RIVERDALES: Self-titled: CD

I probably have more friends who have a soft spot for anything that Ben Weasel (and for argument’s sake, I’ll throw Cometbus in there too) had anything to do with than those who don’t, and with good reason. He was incredibly influential on a whole strain of pop punk. The problem for me is that I’ve heard more of the bands who were influenced by his bands than of the original bands, and not all of those who drew their influences from it did something decent with that influence. Because of Ben, almost any pop punk band with whiny, nasal vocals (that I’m not all that particularly fond of in general) are given the “reminiscent of Screeching Weasel/ Riverdales” label.  I know it’s not necessarily fair to blame a band for all that comes after it, but it is hard after all the years to not connect their albums to those of their progeny. There’s twelve extra tracks (eight of them recorded live in 1995 and my favorite of this release, “No Sense”) here, and I’m sure this is essential for many a fan of pop punk fan, I just can’t see it getting much play on my stereo.

 –megan (Asian Man)