At Both Ends – Wheel’s Out The Window

At Both Ends is a pop-punk ska band reminiscent of the big 90’s 3rd wave era. They come from Sacramento and “Wheel’s Out the Window”, released under Morning Wood Records! Is their second album.

Alright, let’s get into it. One word I would use to describe this album is dynamic, and my opinion changed several times as the album progressed. As a predominately hardcore and ska-core fan, I was pleasantly surprised by some elements in this work. From the great rumbling bass riff to a thrash-like breakdown, I found many things to enjoy. Don’t let me paint this as a heavy ska-punk album though. The majority of the riffs are built around a poppy electric (emphasis on electric) guitar that most of the time got on my nerves, as did the singing which I will get into soon.

I do have to say I am a big fan of the horns on this album. Although they aren’t in every song I found them fantastic and well linked with the guitar, but were also original and crisp similar to that of Streetlight Manifesto’s many hits. Overall I am a fan of the music except for the voice. The lyrics and singer definitely put a damper on my appreciation of the piece. Though the songs have themes of unconformity (“Your Way”) and freedom (“Freedom”), the lead singer Gene sounds similar to the tone you think of when someone says pop-punk and not in a good way. Not to mention cheesy lyrics and rhymes, I found the album at its best when there wasn’t any singing at all. However, if Reel Big Fish, Green Day, and Less Than Jake are your jams, I think you will enjoy this album. Personally if Gene could pull off a kind of Jason Navarro of The Suicide Machines this album would be twice as good.

Overall I would recommend the album due to an overall appreciation for creating something fresh in the ska scene that announces similar values to that of the masters. Although I critiqued the guitar heavily, it did have its moments as well as the rest of the instruments. About 2/3 of the songs I can see myself listening to again, leaving about 5 or so songs that were in my opinion mediocre due to a pop sound and vocals.

You can find it at bancamp at:
https://atbothendspunk.bandcamp.com/album/wheels-out-the-window

Thanks for reading and leave your comments and opinions below! What did you think of the album?

-PW

The Best of the Worst – Painted Fools

Ska, Punk, Rock and Roll!

New Jersey based The Best of the Worst is back at it with a brand new EP. Painted Fools (available on 04/20/2017) offers up 7 new tracks of, well, ska, punk, and rock and roll.

From dreamy to screamy the band hits a wide range of sounds both across and within individual tracks. I’ll be honest here, I’m not at all familiar with this band, so I’m going to go out on a limb here with who their influences might be. I hear the subtle guiding hand of Bomb the Music Industry, Less Than Jake, Isaac Green and the Skalars, Lawrence Arms and, I don’t know, maybe some Tom Petty.

I am honestly a bit disappointed that I haven’t heard of them before, because I’m rather enjoying what I’m hearing. They’ve got track complexity, without being obtuse. The songs are well crafted with subtlety and nuance. Good takes. Good mix. There’s a link below. Go and buy a copy. Support local music, even if local is 1000s of miles away from where you really are.

We have the internet people! You can listen to sweet new music and then give a band some of your hard earned ducats so that they too can enjoy the sweet life of top shelf ramen on occasion.

http://chokeartist.storenvy.com/products/19480255-the-best-of-the-worst-painted-fools-cd

Cheers!
Jerry Actually

Tracks:
1. Habits Live Hard
2. Inside My Apartment
3. Where Complacency Lives.
4. Spoiler Alert:
5. Doesn’t Really Matter, (feat. Tom Etts)
6. Like Bugs in Amber
7. We’ve Been Held Captive

Speedbilly – Hold Our Beers and Watch This

Hi there. My name is Jerry. I’ll be your server today. Let me tell you about today’s special. Well, let’s see, it appears that we’re all out of everything except some, best I can tell, punkabilly dirt-rock, courtesy of Minneapolis’ own Speedbilly.

“Hold Our Beers and Watch This” is a gut stomping 4 song EP, loaded up with country twang, piss, and vinegar. The sounds is reminiscent of Zeke, Hank III, The Meatmen, and a bit of 1984 era Van Halen. The tracks extol the virtues of the 440 Magnum powered 1969 Dodge Charger, better known as The General Lee, What I can assume is a bad ass run at the tractor pull, and the dirty trick demolition derby maneuver known as the Malachi Crunch, among other things. (Not to be confused with “The Malachi Crunch” by NOFX)

The limited sampling of material is fun. I get the impression that these boys would put on a hella fine show, after a 12 pack, in a dirt patch, in the middle of the woods, from the back of a pickup truck.

Cheers!
Jerry Actually

http://www.speedbilly3.com

Speedbilly is:
Jimmy Allen Moore: Bass & Vox
John Stegner: Guitar & Vox
Jody Kimmell: Drums

Tracks:
The General Lee
Full Pull
Malachi Crunch
Maximum Destruction

Threatpoint – RIP

Rating: ★★★★★★★★☆☆

Ominous, dark, ambient sounds slowly give way to high speed menacing in the form of distraught distorted guitar, pummeling drums, thundering bass, and brutal yet harrowing vocals. That’s what you get on the beginning of R.I.P. the new release by Scranton, PA (The Electric City) based, Threatpoint.

Fucky yeah! I say. Old school thrash metal style. Reminds me a bit of latter year M.O.D. vocally, but more metal musically. It’s funny, I suppose. I was way into metal and thrash when I was a kid. I don’t listen to it a bunch these days. Listening to this makes me feel a bit nostalgic, and it also makes me want to start a mosh pit in my office. (I’m writing this while on a coffee break, ‘cause outside my spare time, I’m a fucking office drone.)

Because I’ve been out of this genre for a while I don’t have anything to readily compare it to. Not that comparisons are all that important. Suffice it to say that it’s doomy thrash metal. The band bio indicates that they’re a “Groove Metal” band. I don’t know what that means. Sounds fucking like something a hippie that’s also into meth might say. Beyond my shallow categorization, R.I.P. is a freaking gut punch and just what I need on a Friday afternoon to get psyched for the weekend.

Lyrically the themes are dark, as I’m sure you can assume from the song titles. It’s different from the more “Fuck you, and fuck society too” type of mantra that you get from hardcore punk. Much more gothic, doom, you know, more metal.

What I liked most of all, was the Spotify commercial in the middle of the album. … ok I actually didn’t fucking like that at all.

At the end of the day, I’d say this is a damn solid, dark thrash metal release from a band to which I hadn’t been privileged to hear before today.

Check em out! https://www.threatpointofficial.com/

Cheers!
Jerry Actually

Tracks:
R.I.P.
Deadend Machineland
Tombstone of My Enemies
Thy Will Be Done
Light Bleeds Through the Black
Bury the Wicked
Laugh Now… Cry Later
Writings on the Wall
One in the Chamber, One in the Chest
Face Your Fear
Angels with Broken Wings

And The Wasters – State of Repair EP

© 2017
Rating: ★★★★★★★★½☆

Here’s an interesting little slice of audio for ya. State of Repair, a forthcoming EP by Bristol based folk-ska-punk act “And The Wasters”. Five tracks of music spanning several decades of influence.

I’m immediately struck by how much it reminds me of many of my favorite late 70s / early 80s UK favorites: The Specials and Fun Boy Three, Madness, Pogues, Clash, then throw in a bit of more modern influence of Flogging Molly and Gogol Bordello. Blend it up even more with some dub ska instrumental jams ala Skatalites and I think you’ll get a sense of what I’m picking up.

The opening track, Lion’s Share sets the tone of disenchantment. Without picking apart each track, I get a strong sense of anarcho/pirate punk and a bit of an anti-establishment bent, certainly helpful for any sort of protest music. The tracks are up-tempo and catchy and at only five songs, I’m left with wanting more.

I feel like maybe the tracks I’ve been given to listen to are a bit out of order, what with “Intro Dub” occurring last, but hey, who am I to judge? At any rate, I’ve listened to the EP about 10x through now and I am totally into it. If you haven’t heard And The Wasters, I demand you check them out!

“After many years touring Festivals, Squats and far-flung venues, And the Wasters have evolved from their Folk-Punk-Ska roots through elements of Hip-hop, Balkan & Latin. They weld this explosive musical concoction with an empowering political message to create a relentless live energy!” ~And The Wasters

https://willtunandthewasters1.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/willtunandthewasters

Cheers!
Jerry Actually

Tracks:
1. Lion’s Share
2. Small Victories
3. Reduce, Reuse, Rebel
4. Bound as One
5. Intro Dub

PUNK ROCK BOWLING 2017 LAS VEGAS LINEUP

PUNK ROCK BOWLING AND MUSIC FESTIVAL
ANNOUNCES FULL 2017 LAS VEGAS LINEUP
FULL LINEUP: IGGY POP, BAD RELIGION, COCK SPARRER, PENNYWISE,
FIDLAR, ME FIRST AND THE GIMME GIMMES & MORE

TICKETS NOW ON SALE
19th ANNUAL PUNK ROCK BOWLING & MUSIC FESTIVAL- MAY 26-29, 2017

(January 26, 2017, Las Vegas, NV) – Since its humble beginnings as a DIY bowling tournament in 1999, Punk Rock Bowling has prided itself on combining the perfect mixture of classic competition with an anti-authoritarian spirit, and the 2017 edition of PRB is sure to be the biggest and best yet. Punks from around the world will flock to Las Vegas from May 26-29 for a multi-day event like none other, says Punk Rock Bowling co-founder Mark Stern.

“My brother Shawn and I started this thing as a party with our friends in the punk scene: Bands, independent labels, fanzines, college radio, the whole underground punk community that lived and thrived on its own,” Stern explains. “It was a celebration of the underdogs doing what we wanted and not compromising. It’s been growing every year since, and more shows were happening around Vegas during that weekend, so we decided to turn it into a festival and move the whole thing downtown, allowing the music to become more of a centerpiece.”

Kicking off May 26 with a series of intimate club shows, Punk Rock Bowling is expected to draw more than 20,000 fans to downtown Las Vegas for four straight days of madness and mayhem. Alongside the festival itself, there is the annual bowling tournament which gave Punk Rock Bowling its name, as well as a poker tournament, comedy shows, pop-up art galleries and more—plus all the booze and gambling your wallet can handle.

While the list of bands who have previously played Punk Rock Bowling is a murderer’s row of some of the most influential punk acts of all time (previous headliners have included Descendents, Rancid, Devo and Refused), this year’s lineup is more stacked than ever before. Headlining Punk Rock Bowling Las Vegas this year is none other than Rock & Roll Hall Of Famer Iggy Pop. He will be joined by a lineup peppered with fellow punk legends, including Bad Religion, Cock Sparrer and Pennywise, plus exciting new-school acts such as FIDLAR, Plague Vendor and The Interrupters. More than two dozen bands are included in the festival lineups, including groups from Canada, France, the U.K. and Australia. Find the full lineup below.

“Diversity is the most important thing about the festival,” Stern comments. “We’ve had everyone from Wanda Jackson to Ministry to Devo to Roy Ellis. We really try to expand as much as possible on the musical genres that still fall into the punk aesthetic. Ska, soul, hardcore, acoustic—there are so many different styles in punk rock and we want to celebrate them all. This year we have Iggy Pop, the godfather of all of this! The Stooges paved the way for great bands that weren’t accepted in the commercial music world. They’re the fuel that started the whole punk scene.”

Three-day tickets for Punk Rock Bowling & Music Festival are $125 and are on sale now. Single-day tickets go on sale February 7 and are $50, and the daily lineups will be announced at that time.

For more information, visit  www.punkrockbowling.com, and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram for the latest updates and news around the festival.
19TH ANNUAL PUNK ROCK BOWLING & MUSIC FESTIVAL
May 27-29, 2017
Downtown Las Vegas Event Center
200 S 3rd St, Las Vegas, NV 89101
Iggy Pop
Bad Religion
Cock Sparrer (UK)
Pennywise
FIDLAR
Me First & The Gimme Gimmes
Choking Victim
The Adicts
Bouncing Souls
OFF!
Discharge (UK)
The Spits
The Dickies
The Interrupters
The Real McKenzies
Booze & Glory (UK)
Plague Vendor
Lions Law (France)
Drug Church
WolfPack (Australia)
Lost In Society
Mobina Galore (Canada)
Ten Can Riot
Roadside Bombs
New Trends (Australia)
The Quitters
Venomous Pinks

The Pope Virgins – Confessions

Rating: ★★★★★★★★☆☆

How about a little bit of “Local Punk Friday”? That’s a thing now. I said so. So, for Local Punk Friday I’m listening to the debut album from San Diego punk upstarts, The Pope Virgins. (It is important to note that this does not include all popes, as some may assume. To that end, here’s a list of sexually active popes.) Historical footnotes aside, I’m rocking out right now to “Confessions” which is, as I mentioned, the debut release from The Pope Virgins.

According to the band, and I’m paraphrasing here, they are working on reviving the local punk scene. They are a genre diverse band with ska and metal influences as well as straight up punk rock. The songs are largely politically driven, but also include songs about struggles with poverty and a joke song or two.

I should also note that the band supports a very community / scene minded effort to produce physical products, to promote the people and bands involved. (as opposed to streaming content that has become all too popular and convenient these days)

On the whole the music is raw and very “punk”; 4:4 tracks with chunky guitars, bass, snotty vocals, and spitfire drums. There’s a sense of chaos in the tracks as if they are a bit unhinged and could fly apart at any moment. I like that. The band’s sound is reminiscent of older influences like Reagan Youth, Black Flag, DRI, Vandals (after Peace Through Vandalism) and a sound, occasionally similar to, Awesome and the Asskickers. (this is likely a coincidence)

I like the album, by and large. One thing I could live without thought is songs about boning. It just does nothing for me to have a porno script set to a punk rock track. Maybe I’ve made it over the hill and juvenile antics just don’t cut it for me. To each their own though.

One more thing I suppose, the horn playing, while admirable in its attempt, is hilariously bad. Ska is not for everyone, but hell yeah get out there and strangle that fucking saxophone! (I assume it’s a saxophone. It could be a really really sad clarinet.)

Bottom line is fresh faced punk rock in my town. Fuck yeah!

Cheers!
Jerry Actually

Tracks:
1. Happy
2. Keep Your Beer Close But Your Cocaine Closer
3. Confessions
4. God is Sold
5. Amerecock
6. Chromes Lullaby
7. City Streets
8. Muhnolo
9. I Kinda Love You
10. Process of Elimination
11. Humes Paradox
12. Unnamed Poem
13. Now He Watches Anime
14. Virgins Good, Trump Bad
15. Jesus Fucked Up
16. Sad Man

Corrupted Youth – Class Struggle

© 2016 Evacuate Record

Rating: ★★★★★★★★½☆

What’s this that I’ve got course through my earholes? I’ll tell you what som’bitch. I’ve got some screaming bloody fucking murder, backyard crust punk from right out of East L.A. Class Struggle, the recently released album by L.A. underground punk band Corrupted Youth is a blistering salvo aimed squarely at the shit storm that has hit the USA hard in 2016.

Straight out of the gate the band establishes a breakneck pace and rarely lets up during the 40 minute audio assault. The album features 14 scathing tracks. The tracks cut to the bone and continue beyond that. These are songs that call out the problems of war, abuse, life on the streets, poverty, degradation, immigrant life, and the day to day struggle that the working class, the poor, the disenfranchised, the despised, the down and out face in the day of holier-than-though, self-aggrandizing, knee-jerk douche canoes everywhere.

Lyrics are done in both English and Spanish, depending on the track. I’m not fluent in Spanish, but based on the lyrical content of the ones in English, I will suffice it to assume that the core message doesn’t deviate. Thank goodness, by the way for the lyric sheet on the album. If it weren’t for that I’d never be able to discern half the things being spouted. Which brings me to my only real complaint about the release.

SCREAMO vocals. I don’t dig ‘em. … some folks are inclined to disagree. They can disagree all they want. I’m not the one who’s going to blow out my vocal chords and fuck up my throat. Bare that in mind and have a damn lozenge or something. My personal gripes aside, the album is solid in both message and music. The band reminds me sonically of The Casualties meets Leftover Crack (and Star Fucking Hipsters due to the guest vox on track 7, Abuse)

The big take away is that people are still struggling. It’s recognized at the lower spectrum of our society, and people are pissed. How long does this go on before something breaks? As they say, something’s gotta give. So get out there, read something, make yourself aware. Go see shows and support the ones who are calling out the struggle and if anything at least providing a brief reprieve to the day-to-day crap that a lot of people face.

They have some shows coming up in the LA area. Go check ’em.

Cheers!
Jerry Actually

Tracks:
War
Immigrantes
Wasted Youth
Confusion
Beer for Breakfast
Death on the Streets
Abuse
Heartless Bastards
Class Struggle
Bigotry
No End
Power for Control
Endless Blockades (GISM)
System Corruption

Bitter Grounds – Hollowlands

© 2016


Rating: ★★★★★★★★★☆

bitter-grounds-hollowlandsBoom! Ska-tinged punk rock fired like a rocket out of Netherlands. I’m rocking a brand new release (December 2016) from Bitter Grounds. 11 smashing tracks that are simultaneously, a breath of fresh air, and a nod to late 90’s punk / ska punk. Hollowlands is a DIY effort done in conjunction with the band and Ring of Fire Records, Bad Granola Records, and Nextpunk Records.

On initial listen, the vocals strike me as a curious approximation of Lemmy, Leatherface, and Lars Frederiksen. Layer this on top of very fluid guitar melodies, reggae chop, and solid backing rhythms and you’re at the core of Bitter Ground’s sound. Don’t let me pigeonhole the album, however, that’s merely the gist of it. There’s plenty more variety going on up here.

As much as there’s Rancid influence, I’m also picking up reminders of Classic’s of Love and the vocal delivery method of Jesse Michaels. Maybe I’m inventing it in my head, or perhaps the band is as big of Op Ivy fans as I am.

Bottom line is that though the struggle continues, music is still being made. Art that addresses life’s concerns, society’s problems, humanity, solidarity, all the feelings that are challenging to express outside of the realm of art. Without struggle we wouldn’t find catharsis. Maybe struggle is worth it? Just remember, Ska’s not dead. Punk’s not dead. Check this shit out. It’s got all things that are good.

Cheers!
Jerry Actually

Tracks:
1. Hollowlands 02:39
2. Struck Out 03:11
3. Tell Me Now 02:46
4. Life of Violence 03:27
5. Human Touch 02:55
6. Patience 02:31
7. Pressure 03:04
8. Fine, Alright 02:10
9. Dead in my Head 01:30
10. Breakdown 03:46
11. Trouble 03:11

Labels:
Ring of Fire records ( http://rof-records.com/ )
Nextpunk Records ( http://www.nextpunk.ch/ )
Bad Granola Records ( https://www.facebook.com/Badgranola/ )

Behind Deadlines – Status Quo

Rating: ★★★★★★★★½☆

behind_deadlines_status_quo

Yay! New Ska!

I’m listening to “Status Quo” the forthcoming debut full-length album from Philadelphia based ska punk band, Behind Deadlines. The release features 10 peppy tracks, and is a damn nice way to start into this holiday season. [Edit, the album actually will have 11 tracks when released. The updated track listing is below.] I think the band and I may differ slightly with the punk to ska ratio. I’d say, that the punk portion is tempered a bit with funk. But hey, I’m not the arbiter of such things (or am I) Overall it’s a winning combination and more of what this world needs.

The album sounds polished. Mix is clean and the levels all seem to sit right where they ought to. I suppose this stands to reason. The production has a solid pedigree, having been recorded by Dan Malsch (Bigwig, Four Year Strong, Forever the Sickest Kids) and mixed by Mark Michalik (The Swellers, We Are The Union, Fireworks, Into It Over It, The Wonder Years).

Over the years I swear it’s become more challenging for me to decide on specific influences that bands have. They have to be pretty blatantly obvious. If I had to throw a few out there, I’d suggest Less Than Jake, Mustard Plug, Deal’s Gone Bad, and Bosstones. I might just be name dropping. Who knows? The takeaway is that fan’s of the aforementioned bands, will probably find some affinity for Behind Deadlines as well. Give it a whirl.

A few notes on individual tracks: I’m not a big fan of guitar solos, but the first solo on track 4, “Hey Dear Friend” is tasteful as all getout. I fully approve. As well, the horns that kick in around the 8 second mark on track 5, “Making Change” are damn tasty too.

I won’t spend a whole lot of time telling you what you already know. If you like ska, punk, fun danceable rock and roll, or any combination thereof, please checkout Status Quo and if you can, go check out a live show. If you’re not on the East Coast, the band is playing a few select dates on the Best Coast too.

Cheers!
Jerry Actually

Tracks:
1. Biochemistry
2. Sick Of It All
3. Laid Off
4. Hey Dear Friend
5. Making Change
6. Six Months
7. Sink or Swim
8. Optimism
9. Worthless
10. Escape From Philadelphia
11. Drinking to Brazil