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!
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Thursday, July 21, 2016 at 4:12 PM (PST) by AnarchoPunk
[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.
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!
Tuesday, July 19, 2016 at 12:00 PM (PST) by Catherine Dempsey
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
Saturday, July 2, 2016 at 8:39 PM (PST) by Bizarro Dustin
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.
Monday, June 13, 2016 at 10:48 AM (PST) by AnarchoPunk
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!
Thursday, June 9, 2016 at 5:58 PM (PST) by Carson Winter
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.
Thursday, June 2, 2016 at 6:00 PM (PST) by AnarchoPunk
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!
Wednesday, May 25, 2016 at 5:57 PM (PST) by Carson Winter
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.
Tuesday, May 24, 2016 at 12:00 PM (PST) by jaystone
We’ve all got those bands. Bands that not only have a way of writing songs that strike us right in our respective emotional cores, but have a fundamental way in altering how we listen to music. Hell, if you’ve been actively listening to music long enough (and let’s be honest, if you’re reading a story about a band like Lucero on a site like Dying Scene, you’re probably an active music listener), you’ve undoubtedly got a metric ton of those bands. The band that first made you fall for punk rock. The band that first broke you from your childhood love of manufactured pop music. The band whose style you copied and adopted as your own. The band that wrote songs that made you realize that music could be intense and personal and still make you laugh your ass off. The band that first got you to care about politics/social causes or made you break out the thesaurus/dictionary/Google search bar. The band that first wrote songs that made you understand…like, really understand…pain and loss and heartache.
Which brings us to Lucero. The genre-bending Memphis band just rounded the corner on fifteen years since the launch of their self-titled debut full-length. Released May 22, 2001 (MadJack Records), Lucero marked the result of three years of cutting their collective teeth as songwriters and, perhaps most notably, one of the hardest-drinking, hardest-working bands in the game. The album dropped with relatively little fanfare, at least by today’s standards; looking back, there was never really a clear moment when the band burst on the national stage or took the scene by comparative storm. What the album’s release did do, however, was put an official time and date stamp on the beginning of what would become a slow build of a career rooted in earnestness and authenticity that would find them a home in myriad genres. Or, perhaps more accurately, eschewing labels and creating their very own genre.
To honor the occasion, Dying Scene decided to revisit Lucero’s self-titled debut album. From there, the project took off, thus the reason this particular installment is labelled “Part I.” You see, over the course of the last decade-and-a-half, Lucero the band has taken on a level of importance that long since eclipsed the relative importance of Lucero, the album. So what happened as this story developed was a shift in ideas, from a story celebrating Lucero as an album, to a story celebrating Lucero as a band and all of the things that that entails; their continually evolving sound, their devoutly loyal fanbase, their rightful place at the flash point of some rather sizable changes in the punk rock landscape. To do Lucero justice, it’s certainly not enough to hear the long-winded ravings of a Dying Scene editor and Lucero fanboy (don’t you worry, though, there will still be plenty of that in the space below). Throughout the process, however, we called on some singer/songwriter friends to have them chime in on what sets Lucero, the band and the album, apart from the rest of the field. So grab a whiskey and head below to view our revisit of Lucero (with a little help from Dave Hause and Sal Medrano), and stay tuned later in the week for a longer, entertaining piece on the band at large!
On May 7th, the music world said goodbye to the self-described “Clown Prince of Punk.” John “Stabb” Schroeder, frontman of hardcore band Government Issue (G.I.), lost a four month battle with stomach cancer.
Like many DC punk musicians, Stabb started performing in his teens and continued to create new music throughout his lifetime. From recording one of Dischord’s first releases in G.I., to his more recent acts Weatherhead, Betty Blue, Factory Incident, and History Repeated, John continually performed, recorded, and influenced others. He proved punk music’s support of individuality by trading the leather and jeans uniform for a business suit in an effort to become, “The David Letterman of punk rock.” His energy at live show and his mix of politics and humor helped make G.I. a staple in 80’s DC hardcore.
Stabb endlessly supported and contributed to the music scene and, after becoming ill and facing huge medical bills, the scene returned the favor. A gofundme page was set up which raised over 50 thousand bucks from online auctions, including gems like a GI skate deck signed by GBH and the autographed Damned poster that’s still available. The long-established DC music venue, The Black Cat, also hosted a Boycott Cancer fundraiser two Sundays ago. Unfortunately, it became one that John would never see, passing away two days before the show. The fundraiser instead turned into a wake. GIVE, Jawbox’s J. Robbins (who played bass in G.I.), and Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, took the stage to pay respects to a DC legend.
Though the 54 year old no longer lives, his contributions to music continue through every band and fan inspired by his work. Pay your respects by putting on some Government Issue today, then going to Johnstabb.com and www.gofundme.com/Boycottcancer to help support his wife Mina cover funeral costs.
Wednesday, March 23, 2016 at 12:00 PM (PST) by Robolitious
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 Million Dead’s Harmony No Harmony and its underrated place in post hardcore history. You can read his take on the album below.
As the country thaws from the tedious, cold Winter and daylight starts seeping into the evening hours, we’re reminded that the coming months will be filled with freshness and new life as Spring slowly begins to roll in. Flowers will bloom, animals will emerge from their caves after extended lengths of time spent in slumber and the long frozen, brown earth will gently change hue to a more virile, lush green. It’s with this same sense of rejuvenation and rebirth that we present you with this month’s Hidden Gems of Bandcamp! Time to spruce up that playlist a little with some fresh new tunes for your listening portals! This month, our punk rock prognosticators have returned with seven, slick, burgeoning bands that they’re betting you’ve never heard of. Check ‘em out below!
Thursday, March 17, 2016 at 3:00 PM (PST) by Catherine Dempsey
25 mentions of murder. 16 mentions of suicide. 23 mentions of self-loathing. 2 mentions of school shootings. 1 song title threatening the president. 5 dudes. 1 album. An endless amount of morbid fun.
If you’re unfamiliar with Leathermouth, the Jersey band was what your worst nightmares are made of. Fronted by Frank Iero, the guitarist of now defunct My Chemical Romance, Leathermouth spent a hot three years shredding faces in New Jersey basements and beyond, eventually branching out to the Skate and Surf Festival. It’s been 6 years since the band has played together, and I haven’t been able to shut up about it since.
Read the rest below.
Tuesday, March 1, 2016 at 12:00 PM (PST) by AnarchoPunk
Night had unfurled it’s inky tendrils across the Central Basin and to no surprise, the rain had still ceased to fall on the desperately dry City of Angels when last we left our plastered, punk rock protagonists. The backyard was almost at capacity as the main acts of the night, John Underwood and Chris Fox, were nearing their performances. Everything was going according to plan, but one of the drawbacks to hanging with a schlub like AnarchoPunk is the constant, looming presence of Murphy and his stupid Law that seems to follow him around. So, if you’re a fan of disappointment in general, disgruntled neighbors who obviously don’t appreciate good music or ‘Nilla Wafers, join us for the infuriating finale below!