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Album Review: Knocked Loose – “A Different Shade of Blue”

Hardcore, for me, has always been relegated to the sidelines. I like hardcore just fine, and every once in a while I find something that truly resonates with me—but for the most part, hardcore is something I revisit a couple of times a year and them subsequently move on from. It’s powerful, adrenaline-pumping stuff, but I never really got the culture surrounding it, so I’ve always stayed at arm’s length, despite my dalliances. Knocked Loose are the sort of genre darlings that make waves big enough that even melodic punk folks like myself get to feel the ripple. Based on the buzz of the hivemind, these guys are huge and I should be paying attention; they’re bringing something to hardcore that is new, or they’re performing it with the intensity turned up a couple of notches. Maybe. I don’t know. I listen to Tragedy and Comeback Kid four times a year, so I have no idea what, if any of that, is true. But I do know their new album is A Different Shade of Blue, and that despite being somewhat unfamiliar with the tropes of the heavier side of the genre (continually thinking: isn’t hardcore supposed to sound like Minor Threat?), the music comes off as powerful, venomous stuff.

If I were to outline Knocked Loose’s sound I’d describe it as a focused cacophony. It’s wild and unhinged, noisy and loud—but with a strong sense of rhythmic hooks, both in their vocal lines and riffage. The songs are full of forward momentum and righteous rage, with jaw-dropping breakdowns (see: “Belleville”) that play with dissonance as much as melody. Not to say that Knocked Loose is a melodic hardcore band per se, but they know how to write a song and make it memorable, even in such an absurdly heavy, beatdown-influenced arena. 

Which is all the more impressive considering the rather narrow sonic range of the genre. Still, Knocked Loose manage to knock out chugger after chugger, swapping from groovy headbangers to high note dissonance to metallic riffing—all while maintaining the singular identities of their songs. “In the Walls” features all of these and more, all led by the throat-shredding scream of vocalist Bryan Garris, who may be the X-factor that propelled Knocked Loose to the top in the first place. Throughout the album, his vocals are unmistakably passionate. There’s been a shift in heavier genres in the last couple years that have strived to make screaming as sustainable and healthy as possible—the influence of vocal coaches and vocalists who want a career that lasts longer than a season. It’s a commendable drive—ultimately, no one should destroy their body for the sake of kids being able to hit each other in a pit—but oftentimes, the end result is a crisp, articulate noise devoid of the volatility of the noise it mimics. I don’t know if Garris is screaming healthily or not, but I do know that it sounds like he means every word that’s coming out of his mouth. And in hardcore, where authenticity is a currency, selling that intensity to your audience is paramount. 

A Different Shade of Blue is a sophomore album. And as a hardcore meerkat who pops out of his burrow just enough to know Code Orange Kids is now just Code Orange, I’m experiencing Knocked Loose for the very first time. What I’ve seen and heard is a band of incredible energy, playing heavy-ass music, and executing it with underrated creativity. Knocked Loose may not be the poet-bards of hardcore, but they’re not trying to be. This is a band trying to be nasty heavy—and shit, man, what can I say? They succeed. 

 

4.5/5



Bayside announce new album “Interrobag”, stream new single for title track

New York pop-punk veterans Bayside have just announced the release of their new full-length album “Interrobang.” Slated for release via Hopeless Records, fans can expect it to hit digital shelves on October 4th. Until then get a taste for what’s to come by streaming the title track below.

“Interrobang” is the band’s first release since last year’s acoustic album cleverly titled “Acoustic Volume 2.”



MakeWar sign to Fat Wreck Chords for new album “Get It Together”, release music video for new song “Oh, Brother”

MakeWar’s last release, Developing a Theory of Integrity, was released in 2016. 

Allow us to introduce the newest member of the Fat Wreck Chords family, MakeWar. Their album Get It Together drops on November 1st, but you can check out the video for their first single “Oh, Brother” below along with a more detailed (and hilarious) introduction to the band via Pulitzer Prize caliber write-up that Brendan Kelly (singer/bass player of The Lawrence Arms).

MakeWar will be heading out with Lagwagon and face to face next month. Don’t miss them!



Goalkeeper (pop-punk, South Jersey/Philadelphia) sign to Lost Music Collective

Goalkeeper, the three-man pop-punk outfit split between South Jersey and Philadelphia, have just signed to Lost Music Collective, a brand new record label from Vinnie Fiorello (Less Than Jake) and Erick Droegmoeller (Word is Bond Inc). Goalkeeper’s last release, 2018’s EP Bad Times Don’t Last, generated a lot of positive buzz for the relativey young band, and was easily one of my favorite releases last year.



Tsunami Bomb announce new album “The Spine That Binds”, stream single “The Hathors”

Aside from a few festival appearances and comps or re-releases, California’s Tsunami Bomb have been relatively quiet since they officially broke up in 2005. Their last album, The Definitive Act, came out in 2004 right before the last founding member left the band, but today they’ve announced a brand new LP out November 8th on Alternative Tentacles. The Spine That Binds sees the official return of Tsunami Bomb veterans Dominic Davi on bass and backing vocals, Oobliette Sparks on keys and vocals, and Gabriel Lindeman on drums, and also features a couple of new additions in lead vocalist Kate Jacobi and guitarist/backing vocalist Andrew Pohl. Trsunami Bomb are also currently streaming the first single off the new LP, “The Hathors”.

“The story of ‘The Hathors’ is haunting and sad as much as defiant,” says lead vocalist Kate Jacobi. “In the journey of learning to be happy with who you are, there are those that won’t believe in you and people who will be let down with who you become. It’s about turning down the voices in your head of everyone that said ‘you can’t’ and silencing the doubt, knowing that it will never fully go away.”

The Spine That Binds is available for preorder here, and you can hear “The Hathors” below.



Save Face (pop-punk, NJ) release cover of My Chemical Romance’s “Teenagers”

It’s been twelve years since My Chemical Romance first premiered their single “Teenagers” at the height of the emo/pop-punk intersection, but now Jersey boys Save Face have brought it out of retirement. There’s a lot of the same elements to be found here, though the Save Face version is a little tighter and cleaner than the MCR original, especially when it comes to vocalist Tyler Povanda’s performance. The cover is off of Save Face’s new split with Graduating Life out now. You can check out their take on “Teenagers” below.



Full Album Stream: Foxhall Stacks (members of Jawbox, Minor Threat, Velocity Girl, etc.) – “The Coming Collapse”

Happy Thursday, boys and girls!

I’ll admit, I kinda slept on this project until now, and boy was that stupid. Foxhall Stacks are a brand new collaboration project featuring Peter Moffett of Government Issue, Jim Spellman of Velocity Girl, Bill Barbot of the newly-reunited Jawbox, Brian Baker of Bad Religion and Minor Threat and Beach Rats and more! 

The band’s debut album, The Coming Collapse, is due out tomorrow (9/20) on Snappy Little Numbers, but you can stream the whole thing right here, and we highly suggest you do so! It’s full of anthemic, power-poppy punk rock tunes that hearkens back to an earlier time…like, the 1990s! Check it out, and pre-order your own copy of The Coming Collapse right here!

 



The Dollyrots release a video for ‘Animal’

Florida-based Pop Punk husband and wife team The Dollyrots have released a video for ‘Animal’. The track is opener from their recent album, Daydream Explosion, which was released on Wicked Cool Records after Little Steven (The E Street Band) became a fan.

Check out the video below.



The Menzingers share video for new song ‘Strangers Forever’

As we get closer to the release of The Menzingers new studio album, they have treated us to a third single ‘Strangers Forever’. 

On the song, singer Greg Barnett said “Lyrically, the song is inspired by Leo Tolstoy’s classic novel, ‘Anna Karenina’. In it, the character Darya Alexandrovna learns of her husband’s infidelity and declares: ‘Even if we remain in the same house, we are strangers — strangers forever! The idea of becoming a stranger to someone you so intimately know stuck with me and became the overarching narrative to this song.”

‘Hello Exile’ is out on Epitaph Records on October 4th. Check out the video for ‘Strangers Forever’ below.



Hidden Home Records Say “Happy Birthday” With Free Bandcamp Catalog

Boise punk label Hidden Home Records has made everything on their Bandcamp “pay-what-you-want” for the rest of the month. All donated proceeds will serve as a birthday gift to their mail guy, Mike.

HHR’s catalog features music by Filthy Hearts, Forever Unclean, Wicked Bears, and more. The label’s owner wrote in an Instagram post:

“[Mike] has happily chosen to do all of our mail order from Idaho since I moved across the country for my career. He is a one-in-a-million friend and deserves the world. Happy birthday Mike, I couldn’t do it without you. For the rest of September, everything on our Bandcamp is pay-what-you-want in celebration of MIIIIKE. All donations will go to him, cuz we rarely break even as it is. Link in bio.”

You can visit the Hidden Home Records Bandcamp here, or check out their new compilation below if you’re unfamiliar with the label.



Staredown (Germany, Hardcore) release video for “Bow Down”

German hardcore quintet Staredown have released a video for “Bow Down”. The track is from their new album Choose Life, out September 20th on Dead Serious Records.

Have a watch below.



Watch The Interrupters perform Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy”

Hellcat Records has shared a video of The Interrupters‘ live studio recording of Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy”. The band have been performing the track as part of their live sets recently and took time to video themselves performing at Ship-Rec Studios in LA.

Have a watch below.



Like Giants (UK, pop-punk) detail debut EP

UK pop-punk four piece Like Giants are to release their debut EP on September 27th. The four song offering will be self-released and include recent single “Cut and Run”.

Ahead of the release, have a watch of the video for “Cut and Run” below.



Mobina Galore (Punk, Canada) Stream New Album “Don’t Worry”

Winnipeg-based punk duo Mobina Galore have just released their latest album. The effort is titled Don’t Worry and you can listen to it below. Of course, if you like it, buy it to support great underground music.

The previous release from Mobina Galore was the single from February this year, “Zoë (It Ripped Me Apart)”.



Free Sergio (Skate Punk, Israel) Stream Debut Album “Arrows”

Israeli melodic punks Free Sergio are allowing fans to stream their entire debut album. The effort is titled Arrows and you can check it out below.

You’ll also find some autumn European tour dates for the band below too.