Reel Big Fish
Orange County, CA
Reel Big Fish
Reel Big Fish was one of the legions of Southern California ska-punk bands to edge into the mainstream following the mid-’90s success of No Doubt and Sublime. Like most of their peers, the band was distinguished by their hyperkinetic stage shows, juvenile humor, ironic covers of new wave pop songs, and metallic shards of ska. The group cultivated an underground following that broke into the mainstream in summer 1997, when their single “Sell Out” became a modern rock radio and MTV favorite. Their appearance in the movie “Baseketball” as the halftime band also gained them more fans and helped the bands popularity to grow. Still fronted by original lead singer and song writer Aaron Barrett, they continue releasing albums and touring relentlessly, playing more and more countries and bigger venues all over the world.
Reel Big Fish recorded its self-released debut album, “Everything Sucks”, in 1995. “Everything Sucks” became a word-of-mouth underground hit in ska-punk and college circles, which gave the band enough leverage to sign with the indie label Mojo Records. The label’s president, Jay Rifkin, and former Oingo Boingo bassist John Avila co-produced “Turn the Radio Off”, which marked Reel Big Fish’s first album for Mojo. “Turn the Radio Off” was unleashed in August 1996, and over the next year, the group continually toured in support of the album’s release, expanding their fan base all the while. In spring 1997, the single “Sell Out” began receiving heavy airplay from several influential modern rock stations in the U.S., which soon translated into MTV support for the song’s quirky video. By summer, the song had become a moderate modern rock hit, and the album had charted in the Top 100.
In 1998 the song “Take on Me” from the “Baseketball” motion picture soundtrack was released as the promotional single for the movie and once again found the band in regular rotation on rock radio and MTV in the USA.
The Album “Why Do They Rock So Hard” followed a year later, once again enlisting Oingo Boingo Bassist John Avila as producer. The album was not as commercially successful but is still regarded by many fans as the bands finest work. The band filmed a music video for “the Set up (You Need This)”, the only single released from this album.
The guys wound up on Jive Records in fall 2001 when their current label, Mojo, was bought by Jive’s parent label, Zomba. Reel Big Fish’s first release for Jive, a more rock-oriented record entitled “Cheer Up!”, appeared in mid-2002. This album was very successful in Europe with the video for the single “Where Have You Been” receiving heavy airplay on many music video channels.
Later that same year, RBF did a song for a Rice Krispies called “Snap, Krackle, Pop-punk” which was used in 3 separate commercials. Also that year, they recorded a cover of Toots and the Maytals “Monkey Man” for the Nickelodeon movie “The Wild Thornberrys.” The single for “Monkey Man” was also released in the UK and received heavy radio play as well as the music video being put on heavy rotation on Kerrang TV.
The band’s next album, the cynical yet catchy “We’re Not Happy ‘Til You’re Not Happy”, was issued in April 2005. Touring continued for the rest of the year, and Reel Big Fish happily parted ways with Jive in January 2006, having wished to be dropped from the label since the “Cheer Up!” release.
In August 2006, the group self-released a double-disc live CD (along with an accompanying DVD) titled “Our Live Album Is Better Than Your Live Album”.
Barrett said of this album “We finally captured the energy, excitement and humor of our live shows that we were previously unable to create in the recording studio environment. And it all sounds really good!”
This album is very popular with RBF fans and is sometimes referred to as “the Reel Big Fish Stand-up comedy album” because of all the silly stage banter.
The band returned with some new material in February 2007, splitting an EP “Duet All Night Long” with their friends in Zolof the Rock & Roll Destroyer. “Monkeys for Nothin’ and the Chimps for Free” followed several months later, marking Reel Big Fish’s first full-length studio release since leaving Jive’s roster, and 2009′s “Fame, Fortune and Fornication” found the band covering songs by the likes of Poison, the Eagles, and Tom Petty.
In 2010, the band released “A Best of Us for the Rest of Us”. It includes a 22 song disc of re-recorded hits and classic fan favorites as well as a bonus disc of 14 Acoustic or “SKAcoustic” versions.
On July 31st, 2012 Reel Big Fish released their 7th studio album, Candy Coated Fury (Rock Ridge Music), an inspired and infectiously catchy return to the hyperkinetic ska and biting wit of the band’s beloved early albums. “This album is a lot like our first two albums. It’s got a lot of the same intensity, frantic energy in the music, and the same sarcastic sense of humor. I think these are the fastest songs we’ve done since those albums,” Aaron Barrett, founding vocalist, guitarist, and principal songwriter says. “We’re finally just doing what Reel Big Fish does best, and that’s what we did on those first two albums.”
“Candy Coated Fury pretty much describes what Reel Big Fish does,” Barrett says of the significance of the new album’s title. “It’s hateful, mean, sarcastic, and, sometimes sad lyrics, over happy, wacky, silly, joyous, fast music that makes you want to dance. This album is mostly love songs, but bitter, angry, hateful love songs. Just about everybody knows what it’s like to be in a bad relationship. These songs could be sung by a 15 year old about his first love-gone-wrong, or by a 55 year old about a bitter divorce after 30 years. They’re bad-relationship songs that everybody can relate to.”
Candy Coated Fury is Reel Big Fish’s first album of newly recorded original material in five years. Overall, it’s the seventh in the band’s twenty year history, and it feels as vital and vitriolic as RBF’s foundational releases. The record opens with the huge sing-along vocal, balmy horns, and hyperactive ska groove of “Everyone Else Is An Asshole.” The track is an exceptional distillation of Reel Big Fish’s classic euphorically-juvenile ska punk. The stately arena riffs in “I Dare You To Break My Heart” reference cock rock, new wave, and soul without sacrificing one iota of RBF’s signature simmering skank. “I listen to the Darkness a lot; it was only a matter of time till I wrote a song like this! I can’t really sing as high as that guy so this song sounds more like Kiss, if Kiss was a Motown band that played ska,” Barrett says, detailing the song’s diverse stylistic touchstones. The anthemic “I Know You Too Well To Like You Anymore” features some of Barrett’s finest cutely cruel lyrics. “I think that is an amazing bad-relationship song,” he laughs. “I really captured the hateful love of two people who were once madly in love, but have been together so long, they can’t stand the sight of each other anymore but still say ‘they drive me crazy, and I hate this and this about them, but I love them.’” No RBF album would be complete without playfully irreverent 1980s covers. The band rounds things out ska-ifying the Wonderstuff’s “Don’t Let Me Down Gently” and When In Rome’s “The Promise.”
On December 12th, 2014 RBF released their first Christmas Album, A six song, digital only album entitled “Happy Skalidays”. This album includes 4 classic Christmas songs and 2 RBF originals.
Reel Big Fish continues to tour non-stop, playing over 250 shows a year to thousands of loyal fans all over the world, gaining more and more underground popularity as the Ska scene continues to flourish.
Face to Face
Face to Face
Whoever said that you can’t go home again never told face to face. The melodic punk institution, who will celebrate their 25th anniversary as a band throughout 2016, return to Fat Wreck Chords—the same label who released their classic debut Don’t Turn Away—for their ninth full length studio album, Protection. As Trever Keith explains, this wasn’t coincidence.
“The decision to go back to Fat was a no brainer,” he says. “We knew we wanted to make a more back-to-basics punk rock record, something more like our early days. Fat Wreck Chords was an obvious choice. After 25 successful years in punk rock, it’s a label that speaks for itself. In lots of ways it feels like coming home.” Protection draws from the energy and passion of face to face’s early records but is filtered through Keith’s unique worldview as a true “lifer” in punk rock, someone whose songs have influenced an entire generation of bands. The result is an urgent and powerful 11-song effort that borrows from the melody and angst of the band’s early days with lyrics that are thoughtfully written from the perspective of a “40 something” veteran punk rocker, from “Double Crossed” and “Say What You Want” (Keith’s personal favorites) to the vicious barb “14:59” and the emotionally moving “Bent But Not Broken.”
“‘14:59’ is a commentary on Western culture and its obsession in the past few decades with reality-based fame that comes for people who have no skill other than just being famous. I think it’s disgusting. I hate it,” Keith remarks. “‘Bent But Not Broken’ is about people who aren’t willing to listen to opposing viewpoints because they are so mired in their own beliefs, they can’t see they are bent.” There’s even a rare burst of motivational positivity in “Keep Your Chin Up.” Credit can be shared with Bill Stevenson, who in addition to being Descendents’ erstwhile drummer, has produced classic albums and fan favorites from NOFX, Propagandhi, Anti-Flag and more. face to face worked with him at his studio, the Blasting Room, and the results exceeded everyone’s expectations. Amazingly, Stevenson is the first outside producer face to face has worked with in nearly two decades, as the band usually self-produces their work, but Keith said the partnership was nothing short of incredible. “It was a fantastic experience,” he says. “Bill was great to work with. I met Bill on the Warped Tour something like 15 years ago, but we never really had spent time together until now, and we hit it off great.”
With that trust in place, it allowed face to face to spend less time in the control room and more time focusing on their performances and on the songs themselves, resulting in what feels like an instant classic from the first listen. “This is the first time where [bassist] Scott [Shiflett] and I were willing to take a reduced role [in production],” Keith says. We were laid back, open minded, and open to suggestions. Bill’s influence on the song arrangements and background vocals was key in giving the record the sound that it has. Not every idea Bill had ended up being used, but we certainly listened to everything that Bill, Jason Livermore and Andrew Berlin had to say and I think it’s a better record for it.”
Since returning from their self-imposed hiatus in 2008, face to face has been on a tear, touring worldwide and writing tons of new music; Protection is their third full-length in five years, outpacing the output of many of their peers and devotees alike. face to face still has a lot to say, and the band has no plans on slowing down. “To celebrate our 25th anniversary as a band in 2016, we plan on re-releasing special edition vinyl copies of our early albums, plus playing as many shows as possible to promote Protection,” Keith says. Why does the band continue to work so hard when so many others are content to coast through their careers? Because Keith knows face to face isn’t just an outlet for him to vent his frustrations—it’s also a safe space for thousands of fans who need his songs in their lives. “I love the idea that our music can take people out of the grind of their daily lives for a little while and that we can connect emotionally,” admits Keith. “It’s an awesome and powerful thing.”
Anti-Flag’s new studio album, American Fall, follows 2015’s well-received American Spring. With Good Charlotte’s Benji Madden on board as co-producer, the band has intensified their signature anthemic style with bigger melodies, tighter songcraft, and thicker guitars.
American Fall is bold – both musically and politically – and Anti-Flag’s time is now.
With Anti-Flag, a new album is always a call to arms and a call to action that reminds listeners to question everyone and everything, including the current administration.
“The politics of distraction influences people to lose focus on what makes a positive impact on their lives and the world,” the band said about the new album. “It encourages people to make choices that are not in their best interest and reduces society’s ability to make progressive change.
“The American Fall is our rejection of this harmful distraction. At this crucial moment in history, we must focus on pushing past the status quo to create a better and more just world. We reject the proliferation of exploitation, racism, bigotry, and socioeconomic injustice that dominate the policies of Donald Trump, just as we renounce the neoliberal status quo that came before him.”
Dead Fucking Last
Los Angeles, CA
Dead Fucking Last
Dead Fucking Last
Thus we go bravely onward.
To put you in the picture – as Elvis Costello once said in a rare flash of wit – DEAD FUCKING LAST is the name applied with astute euphonic accuracy to the four man unit, which was consciously created, deliberately disciplined, and beyond doubt was bound to things for which mortals have, since two wood clubs and a monkey skin bought one stone axehead, been engaged in a ceaseless, relentless quest. As I never try to better quotes from Scottish geniuses, here, abruptly, is where the introduction ends.
St. Louis, MO
Weezer Ska? MU330 plays an amazing collection of ska, rock, punk, and just good stuff you’ll want to sing along to. They have a high energy live show that you can’t miss!
A Wilhelm Scream
New Bedford, MA
A Wilhelm Scream
How does one gauge the success of a band pushing the envelope of a genre that receives little to no credit by the mainstream media? In the case of A Wilhelm Scream, the answer is “Who cares?” – As a band playing punk rock for over a decade, members Trevor Reilly, Nuno Pereira, Nick Angelini, Brian Robinson and Mike Supina haven’t focused on success, image or whatever bandwagon a group can jump on to get their music into the ears of listeners: It’s the ideal of music from an honest place, playing to the kids who want to hear more than a simple love song, or want an opinion rammed down their throats.
Despite operating just below the radar A Wilhelm Scream have carved out a reputation as one of the best live bands around, bolstered by their staggeringly rich albums of ultratechnical melodic punk rock firestorms. Playing 250+ worldwide shows each year, the band posses a work ethic best described as ‘heroic’.
GrimSkunk, one of Canada’s most enduring and hard-working independent psych-rock-punk bands returns with their brand new album “Unreason In the Age of Madness”.
Recorded by GGGarth Richardson, producer of Rage Against the Machine’s legendary debut album, at his Farm Studios in Gibsons, British Columbia, the album is imbued with both the rich natural beauty of the western Canadian coastline, as well as an immediate urgency to halt the destructive path society and humanity have catapulted themselves onto.
Delving into the band’s exotic blend of tribal energy and unique eclectic sound, the album captures the GrimSkunk spirit with pure, raw intensity; a whirlwind of punk angst and outrage, and the hopeful, almost hippie idealism of those who still believe in a better world. As always, the band called upon fellow musicians to collaborate by adding their own creative element to certain tracks; GrimSkunk’s original drummer Alain VdeBC returning to co-write and arrange several songs; Jorane’s gripping cello on the celestial acoustic “starlight”; Rodolphe Gagnon’s trancelike didjeridoo on “Let’s Start a War”; Paul Cargnello’s sweet harmonies, Chris Vincent (Busty and the Bass) and Sapphira Harun’s 007 horn section, and Momo Coulibaly’s african rhythms in the sun-soaked “Same Mistake”; Jon Matte’s (The Franklin Electric) jazzy trumpet on “Hanging out in the rain”; and finally Denis Lepage’s (BARF, Colectivo) mandolin on the franco-gypsy-punk anthem “Les Insoumis”.
“Unreason in the Age of Madness” was recorded in 2 short weeks; an adrenaline-fuelled rush of non-stop creativity and spontaneity, with little to no time for second guessing. Working with trust and true chemistry with GGGarth’s direction, the songs were whipped together in short artistic porch sessions, followed immediately by tracking while the vibe was fresh. Using an arsenal of 7 different guitar amps, each song was given its own individual sonic blend on the spur of the moment. Joe Evil’s trademark organ was run through a genuine hammond leslie, conjuring the bastard punk child of Jon Lord. The end result combines 70’s psych-rock with the urgency of outraged punk/hardcore energy and lyrics; a Black Sabbath/Pink Floyd meets Rage Against the Machine statement of rock against conformity.
Tearing away at every fabric of human failure and society’s ills; from the killing hypocrisy of the NRA gun lobby to the idiocracy of a Trump presidency, the album is an urgent call to arms for peace, a revolution of the heart; to reject the current climate of narrow-mindedness and intolerance, to shake off apathy and build a better future!
The biography from Frank is not a big secret. He is the leader from Leatherface. One of this bands what changed my life. He is one of the reason, why I have a label. The acoustic songs are special for Sounds of Subterrania, but Leatherface is the main task. Leatherface formed August 1988.
With a penchant for bad horror films, the odd mask made of leather and a novel called ‘leatherface’ about a highway robber with romantic inclinations the band was born. – are a rare treasure in contemporary music – a good old-fashioned punk rock band who are neither near-sighted nor necrophiles. But, boy, do they take some getting used to. Frankie Norman Warsaw Stubbs’s voice — well, untutored would be kind. Yet once you’ve got used to it, it’s as affecting as, say, Bob Mould’s or Jake Burns Stiff Little Fingers.Over All this years recorded Frankie with Leatherface 8 regulary longplayers and very many and more 7″, split releases and compilationtracks.
When you have luck, can you listen the acoustic songs after a show. However, caution! Frankie is not a campfire hippie.
playing "Hail Destroyer"
“No more bull shit…” asserts singer Liam Cormier of CANCER BATS.
“That was our declaration for this whole album,” he says when speaking about the band’s fifth studio recording Searching For Zero. The choruses are hookier, the screams more savage, the riffs more vicious, the songs more powerful. This is the CANCER BATS at their pinnacle – their “True Zero.”
“We were coming out of what was a really heavy year for all of us, with a lot of challenges, non-stop touring and the deaths of people really close to the band. Us dealing with all of that and how that’s taken its toll,” explains Cormier about the headspace he shared with his band mates – drummer Mike Peters, guitarist Scott Middleton, and bassist Jaye Schwarzer – surrounding the album’s composition.
As such, the 10 tracks that comprise Searching For Zero, produced by Ross Robinson (Sepultura, Slipknot, At The Drive In, Glass Jaw, Blood Bothers and The Cure), marks a new extension of the band’s already staple sonic components – the urgency and intensity inherent in Cormier’s vocals,Middleton’s sometimes sludgy, sometimes raging riffage, and the grimy, gritty,heavy-hitting rhythm section of Peters and Schwarzer, are all present. However, the album boasts a more raw and organic tonal signature than any previous Bats collection, with melodic elements not only musically but also vocally, which Cormier largely credits to their producer and their metal idols.
Robinson brought a bare-bones aural aesthetic to the material, capturing a sound that unites the thrashy metal-tinged hardcore of their previous releases with a meaty lo-fi intensity, found only in their live shows amongst the sweaty masses.The other change was brought out by the band’s love and admiration of Black Sabbath, whom they cover extensively under their alter ego, Bat Sabbath.
“In learning all those Sabbath songs, I ended up having to figure out how to really sing” says Cormier, laughing. “Then it was Ross really pushing me to use that new voice I had discovered.”
As a result, Searching For Zero is impressive in its polarity – simultaneously the most melodic yet menacing CANCER BATS release, incorporating the crude hardcore punk of their 2006 debut Birthing The Giant and more metal leanings of 2008’s Hail Destroyer while pushing the heavy hybrid sounds of 2010’s Mayors Bears Scraps and Bones and 2012’s darker Dead Set On Living to a new plateau.
“With all of these things we’ve had to deal with this past year, we were all at the point of saying “No More Bull Shit,” we’ve dealt with everything, nothing is standing in our way,” Cormier explains. “We’ve found our absolute zero, where there can no longer be a negative, and from that point, everything moving forward can only be positive.”
That positivity –that willingness to change what you can and let go of the rest – is the source of resolution. “There are real reasons we do this,” Cormier says assuredly. “We love being in this band, and we love the people that were lucky enough to share this with.”
Nowhere is that more evident than a CANCER BATS show, where band, fans, and unsuspecting bystanders unite under a banner of raised fists and banging heads. The energy is as undeniably infectious as the music itself and has helped the band hold its own on club and festival stages around the world.
Searching For Zero comes from a place of heavy contemplation for its creators, and at times, that contemplation grew grim and dark. But the end result is an acceptance of the realities that come with pursuing a passion, leaving CANCER BATS with a reinvigorated drive to do right by themselves and the people that have followed them this far.
“We think of the kids that have been with us the whole way,” Cormier states. “And we’re going to make sure that nobody ever regrets buying an album or getting a tattoo of our band put on their bodies for the rest of their lives, we’re all in this for the long haul.”
San Francisco, CA
There aren’t a lot of bands like Get Dead around these days. Instead of worrying about gimmicks and trends, this fivesome from San Francisco, California have always focused on the music and that’s evident with every passion-filled note they play. Get Dead started out performing together in 2007 after their respective bands called it quits and eventually attracted the attention of NOFX frontman Fat Mike who produced the band’s first full-length, “Bad News”, as well as their new full-length, “Honesty Lives Elsewhere”, and released both records on his label Fat Wreck Chords.
We Are Wolves
We Are Wolves
The now mythic trio, We Are Wolves, presents an honest and uncatchable sound; a bit like celestial lightning hitting a sacred mountaintop. Mainly inspired by visual arts, they paint a post-punk landscape, scattered with analog trees. Their primitive approach remains true to their animal of predilection: untamable. Disciples of rock and electronica – it’s at the junction of those two movements that We Are Wolves made their den.
Le désormais mythique trio We Are Wolves impose une musique honnête et libre comme la foudre céleste sur la montagne sacrée. Habités, ils peignent un paysage post-punk ponctué d’arbres analogues. Toujours, leur son primitif est fidèle à leur animal totem : indomptable. Disciples du rock et de l’électronique devant l’éternel, c’est à la jonction du punk et de l’électro que les loups ont fait leur tanière.
Twenty-five years after forming a band based on t-shirts they made before ever picking up their instruments, Calgary’s Chixdiggit still sounds like catchy summer tunes blasting from car windows. Specializing in three-minute songs that stick in your head for the next three weeks, Chixdiggit has always been more riff than raff. In spite of nearly three decades of a fluid band line-up anchored by singer/guitarist KJ Jansen, their enthusiastic brand of post-punk pop is neither faded nor jaded.
Jansen makes use of personal pronouns to draw the listener into stories we have all lived, memoirs of summer flings, infatuation, flirting at day jobs, catalogue models and feeling a bit mystified by life. The tales are charming without being corny, unselfconscious and even a bit cheeky, a cheekiness which gives a lot of space to insert a tongue. Some truths are laid bare with humour, and others are knocked unconscious with it. Wrapped up in unshakable melodies and hooks to rival an elementary school hallway you find parody so close to home that it lives in your back yard.
With a Fall tour and a sixth album being released by Fat Wreck Chords in September 2016, fans of the band have much to look forward to. 2012 is the title of the new album that highlights a full year of the band on tour. It’s an exhilarating experience from start to finish that leaves you feeling like you were right there with them: around the world and back again. All in just under 25 action packed minutes!
Forming in 1998 in the town of Petaluma, CA., Tsunami Bomb was the brain child of bassist Dominic Davi and keyboard/vocalist Oobliette Sparks. Wanting to combine influences from the darker punk of Northern California scene, with the classic Southern California hardcore, Tsunami Bomb set itself apart from it’s fellow bands early on with energetic and dynamic live shows, dual female vocals, and atmospheric synths that helped quickly build a fiercely loyal fan base.
Fast forward to 2016, where due to fan demand Kung Fu Records has collected the early, now out-of-print and rare E.P.’s into a 14 track LP collection, “Trust No One”. On the heels of this announcement, the original TSUNAMI BOMB line-up of Davi and Sparks, along with long time drummer Gabe Lindeman, have reunited with the help of vocalist Kate Jacobi to support this new release.
After a string of sold out shows around the US and festivals appearances such as the Vans Warped Tour and Remember The Punks, this rejuvenated Tsunami Bomb shows no signs of slowing down, with the band spending most of 2017 writing songs for a brand new album.
War on Women
War on Women
War On Women is a co-ed feminist hardcore-punk band. Formed in Baltimore, MD in 2011, W.O.W. use driving riffs and in your face vocals that attack the listener both sonically and lyrically, penning catchy and confrontational songs that touch on rape culture, street harassment, the gender wage gap, transphobia, and other vitally pertinent social issues.
In 2015, W.O.W. released their debut self-titled full length (recorded in collaboration with J. Robbins at Magpie Cage) on Bridge Nine Records and have been touring relentlessly ever since, with dates in the US, UK, and Western Europe sharing the stage with such bands as the Refused, Propagandhi, Anti-Flag, Boy Sets Fire, Jello Biafra, RVIVR, Iron Reagan, Dismemberment Plan, and Shai Hulud.
With the volume, technicality and intensity that embodies heavy metal and the overarching catchiness and longevity of stoner and classic rock, Barn Burner capture a signature sound that cannot be easily placed or categorized. Cultivating the principles of partying and the ever lasting might of the riff, Barn Burner creates a live atmosphere that render an audience incapable of standing still. Whether it is giving your best friend a well-deserved swill of beer or lovingly smashing the bottle over his head to the sound of a ruthless riff, Barn Burner will fulfill the demands of its listeners. Having finished their second record and follow up to the critically acclaimed Bangers, Barn Burner are prepared to unleash something more fierce…
What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger!
For the past 12 years The Creepshow have been smashing the whole damn world in the face with their brutaltastic mélange of punk, country, psychobilly and good old-fashioned rock n’ roll. They’ve toured the world, sold a metric shit-ton of records, garnered millions of video views and blown the faces off a ga-zillion fans. The Creepshow has performed in more than 50 countries and shared the stage with Rancid, NOFX, Dropkick Murphys, Tiger Army, Sham 69 and Reverend Horton Heat just to name a few… But the road to infamy hasn’t always been paved with accolades and sold out shows. Over the years, the band has been fraught with innumerable hardships along the way. From robberies and wrecks to line-up changes and countless personal obstacles, the band has lived through it all. And they always come out on top. With the debut of their first album “Sell Your Soul” in 2006, The Creepshow was immediately catapulted to the forefront of the bourgeoning international psychobilly/punk scene and opened the door for them to bring their eye and ear scorching live show to the four corners of the earth. The release of “Run For Your Life” (2008 Epitaph/Stomp), “They All Fall Down” (2010 Epitaph/Stomp) and “Life After Death” (2013 Stomp/Sailors Grave) further cemented the band as one of the most impressive, critically acclaimed and well-respected touring acts out there.
Which brings us to the epic new album “Death At My Door” set for a September 2017 release. Ten tracks of raging, bloodcurdling and raucously rebellious fury showcase the very best from this roadharderned group of beautiful misfits. The haunting vocal stylings of Kenda Legaspi soar seamlessly over Chuck Coles’ buzzsaw sharp guitar lines and the ragtime gospel organs/keys of the Reverend McGinty; all the while held together by the hard-driving stand-up double-bass slapping rhythms of Sean McNab and the impossibly violent percussive assault of Sandro Sanchioni on drums. From the defiant and empowering “Sticks & Stones” and the incredibly anthemic “Til Death Do Us” to the circle-pit inducing “Tomorrow May Never Come” and the eerily heartwrenching ballad “My Soul To Keep”, Death At My Door is a diverse and addictive album from a genre-defying band who are at the very top of their game… Don’t sleep on this one, because you never know what’s waiting for you just outside your door.
For fans of Rancid, Distillers, Bombpops, Social Distortion, Tiger Army, Dropkick Murphys.
Once you find out that Astronautalis was born to a Texas train man with a nose crooked from bar fights and a pretty Kentucky girl who ran away from home at 17 to become a photographer, it becomes clear that he didn’t stumble into the life of a drifter, he was born into it. With a poet uncle who lived off horse betting and hitchhiking, grandfathers who were spies, sailors, and test pilots, and over 500,000 miles of touring under his own belt, you have to wonder where the tales in Astronautalis’ music end and the life of Andy Bothwell begins. Currently settled (for now) in Minneapolis, by way of Seattle, by way of Dallas by way of Jacksonville Beach, FL; Bothwell has spent almost every waking moment of the last 7 years, on the road, playing shows, earning scars, collecting/giving tattoos, grinding out a cult like fan base, and living up to his proud, storied, and whiskey soaked blood line.
Having started in music over 15 years ago as a battle rapper, Astronautalis’ roots are planted firmly in hip-hop. However, the sounds and styles on his albums are an animal not so easily caged, and his latest release, “This Is Our Science” is no exception to that tradition of wild genre bending. Like previous records Bothwell uses that limitless approach to aid in his vivid storytelling, but where “This is Our Science” takes a turn from tradition, is in the subject matter itself. While previous records read like historical fiction, documenting the lives of the bygone, the footnotes, and the forgotten, “This is Our Science” is pure autobiography. While there are flash references to scientists from the Age of Enlightenment and old dead French mountaineers, these ghosts serve merely as parallels, rest stops in the story of the last 7 years of Bothwell’s romance with the road.
To help shape this memoir, Bothwell called in help from the cadre of musical friends he has made in his travels across 4 continents, and created a sound as diverse as the cast that behind it. Once again under the guidance of Grammy nominated producer John Congleton (Modest Mouse, Bill Callahan, St. Vincent), “This is Our Science” finds rock darlings like Tegan Quin (Tegan & Sara), Radical Face, (Electric President), members of Midlake & The Riverboat Gamblers all waltzing in time to the work of P.O.S. (Rhymesayers), Alias (Anticon/Sage Francis), Cecil Otter (Wugazi), Lazerbeak (Doomtree), and more of indie hip-hop’s finest. The resulting album is the full realization of everything Bothwell has been chasing after for 7 years. Neither a rap record, nor a rock record, it is a work that finally captures the vein popping intensity and high melodrama of his famous live shows. All the while, maintaining the steadfast literary tradition and masterful storytelling of his previous studio albums.
From the pounding drums and thick synths of the record’s opener, “The River, The Woods”, the roots in rap are clear. But, that foundation quickly crumbles as the choir swells on the dark electronic gospel of the title track, “This is Our Science”. After the banging funeral dirge of “Thomas Jefferson” (featuring Doomtree rapper Sims), the record blazes into the thick of Bothwell’s vagabond life with heart breaking road ballad of “Measure the Globe”. While songs like undeniably catchy, “Contrails” (featuring Tegan Quin) and the epic rock anthem, “Secrets On Our Lips” carry an astounding pop sensibility, there is something unnerving behind those big choruses and driving drums. In fact, there is something hiding behind every corner of this record, and much like the road Astronautalis traveled to make it, there is no map, no guide book, no way to prepare yourself, all you can do is press on forward and see what is waiting for you just around the bend.
Such Gold formed in 2009 in Rochester, NY – a region steeped in tradition for quality punk and melodic hardcore bands, and DIY ethic. The band quickly released a demo, followed by a series of EPs and split 7”s on labels like No Sleep and 6131 Records.
In 2012 the band released their full-length debut “Misadventures” via Razor and Tie, produced and engineered by the renowned Steve Evetts (Kid Dynamite, Saves the Day, Snapcase). The LP reached #6 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart and brought the band instant acclaim with both the hardcore and pop-punk scenes.
As with any budding group there were a few bumps in the road during the band’s formative years, including the departure of a series of founding members. Vocalist Ben Kotin seized the opportunity to fill the void on guitar which sparked a new creative element in the band, and a musical push into new territory. Kotin, guitarist Nate Derby and bassist Jon Markson recruited drummer Matt Covey (formerly of Shai Hulud) to re-develop Such Gold as we know them today.
2014’s “The New Sidewalk”, produced and engineered by the infamous duo of Bill Stevenson and Jason Livermore (Descendents, Rise Against, Propagandhi), was the first release to feature the modern lineup and a more complex and intense Such Gold. Their new incarnation saw a further exodus from the band’s earlier pop-punk tendencies and found them identifying more with the music they grew up with—fast, riffy, technical and forward-thinking punk and angular, dissonant math rock.
In 2016 the band re-released 2010’s “Pedestals” EP as a re-mixed, re-mastered collection featuring the original release, plus b-sides from the era, on Bird Attack Records – a label founded by the band’s long-time friend Garrett Wadford.
“We met Garrett several years ago while playing a festival in Costa Rica and have stayed good friends ever since,” guitarist Nate Derby says. “It’s been great to watch him grow Bird Attack Records into a record label synonymous with quality punk music and I think he’s long since proven to us that Bird Attack is a worthy home for our band.”
The resilient group has spent equal amounts of time touring both domestically and abroad with the likes of Strung Out, PUP, The Story So Far, PEARS, Anti-Flag, A Wilhelm Scream, the Flatliners, Millencolin and more.
Not to be slowed down, Such Gold prepares to release their jarring new EP “Deep In A Hole”. This 5-song musical exploration shows off their superior ability to combine catchy melodies and arrangements with a mastery of harmonic color and wild textures. The result spans the bands’ sonic past, present and future via their new home at Bird Attack Records. Produced and engineered by the band’s own Jon Markson, and mixed and mastered by Jason Livermore at The Blasting Room, “Deep in a Hole” is Such Gold at their best – doing things their own way.
New York, NY
Stephen Brodsky is a Descendent of punk/hardcore. Member of Cave In & Mutoid Man. Previous bands include Converge, Kid Kilowatt, New Idea Society, Octave Museum, Pet Genius, The Holey Moleys. Sonic hobbyist of “mid-fi” recordings (somewhere between high & low fidelity).
Ben Koller drums for Mutoid Man. He is also the drummer for Converge, All Pigs Must Die , Kill or Be Killed. He has also previously recorded/performed with Cave In, Acid Tiger, United Nations and many others.
Nicholas Cageao is the bassist in Mutoid Man. When he is not touring, he can be found working front of house as the sound engineer at Saint Vitus in Brooklyn, NY.
Obey the Brave
Obey the Brave
In the years since the phrase, “that which does not kill us makes us stronger” was first attributed to German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, it’s become something of a tired cliché. But to an underground band like OBEY THE BRAVE, relentlessly touring the world’s clubs, against obstacles great and small, the maxim still carries the weight of reality. Like the best of the heavy metallic hardcore bands in rock music history, OBEY THE BRAVE embodies Nietzsche’s stark sentiments with furious musical determination.
OBEY THE BRAVE churns out anthems of empowerment born of adversity. It’s the songs that embolden the spirit and exorcise personal demons, whether in the pit or on a day’s commute. Songs like “Raise Your Voice,” “Full Circle,” and “Get Real” are quintessential metalcore bangers.
Mad Season, the band’s diverse and defiant third album, arrives after the most turbulent period of the group’s career. Yet as vocalist Alex Erian puts it with appropriately blunt eloquence: “We’re back stronger than ever.”
Since forming just a handful of years ago in their native Canada, OBEY THE BRAVE has toured the world alongside fellow modern metalcore genre standard bearers like The Amity Affliction, Whitechapel, Blessthefall, Chelsea Grin, Emmure, All Shall Perish, We Came As Romans, and Miss May I, forging meaningful relationships with each audience, show after show.
A series of hardships and obstacles followed the release of the group’s well-received sophomore album, Salvation (2014), which built upon the early promise Young Blood (2012). Both are albums full of raw crunch, sincere attitude, metallic bite, and unadulterated adrenaline. The group weathered two lineup changes, a string of bad luck with an overseas promoter, and a series of false starts in the studio before finally emerging with Mad Season, the band’s most focused, ambitious, and urgently visceral album thus far.
Songs like “Drama,” “The Distance,” and “Rest in Peace” (one of two Mad Season songs delivered entirely in the band’s native French) are packed with power derived as much from real life emotion as huge power chords.
Named for the tumultuous period of its creation, Mad Season is a truly collaborative effort musically and lyrically. Joining shortly into the touring cycle for Salvation, Terrence McAuley (guitar) and Cory Wilson (bass) gelled instantly with original members Erian, John Campbell (guitar), and Stevie Morotti (drums). McAuley also served as co-producer, alongside engineer and mixer Dean Hadjichristou, who has worked with Obey The Brave’s fellow Canadians Protest The Hero and labelmates Parkway Drive.
When it came time to record vocals, Erian reunited with longtime collaborator Antoine Lussier, whose Ion Dissonance bandmate, Kevin McCaughey, guests on “The Distance.” “RIP” features French Canadian rap group Loud Lary Ajust, capturing the party element the band often brings in the live setting.
“Drama” boasts a guest appearance from Steve Marois of Erian’s other band the semi-recently reformed deathcore pioneers Despised Icon.
“I grew up in the death metal scene but Obey The Brave has always been my outlet to explore other aspects of my musical roots and passions,” Erian explains. “Now that Despised Icon is back, I have that outlet for really heavy extreme music, so I can explore with Obey The Brave even more now.”
Mad Season demonstrates a true artistic evolution for the band. Part of that progression includes the introduction of singing vocals alongside the genre’s traditional screaming. This isn’t “emo” crooning, however; it’s much more akin to the raspy declarations of Rise Against and old-school punk.
“We stepped out of our comfort zone with this record,” Erian says. “We didn’t want to put out the same record three times in a row. I spent an entire year trying to perfect my singing. There’s still a lot of screaming on the album, but it was really important for me artistically to try something different and give it my all. It’s very exciting to try to reinvent yourself.”
A mission statement of sorts for OBEY THE BRAVE is right there in the title track: “We all want it / it’s our passion / we’re all lost in the right direction.”
“Sometimes when you’re facing these obstacles, you’re like, ‘why am I still here? Why am I doing this in the first place? Should I get back to the regular nine-to-five and try to get some security?’” Erian confesses. “But this is who I am. This is what I do. This is who we are. We just can’t help ourselves. That’s why ‘though we may feel ‘lost,’ we are lost in the right direction.”
Ultimately each and every step along the way for OBEY THE BRAVE has been worth it, because indeed, “that which does not kill us…” Or to quote another fitting well-known proverb: “nothing ventured, nothing gained.”
“In a weird twisted way I’m thankful for everything it took to get this record made because it all tested our commitment to the band and we’re still here, you know, we’re still swinging,” says Erian. “The bottom line is, we put so much of ourselves into Mad Season and the music speaks for itself.”
Santa Cruz, CA
“Dan Potthast is a living legend. Don’t fuck with him. His influence on punk and ska bands runs deeper than you could possibly imagine. He is a songwriting and performing genius and has toured all over the world.. USA, UK, Russia, Scandinavia, Europe, Japan, Korea, Australia, and even Mars. Listen to any of the countless albums he has released with MU330 or as a solo artist, and you will certainly agree that he is an unstoppable lyricist and a master of melody.”
– Dan Potthast
Eau Claire, WI
To better understand Arms Aloft you need to get to know their homeland, The Great Lakes. No no, not Chicago or Cleveland or Detroit, these punk weirdos are from THE NORTH. Half the band hails from Minneapolis and the other two lumberjacks are from Eau Claire, WI. Up in that neck of the woods the people wear large bricks of cheese upon their heads in a display of provincial unity. Ya sure, ya betcha. Well, these kids were destined for more than a life of ice-fishing and drinking Rhinelanders at the sawmill, so they started a band and caught people’s attention with their leftist message and raspy melodies. And on “What A Time To Be Barely Alive” they have 12 songs that take rootsy punk (like Billy Bragg and early Gaslight Anthem) and blend it with the personal politics of bands like The Clash and Dillinger Four. Plus, the cover art has a herd of swine busting out of a pigpen. Ain’t that some shit?
Pkew Pkew Pkew
Pkew Pkew Pkew
Punks and jocks haven’t always seen eye-to-eye. The in-group/out-group dynamics of each haven’t been very forgiving to the other. Luckily, the Toronto punk rockers in PKEWPKEWPKEW (sometimes stylized as PKEWx3) don’t subscribe to one or the other- they’re more interested in the transitional space in between.
That’s the space the band inhabits on their self-titled debut record. It’s being rereleased through SideOneDummy Records under a new name: +One, so titled for the extra track it will include. On Bandcamp, the debut is tagged with the following: beer, pizza, punk, skateboarding, Toronto, and being broke. These are the topics that comprise a 22-minute flurry of unbridled guitar-punk glory; every fist-pumping whim is indulged, and no anthemic melody is underused. The compact runtime is a statement itself; rather than sketching out meandering tracks with occasional hooks, PKEW makes songs that are hooks, from start to finish. They position pop’s steadfast belief in glossy generalities against head-bashing bar-chord guitar rock.
But this is all tied together with Mike Warne’s acerbic lyrical wit: “We don’t make much money/That should come as no surprise/We got drunk before we left so we wouldn’t have to spend much tonight,” he says on “Before We Go Out Drinking.” This isn’t air-headed, young-forever pop-punk; it’s exists in the real world, where hangovers happen and bones get broken. The boys in PKEWPKEWPKEW are pragmatists, after all: “Let’s order a pizza, I gotta eat something before I throw up,” they bellow on (you guessed it) “Let’s Order A Pizza.” It’s less a triumphant declaration of affection for boozing, and more a cross-eyed, ‘Oh shit, I drank too much and I have to be up at 7AM for work tomorrow.’
Warne appreciates the duality. “Sports dads really like us because we sing about depressing shit and baseball, and 18-year old kids like us because we sing about drinking and pizza,” he says. Some people miss the underlying truth and beeline right for the shithead, beer-guzzling, pizza-vacuum angle. Warne doesn’t mind; he’s just stoked people are having a good time. But he reminds, “There’s definitely a depression that goes along with pretty much all of it.”
In this way, PKEW is a reflection of life, warts and all: the gleeful, unhinged enthusiasm of their instrumentals, papercut with the underlying, honest realism of Warne’s lyrics. It’s also a stab at the breezy, coded hypermasculinity that colors much of pop-punk. In their drunken haze, misogynistic punk dude-bros might miss that PKEW are actually laughing at them behind the thunderous riffs. “We’re definitely there to make fun of it,” Warne asserts. That playful angle is at the root of his writing. “It’s just easier to write songs if you want them to be a little funny and very blunt. Once you take it too seriously, you’re writing songs that are just super vague about relationships or something.” He adds with a laugh, “That’s probably a good reason why we’re not gonna be on the radio.”
It all loops back to their passions: music and sports, and the desire to extricate the problematic dogma that both are plagued by. “Music people and sports people not getting along is weird and lame,” Warne declares. He grew up in Stouffville, which he calls it a typical “little hockey town.” He escaped from there on the weekends to play in a band in Toronto- which nobody in Stouffville cared about. “No one thought that was cool at all,” Warne says. “I had a weird view of that really early on.”
Working a desk job in a boring office helped guide Warne’s sharp eye for the realities of life. It’s also where PKEW began, with songs “mostly making fun of work.” He pestered a work buddy into commiserating with him. “I’d ask him to tell me to write about something,” he explains. “I’d sit at my desk at work and I’d write lyrics and I’d write what I thought the chords might end up being.” They’d return to Warne’s place to record it in Garageband. “The first night we did it, we made ‘Asshole Pandemic,’” he laughs. They burned it to a CD, went to a bar and made the DJ play it. PKEW was born, in suitable fashion.
Of course, life in a band is not all victories. Warne feels he’s always chasing something. “There’s always this light on the horizon of cool things that are coming,” he explains. PKEWPKEWPKEW reminds us that that light comes and goes; to quote Tim McGraw in Friday Night Lights, “It’s an ugly fact of life.” But we’re here. We might as well write a good punk rock song about it.
There’s more light on the horizon, and PKEW aren’t giving up. There’s work to be done: “We gotta get a Madden sponsorship,” Warne deadpans.
Did you ever see that episode of the original Twilight Zone where the journalist had the haunted typewriter? It worked like this: He’d sit down, type a made up story and the next day that shit would really happen, giving him the ultimate scoop on all his dumb journalist friends. Pretty good episode, actually. Well, there’s a band of kids from Ontario called Junior Battles who seem to have that same kind of thing going on right now, minus the typewriter. It’s almost like one of ‘em has a genie crammed up their ass or something.
Take the story of their success for example: One night, they’re sitting around wildly dreaming about being able to put a record out on Paper and Plastick and the very next day they get an email from P&P overlord, Vinnie, out of the blue, asking if they want to do a record. Next, they asked for the best bio in the world and hey! What do you know? Anyhoo…these canucks are more than just Kreskin-like predictors of the future, they’re also ushering in the bold new era of what can only be referred to as post-beard rock, playing heartfelt, angular pop punk that reminds you of your favorite bands without being derivative, and they’re bringing it to you people with Idle Ages, their full length debut, coming out on P+P on June 28. You heard it here folks!
They call it Northern Reggae…A one-hundred proof blend of raspy rocksteady, sizzling soul, surf swagger and punkrock pedigree shaken (not stirred) with a double shot of the roughest roots reggae your ears have ever tasted. Pour it into a highball glass over some ice-cold lyrics and you’ve got The Beatdown’s latest full-length offering “Walkin’ Proud”. Following hot on the heels of their acclaimed 2010 self-titled debut, “Walkin’ Proud” is an apologetic collection of thirteen hard driving, soulful bangers coming straight from the gut. The album was recorded almost entirely live off the floor, capturing the raw live energy, urgency and unmarred production that has made The Beatdown an established underground favorite with fans and newbies alike.
Formed in the mean, cold streets of Montreal, The Beatdown rose from the ashes of the late, great One Night Band after their untimely demise in the winter of 2009. Although only together for 3 short years, this intrepid four-piece gang of hoodlums have played more than 300 shows in 15 countries. They’ve appeared at such renowned festivals as Festival d’Ete (CDN), Victoria Skafest (CDN), Rebellion Fest (UK), Mighty Sounds (CZ), SCENE Fest (CDN), POP Montreal (CDN) and many others. They’ve shared the stage with an eclectic mélange of bands including Walk Off The Earth, Fishbone, Black Crowes, The Skatalites, The Slackers, Madball, UK Subs and The Creepshow just to name a few.
This is the real thing kids. Tough as nails, catchy as hell and good to go; The Beatdown are Walkin’ Proud.
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