What is it about California that causes its young to thrash out on Les Pauls and Fender Strats in such large (and high-quality) numbers? From Agent Orange to Rancid, each new generation of Golden Staters seems to take up the punk rock cause, with Bay Area band No Use for a Name squarely in that tradition with an axe-grinding, pulse-racing sound, one the group has been plying since its debut in the early Nineties. But there's more to NUFAN than distortion and speed. Singer/guitarist Tony Sly knows how to write a melody, which is in full evidence on songs like "Friends of the Enemy" and "Pre-Medicated Murder" from the excellent 2002 release Hard Rock Bottom. And guitarist Dave Nassie (formerly of Suicidal Tendencies) calls on an arsenal of hot licks to complement Sly's vocals. You can hear the similarities to NOFX or Lagwagon, with hints of Bad Religion. The band has even added some midtempo tunes to its recent repertoire, as well as a ballad in "Divine Let Down" from 2005's Keep Them Confused, which probably won't make the soundtrack to your latest sk8er video. But the stop-start propulsion from NUFAN's rhythm section is always slamming, and the energy always high. Good for all of your half-pipe dreams.
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