by Seth Graves
In a town where it’s “all about the song” and the song is all about the lyrics, our punk roots free up the loose ends our founding fathers took so much pride in tying. Balancing out the countless ballads of love and loss are a few cathartic gems from Nashville’s out-of-print vinyl vault, which you can check out after the jump. Look back at all of the Best Local Rock Songs Ever installments thus far here.
Fun Girls From Mt. Pilot, “Hold a Grudge”
Let’s face it: The kids just aren’t as angry as they used to be. I’m not talking about anti-authority angst, political outrage or even conformist backlash. Nashville’s young punkers are still tossing out cassettes full of apathetic “whatever forever” anthems about weed, motorcycles, pizza and shit that just isn’t “gnar,” hoping at best for a “Fuck yeah!” in return. It’s an awfully wussy state of affairs when you hold it up against Fun Girls’ snide, snotty and gratuitously spiteful catalog of bone-crunching, hardcore, cross-dressing punk. While “Your Girlfriend Hates Me” and “Cry Baby” get their point across in title alone, “Hold a Grudge” in all its glorified embitterment makes it clear that resentment for the sake of resentment is in and of itself a perpetual-motion machine with no logic or reason to slow its roll. There’s an old proverb that says, “Holding on to resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” It’s also preemptive review of every Fun Girls from Mt. Pilot record ever made.
Java Christ, “Gasoline”
For only a short time in my life could I champion the suburban phenomenon of ska-punk fusion — an un-lanced boil still clinging to the ass of pop culture — and Nashville is no stranger to its sub-radar loitering. While Stuck Lucky has been flying the two-tone flag for over a decade, Java Christ was pickin’ it up even earlier with Songs To Confuse Slam Dancers — a nod no doubt to the then-still-relatively-kind-of-new-if-you’d-never-heard-Op-Ivy habit of switching from plinky ska verses to three-chord punk choruses.
“Gasoline” is simply an angsty empty threat fueled by pure and empty juvenile angst. The protagonist has the gasoline. He’s getting some “stinky on his hang-down.” And yet the refusal of his bud’s old lady to accept his friendship has sparked the threat of arson, because that’s really all a song with a chorus this strong needs to be about.
Booby Hatch, "Hobby Jobby"
Eight words: “I’ll get you, you sorry sack of shit.” Those are literally the only lyrics I can decipher from this song aside from its title, and that’s honestly all I need to know. There’s a thrash-punk fusion blazing underneath a gang of snarling youths who make it clear the feelings discussed in this tune can’t be resolved by discussion alone.
I get it. You’re not old. You’ve never heard of most of this old-guy shit. The best I can do for the youngsters is this underrated gem from the oft-overlooked, post-MEEMAW Wes Traylor vehicle Kintaro. As much as I dig the beloved, unwashed, fuzzed and buzzed trio Natural Child, its birth made necessary Kintaro’s demise, leaving us with a lone 7-inch with which to remember them. The platter opens with this bummer anthem of primal longing that bemoans an urge for the bare, bummed-out essentials: “I wanna be down in the dumps, man.” Be it living like a caveman, eating from a trashcan or getting some kind of rash, man, this song doesn’t hate anything besides happiness and maybe cleanliness — an element next to godliness and God is empty, just like the emotional weight of this song.
Stupid Americanz, "Zombies From the Stratosphere"
“Stupid. That’s what it’s called.” This is basically a blistering, nihilistic doomsday tirade with no respect for the past, no regard for the future, slumming solely in the now — even a good 20 years after its release. Yeah, it sounds like Bad Religion without all the political awareness, but I’m pretty sure that’s the point.