New Screeching Weasel album, First World Manifesto, due March

Don’t look now but the latest incarnation of infamous Chicago punk band Screeching Weasel will release its first studio album in ten years next March. Ben Weasel had been keeping fans updated on the progress of the new album through the last few months but it looks like the concrete details have now been revealed!

The new album, titled First World Manifesto, is due out March 15, 2011 via Fat Wreck Chords. It will be the first album since 2000’s Teen Punks In Heat and the first for Fat Wreck since’s 1998’s Television City Dream (which was recently re-released via the label). Here’s the word straight from the Weasel’s mouth;

“So we’re back in the fold. But coming back after a ten year layoff? Believe me, sportsfans, nobody knows better than me what it’s like to try to hop back in the saddle after a, uh, “hiatus” and reclaim your former glory, so we’ve pulled out all the stops on this one. From pure pop-punk ditties like “Baby Talk” and “Frankengirl” to point-and-laugh-at-the-punk-rocker anthems like “Little Big Man” and “Follow Your Leaders,” this is everything you could ask for from the band the humorless twats love to hate and the cultured, refined connoisseurs of quality rock and roll love to love. The album is titled First World Manifesto and will feature 14 songs. Mike Kennerty is producing and Justin Perkins is engineering at his studio, Mystery Room, and at the Blasthouse here in Madison. The album will be out March 15th.

The band’s upcoming touring plans have also been given a bit of a stir, with Weasel saying that no international dates are on the cards just yet, but if anyone wants to make an offer, feel free; “if you want to see us play somewhere, even in some third world country like Ireland or Canada, make an offer, or have the blokes in charge do it. We’ve been having a blast playing shows again for the past year and a half and we’re looking forward to more of the same in 2011 and beyond!


Australia needs this.


Fat details Screeching Weasel ‘Television City Dream’ reissue

Fat Wreck have detailed the upcoming re-release of Screeching Weasel’s 1998 album, Television City Dream. The label has said that Ben Weasel worked closely to re-envision the album, remixing and remastering the audio while giving the artwork a makeover. Additional bonus tracks have been added and the original tracklist has also been given a reshuffle. The Fat Wreck statement is as follows:

As the quintessential band of the pop-punk genre, Screeching Weasel possess a sound and style as recognizable as that of the Ramones, Sex Pistols, or even The Clash. We’ve been retooling Television City Dream with Ben Weasel to give the original release a total face lift. The album is getting a full makeover: re-mix, re-mastering, and updated art. Most intriguing is that there were 5 songs from the TVCD session that were not included with the original release, but they are now back where they belong, re-sequenced into a 20-song opus and set to be re-released.”

The reissue is scheduled for release November 9th, 2010. The new tracklist, including the bonus tracks, can be seen below.

01: Count to Three
02: Speed of Mutation
03: Dummy Up
04: Video *
05: Your Morality
06: Dirty Needles
07: Punk Rock Explained *
08: Breaking Point
09: My Own World *
10: Outside of You
11: We Are the Generation X
12: Identity Crisis
13: The First Day of Winter
14: Crybaby *
15: Shut the Hell Up *
16: Plastic Bag
17: I Don’t Give a Fuck
18: Only a Test
19: Pervert at Large
20: Burn It Down

Screeching Weasel are completing work on a brand new album, their first since 2000. Some early details can be read here.

Album Reviews, Music

Review: Ben Weasel and His Iron String Quartet – These Ones Are Bitter

Ben Weasel is a prolific writer- both of song and word- having churned out more than a dozen albums as both a solo artist, and as front man of iconic Chicago punks Screeching Weasel and its more poppy counterpart, The Riverdales. Since the demise of his more group oriented work, he’s continued writing books and columns and the like, fading slightly from the spotlight but never quite disappearing from it. It’s been some 5 years since Ben wrote and released material under his own name, but the lingering tone and seemingly undying appeal of SW meant he never really went away (what, with all the constant reformation gossip simmering beneath). So while Screeching Weasel remains dormant for however long, Ben has once again embarked on a solo effort that once again has an ear on the Ramones side of things, but also recaptures the bratty, high-energy, melodic appeal of Screeching Weasel’s best moments.

It’s no secret that it was rather slim pickings for SW after 1996’s Bark Like a Dog– Weasel and company seemed that just run out of collective steam after that. And while his 2002 solo release, Fidatevi, hinted at a return to form, it was merely a dash of his brilliant, simple songwriting. So it’s great to hear that the last 5 years have been good for Ben and his guitar- after a short excursion to write another Riverdales album- he returns with his Iron String Quartet to release These Ones Are Bitter; the best Screeching Weasel album the band never wrote. It’s a full head of steam, highly charged romp through pop-punk’s finest qualities, and it’s a real joy to just sit here and listen to these tunes. From the opening salvo of “Let Freedom Ring” to the “Speed of Mutation”-sounding chorus of “In A Few Days,” it is clear that Weasel has re-found his touch, ultimately writing some of the best songs of his career.

It has all the noted Weaselisms spattered through the release; the piano Anthem For A New Tomorrow-era keyboards of “Blue is the Ocean,” to the ‘1-2-3-4s’ of “Happy Saturday,” all of which sounds very concise wrapped in the trademark fuzzy distortion of Ben’s riffs, the occasional overlapping solo, and a pretty tight backing band- which consists of names from Alkaline Trio and the All-American Rejects. To boot, the continuation of all the themes and topics he’s written about over the past 20 years litter much of the lyrics- “Jeanette,” I’m sure, has been mentioned before (or was that Janelle? Joanie? Or Jeannie?), and Ben’s springy step must have something to do with the tone of songs like “The First Day of Spring,” (a continuation perhaps of “The First Day of Summer”?) and “Summer’s Always Gone Too Soon,” an ongoing ode to things more cheery. And while he may never write another “Guest List,” there really isn’t a misstep amongst the bunch.

These Ones Are Bitter is what good pop-punk should sound like. It seems difficult these days for traditional pop-punk bands to make a name for themselves- truth be told, it isn’t the easiest genre to sell. And perhaps a good reason why Ben’s own Mendota Recordings is handling TOAB as a digital-only venture. But after listening to the record a good few times over, it’s clear to see that while the music won’t break down doors, or sell a bunch of records outside the old Lookout crowd, its an infinitely more rewarding listen, and pop-punk fans may have just found their saving grace. To slightly modify lyrics from a tune familiar with the Weasel lore, it is perhaps the best note one can hope to leave this on; “He don’t like Nirvana / I know he don’t like Prong / But it’s great to hear he again write great song.” (Mendota)