Thursday, June 25, 2009

Down By Law: s/t (1991)

Every now and then, a record comes along that defines a period of your life. Right place, right time sort of thing. This record fits the bill exactly for me and sadly, I think it’s out of print. Luckily, I picked this record up at a store in what was then the world’s biggest mall.

I got Down By Law’s first record in December, 1991. It was a particularly unstable time for me. Typical teenage crap, and I felt as if my life’s foundations were built out of wet bread sticks.

This record really spoke to me. A lot of the lyrics deal with following your dreams and being true to yourself. Dave Smalley knows how to put pen to paper and produced such profound nuggets like, "In order to be good, does that mean we must be great?" from "Vision" and these hopeful words from "Dreams Away":"Hold your head up/Target their world /Just let em fly/Dreams away".

For someone who was in an existential crisis, words like those were a salve to my despair. And to satisfy my need to change the world, Smalley penned "Matt Gleason Is God". Put together a cool bass line, a catchy tune and earnest words like: "There's so much darkness in our day/Bleed the planet, kill each other freedom what a price we pay/I'd swallow all the poison to make it go away . . ." and you get one fuck of a song. To top it all of, the refrain "We've gotta go!/We're gonna see it through/Your times are calling you" inspired me to try to commit to a better world.

The words would mean shit if the music didn't rock, but thankfully Down By Law delivers. If you someone like Smalley, who cut his teeth with DYS, helped to reinvent hardcore with Dag Nasty and even found time to be All's first singer, together with the rhythm section of the Chemical People and a guitarist from Clawhammer, you've got a wicked combination. Smooth melodic hardcore with a jumpy surf beat is a decent description, me thinks.

Image is from

"Best Friends" is a cover of song by The Outlets. The blog "Rocket Science" has the original for download.

1. Right or Wrong
2. Vision
3. Dreams Away
4. Down the Drain
5. American Dream
6. The Truth
7. Best Friends
8. Matt Gleason is God
9. The One
10. Can't See It Still
11. Surf Punk
12. Too Much Grey

Download it here! Down By Law


Benj said...

Thanks, I've been looking for this one! Same deal for me, this helped me get through my last year of high school (which of course sucked), and before I had the maturity to realize how corny Dave Smalley was, this record really gave me some sort of support. I doubt it holds up after all these years, but it will be nice to listen to for nostalgia.

AdamBomb said...

How about instead of corny, maybe we could say Save Smalley is sincere? I know it's a bit of a stretch :)

Pote said...

Sorry a little late....can i re upload, please? THanx

AdamBomb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AdamBomb said...

I just reupped it. Enjoy :)