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Album Review: The Lost Riots – “The Stories Are True”

Although they call New Haven, Connecticut their home, The Lost Riots bring back the sounds of old school NYC punk.  They released their latest album The Stories Are True back on July 16th, and you can pick it up here (seriously, it’s a steal at $5).  However, I’d recommend streaming it below, as you continue to read this review.

I have the luxury of plugging in headphones and listening to music while I’m at the “day job,” and usually this doesn’t cause me any problems.  Today, I looked up rather shamefacedly as I realized I was tapping my foot and nodding my head in time with the Lost Riots superbly old school punk album, The Stories are True. I may have even played air drums with pens at one point, but I’m not quite willing to admit that.  Nevertheless, this album has the power to transport me from the Monday morning humdrum of cubicle-farm life, back to the dirty, noisy, sweaty basements and rock clubs where I’d much rather be spending my time.

The Lost Riots are 2-time recipients of the Best Punk award at the Connecticut Music Awards.  In my experience, that’s usually the hallmark of mediocre bands that know how to market themselves to local music industry sycophants, but in this case, I think the title was deserved because this band will bring you back (in a good way) to the early days of punk rock with lots of no-bullshit speedy riffs and distortion.  Think Bad Brains or Dead Boys, with a little grunge rock sensibility thrown in.  The band manages to create a sense of rough-around-the-edges urgency in the songs, partly from recording them either live in the studio or with minimal takes.

The Stories are True has 12 tracks, 2 of which (“Astoria Blvd.” and a revamped acoustic version of “We’re Getting Old”) also appear on the band’s Shorter! Faster!! Louder!!! EP, which came out in 2015.  The song “Astoria Blvd.” is one of my favorites, and recounts the story of the band’s misadventures getting lost in Brooklyn thanks to a rogue GPS.  “Astoria” has a sound that reminds me of The Hives’ “Hate to Say I Told You So.” Both “The Stories Are True” and “NYC Nights” paint a good picture of frontman Jeff’s trips to NYC as a young punk. They even have a song about listening to the Dead Boys, which explains a lot about their sound.

All in all, you’ve got to check this album out if you miss the way punk used to be, or if you’re a younger punk and want to hear what punk should be.  This album is both.

You can catch The Lost Riots performing pretty regularly around Connecticut, and they’ll also be playing some dates around the Northeast for 2016’s  Upstart Fest.