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Photo Credit: John Gilhooley

Legendary SoCal punks T.S.O.L. have released their ninth studio album A-Side Graffiti today, February 27, 2024 via Kitten Robot Records which was produced by Paul Roessler (The Screamers, Nina HaganJosie Cotton).  Amid a flurry of resounding reviews and plaudits, A-Side Graffiti stands as a 12-track explosion of force that challenges the listener to the true meaning of “punk.”

“Punk Rock means giving the high sign to the rules, and this is most definitely punk rock,” underground tome Rest Assured touts about the new record. Subculture bible Wasted Attitude calls “Swimming” (the first single from the album)  a “West Coast punk anthem in waiting.”  Rebel Noise adds, “T.S.O.L. unleashes A-Side Graffiti upon the world. In a landscape cluttered with conformity, T.S.O.L. stands as a beacon of authenticity—a reminder that true art knows no bounds.”

Always a band to subvert expectations and preconceived notions, T.S.O.L. remains true to their punk roots by weaving symphonic tracks like a loose cover of Louis Armstrong’s “Wonderful World” and a campy and faithful cover of Rocky Horror‘s “Sweet Transvestite,” which features Keith Morris of Circle Jerks/Off fame in the role of “Brad.”  Elsewhere on the album, their interpretation of David Bowie’s “Can You Hear Me?” features some of their musical friends including Frank Agnew from the Adolescents, Chip Hannah of the Trigger Complex, and Murphy from Sugar Ray. “Look, it might be a little too smooth for some of you, but maybe when you feel like being romantic, you can put this on and use it as a backdrop to some adult fun,” laughs vocalist Jack Grisham about the track.

Probably most surprising is their cover of R&B chanteuse Amerie’s “1 Thing” (the original reached #1 on Billboard‘s and UK’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop charts). “Ah, the Amerie track,” he says smiling. “I love R&B, soul music, and go-go beats and this one has it all. I was sitting at home, digging the track, singing along—basic ‘boy fucks over girl’ lyrics, and then I thought. ‘Hold up. Maybe it’s not a song about a boy. Maybe she’s singing to a system of government and they been lying and fucking her over for years. Maybe the boots she puts on are laced up Doctor M’s and she’s gonna kick their fucking asses. This ain’t a love song… It’s a protest track.’ It was an easy sell to my band, and I think we did it justice.”

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