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New Music: Bryan McPherson debuts “Burn It Down” from upcoming album “Wedgewood”

Sorta slept on this one at the end of last week, but there’s no time like the present, right?

Boston-turned-California folk troubadour Bryan McPherson has debuted a brand new song called “Burn It Down.” It appears on his forthcoming album, “Wedgewood,” and you can check it out here. As you may recall, McPherson talked at length about some of the album’s recurring themes (namely smoke and fire and burning) in our recent interview.

“Wedgewood” is due out June 10th via McPherson’s own OFD Records. Pre-orders are still available here. His last album, 2012′s “American Boy / American Girl,” was released by State Line Records.



DS Interview: Bryan McPherson on new album “Wedgewood,” being banned by Disney, and the toils of being an activist folk punk

Photo credit: EA Zimmerman

It would be easy to start a story about Bryan McPherson by understating the fact that he’s had an interesting last couple of years. In three years since the Boston-turned-California folk-punk songwriter released his sophomore album, American Boy / American Girl (State Line Records), McPherson has toured the US with fellow solo acts like Tim Barry and Cory Branan, toured Canada with the duo Winnie Brave, opened for Dropkick Murphys in something like ten different countries, spent some time living in a hut in an activist camp in northern California, gotten a fair amount of traction for writing a song about Kelly Thomas (a mentally ill man killed by police in Fullerton, California) and has been rather infamously been banned from playing at venues affiliated with the omnipresent Walt Disney Company.

And yet, stating that McPherson’s had an interesting couple of years says less about what he’s been up to recently and more about the fact that just maybe, you haven’t been paying attention until recently. McPherson cut his teeth in the subways and small clubs in Boston. Though he’s equal parts punk and folk, and though that crossover scene has unquestionably exploded over the last handful of years, McPherson plugged away for years before ever catching serious traction in either genre. “In the punk scene, (this sort of thing) was nonexistent,” McPherson tells me as we meet up at a coffee shop in Dorchester, the notoriously gritty, blue collar neighborhood located south of the financial hub that is the center of downtown Boston. “I got involved on the folk side of things at Club Passim (in nearby Cambridge)…but I was a little too punk for that crowd, so I never really fit in anywhere.” While he was too punk for the folk crowd, McPherson’s acoustic firebrand tendencies fell on deaf ears in the punk world in the early goings. “It’s ironic,” says McPherson, “because punk, where it’s supposed to be this rebellious, free-thinking thing ends up getting rigid. (This is) supposed to be this ting that breaks through lines!

For myriad reasons that are perhaps best left to discuss in other areas, Boston can be a bit of a fickle place to come up as an artist. A handful of years ago, McPherson headed west. He wrote American Boy / American Girl half in Boston, half in his new home state of California. The Golden State has a way of calming people, of ‘chilling out’ those whose East Coast tendencies have them wound perhaps a hair or ten too tight. Yet when it came time to write the follow-up to American Boy / American Girl, McPherson found more than enough material to stoke his fires, literally and figuratively. “I was sleeping in this hut in Northern California on an activist center/ranch in the mountains…where I did the ‘pre-production’ for the album,” says McPherson. “There was a big wood stove in the hut that I was in that was called a Wedgewood, so that’s where I got the title from.”

Not exactly a protest album in the stereotypical sense, Wedgewood, due out June 10th on McPherson’s own OFD Records, is full of sometimes violent imagery of “wood, friction, burning, fire, smoke.” McPherson has spent more than a decade telling the plight of the working man, railing on injustice and intolerance and the power structure. While those themes are still front and center on Wedgewood, McPherson indicates that the times, they are a-changin’. “This record is kind of putting to rest my anger in a lot of ways,” he notes in a tone that is both cautious and insightful. “At some point, (anger is) just fucking useless. It burns you up. You can use the fire, but you’ve got to be careful because it can fucking use you too.”

McPherson initially shopped Wedgewood through traditional label routes, but found the process becoming increasingly unnecessary. As a result, he went the Kickstarter route, turning to crowd-funding to get the album produced. He set a bit of an ambitious goal, and had to wait nervously by to see how realistic that goal was. The result? “We hit the goal in five days,” says McPherson, “twenty-five days ahead of schedule.” While initially met with some trepidation about the Herculean effort involved with self-releasing an album in digital, CD and vinyl formats, McPherson seems relieved at how well the process has gone. “No one is going to work as hard as you are at this level. I don’t want to half-ass it, and I don’t want to hand it off to someone who’s going to half-ass it.”

McPherson is presently in the midst of a tour of the UK and mainland Europe with fellow anarcho-folk-punker Louise Distras. When the month-long run ends, the duo will flip-flop support and headlining roles and come to the US for a month’s worth of dates in support of both of their new albums (Distras’ Dreams From The Factory Floor was released in the US on 5/5/15 on Pirates Press Records). The razor-sharp acid tongue that has been McPherson’s trademark is still very much present on Wedgewood, and should continue to make for raucous, albeit at times confrontational, crowds wherever he plays. A song like “Kelly Thomas,” for example, which tells the entirely true tale of an unarmed homeless, schizophrenic man beaten to death by police officers in Fullerton, California, several years ago. The police officers were subsequently acquitted of any wrongdoing. Sound all-too familiar? The subject matter struck a nerve in front of a Long Island crowd on one of McPherson’s recent shows opening for his hometown buds in the Dropkick Murphys. “I look around and half the crowd is police officers or in the military,” recounts McPherson. “I know it’s going to be rough, but I just said ‘fuck it’ and played it anyway.” The result? “They fucking booed me. And they were just shitty. But it ended up being a really good performance…I didn’t take it laying down!” You see, the song is not anti-police; it’s anti-brutality, and pro-change. There’s a big difference.

If you’re going to try to make an omelet, you’re undoubtedly going to crack more than your fair share of eggs. “You can’t do this and say the kinds of things that end up in the songs I write without having to expect a backlash,” says McPherson. Perhaps the biggest backlash came recently, when McPherson was banned from opening for the Dropkicks during a recent show at the House of Blues in Disney-owned Anaheim, due to material that was considered anti-police and overly political (editor’s note: repeated inquiries to the Disney people resulted in a giant wild goose chase that ultimately proved fruitless). Did some of us overblow that whole thing? “At first I was like appalled, but then I thought, this is a cool thing!” says McPherson, rather triumphantly. “I’m glad to be banned by Disney! I don’t like Disney. I don’t like Disney movies. I’ve never liked Disney since I was a fucking child. I’ve always thought it was cheesy, fake bullshit, so to be banned by them, that must be good!”

Read our whole Q&A with McPherson below. We cover an awful lot of ground, as a couple of former Dorchester residents are wont to do over coffee (or tea, in this case). Wedgewood is due out on June 10th via McPherson’s OFD Records. Pre-orders are available here.



Bryan McPherson announces more European tourdates with Brit songstress Louise Distras

Bryan McPherson will be bringing his politically-charged, vocally powerful acoustic/punk act to venues across Europe, and you can find all of the tour dates below.  McPherson’s new full-length release, Wedgewood, will drop shortly after his return stateside, on June 10th.

McPherson will be on the road with British singer/songwriter Louise Distras, who most recently released an EP called Bullets in January of this year.



Ramallah and Sinners & Saints stream new tracks off upcoming split “Back From the Land of Nod”

Two songs off the upcoming Ramallah/Sinners & Saints split “Back From the Land of Nod” are now available for streaming. Check out Ramallah’s “Here We Are” and Sinners & Saints “When We Were Young” below.

The album is set for April 28th release through State Line Records and is available for pre-order here.



Pre-orders announced for Ramallah/Sinners & Saints split 12-inch

Pretty awesome news from the Brothers Lind of the Boston punk community!

For the first time in more than a decade, Blood For Blood/Ramallah/Sinners & Saints founder and songwriter Rob Lind has got new material coming out. His hardcore/metal outfit, Ramallah, will be releasing a split-12″ album with Sinners & Saints, the gutter rock project that he shares time in with his brother Mark (also of Ducky Boys/Warning Shots fame).

The split will be available for pre-order through here at State Line Records starting next Wednesday, April 1st (so let’s hope this isn’t just a big, elaborate hoax). It’ll be available in ten different vinyl colors, and features three new songs from each band. Check out a teaser video below!



The Warning Shots stream two tracks from upcoming “Volume 2″ EP; announce split with Stray Bullets

We’ve got a couple stories from Boston-area punks The Warning Shots gift-wrapped into one tidy little package for you this Hump Day evening.

First and foremost, the band are streaming two new tracks from their upcoming EP, “Volume 2.” They’re called “Make Your Move” and “Your Lost Faith,” and you can check them out here. Not presently streaming but also featured on the EP is The Warning Shots’ cover of Rancid’s Brad Logan! If you’re so inclined, you can pre-order the digital EP at the same link. “Volume 2″ is due out March 3rd via Warning Shots frontman Mark Lind (Ducky Boys, Sinners & Saints) and his State Line Records label.

Meanwhile, plans are coming together for an upcoming split 7-inch with fellow Boston punks (and Dying Scene Records‘s own) Stray Bullets. According to posts on their respective Facebook pages, both bands have the songs for their forthcoming release written and are slated to hit the studio to record them in the very near future. Stay tuned!

The Warning Shots’ last EP, “Six To Midnight,” was released back in 2013, also on State Line.

 



Bryan McPherson and Louise Distras announce German/Austrian tour dates

Good news, Europeans…or at least Germans and Austrians at this point. Bryan McPherson and Louise Distras are teaming up for a few weeks worth of tour dates through your neck of the proverbial woods.

Their tag-team kicks off May 2nd in Ausburg, Germany, and is presently scheduled to wrap up May 19th in Cottbus. More dates are due to be announced soon, so stay tuned! In the meantime, check out the rundown below.

McPherson is due to release a new full-length, “Wedgewood,” in the near future, thanks in part to a successful Kickstarter campaign. Oh, and he’s the “Banned By Disney” guy. Distras, meanwhile, released a limited run EP called  ”Bullets” earlier this week. If there are any left, you can get one here.



Video: The Warning Shots play Green Day’s “Dookie”

Boston punk group The Warning Shots played a show last Saturday, October 25th, in which they covered the classic Green Day album Dookie, and someone in the audience was gracious enough to capture most of the performance so those of us who couldn’t attend could check it out.  Watch the video playlist below.

The Warning Shots last released a 4-song EP, Six To Midnight, last November on State Line Records.



Bryan McPherson banned from opening for Dropkick Murphys at House Of Blues Anaheim

Bostonian-turned-Californian folk-punk singer-songwriter Bryan McPherson has once again been tabbed (along with Blood Or Whiskey) as an opener for Dropkick Murphys on their upcoming eleven-date tour that runs from California to Oklahoma. Thanks to the long arm of the law that is The Walt Disney Company, McPherson will only be playing ten of the eleven dates. McPherson took to Facebook to explain:

BANNED by Disney!!! Well holy fucking shit people, I just got Banned from playing the Anaheim show (editor’s note: show date is November 5th) by Disney since the venue is in their complex. The reason? My “Anti-political police views and drug insinuation”. Well I’m honored they actually listened to the words. I’m floored. What an honor!!!

We’ve reached out to Disney, LiveNation and the House of Blues in Anaheim for comment (seriously…we have!). As of this writing, it’s been all radio silence, but we’ll keep you posted. Head below for the full tour rundown.



New music video from The Warning Shots (punk) – “Terminally Insane”

Boston punk group The Warning Shots have a new video out for their song “Terminally Insane.” You can, of course, check it out below.

This is the 3rd video for a song off the band’s latest 4-song EP, Six To Midnight, which came out back in November on State Line Records.

You can watch the other two videos here, and pick up a copy of the EP on digital or CD here, along with some t-shirts.



Bryan McPherson releases album teaser for “Wedgewood”

Bostonian-turned-Californian folk-punk singer-songwriter Bryan McPherson has just released the video teaser for his upcoming album “Wedgewood.” If you wanna get pumped up for the album, check the video out below.

No official release date for “Wedgewood” has been announced as of yet. Bryan McPherson last released “American Boy/American Girl“, on State Line Records in 2012.



New Video: The Warning Shots – “It Took A While”

It took a while, but Boston punks  The Warning Shots finally released a new video. As you may have guessed by the far-from-clever introductory sentence (I’m not proud), it’s for the track “It Took A While,” and you can check it out below.

“It Took A While” appears on the band’s four-song EP, “Six To Midnight,” which was released via State Line Records around the holidays late last year. You can get it here.



New Music: Bryan McPherson – “Days of Rage”

Bostonian-turned-Californian folk-punk singer-songwriter (enough hyphens for ya?) Bryan McPherson has a brand new video for a brand new track. It’s called “Days of Rage” and you can check it out below.

By the sounds of it, “Days of Rage” will appear on an as-yet-unfinished new album that should be out in the coming months. Pretty great sign of what’s to come.

McPherson’s most recent album,  American Boy/American Girl, on State Line Records in 2012.



Free Song Download: Bryan McPherson’s “Kelly Thomas”

Folk/punk songwriter Bryan McPherson is no stranger to taking on politically-charged subject matter in his music, and he just released a song for Kelly Thomas, the homeless man who was beaten to death by police in Fullerton, California.  The song came out after the officers involved in the altercation were found not guilty for Thomas’ death.

You can listen and download the track for free below.

Bryan McPherson most recently released the album  American Boy/American Girl on State Line Records in 2012.



New Music: The Warning Shots (Boston punk) – “No Holidays”

Boston punks The Warning Shots have got a new EP, “Six To Midnight,” hitting the streets just in time for the holidays.

To whet your appetite, the band, which features the ever-prolific Mark Lind (The Ducky Boys, Dirty Water, Sinners & Saints, etc) on what I think is his 14th release of the year, shot a video for the track “No Holidays.” Coincidence? Yeah, probably. Either way, check it out here.

“Six To Midnight” is out now in digital format via State Line Records. Physical copies will be available next month. Click here for ordering info.