Monday, January 26, 2009

From the cutout bin - Less than Jake - Hello Rockview

Welcome to From the Cutout Bin, where we dig up old CDs that have been forgotten for whatever reason and can now be found in the dollar (or quarter) bin at your local used CD store (if your community still has a used CD store). This installment features Less than Jake's entrant in the great ska-punk explosion of 1998, Hello Rockview.

To be honest, I'm a little surprised this week's entrant was available for only $1 (a new, sealed copy at that, though the liner notes were missing due to some sort of manufacturer's defect). I've never been much of a fan of Less than Jake, but I'm aware of the band, occasionally see kids wearing their t-shirts, etc. They've had a lengthy career, encompassing stints on two different major labels, a music video starring the chick from Gilmore Girls, spots on various Tony Hawk game soundtracks, and a 2000 national tour opening up for Bon Jovi (?!? Is Richie Sambora a fan?). A couple of the guys in the band are owners of the Fueled by Ramen label, which has released Paramore's albums.

Pretty good: "All My Best Friends are Metalheads," "History of a Boring Town," and "Scott Farcas takes it on the Chin." Boring ska-punk without any hooks: everything else. This just wasn't my cup of tea, and I can only recommend it to people who have attended more than one Warped Tour (the majority of whom probably already own it).

Hello Rockview hit #80 on the charts, then quickly dropped off. The really notable thing historically about the album is that it marks producer Howard Benson's crossover into alt-rock At the time he did this album, he was known for production work on late-period hair metal bands, but following Hello Rockview he transitioned to producing POD, Crazytown, Hoobastank, My Chemical Romance, Daughtry, and the All-American Rejects.

The one hit off the album was "History of a Boring Town," which squeaked in at #39 in 1998:

Fun tidbit for the comment section: where would you rank Less than Jake in terms of the ska revival of '97-'98? I'd say behind No Doubt, Mighty Mighty Bosstones and probably Reel Big Fish, so fourth. Definitely ahead of Buck-o-Nine, Voodoo Glow Skulls, Aquabats, and Save Ferris. Actually, Reel Big Fish, Goldfinger, and Less than Jake are probably all in a solid second tier of ska-punk bands. Post your thoughts below.


Anonymous said...

Even though I've never been a fan, you didn't mention Sublime.

Mr. Peepers said...

Good point. So in the pantheon of ska-punk, you've got:

First-tier - Sublime, No Doubt, Mighty Mighty Bosstones

Second-tier - Goldfinger, Reel Big Fish, Less than Jake?

Anonymous said...

Where do the surprisingly popular Christian ska bands of the era fit in?

Ty said...

What about Operation Ivy? They were one of the first Ska/Punk bands, but they may have disbanded in the 80s. I think Rancid could be considered in the second tier. Many of their songs had ska influences.

Mr. Peepers said...

Hm... this may warrant its own post. I would put Rancid under "punk" and therefore third behind Green Day and Offspring (in their era). And I don't know a ton about Christian ska bands other than Five Iron Frenzy. Anyone want to enlighten us?

Anonymous said...

Hold it right there, buddy. And Out Come the Wolves is a great album, but there's no way you can put Rancid ahead of Bad Religion.