Monday, December 30, 2013

Reviews





Jail Weddings - Meltdown: A Declaration of Unpopular Emotion LP (Neurotic Yell Records)
You’re on a serene train ride at night through the mountains and wilderness of the west.  Now imagine the train suddenly being robbed by Butch Cassidy and The Hole in The Wall Gang. That’s what I see when I listen to this album. A mixture of beautiful dark songs peppered with some dynamite explosions that at times are off in the distance and move gradually closer and even sometimes explode in your face. It does sound Nick Cave-y mixed with some Spanish Bolero type undertones which blend quite well together, adding to the mystique. Why Butch Cassidy? I don’t know I just love that movie.  – Jay Castro

When singer Gabriel Hart states, “There is a distance,” he is not kidding. The distance is in the strides Jail Weddings have taken over their previous LP, Love Is Lawless. I am a fan of the Jail Weddings previous LP, but Meltdown is a different animal. Jail Weddings, at this point, are just effortlessly mixing Shangri-La’s, Phil Spector inspired arrangements, call and response guy/girl vocals with snippets of Ziggy-era Bowie grandeur, Pogues and early Springsteen’s earnest storytelling to provide a grandiose, operatic, ambitious and exceptionally done LP. – Ed Stuart



Steve Adamyk Band – Monterrey 7” (Hosehead Records)
On Monterrey, Steve Adamyk Band is sticking to their guns and there will be no complaints from me. When your musical bullets are consistently hitting the target why bother changing what’s working. Over the last few years Steve Adamyk Band has been writing and releasing Ramones/Boys inspired power/punk/pop at an ever-prolific rate. It seems just a few months ago that Third LP was just released and now this gem of a 7”. Monterrey picks up where Third left off. Punchy, hooky, melodic guitars wound tightly under pop choruses that beg for repeated listening. – Ed Stuart

Superb melodic punk and dare I say “poppy” punk. I think this band has so much more to offer than a lot of other groups that fall into this category though. The hooks are definitely there, but not in your face. Steve Adamyk Band somehow writes hooks that are catchy enough to make you come back for more, but you don’t get sick of the songs after repeat listens. The thing I really like about this record is the production. Mixed terrifically for this type of music, not over produced which leaves a lot of punk records sounding like a bucket of sap. The record sounds tuneful, hard hitting, and raucous all at once. Yummy! -– Jay Castro


           
 Abolitionist – The Growing Disconnect LP (Hahaha cool!/Different Kitchen Records/1859/Lost Cat/Sex Sheets/Tour Van)
Another band that at times sounds like it would have fit in perfectly in the Lookout Records Can of Pork compilation. Hints of heroes from times gone by like Monsula, Jawbreaker and Fifteen, this record is far from dismissible though. The thing about punk music, especially scenes believing in the DIY philosophy like Lookout Records/924 Gilman St Project/MRR, is that it lights a fire in the soul, it inspires. It makes these younger kids want to get up and play, not just mimic their heroes. Sure your influences are going to show, that’s inevitable, but the music of Abolitionist is most definitely their own. That’s why punk will truly never lie down and die.  -– Jay Castro

On The Growing Disconnect, Abolitionist leans heavily towards an equal parts Midwest and Bay area musical influences. Underneath the social and political landscape they cover lyrically beat the heart of Dillinger Four, Jawbreaker, Avail, Fifteen and punker Lawrence Arms. There is a mid to late 90’s work ethic in these aforementioned workman style bands that exudes passion and commitment as if every chord they play is their last. Growing Disconnect is not just a throwback to that era, but also a vigilant reminder that deserves to not be swept aside. – Ed Stuart

           

 The Pelvis Douglas – The Pelvis Douglas LP – (Self-Release)
This is charismatic punk pop from France that runs along the same rails as say The Rezillos. In fact, every time I listen to this record I like it more and more. France has sprouted some pretty great punk in its day, if memory and my Bloodstains/Killed By Death records have served me right, so it’s really no surprise to me that a record like this can come out of there. For some reason the band told us that this record was not only recorded in a basement, but a flooded basement. Soggy galoshes and all, a pretty enjoyable listen! – Jay Castro

Imagine Poly Styrene singing for the Toy Dolls and you wouldn’t be too far from describing this record. Instead of Germfree Adolescents it’s a Far Out Disc. Toy Dolls were always a fun band to listen. Their brand of infectious punk/pogo/pop has influenced Pelvis Douglas on their self-titled self-release. Pelvis Douglas is no mere one-trick pony as the band adds parts from The Rezillos, The Adverts and early Art Brut to make Pelvis Douglas a fun listen. – Ed Stuart




French Girls – 7” (Self Released)
On first listen to the French Girls 7”, I was taken back to the basement rock days of Rip Off Records, Mummies, Bobbyteens and Supercharger. The production is spot on from that era and so are the songs. Lo-fi garage that’s sounds like the band recorded straight to one-track. Punk/garage/rock-n-roll that isn’t pretty, but still cool much like a dirty white Converse shoe. – Ed Stuart

Quick sonic blasts of guitar driven garage punk Rock N’ Roll seem to be the modus operandi on the debut 7” from Tempe, Arizona’s French Girls. I wish I had the ear to listen past the female voice and not compare this record to other female fronted garage punk bands. Sadly I don’t, and the first thing that comes to mind is bands from the Rip Off Records roster like Loli and The Chones, The Spastics or even The Dirty Sweets.  Not a bad comparison in my opinion, after all it was the soundtrack to my high school/college years so anything that sounds remotely like this I gravitate towards.  French Girls is not a piece of nostalgia though, its Rock N’ Roll done up right in any decade. – Jay Castro



 Stitches/Gaggers – Without You/Gag On This 7” (Rapid Pulse Records/No Front Teeth)
In the movie A Few Good Men they described people known as mirrors. For every U.S. Guard standing on the U.S. side of the border at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base there was a Cuban guard standing opposite of him on the Cuba side. That’s kind of how I viewed the Gaggers and The Stitches, as U.S./UK mirrors. So the concept of this record really blew my mind. Here are two bands that carry the banner high for ‘77 snotty, snobby, snooty what have you punk. Both bands are in top form here. Could you ask for a better record? Only if you were asking for more tracks from each band, but let’s not get greedy, it’s unbecoming of a punk.  – Jay Castro

On a recent Regular Show, there was a food truck selling a burger called The Ultameatum. This burger, which was highly desired by Mordecai and Rigby, was only offered for one day every 100 years. In some ways, this Stitches/Gaggers 7” reminds me of this because this combo of bands together on a single was a great idea, but something listeners might not see for a long time again. I can’t think of a more highly desired current single where the bands are so evenly matched. I’m sure by the time I finish typing this review the 7” will be sold out. Both bands play punk in the Pistols/Heartbreakers/’77 tradition and neither disappoint on this single. “Without You” is classic Stitches and “Gag On This” is a ripper with one hell of a memorable outro guitar riff. – Ed Stuart



 The Junk – Society & The Robot/The Patch 7” (Rapid Pulse Records/No Front Teeth)
Looks like Rapid Pulse is taking a page straight out of Hostage with this release. Biggest change for The Junk is that Riky Barners of Pushers/Naughty Monkey is now handling the vocals and he definitely makes a difference. He had a similar effect with The Pushers. He just brings The Junk to another level. Remember The Junk features ex-Smut Peddlers who can already play and know this music inside and out, but this Junk 7” with Barnes signing is electric. This is Hostage style punk Rock N’ Roll with no fillers. Well done. – Ed Stuart

Riky Barnes (of the Pushers fame) now leads this Southern California punk outfit with personality and vigor to spare, along with some members of Smut Peddlers who don’t do such a shabby job themselves! It’s a terrific blend of hard driving, super catchy Southern California punk rock that rages like a comet jetting into your ear canal. In the song “Society & The Robot,” Junk hurl the sword like William Wallace signaling the instigation of the anti-tech wars “disconnect from your mainframe and reattach to your thinking brain” well said Mr. Barnes, well said!  – Jay Castro



 Crazy Squeeze – Younger Girl/Terminal Love 7” (Rapid Pulse Records/No Front Teeth)
The Crazy Squeeze is at it again, throwing out more delicious goodies to the Rock N’ Roll starved masses like bread loaves from the back of a truck at a depression era food line. Johnny Witmer and Co. crank out two more classic Glam/Power Pop/Pub Rock/Rock N’ Roll gems. Including a track off the debut LP, “Younger Girl,” and a flawless rendition of The Boys “Terminal Love” featuring original Boys guitarist Sir Honest John Plain himself and a newly updated fallen rockers tribute interlude. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, Crazy Squeeze is one of the best bands out there right now, and this record only adds evidence to that. – Jay Castro

If you didn’t listen to Crazy Squeeze’s self-titled LP, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Crazy Squeeze completely nailed in both songwriting and production the punk/glam era where Slade, The Boys, New York Dolls and Sweet blurred lines to create one hell of a good debut LP. This single is no different. “Younger Girl” was on the LP and sounds as just as good as it does on the LP. The B-side is the Boys classic “Terminal Love,” which is so faithfully redone that they even brought in John Plain to help out on guitar. In some circles, Crazy Squeeze is regarded as a super group and with releases like this I’m tempted to agree.  – Ed Stuart



 Neighborhood Brats - Total Dementia EP (Erste Theke Tontrager)
Total Dementia was pressed to coincide with the Brats European tour, but why let the Europeans have all the fun. Right now, Neighborhood Brats are on fire. Total Dementia might not have Birth Right’s production power, but it still has The Brats trademark buzzsaw, shredding guitars, mixed with Angelillo’s Avengers style vocals and kick in the face rhythm section. Brats could arguably be the heirs apparent to the early LA/Dangerhouse sound. Just when you think you have Neighborhood Brats figured out, they throw in a surprise like covering “Lust For Love” and making it sound like they wrote the song in the first place. Right now this band can do no wrong and Total Demetia is proof. – Ed Stuart

This band has a hand full of 7”’s and an LP out in the world and completely rage through all of them without any let up in volume or quality. This new EP is no exception to that.  Neighborhood Brats remind me of a lot of a band from San Francisco called The Loudmouths that was around in the mid to late 1990’s. They played a brand of blazing fast, tuneful punk Rock N’ Roll capable of laying waste to any living animal or vegetation within the blast radius of their amps. Neighborhood Brats is pretty similar and are also capable of such destruction. Ferocious female vocals, guitars in your face, and a rollercoaster thrill ride of a record.  – Jay Castro



 Dead Uncles – Stock Characters LP (86’d Records/Different Kitchen Records/Hip Kid Records/Lost Cat Records/Sad Punk Records/Shitty Present Records/Trends Die Records/You Look Like Shit Records)
Stock Characters reminds of equal parts mid-80’s DC era and early to mid-90’s Bay Area style bands; more specifically bands like Gray Matter, J Church, and Crimpshrime. Dead Uncles is full of muted guitars that can explode at any second couple with rapid fire chord progression changes would have fit right into the early Lookout Records roster. Back in those days the aforementioned bands really kept their pop and punk separated without combining them into pop-punk. Stock Characters is the first and last LP for Dead Uncles. This LP is a well-done testament to a band that is no longer around. – Ed Stuart

More 1990’s Bay area influenced blasts from this New Haven, CT band. They would have rounded out the bill well at a 924 Gilman Street show back in the day with bands like Monsula, Pinhead Gunpowder and Crimpshrine. This is some fun, fast, and catchy punk rock with growling vocals. There aren’t a lot of clunkers in here, the album keeps its quality pace pretty much from beginning to end and isn’t front or rear loaded. In fact my favorite track Playing Around lays pretty much smack dab in the middle. – Jay Castro


 Doug Mason – Boogazi/Sonic Juice 7” (Noyes Records)
All I know about Doug Mason is that he has half a dozen fantastic LP’s out and he is from the east coast. He plays hook filled, mid tempo, indie pop similar to Sebadoh, Pavement and early Flaming Lips. The songs display the heart on the sleeve, thinly masked by irony and sarcasm, a lyrical trademark of the above bands. These two songs brought to you here by Noyes Records are alright. Neither really shines out though. They are a good starting point, but to find some real gems pick up Doug’s last couple excellent LP’s Naked Wine and Gravy Nights. – Jay Castro

This is the latest release from Dartmouth legend Doug Mason who since 2006 has released six LP’s. This 2 songer opens with a semi-ode to Fugazi called “Boogazi.” The song features such lines as “Their name is Boogazi and they don’t like money,” which seems to be a jab about Fugazi’s strict $5 ticket price policy. Mason definitely has an alternative feel reminiscent of early Guided By Voices and Sebadoh with a lazy hook riff that is catchy on “Boogazi.” On the other side, “Sonic Juice” is a Cars/Devo rocker with crunchy guitars.  – Ed Stuart




Josh Berwanger – Strange Stains LP (Good Land Records)
Don’t call this LP a comeback or maybe you should. Berwanger, who most notably was in The Anniversary, had dropped out of the music scene for quite a few years only to come back stronger than ever. First, if you’re hoping this would be another Anniversary record, you would be way off course. Instead, Berwanger mixes ‘60’s pop, T. Rex, Bowie, folk, and Flamin Groovies effortlessly to make Strange Stains an excellent debut solo LP.  – Ed Stuart

These are some pretty catchy songs of irreverent folksy material from the former Anniversary front man. It’s got the intimacy of a singer/songwriter release and also reminds me of All Shook Down era Replacements stuff, which in my opinion is a criminally overlooked record in their catalog. One thing that really struck me when reading Josh’s bio is his tenacity and commitment to being a musician. His former band The Anniversary ended in a nuclear mushroom cloud of a break up and he even got a “regular” job for a while, but the dude didn’t give up. This says a lot about his spirit and love for music. This mood translates into this collection of well-crafted songs that seem to come from deep within the soul. – Jay Castro



Ketamines – So Hot! 7” (Hosehead Records)
This is one peculiar, sloppy and cynical ride with Toronto’s own Ketamines. Slow to mid tempo shots of psyche/bubblegum hybrid songs that never take it to a serious level.  According to their bio, they love Kim Fowley and there is plenty of that Sunset Boulevard avant-pop packed in here. You can tell their lack of sincerity just by looking at the cover of this EP! Not that that’s a bad thing by any means, the world already has too many pompous world crusading musicians. No soul saving of starving African children for the Ketamines. All they can offer is their hand in welcoming you onto their bizarro fun bus ride, and it’s hard not to accept that invitation.  – Jay Castro

So Hot is number three in four part 7-inch series from the Ketamines that involves four different labels releasing each seperately. Ketamines have several styles on this 7”, which range from garage, to Los Microwaves synth pop, to sparse power-pop Pink Flag Wire. My favorite track off this single is “Summer Mothers,” which is the Wire influenced pop song. – Ed Stuart



LA Drugz – Outside Place 12” EP (Hovercraft Records)
Outside Place is one hell of debut from LA Drugz. Mixing Teenage Head and LA power-pop like Plimsouls and The Beat, LA Drugz have quite a standout 6-song EP. “Marina” is a power pop gem that could have fought for a place on any Powerpearls compilation while the title track and “Ooh Ooh Ooh” have the pogo energy of a Teenage Head song. Highly recommended. – Ed Stuart

The punchy, power pop/glam hits just keep on rolling out of this part of the country with no end in sight and L.A. Drugz keeps the barrel of fun rolling on. The first song and the title track kicks the saloon bar doors wide open with unrestrained pogo energy that doesn’t let up. This is for fans of early Damned and Vibrators records. If you have any sense at all you count yourself among those ranks.  Goes well with The Crazy Squeeze!  – Jay Castro



Maniac – Dim Sum/Pepe 7”  (La-Ti-Da Records)
Described by La Ti Da records as “gentleman punks” and looking like a bunch of Mafioso contract killers in some of their promo pictures, I will go ahead and agree.   Maniac is a virtual super group of Los Angeles punk bands consisting of current and past members of bands like Cute Lepers, Images, Clorox Girls, Rough Kids and more. The music is reminiscent of The Undertones or something that could have been on Belfast’s Good Vibrations records in the late 70’s. There’s riffs-o-plenty, it’s well poised, and the energy is barely contained and bubbling over the sides like early Who records. I eagerly anticipate more!  – Jay Castro

This band has quite a musical heritage. Members have been in such bands as The Girls, Clorox Girls, The Cute Lepers, Red Dons, and LA Drugz. Maniac reminds the most of the early Vibrators/Undertones/’77 UK punk that is both irreverent and instantly catchy. Maniac has set the bar pretty high with this 2-song debut. Now all we can do is wait to see what these gentlemen punks do next. – Ed Stuart



The Thirteen – LIFT-OFF! LP  (Self-release)
This LP was released as a self-release, but finally made its way to Audio Ammunition for review just recently. Pretty solid mid-era Replacements/Husker Du style power pop Rock n’ Roll from this Philly trio. Stephen Egerton, Descendents guitar player, produced LIFT-OFF!, and as with Descendents he has placed the hooks out front to listen. Hopefully for this trio, it won’t be another five years between releases. – Ed Stuart

Loud mid-tempo Rock N’ Roll offerings from the Philly band’s second LP; following 2007’s The Secret History of the Thirteen. This album sounds rawer as compared to their debut, a good fitting production style considering the direction the band wants to go in, which according to their bio is power pop Rock N’ Roll. This came out last year, but barely found itself at the doorstep of Audio Ammunition Command Center. The Thirteen kind of remind me of The Joneses, only with a bit less of Jeff Drake’s charisma and drunken merriment. Fun, catchy bar room Rock N’ Roll that would probably sound great live.  – Jay Castro



Utter Failure – Eroding Forces LP (86’d Records/Lost Cat Records/HaHaHa Cool Records/Say-10 Records/Shit Starter Records/Smart Ass Records/Vinehell Records)
The brothers that brought you Krupted Peasant Farmers are back with there new band Utter Failure. Eroding Forces is the follow up LP to last year’s Utter Failure EP, 7”. By definition, Utter Failure is nuts and bolts melodic punk/hardcore. Eroding Forces is full of tough guitars, raspy voices and raw production to make this LP full of punch and bite. This LP showcases the band’s tough exterior, but ever so often reveals it’s melodic side with catchy hook riffs and 7-Seconds “Ooh-Ooh” style choruses. – Ed Stuart

More Lookout Records inspired music from former Krupted Peasant Farmers!  This San Jose band sounds like a more serious Love Songs for the Retarded era Queers.  Instead of singing about “Granola Heads” and “Noodle Brains,” Utter Failure throws in some more political and socially conscious lyrics. The music is fun and fast paced, the recording is a bit raw so these messages don’t seem thrown in your face, which is definitely a good thing! – Jay Castro



Guida – Let’s Do It Again LP  (Damaged Goods)
Those feisty Italians are stirring it up once more, with great results! Their first album, 2010’s Racey Roller was crammed full of Gary Glitter worship. This time around the band seems to have expanded their sound on some of the songs, ever so slightly I might add, to include other glam influences like a dollop of New York Dolls and Hollywood Brats flavored Rock N’ Roll to spice up the pot. Hooks and enjoyment run wild and plentiful.  – Jay Castro 

Yes, it’s finally here after three years! Let’s Do It Again is the follow-up to the much-heralded Racey Roller. If you haven’t been existing in the punk orbit the last few years, Racey Roller was all the rage by both fans and press and as a result, re-issued numerous times. So the ex-Taxi boys are back with more of their Slade/Sweet/early Cocksparrer/Bovver Rock influenced tunes. In some ways, this is more of what Racey Roller made so damn good. No frills, insanely catchy sing-along anthems that is somehow instantly memorable. This time around on Let’s Do It Again, Guida has the complete feel and sound of the UK glam era. Where Racey Roller still had punk traces, Let’s Do It Again is comfortable in it’s own boots or should I say roller skates. – Ed Stuart



Happy Noose – Amagosa EP (Dead End Social Club Records)
At first listen, I was briefly reminded of Christian Death’s Only Theater of Pain, due to the melancholy of the vocals and dark guitar tones, but that gave way to a more Joy Division/Bauhaus/Echo and The Bunnymen early goth influence with nods to My Bloody Valentine/Swervedriver 90’s indie drone pop. On Amogosa, Happy Noose is writing songs that are equal mix of the previous mentioned bands without ever straying to far from its roots.  – Ed Stuart

Wow, what we got here is a dark Rock N’ Roll record similar to Christian Death’s Only Theater of Pain. The record is definitely rocking, but doesn’t quite cross the punk rock threshold. Don’t get me wrong; this is totally fine. There are a few bands around now taking queues from early goth bands: TV Ghost and A Place To Bury Strangers come immediately to mind. The problem that a lot of “goth” bands have is that their front men become so pompous and vain they take the rest of the band down megalomania hell, see Andrew Eldrtich and Peter Murphy, so these great bands have a couple good releases and a parade of crapola afterwards. This is a great record, here’s hoping everyone in Happy Noose keeps their heads on straight!  – Jay Castro



Benny The Jet Rodriguez – Home Run LP (Recess Records)
San Pedro’s BTJR cranks out a highly infectious brand of catchy, punk-y, doo wop-y influenced lo-fi Rock N’ Roll similar to Brentwoods or the Donnas; when Darin Raffaelli had them Donnas under his Kim Fowley-esque hypnotic control. So that’s to say when The Donnas were actually worth listening to. Benny The Jet Rodriguez has more sweetness and melancholy than both of the above-mentioned bands though. If anyone remembers Kamala and The Karnivores, add a pinch of that band in there and you got yourself a closer match. Great record!   – Jay Castro

Highly catchy garage pop with girl vocals that seems like it would be more at home on Burger than Recess. San Pedro though, like Long Beach, is a big city that acts in some ways like a small town where everyone is connected and after catching the ear of Todd C. (Toys That Kill) at a show, he decided to supply keyboards for this LP. Home-Run is poppy without gunning for that ‘60’s girl pop sound. Think early, pre-Lookout Records, Donnas than Peach Kelli Pop. – Ed Stuart




Subsets – Ape Facin’ EP (Granado Records)
Ape Facin’ is straight ahead no frills punk rock just like how the Pagans and The Germs used to do it. Head-bopping, pogo punk from these Cincinnati guys. Subsets are not into wasting time; they just get right to the point. Pagans/Killed by Death/The Germs style songwriting propels this Ape Facin’ through four songs in less than 10 minutes. The main riff of “Make You (Do It Again)” sounds like the counterpart to the Germs “We Must Bleed.” This EP is both an homage to that era while making it all new again. – Ed Stuart

This is some solid hard hitting gruff/tuff street punk similar to some of those old GMM or Pogo Stick New Jersey bands that were making a fuss up there a while ago. The songs come at you hard right out the door with thick guitars and catchy hooks among the punk chaos being hurled at your face. Makes me want to throw a pack patch onto my jacket and break out my old Bristles and Wretched Ones records! A good quality street punk record, hope there’s more to come!  – Jay Castro


 
The Socials – The Beast Bites 7” (Centsless Records)
4-song EP of some pretty tasty late 70’s California inspired punk music rocketing out of Cincinnati, OH. When I heard this I immediately thought of Avengers, The Bags, VKTMS type bands. This fits right there nestled in all that good company, no exaggeration here folks. Vocalist/guitarist Julie Social does double duty laying on the thick, catchy riffs next to her non high pitched wailing yet burning vocal style which makes for some pretty anthemic punk music.  – Jay Castro

From what I have read, this band is a Cincinnati legend. They have existed in various forms for over 19 years, but have never had a proper release until now. The Beast Bites is full of early SF influence where bands like the Nuns, and the Avengers were mainstays of the scene. Julie Social’s vocals remind me of both the Avengers and VKTMS, but that is not solely where the band’s sound lies. Yes, The Socials have one foot in early SF sound, but on songs like “The Future Has Let Me Down” they are content to venture into art-rock territory with full abandon. In a lot of ways, The Beast Bites seems like a lost release from ’77-79 and not a debut release from today. – Ed Stuart



Radioactivity – Radioactivity LP (Dirtnap Records)
Amazing! I really could just leave this review with just that one word, amazing. To quote the bio, Radioactivity is an “all-star lineup of Texas punk and garage rock royalty, including members of The Marked Men, Mind Spiders, Bad Sports, Wax Museums, The Reds, VIDEO, and The Novice.” Radioactivity takes Ramones influence and ups the tempos just a notch with losing the bubblegum pop quality and then peppers Buzzcocks/Rezillos/power pop hooks all over the top. All the hype surrounding this release is definitely worth it, Radioactivity might be the heir apparent to the Raydios LP that came out years ago. Amazing! Yes, amazing indeed! – Ed Stuart

The hype surrounding this LP has been out of control. In a rare instance this record actually does deliver. It’s quick in tempo and highly melodic. The thing that threw me a bit is its air of cheerfulness, no doom and gloom found here. This is quite welcome; don’t get me wrong. The band is another songwriting vehicle for Jeff Burke of Marked Men/The Reds fame. The history of this band is a bit convoluted. Apparently Jeff, who once resided in Denton TX, moved to Japan and formed a band called The Novice. He then moved back to the states and Radioactivity is a continuation of his work with that band. If you are familiar with Dirtnap Records or Denton TX, you know the sound: Think The Ramones Rocket to Russia fused with your favorite Devo record. This is one of my favorite releases of the year.  – Jay Castro



Mind Spiders – Inhumanistic  (Dirtnap Records)
Mark Ryan (Marked Men, High Tension Wires) releases yet another Mind Spiders record, the third in three years! It’s a bit more “Mr. Robot-o” than the previous records.  The synth and drum machines are laid on a bit more thick than the ‘Spiders previous record Meltdown. It ranges from Screamers/Ivy Green ferocity all the way to something reminiscent of Human League or Gary Numan atmospherics. I am torn with the idea that a good band has to evolve and grow to stay relevant otherwise they become a watered down parody of themselves; I’m winking at you Bad Religion. However the Mind Spiders don’t tread any new musical territory here. Just goes to show that so long as you stay inspired, the music will continue to have fire behind it. Another winner for team Dirtnap. – Jay Castro

Mark Ryan is a very busy man. Between Marked Men, Radioactivity and Mind Spiders I’m not how sure he has the time to write all of these songs, but quality songs on top of that. Inhumanistic might be Mind Spiders most straight-ahead record of the three LP’s that the band has released. This time around Mind Spiders go for a quicker Devo sound that has both Ramones and garage influence, but Inhumanistic is not a one-trick pony. Ryan has shown he has more tricks up his sleeves with songs like “City Stuff” by adding effects to his voice; slower tempos and the use of drum machines. Very catchy LP! – Ed Stuart



Crusades – Perhaps You Deliver this Judgment with Greater Fear than I Received It LP (No Idea Records)
Lyrically this concept LP “is a meditation on the life of philosopher, heretic and antichristian martyr Giordano Bruno.” Now, I’m not sure if this LP will change your religious beliefs or not. On the other hand, musically, Crusades is a band that would appeal to both punk and metal fans much like Turbonegro, Off With Their Heads, Rise Against and newer Fucked Up does, but with some more metal influences than the previously mentioned bands. – Ed Stuart



A Wilhelm Scream – Partycrasher LP (No Idea Records)
Within a few seconds of listening to Partycrasher, I had a flashback to the days of when Fat Wreck Chords was consistently putting out releases by Strung Out, Propagandhi, Lagwagon. A Wilhelm Scream is a melodic punk/hardcore/metal band that actually started when the Strung Out Fat era was in its heyday. If you don’t think this style of punk plays well, there is a legion of kids that will vehemently disagree with you. For fans of Strike Anywhere, Pennywise and Strung Out this Partycrasher is for you. – Ed Stuart

This Massachusetts band has been around for quite a while; I remember hearing their name many times before. This has the trademark sound of what Fat Wreck Chords and Epitaph built their empires on: Pennywise, Strung Out, Lag Wagon with some Face To Face sensitivity/philosophy thrown in. This is some really fast paced rock punk played by folks that sound like they can actually play their instruments! This band sounds like it would fit right in with the Vans Warped Tour type crowd.  – Jay Castro



Midnight Reruns – Midnight Reruns LP (Good Land Records)
WOW, this is a fantastic good time rockin’ record blasting out of Milwaukee, WI! It sounds like it would have fit right in there with the Twin Tone records family in the early to mid 1980’s. The music rolls around in the glory of all those great Midwest bands from that era like Soul Asylum, Replacements, and Husker Du. This is not however some cheap, standing on the shoulders of giants rip off band though. These guys play their guts out and it’s obvious their hearts are in exactly the right place, which makes listening to this record all the more blissful. The record has sweat, heart and hooks that fizz up uncontrollably like a fine frosty beverage poured into a glass too quickly. It takes more than one listed to try and slurp in all up before in hits the table. Highly recommended! - Jay Castro

Midnight Reruns does have musical odes to mid-era Replacements and Hold Steady, but more so to Weezer’s first LP and early Superchunk than others. Midnight Reruns is full of guitar pop that would fit in the mid-90’s Merge Records catalog as it does now. Midnight Reruns have been described as “aggressive slack” which I can see in the songwriting that simultaneously seems sloppy and tuneful without regard for throwing curveballs in the songs like Tonic For The Troops-era Boomtown Rats used to.  – Ed Stuart

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Movement


     The Movement is a find of a band. On one hand, they are a throwback to the Brighton Beach days of Mods vs Rockers, while clearly playing for the Mod side. On the other hand they are a sociopolitical, pro union, anti-fascist band that stands firm in their message while wearing dapper looking Merc suits. So if Billy Bragg were in a band together with Bruce Foxton playing bass and looked like the classic Jam will give you an idea. Melodic, mod, power-pop influenced music waiting for willing ears that feels right at home on a This Is Mod compilation. 


Interview by Ed Stuart

Who’s answering the questions?
Lukas Sherfey.

Where is the band from?
Copenhagen / Denmark

Who is in the band and what instrument do they play?
Kasper Rasmussen / Drums
Sebastian Page / Bass
Lukas Sherfey / Guitar and Vocal

How did the band start?
I started the band years ago! I wanted to make a band with cool style, a good message, a band for the people, and that’s why I called it The Movement.

Can you talk about Fools Like You LP? What has the reception been so far?
Pretty good! The LP is released by a small label in Berlin and the CD is released by us The Movement Rec. I think people like the album, and it’s the first album since after the small break we had, I guess we know the direction for a new album now, straightforward with full power!

Do you think music can still be a vital force in such a disposable age?
Sure! That’s all we got! There’s just too much bad music at the moment. We are still here!

How is the Copenhagen/Denmark music scene? Is there a big mod scene there?
No there’s not a Mod scene here. We have a scooter club and some punk concerts now and then, but it’s small. We never really play in Denmark any more, only for some very important political stuff.

50 years ago people used to buy music and get their water for free, now people pay for water and get their music for free. How do you think this affects music in any way?
To be honest I like the whole piracy idea. We played in Russia last year and I never think that we have sold an album there, but hundreds of people were singing along and knew all the lyrics, and that’s great! Spread and share the music, we see ourselves as musicians from older times, we come to a new city get something to eat, we play and we drink and sleep, and we get a little money for that, that’s our life style. About the water thing, then I also think it absurd! They should put water fountains in every train station and every square, like how it used to be. 

If The Movement had decided to add a second guitar player and your choices were Mick Jones, Pete Townshend and Paul Weller. Who would you choose? Why?
Well today it would be Paul Weller, because he’s living in the present and he’s still going strong!



In an interview with Oi! Oi! Music, Lukas stated “We still want to be political band, but we want to bring the political stuff into a more mainstream audience. Otherwise it’s just preaching for the converted.”  Can you explain a little further on this comment? A lot of bands are happy just playing to their core audience without moving on. Why the difference for The Movement?
We also wanna play for our crowd of cause, but when it comes down to a message that you feel for then you want to spread it as far as possible! I don’t expect or want the whole world to listen to mod music, but I want everybody to join a message of solidarity with the oppressed.

Also on Fools Like You, The Movement has filled the LP with half of the songs lyrics about politics and the other half of the song lyrics about love. It seems like by not having every song about politics would help the band reach a wider, especially a non-political, audience by doing this. Was this part of the game plan or did the music just fit love songs better?
I like Motown and Northern Soul and all those old 60’s love songs, which are our influence, and then also The Jam and The Clash etc. I thought it was a good mix to have half of the songs like that, on the next record it will properly be more political, because the left and the antifascist scene really needs it.

I know The Movement tours around Europe, mostly Germany, has there been any desire for the band to tour US or Canada?
No not really! I know all bands want to go to the USA, but it’s not my big goal. I wanna go to South America or Asia. But let’s see, some Red Skins groups in the US sometimes contact me; who want us to play solidarity shows for them, and it could be something interesting to do!

Where can people hear the band?
In this fall there are some shows around Germany!
www.themovement.dk/live

What’s next for The Movement?
Start to work at a new album and play as much as possible!!










Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Get Dead



     Get Dead is one of the bands instrumental in the revitalization of the San Francisco punk scene. Hot on the heels of their record release show for Bad News, released this year on Fat Wreck Chords, Get Dead’s brand of yeoman, street busking, blue-collar work ethic is getting a chance at a bigger audience. Previous releases had the band focus primarily on either their folk side or punk side, but Bad News, finally combines both halves of the band into a whole.


Interview by Ed Stuart

Who’s answering the questions?
Sam – Singer / Barstool Warmer

Where is the band from?
San Francisco, San Jose, Sonoma, and Oakland. Basically we have a stranglehold on the greater bay area of California.

Who is in the band and what instrument do they play?
Moki - guitar
Mike – guitar
Tim – bass
Scotty - drums
I sing the ditties.

How did the band start?
We were all in other bands that played together. (The Ballistics, Splitting Seconds, Lewee and The Regals) We all were in a hiatus period and after a night of drinking gin out of pineapples and a morning at a bar we formed Get Dead.

Seems like the San Francisco scene is on fire right now with bands like Toy Guitar, Druglords of the Avenues, Dead To Me, Get Dead and I’m sure there are many other bands. What’s it like to be part of that scene right now?
I’m siked on it. After years of having to endure ironic hipster bands with Uncle Larry on a keyboard playing to an audience more concerned with who sees them or who has the coke instead of having a good time. I fucking love it.  We just played with Swingin’ Utters and Toy Guitar and all I can say is its good to see kids having a good time again.

How was the record release show for Bad News?
Ha! I should read these questions in their entirety before answering. That above show with the Utters and Toy Guitar was the album release. It went off. Ramona and the whole staff at Bottom Of The Hill always do right by the bands. That was the first sold out hometown show we’ve done and it was legit! All the bands killed it. The crowd went off. I’m not sure how to describe the whole get down, but if you weren’t there you missed a hell of night to say the least.

Previous LP’s seem to be either primarily acoustic or electric, why the decision to now melds both sides of the band on the Bad News LP?
We just like making music and songs for our friends. With each album we are in different headspaces I guess. Sometimes we want to get rowdy and sometimes we want to get a little more mellow. We’ve always recorded with just us and Josh Garcia who has done all our stuff including Bad News, but this time we had Fat Mike in there with his input which was great. I guess we just decided to see what a middle ground sounded like. Its funny because the album has been called folky punk, but all the shows are a far cry from 5 dudes sitting down playing Bob Dylan type songs. The energy is still like the early thrash stuff but I think it’s a little more comprehensive by melting the two styles together.

Do you think music can still be a vital force in such a disposable age?
I think music above all things resonates with people. Sure people don’t always buy full albums now, and Instagram will be a MySpace next year, but there will still be a skate rat kid that will listen to a song drinking with his buddies or someone going through a rough patch and connect with a piece of music no matter the genre and that song or music will stick to the ribs and follow them through life. Music serves as a marker point throughout life; a reminder of good or bad shit that has happened. It will always be a force.

50 years ago people used to buy music and get their water for free, now people pay for water and get their music for free. How do you think this affects music in any way?
Fuck water. Steal your beer and make your own music.

How was the European tour? What was your most favorite show on that tour?
Europe was great. Can’t wait to get back there. I think the best show was the Amsterdam show with the Mad Caddies. We did a week with them out there and every night was a great time on and off the stage. NOFX had a night off and came out to the show so it was fun to hang out with them and their crew with Get Dead and the Caddies. Drinks were had, jokes were told. I mean it was Amsterdam. Nuff Said.

What are some essential folk LP or singles the band can’t live without?
Devil Makes Three is a staple for any occasion. Old Man Markley has been getting a lot of play in the Get Dead van lately as well.

Where can people hear the band?
Come to a show. Buy a record. Steal it from your friend. We also just did a record for Tony Sly, a tribute. Its got everyone on it and all proceeds go to his memorial fund. I hope everyone reading this picks that album up. We also got a few videos on the World Wide Web.

What’s next for Get Dead?
Touring Europe in April/June and writing new music, chalking up bar tabs and excessively using the word SUP.