21 years after Victorville punks Face to Face set the standard for punk rock live albums, the band are set to once again return to the live album scene as part of Fat Wreck’s Live in a Dive series. It is however, worth taking some time to look back at the first full-length face to face live album, simply titled Live, released in January 1998 on Vagrant Records (the live set was recorded in September of 1997 in Los Angeles). It is still the gold standard of punk rock live albums, and to this day still rings as urgent and timely as it was the day it was released- an evergreen time capsule of the band’s magnetic live performance.
1997 capped off a good few years for Face to Face. Fresh from the release of their underrated self-titled 1996 major label debut, the band was finding good ground after some lineup changes. Scott Shiflett was relatively new to the band, and his incredible bass work is crystal clear on the live record, sounding great on songs like “Dissension”. With the departure of original bassist Matt Riddle, front man Trever Keith undertook all of the band’s songwriting duties and their major label debut was a fantastic album and found the band skirting more alternative territory away from their melodic punk roots. So Live came at the right time- and the songs recorded on it were the perfect showcase for where the band were at that stage of their career, blazing through a host of older songs as well as new ones.
There was just one omission- “Disconnected”. The band’s hit song had seen its fair share of radio play, television time, and had featured on multiple releases. Perhaps the band was just over it at the time (if you’ve listened to the hidden track of their 1995 album Big Choice, they riff on the fact that the song has been released to death) but it was that one missing element from Live. They made amends in 2005 by releasing a live cut of it on their Shoot The Moon collection, but it lingered as the only real negative of that 1998 album.
Now 21 years later, the band return as part of Live in a Dive, an opportunity for fans to hear live recordings of a good mix of the band’s work since 1998. While there’s plenty of songs from 2016’s Protection, there’s a few from 2011’s Laugh Now, Laugh Later and 2002’s How to Ruin Everything, but there are no tracks from 2013’s more rockabilly outing Three Chords and a Half Truth. There are however, tracks from their fan-chosen 2000 album Reactionary (including the great “Disappointed”), and yes, “Disconnected”.
The Live in a Dive series have been solid if not unspectacular- adhering to a quality that rarely ruffles the feathers of live recordings. While it’ll be interesting to see if it can capture the same manic energy as 1998’s Live did, it at the very least, offers the mix of new songs, old songs, and some staples that have gone missing in the past. What’s most remarkable perhaps is that some 21 years between live albums and Face to Face are still as great live as they were more than two decades ago. You can listen to “Bend and Not Broken” from Live in a Dive below.
I saw Face to Face live for the first time back in 2000 on their tour with Saves the Day, New Found Glory and Sum 41. I remember in part because I got to see three young bands (Sum 41 replaced Alkaline Trio on the night) on the cusp of breaking big, but mostly because Face to Face headlined as the night’s established act and blew them all out of the water (yes, they played “Disconnected”).
Face to Face: Live in a Dive faces the tough task of reaching the lofty expectations their 1998 album set, but coming from a band still going strong almost 30 years into their career, it’s not out of the ordinary that it can’t. Trever Keith has reiterated this point when talking about the reasons for the new live album;
“We’re still playing this vital, intense music. We’re still here and we’re not going anywhere.”
And that’s the truth. Until then, you can pre-order your copy from Fat Wreck and check out the track listing below.
02. Bent but Not Broken
03. Bill of Goods
04. Double Crossed
05. What’s in a Name
06. No Authority
07. I Won’t Say I’m Sorry
08. You Could’ve Had Everything
09. Should Anything Go Wrong
10. All for Nothing
Fat Wreck Chords will release face to face: Live in a Dive on October 18th.
Corridor reveal new song “Domino”
Montreal francophone band Corridor have revealed a new track from their upcoming album Junior. The new Sub Pop Records signees have been previewing new music since their signing back in July and most recently released the animated music video for “Topographe“.
The new song features the band’s trademark spirally guitars and infectious percussion work. Speaking about the new track, Corridor’s vocalist/guitarist Jonathan Robert has said the song is about the sometimes stressful effect of being a musician/creative on those around you;
“Art doesn’t necessarily make you a better person. There can be angst, stress and so on. It can have a negative, direct impact on the people closest to you. Domino is about navigating just that.”
The song was also the first song the band wrote for Junior and has been a staple in their recent live sets.
Corridor will embark on a European and North American tour starting late October and their new album, Junior, will be released October 18th. You can pre-order the album digitally and physically here.
Check out the new song “Domino”:
Chrissie Hynde covers The Kinks’ “No Return”
“Jazz is something I grew up around and I’ve always had a soft spot for it”
Singer-songwriter Chrissie Hynde has given the Kinks track “No Return” a jazz makeover in her rendition of the song. The cut comes from her upcoming new covers album Valve Bone Woe, where Hynde takes on some noted singers and songwriters including Brian Wilson, Frank Sinatra, Charles Mingus, Hoagy Carmichael, John Coltrane, Nick Drake, Rodgers and Hammerstein, and of course, Ray Davies. The original, written by Davies, was released on The Kinks’ 1967 album Something Else.
The new album was produced by Marius de Vries and recorded with the Valve Bone Woe Ensemble at Air Studios in London. In discussing the new songs, Hynde talked about the genesis of what would become the new album and how it came to be;
“I thought that was a perfect title for the album I’d been working on with producer Marius de Vries. After we’d recorded “I Wish You Love” for the Eye Of The Beholder soundtrack I’d often expressed a desire to do more along those lines. What eventually emerged was the idea to do what we refer to as our Jazz/Dub album. I’m not hugely interested in branching out into other musical genres, being a devout rock singer as such, but jazz is something I grew up around (thanks to my bro) and I’ve always had a soft spot for it.”
Other covers from Valve Bone Woe include the Beach Boys’ “Caroline, No,” Frank Sinatra’s “I’m a Fool to Want You,” Nancy Wilson’s “How Glad I Am,” Charles Mingus’ “Meditation on a Pair of Wire Cutters,” Johnny Mathis’ “Wild is the Wind,” and John Coltrane’s “Naima”.
Valve Bone Woe is out Friday, September 6th via BMG. The famed Pretenders’ frontwoman last released a solo album in 2014, titled Stockholm, while The Pretenders last studio album was 2016’s Alone.