Rebellious Jukebox XXIX: Better Days vs Judge Nothing

IMG_20150605_145709Originally published April 2015

More punk rock! This month we’ve got the “Nope” 4-song 45 from Better Days, their second release on Encapsulated Records, though I guess the first one came out back when Encapsulated was still called I Hate Punk & Better Days had a slightly different line-up. Does that make this their label debut? Their band debut? Both? Neither? I don’t know! Punk rock! The 4 songs presented here live in the mid-world between hardcore & skate-punk. There’s a little too much melody for hardcore, but the hoarsely harsh vocals (& lack of backup “whoah-oh-ohs!”) keep it from being too pop-punk pretty. There’s one sort of break-down mosh-y part, but the Better Days shows I’ve seen have generally just been full of dudes drinking beer instead moshing. Granted, those shows were mostly at Lemmon’s (RIP), & that place was generally just full of dudes drinking beer. Short songs! Clear vinyl! Punk rock!

I first saw Judge Nothing when they opened up for 7 Seconds at Mississippi Nights in 1990-ish, & I remember there being a guy standing in the middle of the crowd just flipping them off the whole time. I guess he didn’t think they were punk rock enough, but I thought they were pretty great, & I picked up a copy of their 4 song debut 45. The songs are definitely more punk rock than their later Midwestern post-grunge work, but only in the same way that the first couple Lemonheads records are sort of punk rock. It’s angry & angsty & has cool guitar parts, but the vocals are a little too clean & the songs take a few too many interesting twists to please all of the hardcore all of the time. Listening to this for the first time in years has me really looking forward to Boxing Clever’s forthcoming Judge Nothing “Cassette Demos” LP release! Punk rock!

Better Days-Troll Toll

Judge Nothing-Myself & Me (not on the 45 in question, but an early live fave)

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