Released Apr. 20th on Epitaph Records
Record Store Day is always full of exclusive releases, but very few of them are worth going out of the way for. Many are merely vinyl represses of previously-released material, others are just a single of some live cuts. And it’s pretty much all vinyl, so unless you’re a turntable enthusiast or a collector, it’s not very appealing. On the off chance an artist you like is releasing something really unique and desirable, it’ll be nearly impossible to get one of the few copies unless you’re willing to go on eBay the next day and pay 10x the price (all of these describe my own experiences with RSD releases).
Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy Record Store Day. I’ve seen some cool in-store performances (Dramarama acoustic at M-Theory) and scored some exclusive releases (Obits, Off!). But I’m a music nerd. I shop at all my local independent record stores on a regular basis (which involves driving all over town, as much as 35 miles to get to Lou’s). To attend RSD often involves taking off work and standing in a queue outside the store, because of course this is an event designed to get people who don’t usually visit record stores to come shop there, and for some stores it can be one of the busiest days of the year. For a record store-loving music fan like myself it’s a lot like Black Friday, especially since most of the exclusives are very limited in quantity. So, to entice me to hunt down one of these releases it has to (A) be something new or unique by an artist I’m already keen on, and (B) be available widely enough that I’m likely to actually find a copy.
Which brings me to New Found Glory. For RSD 2013 they did an EP of Ramones covers, and they made it available digitally once the event was over. This is cool because (A) it’s something new and out-of-the-ordinary from the group, and (B) it’s not limited just to those who could hunt down the 7″. Also, it’s just fun. Six of the Ramones’ most sing-alongable tunes, delivered with NFG’s polished pop punk attack (dual guitars, power chords, sing-alongs, gang vocals, etc.). Noticeably absent is the usually-obligatory “Blitzkrieg Bop”, which the band covered during their Pop Punk’s Not Dead tour in 2011, but otherwise these are the Ramones’ greatest hits: “I Wanna Be Sedated”, “Rockaway Beach”, “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School”, etc.
All of the songs are covered in a very straightforward manner, right down to including the radio dial static in the intro of “Do You Remember Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio?”, but NFG’s big sound and modern production breathes a bit of new life into them. You’re not getting any reintepretations or reimagnings, but you are getting to cut loose with the band as they blaze through the tunes that laid the foundation for what we now call pop punk. They do the material plenty of justice, pouring in lots of energy and just having a ton of fun without taking things too seriously. These are well-done covers, paying homage to the original punk rockers without being overly reverent, and certainly worth 14 minutes of any pop punker’s time.