Category: punk rock

Initially formed back in 2010 as a trio, Cincinnati, OH-based punk rock act Vacation quickly released a slew of tapes, singles and albums through a number of DIY labels while playing pop-inspired punk shows throughout the Midwest and the rest of the country. Since their formation, the band has expanded into a quartet while managing to balance prolificacy with a relentless touring schedule that has had the Cincinnati-based punk rockers opening for the likes of The Breeders, JOVM mainstays Screaming Females, The Black Lips, and others.

Back in 2016 Vacation recorded a two-part album Southern Grass: The Continuation of Rock ‘n’ Roll, a miscellaneous collection of basement punk ephemera, and by the time of the album’s release that July, the members of the band had returned to the studio to write and record their latest album Mouth Sounds #2699 slated for a release through Bloomington, IN-based Let’s Pretend Records later this week. Engineered by The Afghan Whigs‘ John Curley at Ultraseude StudioMouth Sounds #2699 reportedly finds the band at their most experimental with songs that nod at Tom Petty, krautrock and punk rock; in fact, the album’s latest single “Deflector Head” is a prime example of what the band specializes in — ragged, gritty and rousingly anthemic punk with decidedly Cheap Trick-like power pop leanings. It’s the sort of song that you should raise your beer as high as possible and shout along lustily to the hook — as rock ‘n’ roll should make you do.

 

Currently comprised of founding trio Jack Lantern (vocals), James Burgess (guitar), and Tom Pitts (guitar) with new additions Victor Jakeman (bass), Tom Pitt (drums) and Sev Black (keys), the London-based punk act Claw Marks can trace their origins to when its founding trio were in Austin, TX for SXSW with different bands back in 2013 — Lantern and Pitts were members of Human Hair, while Burgess was a member of Boneyards. As the story goes, Lantern, Burgess and Pitts got lost waling down a highway in the Texan desert when they came to the realization that they wanted to make something much more aggressive, that would channel the likes of Swans and The Birthday Party, but while maintaining the pop sensibility that won Human Hair attention. Ultimately, they felt the need to prove that you can make records that could sound like The Jesus Lizard or The Pop Group — without taking yourself too seriously.

For several years, the band primarily existed as a live outfit, playing raucous, riotous shows across their native London — including a memorable 3am first gig at an abandoned pub. “It was my birthday, and intoxicants may have been involved,” the band’s Jack Lantern recalls. “The show cemented us as a band, because we were playing in the confines of a place that was so similar to the spine of what we were trying to put across. The place was dilapidated, the walls were falling down, and when we started playing, the ceiling started shaking, and dust was raining down on us. And then somebody let off a fire extinguisher halfway through the set, and we were covered in dust and foam.”

With the addition of Jakeman, Pitt and Black, the band continued to develop their overall aesthetic, balancing a chaotic live, stage presence with very specific ideas about lyrical imagery and content. “It’s abotu putting weird images to song,” Lantern, who is also a poet says in press notes. “Usually, they’re a bit disgusting – an armpit full of lice, for example. Or a crab covering your arsehole and stopping anybody from trying to climb in there. We’ve got one song about evil, silent cops staring us down while rubbing their truncheons in their mouths. You know, that kind of thing.”

However, their debut album together has taken five years to write and record — with some of the songs dating back to when the band first started. The members of the band kept returning to East London’s Sound Savers Studio, where they were afforded time and space by co-owner Henry Withers, who was a former bandmate of Lantern’s, to continually refine the material, and eventually their overall sound. In fact, every time they returned, the songs evolved in a rather unpredictable fashion. “I’ve been telling people that the album aged like a fine wine, because it took so long to come together,” Lantern says. “But actually, I’d liken it more now to a slab of rotten meat. We allowed it to fester, and every time we came back to it, there’d be more flies buzzing around it, and this new form of bacteria growing on the chords.”

Ultimately, Claw Marks long-anticipated full-length album Hee Hee reportedly is an unapologetically and nasty collection of punk rock songs that thematically speaking range from the absurd to the political — but much like Tom Waits, the songs having a fucked up, off-kilter, whiskey-fueled vibe. “Swallow U,” Hee Hee‘s latest single is noisy and furious punk rock centered around distortion bathed guitar chords, forceful drumming and howled lyrics and while sonically, the song brings to mind Rollins Band‘s Weight and Get Some Go Again but with an absurdist bent, as the song according to the band is literally about a man who walks down the street, eating everything in his path. What makes the track intriguing to me is the fact that it effortlessly meshes art rock with furious, mosh pit friendly punk.

 

Live Footage: Swedish Punk Rockers Sista Bossen Perform an Explosive Set at Tapetown Studios

With the release of their full-length debut Se Upp För, the Malmo, Sweden-based punk rock act Sista Bossen, comprised of Hampus Sunden, Frans Möller, Fredrik Persson, 
Patrik Schlegel and Kristopher Ståhlgren have developed a reputation across their native Sweden and the rest of Scandinavia for meshing high energy punk rock with psych rock in free flowing, anarchistic and humorous fashion — and unsurprisingly, their sound and songwriting winds up being wild, explosive and unpredictable yet centered by a crooked yet infectious melodic sense. 

The Malmo, Sweden-based punk rock act’s sophomore effort Titta inte på mig (när jag dansar) was released earlier this year by Danish indie label Crunchy Frog Records in collaboration with Kollektivet Records. The up-and-coming Swedish punk rock outfit was recently invited to stop by Aarhus, Denmark-based recording studio  Tapetown Studios — and if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past 15-18 months or so, you’d know that Sound of Aarhus along with the Aarhus-based studio have developed a continuing video series in which they invite national, regional and even internationally recognized touring bands to come into their studios for a live session. A number of bands have played including British indie rockers Ulrika Spacek, the Gothenburg, Sweden-based trio Pale Honey, the Bay Area-based JOVM mainstay Tim Cohen and his primary project The Fresh & Onlys, the renowned British psych rockers The Telescopes, and a growing list of others. 

Sista Bossen’s Tapetown Studio session which was sponsored by Crunch Frog Records, is the first session in its history to be sung completely in Swedish — until now, bands have written and performed material in English. But most important, it’s an incredible display of the mischievousness and explosive quality of their overall sound and live set; if anything, it’s the most energetic set I’ve come across as the band’s lead singer shouts, stomps and rolls around the floor with childlike fury and abandon. Along with that, there’s a playful musical joke in which the leader singer asks the band to play a little softer before the set’s fittingly explosive and quick conclusion. Regardless of the language, these guys kick ass — and have a mosh pit friendly sound. 

Deriving their name from a British English word that means to be an avant-gardist — one who emphasizes, practices and celebrates experimental and unorthodox methods and techniques and incorporates them into a craft, Avantist is a South Side, Chicago-based post-punk act, comprised of the Arias Brothers, Luis (drums), David (guitar), Erick (bass) and Fernando (vocals). And over the past decade, the sibling band has dedicated their live stop making avant-garde music, centered around their shared personal philosophy that art is, should and must be progressive, dynamic and unconventional, and that creativity is something to incorporate in every single aspect of one’s life. \
Now, over the past few weeks I’ve written quite a bit about the Chicago-based sibling band, and as you may recall the band’s recently released EP Terasaoma finds the band stepping out of their comfort zone as they forced themselves to write, record, mix and master the EP’s material within a month, rather than the two years it took for their debut. And while further cementing the Arias Brothers reputation locally and regionally for crafting raucous and infectious post-punk, the band also manages to push their sound and songwriting in new and wildly different directions; in fact, the EP’s material runs the gamut from angular and furious post-punk to soulful R&B. EP single “this_could_be_it” was a thrashing and angular post-punk ripper that featured Fernando Arias singing alternating lyrics in Spanish and English. Interestingly, the EP’s latest single is the furious, screamo, thrash punk of “UVB_76,” a track that sonically reminds me a bit of Thrice and The Blood Brothers, thanks in part to its pummeling intensity.
The Arias Brothers are currently on the road to support the EP. Check out the remaining tour dates below.
Tour Dates
6/25 – Austin, TX – Beerland (w/ The Boleys, Desilu, Black Basements)
6/26 – Spring, TX – The Blue Giraffe (w/ Brainstorm fir Tuesday, Kaleidescope Project, and Zzyzx)
6/28 – Birmingham, AL – Firehouse (w/ False Jasmine, Bible Belt, Mike Hombre)
6/29 – Nashville, TN – Betty’s Grill
6/30 – Louisville, KY – Lydia House (w/ Wax Astro, Legs Akimbo)
7/01 – Champaign, IL – Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center (w/ Arboris, Parachute Day)

New Video: Up-and-Coming Melbourne-based Punk Rockers Bakers Eddy Release Mischievous and Colorful Visuals for “Good Decisions”

Comprised of CJ Babbington (guitar, vocals), Ian Spagnolo (bass, vocals), Jamie Gordon (drums, vocals), and Alex Spagnolo (guitar, vocals), the up-and-coming Melbourne, Australia-based indie rock act Bakers Eddy initially formed in Wellington, New Zealand. And since their formation back in 2009, the band has made quite a name from themselves across both New Zealand’s and Australia’s punk rock scenes; not only have they opened for Gang of Youths, The Rubens and the Grammy-nominated act Highly Suspect, they’ve received airplay from Amazing Radio, praise from Pilerats and Tone Deaf. And adding to a growing profile, the band has played their homeland’s festival circuit with sets at Homegrown, Rock the Park and Going Global Music Summit — and earlier this year they made their live debut on British shores with a set at The Great Escape Festival (which they followed with some stops in Germany). 

The New Zealand-born, Melbourne-based band’s Tom Larkin-produced EP I’m Not Making Good Decisions was released earlier this year and the  EP’s latest single is 90s grunge rock, power chord bruiser “Good Decisions,” a track that the band describes as ac coming of age tale about “spending all your money on partying so you can’t pay the bills. Making silly decisions!” Unsurprisingly, the song is deeply inspired by the experience of the band’s members relocating from their native New Zealand to Melbourne where they “were all living together for the first time in a new country and probably having too much fun.”  

Directed by Fagan Wilcox, the recently released video follows a day in the life of the band, who quickly suspect that the house they live in was once a swingers pad. “There is a fully working spa bath in the middle of our hallway, you can see Jamie sleeping in it in the video.” the band says.  Throughout, there’s the sense that the band parties hard — harder than most, but the footage is grainy and damaged. And as Wilcox says “the execution was always going to have the footage destroyed. The idea was to make it raw and low budget using effects, but rather than just pop a filter on it with a VHS effect, we used pixel bending and channel blending to add an intensity to the final edit.”

Currently comprised of founding members and siblings Victor Ziolkowski (drums, vocals) and David Ziolkowski (guitar) and newest member Alex Recide (bass), the Austin-based thrash punks Skeleton features members of several applauded Austin-based punk bands including Nosferatu, Residual Kid, Recide, Enemy One, Plax and Witewash. Since their formation back in 2014, the band has gone through several lineup changes — and initially, the band was deeply influenced by the local punk scene of the last decade paired with industrial and noise rock. Although they’ve generally been much darker than most of their peers, the band’s recent sound has been decided riff-heavy, as it’s been influenced by Kyuss, Dystopia, Bolt Thrower and 90s black metal.

The band has released two flexi disc EPs — I Hate I Skate and Breathing Problem Productions through Super Secret Records; however, their soon-to-be EP, which was recorded by OBN IIIs’, A Giant Dog’s and Bad Sports‘ Orville Neely III and mastered by Seth Gibbs will be their first proper 7 inch release, and reportedly, the EP solidifies a punk leaning sound as they move forward metal on their full-length effort. “War,” the EP’s latest single is a bruising and pummeling punk assault reminiscent of JOVM mainstays Ex-Cult and old school NYC hardcore, but with a furious, booze-fueled misanthropy at its core. And holy shit, does it kick ass, take names and pisses all over everything.

The members of Skelton will be touring throughout July and August with Skourge. Check out the tour dates below.

Tour Dates
07/25 – Houston, TX @ TBA

07/26 – Austin, TX @ The Electric Church +

07/27 – Dallas, TX @ TBA +

07/28 – OKC, OK @ 89th Street Collective +

07/29 – Springfield, MO @ TBA +

07/30 – Denver, CO @ 7th Circle +

07/31 – Salt Lake City, UT @ TBA +

08/01 – Bosie, ID @ TBA +

08/02 – Portland, OR @ TBA +

08/03 – Seattle, WA @ TBA +

08/04 – 05 – Olympia, WA @ Olympia Hardcore Fest +

08/07 – Santa Rosa, CA @ TBA

08/09 – San Jose, CA @ TBA

08/10 – Los Angeles, CA @ TBA

08/11 – Fullerton, CA @ TBA

08/12 – Phoenix, AZ @ TBA
08/13 – El Paso, TX @ TBA
+ with Skourge

 

Austin, TX trio  Skeleton share the first track from their forthcoming EP today via Revolver Magazine. Hear and share “War” HERE. (Direct Soundcloud.)
Skeleton features members of other celebrated Austin punk bands Nosferatu, Residual KidThe Real Cost, Recide, Enemy One, Plax, and Witewash.
The band hits to road this summer for several dates, including a spot on the Olympia Hardcore Fest. Please see current dates below.
 
Skeleton was formed in 2014 by Victor Ziolkowski and David Ziolkowski in Austin, TX. Having had evolved from many different line ups and variations of the band, it’s now performing with Victor on drums and vocals, David on guitar, and Alex Recide on bass.
The band was originally influenced by the punk scene in Austin of the last 8 years, bands like Recide, Iron Youth, and Total Abuse also paired with industrial/noise vibes of Throbbing Gristle. They have always stayed on the more evil or dark end of the spectrum and incorporate dramatic live performances and stage set designs. The band’s more recent sound derives from riff-heavy bands like Kyuss, Dystopia, and Bolt Thrower with the atmosphere of early 90’s black metal.
Skeleton has released 2 previous flexi disc EPs on labels Super Secret Records, I Hate I Skate, and Breathing Problem Productions. This is the band’s first 7 inch release, and solidifies the punk sound of the group as they move toward the upcoming LP, which will be fully metal. The 7 inch was all written and performed by Victor Ziolkowski (on drums, bass, guitar and vocals) and David Ziolkowski (on lead guitar, and bass) Recorded in Austin by Orville Neeley (OBN III’s, A Giant Dog, Bad Sports) and Mastered by Seth Gibbs.
The 4-song EP will be available on 7″ and download on June 30, 2018 out via Super Secret Records. Available for pre-order HERE.
SKELETON TOUR 2018:
07/25 – Houston, TX @ TBA

07/26 – Austin, TX @ The Electric Church +

07/27 – Dallas, TX @ TBA +

07/28 – OKC, OK @ 89th Street Collective +

07/29 – Springfield, MO @ TBA +

07/30 – Denver, CO @ 7th Circle +

07/31 – Salt Lake City, UT @ TBA +

08/01 – Bosie, ID @ TBA +

08/02 – Portland, OR @ TBA +

08/03 – Seattle, WA @ TBA +

08/04 – 05 – Olympia, WA @ Olympia Hardcore Fest +

08/07 – Santa Rosa, CA @ TBA

08/09 – San Jose, CA @ TBA

08/10 – Los Angeles, CA @ TBA

08/11 – Fullerton, CA @ TBA

08/12 – Phoenix, AZ @ TBA
08/13 – El Paso, TX @ TBA
+ with Skourge

Live Footage: Hot Snakes Performing Material from Their First Album in 14 Years at The Troubadour on “Last Call with Carson Daly”

Over the past few months, I’ve written a bit about Hot Snakes, and as you may recall the band, which was led by its then-San Diego, CA-based founding duo of Swami John Reis and Rick Froberg formed in 1999 when Reis’ primary band Rocket from the Crypt went on hiatus after the departure of long-time drummer Atom Willard and when they were in between labels. And while searching for a new label and drummer, Reis started his own label Swami Records and began experimenting with other musicians, which resulted in the formation of Hot Snakes and Sultans. Hot Snakes in particular, can trace their origins to when Reis recorded a batch of material with Delta 72‘s Jason Kourkounis, and then contacted his former bandmate and collaborator Froberg to contribute vocals, and most of those recording sessions eventually comprised their full-length debut Automatic Midnight.

Although Reis and Froberg collaborated together in Pitchfork and Drive Like Jehu, Hot Snakes proved to be a logistical challenge as Reis was in San Diego, Froberg had relocated in New York to start a career as a visual artist and illustrator, and Kourkounis was based in Philadelphia. Naturally, this resulted in sporadic and intense recording and touring schedules that frequently included bassist Gar Wood, best known for his work in Beehive and the Barracudas, Tanner and Fishwife. And while Hot Snakes shares some musical similarities to Reis’ and Froberg’s previous projects, they developed a reputation for a much more primal, garage punk sound influenced by Wipers, Suicide, and Michael Yonkers Band — and for a completely DIY approach to recording, touring and merchandise with the band releasing material through Reis’ Swami Records. (Unsurprisingly, Hot Snakes’ debut Automatic Midnight was the first release through Reis’ label.)

After releasing two more full-length albums, 2002’s Suicide Invoice and 2004’s Audit in Progress, the band called it a day in 2005 but they reunited for a world tour in 2011 which reportedly set the stage for the band’s fourth, full-length album Jericho Sirens, the band’s first album in 14 years, which was released earlier this year through Sub Pop Records. Recored in short bursts over the past year in San Diego and Philadelphia, the album features Reis and Froberg collaborating with Wood and drummers Kourkounis and Mario Rubalcaba — both of whom have been on prior Hot Snakes albums but never on the same one until now. And as Reis explained in press notes for the album, one of the most rewarding aspects was continuing his  collaboration and creative partnership with Froberg. “Our perspectives are similar. Our tastes are similar. He is my family. And more is there to say? My favorite part of making this record was hearing him find his voice and direction for this record. I came hard,” Reis says.

Reportedly, the material thematically commiserates with the frustration and apathy of our daily lives while pointing out that generally we don’t have a fucking clue. As Froberg says of the album, “’Songs like ‘Death Camp Fantasy’ and ‘Jericho Sirens’ are about that. No matter where you look, there’re always people saying the world’s about to end. Every movie is a disaster movie. I’m super fascinated by it. It is hysterical, and it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. It snowballs, like feedback, or my balls on the windshield.” Sonically, the album reportedly finds the band incorporating some of the most extreme fringes of their sound while staying true to their long standing influences — but interestingly, some songs feature nods to AC/DC and others. As Reis says in press notes, “It sounds like panic and chaos. Restlessness and unease. That’s a sound that I would ask for. I want that record. The inspiration would be simple, maybe even kind of straightforward. Very early rock ‘n’ roll DNA with lots of rules. I would find some note or rhythm in it that captivated me and I dwelled on it and bent it. That’s where I found dissonance. Bending and rubbing against each other uncomfortably. Marinate and refine. A lot of the other Hot Snakes records always had tension and release, but this one is mainly just tension.”

Recently, the member of Hot Snakes made their national, late night TV debut on Last Call with Carson Daly, which filmed the band performing three mosh pit friendly album singles — the anthemic and furious Curses-era Rye Coalition-like “Six Wave Hold-Down,” the blistering and “I Need a Doctor” and “Having Another?” And obviously, the live footage should be a ample taste of what to expect for the latest leg of the band’s tour that will include two NYC sets — a sold out June 4, 2018 stop at the Bowery Ballroom and a June 5, 2018 stop at Elsewhere.

Live Footage: JOVM Mainstays The Coathangers Perform “Hurricane” at Alex’s Bar — Long Beach CA

Over the bulk of this site’s history, I’ve written quite a bit about the Atlanta, GA punk rock/garage rock band and JOVM mainstays The Coathangers, and as you may recall, the band, which is currently comprised of Julia Kugel (vocals and guitar), Meredith Franco (bass), and Stephanie Luke (drums) have released a handful of singles, three EPs and five full-length albums during 12 years together — and each album has found the band carefully refining their sound and songwriting approach, while balancing a brash, raw and seemingly spontaneous simplicity with a feral and biting urgency.  Interestingly, the band’s last two efforts 2016’s 2016’s Nosebleed Weekend and 2017’s Parasite EP found the band writing some of the most rousingly anthemic hooks they’ve ever written.

I’ve had the pleasure of catching the Atlanta, GA-based JOVM mainstays twice over the years, and live their set is frenetic and furious, and there’s a palpable sense of love, loyalty and intimacy between the bandmembers that makes their sets feel like an enormous punk rock love fest — and now, the members of The Coathangers have put their live sound to wax, with the release of their first live album, aptly titled Live, slated for a June 1, 2018 release through their longtime label home Suicide Squeeze Records. Now, as you may recall, Live was recorded during a two night stay Alex’s Bar in Long Beach, CA, and the album’s latest cut is a loose, jammy and feral barn burner-like rendition of “Hurricane.” Much like the live album’s first single “Gettin’ Mad and Pumpin’ Iron,” there’s accompanying live footage that captures the band’s frenetic, high energy live set.

New Video: Animated Visuals for METZ’s “Mr. Plague” Captures the Horrors of Our Contemporary World

Over the past four years or so, I’ve written quite a bit about he Toronto-based JOVM mainstays METZ, and as you may recall the trio’s third, full-length album 2017’s Strange Peace found the band pushing their songwriting in new directions with their most personal and politically charged material (without being explicitly being so) they’ve written to date, while retaining the furious and blistering energy of their live sets — and while capturing the anxiousness, uncertainty, fear and outrage that many young people currently feel, the material seems to suggest that when things are at their bleakest and most hopeless, that you aren’t alone; that there are others out there, who feel like you. As the band’s Alex Eadkins explained in press notes, “The songs on Strange Peace are about uncertainty. They’re about recognizing that we’re not always in control of our own fate, and about admitting our mistakes and fears. They’re about finding some semblance of peace within the chaos.”

Now, as you may recall, the members of METZ have developed a reputation for being relentless road warriors, who melt faces and pummel eardrums at clubs and festivals across the globe, and just before they were about to embark on an extensive world tour that included stops in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, they appeared on truTV‘s The Chris Gethard Show, where they played a set featuring singles “Mr. Plague,” “Cellophane” and “Mess of Wires.” And just as they announced some additional dates including a NYC are show at the Rocks Off Cruise with Holy Fuck, the JOVM mainstays released an animated video for the blistering and anxious bruiser “Mr. Plague,” a single that finds the band injecting a small bit of melody into the maelstrom. (Check out the tour dates below.) 

Interestingly, as the video’s director Shayne Ehman explains, “the video examines ” . . . the crumbling remnants of civilization . . . a broken justice system . . . a consumer wasteland. . . Was it part of the plan?”  Drawn in a way to emphasize the horrors of a completely broken, fucked up and hopeless world, the video evokes Edvard Munch’s “The Scream,” complete with an existential dread.