I flipping love getting mystery vinyl in the mail. Especially right now when I can leave the house. Last week I was blessed with a copy of MethMatics self-titled release. Super cool!
The Columbus, OH quintet brings their brand of rock and roll with an old school 70’s glam vibe, Dolls, Stooges, Dead Boys, Cheap Trick etc. but they also remind me of another Columbus band, The Newbomb Turks. They are definitely energetic. Maybe they’re too energetic if you catch my drift. 😉 … or possibly their name is a play on words. You gotta roll your own dice on that one friend.
The album is oozing with sludge from a thunderous rhythm section and dripping with sex of sultry vocals and wailing guitar. It’s not all David Johanson trying to mind-hump you though. The political leanings of track 7. Dear Leader is juxtaposed with the more 50s crooning of track 9. Precious Love. There’s a critical punk urgency to like track 4. You Bring Me Down, and the straight up rock and roll of track 6. Have A Nice Day.
It’s a good mix of style and theme and overall, a fine piece of debut release from an animated Ohio punk/rock/metal/glam band.
Got another banger here from PDX Punk-Ska-Rockers, the Fauxriginals. …If You Believe It is out today and you’re locked down with nothing better to do, so listen to this and buy a copy or something.
The new EP drops eight fresh tracks of well polished pop punk with ska hooks and a great rock and roll swagger. Aside from previous mentions to Orangetree, this new release kinda reminds me a bit of Johnny Socko, and that ain’t a bad thing, kids.
The songs run the gamut of the laments of not being “Punk Enough” to the spiritual lifestyle coaching of “Beeritual Advisor” A strong range if you ask me. Tracks are largely rapid paced interspersed with more pedestrian speeds on tracks such as “Spelling Lessons”
Everything has a solid polish to it, musicianship and recording are full on quality, nothing to report by goodness there. If you enjoy pop punk that straddles the late tail of 3rd Wave Ska, then this is totally up your alley.
A bit over a decade ago I reviewed a release from UK band, The Bolsheviks. Action Reaction was a great release, and I had wondered what became of the band. It turns out the band sort of imploded shortly after the release and they called it quits.
Fast forward to the current apocalypse.
The band decided to give it another go, and once again things happen. This time though, it was the entirety of society that shit the bed. Right in the midst of working on a new album, everyone civilized got put on lockdown.
You can’t keep a good band down though, and the Bolsheviks have released a two song live EP (available wherever you stream anything)
The tracks are all in the hardcore punk vein to a greater degree. Track four “Toilet Paper is my Business” drifts perhaps a bit more into Zappa-esque territory.
Overall a fun bit of distraction from being locked in the house and banging your head on the floor.
As Nick says, “I’m stuck inside writing music during the great Corona Virus World Shutdown Party 2020! What else am I gonna do? Just because you’re all alone doesn’t mean you can’t have a little throwdown. Break out your best mosh pit moves, you could probably use some aerobics right now.”
Today, Chicago cult rock heroes Alkaline Trio release E.P., a three-song single. The songs are now available digitally. “With
the tour postponed and the current state of the world, we feel and hope
that some new music will help people transcend the uncertainty and
possible fear they might be feeling, if even for a few minutes,” says Matt Skiba. “Music
has always had a way of helping us all cope with unpleasant times. We
can only hope that ours can do the same for our fans on some level. We
hope you enjoy the songs.”
limited edition two-song 7” is available for pre-order now and is
limited to 1000 blue variant in the US and 500 red in Europe. The 7”
will feature “Minds Like Minefields” on Side A and “Radio Violence” on
Side B. Andriano describes “Radio Violence” as, “a song about
communication breakdowns, it’s about the lies we tell ourselves and
others and it’s about shutting out those closest to us when we need them
E.P. TRACK LISTING
1. Minds Like Minefields
2. Radio Violence
Alkaline Trio’s upcoming North American co-headlining tour with Bad
Religion has been postponed. The tour will be rescheduled for fall 2020
and all previously purchased tickets will be honored.
ABOUT ALKALINE TRIO
Since emerging in 1996, Alkaline Trio have become one
of punk rock’s most progressive and unique bands of the last decade,
rousing a dedicated legion of passionate supporters with nine fan-adored
albums and relentless world-wide touring.
The band’s recent release, Is This Thing Cursed? debuted #2 on
the current alternative albums chart, #9 on the top current albums chart
and #68 on the Billboard 200. The album hearkens to the creative
process of the early days, when the band rehearsed in a tiny apartment
on the edge of Chicago’s Humboldt Park in the band’s hometown. Produced
and mixed by Cameron Webb (Pennywise, Motörhead), it is the first
Alkaline Trio album written almost entirely in the studio. According to
the band, the album-making process was similar to that of Maybe I’ll Catch Fire —Alkaline Trio’s darkly charged sophomore full-length.
Ever find yourself missing a band from the past and serendipitously stumbling into them, or an iteration of the sound you missed, some time in the future?
Well biggity bam, fam, here I am.
I got an email a couple weeks ago about a new 7” from Duck & Cover. The name of the band didn’t ring a bell at all, but as I started listening, there was a familiarity that couldn’t be missed. A quick scan of the sidebar revealed “(ex/current The Coffin Lids, The Acro-brats, Bang Camaro, Black Cheers, Vampire Lezbos, The Throwaways, The Drags, Wild Zero…)”
I want to digress a bit here to say that anyone currently aged 15 – 80 is very likely also a ex/current member of Bang Camaro, it’s just one of those things.
Anyway, I’ve long enjoyed The Acro-brats, specifically. This is documented by the long since faded sticker on my car. It’s nice to hear some new material with a familiar sound.
I don’t want to detract from Duck & Cover with my nostalgic opine, however. The band and their new 7” Two Shots have merit on their own.
Three tracks of bouncy rock and roll, with a bit of a post new wave vibe about it. It’s like what an alternate 80s timeline could have been if hair metal never took to the high seas and bomb-blasted us all with their Hollywood sleaze.
I suppose this all distills down to where I tell you what you get. Well, what you get is a solid rock and roll band, tempered by punk and new wave of yesteryear. The culmination of that is a damn fine 7” record.
Ok, so I’m a total newbie to DC based Supreme Commander, and boy howdy have I been missing out. Right now listening to Tooth And Nail, the newest release from this hardcore quartet, and it’s shaking the dust off my ceiling.
The album features 10 tracks of defiant and decidedly East Coast Hardcore. The sound is reminiscent of the likes of Sick Of It All, Madball, Slapshot, and so many other bands that typify the 80s/90s HXC sound.
The songs are brief and intense. The lyrics are both relevant and topical, with tunes about everybody’s daily grind, ala track four, “Rat Race”. Track five, “Logos” brings reference to the piercing pain that most folks know, “stepping on a lego, in the dark.” Track nine, “Keyboard Warrior” delves into the world of the online badass. As a bonus at the end, you get a solid cover of Minor Threat’s “Guilty of Being White”.
Front to end, a solid release. From slow mosh grind to complete windmill-inducing frenetics, Tooth And Nail covers all the bases. Don’t believe me, go check it for yourself: https://supremecommander.bandcamp.com/
In December 2019, Fat Mike dropped a list of albums that were coming out in 2020. One of them was The Suicide Machines, and today we finally get to unveil the details! Their debut FAT full-length, Revolution Spring, streets on March 27th, and is available for pre-order now! What’s
more, this new album is filled to the brim with blistering, rousing
songs that combine hardcore, ska, and anthemic punk rock. Recorded in
“about 12 days” at Rancho Recordo, and produced by Less Than Jake’s bassist Roger Lima, you can get your first contagious kiss of their lead track, “Awkward Always,” below.
Vocalist, Jason Navarro, had this to share about joining the FAT family: We
all felt we wrote such a good record that there could be no home for us
other than FAT. It’s an honor to be in the DIY house they built and be
included with so many Legendary bands. Feels like we are finally home.
Photo: Mark Marfa Capodanno It was in 2006 that Detroit punks The Suicide Machines called it a day after 15 years and six full-throttle, super-charged and confrontational albums. The break didn’t last too long – in 2009, the four-piece crew reconvened to play the occasional local shows and embarked on some even less frequent tours. There was no sign of new material – until now!
Revolution Spring, the band’s seventh album, and first new material since 2005’s War Profiteering Is Killing Us All, will be released March 27th, 2020. What’s more, this new album full of blistering, rousing songs finds the band on truly explosive and energetic form. So why now you may ask? “Everyone just kind of got inspired,” chuckles vocalist Jason Navarro, about the band’s decision to begin making music again. “That’s all. I think we were watching all these other bands ride a wave of nostalgia and we didn’t want to be lumped into that, so we started writing a couple of songs and it went from there.”
Over the course of a couple of years, the band – completed by drummer Ryan Vandeberghe, bassist Rich Tschirhart and guitarist Justin Malek (who is also the drummer in Navarro’s post Suicide Machines outfit Hellmouth) – wrote a total 30 songs. With the help of both Less Than Jake’s bassist Roger Lima, who produced Revolution Spring, and The Code’s frontman Marc Code, who is their longtime friend and now manager, The Suicide Machines whittled those 30 songs down to the 16 that make up this record. While on the one hand, these songs serve as an overview of the band’s career and the different permutations of punk they’ve dabbled in over the years, it also possess the energy, spontaneity and enthusiasm of a band many years their junior – albeit with the wisdom that comes from being alive for a few decades.
Recorded in “about 12 days” at Rancho Recordo – the studio run by Marc Jacob Hudson, who also plays bass for Laura Jane Grace & The Devouring Mothers – Revolution Spring is a powerful and cohesive combination of hardcore, ska and anthemic punk rock. That, says Navarro, was all fueled by “Awkward Always”, “Black Tar Halo” and “Impossible Possibilities”, the first three songs that the band wrote, all of which made the cut for the record. “We did those three right off the bat,” says Navarro, “and we were like ‘Wow, these are better than most of the songs Suicide Machines have ever written in any form. That was the start of the spark. It was a long process after that because we were very picky about it, because we wanted to put out the record we wanted to put out and nothing else.”
While Revolution Spring harnesses the belligerent energy that has defined The Suicide Machines since their inception, there are, Navarro says, two marked differences this time around. The first is that these songs are particularly personal.
“This album is legitimately pretty autobiographical,” he says. “A lot of it is very personal – about how I am and where I am now and how I got where I am now mentally. I kind of wanted to leave my children with an understanding of who I am as an older person. Maybe years from now when I’ve passed away, they can pick up the record and look at the lyrics and listen to it and, if they didn’t already know exactly, go ‘Okay, so this is what dad is about.’” The personal component is especially obvious on “Trapped in A Bomb”, a poignant ode to a close friend Navarro lost to suicide that made the singer open up lyrically, perhaps more than he ever had before.
“I completely burst into tears the first time I had to sing that one,” he admits. “It’s probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to sing. I’ve definitely tried to kill myself, but my friend did it. He called me, and an hour later he was dead. This is me saying ‘I’ve made it to this point, and I wish you could have, too.’”
The second overriding difference on this album is the (relatively) newfound optimism possessed by the singer. He started becoming aware of this when he made Oblivion, Hellmouth’s 2016 third full-length. “You wouldn’t think this would be the case with the way the world is looking now,” he admits, “but I’ve become a lot more positive about things. And I stopped pointing fingers and started doing things instead – I feed the homeless a couple of times a week with a bunch of friends of mine, I’ve protested against ICE here in Detroit, I’ve done things locally like water drives for Flint – and I feel like doing these things has created more positivity in my head, whereas before I was being pissed off and not doing anything.”
That’s not to say The Suicide Machines aren’t pissed off on this record, let’s be clear on that point. Opener “Bully In Blue” is a breakneck anthem that rallies against police brutality; the jaunty, ska-punk tones of “Babylon of Ours” overlay a harsh indictment of capitalism and American imperialism, and “Flint Hostage Crisis” is a brutal takedown that addresses the lack of clean water in that city – and the fact that nothing has been done to address it. ‘This is what class war really looks like’ snarls Navarro viciously at the end of the brief, belligerent track. Still, he insists, he’s just writing about things close to him, and that he stopped far short of where he otherwise would have done in the past.
“I’m from here,” he says, “so I feel like it’s something we know. My best friend works for the water department there. He’s sold merch for us, so I know a lot about it. I didn’t say ‘Hey, we should hang our governor and kill him’, whereas, maybe 10 years ago I would have. I’m just saying that this is fucked, and this is how these things work and if you think that’s a surprise, it’s not.”
Yet despite all that, and despite the messed-up world these songs reflect so well… and despite this record’s provocative, insurrectionary title – Revolution Spring, is not, first and foremost, a political record. Although it reasserts The Suicide Machines as one of the most formidable and relevant punk bands around, more importantly for Navarro, it documents his personal growth as a human being and where he is at this very moment in time.
“It represents the change inside of me,” he explains. “People might think it’s political, but really it’s me thinking about springtime as rebirth. There’s change inside of me at 46 years old that’s strangely positive somehow. That’s not something I ever expected, because I’ve been a pretty angry person. And I think the other guys are in the same boat. But I could be dead tomorrow – and I’d be absolutely alright with leaving the world with this record.”
Old and new fans alike will find Revolution Spring an energetic homage to the band’s past anthemic, hardcore, ska-punk roots, mixed with the newfound optimism and raw personal life experiences of the band. It’s good to have them back.
Revolution Spring track listing:
1 Bully in Blue 2 Awkward Always 3 Babylon of Ours 4 Flint Hostage Crisis 5 To Play Caesar (Is to Be Stabbed to Death) 6 Trapped in a Bomb 7 Detroit Is the New Miami 8 Eternal Contrarian 9 Well Whiskey Wishes 10 Black Tar Halo 11 Empty Time 12 Impossible Possibilities 13 Potter’s Song 14 Simple 15 Anarchist Wedding 16 Cheers to Ya
The Suicide Machines Tour Dates:
28 Mar in McKees Rocks, PA, US @ Roxian Theatre w/ Anti-Flag 04 Apr in Atlantic City, NJ, US @ Atlantic City Beer Festival 09 May in Wels, Austria @ Sbam Fest 2020 23 May in Leeds, UK @ Slam Dunk Festival North 24 May in Hatfield, UK @ Slam Dunk Festival South
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
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
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.
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