Category: punk rock

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. 

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Comprised of Rachel Ratner (vocals, guitar), Dave Ramm (drum), who’s best known as a former member of The Intelligence, and Matt Nyce (bass), the Seattle, WA-based punk band Wimps formed back in 2012 — an with the release of 2013’s debut Repeat released through End of Time Records, a 7 inch record released on the micro-label Help Yourself Records, and 2015’s Super Me EP, the Seattle-based punk trio quickly developed a reputation as one of the area’s best punk bands; in fact, the were voted Best Punk Band of the year, in a Best of Seattle Reader Poll.

Wimps’ third full-length album Garbage People is slated for a July 13, 2018 release through Kill Rock Stars! Records, and the album reportedly finds the band expanding upon their sound with the material employing the use of saxophone, keyboard and cowbell. Also, the album finds the band tackling much more serious concerns — gender pay inequality, the decline of bee populations as a result of climate change, insomnia and wanting to steal a pizza . . . but only if it’s these and so on.  Interestingly enough while expanding upon their sound and lyrical concerns, the album’s latest single, album title track “Garbage People” finds the band drawing influence from DEVO, The B52s, The Breeders and others in a way that feels anachronistic, as it sounds and feels as though it could have been released in 1979, 1999, 2009 or 2018, completing with a sneering, tongue-in-cheek irony.

 

 

Live Footage: The Coathangers Perform “Gettin’ Mad and Pumpin’ Iron” 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 with each album has found the band carefully refining their sound and songwriting approach, while retaining a brash, raw and spontaneous simplicity balanced with a feral urgency and biting urgency — although with their last full-length album 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 forthcoming release of their first live album, aptly titled Live. 

Slated for a June 1, 2018 release through their longtime label home Suicide Squeeze Records, Live was recorded during a two night stay at Alex’s Bar in Long Beach, CA, and the album’s opening track and first single “Gettin’ Mad and Pumpin’ Iron” off 2009’s Scramble, and the single is a feral and blistering mosh pit friendly barn-burner that clocks in at 91 seconds. Interestingly, along with the recording, the band has released live footage from that show, which accurately captures the energy of their sets. 

Throughout the almost eight year history of this site, I’ve written quite a bit about JOVM mainstays Bambara, and as you may recall, the trio, comprised of twin brothers Reid and Blaze Bateh and their childhood friend William Brookshire will be releasing their Andy Chugg-produced third, full length album Shadow on Everything later this week — and the album, which is their first for renowned indie label, Wharf Cat Records, reportedly represents a decisive step in a  new direction for the band, with their sound moving from the noise rock and post-punk of their first two albums to incorporating a Western Gothic-inspired sound. And while the music center remains the trio’s tight and forceful rhythm section featuring Blaze Bateh’s frenzied yet incredibly metronomic drumming and Brookshire’s propulsive bass lines, unlike their previously recorded output, Shadow on Everything finds the band placing Reid Bateh’s vocals at the forefront, symbolically placing the damaged characters and seedy locales of his lyrics at center stage.

With the album’s first single ““Jose Tries to Leave,” the band retains the forceful and nightmarish dynamism that has won them attention here and elsewhere, but with a cinematic air, as it focuses on the lives and thoughts of desperate, fucked up and incredibly seedy sorts with a humanist’s sense of empathy and a novelist’s attention to psychological detail. “Doe-Eyed Girl,” the album’s second while continuing in a similar vein is imbued with a sweaty and furious urgency, fueled by manic and desperate obsession. Interestingly, Shadow on Everything‘s third and latest single “Sunbleached Skulls” is arguably one of the murkiest and bleakest songs of their growing catalog as Reid Bateh’s dark imagery centers around buzzing flies around sun-bleached bones, rotting flesh, dirt and grime paired with Brookshire’s propulsive bass and Blaze Bateh’s mathematically precise, metronomic drumming and shimmering bursts of Western guitar figures, seemingly writhing about in the dirt and grime; but underneath the bleak vibes and foul stenches of the song, there’s a strange sense of finding comfort and companionship in someone else, even if it’s fleeting. And much like its predecessor, the album’s single is incredibly cinematic track, that evokes a feverish and lingering nightmare.

 

 

Live Footage: JOVM Mainstays METZ on “The Chris Gethard Show”

Over the past three or four years, I’ve written quite a bit about the Toronto, ON-based JOVM mainstays METZ, and as you may recall the trio’s third, full-length album Strange Peace was released last year, and album found the band retaining the furious and blistering energy of their live sets, while pushing their songwriting in new directions, with the most personal and politically charged material they’ve written yet, as it captures the anxiousness, uncertainty and fear of our time; but interestingly, the album’s material manages to suggest that when things are their bleakest, that you aren’t alone, because they are others just 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.”

The members of METZ have been relentless road warriors, melting faces and pummeling eardrums on stages large and small all across the world, and before  embarking on an extensive world tour that will include stops in lovely Amsterdam and Rotterdam and elsewhere, METZ appeared on truTV’s The Chris Gethard Show, where they played a face melting set featuring singles “Mr. Plague,” “Cellophane” and “Mess of Wires.” Oh and check out the exuberant dude in the banana suit, because if you had even half his exuberance, life would be way more fun. 

Over much of the almost 8 year history of this site, I’ve written quite a bit about JOVM mainstays Bambara, comprised of founding, core trio twin brothers Reid and Blaze Bateh and their childhood friend William Brookshire, and as you may recall the trio’s soon-to-be released Andy Chugg-produced third, full-length album Shadow on Everything is their first for Wharf Cat Records, and it reportedly represents a decisive step forward with the band moving from the early noise rock and post-punk that inspired their first two albums with the new album being  a Western Gothic concept album. And while the musical center remains the trio’s tight and forceful rhythm section featuring Blaze Bateh’s frenzied yet incredibly metronomic drumming and Brookshire’s propulsive bass lines, which manage to be roomy enough for for Reid Bateh’s howled vocals and squalling, feedback heavy guitar.

Unlike their previously recorded output in which Reid Bateh’s vocals were deeply buried in the mix, Shadow on Everything finds the band placing Reid Bateh’s vocals at the forefront, symbolically placing the damaged characters and seedy locales of his lyrics at center stage — and while the overall sound is cleaner, as you’ll hear on “Jose Tries to Leave,” the album’s first single, the band has retained the forceful and nightmarish dynamism that has won them attention; but interestingly enough, the album finds the band experimenting with their sound as some of the material features violin and cornet arrangements, as well as ambient noise loops distilled down from hours of manipulated vocal collages the band shifted through to find the perfect texture.

“Doe-Eyed Girl” Shadow on Everything‘s second and latest single continues in a similar vein as it features Spaghetti Western-like guitar work, explosive bursts of feedback and a punk rock-like propulsive rhythm section that gives the song a cinematic yet menacing quality paired with an unusually empathetic portrayal of the damaged characters and nightmarish scenarios that have long inhabited their material imbued with a sweaty and furious urgency, fueled by a desperate and manic obsession.

 

 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Screaming Females Return with One of Their Most Anthemic Radio Friendly Singles to Date

Over the past few years, I’ve written quite a bit about the  New Brunswick, NJ-based JOVM mainstays Screaming Females. Comprised of Marissa Paternoster (guitar, vocals), King Mike (bass) and Jared Dougherty (drums), the trio cut their teeth playing their hometown’s renowned all-ages basement, punk rock scene; however, with the release of  2012’s Steve Albini-engineered Ugly, 2014’s forceful and raw live album, Live from the Hideout and 2015’s Matt Bayles-produced Rose Mountain, the Central New Jersey-based band received wider exposure from NPR, Last Call with Carson Daly and MTV.  Adding to a growing profile, the members of Screaming Females have toured with a number of internationally and nationally known acts including Garbage, Throwing Muses, Dinosaur, Jr., The Dead Weather, Arctic Monkeys, Ted Leo and The Pharmacists, JEFF the Brotherhood, Little Lungs, Cheeky, The Ergs, Shellsshag and others.

2015’s Rose Mountain was a decided change in songwriting and recording approach, with the band writing arguably some of the most concise, melodic and accessible material they’ve released, while retaining the blazing guitar work and muscular insistence of their previously recorded work. Up until last year, a couple of years had passed since they had released new material, and “Black Moon,” the first single off their recently released All At Once not only continues their ongoing collaboration with Matt Bayles, it also reveals a band that’s restlessly experimenting with their songwriting approach and song; in the case of “Black Moon,” there’s a continued attention on a forceful conciseness but a greater attention to crafting razor sharp hooks while thematically, Paternoster meshes the metaphor of a post apocalyptic earth with the universal experience of a relationship that has ended in a rather embittering, frustrating and demoralizing fashion.

Interestingly, with All At Once, the band reportedly set out set out to write an album in the spirit of a salon-style gallery show, where the larger pieces provide an eye-level focal point to a galaxy or smaller works — and as a result of a more expansive thematic reach, the members of the band openly and decidedly focused on experimentation with arrangements and song structure to evoke the energy and spontaneity of their live sets. As the band’s Mike Dougherty explains of their motivation “When you’ve been a band for 12 or 13 years, the resources can dry and you just go back to what feels comfortable. The other option is that you develop stuff that a younger band would not have been able to do.”

You might recall that All At Once’s first official single “Glass House” found the band embracing a simplicity — with Paternoster playing two relatively simple riffs in a 90s grunge rock structure paired with some incredibly melodic vocals. “A song like ‘Glass House’ is something we knew we were capable of, but it took a while to fully embrace,” Paternoster says in press notes. “It’s something very simple — just bass, drums and two simple riffs. In the past, I might have insisted on adding more. Practicing self-restraint is something I have consciously been trying to do.” The album’s second official single, “I’ll Make You Sorry” may be one of the more decidedly straightforward, arena rock friendly songs they’ve released to date, bolstered by Paternoster’s powerhouse vocals. While reminding the listener that she may be small but that she roars with a mighty, oceanic force.

Directed by Lance Bangs, the recently released video features the band performing the song in an abandoned loft space with the band’s Paternoster beginning the video laying on the floor or in rubble, before seeing the entire band shred.

New Audio: Hot Snakes Return with an Anthemic Mosh Pit Worthy Track from First Album in 14 Years

Led by its then-San Diego, CA-based founding duo of Swami John Reis and Rick Froberg, Hot Snakes formed in 1999 as a side project, when Reis’ primary band Rocket from the Crypt went on hiatus after the departure of long-time drummer Atom Willard — and being in between labels. 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. Interestingly, Hot Snakes 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, slated for a March 16, 2018 release 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, with 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.”

You might remember that last month I wrote about the Curses-era Rye Coalition-like album single “Six Wave Hold-Down,” a single that possessed a furious piss, vinegar, vitriol and whiskey-fueled punk air with rousingly anthemic, raise your beer in the air hooks and a frenzied urgency. Unsurprisingly, the album’s latest single “Death Camp Fantasy” possesses the same frenzied urgency, centered around a swaggering, muscular and insistent riff, howled vocals, propulsive drumming, and shout worthy, mosh pit-friendly hooks; but underneath the swaggering, whiskey and piss fueled storm is a sentiment reminiscent of Soundgarden’s “Blow Up The Outside World” — a sick of this bullshit, let’s blow it all the fuck up and start over vibe. 

Along with the release of their newest album, the band’s entire back catalog will be re-issued and to celebrate that, the band will be touring to support it. You can check out the first batch of tour dates, below. Interestingly, as the band’s Gar Wood notes, the band has finished writing and recording two more albums, and Jericho Sirens will give fans and listeners a chance to catch up to the new recordings.

New Audio: The Men Release a Raw Punk Rock-Inspired Bruiser from Forthcoming Seventh Full-Length Album “Drift”

Although they have one of the more difficult to Google names I’ve come across in quite some time, the Brooklyn-based punk rock/post-hardcore/psych rock/post-punk act The Men, currently comprised of founding duo Mark Perro (vocals, guitar, keys) and Nick Chiericozzi (vocals, guitar), along with Rich Samis (drums) and Kevin Faulkner (bass, lap steel) formed back in 2008, and since their formation, they’ve released six, critically applauded albums — 2010’s Immaculada, 2011’s Leave Home,  2012’s Open Your Heart, 2013’s New Moon, 2014’s Tomorrow’s Hits and 2016’s Devil Music. Despite going through a few lineup changes during their ten year history, each successful album has found the band incorporating increasingly diverse elements and influences while expanding upon their sound — 2012’s Open Your Heart, which may be among the band’s more accessible albums found the band incorporating surf rock, country music and pop structures; 2013’s New Moon found the band incorporating classic rock and country rock influences, and was described by one critic as “akin to Dinosaur, Jr. on a serious Tom Petty kick;” Tomorrow’s Hits found the band employing punk rock and classic rock influences; and Devil Music was considered a necessary reset by the members of the band.

The band’s forthcoming, seventh, full-length album Drift marks their tenth year as a band and a proud return to their longtime label home Sacred Bones Records, and interestingly, Drift finds the New York-based quartet exploring the openness that its predecessor helped them find while continuing with an experimental bent — with most of the material not featuring a prominent appearance by an electric guitar; however, the album’s first single “Killed Someone” is a raw, rowdy, bruising mosh-pit worthy song, reminiscent of JOVM mainstays Ex-Cult and Nots.

Drift is slated for a March 2, 2018 release. The band will be e