Still Angry After 35 Years: Veteran Punk Rockers, The Adolescents, to Release New Album, “La Vendetta”

News, Punk — By on December 17, 2014 11:19 pm

Let’s get it out of the way up front, yes, there is inherent irony in writing about a band named The Adolescents celebrating their 35th anniversary. But both their longevity and an upcoming album, La Vendetta, should be cause for celebration among fans of punk and hardcore.

While, perhaps, not the first punk band to come to most fans’ lips, it would also be difficult to overstate the influence of The Adolescents on the history of punk. Formed in January 1980 in the Orange County community of Fullerton, The Adolescents were part of the musical muscle that helped the second wave of West Coast punk do what the first wave never managed to do, break out nationally. Their 1981 debut album, Adolescents (also known as The Blue Album, a reference to the record’s monochrome cover), is now critically acclaimed as one of the definitive albums of early 80s punk and often cited as one of the best selling California punk albums of all time.

Along with bands such as Bad Brains, Black Flag and Minor Threat, The Adolescents helped define the sound of hardcore punk and skate punk. At the same time, The Adolescents’ music consistently reflected a concern with political and social justice themes that was more akin to the UK punk scene than the band’s American peers.

The Adolescents: You can only be adolescent once but you can always be angry. (Photo: Matze)

The Adolescents: You can only be adolescent once but you can always be angry. (Photo: Matze)

With the upcoming release of La Vendetta, The Adolescents set out to show they’ve lost neither the aggressive edge of their music nor their fiery outrage. Even the album’s full title, La Vendetta .. è un piatto che va servito freddo (an old Sicilian expression translating as “Revenge is a dish best served cold”), demonstrates The Adolescents are still angry and aren’t going just going to sit back and take it. The album’s sixteen tracks are filled with provocative lyrics and frank language treating issues as diverse as bad cops, social injustice, the meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant and standing up for your rights.

Resonating with today’s headlines, bad cops and the use of lethal force have been special concerns for The Adolescents since the 2011 beating death of Kelly Thomas, a schizophrenic homeless man, in the band’s hometown of Fullerton. It’s not often that a tangent into discussing an album’s artwork seems essential in a review, but this is an exception. The Adolescents commissioned Spanish artist Mario Rivera specifically to design a piece for La Vendetta’s cover art that conveyed their outrage at the Thomas killing.

But, fear not, in getting across their message, The Adolescents didn’t ignore the music. La Vendetta’s tracks promise all the fast, loud furious panache that punk fans have come to expect from the band.

For a genre whose genesis is so intimately tied to youth and rebellion, many of punk’s leading lights, figures such as John Doe, John Langford and Henry Rollins, have gracefully made the transition into middle age without compromising their punk rock roots. The Adolescents, too, walk that path—proving that, while you can only be adolescent once, you can always be angry.

La Vendetta .. è un piatto che va servito freddo will be released February 10th on Frontier Records. The album can be pre-ordered here

Track listing for La Vendetta… è un piatto che va servito freddo
01. Monolith At The Mountlake Terrace
02. A Dish Best Served Cold
03. Bulletproof
04. Double Down
05. Fukushima Lemon Twist
06. The Last Laugh
07. 30 Seconds To Malibu
08. Silent Water
09. Talking To Myself
10. Formula 13
11. Rinse Cycle
12. Ricochet Heart
13. Nothing Left To Say
14. Sludge
15. Sanctuary & The High Cost Of Misery
16. Let It Go

Listen to The Adolescents perform their classic track, “Amoeba” off their self-titled debut album


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