Saturday, May 02, 2020

Mikey Erg - Bon Voyage

Well look who has come back to his pop-punk roots! Mikey Erg is way too much of  a music geek to limit himself to one narrow genre of music, and his next record could just as easily be country rock or vocal jazz or a triple album collection of jam band covers. But oh man, he's still so great at pop-punk! Mikey was asked by Stardumb Records to do a 7", and he took the opportunity to make this project a veritable love letter to pop-punk. At a deeper level, Bon Voyage is also a tribute to the pre-Internet heyday of the punk rock 7". Remember when you'd eagerly await each new issue of Maximumrocknroll so you could scour the ads and find new records to send away for? Those were the days, man: you'd stuff three or four dollars in an envelope, drop it in the mail, and within 7 to 20 days, you'd have a new 7" sitting in your mailbox! For a teenage Mikey Erg, the affordability of the 7" record surely played a vital role in the development of his encyclopedic knowledge of bands. He would then go on to join half of those bands.

One particular record label that heavily influenced Bon Voyage was Mutant Pop Records, which more often than not released four-song, stand-alone EPs by really cool pop-punk bands. This 7" includes - you guessed it - four completely exclusive songs! The Ergs! never got to do a record with Mutant Pop, but Mikey working with the heir apparent Stardumb is probably the next best thing. Musically and lyrically, Bon Voyage finds Mikey in prime early/mid 2000s form. Put this record on and listen to a master at work! Mikey made his name writing catchy pop songs about the disappointments in his love life, and the title track here can hang with his greatest hits from back in the day. The peppy "Colleen" is in a similar vein, with the less speedy yet totally hard-punching "The New Departure Blues" sandwiched in between. I've always believed that every pop-punk band ought to do at least one Beatles cover at some point, so it's more than satisfying to hear Mikey have at "Mother Nature's Son" from the White Album. If just one person hears this song and decides that The Beatles merit further investigation, it will be mission accomplished. 

I have warm feelings towards Bon Voyage for a variety of reasons. My roots in the punk world were also in buying a ton of 7" records and being fanatical about pop-punk. I have related deeply to Mikey Erg as a singer and songwriter since I first heard the opening strains of "Thinking With My Heart" 20(!) years ago. And you know I love Stardumb Records. It was darn time that these two institutions of pop-punk worked together! This is the ultimate pop-punk record from one of the ultimate pop-punk labels, and you can probably have it in your hands in far less than 20 days! Get it in the USA from The Machine Shop!


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