Search Results for "Darius Koski"

DS Photo Galley: Swingin’ Utters with Western Settings, Darius Koski and Duck & Cover (Boston, MA)

For the first time in what I think was about five years, Swingin’ Utters played a headline show in Boston this past Sunday evening (their last two trips through this area were on a tour with Lagwagon three years ago and as part of the massive Fat Wreck 25th Anniversary tour the following summer). Though the lineup has changed AND it was an unseasonably cold mid-November night AND the Patriots were throttling the Denver Broncos on Sunday Night Football at the time, the old school punks came out in droves for the occasion and met the band with what seemed like a throwback vibe.

It was announced just prior to this tour that the Utters are putting out a sort of double-album greatest hits compilation, Drowning In The Sea, Rising With The Sun, on December 8th through Fat Wreck Chords, and the setlist on this particular night seemed to be culled from some of the earlier half of the band’s career. Sure “The Librarians Are Hiding Something” and “Alice” from their most recent couple of post-hiatus albums made welcome appearances, but this seemed like a night for the old guard. Luke Ray has served as a steady breath of fresh air behind the drum kit for the last couple years, and he’s now got his Sciatic Nerve bandmate Tony Teixeira (Nothington/Western Addiction/Cobra Skulls) as his rhythm section counterpart, having taken over for Miles Peck earlier this year. Jack Dalrymple also sat this particular run out, meaning longtime Utters partners Johnny Bonnel and Darius Koski and the new recruits are playing aggressive and lean as a four-piece. In spite of the moving parts throughout the years, the Bonnel and Koski and company remain one of the most esteemed bands in the scene and, truthfully, songs like “No Eager Men” and “Five Lessons Learned” and “Pills And Smoke” and, of course, “”Windspitting Punk” sound just as earnest as ever.

Western Settings are providing direct support on this run. The band have been on a steady climb over the last few years, and with good reason. Their 2015 album, Yes It Is, released digitally here at Dying Scene, remains high on my personal favorites list, and the band has only gotten better in the two years since. Boston can be a bit of a finicky place for out-of-town bands to play, but the four-piece San Diego-based Jawbreaker-meets-Replacements outfit did an admirable job on their first trip through the Bay State. If a band can obviously play with passion and intensity and works up a sweat on their own, dimes to dollars says they’ll win over a crowd that is obviously interested in the headliners, and that seemed the case on this night, as they were increasingly well-received as their 45-minute set moved forward.

Doing double duty on this tour, Swingin’ Utters guitarist and principal songwriter Darius Koski is also serving as support. It’s the first time he’s really hit the road as a solo artist, especially outside California, and he enlisted the help of fellow Utters Luke Ray on drums and Tony Teixeira on bass to fill out some of the instrumentation that appears on his two solo albums, 2015’s Sisu and this month’s stellar What Was Once Is By And Gone (both released on Fat Wreck) and that would have been missed were he playing strictly solo and acoustic. A personal highlight was the short set’s closer, “Another Man,” which appears as the last song on the newest album in stripped down acoustic format, but was given a revved up, electric reworking for this tour.

Boston’s own Duck & Cover were well-deserved local openers for this particular show. There’s been a bit of a garage rock undercurrent in the local scene for the last handful of years that bands like Duck & Cover and The Warning Shots and Michael Kane and the Morning Afters and even Continental and others have been a part of, and that’s been a welcome addition to a seen that has obviously had its fair share of ska-punk and “working class” Celtic punk bands over the last two decades. Made up of members that might look familiar from bands like The Black Cheers and the Acrobrats and Bang Camaro, bands like D&C show that mixing a little Guns & Roses with your Clash and Ramones records is not bad thing.

Head below for our full photo gallery from the evening!



Darius Koski releases video for “Another Man”

Swingin’ Utters guitarist and songwriter Darius Koski most recently released his folk solo album What Was Once Is By And Gone on November 3 via Fat Wreck Chords.

The black and white video for “Another Man” features Koski on the acoustic guitar in the outdoors, directed by Josh Robertson. Check it out below.

You can catch Koski doing double duty on tour, playing as both a member of Swingin’ Utters and opening the shows with his solo project.

 



Album Review: Darius Koski – “What Was Once Is By And Gone”

When Darius Koski released his debut solo album, Sisu, on Fat Wreck Chords a couple of years ago, I remember thinking that even though it was the longtime Swingin’ Utters and Filthy Thieving Bastards guitarist and principle songwriter’s first album under his own name, it nevertheless seemed like it was a quintessentially “Darius Koski” album, full of the sort of neo-folk/Americana rooted non-traditional punk rock left turns that made the Utters and the Bastards unique in their own regards. It was solid, and different from the Utters for sure, but not THAT different to leave people confused.

What Was Once Is By And Gone, released last Friday (November 3rd, also on Fat), pushes the genre-bending theme to newer and bolder and more diverse levels. Sure there are still some Americana-based elements that would have fit nicely on Sisu; album-opener “Black Sheep” and the slow burning “Old Bones,” for example. That fact that stands to reason given that like on his debut album, the bulk of What Was Once Is By And Gone was culled from two decades of songs and song ideas Koski had in the bankThere are a handful of tracks like “Yes I Believe” and “The Observer” that seem to pay direct homage to the uptempo chugging, reverb-heavy rockabilly freight train that Johnny Cash perfected a half-century ago.

But then, of course, there are the more conceptual pieces that make What Was Once Is By And Gone not only stand apart from Sisu, but truly shine in its own right. “Imitation Tala” has has an acoustic backbone that, combined with Koski’s subdued drone, give the track a “world music” feel that reminds me of the band Three Fish, itself a side project for Pearl Jam’s Jeff Ament a couple decades ago. “Stay With Me” and it’s whistle-driven melody evokes a sort of melodramatic cowboy waltz. “Another Man” might be the most straight-forward, Tim Barry-esque acoustic songwriter track that cuts deeply in its emotionally honest tale of introspection and self-doubt.

What Was Once Is by And Gone also contains a few instrumental tracks, though to they are really more vignettes than truly songs. “Tangled Chords” is a brief  hodgepodge of reverb guitar,, spoken word voice-over, and what appears to be the sound of somebody hammering a nail. “A Little Buzz” is bright and hopeful. “A Version” sounds a bit like a sad, blue carnival with it’s weaving trumpet and synthesizer melodies. The repetitive, staccato piano undertones of “Soap Opera” give the track a haunting quality that evokes feelings of a movie score. In fact, all four of the vignettes do a good job of evoking different, movie score style feelings, and that’s not an accident, as Koski has expressed an interest in dipping his toes in that water in the future.

After a relatively busy post-comeback period a few years ago (three albums in four years), things have been quiet on the new music front from the Swingin’ Utters for a little while now. And while there aren’t traditional punk tunes present on What Was Once Is By And Gone, it serves as a welcome addition to the Koski catalog and hopefully offers him enough of a repertoire to make a go at the solo artist route alongside his normal Utters duties.

4/5 Stars

 

 

 



DS Interview: Darius Koski (Swingin Utters) on his new solo album, “What Was Once Is By And Gone,” and hitting the road with a new Utters linuep

If you rewind the punk rock history tape back a couple of years, you’ll come across the release of Sisu, the debut solo release from Darius Koski. The album was very much rooted in Americana and marked a bit of a sonic departure for the longtime Swingin’ Utters and Filthy Thieving Bastards guitarist and principle songwriter, though it still fit within the more diverse end of the Utters spectrum at the very least. Next Friday, Koski will release his sophomore solo album, What Was Once Is By And Gone, again via his lifelong label home, Fat Wreck Chords. This time out, Koski pushes the genre-bending element to new heights; while there is still a thread of Americana that pops up, also present are very heavy rockabilly and Johnny Cash and Nick Cave and Tom Waits-inspired sounds that each create a very different, very real mood. And that’s all by design.

I don’t want to play one style of music; I like too many things,” says Koski, who spent a dozen of his most formative years playing solely violin before eventually moving on to guitar and finding punk rock. “I just wanted to write songs, that’s basically what it came down to. I wasn’t really interested in being a virtuoso, which is all that’s about. And that’s great, but I would rather write songs than be a ripping violin player.” Still, that early experience with incredibly broad musical horizons created an early, lasting influence. “Too many things influence me and I’m interested in too many things to be a one note kind of dude, you know? So yeah, I think this one is even more all-over-the-place than the last one, for sure.”

Many of the tracks on Sisu were culled from years and years of songs that Koski has stored up, forming a catalog consisting of many dozens of tracks that date back close to three decades. It should go without saying that technological advances in the audio recording world have advanced many times over in the years since Koski began writing and recording, creating an interesting set of challenges when it comes time to revisit old tracks. “For a while, I was recording on – I don’t know if you remember, but those little cassette tapes? What do you do with those?” he asks, half-jokingly. As it turns out, what you do is press play on a microcassette player and record on a regular cassette tape, creating a lo-fidelity, hiss-heavy mix to try to decipher. “For the most part, I’m pretty anal about cataloging stuff because I’m just afraid of losing things. I’m totally that guy that spends a month being a month being obsessed with transferring his vinyl!”

The process was much the same on What Was Once Is By And Gone. Some of the tracks began simply as hummed notes into his iPhone, while some date as far back as the mid-1990s. Of particular note is the track “Fresh Glass of Nothing,” a song that was coincidentally written by his wife, herself an avid poet with whom he’s actually collaborated many times through out his songwriting career; the bulk of the Utters’ classic album Five Lessons Learned, for example, was culled primarily from her old poetry books. “Fresh Glass of Nothing” went a little differently, however. Back in the mid-90s, Koski had been in the market for a 4-track cassette recorder, and his wife purchased one while he was away on tour. “She was messing around with it at home to figure out how it worked,” he explains. One thing lead to another, and by the time Koski had returned from tour, his wife “had recorded two songs! Like, fully done songs, with her playing guitar, her lyrics, and her singing the melody! She’s not  a songwriter, but she had these two songs, and the other one is great too, but (“Fresh Glass of Nothing”) was, like, phenomenal!” Koski added the solo that appears on the song, but the rest of what you hear on the album is completely his wife’s brainchild.

Speaking of touring; Koski is putting down the day job plumber’s wrenches and gearing up to head out on the road as a solo artist for the first real time, as he’ll be doing double duty by opening up the Swingin’ Utters upcoming November dates. While he’s played a handful of dates acoustic and by himself, this time out he’ll have a small band backing him up, helping to fill out the added instrumentation that is so important to the sound on What Was Once Is By And Gone. While it can be hard to afford a full band to go on the road with, it is ultimately a goal of Koski’s to make touring with a backing band more of a part of his regular routine. I really, really want to try to make that happen,” he explains, “because the majority of the stuff on both of these records really has a lot of instrumentation and drums.” On the upcoming run, Koski has enlisted the help of some of his Utters brethren: “for this tour, Luke (Ray) is going to play drums and Tony who’s playing bass for the Utters is going to play bass, so we’ll be a three-piece.” The Tony in question is none other than Tony Teixiera, whom you probably know from his time in Cobra Skulls, Western Addiction, and most recently with alongside Luke Ray in Sciatic Nerve. Teixiera filled in for Utters bassist Miles Peck on their most recent tour and will be doing so again from here on out. “He’s pretty much our bass player now,” adding that Peck “just didn’t want to fucking tour any more. It’s not in him. It’s hard, man. It’s not for everybody.

Head here to see where you can catch Koski and the newly-retooled Swingin’ Utters lineup on the road, beginning next week in Arizona. Pre-orders for What Was Once Is By And Gone, which is due out November 3rd on Fat Wreck, are available at the same link. Meanwhile, you can head below to check out our full Q&A with Koski!



Darius Koski (Swingin’ Utters) streams new song “Black Sheep”

Swingin’ Utters guitarist Darius Koski has premiered another song off his upcoming solo album What Was Once Is By And Gone. Give “Black Sheep” a listen below.

What Was Once Is By And Gone is set to release on November 3rd through Fat Wreck Chords. Koski will also be the opening act on the Utters’ upcoming US tour (dates below).



Darius Koski (folk, CA) announces full length “What Was Once Is By And Gone” and stream teaser track from it

Fat Wreck folk punk artist Darius Koski has announced that their latest full-length record will be released on November, 3, 2017. Entitled What Was Once Is By And Gone, the album will feature sixteen tracks of country music-style folk punk delivered by the Swingin’ Utters axe-man. To get fans excited for the release, Koski has posted a teaser track called “Because He’s Beautiful” that will make the final cut of the record.

You can check it out below.



Album Review: Darius Koski – “Sisu”

Darius Koski (of Swingin Utters and Filthy Thieving Bastards) follows in a long line of punk rockers turned singer-songwriters.  But where a lot of his contemporaries come out sounding like a punk playing folk songs, Darius fully embraces his folk and country influences.  The end result, Koski’s debut solo effort Sisu, feels like a fully realized folk album with a punk rock edge.

The first song “Fond Of, Lost To,” is a perfect introduction to the album, and to the style of Darius’ solo material.  Acoustic guitar chords truck along with brushed drum beats and standup bass, all behind another guitar playing a riff that you will likely be humming all day.  The vocal style is soft and earnest, with just a hint of grit, and the end result is as catchy as any Swingin Utters song.  This track also introduces a more country tinged sound than what you’ll find on a Filthy Thieving Bastards record, something that is found throughout the whole album.

Koski explores many ideas and experiments with many different sounds throughout the album.  “Listen!” uses slide guitar and harmonic backing vocals to give it a traditional country sound.  “The Sound of Waves” leaves the listener feeling like a trip to the beach is needed, while “Paper Tigers, Plastic Lions” will make you want to find a haunted carnival.  And while every song sounds different, the whole album still flows together.

Sisu has a lot of high points, but not every song really grabs my attention.  Songs like “Empty Thing” and “Contacts and Contracts” seem like filler and I feel like the album would still have been great, maybe even better, if a few songs were cut from the list.  They’re not bad songs, they just don’t seem to really add anything to what is laid out by stronger tracks like the ones mentioned above and “So Help Me.”

Overall, Sisu, is a strong debut album for Darius Koski as a solo act.  It showcases a lot of different styles and influences in the 15 tracks he has put together over the last decade. Fans of the Filthy Thieving Bastards will surely find something to love here, but any fan of country tinged folk punk would likely also enjoy this one.

4/5 Stars



DS Photo Gallery: Darius Koski record release show w/Ryan Davidson, Kemo Sabe, and Keyan Keihani Thee Parkside SF

I started my weekend off early last Thursday with the record release show for Darius Koski‘s brand new, debut solo full-length album entitled “Sisu”. Many may be familiar with Koski as longtime guitarist for famed punk band Swingin’ Utters, but what many may not know is that Koski’s musical influences are vast, and that some of the tracks from “Sisu” come from over a decade of songwriting.

Keyan Keihani was first to the stage, and gently prepared the crowd for a night of acoustic and folk. Keihani plays a soft, heartfelt mix of country, folk, and rock and it was a fitting opening act. His 2013 debut release “Eastbound” can be streamed here.

Kemo Sabe was next to warm the crowd – of which they made a quick affair. Stand up bass and ripping strings are the name of the game for this whiskey-filled trio. Fast folk-punk mixed with an energetic performance made for a stark contrast to the opener, and a bit unexpected…in a good way. There’s not much info out there on the band, but believe me I am hard at work scraping the bowels of the internet to get some more details.

I had never heard of Ryan Davidson before, but he’s friends with my friend Eric (of Camputee Press), so he was good in my book. While born and raised in Northern California, his songs definitely have a pronounced Irish/working class feel to them. I truly love the power that one voice and one acoustic guitar can have. Davidson’s emotions ooze out through his chords and his heart can be seen in his bellowing vocals. But it’s not all slow and reflective…just like classic pub-rock, there’s great hooks and tempo changes that propel you off your barstool. You can have a listen to some of Davidson’s tracks here.

The man of the hour, Darius Koski, was in rare form Thursday night. It was true delight to see Koski take the spotlight and shine. This is clearly not ‘punk’, and I’m not sure you can pin just one genre on “Sisu”. While many punk-turned-acoustic musicians may sometimes tend to get locked into the same style, Koski touches on Americana, roots, folk, country, rock, a touch of bluegrass, and more. His performance on Thursday was one man/one guitar, so many of the songs were a little more stripped-down, which was nice to see. “The Sound of Waves” was incredible to see live, to look at the passion in Koski’s eyes, and the awe of fans. But it was not all slow; “Howls from the Gale” and “Show Me The Way” kept the energy level up right til the end.

We are still streaming “Sisu” in its entirety, which you can listen to here.

Have a look at the complete photo gallery of the night’s performances below.



Darius Koski (Swingin’ Utters) announces debut solo album “Sisu,” streams new song “Listen!”

Swingin’ Utters guitarist Darius Koski has announced he will release his debut solo album Sisu on April 7th through Fat Wreck Chords. Here’s what he had to say about the record:

“The release of this record has got to be one of the highlights of my life so far. I’ve always written songs like this (in a genre other than punk rock), but the only outlet I’ve had for them has always been maybe a song or two on Utters, or Filthy Thieving Bastards records. I have a lot of material that’s just been sitting around for 25 years, with no outlet, and it’s been frustrating. None of the songs on “Sisu” are quite that old, but there are a few that I know I wrote around ’99. I’ve wanted to do this my whole life—I’ve always wanted to be a solo artist, so this really is a lifelong dream of mine. There are so many good vibes and strange positive energy in the last few sentences that now I think I’ve given myself a headache and need to drink some beers, to get back in my own head…”

Fat Wreck has already made a song from the album available for streaming. It’s titled “Listen!” and you can check it out below, alongside the tracklist for Sisu, and info on the solo tour Koski will be playing this April.