Snuff – Crepuscolo Dorato

Long-running UK punks Snuff are releasing a new album titled ‘Crepuscolo Dorato Della Bruschetta Borsetta Calzetta Cacchetta Trombetta Lambretta Giallo Ossido, Ooooooh Così Magnifico!’ ( or ‘Crepuscolo Dorato’ for short)

Following on the heels of “There’s A Lot Of It About” (well, heels and a pandemic) Crepuscolo Dorato offers 10 tracks of inimitable Snuff style. I’ve heard it likened to Motown Punk, or Punk Soul Blues, but no matter how you want to define the band’s sound, it’s unmistakably Snuff.

I’m sure you know about Snuff, if not you can read a bit more about them here. It’s a wild ride. The band has gone through fits and starts since ‘86, with name changes and numerous side projects such as Guns N Wankers, and Billy No Mates. Despite the hurdles of time and personnel changes, Snuff has managed to put out solid material over the years. 

The songs are of a shortish nature and rarely break the three minute mark. There is a rather rhythmic, punchy feel to the album that helps lock you into its groove. It makes all the Motown references make a lot of sense. The core is still very much punk rock, however, with all that you’d want punk rock to entail. 

Standout tracks on the new album include “Green Glass Chippings”, and a cover of Curtis Mayfield’s “Hard Times”. The keys on the latter are electric, no pun intended. 

Grab a copy when you can. The pre-order is up now.

Cheers!
Jerry Actually

FFO: Leatherface, No Use For A Name, Hi-Standard

Tracks:

1. Looks Alright From Here
2. Green Glass Chippings
3. One Of Those Days
4. Fish N’ Chips
5. Hard Times
6. Barba Gelata
7. Lemon Curd
8. Stolen From View
9. Small F
10. Bing Bong

Sacripolitical – Heart Attack

Here’s a fun little single release from NorCal old school punkers, Sacripolitical. Nothing so terrible as the realization that you’re not immortal like you were in your 20s.

The track is short and to the point. It’s about exactly what the title says. Give it a listen, will ya. Don’t turn it up to loud though, you might be old and give yourself a Heart Attack.

–Jerry Actually

Moonraker – The Forest

In this cursed golden age of music availability, it’s not hard to find a band or record that suits your taste. I feel like I’m always sifting through countless Bandcamp pages of stuff that’s ok, but never really gets me to stick with it after a couple listens. Part of this problem is that you can listen to basically any band on earth whenever you want to, often without having to pay any extra money. It’s a mixed blessing, because even though you can find a new band every day that sounds like your favorite music, if anything it becomes more challenging to find something that really grabs you. Then sometimes you get lucky, and Jerry sends you a link to review the new Moonraker record.

Moonraker describe themselves as “The Michael Jordan of baseball of punk rock”. It’s not a very useful descriptor, but I like it, so I’ve decided to include it here. Stylistically, I would say Moonraker are a blend of UK bands Reverse and Stay Clean Jolene, crossed with Banner Pilot. I also hear some 1995 throwback SoCal punk, a la Rhythm Collision. Their most redeemable quality, however, is that they can really write a fucking hook. This collection of songs have some huge choruses, and take plenty of interesting turns. Some bands have that extra gear where they can turn a decent song into an excellent one with a special little bridge or something, and Moonraker definitely have that ability. 

The subject matter seems to mostly be of a dark, personal nature, but the lyrics are well written and only add to the quality of the songs. I had intended to reference specific tracks here, but I’m writing this at work and cannot stretch the illusion of doing my actual job any thinner than it already is. Alas, Upstarter is a budget operation and we are required to maintain day jobs. Listen to the entire thing, I won’t spoil it for you.

I found time to listen to this all the way through pretty much every day during a week where I’m working a ton, have young children, a new Superchunk record that I enjoy, and am also studying up for the Jawbreaker/Jawbox show this Sunday. It’s that good. If you like catchy punk rock, I can’t imagine how you won’t be pumped when you hear this.

–Zach Akenson

Tracks:
Incendium
My First Rodeo
Mouth Full of Rust
Vanishing Act
The Great Glass Elevator
Autumn
Crickets
Fogdancing
I Really Wanted To
In Confidence
The Better Man
Soot

Moonraker – Crickets

So Cal punks Moonraker who jokingly call themselves “The Michael Jordan of Baseball of Punk Rock” have released a new single + video for “Crickets” a song off their upcoming album ‘The Forest,’ out May 13 on Tiny Dragon Music / Bearded Punk Records / Bypolar Records / No Time Records.

www.facebook.com/moonrakerpunx

www.instagram.com/moonrakerpunx

www.moonraker.bandcamp.com

+++++

www.tinydragonmusic.bandcamp.com

www.beardedpunk.com

www.notimerecords.com

www.bypolarrecords.com

Jolly Roger – Kung Fu Grip

“I wonder what this song is about,” is something you’ll never have to ponder when listening to Carbondale, Illinois’ Jolly Roger. You also won’t have trouble figuring out anything about the band themselves. Within the first two songs the listener is informed that the band hasn’t played a show since 2003, that they never really broke up, and also how they selected their name (it’s because they liked it, but not because they’re a pirate band). From the standpoint of someone who has never heard of them and is tasked with having to write about their new record, I found this to be extremely helpful.

Now that we have some background on the group, we quickly arrive at the third song, which is titled “Update”. As you can imagine, this song fills us in on what Jolly Roger and the people they used to sing about have been up to lately (Jared finally got a car, John got an injury, Stinky still smells, etc.). I actually love the concept of starting a new album off with an update on current happenings from characters who appeared in previous songs. Wouldn’t it be interesting to know if methadone worked for Cindy, or if Johnny X ever grew up and became a realtor or something?

Other song topics include Home Alone (“Wet Bandits”), a girl who is punk (“She’s Punk”), John’s retirement (“John’s Retired”), and a song about how they met working in a movie theater together (“Theater Daze”).  “Had lots of regulars, some odd ones that we met. Like crazy popcorn guy and the lady in the helmet.” They close out the album with a 22 second song called “Disclaimer” where they apologize for not working very hard on the actual music, because Ken spent a long time making the cover art. Said artwork depicts a photopshopped old NES game that says “Kung Fu Grip” on it with an image of an 8 bit guitar on the front. 

I would say the most accurate stylisitc comparisons for Jolly Roger would be early Mutant Pop stuff, namely The Automatics, or maybe The Queers when Wimpy was still with them. I like poppy stupid stuff just fine, so long as it strays away from juvenile sexuality (which Jolly Roger is only partially succesful at doing), but the main issue I have with this album is that the production is hard to get past. It’s not that it’s too lo-fi or rough, it’s that everything sounds so separated. Stuffing an iPhone into the insulation of the practice room and pressing record would be an improvement. I imagine Jolly Roger’s budget wasn’t huge for this venture, so it’s completely understandable why the recording is not up to snuff. I just think they might’ve benefitted from doing a quick live run through of the songs using a couple of dangling mics instead.

It may not be apparent by what I’ve wrote so far, but I actually have a real fondness for these guys. They are nerdy old dudes who decided to get their punk band back together, and record an entire album worth of songs. That’s fucking great. It isn’t pretentious, cool, or attempting to accomplish something that it’s incapable of. Will I revisit their Bandcamp page and listen to it again? Maybe not, but that’s not the point. Jolly Roger aren’t in it for the glory, they’re doing it because they appear to have a good time together. Too often people are in bands with people they don’t even like. Maybe it’s more important to have fun with your friends than it is to make art.

–Zach Akenson

David Hillyard & The Rocksteady 7 – Plague Doctor

David Hillyard & The Rocksteady come rocking back steady with their first new album since 2018’s The Giver. The new release, Plague Doctor (Due summer 2022)  is brimming with traditional Jamaican rhythms, but nicely blended with Brazilian musical elements and themes. 

The sound and feel is as much new Rocksteady, Jazz Ska as it is 60s/70 Latin, Caribbean, and Cumbia. Admittedly I’m roundly ignorant of classic Brazilian music, but there are striking similarities to much of the Caribbean and Latin Ska and Rocksteady I’ve heard previously. 

Mid-tempo, danceable instrumentals are the bread and butter of this release, which makes for great direct listening as well as more casual ambient listening. If you were to throw this on the hi-fi at a swanky cocktail party, the guests and location would transport across a parallel universe where everyone, and everything, is super cool and chill. The vocal tracks are no less compelling with smooth Portuguese lyrics artfully interwoven into the almost hypnotic rhythm.  

David Hillyard is, of course, the saxophone player for the Ska stalwarts The Slackers. The band is rounded out with additional musicians of significant pedigree. “The Rocksteady 7 features some of the best players in the current ska/reggae scene, including members of NYC ska staples The Slackers and percussionist Larry McDonald (Toots & The Maytals, Gil Scott-Heron. Lee “Scratch” Perry).”

Technically “new”, this release was recorded a couple years back and is just now surfacing. “The album, Plague Doctor, was recorded in the summer of 2020. We were just out of the 1st covid lockdowns but the vaccine was still just a dream. Normally, with Rocksteady 7, we all get in a big room together and knock out tunes together in 1-2 days. This time, we started recording basic rhythms and saxophone being in different rooms of the same house. Then we added percussion, guitars, keys, vibraphone, marimba, trumpet, trombone, and vocals sequentially. Each person improvising and improving upon the work of the last person who had it.  

For me, there are a lot of emotions in the playing. There is the joy of making music together. There is the anguish of being unable to see the people you love in person. Overall, the goal is to make healing music. Music that heals a varities of wounds and ailments.” – David

If you’re interested in expanding your Ska/Rocksteady collection, I highly encourage checking out David Hillyard & The Rocksteady 7, and picking up a copy of Plague Doctor when it becomes available.

–Jerry Actually

Tracks:
A1 Plague Doctor Theme
A2 Closer To My Heart
A3 Maracatu Atomico
A4 The Frog
A5 Amanha
A6 Chove Chuva

B1 Wide Pacific Ocean
B2 Dedicada
B3 Was I Made For These Times
B4 Plague Doctor
B5 Boogaloo

Soul Glo Share New Single

SOUL GLO 
SHARE NEW SINGLE
DRIPONOMICS” 
OUT NOW

LISTEN |WATCH

Soul Glo by Alyssa Rorke

Philly based hardcore band Soul Glo have released their latest single, “Driponomics,” ahead of their fourth studio album Diaspora Problems due out on March 25th.

This scathing commentary on capitalism and economic disparity is contrasted with the prevalence of hypebeast culture, listing popular designers and brands in between screeching distortion and a heavy bassline. The track also features a verse from fellow Philly native, rapper Mother Maryrose.

Soul Glo explains that “Driponomics is for everyone doing what they have to do to get by and to get fly. Oftentimes lower-income and working class people are criticized for how they survive out here, especially in times of crisis. People are getting more desperate but simultaneously more creative with their income options, and this song is a salute to that. Love to Mother Maryrose whose verse on this song is one of the best moments on our album.”

Presented in a hardcore whirlwind of justified rage, Soul Glo’s sharp lyrics are always thought provoking and politically charged, with lines like: “Ain’t nothin’ as ugly as a balance in the red / I want bands on every politician’s head”

Fusing hip-hop, hardcore, and punk, the Philly outfit are fearless in their approach and even more ruthless in their delivery. Injecting their colorful narrative into predominantly white spaces, Soul Glo has the scope and ability to transcend outer appearances in hardcore music. With the release of Diaspora Problems, the band is not aiming for it to be the only album like it that exists, but instead one of many entries in a new dawn for rock music.

Soul Glo is Pierce Jordan (vocals), GG Guerra (bass, vocals, programming), and TJ Stevenson (drums).

DIASPORA PROBLEMS TRACKLIST

  1. Gold Chain Punk (whogonbeatmyass?)
  2. Coming Correct Is Cheaper
  3. Thumbsucker
  4. Fucked Up If True
  5. Jump!! (Or Get Jumped!!!)((by the future))
  6. Driponomics (ft. Mother Maryrose)
  7. (Five Years And) My Family
  8. The Thangs I Carry (ft. BEARCAT)
  9. We Wants Revenge
  10. John J (ft. Kathryn Edwards and Zula Wildheart)
  11. GODBLESSYALLREALGOOD
  12. Spiritual Level Of Gang Shit (ft. Mckinley Dixon and Lojii)

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON SOUL GLO, VISIT:

  TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM

Quaker Wedding – Total Disarray

I enthusiastically volunteered to review this new Quaker Wedding record when the opportunity came up. I enjoyed both their previous full length that came out in 2020, and especially the “Russian Hill” single that came out last year. Those two songs also appear here, and the band continues its upward trajectory on their forthcoming LP “Total Disarray”.

Providing some context to this record helps to understand where it’s coming

from. Quaker Wedding are from NYC, but frontman/bassist Marco Reosti returned home to Detroit for an extended period of time during the pandemic, and discovered that he had left some things behind. Namely, feelings. Although he is five years removed from a divorce, coming back to the scene of the crime has reopened a lot of those old wounds.

The album opener is about coming across his ex-wife’s wedding dress in a closet. On the following song he sings, “Now I know how it feels to be a ghost. To haunt the place I love without the people I miss most”. This trip home is not an easy one.

The band are able to capture the same quality of sadness that Jawbreaker, Tiltwheel, and Broccoli are able to, which really puts them in the high society of melancholy punk rock. That ability stems not just from subject matter, but also (and maybe even especially) the way a properly played sour note can evoke an emotional response. A lot of bands can SOUND like Jawbreaker, but not very many FEEL like them. Put on “Staten Island Ferry” by Quaker Wedding, and you’re going to FEEL the Jawbreaker.

Another stylistic comparison that’s hard to ignore is Needles//Pins. The most notable difference being that Quaker Wedding have a couple more gears to their vocals, making the gravelly parts more effective, rather than tiresome after repeated listens. This is an unpretentious, honest, adult human record about loss and complicated recovery. The lyrics, instrumentation, and overall vibe come together in a nice way through the uncomfortable vignettes the band illustrate for us in the songs.

I hope this album has provided Marco with some cathartic relief, and that time has provided him with something better. If nothing else, his band has provided us with what will definitely be one of my favorite records of 2022.

–Zach Akenson