Way back when I was in high school, my little brother brought a cd into my room that totally rocked my world. It was Less Than Jake‘s Son of Pezcore, which was this six song sampler for their debut full-length, Pezcore. It was astounding to me that you could have this punk rock sound with horns. I think I was something like 14 or 15 at the time.
Of course, I had to hear more by these guys. So, I went to the record store in downtown Leavenworth (Mike’s CDs & Tapes, to date the only honest-to-god stand along record store the town has ever had), and ordered a Less Than Jake cd. And, actually, it wasn’t Pezcore. That’s kind of the funny thing. The first Less Than Jake cd I ever owned was Losers, Kings, & Things We Don’t Understand. It was listed in the top ten of some indie record store in Gainesville in the back of an issue of Rolling Stone. Of course, I had to get the newest cd first. I had no idea that it was a b-sides comp.
Anyhow, a year or two later, I end up getting Pezcore at a record store in one of the malls in Wichita. By that point, I had Losers, Kings…, and Losing Streak had come out by that point. Seriously, I was addicted to the ska at this point. I had every Reel Big Fish and Mighty Mighty Bosstones album I could lay my grimy little mitts upon.
Now, over the years, LTJ has kind of gone the way most ska bands that didn’t die in the aftermath of the third wave- they’re kind of a rock band with horns, occasionally dipping back into the 4/4 skankiness of their earlier days. I wish I could go back in time and recapture the glory of first hitting play and hearing those riffs and horn lines come out of my boombox. Sadly, I can’t, but these albums still bring a smile to my face when I put ’em on.
* from the 10th anniversary Pezcore on Fueled By Ramen
Less Than Jake – “My Very Own Flag“
* from Borders & Boundaries on Fat Wreck Chords
Less Than Jake – “Look What Happened
* from Losers, Kings, & Things We Dont Understand on No Idea Records
Less Than Jake – “Time and A Half“