|Archie and The Bunkers is the Cleveland-based duo of Emmett and Cullen O’Connor, brothers who have been playing music together for as long as they can remember. With Cullen on organ and Emmett on drums, they play “hi-fi organ punk” and have made a big splash since forming in 2013, sharing stages with everyone from Iggy Pop and The Sonics to Echo and the Bunnymen, Black Lips, and Thee Oh Sees and releasing music on Norton, In The Red, and Jack White’s Third Man Records.
Today, they share a cover by one of their biggest influences, LA synth-punk band The Screamers. Dangerous Minds caught up with the O’Connors to chat about their journey — which started when they were just thirteen and fifteen years old — and their new album, Songs From The Lodge, due out next week on Dirty Water Records. You can read the piece (which also includes anecdotes from former Cramps member Nick Knox & Norton Records founder Miriam Linna) here, and stream the duo’s take on “122 Hours of Fear” via SoundCloud.
Archie and The Bunkers will celebrate the release of their new album with a hometown show at Mahall’s on April 28th — more info here.
Songs From The Lodge is currently available for pre-order.
1. Bill’s Bad Day
2. You’re My Pacemaker
3. She’s A Rockin’ Machine
4. The Cutting Edge
5. Riot City
6. Fire Walk With Me
7. The Roaring ’20s
9. Lost in Today
10. Midnight Attraction
11. 122 Hours of Fear
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!
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?
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
FIRST SINGLE, “TOWN OF CORAZON,” NOW STREAMING
STRUNG OUT U.S. & CANADA WITH PENNYWISE ANNOUNCED!
We’re fired up to finally share with you the details of the new Strung Out
EP, Black Out the Sky
, to be released on May 11th. While Strung Out
has made their name on intense, frenetic slabs of metal-influenced tech-punk, there is more to the band than meets the eye. It might come as a shock to learn that the band’s new eight-song release is an acoustic affair, but as vocalist Jason Cruz explains, it’s not nearly as surprising for the band members.
“Every song starts on an acoustic guitar for the most part,” Cruz begins. “If it’s a good song, it can be played acoustic. For about the past five years, I’ve been pushing the band to release a record in this format.”
The result is six brand new songs, as well as two re-worked older songs, “Matchbook” and “UnKoil.” Today, you can hear the first new track from the EP, “Town of Corazon,” over at Brooklyn Vegan. It’s a surprisingly subdued song from a band who is usually anything but that. As if that weren’t enough, Strung Out is touring the US and Canada with Pennywise, which kicks off this week!
Cruz and his bandmates—Kiley, Ramos and bassist Chris Aiken—began working on Black Out The Sky in January 2017 with producer Kyle Black, who they had previously teamed up with on 2015’s blistering Transmission.Alpha.Delta, and who played a role in the band deciding to re-work two older songs, “Matchbook” and “UnKoil,” for the release.
“Kyle is a fan of the band,” the singer says. “I am the kind of person who wants to stray and go out into the unknown when I’m in the studio, but Kyle represents our fans. He didn’t let me stray too far with the melody or the music—just far enough to keep it fresh.”
With no set deadline on the release, the recording process went on for nearly the entirety of 2017, allowing for song arrangements to bloom in ways Strung Out songs never had before. “The songs came out really super-dark, not jingly-jangly acoustic stuff,” Cruz says. “We had to get other musicians involved. Some of it is sparse and intimate, and some of it has a lot going on.”
During the recording process, the band decided they needed to part ways with Jordan Burns, the band’s drummer since 1993. Cruz stresses that this decision was not an easy one to make, but it had to happen for the continued existence of Strung Out. “I think the band needed it,” Cruz admits. “It needed to happen for the band to survive and grow. We got to a point where we were going to break up if it didn’t.”
While in the studio, Strung Out realized some of the acoustic songs still needed drums. So the band enlisted their friend Sean Winchester, an accomplished drummer who has played with Everclear, Buckcherry and more, to fill out their sound. For their upcoming live shows, Strung Out will enlist RJ Shankle of California skate-punk band (and former tourmates) Runaway Kids to man the throne. Cruz is ecstatic about not only the fresh blood in his band, but what it means moving forward.
“Really, the whole theme of this record is rebirth,” he explains. “It’s the rebirth of our brotherhood and being a band. It’s astounding when you can keep a relationship together for three decades. There’s something so special about the music we write. We’re brothers beyond any kind of blood. It vindicates that we’re doing something right.
“I always ask myself, ‘What nerve do I have to get in front of a microphone?’” Cruz continues. “The fact that I kept this relationship together for 30 years says we worked through some shit. In our darkest times, we always came out with something beautiful because of it. In my mind, that gives me the right to get in front of that microphone.”
On Black Out The Sky, Cruz continues to dig deep internally, exploring parts of himself he’s yet to fully understand, taking the listener along for the ride, no matter how bumpy it may get.
“When we were kids, we all said, ‘Fuck God, fuck religion, fuck the government, let’s destroy it all,’” the frontman states. “Great. We did that. Punk rock did that. What are you gonna replace it with? Black Out The Sky is all about looking inward and finding what’s always been there, that intuition, that something to all of us. I don’t know what it is, but it’s the journey to find it and acknowledge it.”
Musically, the EP careens from songs that could be ported to full-band electric arrangements easily (“Requiem,” the title track) to mid-tempo grunge indebted to Alice In Chains (“The Architect”) to a full-on rollicking country song (“Duke Of Sorrow”). Cruz’s favorite number is “Town Of Corazon,” a surprisingly fragile song from a band who is usually anything but that. “’Town Of Corazon’ has the most balls we’ve ever displayed because it’s sweet and tender,” he admits. “It brings reference to spring and a new awakening. I’m so tired of screaming, the same riff, the same breakdown… I can’t stomach it anymore. Slipping in a sweet melody is the punkest thing we could do.”
Nearly three decades in, Strung Out is not driven by trends but instead by each other. As Cruz relays, “There is no ‘me’ in this band. It’s us. Whatever we think of, we’re gonna do it. Sometimes, people want to maintain a youthful aura about their band. That’s gone. We’re old dudes. But we’ve learned a thing or two. There’s nothing wrong with being an old dude. Lemme show you a road that I found; come with me.”
STRUNG OUT Tour Dates:
03/09/18 Boise, ID at Knitting Factory w/ Pennywise
03/10/18 Bend, OR at Midtown w/ Pennywise
03/11/18 Spokane, WA at Knitting Factory w/ Pennywise
03/13/18 Victoria, BC Canada at Capital Ballroom w/ Pennywise
03/14/18 Vancouver, BC Canada at Commodore w/ Pennywise
03/16/18 Costa Mesa, CA at OC Fair & Event Center Musink w/ Descendents, Blink 182
03/17/18 Edmonton, AB Canada at Union Hall w/ Pennywise
03/19/18 Saskatoon, SK Canada at O’Brians Event Center w/ Pennywise
03/20/18 Winnipeg, MB Canada at Garrick w/ Pennywise
03/22/18 Des Moines, IA at Woolys w/ Pennywise
03/23/18 Omaha, NE at Sokol w/ Pennywise
05/18/18 Los Angeles, CA at Regent Theater w/ Strife, La Armada, Twilight (Record Release Show)
BLACK OUT THE SKY track listing:
1. The Architect
2. Black Out the Sky
3. Town of Corazon
4. Unkoil (from An American Paradox)
6. Duke of Sorrow
7. Matchbook (from Twisted by Design)