The A.K.A.s - Everybody Make Some Noise! (Cover Artwork)

The A.K.A.s

Everybody Make Some Noise! (2008)


The A.K.A.s are a band that is impossible to describe through comparison to other bands, because they do something that in theory has been done before, but have put such an original stamp on it that it can appeal to fans of many other genres. Their own genre is garage rock / punk rock 'n' roll, but they sound so different from their contemporaries that it would be hard to even associate them with any other band. So I can't really give you a neat list of bands and tell you that if you like these bands, you would like the A.K.A.s.

Originally the project of former Brother's Keeper vocalist Mike Ski, the band was formed with the intention of combining Refused with the MC5, which was much more obvious on their last record, with the hardcore-influenced songs "Spectacle City" and "Shout Out Loud." On their latest offering, the band moves toward a more traditional punk-influenced rock 'n' roll sound ,which they execute nearly as masterfully as their faster debut.

On Everybody Make Some Noise!, the A.K.A.s, for the most part, don't try anything ground-breaking, but I think that's fine considering that this is only their second record, and they have already found a pretty good niche as being punk enough to appeal to fans of Strike Anywhere and the Unseen (as they've toured with both to positive reaction), and catchy enough to bring something for people who don't even like punk, a very difficult task in a limiting genre.

One of the defining features of the A.K.A.s would be their heavy use of a keyboard. Its presence actually works for the band because it adds a lot to their sound but not enough to dominate the music, so the A.K.A.s still have a guitar-driven sound with a new layer of melody. This has unfortunately eluded many other bands, who have let the keyboard drown out any organic sound. One of the better parts of this album is that the guitar parts are, on a whole, very natural sounding and free from overwhelming distortion, which means they actually sound This aspect kind of reminds me of Smoke or Fire, and would probably appeal to fans of said band.

Vocalist Mike Ski sings and snarls his way through the album in a manner even Iggy himself couldn't replicate, and delivers some great relevant lyrics on "Everything Is a Commercial" and the keyboard-centered "Paranoia Is a Skill." As far as standout tracks go, the three that stand out most to me are the aforementioned "Paranoia Is a Skill," "In Case I Die Tonight" and "Dead Flowers Forever."

An interesting side note is the three guest appearances on this album, from JT Woodruff of Hawthorne Heights, Chris #2 of Anti-Flag and the legendary Jello Biafra on the tracks "Dead Flowers Forever," "We Write Our Own Anthems" and the spoken word intro to "Everything Is a Commercial," respectively. It speaks of the band's cross-genre appeal that this band could have artists from such different projects appear on an album, although they sound nothing like any of the other bands.

All in all, I think this is definitely an album to check out, no matter what you listen to. This is without a doubt is one of my favorite albums of the year, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for an energetic and fun band in an age where From First to Last can break the Top 40. Also, their live show is pretty great, so don't turn down an opportunity to see them.