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

Lagwagon – ITMOBUTLTL

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

All aboard the Lagwagon party goers. The original Fat band is back with a new release. By my account it is an EP. Seven tracks clocking in at minus 20 total, not that EP’s are a bad thing by any means. An EP is a great amount of work when your band is focused on more than one project. (Two of the members are also in Me First and the Gimme Gimmes.) Side projects notwithstanding, the obviously back dating and self-depricating “I Think My Older Brother Used To Listen To Lagwagon” is exactly what one should expect from an older and wiser Lagwagon. The songs have more depth, both sonically and contextually. Along with additional depth comes additional weight. I’m pretty sure that must be what is making the songs a bit slower than I like 🙂 In all seriousness though, this is a must have for any fan and for all the new kids to the punk rock block, pick up a newie but a goodie from an oldie but a still goodie band. As I said, “All aboard the Lagwagon!”

–Jerry Actually

The Real McKenzies – Off The Leash

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

The Real McKenzies are to Scotland what the Dropkick Murphy’s are to Ireland. That is punk rock music with strong ties to cultural heritage. Like Dropkick, The Real McKenzies are displaced from their roots, but those roots still run deep. The new release, “Off the Leash”, will have you swearing that, “If it ain’t Scottish, it’s crap!” Though these fellows hail from the land of DOA and Michael J. Fox, their music still has the rebellious power of William Wallace. “Off The Leash” delivers 13 tracks of Scotted up punk, all of them totally sweet. If you like your punk anthemic and Celtic culturalocentric, don’t hesitate to let your self off the leash and go buy this disc. Ha! I made a less than humorous reference to the title of the CD in the review itself. That makes it a good review; kinda like movies that use the name of the movie in the dialog of the movie. I win! One to nothin’

–Jerry Actually

State of Grace – State of Grace

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

Three cheers for the Street Dogs my friends, back again with a brand new record. The disc will be out soon on none other than Hellcat Records. It all seems very full circle, what with Hellcat being the home of the Dropkick Murphy’s. (for those of you outside the know, Street Dogs’ Mike McColgan is the former frontman of those very same Dropkick Murphy’s) Since their forming in 2002, Murphy’s connection aside, Street Dogs have come into their own.

With the lineup currently cemented as Mike McColgan on Vox, John Rioux (of Bruisers fame) on Bass, Marcus Hollar and Tobe Bean III splitting guitar duties and Paul Rucker on drums the collective Street Dogs deliver to you a State of Grace. 11 punk rock songs with a distinctive Boston flair. The songs are about life. The lyrics have depth. It’s very existence offers promise. After the slew of post nu-metal mallrat pablum that has disgraced the the name of music lately, it is great to hear a disc that not only is true to form punk rock, but also has some meaning. It is very easy to discern when a band believes in what they do or if they are just going through the motions. Street Dogs’ State of Grace is very obviously the former. With a formidable foundation and diehard persistence State of Grace is the Street Dogs best effort to date.

–Jerry Actually

U.S. Bombs – We Are The Problem

(c) 2006 Sailor's Grave Records
Rating: ★★★★☆

The U.S. Bombs are back with a new CD — fronted per usual by the venerable Duane Peters. Peter's is arguably one of the hardest working guys in punk rock with The skating, the shoe and clothing lines and of course the myriad of musical projects: U.S. Bombs, Die' Huns and The Duane Peters Gunfight.

"We Are The Problem" brings 15 new surprisingly diverse tracks of punk, from sing-a-long anthems like the opening title track, flanged out 50's style punk like "Just Like You" and near folksy ballads like "Guns of the West"

"We Are The Problem" shows that old punks need not fade away, but why? because they're a shit ton better than the bullshit radio baby pablum that the hot topic punks can muster today.

–Jerry Actually