Make sure to keep your eyes peeled for updates from us as we know more!
Saturday, September 15, 2018 at 12:38 PM (PST) by matmoksik
Advertised on the Fat Wreck Chords website as “one of their top 3 live albums to date”, NOFX released their third live album last month.
A brief history: NOFX first released I Heard They Suck Live, a classic for sure, way back in 1995. In 2007, they released They’ve Actually Gotten Worse Live. This second one was unique because the band went out of their way not to repeat songs from the first live album, thereby leaving off classics “Bob”, “The ’Brews”, and “Linoleum”. But considering the band had released so much new material since 1995, this was an uncharacteristically classy move for the band. What was not classy was teasing the listener by playing the almighty Decline as an encore only to fade the recording out after just a couple minutes (pisses me off just thinking about it). The band did eventually release a live version of The Decline, though by itself and in DVD and vinyl format only.
In the early stages of this millennium, Fat Wreck Chords launched the Live In A Dive series, subsequently releasing seven volumes between 2001 and 2005 and featuring, among others, Lagwagon, Bracket, and the Subhumans. The Live In A Dive title was shed when NOFX released They’ve Actually Gotten Worse Live, though the Mad Caddies 2004 live album had also gone by a different title.
Then a bunch of years passed before the Live In A Dive series was revived with Ribbed – Live In A Dive. As the title suggests, the band plays songs only from their 1991 album, Ribbed. In fact, they play them all, and in order. The band even plays “Brain Constipation”, despite suggesting beforehand that the audience members take a break to go to the bathroom, and calling it “one of our worst songs ever”.
It has actually become commonplace for bands to perform albums in their entireties, and even releasing those concerts commercially; Less Than Jake did this for each of their first five albums. Ribbed – Live In a Dive is a first for NOFX, though.
Going back to “Brain Constipation”, this is a song that I’ve surely listened to dozens of times while listening to the Ribbed album or to NOFX on shuffle, and while it never stood out as a particularly strong song – I’m sure I didn’t even know what it was called before now – nor did it strike me as particularly awful. That’s one of the interesting things about NOFX in concert: they are so NOT rock stars. Their stage demeanor is casual and conversational and filled with self-criticism. I’ve always been fascinated when a band critiques its previous output, as NOFX often does before and after songs, whether panning “Brain Constipation”, or giving themselves passing grades on the final three songs, calling them “all pretty good”.
From their earliest days NOFX has been known for humor, though never really as a musically comedic act, like The Vandals kind of were, and maybe not intentionally, either – how seriously should we take Fat Mike as he sings about bathing on Wednesdays and Saturdays only, that they are “Shower Days”, and that he hates them? Sure, sometimes they cross the line, but in general Fat Mike, El Hefe, and Eric Melvin make me laugh.
Fat Mike also talks down “Food, Sex, and Ewe” as he laughingly reminisces of the days when he thought ska was cool because of Operation Ivy but suggests that he now thinks ska is stupid. Which is too bad because, while most of my favorite NOFX songs are of the fast and hardcore variety, one of the reasons I originally got into NOFX over twenty years ago was because they were often considered a ska-punk band. S&M Airlines has one ska song while Ribbed has two – I say “I Don’t Want You Around” counts – and they continued that practice throughout the decade. “Food, Sex, and Ewe” is not a bad song.
“I Don’t Want You Around” is a better song, though. Not to give too much away but there is a guest singer for this one due to Fat Mike’s inability to sing and play the song at the same time (the guest is Kody from Teenage Bottlerocket/The Lillingtons; ok, I gave away everything).
While the second NOFX live album avoided repeating material from the first, this third one makes no such promise, a good thing because otherwise it would be pretty short – “Moron Brothers”, “El Lay”, “Together on the Sand”, and “Nowhere” were all on I Heard They Suck Live; “Green Corn” was on They’ve Actually Gotten Worse Live; and (this only kind of counts) Ten Years of Fucking Up had live videos of the studio versions of “Shower Days” and “Gonoherpasyphilaids”. Teenage Me thought “Gonoherpasyphilaids” was hilarious. Thirty-Something Me still finds it amusing.
Speaking of things Teenage Me liked, how about the new boobs-jugs-balloons doo-wop tag at the end of “New Boobs”? They actually pull it off live! Comparing the songs “New Boobs”, about breast implants and cosmetic surgery, and “Malachi Crunch”, about racist skinheads, show the wide range of lyrical content NOFX can showcase throughout an album. Showing their range musically is showcased in “New Boobs” alone. Moments like the doo-wop tag seem to have been built for El Hefe. So perfect for him is this tag, as well as “Together On The Sand” and the doo-do-do-do-do-doo interlude in “Moron Brothers”, that it’s easy to forget that El Hefe didn’t actually join the band until after the original Ribbed was released. The transition from the acoustic pseudo-love song “Together On The Sand” into “Nowhere” is identical to that on the first live album, which was identical to the studio version. I’ve always loved the guitar lines in “Nowhere”.
Is “Cheese/Where’s My Slice” one song or two? The title suggests two but they’ve never been split into separate tracks. The sarcastic refrain “Where’s my slice? I want more than equal rights. I want everything for free” along with the line “You think I give a shit if you’re a socialist” from “Nowhere” serve as reminders that punk rock’s political views used to be more libertarian rather than the extreme left it generally promotes today (my quoting from “Nowhere”, by the way, is a perfect example of a writer taking something out of context. Feel free to look up the rest of the lyrics).
While there will always be those who violently disagree with me, I will fight to the death in defense of my claim that Ribbed was NOFX’s first good album. Brett Gurewitz produced it (note the Bad Religion-like harmonies in the middle of “Green Corn”), but he produced their first two albums as well, so it would seem the band simply got better. Ribbed is a solid-sounding record, but the quality of indie punk recordings has gone way up since 1991, so even though this is a live recording (made in 2012 though not released until 2018) the sound quality is superior to the original studio quality.
While the sound quality is better, the performance is sloppier, which is often the case for live recordings, though not always – NOFX’s performances of “You Drink, You Drive, You Spill” and “Beer Bong” on I Heard They Suck Live were both better and tighter than their respective studio versions. One excuse the guys, especially Fat Mike, allows themselves is that these songs are harder, apparently way harder than the First Ditch Effort material. Fat Mike begins the album by warning the audience that they’re “going to fuck up a fucking lot.” Before “Shower Days” he says, “everybody watch me; this is hard”. After “New Boobs”, Hefe and Melvin have a playoff to demonstrate how difficult the guitar lick is in the song they’d just played. I haven’t tried to play any of these songs, but I’ll take their word for it – these songs do sound more complicated than, say, “Six Years On Dope”.
Too much talking often prevents a live album from holding up over time; I like blink-182 but The Mark, Tom, and Travis Show is almost unlistenable now. The novelty wears off after four or five listens as the chitter-chatter turns more annoying than funny. I’ve never found that to be the case with NOFX. I Heard They Suck Live in particular still makes me laugh over two decades later. Their crude potty humor somehow comes off smarter than their peers, despite the onstage discussion that Fat Mike, at the time forty-six years-old, started doing drugs when he was thirty-two, so he’d only been doing drugs for twelve years (uhhhh…math much?). Other talking points include the differences between ska-punks and punk-punks, how to distinguish a high five versus a Sieg Heil, the pronunciation of the word “sabotage”, the consistency with which Jews have good ideas, and that the writers of Californication plagiarized a line from “Moron Brothers” for an episode.
NOFX still sounds good despite the drugs and middle-age. Seems like I haven’t heard a great live album since the demise of the original Live In A Dive series, which coincided roughly with the decline in popularity of punk rock. This one probably won’t become a classic the way I view I Heard They Suck Live, but any fan of the band is going to get a lot of enjoyment out of Live In a Dive – Ribbed.
Friday, September 14, 2018 at 1:31 AM (PST) by KCRaniero
The first release from Night Birds since 2016’s Who Killed Mike Hunchback?, this nihilistic track features “King of Punk” Jerry A. of Portland hardcore punk band Poison Idea.
If you’re into music reminiscent of Dead Kennedys and Black Flag, you can check out the new song below.
Saturday, September 8, 2018 at 11:01 AM (PST) by jaystone
This particular version of “All For Nothing” comes from the band’s most recent release, Hold Fast, which features acoustic reworkings of previously recorded Face To Face tracks. Hold Fast was released on July 27th via Fat Wreck Chords. In its original form, “All For Nothing” appeared on the band’s 2011 full-length, Laugh Now, Laugh Later. Check out Face To Face’s upcoming Hold Fast: Acoustic Sessions tour dates right here.
Saturday, September 8, 2018 at 10:21 AM (PST) by jaystone
There’s a whole bunch of kick-ass Direct Hit news to get your weekend fired up!
First and foremost, we’ve got official details on the Wisconsonite quartet’s forthcoming album. It’s titled Crown Of Nothing, and it’s due out this fall on Fat Wreck Chords. The fourteen-track release is something of a concept album, reportedly centering on the idea that heaven and hell are the same place. According to frontman Nick Woods, the album “describes the relationship between a vengeful angel, put to death by a demon she then torments in the afterlife for eternity.” Pre-orders for the traditional digital/vinyl/CD release are available here, or you can go here to check out the deluxe bundle options, which include a slipmat and a four-issue comic book/zine series inspired by the album!
OH WAIT WE ALMOST FORGOT! There’s also a brand new DH video out! It’s for the Crown Of Nothing track “Welcome To Heaven” and you can check it out below!
Direct Hit’s last full-length, Wasted Mind, was released back in 2016.
Thursday, August 30, 2018 at 12:00 PM (PST) by jaystone
As I write these words, we’re less than thirty-six hours away from the release of Peace And Love, yet another killer release from seminal Bay Area punk band Swingin’ Utters. The album is due out this Friday (August 31st) on Fat Wreck Chords – naturally – and as is par for the course with the Utters, there are an awful lot of modifiers we can use to describe the album: the ninth studio album in the band’s thirty-plus year career; their first album in four years; the first album since the departures of both bassist Miles Peck and founding drummer Greg McEntee; the most overtly-political album in the Swingin’ Utters library; et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Perhaps the most appropriate descriptor, though, is that the album is really, really great.
We caught up over the phone with both frontman Johnny Bonnel and guitarist/occasional vocalist Jack Dalrymple to discuss all things Peace And Love, and what was readily apparent from the outset of both conversations is just how excited the band and its members are to have people hear the new material. “This was a really fun one,” says Dalrymple. “Every album I’ve done with those guys has been a weird process, but this was a fun one, man.” Bonnel, for his part, is even more emphatic. “This is probably the most excited I’ve been about a record by the Swingin’ Utters,” he explains, that excitement clearly evident in his voice.
Now, it’s a given that most band members are going to be excited about new material, particularly in the promotional run-up to an album’s debut; that’s the whole point, obviously. But the Utters – Bonnel specifically but more on that later – have a lot to be proud of this time up. As alluded to above, there are a handful of new faces among the ranks of the Swingin’ Utters. Greg McEntee departed from the bands ranks after the release of Fistful of Hollow and was replaced by Luke Ray, probably best known here from his days playing drums for Cobra Skulls. Miles Peck, who himself took over for longtime bassist Spike Slawson in 2012 and had taken on a more active songwriting role recently left last year. Peck was replaced by Tony Teixeira, Ray’s rhythm section sidekick in Cobra Skulls and, more recently, Sciatic Nerve.
While they didn’t factor into the meat of the songwriting process, Ray and Teixeira’s presences are very much an integral part of the sound of Peace And Love. “I think they’re amazing musicians and they’re great dudes, so we’re super stoked on that,” explains Bonnel, who himself is no stranger to having a long-time partner in the music-making process as he and Utters’ guitarist Darius Koski are nearing the three-decade mark as a team. Dalrymple elaborates, relating the connection between Ray and Teixeira to his own connection with Peck (whom he also appears in toyGuitar with): “They’re awesome! They’ve been playing together since they were kids, dude. Me and Miles were kind of locked in, because Miles is my buddy, and you get to this weird spot where you’re in each other’s heads. I know what he’s playing and what he’s thinking and what he’s going to do, and that’s the same way with Tony and Luke. They make this solid rhythm section, man.”
If you put your Swingin’ Utters discography playlist on “shuffle,” you don’t have to wait too long to encounter a few songs that sound nothing like the songs that come before or after them in the queue. That’s readily apparent on Peace And Love of course — see the Koski-penned Ramones ode “ECT,” or the surf-goth-Beatles-esque “Seeds Of Satisfaction” for proof — though more than in the recent past, some of those new directions and sounds come from Bonnel himself. While he’s always been an idea man, Bonnel wrote more on guitar than he has in the past. “I like that he’s WRITING writing now,” says Dalrymple. “It’s awesome, man. He comes in and he’s got these crazy, weird guitar riffs and we kinda work around those. It’s so awesome, man. (The Bonnel-penned “Louise And Her Spider”) is my favorite song by the Swingin’ Utters in a long time.“
Hearing his songs in their end form on the album is a source of pride for Bonnel, leading to his greater-than-normal sense of excitement leading up to Peace And Love‘s release. “A lot of the songs I wrote are all me,” he explains. “I didn’t collaborate as much on the writing process necessarily; I played them for the band and then the band took off with them. So yeah, (that excitement is) probably because it was more of a solo writing process for me.” That increased focus on solo songwriting from Bonnel also brought with it some nervous moments, especially when it came time to bring some of his more atypical ideas – see the appropriately-titled “Dubstep” – to the group. “I thought they’d think they were stupid,” says Bonnel half-jokingly. “Your brain kinda goes crazy worrying about that stuff, but as soon as I showed it to them and explained that I wanted (“Dubstep”) to be fairly tribal and dance-able on the drums and bass.” All the anxiety was, of course, for not. “They went for it. I really love what they did. They changed the songs from what I thought they would be and escalated them to something that I thought would never happen. I’m super pleased with the end product, and Luke and Tony had a lot to do with that.” Dalrymple, who shares co-writing credits with Bonnel on a few of the album’s tracks for the first time, glows about his partner’s input. “He’s the most artistic out of everybody. That dude is a real artist in all senses of the word. He’s quick, and he’s got this weird awesome vision that’s just different, man.”
Dalrymple, for his part, not only sings lead vocals but also has solo writing credit’s on Peace And Love‘s closing track, “H.L.S.” As you might imagine given the title, the song shares an influence with another Dalrymple-fronted track, albeit by a different project: toyGuitar’s “Turn It Around.” That, of course, is the 2015 passing of Dalrymple’s former One Man Army bandmate Heiko Schrepel. Dalrymple was gun-shy about including the song. “I think I was kinda nervous, man,” he explains, with some hesitation apparent. “It felt too raw, and maybe like it was too much. I didn’t really want to release it.” After playing an early version of the track for a few people, it was Koski who convinced him to give it a go. “He was like “I’ve got this idea. Hear me out! Hear me out!” And I didn’t even want to fucking do the song. In my world, that song would have been like after the record ended and two minutes of silence go by, then maybe that song starts. And Darius was like “no, fuck that, we gotta do it this way!”
The end result is a sweet, haunting, largely acoustic track, that provides a poignant, meaningful endnote to an album that’s pretty important album both within the band’s ranks and in the scene in general. Not only were Bonnel, Koski and Dalrymple able to overcome the loss of a few important contributors inside and outside the band, they were able to do so in a way that’s as charged-up and inspired as ever. In penning a few of their most outspokenly political songs to date in “Yes I Hope He Dies” and “Imitation Of Silence,” the Utters also plant their flag firmly in the camp that’s emphatically critical of what’s going on in the White House and at large. “Racism in the White House is a pretty serious thing,” states Bonnel. “I mean, racism is a thing that’s gone on since the beginning of time, but it’s at the point where something needs to be said. Things need to change, and we’re not the only ones doing this, for sure. It’s got to be a group effort.”
Head below to check out our conversations with both Bonnel and Dalrymple. Make sure you pick up Peace And Love on Friday!
The tunes will be the latest from the band since their 2016 full-length effort Honesty Lives Elsewhere released via Fat Wreck Chords.
Monday, August 13, 2018 at 4:35 PM (PST) by Mike Scott
West coast punk stalwarts Swingin’ Utters are to release new album, “Peace and Love“, on August 31 via long time home Fat Wreck Chords.Following first advance track “Human Potential“, the band are streaming “Undertaker, Undertake”.
Monday, August 6, 2018 at 2:38 PM (PST) by otter272
San Francisco punk band Swingin Utters have the announced the dates for a tour of eastern Canada and the Midwestern U.S. this fall. They will be supported on this tour by L.A.’s The Last Gang. See the dates below.
The Utters are touring in suport of a new album they are releasing on August 31 via Fat Wreck Chords titled Peace and Love
Monday, August 6, 2018 at 8:43 AM (PST) by Mike Scott
Wednesday, August 1, 2018 at 12:04 PM (PST) by forrestcook
Fat Wreck Jersey surf punk band Night Birds have announced the release of their new album Roll Credits out September 21. You can pre-order the digital album here, and they are kicking off the release by streaming the first single off the album, “My Dad is the BTK”.
This is Night Birds’ first release in nearly three years, and they’ve brought along their old friend and guitarist Mike Hunchback to join in the fun, for the first time playing as a five-piece, resulting in a powerful punching-guitar sound and adding a little depth to the rhythm that the band will carry with them on the road.
Night Birds is calling this the “ultimate summer of 2018 jam”, perfect for BTK’n poolside or relaxing with your toes in the sand. Give it a listen and check out the band’s beach party schedule below.
Wednesday, July 25, 2018 at 5:49 PM (PST) by Murderdingus
Strung Out is hitting the east coast this August and September to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their classic album, “Twisted By Design.” They will be playing the album in its entirety, in addition to other popular songs. After the Fall and MakeWar will be joining them on tour. You can find the dates below.
Strung Out’s newest release is the acoustic EP, “Black Out the Sky,” released back in May of this year.
Sunday, July 22, 2018 at 2:20 PM (PST) by forrestcook
Fat Wreck champs Face to Face have a new acoustic album coming out. “Hold Fast (Acoustic Sessions)” will be made available on July 27 through all the usual suspects (Fat Wreck Chords). You can pre-order it here.
The band has just released the third single off the upcoming album, “All For Nothing” which is an old classic in a new likeness for all us old farts that need to take a breather and rest our knees every once in a while.
So, get up you undead skate punkers! This one’s for you! No reason to stand in the back. You don’t even need to bust an ollie for this one. Stream “All For Nothing” below.
Thursday, July 12, 2018 at 3:11 PM (PST) by otter272
West coast punk stalwarts Swingin’ Utters have announced that they are releasing a new album titled Peace and Love on August 31 via long time home Fat Wreck Chords. To get you pumped you can check out the first single “Human Potential” below.
Peace and Love is Swingin’ Utters first release since last year’s compilation album Drowning in the Sea, Rising with the Sun and their first studio album since 2014s Fistful of Hollow.
I was a total music nerd when I was a kid. I listened to absolutely nothing except golden oldies and Weird Al until I was in high school. I stumbled onto punk rock when I was 15 and considered myself musically "cool" but now that I think about it, starting a punk music blog is pretty much the pinnacle of fanboy geekdom - so, still a music nerd it seems. But I digress. I was telling you about golden oldies. I never lost my love for the rock 'n roll of the 60s, which is why Italy's The Peawees are striking such a chord with me. These guys channel the greats like Elvis, Chuck Berry or Buddy Holly but do it with decidedly punk rock rock flare. They're not "new", they've been kicking around the punk scene since 1995 but they're new to Dying Scene and on September 14th they're dropping their new album "Moving Target" via Rum Bar Records. Put your dancing shoes on and give a couple of the tunes a listen here.