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Assembly of Arsonists (Piano-Punk, AZ) release music video for “Can’t Follow Ghosts”

Piano-driven punk outfit Assembly of Arsonists have just released a new video for their song “Can’t Follow Ghosts,” which comes from their latest album. The End Is Dear, that was released on May 31st, 2019.

You can check out the video below.

The previous effort from the post-folk ensemble was the Hostility/Heartbreak split with Diego Galvan.



Why I signed Longshot Odds to Dying Scene Records

It’s the end of a work week; it’s raising a fist; it’s screaming your lungs out—it’s diving headfirst into a hundred sweaty bodies. South Carolina’s Longshot Odds captures the energy and abandon of a raging pit, a marriage of iron-heavy chords and honey-thick leads—the kind of music where the bruising comes with the chorus. Their new EP, Circle the Drain, is a six-song EP from an exciting new voice in punk rock—but what they bring to the table is more than the same old sounds. From the metallic “Challenger,” to the grandiose and cinematic “Movin’ On,” all the way to the bouncey folk of “Blood and Asphalt”—Longshot Odds bring a diversity to their sound practically unheard of in today’s skate punk scene. But above all this, Circle the Drain promises deliverance through rock ‘n roll, and Longshot Odds fight tooth and claw to deliver.

The EP, out now on Dying Scene Records, can be streamed here.



Light The Way (Pop Punk) stream new song “Hope”

CA pop punks Light The Way are streaming their new song “Hope,” which comes from their upcoming EP, Dad Gang, that is set to be released on July 26th via Indie Vision Music.

You can give it a listen below.

Light The Way last released False Memory Syndrome in March 2018, also through Indie Vision.



Rough Dreams (emo) announce summer tour dates.

Tennesse’s Rough Dreams are taking to the road for some summer dates. They released their debut EP, via Coffin Curse Records, earlier this year.

Click here for the artwork and the tour dates.



Album Review: Ramona – “Deals, Deals, Deals!”

Deals, Deals, Deals is probably my favorite surprise of the year. I’d seen Ramona before, I’d even liked them before, but their Red Scare debut is something special. They have the songs, they have the hooks, and they have the words to make it more than just a party. I’ve been struggling a lot lately with what I actually I want from punk music. So much of it is trying to be something else—either a clone of a clone or a knowing throwback to when clones ruled the indies. Ramona is different. Ramona feels like a natural intersection of a group of close creatives; Deals, Deals, Deals is defined by songwriting before genre, and where the songs go, the sound rightly follows.

Which isn’t to say that Ramona is making music outside the confines of genre. This is melodic punk, or maybe indie punk. It’s bouncy and catchy and plaintive when it needs to be. The power chords are thick and chuggy and they form the blocky backing track to the band’s dueling vocalists. But, the fact that Ramona is a three-piece makes their music feel all the more intimate, listening to Deals, Deals, Deals, I couldn’t forget that these songs, as personal as they are, were forged from the fires of three close people. It goes a long way to capturing a certain tone, of raw conversations and comfortable clashes. 

The album opens with “Jet Fuel Can’t Melt Steel Hearts,” which features some slice-of-life relationship storytelling delivered with emotional gusto and supported by some meaty hooks. Where a lot of pop punkish bands lose their way is with their arrangements, but Ramona dodges this common misstep with thoughtful changes in their playing, specifically their drumming. I don’t often notice drumming in a song, because I’m a rhythmless philistine, but they use it here to great effect to control the song’s dynamic. “Jet Fuel Can’t Melt Steel Hearts” becomes a full-throated, danceable singalong with a positively insistent energy. 

On “Not Your Token,” we get to hear a really cool lyrical perspective as well as some Lawrence Arms-style duet singing between the two vocalists (who I wish I could name, but all the information I’ve found is the first names of the three members, and not what they do). The throat shredding call of, “I’m not your token, I’m a fucking person,” is the kind of punk rock line I live for. It boils down the sentiment to a single statement, direct and in your face. More structurally, the song is a grail of hooks, where the entire run time feels like a big singalong chorus. “We’ll make a difference, we’ll make it better, with or without you,” might just be punk’s logline for years to come. 

“Is This Emo?” is one of the other highlights of the album for me. It’s an incredibly frank, personal song about self-perception and it reminded me of that uncomfortable frisson I first felt from bands like AJJ and Against Me! It was that sort of confrontation via talk therapy that initially pulled me deeper into the genre, and it’s bands like Ramona, with their fearless navel-gazing, that keeps me there. Deals, Deals, Deals! is filled with these trauma-narrative-cum-pop-songs, and it makes it for an involving, resonant listen. 

The album ultimately has a message of hope, as “Mambo 69” concludes: “you can build your own family, be the person that you wanna be.” Deals, Deals, Deals! uses punk rock as a vehicle for self-improvement, as a means to stare the bullshit in the eye and see it for what it is. It’s about acknowledging the worst and then striving for the best. Ramona accomplishes their goals with the finesse of scene veterans, and they do it with some of the best music I’ve heard all year. 



DS Photo Gallery: Smoking Popes with The Ataris and Donaher from Once Ballroom in Somerville, MA

For the first time since the release of last year’s Into The Agony, the Smoking Popes made their way to Boston – well, Somerville really – last Monday night, setting up shop at the unique, 300-capacity former function hall that is Once Ballroom for the evening. With support from the run of shows coming from The Ataris and with locals Donaher getting the early-arriving crowd engaged, it was an evening that evoked all the best of the power-pop glory days of an earlier decade.

Hailing from the great State of New Hampshire – yours truly’s birthplace – Donaher are a four piece band that sadly I’d not seen before. They might be on the newer side – the band’s debut album, I Swear My Love Is True, was released in late 2017 on Dodgeball Records – but their sound is classic: catchy, melodic power-pop songs of love and heartbreak. It’s like if This Year’s Model-era  Elvis Costello and Road To Ruin-era Ramones had a kid, and that kid grew up on a steady diet of the Lemonheads and Mr. T Experience. Is that specific enough a reference? We think so; check out their sound for yourself right here.

The Ataris, who’re essentially the Kris Roe Travelling All-Stars at this point, were up next, assuming the primary support role on the duration of this run. The benefit of that approach is that Roe can assemble a dynamite backing lineup, which at this time consists of Mike Doherty on guitar, Montreal music scene vet Danny LaFlamme on bass and Dustin Phillips on drums. The band powered through all the hits, with Roe taking on a few tracks solo in the process. His guitar playing has often gone underrated, and trends toward being more ethereal and experimental than his pop-punk pedigree would imply, although his near-constant switching on and off of various loops and pedals was a tad mind-numbing at times. The crowd, while not quite at capacity, was still noticeably vocal and engaged throughout The Ataris’ set (prompting Popes’ frontman Josh Caterer to remark with a smile during his own band’s set that “I know you’re all here to see The Ataris, but thanks for sticking around”). Also, they played under a static red LED light, which is waaaaay over the head of yours truly’s photo taking and editing skills, thus the relative few shots in the gallery below.

Still touring in support of their seventh studio album, last year’s phenomenal Into The Agony, Chicago’s Smoking Popes plowed through a seventy-five-ish minute headline set that spanned the course of their two decade career. Into The Agony, as most of you should know, marked the return of drummer Mike Felumlee to the fold for the first time since 1997’s Destination Failure, and his presence behind the kit has been a noteworthy shot in the arm. The Popes’ lineup was a little altered on this run – Felumlee’s The Bigger Empty bandmate Reuben Baird is filling in for Mike Caterer on bass – but seeing and hearing Felumlee manning the kit behind the remaining brothers Caterer just seems right. I’ve seen the Popes a handful of times over the last couple of years, and this might have been the tightest, most energetic set yet. Whether it was on newer favorites like “Summer Down” or “Amanda My Love,” or classic staples like “Rubella” and “I Know You Love Me,” the band sound as fresh and vital as ever. Josh Caterer’s dulcet crooning has probably been the most well-known individual instrument over the course of the Popes’ career, but make no mistake about it: Josh and Eli Caterer are dual guitar heavyweights. As a wannabe guitar dork, it fills me with great joy to watch the two trade licks on the former’s gorgeous Fender Coronado and the latter’s even more gorgeous Strack Woodworking Jazzmaster clone.

Head below to see the full photo gallery from this night.

 



Wake The Dead (Hardcore, France) Stream Single “Back For More”

French hardcore unit Wake The Dead are allowing fans to stream their latest single. The effort is titled “Back For More” and it’s loaded with crushing riffs and general animosity. You can check it out below.

The previous release from Wake The Dead was the 2016 full-length. Given that it has been three years since the band created new music, the theme of “Back For More” is seemingly their return.



Loser Points (Skate Punk, Canada) Stream Single “Tribes”

Edmonton-based melodic punk outfit Loser Points have just released a new single. It’s titled “Tribes” and you can check it out below.

The previous release from the rapid Canadian three-piece was 2018’s Denial and Error.



Avem (Aviary-core, Canada) Stream Single “Don’t Cull Me Bro”

Self-confessed bird-nerds, Avem, have a new single out. It’s called “Don’t Cull Me Bro” and it’s the first new music from the feathery-four-piece since their 2018 EP, Sing Every Day.

Check out “Don’t Cull Me Bro” below.



Out of System Transfer (Folk Punk, NY) Announce “From a City by the Sea” EP, Stream Track “(I Don’t Remember it) That Way”

Out of System Transfer has just announced a new record and to get you lot in the mood for it, the New York-based, folk punk ensemble have been good enough to stream a track early from it. The full release of From a City by the Sea is scheduled for August 1 but for now you can stream “(I Don’t Remember it) That Way” below.

The previous music from Out of System Failure was the double single “Make Mine Neat​/​Last Dogs in Alaska”. The band released it earlier this year.



Kids on Fire (Punk, WA) Announce Album “Songs in the Key of Bummer”, Stream Teaser Track

Seattle-based punk outfit Kids on Fire have just announced that they will release their latest album on July 18. Helping to bring Songs in the Key of Bummer to your ear holes will be local label Tiny Dragon Music.

The band have also been kind enough to put out a little taster of Songs in the Key of Bummer prior to its release. Check out the anthemic “Cokes on Sunday” below.



Bony Macaroni (Pop Punk, Holland) Stream Latest Single “Atlas Fugged”

The hilariously named Dutch pop punk band Bony Macaroni have just released their first single since the five-track, self-titled debut EP earlier this year. The track is called “Atlas Fugged” and you can stream it in its entirety below.

Bony Macaroni describe themselves as being for fans of “Modern Baseball, Sorority Noise, Foxing, Pinegrove, Free Throw, The Wonder Years”. If those bands float your boat, check them out!



Bad Buka (Balkan, NY) Stream Single “Somewhere Between”

New York-based Balkan, ska, punk mashup Bad Buka have just released a new single. “Somewhere Between” is available to stream below.

“Somewhere Between” is the first new music from the group since their 2017 16-track concept album, both titled and lamenting the Hero’s Journey.



The Take release video for “Revolution Now”

The Take, who feature Will Shepler, (Agnostic Front, Madball) Scott Roberts, (Biohazard, Spudmonsters) and Carlos Congate (45 Adapters, Urban Noise, Legion 76), have released a video for “Revolution Now”. The track is taken from their eponymously titled debut album, out now on Demons Run Amok Entertainment.

Have a watch below.



Billy Liar releases new album “Some Legacy”

Scottish folk punk Billy Liar has released his new album, Some Legacy, which came out via Red Scare. The Scottish folk punk mainstay has got together a band for this one and it’s available to order on vinyl or CD.

You can have a taste of the record below.