Against All Authority/ Common Rider

Triple-A has been a wee bit quiet as of late ... until now. Proving yet again that hard work will get you ahead, Florida's original ska-tinged, thinking-man's punks will release two new albums this year. The first is an eight-song split EP with the sadly defunct Common Rider. On AAA's four tracks the chemistry between vocalist/bass player Danny Lore and guitarist Joe Koontz jells flawlessly as drummer Macbeth Proenza sets a steady base. Alan Veronese adds multifaceted horn work on the songs. Even though the band has streamlined its ska, songs such as "World Dominator" resonate with the righteous protest of Caribbean music. The anger is maintained in "Lied To" and "Barricades."

Jesse Michaels fronted seminal Bay Area outfit Operation Ivy before disappearing into the anonymity of self-discovery. For a time he was a student of film, Buddhism, and the martial arts, but in 1999 he resurfaced in the scene he largely helped create with Common Rider. Backed by Phillip Hill (guitar), Squirtgun's Mas Giorgini (bass/sax), and Screeching Weasel's Dan Lumley (drums), Michaels again generates thoughtful music tempered by age and experience.

Common Rider's four songs are outtakes from 2002's This Is Unity Music and draw from a bottomless well of energy. Off the bat, "Where the Waves Are Highest" hits you with soulful rock steady, followed with the fun-in-the-sun rock of "Dogtown." "The Only Ones" closes the disc with a perfect punk-rock punch only veterans can deliver: message and melody. Since disbanding Common Rider in 2003, Michaels has returned to pursuing life outside of music, leaving another canon for others to follow.

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Abel Folgar

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