Get Dead – Letters Home

(c) 2008 Horns Up Records
Rating: ★★★½☆

Have you ever, as an ever tough punk rocker wanted to let you inner-emo out?  But how could you and still  save face with all your extra tough punk rock friends?  San Francisco’s Get Dead holds the answers to your fears.  Their “punkcoustic” anthems reek with their innermost feelings but still come across as cool and nonchalant.  I venture to say that you can safely listen to Letters Home and you will still command the respect of your spike-bedazzled friends and maybe you’ll even show that cute little pale girl all dressed in black a little bit of your own tortured soul (but not too much) Aside all that, Get Dead brings some fine non-electrical punk rock in an anthemic and almost piratical way. If I had to make up some adjectives that you can use to tell your friends about them, I’d go so far as to say that they are both Clashtastic and SwinginUtteriffic.  For those of you back east, you can say that they’re wicked sweet!

–Jerry Actually

Swingin’ Utters – Hatest Grits

(c) 2008 Fat Wreck Chords
Rating: ★★★★☆

Welcome to the B-side. What have we here but no less than 32 tracks of B-side, demos, 4-track takes and BS schlock from none other than Swingin’ Utters. It is generally easy to dismiss B-side compilations as strictly for the die hard fan. Generally they consist of crap to lackluster to otherwise distribute. That is only partially true for Hatest Grits. Instead of the usual 90% garbage 10% diamond, the Utters give you a sketchbook chronology of one of the best bands of the hybrid folk punk genre. Of course you also get some crap to lackluster to otherwise distribute, meant only for the die hard fan. But thanks to the good graces of the band, the ratio is more like 75% kick ass takes and 25% filler. You slice it how you like it though. I for one am down with their brand of rock and roll. Highly recommended from your friends at !upstarter.

–Jerry Actually

Sorry About Your Couch – Greeen!

(c) 2008 Sorry About Your Couch
Rating: ★★★★☆

In a world where you bust your ass somewhere around 20/7 (a fella’s got to sleep sometime) you occasionally get the reviews out a little late. I have a serious stack of material in my inbox, so without further adieu, here is Sorry About You Couch. Hailing from the darkest depths of Central Wisconsin and the home of Point Special Beer comes some rude young lads and their new album Greeen! (Though the mailing address on the back is listed as Wisconsin Dells they claim to be from Stevens Point) No matter which place they are from, I spent plenty of my youth in both of those towns and though it was many years ago, I never expected much out of either area musically. Fortunately for me, time or fate has intervened and saw fit to send this disc to my door. SAYC is a raw blend of punk and roots. Frankly they remind me of Rudiments. The sound is a bit on the lofi side, but the raw nature of the tracks only serves to amplify the angst of youth. But what you get is 14 tracks and a bonus one. Running from raw rock to ska punk while trading verses like throwing around the ol’ pigskin, Greeen! makes for a good listen. Incidentally, with an album name like this, I really expected more overt stoner-rasta content. Not that is absent mind you, I just expected more. On another note, there is a cuddly green monster on the cover that appears to be destroying Toronto. I’d like to provide a slightly more in depth analysis, however I am beat. Sufficed to say that if you like the 3rd wave a bit more to the punk side then odds are fair you’ll like Sorry About Your Couch.

–Jerry Actually

Bankrupt – Rocket to Riot City

(c) 2008 PiaRRecords
Rating: ★★★★☆

First and foremost I’d like to point out that we (that usually being me) here at !upstarter review HQ really dig it when bands from across the world find their way to my inbox. I absolutely love the positive exchange of music and ideas from across this big ol’ punk rock community that I would like to refer to as the Earth. That said I’d like to introduce you to Bankrupt. Readers meet Bankrupt. Bankrupt meet my readers. Right now I’m listening to a five song EP from straight outta Budapest, Hungary. “Rocket to Riot City” is a catchy little number, albeit a short one, but full of substance despite its lack of duration. With a sound somewhere between the rockabilly of the Peacocks and the punk rock of Millencolin, Bankrupt’s Rocket to Riot City blasts back at a messed up world. I suspect there’s nothing like rioting and economic crisis amidst political disarray to make life a waking nightmare. (not that we aren’t becoming a frightening reflection of that here in the states) Despite all the chaos, Bankrupt has made a kick ass EP. I strongly urge everyone to do their part for their local economy and international relations and buy a couple copies.

www.bankrupt.hu

–Jerry Actually

Star Fucking Hipsters – Until We’re Dead

(c) 2008 Fat Wreck Chords
Rating: ★★★★½

Crack Rock Steady sound is back with yet another incarnation. This time that familiar societal lash back is tempered with the addition of some ladies. Don’t let the kinder, gentler sound fool you. For all of its additional polish and melody, Star Fucking Hipsters may be the most subversive of the crack rock stead bands yet. SFH currently consists of the following lineup: Sturg Fuckin’ Hipster – Vocals/Guitar, Nico De Gaillo – Vocals, Frank Piegaro – Guitar/Bass, Yula Beeri – Bass, Ara Slack – Drums. Until We’re Dead contains 12 full tracks and an intro. Alternating male/female vox and some silky smooth harmonies over top of a death grip of worldly angst help to solidify the album as plenty high up on my list of currently favorites. So, please do enjoy.

–Jerry Actually

Black President – S/T

(c) 2008 Cobra Music
Rating: ★★★★☆

Black President’s here y’all. You ready for it? Get ready for it. Welcome to some change I think we all can agree on, the debut self-titled release by punk rock quasi super group Black President. I’ve truely been looking forward to this release for some time and rest assured it does not disappoint. Black President was formed by Greg Hetson (Circle Jerks, Bad Religion) and Charlie Paulson (Goldfinger). Before the release of this recording, Hetson left the lineup due to conflicting obligations with other bands. If you want a rundown of the member history, checkout the Wikipedia entry. The band has since completed the roster with Jason Christopher (New Dead Radio) on bass and Roy Mayorga (Soulfly, Nausea) on drums. This release contains 14 old school hardcore punk tracks with a modern punk twist and no shortage of social and religious commentary. I don’t want to compartmentalize anymore than necessary to give you a big picture of what I’m listening to, but I’m thinking a mix of Bad Religion, Descendants and left leaning political fund raiser. Aside from the the obvious punk/rock trappings, be on the lookout for kickass little guitar frills and rock solid percussion. Whatever you do though don’t misconstrue the name of the band or the album as a tacit endorsement for any particular candidate. Instead, listen to the kick ass punk rock sounds and maybe think a little bit about who you really trust! Incidentally, the cover of Alice Cooper’s Elected is perhaps one of the best Alice Cooper covers I’ve heard to date … it brings a whole new meaning to “Rock the Vote”.

–Jerry Actually

Trusty – Demo

(c) 2008 DC-Jam Records
Rating: ★★★½☆

From the halls of obscurity to the mp3 folder of your fancy dang-fangled technology comes a blast from punk rock past.   Trusty–Hailing from Little Rock, Arkansas–delivers with their “Demo” in a way that only 80’s ‘hardcore’ punk can.  The disc, (presumably re-mastered from the original source) has that sweet combination of lo-fi and high intensity all while satisfying the needs of your inner angst-addled youth.  According to their MySpace page, “in 2008, Trusty signed with Midwest record label DC-Jam Records to re-release The Paul Years as a 20th Anniversary special Edition CD that includes some never before released material.”  I’d like to point out that this, being the only Trusty material that I’m familiar with, it is all new to me.  What you get with “Demo” is 11 tracks (some superfluous and silly like “Find Bircho”) of punk rock in the vein of Minor Threat or maybe even fello Arkansas brethren Econochrist, albeit more melodic.  “Demo” is good based primarily on its youthful urgency.  There is something genuine and heartfelt about a group of kids that pickup instruments and fight back against a world that they are maligned against.  That said, youth may also be many a bands shortcoming.  The songs, for their intensity, often lack depth and focus and the lyrics tend to lean towards rhymed couplets.  Not that I’m criticizing, you should hear some of the shit I wrote back then.  Nevertheless Trusty brings me back to my early punk rock formative years of garage bands and sneaking out to see shows on school nights.  If you have a longing for some fresh material of yesteryear, hop on over to the DC-Jam site and pick up on a copy of “Demo” from Trusty.

–Jerry Actually

Bad Luck Charms – ST

(c) 2008 I Scream Records
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Ok, here’s how it is. Sometimes things rock. Sometimes things also roll. And some other times things both rock and roll and summarily kick ass! Bad Luck Charms new self-titled release falls under that summarily kick ass category. Not to be confused with the Hobart, Tasmania band of the same moniker, Bad Luck Charms, the Brooklyn variety are punked up rock with a street brawler type of vibe not unlike The Disasters, Mike Ness or many of the Duane Peters derived bands. The new relase contains 11 tracks of heart and guts drenched with sorrow and regret. Bad Luck Charms have an undeniable appeal in that when wallowing in their bad times, your situation doesn’t seem half so bad. (plus they really do rock) So do yourself a favor and book a trip to Tasmania to tell those other guys to change their names and while your there, pick up a copy of the American Bad Luck Charms new release and listen to it the whole trip back. Go for the guts. Stay for the glory! Let’s have a round of applause (read drinks) for Bad Luck Charms.

–Jerry Actually

Out of Nothing – Everything Perishes

(c) 2008 Out of Nothing
Rating: ★★★☆☆

So out of the blue I get this package in the mail. A great beginning right? You (the reader) are now intrigued about what it was that may have shown up, right? I suspect that my suspicion is correct, but I am a bit pretentious, so we’ll take that with a grain of salt. Never the less it was a CD in my mailbox from a band outta Pensacola (Wings of Gold) Florida (known to some as the Redneck Rivera) Let me tell ya though, Out of Nothing is on to something: 7 tracks blending punk and ska and gators … ok well maybe not enough gators, but they do have a nice 3rd wave thing going on, not unlike a mix of MU330 and Voodoo Glowskulls (if you can maybe imagine that, I know I am right now) … but I digress. There is guitar, there are horns, (and drums and bass and vocals et al.) Basically what I’m trying to boil down to is that Out of Nothing is a good band. They have a nice blend of punk edge and excellent horn chops (I would like to hear the horns a bit more upfront in the mix though. I’m sure the horn players would agree.) Mix aside, take note of Out of Nothing ’cause they got the rock goin’ on. Do what you can to get yourself a copy of “Everyone Perishes” because it’s good and despite the internet you can still impress your friend when you have some shit that they don’t already have. (unless they already do)

–Jerry Actually

Civet – Hell Hath No Fury

(c) 2008 Hellcat Records
Rating: ★★★★☆

Civets are small, lithe-bodied, mostly arboreal mammals native to the tropics of Africa and Asia. Civet may also refer to the distinctive musk produced by the animal.

Hell Hath No Fury is the Hellcat Records debut from Civet, the hottest all-girl rock n’ roll band (both literally and figuratively) to erupt from the Los Angeles rock scene since Joan Jett and Lita Ford formed The Runaways.

I’m gonna let you decide which of the previous paragraphs you prefer, but whatever it was that created the CD I’m listening to certainly knows how to bring the rock. Part Zeke, part Distillers, all punk rock and roll. Hellcat records new artist Civet make gender no barrier to their swagger. The 13 tracks on their new disc are full of all the spit and vitriol that you’d expect from a Hellcat release and more. I also feel a bit obligated to mention that this quintet is also quite attractive, but I don’t want to backpeddle on women’s rights, so I wont. In all seriousness though, this is a fun disc well worth checking out. Personal favs include 2.) Son of a Bitch and 4.) All I want (written by Tim Armstrong) I look forward to more good music from Civet in the future.

–Jerry Actually