Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Top 10 Against Me! B-sides

Last year I wrote about 10 of my favorite Green Day b-sides, and, to my knowledge, it was pretty well received. And ever since I saw Tom Gabel perform on the Revival Tour, I can't stop thinking about how much Against Me! means to me (and how this summer it will have been ten years since I first heard of them), so I thought I'd make a list of 10 of my favorite non-album tracks. It beats my original idea, which was to just go through their entire discography and do... something. I hadn't figured that part out yet, which is why I didn't do it.

On with the b-sides!

10. Janie Jones (The Clash cover) (Commercially unavailable, recorded for the AV Club)
Once Against Me! began to gain a larger audience, they got a lot of comparisons to the Clash in terms of the energy present in their songs. I'm also sure that Tom Gabel and the rest of the guys are huge fans of the Clash. So when they performed a song for the AV Club's Under Cover series, I think it was fate that they would get to pick Janie Jones. The cover itself is pretty faithful to the original, which is kind of boring in a way, but that doesn't make the song any less fun to sing along with.

09. Hot Shots (Appears on Black Crosses as an outtake from the White Crosses sessions)
I'm not sure why this song didn't make it on to the final album, it's pretty awesome. Featuring guest musician, Jon Gaunt, on the fiddle, the band almost takes their sound back to very folky inspired punk. What's more is that this demo was recorded before Warren Oakes left the band, so there's that "classic line up" feel to it, too. I'm not sure how much of a 'b-side' this is, seeing as how Black Crosses comes included with the re-issue of White Crosses.

08. From Her Lips to God's Ears [Energize-O-Tron Remix] (Appears on the From Her Lips to God's Ears 12" Single)
I tend to think remixes are pretty lame. Hell, even this one is kind of lame, but I have a soft spot for a remix if I really love the original. Plus, this one was done by Adrock of the Beastie Boys. So that's kind of cool. It's also not 4 minutes long like the Don't Lose Touch and White People for Peace remixes, which is great for my attention span.

07. Unsubstantiated Rumors Are Good Enough for Me (To Base My Life Upon) (Electric) (Appears on the Sink, Florida, Sink 7" single)
I just really love that bass. Overall I think the melody works better with an acoustic set up, but I love how it has a completely different energy from the album version.  There was an alternate electric take that was released on The Original Cowboy that isn't vastly different from this version.

06. Bastards of Young (The Replacements cover) (Appears on We'll Inherit the Earth: A Tribute to the Replacements)
I didn't start listening to the Replacements until after I heard this cover. Coincidence? Hardly. Another relatively faithful cover, but there's enough going on that it keeps it interesting (unlike their cover of Here Comes a Regular which really only appeals to fans of both bands).

05. Up the Cuts (Acoustic) (Unreleased)
One of the better songs on New Wave, I like this version because it shows that the band will still record alternate versions of songs while in the studio even if the acoustic cuts don't make the album like they did on As the Eternal Cowboy.
04. Wagon Wheel (Old Crow Medicine Show cover) (Appears on PROTECT: A Benefit for the National Association to Protect Children)
There are a lot of covers of this song. This one is actually pretty tame, as it's just Tom and an acoustic guitar. But it's still the first version of Wagon Wheel that I had ever heard, and even if I do cringe at the lyrical change "fit for the sun" (as opposed to the original "before the sun"), it still holds a special place in my heart.

03. Untitled (aka, Graceful Concession; aka, Rock and Rollers) (Appears on New Wave B-sides)
Lyrically this might be one of my favorite Against Me! songs because it sums up exactly how I feel whenever I try to write a song: no matter what I do, I'll never feel like it was be anywhere near as good or meaningful as all of my favorite bands and their songs. The title of this song is pretty baffling: the acoustic version (which was posted on Tom Gabel's MySpace page awhile back) goes by Graceful Concession, while I've also seen it referred to as Rock and Rollers (admittedly though, I don't see that title floating around as much anymore).

02. You Look Like I Need a Drink (Acoustic) (Appears on the Cavalier Eternal 7" single)
This one is a lot of fun to play. Much like Unsubstantiated Rumors..., this one has a completely different energy from the album version, and I think having those two energies for the same song really captures what Against Me! is capable of doing.

01. Sink, Florida, Sink (Electric) (Appears on the Sink, Florida, Sink 7" single)
This shouldn't even count, since they play this version all the time. But fuck it, I don't care.

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