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Against All Authority/Common Rider – Split EP

Don’t let the spit-and-snarl of Against All Authority fool you. These guys have just enough awareness of what makes a great pop song to put together punk rock that’s catchy without being sugary, and still retains an authentic sense of anger at the injustices that have been fueling punks since the seventies.


“Lied To,” “War Machine Breakdown” and “Barricades” are straightforward enough political-punk songs, but “World Dominator” throws in a splash of Latin rhythm and a sing-along chorus. In general, AAA has got enough anger to keep them going and keep their music feeling genuine, but enough musical variety to keep them from getting redundant.

Normally, you don’t see split EP’s with defunct bands, but Common Rider deserves to be the exception, since it was the project of Jesse Michaels from Operation Ivy. Who’d let that unreleased material go to waste? Common Rider provides a nice counterpoint to the caustic style of Against All Authority, with more straightforward rock-and-roll, occasionally tinged with reggae and not leaving behind their punk roots.

Common Rider feels Californian, and not just because their songs are titled “Where the Waves are Highest” and “Dogtown.” It’s slower, funkier, smoother; the sounds of a boardwalk against an ocean rather than a dirty city street, but still with the same attitude. It’s sad to see that Common Rider are officially over, since they made catchy punk outside of the formulaic stuff we see so much of these days.


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