- Release Info -------------------------------------------------------------- -
Album: Let The Dominoes Fall
Playtime: 45:29 min
Genre: Punk Rock
Rip date: 2009-05-29
Street date: 2009-06-02
Size: 74.99 MB
Quality: 221 kbps / 4410kHz / Joint Stereo
Rancid – Tim Armstrong (vocals, guitar), Matt Freeman (bass, vocals), Lars
Frederiksen (vocals, guitar), Branden Steineckert (drums) – as a band have
always been imbued with a sense of place: the blue collar neighborhoods where
they grew up, their place as individuals within their band, their band as
part of a movement and their evolving sense of place in relation to the world
Rancid's new record Let The Dominoes Fall is much like their other records in
the sense that it is filled with the stories and characters that populate the
band's lives and reflects the cultural and political climate in which it was
written and recorded. It has classic Rancid songcraft: two minute songs
packed with melody, personally empathetic and politically denunciatory. But
Let The Dominoes Fall is also unique in that it is filled with the growing
insight of a band who has been doing this for a while now: it feels natural
and organic, written without an agenda or a bone to pick, rather the
culmination of lives lived largely with a keen interest in the world and a
sense of brotherhood.
Born in the midst of the post-Reagan economic downturn in the San Francisco
Bay Area, the East Bay region specifically, Rancid came to light as Armstrong
and Freeman were moving forward after the first band they founded, Operation
Ivy, reached a friendly demise. Arguably the most influential band from the
Bay Area, the West Coast, the late 1980s or ever, depending on who you talk
to, Operation Ivy has been cited by everyone from Green Day's Billie Joe
Armstrong to Fat Mike of NOFX as the group that most affected the sound of
their own bands. But just as those fledgling punk rock superstars' careers
were getting started, Armstrong and Freeman were starting over. Encapsulated
in a couple of lines off of Rancid's "Journey To The End of the East Bay,"
Armstrong succinctly explained the rise and fall of Op Ivy:
"started in '87, ended in '89,
you got a garage, or an amp we'll play anytime.
It was just the four of us, yeah man, the core of us.
Too much attention unavoidably destroyed us.
Four kids on tour, 3000 miles, in a four-door car not knowing what was going
Enter Brett Gurewitz, no stranger himself to blossoming from a rabid local
following – in this case Los Angeles - to worldwide influence. Gurewitz was
first known to Armstrong and Freeman as the guitar player and songwriter in
legendary Los Angeles hardcore band Bad Religion, but by the early 1990s,
Gurewitz was splitting his time between being a touring musician, record
producer and the head of a swiftly growing independent label, Epitaph. A big
fan of Operation Ivy, Gurewitz had once told Armstrong that whenever he
started a new band, Epitaph would sign them, sight unseen. A few years later,
he had his wish.
Rancid's self-titled first full-length and Epitaph debut came out May 10th,
1993 and was filled with the ferocity of three guys (Armstrong and Freeman,
along with original drummer Brett Reed) still living in squats, getting
around on bikes or in old beaters and viewing the world with all the
hostility of the very young and opinionated. Rancid had seen the American
dream dwindle and fade in their country and in their community, saw its end
trickle down into their families, and their early songs, like "Whirlwind"
were filled with vivid descriptions of the aftermath.
When the factory shut down so did the place he lived?
Blood money for junk bonds by a white collar fugitive
?All the tax free incentives ain't going to help him now
?Generations of job security gone out like the horse and plow
Though free from any of Operation Ivy's signature ska/punk sound, Rancid
Rancid took up the torch of social commentary and the examination of the
local scene and instantly inflamed the newly revived punk community, setting
the stage for what was to come.
Rancid's Let's Go came out in June of 1994, just before Green Day's Dookie
and the Offspring's Smash. Together, these records, along with Rancid's next
release ...And Out Come the Wolves a mere 14 months later, would provide the
soundtrack for youth in the US - and beyond - in the mid 90s, as punk leapt
from relatively isolated local scenes onto the worldwide stage. Hailed by
many critics as the next original phase of authentic American music, this
catchy style of punk rock captured a moment in time and forever changed the
face of popular, mainstream music. For better or worse, Tim Armstrong's
mohawk was no longer a badge that would subject its wearer to suspicion and
hostility on the street. Rather, in all its glory, it was emblazoned across
the cover of Alternative Press magazine, followed closely by Spin, Details
and others. Young kids rushed to copy it. Punk had officially arrived,
dragging Rancid along with it.
On Let's Go there were the songs "Radio" and "Salvation" that went on to
become huge radio hits, but starts off with "Nihilism," a song that firmly
cements Rancid in their natural space: the desolation of the poorer
neighborhoods of the Bay Area, in particular the wrong end of Campbell CA,
where new guitarist Lars Frederiksen grew up. And while the record went on to
change the face of music, the first lines of the first song were unmistakably
Rancid, with a keen eye for examining the ills of the world and a sharp
tongue with which to lash it:
Come into the Union District
?Drive down on Sharmon Palms
?White ghettos paint a picture?
Broken homes and broken bones
Rancid was still making angry music; it's just now, the rest of the world was
...And Out Come the Wolves had even bigger hit songs and went on to become
Rancid's best selling record. More importantly, it highlighted the band's
expanding sense of the world, as the local East Bay punks became
internationally, world-touringly famous. The recording of the record was
split between Berkeley and New York City, and Armstrong's poetic songwriting
ranges from the autobiographical Bay Area tales that resonated so deeply on
the first two records ("Daly City Train," the aforementioned "Journey to the
End of the East Bay") to an equally personal tale of love on the road in
"Olympia WA." The song "Junkie Man" was an almost sympathetic portrayal of a
life ruled by addiction. The addition of the free form verse by famous New
York poet/musician/addict Jim Carroll was just a lucky case of the band being
in the right place at the right time. The success of Wolves landed the
foursome on Saturday Night Live, more magazine covers and squarely in the
sights of almost every major record label in the world. Madonna courted, A &
R execs pursued, but in the end, Rancid remained loyal to their independent
roots and to Gurewitz, who had lent his production talents to Let's Go and
Wolves. It was a bold move that spoke volumes about the band as individuals
and made them the stuff of D.I.Y legends.
Rancid's next record, Life Won't Wait, was a sprawling, year-long project
that found the band recording in Los Angeles, Jamaica, Brooklyn, New Orleans,
New York and San Francisco and featured a lunatic roster of guest artists:
Marky Ramone and Howie Pyro from the New York scene, Roger Miret of Agnostic
Front, the swinging ska of Hepcat, the ever-controversial reggae star Buju
Banton and more. The results were ambitious and internationally-flavored,
drawing comparisons to the Clash's equally inspired Sandinista! but "for all
the right reasons" wrote Rolling Stone in a four-star review. The one-two
punch of Armstrong and Frederiksen's striking songwriting, usually couched in
rowdy punk, was given room to breathe in an occasional slower song backed by
horn arrangements, rockabilly bass lines and reggae rhythms. Local political
recrimination was traded for a wider view as the band examined the effects of
the reach of U.S involvement in an increasingly global economy. Salvador,
Echo Park, Leister Square, Avenue C, Beijing, Warsaw, Afghanistan and
Hollywood are just some of the places name checked on the record,
illustrating a more mature, sweeping interest in world affairs.
Coincidentally or not, at the same time the album was being written,
Armstrong was seeking a change of pace and moved from the safety of Berkeley
to Los Angeles. Wives were being met, squats traded for houses, and the
band's progression made it into the tracks. Versatile and accomplished, Life
Won't Wait was a growing-up on record.
Two years later came another Rancid self-titled record, colloquially known as
Rancid 2000, titled after the year it was released. After the expansive
venture of Life Won't Wait, the band was ready to get back to their roots and
crafted an intentionally combative collection of 22 hardcore songs, most
clocking in at less than 2 minutes long. Again with Gurewitz at the helm,
Rancid recorded the album down, dirty and quickly, mirroring their earliest
studio sessions, trading polish for attitude and creating a pessimistic
homage to the new millennium, filled with distortion and rasp. Once again
tackling current crises, songs like "Black Hawk Down" and "Rwanda" continued
the outward gaze and political accountability of Life Won't Wait, but "Let Me
Go" bridges the gap between Rancid's penchant for calling it like they see it
and their knack for self-examination:
Bad generation polarized view?
No one leaves home to go and help you
?Watch CNN and then you know
?US bombs come down and what you gonna do?
?Boom boom boom look around
?There's no more roof no more house, no street, no town,
Shot down - burnt black and brown - electrical meltdown?
You hear the sound of the U.S. bomb all around?
Oh it's a shakedown
?It's a break down?
And then you know
Correction, I need no direction?
Let me go just one last time?
I spent my whole life searching for direction?
Let me go just one last time
Rancid's next, Indestructible, came out in August 19, 2003, a decade since
the release of their first record, and they had become one of punk's most
enduring champions. Whereas some of their earliest contemporaries had gone
the way of pyrotechnics, stadium shows, and costume changes, while a younger
generation of bands raised on punk brought the music to tweens and mall
stores, Rancid had spent the last decade keeping on keeping on, never losing
sight of themselves as a band or as individuals, and Indestructible showed a
certain awareness of a changing environment and their place in it. Revered
veteran music critic Robert Christgau called it "their warmest album ever,"
but it is the lyrics to "Start Now" that really illustrate a recognition of
things as how they are and the wisdom of accepting the world on one's own
Another lesson has been learned,
?In this days' modern times,
Strangers in the mist appear,?
Now there's war, all the time,?
Systematically go and destroy,?
Commit another atrocity,?
Aggressors are in their places,
?I'm not looking for a fight now,?
And I don't care who's wrong or right now,?
So release the dove into flight now,
?So we can start right now,?
We can start right now.
In the almost six years since the release of Indestructible, the members of
Rancid have been anything but dormant. 2004 saw the release of Frederiksen's
second solo album Viking, a scorching homage to Lars' vida loca, equal parts
violence and fellowship. 2005 marked the release of Haunted Cities, the
second record from Armstrong's side project, the Transplants. Additionally,
in 2007 Armstrong released an acclaimed solo record, A Poet's Life, a
testament to his enduring love to reggae and rocksteady but also his interest
how modern electronic music often mirrors old studio effects. Meanwhile,
bassist Matt Freeman's legendary skills were highlighted on both the
Transplants record and tour, and also on worldwide tours playing with Social
Distortion. Seemingly, the band had so much creative output, it could not be
contained within a single project. In 2007, Rancid had its only line-up
change since the addition of Lars Frederiksen in 1993 when Branden
Steineckert took over drum duties from Brett Reed.
Let The Dominoes Fall is filled with songs that examine military service -
timely in the midst of the US's protracted war in Afghanistan and Iraq, but
also written for Armstrong's brother who served in Iraq. "New Orleans" pays
homage to the band's love of the Katrina-wracked city and other songs examine
the effects of eight years of irresponsible governance on the working class,
but it is also a deeply personal, apolitical record. Many songs talk about a
life lived on the road, lessons learned in a career now spanning more than a
decade and a half. "Last One To Die" sums up the end results of Rancid's
sometimes risky, often controversial choices. The moral of the story? You can
never go wrong when being true to yourselves, a rule Rancid have always lived
their lives, and flourished, by:
Everybody said we gotta take a chance
And tell them what the hell went wrong
We only listened to the words that we sang
Now a million are singing along.
We got it right
You got it wrong
We're still around
Last one to die
- Track List ---------------------------------------------------------------- -
01. East Bay Night ( 2:05)
02. This Place ( 1:03)
03. Up To No Good ( 2:40)
04. Last One To Die ( 2:23)
05. Disconnected ( 2:00)
06. I Ain't Worried ( 2:36)
07. Damnation ( 1:30)
08. New Orleans ( 3:04)
09. Civilian Ways ( 4:11)
10. The Bravest Kids ( 1:36)
11. Skull City ( 2:51)
12. L.A. River ( 2:35)
13. Lulu ( 2:11)
14. Dominoes Fall ( 2:43)
15. Liberty And Freedom ( 2:45)
16. You Want It, You Got It ( 1:36)
17. Locomotive ( 1:38)
18. That's Just The Way It Is Now ( 2:52)
19. The Highway ( 3:10)