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Up-and-coming skate punk band Noogy hits the road, talks the biz

DFW skate-punk band Noogy is touring the East Coast on the heels of their second EP release this year, “Pessimistic”. If you get the chance, this is for-sure, for-sure a band you are going to want to check out live. These boys have been pretty busy tearing up the southwest, from Texas to Cali, hanging out with MDC and otherwise running amok. They’ve made a pretty noticeable impression on their worthy followers of youthful hoodrats and miscreants as well. Check em out!

I caught up with Andre at the kick-off party, and scheduled a time for him to give me a call… He hit me up, and we talked road life, Dead Kennedy’s, Steve-O and more. Check out their tour schedule and read that conversation below.



DS Exclusive: Fighting The Good Fight with Kevin and Aimee of The Interrupters

Let’s say, hypothetically, that you were a band that had achieved some modicum of success in a relatively brief period of time. For argument’s sake, our definition of “success” here includes the following parameters: signed to one of the most successful independent labels in the music game; put out not one or two but three albums on that label, all of whom were produced by one of the bigger and most recognizable personalities in the the punk music scene; headlined a couple of your own successful cross-country club tours; played the main stage at a handful of wildly successful punk rock festivals; toured several continents with one of the last quarter-century’s largest rock bands on the planet; got added to regular rotation at your hometown (Los Angeles) rock radio station which, in spite of prevailing trends, remains a taste-making force in the game. Oh, and let’s also say that all of these accomplishments – and more – happened within your first half-dozen years as a band. It would be natural, maybe even expected, if some of that love and those accomplishments went to your head, and you maybe started to take some things for granted, right?

Not if you’re The Interrupters.

We caught up with Aimee and Kevin from the band over the phone the Friday before last, which happened to coincide with the release date for their third – and best – studio album, Fight The Good Fight (Hellcat/Epitaph). Amidst the hustle and bustle that an album release date can entail, and after exchanging our usual pleasantries, we got interrupted (pun largely intended) by the duo receiving an incoming call that they couldn’t ignore, as it was from none other than Tim Armstrong. Armstrong is not just one of the godfather’s of the last three decades of punk rock, he’s been a constant big brotherly presence in The Interrupters’ career, signing them to his Hellcat label imprint right out of the gate, producing and appearing on all three of their albums to date, imparting his unique wisdom on the quartet along the way. For more than just the obvious reasons, The Interrupters are a band that considers itself and its crew a family, and Armstrong is as big a part of that family as anybody. And so the sheepish excitement in Kevin Bivona’s voice when we returned to our call and explained why they had to break standard informal phone-interview protocol and put me on hold was not only palpable, it was downright refreshing.

It would certainly not be the last time that our conversation would trend into events that were notably surreal. Any fan of the Interrupters knows that they spent a great deal of time touring Australia, Europe and South America as direct support for Green Day over the last year. It found the band not only getting to play their upbeat blend of punk and third-wave ska to a large number of new ears, it also created a situation where a different high-profile Armstrong, Green Day’s inimitable Billie Joe, ended up with writing credits on a song (“Broken World”) on the newest Interrupters album. Here’s how Kevin Bivona explains it: “We were in Santiago, Chile, and we played a show, and there were a couple of hours before we had to go to the airport, so we were hanging out with Green Day and their families. It was an amazing experience. And (Billie Joe) goes “hey, I have an idea for a song that I think could be a really cool Interrupters song.” And he grabbed a guitar, and he kinda pulled Aimee and I aside and he played it for us, and he said “I don’t know, I think this would just be a kind of cool thing for you.” And he played it for us and we said “Yes! We love it!” Upon returning to the States, the band got to work on filling out the remainder of the song, and doing so in a manner that would do right by the Green Day frontman.  “I wanted him to be proud, because he thought enough of us to give us this riff that he could have obviously turned into an amazing song for any one of his bands. We sent the song back to him right when we were done with it, and he texted us back that night and he was so excited about it and happy to be a part of it. It’s so surreal, too, to have a song with a riff written by Billie Joe Armstrong and produced by Tim Armstrong…”

If you’ve had a chance to dig in to Fight The Good Fight yet, you’re probably aware that Billie Joe’s involvement wasn’t the only surreal part of the album-making process. While Tim Armstrong has lent his iconic vocal stylings to a track on each of the first two Interrupters albums, FTGF’s “Got Each Other” finds each of Rancid’s members chipping in, an idea that came from Armstrong himself. “Matt and Lars are in the Bay Area, and Branden lives in Utah,” explains Bivona. “When it came time to get the actual recording done, we were kind of down to the wire, so we actually had Jesse and Justin get in our tour van, drive up to San Francisco, and set up a mobile studio to record Matt and Lars’ verses and run them back down. Simultaneously, I’m on the phone with Branden in Utah, and he has a studio in his house…He sang on the choruses with us, and he sent it to us to mix that night. It was really down to the wire.”

The result of the last-minute collaboration is textbook Interrupters: an infectiously danceable, high energy rallying cry preaching the timeless notions of friendship and unity. “I cried my eyes out when I heard all of Rancid singing with us on that song,” says Aimee. “The first time I ever heard Rancid in my life, when I was in high school, I cried when I heard “…And Out Come The Wolves.” I felt like I wasn’t alone in the world, and that other people understood me. We brought that message on “Got Each Other,” and to hear all of Rancid sing that message not just to me but through my speakers with me…”We don’t have much, but we’ve got each other”…I was so happy and so grateful, and I can’t really describe how full circle and surreal that moment was.

While many of the tracks on Fight The Good Fight deal with themes that we’ve come to know and love from The Interrupters circa 2018, we also find the band digging a little deeper, turning their mirror inward in ways that were missing on the first two albums. Tracks like “Gave You Everything,” “Room With A View,” and “So Wrong” resonate as the band’s most personal – and arguably most compelling – tracks to date. Says Aimee: “I feel like when you write a song that moves you and touches you, and you’re going through an authentic experience and writing your truth, a lot of times for me that’s therapy. I’m writing to get things out and I need to process this stuff and this anxiety that’s happening in my heart and my mind. When I process that and put that into lyrics, if that helps me and gets me through it, then hopefully that can help somebody else. That’s what this is all about…loving people and helping people and connecting with people through your music.”

The band’s quest to bring their music and their positive energy to as many people as possible has generated numerous unforgettable experiences. As they get set to head out on the last leg of the final installment of the Warped Tour this coming weekend, they’re sure to add a few more to the list. “Just when we think we’ve checked everything off the bucket list, some new opportunity presents itself and we are blown away with gratitude,” says Bivona, the sincerity palpable in his voice. “Even doing the Amoeba Records in-store performance a couple nights ago was surreal. Getting added to our local radio station, KROQ, which is what we all grew up listening to, is surreal. There’s never going to be a time where there isn’t an amazing opportunity that we will be thrilled with.

Head below to check out our full Q&A with Kevin and Aimee, and stay tuned for upcoming tour announcements in the very near future!



DS Photo Galley: Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls with Dave Hause and the Mermaid, Boston, MA

Frank Turner has had a bit of a mutual love affair with the greater Boston area over the last handful of years. While his first show inside the city limits didn’t occur until February 2010 – roughly six years after his first-ever show as a solo performer and three years after his first US show which happened in San Antonio of all places – the years since have found the Wessex boy turning Boston into his North American home, with area’s bars and clubs and storage lockups serving as a virtual basecamp for his touring operation on this side of the Atlantic. There’s been obvious support from the likes of local heroes Dropkick Murphys over the years – including lengthy tours both Stateside and abroad – but Turner and his band, the Sleeping Souls, have also garnered a fair amount of radio play from the city’s holdover alternative and independent stations and won over crowds the old fashioned way: by playing their asses off.

Traditionally speaking, Boston, you see, prefers its musicians and its athletes to share a few overlapping characteristics. If you’re viewed a tough, scrappy, hard-worker who may not necessarily have been born with the most virtuosic capabilities but through blood, sweat and tears have carved out a spot for yourself, you’ll do alright here. (Not having an abundance of melanin helps as well, but that’s a conversation for another time and platform.) And so it was a little confusing to see only a couple of Boston dates on the initial list of North American dates in support of Turner’s new album, Be More Kind. Both dates were at Royale, a thousand-ish capacity club that is a great venue, however it’s much smaller than venues like House of Blues and, of course, the Agganis Areana that Turner has headlined in past runs through the city. And while Lucero and The Menzingers were listed as openers for the bulk of the month-long tour, neither were slated to appear in Boston. Hi-jinks, it seemed, were afoot. Within a few days, however, a bigger picture appeared. Tickets to the first two sold out in mere moments, and were quickly joined by two more shows, which also sold out quickly, and finally by two more shows, all without openers announced, meaning that Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls would be headlining the same venue six times in a week. All of a sudden, we had ourselves a big deal on our hands.

Dying Scene have had the privilege of covering a bunch of Frank Turner shows over the years, and night four of this six-night run (which turned into a seven-night run as Turner played a benefit show for the Claddagh Fund at one of Dropkick Murphys’ founder Ken Casey’s new dining establishments on July 3rd) marked yours truly’s seventh time shooting Turner locally at venues ranging from a record store to a college hockey arena to a giant outdoor festival, and while it’s generally hyperbole state that a show was the best of a particular bunch, I’ll be damned if this one wasn’t right up there. The varied setlist covered all seven of Turner’s full-length studio albums (pretty sure I’d never heard “Journey Of The Magi” off 2009’s Poetry Of The Deed live before) as well as the 2010 Rock & Roll EP (definitely sure I’d never heard “Pass It Along” live before). Turner is able to change at a moments notice from being the solo, folk-punk troubadour persona that has long been his bread and butter, to the consummate showman, singing and dancing in non-stop, high-energy fashion, including a lap around the entire venue balcony during the show-closing “Four Simple Words.” Hell, he even got opener Dave Hause to play along, as the latter crowd-surfed his way around the venue as though it were a punk rock baseball diamond during fan favorite “If Ever I Stray” (see the last photo above for proof).

Oh and as was mentioned briefly above, Dave Hause and his band, The Mermaid, were added as opener to this show after the sell-out had been announced (other shows featured support spots from some combination of Speedy Ortiz, The Homeless Gospel Choir, Jeff Rosenstock, Restorations, Tim Barry, Hotelier, War On Women, Kevin Devine and Trapper Schoepp, making each of the six shows a truly unique experience). Hause and his brother/musical counterpart Tim were in town for a stripped down show at Boston’s new City Winery establishment during the altter stages of their tour with Northcote earlier this month. While we enjoyed the hell out of that experience, the elder Hause is masterful at commanding an audience and a full band at a sweaty punk rock show, and this particular band has turned itself into quite a force that’s able to seemingly effortlessly pull off the myriad sounds that have been woven into the Dave Hause solo catalog – yes, that’s Kayleigh Goldsworthy on melodica above – particularly on its latest entry, last year’s Bury Me In Philly. It was a disorientingly early set – Royale turns into a dance club at 10pm, prompting a hard 9:30 curfew, but the dynamic Hause fired the crowd up the way few others can. (Plus, his merch girl was pretty cute!)

Head below to see our full photo gallery from the evening.



Exclusive: Long lost PEARS Interview with Brian Pretus from early post-“Green Star” golden days

Oh my God. Did I really get wasted while running the merch booth for Pears?

What was I thinking? Those guys are the most amazing people ever. They paid me seventy bucks to spill beer all over their merchandise. I was supposed to be slangin’ the goods!

In my defence, it was somewhat overwhelming. Pears is loaded! I hope I didn’t accidentally embezzle too many funds. I vaguely remember commenting on Zach Quinn’s Ugg Boots.

I am such an asshole.

I’m also irresponsible. Dude, Pears is fucking loaded!

…a few months before all that (over a year or so, now, and long before I was a writer at DyingScene) I had a very pleasant chat with Brian Pretus, Pears’ guitar player at Three Links over a couple large glasses of Horchata. Read through that conversation below.



Dying Scene Radio – Episode 8 – Band Spotlight: Voice of Addiction

Episode 8 of the official podcast of Dying Scene is now ready for your consumption, faithful listeners! In this installment, AP finally decides to do some work in his new city and meets up with Chicago political punks, Voice of Addiction during their stop in Denver to talk about everything from music fundamentals to shit stained pants! And as always, the guys are slingin’ some scene news that you were probably too lazy to read (except for the NOFX story, we’re sure you’ve heard about that one by now) and playing some fantastic music from incredible, up and coming bands you were probably too lazy to discover! So, get to it, below!



40 Years of Mania with The Vibrators: Past, Present, and into the Future

Wow! Here’s a straight-up EXCLUSIVE… and only a couple years late, but hey, we’re all on punk rock time anyway.

We caught up with Eddie from The Vibrators at Three Links on their 40 year anniversary tour. We talked music, tacos, debauchery and bamboozling David Bowie fans back in the day after the shows. Great stuff! Read more on the past, present and future of the band below.



DS Exclusive: The Dollyrots premiere new video for “Mermaid”

We’re excited to premiere a brand new video from the Dollyrots! “Mermaid” is off their most recent album, “Whiplash Splash,” which came out March 2017.

If you’re like me and think water parks would be so much better without all those awful humans around, this video is three and a half minutes of prime vicarious living.

The Dollyrots will be hitting the Shiragirl stage at this year’s final(ish) Warped Tour. You can catch them June 21st, 22nd, and the 24th at Pomona, San Diego, and Ventura, CA, respectively. In the mean time, check out “Mermaid” below!



DS Exclusive: Joey Cape talks Lagwagon’s plans for Punk Rock Bowling, FEST 17 and beyond

This should come as not exactly breaking news, but this coming weekend in Las Vegas marks the twentieth installment of Punk Rock Bowling. Created by Stern Brothers of Youth Brigade fame two decades ago, the annual bacchanalian celebration of all things punk rock has grown into a much larger festival than it originally started out as. Yet somehow it has remained true to the the spirit of the scene that spawned it. It remains a must-see destination for punk rockers from not just around the country but around the world. Like, for example, Joey Cape.

The solo artist-slash-Scorpio-slash-Gimme-Gimme-slash-Lagwagon-frontman is not only pulling double duty at the event this year (he’s headlining a solo gig on Friday alongside Tim Barry – limited tickets still available here – and Lagwagon headlines the sold-out Fat Wreck Chords showcase on Saturday), but he’s been in attendance for all but a small handful of Punk Rock Bowling weekends over the last two decades. And while it’s long been a compelling event for Cape even if he’s not playing, he remembers having misgivings in the earliest years about if the concept would take off. “I’ll be honest, I remember the first year or the second year, thinking that “this isn’t going to last!” I didn’t know that it would work. I was definitely skeptical,” he explains. While Vegas has long attracted people from across all walks of life and garnered a well-earned reputation for glitz, glamour, and debauchery, there was something about the derelicts taking over and throwing a bowling party that might be too much for even Sin City to handle. “I just imagined with all those people, that I was going to enjoy (the first installment of PRB) because it was definitely going to be the first and last one of those, you know!” Cape credits not only the Stern brothers for running a great ship, but the location itself for creating a unique environment that keeps the festival working. “It’s all in one area, and it’s in Vegas, which is just the built-in best possible platform. You throw a stone in any direction and there’s a bar or something else to do that’s wild and fun. That place has always been an escape for adults; like a Disneyland for adults. So you couple that with this kind of music, and there’s the simple absurdity of it that works for people.

There are a handful of milestone events coming rapidly down the ‘pike for Lagwagon this year, although when your band has been in existence for such a long time, there are seemingly no shortage of such milestones to celebrate. The band’s highly-regarded fourth album, Double Plaidinum, somehow turned twenty last year, while its stellar – albeit shorter – follow-up Let’s Talk About Feelings reaches the same milestone this year. Once Cape and his Lagwagon cohorts return from a fairly lengthy European tour in August, there are plans in the works to hopefully celebrate both albums in a meaningful way, and to tie them into an even larger and more meaningful milestone: 2019, you see, marks Lagwagon’s thirtieth year as a band. Kinda.

Within the band, we kinda go “is it ‘88 or ‘89?” explains Cape. “There was a band in ‘88 that I wasn’t in that was the band I joined. When I joined the band (Section Eight), I started writing songs for the band, and it was enough of a revamp. I like to think (it was) ‘88, but it’s funny, the one other member that was in the band before me, Chris Flippin, The Big Bitch, prefers ‘89.” Because of the somewhat nebulous origin of the band’s initial formation, the band have blown by several milestone anniversaries in the past – their 25th anniversary roughly coincided with the Fat Wreck Chords 25th anniversary tour a few years back, though even that tour came around the label’s actual 26th anniversary – but whatever timeline you go by Cape and his bandmates seem to realize that this milestone is an important one. “You have anniversaries that you’re married every year, and the tenth anniversary of a marriage is a big deal, so the thirtieth anniversary of a band should be celebrated! That’s five assholes trying to get along! And they’re not even having sex!”

Some plans to celebrate the band’s coinciding milestones are still taking shape, but we do know that Lagwagon will perform Let’s Talk About Feelings in its entirety at Fest 17 in Gainesville this coming October. Album-specific shows and tours have become more of the norm for bands of all genres over the last handful of years, and while that might give one initial pause to jump into that fray, there is a special lure to events like that if they’re done the right way. “I love doing it because I think there is a historic time-stamp that coincides with the release of an album,” Cape explains. “We obviously come from a generation where sequence and the entire album matter and have their own feel. That still matters to us, being old men in a day and age where singular songs and Spotify are the norm. I think there’s something really cool about doing it with a band. It takes playing a whole record to really revisit that vibe and that feeling and that climate that the band was in.”

Stay tuned for more on Let’s Talk About Feelings and Double Plaidinum plans in the ramp-up to Lagwagon’s 30ish anniversary in 2019. And who knows..maybe we’ll even get new music before 2019 is up: it has, somehow, been four years since the release of their latest full-length, Hang, after all. “We’ll probably get back in the studio by the end of the year or the beginning of next year, so we are going to actually follow through,” says Cape. “After we made Hang, everybody agreed and said “let’s stop doing this bullshit, let’s get right back on the horse after tour.” Between touring for Hang and touring for Fat Wreck’s 25th, anniversary, that “tour” lasted for a couple years, however. Cape jokes: “we toured for like two years, and at the end of two years it’s like “alright, I’ll see you guys NEVER! I love you guys, but fuck you!!

Head below to read our full chat with the Joey Cape. We caught up over the phone on the eve of “Lagwagon Day,” and a long, winding, fun conversation ensued, ranging from details on the band’s history to tidbits about new solo material. And let us know if you’re in Vegas for PRB or Gainesville for Fest!



DS Exclusive: Mike McColgan on “Stand For Something Or Die For Nothing,” Street Dogs First New Album In Eight Years

Allow me, if you will, the opportunity to rewind your memory all the way back to August of 2010. For contextual purposes, here are some reminders as to that comparatively much simpler time; Dying Scene was barely a year old (and still had white text on a black background! The horror!); MySpace ruled the social networking landscape; the United States was less than two years into the Obama Administration, and we hadn’t had our eyes opened to the fact that the then-President was a Kenyan Muslim by the reality show host and beauty pageant coordinator Donald J. Trump.

It also marked the last time we were graced with a full-length album from working-class firebrand Boston punk veterans Street Dogs. Little did we know at the time that the dozen-and-a-half tracks on that self-titled album would mark the last time we’d hear from the band for quite some time, and the last time we’d hear from that lineup forever. In the time that’s elapsed since that embarked on a brief hiatus, Pete Sosa replaced Paul Rucker on drums, and Lenny Lashley (Darkbuster, Lenny Lashley’s Gang Of One) and Matt Pruitt (Have Nots) took over on guitar duties for longtime members Tobe Bean and Marcus Hollar. Centered around the backbone of Mike McColgan on vocals and Johnny Rioux on bass, the new lineup put together songs for a few 7-inch releases a few years ago, and slowly got to work on their first full-length as a unit.

Next month, June 22nd, to be exact, the wait for a new full-length Street Dogs album is finally over. Stand For Something Or Die For Nothing is slated for release on the band’s new label home, Century Media, and it couldn’t come at a better time. The album finds the band at their shot-out-of-a-cannon best, and serves as a shot across the bow not only for the powers that be that bought and sold our political system on the backs of the working class, but for those that might choose to sit idly by and let it happen. We caught up with the band’s quintessentially blue-collar Bostonian frontman Mike McColgan to chat about just why and how the band put out their best material to date, more than a decade-and-a-half into their life as a band. As you might imagine, McColgan pulled no punches.

I don’t want to be the punk band that sat that fucking out. A lot of fucking bands are sitting that out, and history won’t be kind to them,” McColgan states emphatically. “I have to be honest about what I’m feeling and what I’m thinking. I have a son, and I want to be able to say ‘We didn’t sit back. We stood up. We said something’.” Whether for personal or social or political reasons, McColgan and crew are well aware that there are some people in the scene that they could alienate but putting forward an album that puts out a cohesive statement in this day and age, and they’re more than okay with that. “We’ve always put our money where our mouth is, behind the hard-working people, and taking action. We’ve tried not to be too overbearing or be like Bono about it. But you’ve got to say something. That’s the whole point of Stand For Something Or Die For Nothing…Do! Fucking! Something! Don’t just sit this out and think it’s going to be okay. The stakes are way too fucking high.

If you are a long-time member of the Street Dogs Army, there are more than a few moments on Stand For Something Or Die For Nothing to remind you why you got into the band in the first place; lock-tight rhythms, rapid-fire guitars, infectious hooks, chant-along gang-style choruses that pull the listener and the audience right smack into the middle of the storyline. Look no further than the album’s title track for a textbook example. But there are also some sounds you might not expect; the late 70’s classic arena rock anthemic guitar and higher register vocals on “Mary On Believer Street,” rapper and fellow Bostonian Slaine making a spitfire cameo on “Angels Calling,” the album’s closing track, a cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Torn And Frayed.” In many ways, its those things you’ve grown to love about Street Dogs but performed at a higher level than you’re used to hearing. McColgan credits not only the playing and songwriting stylings of the band’s new members, but the production chops of Rioux, who manned the console on a Street Dogs album solo for the first time (Nate Albert handled the first two albums, Ted Hutt the next two, and Rioux teamed with McColgan’s former Dropkick Murphys bandmate Rick Barton on the self-titled album). “Johnny Rioux came into his own as a producer,” says McColgan. “He pushed me in particular, moreso than anybody, really, really hard. I feel like, at the end of the day, the record really stands up and will stand the test of time. I feel like our fans and maybe some people who don’t even know who the hell we are will like it too.

Stand For Something Or Die For Nothing is not only a great album, it’s a personal album and an important album. It’s tough to encapsulate the breadth and depth of the conversation we had with McColgan into a few lines in an introduction; as is part and parcel when we chat, there’s a lot of ground covered, but perhaps nothing is more poignant than the stories behind some of individual tales that Street Dogs are trying to relate to their listeners on the new album. “These Ain’t The Old Days” looks back at some members of the scene that haven’t, unfortunately, been lucky enough to overcome some of their struggles, namely former Kings of Nuthin’ frontman Torr Skoog who passed away five years ago. The emotion in the song, particularly in Lashley’s vocal contributions, is palpable. “He had to walk out of the studio,” explains McColgan. “He had to take a break. It was that personal and that pivotal and that powerful and that poignant to him.” “The Comeback Zone,” meanwhile, tells three individual tales of redemption that may sound familiar to those that have followed the long-term arc of the careers – and lives – of the band’s individual members.

“Lest We Forget,” though, is perhaps the most personal and emotional song that McColgan has worked on. The song teaches us, the listening audience, about Gerry Dewan, a Boston kid who couldn’t find work on the local fire department, so he moved to New York City and spent a few years working for the New York Fire Department, a budding career that came to a tragic early end on September 11, 2001. McColgan was not only a new recruit to the Boston Fire Department at the time of that fateful day, he was working for Dewan’s brother, William, on the force. “It’s a very, very, very tough thing for me. I’ve been trying to write this song, God, since the Savin Hill days. I’ve written multiple, multiple variations of this song – I’m talking hundreds – because it’s such a heavy, heavy topic, that I was just hellbent on finding the right way to say this and not make it too political.

Head below to check out our full, wide-ranging interview. It’s a pretty special one, particularly as McColgan himself commented on having trouble putting a few feelings into words; noteworthy for a conversation between two guys with Dorchester Irish Catholic roots.

Pre-orders for Stand For Something Or Die For Nothing are still available here.



DS Exclusive: Jason Cruz on “Black Out The Sky,” Strung Out’s upcoming dynamite acoustic EP

Back in February 2017, Dying Scene got an exclusive scoop from Strung Out frontman Jason Cruz that the California punk legends were working on a new EP titled Black Out The Sky, to follow up their last full length, 2015’s stellar Transmission.Alpha.Delta. While that was noteworthy in and of itself, the noteworthiness was ratcheted up to stratospheric levels by the additional revelation that Black Out The Sky was also going to be the band’s first collection of acoustic songs. Initial word was that we might see the album sometime in summer 2017, but then, news kinda dried up for a while.

Tomorrow, however, the official release of Black Out The Sky is officially upon us. We caught up with the one-and-only Cruz earlier this week to talk about the new album, and what exactly took so long for it to see the light of day. Needless to say it’s been a bit of a tumultuous run for Strung Out; the band officially parted ways with drummer of more than twenty years, Jordan Burns, a couple months ago, and have since brought Runaway Kids’ drummer RJ Shankle in as his replacement. “We had a tough two years, man,” explains Cruz. “There’ve been a lot of moments in the course of our career where we thought we didn’t know how we were going to get through it, but the last couple years were pretty tough. I think that this record is a catharsis to that whole time in all our lives.

Don’t let the “acoustic album” label fool you; Black Out The Sky is very much a Strung Out record, not just eight stripped down, straight-forward versions of Strung Out songs; the darkness and aggression that have become part of the band’s signature are still very much present. “Strung Out changed its guitar sound and it just happened to sound like this,” says Cruz. There’s also the fact that the band’s last album, Transmission.Alpha.Delta was so loud and intense that Cruz and the remaining band members felt it was time for a change of pace. “If your career’s a song, this is the breakdown before the big chorus (that comes next),” he reasons. “You can’t write another big, huge record right after that. To me, you had to do something like a buffer right in the middle of that to prepare for the next project.”

Strung Out’s guitar players, Rob Ramos and Jake Kiley, and bass player Chris Aiken have long been respected for the fast, aggressive, metal-influence that they bring to the punk rock table; it’s part of what has set Strung Out apart over the years. However, the switch to acoustic on Black Out The Sky puts the focus on the level of musicianship that exists within the band, an appreciation that only grows more intense with subsequent listens. “All three of them are the best guitar players in punk rock, to me,” states Cruz emphatically. “They’re phenomenal. I’m in awe of those guys. I shake when I have to show them an idea.” The added space gave Cruz the room to stretch his voice in some new ways, putting a real focus on the vocals and the lyrics. “What people don’t understand is that singing over loud, heavy metal guitars constrains you. When you take that out of the equation and you can actually hear the timbre of the voice, you have so much more wiggle room. A lot more is discovered in the singer’s voice when everything is a little naked, you know?

You can check out our full chat down below; brace yourself for the Footloose and Alice In Chains portions of the conversation! Black Out The Sky is due out tomorrow on Fat Wreck Chords, and you can still order it here. Strung Out heads out on the road in support of Pennywise in a couple weeks; check out details here!



DS Photo Gallery: Brian Fallon and the Howling Weather with Caitlin Rose at Royale in Boston (5/1/18)

When last we spoke with Brian Fallon (read that interview here), it was the morning after the first US tour date in support of his sophomore solo album, Sleepwalkers. With two full-length solo albums plus the Horrible Crowes catalog to draw from and backed by a retooled live band now known as The Howling Weather (longtime friend/collaborator Ian Perkins on guitar, Nick Salisbury on bass, Matt Olsson on drums), tour was off to a positive start. A month down the road, we caught the penultimate show of the Sleepwalkers US tour as it wound through Boston’s Royale nightclub last Tuesday night to finally take in the experience first-hand.

As she had for the last several weeks of the full-US tour, Nashville-based singer/songwriter Caitlin Rose kicked off the festivities on this particular evening. It’s probably not a stretch to assume that the bulk of the daily readers here at Dying Scene might not have Rose on their standard rotation, but we’re all also all about expanding musical horizons, so look her up. Backed by a three-piece band of her own, the silky-voiced Rose primarily plays a smooth blend of hypnotic alternative country and blues, like if Patsy Cline were fronting Mazzy Star. There’s a real soul to her voice when she opens up, giving tremendous depth to her forlorn stories.

Speaking of forlorn storytelling, Fallon kicked off his set with “Forget Me Not,” the lead single from Sleepwalkers. While the song – and the album in general – find Fallon in a more positive space than recent solo or even Gaslight work, there are still plenty of morbid undertones, the struggle against eternal pessimism. Ever the storyteller, Fallon spent a large chunk of time between the set’s second and third songs (“Red Lights” and “Come Wander With Me” polling the audience about a situation that was slated to come up the next night at the tour closer in New York City. Long story short; don’t bother sending Fallon direct messages through social media, and especially don’t propose to your significant other in a circle pit at a Fallon show.

Once the audience participation portion of the evening was over, Fallon and Co. got back to the rocking. The lion’s share of the set on the evening, as you’d imagine, was culled from Sleepwalkers and, to a lesser extent, its 2016 predecessor Painkillers, with a trifecta of songs (“Ladykiller,” “I Witnessed A Crime” and “Sugar”) from Fallon and Perkins’ 2011 The Horrible Crowes project thrown in for good measure. The set’s midway point featured a cover of the Derek And The Dominos classic “Bell Bottom Blues;” the song and its principal writer, Eric Clapton, have long been favorites of Fallon’s, so to hear him pull the song off live was a bit of a fanboy moment inside a fanboy moment. Going back to the Gaslight Anthem days, Fallon has typically opted to eschew encores, stating on numerous occasions that it seems like a waste of time and since you were going to play those songs anyway, just play those songs. As such, the remainder of the band left the stage after new, triumphant crowd favorite “Etta James,” leaving Fallon to man the piano for a solo version of “The ’59 Sound” that turned into an 1100-person singalong. Rose came back out and joined Fallon on a cover of the Dylan classic “Don’t Think Twice,” easily one of the saddest and yet razor-sharp post-relationship songs ever written, before Perkins, Salisbury and Olsson returned and brought the show to a rousing close with “If Your Prayers Don’t Get To Heaven.” This leg of tour has now officially wrapped up and Fallon’s got a little bit of a break before he and the Howling Weather head back across the pond for European festival season. Oh, and there’s the issue of the Gaslight Anthem’s ’59 Sound tenth anniversary shows this summer as well. But hopefully we’ll get Sleepwalkers – Round Two this fall, because a night out at a Brian Fallon show is about as fun and cathartic as a rock and roll show gets.

Head below to check out our full photo gallery from the evening.

 



Dying Scene Radio – Episode 7 – Band Spotlight: The Shell Corporation

Well, it took ’em long enough but the boys over at DSR are finally back with a new episode! In the seventh installment of the official podcast of Dying Scene, AP catches up with LA based political punks, The Shell Corporation before their album (tee shirt release) show to eat some papusas and talk about dongs! Plus, as always, the guys are also slingin’ some scene news that you were probably too lazy to read and playing some fantastic music from bands you were probably too lazy to discover! Stream it ’til your ears bleed, below!



New Music: Tied To A Bear (Boston punk) debut “Denied” from upcoming album, “True Places”

Happy Monday, boys and girls! We’ve got a hell of a gift to kick off your work week. New music from Tied To A Bear!

The Boston-based four-piece, which features members of Choke Up, Wolves and the Radio and Landmines as well as solo artist Jeff Rowe, have been busy in their other projects but somehow found the time to crank out a stellar new full-length, True Places. It’s due out later this spring on Gunner Records in Europe and Gunner Records USA, and we’ve got a sneak peak for you; it’s a track called “Denied,” and you can check it out below.

True Places is the follow-up to the band’s 2015 album, Safe, Boring & Safe. Stay tuned for pre-order options as they become available! You can also check out dates for the band’s first European tour, which kicks off May 10th in Bremen, Germany, below the music player!



DS Photo Gallery: Lucero celebrate 20th anniversary with hometown Block Party blowout

Last weekend (April 13-14), for the fourth time in as many years, Lucero fans from far and wide converged on the grounds surrounding Minglewood Hall in the band’s hometown of Memphis, Tennessee, for the annual Family Block Party, a music and arts extravaganza for patrons of all ages. This year’s installment, in addition to being the biggest one yet, was celebratory for another, particularly noteworthy reason; April 13, 2018, marked the twentieth anniversary of Lucero’s very first show, which took place in a Memphis warehouse across the street from the infamous Lorraine Motel.

The weekend’s festivities kicked off on the evening of Friday the 13th inside the 1884 Lounge at the Minglewood complex, in the form of a gathering that was equal parts history lesson and birthday party, the bulk of which was curated by Lucero lead guitar player Brian Venable. Venable has long been the band’s unofficial historian, and in the days (hours?!?) leading up to the event, he dug through the time capsule and pulled out old pictures, setlists, album artwork, show flyers, lyric sheets and band-related memorabilia (old Flying Vs! Roy’s old Nikes!) that were compiled into a walk-through exhibit that inspired a night full of laughter and reminiscing between the band’s members, crew, and family of dedicated fans.

The lounge and the cavernous concert hall inside Minglewood remained open on Saturday, but the bulk of the goings-on took place outside. Not only was the venue’s parking lot closed to traffic, but neighboring South Willett and Monroe Streets and a few adjacent parking lots were as well, giving the occasion a true, block party feel. Local food trucks hawked their wares, as did a variety of merchandise vendors (Shitluck Clothing, Lumberjack Outfitters, tintype photography with Michael Foster, Oliver Peck and his Cheap Thrills line, etc) , most of whom remained steadily busy throughout the afternoon and well into the evening. But the focus, as you might expect, was on the music. Local singer/songwriter Louise Page (above) got things rolling under overcast but not quite rainy mid-afternoon skies. Page has only been in the business for a couple years but has steadily built a name for herself in Memphis, and it’s easy to see why, with elements of folk, pop and soul oozing throughout her melodies. A singer and piano player by trade, Page’s live sound was filled out by a five-piece band that consisted of drums, stand-up bass, violin, saxophone and trombone.

The inimitable John Moreland came next, accompanied by a full rock band of his own. That the Tulsa, Oklahoma, native isn’t household name on par with Jason Isbell or Chris Stapleton seems nothing less than criminal, although I guess there’s something special about his once-in-a-generation voice being our little secret. Moreland’s forty-minute set primarily highlighted his last two albums, last year’s stellar Big Bad Luv and 2015’s flawless High On Tulsa Heat, with a revved-up, pitch perfect cover of Tom Petty’s “You Wreck Me” tagged on as a raucous show closer.

The set change between Moreland and the next band on the docket, Rhode Island’s own Deer Tick, featured an appearance by The Mighty Souls Brass Band, a rotating group of musicians that includes former Lucero touring saxophone player Jim Spake playing their way through the crowd, an experience ripped right out of the French Quarter. While Deer Tick do, as stated, call the Ocean State home, they’ve become more involved in the Tennessee scene over the last handful of years; frontman John McCauley and his wife, Vanessa Carlton, have a Nashville home, and the band recorded both of their self-titled 2017 releases down the road from Minglewood Hall at renowned Ardent Studios. Deer Tick were followed by an hour-long set from the evening’s direct support, Turnpike Troubadours. Like Lucero, the Oklahoma-native Troubadours are road dogs in their own right, having spent more than a decade at this point touring like a punk rock band. While they play a style of music that’s a little more straight-forward country than you might be accustomed to reading about on the pages of Dying Scene, there’s a real storytelling aspect to frontman Evan Felker’s lyrics that make the music instantly more relatable.

While the afternoon and early evening’s happenings were an enjoyable gathering – even in spite of the occasional raindrops – of friends and families alike, this was clearly Lucero’s night. There were more than 4,000 people spread throughout the Block Party’s grounds by the time the band took the stage at a little after 8pm. When you’ve got twenty years and almost a dozen albums under your belt, it might be a little bit difficult to keep your rabid fanbase on their toes, but that’s just what they did, as Ben Nichols and the crew opened their celebratory set with “For The Lonely Ones,” a brand-new track off the band’s yet-to-be-released-or-even-formally-announced full length, due sometime in August on their new label home, Thirty Tigers (Jason Isbell, John Prine, Sturgill Simpson, etc).

Eschewing their normal formula for improvising their way through a two-hour set, the band did curate a setlist for this particular special occasion. Roughly half of the new album was woven in to the set and because this is 2018 and the internet is a thing, aside from one or two songs that hadn’t been played anywhere yet, a solid number of the new tracks (especially “Bottom of the Sea” and “Cover Me”) were not only well-received by their fans but were greeted with the same audience singalong treatment that decade-old crowd favorites have long generated. The band dug deep into the catalog, including a rare appearance by the raw, gritty stomach-punch of “No Roses No More” from their self-titled 2001 debut album (revisited on these pages a couple years back). Jim Spake rejoined the band on stage on saxophone duties for a few tracks, but otherwise this was a night to celebrate the long-running core of the band that’s stayed together in spite of a handful of moving parts throughout the decades. Nichos and Venable founded the band and played that first warehouse show with a different rhythm section, but Roy Berry (drums) and John C. Stubblefield (bass) would join within the first year and have remained in pace ever since, while the multi-instrumentally talented Rick Steff brought his serious chops into the mix in 2006. The night even featured a proclamation from Memphis mayor Jim Strickland declaring April 14, 2018, to be Lucero Day in the city, in honor of the band’s twenty year legacy of serving as a “source of inspiration, encouragement and strength for listeners all over the world.”

Head below to check out our full photo gallery of the weekend’s triumphant festivities, and stay tuned for more on Lucero’s new album (and a special Father’s Day release) in the weeks to come!



New Music: Louise Distras debuts “Land Of Dope And Glory”

It’s been a while since we’ve heard from UK-based folk punk badass Louise Distras; too long, if you ask me. But the wait is finally just about over!

Distras holed up at a studio in Oakland, California, with producer Ross Petersen (Bruce Springsteen, The Vamps) and with The Business’s Steve Whale for work on a full-length follow-up to her 2015 debut, Dreams From The Factory Floor. The first of the fruits of those labors are now upon us, as today marks the unveiling of the new track, “Land Of Dope And Glory.” Check it out below!

Dreams From The Factory Floor was released in the States on Pirates Press Records. The new album is due out this fall!