No Use For a Name Leche Con Carne!, 1995
I came to No Use For a Name all at once, really. They were on the first Fat Wreck Chords comp I ever bought (Volume 4: Life in the Fat Lane. Purchased because I was buying all the Me First and the Gimme Gimmes songs I could find) with "Coming Too Close" which was on More Betterness in 1999.
Quick Fun Fact: I thought that Leche Con Carne! was the album that immediately preceded More Betterness, but I was wrong and I found that out when looking up their discography for this post. Making Friends was released in between them in 1997. So, I guess we're always learning new ways we're wrong.
So, it wasn't like there was a No Use album that was a beacon of truth and hope in a time of darkness or anything. It was more of a "This is a band that's good. They have a bunch of albums" situation.
But I always come back to this one. I think it's because it sits on the sweet spot between their rougher past and their more polished future. There are fast punky songs, sure, but they're songs with pop sensibilities and hooks and messages and just...all of it. It also helps that two of my favorite No Use songs are on this album (see below). And the 80's cover medley secret track at the end certainly doesn't hurt one bit.
If I was a betting man and I wasn't me, I would have put all my chips on my picking Hard Rock Bottom for this list. It's the first "new" No Use album I heard and it was introduced to my by a cute girl and accompanied a couple of us on some road trips and all of that. And it was a close race between these two albums. But in the end, it's the classic feel that won me over this time.
Lead singer Tony Sly died in July 2012 and I was surprised by how saddened I was. When I stop to think about it, his voice and presence WAS a beacon of truth and hope in a time of darkness.
It makes watching a fun, silly video a little bittersweet, seeing him just being goofy with his buds.
And here are the aforementioned favorite tracks. These are two of my favorite tracks out of all of the No Use stuff I've ever heard.
No Use For a Name - Justified Black Eye (my friend Riley (who has come up on these posts before) thought that it was "Justified Black Guy" for a while when he first heard it in high school)
No Use For a Name - Straight From the Jacket (this might be my favorite No Use song of all time)
I'll also include the Amazon link for a recently released tribute album with the profits going to The Tony Sly Foundation, which I *believe* helps out his family. But I can't find a lot of info about it.