Nirvana's Best Underrated Songs

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It's hard to imagine, if not impossible, to wonder what Kurt Cobain would be doing today. When I first got word on April 7, 1994 that the singer, who was well on his way to reluctantly becoming a rock icon, was found dead in his Seattle home, I was in utter disbelief. For any person who grew up during the '90s, Cobain's suicide moved the needle in a way that's still impacts the world. With the Internet not what it is today, his death was something that didn't break instantaneously, but instead, trickled out through reports and via nightly news. There was something simpler about that era, which seems impossible to fathom in the world of Twitter. Many mark April 5 as the day to remember Cobain, which is true, but I mark April 7, since no one can really pinpoint the day he actually killed himself. Over the weekend, Muse and St. Vincent paid their respects by playing Nirvana covers at their respective shows. Though I highly doubt any of you would want to hear me sing, I'll pay my respect the best way I can: by celebrating Nirvana's most underrated songs.

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Descendents Guitarist Was a Fan of the Band Before He Joined. These Are His Favorite Songs.

Greg Jacobs
Stephen Egerton
Rather than having some schlub (i.e., me) pontificate about how brilliant pop/punk/hardcore pioneers the Descendents are and why everyone should see them Friday as part of the MusInk Tattoo Convention & Music Festival, I thought I'd go to the source. And by "source," I mean Descendents guitarist Stephen Egerton.

Egerton doesn't play on the group's first three full-length albums (1982's Milo Goes to College, 1985's I Don't Want To Grow Up and 1986's Enjoy! ) and one EP (1981's Fat). He joined the band during 1987's ALL, so I figured the Oklahoma resident would offer a unique viewpoint on the songs as someone who is a fan of the band and a member. The group has had one drummer (Bill Stevenson) and singer Milo Aukerman is on all releases except the first single (1979's Ride the Wild), so their opinions might be biased. And original bass player Tony Lombardo and his replacement Doug Carrion couldn't talk about the songs that followed their departures. Same with original guitarist Frank Navetta (who passed away in 2008) and his successor Ray Cooper. Yes, I could have included third bassist Karl Alvarez -- who joined with Egerton in 1986 -- but I don't have his number. I do, however, have Egerton's. Luckily, I was right as the guitarist spoke at length about the difficulty of honoring the legacy of Navetta and Cooper while maintaining his own musical voice.

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The 10 Best Social Distortion Songs

Categories: Bands We Like

Social Distortion were among the first generation of OC punk bands, and arguably is one of the most influential, turbulent, and commercially successful. Formed in Fullerton in 1979, a primitive version of the band featured front man Mike Ness, along with Rikk and Frank Agnew on guitar and Casey Royer on drums. Royer soon formed DI while the Agnew brothers formed the Adolescents, and Social Distortion carried on with Mike Ness as lead singer/song writer and guitarist Dennis Darnell, until his death in 2000. The band's career has seen numerous revolving lines ups, but today includes Ness, guitarist Jonny "2 Bags" Wickersham, bass player Brent Harding and drummer David Hidalgo Jr.

Over the span of a seminal career that is still going strong after more than three decades, Social Distortion has seen a balance of highs and lows, mainstream success also came with problems with substance abuse (Ness was strung out on heroin off and on, for several years throughout the life of the band); but the music has always spoken for itself, and the band's early days of classic OC hardcore evolved and went down a divergent path, to include roots rock influences, country music and rockabilly, creating a sound and niche of their own, and a legacy that still grows stronger as the years go on.

This month marks the 24th anniversary of the band's land mark self-titled album (released March 27, 1990), which produced some of its most well known songs, which were played in heavy rotation on KROQ and even MTV. The lasting impact of this classic album cannot be denied, as the songs reflect angst, rebellion and passion, but also showcase a true talent of songwriting. As a celebration of the band's longevity, we now present our list of the Top 10 Social Distortion songs.

See also:
The Top 25 Greatest OC Bands of All Time: The Complete List

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The Orwells Started on "Heroin," Ended Up on Letterman

Categories: Bands We Like

Jory Lee Cordy
In 2010, the Orwells executed the kind of prank that takes forethought and know-how. The Elmhurst, Ill. outfit, which consists of five recent high school graduates, were slotted to play a school concert organized by human rights group Amnesty International when the band decided to do something special for their set. During that period, there was a major heroin problem among seniors at their school. The Orwells also happened to be fans of the Velvet Underground and were willing to cover them. Stop us if you can guess where this is going.

"We just decided to really piss off the administration and we played 'Heroin' pretty loudly. It was awesome," guitarist Dominic Corso, 19, recalls. "I remember when we started with those opening chords, there were kids we knew [whose] faces immediately were like, 'No fucking way they're playing this right now.' After that, they just kicked us out. We got off-stage and they were like, 'All right, get out of the building right now.' We were all like, 'Damn, are we in trouble or some shit?' Then, we went to school the next Monday, and it was totally fine, so we got away with it, but we really did piss off our Deans and shit."

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Country Star Moot Davis: Wholesome as Rotten Apple Pie

Jena Ardell

Don't be fooled by Moot Davis's twangy, charismatic drawl and country love songs. He may appear polished in his custom suit and tie, but the truth is: he's as wholesome as rotten apple pie.

Judging his cock-sure gait and posture, we pegged him for an actor, and we were right; acting is something he pursues when he's not touring with his band. His other favorite things to pursue are married women--or at least they were--we're not sure if he's fully reformed.

Davis, who splits his time between L.A. and Nashville is releasing his fourth studio album, Goin' In Hot, on April 15. The album contains the romance of Chris Issak mixed with the classic, country sounds of Woody Guthrie. Davis's past work can be heard on the soundtracks of over 20 movies and TV shows.

We met up with Davis at one of his favorite haunts, Viva Cantina in Burbank, to chat over beers and dessert.

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Fortunate Youth's All-Ages Reggae Shows Breathe Life Into the Band

Categories: Bands We Like

Fortunate Youth, a six-piece reggae outfit from the South Bay, know just how lucky they are. While "fortunate" may be an obvious descriptor for guys who get to travel the country playing reggae, the "youth" part has gained more significance as five years of recording and touring has expanded the group's positive vibe to a national, all-ages audience.

"We've heard from parents throughout the whole country that their 7- and 8-year-olds love our music," says drummer Jordan Walpole.

One particular member of the band's prepubescent fan base gets extra love and support from the group at each show she attends. "A good friend of ours has a daughter who was battling cancer at a very young age," Walpole explains. "She fought it and has been very successful. . . . She's happy and young and talented and amazing, and she comes to every show she can. We always give her a bunch of love; we're so happy every time she's there. . . . It's great to be a part of something that can help people in need."

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St. Vincent Live: Here's What You Can Expect

Jena Ardell
Experiencing St. Vincent live is like visiting a modern art museum: you're not sure you fully comprehend what you've just seen or heard, but you feel more cultured upon exiting.

Between clusters of songs, St. Vincent, née Annie Clark, says she feels as if she's really getting to know you. (And you wish it were true).

"Your family doesn't know everything about you," Clark says. "You once tried to start a fire with a magnifying glass... It took nine fucking hours... Then you remembered you're afraid of fire."

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311's Nick Hexum Reveals Even More Details About New Album 'Stereolithic'

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Photo by Dave Nagel/Jena Ardell.
311 knows a thing or two on how to stay connected with their close-knit fan base of 'excitable ones'. The band hosts destination cruises, bi-annual 311 Day extravaganzas (complete with a five-hour show setlist of rarities), and offers numerous opportunities to receive exclusive offers from the band.

We sat down with lead vocalist Nick Hexum in his private studio to discuss Stereolithic, 311's eleventh studio album, and the band's first fully independent release since Omaha Sessions. The new album will unironically be released on 3/11 (311 Day). Here's what he had to say about the new album, his musical inspirations, fans, and fatherhood.

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Guttermouth Front Man Mark Adkins Loves Playing Punk and Talking Shit

Categories: Bands We Like

Courtesy of Guttermouth
On a Tuesday afternoon, Guttermouth front man Mark Adkins is laying in bed, slurping down a bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats, and talking about how boring it is living in San Juan Capistrano, how he's itching to get the band back on the road at the end of this month. "There's a sense of normalcy being on the road," Adkins says, his voice gruff from sleep, having been rousted out of bed for the interview. "Even when I am home, I take off to Tijuana or Rosarito just to get out of here. It gets really boring."

There's something rock & roll about sleeping until noon every day, a standard practice for Adkins, who has been making a living from playing with Guttermouth since 1995, with some additional income coming from a freelance screen-printing-and-embroidery operation. Still, the idea of "taking it easy" doesn't quite jive with him. For Adkins, a virulent road warrior of punk rock, it seems asinine to be bumming around OC. Which is why by the end of the interview, Adkins says he has had it with SoCal, the place he's called home for all of his 47 years, and admits he's seriously thinking about leaving the state.

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Throwdown Re-Emerge With a Real Hardcore Record

Categories: Bands We Like

Christopher Sims
Throwdown has long been synonymous with the spirit of the OC hardcore scene. Formed in 1997, the band took a straight up (and straight edge) approach to hardcore music, slowly but surely developing a more modern metal sound.

With a rabid and loyal fan base, many wonder why it has been over four years since the band has released a new record. Vocalist Dave Peters told the Weekly that he and the band were excited to finally let their new album, Intolerance, see the light of day when it was released last Tuesday.

"The record has been a long time coming," Peters said. "I had a lot of ideas floating around in my head I just wanted to put it together and take an approach that was different and exciting for fans. I am pretty stoked on it, and in a lot of ways it's like out old records from 2003 and 2005; completely raw and stripped down. This is a hardcore record."

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