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No Place Like Home: Revisting the Neighborhoods

All of my life, I have been living with a musical elitist known as my father. Coming out as a Journey fan was what gay kids must feel like when they come out of the closet. In fact, my dad was happier when I started listening to John Coltrane than when I earned my way on the Dean’s List.

It should come as no surprise that my DNA contains the same weirdo adenine and pretentious cytosine as his. Of course, my father sealed my fate when he bought me vinyl for my first birthday. The record was The Neighborhood’s “Prettiest Girl” b/w “No Place Like Home” 45.  I just turned 21 and daddy definitely knows his tunes because I’m still listening.

Photo via Neighborhood's Facebook

Photo via The Neighborhood’s Facebook

The pop-punk ensemble formed in 1977 and was fronted by singer and guitarist, David Minehan. After bassist, Jim Bowman and drummer, “Careful” Mike Quaglia joined, The Neighborhoods started playing gigs at Boston clubs such as Cantone’s and The Rat (you know, the ones you should have received a tetanus shot before entering.)

Their first official recording was the “Prettiest Girl / No Place Like Home” single. If Rock ‘N’ Roll High School had a homecoming dance, “Prettiest Girl” would be the last song played. While they have a rugged and distorted sound quality, The Neighborhoods are exactly what pop-punk should sound like.

“Prettiest Girl” contains a noticeable guitar solo; however, Minehan stays true to the punk rock tradition, and keeps it short and simple. Some American rockers tried to make their voices British. (See also: Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day.) The Neighborhoods apparently missed the memo. I always get this idea that Minehan is trying to make his boyish voice sound deeper than it actually is (and I enjoy the comic relief that comes with it.) While The Exploding Hearts came some years after, both bands tease around the same type of sound.

I imagine when The Neighborhoods wrote “No Place Like Home”, their main goal was to record a faster and shorter song than anything by the Ramones. The Neighborhoods win because each of their songs carries distinction. With the short scrappy scream yelped towards the end of “No Place Like Home”, I consider this one more edgier and even more advanced than “Prettiest Girl”. When your parents tell you that you can’t dye your hair purple, this is the song you blare.

The Neighborhoods sparse website proves the band is not involved in the cyber world. YouTube, however, was promising and I was able to listen to “Wailing Wall” off their second album, Reptile Men (1987). “Wailing Wall” sounds like your amplifier if it went up to 11. This album is definitely harder than their first single and barely resembles any type of punk.

Aerosmith guitarist, Brad Whitford, produced their 1990 album, Hoodwinked and Whitford’s participation shows. If it wasn’t for Steven Tyler’s lack of presence, The Patriots could get away with playing this album at their games.

So for me, my original 45 is enough and I’ll continue to listen to those less intricate pop-punk wonders. If you enjoy bands like The Mission of Burma and The Lyres, I recommend that you listen too. (Because you have probably lived in Boston long enough to know the Neighborhoods or the Rat actually existed.)

Posted by on February 26, 2013. Filed under Around Campus. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.