Benny and the No-Goods - Nothing's Cool (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Benny and the No-Goods

Nothing's Cool (2019)

self released

I fucking hate crowd sourcing. It’s probably because I’m a grumpy old bastard. You make the record and then I buy the record. That’s how it works. Why am I telling you this? Because I think it’s important that you know that I supported Benny and the NoGoods’ Nothing’s Cool Kickstarter campaign. It was the first time that I’ve ever done that. I finally cracked for two reasons. 1) I really enjoyed last year’s Fistful of Dullards. It was one of the best pop punk albums of the year, and I wanted to hear a follow up. 2) Indianapolis based Benny and the NoGoods is actually a one man band, so he couldn’t split the production cost among multiple members.

I bought in at a very low level, but still, it’s a start. I feel like Rocky Balboa at the end of Rocky 4. “I guess what I’m trying to say, is that if I can change, and you can change, everybody can change!”. There were a bunch of cool incentives for those who were willing to fork over bigger bucks. In hindsight, I probably should have contributed enough to have one of my prime mullet yearbook photos featured on the front cover. Baby steps.

Fistful of Dullards grabbed me right away with its mainstream ‘80s references and catchy as hell vocal harmonies. Nothing’s Cool took a little longer to set its hooks in me. For one thing, it’s much more of a straight up punk record. That’s generally more my flavor, it just wasn’t what I was expecting. The music has a ramshackle, reckless sound, and reminds me more of early NOFX than pop punk. Lyrically, there seem to be more geek culture references. There may very well be several that go right over my head. Ultimately, Nothing’s Cool turned out to be a grower not a shower.

The two main geek songs are “Gojira” and “Prince Vegeta”. “Gojira” is a tribute to everybody’s favorite Japanese monster, and it shares lyrical themes with Blue Oyster Cult’s better known “Godzilla”. I had no idea who “Prince Vegeta” is. (I Googled it, and I guess he’s a character in Dragon Ball manga. I still have no idea what that is, but I figured some of you might.) Both songs are great. “Donnie” is another highlight. It gets political and also manages to reference The Big Lebowski. The most unexpected song on Nothing’s Cool has to be the pretty cool cover of The Monkees’ “Daydream Believer”.

Many of the songs cover more traditional punk topics. There’s alienation (“Out of Place”), being a fuck up (“A Dollar Short”), and boredom (“ADHD”, “Nothing’s Cool”, “Staring at the Walls”). There are also odes to male friendship (“My Dudes”), Saturday morning cartoons (“Saturday”), and annoying coworkers (“There’s No ‘I’ in Team [But there’s an ‘A-Hole]”). Overall, Nothing’s Cool is a really solid collection of songs, even if they take a bit longer to appreciate. Now that the record has been funded and released, you should get a copy. I recommend the pink, but the purple and black are nice too.