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The band met at art school and began by playing campus shows at pop-up art galleries. This Milwaukee rock “n” roll band takes off where the local scene left off in the 80’s. Taking cue from bands like Oil Tasters, Couch Flambeau, and The Haskels. The band looks back at the past to look to the future and returns to the primitive rock and roll of the 70’s.

Brigata Vendetta

Former Members of Richmond, CA Oi band Harrington Saints, but now playing 80’s inspired hardcore. Upcoming LP on Pirates Press Records.

Circle Jerks

The Circle Jerks are a hardcore punk band formed in 1979 by vocalist Keith Morris and guitarist Greg Hetson, following their respective departures from Black Flag and Red Kross. Their debut release, 1980’s Group Sex, featured 14 songs in 16 minutes and is considered a classic.

Cock Sparrer

Cock Sparrer is an English punk rock band formed in 1972 in the East End of London. The band helped pave the way for the early 80’s punk scene and the Oi! subgenre.

Done Is Done

Riverside, CA

Reminiscent of 1980’s West Coast Punk

DS Album Review: L. A. Edwards – “Out Of The Heart Of Darkness”

L. A. Edwards for all intents and purposes is a band of brothers as well as the name of lead singer and main writer in the band. Led by Luke Andrew Edwards, the band which was originally intended to be a solo project has morphed into a family affair with his older brother Jay and […]

L. A. Edwards – Out Of The Heart Of Darkness

L. A. Edwards for all intents and purposes is a band of brothers as well as the name of lead singer and main writer in the band. Led by Luke Andrew Edwards, the band which was originally intended to be a solo project has morphed into a family affair with his older brother Jay and younger brother Jerry both having joined Luke as full-time members. Having been born and raised in southern California, and subsequently transplanted to Nashville, LA’s first two LP’s (2018’s True Blue and 2020’s Blessings From Home) were very Laurel-Canyon-meets-East-Nashville in their sound, easy going and tranquil country/folk-rock which was reminiscent of both Jackson Browne as well as the band Dawes in its style as well as sound.

With Out Of The Heart Of Darkness, LA Edwards’ new release out January 6th on Bitchin’ Music Group, the band has put together a very different kind of album with a distinctly more diverse and harder-edged sound. The album was recorded largely at Luke’s Seatle, WA home studio during the first half of 2022. Work on the album was temporarily put on hold while the band did some extensive touring with both Lucero and then The White Buffalo. Returning to the studio in September, the 3 brothers along with studio engineer, Hunter Rath finished up the recordings for the album. Lookng for a harder, more auster sound to compliment the voluminous material, the band brought in Grammy Award winner, Tom Lord-Alge to work on post production and mixing.

The Brothers Edwards

The album opens up with a short snippet of a young boy describing, as near as I can tell a near-death drowning experience. It is certainly a soundbite that might have come directly from Joseph Conrad’s epic novel from which I have to imagine Edwards co-opted the album’s moniker. Following this “Prelude” we get the album’s first actual song, a track called “Little Boy Blue,” which kicks off with a singular guitar riff, reminiscent of the opening of “Life In A Northern Town” from early the 80’s English folk-rock band Dream Acadamy. But before you have a chance to nestle into this gentle flow, you’re hit with a Springstonian power strum and there’s no looking back as the band pushes forward with what turns out to be a churning rock song replete with a majestic harmony-laden chorus which is just perfect.

The first single off of the album was released in early December and the first thing you will notice is that “Let It Out” is no soft country rocker. Right from the get-go of Luke’s 2,3,4,1,2,3 countdown, it becomes obvious that the Edwards boys are here to rock with this one. A jaunty, almost punkish number with top-heavy guitar backdrop, this song immediately brought some early Deer Tick to mind as I listened to the rhythmic guitar clapping along with LA’s huskier than in the past voice. The band got quite a marketing bonus when this one was picked up and included in the “The Dream Is Not Me,” episode in this year’s hottest TV show, Yellowstone.

The rocking continues a couple of songs later on the album with “Time To Go” which starts off with a distorted guitar line followed by what I’m sure will be an anthemic sing-along chorus before it builds and builds itself into a screeching guitar wall of sound, all while the words “is it now time to go?” is quietly harmonized in the background.

“Time To Go” is then followed by a somewhat mellower “Hi Rite Now!”, a country ditty that laments the appreciation for greener pastures so to speak. And even though compared to the previous track, “Hi…” seems to be mellower, it certainly is no power ballad by any stretch of the imagination.

“Peace Be With You” is the second to last song on the album and it starts off with a hard electric guitar strum leading into Luke’s beautiful vocals which remind me of my favorite (and unfortunately unknown outside of his native city of Little Rock) singers, Adam Faucett. And if you’re lucky enough to know Adam’s work, you will know that a comparison to him and his otherworldly voice is the utmost praise to which you can bestow on another singer.

All in all, L.A.Edwards, as one might expect from an album named after the book which spawned the movie “Apocalypse Now” takes on quite a journey with Out Of The Heart Of Darkness. The album is filled with human emotions which are all over the map and to perfectly augment these disparate emotions Luke, Jerry and Jay provide us with a musical and instrumental landscape which fits like a glove to the rollercoaster ride of feelings portrayed in this collection. While the songs by no means fit into any one easy, concise pigeon hole, they do work veritably seamlessly with one another. Be it Jay’s spooky keyboard work on “Already Gone” to the stoner protest of “Hi Rite Now!” to the beer-soaked barroom rock and roll of “Let It Out”, the songs on OOTHOD run the gamut yet fit together like distinctly shaped pieces of an intricate jigsaw puzzle.

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DS Exclusive: Salem Wolves unveil “So Desperate,” first single from upcoming 80’s wrestling concept record, “The Psychotron Speaks”

One of my favorite things that happens periodically here at DSHQ is getting a “hey, would you be interested in premiering this track?” request from a band that you’re already stoked on. It is even cooler when the music they want you to debut for them is not only great, but is also genre-bending. The […]

One of my favorite things that happens periodically here at DSHQ is getting a “hey, would you be interested in premiering this track?” request from a band that you’re already stoked on. It is even cooler when the music they want you to debut for them is not only great, but is also genre-bending. The kind of song that makes you want to listen two or three or twelve times to make sure you’re catching all that’s going on. And on that note, we present to you “So Desperate,” the latest single from Salem Wolves!

For the uninitiated, Salem Wolves are a four-piece outfit from straight outta Providence, Rhode Island who have been plying their wares in and around New England for the better part of a decade. They might hail from the smallest state in the Union, but the sound they pack, particularly on their forthcoming record, The Psychotron Speaks, is bold and mighty. It’s also delightfully tough to nail down. The lead single, “So Desperate,” is a layered, anthemic post-rock cacophony, building and ebbing and flowing as it progresses. It’s a sound that would fill up the night sky on a late summer amphitheater stage but also wouldn’t sound out of place bouncing off the walls at a 400-capacity rock club.

The Psychotron Speaks is a concept album of sorts that’s about…well, I’ll ket the band explain it briefly:

An undercard wrestler fighting for his life and legacy. A mysterious entity whispering discord in unearthly tones. Dreams of fire in a house of want and need.

The album was produced by one of my favorites in the game – Jay Maas – and it’s due out July 19th on Tor Johnson Records. You can find out more about it at Salem Wolves’ website. And for now…feast your earholes on “So Desperate”!

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DS Introductions: Characters of Riot Fest 2023

One of my favorite quotes in photojournalism is from the legendary William Albert Allard. He famously said, “I think the best pictures are often on the edges of any situation, I don’t find photographing the situation nearly as interesting as photographing the edges.“ It has long been a sort of mission statement for me in my career as […]

One of my favorite quotes in photojournalism is from the legendary William Albert Allard. He famously said,

I think the best pictures are often on the edges of any situation, I don’t find photographing the situation nearly as interesting as photographing the edges.

It has long been a sort of mission statement for me in my career as a photographer. One I try to apply every time I have my camera with me. This year, I decided to forgo the photo pits and let my fellow DS Team Chicago member Mary handle those duties. First time since we started documenting Riot Fest I was not in the photo pit. I missed being in the photo scrum but being able to cover all the other wild, cool, fun and compelling parts of the festival was well worth it. A few of the following Characters of Riot Fest I knew already and am friends with some. But I also met so many more fantastic people. A few I’d like to introduce to you dear DS readers.

The Son also Rises

As Riot Fest’s main focus is music, let’s start with one of the great bands. Sludgeworth had the Rebel Stage with a time slot in competition with Foo Fighters. Yet, the Chicago band first founded in 1989, held its own. The band is comprised of singer Dan Schafer aka Dan Vapid, in the front, Brian McQuaid aka Brian Vermin, on drums in the back, and their bandmates, Adam White and Dave McClean on guitars, and Mike Hootenstrat on bass, long-time Sludgeworth fans were ecstatic. McQuaid, who was in Screeching Weasel prior to Sludgeworth, told me,

We played RF with Bad Brains back when it was at the Congress, but this time was just bigger and more exciting. It was an amazing experience to be part of such a massive production. +-This time was more special because the first time was a one off, and this time we’re gonna keep going.

The band returned this year earlier, taking the stage at Cobra Lounge and garnering newer fans and introducing a new part-time member, Brian McQuaid’s 13 year old son Max McQuaid. The younger McQuaid has been playing for 5 years but at Cobra, he made his live performance debut. It was fun to document that performance and see the warm welcome the young musician was given. Not just because his dad is in the band but because the kid has a legit talent with the sticks. Did not have to be a drummer to understand that when the Max smashed his way through “Anytime.”

“Max has played both Cobra and Riot Fest. He worked really hard and played like a pro both times, I can’t express how proud I am. He’s gonna go places I never have with his work ethic and indoctrination into this music scene.”

Riot Fest is the Pits

Another person making his Riot Fest debut its Kamran Khan. Rather than on the stage though, Khan was stationed near the stage, He worked as a member of the team regulating the photo pits. Among, the duties, making sure photographers in the pit had the proper credentials and providing instructions to the shooters as to the general protocols, as well as the individual mandates of the various bands. The team ensures that we photographers get the best images we can, at the same time making sure everyone stays safe. Khan was pretty confident he could handle the job.

I’d never worked a press pit before but I’ve been a bartender, a teacher, a bouncer, a real estate agent, a minister, a waiter at a Russian bath house, an editor/publisher, a ditch digger, a secretary, a babysitter, a writer, and I even lasted one day as a line cook. So, I figured he thought I’d have the skill set covered.

And his impressions?

Well, besides the fact I got to see some of the most badass musicians around performing at the top of their game from just several meters away, the best thing about it was meeting all the heroically hardworking and talented people that keep the Fest going that also happen not to be wearing artist wristbands. There’s so many moving parts to get this many acts going on in front of this many people smoothly, and so many people trying to do their best to make sure everybody’s safe and having a good time, and you gotta do that gig amongst the constant shifting demands and constraints of all the different emerging variables, pivoting and adapting on the fly. Working a fest is kinda like being Harrison Bergeron, (from that Kurt Vonnegut Jr story) trying to dance in a metal suit, and pulling it off.

But so many cool hardworking folks pull it off and it was great to have a killer weekend with them all. I also got a kick outa watching all the press do their work, the elegant yet clumsy dance of the “Where’s a damn angle where I can get a transcendent shot before I have to run across a city park dodging drunk grey bearded punk rockers between rain soaked lakes without twisting my ankle or breaking the strap on my camera (which can be fixed with a zip tie if it happens I learned) in order to hopefully get a shot that may or may not get cut depending on what somebody in an office 2000 miles away thinks. And getting to sit in the press tent and jaw with you about old pictures. That was a blast.

Describing his experience with vivid and poetic details is not surprising for a person whose Instagram handle is “Punks With Books”. And Khan’s last statement about pictures was actual a reference to 1970’s cinema. Khan, with headband and his style of facial hair, appears to be straight out of central casting for a Sidney Lumet or Alan J. Pakula directed film. It was a blast to be able to discuss, in general, cinema’s greatest decade, and specifically, Al Pacino. I need to go watch Dog Day Afternoon now. “Attica! Attica!”

Shoot to Thrill

One person who did not make his Riot Fest debut this year is photographer Mike “MXV” Vinikour. While a good portion of photographers, including myself for DS, have covered multiple Riot Fest, only Vinikour has wielded his camera and his vision at Riot Fest every year. The Downers Grove, IL-based photographer and Associate Game Developer at Stern Pinball runs his own site called The Punk Vault.

Vinikour described to me how he got started shooting Riot Fest, how it has changed over the years, and what it has meant to him.

Back in 2005 I saw a flier for this two day punk festival at the Congress Theater called Riot Fest. I saw the lineup of bands and it was full of all these great old punk rock bands I grew up with, some of them still mostly intact and some of them a fraction of what they were with different/new singers. I had only been shooting shows for about a year or so at that point and was still pretty green. I didn’t know who the promoter was at the time, but I had connections through a couple of bands that were on the bill. One of the days I think I got my passes from the Dead Kennedys’ publicist, and the other day I either got in through The Effigies or Channel 3.

It was a really fun two days and there were so many great bands both old and new, though it was the old punk bands of my youth that got me to go to it.

After the fest I had posted my show review and photos on my site. I was the only photographer at that first Riot Fest. A few months later, Riot Mike [Michael “Riot Mike” Petryshyn, founder and owner of Riot Fest] came up to me at a show and thanked me for the nice review of his show and giving him some exposure and he liked my photos. He told me of his plans for the second Riot Fest and that got me really excited. He invited me to come shoot it again and that started a long relationship I’ve had with Riot Fest. I haven’t missed shooting a single one and Mike, Luba [Vasilik], Heather [West of Western Publicity], and everyone in the organization have been wonderful to me over the years. I can’t say enough good things about all of them.

I liked it when they were just in the Congress Theater because I loved shooting at that venue, and it had a lot of space. When they added that second stage in the lobby though it made navigating in and out of there more difficult. That club had great lighting and the barricade had enough room in there to drive a car inside of it. The rest of the place was falling apart though.

When they moved it to the different clubs, it really made it difficult to try and shoot multiple shows, and many times I had to make a difficult choice of what ones to do because as good as modern technology is, I was never able to clone myself to be in two places at once. Driving between the venues was difficult too, having to find parking, going through traffic if you had only a short window of time to get from one club to another, and some venues were harder to shoot in than others due to their size, lack of barricade, etc.

I was pretty happy when they moved past the multi-club thing (which was always an exhausting week) and moved it to the big outdoor festival. I was blown away at that first one at Humboldt Park with how massive it was and what a huge undertaking it was on Riot Fest’s part to do something that big, but it turned out awesome and to this day it’s the only outdoor festival I like or want to participate in. They adapted well over the years of being a huge fest to make the layout more user friendly and I think the last few years have been even better than ever with how they’ve managed it all.

It was kind of a neat parallel with how Riot Fest grew over the years and how I grew and honed my craft at photography. We both started close to the same time and have both gotten way better over the years. I definitely own a part of my growth as a concert photographer to Riot Fest.

I started taking photos around 2004 for my website The Punk Vault. I had been writing about music since 1985 when I started a fanzine called Spontaneous Combustion. That ran until 1997, then a few years later I did a web version of that which then morphed into The Punk Vault site that I’ve been doing the last 20 years.

RE: the way shooting bands has changed at the fest over the years: Well in the old Congress Days I was allowed to shoot the full sets of every band and had all access passes, so I had the full run of the place. I was pretty spoiled, and Mike made me feel really special and appreciated. When they became a big outdoor fest, I understood the logistics of that wouldn’t work anymore. I was just happy that when the fest became huge, they. never forgot me and told me that I’ll always be welcome to come shoot the fest as long as I want. It went from me being the only one there, to being in a pretty small group of photographers sharing the pit, to now being one of probably 100 that shoot the fest every year. It can be challenging at times being in there with so many people all vying for the same three spots to shoot though those giant speaker stacks that are blocking most of our view, but I’ve been so many awesome photographers over the years at the fest that it feels like a family. There’s a core group of us that have been shooting the outdoor fest for so many years now that it really has become the most fun weekend of shooting bands of the year and the one I look forward to the most. It’s like a brotherhood of photographers and we all laugh and have a great time.

Sometimes being crammed in there with so many people can be hard on me because I have anxiety and that can trigger me, but it’s always been manageable and in a way it’s good for me to challenge myself. Also, there’s been times where instead of 3 songs, we only get 1 due to them splitting us in groups, or certain bands may have restrictions that only let us do one song. That has made me a more efficient photographer so when those situations happen I can roll with it a lot easier than ever now.

I almost never just watch a band unless I’m shooting them. The enjoyment of shows for me is shooting photos, I won’t go to shows unless I’m shooting them. I’ve made exceptions at the fest for bands I really love that may not allow any photography, (The Misfits for example) but typically if a band won’t let me shoot them, I won’t stick around to watch them, and I’ll go shoot someone else.

Having a Senior Moment

AnnaBelle “Bee” Pant, is a 12th grader at what her mother Monica described to me as a “progressive-ish” high school in a small, conservative Michigan town. AnnaBelle wanted something a little different from the typical senior portraits she had seen with classes coming before hers,

I’m 17, and I live in southwest Michigan, which is basically just a bunch of cornfields. I wanted to get my senior pictures somewhere a little more “me.”

AnnaBelle and her parents – Ben & Monica Pant – and her 11th grader brother Trey, made it a family affair.

This is our third year at Riot Fest, and I’ve always loved going with my family seeing concerts. I know it’ll be some of my best memories with my parents.”

As for the family’s favorite sets? AnnaBelle spoke on behalf of the quartet,

For sure Bowling For Soup!! and The Used were awesome, we were camping at the barrier for both.”

Oh and the Pants also brought along a friend named Ryan, whom the Pant family befriended at the festival in 2021. Well, sort of. The actual Ryan was unable to attend this year so family carried “Flat Ryan,” inspired by the Flat Stanley travels the word idea. This is just one of the many long-lasting friendships formed at Riot Fest every year.

Maker of the Mosh

Nik Simmons describes himself this way,

Stay at home dad and drumming for Exegesis until Rod Tuffcurls and the Bench Press needs me.

But Simmons is also a man with an annual mission to organize the best Riot Fest mosh pits, or at least the most unique.

Over the years, it has become a Riot Fest tradition to have a gimmick pit. As soon as I read that Corey Feldman was playing, I knew he was the perfect act. 

Feldman became famous as a child actor, including in the classic 80’s films, Stand By Me, The Goonies, and The Lost Boys. During the past few decades he has concentrated on music but has never really been acclaimed for his musical talents.

Still, Feldman elicited both enthusiasm and snickers from a good number of fest attendees. Simmons told me,

His name stood out from the lineup so much that I had to see him perform. I’m sure many went for the irony. However, even those who went in with that attitude were soon won over by Corey Feldman’s performance.

Simmons, who cited The Lost Boys as his favorite Feldman film, didn’t get to meet the star but does believe the actor was aware of the pit,

I think he did. It was posted on one of his social media accounts.

More importantly, the crowd seemed to enjoy it as Simmons described the result, 

Excellent. A bunch of people had a great time.

This was not Simmons’ first such experience as he informed me,

Yes, there was a wall of death for The Village People, corn dog pit for Sincere Engineer, and a pit for Devo. I’ve made a sign for each of those mosh pits too.

Looking forward to witnessing what Nik Simmons comes up with at Riot Fest 2024. 

Board with Riot Fest

Cooper Greenslade, 13, caught air and grabbed attention as he flew high above the Riot Pop! skate ramp set up against the Riot Fest Devil. Greenslade shared with me, via instagram, his first Riot Fest experience.

Yes, this was my first time at RF, and as far as the experience it totally exceeded my expectations honestly. I didn’t really know how kool it was gonna be till I walked through the gates and saw all the people and heard the insane music I was immediately stoked about being there. I have not skated any other music fests but I definitely intend on going to more in my life.

I have been skating 5 1/2 years not pro (yet) but hopefully one day. I am sponsored by Character Skateboards, GROM USA, Static Hardware, Fargo. I would say my overall experience with RF is the bands were amazing and the stages were close enough to get to see a lot of bands quickly, and the people watching was amazing.

I always get super stoked riding with older dudes cause they have a lot of experience and all of them are super kool and they are always giving me tips and advice to get better, the Chicago skate scene is very positive and motivated. I’m super excited to have so many good influences around me.

Yes, I would love to make this a full time career, but for now I’m having a ton of fun and meeting a lot of amazing skaters all over the US. I’m just gonna keep hustling and see where it takes me.

Punk Rock Nuptials

The wedding party wore t-shirts emblazoned with Cards Against Humanity style references to past (“Throwing Meat at Morrissey“) and present (Dave P., a Dave Grohl doppelgänger, wore a shirt with the Foo Fighters singers’ name on it) Riot Fests and the group’s all too often reaction whilst watching Chicago Bears games (“Shit Got Fucked”). The Bride and Groom wore t-shirts where the traditional “til death due us part” was wrapped around corpse hands, and Old Skool Vans with their initials and the wedding date printed on the heel. The corsage was made out of Riot Fest lineup cards, and there was a swarm of (fake) adorable bumblebees. For Angela Vetrovec-Schiller & Aaron Schiller, there was no doubt the chapel they would head to would be the Riot Fest Chapel.

Riot Fest means so much to me. Music is a huge part of my life. I’ve been going to Riot Fest since the start. It’s basically a holiday weekend for me and my friends. Moving away from Chicago was a hard decision for me. Riot Fest has now turned into a yearly reunion. The random run ins are one of my favorite parts. I met my husband at a show, fell in love with him at a fest, he proposed to me at another fest, so getting married at Riot Fest was the perfect way to do in front of all of our best friends. I love being at Riot Fest, I love the people of Riot Fest, I love our scene. 

Punks Care

Punk Rock Saves Lives and Riot Fest have combined to save lives for years. PRSL founder Rob “Rover” Rushing explained why Riot Fest is so meaningful to him, his wife and board member Tina Rushing, and all involved in the beloved nonprofit.

“PRSL was formed in November 2019. As a continuation of the work that we did with the Love, Hope, Strength, Foundation. It Is my dream and my wife’s and quite a few others’ dream to use the positivity of the punk scene to make incremental differences in our lives every day.”

As LHS or as PRSL, I believe Since 2013, possibly before, and that includes all of the Denver ones as well, we were invited by Sean (McKeough), the co-owner of Riot Fest as a kind of a personal mission because he had beat cancer before his untimely death from a brain aneurysm. We’ve swabbed close to 400 every single year we’ve been at Riot Fest, if not more. Considering 1 in 100 matches to save a life, and 1 in 1000 of those make it to the donation, Riot Fest is way above normal averages for saving lives. Something about Riot Fest is just special because people not only come to have an absolute blast but seem to care. 

Seems like that is the community and it’s even with, you know, years where it’s more punk rock, or it’s more rock or it’s more rap, it doesn’t change. The community of Riot Fest is pretty amazing. 

One of my favorite moments of Riot Fest ever, and it’s kind of sad to say it this way, but the year Sean passed away. They went forth, obviously. Very, very sad. But also, they had his Gator, his golf cart type thing. And they brought it, and they displayed it as a memorial for him. And they came and got me at my booth. When I got there to set up, they drove by and took me to the Gator and had me put a sticker on the Gator because they knew how much our charity meant to him.  

That just proves that the people of Riot Fest, it’s not only a business and obviously it’s that, but it’s also a community and they believe in it and seeing, you know seeing Mike’s article this year, where he came out as on the spectrum, it was a very inspirational and awesome article. So that’s just some of the cool things about Riot Fest. That makes it special to me and I will always, always be there as long as we exist.

“Going into it, I obviously thought it was more rock-centric than it had been in the past. But it ended up being just so widespread that I didn’t even realize that. It was so cool. And you know, having The Dresden Dolls on the main stage…luckily Amanda gave us an amazing shout out for the charity. And because of her, we probably signed up an extra 90 to 95 people within the next 15 minutes at our little pop-up booth, as well as people going into the booth.

“Mr. Bungle doing thrash, which was incredible too. Learning about a whole bunch of new bands and just the community and the people embracing what we do. It just warms my heart, you know? It’s incredible. So, Punkers do give a fuck. That’s one of our slogans, punks give a fuck. And it’s true, right? Riot Fest is proof.

Please check out more sights from Riot Fest 2023! Thanks and Cheers!

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DS News: Steve Albini, Prolific Record Producer, Audio Engineer, Musician, Music Journalist and Chicago Punk Scene Icon Dead at 61.

The punk community around the world is mourning the loss of Steve Albini, one of its iconic figures. This is especially true for Chicago, where he helped shape the punk scene, and where his Electrical Audio recording studio is located. Staff members at Albini’s Electrical Audio confirmed to Pitchfork that Steve Albini suffered a fatal […]

The punk community around the world is mourning the loss of Steve Albini, one of its iconic figures. This is especially true for Chicago, where he helped shape the punk scene, and where his Electrical Audio recording studio is located. Staff members at Albini’s Electrical Audio confirmed to Pitchfork that Steve Albini suffered a fatal heart attack late Tuesday night, May 7, 2024

Albini’s death also comes on the heels of the announcement that Shellac, one of Albini’s bands would be opening for OFF! at that band’s farewell shows in New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago in July. Shellac is also scheduled to release its first new album in a decade, To All Trains, next week.

Steve Albini was born on July 22, 1962, in Pasadena, CA. While Nirvana’s In Utero and The Pixies’ Surfa Rosa are among the most famous of the classic albums he recorded, he also worked with such musicians and bands as PJ Harvey, Jesus Lizard, Breeders, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Helmet, Low, Dirty Three, Slint, and Brainiac.

As a musician, Albini founded Big Black in the early 1980’s. Naked Raygun’s Jeff Pezzati and Santiago Durango were members of the band. Pezzati left the band, replaced by Dave Riley before Big Black’s two most seminal albums Songs About Fucking and Atomizer.

Albini, Bob Weston, and Todd Trainor founded Shellac in the early 1990’s. The aforementioned To All Trains will be the band’s sixth studio album upon its release, and Shellac was scheduled to join Off! on its farewell tour, sharing the bill with Fucked Up and Surfbot as well.

Albini was also, at times, a controversial figure, especially in years past. In more recent years, he expressed regret over some of those things.

Outside of music, Steve Albini had another noted talent: championship poker player. Albini won two World Series of Poker bracelets.

All of us Dying Scene send our deepest condolences to Steve Albini’s family, friends and fans. Stay tuned for more Dying Scene coverage of Steve Albini’s life and legacy in the near future.

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DS Photo Gallery: Catbite, Bacchae & Riverby @ Saint Vitus (2022-11-12)

It seems like Philadelphia ska band, Catbite is everywhere these days. This past year has seen them on tour with the likes of Streetlight Manifesto, Jeff Rosenstock, Mustard Plug, Anti-Flag, and Screaming Females to name a few. And topping it all off with a cherry on top, they embarked on their first ever mini headlining […]

It seems like Philadelphia ska band, Catbite is everywhere these days. This past year has seen them on tour with the likes of Streetlight Manifesto, Jeff Rosenstock, Mustard Plug, Anti-Flag, and Screaming Females to name a few. And topping it all off with a cherry on top, they embarked on their first ever mini headlining tour a week or so ago which has had them playing in hometown Philadelphia, St. Louis, Milwaukee, and the show which I was able to catch in Brooklyn at Saint Vitus. (Oh yeah, remember last month when Brittany Luna guest appeared at Gaslight Anthem?)

Saint Vitus was the first time they’d played NYC as a headliner and Brit, Tim Hildebrand, Ben Parry, Esteban Flores, and Chris Pires were beyond stoked as they opened up the set with fan favorite, “Creepin” from last year’s spectacular LP, Nice One. This fast-paced “on the upbeat” ripper is one of that classic kind of ska songs that wouldn’t at all be out of place if it were slipped into a mix with songs off the first The Specials album. Its frenetic pace had the packed room at Saint Vitus in full-blown skankin’ mode right off the bat. From here the band rolled right into their cover version of Neon Trees’ “Everyone Talks” which the band released earlier this year as part of a 4 song split with Mike Park of Asian Man Records (to name just one of his countless accomplishments). Obviously where the Trees start off their original with a sort of late 50’s R&B crooner style before they kick into its indie rock sing-along chorus, tonight Catbite started off with a slow rock steady beat before literally kicking into the chorus which they re-imagined into a total ska romp.

With barely any time between songs to catch their breath, the band stomped from one song to the next, culling a set list comprising the most upbeat and raucous of their material from their two full-length LPs (Nice One as well as their eponymous debut). Needless to say, the crowd at Saint Vitus which had come to skank, pogo and mosh like their lives depended on it were handed the perfect soundtrack to do just that. Things would get seriously crazed throughout the hot and sweaty room for all-out R-O-C-K-E-R-S like “Asinine Aesthetic” and “Amphetamine Delight”.

But who would have guessed that things could get even hotter as the crew kicked off the encore with “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom” and “Excuse Me Miss” from Nice One. By this time the band had the crowd full-blown out of control dancing and singing maniacally. All in all, it was truly something to behold. Fortunately, Catbite has no intentions of slowing down in the near future and I know that I’ll be skanking along to them in a couple of weeks when they’re scheduled to open for Bouncing Souls in both Brooklyn at Brooklyn Made as well as everyone’s favorite New Jersey joint, Crossroads in Garwood, NJ. (Both shows at Crossroads are sold out but there are still tickets available for the Brooklyn Made gig).

I would be remiss if I didn’t at least mention the night’s two opening bands. Starting off the evening was a band out of Philadelphia that I was not at all familiar with prior to this evening called Riverby. I’m not sure what they’re putting in the water down in the City of Brotherly Love but damn, Philly keeps spitting out really interesting new bands almost as fast as they produce ill-behaved sports fans (sorry, I just couldn’t resist). Lead singer, August Greenberg, possesses quite an engaging stage presence as they led the band through a breakneck-paced set which at times reminded me of the band Heart on amphetamines. All in all, I did enjoy their rough and ragged set and do think that they could be a band to keep your eyes on in the future.

Next up was the band Bacchae out of Washington DC. I’d seen Bacchae a couple of months ago opening for The Linda Lindas and to be honest wasn’t all that impressed. Friday night at Saint Vitus however, changed my mind. The growth shown by the band in a few short months was truly inspiring. With a sound that brings to mind early B-52s crossed with the No Wave sound of downtown NYC circa early 80’s with bands like Bush Tetras, Liquid Liquid and quite noticeably early Sonic Youth was quite invigorating. Both Katie McD (lead vocals and keyboard) as well as Rena Hagins (bass and backup vocals) have grown tremendously in their stage presence and ultimately put on a fantastic set.

Check out full photo galleries from each of the bands below!

CATBITE Slideshow

RIVERBY Slideshow

BACCHAE Slideshow

  1. Hey! There are only people with they/them pronouns and he/him pronouns in Riverby. I’m glad you liked them because I do too, just please make it more of a practice to find out people’s pronouns like you do their names. Often it’s as easy as checking their bios, like in their case. Thanks!

    • I misread their Insta bio initially. Updated the story accordingly. Thanks for keeping us honest!!

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