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Benchmarks

Benchmarks began as a solo project for Nashville-based songwriter Todd Farrell Jr., who had toured internationally as a lead guitarist for other artists. He recruited Matt Rewinski (bass) and Jack Whitis (drums), whom he’d met while attending Belmont University, to form his backing band Todd Farrell Jr. & The Dirty Birds. Eventually, though, the group began writing original music together and would self-release the American Night EP in 2015.

Billy Herring

Billy Herring is the lead vocalist/guitar player/banjo player for 1916. He’s also a Nashville-based tattoo artist.

Borrowed Sparks

With its classic instrumentation and well-thought lyrics fans of Americana, Singer-songwriter, Roots Rock, Folk and Punk, will find a home in Borrowed Sparks, and he may even find a home alongside some of your favorites.

Nashville, TN

Bully

Nashville, TN: “Alicia Bognanno of Bully is a producer, mixer, engineer, songwriter, vocalist, and multi-instrumentalist.”

Continental – “Hello”

Hello - Continental

Release Date: March 17, 2023 Record Label: Rum Bar Records Release Type: EPBandcamp Link: Listen on Bandcamp

Continental are back! It’s been a while since we heard from Rick and Stephen Barton, the father-and-son duo at the core of the Boston-ish rock and roll band. They took their time – and a few trips to Tennessee – to craft a new album on breaks from their collective day jobs (painting houses). The result is Hello, a lean, mean, rock-and-roll machine that came out on their new label home, Rum Bar Records. Listen below and buy the album on Bandcamp.

Upcoming Releases

Sammy Kay 07-19-2024
“July 1960”

DS Album Review: L. A. Edwards – “Out Of The Heart Of Darkness”

L. A. Edwards for all intents and purposes is a band of brothers as well as the name of lead singer and main writer in the band. Led by Luke Andrew Edwards, the band which was originally intended to be a solo project has morphed into a family affair with his older brother Jay and […]

L. A. Edwards – Out Of The Heart Of Darkness

L. A. Edwards for all intents and purposes is a band of brothers as well as the name of lead singer and main writer in the band. Led by Luke Andrew Edwards, the band which was originally intended to be a solo project has morphed into a family affair with his older brother Jay and younger brother Jerry both having joined Luke as full-time members. Having been born and raised in southern California, and subsequently transplanted to Nashville, LA’s first two LP’s (2018’s True Blue and 2020’s Blessings From Home) were very Laurel-Canyon-meets-East-Nashville in their sound, easy going and tranquil country/folk-rock which was reminiscent of both Jackson Browne as well as the band Dawes in its style as well as sound.

With Out Of The Heart Of Darkness, LA Edwards’ new release out January 6th on Bitchin’ Music Group, the band has put together a very different kind of album with a distinctly more diverse and harder-edged sound. The album was recorded largely at Luke’s Seatle, WA home studio during the first half of 2022. Work on the album was temporarily put on hold while the band did some extensive touring with both Lucero and then The White Buffalo. Returning to the studio in September, the 3 brothers along with studio engineer, Hunter Rath finished up the recordings for the album. Lookng for a harder, more auster sound to compliment the voluminous material, the band brought in Grammy Award winner, Tom Lord-Alge to work on post production and mixing.

The Brothers Edwards

The album opens up with a short snippet of a young boy describing, as near as I can tell a near-death drowning experience. It is certainly a soundbite that might have come directly from Joseph Conrad’s epic novel from which I have to imagine Edwards co-opted the album’s moniker. Following this “Prelude” we get the album’s first actual song, a track called “Little Boy Blue,” which kicks off with a singular guitar riff, reminiscent of the opening of “Life In A Northern Town” from early the 80’s English folk-rock band Dream Acadamy. But before you have a chance to nestle into this gentle flow, you’re hit with a Springstonian power strum and there’s no looking back as the band pushes forward with what turns out to be a churning rock song replete with a majestic harmony-laden chorus which is just perfect.

The first single off of the album was released in early December and the first thing you will notice is that “Let It Out” is no soft country rocker. Right from the get-go of Luke’s 2,3,4,1,2,3 countdown, it becomes obvious that the Edwards boys are here to rock with this one. A jaunty, almost punkish number with top-heavy guitar backdrop, this song immediately brought some early Deer Tick to mind as I listened to the rhythmic guitar clapping along with LA’s huskier than in the past voice. The band got quite a marketing bonus when this one was picked up and included in the “The Dream Is Not Me,” episode in this year’s hottest TV show, Yellowstone.

The rocking continues a couple of songs later on the album with “Time To Go” which starts off with a distorted guitar line followed by what I’m sure will be an anthemic sing-along chorus before it builds and builds itself into a screeching guitar wall of sound, all while the words “is it now time to go?” is quietly harmonized in the background.

“Time To Go” is then followed by a somewhat mellower “Hi Rite Now!”, a country ditty that laments the appreciation for greener pastures so to speak. And even though compared to the previous track, “Hi…” seems to be mellower, it certainly is no power ballad by any stretch of the imagination.

“Peace Be With You” is the second to last song on the album and it starts off with a hard electric guitar strum leading into Luke’s beautiful vocals which remind me of my favorite (and unfortunately unknown outside of his native city of Little Rock) singers, Adam Faucett. And if you’re lucky enough to know Adam’s work, you will know that a comparison to him and his otherworldly voice is the utmost praise to which you can bestow on another singer.

All in all, L.A.Edwards, as one might expect from an album named after the book which spawned the movie “Apocalypse Now” takes on quite a journey with Out Of The Heart Of Darkness. The album is filled with human emotions which are all over the map and to perfectly augment these disparate emotions Luke, Jerry and Jay provide us with a musical and instrumental landscape which fits like a glove to the rollercoaster ride of feelings portrayed in this collection. While the songs by no means fit into any one easy, concise pigeon hole, they do work veritably seamlessly with one another. Be it Jay’s spooky keyboard work on “Already Gone” to the stoner protest of “Hi Rite Now!” to the beer-soaked barroom rock and roll of “Let It Out”, the songs on OOTHOD run the gamut yet fit together like distinctly shaped pieces of an intricate jigsaw puzzle.

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DS Exclusive: Borrowed Sparks releases single “Run ‘Til You’re Dust”

Dying Scene is thrilled to bring you yet another exclusive release, this time from St. Louis-native-turned-Nashvillian Mike Bay, better known by his solo moniker Borrowed Sparks. Bearing the title “Run ‘Til You’re Dust”, Bay’s first studio single since 2020 encompasses a hopeful optimism that rivals the hardship that his songs often allude. In a world […]

Dying Scene is thrilled to bring you yet another exclusive release, this time from St. Louis-native-turned-Nashvillian Mike Bay, better known by his solo moniker Borrowed Sparks. Bearing the title “Run ‘Til You’re Dust”, Bay’s first studio single since 2020 encompasses a hopeful optimism that rivals the hardship that his songs often allude. In a world that is still coping with the seemingly never-ending burrow of dread that COVID brought about, “Run ‘Til You’re Dust” assures the listener of the light at the end of the tunnel.

“[This song] was written while I was coming out of a low spot,” explains Bay. “Grappling with all of the changes that occurred since 2020, I was pretty bummed with life and what seemed like a lot of new limits and restrictions.”

“The title lyric came from a mantra that a friend gave to me during a hard time. It stuck with me and kept coming back during the times I felt low, helping me pull myself out of that dark place. This is an anthem for those who want to get every ounce of what our short lives have to offer.”

Borrowed Sparks’ catchy blend of working class, punk-inspired Americana draws comparisons to some of the industry’s best, and some of my personal favorites, including the likes of Brian Fallon, Ben Nichols, and, dare I say, Tom Petty and The Boss himself. Although Bay has hit the nail on the head with achieving the Americana sound, his thoughtfully sincere and honest lyrical reflection is what primarily roped me in and made me a fan of the ridiculously talented songwriter who I now luckily call a friend.

For many readers, “Run ‘Til You’re Dust” may be the first glimpse into one of Nashville’s best, but I assure you that Borrowed Sparks has an entire back catalogue of catchy, yet profound anthems that are sure to give the heart strings a nice tug. One moment, driving guitars on tracks such as “Marie’s Dress” and “Man With A Different Name” will knock you ass back into your seat, yet the next leads to introspective contemplation with tracks such as “The Prettiest One Left” and “Patron Saint”. “Run ‘Til You’re Dust” seems to be a combination of both, and serves as a great introductory point for the ever-growing genre of punk-inspired Americana.

The current single, along with some of my previously released favorites are linked below. A lyric video for “Run ‘Til You’re Dust” is due out exactly one week from today, May 10, so don’t miss out. Be sure to keep Borrowed Sparks on your radar as they’ve got a busy Summer ahead. As always, thanks for checking out the site, Cheers!

(Mortensa, 2023)

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DS Exclusive: Borrowed Sparks’ New Full-Length “Let A Little Light In”

It’s a great day to bring you another kickass DS Exclusive, this time featuring Nashville-native Borrowed Sparks‘ brand new release Let a Little Light In. The release is due out tomorrow, but out of the kindness of both our and Borrowed Sparks’ hearts, we’re bringing it to you today. So you’re welcome. If the Borrowed […]

It’s a great day to bring you another kickass DS Exclusive, this time featuring Nashville-native Borrowed Sparks‘ brand new release Let a Little Light In. The release is due out tomorrow, but out of the kindness of both our and Borrowed Sparks’ hearts, we’re bringing it to you today. So you’re welcome.

If the Borrowed Sparks name sounds a bit familiar, that’s because we released the first single “Run ‘Til You’re Dust” a few months back. It wasn’t yet public back then, but that single plays a small role in this punk-inspired Americana masterpiece. In hearing this record, I continue to hold strong to my previous statement comparing Borrowed Sparks to “the likes of Brian Fallon, Ben Nichols, and, dare I say, Tom Petty and The Boss himself.”

Mike Bay’s debut studio release came in 2020 in the form of The Prettiest One Left. Let a Little Light In is the very antithesis of what you’d call a sophomore slump. This newly released catalogue of songs adds to an already seemingly flawless track list, leaving their live show with nothing lacking. Don’t get me wrong, their debut made me a fan, but this new full-length made me a fan for life, it’s damn near fuckin’ flawless.

photo credit: Kaitlin Gladney

“Run ‘Til You’re Dust” and “Can’t Please Everyone (Hail Mary)”, the record’s first two singles, are two personal favorites. But the piano-driven farewell hymn that is “Goodbye, My Friend” deserves much recognition, further highlighting Bay’s musical versatility.

I highly encourage giving this thing a listen, but I must warn you, it’ll grip you from beginning to end. I, being a huge Brian Fallon, Dave Hause fan, found this release fitting in nicely with what has emerged as a new favorite genre of mine.

Attached below is the brand-spanking new release, along with the incredible music video for “Let a Little Light In”, filmed in the back-woods of our home state of Tennessee. Digital release comes out tomorrow, with some sick colored vinyl out later this fall (preorder now!). Cheers!

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DS Exclusive: Check out St. Louis hardcore punk band Inner City Witches’ brand new single “Witch on Film”

Behold, Inner City Witches! A hardcore / post-hardcore / punk / post-punk / all around good band hailing from St. Louis, Missourah. They’re releasing a new single tomorrow! It’s called “Witch on Film”. You’re cool and you read DyingScene.com so you get to listen to it a day early. Fuck yeah! You can, and should, […]

Behold, Inner City Witches! A hardcore / post-hardcore / punk / post-punk / all around good band hailing from St. Louis, Missourah. They’re releasing a new single tomorrow! It’s called “Witch on Film”. You’re cool and you read DyingScene.com so you get to listen to it a day early. Fuck yeah! You can, and should, do that right now by scrolling down the page and clicking play on the fancy embedded music player.

Here are some words (quite a few, actually) the band used to describe their new single:

“Witch on Film” has been through the wringer, has been played all over the country, and might be the first truly experimental and, for lack of a better word, WEIRD song that we created as a group. With all that being said, the song’s raw power and drive make it an obvious first choice for us to introduce to you the many Inner City Witches classics we will be releasing throughout the year. “Witch on Film” is a gateway to a new kind of punk that is hardcore adjacent… but not really. It’s clearly punk… yet relative to what? This is the type of empty pocket we love finding ourselves in when we cannot truly answer the question: “What does your band sound like?”

By the way, I think Inner City Witches will be releasing an EP called Hoof! soon. This song will be on it. Perhaps you should stay tuned to their social media if you’d like to stay updated on that.

This premiere is brought to you in part by Punk Rock Radar. If you’d like your band’s music video to be premiered by Dying Scene and Punk Rock Radar, go here and follow these instructions. You’ll be on your way to previously unimagined levels of fame and fortune in no time!

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You can witness Inner City Witches performing music at one or multiple of the following establishments!

March 15th- Sinkhole (St. Louis)
April 19th- The Backside (St. Louis)
April 20th- Spinellis Downtown (Louisville)
April 21st- The Garage (Nashville)
May 25th- Cooler BNB (St.Louis)

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DS Exclusive: The Catastrophes – “E.P. #1”

Here at DS, we believe the best way to celebrate any holiday is with an Exclusive Premiere and Labor Day is no different. So, today dear readers, we’re treating you the debut EP from Nashville based skate punks, The Catastrophes! The album, appropriately titled E.P. #1, officially releases on 9/8 but no need to wait […]

Here at DS, we believe the best way to celebrate any holiday is with an Exclusive Premiere and Labor Day is no different. So, today dear readers, we’re treating you the debut EP from Nashville based skate punks, The Catastrophes! The album, appropriately titled E.P. #1, officially releases on 9/8 but no need to wait until then. Go ahead and crank up the volume, give this one a few spins and then make sure to pick up the EP later this week!


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