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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



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.



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.



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.



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!





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:



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.



The Casualties release video for “Fucking Hate You”

The Casualties have released a video for “Fucking Hate You”, a song from last year’s Written In Blood. The video has been released to coincide with the band’s Fall tour.

Check the video and tour dates below.



Chief State release new track “Deciduous”

Vancouver pop-punk five-piece Chief State have released a new single. “Deciduous” is out now on all the usual platforms – and is the first track to be taken from upcoming album Tough Love, out at some point early next year.

Have a listen to the track on Spotify.



For I Am (pop-punk, BE) release video for new track “Die Hard”

Belgium pop-punkers For I Am have released a video for new single “Die Hard”. The track is taken from the band’s second album, Late Bloomers, out Nov 15th via Bearded Punk Records.

Have a watch below.



Antillectual release new track “Fever”

Dutch punk trio Antillectual have released a new single. “Fever” is the second track to be released from a session recorded at Tim van Doorn’s Big Dog Recordings in Antwerp, Belgium.

You can have a listen – and see upcoming dates – below.

 

 



DS Photo Gallery: The Interrupters christen Boston’s newest venue, Big Night Live, with Skinny Lister and Sharp/Shock

The Interrupters brought the tail end of their headline tour in support of their most recent album, Fight The Good Fight, through Boston early last week. It was landmark night for a few reasons, not the least of which was brought on by the constant upward trajectory of the headline act over the better part of the last half-decade. You see, the festivities took place at a venue called Big Night Live. When the show was initially announced, legions of local fans immediately took to the comment sections of their social media page of choice to ask the same question: “What the hell is Big Night Live?” The answer, as it turns out, is a brand-spankin-new 1500-capacity venue located immediately in front of the TD Garden (home of the Bruins and Celtics) in what was, until very, very recently, the players’ parking lot (and, if you rewind the tape far enough, the still-not-100%-completed building that is home to Big Night Live occupies roughly the same footprint as the old, legendary Boston Garden).

A quick scroll through the upcoming calendar for Big Night Live reveals a lineup that includes the likes of Rick Ross and Lil Jon and Black Starr and something called Lil Dicky, but for this night, the doors opened to BNE’s first rock concert in the form of the four-piece (five if you include touring multi-instrumentalist Billy Kottage) first family of California ska/punk. The venue is longer than it is wide and, while it’s all one level, is tiered several times from the front to the back, meaning there aren’t many bad sight-lines in the middle third of the floor. Due to a handful of behemoth support girders, however, the same can’t be said for the far left and right wings. Still, everything was new and sparkling clean (oh, and the bathroom had one of those dudes that hands you a paper towel, which is a weird thing at a punk rock show), and the light show was a non-stop assault on the senses, perhaps better suited for the band’s 2020 run of stadium shows supporting Green Day, Fall Out Boy and Weezer.

From a sound perspective, this may far and away been the best I’ve heard The Interrupters sound over the course of the half-dozen shows I’ve taken in over the last few years. There’s a reason the band’s trajectory has continued in a seemingly unstoppable upward direction. Their energy and positivity are infectious, with every song, whether it be their own anthems like “By My Side” or “A Friend Like Me” or “She’s Kerosene” or their scalding-hot covers of Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy” or Berlin’s “The Metro” becoming a sing-along dance party of its very own. Brothers Kevin (guitar) and Justin (bass) Bivona somehow manage to find the time to contribute backing vocals in spite of non-stop trading sides of the stage. The force of nature that is frontwoman Aimee Interrupter spent probably as much time at the barricade and leaning into the crowd (and, at one point, circumnavigating the entire cavernous venue, gold-covered wireless mic in tow) as she did singing and dancing from stage, her voice sounding as strong and crystal-clear as ever. Jesse Bivona even took a couple minutes to blaze through a part-tribal groove, part-Neil Peart drum solo, the likes of which are few and far between at a punk show. As it turns out, maybe The Interrupters were the perfect band to break in what will, in all likelihood, be more of a dance club than a rock hall.

Support on this run came from everyone’s favorite English sea shanty singalongers, Skinny Lister. The six-piece are another band that’ve been on a slow, steady upward path over the past half-dozen-or-so years on this side of the Atlantic. Much like The Interrupters, Skinny Lister are a constant ball of collective family energy centered around a dynamic frontwoman, Lorna Thomas. And while there might not be a flagon full of rum shared amongst the band’s members this time out – Thomas and her husband, lead vocalist/guitarist Dan Heptinstall are expecting in the new year! – there’s still more than enough good-time energy to go around. The packed house in attendance were willing participants in the start-to-finish singalong festivities.

Kicking things off on this run – and so technically the first band to officially play Big Night Live (Steve Aoki technically kicked things off the night before but that’s different) were Sharp/Shock. The LA-by-way-of-UK – or is it UK-by-way-of-LA, I always forget how that works – trio are tight and punch and melodic as hell. To my knowledge, it was their first Boston-area show, and a solid number of people showed up early enough to take in their crisp melodies, even singing along to tracks like “I Don’t Want To Be A Millionaire” and “Troublemaker.” As I’ve mentioned before, Boston can be a little fickle when it comes to newcomers and to punk rock bands of a certain style, so this was a super welcome sight!

Check out our full photo gallery below! As I mentioned above, it was mostly fog machines and swirling, strobe lights, making a tough row to hoe for a rank amateur like yours truly. Still…enjoy!



Listen to a punk version of The Spice Girls’ “Spice Up Your Life” by The Bare Minimum”

Did you ever wonder what a punk version of one of The Spice Girls’ songs would sound like? Me neither, but Toronto based hardcore-punk act The Bare Minimum have gone ahead and made the dreams you never knew you had come true. Check out their version of “Spice Up Your Life” below.



Stream “The Last Bastion”, the new punk ‘n roll album from Mark Lind and the Unloved

Mark Lind and the Unloved recently released their new album “The Last Bastion” via State Line Records and for those of you that like a little rock n roll swagger with their punk rock (or a strong punk edge in their rock n roll) this is a great listen. Check it out below.



Introducing Pop-Punk Act: Between Bodies

Sometime in the unknown, but assumably not too far away, future German pop-punk act Between Bodies will release their debut EP on KROD Records. No whet the appetites of would-be fans the band has created a music video for a song off the release titled “Fire Alarm,” and I must say it has certainly worked on me. Dynamic, fresh, slightly emo-ish, and just… good. These guys have successfully landed on my radar. Let them do the same for you by checking out the music video below.