Pop punk band from Chicago featuring former members of Screeching Weasel, The Riverdales, The Methadones, and more.
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Ramonescore: a campy sub-genre of a sub-genre, paying tribute to a legendary band that helped birth that very sub-genre. Bands who participate in the act of Ramones worship typically play light-hearted, upbeat songs about drinking, girls, and drinking because of girls. Some people appreciate Ramonescore for what it is. Others write it off as vacuous, repetitive pop-punk, played exclusively by guys with Screeching Weasel tattoos. And while I understand those criticisms, you have to be a real stick in the mud to outright hate this shit. It’s fun!
Sure, if you listen to enough of the stuff, you’ll certainly hear a lot of similar (if not exactly the same) chord progressions. And reading through tracklists, you might get overwhelmed by the amount of things these bands do and don’t wanna do. I view all of these idiosyncrasies as a set of strict parameters that must be adhered to when writing songs. It’s easy to write a shitty Ramonescore style pop-punk song (believe me, I’ve heard my fair share), but quite difficult to write good ones when playing by these “rules”.
With their debut album Just Wanna, the Pinoles pass the test. This record delivers everything an old school pop-punk fan could ask for. Nine tracks in 20 minutes, all simple, catchy, and easy to sing along to even after you’ve thrown back a few. Some of my favorite songs are “Padded Walls”, “You Make Me Sick”, “I Don’t Love You Anymore”, “Santa Cruz”, and the title track. These guys don’t fuck around. Just like the Ramones, they get you in and out quick. I appreciate the efficiency.
Like most Ramonescore bands, these Californians wear their influences proudly on the sleeves of their leather jackets. Their frontman uses a Mosrite guitar to deliver a barrage of downstroked bar chords, à la Johnny Ramone. The little “whoa oh-oh-oh” bit on the album’s title track is lifted straight from Screeching Weasel’s “High School Psychopath”. And there are numerous references to classic songs and records sprinkled throughout the lyrics across this entire album. There is no shame in their game, and that’s perfectly fine by me.
Regardless of whether you enjoy this brand of pop-punk, I highly recommend checking out Just Wanna. It’s a very well produced record with fun, no-nonsense songwriting. Listen to the album below, and head over to the Pinoles’ Bandcamp page to download it.
Official Review Score:
4/5 Converse All Stars
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
Florida men are usually in the news for all the wrong reasons. Whether they’re getting high on bath salts and eating a homeless person’s face off, being arrested for drunk driving on a Segway, or stealing a cop car while butt-ass naked, Florida men are always up to something. Their latest venture? Joining forces to start a band and release a fucking awesome album of loud, fast, snotty, pop-tinged punk rock. One small caveat: these guys aren’t actually from the Sunshine State, they’re Dutchmen. But, as a native Floridian, I accept them as one of my own.
Florida Men (the band) features members of Sun-0-Bathers and Drunktank, among others. Their twelve song debut album clocks in at under 20 minutes, delivering really fun, short bursts of melodic pop-punk, fueled by a barrage of Johnny Ramone style buzzsaw downstrokes. There’s a liberal application of the earwormy “nursery rhyme” style lead guitar parts popularized in the 90’s by The Queers and Screeching Weasel, paired with the frantic pace of bands like DeeCracks, Teenage Bottlerocket, and The Manges.
All of the songs are great, but some of my favorites include “Better Safe than Sober”, “Tiki Bar”, “Greatest of All Time”, and “No Fit”. The subject matter ranges from getting cheated on by your trailer trash girlfriend who has face tattoos and a tramp stamp, to getting drunk at a Tiki bar after nobody came to your band’s show. I must say, for a bunch of Dutchmen, these guys sure know a lot about… Florida stuff.
For old school pop-punk fans, I’d consider this “easy listening”. It’s a quick blast of fun, catchy songs. All the hallmarks of the genre are here, but these guys do “pop-punk by the numbers” way better than a lot of other bands. The singing, playing, and production are all on point. Florida Men made a really, really good album that would serve as the perfect soundtrack to any felonious acts you may want to commit.
It’s a fuckin’ bargain, too! Morning Wood Records is selling the digital version for just two bucks, and the CD can be had for the low price of five freedom dollars. Shipping to the United States (more specifically Florida) is another issue, but it’s still quite reasonable. Buy, buy, buy!!!
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.
Hello, loyal readers! Thank you for joining us for this week’s edition of the Dying Scene Record Radar, where we cover all things in the world of punk rock vinyl. Kick off your shoes and make yourself at home, because it’s time to run through this week’s releases. I hope you’re feeling spendy, because there’s a lot of good stuff that might find its way into your record collection. Let’s get into it!
Up first, we’ve got 1-2-3-4 Go! Records with another killer exclusive pressing of a classic record. This time it’s the Descendents‘ Everything Sucks, limited to 1,000 hand numbered copies on blue vinyl. This will be available on their webstore Friday, August 5th at 8am Pacific (11am Eastern). Join 1-2-3-4 Go!’s mailing list to be among the first to know when it goes up.
Brooklyn Vegan has an exclusive green 2xLP pressing of Social Distortion‘s Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes up to pre-order on their webstore. It’s limited to 300 copies and the color is pretty cool. Not a huge Social D fan myself, but this album’s alright. Also, if you join Brooklyn Vegan’s mailing list, you’ll get 10% off your order! Very nice.
Mom’s Basement Records has announced their upcoming Queers tribute compilation God Save The Queers Vol.2 will be available to pre-order this Friday, July 29th, at Noon Eastern. Head over to their webstore to grab your copy. Canadians can get this one from Insipid Records, and our Bri’ish mates will wanna hit up Council-Pop Records.
Hardcore punk supergroup OFF! has announced a new record! Free LSD is the band’s first new studio album in eight years. They’re describing it as “a heavy punk industrial free jazz soundtrack recording”. Watch the music video for the first single “War Above Los Angeles” below, and pre-order the record here. There’s also an orange variant available from Brooklyn Vegan.
A decade after the downfall of The Clash, frontman Joe Strummer would spend the last three years of his life making new music with his band The Mescaleros. A box set compiling the band’s three albums and a bonus LP of demos, outtakes, rarities, has been announced. This is due out on September 16th, and can be pre-ordered here. These records go for $100+ each on the resale market, so this is actually a pretty great deal.
Reminder! If you are attending SBAM Fest, Brackrock Festival, or Punk Rock Holiday over the next few weeks, Fat Wreck Chords is going to have exclusive new variants of a shitload of records at their merch booth. Titles include Lagwagon‘s Hoss, Strung Out‘s Suburban Teenage Wasteland Blues, the new Face to Face album, and many others. These European festivals are the only place in the entire world these will be available. Check out Fat’s Instagram for more info.
Now that all the new and upcoming releases have been covered, I thought I’d share what I’ve been listening to lately! I saw my favorite band Less Than Jake for the 19th(?) time last week, so I’ve been on a LTJ kick lately. I got Losers, Kings, And Things We Don’t Understand at a show in Orlando back in… 2012? And this red pressing of See The Light was one of two Christmas variants limited to 100 copies. It had been a while since I listened to either of these, so I gave them a few spins.
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!
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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.
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.
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!