Vinyl Vlog 316

Vinyl Vlog 316

Friday, 23 March 2018

Circle Jerks


[Porterhouse Records]

I’m ready to make some enemies on this column and I think I can start a significant amount of shit by saying that the Circle Jerks were a better band than Black Flag. I’ve tried for years to find some sort of solidarity along these lines and have come up empty handed every time. It’s not that I don’t like Black Flag – I like them just fine – but there’s something about Circle Jerks albums that just resonates with me more. For example, listening to the Circle Jerks catalog is an enjoyable experience, and listening to Black Flag feels a little more like homework. Like, I know as a punk I’m supposed to have an encyclopedic knowledge of Black Flag, the many lineup iterations, the style changes, and the bitter aftermath. I know I’m supposed to respect Greg Ginn like one does Ted Nugent: I like his playing and writing, but not him as a person.

I don’t know what it is about the Circle Jerks that makes them superior. Maybe it’s the tongue-in-cheek-ness of their songs, maybe it’s the consistency in their catalog, or maybe it’s just that Keith Morris is a better vocalist than Henry Rollins (fight me!). Wonderful is just another album that follows up on the streak they’ve had with Group Sex, Wild in the Streets and Golden Shower of Hits. It’s a little metallier than their previous efforts but the humor, thrashiness, and attitude of the Circle Jerks is as evident as ever. It’s almost as if Morris is going down a list of the things that annoy him. And anyone who thinks Wonderful is lacking in hits is sorely mistaken: the Crowd, I, I, and I, Wonderful, and Making the Bomb are definite standout tracks in the Circle Jerks catalog just to name a few. Wonderful is a staple of 80s punk/metal and has aged surprisingly well. I don’t know if the same can be said about Black Flag.

Out of print for a while, Porterhouse has remastered and re-released this album for the masses and they’re definitely better off for it. Thank god a legitimate independent label that cares about this band, and not some major label schmucks, has made the effort to rerelease it. Yes, all those OOP vinyl hits are back in print including that wonderful cover, depicting the band having a fun day at the beach with cute pets. Think about it: that puppy, kitten, and rabbit are dead now, but they can live on with your vinyl copy.

Do the punk think and get it directly from Porterhouse!

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