Agent Orange

Gang Green
*special introductory paragraph!
*Living In Darkness
*Bitchin' Summer EP
*When You Least Expect It… EP
*This Is The Voice
*Virtually Indestructible
*Greatest & Latest/This, That –N- The Other Thing

Agent Orange is a pop/punk/surf band that put out some albums in the 80s and then put one out in the 90s. They have a nice knack for melody, but keep the pace uptempo and the guitars fuzzy. Like a good u7j S*E#D|JIN?WWxc9540o-pd400--00e-0--0ep[-r[]]=-=67o0lsdmnk trfxe6=ew==wwwwwww ]'c?

My dog typed that last bit. He's not all that fond of Agent Orange, hence the "ew==wwwwwww" assessment at the end.

Living In Darkness - Posh Boy 1981.
Rating = 7

Hang on just a second - my dog is engaged in a furious argument with a drink coaster.

Okay, we're clear. Agent Orange is from Southern California. Their first record shows a real desire to be a serious "melodic" (as in '60s melody - Byrds, Beatles, Samhain) (but not Samhain, necessarily) band while using the guitar tones, production and upbeat tempos of early 80s So.Cal. punk rock. The combination works and there are several great guitar riffs, but only if you're willing to ignore singer/guitarist Mike Palm's occasional godawful singing snafus. The vocal melodies (when he sings them in tune) are very much in the "holy christ is this angst important" realm (like you'd expect from a Pat Benatar or Tori Amos), but forgivably so because they play it loud and they stick to the same minor-key mood the whole time. It IS their style. Just played fuzzy and punkish. Not like ANGry punk, but ANGst-ridden punk.

Reader Comments (Thomas Rickert)
I'd have to give a strong disagreement here--Living in Darkness is simply THE BEST surf-punk there is. All the faults Marko marks are true, but what he doesn't say, alas, is that it's THE FAULTS that make it great. Yeah, it's one of those. Where the mistakes, the errors, the gaffes are what put it over the edge, make it transcendent. Plus, there's that UNEARTHLY guitar roar. Where the hell did they get that?!! Oh man, it sounds so good that it almost hurts, but it doesn't, and then you press play again and again and again! (Roger Krueger)
The original album is to me THE punk album. Not a single weak track. The bonus tracks are mostly a waste of time, but at least they're all together so you can skip them more easily.

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Bitchin' Summer EP - Posh Boy 1982.
Rating = 6

Four songs. Three are ehhhhhhhehaehhh unnecessary covers of instrumental surf tunes and the fourth is a great hardcore-type original. They stuck this onto the CD reissue of the first album, so don't feel compelled to purchase it as a standalone. Don't buy the "surf/punk" hype! You want surf punk, buy you some Dead Kennedys, JFA or Suicidal Tendencies!

Or Tool!

And then take out a scissor and scratch the playing side for about thirty minutes before throwing the piece of shit out the window!

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When You Least Expect It… EP – Enigma 1984
Rating = 6

Aside from the beachy pop winner “It’s Up to Me and You,” this EP sounds pretty mediocre to me, but then I wasn’t there so I don’t get it and am not qualified to comment. Furthermore, my absence from the early ‘80s Orange County punk scene precludes me from noting that two of the four songs are straight cover tunes, of which one (“Out of Limits”) adds nothing to the original and the other (“Somebody to Love”) sucks dicks out loud through a hole in the wall. Also, as I am a music teacher who looks at music like a scientist and listens to melodies and crap like that, who am I to question the worth of a four minute surf-spy instrumental with one part? Listen, me – Agent Orange is a band whose work is impossible to appreciate unless YOU WERE THERE, AT THAT TIME, LISTENING TO IT.

As such, their catalog is completely worthless.

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This Is The Voice - Restless 1986.
Rating = 7


This, to me, is the epitome of what "pop punk" should be. No snotty Juanny Rotten-wannabe vocals. No tinny Archers of Loaf guitars. No overdone sugary Vaselines doodoo log. But full, bold guitar tones, lovely singing that's not too high but not too low, bold brisk production that's kilometers past the last coppola records, and melodies all full of '60s-style Outsiders Beau Brummels The Choir pop goodness. I suppose the vocal hooks can seem a bit samey at times, but it sounds to me like what a punk album by The Monkees would sound like. They're not trying to sound like a bunch of incompetent children such as a Beat Happening or early Green Day. They're just playing beautiful, catchy music to enjoy - some fun, some serious, some sad, some dark, some beautiful. Is it punk? Hell no. But it's got a lot more distorted guitars in it than normal pop music, so I can't think of another moniker that fits quite as well.

Except of course "radio-ready sellout corporate rock," but that's for YOU to argue, Steve Albini. I know you've got your eyes and ears tuned to my site, just waiting to see what I have to say about the latest in microphone technology.

Reader Comments
Do you seriously think that This is the Voice is better than Blonde on Blonde, or do you rate albums in comparison to genres? (Roger Krueger)
Wow, your take on Agent Orange is really different from mine--I find this album as disappointing as Bitchen Summer--It generally fails to have either the driving power or the edginess that made "Living in Darkness" so mindblowingly great. It's probably worth having just for "Say it isn't True", but buy it after you've bought all the other albums. (Gilson Ravagnani)
Yeah, buddy, it really rocks. Since the 80´s I´m diggin´ on LA punk and pop rock scene. Just as The Germs, X, Fear, Minor Threat, TSOL, and the real "Oranges", they influenced lotta guys that was yet to come over next years. And they keep on doing that. But for me - the newcomers - they do not have the same energy and originality such as them. Not even Metallica nowadays, unfortunately. So, This Is The Voice still rocks an´I think they´ll do for the rest of their generations. Long Live these Oranges!


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Virtually Indestructible - Gunka Disc 1996.
Rating = 7

A decade later, Mike Palm gathers a couple of replacement fellows and picks up right where This Is The Voice left off. If you read that review, you know exactly what this album sounds like! Only difference is that there are a few too many tunes on here that are obvious (and bland). In fap, during "Broken Dreams" tonight, my fiancee was astonished to discover that I was playing Agent Orange. Aghast, she exclaimed, "REALLY??? It sounds like friggin' Dave Matthews!" So keep that warning in mind. When Mike Palm runs out of catchy vocal melodies, he can be an insipid soul.

Reader Comments (Roger Krueger)
When Mike remembers that his talent is searing surf-punk-pop he's really, really good. When he veers towards more ballady stuff he loses my interest very quickly. Throw out half the tracks and this is breathtakingly good. But I can't remember the last time I listened to the thing start to finish. If I wanted Dave Matthews, I'd.... I'd hope someone euthanized me.
I love this album as I do all of Agent Orange's music. But, there are three tracks on Virtually Indestructible that are muddy as hell and unlistenable. The songs are, This is All I Need, Wouldn't Last a Day, and Let it Burn. Great compositions and performance--horrible production. Come on Mike, What happened? At least the rerecorded version of Wouldn't Last a Day on Latest and Greatest is much better.

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Greatest & Latest/This, That –N- The Other Thing – Cleopatra 2000.
Rating = 8

Like Dee Dee Ramone's latest, this is Agent Orange re-recording a bunch of classic tunes and a coupla new 'uns. Mike's voice is slightly less smooth, the pop sheen is replaced by solid punk speed rock energy and the song selection is mostly splendid. Kinda forgettable cover of the Weirdos' "Message From The Underworld," though and the new songs sound like outtakes. Other than that, this is the greatest album ever recorded – aside from, obviously, the classic Summer of Love release by those four talented lads from Liverpool.

The Firm's Mean Business.

Reader Comments (David B. Heckman)
okay, i just read all of your agent orange reviews and I've gotta say you are a fucking idiot. why don't you stick to listening to Led Zepplin or some other bullshit band ya fucking cocksmoker! fuck you!
After reading your comments on Agent Orange, I have to say, you missed the point, you missed the scene, you aren't the right person to make this review, but hey, you are entitled to publish your opinions. I'm not going to cuss you out like "vze2jhsu", but props to ya for publishing his bashing. Agent Orange was ahead of their time, creating an original, poppy punk that was a fore-runner of the type to come into vogue some ten years later. They simply rock with a rhythmic style and surf-music sensibility that makes them truly original and one of the great-underrated bands of all time. I'm happy they got back together and hope they come to a club near me 'cuz I missed them the first time around. This was the band, the sound, the style that opened my eyes to a whole new type of music. Sorry you didn't appreciate it more, but, well, taste is subjective. Other readers who may have never heard them, ignore this guy and download a couple mp3s to check it out for yourself.
If it moves you it's great! As long as it's real. I think the best version of Pipeline was recorded by Agent Orange. The point is that Agent orange were original & punchy and broke through to the east coast way back in the 80's when Bon Jovi, Led Zeppelin & Asia were radio mainstays. jkemmery is right... if you weren't in the scene you can't really comment. Nostalgia aside Agent Orange pushed my buttons and still do when I'm "in the mood"; as do Glenn Miller, Black Sabbath, TSOL, Gordon Lightfoot, Tom Petty, The Standells, The Chocolate Watchband, Social Distortion, and Herb Albert. So what am I? I'm a middle aged Punk that appreciates good music regardless of genre and style. Pigeonholing sucks for any band, Some bands have a lot to say politically or socially then there are the ramones & van halen (with David lee) it's all good. I guess I'm just old and irrelevant. Agent Orange is an important band in the history of LA Punk (Dallomus J. Cook)
you are a faggot who the fuck sits around talkin about how much they dont like bands especially on the internet if you dont like it fine dont go around bitchin about how you dont like em and if you dont like em its probly cuz you look at it like a fuckin scientist instead of just listenin to it who the hell listens to melodies and crap like that are you a fuckin music teacher (Todd Murphy)
I will have to agree with most of the competant folk on this site who have rightly assessed the reviewer's musical anemia. As someone who saw a lot of great shows in the thriving 80's punk scene, I have yet to find a band that compares to the unique sound of Agent Orange. The only one I can think of that came close in some of their material was JFA, but Agent Orange is still unique and stands out among those that pioneered the distinctive punk sound that would be called "skate rock." They had a very full and melodic sound (in spite of the fact that they were only a three peice which all the more underscores their talent.) Our expert seems to fault them for being competant musicians who understand that melody is an essential part of all music--punk or otherwise unlike many nameless garage bands that came and went almost unnoticed. This is why Agent Orange has endured and others have not. This is why we who know better still pay homange to these three trail blazers.
Mark, I don't think you have a clue about pr in general and Agent Orange in particular. It's obvious to me that you were never in the scene in the first place by the crap you wrote, and about AO, so for you to put yourself out there as a critic is incredible! Agent Orange was a cutting edge O.C. band that had a unique sound. I'm baffled that you can't hear the talent in Palms writing, and the sound that he and the boys created. "Living in Darkness", is an epic record filled with roaring guitars, strong lead vocals supported with equally strong background vocals, ( known as the "Fullerton call", used also by Adolescents, Social Distortion and T.S.O.L, something you obviously have nerver heard of cause you weren't there), and well put together choruses. Their lyrics were very poinient for the times too. My guess is that your only between 25 and 30 and have sat in your room most of your life like a scared bookworm loner only leaving occasionally to pick up a DK's cd occaisionly to pretent that you know what's hip ( no knock to the Dk's ). If I were you I'd find another line of work, cause you might fool the kids and the clueless, but you will never have any credibility with the people who knew the scene when it happened and lived it.
This is more to the other readers who commented: I think all of YOU people are missing the point. There is absolutely ZERO need, or even use, for a member OF the choir, preaching TO the choir, but that's exactly what you're getting on Mr. Prindle for not doing.

He has reviewed Agent Orange from his perspective and age and geographic location and socio-political level and on and on. First of all, if you are reading HIS reviews on HIS site, you are an complete flippin' MORON to expect him to review anything from YOUR perspective or anyone else's. Sure, if his reviews of AO appeared in Flipside or Maximumrockandroll, you might have a point.

But for Mark Prindle reviews to appear on Mark Prindle's Rock and Roll Record Review site should come as absolutely no surprise to anyone. In addition to that, since it IS his personal site with his name ALL OVER IT, it should not surprise any of you that neither you nor your friends wrote these reviews. Sure, it's in the nature of a review to be agreed or disagreed with (that's what's fun about them), but if you actually get angry about a different opinion, EVEN IF IT IS WAY OFF THE MARK (again, in your opinion), then, as mentioned above, YER A MORON.

For whatever it's worth, I WAS there in the punk days of the early to mid 80s, and in Southern California, and though I dug (and dig!) Agent Orange, those guys were never the be-all, end-all of anything. They were cool, and they did, in fact, record the coolest version of Pipeline. But BFD. I was IN A BAND, by God.

Actually, my attitude toward punk is that the bands that supposedly defined the era and so on didn't move me or any OTHER musicians anywhere NEAR as much as those bands (or punk in general) moved the pathetic punk people. At the time, I thought that it was US against THEM. But it wasn't, of course. You know this as much as I do, from your having interviewed all those punk rock people.

What did you find? Punk rock musicians who DIED (Darby Crash; Sid Vicious), and then there are the musicians who either decided that punk, as a lifestyle, was silliness and moved on (Derrik Bostrom, for one example), or those who continued to be musicians even after punk lost its place in cultural history (Mike Watt springs to mind).

Then, of course, you have the die-hards, the fans, who just cannot let it go (fans who dis you for failing to have "been there") and the super-pathetic musicians who won't move on because they can't go beyond their glory days (the Dead Kennedys springs to mind here).

I am guessing, of course. The Dead Kennedys guys, for example, may lead very interesting and diverse lives outside the band these days, and choose to tour as the DKs because they get to see the former Soviet Bloc that way, or something.

But, you know, even with that possibility, you have to wonder why they don't think about what the public thinks of them (and, more to the point, what THEY would think of THEMSELVES, if they were DKs fans back in the day)and do something a little more dignified. Every dog has its day. But fans have a very good reason to wonder why that day should last for DECADES. I'm a HUGE DKs fan, but I have no interest in seeing them NOW.

And those who are NEW DKs fans need to look at other music. It IS out there.

I remember thinking about this sort of thing when the Dead Kennedys were CURRENT. It never occured to me that those boys would become old, classic rock. It's disappointing.

I remember wondering where rock could go, to still offend parents who grew up on punk. Hip-hop and rap answered that question.

But rock, with guitars, basses and drums, still exists. Why can't people find NEW stuff with those instruments? But the young kids, the new DKs fans, are the very people who I hated back when I was a DKs fan. The kids who had ZERO creativty and just got into Pink Floyd or Led Zepplin. At the time, that was fine, and understandable, but still, not very creative or anything.

Music needs to move on! And so do DK fans, and Agent Orange fans.
WOW... Who the fuck are you?? YOU have a lack of respect for deserving music. Your opinions!!!, well you can keep em. Although these are all opinions so just fuck this site. All are disagreeing with your ignorant remarks, besides a few. Hmm That proves it right there. You should write a review for the Beach Boys or something. Agent Orange doesn't deserve you as part of their audience.

(Spoken in the voice of a fat 41 year old dude "who was there, man!)

You don;t know what you're talkn about man they wer the greatest band ever and fuk dont talk shit you dont know you werent there!!!!

Please. All of you need to leave mom's basement and get lives. Palm Palm! Poodle Head! Poodle Head!

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