Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Musically speaking, 2011 is off to a rocking start.  I've been looking forward to the release of Social Distortion's new album, Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes which came out today. Although my copy didn't come in the mail, I've listened to it a bunch of times, via an incredibly smart promotion Social D did on their website. They put up the entire album for streaming, and for every 100,000 streams, they'd lower the price of the CD $1, with the price starting at $12.99.  Now the price is $8.99. (Each song counts as a single stream.)

But enough about that, the album is amazing. Mike Ness isn't the most prolific artist: the last Social D. album (the very underrated Sex, Love and Rock N Roll came out in 2004), but I think that's because he doesn't just want to crank out albums. When he's got enough songs, then he goes into the studio to do an album, and this time he was definitely ready. Sonically, he's pretty consistent, but there's a new element to some of the songs on the album: female backing singers. It definitely works, and gives some songs more of a Stonesy feel (even a Skynyrd-y feel, but I think Ness would kick my ass for saying that).

Some of the songs I've already heard: "Machine Gun Blues" has been out on iTunes, and I heard "Bakersfield" (one of the highlights of the album) and their cover of Hank Williams' "Alone And Foresaken" when they played Roseland a few months ago. Maybe my favorite is "California (Hustle and Flow)," which makes great use of the backing singers.  But really, the album is great start to finish.  It's kind of a shame that the media won't pay much attention. But then again, Social D have always been outsiders - a true "alternative" if you will - and they sell out shows all over the place without a huge marketing campaign. So while the media fawns over the next bloodless indie rock band, put your hard earned $7.99 towards this album.  If you love heart, soul and rock and roll, you'll be glad you did.

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