With so much of punk rock now watered down into emo-botched subcategories and associated with faux-hawks for spoiled teens' mass-produced rebellions, it's so awesome that we still have Strike Anywhere records to throw on whenever we feel like exercising our brains while we pump our fists in the air.
While the Richmond, Virginia, stalwarts' music is fairly simple—restless, bounding anthems armed with shout-along slogans—the lyrics are anything but. Vocalist Thomas Barnett is well-read and authoritative without being preachy, and his politically charged songs are more about awareness and empowerment than empty complaining. "We could rise," he reminds listeners on Strike Anywhere's first album, the appropriately-titled Change Is a Sound.
Last month, the band finished recording their first album of new material since 2003, which has been slated for a September release. It will mark a somewhat baffling move from Jade Tree to the rather silly Fat Wreck Chords—but then again, now alongside Against Me!'s muscular, genre-busting Searching for a Former Clarity last year, Strike Anywhere's Fat Wreck Chords debut could possibly make everyone take the label more seriously.
Maybe now more people would realize that listening to smart music doesn't have to feel like homework.
Strike Anywhere with Naked Aggression, Dead to Me and Skyline Collapse at Chain Reaction, 1652 W. Lincoln Ave., Anaheim, (714) 635-6067; www.allages.com. Mon., 7 p.m. $10. All ages.
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