We Are Fuck You/Punk's Dead Let's Fuck

We Are Fuck You/Punk's Dead Let's Fuck

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Album: We Are Fuck You/Punk's Dead Let's Fuck
Label: One Little Indian

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Grand Champeen

Album: The One That Brought You
Label: Glurp

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The Finger pressed 1,000 vinyl copies of its debut EP We Are Fuck You last year, and now the sold-out record has been included on a CD with the group's previously unreleased follow-up, Punk's Dead Let's Fuck. The obvious questions are "Who is The Finger?" and "What's the band all about?" (See the two EP titles for answers.) More to the point: Why should anyone care? Well, according to all reliable sources, Finger bassist "Irving Plaza" is really former D-Generation glam-rocker Jesse Malin, and guitarist "Warren Peace" is Ryan Adams. That said, The Finger doesn't sound like Adams' or Malin's work, so rock auteurists won't find much to chew on here. Most of The Finger's pounding, scraping, melody-light punch-ups are past their use-by date, and even the original pre-Henry Rollins Black Flag hardcore that The Finger appropriates sounds more punishing than this Xerox copy. We Are Fuck You does have charm beyond the nostalgia factor: "Coma For $$$," "No Roolz," and "Wasted Hours" pack good shoutalong slogans, stun-ray guitar, and pogo-able rhythms into a minute or less. The slower, scuzzier, and more thunderous Punk's Dead Let's Fuck is less fun, but the viciousness of "Secret 66," "Too Stoopid," and "Casper Lynch" has a respectable impact. More bothersome is The Finger's distance from punk's still-beating heart; nothing Adams or Malin come up with in an idle goof-off matches the force of Austin roots-punk band Grand Champeen on its third album, The One That Brought You. The group's latest perpetuates some of the mild identity crisis of its previous disc, Battle Cry For Help, which sounded as snotty as Blink-182 one moment, and as earnest as Bright Eyes the next. The One That Brought You sounds more unified, though its journeys from hayride to speedway are sometimes a little lurching, not to mention familiar. "Paid Vacation" and "More Than Just A Friday" could be Superchunk outtakes, while "That's Never Why" and "Bottle Glass" sound like rugged Wilco songs. Still, The One That Brought You is made up of killer moments and sounds, from the way the beat changes up to match the end of the line "Try to light a cigarette / I guess" in "The Rest Of The Night" to the distortion bleed and martial drums making a beautiful mess of the waltz-like "One And Only." By the time Grand Champeen reaches the barreling Hüsker Dü/Uncle Tupelo this-and-that of "Memory Loss/Throwing Rice," it's pretty much proven its ability to squeeze blood from any old punk turnip lying around. That's what conviction can do.

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