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Dying Scene Album Review: Mercy Union – “White Tiger”

I don’t normally start album reviews this way but I thought it was maybe sort of important to mention this time that I am, for the record, a big Mercy Union fan and supporter. I’ve known frontman Jared Hart for a long time and have been a fan of his solo work and his Scandals […]

I don’t normally start album reviews this way but I thought it was maybe sort of important to mention this time that I am, for the record, a big Mercy Union fan and supporter. I’ve known frontman Jared Hart for a long time and have been a fan of his solo work and his Scandals work and of sideman Rocky Catanese and his various projects (remember Let Me Run?!?) for quite literally as long as I’ve been involved with Dying Scene, which is to say well over a decade. I was at Mercy Union’s first show billed as Mercy Union (October 2017 supporting Racquet Club at Middle East in Cambridge, MA, if you were wondering) and I was at Mercy Union’s last show before Covid-19 forced us inside for a few years (at O’Brien’s in Boston in March 2020 with Secret Spirit and the Nightblinders and Coffin Salesmen if you were wondering, which I’m sure you weren’t because this is a record review and a not a list of “shows Jay has been too).

ANYWAY, all that is to say that I like Mercy Union a lot. And yet, because I’m a professional (lol) journalist with at least some modicum of integrity (not lol, I actually like to think this latter part is true) I tried to take a 30,000-foot view of the new Mercy Union album and put my personal thoughts about the band aside and listen to it objectively. And so I fired it up on the good speakers in my car went for a drive and about halfway through the album, I got so into the music and the sounds and the textures that I quite honestly got lost, having blown way past my destination. White Tiger is great, kids. Really, really great.


The band’s 2018 debut, The Quarry, laid at least a bare framework of 1990s alternative rock influences through a filter of New Jersey punk sensibility, but White Tiger surpasses it on almost every level. White Tiger, the band’s second full-length, puts any fears about a sophomore slump to bed pretty much from the opening notes of album opener “1998.” It’s an uptempo table setter with swirling guitar riffs and a giant, singalong chorus that combine to serve as an instant revelation that whatever extra time the band spent crafting this album during the doldrums brought on by a global pandemic was put to extremely good use.


The soundscape on White Tiger is both sprawling and crystal clear, and while Hart may the songwriting spearhead, it very much sounds like a collaborative, full-band record (which is not to say that The Quarry wasn’t, necessarily, but when you’ve got multiple accomplished songwriters combining forces in a newer project it’s only natural for some songs to sound like they belong to each individual songwriter rather than “the band.” Hell, The Clash very clearly has Joe songs and Mick songs and Paul songs…but I digress). Even “Basements,” which is a track with roots that extend back to Hart’s 2015 Past Lives & Pass Lines solo record is filled out with a full band treatment that creates an epic, massive feel that would have made the perfect springboard for a wonderfully cinematic video that would have been a staple on MTV back in the years when epic, cinematic videos were actually played on MTV. So, the mid-1990s.

Speaking as a child of the ’90s, there are some very clear throughlines on White Tiger that originate back in that time period, but not maybe in the way you’d expect for an album being covered on your favorite newly-relaunched punk rock website. There were a great many of us that cut our punk rock teeth on the Bad Religions and Rancids and Green Days and other Epitaph/Fat/Lookout bands of the day and who maybe didn’t outwardly state how much we also appreciated the parallel track that was modern alternative rock radio and it’s expertly-crafted, tight and melody-driven power pop goodness. Bands like Gin Blossoms and Soul Asylum and pre-“Iris” Goo Goo Dolls and post-Mats Westerberg and The Wallflowers. Admittedly, it wasn’t “cool” to profess your love for songs like “Counting Blue Cars” or “Desperately Wanting” or “Hey Jealousy” if you also had like a Dead Kennedy’s patch and a NOFX patch on your backpack, but I think those of us “of a certain age” long ago gave up on aspirations of being cool and now don’t mind publically citing our affinity for a well-crafted, mid-tempo, radio friendly, melody driven rock and roll song, and I’m here for it. And White Tiger has a lot of that in spades.

Lead single “Prussian Blue,” for example, is anchored by a fuzzed-out lead bassline from Jorgensen as the guitars weave textured layers of harmonics and swirling melodies, and it’s got a massive arena (or even amphitheater) rock-sounding bridge. “Be Honest” finds Catanese and Hart trading vocal duties, while “Jane Way” puts Catanese solely in the spotlight. the former of those songs…can we call it post-emo? Is that a thing or did I just make that up? It’s got a huge, almost gothic soundscape in the bridge. “Evergreen” could probably stand on its own just fine as a solo acoustic track, but it gradually adds soaring synth and keys and strings (many of which were arranged by the multi-talented Jorgensen) and Benny Horowitz’s massive drums (editor’s note: Horowitz played all of the drums on White Tiger before departing the band and returning to his, uh, full-time day job) and layered guitars all in a full crescendo by the last third of the song.

“The Weekend,” which comes right around the album’s halfway mark, is a track that caught me off guard. It spends the first few minutes as one of those radio-friendly, mid tempo rock songs with a chorus that trends more to the delicate side, before completely switching gears entirely at the halfway point with the riffs getting heavier and Horowitz’s drums in full-on attack mode. This is undoubtedly a standout track and is precisely the moment where I blew well past my exit on the aforementioned evening drive. Other songs, like “Redeye (EWR>SNA)” find Hart taking whatever restrictor plates were left off of his voice, letting it soar to heights we’ve only really ever heard teased before. It’s fair to say that he’s leaned into his voice both a songwriter and a vocalist now, and most of the hardcore-inspired gravel of his earlier works is now a thing of the past.

From a sonic perspective, there is a sort of mid-tempo sameness that serves as a groove that many of the tracks settle into. That’s not bad, necessarily, and the variety of textures, particularly when factoring in the guitars and occasional strings and blended voices keep any particular song from sounding too much like any other, either on the album or in the band’s arsenal. If there’s a song on White Tiger that will inspire high-energy punk-rock style crowd push-and-pull, it’s the singalong, call and response verses on “So Long, Siberia.” And that’s good. Because White Tiger, and really Mercy Union circa 2022 by extension, occupies a space in your record collection that nothing else really does.

Pre-orders for White Tiger are still available here.

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Dying Scene Album Review: Screeching Weasel – “The Awful Disclosures of Screeching Weasel”

There’s no denying Benjamin Foster, otherwise known as Ben Weasel, is a controversial figure in the world of punk rock. But whether or not you like the guy, there’s also no denying he is one of the genre’s most prolific songwriters of all time. This is evidenced by the sheer number of classic songs spread […]

There’s no denying Benjamin Foster, otherwise known as Ben Weasel, is a controversial figure in the world of punk rock. But whether or not you like the guy, there’s also no denying he is one of the genre’s most prolific songwriters of all time. This is evidenced by the sheer number of classic songs spread across Screeching Weasel‘s entire catalog; “Don’t Turn out the Lights”, “Peter Brady”, “Second Floor East”, “Cool Kids”… the list goes on and on. With The Awful Disclosures of Screeching Weasel, the band’s fourteenth studio album, Mr. Weasel has proven once again why he’s still standing after 36 years in the music business.

Since 2011’s First World Manifesto, Mike Kennerty of the All-American Rejects has handled production duties on every Screeching Weasel recording. Everything between that record and The Awful Disclosures… has had a very similar, polished sound, almost like they were all recorded during the same studio session. However, the songwriting and instrumentation on the latest LP is varied enough to set it apart from the band’s recent output. Of course, the signature “nursery rhyme” style guitar leads are as present as ever (and I hope they never go anywhere), but there are a few curve balls thrown in the mix to spice things up. Most notably, there is an abundance of keys on this album. “Hey Diana” is a really fun song with a melody driven by a Renaissance style organ, while “In the Castle” employs a more traditional sounding keyboard as a subtle accent piece. I also enjoyed the spacey synthesizer used on “Just Another Fool”, which reminded me of one of my favorite newer bands Giant Eagles; perhaps Benjamin shares my appreciation of synthy Dutch pop-punk bands.

Now, with all that said, this record still boasts plenty of songs with a more traditional “Classic Weasel” sound. The lead single “Any Minute Now” fits this description, and when I first heard it, I knew I was probably gonna like the album. Other notable tracks in this category include “All Stitched Up”, “My Favorite Nightmare”, “Pandora’s Eyes” (on which the organ makes its first appearance), and “Dead Alive”. All of these songs would have slotted in nicely on the tracklists of First World Manifesto or Some Freaks of Atavism, which for me is a good thing, because I love those records. “Just Another Fool”, “Gates Lift High Your Heads”, and “Tell Me Your Lies” have a slightly darker, more sinister tone that kinda reminds me of The Lillingtons‘ last album. These tracks offer a nice change of pace while not straying too far from the formula Screeching Weasel has continued to perfect since they ruled the roost of 90’s pop-punk.

Listening to the album on Spotify on its release day, it didn’t completely grab me. But when I got the record in the mail and dropped the needle for the first time, I was hooked. With that said, is this going to dethrone Anthem for a New Tomorrow as my favorite Screeching Weasel album? Probably not, but that’s okay! The Awful Disclosures… is a fantastic LP that will make a worthy addition to any Screeching Weasel fan’s record collection. Creeping up on four decades in the game, Ben Weasel just keeps pulling rabbits out of his hat. Love him or hate him, you have to admit, the man’s staying power as a songwriter is quite impressive.

Buy The Awful Disclosures of Screeching Weasel:
Vinyl / CD / Digital

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Dying Scene Record Radar: New punk vinyl releases & reissues (Green Day, New Found Glory, OFF! & more)

Welcome to the first installment of the Dying Scene Record Radar! This is a weekly round up of all things punk rock vinyl. We’ll be highlighting new releases to look out for, as well as all those ultra limited reissues that get the collector nerds’ hearts racing. So, let’s get into it… Kicking things off, […]

Welcome to the first installment of the Dying Scene Record Radar! This is a weekly round up of all things punk rock vinyl. We’ll be highlighting new releases to look out for, as well as all those ultra limited reissues that get the collector nerds’ hearts racing. So, let’s get into it…


Kicking things off, New Found Glory! Back in April they released a 20th anniversary reissue of Sticks and Stones. Well, that shit sold out really quick, so they’re doing a second pressing of the reissue, limited to 2,000 copies. Go here this Friday, July 1st at Noon Eastern time to get your hands on it. Or wait ’til they sell out again and pay some clown $100 for it on Discogs.


Bad Religion is also reissuing two of their classic albums. Up first is Generator getting a 30th anniversary reissue. There are different variants for the US, UK, and Australia. Links to order all of those can be found here.


2002’s The Process of Belief is also getting the same reissue treatment for its 20th birthday. This one was announced a few weeks ago but there’s still plenty available. Links to order those are here.


Up next on the reissue train is the best band to name themselves after a Frenzal Rhomb song, Local Resident Failure, with the 10th anniversary reissue of their debut album A Breath of Stale Air. The variants are quite pretty! Americans and Canadians can get it here, Europeans here, and Aussies right here. And you can listen to it, right here! ∨∨∨


Nitro Records participated in Record Store Day 2022 with a reissue of their classic 1996 comp Go Ahead Punk… Make My Day. The compilation features AFI, The Vandals, Guttermouth, The Offspring and Jughead’s Revenge. 5,000 copies were made, and this is its first release on wax. There are still plenty of these out there. You can even get it on Discogs at a very reasonable price.


Now, here’s something that’s sure to ruffle some feathers: Walmart’s Exclusive pressings of Green Day‘s Dookie, American Idiot, and International Superhits. “Green Day? Walmart? That’s not punk!” No fucking shit, but who really cares? Sure the Waltons are one of the most despised families in America and they don’t need any more of your money, but look at the pretty colors! Help fund Billie Joe’s move to the UK, I’m sure he could really use the money.


The Bouncing Souls‘ self-titled record turns 25 this year, so they’re celebrating with four colorful polyvinyl chloride discs. Links to get all the different variants can be found here. East coast! Fuck you!


More reissues! Keith Morris’ OFF! is offering up new pressings of their back catalog, including the stellar First Four EPs, which is now available as a 12″ LP for the first time. These records kick ass. Buy, buy, buy.


Hey, here’s some new music! Screeching Weasel has a new record coming out on July 15th. It’s called The Awful Disclosures of Screeching Weasel. The LP is pricey at $30, but the two songs Mr. Weasel has put up for streaming have been good (stream below), and I enjoyed their last album a lot. Americans can pre-order here, and Europeans can get it here.


Skate punk veterans Cigar have stepped out of a time machine from 1999 to release their sophomore album. The Visitor is due out on September 9th through Fat Wreck Chords. Colored variants are long sold out, but I urge all self respecting skate punk fans to grab it on black wax here in America, here in Europe, and here in Australia. Listen to the debut single while you order!


1-2-3-4 Go! Records has spent the last year reissuing the entire Pinhead Gunpowder discography. The latest installment includes the Shoot the Moon LP (my personal favorite) and 8 Chords, 328 Words 7″. Everything in this series has been Grade A quality, and these reissues are a lot more affordable than original pressings of these records. You can get your hands on these here.


Pop-punk tastemakers Eccentric Pop Records have a bunch of new stuff up on their webstore. For the ridiculously low price of $16 (seriously Travis, how can you sell shit this cheap?!), you can get your hands on Dan Vapid and the Cheats‘ new LP Escape Velocity (listen below), and a new prepress of Horror Section’s long out of print self-titled record. Support a great label and add some awesome records to your collection!


Here’s a highly recommended pickup for those who worship at the altar of Joey Ramone. The Budweisers are a fantastic pop-punk band from Spain, and their new record Look Out Below is great! Plenty of fan service here for everyone who longs for the days when Lookout! Records ruled the pop-punk universe. Monster Zero has it up for pre-order now.


Target joins the “big box store reissuing classic punk albums” party with an exclusive 40th anniversary pressing of The Clash‘s Combat Rock on red vinyl. I grabbed this from my local Target a few weeks ago, and it sounds fantastic. I even signed up for the Red Card and saved 5% – what a deal! I love this record. “Rock the Casbah” is one of mankind’s greatest achievements. There’s a UK pressing on green vinyl as well – you can get that one here.


And I think that oughta do it! There’s undoubtedly a lot of stuff I missed, but hey, shit happens. The world keeps spinning, and we live to see another day. Like I said earlier, these recaps of new colorful plastic discs to waste your money on should be a weekly thing, but I could use a little help. Is there a new record you think should be highlighted in next week’s Record Radar? Suggestions are welcome – send us a message on Facebook or Instagram and we’ll look into it!

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Dying Scene Record Radar: New punk vinyl releases & reissues (Mr. T Experience, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater soundtracks & more)

Hello, and welcome to this week’s installment of the Dying Scene Record Radar! This is a weekly round up of all things punk rock vinyl, highlighting new releases and all those ultra limited reissues that get the collector nerds’ hearts racing. So, let’s get into it… Now that all the new and upcoming releases have […]

Hello, and welcome to this week’s installment of the Dying Scene Record Radar! This is a weekly round up of all things punk rock vinyl, highlighting new releases and all those ultra limited reissues that get the collector nerds’ hearts racing. So, let’s get into it…

Wake up, sleepy heads! 1-2-3-4 Go! Records has a new exclusive pressing of an East Bay punk classic going up Friday, July 8th (that’s today!) at 8am PST/11am EST. Limited to 500 hand numbered copies on fiery red vinyl, it’s Jawbreaker‘s 24 Hour Revenge Therapy! Make sure to join their mailing list to be notified when this goes up.

Save the date! The Mr. T Experience is finally reissuing their 1997 LP Revenge Is Sweet, And So Are You. Preorders for this one start Monday, July 11th at Noon Eastern time. To gain access to the preorder, you need to join this mailing list. This pop-punk classic has been out of print since its initial release on Lookout! Records 25 years ago. Don’t miss out!

Speaking of Lookout! Records, Sewer Trout‘s full discography is getting reissued as a compilation LP. This is a collaborative effort between Lavasocks Records and Dead Broke Rekerds. You can preorder it here.

Epitaph Records is reissuing Down By Law‘s 1994 LP Punkrockacademyfightsong on purple vinyl. This is another one that’s limited to 500 copies. US preorders are already sold out, but the label’s European store still has some in stock if you can stomach the extra shipping cost. Or hey, maybe you live in Europe!

Canadian punks Trashed Ambulance just put out a new album called Future Considerations. It’s available to stream right now, but Thousand Islands Records doesn’t expect the LPs to be in hand for a few months. Listen to the album on the below, and preorder it here (North America) or here (UK).

Attention, all skate punk fans! I implore you to check out the new record from Australia’s No Quarter. If you like fast, melodic punk in the vein of Satanic Surfers, you’ll like these guys. You can listen to Fear and Loathing on the Pacific Highway below, and order the LP here.

Feeling nostalgic for the days when you played Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater late into the night, chugging Mountain Dew and getting Cheeto dust on your Mad Catz controller? Then maybe these vinyl bootlegs of the THPS 1 and 2 soundtracks will interest you. If so, you’ll wanna hurry up and grab one here, because these have nearly sold out in just two days.

People of Punk Rock Records will be giving two Rufio albums their first-ever vinyl releases. Head to their website Monday, July 11th at 11am Eastern to get your hands on these beautiful new pressings of MCMLXXXV and The Comfort of Home.

Garageland has exclusive reissues of three – count ’em, three! – Agnostic Front records. Something’s Gotta Give, Riot Riot Upstart, and Dead Yuppies are all available on limited splatter colored vinyl. Head over to their store and get ’em while the gettin’s good.

European friends! If you’re looking for a deal on some great punk records, I suggest you head over to SBÄM Records‘ webstore, where you can save 25% on everything through July 29th. Just enter the code “SBAMFEST” at checkout and you’re ready to roll. They have a bunch of good shit from Pulley, Frenzal Rhomb, Chaser, Guttermouth, and many more. You name it, they’ve probably got it!

Mom’s Basement Records just replenished their pop-punk arsenal with some killer records! New additions to their distro include LPs by the Hawaiians, Beatnik Termites, Lillingtons, and Methadones. Lots of good stuff for my fellow pop-punk enjoyers to munch on.

Now that all the new and upcoming releases have been covered, I thought I’d show you the records I picked up this week, because I’m sure you really care! Anywho, I was in Ocala, FL visiting my parents for the 4th of July and I decided to stop by the only local record store in town, which is appropriately named Vinyl Oasis. I was very happy to find the RamonesIt’s Alive II, a 2020 Record Store Day title that I had been in search of for the last two years, and I was even happier it was only $30 (suck it, resellers!). I also snatched up a brand new 3xLP copy of The Clash‘s notoriously bloated Sandinista (I like it!), and a few CDs including the very interesting Misfits / Nutley Brass crossover album Fiend Club Lounge.

Well, it’s getting late, so I’ll wrap things up there. If you’re still reading this for some reason, thank you again for tuning in to this week’s edition of the Dying Scene Record Radar! Is there a new record you think should be highlighted in next week’s column? Suggestions are always welcome – send us a message on Facebook or Instagram and we’ll look into it!

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Dying Scene Record Store Spotlight: Clearwater Record Shop (Tampa Bay, FL)

Hello, and welcome to Record Store Spotlight; a new column here on Dying Scene dedicated to an institution almost as American as apple pie and unfettered capitalism – the record store! Today, I’ll be putting the spotlight on one of my favorite local stores, the Clearwater Record Shop. Nestled in the middle of my hometown […]

Hello, and welcome to Record Store Spotlight; a new column here on Dying Scene dedicated to an institution almost as American as apple pie and unfettered capitalism – the record store!

Today, I’ll be putting the spotlight on one of my favorite local stores, the Clearwater Record Shop. Nestled in the middle of my hometown (a city most well known for being home to the Church of Scientology’s headquarters), the Clearwater Record Shop sets itself apart from other record stores with its heavy focus on used music. Rather than relying on distributors to supply new releases, owner Casey Brown has spent years building his inventory one record collection acquisition at a time. The store which spans two interconnected warehouse spaces boasts one of the most expansive selections of used CDs I’ve ever seen. Every time I visit, I leave with a stack of jewel cases a few feet high. It’s easy to get carried away when you’re met with hundreds of bins overflowing with discs, the majority of which are just $3.75 each (or six for $20!).

Sure, it’s hard to beat the ease and convenience of shopping online. But the Clearwater Record Shop goes toe to toe with Discogs prices, and I find that most of the time, they come out ahead. Also, I’ve yet to find a more enjoyable way to kill a few hours on my day off than thumbing through thousands of records and CDs, searching for worthy additions to my collection. It’s a visceral experience that can’t be matched by browsing an online marketplace. Finding a record like The Clash’s Combat Rock for $15, and not having to wait an eternity for USPS to deliver it is icing on the cake. My only complaint about this store is that the selection is literally overwhelming. If you’re on a budget, you might have to get a little picky as your stack grows taller.

In the cooler months (yes, we sometimes have those here in Florida), the Clearwater Record Shop acts as a host to monthly swap meets. Local record collectors and vendors are invited to set up tables in the parking lot to sell their wares. These events serve as a great meeting place for the community, and are a highlight of winter and spring for me. The first time we attended, I grabbed a few LPs, including the BuzzcocksA Different Kind of Tension ($10) and Billy Joel’s Songs in the Attic ($5), along with a bunch of dollar bin CDs by the likes of the Ramones, Ozzy, and Megadeth.

It’s always a fun time shopping at this store. Casey is very personable and has created something really special here. The store has a unique, inviting old school atmosphere. The selection is great, and the prices are fair. Your dollar goes a lot further here than it does at most record stores.

If you ever find yourself in the Tampa Bay area, I highly recommend stopping by the Clearwater Record Shop. With two air conditioned warehouses packed to the rafters with nothing but music, music, and even more music, you’re bound to stumble upon something that suits your fancy. Or, if you lack self control like me, you’ll probably leave with a mountain of stuff that suits your fancy.

For more info, check out the store’s website, and follow them on Instagram.

Do you have a favorite local record store you’d like to let everyone know about? Of course you do! Hit us up on Facebook or Instagram and submit your own Record Store Spotlight. The more the merrier!

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Enemy You

Enemy You was a punk band from San Francisco. Started in 1997, the band soon received interest from Ben Weasel, who released their debut album Where No One Knows My Name through his Lookout! Records imprint Panic Button.

In Retrospect: The Best Albums We Missed While We Were Away (Part 1: Dylan’s picks)

Welcome back, friends! It’s been a while. Almost three years, in fact. It goes without saying that a lot of great music has been released in Dying Scene’s absence. To coincide with our little website’s “resurrection”, we’ll be highlighting some of the best albums we weren’t here to cover. Who knows? Maybe you missed some […]

Welcome back, friends! It’s been a while. Almost three years, in fact. It goes without saying that a lot of great music has been released in Dying Scene’s absence. To coincide with our little website’s “resurrection”, we’ll be highlighting some of the best albums we weren’t here to cover. Who knows? Maybe you missed some of them, too! Today’s list comes from longtime DS writer Dylan, aka “Screeching Bottlerocket”. Look forward to more entries in this series from some of our other contributors down the line.

Giant Eagles – Second Landing

The pride of Rotterdam, Netherlands, Giant Eagles have been pumping out extremely catchy, synthesizer-laden pop-punk for a while now. Their debut album Giant Egos was released in 2014, and their sophomore effort Second Landing arrived in 2020. The latter is without a doubt my favorite album of the 2020’s so far. The production is excellent (just listen to those fuckin’ synths!), and the songwriting is somehow even better. If you’re a fan of 90’s pop-punk and looking for a change of pace, I cannot recommend Giant Eagles enough.

Standout tracks: The entire album, especially Evil Robot Nation
Buy it: Mom’s Basement Records (USA) / Shield Recordings (EU) / Stardumb Records (EU)

Kill Lincoln – Can’t Complain

After going on a hiatus of their own for a few years, Washington, DC ska-punk band Kill Lincoln released their comeback album Can’t Complain in 2020. And what a comeback it was! This record seems to have officially put the band on the map, if the constant stream of represses it has received is any indication (seriously, they’re having a hard time keeping this thing in print). It is their most polished release to date, and they seem to have really honed their brand of bouncy pop-punk infused ska. Can’t Complain is a very fun record, and the perfect soundtrack for your summer.

Standout tracks: Greetings from Inner Space & Last Ditch Denial
Buy the record: Bad Time Records (USA) / HHV (EU)

Chaser – Dreamers 

Not many bands release their best music 20 years into their career, but Chaser isn’t like most bands. The Orange County melodic punk veterans made their triumphant return in 2018 with their first album in eight years, Sound the Sirens. They followed that with 2021’s Dreamers. I can safely say this is the definitive album of Chaser’s career thus far. It’s just really fucking good; melodic, fast, hard hitting skate punk. The cover art is awesome, too! Chaser is firing on all cylinders and isn’t slowing down any time soon.

Standout tracks: Good Times (just listen to that bassline!), The Ripper, Always With You & See You at the Show
Buy it: Sound Speed Records (USA) / Thousand Islands Records (Canada) / SBÄM (EU) / Pee Records (Australia)

The Putz – Rise and Shine

I’ve long been a fan of Indianapolis’ The Putz. Like most of the band’s previous work, their fourth full-length Rise and Shine checks all the boxes that I look for in a great pop-punk record. It’s a relentless 35 minute barrage of downstrokes, charmingly simple songwriting, and countless earworm hooks. If you told me this was a long-lost Lookout! Records release, I’d be inclined to believe you. This is a fantastic, well rounded album from one of the best pop-punk bands in the game.

Standout tracks: She’s a Brat, Kicked Out, Numbskull & Invitation Only
Buy it: Eccentric Pop Records (USA) / Stardumb Records (EU)

Victims of Circumstance – Five

One of the longest tenured bands in the Tampa Bay music scene, and the first local band I fell in love with, Victims of Circumstance delivered their aptly titled fifth album Five in 2020. It had been six long years since the ska-punk veterans’ last full-length No More Heroes, an album that would stay in my car’s CD player for months at a time. The good news is, the wait was worth it! Five is essential listening for any third wave ska fan. This album is brimming with grooving mid-tempo songs with chunky basslines, hard-hitting guitar driven punk anthems, and everything in between.

Standout tracks: Tonight We’re Getting Loud, Enemy, The Edge & Ready to Go
Buy it: vocska.com (CD) / Bandcamp (digital)

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