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Cro-Mags stream “From The Grave”

NY Hardcore legends Cro-Mags are to release the follow up to their “Don’t Give In” EP, which came out early this year and was their first new material in two decades. “From The Grave” is another three song offering – and pre-orders are up now.

It’s out 6th December – with the title track available to listen to now. Check it out below.



Russian Girlfriends release video for “Antidote”

Albuquerque, New Mexico punks Russian Girlfriends have released another single from their recent album, In The Parlance Of Our Times, out via A-F Records.

Have a watch of “Antidote” below – and check Fall tour dates.



New Music: Real Space Noice (producer extraordinaire Chad Blinman) releases new LP “Empty And Pointless” and companion EP “Lost Science”

If you’re “of a certain age” and dove headlong into punk rock in the mid-1990s, the name Chad Blinman should be familiar to you. He produced a laundry-list of albums in the Vagrant Records heyday…acts like Boxer and The Get Up Kids and No Motiv and, of course, Face To Face.

Back in 2006, Blinman put out an album called Radio Method under the moniker Real Space Noise. It was vastly different than anything people in that era of the punk rock world would be familiar with; if we’re looking for a label, it’s less “emo” and more “radiophonic post-punk electro/industrial new wave gothic science fiction art rock.” (No, I didn’t come up with that genre on my own; yes, I stole it from Blinman’s website). Anyway, 13 years later, Blinman’s Real Space Noise project is back with not one but TWO new releases!

First up is Empty and Pointless, a haunting LP filled with ten tracks crammed with sci-fi post punk goodness. Alongside Empty and Pointless is a companion, instrumental EP, Lost Science, that, while it doesn’t contain any “vocals” per se, contains a plethora of old radio signals and sampled old science fiction clips about the joys and perils of the world of tomorrow. You can check both releases out here, and stream the video for the Empty and Pointless track “I Am Replacing You” here!



Introducing Celtic Punk ‘N Roll Act: The Cloverhearts

In a scene overflowing with post-hardcore-emo-noise-skate-punk Celtic Punk is a genre that feels quite a bit underrepresented in our beloved punk scene. Intro The Cloverhearts out of Sydney, Australia to say “f-that!” with a healthy dose of Celtic infused punk ‘n roll via their upcoming “The Sick” EP. Having announced their formation just a month or so back the group will unleash their debut EP via Black Dingo Records on November 1st.

The first single, ‘Always Monday’ can be seen below.

Following the release, the band will support Australian titans, The Rumjacks, on two special dates in Italy, early November.



Rough Dreams (Emo) Release Lyric Video for New Single”Six Sick Strings”

 

Tennessee emo act Rough Dreams has popped back up on our radar and they brought along with them, a fresh lyric video for their newest single,”Six Sick Strings” (tongue twister points: 100)! The track was recorded at the legendary Oneder Studios in Saginaw, Michigan by Nick Diener (The Swellers) and the video was put together by Alan Collins (@hypergiant, not the guy from Lynyrd Skynyrd) with video art provided by Dismay Design. Be sure to catch these cool cats later in the month as they hit the road with UK punks The Run Up on a tight little Southeastern Tour (dates here). Until then, crank up the volume and stream this mutha’ fucker until your ears ring, below!



DS Exclusive: Tim Barry gets raw and real – even for Tim Barry – on the transitional new album, “The Roads To Richmond”

It is not, by any stretch, an overstatement to refer to Tim Barry as one of the premier storytelling songwriters in the punk rock scene for as long as most of us have been associated with it; he was certainly trending in that direction during his Avail days, but it’s become an irrefutable fact in his work since going solo a decade-and-a-half ago. With the exception of maybe “Prosser’s Gabriel” from his 2010 album 28th and Stonewall (or, I guess, “T. Beene” from it’s follow-up, 40 Miler), Barry writes almost exclusively in the first person. Sometimes, this finds him telling the gut-wrenching components of someone else’s story in explicit, vivid detail; see “South Hill” or “Solid Gone” or “Dog Bumped” most notably. While the subject matter is clearly not his story in each of those songs, he’s got a way of pulling the listener in and making you feel every last strain and emotion and decision made by each of the respective narrators.

Sometimes, though, and especially when relationships are involved, the lines between author and subject get blurry to say the least. Sure there are songs like “Lela Days” or “Older And Poorer” that are pretty on-the-nose when it comes to being obviously self-referential. But on classic Barry fan-favorites like “Exit Wounds” and “Avoiding Catatonic Surrender” and “Walk 500 Miles” and “This November,” he long-ago proved that he can write a broken-hearted love song like nobody aside from maybe Ben Nichols. Because the themes present in those songs are so, unfortunately, universal and because of Barry’s adeptness as a songwriter, you’re never quite sure if he’s retelling traumatic events from his own biography or simply relating the cautionary tales of his friends and peers. Case in point: years ago when Tim and I spoke during a prior album-cycle promotional run, he relayed the story of his father contacting him after the release of Rivanna Junction, asking if he was doing alright.

Today marks the release of Tim Barry’s latest album, The Roads To Richmond. It’s his seventh studio full-length, and it is, in many ways, an album that delves into what’s been a very transitional time in the proud Richmond, Virginia native’s life. Not only did Barry quit working a “real job” and make the decision to live solely on music for the time being, but more importantly (and profoundly) Barry and his wife split up in the years since we last heard new music from him. He found himself living, at various times, in his van, in an apartment on the “bad side of town,” and most recently, in the very first house he’s ever purchased. And so the weight of separation and moving on and all of the confusion and emotions that those things entail, particularly when still trying to embrace the role of SuperDad to his pair of young daughters (Lela, 7, and Coralee, almost 5) were destined to bleed into the material that wound up on The Roads To Richmond. In fact, when we caught up over the phone to discuss The Roads To Richmond, it prompted me to jokingly – well, half-jokingly anyway – paraphrase that Rivanna Junction quote from his dad. As it turns out, I’m not alone. “Brent Baldwin down at The Kitchen mastering plant down in Carrboro, North Carolina, was doing the work on it, putting the finishing touches on the recording,” Barry explains. “He’s a professional, and I trust him and I trust his opinion and his work, and basically he said what you were paraphrasing my dad as saying. Like, “whoa, man, I hope everything’s okay!” (As homework, I challenge you to listen to the funeral dirge that is “Box Wine And Xanax” and not feel like you got repeatedly punched squarely in your midsection.)

The tone is present right from the first somber piano notes of album-opener “Big Ships.” When Barry’s voice eventually joins the instrumentation, it does so in a more tender way than we’re really accustomed to. It’s a song that was written in a place that’s been important to a small legion of East Coast punk rock fans over the last several decades: Asbury Park’s Little Eden. “I was sitting in Kate Hiltz’s kitchen at Little Eden in Asbury Park. I don’t know what I was doing there, but I was there for a couple of days, and no one was around, I had the whole house to myself,” Barry tells me.  “And I was writing that song, it just popped out of nowhere like songs do, and when it came around to the chorus, I looked up and on her wall it said “Big Ships Turn Slow.” I ripped those lines right off of her kitchen wall, and that completed the chorus and the song kept on trucking.” 

Barry tends to play his cards close to his vest when discussing the actual subject matter of some of his more ambiguous material, preferring instead to allow the listener to connect to songs on their own personal level. Still, he offered a bit of a hint behind what went into “Big Ships,” which turned out to be the pivotal moment in putting the writing for The Roads To Richmond to bed. “It’s like this,” he explains. “If you’re taking on a massive life change, you can use the phrase “big ships turn slow,” like, if (I’m asking you for) advice, I can say “I’m quitting my job and I’m gong to be self-employed and I want everything to go right.” And you could say “Tim…big ships turn slow.

Peppered throughout the album are tracks that are unambiguously autobiographical., perhaps none moreso than “April’s Fool,” a song that in some ways sounds like a follow-up to Rivanna Junction‘s “Exit Wounds,” except with the added weight of a marriage and children involved. “(That song is) autobiographical to a T. And you know, to be clear, that song was written while I was going through possibly one of the biggest transitions of my life. It was written in one go. It was “play and record” on my iPhone while I was living in my van. There’s really very little editing on that song, and I don’t think, for me, that music gets any more real than that.

While Barry is obviously no stranger to the broken-hearted love song, “April’s Fool” is a track that evokes enough visceral emotion that Barry was initially remiss to include on the album. “My instinct is to not share that kind of song and share that kind of music because it is sad. My job isn’t to depress people. I don’t even have a job!” As time elapsed, however, Barry started to understand that there was real value both to himself and to his listeners in telling such a personal story. “The subject of the song is divorce, it’s separation, it’s the end of a relationship. It’s the difficult possibility of going on alone when you’re not used to that. That’s what the song’s about. It’s just a moment. And when I was going through that at that point, I didn’t have any peers who were. I had a lot of questions, and there wasn’t really anyone to reach out to…But, as I breach the release of this new record, I realize that I have multiple friends that are going through that exact situation. I have many peers who are dealing with that dynamic in their life right now. I think it’s purposeful now to put that sort of intimacy onto a record so that other people know that other people have been through it. 

I suppose this is as good a point as any to explain, emphatically, that The Roads To Richmond is a sad, depressing album; it’s not! There are very real and very weighty feelings on the album. Over the last half-dozen years, a couple of Barry’s musical peers, Dave Hause and Brian Fallon, wrote their own powerful post-divorce albums (Devour and Get Hurt in that order if you’re keeping score) that rank among the best collections of work in either of their respective lengthy careers, both with bands and as solo artists. Part of the reason those albums have resonated with so many people for so long is that, sure, they’re raw, visceral looks at the pain and isolation that separation leave behind, but they also offer a little bit of redemption; a little bit of positive glow that in spite of all the pain, the future may turn out alright. For that reason, there are a lot of people for whom The Roads To Richmond will be their Devour (or their Blood On The Tracks…or their Rumours…or their Tunnel Of Love).

If I’m going to highlight some of the more raw, heavy emotional tracks on The Roads To Richmond, it’s only fair to highlight some of the tracks that provide a little levity and balance. “Bent Creek” is in uptempo, front-porch singalong about being at piece with the freedom that laying your burdens down and moving on can provide. It’s a cathartic song, and Barry’s voice sings like that of a man with a weight that’s been freed from his shoulders. “Fussin’ Over Fate” is a similar feeling track, a boot-stomping jam about not lamenting the fact that your old hometown has changed from the place you used to remember. “East Texas Red” is a reworking of a Woody Guthrie classic that was popularized by Guthrie’s son Arlo, a country and western murder ballad of a cruel old railroad yard boss who gets his comeuppance at the hands of two weary railroad travelers. “Coralee” is a tender, sweet acoustic ballad of Barry’s own, an ode to his youngest daughter.

And then there’s “Oh My Darling.” It’s a rollicking, Pete Seeger-esque finger-picked number that is placed perfectly on the album, as it helps lift the spirits from the weight of “April’s Fool.” “Oh My Darling” is a track that sounds like Barry singing to his daughter, but the reality is infinitely sweeter; it was penned by Barry’s oldest daughter Lela Jane, then five, as an ode to her little sister, the aforementioned Coralee. “Lela free-styled the lyrics!” Barry explains. “She told me to get a piece of paper and write it down as she sang. She’s fast at writing lyrics and melodies.” Barry gave Lela co-writing credit on the song, and Lela even sings some of the response parts on the call-and-response section of the last chorus. 

You can check out an abridged version of my chat with Barry below; much of our chat was edited and condensed for content purposes. We talked quite a bit about The Roads To Richmond, naturally, and we also talked about Barry’s recent run of shows with Avail, the seminal band’s first gigs in more than a dozen years. You can also buy your own copy of The Roads To Richmond at Tim’s Bandcamp page or at his official store here or at his longtime label home, Chunksaah Records here.



Album Review: The Menzingers – “Hello Exile”

The Menzingers were the first band I could truly say was my own. I was twenty-one when On the Impossible Past came out, and looking back, I’m not sure there was ever a better time to be that young. For myself and others, the Menzingers had just written an album that could be considered as monumental as Reinventing Axl Rose or Caution. And since then, they’ve toured endlessly and continued releasing quality albums. Sure, they’re not as fast and screamy as they used to be, but they’ve settled into a comfortable niche within the greater world of punk and indie, and more importantly, they occupy this space with consistently poignant songcraft. 

Hello Exile follows up After the Party, which in a lot of ways, was as career-defining as On the Impossible Past. This makes for a challenging release, as how many great albums does any band have in them? What’s always impressed me about the Menzingers is how they’re able to crank out so many of these great songs, and really, Hello Exile is no different. The songwriting is there, just as before (maybe too much as before, actually), and the melodies are just as sticky. Is this album a masterpiece? Well, no. After the Party and On the Impossible Past still lay the best claim to that elusive victory, but Hello Exile is no slouch, and while it may be divisive, it still brings the heart and lyricism that its fans crave. 

That being said, the greatest strengths and weaknesses of Hello Exile lay within its songwriting. The Menzingers have always been a songwriting-forward band, and as such, I think that’s a fair place to start, with both my praise and my criticism. Here, we have the band progressing into exciting new heights, and falling back onto old crutches. Opening song “America (You’re Freaking Me Out)” is one of my favorites of the album and it’s also the punkiest. Which means, if you’re reading between the lines—that no, this is not the album where the Menzingers’ reclaim their title as a raw-throated punk rock group. The song itself is a driving force though and it’s nice to see the band react politically (“what kind of monster did our parents vote for?”). They’ve always been a thoughtful band, and they again prove that in spades, even dropping a line referencing totalitarian Vichy France. “America (You’re Freaking Me Out)” continues a career-spanning tradition of opening their albums with absolute bangers. 

“Anna” is an equally great song, but it’s also where the band begins to look a little exposed. Here, is a wonderful track about a long-distance relationship, featuring a helluva hook. But here, we start seeing the limited subject matter inherent in the Menzingers’ songwriting. With lyrical references to Nabokov in his back pocket, we’ve all grown accustomed to guitarist/singer Greg Barnett as a deep literary reader. I’m pretty sure I’ve even read an interview where he mentions wanting to tackle writing a novel. These are awesome aims for anyone, let alone the primary songwriter in a punk band. But all artists can fall into the trap of repeating themselves. We’ve seen far too many songs about growing up, being reckless in Bukowski-certified ways, and doomed relationships. If I were Barnett’s writing coach right now, I’d be telling him he needs to push himself into new perspectives and subject matter. He needs to take an inventory of his common tropes and start building beyond them. Because, right now, it’s okay—“Anna” is one of my favorite songs on the album. But how many more “Anna”’s can we take before we start seeing the dove hidden in his sleeve?

“High School Friend” trods-well on familiar notes of nostalgia as well, but it does so with a sense of purpose, setting up the album’s theme of growing up before your time. This is, in a way, a sequel album to After the Party, it’s thematic mate. “Hello Exile,” the title track, is actually one of the stranger tracks I’ve seen the Menzingers do in recent years, and because of that, it has grown on me as one of the highlights of the new album. It has a swanky, cocktails-in-first-class feel throughout its opening, growing into a bluesy, Americana drenched singalong. It’s one of the best songs on the album and features some of Barnett’s most vivid imagery to date. “Strain Your Memory” is probably the song that most fans will be wishing the band would write more of, and it’s easy to understand why. In an album of plaintive mid-tempo jams, this is the mid-album rager that’ll get bodies moving in the pit. Of course, as is standard, it comes with a melody that fits easily on the throat and tastes sweet on the tongue. 

It’s not fair to paint Hello Exile as a riskless album though, because it does actually takes some large strides forward. “I Can’t Stop Drinking” is a great example of this. At five minutes and ten seconds, it’s the longest track on the album. I like that it challenges some of the Menzingers’ repeated imagery (“…and we drove back drunk through the busy city streets.”) with what is an ironically sober look at themselves. Greg Barnett is rightly lauded for his short story approach to songwriting, often taking his lyrics behind the eyes of another character. But, “I Can’t Stop Drinking” feels cutting, personal, and painful. I hope that both approaches survive into the band’s future, but it serves as a stark reminder of where all these pretty words are born. 

“Farewell Youth” completes the album’s arc with its chorus, “I was always hanging out with the older kids.” It feels like the Menzingers closing a chapter on themselves. These guys are just a little bit older than me, so probably feeling pretty similar things as they’re entering their thirties. They’ve spent over a decade as the Menzingers, a single unit with no personnel changes. That’s an impressive feat, especially while staying grounded enough to keep their audience engaged with their heartfelt melancholy. “Farewell Youth” doesn’t feel sad though, and it echoes a sentiment from the album’s opener, where Barnett croons, “Oh, how do I steer my early 30’s/ Before I shipwreck, before I’m 40.” The keyword is steer. There is control present, an eagerness for the future that can’t quite eclipse what’s passed behind them. It’s bittersweet, but as this album closes a chapter, I’m interested in where the ship takes us next. 

As so far, I’ve talked mostly about Barnett’s contributions to the album; these songs have come to define the sound of the band for many, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Tom May’s contributions to the album. He’s only got three songs on the album, but they’re three of the best he’s written, “Portland” being my personal highlight. I have mixed feelings here because I believe that the voice of a band is a difficult thing to navigate, because bands, by their very nature, are a collaborative art. But, because of the relative lack of Tom May’s songs, the cohesiveness of the album diminishes. There’s already a jolting difference in songcraft between the two writers (which I believe was at its finest point back in the OTIP days, as far as interplay and shared aims are concerned). One is nostalgic and wistful, carrying the band toward a more poetic direction. The other is sharp and declarative, the punkier heart of the band. I’d like to see these collaborate deeper in their compositions, combining their voices to do away with the notion of Greg-songs or Tom-songs, and just write Menzingers songs. 

So, what else can I say about a new Menzingers album? 

How about this—the biggest fuck up the Menzingers have committed is being good enough to become anyone’s favorite band. This is a review filled with nitpicks and suggestions, it gives praise and criticism to songs in equal breaths. Why? Because the Menzingers mean more to me than any other band, and with that affection, comes a sense of ownership. The Menzingers are my band. They’re the ones I learned to drink to, traveled hours to see, and became the go-to singalong for my group of friends. If all those sad-sack, Barnett-penned relationship songs have taught us anything, it’s that we can’t help but pick apart the things we love. Hello Exile shows the band stretching their limbs, ending an era with maturity and verve. It features some new tricks and also features some we’ve seen before. But for a band tied so much to so many personal times and places, I’m excited for a new sonic bookmark. 

4/5*

*This score is meaningless. Listen to the album. 



DS Exclusive: Backdrop Falls (ffo: Alkaline Trio) premiere new music video, “My Own Remains”

Who doesn’t love punk rock from the Southern Hemisphere? The Brazilian pop-punk unit, Backdrop Falls, has an unnerving new music video out set to the single, “My Own Remains”. “My Own Remains” appears on their fresh cut album There’s No Such Place as Home, already streaming on major digital platforms, courtesy of Electric Funeral Records based out of South America. Digipaks and cassettes will become available for worldwide release this week through ten – that’s right, TEN – distributors (Count them!). That’s: Electric Funeral Records (Brazil), Geenger Records (Croatia), Duff Records (Italy), 20 Chords Records (Spain), Infected Records (Portugal), Bomber Music (UK), Razor Records (Argentina), Audioslam (Chile), Mevzu Records (Turkey) and Dinamite Records (USA).

The video takes an unsettling look at the claustrophobic and transmorphic daze of early-twentiesdom, where we all bury off our past selves and settle with the ground in our own remains. Stream “My Own Remains” below



UK punk and alternative bands feature on Daniel Johnston covers album

A compilation of UK punk and alternative artists doing covers of American singer-songwriter Daniel Johnston has been released after his recent passing. All proceeds go to the Hi How Are You Project, a non profit foundation that raises awareness of mental health illnesses.

You can check out the covers below.



Inner 29 (pop punk) release new song from upcoming EP

Brazilian pop punk band INNER 29 have signed to Indie Vision Music. Forming in 2018, INNER 29 cite bands like Relient K and Jimmy Eat World as their main influences. They have released ‘Inconsistency (Wears Me Out)’ which will feature on their debut EP ‘Now And Again, Here’ out November 22nd.

Check out the song below.



Makewar release second single ahead of album release

Recent Fat Wreck Chords signing MakeWar have released another song from their upcoming album. Lead vocalist, Jose Prieto, had this to say about new song which is called ‘Sails’:

“Sails is probably the happiest song I’ve ever written. It’s about two people in love. They are both dealing with the daily grind, making ends meet, and dreaming about just quitting it all and escaping on a sailboat. Living life at sea. They deal with their daily grinds in different ways, together. It’s about doing what you love and not what you are supposed to, with a person that you love and supports you no matter what and vice versa. Life is a sailboat, and sometimes you need someone to steer the boat and someone to move the sail. You can do it alone. But it’s way more fun to do it together.”

The album ‘Get It Together’ will be released on November 1st. You can listen to ‘Sails’ and see MakeWar’s upcoming tour dates with Lagwagon and Face To Face below.



The Blue Carpet Band (Rock, London) release new single “Ain’t Got No Damn Rock N’ Roll”

London garage/rock outfit The Blue Carpet Band are to release a new 7″ at the end of the month via Bomber Music. “Ain’t Got No Damn Rock N’ Roll” is a two song single, with pre-orders for the vinyl edition up on their Bandcamp now.

Digital stream links are up now.



DS Exclusive: Postage (ffo: Direct Hit, The Murderburgers) stream new track, “Mail Patterns”

Albany post-rockers Postage have a new EP releasing November 1 on Paper + Plastik Records, the title-of-which is Flexi 2. It’s the follow up to their debut Flexi EP, and if the exclusive single premiere they’ve just granted Dying Scene is any indication, then you can expect the EP to really deliver. Postage is a band that’s sealed and stamped for greatness. They’ve got the full package. Are you getting the message?  I hope so, because I am sincerely out of puns.

Pre-orders for Flexi 2 will go on sale October 7 here. In the meantime, please enjoy the new song “Mail Patterns” below. It’s a song that asks “What’s the point in negativity anyway?” Why should we be so angry with each other when we can all just not give a shit? That’s what fucking Krishna would say, and that’s what I’m kicking to you young warrior scenesters.

P.S. Peep the kitty in the mailbox. 



Mark Lind and the Unloved (Punk ‘N’ Roll, MA) Stream “Who’s To Say” From Forthcoming Album “The Last Bastion”

Mark Lind and the Unloved has a new record coming out. To get you lot in the mood for it, the band has been good enough to release a couple of tracks early. Joining the previously released “An Anthem For The Damned” is the track “Who’s To Say”. 

You can check out the two teaser tracks below whilst you wait for the full release, which is due on November 8. Helping the band with the details will be State Line Records.



Nixon’s The One (Punk, CO) Stream EP “West Of The Sun, East Of The Moon”

Denver-based gritty pop punks Nixon’s The One are allowing fans to stream their entire latest EP, West Of The Sun, East Of The Moon. The record will be officially released on November 11 but you can check the trio’s latest work out below.

The previous release from Nixon’s The One was the Watergate EP in 2015.