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Wolves & Wolves & Wolves & Wolves (Punk, NC) Stream “Acoustic EP”

North Carolina-based punk outfit Wolves & Wolves & Wolves & Wolves are allowing fans to stream their latest EP. The imaginatively-titled Acoustic EP is available to listen to below. As you may have guessed, the three track collection is an unplugged effort featuring reimagined versions of the band’s tunes.

The previous release from the quartet was 2018’s Excommunicate Me.



UK Subs detail another covers album…

UK Subs are to release Subversions II, the follow up to their covers album of last year, on June 28th. The record is out on vinyl and CD and available for pre-order now.

A list of who they’ve covered for the album is below



PI$$ER (Hardcore, UK) announce debut EP

PI$$ER, featuring members of The Domestics, Revenge of the Psychotronic Man and Beat The Red Light among others, are to release their debut, 4 song EP on TNS Records on July 12th. We’re promised “beefy, catchy hardcore” from this band that comes with quite the fine resume…

Pre-orders are up now on Bandcamp and from the label.

 



Album Review: The Aggrolites “REGGAE NOW!”

The Aggrolites have returned with their sixth studio album REGGAE NOW! a continuation of their unique brand of funky soulful skinhead reggae. This organ driven “dirty reggae” has almost never felt so tight and cohesive as what they put on display here.

“Pound for Pound” opens the album with a self-promotional dance number. “Boss of hot sauce or what else it may be, Aggro is Aggro stylistically” Jesse toasts over a classic Aggrolites rhythm so steady you could use it to set your watch. This upbeat rocksteady style gets revisited on several tracks, as “Groove Them Move Them” and “Aggro Reggae Party” are sure to be quick additions to summer party playlists. While songs “People Win” and “Help Man” deliver on a more classic Aggrolites sound, where the vocals are delivered with a little more power. Focusing more on delivering the story than harmonizing with the instruments. “Help Man” has the “Countryman Fiddle” style of storytelling that is extremely popular with fans, especially in a live setting.

REGGAE NOW! has The Aggrolites showcasing more of their soulful side. The first track to do this is “Say or Do” which sounds like it was directly lifted off an Alton Ellis album. It has the steady rhythm but the vocals sound poured directly from Motown and displays a deeper sense of emotion. “Love Me Tonight” follows with a beautiful love song that showcases some delightful vocal harmonies. Even the final track, the instrumental “Shadow Walk”, puts some emotion in a dub track.

Speaking of instrumentals there are several to be found here, as what would a roots reggae album be without at least a couple. However, other than “Shadow Walk” and “15 or 50”, these tracks do not do enough to differentiate themselves from the rest of the album. They are most certainly very danceable and may sound better in a live setting but here they tend to blur into the other songs without carving their own space. It makes for a serene playlist for the background, but does not quite draw the attention as some of the other songs found here.

The Aggrolites have always sounded like a punk band trying to play a traditional rocksteady reggae sound, where they would loosely incorporate many different styles of music into a unique blend they dubbed “dirty reggae”. On REGGAE NOW! they have fully evolved into a world class reggae band with a tight incorporation of jazz, funk, and blues. One could almost forget the “dirty” aspect to this sound as the music is as bright and clean as the Caribbean origins of the genre.

4/5 Stars



Album Review: Bracket – “Too Old To Die Young”

Too Old To Die Young is a sentiment that rings true to plenty of us aging punks, living for high Beats Per Minute and living with high blood pressure. It also encapsulates the timeless feel to this record.

Bracket are self proclaimed musical ‘misfits’ and were somewhat coerced into making this album by Fat Mike. They live in the cracks between punk and pop punk – as well as flirting with other genres –  but here they have produced an album that will make perfect sense to punks of all varieties and ages. If your dad keeps harping on about 80s punk, then firstly I’m sorry for your troubles, but here is an album for both of you!

This is not an attempt to reinvent any wheels. They’ve been there, done that. This is simple and pure punk rock songwriting, delivered with melodic aplomb. It’s a blend of old and new that bridges the generational gap between The Ramones and Masked Intruder.

“Cloud Ate” takes some bouncy baby steps to start the album, with an improvised guitar riff, before immediately finding it’s stride and setting the pace for what’s to come. There is a beauty in the simplicity of the songs; a sense of pure joy that emanates through each track. With some frankly delightful Oohs N Aahs in the background.

That’s right, I said delightful. Because this album is delightful and I don’t think Bracket give a shit if it’s punk rock or not. The vocal duties are traded, shared and intentionally layered in a way that sounds like The Beach Boys if they actually got into the whole Charles Manson cult thing.

Aptly enough “A Perfect Misfit” is one of the standout songs here, combining all the best elements of the album into a punky brew. There are self-deprecating lyrics across most of the 26 minutes of the LP, but one benefit of growing older is that you run out of fucks to give. Sure, they may not have made it big. Sure, they might on average be the wrong side of 40. But they are a band who are comfortable in their sound, even if they might not be as comfortable in their skin.  

This is a great little power pop album, just in time for summer. Fat Mike has made some questionable choices in his life, but convincing Bracket to go ahead with this album is not one of them.

4.5/5 Stars

 



DS Photo Gallery: Craig Finn And The Uptown Controllers with Laura Stevenson, Boston, MA

The current leg of Craig Finn‘s tour in support of his latest solo album, I Need A New War, found the singer/songwriter (and The Hold Steady frontman) and his stellar backing band, The Uptown Controllers, landing at the Sinclair in Cambridge, Massachusetts, last Tuesday evening. It was a bit of an intimate affair – the presence of rows of chairs on the main floor was unexpected and limited the venue’s capacity from its normal SRO heights, but created a bit of a unique lounge/theater vibe in what is already the best room of its size (normal capacity is 525) within a hundred mile radius.

The infinitely-talented Laura Stevenson was the opener for this brief run of shows. Armed with only a guitar, the minimalist performance allowed Stevenson’s deadliest weapon – her voice – to shine. It’s a voice that can seemingly effortlessly wander from fragile to ferocious; haunting but with a sweetness to it that makes for a powerful and sometimes funny and occasionally awkward-but-in-a-good-way start to the evening. (Oh, an she opened with “Lay Back, Arms Out,” and that might be my favorite Laura Stevenson song so that was awesome).

Finn and his band took the stage next – shoutout to two-band bills on a weeknight, by the way – and by the time they did most of the floor’s seats were occupied and a few stragglers had filled in standing room spots around the edges. It was one of the first few shows that this particular group had played as a six-piece (Parker Shper whose name is somehow not misspelled on keys, Stuart Bogie on sax and clarinet among other things, James Richardson on guitar, Will Berman on bass and Falcon Valdez on drums with the occasional pop-up appearance by Stevenson on vocals) but as consummate veterans of around a collected 700 other bands over the last twenty years, the parts seemed to fit together magically already, which is no easy task; the muted tones and subtle layers provide a lot of room for the potential stepping-on of toes between musicians, but there wasn’t much of that at all to the naked ear.

Finn occasionally played guitar, but his preeminent role in these full-band solo shows is that of storyteller. Sure it’s a rock show, but in many ways what Finn and the Uptown Controllers are conveying feels more than a little bit like a night at the theater. Through his work with The Hold Steady, Finn has long made a history of telling stories as a songwriter that eschew the traditional verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-repeat structures. His solo storytelling, particularly on the most recent trio of albums (2015’s Faith In The Future, 2017’s We All Want The Same Things and this year’s stellar I Need A New War), ups that ante, and in a live performance, Finn doesn’t just tell stories with his lyrics but with his actual performance, tying songs together, explaining characters in a way that really inserts them into all of our lives.

Head below to scroll through our full photo gallery from the evening!

 



Uncle Djuzeppe & the Mob Release New Video for “Drama Queen”

New York City ska punks Uncle Djuzeppe & The Mob have released a video for their song “Drama Queen.” The song has some strong gypsy punk vibes and came out in January.

You can watch the video for “Drama Queen” below and download the song for free over at UD&TM’s Bandcamp page.

 



Chris Fox (Skate Punk) Releases New Track “Photography” From Upcoming Album

Well, here’s some news that’s sure to make your Friday! Chris Fox (Boss’ Daughter, Vampirates) is releasing his second full-length album on August 2nd! Like his debut album, this newest offering (released via Voted Best Records) is titled Chris Fox and was written, produced and recorded by the man himself! It was recorded between May 2018 and May 2019 during minimal time off between tours, and in random locations across the west coast. Mr. Fox continues on his normal path of stripped down and built back up punk songs about friends, drinking, not drinking, and a slew of other relatable topics. The new eleven track LP includes the smash singles “All That I Know” “Help To Forget” and features art by the endlessly talented Joey Souza. The debut single, “Photography” was just released today on all your favorite digital music sites. But, if you wanna cram it in your ears now, (and peep the Photography Tour 2019 schedule as well as the track list) without all of the laborious clicking, head on down below!

*Side Note: Fox Land sounds AMAZING!!



Album Review: Russian Girlfriends – “In the Parlance of our Times”

A couple of years back, I managed to see Russian Girlfriends open for Red City Radio at a pretty unimpressive venue in Portland, OR that has since been closed. I had never heard of the band before the show, and I didn’t particularly like going to said venue, but alas, there I was. The New Mexican punk rock ‘n rollers impressed me well enough with their swaggering, high energy performance and I thought to myself that there must be something wrong here. Russian Girlfriends was a good band—they were extremely competent, they worked the crowd like industry pros, and they were opening for one of the biggest acts in punk rock at the time. The catch? I hadn’t heard a fucking word about them before that tour. They’d never been recommended, they’d never popped up in any of my many internet conversations with other disaffected scenesters. Russian Girlfriends were effectively off the grid for me, and then there they were: born as a full-grown band with full-grown chops, seemingly out of nowhere.

And now, they’re on A-F Records, perhaps one of the most exciting labels in punk today (also seemingly out of nowhere) and they have an album out. In the Parlance of our Times is a raging, spitting, staggering punk rock album that is as muscular as it is musical. It’s a testament to triplet runs, pick scrapes, and honey and oil high notes. Russian Girlfriends sound like an arena punk rock band—somewhere between ZZ Top, the Bronx, and the chugging melodicism of 90s Epifat. In the Parlance of our Times is all of those things, and maybe even too much of those things—but it’s here, it exists, and whether I like everything it tries to be, it executes it with a level of professionalism and competency that gives even its blandest decisions a sense of conviction.

“Coke” is a hardcore sprint that features some tongue-in-cheek sass (“you’re the reason punk rock is dead!”), a minute long rager that sets the stage not necessarily for Russian Girlfriends’ sound as it does their energy. “Angry Bong Rips” is a more traditional song, featuring a catchy vocal melody and a lot of guitar-centric antics. As far as riffs go, these guys got a lot of them, running power chords up and down the fretboard with leads a-plenty. The vibe is 80s and honestly not too much of a stone’s throw from Skynyrd, but where the influence might not be “cool,” at least it’s different. We can only take so much Replacements, Clash, and Springsteen worship in the punk scene—the palette change is refreshing, if not always to my taste.

The arrangements throughout the album are head-turning and part of the reason Russian Girlfriends feel so fully-formed to me (or pre-packaged, depending on my mood). “White Guilt White Heat” has heavy riffs complete with piercing harmonics as well as a strummed slow-down. Echoes of Interscope-era Rise Against come to mind, which is no bad thing, mind you, but in appreciating the album as a work of art, I can’t help but wonder how they ended up here. There is no evil work at play, I know; their polish is an admirable trait. But—and there’s always a but—it is in the cracks through which we see the artist, and I can’t help but feel like In the Parlance of our Times doesn’t have much in the way of cracks—that it is too tight, too competent, and in effect: void of personality. In less words: it’s safe.

But there’s something to be said for safe. Safe isn’t always exciting, but it can be fun in a comfortable sort of way. Like a well-worn boot or a favorite guitar. Russian Girlfriends aren’t reinventing anything here (Axl Rose or Billy Gibbons, take your pick), but they are banging out expertly conceived tunes with the precise execution of real life musicians. It’s something to behold. It might not change the world, but who knows, maybe it’ll improve your night.

 



New Music: The Hold Steady debut “Denver Haircut” from upcoming album “Thrashing Thru the Passion”

Happy Wednesday, boys and girls! This one took us by pleasant surprise.

The Hold Steady have announced plans for a brand new album! It’s called Thrashing Thru The Passion, and it consists of five brand-new songs and five songs, like “Entitlement Crew,” that have only been digitally released in piecemeal fashion over the course of the last year. The new album is due out August 16th, but pre-order bundle options are available now right here.

To whet your appetite, the band released the brand new single “Denver Haircut” today, and you can check it out below!

The Hold Steady’s last full-length, Teeth Dreams, was released back in 2014 on Vagrant Records. In the years since, Franz Nicolay has rejoined the band, so this’ll be THS’s first full album as a six-headed monster!



Mike Herrera (MxPx) records new version of ‘Don’t Walk Away’

Mike Herrera, frontman of MxPx, has shared a new version of the song ‘Don’t Walk Away’. The original version of the song first appeared on the 2003 studio album ‘Before Everything and After’. Mike and his wife Holli were recently featured on the tv show ‘Fixer Upper’ where work was done on their home in Texas. A plaque was installed in the kitchen with the lyrics to this song, this can be seen at the beginning of the video.

Check out the video for the new, stripped back version below.



Sum 41 share video for new single ‘Never There’

Sum 41 have released another single from their upcoming seventh studio album, Order In Decline, out July 19 via Hopeless Records. The video for the new song has the theme of a broken home. The song is a slower, more stripped back affair compared to the other two heavier singles released so far.

Check out the video below.



500 Miles To Memphis (Americana Punk) sign to Paper + Plastick for vinyl release of “Blessed Be the Damned”

Cincinnati Americana punk act 500 Miles to Memphis have announced that they have signed to Paper + Plastick for the vinyl release of their latest album, Blessed Be The Damned, which is set to be released on August 9th.

You can give the whole album a listen below while perusing the bands’ upcoming tour dates.

Blessed Be The Damned was originally released on January 25th, 2019.



Good Shade (Garage Punk) release new video, announce tour dates

Columbus garage punk act Good Shade have released a new video for their song “Must Have Been.”

You can check that out along with the bands’ upcoming tour dates below.

“Must Have Been” comes from the bands’ latest album, Way Out, that was released on February 15th via Dirtnap Records.



Screw Houston stream new single “Midway”

Dutch melodic punks Screw Houston are streaming their new single, “Midway,” which was released on June 13th via White Russian Records.

You can give it a listen below.

Screw Houston last released the single “Hospital Beds” in November 2018.