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!
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
¡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.
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.
1. Return to Sender (2:43)
2. Turnaround (2:58)
3. Return to Sender (Mix) (3:35)
Get some: http://www.easeupmusic.net
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
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!
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.
Zabi Naqshband – bass, vocals
Bob Gates – guitar, vocals
Micah Malcolm – drums
(Photo by Aaron Mattern)
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!
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: https://materialremainstx.bandcamp.com
1. Junkie’s Paradise 01:49
2. Broad Church 01:37
3. Dropout 01:49
4. Hate 02:41
5. Amerikkka 02:03
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.