|Stream “122 Hours of Fear” via Dangerous Minds
Songs From The Lodge Out 4/20 on Dirty Water Records (pre-order)
I had this album collecting a little bit of dust on my desk and I feel a bit remiss about not having reviewed it sooner. The album actually came out late 2017. I’m sorry I didn’t get to it sooner, because I think these guys need a shoutout. At any rate, I’m here now, and here it is.
RISE! Is the debut full length from Rebel Spies, a Detroit area hardcore punk band featuring past and present members of the Suicide Machines, Telegraph, Hellmouth, HiFi Handgrenades, fordirelifesake and many more. Pedigree aside, the album rocks through 11 tracks of punk rock, with solid riffs, compelling intelligible vocals, and whole lot of guts and heart.
I’m going to offer you a bit of an odd comparison as to what I’m making of the sound, so bear with me here. Rebel Spies sounds a bit like if Rob Hellford’s slightly more gravely throated brother was singing lead vocals for a bit more punk/metal version of The Lawrence Arms. … Maybe I’m off my rocker here, or maybe it’s that I’m a bit hungover, but that’s the vibe I’m picking up.
While the band bills itself as a hardcore punk band, the riffery doesn’t stick strictly in the punk/hardcore vein. Track four, A Domain of Evil (Chapter One) delves into some ska territory, but track five, A Certain Point of View brings it back solidly with an aggressive old school sound. Track six, See You In Hell takes it you into a more straight up Rock and Roll direction.
It’s punk rock. It’s hardcore. It’s rock and roll. It’s got a lotta fucking balls. Get some!
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?
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
We’re fired up to finally share with you the details of the new Strung Out EP, Black Out the Sky, to be released on May 11th. While Strung Out has made their name on intense, frenetic slabs of metal-influenced tech-punk, there is more to the band than meets the eye. It might come as a shock to learn that the band’s new eight-song release is an acoustic affair, but as vocalist Jason Cruz explains, it’s not nearly as surprising for the band members.
“Every song starts on an acoustic guitar for the most part,” Cruz begins. “If it’s a good song, it can be played acoustic. For about the past five years, I’ve been pushing the band to release a record in this format.”
Cruz and his bandmates—Kiley, Ramos and bassist Chris Aiken—began working on Black Out The Sky in January 2017 with producer Kyle Black, who they had previously teamed up with on 2015’s blistering Transmission.Alpha.Delta, and who played a role in the band deciding to re-work two older songs, “Matchbook” and “UnKoil,” for the release.
“Kyle is a fan of the band,” the singer says. “I am the kind of person who wants to stray and go out into the unknown when I’m in the studio, but Kyle represents our fans. He didn’t let me stray too far with the melody or the music—just far enough to keep it fresh.”
With no set deadline on the release, the recording process went on for nearly the entirety of 2017, allowing for song arrangements to bloom in ways Strung Out songs never had before. “The songs came out really super-dark, not jingly-jangly acoustic stuff,” Cruz says. “We had to get other musicians involved. Some of it is sparse and intimate, and some of it has a lot going on.”
During the recording process, the band decided they needed to part ways with Jordan Burns, the band’s drummer since 1993. Cruz stresses that this decision was not an easy one to make, but it had to happen for the continued existence of Strung Out. “I think the band needed it,” Cruz admits. “It needed to happen for the band to survive and grow. We got to a point where we were going to break up if it didn’t.”
While in the studio, Strung Out realized some of the acoustic songs still needed drums. So the band enlisted their friend Sean Winchester, an accomplished drummer who has played with Everclear, Buckcherry and more, to fill out their sound. For their upcoming live shows, Strung Out will enlist RJ Shankle of California skate-punk band (and former tourmates) Runaway Kids to man the throne. Cruz is ecstatic about not only the fresh blood in his band, but what it means moving forward.
“Really, the whole theme of this record is rebirth,” he explains. “It’s the rebirth of our brotherhood and being a band. It’s astounding when you can keep a relationship together for three decades. There’s something so special about the music we write. We’re brothers beyond any kind of blood. It vindicates that we’re doing something right.
“I always ask myself, ‘What nerve do I have to get in front of a microphone?’” Cruz continues. “The fact that I kept this relationship together for 30 years says we worked through some shit. In our darkest times, we always came out with something beautiful because of it. In my mind, that gives me the right to get in front of that microphone.”
On Black Out The Sky, Cruz continues to dig deep internally, exploring parts of himself he’s yet to fully understand, taking the listener along for the ride, no matter how bumpy it may get.
“When we were kids, we all said, ‘Fuck God, fuck religion, fuck the government, let’s destroy it all,’” the frontman states. “Great. We did that. Punk rock did that. What are you gonna replace it with? Black Out The Sky is all about looking inward and finding what’s always been there, that intuition, that something to all of us. I don’t know what it is, but it’s the journey to find it and acknowledge it.”
Musically, the EP careens from songs that could be ported to full-band electric arrangements easily (“Requiem,” the title track) to mid-tempo grunge indebted to Alice In Chains (“The Architect”) to a full-on rollicking country song (“Duke Of Sorrow”). Cruz’s favorite number is “Town Of Corazon,” a surprisingly fragile song from a band who is usually anything but that. “’Town Of Corazon’ has the most balls we’ve ever displayed because it’s sweet and tender,” he admits. “It brings reference to spring and a new awakening. I’m so tired of screaming, the same riff, the same breakdown… I can’t stomach it anymore. Slipping in a sweet melody is the punkest thing we could do.”
Nearly three decades in, Strung Out is not driven by trends but instead by each other. As Cruz relays, “There is no ‘me’ in this band. It’s us. Whatever we think of, we’re gonna do it. Sometimes, people want to maintain a youthful aura about their band. That’s gone. We’re old dudes. But we’ve learned a thing or two. There’s nothing wrong with being an old dude. Lemme show you a road that I found; come with me.”
STRUNG OUT Tour Dates:
03/09/18 Boise, ID at Knitting Factory w/ Pennywise
BLACK OUT THE SKY track listing:
1. The Architect
Oh, The Joy Set For Release On 27th April 2018
Matching witty, tongue-in-cheek lyrics to jagged guitars, GRAVVES are noise merchants bar none.
This Spring will see the emerging trio from North Wales release their new EP Oh, The Joy through Loner Noise Records on the 27th April. The EP is loud, infectious and downright cataclysmic – The 6 songs of Oh, The Joy showcases a band taking aim at bigger things.
“We’re super excited for people to finally hear the new songs we’ve been working on.” said vocalist Adam Hughes. “The EP took us a bit longer than it should of to finish, but we couldn’t be happier with the outcome. We are now just looking ahead to losing our voices and breaking our bodies on the road.”
In support, GRAVVES will take to the road, including appearances at Wrong Festival, Sound City and Focus Wales.
28 APR 2018 – Liverpool UK, Wrong Festival
Oh, The Joy follows the bands 2017 debut EP Rattle, also released through Liverpool-based Loner Noise Records. Singles ‘Tribes’ and ‘My Pet Rihanna’ received widespread airplay by the likes of BBC Radio 6, BBC Radio Wales, Amazing Radio and Kerrang! Radio. The release also received numerous gleaming reviews online, being described as “a bratty, scuzzy brand of balls-out grunge rock, bursting with snarling punk attitude.”
Oh, The Joy will be available on CD and Digital Download from the 27th April 2018
Adam Hughes – Bass, Vocals
Liam and Mark from Booze & Glory are fanatical about Jamaican music. From Ska to Rocksteady, from Calypso to Reggae. From Trojan Records, Studio 1 to Crab Records. From Desmond Dekker, The Maytals to Jimmy Cliff, from Alton Ellis, Kingstonians to Derrick Morgan. From Pressure Drop to Liquidator, from Long Shot Kick De Bucket to Skinhead Revolt…
Just before completing their new (punk) full length “Chapter IV” (Burning Heart), Mark and Liam, and THE LONDONIANS (UK) laid down these amazing tracks with VESPA, from Poland.
These “Jamaican” versions of “London Skinhead Crew”, “Only Fools Get Caught” and “Leave The Kids Alone” are just the start – they were as much fun to record as they are going to be for all of us to dance to for years to come. And the best part is that it is called “Volume 1” for a reason.
Jeff Rosenstock Releases Video for “Melba”
POST- Out Now on Polyvinyl & Quote Unquote Records
Epitaph Records is pleased to welcome surf-punk band The Frights to its roster. The San Diego-based band features Mikey Carnevale (vocals/guitar), Richard Dotson (bass), Marc Finn (drums) and Jordan Clark (guitar).
Today, The Frights share their new song “Valentine’s Sux.” With its sticky melody and bouncy rhythm, the sing-along-ready breakup anthem touches on everything from bummer dinners at Benihana to bad barber-shop-quartet-related life decisions.
“‘Valentine’s Sux’ was really fun to write mainly because I was in the middle of writing our next record,” says Carnevale. “I’d been on that every day for a long time, so it was a good break to write something funny. Is this what is feels like to be Weird Al? Just constantly happy? So sick.”
On February 14, The Frights will headline The Fonda Theatre in L.A. for a special Valentine’s Day show celebrating the release of this track. Thee Commons will join as support.
Formed in 2012, The Frights made their debut with 2013’s Dead Beach EP and released their self-titled full-length later that year. Their sophomore album You Are Going To Hate This arrived in 2016, debuting on the CMJ Top 200 chart. Produced by FIDLAR’s Zac Carper, You Are Going To Hate This earned acclaim from outlets like Brooklyn Vegan (who praised the title track as a “super catchy blend of Weezer, SoCal pop punk, and Burger-y garage rock”).
“We couldn’t be more excited to start a new path with Epitaph,” says Carnevale. “Some of our favorite bands have been on this label and it seems pretty bizarre that we’re joining them. Super, super stoked.”
March 9 Las Vegas, NV – Eagle Aerie Hall
March 10 Phoenix, AZ – Flying Burrito Fest
March 12 Tucson, AZ – 191 Toole
March 13 El Paso, TX – Lowbrow Palace
March 14-16 Austin, TX @ SXSW
March 17 Dallas, TX – Trees
March 19 New Orleans, LA – Republic NOLA
March 21 Corpus Christi, TX – House of Rock
March 22 McAllen, TX – Yerberia Cultura
March 24 Houston, TX – In Bloom Festival
For more information on The Frights, visit:
FIVE PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED SONGS UNEARTHED FROM THE RECORDING SESSIONS OF THE BAND’S 2006 ALBUM, OH! CALCUTTA!
HEADLINING TOUR DATES ANNOUNCED
Formed in Chicago, Illinois in 1999, The Lawrence Arms have remained unchanged since day one. Sure, the band’s brand of anthemic punk has evolved over their nearly two decades together, but at the core of it all, they’re still just three guys who like to play music together. In honor of the band’s 19 years in the game, on March 30, Fat Wreck Chords will release We Are The Champions Of The World, a 29-song best-of album that chronicles the band’s steady evolution over the past two decades.
Culled from the band’s entire discography, which includes their releases on Asian Man Records, Epitaph Records, and FAT, We Are The Champions Of The World serves as both a retrospective and an introduction to the Chicago institution. The tracklist was handpicked by the band—bassist-vocalist Brendan Kelly, guitarist-vocalist Chris McCaughan, and drummer Neil Hennessy—in order to show how these three friends went from making gritty, lo-fi records to becoming some of the sharpest songwriters in all of punk.
Oh, and just so we’re totally clear here, it’s not a greatest hits album.
“I think you have to have hits to make a greatest hits,” says Kelly, “So we approached the song selection in an attempt to be indicative of our evolution, rather than focus on our ‘hits,’ of which, frankly, there are none.” Instead, We Are The Champions Of The World showcases every part of the band’s storied career, from their 1999 debut album A Guided Tour Of Chicago, all the way up to 2014’s Metropole. “In the end, I’m super grateful for the collective experience and history of being in this band with two guys I have known forever and love dearly and are my fam,” says McCaughan. “I guess that’s what this record kind of means and reaffirms for me.”
With liner notes written by both Kelly and McCaughan, the pair reflect on how each song came to be, sharing anecdotes about what inspired them to put pen to paper. But of course, they aren’t trying to tell you what the songs are actually about, because what’s the fun in that? “I don’t think that it’s cool to be prescriptive in song meanings because that leads to the erroneous conclusion that the song has one meaning: the songwriter’s intent,” says Kelly. “In truth, songs have no meaning until a listener connects with it and imbues it with what it means to them. I did offer a few of my interpretations of Chris’s songs, and vice versa, because even though I play and sing on his songs, I didn’t write em, so I’m interpreting them along with any other listener.”
McCaughan shares that perspective, noting that the band wanted to shed light on their creative process without ruining the mythology fans had built up. “I’ve never been able to really explain or pinpoint exactly what songs I’ve written are about anyway—so I guess that lowers the risk of potential disappointment for people who like our band reading the liner notes and being like ‘Damn, I used to love that song but it’s actually about Tide Pods or the Milwaukee Bucks,’” says McCaughan.
But the biggest perk for diehard fans of The Lawrence Arms will be the five previously unreleased songs included on We Are The Champions Of The World. Taken from recording sessions that spawned the band’s classic 2006 album Oh! Calcutta!, these five songs have been in the vault for over a decade. “They didn’t make the cut because they just didn’t fit in the structure of that album, which ended up being very focused and thematic,” says Kelly. Some of these songs never made it past the demo stage, but even so, they show how tightly focused the band was during this period, with even the scraps left behind sounding vital and potent. “I hadn’t heard these songs in over ten years,” says McCaughan. “I’d basically forgotten they existed at all, so listening back to a few of them was initially like stepping into some strange portal—then as soon as I heard them again my memory filled out.”
And for fans who have been aching to see the band play live again, We Are The Champions Of The World will see the band touring in support of the album throughout 2018. Not only will they be hitting parts of the United States they haven’t been to in years and they’ll even be heading back to Europe for some festival dates this summer. It’s been a while since The Lawrence Arms have hit the road, and We Are The Champions Of the World is the catalyst for the band to get back in the van and spread their unique brand of merriment. And maybe, if all goes well, a new Lawrence Arms record will follow. “I think I speak for all of us when I say it’s pretty astounding that people still care that we do this,” says Kelly. “And as long as that’s the case, we’ll keep making new music.”But for now, We Are The Champions Of The World serves as a celebration for The Lawrence Arms, a band that’s never tried to fit in one specific box and, as a result, have succeeded on their own terms. “We just do our best to do us—be human, transparent, and not take ourselves too seriously,” says McCaughan. “At the core, this is what I love about our band.” That’s the reason why The Lawrence Arms are champions of the world, even if they’ve still yet to write an actual hit.
THE LAWRENCE ARMS 2018 Tour Dates:
4/4 – Cambridge, MA @ The Sinclair
4/5 – Garwood, NJ @ Crossroads
4/6 – Lancaster, PA @ Chameleon Club
4/7 – Baltimore, MD @ Soundstage
4/8 – Philadelphia, PA @ Theatre of Living Arts
4/9 – New York, NY @ Gramercy Theatre
4/10 – Cleveland, OH @ Grog Shop
4/11 – Detroit, MI @ Magic Stick
4/12 – Chicago, IL @ Metro (w/ Banner Pilot)
4/27 – Seattle, WA @ El Corazon
All shows with Red City Radio and Sincere Engineer. (Except Chicago which has Banner Pilot instead of RCR)
We Are the Champions of the World tracklisting:
1. On with the Show
NOi!SE’S THE SCARS WE HIDE RE-ISSUE OUT FEB. 9th!
PREVIOUSLY OUT OF PRINT, REMIXED AND REMASTERED!
Following up their recent full length “The Real Enemy”, there has been a lot of interest in NOi!SE’s back catalog, much of which is out of press. Pirates Press Records is really excited to fill that void, bringing you this remixed and remastered version of the Washington based powerhouse’s debut LP.
Originally released in 2014, and now long out of print, “The Scars We Hide” is a huge part of what put this band on the map. Start to finish, the album solidified the band’s sound – pairing those rivitting drums, insane basslines, and great leads with a true verbal assault.
Coming off their first jaunt over to Europe, and countless local shows and weekenders, NOi!SE is at the top of their game – and while touring full-time pretty much off the table due to family obligations and Matt Henson’s role in the US Army, they are excited to announce a series of upcoming shows and mini-tours for 2018.
1. Rank And File
2. Glass Half Empty
3. The Truth
4. Drift Away
5. Silenced Voices
7. Pawn In The Game
8. Plastic Friends
9. How We Made It Through
10. Bottom Of The Barrel
11. A Different Road
12. The Future Is Waiting