Friday, September 3, 2010

Operation Ivy: Unreleased Energy

Periodically I go back in time musically. When the present seems a bit dire, as it surely did in back 1989 (Slayer, New Kids on the Block, Bobby Brown - pas merci), I go retro. Then it takes the shock of the new to jolt me out of my state of nostalgia. That's what finding Operation Ivy's Energy in the L.P. racks of Track Records in Vancouver in 1989 did for me. I played that album a thousand times and taped it (sorry it's true) for a thousand people. Energy with those punked-up ska rhythms in songs like "Sound System, those biting lyrics in songs like "Jaded" and those indelible choruses on almost every damn song, just exuded a feeling of now. Now in this now it's a classic - and so it goes.

Unreleased Energy is a cleverly-titled bootleg built around the first session for the Energy album which were scrapped and re-recorded. These rawer version sport different, sometimes extended arrangements and occasionally, as in "Unity", have horns added. A fine document of band who got put on ice before things got Rancid.

Unreleased Energy link is in the comments.

Speaking of Comments give us your take on OP IVY and let us know if you want to hear more rarities.

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  2. Energy was one of my first punk albums, so I'll always have a soft spot for it even though I haven't listened in a few years. In high school I sat in the back of German 2 next to a kid who was listening to all the same stuff as me. All we did for the entire class was talk about Op Ivy, Black Flag and Minor Threat. Small wonder the only German I know is "guten tag" and... well, "schmutz in die ecke," but I won't bore you with the story behind that. I think it was worth sacrificing my cultural sophistication for the rare opportunity to share my love of 80s punk with the only other kid in the entire school who'd ever heard of it.

    I'm posting here under my real name now, by the way. Used to post under TK. Thank you for the Fastbacks posts--I missed commenting on some of them, but read, listened to and enjoyed them all.

  3. As a "slightly older" punk, I always thought Rancid's early 90's releases (the first 3) came closer to capturing the sound, energy and melody of the original era than any other band at that time. Haven't listened to them that much in recent years (and was never really a fan of ska or OP Ivy), but going to give this one a shot and maybe rekindle some memories. Thanks.

  4. In about 1989, i was introduced to Op Ivy as "the perfect blend of ska and punk." Boy, was that girl right. I've loved 'em ever since.

  5. I'm with MisterManiac in that I never really got into Rancid, being a first-generation punk myself...

    That said I did get into Black Flag then, and I'm getting into Melodic post-hardcore stuff like Hope Remains Lost now... and they're well worth checking out if you can see them live, they seriously kick ass!

    Strangely, although I didn't rate Operation Ivy at the time, you've prompted me to give them another go and I rather like them now... thanks.


  6. Mu buddy stole my copy of energy, dick. Anyway, loved that LP; the wife still listens to it today.

  7. I haven't listened to Op Ivy in a long time... I remember this album, the first Fugazi album, Bad Religion and Nirvana Bleach were in the box at almost every party I went to in 89-90. Also remember going to the Scratch Records store downstairs on Cambie St. Thanks for the memories!!

  8. Oh wait you said Track Records... oh well, "Scratch" that!

  9. I really liked Slayer's "South of Heaven".

    Operation Ivy never really grabbed me that much.

  10. Did Energy really come out way back then?

    I must have only heard the reissue.

    Sound System was *the* song from that album

    Man, now I'm all nostalgic for Track, Scratch, Odyssey Imports, Collector's RPM, A&A/Sam's, A&B Sound, and another store I've totally gapped out on...

    Record-row recollections. Damn.

  11. Erik/TK
    Yeah it was always exciting back then to meet someone who'd heard of the same bands as you had.

    (And hey. thanks for the regualr comments and never feel the need to hold out on rambling stories, lots of people here dig those, me especially!)

    I hope to do just that. Because of Jesse's voice and words OP IVY will always mean more to me than Rancid (Who I think are a amazing by the way).

    Nothing sexier than a woman who digs Op Ivy!

    Glad to make some people give OP IVY another throw, they never got the respect they deserved.

    P.S. The HRL sounds good.

    The love of a good woman soothes the wounds of lost friendship. (Did I just type that?)

    Oh you described that box of late eighties-ness so well. And Scrath was just a short walk from Track, all part of that great zone of music.

    Thanks for taking on my usual anti-Slayer bias. Maybe you'll like both, unlike me.

    I think you covered all the stores (forgot about Odyssey) unless you want to count Zulu which was all the way out on 4th.

    Thanks for inspiring the question for today's post, and I do lean towards SS as *the* song but I waffle.

  12. Nineteen eighty nine was a pretty sweet year for thrash metal if my memory serves me well. Excel's "The Joke's On You", White Zombie's "Make Them Die Slowly", and Agnostic Front's "Live At CBGB's" all sit proudly on my cd shelf. True, I found "South Of Heaven's" (from 1988 - Slayer did not release an album in 1989) occasional attempts at melody kind of annoying at the time but, then again, once you've made a record as unrelenting as "Reign In Blood" it's either change things up or go down in flames.

    Jeffen, I heard that thought.

    Funnily enough, I've been picking up some tasty Class Of 89' thrash re-issues as of late (Virulence, Underdog and Morbid Angel to name three) that I hadn't found on cassette tape the first time 'round. Good stuff for the adults!

    I like Operation Ivy okay and I really should give them another spin. For some reason my favorite ska-punk records will always be the first English Beat and Special's albums. Guess I'm just an old fuddy-duddy that way.

  13. Anon
    Glad to add some sweetness to this old world.

    If that thought was "Fuck, music sucked like a black hole in '89" you've read my mind. Damn but I HATED all those albums (though AF Live at CBGB, not to mention Underdog, was a different beast, really).
    It may be time to revisit OP IVY, my friend of the time who owned all the albums you mentioned seemed to dig it.


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