Punkémon: Gotta Rock 'Em All!
“What’s eating me is tasting you!”
Grab your guitar and rock out with your pal Lickitung this week with Punkémon: Gotta Rock 'Em All! Pressed for the first time ever on vinyl this project lost to time has finally been reborn in the form of a deluxe 7" inch release from Sounds Rad. Originally conceived and released digitally on eMusic in 1999 this new 2017 release came as quite a surprise to many Pokémon and video game vinyl collectors, and might still be a mystery to some of you. Are you ready to rock 'em all?
Reborn from the crazy 1999 idea to form a Pokémon TV band based off the brand new craze from Japan, Punkémon is now here to send you reeling in its glorious punk filled grooves. Gotta Rock 'Em All!! is the wild and insanely clever fever dream project from Dr. Frank (Frank Portman) and Chris Appelgren members of MTX, the Phantom Surfers, Peechees, and the Hi-Fives. As a 7" release, this two-song record packs an insanely nostalgic, and memorable punch that will leave you singing long after it’s done spinning.
With only two songs, what this release lacks in length more than makes up for in awesome punk centric music. Punk is a genre I never associated with Pokémon before, and honestly, it works so well. The arrangements and musical styling complement the awesome aesthetic that Pokémon has to offer and totally makes for a unique experience. Side A is Dr. Frank's track "Lickitung" which is the more melodic of the two songs giving you that range in tempo, composition, and poppy flair that Bubblegum Punk is known for. The synthetic tones mixed with the flashy guitar is just a smile-inducing trip that is addictive and incredibly playful from beginning to end! Side B's "Pocket Monsters" track is your more straight forward fast punk song that delivers a weighty punch that closes this album out beautifully. The drums by Chris Appelgren are tight, and totally in the pocket from lead-in groove to lead-out, and the lyrics present in both tracks are really clever and fun. The imagery used made me want to laugh right along as it was spinning and adds an extra characteristic flair to the music here! Fans of Pokémon and punk alike owe it to themselves to hear these songs!
As the first release I ever picked up from Sounds Rad, I have to say I'm very impressed. The amount of love that was poured into making this a collector's item is absolutely cool. You can tell that they cared about this project and what it meant to be brought back for the artists who made it. Packed and shipped in a lovingly designed Gameboy style box with "stickers" slapped all along the back and side just adds more fuel to the nostalgic fire that this album exudes. As mentioned in the article Dr. Frank wrote about his experience with bringing this project back with Sounds Rad, this whole adventure was a wild ride of emotions and memories for everyone involved. Riding the hype train of the recently released Pokémon GO! seemed as good a time as any to end this project's 19-year hiatus and Sounds Rad was the exact right company to do it. Given the freedom on how to package and release this project, Dr. Frank and the team at Sounds Rad spared no expense in delivering a lovingly crafted tribute to what was a long lost project. The Lickitung designed by Dominique Ramirez for the cover, sticker, and enamel pin included in the box is super cute and goes a long way in adding to this unique release. Mastering here was carried out by Peter Matter at Planet-X Recording and cut by Dave at Lucky Lacquers. Taking those original 1999 recordings from a discovered DAT file and turning them into what they sound like today was no small feat I'm sure. Pete and Dave were able to breathe new life into the almost twenty-year-old recordings and give them a new rich sound that makes for a very enjoyable listening experience by today’s standards. Everything is crystal clear, loud, and cuts right through the tonearm in an elegant and punchy way, it really sounds great!
This whole release is brimming from groove to groove with polish and shows in every aspect of its presentation. The love and respect that was given to the original recording down to the deluxe packaging and beautiful color record makes for a unique album that anyone would be lucky to add to their collection. Definitely use a Master Ball on this one!
Remastered for vinyl by:
Vinyl produced & distributed by:
Where to Buy?
While fairly niche at the time of its release it quickly sold out upon orders being opened up. The standard version of this release is fairly easy to find around the web from distributors and other sellers if you look around a bit! The deluxe version with all of its extras will probably be on the harder side to find but is definitely something I recommend to anyone who loves the music present here to find if at all possible. There is also a pink variant floating around that was exclusive to the band members live shows, so keep an eye out if you are looking for that version. Hopefully, at some point, this project and its deluxe version is something that can be redone for those that missed out!