Meet Tony Molina: Bay Area Hardcore Veteran Unfurls Decadent Guitar Pop
Hear 'Walk Away,' from the former Ovens frontman's excellent February full-length, 'Dissed and Dismissed'
“It’s funny,” Tony Molina says, “you know how people only like the first two Weezer records? I kinda like the later shit, man! I mean, it’s not the same, and Pinkerton‘s still my favorite, but it’s good. I like the Green Album. I like Maladroit. They got tracks, man!”
For those more familiar with Molina’s longtime contributions to the Bay Area hardcore community — as, most recently, the frontman for Caged Animal — that sentiment may come as a bit of a surprise. But earlier this year, the Millbrae, California native (and former engine behind beloved local noise-pop outfit, Ovens) released Dissed and Dismissed, a seismic solo offering (on Melters) that unfurls decadent guitar melodies with the same brevity and ferocity of hardcore. It’s 12 songs in 12 glorious minutes, with nods to Weezer, Dinosaur Jr., Gin Blossoms, Teenage Fanclub, and Guided by Voices, whose ”Wondering Boy Poet,” from 1993’s Vampire on Titus, is covered faithfully here. “I’ve always written short songs,” he says drily. “It’s just easier, I guess.”
The album came together unexpectedly last June, when a failed attempt to record with Ovens prompted Molina to take some new material into the studio on his own. Though he’s only just played his first show under his own name, he’s already been back to record more: Last week, Molina, 28, returned to the studio to put to tape a new set of songs that will appear on forthcoming 7-inches from Slumberland and Matador, respectively. “I’ve been playing hardcore for as long as I’ve been writing pop music, since I was a kid,” he says. “But to me, hardcore is about being in a band, and pop’s more about writing and recording. I’m always going to want to try playing in a new hardcore band. But I also love the idea of trying to make something that gives you the feeling you get when you hear a Teenage Fanclub record. It’s rewarding — even if it’s just for myself — because I can take those songs to the studio and hear them back. I don’t know how to describe it, it’s just my favorite music. It’s perfect music, man.”
Below, hear album highlight “Walk Away.”