Maybe it was the Texas Is The Reason show I recently went to, but I’ve been listening to a lot of Dag Nasty as of late. Along with other DC pioneers Embrace (Ian Mackaye’s band in between Minor Threat and Fugazi), Dag Nasty help pave the way for melodic hardcore back in the 1980s.
Released back in 1986, Dag Nasty’s debut Can I Say contains 10 jams that influenced many melodic/post hardcore bands. Take their song “Under Your Influence” for example, you can see where Texas Is The Reason pulled a lot of their, uh… influences from.
Singer Dave Smalley shouts with a sense of urgency, while Minor Threat guitarist Brian Baker brings his hardcore influences to the table mixing the aggression with catchy melodies.
Easily one of the most underrated bands of their time, Dag Nasty is definitely worth checking out.
Yesterday was the one year anniversary of The Menzinger’s third studio release On The Impossible Past, and a subtle reminder that I really needed to make a damn post on it already. If you know anything about The Menzingers, you know exactly what to expect on their latest album: mid-tempo, raw, anthematic tunes.
Originally from Scranton, PA, The Menzingers really exploded over the past few years once they moved to Philadelphia, and it’s been fun watching them evolve over the time. On The Impossible Past takes where The Menzingers left off on the critically acclaimed Chamberlain Waits and becomes even more melodic and more gut-wrenchingly honest.
Take the incredibly catchy song “Obituaries” for instance: (besides sounding incredibly like The Bouncing Souls Midnight Mile in the beginning…), the song’s refrain shouts “I will fuck this up, I fucking know it” giving us a glimpse into the introspection and self doubt facing them. Not all of it is self-reflection though, “Ava House” is an ode to one of Philly’s houses where The Menzingers used to play often, and where I often feared the floors will legitimately collapse (especially when catching BTMI there… Jeeeesus.)
If you’re looking for hard-hitting circle pit inducing punk, look elsewhere. But if you’re in the mood for some melodic catchy as fuck jams, you can’t go wrong with The Menzingers On The Impossible Past.
Take a quick look through your record collection, how do you feel about ripping powerviolence hardcore? If you dig it, then you’ll definitely love DNF’s (or Duke Nukem Forever) 7 inch release Hurt.
Featuring members of both Trash Talk and Touche Amore, DNF plays eye gouging hardcore similar to the likes of old Punch or Ceremony (in fact, the vocals sound a lot like they do on Violence Violence). In typical powerviolence fashion, the band is constantly alternating between shredding riffs and slower sludgier parts, without ever really staying in either long enough to call it home.
The lyrics are dark and the music is gritty and abrasive, yet delivered with such precision anytime you think they are about to go over the edge, they reel you right back in to their controlled aggression.
Definitely a must for any fan of powerviolence, and I’d love to see them do a tour of the east coast sometime soon (maybe with Ceremony and Punch? That would fucking rule).
Texas Is The Reason twice in less than 6 months… am I lucky, or what? Saturday night I got a chance to see Texas Is The Reason again with some friends, only this time I stayed pretty close to home heading out to Philly’s own Union Transfer. I missed Title Fight (confession time: I’m not a huge Title Fight fan although I heard their new album is killer… maybe I’ll give them another listen) but made it with plenty of time to see Texas Is The Reason.
Preparing for a night of melancholy post hardcore, TITR took the stage to a sold out crowd and told us about how they were dedicating the set to a kid who was terminally ill and had tickets to the show but sadly passed away hours beforehand (and if you know him, my thoughts go out to you). They said that his parents informed them that the last song he listened to before he died was “Do You Know Who You Are” and so they opened with the instrumental track.
From there on, the band proceeded to play through most of their incredibly short discography with the majority of us oldsters shouting along every word. While the show never got that rowdy, we definitely lost our shit to songs like “If It’s Here When We Get Back It’s Ours” and “Back And To The Left” (obviously).
The band played tightly, and threw in a new songs (well… they wrote it years ago). I’m not sure if this is the last time I will ever see Texas Is The Reason, but I feel lucky enough to just be able to catch them twice now. Anything other reunion shows are just bonuses at this point.
Setlist (From what I remember and not in order at all):
Do You Know Who You Are?
The Magic Bullet Theory
Johnny On The Spot
If It’s Here When We Get Back, It’s Ours
Something To Forget
There’s No Way I Can Talk Myself Out Of This One
The Day’s Refrain
Back And To The Left
If I could describe Run, Forever’s latest release Settling out on Tiny Engines in one word, it would be raw. As a fan of both their last LP The Devil, And Death, And Me and their split with The Wild, it’s been fun watching these Pittsburgh folk punks evolve.
On Settling, Run Forever extends their sound in every direction. From the mid tempo, shout along opener “Good Enough” to the incredibly upbeat and optimistic closer “Forget”, we’re treated with plenty of anthematic, folk influenced, punk music.
One thing that really sets Run, Forever apart from other bands are the incredibly raw and emotional lyrics and delivery. No, not emotional as in the beaten to death cliche of songs about girls and heartbreak, Run, Forever is much deeper than that. These songs are gut wrenchingly honest, desperate and vulnerable, yet with a glimmer of optimism that shines through.
I’m very picky about the whole folk-punk influenced genre, but Run Forever’s Settling is a perfect example of how to do it right without becoming too predictable or boring. Definitely give this one a chance.
If the name “Crisis Of Conformity” rings a bell, you may have seen them featured on Saturday Night Live (or maybe you’re just confusing them with Corrosion Of Conformity). The brainchild of Fred Armisen (Trenchmouth, Blue Man Group), Crisis Of Conformity was created as sort of a nod and tribute to the punk bands he grew up listening to.
You could find the sketch online, I have to say… even though the band was created as a joke I find myself listening to the 2 song quite a bit actually. Even though the skit features Dave Grohl, etc. Fred plays all of the instruments on the actual release. SNL connections aside, Fist Fight is a solid quick listen that takes plenty of influences from 80s punk and hardcore. The B-Side features “Kick It Down And Kick It Around”, very reminiscent of Black Flag.
This release often gets overlooked due to it’s novelty, but if you can get past that, it’s a solid 3 minute listen.
The Exploited are one of the more well known punk bands from the 80s, with their debut “Punk’s Not Dead” released back in 1981 and influencing countless other bands. However in 2003, these Scottish punks released a new album entitled Fuck The System completely departing from the more classic punk sound, and I’m going to warn you now: it’s not for the faint of heart.
Fuck The System is a heavy, thrash influenced, defiant, circle pit inspiring 13 songs. Blending aggressive street punk with some thrash technicality, The Exploited manage to keep the music simple and to the point and with Wattie’s passionate/maniacal shouting, I really do believe that all this guy wants to do is riot. The songs manage to be catchy with their simple sing-along choruses and simple song structures.
Sure, you’re not going to find anything too fancy on Fuck The System (surprised?) but The Exploited managed to release one of the most aggressive punk albums to this day. This is music to break stuff to.