Joey Cape / Tony Sly - Acoustic (Cover Artwork)

Joey Cape / Tony Sly

Joey Cape / Tony Sly: AcousticAcoustic (2004)
Fat Wreck Chords

Reviewer Rating: 3
User Rating:

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

If a cultural anthropologist were to look back on the first few decades of punk rock, I would imagine he would divide it into three distinct areas. The first would be the pioneers; bands like the Clash, the Misfits, all the way through to Bad Religion and Minor Threat. The third area would be the.
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If a cultural anthropologist were to look back on the first few decades of punk rock, I would imagine he would divide it into three distinct areas. The first would be the pioneers; bands like the Clash, the Misfits, all the way through to Bad Religion and Minor Threat. The third area would be the most recent bands; the post-Green Day explosion of melodic and mainstream-friendly bands. The second, would be the less glamorous late eighties and nineties; the middle child. Neither the oldest and most genre defining, nor the freshest and most current. But like some of you, my version of punk rock was defined during this intermediate period; the first bands I listened to were bands like NOFX, Pennywise and of course, No Use for a Name and Lagwagon.

Armed with this knowledge, Fat Wreck Chords has released this little record; a record almost entirely for the kids who discovered punk rock during this awkward middle period, and who better than two of the most memorable songwriters of the era: Joey Cape and Tony Sly. Each contributes six tracks, five culled from their respective bands output over the past few years, and one new track each; tracks which will presumably appear on full lengths from those bands in the future.

The concept is pretty simple, each songwriter performs acoustic renditions of their tracks. Both bands have often been accused of being little more than the sum of their influences; in both cases, it's fairly obvious that neither could have existed without NOFX and Bad Religion coming prior, but the acoustic compilation handily demonstrates that why memorable songwriting has distinguished them and allowed them to become influential all on their own.

Opening the record, Tony contributes one track from each of Making Friends, More Betterness, and Hard Rock Bottom and two from the likely favourite of No Use Fans, Leche Con Carne. In all cases, the renditions are faithful to the original, but now stripped down to just a "boy and his guitar".

For people familiar with the bands output, the tracks are instantly memorable, almost certainly because you already remember them. You can find yourself singing along because you already know the lyrics. The tracks don't deviate much from the original structure, and there isn't much emphasis on experimentation with the exception of "On the Outside" which is accompanied by a 50s R&B style harmonies and is probably the strongest of his contributions. The original track "Stunt Double" is certainly promising, but because of the fact that the rest of the tracks are so familiar, it almost seems strange to hear something new.

Joey's contributions are similarly chosen, taking tracks two tracks from Lagwagons best record Hoss, and a track each from Duh and Double Plaidinum. Rounding it out is a popular compilation track that was eventually released on Lagwagon's Leftovers B-Sides anthology. Frankly, unlike Tony who plays the tracks stripped down, Joey adds a variety of instruments and it quickly changes from "Lagwagon goes Acoustic" to "Bad Astronaut Goes Lagwagon". Some of the tracks are exceptionally well arranged, like "Violins" and "Wind in Your Sails" but others are far weaker, and a little overblown like "Move Your Car" and "Tragic Vision." In each of Joey's tracks, it seems like the songs go on a little too long and have too much going on. As a result, these tracks outstay their welcome more than a little.

I've always been a fan of No Use for a Name, but usually preferred Lagwagon's full lengths, which is why I was surprised to find myself gravitating towards Tony's simpler arrangements. Both contribute strong tracks, but Tony's reliance on the strength of the songs rather than the arrangements makes for a more satisfying half. Over all, the record isn't really for new fans - they would be better off taking a look at each bands full lengths - but it is a nice gift for the long term fans who might enjoy a fresh take on familiar and nostalgic tracks.


People who liked this also liked:
NOFX - The DeclineNOFX - Punk In DrublicLagwagon - ResolveThe Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!Bad Astronaut - Twelve Small Steps, One Giant DisappointmentOperation Ivy - Operation IvyThe Gaslight Anthem - The '59 SoundWeezer - WeezerPolar Bear Club - Sometimes Things Just DisappearThe Gaslight Anthem - American Slang

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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.
nikko (February 23, 2007)

Any find Joey Cape in comparison to Lou Barlow or Elliott Smith or is it just me...

Anonymous (November 27, 2005)

I really don't like Tony Sly's voice and his guitar strumming tends to hurt my ears but two of his songs are pretty good. I thought Joey Cape did a much better job like he knew what he was doing, even if it was at a different approach. Id like to hear more of Joey Cape's solo music.

xblakeyoung (October 27, 2005)

I agree with most of this other than I lean way more towards Joey's side. I'd like to see Honest Don's release that last Bad Astronaut record that they recorded and dedicate it to Derrick. If not release the one that's not released, make a new one in his honor. Please!

Godfather (October 23, 2005)

aubin writes some damn good reviews, but i think this album deserves an extra star

Anonymous (October 9, 2005)

Good review, but I'll agree to disagree with respect to your views on Cape's arrangements. I thought that the additional musical instrumentation brought the songs to a place they never had been before: a place they deserved to visit. Cape is a brilliant song-writer and his power truly lies with his pen, not to mention the voice (I mean this in every sense). This album is a must for any No Use, or Lag Wagon fan, or for anyone looking for good solid music!

Anonymous (September 5, 2005)

I love this record. And, come to think of it, Joey Cape too ;-)

Anonymous (June 21, 2004)

very boring, because only two new songs...

Anonymous (June 1, 2004)

It's obvious Cape and Sly both took an original approach. Cape creating new arrangements ,and Tony going with only the acoustic. The CD, to me, is better this way because it gives the CD a rich sound that only Lagwagon and NUFAN fans could truly appreciate. If you aren't a diehard Lagwagon or NUFAN fan, don't buy it.

Anonymous (May 30, 2004)

What all of you are completely missing is the POINT of this record. It was NOT released as an "acoustic punk" album. Come to think of it, besides some Against Me!, there isn't really much acoustic punk that exists. The point of the recording was just two songwriters stripping their songs of all the extras and playing it in its most natural form. It an experimental, expressionalist CD released for fans to hear the song in another form. If you don't like it, fine, but don't go getting an acoustic CD expecting some sort of "punk rock" behind it.

Anonymous (May 25, 2004)

In terms of lyrical content and songwriting, Lagwagon puts NUFAN to shame and theres no sense arguing about this because the people who prefer Cape's songs are probably mostly in their 20s and generally like more intelligent music while the people who prefer Tony's also probably prefer New Found Glory and Sum 41 to any music that remotely has substance or meaning

Anonymous (May 24, 2004)

i love no use and like lagwagon.i really prefered the no use songs but the lagwagon sounds are good too. international you day surprised me.a really good album.

Anonymous (May 21, 2004)

The Acoustic mp3 of justified black eye is enough for me to buy this....it is superb

I didnt enjoy the mp3 of violins that much....oh well we shall see how the rest sounds hoss

Anonymous (May 21, 2004)

I think Fat wreck Chords needs to go on Atkins and stop bloating itself with cd's of filler.

Anonymous (May 21, 2004)

this is garbage, it's like the junk food of music.

Anonymous (May 21, 2004)


Dude, i think someone already took a great big fat shite on yours. Youngsters shouldn't be allowed on the internet.

Anonymous (May 21, 2004)

how stupid do you have to be to not understand that punk is a little more than the instruments it's played with.

losingstreakca (May 20, 2004)

"doesnt the dude from good riddance have a cool name? what is it again?"

his name is max power.

Romeo (May 20, 2004)

I know a kid, who listens to Alkaline Trio, but hates emo.... hes almost as dumb as that guy a few posts down about the acoustic punk thing. Youre too hardcore man, too hardcore, you make me want to stop liking the punk genre in general, cause I know, in my heart, I will never be so hardocre that listening to acoustic would be unthinkable. Yeah man its all a big sham, all for the money.

I really hate you. I do.

Anonymous (May 20, 2004)

"acoustic punk! ha! this is a fucking joke aimed at raping the kids for their money! don't buy this it sucks! it takes a piss on your intelligence!"


Anonymous (May 20, 2004)

Acoustic punk! ha! this is a fucking joke aimed at raping the kids for their money! don't buy this it sucks! it takes a piss on your intelligence!

flummo (May 20, 2004)

I don't know, I kind of thing the idea of Bad Astronaut doing old Lagwagon songs is pretty sweet, as demonstrated here. If I'm going to pay for an album that's acoustic versions of songs I've heard electric a million times, I'd much rather them be completely redone like Joey's side than simply the same song but without the punch like Tony's side. Not to say Tony's side is bad, it's a nice diversion, and it does showcase some of the stronger songs NUFAN have done, but Joey's side is much more interesting to me, being very different than the original versions. Wind In Your Sails is the best example of this, in my opinion. I'd recommend this album if you like the original versions of these songs, it's fun to hear them done differently. Not life changing or anything but a good listen.

Anonymous (May 20, 2004)

The guy from Good Riddance is called Russ Rankin I think...


mikeinflames (May 20, 2004)

i wish you could just buy half this album
namely the tony half

Anonymous (May 20, 2004)

doesnt the dude from good riddance have a cool name? what is it again?

Anonymous (May 20, 2004)

Whoever wrote thid review is a total moron. Joey didn't "over-do" anything, he practically re-wrote each one of those songs. Despite the fact that the lyrics are familiar and the melody is the same, the song is a totally new masterpiece. Wind in Your Sails ... that's been one of my favorite songs ever since leftovers came out, and to see that that was one of the 5 songs he picked to acousticify (yes?) really was awesome. As for Tony's stuff, he literally took the chords from the original song and played them in acoustic and sang it quieter. So yes I would say he literally played these songs in acoustic which is what the album promise (hence the title) but as far as song writting goes there's no question in my mind that Joey rips Tony's half apart. And as for all you people saying that this is too much like Lagwagon meets BA, if you listen to both Acrophobe and Housten you would know that the styles are completely different, and if there are any similarities HE'S THE SAME FUCKING PERSON!! I'd like to see you write things stretching from Lagwagon to BA to stripped down Lagwagon songs 12 years after you wrote the song.

Anonymous (May 20, 2004)

nufan just wishes that they were new found glory now(or any of those bands)

Anonymous (May 20, 2004)

I slightly prefer Lagwagon but both bands are really strong lyrically I think. As for Fat Wreck singers having cool names, I think Chuck Robertson is the exception...

Anonymous (May 20, 2004)

i've always found it kinda weird that both of these guys just so happened to have catchy-sounding stage-like names.

You know what i mean?

Joey Cape... Tony Sly.

Does Fat hand out free 'mr. cool' frontman names with each band they sign?

Anonymous (May 20, 2004)

the only thing i need to say is that this is a Joey Cape and Tony Sly acoustic album... not a Lagwagon/NUFAN album. This allows them to bring in whatever influences they want (ie. Bad Astronaut) to add to these songs. Now if they advertised it as a Lagwagon/NUFAN acoustic you'd all have an argument but they didn't so shut up.

Both amazing songwriters and lyricists.

Anonymous (May 20, 2004)

oops thats supppsed to say lechehard rock and i'd say lagwagons' output has been more impressive and evolved more than nufans'

Anonymous (May 20, 2004)

blaze didnt take six years dumbass it took 4.

duh is ok, trashed is better, hoss is amazing, double plaid is amazing, feelings is a sick album when taken as a whole, blaze is amazing but not as good as plaid or hoss.

i bet joey and tony would laugh their asses off if they knew people were arguing over which of them is better. personally i find both bands to be great but joey to be a bit more original of a songwriter.

i like capes half better. twenty seven, violet, wind in your sails are easily the 3 best songs on this cd.

sly's half is so so. on the outside could have been so much better. international you day is the best. i've never heard train or daily grind so i wont' comment on them but i think leche con carne is hard rock bottom and bad ass is > blaze.

overall this cd is kind of a letdown. nufan and lagwagon both need to hang it up after 1 more album each. cape then should do bad ass fulltime for 10 more years.

Anonymous (May 20, 2004)

Duh is good, Trashed is great, Hoss is great, Double Plaid kinda sucks, Feelings is good, Leftovers is really good, Blaze is the best.

correction: duh good, trashed better, hoss is pussy pop punk bullshit, double plaid was easily the most solid album they have written and feelings is close behind. leftovers isnt an album, thats why they call it leftovers and they are leftovers for a reason, though for throwaways i admit its pretty good and blaze is fucking awful pop punk with, unlike hoss, shitty lyrics. it is painfully obvious joey just isnt into lagwagon anymore. these are lagwagon songs and hes got bad ass playn behind him, and no matter your opinion on blaze, you must admit it couldnt possibly take 6 years to write if joey was into it at all. lagwagon is dead.

Anonymous (May 19, 2004)

The best song on the cd is the last song(the new Joey Cape song). I sure hope LagWagon puts the punk version of that song on their next cd.

Duh is good, Trashed is great, Hoss is great, Double Plaid kinda sucks, Feelings is good, Leftovers is really good, Blaze is the best.

Anonymous (May 19, 2004)

"strange comment considering nufan's first album was recorded in 1990, which was before lagwagon even existed"

"truth and justice", "no conviction", and "jaded ways" were all recorded in 1990.

Anonymous (May 19, 2004)

"Lagwagon fucking sucks; NUFAN rocks. End of story."

"So true....."

So gay.....

opivykid (May 19, 2004)

"Lagwagon fucking sucks; NUFAN rocks. End of story."

So true.....

hayato_the_ninja (May 19, 2004)

I really like this record.

Anonymous (May 19, 2004)

"So what you're telling me is, you could rock some of Chris Shiflett's solos from Making Friends (Three-Month Weekend, Best Regards) in six months?"

"thats what im telling you fat fuck"


Anonymous (May 19, 2004)

a month

Anonymous (May 19, 2004)

Hell, I could that shit in month.

Anonymous (May 19, 2004)

So what you're telling me is, you could rock some of Chris Shiflett's solos from Making Friends (Three-Month Weekend, Best Regards) in six months?

thats what im telling you fat fuck

Anonymous (May 19, 2004)

duh was sick, trashed was better, hoss sucked, double plaid was their best and feelings was good, so i would say as far as progressing they are a bit up and down.

Anonymous (May 19, 2004)

...and then listen to bad astronaut.
cause it's so much better.

Anonymous (May 19, 2004)

progression which is something lagwagon has always lacked.

Please go listen to Lagwagon's first three CDs in order.

Anonymous (May 19, 2004)

Yeah, that wasn't necessarily a very accurate statement. All of the guys in that band are very talented. Let me know when you figure out the lead in Stokin' The Neighbors...and then you can have the right to make that statement.

Anonymous (May 19, 2004)

"musically these bands have never written a song thats exactly mind blowing, anyone who has played the guitar for 6 months could play along"

So what you're telling me is, you could rock some of Chris Shiflett's solos from Making Friends (Three-Month Weekend, Best Regards) in six months? Just checking, cause if so you must be Our Lord Jesus Fucking Christ.

- Fatty Arbuckle

Anonymous (May 19, 2004)

I can't believe anyone has anything bad to say about Joey's tracks on this cd. I'd be curious to see how many of these people have been there since the beginning of Lagwagon's inception vs. the ones who've just discovered them in the last few years. I was 17 in high school when I saw Lagwagon on their first tour for the Duh album and have been a huge fan ever since. People are right in saying that they miss the "old sounds" of Making Friends, Hoss, etc., but those days are long gone and never to return. Bands can't stay the same forever, they have to evolve. In the next couple of years to come, we'll probably see a few of these bands cease to exist. They've run their course and there's only so much you can do with this style of music and I think we're seeing that now. As soon as I got the Tragic Vision track, it sent chills down my spine. Joey Cape is a songwriting genious and the version of that song is a masterpiece. Being in a band myself, I've always appreciated both of these guys for the way they've mastered their art. But if anything, I'd say that Tony Sly's tracks were mediocre at best...just kind of flat without much interpretation. Whereas Joey really seemed to step outside of himself and almost re-create these songs. Listening to Tragic Vision, Wind In Your Sails and Twenty-Seven, made me realize how much impact these bands had not only on my youth, but my life in general. It also made me realize how fast time goes and how long these guys have been doing this. In a time where talented punk bands are a dying breed, enjoy these guys and the songs that they produce while you can...they won't be around forever.

Anonymous (May 19, 2004)

great album. tony 10 x 5 joey.

Anonymous (May 19, 2004)

decent cd. i disagree with the review on a few points. hoss is my least favorite album. its ok but its definitley not great. im a big lagwagon fan, seen em a dozen times and i would say they are one of my favorite bands to listen to and see live. joey has, in my opinion one of the best voices in music and is a good songwriter, but is not a god. i think lagwagon is a bunch of decent at best musicians having fun. i think they had too much fun with hoss and it shows. they are very similar to nofx in the way that when they want to they can put together great stuff(decline) but they often put out garbage(everything after). they are capable but i dont think they are too worried about it, which kind of pisses me off because i have to pay 15 dollars to figure it out. blaze was an awful awful album and after i heard it i felt really ripped off after waiting 5-6 years expecting something better to say the least. i think its hoss material but much worse, i wish they had just thrown in the towel instead of releasing it. but when i heard this was coming out i changed my mind, sort of. this is much better, its differnt, and you might be able to call it progression which is something lagwagon has always lacked. the whole pop punk gets real old after a while, im surprised they pulled it off as long as they did. as far as tony slys songs go, i was a no use fan back in the day, i think the recent stuff is directed more at 12 year old girls but the early stuff was good. unlike the reviewer i dont like the fact that he stripped the songs down, because there is not a whole lot to strip. musically these bands have never written a song thats exactly mind blowing, anyone who has played the guitar for 6 months could play along, its the lyrics that made the bands so strong. tony didnt do anything to change his songs, he basically just unplugged his amplifier. kind of pointless if you ask me. joeys versions are awesome because they almost sound like new songs, even songs i wasnt a huge fan of before(move the car, violins) sound great. ive definitley out grown the pop punk so i probably wont be picking up any new lagwagon or no use cds but ill definitley be down for any joey cape acoustic releases.

Anonymous (May 19, 2004)

Please... If you expect to be taken seriously, write properly.

Anonymous (May 19, 2004)

shut up dickhead! do you even know why he started BA? so he wouldn't change lagwagons sound. i personally don't like BA but i'm a huge fan of lagwagon and they fucking rock their al great musicians. so what is there is a little bt of BA influence on this acoustic album? does anyone really care. and as for joey not being able to sepearate the 2 bands i think he does a great job or really doesn't care what hes doing and just writes what comes to head. if it turns out sounding like lagwagon thats awesome if it turns out sounds like BA thats awesome too. and as for Blaze that album is just so fucking sick one of the best releases by lagwagon to date. who cares if theres a BA influence to it hes going to write with stuff that influences him even if its other bands, songs, enperiences or anything. over all good review but this album i don't think i would buy it i heard a few songs and i really don't like the whole acoustic thing, but when he did May 16th for a cd that was great.

Anonymous (May 19, 2004)

See, that's the thing about Joey Cape. The man is an absolute genius, god, and an amazing musician, but he seems to have trouble separating Bad Astronaut and Lagwagon. Don't get me wrong, I love both bands, but don't try and tell me you didn't hear a bit of Bad Astronaut on "Blaze", Lagwagon's last album. It's kind of a shame that he can't keep the two separate.

-Danny X

Anonymous (May 19, 2004)

you hear music, pendejo.

Sureshot (May 19, 2004)

Yeah good listen this album, I wasn't too keen on the tracklist though, there are some better candidates I'd prefer to have seen.

Anonymous (May 19, 2004)

"End of story"? Who are you, the dickhead from the Dodge Durango 'Hemi' commercial?

Anonymous (May 19, 2004)

Lagwagon fucking sucks; NUFAN rocks. End of story.

Anonymous (May 19, 2004)

Ok ive never been a nufan fan but loved both lagwagon and bad astronaut for the longest time. i dont understand how you guys are bashing the caper side because its "too overproduced / too bad astronaut oriented" the nufan side i heard had just as many overdubs as the caper side. i mean obviously personally i like the joey cape side way better. but just because its called an "acoustic" album doesnt mean that they cant incorperate other things besides an acoustic guitar and a vocal track does it? I mean thats joey, call it bad astronaut, call it evolved lagwagon, call it whatever you want, but any fucking way you slice it its joey through and through. you cant bash him for that, id have done the same thing.

Anonymous (May 19, 2004)

Tony's tracks were very well done. Joey's tracks were not what I really expected from an "acoustic" album. The Bad Astronaut analogy was dead on. I love Bad Astronaut, so yeah. Good release.

Anonymous (May 18, 2004)

"and one new track each; tracks which will presumably appear on full lengths from those bands in the future."

so yeah, i'll be looking forward to that lagwagon song on their next cd, presumably slated for a 2015 release. i'm at least glad to hear they'll still make more albums.

-duped (not ashamed to be a fame)

Anonymous (May 18, 2004)

"no use for a name is a far inferior rip off of lagwagon"

strange comment considering nufan's first album was recorded in 1990, which was before lagwagon even existed

Anonymous (May 18, 2004)

no use for a name is a far inferior rip off of lagwagon.

Anonymous (May 18, 2004)

"rumbleseat is better than this"

goddamn right. maybe their discog cd will be reviewed right after it's released, in 2006.

Anonymous (May 18, 2004)

I agree on the fact that Tony Sly's work is the strongest half of the album, but I have to admit that my favorite track on the album is Twenty-Seven, probably because I used to spend entire nights doing homeworks, with this song stuck on repeat.

Decent album, yet deceiving.
And this little acoustic thingy going on right now is kinda getting old.

Anonymous (May 18, 2004)

Rumbleseat is better than this.

Anonymous (May 18, 2004)

This album is great, although I must agree on Tragic Vision and Move Your Car being a tad overdone, that 70's feel to Tragic Vision just creeps me out. Definetly some strong stuff, however the review as a whole....sucks some major goat testicles.

Anonymous (May 18, 2004)

i actually really enjoyed the release. The acoustic arrangements really show the difference in songwriting. NUFAN's melody lines are much more interesting, Joey did what he could to make it interesting, but without the speed of Lagwagon, the melodies lose their spark.

notfeelingcreative (May 18, 2004)

Just a coorection I like three tracks, not three tacks!

Anonymous (May 18, 2004)

suck his dick some more you fucking whorebag cock tit.

Anonymous (May 18, 2004)

tony sly is the biggest badass in the world, he's amazing.

notfeelingcreative (May 18, 2004)

I like three tacks, I wish i'd saved my money.

Anonymous (May 18, 2004)

I thought this release was pretty good. You have to go into it knowing that it's not going to be nearly as hard as the original tracks.

Anonymous (May 18, 2004)

Sly's voice sounds great, I really don't kow what Scott's talking about. Cape is the one that sounds like he's got a rubber duck caught in his throat.

maverick (May 18, 2004)

Huge letdown. I've just about given up hope that No Use will ever rock me as hard as they did back in the Leche and Making Friends days. Tony's voice sounds so weak here, it's scary.

And Aubin's dead on with the whole "Bad Astronaut goes Lagwagon" thing. I guess I just assumed acoustic would also infer "stripped down," but not in the Caper's case.

Anyway, I'd pass on this if I were you. And I'm a huge fan of one of the bands and a decent fan of the other.


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