The Fauxriginals – … If You Believe It

Got another banger here from PDX Punk-Ska-Rockers, the Fauxriginals. …If You Believe It is out today and you’re locked down with nothing better to do, so listen to this and buy a copy or something.

The new EP drops eight fresh tracks of well polished pop punk with ska hooks and a great rock and roll swagger. Aside from previous mentions to Orangetree, this new release kinda reminds me a bit of Johnny Socko, and that ain’t a bad thing, kids.

The songs run the gamut of the laments of not being “Punk Enough” to the spiritual lifestyle coaching of “Beeritual Advisor” A strong range if you ask me. Tracks are largely rapid paced interspersed with more pedestrian speeds on tracks such as “Spelling Lessons”

Everything has a solid polish to it, musicianship and recording are full on quality, nothing to report by goodness there. If you enjoy pop punk that straddles the late tail of 3rd Wave Ska, then this is totally up your alley.

Cheers and stay safe!

-Jerry Actually

Victims of Circumstance – Five

It’s a new year. It’s a new decade. It’s friday and it’s time to let loose. So pry your head from your desk and read about some Florida punk ska courtesy of Victims of Circumstance.

Five is the brand new album from Clearwater-based VOC. It throws down 12 rowdy rock-n-ska tracks. Pop sensibility, rock hooks, horns, and a punk attitude all line up for a fairly contagious release.

The bands decade and a half together is evident in the songcraft and musicianship. The sound isn’t overproduced however, merely polished. It is reminiscent of the transition that Mustard Plug made over the years. Bands grow and learn as they do and eventually gel in a way that doesn’t often manifest in the nascent years. I’m hearing that here is what I’m saying.

You’ve heard ska and punk combined before. If you like how that made you feel, I can’t imagine how you’re not going to dig this album. Absolutely for fans of Bosstons, Mustard Plug, Buck-0-Nine, and tbh, vocally I keep picking up hints of Dropkick. I certainly don’t want to typecast though, so for fans of, and the fans to be, get on up and check out a copy of Five

Cheers,

Jerry Actually  

Tracks

01 Sober 3:36
02 Tonight We’re Getting Loud 2:34
03 The X 4:25
04 Involuntary 2:48
05 Aggravated 3:38
06 Obey The Rules 4:51
07 Enemy 3:23
08 Quit Looking for the Win (Vinnie Owes us a S… 3:40
09 Never Have I Ever 3:47
10 Roll the Dice 3:42
11 The Edge 3:21
12 Ready to Go 2:25

Bio

Founded in 2005 in Clearwater, Florida, Victims of Circumstance is a punk and ska band known for blending pop-hooks with a unique style of ska. The current line-up includes band members: Michael Smyth (vocals & guitar), Glenn Stewart (drums), Lindsey Pittard (bass), Jason Atheney (saxophone), and Devin Johnson (trumpet).

The VOC, as they are known by fans, built a loyal following while playing around their home state of Florida before setting out on a tour that ended with an invitation to The Mighty Mighty Bosstones tenth Hometown Throwdown in Boston, MA in 2007. Victims of Circumstance has performed with numerous national acts including Less Than Jake, Big D & the Kids Table, The Pietasters, The Aquabats, Mustard Plug, Whole Wheat Bread, The Toasters and many, many others.

In 2007 they tapped The Mighty Mighty Bosstones’ saxophone player and skacore veteran Tim “Johnny Vegas” Burton to produce their first full-length album, Do It Yourself. At the end of 2008, Steve Foote of Big D and the Kids Table produced their second album, Roll the Dice, released in 2009.

In early 2011, the VOC flew to Japan and recorded their first live album, 2011’s Live in Japan.

After returning from their first 3 week European Tour in the summer of 2011, The VOC released their self produced album Acupunkture and received rave reviews such as – “This album is Great!. It stands up with the best in the genre.” – Tim “Johnny Vegas” Burton of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones.

In July and August 2012 the VOC completed another successful 3 week European tour which included playing at the world’s biggest Punk Rock Festival, “Rebellion”, in Blackpool UK. The VOC also provided support on their tour for bands such as MXPX, Snuff and The Creepshow.

In the fall of 2012 the band recorded a six song EP of cover tunes. The album, titled Decades, featured one song from each decade from the ’50s through the 2000’s. Including an all out Punk and Ska version of UK Boy Band One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful”.  Following that release, VOC returned to the studio to write and record their fourth studio album, No More Heroes.

In the summer of 2014 Victims of Circumstance released their fourth studio album No More Heroes and provided support for bands such as Streetlight Manifesto and The Dropkick Murphys.  Online punk news organization, Dying Scene, selected No More Heroes as their top pick for best punk-ska album of 2014.

During 2015, VOC continued to tour in support of the new album.  During the summer they completed their third – 3 week European tour to help celebrate their 10th anniversary.  Tour dates included several festivals such as “The Boom Town Fair” and playing an all out killer set on the main stage during the final day of “Rebellion”.

2016 had the band continuing to play in support of  No More Heroes as well as re-entering the studio to record the follow up to Decades, “Decades Volume #2”, which was released in the   spring of 2017 receiving heavy play across college and internet radio.  

While VOC continued to play numerous shows and festivals across the southeast for the next few years, they also re-entered the studio in 2018 – 2019 to record their 5th full length all original studio album “FIVE”.  The album stretches the boundaries of their Punk and Ska roots and launches them into their 15th year as a band. “FIVE” will be released in January 2020.

The Fauxriginals – It’s Not a Lie…

the Fauxriginals album cover for It's Not a Lie...

Pop/Ska/Punk/Northwest/Rockandroll/Hellzyeah!

A couple days late, as per my usual, I’m just now checking out the new EP “It’s Not a Lie”, from Portland, Oregon based The Fauxriginals. You know what? I like ska. I like punk. Let’s go!

The EP pops out seven fresh tracks of punky ska. It’s diggable. Very reminiscent of LTJ, but it also reminds me of an unsung band, Orangetree. (If you’re not familiar w/ Orangetree, they were a band fronted by Jason Nelson of MU330)

Damn, as I listen to this, especially “Being Alive in the 21st Century”, I’m really feeling the Orangetree vibe. Not in a copped sort of way mind you, just compellingly similar.

Sonically I would pin this more in the rock vein than punk, per se. It’s peppy, and bouncy. Not overly aggressive with respect to the punk portion. I’d venture that it’s damn near friendly. That’s not a bad thing. Sometimes you need a little bit more friendly in the world.

Don’t let the friendly fool you though, just based on the song titles, I’d say the band is at least almost entirely jaded.

Bottom line, it’s a fun release. I wouldn’t hesitate to go see them live either. So, yeah, listen at your leisure and support local bands!

-Jerry Actually

Tracks:

  1. My, Myself, and Idioms
  2. Bfff’s
  3. Painted on My Spine
  4. Level of Malevolence
  5. Being Alive in the 21st Century 
  6. Some of a Kind
  7. Rsvp

Portland, Oregon-based three piece The Fauxriginals dropped their debut EP “It’s Not a Lie…” on 9/29/19. This EP will be the first of a two-part set, with the second drop “…If You Believe It” coming shortly thereafter. Both will be streamable everywhere you get music.

After releasing a steady stream of demos and playing a year’s worth of punk and ska shows in the Pacific Northwest, the band created a two-part release filled with the definitive versions of these songs.

Featuring songs written by Tyler Rothe (Lead Vox/Guitar), the band’s focus is to combine elements of pop-punk, skate punk, ska, and punk rock while focusing on hooks and technical chops.

The Fauxriginals are playing regular shows in the PNW and have music videos available on YouTube. Music streaming everywhere you stream music.

For fans of: Less Than Jake, Blink-182, Descendents, Offspring, Green Day, and Queen.


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

The Amalgamated – Premium Quality


San Diego’s own trad-ska combo The Amalgamated are back with some Premium Quality recordings. Putting their soulful reggae ska spin on some legendary tracks. Step lively now and give it a whirl.

If you aren’t familiar with the band, here’s a bit of their bio:

The Amalgamated are a traditional ska/jazz band, influenced very much by early SKA styles, old reggae tunes, great jazz standards and soulful ballads in the vain of the late 60’s. A 10-member ensemble that includes vocals, two guitars, stand-up bass, dual saxophones, trumpets, trombone, keys and percussion.

About the album:

This is a tribute to the artists that influence and inspire the band. These crowd pleasing tunes done in the style of Traditional Ska, Rocksteady and Reggae will have you dancing all night long. Recorded in 2013 at After hours Studio Ramona, CA

The new album boasts covers as diverse as All of Me, Crazy, and Twistin’ the Night Away, all performed with The Amalgamated’s signature swagger. It’s a covers album, sure, but it’s the bands take on songs that influenced and inspire them.

Above all, it’s fun album. Get some.

Tracks:
01 – My Little Suede Shoes
02 – All of Me
03 – Crazy
04 – I Love Paris
05 – Run Down
06 – A Love I Can Feel
07 – Black Orpheus
08 – That’ll Do Nicely
09 – Cherry Pink & Apple Blossom White
10 – Twistin’ the Night Away
11 – La Cumparsita

Bargain Bin Heroes – Droppin’ The Deuce

Ahhhhhh yeah, the soothing sounds of the 3rd wave of ska. Say what you want, but the mesh of distortion, horns, and pop sensibilities with the upstroked, unity-filled, jumped up Kingston-come-London of two-tone really floats my boat. Droppin’ The Deuce, new from Florida ska act, Bargain Bin Heroes is currently the ska water keeping my boat afloat.

The new “EP” provides eight tracks (and a bonus) of fun-filled good times. I can wax nostalgic all day about this I suppose: Sounds of Mustard Plug, Buck O Nine, MU330, LTJ, and the rest fill my ears and it puts me at ease. I don’t want to pigeonhole the sound or any such thing, as all bands bring their own dynamic to any given genre they pursue. Bargain Bin Heroes are no exception. They’ve got their own take on what is now a fairly venerated sound.

All the tunes are performed abely, and the sound is tight, but not restrictive. Evidently this EP was mastered by Roger Lima. (whom I’m sure you’re familiar with) I’m certainly in favor of the more peppy of the lot. Track 4 “Coming Home” is a personal favorite. It’s a bit more uptempo and has a nice bounce to it.

Bottom line is that if you are in any way a fan of 3rd Wave Ska, please do yourself a favor and check out Bargain Bin Heroes.

Cheers!

Jerry Actually

Bio:
Bargain Bin Heroes is a high energy Punk/Ska (and Touch of Reggae ) band from Fort Myers, FL.

We formed in the summer of 2014,And have played all over the state of Florida ,and performed with acts such as Mustard Plug, The Independents, Unwritten Law, Fenix Tx, Mephiskapheles,
Whole Wheat Bread, UNRB, Victims Of Circumstance, and many more local and touring bands.

We released our first self titled EP in fall of 2015 and quickly gained a strong following playing as many shows as possible. Fast Forward to 2018 and Bargain Bin Heroes is gearing up to release their follow up EP Titled “Droppin’ The Deuce” recorded in their home town and mastered by Roger Lima Of Less Than Jake. Droppin’ The Deuce is eight tracks of punk,ska,and reggae goodness.

Ease Up – Return to Sender

I’m giving a quick listen to the new three track EP by ska/punk/reggae band Ease Up. I suppose that two and a half songs may be more apt. There are certainly three tracks, but two are very distinct versions of the same song, “Return to Sender” (not a cover). Bear in mind, the order that I am listening to the tracks is not the order that they will be on the release. (See below)

If you are down with any of the above mentioned genres, I think you’ll be pleased with the results of the band’s efforts. The two versions of “Return to Sender” alternate between a decidedly 3rd wave initial take into an sun-drenched island reggae version, heavy on the sleepy ganja-laced vibe. The final track cuts back to the faster and heavier vibe of the first, but with a rather Sublime vs. Less Than Jake appeal.

At the end of it all, this is quintessential SoCal summer beach music. Ska and Reggae vibes mixed with a decent dose of punk swagger.

Cheers!
Jerry Actually

Track Listing:
1. Return to Sender (2:43)
2. Turnaround (2:58)
3. Return to Sender (Mix) (3:35)

Get some: http://www.easeupmusic.net

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

And The Wasters – State of Repair EP

© 2017
Rating: ★★★★★★★★½☆

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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