RIVERBOAT GAMBLERS: Backsides: CD

When I was talking to the Riverboat Gamblers’ singer, Mike, he told me about this CD. It’s some of their first recordings, covers, and comp tracks. Although not speaking ill of these songs, he was definitely looking to the future of the band, super stoked on the new songs they were recording. When I got it in the mail, I’ll be honest, I didn’t want to play it right off the bat. Something to Crow About, their latest, is quite possibly the best rock’n’roll punk album to come out in the last five years. How’re they gonna top that, you know? I just wanted the Gamblers to be in the happy rock place in my brain, right a the top of their game and not have it lessened. Time passed and I popped it in. Let’s just say that Mike’s a little too modest. This CD fuckin’ smokes. Sure, it’s rougher and the band was definitely finding its feet (and shuffling lineups), but good lord, ninety-nine percent of all bands would kill for A-side material of this caliber, let alone consider this B-side stuff. What’s also interesting is that you can hear the spasm punk rock ala the Bananas and Toys That Kill more directly than on Something to Crow About. So, the result: a different type of album, definitely not merely a collection of tossed-to-the-ground shit that was in fear of getting scuffed and dusty while trying to cash in on the Gamblers well-deserved reputation. Plus, it includes a blasting cover of the Motards’ “No No the Girlfriend,” “Jack O’Lantern,” also recorded by the Marked Men, and a song written by what looks like a werewolf. It’s hard to ignore talent this enormous. Since beauty comes from the inside, you’ll feel more glamorous if you crank this in your underwear and dance, dance, dance.

 –todd (Vilebeat; www.vilebeat.com)