No band in the U.S. is more responsible for keeping Oi music alive for the past couple of decades than Rancid. By blending their love of everything from the Clash and ska to a slew of ‘70s street punk bands like Cock Sparrer and Stiff Little Fingers, they have managed to remind the world that punk rock is so much more than pop music with a distortion pedal. It’s rather fitting then that the indie punk label Pirate Press, responsible for keeping a slew of Oi/street punk records in circulation over the years, is re-releasing Rancid co-founder Lars Frederiksen’s side project Lars Frederiksen & The Bastards.
The self-titled LP, originally out in 2001, remains Frederiksen’s strongest. A baker’s dozen of loud and rowdy punk songs, this record sounds like it could have come out in the UK circa 1978. It’s angry, smart and above all, powerful. Songs like the opening track, “Dead American,” “Vietnam” and “Wine & Roses” doesn’t bother to shy away from politics, rather it gets right up in it’s face. Especially a song like the latter, through catchy sing-along choruses, Frederiksen’s distinctive bark becomes a rallying cry.
The follow up record, Viking, released three years later, unfortunately lacks the intensity of the debut. It’s not a bad record, in fact there are some stellar songs here, like “Little Rude Girl” and “Switchblade”; it’s just not as consistently great as it’s predecessor. Sadly, aside from a 2006 EP, these were the only two records by this group. That is, until Pirate Press put out this 2001 live set, Live And Loud!! Recorded at a show in Rochester, NY, it’s comprised entirely of songs off the first record and the intensity of that show can be heard perfectly through the speakers. Frederiksen and band are in top form, playing an unrelenting punk rock assault on the crowd. The sound is amazing, not exactly a hallmark of all punk live albums. Pirate Press has released all three records on 180-gram vinyl.
Lars Frederiksen & The Bastards – Self-Titled; Viking; Live And Loud!!/Pirate Press/2017 / http://www.piratespress.com/