Berkeley California flashback hard rock hardcore Hermosa Beach punk

Flashback: Descendents

[itunes link=”″ title=”Descendents on iTunes”]

Ever wonder where the emo-punk got it’s start?  Contrary to what Billy Joe may think, it wasn’t Green Day.  Sorry to disappoint but, while they were prolific early adopters of the genre, it was actually a band nearly (400) miles to the south in Hermosa Beach, CA that many point to as the true founders of melodic hardcore.  Descendents got their start in 1978 but it wasn’t until a few years later that I discovered them on a fateful “unauthorized” Spring Break trip to Myrtle Beach, SC.  Certain details of the trip are still a bit fuzzy but what I do remember was my buddy Ted “Under the Table” Levendosky turning me on to Milo and the boys doing their rendition of “Wendy” by the Beach Boys.  Epic.  Some of my other personal  favs from their 1986 release entitled Enjoy! are “Sour Grapes”, “80s Girl” and “Get the Time”.

Regrettably, there is hardly any decent live footage or video from the band’s earlier work but the vid above for “I’m the One” found on 1996’s Everything Sucks disc is very much representative of the simple punk genius that is Descendents.  Dig it.


alternative Berkeley California Raya Nova reviews rock unsigned

Sway with the Raya

Raya Nova

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Sweet Maria :: Yemaya :: Latin Woman (pt.II)

Raya Nova brings their progressive/alt rock sound to Froglix with selections from their freshman release entitled And The Darkness Held Sway… Fashioned after the concept albums made famous in the 1970s, this Berkeley, CA band has assembled a selection of tracks that flow flawlessly from one to another while remaining strong enough to stand alone.

“Blood and Pride” starts off with crisp guitar riffs but soon gives way to lush, chorus laden verses that are wetter than an otter’s pocket and, while I haven’t seen the band live (yet), “Sweet Maria” has got to be a crowd favourite. Its energetic cadence is draped in melodic phrasing that sparkles with originality. The crystal clear vocals and catchy lyrics had me singing along in less than 60 seconds.

Normally, we shy away from tracks that are predominantly instrumental but “Latin Woman (part II)” is so amazing we just had to include it as part of the rotation. Seriously, these cats go off in this one…you have to hear it. “Yemaya”, an upbeat tune with a lively Latin feel, is sure to get the blood pumping and the juices flowing.

Raya Nova delivers a good one with this disc. A word of advice, when you feel the rock/latin riddims grab hold of you (and they will), don’t fight it. Just go with it. You’ll be glad you did.