In the meantime, you can check out a track from the EP “Mile or An Inch” which they are streaming here.
The last release from these guys was 2015’s Rock & Roll in America through Panic State Records.
Thursday, July 13, 2017 at 8:27 PM (PST) by liathdavis
In the meantime, you can check out a track from the EP “Mile or An Inch” which they are streaming here.
The last release from these guys was 2015’s Rock & Roll in America through Panic State Records.
Monday, May 15, 2017 at 12:00 PM (PST) by jaystone
Sunday, April 16, 2017 at 11:00 AM (PST) by jaystone
Ah, the touring business can be such a cruel mistress at times. Boston punks Rebuilder had been slated to head across the pond next month, embarking on their first European tour, but due to a number of booking snafus, those plans have been officially scrapped.
Europe’s loss is the Northeast’s gain, however. The band announced a few shows Stateside that’ll fill in some of the gaps that were left by the EU dates falling through, and included is a spot at this year’s Pouzza Fest in Montreal. Head below for the full rundown.
Rebuilder released their debut full-length, Rock And Roll In America, back in 2015 on Panic State Records. They’ve got a new EP, Songs From The Massachusetts Turnpike, slated for release on Panic State in a couple months…stay tuned for details!
Wednesday, April 12, 2017 at 1:57 PM (PST) by NobodyLikesGreg
The Lockjaw Media hosted Alright? Okay. Fest has announced its full line-up. The festival will take place Friday April 28 and Saturday April 29 throughout three venues in Philadelphia: HH Ranch, The Pharmacy, and Cat House.
A portion of the proceeds from the festival will be donated to Punk Talks. The organization aims to provide free mental health assistance to people involved in music as well as educate and raise awareness of mental health and self-care.
Friday, March 3, 2017 at 11:00 AM (PST) by jaystone
In the handful of years since The Loved Ones went on their sort of indefinite hiatus (last year’s anniversary shows notwithstanding), Dave Hause hit the ground running as a solo artist, playing shows in the States and abroad as part of the Revival Tour or opening for acts like Alkaline Trio, Gaslight Anthem, Flogging Molly, etc. He added his younger brother, Tim, to the mix on guitar and keyboards when it came time to tour in support of his sophomore album, Devour, four years ago, and the two spent several years touring and eventually writing and recording together since.
For the release of his third album, Bury Me In Philly (February 3rd, Rise Records), Hause has assembled a full band, dubbed The Mermaid, consisting of his brother on (mostly) lead guitar, Bad Religion’s Jay Bentley’s son, Miles, on bass, fellow East-Coaster-turned-Californian Kevin Conroy on drums, and the infinitely talented Kayleigh Goldsworthy on keys and guitars and backing vocals. Prior to heading to Europe for their first official tour as a collective unit, Dave Hause and his newly formed backing band, The Mermaid, played a handful of bi-coastal US record release shows in support of his third solo album, Bury Me In Philly . The shows marked the first-ever time that Hause has performed with a full band since going it alone in the post-Loved Ones years, a very clear — yet potentially nerve-wracking — “next step” in his trajectory as a solo artist. If show #6 as a group is any sign of what’s to come, that trajectory is going to take a marked upturn in the very near future.
The quintet scorched through a sixteen-song set to a sold out crowd upstairs at the legendary Cambridge, Massachusetts, Middle East nightclub last Friday. While tracks from Bury Me In Philly took center stage in the set list, Hause’s first two solo albums were well represented in their own respective rights. It’s fair (and perhaps understated) to say that whether as a solo performer or as the leader of the family duo, the elder Hause has always taken full command of whatever stage he’s graced, engaging the crowd and performing as a full-on, band-leading frontman regardless of the setting or the size of the venue. Part of this ability stems obviously from his punk rock days, but part of it was out of necessity, as his engaging passion and honest intensity as a performer kept him from becoming a dime-a-dozen acoustic-wielding solo performer. And while Hause performing solo (or with only Tim as his accompaniment) will always be compelling, watching The Mermaid in action felt like it was meant to be.
The band gelled quickly, with no obvious signs that they’d been playing together in public for what amounts to less than a calendar week. Conroy and Bentley kept the ship steady and pushed the tempo and Goldsworthy, and accomplished musician in her own right, made her almost constantly changing duties come across almost effortless. The formation of the full band has allowed the younger Hause to take over a more prominent role, and he seems to be truly cherishing it. Tim’s immense talent and youthful energy seem not only increasingly natural on stage but inspirational to his frontman older brother, who appears to be relishing his roles as band leader and big brother in equal parts. Having a capable band at his back allows Hause to finally give older songs like “C’Mon Kid” and “Melanin” and personal favorite “Autism Vaccine Blues” the sort of the sort of full, pedal-down justice they deserve, and the five-piece genuinely seem to be having fun performing with each other in the process.
Direct support on this night (and the rest of the brief East Coast run) was provided by Vapers, a New York-based four piece (officially, though there were five on this night) outfit of semi-mysterious origin. Co-fronted by a couple of familiar faces, “Spanish Maria” Correonero and “Uncle Bernard” (the latter of whom looks eerily similar to Hause’s bud and fellow Loved One David Walsh) and backed by a couple of current and/or former members of Morning Glory, the band play a fun brand of poppy, garagey alternative punk that, at least from a sonic perspective, owes as much to the gritty, post-punk New York City (think Sonic Youth) of a decade ago as it does to the lo-fi hipster punk of present day Williamsburg. The sound is a little bit muddy and angular by design, keeping the band from sounding redundant or formulaic. Fun stuff; check them out.
Local support on this night came from the mighty Rebuilder. I’m not entirely sure what else I can tell you about Rebuilder that I haven’t told you on these pages before, but they’re obviously my favorite band to come out of this part of the States in recent memory. While no doubt capable of commanding larger stages as will someday hopefully be the case, the five-piece certainly know what they’re doing in the role of local openers. The band got down to business quickly, ripping through eight songs with little downtime, perfectly filling their half-hour slot with a set tailored to the occasion. They ran through a couple of new songs from their upcoming EP, Songs From The Massachusetts Turnpike, that may be among the strongest songs they’ve written to date. Stay tuned for more on that…
…and head below for our full photo gallery from the sold-out, sweat-soaked evening!
Thursday, February 9, 2017 at 2:02 PM (PST) by jaystone
It’s awfully tough to keep any sort of independent music scene alive in a city like Boston, Massachusetts, circa any time in the 21st century. Continually-expanding gentrification and (sometimes comically bad) law enforcement crackdowns on house shows and DIY spaces have combined to help make it difficult for a really thriving scene to truly take root. Difficult…but not impossible. Enter a space like O’Brien’s bar in the city’s bustling, not 1000% overpriced Allston neighborhood. The cash-only hundred-ish capacity spot is no frills without being truly a dive, and its poorly-lit back-corner stage has been the site of more than its fair share of local and national barn-burning acts over the last handful of years, thanks in no small part to local promoter Ryan “The Terrible” Agate.
Bands like Rebuilder and Dan Webb & The Spiders have each pounded the sweaty confines of O’Brien’s a fair amount of late, and combined to both headline and local-open (in that order) a pretty kick-ass show last weekend. It was a busy night for the local punk community; AFI were headlining a mile or so down the street from O’Brien’s, and Boston-based street punk OC45 were playing an album release show down the road in Jamaica Plain. Yet the crowd was near-capacity as Rebuilder took the stage late into the evening. The five-piece (yes, they have a keyboard player, Patrick Hanlin, and yes he was on stage this night; his lack of appearance in the photo galley below is merely a reflection of the cramped stage and the photographer’s lack of photography skills) just finished tracking a new EP (more on that later) at Jason Maas’s Getaway Recording studio in nearby Haverhill, Massachusetts, and took the occasion to rip through the half-dozen songs in their entirety. Most of the songs were largely unknown to most show-goers, but that didn’t stop the crowd from being surprisingly vocal and ambitiously rowdy.
Dan Webb & The Spiders, in this writer’s humble opinion, are one of better — and more overlooked — bands in the local scene. As I’ve told you a bunch on the pages here at Dying Scene, Webb and the boys play a tight, aggressive style of garage punk rock that is catchy and compelling from the word “go.” The Razorcake review of their recent split release with fellow Massachusetts rockers leads with a comment that “DWATS should be huge,” and yours truly couldn’t say it better himself. There set on this night was punchy and no-nonsense, stylistically different but otherwise a kindred spirit bookend to the aforementioned headliners.
New Jersey’s City Limits and Philly’s In The Pines made the trek up from points south to serve as the delicious, mid-Atlantic filling an otherwise Boston-based sandwich. In The Pines, if you’re not familiar, are a coleslaw-obsessed four-piece who’ve got a new EP, “Sides,” out tomorrow (February 10th) on Black Numbers. They’re a textbook Black Numbers band; raw, intense angular post-punk goodness. City Limits, meanwhile, are a another four-piece band who play a melodic punk style that’s been compared accurately to Off With Their Heads, Dear Landlord and, of course, The Lawrence Arms. Neither of the latter are Boston bands, obviously, but as newer bands, they both represent the sort of musical spark plug that their (and other) local scenes need to keep pushing the needle forward.
Check out our full photo gallery below!
Friday, November 25, 2016 at 12:00 PM (PST) by jaystone
It probably goes without saying that the reemergence of The Falcon over the last year from their previously indefinite period of hibernation has been one of the coolest and most welcome bright spots over the course of the miserable year that was 2016. (Wait…do falcons hibernate? They don’t, do they? Should have thought that metaphor through.) Dave Hause was added to the already heavyweight lineup of Brendan Kelly, Dan Andriano and Neil Hennessy, and together they put together what’s easily one of the year’s best and most interesting albums (Gather Up The Chaps, Red Scare Industries). they also hit the road for the first ever Falcon tours, playing somewhere in the neighborhood of four-dozen shows across the country (and one at Groezrock) since April.
The Falcon might be the musical brainchild of the delightfully twisted Kelly, and it may have started all those years ago as a fun studio side project, but in a very real sense, they have morphed into a “band” on stage in surprisingly quick fashion. Dying Scene was lucky enough to be at the first show of the Gather Up The Chaps tour in Cambridge back in April, and to have been at one of the last shows for the foreseeable future in Providence last week. In some ways, both shows served as apropos bookends to what was a fun and disturbing train wreck of a year. The Providence gig, rather perfectly, took place at Firehouse 13, a 160-year-old former working firehouse that’s been repurposed as a bar/concert venue after a lying dormant in the middle of a sketchy neighborhood for roughly a quarter of a century. It’s a gritty, no-frills kind of space that, according to the locals, also used to house a swingers club upstairs. Now, what’s great about this apparent set-up is that the holes that used to surround the firepoles are now just plexiglass skylights, meaning that if you’re upstairs, you’ve got a clear view of the concert space below and vice versa. So…do the math in your head on this one, kids. Anyway, both on paper and in practice, it seemed the ideal setting for a band like The Falcon.
Over the span of a little more than an hour, the band ripped through the bulk of The Falcon’s recorded catalog, drawing equally from Gather… and from their Hause-less 2006 debut full-length, Unicornography. It’s a bit of a strange phenomenon when a band goes on its first real tour ten years into their history of making music, creating a situation where all of the fans present are hearing the music for the first time, meaning that decade-old songs like “The La-Z-Boy 500” and “Little Triggers” and “Blackout” appear woven into a setlist alongside newer tracks like “Sergio’s Here,” “Hasslehoff Cheeseburger,” and the deceptively powerful “Black Teeth.” I’ve mentioned on these pages before that drummer Neil Hennessy is one of the more vastly underrated drummers in the scene, and I’m not entirely sure that a Falcon set would operate as seamlessly as it does without Hennessy behind the kit, particularly with music that is as purposely flawed and angular as the subject matter here. If this run is, in fact, the last run for The Falcon for the foreseeable future, both live experiences Dying Scene has covered this year have been positive, fun evenings that left showgoers privileged to know that they had just witnessed something pretty effing cool.
Stand-up comic Kyle Kinane provided direct support on this leg of The Falcon’s tour. Kinane has collaborated with fellow Illinoisian Kelly in the past, and due in part to Kelly’s belief that The Falcon’s sound is left-of-center enough to not necessarily allow for a sonic perfect fit of a touring partner, now seemed the perfect opportunity to hit the road with each other. On paper, it might sound a little strange for a bill at a punk show to feature local openers and a national touring band before a stand-up comic would have the effect of driving down the energy level of the crowd, the exact opposite intended effect of an opening act. But Kyle Kinane is different. Having been in and around the punk scene for the last few decades (Google his set at SideOneDummy Storytellers to get that rundown, or, hell, just go here), Kinane has a grasp of not only what it means to be in front of a punk rock crowd, but what it means to be in the crowd itself, perfectly cognizant of both the sense of community and the searching for relief that so many of the rest of us are. Kinane’s fifty-ish minute set contained pitch-perfect bits about getting kicked out of Canada due to a years’ old DUI arrest in the States, his love of ghost-hunter shows (in spite of their logical fallacies), and perhaps most poignantly, a great and seemingly newly written topical riff about the Ku Klux Klan.
Arms Aloft, the Wisconsin-based four-piece whose Red Scare Industries released full length What A Time To Be Barely Alive is one of the best albums of this calendar year, also serve as touring support on this run. Led by passionate frontman Seth Gile, Arms Aloft play a fierce, emboldend version of punk rock that still maintains some hooky, poppy sensibilities, with boldly left-leaning lyrics that hearken to the core of what socially-conscious protest punk is all about. Like most of us Gile and the fellas are not only pissed off but seemingly legitimately scared about the direction the country took a couple of weeks ago, and while the knee-jerk reaction for many might be to run and hide (or move to Canada), they seem emboldened to fight on, to rail against racism and sexism and hatred and intolerance (not to mention the bullshit going on in Standing Rock), and that’s a really great thing. We’re going to need a few brazen torchbearers, and that’s exactly what Arms Aloft can be.
It’s probably no secret to anybody that checks Dying Scene on the regular that Boston-based punk band Rebuilder ranks pretty high up on my list of favorites. They served as the second local opener on this night and, even correcting for my personal feelings for the quintet, they always are more than deserving of the times that they get to share the stage with much bigger acts. Rebuilder live is a lesson in controlled intensity, as none of the five have much of a penchant for leaving anything on the stage (although, on this night, bassist Daniel Carswell would, in fact, leave the stage for a little bit, searching for a replacement four-string after a technical malfunction with his own). Co-frontmen Sal Medrano and Craig Stanton have an interesting stage relationship, having played together long enough that they push and pull against each other without managing to step on each other sonically in the process.
Rhode Island’s own Jenn Lombari served as local opener, kicking the evening off not long after doors opened at Firehouse 13. Normally one-third of the awesome pop-punk band Lucky United, Lombari took to the stage on this night armed with only an acoustic guitar and her dynamic voice as she scorched through a set that included songs from her own solo catalog and from her “day job” band. Lombari is passionate, and has a lyrical wheelhouse that deals with loss and unrequited love in a way that’s inspired by the high points (yes, you know there were some) of the emo heyday, without coming across as overly saccharine or sappy.
Check out our full photo gallery below!
Thursday, November 17, 2016 at 7:03 PM (PST) by jaystone
As we told you last night, it’s not secret that there are a great number of individuals, groups, and organizations that are going to find themselves right in the literal and figurative cross-hairs of the Trump Administration over the weeks and months and years to come. It’s also not a secret that the punk scene, as usual, has been quick to act after the election, as each day brings with it news of more fundraisers aimed at helping a variety of causes stay afloat, and we’re going to let you in on as many of them as we can!
Which brings us to Rebuilder. The hard-working Boston punk band have released a two-song digital EP as a “pay-what-you-want” download, with proceeds earmarked for the benefit of MALDEF, the Mexican-American Defense & Education Fund. Here’s what the band have to say about it:
Right after we recorded “Rock & Roll In America”, we recorded these 2 tracks at Mystic Valley Recording Studios in Medford with Alex-Garcia Rivera (American Nightmare, Piebald). It’s all analog studio straight to tape. While the songs have been released on various online comps, we never made it public ourselves. “Singing For Our Future” seems more relevant then ever and we wanted to release it in order to give the proceeds to MALDEF (Mexican-American Legal Defense & Education Fund). I (Sal) am a first generation Latin-American from two immigrant parents who came to Boston, MA for education and a better way of life. The fact that an idea as simple as this could be threatened in 2016 is ridiculous. We as a band want everyone to feel welcomed and a part of a better future. MALDEF provides immigration help for those in need. Please donate what you can.
Check out the new EP, which features a cover of the Elvis Costello classic “Radio, Radio,” right here, and throw the band and MALDEF a few of your hard-earned dollars!
Friday, September 9, 2016 at 12:40 PM (PST) by jaystone
Hard-working Boston punk band Rebuilder are headed out west for their first-ever tour of the left coast. The tour kicks off October 4th in Seattle and wraps up 11 days later in Vegas (livers be damned). Along for the ride will be Seattle-based punk band Ramona. In spite of making their hometowns on opposite sides of the country, the two bands actually share a family tree branch: Rebuilder’s Sal Medrano and Ramona’s Diego Medrano are, as you might imagine, brothers.
Anyway, check out the full rundown below. No word yet on new music from Rebuilder or Ramona camps, but stay tuned. Rebuilder’s last album, “Rock and Roll in America,” was released last year on Panic State.
Monday, July 25, 2016 at 4:54 PM (PST) by Gina Skidz
If you live in the Boston area, chances are you’ve heard the saga of Mr. Spaghetti, the (fictional) dog owned by a (fictional) punk fan who loves to troll Facebook and insists that Anti-Flag is from Boston. Even if you aren’t from the area, you may have heard this story, which made national headlines when local punk and hardcore fans flooded the Boston transportation authority’s website to induce them to name their new police dog Mr. Spaghetti.
You can’t make this stuff up, but now something good is coming out of this, besides the inside joke in the punk rock community and lots of confusion from normal people. Dicky Stock, a local comedian and the creator/instigator of all of the shenanigans, decided to use the story to raise some funds for real, non-fictional animals in need. Stock released a compilation called Friends of Spaghetti Vol. 1, which you can listen to below. You can also buy it here for $6, and all proceeds will be donated to the Pembroke Animal Shelter.
Thursday, July 21, 2016 at 12:02 PM (PST) by Malamute
You can check the dates and listen to their recent releases below.
Wednesday, June 29, 2016 at 9:36 PM (PST) by jaystone
Pretty awesome new compilation is now available from the good folks (folk, really) at State Line Records. It’s called Boston’s Burning – Vol. 1, and it features a bunch of bands that call Boston’s underground scene home. Music from The Ducky Boys, Rebuilder, Trophy Lungs, The Warning Shots, Diablogato, The Old Edison, Blood Stained Brindle and a bunch more are included. And the best part? You can download it for whatever price you feel is right, though the disclaimer on the site actually encourages you to pay nothing. Who doesn’t like nothing?!?
Check out Boston’s Burning – Vol. 1 below!
Monday, May 16, 2016 at 8:39 PM (PST) by Supermartinguy
Boston punk act Rebuilder have released the music video for their song “La Grand Frommage.” The video depicts the band being subjected to seemingly every hardship that an up-and-comming act could face. According to vocalist Sal Mardelo, this bitter tone was intentional. Mardelo explained;
“On one of our first tours as a band, we played Atlantic City, New Jersey at a venue called Le Grand Fromage. It was a pretty awful show for a number of reasons. The promoter went to another show in town rather than this one; they tried polling the door, and the local opener was a jam funk band from Virginia that left right after they played. No one was there to even witness it other than The Record Collection who was on tour with us. Our set was also a disaster and Daniel almost quit the band. He wrote this song because at that moment he wanted to be anywhere but New Jersey.
In actuality, all of our Jersey shows after that have been great and we signed to Panic State Records based out of Jersey.
We went back to Jersey to shoot this video and try to recapture how much it sucked, but you definitely had to be there to really know.”
Check it out below.
“La Grand Frommage” comes from the groups upcomming album “Rock & Roll America” which is set for a release through Panic State Records.
Wednesday, May 11, 2016 at 8:52 PM (PST) by jaystone
Burlington, Ontario’s The Penske File are teaming up with Boston’s Rebuilder for an early June run through the Eastern United States. You can check out the full rundown up above (obviously), or check below for Rebuilder’s full upcoming tour schedule (which includes two shows in two countries on the same day in a couple weeks).
The Penske File are touring in support of their June 2015 release, “Burn Into The Earth,” which was released on Stomp Records. Rebuilder, meanwhile, are touring in support of last year’s “Rock And Roll In America,” which was released via Panic State.
Thursday, December 24, 2015 at 2:56 PM (PST) by jaystone
All of a sudden, it’s Top 10 List time again, which means my fifth year as a staffer here at Dying Scene is coming to a close. In some ways, I love doing these lists, since they allow me to highlight some of the music I dig and perhaps to shine a little bit of light on a some bands that might get otherwise overlooked. But in more ways than one, I loathe this process, as I frequently find it nearly impossible to trim the list to ten (as is evidenced by my less than precise history of compiling these lists). I sometimes feel like we should do these lists twelve months after the close of the year, as that would allow for some albums to sink in moreso than cramming over the last two weeks of December does.
But I digress…
Some years (like last 2014 and 2012, in my opinion) are top heavy, with a small number of clear-cut favorites that find their way to the top of the pile, separated from the field by a fairly sizable gap. Some years, however, have no real front runners, but have an overwhelming number of almost interchangeably solid releases. While the book isn’t quite closed on 2015 yet, I think when all is said and done, we’re dealing with more of the latter than the former.
Painful though it was, I did successfully trim my list to 10 this year, though not without a few noteworthy honorable mentions. In fairness, if I were to do this list again in two weeks, it would include all of the same albums but perhaps in vastly different order. First and foremost, I think there are some non-Dying Scene-related albums worthy of mention on any “Best of 2015” list. For what it’s worth, I enjoyed the hell out of The White Buffalo’s Love + The Death of Damnation, Wilco’s Star Wars, Ryan Adams’ 1989, Jason Isbell’s Something More Than Free, Craig Finn’s Faith In The Future, and Michael Christmas’ What A Weird Day.
Okay, enough with the long-winded intro. Here’s what you all came for. As always, no EPs (though check out the All Brights) and no live albums (though Against Me!’s is on the short-list of best ones I’ve ever heard). First, the “Honorable Mentions.”
#11 (Tie) – Lucero – All A Man Can Do, Beach Slang – The Things We Do To Find People Like Us, Titus Andronicus – The Most Lamentable Tragedy, toyGuitar – In This Mess, Joey Cape – Stitch Puppy, Rocky Votolato – Hospital Handshakes, Darkbuster – No Revolution, H2O – Use Your Voice
10. Pentimento – I, No Longer (Bad Timing Records)
I will admit to knowing nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing, about label politics (aside from that we’re all supposed to hate Victory, I guess). As such, I can’t pretend to understand what happened between Buffalo’s Pentimento and their former label home of Panic Records. It sure seems to me that Panic dropped the ball in rather epic fashion, as Pentimento has churned out yet another dynamite full length.
Listen to: “My Solution is In The Lake” or “Sink Or Swim.”
9. Antarctigo Vespucci – Leavin’ La Vida Loca (Really Records)
There are corners of this community of ours that seem to think that world-renowned punk celebrity and dominator of all things Instagram Chris Farren can do know wrong. There are corners of this community that happen to think that, aside from blowing up Bomb The Music Industry, Jeff Rosenstock can also do no musical wrong. If we were to make a Venn diagram of those two camps, we’d essentially be left with a perfect circle. Makes sense, then, that Leavin’ La Vida Loca should rank as probably the most fun album of the summer gone by.
Listen to: “2 Days,” “Save Me From Myself”
8. Desaparecidos – Payola (Epitaph Records)
Look, I’m not going to pretend I was familiar with Desaparecidos the first time around, or that I was waiting with baited breath for this album for the better part of a decade; neither one of those things would be true. I knew/know of Conor Oberst from, like, twelve of his other projects, but I guess I had missed Desaparacidos. It’s not my fault; I lived in a cave for a while there. Anyway, this album is great; highly-charged, fast-paced, layered intensity, really from start to finish.
Listen to: “The Left Is Right,” “MariKKKopa”
7. Frank Turner – Positive Songs For Negative People (XtraMile Recordings)
There are a handful of artists from my quarter-century that I’ve actively been listening to my own music (editor’s note: fuuuuuck that sounds depressing in black and white) whom I am pretty much on board with lock, stock and barrel. Frank Turner has solidified himself as one of those artists, where you just know that even an average album is going to connect with you on a level that a lot of other albums either won’t, or won’t be given the change, to connect on. On my very first listen, I thought PS/NP was going to be that type of average album. Good, but not great; more solid than Tape Deck Heart, but with higher lows and lower highs. But then came the album-closing stomach punch of “Silent Key” and “Song For Josh,” two very different, very personal tracks that struck a real chord.
Listen to: the aforementioned “Silent Key” and “Song For Josh,” though “Get Better” and “Josephine” are textbook Turner at his prototypical best.
6. Bad Cop, Bad Cop – Not Sorry (Fat Wreck Chords)
There are myriad reasons that I fell in love with this album. A lot of them are nostalgia related, I think. Pop punk was my bread-and-butter in the early 1990s, well before it got weird and fake and autotuned and plastic. Not Sorry brought me right back to those no pretense days. There’s the added bonus that the four
Ninja Turtles Bad Cops seem destined to take the punk world by storm and beat it into submission. For that reason, the anthemic “Like, Seriously” should have been the album’s first track, but I digress. Either way, we need more bands like Bad Cop, Bad Cop.
Listen to: “Like, Seriously,” “Nightmare”
5. City and Colour – If I Should Go Before You (Dine Alone Records)
I’m not going to lie, this album took me by surprise. I liked the first couple City and Colour albums okay enough. I though Little Hell was really good, though it didn’t really have staying power necessarily. I think I listened to The Hurry And The Harm maybe once all the way through and didn’t find it compelling. So I had kinda lost track of ol’ Dallas Green, until one day my daughter and I were walking through a local Barnes & Noble and they were playing If I Should Go Before You over the loudspeaker on a loop. I was hooked right away. The album is atmospheric, sexy, dirty, raw, poignant, and all of the things I wasn’t quite sure Dallas still had in the tank. Album opener “Woman” is far and away my favorite track of the year by anybody.
Listen to: the opening trio of “Woman,” “Northern Blues” and “Mizzy C” is about as solid as it gets this year.
4. Jared Hart – Past Lives & Pass Lines (Say-10 Records)
New Jersey’s The Scandals have long been one of those bands that have been both critical darlings and have amassed a small legion of vocal, loyal fans. And yet, for whatever reason, they haven’t put out enough music regularly in order to truly break through to the next level or two that they’re capable of. And so, it was with great anticipation (at least to me) that the band’s founding frontman, Jared Hart, put out his first solo full-length this year. While all of the songs are centered on the acoustic, there’s enough layered vocals and varied instrumentation to keep the album from ever feeling formulaic or all-too familiar. Hopefully this kept the creative juices flowing enough so new Scandals and solo material will become a regular thing!
Listen to: “The Guillotine,” “Totem,” “The Runaround”
3. Strung Out – Transmission.Alpha.Delta (Fat Wreck Chords)
Like most of you, I’m a veteran of a great many live shows over the last couple decades. Live music remains the venue for most bands to really make a name for themselves. For my money, there is not a single tighter live band on the planet (at least in this scene) than Strung Out. I’ve seen the band a handful of times at venues large and small, and they have absolutely destroyed each and every time. So much so that there’s almost no comparison. A Strung Out show is so intense that it’ll almost leave you empty. I think that more than any album in their catalog, Transmission.Alpha.Delta captures that ferocity in perfect fashion. You can tell that Jason Cruz and the fellas poured literally everything they had into this album, and it paid off in spades.
Listen to: “The Animal In The Machine,” “Tesla,” “Rebellion of the Snakes.”
2. Bryan McPherson – Wedgewood (O.F.D. Records)
It genuinely pains me that Bryan McPherson is not more of a household name. I strongly believe that he was born in the wrong time; that if he were writing and performing his particular band of protest punk inspired folk music forty years ago, we’d be teaching his music to school children (okay, in some of the more progressive parts of the country, anyway). McPherson’s lyrics a razors, cutting quickly, beautifully, honestly and directly to the core of deep rooted societal issues that are uniquely American. If you’re in to the recent trend toward acoustic punk, Wedgewood is the prototype.
Listen to: the whole damn thing for god’s sake…it’s 49 minutes long, you’ve got time.
1. Rebuilder – Rock And Roll In America (Panic State Records)
If you’re a frequent Dying Scene reader, you may well be aware that I’ve got a special connection to this album. I was lucky enough to spend some time with Rebuilder co-frontmen Sal Medrano and Craig Stanton as they tracked guitars for this album in the studio. I later interviewed Medrano around the album’s release, and about the Boston scene in general. I shot their album release party at a sold-out bar in Boston. That being said, I think I’m enough of a professional (ha!) to be able to differentiate between personal attachment and a genuinely great album. Rock And Roll In America is a genuinely great album from start to finish. It’s smart, it’s fun, it’s just heavy enough to catch you in the feels but hopeful enough to help keep you pointed in the right direction. I can’t say enough good things about it.
Listen to: again, listen to the whole thing. But if you’ve gotta choose, start with “The Natural Bohemian” and “Le Grande Fromage.”
As a bonus, here’s a bunch of the tracks I mentioned above, plus a few random goodies!
If you've never heard of Debt Neglector, now's the time to check them out. They're a relatively new punk band hailing from my home state, sunny Florida. Most notably, their lineup features former New Mexican Disaster Squad bassist Alex Goldfarb. The band's debut album Atomicland releases August 18th through Smartpunk Records. I highly recommend giving the title track a listen here.