Fishbone is one of those bands that I can honestly say that I experienced (mostly) chronologically. The first album I heard was their first album… this album.
Fishbone’s initial offering to the world just happened to be an EPIC EP of 6 songs that melted my face, when I first heard it at 15 years old. Little did I know the strong impact their music would have on the ways that my world views have been shaped.
The self-titled album was strong on humorous lyrics, intense musical prowise, and encapsulating melodies. It was very diverse in style… some ska… some rock… some punk… some soul… I had never heard anything like it at the time.
Over the years, Fishbone granted me the gift of racial perspective, allowing me to see the world without the filter of white privilege, helping me to understand the destructive nature and legacy of racism, and shattered stereotypes that have been forced upon us all by the media.
Fishbone’s perfectly crafted self-titled EP was one of the most important albums of my formative years, and I would highly recommend that everyone listen to the complete discography in chronological order. Trust me… it’ll hit you in ways you really weren’t prepared for.
The thing that just BLEW ME AWAY about this band was the intensity of the lead singer. It was a pretty packed house that night… but even so, when she came down off the stage and started singing from the pit, the crowd was actually intimidated by her! People were backing away with a shocked look on their faces.
That intensity translates beautifully on the album! The music is chaotic, but with great rhythms and melodies. The vocals and backing vocals are perfectly dissonant balanced. The lyrics are entirely political, and exemplify Punk attitudes and ethics echoed by the great Dead Kennedys and Black Flag.
In some ways, I’m reminded of 90’s bands like L7, but also classic Punk, like Bikini Kill.
I recommend this album for anyone hungering for the Punk sounds of the early days, with the updated politics of today’s issues.
The VERY FIRST CPRA show had just concluded. Upstanding Citizen had just finished their headlining set. After clearing the stage, they were walking around to everyone, handing out free cds of their new album, which they had just released a few days earlier.
Now, when I think of Punk Rock, I think back to the 80’s and 90’s, when bands had to get creative, if they wanted to release an album on a budget… corners were always cut somewhere… maybe they used the cheapest recording equipment they could find… more than a few times, I saw bands selling cassettes that they had just dubbed from the master that they recorded in the garage, while standing around a crappy tape recorder…
It is in this vein that I found my first initial appreciation for the album, after having it handed to me by the beamingly proud band member. The cover was hand-drawn, photocopied, and hand-cut. The CD is a CDR, burned on someone’s PC. There is no track list.
This kind of presentation is something that I see as a continuance of a proud tradition in music… one that says, “We will do ANYTHING it takes to get our music out, as long as it’s on OUR terms!”
When I finally got the chance to listen to it, I was not disappointed! This is a heavily instrumental album, which isn’t very common in Punk. It takes on a somewhat “experimental” nature, in kind of the same way that Butthole Surfers did in their early work. It’s the kind of ‘weird’ that just seems to work, because it comes from the established math within music, but with a unique styling that gives it an entirely unique edge.