Cutest punk 7" ever.
Friday, February 6, 2009
I said pretty much all I can say about JFA here, but I might as well recap. JFA skated and played punk songs about girls and beer and skating. However, unlike other "skate bands," they played really well and their knowledge and appreciation for music of all kinds helped inform an eclectic sound all their own, topped with Brian Brannon's hoarse and desperate wail. This was their magnum opus and their second full-length LP, sometimes called Untitled, sometimes called JFA. It's a weirdly dark record to come from a bunch of sun-drenched skate rats from Scottsdale, Arizona. If you have never heard this or haven't in a while, I strongly urge you to. It's brilliant and I hope it won't be forgotten as it has yet to be reissued on any format. Why?
Monday, December 10, 2007
JFA liked to skate and play punk, they had songs about girls and beer and skating and stuff but there was something kinda strange about JFA, they played really really well. They played really well AND seem to have a knowledge and appreciation for music of all kinds, sometimes to a fault. Forays into funk and surf, at times, diluted the flow of JFA's recordings. By 1984 the band had outgrown the juvenile skatepunk roots that their name implied (it stand's for Jodie Foster's Army, Robyn), and was heading in a deeper, more thoughtful direction. Of course, in some camps, this was an unwelcome development, but to my ninth-grade mind JFA could do whatever they wanted to, really. "Mad Garden" (1984), along with the 7 inch, "My Movie" (1986) both showcase JFA's desire to be more than a skateboard band. While "My Movie" is a kind of throwaway record, "Mad Garden," in my opinion, is fantastic. The title track starts off as a typical fast JFA number but soon lapses into a sensitive coda. The lyrics lament the closing of a great Phoenix punk venue that hosted wrestling matches during shows. Next is "Rushing Bull," which could be mistaken for a Husker Du song if not for Brian Brannon's signature breathless vocal delivery. The cover version of the Charlie Brown song, though well done, seems a bit like filler. Then it all comes to an end with "I Want" with its clumsy trumpet intro that falls into another fast hook-fulled JFA song. All in all "Mad Garden" has a somber feel, as if JFA is saying goodbye, not just to the venue of the same name, but to its audience and its adolescence. In a sense, it's an audio recording of four dudes growing up and getting on. And that, ladies and gentlemen, makes it a very unique record. enjoy...