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DS Staff Picks – The Torchbearer’s Top 10 Albums of 2015

Well hello there.  I’m Jerry, and I’ve been writing stories for Dying Scene for the past couple years.  You may have also seen some of my album reviews pop up from time to time this year.  2015 has been an awesome year in music.  I discovered so many new bands that I’ve given up trying to keep count.  Old and new favorites put out new albums this year, and the shows I went to were incredible (FEST FEST FEST!)  Somehow I managed to take the 75 or so potential albums I’ve liked this year and narrow that down to my 10 favorites.  Take a gander below!



Album Review: Nervosas – “Nervosas”

Nervosas occupies a space between hardcore punk and post-punk.  It’s a space that is getting filled in with a lot of bands recently, and Nervosas seems to be leading that pack.  Their newest self-titled album is a perfect example of when a band spends years crafting and perfecting their sound, and then releases something that features all the best they have to offer.  This is their strongest and most cohesive release to date, and may be the perfect representation of this rising dark punk subgenre.

Things get off to a quick start with “Moral Panic.”  This one is a rager with urgent vocals, tight, fast drums, and guitar that switches effortlessly between power chords and riffs.  No other songs quite hit the speed and ferocity of this first one, but they come close, like on “Temporary Address,” and “Refinery.”  When they are not going full throttle, the band keeps things mid-tempo and lets the tone they create shine through.

The tone of the songs, and of the album as a whole, is just as important as the content of the songs themselves.  The guitar is somehow bright and dark at the same time.  Chorus and reverb effects give it a shimmer, but distortion and minor and diminished chords dull that shimmer enough to keep everything nice and dark.  It’s like a beefed up version of an 80’s post-punk bands’ sound.   The drums are tight throughout and the bass is dark and punchy as well.  All of this is behind spooky male lead vocals and backup female vocals that mix very well.

Nervosas also shakes things up in a few tracks to keep things from getting stale.  “The Well” is danceable with its syncopated guitar and bouncy drums.  The closing track “Quarantine” serves as a cool down from the madness the band has taken you through so far.  It’s a slower jam where the guitar is more spacey and the vocals are crooned.

Nervosas is actually the second self-titled album released by the band.  The first one was kind of a compilation of everything they’d done up until that point.  And while I love that record, it sometimes can come across as sounding like a collection of songs rather than a cohesive album.  This newest self-titled release doesn’t come across that way, flowing smoothly from beginning to end.  The only problem with that is it’s easy to get caught up in it, only to have it end much too soon.

5/5 Stars



Nervosas stream new self titled album

Ohio dark punk act Nervosas are streaming their upcoming self-titled album in its entirety and you can check it out here.

The new self-titled LP is due out on July 10 through Dirtnap Records.  Nervosas’ last release was a different self-titled album, which was released in June 2013 via Let’s Pretend Records.



Nervosas streaming new song “Parallels,” announce North American tour dates

Ohio punk act Nervosas are streaming a new song “Parallels” off their upcoming self-titled LP, which is due out on July 10 through Dirtnap Records. In addition, they have announced North American tour dates.

You can stream the song via Viking’s Choice below.

The band are touring North America in support of the release.



Radioactivity (members of Marked Men) stream new album “Silent Kill,” announce summer tour

Texas’ Radioactivity (featuring Jeff Burke and Mark Ryan of Marked Men) have made their new album Silent Kill available for streaming, in addition to announcing a summer North American tour in support of its release.

Give the album a listen and check out the tour dates below.

Silent Kill is set to release next Tuesday, June 30th through Dirtnap Records.



“Slime Time: A Punk Rock Bundle” compiles punk rock releases for charity

The awesome folks over at Groupees just released “Slime Time,” a bundle of 10 punk rock releases featuring the bands Mean Jeans (pictured), Iron Chic, Brutal Youth, Blowfuse, Not On Tour, Straightline, Biffers, Lay It On The Line, and Surfin’ Mutants Pizza Party.  The bundle includes different price points that will get you some or all of the releases included, with the proceeds benefiting the Soles4Souls charity.  Check out the bundle here, and pick yourself up some new music while helping out a great cause.



Album Review: The Splits – “II”

The Splits are a Finnish punk rock band. They keep things simple. They like The Spits. They also reportedly enjoy The Slits. As implied by the title of their new album, II is their second full length album. It’s also their second untitled album. Like I said, they keep things simple.

Much like their (alleged) namesakes, The Splits have a lo-fi, garagey quality to their music. Like all great garage rock, there’s a contrast between the soothing melodies and rough and raw vocals, working together instead of against each other. Sometimes II gets a little surfy, and sometimes it has a bit of new wave flavor, but it never strays so far that it reaches the point of no return. II is the kind of album that sounds equally good in a basement as it would while cruising to the beach.

Further evidence that The Splits keep things simple: II is short, breezing through 9 tracks in just about 25 minutes. That’s not to say that this is a band or album for simpletons, or that it’s any worse for it, but it does help to illustrate that The Splits are not a flashy band, nor are they much for gimmicks. They’re not looking to convince anyone to listen to them based on anything except for their music. Which is fine, because the music is pretty good.

3.5 / 5 – Listen to II below.

RIYL: The Spits, White Lung, The Marked Men



Full Album Stream: The Splits (Garage-punk) – “The Splits II”

Finnish garage punk act The Splits released their second self-titled LP earlier this week. If it somehow slipped past you, don’t fret: you can give a listen below.

The Splits released The Splits II on April 21, 2015 via Dirtnap Records. It is the follow up to the band’s first LP, The Splits, which was released in 2012.



Sonic Avenues release music video for “Teenage Brain”

Montreal garage punk act, Sonic Avenues, have released the music video for their song “Teenage Brain.”

You can watch it below.

Sonic Avenues released their album “Mistakes” was released on April 15, 2014 through Dirtnap Records.



Full Album Stream: Steve Adamyk Band – “Dial Tone”

Ontario pop-punks The Steve Adamyk Band are streaming their new album Dial Tone in its entirety, and you can give it a listen below.

The record was released last month through Dirtnap Records. Digital copies are available on the label’s Bandcamp page for 7 bucks.



Neighborhood Brats streaming new single “Total Dementia”

LA punks Neighborhood Brats have released a new single called “Total Dementia” from their upcoming 7-inch, which is due out tomorrow on Dirtnap Records. Check the song out below, and head over here to pre-order the 7-inch.

The band aims to follow up with a full length album sometime later this year.



The Exploding Hearts remembered, covers project of “Guitar Romantic”

Venerable Portland, OR garage-punk act The Exploding Hearts, who tragically lost three of it’s four members in a van accident a mere four months after their breakthrough album Guitar Romantic was released in 2003, have been profiled in a new article in Portland alternative weekly the Willamette Week. The article features a rare new interview with surviving member Terry Six, as well as an oral history of the short-lived band.

You can check out the article by clicking here.

In addition, the Willamette Week is putting together a Guitar Romantic covers project, where the bands most inspired by the Exploding Hearts cover the tracks from the album. They’ve posted the first video, of the Cry! doing “Modern Kicks.”

You can check out that video by clicking here.



The Ergs! announce “Hindsight is 20/20, My Friend vol. 2: Ok, Enough Reminiscing”

New Jersey pop punk band The Ergs! have finally announced the long-awaited release of a second rarities and b-sides compilation via Facebook. Titled Hindsight is 20/20, My Friend vol. 2: Ok, Enough Reminiscing, the album will consist of “22 hard-to-find” songs by the near-sighted three and will be released on Dirtnap Records sometime later this year.

The Ergs! broke up in 2008 and released their first rarities comp, Hindsight is 20/20, My Friend Vol 1 in the same year.



Video: The Steve Adamyk Band: “Katacombs”

Ontario-based pop punk group The Steve Adamyk Band has just released a new music video for their song, “Katacombs”. Check it out here.

The track will appear on the band’s upcoming album, “Third”, which is set to be released February 12th through Dirtnap Records. You can check out artwork to the left, and click here for a view of the track list.

If you live near the Ontario area you can check out a couple of shows coming up up for the band in March. Head here for more information on the two shows.



Mean Jeans releasing split with Big Eyes, stream new song “I Miss Outer Space”

Northwest pop-punk act Mean Jeans will be releasing a split with Seattle’s Big Eyes and to get you pumped they’re streaming a new song called “I Miss Outer Space” right here (creepy artwork above).

Mean Jeans released their last album, “On Mars” through Dirtnap Records last April.