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

 

No Takers – S/T

Currently listening to a self-titled release from No Takers. The seven track release is aggressive, hardcore punk, with tinges of speed metal nicely interwoven into the mix. Hints of Agnostic Front, Madball, and Sick Of It All, and D.R.I. are dancing through my head as the tracks spin on.

The band, while certainly a product of its influences, manages to provide a take on the genre that is simultaneously brand new, yet oddly familiar. It’s as though a band you loved from the late 80s found a previously unreleased album somewhere in a vault. You’ve never heard it before, but you totally know where it’s coming from.

As a product of 80’s metal, punk, and hardcore, I’m definitely onboard with the sound. It’s well crafted, fast, intense, and articulate. What’s not to like?

Cheers!
-Jerry Actually

No Takers, from Denver, CO, combine the speed and ferocity of 90s street punk with the passion, intensity and creativity of 80s hardcore. Drawing influence from bands across genres, this 4 piece uses intricate metal-inspired riffs over an unrelenting rhythm section to create a sound of their own.

Brandon Davis – Vocals
Delon Beckett– Guitar
Jason Chavez – Bass
Ryan Longenecker – Drums

NoTakersMusic.com

@NoTakersMusic

The Jukebox Romantics – Sleepwalk Me Home

Generally a bit behind the curve here at good ol’ Upstarter, I’m just now getting around to listening to Sleepwalk Me Home, the late 2017 release from The Jukebox Romantics. As wise wise people have espoused for millennia before me, better late than never.

I can’t say that I’ve listened to the band before. Well, I could say it, but it probably wouldn’t be truthful. If I have though, it was maybe on a comp, or I thought it was Blink 182 or something. With that said, the band captures the finer points of pop punk, namely being poppy, whilst being punk rock. Seriously though, 10 tracks, mostly under the three minute mark, stemming from a peppy rock trio? This is entirely up my alley.

The band lists Alkaline Trio and The Bouncing Souls as influences and I can definitely hear them, but I really pick up a Blink vibe. Maybe it’s in the way they sound so SoCal sardonic, despite being from downstate NY (I initially suspected this was a secret code for New Jersey) No matter. They sound good. They sound especially good if you like pop punk.

It’s funny, to me at least. My “reviews” have rather devolved to the point of, “here’s my opinions about things while I’m listening to this new (to me) music) I don’t know that it is expressly helpful to anyone at this point. I hope that it is.

The takeaway here: Pop punk. Good. Fast. Fun. New!

Cheers!
Jerry Actually

illicitor – self-titled


Illicitor is a 3 piece punk/hardcore band born out of the ashes of prolific Las Vegas favorites: Holding Onto Sound. Their debut album arrived December 2017.

I was somewhat familiar with Holding Onto Sound (HOTS). I spent a little time listening to their music, an interview, and a review. I have also seen them perform live in the past, so I was excited to hear about illicitor. Stripped down 3-piece punk rock born from some familiar faces and voice. Thus far the self-titled debut does not disappoint.

The core of the nine tracks are uptempo punk rock with some hardcore aggression. There are some departures from the formula with track 4. The Body and The Dirt with its acoustic guitar and vocal intro, climbing into full arrangement and eventual insistence on a complete sonic uprising. For a trio, the soundscape is quite full. Studio magic goes a long way, but then again so does competent musicianship, none of which are in short supply on this release.

The band ticks a lot of boxes on my list of favorite rock and roll features: fast paced, trio, clear vocals, short tracks with a bit of grit. If you’re of a similar mind, and I know that you are, check out illicitor. I have no doubt that you will dig the hell out of them.

Nothing on the album gives me cause to be overly critical, but nothing can be completely perfect I suppose. There is a bit of psychedelic guitar noodling that I could probably live without, but overall a solid debut from Las Vegas’ illicitor.

Cheers!
Jerry Actually

Members:
Zabi Naqshband – bass, vocals
Bob Gates – guitar, vocals
Micah Malcolm – drums


(Photo by Aaron Mattern)

Swhat – Wasty Tasty

I got this disc in a mail a couple weeks ago and put it into my drive, and that’s about as far as it got until today. Swhat, if you’ve not heard of them, are a 3 piece punk rock band from Ballarat, Australia. For you geography minded folks out there, Ballarat is about 120 km outside of Melbourne. … but back to the punk rock.

Wasty Tasty serves up 13 tracks of solid, slightly aggressive, somewhat lo-fi, yet well played, punk rock. As I’ve often professed, I’m a fan of the trio. I like the lean stripped down sound, and Swhat doesn’t disappoint in that regard.

That tracks offer traditional punk rock themes of suburban desolation, angst, and disillusion. Tradition aside, the accompanying music is layered in a fresh, often angularly juxtaposed, way to the lyrical content. … reminds me a bit of how some of the tracks on Voivod’s Nothingface are constructed, except with vocal delivery that reminds me of Descendents/All … a strange, likeable combination.

Summary, this is good. Please check ‘em out.