With a sound reminiscent of ’90s alternative, punk, surf, and power-pop, Northern CA’s Decent Criminal offers catchy, upbeat songs that mercilessly collide with abrasive and often melancholy undertones, to bring forth a style that is both playfully compatible, and inadvertently raw.
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DS Exclusive: Wolves & Wolves & Wolves & Wolves debut new track “Oh Catalonia” from upcoming album “cursecursecurse”
North Carolina’s best-kept secret for 13 years and running Wolves & Wolves & Wolves & Wolves are back and, dare we say, better than ever! On April 7th, WolvesX4 will release a brand-spanking-new full-length entitled cursecursecurse. It’s due out on A-F Records in the States and on Gunner Records across the pond, and no matter […]
North Carolina’s best-kept secret for 13 years and running Wolves & Wolves & Wolves & Wolves are back and, dare we say, better than ever!
On April 7th, WolvesX4 will release a brand-spanking-new full-length entitled cursecursecurse. It’s due out on A-F Records in the States and on Gunner Records across the pond, and no matter where you live, we can assure you it rips. Want proof? Well, you’re in luck. Dying Scene is pleased to bring you the first single from cursecursecurse, an anthemic, three-and-a-half minute burner called “Oh Catalonia”. Check it out below! Oh and while you’re at it, pre-sales for cursecursecurse are now up and they are gorgeous. But don’t just take our word for it – see for yourself here!
DS Record Radar: This Week in Punk Vinyl (Operation Ivy tribute, The Vandals, Bouncing Souls & more)
Greetings, and welcome to the Dying Scene Record Radar. If it’s your first time here, thank you for joining us! This is a weekly column where we cover all things punk rock vinyl; new releases, reissues… you name it, we’ve probably got it. Kick off your shoes, pull up a chair, crack open a cold […]
Greetings, and welcome to the Dying Scene Record Radar. If it’s your first time here, thank you for joining us! This is a weekly column where we cover all things punk rock vinyl; new releases, reissues… you name it, we’ve probably got it. Kick off your shoes, pull up a chair, crack open a cold one, and break out those wallets, because it’s go time. Let’s get into it!
We’re starting off this week’s column with a huuuuuge Operation Ivy tribute comp from Lavasocks Records and Sell The Heart Records. The Double LP titled Mooorree Than Just Another Comp features 33 Op Ivy covers from bands like The Chinkees, Catbite, Flying Racoon Suit & more. There are a bunch of color variants available here and here.
Earlier this week, your friends at Dying Scene hosted the exclusive premiere of a new song by North Carolina’s Wolves & Wolves & Wolves & Wolves. “Oh Catalonia” comes from the band’s upcoming album cursecursecurse, due out April 7th on A-F Records and Gunner Records. Check out the single below and pre-order the record here.
Belgian punks The Priceduifkes‘ new self-titled LP compiles 21 tracks from a bunch of previously released EPs and it actually flows pretty well as a full-length album. If you’ve never heard of these guys, this record is a perfect introduction to their high octane brand of pop-punk. Listen below and grab it on vinyl here (US) or here (EU).
Fat Wreck Chords imprint Bottles To The Ground put out a few new releases this week, the first of which is Bottle Music for Broken People. This sampler comp features a brand new track from the label’s newest signing Fishbone, along with songs by Codefendants, The Meffs & more. Check out the Fishbone single below and grab the LP here.
Our friends at Dead Broke Rekerds have issued a second pressing of their Fifteen – The Choice of a New Generation reissue. There are 257 copies on black vinyl, and 100 of each color variant. Head over to their webstore to grab your copy of this East Bay punk classic.
Listen up, true believers! The Bouncing Souls‘ Anchors Aweigh turns 20 this year and to mark the occasion, it’s back in print on colored wax! 500 copies on “toxic green” colored wax, to be specific. Get it here.
The Vandals‘ Hollywood Potato Chip is getting a new pressing on blue/white haze colored vinyl. I’ve seen this available to pre-order pretty much everywhere, but Amazon‘s probably the cheapest option with free Prime shipping. Or if you’re really frugal and don’t give a shit about color variants, the black LP is also on sale for $16 on Amazon.
RECORD OF THE WEEK
It’s been a while since we featured a Record of the Week(!) on the Record Radar, but what better way to end the streak than with a killer new record from a Canadian pop-punk band? Hellaphant‘s debut LP Crumble and Rise caught me by surprise in the best way possible. Listen below and grab it on vinyl here (shipping to the US is very reasonably priced!). And don’t forget to tell ’em your pals at Dying Scene sent ya!
That’s all, folks. Another Record Radar in the books. As always, thank you for tuning in. If there’s anything we missed (highly likely), or if you want to let everyone know about a new/upcoming vinyl release you’re excited about, leave us a comment below, or send us a message on Facebook or Instagram, and we’ll look into it. Enjoy your weekend, and don’t blow too much money on spinny discs (or do, I’m not your father). See ya next week!
Wanna catch up on all of our Record Radar posts? Click here and you’ll be taken to a page with all the past entries in the column. Magic!
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Dying Scene Album Review: Mercy Union – “White Tiger”
I don’t normally start album reviews this way but I thought it was maybe sort of important to mention this time that I am, for the record, a big Mercy Union fan and supporter. I’ve known frontman Jared Hart for a long time and have been a fan of his solo work and his Scandals […]
I don’t normally start album reviews this way but I thought it was maybe sort of important to mention this time that I am, for the record, a big Mercy Union fan and supporter. I’ve known frontman Jared Hart for a long time and have been a fan of his solo work and his Scandals work and of sideman Rocky Catanese and his various projects (remember Let Me Run?!?) for quite literally as long as I’ve been involved with Dying Scene, which is to say well over a decade. I was at Mercy Union’s first show billed as Mercy Union (October 2017 supporting Racquet Club at Middle East in Cambridge, MA, if you were wondering) and I was at Mercy Union’s last show before Covid-19 forced us inside for a few years (at O’Brien’s in Boston in March 2020 with Secret Spirit and the Nightblinders and Coffin Salesmen if you were wondering, which I’m sure you weren’t because this is a record review and a not a list of “shows Jay has been too).
ANYWAY, all that is to say that I like Mercy Union a lot. And yet, because I’m a professional (lol) journalist with at least some modicum of integrity (not lol, I actually like to think this latter part is true) I tried to take a 30,000-foot view of the new Mercy Union album and put my personal thoughts about the band aside and listen to it objectively. And so I fired it up on the good speakers in my car went for a drive and about halfway through the album, I got so into the music and the sounds and the textures that I quite honestly got lost, having blown way past my destination. White Tiger is great, kids. Really, really great.
The band’s 2018 debut, The Quarry, laid at least a bare framework of 1990s alternative rock influences through a filter of New Jersey punk sensibility, but White Tiger surpasses it on almost every level. White Tiger, the band’s second full-length, puts any fears about a sophomore slump to bed pretty much from the opening notes of album opener “1998.” It’s an uptempo table setter with swirling guitar riffs and a giant, singalong chorus that combine to serve as an instant revelation that whatever extra time the band spent crafting this album during the doldrums brought on by a global pandemic was put to extremely good use.
The soundscape on White Tiger is both sprawling and crystal clear, and while Hart may the songwriting spearhead, it very much sounds like a collaborative, full-band record (which is not to say that The Quarry wasn’t, necessarily, but when you’ve got multiple accomplished songwriters combining forces in a newer project it’s only natural for some songs to sound like they belong to each individual songwriter rather than “the band.” Hell, The Clash very clearly has Joe songs and Mick songs and Paul songs…but I digress). Even “Basements,” which is a track with roots that extend back to Hart’s 2015 Past Lives & Pass Lines solo record is filled out with a full band treatment that creates an epic, massive feel that would have made the perfect springboard for a wonderfully cinematic video that would have been a staple on MTV back in the years when epic, cinematic videos were actually played on MTV. So, the mid-1990s.
Speaking as a child of the ’90s, there are some very clear throughlines on White Tiger that originate back in that time period, but not maybe in the way you’d expect for an album being covered on your favorite newly-relaunched punk rock website. There were a great many of us that cut our punk rock teeth on the Bad Religions and Rancids and Green Days and other Epitaph/Fat/Lookout bands of the day and who maybe didn’t outwardly state how much we also appreciated the parallel track that was modern alternative rock radio and it’s expertly-crafted, tight and melody-driven power pop goodness. Bands like Gin Blossoms and Soul Asylum and pre-“Iris” Goo Goo Dolls and post-Mats Westerberg and The Wallflowers. Admittedly, it wasn’t “cool” to profess your love for songs like “Counting Blue Cars” or “Desperately Wanting” or “Hey Jealousy” if you also had like a Dead Kennedy’s patch and a NOFX patch on your backpack, but I think those of us “of a certain age” long ago gave up on aspirations of being cool and now don’t mind publically citing our affinity for a well-crafted, mid-tempo, radio friendly, melody driven rock and roll song, and I’m here for it. And White Tiger has a lot of that in spades.
Lead single “Prussian Blue,” for example, is anchored by a fuzzed-out lead bassline from Jorgensen as the guitars weave textured layers of harmonics and swirling melodies, and it’s got a massive arena (or even amphitheater) rock-sounding bridge. “Be Honest” finds Catanese and Hart trading vocal duties, while “Jane Way” puts Catanese solely in the spotlight. the former of those songs…can we call it post-emo? Is that a thing or did I just make that up? It’s got a huge, almost gothic soundscape in the bridge. “Evergreen” could probably stand on its own just fine as a solo acoustic track, but it gradually adds soaring synth and keys and strings (many of which were arranged by the multi-talented Jorgensen) and Benny Horowitz’s massive drums (editor’s note: Horowitz played all of the drums on White Tiger before departing the band and returning to his, uh, full-time day job) and layered guitars all in a full crescendo by the last third of the song.
“The Weekend,” which comes right around the album’s halfway mark, is a track that caught me off guard. It spends the first few minutes as one of those radio-friendly, mid tempo rock songs with a chorus that trends more to the delicate side, before completely switching gears entirely at the halfway point with the riffs getting heavier and Horowitz’s drums in full-on attack mode. This is undoubtedly a standout track and is precisely the moment where I blew well past my exit on the aforementioned evening drive. Other songs, like “Redeye (EWR>SNA)” find Hart taking whatever restrictor plates were left off of his voice, letting it soar to heights we’ve only really ever heard teased before. It’s fair to say that he’s leaned into his voice both a songwriter and a vocalist now, and most of the hardcore-inspired gravel of his earlier works is now a thing of the past.
From a sonic perspective, there is a sort of mid-tempo sameness that serves as a groove that many of the tracks settle into. That’s not bad, necessarily, and the variety of textures, particularly when factoring in the guitars and occasional strings and blended voices keep any particular song from sounding too much like any other, either on the album or in the band’s arsenal. If there’s a song on White Tiger that will inspire high-energy punk-rock style crowd push-and-pull, it’s the singalong, call and response verses on “So Long, Siberia.” And that’s good. Because White Tiger, and really Mercy Union circa 2022 by extension, occupies a space in your record collection that nothing else really does.
Pre-orders for White Tiger are still available here.
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Dying Scene Album Review: Wolves & Wolves & Wolves & Wolves – “cursecursecurse”
How can anyone truly believe the statement “rock music is dead,” especially after all of the music that has been released within the past decade. Music is continuously evolving, despite the criticism and really at no surprise to the people who are most passionate about it. Take a close look at the genre of punk […]
How can anyone truly believe the statement “rock music is dead,” especially after all of the music that has been released within the past decade. Music is continuously evolving, despite the criticism and really at no surprise to the people who are most passionate about it. Take a close look at the genre of punk rock.
Arguably one of the most diverse genres of music out there, punk rock has also evolved into something more meaningful and emotional than the original ideas of “going against the establishment” or “teenage angst.” Although those ideas still can be found within punk, the music has taken on a completely different attitude through new bands and new sub genres.
Growing up in the late ’90s and early 2000s, I was introduced to skate punk and ska and pop punk. Bands like Green Day, MxPx, Blink 182, Goldfinger, Less Than Jake, New Found Glory, The Offspring and NOFX is what I knew as punk rock. Little did I know that there was so much more out there and that in the years to come the genre would evolve. It wasn’t until college that I discovered bands like AFI, Silverstein, Alkaline Trio, Hot Water Music, Taking Back Sunday, and legends The Bouncing Souls. These bands weren’t just punk bands, they had a different style and sound to them. They would start the evolving of punk into more than just a skate punk or pop punk sound.
While I could potentially write on and on about the further sub genres punk has evolved into over the years, I don’t want to steer this ship around the entire world in one album review. I mentioned the band Hot Water Music in the previous paragraph, let’s take a closer look at their impact on punk rock and the influence they have had on a lot of the bands I listen to today. Hot Water Music is known for their raw and gritty vocals, chugging guitar riffs and catchy but compelling songs that leave the listener feeling something special. I think this band and their sound helped punk develop into post-punk and alternative rock in some aspects. My opinion of course is subjective, and I’m sure there are a lot of other bands who have taken this same path, but HWM was the first band that I listened to that exposed me to this kind of punk rock.
It is now 2023. I am 40 years old. While I do still enjoy the punk I grew up listening to, I also have an admiration, respect and passion for other bands that likely are in the same sub genre as Hot Water Music. One such band is wolves & wolves & wolves & wolves. This is a band I actually discovered thanks to the wonderful music sharing website called Bandcamp (which I think is one of the Internet’s greatest creations). While wolves & wolves & wolves & wolves probably was influenced by and shares some of the same fans as Hot Water Music, they have carved their own path through hard work and dedication and making a name for themselves through their live shows. The Winston Salem, North Carolina based post-punk act has released two full length albums over the course of the past nine years.
“The Cross and the Switchblade” is the title of the band’s second album, which was released from Wiretap Records in 2016. That’s the album that hooked me on these guys. So much energy, emotion, and captivation in ten songs that I knew this band was going to leave a positive mark on my life. So much so that I’ve listened to the record with a good friend countless times and we couldn’t believe what we were hearing. Naturally, when I found out a new album was coming, I jumped at the opportunity to give it a review.
The third full length album by wolves & wolves & wolves & wolves, “cursecursecurse,” will be released Friday April 7 through the label A-F Records here in the United States, and through Gunner Records in Europe. I did have a chance to speak to Brian Woodall, the voice and songwriter of the band and it seems the album title is fitting after hearing about the process of making the album. “The recording took a while. We started tracking drums Summer of 2018 before we went on our last European tour,” states Woodall, who went into some detail about the band’s struggles between 2018 and 2019. “Then Covid happened. If it hadn’t, Wolves x4 probably would have broken up, but it gave me some time to reflect and find the love for music that started to dull. I ended up finishing the recording in 2021 at the Sandwich Shoppe in Oxford, N.C,” this quote from Woodall gave me goosebumps. Dedication. Determination. We have a brand new wolves & wolves & wolves & wolves album.
You can hear the effort that was put into “cursecursecurse” in the track “Oh, Catalonia,” a three minute and twenty-seven second ode to overcoming adversity and a fist pumping ripper of a track that will leave you smiling from ear to ear after every listen. Is it my favorite track on the album? Damn, that’s a tough question. It’s a tough question because the entire album, comprised of 9 songs, is absolutely something special and will probably wear the needle on my turntable out when I get the vinyl. Another standout track “Excommunicate Me” is full of high energy and raw vocals. The song blares as an exclamation from singer Brian Woodall, and once it’s over you’ll want to play it again. Don’t sleep on “Empires,” this is the anthem for those of you who are ready to get past all this bullshit we’ve gone through over the past three years. I have to mention the opening track, “Hey Run Away” because not very often does the first song set the tone for the rest of the album and leave such an impact that you can’t wait to hear what’s next. The vocals, slamming guitars and that unforgettable chorus, this is where “cursecursecurse” shines and will be on everyone’s best albums of 2023 list. Folks, it’s only April and we have been gifted with some fantastic music. Order a copy of the vinyl from A-F Records here. Your record player will thank you for it.
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Dying Scene Interview: Tristan and Hunter Martinez of Decent Criminal on Their Brand New Full-Length “There’s More To It Than Climbing”
There’s More To It Than Climbing, the much-anticipated, brand-spanking-new full-length from Southern California’s finest, Decent Criminal, is live on all streaming services now. I had the absolute pleasure of getting to chat with Tristan and Hunter Martinez, the duo responsible for making up 50% of the Decent Criminal gang, and got to question the minds […]
There’s More To It Than Climbing, the much-anticipated, brand-spanking-new full-length from Southern California’s finest, Decent Criminal, is live on all streaming services now. I had the absolute pleasure of getting to chat with Tristan and Hunter Martinez, the duo responsible for making up 50% of the Decent Criminal gang, and got to question the minds behind a record that is unlike anything the group has released previously.
My last encounter with these dudes came back in 2017 on a bill featuring Dwarves and The Queers (it’s actually been so long that the venue, Exit/In, has since closed and reopened its doors) and it was back in the days when I was still exploring the genre that I’ve now come to love so much. That tour was in support of their sophomore release, Bloom, a record that was described by PunkNews as having “much more oomph and power” than their debut. This was the Decent Criminal that I had obsessed over for a while, but later fell out of touch with until this current release.
Parts of this record allude to the Southern California brand of punk that served as my very introduction to Decent Criminal, while the remaining majority explores genres outside that which fans have previously experienced from the group. On more than one occasion, heavy shades of Sublime are present, with little sprinkles here and there of qualities that remind me of the glory days of Everclear and Sugar Ray (but in only the best ways).
You can tell these dudes let loose with this record and just had a good time making it and the end product is something that’s both riveting, yet easy listening at the same time. Tracklist construction is something I’ve paid more and more attention to as I conduct more interviews, and as we discuss during our chat, this record is extremely well-crafted in a way that guides you along a journey of where these guys are currently at. I very much encourage you to check this thing out below from start to finish because, although each track can stand alone in its own right, it truly is a journey in that each recording guides you along to the next until “Hold Me Down” serves as a worthy conclusion.
Due to the heavy emphasis on this record being more of a journey rather than merely a collection of tracks, conducting this interview in a track-by-track format seemed fitting. Catch the full interview below, and go catch these guys live because, with this release being unlike anything in their catalog, both Hunter and Tristan assured that their live shows will feature some changes.
(Editor’s note: The following has been edited and condensed for clarity’s sake because a good chunk of this interview was just four guys shooting the shit.)
Dying Scene (Nathan Kernell NastyNate): I appreciate you guys reaching out to do this interview. It was nice diving back into your music, I’d kind of fallen out of the loop with you guys since the last time I saw you. I caught you guys years ago here in Nashville I think during the Bloom tour, maybe with like Agent Orange or Dwarves or somebody. It was back at Exit/In before they shut down and reopened.
Tristan Martinez: Oh Dwarves, yeah man. We did that run with them and the Queers, that was one of our first tours.
That’s right, yeah. I get all those shows mixed up because Agent Orange and the Queers came through every other month pretty much, always at Exit/In. So where are you guys calling from?
Tristan: We’re in sunny Los Angeles, California, it’s pretty sweet. We just finished up tour yesterday so we’re back here in California.
It looks a hell of a lot better than it does here in Nashville right now *laughs*. So I wanted to start out and see if I could get some background on the record, where it was recorded, how long you’ve been sitting on these songs. It’s due out in May, correct?
Hunter Martinez: Yeah it’s coming out May 19th, this first pressing is gonna be on our own label called Diissed Records. Then Gunner is out in Germany and they’re doing distribution out there and Best Life Records out of the UK is doing distribution there too.
Cool, have you guys been sitting on these songs a while or did you write these leading up to getting this recorded?
Hunter: Essentially we had like a record’s worth of material before the pandemic, and then that happened so we basically threw it all away except for one song, that’s on the record. Yeah so we just made like a whole ‘nother record.
Yeah that’s kind of been a common theme with a few of these interviews I’ve been doing. Guys will have stuff that they released right during COVID or they’ve got material, and then we’re starting to see now records that are released that were written during COVID. It kind of gives a different spin on some of these new releases.
Hunter: Yeah, it was like a period too where you didn’t really know what the hell was gonna happen.
Tristan: Some of it’s very dark, it’s almost like a reminder of why you even write or play music in the first place, it was kind of freeing for me.
So congrats on the record guys. What stood out to me, it seems like it kind of jumps around from genre to genre. There was a short bio at the top of the email I was sent that listed influences like Silversun Pickups and Dirty Nil, kind of a wide range of influences. But it made sense after listening to it.
Tristan: Yeah we dabble man, we listen to a lot of different kinds of stuff so I think it shows.
I mean I definitely heard some like old-school grunge in there, and then I heard some of what I was familiar with from seeing you guys back in like 2018 or 19. I heard some of that and then I heard some stuff that was kind of caught me off guard, completely different.
With this record, would you say the variation in style is kind of the biggest difference from what you’ve released before or do you have something that comes to mind for what’s different about this release than what you guys have put out before?
Hunter: Yeah I mean check out the whole thing, I think it’s meant to be listened to in its entirety, everything’s intentional. I mean I think it’s gonna be obvious that there’s way different shit than we’ve done before and that’s cool.
Tristan: Very, very happy about this record, how everything came out is a good interpretation of where we are right now, we’re stoked to actually be out play and play it in full probably coming up here.
So “Outside” kicks off the brand new release. I’m gonna ask a super original question, can you tell me about it *laughs*?
Tristan: Yeah “Outside” is cool, it’s Brian’s tune, Brian starts it off pretty. It’s kind of like the whole record, in a way, it’s a good scope of like where things are at and where things are going. Brian’s no longer in the band and I think it sort of opens up that and you know where he’s at, where he’s going and where we’re going. So unfortunately we had to part ways.
Hunter: I think he wrote that after he did mushrooms with his wife and I think some of that he references in the song. He showed us that demo a long time ago and I was very much pushing him on recording it because it sounds so fuckin’ cool. I really, I love that song.
So “Driving“, that’s one of the singles, that was one that I was kind of referencing as what I’m familiar with as Decent Criminal. Did you plan that out with that kind of sounding like what you guys traditionally sound like, was there a plan behind releasing that one first?
Tristan: It was just kind of the first one that we thought like “Oh this could be our first single”. As far as singles go, these first two kind of guide you along. Like “Smooth” almost takes you like a little bit further into where it’s going, so it all kind of leads you. So the first parts kind of familiar if you’re into our band, but then the next two are gonna be vastly different.
Was “Driving” the one you kept from that basically full length you had during COVID?
Hunter: No, that song is called “Wanna Be.”
Oh gotcha. So tell me a little bit about the meaning behind “Driving.“
Tristan: Yeah “Driving,” essentially it’s kind of metaphorical in a way, like the car is myself, my body, my lifestyle. Driving my car is you know like living a different lifestyle than most people and kind of the toll it takes on your life being in a band and all that shit. I don’t know, I think it could be taken pretty literal and that’s chill too. So yeah that’s the actual meaning behind it.
Sweet. So then moving on to “Soothe,” that’s another single out, that’s probably my favorite. I like how simple it is and it kind of makes a lot of sense, you talking about that one taking the listener a little further to where this record is going. I thought it was more of like a traditional grunge sound.
Tristan: Yeah for sure, it just hits in certain places and it comes down other places. And yeah that was a cool song. Hunter and I were just jamming, I record everything we jam, so it’s a song where none of those parts were written alone, it just happened on the spot and we just like put it together over the course of a few weeks.
Is that common with you guys, just kind of writing like spur of the moment?
Hunter: Yeah. I mean moreso with the last couple records. This one, you know Tristan did a lot on his own, Brian, our other songwriter, had a couple songs that he brought to the table. But yeah moreso the last four records we were like in a room jamming together. This one was like every now and then we would have stuff on the spot, but most stuff came through Tristan working on songs at our apartment.
Tristan, are you kind of the primary songwriter or is it more of a collaborative thing?
Tristan: I mean two of the songs on the record are Brian’s, but yeah I’m the primary songwriter. And I mean we just, you know, hash it out together really. So I come up with basically most of it and kind of get it together.
So then “Same,” that one was kind of giving me like beach Sublime vibes. What I did really want to ask you guys was what kind of what influences of yours do you think show through in this record the most, because it’s kind of all over the place in terms of like genre?
Tristan: Well it’s kind of cool to just kind of write to a drum machine instead. So all I did was take like a loop, same as the first song I wrote during the pandemic.
Hunter: That one stayed pretty true to the demo, too, which is awesome man. And more like the home recording style I’d say, which is something that we always loved from other bands, which is why Sublime I guess is a perfect comparison *laughs*. I mean they did that a lot.
Tristan: Yeah that song kind of reminds me of this Minutemen song, kind of has just a 90s vibe all together.
I mean love them or hate them, it was almost giving me Sugar Ray vibes. And I mean that in all the best ways, not the shitty ways *laughs*.
Hunter: I love Sugar Ray man, I don’t care what anyone says *laughs*.
Tristan: They’ve got some hits man, they write some great pop tunes.
So then “Blind,” that’s another hard-hitting one. So how I kind of see it, with this first half of the record, you’ve got “Driving” which is kind of what you’d expect, kind of the hard hitting one, and then “Soothe” you’re backing off a little bit, showing where the album’s heading. And then :Same,” kind of an unplugged vibe, but then “Blind” is another hard-hitting one. Was that done on purpose, I guess just with the flow of the record?
Hunter: Yeah just with the flow. I mean, I think putting “Blind” later in the record wouldn’t have made any sense. Because, I don’t know, the second-half of the record, I don’t wanna say I like it more, but I like the direction where it’s headed. “Blind,: it’s kind of just like a liberating song in a way, the lyrics are funny.
Tristan: That one’s also one where we jammed it out together in the garage, and I remember like working out “Blind” pretty well. I wrote that during the pandemic, at the very start of the pandemic and, yeah, I don’t know man, it’s just a cool song.
Yeah, so since I’ve been doing these interviews, with a few of them right as releases are coming out, I’m starting to pay more attention to how you construct a record, what order you put things in. And that’s kind of something that stood out to me with yours, it flows very well, it’s put together very well.
Tristan: The track listing is something we put a lot of emphasis on, we think about that a lot.
Well I mean that can make or break the record, like if you do it right it helps a lot. I was talking to Adrienne from Plasma Canvas out in Denver and they had a very cyclical approach to their record. It started off very soft with a piano hymn and then closed with another very soft song and it was done very well. And that immediately stood out about your release, how well it flows together.
Hunter: Cool, glad you feel that way. Thanks man. Yeah that definitely was important to us, to have flow.
So “You Dog” is another one where I think it demonstrates the variation in styles. Was that kind of a goal for you, having like a having a bunch of different styles, or did that just come naturally, were you just kind of writing whatever?
Tristan: Yeah it was just natural, you know just sitting around playing guitar, I came up with that riff on our couch. And I think that was one of the best parts about this record is it’s like not really trying anything, not really caring about it; more authentic and just feels more like ourselves and myself. So yeah this is one of those songs that sort of shows a different side.
So that’s the first half of the record, do you guys have any songs you’re particularly excited for people to hear, I know two of the songs on the first half are already released, but do you have any other ones you’re particularly excited for people to hear?
Tristan: I mean all of them really, we’re gonna make videos and basically every song’s gonna have like a video component. I’m excited for it dude, I’m excited to kind of let every song shine on its own.
Hunter: We’ve been playing a couple songs live on this last tour and coming up until the album comes out, we play the song called “Wanna Be” that’s been getting some good crowd reaction and I’m excited for that for one to finally drop. Also a later song, the last song on the record, “Hold Me Down”, is another great tune that we’ve been messing with live. It feels good to change it up a little bit, not just be that kind of like garage rock punk band that people have seen play live before, you know.
Coincidentally, that leads right in to “Wanna Be,” track 7. Tell me a little bit about that one, what the songwriting process looked like and kind of the meaning behind it.
Tristan: Yeah “Wanna Be” is just a song that, I guess it was a few years old at that point, and then I finally finished it. I was just like messing with the bridge and coming back into shit that I figured out during the pandemic. And yeah it’s just a love song really, that one felt really good in the studio early on when we were tracking the record.
Alright so then “Time,” that’s another one that kind of veered into it a different style I guess.
Hunter: Yeah “Time” was just another drum machine beat that Brian brought, it’s almost got a hip-hop vibe.
Yeah that’s another one that gave me Sublime vibes, but more of like the hip hop, Long Beach Dub All-Stars side. Sorry if this is getting a bit repetitive, I’m trying to keep from asking the same questions about each track.
“Each Time I’m Away,” that’s the next one. For like the last two tracks I didn’t really have many notes because they were both kind of different, not really what I was expecting from having last seen you guys years ago. I guess they kind of took me by surprise, I kind of saw the way the record was going, but wasn’t sure how you were gonna end, if you were going to have another hard-hitter or end softer. You guys were somewhere in the middle.
Tristan: Yeah “Each Time I’m Away” is the oldest song, like writing-wise. We played an acoustic show in Berlin in 2019, I had never played that song for any of the guys and I just like busted it out and they told me how much they liked it. So we made it into a song *laughs*. Yeah probably one of my favorite songs on the record.
Hunter: Yeah that song came together pretty quick, we didn’t really mess around with the structure at all, it didn’t really take much effort, it was just kind of there.
Tristan: Yeah even when I wrote it I think it was just kind of smooth sailing.
So then “Hold Me Down,” that concludes the new release. Was there any reason throwing that at the end, just thought it fit well?
Tristan: Yeah I just thought it sounded pretty at the end.
Hunter: And yeah it was the last two, we didn’t even actually do that in the studio yeah it was added on, Tristan and Brian put it together at Brian’s house in the garage and we really liked it. I think we jammed it during pre-production and I just fuckin’ always liked the tune, the melody was really good, but yeah these guys kicked it out.
Tristan: Yeah Brian and I recorded it in his garage and I was like back and forth kind of about recording it or even having it on the record, now it’s probably my favorite song on there, it just came out really pretty. Just, you know, a sweet song that I wrote in the studio by myself.
Yeah man so I think it’s cool, the whole groove of the record, it’s just a trip through everything that we’ve been doing and a lot of different music that we haven’t really represented on our other records.
Hunter: And during the pandemic we moved down to San Diego from Los Angeles too, and I feel like some of the songs are really just a reminder of that time of us being there together in that apartment in San Diego and the friends we had. The jam spot I feel is very crucial in writing and being together during all that.
Tristan: And this is like what we’re doing in our lives, there’s parts of it that are beautiful and parts of that are stressful. So I think between Hunter and I there’s all sorts of like natural intensity that comes and goes or whatever, we communicate with each other. So it’s all kind of there you know, it’s a trip to live your band.
Sweet yeah, so what’s to come after this, I know you guys just got back from tour, but do you have a record release show set up? Do you have a tour you’re looking at doing to promote this?
Tristan: Yeah we’re doing a tour next month with Direct Hit!, we have ten dates with them, it’s their 15th year anniversary so we’re doing a run of shows with them. We’re doing a split, we have some extra songs we recorded in a session in San Diego actually and it’s coming out a 7-inch on Dirtnap Records [OUT NOW!!!!]. And Direct Hit! made up a comic book for it as well, which is pretty cool.
Hunter: And then we’re doing Pouzza Fest in May out in Montreal, and then we’re going to Europe in June and July. Around June we’re planning a couple record release shows in California. Super excited about that, we’re planning to get together a bunch of friends for the record release show, so that should be fun.
Well that about wraps things up. Once again, congrats on this release, this thing’s killer!
Hunter: Yeah, thanks for doing this.
Tristan: Thanks dude.
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Dying Scene Record Store Spotlight: Clearwater Record Shop (Tampa Bay, FL)
Hello, and welcome to Record Store Spotlight; a new column here on Dying Scene dedicated to an institution almost as American as apple pie and unfettered capitalism – the record store! Today, I’ll be putting the spotlight on one of my favorite local stores, the Clearwater Record Shop. Nestled in the middle of my hometown […]
Hello, and welcome to Record Store Spotlight; a new column here on Dying Scene dedicated to an institution almost as American as apple pie and unfettered capitalism – the record store!
Today, I’ll be putting the spotlight on one of my favorite local stores, the Clearwater Record Shop. Nestled in the middle of my hometown (a city most well known for being home to the Church of Scientology’s headquarters), the Clearwater Record Shop sets itself apart from other record stores with its heavy focus on used music. Rather than relying on distributors to supply new releases, owner Casey Brown has spent years building his inventory one record collection acquisition at a time. The store which spans two interconnected warehouse spaces boasts one of the most expansive selections of used CDs I’ve ever seen. Every time I visit, I leave with a stack of jewel cases a few feet high. It’s easy to get carried away when you’re met with hundreds of bins overflowing with discs, the majority of which are just $3.75 each (or six for $20!).
Sure, it’s hard to beat the ease and convenience of shopping online. But the Clearwater Record Shop goes toe to toe with Discogs prices, and I find that most of the time, they come out ahead. Also, I’ve yet to find a more enjoyable way to kill a few hours on my day off than thumbing through thousands of records and CDs, searching for worthy additions to my collection. It’s a visceral experience that can’t be matched by browsing an online marketplace. Finding a record like The Clash’s Combat Rock for $15, and not having to wait an eternity for USPS to deliver it is icing on the cake. My only complaint about this store is that the selection is literally overwhelming. If you’re on a budget, you might have to get a little picky as your stack grows taller.
In the cooler months (yes, we sometimes have those here in Florida), the Clearwater Record Shop acts as a host to monthly swap meets. Local record collectors and vendors are invited to set up tables in the parking lot to sell their wares. These events serve as a great meeting place for the community, and are a highlight of winter and spring for me. The first time we attended, I grabbed a few LPs, including the Buzzcocks’ A Different Kind of Tension ($10) and Billy Joel’s Songs in the Attic ($5), along with a bunch of dollar bin CDs by the likes of the Ramones, Ozzy, and Megadeth.
It’s always a fun time shopping at this store. Casey is very personable and has created something really special here. The store has a unique, inviting old school atmosphere. The selection is great, and the prices are fair. Your dollar goes a lot further here than it does at most record stores.
If you ever find yourself in the Tampa Bay area, I highly recommend stopping by the Clearwater Record Shop. With two air conditioned warehouses packed to the rafters with nothing but music, music, and even more music, you’re bound to stumble upon something that suits your fancy. Or, if you lack self control like me, you’ll probably leave with a mountain of stuff that suits your fancy.
For more info, check out the store’s website, and follow them on Instagram.
Do you have a favorite local record store you’d like to let everyone know about? Of course you do! Hit us up on Facebook or Instagram and submit your own Record Store Spotlight. The more the merrier!
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Gunner Records is a record label from Bremen, Germany
Radio Compass – “Aloha”
"Aloha" - Radio CompassRelease Date: May 20, 2022 Record Label: Gunner Records Release Type: LPBandcamp Link: Listen on Bandcamp
Sleep deprived punk from Atlanta, Georgia.
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