Album Reviews

9th & Walnut
Descendents 9th & Walnut Punk Rock Theory
7.5
 on
Sunday, July 18, 2021 - 10:25
submitted by
Thomas

Ever wondered how Descendents evolved from the jangly, New Wave–influenced sound of their 1979 debut single “Ride the Wild/It’s a Hectic World”  to the melodic hardcore of their first releases with Milo Aukerman? Well, that’s where the band’s latest album ‘9th & Walnut’ comes in.

Named for the band’s Long Beach practice space from back in the day, ‘9th & Walnut’ is an 18-track collection that has been 40 years in the making and which chronicles the band’s earliest material written between 1977 and 1980. Recorded in 2002 by the original line-up - bassist Tony Lombardo, drummer Bill Stevenson and guitarist Frank Navetta - these are the first 17 songs they ever wrote and played together along with a cover of Dave Clark Five’s ‘Glad All Over,’ an early band favorite that they used to play live.

Following the recording session, these tracks were put on the shelves and left there until Stevenson sent them to Aukerman, who recorded his vocals at home in Delaware during the lockdown. Stevenson then finished off the mixing at the Blasting Room.

‘9th & Walnut’ is like the missing chapter in the band’s story. But where their more recent output is like a damn good cup of coffee made from freshly ground beans that an Ethiopian cat ate and then pooped out, served in your favorite mug with a little heart drawn in the steamed milk, then ‘9th & Walnut’ is more like the free coffee you get at work that comes in a paper cup. Still pretty decent and it gets the job done, but it’s hardly anyone’s favorite. Well, except for Kurt in accounting, who for some reason swears by the stuff.

Short resentment-fueled blasts like ‘You Make Me Sick’, ‘Baby Doncha Know’and ‘Yore Disgusting’ can be found alongside equally short 60’s pop songs fronting as punk rock tunes like ‘I’m Shaky’ and ‘Mohicans’. Elsewhere the surprisingly slick ‘Nightage’ clocks in at an for this album excessive 143 seconds, while not quite so convincing cuts like ‘Crepe Suzette’ and‘Grudge’are only interesting because they help tell the complete Descendents story. It all makes ‘9th & Walnut’ fascinating in a time capsule kinda way. Not their best output, but still plenty of fun to discover.

 

Track listing:

  1. Sailor's Choice
  2. Crepe Suzette
  3. You Make Me Sick
  4. Lullaby
  5. Nightage
  6. Baby Doncha Know
  7. Tired of Being Tired
  8. I'm Shaky
  9. Grudge
  10. Mohicans
  11. Like the Way I Know
  12. It’s A Hectic World
  13. To Remember
  14. Yore Disgusting
  15. It's My Hair
  16. I Need Some
  17. Ride the Wild
  18. Glad All Over​ (Dave Clark Five cover)