I honestly can’t remember the last time I listened to a punk record. I mean, it’s been a looooong time. So when I was approached about checking out It’s Casual’s newest record The New Los Angeles II I was like, “Sure. Why not?” Now, anybody can slap something together and claim to be punk in 2013. But what these knuckleheads fail to realize is that punk rock at its very core always has, and always will stand for something, and that’s what has always made it something special. And Eddie Solis, the driving force behind It’s Casual truly has some things to say. I don’t have The New Los Angeles yet, but I will soon. So I can only tell you about TNLA II as a stand-alone record. I’ll say this: it’s pretty damn badass!
The songs are brief, but to the point. Solis is a Los Angeleno born and raised, and he writes what he sees based on his everyday experiences in the City of Angels. Songs such as “Live Food” and “Their Own Cash” deal with the topics of childhood obesity and teachers having to buy school supplies with their own money. The fact that both are rampant problems in this day and age is ridiculous if you ask me, but that’s the world we live in. At least someone is trying to raise awareness, though.
Musically, this is a solid effort, too. Solis has some chops, and his riffs are stick-in-your-head good. What happened with me is I wound up listening to this album about six times in a row. It clocks in at just under a half hour, but in that time you’ll get the message, believe me. One of the coolest tracks though, is the instrumental “The Gap Is Widening”, featuring multiple tempo changes and an all-around killer groove. This, much like “Live Food” is one I kept coming back to, and is definitely an album favorite.
I was also moved by “Kids Having Kids” because it is such a big problem, not just in L.A. but nationwide. And when all is said and done, who suffers? Not the parents, but the poor children who didn’t ask to be born. The opening guitar riff is also one of the more original ones I’ve heard in a while, which is an added bonus. Speaking of bonuses, after a lengthy silence, somewhere around the 2:40 mark we get a hidden track that is also pretty badass, and it sounds like it’s about people making snap judgments about other commuters they see on the bus. I’m sure we can all relate, as either the judge or the judged, no?
“Less Violence, More Violins” tells the story of the ever-disappearing music programs in schools. I mean come on, need I say more? This also happens to be one of the more melodic tracks on the album, by the way. Another favorite for me was “California Is Not An ATM Machine”. I swear, this one will stick in your head long after it’s done. Just yesterday I had people say to me, “What the hell is that you keep singing?!?” Mission accomplished, Eddie!!
The bottom line is this: if you like true artistic punk rock that will make you think, then The New Los Angeles II is an album for you. If you just want to go through life blissfully unaware, then keep walking. Meantime, I’ll be over here getting enlightened by Eddie Solis and It’s Casual. If you’d like some more insight, check out the interview we did with Eddie HERE. He’s a fascinating guy.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Live Food”, “Kids Having Kids”, “The Gap Is Widening”, “California Is Not An ATM Machine”