Category: punk rock

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Plague Vendor Releases Explosive Visuals for Blistering and Anthemic “New Comedown”

Over the past couple of years, I’ve written quite a bit about Whittier, CA-based post-punk/ punk rock quartet Plague Vendor. And as you may recall, the act, which is comprised of Brandon Blaine (vocals), Luke Perine (drums), Michael Perez (bass) and Jay Rogers (guitar) formed back in 2009, and within a relatively short time, the band quickly developed a reputation for frenetic and raucous live sets. And as a result of that reputation, they began playing an increasing number of live shows in the area — and those early shows helped lead to 2014’s debut album, Free to Eat, an album that some critics have described as terse, dark and thrashing post-punk. 

2016’s Stuart Sikes-produced sophomore effort Bloodsweat landed at number 2 on this site’s Best of List, and from album singles “ISUA (I Stay Up Anyway)“, “Jezebel” and “No Bounty,” the album was full of frenetic, furious and anthemic punk performed with a blistering and undeniable swagger. Interestingly, two years or so passed before the members of the band released two singles, “I Only Speak in Fiction,” and “Locomotive,” which were recorded with Epitaph Records’ head and Bad Religion’s Brett Gurewitz and Morgan Stratton that served as a way to help revitalize the band and restore their focus — before joining renowned producer John Congleton, who would helm the sessions that would eventually result in the band’s forthcoming third album, By Night. 

While reportedly, the album is a return-to-form for the Whittier-based punk act, the album’s first single “New Comedown,” is a furious and explosive roar of a song, centered around a propulsive New Wave-like rhythm section, complete with thunderous drumming and a forcefully chugging bass line, layers power chords, and a mosh pit-friendly hook paired with Blaine’s howled vocals. Similar to the material recorded with Gurewitz and Stratton, “New Comedown” features some of the most confident and self-assured songwriting and playing of their growing catalog, making it arguably one of the best rock songs I’ve heard this year. 

The recently released Dan Monick-directed video for the new single features intimate close ups the band performing the song in the studio, with explosive strobe-lit sequences that captures the frenetic and passionate energy of the band’s live set. 

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With the release of 2014’s full-length debut, Dogging, the Sydney-based punk act Low Life featuring core trio Mitch Tolman, Cristian O’Sullivan and Greg Alfaro quickly received national and international attention.

Recorded over a two year period, the acclaimed Aussie punk band’s sophomore effort Downer Edn (read as Downer Edition) finds the band expanding from a trio to a quintet with the addition of Oily Boys and Orion’s Dizzy Daldal (guitar) and Yuta Matsumura (guitar) — with Matsumura rejoining the band to allow Tolman to be a full-time vocalist. And with the addition of Daldal and Matsumura, the band has gone through a decided change in sonic direction; in fact, as you may recall, the album’s first single, the icy Joy Division-like “Lust Forevermore” featured a lush, post-punk/New Wave inspired sound, complete with an anxious and urgency tension. Interestingly, the album’s second single “The Pitts” is a seamless synthesis of grimy, feedback-filled punk and lush post-punk, as the track is centered by a mosh pit friendly hook, shouted and howled lyrics — and while bearing an uncanny resemblance to 120 Minutes-era alt rock, the song possesses a post-modern anxiousness.

 

 

New Audio: Zig Zags Release an Urgent Headbanger

Currently comprised of founding member Jed Maheu (guitar, vocals), Dane Andrews (drums) and longtime sound engineer, multi-instrumentalist Sean Hoffman (bass), the Los Angeles-based thrash punk/metal trio Zig Zags over the course of their eight year history have released seven singles, three albums and a number of lineup changes — and throughout that time he band has managed to continually evolve their sound, their songwriting approach and their overall aesthetic.  Interestingly, the band’s fourth full-length album They’ll Never Take Us Alive is slated for a May 10, 2019 release through RidingEasy Records, and the album finds the band upping the stakes while revealing their earliest influences — in particular, their love of Dead Moon and Wipers, while remaining decidedly heavy metal. 

They’ll Never Take Us Alive’s latest single, the Kill ‘Em All and Ride the Lightning-era Metallica-like “Fallout” will further cement their long-held reputation for crafting headbanging, power chord-based riffs and rousingly anthemic “raise-your-beer-in-the-air-and-shout-along-lustily” hooks but the song is centered by a blistering urgency that hasn’t been heard on their previously released material. 

Currently comprised of founding member Natalie Hoffman (vocals, guitar, synth) with Charlotte Watson (drums) and Madison Farmer (bass), the Memphis, TN-based punk rock  act Nots quickly rose to national prominence with the release of their full-length debut, 2014’s We Are Nots, an effort that sonically drew from 60s garage rock, 77-era punk, thrash punk, No Wave and New Wave. 2017’s sophomore effort Cosmetic found the act expanding upon the sound that first caught the attention of the blogosphere and elsewhere, while lyrically commenting on sociopolitical concerns — in particular, the album focused on the rough and complicated edges of desire, deceit and distortions. and how they impact appearances and your sense of reality.

Last year, the band went through a significant lineup change with longtime keyboardist Alexandra Hoffman leaving the band. Understandably, the threat of the band losing Eastburn’s hammering synth progressions resulted in some growing pains for the band. But when the newly constituted trio arrived at Bunker Audio to recored material with their longtime friend, collaborator and engineer, Andrew McCalla, each member fully embracing the band’s new identity and approach. Rather than completely abandon the noisy synth attack aspect of their sound, Hoffman decided to take up synths. Slated for a May 10, 2019 release through their longtime label home Goner Records, the band’s forthcoming album, the aptly titled 3 should be seen and understood as something altogether different from its predecessors.”Once we really leaned into the space that being a three-piece afforded us, our writing started to make better sense and connect,” the band’s Natalie Hoffmann explains in press notes. “It made for a more interesting record than if we stayed comfortable and safe in the way we were writing.”

Reportedly through the entire album, the band explores themes of lost control, societal division and strife, the loss of reality in performance and how exhausting it can be to navigate the blurry lines between playing an actor/performer and playing human. And while continuing in a similar heady thematic space as its predecessor, the band’s forthcoming third album was recorded live — but with an intense, improvisational energy to the proceedings. 3’s first single, “Half-Painted House” is centered by a propulsive bass line, wild squealing feedback and synths, shouted lyrics, shouted lyrics and a mosh pit friendly hook — and while bearing a resemblance to Cosmetic, the hypnotic track may arguably be one of the darker songs they’ve released to date, as the song is “about being stuck in a haze of repetitive cycles while change proves to be both stubborn and elusive. The veneer of what it looks like to be ‘normally functioning’ during these tumultuous times is peeling to reveal a mind struggling to keep from turning against itself,” Hoffman explains in press notes.

Nots have confirmed a handful of SXSW sets and a couple of live shows. There will be more coming in the near future; but in the meantime, check out the live dates below.

Live Dates: 
 
3/14: Austin, TX – Levitation – Hotel Vegas – 5:45PM
3/15: Austin, TX – She Shreds – Saraha Lounge – 1:20PM
3/15: Austin, TX – Goner Records – Beerland – 1:00AM

3/29: Memphis, TN – Bar DKDC

5/25 – Memphis, TN – B-Side Bar (Album Release Show)
More To Come…

Last month, I wrote about the Kyoto, Japan-based garage punk act Otoboke Beaver (おとぼけビ~バ~ in Japanese) and as you may recall the act which features Accorinrin (vocals, guitar), Yoyoyoshie (guitar, vocals), Hirochan (bass, vocals) and Kahokiss (drums, vocals) can trace their origins to when they while being members of Kyoto University‘s music club. The quartet quickly built a profile both locally and nationally for pairing incredibly dexterous musicianship with Accorinrin’s confrontational stage presence; but when Damnably Records released the Okoshiyasu!! Otoboke Beaver compilation, the Kyoto-based quartet received airplay internationally from the likes of BBC Radio 6′s Gideon Coe and Tom Ravenscroft, XFM’s John Kennedy, as well as praise from the likes of Pitchfork, NPRi-D and The Fader.

Building upon a rapidly growing international profile, the members of the band made critically applauded and attention-grabbing appearances at SXSW and FujiRock Festival, played a sold out show at London‘s 100 Club — and their Love Is Short 7 inch charted in the UK for 4 weeks. Last year, the band went on a tour of the UK that was bookmarked by slots at Coachella. The quartet’s newest album ITEKOMA HITS is slated for an April 26 2019 release through their longtime label home Damnably Records and the album’s first two singles “Anata Watashi Daita Ato Yome No Meshi” and “Don’t light my fire,” were feral rippers that possessed elements of noise punk, no wave, prog rock and riot grrrl punk. Interestingly, ITEKOMA HITS’ third and latest single “I’m tired of your repeating story” is much more straightforward yet breakneck punk rock track centered around a propulsive bass line, some blistering guitar rock and shouted lyrics that express a mix of fury and frustration. You don’t have to understand what it is they’re actually saying to get that it’s defiantly, boldly feminist — and it fucking rips hard. What else do you need?

 

 

New Video: Follow Bad Sports’ Orville Neely on a Drunken and Lonely Spree in Video for “Don’t Deserve Love”

The Denton, TX/Austin, TX-based trio Bad Sports, comprised of Orville Neely III (guitar, vocals),  Aniel Fried (drums) and Gregory Rutherford (bass) featured some of their home state’s most accomplished musicians — Neely is the frontman of the acclaimed OBN IIIs, while Fried and Rutherford have played together in Video and Radioactivity. Now, as you may recall, the band released their fourth album Constant Stimulation through their longtime label home Dirtnap Records last October, and the album which marks the band’s tenth anniversary, also found the band pushing their sound and songwriting in a new, more mature direction. centered by a leaner, tense production meant to evoke a decided sense of frustration, tension, and world-weariness.

Constant Stimulation‘s first single “Don’t Deserve Love” further cements the trio’s reputation for crafting power chord-based punk but there’s a decided power pop bent, as the song reveals a deliberate and thoughtful attention to rousingly anthemic hooks and earnest emotion. Sonically, the song manages a contemporary take on a familiar sound without being soulless mimicry. But interestingly enough, the song may arguably be the most personal song they’ve written and released as it’s fueled the crippling self-doubt and insecurity of a vulnerable adult, who has openly and freely admitted that while life has made them a survivor, they’re lonely, desperate, broken, fucked up, confused, and afraid — of connecting with others and getting heartbroken and having to start again; of being a failure and a fraud; of a world that’s going up in flames and not caring or not knowing what to do. 

Directed by Z.W.Sprague and written by Orville Neely, the recently released video for “Don’t Deserve Love” stars Neely as a self-conscious, lonely, and somewhat awkward man, who acts in an out of control fashion — drinking way too much, doing way too much coke, smoking too many cigarettes and takes jokes way too far. And as a result, the video’s protagonist winds up frustrating and annoying everyone around him. After being discovered vomiting in a bar bathroom, Neely gets tossed out of the bar, stumbles off to a convenience store for more booze, vomits once again and ends the night drunkenly passed out, disappointed and alone. While being profoundly sad, the video illustrates a much bigger point — that for many of us, we’ve been that lonely, drunken slob, lost in their sadness, self-flagellation and inability to do anything about it. 

Consisting of Accorinrin ( vocal, guitar), Yoyoyoshie (guitar, vocals), Hirochan (bass, vocals) and Kahokiss (drums, vocals), the Kyoto, Japan-based garage punk act Otoboke Beaver (おとぼけビ~バ~ in Japanese) trace their origins to when they met while beiner g members of Kyoto University‘s music club. The Japanese garage punk quartet quickly built a profile both locally and nationally for pairing incredibly dexterous musicianship with Accorinrin’s confrontational stage presence; but when Damnably Records released the Okoshiyasu!! Otoboke Beaver compilation, the Kyoto-based quartet received airplay internationally from the likes of BBC Radio 6′s Gideon Coe and Tom Ravenscroft, XFM’s John Kennedy, as well as praise from the likes of Pitchfork, NPRi-D and The Fader.

Building upon a rapidly growing international profile, the members of the band made critically applauded and attention-grabbing appearances at SXSW and FujiRock Festival, played a sold out show at London‘s 100 Club — and their Love Is Short 7 inch charted in the UK for 4 weeks. Last year, the band went on a tour of the UK that was bookmarked by slots at Coachella. The up-and-coming band’s newest album ITEKOMA HITS is slated for an April 26 2019 release through their longtime label home Damnably Records, and from the album’s first two singles “Anata Watashi Daita Ato Yome No Meshi” and “Don’t light my fire,” you’ll see why they’re so buzzworthy: their feral rippers draw from from noise punk, no wave, prog rock, riot grrrl-era punk in a way that bear a resemblance to Bo Ningen while being defiantly feminist.

 

 

 

 

In the very early days of this site, I wrote quite a bit about the Ottawa, Ontario, Canada-based Steve Adamyk Band, and although it’s been some time since I’ve personally written about them, they’ve remained one of Canada’s contemporary, premier power pop/punk acts. Throughout the past decade, the band has toured Japan, North America and Europe while releasing five full-length albums and a lengthy list of seven inch singles. Back in 2016, the band’s most consistent and longest-held lineup split up, and it would have been accepted and natural to call it a day and move on with something else; however, the band has managed to continue with the same relentless touring schedule — and a new lineup featuring the band’s only remaining original member Dave Williams (guitar, vocals), The Acorn’s Pat Johnson (drums) and Uranium Comeback’s Johnny O (bass).

The newly constituted trio’s forthcoming full-length album Paradise was recorded by Mike Bond at Wolf Lake Studios and mixed by Jesse Gander in Vancouver, and the album reportedly finds the band retaining some of the same vibe that fans and critics have come to know and love — but with a larger, beefed up sound. Clocking in at a breakneck 93 seconds, Paradise‘s first single is the scuzzy and anthemic power chord ripper “In Death.” Just listening to the song brings back warm memories of dark dive bars and sweaty, foul-smelling punk rock clubs in the Lower East Side with sweaty dudes in a mosh pit, shouting along to the song’s enormous raise-your-beer-aloft hook.

The members of The Steve Adamyk band will be on tour to support the new album. Sadly, there aren’t any NYC area tour dates (as of yet at least) but check out the dates below.

 

Tour Dates:
2/15 – Ottawa, ON @ Mavericks (with Teenage Head)
2/22 – Cincinnati, OH @ NorthSide Yacht Club (with Raging Nathans,
Vacation, Dopamines)
2/23 – Fort Wayne, IN @ Berry Street Recording (with Raging Nathans)
2/24 – Madison, WI @ Mickey’s Tavern (with Raging Nathans, Proud Parents)
2/26 – Minneapolis, MN @ First Street Entry (with Mike Krol)
2/27 – Milwaukee, WI @ Back Room at Collectivo (with Mike Krol)
2/28 – Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle (with Mike Krol)
3/01 – Detroit, MI @ Deluxx Fluxx (with Mike Krol)
3/02 – Toronto, ON @ The Garrison (with Mike Krol)
3/23 – Ottawa, ON @ House of Targ
4/26 – Ottawa, ON @ The Dominion Tavern
5/09 – Quebec City, QC @ Scanner Bistro (with DeeCracks)
5/10 – Moncton, NB @ The Caveau (with DeeCracks, Chiller, Phone Jerks)
5/11 – Halifax, NS @ Gus’ Pub (with DeeCracks, Outtacontroller)
5/12 – Shawinigan, QC @ Brewery (with DeeCracks)
5/16 – Ottawa, ON @ Black Squirrel Books (with DeeCracks)

 

 

Late last year, I wrote about the Boston-based alt rock quintet Aneurysm, and as you may recall, the band formed back in 2014 and since then, they’ve developed a reputation for relentless touring and realizing a handful of 7 inch vinyl releases. Their long-awaited full-length debut Awareness is slated for a February 1, 2019 release through Tor Johnson Records, and the album, as the band’s Dan Bahto explains in an interview with No Echo, the material on the album is sort off a collection of things they had been working on since they started.

Awareness‘ first single was the pummeling, mosh pit friendly “St. E.” Centered round enormous power chords, thunderous drumming and howled vocals, the track brought Nirvana, METZ and others to mind. The album’s second and latest single “Newport” continues on a similar vein as its predecessor while rooted in a melodicism that brings Social Distortion to mind; in fact, the song is centered around world-weary and hard-fought reflections on sex, drugs, cops, death and rock ‘n’ roll.  The song kicks ass but as I turn 40 in a couple of months, it has a sobering air: it’s full of the recognition of that you’re getting older; that the scene is slowly phasing you out; that with each passing day you’re looking at your mortality in the mirror.