In Defense of Ska – Pre-order

IN DEFENSE OF SKA

By AARON CARNES

OFFICIAL RELEASE MAY 4

Print ISBN: 978-1-944866-78-5

Price: $18.95

Page Count: 330

Pre-Order the book at: Clash Books

“I DECLARE THIS THE BOOK OF THE YEAR”
-Josh Fernandez (Hard Times)

“Aaron Carnes knows that ska needs defending, and he’s highly equipped to defend it. Aaron wanted to set out to change the public’s perception of this unfairly-maligned genre.”
-Andrew Sacher (Brooklyn Vegan)

“Honestly, I wasn’t a giant fan of ska. But the stories he gives snippets, I’m definitely getting this book. It’s fucking great.”
-Mike Doyle (This Was The Scene podcast)

“I love In Defense of Ska and I can’t wait until it’s officially released.”
-Cam Brio (Cam Brio Music)

Photo by Cam Evans

Why doesn’t ska get its due as a rich, diverse genre the way punk, metal, hip-hop and electronic music does? Or more to the point, why are ska fans so embarrassed of this music they love? The era of ska shame is officially over. In Defense of Ska is the much-needed response to years of ska-mockery. No longer do ska fans need to hide in the basement, skanking alone in their sharp suits, slim ties and porkpie hats. Now the time to take to the streets and fight music snobbery, or at least crank up the ska without being teased ruthlessly.

In a mix of interviews, essays, personal stories, historical snapshots, obscure anecdotes, and think pieces, In Defense of Ska dissects, analyzes and celebrates ska in exactly the way fans have been craving for decades. This book will enlist ska-lovers as soldiers in the ska army, and challenge ska-haters’ prejudices to the core.

Author Aaron Carnes. Photo by Amy Bee

Since hardly anyone takes ska seriously, author Aaron Carnes, has uncovered a bunch of untold stories. Geoffrey Hales, the “music and surf consultant” for the film Back To The Beach speaks on why he chose Fishbone to appear in the film. His decision was in part because Walt Disney was a racist and pro-Nazi; having his darling Annette Funicello backed by a black band would make him “roll in his grave.”

There’s also the story of Fresno ska band Let’s Go Bowling who, in 1998, had their touring van shot up on the freeway as they were heading home after a show. The only injury was a bullet fragment the keyboardist found in his hand. And how about Riverside skacore legends Voodoo Glow Skulls, who abandoned their first “Fat Randy” video shoot. They cast the real-life Fat Randy—a weird Polish kid they went to school with—and a bunch of old high school friends. These old buddies got drunk and dogpiled on Randy, hurting him, shutting down the video, wasting 10,000 dollars of Epitaph’s money in production costs.

Since ska is a global phenomenon, Aaron flew to Mexico to report on biggest, and most political, ska scene in the world. Many of these bands rose from the most impoverished neighborhoods in Mexico City. Few musicians in Mexico speak on political and social issues, but the ska bands do, and they’re incredibly popular with the kids from these same poor neighborhoods. Today these bands play all-ska festivals that draw 25,000 people and more.

After the ’90s, when ska was considered dead, the music continued to have a cult audience. Current-day Pitchfork darling Jeff Rosenstock used to fronted ska-core band Arrogant Sons of Bitches in the early 2000s. They traversed the country vehemently and defiantly defending ska amidst the ska-hating early 2000s musical landscape. They played to small but devoted crowds that loved that they didn’t abandon ska in the name of “rock with horn” like so many of the 90s ska bands did. It was such an arduous task, defending ska, they ended many shows injured, usually self-inflicted.

In Defense of Ska takes readers on a journey through the last several decades of music to illustrate how important ska has always been, and highlights hundreds of great, underrated bands, completely destroying the popular narrative that ska was just a zany trend in the ’90s. It’s a way of life. It’ll never die.

Flat Planet – Somewhere in TX, 1996. Photo courtesy of Aaron Carnes

THE DIRTY NIL DROP NEW SINGLE – “ONE MORE AND THE BILL”

THE DIRTY NIL DROP NEW SINGLE ONE MORE AND THE BILL
WATCH LIVE PERFORMANCE ON YOUTUBE   LINKS: FACEBOOK / INSTAGRAM / TWITTER / WEBSITE / MORE INFO   Today, JUNO Award-winning power trio The Dirty Nil share “One More and the Bill,” the emotional centrepiece of their forthcoming album, Fuck Art, out January 1, 2021 via Dine Alone Records and available for pre-order now.   Speaking on “One More and the Bill,” frontman Luke Bentham says:
Let’s be clear: social media hates you. One More And The Bill is an ode to the primitive, casting off the shackles and enjoying life while you’ve got it. This is one of my favourite songs we’ve ever made and we hope you enjoy!   Along with the previous releases of pop-punk gem “Done With Drugs,” the hardcore basement rock ode to young love “Doom Boy,” and “Blunt Force Concussion,” a slice of ’90’s power-pop, “One More and the Bill” is a grungy drinking song that climaxes with a vow to smash my TV, smash my phone, leave politics alone, go outside for a while.
Watch The Dirty Nil perform “One More and the Bill” live via YouTube and hear their frustration towards the toxicity of social media bubble up and boil over.
Fuck Art The Dirty Nil January 1, 2021 Dine Alone Records   1. Doom Boy 2. Blunt Force Concussion 3. Elvis ’77 4. Done With Drugs 5. Ride or Die 6. Hang Yer Moon 7. Damage Control 8. Hello Jealousy 9. Possession 10. To The Guy Who Stole My Bike 11. One More and The Bill   Fuck Art is a statement of confidence and defiance from a group that’s now three albums into the game—i.e., the point where ambitious rock bands are supposed to call in the orchestra, experiment with electronics, and try to make their Ok Computer. The Dirty Nil, by contrast, have opted to perfect the formula that, over the past decade, has landed them on stages with everyone from Against Me! to The Who. Fuck Art melts down all of their favourite ingredients—classic-rock heroism, pop-punk horsepower, ’80s indie scrappiness, ’90s alterna-crunch, speed-metal adrenaline—into a radiant, chromatic solution they can then mould and harden into unpredictable shapes.

Grade 2 Share New Track “Only Ones I Trust”

GRADE 2
SHARE “ONLY ONES I TRUST”

ARTWORK BY TIM ARMSTRONG

UK punk band Grade 2 have just released “Only Ones I Trust,” an outtake from the band’s 2019 album Graveyard Island. Co-written and produced by Rancid’s Tim Armstrong, the band hopes this feel good track with stomping choruses will “unify those who have seen struggles this year, because together in this game we are damned and we are all the same. We aim to have you singing your heart out, for now just in your living room but hopefully at a show soon!”

LISTEN TO “ONLY ONES I TRUST” NOW

Grade 2 is Sid Ryan (vocals/bass), Jack Chatfield (vocals/guitar), and Jacob Hull (drums). Formed in 2013, the band met at school where they would spend their lunch break playing covers of classic punk tunes together in the music room. Since their formation, the band has released several EPs and three studio albums; Mainstream View (2016) and Break The Routine (2017), and Graveyard Island (2019). The bands’ Hellcat debut Graveyard Island was recorded and produced by Rancid’s Tim Armstrong at Armstrong’s Shiprec Studios and mixed by The Interrupters’ Kevin Bivona.

Grade 2 by Bill Chatfield 

For More Information on Grade 2, visit:
WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK

The Lawrence Arms – Skeleton Coast – Out now

SKELETON COAST
THE NEW ALBUM FROM
THE LAWRENCE ARMS
OUT NOW

The Lawrence Arms’ seventh studio album, Skeleton Coast is out now. Recorded in Tornillo, TX, a border town of Mexico, at Sonic Ranch Studios with longtime producer Matt Allison, the album marks the band’s first release in six years.

LISTEN TO SKELETON COAST NOW

The album contains the elements of the band’s sound that fans have come to love for the past two decades but recontextualizes them in a way that somehow sounds perfectly aligned with this strange time in our collective history. Although it was written and recorded before the Coronavirus upended the world, the band’s seventh studio album sounds eerily prescient as it imagines an apocalyptic future where coyotes croon and wolf packs roam free. “For a band who has been around as long as us, this is about as urgent of a record as we could make,” vocalist and bassist Brendan Kelly explains. “It may be kind of dark but it’s really about searching for light in the darkness and finding it, as small as those moments may seem. That’s sort of where we’re at: Collecting the scraps of things that could make for a bearable existence in dark times.”

SKELETON COAST TRACK LISTING
1. Quiet Storm
2. PTA
3. Belly Of The Whale
4. Dead Man’s Coat
5. Pigeons and Spies
6. Last Last Words
7. Demon
8. Ghostwriter
9. How To Rot
10. Under Paris
11. Goblin Fox Hunt
12. Lose Control
13. Don’t Look At Me
14. Coyote Crown

The Lawrence Arms have never had any agenda apart from just having fun and making good music. Since forming in Chicago in 1999—the trio of bassist/vocalist Brendan Kelly, guitarist/vocalist Chris McCaughan and drummer Neil Hennessy—have made albums that continually challenge the boundaries of their sound. In the process they’ve carved out a distinctive identity in the punk community that’s simultaneously gritty, beautiful, melodic and mutinous.

The Lawrence Arms by Ben Pier

For more information on The Lawrence Arms, visit:
INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK | TWITTER

THE LAWRENCE ARMS SHARE NEW TRACK “LAST LAST WORDS”

THE LAWRENCE ARMS
SHARE NEW TRACK

“LAST LAST WORDS”

SKELETON COAST OUT JULY 17

Today, Chicago bred trio The Lawrence Arms share “Last Last Words” off their forthcoming record Skeleton Coast out July 17 via Epitaph.

The track “is about coming to terms with your own obscurity – but like, in a pretty upbeat way,” says vocalist and guitarist Chris McCaughan. “It’s an escape dream to an edge of the world while being strangely content with some undergrown adulthood. It’s part undercover love song to the sometimes beautiful randomness of the universe and part offbeat, comical reminder to keep rewriting your unknown future. Like so much of the record, the song chases tiny flashes of light in the darkness.”

LISTEN TO “LAST LAST WORDS” NOW

Skeleton Coast was recorded 30 miles east of El Paso, TX at Sonic Ranch Studios with longtime producer Matt Allison. The album contains the elements of the band’s sound that fans have come to love for the past two decades but recontextualizes them in a way that somehow sounds perfectly aligned with this strange time in our collective history. Although it was written and recorded before the Coronavirus upended the world, the band’s seventh studio album sounds eerily prescient as it imagines an apocalyptic future where coyotes croon and wolf packs roam free. “For a band who has been around as long as us, this is about as urgent of a record as we could make,” vocalist and bassist Brendan Kelly explains. “It may be kind of dark but it’s really about searching for light in the darkness and finding it, as small as those moments may seem. That’s sort of where we’re at: Collecting the scraps of things that could make for a bearable existence in dark times.”

SKELETON COAST TRACK LISTING
1. Quiet Storm
2. PTA
3. Belly Of The Whale
4. Dead Man’s Coat
5. Pigeons and Spies
6. Last Last Words
7. Demon
8. Ghostwriter
9. How To Rot
10. Under Paris
11. Goblin Fox Hunt
12. Lose Control
13. Don’t Look At Me
14. Coyote Crown

The Lawrence Arms have never had any agenda apart from just having fun and making good music. Since forming in Chicago in 1999—the trio of bassist/vocalist Brendan Kelly, guitarist/vocalist Chris McCaughan and drummer Neil Hennessy—have made albums that continually challenge the boundaries of their sound. In the process they’ve carved out a distinctive identity in the punk community that’s simultaneously gritty, beautiful, melodic and mutinous

For more information on The Lawrence Arms, visit:
INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK | TWITTER

THE LAWRENCE ARMS ANNOUNCE SKELETON COAST OUT JULY 17

THE LAWRENCE ARMS
ANNOUNCE
SKELETON COAST
OUT JULY 17

SHARE NEW TRACK

“PTA”

Chicago bred trio The Lawrence Arms will release Skeleton Coast, their first album in six years, on July 17. The band offers fans a glimpse at the record with the release of the first single from the new record, “PTA.”

Skeleton Coast was recorded 30 miles east of El Paso, TX at Sonic Ranch Studios with longtime producer Matt Allison. It was kind of like album camp in the sense that we were in this very remote setting for two weeks and really focusing on making the record. That was a very different experience for us because we’ve always made our records in Chicago which is home and all the things about home are in the way,” says vocalist and guitarist Chris McCaughan.

The album contains the elements of the band’s sound that fans have come to love for the past two decades but recontextualizes them in a way that somehow sounds perfectly aligned with this strange time in our collective history. Although it was written and recorded before the Coronavirus upended the world, the band’s seventh studio album sounds eerily prescient as it imagines an apocalyptic future where coyotes croon and wolf packs roam free. “For a band who has been around as long as us, this is about as urgent of a record as we could make,” vocalist and bassist Brendan Kelly explains. “It may be kind of dark but it’s really about searching for light in the darkness and finding it, as small as those moments may seem. That’s sort of where we’re at: Collecting the scraps of things that could make for a bearable existence in dark times.”

SKELETON COAST TRACK LISTING
1. Quiet Storm
2. PTA
3. Belly Of The Whale
4. Dead Man’s Coat
5. Pigeons and Spies
6. Last Last Words
7. Demon
8. Ghostwriter
9. How To Rot
10. Under Paris
11. Goblin Fox Hunt
12. Lose Control
13. Don’t Look At Me
14. Coyote Crown

The Lawrence Arms have never had any agenda apart from just having fun and making good music. Since forming in Chicago in 1999—the trio of bassist/vocalist Brendan Kelly, guitarist/vocalist Chris McCaughan and drummer Neil Hennessy—have made albums that continually challenge the boundaries of their sound. In the process they’ve carved out a distinctive identity in the punk community that’s simultaneously gritty, beautiful, melodic and mutinous.

The Lawrence Arms by Ben Pier

For more information on The Lawrence Arms, visit:
INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK | TWITTER

Real McKenzies – Beer and Loathing Preorder

Remember when you could safely hop on a plane and fly to the highlands of Scotland, sip whiskey, and wish you looked good in a kilt? Like you, we are anxiously awaiting the return of normalcy. Until that day, at least you can listen to a brand new Real McKenzies song! The title track is lifted off their upcoming full-length, Beer & Loathing, and it drops on July 3rd. Gadabouts, head over to our YouTube channel to get your drink on. Canadians: Stomp Records will be your source of this finely distilled recording. For the rest of the world, FAT has you covered.

Order here:

USA & everywhere else: FAT Webstore.

Canada: Stomp Records.

Europe: FAT Webstore hosted by Kingsroad.

Australia/New Zealand: FAT Webstore hosted by Artists First.

ALKALINE TRIO RELEASE 3-SONG SINGLE

LIMITED EDITION 7”
AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER 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.”

STREAM E.P.

The 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 most.”

PRE-ORDER E.P.

E.P. TRACK LISTING
1. Minds Like Minefields
2. Radio Violence
3. Smokestack

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.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON ALKALINE TRIO, VISIT:
WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | TWITTER

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