Review: Crown St. Stories

According to their bandcamp, this album isn't technically released until September 1, 2013 but by all normal standards, it seems that this album should have been released in 1977 and it would be ahead of it's time.

The band "The Lost Riots" aren't behind the times.  They've created a vortex for your mind to play in, and the album resembles the soundtrack to a movie about degenerate kids plagued by boredom and condemned to a life of wandering the streets of New Haven aimlessly, which is mostly what they sing about.

Formed only last year, this group tours all around New England as well as NYC and is possibly the most accurate thing to a real punk band that you can find in New Haven.  These guys would have fit in perfectly at the Tune Inn and you would have expected to see them hanging around the Daily Cafe.  Many from that time period would have found something redeeming about the quality of their sound.

But the difference between then and now is the lack of interest in the local music scene, to be quite honest, which has degenerated more than the lyrics of the album.  These songs resemble a time period when there was more fistfights than gunfights and when suburbanites flocked to New Haven to be a part of what was, at the time, what I would call a Category 3 social revolution (based loosely on the chaos at the time, compared to the rankings of hurricanes).  Here is a synopsis of some of the lyrics.

1.  East Rock Parties (145bpm)
"Big white house with the green door, down from Archie Moores."  A decent guitar solo and a driving bassline punctuate this song.  "Party tonight down on Willow Street."  The song is almost an unsolicited invitation to someone else's house.  This song could also possibly be a decent commercial for Narragansett (I just want to go out and drink beer).  Sponsors, take note.

2.  Aime (110/220)
"Woah, Woah" background vocals every other measure make this an auto-classic.  "People all say they saw you down at the bar.  (woah woah).  Kissing him and holding hands and squeezing tight.  I don't really know what to say about that.  Maybe I will move out west just like I said.  Maybe I will go away."  The lyrics are almost Beatle-esque, but the sound is solid punk.  There's even a mandatory guitar solo at 1:05.

3.  You Don't Like Otis Redding
Dis·cord  (/ˈdiskôrd/) best defines the sound of this album, but particularly the background vocals of this song are particularly hard to determine what key they're singing in.  Thunders runs a laundry list of musicians and bands that you don't like, because he thinks (a) you should, and possibly (b) you suck because you don't.  "Smash my records on the wall."  MC5 is also mentioned.  One thing you will like is the bass line in this song.

4.  Last Night Was Fun (145 bpm)
Duran Duran, Sex Pistols, and The Jam are all mentioned in this song.  The really cool bar on the edge of town could possibly be Cafe Nine on Crown Street.  Last Caress on the radio would refer to the Misfits song.  In a way, this song might be perceived to condone or suggest inebriated driving, but that is just another way in which this album embraces a caricature, and plays on stereotypes.  

5.  Fairweather Friend (134 bpm)
Reminiscent of a the sound of Minor Threat, this track is a dis on the users and losers of society.

6.  Our Generation  (226 bpm)
The only song about the present moment in a larger social context on the whole album, our generation features a second vocalist.  "They say America's at war.  America's at the f**in' mall."  By far the most socially conscious song on the whole record, in contrast to how blatantly socially unconscious many of the other songs intentionally are.

7.  Whores (227 bpm)
Kind of reminded me of the Goodburger ska song on Nickelodeon ("I'm a dude, he's a dude, she's a dude, we're all dudes), this song contains very similar lyrics, for the most part, with the minor exception that the term "dudes" has been replaced with "whores" and profanity has been interspersed.

8.  Crown Street Blues (120)
"I waited all of my life, never going to get it right.  Got no money but I got the time.  Breaking rules and committing crimes!  In the gutter every night, it's another bar, it's another fight.  Bloody nose and bloodshot eyes.  Wake on up and do it tonight."  Running wild and skipping school.

In Summary
A good album plays like a movie, and that's why I like this record.  Because the sound and the lyrics compel me to visualize a film.  This month and next, The Lost Riots are playing in NorthHampton and Brooklyn before returning back home to the Elm City to play at the Elm Bar at 372 Elm Street on August 30th.  Check their Bandcamp for details of their touring / shows, watch the video below, and seriously consider downloading the album for free while it's available on Bandcamp, because honestly it's kind of awesome.  Stop talking about it and just support the local music scene.

Don't miss their previous record, 1978, also available on Bandcamp.
And read everything on the Townie Blog about Lost Riots.

Lost Riots from #NHV Music Scene on Vimeo.