Friday, December 9, 2011

Social Distortion Are Back

Mike Ness has been making music for longer than most people who read this will have been alive for. With nearly 30 years in Social Distortion, Ness and his band have come to symbolize everything that's essential and great about punk rock. Starting out on their own and then finding their way on to a major then back to doing it on their own and then winding up on legendary punk rock label Epitaph, Social D have just about done it all. This is a band that's actually more consistent than death and taxes and a heck of a lot more fun as well. With more albums than I can count and more influence than the President, Social Distortion are clearly one of the most important bands on the planet and always will be.

With their nineteen millionth album, Hard Times & Nursery Rhymes, having been recently released their legend and influence stand to only grow more. Hard Times & Nursery Rhymes might be a bit more rock and roll than the band's older material but it's still amazingly well played and written. At this point in Mike Ness' career, writing edgy rock and roll comes second nature and it's obvious that the guy could write anthems in his sleep. Hard Times & Nursery Rhymes at times sounds something like a ticked off Bruce Springsteen that left New Jersey for California and never looked back. This record is gritty and angsty but finds its melodic heart with huge three chord riffs that churn this album into your memory.

Social Distortion may have been at this for thirty years and paid more than their fair share of dues but they've lost none of their songwriting skills, if anything, they've only gotten better with time. Whether it's the straight ahead rock and roll of "California (Hustle & Flow)," or the glimpse back to their past that is, "Alone and Forsaken," Mike Ness and his gang have come up with yet another group of energetic rough shod songs that could only ever come from his band. Hard Times & Nursery Rhymes is a great record that constantly proves Social D still has it and more than likely always will.

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