Archive for hardcore

PEARS, Such Gold Live In Philly (4/14/16)

A couple weeks ago, I headed out to Philly dive bar Kung Fu Necktie in order to catch one of my favorite bands around these days, New Orleans PEARS.  The place had a decently sized small crowd considering it was a Thursday night and the past few times I’ve seen PEARS it seemed most didn’t know who they were,  I got there a few songs in Such Gold’s set.

Such Gold:

such goldI haven’t really heard these Rochester, NY dudes before, but they clearly have a strong following.  It seemed more people knew who they were than PEARS, and had people dancing and singing throughout their set.

Such Gold played a style of music that any fan of the pop-punk would appreciate.  Reminding me of a mix of newer pop-punk bands such as Handguns or Transit and mixing it with more melodic hardcore like A Wilhelm Scream and Lifetime, these guys played a pretty energetic set.

I couldn’t tell you what songs they played or anything as I’m not too familar with them, but if you dig your melodic hardcore closer to the pop-punk side of the spectrum, check them out.

PEARS:
Pears

Ever since I first heard PEARS last year, I’ve played their album “Go To Prison” nonstop.  They’ve become one of my favorite bands with their energetic live shows, seamlessly blending elements of thrash, pop-punk, hardcore, and everything in between.

Touring to support their recently released sophomore album “Green Star”, (which I’ve been meaning to post a write-up about but have been busy as shit… but spoiler: I’ve been listening to it daily since it came out), PEARS took the stage and ripped into “Forever Sad”.  Energetic as always, singer Zach was all over the stage and jumping into the crowd even with his shattered hand (which he broke earlier on an Australian tour when he jump punched the floor).  With a handful of us dancing and singing along, PEARS ripped through their short set consisting of a decent mix of both albums.

One of the best bands around today in general, if PEARS comes through your area, do yourself a favor and go check them out.  Both of the albums are amazing, as is the 7-inch they have out (which consists of the original versions of Snowflake and Anhedonia) and they absolutely kill it live.

Setlist (from what i remember, not in order)
Forever Sad
Hinged By Spine
Cumshots
I Love My Kennel
You’re Boring
Breakfast
Anhedonia
Snowflake
Sycophant
Victim To Be
Green Star

MP3:
PEARS – You’re Boring

Graf Orlock – Crime Traveler (For fans of DANGERS, Ghostlimb, Pig Destroyer)

Graf-Orlock-Crime-Traveller

LA’s Graf Orlock are finally back with their latest album Crime Traveler, their first full-length in since 2009’s Destination Time Today.  Known for their heavy hardcore/grindcore mixed with clips and lyrics focused on various movies, Crime Traveler follows the same format, only this time focuses on a script that the band themselves wrote.  A concept album through and through, Graf Orlock writes:

“The Crime Traveler film tells the story of a French-Canadian assassin who discovers a wormhole and travels back in time to kill American politicians so that Canada can attain superpower status in the future. As the samples selected for the album illustrate, our anti-hero zips through time and space on his mission – rubbing elbows with John Hinckley at the Reagan assassination, witnessing the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and more.”

Sure, the story is a bit Terminator-esque and the dialog and acting (at least from the little I gathered from the intro clips) is downright awful at times (as is expected with a B-movie) but that’s besides the point.  Graf Orlock has always been about fun, and this album definitely is, and the music is the same crushing, chugging hardcore we’ve come to love from Graf Orlock.  Opener “Bad Cell Service On Connecticut Avenue” is an aggressive blast beat fueled song about the Reagan assassination attempt, while the proceeding  “600,000 Tons Of Explosive Ordance” displays Graf Orlock’s sludgier side.

One thing noticeably different from their earlier full lengths is singer/guitarist Justin (of Dangers/Ghostlimb) has much more vocal duties, and their old singer left the band since Destination Time Today (no, he didn’t actually die in a car crash) and has been replaced.  If you’ve been following the bands EPs since including “Doombox” and “Los Angeles”, you’ll know the new singer fits right in, but doesn’t have the higher pitched shrill screams of the old vocalist.

A fun and blistering album, Graf Orlock nails it as usual.  If you’re a fan of grind with more punk/hardcore influences than metal, definitely pick up “Crime Traveler”, it’s a killer album that I’ve been listening to pretty much daily as of late.

MP3:
Graf Orlock – Bad Service On Connecticut Ave

More:
Graf Orlock – Destination: Time Today
Graf Orlock – Destination Time Tomorrow
Ghostlimb – Infrastructure
Ghostlimb – Bearing And Distance
Dangers – Messy, Isn’t It?
Dangers – Anger

Official Release:
Bandcamp

American Nightmare Live In Philly (3/4/15)

American Nightmare

Boston’s American Nightmare have been one of my favorite hardcore bands since I was an angsty 18 year old in 2003, and I find myself listening to their albums and EPs pretty regularly even 13 years later as an angsty 30 year old.  Their music got me through a lot of shit, and the first time I saw them over a decade ago with Hope Conspiracy still remains one of my most memorable show experiences ever.  On a cool Friday night, I headed to Philly’s sold out Underground Arts right as American Nightmare was setting up.

The place was pretty packed, but there was a surprising amount of room for a sold out show.  I wasn’t really sure what to expect: I’ll be honest, as much as I love American Nightmare, the past few times I’ve seen them in bigger venues have been a bit strange feeling, with Wes having a hard time hitting the screams and the overproduction feel of the venue.  Well let me just say that this was without a doubt the best AN performance I’ve seen since I went to their reunion show up in Boston a few years back.

The band took the stage and opened with “AM/PM” which had us opening a pit and immediately piling on.  Ripping into “Hearts” without skipping a beat, Wes and crew were on point playing a tight, fast paced show with barely any time to breath as they shredded through their set.  Playing a majority of songs off of both Background Music and Year One, it felt right to have them in a smaller venue again (while I’ve had fun in the past seeing them in NYC at Webster Hall, it always felt a little bit…off.)

Setlist:
AM/PM
Hearts
Love American
(We Are)
Please Die
Fuck What Fireworks Stand For
Shoplifting In A Ghost Town
I Saved Latin
Calculation Nation
Protest Song #00
I’ve Shared Your Lips And Now They Sicken Me
Postmark My Compass
Your Arsonist
Farewell
There’s A Black Hole In The Shadow Of The Pru

Encore: (I think they did Crime Scene, but I don’t really remember)

MP3:
American Nightmare – The Ice Age Is Coming!

I Drew A Heart Around The Name Of Your City:
American Nightmare – Year One
American Nightmare – Background Music
Scenester 101: How To Be An Old School Hardcore Kid In 10 Easy Steps!

PEARS Live In Philly (12/10/15)

Pears

Ever since I saw PEARS open for Teenage Bottlerocket a few months back and I got a copy of their debut Go To Prison, I haven’t been able to stop listening to them.  New Orleans PEARS mix their aggressive hardcore so seamlessly with Descendent’s inspired pop-punk, it seriously is the most catchy and addicting music I’ve heard in a long time.

I got to Johnny Brenda’s intimate small room just in time for PEARS, and the place was actually nowhere near as dead as I expected it to be for a random Thursday night 21+ show.  Once PEARS took the stage, it was clear a lot of people weren’t too familiar with the band itself but were there to support the Philly local drummer.

If there’s one thing that makes PEARS stand out live, it’s their incredibly explosive stage presence.  From the second they opened with “Little Bags” vocalist Zach was all over the place jumping all around the stage with his bizarre and entertaining antics.  This continued throughout the course of the night, jumping and rolling through the crowd even though there were only a handful of us who were singing along (although everyone did seem to be digging them).

PEARS played pretty much every song they have maybe minus one or two for a quick and explosive set.  Bonus points for somehow incorporating what I’m pretty sure was Super Nintendo’s Donkey Kong Country’s aquatic level music in their set as an intro before one of the songs.

Easily becoming one of my favorite bands, PEARS killed it, and if you haven’t had a chance to check them out yet, get on it.

Setlist: (not in order)
Little Bags
Sycophant
Anhedonia
You’re Boring
Terrible
Framework
Breakfast (I think they did this one)
Forever Sad (I think)
Judy Is A Punk (Ramones)
Victim To Be
Grime Spree

So pretty much everything except Snowflake if I remember correctly.

MP3:
PEARS – You’re Boring

The Unseen, Murphy’s Law, Blanks 77 Live In Philadelphia (11/28/15)

This past Saturday after the Thanksgiving running around, I headed out to Philly’s intimate Voltage lounge for Day 3 of the Take This Bird And Shove It fest, a 3 day punk fest featuring a bunch of great bands from all over the country.  I was beyond excited to see The Unseen again, as it’s been seriously over a decade the last time I got to see the Boston street punks.  Also sort of a bummer was the fact I have an injured knee, so I had to participate (mostly) from the sidelines and going up front only a bit.

The place was decently filled when I got there, with plenty of studded jackets and mohawks (something I don’t see that often at shows anymore it seems).

Blanks 77:

blanks77poster

I got there right in time for NJ pogo punks Blanks 77, and was stoked to see them again as they always put on a good show.  It’s been about a year since the last time I caught them, and this show was definitely rowdier.  Taking the stage and opening with “Up The System”, the Voltage Lounge was filled with people pogo-ing and all around having a good time.  I was covered in beer with a few minutes.

They ripped through a relatively short set, leaving not much room for stage banter, although singer Mike Blank would start to talk some and guitarist Renee would remind him that they were on a tight schedule and didn’t have much time for talking.  Blanks 77 doesn’t play often, which is a shame considering they seem to have a blast while playing.

Highlights:
Up The System
Pills
No Big Deal
I Wanna Be A Punk
Party Train
Chelsea Girls
We Are The Punks

Murphy’s Law:

murphyslaw-1347376203

NY’s Murphy’s Law have been at it since 1982, and while vocalist Jimmy is the only original founding member, holy shit they still put on an insane live show.  I never listened to Murphy’s Law much besides a few songs, but their hardcore punk party anthems mixed with a saxophone definitely made for a unique sound.

Throughout the entirety of the set the band was giving out PBRs and all types of alcohol, bringing up a newly-wed couple on stage to do shots, and biting into cans of beer to shotgun over the crowd.  Occasionally they’d throw in a more traditional ska song “for the skins” before jumping right back to their circle pitting songs.

One of the most energetic sets I’m seen in a while, even with the singer at taking a break to sit on a speaker with a cautionary “don’t eat cheesesteaks before a show” during their song “Vicky Crown.”  Catch them if you get a chance, it’s definitely a rowdy ass time.

Highlights:
Vicky Crown
Quest For Herb
Beer
Panty Raid
Someone’s Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonight (Fleetwood Mac cover)

The Unseen:

the unseen

It seems like many punk fans get into street punk these days through The Casualties but for me it was The Unseen who got me into it over 15 years ago, and to this day remain one of my favorite street punk bands.  It’s been fucking over a decade since the last time I got to see these guys play live (probably at Club Krome in NJ, which closed down in 2004) so I was beyond stoked to be catching them again.

Years later, and they still completely kill it live.  Being able to see them at the intimate Voltage Lounge was definitely a bonus.  With plenty of stage dives and circle pits throughout, Mark Unseen and company threw an incredibly energetic set.  Also interesting were the age differences at the show…  While there were plenty of older fans like myself who were more familiar with everything pre-Explode, there were also a lot of younger fans who were more familiar with their later (well 8 years old being their latest) like State Of Discontent and Internal Salvation.

Playing a solid mix of all their albums, the band played for a bit over an hour and completely killed it.  Even an injured knee couldn’t stop my excitement once they played “Social Security”.  I don’t know the next time I’ll get to see these guys, they’ve been pretty inactive show-wise as of late, but hopefully it won’t be another decade.

Highlights (I had a bunch of their songs written down after the show which they did from memory, but unfortunately I fucking lost it.  From what I remember now):
Live In Fear
False Hope
Explode
Children Of The Revolution
Social Security
Police Brutality
No Evacuation
Every Rose Has It’s Thorn (Poison cover)
Are We Dead Yet (I think they did this one)
So This is Freedom

Mp3:
The Unseen – Social Security
Blanks 77 – Radio Hits

 

Limp Wrist Live in Philly (8/9/15)

Limp Wrist

The other Sunday evening, I headed down to one of my favorite venues in Philly, The First Unitarian Church to catch a rare show from queercore legends Limp Wrist.  While not sold out, the church basement was pretty full of punks from all colors of the spectrum: straight, gay, trans, lesbian, etc.  Shorts were definitely shorter (as is Limp Wrist’s trademark) and there was plenty of pink.

I was pretty excited for this show, not just because I fucking love these guys, but also due to the recent victory in the Supreme Court making marriage legal nationwide for all people, regardless of sex.  I got to the incredibly hot basement right as Limp Wrist was setting up, and once Limp Wrist took the stage they got the party started with “Just Like You” off their Want Us Dead EP. 

Breaking out into pits and stage dives, we raged throughout their set of classics, but also some new songs coming off a new album that should be coming out some time next year.

The band kept stage banter to a minimum, and shit got weird as one dude got naked in the pit (which, by the way turns out will kill a pit with lightning fast speed).  Martin kept things rowdy by jumping into the crowd and onto the floor as he did “Limp Wrist” and was bombarded with pile ons and sing-alongs.

Limp Wrist is one of rowdiest and fun hardcore bands around, and I’m stoked to hear some the new album. If you’re lucky enough to have them play a rare show near you, fucking do yourself a favor and go.

Setlist:
Just Like You
Back In The Day
Bought Out
Fake Fags
Smear The Fear
S.T.A
What’s Up With The Kids
To The Grave
Man To Man
Fucks With My Head
All Gone Grey
Spun
Complex
Want Us Dead
Collapse
Dead Weight
Limp Wrist
Ode
I Love Hardcore Boys

MP3:
Limp Wrist – Smear The Fear

More:
Limp Wrist – Self Titled LP
Ceremony – Violence Violence

American Nightmare, The Suicide File Live In Philly (7/24/15)

I headed out to Philly’s Electric Factory in order to catch American Nightmare and The Suicide File play night one of This Is Hardcore. I wasn’t sure what to expect since I was arriving really late in time for The Suicide File, but the all day fest had been going on for hours earlier.  The place was decently packed although plenty of room to move around.

The Suicide File

suicidefile

I’ve never had a chance to see The Suicide File before, so I was pretty stoked to catch Boston’s rock and roll infused hardcore band.  Before their set, someone took the stage and stated that the band asked him to talk about one of the biggest problems plaguing the country these days, rumors of Tom Brady cheating.

With that, the band took the stage and blasted into The Purple Dawn while a pit, stage dives, and a can of party string was immediately let loose.  Suicide File put on a killer reunion set, and seemed in pretty high spirits, often taking light hearted jabs at each other, the crowd and Philadelphia in general (“If I knew 15 years ago that we’d be playing in front of a crowd this big in Philadelphia?  I’d say couldn’t we play a better city?”)

Playing a bunch off both Twilight and their compilation Some Mistakes You Never Stop Paying For, they played two of my favorites (“Atchung Landmine!” and “Now Lie In It”) but the biggest reaction was definitely closer “Song For Tonight” which had one of the biggest pile-ons I’ve seen at recent shows.  Holy shit.

Setlist (not in order, might not be complete)
The Purple Dawn
Twilight
Laramie
Things Fall Apart
Atchung! Landmine!
Ashcroft
I Hate You
Song For Katy
Now Lie In It

American Nightmare:American Nightmare

I’m a huge American Nightmare fan, and they have been my favorite hardcore band ever since I’ve seen them back in 2003 when they were touring under the name Give Up The Ghost (due to another American Nightmare threatening legal action).  Since they’ve broken up, I’ve seen them a number of times, flying up to Boston to see their first reunion show which was mind blowing, and heading up to NYC to catch them a few times as well.

After a while setting up, Wes and crew took the stage and broke out into “There’s A Black Hole In The Shadow Of The Pru”.  Two stepping and stage diving abound, the band played a set heavily from Background Music and their earlier EPs, playing for a solid half hour with very minimal banter.

In true hardcore form, Wes left most of the shouting up to the crowd as he jumped around the stage and stage divers accidentally ripped out cords.  It seemed like their set was plagued with some sound issues, but Wes seems to have a hard time hitting the screams this show.  Still, it’s American Nightmare and I definitely lost my shit and was in the pit the majority of theire set.  I really want to see them in a smaller venue again (I missed their NYC show at Saint Vitus, but footage looks like some of the most solid yet).
Setlist:
There’s A Black Hole In The Shadow Of The Pru
Hearts
I’ve Shared Your And Lips Now They Sicken Me
Love American
(We Are)
AM/PM
Shoplifting In A Ghost Town
I Saved Latin
Postmark My Compass
Crime Scene
Fuck What Fireworks Stand For
Calculation Nation
Protest Song #00
Please Die!
Your Arsonist
Farewell

MP3:
American Nightmare – The Ice Age Is Coming!
The Suicide File – Now Lie In It

More:
American Nightmare – Year One
American Nightmare – Background Music
Scenester 101: How To Be An Old School Hardcore Kid In 10 Easy Steps!

Shitty Friends – Crime Line 7″ (For fans of Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Western Addiction)

shitty friends crime line

A punk 7-inch should leave a listener wanting more, and that’s exactly what Lancaster PA’s Shitty Friends Crime Line does.  With four songs finishing just around 5 minutes, you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into with the title opener: no frills or bullshit, just late 70s early 80s style hardcore punk.

Very reminiscent of early Circle Jerks and Western Addiction, with “Last Call” even reminding me a bit of later Exploited when they went more hardcore.  You’re not going to find anything ground breaking or new with Shitty Friends, and that’s exactly what I love about this 7-inch.  It’s refreshingly simple face smashing punk rock, and you should definitely pick this one up over at their bandcamp.

MP3:
Shitty Friends – Crime Line

More:
OFF! – First Four EPS
Western Addiction – Cognicide
Government Warning – No Moderation

 

Good Riddance – Peace In Our Time (Rise Against, Bad Religion, 7 Seconds)

good-riddance-peace-in-our-time

Life’s busy man.  It’s been months since I’ve had a chance to post a proper* review of an album, and I’ve been sitting on Peace In Our Time for a little bit now.  Released at the end of April, Good Riddance is back with their 8th full length, and their first one in nine years.

Santa Cruz’s Good Riddance has been at it for a while now.  After calling it a day back in 2007, only to reunite five years later, these guys continue to produce incredibly energetic fast paced melodic hardcore.

From the very beginning of opener “Disputatio” with it’s heavy chugging bass and instant guitar assault, it’s clear that even though it’s been nine years, Good Riddance haven’t missed a beat.  Russ is still on point with his aggressive yet cleanly delivered vocals tackling both socio-political and personal issues.

Songs like “Dry Season” and “Year Zero” are up there with Good Riddance’s heaviest songs, while “Running On Fumes” and “Washed Away” lean more towards the melodic sides of things with the chorus even bordering straight pop-punk.

Definitely will please any Good Riddance fan, while so many bands change their style and “grow”, Good Riddance has proven once again you can grow a bit without changing up the music much.

MP3:
Good Riddance – Disputatio

More:
Good Riddance Live In Philly Recap
Western Addiction – Cognicide
Nofx – Ribbed
Bad Religion – Suffer

Bane, Backtrack Live In Philadelphia (4/23/15)

bane flyer

This past Thursday, I headed out to Philadelphia’s small bar Voltage Lounge to see one of my favorite hardcore bands of all time, Bane.  The place was decently packed when I got there, and I got there in time to catch Long Island hardcore dudes Backtrack.

Backtrack:

backtrackband

Backtrack is one of the bigger names in hardcore today, and it definitely showed once they took the stage.  A pit immediately broke out with people raging throughout the entirety of their set and didn’t let up.  7 year running Backtrack play a style of hardcore that takes it’s roots from NYHC bands like Madball, yet blends it with a faster youth-crew era style at times.

Personally, not my type of hardcore (I’m not a fan of the more metal infused breakdown hardcore), but they put on a solid and enjoyable set regardless with tons of stage presence and energy.  If you dig bands like Turnstile or Suburban Scum, you’d dig these guys.

Bane:

bane

I’ve seen Bane a shit load of times, and I’m always still insanely excited every time I see them.  Worcester’s Bane is one of the few bands who seem to truly love what they do, and play every show with a lot of heart and passion.  For a band that has been at it for 20 years now, this is beyond fucking impressive.

As Bane was setting up and mic checking, they started to sing along with the between sets music track “Lean On Me”, getting the entire crowd to sing along and having lighters thrown in the air waving back and forth: not your usual site at a Bane show.  That didn’t last long though, once they opened their set with “My Therapy”, we erupted into a frenzy of two steps, stage dives, and sing alongs, which only intensified as they segued straight into “Ali Vs Frazier”.

Usually when bands play songs off later albums, they don’t often get a big reaction (especially if you’ve been cranking out songs as long as Bane has), but everything off Don’t Wait Up was met with enthusiasm.  Of course, the song that got the biggest reaction was “Can We Start Again”, and people were jumping off speakers at this point.

Little side note: vocalist Aaron took some time to talk about how nothing on tour (and life) is certain, where they’ve played places they expected to be dead to be insane, and places the reaction are usually good to be low key, but that Philadelphia always goes off and is insane.  Usually I would think a band says that at every show, but I’ve seen Bane elsewhere, and there always is a good reaction in Philly compared to other places I’ve seen them.

Setlist:
My Therapy
Ali Vs Frazier
All The Way Through
Count Me Out
Non-Negotiable
Some Came Running
Swan Song
Calling Hours
Can We Start Again
Super Hero
Final Backward Glance

MP3:
Bane – Non-Negotiable

More:
Bane – Don’t Wait Up
Bane – Holding This Moment
American Nightmare – Year One
Chain Of Strength – The One Thing That Still Holds True Today