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.

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

The Amalgamated – Premium Quality


San Diego’s own trad-ska combo The Amalgamated are back with some Premium Quality recordings. Putting their soulful reggae ska spin on some legendary tracks. Step lively now and give it a whirl.

If you aren’t familiar with the band, here’s a bit of their bio:

The Amalgamated are a traditional ska/jazz band, influenced very much by early SKA styles, old reggae tunes, great jazz standards and soulful ballads in the vain of the late 60’s. A 10-member ensemble that includes vocals, two guitars, stand-up bass, dual saxophones, trumpets, trombone, keys and percussion.

About the album:

This is a tribute to the artists that influence and inspire the band. These crowd pleasing tunes done in the style of Traditional Ska, Rocksteady and Reggae will have you dancing all night long. Recorded in 2013 at After hours Studio Ramona, CA

The new album boasts covers as diverse as All of Me, Crazy, and Twistin’ the Night Away, all performed with The Amalgamated’s signature swagger. It’s a covers album, sure, but it’s the bands take on songs that influenced and inspire them.

Above all, it’s fun album. Get some.

Tracks:
01 – My Little Suede Shoes
02 – All of Me
03 – Crazy
04 – I Love Paris
05 – Run Down
06 – A Love I Can Feel
07 – Black Orpheus
08 – That’ll Do Nicely
09 – Cherry Pink & Apple Blossom White
10 – Twistin’ the Night Away
11 – La Cumparsita

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.