Get Rad – I Can Always Live

Get Rad - I Can Always Live

Get Rad is a hardcore punk band out of Milwaukee, home of Liberace and The Violent Femmes. Notable extreme music label Gilead Media released I Can Always Live on vinyl (now out-of-print) and compact disc; the album is also available as a free digital download through both the band’s and the label’s Bandcamp page. At sixteen tracks in twenty-three minutes, I Can Always Live is short, no-frills punk rock for fans of Teenage Bottlerocket, The Casualties, and early Dischord Records bands.

Since it’s hardcore punk, these are short tracks. Half run for less than ninety seconds; “GDI” is only eighteen. Get Rad use the classic hardcore punk one-two punch of rapid-cycling three-chord riffs and a barrage of Ian MacKaye-style yelling. Tracks are very straightforward and bereft of solos or other exposition; as with any old school punk rock, the focus is on the message – if not the pit – and so the band serves as an instrumental hype-man more than it does a compositional entity. This isn’t a bad thing – hell, it’s what made early DC punk so great – yet it does make I Can Always Live a release that’s difficult to separate from the rest of the pack, including their own songs.

There are a few tracks that are worth pulling from the mix. “I Want to Kill a Priest” is pleasantly jarring; its length gives Get Rad plenty of time to refine their anger instead of a brief yet untriumphant explosion that dominates the rest of the songs. “Drug of Choice” is hilarious; for these punks, it’s “motherfucking pizza time.”1 And “Fuck Off Death”? I can live with that.

1. Bullshit Forcefield – (0:59) – ★★★★☆
2. Life without a Plan – (1:03) – ★★★☆☆
3. GDI – (0:18) – ★★☆☆☆
4. Fuck Off Death – (1:21) – ★★★★☆
5. Honest Man, wild Man – (2:03) – ★★☆☆☆
6. Drug of Choice – (1:06) – ★★★★★
7. It’s Not a Fire – (1:50) – ★★☆☆☆
8. Sparks – (1:10) – ★★★☆☆
9. No Easy – (1:52) – ★★★☆☆
10. Ambition – (1:48) – ★★★☆☆
11. By My Side – (1:35) – ★★★★☆
12. The Blame Game – (1:43) – ★★☆☆☆
13. Back Home – (1:47) – ★★★☆☆
14. Call Yoruself Dead – (0:56) – ★★★★☆
15. Later for the Half-Hearted – (1:19) – ★★★☆☆
16. I Want to Kill a Priest – (2:54) – ★★★★☆

Overall: ★★½☆☆

[UPDATE 26 April 2016: Changed the overall rating from three stars to two-and-a-half stars.]

1It’s like they wrote this song for me.

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