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Album Review: The Decline – Flash Gordon Ramsay Street

Hailing from Perth, Australia, The Decline are back with their fourth studio album; Flash Gordon Ramsay Street. This album is a return to the fast, loud punk rock that underpinned their first 2 albums but went missing somewhat on their previous release “Resistor”. You could be forgiven for thinking that this album is a 90’s or early 2000’s punk band signed to Fat Wreck Chords, it has definitely got that Southern California punk feel about it. 

The album artwork is uniquely Australian with a Kookaburra sitting on a street sign that reads the album title “Flash Gordon Ramsay Street” in front of a court bowl bearing resemblance to that of Ramsay Street. For non-Australian (or British) readers; Ramsay Street is iconic for being the setting of terrible Australian soap opera “Neighbours”. The process of nonsensically joining pairs of words that flow into one another, the way a rapper – or schizophrenic – may, is continued from the album title to the 6th song ‘Summerbucht’ and the 13th song ’Bahia De Verano’. These songs, each 5 seconds long, include the same 15 words “flash Gordon Ramsay street fighter pilot light sabre tooth fairy dust Pan Pacific rim job” as the former ramps up in intensity and the latter winds down with the album. 

The album reaches a value-for-money 17 songs but only checks in at 30min in length, ensuring the listener doesn’t lose interest or get bored throughout the album. Kicking off with the very solid “Bullet With Buffalo Wings”, the album really comes into its own on the second -and arguably the best- song “Brovine”.  Without having any context, it is hard to tell whether this song is about sexual harassment and domestic abuse, or factory farms and meat-eating – most likely it is about both. The songs’ verses are tied together with a chorus-chant of “fuck off with your macho shit” sung with such passion that I can’t help but join in every time it is sung, I can only imagine this would be amazing in a live show. The albums intensity continues to rise through the fourth song “War” which features guest singer Nuno Pereira of A Wilhelm Scream taking control of the song for a single verse that completely changes from The Decline’s usual sound to that AWS.

The guest vocals don’t end there, the very next song, “A Verge Collection”, features Stacy Dee of Bad Cop Bad Cop as the girlfriend that the protagonist is running from. As the album approaches the end, the mood is lifted slightly by the song “Get Hyrule, Save Zelda” which features slightly more poppy music over a more relaxed set of lyrics about playing Zelda. For Australian music fans, it is worth identifying this song as another – “Get, See” song, starting with The Smith Street Band’s “Get High, See Mice”, Lincoln Le Fevre’s “Get Drunk, See Bands” and Luca Brasi’s “Get Sad, See No One”. 

The raised mood is only temporary before the album ends on a particularly sad pair of songs, “Your Funeral” and “Josh”. “Your Funeral” is the only slow song on the album and is sung with serious emotion; the lyrics express concern for an old friend, the lyrics “feels like we wrote the whole of Eat That in your background over beers” identifies the friend in trouble as a past band member and quite likely former vocalist Dan Cribb. The song focuses on the friends mental health issues, not being in contact with the friend and the associated feeling of not being able to do anything to make a difference. This leads into the louder “Josh” a tribute to a friend who has died and how different things are now that he is gone. This doesn’t have the raw sadness of “Your Funeral” and feels more like a celebration of the life and good times that were shared before the passing of Josh. 

The album has really put The Decline back in the drivers seat of Australian punk rock and demonstrates that they should be far more famous than they are. A little more touring to get their music out there and this album would be taking out the top spot on a lot of reviewers end of year lists. 

4.5/5 Stars



Introducing Experimental Ska Act: Flying Raccoon Suit

Ska as a genre has seen many iterations, from the first wave of Jamican ska bands in the 1960’s, to the English Two-Tone movement of the late 1970’s to the Third Wave in the 1990’s. Since then there have been a lot of successful bands who have put their own spin on these classic sounds. Which brings us to Mississippi’s Flying Raccoon Suit who take a mix of Jazz, Metal, Indie Rock, and Progressive Rock and stir in a frenzied punk ethos to create their own unique interpretation of the already diverse genre.

As evident on this year’s Static Home EP, a two tracked single, they are not afraid to experiment with their sound. With this single we are presented with two widely varied sounds, the first being the titular “Static Home” which gives the impression of a smokey Jazz club performance but with a rock edge. It gives the guitars and drums a little more weight which is counterbalanced with a silky smooth horn section. This allows Jessica’s vocals the chance to be more refined, but not without completely abandoning her punk side. This is followed by “Nothing’s Changed” which give us the large full horn section and upstroked guitars we would expect from classic third wave ska punk. However there is a frenetic time change instrumental breakdown in the latter half of the song that makes this song stand out and will keep the listener intensely engaged. Don’t simply take my word for it, check out the stream here.



Billy Liar streams new “I Still Struggle” lyric video, announces tour

One of Scotland’s finest, Billy Liar has just put out a new lyric video for the song “I Still Struggle”, which appears on the album Some Legacyreleased on June 21 via Red Scare Industries. “I Still Struggle” is available for streaming below, and be sure to check out his upcoming tour dates (also featured below) from FEST in Gainesville to Detroit and back over to the UK. Billy Liar is covering a lot of ground.  



My Chemical Romance announce reunion, December 20th LA show

Seminal emo / pop punk outfit My Chemical Romance have announced that they’ll reunite for an LA show at Shrine Expo hall on December 20th 2019.

Tickets go on sale Nov 01, 2019 – 12:00 PM (Local to LA) from this link.



Brendan Kelly and The Wandering Birds stream video-cover of The Lillingtons’ “All I Hear is Static”

If you know anything about Brendan Kelly and the Wandering Birds, then you know that any news from them means you’re in for something a little different. The band is absolutely killing it right now with the release of this new music video/cover of the the great Lillingtons‘ “All I hear is Static”. Derek Grant of Alkaline Trio, and Suicide Machines fame not only played on the track but directed the video as well. It’s a cover that originally appeared on Red Scare Industries: 15 Years of Tears and Beers. That compilation is available for purchase here through Red Scare Industries. Stream the new video below.



Shore City stream new single “Ironic Side”

Cranston, RI’s Shore City are streaming their new single “Ironic Side”.

If you like Nofx style skate punk, give this song a spin below.



DS Exclusive: System Restore (Melodic Punk) Premiere Video For New Single, “CTL+ALT+DEL”

Trick or treat, punx! System Restore has entrusted Dying Scene to premiere their new music video for the song “CTR+ALT+DEL.” The track recalls hardcore favorites like Pennywise and A Wilhelm Scream. However, it comes from the Wyoming scene that brought us Teenage Bottlerocket and The Lillingtons.

“CTR+ALT+DEL” comes out today on the River Monster Records Monster Compster, Vol. 3 compilation, which is available here. System Restore previously released the Suburban Drones EP in 2018. It was recorded at the Blasting Room and was recently re-pressed on vinyl.

You can watch the video for “CTR+ALT+DEL” below.



DS Photo Gallery: Against Me! perform “Searching For A Former Clarity” and “New Wave” in Boston (w/Cursive, Dilly Dally)

While I think the idea of full-album shows can be a cool one, particularly if its an album the listener has a sentimental connection with, I think that they also invite a lot of space for potential letdown; an album performed as a single unit might work well on its own but can also frequently mess with the flow of a full-length headline set. The double album show, however, can be pretty great; you get the natural ebb and flow and crescendo that comes with the experience of listening to an album, then you get to reset and start the process over again halfway through the show. And when the show contains two albums that were released back-to-back, it also allows a unique, retroactive insight as to what the songwriter or the band was going through at that time period.

To that end, Against Me! brought their two-night, four-album mini-tour through Boston last week for a couple well-attended nights at the 1000-capacity Royale nightclub. Yours truly attended the first night which, if you’re keeping score at home, meant getting Searching For A Former Clarity and New Wave in succession. Released in 2005 and 2007 respectively, these represent the band’s last album on Fat Wreck Chords and subsequent first major label album for Sire Records. They were also written during the second half of the eight-year reign of George W. Bush. The country was constantly at war, conservatism ruled the day, and the country was on the brink of an economic collapse, themes that we’re struggling with on an exponential scale a decade-plus later. On a more personal level, they also found Laura Jane Grace exploring themes of gender and identification and isolation, things that would all get blown open on 2014’s Transgender Dysphoria Blues. The band looked and sounded great on this night; Grace’s voice was probably the best I’ve heard it at any point in the last half-decade. It was the first time I’d seen Andrew Seward perform in Boston since returning to his previous role as the band’s bass player, and as much as I loved watching Inge Johansson play and perform, there’s something comforting about seeing the three-headed monster Grace flanked by Seward and longtime ax-man James Bowman with the eternal sparkplug that is Atom Willard providing the gas pedal. I know I mixed metaphors there, but whatever. The double-album show also gave a chance for the band to pull out a few deep cuts that haven’t been played in a long, long time; Grace remarked that time had taught her it was okay to hate the New Wave track “Stop,” but that time has also taught her it’s okay to get funky when listening to that song if you want to.

Support on this quick run of Against Me! shows came from Omaha’s Cursive and Toronto’s Dilly Dally. The former, a long-running six-piece post-punk collaborative are still touring in support of last year’s Vitriola and it’s 2019 companion Get Fixed. The latter are a band that I was not really previously familiar with unfortunately, but they’re a dynamite force. In short order, they’ve perfected a sort of explosive, post-grunge sound that is somewhere between Bikini Kill and Sonic Youth and maybe Smashing Pumpkins but the good Smashing Pumpkins of like 1994.

Head below to see our full photo rundown. For whatever reason, none of the bands involved were really lit from the front, allowing the viewer a more ethereal experience and the amateur photographer an awful lot of frustration. I just kinda leaned into the poor lighting and hoped for the best, particularly where the oversaturdated red light during Dilly Dally’s set is concerned.

 



Petrol Girls share video for ‘No Love For A Nation’

London punks Petrol Girls have released a music video for their current single ‘No Love For A Nation’. The song was intended to reach UK radio today, which was previously set to be the date of the country leaving the EU. The band will be supporting Refused and Thrice across Europe next month. 

The single is taken from the studio album ‘Cut & Stitch’ which came out in March this year. Check out the video below.



Anti-Flag Speaks Their Mind At Paste Studios

Political punk legends Anti Flag just days after announcing their upcoming record and tour to bless the studio with some never before heard acoustic versions of their new tunes. Front-men Justin Sane and Chris #2 waxed poetic about their musical influences, social activism, and 85 Bud Lights.

It was one of the most genuine and heartfelt Paste Sessions of the last few months, and I should know because I am at most of them. They broke their songs down to their deepest roots on the acoustic guitars as they will bring their live show back to its roots playing in front of a crowd of no more than 200 on Halloween night at New York Cities Mercury Lounge.



Sum 41 Storms Paste Magazine’s Live Studio

Sum 41 is out with a new record and they took a trip over to Paste Magazine to record a live studio session with Paste’s resident musical madman Brad Wagner. While the group may be known for blazing guitar solos and hard pumping drumlines they brought a far tamer and stripped-down version to the Paste studio that still hit all the same chords.



DS Exclusive: Stream New Tracks From Ground Score (Portland) and Cop/Out (NYC)

Portland’s Ground Score is an under the radar band that deserves at least a listen (if not a beer bong and a stage-dive). This is fast and fun skate punk with a darker edge and some serious songwriting to elevate it beyond you’re usual circle pit. You may even remember, their album Old Theories on Society garnered a not too shabby review from us here.

Well, the boys are back and this time they have a split with New York’s Cop/Out—an absurdly intense, positively destructive pop-punk band that plays Queer anthems that come from a place of raucous distortion and land-speed records. Seriously, this is some frenetic stuff. The split’s titled Hindsight 2020 and sounds pretty rockin’, if I do say so myself.

We’re proud to be streaming songs from both bands, sure to please fans of all that is fast, loud, and Epi-Fat—if you like what you hear, take to the streets and pre-order the damn thing. Split hits the streets 11/1. Go!

 

 



Album Review: Filthy Hearts “Beyond Repair”

 

If you are a fan of the late 90’s, early 2000’s brand of Midwestern whiskey soaked pop punk like Dillinger Four, Dear Landlord, or Off With Their Heads, Denver’s Filthy Hearts newest album Beyond Repair, out now via Hidden Home Records, will most definitely be in your wheelhouse. It is honest and emotional, a catharsis masked behind gritty guitars and sing-along choruses.

“Every day I’m trying to be better than I used to be” is the very first lyric that greets us in the album opener “Ambulatory” and it sets the tone for the entirety of this album. Aggressively delivered self reflection followed with a catchy chorus of “Ambulatory, sick of being so fucking mean… tired of being bitter about everything” is the exact type of self awareness that makes this album so intriguing. The idea of self improvement while being acutely aware of your faults is an idea that everyone can get behind.

“Drinking Wells (is the Best Revenge)” is the type of desperate poetry that is only found at the bottom of the bottle, a way to find some chemically induced false courage in self confidence. This lack of confidence gets revisited in “Hiding Behind the Volume” which soon becomes real confidence once the “music takes my soul, and I forget about the past… the music makes you smile, and I know it’s not just me, and it’s time to go and have some fun.” Perhaps an indication that confidence may not need to be chemically induced. The idea of doing something you do well, as a means to overcoming the nemesis of overthinking, is a confidence booster, especially when there is the positive reinforcement of a crowd full of people have fun with you.

However Filthy Hearts must believe in delayed gratification because before they fully deliver on the fun time premise, they break your heart with a massive tempo break in “Voted Best City to be Lonely”. An almost acoustic number, that has an electric build and features a bassline that attempts to vibrate the sadness into your soul. The whiskey inspired poetry is moved to the forefront once again as “we both took a bottle of shots, and keep drinking till the dark takes you in. Hearts will remain empty tonight” they lament while the guitars develop an intensity that sucks you into the feeling of despair presented.

Immediately following this sadness is “I’ve Never Skanked a Day in My Life” a fun little blitzkrieg of a song. Encouraging us to clap our hands or stomp our feet and sing along, as a way to have fun and not think about tomorrow. “Get out of your mind and have a good time, It’s the only thing we can do better”

There are a few songs that cover the idea of finding things to do better or at the very least finding a way to escape from the way you think about problems, such as “Desire”, “Dreams of Youth” and the break-necked “Seasons”, but none better than ”Career Day” where they encourage you to run away from the machinations of the daily grind at a thankless job because “There’s a better life out there for you and me, a life off the clock, out of this machine.” The outro of “I want to run away” is delivered with such conviction and despair that it is chill inducing.

The album ends with “And I Don’t Even Have Kids” which evokes thoughts of a small bar packed to capacity with the entire crowd desperately singing along. By far their most political song, it comes across as a punk rock State of the Union, complete with back and forth vocals, driving and pulsating guitar work, sing along “woahs” and a giant middle finger to the “greedy selfish fucks” in our government. It almost seems that amongst the self reflection presented on this album, the environment we live in could be creating the very sense of sadness and despair presented.

On Beyond Repair Filthy Hearts deliver honest barrel-aged punk as they take the classic Midwestern sound and mix in a touch of hardcore and skatepunk. The result is an intrinsic experience best enjoyed sung out loud in a club full of your friends, a beer in one hand and a raised fist in the other. It is most certainly one of the years strongest albums and is most likely going to be on on some year end lists.



Video Premiere: Rational Anthem stream “Through Being Punk”

Florida to Iowa punks Rational Anthem are streaming their latest music video in support of their record, It’s Only Permanent, out November 1 on A-F Records. The new single is called “Through Being Punk” and it’s for anyone who’s ever thought about packing up their bags and moving far off to some remote region where even dyingscene.com can’t get a hold of you.

“The title of this song pretty much sums it up.” Bassist/vocalist Chris Hembrough has to say about the new single. “One of the things I’ve grown super tired of in regards to punk rock is the marriage between the music and how celebrated it is to be depressed and apathetic. I thought that was cool for a long time. It showed people you were punk. I came to realize it doesn’t have to be that way.”

He leaves us with an enlightened perspective to ponder while a guy in an Undertaker shirt superstitiously taps the various paintings of his favorite venue’s art collection. “I want to be happy, healthy, and take good care of myself. I want people around me to do well and do great things. A lot of the punk scene sells you on this dumb notion that staying angsty and sad is all just a part of it. Fuck that. As far as that stuff goes, I’m through being punk, but playing and celebrating punk music will always be a passion of mine. Put on a Tony Robbins tape and join a jazzercise class. Being happy is cool.” Sounds good. Stream “Through Being Punk” below



Agnostic Front discuss the recording of “Get Loud”

Agnostic Front release their 12th studio album, Get Loud, via Nuclear Blast on November 8th. Following the recent release of first single “Spray Painted Walls“, the band have uploaded a video discussing the recording of the album.

Have a watch below. Album pre-orders are up now.