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.

SKUM City – Rise of the Skum

Gonna bust out a dirty one here for NY punk rockers, SKUM CITY.

Rise of the Skum is an 11 track blast of aural assault that will simultaneously stab you in an ear and peel your face off. Old school East Coast HC vibes on short punchy tracks.

Gritty by snotty vocals and vintage shred, clock radio speaker distorted guitars, combine with stripped down drums and bass definitely impart a garage / basement vibe.

Excepting track 5. “Don’t Worry/Maggots” (arguably two songs) is well under the two minute mark. (Which, as you may well know, the appropriate time span for songs to exist in.)

By and large a punk rock / hardcore release, the signature drifts a little towards speed metal turf with track 8. “People You May Know” … It doesn’t drift too far mind you, just enough.

Vintage / old school aside, the sound isn’t lost in the pas. It’s fully engaged in the present and showcases the fact punk and hardcore remain vital forces in music to this day.

End of the line it’s a kick ass new release from SKUM CITY. It’s old. It’s new. It’s fucking true.

Tracks:

1. Rise of the Skum 01:38

2. Diazepam 02:07

3. Stay Home and Fuck 01:28

4. 24×4 01:09

5. Don’t Worry/Maggots 03:17

6. Front Me A Quarter 01:23

7. Coexist 01:57

8. People You May Know 01:44

9. Why Even Have Friends 01:06

10. Leg Rub Steve 01:02

11. Driven By Distraction 02:14

Bio:

Skum City is a bone crushing hardcore punk rock powerhouse that hails from NYC. They’ve been around the block a few times and like aged BEEF, they only get better with time. Beef ages well with time, right? RIGHT?! Their songs are hook-driven, guitar- heavy blasts of energy that will leave you breathless, yet begging for more. The band was started in 2007 by the hell raising husband and wife team of Mike Moosehead, on searing guitar, and Xtene on scintillating bass. The two most recent additions to the band are drummer Gisel, who plays so fast that her wrists look like humming birds fluttering above barrels on honey, and vocalist Christopher Thee Wailing-Siren. Christopher is a charismatic singer who is equal parts fearless front man, as well as a no-holds-barred, poet, borderline stand up comic in the vein of say a Lenny Bruce or a Don Rickles.

World War IX – Phoning It In

Nodding my head along to “Phoning It In”, the new 7” / EP from World War IX. Five tracks of uptempo, hard partying punk rock, and every last one of them is a banger.

I suppose I’ve head my head up my ass for a while now, because I’ve not heard of WWIX prior, and they appear to have about a brazillion albums. Where the hell have I been?

Despite being from Brooklyn, NY, the band positively reeks of old school SoCal punk rock. Black Flag, Angry Samoans, Circle Jerks, etc. The lyrics are boozy and the vibe is fast and loose.

“Phoning It In” kicks down a brief glimpse into the nostalgia-inducing, punk rock stylings of, what is surely to be a brand new favorite of mine, World War IX.

Tracks:

1. Fired For Partying 01:26

2. Coke Machine 01:06

3. Larry’s House 01:28

4. Portrait Of Sobriety 02:33

5. NYC Tonight 01:59

Shout out to Justin for throwing in some Comics as well

Cheers!

Jerry Actually

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.


Omnigone Premiere “Rather Be Alone”

It’s certainly a good morning knowing that there is a new Omnigone song for everyone to enjoy.

As announced a few weeks back, Omnigone is a new ska-punk project helmed by Adam Davis (Link 80/Desa) that picks up where Link 80 left off. Davis collaborates with a rotating cast of musicians from bands such as: Rx Bandits, Link 80, We are the Union, Kitty Kat Fan Club, Ogikubo Station, and more! Their debut LP, No Faith, releases on September 13th via Bad Time Records. Today, you can stream “Rather Be Alone” on Rebel Noise. The track steps outside of the ska-punk realm in favor of a more traditional ska groove and features former Rx Bandits member, Steve Borth, on sax & keys.

Tour Dates:
9/13 @ 924 Gilman – Berkeley, CA w/ Dan P. (Mu330) and Kill Lincoln

Bio:
Omnigone may be a new name in the East Bay CA ska punk scene, but they’re certainly no strangers to the genre. Twenty years ago Adam Davis joined Link 80, a band that seamlessly combined ska rhythms with aggressive and politically charged hardcore punk, leaving a legacy and a sound that would change the meaning of “ska punk” indefinitely. While Link 80 is no more, Adam (Guitar/Vocals) has picked up the torch and is lighting the way with Omnigone. Joined by Barry Krippene (Link 80/Blast Bandits) and a rotating cast of players including: Brent Friedman (We Are The Union), Steve Borth (Rx Bandits / Link 80), Justin Amans (Kitty Kat Fan Club/Ogikubo Station), Jeremy Hunter (Skatune Network/We Are The Union), Bootie Pook (Beat the Red Light), Aaron Carnes (Flat Planet) & Reece Noble, Omnigone recorded thirteen tracks that make up their debut full length No Faith. No Faith hits you quick band doesn’t let up, weaving aggressive anthems across genres to make up a fun, intense, but ultimately dynamic record. Whether you’re a fan of hardcore, punk, or ska there is something for everyone on this promising debut.

Release Date: September 13th, 2019
Label: Bad Time Records
Formats: CD/Vinyl/Digital
Purchase: http://badtimerecords.limitedrun.com/products/648396-omnigone-no-faith-12-vinyl-digital
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/0MNIG0NE/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/0mnig0ne/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/0mnig0ne

Off With Their Heads Announce New Album

OFF WITH THEIR HEADS ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM ‘BE GOOD’ OUT AUGUST 16

SHARE VIDEO FOR NEW TRACK “DISAPPEAR

DIRECTED BY JONAH RAY AND FEATURING COMEDIAN KYLE KINANE

Off With Their Heads announce details on their forthcoming album Be Good, set for release on August 16. The band has shared video for the track “Disappear,” directed by Jonah Ray and featuring comedian Kyle Kinane. Watch the video for “Disappear” now.

“All the other records were about moping around and feeling sorry for yourself,” says frontman Ryan Young. “This one is less about feeling sorry for yourself and more about accepting how goddamn miserable you are.”

Young and the band members—bassist Robbie Smartwood, guitarist John Polydoros, and new drummer Kyle Manning—holed up at The Hideaway in Minneapolis with additional recording at Pachyderm Studios, a mid-century mansion where Nirvana recorded In Utero, to make Be Good. Young produced the record himself, and it was the first time he enjoyed the process, or at least tolerated it. “I don’t like how the old records sound, and I hate recording so much,” he says. “You could just hear all the dumb shit on them where I was like, whatever, just let it go, I want to get out of here.”

Forced acceptance is a big theme of Be Good, though it’s a hard-learned one, often emerging in the form of primal screams in the band’s trademark style of gruff-punk. “Hands up to the sky and shout at the top of your lungs, ‘til the floor falls out!” Young yells on the title track, sounding somewhere between motivational speaker and hard-nosed therapist.

Much of the self-deprecation that defined the band’s previous work has been adjusted. It was the years spent out of the van, developing a life at home in Chicago, that gave Young his newfound, slightly more positive perspective. “Not being on the road 250 days a year, actually trying to develop some sort of life outside of playing shows and drinking, you’d be surprised what that does,” he says.

If ever there was a time for Ryan Young’s distinct brand on cautious optimism, it’s now. “The title is an answer to that question of what you’re supposed to do now that the world is so awful and the climate of this stupid country is so shitty,” he says. “Be good, be loud—that’s sometimes all you can do, I guess, as cheesy as that sounds.”

Be Good Track Listing

1. Disappear – 3:15
2. Be Good – 3:32
3. You Will Die – 3:11
4. No Love – 2:53
5. Take Me Away – 4:07
6. Tear Me Apart – 2:35
7. Trash It – 3:31
8. Let It All – 2:18
9. Severe Errand – 2:53
10. Locking Eyes – 4:51
11. Death – 2:49

Off With Their Heads – Promo Photo – Credit Patrick Houdek [hi-res]

For More Information on Off With Their Heads, visit:
https://anxiousandangry.com/

BUFFET – All-American

Cover image curtesy of the Anacortes History Museum.

DIY Punk is alive and well in Anacortes, Washington. For the unaware, Anacortes is a small town in Northwest Washington State, damn near up to the Canadian border. It’s great to hear tunes coming out of small town USA. As testament to this, I’m listening to “All-American” the debut full-length by BUFFET.

The album is all all jagged edges and garage spirit. 14 tracks of rock and roll energy. While the sound is familiar, it’s also refreshingly new. The intro track, “Land” has a lot of the same vibe as “Possessed” by Suicidal. The band professes to be influenced by Circle Jerks and Descendents, and I can totally hear that.

The tunes progress rapidly, ADD fashion. The bulk of the songs clock in under the 2 minute mark. It’s important. There’s a lot of shit going on. No one needs to be weighed down by the burden of epic ballads, unless they choose that. Viva short songs!

There is a small selection of the songs that slow down the pace and pick up the emotion. Track 6, “Throne” is the pinnacle of this. It works well as a point to catch your breath. After that it’s back into the full swing.

The structures are simple and repetitive, great for driving home the point. The notes claim the album was recorded “live” at Anacortes Unknown. I take this to mean it was recorded as the full band, at once. This is as opposed to individual multi-tracks. If this isn’t the case, damn there must not have been a single person at that show.

Personal favorite is track 8, “4 Brides For 4 Guys”. It’s short and sweet. Autobiographical, perhaps, or maybe just wishful thinking.

Nevertheless, if you like punk rock, check this out: https://buffet.bandcamp.com/

Cheers!

Jerry Actually

Support these lads:

Dick Turner: Vocals

Nick Rennis: Guitar

John Van Deusen: Bass

Braydn Kreuger: Drums    

Tracks:

1. Land 00:57

2. Too Many Things 01:50

3. Victim 01:01

4. IDKU 00:59

5. Big Bomb 01:27

6. Throne 04:01

7. My Favorite Things 01:35

8. 4 Brides For 4 Guys 00:49

9. DoHo 01:31

10. I Like To Shop 02:15

11. Family Dinner 05:41

12. NY Slice 01:30

13. All-American 03:44

14. That’s What Dick Says 02:14

Shot Balowski – S/T

As I’m sure you can tell from the dust around here, I don’t get around to writing about much anymore. Another phase of my life I suppose. What’s a fella to do? Every now and then I get a brief impetus to write something though. Today I shall grace you with the results of one of those urges.

I’ve got Shot Balowski’s self-titled debut album, out 03/29/2019, fired up on ye olde hifi and I’m rocking out to it. There’s a bit of a Ramonescore vibe as well as secondary source influence like Teenage Bottlerocket and Masked Intruder, combine that with a mix of The Pixies, an odd dash of Motorhead, add in a left-leaning bent and somewhat more raw of a sound and that’ll give you the gist.

The album provides 12 tracks of mostly up-tempo 3-piece punk rock, interlaced with the occasional folksy ballad on track six, Kitchen Sink / Girl in the Call Centre. There’s a bit of spoken word poetry as well mixed into the overall pastiche of a protest album. This isn’t to say it’s derivative in an overt way, so much as the song writing seems aware of its roots.

Overall it’s a great debut and I look forward to more from Shot Balowski in the future.

Hit the band up online to find out where to buy the new album, or catch a live show! Twitter:@shotbalowski

Cheers!

Jerry Actually

Bio:

ShoT BAlowSki is a three-piece UK rock band with a leftist attitude and punk leanings. Debbie, Simon and Tef take grit, melody and acerbic lyrics and spit them out in two minutes flat.

Their self-titled debut album is released by Abnormal Product on Friday 29 March 2019 – it will be available on CD, download and streaming. It’s high-octane, classic punk rock from the dis-United Kingdom, tackling subjects like far right populism, and corrupt media, organisations and governments, while giving props to radical heroes like Emily Wilding Davison and Muhammad Ali.

The album’s tracks include Commander in Cheat (about Trump’s sexist, racist presidency), Nissan Poppy 24/7 (about patriotism and the politicisation of remembrance), Emily Does (about militant suffragette martyr Emily Wilding Davison), In the Suicide Forest (a short tone poem about vacuous vlogger Logan Paul), and a punk rock cover of Bob Marley’s Redemption Song.

Destroy the Daily Mail features a section written and performed by Wales’ most prominent living literary figure, poet and playwright Patrick Jones (see patrick-jones.info), elder brother of Nicky Wire of the Manic Street Preachers and a frequent collaborator with the Welsh chart-topping band. Jones adds a stream-of-consciousness set of Mail-esque headlines. He agreed to the collaboration after reading the lyrics and listening to the raw track, calling the song “important and powerful”.

Tef, Debbie, and Simon of Shot Balowski


Stadt Skulls – Against the Cult of the Reptile God

I’m listening to the new EP by Liverpool based “Stadt Skulls”. The band is a punk rock trio heavily in the vein of early Asian Man Records bands like Alkaline Trio, and The Lawrence Arms, along with some more aggressive bursts ala Off With Their Heads Dead To Me.

Intriguingly, perhaps, is listening to how they’ve evolved over the last couple years. They’ve moved away from more poppy takes into a darker sound. Good choice if you ask me.

I certainly don’t want to pigeonhole the band. They do have their own sound going on. Track 3, the title track, “Against the Cult of the Reptile God”, I feel, is more resplendent of this. It’s a bit more frenetic and anxious, if you will. The overall point of the comparison is that fans of the former are exceedingly likely to be fans of the latter.

The tracks are brief and have a slightly lo-fi feel to the mix. The end result is definitely very listenable. I’d suggest you check ‘em out.

Cheers!
-Jerry Actually

Track Listing:
1. Leif the Lucky
2. Nostalgia for what?
3. Against the Cult of the Reptile God
4. Ink and Spear

Noteworthy: These chaps’ noggins fit inside jack-o-lanterns!

Here’s a sample of some of the band’s material from 2016:
https://stadtskulls.bandcamp.com

Video:

Bio:

Three piece, three sibling Liverpool punks. Stadt Skulls have been making angular, noisey, power pop since 2016. Sounds like the band the 90’s forgot.

The Barstool Preachers – Grazie Governo

Currently listening to The Barstool Preachers forthcoming album, Grazie Governo. (Out Aug 24th on Pirates Press) The new album proffers 13 tracks of rather polished sounding punk-based rock and roll. I like the sound, a lot of the time, I think… Well I’m a bit on the fence honestly.

Let me try to give an example. A track will start, like track four, “Choose My Friends” and it sort of drifts in feeling a bit more like Blue October than a ska punk song. I’m sort of not feeling it, but then the chorus kicks in and I’m suddenly way into it. Most of the tracks have given me a similar feeling thus far.

Don’t get me wrong though. The material is solid. It’s well written, played, recorded etc, but there’s something hanging over it that leaves me feeling a slight bit insecure about it I suppose.

I was reading through their bio just now and I think one line in particular helped put a finer point on what I’m feeling. “The Bar Stool Preachers are a band for EVERYONE”. This is exactly what is shining through. Having a broad appeal is fine, but it can stretch too thin sometimes. Imagine a restaurant that has a sweeping wide menu covering food and drinks in a thousand directions. Sure they’ll satisfy the needs of a wide range of customers. It’s rare however that all the items are particularly amazing. I’m more the type who likes places that offers a handful of things they do exceedingly well. You go to them when you know what you want.

I had pretty high hopes for the band when I reviewed an earlier EP. I was anticipating things would take a different turn, or rather be a continuum in a determined direction. I don’t like panning something, and I hope I’m not doing so here. I really do enjoy the opener/title track and the overall gist of the sound. I enjoy the spirit of the album, and honestly from the photos they seem like a fun and happy bunch of blokes. I like most of the choruses as well. Heck, I’ll go on record and say that if this album was all chorus, I would be entirely on board.

There are some additional tracks that have a little more of what I’m looking for. Including the title track:

1. Grazie Governo
11. Since You
12. Force Fed

The bottom line is it ain’t bad, it just ain’t for me.

Cheers!
Jerry Actually
Continue reading The Barstool Preachers – Grazie Governo