The Good From The Bad

Rancid are punk rock’s id, ego and superego all at once.

Simultaneously conscientious, confrontational and as fun-loving as a teenager with a skeleton key to the family liquor cabinet, they’re good at being bad and bad at being good.

They’re also impressively consistent.

The group’s been putting out records for 20 years now, and they’ve yet to put out a poor one.

In honor of Rancid’s stop in town this weekend, let’s rank the band’s seven full-length records, all of which they will likely visit Sunday at the House of Blues.

7. “Let the Dominoes Fall” (2009): “This is my life,” Tim Armstrong sings on harmonica-peppered album closer “The Highway,” an ode to the road. “It’s all I’ve ever known.”

Armstrong sounds completely comfortable with this, his station in life, and the rest of the record follows suit: This is Rancid at their most self-assured and unflappable.

They sing of class warfare and actual warfare, of soldiers and survivors, coming hard on rock ’n’ roll battering ram “Damnation” and the cocksure, sandpaper-coarse ska of “I Ain’t Worried.” But for the most part, Rancid sounds like a band comfortable with the knowledge that, by this point, their legacy had become as indelible as all that ink tattooed into their necks.

“I know times are changing, and there’s a new sound,” Armstrong slurs on “Locomotive.” “I’m glad you all made it. It’s good to have you around.”

Likewise.

6. “Indestructible” (2003): Tim Armstrong’s heart was as black and blue as his knuckles on this record written after he split from his ex-wife, then-Distillers singer-bassist Brody Dalle. The breakup catalyzed one of Rancid’s best tunes, “Fall Back Down,” a stirring punk rock bear hug about getting through hard times with the help of one’s friends, as well as the alternately wistful and defiant, organ-powered pick-me-up “Tropical London,” a song about being burnt by former flames.

Elsewhere, there’s a slew of overlooked gems like punk-’til-death anthem “Spirit of ’87” and the ska-inflected ”Memphis,” with its touches of New Wave-worthy keys, songs whose vitality and punch-drunk charm doubled as the thread stitching shut love’s wounds.

5. “Life Won’t Wait” (1998): Here, Rancid excavated their roots, digging into punk rock’s substratum to unearth the ska, barroom blues and rockabilly buried beneath a topsoil of ’tude. The band’s most diffuse, guest heavy album, with contributions from reggae great Buju Banton, The Specials guitarist Roddy Radiation, Mighty Mighty Bosstones frontman Dicky Barrett, Agnostic Front singer Roger Miret, Jane’s Addiction drummer Stephen Perkins and dozens more, this disc plays like random selections from a jukebox stocked with the band members’ favorite records.

Partially recorded in Jamaica, there’s steel drums and dance hall toasting (“Life Won’t Wait”), horn-powered vamps (“Backslide”), touches of hip-hop (“Cash, Culture and Violence”), hard-eyed Americana (“Lady Liberty”) and a whole lot more spread out over 22 wide-ranging tracks. Sure, Rancid’s reach may have exceeded their grasp in places, but, hey, it’s hard to grasp things with a clenched fist anyway.

4. “Rancid” (1993): Urban blight set to a relentless beat, this album was as indivisible from the East Bay streets as the cracked asphalt in the back alleyways where these dudes once prowled, chronicling their exploits with the grim detail of a war reporter. Singer-guitairst Lars Frederiksen had yet to join the band, so Armstrong and bassist Matt Freeman are the ones leaving fingerprints around windpipes here.

The song titles were self-explanatory — “Get Out of My Way,” “Animosity,” “Injured” — and as straightforward as the tunes themselves. There was the Stones-y swagger of “Outta My Mind” and the rap-influenced vocals on “Hyena” and “Rats in the Hallway,” but for the most part, this was hard, direct, desperate punk rock as lean and mean as the underfed dudes who made it.

3. “Rancid” (2000): Rancid’s fiercest, most unrelenting album, this is the band channeling the GBH patches on their studded leather jackets, all hoarse throats and polyp-smothered vocal cords earned by shouting in contempt at the world around them.

As direct as its predecessor was varied, the record explodes with minute-long missives that blast forth in every direction like punk rock shrapnel, a full-clip of war-ravaged, bullet-ridden outrage as fatalistic and death-evoking as the skull and bones depicted on the album cover. “I gnash, spit, I grind my teeth,” Frederiksen growls on a record that’s the sound of molars being ground to the gumline.

2. “Let’s Go” (1994): This disc was to mid-’90s punk rock what that adrenaline shot was to Mia Wallace’s heart. An album that could double as a singles collection, “Let’s Go” introduced bottle hurling, mohawked hooligans to the MTV masses, countering the suburban ennui of Green Day and the lovable loser pose of the Offspring.

There was a grizzled, hard-earned authenticity about Rancid and, by extension, this record as well — it just felt real, so much so, that you could practically smell the nostril-assailing aroma of cheap beer and sweat dampened denim that this bunch came cologned in. There’s a ton of tunes here that several generations of punk fans have lost their voices shouting along to — “Salvation,” “Radio,” “Side Kick” — but also plenty of lesser known ragers like “Harry Bridges,” “Burn” and “Midnight” that would be stand-outs in any other band’s catalog. Once “Let’s Go” gets going, it just doesn’t stop.

1. “… And Out Come the Wolves” (1995): The album begins the same way a lit fuse ends: with a bang, ala “Maxwell Murder,” a 90-second joyride sans the joy with a bass solo capable of dislocating the digits of a lesser player than Matt Freeman. This was to be expected from a band like Rancid. What wasn’t was just how pop savvy and melodically refined a good portion of the remainder of the album would be in the form of radio-bound hits like “Ruby Soho,” “Time Bomb” and “Roots Radicals.”

How good is this record? Eighteen years after its release, Rancid still routinely plays more than half of its 19 tunes per show. This was the band’s biggest album, and they seemed to foresee as much. “So many bands to be heard,” Armstrong sang on “Disorder and Disarray,” a song about opportunists invading the punk scene. “Just for once can’t I be ignored?”

Not then.

Not now.

Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at jbracelin@
reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0476.

ad-high_impact_4
Entertainment
The Octopus On The Las Vegas Strip Predicted The Winner Of The World Cup
The Octopus On The Las Vegas Strip Predicted The Winner Of The World Cup. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-journal)
TLC by the Numbers
Watch Ruthless! at Las Vegas Little Theatre
The musical Ruthless! will be playing at Las Vegas Little Theatre from July 13-29. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
How to feel like a kid again in Las Vegas
How to feel like a kid again in Las Vegas
People Lined Up For Over 5 Hours For Build-a-bear's "Pay Your Age" Promotion At Galleria Mall
People Lined Up For Over 5 Hours For Build-a-bear's "Pay Your Age" Promotion At Galleria Mall. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Cadaver art and sword swallowing at The Dark Arts Market
Curator Erin Emrie talks about her inspiration for The Dark Arts Market at Cornish Pasty Co. in Las Vegas Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Over 40,000 People Attend The 4th Of July Parade In Summerlin In Las Vegas
Over 40,000 People Attend The 4th Of July Parade In Summerlin In Las Vegas. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
What to expect at Station Casinos' Fourth of July celebration
Station Casinos' is hosting its annual 4th of July celebration with Fireworks by Grucci. Fireworks scheduled to go off on Wednesday, July 4 around 9 p.m. at Green Valley Ranch Resort, Red Rock Resort, Fiesta Rancho and Texas Station. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Pawn Stars' Richard Harrison honored at memorial service
A memorial service was conducted for Richard "Old Man" Harrison at Palm Mortuary in Las Vegas on Sunday, July 1, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Tourists and locals enjoy Independence Day fireworks at Caesars Palace
Hundreds of tourists and locals gaze at the Independence Day fireworks show at Caesars Palace on Saturday, June 30, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
5 must-see bands at Warped Tour 2018
Five must-see bands at Warped Tour 2018
This Banana Split In Las Vegas Is Made With Fire And Liquid Nitrogen Right At Your Table.
This Banana Split In Las Vegas Is Made With Fire And Liquid Nitrogen Right At Your Table. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pixar Pier At Disneyland Is Open With New Food And A New Roller Coaster
Pixar Pier At Disneyland Is Open With New Food And A New Roller Coaster (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Here's What It's Like To Ride The New Incredicoaster At Disneyland
Here's What It's Like To Ride The New Incredicoaster At Disneyland (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
"Pawn Stars" fans visit Richard Harrison's memorial at Gold & Silver Pawn
"Pawn Stars" fans from around the world visit the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas following the passing of Richard "Old Man" Harrison on Monday, June 25, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Get a sneak peek at Palace Station's newest renovations
Station Casinos spokesperson Lori Nelson gives a first look at what Palace Station's $192 million renovation will bring. Some areas will begin opening to the public next week according to Nelson. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
You Can Only Get The 11-pound 8-person Burger In Las Vegas
You Can Only Get The 11-pound 8-person Burger In Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Paul McCartney is worth over $1 billion
Sir Paul McCartney is one of the most celebrated and accomplished musicians in history. He just turned 76 on June 18. McCartney grew to international fame with the Beatles and went on to become a wildly successful solo musician. Paul McCartney’s net worth is estimated at $1.2 billion, according to Celebrity Net Worth. In 2017, McCartney landed the No. 13 spot on Forbes’ list of the world’s highest-paid musicians, earning $54 million for the year. On Thursday, June 20, McCartney will release a double A-side single featuring two new songs, "I Don't Know" and "Come On to Me." McCartney has yet to announce a title of his new album or when it will be released. Th album is expected to be released before he headlines the Austin City Limits Music fest in October.
Bellagio's New Conservatory Brings Italian Summer To Las Vegas
Bellagio's New Conservatory Brings Italian Summer To Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Kari Curletto of Las Vegas put over 500 hours into making her toilet paper wedding dress. (Courtesy Kari Curletto)
Kari Curletto of Las Vegas put over 500 hours into making her toilet paper wedding dress. (Courtesy Kari Curletto)
The Real Crepe In Las Vegas Serves Authentic Crepes In The Style Of Brittany, France
The Real Crepe In Las Vegas Serves Authentic Crepes In The Style Of Brittany, France. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-journal)
New Marilyn Musical Brings Screen Icons Life To Strip
Paris Las Vegas hosts musical bio featuring new, old tunes. (Carol Cling Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegas' hottest concerts of the summer
Vegas' hottest concerts of the summer
We Taste-tested The Best Doughnut Shops In Las Vegas
We Taste-tested The Best Doughnut Shops In Las Vegas. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
5 must-see bands at Punk Rock Bowling 2018
5 must-see bands at Punk Rock Bowling 2018
Gabi Coffee & Bakery Is Like A Korean Speakeasy From The 1920s
Gabi Coffee & Bakery Is Like A Korean Speakeasy From The 1920s (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Five must-see acts at the Electric Daisy Carnival 2018
Five must-see acts at the Electric Daisy Carnival 2018
The "13 Reasons Why" mustang cruises down the Las Vegas Strip (Courtesy Netflix)
4 fun and fascinating museums in Las Vegas
U2 in Vegas through the years
U2 in Vegas through the years
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like