Artist: Down By Law
Had since: 2001/2007
How I got it: Cheapo Music in Manoa, 2001; the Internet, 2007
Why I have it: When I was 15 years old, my brothers and I used to tape this bodyboarding show on public access called Launch. It was basically surfing/bodyboarding montages set to music, with short segments hosted by pro bodyboarders in between. The show (along with its pure surfing counterpart, H3O) was instrumental in getting me into punk rock, and it introduced me to bands like NOFX, Social Distortion, Gorilla Biscuits, Ten Foot Pole, Bonecrusher and these guys.
Down By Law were the fourth and final band for singer/guitarist Dave Smalley, after working as frontman for DYS, Dag Nasty, and All. His emotive, full-throated singing style favors drawn-out vocal hooks and passionate shouts. Although the band mostly hews to the standard punk template, they show off a little range and subtlety with the slow-motion stomper "Rain", the love ballad "Our Own Way", the meditative "Looking For Something", the weirdly funky "Break The Walls" and the acoustic "Dead End". These forays into decidedly un-punk territory, emphasizing melody over power, make this DBL's most solid album ever. In short, start here if you're interested.