Friday, March 26, 2021

Third Year Freshman - Demo Cassette


Self Released (Probably 1995 or 1996)

So, here we have a change.  A tape I bought on purpose.  This is a demo tape by the band Third Year Freshman from West Chester, PA.  The poppy punk scene in northern NJ that I was hanging around in when I first started college in 95/96 was a ton of fun.  But it also wasn't made up exclusively by bands from NJ.  Weston, Plow United and Third Year Freshman were a big part of that scene and would come up from PA all the time to play shows.  I'm going to paraphrase something that I heard a person say once: m"You always love your weirdest kid the most."  That was Third Year Freshman.

And they were my favorite local band in that little scene.  Fronted by Tom Martin, armed with an acoustic guitar and a bevy of crazy ass songs, it was impossible to not love them.  Mid 90s pop punk was pretty goofy as a whole, but Tom & crew always took it to the next level.  I have so many great memories seeing them play our local shows and always pulling off something crazy.  

My strongest memory was when they played at Flipside records, opening up for a Mr. T Experience in store.  Except the Mr. T Experience got lost and never showed up.  Third Year Freshman played for a while that day trying to fill time as we tried to figure out what was going on (this is 1996, so not real cell phones or GPS to speak of back then).  They made up songs about some of the people who randomly came in to shop and I remember a song about a patron in a red sweatshirt that was particularly excellent.

This tape is from my favorite era of the band, when their drummer only played a snare drum and just stood up next to the other two members of the band.  I saw them with a full on drummer a bunch too, but there was something magical about that snare only line up.  The first thing that's interesting about this tape is that it contains some songs from the band's only CD, Senior Year.  But most of the versions on this tape are completely different and feature the snare only version of the band, whereas the CD has a full drummer.  Maybe they were taking these songs for another spin once the lineup changed.  I'm extremely certain the CD with the full drummer came before they switched to the snare only line up.

It also features "Disneyland." Arguably one of my favorite songs of theirs that ended up coming out on their split 7" with Wally.  That 7" is the record that I think really captured the band at their peak (and their magnum opus "Two Days Ago I Turned Punk Rock" from the Dad, I Can't Breathe compilation).  But this tape is such a fun nostalgic listen for me and I'm pretty psyched one popped up on Discogs last year.

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