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Beatnik Termites

Cleveland power pop-punk veterans. Said to have been one of Kurt Cobain’s favorite bands.

Bottle Rat

Fast, abrasive, don’t give a shit punk rock from Pittsburgh

Bracket

Bracket is an American punk band from Forestville, California formed in 1992. Their sound mixes power pop and punk rock with a strong focus on vocal harmonies.

Dancing On Tables spin power-pop bliss on ‘How Do I Get Back To Her’

<p>We love it when indie rock asks a question, even if we don’t know the answer. Fresh off The Wombats warmly asking “Is This What It Feels Like To Feel Like This?” earlier today, Scottish power-pop powderkeg Dancing On Tables are off their feet and head over heels with an infectious new single called “How Do I Get Back To Her,” turning the tables of a failed relationship and emerging with a total fucking earworm. How to get back to […]</p>
<p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="https://vanyaland.com/2022/08/16/dancing-on-tables-spin-power-pop-bliss-on-how-do-i-get-back-to-her/">Dancing On Tables spin power-pop bliss on ‘How Do I Get Back To Her’</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="https://vanyaland.com">Vanyaland</a>.</p>

DS Album Review: Hayley & The Crushers – “Modern Adult Kicks”

It’s summer in 2002 and it’s about to be golden hour while you lay on your bed staring at the ceiling. You are dwelling on some fight you had with your mom. Every friend you have is out having fun or on vacation- unreachable by phone and you’re swearing off each and every one of […]

It’s summer in 2002 and it’s about to be golden hour while you lay on your bed staring at the ceiling. You are dwelling on some fight you had with your mom. Every friend you have is out having fun or on vacation- unreachable by phone and you’re swearing off each and every one of them. Your last ditch effort of hope points to a Walkman and a bike while you ride the familiar streets of some suburban Midwestern town with headphones filled with relief.

Flash forward to 2022 after a pandemic and a half has washed over you and you’re still sitting with the same feeling of being grated by life, but you have time to step into the Crushverse and kick it with Hayley & the Crushers. Modern Adult Kicks is an album that houses singles released from 2021 and some fresh new tunes from the band and most have adult themes paired with power pop fun that are sure to ride with you from your morning coffee to a late-night vinyl dance sesh. By the way, this album comes in a limited edition blue raspberry for those vinyl aficionados.

Modern Adult Kicks starts off strong with the single “Taboo” which offers this hefty guitar riff as Hayley’s dark and devious voice coaxes you melodiously to the stranger side of power pop. You’re gonna follow her and you’re gonna love where it’s headed. In the 2nd verse, the first four lines are delivered such a mood of heavy desperation and need. You hear it in the annunciation of T’s and the beaks in guitar. “Taboo” connects this memory of that feeling while looking out of the window in The Lockdown of 2020. You wanted to go out, but you know it was taboo.

The album goes on to carry The Crushers’ more polished sound for your tender punk heart. The band has described this album as an example of “how to grow up without growing jaded.” Nothing could be more rightly said about it. The death of the ego really prevails in the sound of Hayley’s sharp guitar playing, lyrics, and titles of songs in this album. Songs like “She Drives”, “California Sober”, and “Overexposed” bring out this perfect mixture of sunny pop-tempo painting this scene of punks enjoying life knowing full well everything around them is burning (this is fine). Which is just the kind of macabre sense of fun that most of us who survived the past few years may need right now. Don’t worry for all you tough guys out there the album still houses the familiar punk sound echoing the frustration and need to thrash around that resides in most of us.

In her own words on Sound Digest, Hayley has written a little year in review which gives insight into what this album may mean to her. It is in this touching honesty as she writes about being a musician during the pandemic, getting her shit together, and driving to really refine her career as a musician. All the touring she wanted to do for the band’s last album which was released in 2020 never got to come to fruition. All that hard work and self-reflection came to be in March of 2021 when the band was signed by Josie Cotton to her record label Kitten Robot Records. The band got to work with Paul Roessler remotely as well as in person for Modern Adult Kicks and the album was mastered by Mass Giorgini (Squirtgun). The band is gearing up for a tour that begins September 23rs, 2022 and it is one that you may not want to miss out on.

Modern Adult Kicks is available for purchase

Tour Dates & Locations

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DS Festival Review: Slam Dunk Festival (North)

In 2001, I moved to the Northern English city of Leeds, in part because of the live music venue, The Cockpit. This small venue put on all my favourite bands of the time, and had a long history of putting on great live music. I worked in another venue in the city on weekends, so […]


In 2001, I moved to the Northern English city of Leeds, in part because of the live music venue, The Cockpit. This small venue put on all my favourite bands of the time, and had a long history of putting on great live music. I worked in another venue in the city on weekends, so Tuesday night was my big night out, and Tuesday nights were Slam Dunk at The Cockpit. A solid mix of ska punk, pop punk, emo, rock, metal and whatever else alternative kids were listening to in the early 2000’s. 

So here I am, 21 years later. The Cockpit has long since shut down and whilst the Slam Dunk Club Night plays on at its new home, the Key Club, it’s the festival that I am at today. Now held across two cities with more than 50 bands, across five stages, things have really grown from that two room sweaty Tuesday night under a railway arch.

The lineup covers a wide range of punk and alternative music, but because I’m old and stuck in my ways, I’m mostly staying at the Dickies stage, which is the main stage this year, hosting The Suicide Machines, The Bronx, Hot Water Music, The Vandals, Streetlight Manifesto, Pennywise, The Interrupters, The Dropkick Murphy’s and headliners Sum 41. 

I’d originally bought tickets on the basis that Rancid were headlining, but they pulled out for undisclosed reasons. Then support from the Mighty Mighty Bosstones collapsed along with the band. Things were looking bleak, and I actually looked into selling my ticket, only to have two of my close friends and original Slam Dunk allies to buy tickets, so it was to be a big day out for us old guys.

The venue for the festival is Temple Newsam House. For further personal historic links, this was the site of the first music festival I ever went to (V98), and a big part of my musical taste was formed in these park lands. The benefit of this location for me is that it is close to home, the downside is that it still takes an hour and a half to get in, as traffic is not well managed and everything is already getting expensive (£10 to park in a field, £10 for a bus), I’d planned to ride my bike to the event, but for three of us, that didn’t make much sense.

Inside the arena, the stages are far enough apart that there is little noise mix from bands and practicalities like bars, toilets and food concessions are plentiful, the addition of a separate “real ale” bar was a pleasant surprise, and I managed to spend an impressive amount in this tent after and before every band. The tent also provides some welcome shade from the unexpected sun that I was totally unprepared for!

So, on to the music…

Hot Water Music, a band that I’ve discovered backwards through Chuck Ragan’s solo work, come out impassioned and full of energy, although the crowd are a little flat with it being an early set. Despite this we get a solid effort from the band, though possibly things are held back a little by a lack of catchy hooks and sing along choruses in the songs performed. Finishing with “Trusty Chords” gets the crowd interested from hearing a song they know. Whether they know the song from Epitaph‘s Punk-o-Rama compilation, or it’s just a favourite is hard to say, but in a pre-internet world, compilations from Independent punk labels are how a lot of us discovered new bands, especially those that didn’t tour the small northern venues like the Cockpit!

A quick trip to the bar revealed the sound of Punk Rock Factory carrying on the wind from the Rock Sound Stage. I was familiar with the band from their Youtube videos of punked up, harmonized pop covers, and as a father of small children, I found myself singing along to “Let It Go”, whilst appropriately stood at a urinal. If I have to play Disney songs on long journeys, then at least they can have crushing guitars as well, and hopefully, like some kind of gateway drug, this leads my kids down the path of home made tattoos and living in a van (or some other punk cliché).

The Vandals took to the stage with a not too reassuring “We’ll do our best”, and whilst I appreciate their honesty and openness, first song “Café 405”, is out of time and out of tune. 

Three songs in, things are starting to tighten up, “People That Are Going To Hell” gets people moving a little, but on the whole, the crowd remain static. “And Now We Dance” raises the energy, “The New You” keeps it going, but there’s just not enough there to hold the attention of the majority of the crowd. My friends desert me to hit the real ale bar, I hate myself for giving up on the mighty Vandals, but cold beer and the Cancer Bats on the Jagermeister stage lure me away. I’m not massively familiar with the Cancer Bats, but the wall of noise, that I could feel through the ground and see vibrating through my pint has led me to listen to more of their back catalogue.

I had a dream the night before Slam Dunk that I took all my family to see Streetlight Manifesto, but instead of their usual set list, they played a really challenging, four hour Jazz set, stopping only to enjoy a sit down meal, where they served soup from tea pots. I was trying desperately to convince my family that really, they’re a great band, whilst simultaneously enjoying the weird spectacle. 

Fortunately, there’s no Jazz today as Streetlight Manifesto, a later addition to the bill, take to the stage. There’s a clear sense of excitement in the crowd as the eight piece tear through classic hits “We Will Fall Together” and “The Three Of Us” along with lesser known tracks with a level of energy normally reserved for headline shows. The crowd sings along, dances, moshes; it’s a perfect blend of everything you want on a summers day. The only slight letdown is Tomas Kalnoky shouting “this is the big finish!” and then promptly not playing “Keasbey Nights.” I get the reasons, and I support them in letting go of a song that doesn’t really represent the band, but for many in the crowd it’s the song they came to hear and there’s visible confusion as the band leave the stage, though encores aren’t really a thing at 16:30 on a festival stage are they?

I last saw Pennywise in 1999. So its been a while. Late last year I read Jim Lindberg’s book “Punk Rock Dad,” which renewed my interest in the band, so I’m excited to see this set, and if the number of Pennywise T-shirts I’m seeing are anything to go by, so are the crowd.

From the get go, the band are on full attack. There’s no sign of age in the band and the crowd are loving it. Covers of AC/DC’s “TNT” and “Breed” by Nirvana continues the energy. Early songs “Pennywise” and “Society” lead to Lindberg lamenting to having been “doing this for thirty years,” but it’s not slowing them down. 

The crowd holds middle fingers aloft for “Fuck Authority,” and whilst it feels cheesy, a load of middle aged men swearing at the sky, its kind of cathartic, and hey, it’s a great song! Who doesn’t enjoy feeling like an angry teenager (teenagers maybe?).

A cover of “Stand By Me,” which closed 1992 album Wild Card/ A Word From The ‘Wise surprised me, as I was certain it was Lagwagon, so I learned something important today if nothing else. 

Set closer “Bro-Hymn” has exactly the effect you’d expect. Huge “wooahs” from the crowd, that epic bass riff and impassioned singing along. Obviously it’s a great song, but I think it hits harder now, after the last few years and I think everyone can take some strength from this song and apply it to someone they’ve lost.

The Interrupters carry a strange position in my mind. I love their songs, they’re great live, but there’s just something not quite right. Something doesn’t sit right with me, and I hate myself for being so negative, but its all a bit too clean cut for me. Like it’s the soundtrack to Disney film where some hopelessly good looking, talented young people form a ska punk band and take over the world with a weird crusty mentor behind them (Called Tim?).

Opener “Take Back the Power” feels stronger than normal. Maybe its that they’re more established, or maybe my cynicism is fading? Either way I enjoy it for what it is, well polished, perfectly-performed ska pop-punk. 

Ignoring a weird segue about how they all used to bathe together… “She got arrested” gets a great crowd sing along, and is probably my favourite of their songs, not least as it was my introduction to the band back in 2017 and a great example of the quality story telling in the lyrics of some of their songs.

A cover medley of “Keep ‘Em Separated”/ “Linoleum”/ “Ruby Soho” gets the crowd going before surprise high point for me, a cover of Bad Religion‘s “Sorrow,” which goes down well with the crowd (For reference Bad Religion played Slam Dunk in 2019, as did the Interrupters).

The band finishes with “She’s Kerosene,” keeping the party going, the crowd moving and generally capturing the moment nicely. People are drunk, its sunny, the people want to dance and the Interrupters deliver.

The Dropkick Murphys take to a stage with a full length riser, done out to look like a stone wall, but there is a notable absence. Al Barr, it is announced, has stayed home to care for his sick mother. Ken Casey steps up for lead vocal duties and the evening begins with the sound of bagpipes on the cool evening breeze. 

“State of Massachusetts” gets the kind of crowd reaction you’d expect from a classic pop hit or a song about Yorkshire, such passion for such a challenging subject is strange, but hey, it’s a great song and the drunk, bouncy, dancey crowd are loving it.

“Barroom Hero” is introduced as the first song the band ever wrote, which is a bit of trivia I didn’t know, but I remember it from way back in the 90s, so I guess that makes sense. The crowd offer weak “Oi! Oi! Oi!” effort which is a disappointment, maybe the crowd aren’t as au fait with shouting Oi! as I’d like? Though I accept my drive to shout “Oi!” is probably higher than most.

The slip up begins with the instruction to sing along to the 1937 hit “I’ve Still Got Ninety-Nine” by the Monroe Brothers, which although an undeniably good song, probably isn’t too familiar to the crowd today. On the upside, we’re promised an acoustic album in September, which is one to look out for. Whether it’s new material or reimagined classics has not been confirmed, but hopefully there will be an associated tour.

“Rose Tattoo” brings the sing along from the crowd, but lacks the momentum to get the crowd moving. This is exacerbated by the big screen showing bored, static faces in the crowd for the first time. Fortunately, “I’m Shipping Up To Boston” brings the party back before the end of the set. I’ve never seen such passion for a missing wooden leg, as the crowd goes nuts, with crowd surfers from all directions riding above the waves of the crowd. All parties appear to have legs intact, so that’s good.

Headliners Sum-41 were a bit of a quandary for me. The first album was an important soundtrack to my late teens/ early 20s and I saw them play in Leeds twice in 2002, but I haven’t listened to their music since Does This Look Infected from the same year.

A bit of pre-show research suggested they have had seven further releases, including 2019s Order In Decline, but in the spirit of openness, I’ve not felt inspired to check these out.

The band come out to a stage with blood-soaked Marshall speaker cabinets, a giant skull, jets of fire and “Motivation” from the first album, All Killer, No Filler. More people than I expected are really into it, though competition with Deaf Havana and the Nova Twins is limited and the other stages have closed.

The stage is set for a night of big rock and I’d like to say I invested more effort into rediscovering Sum 41, but too much sun, too much beer and a designated driver who wanted to beat the traffic meant we made an early exit.

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Jasons

DS Photo Gallery & Show Review: The Jasons / Latecomer / Jerk! / Bottle Rat (Cattivo – Pittsburgh, PA 5/6/2022)

This review is better late than never… don’t blame me, blame Dying Scene for being on “vacation”… Anyway, with MC5 playing down the street, and The Chats, Mean Jeans, and Thick playing a few towns over, I didn’t know what to expect as far as a turnout on this rainy Friday in Pittsburgh. To make things […]

This review is better late than never… don’t blame me, blame Dying Scene for being on “vacation”… Anyway, with MC5 playing down the street, and The Chats, Mean Jeans, and Thick playing a few towns over, I didn’t know what to expect as far as a turnout on this rainy Friday in Pittsburgh. To make things more uncertain, it was my first time at this venue, which didn’t exist before I started a decade of living in NYC and New Jersey.  One thing was clear that night: people show up for The Jasons. It helped that the bill was also pretty stacked with pop punk vets, Latecomer, Jerk! (on tour from Las Vegas) and Bottle Rat, whose members have been doing the punk thing for what feels like decades.

Cattivo, in the Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh wasn’t at all what I expected. I expected a small – medium sized bar venue that might have a stage, or might not. I was way wrong. This is a dual-level venue that had The Jasons show being held downstairs. The room and stage were a decent size and there was a cash bar serving drinks. The room offered plenty of standing room, a lot of space for band merch, and the bathroom was acceptable.  Venues like this aren’t uncommon, but it had been a while since I’ve been to one like this. Aside from the shiny curtain in the back of the stage creating the backdrop, there isn’t really anything memorable about this place. You could say the focus is on the bands, which is always a good thing.

Bottle Rat

The first band up was Bottle Rat.  If you’ve been in the Pittsburgh punk scene in the last twenty years you’ve definitely seen these dudes in one band or another.  There’s something about Bottle Rat that takes me back ten years or so to what I remember loving about the Pittsburgh punk sound. The best way to describe that Pittsburgh sound and Bottle Rat is an energetic, growly, anthemic, blue collar street punk style. Every song is a toe tapper, some songs are even hand clappers, and there’s just something about these guys that leaves you wanting more. This performance was no exception. You can bet I’ll be seeing these guys a lot in the future and I’ve given their album, All My Friends Are Animals a few spins since the show.


Jerk!

Next was Jerk!, on tour from Las Vegas, NV. I’ve been following this band since I first heard about them through Mom’s Basement Records and was immediately intrigued. Jerk! plays a sort of pop punk / ramonescore hybrid with a drummer that reminds me of Bill Stevenson both in looks and style of playing. Their set was a lot of fun and featured a ton of upbeat and poppy songs. The only album I’ve ever heard from them is “Panic Attack” and they made sure to hit a ton of songs on that album.  They also performed their version of the Screeching Weasel song, “Guest List” which is always a crowd pleaser. There’s no telling when Jerk! will be back in the ‘Burgh again, but when they are I’ll be there!


Latecomer

The last opener of the night was Latecomer. I’ve known Zach and Pete since they were in their first band, Shuttlecocks, over a decade ago and I’ve had the pleasure of playing shows with this latest band.  These guys have been killing it for years and every time they take the stage, it gets more and more polished.  They dish out a brand of catchy as hell sing-along songs that never disappoint and remind me of bands like the Jetty Boys, Dopamines, older Menzingers, and an edgier Green Day. They have a few releases at this point and made sure to play songs from all of them during their set. The crowd started to really fill in around this time and everyone knew their songs and provided plenty of crowd participation. Always a great sign for a band. It was really nice to hear some of my favorite songs like “All My Friends” and “Refrigerator” live again.  Latecomer has always been very active, so if you’re in the Pittsburgh area and they’re playing, be sure to check them out!


Jasons

The headliner for the night were The Jasons from Crystal Lake, NJ! Boy do these dudes have a following.  What’s great about them is while they play a ramonescore style pop punk, you’ll see people from all different subgenres of punk coming out to support them! I’ve seen them a few times at this point and the show keeps getting better. Mainly because The Jasons have everything… a uniformed look, between song banter, great stage presence, and a great stage show… oh yeah, the songs are also catchy too. As soon as the first note rang out, the pit opened up, fists went into the air, and the excitement started.  The Jasons went on to rip through classics like, “Blood in the Streets”, “Get Fucked”, “I Wanna Be An Asshole”, “Dead Fuck”, and “J.J. Was a Headbanger”.  Overall, the set was flawless, right down to the smoke machines being in sync with the music, and after a quick (and forced) encore, the set was over and so was the show.


It had been a minute since I’ve attended a show where I truly dug all the bands on the lineup. It was also nice to see a ton of familiar Pittsburgh faces and I look forward to more of these types of shows to come. Thanks to all the bands, Cattivo, and the promoter Some Die Nameless!


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DS Photo Gallery: Mercy Union “White Tiger” record release w/Lenny Lashley, Early Riser and Felons (Crossroads, Garwood NJ – 8/5/22)

If you read our review of Mercy Union‘s dynamite sophomore album, White Tiger, last week, it should probably come as no surprise that even though I live in Massachusetts and the official record release show occurred on a Friday in New Jersey, I was going to be there. And I was! My “forever-plus-one” and I […]

If you read our review of Mercy Union‘s dynamite sophomore album, White Tiger, last week, it should probably come as no surprise that even though I live in Massachusetts and the official record release show occurred on a Friday in New Jersey, I was going to be there. And I was! My “forever-plus-one” and I hopped in the car, dropped our teenager off at her grandparents’ house, and made our way to Crossroads in Garwood, NJ, a club that has become a sort of home-away-from-home for us the last half-dozen years or so. (Really, if you live in the greater NYC area, you should make it a point to go to Crossroads for dinner and a show. You won’t regret it.)

Felons were the first band out of the gate on this evening. Astute followers of the New Jersey music scene will no doubt remember Zak Ferentz from Ferentz and the Felons. The Hudson County street folker retooled his band during quarantine lockdown. Now known simply as Felons, the band still features Ferentz on acoustic guitar and vocals, but he’s backed by a bass player and, well, I don’t have nearly enough knowledge of electronic music to have even the foggiest idea to know what Plantcham was playing on stage right, but I know that it combined for a really cool and weird and interesting sound. Sort of acoustic folk punk meets drone synth with all sorts of samples in the mix. Ferentz at one point introduced a song as being “about doing too many psychadelics” and I’d say that sounds about right. Check the video for “Sheep’s Wool” here for a pretty accurate example.


Brooklyn’s Early Riser were next up, and I have to say, I’m really, really glad I finally got the chance to see them. For the uninitiated, it’s safe to say that Early Riser continue the evening’s theme of bands that are tough to confine to a specific genre box. The sound is centered around Kiri Oliver’s playful vocals and small body Martin acoustic with additional texture provided by Heidi Vanderlee on cello and Nicole Nussbaum on bass. Drums are handled by none other than Mikey Erg, and all members provide harmonies. It’s like posi folk punk power-pop and it inspired a random and unexpected dance break in the crowd!


Much like yours truly, Lenny Lashley made the trip down from Massachusetts. Accompanied by frequent collaborator, the multi-talented Cody Nilsen on pedal steel, Lenny occupied the night’s direct support slot. I think Lenny is the artist I’ve seen most since Covid started a couple years ago because I tend not to wander too far away from home now, so it was fun to actually see him play a road game. Lashley bounced between acoustic (a 1937 Martin reissue, I believe) and electric (a tele-style Nacho Guitar if you’re into that sort of thing) and, while he’s got a massive catalog, stuck to songs mostly from his solo repertoire, including a few tracks from his upcoming album Five Great Egrets (more on that later). Lashley and Mercy Union frontman Jared Hart go back to the days when the former welcomed the latter’s old band, The Scandals, to Boston many years ago, so it’s been fun to watch the connection continue across state lines well over a decade later.

Which brings us, of course, to the Mercy Union portion of the evening. Hart and the gang (Rocky Catanese on guitar and occasional lead vocals, Nick Jorgensen on bass and backing vocals, recent recruit byt familiar face Matt Olsson on drums) fired up the margarita machine and fired straight into “1988,” “The Void” and lead single “Prussian Blue,” the three tracks that open White Tiger and set its sonic tone. The new material was, naturally, pretty well received from the home crowd, most of whom had clearly been listening to the album on repeat for at least the duration of release day if not, in some special cases, considerably longer. The 16-song set was heavy on White Tiger, naturally, with a few songs from their debut album, The Quarry, a couple reworked Hart solo songs, and a completely on-brand singalong cover of Goo Goo Dolls classic “Black Balloon” for good measure.


It was apparent from the earliest notes of their set that the band wore not only loaded for bear, but were having fun in the process. It is obviously a bit of a daunting task to put out an album on your own label two-and-a-half years into a global pandemic, and then to host a record release show at a well-respected club in your backyard (a club that, coincidentally, yours truly traveled to for a Scandals record release show a bunch of years ago). The night was full of smiles and gratitude and shoutouts and guest appearances on gang vocals, proving that while the sound may have branched out from traditional punk rock, the vibe and the ethos once you’re inside the four walls of a sweaty club remains every bit the same.


Look below for photo slideshows from each set of the night. You can still order Mercy Union’s White Tiger here or get it wherever you buy your digital music!


MERCY UNION

LENNY LASHLEY (W/CODY NILSEN)

EARLY RISER

FELONS

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DS Playlist: ‘Bootlicker’ Isn’t a Subgenre of Punk

From time to time, our intrepid contributors are going to post curated playlists for special occasions/Holidays. For our first ‘Post Resurrection’ installment of this feature, we enlisted our resident Molotov Cocktail Waiter, Anarchopunk to create the perfect tracklist to blast at your 4th of July Cookout! Trust us, your friends and family are gonna dig […]

From time to time, our intrepid contributors are going to post curated playlists for special occasions/Holidays. For our first ‘Post Resurrection’ installment of this feature, we enlisted our resident Molotov Cocktail Waiter, Anarchopunk to create the perfect tracklist to blast at your 4th of July Cookout! Trust us, your friends and family are gonna dig this one, comrades! It’s 55 minutes of pure Anti-American bliss (and when we say ‘American’ we mean the USA, specifically. It’s shorthand. We know, we know. There’s continents, hell whole hemispheres that encapsulate North/South America and the term ‘America’ generalizes all of the many nations and cultures therein….meh….whatever…it makes writing a lil easier. Give us some slack. Now, on with the story…) from lesser known bands from around the world. I mean, sure, anyone can make a playlist like this featuring songs by Propagandhi, Anti-Flag and Good Riddance but that’s low hanging fruit, homie! We hold ourselves to a ‘higher’ standard. Word of caution, if you’re only here for the music and don’t wanna read a buncha lefty, Marxist propaganda, scroll to the bottom for the playlist. We don’t wanna hear you whining in the comments. If you wanna create your own website and feature music that fits your beliefs, go right ahead! With that said let’s get started, shall we?

  1. The Communard – “Death to America” – Let’s just go ahead and start off with a bang to weed out the bootlickers! No ambiguity here with these French pinko-punks! If you don’t like the message of this one, you’re certainly not going to like the rest of this playlist. So, ‘sayonara, suckers!’
  2. Total Massacre – “The State of the Union (Is Weak,Sad) – Ole Cap’n No Fun and his anti-capitalist cronies always bring an appropriate level of anger for having to live in this hellscape of a country.
  3. Allout Helter – “Maximum Helter” – For some reason, Anti-America tunes sound so much better when it’s set to melodic hardcore and no one does this combo better than these anti-fascists from Denver.
  4. Be Like Max – “Time Flies When You’re Having Work” – Ska acts aren’t generally known for being too political but there’s always an exception and these Vegas ska-punks punctuate that fact.
  5. Arms Aloft – “Untitled” – No one writes ’em better than the lads over at Arms Aloft! There really isn’t anything more fitting than some good ole fashioned Blue Collar Punk to anti-celebrate The 4th! Probably no coincidence that they’re signed to Red Scare, huh?!
  6. The Shell Corporation – “Even Bob Villa Couldn’t Fix This Old House” – You haven’t heard lyrics this academic and vitriolic toward the States since Bad Religion! This Los Angeles based political punk act has it all! That’s why we wanna hear some more new music from ’em! C’mon, guys We need you now, more than ever! 😛
  7. Rent Strike! – “Burn It All” – Folk Punk! Yaaay! If you think there’s any subgenre that, as a general rule, is more anti-US than folk punk, you’re a fool. There I said it. Now, you have to live in a reality where some masked yahoo on the internet schooled you in a public forum. Sad…
  8. Soul Glo – “We Wants Revenge” – Oh shit! This shit hits fucking haaaard, dunnit?!? Philly hardcore acts are notoriously brutal but these cats take it to another level! If these fantastic Philadelphians weren’t on your radar before, make sure they are now. No excuses going forward.
  9. Upper Downer – “KKKPD” – One of the newer bands on our list but that doesn’t mean they’re any less worthy of making our list. These angry Angelinos also have a new album coming out later this year via Wiretap Records, so keep an ear out for that! (DS Exclusive???)
  10. Poor Me – “Classwar” – More Melodic Hardcore? Yes Please! This one is probably one of the more powerfully performed tracks on our list but when you’re fed up with the state of your ‘shit hole’ country, is it any surprise that there’s a lil extra ‘salt on the ‘tater chips’?
  11. The Muslims – “Fuck These Fucking Fascists” – Yea, yea, yeeeeaaaa. We know…we said “lesser known bands” and these young guns have recently singed to Epitaph, which makes them the antithesis of ‘lesser known’ but to be fair, we have been high on them since 2017. So we’re making an exception because this track bops!
  12. Amerikan Made – “Amerikan Made” – This Anti-American SoCal act has been around since 2007 and has been pretty silent up until recently when they did a four week residency at the Doll Hut down in San Diego. Hopefully this recent reemergence means some new tunes are coming soon? Guys? Hello? *tap, tap* Is this thing on?
  13. UCAN’TSAYNO – “The Corrupt Politician” – The Land of the Rising Sun checking in! Over the last few decades, Japan and more specifically, Tokyo has became a major hub for new punk music. So, it’s no surprise that a band from the ‘Child of Edo’ makes our list. It’s really just a matter of odds, innit?
  14. The Orphans – “For an Old Kentucky Anarchist” – Look, we know what we said earlier regarding your opinions on folk punk, but we’d like to think that the tough love we dispensed prepared you for this moment. It really did hurt us more than it hurt you. Now, enjoy this Anti-American, Appalachian folk gem and tell us how right we were.
  15. People Corrupting People – “Corporations” – Of course the US is fucked. We let Wal-Mart and CapitalOne vote. What did you think was gonna happen? But hey! At least the proletariat has to financially bail out all of these companies! Let’s hear it for Corporate Welfare!
  16. Cop/Out – “Pinko Commie” – Always more room for Commie punks! (c’mon, it’s an anti-4th playlist, what did you expect?). “buT i LuV CaPitAliSm, AP!”…. I dunno?? Have you tried…ummm…not??
  17. DUMB FUCKS – “a.c.a.b.” – A Los Angeles based band that isn’t fond of cops? You don’t say?!? For a buncha younger lads, they really do nail that old school hardcore sound though, right?? Can’t wait to hear more from this act.
  18. Debt Neglector – “Cult Cult Cult” – I think the name of this one perfectly encapsulates the current state of things here in ‘The Ole US of A’. We “oldies” remember a time when cults were fringy, and tucked away in the shadows of society. Now, they’re catered to on TV on a nightly basis “at 7pm ET right after Wheel of Fortune.”
  19. The Lungs – “Cross Cult” – Mira! Mira! Another song about cults when talking about current events in The United States….imagine that… All religions are cults. Sad about that? Complain in the comments.
  20. Comrades Collective – “Paws Not Laws” – OK, so full disclosure…we’ll automatically include any band on any playlist if they are even slightly ‘cat/pet’ themed. Include a heavy dose of Anarchist views and there you have it folks…the recipe for getting featured on Dying Scene!
  21. Noogy – “Back At It Again” – Hip-Hop/Punk hybrids are here to stay and we’re here for it, 100%. If you’re not a square, you know that punk and hip-hop have been intertwined, even if just loosely for decades. These Texans are just building onto that inseparable marriage.
  22. The Drowns – “Lunatics” – How’s about a lil pop punk to round things out?? If you despise The US but love catchy, radio ready riffs, we proudly present to you, our finest platter of…The Drowns, my lady/sir/non-binary person!! This one’s gonna be stuck in your head the rest of the day. Corn-gratulations!

You know any lesser known punk bands with some radical (read in the voice of Raphael from the early 90’s Teenage mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon) lefty tunes?!? Tell us about ’em and maybe we’ll add them to the list!


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DS Show Review + Gallery: Rock For Rights Chicago w/ Boybrain, Aweful, Djunah, and Heet Deth

Story and Photography by Meredith Goldberg Liar’s Club, always supportive of members of the Chicago punk rock community, often hosts fundraisers for various individuals/causes. Recall, the venue sponsored one of the Dying Scene Resurrection Shows recently.  On Saturday August 6, 2022, Liar’s Club was the site for one of several local shows benefitting the Chicago […]

Story and Photography by Meredith Goldberg

Liar’s Club, always supportive of members of the Chicago punk rock community, often hosts fundraisers for various individuals/causes. Recall, the venue sponsored one of the Dying Scene Resurrection Shows recently.  On Saturday August 6, 2022, Liar’s Club was the site for one of several local shows benefitting the Chicago Abortion Fund (CAF). Venues in Chicago and elsewhere have been holding similar fundraisers in wake of the of the Supreme Court of the United States’ 2022 decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturns landmark SCOTUS decisions in Roe v. Wade (1973) and Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992) and endangers numerous other privacy related rights. The announced amount of money raised for the CAF came to almost $2,000. 


Boybrain turned on the show’s engine with a hair swirling, brains (of all genders) smashing performance. The dizzying actions of the band members were matched by their striking physical appearances. Suited up in matching half uniforms of t-shirts with “Abortions” written across them in a font reminiscent of rec league baseball jerseys, and athlete-style black grease marks under their eyes. Boybrain slammed though a tight set featuring “Blood Wolf Moon,” off its 2022 debut album In the Company Of Worms. The band is comprised of punk rock veterans from the Chicago area and elsewhere: Patti on guitars and vocals, Inga on lead guitar, Colin on drums, and “Dr. Doom” (whose first name is actually Lauren. Come on though, Dr. Doom is a pretty cool moniker) on bass and vocals. 


Aweful, which we featured in the aforementioned Resurrection Show, once again offered its talents to an important cause. The trio, made up of Traci Trouble, Lucy Dekay, and Izzy Price, as always had the crowds pumped and their fists pumping. They ripped through tunes including “Far Away,” “Bubble,” “Just Like Me,” and one of their most popular singles, “No Avail.” Whipping around the stage, guitarist Dekay displayed her usual flair, whilst drummer Price and bass player Trouble fueled the backbeat. Trouble’s gritty vocals matched her stage presence as well as those of her bandmates. It’s always a fun moment to see how she and Dekay go back to back literally, appearing to be simultaneously competing for flashiest performance and joining together to create a single, more powerful organism.  So powerful that watching both women then fall away from each other, as if ripped apart, collapsing onto the floor seems the natural next occurrence. Even on the floor, Trouble and DeKay, are at times, still attached, playing a sort of punk rock patty cake with their sneakers. 


Djunah, an electrifying two-piece group from Chicago, is comprised of Donna Diane and Jared Karns. Diane pulls triple duty on vocals, guitar, and Moog Organ bass, as Karns powers through on drums. It was a rousing and hypnotic set. Thus far, 2022 has been a busy year for Diane, between recording vocals for Jason Narducy‘s Verboten the Musical, and the band playing festivals and sold-out shows, with at least two more upcoming fests. Those events being Louisville’s PRFBBQLOU2022 in late August-early September, and Milwaukee’s Bay View Bash, in mid-September.


Heet Deth is another 2-piece band from the Windy City. Formed in 2018 by best friends, Julia B on drums and vocals, and Laila E on guitar and vocals, Heet Deth describes itself as operatic. Wearing matching blood red shortsleeve coveralls, with their faces garishly painted red, white, and black, they manage to create their own styles even as the likes of David Bowie and Monkey from the Adicts are brought to mind. Heet Deth’s theatrical appearance is equaled by its non-stop energy.


Good to see the punk rock community standing up for all of our rights, as unfortunate as it is that these rights have to be fought for so vigorously at this point in history. Alas, the fight WILL proceed and there will be great music to keep us inspired and energized.

More photos below!


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