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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!
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.
Adeem is a seventh-generation Carolinian, a makeshift poet, singer-songwriter, storyteller, and blue-collar Artist. They reside in the hills of East Tennessee with their wife, visual-artist High Five Hannie, toddler, and two small cats where they write & record music while perfecting their garlic pizza recipe.
Remember that time your dad went to the grocery store to get milk and never came back? That’s the exact heartbreak us skate punk fans have felt since Cigar released Speed is Relative 23 years ago and disappeared into the ether shortly thereafter. Good news! Dad’s back, and he got the milk! Or, in this case, Cigar’s back and they’ve got an awesome new record.
The wait was long, but it was worth it. With their Fat Wreck Chords debut The Visitor, Cigar picks up right where they left off on Speed is Relative. This record delivers more of the crazy fast, ultra melodic punk that earned the band’s 1999 debut its deserved status as a cult classic among skate punk diehards. Actually, I think this record might even be faster than the first one! Yes, two decades have passed, but these guys have defeated Father Time. They still have the same youthful energy that originally drew me to their music; I’m confident it will win many new listeners over as well.
Cigar wastes no time getting out of the gate, as “These Chances” kicks off The Visitor at a breakneck pace, and immediately rolls into the equally speedy “Legacy of the 7 Piles”. Right off the bat, drummer Jon Sortland is firing off like a fucking machine gun on drums; seriously, this guy is a lunatic. New bassist Jonathan Hischke shows off his chops with riffs that will make your fingers bleed just listening to them. Frontman Rami Krayem turns in a great performance once again, with some creative guitar parts and equally impressive vocal range.
I loved the album’s lead single “We Used To” when I first heard it a few months ago, and that’s still the case. This song has “instant classic” written all over it. But when trying to pick a favorite track, it’s a complete toss up for me. There are no stinkers to be found here. “Gone Wrong”, “Classic You”, “Forget About Me”, and basically everything else on this record is on par with the fan favorites of Speed is Relative.
The Visitor‘s closing track “Knocked Down” is introduced with an a cappella intro, and for a brief moment in time, you get the impression that Cigar might actually slow down. But this glimpse into a seemingly softer side of the band is short-lived. They quickly hit the gas, opening up the circle pit one more time with a rapid fire skate punk anthem to rival “Mr. Hurtado”.If you like punk rock fast enough to set a land speed record, The Visitor is the record for you. With any luck, Cigar won’t keep us waiting another 23 years for the next one!
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.