Archive for December 28, 2010

Strike Anywhere / One Win Choice Live In Philly (12/27/2010)

With the Sunday’s Home For The Holidays show postponed till Thursday, and having Strike Anywhere not being able to play it, I feel extremely lucky to have them come to Philly last night. After digging my car out of snow and battling the treacherous hills of my neighborhood, I made it to The Barbary in time to catch all the bands (which there were only 2, since one had to drop due to weather).

One Win Choice:


I am not too familiar with these guys besides their Define/Redefine EP, but after their set, I have nothing but the utmost respect for these Jersey dudes. Playing hardcore mixed with a bit of post-hardcore, the band was obviously stoked to be there. The crowd dug them and even though it seemed like most were unfamiliar with their music, the singer played ditched the stage and played on the floor the entire time.

Bonus points, these guys were going apeshit during the Strike Anywhere set, which is good to see people in a band still stoked about other bands.

Strike Anywhere:


I’ve loved these guys for a while now, and I still get ridiculously stoked every time I get to see them live, and when it’s an intimate atmosphere such as The Barbary, then I can barely control myself. Last time I saw them at the church, the crowd reaction was pretty sub par, but this time around, there was a dedicated group up front and we had the stage dives and pile-ons going in strong force.

The band played a high energy set playing a solid mix of older and newer songs, and the crowd was receptive to both. Thomas stopped between most songs to talk to the crowd a bit, which some complain kills the flow, but quite honestly, I find what he has to say interesting so it’s appreciated.

Bummer that they can’t play Home For The Holidays that they were originally scheduled for with the Bouncing Souls, but I’d much rather see them headlining at a small venue than opening at a big barricaded one.

Setlist:
I’m Your Opposite Number
My Design
Amplify
Blaze
Hand Of Glory
Notes On Pulling The Sky Down
Chalkline
The Crossing
‘Til Days Shall Be No More
Prisoner Echoes
To The World
Summer Punks
Instinct
Sunset On 32nd Street

Unfortunately, the band didn’t play an encore due to time (I think…) even though I encouraged the crowd to not let them leave the stage. Oh well. Sick show, glad to have seen their last show of 2010.

MP3:
Strike Anywhere – You’re Fired
One Win Choice – Failure To Quit

More:
Strike Anywhere – Iron Front
One Win Choice – Define/Redefine EP

Buy:
Interpunk

The Top 11 Albums of 2010

Ahh yes, 2010 came and went, and it’s time to get ready for a new year of sweet releases, new bands, and general awesomeness. But first, here are my top 11 (that’s right… 11) favorite albums of 2010. Also, if you get a chance, head over to Punknews to check my buddy Tony’s top 10 of the year.

11. The Menzingers – Chamberlain Waits

Scranton, PA’s The Menzingers certainly made some waves this past 2010 with this release, as it received great reviews from listeners all across the punk spectrum. Melodic punk with some slight pop influences, these guys know how to write a damn catchy song.

MP3: The Menzingers – Home Outgrown

10. The Scandals – The Sound Of Your Stereo

Ok, this release completely took me by surprise. Never hearing of the band before seeing them open for Youth Brigade, New Jersey’s The Scandals released a gritty borderline skate punk rock album that’s both fast and raw. Fans of Rancid or The Have Nots will eat this shit up.

MP3: The Scandals – Sirens

9. Hold Tight! – Can’t Take This Away

Richmond, Virginia is known for a lot of it’s music scene (thrash, melodic hardcore) but who would have thought that a pop-punk album would be created here that completely blew me away? These guys play pop-punk right, taking their influences from bands such as Lifetime and early Saves the Day.

MP3: Hold Tight! – Virginia Is Beautiful, Wish You Were Here

8. Holy Mess – Benefits Sesh 7″

So not technically an album, but the 7 inch is so damn good I had to put it up here. 3 songs of complete gritty punk rock bliss. Taking cues from Dillinger Four and Off With Their Heads, and blending it with their own east coast influences, these guys play some really tight beer soaked punk rock.

MP3: The Holy Mess – A Soulful Punk Tune About A Working Class Dreamer

7. OFF! – The First Four EPs
Take Black Flag era Keith Morris, put him in a box labeled “do not open until 2010″ and you’ve got yourself OFF!. Old school hardcore legends showing us young fucks how it’s done.

6. Ceremony – Rohnert Park

Ceremony is one of the most prominent hardcore bands around today, and they certainly know how to keep their fans on their toes. Rohnert Park is a much more mid-tempo hardcore album (as opposed to the 50 second blasts we’ve come to expect from the band), yet it still manages to keep the aggression, just a much more focused aggression.

MP3: Ceremony – Into The Wayside Pt I / Sick

5. Banner Pilot – Resignation Day

Blah Blah Blah this is a re-issue, not a proper 2010 release. Fuck it. I’ve heard the re-issue is such an improvement over the original, I’m counting it. Melodic punk rock. Damn good.

MP3: Banner Pilot – Overwinter

4. None More Black – Icons

Easily one of the most anticipated albums of 2010, None More Black’s Icons delivers. The songs are much more developed, and have a bit more of an edge to them. While I personally think that the best songs are off their older albums, Icons is the best NMB album as far as a whole goes.

MP3: None More Black – Iron Mouth Act

3. Smoke Or Fire – The Speakeasy

While Smoke or Fire is one of my favorite bands, “The Speakeasy” is the first album of theirs that wasn’t a grower on me. Check it.

MP3: Smoke or Fire – Monsters Among Us

2. Bomb The Music Industry – Adults!!! Smart!!! Shithammered!!! And Excited By Nothing

One of the most DIY bands in punk today, their 7 song ska influenced EP had me pretty damn excited. BTMI keeps getting better with each release. Stoked to see what they have coming in 2011.

MP3: Bomb the Music Industry – The First Time I Met Sanawon

1. Off With Their Heads – In Desolation

I’m probably going to get shit for this one, but Off With Their Heads, even with their slightly poppier sound, made my favorite album of 2010. The songs are gritty as ever, just even more catchy. These guys are getting big, hopefully as they grow they continue to release amazing albums such as this.

MP3: Off With Their Heads – Drive

Lighten Up Streams 4 New Songs

Ok, so anybody who follows this blog regularly knows that i completely fucking love local Philly hardcore band Lighten Up (their 2009 release “Absolutely Not” made it to number 2 on my favorite albums of 2009). Needless to say, when I found out that they released 4 new songs on their bandcamp, I was pretty stoked.

Maybe you are too. Here you go. http://lightenupdude.bandcamp.com/

Bane / Breakdown / Down To Nothing Live (12/19/2010 In Philly)

What a ridiculous, ridiculous night. Last night, I braved the cold and headed to Philly’s First Unitarian Church to catch hardcore legends Bane. I missed the first few bands, but I made it in time for New Jersey pop-punk act I Call Fives. Also, if you saw someone at this show bleeding profusely from the eyebrow, that was me. Sorry if I got blood on you.

I Call Fives:

These guys played straight up, obviously Saves The Day influenced pop-punk. I checked out some of their recorded stuff before the show, and I didn’t like it due to it being overpolished for my liking, but their live show was muuuuuuuch better. Rough around the edges, they got a few in the crowd into it who proceeded to hardcore dance and punch random people in the face (c’mon… really?) While I doubt I’d get their recorded stuff, I’d definitely go see them again.

Down To Nothing:

Richmond straight edge hardcore who had the crowd exploding. The second they took the stage, the place erupted into a huge two stepping, roundhouse kicking dojo. The pile-ons were heavy, and even though they were a bit more metalcore and tough guy than I usually can handle, I actually dug their set quite a bit. Might need to check out their recorded stuff.

Breakdown:

I’m not really a big fan of NYHC, so I couldn’t really get into these guys, but they played in the veins of Agnostic Front and Sick Of It All. While not as big as a reaction as Down To Nothing, they had the place pretty damn explosive, with one kid even doing the best Dominique Moceano impersanation by doing flips on the dance floor.

Bane:

FINALLY, the reason I came to the show. The second they took the stage after some enlightening words from Joe Hardcore, the place cleared into a huge pit (note to dude who decided the best way to clear was to punch me in the face. Listen, I’m all about clearing areas for pits… you don’t need to intentionally punch people in the face to do so. We’re all here for the same reason and it’s to have a good time, stop being a fucking dick.)

The band broke straight into The Bold And The Beautiful, and kept the momentum up all night. Unfortunately, at one point during Swan Song, a pile-up went bad and split my eyebrow pretty deep (wound up needing 5 stitches after the show), so I ran into the bathroom to clean up a bit… until I heard my favorite Bane song Speechless. Ran back out there and two stepped the entire time (would have dived, but didn’t want to bleed on everyone.)

Besides for the one dude punching people in the face, pretty positive vibe at the show, with people helping each other if anyone fell, lots of people coming up to me and asking if I was ok (and some even offering to super glue it back together for me if I ran to CVS real quick. That’s what the hardcore scene should be all about.)

setlist:
The Bold And The Beautiful
Superhero
Ali Vs. Frazier I
Count Me Out
Swan Song
Speechless
At Best
The Young And The Restless
My Therapy (I think)
Guiding?
Some Came Running
Can We Start Again

MP3:
Bane – Speechless

More:
Scenester 101: How To Be An Old School Hardcore Kid In 10 Easy Steps!
Ceremony – Violence Violence
Ceremony – Scared People EP
Give Up The Ghost

Buy:
Bane

This Is Your Life – Self Titled 7″ (For fans of A Wilhelm Scream, Comeback Kid, Protest The Hero)

When I first saw Richmond, VA’s This Is Your Life at a random house show in Philly last month sometime, I was completely blown away by their aggressive, high energy set. They mentioned they had some stuff up online for free, so I finally got a chance to check out their Self Titled 7″

This Is Your Life plays passionate hardcore with plenty of melodies and gang vocals, kind of reminding me of a mix between A Wilhelm Scream and Comeback Kid. The Self Titled 7″ is only 3 songs long, but I’d definitely recommend checking it out if you dig the melodic hardcore.

MP3:
This Is Your Life – A Well Needed Cleanse

More:
Smoke or Fire – This Sinking Ship
Fifth Hour Hero
Static Radio NJ

Buy:
This Is Your Life

Hold Tight! – Can’t Take This Away (For fans of Lifetime, Blink 182, The Lawrence Arms)

I used to have a general theory, and it’s that pop punk sucks. I’m not talking about the Screeching Weasel types or Ramones influenced (Teenage Bottlerocket) bands, but those who have way too many poppy breakdowns for me to actually enjoy. Then Hold Tight! comes along with their 2010 release “Can’t Take This Away” and blows my theory completely out of the water.

Richmond’s Hold Tight plays (surprise!) pop punk, but here’s the kicker… it’s good, really fucking good. The thing that usually gets me about pop punk are the vocals (usually so damn whiney), but the singer belts out the lyrics passionately, but without the whine.

Sounding like the illegitimate love child of Lifetime, Lawrence Arms and Blink 182, the songs are catchy without being cheesy. This is fun, pop punk done completely the right way. Definitely top 10 of the year material. Oh, and they are giving away the album for free… doesn’t get much cooler than that.

MP3:
Hold Tight! – Virginia Is Beautiful, Wish You Were Here

More:
Hold Tight Live
Saves The Day – Through Being Cool
Static Radio NJ “One For The Good Guys
Static Radio NJ – An Evening of Bad Decisions

Buy:
Hold Tight

The Scandals – The Sound Of Your Stereo (For fans of Rancid, Have Nots, Bigwig)

About a month back, I went to go see Youth Brigade over at Asbury Park, and NJ locals The Scandals opened up for the California legends. I was so blown away by their performance that I just had to check out their recorded stuff.

Released in the summer of this past year (god, where did summer go?), “The Sound Of Your Stereo” is a 14 song punk rock blitz. Maybe it’s the fact the band is from New Jersey or that the first time I’ve seen them I was in Asbury Park, but for some reason, the album makes me really nostalgic for the days I would hit every skate park in NJ on weekends as a bored teen.

Fast, energetic, and gruff as hell, the band pulls influences from bands such as Rancid and mixes it with some a traditional NJ punk rock sound. They manage to play aggressive punk rock while remaining catchy as hell. Just listening to this shit makes me want to go out and skate right now….

I highly recommend this one, and I might just need to edit my top 10 now (thought I had it set… fuck).

MP3:
The Scandals – Sirens

From The Sound Of Your Computer Speakers:
Youth Brigade w/ The Scandals
The Muggers
Have Nots

Buy:
Skeleton Crew Records

Common Rider – Thief In A Sleeping Town EP (For fans of Operation Ivy, Rancid, Green Day)

Most of you punkers out there know of Operation Ivy, the incredibly influential ska-punk band that pretty much kicked off the 3rd wave ska movement back in the late 80s. Once they came to their demise, Tim Armstrong went on to form the highly successful Rancid, but Jesse Michaels (the lead singer’s) band Common Rider was missed by a lot of people.

Formed back in 1999 and lasting until about 2003, the band released 2 albums, one split, and one incredibly underrated EP entitled “Thief In A Sleeping Town”. Released back in 2001, “Thief In A Sleeping Town” has only 4 songs, but is a solid listen. Three of the songs are much more punk influenced than Common Rider’s earlier stuff (although not as much as Operation Ivy), and one song is a complete reggae/ska song.

Little bit of randomly cool trivia: Billy Joe from Green Day provided some guitars for this album.

MP3:
Common Rider – Thief In A Sleeping Town

More:
Scenester 101: How To Be A 3rd Wave Dork
Have Nots – Serf City
Against All Authority – 24 Hours Roadside Resistance

Buy:
This One Is Out Of Print

4 Past Midnight – Guilty As Charged (For fans of The Casualties, The Unseen, Blanks 77)

Quick, think of the best album that has come out of Glasgow, Scotland as of late. Pencils down! If you’re first thought was anything by Franz Ferdinand, you lose (you also fail if you said “huh?” but not as bad as if you said Franz Ferdinand). The correct answer is 4 Past Midnight’s “Guilty As Charged”.

Released back in 2008, 4 Past Midnight’s “Guilty as Charged”is one hell of a punk album. Playing street punk mixed with catchy melodies and a touch of oi, the songs are carried by crunchy guitars and snarling vocals. On songs such as “Shit”, the band plays more aggressive, traditional street punk while “Fuck Them All” is possibly the most catchy street punk “fuck you” song I’ve ever heard.

A highly underrated album that is sure to have been missed by a lot of people, I highly recommend this if you dig bands such Oxymoron, Violent Society, or The Unseen.

MP3:
4 Past Midnight – Fuck Them All

More:
Violent Society
The Unseen – Lower Class Crucifixion
The Virus – Nowhere to Hide

Buy:
Interpunk

Screeching Weasel – Television City Dream (For fans of The Queers, Ramones, NOFX)

Fat Wreck has been doing a pretty damn stellar job with the reissues as of late. Normally, I find reissues pointless, but the label has been blowing me away with reissues from Banner Pilot and now Screeching Weasel. Taking the Chicago’s (true) pop-punk legends 1998 release “Television City Dream” and including 5 new songs, new artwork, and remastered, it’s pretty damn solid.

Now Television City Dream gets a lot of shit, because it’s a bit different than their earlier (Boogadaboogadaboogada) stuff since new members were added, but it’s still a damn solid album.
Songs like “Punk Rock Explained” and “Speed of Mutation” have the catchy songs we’ve come to love from Screeching Weasel, while songs like “I Don’t Give A Fuck” and a bunch of other songs that end under the one minute mark show their more aggressive side.

Definitely a solid listen if you skipped out on this album in the past.

MP3:
Screeching Weasel – Speed Of Mutation

More:
The Queers – Beyond The Valley
The Soviettes – LP
The Lillingtons – Too Late Show
Teenage Bottlerocket – Another Way

Buy:
Fat Wreck