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.
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
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
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.
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
“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
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
Today Philadelphia-based punk band The Menzingers share the music video for the song “Strangers Forever,” a track off the band’s forthcoming recordHello 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.”
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.
DIRECTED BY JONAH RAY AND FEATURING COMEDIAN KYLE KINANE
Off With Their
Heads announce details on their forthcoming album Be Good, set for
release on August 16. The band has shared video for the track
“Disappear,” directed by Jonah Ray and featuring comedian Kyle Kinane. Watch the video for “Disappear” now.
“All the other records were about moping around and feeling sorry for
yourself,” says frontman Ryan Young. “This one is less about feeling
sorry for yourself and more about accepting how goddamn miserable you
Young and the band members—bassist Robbie Smartwood, guitarist John
Polydoros, and new drummer Kyle Manning—holed up at The Hideaway in
Minneapolis with additional recording at Pachyderm Studios, a
mid-century mansion where Nirvana recorded In Utero, to make Be Good.
Young produced the record himself, and it was the first time he enjoyed
the process, or at least tolerated it. “I don’t like how the old
records sound, and I hate recording so much,” he says. “You could just
hear all the dumb shit on them where I was like, whatever, just let it
go, I want to get out of here.”
Forced acceptance is a big theme of Be Good, though it’s a
hard-learned one, often emerging in the form of primal screams in the
band’s trademark style of gruff-punk. “Hands up to the sky and shout at
the top of your lungs, ‘til the floor falls out!” Young yells on the
title track, sounding somewhere between motivational speaker and
Much of the self-deprecation that defined the band’s previous work has
been adjusted. It was the years spent out of the van, developing a life
at home in Chicago, that gave Young his newfound, slightly more positive
perspective. “Not being on the road 250 days a year, actually trying to
develop some sort of life outside of playing shows and drinking, you’d
be surprised what that does,” he says.
If ever there was a time for Ryan Young’s distinct brand on cautious
optimism, it’s now. “The title is an answer to that question of what
you’re supposed to do now that the world is so awful and the climate of
this stupid country is so shitty,” he says. “Be good, be loud—that’s
sometimes all you can do, I guess, as cheesy as that sounds.”
Be Good Track Listing
1. Disappear – 3:15
2. Be Good – 3:32
3. You Will Die – 3:11
4. No Love – 2:53
5. Take Me Away – 4:07
6. Tear Me Apart – 2:35
7. Trash It – 3:31
8. Let It All – 2:18
9. Severe Errand – 2:53
10. Locking Eyes – 4:51
11. Death – 2:49
Off With Their Heads – Promo Photo – Credit Patrick Houdek [hi-res]
“It’s a blasting, screamer of a song in the vein of early Discharge or Exploited” – Consequence of Sound
Fat Wreck Chords is thrilled to welcome SICK OF IT ALL back to the FAT family! On November 2nd, we’ll join forces with Century Media to release their latest opus, Wake The Sleeping Dragon! We could not be more excited to be handling the CD and LP in the US, as well as the vinyl in Canada. SOIA once again teamed up with producer Jerry Farley (Lamb of God/Every Time I Die) and came out with an absolute banger. If you missed the premiere of the lead single, “Inner Vision,” Consequence of Sound has you covered. Then, once you’ve had a chance to catch your breath, pre-order your copy! Check out what SOIA had to say about returning to FAT, below:
Having a long history with both Century Media and Fat Wreck Chords, and knowing how much they care about us and the music we make, we are psyched about this joint effort! Both labels have been friends and champions of SOIA, on their roster or not.
Photo credit: Joerg Baumgarten
New York City hardcore legends SICK OF IT ALL aren’t slowing down with age, the long-standing quartet are still pissed off, and the genre stalwarts still see many years ahead. SICK OF IT ALL remain a beacon of continuity, integrity, and resolve. That’s good news for SICK OF IT ALL fans and the hardcore scene. Since forming in 1986, SICK OF IT ALL have traveled the world many times over, played in front of hundreds of thousands, and released 11 acclaimed full-length albums, the latest of which is the riotous if anthemic Wake the Sleeping Dragon!. That SICK OF IT ALL continue to live by the standards in their original charter isn’t a matter of course, it’s part of their respective DNA. Hardcore is SICK OF IT ALL. “We’re a band that thrives from frustration,” says drummer Armand Majidi. “Aging seems to work well with our message, as opposed to a good-time band who sings about partying all night. There are so many horrible aspects of the world that become more obvious to us year after year, which we didn’t see or understand before, which fuel our frustration every day. We’ve lived long enough now to see through the matrix, and thank goodness we have this band, so we can vent about it.”
And SICK OF IT ALL will voice, express, and declare their anger. As with pivotal albums Blood, Sweat and No Tears (1989), Scratch the Surface (1994), and The Last Act of Defiance (2014), the New Yorkers aren’t afraid to cut the crap on Wake the Sleeping Dragon!. Written and arranged with friend and producer The Jerry Farley (Lamb Of God, Every Time I Die)—a first—opener “Inner Vision,” “Robert Moses Was A Racist,” “Hardcore Horseshoe,” and “The Snake (Break Free)” retain SICK OF IT ALL’s signature sound but add melody, heaviness, and speed to the equation. Guest vocals by Tim McIlrath and Chuck Ragan add a new dynamic as well. Across Wake the Sleeping Dragon!’s 17 songs, SICK OF IT ALL have an album that observes tradition but has its eye on the future. “We didn’t shy away from stronger melodies on this album,” Majidi says. “So, there are some strikingly musical moments. Basically, we chose not to limit ourselves. The songs stand apart from each other by representing many different musical styles that have influenced us.”
On Wake the Sleeping Dragon!, SICK OF IT ALL opted to change up the lyrical approach. While daily frustrations, political idiocy, war, power imbalances, and general inequality have long fueled SICK OF IT ALL’s no-bullshit lyrics—the album title Wake the Sleeping Dragon! refers to a protest mechanism—today they’re focusing on the bigger picture while also injecting a bit of levity into the songs. “On this record, we had a more open, communal, tongue-in-cheek approach to lyric writing,” says Majidi. “So many different topics were covered, some way more lighthearted than others. We’ve done ‘serious’ so often, that what might stand out most to people is how much fun we had with the lyrics. It’s always time for revolution, so that message is loud and clear on multiple songs, but we also sing about musical heroes like the Bad Brains (‘That Crazy White Boy Shit’), inner demons (‘The Snake (Break Free.)’), our distaste of animal abuse (‘Bull’s Anthem’), annoying narcissism on social media, friends we’ve lost, life on the road, impending wars for resources, as well as mosh pit patterns that can be linked to male pattern baldness. We’ve allowed ourselves greater lyrical freedom on this record for sure!”
For the cover, SICK OF IT ALL wanted it to tie directly into the lyrics. Designed by Ernie Parada from Hellgate Industries but inspired by Lou Koller and Parada’s ‘50s era monster movie poster idea, the cover to Wake the Sleeping Dragon! is striking in its use of yellows, oranges, reds, and black. That it also brings in SICK OF IT ALL’s Alleyway Dragon mascot captures not just the mind but part of the band’s history as well. “Lou and Ernie came up with the idea of doing monster-movie styled art as the cover,” Majidi says. “The dragon climbing the Empire State was a concept I always wanted to see brought to life, so the two ideas were destined to come together this way. I love the fact that although it’s the same artist, there’s no obvious aspect linking Ernie’s style from his first cover (2010’s Based On A True Story) to this one.”
Wake the Sleeping Dragon! was put to proverbial tape by The Jerry Farley at Nova Studios in Staten Island, New York over two weeks and a half, while Danish producer Tue Madsen (Meshuggah, The Haunted) mixed and mastered SICK OF IT ALL’s latest rager at Antfarm Studios in Aabyhøj, Denmark. What helped the process run smoothly was Farley’s early involvement, the two five-day pre-production sessions, and the ability to record as SICK OF IT ALL progressed with the songwriting. “The Jerry Farley also became a very important part of the creation of this album,” Majidi says. “This is the first time we’ve ever had a producer involved from start to finish, including the songwriting process. His objective viewpoints helped settle a lot of little issues that could have easily become stumbling blocks, and the songs themselves ended up benefitting from them. SICK OF IT ALL and Tue Madsen have maintained a long-lasting relationship based on understanding, friendship, and most importantly, good results—three factors any band would be very happy with.”
As for SICK OF IT ALL’s next steps, the picture is clear. Majidi and team are looking for a warm reception to Wake the Sleeping Dragon! and more rounds of tours around the globe. The sleeping dragon is awakening! And SICK OF IT ALL want you to join the rebellion!
Wake the Sleeping Dragon tracklisting:
1. Inner Vision 01:54
2. That Crazy White Boy Shit 02:05
3. The Snake (Break Free) 01:57
4. Bull’s Anthem 02:02
5. Robert Moses Was A Racist 01:28
6. Self Important Shithead 00:58
7. To The Wolves 01:39
8. Always With Us 02:26
9. Wake The Sleeping Dragon 02:02
10. 2+2 01:49
11. Beef Between Vegans 02:12
12. Hardcore Horseshoe 01:52
13. Mental Furlough 02:16
14. Deep State 01:53
15. Bad Hombres 02:01
16. Work The System 01:46
17. The New Slavery 02:38
SICK OF IT ALL online:
ALKALINE TRIO SHARE TITLE TRACK FROM NEW ALBUM ‘IS THIS THING CURSED?’
BAND’S FIRST STUDIO RECORD IN 5 YEARS DUE OUT AUGUST 31
TOUR BEGINS TONIGHT IN ST. LOUIS
Legendary Chicago punk band Alkaline Trio have released the title track from their forthcoming album Is This Thing Cursed? The ninth studio album from Alkaline Trio, Is This Thing Cursed? is their first new music in five years.
Watch the lyric video for “Is This Thing Cursed?” by Alkaline Trio:
With its soaring vocals and furious intensity, “Is This Thing Cursed?” is the second single to be released from Is This Thing Cursed? Last month Alkaline Trio shared a song called “Blackbird,” which SPIN hailed as a “glossy, pristine pop-punk record that’s anthemic and a bit catchy in its breezy melodies.”
Produced and mixed by Cameron Webb (Pennywise, Motörhead), Is This Thing Cursed? 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, a 2000 release featuring the fan favorite “Radio.”
Due out on CD/digital on August 31, Is This Thing Cursed? will be released on vinyl on October 19. Pre-orders are available now at: http://www.alkalinetrio.com
TRACKLIST FOR IS THIS THING CURSED?:
1. Is This Thing Cursed?
3. Demon and Division
4. Little Help?
5. I Can’t Believe
6. Sweet Vampires
7. Pale Blue Ribbon
8. Goodbye Fire Island
10. Heart Attacks
11. Worn So Thin
12. Throw Me To The Lions
On Friday, Alkaline Trio kicked off their recently announced headlining U.S. tour. The 29-date run wraps up on October 18 in Santa Cruz, California, with Together PANGEA supporting the band for all dates.
SWINGIN’ UTTERS are readying themselves for a busy year. Coming off the heels of celebrating thirty years as a band, and releasing a greatest-hits collection last year, they also managed to write and record a brand new full-length! Today, we’re thrilled to present the first song from the SWINGIN’ UTTERS dynamic new album, Peace and Love. The lead single is called “Human Potential,” and you can take a listen over at Brooklyn Vegan. Peace and Love will hit the streets on August 31st, and you can pre-order it now! Then, don’t miss them on tour. For all the dates and info, head here!
While its origin story has gone through more reboots than Batman, Superman and Spider-Man combined, punk rock has been a consistent presence on the musical landscape for more than 40 years. You might be surprised to know, however, that the Swingin’ Utters have been around for nearly as long —the band celebrated their 30th anniversary with a greatest-hits collection last year. Hell, this Bay Area street-punk band is so well-respected among their peers, there’s even a whole tribute compilation dedicated to their extensive catalog, including covers by the likes of Dropkick Murphys, Fucked Up and Teenage Bottlerocket.
Since that comp came out in 2010, the Utters have issued three more full-lengths, each more fiery than the last, and now sit on the verge of releasing their ninth proper LP. Recorded at Nu-Tune Studios in Pittsburg, California, this past March by Chris Dugan (Green Day, Iggy Pop), the album is titled Peace And Love, but don’t let that fool you: This isn’t some Haight and Ashbury hippie shit. In fact, according to guitarist/vocalist Darius Koski, Peace And Love’s content is as politically outspoken as the Utters have ever been.
“This is, by far, our absolutely most political record we’ve ever done,” Koski says. “We don’t generally write very pointedly political songs. We tend to be a little more vague and abstract. But this one is pretty pointedly disgusted and pissed off and really directly attacking these fuckin’ people in office.”
“I agree it is our most political record,” remarks singer Johnny Bonnel. “When sexism, racism, and nationalism is the agenda, it’s time to speak up.”
Peace And Love certainly pulls no lyrical punches — we’ll give you three guesses as to who “Yes I Hope He Dies” is about, and the first two don’t count — but the Utters also keep things interesting from a musical perspective, whether it’s the Ramones worship of “E.C.T.” (think of it as the long-gestating counterpoint to “Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment”), the surprisingly melodic, Beatles-esque “Seeds Of Satisfaction” (which Koski lovingly refers to as his “surf-goth song”) or the gorgeous, haunting closing track H.L.S., written and performed by guitarist/vocalist Jack Dalrymple and inspired by the sudden death of his former One Man Army bandmate Heiko Schrepel, who passed away in 2015. “Jack actually emailed me that song several years ago, right after Heiko died,” Koski recalls. “Immediately, I knew this is the last song on the record. My only suggestion was that it started with him acoustic, then the band joins in. You don’t really hear Jack that naked ever. That song gives me chills when I hear it.”
The rebellious spirit of the Swingin’ Utters is as present as ever on Peace And Love, although the band looks and sounds a little bit different this time around, thanks to their new rhythm section of Tony Teixeira on bass and Luke Ray on drums. “Both Luke and Tony are stellar musicians who study their work,” says Bonnel. “Luke has amazing ability, but all his drumming is tasteful—it’s never overkill. Tony managed to come up with classic bass lines that made every song a little bit stronger.”Koski echoes Bonnel’s praise, commenting, “We love having these new dudes in the band. Tony is a really melodic, pretty player, whereas Luke is a fucking monster. Tony and Luke are best friends, and they’ve been playing together for years in other bands like Cobra Skulls and Sciatic Nerve, so that really helps.”
It’s been four years since the Utters’ last full-length, so all three songwriters in the band had a stockpile of material when they headed into the studio. That means what you’re getting on Peace And Love is the cream of the crop.
“We usually abandon songs if we think they’re shitty or filler,” Koski admits. “I still have tons of songs; Johnny does too. But we try not to make records super-long.”
Given that the last time the Utters came off a prolonged hiatus, the band ended up cranking out three full-lengths in four years; one has to wonder if Peace And Love is going to be the start of another extended burst of creativity for these punk lifers. Koski isn’t thinking that far ahead, though. In fact, he finds it hard to even enjoy the present. Even though his band has achieved three decades and nine albums together—two feats nearly impossible for most bands—Koski wrestles with his legacy a bit.
“We just keep on going,” he says. “I’m glad we’re still doing it. Johnny’s 50; I’m in my late 40s. I don’t think anything particularly new is gonna happen—we’re not gonna be on TRL any time soon. That’s fine. It’s a total accomplishment to stay together this long, but I’m a total pessimist. I should be totally grateful—and I am! But it’s hard to be a plumber when you wanna be a full-time musician. But wah wah wah—I still get paid to travel and play my songs all over the world. I’m not a millionaire, but who cares? I get to make records, and someone out there cares about them.”
Swingin’ Utters — 2018 Tour Dates
08/23/18 Morro Bay, CA at The Siren
08/24/18 Long Beach, CA at Alex’s Bar
08/25/18 San Diego, CA at Casbah
08/26/18 Las Vegas, NV at Dive Bar
08/28/18 Tempe, AZ at Yucca Tap Room
08/30/18 Albuquerque, NM at Launchpad
08/31/18 Colorado Springs, CO at The Black Sheep
09/01/18 Denver, CO at Streets of London
09/02/18 Salt Lake City, UT at Urban Lounge
09/04/18 Reno, NV at Shea’s Tavern
09/05/18 Sacramento, CA at Harlow’s
09/06/18 Albany, CA at Ivy Room
09/07/18 San Jose, CA at The Ritz
09/08/18 Redding, CA at The Dip
Peace and Love track listing:
Louise and Her Spider
Demons of Springtime
Seeds of Satisfaction
Yes I Hope He Dies
Imitation of Silence