Top 5 for January 2013: New Punk (and Lounge), Mike Atta from The Middle Class, Mix Tapes, Black Flag/Scam, Los Angeles Nista on Monday, February 4

In the old print magazine, Eric and I used to give our Top 10s about everything that we had been checking out or into during the production of each issue. The lists could be random, ranging from what was on Eric’s thoughts on business to me being a new parent, with art, music, cinema, and other things in between. This was always done at the last minute, and it turned out to be one of the magazine’s most popular sections. It allowed readers to get to know our personal interests, habits, and happenings and, in turn, get to know us pretty well–even more than the articles which were pretty transparent anyway. On the same page, we’d ask friends and contributors to provide more highly edited Top 5s within a specific theme (favorite vegetarian restaurants, must-have art supplies, best starting five basketball players, etc.).

This is kind of in-between the self-indulgent Top 10s and the tighter Top 5s, mixed with music reviews.

1. New music. I’ve already reviewed last week’s record release shows for Bad Religion at The Echo (pic way above) and FIDLAR at Amoeba Hollywood, but didn’t talk much about the actual releases. FIDLAR’s debut totally rips with killer melodies that are always on the edge of being out of control. Themes of rehab and titles like “Wake Bake Skate” aren’t poetry but a way of life, and the energy and anarchy are tangible. Bad Religion’s sixteenth album shows that while being young and pissed can inspire great music so can being experienced and intelligent. Songs like “Robin Hood in Reverse” are as smart and awesome as ever, as inspiring and effective for the circle pit and the home office. And then there’s Vermouth. Being in punk mode, at first I thought that the male half of the duo was Redd Kross’ Steve McDonald. Nope. But the CD is still a sweet listen, three parts Combustible Edison and one part Pizzicato Five. I hear they have bird calls and cover a Shonen Knife tune in concert… Rad!

2. Mike Atta benefit efforts. Last week’s benefit concert for the guitarist of The Middle Class at The Echo had a killer lineup including Agent Orange, Channel 3, Urinals, Audacity, and Mike Watt and the Missingmen (who played The Clash’s entire first album!?). I couldn’t go but I sure as hell got the fund-raising cassette that Burger Records released for the occasion. It has 41 cuts from rad bands like Circle Jerks, Eddie & The Subtitles, Government Issue, Mudhoney, and OFF!; with B-sides and compilations tracks from 7 Seconds, Big Boys, Mike Watt and The Missingmen, and NOFX; demos by Scream and Nervous Gender; and live stuff by Germs, Necros, Redd Kross, The Dicks, and The F.U.s. Are Adolescents’ “Conquest of the Planet of the See Monkeys” and Channel 3′s “Another Day” new songs? They totally rule and so do you if you buy a tape for just 8 bucks. They’re limited and numbered to 1,000, and did I mention the cover art by Raymond Pettibon?

3. A mix tape for friends. One of the best things about working from home is getting to listen to a record player instead of your laptop, MUZAK, or MUZAK on your laptop. After recently unearthing a stash of blank cassettes in the shed, I made a mix tape, tested it out on a road trip to Mammoth, fine tuned the ending, and have been duping it for friends. I’ll probably blog about it later, so let’s just say it’s got a bunch of old L.A. punk on it and spines read “Posh vs. Slash.” More blanks have been located, so if you don’t get one of the first batch you might be next in line… Or email me.

4. Black Flag. It’s crazy that I finally got Scam #9 this week, hot on the heels of news about a reformed Black Flag with Greg Ginn, Ron Reyes, and Drummer; FLAG with Keith Morris, Chuck Dukowski, and Bill Stevenson with Stephen Egerton; and Good For You with Greg Ginn and Mike Vallely. The zine is an expanded version of the LA Weekly article in which writer Erick Lyle (a.k.a. Iggy Scam) interviewed the members of Black Flag to talk about the making of the Damaged album. Part oral history and part essay, and boasting David Foster Wallace-length footnotes, it’s a great read that I highly recommend. I bought mine at Vacation Vinyl in Silver Lake, but your local zine or record shop might have it, too.

5. Los Angeles Nista on Monday, February 4. Which brings us to Eddie Solis’s radio show podcast, in which the singer/guitarist behind It’s Casual (above, left) talks to guests about their creative endeavors, their favorite parts of Los Angeles, and the public transportation that one can take to get there. In the last couple of weeks it’s been a primary source for Black Flag news with Keith Morris (Black Flag, Circle Jerks, OFF!), Chuck Dukowski (Black Flag, CD6), and pro skater Mike Vallely (Mike V & The Rats, Good for You) in studio talking about their noisy pasts as well as their latest endeavors. Other shows have included heavy hitters Dimitri Coats (Burning Brides, OFF!) and Rick Kosick (Big Brother, Jackass) and future guests include Fredo Ortiz (Beastie Boys, Bongoloidz) and photographer Ed Colver.

Next Monday, February 4 from 9-11 PM PST, I will be the in-studio guest. I’ve got a ton of stories and thoughts about my experiences with Giant Robot that have been bottled up since two Novembers or so, and pulled a stack of music that ranges from classic L.A. punk (Channel 3, Alley Cats) to bitchin’ Japanese rock (BORIS, Guitar Wolf, Paranmaum) to Chinese Jamaican produced reggae (Byron Lee, Clive Chin, Santic) to the indie punk bands that were our peers (J Church, Kicking Giant, Emily’s Sassy Lime). Newer stuff and surprises, too!

Please listen to the stream on Monday night at and call in at 800-893-9562. Give me stuff to talk about and, more importantly, make me feel worthy to be on such a radical show. And if you can’t make it, my next post will likely be pics with a link to the podcast…