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

The Filaments – Look To The Skies

Fuck yeah!

Here’s something I didn’t even know that I needed. “Look to the Skies”, a the brand new album from The Filaments. Punk, Oi, Ska from Essex, UK. Evidently I’ve been under a rock, as this band has been around since 2009 and here it is the first time I’m hearing them.

I’ve got the new album rolling right now and it’s entirely crushing it. You don’t start out your new album with a track titled ‘Fuck the “Alt” – Right’ without meaning absolute business.

11 tracks of badass punk rock in the vein of Rancid, Bosstones, Street Dogs, Leatherface, The Clash, and more. It’s essentially all of the sounds that I’ve opined about through the years, crammed into a singular action packed album.

I see limited point these days explaining that the band is capable of playing their instruments. It’s getting damn hard to find bands that ain’t worth their salt anymore. Suffice it to say, they do not suck.

Vocals range between Oi style gang vocals on the intro track into Dickie Barrett gravely on track five, “Living in the Crosshairs”. The music follows just as much dynamic shift. Full on ska, in-your-face punk, blistering pick-scratch guitars intros to full orchestral sounds.

This is a bully of a release. Get some!

-Jerry Actually

Tracks:
1. Fuck The “Alt”-Right 01:15
2. Look To The Skies 02:42
3. Rip-Off World 02:21
4. No Men To Parade 02:31
5. Living In The Crosshairs 03:10
6. Underdogs 03:25
7. Tread Carefully 01:57
8. Ask No Favours 04:21
9. All We’ve Ever Known 01:54
10. The Verge 02:30
11. Killing Machine 01:33

Bargain Bin Heroes – Droppin’ The Deuce

Ahhhhhh yeah, the soothing sounds of the 3rd wave of ska. Say what you want, but the mesh of distortion, horns, and pop sensibilities with the upstroked, unity-filled, jumped up Kingston-come-London of two-tone really floats my boat. Droppin’ The Deuce, new from Florida ska act, Bargain Bin Heroes is currently the ska water keeping my boat afloat.

The new “EP” provides eight tracks (and a bonus) of fun-filled good times. I can wax nostalgic all day about this I suppose: Sounds of Mustard Plug, Buck O Nine, MU330, LTJ, and the rest fill my ears and it puts me at ease. I don’t want to pigeonhole the sound or any such thing, as all bands bring their own dynamic to any given genre they pursue. Bargain Bin Heroes are no exception. They’ve got their own take on what is now a fairly venerated sound.

All the tunes are performed abely, and the sound is tight, but not restrictive. Evidently this EP was mastered by Roger Lima. (whom I’m sure you’re familiar with) I’m certainly in favor of the more peppy of the lot. Track 4 “Coming Home” is a personal favorite. It’s a bit more uptempo and has a nice bounce to it.

Bottom line is that if you are in any way a fan of 3rd Wave Ska, please do yourself a favor and check out Bargain Bin Heroes.

Cheers!

Jerry Actually

Bio:
Bargain Bin Heroes is a high energy Punk/Ska (and Touch of Reggae ) band from Fort Myers, FL.

We formed in the summer of 2014,And have played all over the state of Florida ,and performed with acts such as Mustard Plug, The Independents, Unwritten Law, Fenix Tx, Mephiskapheles,
Whole Wheat Bread, UNRB, Victims Of Circumstance, and many more local and touring bands.

We released our first self titled EP in fall of 2015 and quickly gained a strong following playing as many shows as possible. Fast Forward to 2018 and Bargain Bin Heroes is gearing up to release their follow up EP Titled “Droppin’ The Deuce” recorded in their home town and mastered by Roger Lima Of Less Than Jake. Droppin’ The Deuce is eight tracks of punk,ska,and reggae goodness.

Ease Up – Return to Sender

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.

Cheers!
Jerry Actually

Track Listing:
1. Return to Sender (2:43)
2. Turnaround (2:58)
3. Return to Sender (Mix) (3:35)

Get some: http://www.easeupmusic.net

SQUIDHAT RECORDS WELCOMES BAY AREA SKA LEGENDS MONKEY TO THEIR ROSTER

SQUIDHAT RECORDS WELCOMES BAY AREA SKA LEGENDS MONKEY TO THEIR ROSTER WITH THE RELEASE OF “INTERMITTENT” ON CD & LIMITED EDITION ORANGE VINYL

Las Vegas, NV, April 14, 2018 –SquidHat Records is proud to announce the release of Intermittent waves, the new album from Monkey. Available digitally, on CD or limited edition orange vinyl nationally and internationally through MVD Entertainment. The street date is 5/5/18.

The hardest working band on the West Coast is back with their sizzling sixth album! This 5 piece high-energy ska group from the SF Bay Area is famous for intense live shows and rock-steady rhythms that not only get the crowds dancing but have won them several awards, including the prestigious California Music Award. Monkey sets the pace for in-your-face ska, performing over 200 shows per year, while constantly recording and touring.

Spring Heeled Jack – New Release

I’m pleased to report that one of my long time favorite ska bands is back at it with new music. Sound Salvation, the first new material in nearly 20 years will be premiered at the “CINCO DE JACKO RECORD RELEASE FIESTA LOCO !!” … I seriously wish I could attend.

You can get more details here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1813172175608675/

At Both Ends – Wheel’s Out The Window

At Both Ends is a pop-punk ska band reminiscent of the big 90’s 3rd wave era. They come from Sacramento and “Wheel’s Out the Window”, released under Morning Wood Records! Is their second album.

Alright, let’s get into it. One word I would use to describe this album is dynamic, and my opinion changed several times as the album progressed. As a predominately hardcore and ska-core fan, I was pleasantly surprised by some elements in this work. From the great rumbling bass riff to a thrash-like breakdown, I found many things to enjoy. Don’t let me paint this as a heavy ska-punk album though. The majority of the riffs are built around a poppy electric (emphasis on electric) guitar that most of the time got on my nerves, as did the singing which I will get into soon.

I do have to say I am a big fan of the horns on this album. Although they aren’t in every song I found them fantastic and well linked with the guitar, but were also original and crisp similar to that of Streetlight Manifesto’s many hits. Overall I am a fan of the music except for the voice. The lyrics and singer definitely put a damper on my appreciation of the piece. Though the songs have themes of unconformity (“Your Way”) and freedom (“Freedom”), the lead singer Gene sounds similar to the tone you think of when someone says pop-punk and not in a good way. Not to mention cheesy lyrics and rhymes, I found the album at its best when there wasn’t any singing at all. However, if Reel Big Fish, Green Day, and Less Than Jake are your jams, I think you will enjoy this album. Personally if Gene could pull off a kind of Jason Navarro of The Suicide Machines this album would be twice as good.

Overall I would recommend the album due to an overall appreciation for creating something fresh in the ska scene that announces similar values to that of the masters. Although I critiqued the guitar heavily, it did have its moments as well as the rest of the instruments. About 2/3 of the songs I can see myself listening to again, leaving about 5 or so songs that were in my opinion mediocre due to a pop sound and vocals.

You can find it at bancamp at:
https://atbothendspunk.bandcamp.com/album/wheels-out-the-window

Thanks for reading and leave your comments and opinions below! What did you think of the album?

-PW

The Best of the Worst – Painted Fools

Ska, Punk, Rock and Roll!

New Jersey based The Best of the Worst is back at it with a brand new EP. Painted Fools (available on 04/20/2017) offers up 7 new tracks of, well, ska, punk, and rock and roll.

From dreamy to screamy the band hits a wide range of sounds both across and within individual tracks. I’ll be honest here, I’m not at all familiar with this band, so I’m going to go out on a limb here with who their influences might be. I hear the subtle guiding hand of Bomb the Music Industry, Less Than Jake, Isaac Green and the Skalars, Lawrence Arms and, I don’t know, maybe some Tom Petty.

I am honestly a bit disappointed that I haven’t heard of them before, because I’m rather enjoying what I’m hearing. They’ve got track complexity, without being obtuse. The songs are well crafted with subtlety and nuance. Good takes. Good mix. There’s a link below. Go and buy a copy. Support local music, even if local is 1000s of miles away from where you really are.

We have the internet people! You can listen to sweet new music and then give a band some of your hard earned ducats so that they too can enjoy the sweet life of top shelf ramen on occasion.

http://chokeartist.storenvy.com/products/19480255-the-best-of-the-worst-painted-fools-cd

Cheers!
Jerry Actually

Tracks:
1. Habits Live Hard
2. Inside My Apartment
3. Where Complacency Lives.
4. Spoiler Alert:
5. Doesn’t Really Matter, (feat. Tom Etts)
6. Like Bugs in Amber
7. We’ve Been Held Captive