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!
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.
American Thrills grabbed my attention about a year ago thanks to one of those pesky Instagram ads that everyone seems to despise. For once, I’m thankful one of those scrolled across my screen because it introduced me to another New England punk band to obsess over (and another possible candidate for my upper-arm collection of […]
American Thrills grabbed my attention about a year ago thanks to one of those pesky Instagram ads that everyone seems to despise. For once, I’m thankful one of those scrolled across my screen because it introduced me to another New England punk band to obsess over (and another possible candidate for my upper-arm collection of New England punk tattoos).
It was their Discount Casket EP that gave me a little taste of what these guys had to offer. The only problem was I was left craving more, something a full-length could only satisfy. Luckily, my cravings were satisfied after a relatively short wait, and when I say satisfied, I mean that these dudes released a fuckin’ ripper.
Their recent release Parted Ways hints at the familiar Northeast sounds of the Gaslight Anthem and the Menzingers (who coincidentally were competitors of the same time slot during Fest 20) that many have compared AT to, yet they play their own unique brand of punk rock that I was glad to see added to the always reputable Wiretap Records lineup, one I can always count on the turn out stellar under-the-radar artists.
It was truly a pleasure to shoot the shit with 50% of one of my recent favorite Limp Bizkit-loving bands. These dudes have put out two EPs and a full-length that are truly worth checking out. Parted Ways is linked below, followed by the awesome chat I had with Jamie and Jeff. Cheers!
(Editor’s note: The following has been edited and condensed for clarity’s sakebecause a good chunk of this interview was just three guys shooting the shit.)
Dying Scene (Nathan Kernell NastyNate): Hey, it’s great to talk with you guys. I’ve followed you guys for quite a bit, I think right before Discount Casket came out. So yeah, I wanted to get started and talk to you guys obviously about the new record. Starting off, was this just like a collection of songs that you guys kind of built up and you’re just like ‘okay now we’ve got enough for a record’ or did you sit down with the end goal of like ‘let’s write enough stuff to release a full-length’?
Jamie Otfinoski: You know we wanted to write a full-length, but we did it kind of segmentally, we would do like chunks of songs and it was just a process. We would have demos we’d start to work on, then we’d jump to something else, then like come back to it. But ultimately the end goal was like ‘let’s put out a fuckin’ full length’. Because from my perspective, a lot of bands today do like single after single after single, and I get that because there’s like a method to the madness with like Spotify and all that shit, but at the end of the day like the bands I’m really into, like I’m into a record. I want a whole fuckin’ record and listen to a band to really get the vibe of the band.
Right, I get that. With you guys, you kind of released a single at a time leading up to the record, right, then you put out the whole thing?
Jamie: Yeah we did like four or five singles then we dropped like the last four songs all at once. And once again, that’s the whole thing with the internet, like Spotify and trying to build buzz, they want you to do singles. But ultimately we wanted to roll them into some sort of full-length so people could like sit down and check out our band with a little more than just like one song here and there.
So that was kind of a different approach from these previous eps you released?
Jamie: Yeah, you know we really wanted to, like we did two EPs, we’re like ‘we really wanna go all in and do a full-length’. And the guys at Wiretap were down to work with us on it which was totally rad and it made it that much more awesome. But we wanted to do something full and cohesive where we could do vinyl and finally put out like our first full-length record.
So what was the songwriting approach on this? Do you guys have one main songwriter or is it more of a team effort, what’s that look like?
Jamie: So Kurt, our vocalist/ guitarist, he kind of like, I wanna say he takes some of the reins. We always have a group text going and Kurt will like come up with a chunk of a song and go like ‘hey, check out this chorus?’. And then what we’ll do is we’ll get together and practice and we’ll kind of just like start playing it and rolling until we’re like ‘oh, that’s cool, what’s a cool verse to follow’ or vice versa. It’s like a collective approach, but somebody’s always bringing stuff to the table. Same thing with Paul, the other guitarist, he’ll have like a cool riff, he’ll lay it down and then we’ll turn that riff into a song. So it’s collective, but the two guitarists are kind of bringing the big chunks to practices.
So is there kind of a theme with this new record?
Jamie: You know, we’re like a bunch of old salty dudes that kind of like hate our hometown…
Jeff Wielk: I wouldn’t say hate…
Jamie: We don’t hate it, but you know, we don’t love it either. You know the record’s about like getting older, losing friends, losing family, you know just being disheartened by the people we kind of grew up with who maybe ended up turning out to be maybe not who we thought they would be. It’s just a theme of like get the hell out of our hometown, you know we’re old and salty.
Are you guys born and raised up there [in Connecticut]?
Jamie: Born and raised, yeah.
Jeff: Yeah all of us, we’re from the same hometown originally.
Jamie: You know up here in the North, we talk crap about our community, but ultimately, Connecticut’s not a bad place to grow up, kind of expensive I guess. But outside of that, it’s good people, it’s what we’re used to.
Jeff: We definitely could’ve grown up somewhere worse. New England’s got some great music.
Jamie: That’s the one thing about Connecticut too is like, the tours they come and they play in New York and then they skip Connecticut and play Boston. So we’re like right in the middle, you gotta either drive to New York or Boston to see the shows, nobody wants to play Connecticut.
So yeah, I wanted to talk now about specific tracks here. My favorite track off the record was “Ivy League Swing,” and I wanted to talk about what the songwriting for that looked like, the meaning behind it, some of its background.
Jeff: Paul, uh, wrote that initial riff in the beginning after the song starts with singing. And that first riff, that was like the first thing to come out for that song.
Jamie: That was one that Paul brought to the table and was like ‘I have this really cool guitar riff, let’s make it into a song’. We heard it and we were jazzed up on it and just kind of melded its way into that tune.
So this is more of a ‘me’ question, something I’m always curious about. What’s your guys’ songwriting look like, like how does it work; do you guys come up with like riffs first and then lyrics later, or I know some guys start with lyrics and then kind of build the song around it. It’s something I’ve always struggled with, how to kind of progress through writing a song.
Jamie: It goes both ways; sometimes Kurt will come to the table with like some lyrics over a little riff or a chorus and then we’ll expand on it, where other times, like that song “Ivy League Swing,” Paul actually came with a riff. He’s the guitarist, he doesn’t put the vocals over it, so Kurt kind of took the riff, changed it a little bit, and was able to make it into a song, put lyrics over it. Yeah it actually goes both ways with us, but I’d say for the most part, like 75% of the time, Kurt will have like some part of the song that has some sort of vocal guitar part together and we’ll just build off of it.
Jeff: Yeah like the main hook or whatever…
Yeah like I said, I’ve kind of heard it both ways and I’m always curious with everybody I talk to, I like asking that.
Jeff: Yeah I think it’s mostly instrumental. I’m 90% sure that Kurt kind of comes up with the lyrics afterwards.
So yeah “Ivy League Swing,” that’s my favorite track off the record. What about you guys, you guys have a favorite?
Jeff: Yeah, “Interpretation.” It’s just so different from what we normally do you know. Little bit different of a time signature, I don’t know. I’m like a mid-2000s emo-core kind of guy you know *laughs*
Jamie: I like “Sinking,” when we play live, it just starts off like fast and it’s got an interesting beat to it. It’s a quick little ripper. I like those songs live, they’re just fun to play because there’s so much energy.
You guys had that album release show the other night, what, at Stonebridge? Yeah how was that?
Jamie: Yeah a good old place in our hometown.
Jeff: It’s like a towny bar…
Yeah how was the reception there?
Jamie: It was awesome. Yeah we sold the place out, maybe like 150, 170 people. It was a blast. Andy from Hot Rod Circuit came out and he did an acoustic set. Split Coils played, which is Jay also from Hot Rod Circuit, they’re incredible. And this newer Connecticut band called Shortwave was just fuckin’ awesome. I mean it was really a great time seeing you know all the friends and just having all our buddies come out to see us play our hometown, it was just an awesome thing to be a part of.
Awesome, yeah. So I wanted to talk about Fest 20 a little bit. I was down there and it was actually my first Fest, wasn’t a bad Fest to start out on for my first one I guess.
Jeff: Yeah probably the best one yet.
How was your guys’ show down there?
Jeff: It was awesome, yeah. Super sick.
Jamie: The only downside was our set was right when the Menzingers were playing, which is like tough competition there. But all our buddies came out, we had a good showing, I mean it was fun. I like the smaller venues at Fest. Like I go to the big venues, like I go to Bo Diddley and I watch these bands, but I love seeing bands at like these smaller venues, like Loosey’s, and, where’d we play this year…
Jeff: Palomino, it was awesome.
Jamie: You like pack it out with a hundred people in there and it’s just awesome.
Yeah I think my favorite show from the entire thing was the Dopamines over at the Wooly. That was insane. Do you guys have a favorite set from Fest?
Jeff: This Fest I made it a point, I never even went to Bo Diddley. I never made it there this year. I made it a point to see like not big bands you know. So yeah, my favorite set, there’s this band, I wanna say they’re from Atlanta, and they’re called Seagulls. Dude that band was literally insane. And another set, they’re called You Vandal, they’re from Gainesville, their set was sick. They also did an AFI cover set.
Yeah I kind of agree with what you guys were saying about the smaller venue vibe, it kind of got overwhelming. Like here in Nashville, any of the punk shows, they’re all real intimate, not a lot of people there usually, they’re never sold out. So going to like Bo Diddley it’s a little overwhelming, like I’m seeing Avail but I’m all the way in the fuckin’ back, you know. But seeing like Dopamines, that’s more of what I’m used to. It was cool seeing these bands in these smaller venues that I’ve kind of idolized forever.
So then circling back to Wiretap, how’d you guys get on there, can you walk me through that a little bit?
Jamie: So you know, I’ve always liked a lot of the bands on there, like I’ve had a vinyl from like Spanish Love Songs and all these bands that I’ve followed and looked up to. And some newer bands too are on the label, American Television, some like kind of local guys that are just awesome. So we hit up Rob, we sent him something, we sent him like “Discount Casket” and he was like ‘hey, this is really cool, I wanna put this on …’ he does like a bimonthly charity comp towards like a good cause. He put that on one of his comps. And we were like ‘ oh cool, we’ll keep in touch.’ So then as we started kind of sitting down and putting tracks together for the full-length, we just hit him up again and we’re like ‘hey, we’re thinking about putting out a record, we’re gonna put it out hopefully before Fest. Are you interested?’. But Rob was really like gung-ho and down for it and got us rolling really early on. He was just a great guy to work with, I mean Wiretap has put out so many great releases and he’s so involved with like the scene and a lot of great charity efforts; he’s just overall a great dude in so many ways. So we’re happy to work with him and we’re lucky that we get the chance to put out a record with him.
Yeah I can’t remember when I realized you guys were on Wiretap, but I was happy to see you guys on there because they always have a real solid lineup, everybody on Wiretap I always love.
Jamie: Yeah it’s great.
So you mentioned the Menzingers down at Fest and your guys’ set times clashing, and when I first started listening to you guys, I immediately started getting Gaslight Anthem and Menzingers vibes. I think it was with Punk Rock Theory that they talked about sounding like GA also. But coming from your point of view, what are your guys influences?
Jamie: We get a lot of the Gaslight Anthem, I don’t know, maybe Kurt’s vocals and kind of in that vein. You know, we were in like old school pop-punk bands in the early 2000s, you know we grew up on bands like Hot Rod Circuit, the Get-Up Kids, and kind of like that genre of bands. But more recently, I’ve personally listened to a lot of the Gaslight Anthem, the Menzingers, they all kind of fall into the mix too. So I like to think we’re somewhere in between like those bands and that original scene with all the like emo punky bands. Some sort of blend of the two, I hope, maybe.
So what about a tour, do you guys have anything planned coming up for promoting the record?
Jamie: We’re trying to get something together for the Spring. We have a show coming up, but we’re gonna kind of lay low for the Winter and the holidays. We have a show coming up in January with Teenage Halloween, one of the local bands up here. Awesome if you don’t know those guys, they’re from Jersey actually, incredible. And then we’re trying to get something together for the Spring, we’re talking to some of our buddies around here to do a few dates, but we’re just trying to get everything together, we don’t have anything set in stone quite yet.
So Jamie, you’re the surgeon right?
So how do you juggle that with playing shows like that; how do you juggle having enough time with your band and with work because when I hear ‘surgeon’ you kind of think like 80-hour work weeks, crazy work times, no time off.
Jamie: When I was in residency doing all my training stuff, I wouldn’t be able to do what we do now. But now that I’m in private practice, I’m in a good group, I’m on reasonable call schedule. And they’re all supportive of what I do, they think it’s cool. But it is a balancing act with like trying to book shows and playing out around the call schedule. You know all of us are in like our mid-30s to late-30s, so we’re all like career, kids, jobs. So we get out there when we can, just little tours and runs, try to get down to Fest every year. But you know, I don’t see us going out for like a month on the road. We’re kind of weekend warriors at this point.
So a little off-topic, but let’s talk Limp Bizkit here *laughs*.
Jeff: Oh yeah that’s why we’re here!
In your Fest bio, you were called a Limp Bizkit cover band. Give me some background on that.
Jamie: You know *laughs*, we listen to Limp Bizkit. We grew up in the 90s…
Jeff: My first band was a straight-up nu metal band…
Jamie: Dude he was straight up playing Korn covers. You know like people shit all over these bands, we grew up on this stuff and we love this stuff, we embrace this stuff. As much as I like the Gaslight Anthem, I’ll spin a Limp Bizkit record too.
Jeff: Think about this, how many hardcore kids in the late 90s hated Slipknot, but those same hardcore kids now love Slipknot. Yeah I don’t know…
Jamie: With Limp Biskit it’s kind of like a funny thing, but we really like Limp Bizkit and people are just joking around like shitting on it. We listen to Limp Bizkit and we want everyone to know, we’re just trying to put that out there *laughs*.
Right that’s confidence right there *laughs*. Most people are too proud to admit it.
Jeff: Their newest record is fire man.
I’ve heard bits and pieces and it’s not bad. Well that about covers everything I think, I really wanted to hit hard on the new record, hopefully this can help promote it a little bit. We’ve actually been steadily seeing reader numbers rise since the relaunch, especially with that blink-182 thing a while back.
Jamie: Yeah Dying Scene used to be the shit man. Yeah back in the day it was like Absolute Punk, and then Punknews was always there, and then Dying Scene. They were like the three big ones. At least outside of like AP and all that shit I don’t really care about. All the bands I liked were on those sites, that’s where I was checking to find the new stuff. Glad you guys are back.
Yeah I appreciate you guys sitting down with me.
Jamie: Yeah thanks for reaching out and talking with us man, we appreciate it.
The fourth album can be a bit of a curious point on a band’s timeline. The dreaded “sophomore slump” has long been in the rearview, and generally by the time the fourth album roles around, a band is at or around the decade mark in their career. It can be a time of transition; a […]
The fourth album can be a bit of a curious point on a band’s timeline. The dreaded “sophomore slump” has long been in the rearview, and generally by the time the fourth album roles around, a band is at or around the decade mark in their career. It can be a time of transition; a time to build off some old influences and also to incorporate new feelings and directions out of a desire to keep from getting stale or repetitive. Sometimes, the results can be ground-breaking, at least sonically if not always commercially or critically. Ignorance Is Bliss by Face To Face, for example. Darkness On The Edge Of Town. No Code. Sandinista!. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Life Won’t Wait. Question The Answers. ZOSO, or however that translate without the ability to add runes to the text here. So on and so forth.
And so here we find The Interrupters. The widely beloved LA-based ska punk band are back with In The Wild, due out August 5th on Hellcat Records. Recorded during the forced doldrums that were the shutdown of the last couple of years, the album finds the band (which surpassed the decade mark during said shutdown) building on the high-energy, rock-steady core that they’ve built over the course of three records and hundreds of shows, revealing a work that is their most varied, most introspective, and, subsequently, their best effort to date.
We caught up with the band’s air-tight rhythm section, sensational twin brothers Jesse (drums) and Justin (bass) Bivona to talk about the album’s recording and its personal nature. While much of the process for In The Wild was similar to the band’s previous output, there were a few marked differences that shaped the direction of what was to come. As Jesse explains the fourth album cycle, “one of our little press points about this record and relating it to the previous records is that the first album is kind of like a first date, where you just talk about surface-level things, nothing too crazy. Second album, you start to let them know a little more about you. Third album, you’re kinda getting into the nitty-gritty. Fourth album, all the baggage is out, the drama is revealed, all the secrets are out.”
The secrets are indeed out in more ways than one on In The Wild. It is by far the band’s most personal album to date, and it’s their most sonically diverse album to date, and both of those things are by design. Thinking back to the early days of the band, specifically around the recording of the band’s self-titled 2014 debut record, Jesse describes that the band was “just trying to keep it simple. We weren’t trying to reinvent anything, we were just trying to be a straight-ahead ska-punk band.” The more cohesive the band god, the more layered and textured the sound became, and the more outside influences began to creep in. While still very much an Interrupters record, In The Wild showcases sounds that include traditional reggae and rock steady and 2-tone and 80s punk rock and ‘50s doo-wop. The album closes with “Alien,” which centers around Aimee’s soaring, heartfelt vocals and is, as Jesse points out, “the first Interrupters song with no guitar on it!”
The seeds of In The Wild were initially sown in the early days of the pandemic shut down two years ago. The very early days. In fact, quite literally, the first day. The band had taken a few weeks off after wrapping a lengthy touring cycle for their 2017 album Fight The Good Fight – an album that continued the band’s launch into a higher stratosphere based in part on the crossover success of the single “She’s Kerosene” – in February, and was planning to return to Tim Armstrong’s studio in early March to begin work on album four. That plan was foiled just as it was beginning. “Day one of us going into the studio,” explains bass player Justin Bivona, “was that day where the NBA was canceling, and Tom Hanks had Covid…” After a few ‘wait and see’ days, recording plans – and, frankly, most of real life – got put on pause indefinitely, and the band retreated to what they affectionately refer to as The Compound; Justin and Jesse live in one house while the twins’ bandmates and, more importantly, older brother and sister-in-law Kevin and Aimee, live in the house next door. The two houses share a driveway and, more importantly, a garage, the latter of which would come in handy in a pandemic shutdown.
After some time spent doing what the rest of us did – binge-watching TV shows and movies, going for walks, and reflecting on their lives-to-date. As Justin tells it, that process “Aimee got to do a lot of looking back on her past and realized there was a lot of stuff she hadn’t written songs about.” And so even though the band had plenty of material they were going to work on in the studio at the beginning of 2020, writing eventually continued.
So, too, did recording, though the band didn’t have to go far. “At some point during (quarantine),” explains Justin, “Kevin was like “we need to do this record at our house, in our garage.” It’s a tiny 10×20 room that we would practice in, but it wasn’t treated, there wasn’t any studio equipment. So we spent maybe a month building things. Me and Jesse with power tools building racks to put gear in and tabletops and stuff. Pretty much “tiny housing” the studio to make every part of it work.”
This created the freedom to work together at their own pace. There’s no need to reserve studio time or book an engineer when you can do it all, effectively, in your collective backyard. That moved Kevin, the elder statesman of the Bivona brothers, officially into the producer’s seat. Tim Armstrong, who both oversees Hellcat Records and executive produced the first three Interrupters records, “told (Kevin) to just grab the reins and take off” says Justin, with Jesse quick to point out that their big brother has “always kinda been the shadow producer of everything in a sense.”
And while it may seem daunting to have your bandmate – and older brother, steering the ship, the timeline and the setting and their relationship made for a smooth, collaborative effort. “If we’re working on something and it’s not working,” explains Jesse, “all four of us can be like ‘well, what if we try this, or what if we try this,’…there are no bad ideas until you try (something and realize it’s bad.” “It was just us as a cohesive band, the four of us, working out songs and writing songs, and it really informed the process,” adds Justin. “It was the best thing we’ve ever done.”
The more that writing and recording continued, the more that the direction of the album revealed itself. “Aimee realized that the record was pretty much her life story,” says Jesse, adding “so the songs that didn’t fit with that theme we pushed aside and focused on the ones that told her story the way she wanted to tell it.” Because the lyrics bare so much of Aimee’s past, the task of recording vocals involved being in the right headspace to tackle some of the memories that were evoked. “Doing on the property,” reveals Justin, “it allowed Aimee the freedom to record vocals whenever she felt emotionally connected enough to a song” to power through it, a freedom that proved vital as it is apparent on first listen that Aimee dug deep lyrically, reflecting on some of the messier parts other upbringing and past relationships and grief and loss and trauma and mental health struggles that she has worked on over the years.
The added time and convenience of the recording process allowed the band to work through multiple versions of songs, in order to make sure that the emotion of the music matched the emotion of the lyrics. “There are a couple songs on this record where they were recorded one way and pretty much done,” explains Justin, “but then it wasn’t just fitting in with the rest of it when we would get back there. I think specifically “Love Never Dies” had a totally different feel, it was more of a rock/reggae Clash-y song. And it was dope, but it wasn’t fitting in with everything.” Jesse elaborates: “(Kevin) said “Jesse, play a one drop” so I played this one drop, and then he said “Justin, play this bass line” (*mimics bassline*). And then he said “okay, watch” and he just started skanking, and then he started singing this melody the way that it is now, and we played that for like four bars and just stopped. We were like “yeah, that’s it! Now we’re on to something!”
The result is one of the more straight-forward reggae songs in the Interrupters’ catalog to date. It also features a guest appearance from The Skints, the UK reggae punk band who recently wrapped a successful run opening a bunch of US shows for The Interrupters and Flogging Molly. The Skints are just one of an impressive handful of guest starts that found their collective way onto In The Wild; Tim Armstrong lends his vocal talents to a track, as per usual, but so too do Rhoda from The Bodysnatchers and Alex and Greg from third-wave ska legends Hepcat. The latter recording session occurred at Armstrong’s studio once the initial Covid waves had subsided and society started to open up again. As Jesse tells it, “it was a magical session to be a part of.” Justin explains “Greg and Alex came in and…we wanted them on the song (“Burdens”), but we didn’t really have the part. We went in with them and showed them the song and within a minute the two of them are sitting there writing the parts and figuring it out together. It was so cool to see because they’re literally our favorite ska band.”
It was yet another moment in a decade-long journey that has found the foursome feeling eternally grateful for the opportunities they’ve been presented; playing with longtime idols like Rancid and the Mighty Mighty Bosstones and Joan Jett and Green Day, playing legendary venues, getting introduced by RuPaul on the Jimmy Kimmel show (as was the case the night before we spoke). Case-in-point: the three Bivona brothers served as the backing band for The Specials during a fundraiser event in Los Angeles back in February, a mind-blowing moment that got overshadowed by the fact that a mini Operation Ivy reunion brokeout pre-set as Jesse Michaels and Tim Armstrong joined for a cover of the Op Ivy classic “Sound System,” an event that damn near broke the punk rock internet. The gravity of those situations is not lost on the band, by any stretch. “The moment that starts getting old is the moment that you’ve gotta start packing it in and figuring out what 9-to-5 (job) you want,” says Jesse.
Keep scrolling to read our full Q&A with the Bivona twins, Jesse and Justin. Pre-orders for In The Wild are still available here. And check out the full list of upcoming Interrupters tour dates, including their European run and leg 2 of the US dates with Flogging Molly, right here.
(*Editor’s note: The text below has been slightly edited and condensed for content and clarity.*)
JS: First and foremost, congratulations on another successful appearance on Kimmel!
Justin: Thank you!
JS: So this is probably then the second coolest thing you’ve done this week…
Justin: For real though, it is good to see your face!
JS: Is that the third time now on Kimmel?
Jesse: Nope, two! Four years ago we did “She’s Kerosene.”
Justin: Almost four years ago to the day. It was like July 26th.
JS: Man, how time has flown. The Kimmel show seems like it’s a cool one to do because the audience is right there, versus some of the other late-night shows where they’re sitting back and you’re kinda playing to the cameras as much as anything. That seems like a cool one.
Jesse: Yeah, they make it seem like it’s an indoor club show,
Justin: Which is really cool.
Jesse: It’s really cool. And the whole staff and crew there is excellent. They’re very nice. We had a GOOD time yesterday.
JS: And you got to hang with RuPaul, that’s pretty cool!
Justin: He’s super nice too!
Jesse: So nice!
Justin: An old punk rocker and a big ska fan too!
JS: I had no idea!
Jesse: Yeah, he played in a punk band in like the early 80s.
Justin: He loved The Selecter and The Specials.
JS: So then he’s totally going to dig your music, especially the new album!
Justin: He gave us the best soundbite! He just said “It’s time for some ska music, bitches!”
Jesse: We were on stage and just looked at each other like “WHOA!” (*all laugh*)
JS: Does that stuff ever get old? And I know I probably know the answer to that question, and actually I think I’ve asked Kevin and Aimee that sort of stuff before, but playing in massive crowds, playing in places like Fenway Park, playing for RuPaul on the Kimmel show…does that stuff ever get old?
JS: I feel like I knew that was the answer…
Jesse: The moment that starts getting old is the moment that you’ve gotta start packing it in and figuring out what 9-to-5 you want.
JS: When I started doing this Zoom interview thing during the early days of Covid, it was really to sort of check in with people. I was used to doing more phone interviews and then I’d type them up and write a story, but A) the website crashed so there was no publish things anymore for a while, but I liked the idea of actually chatting with people when they were in quarantine and we were in quarantine and you could see each other and stay connected. We’ve been in this weird situation for so long now that music that came out of quarantine is coming out commercially. That’s sort of the long way of getting into In The Wild, which is a really, really, really great album and I know I say that about each one that you guys put out, but the bar just keeps getting raised. So let’s talk about that process. When during lockdown did you realize “well, we’re not going to be out on the road for a while, and we’re not going to be able to go into a studio for a while, so fuck it, let’s do it ourselves”?
Justin: Here’s the thing. We finished the Fight The Good Fight album cycle tour in February of 2020. We ended in the UK with two amazing shows in London. The plan was to finish that and go home. Kev and Aimee were going to start writing for a couple weeks, and then we were going to go into the studio in March. Day, like, one of us going into the studio to record, was that day where like the NBA is canceling and Tom Hanks has Covid.
JS: Right! That’s when we really knew the world was ending!
Justin: Yeah! So we were going to go back in the next day, but everything started getting canceled, so we put the weekend on hold and then the next week on hold, and then the month, and everything just got shelved. So we were sitting at home, and couldn’t really do what our plan was. But it was nice at the same time, because we had just kept rolling for ⅞ years. There was no break. So we finally got to sit back and wait a little bit. We did the live record to give something to the fans during the break, and with that we did the documentary, This Is My Family, and put it all together as like a cohesive concert film. Kinda while we were doing that, we got to reflect on our past and Aimee got to do a lot of looking back on her past and realized there was a lot of stuff she hadn’t written songs about. At some point in the middle of that, Kevin was like “we need to do this record at our house, in our garage.” It’s a tiny 10×20 room that we would practice in, but it wasn’t treated, there wasn’t any studio equipment. So we spent maybe a month building things. Me and Jesse with power tools building racks to put gear in and tabletops and stuff. Pretty much “tiny housing” the studio to make every part of it work. And then they had some songs and we would just get in there the four of us with Kevin producing and work out these songs. It was a fun process because there were no outside distractions, there was no one else we had to worry about, it was just us as a cohesive band, the four of us, working out songs, writing songs, and it kind of really informed the process. It was the best thing we’ve ever done.
JS: So there was stuff written to be recorded back in March of 2020 when you first got off the road?
Jesse: Actually the one day that we did spend at the studio, we were working on the instrumental for “As We Live.” That was the only thing we recorded at Tim’s studio before everything got shut down.
Justin: I think they had “Alien” kind of on the docket, and “The Hard Way” was in there also.
Jesse: Yeah, they had done a few weeks of writing so there was a batch of songs. A lot of those songs got shelved because they didn’t fit the whole record idea. Once Kevin and Aimee started writing a lot, Aimee realized that the record was pretty much her life story. So the songs that didn’t fit with that theme we pushed aside and focused on the ones that told her story the way she wanted to tell it. We’re stoked on how the whole thing came out.
JS: How far into that writing process did the real direction of the album start to take shape, or at least when did she tell you that that was the direction that the album was going to go? And did that involve sit-down conversations…like, I know you’ve been family for a long time but that maybe there’s some shit she was going to sing about that’s a little…
Jesse: No, I think it happened kind of naturally, and it wasn’t until we had like
Both: Eighteen songs
Jesse: …that we were working on that it was like, okay, this batch is all very cohesive. I feel like we’re saying that word a lot? (*all laugh*)
Justin: It was a theme, you know?
Jesse: Yeah, and these other ones, they’re good, but they distract from the message we’re trying to send here and the themes we’re trying to talk about.
Justin: Yeah, once it was like, there’s all these songs (*gestures*) it was easy to look at the board and say, “well, these fourteen (go together).”
Jesse: And there was even a time where we weren’t completely…where we didn’t have like the last three figured out, and we dug up an old one, and once Aimee looked at it, it was like “actually, if I just rewrite these verses, this could fit.” That was “Worst For Me,” which was a sleeper favorite of mine. That song rips.
JS: That song is great, yeah!
Jesse: But it was on the back burner for months! It was just like, we recorded it and then we just forgot about it.
Justin: That was the other great thing about the process. We had so much time just sitting at home that they would finish a song and live with it for six months, then come back to it and say “oh, this song needs a bridge.” Then they would just write a bridge and it would bring the whole thing together. We’ve never really had the opportunity to sit and live with something and then come back to it and fix it. Usually in the studio, it’s like record it, it’s done…
Jesse: Go on tour, it’ll come out when you’re on tour. The most time we’ve ever had off in this band was maybe two months, right before Fight The Good Fight came out. And that wasn’t really time off, that was us preparing for the album cycle and the release and all that. So to be forced to sit on our hands during the pandemic, it helped a lot.
JS: What did you do otherwise to keep creative, musically or otherwise, to keep from getting into those doldrums when it seemed like the world was never going to open up and that sort of thing?
Jesse: You know, that’s a good question. We did what everybody did…binge-watched a lot of TV…
Justin: We did get to a point after the first few months where it was like, “okay, we’ve gotta go outside.”
JS: Touch grass.
Justin: Going to the beach, or going on hikes.
Jesse: Going on bike rides.
Justin: And we had a small quarantine bubble of friends that we trusted to come over, or we’d go over there. But other than that, it was a lot of TV…
Jesse: A lot of movies.
JS: Were you still playing music, even if it wasn’t Interrupters stuff, or did you just like put it away?
Jesse: It was always there. Our back room is always set up so we could always go back there and jam, but there was definitely a time…
Justin: There was definitely a three-month period where I didn’t touch a bass. (*all laugh*)
Jesse: Yeah, I was the same with drums.
JS: Is that the longest you’ve ever gone, since you started playing?
Justin: For sure.
JS: Was it interesting working with…I know you’ve worked with Tim (Armstrong) executive producing before but this is the first one where it was listed that Kevin was the producer of (the album). Does that change the dynamic when not only one of the four of you is producing it, but he’s also your brother and your band member? Does that impact the dynamic in the studio or have you been doing it with each other for so long now that you just know how it works?
Justin: Yeah, exactly. We’ve been doing this our whole life. We’ve always looked to Kevin for answers when we have questions about what we’re doing.
Jesse: He’s always kinda been the kind of shadow producer of everything, in a sense.
Justin: Yeah, so Tim gave him full rein…told him to just grab the reins and take off with it.
Jesse: The other thing about the way we work is we try everyone’s ideas, so we could be in the studio and it wouldn’t be like him saying “no, this is how it’s going to be, we have to do it this way.” If we’re working on something and it’s not working, all four of us can be like “well, what if we try this, or what if we try this.” And he’ll say “okay, let’s try it.” There’s no bad ideas until you try it and realize it’s bad, you know? It was very good. And we have such a great relationship and we’re very good at communicating, so there wasn’t any headbutting. It was very fun and very easy.
Justin: And again, doing it on the property, it allowed Aimee the freedom to record vocals whenever she felt emotionally connected enough to a song to sing the vocals.
JS: Especially on an album like this, that’s crucial.
Justin: Yeah! When you have studio time, you know you’ve got to be in there at 5pm and be there til 11pm.
Jesse: We’ve gotta bang out all these songs
Justin: And you’ve got to record these (specific things). That’s almost like a 9 to 5. This way, it was like, if we went back there and she was like “ah I don’t want to sing that right now, let me sing this one.” And also, if she got her second wind at 2am, she could just hop back there and record.
JS: Do you guys live close enough where it’s like “hey, it’s 2am but we’ve got an idea…”
Justin: We call it The Compound. In California technical terms, it’s a multi-family housing property, there’s one driveway, there’s two houses and a garage that we share, and a backyard. They live in the front house and we live here, so we’re right next to each other.
JS: It’s like being on tour while you’re at home!
Justin: I know, but with that being said, when we come home from tour sometimes, we don’t see each other for a whole week. (*all laugh*)
JS: Obviously it’s still early because this album’s not even out yet, but does that inspire you to kinda work that way going forward, now that you know that you can make an album like that in your little garage studio?
Jesse: Yeah I think so.
Justin: I think so, I mean…
Jesse: We haven’t really started thinking about the next one yet, but it is easy to just naturally fall into that. If we have to do a song for something, we can just hop back there and do it. So when we have something (to work on), it’s like “when do you want to work on that?” “I don’t know, tomorrow?” So we just hop back there and do it.
JS: How did the writing process work? Were there times when all four of you were writing together, or do Kevin and Aimee come up with the stem of the song and then you guys work on your rhythm parts? And does that ever change the direction of a song? Like if they start writing and a song has a certain feel, do they give you the freedom to say “hey, we think there’s a different feel that might go better with this song?” Because there are a lot of different feels on this album, and we’ll talk about that in a few minutes, but…
Justin: They would definitely have…it could be anything from the core idea of the song to an entirely fledged out song already, knowing how it should feel and what it should sound like. But, there are a couple songs on this record where they were recorded one way and pretty much done, but then it wasn’t just fitting in with the rest of it when we would get back there. I think specifically “Love Never Dies” had a totally different feel, it was more of a rock/reggae Clash-y song. And it was dope, but it wasn’t fitting in with everything.
Jesse: It didn’t age well.
Justin: It didn’t age well. So when we got back there with the four of us, we said “What do we do with this?” And Kevin said “what if did it more like a roots thing?”
Jesse: Yeah, he said “Jesse, play a one drop” so I played this one drop, and then he said “Justin, play this bass line” (*mimics bassline*). And then he said “okay, watch” and he just started skanking, and then he started singing this melody the way that it is now, and we played that for like four bars and just stopped. We were like “yeah, that’s it! Now we’re on to something!”
Justin: And then we finished it and we were like “dude, we gotta get The Skints on this one.”
Jesse: We built up this track, sent it to The Skints, and they sent us back a whole bunch of stuff that we kept. They’re fantastic.
JS: I was going to ask if all the guests got recorded in studio with you too. Obviously they didn’t if The Skints recorded their own stuff. People haven’t heard the album yet but obviously, Tim’s on a song because Tim’s gonna be on a song. Rhoda from Bodysnatchers, Alex and Greg from Hepcat, obviously Billy Kottage, the fifth Interrupter. Shoutout to Billy Kottage, the pride of Dover, New Hampshire.
(*Justin adjusts camera, revealing Billy Kottage sitting on the couch in the corner!)
Both: He’s right there!
JS: That’s awesome! I don’t think we’ve ever met in person, but Billy and I are both from the State of New Hampshire, so I always think that’s awesome.
Justin: When he comes out here, he pretty much lives with us.
JS: That’s great. There aren’t many of us in New Hampshire, the scene wasn’t very big, so when someone from the Granite State is cool and does cool things, I love it. So shoutout to Billy Kottage. So yeah, did they all record with you?
Jesse: It was all different. The Skints did it on their own in England, Rhoda recorded her vocals on her own at her place back in England.
Justin: (For) Hepcat, we actually went into Tim’s studio for a day.
Jesse: Which was great!
Justin: Greg and Alex came in and it was just one of the most fun days. That’s the thing, we went in to have them record on the song not knowing…Kevin didn’t really know what to have them do. We wanted them on the song, but he didn’t really have the part or anything. But we went in with them and showed them the song, and within like a minute, the two of them are sitting there going…
Both: “ooooh oooh” (*harmonizing*)
Justin: Like writing the parts, figuring it out together, it was so cool to see because they’re literally our favorite ska band.
Jesse: It was a magical session to be a part of. They were sitting there laughing…
Justin: ..having a good time…
Jesse: …singing all the right notes. It was awesome. We did that at Tim’s studio. Tim also did his vocals at his studio. That was later in the process, where things were a little more comfortable, where we could actually travel to a studio and not worry about everything. And then also, we had a guest vocalist on “Alien.” It’s this guy named Arnold, who is a friend of Tim’s and a friend of Brett Gurewitz’s. When we were working on that song, I think it was Tim’s idea, he was like “Arnold’s voice would sound great on this,” and we were like “let’s give it a shot!” So we had Arnold come in and he sang all those background vocals, and he’s got this emotionally delicate approach to his vocals that just lifted that song to another level.
JS: That song is something else…
Jesse: First Interrupters song with no guitar.
JS: Right! That’s actually a thing I wanted to ask about. There’s so many different directions! Obviously you’ve always played on a lot of different influences, but I feel like with this album, you go deeper into the reggae thing, into the 2-Tone thing, and then “Alien” which is unlike anything else in the Interrupters catalog. What made you take the freedom to just kinda go with that. Is that stuff that’s always kinda been in the arsenal but maybe you didn’t want to go too deep on the first few records, but now that everyone’s along for the ride it’s like, “well, let’s push that.”
Jesse: Maybe a little bit of that, but also, it is more that the songs were telling us how we should play them, so to speak. So the way that that song was written, there was never really another way to approach it. That song went through a lot of different versions – not crazy different versions but it was layered up with heavy guitars at one point…
Justin: It was kind of like The Beatles’ “Oh Darling” at one point, where it was like rocking…
Jesse: There were heavier drums on it at one point. It went through a bunch of stages.
Justin: But the emotion wasn’t there. Aimee fought really hard to bring it back to what it should be.
Jesse: What served the song better.
Justin: And that involved one day just pulling it up and being like “take the guitar off, take that off, take that off”…it got down to literally just the drum beat and the string arrangement.
Jesse: Even cutting a whole outro and just being like “no, the song should end right there.”
Justin: And then also with “My Heart,” which is also kind of a different…
Jesse: That “doo-woppy” 50s feel.
Justin: She had already had the melody and was singing it and I was like “well, it’s gonna be in 3, and it’s gonna have this rock feel.” Even if we tried to make it in 4 as a ska song or a reggae song, it just wasn’t working. So the way those songs were written informed the styles. And at this point, we’ve kind of realized that no matter what style it is, if it’s me and Jesse and Kevin playing and Aimee singing, it’s going to sound like The Interrupters. Us just believing in ourselves and pushing it forward that way really helped the process.
JS: When there’s an album I’m really excited about, I try to ignore a lot of the singles and just listen to the album all the way through because, I don’t know, I’m in my 40s and that’s the way we did it when we were kids, right? So I listened to it all the way through and I took notes and next to “My Heart” I wrote “whoa, an Interrupters doo-wop song.” It’s very much an Interrupters song still, but it’s got that sort of 50s diner, doo-wop vibe to it. Which I think is awesome, and it’s cool to see elements like feature in the mix but still be an Interrupters track.
Justin: Thank you!
Jesse: Yeah, initially that was one where we were like “let’s just play like The Ramones would play in 3.” So it was real heavy, but it didn’t serve the song well.
Justin: So dial back a little bit.
JS: I think people are going to dig that song.
Jesse: I think that’s my favorite song on the album.
Justin: Specifically behind the scenes with that song, Aimee had a service dog named Daisy for 13 years, who passed away in 2018. It was like her little girl, and it was devastating when she passed away. She wrote that song about her, and not even just the first time but the first few times I heard it, I couldn’t keep it together. I’d cry every time.
Jesse: Yeah, because when we worked it out in the studio, we just had the choruses, singing “my heart keeps beating, my heart keeps beating…” so that pretty much informed the drum beat just being a heartbeat. And then a couple weeks later when they updated the Dropbox with the verses and said “listen to this,” me and Justin were both sitting right here in our living room with our earbuds on and we’re both just like crying. Like, oh my god this is so emotional, because we all lived with Daisy, she was fantastic. She was a German shepherd/wolf, and we all still miss her a lot. That was a heavy one.
JS: Have you been able to play a lot of this stuff live yet, or are you waiting until the album is out?
Jesse: On the Flogging Molly tour we just did, we were only doing “Anything Was Better” and “In The Mirror,” and then when we dropped “Jailbird” we started doing that. The plan is to play as much of it as possible.
Justin: We tried a few of them at soundcheck on occasion.
Jesse: Yeah, we’d always screw around at soundcheck and be like “do you guys know ‘Kiss The Ground,’ let’s try that”
Justin: Or “Raised By Wolves”
Jesse: But we’re in rehearsals next week for a few days to work on stuff for the European tour, because that’s when we’ve gotta do longer sets, but the plan is to try to learn the whole record.
JS: I think people are going to dig a lot of it. I was just curious about if you’d throw a curveball song like that at people before they’ve heard the album to see what the response is. Because I feel like “In The Mirror” is one of those songs that the first time you hear it, you go “yup, that one’s a classic. That’s going to get the crowd whipped up.” Do you know when you’re writing a song like that that it’s going to be “the one.” Like “She’s Kerosene” was like that. The very first verse when I first heard it, I remember going “well, that’s gonna be a big hit.”
Jesse: When we’re working on it in the studio, I think we’re so lost in the process that we don’t give songs that sort of focus, like “that’s going to be the single, this is going to be the hit.” But there was a point when we were doing “She’s Kerosene” that we had Mr. Brett come in and he was listening to stuff and he when he heard “Kerosene,” he had his little notepad and he was just like “hit.” And we all just looked at each other like “Whoa! Really?”
Justin: We thought there was so much more work to be done with that song and when he gave it that check of approval, we were like “alright, we don’t have to do much more to it.” That was cool. But then also for this record, when there was like 18 or 20 songs, “In The Mirror” was a standout, at least for me. I was like “I think that one is really good.” Then as it dwindled down, it was like “In The Mirror” and “Raised By Wolves” as the top two. They’re different enough, one’s ska, one’s sort of heavy rock, and you’re just like these two are the shining examples of the record and what we’re trying to sound like.
Jesse: And “In The Mirror,” Kevin and Aimee wrote that song ten years ago. That was one that wasn’t written specifically for this record. But when they were doing the inventory for the record, Aimee was like “we should dig this one up, this is a great one.” I remember when we were trying to work that one out in the room as a four-piece, I feel like it was a more difficult one to get away from the demo version, because I’ve been listening to that song for ten years. There is a demo recording of it – it’s not even a demo, it’s a full fledged-out different version of it. And having that ingrained in your brain and trying to get away from it and being like “alright, how would The Interrupters do this,” that was an interesting process. There was definitely a day where I was like “that song’s not going to make the record, we have so many other songs.” (*all laugh*) Obviously, I was wrong, that song rips.
Justin: But it’s wild too, because they wrote it ten years ago. From that time, that’s when they wrote “Easy On You,” “Gave You Everything,” and then “In The Mirror” was in that batch.
Jesse: “Love Never Dies” was in that batch.
Justin: Yup, “Love Never Dies.” I think now if we’re recording, it’s like “hey what else wasfrom that time period? What else did you write then? Anything else we can dig up?” There was some gold.
JS: It’s interesting to hear that it’s from that time period. As I was driving around this morning for work, I listened to the first album and this one back-to-back, because they come out on the same day; the new one comes out on the 8th anniversary of the first one, so I thought it would be cool to listen to them back-to-back. And, I loved the first album when it came out, but it is startling how far you guys have progressed as a band in eight years.
JS: And so to listen to them back-to-back, obviously you can kinda see how ended up here, but at the same time, you’ve progressed so far. So it’s really interesting that that song, in particular, is from that batch.
Jesse: So, one of our little press points about this record and relating it to the previous records is that the first album is kind of like a first date, where you just talk about surface-level things, nothing too crazy. Second album, you start to let them know a little more about you. Third album, you’re kinda getting into the nitty-gritty. Fourth album, all the baggage is out, the drama is revealed, all the secrets are out. That is kind of where we are with this. And talking about the recording of the first record, we were just trying to keep it simple. We weren’t trying to reinvent anything, we were just trying to be a straight-ahead ska-punk band.
Justin: We did like twenty-four instrumentals in three days. Some of them didn’t have any lyrics or anything, we just got the music done. The ones that didn’t have any lyrics done, they just wrote to the instrumentals. There was no going back to redo parts, it was just like “this is it, we’re done.”
Jesse: And keep it simple. Like, for me on drums, it was like “don’t do any crazy fills, just keep it straight, keep it steady.”
Justin: Which is wild, because some of my basslines, I play so many notes! Why did they let me do that?!? (*all laugh*)
JS: Yeah, but they work, and as somebody who wanted to be a bass player when he grew up, I like that they let you play all the notes! …. Thanks for doing this. This was fun. I talked to Kevin and Aimee for I think the first three records, so it’s nice to talk to you guys. It’s been a while!
Jesse: Yeah we’re being let off the leash a little bit. (*all laugh*)
JS: Well and that’s good, you should be. It’s fun that you guys have your own language with each other, and I know that that’s talked about in other places, like the documentary. So it’s perfect that you guys ended up as a rhythm section, and you end up doing this. Is that why you ended up as a rhythm section?
Jesse: Yeah, kinda. It kinda happened naturally. I don’t remember if we talked about it in the movie, but Kevin started out as a drummer. We had a drum set in the house because our dad was a producer and worked with his friends. So there was a drum set always in the house and Kevin gravitated toward that at an early age. But then, one day our dad came home with a guitar and a bass. So Kevin grabbed the guitar, and I was already dicking around on the drums, so then the only thing left over was the bass. So then naturally it was like “well, this is your instrument, this is your instrument…” And then we would just jam as little kids. There’s some video in that documentary but there’s a LOT more video when we were like 7 years old and Kevin is like 9 of us just trying to play like Green Day songs and Blink 182 songs
Justin: Sublime songs.
Jesse: Yeah, Sublime songs! Whatever we were hearing on the radio is what we were trying to play. The crazy thing is that we’ve come full circle and we know a lot of the people we were trying to emulate and we’re lucky enough to call them friends.
Justin: Some are like family.
Jesse: Yeah, some are like family now. It’s been a crazy, crazy life that we don’t take for granted.
Justin: They always say don’t meet your idols but...
Jesse: …we’ve never had a bad experience when we’ve met our idols.
Justin: I couldn’t tell you one person that I had looked up to that I met and they ruined it for me. Everyone’s been amazing.
JS: You know what, I’ve got to say almost the same thing. The amount of people that I’ve gotten to know through doing this for…well, The Interrupters started in 2011 and I started with Dying Scene in 2011. You’re one of the bands that came out right when I was getting started with this whole thing so it’s been a fun sort of parallel, but there’s only a small, small handful of people where you go “wow, that guy’s kind of a dick.” Everybody else has been super cool and super rad and supportive of each other. Especially those people that we grew up listening to in the late 80s and the 90s. It’s a pretty good, supportive group.
Justin: It is, it is. Even when we just started out, to tour with Rancid was amazing, but then to go on and get Rhoda from The Bodysnatchers, we get Horace and Lynval and Terry from The Specials love us. It’s just insane. To have that mutual respect and to get it back is just…yeah…it’s mind-blowing.
Jesse: We did a charity show back in February where we were backing The Specials. I was the drummer of The Specials for a night. We did the whole set, like twelve songs. Justin played piano, Kev played guitar.
Justin: You saw that thing where we played with Tim and Jesse Michaels and did the Op Ivy song?
JS: Yeah, yeah. That was amazing.
Justin: That was the same event. That one song with Jesse was amazing but it overshadowed the fact that we played in The Specials! (*all laugh*)
Jesse: It was just mind-blowing.
JS: Yes! Everyone kinda lost it with the Jesse thing but yeah, that’s awesome. Just awesome.
Jesse: And just being able to sit in a room for a week with Terry and Horace; Lynval got sick so he couldn’t come out, but just to sit there and run the songs with them was mind-blowing.
JS: I’m glad this stuff keeps happening to you, because you certainly deserve it.
Today marks the release of Green Day‘s 25th Anniversary Nimrod reissue. On top original studio album, the reissue also includes 14(!) previously unreleased demos and a 20-song live set recorded at Philadelphia’s Electric Factory in 1997. Nimrod XXV is available as a 5xLP vinyl box set (which Amazon is selling at a 14% discount right […]
Today marks the release of Green Day‘s 25th Anniversary Nimrod reissue. On top original studio album, the reissue also includes 14(!) previously unreleased demos and a 20-song live set recorded at Philadelphia’s Electric Factory in 1997. Nimrod XXV is available as a 5xLP vinyl box set (which Amazon is selling at a 14% discount right now), but if you just want to listen to it, you can do so below.
Nimrod was originally released on October 14th, 1997. It was Green Day’s third released on major label Reprise Records, and their fifth LP overall. It spawned hit singles in “Nice Guys Finish Last”, “Hitchin’ a Ride”, and of course, “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)”. The album peaked at #10 on the Billboard 200 and went on to sell over two million copies in the US, earning double platinum certification from the RIAA.
Listening to the demos included in this reissue for the first time was pretty damn cool. The Ramones “Chain Saw” cover isn’t anything to write home about, but raw recordings of songs like “Jinx”, “The Grouch”, and “Desensitized” are great. I found the original version of the acoustic track “When It’s Time” to be the most interesting (this later went on to be re-recorded for the Broadway adaptation of American Idiot).
Greetings, fellow degenerates! Welcome to the latest installment of the Dying Scene Record Radar. After taking a brief hiatus for Thanksgiving, we’re back in action once again with another weekly roundup of all things punk rock vinyl. Kick off your shoes, pull up a chair, crack open a cold one, and break out those wallets, […]
Greetings, fellow degenerates! Welcome to the latest installment of the Dying Scene Record Radar. After taking a brief hiatus for Thanksgiving, we’re back in action once again with another weekly roundup of all things punk rock vinyl. 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!
Epitaph Records gets us started this week with a bunch of Bad Religion represses. Everyone’s favorite BR record The New America is back in print, alongside the critically acclaimed No Substance, and the underrated True North. Grab ’em here.
Epitaph has also repressed Propagandhi‘s Failed States on “translucent electric blue” colored vinyl. This one’s limited to 1,000 copies and you can get it here. Newbury Comics has an exclusive pink variant as well; go here to purchase that one. And in case any of you happen to care, this is the remastered version of the record.
One of my favorite pop-punk bands The Putz have a new Christmas record out now on Eccentric Pop Records. The five-song 12″ EP is called Ho Ho Ho, Let’s Go! and you can get it on red or black vinyl it here. Both color variants have an etched b-side.
Zia Records has a new exclusive repress of Tiger Amy‘s 2007 LP Music from Regions Beyond. This is limited to 300 copies on “ruby with baby blue splatter” colored wax; I think it looks pretty sweet! Anyway, go here if you wanna snag a copy.
Hardcore punk supergroup OFF! has announced a tour variant of their new record Free LSD. This pressing on red vinyl will be available at shows on the band’s upcoming west coast run. The good news for those who can’t attend is they have some copies available on their Bandcamp page. Get ’em while the gettin’s good!
Spanish skate punks Kill the President have a new 12″ EP out now. Give the record a listen below and grab it on vinyl here (EU) or here (UK).
Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone, but if you thought the sales were over, you’re sorely mistaken, friends! Through December 11th, you can get 40% off everything on SBÄM Records‘ webstore. Just enter code “XMAS22” at checkout. These guys have put out some absolutely killer records this year. The new No Fun At All and Pulley LPs are must-haves.
Our friends at Shield Recordings are also having a sale. Head over to their webstore, load up your cart, and get 25% off everything (except pre-orders) with code “XMAS2022”. Tons of good shit up for grabs!
If you share my love of The Mr. T Experience, you’ll likely be interested in Sound Rad‘s MTXMAS sale. Through the end of December, their whole webstore is 20% off with code “MTXMAS”. That includes the brand new reissue of Revenge is Sweet and So Are You. As an added bonus, all orders of $25 include a free MTX Christmas ornament.
And 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. See ya next week!
*Wanna catch up on all of our Record Radar posts? Type “Record Radar” in the search bar at the top of the page!
Hey, fam! Let me give you a quick introduction to myself. I’m Karina and the newest addition to our little, but growing Dying Scene family. I’m the one that spams our newsfeed with bands, festivals, and more stuff to come from the Danish scene. But to give you a better insight into my music taste, […]
Hey, fam! Let me give you a quick introduction to myself. I’m Karina and the newest addition to our little, but growing Dying Scene family. I’m the one that spams our newsfeed with bands, festivals, and more stuff to come from the Danish scene. But to give you a better insight into my music taste, you’ll find a bit of everything and often my music taste is based on my mood and what I catch myself listening to continue throughout the year. You’ll find a bit of hardcore, some indie rock, a little bit of bubblegum-infused pop-punk, and a ton of punk either way. So, on the off chance you read this list, I hope you take your time to listen to all ten bands.
I’ve had a weakness for The Flatliners since I can even remember, and this album is really great. Like many of their previous ones. But since it’s on everybody’s list? What more can I say except, They are playing at Manchester Punk Festival in April.
Top songs to listen to: It’ll Hurt, Big Strum, Heirloom and Oath.
This band is what happens when you’re angry and you know how to make good music. Having had the year of their lives, being supporting acts for Anti-Flag AND Dead Kennedy’s when they visited Denmark. This band isn’t one to ignore, so do yourself a favor and deep dive into their music. You’ll only regret not adding them to a “Get Hyped” playlist.
Top songs to listen to: Truthicide, Anger, The Kids Aren’t Alright and 404
Holy smokes, this album had me in tears from the first track. For some, it’s been a rough year and that includes myself. So this album came at a perfect time in my life, and the emotions that I needed to face this year, were only pushed to the surface thanks to this album. Being a mother of two amazing kids, ‘Wyatt’s Song (Your Name)’ has a very special place in our home and a song the three of us often put on to dance to.
Top songs to listen to: Wyatt’s Song (Your Name), Oldest Daughter, Cardinals II and You’re the Reason I Don’t Want The World to End
If Martha hasn’t made it to your ears, you and I haven’t spoken enough. This album is GREAT. The power pop infused sound to this album, makes it’s so catchy and I am not even talking about the lyrics. The melody’s on each song, will having you humming them to yourself when you’re a bit bored.
Top songs to listen to: Beat, Perpetual, Baby, Does Your Heart Sink, I Didn’t Come Here To Surrender and You Can’t Have a Good Time All of the Time.
Is this punk? No, it is not. It’s indie and welcome to my playlist. Slowly Slowly took me by storm back in July, but not without effort in 2021 when I heard their previous album and was a bit to fast to dismiss them by saying “I need something a bit more faster and angrier”. So what has changed? Everything. But this album has been holding me hostage since it was released and every chance I get I’ll talk about it. If you’re looking for cool music with amazing lyricsm, this is for you and your bottle of wine, if you’re anything like me.
Top songs to listen to: Blueprrint, Nothing On, God and Papier-Mâché
Do I think that anything PUP releases is a flawless? Hard yes. Even though this album has a direction change, I still love it and everything about it. From writing a song about a guitar (Matilda) to their cool music videos. PUP put on one of the best concerts I had been to this year and they deserve the award for the most sweetest Canadians ever. I need friends that enjoy these guys, so we can get trashed together.
Top songs to listen to: Totally Fine, Waiting, PUPTHEBAND Inc. Is Filing For Bankruptcy and Grim Reaping
Probably the cutest band Denmark has to offer, this is a band where you want to take everyone of them home and feed them cookies and ask them a million questions about how they are doing. Jokes aside, these guys decided to pull a fast one on us and release this album while we all were hungover or still trashed from New Years Eve. Yes, this album was released 1/1/22 and nearly a year later, this album is still highly ranked on my list. I did a review for DS a few weeks (months?) back, but they are playing at Nasty Cut Records Fest in Copenhagen in May, if anyone needs a vacation.
Top songs to listen to: Dream, Mandy, Kold and Smile
Another band all the way from the down under, The Chats returned with GET FUCKED. Again keeping it real with their songs, and making it to my “I don’t have time for anything but listen to this” playlist and continually seem to make me come back to the album. And I’m not the only one feeling this band. Even children’s favorite band The Wiggles (HI GUYS, I STILL LOVE YOU. THANK YOU FOR SHAPING MY PAINFUL CHILDHOOD), covered The Chats at Falls Festival in Australia. I love it.
Top songs to listen to: Panic Attack, The Price Of Smokes, Dead On Site and I’ve Been Drunk In Every Pub In Brisbane
We are nearly done with the list and it wouldn’t have been a proper list without remembering to add Cigar. My mad crush on this band started for many years ago and I always wondered if they’d be back AND THEY CAME BACK. I wouldn’t be lying if I said that this album was played nonstop for three weeks. And after those three weeks were up, my children could even sing along (or try) to their songs. Between this album and my number one, I felt very conflicted and torn about having to decide which one it would be. But this album slaps and I love it.
Top songs to listen to: Move On, Classic You, Forget You and We Used To
It probably comes as no surprise that this is my number one choice, if you’ve read my review. Having been a fan for ten years, and making this album their final one. Lyric wise this album hits you like a train and I did finally come to terms with a lot of things ending thanks to this album. It’s a beautiful album to end twelve years of great music on and for me, closing a chapter on my life. And also, special shout out to Sarchasm for making my boyfriend feel attacked with ‘Therapist’.
Top songs to listen to: 1227, Sertraline Daydream, Conditional Love, Therapist
Here’s some Honorable mentions:
11. Sic Waiting – “A Fine Hill To Die On” 12. Petrol Girls – “Baby” 13. Pulley – “The Golden Life” 14. No Trigger – “Dr. Album” 15. Cold Years – “Goodbye to Misery” 16. Too Bad Eugene – “Distance” 17. Straightline – “Keep Your Cool” 18. Venerea – “Euro Trash” 19. Old Wives – “Mega Low Manic” 20. Counterpunch – “Rewire” 21. Handheld – “A Candian Tragedy” 22. No Fun at All – “Seventh Wave” 23. Wasting Time – “One More Time Without Feeling” 24. The Interrupters – “In The Wild” 25. A Wilhelm Scream – “Lose Your Delusion”
Florida men are usually in the news for all the wrong reasons. Whether they’re getting high on bath salts and eating a homeless person’s face off, being arrested for drunk driving on a Segway, or stealing a cop car while butt-ass naked, Florida men are always up to something. Their latest venture? Joining forces to […]
Florida men are usually in the news for all the wrong reasons. Whether they’re getting high on bath salts and eating a homeless person’s face off, being arrested for drunk driving on a Segway, or stealing a cop car while butt-ass naked, Florida men are always up to something. Their latest venture? Joining forces to start a band and release a fucking awesome album of loud, fast, snotty, pop-tinged punk rock. One small caveat: these guys aren’t actually from the Sunshine State, they’re Dutchmen. But, as a native Floridian, I accept them as one of my own.
Florida Men (the band) features members of Sun-0-Bathers and Drunktank, among others. Their twelve song debut album clocks in at under 20 minutes, delivering really fun, short bursts of melodic pop-punk, fueled by a barrage of Johnny Ramone style buzzsaw downstrokes. There’s a liberal application of the earwormy “nursery rhyme” style lead guitar parts popularized in the 90’s by The Queers and Screeching Weasel, paired with the frantic pace of bands like DeeCracks, Teenage Bottlerocket, and The Manges.
All of the songs are great, but some of my favorites include “Better Safe than Sober”, “Tiki Bar”, “Greatest of All Time”, and “No Fit”. The subject matter ranges from getting cheated on by your trailer trash girlfriend who has face tattoos and a tramp stamp, to getting drunk at a Tiki bar after nobody came to your band’s show. I must say, for a bunch of Dutchmen, these guys sure know a lot about… Florida stuff.
For old school pop-punk fans, I’d consider this “easy listening”. It’s a quick blast of fun, catchy songs. All the hallmarks of the genre are here, but these guys do “pop-punk by the numbers” way better than a lot of other bands. The singing, playing, and production are all on point. Florida Men made a really, really good album that would serve as the perfect soundtrack to any felonious acts you may want to commit.
It’s a fuckin’ bargain, too! Morning Wood Records is selling the digital version for just two bucks, and the CD can be had for the low price of five freedom dollars. Shipping to the United States (more specifically Florida) is another issue, but it’s still quite reasonable. Buy, buy, buy!!!
The year is 2010. Legendary hardcore punk frontman Keith Morris has a new band. They’re called OFF! and I just bought their CD First Four EPs from FYE. I get home and pop it in my stereo, and I’m blown away. 20 minutes later, the CD finishes playing. I hit play again. OFF! gave me […]
The year is 2010. Legendary hardcore punk frontman Keith Morris has a new band. They’re called OFF! and I just bought their CD First Four EPs from FYE. I get home and pop it in my stereo, and I’m blown away. 20 minutes later, the CD finishes playing. I hit play again.
OFF! gave me everything I wanted in a punk band. Their songs were short, fast, and loud. Keith’s voice sounded excellent as he screamed and shouted about daaaarkneeeessss and panic attack(!!!)s. His backing band featuring members of Rocket From The Crypt and Red Kross matched his intensity perfectly. And though 15 years had passed since the iconic singer’s last studio recording, First Four EPs delivered his best material since the first three Circle Jerks records.
Fast forward to 2022. OFF! has a new record coming out. It’s called Free LSD, and it’s being marketed as “a heavy punk industrial free jazz soundtrack recording”. I’ll admit, I was a bit thrown off by this blurb from the press release at first. Industrial? Free jazz? What the fuck is all this about?
My fears of OFF! becoming some weird jam band or something ridiculous were quickly calmed when I hit play on the music video for the first single “War Above Los Angeles”. It kicked fucking ass! Sure, it sounded slightly different from the band’s standard fare, but sometimes change is good. And in this case, the change was welcomed. This track, like most of Free LSD, offers a refreshing, more fleshed out take on hardcore from a guy who’s been doing this shit longer than most of us have been alive. The unbridled aggression and intensity is still there, but the production is much more polished and the song structure has a level of depth that the last three records were lacking.
There’s a decent amount of weird, fuzzy, funky experimental shit going on, especially compared to the straight forward nature of the first few OFF! records. But I find this experimentation to be pretty enjoyable and really, at its core, Free LSD is still a hardcore punk record, and a great one at that. There are some incredible songs on here. “Kill to Be Heard” is my favorite. Other standouts include the aforementioned “War Above Los Angeles”, along with “Muddy the Waters”, “Smoking Gun”, and the title track. I could do without the four noisy instrumental interludes, but they’re not overly offensive either.
If you like anything Keith Morris has ever done, there is no doubt in my mind that you’ll appreciate Free LSD. After five decades in the game, this record is arguably some of his most ambitious work to date.
The beautiful country of Italy has provided us with countless luxuries for which we should be eternally grateful. The list includes but is certainly not limited to: Subway’s Italian herbs & cheese bread, the Super Mario Bros. video games, and arguably their greatest export, The Manges! An Italian pop-punk institution since 1993, the Manges are […]
The beautiful country of Italy has provided us with countless luxuries for which we should be eternally grateful. The list includes but is certainly not limited to: Subway’s Italian herbs & cheese bread, the Super Mario Bros. video games, and arguably their greatest export, The Manges!
An Italian pop-punk institution since 1993, the Manges are back with their sixth full-length album, and I think it may be their best one yet. I was extremely impressed with 2020’s Punk Rock Addio. At the time, I thought it was by far the band’s most well produced, polished, and complete studio recording. With their new record Book of Hate for Good People, the Manges have once again one-upped themselves.
The songwriting is on another level from anything this band has done before. Starting things off is the high octane album opener “Lucky Tiger”, complete with an infectiously catchy chorus and a healthy dose of Screeching Weasel style lead guitar parts. This song sets the bar quite high, but the rest of the album has no difficulty clearing that bar. “Back to Bangcock” – a song that’s been in my regular rotation since its release as a single months ago – keeps the energy up and delivers big time with its hook: “Once again, dripping red, a small fish in the net, feeling trapped, in the same old crap”.
Having listened to this album about a dozen times, I can pick out a few songs that I’m not totally into. “Jesus is My Homeboy” is an fun little rock ‘n’ roll track, but it kinda ruins the flow of the tracklist being sandwiched between ultra-energized songs like “I Shot Cyrus” and “High on Stress”. The only other song that doesn’t quite stick the landing is “Too Many Freaks”. Obviously, the Manges are massive Ramones fans, but this attempt at a Dee Dee style hardcore song doesn’t quite do it for me.
Enough negativity, back to blowing smoke up some asses! The back end of this record is killer. “The Hate Parade” and “I’m Not a Sissy” throw back to the Manges’ tougher sound from their Bad Juju record. “Red Flags” closes out the album on one final high note. This one’s got another chorus that super glues itself to your brain; the guitar driven melody on this track is awesome as well.
So yes, this record has surpassed Punk Rock Addio as the best Manges record. I can say that with absolute certainty. Book of Hate for Good People is essential listening and is one of my Top 10 albums of 2022.