BUFFET – All-American

Cover image curtesy of the Anacortes History Museum.

DIY Punk is alive and well in Anacortes, Washington. For the unaware, Anacortes is a small town in Northwest Washington State, damn near up to the Canadian border. It’s great to hear tunes coming out of small town USA. As testament to this, I’m listening to “All-American” the debut full-length by BUFFET.

The album is all all jagged edges and garage spirit. 14 tracks of rock and roll energy. While the sound is familiar, it’s also refreshingly new. The intro track, “Land” has a lot of the same vibe as “Possessed” by Suicidal. The band professes to be influenced by Circle Jerks and Descendents, and I can totally hear that.

The tunes progress rapidly, ADD fashion. The bulk of the songs clock in under the 2 minute mark. It’s important. There’s a lot of shit going on. No one needs to be weighed down by the burden of epic ballads, unless they choose that. Viva short songs!

There is a small selection of the songs that slow down the pace and pick up the emotion. Track 6, “Throne” is the pinnacle of this. It works well as a point to catch your breath. After that it’s back into the full swing.

The structures are simple and repetitive, great for driving home the point. The notes claim the album was recorded “live” at Anacortes Unknown. I take this to mean it was recorded as the full band, at once. This is as opposed to individual multi-tracks. If this isn’t the case, damn there must not have been a single person at that show.

Personal favorite is track 8, “4 Brides For 4 Guys”. It’s short and sweet. Autobiographical, perhaps, or maybe just wishful thinking.

Nevertheless, if you like punk rock, check this out: https://buffet.bandcamp.com/

Cheers!

Jerry Actually

Support these lads:

Dick Turner: Vocals

Nick Rennis: Guitar

John Van Deusen: Bass

Braydn Kreuger: Drums    

Tracks:

1. Land 00:57

2. Too Many Things 01:50

3. Victim 01:01

4. IDKU 00:59

5. Big Bomb 01:27

6. Throne 04:01

7. My Favorite Things 01:35

8. 4 Brides For 4 Guys 00:49

9. DoHo 01:31

10. I Like To Shop 02:15

11. Family Dinner 05:41

12. NY Slice 01:30

13. All-American 03:44

14. That’s What Dick Says 02:14

The New Enemy – Illusion of Choice

Full speed ahead!

Frenzied fast paced, metallic punk rock from Toronto.

Illusion of Choice is the new album from The New Enemy. I’ll admit to not being at all familiar with the band, prior to listening right now, but I’m full on rocking to what I’m listening to right now.

The eight tracks (five original, three covers) are chock to the freakin’ brim with crushing riffs, call and response vocals, staccato breakdowns, and an overall sense of urgency.

The tracks are short and sweet, with most songs clocking in just barely under the two minute mark. Right in the sweet spot for hardcore punk. To that end, while firmly in the vein of hardcore punk ala Agnostic Front, H20, and Snapcase, (the final track, “Ambition Now” being a cover of the aforementioned.) there is no shortage of thrash metal on this release. It channels the spirit of old DRI and Suicidal, but still maintains an East Coast Hardcore sound all its own. As a bit of a side note, there are few instances where I’m very reminded of Leftover Crack.

The band is clearly one with a message and a cause. “Since forming, The New Enemy has donated all Bandcamp revenues to charity. For “Illusion of Choice”, we’ll be raising funds for YMCA Sprott House, the first LGBTQ2S transitional housing program for youth in Canada.”

You can listen to and buy copies here:

https://thenewenemy.bandcamp.com/album/illusion-of-choice

If you’re not down with that, then fuck you!

Cheers!

-Jerry Actually

Tracks:

  1. You Want It Darker 01:45
  2. Scattered 01:54
  3. Thread 02:35
  4. Pressure Cooker 01:52
  5. Reign On Your Parade 02:07
  6. Death By Committee 02:23
  7. Shrine 03:00
  8. Ambition Now 03:36

Shot Balowski – S/T

As I’m sure you can tell from the dust around here, I don’t get around to writing about much anymore. Another phase of my life I suppose. What’s a fella to do? Every now and then I get a brief impetus to write something though. Today I shall grace you with the results of one of those urges.

I’ve got Shot Balowski’s self-titled debut album, out 03/29/2019, fired up on ye olde hifi and I’m rocking out to it. There’s a bit of a Ramonescore vibe as well as secondary source influence like Teenage Bottlerocket and Masked Intruder, combine that with a mix of The Pixies, an odd dash of Motorhead, add in a left-leaning bent and somewhat more raw of a sound and that’ll give you the gist.

The album provides 12 tracks of mostly up-tempo 3-piece punk rock, interlaced with the occasional folksy ballad on track six, Kitchen Sink / Girl in the Call Centre. There’s a bit of spoken word poetry as well mixed into the overall pastiche of a protest album. This isn’t to say it’s derivative in an overt way, so much as the song writing seems aware of its roots.

Overall it’s a great debut and I look forward to more from Shot Balowski in the future.

Hit the band up online to find out where to buy the new album, or catch a live show! Twitter:@shotbalowski

Cheers!

Jerry Actually

Bio:

ShoT BAlowSki is a three-piece UK rock band with a leftist attitude and punk leanings. Debbie, Simon and Tef take grit, melody and acerbic lyrics and spit them out in two minutes flat.

Their self-titled debut album is released by Abnormal Product on Friday 29 March 2019 – it will be available on CD, download and streaming. It’s high-octane, classic punk rock from the dis-United Kingdom, tackling subjects like far right populism, and corrupt media, organisations and governments, while giving props to radical heroes like Emily Wilding Davison and Muhammad Ali.

The album’s tracks include Commander in Cheat (about Trump’s sexist, racist presidency), Nissan Poppy 24/7 (about patriotism and the politicisation of remembrance), Emily Does (about militant suffragette martyr Emily Wilding Davison), In the Suicide Forest (a short tone poem about vacuous vlogger Logan Paul), and a punk rock cover of Bob Marley’s Redemption Song.

Destroy the Daily Mail features a section written and performed by Wales’ most prominent living literary figure, poet and playwright Patrick Jones (see patrick-jones.info), elder brother of Nicky Wire of the Manic Street Preachers and a frequent collaborator with the Welsh chart-topping band. Jones adds a stream-of-consciousness set of Mail-esque headlines. He agreed to the collaboration after reading the lyrics and listening to the raw track, calling the song “important and powerful”.

Tef, Debbie, and Simon of Shot Balowski


We Know John – A Shot In The Dark

I’m listening to a Pop Punk band based in the South of England called ‘We Know John‘ They’ve just completed their first album ‘A Shot in the Dark’ and it’s due for release on January 4th.

This brand sparkin’ new album serves up 11 tracks of peppy, upbeat, often horn-fueled pop punk. It reminds me of things. These things, as the often do, escape me. The one influence that keeps surfacing is, especially with the horns, Less Than Jake. There are worse things to be reminded of.

Some of the structure reminds me of an parallel universe Alkaline Trio, where everyone is a bit more happy. In an overarching sense, the band seems like a “happy” band. They would probably be cool to hang with.

The entire album isn’t up-note, however. The album takes a bit of a plunge into sadder territory as track 5, “Not OK” begins. So, um, you know, diversity! Anywho, it’s good stuff. Listen to it. Feel the joy that can only be derived from pop punk or from drugs.

Unrelated, but when I think of the band’s name, in my head, it comes out like the scene between Ed and Shaun in Shaun of the Dead, when Ed says, “I’m sorry, Shaun” … so um, “We know, John.”

Cheers!
Jerry Actually

Bio:

We Know John are a 7 piece pop punk band hailing from Southampton UK; playing powerful and energetic music that will make you want to jump and bounce along. Their guitars, bass and drums provide the driving force that will lure you in, whilst their catchy melodies and punchy horn lines get stuck in your head until you are hooked.

Formed In May 2013, We Know John have had a slow start to life. With a few local gigs and a lot of practising behind them, the band are ready kick on and make 2018 a great year to remember.

Vocals, Trombone / Sam Weller
Vocals, Trumpet / Toby Brimson
Bass / Sam Rees
Guitar, Sass / Ben Peckham
Guitar / Ben Harker
Drums / John Townend
Saxophone / Rory SomethingOrOther

Stadt Skulls – Against the Cult of the Reptile God

I’m listening to the new EP by Liverpool based “Stadt Skulls”. The band is a punk rock trio heavily in the vein of early Asian Man Records bands like Alkaline Trio, and The Lawrence Arms, along with some more aggressive bursts ala Off With Their Heads Dead To Me.

Intriguingly, perhaps, is listening to how they’ve evolved over the last couple years. They’ve moved away from more poppy takes into a darker sound. Good choice if you ask me.

I certainly don’t want to pigeonhole the band. They do have their own sound going on. Track 3, the title track, “Against the Cult of the Reptile God”, I feel, is more resplendent of this. It’s a bit more frenetic and anxious, if you will. The overall point of the comparison is that fans of the former are exceedingly likely to be fans of the latter.

The tracks are brief and have a slightly lo-fi feel to the mix. The end result is definitely very listenable. I’d suggest you check ‘em out.

Cheers!
-Jerry Actually

Track Listing:
1. Leif the Lucky
2. Nostalgia for what?
3. Against the Cult of the Reptile God
4. Ink and Spear

Noteworthy: These chaps’ noggins fit inside jack-o-lanterns!

Here’s a sample of some of the band’s material from 2016:
https://stadtskulls.bandcamp.com

Video:

Bio:

Three piece, three sibling Liverpool punks. Stadt Skulls have been making angular, noisey, power pop since 2016. Sounds like the band the 90’s forgot.

The Barstool Preachers – Grazie Governo

Currently listening to The Barstool Preachers forthcoming album, Grazie Governo. (Out Aug 24th on Pirates Press) The new album proffers 13 tracks of rather polished sounding punk-based rock and roll. I like the sound, a lot of the time, I think… Well I’m a bit on the fence honestly.

Let me try to give an example. A track will start, like track four, “Choose My Friends” and it sort of drifts in feeling a bit more like Blue October than a ska punk song. I’m sort of not feeling it, but then the chorus kicks in and I’m suddenly way into it. Most of the tracks have given me a similar feeling thus far.

Don’t get me wrong though. The material is solid. It’s well written, played, recorded etc, but there’s something hanging over it that leaves me feeling a slight bit insecure about it I suppose.

I was reading through their bio just now and I think one line in particular helped put a finer point on what I’m feeling. “The Bar Stool Preachers are a band for EVERYONE”. This is exactly what is shining through. Having a broad appeal is fine, but it can stretch too thin sometimes. Imagine a restaurant that has a sweeping wide menu covering food and drinks in a thousand directions. Sure they’ll satisfy the needs of a wide range of customers. It’s rare however that all the items are particularly amazing. I’m more the type who likes places that offers a handful of things they do exceedingly well. You go to them when you know what you want.

I had pretty high hopes for the band when I reviewed an earlier EP. I was anticipating things would take a different turn, or rather be a continuum in a determined direction. I don’t like panning something, and I hope I’m not doing so here. I really do enjoy the opener/title track and the overall gist of the sound. I enjoy the spirit of the album, and honestly from the photos they seem like a fun and happy bunch of blokes. I like most of the choruses as well. Heck, I’ll go on record and say that if this album was all chorus, I would be entirely on board.

There are some additional tracks that have a little more of what I’m looking for. Including the title track:

1. Grazie Governo
11. Since You
12. Force Fed

The bottom line is it ain’t bad, it just ain’t for me.

Cheers!
Jerry Actually
Continue reading The Barstool Preachers – Grazie Governo

The Filaments – Look To The Skies

Fuck yeah!

Here’s something I didn’t even know that I needed. “Look to the Skies”, a the brand new album from The Filaments. Punk, Oi, Ska from Essex, UK. Evidently I’ve been under a rock, as this band has been around since 2009 and here it is the first time I’m hearing them.

I’ve got the new album rolling right now and it’s entirely crushing it. You don’t start out your new album with a track titled ‘Fuck the “Alt” – Right’ without meaning absolute business.

11 tracks of badass punk rock in the vein of Rancid, Bosstones, Street Dogs, Leatherface, The Clash, and more. It’s essentially all of the sounds that I’ve opined about through the years, crammed into a singular action packed album.

I see limited point these days explaining that the band is capable of playing their instruments. It’s getting damn hard to find bands that ain’t worth their salt anymore. Suffice it to say, they do not suck.

Vocals range between Oi style gang vocals on the intro track into Dickie Barrett gravely on track five, “Living in the Crosshairs”. The music follows just as much dynamic shift. Full on ska, in-your-face punk, blistering pick-scratch guitars intros to full orchestral sounds.

This is a bully of a release. Get some!

-Jerry Actually

Tracks:
1. Fuck The “Alt”-Right 01:15
2. Look To The Skies 02:42
3. Rip-Off World 02:21
4. No Men To Parade 02:31
5. Living In The Crosshairs 03:10
6. Underdogs 03:25
7. Tread Carefully 01:57
8. Ask No Favours 04:21
9. All We’ve Ever Known 01:54
10. The Verge 02:30
11. Killing Machine 01:33

¡No Acción! – Hymns of the Working Class

Gut and grit, check. A street punk old school hardcore vibe, check. Call / response bilingual vocals, check. Rock and roll, CHECK! I’m rocking the new EP, Hymns of the Working Class by Santa Cruz based ¡No Acción! and it is punk rock and roll that’s right up my alley. They tracks are brief, fast, and intelligible.

I’m not going to delve into lyrics and meaning. I’m just going to scratch the surface a bit. The songs are about fast cars, fast women, the working class, and social justice. I think that is something that might resonate with the kids, ya know.

The music is akin to SoCal staples like Social Distortion, The Cadillac Tramps, tempered with more NorCal punk like Rancid, all founded in the roots of whatever hardcore punk anyones listened to since before your dad could drive.

Here’s their website, http://noaccion.net Check ‘em out! Go see a show. Support local music!

Cheers!
Jerry Actually

Tracks:
1 Stand Together 02:14
2 Breaking Tides 02:17
3 Faster 02:00
4 Salad Bowl Rock’n’Roll 02:30
5 ¡No Accion! 01:50

Bio
¡No Acción! is a four-piece band with a Punk Rock attitude and a RockN’Roll soul. We grew up in the Salad Bowl of the Salinas Valley, stretching through Watsonville and on to Santa Cruz California. We’re the sons of the working class… los hijos de campesinos y la clase obrera.

Fire Next Time – Knives

I’ve not heard of Fire Next Time until just today, but in all fairness, I’m so far out of the loop that I don’t know shit from Shinola any longer. Nevertheless, Knives is the brand new release from the punk rock band out of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

The one sheet says the band is “folk punk”. I don’t know that’s really the case. We can nitpick about genres/subgenres all damn day and never agree. I’m going to go ahead and call them punk. The tunes aren’t out of place on set with Against Me, Dead to Me, American Steel, Street Dogs or Social Distortion, so you file that however ya like.

Knives provides 10 tracks of riff heavy, hard rocking storytelling. I suppose that is where people might slap on the “folk” badge. The band has something to say. Good for them, say it.

What I hear though, is a great album of heavy driving punk rock, with some amount of sensible pop melody.

The band is on tour this spring / summer in Canada, if you live in the area, or are visiting our neighbors to the North, check ‘em out:

ON TOUR!
05.11 – Calgary, AB – Dickens
05.12 – Edmonton, AB – Brixx
05.13 – Saskatoon, SK – Black Cat Tavern
05.14 – Winnipeg, MB – Park Theatre
05.16 – Timmons, ON – The Working Class
05.17 – Hamilton, AB – Absinthe
05.18 – Toronto, ON – Hard Luck
05.19 – Montreal, QC – Pouzza Fest!
05.20 – Ottawa, ON – Maverick’s
05.25 – Regina, SK – The Mercury
05.26 – Medicine Hat, AB – The Silver Buckle

https://twitter.com/firenexttime

FIRE NEXT TIME – Knives
CD/LP/DIGI Release Date: May 4, 2018
With ten years under their belt, Fire Next Time’s latest album KNIVES is a culmination of shared experience, heartbreak and triumph. “My spirit is broken” are the first words screamed over a sea of distortion on the first track Wanderlust. The anthemic anguish meanders with Collars reading like a confession letter that will never be sent. Never afraid to proudly display their influences, a haunting Nebraska-esque quality is brought to Old Scratch thanks to the support of stellar Vancouver vocalist Jody Glenham. KNIVES is Packed with visceral imagery and leaves little room to breathe. The themes explored on the album are sure to please your inner cynic. In Walking Blind they are eager to remind us that, in the end, “we all choke.”

For Fans of: Against Me, Gaslight Anthem, Flatliners, Tom Waits, Off With Their Heads

Rebel Spies – RISE!

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!

Cheers!

Jerry Actually

https://rebelspies.bandcamp.com/

https://undercomm.bandcamp.com/album/rise