Monday, January 7, 2019 at 9:20 AM (PST) by rick delaney
Saturday, December 22, 2018 at 12:00 PM (PST) by jaystone
Another year in the books, and while I scaled down the amount of shows I shot this year for a variety of reasons, it was still pretty awesome and eventful. The year started with a trip to Jersey to catch Jared Hart and a barn-burner of a Ben Nichols solo performance at the inimitable Crossroads venue booked by the equally inimitable Andy Diamond. There was also a trip to Connecticut to see Lucero and Jake LaBotz, a trip to Memphis for Lucero’s Family Block Party-slash-20th birthday celebration, another trip to Connecticut for the last installment of the Warped Tour (so, mostly, to see The Interrupters) and another trip back to Jersey for the Bouncing Souls‘ annual Stoked For The Summer throwdown that featured sets from Against Me!, Tim Barry, Titus Andronicus and Smoking Popes. Then there was a whirlwind Brooklyn trip to see Brian Fallon and Craig Finn. Oh, and there was another trip to Connecticut for a rager of a Bouncing Souls/Swingin Utters show. And a trip to New Hampshire for another Utters show. And a Frank Turner show in New Hampshire with Bad Cop/Bad Cop too.
But don’t think that means there was a lack of spectacular shows here on the homefront. There were stellar nights with Bundles and Birdwatching and Michael Kane & The Morning Afters and Art Thieves and Street Dogs and of course Rebuilder and of course Rebuilder again and Dan Webb and the Spiders a few times and Mint Green and Depressors and Oh The Humanity and KCUF and Weathered Friends.
National acts of all shapes and sizes came through the Boston area as well. Of course there was Lucero. And the same Brian Fallon/Craig Finn tour. And The Penske File. And The Lawrence Arms with Sincere Engineer and Red City Radio. And Fallon again. And Face To Face with Austin Lucas. And Dave Hause a couple times in a couple different formats. And another Frank Turner show. And Iron Chic. And Dead Bars. And Noi!se. And of course there was Pearl Jam at Fenway.
If you check this site out a lot, you’ll know I take a ton of pictures at most shows, and I try to present some of my favorite ones on a regular basis. Below, however, is a few dozen of my favorite pictures of the year. Some of them came out great, some of them came out less great but tell a cool story or evoke a great and personal memory. That’s ultimately, I guess, what I try to do when I’m shooting shows. Thanks for reading, and for looking, and for supporting the people and the venues that keep this thing chugging down the road.
Click on the individual pictures to see blow them up. Bring on 2019. -JMS-
Friday, December 21, 2018 at 12:05 PM (PST) by jaystone
Hey boys and girls, Jay Stone checking in with yet another year-end list. I’m the dopey one on the left up there. Anywho, as is par for the course, I put way more than ten albums on my “top ten” list, because rules are for squares or whatever. I tend to have a tough time coming up with a definitive number one, but my choice here has occupied that spot for the last eight months and never really got knocked off. A lot of the top half of the list is almost interchangeable based on my current mood, and might have even changed in the time between when I typed this list and when I actually published it. There’s a pretty extensive (fifty-ish song) Spotify playlist that features at least a couple tracks from each of these releases, so check it out and maybe find some new music! Check it all out below!
Tuesday, December 4, 2018 at 12:00 PM (PST) by The Torchbearer
Swedish folk punks Crash Nomada have released a music video for their song “Under en mörk europeisk himmel,” which comes from their latest self-titled album that was released on November 9th.
You can check out the new album below.
Crash Nomada last released the single “Leih Ya Hamam” in 2017.
Tuesday, December 4, 2018 at 8:21 AM (PST) by Goldfinger
Los Angeles based folk-punks Divided Heaven are streaming their new single “Generator”. All proceeds from the single will be donated to the LGBT Center. Drummer Nic Morreale says, “The Los Angeles LGBT Center is an incredible organization
providing health, advocacy, social, legal and housing services for hundreds of thousands of people in the LA area.
With the rising homelessness/cost of living in our hometown, as well as the disgusting attempt of the President to define
the Transgender community out of existence, we wanted–as a band–to raise awareness and money this holiday
season, and show our support. We stand in solidarity with the LGBT community and we encourage our fans, friends and
family to donate to the Los Angeles LGBT Center as well.”
You can check out the new single below.
Divided Heaven’s most recent release was Cold War, released earlier this year. To coincide with the new single, front man Jeff Berman will embark on solo tour dates in Germany and the North East in December. You can find those dates below.
Tuesday, November 20, 2018 at 8:07 AM (PST) by Goldfinger
Chicago’s own, Sincere Engineer has shared a video of her cover of the Paul Simon classic “You Can Call Me Al”. Sincere Engineer does a great job of channeling her inner Paul Simon and this is a pretty awesome cover, if we could only get Paul Simon to cover “Corn Dog Sonnet No. 7”.
Check Sincere Engineers take on “You Can Call Me Al” below.
Monday, November 19, 2018 at 4:56 PM (PST) by Carson Winter
The punk rock world is wide and weird, and in a joining between comedian Connor Ratliff and the incredibly busy Mikey Erg, it has just gotten a little weirder. Christmas albums aren’t entirely outside of the punk scene’s wheelhouse (just look to Bad Religion and Chris Farren), but this entry might be the most unique I’ve encountered. The Spirit of Ratliff is an ode to the season, delivered with acoustic gusto via songs like, “Have Yourself a Merry Secular Xmas,” “No One Wants A Pizza on Xmas Day,” and “Xmas is Over (Let’s Keep the Lights Up 4 Awhile).” In a more bizarre twist, this album is as much about hating summer (see: “Summer is the Worst”) as much as it is about loving Christmas—secularly, of course.
It is, in a word: ridiculous. But—for a laugh and a little holiday cheer (or to curse the sun), you might just want to take a trip over to State Champion Records and check out the pre-order. The Spirit of Ratliff comes out, appropriately, on Black Friday (11/23), but for a more immediate taste of what the Chris Gethard alums have cooked up, check out the video below for “XMAS is the Best.”
Monday, November 5, 2018 at 9:48 AM (PST) by rick delaney
UK comedy folk punker Beans on Toast has released a music video for an hilarious tune about internet retail giant Amazon’s voice activated “home assistance” unit, Alexa. The track, also titled “Alexa”, questions the eventual capabilities of such a device monitoring every aspect of people’s lives, culminating in a future in which the sun itself is blocked out by an ominous shadow of Amazon delivery drones.
You can check out “Alexa” below and you definitely should because it’s bloody funny.
The track also appears on Beans on Toast’s 10th studio album, A Bird In The Hand, set for release on December 1st.
Saturday, November 3, 2018 at 5:41 AM (PST) by Johnny X
Back in 2012, when I had a lot more time on my hands, I released a folk-punk compilation album called “Took Folk To Punk (still available for free download).” It featured a handful of up and coming folk-punk bands that I thought seriously deserved more attention. Since then punk frontmen-gone-solo acts seem to have overshadowed the sub-genre, and the lazy genre groupings of punk media organizations (guilty) probably didn’t help shaping perceptions of what a folk-punk band actually might sound like.
Enter Coffin Salesman, a side project of Boston-based musician Aria Rad (of The Radicals, Live Nude Girls). Fiddles, violins, organs and pianos meet electric guitar and punk rock angst. It’s what I would consider “true” folk-punk and had they been around in 2012 they very likely would have wound up alongside Mischief Brew, The Fucking Buckaroos, and all the others on “Too Folk To Punk.” Their new album “Nicrophorus Americanus” was released yesterday and if you dug at all the bands on “Too Folk To Punk” you’re going to want to stream it below.
Tuesday, October 30, 2018 at 8:58 PM (PST) by jaystone
Dorchester, Massachusetts, native Bryan McPherson has spent the better part of the last couple decades touring the country and producing solo music that brilliantly melds traditional folk-influenced storytelling with an aggressive, punk rock playing style and work ethic. After moving to California and touring relentlessly across the country and back over the course of the last couple of years in support of his last full-length, 2015’s stellar – and criminally underrated – Wedgewood, McPherson returned home to his native Massachusetts to woodshed material for a new album.
When he got here and saw first-hand the devastating impact that the opioid epidemic of the last several years has had on his hometown, McPherson changed his mind. He decided to go back into his own personal archive to rework old tracks that never really saw the light of day commercially. Many of the songs were written when McPherson himself was in the throes of his own issues with substance use. Now sober for years, McPherson retooled the old material, approaching it from a person with an extra decade-and-a-half of lived experience. The result is Kings Corner, named after the Dorchester street corner that McPherson and his friends used to hang out on (and, coincidentally, a solid fly ball from my own old apartment).
McPherson has launched a Kickstarter campaign to help Kings Corner see the light of day. Head here to check out the unique pledge options!
Tuesday, October 23, 2018 at 2:00 PM (PST) by The Torchbearer
You can give it a listen below.
Steady Hands last released Rude Boys Of Bar Rock in December 2016.
Monday, October 22, 2018 at 11:00 AM (PST) by jaystone
Lucero are no strangers to the Boston area, but it’s been a few years since they played a proper club show of this sort; 2016 saw them headlining the Copenhagen Beer Fest, last years saw them playing on a boat in Boston Harbor. At the tail end of the East Coast run in support of their latest album, Among The Ghosts, the band made a whirlwind return to the city the weekend before last, returning to the legendary Paradise Rock Club for the first time in half a decade. Lucero have played some rather legendarily raucous shows in prior ventures to the greater Boston area, and while the craziest of those days are largely in their collective rear-view mirror, the fact that the band are on a pretty great run right now and that the show took place on a Saturday night resulted in a pretty high-energy affair.
The band kicked things off with the title track from Among The Ghosts, and in rather atypical fashion for Lucero, played largely the same core set they’d been playing on most nights of this particular run (albeit without a visible setlist in the house). What it might have lacked in improvisation, though, the set more than made up for in style and variation. Of course the new album was rightfully best represented throughout, but the band’s self-titled 2001 debut and sophomore album Tennessee, released the following year, combined to make up roughly half of what we’d call the “main set.” The return to prominence of underrated songs like “No Roses No More” and the more recent “I Can’t Stand To Leave You” are particular highlights for yours truly; the latter being an example of a song that, though Nichols wrote it during a different time in his life, has taken on new meaning and in light of more recent events in his life, and perfectly connects some of the grittier musical tones of early Lucero with the family-centered lyrical content so prevalent on Among The Ghosts. And fear not, old-school fans, the night wasn’t exactly formulaic — it’s a Lucero show, after all — as the quintet mixed things up in the latter part of their set, opted to play more music instead of leaving the stage and returning for an “encore,” and caved to audience-led peer pressure by pulling out “Bikeriders” late in the set.
Support on this run came from Brent Cowles and his stellar backing band, the Foxhole Family Band. Sadly, I admittedly wasn’t all-too familiar with the Denver-based singer-songwriter prior to the announcement of his opening role on this tour. Shame on me. Though small in stature, Cowles, the son of a preacher, sings and shreds with the kind of full-bodied soul that would make Sam Cooke look down and smile. Check out Cowles’ work here.
While you’re at it, check out our photo gallery from the evening below. You can find upcoming Lucero tour dates here. Among The Ghosts, as you should be aware, was released August 3rd on Thirty Tigers.
The acoustic punk has a load of dates coming up in Europe and the UK. Full info for those are also below.
Monday, October 15, 2018 at 9:47 AM (PST) by rick delaney
Four-piece punk outfit Basement Benders have just released their latest album titled Shrapnel Songs on Dead Broke Rekerds. The best part is that the group are allowing you fine folks the opportunity to stream it for free. Despite being entirely amplified, the effort has a strong folk punk feel to it and will likely excite those who are that way inclined.
Check out Shrapnel Songs below. It’s the latest music from the band since their self-titled EP in 2015.
Friday, October 5, 2018 at 4:58 PM (PST) by Johnny X
Banjos? Check. Fiddle? Check. Rollicking bass lines? Yup. From the band’s own website, “Wicked Shallows is a rowdy up and coming punkabilly band from Portland OR. Their music is the auditory equivalent of a cocktail happy hour on a 1890’s steamship crewed by outlaws.” An apt description. Three songs in and I’ve determined I will see this band live before I die. Stream their new album Parched Earth below.
I write this spotlight with mixed emotions. I'm stoked to have discovered a new band that I would love to sign to Dying Scene Records, but I'm f'ing pissed to not have discovered them early enough to have done so. The Stifled is a Baltimore foursome that just released their self-titled debut EP, and if I didn't know better I'd think this was Dying Scene Records band A Dying Regime partnered up with the singer from DS Records' first signing, Yankee Brutal. Skate punk with metallic undertones. Melodic vocals with a healthy dose of snarls and gang shouted backups. Fast and heavy. Catchy but angry. My sweet spot. Give the EP a spin here and compare it to a couple choice tracks from Yankee Brutal and A Dying Regime and tell me I'm wrong with this comparison.