Category: punk rock

Lyric Video: Seattle’s The Unfit Return with a Feral Howl into the Void

Formed back in 2012, the Seattle-based punk act The Unfit — longtime friends and grizzled Seattle scene veterans Jake Knuth, Michael Lee, T.J. Johnson and Tyler Johnson — have a history of sporadic recording sessions and scattered postings of tracks online. But after a decade of being together, the members of the Seattle-based punk quartet will finally be releasing their self-titled, full-length debut on June 5, 2020 through Share It Music. 

The Unfit’s full-length debut finds the band firmly establishing their sound, a sound that draws from ’80s and ’90s punk, grunge and indie rock in a way that’s forceful and extremely loud. Thematically, the album touches upon finding meaning, belonging and honesty in a bleak and unrelenting hells cape, where those things are difficult to find — and figuring out a way to cope with the lack thereof.  Interestingly, the material is underpinned by the sentiment that in our morally bankrupt world, the survival of the fittest is tilted towards those with the greatest capacity for dishonesty, grift, shamelessness and zealous self-interest, and that one can perhaps take pride in finding belonging as one of the proverbial unfit. 

Last month, I wrote about the album’s feral and furious ripper “Caged Rats and Hamster Wheels,” a mosh pit friendly song and incisive criticism of the capitalist rat race that was seemingly fueled by the desperate urgency of our moment. “The Picture,” the Seattle-based act’s latest single further establishes the band’s for crafting feral and cathartic rippers — but in this case, “The Picture” may be the most desperate song of the album released to date: it’s an a power chord-driven howl into an unceasing and indifferent void. 

“It’s about the terror and sadness that overcomes me when I think about the fact that my memory is me and that my memory is limited and impermanent – and everything that I am and every moment, however profound, however beautiful, will go away and, for all anyone knows or cares, ultimately might as well never have existed,'” the band’s Jake Knuth explains in press notes. “The song is also a sort of way of grieving for me – over the loss of youth, loss of partners and loved ones, loss of various parts of me and my life that I will never get back. I want to preserve and remember these things, these profound moments and feelings, but it will all ultimately fade away.  

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Dream Wife Releases a Riotous Visual for Mosh Pit Ripper “So When You Gonna . . . “

Deriving their name as a commentary on society’s objectification of women, the London-based punk rock trio and JOVM mainstays Dream Wife — Icelandic-born, London-based Rakel Mjöll (vocals), Alice Go (guitar, vocals) and Bella Podapec (bass, vocals) — can trace their origins to when the trio met and started the band back in 2015 as part of an art project conceptualized around the idea of a band born out of one girl’s memories of growing up in Canada during the 1990s.

2018 saw the band release their self-titled, full-length debut to critical acclaim. And as a result, the band built up a profile as a must-see live act, playing at SXSW, opening for Garbage, The Kills and Sleigh Bells, which they followed up with sold-out headlining tours across the European Union and the US — including a stop at Rough Trade with New York-based genre-defying artist Sabri. Adding to a growing profile, the band had their music appear in the Netflix hit series Orange is The New Black. But at the core of all of that is the trio’s mission to lift up other womxn and non-binary creatives with empowering messages and a “girls to the front” ethos.

Slated for a July 3, 2020 release through Lucky Number Music, the London-based trio’s Marta Salogni-produced So When You Gonna . . .  may arguably be the most urgent and direct call to the action of the rising act’s growing catalog. Thematically touching upon some of the most important and sobering themes of our sociopolitical moment including abortion, miscarriage and gender equality, the album is centered by an “it’s a now or never” immediacy in which the listener is directly encouraged to stop waiting, get off your ass and start doing something. The album’s title also plays on its central idea. “It’s an invitation, a challenge, a call to action,” the band’s Rakel Mjöll says in press notes.

So far, I’ve written about two of the album’s singles:  the bombastic, maximalist, tongue-in-check “Sports!,” which recalled Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!and Freedom of Thought-era DEVO, Fever to Tell-era Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Entertainment-era Gang of Four with an exuberant, zero fucks given air — and the achingly nostalgia “Hasta La Vista,” a mid-tempo track that focused on the tight familial bond the band has developed through a shared experience of life on the road, the aching nostalgia for the people, places and things from home you miss while away, and the odd feeling that things have changed in some way that you can’t quite put a finger on when you get back. 

So When You Gonna . . .’s third and latest single, the infectious and anthemic album title track “So When You Gonna . . .” is a most pit friendly ripper featuring bursts of angular guitar chords and punchily delivered lyrics. Proudly continuing their girls and womxn to the front ethos, their latest offering is sultry, in-your-face challenge in which its narrator displays her bodily autonomy and desires with a bold self-assuredness that says “Well, what are you waiting for? We both know what we want. Let’s get to it!” 

“It’s a dare, an invitation, a challenge.  It’s about communicating your desires, wholehearted consent and the point where talking is no longer enough,” the members of Dream Wife explain. “It promotes body autonomy and self empowerment through grabbing the moment. The breakdown details the rules of attraction in a play by play ‘commentator’ style, inspired by Meat Loaf’s ‘Paradise by the Dashboard Light.”

Directed by Aidan Zamiri, the recently released video for “When You Gonna . . .” is shot from the first person POV perspective of the inside of someone’s very hungry mouth. The viewer follows the mouth as it attends a sweaty and raucous Dream Wife show that captures the energy of their live show — and most important, the excitement of strangers suddenly bonding over their love of their favorite band. And like a lot of shows, our protagonist meets and kisses a bunch of attractive new friends, and interacts directly with their favorite band. Seeing your favorite band at some dark, sweaty, booze soaked shithole is a profound experience that simply can’t be manufactured or replicated and for me, the video for “When You Gonna . . .” reminds me of the things I desperately miss. 

“For the video we worked with our favourite elf prince Aidan Zamiri who filmed around a free sweaty, sexy, gig we did for our fans back in January – shot as a first person POV from the inside of a mouth,” the band says of the new video. “Performing live is the beating heart of this band and we miss it, so please take this video as a little love letter to the rock show.”

Live Footage: Amyl and The Sniffers Perform “Gacked on Anger” at The Croxton

Formed back in 2016, the acclaimed Melbourne, Australia-based punk act Amyl and The Sniffers — Amy Taylor (vocals), Gus Romer (bass), Bryce Wilson (drums) and Declan Martens (guitar) — wrote and self-recored their debut EP Giddy Up. The following year, they released the Big Attractions EP, which was packaged as a double 12 inch EP with  Giddy Up through Homeless Records in Australia and Damaged Goods in the UK.

The band made their international touring debut with an appearance at The Great Escape Festival, a series of sold out London area shows and a Stateside tour opening for JOVM mainstays King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard. They ended a busy year with triumphant return tours to the UK and the US before signing to King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s Flightless Records for distribution across Australia and New Zealand and Rough Trade for the rest of the world. They ended that massive year with a Q Awards nomination for Best New Act and won the $30,000 Levis Prize.

Building upon a growing international profile, the Aussie punk rock outfit took SXSW by storm — and they promptly followed that up with their self-titled, full-length debut, which was released to critical applause globally for their feral take on ’77 era punk rock. Adding to a breakthrough year, the band won an ARIA Award for Best Rock Album. 

The acclaimed Melbourne-based punk act released the follow-up to their critically applauded debut with a live 7 inch vinyl, Live At The Croxton, which features dynamic live version of three of their most crowd-pleasing tracks — “Control,” “Gacked On Anger” and “Shake Ya” recorded at the band’s favorite club, The Croxton. Now, as you may recall, earlier this year, I wrote about Live at the Croxton’s first single, the Highway to Hell-era AC/DC meets Headbanger’s Ball-like “Control.” The EP’s latest single is the explosive and gritty mosh pit anthem “Gacked on Anger,”  tells an all-too familiar tale of a Working Jane, who is working her ass off on minimum wage, and  recognizes that everything in the world is s a fucking scam. It’s fittingly captures the frustration and unease of working people everywhere, who realize that they can’t make ends meet because of some greedy fat cat. 

The video is comprised of live footage of the Melbourne-based punk rock act performing the song live at the Croxton — and while the band plays with a muscular insistence, watch for Taylor’s anarchic and feral energy on stage. 

New Video: Toronto’s PUP Releases a Hilarious Claymation Video for Breakneck Anthem “Anaphylaxis”

Formed back in 2015, Toronto-based punk act PUP — Stefan Babcock, Nestor Chumak, Zack Mykula and Steve Sladowski — quickly became punk scene darlings with their first two albums, which received critical applause from The New York Times, Pitchfork, NPR, Rolling Stone and a long list of others. 

The band’s third and latest album, last year’s Morbid Stuff found the band maturing and further honing the approach and sound that won them international attention — by doubling down on the gang’s-all-here vocals, big power chord-driven choruses and lyrics about death. And as a result, the album’s material teeters between gleeful chaos and bleak oblivion while delving into Stefan Babcock’s struggles with depression. In some way, admitting his depression allowed him to take some control — and to laugh in its face.    The album was released to critical applause, and as a result of a rapidly growing profile, the band wound up making their late-night television debut on Late Night with Seth Meyers. They also supported the album with a largely sold-out world tour that found them on the road for most of the year. 

The band’s latest single, the breakneck  “Anaphylaxis” is the first batch of new material from the band this year and the single which features shouted, “the gang’s-all-in” vocals, rousing hooks, enormous power chords and thunderous drumming is the sort of song that’s simultaneously a mosh-pit friendly ripper and the “raise-a-beer-with-your-buddies-and-shout-along” anthem, centered around lyrics that balance sincerity with heavily winking irony. Everything is falling apart all around us — and holy shit, ain’t it kind of funny that it is?

“I got the idea for the song when I was at my partner’s cottage and her cousin got stung by a bee and his whole head started to swell up,” says singer Stefan Babcock. “His wife, although she was concerned, also thought it was pretty hilarious and started making fun of him even as they were headed to the hospital. He ended up being totally fine, but it was just funny to watch him freaking out and her just lighting him up at the same time. It reminded me of all the times I’ve started panicking for whatever reason and was convinced I was dying and the world was ending and no one would take me seriously. In retrospect, I always find those overreactions pretty funny. So we wrote a goofy song about being a hypochondriac and tried to make our guitars sound like bees at the beginning of it.”

Directed by Callum Scott-Dyson, the recently released claymation video for “Anaphylaxis” features a hero — or perhaps an anti-hero — whose paranoia has him envision a world in which the bees are out to get revenge. Of course, the bees do get him. And the subsequent allergic reaction causes him to freak out and imagine the very worse. 

New Video: Join High Waisted on a Wild and Hilarious Party

Founded back in 2014 by Jessica Louise Dye (vocals, guitar) and Jono Bernstein (drums),  New York-based JOVM mainstays High Waisted have received attention across the blogosphere and elsewhere for a sound that draws from surf rock, garage rock, dream pop, Riot Grrl punk and punk rock, for a high-energy live show and their popular DIY concert showcase/booze cruise High Waisted at Sea.

The band’s Bryan Pugh-produced full-length debut On Ludlow further cemented their reputation for scuzzy, party ’til you drop rock — but just under the surface, the material revealed vulnerability and ache.  The JOVM mainstays spent most of 2016 and 2017 on a relentless tour schedule across the country opening for the likes of Brazilian Girls, Shannon and the Clams, Titus Andronicus, The Donkeys, Har Mar Superstar, JOVM mainstays The Coathangers, Jessica Hernandez, La Sera, Diarrhea Planet and La Luz, as well Riot Fest in both Chicago and Denver. 

The JOVM mainstays have received praise from the likes of Consequence of Sound, Noisey, Paste, NME, who named them a “Buzz Band to Watch”  GQ, who declared them “The Ultimate Party Band” and they were named one of the buzziest bands of SXSW in 2018 and 2019 — all of which have helped to firmly cement their long-held reputation for being a non-stop party machine, while going through a series of lineup changes.

Since the release of On Ludlow, the the band contributed “Firebomb,” a scuzzy, ass-kicking, power chord-driven Lita Ford and Motley Crüe-like single to a split single with The Coax, which they supported with further relentless touring with Hundred Hounds, Beechwood and others. 

Despite being badly injured in a car accident while biking in NYC last summer, Dye, Bernstein and company have remaining rather busy: they appeared in a NYLON feature, contributed to a Record Store Day release compilation with Bikini Kill, Lenny Kaye, and Atmosphere, wrote a song for NPR’s More Perfect and were featured on their podcast, played a headline show at Las Vegas’ Hard Rock Hotel and wrapped up their successful  High Waisted at Sea booze cruise and showcase, released four music videos on Left Bank Magazine  — and completed work on their highly anticipated sophomore album Sick of Being Sorry. 

Slated for a May 22, 2020 release, the JOVM mainstay’s sophomore album continues their ongoing collaboration with Tad Kubler — and thematically, the album focuses on finding hope in hopeless situations and having the strength to get up after being knocked down and having the world scream at you to stay down. Interestingly, the album’s latest single, album opener “Boys Can’t Dance” is a rousing party anthem that further establishes the sound that has won them attention across the blogosphere and elsewhere — a seamless and hook-driven mix of surf rock, Riot Grrl punk, dream pop, garage rock and 60s pop delivered with a swaggering self-assurance. And while displaying a slick and polished studio production, the track is centered around a plucky, heart-on-your-sleeve earnestness. 

“I had been cooped up for a long week of work and was really itching for a proper night out with my girlfriends,” High Waisted’s Jessica Louise Dye explains in press notes. “This song was ripped directly from my inner monologue; wanting to let my hair down, eager for the weekend and ready to do something I might regret. It’s an anthem for letting yourself have some much-deserved fun. That weekend, I remember noticing the dance floor was shared mostly by ladies, as the guys lined the perimeter. And I thought, ‘oh, these boys can’t dance because they have their hands in their pockets!’ There’s nothin more freeing than getting lost in your favorite song and letting your body wiggle, shake and twist, void of worry or insecurities in the middle of a crowded room. Everyone deserves to dance.” 

Directed by Zachary Wright, the recently released video follows a down-and-out working stiff protagonist (Paddy Connor), who returns home from a long and exhausting day at an office job for a depressing dinner of cold cereal. His roommate (High Waisted’s Jono Bernstein) heads out on a date with a stunningly gorgeous woman. And while we may initially think that our poor, downtrodden protagonist may wind up spending his night alone, we see him as he pumps himself up, rocks out to his favorite song and heads out to a bachelorette party for a bride-to-be (High Waisted’s Jessica Louise Dye). When he arrives, he’s understandably nervous and the bachelorette party is — well full of shock and ridicule. But our hero quickly builds up the courage to be completely uninhibited, which wins over the party. As the video suggests, we often have fun when we lose our inhibitions and dance the pain and sorrow away. 

New Video: Seattle Punks, The Unfit Release a Furious Ripper

Formed back in 2012, the Seattle-based punk act The Unfit — longtime friends and grizzled Seattle scene veterans Jake Knuth, Michael Lee, T.J. Johnson and Tyler Johnson — have a history of sporadic recording sessions and scattered postings of tracks online. After almost a decade together, the members of the Seattle-based quartet will be releasing their self-titled, full-length debut on June 5, 2020 through Share It Music. 

Drawing from 80s and 90s punk, grunge and indie rock, The Unfit’s sound is forceful, loud as hell, at times sludgy and at times hardcore punk-leaning. Thematically, their full-length debut focuses on finding meaning, belonging and honesty in a bleak and unrelenting hellscape where those things are harder to find — and figuring out a way to cope with the lack thereof. Underlying the material is the sentiment that in our world, the survival of the fittest is titled towards those with the greatest capacity for dishonesty, shamelessness and zealous self-interest, one can perhaps take pride and finding belonging in being one of the proverbial unfit. 

Clocking in at a little over two minutes, the self-titled album’s first single, album opening track “Caged Rats and Hamster Wheels” is a feral and furious ripper, built around enormous power chords, thunderous drumming, a propulsive bass line, mosh pit friendly hooks and howled vocals that’s fueled by the desperate urgency of our moment. At it’s core is an incisive criticism of not just the capitalist rat race but of us that’s centered around the album’s central idea: the world is a bleak and uncertain hellscape of festering bullshit, greed and selfishness — and that bullshit, dishonesty, greed an selfishness may get us all killed. Worse yet, is deep down we all know this, even if we can’t immediately accept it. 

Directed by Ryan Taggart and the members of The Unfit, the recently released video for “Caged Rats and Hamster Wheels” is split between gorgeously shot and intimate footage of the band performing the song in a studio, which makes you feel as though you’re in the room — and stock footage of scientific experiments on lab rats. The rats gradually placed in situations in which the competition for food and survival is at its most primal and vicious.