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NOFX - NOFX (Cover Artwork)

NOFX

NOFX: NOFXNOFX (2011)
Fat Wreck Chords

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: JohnGentileJohnGentile
(others by this writer | submit your own)

No, I'm not going to give away any of the surprises!* But, on their most cryptic release, NOFX demonstrates that really, maybe they should get more credit as innovators than they have in the past. Designed as either a tool to measure the listener's punk points, or to introduce younger fans to the.
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No, I'm not going to give away any of the surprises!*

But, on their most cryptic release, NOFX demonstrates that really, maybe they should get more credit as innovators than they have in the past. Designed as either a tool to measure the listener's punk points, or to introduce younger fans to the old guard, NOFX's untitled 2011 EP features the band covering two handfuls of obscure '80s hardcore bands. But the kicker is that the record has no track listing, no credits, and no way of identifying the source of the tunes, leaving the listener to guess and research the source for these '80s thrashers.

As the band tears through minute-long banger after minute-long banger, they exhibit the early energy and vitriol found on the seven-inches with photocopied covers from yesteryear. Remarkably, the band doesn't seem to try to mimic the old-school energy as much as draw from the same source. A lot of modern hardcore, or even throwback hardcore that tries to play in the same form as hardcore's nascent stage seems to not quite have the same snap of the originators. Usually this is due to modern production, which in cleaning off the grime cleans out the soul of the music too; or, the newer bands try to be too hardcore, and end up sounding more metal than energetic.

Somehow, NOFX records in a lo-fi manner and creates an EP that sounds like it really was recorded in 1983, and despite their collective 160 years of age, sound like they are a bunch of 17-year-olds trying their hardest to blow the speaker. In doing so, they balance just the right amount of energy, anger, and fun-times attitude to keep any of those aspects from drowning the other out.

In possibly some sort of meta-commentary, the band has released three versions of the record: a 7", a single-sided 10", and a picture disc 12". Just as the rare pressing of the original hardcore bands have become fetishized into collectibles fetching $400 on eBay, NOFX has fashioned these brand new recordings into collectibles upon their very debut.

But the release seems to operate as more than just a "check out these old tunes we used to like!" Maybe because NOFX surged in popularity in the 1990s, people tend to forget that they played their first show in 1983. Really, NOFX aren't paying tribute to their forefathers as much as they are returning to their roots. NOFX might have been one of the '90s biggest pop-punk bands, but they're also one of the last of hardcore's original front line.

Even more, the ease with which NOFX plays these covers is fascinating. Although NOFX is known for its absolutist take on politics and tales of chemical debauchery, this release underscores the band's willingness to take chances. When more serious bands do unusual things, fans and critics will often comment on how "so and so is pushing the envelope and stretching hardcore to its limits." But when NOFX records 17-minute-long songs, acoustic songs about one's mother dying, or an entire EP recorded in four hours, people go "well, of course they did, it's NOFX."

How weird is it that in using other people's ancient material, NOFX is able to show that despite all their crude humor and simplified politics, they're able to make the argument that really, they've been one of the few punk groups that isn't scared to push forward and ignore the rules that were erected around them.

* - Mostly because I don't know most of the tunes to begin with.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
NOFX - The DeclineDescendents - Milo Goes To CollegeNOFX - Self EntitledOperation Ivy - Operation IvyBad Religion - SufferNOFX - CoasterNOFX - Punk In DrublicBad Religion - No ControlThe Clash - London CallingDead To Me - Moscow Penny Ante

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
chewie1234 (September 17, 2012)

Best NOFX release ever...

JerseyPunker (March 31, 2012)

Correction: "Maybe punk rock was *never* meant to grow up—but it did," Brett Gurewitz.
See? That's how responsible writing works. You unfuck your fuckups. :-)

JerseyPunker (March 31, 2012)

Additionally, re: the comment before my last, I'd agree that they aren't partying away their money. Most younger people & those w/o families are unfamiliar with the costs of owning homes, supporting families, & looking out for their futures, but those responsibilities are often part of life when punk rockers don't go the way of Sid & Darby & the bulk of the Ramones. Living show to show, paycheck to paycheck, in crappy apartments & squats, touring 11 months out of the year—it just doesn't fly when you marry your punk rock girl & start making little punkers of your own. Sure they may party their asses off on camera & on tour, but it takes a toll. It can't last forever. "Maybe punk rock wasn't meant to grow up—but it did," Brett Gurewitz, "The Other F-word".

JerseyPunker (March 31, 2012)

Has anyone ever pointed out that, "But when NOFX records 17-minute-long songs…" needs to be corrected? That "The Decline" is 18:09 on CD & MP3, & about the same—just over 18 minutes—on vinyl (my TT is a tad slow)? Oh, & worse yet, Feb 26 2001—right here on Punknews.org—there was an article published ABOUT The Decline! Siting the approximate playtime! "…the entire EP is one, 18 minute long song." It's great that a non-NOFX fan gives an unbiased review, but damn. A little research would've been nice.

sean021122 (March 1, 2012)

One more thing, instead of allged profits going up their noses... I vote for them going to the loving monogamous relationships with the girlfriends of each band member. All we need is love as it's our only answer :D

sean021122 (March 1, 2012)

I haven't heard this yet, my loss. But when I do I will learn to love it as I do evertyhing they did on mystic records! Anyway, anyway... this is the only worthwhile thing they put out since 1992 so buy it now!

bubbajo (January 12, 2012)

Although I like the bands music, I can also agree that the profits will probably go up their noses. Ill definately like this but ill probably torrent this instead of donating to the "Fat Beer Fund"

fox82 (August 9, 2011)

Pretty sweet record, just wish they coupled it with another 7" of new material, like the Surfer or Fuck The Kids EPs for good measure.

hobbzoid (August 7, 2011)

Track 6 is not D.O.A.

JerseyPunker (August 7, 2011)

@ Mikexdude: Joke account? No no, it's legit, I'm fairly new to online socialization and not in the habit of posting comments without some thought and a good reason. I don't expect others to put much stock in my opinions, but if I'm going to submit them to the public, I'd like to be sure to express myself clearly and accurately. I don't think there's an audience waiting with baited breath for the next random blurb that pops into my mind, as seems to be the case with most others whose social lives are largely digital. As for "still writing like that," I'm not sure what you mean. Mostly grammatically correct? With feeling? More than a sentence or two? In any case, just wait until I get around to actually critiquing the article itself.

mc72 (August 5, 2011)

What NOFX did with this release is great. This EP totally captures the attitude and sound of Hardcore back in the mid-80's in NYC when I first got into it at 15 years old. Back then, the only way to learn about new bands was word of mouth at the local shows or going down to the few obscure "record shops" that sold cassetts and vinyls of punk and hardcore.

The scene was real small and tight and there was a sense that we were involved with something the world had never seen before...and we were right. It took real balls to walk the streets of NYC back in '85 with a shaved head, flight jacket, and docs....nobody outside of the small scene centered around the CBGB's Sunday Hardcore matinees knew what hardcore even was and there was a good chance that you were going to get jumped on the streets for looking like a punk back then. There was no money to be made and everyone involved was in it because they believed in the music. Not saying everything was good about it...things were very violent and if you walked into CBGB's with long hair (forget about even looking 1% gay) you could be leaving on a stretcher.

I prefer to listen to modern punk and hardcore these days (because you have to evolve with the times) but there's no doubt here that NOFX is representing what things were really like in the beginning when it was old new and bold and actually took some effort and commitment to be part of the scene. In many ways, the profits now able to be made combined with the influence of the internet has diluted hardcore and punk to the point that it's just a shadow of the real excitement of the original 80's scene.

Hats off to NOFX for staying true to hardcore roots.

mikexdude (August 5, 2011)

LOL %Jerseypunker. Probably the best joke account I've seen in a while. Seriously, do people still type like that on the internet?

BrownTrowsers (August 4, 2011)

Well-written review. I'm glad you sought to find meaning in this record and discuss what it's trying to do instead of just saying, "It sounds like NOFX playing a bunch of other people's songs."

daypass (August 4, 2011)

The tracks are (for those who asked and maybe weren't alive back then):

01 – Friend or Foe (Agnostic Front)
02 – IQ32 (Necros)
03 – Police Brutality (Urban Waste)
04 – Mental Breakdown (Social Unrest)
05 – No More Lies (Battalion of Saints)
06 – Race Riot (D.O.A.)
07 – Say We Suck (Sin 34)
08 – Child Hosts The Parasite (Rebel Truth)
09 – Professional Punk (Stretch Marks)

joe647 (August 4, 2011)

Its great! Melvin sings a lot of the tracks here, which doesn't bother me any, I've always thought he should have his own side project.

papastar (August 3, 2011)

It could have turned out boring or stupid but man, they did it just perfect. I agree with the reviewer when he talks about how they seem to do it easily. Refreshing stuff!

JerseyPunker (August 3, 2011)

This record may not be for fans of bands like Blink 182, Green Day, the Offspring, or—shit. who's that former punk band with the girl lead singer who looks like Joan Jett and Marilyn Manson's illegitimate love-child–ah yes. AFI. This is not bubblegum punk. This is an old school hardcore band doing old school hardcore tunes–um–old school…and hardcore. As for the multiple formats and pressing both sides of the 12".…OK, that's a little odd. When Fat Wreck Chords releases records–especially NOFX, they create both the supply and the demand. Kinda dirty, I know, but it's cool for collectors who enjoy a little buzz every now-and-again over, say, having a copy of The Decline on clear vinyl. Or the completist being able to brag and post pics on FatWreckWiki.com that he has every release on every color from leopard print to invisible to scratch n sniff (get on it Fat, we're waiting!), and I guess it's cool for assholes who like to make money off the aforementioned collectors by buying up shit-loads of limited releases and flipping them for 10 times the price on eBay. The minimalists out there can just get it on a black 7" for $4, or wait a bit and maybe get it used for even less. And with no digital format, not to worry, someone will rip it and have it on TPB soon enough. So i guess there's something for everyone. And if your skinny jeans are STILL in a wad because they're making some money, stop and think about what life will be like if you ever move out of your girlfriend's parents' basement and you're faced with bigger worries than scrounging up $35 to get all 3 versions of this EP. These guys have earned their way and might even help your band make their way some day, so quit your bitching, drop this shit on the platter and give it a spin (45 rpm.). It ain't pretty, but who the fuck said it was supposed to be?

xherojuanax (August 3, 2011)

I would have liked a more even balance between Mike and Melvin's vocals, which No More Lies totally nailed. It's disappointing that the previously released song was by far the best. Aside from that, I enjoy the record for what it is, but I probably won't listen to it very much.

hobbzoid (August 2, 2011)

can someone figure out what track 6 is?

SirSambo (August 2, 2011)

There's a lot of unjustified hate towards NOFX lately. I don't really understand it, but anyways... This album fucking rules. And if you're mad about the outcome, it was pretty evident of what it would sound like without even having to listen to it. I got the marble black & white 7" and it's bitchin'. Life time fan.

pito (August 2, 2011)

I'm loving this record!

TheGuwumpkis (August 2, 2011)

Killer ep. Stretch marks and Agnostic front covers are my favorites! Lotta Melvin too!

MuhammadMormon (August 2, 2011)

Exactly what I expected. Don't see much replay though.

skankbook (August 2, 2011)

If you're looking for a great, groundbreaking hardcore EP to leave a lasting impression on you, look somewhere else. If you want a good quick hardcore EP from a band that always delivers, check this out. I got the 10" & it sounded as good as it could considering how was recorded.

johngentile (August 2, 2011)

Hey Wentz, go for the 10". It does sound way better than the 7".

Chesterfield_King (August 2, 2011)

NoFX suck, and this album was an easy way for NoFX to show their arrogance and just how much of an asshole Fat Mike is.

Chesterfield_King (August 2, 2011)

NoFX suck, and this album was an easy way for NoFX to show their arrogance and just how much of an asshole Fat Mike is.

greggory (August 2, 2011)

the review should of said, nofx sucks, nuff said.

ELTON (August 2, 2011)

best review i've read:

"Okay, so I bought the 12" picture disc, but this
release is also available as a 10" and a 7"
Anyway, there are no liner notes and no track
listing. This release doesn't even technically
have a name, but it is unofficially being called
the hardcore album. It's basically 9 obscure
hardcore covers

Either way, it was a huge waste of money. Also
for whatever reason, the picture disc has the
identical track listing on both sides of the album
and it plays at 45 speed. How crappy

Please don't waste money on this if you haven't
already and steal this. NOFX doesn't need any more
money"

wallofyouth (August 2, 2011)

i assume the $10 10" is a 45 and sounds better than the $4 7" which must be a 33?

i'd love to save 6 bucks but i'd also love to hear it better, anyone able to advise would be appreciated

feloniousjive (August 2, 2011)

Good review! Definitely makes me want to check this out. Im curious about the mention of "absolutist politics", I think 99% of the political songs out there would fall under that umbrella.

hobbzoid (August 2, 2011)

they do some good covers. it's a total blast listening to this record.

Michael_Berryman (August 2, 2011)

i fucking love this band. good review, too.

Nap (August 2, 2011)

It's already available for download and it has a tracklist.

NothingToAdd (August 2, 2011)

Melvin might not be able to sing, but his hardcore shout tears it up on this one.

TSOL (August 2, 2011)

heh, I never looked at NOFX as being avand-garde to punk. to me this release is passable

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