Friday 25 Apr

Norman rock well

Norman Music Festival

6 p.m.-2 a.m. Thursday, 3:30 p.m.-2 a.m. Friday and noon-2 a.m. Saturday

Downtown Norman


04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Grouplovin’ it

Grouplove with MS MR and Smallpools

6:30 p.m. Monday

Diamond Ballroom

8001 S. Eastern Ave.



04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Hear and now

Hear the Music Tour with The Warren Brothers and Lance Miller

6-10 p.m. Friday

Rodeo Opry

2221 Exchange Ave.


04/22/2014 | Comments 0

Odyssey of the mind

Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey 

with Culture Cinematic and ADDverse Effects

9 p.m. Friday

Twisted Root Gallery

3012 N. Walker Ave.



04/16/2014 | Comments 0

Frndz with benefits

Boyfrndz with Bored Wax and The Hitt Boyz

9 p.m. Sunday

Blue Note Lounge

2408 N. Robinson Ave.



04/16/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · CDs · Rock · Social Distortion — Hard Times and...

Social Distortion — Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes

Still relevant, 32 years later

Stephen Carradini February 3rd, 2011

On one hand, Social Distortion’s “Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes” is a solid, workman-like set of Southern California punk tunes with three gems.


On the other, the fact that a 32-year-old band is writing relevant music is kind of amazing and deserves more props than the first line gave it.

I suppose it matters if you’ve heard Social Distortion before: If you’re a fan of their music, “Hard Times” will be nothing but exciting to you. New listeners may not be converted.

After hard-charging instrumental opener “Road Zombie,” Social Distortion launches into “California (Hustle and Flow),” which is straight-up, vintage/timeless, snotty SoCal punk. It could have appeared in 1993 and no one would have blinked. The vocal sneer, the guitar work, the mood; they’re all perfect.

“Gimme the Sweet Lowdown” throws down the best melody of the set; all the modifiers from the previous two sentences apply here, too. The gospel-tinged, hard-luck, slow-burner “Bakersfield” is driven as much by piano and organ as guitar, and those instrumental choices are two of the few nods to the ‘00s contained here.

The rest of the tunes are par for the course. If you like SoCal, you’ll dig it. If not, you won’t.

It’s worth noting that Mike Ness’ voice doesn’t show any signs of having broken down (at least on this recording). The sneer’s tone is still perfectly matched to the music, and that’s what sells this album. If people are swayed to liking Social Distortion for the first time, it will be on the strength of his still-excellent vocals.
Rare is the band that can put out relevant music after three decades in the same genre in which it started. Social Distortion is one of them, and that’s awesome. “Gimme the Sweet Lowdown” is worth anyone’s time, regardless of listener age; can we say that about anything on The Go-Gos’ latest? —Stephen Carradini

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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