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Bargain Bin Heroes

We are a high energy Punk/Ska/Reggae band from South Florida known for getting the crowd dancing!

Better Than Dead

Originating in 2019, Better Than Dead joined the Denver scene playing both large benefits and local shows. Cutting their teeth on Punk, BTD blended in influences of Ska, Metal, and Pop. With high energy shows and lyrics that inspire introspection, they’ve found their own style.

Bitch Queens

Basel, Switzerland. High-energy live show. In-Your-Face riffs, and a Fuck You-attitude. Any Questions?

Catbite

CATBITE IS A NEO-TWO TONE SKA BAND FROM PHILADELPHIA FORMED IN MAY OF 2018. INFLUENCED BY THE JOLTING ENERGY OF THE SPECIALS, THE SELECTOR’S EDGED LYRICS, AND ELVIS COSTELLO‘S LOVE OF MELODY, THE GROUP CRANKS OUT SHORT, CATCHY TUNES THAT USUALLY HAVE A DEEPER MEANING… AND SOMETIMES DON’T. THE BAND’S DEBUT SELF-TITLED LP WAS RELEASED IN 2019 ON BAD TIME RECORDS AND HAS SOLD OUT OF THE FIRST 2 PRESSINGS WITH THE 3RD PRESSING AVAILABLE NOW. THE HIGHLY ANTICIPATED SOPHOMORE ALBUM, “NICE ONE” , ALSO RELEASED ON BAD TIME RECORDS, WAS RELEASED ON AUGUST 6, 2022 AND WAS ACCOMPANIED WITH A SOLD OUT HOMETOWN SHOW, AND FOLLOWED BY EXTENSIVE TOURING. NICE ONE INCLUDES HITS LIKE “CALL YOUR BLUFF”, “EXCUSE ME MISS”, AND THE SOULFUL ROCKSTEADY TUNE, “BAD INFLUENCE”.

Chaser – “Dreamers”

Dreamers - Chaser

Release Date: April 09, 2021 Record Label: SBAM Records Release Type: AlbumBandcamp Link: Listen on Bandcamp

Dreamers is a 13-song burst of anthemic and melodic punk energy with self-reflecting and hopeful lyrics. It is a reminder to keep chasing your dreams and keep your head up. It’s the most personal album we have written, touching on the highs and lows of life, but as always, with a positive Chaser twist.

Doc Rotten

Trenton, NJ

“High energy punk rock band from Trenton, New Jersey”

DS Album Review: Hot Mulligan – “Why Would I Watch”

Hot Mulligan is well known for their buoyant pop-punk sound with an emo seriousness behind their lyrics. These guys have been a huge favorite of mine for so many years. Getting into the local scene, a lot of bands here seemed to pull inspiration for their sound from these guys (or bands similar to them). […]

Hot Mulligan is well known for their buoyant pop-punk sound with an emo seriousness behind their lyrics. These guys have been a huge favorite of mine for so many years. Getting into the local scene, a lot of bands here seemed to pull inspiration for their sound from these guys (or bands similar to them). They never fail to bring such a fun and upbeat tempo in their songs, despite having a song or two that start soft and then pick back up into the pop-punk sound we are familiar with from them. Why Would I Watch is an incredible album as far as lyrics go, throwing in a song about a lost pet that had me bawling in my car on my way to work one morning. Absolutely worth it.

This album kicks off with a decently long song title (as are many of their song titles, but whatever) called “Shouldn’t Have a Leg Hole But I Do”. It’s a very happy-go-lucky-sounding song that will throw you way back to the original pop-punk sounds that we all grew up with. I found myself finding this song almost familiar and comforting. They did a phenomenal job in capturing the “old sound” of pop-punk and going back to the roots of the genre (which will also be a recurring theme throughout the album). Lyrics for this song speak volumes on trying to escape a situation or leave something behind that you know you should and need to live your life for yourself, but something will always bring you right back until you face whatever it is that needs to be addressed.

Powering into the next track is a beautiful transition that tells the realities of life not going as you expect. “It’s a Family Movie She Hates Her Dad” is largely about breaking cycles and being aware of the toxicity that is to be able to change and grow from it. My biggest indicator of that is the more than relatable line in the song that jumped out at me where he sang, “Sit down and give me the confessional // Stay together for the kid // Isn’t that original?” Having been faced with that situation, this song hit home and had me hooked on the rest of the album to follow. The instrumentals of this track scream the classic and familiar sound of Hot Mulligan’s original tracks from when they formed in 2014. I love how consistent they’ve always seemed to be while making their music. Always staying somewhat in line with what they’ve always done, yet making it just different enough to keep us on our toes!

Moving into the next song, it almost has a sense of urgency in the tone of the entire thing. It really brings together the lyrics’ theme of just trying to survive in a world that’s so different from where you were. “And I Smoke” might be relatable for more of us than we may realize, just pay attention to the lyrics and see if you may find a sense of familiarity in the feelings this track has to offer. My personal favorite being almost the start of the song, 00:22 in he sings, “Move out, a new place that I don’t know // Its smallest details are unfamiliar // Sit in the shower until I feeI alone”. I moved to a new city I wasn’t super familiar with not too long ago and so this song really resonated with me on that. The unfamiliar and the fear of the unknown is a real thing to battle with when moving out and on your own, especially if you have children in tow.

The song that has everyone’s brains trying to process the way the band will have to announce it while on tour. “This Song is Called it’s Called What it’s Called” is one of my favorite tracks. It beings with soft instrumentals and vocals that bring the most comforting sounds I’ve heard from a punk band. Reminiscing on a few spotty memories, seemingly with a fond tone. Then 60 seconds in the realization hits that it’s all gone by in a blink of an eye and the time lost is nearly crippling. The regret of not doing things just slightly different and leaving things unsaid that could have changed the entire trajectory of your life. “Oh, there’s so much I would change // Take more pictures // Oh, I left so much to say // All the missed connections.” I think everyone can relate to this in one way or another and this band has got a serious knack for finding the perfect instrumentals to not only match the mood of the song, but also keep the listener engaged with their tempo changes and execution of the lyrical melody! Easily one of my favorite tracks on the album.

“No Shoes In The Coffee Shop (Or Socks)” is an upbeat song that kicks the vibe back up to a more fun and lighthearted feel, telling the story of looking back on what is expected to be an epic journey that ends up being filled with regrets. This title track has a deep undertone to it if you’re willing to listen close enough, and maybe you’ll catch the placement of the album’s title and appreciate its weight when you do! It’s followed by a slightly higher energy, good-vibed track named “Christ Alive My Toe Damnit Hurts”. It’s honestly about the back and forth of addiction and how hard it can truly be to ignore the intrusive thoughts that come across the mental when you’re trying to fight the urge of needing just one more. The admiration I have for artists like Hot Mulligan that have off-the-wall track names to go with songs that have a 50/50 shot of being deep and meaningful, or just a good chuckle with the randomness of the analogies chosen with no serious direction to be left open to interpretation.

Then we get to “Betty.” If you’re ready to bawl your eyes out to a beautifully soft and wholesome ballad to a best friend…this is it. I was completely blindsided by a single line around the 1:11 timestamp that had the waterworks start almost immediately. If you’ve ever had a pet, and had them cross that rainbow bridge without you, this song is going to have you severely deep in your feelings and reminiscing those best friends that you cherished once upon a time.

This song’s title is a bit deceiving. Maybe you’d read “Cock Party 2 (Better Than The First)” and think it’s going to be a heavy and upbeat track, like myself. Much to my pleasant surprise, this song starts out pretty low-key and mellow. Then I went back the second time through and really listened to and read the lyrics along with the track, finding the meaning behind it. Beautifully written, and something ALL of us pop punk babies who have grown up can easily relate to this. The first verse screaming the song’s meaning of growing up and wondering where the hell all the time went and how we wish we could just not be adults and see our missed childhood loved one(s) as if we didn’t have responsibilities to worry about now. “When did we stop laughing? // Feel sorry for us now // Paying rent, calling home again // Routine and tedium now.” Its ending having a very Panic At The Disco!-esque ending of emphasizing the last two lines almost word for word. It’s a beautiful punctual ending to the overall feel of the track.

“Shhhh! Golf Is On” is an immediate classic vibe of instrumentals for throwing us back into the nostalgic sound pool. Then it brings in the instrument that will spice up ANY band’s sound, the cowbell. The love I have for bands that find some clever way to incorporate the cowbell, let alone subtly and in an extremely tasteful manner, will have me applauding the artists every time. It only makes an appearance a few times throughout the track, so it isn’t an incessant sound they try to force to work throughout it, just enough to give it a unique and fun spin.

“Gans Media Retro Games” is a title I didn’t fully understand, which in turn made me immediately go check out the lyrics to maybe get a better understanding on how this song was going to maybe sound like. When I read them and found it was about blacking out and wondering if you’re the problem when things go wrong nights you don’t remember. The next morning regret being strong and trying to come to terms with figuring out the story to find the root of the problem. It’s definitely relatable for some people (I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a few nights like that myself) and the vibe of the song is upbeat, but with enough of the urgent and somber feel of realizing you just may be the problem due to how you choose to cope, was a strong play for them to throw so bluntly into a song. It’s absolutely admirable to see a song about trying to take accountability and get to the root of their issues.

This is one of those tracks that has an opening line that had me replaying it a time or three to make sure I heard it right. To say I was not expecting to hear “Sucking blood out of a canker sore” come out of Nathan’s mouth, had me double taking, then laughing a little bit. Then getting into the rest of the lyrics, they seem like they may just be gibberish with random meaning, but if you really listen, there are a few lines in there that hint at what the true meaning of the song is about. Watching a loved one deteriorate to a memory-stealing disease is never easy. I have loved ones who suffer from conditions and diseases that are similar and it’s taxing to your mind, your body, and even your soul.

“John “The Rock” Cena, Can You Smell What the Undertaker.” To be entirely honest I had no words when I saw this track title, just straight confusion. I assume that’s the entire point, but, as I mentioned before, these off-the-wall names are just leaving no room to even try to guess what it could bring to the table instrumentally or lyrically and I love the mystery. I’m not 100% positive about this interpretation that I’ve gathered from the song’s meaning, but it seems to be the toxic expectations of the organized religions in the world. It doesn’t name any specifically, but it touches on key points and the lyrics, to me, screamed the struggle to fit the mold of what the religion had for its followers and the intrusive thoughts that followed when you’ve been taught toxic “rules” to life based on how they think you’re supposed to live.

Overall this album is incredible. Nathan and the guys did a great job bringing us back to the original roots of punk and giving us that nostalgic feeling of being in middle and high school again blasting the artists who started it all. Three years was well worth the wait for this band to drop another solid vibed album that came with some deep and heavy topics that I wholeheartedly believe the world needed songs for. Beautifully done, Hot Mulligan, and we can’t wait to see what else you’ve got in store for us!

Why Would I Watch? was released everywhere on May 12th, 2023!

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DS Album Review: Samiam – “Stowaway”

Holy shit I love this record… Okay, so I suppose that’s maybe not the most professional way to kick off an album review, but whatever. This is a punk rock website and reviewing albums isn’t exactly my profession in the technical sense… Anyway, let’s start over. Back in September of 2011, just a day before […]

Holy shit I love this record…

Okay, so I suppose that’s maybe not the most professional way to kick off an album review, but whatever. This is a punk rock website and reviewing albums isn’t exactly my profession in the technical sense… Anyway, let’s start over.

Back in September of 2011, just a day before my 32nd birthday, I had the privilege of reviewing the then-brand-new and incredibly stellar Samiam album Trips. I loved it. I loved everything about it. It finished the year right near the top of my Best of 2011 albums list, and if I were to rerank that list a dozen years later, it’s probably the album that holds up the best. Sometime after Trips was released, I remember commenting on some social media platform – I think it was MySpace honestly rofl – that hopefully it wouldn’t be another five years before the next new Samiam record (Trips is preceded in the Samiam discography by 2006’s Whatever’s Got You Down) and the band’s lead guitarist and artistic force Sergie Loobkoff just responded “LOL” or something like that. At the time, I interpreted that as “LOL, don’t worry, we won’t wait that long next time.” Yet here we are, just about a dozen full years later, and we’ve finally got the follow up to Trips in our midst. It’s called Stowaway and it’s out this Friday (March 31st) on Pure Noise Records and saying that it was worth the wait is a bit of hyperbole because I wish we didn’t have to wait 11.5 years…but I’ll be damned if it wasn’t worth the wait.

Stowaway kicks off with “Lake Speed,” a track whose introductory air-raid siren dive bombs are soon met with a frenetic energy that shows that musically, Samiam have not only not lost a step but are in fact as charged-up as ever. It’s as tight and concise a post-hardcore-style ripper as you’ll find in the Samiam catalog complete with a pretty awesome guest spot from *SPOILER ALERT* none other than Hot Water Music’s Chris Wollard. It’s a damn-near perfect track, with Wollard and Samiam frontman Jason Beebout layering their unique voices over Loobkoff and Sean Kennerly’s dizzying guitar runs while the comparatively new rhythm section of Colin Brooks (drums) and Chad Darby (bass – more on that later) push a blistering pace. The whole thing is controlled chaos and creates the sense that it could careen off the rails at any moment, but then it’s over somehow just as quickly as it began. (Oh, and its lyrical tip of the cap to the longtime NASCAR driver with whom it shares its name is just the icing on the proverbial cake).

“Lake Speed” gives way to “Crystallized,” one of the three singles that was put out in the leadup to the album’s release. In many ways, it’s a perfect single: it’s got a big, classic Samiam sound that’s been charged up by Brooks and Darby the latter of whom you may recognize from his time in one of Chris Wollard’s other projects, Ship Thieves. If you’re an astute follower of Dying Scene, you’ll recall the time that he and Wollard joined us on the (*both laugh*) podcast, during which he may or may not have indicated that he was working with Samiam on new music and may have short-circuited my brain in the process…

Lights Out, Little Hustler” follows and continues in the vein of charged-up, instant classic Samiam tunes. Oodles of vocal harmonies adorn the verses before frontman Jason Beebout’s inimitable voice powers through on the powerful, introspective singalong chorus. “Shoulda Stayed” would have been right at home on 120 Minutes or on a certain skateboard-inspired videogame series in a previous decade, as do the chunky guitar in the verses of “Shut Down.” “Scout Knife” features another appearance from Wollard, which makes sense given that some of the album’s components were recorded at Gainesville’s Black Bear Studios with frequent HWM/Ship Thieves collaborator Ryan Williams.

Monterey Canyon” features probably the album’s best examples of the Loobkoff’s trademark single-note atmospheric divebomb melody lines. “Natural Disasters” is maybe the brightest sounding track on the album to this point, in some ways belying the songs vocals which, if taken literally, lament that the damage we’ve done to our home planet is probably irreparable at this point. “Stanley” is a fun song with a lot of different stylistic layers and sonic textures. “Highwire” starts somewhat down tempo for a Samiam song but turns itself into a a bombastic anthem with what are probably Beebout’s most soaring vocal performance. “Something” is a sneaky contender for my favorite track on the album that isn’t called “Lake Speed.” It’s a no-nonsense, four-on-the-floor, downstroke heavy punk rock ripper with Loobkoff and Kennerly again trading catchy guitar melodies over an even catchier shoutalong outro. The title track closes out the festivities in a way that probably best encapsulates all of the album’s different layers and textures and sonic directions in one four-minute package.

There has been talk at times over the years since Trips that part of the reason that there wasn’t new Samiam music was due to concern over whether or not Beebout still wanted to sing and to write new lyrics; there’s a quote out there somewhere about “maybe people over the age of 50 should admit they’re probably too old to be in the music business” I think. To state it emphatically and for the record, I’m really glad he decided to keep at it. Beebout’s voice has long been one of the most powerful and unique in the game and that’s just as true a statement now on Stowaway as it was at any other point in the band’s thirty-five year tenure. There’s a feeling and an urgency and an introspection and a devilish humor in both his vocals and his lyrics that are unmatched and that have the ability to provoke both goosebumps and long, honest looks in the mirror, sometimes within the same song. See “Shut Down” or “Monterrey Canyon” on this one, for example. When added to Loobkoff and Kennerly’s urgent guitars and, lately, Brooks and Darby’s punishing grooves, it’s part and parcel to what makes Samiam Samiam after all this time. It’s fair to say that Stowaway will be tough to dislodge from the #1 spot on this year’s end-of best-of list, and it’s fair to say that if I revisit this album in another dozen years, when I’m in my mid-50s (woof…) it’ll still feel as vital and compelling as ever.

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DS Album Review: Sideways – “Dog Bite/Secrets”

Sideways, the Green Day-inspired melodic/pop punk band from Anchorage, Alaska brings fun and catchy energy to their songs and continues to show Alaska’s scene that they have that high energy everyone craves at shows. They’ve announced a new album that has been in the works for quite some time and have finally graced us with […]

Sideways, the Green Day-inspired melodic/pop punk band from Anchorage, Alaska brings fun and catchy energy to their songs and continues to show Alaska’s scene that they have that high energy everyone craves at shows. They’ve announced a new album that has been in the works for quite some time and have finally graced us with the first two singles on a dual-single album!

Alright, so first song out the gate, “Dog Bite”, has an amusingly awkward intro, which they expertly finish the song off with in a similar fashion, and it kicks the song off to a great mood with catchy, fast paced guitar riffs that remind me of the roots of pop punk. They dig deep into their Green Day love in this song, and it pays off. The lyrics of the song are a compliment to the instrumentals and it vividly describes a situation that, I’m sure, many of us can relate to. Making the song that much more appealing to its audience!

Moving into “Secrets”, it’s a similarly styled song, yet has a completely different meaning. All of us can relate to intrusive and dark thoughts when getting into a life low or mental depression. It’s super important to let these thoughts and emotions out in some way. Putting them to paper and creating art while still being able to maintain that upbeat, fun, high-energy sound is a talent, and I applaud Sideways for taking our secrets from our heads and putting them to paper in a song that could very well just turn our mood around for that day.

All in all, I couldn’t be happier to finally hear a couple of the new songs, and I’m more excited than before to hear the rest of what they have coming for us! As a fan of these guys for some time now, I wanted to note how proud I am of these guys to get this done and out, and even more so when the full album is out. I know how hard they’ve been working to get this recorded and mixed for us to hear and it’s an incredible amount of work that goes into this, so kudos to you guys!

You can blare these singles on a dual-track album on most digital streaming services. Also, don’t forget to follow them and check their music out, checking back often to make sure you don’t miss the drop of the full album, Hollow Hearts! (Credit for album art goes to @jr2photogrpahy on Instagram)

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DS Album Review: The Bouncing Souls – “Ten Stories High”

Dropping the needle on a new Bouncing Souls record is like feeling the warm embrace of an old friend. That’s especially true with the New Jersey punk vets’ latest LP Ten Stories High. The album welcomes you in with open arms, as frontman Greg Attonito delivers the opening lines to the uplifting title track: “Ten […]

Dropping the needle on a new Bouncing Souls record is like feeling the warm embrace of an old friend. That’s especially true with the New Jersey punk vets’ latest LP Ten Stories High. The album welcomes you in with open arms, as frontman Greg Attonito delivers the opening lines to the uplifting title track: “Ten stories high… Words in the sky… Every day we live to grow… Life is all we really own… Ten stories high”. This is as good an introduction as any in the Souls’ expansive discography, going toe-to-toe with fan favorites like “That Song” and “Apartment 5F“.

Without hesitation, the band kicks things up a notch with “Back to Better” and “Another Night In Denver”, two blazing fast punk anthems that sound like they could have been lifted straight out of a classic Souls record. Bryan Kienlen continues to cement his legacy as one of punk rock’s all time great bassists, delivering an onslaught of his signature bouncy, rumbling basslines. “True Believer Radio” provides a healthy dose of nostalgia, calling back to perhaps the band’s most iconic song, while still having what it takes to stand on its own as a modern classic. I can definitely see this one becoming a fixture in the Souls’ live setlists for years to come.

And because it wouldn’t be a Bouncing Souls album without a few good love songs, “Shannon’s Song” and “Andy and Jackie” mark the halfway point of the record. There’s no debating that these Jersey boys are among the best in the game when it comes to writing sappy love songs, but if I had to pick favorites on Ten Stories High, these more mid-tempo tracks would likely find themselves on the chopping block. “Shannon’s Song” has a bit of a “Simple Man” feel at times and is definitely the more high energy of the two songs.

Track #7 “Vin and Casey” rights the ship and picks up the pace once again. Greg says this song was inspired by the heartbreaking story a fan told him about their friends, Vin and Casey: “They took them to their first show, which we were playing, but shortly after that both of them actually passed away. And ever since then they’ve been going to Bouncing Souls shows to sort of keep that connection. It was just this really tragic but also beautiful story.” 7Seconds frontman Kevin Seconds provides vocals on the song’s second verse, and overall, this is an expectedly heartfelt tribute from a band that’s always made it a point to honor their fans.

The album marches forward with another feel-good track in “Magnus Air Organ”, before rolling into the hard-charging “To Be Human”. Both songs sport the big choruses the Souls are known for, but there’s a stark contrast in their tonality. The latter has an almost Hard Rock-like feel, and while it’s a little different from the band’s standard fare, I think they pull it off pretty damn well.

Rounding out Ten Stories High is “Higher Ground”. This is pure, unadulterated, classic Bouncing Souls. Listening to this song when it was premiered as one of the album’s first two singles took me back in time to the first time I heard the Souls. This track instantly clicked with me, and as cliché as it may sound, blasting “Higher Ground” on my morning commute on a gloomy Florida morning brought more than a few tears to my eye. The title track got me amped on this record, but this song was what really sold me on Ten Stories High. Everything from Greg’s tender delivery of the sentimental lyrics to The Pete’s one-note guitar lead during the first verse is quintessential Bouncing Souls. It’s hard to imagine a more fitting conclusion to this album.

The Bouncing Souls are back, folks! This is their best record in 20 years.

I give Ten Stories High 4.5/5 Stars

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