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 Dying Scene Album Review: Forever Unclean – “Best”

Let’s give some love to the Danish punk scene. For years, the scene has become more and more noticeable and we have a lot of bands to thank for that. In September ‘19, when I was going through an insomnia-filled three days, I decided to go on a deep dive and that’s when I discovered […]

Let’s give some love to the Danish punk scene. For years, the scene has become more and more noticeable and we have a lot of bands to thank for that. In September ‘19, when I was going through an insomnia-filled three days, I decided to go on a deep dive and that’s when I discovered this band, and that might have been the second best thing to happen to me in that year. But let’s get on with this review. Back in January of 2022, a Danish skate-indie-punk trio called Forever Unclean released their first full-length LP via Nasty Cut Records (EU), Disconnect Disconnect Records (UK), and Hidden Home Records (US), consisting of 11 tracks. If you’re already familiar with Forever Unclean, they are pretty known for their short and one-worded title tracks, which we were introduced to on their EP’s Float, Woof, and Shreds. And that, much to my joy, is still the case with Best.

With Best, I took a different approach than starting from the top with “Dream.” When I first heard the record I decided to put it on “Shuffle” like some daredevil. The first song I heard, was “Kold” sung in the band’s native language Danish, and it became a favorite from the first guitar riff before the vocals come in. While it could fool one and sound uplifting and energetic, the lyrics do put another spin on the song. “Jeg er ligeglad nu”, translated to English “I don’t care right now”.  I’ll admit, speaking Danish myself, I do think it’s nice to see the band dabble in Danish, knowing that it might only be appreciated by their Danish fans. But they took a chance and it definitely paid off.

Next up is Mandy, a cute love note to someone special. “I really need a break from reality with you, with you”, this song is unbelievably catchy from the first verse, and then picks up its pace around the 30-second mark, once again showing off how the three-piece work so well together, from the supporting vocals laying a good background to Lasse’s raw, impressive vocals. This could become a fan favorite in no time. I’ll even go as far as saying, this song should be pushed a lot more; send it to someone you love next Valentine’s Day or Anniversary.

“Smile” is the penultimate song on Best, and opens with Leo’s carefree and rapid drumming. I find this song might be where he shines through, yet the way Lasse and Troels complement the drumming, with their talents on the guitar and bass, gives me at best, ‘90s grunge vibes towards the end, probably why it deserves a mention. While I love punk, getting that hint of grunge from anyone has me hooked when I pick it up.

While I could give a track-by-track review of the record, I believe you need to check it out yourself and not get too influenced by a review. I’ll say this: the record packs punch after punch and you’ll only be glad you heard it. Even from listening to their previous material for three years, it’s very clear how these guys have grown into the band and with each other, the raw emotions transferred in the lyrics, while the instruments play some more uplifting music go with them. Throughout the record, you will are met with short songs, but they pack a lot and there’s no dropping the ball on this record. The trio does know how to properly mash genres, borrowing from the early ‘90s rock, and fast-paced pop-punk, and showing how not all indie music has to be quiet and can take a punch to it. The emotional display that we are met with on the album really benefits the band lyrical-wise, as a few bands before them haven’t been shy of showing a different emotional range on their records. Forever Unclean does it differently, with shorter and more packed songs with lyrics that make you reflect since I could ask them if they were doing a lot of self-reflecting while writing.

From the first listening, I knew this record was going to be on my top ten AoTY List, and I’m glad to say it still is even with all the releases that came this year.

If you want to catch them, they are supporting ALLDEEPENDS and Sewer Cats on selected dates, starting already Friday, November 18th in Copenhagen!

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[spunge]

Spunge (often typeset as [spunge] – lead singer Alex Copeland has joked that the brackets are in the name so that the letters do not fall out) are a ska punk band from Tewkesbury, England. Through many years of touring, Spunge have toured with or played alongside a number of UK bands; and several American bands such as Green Day, Dropkick Murphys and Reel Big Fish; and been supported on a UK tour by Bowling for Soup; the latter of whom contributed backing vocals to the song “Centerfold” on the That Should Cover It! album.

1916

Hailing from upstate NY, Celtic rockers 1916 are an explosive concoction of the modern Irish Punk movement with an original mix of psychobilly which gives 1916 a sound that stands apart from other bands of the genre.

Starting as an acoustic duo in 2006, singer Billy Herring and original drummer Steve LaDue played the traditional Irish ballads of the Dubliners and Wolfe Tones in the local pubs in and around their home-town of Rochester, NY.  They decided to call themselves 1916 to get people interested in Irish history.  In 2010 they took the music to a new level with the addition of electric guitars, traditional instruments, and a full drum set.  Within a few months of trying their new sound, 1916 were opening for the likes of the Dropkick Murphys, 21 Pilots, and New Politics, among other national acts.

On St. Patrick’s Day of 2012, 1916 released their first studio album, A Drop of the Pure, to rave reviews.  That same year, 1916 became the first band from Rochester, NY to get their own Pandora station with the addition of their music to the Pandora genome project.  With their music now reaching a global audience, the boys would soon gain fans all over the world.

The following year, 1916 released their sophomore album, Stand Up & Fight.  This new album, featuring a collection of covers and originals, had a more polished sound than the raw punk feel of  A Drop of the Pure.  This new full length album also featured more traditional Irish instruments to give the new LP a fun and full sound.

As the band continued to evolve, they kept touring and playing as many shows as possible.  With bigger audiences came a larger fan base for 1916 to interact with.  The band has always enjoyed hanging out with the crowd both pre- and post- shows.

In November of 2014, the guys went back into the studio to begin recording their third album, Last Call for Heroes.  Released in December of 2015, Last Call for Heroes was met with great enthusiasm from critics.  Named one of the “best punk albums of 2016,” both home and abroad, the new album appeared to have given the band the momentum they needed to move forward.

Mandolin player Jon Kane joined the band in early 2016, just before the boys hit the road to join Flogging Molly on their Salty Dog Cruise.  After a whirlwind spring of touring through the Bahamas and Europe, Jon was just what the band needed as he brought his energetic and fun stage persona into the fold.

The sound had certainly become streamlined and unique, but it wasn’t until 2017 that upright bassist Ryan Hurley would join 1916 to give the band the final integral piece that gives the music its psychobilly flavor.  Ryan quickly found a new home in 1916 and the band now finds itself on the edge of yet another amazing year of recording and touring.

In 2019, the band welcomed the thundering drums of Tony Presutti to take over behind the kit. Soon after that, 1916 further expanded their sound by the addition of accordion player Sam Sarratori to the crew!

Chat Pile

5 Awesome Albums You Need To Listen To Before Finalizing Your 2022 AoTY Lists

Chat Pile

As we near the end of 2022, music critics, publications, and fans alike are busy putting together their year-end lists. Did your favorite band put out a new project that you love? Did you discover a new artist altogether? Whatever tops your list will surely fill you with a sense of nostalgia for the music year that was. Sometimes, however, some truly excellent projects need to be revisited. Before The Dying Scene contributors put out any year-end list, some projects we did not cover throughout the year deserve some love! Without further ado, here are five punk/punk-adjacent albums released in 2022 that you may have missed.

The Chats: Get Fucked

Ironically, the first artist covered in this collection is one many readers have likely already checked out. That’s okay, though, because the only criteria we’re going off of is whether Dying Scene covered their 2022 release. And we didn’t.

The Chats are a garage punk-y band from Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia. The band has made a name for themselves in their short career with a viral hit in their pocket; their 2017 single “Smoko.” The song and its accompanying music video have been listened to and viewed millions of times, making it a track with mainstream success that few new punk bands have experienced now in recent times. They’ve built on this acclaim and continued their string of releasing solid material with their 2022 release, Get Fucked.

Get Fucked continues in the style the Chats have made their trademark early in their career. The hallmarks of this style include sneering, bratty vocals, straightforward garage guitar riffs, and simple yet catchy songwriting that harkens back to early British punk bands while still not sounding dated. Clocking in at under 30 minutes, this is no-nonsense pub rock/garage punk that makes for a fun listen. If you haven’t already checked out Get Fucked, start with the single 6L GTR.

Chat Pile: God’s Country

While the Chats’ Get Fucked oozes fun and charisma, God’s Country by Chat Pile (not to be confused with The Chats) switches gears into abrasive and disgusting cacophony (This is a compliment of the highest order).

Chat Pile, hailing from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, is a self-described noise rock outfit that some music media lumps into the sludge metal category. Whatever you want to call it, Chat Pile burst onto the scene in 2022 with the release of their debut album God’s Country. While the band formed in 2019 and released EPs after that, their 2022 debut served as a real coming-out party. God’s Country was met with critical acclaim, currently at 87% approval on Metacritic.

Don’t trust the critics; take this record on a spin yourself. It certainly isn’t for everyone, but for anyone that enjoys noisy, unvarnished, and brutal rock music, this record may be for you.

While the instrumentation provides much of the mood, and truthfully this record would still be enjoyable if you only treated the vocals as sonic texture, a dive into the songwriting serves as horror itself. The vocalist of Chat Pile, under the pseudonym Raygun Busch, described the themes in God’s Country as ranging from homelessness to a 1974 mass murder of six restaurant employees in Oklahoma City. If you missed God’s Country and are intrigued, check out the opening track for the record “Slaughterhouse.”

Fresh: Raise Hell

In July of 2022, Brighton emo/indie/pop punk rockers Fresh released their new record, Raise Hell. Before the release of Raise Hell, Fresh was perhaps best known for their 2021 single “Girl Clout,” an anthemic indie rock track about disingenuous performative feminism in the punk and overall music community. The star in this track is the simultaneously emotionally vulnerable and biting songwriting and vocal performance of Kathryn Woods.

Raise Hell is a natural follow-up to the path set forth on that 2021 single as Fresh comes through with an 11-track suite of melodic emo/pop punk/indie rock tracks. (Full disclosure, this is not my favorite style of music, but Raise Hell has proven to be something that continues to draw attention and re-listens.)

Each track comes with at least a few moments of clever songwriting, a fun riff, or something in the overall composition that seems to transport you to the emotional place the song is trying to evoke. This means that even if one song is not one’s favorite on the album, something still makes it stand out. Check out their single “Why Do I,” and if you’re into it, consider giving the record a listen!

Petrol Girls: Baby

Throughout punk rock history, much of the excellent material is born out of anger, anxiety, or isolation from society. It’s unfortunate that the genre often reaps its most memorable moments from the unjust actions of society, but that is something that comes with the territory. Baby, the new full-length record by UK/Austria-based hardcore band Petrol Girls, is now a vital part of this tradition.

Hardcore/Post-Hardcore/Riot Grrrl act Petrol Girls have always been incredibly politically active, specifically on feminist issues. Still, the developments around women’s reproductive rights over the last couple of years seemed to light an even greater fire for the band. Baby is the band’s rawest, most vitriol-filled, and angriest project. While the disdain is palpable, the songwriting is always well-crafted, with much thought put into it. On many songs, albums, or pieces of media that deal with political or social issues, it’s easy to fall into the trap of being ham-fisted. This trap never reveals itself on Baby as the issues at hand are of grave importance and are treated as such.

The music matches the message, too, as, in a similar way to the aforementioned God’s Country, this record is not necessarily a pleasant listen. The math-rock and post-hardcore influences that have always been present in their work show up in even greater abundance. The texture is like sandpaper on many songs, providing a perfect backdrop to the vocal performance and lyrics, which take center stage. A short-form review like this can’t do justice to this project’s depth and gravity. If you missed out on Baby, do yourself a favor, acquaint yourself with the single “Preachers,” and listen to the whole album.

Soul Glo: Diaspora Problems

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the term “rap-rock” used to be cause for apprehension. There are, of course, some stand-out successes, but for the most part, you knew you were in for something that was likely tacky, aesthetic over substance, and not a great listening experience. This trend has recently changed with several artists, such as Show Me the Body, Slowthai, and City Morgue, producing a much more palatable and harmonious fusion of the genres. Another such artist at the forefront of this effort is Soul Glo, who released an excellent project, Diaspora Problems, in 2022.

Soul Glo is a trio from Philadelphia that has quickly risen to be one of the punk landscape’s most exciting and unique voices. They are simultaneously a hardcore band and a rap outfit. They deal with serious themes like racism and consumerism but also love to inject absurdist humor.

Soul Glo has built a lot of momentum since their formation in 2014, and Diaspora Problems feels like the culmination and crowning achievement of this moment in their career. As their first release on Epitaph Records, this is likely the most prominent platform the band has ever had. The record is abrasive, hardcore, and at times features production reminiscent of a classic east-coast hip hop (think Public Enemy’s classic It Takes a Nation of Millions…) style but updated and outfitted to the unmistakably punk leanings of the group.

Much like Baby from Petrol Girls, the songwriting themes on this record are too nuanced and in-depth to cover in this kind of short format, but do yourself a favor and check out Diaspora Problems, along with their single “Driponomics (Featuring Mother Maryrose).”

Wrapping Up 2022

We hope you discovered some new bands or excellent projects released in 2022 through this collection. Obviously, there are far more than just these five albums that may have slipped through the cracks for some people. Let us know your favorite albums from 2022 that may have yet to get the press or hype they deserve!

While this was just a quick summary of some of these projects, it is impossible in this format to give them the in-depth analysis they deserve, so please consider checking out the ones that intrigue you.

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Aces

“Milwaukee’s ACES make no apologies for being a rock n’ roll band. Once every few generations, the kids rediscover the power of making noise, humming a catchy tune, spending the summer with the windows rolled down and their middle fingers up. There’s no replacement for standing in front of air-pushing speaker cabinets, blasting drums, and telling the truth about how the world works until some old bummer tells you to turn it down. ACES write hooks that stick in your head for days, riffs that kids would steal guitar magazines to learn, and songs that will stand the tests of time. Don’t overthink Rock n’ Roll. Listen to ACES.”

Bad Cop / Bad Cop

Bad Cop Bad Cop has done angry. The band’s 2017 full-length, Warriors, was recorded in the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election. The Los Angeles quartet’s new full-length, The Ride (Fat Wreck Chords, June 19th), shows what happens when you come out the other side of that anger.

“It’s not that I am just stoked or blind to suffering,” says singer-guitarist Jennie Cotterill. “I think anger is a legitimate and understandable reaction to injustice and wrongdoing. It’s just that for myself, I am trying to move past ‘reaction’ into productive ‘response.’”

The message BCBC is sending this time around is less about wagging your finger at others, or giving the middle one to the Man, than it is about self-love and acceptance. As Cotterill puts it, “Love is a more powerful truth than anger.” That positivity fuels many of The Ride’s tracks: “Originators,” “Simple Girl,” “Community,” “I Choose,” “Perpetual Motion Machine,” and “The Mirage” exude confidence, gratitude, and compassion. In 2020, such things qualify as contrarian.

“These are political statements—self-love is a huge fucking statement,” affirms singer-guitarist Stacey Dee. “Self-love means putting a fix on the problems at home before trying to fix everything in the world. It’s asking people to find it in themselves to create the life that they really want to have so they’re not in turmoil, so they’re not in a place of stress and sickness.”

Dee speaks from experience. In 2018 she was hospitalized twice for different ailments, then discovered she had stage one breast cancer at the end of the year. Fortunately it was highly treatable, but the experience was life-altering. Dee captures it with brutal frankness on “Breastless,” whose bright melodies belie the struggle described in the lyrics.

“Certain Kind of Monster” and “Pursuit of Liberty”—both written and sung by bassist Linh Le—are blistering repudiations of the current administration’s treatment of immigrants.

The former is an imagined conversation with an ICE agent, and the latter juxtaposes her family’s immigration to the U.S. from Vietnam in 1975 to current events, something she’s never explored musically.

The perspective behind The Ride lends it an undeniable maturity, without losing its power. Recorded throughout much of 2018 and 2019 by Johnny Carey and Fat Mike of production team the D-Composers, the album boasts all of the elements of BCBC’s sound: big guitars, lock-step bass and drums (the latter by powerhouse drummer Myra Gallarza), intricate vocal harmonies, and plenty of attitude.

It’s just that this time, the attitude is encouraging, not raging. Nowhere is that more apparent than lilting album closer “Sing With Me.” Built around acoustic guitar, piano, and Cotterill’s voice, it’s an exhortation to “sing with me / or sing your own song / I don’t mind, just as long as you find / a voice.”

Dee adds, “If people are listening to our songs and they’re going to sing along to them, they’re going to start owning some of those words. And in owning some of those words that gives them some strength and power going forward. That’s really the biggest gift that I could give to anybody.”
“Stronger in every way” aptly describes Bad Cop Bad Cop in 2020. The anger may have taken a back seat on The Ride, but what’s taken its place is even more powerful.

Bad Religion

Bad Religion is an American punk rock band that formed in Los Angeles, California, in 1980. The band’s lyrics cover topics related to religion, politics, society, the media and science. Musically, they are noted for their melodic sensibilities and extensive use of three-part vocal harmonies. The band has experienced multiple line-up changes, with singer Greg Graffin being the band’s only constant member, though fellow founding members Jay Bentley and Brett Gurewitz have also been with the band for most of their history while guitarist Brian Baker has been a member of the group since 1994. Guitarist Mike Dimkich and drummer Jamie Miller have been members of the band since 2013 and 2015 respectively.

Concrete Castles

Erie, PA

Band members are also part of an Erie based covers band named First to Eleven.

DeeCracks / The Manges – Split EP

DeeCracks / The Manges - Split EP - DeeCracks

Release Date: December 02, 2022 Record Label: Striped Music Release Type: Split

Euro Punk Rock veterans and Striped alumni DeeCracks (Austria) and The Manges (Italy) finally celebrate their longtime friendship with a split 7″. Two previously unreleased tracks for each band (Manges songs are from the ‘Book Of Hate’ sessions), cover art by Manuel Cossu, graphic design by Mass Manges.

Djunah – “Femina Furens”

Femina Furens - Djunah

Release Date: March 03, 2023 Record Label: Unsigned Release Type: LPBandcamp Link: Listen on Bandcamp

Femina Furens is the latest full-length from Chicago noise-rock duo Djunah. Pre-order it here, but don’t dilly-dally because the cool physical copies are selling pretty quickly.

Here’s the band’s write-up: “Femina Furens” fuses influences from poetry (Gerard Manley Hopkins, Sylvia Plath, John Donne) and heavy music to tell the story of diagnosis and continuing recovery from complex post-traumatic stress disorder, or C-PTSD. The album’s title comes from the Latin for “furious woman.” The artwork is inspired by representations of the divine feminine in 1970s sci-fi metal artwork.