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Album Review: Various Artists – “Red Scare Industries: 15 Years of Tears and Beers”

I’m never quite sure where to place compilation albums in the grand scheme of things. Are they disposable? Are they art? To this day I’m not sure, and because I missed out on the days of Punk-a-rama, I may never truly understand where a good comp falls into one’s collection. If I were to hazard a guess though, in a world where everything is perfect and physical media has not yet been grounded by cardiac arrest, I would want a good comp to be something akin to your coolest friend with the coolest taste sitting you down and saying: “listen to this.”

I like to think that’s where Red Scare Industries: 15 Years of Tears and Beers falls into place. And if there’s anyone to inhabit the role of coolest friend with coolest taste, it’s without a doubt Red Scare’s mastermind Tobias Jeg. 15 Years of Tears and Beers serves as a reminder to all the great music Red Scare has brought us over the years, featuring fifteen artists that helped shape the label into the monster it is today. 

The best part of this whole thing though, is that these are new songs. This isn’t just a greatest hits collection of some classic Red Scare alums—these are hot new tracks from some of the finest punk rock songwriters in the game today. The Copyrights start things off with one of my favorite songs by them, period (“Maine or Oregon”). It’s as fast and catchy as just about anyone familiar with the Copyrights would expect, and it’s less than a minute long. Sincere Engineer makes an appearance with “Dragged Across the Finish Line,” another song that I thought was just stellar. Funny enough, this is one of those groups that I could never get into, but recently, I seem to recall Jeg saying that Sincere Engineer wasn’t a singer-songwriter thing, but in actuality a stealth gruff-punk thing. This shifted my perspective quite a bit, and on this track, I totally hear it. “Dragged Across the Finish Line” is a total banger with lots of heart that sounds like something straight out of the camps of Hot Water Music and Lawrence Arms. 

There’s a couple of great covers on this one. The Menzingers are represented by Broadway Calls who cover their classic “Sunday Morning,” with a grounded pop-punk approach. Billy Liar ends the album with a Nothington cover of “The Escapist.” Both of these tracks provide a little familiarity in the mix as well as a sense of living history. At the end of the day, 15 Years of Tears and Beers is a celebration, and is working tirelessly not to give you a sense of dour self-importance, but a sense of fun surrounding all of the great music that’s happened because of Red Scare. This is fun, covers are fun; the message is clear: have fun. 

There are too many tracks to call out by name as favorites here, but I’ll list a couple that I thought were standouts. Elway’s “High Drama, Low Comedy” knocks it out of the park here. This is a band, much like Sincere Engineer, that I never got into. First it was the Elway is Jerks meme that went around PunkNews that I mistook for people actually calling the people in the band out as rockstar divas (apparently, I was quite wrong, and they are good folks). Second, it was For the Sake of the Bit’s aim at taking down internet music reviewers, which hit a little too close to home for me, because, well—guess what I am? Either way, I can’t deny that this song is a banger and it might just be what forces me to reconsider Elway. Shout out in particular to the Queen-ish guitar solo bridge, inspired stuff. 

“Dead Body” by Garrett Dale of Red City Radio is a ridiculous, catchy song that stopped me in my tracks on the first listen. Dale is clearly having fun with this one, where you can hear him exclaiming “this has got to be the dumbest song” after a killer sax break. And hey, maybe it is—but it’s fun as Hell (and as I established earlier, fun is the name of the game). It’s like an oldies radio hit born in 2019 and is a clear highlight of the whole album. 

But if that’s not enough for you, you also have great tracks from MakeWar, Ramona, Tightwire, The Bombpops, and many, many others. What I’m trying to say here is: this thing is stacked! And it’s not just big names, it’s big songs. What struck me most about 15 Years was the sheer quality from start to finish. It’s a diverse collection of great songs from the Red Scare roster, and if you ask me, it’s worth all the tears and beers to get there. 

 

4.5/5

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Dune Rats (pop punk) sign with Rise Records

Australian band Dune Rats have announced that their new record ‘Hurry Up And Wait’ will be released via Rise Records on January 31st 2020. They recently had Daniel P. Carter premiere their new single on the BBC Radio One Rock Show. The song, which is entitled ‘Crazy’, was produced by John Feldmann at his studio in Los Angeles. The band has been building a solid fan-base since the release of their 2017 full length ‘The Kids Will Know It’s Bullshit’.

You can check out the video for ‘Crazy’ below.

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Noodles confirms new Offspring album is finished

In a recent interview with Canada’s Halifax Today, The Offspring guitarist Kevin “Noodles” Wasserman revealed that the band’s long-awaited new album has been completed and they are currently looking for a distribution deal in order to release it early next year. This is what he had to say:

“The artwork needs to be done and we have a rough track listing. We’ve even gone and done more music since. We just need a distribution deal, and we want that done by the end of the year. Then we can release early next year.”

The new Offspring record will be the band’s first since 2012’s Days Go By, and probably the first one without original bassist Gregory “Greg K.” Kriesel, who hasn’t performed live with the band since last year, and is one of the three members to appear on all of their records since their 1989 self-titled debut.

Greg K. recently sued Noodles and frontman Bryan “Dexter” Holland, both of whom had prevented him from being involved in Offspring-related activities, including studio recordings and live performances; there’s currently no indication of who performs bass on the band’s new record. Filling in for Greg live over the past year has been H2O guitarist and Offspring touring member Todd Morse.

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The Hempsteadys announce weekend tour

The Hempsteadys will embark on a weekend tour in support of their sophomore album, Séance! Séance!, and their brand new cover/single of “Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah” by The Pogues.

A 10 piece band from Connecticut, The Hempsteadys feature influences ranging from ska, rock & roll, and punk. Known for their infectious beats, roaring gang vocals, and ripping solos, their live shows will be sure to get you moving.

Check out the tour dates and the new song below.

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Album Review: The Yodees – “S/T”

What do you get when you combine all the great elements of pop punk and mix them with a splash of Ramonescore? You get the first self-titled album from the Brazilian band, The Yodees!

Clocking in at just under 23 minutes, The Yodees let you know that they’re playing for a specific pop punk audience… and the bands that inspire them can be heard throughout each of the nine songs on the album. What you won’t hear is music that’s played in malls, mainstream radio or movie soundtracks. This album isn’t for fans of New Found Glory or Simple Plan… and that’s what I love about it. The Yodees remind the punk rock world that there’s another type of pop punk that’s alive and well, and won’t be found in Hot Topic. 

Perhaps one of the most impressive things about this album is the amazing sound quality it possesses. Most bands take a few albums to dial in their sound and figure out how it should be captured on a record. It is clear The Yodees took their time with their debut and added the right amount of polish to produce an overall cohesive album in both sound quality and song selection. The tempos vary as well as the moods of each of the nine songs on this album, and each one tells a different story of falling in love, falling out of love, being foolish and growing up.

With their first song, “Better Without Love,” The Yodees knock on your door with a thunderous drum intro reminiscent of the Methadones, Mopes and even the Huntingtons. It’s a great way to introduce the band and prepare listeners for the type of punk they’re about to take in. The song touches upon a familiar subject matter that most other pop punk bands dabble in from time to time: a relationship about to end. But rather than talk about it in a celebrated and snotty way, The Yodees approach the subject in a more reserved and mature manner with a sound to match. There’s guitars with the right amount of chugging and drums that propel the song forward while keeping it interesting with tasty, but simplistic fills. The Yodees aren’t here to overplay. They fit right into the pop punk pocket musically and keep you comfortable and wanting more of what’s familiar.

“Loony” begins with a classic Ramonescore tom intro and count off that would make Dee Dee smile. Immediately, chainsaw guitars you’d hear from any great Screeching Weasel song kick in along with a driving and catchy vocal melody. We were warming up before, but now this album is cooking. This is the song I didn’t know I was waiting for, and now that it’s here I can’t wait to learn the words. This song has everything, including a silly chorus that I know you’ll be caught singing along to, even if you don’t mean to.   

About halfway through the album we’re given “The Vitamin Shoppe Girl”… a ballad about a guy with a crush on you guessed it, a Vitamin Shoppe girl. It tells the story of a day in the life of a man desperate to talk to the girl of his dreams. We’ve all been there one way or another… and this connection along with the catchy verse and chorus make this one catchy tune. It’s serves as a nice break after the upbeat “Loony” and introduces layered backups that remind me of every great Queers ballad. The line, “Vitamin Shoppe Girl, you’re everything that my body needs,” is a cheeky play on words. Is it access to all the vitamins that your body needs or something else? I’ll have to ask him in person.

After a couple mid tempo songs comes “Everybody Is Growing Up (But Me)” and we’ve officially thrown a few more logs on the fire. A crunchy guitar intro leads into a Kody Lillington style chord progression. Just like the songs that have come before it, this song has everything that makes up a great song: a strong verse, well thought out pre-chorus, and chorus that just makes you want to point your fist in the air and sing along.  “Everybody is Growing Up (But Me)” tells the story of a friend that everyone has, or at least I have. A friend that is a little behind in life… not married, no kids, and feeling hopeless while watching other friends achieve these milestones. The beginning of the song has the character questioning whether or not he’s the one who’s wrong and if he should be feeling sorry for himself. Towards the end we’re given another perspective… when he realizes that while he may not have all the things his friends enjoy, he’s still able to “live his prime” while being debt free.

The Yodees debut album is a celebration of pop punk. Are they reinventing any wheels?  No. But when you play in a sub genre of a sub genre that has a tight knit and loyal following you don’t have to. The Yodees will do well, because they do their style of pop punk well. As this debut album demonstrates… even the simplest and easiest style of music, when done great, makes an impact and can stay with you… maybe even bring you back for a few more listens. Listening to this S/T is almost like listening to an amazing pop punk compilation, only there’s one band. The mix of mid tempo songs, ballads, and rippers creates an amazing rollercoaster effect that has a perfectly executed arrangement. I hope to see these guys tour the US in the future. I already know we’ll be hearing more from them.

Stream the album now on Bandcamp or Spotify!



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Introducing Pop-Punk Act: The Yodees

What if I told you one of the best pop punk albums of the year was from a band from Brazil? You’d want to hear more right? The first self-titled album from The Yodees is here and the boys in blue and white bring the perfect blend of all things traditional pop punk with a sprinkle of Ramonescore. There’s plenty of whoas, ohs, and doot doot da doos to pick you up on even the cloudiest day.

To stream now, head on over to their Spotify or listen to their Bandcamp below.

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The Offspring say there will be new music in 2020

Fans have been patiently awaiting a new record from The Offspring since they released their last full-length to date Days Go By back in 2012. Well, the band recently updated their Facebook page confirming that next year will see new music from the band. No further more details are available at this point, but what it is known is that the new album was produced by Bob Rock and will likely be their first one without their bassist Gregory “Greg K.” Kriesel.

Greg K., who hadn’t performed live with The Offspring since last year, recently filed a lawsuit against his two of his bandmates  vocalist/guitarist Bryan “Dexter” Holland and guitarist Kevin “Noodles” Wasserman  alleging trademark infringement and breach of partnership agreement over the rights to the Offspring name. Stepping in for Greg live has been H2O guitarist and Offspring touring member Todd Morse.

Along with Dexter and Noodles, Greg is one of the three members to appear on all of The Offspring’s albums since their 1989 self-titled debut. It’s not clear if he did actually perform bass on the new record.

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