Victims of Circumstance – Five

It’s a new year. It’s a new decade. It’s friday and it’s time to let loose. So pry your head from your desk and read about some Florida punk ska courtesy of Victims of Circumstance.

Five is the brand new album from Clearwater-based VOC. It throws down 12 rowdy rock-n-ska tracks. Pop sensibility, rock hooks, horns, and a punk attitude all line up for a fairly contagious release.

The bands decade and a half together is evident in the songcraft and musicianship. The sound isn’t overproduced however, merely polished. It is reminiscent of the transition that Mustard Plug made over the years. Bands grow and learn as they do and eventually gel in a way that doesn’t often manifest in the nascent years. I’m hearing that here is what I’m saying.

You’ve heard ska and punk combined before. If you like how that made you feel, I can’t imagine how you’re not going to dig this album. Absolutely for fans of Bosstons, Mustard Plug, Buck-0-Nine, and tbh, vocally I keep picking up hints of Dropkick. I certainly don’t want to typecast though, so for fans of, and the fans to be, get on up and check out a copy of Five

Cheers,

Jerry Actually  

Tracks

01 Sober 3:36
02 Tonight We’re Getting Loud 2:34
03 The X 4:25
04 Involuntary 2:48
05 Aggravated 3:38
06 Obey The Rules 4:51
07 Enemy 3:23
08 Quit Looking for the Win (Vinnie Owes us a S… 3:40
09 Never Have I Ever 3:47
10 Roll the Dice 3:42
11 The Edge 3:21
12 Ready to Go 2:25

Bio

Founded in 2005 in Clearwater, Florida, Victims of Circumstance is a punk and ska band known for blending pop-hooks with a unique style of ska. The current line-up includes band members: Michael Smyth (vocals & guitar), Glenn Stewart (drums), Lindsey Pittard (bass), Jason Atheney (saxophone), and Devin Johnson (trumpet).

The VOC, as they are known by fans, built a loyal following while playing around their home state of Florida before setting out on a tour that ended with an invitation to The Mighty Mighty Bosstones tenth Hometown Throwdown in Boston, MA in 2007. Victims of Circumstance has performed with numerous national acts including Less Than Jake, Big D & the Kids Table, The Pietasters, The Aquabats, Mustard Plug, Whole Wheat Bread, The Toasters and many, many others.

In 2007 they tapped The Mighty Mighty Bosstones’ saxophone player and skacore veteran Tim “Johnny Vegas” Burton to produce their first full-length album, Do It Yourself. At the end of 2008, Steve Foote of Big D and the Kids Table produced their second album, Roll the Dice, released in 2009.

In early 2011, the VOC flew to Japan and recorded their first live album, 2011’s Live in Japan.

After returning from their first 3 week European Tour in the summer of 2011, The VOC released their self produced album Acupunkture and received rave reviews such as – “This album is Great!. It stands up with the best in the genre.” – Tim “Johnny Vegas” Burton of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones.

In July and August 2012 the VOC completed another successful 3 week European tour which included playing at the world’s biggest Punk Rock Festival, “Rebellion”, in Blackpool UK. The VOC also provided support on their tour for bands such as MXPX, Snuff and The Creepshow.

In the fall of 2012 the band recorded a six song EP of cover tunes. The album, titled Decades, featured one song from each decade from the ’50s through the 2000’s. Including an all out Punk and Ska version of UK Boy Band One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful”.  Following that release, VOC returned to the studio to write and record their fourth studio album, No More Heroes.

In the summer of 2014 Victims of Circumstance released their fourth studio album No More Heroes and provided support for bands such as Streetlight Manifesto and The Dropkick Murphys.  Online punk news organization, Dying Scene, selected No More Heroes as their top pick for best punk-ska album of 2014.

During 2015, VOC continued to tour in support of the new album.  During the summer they completed their third – 3 week European tour to help celebrate their 10th anniversary.  Tour dates included several festivals such as “The Boom Town Fair” and playing an all out killer set on the main stage during the final day of “Rebellion”.

2016 had the band continuing to play in support of  No More Heroes as well as re-entering the studio to record the follow up to Decades, “Decades Volume #2”, which was released in the   spring of 2017 receiving heavy play across college and internet radio.  

While VOC continued to play numerous shows and festivals across the southeast for the next few years, they also re-entered the studio in 2018 – 2019 to record their 5th full length all original studio album “FIVE”.  The album stretches the boundaries of their Punk and Ska roots and launches them into their 15th year as a band. “FIVE” will be released in January 2020.

PEARS Share New Song

PEARS SHARE NEW SONG, “COMFORTABLY DUMB,” OFF NEW SELF-TITLED FULL-LENGTH 

BRAND NEW ALBUM, PEARS, OUT VIA FAT WRECK CHORDS ON MARCH 6

STREAM: “COMFORTABLY DUMB” VIA YOUTUBE

PREORDER: PEARS

We dropped that we would have a new PEARS album in 2020, and you didn’t have to wait long! Head over to our YouTube page right now to listen to “Comfortably Dumb!” It’s a ferocious first taste of their ripping new full-length, PEARS, out March 6th. As if that’s not enough, their album is available for pre-order today!
This is their third proper full-length and was recorded with Chris Fogal (The Gamits) at Black in Bluhm Studio in Denver. PEARS will take their latest effort on the road extensively in the coming year, with tours in the U.S., Europe, Australia, Japan, and South America. 

Photo: John Allen

Some of history’s best punk bands came and went before they had a chance to get comfortable (and boring), so it’s not surprising that PEARS frontman Zach Quinn had doubts when it came time to record the band’s third full-length. While PEARS have only existed since 2014, maybe a couple LPs and hundreds of explosive live shows were enough?

“I was perfectly prepared to have my Blue Album already,” Quinn says, laughing. “That whole fucking cliché of ‘Our best record’s behind us.’

With the imminent release of PEARS (March 6, Fat Wreck Chords), Quinn says, “Maybe not!” But there’s no maybe about it. PEARS is a significant step forward for a band that has grown by leaps and bounds on each album.

Recorded with Chris Fogal (The Gamits) at Black in Bluhm Studio in Denver, PEARS is 14 songs and 31 minutes of the band’s signature hardcore: heavy, melodic, blistering, pointed, and surprisingly catchy. While it continues down the path set by Green Starand 2015’s Go to Prison, PEARS finds the band taking a different creative approach.

“The last PEARS record, almost every detail was worked out before we ever stepped foot into the studio,” Quinn explains. “This record, we went in with skeletons of songs and put things together on the fly. ”

“We never could afford the studio time to be in there 24/7,” adds guitarist/vocalist Brian Pretus. “A couple of songs ended up being stuff that we wrote on the spot.”

Those include “Naptime,” which moves from loping pop to group-chant hardcore in the space of two minutes, and penultimate track “Traveling Time,” which Pretus describes as a “palate cleanser.” Basically, a midtempo pop song, “Traveling Time” began as a Quinn solo track but found its way onto PEARS thanks to the band’s more open studio approach.

“Collectively, we figured we’ve danced around pop music our entire career so far,” Quinn says, “but we were like, ‘Let’s just do a full-on fucking pop tune. Why not?”

“Full on” is a good descriptor for PEARS in general. The album opens with feedback at the beginning of the riff-heavy “Killing Me” and closes when the even riff-heavier “Cynical Serene” (whose opening plays like Nirvana by way of Hum). In between are 12 songs that shake with can’t-sit-still energy, as the band—rounded out by the ace rhythm section of bassist Erich Goodyear and drummer Jarret Nathan—shifts on a dime between parts and sounds. Elements of prog and grunge intermingle with classic hardcore and hook-laden rock—and it can happen in the space of one song. (In this case, “Worm.”)

Atop all of it are Quinn’s voice and words, which took a different approach as well on this album.

“I thought that I was going to continue the absurdist poetry thing that started with Go to Prison and amplified on Green Star,” he says. Describing Green Star as “The Iliad with shit and cum,” Quinn notes that this time, “The songs are about shit.”

Not shit in the “shit and cum” sense. Quinn writes directly about getting older (“Traveling Time”), moving past anger (“Nervous”), and the prospect of never having a family (“Daughter”), among other topics, all with the wit and candor PEARS fans have come to expect from the explosive frontman.

“It makes perfect sense that this is the third act, but it’s not what I would have predicted it to be,” Quinn says. “I wouldn’t have guessed that the album would end on a bittersweet note. It’s more uplifting than either record that we’ve done, but it’s not a happy record.”

It’s a great record regardless. PEARS will take it on the road extensively in the coming year, with tours in the U.S., Europe, Australia, Japan, and South America.

 
PEARS track listing
1. Killing Me
2. Zero Wheels
3. Comfortably Dumb
4. Dial Up
5. Rich to Rags
6. Nervous
7. Naptime
8. Pepaw
9. Worm
10. Funerals
11. Sympathy Cone
12. Daughter
13. Traveling Time
14. Cynical Serene

SKUM City – Rise of the Skum

Gonna bust out a dirty one here for NY punk rockers, SKUM CITY.

Rise of the Skum is an 11 track blast of aural assault that will simultaneously stab you in an ear and peel your face off. Old school East Coast HC vibes on short punchy tracks.

Gritty by snotty vocals and vintage shred, clock radio speaker distorted guitars, combine with stripped down drums and bass definitely impart a garage / basement vibe.

Excepting track 5. “Don’t Worry/Maggots” (arguably two songs) is well under the two minute mark. (Which, as you may well know, the appropriate time span for songs to exist in.)

By and large a punk rock / hardcore release, the signature drifts a little towards speed metal turf with track 8. “People You May Know” … It doesn’t drift too far mind you, just enough.

Vintage / old school aside, the sound isn’t lost in the pas. It’s fully engaged in the present and showcases the fact punk and hardcore remain vital forces in music to this day.

End of the line it’s a kick ass new release from SKUM CITY. It’s old. It’s new. It’s fucking true.

Tracks:

1. Rise of the Skum 01:38

2. Diazepam 02:07

3. Stay Home and Fuck 01:28

4. 24×4 01:09

5. Don’t Worry/Maggots 03:17

6. Front Me A Quarter 01:23

7. Coexist 01:57

8. People You May Know 01:44

9. Why Even Have Friends 01:06

10. Leg Rub Steve 01:02

11. Driven By Distraction 02:14

Bio:

Skum City is a bone crushing hardcore punk rock powerhouse that hails from NYC. They’ve been around the block a few times and like aged BEEF, they only get better with time. Beef ages well with time, right? RIGHT?! Their songs are hook-driven, guitar- heavy blasts of energy that will leave you breathless, yet begging for more. The band was started in 2007 by the hell raising husband and wife team of Mike Moosehead, on searing guitar, and Xtene on scintillating bass. The two most recent additions to the band are drummer Gisel, who plays so fast that her wrists look like humming birds fluttering above barrels on honey, and vocalist Christopher Thee Wailing-Siren. Christopher is a charismatic singer who is equal parts fearless front man, as well as a no-holds-barred, poet, borderline stand up comic in the vein of say a Lenny Bruce or a Don Rickles.

World War IX – Phoning It In

Nodding my head along to “Phoning It In”, the new 7” / EP from World War IX. Five tracks of uptempo, hard partying punk rock, and every last one of them is a banger.

I suppose I’ve head my head up my ass for a while now, because I’ve not heard of WWIX prior, and they appear to have about a brazillion albums. Where the hell have I been?

Despite being from Brooklyn, NY, the band positively reeks of old school SoCal punk rock. Black Flag, Angry Samoans, Circle Jerks, etc. The lyrics are boozy and the vibe is fast and loose.

“Phoning It In” kicks down a brief glimpse into the nostalgia-inducing, punk rock stylings of, what is surely to be a brand new favorite of mine, World War IX.

Tracks:

1. Fired For Partying 01:26

2. Coke Machine 01:06

3. Larry’s House 01:28

4. Portrait Of Sobriety 02:33

5. NYC Tonight 01:59

Shout out to Justin for throwing in some Comics as well

Cheers!

Jerry Actually

The Fauxriginals – It’s Not a Lie…

the Fauxriginals album cover for It's Not a Lie...

Pop/Ska/Punk/Northwest/Rockandroll/Hellzyeah!

A couple days late, as per my usual, I’m just now checking out the new EP “It’s Not a Lie”, from Portland, Oregon based The Fauxriginals. You know what? I like ska. I like punk. Let’s go!

The EP pops out seven fresh tracks of punky ska. It’s diggable. Very reminiscent of LTJ, but it also reminds me of an unsung band, Orangetree. (If you’re not familiar w/ Orangetree, they were a band fronted by Jason Nelson of MU330)

Damn, as I listen to this, especially “Being Alive in the 21st Century”, I’m really feeling the Orangetree vibe. Not in a copped sort of way mind you, just compellingly similar.

Sonically I would pin this more in the rock vein than punk, per se. It’s peppy, and bouncy. Not overly aggressive with respect to the punk portion. I’d venture that it’s damn near friendly. That’s not a bad thing. Sometimes you need a little bit more friendly in the world.

Don’t let the friendly fool you though, just based on the song titles, I’d say the band is at least almost entirely jaded.

Bottom line, it’s a fun release. I wouldn’t hesitate to go see them live either. So, yeah, listen at your leisure and support local bands!

-Jerry Actually

Tracks:

  1. My, Myself, and Idioms
  2. Bfff’s
  3. Painted on My Spine
  4. Level of Malevolence
  5. Being Alive in the 21st Century 
  6. Some of a Kind
  7. Rsvp

Portland, Oregon-based three piece The Fauxriginals dropped their debut EP “It’s Not a Lie…” on 9/29/19. This EP will be the first of a two-part set, with the second drop “…If You Believe It” coming shortly thereafter. Both will be streamable everywhere you get music.

After releasing a steady stream of demos and playing a year’s worth of punk and ska shows in the Pacific Northwest, the band created a two-part release filled with the definitive versions of these songs.

Featuring songs written by Tyler Rothe (Lead Vox/Guitar), the band’s focus is to combine elements of pop-punk, skate punk, ska, and punk rock while focusing on hooks and technical chops.

The Fauxriginals are playing regular shows in the PNW and have music videos available on YouTube. Music streaming everywhere you stream music.

For fans of: Less Than Jake, Blink-182, Descendents, Offspring, Green Day, and Queen.


LAGWAGON RELEASE NEW ALBUM, RAILER

INFLUENTIAL PUNK BAND LAGWAGON RELEASE NEW ALBUM, RAILER, ON OCTOBER 4th VIA FAT WRECK CHORDS
NORTH AMERICAN CO-HEADLINING TOUR WITH FACE TO FACEANNOUNCED FOR SEPTEMBER AND OCTOBER
RAILER, PRODUCED BY CAMERON WEBB (ALKALINE TRIO, MOTÖRHEAD)

Lagwagon has also announced its fall North American co-headlining tour with label mates Face to Face. Beginning on September 27 in Tacoma, WA, the month-long tour will extend through October 27 and hit major markets such as Detroit, MI, Brooklyn, NY, Chicago, IL, Boston, MA, Atlanta, GA and more. Supports for the tour will include H20, MakeWar and Destroy Boys, and tickets are on sale now. A full listing of dates can be found below with more information on Lagwagon’s Facebook page HERE.

Unlike the last few Lagwagon albums, RAILER was written in an incredibly condensed period of time, in an attempt to capture the spirit of the band’s early days.  And it worked. While songs like “Stealing Light,” “Dangerous Animal” and “Dark Matter” bristle with a raw, ragged and pure energy that’s unusual for any band to have after almost 30 years of existence, these tracks also directly harken back to the band’s early days.

“There’s only so much one person or a group of people can do before they start to develop characteristics that become common to them,” says Cape in typically philosophical fashion, “and I think you have to be comfortable with that. And I am. I like my band and what we’ve done and I’m okay with the fact that we have our strengths and we have our limitations. I know what it is that we do well and if we stay true to that, there’s something that comes out of that that is truly original, because you’re being true to who you really are.”

At the same time RAILER, produced byCameron Webb (Alkaline Trio, Motörhead), accurately and honestly reflects who Lagwagon are in 2019, both lyrically and musically. While it sounds like these songs could have been written by a band 20 years younger, RAILER, as a collection, presents itself as youthful but jaded, frantic but exhausted, visceral yet cerebral.

The idea of struggling to get by alongside an overwhelming sense of existential chaos and angst is a common thread throughout RAILER, in the bouncy desperation of “Jini,” the Bertrand Russell-inspired “The Suffering,” the breakneck despair of “Parable” and even in the carefree nostalgia of “Bubble” and its unflinching celebration of the band’s early days of “beer for pay” and the “roach-ridden pads” they used to crash at. Life has moved on in the three decades since Lagwagon started, but it’s not something the band – guitarists Chris Rest and Chris Flippin, drummer Dave Raun and bassist Joe Raposo – have entirely left behind either.  

Additionally, Cape doesn’t necessarily expect people to extract his specific philosophies from each of these songs, but they’re certainly present for the listener to seek out if they want to. At the same time, just as with Lagwagon’s earliest songs, RAILER’s songs are there to be listened to and enjoyed, to take you back to simpler times. It’s no coincidence, then, that RAILER ends with a frantic punk rock cover of Journey’s “Faithfully.” Back in their earlier days, Lagwagon’s albums often used to include cover songs, but the band hasn’t recorded one for a long time, until now. And, with this record, Lagwagon has come full-circle and rediscovered the purest version of who they’ve always been as a band. Not that that feeling was ever really lost in the first place, of course.

“I wouldn’t say ‘lost’,” confirms Cape, “but you evolve. Evolution is a journey within yourself. You go on this journey and it takes you wherever it takes you, there are multiple people along the way that you meet who have different ideas than you and as you grow, you get into different things along the way. I don’t know if you ever completely lose the sense of where you came from, but you definitely evolve away from it over time. But the thing is, it’s always there.”

Lagwagon will be making the following co-headlining appearances with Face to Face throughout September and October. Dates below.

09/27/19 – Tacoma, WA @ Spanish Ballroom at Elks Temple *
09/28/19 – Vancouver, BC @ Rickshaw Theatre *
09/29/19 – Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom *
10/01/19 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The Depot *
10/02/19 – Denver, CO @ Oriental Theater *
10/04/19 – Minneapolis, MN @ Skyway Theatre *
10/05/19 – Chicago, IL @ House of Blues *
10/06/19 – Detroit, MI @ St. Andrew’s Hall *
10/07/19 – Columbus, OH @ Columbus Athenaeum *
10/09/19 – Brooklyn, NY @ Warsaw *
10/10/19 – Silver Spring, MD @ The Fillmore *
10/11/19 – Sayreville, NJ @ Starland Ballroom *
10/12/19 – Norfolk, VA @ The NorVa *
10/13/19 – Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club *
10/15/19 – Charlotte, NC @ The Underground >
10/16/19 – Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade >
10/17/19 – Tampa, FL @ The Ritz Ybor >
10/18/19 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL @ Culture Room >
10/19/19 – St. Augustine, FL @ St. Augustine Amphitheatre >
10/21/19 – Dallas, TX @ Gas Monkey Live! #
10/23/19 – Phoenix, AZ @ The Pressroom #
10/24/19 – Las Vegas, NV @ House of Blues #
10/26/19 – Santa Ana, CA @ The Observatory #
10/27/19 – San Diego, CA @ The Observatory North Park #

>: H2O opening
*: MakeWar opening
#: Destroy Boys opening

THE MENZINGERS SHARE NEW SONG & VIDEO “STRANGERS FOREVER”

Today Philadelphia-based punk band The Menzingers share the music video for the song “Strangers Forever,” a track off the band’s forthcoming record Hello Exile out October 4 via Epitaph. The track is a searing tribute to parting ways, backing their spiky guitars with brilliantly barbed lyrics. “Lyrically, the song is inspired by Leo Tolstoy’s classic novel, ‘Anna Karenina’. In it, the character Darya Alexandrovna learns of her husband’s infidelity and declares: ‘Even if we remain in the same house, we are strangers — strangers forever!’” explains vocalist Greg Barnett. “The idea of becoming a stranger to someone you so intimately know stuck with me and became the overarching narrative to this song.”

Misery Loves Company Release New Single, “Sad Song”

New Jersey-based post-emo outfit, Misery Loves Company, has released a brand new single, “Sad Song.” The track follows the band’s previous releases, their debut EP Love Notes and Highways in 2017 and single “Dead Inside” in late 2018. “Sad Song” and the accompanying stream video can be watched on the Revival Recordings YouTube page.

Omnigone Premiere “Rather Be Alone”

It’s certainly a good morning knowing that there is a new Omnigone song for everyone to enjoy.

As announced a few weeks back, Omnigone is a new ska-punk project helmed by Adam Davis (Link 80/Desa) that picks up where Link 80 left off. Davis collaborates with a rotating cast of musicians from bands such as: Rx Bandits, Link 80, We are the Union, Kitty Kat Fan Club, Ogikubo Station, and more! Their debut LP, No Faith, releases on September 13th via Bad Time Records. Today, you can stream “Rather Be Alone” on Rebel Noise. The track steps outside of the ska-punk realm in favor of a more traditional ska groove and features former Rx Bandits member, Steve Borth, on sax & keys.

Tour Dates:
9/13 @ 924 Gilman – Berkeley, CA w/ Dan P. (Mu330) and Kill Lincoln

Bio:
Omnigone may be a new name in the East Bay CA ska punk scene, but they’re certainly no strangers to the genre. Twenty years ago Adam Davis joined Link 80, a band that seamlessly combined ska rhythms with aggressive and politically charged hardcore punk, leaving a legacy and a sound that would change the meaning of “ska punk” indefinitely. While Link 80 is no more, Adam (Guitar/Vocals) has picked up the torch and is lighting the way with Omnigone. Joined by Barry Krippene (Link 80/Blast Bandits) and a rotating cast of players including: Brent Friedman (We Are The Union), Steve Borth (Rx Bandits / Link 80), Justin Amans (Kitty Kat Fan Club/Ogikubo Station), Jeremy Hunter (Skatune Network/We Are The Union), Bootie Pook (Beat the Red Light), Aaron Carnes (Flat Planet) & Reece Noble, Omnigone recorded thirteen tracks that make up their debut full length No Faith. No Faith hits you quick band doesn’t let up, weaving aggressive anthems across genres to make up a fun, intense, but ultimately dynamic record. Whether you’re a fan of hardcore, punk, or ska there is something for everyone on this promising debut.

Release Date: September 13th, 2019
Label: Bad Time Records
Formats: CD/Vinyl/Digital
Purchase: http://badtimerecords.limitedrun.com/products/648396-omnigone-no-faith-12-vinyl-digital
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/0MNIG0NE/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/0mnig0ne/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/0mnig0ne

RAM ONES – Real Tree Camo

This is the best cover art I’ve seen in some time.

Currently rocking to the crushing rhythms of Real Tree Camo, the new album by Cleveland hardcore quartet, RAM ONES. (The band name is comedy gold, btw.)

This brief bit of skullcrushamania brings about 10 tracks of what I would consider 90s style Hardcore. Reminiscent of early Jughead’s Revenge and mid-career M.O.D.

The guitar work vacillates between rapid and plodding with equal verve. Rhythm is rock solid, and the vocals, though gritty, are still intelligible. The tracks are brief. In essence, it checks all the boxes.

In the words of Billy Milano, Short, but sweet!

Check ‘em out on their Bandcamp page.

Cheers!

-Jerry Actually