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Album Review: Cigar – “The Visitor”

Remember that time your dad went to the grocery store to get milk and never came back? That’s the exact heartbreak us skate punk fans have felt since Cigar released Speed is Relative 23 years ago and disappeared into the ether shortly thereafter. Good news! Dad’s back, and he got the milk! Or, in this […]

Remember that time your dad went to the grocery store to get milk and never came back? That’s the exact heartbreak us skate punk fans have felt since Cigar released Speed is Relative 23 years ago and disappeared into the ether shortly thereafter. Good news! Dad’s back, and he got the milk! Or, in this case, Cigar’s back and they’ve got an awesome new record.

The wait was long, but it was worth it. With their Fat Wreck Chords debut The Visitor, Cigar picks up right where they left off on Speed is Relative. This record delivers more of the crazy fast, ultra melodic punk that earned the band’s 1999 debut its deserved status as a cult classic among skate punk diehards. Actually, I think this record might even be faster than the first one! Yes, two decades have passed, but these guys have defeated Father Time. They still have the same youthful energy that originally drew me to their music; I’m confident it will win many new listeners over as well.

Cigar wastes no time getting out of the gate, as “These Chances” kicks off The Visitor at a breakneck pace, and immediately rolls into the equally speedy “Legacy of the 7 Piles”. Right off the bat, drummer Jon Sortland is firing off like a fucking machine gun on drums; seriously, this guy is a lunatic. New bassist Jonathan Hischke shows off his chops with riffs that will make your fingers bleed just listening to them. Frontman Rami Krayem turns in a great performance once again, with some creative guitar parts and equally impressive vocal range.

I loved the album’s lead single “We Used To” when I first heard it a few months ago, and that’s still the case. This song has “instant classic” written all over it. But when trying to pick a favorite track, it’s a complete toss up for me. There are no stinkers to be found here. “Gone Wrong”, “Classic You”, “Forget About Me”, and basically everything else on this record is on par with the fan favorites of Speed is Relative.

The Visitor‘s closing track “Knocked Down” is introduced with an a cappella intro, and for a brief moment in time, you get the impression that Cigar might actually slow down. But this glimpse into a seemingly softer side of the band is short-lived. They quickly hit the gas, opening up the circle pit one more time with a rapid fire skate punk anthem to rival “Mr. Hurtado”.If you like punk rock fast enough to set a land speed record, The Visitor is the record for you. With any luck, Cigar won’t keep us waiting another 23 years for the next one!

Buy The Visitor
Physical / Digital

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Angela RoseRed

“If you ever get lonely, just go to the record store and visit your friends.”

Black Friday Record Store Day 2022 list released

Record Store Day have published their list for their Black Friday event. It will take place November 25, 2022 at participating independent record stores. Releases from David Bowie, Goldfinger, The Gun Club, Iggy Pop, Motorhead, Run The Jewels, Masked Intruder, Joe Strummer, and many more are on the list. Check out the list in full right here.

DS Exclusive: Never Erased Compilation from Say-10 Records

Even though we weren’t up and running for most of the month of June, we still wanted to make sure we acknowledged PRIDE Month and what better way to do that than with the first ‘Post-Resurrection’ DS Exclusive Stream! This kick ass comp consists of LGBTQIA artists from across the musical spectrum and will be […]

Even though we weren’t up and running for most of the month of June, we still wanted to make sure we acknowledged PRIDE Month and what better way to do that than with the first ‘Post-Resurrection’ DS Exclusive Stream!

This kick ass comp consists of LGBTQIA artists from across the musical spectrum and will be the first in an ongoing series. Say-10 Records will be donating 50% of the profits from sales of the album to the National Center for Transgender Equality.

A digital version of the comp will be included with every transaction, with the mp3s available immediately after purchase instead of having to wait until 7/29 when it officially releases on all digital platforms. Preorder here!

Also worthy of note, all LP orders will come with a zine that has contributions from all of the artists. Some bands included lyrics, while others opted for something more political, and some just included a little about themselves. See one of the entries below. Cool!

There’s no field guide, road map, manual, blueprint for being a queer musician. You aren’t given any starter kit the first time you decide to play that first chord, connect in a barely air conditioned basement with some friends and try to start a “band.” No one tells you how to answer questions like, “Why don’t you sing like a girl?” or “Do you feel like it’s more economical these days to be a queer-fronted band?” (There’s also no lessons on how to apply your makeup in a dimly lit venue bathroom mirror half covered in band stickers from 1996, but that’s besides the point.) In spite of all that, there’s something pretty amazing about the process. Music has always been subtle, communal magick, creating a sound that helps someone else understand the shape and scope of how you’re feeling inside. It’s why the punk rock ethos and the queer experience have always been so interconnected – we need to know that we’re all out there asking these big questions, figuring ourselves out, picking ourselves up and telling each other that we’re not alone. Speaking from my own experiences with gender and sexuality, there’s always been this nebulous, twisted ball of space dust and frustration swirling in my chest, trying to figure out who it’s supposed to be. My guess is that some of you listening to this record understand that feeling. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. It’s actually part of what makes you beautiful. So here we are, and here you are. This is a compilation of several queer musicians who have come together because music binds us, draws us together and lets us know we all feel these big frustrating, nebulous, wonderful questions. So, whether you’re starting a band, making art, speaking out, or just finding the courage to be who you are amidst the stupidity of a world that doesn’t feel shaped for you – consider this a little field guide. Or at least a message of encouragement: do things your way, always.

-Sarah Rose (Sarah and the Safe Word)

Release Info
1st Pressing:
/250 on Eco Friendly Lps (shipping around the end of the year)
/100 Tapes (shipping in July)
/1000 Zines (shipping around the end of the year)

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DS Show Review and Photo Gallery: Camp Cope Live at Union Transfer (2022-07-22)

Camp Cope has long considered Philadelphia to be their home away from home, so when lead singer Georgia Maq greeted the crowd at Union Transfer on Friday night with the exclamation, “It feels so good to be in my favorite city in the entire world!” it wasn’t hard to believe that she was being totally […]

Camp Cope has long considered Philadelphia to be their home away from home, so when lead singer Georgia Maq greeted the crowd at Union Transfer on Friday night with the exclamation, “It feels so good to be in my favorite city in the entire world!” it wasn’t hard to believe that she was being totally sincere.  The Australian group was accepted as one of Philly’s own going back to their debut in the City of Brotherly Love at the old Balcony Bar just about 5 years ago to the day.  Philly’s vibrant and accepting indie/punk scene is extremely female/LGBTQ-centric and Camp Cope has always been considered one of the gang. It’s with this in mind that I am always willing to make the hour and a half drive down the NJ Turnpike from NY to catch them in Philly. 

A lot of water has flowed under the bridge since I last saw Camp Cope at The Church (AKA First Unitarian  Church) back in 2019.  With that in mind, the current version of the band which graced the stage at Union Transfer was somewhat different from what we last saw 3 years ago. They released a new album earlier in the year and Running With The Hurricane is somewhat of a departure for the band.  Of course there’s still precocious Georgia and the backbone of the group, Sarah (Thom Thom) Thompson behind the drum kit but for the album, they added a second guitar and for this tour they’ve added Jenny Aslett to the mix.  And then there’s the absence of Kelly-Dawn Helmrich on bass who couldn’t make this trip due to her expecting her firstborn relatively soon.  Kelly’s role as bass player extraordinaire is being filled by UK ex-pat and current Philadelphia denizen, Lou Hanman of All Away Lou (amongst a multitude of other bands).

Having seen their show a couple of days earlier at Webster Hall in NYC, I already knew what would be in store as far as the new lineup was concerned.  Their set started off with an early single, “Keep Growing” which the band would eventually include on a 4 song split they did with the now disbanded Philly group, Cayetana.  With the lyrics:

I’ll keep growing my hair out

It’s not for you

Oh no, it’s not for you

No, it’s not for you

While the song might have been at the time a direct response to a romance gone wrong, it seems that on this tour, Georgia and Camp Cope are doing their own thing, they’re not the same group from 5 years ago and these imminent and obvious changes aren’t for the public but instead for them. They’re growing as a group (both literally and figuratively) because they need to. The need to avoid inertia and stagnation is first and foremost a priority for the group.

Next up was “Jealous” from the new album.  This one started out pretty slow with Georgia singing almost dirge-like over Lou’s rolling bassline riffs. That is until the chorus where Georgia’s vocals  take off. After experiencing vocal issues a couple of years ago and subsequently having surgery to repair the problem, her voice is back better than ever.  With a range much more diverse than before, she is now hitting notes and killing them…killing them in a very good way.

The third song of the evening was another older one, “How To Socialize and Make Friends”, the title track from their incredible sophomore album.  A bouncing rocker and crowd favorite, this one would have the crowd swaying and dancing and singing right along with Maq as she danced and swirled all over the stage in not much more than a t-shirt and sandals, eventually kicking off her shoes saying “shoes…they’re so fucking stupid”.

We then got a stretch of new songs from Hurricane to which the crowd was already quite familiar, singing and dancing throughout.  At some point during this set of new material, Georgia expressed how sorry she and the band were for the “fucked up things your country is putting you through”.  Going on she explained how they were raising money on this tour for reproductive and female rights.  This would be an ongoing topic throughout the evening, not at all surprisingly.

Two of the new songs which stood out during this section of the show were “Caroline” and the album’s first single “Blue”.  On the album, “Caroline” is sung quite slowly but here Georgia took the bouncy, yet subtle bass riff that plays throughout and interpreted the lyrics with that same bounce, picking up the pace of the song, making it much more of a jaunt than what we hear on the album.

As far “Blue” is concerned, they played it pretty straight up relative to the recorded version.  But what struck me was the vocal work on the song.  As I’ve said already, Georgia’s voice is sounding superb on this tour and on this song particularly she gets to show it off glowingly.  Furthermore, we are treated to something we’ve never had before as far as live Camp Cope is concerned, background vocals.  With the addition of Jenny and Lou, the extra vocals only accentuate the power and beauty of Georgia’s pipes.

I guess this might be as good a place as any to mention the unbridled triumph which Lou Hanman is on bass. Kelly’s style of playing bass as almost a lead instrument rather than a rhythm instrument is not at all typical. Matter of factly, off the top of my head, the only other player who does it is Peter Hook of Joy Division/New Order fame. Well, Lou has managed to step into the band and absolutely nail it. While I’m not at all surprised she was able to fill Kelly’s role, but the ease and comfort to which she’s accomplished it blows my mind.

Finishing off the evening’s set were two absolute gems. First, was the title track from the new one, “Running With The Hurricane”, a rollicking freewheeling song that reaches anthemic levels as Georgia pranced throughout the stage shouting the title and main lyric.

And to close things out, the band jumped into what might be one of the most scathing FU songs of all time. Part jilted lover breakup song and part I’m so sick of the patriarchal music biz bullshit, the song oozes with male loathing.  And on Friday night Georgia spewed that loathing with an absolute vengeance. The beauty of it all, however, was and is that here was Camp Cope, having just gotten back from a triumphant set at Pitchfork, here was Camp Cope playing Union Transfer in Philly, a steady upward progression from The Balcony Bar to Philly MOCA to The Church and now UT.  

Camp Cope killed it in Philly and continues to kill it almost everywhere they go despite all those naysayers who told them along the way to book a smaller venue.

Swipe through below to see more pictures from the triumphant event!


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Dying Scene Album Review: Pulley – “The Golden Life”

Six years after their last studio album, Pulley’s esteem driven engine keeps on rolling with a new record titled The Golden Life. As one of the bands that shaped melodic punk, this album sees Pulley sticking to the sound they helped define in the 90’s. And why shouldn’t they? Very few bands do it better […]

Six years after their last studio album, Pulley’s esteem driven engine keeps on rolling with a new record titled The Golden Life. As one of the bands that shaped melodic punk, this album sees Pulley sticking to the sound they helped define in the 90’s. And why shouldn’t they? Very few bands do it better than these guys.

The SoCal punk veterans come out swinging on the opening track “Repeat Offender”. This song does an excellent job setting the tone for things to come, putting the band’s impressive musicianship and the iconic voice of frontman Scott Radinsky on full display. “Two Winds”, “Northbound” and “Sad Song” are a few more standout songs. With a healthy dose of unrelenting guitar riffs, powerful percussion, and the earnest lyricism Radinsky and co. are known for, these would fit perfectly on any classic Pulley LP.

Something these guys have always benefitted from is an embarrassment of riches when it comes to drummers. For fuck’s sake, Jordan Burns played on their first three records; that dude’s one of the greatest punk drummers of all time! Having said that, I’d be remiss not to mention the newest man to sit upon Pulley’s throne: Sean Sellers. You might know him from a little band called Good Riddance. Sellers fits right in with the band and delivers the kind of performance you’d expect from a musician of his stature. In other words, the drums on this record are very, very good.

The title track is undoubtedly the highlight of this record for me. The rhythmic variety showcases Sellers’ chops very nicely, the melodic lead guitar parts are great, and it has by far the most memorable chorus of all 12 songs on The Golden Life. “The engine has failed after blazing a trail of hopes and dreams, though it seems… destiny, broken history. They hide away online daylight, can we set them free and restore their golden life?”, Radinsky pleads as the band pounds away at their instruments.

Many veteran bands plod along, releasing a clunker of an album every few years and resting on their mid-90’s laurels. Pulley isn’t one of those bands. They take their time to make new music and always put their best foot forward; The Golden Life is proof of that. If you like anything this band has ever done, odds are you’ll like this record.

Buy your copy of The Golden Life: USA, Canada, Europe 

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Dying Scene Album Review: The Bruce Lee Band – “One Step Forward. Two Steps Back.”

When I think of ska, one of the first names that comes to mind is Mike Park. You might know him as the founder of an iconic label called Asian Man Records; a venture he has operated out of his mom’s garage for over 25 years, helping break bands like Alkaline Trio, Less Than Jake, […]

When I think of ska, one of the first names that comes to mind is Mike Park. You might know him as the founder of an iconic label called Asian Man Records; a venture he has operated out of his mom’s garage for over 25 years, helping break bands like Alkaline Trio, Less Than Jake, and The Lawrence Arms. You may also know of his work as a brilliant singer, songwriter, and performer who has played in bands like Skankin’ Pickle and The Chinkees.

As of late, Mike Park has returned to his role as frontman of The Bruce Lee Band, a project which had been mostly dormant since its 1995 self-titled debut LP. In 2014, Park revived the band seemingly out of thin air with Jeff Rosenstock‘s help, releasing a ska-punk masterpiece titled Everything Will Be Alright, My Friend. And while I’m sure following up an excellent album like that can be a daunting task, the Bruce Lee Band’s all star lineup passed the test with flying colors on 2022’s One Step Forward. Two Steps Back.

The band’s new record boasts a 12-song track list ranging in style from bouncy keyboard infused two-tone songs like “Did You Find the Money Farm”, “So Nice for Me and You”, and “Dance Dance Revolution”, to up-tempo anthems in “Lie Big and Do it Often”, “Putting Up With All My Crazy”, and “I’ll Feel Better”. This is a quintessential ska-punk album that will have you skanking from start to finish if your stamina permits. I loved the last Bruce Lee Band record, and I can say with confidence this one will be staying in my regular rotation for a while.

Mike Park’s soothing baritone voice sounds as great as ever, and after all these years, he still has quite the knack for writing great choruses. His All Star caliber backing band featuring Rosenstock on bass, keys and the saxaphone, MU330‘s Dan Potthast on guitar, and former Chinkees bandmate Kevin Higuchi on drums delivers the goods as well. There is not a skippable song to be found on this record. Keep an eye out for One Step Forward. Two Steps Back. on plenty of “Top 10 Albums of 2022” lists; it has definitely earned a spot on mine.

Listen to One Step Forward. Two Steps Back. below, and head over to Asian Man’s webstore to grab the LP.

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Dying Scene Record Radar: New punk vinyl releases & reissues (A Vulture Wake, The Network, Adolescents & more)

Yo! What’s going on, friends? Welcome back to the Dying Scene Record Radar, the weekly column where we present you with colorful plastic discs of music to spend your hard earned money on. We’ve got a lot of good shit in store for you this week, so I hope your wallet’s feeling fat, and your […]

Yo! What’s going on, friends? Welcome back to the Dying Scene Record Radar, the weekly column where we present you with colorful plastic discs of music to spend your hard earned money on. We’ve got a lot of good shit in store for you this week, so I hope your wallet’s feeling fat, and your credit limit is nice and high. Enough fucking around, let’s get into it.

Super exclusive, world premiere, breaking news, OMGGGGGGGGG hoooooly fuuuuuuck!!!!!!

1-2-3-4 Go! Records has been on an absolute tear lately with exclusive reissues from Rancid, Bad Religion, and the Descendents, to name a few. In their latest email blast, the Oakland record store announced their next reissue will be an exclusive pink vinyl pressing of Money Money 2020 by The Network (which totally isn’t just Green Day wearing ski masks). This is coming at some point in September; join their mailing list to be among the first to know exactly when it’ll be available.

Former ALL frontman Chad Price’s band A Vulture Wake has announced a new full-length album! One.Kingdom.Animal is set to release in November on Thousand Islands Records. There are two vinyl variants, limited to 250 copies each. Go here to get your pre-orders in, and look out for a new single next week.

New York pop-punk band With The Punches is releasing a new LP that combines their first two EPs Keep it Going and It’s Not the End of the World. Both of these releases have been out of print for over 10 years. Grab yours here.

Lots of exciting stuff going on over at Mom’s Basement Records! Some of their upcoming releases include new LPs from two Canadian pop-punk bands, Avem and The Smelters, and a brand new record from Germany’s Hawaiians. They also have copies of the Punk Rock Raduno 5 compilation. Head over to their webstore for all of this and more. Our Canadian friends can get Avem’s Three Birds Stoned LP from the Forbidden Beat Distro.

Swedish punk veterans Venerea have announced a new album titled Euro Trash, due out August 26th on SBÄM Records. There are two vinyl variants (yellow and blue), each limited to 200 copies. Check out their new single “Blind Faith” below, and pre-order the LP here.

Here’s another one from our friends at Thousand Islands Records. British punks On A Hiding To Nothing released their debut album We’ll Probably Be Fine, last year and it kicked fuckin’ ass. Now, it’s getting the wax treatment, with a super limited red vinyl pressing. Get your hands on this one here.

Epitaph Records has announced a 25th Anniversary reissue for The HivesBarely Legal. There are a few different variants of this one; go here for links to where you can obtain each one in exchange for some form of currency.

The Adolescents have repressed two of their more recent LPs, Manifest Density and Cropduster. You can get both of these records on gold colored vinyl here.

Also from SBÄM Records: a new comp featuring songs by Pulley, Love Equals Death, Snuff, and a bunch of other great bands. This is only available through their European webstore, and is a cool way to grab a slice of everything on the label’s eclectic roster.

Now that all the cool stuff has been covered, here’s what I’ve been listening to… I continue to abstain from spending money on new records; after all, I’ve already got hundreds of the fuckin’ things, why do I need more? This week the Lawrence Arms and Frenzal Rhomb got some play time, along with Sloppy Seconds‘ classic Knock Yer Block Off. I’ve been listening to Sheboygan, WI’s Jetty Boys a lot in the car and at work, so I threw their record Let ‘Er Rip on the turntable, too. This is a fantastic pop-punk album – highly recommended listening!

And that’s all, folks! Another Record Radar in the books. As always, thank you for tuning in. If there’s anything we missed (highly likely), or if you want to let everyone know about a new/upcoming vinyl release you’re excited about, send us a message on Facebook or Instagram, and we’ll look into it. Enjoy your weekend, and don’t blow too much money on spinny discs. See ya next week!

*Wanna catch up on all of our Record Radar posts? Type “Record Radar” in the search bar at the top of the page!

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Dying Scene Record Radar: New punk vinyl releases & reissues (Against Me!, Frenzal Rhomb, NOFX & more)

Hello, and welcome to the latest installment of the Dying Scene Record Radar! If it’s your first time joining us, this is a weekly column where we cover all things punk rock vinyl. So kick off your shoes, grab a few beers, and break out those wallets, because it’s time to run through this week’s […]

Hello, and welcome to the latest installment of the Dying Scene Record Radar! If it’s your first time joining us, this is a weekly column where we cover all things punk rock vinyl. So kick off your shoes, grab a few beers, and break out those wallets, because it’s time to run through this week’s new releases and reissues. Let’s get into it!

Swedish punk veterans Millencolin have announced a new LP compiling their first two demo tapes from 1993. Due out in early September, Goofy & Melack will be limited to 500 copies on black vinyl, and 240 copies on red vinyl. Preorder through their webstore starts Thursday, August 4th at 10am Eastern.

Anti-Flag just announced their 13th full-length album Lies They Tell Our Children. It’s due out on January 6th, 2023, and you can pre-order it now here. The record will feature guest appearances from members of Rise Against, Bad Religion, and a bunch of other bands. The cover art’s some avant garde bullshit, which is cool if you’re into that kinda thing. Check out the music video for the first single below.

Asbestos Records has repressed the venerable Against Me!‘s 2007 New Wave LP for the first time in six years. This one’s limited to 1,000 copies on split black/yellow vinyl. Head to the label’s webstore to get yours.

Avail frontman Tim Barry has announced a new solo album titled Spring Hill. This is due out on August 12th, and it sounds like the LP will be available to order the on same day. The “red cloud” variant pictured will only be available at a show he’s playing in Richmond, VA on Friday, August 5th (more details on that here).

Fat Wreck Chords has repressed Frenzal Rhomb‘s incredible Smoko at the Pet Food Factory. Fat doesn’t reveal their colored variants usually, but my super official sources tell me this is what this pressing looks like. Grab your copy here.

British melodic punks Darko just announced a new EP titled Sparkle. It’s due out on October 21st, and you can preorder it here. The first single “Cruel to Be” is really good; check out the music video below!

Zia Records has a new exclusive variant of NOFX‘s Punk in Drublic, limited to to 500 copies on “Transparent Beer With Red Splatter” colored vinyl. Get it here.

New band alert! Bracket‘s Angelo Celli has a new project called Guilty Party and their debut 7″ Imposter Syndrome is coming out next month. Check out “Circling the Truth” below, and go here to get your preorder in. If you like Bracket, you will like this.

The Homeless Gospel Choir‘s 2020 album This Land Is Your Landfill just got repressed. There are two new variants, each limited to 250 copies. Go here to grab this one.

Rude Records is having a summer sale! Records, shirts, and more from bands like Less Than Jake, Guttermouth, and a bunch of others are discounted up to 25%. Head over to their webstore to check it out.

Now that all the cool stuff has been covered, here’s what I’ve been listening to… Saving money by not buying every new release has given me a chance to dig out some stuff I haven’t played in a while. First up this week was Much The Same‘s Quitters Never Win, a very underrated skate punk record that turns 20 years old next year. MxPx‘s The Ever Passing Moment from last year’s box set got some playing time, too. I also revisited one of my favorite Murderburgers records The 12 Habits of Highly Defective People, and Civil War Rust‘s fantastic debut LP The Fun & The Lonely.

That’s all, folks! Thanks as always for tuning in to the Dying Scene Record Radar. If there’s anything we missed (highly likely), or if you want to let everyone know about a new/upcoming vinyl release you’re excited about, send us a message on Facebook or Instagram, and we’ll look into it. Enjoy your weekend, don’t blow too much money on spinny discs. See ya next week!

Wanna catch up on all of our Record Radar posts? Type “Record Radar” in the search bar at the top of the page!

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