Ever wonder what the folks who run Dying Scene have been listening to lately? We’re going to pretend you said “yes” to that question and feature a curated playlist from a different DS editor each week with the intent of exposing you to some new kickass punk bands.
This week’s installment comes to you courtesy of editor Jay Stone. He was told to come up with ten songs. He came up with twelve and was overcome with soul-crushing guilt when trying to trim anymore. You’ll just have to deal with it. Check out his list below.
1. Dead Boys – “Sonic Reducer”
I decided to start this little project out with the song that basically hooked me on this whole punk thing. It was 1992, and I was given a bootleg of rather well-known, mainstream band performing a blistering cover of this song. A little research using the occasionally-reliable, painfully-slow Prodigy dial-up internet connection at the house revealed that the original was performed by the Dead Boys. Got a ride to the record store in my hometown, did a little more investigation and that’s it, I was hooked.
2. The Reveling – “Charlotte Thompson”
When I first started writing for Dying Scene back in 2011, I did an awful lot of album reviews (I’m pretty sure I did 52 in my first calendar year). The Reveling were the first band that I was introduced to in that process that totally blew me away. Totally loved every second of their debut, Tributaries, and still do. Also, Sean may have been my first interview for Dying Scene, but the memory’s a little fuzzy on that one. I’m old, forgive me.
3. Honah Lee – “Don’t Be Me”
Okay, so if you’re at least moderately familiar with this site, you may well be aware that I’m sorta the resident Face To Face fanboy. My wife and I took a trip down to Philadelphia last year for the front-end of what would prove to be two shows in two nights (Cambridge, MA, was the second). It was the tour F2F did with Joshua Black Wilkins, Blacklist Royals and Teenage Bottlerocket, all of whom I love. Didn’t realize there was a local opener on this night, but when we arrived, there was a band called Honah Lee playing. They absolutely killed it. I remember texting DS head honcho Dave Buck about a song-and-a-half into their set, saying something to the effect of “hey, do we cover Honah Lee? Because if we don’t, we really should. These guys rule.” And they do.
4. Noi!se – “Broken Bonds”
I think if you were alive and into punk music when all hell broke loose in 1994, you probably aligned yourself in one of three camps: Green Day, Rancid and The Offspring. They’re the three bands credited with blowing the scene up that year, though with very different sounds: Green Day were the intro to Ramonesy pop-punk, Rancid were the intro to Oi! and street punk, The Offspring were the intro to…pretty fly white guys? Anyway, I think the pop-punk thing was probably my home, but I’ve always had a soft-spot for Oi! bands, probably due to my early Rancid affinity. Frankly, I fell way out of touch with the Oi! scene in my adult years, so it’s good to know that there are still newer bands waving the flag high. Plus, Matt Henson is active duty military and is two months or so into a yearlong deployment in Korea. Respect.
5. Dynamite Hack – “Dear Kate”
Dynamite Hack aren’t a new band; in fact, they’ve been defunct for as long as I can remember. They were probably a victim of their own success, given that their pitch-perfect acoustic cover of the Eazy-E/N.W.A. classic “Boyz-n-the-Hood” sorta blew up around 2000. Any time a cover is your first/only “hit,” it probably means your band is soon to be dismissed as a one-off, but Dynamite Hack were more than capable of writing smart, funny, probably offensive power pop tunes. This one’s about Kate Moss. Do people under 25 know who Kate Moss is?
6. Matt Charette – “Beginning Of The End”
Alright, we’re going to slow it down for a minute or five here. If you’ve been to punk/folk-punk shows in and around the Boston area in the past decade, you’ve no doubt run into Matt Charette. I certainly had. To be honest, before I was familiar with his work, I knew of him as being on the short list of “that guy that’s at all the shows,” and later, “that guy that plays with Lenny Lashley and the Street Dogs sometimes.” He put out an album of his own this year, Back East, and it’s damn stellar. This song gutted me the first time I heard it. Still does. So yeah, this song’ll slow it down tempo-wise, but it cranks the intensity to eleven.
7. Blacklist Royals – “Hearts On Fire”
We kick off side two on another uptempo note. Maybe some people know and are familiar with Blacklist Royals at this point, though certainly not enough of them. The fifteen-year-old version of Jay Stone still gets pretty stoked about all of the punk scene veterans that I’ve had the privilege of talking to and getting to know over the last few years. The thirty-five year-old version gets pretty stoked about the younger, “up-and-coming” bands that I’ve gotten to know, and Blacklist Royals are unquestionably my favorite of that camp. Hopefully these dudes break through to the next level; they’ve earned it.
8. Rebuilder – “Everything That I Hate”
If you read the description on the Blacklist Royals track, the same sentiment essentially holds true for Rebuilder. Their first EP was solid, though I’ll admit it doesn’t really do their live show justice. Spoiler alert: The debut full-length they recently wrapped production on is gonna be a good one…and I haven’t even heard the vocals yet. Stay tuned.
9. Stray Bullets – “Ghost Town Rockers”
This is not a shameless plug for a Dying Scene Records band, I promise you. I’m not sure how the royal “We” that is Dying Scene Records makes decisions on who gets signed, but I’ll tell you that I have no part in that process. If I did have a part in it and I were vouching for a local band with a sort of throwback, early-90s punk sort of sound, I’d have vouched for Stray Bullets. Then I found out we had A)signed Stray Bullets and B) were putting out Ghost Town Rockers…
10. Twopointeight – “Martha St.”
In the interest of full disclosure, I owe it to Brian Fallon for the fact that I gave these guys a chance. There may be a strong, underground Swedish punk scene that I’m not aware of (in fact, I’m sure the comments section will reveal my ignorance of all the great Swedish punk bands not named Millencolin), but I was initially going to “pass” when I first saw a press release about Twopointeight. And let’s be honest…the name is sorta 1999-ish nu-metal, no? But Fallon’s one of those guys that can do no wrong in my book, and he produced their last album. And man…these guys rule, and rule hard. “Martha Street” is off their upcoming album, so consider this kind of a sneak peak.
11. Sydney Ducks – “A Little Bit Of Urban Rock”
So here’s how I came to know of Sydney Ducks. I’ve obviously been familiar with, and a fan of, Pirates Press Records for a while now. I was on shift here at Dying Scene one Wednesday night, and there was an email in the bin from Pirates Press. It was about a band named Sydney Ducks, and I immediately though “awesome name.” The press release was for a song called “A Little Bit Of Urban Rock.” There are some times when you get a press release and you instantly know you want nothing to do with that band. This was not one of those times. Liked ’em even before I heard ’em. Good thing I liked ’em once I heard ’em…woulda been a major letdown!
12. The Showcase Showdown – “Fuck You, Norway”
Taking it back to where it all began for me…the mid-90s Boston punk scene. I was going to put a track off Appetite of Kings on here but, well, Ping Pong and the gang haven’t put that one up on Spotify. So here’s “Fuck You, Norway.” Because seriously, fuck you, Norway.