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An Evening With The Honorable Chris Fox – Part One

From L to R: John Underwood of Dirty Kid Discount; Staff Writer AnarchoPunk; Chris Fox of Vampirates & Boss’ Daughter

Reno, Nevada gets cold as hell in the winter. So, it’s no surprise that John Underwood from the folk punk troupe Dirty Kid Discount (profiled in September’s Hidden Gems of Bandcamp) was looking to get down to SoCal to avoid the doldrums of the frigid, grey confines of The Biggest Little City in the World for a few weeks to thaw out. Thus was born The Winter West Tour, which started up in Washington state in Mid-January and worked its way down the Pacific Coast before making its way back up to Reno for the finale on February 10th. Halfway through the tour, John was joined by fellow Reno resident and frontman of the up and coming punk act, Boss’ Daughter, Chris Fox. While I don’t get paid monetarily for the (exceptional?) work I do here at the Scene, I do get compensated in other ways. Getting into shows for free is a pretty cool perk, access to the press pit is a useful benefit as well. My favorite perquisite by far though is getting to meet people I wouldn’t otherwise have the chance to.  Sometimes, through those connections, I even find people that I share so much in common with that we hit off pretty well. Such is the case with Mr. Fox and myself. After getting to know him through email for an article I was writing, we became fast friends. So needless to say, when I noticed that the boys had a scheduled stop in LA, I knew it was a “can’t miss” show for me. Check out part one of my hybrid show review/interview below in this DS Exclusive!



Albums Punk Forgot: Osker – ‘Idle Will Kill’

Idle Will Kill

Albums Punk Forgot is a look back at excellent or important records within our community that, for one reason or another, have been lost or forgotten. It’s a tribute to those bands and releases that deserved to be heard, but maybe for some reason dropped off our radars too soon. We at Dying Scene hope to give these records the credit they deserve.

Today DS writer Robolitious takes a look back at Oskar’s Idle Will Kill and its vast, if not subtle, influence on modern punk. You can read his take on the album below.



DS Writer Matmoksik On Why Rise Against’s “Last Chance Blueprint” Makes Him Cringe

Is there anything worse than a bad song on a nearly perfect album? Probably, but for the sake of our series, Seeing Red, there isn’t. In Seeing Red we ask our staff writers to talk about the songs that they hate on albums that they love.

Today we have Dying Scene writer Matmoksik, who brings up his problems with the unnecessary movie samples in Rise Against’s “Last Chance Blueprint” from their 2003 record, Revolutions Per Minute. You can read his thoughts below.



Seeing Red: DS Writer Catherine Dempsey on why Anti Flag’s “This Is The End” bores her to death

Is there anything worse than a bad song on a nearly perfect album? Probably, but for the sake of our series, Seeing Red, there isn’t. In Seeing Red we ask our staff writers to talk about the songs that they hate on albums that they love.

Today we have Dying Scene columnist Catherine Dempsey, who talks about her endless boredom with Anti-Flag‘s “This Is The End” off their 2006 record, For Blood and Empire. You can read her thoughts below.



DS Staff Picks – Dying Scene Founder Johnny X’s Top 10 Punk Albums of 2015

Sup punk fans. I’m Dave and I founded this here website 6 or 7 years ago. Some of you might recognize me by my pen name Johnny X. I won’t waste your time telling you about the trials and tribulations of 2015 or how much the punk scene means to me. That’s not why you’re here. You’re here because you’re curious what an a-hole like me might have selected for his Top 10 Releases of 2015. You want to know if any of my selections overlap with your own or if you’ll discover an unknown gem or two. Well, find my list below, and I encourage you to stream tracks as you go.



DS Staff Picks – Malcolm’s Top 10 Picks of 2015

So, I’ve been a writer at Dying Scene for all of two months or so. Here I am writing a top 10 article as if I’m qualified. This year was an interesting year for me…I think. I feel like I don’t remember half of what I did. But I know I saw a lot of live music and traversed almost as much road as a touring band in doing so. As I sit here, aching from being in the middle of following a tour I realize I did not listen to nearly enough records this year. But I was also very fortunate to hear exactly the releases that I needed to hear when I heard them.

Without any (more) ado here’s what I dug in the year of our lord, two-thousand and fifteen. Enjoy.



DS Staff Picks – Meremaid’s Top Ten Albums of 2015

Hello! I’m Meredith, otherwise known as meremaid and I’m one of the newer writers on Dying Scene. This year has been a rollercoaster for me with probably some of the best and worst moments of my life and music has of course been by my side for the entire ride. When there’s nothing else that makes me feel hopeful, I have that and I am forever grateful to the bands and fans in the community that have helped me feel less alone when I’ve needed it most. I’m also so thankful that this music is something my sister and I can share. So many good memories were made this year on mini road trips and in shitty hotels to see shows. My top ten for this year is mostly pop punk, so grab a slice of pizza, get a little sad and enjoy.

You can check out my picks below.



DS Staff Picks – Jay Stone’s Ten Favorites of 2015 with Spotify Playlist!

All of a sudden, it’s Top 10 List time again, which means my fifth year as a staffer here at Dying Scene is coming to a close. In some ways, I love doing these lists, since they allow me to highlight some of the music I dig and perhaps to shine a little bit of light on a some bands that might get otherwise overlooked. But in more ways than one, I loathe this process, as I frequently find it nearly impossible to trim the list to ten (as is evidenced by my less than precise history of compiling these lists). I sometimes feel like we should do these lists twelve months after the close of the year, as that would allow for some albums to sink in moreso than cramming over the last two weeks of December does.

But I digress…

Some years (like last 2014 and 2012, in my opinion) are top heavy, with a small number of clear-cut favorites that find their way to the top of the pile, separated from the field by a fairly sizable gap. Some years, however, have no real front runners, but have an overwhelming number of almost interchangeably solid releases. While the book isn’t quite closed on 2015 yet, I think when all is said and done, we’re dealing with more of the latter than the former.

Painful though it was, I did successfully trim my list to 10 this year, though not without a few noteworthy honorable mentions. In fairness, if I were to do this list again in two weeks, it would include all of the same albums but perhaps in vastly different order. First and foremost, I think there are some non-Dying Scene-related albums worthy of mention on any “Best of 2015″ list. For what it’s worth, I enjoyed the hell out of The White Buffalo’s Love + The Death of Damnation, Wilco’s Star Wars, Ryan Adams’ 1989, Jason Isbell’s Something More Than Free, Craig Finn’s Faith In The Future, and Michael Christmas’ What A Weird Day.

Okay, enough with the long-winded intro. Here’s what you all came for. As always, no EPs (though check out the All Brights) and no live albums (though Against Me!’s is on the short-list of best ones I’ve ever heard). First, the “Honorable Mentions.”

#11 (Tie) – Lucero – All A Man Can Do, Beach Slang – The Things We Do To Find People Like Us, Titus Andronicus – The Most Lamentable Tragedy, toyGuitar – In This Mess, Joey Cape – Stitch Puppy, Rocky Votolato – Hospital Handshakes, Darkbuster - No Revolution, H2O – Use Your Voice

10. Pentimento – I, No Longer (Bad Timing Records)

I will admit to knowing nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing, about label politics (aside from that we’re all supposed to hate Victory, I guess). As such, I can’t pretend to understand what happened between Buffalo’s Pentimento and their former label home of Panic Records. It sure seems to me that Panic dropped the ball in rather epic fashion, as Pentimento has churned out yet another dynamite full length.

Listen to: “My Solution is In The Lake” or “Sink Or Swim.”

9. Antarctigo Vespucci – Leavin’ La Vida Loca (Really Records)

There are corners of this community of ours that seem to think that world-renowned punk celebrity and dominator of all things Instagram Chris Farren can do know wrong. There are corners of this community that happen to think that, aside from blowing up Bomb The Music Industry, Jeff Rosenstock can also do no musical wrong. If we were to make a Venn diagram of those two camps, we’d essentially be left with a perfect circle. Makes sense, then, that Leavin’ La Vida Loca should rank as probably the most fun album of the summer gone by.

Listen to: “2 Days,” “Save Me From Myself”

8. Desaparecidos – Payola (Epitaph Records)

Look, I’m not going to pretend I was familiar with Desaparecidos the first time around, or that I was waiting with baited breath for this album for the better part of a decade; neither one of those things would be true. I knew/know of Conor Oberst from, like, twelve of his other projects, but I guess I had missed Desaparacidos. It’s not my fault; I lived in a cave for a while there. Anyway, this album is great; highly-charged, fast-paced, layered intensity, really from start to finish.

Listen to: “The Left Is Right,” “MariKKKopa”

7. Frank Turner – Positive Songs For Negative People (XtraMile Recordings)

There are a handful of artists from my quarter-century that I’ve actively been listening to my own music (editor’s note: fuuuuuck that sounds depressing in black and white) whom I am pretty much on board with lock, stock and barrel. Frank Turner has solidified himself as one of those artists, where you just know that even an average album is going to connect with you on a level that a lot of other albums either won’t, or won’t be given the change, to connect on. On my very first listen, I thought PS/NP was going to be that type of average album. Good, but not great; more solid than Tape Deck Heart, but with higher lows and lower highs. But then came the album-closing stomach punch of “Silent Key” and “Song For Josh,” two very different, very personal tracks that struck a real chord.

Listen to: the aforementioned “Silent Key” and “Song For Josh,” though “Get Better” and “Josephine” are textbook Turner at his prototypical best.

6. Bad Cop, Bad Cop – Not Sorry (Fat Wreck Chords)

There are myriad reasons that I fell in love with this album. A lot of them are nostalgia related, I think. Pop punk was my bread-and-butter in the early 1990s, well before it got weird and fake and autotuned and plastic. Not Sorry brought me right back to those no pretense days. There’s the added bonus that the four Ninja Turtles Bad Cops seem destined to take the punk world by storm and beat it into submission. For that reason, the anthemic “Like, Seriously” should have been the album’s first track, but I digress. Either way, we need more bands like Bad Cop, Bad Cop.

Listen to: “Like, Seriously,” “Nightmare”

5. City and Colour – If I Should Go Before You (Dine Alone Records)

I’m not going to lie, this album took me by surprise. I liked the first couple City and Colour albums okay enough. I though Little Hell was really good, though it didn’t really have staying power necessarily. I think I listened to The Hurry And The Harm maybe once all the way through and didn’t find it compelling. So I had kinda lost track of ol’ Dallas Green, until one day my daughter and I were walking through a local Barnes & Noble and they were playing If I Should Go Before You over the loudspeaker on a loop. I was hooked right away. The album is atmospheric, sexy, dirty, raw, poignant, and all of the things I wasn’t quite sure Dallas still had in the tank. Album opener “Woman” is far and away my favorite track of the year by anybody.

Listen to: the opening trio of “Woman,” “Northern Blues” and “Mizzy C” is about as solid as it gets this year.

4. Jared Hart – Past Lives & Pass Lines (Say-10 Records)

New Jersey’s The Scandals have long been one of those bands that have been both critical darlings and have amassed a small legion of vocal, loyal fans. And yet, for whatever reason, they haven’t put out enough music regularly in order to truly break through to the next level or two that they’re capable of. And so, it was with great anticipation (at least to me) that the band’s founding frontman, Jared Hart, put out his first solo full-length this year. While all of the songs are centered on the acoustic, there’s enough layered vocals and varied instrumentation to keep the album from ever feeling formulaic or all-too familiar. Hopefully this kept the creative juices flowing enough so new Scandals and solo material will become a regular thing!

Listen to: “The Guillotine,” “Totem,” “The Runaround”

3. Strung Out – Transmission.Alpha.Delta (Fat Wreck Chords)

Like most of you, I’m a veteran of a great many live shows over the last couple decades. Live music remains the venue for most bands to really make a name for themselves. For my money, there is not a single tighter live band on the planet (at least in this scene) than Strung Out. I’ve seen the band a handful of times at venues large and small, and they have absolutely destroyed each and every time. So much so that there’s almost no comparison. A Strung Out show is so intense that it’ll almost leave you empty. I think that more than any album in their catalog, Transmission.Alpha.Delta captures that ferocity in perfect fashion. You can tell that Jason Cruz and the fellas poured literally everything they had into this album, and it paid off in spades.

Listen to: “The Animal In The Machine,” “Tesla,” “Rebellion of the Snakes.”

2. Bryan McPherson - Wedgewood (O.F.D. Records)

It genuinely pains me that Bryan McPherson is not more of a household name. I strongly believe that he was born in the wrong time; that if he were writing and performing his particular band of protest punk inspired folk music forty years ago, we’d be teaching his music to school children (okay, in some of the more progressive parts of the country, anyway). McPherson’s lyrics a razors, cutting quickly, beautifully, honestly and directly to the core of deep rooted societal issues that are uniquely American. If you’re in to the recent trend toward acoustic punk, Wedgewood is the prototype.

Listen to: the whole damn thing for god’s sake…it’s 49 minutes long, you’ve got time.

1. Rebuilder – Rock And Roll In America (Panic State Records)

If you’re a frequent Dying Scene reader, you may well be aware that I’ve got a special connection to this album. I was lucky enough to spend some time with Rebuilder co-frontmen Sal Medrano and Craig Stanton as they tracked guitars for this album in the studio. I later interviewed Medrano around the album’s release, and about the Boston scene in general. I shot their album release party at a sold-out bar in Boston. That being said, I think I’m enough of a professional (ha!) to be able to differentiate between personal attachment and a genuinely great album. Rock And Roll In America is a genuinely great album from start to finish. It’s smart, it’s fun, it’s just heavy enough to catch you in the feels but hopeful enough to help keep you pointed in the right direction. I can’t say enough good things about it.

Listen to: again, listen to the whole thing. But if you’ve gotta choose, start with “The Natural Bohemian” and “Le Grande Fromage.”

As a bonus, here’s a bunch of the tracks I mentioned above, plus a few random goodies!



Book Review: ‘Rich Boy Cries For Momma’

“I was told that it was a gift, that many of the most brilliant, famous, and powerful had some form of dyslexia. But I also heard that ninety percent of the prison population had it too. I wasn’t sure where I would fall in.” Ethan Minsker’s novel begins this way. Bold, brash, and unapologetic. Constantly questioning where to draw the line between what is the truth and what is an exaggerated lie.

It makes sense really. Rich Boy Cries For Momma is a coming of age novel largely based on the life and times of the author, Ethan Minsker, who grew up in the turbulent Washington D.C. punk scene in the 1980′s. While it is a work of fiction, the characters are drawn from real people Minsker grew up with in his neighborhood and in the schools he struggled through. The author truly has dyslexia, making the book that much more fascinating to read.

There is so much to love about this novel. It wanes on innocence versus opposition, reminding readers of when they were young and first getting into the punk rock scene. The characters are absolutely hysterical, and Minsker does a perfect job of bringing them to life with every turn of the page. He also makes it very clear that D.C. at this time was not for the faint of heart. Without giving away too much, the author finds himself in the middle of a murder.

One character in particular, Ronnie “Motherfucking” Collins, is one of the funniest and most enlightening characters in the novel. He tends to speak the most words of wisdom saying, “Don’t become a fuck up like me, motherfucker. I should have taken the scholarship at Saint John’s, but instead I got too deep into the motherfucking scene and drugs. I was a motherfucking child prodigy.”

Each chapter references lyrics from classic punk songs that Minsker felt summarized his youth and the pages are filled with the art of Ted Riederer, who grew up with Minsker in the same neighborhood. There were points reading this novel where I was booming with laughter all alone in my house. There were also points where I could feel my heart breaking in two.

Rich Boy Cries For Momma beckons you to join Minsker on this crazy and unforgettable adventure, but cautions you to keep your distance and watch from the sidelines. It’s absolutely a fun read.

The novel is available on Amazon and iTunes and is published by Minsker & Lee Productions.



10 things you probably didn’t know about the Ramones

There’s a pretty good chance you are at least familiar with the name the Ramones. They may be well-known as pioneers of the American punk rock scene, but how much do you really know about them? To help educate you we’ve put together a list of 10 things you might not have known about this iconic band. Expand your knowledge below.



DS Staff Picks – Bizarro Dustin’s Top Albums of 2015

My bathroom selfie game was strong in 2015.

The end of the year is always my favorite time of year because who doesn’t love massaging their own ego while talking about their favorite records? It’s wonderful to see everyone showing off their tastes in music, often times thought of as superior, and I love every moment of it. We were told directly by Dying Scene head honcho Johnny X that we had to stick to writing a simple list of 10 albums this year, but I decided to go in a different direction because anarchy. But also because I wrote this before he gave any guidelines.

You can jump into my self-indulgence below.

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DS Staff Picks – Catherine Dempsey’s Top 10 Albums of 2015

I’m Catherine Dempsey and I’m one of the many features writers here at the good ol’ Dying Scene. You may have seen my list of Philly Bands You Need To Hear, my rants about Green Day, or you may have sent me hate mail for sharing my opinion (I’m looking at you, JungleJim4322).

If you must know, I enjoy the occasional cheesesteak, long walks through the cemetery, and pretending to be a professional publicist at all times. Regardless of our futuristic, virtual relationship together, you and I can safely agree on one thing: there were plenty of sick albums released this year. I found it hard to get this list down to ten. It took a lot of sitting and staring at the wall, contemplating what needed to be cut, which is why this is being submitted late as hell (sorry, Dave).

Here at DS, we love to look back on the records that made us laugh, cry, scream, and thrash. Whether you sat in your room alone, or danced to it live, we’re gonna talk about it. I would also like to point out that this list is in no particular order. Each record here is equally as important as the last. I look forward to your hate mail. My inbox is always open and I am always down to fight on the Internet. It’s great cardio.

You can read more below.



DS Staff Picks – Gina Skidz’s Top 10 of 2015

Another year-end is upon us! As we prepare ourselves to deal with family, long lines and fistfights over parking spaces (wait…does that just happen in Boston?!), let’s blow off some steam with some of the most badass punk albums of 2015.  I think I missed the deadline for both 2013 and 2014, so this is my first Top 10 List since I’ve been on staff at Dying Scene.  A few caveats to my list:

1. I tried my best to stay away from the major albums of 2015.  While there were some really good ones, my intent was to highlight some awesome up-and-comers.

2. I did include EPs as well as albums.  Some were just too damn good to pass up, and I couldn’t resist.

3.  They are in no particular order.  Comparing two totally different genres or calling an EP better than an album just seemed nonsensical to me (or maybe I was being lazy?).  Hey, it’s punk rock–no rules!

Keep reading to see my Top 10 of 2015, in no particular order.



DS Staff Picks – Mitchattitude’s Top 10 Albums of 2015

Hello I’m Mitch and I have been writing for Dying Scene for three happy years and it’s that agonizing time of year again where I make an attempt to whittle down this year’s punk releases to construct something resembling my list of favourite records; as ever it has been a difficult task compiling it, but after a wealth of delirious deliberating, self doubt and great tunes, below is my top ten for 2015.



DS Staff Picks – Hopeless Romantic’s Top 10 Albums of 2015 (Meredith)

2015 was one of the best years of my life, both personally and professionally. Throughout all of the excitement, including marrying the love of my life (my name is Hopeless Romantic, after all!), there were a number of albums that composed the soundtrack of my year. My newly adopted method of keeping a running list of great albums made writing this article easier in terms of remembering what came out, but not in terms of narrowing down my selections. A handful of albums just missed the cut, but I truly feel like the following 10 albums (and 1 EP) help make 2015 even more memorable. Check out my picks below!