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Sticks and Stones - The Strife and Times (Cover Artwork)

Sticks and Stones

Sticks and Stones: The Strife and TimesThe Strife and Times (2003)
Chunksaah Records

Reviewer Rating: 4.5


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

To be frank, if you're at all a fan of modern day East Coast punk rock then you need Sticks & Stones' The Strife and Times. This band has been criminally underappreciated today, something that Chunksaah hopes to remedy with this two-disc compilation. The Strife and Times is made up of 41 tra.
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To be frank, if you're at all a fan of modern day East Coast punk rock then you need Sticks & Stones' The Strife and Times. This band has been criminally underappreciated today, something that Chunksaah hopes to remedy with this two-disc compilation.

The Strife and Times is made up of 41 tracks of re-mastered songs from the New Jersey band's 1987 to 1995 recordings. The material ranges from early demos, cassette and 7" material to previously unreleased live cuts and songs from their early 90s full-lengths. The first disc contains some of the rarer material, including three songs from the Inner Revolt cassette and tunes from the World To Be Saved, Song To Be Sung, Coupe Flowers Can't Fail and Storm Coming 7" records. Along with that there's a couple of demos, a pair of unreleased live songs and a track from Skene Records' Can You Break Through? compilation LP. This material sounds as good as one would expect with the remastering. Of course it's evident that it was recorded on a budget, but the rawness fits the music. The most recognisable track for those of us who missed-out on the band when they were around is "Less Than Free," which the Bouncing Souls revived for their BYO Split Series release. Sticks & Stones also put their spin on songs by Bruce Springsteen, P.E.D. and the Dead Kennedys.

The second disc features the band's more easily available material, culled from 1993's Theme Song For Nothing CD / LP and the `94s The Optimist Club LP. While early on the band relied on a played a promising mix Replacements, Clash and 80s hardcore influences, their later material is strikingly original and well written. The band grew darker lyrically as time went on and incorporated more introspective and folky elements into their sound. "Theme Song For Nothing," "Laugh To Scream" and "Thanks For The Cash" are obvious standouts, but there's nary a weak track here. Particularly interesting is a driving cover of The Police's "Synchronicity II," one of 9 tracks from the LP-only Optimist Club release, the band's final full length and a wellspring of creativity. Both discs end with the song "Home," a rather touching acoustic tune. A rough 1990 demo caps Disc 1 while the full 1994 studio version concludes Disc 2.

Echos of this band can be heard all over modern day East Coast punk rock, most obviously in the Bouncing Souls. The history of both bands is entwined and former Sticks & Stones members Johnny X and Rob Santello have become regular characters in the ongoing story of the Souls. Singer / guitarist Peter Vantantonio is currently fronting the World / Inferno Friendship Society under the name Jack Terricloth.

We namedrop Lifetime and Jawbreaker quite a bit when describing the roots and sounds of today's punk. Sticks & Stones deserves far better than to be just a footnote on that list. This release is essential.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
Bouncing Souls - Hopeless RomanticThe Thermals - Personal LifeFucked Up - The Chemistry of Common LifeBouncing Souls/Anti-Flag - BYO Split Series Volume 4Off with Their Heads - In DesolationThe Ducky Boys - Three Chords And The TruthBouncing Souls - Bouncing SoulsBouncing Souls - How I Spent My Summer VacationDead to Me - Cuban BallerinaBouncing Souls - Anchors Aweigh

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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.
Anonymous (January 14, 2004)

Very well assembled collection, although it is missing the track "Crystal Spirit" from their split 7" with Life's Blood, as well as the early versions of "Contempt" and "The Lot" that appeared on the the Victory Cassette Compilation, the FIRST release EVER from Victory Records back in 1989. Yes, I was there for all that, kiddies.

Anonymous (November 30, 2003)

man this band blows dick, im giving a 10 for myself, because im the sexiest, coolest, and most modest person in the world... i hope you all realize that im jesus

exhaustra (November 30, 2003)

has noone realized that superdude mis-spelled 'STYX?'

Greenvandal (November 29, 2003)

The friendship society is badass. They got into a fight with the security at Skate and Surf last year cuz they had their set cancleed early. And Jack Terricloth is just the man.

Anonymous (November 27, 2003)

"i know nothing about this band. would this be a good introduction to them? it sounds like it would be, but are there any normal albums that you might reccomend first?'

unless you want to spend a lot of time and money trying to find individual releases by this band then "the strife and times" is the only way to go. everything by sticks and stones was pressed in pretty limited quantaties and has been out of print for years. their last record was never even realeased in the states and to be honest most of their releases were pressed on pretty crappy vinyl so it's really great to hear all these songs remastered and without all the cracks and pops that my seven inches have. i've spent the past 6 years trying to collect everything by this band. this release is amazing not only for the music but for the extensive booklet that helps to tell the story of this doomed band. if there has ever been a band that never got what they deserved, this is the band. i'm glad that people will finally get the opportunity to listen to one of my favorite bands of all time. i got to new brunswick about 6 months after sticks and stones broke up. i would do anything to have seen this band live but since that will never happen this release is the next best thing. seriously...buy it now.
-zak

Anonymous (November 27, 2003)

Yes it is! buy or die!

CallingLondon (November 27, 2003)

i know nothing about this band. would this be a good introduction to them? it sounds like it would be, but are there any normal albums that you might reccomend first?

Anonymous (November 27, 2003)

Or RancidPuNx

Anonymous (November 27, 2003)

You must have not seen Wussemorock then.

-Strewtho

Anonymous (November 26, 2003)

I'm sorry, but SUPERDUDE is the biggest piece of shit I've ever seen/read on this website. Please do us all a favor and stop posting your "funny" lists.

CallingLondon (November 26, 2003)

"5. If this album could be compared to any of Stix's concerts between 1980--1982, what one would it be?"

you sir, are a genius. for a while i thought you were getting old, but that one line has revived yourself.

Anonymous (November 26, 2003)

This is a great reissue! Sticks and Stones does deserve the same praise as Lifetime/Jawbreaker. East Coast punk rock in the late 1980s-mid-1990s was something else....much better than their more popular West Coast peers.

Anonymous (November 26, 2003)

I believe when they were talking about the house they lived in on the same block as the one from the Sticks & Stones guys. Theres a part where they show footage from the the Soul's house, and they are all running around, and you can hear the bassline from "The Lot" start up, and it goes right into the song and cuts off before the vocals hit.

-sickboi

Icapped2pac (November 25, 2003)

"5. If this album could be compared to any of Stix's concerts between 1980--1982, what one would it be?"

I need some of whatever you're on, dude.

Icapped2pac (November 25, 2003)

"sticks and stones have been around for a decade longer than nfg, you fuckin idiot."

My dad always said, "Be kind to dumb animals". So, in honor of those great words, I won't insult you for your lack of understanding of the concept of sarcasm like I want to.

superdude (November 25, 2003)

This review was good, but here's how I would make it better:

1. Do they cover any songs off of New Found Glory's "Sticks and Stones"?

2. That would be great!

3. If I was listening to this album while cutting onions, would I keep cutting the onions, or totally start rocking out?

4. In my kitchen!

5. If this album could be compared to any of Stix's concerts between 1980--1982, what one would it be?

Anonymous (November 25, 2003)

"That song "the Lot" is soooo fucking good. I loved it when they used it in the Soul's DVD."

The Lot is awesome but where did they use it on the dvd, I don't remember it im just asking im not trying to be rude or anything

Anonymous (November 25, 2003)

world inferno rules!

Anonymous (November 25, 2003)

Turn your sarcasm detector back on, junior.

-sickboi

Anonymous (November 25, 2003)

sticks and stones have been around for a decade longer than nfg, you fuckin idiot.

Icapped2pac (November 25, 2003)

Come on, it can't be that cool if it's named after an NFG album, right?

Anonymous (November 25, 2003)

lifetime and jawbreaker had a bigger fanbase....therefore being more influential

funkisdead (November 25, 2003)

i've only heard a few songs from this band, each song i've heard rocks.
rob santello got me into three deconstruction tour shows for free.

Anonymous (November 25, 2003)

Excellent, excellent review of a great body of work...Synchronicity II is one of my favourites! Hopefully this release will get more people into this band.
-Janelle

Anonymous (November 25, 2003)

Seriously, this collection is a must have. It's too bad it's hard to find in the major stores. Get it directly from Chunksaah if you don't want to go through a bunch of shit.

Anonymous (November 25, 2003)

That song "the Lot" is soooo fucking good. I loved it when they used it in the Soul's DVD.

-sickboi

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