Have a watch below. The album is up on all major digital platforms now.
Monday, November 18, 2019 at 8:28 AM (PST) by Mike Scott
Have a watch below. The album is up on all major digital platforms now.
Saturday, November 9, 2019 at 1:53 PM (PST) by MattPower
The last time Off With Their Heads (OWTH) released new music was their 2013 album Home. After seeing the band support Against Me! In Melbourne and having never listened to them before, I gave Home a listen as soon as it was released and almost instantly OWTH became my favourite band. Over the past 6 years a lot as happened for OWTH and their lead singer Ryan Young; a nervous breakdown, constant touring, the successful Anxious & Angry Podcast – morphing into a record label, online store and screen printing business – and an acoustic album in 2016. Similarly, a lot has happened for me; I stopped drinking heavily, graduated university, got a good job, fell in love and got married and don’t need the music of OWTH in the same way I used to. That said, it’s been a long, long wait for the diehard fans of OWTH, but finally – after 6 years – there is a new album “Be Good”.
The album artwork is brighter than their older music, featuring a scene of women in 1940’s style dresses, enjoying the sun on a beach, while the smoke stack of a power plant looms over them in the background. The first pressing vinyl is released in “Pollution” or “Blue Sky” colour-ways and it feels like a choose your own adventure. Interestingly the Blue Sky vinyl sold out first, giving an indication of optimism in the community while I had to remain true to the reason I love OWTH; the honesty, raw pain and helplessness they sing with – buying the pollution vinyl. As soon as the opening track plays it becomes apparent that this album is not a positive and is not a choose your own adventure, it is filled with the same emotion and hurt as all OWTH work.
The opening track, titled “Disappear”, is the most different OWTH song that I can recall. It starts with raw vocals by Ryan backed with only very minor guitar, building slightly from the 30 second mark before Ryan repeats the opening lyrics 1 minute in this time screaming, “I SHOULD HAVE SEEN THIS FROM THE START” and from then the song is recognizably OWTH. As “Disappear” comes to an end, it flows seamlessly into the title track “Be Good” indicating there is a definite and intended flow to this album; all the more reason to listen to it on vinyl. “Be Good” opens with The Arrivals’ style drum rolls, building up to even more screaming by Ryan as he declares “I can’t take anymore, I just want out RIGHT NOW”. As I write this review I’m reading the lyrics to “Be Good” for the first time and as I hear Ryan sing the words that I’m reading I get goosebumps. For how much better Ryan has been doing since the release of “Home”, this song describes the intense toll that so many years of severe depression and anxiety have taken on his mental health. It is a song about doing all you can to be good and make a positive impact, but it is also a song about being exhausted and destroyed from years of mental illness; “I had assumed I would have been gone by now – but the ship has weathered the storm – and the feeling of defeat that lies underneath is still alive and on it’s course – I’m destroyed”.
Half way through the album, at “Take Me Away” the album has returned to the softer and quieter sound that was present on “Disappear”. This time the softer sound hangs around for about half the song, on and off, as Ryan sings about needing space to figure things out; I’m speculating here but it feels like it is about the breakdown that led to the start of the Anxious & Angry Podcast and getting proper help for his mental health issues. Up next is “Tear Me Apart” and while the song naming convention is similar, there is real flow between the two songs. While “Take Me Away” is an introspective look at how Ryan felt at a particular point in time, “Tear Me Apart” is welcoming external criticism of his behaviours, acknowledging he deserved them at the time. Doubling down on my speculation, assuming I was correct about “Take Me Away”, this song would seem to about the aftermath of his breakdown and deserving being torn apart by his bandmates and girlfriend.
The 8th song “Let It All” is a return to the OWTH sound from their 2007 album “All Things Move Toward Their End” – I think this is caused by the distorted recording sound along with the return to a more melodic sound. I’m not sure what it is about this song but it is probably the funnest song on the album to listen to, there’s something about the chorus “inside for far too long, pulling my strings – singing my songs” which is extremely enjoyable to listen to and sing along to. The second last song, “Locking Eyes” is the most consistently slow and quiet song on the album. It is a song of loss, of losing someone who kept coming back until they have been pushed one too many times. As Ryan screams “I know its all my fault – I know I deserve it all” over soft music, the pain in his voice is palpable. From here, the album fades into the final song, “Death”, which is the only instrumental that I know of OWTH ever doing as it carries on the sound of “Locking Eyes” for close to another 3 minutes as the album fades out.
Ryan and the rest of OWTH get full marks on growth and development on this album, it is clearly different to their other music and one could argue more mature. For me, it doesn’t quite live up to the urgency of “Home” but it could just be that I don’t need the album as much as I needed “Home” when I first heard it. “Be Good” is for OWTH fans new and old, but even more than that it is for Ryan and the band members, and nothing we as listeners can say about the album will change that this is what they needed at this time. It was well worth the 6 year wait, and I’ll be happy to wait for more.
Friday, October 25, 2019 at 5:47 PM (PST) by Chris Ramone
Southern California punk veterans Social Distortion haven’t released anything new since their most recent full-length record Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes back in 2011. However, that’s about to change as the band will soon begin pre-production of their long-awaited new album and start recording it in January for a 2020 release.
Frontman Mike Ness explains to OC Register:
“We’re scheduled loosely to go into the studio in January. But after this October show, we get back into pre-production and the good news is that in the last 15 years, there’s songs that didn’t get used but feel like they’ve just been written, there’s new songs and I think we came up with 23 songs right now. I have to go through those and pick the best 12 or pick the ones that work best together. The other good news is that we might shock everyone and put two records out in two years. People aren’t going to know how to act.”
The follow-up to Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes will reportedly be released on Epitaph, and will be only the eighth full-length studio album by Social D, who have been celebrating their 40th anniversary as a band.
Monday, October 21, 2019 at 4:24 PM (PST) by Dolly Llama
Just after midnight on Saturday October 12, Off With Their Head’s bassist, Robbie Swartwood was involved in a gruesome accident which resulted in a young woman’s severe obstruction to her face. In a statement from Sergeant Aaron Roed of the Vancouver Police Department, it was confirmed what many social media speculators have already estimated. There is video evidence of Desiree Evancio (24) crossing the street between the band’s van and trailer while at a stop. This went unnoticed by the driver, and she was then dragged for several city blocks once the vehicle resumed motion. While authorities quickly made the scene, early witness reports have described a trail of blood down the street, which made it apparent this was no ordinary accident.
Evancio’s family and friends have rallied to her side, to date raising nearly $200,000 of their million dollar goal to aid in her recovery. (Go Fund Me linked here.) She is expected to be hospitalized for the next year, undergoing various procedures, and her recovery from this, truly, may never end.
Off With Their Heads has since cancelled their tour and refunded all ticket values. Sergeant Roed’s statement is included below.
Monday, October 21, 2019 at 12:02 PM (PST) by Mike Scott
Sunday, October 20, 2019 at 2:23 PM (PST) by Goldfinger
Swedish hardcore legends Refused have announced they are heading across North America later on this winter. Featuring fourteen stops, the band will play shows on both sides of the border, with a handful of Canadian dates. Joining Refused on tour will be Metz and Youth Code.
Check out a full list of dates below as well as the latest offering “Economy of Death” from Refused.
The tour comes hot off the release of Refused latest album War Music, which came out earlier this week. Be sure to check out the new album and grab your tickets for the upcoming tour as shows will likely sell out quickly.
Saturday, October 19, 2019 at 12:49 PM (PST) by Dolly Llama
Desiree, a Vancouver woman was dragged for 5-7 blocks under the band’s trailer, resulting in the loss of an eye and severe damage to her face. She is in critical condition. Her friends and family have started a Go Fund Me page to aid in what will be the young woman’s life-long recovery. You can submit a contribution here. More details as they emerge.
Thursday, October 10, 2019 at 3:12 PM (PST) by Carson Winter
The Menzingers were the first band I could truly say was my own. I was twenty-one when On the Impossible Past came out, and looking back, I’m not sure there was ever a better time to be that young. For myself and others, the Menzingers had just written an album that could be considered as monumental as Reinventing Axl Rose or Caution. And since then, they’ve toured endlessly and continued releasing quality albums. Sure, they’re not as fast and screamy as they used to be, but they’ve settled into a comfortable niche within the greater world of punk and indie, and more importantly, they occupy this space with consistently poignant songcraft.
Hello Exile follows up After the Party, which in a lot of ways, was as career-defining as On the Impossible Past. This makes for a challenging release, as how many great albums does any band have in them? What’s always impressed me about the Menzingers is how they’re able to crank out so many of these great songs, and really, Hello Exile is no different. The songwriting is there, just as before (maybe too much as before, actually), and the melodies are just as sticky. Is this album a masterpiece? Well, no. After the Party and On the Impossible Past still lay the best claim to that elusive victory, but Hello Exile is no slouch, and while it may be divisive, it still brings the heart and lyricism that its fans crave.
That being said, the greatest strengths and weaknesses of Hello Exile lay within its songwriting. The Menzingers have always been a songwriting-forward band, and as such, I think that’s a fair place to start, with both my praise and my criticism. Here, we have the band progressing into exciting new heights, and falling back onto old crutches. Opening song “America (You’re Freaking Me Out)” is one of my favorites of the album and it’s also the punkiest. Which means, if you’re reading between the lines—that no, this is not the album where the Menzingers’ reclaim their title as a raw-throated punk rock group. The song itself is a driving force though and it’s nice to see the band react politically (“what kind of monster did our parents vote for?”). They’ve always been a thoughtful band, and they again prove that in spades, even dropping a line referencing totalitarian Vichy France. “America (You’re Freaking Me Out)” continues a career-spanning tradition of opening their albums with absolute bangers.
“Anna” is an equally great song, but it’s also where the band begins to look a little exposed. Here, is a wonderful track about a long-distance relationship, featuring a helluva hook. But here, we start seeing the limited subject matter inherent in the Menzingers’ songwriting. With lyrical references to Nabokov in his back pocket, we’ve all grown accustomed to guitarist/singer Greg Barnett as a deep literary reader. I’m pretty sure I’ve even read an interview where he mentions wanting to tackle writing a novel. These are awesome aims for anyone, let alone the primary songwriter in a punk band. But all artists can fall into the trap of repeating themselves. We’ve seen far too many songs about growing up, being reckless in Bukowski-certified ways, and doomed relationships. If I were Barnett’s writing coach right now, I’d be telling him he needs to push himself into new perspectives and subject matter. He needs to take an inventory of his common tropes and start building beyond them. Because, right now, it’s okay—“Anna” is one of my favorite songs on the album. But how many more “Anna”’s can we take before we start seeing the dove hidden in his sleeve?
“High School Friend” trods-well on familiar notes of nostalgia as well, but it does so with a sense of purpose, setting up the album’s theme of growing up before your time. This is, in a way, a sequel album to After the Party, it’s thematic mate. “Hello Exile,” the title track, is actually one of the stranger tracks I’ve seen the Menzingers do in recent years, and because of that, it has grown on me as one of the highlights of the new album. It has a swanky, cocktails-in-first-class feel throughout its opening, growing into a bluesy, Americana drenched singalong. It’s one of the best songs on the album and features some of Barnett’s most vivid imagery to date. “Strain Your Memory” is probably the song that most fans will be wishing the band would write more of, and it’s easy to understand why. In an album of plaintive mid-tempo jams, this is the mid-album rager that’ll get bodies moving in the pit. Of course, as is standard, it comes with a melody that fits easily on the throat and tastes sweet on the tongue.
It’s not fair to paint Hello Exile as a riskless album though, because it does actually takes some large strides forward. “I Can’t Stop Drinking” is a great example of this. At five minutes and ten seconds, it’s the longest track on the album. I like that it challenges some of the Menzingers’ repeated imagery (“…and we drove back drunk through the busy city streets.”) with what is an ironically sober look at themselves. Greg Barnett is rightly lauded for his short story approach to songwriting, often taking his lyrics behind the eyes of another character. But, “I Can’t Stop Drinking” feels cutting, personal, and painful. I hope that both approaches survive into the band’s future, but it serves as a stark reminder of where all these pretty words are born.
“Farewell Youth” completes the album’s arc with its chorus, “I was always hanging out with the older kids.” It feels like the Menzingers closing a chapter on themselves. These guys are just a little bit older than me, so probably feeling pretty similar things as they’re entering their thirties. They’ve spent over a decade as the Menzingers, a single unit with no personnel changes. That’s an impressive feat, especially while staying grounded enough to keep their audience engaged with their heartfelt melancholy. “Farewell Youth” doesn’t feel sad though, and it echoes a sentiment from the album’s opener, where Barnett croons, “Oh, how do I steer my early 30’s/ Before I shipwreck, before I’m 40.” The keyword is steer. There is control present, an eagerness for the future that can’t quite eclipse what’s passed behind them. It’s bittersweet, but as this album closes a chapter, I’m interested in where the ship takes us next.
As so far, I’ve talked mostly about Barnett’s contributions to the album; these songs have come to define the sound of the band for many, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Tom May’s contributions to the album. He’s only got three songs on the album, but they’re three of the best he’s written, “Portland” being my personal highlight. I have mixed feelings here because I believe that the voice of a band is a difficult thing to navigate, because bands, by their very nature, are a collaborative art. But, because of the relative lack of Tom May’s songs, the cohesiveness of the album diminishes. There’s already a jolting difference in songcraft between the two writers (which I believe was at its finest point back in the OTIP days, as far as interplay and shared aims are concerned). One is nostalgic and wistful, carrying the band toward a more poetic direction. The other is sharp and declarative, the punkier heart of the band. I’d like to see these collaborate deeper in their compositions, combining their voices to do away with the notion of Greg-songs or Tom-songs, and just write Menzingers songs.
So, what else can I say about a new Menzingers album?
How about this—the biggest fuck up the Menzingers have committed is being good enough to become anyone’s favorite band. This is a review filled with nitpicks and suggestions, it gives praise and criticism to songs in equal breaths. Why? Because the Menzingers mean more to me than any other band, and with that affection, comes a sense of ownership. The Menzingers are my band. They’re the ones I learned to drink to, traveled hours to see, and became the go-to singalong for my group of friends. If all those sad-sack, Barnett-penned relationship songs have taught us anything, it’s that we can’t help but pick apart the things we love. Hello Exile shows the band stretching their limbs, ending an era with maturity and verve. It features some new tricks and also features some we’ve seen before. But for a band tied so much to so many personal times and places, I’m excited for a new sonic bookmark.
*This score is meaningless. Listen to the album.
Friday, October 4, 2019 at 12:21 PM (PST) by Will Malkus
Today’s the day! The Menzingers sixth studio album and fourth Epitaph release Hello Exile is out today on Epitaph, after months of teasers and singles. Scranton, PA’s favorite sons have been steadily on the rise since 2012’s On the Impossible Past, churning out banger after banger on both 2014’s Rented World and 2017’s After the Party. Hello Exile appears to be no exception, though it does mark a further evolution of the Springsteen-esque lyrical content and swelling pop guitars we saw in After the Party.
Saturday, September 21, 2019 at 2:05 AM (PST) by Johnny X
Check out the new ‘Age of Unreason’ mini doc, where Bad Religion discusses the new record ‘Age of Unreason’ and what it’s like to still be proud of the music you’re putting out after 40 years. Check it out along with the band’s current tour dates below.
“Age Of Reason” was released in May via longtime home Epitaph Records.
Wednesday, September 4, 2019 at 11:33 AM (PST) by Chris Doughty
Punk rock legends Social Distortion will celebrate their 40 year career this October 26th in Orange County California at the FivePoint Amphitheatre. The event, which is billed as ‘Sounds From Behind The Orange Curtain’, will feature performances from an eclectic line up, picked by Mike Ness and his bandmates. Appearing will be Joan Jett, The Distillers, The Kills, Frank Turner, Eagles Of Death Metal, The Black Lips, Plague Vender, Bully and Mannequin Pussy.
Tickets can be purchased here.
Monday, September 2, 2019 at 4:20 PM (PST) by Mike Scott
They’ve also announce a new bass player – Benoit Landreville has joined them as a permanent fixture.
Sunday, September 1, 2019 at 6:33 PM (PST) by Goldfinger
Jersey punks Save Face have released a video for their new song “Bummer”. The song comes from the band’s split EP with Graduating Life. The video which is a shot of the band playing the song while an all out party is unleashed around them. All in all, it looks like a pretty great time. You can join in on the pretty great time, Save Face has a tour lined up later on this fall.
Check out the new video and tour dates below.
Save Face last released Folly: On The Rocks back in 2017, the band is currently signed to Epitaph.
Tuesday, August 27, 2019 at 12:45 PM (PST) by The Torchbearer
Swedish hardcore/noise punk icons Refused and California’s Thrice have announced some upcoming UK and Europe co-headlining tour dates. They will also be joined in the UK by Gouge Away, and in Europe by Petrol Girls. You can check out all of the dates and locations below.
Sunday, August 25, 2019 at 8:28 AM (PST) by Rachael Clifford
With a rather timely song, The Menzingers have released a new single from their upcoming album, Hello Exile, which is out October 4th on Epitaph Records. Of the song and video, the band says: “We’re living in a pretty insane time, where all you can think about every single day is ‘What the hell is going on with this country?’” says vocalist Greg Barnett. “But as I was writing that song I realized that it’s kind of always freaked me out, especially coming-of-age during the Iraq War. I love so much about America, but I think you can’t deny that there are some people in power who are absolutely evil.”
Hard to argue with that. You can watch the brand-new video below.
When the sun’s out and I’m feeling carefree I love my ska and pop-punk. When I’m feeling nostalgic and wistful I skew towards Menzingers or emo. When I’ve had three cups of coffee and need an outlet for the nebulous discontentment that silently builds behind the exterior of my stoic demeanor I turn towards hardcore-punk. That’s where I’m at this morning so when a request to check out the debut album from Californian skate-punk/hardcore act Facelift hit my inbox it was perfectly timed. This music is raw. It’s fast as hell. And it’s f’ing pissed off. Oh, and it’s riddled with metallic riff breakdowns which absolutely clinched it for me (give it 2:20 into the album opener to see what I mean). Turn up the volume and let off some steam with me by streaming “Sinceforevertilwhenever” here.