Choke The Pope: First, Last, and Favorite

Welcome to 'First, Last, and Favorite,' our column for sorting out the influences of the bands we love. We get to ask artists to give us a three record glimpse into their development; a FIRST album that was a youthful epiphany, that LAST thing they heard that's staying in heavy rotation, and of course a FAVORITE that never gets old. This week we've got Choke The Pope here to offer us a glimpse into the records that shaped their sensibilities.

Choke The Pope are Seattle basement-circuit veterans who just released their third full-length, Who Cares, cassette only from the Den Tapes label. Their sound is a bit of a throwback to the 90s heyday of west-coast pop-punk, using that hooky sugar-rush of sound as a vessel to voice all the frustrations and anxieties of millennial living. The results are a hyper-active release of all that pent-up tension of trying to get by in the mad, modern world. Who Cares is out now, and if you wanna dig into the back catalog, it's all up on bandcamp. Here's a little taste of the group at work:

All four pope chokers were kind enough to contribute; we've got bassist Jon Oddo, Paul Davis on drums, Sean Dwyer on guitar, and lead-vocalist Nick Vazquez. So let's dig into the records stuck in the heads of Choke the Pope:


Jon Oddo: Iron Chic Not Like This

Alright, so this record came out in 2010 so obviously not the first record I ever purchased or anything like that, but I do trace a lot of what I’ve been listening to and getting into for the last eight years back to this record. Everything about this record rocks.

Paul Davis: Green Day Dookie

This was one of the first records I ever got. I got it right when I was starting to play the drums so of course I wanted to be Tre Cool and learn all his parts. 

Sean Dwyer: Rancid …And Out Come The Wolves

This album (along with Paul’s pick, Dookie) were what made me want to play in bands.

Nick Vazquez: The Arrogant Sons of Bitches The Arrogant Sons of Bitches

 I was exposed to this before I even knew who Jeff Rosenstock was, and he still remains one of my favorite artists of all time.


Jon Oddo: Culture Abuse Bay Dream

This came out a couple of months ago and I haven’t stopped listening to it since. Definitely a more polished and produced sound than their earlier stuff and I’m so into it.

Paul Davis: Band of Skulls Himalayan

It's not their newest album but its been in my rotation ever since it came out. I'm a sucker for power trios that straight up rock. Can't go wrong with this band and album.

Sean Dwyer: A. Savage Thawing Dawn

This has been my last obsession. I stumbled on this record and fell in love with everything about it - the music, the lyrics, the production, the everything.


Nick Vazquez: Mike Krol I Hate Jazz

Sean, our guitarist, pretty recently showed this album to me, specifically the song Fifteen Minutes. The whole record rules though.


Jon Oddo: Hot Water Music No Division

My favorite album by my favorite band. I can appreciate everything in the HWM catalog but I always end up coming back to this one in particular. 

Paul Davis: Streetlight Manifesto Somewhere In The Between

Yup I was a ska kid growing up, but so were Nick and Sean so I know I'm not alone here. But this album will never get old for me. Plus I just saw them recently so it was nice to hear some of these songs live again.

Sean Dwyer: Built to Spill Keep It Like A Secret

This is my all time favorite album. So much riffy guitar goodness. I will forever love anything Built to Spill puts out, but this album holds a special place in my heart.

Nick Vazquez: Modest Mouse The Lonesome Crowded West

MM will always be one of my favorite bands. I love this album dearly and a lot of its lyrical content is still very relatable.