Posted in music on November 5, 2013

by Doug Moore

Black Flag

I'm sure you've all been waiting with baited breath, and the moment has now finally arrived: Black Flag's new album, the aptly-titled What The..., is available for streaming in full on Spotify.

The band are continuing to pursue their guerilla-style media strategy of barely telling anyone about what they're doing and when they're doing it, but you should be able to find What The... in stores on 12/3/2013 -- just in time for you to give it as a holiday gift to your favorite nostalgic '80s hardcore ex-kid. For those keeping score, its utterly perplexing cover was evidently designed by once-and-future vocalist Ron Reyes, who had the following to say about it on his Facebook account:

Well I gotta admit that I was the one who designed this. I submitted several designs all of which I liked much better. But this is the one that stuck. Originally it was black n white but then I was asked to add some color. I was aiming for something kinda fun and not serious like some early Descendents art. I fully expected that some folks would hate it. I guess I was right. Does that make me prophetic? Lol. lighten up folks geesh its only rock n roll.
Yeah, lighten up, guys!

Anyhow, you can stream What The... in full below. I'm only a few tracks into it right now, but it...um...doesn't sound all that bad; Greg Ginn's guitar work in particular sounds pretty gnarly and true to BF's mid-era work. Perhaps the album sales will help him recoup the legal fees he lost in his failed suit against FLAG.

Definitely curious to hear what you guys think once you've spun the whole thing. Listen below...

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Tags: Black Flag

Comments (52)

Doug Moore is D!

Posted by Anonymous | November 5, 2013 3:43 PM

I wanted to like it. Really did. Nope.

Posted by Anonymous | November 5, 2013 3:45 PM

D!!!D!!!! What are we supposed to think about this?!!! D!!!!!!!

Posted by Anonymous | November 5, 2013 3:51 PM

This album is seriously terrible. I can't help to hear higher similarities with blink 182 than early hardcore punk bands.

Posted by Anonymous | November 5, 2013 3:54 PM

bated breath

Posted by Anonymous | November 5, 2013 4:03 PM

I cannot stand the bass sound on this. The drums are driving me nuts, too. It's going to prevent me from getting through it. I won't have spun the whole thing before I say "not for me."

Posted by xTAINTx | November 5, 2013 4:07 PM

This music is an embarrassment to everything that was good about Black Flag.

Posted by Woodsy | November 5, 2013 4:11 PM

How many people are regretting their bar tattoos now? All?

Posted by Anonymous | November 5, 2013 4:28 PM

definitely getting this album cover tattooed on my forearm.

Posted by Anonymous | November 5, 2013 4:45 PM

This is silly.

Posted by Anonymous | November 5, 2013 4:56 PM

Terrible artwork aside, I like this OK.

Feel free to sticker that quote on the outside shrinkwrapping, SST Records, if'n you want.

Posted by Anonymous | November 5, 2013 4:56 PM

I was unaware that cover art could be so bad. Thank goodness hardly anybody buys physical product anymore because this would be an embarrassing eyesore in anyone's home.

Posted by Anonymous | November 5, 2013 5:07 PM

...cartman?

Posted by Anonymous | November 5, 2013 5:33 PM

4:45 for the win

Posted by Anonymous | November 5, 2013 5:48 PM

"It looks like shit. What the hell is he doing, printing it from a JPEG? Motherfucker needs to be using TIFF files dude, it looks all computery and damn pixleated"

Posted by Anonymous | November 5, 2013 6:56 PM

*sigh*

Posted by Anonymous | November 5, 2013 7:32 PM

Hey Doug Moore

Let me know when "Flag" the glorified Black Flag cover band with guys who wrote maybe 10% of the band's recorded output (with Dukowski writng all that 10%) puts out new music and then maybe you should critique Black Flag's new albun then.

You and BV should also take your collective nose out of Flag's collective ass with your wishy-washy reception of the new BF which yeah, is better than Off!'s two "albums" combined because it's coming from the original not rehash trying to sound like him like Off! who don't exist without Ginn.

No Keith Morris joining Black Flag, no him starting Circle Jerks.

I'll take a new Black Flag album with new music over a bunch of fiftysomething cash-in cover-playing herbs like Flag any day of the week.

Posted by D | November 5, 2013 7:43 PM

^ questionable D.

Posted by Anonymous | November 5, 2013 7:47 PM

at least the guitar sounds good. terrible bass tone, absolutely awful. boring drums and boring, repetitive vocals. some decent riffs in there though, its a shame greg couldnt get a better band.

Posted by Anonymous | November 5, 2013 7:53 PM

Hey Brooklyn Vegan why don't you investigate why Keith Morris and Henry Rollins tried to hijack the bandname they didn't come up with AND the music they didn't write a single note of with this 2012 trademark application here:

http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=doc&state=4809:17mzyr.2.9

Black Flag formed in 1976.

Keith Morris appeared on exactly TWO Black Flag albums (the second one a collection of outtakes which being outtakes weren't considered good enough for initial release) and left the band in 1979, seven years before the band's breakup.

Rollins joined the band in 1981, a half-decade after the band formed and wrote ZERO music for the band. He basically walked into an already established band (like John Joseph did with Cro-Mags.)

So where the fuck do these two get off trying to take the name and music from Greg Ginn?

Posted by D | November 5, 2013 7:56 PM

Quiet down, D, and get back to your shift at Jiffy Lube.

Posted by Anonymous | November 5, 2013 8:10 PM

D really changed my mind on this issue, yessir.

Posted by Anonymous | November 5, 2013 8:22 PM

8:10pm First I worked at C-Town now I work at Jiffy Lube LOL. Can I work on your car? Make sure the breaks don't work :)

8:22pm Glad I changed your mind. You ass.

Answer me:

Where do two guys who didn't name or write a single note of music for Blck Flag get off trying to own the name and music?

Posted by D | November 5, 2013 8:34 PM

Henry lived in the shed.

Posted by Anonymous | November 5, 2013 8:47 PM

D, a car has brakes, not breaks. I thought you of all people would know.

Posted by Anonymous | November 5, 2013 9:01 PM

At least Henry was young, D lives in a shed and is 42 years old.

Posted by Anonymous | November 5, 2013 10:21 PM

I find that most critics, who slam the "return" of a band - never really liked them in the first place. It was just a t-shirt, and an "identity" that various media told them was "safe" and "acceptable." Psuedo rebellion really. Yet, when a NY Dolls, or The Stooges, or whoever give it another go - it gets bashed because, you guessed it, they never really liked THE MUSIC in the first place. On, on another note, yes, the cover made me cringe. But as an old schooler, let me tell you, the cover to Slip It In made me cringe too when first released. Let's face it, the cover to Slip It In is downright insipid - though I'm fond of it now. The music made me change my mind. What the real BF is doing now, is not out of step with later period Black Flag. Greg's other band Good For You is pretty much the sequel to In My Head. To quote Lou Reed from the Warhol Diaries, most of you need to go home and kill yourselves!! Kisses!

Posted by Chuck Nolan | November 5, 2013 11:25 PM

D has integrity. Learn about it, hipster fags.

Posted by Anonymous | November 5, 2013 11:51 PM

Critics are calling it everything from "shit" to "fucking shit"

Posted by Anonymous | November 6, 2013 1:14 AM

Never heard of this but it sounds very interesting "Black Flag". Thank you for sharing this, hope to know more and read more essay about it.

Posted by dissertation help | November 6, 2013 5:08 AM

Not sure if it's because I'm in the UK, but only tracks 2, 5 and 12 will play for me here and on Spotify. "What the..." indeed.

Posted by Anonymous | November 6, 2013 7:48 AM

Lucky for me I guess, since I was never really crazy about this band in the first place. They never really hit me as much as some other punk bands did around the time they started coming out with stuff.

Also, from what I've noticed, Raymond Pettibon always struck me as an anti-social dweeb who thought he was above others. The spoken word material I've heard from Henry Rollins seems to also suggest that.

Just how I see it.

Posted by Anonymous | November 6, 2013 10:43 AM

uhh, D, I hate to tell you this buddy, but Rollins was involved in writing lyrics on some of the songs from "My War" in '84 right up until "In My Head" in '85. Anyway, enjoy the album!

Posted by Anonymous | November 6, 2013 11:57 AM

D has autism. Cut him a break.

Posted by Anonymous | November 6, 2013 12:23 PM

This should be called "Why The...?" - this is really not good at all.

Posted by Anonymous | November 6, 2013 12:25 PM

All politics & D'ing aside, this just isn't very good. (I tried listening again.)

Posted by xTAINTx | November 6, 2013 12:25 PM

D (D)elivers pizzas at (D)omino's.

Posted by Anonymous | November 6, 2013 4:48 PM

Son, my boy D got opinions that destroy you like 42 decks... And his unwavering comment stamina is proof he be shooting up on that golden brown colored hummus with uncut Phyto-Nuttients. Don't f*ck with D, or you get the D in the B... Knameen?

Posted by Anonymous | November 7, 2013 2:03 PM

11:57pm WOW! Rollins was involved in writing lyrics to some of the music written by Ginn in the final two years of the band's decade-long existence, so that gives him the right to co-own with Keith Morris the bandname neither he nor Morris came up with and the music neither he nor Morris wrote. Bullshit to that.

Oh yeah *brakes not breaks LOL.

Posted by D | November 7, 2013 2:10 PM

I'm saying it right here and now:

Black Flag existed 1976-86.

Keith Morris was in the band for only 1976-79. He did not co-found or name the band, nor did he recruit any members or write any music for the band. He appeared on only two albums where the second one was released after he left the band because he was a druggie. Henry Rollins joined the band in 1981, midway into the band's existence. He essentially walked into an already established band.

These two attempting to trademark the bandname they didn't come up with AND the music they didn't write in 2012, 26 years after the band broke up is a hijacking of the bandname, nothing more, nothing less, and anyone who disagrees should wipe the imaginary cum of Morris and/or Rollins from their lips (since they're not gonna physically/actually suck their dicks) and realize that is fucked up wrong.

That ruling against Ginn and in favor of Morris-Rollins was absolutely ridiculous (Rollins never quit the band that's been dead for 25+ years and as if there is absolute proof he quit it LOL) and only the first step in what will be a long legal battle Morris and Rollins will lose because any judge who can't see that neither Morris nor Rollins had anything to do with the naming of the band or music writing of the band is a blind idiot, taking money under the table, or some fanboy.

Posted by D | November 7, 2013 2:19 PM

Furthermore, Morris and Rollins attempting to hijack the name and music was done in direct concert with Morris's forming of Flag. Morris, a guy who ought to thank his lucky stars Ginn chose him to be the vocalist over a SLEW of local Cali guys who could've EASILY sang for Black Flag, wants it all. Fuck him.

Btw why does Rollins want to co-own the name and the music of a band he hasn't been part of since 1986? He's not making enough money with his radio show, spoken word, and whoring himself out for bit roles in Hollywood movies, modeling, and commercials? He needs another house or expensive car or something? I mean he's not even part of Flag let alone doing ANY music.

Posted by D | November 7, 2013 2:24 PM

Oh yeah, did Morris and Rollins inform Ginn that they were gonna trademark the bandname and music? Did they email, write, or best of all CALL Ginn to let him know that? If not then they are cowards who trademarked the name and music on the sneak. Tell Ginn what you're gonna do if you're gonna steal his art.

If Flag was formed to play only charity shows, ok, and I bet Ginn would've had no problem with it like he didn't have a problem with Morris and Rollins doing Black Flag cover sets and tribute album to benefit The Memphis Three on which even Kira Roessler appeared on. I'd venture to say Ginn didn't care about Flag doing shows for profit UNTIL he saw that Morris and Rollins, a guy who isn't even part of Flag, tried to steal his band's name and music.

Bottom line is Morris is greedy, he wants it all like Tony Montana from Scarface, and Rollins wants in on the action, too, and if I read one more "Ginn screwed them over" retort, ok WHY HAVEN'T THEY SUED GINN FOR ROYALTIES? Rollins has had a big time lawyer for years, probably ever since Rollins Band hit MTV and the Lollapalooza circuit. Sue Ginn or shut up, and you're a fucking idiot for appearing on albums by a popular band and not securing any profits from them in writing.

Posted by D | November 7, 2013 2:42 PM

Greg Ginn should fire his lawyer and put D on the case, clearly.

Posted by Anonymous | November 7, 2013 4:50 PM

^ Hahaha his lawyer sucks ass. How'd a judge rule Rollins never left a band that broke up 26 years ago until Ginn brought it back without Rollins this year?

Rollins never quit the band yet he's not in the current BF lineup? HUH?

Posted by D | November 7, 2013 9:00 PM

*27 years ago

Posted by D | November 7, 2013 9:01 PM

I'm tired about hearing how Henry Rollins and Keith Morris wrote "zero music" for Hlack Flag. 11:57 is right on regarding Henry's involvement with the later songs, and Keith co-wrote "Don't Care," "Wasted," and "Red Tape" (the last of which Black Flag never recorded in a studio, but they had it in their setlist prior to Keith leaving and playing it with the Circle Jerks).

No one really questions that the key Black Flag member was Greg Ginn and that he wrote the majority of the music, but the other members (including Henry, Dukowski, Kira, Stevenson, Dez, etc.) all contributed to different songs and you can't discount that just because it undermines your blindly pro-Ginn position. Ginn wrote the lion's share of material, but that doesn't give him the right to stiff everyone else out of royalties.

As for the new album, it's got cool guitar playing and not much else. Ginn should have recruited more original members, and this shows more than anything that Black Flag was a team effort. It's been removed off Spotify anyway now (at least in the USA), so whatever. I'm sure Ron Reyes will regret it later when he never gets a check or even a statement in the mail.

Posted by Anonymous | November 8, 2013 12:50 PM

I don't think anyone here even knows (myself included) what any of this copyright business even means. It's all legal language. Also, Ginn's lawyers didn't exactly lose the case, I'm pretty sure that the judges refused to see it due to technicalities. Also, that ruling was for Flag, not Rollins and Morris.

I don't think by requesting copyright Rollins and Morris were asserting that they wrote any material or designed the logo. I figure that the logo and band name are things that are often associated with their name and image, so it's totally reasonable that they'd want some compensation for that.

Posted by Anonymous | November 21, 2013 12:01 AM

black flag is dead. has been.

Posted by Anonymous | December 15, 2013 7:55 PM

Who gives a shit about Ron Reyes' reborn Xtian ass? Bunch of fucking fools.

Posted by Anonymous | December 15, 2013 8:45 PM

2 words review :
What shit...

Posted by SpinalTap | January 14, 2014 3:11 AM

I expected the worst, but i don't think this is as horrid as people are saying. I wish the drums and vocals were mixed higher.

Posted by Anonymous | January 22, 2014 7:23 PM

Doesn't say if Henry is playing on this......its pretty good anyway. Whatever you say about Black Flag they had their own sound. Bit of a cliche to say but you get what you pay for. If you like their stuff-you won't be disappointing by this!!!!! Classic raw energy.

Posted by Nevaeh | February 27, 2014 5:59 AM

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