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November’s Hidden Gems of Bandcamp

Rise on Everest

Thanksgiving always throws off our timing on Hidden Gems but I guess it’s better late than never, right? RIGHT!??! Look, 2016 has been rough on all of us in one aspect or another but as we near it’s end, we would like to thank you for reading and hope that our silly little article has made this tough, bitter pill of a year a little easier to swallow. This month, we’ve got six sick bands that we’re betting you haven’t heard of, to help get you over this last, awful gulp. Check out November’s stellar selections below and then we’ll see you back here next month for our year end blowout!



October’s Hidden Gems of Bandcamp

Foxtrot

Oh Yea!!! It’s October!! Why all of the excitement? Well, October = Halloween and Halloween = office costume contest!! While we normally don’t get too excited about such a childish and menial event, rumor has it that Phyllis over in Accounting was so amped about the Misfits reunion a few months back that she has been working on a Glenn Danzig costume (ed: Oh god…is that what the fishnet tank top is for? Has HR been alerted?). Needless to say, there’s considerably more excitement around DyingScene HQ this year! If envisioning questionably attired, 62 year old accountants isn’t enough to get you stoked, it’s also time for this month’s installment of Hidden Gems of Bandcamp! This month, we’ve uncovered five fantastic bands that we’re betting aren’t on your radar yet. Check ‘em out below!



A look at the Romanian Punk Rock scene from Romanian punk act TBA

The punk rock scene in Romania is like a ghost, haunting places and minds but somehow never really there. Although the first bands started to appear in the early 90′s, after the revolution, the situation here is “stranger than fiction”. Almost everyone knows that Romania’s current social and economic status is somewhere around 20 or 30 years in the past relative to western countries. It’s kind of the same with the punk rock scene. Truth be told, there are some local bands that manage to gather more than a hundred people for a show, have been doing this for more than 10 years and are doing a good job musically. But still, many bands came, more bands left.

Along the years, the scene became nothing more than an isolated bubble. Isolated in the terms that everyone knew about the local hero bands but few were interested in other countries’ underground scenes. With a few exceptions, none of the Romanian bands tried to tour outside Romania or record a split with a foreign band. One of the only relations between the outside-of-Romania punk rock scene and the Romanian punk rock scene were the small opening bands that would play for a 2 beer/each share, lasting no more than 1 or 2 years, never releasing a record because of the difficulty and expenses and not getting too much help from the bigger bands. It is a little bit strange that many of these small bands adopted a proto-punk sound, with a big Ramones, Toy Dolls, Adicts or other old school band influence or a reggae-ska feeling. It’s like it was obvious that the spirit and the will of starting something bigger were there, but the interest of doing it for the present, expanding their views, looking outside and not only living in the past wasn’t. It somehow feels like a nationalist thing but I don’t wanna go that far. And I don’t want to criticize or blame anyone in particular for this. Maybe it’s the lack of interest from the public to search for something new, maybe the bands’ attitude of singing mostly in Romanian and being content with seeing some happy kids at their show, without trying to educate them in the spirit of this movement. The underground scene at some point shifted towards other musical genres like indie or metal and the punk scene was left with a couple of popular bands and a bunch of smaller bands that wouldn’t last a year before splitting up.

A lot of people nowadays associate the word “punk” with either very popular local bands or piss-drunk, strange-hair-money-for-beer beggars. It seems that we killed the punk from punk. That’s why, when an active and well known underground band from any other country tours in Romania, sometimes there are less than 10 people attending the show.

It is still a good thing that we have one or two venues where this music can be played, at least in Bucharest, but for a city with 3 million people it shouldn’t be enough. No squats at all or autonomous places, even though some people tried to do this but were defeated by the spirit of this country. And I’m talking more about Bucharest because its the city where I saw my first punk show and got in touch with people from the scene. There are some promoters here and there in the country that try to keep this movement alive and over the past years, the cities closer to the western boarder obviously had a more active scene compared to the one in the overcrowded, communist-like capital. But things are getting messy in these cities too. It doesn’t feel like the scene is dying because it was never really there. It was there only in a superficial and mostly local way. I like to think that we are destroying ourselves only to be recreated into something new and stronger this time.

TBA was born out of the few people attending the underground punk shows and out of frustration of not having a proper scene. I mean really, how many Romanian punk bands do you know? Some Romanians go abroad to pick fruit, some to steal and, to be honest, we are not far from that. We go abroad, steal information, gain some experience, pick up some details, come back home and try to do something with what we have.

Just like all bands, TBA started when a guy (Matei-bass) wanted to start a punk band and he knew some other guys (Leo – vox, guitar; Matei – guitar, vox; Razvan – drums) that wanted more or less the same thing. Picking a name was easy since we had more important things to worry about and TBA seemed like the name you’d someday see on a concert or festival poster. About a month after our first rehearsal together we had written our first song, Lost and Found, and had our first concert, riddled with covers and guest appearances from our friends in the local punk scene.

A few months and one drummer (enters André from Portugal) later we were ready (or so we thought) to embark on our first tour, with Volstead Akt (Fr) and Agora (Ro), with a rented van and no drummer, since André couldn’t make it on such short notice. Halfway through the tour, after a dull set of concerts in Romania (except Sibiu) we had abandoned the drum machine and put Leo in charge of the drums without knowing how to drum, crashed the van, somehow replaced it with a small hatchback, got to France and met up with Dragos, a hitchhiker friend of Leo’s, who took over on guitar whenever he could find a ride to the next gig. It was there that we had the best two weeks of our lives, playing and sleeping in squats, being treated like old friends and recording our first demo at our friends’ place.

In the following year we played every gig we could that didn’t require a van, we followed Gnarwolves and Despite Everything on tour (we only needed a regular car) and opened for them on all three of their romanian dates without anyone asking us to and we started working on our first EP, Evenings, which we recorded over 3-4 days at our rehearsal room and released through our own record label, Overdue Records.

TBA plays an unequal mix of punk, melodic hardcore, pop punk and post rock and stands for not waiting around. Not waiting to find that perfect name, not waiting to have more than one song, not waiting until the songs sound perfect to play them, not waiting to find a drummer before you plan the tour (actually when we planned the tour we did have a drummer, he just bailed in the meantime), not waiting to get your own van and not waiting for someone to magically offer you a record deal.

The only possible plan for the future? Keep on doing stuff…

We’re happy to say that, as pessimistic as the story of the Romanian punk scene may seem, the situation isn’t really so dire as proven to us by the audience we had when releasing our first EP, just a few weeks ago. If all those people keep showing up to support the scene and not only local bands, we have a real chance!



September’s Hidden Gems of Bandcamp

Spruce Bringsteen

With the passing of Awesome Fest and Riot Fest comes the departure of the long, hot, busy Summer. While a great deal of the country may be looking forward to the cooler months, with leaves of every imaginable autumnal hue rustling through the frigid evening breeze, the more nihilistic, Eeyorian (ed: …what the hell man? We talked about this.) among us are less optimistic about the coming weeks. With the arrival of Fall also comes a slight nudge, as we inch ever closer to our impending doom which is a certainty come early November. While our civilization’s waning hours may be a frightening prospect for some of us, there’s no reason why we all can’t enjoy these last few weeks of life as we know it with some radical tunes! This month’s Hidden Gems of Bandcamp highlights six lesser known or new punk acts from an assortment of different genres! Something for everyone, guaranteed! Check out September’s sensational selections below and try to forget about all of the pain and suffering in your not so distant future!



DS Photo Gallery: The New Darkbuster, The Warning Shots and CJ Ramone, Cambridge, MA

There hasn’t been an awful lot said publicly about the rise and fall and rebirth of the once-mighty Darkbuster, save for a few words here about this time a year ago when the band played what were initially billed as “reunion shows.” A funny thing happened on the way to the reunion, however, and we were left with a completely retooled lineup backing longtime frontman Lenny Lashley. The result was less of a booze-infused potential disaster of a live show and a more of a tight, focused, high energy punk rock battering ram. The retooled lineup (the core of which consists of Halston Luna on guitar, Ruben Lipkind on bass, and Lashley’s Street Dogs bandmate Pete Sosa on drums) played a few shows in the greater New England area last year and spent a month on the road in support of Dropkick Murphys earlier this year.

There is much, much more to be written as to the Darkbuster back story (by me? Maybe?), but as you can see above, we’re now calling the Lashley-led outfit The New Darkbuster (hopefully just temporarily). The band, who will co-headline the Street Dogs annual Wreck The Halls series of shows in Boston in a few months, played a one-off show in Cambridge a little while back, and as is typical whenever a Boston punk rock vet rallies the troops for a hometown show, the night felt like a sort of Punk Rock Olde Home Day. As to be expected, the band ripped through an hour-ish long set that crammed songs from throughout its catalog (including 2015′s ten-years-in-the-making No Revolution), running the sonic spectrum from blistering Oi! and street punk (“Bomb,” “Punk Rock’s Not Dead,” to gritty, horn-infused nouveau-reggae (“Rudy,” a cover of Steve Miller’s “The Joker.” The Good Ship (new) Darkbuster was joined on vocals by another of Lashley’s Street Dogs bandmates, frontman Mike McColgan during “Stand And Deliver,” and “Cheap Wine And Cigarettes,” each of which has a home high up in the pantheon of classic Boston street punk songs.

Direct supprt came from none-other than CJ Ramone (meaning that New Darkbuster drummer Pete Sosa pulled double duty on the evening). Now on the other side of fifty, Ramone still ably demonstrates why he was widely, and rightly, credited with injecting fresh life into the legendary founding punk band from which he adopted his name when he joined them more than a quarter-century ago. Ramone did an enjoyable job of peppering his set of mostly solo tracks from his excellent solo albums Reconqusita and Last Chance To Dance with classic Ramones staples like “Blitzkrieg Bop,” “Judy Is A Punk,” and “Glad To See You Go.” We’ll have more with CJ around the release of his forthcoming third studio album, due out in early 2017 on Fat Wreck.

Local support came from The Warning Shots, the latest and (in my correct opinion) greatest project from Mark Lind (Ducky Boys, Sinners and Saints, a crapload of other bands). The five piece (with Lind on vocals, Rich Crimlisk and Nick Repassy on guitar, the inimitable “DiLo” on bass, and new recruit Luke Mangini on drums) have perfected a sort-of balls-out hybrid of street punk and good, old-fashioned G’N'R-style rock-n-fuckin-roll. In spite of being a new-ish band, the bulk of the outfit has been around in some fashion for a long enough time that they more than hold their own on a stage with local and national punk rock legends.

Check out our photo gallery from the evening below.



Fifteen Years of Raising Hell – Part Two: Frank Turner, Dave Hause and more on the impact of Lucero

Toward the end of May, Dying Scene published a feature piece marking the fifteenth anniversary of Lucero‘s self-titled debut album. You can read it here if you haven’t done so already. In the course of digging around on the band’s history, however, it dawned on us pretty quickly that any sort of retrospective on Lucero was going to have to dive much deeper than just reexamining their first album. Because, to paraphrase the first couple of paragraphs of that last story, Lucero are, for a great number of people and due to an equally great number of reasons, one of those bands. A band that has a way of not only writing music and lyrics that strike you right in the emotional core, but fundamentally changing

When I started this project a few months ago, I had visions of turning it into a 5,000 word ode to Lucero in my own words. As you’ve probably established, they’re one of those bands for me. The mark of a good storyteller and songwriter is that you are able to paint a picture and strike a nerve that’s so poignant that you put the listener in your shoes, making them feel as though you’re not only singing to them but about them. For myself, like most Lucero fans, the list of songs penned in Ben Nichols’ trademark tone that were probably written precisely about me is at least a couple dozen deep, primarly because the band’s canon is part heartbreaking, part self-deprecating, part cathartic good-time anthem and filled with ever-evolving sonic differences. But let’s be honest; one part-time pseudo-music blogger’s opinion on what he thinks is one of the most important bands in the foundation of this scene isn’t, well…it isn’t that interesting. I mean who do I think I am, Dan Ozzi?

Anyway, with that latter sentiment in mind, we sent out feelers to a couple friends of the scene that we know share our admiration for the ever-changing band of misfits from Memphis, Tennessee. What follows below is, we think, a pretty compelling look at just what makes Lucero Lucero, and what it means to be a fan of the band and of Ben Nichols penchant for songwriting (never that good with words anyway my ass). There are stories of personal encounters (wrapping Christmas presents…drunken tour bus hijinks…etc), there are comparisons to bands like Slayer and NOFX…equal parts entertaining and enlightening and, thanks to the guys we talked to, incredibly thoughtful read. Many thanks to Frank Turner, Dave Hause, and Rebuilder‘s Sal Medrano for the assists! You can head here to scope out Lucero’s upcoming run of US tour dates, which kicks off next weekend (September 24th) in Boston.

 



August’s Hidden Gems of Bandcamp

American Blackout

With all of the hubbub surrounding Pokemon last month, we totally forgot to celebrate the one year anniversary of Hidden Gems of Bandcamp! August will mark the start of our sophomore year for this monthly article. My, how the time flies! After looking back at the past twelve months, we realized just how incredible our little scene is. Here’s a few mind blowing statistics from our first full year: Nearly 100 up and coming and lesser known punk acts were featured; Bands from five of the seven continents have been highlighted; Across those five continents, we’ve had acts from over twenty different countries. Now, who says our scene is dying?!?! Celebrate with us by checking out this month’s entries below!



A Memorialization for a Friend: RIP Erik Petersen

[The following is a transcript from the latest episode of Dying Scene Radio. As the title implies, it is a eulogy, of sorts, for the late Erik Petersen of Mischief Brew. You can listen to the episode that this memorialization comes from here.]

Howdy gang. It’s your favorite molotov cocktail waiter, AnarchoPunk here. By now we’re sure you’ve heard about the sudden passing of Mischief Brew’s front man, Erik Petersen. In a year where beloved artists are passing at an alarming rate and memorializations are almost as common as news about upcoming album releases, we wanted to stop and take a moment to remember the impact he had on the scene as well as his fans. As one of DyingScene’s resident folk punk aficionados, I felt obligated to weigh in on what his music meant to me.

Erik Petersen was a good friend of mine. I never actually met him, although I spent a lot of time in Philly and we were the same age and hung out with a lot of the same people. Despite never actually meeting him though, I still consider him a close friend. This sense of unearned familiarity was created by his music and the simple, heartfelt approach he took in crafting the songs. It was honest and candid, with no frills, begging people to gather around and unite for crowd sung choruses of passionate protest and camaraderie, always inclusive and welcoming. That openness, that intimacy more than anything is what made him seem more tangible than other artists.

It’s the kind of organic, unpretentious music my parents raised me on, artists like Arlo Guthrie, Cat Stevens and Phil Ochs all helped to create the blueprint years ago. But until artists like Erik and a few others started blending the two distinctive styles, punk music didn’t have anything quite as approachable or fundamental, nothing even close to what modern day folk punk has become. Erik was one of the few artists who was there through it all, one of the true pioneers that saw the genre’s raise to fruition from literally nothing, nurturing it as it gained in popularity, on it’s journey towards legitimacy.

Now, with the news of his abrupt passing we are left with a hole in our hearts but more importantly, there’s a hole left in the community. A massive empty space that will be nearly impossible to fill. Erik’s likeness would most assuredly be on the Mt Rushmore of modern folk punk next to the likes of Against Me’s Laura Jane Grace, Pat the Bunny and Jeff Rosenstock. As one of the founding fathers of the genre, his loss will be felt for a long time and will impact the maturation of the genre for years to come.

I think he would probably be uncomfortable with all of the attention and praise, so I will leave it at that and close out by quoting one his most fitting lyrics: “When the tape slows down, it means the battery’s dead. May your songs never get stuck out of my head”

Thank you for everything, Erik. I’ll see you in hell, boy.



July’s Hidden Gems of Bandcamp

RedEyed Jedi

Oh…Hello there!!! We weren’t expecting anyone this month! We figured everyone was still out, trying to trap Tamagotchis (ed: pretty sure that’s not right). Well, for those lucky few who aren’t roaming around public areas throwing balls at imaginary, yellow squirrels (sounds like our college days!) you are in for a real treat! Welcome to July’s Hidden Gems of Bandcamp! Our punk rock pillagers have once again looted the site’s musical treasure troves and returned with only the best up and coming punk acts from around the globe that are sure to put some pika in your chu! This month, we have seven spectacular bands, spanning a multitude of genres for your audial arousal. You gotta catch ‘em all below!



Remembering: Erik Petersen of Mischief Brew w/ Features Writer Catherine Dempsey

Photo courtesy of Polo Itona (IG: @poloitona)

I thought I had more articles to write about Erik. I thought I had more interviews to do. I thought I had more shows to attend. More friends to make. More memories to share. More laughter. More cheer. Joy. I thought I had more time. I thought I had more time. I thought I had more time. My heart is weeping.

Learning of his passing made me feel sick to my stomach. It’s going to take me a while to process it, but in the meantime, I’d like to dedicate a bit of my own words and feelings regarding Erik’s life and the legacy he’s left behind for all of us to enjoy. It may be somewhat of a ramble, but I’ll try my best.

It’s hard to talk about Erik without mentioning the fact that he was truly a great guy. He loved big. He laughed loud. He was a family man to his wife Denise and his little pugs. He was a hero to all the wayward kids that didn’t fit in and never would. He stood up for what he believed in and he always stuck by his values. Erik was the kind of guy who surpassed all clichés. He was a different breed. Irreplaceable.

There was something really special about Erik. He was humble as humble gets. He had a calming vibe about him, a feeling that’s tough to place. I’ll miss his addictive smile, his contagious laugh, and his magnetic personality. Through all my years of knowing Erik, I never got the chance to tell him how much he meant to me. How much his music moved me. I regret it now.

Erik and I weren’t close. We didn’t have a solid relationship outside the realm of music. But every interaction with him felt like home. He had a way of making you feel like you were the most important person in the room. He listened with his heart. He was unapologetically kind and gentle. Erik was a fucking rock star, but not in the dictionary definition way. He was a master songwriter who didn’t see his craft for what it was. Magic.

I was a fan first and a friend second. We kept in contact and updated each other on what we were doing. I always made a point to let him know every time I snagged a new writing gig with the intention of writing about him more in the future. Erik had a warmth to him and would congratulate me whenever I accomplished a new goal. He helped me believe in myself, whether it was through speaking to me or through his music and lyrics.

Erik’s music cut me deep. “Roll Me Through The Gates of Hell” made me feel powerful. “Bury Me In Analog” made me contemplate my life. “Love and Rage” made me want to burn shit and cry. “On The Sly” got my heart to beat twice as fast. I could go on and on about how influential his music was to my existence. I shouldn’t be writing about it in the past tense. It still fucks me up in a good way. Erik had such a strong grasp on language and expression. He was a master of melody. Absolutely unmatched.

Seeing Erik play was always a special treat for me. His shows were so energetic, and each one was drastically different from the last. He had a habit of switching up his set list as much as possible, always throwing in a surprise track here and there, while delivering a couple of crowd-pleasers. I can’t count how many times I’ve seen him play, either solo or with Mischief Brew, but each time I went, Erik always took my requests. He went out of his way to make sure you were having a good time at his show.

I had the honor and the pleasure of getting to interview Erik. It’s something that I could never forget, even if I tried. It was January and cold as hell in Brooklyn. We huddled together outside the back entrance of Sunnyvale as a few snowflakes fell upon our heads. He never complained.

In the middle of our lengthy interview, my recorder stopped working. I never told him. I was too embarrassed, and I didn’t want to burden him by asking the same questions to re-record the answers. So I wrote up the interview based on my memory and the small amount of audio I managed to capture.

One thing that stuck out to me from that interview was how overwhelmed he was when he spoke about his fan base. He was awestruck that there were people on this planet who loved his music, who sang along and knew all the words to his songs. It boggled him. He was eternally grateful to have had that kind of influence on the world. I think he felt rather weird about it. Erik was chronically modest.

My respect and adoration for Erik was endless. I think he knew that. If he didn’t, I hope he knows now in some far out cosmic way. I hope he knows how loved and valued he was. How needed and admired. He was here, and now he’s gone. Let’s celebrate his life, for all he was and all he ever will be. It’s what he would have wanted.

I’m ending this off with my favorite memory with Erik. This is when he played my request, “Bury Me In Analog,” at the Grand Victory in Brooklyn last Christmas. He absolutely killed it that night. I’ll never forget this. Sorry to Erik for enthusiastically screaming the lyrics in his face. Thanks to Jeff Schaer-Moses for the footage.

The dreams of the morning
Let me not die mourning
May the devils come a’crying
Carry me away a’laughing
As we all go a’laughing to storytelling graves
-
E.P. 



Dying Scene Readers Choice: 25 Best Albums of 2016 (So Far)

Around the end of June we asked you to submit your favorite albums that have been released thus far this year. Any punk (or punk-related sub-genre) albums released for the first time between January 1, 2016 and June 30, 2016 were fair game. After a crap load of tedious data entry and more Red Bull than is probably healthy, the results are officially in for your choices of the 25 best punk albums released so far in 2016.

You can check out  the list below. For your convenience, we’ve included links to stream each entry so you can catch up on any albums that you might have missed.



Save WhySound (Or, On the Importance of Small Town DIY)

Adam Stiletto (center) with Melodic Hardcore act Lifelink
All photos by Sativa Evans

One of the many joys of this gig is getting to meet awesome people from all over the world who have a passion for this Scene as much as me. Not that I’m bursting at the seams with punk pride or anything, it’s just that I grew up in a small town where people weren’t like me. So, I always embrace the chance to meet like minded individuals. One such individual sent me an unsolicited Facebook friend request a year or two ago (see, some people actually find me charming). I passively watched my daily feed fill up with his posts about incredible shows he was putting on at his venue or promoting some band that no one had ever heard of with the fervor of a six year old on Christmas morning. I didn’t even realize for months that this guy was in Logan, Utah until we started interacting a little more. ”How is there such an active scene in B.F.E, Utah?” I thought to myself. What is this kid? The Johnny Appleseed of punk, spreading seeds of the scene throughout the Cache Valley, nurturing them with all his might in hopes that they will one day bear fruit? Well, the short answer, surprisingly is yes! This Johnny AppleScene (no?) has been proving for years, that the DIY ethos that makes our community so great can get shit done against heavy odds and under unlikely circumstances. Now, it’s time for our community to show that the same self sufficient, “circle the wagons” attitude can keep this small but thriving scene in Northern Utah alive. If you are a punk at heart, you will really want to give this one a read. Check out more on this story and find out how you can help below!



A first timer’s impressions of Punk Rock Bowling 2016

Punk Rock Bowling came and went this Memorial Day weekend in a sun-seared flash and for the first time, I was burning with it. I dragged my pretty green eyes out of the pretty green city I call home and took my first step to a weekend of firsts. First fest, first plane trip, first time in Vegas.

This won’t be a thorough recount of setlists. I don’t know enough of every band’s catalog to make that happen. This is intended as a way to capture what Punk Rock Bowling is, for those of us who haven’t themselves to first yet. This is about the experience, because the experience transcends a festival lineup.

You can read the tale of my first trip to Punk Rock Bowling in its entirety below.



Show Review: Spanish Love Songs, Melted, Rayner, Born Rivals – Los Angeles 5/20/2016

Spanish Love Songs

Some of the best shows in Los Angeles can be found in the San Fernando Valley. Not that the crowds are huge or the acts are world renowned. It’s more about intimacy and the quality of the performances. The smaller shows in bars and pubs aren’t usually things to highlight unless you’re in a large city like LA or New York. Places where the talent pool is so deep that loads of promising young artists (and even some well known acts) hone their craft at tiny venues on a consistent basis in their time off between touring. A few weeks back, we were invited to attend one of these inconspicuous events on the ‘wrong side of the hills’. So, to prove our point, we dragged LA based staffer, AnarchoPunk out of his gutter, scrubbed him up a bit and sent him over to The Surly Goat in Encino to check out some of the biggest names in up and coming punk acts at this cozy concert in the 818. Check out his full review (and some shitty pictures) below!



Musings and stuff to watch for at Punk Rock Bowling

Two of our Scenesters are going to Punk Rock Bowling this year with big plans to lose some hearing and party till Memorial Day is yesterday. As one would suspect, they are pretty stoked. We had them write out what they were looking forward to this year to share with you the excitement and spectacle of one of punk rock’s biggest fests. If you plan on going yourself, or just want to gaze longingly from afar, here are some thoughts, musings, hopes, and dreams from our two Vegas-bound writers.

So, here it is: Carson Winter and AnarchoPunk weigh in on what to be amped about at this year’s Punk Rock Bowling.