Solid Gold Balls – Dream Is Real

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© 2014
Rating: ★★★★★★★★☆☆

solid-gold-ballsSo, of course, I’m going to mention that this band is named Solid Gold Balls. Right off the bat it garners attention. After you get past the initial thoughts of “is this going to be schlock?”, “um, ok, humor band?”, or “seriously?” and you start to listen to the tracks, you are rewarded with something perhaps better than expected.

The songs are straight forward rock and roll with musical influences ranging from Sonic Youth, Presidents of the United States of America, and maybe Beck. Lyrically the tracks are fun and generally speaking very kid/family friendly. (at least on the surface). Rhyming pony with Rice-a-Roni, for example gives you an inkling of an idea about how the other songs might go. On an amusing note, Google Play Music has every last of the 14 tracks on Dream Is Real listed as explicit. … I feel this is akin to the PMRC advisory labels of yore.

Heck, I think if this release were cleaned up a little bit, especially in regards to track 11: Favorite Things, it would be a potential candidate for Mike Park’s family/kids label Fun Fun Records.

Content, or interpretation thereof notwithstanding, Dream Is Real brings you 14 solid tracks of catchy fun poppy punk rock delivered with a solid band and song craft behind them. The only major drawback for me is that perhaps the songs are too saccharine. If you listen to hard things can come off as trite. So I suggest sitting back, relaxing a bit, and not taking things so damn seriously.

–Jerry Actually

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Getting to Know Solid Gold Balls

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sgb1

1. MATT
Who are you and who does what in the band?
I’m Matt Souther. I play bass and really bring the backup singing to the next level.

How would you best describe the sound?
Not really basement rock, but more garage rock, with lyrics about how the fucking kids have made a mess out of the garage.

Dream rock moment (real or not)?
My dream has always been to see the country in a van. I’ve seen the west half of it in previous bands, but still wish to see the east, and now I’m pretty keene on seeing Europe from a van too.
And I too fantasize about playing SNL. Hopefully on a night when Natalie Portman hosts.

Still got day jobs?
Sort of, I own my own business, and co-own another business with Dan the drummer, laser engraving shit.

Any regrets?
Not doing this band sooner, back in the 90’s when they were handing out record deals to anyone with a shitty guitar and a loud amp who was also head to toe in flannel.
Read the rest of this entry »

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Street Dogs European Tour

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Street Dogs just announced a European headliner in August with Bishops Green as support. If you could post these dates on your website that would be greatly appreciated. Please let me know if you’d like to set up any interviews or other press with the bands. Thank you!

http://www.facebook.com/streetdogs
http://bishopsgreen.ca/

8/6 – London, England – Underworld
8/7 – Blackpool, England – Rebellion Festival
8/8 – Winchester, England – Boomtown Fair
8/9 – Torgau, Germany – Endless Summer
8/10 – Frankfurt, Germany – 11er Club
8/11 – Lindau, Germany – Club Vaudeville
8/12 – Eindhoven, Netherlands – Dynamo
8/13 – Oberhausen, Germany – Kulttempel
8/14 – München, Germany – Backstage
8/15 – Portomaggiore/Ferrara, Italy – What Is Rock? Festival*
8/16 – Stemwede, Germany – Stemweder Open Air Fest*

* – denotes no Bishops Green

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Bum City Saints – Ride The Storm

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© 2014 Pirates Press Records
Rating: ★★★★★★★★★☆

bum_city_saints_ride_the_stormArriving more or less hot off the heels of their prior full-length, Spirit of the City, San Francisco’s own hard as fuck punk rockers, Bum City Saints are back with a new EP. (See, I told you new stuff was on the way, didn’t I?)

The “Ride The Storm” EP batters its way through five original tracks and one glorious cover. The songs are almost entirely done at a breakneck pace and clocking in at, for the most part, well under the two minute mark. If the track times alone are an indication, let me reinforce that by saying this EP rocks it out hard core from start to finish.

If you’re not all that familiar with the band, they’ve been rocking the Bay area since around 2007. Their music is a tight blend of punk and hardcore. The band, at least by sound, wears the street punk mantle with the Oi style sing-along whoa whoa whoas and the blue collar ethos. I’ve also noticed a progression towards some trash-esque melody in their later releases.

With multiple releases this year, the band is continuing strong. Three cheers for Bum City Saints! If you’d like to find out more about the band or check out their summer tour dates, hit up their facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/BumCitySaints

–Jerry Actually

Tracks:
1. Crush All
2. Bury Me
3. Into The Fire
4. From Ashes Rise
5. Calling Us Away
6. Eye Of The Tiger

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Less Than Jake Tour Dates

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LTJ have a new release out called “Do The Math”.

The a-side is from last year’s exceptional See the Light album while the b-side is a previously unreleased original titled “Connect the Dots” from their See The Light recording sessions. Read what drummer Vinnie Fiorello had to say about this single below:

“The song is an important one to everyone in the band, it encapsulates being through ups and downs in life- not only remembering who was there for you but also who is still around. The notion that you have to carry this heavy weight around on your shoulders becomes null and void when you realize the people, places, and things that matter the most in your life.”

You can catch them this summer on VANS WARPED TOUR, dates below!

06/13/14 Houston, TX at Reliant Park-Main Street Lot
06/14/14 San Antonio, TX at AT&T Center
06/15/14 Dallas, TX at Gexa Energy Pavilion
06/17/14 Albuquerque, NM at Isleta Amphitheater
06/18/14 Mesa, AZ at Quail Run Park
06/19/14 Las Vegas, NV at Luxor Lot
06/20/14 Pomona, CA at Pomona Fairplex
06/21/14 Mountain View, CA at Shoreline Amphitheatre
06/22/14 Ventura, CA at Seaside Park
06/25/14 Chula Vista, CA at Sleep Train Amphitheatre
06/26/14 Sacramento, CA at Sleep Train Amphitheatre
06/28/14 Southeast Auburn, WA at White River Amphitheater
06/29/14 Portland, OR at Portland Expo Center
07/02/14 St Louis, MO at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
07/03/14 Indianapolis, IN at Klipsch Music Center
07/04/14 Toronto, ON Canada at Molson Cadadian Amphitheatre
07/05/14 Montreal, QC Canada at Parc Jean Drapeau
07/06/14 Holmdel, NJ at PNC Bank Arts Concert Center
07/08/14 Buffalo, NY at Darien Center
07/09/14 Scranton, PA at Toyota Pavilion
07/10/14 Boston, MA at Xfinity Center
07/11/14 Camden, NJ at Susquehanna Bank Center
07/12/14 Wantagh, NY at Nikon at Jones Beach Amphitheater
07/13/14 Hartford, CT at The Comcast Theatre
07/15/14 Pittsburgh, PA at First Niagara Pavilion
07/16/14 Cinncinnati, OH at Riverbend Music Center
07/17/14 Cleveland, OH at Blossom Music Center
07/18/14 Auburn Hills, MI at The Palace of Auburn Hills
07/19/14 Chicago, IL at First Midwest Bank
07/20/14 Minneapolis, MN at Canterbury Park
07/22/14 Columbia, MD at Merriweather Post Pavilion
07/23/14 Virginia Beach, VA at Farm Bureau Live
07/24/14 Atlanta, GA at Aaron’s Amphitheatre
07/25/14 St Petersburg, FL at Vinoy Park
07/26/14 Miami, FL at Cruzan Amphitheatre
07/27/14 Orlando, FL at Central Florida Fairgrounds
07/28/14 Charlotte, NC at PNC Music Pavilion
07/29/14 Nashville, TN at Tennessee State Fairgrounds
07/30/14 Milwaukee, WI at Marcus Amphitheatre
07/31/14 Kansas City, MO at Sandstone Amphitheatre
08/02/14 Salt Lake City, UT at Utah State Fairpark
08/03/14 Denver, CO at Sports Authority Field at Mile High

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Backyard Superheroes

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© 2014
Rating: ★★★★★★★★½☆

backyard_superheroesI wonder if Mustard Plug ever thought in a million years that they would be “influential”? Well, I guess if you have a long enough career and enough exposure, you’re bound to influence somebody, right? Well, welcome to that somebody They go by the name Backyard Superheroes.

To be fair, there’s a number of influences that can be heard on the new self-titled album from Brunswick, NJ ska band, Backyard Superheroes. On casual listening there’s elements of Less Than Jake, Streetlight Manifesto, a reminiscence to an old Oregon band, The Varicoasters (who probably didn’t influence this band at all, so it’s some other common influence), and of course a heavy dose of Mustard Plug.

Don’t let me mislead you though. The band isn’t a clone. They are a current interpretation and perhaps amalgam of 3rd wave ska punk. I for one applaud it. I loved this music in my youth. I love it today.

The album of concern here, Backyard Superheroes, the first full length (second album) by the band of the same name, drops 14 tracks of fun loving 90s throwback ska punk. The songs are all quick paced, quirky and largely delivered with a tongue-in-cheek speak/sing-a-long style. The horn section meshes nicely with the distorted guitar and walking bass lines, just like it is supposed to. Beyond that, I’d suggest that this is a solid fun release. I would seriously confuse this with 90s era Ska if I didn’t know better.

Aside being from Jersey, I don’t know a whole lot about the band specifics. However, based on their bio that they are professed to be loud, and, well, that’s good enough for me. You can catch a sampling of their sounds here: http://www.reverbnation.com/backyardsuperheroes I suggest that you do.

–Jerry Actually

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Mad Caddies – Dirty Rice

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Rating: ★★★★★★★★★☆

© 2014 Fat Wreck Chords

mad_caddies_dirty_riceI apologize for not having this review up before the official release date Tuesday, May 13th, but I suppose if you can wait seven years for a new Mad Caddies release, a late review isn’t going to concern you in the least. So, if you did not read the prior sentence, there’s a new Mad Caddies album. Fresh off the presses, once again on (the now venerable) Fat Wreck Chords, I present to you Dirty Rice!

First things first, though. If you’re aren’t familiar with The Mad Caddies, let me give you a brief back story. The band started back in their high school days, way back in 1995 in Solvang, CA (Santa Barbara County). Over their illustrious career, the band have produced multiple full-length recordings and E.Ps. Their sound, while very firmly footed in 3rd wave ska-punk has influences from wide ranging styles including, dixieland, polka, swing, reggae, jazz, punk, and traditional ska. What I’m saying is that you get a whole lot of flavor from this one sweet band. I digress; back to the review.

The new album is a nicely polished example of what a 3rd wave SoCal ska band can do after close to two decades of rocking. For those who are familiar with Mad Caddies at all, youl know that while they come correct, they don’t come traditional. They’ve definitely got their own brand going; This album is no exception. A fine mixture of ska, punk, ragtime, dixieland, and soul are well represented on the new album, though sometimes on a more subtle note. It reminds me a little bit of Stay Tuned by Let’s Go Bowling, another awesome record that is a departure from prior work, yet completely badass after you succumb to its charms.

12 new tracks. Mad Caddies are back. Get the album. Find them on Tour!

–Jerry Actually

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Senior Discount – This Is Not The End

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Rating: ★★★★★★★★☆☆

© 2014

senior_discount_not_the_end1,000 years ago today I reviewed a CD by a band out of Providence Rhode Island. You might remember that band. I think they were called Senior Discount? Well, a similarly long time ago, I received a package in the mail. Lo and behold, a new release from the said same band. Also they totally bribed me with a sweet band t-shirt. (I’ve totally already been crazy hammered whilst wearing said t-shirt) Swag aside I present to you “This Is Not The End” a brand new (in relative terms) release from Senior Discount

The new disc spins up 10 regularly scheduled tracks and 2 bonus acoustic versions. The material is as solid this time around as it ever was. Over the years the band has developed an obvious maturity, in a similar fashion to the transition from 7 Seconds to Kevin Seconds solo material. It’s been a lot of years since I last heard this band, so I don’t have full recollection of the prior material, but I recall it being serious and sincere as well as being damn good punk (with some nice ska influence). This Is Not The End doesn’t break from that impression. If anything, things are more serious and sincere.

As I’ve said I don’t have much recollection of the material from my last review, but I get the haunting impression that some of the new tracks are actually new versions of old songs. Maybe the bands is just consistent. Oh, and speaking of Kevin Seconds, my favorite tracks on the disc are 5. Your Broken Stereo and 6. Cindy. Give them a listen and tell me what they remind you of. I think my only point of contention with the disc is the band’s cover of Three Little Birds. It’s not a bad cover mind you, there’s just something in this rendition that feels off. I don’t know maybe it’ll grow on me.

At the end of the day, I’m happy that Senior Discount are still putting out tunes. They’re a great band and you owe yourself to track them down and listen to them. To that end the internet is a major help. Here’s their Facebook page: facebook.com/SeniorDiscount and their website seniordiscountmusic.com

I should add that this release also came with a bonus DVD copy of the Chuck and Brad podcast which I have yet to listen too. I should probably do that.

–Jerry Actually

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Headspins – Spinister

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Rating: ★★★★★★★★☆☆

© 2013 Headspins

headspins-spinisterHere’s a fun little rocker from the mean streets of Chicago. (or rather maybe the poppy and arty streets) Spinister the debut album by Headspins snaps out 11 quality tracks of really peppy rock and roll in the no-frills necessary manner that only trios seem to be able to muster. This isn’t to say that the music lacks variance or range. The band gets a major boost of sonic diversity by splitting vocal duties between the ⅔ male, ⅓ female cast (in addition to some guests)

The tracks are clearly rock and roll, but there’s an unmistakable punk, surf and alt-rock quality to them all, ranging from Pixies and Primitive vibes to near Tom Waitsesque vocal stylings, all along making me think of the Go-Gos joining forces with The Groovy Ghoulies. The lyrics are clever, “I gave her cash. I gave her more. She spent it all like a drunk sai-lor”, for example. I’m on my second round of listening and I’m damn pleased to say that this release is fun and I’m proabably going to have it one rotation for the next few weeks.

I’m on break from my day job at the moment, so I’m going to keep this brief and say that if you like poppy fun rock and roll, you should take a listen to Spinister by Headspins. I know that I look forward to hearing more of them. headspinsrock.com

–Jerry Actually

Tracks:
1. My Way or the Highway 02:47
2. Fallen Down 02:10
3. Star of the Show 02:53
4. Broken Man 02:46
5. Don’t Worry 01:55
6. Miner 05:36
7. Headspins Go! 02:39
8. Paper Street 02:32
9. Keep It Forever 04:51
10. Problematic Tendencies 02:37
11. Anxiety 04:15

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The Planet Smashers – Tear It Up (Official video)

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Watch this video. It’s awesome!

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