Category: punk rock

New Audio: JOVM Mainstays Warish Release a Feral and Bruising Ripper

With the release of their first two EPs and their full-length debut, 2019’s Down In Flames, the San Diego-based noise punk trio Warish — currently founding member Riley Hawk (guitar, vocals), Alex Bassaj (bass) and Justin de la Vega (drums) — quickly established a reputation for crafting mosh pit friendly, bludgeoning rippers with an aggressively sleazy Troma Films-like vibe that seemingly drew from early Butthole Surfers, Scratch Acid, Incesticide-era Nirvana, Static Age-era Misfits and others.

The JOVM mainstays’ sophomore album Next To Pay is slated for an April 30, 2021 release through RidingEasy Records. Reportedly, the San Diego noise punk trio’s highly-anticipated 13-song, sophomore album finds the JOVM mainstays at their darkest and bitingly vicious. “Next To Pay is about a sense of imminent doom, everyone is going to die,” Warish’s Riley Hawk says in press notes. “It’s not the happiest record, I guess.” Sonically, the album’s material finds the band drawing from the same influences as its predecessor but while pushing it in a new and forceful direction. While still centered around heavy guitars, the JOVM mainstays stray away from straightforward cookie cutter punk and lean more in the direction of Greg Ginn and Buzz Osborne — wiry contortions drenched in various chorus effects. “This album is more of an evolution, it’s a little more punk-heavy,” Hawk adds. “We figured out what our sound was.”

Unsurprisingly, that evolution necessitated a massive lineup change: the band’s original drummer Nick “Broose” McDonnell plays on about half the album’s songs while their newest drummer Justin de la Vega took over for the more recently written and recorded tracksHawk. Alex Basassj joined the band after their debut was recorded, making Next To Pay, his official Wartish debut.

“Seeing Red,” Next To Pay’s latest single is a breakneck, Bleach-era Nirvana like ripper centered around Hawk’s howled vocals, scuzzy power chords, a forceful and chugging bass line and pummeling drumming and a scorching that continues a run of mosh pit friendly material –but this time with a feral snarl.

Throwback: Black History Month: Death

Today is February 21, 2021. It’s the 21at day of Black History Month. And as I’ve mentioned throughout this series, I’ve been featuring Black artists across a wide and eclectic array of genres and styles — with the hopes that it’ll be a bit of a primer on the Black experience and on Black music.

Of course, I hope that these posts will serve as a reminder of these very important facts:

Black culture is American culture — and Black music is American music.
America’s greatest and beloved contributions to the world are Black music styles — the blues, jazz, rock ‘n’ roll and hip-hop.
Black art matters.
Black lives matter — all of them, all of the time.

etroit-based garage rock/punk rock act Death have one of the most interesting backstories I’ve come across in this site’s 10-plus year history, and it’s worth retelling: Formed by The Hackney Brothers — Bobby (bass, vocals), David (guitar) and Dannis (drums) — in 1971, the band began as an R&B and funk band. But the sibling trio’s lives were transformed after they caught The Who and Alice Cooper in concert. As the story goes, David, the youngest of the sibling trio pushed for a hard rock-like song unbeknownst to them managed to presage punk and post-punk by several years, Of course, a change in sonic direction necessitated a change in band name — to Death, As Bobby Hackney explained in 2010, David’s concept was spinning death from the negative to the positive. “It was a hard sell.”

In 1975, The Hackney Brothers recorded a handful of songs written by David and Bobby at Detroit’s United Sound Studios with engineer Jim Vitti. According to The Hackney Family, Clive Davis funded those recording sessions — but while doing so, repeatedly implored that the band change their name to something much more commercially palatable. The Hackneys refused. Davis pulled his financial support and as a result, the band was left with seven recorded songs instead of the planned for 12. By the following year, the band released an extremely limited release of 500 copies of the “Politicians In My Eyes”/”Keep On Knocking” single, followed by their full-length debut to little fanfare.

By 1977, The Hackneys ended Death and relocated to Burlington, VT where they released two albums of gospel rock as The 4 Movement in the late 70s and early 80s. In 1982, David returned to Detroit while Bobby and Dannis remained, eventually forming the reggae band Lambsbread. Sadly in 2000, David Hackney died of lung cancer. But reportedly before he died, David Hackney told his older siblings that although they were misunderstood and forgotten in their heyday, history would prove them and their work as Death as truly revolutionary and important — even if it was after his own death. In a serendipitous spin of fortune that seems too good to be true, several years after David’s death, Bobby’s sons stumbled upon the original Death masters hidden away in their parents’ attic. Bobby’s sons were so impressed and innpisred bay what they had heard, that they began covering Death’s material during their own sets — and that helped bring attention to their father’s and uncles’ work together.

Drag City Records, re-released Death’s original recordings in 2009, 35 years after its initial recording and release.The band’s sound which effortlessly meshed elements of reggae, garage rock, porto-punk and metal manages to presage the punk movement by three years — all while being an important musical bridge between Parliament Funkadelic and Bob Marley and Bad Brains, Fishbone, Living Colour, Lenny Kravitz, TV on the Radio, Prince and countless others.

Sine the re-release of their demos and full-length debut, the current Death lineup — surviving brothers Bobby (bass, vocals) and Dannis (drums) with Bobbie Duncan (guitar) — have gone on a number of national tours, including making stops across the national festival circuit, winning over new fans with their groundbreaking sound, while further cementing their rightful place in music history.

Punk rock is Black y’all. And being Black is punk as fuck.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays METZ Follows Two Dedicated Skaters in New Visuals for Furious Ripper “Sugar Pill”

Co-produced by Uniform’s Ben Greenberg and mastered by Seth Manchester at Pawtucket’s Machines with Magnets, METZ’s fourth album Atlas Vending sees the JOVM mainstays attempting to craft music for the long haul, with the hopes that their work could serve as a constant, as they — and of course, the listener — navigated through life’s trails and tribulations. The end result is an album’s worth of material that retains the massive sound that has won them attention and hearts across the world, but while arguably being among their most articulate, earnest and dynamic of their catalog and careers to date.Thematically, Atlas Vending covers disparate yet very adult themes: paternity, crushing social anxiety, addiction, isolation, media-induced paranoia and the restless urge to just say “Fuck this!” and leave it all behind. Much like its immediate predecessor, Atlas Vending offers a snapshot of the modern condition as the band sees it; however, Atlas Vending’s 10 songs were specifically written to form a musical and narrative arc with the album’s songs and sequencing following a cradle-to-grave trajectory.

Interestingly, as a result of the album’s cradle-to-grave narrative arc, the album’s material runs through a gamut of moods and emotional states, starting off with the most rudimentary and simplistic sensations of childhood, all the way to the increasingly nuanced and turbulent peaks and valleys of adulthood. Getting older — particularly getting older in an industry that constantly suspends itself in perpetual youth manages to be both text and subtext to the material. “Change is inevitable if you’re lucky,” METZ’s Alex Eadkins says of the band’s fourth album. “Our goal is to remain in flux, to grow in a natural and gradual way. We’ve always been wary to not overthink or intellectualize the music we love but also not satisfied until we’ve accomplished something that pushes us forward.”

Over the course of last year, I wrote about six off the album’s released singles:

Album closing track “A Boat to Drown In,” which may be the most expansive and oceanic tracks of their entire catalog.
“Hail Taxi,” an explosive and deceptively prototypical METZ track that’s centered a narrator, who desperately attempts to reconcile who they once were with what they’ve become.
“Blind Industrial Park,” a rapturous and euphoric ripper that’s an ode to the naivete of youth and the blissful freedom of being unburdened by the world surrounding you.
“Parasite,” a frenetic and pummeling ripper that they filmed at The Opera House in Toronto.
“Pulse,” a furious roar, full of the anxious and uncertain dread that was familiar to daily life during the Trump Administration.
“Framed by the Comet’s Tail,” Atlas Vending‘s most punk-like song, centered around the bitter recrimination and heartache of betrayal and the desperate desire to just say “Fuck all of this!” and start over.

“Sugar Pill,” Atlas Vending’s seventh and latest single is a furious, mosh pit friendly ripper, fueled by a bitter and uneasy dissatisfaction: it’s one-part desperate howl of the aging, who suddenly realize that they’ve been sold empty bullshit that has made their lives equally empty. “And now what?” the song seems to ask.

Directed by Shayne Ehman, the recently released video follows two diehard skaters — Jojo Johnson and Sara Smith — heading out to skateboard, even in the middle of a brutally cold, Canadian winter. Talk about dedication, right? “Skateboarding feels great. We love to skate. The birds need to sing, we need to skate,” Ehman says of the video. “I hope the winter skateboarding footage carries with it some of the love we have for skateboarding. I hope it contains a spirit of perseverance and the will to make it happen. Come wind, ice, or stormy weather, we shovel snow, we torch frost, we skate.”

Live Footage: METZ Live on KEXP — At Home

With the release of their first three albums, the Toronto-based punk trio and JOVM mainstays METZ developed a reputation for thriving on an abrasive restlessness. However, before they set to work on their fourth and latest album, last year’s Atlas Vending, the Canadian punk rockers — Alex Edkins (guitar, vocals). Chris Slorach (bass) and Hayden Menzies (drums) — set a goal for themselves and the album: they intended to make a much more patient and honest album, an album that invited repeated listens rather than a few exhilarating, most-pit friendly bludgeonings.

Co-produced by Uniform’s Ben Greenberg and mastered by Seth Manchester at Pawtucket’s Machines with Magnets, Atlas Vending sees the band attempting to craft music for the long haul, and with the hopes that their work could serve as a constant, as they — and of course, the listener — navigated through life’s trails and tribulations. The end result is an album’s worth of material that retains the massive sound that has won them attention and hearts across the world, but while arguably being among their most articulate, earnest and dynamic of their catalog and careers.

Thematically, the album covers disparate yet very adult themes: paternity, crushing social anxiety, addiction, isolation, media-induced paranoia and the restless urge to just say “Fuck this!” and leave it all behind. Interestingly enough, much like its immediate predecessor, Atlas Vending offers a snapshot of the modern condition as the band sees it; but unlike any of their previously released work, the album’s 10 songs were specifically written to form a musical and narrative arc with the album’s songs and sequencing following a cradle-to-grave trajectory.

As a result of the album’s cradle-to-grave narrative arc, the album’s material runs through a gamut of moods and emotional states, starting off with the most rudimentary and simplistic sensations of childhood, all the way to the increasingly nuanced and turbulent peaks and valleys of adulthood. There’s also a bit of subtext to the proceedings: getting older in an industry seemingly suspended in perpetual youth. “Change is inevitable if you’re lucky,” METZ’s Alex Eadkins says of the band’s fourth album Atlas Vending. “Our goal is to remain in flux, to grow in a natural and gradual way. We’ve always been wary to not overthink or intellectualize the music we love but also not satisfied until we’ve accomplished something that pushes us forward.”

Over the course of last year, I wrote about six off the album’s released singles:

Album closing track “A Boat to Drown In,” which may be the most expansive and oceanic tracks of their entire catalog.
“Hail Taxi,” an explosive and deceptively prototypical METZ track that’s centered a narrator, who desperately attempts to reconcile who they once were with what they’ve become.
“Blind Industrial Park,” a rapturous and euphoric ripper that’s an ode to the naivete of youth and the blissful freedom of being unburdened by the world surrounding you.
“Parasite,” a frenetic and pummeling ripper that they filmed at The Opera House in Toronto.
“Pulse,” a furious roar, full of the anxious and uncertain dread that was familiar to daily life during the Trump Administration.
“Framed by the Comet’s Tail,” Atlas Vending’s most punk-like song, centered around the bitter recrimination and heartache of betrayal and the desperate desire to just say “Fuck all of this!” and start over.

The JOVM mainstays closed out 2020 with an explosive live session for KEXP that they recorded at Palace Sound, which features a handful of the album’s singles performed live. KEXP recently released the video — and it makes me miss live shows immensely. I suspect it’ll make you miss live shows, too.

New Video: Los Angeles’ Egg Drop Soup releases a Sofia Coppola-Inspired Visual for New Ripper “Swamp Ass”

Egg Drop Soup — founding members Sam Westervelt (vocals, bass) and Olivia Saperstein (guitar) and their newest member Bailey Chapman (drums) — is a Los Angeles-based punk rock act that can trace its origins back to when its founding members played in a previous band. Westervelt and Saperstein started Egg Drop Soup back in 2017 with the band being centered around their deep and abiding simpatico. “Olivia and I just have this telepathy in our songwriting,” Westervelt says.

Since their formation, the act has worked with Travis Parvur at Golden Beat Recording Studio on material, including their debut EP 2019’s P.M.S. Continuing upon that momentum, last year saw the band expand into a trio with the addition of Chapman — and they closed out the year with the Christmastime release of their sophomore EP Eat Snacks and Bleed.

Eat Snacks and Bleed’s first single “Swamp Ass” finds the Southern Californian trio firmly establishing their sound: crunchy, grunge rock-era, power chord riffs, thunderous drumming and snarled vocals centered around a “don’t-give a fuck” delivery. And although with this EP, the trio add their name to a lengthy list of incredibly talented and critically applauded all-womxn acts including LA Witch, The Paranoyds, and Surfbort — but while having a sound that may remind some folks of The Coathangers and Aussie sibling act Stonefield.

New Video: Bloomington’s Wenches Releases a No-Frills Mosh Pit Friendly Ripper

Wenches is a new Bloomington, IN-based quartet that features members of several locally known punk, metal and post-hardcore acts including Racebannon. With the release of a now-sold out, three-song demo cassette, the Bloomington-based act began to receive attention for a sound that No Echo has described as “raw, no bullshit . . . undiluted rock realness.”

Effin’ Gnarly, Wenches’ forthcoming full-length debut will feature what the band says in press notes “high-energy screaming hard rock, played the only way long-haired punk metalhead know how.” Interestingly, the album finds the band hopefully settling on a long-lasting lineup after going through a series of lineup changes featuring a rotating cast of bassists and drummers.

“Bad Man,” Effin’ Gnarly’s first single is an explosive and pummeling, mosh pit friendly ripper featuring thunderous drumming, enormous power chord-driven riffs and shredded vocal cord howling. Centered around a noisy, no fill, all killer approach and a beer guzzling, zero fucks given delivery, “Bad Man” finds the Indiana-based act’s sound bearing a resemblance to MC5 and Rye Coalition. So play this one loud and rock the fuck out!

The recently released video for “Bad Man” features animation by Loverman and is one-part lyric video and one part cartoon adventure, following a bearded and sunglass wearing motorcyclist, who seems like the bad motherfucker, the song talks about.

Effin’ Gnarly is slated for a February 26, 2021 release through LP and digital download through Master Kontrol Audio and through limited edition cassette through Small Hand Factory.

With the release of last year’s debut EP Shut Up Becky, which featured lead single “Mental Health,” the Brisbane-based trio BLUSSH quickly established a feral punk rock sound indebted to Riot Grrl and punk titans L7, Hole and The Distillers while earning a reputation for a unhinged live show through local and national touring with Dicklord, Press Club, Beddy Rays, The Dead Love, The Meanies, WHALEHOUSE, Garlic Nun, KOKO UZI,. Being Jane Lane, Flangipanis, and Wax Chattels, as well as sets across the national festival circuit, including Mountain Goat Valley Crawl, Gr!fest and Sonic Masala.

Building upon a rapidly growing national profile, the act landed at #30 on Brisbane community radio 4ZZZ’s 2019 countdown and received praise from British journalist and post-punk musician Vivien Goldman during her BIGSOUND Keynote address, which led to further industry buzz.

Much like countless other acts across the globe, the members of the rising Aussie punk act have been attempting to maneuver a difficult and challenging year — but they’ve managed to continue some of the momentum of last year with the June release of “Better Than This,” which has received ration of commercial and local radio, as well as COVID-19 safe shows. (Shows, y’all. Shows. Holy shit!) BLUSSH’s second single of 2020 is the mosh pit friendly ripper “Incoming.”

Centered around fuzzy power chords, thunderous drumming, enormous hooks the song is full of the betrayal, confusion, accusation and heartache of a bitter breakup with an unvarnished piss and bile-fueled delivery.It’s tempered, bruised and challenged as it explores themes of being on the other side of love” the members of BLUSSH explain.