Search Results for ""

Album Review: Off With Their Heads – “Be Good”

The last time Off With Their Heads (OWTH) released new music was their 2013 album Home. After seeing the band support Against Me! In Melbourne and having never listened to them before, I gave Home a listen as soon as it was released and almost instantly OWTH became my favourite band. Over the past 6 years a lot as happened for OWTH and their lead singer Ryan Young; a nervous breakdown, constant touring, the successful Anxious & Angry Podcast – morphing into a record label, online store and screen printing business – and an acoustic album in 2016. Similarly, a lot has happened for me; I stopped drinking heavily, graduated university, got a good job, fell in love and got married and don’t need the music of OWTH in the same way I used to. That said, it’s been a long, long wait for the diehard fans of OWTH, but finally – after 6 years – there is a new album “Be Good”. 

The album artwork is brighter than their older music, featuring a scene of women in 1940’s style dresses, enjoying the sun on a beach, while the smoke stack of a power plant looms over them in the background. The first pressing vinyl is released in “Pollution” or “Blue Sky” colour-ways and it feels like a choose your own adventure. Interestingly the Blue Sky vinyl sold out first, giving an indication of optimism in the community while I had to remain true to the reason I love OWTH; the honesty, raw pain and helplessness they sing with – buying the pollution vinyl. As soon as the opening track plays it becomes apparent that this album is not a positive and is not a choose your own adventure, it is filled with the same emotion and hurt as all OWTH work. 

The opening track, titled “Disappear”, is the most different OWTH song that I can recall. It starts with raw vocals by Ryan backed with only very minor guitar, building slightly from the 30 second mark before Ryan repeats the opening lyrics 1 minute in this time screaming, “I SHOULD HAVE SEEN THIS FROM THE START” and from then the song is recognizably OWTH. As “Disappear” comes to an end, it flows seamlessly into the title track “Be Good” indicating there is a definite and intended flow to this album; all the more reason to listen to it on vinyl. “Be Good” opens with The Arrivals’ style drum rolls, building up to even more screaming by Ryan as he declares “I can’t take anymore, I just want out RIGHT NOW”. As I write this review I’m reading the lyrics to “Be Good” for the first time and as I hear Ryan sing the words that I’m reading I get goosebumps. For how much better Ryan has been doing since the release of “Home”, this song describes the intense toll that so many years of severe depression and anxiety have taken on his mental health. It is a song about doing all you can to be good and make a positive impact, but it is also a song about being exhausted and destroyed from years of mental illness; “I had assumed I would have been gone by now – but the ship has weathered the storm – and the feeling of defeat that lies underneath is still alive and on it’s course – I’m destroyed”. 

Half way through the album, at “Take Me Away” the album has returned to the softer and quieter sound that was present on “Disappear”. This time the softer sound hangs around for about half the song, on and off, as Ryan sings about needing space to figure things out; I’m speculating here but it feels like it is about the breakdown that led to the start of the Anxious & Angry Podcast and getting proper help for his mental health issues. Up next is “Tear Me Apart” and while the song naming convention is similar, there is real flow between the two songs. While “Take Me Away” is an introspective look at how Ryan felt at a particular point in time, “Tear Me Apart” is welcoming external criticism of his behaviours, acknowledging he deserved them at the time. Doubling down on my speculation, assuming I was correct about “Take Me Away”, this song would seem to about the aftermath of his breakdown and deserving being torn apart by his bandmates and girlfriend. 

The 8th song “Let It All” is a return to the OWTH sound from their 2007 album “All Things Move Toward Their End” – I think this is caused by the distorted recording sound along with the return to a more melodic sound. I’m not sure what it is about this song but it is probably the funnest song on the album to listen to, there’s something about the chorus “inside for far too long, pulling my strings – singing my songs” which is extremely enjoyable to listen to and sing along to. The second last song, “Locking Eyes” is the most consistently slow and quiet song on the album. It is a song of loss, of losing someone who kept coming back until they have been pushed one too many times. As Ryan screams “I know its all my fault – I know I deserve it all” over soft music, the pain in his voice is palpable. From here, the album fades into the final song, “Death”, which is the only instrumental that I know of OWTH ever doing as it carries on the sound of “Locking Eyes” for close to another 3 minutes as the album fades out. 

Ryan and the rest of OWTH get full marks on growth and development on this album, it is clearly different to their other music and one could argue more mature. For me, it doesn’t quite live up to the urgency of “Home” but it could just be that I don’t need the album as much as I needed “Home” when I first heard it. “Be Good” is for OWTH fans new and old, but even more than that it is for Ryan and the band members, and nothing we as listeners can say about the album will change that this is what they needed at this time. It was well worth the 6 year wait, and I’ll be happy to wait for more.

4/5 Stars



Colorsfade (skate punk) share music video for “Obedience”

Canadian skate punks Colorsfade have released the music video for “Obedience”, one of the songs off of their 2018 debut LP In Real Time. “Obedience,” though firmly rooted in classic pop punk structures and rhythm, also features guitar riffs that border on speed metal at times. In Real Time was the band’s first release since signing to Thousand Island Records.

The video, which consists of Colorsfade’s last tour across Quebec, was filmed and edited by Julien Vallée. Check it out below.



DS Exclusive: The Undertaking! premiere new lyric video “About Ghosts”

San Diego hardcore punk act, The Undertaking! are back following up their springtime EP release of Scavengers with a brand new lyric video for the single “About Ghosts”. “About Ghosts” was mastered by The Used’s Joey Bradford. It was appropriately released at Halloween time, and relays a woeful account of chasing ghosts, “and you realize you’re wasting space in your brain by thinking about it over and over,” relates the band. “Don’t waste time worrying about stupid people doing stupid things.” Solid advice accompanying a grudgeful and spooky premiere. Their next show is December 15 at Brick by Brick in San Diego with The Fall of Troy. Stream the new video for “About Ghosts” below



Los Angeles’s Historian Release New Tune “Witch Hazel”

 

While more often than not Los Angeles based indie rockers Historian come out with a deeper ethereal sound that can be more described as alt than punk, their new record Distractions really breaks that mold. The record, due out January 17 is much more raw and powerful than all of the group’s previous works and acts as somewhat of the blow-off for all the steam they have been building up while crafting 3 records in the year 2019.

“Witch Hazel” is the records lead single and its nasty, fuzz-laden, guitar-heavy tune that takes a sharp turn away from everything the band has done in the past. It should be fun to see what the group comes out with next in the months leading up to the record’s release.

 



Album Review: MakeWar – “Get It Together”

Developing a Theory of Integrity was one of my favorite releases back in 2016. Back then, they were on Red Scare—one in a long line of bands that helped carve out the label’s reputation as having the best ear for signings in the game. Now, three years later, MakeWar has come a long way. In the interim, I had the pleasure of seeing them play twice—and two times I got a look into their continued development, and subsequent dominance, within the world of melodic punk. Once at Fest: where they played one of the best sets of the weekend (complete with a blow-up orca bouncing around the moshpit—you know, the one from the album cover). People were into it; loving it, eating it up. This was a crowd of fans who knew every word, who had already adopted their latest release into their all-time favorites. MakeWar had made good on everything their song’s promised. The second time I saw them, they were on the bill of a mega tour, opening for Lagwagon and Face to Face. Of course, this was writing on the wall, writing I should’ve read. MakeWar was poised to release on Fat Wreck Chords, joining the talented masses that got their start on Red Scare and graduated to the upper echelon of modern punk. 

If any band can do it, it’s MakeWar. This is a band that thrives on the one X-factor that can make or break a group: songwriting. Anyone who’s heard Developing a Theory of Integrity knows that these guys have chops to spare when it comes to writing great songs. They match these catchy anthems with something akin to early Against Me! arrangements, stabbing strums and a penchant for gang vocals; a tightly wound three-piece with fantastic songs—what’s not to love?

Get it Together is a continuation of all the most important aspects of MakeWar. Their Latin American identity is put front and center, with two songs in Spanish sung by bassist Edwin. The first of them, “No Mas,” is a melodic hardcore rager with a staccato machine-gun vocal rhythm that rattles off Spanish with an ear-pleasing fluidity. This thread is also continued by “Hands on the Tyrant,” one of the most striking and personal songs on the album, directly addressing singer Jose Prieto’s native Venezuela. Both these songs and others feel like a more active engagement with their identity than the anthems on their last record, while still supplying hooks aplenty. For my money, perspective is one of the most important attributes of great songwriting, and here, it’s put front and center. 

The heart-on-the-sleeve introspection, however, is still one of the band’s most powerful motors, brought forth into the Fat Wreck era by album opener “Hopeless Dreamer.” The song is propelled by chugging guitars and some killer backing vocals. The lyrics range from aspirational to slice-of-life conversational (“Is it cool if I close my eyes just for a bit?”); just as ever, they’re relatable and hard-hitting, the sort of stuff you can feel falling off your tongue from the first time you hear it. 

MakeWar has always had a loud, brash, aspirational center indebted to the best of punk’s rhetoric. And in a world where it’s harder than ever to be an artist, this is not only charming, but admirable. “Oh, Brother” is an ode to a life lived in the punk scene, told as an all too familiar story. “Welcome to the world of punk, freaks and geeks and silly drugs,” begins the chorus. It’s a rallying cry, an ode to playing music in spite of all the constructs that make it near impossible. The bridge is perhaps one of the most emotionally powerful I’ve heard in recent years, a declaration to its listeners to embrace the grind, to create in endless defiance. 

“Sails” matches this discontent with a fantasy of leaving the nine-to-five to sail around the world (in a parallel to “Sallie” from Developing a Theory of Integrity). It’s one of the best songs on the album, undoubtedly one of the catchiest. While the subject matter has been tread before, the tone is more ethereal, feeling like a daydream brought to life, something that the lighter guitars on this album bring to a more fully realized cohesion. 

In the case of “Sails,” the lighter sounds on Get it Together help sell the content of the song. But other times, it feels like perfunctory growth. MakeWar has an album full of great songs, and a lot of them will come to define the band, I truly believe that. But, I can’t help but feel their sound was more impactful on their last outing. Before, they had that jittery, crunchy intensity that really fed into that sing-your-lungs-out, emotional punk aesthetic. Here, the goods still survive with a slicker package, but I’m often left with the question: why? There’s more treble, there’s more reverb, and sometimes a spare effects pedal is thrown into the mix—but for the most part, it doesn’t do much to develop the band’s sound in any notable way. It feels like a new coat of paint for the sake of painting, an affectation rooted more in their move to Fat Wreck than in the band’s core identity. Get it Together is a great album, but sonically, it sounds like a band developing in the most usual way. 

Luckily, while the production seldom adds much, it doesn’t take away much either, leaving me only with a couple of gripes to go with a handful of new favorite songs. In my mind, it’s a fair trade. Get it Together is MakeWar doing everything they did great on the last album, and now doing it better. What’s added to the mix this time is the band’s political content, which is exciting and illuminating across the board. They’ve embraced themselves to a greater degree than ever, and in that, they’ve codified their identity as artists and musicians. 

 

4.5/5



The Carolyn (Punk, GA) Stream “Heartsunk” from Forthcoming Album “This Will Begin to Make Things Right”

Punk trio The Carolyn have just released a video for their single “Heartsunk” from their forthcoming debut album This Will Begin to Make Things Right. The full release will be on December 6. Helping the band is Georgia-based label 59 X Records. 

Whilst you wait for the release of the complete record, check out “Heartsunk” below. The previous music from The Carolyn was a single earlier this year titled A.M.



Introducing Skate Punk Act: Basement Sound

So many Dying Scene readers make this humble website a daily virtual stop in their Internet wanderings because they crave new discoveries. Navigating the vast sea of new bands popping up daily on Spotify or Bandcamp is a daunting task but that’s what we’re here for – to save you hours upon hours of listening to mediocre songs just to find the next gem. Well, here’s a new one to add to the radar for you fans of 90s style skate punk. Dual singers, angsty vocals, Fat-esque melodies and rhythm. Basement Sound isn’t breaking the mold with their style but they certainly do the genre justice. On December 13th the boys (“Dads” actually) will be releasing their debut album “Good Job Some Of You,” and you can stream the first single “Wake Up,” below.



Stream Big D And The Kids Table covers album “Strictly Covered”

This is the kind of covers album I can get behind. Some of my absolute favorite punk anthems (Rancid’s “Old Friend,”, Propagahndhi’s “Ska Sucks,” Operation Ivy’s “Freeze Up”) are given a unique twist by one of the ska scene’s most recognized bands – Big D And The Kids Table. Singer David McWane explains how it came about:

“This was a super fun album for us to do. Before writing a new Big D LP, we always like to write an EP first, so that we can get some ideas out, hang, chat and have fun. Instead of doing this cycles EP we did a full covers record. After showing Dickey Barrett of The Mighty Mighty Bosstones our cover of their tune Dr. D, he invited us to play the entire album at this years Throwdown. We recorded it in the center of Allston with Benny Grotto and had it mastered by Jeff Lipton in Watertown MA. J from The Suicide Machines joined us on an Op-Ivy cover, because we had so much fun playing it love in Chicago while playing w/ Goldfinger. There are two other amazing Boston artists on the LP – Morphine & Sam Black Church two of my personal all time favorite bands.”

Give the entire thing a listen below!



Old Against Me reincarnated through Chicago punk act The Damn Tracks

If Against Me! had a second singer and written a different album instead of “As The Eternal Cowboy” it might have sounded a lot like The Damn Tracks‘ new release “Second City Is Burning.” The Chicago three piece has at least one singer that to me sounds a lot like early Laura Jane Grace (aka “Tom Gabel”) and the dynamic song writing of feels reminiscent of early Against Me as well. I’m only 4 tracks in but feel like I’ve stumbled onto a gem of an album. Join me in the discovery below!



Bowling for Soup streaming cover of Eddie Money’s “Two Tickets to Paradise”

Texas pop-punk veterans Bowling for Soup are streaming their tribute to the late Eddie Money, a cover of his hit song “Two Tickets to Paradise”. Money recently succumbed to esophageal cancer on September 13th. “Two Tickets to Paradise” came out back in 1977 on Eddie Money’s début album. Bowling for Soup originally recorded this cover way back in 2006, it was originally meant to be a part of the film “Two Tickets to Paradise!”, but for whatever reason was never released.

Call it an ode to Eddie Money or a celebration of their 25th year as a band, Bowling for Soup kills this cover so check it out below.

Bowling for Soup is now out on the road celebrating their 25th anniversary, they recently announced some shows across the pond with “super special guests” Simple Plan for February, which you can also check out below. Bowling for Soup’s last release was a cover of the Suicide Machines classic “Sometimes I Don’t Mind” earlier this year.



Clowns release video for “Soul For Sale”

Aussie punks Clowns have released a video for their song “Soul for Sale”. The song comes from the band’s latest release Nature/Nurture which came out earlier this summer on Fat Wreck Chords. The new video is a part of the band’s initiative to revitalize the Melbourne live music scene. With many smaller clubs and venues facing closure, Clowns went out and played five shows in smaller capacity “dive” bars. The shows helped to reignite the sense of community, as well as give the flailing bars a boost with the near capacity crowds.

The Keepin’ The Dive Alive initiative should be considered a success and the band had this to say about it: “We heard that some of these venues were facing closure and wanted to do something! The biggest highlight for me was seeing how much people loved these venues, and how much they appreciated the our efforts. You could really feel the community behind the shows and to give back to that community who have been so kind to us over the years really felt good. I wanna do it again next year but in a different city!”

Naturally the video shows a ton of live footage of the Keepin’ The Dive Alive run of shows, so check it out below.

As mentioned above Clowns released Nature/Nurture earlier this year.



AJJ streaming “A Poem” off upcoming album “Good Luck Everybody”

Arizona folk-punks AJJ or the artist formerly known as Andrew Jackson Jihad are streaming the first track “A Poem” off their upcoming album Good Luck Everybody, which is due out in January of next year. Sean Bonnette former social worker and front-man for AJJ had this to say about the new album: “There’s something that comes along with scrolling through your phone on Twitter or Instagram and seeing a puppy, and then a joke from a comedian, and then a young black person being shot by police, and then another puppy, and then your friends announcing a tour, and then children in cages,” says Bonnette. “There’s something in that, that fucks your brain up. I don’t know if it’s made me more of a passionate arguer or just made me confused and numb.”

Check out the new song below.

AJJ last released Ugly Spiral: Lost Works 2012-2016 earlier this year.



Boss’ Daughter (ska) streaming new EP Ace of BAC/DC bw Built Up to This

Reno ska-punk outfit Boss’ Daughter are streaming their latest release Ace of BAC/DC bw Built Up to This. The new EP features four tracks two of which were recorded live.

Check out the new EP below.

Boss’ Daughter last released “One Big Guessing Game” which was their contribution to the 7Seconds tribute album which came out earlier this year.



The Bruce Lee Band (ska) streams “If I Could Only Listen to My Heart” off new album

California punk legend Mike Park has rallied the troops and released new material from The Bruce Lee Band. Rental!!! Eviction!!! was released October 22nd on Asian Man Records and features seven new tracks.

Check out the new track below.

The Bruce Lee Band last released Everything Will Be Alright. My Friend back in 2014. If you’re a fan of The Planet Smashers or Mustard Plug you will love The Bruce Lee Band.



Anti-Flag Announce New Album “20/20 Vision”, Stream Video for “Hate Conquers All”

Political punk stalwarts Anti-Flag have a new record coming out next year. It’s titled 20/20 Vision and will be available on January 17 via Spinefarm Records.

To get you lot in the mood for it, the band have been good enough to put out a single ahead of its release. You can check out the video for “Hate Conquers All” below.

To celebrate the release of 20/20 Vision Anti-Flag will be hitting the road around the US and Europe. You can check out the full list of gigs below too.

The previous collection of music from Anti-Flag was their 2018 acoustic effort American Reckoning.