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Show Review: Leftover Crack, Starving Wolves, Bad Cop/ Bad Cop @ the WOW Hall Eugene, OR


I could have seen Leftover Crack in Portland. In fact, I have before. I’ve seen them tear it up at the Hawthorne, I’ve seen them in Vegas, tearing it up at Punk Rock Bowling. Both times they were great– energetic and fun, bringing a sense of musical ambition and bravado to their radical anthems. This time though, I saw a chance to see a friend in Eugene and catch a band guaranteed to kill it. I’d never been to Eugene before, so it amounted to the question, “Why not?”

Besides an excuse to see an old friend, what drew me to this particular tour was just how ridiculously strong the lineup was. Leftover Crack was headlining, of course. Then there was Austin upstarts Starving Wolves, and then the amazingly melodic Bad Cop/ Bad Cop. It was the latter that I hadn’t seen yet, and probably the one I was the most familiar with on wax. The tickets were an easy purchase.

The venue was the WOW Hall, a surprisingly awesome place to house a show with the look and feel of a true DIY space. It was a fairly large room, nothing out of the ordinary for a concert hall, but with a very humble, community oriented vibe. The next day, while I was checking out an awesome record shop called House of Records, one of the dudes who worked there told me it had been a fixture of the scene forever, a place where the legendary Ramones had played. The more you know.

So, there were we. Checked in, relieved to find a beer and wine bar downstairs. We swilled IPAs and checked out the vests and watched from the screens as the local opener came on. It was loud, heavy, and reverberated through every wall in the house. With a couple quick chugs we left our drinks and went upstairs, curious as to what the local scene in Eugene had to offer.

And it is moments like this that make going to shows worth the sweat, smell, and claustrophobia. There’s no better way of discovering a new favorite band than being won over in the live setting. Broken Dead were the first opener, and they set the bar high early on. They played crust punk, the melodic variety not out of bounds for the likes of Tragedy or the Holy Mountain, but with a greater emphasis on classic hardcore and touches of the black metal that rears its head in some of Leftover Crack’s heavier tunes. Even cooler, is frontwoman Manda’s commanding presence, on both ax and vocals, impressing with her acidic screams and darkly melodic rhythm work. Broken Dead left me reeling with the excitement of discovery.

Not A Part of It, another Eugene local played next. They played a competent melodic punk, with boatloads of energy. Sort of Rancid-y, sort of Queers-y, but a bit harder edged with that classic 90s goofball intensity. At this point in the night, we were worried that the WOW Hall wasn’t going to fill up enough for a proper pit, because, even though we are often too old and tired to participate, a mosh pit, like a painting, is still a joy to look at. Each band brought a handful more, and slowly, the room was beginning to fill.

We were really there for Bad Cop/ Bad Cop, so we stayed close by for their set. The room filled up a bit more and to my surprise, punks were circle pitting with abandon to the Fat Wreck alums catchy anthems. There was still more than enough room to breathe, but Bad Cop/ Bad Cop sealed the gaps with their vocal and instrumental tightness, so much so, I can say with a decent amount of confidence that I’m not sure I’ve ever heard a band pull off harmonies as tight as theirs live. Besides their songwriting (and bassist Linh Le’s infectious stage moves), I was further endeared to the band by their palpable admiration for opener Broken Dead. On stage, they were incredibly complimentary, and to my delight a day later, I saw that it wasn’t just for show either. Facebook updates don’t lie, Broken Dead were added to the next two dates also. Cool stuff.

I managed to catch the last two songs of Starving Wolves’ set in Vegas, also opening for Leftover Crack. I was never really sure how to feel about them. Their recorded material is limited to a two song EP, and yet I keep seeing them on these big bills. A part of me thinks there’s some artificial push going on here, like there’s some sort of punk rock cabal that Starving Wolves is hooked up with that is trying to make them superstars or something. I don’t know. I can’t really be that negative beyond that, because they put on a raucous live show. They play a pretty melodic variety of street punk with a bunch of gang vocals. It all comes together in the live setting. Their hair is a silly exaggeration of everything punk rock, their frontman keeps making circles with his arms and reminding the crowd to circle pit; it’s goofy, but I couldn’t help but think it’s pretty earnest. Sometimes you gotta let go of your cool and just have a good time. Starving Wolves are an amazing live band, and punk cabal or not, they are worth seeing.

By the time Leftover Crack hit the stage, the WOW Hall was stuffed. Denim as far as the eye could see. This was when I started to reflect on Eugene as a whole, and decided that it was a pretty damn cool town. Not anywhere could support a scene like this. To see such an active group of participants at a punk rock show was sort of inspiring. I remember going to see shows in Spokane, a bigger PNW city, with a way lower turnout. I was in awe. And the unique feel the WOW Hall lent to it was of a real punk rock show. The people there, for better or worse, were punks, and they were there to let loose. Despite it being a pretty diverse show, there was a sense of danger too– not the sort of thing you expect to find (except from our most optimistic punks) at a major show with such household-name bands. I remember a moment in Leftover Crack’s set where a man stumbled out of the pit to the back of crowd, as soon as he cleared the mob, he collapsed with his hand in his head. Moments later, a throng of people carried him out of the building. I found myself reminded again and again, perhaps in comparison to seeing Nails the night before, that this was a punk rock show, and it was take no prisoners.

Leftover Crack’s set was a tense affair. It was where the night got weird, but no less fun. Stza was intoxicated, and super chatty, and not everyone seemed to enjoy this as much as I did. Some of the crowd got belligerent as the frontman told stories in between songs, chanting, “Shut the fuck up!” To his credit, he performed ably throughout the night, and heckled his hecklers right back, elongating his pause between songs with some mock tune-ups. The rest of the band took it all in good humour and stride. Brad Logan mused with Stza on whether or not he was “too nice,” and  bassist Alec Baillie wondered aloud if he even knew how to play any of their old songs, with some gentle ribbing from Stza. The overall impression was of a band of punk veterans who happen to be old friends.

They played a range of material, Choking Victim songs included, which were met with a frenzied pit. Despite the tension between audience and artist at points in the set, this was probably the most enthusiastic crowd I’ve seen them have. They amplified their show by destroying a Donald Trump pinata on stage and then throwing it into the crowd. Turns out the effigy was filled with condoms, which dispersed throughout the venue. Soon, people were blowing them up like balloons and bouncing them around the crowd. As the band played, fat, inflated dicks soared above our heads. I’ve never seen punk rock be as sublime as it was then.

A special shoutout deserves to go to Kate Coysh for her role in Leftover Crack’s live show. She might just have to be one of the best screamers I’ve ever heard. She has the type of voice to send chills down your spine, and whenever she was on stage, whether taking the lead or trading off lines with Stza like some sort of rap duo from hell, it was impossible not to be wowed by her talent.

The set was finished family style. Stza announced that they were not going to do an encore, that they were just going to keep playing instead of going through the pageantry. They brought on Starving Wolves for one song, and Bad Cop/ Bad Cop for another, tying together disparate threads of punk rock with a sense of community. They ended their set with perhaps their darkest banger, Fuck World Trade’s “Operation M.O.V.E.” The incredible Kate Coysh took lead vocal duties, grasping an invisible orange in the air (any metalhead’s birthright, I suppose) and finished the night off with a buzzing electricity. Of course, the same assholes who antagonized Stza earlier antagonized more, calling for an encore. To no one’s surprise, the band kept their promise– once they were off stage, they were off for good.

The crowd in the WOW Hall dispersed and soon we were back out on the street, going through the show point by point, conversation points blooming out of every detail we could remember. It was one of the better shows I’ve been to, and probably the best introduction to a new city that I could hope for.



Face To Face, The Vandals & more playing Punk Rock Bowling Denver

Punk Rock Bowling organizers have announced the annual punk festival will be returning to Denver in 2017. Bands featured in the first lineup announcement include Face To Face, The Vandals, Lawrence Arms, Street Dogs, and Teenage Bottlerocket, among others.

The 2017 edition of PRB Denver is set to take place June 2nd and 3rd at Summit Music Hall and Marquis Theater. Tickets go on sale Friday, April 14th. Head over here for more info.



Me First and the Gimme Gimmes streaming “Rake It In: The Greatestest Hits”

Everyone’s favorite punk cover band Me First And The Gimme Gimmes just released their new retrospective collection Rake It In: The Greatestest Hits, and you can give it a listen below.

The Gimmes will be touring North America and Europe very soon. Their latest studio album Are We Not Men? We Are Diva! was released in 2014.



Teenage Bottlerocket announce new covers album “Stealing the Covers”

Wyoming pop-punks Teenage Bottlerocket have announced they will be releasing a new covers album titled Stealing the Covers on July 14th through Fat Wreck Chords.

Instead of taking the typical approach to a covers record and covering classics by bands like Bad Religion, TBR decided to put their spin on tracks by lesser-known bands like The Mugwumps, The Scutches, and Varsity Weirdos.

Watch the band’s announcement below for more info.

Teenage Bottlerocket last released Tales from Wyoming in 2015 on Rise Records.



Direct Hit! debuts video for ‘Snickers or Reese’s’

Milwaukee pop punks Direct Hit! have dropped a video for their song ‘Snickers or Reese’s’. The band are doing so to celebrate the re-release of their magnificent album ‘Domesplitter’, out via Fat Wreck Chords on April 14th. You can still put your pre-order in here.

Catch the video for ‘Snickers or Reese’s’ along with some US tour dates below.



Direct Hit! cover hymn “There is a Fountain Filled With Blood”

Fat Wreck quartet Direct Hit! are streaming a cover they performed of the old hymn “There is a Fountain Filled With Blood”. Shot for The Milwaukee Record, fans can take a listen and enjoy the video over at the publication’s website.

Direct Hit’s previous latest material was their 2016 full-length, Wasted Mind.



Video: Roger Lima (Less Than Jake) joins NOFX for performances of “Murder the Government/I’m Telling Tim”, “Six Years on Dope” and “Linoleum” in Japan and California

Roger Lima, bass player for Florida based ska-punk band Less Than Jake, recently joined NOFX on stage for separate performances of old classics, “Murder the Government/I’m Telling Tim”, “Six Years on Dope”, and “Lineolum.” You can see Lima take Eric Melvin’s place at Musink (California) for “Murder the Government/I’m Telling Tim”, and “Six Years on Dope”, as well as at Punkspring 2017 (Japan) for “Linoleum.”

You can check out all of the clips, uploaded directly to Lima’s YouTube channel, below.

NOFX released their 13th full-length album First Ditch Effort in October through Fat Wreck Chords. It was their first LP in four years, following 2012’s Self Entitled. Less Than Jake’s recent EP, Sound the Alarm, was released on February 3rd through Pure Noise Records.



Album Review: The Bombpops – ‘Fear of Missing Out’

The Fear of Missing Out, or FOMO, is a pseudo-psychological phenomenon that describes the anxiety that one feels when they’re worried about not being present when something big or fun goes down. It’s likely a side effect of the rise of social media and our ability to consistently see and read about every fun thing that we weren’t there to witness. The Fear of Missing Out is also the title of The Bombpops’ newest collection of songs.

The latest band to make the jump from Red Scare to Fat, The Bombpops are armed with sunny hooks and sugary choruses, going all out on their first album for the label, which also happens to be their long-awaited debut full length album. The final result is a short and sweet, tightly crafted Orange County pop punk record.

Most of the album hits all the right notes you want to hear from Californian pop punk: catchy choruses, harmonized vocals, lyrics about enjoying the weather, it’s all here. First single, “CA. in July” epitomizes a lot of what people expect to hear from a punk band out of Southern California. That’s not to say that it’s all Green Day worship here: “Sweet for Sorrow” with its melody and vocal harmonies is reminiscent of Bad Religion, if Bad Religion played pop punk. “Jerk” takes a Weezer-ian approach; the verses have a heavy, kind of grungy sound while it’s chorus is straight up pop, and “I Can’t” is a thrashy in-your-face hardcore number that lasts all of 54 seconds. The Bombpops might not be the first pop punk band to show range and combine outside influences with their sound, but they do it in such a charming way and they easily join the ranks of the bands that did it before them.

Fear of Missing Out was released in February 2017, and astute readers may notice that this review has come a few months after then. One might even think that I, the reviewer, missed out on this record when it first came out and I’m only playing catch up now. “FOMO” might be a real thing that people feel, but fortunately when it comes to recorded music you can always go back and hit “repeat” as many times as you need. There’s no missing out here.

4 / 5

RIYL: Bad Cop/Bad Cop, Teenage Bottlerocket, Lipstick Homicide



DS Photo Gallery & Show Review: Musink Fest 2017 – Day 1 (Costa Mesa CA, 3/17)

Warren Fitzgerald of The Vandals

While Musink Fest may not be mentioned among the top tier festivals, the three day SoCal punk rock fest and tattoo convention (and car show!) which is the brainchild of Blink 182‘s Travis Barker, has been gaining in popularity lately with that band lineups getting better and better every Spring. This year, the festival celebrated it’s 10th anniversary with what was arguably the best overall lineup in it’s history. So good in fact, that we called in our best coyote to smuggle AnarchoPunk across the southern border into Orange County just to cover it. Check out his review and photo gallery of Day One acts NOFX, The Vandals, Lagwagon and A Wilhelm Scream below!



Frenzal Rhomb announce new album and Australian tour

Aussie punk-rock legends Frenzal Rhomb have announced that they will release their new album Hi-Vis High Tea on May 26th through Fat Wreck Chords. The follow-up to 2011’s Smoko at the Pet Food Factory includes 20 tracks and was recorded once again by Bill Stevenson and Jason Livermore at The Blasting Room in Fort Collins, Colorado. Pre-order it here.

Along with the dates for an upcoming Australia tour, you can find the track listing of Hi-Vis High Tea, as well as the video for a new song called “Cunt Act”, below.



Fat Wreck announces No Use For A Name demos 7″

The good people at Fat Wreck Chords have the latest installment in their Original Demos. Set to release on May 5th, the 7″ will feature previously unreleased demos of No Use For A Name‘s “Justified Black Eye” and “Sidewalk” which were found on 20-year-old reels in Fat’s tape archive.

Head over here to pre-order the 7″.

This will be No Use’s second posthumous release since frontman Tony Sly passed away in 2012. They last released a reissued version of their best-of album All the Best Songs.



DS Interview: Nick Woods (Direct Hit!) talks new Direct Hit! album, “Domesplitter” reissue, Galactic Cannibal, and more

In a wide, wide world of sick bands doing sick things, Direct Hit! is at the top of the heap, banging out killer albums like clockwork. I was lucky enough to catch up with frontman Nick Woods on all sorts of juicy subjects including plans for a new Direct Hit! album, the Domesplitter reissue, potential for a new Galactic Cannibal LP, lyrics, and our Dying Scene head honcho’s claims that he “discovered” Direct Hit!.

Read all about it and more in the interview below.

Domesplitter will hit the streets April, 14th courtesy of Fat Wreck Chords.



Album Review: Western Addiction – “Tremulous”

When Western Addiction plays, it’s like discovering punk rock for the first time. They’re hardcore. They’re SoCal. They’re loud and angry, snide and fun; they blend the spectrum of punk into a catchy, moshable behemoth. It’s been twelve years since since their last full-length though, and now we finally have our follow up. Tremulous is a testament to Western Addiction’s songwriting and musicianship as much as it is a personal album and a declarative statement of what punk rock can be.

While it serves as a suitable shorthand, calling Western Addiction a hardcore band is a bit of a misnomer. It’s not totally unfair, as they do draw the core of their sound from the genre, but there’s something more pure that Western Addiction is reaching for. They are a punk band. They’re a distillation of everything punk rock can be, with background vocals, chugging guitars, screamed dissent, and unrelenting speed. They’re real talent though is combining all of these elements and being more than just a pastiche. Through and through, Western Addiction has their own sound, their own idiosyncrasies that make their music their own. On Tremulous, they introduce more ideas to the mix, as well as maximizing the potential of others. The spaghetti-western licks have taken on a Burdette-borne neocrust tinge, the drums are as insistent as ever, and the vocals still deliver couplet after couplet of emphatic rebellion.

“Clatter and Hiss” opens the album, a classic rager, propelled by riffs and chugging chords. I don’t know how they do it, but Western Addiction imbue the age-old punk vocab with new life. When the guitars palm-mute their way through a progression, you feel like you’re on the verge of something violent, they’re a work of tension. The drums and bass are on the same page, with danceable beats filling even the quieter parts of the song with a nervous energy. Tension and release are a hallmark of their talent– they know when to hold back and they know when to explode.

Tremulous’ greatest strength is that it’s good all the way through. There’s no bad songs here, and the band understands how to write an album. Not all aggressive bands can do this. You have to have the hooks, or else chance it blurring into one angry chord progression. Songs like “Honeycreeper,” a slower, jammier track with a catchy chorus gives the album a bit of texture and keeps the album from sagging in the middle. The relative prominence of vocal melodies on Tremulous is one of the most noticeable instances of growth since Cognicide. They’re tasteful and subdued compared to other Fat Wreck acts though, and do well to add, not subtract from the band’s forward momentum.

The album ends with the most daring song Western Addiction has done to date. A slow song– sung–  all the way through. “Your Life is Precious” is a heady breather, a reminder why we’re all involved in this punk rock nonsense in the first place, anchored by a line that’ll touch most any of us: “it doesn’t sound good like music in a record store.” I think that’s where the album’s tell truly is. Music is weaponized art, punk rock is a degenerate’s paintbrush and canvas– an alphabet to spell  personal turmoil. Tremulous is a lot of things, but to me, it’s an album for and about the lovers of song; as politicized and angry as it can be; as gut-wrenchingly personal; as loud, brash, and downright fun— it’s a gift to those of us who use music as a bookmark for pages in our lives. For the weirdos and misfits who know how good music in a record store sounds.

5/5



Western Addiction streaming new album “Tremulous” in its entirety

San Francisco punks Western Addiction have made Tremulous, their first full-length album in 12 years, available to stream in its entirety. You can check it out below.

Tremulous comes out tomorrow, March 10th through Fat Wreck Chords. It was produced by Lagwagon frontman Joey Cape and serves as the follow up to 2005’s Cognicide.



The Real McKenzies release music video for “Seafarers”

Celtic punk veterans The Real McKenzies have released a music video for “Seafarers,” taken from their new album Two Devils Will Talk. Check it out below.

Two Devils Will Talk was released on March 3rd through Fat Wreck Chords. It is the band’s 11th full-length, following 2015’s Rats In The Burlap. They are currently touring Canada.