Ever wonder what the folks that run Dying Scene have been listening to lately? We’re going to pretend you said “yes” to that question and feature a curated playlist from a different DS editor each week with the intent of introducing you to some new kickass punk bands.
This week’s installment comes to you courtesy of editor Jay Stone. Once again, he was told to come up with ten songs. Once again he came up with more than that, meaning that you’re just going to have to deal with the excess. He thinks you’ll enjoy anyway. Because he’s old and still think in terms of albums, he’s sorta split this playlist up in terms of Side A and Side B. Both sides consist of material that’s right in his punk rock wheelhouse. Side A is a half-dozen songs from the greater Boston area, while Side B consists of some lesser-known side projects of some better known bands. Check out his playlist below.
1. Darkbuster – “We Are Darkbuster”
It should be no surprise by now that, although the official lineup has not been revealed, Darkbuster is back. The Boston punks had a rather tumultuous initial couple of goes at it, so hopefully this one is a little tamer. Oddly enough, to me at least, we had more than a few people comment on the Darkbuster reunion stories by saying things like “who the hell are Darkbuster?” So now you know…they are Darkbuster.
2. Duck And Cover – “Alienate”
My first real experience with Darkbuster was through the exposure they gained through the annual Boston-area event known as the Rock ‘N’ Roll Rumble (then sponsored by legendary, now-defunct radio station WBCN). The event may not have quite the exposure now that rock radio in Boston is literally non-existent, but it’s still one of my favorite avenues for checking out new bands. Here’s one I learned about literally about a week before I wrote this. Enjoy Duck And Cover.
3. OC45 – “Strong Coffee”
I’m going to go out on a limb and declare OC45 to be the hardest working punk band in the Boston area over the last couple of years. Of course, I have no official metric by which to measure that, but a quick peruse of their Facebook page will show you just how much time these dudes spend on the road. That’s sorta how you can tell how much ass they kick.
4. Gang Green – “Alcohol”
I wasn’t pretending that Darkbuster were a “new” band by any stretch of the imagination up above, and I’m certainly not pretending that Gang Green are now. I’m mostly sharing this because of a story: my wife ordered me a signed print of Samiam’s Sergie Loobkoff’s “Sad Bear” a couple of years ago. On the outside of the mailing envelope, Sergie drew a beer-toting, skateboarding bear wearing a Gang Green t-shirt. It’s still one of my favorite things.
5. Warning Shots – “Your Lost Faith”
Growing up in southern New Hampshire, I count my lucky stars that I was able to attend a show at the legendary Rat nightclub in Boston before poor, poor Jimmy sold it in the mid-1990s gentrification of Kenmore Square. One of the local bands that played was The Ducky Boys, whom I was already familiar with through their green-vinyl split with Dropkick Murphys. Fast forward almost twenty years and Mark, Rich and Jason are/have been in about 84 combined bands since then (yes, I know Rich wasn’t a Ducky Boy in 1997). In my opinion, the Warning Shots are the cream of that crop.
6. Jenn Lombari – “Welcome Home (11:11)”
If you remember my first playlist, I ended the first “side” with a local singer-songwriter (Matt Charette, in case you were wondering). Thought I’d continue the theme here with Jenn Lombari. She’s from Rhode Island, and I was first introduced to her through her live show, specifically during a set in which she opened up for Dave Hause and Northcote. Those two are among the better solo live performers going, so many an artist would probably have not been up to the task of opening such a show. Jenn more than held her own, kicking all kinds of ass in the process. This track is from her self-titled full-length, released earlier this year.
7. Wild Roses – “I’m Gonna Put My Foot Up Your Ass”
Okay, we’re getting side two off to a raucous start. Remember, this is the “side projects” side of our weekly playlist. Wild Roses are the California-based project of Marc Orrell, better known for his 2000-2008 stint as guitarist (and occasional pianist and accordion player) for Dropkick Murphys. We’ll have word of a little something special coming from the Wild Roses crew in the near future…stay tuned!
8. The Bunny Gang – “Sirens Through The City”
While I’m not from Los Angeles and, as such, have never been to Molly Malone’s, I like to think I’ve been in to Flogging Molly since just about the beginning (as a SideOneDummy fan, I had a copy of Alive Behind the Green Door pretty early on). While they’ve been one of my favorite bands since then, man cannot exist on drunken pub rock alone. Enter The Bunny Gang, fronted by Flogging Molly bassist Nathen Maxwell. My chat with him last year ranks among my favorite DS moments. “Sirens Through The City” is the protest-dub-reggae inspired lead single from The Bunny Gang’s latest, Thrive.
9. Viva Death – “Damage Control”
My love for Face To Face has been well-documented on these pages. Viva Death started as a baritone-guitar driven side project for F2F’s Scott Shiflett and Trever Keith, and featured Scott’s Foo Fighter brother Chris, the incomparable Josh Freese, and frequent F2F collaborator Chad Blinman on the first two albums (the third album, Curse The Darkness, was just Shiflett and professor Blinman). “Damage Control” isn’t necessarily my favorite VD song, but it might be the most translatable for the DS crowd.
10. Jackson United – “Damn You”
How this band didn’t blow up is mind-boggling to me. Jackson United (formerly known simply as Jackson) was the side-project of Chris Shiflett. There was a bit of a rotating cast of characters involved over Jackson United’s half-decade of existence. The lineup on this particular album was Chris on lead guitar and vocals, his brother Scott on bass, with Doug Sangalang on guitar and Chris’s Foo buddies Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins splitting drum duties. Joe “The Kid” Sirois” of The Mighty Mighty Bosstones was the touring drummer. The album this song is from, Harmony and Dissidence, is a total banger. Still one of my favorites.
11. Screw 32 – “Don’t Let Them Take You Alive”
Gonna break my own rules with this one, as Screw 32 were never really a side project. They were, however, another band that totally blew me away through their live show (opening for The Queers, The Mr. T Experience and Groovie Ghoulies…how’s that for a lineup). I remember getting an awful lot of comments and dirty looks from people in late high school/early college when I wore my screen-printed “Don’t Let Them Take You Alive” shirt. Anyway, they did feature Doug Sangalang, who went on to Jackson United, so it still counts.
12. Trever Keith – “Cross Your Heart and Hope To Die”
I consider it indisputable fact that Trever Keith is the owner and operator of the best voice in the last quarter-century of American punk rock. Don’t bother trying to prove otherwise. Anyway, during F2F’s hiatus, Trever put out a solo album that showed a lot more of his 80s post-punk influences than any of Face’s albums to that point had. I know it’s a total bummer for bands when people don’t show up to a show, but seeing him in Cambridge on this tour with a crowd of maybe 40 is a highlight of my show-going career. I wish he’d do more solo stuff.