21 May 2007

Tim Armstrong: A Poet's Life

Sometimes it's hard keeping up with my old friend Tim Armstrong. From time to time he'll turn up in the same town where I happen to be. We'll hang out, he'll tell me all these things he's thinking of doing or planning on doing, and then suddenly he's gone again, slipping away into the Tim-zone, which for all I know exists in a parallel universe. One day I might get ten text messages from him telling me everything he's doing or thinking or having for breakfast; then a whole year could go by without a word.

The last time I talked to him, he was going to make a new record. He didn't mention that the whole thing was going to be done in a matter of months, or that he was going to give it away for FREE. Well, free if you're content to own it digitally; I guess you still have to pay if you're one of those physical media people who have to have an actual product in your hands to truly relate to your music. Personally, I think digital downloading is one of the best inventions in recent years. I was so sick of all those CDs and records piling up in my room and happy to see them turned into little squiggles of code on my computer and iPod.

Anyway, I checked out Tim's new album, A Poet's Life, which is now available to listen to (you'll be able to download it in a couple more days) at the Rancid Myspace page, and it's really good. That's especially high praise coming from me, considering that the album is very ska-ish and I've never been an especially big ska fan (crossover ska-punk stuff like Operation Ivy and Rancid is another story). Actually, that's not necessarily true; I loved the Specials, and thought I'm not as familiar with it as I ought to be, I was fond of the 60s bluebeat stuff that was so popular in Notting Hill when I first arrived there long ago.

Tim's stuff has more of that old school sound than anything I've heard in years, and is almost the complete opposite of the slicked-up 90s commercial ska that put so many people, including yours truly, off the genre. It's catchy, it's danceable, it's... well, let's just say I like it a lot, and I think there's a better than average chance you will too.


Joshua said...

Thanks Larry. I also have had a soft spot for late 60/early 70's rocksteady and dancehall. Tim knows his stuff.

resident jason said...

I have been listening to the cd non-stop for the past few days (thank you, Interpunk for the early arrival). Tim is arguably the best songwriter around. The guy just seems to hit it on the head - every time. His songs about relationships put any 'emo' band to shame. I could pass on the whole gutter punk thing, but the man knows how to compose a song.