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Every Rx Bandits Album Ranked Worst To Best

The impossible to define, label, categorize, or speak ill of the band known as Rx Bandits have a sterling catalog that is truly amazing sans any hyperbole, but what is even more incredible is that a formerly straight-up, run-of-the-mill third-wave ska-punk act is now a hipster-approved iconic group of gentlemen… Much respect to ‘em, but an ample amount of disrespect to their home, Orange County, the birthplace of the alt-right and general douchiness! Thankfully the band’s longtime producer and collaborator is the antithesis of a douche. Mr. F perfectly captured the band in different ways on various LPs, so he deserves props for all he has done. Anyway, read on and accept that all of these rankings are objectively correct.

8. Demo(nstration) (1996)

You have to start somewhere, and the Rx Bandits literally did such at the bottom with the creatively named “Demo(nstration),” which was released during ska’s peak, and that certainly benefited all involved. However, as professional haters that have more qualifications than you miscreants spouting hot garbage, we can’t justify this one being ranked higher than the dreaded last spot, and we know that the band will certainly agree with our not-so-hot take, but like we alluded to earlier, you sure won’t. These recordings may be youthful and endearing, but they are so low quality that maybe the release shouldn’t have been made public. Band-aids may be for THE soul, but duct tape is better, and RXB managed to prove that they could (wait for it, wait for it) cover up their past with seven, yes seven, more LPs, all of which are superior to this effort.

Play it again: “Band-Aid (For My Soul)”
Skip it: “Teen Idol” for its whack lyrics, and, speaking of such, eventually we will say “skip it” to track one on their Drive-Thru Records debut that we will wax poetic about soon; you know we’re right.

7. Those Damn Bandits (1997)

Those damn (Pharmaceutical) bandits definitely grew a bunch on their sophomore LP “Those Damn Bandits,” but in what sounds like an insulting jab is actually a sincere compliment because they got even better and better afterwards! “Those Damn Bandits” is likely what brought you, dear reader, here unless it didn’t, as it was originally released via Antedote Records, and re-released on Drive-Thru Records, also eventual home to (A) New Found Glory, Midtown, Finch, and Sheryl Crow, just one year later as their first of four RXB LPs for the glorious tastemaker label. Fun fact: Members of the superhero act known as The Aquabats and underrated ska-punk superstars Jeffries Fan Club guest on “Those Damn Bandits.”

Play it again: “S.A.M.”
Skip it: Same as the above

6. Gemini, Her Majesty (2014)

“Gemini, Her Majesty” is better than the first two entries here combined X G2G, but it is our least favorite one from this century. Cheer up, Stargazers, we still love it because ANY Rx Bandits music is GOOD music, with the exception of youthfully ignorant pejorative and inflammatory termed songs. Released on RXB frontman, Dispatch touring member, The (enigmatic) Sound of Animals Fighting’s (The) Walrus, and seemingly genuine affable guy, Matt Embree’s MDB Records, which stands for Mash Down Babylon Records, likely named such because of the song by Chosen Brother and Rhythm of Sound, RXB took the power back and showcased such! Please release more music, gents!

Play it again: “Ruby Cumulous”
Skip it: “Penguin Marlin (possibly another typo unless it isn’t) Brando”

5. Halfway Between Here and There (1999)

“Halfway Between Here and There” is, without question, hesitation, second thought, or filter, the band’s best album from the 20th Century, and this time we mean it now or never! This album is rad as Bad Company for the most part, not just because of its high-quality songs, but the fact that it took the multi-piece band outside of their comfort zones and literally the cigarette butt and feces-covered Orange County. Proof? Ok. We’re gonna corner you with some tourmates from this album’s cycle: The Bloodhound Gang, Goldfinger, Reel Big Fish, and Allen Ginsberg’s spirit who helped co-write (the) Beat Generation’s classic manifesto poem “Howl,” also known as “Howl for Carl Solomon (Schechter)”.

Play it again: “Gun In Your Hand”
Skip it: The album opener “What If,” as it has dated and cringe language that wouldn’t fly in 2023, no matter how catchy and infectious the song is

4. Mandala (2009)

Rx Bandits’ seventh and lucky full-length studio album, has insanely epic album cover art by Sonny Kay, who also designed unbelievable album covers for The Mars Volta, The Locust, 311, yes, 311, and Sergei “Two-Tone Ska King” Rachmaninoff, and a freeform yet huge sound that most four-pieces could never replicate if they tried. Since we sang Matt Embree’s name to the heavens in an earlier section of this album ranking piece, we need to give more sweaty hugs to guitarist/keyboardist Steve “The Fall Of” Choi, Joseph Troy “Which Rhymes With Choi,” Chris “Try To Pronounce My Last Name” Tsagakis, and their Cousin Oliver for absolutely shredding in a non-destructive way on “Mandala,” your high school jazz band teacher’s second favorite LP, of which Medeski Martin & Wood’s avant-groove “Shack-man,” and not WCW’s Shockmaster, will reign supreme.

Play it again: “My Lonesome Only Friend”
Skip it: “White Lies”

3. …And the Battle Begun (2006)

Rx Bandits’ first and only effort to start with an ellipses, and also first non-Drive-Thru Records release that wasn’t their ok, on the cusp of good, but certainly far from superb debut record. This was where the band entered the Hipster Training Academy School To School Plebs, and they freaking graduated with honors, recorded this boundary-pushing, original in the best way, chaotic, and pretty like a pretty picture that is pretty LP in 2005 and 2006, and released “…And the Battle Begun” in the fall of 2006. In closing, Bruce Lee, Nacho Libre, the inventor of Pogs, and your stoner uncle all love this album!

Play it again: “In Her Drawer”
Skip it: “One Million Miles an Hour, Fast Asleep”

2. The Resignation (2003)

“The Resignation,” Rx Bandits’ fifth full-length studio album and last for the aforementioned Drive-Thru Records is ranked in the golden spot approximately ⅓ of the year, but it’s not that time of month for the band, so it’s sitting prettily and/or angrily in the silver slot. Because of such, it is the first of two LPs to, uh, skip a “skip it” section in this piece, and we can sleep soundly knowing that we documented such for y’all. Also, a little birdie told us that “The Resignation” was recorded live at North Hollywood’s now-closed Wishbone Studios, owned by members of Blind Melon, completely live, with various overdubs and other musical intricacies to eventually follow. Not too many bands could effectively do this well, or at all, but there is only one Rx Bandits, and even Big Pharma proudly backs ‘em! Prophetic.

Play it again: All of it or we resign
Skip it: None of it or we malign

1. Progress (2001)

Like we said in the last section of this piece, this one is a “no skip” LP. Progress? Yes, quite literally. In our hottest take here, we need to say on paper that “Progress” is easily the best ska or ska-adjacent full-length studio album to be released this century, and it deserves far more praise than it received then and gets to this day. We mentioned other RXB band members earlier, but also want to shout out former multi instrumentalist, author, teacher, and TSOAF patriarch Rich “ard” Balling, and bassist James “Blunt” Salomone for their hard work and progressive performances on “Progress.” Rumor has it that this LP was originally called “Artificial Intelligence and the Fall of Technology,” which not only sounds like a Fall Out Boy song, but is a weak album title. Still, what we say to you goes in one ear and out the other.

Play it again: 0:00-52:43
Skip it: Regression