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?

-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


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!

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.

Jerry Actually

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

(Photo by Aaron Mattern)

Senior Discount – The Christmas Medley

Rhode Island punk rock band Senior Discount has their song “The Christmas Medley” (consisting of eight Christmas songs) up TODAY (12/22/17) on iTunes/Google Play Music/Amazon Mp3, etc!
Senior Discount will be direct support next weekend for the one-off Pietasters show at the Met in Providence, RI on Friday, December 29th (the day before the Pietasters join the Mighty Mighty Bosstones for their Hometown Throwdown Show in Boston).

Merry Christmas, Fuckers!

Material Remains – Demo

I’ve got a new demo (released September 2017) cued up at the moment. Let me tell you about it. The inconspicuously titled “Demo” by Material Remains holds five tracks of 80s flavored noisey, garagesque punk rockings. There’s not much info on the band, but I’m going to assume they are from TX, and based on the lineup listed, I’m firmly convinced that they are a trio.

There’s a solid vibe to the tracks, very lo-fi, and if I had to pick some resemblance, right now it’s really making me think of Nerve Agents (who are fucking rad) but again, it has a way more 80s lo-fi garage style to it. It’s a demo though, so these things are to be both expected and enjoyed.

There’s only 5 tracks, so you don’t get a big taste of the band, but I’m interested in how they’re going to progress. I’m hearing a solid foundation and I look forward to more. But don’t let me be the only voice you hear, listen for yourself:

Jerry Actually

1. Junkie’s Paradise 01:49
2. Broad Church 01:37
3. Dropout 01:49
4. Hate 02:41
5. Amerikkka 02:03

Wicked Bears – West Coast Tour

Wicked Bears, Utah’s best pop punk band, is going on a west coast tour in support of their new album, Tuning Out! The tour starts in Salt Lake on November 10th and concludes at 924 Gilman in Berkeley (with additional UT dates later in November).

11/10 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court
11/11 – Las Vegas, NV @ Garth Haus
11/12 – TBA*
11/13 – San Diego, CA @ Tower Bar
11/14 – TBA*
11/15 – Pomona, CA @ Characters
11/16 – Ventura, CA @ Ventura Beach Club
11/17 – Woodland, CA @ The Stag
11/18 – Berkeley, CA @ 924 Gilman (HOLY WOW!)
11/22 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The Underground
11/25 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court
Follow Wicked Bears:

Buzzkillz – Scum Of The Earth

Debut album from Helsinki Finland act, Buzzkills. 12 tracks of punk/punkbilly from up near the top of the word.

As always, it thrills me to get to hear bands from all around the world. Buzzkills is no exception. Here I am in sunny SoCal and listening to a band from damn near the other side of the world. I’ve never been to Finland, but here I am participating in a little bit of their culture, by way of an offering into our common culture of music.

Buzzkillz deliver a solid blend of rock, punk, and rockabilly. They’re an interesting ensemble in that they are a four-piece rock and roll band with the tradition lineup of vocals, guitar, bass, drums. Where the band differs is in their use of double bass as opposed to electric. The overall effect reminds me a bit of The Peacocks, but, well, different.

Tracks mid to uptempo, with a blend of Western rock / cowpunk, reminisicient in a way of Social Distortion, or perhaps more Mike Ness solo. The tracks are sung in English, so as to be more accessible to a larger audience.

The band indicates that they will have new material coming out at the end of the year, so go check out their debut and get in on the ground floor. Tell all your friends that you heard ‘em before they were cool!

1. Sick Of It All 02:41
2. Deepest Pockets 03:33
3. I’m Not The One 04:08
4. Scum Of The Earth 03:20
5. Losing The Fight 03:04
6. Outside 03:46
7. Fear Of The Unknown 03:31
8. Roll The Dice 04:34
9. Monsters 02:55
10. Some Scars 03:09
11. Sleepwalking 03:18
12. Cross To Bare 03:58


GODS.GUTTERS.STONES, the new EP from The Orphan (Melbourne Australia) blasts out three tracks of noisy garage hardcore. The tracks are an intense wash of sound to the point of being a blur. Sounds jab at you from all directions leaving you reeling from the sonic assault. Each track bleeds into the next as you begin to bleed from your ears. Individual tracks are representative of the triumvirate title, with the final track, “Stones” bringing the EP to a grinding guttural conclusion. Listen at your peril.

-Jerry Actually

Senior Discount – And That’s Goodbye (Deluxe)

I’m rocking out to the brand new deluxe edition of the previously released, plain and boring old edition, of an EP from Providence-based punk band Senior Discount entitled, And That’s Goodbye. Did you hear me? I SAID DELUXE! It’s got guts, it’s got cuts. It’s got some sonofbitchin comedy, in the form of hillbilly renditions of some of the band’s previous material.

Well it’s been a year or two since I’ve heard from these Providence punkers, but they are back with some fine new block rockin’ beats. In addition to the aforementioned beats, there are a lot of covers, performed in a manner in which can only be described as cover tunes of Senior Discount songs, as performed by Senior Discount.

I know that maybe sounds kind of weird, but there is also a cover of Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, which can best be described as a cover of a Cyndi Lauper song as performed by Senior Discount. So, ya know, take it for what it’s worth.

Seriously though, the band puts in the effort. The tracks are punchy and punky, but with a depth and sincerity that is often lacking in a lot of crap you are gonna hear on shitrock radio. There are also a lot of acoustic tracks and instrumental breaks, pointing to the fact that these folks really can play. That isn’t to say that the band takes themselves too seriously. They just sometimes sound serious.

Personal favorites: Ben Broke Edge, a simple solo acoustic ditty, and Don’t Hate Me (TBNSB), a melodic punk rock track reminding me a bit of LTJ and/or NOFX.

At any rate, there’s a DELUXE version of “And That’s Goodbye” available, and that’s as DELUXE is the whole goddamn world gets! Go find a copy, ideally at a live show in your neck of the woods. … if that doesn’t work for ya, check ‘em out here:

Jerry Actually

Tracks: (Just to prove how fucking deluxe it really is)

01 And That’s Goodbye
02 Ataxia (Bluegrass)
03 Caley’s Song (Acoustic)
04 Don’t Hate Me (TBNSB)
05 Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
06 Ben Broke Edge
07 I’m Crazy (Live and Revived)
08 A Death Threat to the World at Large (VBW Song Part 2)
09 Explode RI (Re-Ignited)
10 Explode RI (Big Mac Version)

Band Bio: (which includes things that I wrote)

Senior Discount has played over 200 shows in RI, MA, CT, NH, NJ, NY, PA, and VT, and won the Providence Phoenix Best Music Poll for Best Punk Band two years in a row.

We’ve shared the stage with such acts as Anti-Flag, Gym Class Heroes, Girl Talk, Boys Like Girls, The Bravery, Guttermouth, Less Than Jake, The Ataris, Leftover Crack, A Wilhelm Scream, the Street Dogs, Zox, Big D and the Kids Table, Darkbuster, The Swingin Utters, Rehab, Mickey Avalon, Streetlight Manifesto, the Bloodshot Hooligans,The Loved Ones, MC Lars, Suburban Legends, Patent Pending, The Toasters, The Pilfers, and many many more.

Our first album “There Were Four Who Tried…“, has gotten positive reviews from all over the US (and internationally), including very positive reviews from Maximum Rock N Roll(CA), which boasted, “These guys can rock and scream….a strong full-length,” and the revered, which stated “The band really acts out their emotions….Every track from the album is an anthem to punk rock’s principles.” Our second release received the comment “These guys slay on record and live!” from mash-up DJ sensation Girl Talk.

We also focus heavily on film production, as we’ve used short films to promote for our shows and releases. Our one full-length film (“VBW Attack: The Senior Discount Movie“) was reviewed by The Noise (Boston) which reported “…let’s just say that this DVD is gold and that the band, and those with them, have some mighty winds at their sails.” The national television network G4 has bought and aired footage from the film. The band has totalled around 40,000 views on their streaming video sites.

Upon the release of our newest package, the CD/DVD “This is Not the End,” Upstarter (CA) said “The band has developed an obvious maturity….serious and sincere” while The Noise (Boston) called the album “smart, loco, epic punk…a pleasant assemblage of earnest songrcraft.”  In the past year, the band played some dates of theSka Goes Solo tour with the singers of Less Than Jake and Catch 22, while Senior Discount lead singer Chuck Staton played solo shows with Chuck Ragan (The Revival Tour/Hot Water Music), Dave Hause (The Loved Ones), and Kris Roe (The Ataris). We were recently nominated for Best Pop Punk Band in Motif Magazine.

Pink Muscles – The Signal

Angular is the new curve, at least a curve on the regular old garage punk you’ve been jamming up your ear-orifices lately. To alter that in a direction that maybe you’ll enjoy, I offer, Pink Muscles new LP “The Signal.” 14 tracks of absolutely mental psych-garage-punk-noise. It is angular as fuck!

The band hails from Seattle, and that is about all I know of them, aside from the album that I’m listening to right now. Best I can tell you is that I’m getting a vibe. I don’t know what the vibe means or represents. I mean it might be a drug flashback, or maybe it’s a flash forward to drugs I may be required to do in the future. It really is hard to tell.

The music is swirling and shouty, punctuated with computer-like, precision supersonics. It’s as though a less distorted, or perhaps differently distorted Al Jourgensen was fronting for an alternate history of Voivoid ala Dimension Hatröss, throw in some Prong outtakes of Steady Decline for good measure. Does that give you a feel for what’s going on here? Yeah, probably not. I think you’re just gonna have to give ‘em a listen.

The tunes are brief, but in the time allotted, they go in a myriad of directions, sometimes simultaneously. Frenetic like Mr. Bungle, but not so circusy, more robotic. However, the scattered, yet robotic nature of the music belies its underlying humanity, humanity that is in end stage. It feels like a world in breakdown mode and from these crumbling ruins a new world will rise, Phoenix-like, with more printed circuits and transistors the next time around.

At the end of the day, if you like your music odd, and noisy, and something that will still probably scare the crap out of your parents, teachers, friends, and neighbors, then by all means, give The Signal, by Pink Muscles a whirl.

-Jerry Actually

Find out more about the band:

1 Resumption
2 Teenage Rainbows
3 Infestopus
4 Star Grove
5 The Man at the End of My Street
6 Black Market Tampons
7 Battery Acid
8 Party at Murder Beach
9 The Egg Lady
10 I Wrote This Song With My Father’s Guitar
11 The Master
12 Officers of the Universe
13 Heaven is for Real
14 Mouth House