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Less Than Jake - Reissues (Cover Artwork)

Less Than Jake

Less Than Jake: ReissuesReissues (2008)
Sleep It Off Records

Reviewer Rating: 3
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Contributed by: InaGreendaseBrian
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One of the few things that can wash out the bad aftertaste of 2006's In with the Out Crowd is a look back at Less Than Jake's earlier days. Hopefully with every writing and recording decision seemingly back in the band's hands with the launch of their own label, Sleep It Off, we won't have to rely o.
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One of the few things that can wash out the bad aftertaste of 2006's In with the Out Crowd is a look back at Less Than Jake's earlier days. Hopefully with every writing and recording decision seemingly back in the band's hands with the launch of their own label, Sleep It Off, we won't have to rely on reissues to remember Less Than Jake has -- generally -- been one of the more consistent and reliable third wave ska-pop-punk bands. However, second (or third) looks at albums like Goodbye Blue & White, Losers, Kings and Things We Don't Understand and Pezcore certainly don't hurt...or do they?

With their releases previously spread across a number of different labels (Asian Man, No Idea, Capitol, Fueled by Ramen, etc. al.), it makes sense that the band would want to compile them into their very own hands and onto one singular label. Still, the band's penchant for repackaging and reissuing their albums is admittedly growing tiresome. Pezcore was originally released on Dill Records in 1995, given a wider release via Asian Man later that year and given a 10th anniversary treatment in 2002 on Fueled by Ramen. Goodbye Blue & White originally saw a release on No Idea Records and was available exclusively through the band's mailorder; Fueled by Ramen altered the track listing a bit and re-released it later on. Losers is at least seeing its first reissue here.

Now, there are two major things meant to entice potential buyers. One is the massive packaging and slightly reconfigured artwork. All come in sharp, thick digipaks with, more or less, Day-Glo-ified versions of the album's original artwork. The second is the fact a DVD accompanies each release: Pezcore's is -- seemingly -- the February 2007 performance when the band played the album in its entirety. It's a pretty straightforward performance, but the band sounds good and the video is plenty clear. It would be nice for Chris Demakes to have half as much energy as his bandmates, as he mostly stands in place stoically, but it isn't too much of a bother. As for the other two albums, the band never actually played them in full -- recently, at least -- and thus they're actually loose compilations of a majority of each album. Goodbye Blue & White fares a little better, but both essentially span practically the band's entire existence, different band members and all. You get performances from some Halloween shows (and thusly some ridiculous costumes); fans on stage skanking to their favorite old tunes (the highlight is a guy Demakes describes as military-looking joining the band on stage to sing and dance along to "Losing Streak"); Demakes in a variety of bizarre get-ups; and interesting video -- be it fan-held camcorders or more professionally shot scenes -- of the band playing on outdoor or tiny club stages to sparse crowds. Warped Tours, basements -- it's all here. It's definitely an interesting compilation for the LTJ historian; however, the fact that the individual performances randomly fade in and out -- of songs from other albums or general banter -- certainly gives it a terribly choppy production flow.

The albums themselves are untouched. The track listings remain and no remixing and/or remastering jobs were applied. That's fine, since the albums sounded okay in the first place. Pezcore is still a wonderful debut full of the band's awesome, signature earnest early jams like "My Very Own Flag," "Growing Up on a Couch" and "Where the Hell is Mike Sinkovich?"; while it hardly matches up with later releases, Losers actually sounds a bit better with age; still, Goodbye Blue & White remains an achingly mediocre collections disc, with most of its highlights coming in alternate versions of tracks that already appear on more popular albums ("Scott Farcas Takes It on the Chin," "Cheez," "Dopeman"). The liner notes for Pezcore and Losers contain the lyrics, while Blue & White's is merely the full story of the band's first touring van the album was named after.

With 2004's The People's History of Less Than Jake (apparently scheduled for a re-release, as well) already providing plenty of live documentation through the band's career, only hardcore fans may carry interest in what's basically the second and third parts of a trilogy. Additionally, chances are you already own one version or another of the above albums. However, those whose discographies are still absent of Pezcore and Losers have a decent amount of incentive to fulfill each's physical presence. Goodbye Blue & White might be only for the most serious completist -- since a "normal" completist likely acquired it years ago, anyway.

 

 
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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.
MN_punkmaster-skaman (June 10, 2008)

I bought the CD's based on the fact that I needed new copies of "Goodbye Blue and White" and "Pezcore". Plus, "Losers Kings and Things We Don't Understand" was impossible for me to get (even online it was sold out or "out of print"). I don't have the DVD yet, but if anything, it probably doesn't have anything else to offer that the CD/DVD combos don't already offer. For the LTJ fans... like myself.

cuffer (March 21, 2008)

I got Nerds. JAA is so fucking good. what a weird band.

conebone69 (March 20, 2008)

You really can't blame LTJ for these re-releases

Their fans are a bunch of idiots who will buy anything

Even In With the Out Crowd

Scandelicious (March 20, 2008)

i might buy the dvd
pezcore isn't my fav, neither is losers, or blue and white
blue and white is kinda cool cuz of the cover songs
only buy them for the dvds too
if i even do
probably won't

GorillaAndCrow (March 20, 2008)

theres a few copies of the "Nerds" split available on Amazon if yr interested!

Hey_Asshole (March 20, 2008)

while on the topic of Dill Records...where the hell can i find some Janitors Against Apartheid records?

GorillaAndCrow (March 20, 2008)

Pezcore was originally released on Dill Records in 1995, given a wider release via Asian Man later that year

I believe they are the same label. Mike ran both he just changed the name to Asian Man to reflect that it wasn't a Skankin' Pickle only label. Or so I believe.
-Dante

you would be correct, sir.

Actually dill was a separate label. Mike left Dill to start Asian Man and took LTJ with them along with MU330. Dill stayed around and put out a few more releases.

shark-e (March 19, 2008)

I'm glad they changed the artwork for "Goodbye Blue & White." The old one seemed so melodramatic and basically just made me think of "So Long Astoria."
Ha. The Ataris.

leecorsoisapenis (March 19, 2008)

Hey Paul, was that the "Ska Against Racism" show in Chicago? My Dad drove my best friend and I there from Indiana. Long drive for a first out of town show. I interviewed Billy Spunke at that show for my high school radio show...one of the best nights ever. Although, my dad was pissed I was at the show an hour longer than I was supposed to be. Shit, I couldn't miss LTJ.

Jim

Matthew330 (March 19, 2008)

Sounds better with that girl sax player still on the record. Jessica? Jennifer?

Why'd they edit her out to begin with? Anyone know?

MyChoice (March 19, 2008)

i always have had a soft spot of LTJ. They basically got me into ska and punk so i gotta love them for that plus i still think they put on one hell of a show.

i think i was at that show thats on the dvd with pezcore.

cantsitstill (March 19, 2008)

Pezcore was originally released on Dill Records in 1995, given a wider release via Asian Man later that year

I believe they are the same label. Mike ran both he just changed the name to Asian Man to reflect that it wasn't a Skankin' Pickle only label. Or so I believe.
-Dante


you would be correct, sir.

Hey_Asshole (March 19, 2008)

i really like LTJ (including "in with the out crowd"), but this is dumb.

the artwork looks like shit now, and since they did not remaster "loser, kings," it will probably still sound like shit.

merely making the covers look like bad New Wave records is not enough for me to buy these again

paulrulzdood (March 19, 2008)

this finally gives me an excuse to replace my missing copy of Pezcore...I got it in 1998 at the ska against racism show but lost it somewhere around 2001 or 2002, likely the victim of party theft or carelessness on my part. Never got around to replacing it.

Paul

spoon_of_grimbo (March 19, 2008)

i totally agree with you AlmostPunkEnough.

i'll be picking up Goodbye Blue and White, as for some reason it's the only LTJ record i haven't gotten around to getting yet.

AnotherBoringStory (March 19, 2008)

Two years later, In With The Out Crowd has definitely grown on me. It's still my least favorite thing they've ever done, but it's still pretty good.

AlmostPunkEnough (March 19, 2008)

maybe i'm just too easy to please, but i've liked every goddamn thing this band has ever done. it's all just too uplifting and fun for me to dislike. i even liked "In With The Out Crowd"... i seem to be the only one who feels this way though.

ashtraymonument (March 19, 2008)

at least the artwork is cool

skaboom (March 18, 2008)

I've already bought Pezcore twice, I can't really bring myself to buy it again for the bonus DVD.

notfeelingcreative (March 18, 2008)

I gotta agree with punk raawk show, I saw LTJ about a year ago and they played 'Losing Streak' in its entirety, plus some other stuff, I enjpyed it quite a bit as I did all of the times I saw them in the mid-late 90's. That being said, I was completely unimpressed every time I saw them perform in support of 'Anthem', so I guess it all depends on the setlist.

punk_rawk_show (March 18, 2008)

Less Than Jake are still one band i can always rely on for a good time live, dont know what u guys are talking bout.

Great band

Dante3000 (March 18, 2008)

Pezcore was originally released on Dill Records in 1995, given a wider release via Asian Man later that year

I believe they are the same label. Mike ran both he just changed the name to Asian Man to reflect that it wasn't a Skankin' Pickle only label. Or so I believe.
-Dante

misterspike (March 18, 2008)

Having been at that show, I'll be picking up the Pezcore re-release for the DVD, if nothing else.

Matthew330 (March 18, 2008)

I actually walked out of their set over the summer. And I've really enjoyed LTJ live previously. But damn, they suck now.

fallingupwards84 (March 18, 2008)

Less Than Jake has -- generally -- been one of the more consistent and reliable third wave ska-pop-punk bands

eh i'm a fairly big LTJ fan and yet i strongly disagree that they're "consistent"... they're definitely very unreliable, i can never get my hopes up for a new album b/c half the time i'm letdown

i-type-poorly (March 18, 2008)

I don't even really like Pezcore anymore. Also, it sucks I only have the un-Jessica'd version anymore. Losers Kings still holds up a bit. Down in The Mission still rocks.

William_Jess (March 18, 2008)

I have to admit that this band does absolutely nothing for me... never have and probably never will.

osloboditelj (March 18, 2008)

Matt, I'm another person who's entirely bored with LTJ. Then again, I don't like basically any third-wave ska-punk.

Also, that damned colour scheme that's on all those covers is absolutely blinding.

banal242 (March 18, 2008)

". . . or do they"

That bit is cringeworthy.

MattRamone (March 18, 2008)

I feel like the only person in the world who doesn't get the appeal of this band at all?

Not to knock 'em - they seem like decent, funny guys. The music just never really clicked with me on any level.

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