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DS Exclusive: South Class Veterans (ffo: Cock Sparrer, The Old Firm Casuals) premiere “Lies” Music Video

New Jersey street punk/oi band South Class Veterans are premiering their new music video, “Lies”, today on Dying Scene. The song will be featured on the band’s upcoming onslaught of a debut full-length album, Hell to Pay. That is due out October 25 on Demons Run Amok Entertainment. Pre-orders on black or brown vinyl are available here.

“Lies” is all about the nationalistic Leave it to Beaver mindscape, and myth of the american dream. It features a classically-styled street punk intro before chants of “LIES! LIES! LIES!” launch the viewer into an alternate account of the working class. The video is set primarily in a basement where “We’re scratching from the bottom for the rest of our lives.” I caught up with Bosco Baracus, the band’s lead singer to answer a few questions about the music video, the upcoming release, and skinhead culture in America. Stream the premiere for “Lies” and read those responses below.



DS Exclusive: Backdrop Falls (ffo: Alkaline Trio) premiere new music video, “My Own Remains”

Who doesn’t love punk rock from the Southern Hemisphere? The Brazilian pop-punk unit, Backdrop Falls, has an unnerving new music video out set to the single, “My Own Remains”. “My Own Remains” appears on their fresh cut album There’s No Such Place as Home, already streaming on major digital platforms, courtesy of Electric Funeral Records based out of South America. Digipaks and cassettes will become available for worldwide release this week through ten – that’s right, TEN – distributors (Count them!). That’s: Electric Funeral Records (Brazil), Geenger Records (Croatia), Duff Records (Italy), 20 Chords Records (Spain), Infected Records (Portugal), Bomber Music (UK), Razor Records (Argentina), Audioslam (Chile), Mevzu Records (Turkey) and Dinamite Records (USA).

The video takes an unsettling look at the claustrophobic and transmorphic daze of early-twentiesdom, where we all bury off our past selves and settle with the ground in our own remains. Stream “My Own Remains” below



Riot Fest 2019 Day 3: Bikini Kill, Teenage Bottlerocket and…The Village People Close Out The Weekend With Help From Others

Words by: Fredric Hall
Photos and additional words by: Meredith Goldberg

For the third and final day of 2019’s Riot Fest festivities, punk sets were, again, on the small side. Still what’s there ain’t too shabby. Against Me! Had an awesome set, playing both “Reinventing Axl Rose” and “Transgender Dysphoria Blues” start-to-finish, while singer Laura Jane Grace was belting out every song with her unique voice that forces you to pay attention. A particular high point was “Osama bin Laden as the Crucified Christ” with its driving, distorted bass line and disturbing lyrics. At one point, someone in the crowd held up a sign saying “You Are My Hero”, a good indicator of the effect the band had on the crowd.

Against Me!

 

Dave Hause & The Mermaid

Frankie Iero and the Future Violents

 

Sincere Engineer

Perhaps the most curious event to take place at Riot Fest’s 15th Anniversary staging in Chicago was a Wall of Death during The Village People’s performance of their most famous tune, “YMCA.” The song has long been a staple at basketball games of all levels and in all communities despite its lyrical content often understood to refer to the YMCA as a gay hook up spot in the 1970’s. Yet on Day 3,  fans young, old and looking to represent virtually every demographic at Riot Fest joined in forming the 4 letters in the title. And per an organized Facebook event, many took part in a Wall of Death in the center of crowd. For the uninitiated, a Wall of Death is basically a move within a circle pit where a large group of people back off and then at the same moment run toward each other. The event even took the life of a photographer’s sunglasses (though not the DS photog’s sunglasses, whew).

The Village People

 

The Village People fans spell out Y.M.C.A.

Patti Smith had her brand of a slow burning performance later on. Now I know the organizers don’t pick out acts all willy-nilly and Patti Smith is a legend in the genre. However, I’m sure there is a good size of the attendees who have no idea who is she and her contributions to the punk genre. And I guess Smith knew this because she really brought it on stage. While not “punk” in regards to modern tastes, there was a energy about it that exuded a punk attitude, even with covers like Jimi Hendrix’s “Are You Experience”(with some “Third Stone of the Sun” thrown towards the end) and Midnight Oil’s “Beds are Burning”. She did close the set with “Gloria” which really brought the crowd to its knees.

 

Bikini Kill

Finally, we got Riot grrrl pioneers Bikini Kill, the headliners for the final evening of the festival. Though Kathleen Hanna sang most of the set, she did occasionally switch over to bass, while the rest of the band traded instruments for certain songs. Seriously, they did so many times I couldn’t keep up. Declaring “We’re a feminist band. And we’re headlining a festival” they blazed through songs like “Reject All-American” with the abrasiveness and in-you-face attitude that put them on the map for almost thirty years.

Bikini Kill

If you’ve made it this far, so you might have the impression Riot Fest is straying from it’s punk roots. Well, here’s the thing: I get that festivals like Riot Fest have to carter towards different demographics to stay afloat. To me, this year was more of a history lesson. Teenage punks with Op Ivy back patches on their vests now got to hear Patti Smith and Bikini Kill. They also got to see Slayer which is always a treat (and also played right after Rise Against). So, this is a chance to see all kinds of genres. Limiting yourself to one thing is narrow-minded and stupid. In the end we all need to go beyond our boundaries and explore what’s out there.

Ween

 

Teenage Bottlerocket

 

Please check out the rest of our images from the final day of Riot Fest 2019 below:



Riot Fest 2019 Day 2: Rise Against, Avail, Turnstile and Anthrax Bring the Hard to the Park; The Struts Evoke the Glam Rock 1970’s and The HU Combines New with Very Old

Words: Fredric Hall
Photos and Additional Words: Meredith Goldberg

Day two of Riot Fest 2019, the 15th Anniversary event, saw a bit of a change up. This was a bit slim on the punk side as the metal took over. Still, they were some standouts. You have Avail doing their “Over the James” album set. Honestly, there really is not that much to talk about. Singer Tim Barry mentioned it was his daughter’s birthday which got a collective “awww” from the already captivated crowd.

Avail

 

Avail

 

Anthrax

Anthrax started a few minutes early with a riff from Pantera’s “Cowboys From Hell”, which totally caught me off guard. From there they went into their setlist which was voted by fans via their website. With the band donning Bulls jerseys they tore through all the hits, including “Caught in a Mosh”, “I am the Law” and their cover of “Got the Time”. No “Among the Living” though. Sorry. The did, however, end the set with “Indians” which really got the crowd in uproar. Granted, this isn’t really “punk” but, like I said it was slim pickings that day.

Turnstile

 

Turnstile

Turnstile provided for an especially high energy set under the bright middle afternoon sun. Numerous band members kept busy going airborne and hopping back and forth from stage to speakers. You got the feeling the band members would have like to be performing in the crowd and would be if not for the wide barricaded area/photo pit. Turnstile in a non-barricade venue must surely be mandatory to experience for anyone calling themselves fans of the group.

The Struts

Derby U.K.’s The Struts, with lead singer Luke Spiller, channeling the spirit of Freddie Mercury, took over the Rise Stage. A welcome dose of variety to complement the otherwise predominantly hard-core punk and metal heavy day. Spiller, in a red glittery outfit and thick black eyeliner; and bassist Jed Elliot clad in black leather pants and his leather shirt unbuttoned half way down his evoked 1970’s glam rock.

The Struts

 

The HU

For many Riot Fest attendees, The HU afforded them possibly their first introduction to what the band calls Hunnu Rock. The HU, from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, combine Mongolian throat singing with traditional instruments such as “The morin khuur (Mongolian: морин хуур), also known as the horsehead fiddle, is a traditional Mongolian bowed stringed instrument. It is one of the most important musical instruments of the Mongol people, and is considered a symbol of the Mongolian nation.” [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morin_khuur].

The HU

Senses Fail

Rise Against

Rise Against

The day ends with Rise Against headlining the evening. Singer Tim McIlarth mentioned he is from Douglas Park (where Riot Fest is held) which obviously get applause from the crowd before going into the hit “Savior” followed by “Prayer of the Refugee.”

Please check out our gallery of additional day 2 photos below!



DS Exclusive: Riot Fest Kicks off 15th Anniversary Celebration with Jawbreaker, Rancid, Cock Sparrer (among others)

Words: Fredric Hall
Pics and additional words: Meredith Goldberg

Riot Fest’s 15th Anniversary event once again took place in Chicago’s Douglas Park, Sept 13th – 15th. A bit of morning rain on day one threatened to muddy the grounds and make for a messy fest. However, by the time the gates opened to attendees, the rain had subsided just a few random, very small soft spots in the ground and small patches of mud could be spotted throughout the park.

Violent Femmes

Anti-Flag

I don’t know what was going on at the Radicals Stage, but there were sound issue throughout the day. When Anti-Flag showed up, you could barely here Chris Parker’s bass and vocals. Despite this, the band blazed through their set, causing a nasty(in a good way) circle pit in process. Hell, as people were jumping up and down during “This is The End” a T-Rex showed up in the pit with spikes in its head, as you do. The band had the crowd by the throat, as most threw up the bird as “Police Brutality” blared out the speakers. With a brief intermission from a spokesperson from Amnesty International — the short of it is “Fuck Racism” — the band followed with “Press Corpse” who they dedicated to JBTV host Jerry Bryant who is currently battling cancer. And now the finale: the set ended with Parker and drummer Pat Thetic bringing their gear into the crowd and playing a few bars, closing out a raucous set.

Cock Sparrer

Before Cock Sparrer‘s came onstage, the already packed crowd was singing the chorus to “Take Em All”, so they were ready to get shit going. For the entire set, singer Colin McFaull had a bottle of Jack Daniels on stage, taking a occasional swig. They played all the hits: “Take Em All” of course, “A.U.” which really got the pumping and “Watch Your Back”. Though for the last one, McFaull missed his cue to go into the chorus, but it’s OK, he was probably tipsy from the Jack.

Pennywise

Like Anti-Flag earlier, Pennywise‘s set also had its fair share of audio problems. Mostly, Jim Lindberg’s vocals being barely audible during songs but fine by itself. They were the most interactive with the crowd of all the bands, with Jim asking the crowd what did they want them to cover and ending it saying, “We don’t know the songs by those bands”. But they did cover-or try to cover-a Sublime followed by a non-fucked up cover of “Minor Threat” by, um, Minor Threat. The whole cover song debacle ended with a sped up version of AC/DC’s “TNT” before going into their original song “Society”.

Rancid

Since they were playing at the same time, I had to leave the Descendents‘ set for Rancid‘s, but the few minutes I was there showed they still had it. Being Riot Fest regulars, they knew how to work a crowd. Not hard since most of their catalog is fast as hell, and starting the set with “Suburban Home” and “Everything Sucks” didn’t hurt either. Rancid’s set was equally energetic, with Tim Armstrong’s neckbeard and Lars Frederiksen’s skinhead look, they blazed through “Roots Radicals” and “Maxwell Murder,” which I didn’t think they’ll do.

Please check out our gallery of additional day 1 photos below:



DS Exclusive: Jumpstarted Plowhards (Mike Watt, Todd Congelliere and friends) stream debut album, “Round One”

Earlier this week, it was our esteemed privilege to bring you a lengthy interview with the legendary Mike Watt. Read it here if you missed it. Among the many things we covered was his brand new “proj,” Jumpstarted Plowhards. It’s a collaboration between Watt and Todd Congelliere (F.Y.P., Toys That Kill), and features a different drummer on each track. Among the guests are George Hurley (The Minutemen), Patty Schemel (Hole, etc), Jerry Trebotic, Raul Morales and more.

Today, we’re beyond stoked to bring you the debut of the Round One, the debut album from Jumpstarted Plowhards. It’s due out on Recess Records next Friday (October 4th); pre-order here…but check it out in all its esteemed goodness down below!



DS Exclusive: Mike Watt talks Jumpstarted Plowhards, D. Boon, songwriting on the bass, Eddie Vedder, and so much more

Up until the dawn of the digital music revolution within the last couple of decades, generations of kids found out about new music in three real main ways: by stumbling into music videos on the actual television, by scouring the new releases put out by known and trusted record labels (see: Epitaph, Fat Wreck, Blue Note, Apple Records, etc), and by finding out who your favorite artists liked and respected and toured with and diving headlong into that rabbit hole. I was twelve years old when first saw Pearl Jam’s video for “Even Flow” and was so captivated by it that…well…that I’ve continued to buy into whatever they’ve been selling for more than a quarter-century since. Because they’ve been more than vocal about their influences over the years, this meant exploring the catalogs of artists as varied as The Who and Daniel Johnston and Bad Religion and Cypress Hill and Fugazi and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and, thanks to the 1995 release Ball-Hog or Tugboat?, Mike Watt.

Ball-Hog or Tugboat? marked the first “solo” release for the founding bassist from both Minutemen and fIREHOSE, the latter of whom I only knew from having seen a poster for what would become their final full-length, Mr. Machinery Operator, hanging in the front window at Strawberries Music & Video at the Nashua Mall and not realizing that fIREHOSE and FireHouse were two different bands. Ball-Hog featured Watt supported by a diverse cast of characters that obviously included Eddie Vedder but also Dave Grohl and Pat Smear and Krist Novoselic and J Mascis and Frank Black and the Kirkwood brothers from Meat Puppets and Henry Rollins and Mark Lanegan and Flea and Kathleen Hanna and most of Sonic Youth and a bunch of others. It was ground-breaking and genre-bending and was really a perfect look into the future of what was to come for Watt’s career going forward.

If you haven’t been able to keep track of the sheer number of projects – or proj’s, as Watt refers to him in his trademark San Pedro patois – that Watt has been involved with in the years since, that’s no slight on you; it’s overwhelming. There’s Dos, a duo that featured Watt and ex-Blag Flag bassist (and eventually Watt’s ex-wife) Kira Roessler. There’s Unknown Instructors, which had Watt and his Minutemen/fIREHOSE drummer George Hurley joined by Joe Baiza, Jack Brewer and Dan McGuire. There was Big Walnuts Yonder, and Il Sogno del Marinaio, and The Hand To Man Band, and a bunch of years with The Stooges, and another proj with Novoselic and friends called Anywhere. There was obviously The Secondmen, followed obviously by the Missingmen. And honestly, there were a bunch more that I’m not going to pretend to have committed to memory right now.

Next up out of the chute from the iconic Watt is a proj known as Jumpstarted Plowhards. It’s a unique endeavor that found Watt team up with Todd Congelliere (Toys That Kill, FYP, founder of Recess Records). Watt wrote a handful of tracks on bass and sent a fifteen-song CD-R to “Todd Cong,” who not only wrote guitar lines and lyrics, but recruited a different drummer to play on every track. The first eight of those tracks now appear as a release called Round One that’s due out October 4th on Recess Records. Joining Watt and Congelliere are Hurley, Jimmy Felix from Toys That Kill, Patty Schemel of Hole fame, Brian Brunuk from Fartbarf, Trevor Rounseville from Clown Sounds, Jerry Trebotic from Watt’s Secondmen band, Raul Morales from Watt’s Missingmen project, and Neighborhood Brats‘ Nick Aguilar, who’s not only joining Watt on drums for his solo tour that kicked off last week, but who is also the son of a high school classmate of all three Minutemen (Watt, Hurley and, of course, the  inimitable D. Boon).

You can pre-order Round One right here, though jump on it because some options are already gone. But you can also head below to read our Q&A with the iconic Watt. It’s one of the more enjoyable conversations I’ve ever conducted for this here website, due entirely to Watt’s jovial nature and his willingness to talk about all portions of the long, strange trip its been since he and D. Boon met as thirteen-year-olds, picked up a couple of cheap guitars, and started jamming out to Creedence Clearwater Revival songs before even knowing how to tune their instruments. Also, head here to see where you can catch Watt’s current Missingmen incarnation out on the road, including an October 11th date here in the Boston area; it’s Watt’s sixty-seventh tour of more than a month! Thanks for being you, Watt!

Photo credit: Steve Linsley.



DS Exclusive: Sicko (Red Scare pop-punk) premiere lyric video for “The Sprinkler”

Do you guys remember Sicko, the pop-punk band from Seattle who had their heyday in the mid 90s? You might if you’re over 35 and the rest of you should get familiar by checking out their back catalog available digitally through Red Scare.

Anyway, for the pre-initiated, you’ll be pleased to know that Red Scare just released an anthology/”best-of” album “In The Alternate Timeline” containing 19 remastered songs, hand-picked by the band, and I couldn’t be more pleased to bring you a lyric video from one of said tunes. Being “old” and into punk for 25 odd years I can proudly say I owned every Sicko record when I was but a youngster. Join me in my fandom by scoping the lyric video for “The Sprinkler” along with some of the band’s rare(!) upcoming gig dates below.

Oh, and here’s a cool little story about the footage from the band themselves:

Once, on a warm spring evening long ago, 3 pop punkers drove their beloved touring van onto the island of Manhattan, through the streets of Greenwich Village, and played a show at a club called Coney Island High (15 St. Mark’s Place?). We had a lot of fun playing to an at-the-time rare enthusiastic audience. Was that Alan Rappaport from Popkid Records swinging from the overhead pipes while we played? Watch the video and you be the judge. That was quite a display of youthful energy and abandon, looking back on it now. The truth is New York scared us: the size of it, the all-hours press of people, the lack of identifiable traffic lanes, movies like Escape from New York… it was all too much for 3 tense provincials just stepping out into the world. In the event, New York held surprises for us and our misconceptions: an 11pm parking ticket, cafes full of happy chatting people at 2am, and some of the friendliest, kindest, warmest punk rockers we would meet in a 10,000 mile tour across America. We’re looking forward to seeing a few of you again, old friends. Come down to Gold Sounds in Brooklyn, hear the sounds of your youth (ours too!), share your old stories and do-you-remember-when with us a bit. This time we’re leaving the van at home! Love, Sicko.



Avoid One Thing’s Joe Gittleman Breaks Down “Right Here Where You Left Me” Track By Track

It’s Friday the 13th, which means that it’s the official release date for the brand new Avoid One Thing album! The album is called Right Here Where You Left Me, and marks the group’s first full-length since 2004’s Chopstick Bridge, and finds the core trio of Joe Gittleman, Amy Griffin and John Lynch joined by a crew of guests that includes original Avoid One Thing guitarist Paul Delano (Mung, Darkbuster), Tim Brennan (Dropkick Murphys), Dave Minehan (The Replacements, The Neighborhoods) and the one-and-only Ted Hutt.

You can pick up a copy of Right Here Where You Left Me wherever you buy music – like here – and you can also head below to catch a track-by-track rundown of the album from the one-and-only Gittleman himself!



DS Exclusive: Suck Brick Kid (Orlando pop punk) – “Get Even” from upcoming album “Salt To Taste”

Happy Friday, boys and girls!

Dying Scene are fired up to bring you the lead single from the debut full-length from Orlando, Florida’s Suck Brick Kid! The track is called “Get Even,” and it appears on the pop-punk sextet’s upcoming album Salt To Taste, which is due out October 25th on Smartpunk Records.

Here’s what the band’s frontman Grant Tchekmeian has to say about the track:

“The song is about wasting your life (or a chunk of it) on a significant other. Anyone who has dealt with a cheating ex that lies constantly can relate with the range of emotions that flood in. I wanted to put myself in a friend’s shoes and write about how they felt while dealing with that shit.”

Check out the video for “Get Even” below. Pre-order Salt To Taste here while you’re at it!



DS Photo Gallery: Avail Make Their Triumphant Return To Boston, w/Angel Du$t and Tied To A Bear

I’ve had a little bit of a difficult time encapsulating the recent run of Avail shows in any sort of meaningful way that wasn’t just endless, rambling gushing. I think that, to a lot of people in the “just-turned-40” age bracket Avail’s extended absence from the scene was for us what the prolonged Jawbreaker hiatus was for people 5-10 years older than us; the untimely “demise” of a band that didn’t fit into it’s own genre, played by its own set of rules, inspired a bit of hope for the underdog, and never really got its due credit until it seemed clear that they weren’t coming back.

But then, after a dozen years, they came back; first with a couple of rapidly-sold-out shows in their hometown of Richmond, VA, then with a small handful of club shows and festival appearances throughout the late summer. When the Boston date, September 8th, was announced, it seemed at first too good to be true; yours truly turned “the big 4-0” the day before the show. In fact, it was too good to be true for a little while; tickets to the gig at the 1000-ish capacity Royale sold out quickly, though where there’s a will, there’s always a way (thanks, Naim!). The days and weeks leading up to this run of shows led to more than a few “wait, is this really happening?!?” conversations with friends who were lucky enough to secure their spots at some of the small handful of shows on this run.

Even from the time doors opened for last Sunday’s Boston gig, there was still a bit of a surreal feel in the air, though admittedly the tone had shifted from “wait, is this really happening?!?” to “wait, this is really happening!!!”. By the time I got in to the venue, about ten/fifteen minutes after doors, a line had already formed at the merch stand that, well, included the majority of the people that were inside. And honestly, throughout the majority of the night, the line never really died down; a seemingly endless stream of revelers hoping to claim their little piece of memorabilia to mark the noteworthy occasion (shout-out to Angie Cooper for handling that merch line solo and like a boss all night).

Local openers Tied To A Bear kicked off the evening’s festivities, and I immediately began kicking myself for not having seen them sooner. They’ve been around for a hot minute, and while I’ve caught a handful of the TTAB-adjacent groups like Choke Up and Jeff Rowe on occasion, this was somehow the first time I’d had the opportunity to catch them live. Holy hell, they’re a great band: tight, uptempo, angular, melodic, anthemic singalongs in spades. If you haven’t heard their latest, True Places, yet do yourself the favor.

Angel Du$t provided direct support on this show as they did on each of the four dates of this brief Northeast run. I’d seen the Baltimore-based quintet a number of years ago opening a run of H2O shows and, well, I’m not the biggest hardcore fan in the world. I remember it seeming like they played 45 songs in their 30 minute set that night. This was different. Stylistically there are still some hardcore elements in their sound, especially in the last half of their set, but the first half was much more…I think “approachable” is the right word. Fun, melodic, engaging (read as: longer) songs with more room for textures and layers than previously heard.

And then…Avail. Like I said, it’s really a bit difficult to put their set into words. Technically, we were celebrating the 21st anniversary of the Over The James album, so that was played in full, but it was really as much of a “greatest hits” night as it was anything. It was cathartic from the word “go.” There were requisite technical difficulties, strained voices, endless crowd-surfers — not to mention a few unexpected stage divers from the wings during “Simple Song” — props, singing from the front row, a wedding proposal (she said “yes!”) and seemingly endless energy. It had the feel of a religious revival meeting that took the shape of a punk rock show. By the end of 75 minutes, “wait, this is really happening!!!” had morphed seamlessly into “Oh my god…that really happened!!!”

Avail meant a lot of things to a lot of people, particularly people who’ve been through and understood the struggles that come along with being on the margins or on the receiving end of some of the heavier things that life can throw your way. So on nights like these, when people who’ve made it through are able to come together for the first time in forever and celebrate and revel like the old days, sometimes the feeling defies words. Hopefully, the pictures below will do justice. Thanks to Tim and Beau and Gwomper and Erik and Joe for doing this.



DS Exclusive: Avoid One Thing debut “Better Left Alone” from upcoming album, “Right Here Where You Left Me”

We’ve got a real, genuine treat for you today that, as a lifelong Boston-area resident and scene-adjacent member, I’m fired up to be able to…new music from Avoid One Thing!

We last heard from the highly-regarded side project featuring Joe Gittleman (Mighty Mighty Bosstones), Amy Griffin (The Raging Teens, Darkbuster, Jittery Jack) and John Lynch (The Neighborhoods) all the way back in 2004 with the release of their sophomore album, Chopstick Bridge. After more than a decade-and-a-half of good times and bad times and all things in between, the band’s long-awaited third album is finally upon us. It’s called Right Here Where You Left Me, and it’s due out a mere two days from now (Friday the 13th) on Big Rig Records.

To give you a taste of what’s in store, we’re bringing you the brand new track, “Better Left Alone.” Here’s how Gittleman himself sums up the song’s theme: I don’t know if this song’s apology will ever reach its target or be accepted. I hope so.” Check it out below!

Pre-order’s for Right Here Where You Left Me are available here; you can also check out the album’s title track right here! You can also snag tickets to the album release show coming up November 16th at Boston’s Great Scott right here on Friday!



Festival Review: Catching 350 Fest and Catching Up with The Punk Rock Doc

Me First and the Gimme Gimmes

350 Fest V took place a couple of weeks back, August 23-25, 2019 at the Tinley Park Convention Center. Headliners included Me First and The Gimme Gimmes, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones; and Naked Raygun. Included amongst the many others playing, were Suicide Machines, The Eclectics, Airstream Futures, The Repellants, Tight Night, 88 Fingers Louie, an acoustic set by Anthony Reneri of Bayside, Zebrahead, The Menzingers, Lucky Boy Confusion; and The Bollweevils.

Relive it or find out what you missed by checking out the pics and a full write up below!



DS Exclusive: Jake Burns of Stiff Little Fingers Reflects on his Journey from Belfast to Chicago; and the role of Political Punk in the Era of Trump

Stiff Little Fingers, out of Belfast, Northern Ireland was amongst the first wave punk bands, and among those with a lasting impact. Their debut album, the seminal Inflammable Material celebrated its 40th Anniversary earlier this year.  The album features a trilogy of angry, political songs. S.L.F. founder and lead singer Jake Burns still has a bit of that same early anger in him and is hitting the road again as Stiff Little Fingers readies itself for another tour. The tour, entitled “40 Years of Inflammable Material,” celebrates the 40th Anniversary of the band’s debut album of the same title and they will be playing said record in its entirety. The first leg, well the US leg, takes them across the nation from October 1st in Phoenix, AZ and ending on the Flogging Molly Cruise with Burns’ friends and fellow Chicago residents in Pegboy.

Speaking of Chicago, Burns’ journey from his youth in his hometown of Belfast, Northern Ireland to his adopted home, the Windy City, was one of the subjects we recently discussed. Read the entire interview below.



DS Exclusive: Jason Cruz on Strung Out’s triumphant “Songs Of Armor And Devotion” and his Upcoming Children’s Book, “There Are Such Things As In Your Dreams”

When last we spoke with Strung Out frontman Jason Cruz, it was a couple of days prior to the release of his iconic band’s acoustic EP, Black Out The Sky. The album marked a bit of a departure, a change of pace album more than two decades into the band’s history of pioneering a blistering punk/metal hybrid. The album had been a bit delayed – its predecessor, Transmission.Alpha.Delta was already three years old and was, itself, the band’s first new album in six years at the time – and came at the end of a tumultuous two-year period that found long-time drummer Jordan Burns exiting the band, replaced by Runaway Kids’ RJ Shankle.

Fast-forward a less than eighteen months, and we caught up with Cruz again, this time on the heels of a new, fully-plugged-in full-length. On August 9th, the band released their ninth studio album, Songs Of Armor And Devotion, on Fat Wreck Chords, and from the first moments of the album’s opening track, “Rebels & Saints,” the new music finds the quintet firmly, aggressively, planting their battle flag as an ongoing force to be reckoned with nearly three decades into their career. That’s a concept that is certainly not lost on Cruz. “I think that we’re all still working class dudes. We’re still hungry. I feel like we still have to fight for every little thing that we’ve got and everything that we do. Nothing is easy for us, so I think that that in and of itself adds to the gravity and the sincerity of what we do,” he explains. “We earned the right to still be here. I think that if you’re going to do this – to do anything – you have to earn the right to keep doing it.”

Cruz notes that even with so many releases under their studded belts, the band experiences collective anxiety in the last period of time before an album officially drops, and the tone of that anxiety has shifted as much as anything else over the course of their career. “Up until the time it gets released, you’re wondering, especially with social media and everything that’s going on these days, everyone’s got an opinion and everyone feels their opinion needs to be heard, and they start throwing around how they think you should write the songs.” This forces the band – somewhat less-than-reluctantly – to pull back moreso than usual from social media outlets and to let their own collective consciousness steer the ship. It’s the quality that’s lead the band to continue producing material that’s as hungry and vital as ever. “I think that if you believe and something, do it or act it or live your life around it or just be it, and if people are inspired by it, good, if they’re not…I don’t worry about it.

Cruz’s songwriting has never been the type to shy away from sociopolitical issues, and that’s certainly no different on Songs Of Armor And Devotion given that the period we find ourselves in is ripe for commentary. However, Cruz’s songwriting is also the type that’s not going to beat you over the head with on-the-nose references. Instead, he opts for more of a storyteller’s role, allowing the listener to make her or his own connection with the music. That, of course, is by design. “I think music is more intimate than that, and the way it affects you when you first listen to something, or you first put on a CD or you have a moment…music is something so personal and intimate,” he explains.I think a problem with our generation, or just this time, is a lack of intimacy with all things, you know? Everything is so fast and mass-produced and gamma rays in your face and radiation in your face and instant gratification, but there’s no intimacy with anything anymore.

2019 finds Cruz not only assuming his storyteller’s role for Strung Out again by way of writing lyrics and creating artwork, as he’s now done for the bulk of the band’s releases; he’s now branching out into the world of author of children’s books! October 25th at the Copro Nason Gallery in Los Angeles, Cruz will be throwing an art show that serves as the launch for his debut book, There Are Such Things As In Your Dreams. The title was developed by one of Cruz’s daughters and inspired the central theme of the book. “It’s a simple children’s poem with some cool pictures. It’s trying to explain to a kid what dreams are.” In fact, There Are Such Things As In Your Dreams is the first of three books that Cruz has lined up. “The first one is basically a nursery rhyme or a kids’ poem with pictures. The second one is a little bit darker. The third one is a motherfucker…but that’ll wait ’til (his daughter is) a little older!

*excerpted artwork from There Are Such Things As In Your Dreams courtesy of Cruz himself*

As a songwriter, Cruz has not shied away from digging around in some dark places and exploring themes that might be awkward or strange or uncomfortable, and that won’t be different when it comes to his career as an author of kids’ books. “I am who I am in front of my daughter; sometimes I write about dark stuff, but I think at the core of everything I do is love,” Cruz notes. “I think if you read anything I write, it’s about love. I’m not a hateful person, I don’t write about hateful things. Everything I do comes from love, so naturally this book comes from love and dreams.” To that end, Cruz approached the process of creating the art and storyline for a children’s book in much the same manner that he approaches creating music, be it for Strung Out or another project like Jason Cruz and Howl. “To me, a children’s book is just like a song,” he explains. “They’ve both got rhythm, they’ve got imagery. It’s a simplified, poetic approach to telling a sorry or a thought or a theme, you know?

Head below to check out our full Q&A with Jason Cruz…or at least the first 22 minutes of our conversation before my recorder miraculously shat the proverbial bed. If you’re going to be in Southern California the last week of October, you can RSVP to the above-mentioned art show/book launch here; it’s free, and it will also feature guest artist and skateboarding icon Steve Caballero and an acoustic performance by Strung Out!