The Bobby Lees — Sam Quartin (vocals, guitar), Kendall Wind (bass), Nick Casa (lead guitar), and Macky Bowman (drums) — are a rapidly rising, Woodstock, NY-based garage punk act that has received attention here and elsewhere for […]
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.
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.
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.
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.
Over the past 18 months or so, the rapidly rising Woodstock, NY-based garage punk act The Bobby Lees — Kendall Wind (bass), Nick Casa (lead guitar), and Macky Bowman (drums) — have begun to receive attention for a feral and frenzied take on garage punk and an unpredictable live show. And as a result, the rising punk rock act has opened for the likes of The Black Lips, Murphy’s Law, Boss Hog, Future Islands, Daddy Long Legs, The Chats, and Shannon & The Clams.
Slated for a May 8, 2020 release through Alive Naturalsounds Records, The Bobby Lees’ Jon Spencer-produced full-length album reportedly finds the band mixing classic, garage punk hits, raw and emotive storytelling and some of the most blistering and dexterous guitar work I’ve heard in the past few months. So far I’ve written about two of the album’s singles: the breakneck and explosive Fever to Tell-era Yeah Yeah Yeahs-like “GutterMilk,” and a feral and unhinged cover of Bo Diddley’s “I’m A Man,”‘ that nods a bit at George Thorogood’s famous cover — but with a defiant, gender bending boldness. Building upon the reception of the album’s first two singles, the album’s third and latest single “Move” continues a run of feral and sweaty garage punk that sounds like Jon Spencer Blues Explosion on steroids.
The recently released video captures the band playing live and goofing off while on tour — and it accurately captures the band’s youthful and infectious abandon.