FYM Editors Note: Writer Brian Fernandes is a Seattle musician and the best bartender we've ever met. Nobody Told Me It Wasn't '95 is an ongoing series where this Boston native reflects on the music of his adolescence. For this weeks feature Fernandes examines the history of punk pioneer Jesse Michaels, and gets us up-to-date on his latest project.

Being Real Stands The Test Of Time: Within punk music the East Bay has been a prolific and influential scene particularly from the 90's on. Operation Ivy is still one of the most celebrated and revered acts within the punk community and has meant so much to so many. Through my years I’ve seen hippies, crust punks, metal heads and your average fellas openly and wholeheartedly back Op Ivy as one of the bands that meant something to them in their youth as well as stood the test of time. 

As much as Rancid and the various endeavors of Tim Armstrong and Matt Freeman have left the world since the breakup of Op Ivy, this isn’t what this article is about -but regardless hats off. Jesse Michaels projects, after the demise of Op Ivy, have been nothing short of phenomenal! He had a brief stint in Big Rig, and then came back with the unbelievable under recognized band Common Rider who put out two full-lengths and split EP, as well as the 7” (where Billy Joe lent a hand). 

Jesse Michaels new band Classics of Love have put out an EP, a 7” and the most recent self-titled full length. His thought provoking intelligent and truly poignant lyrics speaks to his undying questioning and honest look at the world. Most recently teaming-up with the Bay Area band Hard Girls to round the line-up of Classics of Love

When I first received the 7” Classics of Love released for the Art of The Underground single series I was blown away by how the band had progressed into a much more driven, aggressive sound from the debut EP Walking in the Shadows. Roaring guitars, manic pounding beats, weaving punchy bass lines all blanket the new album. Listen to Castle in the Sky:

Michaels vocals range greatly on this release from melodic, percussive, to belting it out the old fashioned way. With a few songs lending ska guitar in the verses I can see how people will initially infer a return to the Operation Ivy sound -but this band stands on its own as one of the best honest rocking bands in the past five years. Some of my favorite tracks on the new record include Would-Be Kings with its driving catchy delivery, and the high energy found in Castles in The Sky -its great back and forth melodic vocal delivery over hooky guitar, with upstrokes plowing right into fist-pumping punk. 

All these songs are dominant on this record, and it’s worth picking up without a doubt. There's just something really refreshing about how this dude makes his music and isn’t a money grubbing corporate rock hooker, like he easily could be with his cred, so cheers to him and this killer band. Buy the new record HEREThey Live, FYM.

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