No Takers – S/T

Currently listening to a self-titled release from No Takers. The seven track release is aggressive, hardcore punk, with tinges of speed metal nicely interwoven into the mix. Hints of Agnostic Front, Madball, and Sick Of It All, and D.R.I. are dancing through my head as the tracks spin on.

The band, while certainly a product of its influences, manages to provide a take on the genre that is simultaneously brand new, yet oddly familiar. It’s as though a band you loved from the late 80s found a previously unreleased album somewhere in a vault. You’ve never heard it before, but you totally know where it’s coming from.

As a product of 80’s metal, punk, and hardcore, I’m definitely onboard with the sound. It’s well crafted, fast, intense, and articulate. What’s not to like?

-Jerry Actually

No Takers, from Denver, CO, combine the speed and ferocity of 90s street punk with the passion, intensity and creativity of 80s hardcore. Drawing influence from bands across genres, this 4 piece uses intricate metal-inspired riffs over an unrelenting rhythm section to create a sound of their own.

Brandon Davis – Vocals
Delon Beckett– Guitar
Jason Chavez – Bass
Ryan Longenecker – Drums


The Jukebox Romantics – Sleepwalk Me Home

Generally a bit behind the curve here at good ol’ Upstarter, I’m just now getting around to listening to Sleepwalk Me Home, the late 2017 release from The Jukebox Romantics. As wise wise people have espoused for millennia before me, better late than never.

I can’t say that I’ve listened to the band before. Well, I could say it, but it probably wouldn’t be truthful. If I have though, it was maybe on a comp, or I thought it was Blink 182 or something. With that said, the band captures the finer points of pop punk, namely being poppy, whilst being punk rock. Seriously though, 10 tracks, mostly under the three minute mark, stemming from a peppy rock trio? This is entirely up my alley.

The band lists Alkaline Trio and The Bouncing Souls as influences and I can definitely hear them, but I really pick up a Blink vibe. Maybe it’s in the way they sound so SoCal sardonic, despite being from downstate NY (I initially suspected this was a secret code for New Jersey) No matter. They sound good. They sound especially good if you like pop punk.

It’s funny, to me at least. My “reviews” have rather devolved to the point of, “here’s my opinions about things while I’m listening to this new (to me) music) I don’t know that it is expressly helpful to anyone at this point. I hope that it is.

The takeaway here: Pop punk. Good. Fast. Fun. New!

Jerry Actually

illicitor – self-titled

Illicitor is a 3 piece punk/hardcore band born out of the ashes of prolific Las Vegas favorites: Holding Onto Sound. Their debut album arrived December 2017.

I was somewhat familiar with Holding Onto Sound (HOTS). I spent a little time listening to their music, an interview, and a review. I have also seen them perform live in the past, so I was excited to hear about illicitor. Stripped down 3-piece punk rock born from some familiar faces and voice. Thus far the self-titled debut does not disappoint.

The core of the nine tracks are uptempo punk rock with some hardcore aggression. There are some departures from the formula with track 4. The Body and The Dirt with its acoustic guitar and vocal intro, climbing into full arrangement and eventual insistence on a complete sonic uprising. For a trio, the soundscape is quite full. Studio magic goes a long way, but then again so does competent musicianship, none of which are in short supply on this release.

The band ticks a lot of boxes on my list of favorite rock and roll features: fast paced, trio, clear vocals, short tracks with a bit of grit. If you’re of a similar mind, and I know that you are, check out illicitor. I have no doubt that you will dig the hell out of them.

Nothing on the album gives me cause to be overly critical, but nothing can be completely perfect I suppose. There is a bit of psychedelic guitar noodling that I could probably live without, but overall a solid debut from Las Vegas’ illicitor.

Jerry Actually

Zabi Naqshband – bass, vocals
Bob Gates – guitar, vocals
Micah Malcolm – drums

(Photo by Aaron Mattern)

Swhat – Wasty Tasty

I got this disc in a mail a couple weeks ago and put it into my drive, and that’s about as far as it got until today. Swhat, if you’ve not heard of them, are a 3 piece punk rock band from Ballarat, Australia. For you geography minded folks out there, Ballarat is about 120 km outside of Melbourne. … but back to the punk rock.

Wasty Tasty serves up 13 tracks of solid, slightly aggressive, somewhat lo-fi, yet well played, punk rock. As I’ve often professed, I’m a fan of the trio. I like the lean stripped down sound, and Swhat doesn’t disappoint in that regard.

That tracks offer traditional punk rock themes of suburban desolation, angst, and disillusion. Tradition aside, the accompanying music is layered in a fresh, often angularly juxtaposed, way to the lyrical content. … reminds me a bit of how some of the tracks on Voivod’s Nothingface are constructed, except with vocal delivery that reminds me of Descendents/All … a strange, likeable combination.

Summary, this is good. Please check ‘em out.

Material Remains – Demo

I’ve got a new demo (released September 2017) cued up at the moment. Let me tell you about it. The inconspicuously titled “Demo” by Material Remains holds five tracks of 80s flavored noisey, garagesque punk rockings. There’s not much info on the band, but I’m going to assume they are from TX, and based on the lineup listed, I’m firmly convinced that they are a trio.

There’s a solid vibe to the tracks, very lo-fi, and if I had to pick some resemblance, right now it’s really making me think of Nerve Agents (who are fucking rad) but again, it has a way more 80s lo-fi garage style to it. It’s a demo though, so these things are to be both expected and enjoyed.

There’s only 5 tracks, so you don’t get a big taste of the band, but I’m interested in how they’re going to progress. I’m hearing a solid foundation and I look forward to more. But don’t let me be the only voice you hear, listen for yourself:

Jerry Actually

1. Junkie’s Paradise 01:49
2. Broad Church 01:37
3. Dropout 01:49
4. Hate 02:41
5. Amerikkka 02:03

Kalik – Disapproved

Currently rocking to “Disapproved” by Kalik. Kalick is a punk rock trio, evidently with a like for ska as well. The band hails from Denmark and has been putting the rubber to the road since 2005.

Disapproved is their new EP and it punches hard with five uptempo punk and ska-esque tracks. I have a tendency to like trios, for a variety of reasons, the efficiency being one of them. Kalik is no exception, the rhythms are terse and punchy and no effort is wasted. Tracks are done in English, which seems to be the norm. Something that sadly also seems to be the current norm is commentary on the sorry state of US politics and the current “commander in chief” (not naming any names, but you know)

I will often use the space to describe influence and points of reference to give you an idea of what you’re getting yourself into, but I’ll be damned if I’m coming up with anything very exacting. It’s punk rock. After damn near 40 years of punk, it kind of sounds like a lot of different things. I think a more important point is that it’s good. The tracks are played well, and the vocals aren’t devolved into a mass or strangled screams, so I declare it good to fucking go!

Jerry Actually

1. Black Brain 01:58
2. Polizia 02:41
3. Nothing There 02:35
4. Going Nowhere 02:36
5. Disapproved 00:59




Buzzkillz – Scum Of The Earth

Debut album from Helsinki Finland act, Buzzkills. 12 tracks of punk/punkbilly from up near the top of the word.

As always, it thrills me to get to hear bands from all around the world. Buzzkills is no exception. Here I am in sunny SoCal and listening to a band from damn near the other side of the world. I’ve never been to Finland, but here I am participating in a little bit of their culture, by way of an offering into our common culture of music.

Buzzkillz deliver a solid blend of rock, punk, and rockabilly. They’re an interesting ensemble in that they are a four-piece rock and roll band with the tradition lineup of vocals, guitar, bass, drums. Where the band differs is in their use of double bass as opposed to electric. The overall effect reminds me a bit of The Peacocks, but, well, different.

Tracks mid to uptempo, with a blend of Western rock / cowpunk, reminisicient in a way of Social Distortion, or perhaps more Mike Ness solo. The tracks are sung in English, so as to be more accessible to a larger audience.

The band indicates that they will have new material coming out at the end of the year, so go check out their debut and get in on the ground floor. Tell all your friends that you heard ‘em before they were cool!

1. Sick Of It All 02:41
2. Deepest Pockets 03:33
3. I’m Not The One 04:08
4. Scum Of The Earth 03:20
5. Losing The Fight 03:04
6. Outside 03:46
7. Fear Of The Unknown 03:31
8. Roll The Dice 04:34
9. Monsters 02:55
10. Some Scars 03:09
11. Sleepwalking 03:18
12. Cross To Bare 03:58

Help After Hurricane Harvey

The initial and ongoing devastation from Hurricane Harvey has led to a desperate and frightening situation in Houston and the surrounding areas. The storm will eventually die down and people will try to pick up the pieces of their lives. Long after the storm passes, the ones who have been displaced will be in need of as much assistance as they can possibly get. If you are in any position to help financially, please consider making a donation to the Houston Food Bank. People need our help, now and going forward.


GODS.GUTTERS.STONES, the new EP from The Orphan (Melbourne Australia) blasts out three tracks of noisy garage hardcore. The tracks are an intense wash of sound to the point of being a blur. Sounds jab at you from all directions leaving you reeling from the sonic assault. Each track bleeds into the next as you begin to bleed from your ears. Individual tracks are representative of the triumvirate title, with the final track, “Stones” bringing the EP to a grinding guttural conclusion. Listen at your peril.

-Jerry Actually