The Pope Virgins – Confessions

Rating: ★★★★★★★★☆☆

How about a little bit of “Local Punk Friday”? That’s a thing now. I said so. So, for Local Punk Friday I’m listening to the debut album from San Diego punk upstarts, The Pope Virgins. (It is important to note that this does not include all popes, as some may assume. To that end, here’s a list of sexually active popes.) Historical footnotes aside, I’m rocking out right now to “Confessions” which is, as I mentioned, the debut release from The Pope Virgins.

According to the band, and I’m paraphrasing here, they are working on reviving the local punk scene. They are a genre diverse band with ska and metal influences as well as straight up punk rock. The songs are largely politically driven, but also include songs about struggles with poverty and a joke song or two.

I should also note that the band supports a very community / scene minded effort to produce physical products, to promote the people and bands involved. (as opposed to streaming content that has become all too popular and convenient these days)

On the whole the music is raw and very “punk”; 4:4 tracks with chunky guitars, bass, snotty vocals, and spitfire drums. There’s a sense of chaos in the tracks as if they are a bit unhinged and could fly apart at any moment. I like that. The band’s sound is reminiscent of older influences like Reagan Youth, Black Flag, DRI, Vandals (after Peace Through Vandalism) and a sound, occasionally similar to, Awesome and the Asskickers. (this is likely a coincidence)

I like the album, by and large. One thing I could live without thought is songs about boning. It just does nothing for me to have a porno script set to a punk rock track. Maybe I’ve made it over the hill and juvenile antics just don’t cut it for me. To each their own though.

One more thing I suppose, the horn playing, while admirable in its attempt, is hilariously bad. Ska is not for everyone, but hell yeah get out there and strangle that fucking saxophone! (I assume it’s a saxophone. It could be a really really sad clarinet.)

Bottom line is fresh faced punk rock in my town. Fuck yeah!

Cheers!
Jerry Actually

Tracks:
1. Happy
2. Keep Your Beer Close But Your Cocaine Closer
3. Confessions
4. God is Sold
5. Amerecock
6. Chromes Lullaby
7. City Streets
8. Muhnolo
9. I Kinda Love You
10. Process of Elimination
11. Humes Paradox
12. Unnamed Poem
13. Now He Watches Anime
14. Virgins Good, Trump Bad
15. Jesus Fucked Up
16. Sad Man

Corrupted Youth – Class Struggle

© 2016 Evacuate Record

Rating: ★★★★★★★★½☆

What’s this that I’ve got course through my earholes? I’ll tell you what som’bitch. I’ve got some screaming bloody fucking murder, backyard crust punk from right out of East L.A. Class Struggle, the recently released album by L.A. underground punk band Corrupted Youth is a blistering salvo aimed squarely at the shit storm that has hit the USA hard in 2016.

Straight out of the gate the band establishes a breakneck pace and rarely lets up during the 40 minute audio assault. The album features 14 scathing tracks. The tracks cut to the bone and continue beyond that. These are songs that call out the problems of war, abuse, life on the streets, poverty, degradation, immigrant life, and the day to day struggle that the working class, the poor, the disenfranchised, the despised, the down and out face in the day of holier-than-though, self-aggrandizing, knee-jerk douche canoes everywhere.

Lyrics are done in both English and Spanish, depending on the track. I’m not fluent in Spanish, but based on the lyrical content of the ones in English, I will suffice it to assume that the core message doesn’t deviate. Thank goodness, by the way for the lyric sheet on the album. If it weren’t for that I’d never be able to discern half the things being spouted. Which brings me to my only real complaint about the release.

SCREAMO vocals. I don’t dig ‘em. … some folks are inclined to disagree. They can disagree all they want. I’m not the one who’s going to blow out my vocal chords and fuck up my throat. Bare that in mind and have a damn lozenge or something. My personal gripes aside, the album is solid in both message and music. The band reminds me sonically of The Casualties meets Leftover Crack (and Star Fucking Hipsters due to the guest vox on track 7, Abuse)

The big take away is that people are still struggling. It’s recognized at the lower spectrum of our society, and people are pissed. How long does this go on before something breaks? As they say, something’s gotta give. So get out there, read something, make yourself aware. Go see shows and support the ones who are calling out the struggle and if anything at least providing a brief reprieve to the day-to-day crap that a lot of people face.

They have some shows coming up in the LA area. Go check ’em.

Cheers!
Jerry Actually

Tracks:
War
Immigrantes
Wasted Youth
Confusion
Beer for Breakfast
Death on the Streets
Abuse
Heartless Bastards
Class Struggle
Bigotry
No End
Power for Control
Endless Blockades (GISM)
System Corruption

Bitter Grounds – Hollowlands

© 2016


Rating: ★★★★★★★★★☆

bitter-grounds-hollowlandsBoom! Ska-tinged punk rock fired like a rocket out of Netherlands. I’m rocking a brand new release (December 2016) from Bitter Grounds. 11 smashing tracks that are simultaneously, a breath of fresh air, and a nod to late 90’s punk / ska punk. Hollowlands is a DIY effort done in conjunction with the band and Ring of Fire Records, Bad Granola Records, and Nextpunk Records.

On initial listen, the vocals strike me as a curious approximation of Lemmy, Leatherface, and Lars Frederiksen. Layer this on top of very fluid guitar melodies, reggae chop, and solid backing rhythms and you’re at the core of Bitter Ground’s sound. Don’t let me pigeonhole the album, however, that’s merely the gist of it. There’s plenty more variety going on up here.

As much as there’s Rancid influence, I’m also picking up reminders of Classic’s of Love and the vocal delivery method of Jesse Michaels. Maybe I’m inventing it in my head, or perhaps the band is as big of Op Ivy fans as I am.

Bottom line is that though the struggle continues, music is still being made. Art that addresses life’s concerns, society’s problems, humanity, solidarity, all the feelings that are challenging to express outside of the realm of art. Without struggle we wouldn’t find catharsis. Maybe struggle is worth it? Just remember, Ska’s not dead. Punk’s not dead. Check this shit out. It’s got all things that are good.

Cheers!
Jerry Actually

Tracks:
1. Hollowlands 02:39
2. Struck Out 03:11
3. Tell Me Now 02:46
4. Life of Violence 03:27
5. Human Touch 02:55
6. Patience 02:31
7. Pressure 03:04
8. Fine, Alright 02:10
9. Dead in my Head 01:30
10. Breakdown 03:46
11. Trouble 03:11

Labels:
Ring of Fire records ( http://rof-records.com/ )
Nextpunk Records ( http://www.nextpunk.ch/ )
Bad Granola Records ( https://www.facebook.com/Badgranola/ )

Behind Deadlines – Status Quo

Rating: ★★★★★★★★½☆

behind_deadlines_status_quo

Yay! New Ska!

I’m listening to “Status Quo” the forthcoming debut full-length album from Philadelphia based ska punk band, Behind Deadlines. The release features 10 peppy tracks, and is a damn nice way to start into this holiday season. [Edit, the album actually will have 11 tracks when released. The updated track listing is below.] I think the band and I may differ slightly with the punk to ska ratio. I’d say, that the punk portion is tempered a bit with funk. But hey, I’m not the arbiter of such things (or am I) Overall it’s a winning combination and more of what this world needs.

The album sounds polished. Mix is clean and the levels all seem to sit right where they ought to. I suppose this stands to reason. The production has a solid pedigree, having been recorded by Dan Malsch (Bigwig, Four Year Strong, Forever the Sickest Kids) and mixed by Mark Michalik (The Swellers, We Are The Union, Fireworks, Into It Over It, The Wonder Years).

Over the years I swear it’s become more challenging for me to decide on specific influences that bands have. They have to be pretty blatantly obvious. If I had to throw a few out there, I’d suggest Less Than Jake, Mustard Plug, Deal’s Gone Bad, and Bosstones. I might just be name dropping. Who knows? The takeaway is that fan’s of the aforementioned bands, will probably find some affinity for Behind Deadlines as well. Give it a whirl.

A few notes on individual tracks: I’m not a big fan of guitar solos, but the first solo on track 4, “Hey Dear Friend” is tasteful as all getout. I fully approve. As well, the horns that kick in around the 8 second mark on track 5, “Making Change” are damn tasty too.

I won’t spend a whole lot of time telling you what you already know. If you like ska, punk, fun danceable rock and roll, or any combination thereof, please checkout Status Quo and if you can, go check out a live show. If you’re not on the East Coast, the band is playing a few select dates on the Best Coast too.

Cheers!
Jerry Actually

Tracks:
1. Biochemistry
2. Sick Of It All
3. Laid Off
4. Hey Dear Friend
5. Making Change
6. Six Months
7. Sink or Swim
8. Optimism
9. Worthless
10. Escape From Philadelphia
11. Drinking to Brazil

Getting to Know Four Lights

four-lights-band-pic

Where are you from and when did you get started?

KII: I am from Whidbey Island. I started when I was 8.

Brian: Originally I am from Illinois, but moved to Washington State in the mid-2000s. I met these nerds between 2007-2010 and we decided to start this band in 2015 as an excuse to use the gravity bong at the old practice space.

Jeff: We’re Four Lights from Seattle, WA.

Who are you and who does what in the band?

KII: I am KII and I play Drums.

Brian: I’m Brian and I play bass and sing back ups. I am also responsible for the majority of press photos, album layouts, and all of the video work that we do.

Jeff: I’m Jeff, and I play guitar and sing backups.

Dan: I’m Dan! I sing and play the guitar!!

How would you best describe the sound?

Brian: Power-pop masquerading as pop-punk (or maybe vice versa).

Jeff: I’m terrible at describing the sound, but I agree with the others. Power pop with heavy pop punk roots.

Dan: Yeah, the other dudes really nailed it.

Dream rock moment (real or not)?

Brian: Meeting Tom Hanks.

Jeff: An opening slot on the next Captain Geech and the Shrimp Shack Shooters world tour.

Dan: Bracket or The Impossibles decide to do a tour and bring us along.

Still got day jobs?

Dan: I am an IT manager for a long term care company.

KII: Yup. It’s OK. That’s what the therapist says to tell myself anyway.

Brian: Yes and it’s slowly killing me.

Jeff: Up until recently, I’ve had plenty of joe-jobs; nothing I’d call a career. Let me put it this way: I have an extensive collection of nametags and hairnets. Right now I work in a lab, in the nanotechnology field

Any regrets?

KII: Just that day old pizza.

Brian:Wearing these fucking suits in the summertime.

Jeff: I regret choosing a “D” instead of a “B”, in the Wheel of Fortune bonus round.
Dan: I regret letting the other dudes answer questions in interviews haha

Seattle punk act, Four Lights, have they released their debut album Death to False Posi on August 15, 2016 through Bomb Pop Records. Four Lights are streaming their new album Death to False Posi in full through Bandcamp. The title track features guest vocals from the veteran California pop-punk act, Bracket.

Check out the album here: Death to False Posi
Continue reading Getting to Know Four Lights

Bitter Grounds – Struck Out (OFFICIAL VIDEO)

Dutch punk/ska outfit Bitter Grounds, just released a music video of their song ‘Struck Out’. The song will be featured on the upcoming full-length album, to be released near the end of the year through German DIY label Ring of Fire Records.

You can check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_KmiYSj2u9E or watch it below.

Bitter Grounds rose from the ashes of ska-punk band Beans, which formed in 1996 and played hundreds of shows, and released four well-received records, until calling it quits around 2005. Ten years and several bands later, the foursome are back better than ever!

Cheers!
Jerry Actually

Wolf-Face – Give Me A Keg of Beer

Wolf-Face has premiered the official video for
“Give Me A Keg of Beer”

The song and video sees the Florida lupine punks return to their thrash punk origins. The song originally appeared on their self-titled debut EP, and was remastered and re-released in 2016 on vinyl via Swamp Cabbage Records on the album “Love Songs For The Lycanthropic”.

THE INTERRUPTERS TO RELEASE NEW ALBUM ‘SAY IT OUT LOUD’ AVAILABLE JUNE 24 ON HELLCAT RECORDS

Los Angeles-based ska-punk band The Interrupters will release their sophomore album, Say It Out Loud, on June 24 via Hellcat Records. Say It Out Loud is undeniably fun and urgent in message. And backing their modernized 2-Tone-tinged, guitar-fueled, melody-heavy sound are lyrics that confront everything from social control and self-empowerment to domestic violence and the media circus surrounding the next presidential election.

True to The Interrupters’ unabandoned passion and personal-meets-political dynamic, the first song shared from the album is “By My Side,” a fist-pumping, tender tribute to outcast solidarity.

Listen to “By My Side” now:

Since the release of their 2014 self-titled debut, The Interrupters have split their time between touring with the likes of The English Beat and Bad Religion and cranking out new material that shows off their irrepressible sensibility. So when the time came to record their sophomore album Say It Out Loud, the four-piece hit the studio with Rancid’s Tim Armstrong and fired off 14 new songs that both capture their frenetic energy and reveal a whole new level of boldness in their songwriting.

Over the past couple years we got to know ourselves so much better as a band, and that gave us a lot of room to really grow on this album,” notes frontwoman Aimee Interrupter, whose bandmates include guitarist Kevin Bivona, bassist Justin Bivona, and drummer Jesse Bivona.

Produced by Armstrong and recorded partly at his studio (as well as at Travis Barker’s Opra Studios), Say It Out Loud are a batch of feel-good songs proving The Interrupters’ unstoppably upbeat spirit. The Interrupters have forged a formidable bond that deeply informs their music. “Loyalty, family, friendship, and unity—with upstrokes,” says Kevin. “That pretty much sums up The Interrupters and what we are all about.”

Pre-orders for Say It Out Loud are available at http://www.wearetheinterrupters.com/. The Interrupters will headline a SOLD OUT headline show at The Roxy in Hollywood, CA and are on the Vans Warped Tour all summer long, staring in Dallas, TX on June 24 through August 13 in Portland, Oregon.

Say It Out Loud Track List

1. By My Side
2. She Got Arrested
3. Babylon
4. On A Turntable
5. The Prosecutor
6. Control
7. Phantom City (feat Tim Timebomb)
8. Media Sensation
9. You’re Gonna Find A Way Out
10. Divide Us
11. The Valley
12. Good Things
13. Jenny Drinks
14. Loyal

The Interrupters Tour Dates

June 17 Hollywood, CA – The Roxy (Record Release Show – SOLD OUT)
June 24 Dallas, TX @ Gexa Energy Pavilion
June 25 San Antonio, TX @ AT&T Center
June 26 Houston, TX @ University of Houston
June 27 New Orleans, LA @ Mardi Gras World
June 29 Nashville, TN @ Tennessee State Fairgrounds
June 30 Atlanta, GA @ Aaron’s Amphitheatre at Lakewood
July 1 St. Petersburg, FL @ Vinoy Park
July 2 Orlando, FL @ Tinker Field
July 3 West Palm Beach, FL @ Perfect Vodka Amphitheatre
July 5 Charlotte, NC @ PNC Music Pavilion
July 6 Virginia Beach, VA @ Farm Bureau Live
July 7 Syracuse, NY @ Lakeview Amphitheater
July 8 Camden, NJ @ BB&T Pavilion
July 9 Wantagh, NY @ Nikon At Jones Beach Theater
July 10 Hartford, CT @ XFINITY Theatre
July 11 Scranton, PA @ The Pavilion at Montage Mountain
July 13 Mansfield, MA @ Xfinity Center
July 14 Darien Center, NY @ Darien Lake Performing Arts Center
July 15 Pittsburgh, PA @ First Niagara Pavilion
July 16 Columbia, MD @ Merriweather Post Pavilion
July 17 Holmdel, NJ @ PNC Bank Arts Center
July 19 Indianapolis, IN @ Klipsch Music Center
July 20 Cuyahoga Falls, OH @ Blossom Music Center
July 21 Cincinnati, OH @ Riverbend Music Center
July 22 Detroit, MI @ The Palace Of Auburn Hills
July 23 Chicago, IL @ Hollywood Casino Amphitheater
July 24 Shakopee, MN @ Canterbury Park
July 26 Milwaukee, WI @ Marcus Amphitheater
July 27 St. Louis, MO @ Hollywood Casino & Hotel St. Louis
July 28 Bonners Spring, KS @ Providence Medical Center Ampitheater
July 30 Salt Lake City, UT @ Utah State Fairpark
July 31 Denver, CO @ Pepsi Center Arena Lot
Aug. 1 Albuquerque, NM @ Balloon Fiesta Park
Aug. 2 Phoenix, AZ @ Quail Run Park
Aug. 5 San Diego, CA @ Qualcomm Stadium
Aug. 6 San Francisco, CA @ Shoreline Amphitheatre
Aug. 7 Pomona, CA @ Pomona Fairplex
Aug. 9 Las Vehas, NV @ Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Aug. 11 Boise, ID @ Ford Idaho Center
Aug. 12 Auburn, WA @ White River Amphitheatre
Aug. 13 Portland, OR @ Portland Expo Center

UGLYBoNES – Growing Concerns

Rating: ★★★★★★★★½☆

uglybonesUGLYBoNES is a four piece hardcore/thrash punk outfit running out of the Windy City, (Chicago for those of you living under rocks) They’ve got a new album to jam up into your earholes. It’s entitled Growing Concerns and it will crush you.

The release contains 10 tracks, ninety percent of which clock in well under the two minute mark. Rapid bursts of sonic aggression without being over the top ear bleed screamo assault. (totally up my alley as screamo razer vocals are fn lame)

The tracks are all solidly constructed on a foundation of the angst of fading youth. The lyrical delivery is drenched with intensity and the musical accompaniment is fraught with urgency. The overall effect is a cavalcade of pretty rad hardcore punk.

The only downside I can think of is that the tracks have a very consistent pattern of insisting on a slower breakdown segment. Not saying they don’t have merit, but it can get a bit formulaic by the end.

Any downside aside, this band deserves a little bit of your attentions. Go check out their tracks and kick ‘em down some dough so they can continue to rip this shit up.

http://uglybones.bandcamp.com/

Cheers!
Jerry Actually

Tracks:
1. Set Off 01:44
2. PCAF 01:20
3. Not The Same 01:39
4. Obscene 01:17
5. Grown Up 00:54
6. Office Destroyer 00:30
7. SUX 01:20
8. Took Too Much 01:19
9. Bendz 02:25
10. Lazy 01:38

The Coffin Daggers – Aggravatin’ Rhythms

The Coffin Daggers
Agravattin’ Rhythms
© 2016 Cleopatra Records

Rating: ★★★★★★★★★☆

coffin-daggersI’m am giddy to no end listening to a fully instrumental Surf album by a band that has Viktor Venom (of Reagan Youth and Nausea) on lead guitar. Why wouldn’t I be? The idea that a vestige of 80’s East coast hardcore punk can transmute into some of the best “dark” surf music that I’ve heard in some time is, to say the least, incredible.

The one-sheet lets me know that all the tracks were recorded on 16-track 2” analog. How sweet is that? I kinda wish I would have had the album to review instead of the CD. If the digital version sounds this good, I can only imagine the vinyl is phenomonal!

Aggravatin’ Rhythms abely drops a lush soundscape of 14 tracks of riff-laden surf rock, the likes of which are rarely heard in this day and age. It’s strikingly reminiscent of foundational work from artists such as Link Wray and legendary guitarist Dick Dale. A more modern surf sensibility is certainly present as well and I can’t help but draw comparisons to by Man or Astro-man and Phantom Surfers.

I was listening to this album the other night and a description kept bubbling to the surface as I listened to track four, The Sinister Urge, “boozy apreggiated dive bombs are reverberating around the interior of my car only to launch into Gilmour-esqe soulful leads. Brilliant!” Sure it lacks some context in the middle of this, but I assure you that when you arrive upon said track, you’ll totally understand.

I’m not sure that I’ve done a write-up for an instrumental release in the past. This very well may be a first for me. So without knowing fully where to go with this, I’m going to go suggest that Aggravatin’ Rhythms by the Coffin Daggers is one of the finest surf albums I’ve heard to date. Seriously this album rocks. Get some!

https://cleorecs.com/store/shop/the-coffin-daggers-aggravatin-rhythms-cd/

Cheers,
Jerry Actually