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DS Photo Galley: Stoked For The Summer 2018 w/Bouncing Souls, Against Me!, Titus Andronicus, Smoking Popes and Tim Barry

For the third time in as many years, New Jersey punk rock stalwarts The Bouncing Souls threw their now-annual Stoked For The Summer blowout show last weekend on the outdoor, beachfront Summer Stage at the legendary Stone Pony in equally legendary Asbury Park. In spite of occurring in what’s theoretically an off-year for the band — their last full-length, Simplicity, was released in 2016 and the band are gearing up for their 30th anniversary next year — it also marked the largest Stoked For The Summer show to date, with well over 4000 people baking outdoors on the blacktop for the festivities.

Tim Barry kicked things off late in the afternoon in quintessential Tim Barry fashion. The Richmond, Virginia, native has long had ties to the Bouncing Souls/Chunksaah Records/Little Eden Studio family in Central Jersey, and as such was the perfect choice to get things rolling. Armed with only his trusty Martin acoustic (and an assist from longtime Souls merchandise manager/video production wizard Matthew Gere on harmonica), Barry blazed through an intense half-hour set that was heavy on songs with Garden State references (“Avoiding Catatonic Surrender,” “40 Miler,” the obvious choice “Little Eden”). Oh…and HE PLAYED AN AVAIL SONG WHICH IS NOT A THING THAT I EVER THOUGHT I’D SAY LET ALONE WITNESS IN PERSON okay, I’m better now.

The Smoking Popes were next out of the chute, fresh off a dozen-hour drive from their previous night’s show in Ann Arbor, Michigan. In spite of the road weariness, the band didn’t seem much worse for the wear, powering through a set that was heavy on crowd favorites like “Rubella” and “I Need You Around.” The Chicago quartet are still celebrating the 20th anniversary re-release of their iconic 1997 album Destination Failure, and have a brand new album mixed, mastered, and ready to go for release this coming fall. If what’s to come bears any resemblance to lead single “Someday I’ll Smile Again,” it’s bound to be an instant pop-punk classic.

Hailing from just up the GSP in Glen Rock, New Jersey, Titus Andronicus occupied the number three spot in the order. Though the Patrick Stickles-led quartet just released a new album, A Productive Cough, a few months back, the band’s half-hour set skipped that album in favor of the more “punk rock bangers” of the back catalog, especially 2015’s The Most Lamentable Tragedy. The band managed to cram a half-dozen songs into their half-hour set, which is not an easy task when you’re known for writing epic tracks about Civil War naval battles and whatnot. In a nod to probably the one artist that cemented Asbury Park’s place in the rock and roll pantheon, the set closed with a pretty stellar cover of Springsteen’s summer classic, “Glory Days.”

Batting clean-up were the inimitable Against Me!. It’s been barely a month since it was announced that former bass player Andrew Seward is now present bass player Andrew Seward once again, and this marked the biggest-scale show in the current lineup’s brief introductory run. I’ve never seen Against Me! – in any formation – be anything short of awe-inspiring, but this show seemed a notch or two above the norm, helped of course by the early evening sun actively setting directly behind the stage. The band’s set opened with scorching renditions “FuckMyLife666” and “Transgender Dysphoria Blues,” both from their ground-breaking 2014 album of the same name, and never really let up steam at all for forty-five high energy minutes that featured a non-stop barrage of crowd surfers right from the beginning. This is only a brief run of shows for Against Me!, and Laura Jane Grace has got a solo album due out in the coming months, but the newly retooled AM! lineup being this solid – and seeming to genuinely be having this much fun – so soon is a welcome sign.

Last, but most certainly not least, were the legendary Bouncing Souls. As I intimated above, the Souls have only played a handful of shows this year, but they certainly made up for lost time on this particular night. With the stage – and the crowd – filled with friends and family, the Jersey legends ripped into fan favorites “Hopeless Romantic,” “East Coast, Fuck You” and “The Gold Song” in rapid succession to kick off a set that extended well into the Asbury Park night. The perfect symbiotic relationship between crowd and band can be a tough thing to keep up for an extended time, but was readily on display for the duration of the Souls’ Herculean thirty-song set (a direct nod to their upcoming thirtieth anniversary?) on this particular night. I’ve said this before on other platforms, but I genuinely thought that the Souls sounded the best I’d ever heard them sound when I last saw them in Boston last November. That show, solid as it was, is now a distant second to this one. There’s obviously been a twin-like bond between Bryan Kienlen and Pete Steinkopf at the sonic core of the Souls for three decades, which translates into the two performing in lockstep and making it seem effortless in the process, giving frontman Greg Attonito the freedom to roam – both vocally and physically on stage – like a mad punk rock scientist giving a high-powered TED Talk. And it’s actually quite amazing how seemingly easily – at least from the audience perspective – that the newest Soul, drummer George Rebelo, has acclimated himself to the role, especially given that his “other band,” Hot Water Music, are not only still a living, breathing entity but left for a handful of European shows a day or so after this epic night.

While we’re waiting for what 30th anniversary hi-jinks the Souls might have coming down the ‘pike next year, have a gander at our pictures from Stoked For The Summer 2018 below!



Goldfinger announce California shows with The Suicide Machines

Ska punk vets Goldfinger have just announced two shows in San Diego and Anaheim, California on August 31 and September 1. The trio will be playing with The Suicide Machines, Buck-O-Nine, and Suburban Legends. 

Goldfinger last release their album “The Knife” in 2017 on Rise Records.



Album Review: Goldfinger – “The Knife”

John Feldman took some heat for The Knife. Many referred to it as the first John Feldman and Friends album rather than the seventh Goldfinger album. Feldman, the only remaining original member of the band, is now joined by Mike Herrera of MxPx, Phil Sneed formerly of Story of the Year, and, on the album anyway but not usually in concert, Travis Barker of blink-182. That’s a hell of a super group Feldman put together following his messy breakup with original drummer Darrin Pfeiffer the year before.

Feldman does more producing these days than he does performing, and he hit the biggest-of-times producing and co-writing blink-182’s Grammy nominated California. Some have complained that the songs on The Knife sound too much like California rejects. It’s easy to imagine Feldman hanging on to drum tracks from unfinished Blink songs and deciding to use them for himself, particular on “See You Around”, a slower song which actually features Mark Hoppus singing the second verse but is otherwise the most forgettable song on the album, and “Put The Knife Away”, one of the strongest songs here, and what would have been among the strongest song on California.

Still, there are plenty of us simply happy to have a new Goldfinger album, no matter who is playing now.  A lot has changed since Goldfinger’s gritty debut-album back in 1996, so indicative of mid-90s punk, very similar to Dude Ranch, really, as far as style and production-quality goes, minus the ska-influence of course. Feldman looks exactly the same as he did in the “Here In Your Bedroom” video, though his voice twenty-one-years earlier is almost unrecognizable.

The Knife opens with “A Millions Miles”, taking off at ludicrous speed just as “Mind’s Eye” kicked off the self-titled album once upon a time.  The brief second verse morphs into an upbeat ska feel before hitting the chorus again – “Where did my life go? I just can’t hold it back no more” – followed by a barrage of whoas to take us out; at 2:05, “A Million Miles” is a great opener.

“Get What I Need” is the kind of song the Goldfinger purists are looking for – a straight-forward ska song with horns a-blasting and lyrics filled with nostalgia, drug references, and f-bombs. Later on, “Who’s Laughing Now” is another throwback representing what was so great about ska’s far-too-brief time in the mainstream sun – more horns, more breakneck lyrics, reinventing a line from a classic children’s song (“ashes, ashes, we all fall down”), heys and more whoas, and a pretty sick “This is not the end-o” breakdown.

The cover looks like a Tim Burton movie, but there’s nothing macabre about “Tijuana Sunrise”, one of the singles used to promote The Knife, a slower ska-reggae song, with a great lead-trombone line and a full horn section later on. More nostalgia-themed lyrics here, though now Feldman is focusing on the not-so-good moments, that some things aren’t as good as they used to be – “I’ve been drinking to forget just how good it was, I was drinking with you, then I’m drinking ‘til noon, now I’m drinking by myself”. “Don’t Let Me Go” is the album’s mellow song, a slow and beautiful reggae song again featuring tip-top trombone-playing and possibly Feldman’s best singing ever.

Time for some complaints, though: “Am I Deaf”, the first song released from The Knife back in 2013, sounds far too much like turn-of-the-century Good Charlotte and Sum-41, which personally I can’t stand. “Orthodontist Girl” is only a so-so song without taking into account the freakin’ weird lyrics, i.e. “with your gloves on, it’s like you’re inside me, yeah, it turns me on.” “Liftoff” isn’t a bad song, but it’s way out of place, sort of a reggae song but too overproduced to recognize as one. The lyrics are clever, though, and Nick Hexum guest sings, which is kind of cool because 311 always recorded a reggae song or two for their albums, but overall it doesn’t seem like it belongs. And speaking of lyrics, the chorus for “Say It Out Loud” contains the weakest lyrics on the album – “say it out loud right to my face”, over and over and over again – and the song in general sounds like a poor man’s version of Weezer’s“(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I want You To”, only with a terrible sax solo in the latter half.

As for the ho-hum songs – the good but not overwhelmingly fantastic – I would include “Beacon”, which has possibly the strongest lyrics but musically is, well, ho-hum, and I’d also categorize “Mila” here, a cute song about Feldman’s daughter (remember that Hello, Destiny’s bonus track was “Julian”, about his other kid). Oh and “See You Around,” too, which I earlier described as forgettable because it’s the one song I always forget about.

Still, I say if you can get over the massive lineup overhaul and get past the similarities with the last blink-182 album, this album has more highlights than lowlights. I mean, “Put The Knife Away” is about as strong a pop-punk song as I’ve heard in many, many years, and might be the strongest song on the album. I’m not sure. The Knife has several contenders.

4/5 Stars



DS Photo Gallery: Dave Hause and Northcote get classy at City Winery, Boston (6/5/18)

After what was, by all accounts, a pretty successful year on the road with a new band (The Mermaid) following the release of his latest solo album, the redemptive, triumphant Bury Me In Philly, Dave Hause had been planning on scaling things down a little bit for 2018, both to celebrate newly married life and to work on new material. As fate would have it, things don’t always go as plan. Hause and his band played a bunch of European shows with his longtime comrade Brian Fallon earlier this year, and he and his musical – and real-life – brother have played a handful of Canadian and, now, US shows alongside the likes of the Drew Thomson Foundation and, more recently, Northcote. The latter tour rolled through Boston’s somewhat newly-opened City Winery last Tuesday, where they plied their mostly-acoustic wares in front of a house that mostly packed the upscale venue in spite of relatively little advance fanfare.

If you’re not familiar with the City Winery concept, it can be a little bit of a shock to the system if you’re used to sweaty basement clubs or even mid-sized theater shows. To start, you take your seat at one of four rows of family-style tables run perpendicular to the spacious stage, and an ample, attentive waitstaff checks in with you regularly, ready to bring you everything to a $64 bottle of 2014 Pinot Noir from New Zealand to a variety of cheeses and charcuterie board served on an individual cutting board to, chicken coq au vin, the latter of which I thought existed only in places Anthony Bourdain traveled (rest in peace). In spite of the fact that you’re largely looking over your left or right shoulder depending on which side of the table you’re seated at, sight lines are pretty solid and the sound is crystal clear. This is not the rebirth of The Rat, my friends, but that’s okay, because sometimes you’re in your late-30s and have a day job and a kid and don’t want to get your ass kicked in a pit on a Tuesday night. (Plus, there’s perhaps some level of comedic value in seeing a room full of denin-jacketed punks eating roasted Brussles Sprouts singing along to “Dirty Fucker.”)

Anyway, the show’s promoters kept things lean. Northcote (Canadian singer/songwriter Matt Good – not to be confused Canadian singer/songwriter Matthew Good) kicked things off, appearing as a duo with the acoustic-wielding Good supported by longtime collaborator Steven McGillivray on the electric. Like many in the crowd (based on my informal poll), yours truly’s introduction to Northcote in a live setting was his opening slot on Hause’s 2014 tour in support of Devour, or the subsequent dates he played with Gaslight Anthem as they wound down the Get Hurt touring cycle. Good cuts an imposing figure, with the Viking-esque long red hair and beard to match somewhat offset by his denim-and-flannel attire. Good is a criminally underrated songwriter, having earned a good many stripes from a past life playing in punk and hardcore bands before branching out on his own. He’s also owner and operator of one of the premiere voices in all the scene, able to convey both tender sentiments and heart-breaking despair in a single bound. Case in point: Northcote closed his set with an ode to recently-departed Frightened Rabbit frontman Scott Hutchison by covering the latter’s “My Backwards Walk.” The song is gut-wrenching in its original incarnation, but the gravity of the situation and the honesty in Good’s voice left barely a dry eye in the house.

The Brothers Hause followed, and dove right into a stripped-down rendition of Bury My In Philly‘s “Shaky Jesus.” We’ve obviously been pretty open about our love for Dave Hause’s post-Loved Ones career on these pages, but perhaps one of the most exciting, and unexpected, developments of the components there-in has been the emergence of his kid brother, Tim, as not only a perfect right-hand man, but a musical force in his own right. The same Tim that Dave reflected on wanting to spend more time with back on the 2011 track “Resolutions” has turned into a supremely talented guitar player (primarily adding electric textures to his brother’s acoustic rhythms), but split his time on the baby grand piano (told you it was a classy venue) and the mandolin as well, all while providing pitch perfect harmonies. Still riding the wave from their hometown Eagles’ Super Bowl victory over the New England Patriots – on the eve of the now infamously canceled White House visit no less, the Hause brothers were in good, playful spirits for the duration of the set that drew not only from the elder Hause’s three solo albums, but his work with surf punk goofballs The All Brights and, of course, The Loved Ones. That good-nature was put to the test when a spontaneous, mid-set appearance by a background vacuum cleaner, ill-timed in the middle of perhaps Hause’s quietest stomach-punch of a song, “Bricks,” forced the consummate frontman to struggle to keep his composure. Once the vacuum cleaning portion of the evening’s festivities wound down, Hause also included an ode-to-a-departed-hero toward the end of his set, covering the late, great Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down,” though this one turned into a celebratory singalong as you might imagine.

Head below for our full photo gallery from the evening, and stay tuned for more from City Winery in the coming months, because we’re so fancy (you already know). But seriously; Cory Branan and Face To Face and Austin Lucas are playing in the near future, so we’ll be back for the Coq Au Vin soon!

 



Goldfinger release video for “A Million Miles”

California ska-punk veterans Goldfinger have released a new music video for “A Million Miles”, off their latest album “The Knife”. You can have a watch below.

“The Knife” came out in 2017 through Rise Records. It’s their first album since 2008’s “Hello Destiny”.



Knuckle Puck release video for “Twist”

Knuckle Puck have released a video for “Twist”, which is off of their current album “Shapeshifter”, out via Rise Records. You can watch the video below.

You can “Shapeshifter” from all the usual platforms now.



Seminal hardcore band 7Seconds call it a career

Well this is an unexpected bummer of a story to have to write. According to a lengthy post from frontman Kevin Seconds on the band’s various social media pages, seminal hardcore band 7 Seconds have decided to call it a career.

In the statement, Seconds cites ongoing medical and mental health issues concerning some of the band’s members as chief among the reasons that the band have pulled the plug just after their collective 38th birthday. The band had been slated to play Punk Rock Bowling in May and to embark on a European run of dates over the summer, but as the decision is effective immediately, those appearances are now cancelled. Read the full statement from the band below.

We’ll miss you Kevin, Steve, Bobby and Troy. Given that the band collectively came into the world only a couple months after I did, I’ve always had a special place in my heart for 7 Seconds. Be well, fellas, and thanks for 38 loud, ass-kicking years.



American Nightmare release video for “Gloom Forever”

Boston’s American Nightmare have released a new video for “Gloom Forever”. It follows recent video “Flowers Under Siege,” with both tracks coming from the bands’ new self-titled album, out last month on Rise Records.

You can “Gloom Forever” below.



American Nightmare release music video for “Flowers Under Siege”

Boston’s American Nightmare have released a new music video for their song “Flowers Under Siege,” which comes from the bands’ recently released self-titled album.

You can check out the video below.

The new album was released on February 16th via Rise Records, and is their first new album since We’re Down ‘Til We’re Underground was released in 2003.



Thousand Below release video for “Tradition”

San Diego post-hardcore quintet Thousand Below have released a video for a reimagined version of their track “Tradition”. The original version of the song is from their debut album, “The Love You Let Too Close”, which was released back in October via Rise Records.

You can watch the video below.



Dave Hause releases “Bury Me In Philly” video

Dave Hause has released a new music video for “Bury Me In Philly”, which is taken from his latest solo album of the same name. Check it out below.

Bury Me In Philly was released in early 2017 through Rise Records.



T.S.O.L., Voodoo Glow Skulls, Reagan Youth & more playing Punk Against Trump Festival

A festival simply called the Punk Against Trump Festival has been announced. It will take place June 9-10 at the Glass House in Pomona, CA. The lineup includes T.S.O.L., Voodoo Glow Skulls, Reagan Youth, The Dwarves, and Lower Class Brats, among others.

OC Weekly says the festival will also be “bringing together a number of grass roots organizations to attendees to educate festival attendees on everything from DACA to voter registration”.

Tickets are available here.



Goldfinger release “Tijuana Sunrise” video

California ska-punk veterans Goldfinger have released a new music video for “Tijuana Sunrise”, off their latest album The Knife. Check it out below.

The Knife came out in 2017 through Rise Records. It’s their first album since 2008’s Hello Destiny.



Silverstein release music video for “Whiplash”

Canadian punk scene stalwarts Silverstein have released a music video for their song “Whiplash”, which can be viewed below.

“Whiplash” is taken from Silverstein’s most recent album Dead Reflection, which was released last August via Rise Records.



The Bouncing Souls to celebrate 30th anniversary with new album

In a recent interviewThe Bouncing Souls frontman Greg Attonito revealed that they are in the works to begin writing a new album, which will be released to coincide with the band’s 30th anniversary next year. Greg stated:

“We’re in the works to start writing, and we’re preparing for our thirty-year anniversary in 2019. We’re writing and planning, and brainstorming what our thirty-year project will be. Is it some sort of retrospective and some new songs, and some touring? This week, everybody’s connected via email. It’s time to start making a plan. We have lots of ideas that have been kicking around for six months, so it’s time to start getting the ball rolling. We’re digging up old photos, fan stories… . We’ve been doing this thing on Instagram called #SoulSunday, getting fans to tell stories about their past — anything Souls-related. We’ve been getting great stories, and we’re trying to think of ways to incorporate that into some sort of career retrospective.”

The Bouncing Souls’ latest studio album, Simplicity, was released in July 2016 through Rise Records.