Debt Cemetary strikes again with the aggressive new single “Let’s Murderlize ‘Em!”. This hard-hitting release explodes with huge vocal harmonies and ripping guitar riffs that soar throughout the track. Inspired by the height of the civil rights movements that spanned across the globe in 2020, the song reflects the thoughts and feelings of guitarist/vocalist Eddie Knowlton. Mixed and mastered by Matt Gauthier, this latest release from Debt Cemetary shows a new side to the band while keeping true to their original and unique brand of fast punk.
This latest single is further proof that Debt Cemetary is on the rise to bigger and better things.
New Jersey crust-ska punks Public Serpents (featuring former Choking Victim member Skwert Gunn) released their new song and video “When Pigs Lie” today. The video was shot and edited by Benjamin Clapp. Watch it below.
Available On March 3rd Through Pirates Press Records And March 24th Through Record Stores Comes In Two Different Variants
New York City, NY — February 10, 2023 — Legendary reggae act THE SLACKERS have announced that their 1998 album, “The Question,” will be reissued via Pirates Press Records. The double LP, available in 12″ Black and 12″ Blue & Green ‘Galaxy’ vinyl, will be available on March 3rd on Pirates Press Records’ webstore and on March 24th in record stores around the world. This release is the latest chapter in the fruitful relationship between The Slackers & Pirates Press Records. With the reissue of “The Question” joining those of “Redlight,” “Wasted Days,” and “Live at Ernesto’s,” the band’s LP output from their explosive creative period between 1997-2000 – as well as the acclaimed 2006 LP “Peculiar” – are all back in print on vinyl for fans & collectors alike! The band has also issued their best-selling brand new LP “Don’t Let the Sunlight Fool Ya” via the label, alongside numerous 12″ and 7″ singles.
“The Question” was originally released in 1998 on Hellcat Records and followed up their breakthrough, critically-acclaimed release “Redlight.” While “Redlight” put them squarely in the spotlight of the reggae and ska scenes of the late 90s, “The Question” undoubtedly reaffirmed that they were deserving of such recognition. CMJ’s Mark Woodlief proclaimed “The Question” was “…one of the brightest and most understated moments of the modern ska era.”
The Slackers took no time in 2022 making up for two years of inactivity due to the pandemic. Last spring, the band released “Don’t Let The Sunlight Fool Ya” which hit #1 on the Billboard Reggae Charts. They coupled this with relentless touring and could’ve easily rest on this. Instead, they then released a two-song 12″ UV printed record called “New York Berlin / Tell Them No” which added two more tracks to their already massive catalog.
In support of these new releases and reissues, the band will continue to travel the world including an already announced U.S. tour coupled with several European festival appearances. Rolling Stone has hailed The Slackers as “THE legendary New York City ska band” and this is by no means hyperbole. Having formed in 1991, The Slackers released their debut album in 1996, “Better Late Than Never,” and then signing with Epitaph Records and releasing their breakthrough full-length, “Redlight,” in 1997. From there, the band traveled the world and began to develop a prolific audience through their fun and energetic shows.
14 full-lengths later, countless EPs, singles, and touring all around the world playing to thousands and thousands of fans from Tokyo, Japan to their hometown of New York City, The Slackers have remained the standard bearer for modern ska and reggae. Marc Wasserman, author of “Skaboom! An American Ska & Reggae Oral History,” says The Slackers’ “…songs are about real darkness, depression, anger, sadness and loneliness, and some of the political songs as well are pretty vibrant.”
The New York Times dubbed the Slackers part of ‘the sound of New York,’ and The Slackers just keep at it, only improving with age and experience – writing better and better songs, and continuing to build and strengthen that global Slackers family. Washington Post has described the impact The Slackers have left on the ska scene: “The Slackers have become the elder statesmen in American ska music, setting the stage for a new generation of musicians and a thriving scene….they remain at the top of their game.”
Catch The Slackers on tour: 04/17/2023 – Atlanta, GA – Masquerade 04/18/2023 – Charleston, SC – Tin Roof Alley 04/19/2023 – Charlotte, NC – Neighborhood Theatre 04/20/2023 – Blacksburg, VA – The Lyric 04/21/2023 – Baltimore, MD – Soundstage 04/22/2023 – Croydon, PA – Broken Goblet Brewery 04/23/2023 – Pittsburgh, PA – Crafthouse 04/25/2023 – Cleveland, OH – Grog Shop 04/26/2023 – Buffalo, NY – Mohawk Place 04/27/2023 – Toronto, Ontario, Canada – Opera House 04/28/2023 – Kitchener, Ontario, Canada – The Hub 04/30/2023 – Ithaca, NY – Deep Dive05/17/2023 – St. Louis, MO – Blueberry Hill 05/18/2023 – Kansas City, MO – Madrid Theatre 05/19/2023 – Omaha, NE – Slowdown 05/20/2023 – Denver, CO – TBA 05/21/2023 – Colorado – TBA 05/23/2023 – Albuquerque, NM – Launchpad 05/25/2023 – Phoenix, AZ – Crescent Ballroom 05/26/2023 – Flagstaff, AZ – Yucca North 05/27/2023 – Las Vegas, NV – Punk Rock Bowling 8/03/2023-8/05/2023 – Blackpool, UK – Rebellion Festival 08/08/2023-08/11/2023 – Tolmin, Slovenia – Punk Rock Holiday
The Slackers are: Vic Ruggiero – vocals, organ Agent Jay – guitar Dave Hillyard – saxophone Glen Pine – trombone, vocals Marcus Geard – bass Ara Babajian – drums
“Oh no, is this a straight edge band?” I thought to myself like an asshole after receiving this link for the new album by Straightline. A quick google image search revealed a guy in Suicidal Tendencies hat and RKL shirt. Phew. No way that dude’s sober, unless temporarily ordered by the court. Sobriety, by the way, is cool as hell (I mean, not for me, but for lots of other people). The straight edge trope of hardcore just has too much baggage and endless unintentional buffoonery for me to get into a new band with that schtick. Which Straightline DO NOT have, to be clear. Lots of great classic straight edge hardcore out there that I’m glad exists, some of which is ironically great drinking music. Try putting on Turning Point or Chain of Strength next time you knock a few back and you can thank me later, if you remember. It’s for the best that culture didn’t mix those two things though, punch dancing would be absolute mayhem if everyone was hammered.
Straightline are from Munich, Germany and have been together in one iteration or another since the late 90s. They definitely borrow their sound from metallic skate punk of that decade, but also bring in elements of crossover thrash and screamo. The album starts out very strong with massive pounding drums (the entire production on this record is HUGE) and chugga-chugga guitars on “Global Frustration”, which is perhaps called that because of how hard it is to remember how to play. Straightline songs have LOTS of parts. The second song “Virus” is even better, and reminds me of when metal guys on YouTube cover old Nintendo songs. If you’re a nerd of a certain age, you know these are some of the greatest songs ever created, so I mean it as a compliment. Seriously, maybe no song in the history of music has consistently delivered me goosebumps on each listen more than the moon theme from Duck Tales for the NES. Late 80s Japanese video game music composition is the fourth genre of music that Straightline master here.
The album takes an interesting turn on the third track with “Undone”, which is a massively catchy tune that could hang with the best stuff on Leche Con Carne by NUFAN. It’s my favorite song on the album, and the one I go back to the most. Straightline just absolutely crush each of these genres so well that these poppier songs really help to break up the record effectively, rather than sound as if they were awkwardly tacked on. A couple other album highlights are “Shame on You”, and the straight up thrash of “Stood for Something Else”. It’s pretty impressive to have both “Undone” and “Stood for Something Else” on the same record, because they’re both such great and incredibly different songs.
Straightline have toured as an opening act for Ten Foot Pole, Big Wig, and Satanic Surfers, which makes sense stylistically. Honestly though, they’re better than all of those bands. They also remind me a little bit of label mates One Hidden Frame, especially in song structure and technical ability. Even though I’m not personally a fan of screamo or metal solos, Straightline use and master them well here. I saw some live footage, and they were all wearing shorts on stage (which I am definitely PRO) and jumping in unison. My rule of thumb with bands that scream is that they must be wearing shorts, otherwise it’s lame. Black pants with loops and extra belts and shit? Forget about it, no screaming for you. They also appear to be politically sound, from at least an environmental standpoint, with song titles like “Global Citizens” and “Earth Defenders”, which is cool. Protecting the Earth rules. The other planets fucking suck, from what we know of them.
If any of this has piqued your musical interest, I should mention that Straightline offer their LP on its own, or as a merch bundle with a skateboard deck.
2022 has been, in my opinion, one of the best years for new music since the turn of the century. Especially the last few months, I feel like I keep coming across a new album that just blows me away and I put it on every chance I get. No more NPR and podcasts on the drive across town, too much excellent new music. I’m overwhelmed by it at the moment. I’m a busy man, I have a family. I don’t have time for it. You can imagine my annoyance when I was tasked with reviewing this new Dead End Drive In, put it on, and it just absolutely fucking rips end to end. Goddamn it.
I’m embarrassed to write this review because I like this album so much. It will require some restraint on my part to not make it read like a bad puff piece. I swear I don’t know anyone in this band, nor do I owe them any favors. I keep listening to it trying to find something critical to say that doesn’t make me sound like an idiot, but whatever, I can’t. It’s great. Let me get this over with and tell you why I think so.
The only thing I know about Dead End Drive In lies within the descriptor on their Bandcamp page, which reads as follows: “Punk band from Vancouver, BC. You know. That one with three guitar players. Gotta shred with existential dread.” This last line describes their sound appropriately. It appears to be their second full length, having also released a CD/digital album in 2018, and an EP in 2016. They don’t seem to have a presence on Discogs, which suggests they’re still a fairly humble outfit. However, their name is also comprised of a bunch of words from other band names, so it’s possible I just overlooked it. Their level of notoriety will change drastically if this record gets into enough ears out there.
The opening track has a sort of Frontier Trust sounding cowpunk vibe to it, and clocks in at 6:23. Pretty fucking bold for a punk band you’ve never heard of. It didn’t catch me first time around, but as I became more familiar with the rest of the album, I’ve really come around to liking it. Just don’t give up on these guys if you aren’t blown away halfway through track one. It isn’t called “A Worthwhile Endeavor” because it’s a waste of your time. All these songs, many of which double or triple in length from your standard punk fare, are all part of a larger thing. I hate to use the term “concept album”, but this product is best consumed whole. Fast forwarding through the seemingly unremarkable parts would detract from your overall appreciation of the whole thing. Stick with it and you will be rewarded.
By track two things start to open up a little into more of a straightforward punk sound, but there are just so many cool parts, leads, and instrumentation to each song that it’s somewhat misleading to suggest it’s anything less than pleasantly surprising. Overall, I would say they sound like if Jon Kastner (Doughboys) and Tad Kuebler (The Hold Steady) were in Teenage Halloween. I also hear some Darius Koski Swingin Utters. I even have D. Boon written down in my notes here. I can’t quite put my finger on why, but I stand by this reference. This band can really play their instruments, and the more complicated parts positively contribute to the composition rather than coming across as cumbersome and indulgent. The quality of songwriting is just stellar.
It’s hard to pick favorite songs on complete records like this one, but if pressed I’d say I prefer the back half of the album. Namely, “Dying Breed”, “Before I Start Noticing”, and “God Forbid You Go off Script”. Nothing on here sounds redundant, and even at 10 tracks in 45 minutes it doesn’t feel overly long. On a couple of occasions I’ve even restarted it from the beginning and listened to it twice all the way through.
I know people can get lazy buying new music for themselves around the holidays, but don’t sleep on this one. Who cares if it disrupts your album of the year rankings that only 12 people will read? It’s going to disrupt mine, and I’m grateful for it. I need a physical copy of this one, in case any of you haven’t got me a Christmas present yet.
Alberta Canada’s Trashed Ambulance has unveiled the new standalone single “Cyntax Error,” which follows on the heels of the band’s third LP, 2022’s critically celebrated ‘Future Considerations.’
The single is a loving tribute to Thousand Islands Records label co-owner and label manager Cynthia Charpentier, in honor of her recent birthday. The band says, “When a great friend/mom-ager turns 40, you have to make sure she feels the love. This song is an ode to Cynthia for always kicking ass and taking names while being the best gal East of the Saskatchewan River!”
Cyntax Error Written by Josh Hauta, Jason Ezeard, and Riley Bourne Guitar/Vocals – Josh Hauta Bass/Vocals – Jason Ezeard Drum/Vocals – Riley Bourne Additional Vocals – Casey Lewis Recorded at Echo Base Studio in Calgary, Alberta Recorded, engineered, and produced by Casey Lewis. Mixed and mastered by Casey Lewis.
Inspired by the likes of Pulley, Face to Face, and The Flatliners, Trashed Ambulance continues to churn out gloriously angry yet hopeful punk anthems! Formed in 2014, Trashed Ambulance has survived a plethora of member changes and hangovers to continue forging ahead as a reputable option in the Central Alberta punk scene.
With a handful of EPs, LPs, CDs, and cassettes already under their belt, the boys hit Echo Base Studio in Calgary to work with Casey Lewis (Belvedere) on their most recent LP ‘Future Considerations.’ To date, the band has shared the stage with such punk juggernauts as Face to Face, Belvedere, Voodoo Glowskulls, The Real McKenzies, The Murderburgers, and Ten Foot Pole and have even made an appearance at Pouzza Fest – Montreal’s annual premiere punk fest.
The guys already have some Western Canadian tour dates lined up and plan on terrorizing as many pubs, curling rinks, and bowling alleys as they can play this year.
If forced to make a wild guess about where and when this album was recorded after a blind listen, you might say somewhere in the Twin Cities around 1995. As it turns out, Bar Tape are currently a band from Dublin, Ireland, but consist entirely of ex-pats from the US. Perhaps because they don’t sound Irish at all, or because my raging ADHD didn’t allow me to digest the final 25% of their Bandcamp header “Bar Tape: Dublin, Ireland”, I assumed they were from Dublin, Ohio. I like to treat every review as a geographical learning opportunity, so I started reading up on the Columbus suburb while listening to these songs. It’s no longer relevant, but that’s where Wendy’s has its headquarters. The depths of Dublin, Ireland’s history is far too heavy to be trivialized by the opening paragraph in an online punk review, so we’ll leave that one alone too.
I’d be doing Bar Tape a disservice if I didn’t first talk about how excellent the band members’ punk names are. On vocals/guitar we have Cory Hotline, which is a reference to a golden age Simpsons episode that they also sample before one of the songs. On guitar we have Barry Tape. Classic. On drums/vocals we have Colin Sick, which has to be one of the greatest punk names of all time. Lastly, on bass/vocals we have Juvenile Delinquent, which strikes me as funny because there’s no effort in word play whatsoever.
I’d like to think there’s a fun story here as to why an American punk band moved to Ireland, but the only thing I could find about them aside from the music was a one question interview from Scene Point Blank. In it Cory Hotline says, “I figure if we were around 20 years ago, we’d be more popular. We’re still delighted with the reaction we’ve received from Irish punks/hardcore kids and rockers, despite the lack of local press.” It’s funny to think of this sound as retro now, but I guess it is, and I guess we’re all old. I read somewhere (there will be no footnotes, so please don’t look for them) once where Paddy from D4 talked about how his Ramones were Naked Raygun. That’s the type of pop punk we’re talking about here.
Any one of Sara Kirsch’s early 90s projects mixed together with Dillinger Four seems like a fair comparison, or maybe Sludgeworth meets Shang-A-Lang. Another old Minneapolis band Man Afraid also comes to mind. Like all those bands, Bar Tape makes sing along punk songs full of hooks that also manage to sound hard. The production is raw, but in a special way an old Ebullition 7″ with a photocopied sleeve is. I wouldn’t say anyone in the band knows how to sing, but nobody is over-fabricating a contrived punk voice to make up for it. The vocalists sound like Sarah Kirsch on those early Pinhead Gunpowder and Fuel records, which I love. Mix that together with the awesome rawness of Shang-A-Lang, the leads of Sludgeworth, and the power of Man Afraid, and you have yourself a record you should probably get your hands on.
True Tone is the brand new album from San Diego, CA’s smooth Ska stars, The Amalgamated. Recorded at The After Hours Studio in Ramona, CA by Dub Robot (Brian Wallace). The band says, “We are very proud of the original songs we have written and it is mostly Ska with a few Sweet Rocksteady and Boss Reggae tunes.”
This release provides 12 tracks of, as mentioned, Ska performed by the 10-member ensemble. The sound is heavily influenced by 60s Ska and Jazz with Rocksteady and Reggae influences as well. Musicianship is top notch, as it really has to be to coordinate with that many band members. Vocal delivery is reminiscent of Dr. Ringding, or at times Ansis Purins of Skavoovie and the Epitones, and always smooth.
Standout tracks include “Is It Wrong” with its Dub style winding out the song, and the amazing horn lines on “Deal With It.”
I won’t belabor the point here. Do you like Traditional Ska? If you do, please do yourself a favor and check out True Tone, the latest release for The Amalgamated. You won’t be disappointed.
Cheers! Jerry Actually
Bio: Formed in 2007 in San Diego, CA, The Amalgamated are an incredible live band that makes everyone dance to up-tempo beats and also get the audience into a groove with light reggae textures.
Berlin skate punker’s Hit The Dirt have released a lyric video for their song “<3 Social Chlamedia”. The track appeared on their Six Pack EP that was released earlier this year via High End Denim Records.
The band had this to say about the song: “<3 Social Chlamedia is a song about how our phones, social media and the modern digital world in general has taken over our lives. From the moment we wake up until the moment we go to sleep, we are mostly addicted to this crazy digital world inside of our phones.”