“fast, snotty old-school melodic hardcore… even if these are middle-aged guys with decades in the game, they still bring that fired-up teenage rage” – Stereogum
“a melodic hardcore ripper that sounds like the exact middle ground between Lifetime and Minor Threat” – Brooklyn Vegan
Today, Beach Rats drop their debut album Rat Beat via Epitaph Records. An impressive lineup of punk rock lifers, the band is comprised of vocalist Ari Katz (Lifetime,) guitarist Pete Steinkopf (Bouncing Souls,) bassist Bryan Keinlen (Bouncing Souls,) guitarist Brian Baker (Bad Religion, Minor Threat) & Danny Windas on drums. Not wanting to take themselves too seriously, the band formed merely over a love of the genre. These are veterans of hardcore punk having fun and trying replicate the feeling and sound of what it was like to make punk music in the 80’s.
“You’re gonna get authentic punk and hardcore from BEACH RATS because we are all from the 80’s,” Bryan Kienlen comments. “It’s literally taking it back to some of our biggest influences like Negative Approach and Poison Idea, and of course, Minor Threat.”
Beach Rats came to be as each member found themselves settled in the beach community of Asbury Park, New Jersey. The crew started up when Pete, Bryan and Ari performed punk covers together for the first time at the funeral for Vision front man, Dave Franklin. After releasing an EP in 2018 and performing a slew of high-energy shows, the global pandemic gave the band a reason to get back to recording. The majority of the songs on Rat Beat were conceptualized and rehearsed in the basement of Brian Baker’s home and then tracked by Eric Bennett at Lakehouse Studios in only one day.
Baker recalls, “We’d go down in the basement, put on masks, open the windows and we could play – within CDC guidelines! We couldn’t go to dinner at each other’s houses but we could practice.”
From the kick-off of “Bikes Out” and “Dress for Sick Sesh” to the roughshod melodicism of “Clorox Boys” or “Heavy Conversation” Rat Beat is an in-the moment snapshot of the five members’ distinct styles with no self-editing or second guessing. “The song ‘Summer’s End’ sums up a lot of what was going on for us when we were recording,” admits Ari Katz. “It was the end of the season which coincided with a lot of things that were ending in my life. It was fun to weave in that kind of imagery. Closing the beach, the town, switching over from the summer people to the faces you see in the winter and how that mirrors what was going on personally. In that sort of in-the-moment-ness of BEACH RATS, there’s an undeniable honesty.”
Handheld are a friendly looking punk band from Kitchener, Ontario. When I saw their picture I thought to myself, “They seem fine”. After seeing the music video for “Leaving Candyland,” off their forthcoming album, that feeling only intensified. Before we get into the music, the band, and the history of Kitchener formerly being called Berlin before anti-German sentiment during World War I resulted in changing the name to a former British field marshal (we might not actually get to that part), let’s talk about this amazing music video in greater detail.
Both the song and the video pay homage to the peerless John Candy, who is a Canadian treasure of the highest order. If you don’t love John Candy, then you’re a bad person who hates punk, and must only be here for those stupid Google ads about that company who makes tech fiber cargo shorts with knife holsters. This video brings back to life many of John Candy’s best roles, with the band dressing up as Barf from Spaceballs, Uncle Buck, Del from Planes, Train, and Automobiles, and more. Famous scenes from these seminal films are reenacted, but with guitars. It’s well done, and a lot of fun to watch. The song itself is catchy early Fat style punk that should appeal to anyone who snowboarded with blue hair in the 90s. In particular I hear the first two Strung Out albums, but with some Blink 182 in there as well. It’s got the young goofiness of the latter, but also there are multiple kick drums firing off at rapid speed the whole time, bits of metallic noodling, and tons of dudes going, “Aaahhhh, laaahhh”. I think if you like either of those bands, you’ll like this record too. It’s got a lot of good things going for it. John Candy for one, it’s a comeback album (their first in 14 years, which I love), and they’re from non-Toronto Ontario, which has churned out some of the best punk rock the world has ever known.
These guys seem like they’re having a good time and actually like each other, which is something that always translates well into the music. Look at Oasis for example, they’re terrible. I bet catching Handheld live in their hometown, especially after a long hiatus, is not a bad way to spend a night out in Kitchener.
“[Gold Chain Punk] finds freedom in nihilism and something almost like joy in the idea that if people will try to punish you anyway, you may as well do whatever the fuck you want “- Consequence #11 of 50 Best Songs Of The Year So Far
“On their groundbreaking new album, the Philadelphia hardcore group mixes actionable rhetoric, absurdist humor, and breathtaking vulnerability like no band before them” – Pitchfork ‘Best New Music’
“It’s the album I’ve gone to over and over again to fill my soul back up when I’m depleted” – NPR
“One of the most thrillingly thrashy, brilliantly based, and convincingly punk hardcore albums in years” – SPIN
“Hardcore can sometimes be a formulaic thing, and it can also be an oppressively white thing, but Soul Glo push back hard against the idea that it has to be either”- Stereogum
“It’s the most breath-snatchingly thrilling and brain-nourishingly on-point hardcore album not just of 2022, but also in recent memory” – Revolver
Soul Glo has had a whirlwind year so far with no plans of coming up for air. Hot on the heels of their freshly released album ‘Diaspora Problems’, today they share the music video for opening track “Gold Chain Punk (whogonbeatmyass?).” The scathing circle-pit ready song “finds freedom in nihilism,” via Consequence 50 Best Songs Of The Year roundup. “Something like joy in the idea that if people will try to punish you, you may as well do whatever the fuck you want.”
The experimental group is known for their inventive fusion of genres and while the evolution of their sound is inimitable, small-minded music fans desperately want to put them in a box. The music video satirizes the frustrations of being lumped together with other bands and artists due to the color of their skin when individually, they hold it down on their own. Vocalist Pierce Jordan, one of AV Club’s ‘20 Best Frontpeople In Modern Rock,’ explains,
“If you’re a Black person who is into any kind of hard rock, you’ve probably had a white person try to talk to you about Bad Brains. We are constantly compared to them. Apparently, I even look like HR. Can I fuckin live?”
Conceptualized over the course of 2016 to 2021, Diaspora Problems was recorded in an unfinished warehouse and the band’s practice space during the hottest parts of summer 2021. The self-produced albumexplores an artist and individuals’ self-doubt and self-hate, past traumas that can only be worked out in adulthood, financial instability and how it affects an artist, the effects of institutional and state violence, and the power of community that delivered Soul Glo through each struggle the band has endured from their inception and beyond.
‘Diaspora Problems’ has been noted in almost every major music publication, from a coveted 8.5 from Pitchfork to the mid-year “Best Of” lists in Stereogum, Consequence, Pitchfork, Revolver, and NPR. Celebratedamongst established peers of all genres, Soul Glo has cemented themselves as an anomaly in the hardcore genre. The timeliness and significance that the album holds in the world of music has the makings of AOTY written all over it.
Soul Glo is going on tour for the rest of the summer with Show Me The Body, kicking off in NYC and ending in Louisville, KY while playing some one-off shows along the way. On August 26th they’re opening for Turnstile and My Chemical Romance, and then heading off to sets at Furnace Fest and Desert Daze. You can find tickets here: https://bnds.us/jkpc2o
Soul Glo Tour Dates
Sun-Jul 10 Queens, NY Knockdown Center (The Ruins) *
Tue-Jul 12 Columbus, OH Rumba Café *^
Wed-Jul 13 Kansas City, MO recordBar *^
Thu-Jul 14 Colorado Springs, CO The Black Sheep *^
Sat-Jul 16 Los Angeles, CA CORPUS Presents: LA IN BROAD DAYLIGHT
Sun-Jul 17 Tijuana, BC Black Box
Mon-Jul 18 San Fernando, CA The Midnight Hour Records
Tue-Jul 19 Los Angeles, CA Zebulon
Wed-Jul 20 Phoenix, AZ Valley Bar *^
Fri-Jul 22 Dallas, TX CheapSteaks *^
Sat-Jul 23 Austin, TX Sunny’s Backyard *^
Sun-Jul 24 Houston, TX The End *^
Mon-Jul 25 Oklahoma City, OK 89th Street
Tue-Jul 26 Albuquerque, NM Launchpad *^
Wed-Jul 27 Tucson, AZ Club Congress *^
Thu-Jul 28 Bakersfield, CA Temblor Brew *^
Fri-Jul 29 Oakland, CA Starline Social Club *^
Sat-Jul 30 Santa Cruz, CA Santa Cruz Vets Hall
Mon-Aug 1 Reno, NV Holland Project *^
Wed-Aug 3 Seattle, WA Madame Lou’s *^
Thu-Aug 4 Vancouver, BC Fortune Sound Club *^
Fri-Aug 5 Tacoma, WA Real Arts Tacoma *^
Sat-Aug 6 Happy Valley, OR Pickathon 2022
Mon-Aug 8 Salt Lake City, UT Beehive *^
Tue-Aug 9 Denver, CO Larimer Lounge *^
Thu-Aug 11 Louisville, KY Portal *^
Fri-Aug 12 Morgantown, WV 123 Pleasant Street *^
Fri-Aug 26 Raleigh, NC PNC Arena %
Sun-Sep 25 Birmingham, AL Furnace Fest
Sep 30 – Oct 2 Perris, CA Desert Daze
w/ Show Me The Body *
w/ MCR + Turnstile %
About Soul Glo
Soul Glo is Pierce Jordan (vocals), GG Guerra (bass, vocals, programming), and TJ Stevenson (drums). Fusing hip-hop, hardcore, and punk, the Philly outfit are fearless in their approach and even more ruthless in their delivery. Injecting their colorful narratives into predominantly white spaces, Soul Glo has the scope and ability to transcend outer appearances in hardcore music. We’re at the precipice of a sonic revolution as a higher variance of people find room for themselves and the expression of their lived experience within the genre.