Thursday, April 24, 2014


     In Sweden, The Makeouts have already won one music award, The Swedish Independent Musicprized Manifest, for their LP In A Strange Land! Now with their follow-up, Back To Sleep, they are up for a possible repeat. Not bad from the self-proclaimed “Worst Band Ever.” It’s been ten years since The Makeouts inception and in that time they have created their own brew of pop, power-pop, garage and punk, which upon listening sounds so effortless you would swear, they were born, doing it.

Interview by Ed Stuart

Who’s answering the questions?
Jakob and Nicke.

Where is the band from?
J: We’re from Stockholm. We all live scattered around town. When we first started we all lived in Täby (a northern suburb) where we grew up. We still rehearse there and both Nicke and Patrik still lives there.

Who is in the band and what instrument do they play?
Jakob – guitar and vocals, Nicke – guitar and vocals, Patrik – bass and vocals, Jocke – Drums and percussion

What is the punk/garage scene like in Sweden specifically Stockholm?
J: There is, and have been a lot of great bands from here. And it’s pretty friendly among the bands. If we have to name the most important persons for making the scene so great it’s Mr. Thomas Savage and Lotta who run the store and label Push My Buttons. They throw the most amazing parties and make sure all the great touring bands come and play here.

When we stumbled on the “scene” there was bands like Locomotions, Sons Of Cyrus, Meine Kleine Deutsche, Skelett, The Heartattacks, Henry Fiats Open Sore and Dixie Buzzards. And without Dixie Buzzards there wouldn’t be any Makeouts I think. That was when I got the idea that I could do this too, or I want to do this too. They we’re great and raw – like a train without brakes.

Current bands from here include Holograms, Martin Savage Gang, L’obscurite, Growth, Impo & the Tents and many more. We’ll give you the full tour if any of you travel to Stockholm.

Give us a quick history of Makeouts.
N: Okay, so Jakob and I were out skateboarding when the idea of playing together came about. There was no talk of a band or anything, but beating the hell out of a cheap guitar and a borrowed drum set in a basement seemed pretty awesome. Jakob however, smooth talked some people and poof, show booked. At that time we asked Patrik to join in to hold this fragile little structure together. First show, four songs in like three minutes. Played some more, met people, more shows, records, things got a bit tricky being three so Patrik’s brother joined in to. Basically that's who we are today.

What was the idea behind self-proclaiming Makeouts as “the worst band ever” or was it something to go with the “Worst Band Ever” single?
J: When we started out, we couldn’t play. And we we’re late bloomers, and I mean REALLY LATE. We know we were on to something, and we really liked it and we were having a lot fun doing so, but in comparison to all the bands we played with or listened to I always felt like we were miles apart. And all that stuff is pretty primitive! I never aspired to be a great player, but I had all these ideas and sounds in my head – and I couldn’t get ‘em out the way I wanted. And all the others sounded so good! So the “worst band ever” was kind of a shadow of that, and then us just putting it out there.

It all happened so fast in the beginning too, I mean our 4th show was in London, England on small tour. I probably had played guitar about six months then. I remember Nicke couldn’t eat before the shows – he was so nervous he was feeling sick, but we had a blast and people were enjoying it. This was the summer of 2005. We overcame the nervousness pretty fast, but the feeling of not being able to get my ideas like I want them still hits from time to time. Since then Nicke changed from drums to guitar, and we’ve gotten better at playing our instruments and at communicating our ideas, so we can help each other to getting the ideas closer to what we’re hearing in our heads. We can’t steer it all that much. Songs seem to write themselves.

Have you seen Spinal Tap? They have a record called Shark Sandwich, which got a two word review that read: “Shit Sandwich”. And with the title of our first 7”, Worst Band Ever we could have made history with just having a one-word review: “Yes.” I always think about Spinal Tap when we’re naming records. I mean the Back To Sleep title can invite to some pretty mean reviews as well. But we’ve only gotten raving reviews so far. We’re glad that people seem to like it!

Name five records that you can’t stop listening to right now?
Video – (Join The) Hatewave
Black Time – Blackout
Gun Club – Death Party
Bob Dylan - Highway 61 revisited
The Spits – Kill the Kool

Do you think music can still be a vital force in such a disposable age?
J: Yeah, I think music will always have some importance to people as long as we still have feelings. As for it to be a vital force, yeah I think so. Interest in music seem to hit us when where most vital and receptive in our early teens – so it’ll always be the soundtrack to future generations. And with bad times, great music seems to be made.

In A Strange Land! won the Swedish Independent Musicprize, Manifest for best rock album of the year. Now Back To Sleep is up for awards. How excited are Makeouts right now?
N: It´s a pretty big thing for us obviously, but it´s important to see it for what it is. You can´t listen too much to other people’s opinions or it may start to interfere with whatever it is you´re doing. But I do like hearing that the songs we´ve made actually matter to other people. Music has always been around to help me through good and bad days.

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?
N: That´s interesting. And disturbing of course. I guess record companies may not be too interested in owning a product that has no value so to speak. They´ll find there way somehow I’m sure. But we’re not the right people to ask. We´ve never seen any chances of earning any money from the music we make and we don't care either. I think for us, that's even a good thing. Money is not a strong motivational factor for creativity. Where money goes in, art goes out. There´s a lot of obvious examples of this. But on the other hand I think it´s sad that people with the ambition of living off of their music will have a real hard time doing so without compromising too much. Mixed emotions here but it doesn´t really affect us as a band that much.

Almost 10 years, Makeouts sent their demos to Bachelor and now Back To Sleep is released on Bachelor Records. Seems like the band has come full circle in a way. What was the decision to go with Bachelor again?
N: Yeah, ten years. I can´t remember what it was like before we started this band. It´s like a family business by now. Some of us are actually related too but that's a different story. And talking about labels, we are just really happy to work with Elmar and Bachelor Records. For starters, Bachelor Records is a pretty awesome label that puts out great stuff so being on it is a privilege. And further Elmar has been like the older brother that kept a watchful eye on the playground as we were growing up as a band and I guess he still does so in a way. We had a few of those older brothers actually, of course we´d then have to mention Thomas and Martin Savage, and Eric “Baconstrip” Boitier as well. And Black Time. Those guys and several others may be the reason we exist today I think. Their support especially in the early days made us grow and gain some confidence. When you start a band from scratch like we did, without any experience and totally unheard of, I think one thing that will be totally key is having people that support your work by booking shows and putting out records. And your mom just doesn't cut it here unless she´s a total music freak that has a popular blog or a record label.

Where can people hear Makeouts and what is next for the band?
J: We’ve got two new singles coming up, one on the Swedish, Radio Obligato Records and one will be a self-released “limited buy from the band only” type of thing. We recorded all those songs with Stefan Brändström (Frank E. Male) from Henry Fiats Open Sore in his Dustward Studio. It sounds dope! Lemmy Caution from Black Time described it quite good. “[K]ind of has an punk vibe with chanted multi-part vocals, but then also a bit psychedelic with the dubby echo effects - Sham 69 meets 13th Floor Elevators!” 

N:  If you wanna see us live I guess an invitation is a good start. We really like playing shows, preferably out of town. And drop us a few lines if you want to get in touch for whatever reason. Say hi if you´re at a show.

J: And I hope we’ll start to think about album #3 soon, but it’ll have to wait a little while. We also have some goodies if any label is interested in doing a little something something.

You can follow us on whatever is out there, Facebook, Spotify, Tumblr etc. to get the scoop.

Petty Things

     Petty Things unleash a murky, swirling psychedelic garage rock much like their forefathers did in The Seeds and The Count Five, and other bands in the mid to late 1960’s that still held on to their Rock N’ Roll roots, but just took it to a wildly new and chaotic level. Petty Things have tapped into the benevolent and malevolent spirits of the Sonorant Desert itself and channel these transcendental energies to us in song form, much like a Native American Shaman. If you listen to Petty Things songs carefully the mysteries of the universe shall be revealed unto you.

Interview by Jay Castro

Please introduce yourself and how you contribute to Petty Things?
Hello, my name is Jordan Owen and I play guitar, sing, and write the songs for Petty Things.

Where are you all from originally and how did you all meet and decide to play music together?
Everyone in the band is either from Phoenix or Tempe, and since the beginning of the band the main nucleus has been me and my brother (Austin) with a range of different players hopping on and off around us. At the moment, the band consists of me, my brother on bass, Doug James on lead guitar, and Chris Gerber on drums. Pretty much everyone that has ever played with us, the current lineup included, I met through just playing and going to shows around the Phoenix/Tempe area and for most of them I can’t really remember exactly how we met and decided to start playing together, but everything’s always worked out really well and I love what we’ve got going on at the moment.

I notice you guys play out quite a bit.  What’s the scene like for you in the Phoenix Metro area?  Do you find the typical crowd reaction positive?
Yeah, playing in front of a good crowd is possibly the best experience ever so we try to play out as much as we can. The scene in Phoenix can be a little fickle at times depending on the day of the week or the venue. I’m sure it’s the same everywhere else. For the most part, the best shows are the ones that are either free or all ages. All ages shows are definitely always the best. Kids are so much more willing to get crazy and have a blast which always gets us pumped up and feeling better on stage. It kinda sucks to admit since everyone in the band is a part of that age group, but the 21+ shows we play are usually the ones with the least crowd response. Our dream show is an all ages, BYOB, do as you please house show. It doesn’t always work out that we play those kinds of dream shows, but whenever we get the chance we hop on those.

I read in Valley Hype that your song “Bored” was inspired by the tragedy in Oklahoma where some teenagers killed a 22 year old Australian baseball player simply because of boredom.  Do you guys often get musically inspired by current events?  What other things inspire your tunes?
Actually, I hardly ever write songs inspired by the news. Even though I probably listen to the news nearly as much as I listen to music, those stories don’t normally make it into my songs. I think with that song what happened was I had all the music worked out, the melody pretty well structured, but didn’t know what to write about. Then I saw that story and it just stuck with me. I tried some lyric ideas out when I got home and it worked out really good. I also really liked that the song has a pretty and poppy kind of sound but has lyrics about a gruesome subject. Besides that song, day-to-day people, thoughts, and events inspire most of my songs. Also, lately they’ve been getting a little sexier, which has been really fun. But yeah, for the most part I find myself writing about people and my relationship with them, sometimes real, sometimes totally made up.

In your opinion, what bands do people need to know and understand in order to better appreciate your music?
We get influenced by a lot of different bands from a bunch of different time frames and locations. Obviously there’s a lot of DIY/lo-fi/garage rock and stuff like that that works its way in. But what would probably help people understand what we’re doing the best is to look into the tape labels Gnar Tapes in Portland, OR and Rubber Brother Records in Tempe, AZ. They are responsible for providing us, at least in my mind, with some of our biggest influences. These guys are putting out some of the raddest music, most of which has had a huge influence on what I write. Some of the favorites from both labels are White Fang, Love Cop, Today’s Hits, The Memories, Playboy Manbaby, The Thin Bloods, Webs, Fungi Girls, Guantanamo Baywatch, and a ton more. I seriously can’t express just how large my love for these labels is, too huge.

I see that Petty Things are playing PHX Fest and SXSW this year. Pretty major stuff!  How did those gigs materialize?
I would like to say that it was all our hard work and stuff that got us on those shows but really we just got a ton of help and support from our labels. Rubber Brother put in a good word for us to get on Viva Phx and Gnar Tapes is hosting a showcase at SXSW that we were invited to play. It’s all pretty wild to think of us playing these “bigger” kind of shows since we’ve only been a band for about 9 months. But yeah, we’re super grateful and really, really stoked to be a part of them.

What’s been the most unforgettable show you’ve played, good or bad and what made it so memorable?
Man, that’s really hard to nail down. There have been some absolutely amazing shows that we’ve played. The one that seems to stand out the most in my mind is our EP release show at the Trunk Space in Phoenix. We had only been a band for a couple months and had yet to play a show to more than like a handful people, but that night there had to be at least 150 kids all packed into this ferociously hot dungeon of a venue, all sweating and having fun. We played toward the end of the night and the crowd went crazy the whole time. The whole thing felt so good and I guess that’s part of why it’s one of the most memorable. Just realizing that people were actually into what we were doing felt so rad, and there’s really nothing better than playing to people that wanna hear you.

You guys are also in another band called Los Puchos. Can you tell me a bit about that project?
Yeah, that’s my Brother Austin’s project. Everybody in Petty Things also plays in Los Puchos with me on bass, Doug on lead guitar, Chris on 12 string/baritone guitar, and Austin singing. How it started was Austin had recorded some really awesome songs on the side, and since he’s leaving to join the Peace Corps in May for 2 years he decided to go all out with the short time he has here and turn his project into this mysterious party band. It’s really blown up since we’ve started and there have been some epic shows. Rubber Brother is releasing our EP on March 1 so look out for that. 

Where are the best places for people to hear or buy your music?
You can listen to and buy our music either on our Bandcamp ( or on the Gnar Tapes and Rubber Brother Bandcamps. Or you can come to one of our shows, hear and see us play, test the waters, and then come and meet us and buy a tape or some other kind of merch there. We love the second option the most.

What does the band have in store for us in the near or not so near future?
Whole bunch of rad stuff coming up! Biggest news is that that we’re releasing our first full length album at the end of April. That’ll be coming out on Gnar Tapes/Rubber Brother Records, of course. Then for the first week of May we’ll be going on a west coast tour all the way up into BC, Canada. So look out for the album online and look out for us playing in your west coast town really soon! Before all that we’re playing Viva Phx on March 7 and SXSW at the Gnar Showcase on March 14. All in all things are looking mighty fine for the Petty boys.  

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Plain Dealers

     Imagine a 747 Jet Liner flying over The Atlantic at night in heavy turbulence. You’re flanked between Johnny Rotten on your left and Henry Rollins to your right. Suddenly the cabin pressure drops and the plane begins a sharp descent straight down towards pitch black ocean waters.  Everyone assumes it’s the storm’s doing, but then you and your aisle mates look out the window and in between lightening flashes you catch the profile of that goblin from the Nightmare at 20,000 Feet Twilight Zone episode straddling the engine fiendishly tearing it to shreds. This somewhat describes what I experienced the first time I heard Cleveland’s Plain Dealers. They take ‘70’s British punk and tack it to a molten slab of 80’s American hardcore. And what you’ve got is some of the meanest, snottiest, white knuckle punk rock either side of the Atlantic has heard in quite some time.  

Interview by Jay Castro

Please introduce yourselves and how you contribute to the Plain Dealers posse.
BECKER: I'm Becker; I play rhythm guitar/backing vox and do all this bullshit. I'm pretty stoked that I didn't have to spell check the word rhythm. That's a first. I tried to get Chic to answer some questions but he was busy. Mean Dean is gonna chime in on a few questions though. He plays lead guitar and pukes a lot.

DEAN: We are no posse, we are a street gang! No holds barred! That's what we’re about. We're the real deal.

BECKER – Dean drinks a lot too.

The band is currently in Cleveland, OH are all of you guys from that area originally?
BECKER: Yeah, our drummer Timmy is Italian though.

Last year The Cleveland Scene did a piece on you guys and someone said that “Cleveland still has a punk scene but kids aren’t as angry as they used to be.”  What do you guys think of the whole Maximum Rock N Roll political correctness in punk rock now? 
BECKER: I don't know what the fuck the shit in that magazine is?? That rag sucked back in the ‘90's and just got worse. I couldn't even read it when I was in jail, I'd read Source instead. It seems like a lot of the kids today are afraid of their own shadows, afraid to think for themselves. P.C. is a fucking lie. They're on some weak shit. Tallboys from Cleveland are ripping though. You know what the difference between a crust punk and a hippie is?? Not much.

DEAN:  PC doesn't apply to us. From what I understand . . . we hate everyone!!! Anything goes with this band. Hate who you want, like who or what you want as long as you're dealing, you'll ride with us.

Your new 7” Terminal Darkness is on the British record label No Front Teeth. How did you guys hook up with them?
BECKER: Danny from Factory 13 Skateboards told me about NFT a while ago. I sent them out some tracks one night and two months later our shit was all over the world. Marco rules and so do The GAGGERS, major props to NFT.

I saw some pretty bloody pics of Chic on your Facebook page and I noticed you guys have played with some legendary punk bands (Channel 3, Zero Boys, The Business). What’s been the most memorable show you’ve done, good or bad and what made it so unforgettable?
BECKER: Fuck, I could write a book on this one.  A lot of our first shows were pretty hairy. Chic just got out of prison and was on a huge fucking rampage. I think it was like our second show and our buddy Paul thought it would be funny to have us open for Negative Approach in Cleveland. The place was sold out and rumors were flying to look out for some skinhead attack and shit. I actually bought a new stiletto to wear on my belt for this show. That's how heavy the possibility of trouble was at the time. It was just fucking crazy man, second song in I had to boot some poor dude in the head while trying to reach for my blade and hold a chord. Turns out he just tackled Chic for fun and just so happen to have a shaved head. Next thing you know Dagger busts a bottle over his own head and gigged himself pretty good. I had no idea how gnarly it was cuz we just kept going with Rule #1 "Keep playing no matter what." The look on the faces in the crowd was pure horror, I'll never forget it. We ended up playing for about 40 minutes that night too. He probably would have died if he was human. Once the lights went on I jumped off stage and blood actually splashed everywhere. Most blood I've ever seen in my life. There were people covered in the shit from slipping and falling in it. It was like a massacre!!! Then Negative Approach still had to play!! Some chick just got her nose busted in a cat fight during our Valentine’s Day show. That was pretty cool.

When I listen to The Plain Dealers, I hear punk from all over the place. I hear Cockney Rejects, Black Flag, Sex Pistols. Is there anything you guys listen to that you think some of your fans would be surprised by? Any “guilty pleasures” as they say?
BECKER: Cockney Rejects?? Guess it's better than the standard Dead Boys/Stitches comparison. That one boggles my fractured mind. Guilty pleasures: I like The Jam a lot and have wanted to cover Billy Joel’s "You May Be Right" for over 20 years. 

DEAN: Me personally, I love old country!!! OLD country! Hank Williams, David Allan Coe, Johnny Rebel, and shit like N.W.A, Ganksta N.I.P, Eazy mothafukin’ E. I love the oldies too.

The cassette is making a raging comeback.  Do you think it’s a viable and collectable form of music or just another hipster trend that will soon go hobbling back to its dark cave of obscurity where in belongs?
BECKER: I have about a dozen cassettes that people have given me and I haven't opened one of them. I guess anything could be collectable? My one science teacher had a scat collection. Will the cassette stick around, who the fuck cares!

DEAN: Good luck playing cassettes 20 years from now, jack-off cassettes ain’t ever been worth shit and won’t ever be.

Where are the best places for people to hear or buy your music?
BECKER: Fuck if I know. Where ever NO FRONT TEETH products are sold. We have a store at that has a bunch of records and t-shirts for sale. 

DEAN: Come see us live!!!!

What does the band have in store for us in the near or not so near future?
BECKER: Who knows? Try not to self destruct. We got a bunch of songs to record so hopefully we can do that soon. Gig more. Maybe come out your way and skate some big ass ditches!! We'll crash at your pad, cool?

The Black Cheers

     When I was trolling around on The Black Cheers Facebook page someone on there mentioned they sounded like Gary Glitter mixed with Bad Brains.  At first read I threw my head back and scoffed at how absurd that sounded, but for some reason that really stuck with me.  The more I thought about it, it wasn’t too far off the mark to describe these Boston blokes’s brand of melodic punk rock. Black Cheers hit pretty hard but don’t shy away from jabbing the melody with the left immediately following that right hook to the jaw.  Boston has a rich Rock N’ Roll history and bands like Black Cheers just keep adding to that long and distinguished list.

Interview by Jay Castro

Please introduce yourself (or selves) and how you contribute to the Black Cheers mob?
Hey, I'm Dan and I play Guitar & sing, like a fucking ding-a-ling.
Chris plays better guitar than I do, and sings back ups (He is mostly a kind and generous man, so it's really too bad about his punchable face).
Ricky plays the bass, does backing vox, and really gets up to some good Internet hi-jinx.
Scotty plays drums, and it seems like he's always had a beard.

Where are you all from originally and how did you all meet and decide to play music together?
We are all from the Boston area. I had played in a band called the Throwaways with Chris. Come to think of it, he mentioned that we should get together and play, long before I thought of starting a band.  I've known Scotty for a while. I was in a band called Darkbuster, and he would do merch and drum tech for us on tour. (You get to learn a lot about a person when you are on tour. For instance: Scotty always vomits purple, for some reason.)
Ricky was Scotty's friend from way back. He was already famous to us by his alternate internet persona though.

First off, you gotta tell me a bit about that killer “Delete Delete” video!  Was it fun to make and whose idea was it for that Usual Suspects style ending?
This was so fun I always wanted to make a video. Sorry, I'm pasting the video liner notes, because it kinda says it all...

 "This was done one Saturday with Mike Fitzgerald ( directing,
Harry Pray ( shooting,
Ryan Pray and John Burke Lighting.
A lot of coffee to start.
Bad guys were: Keith from Panzerbastard, Joe from Crash and Burn, Swid from Razors in the Night and Brian from the Bread Losers.
Christian from Forn was the drunk in the hall.
Total pros all of 'em! Good, good dudes.
The beer and pizza came halfway through, but those bad guys were on something else altogether. Let me tell you something. You don't want to hear "I think its kicking in." from the guy whose about to fake hit you in the nuts with a pair of nun chucks."

Ahhh, I'm back. Anyway, that song "Delete Delete" is about deleting your browser history but which is really a metaphor for regrets and or wishing away bad memories.  So, when I came up with the idea for the vid, it was just going to be a take on an old Happy Days episode (Where the Richie and the gang takes over the bad guy band at the talent show) with the bad guys being the winners. Then, I tacked on the twist ending for the hell of it. So . . . maybe the video is also a metaphor for blaming other people, but really you can only blame yourself? I dunno, I just thought of that now.

So what’s life like for a punk rock band in Boston these days?  Good turnouts at your shows etc..?
We're not really taking the world by storm. Let’s put it that way, ha ha. Sometimes, it feels like it's not even worth leaving the leper colony to go play a show.

What led to the decision to self release both of your EP’s instead of doing it through a label?  I find it hard to believe there were no takers!
Well, to tell you the truth, I didn't even try to get anyone to put them out. Putting them both up on Bandcamp was the path of least resistance/least $. Would love to get the exposure and push that a label can bring, but, you know the old saying; want in one hand and shit in the other....and see which one fills up first.

In your opinion, what bands do people need to know and understand in order to appreciate your music more?
I was kind of aiming for a Black Flag meets Rocket from the Crypt type of sound.
Maybe with some Stiff Little Fingers.

I don’t like using the term “guilty pleasure” just because I don’t think people should be ashamed by anything they really like. With that being said, do you guys listen to anything that some of your fans would be surprised by?
It was weird, I wrote to the other guys and asked "What's your guilty pleasure?" and they all responded "cuckolding." I should've been more specific.

What’s been the most unforgettable show you’ve played, good or bad and what made it so memorable?
Well, we opened up for The Flatliners last spring. There were actually kids there...and they were dancing!
"You guys were the best opening band I've ever seen!" Best compliment ever, ha ha.
Plus, this was the only show (of this band) that my wife had been to. It made us look legit.

The cassette is making a raging comeback.  Do you think it’s a viable and collectable form of music or just another hipster trend that will soon go hobbling back to its dark cave of obscurity where it belongs?
It's ridiculous. I hated cassettes when they were the only game in town. I don't see any real reason for this. Although, this does sound like a pretty good trend for people that have a lot of time on their hands, and a penchant for making things more difficult for themselves.

Where are the best places for people to hear or buy your music?
We have a Bandcamp page that has both of our EP's (name your price! Yes, you can even do $0, you shitbag).

What does the band have in store for us in the near or not so near future?
Playing more shows, planning on making a hilarious video for "You Don't Get It" and hopefully recording another EP in the near future.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Audio Ammunition Podcast #2

Audio Ammunition Podcast #2 Playlist:

The Black Cheers – You Don’t Get It
Subsets – I Don’t Wanna Be Here
Impulse International – Bicycle Rider
Toy Guitar – Words Between Us
Kurt Baker – Partied Out
Gaggers – Gag On This
The Recordettes – Candy Store
Sex Crime – Night Vision
Chain Letters – Boulevard Girls
Breakup Society – Your Invitation To Quit
French Girls – Aerobicise
L.A. Drugz – Vampire
The Resonars – Invisible Gold
Rebel Set – Ghost Writer
Scorpion VS Tarantula – Claim To Fame