If you listened in on our 2015 Bracket discussion, brought to you by Brown Bear on the Air (http://brownbearontheair.blogspot.com/2016/01/change-rotation-guest-episode.html), you heard me proclaim the February Alphabet of Random Records. Not one of my brightest ideas, but I’m on record of saying it, so I’m stuck.
So the idea is this: in the month of February, I give you a Random Record for each letter of the alphabet. We’ve got 29 days of February this year, so I get three days to be lazy. Three strikes and I’m out, if you will. The point of Random Records is to either write about records I love to highlight bands or records that might have escaped your attention. I try to do the latter more with the February Alphabet.
So, without further ado…
A is for Against All Authority
The Restoration of Chaos and Order
Hopeless Records, 2006
I’m sure I’ll get some shit for this, but The Restoration of Chaos and Order might be my favorite Against All Authority record. This should not be a statement against any of their other fantastic records. Seriously, the preceding three (1996’s Destroy What Destroys You, 1998’s All Fall Down, and 2000’s 24 Hour Roadside Resistance) are incredible records that you should listen to. And then listen to them again. The Miami-area band combines ska and hardcore punk with lyrical skill akin to bands like Dead Kennedys and Propagandhi to craft some excellent songs with some strong messages. And there’s something about the songs on The Restoration of Chaos and Order that keep me coming back to this incredible record.
The first thing you hear dates the record immediately: George W. Bush speaking his wisdom about the ability to restore chaos and order. It dates the record, but it also lays out the politics to follow, as if you had any question about the politics to be found on a record by a band called Against All Authority. The other thing you’ll notice is a lesser ska element than previous records. Yeah, songs like “Sweet Televised Destruction” and “Radio Waves” have that familiar element, but on the whole record this veers more into the hardcore punk rock realm of Against All Authority. Songs like “Silence is Golden but Duct Tape is Silver,” “Shut it Down,” and “I Just Wanna Start a Circle Pit,” have some heavy parts and really illustrate the ability of Against All Authority to have a foot safely in each of these worlds, much like late era Suicide Machines. Maybe it’s the mix and match ska with hardcore punk on this record which places it as the Against All Authority record I listen to the most.
Lyrically, Against All Authority are equally adept extolling the punk scene and spitting frothy fury upon the political establishment. Songs like “Shut It Down,” “All Ages Show Tonight,” and “I Just Wanna Start a Circle Pit,” remind all of us jaded old punks of the excitement of the punk scene that we felt when we were young. “All Ages Show Tonight” is a particularly sweet, albeit unexpected, number on the record. And try not to sing along with “I just wanna start a circle pit / Right here, right now, I’m sick of it.” Songs like “The Restoration of Chaos and Order” and “War Machine Breakdown,” remind you this isn’t just a record about having a good time. And songs like “Sunshine Fist Magnet” and “Buried Alive” examine issues facing youth. For a band of old guys, Against All Authority formed in 1992, they spend a lot of time talking to the kids on this record. In a way, it’s their parting message to their successors. The Restoration of Chaos and Order was their final record, as Against All Authority broke up in 2007. If I had a time machine, they are definitely near the top of the list of bands I’d want to go back and see live.
Listen to The Restoration of Chaos and Order here, which includes a bonus cover of “Holiday in Cambodia.”