FMF Episode #53 – School

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DJ: Rah rah sis boom bah! Holy post-war-wholesome-school chant Batman! Welcome back to school and another episode of Feel Me Flow! Labor Day typically represents the unofficial end to Summer and the day after it is typically the first day of school for many kids. Many start much earlier these days, though. Some even the first week of August!

Today we’re gonna take a trip down the squeaky waxed halls of high school before moving onto college campus and eventually graduating. Welcome to debt. Student Loan debt is unimaginably huge right now in America and nearly every college attendee graduates in debt, something we need to fix fast. How can people spend money on consumables if all they can afford is to pay loans? Yikes!

Kicking things off with a classic, we’ve got the Ramones doing their End Of The Century track “Rock And Roll High School”. The song also scored the soundtrack to the 1979 film of the same name in which the Ramones played themselves. It’s not Scorsese material, but a fun watch if you’re a Ramones fan. Here we go with the Ramones and “Rock And Roll High School”!

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DJ:  That Cayucas song was huge for a while back in 2013. I think it even made its way onto a beer commercial, if I’m not mistaken. Catchy as hell, though. Cayucas’ debut album under their newly acquired name (previously known as Oregon Bike Trails) was produced by the late Richard Swift. This would probably explain the soulful touch places in the sound. We heard “High School Lover” from that debut.

San Francisco garage throwback pioneer Ty Segall showed up with fellow garage head Mikal Cronin to play a track off of their first collaboration together, Reverse Shark Attack. Ty’s production has been everywhere since he started making waves in the scene in the 2000s, including Ex-Cult’s debut album which we’ll get to a little later. We heard “High School” from that collaborative album.

Bass Drum Of Death fits in well next to Ty and Mikal with that late 2000s garage fuzz sound that we love so much here at Feel Me Flow. BDOD released Just Business in July of 2018, the 4th LP from the Oxford, Mississippi group. We played “High School Roaches” from the debut album GB City.

Chuck Berry rang our bell with an ode to school. It’s funny how artists used to love their schools, and then as time went on more and more rock artists were singing about how much school sucked. I wonder what gives? Did education quality drop that much? Or did the attitude towards learning just shift? Who knows. Chuck played “School Day (Ring Ring Goes The Bell)” from his 1957 LP After School Session.

Now about that love/hate relationship with school. Let’s hear it in full effect. Starting things off is Nirvana with “School” from their debut album Bleach. As we move towards the middle of the set you’ll hear some very poppy and positive school tunes before we get back to hating it again. Let’s hear Kurt Cobain scream “No recess” a few times, here’s Nirvana.

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DJ: So, Paul Westerberg wasn’t really a fan of school.  The second release from The Replacements was an EP titled Stink (“Kids Don’t Follow” Plus Seven). When the band went to press the album, they went straight for DIY punk ethic and pressed blank white sleeves. The first batch of pressings were stamped with hand carved potatoes dipped in ink! Love it! We heard “Fuck School” from that EP.

Before Paul, we heard his idol, Alex Chilton. Alex covered an old Jan and Dean song from the squeaky clean surf era of 1962-3. Those surf “ooh-eeee-ooohs” are just so silly sometimes haha! The cover comes from Alex’s 1995 album A Man Called Destruction, and the original Jan and Dean version was B-side to “Dead Man’s Curve”.

The band that took what Jan and Dean started and made it internationally known played right before Alex. The Beach Boys are often credited with the surf music phenomenon, but Jan and Dean were there first! From the Beach Boys’ 1963 concept album Little Deuce Coupe, which was released only 3 weeks after Surfer Girl, that was “Be True To Your School”. Rah-rah-sis-boom-bah!

Some more recent surf rock came from Southern California’s The Frights. We featured The Frights in our Surfing episode, actually! From the band’s early in their career Fur Sure EP, we heard “High School Girl”. Something about surf music and the new girl in school just seems to work, no?

We’ve got another rocking garage set ahead with The Hives blowing the doors off the first track. “High School Shuffle” was released as a bonus track to the band’s 2012 LP Lex Hives. It sure does have that bouncy, pep rally-type feel to it, too! Sweden’s swingin’ shufflers are up next. Here are The Hives!

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DJ:  As we listen to RJD2’s instrumental track “The Girls From Art School”, let’s talk about “Art School”. The side 1, track 1 explosion from the debut album In The City. 1977 ushered in so much more punk rock than most people realize. It wasn’t just The Ramones and the Sex Pistols who put music out, but rather hundreds, if not thousands of punk bands all sounding fairly close to the same style. Perfection. Three chords played at high speed. The Jam took inspiration from the Mod movement and The Who, but fit in very well in the early days of punk.

Another group associate with the early days of punk rock is Detroit, Michigan band the MC5, or Motor City 5. Thanks to fellow Detroiter Iggy Pop, the MC5 landed themselves on Elektra Records along with The Stooges in the late 60s, only to be booted after some personelle changes the following year. We heard “High School” from the band’s 1970 album Back In The USA.

Greg Cartwright and Reigning Sound chimed in with the title track to their 2002 LP Time Bomb High School. In true garage rock fashion, the song clocks in at under two minutes, almost 90 seconds. What more do you need? Verse, chorus, verse, bridge, chorus, goodnight!

The greatest punk rock cover and bowling band to ever grace a stage stopped in with a track from their debut 1997 album Have A Ball. The band chooses a theme for each album, with the first being singer-songwriter hits from the 60s and 70s. James Taylor, Elton John, Paul Simon and more are represented on the album, with latter’s song “Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard” gracing our set’s presence today. I love how lead singer Spike Slawson starts singing Julio with a hard J towards the end of the song. Just, why? Haha,

Coming up in our Set 4, we move onto Colleges and Universities. High education can be an amazing thing, and we all could benefit from a little more knowledge. But as AC Slater taught us, there’s just something wrong with being a “preppie”. Jello Biafra and the Dead Kennedys are going to tell us why. Here’s “Terminal Preppie” from their 1982 LP Plastic Surgery Disasters.

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DJ:  One of our Set 4 Score artists featured this week comes from Baltimore, Maryland. The 5 piece rock band dabbles in a few different genres, mainly sticking to that broad indie rock spectrum, though. With the release of 2016’s Peel, the band channeled a lot of the 90’s pysch movement in creating their album. You can hear notes of early Flaming Lips and bits of My Bloody Valentine strewn throughout. We heard “University” from that album, but they release Mr. Big Picture earlier this year.

Cheatahs are another shoegaze-y throwback sort of band coming out of London. This band also channels that My Bloody Valentine aesthetic and plays a sort of indie rock that’s washed in dream pop. From their Sunne EP, we heard “Campus”.

Teenage Bottlerocket put out a covers album of songs that practically no one has ever heard before and did a great job with it! What an idea! Cover a bunch of lesser-known artists’ songs that you love in hopes of giving them a little credit. We played their cover of Bay Area punk band Juke’s “College Town”. The original song comes from the Lookout! Records compilation Can Of Pork.

The Woolen Men hail from the Pacific Northwestern United States. Portland, Oregon to be exact. If you enjoyed previous Set 4 Score artist Wimps out of Seattle, you might be into Woolen Men. Short punk songs with clean styles and a knack for the obscure. Woolen Men just released Post in September of 2018, though we took “University” from their 2015 effort Temporary Monument.

Our next  set keeps us in college. “Ya know, a lot of people go to college for seven years” – “Yeah, they’re called doctors.” Before the Chicago, Illinois punk band Dwarves became the extreme and provacative band they are today, they started as a dirty garage rock band reminiscent of The Sonics out of Seattle. In fact, the band even spent some time on Seattle labe Sub Pop before pissing them off on a hoax that the guitarist was stabbed and being dropped from the label. From their 1986 debut album Horror Stories, though, we heard “College Town”.

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DJ: Rogue Wave are a super fun indie rock band that got their start on Jack Johnson’s Brushfire Records. Capitalizing on the indie rock craze of the late 2000s, the band fit in perfectly with reverb-laden vocal-fronted acts like Band of Horses and My Morning Jacket. In their more recent years, however, they’ve taken on a bit more of an electronic sound. I mean, who hasn’t right? From the 2013 album Nightingale Floors, we heard the single “College”.

More late 2000s indie rock played before Rogue Wave with one of the most known acts of that time, Vampire Weekend. The Ivy League band turned the rock world on its head producing some of the best music around all coming from three upper-class scholars. Ezra Koenig and Rostam went on to produce countless works from other artists as well, including the amazing 2016 collaboration between Rostam and Hamilton Lighthouser; I Had This Dream 1000 Times. We played “Campus” from their self-titled debut.

Another common name around here is The Barracudas. The 1980s saw a nice grouping of artists who missed the days of Rickenbacker guitars and practicing in the garage. Bands like The Cynics, The Barracudas, and more were channeling Roger McGuinn’s Byrds-style guitar with simple pop songs to join along. Garage rock may have taken a back seat in the 1980s, but it definitely was still alive and well! We heard “Campus Tramp” from Drop Out With The Barracudas.

Mark Hoppus wrote “Going Away To College” from the perspective of dating in senior high and having to say goodbye. That is a tough time for anyone, for sure, but you’ll get over it. The track comes from the band’s breakthrough 1999 album Enema Of The State.

Our final set of the show focuses on that final step of growing up; graduation.  Ty Segall discovered Ex-Cult when they were still called Sex Cult before helping them with a rebrand and producing their debut. The punk band channels Ty’s dirty garage sound while adding their own gritty flavor. Let’s hear “Post-Graduate” from that debut. Hit it!

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DJ: That cheeseball of a track comes from the Daryl Palumbo side project Head Automatica. Daryl got his vocal start fronting the post-hardcore band Glassjaw before starting the more dance-pop friendly side project. After a scoring some big hits with their debut album, Decadence , the band’s sophomore attempt failed to capture the attention of its fans and left the band’s future up in the air. That debut album, though. Amazing! It even includes a visit from Rancid frontman Tim Armstrong.

SPeedy Ortiz played before we got poppy. The band has been making big waves in 2018 with the release of their third LP Twerp Verse. Their sophomore album Foil Deer brought the same relaxed slacker vibe that Major Arcana did, and with “The Graduates” we were able to sample of that slack sauce.

Seattle band Math And Physics Club put out a compilation of b-sides and demo recordings in 2016. Among those deeper cuts was a nice little ditty about “Graduation Day”. Pitchfork slapped this band with a label of “music to hold hands to”, which is not at all an insult. They fit in well in the twee pop scene with acts like The Lucksmiths and older Belle and Sebastian.

A little 1990’s throwback action happened with the Bay Area pop rockers Third Eye Blind. The band had major success in the late 1990s with this album led by the single “Semi-Charmed Life”. After 4 more singles from the album carried them to stardom, the band’s next effort would start their downward spiral to less-fame. The music was solid on both records, but the times changed and pop rock/adult contemporary music faded out as EDM and hip-hop changed the charts. From that smash album, we heard “Graduate”.

Well everyone, we hope your school year goes well and you make lots of friends. If you’re not in school, hope you enjoyed the theme! We’ll see you next time!

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