here at FMF!

In the 1980s, Iggy Pop was struggling to generate some decent music and would be dropped by Arista Records.  In 1983, longtime Iggy Pop collaborator and friend David Bowie would begin his 1980s comeback and release the megahit LP Let’s Dance.  Bowie covered his and Iggy’s “China Girl” on that album and five more collaborations on the next LP Tonight significantly upping Iggy’s income and pushing him back into music.  Bowie produced Pop’s 1986 album Blah-Blah-Blah, featuring Iggy’s highest charting track, a cover of the Johnny O’Keefe 1958 single “The Wild One” which Iggy would rename to “Real Wild Child (Wild One)”.

Capping off the one-two punch of soul cuts was Marvin Gaye and his “Save The Children”.  The track comes from the 1971 concept album What’s Goin On, a story told from the perspective of a Vietnam veteran returning home to see the suffering, injustice, and inequality that plagues America.  Marvin was depressed at this time in his life, partially because of singing love songs while all of this was happening, partly because of the failure of his marriage to Anna Gordy, but also because of the death of his longtime singing partner Tammi Terrell.  Tammi had been diagnosed with brain cancer just a couple years before.

Our last set today slows things down a bit for us to really stop and think.  We’ll blast off with a loud-fast song from Alkaline Trio and then descend into a folky, bluesy set finished off by one of the most heartbreaking and truth-seeking songs I’ve ever heard.  From the Chicago trio’s 2002 LP From Here To Infirmary, here is Alkaline Trio with “Stupid Kid”.

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DJ: Becoming a parent sure does change your perspective on a lot of different things, at least one hopes so.  The early 70s singer-songwriter folk explosion was littered with “how can we treat Mother Earth this way?” type of music.  Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi” is a perfect example of this.  Cat Stevens posed the question of “Where Do The Children Play?” with the 1970 release of Tea For The Tillerman.

Dan Auerbach channeled his inner James Dean, rebel-without-a-cause alter ego with “Sinister Kid” from 2010’s Brothers.  The song talks about those types of people who live life dangerously, or as Dan puts it someone who “runs to meet his maker”.  Brothers was a soulful blues throwback through and through.  Not only was it recorded at the amazing Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, but the band also pays homage to legends Muddy Waters and Jimmy Smith.  I mean, compare the LP covers of Jimmy Smith’s Hobo Flats and The Black Keys’ Brothers. That’s some influence!

Before The Black Keys, we played previous Set 4 Score champs The Treetops.  The Treetops’ 2018 release All Year Round was that rare find you stumble across while floating through the abyss in search of the perfect score.  Their first single “Fat Travelin’ Man” landed on our FMF Trees episode and maybe our favorite discovery this year!  We’re in talks with the band to do an InFlowences segment, so keep an eye out for that to learn more about how they got their sound!

The Ramones covered Tom Waits’ “I Don’t Want To Grow Up” for their fourteenth and final album, 1995’s ¡Adios Amigos!.  Tom would return the favor in 2003 when Johnny Ramone and Rob Zombie would get a bunch of artists to cover Ramones songs in honor of the band and Joey – Joey had died just two years before.  The covers compilation was one of the last things Johnny did before he died in 2004.  Tom covered The Ramones’ “The Return Of Jackie And Judy” for that collection.

Alright, everyone, that brings us to the end of our episode!  As a friendly and humble, humane reminder, the situation at the Mexican/U.S. border shouldn’t be left to fade into the media mess that is today’s status quo. If an imaginary line and its connotations are justification for separating a child from their mother or father, it might be time to seriously stop and ask yourself, “Is this something I would want my family to go through?”.  We tend not to get too political around here, although it’s been obvious what side of the spectrum we fall on, but this issue hits too close to home and was important to recognize.  Let’s get these kids back to their families.

And on that note, we’ll wrap it up and step off the soapbox. Until next time, adios amigos! We’ll see you next time on Feel Me Flow!

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