Chinese Demography

As well as boasting the wonderful Manges, Italy has also been responsible for producing the irrepressible Teenage Gluesniffers, who have recently issued a new 7 track EP, which is entitled in a playful swipe at the awful Guns & Roses comeback effort of a few years ago.  Describing themselves as a punk rock band from Milan, Italy, the band formed in May 2006 and since then has played nearly 200 shows touring Italy and Europe.

Musically, Teenage Gluesniffers sit firmly in the pop punk bracket, and while no new ground is broken, they make a catchy as hell racket which is displayed amply on this record, along with comedy Chinese accents.  Short, punchy songs [Everytime is my fave] leave no room for self indulgence, and you can’t really help but crack a smile.  Lyrics describing lost loves and youthful frustration are what you’d expect, but the songs are well constructed enough to make this a varied listen.  Check it out, and while you’re at it, listen to their other releases too.  Their slightly rawer 2009 album, ‘Nervous Breakdown‘ cocks a snook at Lookout bands of the early 90s, which is never a bad thing.

I’m Dead Broke!

That’s not too far from the truth actually.  But hey! Enough of my personal moaning already! I’m back in punking mode now following my holidays, and so I want to let you know about the great stuff that’s out on Long Island’s Dead Broke Reckids.  The label has a decent enough catalogue of releases, and of the more recent ones you might like to take a listen to these.

First off we have Unfun, whose new 7″, entitled ‘Caroline‘, is described intriguingly as:

“Devastating and melodic, rough-around-the-edges, drug-induced pop-punk from the depths of Vancouver, Canada. Filthy, sludgey, desperate punk rock dragged through a shit-storm of dirt & regret.”

The title track clocks in at an impressive, prog rock 8 minutes long, but I like the rough round the edges sound these guys have produced.

A three-piece, this band proffer a slightly abrasive but melodic band of hardcore that I’m digging in the kind of way I used to dig the UK’s Filler, but with hints of Husker Du¨and even Squirrel Bait.  Three of the four tracks were released on a UK e.p by Not Shy of the DIY and Drunken Sailor records, which you can check out here.

Also filled with Weasel-ish energy are Boston’s Awful Man, whose recently released 5-track ep – ‘Waiting for the Tanks to Come Rolling In‘ provides a dose of melodic punk with hooks aplenty.  A 4-piece, the also released another ep last year entitled ‘New Ways To Say F*ck Off’ [Sic].

With a slightly dirty, raw sound, these two releases please whilst also leaving you wanting more.  The vocalist has that nice raspy voice that sounds a bit like Chris Barrows of The Spears/Pink Lincolns – Chris being one of my fave vocalists of all time in punk rock!

Dead Broke are also re-releasing the 1997 album ‘Never Been Caught‘ by the snotty punk rockers The Criminals, which can only be a good thing….so go check ’em out.  They also have a great web store where they sell their own stuff plus distro for other labels too!

Something in the Water in Chicago?

Where catchy punk rock is concerned, there’s no avoiding it – the mere mention of Chicago makes you think of Screeching Weasel.  I still clearly recall a record buying trip to London in 1988 when DeHud bought the first Weasel album from Vinyl Solution, the great hardcore label/shop that is now sadly ancient history as far as today’s scene goes.  Spinning it excitedly on a cheap stereo yielded a tinny, fast blaze of utter punk glory – dumber almost than The Ramones, yet somehow just as catchy.  This led us, later on in the year to interview the two leading lights at the time – Ben and John Jughead.  You know the rest of the story, and I have no desire to plough into it here.  I want to mention instead, No Enemy! – a band who hail from the same city and have just put out a new Four track ep which crackles with a similar energy.

Dying American‘ is the name of the release, and it’s the work of the four piece whose real names, most assuredly, are Riff Damage, Modern Maggio, Rhythm X and Dr. Slow.  This seems to be their fourth release as far as I can ascertain, and so they’ve been fairly prolific in the last few years.  Each release seems to offer the same buzzsaw punk rock which bounces along at a fair clip, with all the right ingredients – drums just about catching up with vocals, which themselves are just catching up with guitar, whilst chanted choruses and harmonies make it all complete.

I hooked up with Andy “Modern” Maggio, to ask him a bit about how they began:

“We started No Enemy! simply because we wanted to write and record a ton or material before the perils of age and regular life/jobs prevented us from being able to. After we recorded our first release “Life Waster” though, our good friends in another Chicago band, Shot Baker, (their bassist also recorded both “Life Waster” and “Unwind”) started pushing us to play more shows and tour a little with them. From there it grew and we were a full functioning band”

(C) Patrick [msigarmy.com]

With a maximum song length of 3 minutes and 9 seconds, these boys are never going to give King Crimson a run for their money – they’re all about short sharp shocks.  The more I listen to this – and some of their older stuff – the more I’m breaking into a smile and travelling back in time to the days when I still had hair, I could still maintain my place in the pit, and I could still recover from a hangover and be ready to drink the same amount the next day.

The band has a really refreshing DIY attitude – reflected in the fact that, as you might notice, all their releases are on a pay what you want basis:

“We just want to write and record good music and get it in the hands of as many people as possible. That’s why our releases are free, and we intend to keep it that way for as long as possible. As of the last two releases (Disagree to Disagree, and Dying American) we have taken over the recording duties ourselves and record mostly in the flower shop that we practice in. By not having to pay a ton of money in studio time, we can give our music away rather than hustle just to make our money back.”

Marvellous stuff, boys, and it’s pay what you want so I’d advise you to crank it up and feel the wind in your hair….and check out their other releases.

[Zombie] School’s Out!

Today’s musical interlude is actually a really old one.  A post I picked up on the PPMB advised me of the fact that this had been uploaded to Bandcamp, a full decade after its release.  That’s some delay! But the band is Last Chucks, who are still going today.  They decided to make this a free download to celebrate the good ol’ 4th July 2002 release date for the album. 

Based in Atlanta, Georgia, the three – piece features members Mike “Last” Cammarata on guitar and vocals, Daniel Dorris on bass and backup vocals and David “Goose” Bilsland on drums.  Mike served in The Queers and hence has a pedigree in the kind of tuneful hardcore pop-punk that this band proffers.  The well-tested formula – 2 to 3 minute songs, singalong choruses, harmonies aplenty rarely alters throughout the impressive 18 tracks on offer on this album, released on Diner Junkie Records.  It reminds me, as you would expect, of early to mid – period Weasel or Queers, which is of course not a bad thing at all.

Anyway, if you were expecting some kind of ‘sadly they’re now long gone, none of them plays in a band and Mike farms turkeys in Atlanta‘ kind of story, it would appear that the all the evidence points in another direction entirely.  In fact, the band is still going, and they have released a split 7″ ep with The Evil Eye in February this year, and now in late June a new track, ‘Homeless Romantic’, which is a bit of a change in style, being a lot slower and more considered.

Mike informs me of their current news:

“We’ve recently been in the studio, working on a new full-length, St/Art A/N r/eVoLuTIOn, which is a huge departure from the Zombie High sound. They are also in the process of putting together a bunch of songs (old, from comps, unreleased, etc.) for a digital release titled, dig it, Al.”

I’ve included a sampler of the first album below, but you may also like to wander over to Diner Junkie Records’ website and check out their other stuff too.

The Piniellas

There has always been something irresistible in the idea of a band playing the same three-chord, poppy sound that The Ramones made famous.  Bands like the UK’s Perfect Daze, and international bands such as The Queers, The Manges, The Leftovers and many others have adopted the same template to varying degrees of success.  And whilst in no way can the music be described as groundbreaking in any way, [part of its attraction is its adherence to the same standard], it always brings a smile to my face when done well. That’s why I thought I’d feature Seattle’s The Piniellas today.  After all this rain, we need something summery.

The Piniellas are made up of three members – Scott Matthews on vocals and guitar, Rob Femur on drums and Leif Pacemaker on bass and backing vocals.  They get their heads down and play a basic, three-chord pop thrash that is tuneful and hook-laden.  With harmonies aplenty and all the two minute songs you can shake a stick at, they manage to play the fast and the slow songs with all the authenticity of Da Brudders themselves.  They even play Ramones covers, so there is absolutely no pretentiousness here.  You get what you see.

The band released a six track ep ‘Without a Fight’ in March this year, which contains six tracks of their trademark sound.  It’s a fun listen, and I guess my only reservation with music that is so explicitly derivative is that the band concerned could be accused of concentrating too much on one source of inspiration.  You could of course hurl the same accusation at the likes of Ben Weasel and Joe King – some of The Queers, The Riverdales and indeed Weasel’s output is very Beach Boys – influenced, Ramones-y styled stuff.  However I would counter that by saying that they both injected their own style into the music, so that you always know it’s theirs, despite the obvious influences.  I guess it’s a thin line which bands tread carefully, and the Piniellas have enough original songs and style to pull it off.

Anyway, I guess this kind of music doesn’t demand too much in the way of intellectual discussion – this isn’t the New Musical Express in 1981 for goodness sake.  Just crank it up, fire up the barbecue, and enjoy some great tunes.

Free Hardcore, Buyer Collects

Hey! Stop what you’re doing right now, and listen up. I have information you need. I chanced upon an absolute killer compilation this morning on Bandcamp, which can be downloaded for free and which contains all killer, no filler hardcore bands! Wanna know more?

Still Alive is a clothing company based in Edinboro, Pensylvania in the US of A. Besides a killer line in t-shirts, they also have a collection of great bands showcased on this 24 track digital album. Featuring mainly melodic north eastern hardcore bands, they have a truly terrific collection here. While they are not yet a record label per se, they have put together this killer comp.

Stand out tracks come thick and fast – Caleb Lionheart present a fast, brief blast of hardcore whilst Real Friends‘ track ‘Everything I Never Want to Be‘ is a well produced gem of Dag Nasty-esque punk. I Was a Hero play mid paced melodic hardcore on ‘I Guess it’s Me‘; Major League do similar damage on ‘Subject to Change‘ – jeez, there’s just so much quality here. I feel like a snake which has just eaten a whole cow [a hardcore cow] – this will take a few days to fully digest.

Gage, head honcho of Still Alive, tells me a bit of background about how the lp came together:

“As of right now Still Alive is actually just a clothing company. Most of bands that appear on the comp are close friends of mine and they all cleared it with their labels (some are unsigned) and everyone was really excited about the idea of doing a free compilation so that’s how it all came together.”

Give this a listen, download it for free, and check out the various bands’ releases on Bandcamp for a great taster of this region’s up and coming and established acts. If Still Alive does become a full fledged label then they’d be well worth looking out for!

New Jam for Old Toast

In terms of what’s great at the moment, well I’ve been listening to a whole heap o’ stuff youngins.  So in a slight change of format, I thought I’d simply post some tips from my great big pile of punk and let you check them out, if you hadn’t already.  So, err, here goes!

Criminal Culture hail from the Tampa area of Florida, and have released a crackingly fine split 7″ with The Rubrics [more of them in a minute] on Get Better! Records.  Pretty different in style, Criminal Culture give it up in four tracks of tuneful hardcore laden with hooks and riffings.

Ok, as I’ve mentioned them, The Rubrics released their debut full-length album on 4th June.  I just love this.  It’s basic as hell, choppy, pogo inducing punk rock of the finest quality, with messy shared vocals, fuzzy guitar and that whole late 80s Gilman Street vibe about it, think Crimpshirine for example.  The band, and indeed the label, are fully about the DIY aspects of the punk scene, and they say:

“Our songs are a reaction to what we find important/frustrating (socially/politically/humanitarian) and are meant to uplift and celebrate DIY culture/tolerance/people, but always remember to research/think for yourself…”

Get this, it’s a pay what you want release from a dollar up!

Next up is New Haven’s Dead Uncles.  Here is a band with a number of ep’s and split releases behind them, now putting out their first album which was released on 13th June.  A 10 tracker, this is an energy filled, straight down the line hardcore album with all sorts of great ingredients – it’s the kind of stuff that makes you tap your foot and get a big smile, with just-about-on-the-note vocals, slightly muddy sound but an all prevading sense of purpose.  This is a cracker and as far as I can ascertain it’s a cassette release by We Rise records. You should also check out the truly disturbing world that is the Dead Uncles message board – which seems to be a word document with various random scribblings of the most unsettling nature on it!

Finally for this morning a real oldie, but one which has recently been popped onto Bandcamp, and worth a mention because a] it’s great Ramones-y, Weasel-y pop punk, and b] it’s a free download.  Way to Go were another Noo Hampshire band who ended in 2009, but not until they’d got Jim Tierney and Joe Queer to produce this cracker.  Richard, the former guitarist of the band, filled me in on a bit of their history and the present:

“We broke up cos I moved to MLPS. Brad is now in the Connection (NH) and Calvin moved to Boston, and I think he was in a band called the Cryptics?? Brad was in the Rydells and Calvin was the original Billy Raygun drummer (Seasick 7”)  I live in NH again but don’t have a band. WTG mighhhhht play a reunion show just to have some fun with a buncha other NH bands, but who knows when.
We have another Ramonesier album and did a four way split called “Dangerous Games” too that I’m going to upload someday.”

This really is my instant favourite album for a long time, and I’m kicking myself for not picking up on it sooner!!

Billy Raygun – Self Titled LP

I have been recalling the days when summer meant listening to acres of punk rock vinyl, and trips down to London to buy rare imports from shops like Vinyl Solution and Rough Trade on Talbot Road.  Returning back home, there always seemed to be shows to go to and skating to be done – the innocence of youth!   Bands like Bullet Lavolta, Squirrel Bait, Scream, NoMeansNo and of course Screeching Weasel would offer the soundtrack to these long, warm days.  So it’s kind of refreshing when you find a modern day band who plays in the style that recalls those far-off times. 

DeHud mentioned Billy Raygun recently, and on 18th June the Portsmouth, New Hampshire pop punkers released their latest record on John Wilkes Booth Records.  It’s a summery affair, proffering ten tracks of buzzsaw punk rock.  Musically, this is fast, raw and uplifting stuff which I’m really digging.  Featuring members Zac Hateaux on guitar, vocals, Cakes handling bass and vocals, David Penn Solender hitting drums and Danny Banana on guitar, this four piece proffer a nicely produced sound that, although ostensibly labelled as ‘pop punk’, is in fact far more interesting than a load of Ramones covers.  Chucking influences that remind me of everything from Fugazi to NMN, Naked Raygun to Jawbreaker, this band produces snappy songs that put a smile on my jaded face.

I’m loving the basslines which drive the songs along, and the vocals which only just hold on to the tunes – this is classic, Descendents – type stuff. They have the energy and originality to pull off repeated songs without getting boring – and with this album they’ve created a cracking slab of hardcore in the proper style.

Check it out below and get it bought from here!

Struggletown Records: Check ’em Out!

Struggletown Records are based in the great city of Glasgow, Scotland.  They are a small label approaching their first birthday, and they issue records that fall within the area of interest that Rip It Up operates, namely spirited hardcore punkeryness.  With this in mind, I felt that there are some things you ought to know about them, which may make you happier, slightly wiser and more pleasant in company.

I was made hip to Struggletown by Chris, who plays in Prevenge, the excellent Canadian hardcore outfit we featured a coupla days ago.  The ep I reviewed was also part released by Struggletown, and so, my interest piqued, I found out more.  What I have done is pick my favourites from the releases that they have put on Bandcamp, so that you can have a taster.  If you like it, then you may wish to check out this full blown sampler LP which is very reasonably priced and find out what’s going on in the sweaty, darkened halls of Glasgow.

Ok, first up is a release put out last year by a band called Wolves at Heart, the ep being titled ‘Write it Down‘.  This is a nicely melodic, hard hitting mid paced romp with plenty of energy.  A five tracker, ‘Write it Down’ showcases the band which consists of Keir – Guitar + Vocals, Matt – Guitar + Vocals, Shug – Drums and Ses – Bass.  A strongly US influenced sound, this lot make a fine racket with a definite Green Day / Lookout Records flavour in their music.

Wolves at Heart

Next, you need to check out another local band, No Island, whose eponymous ep presents five tracks of more straightforward hardcore punk disorder.  Mixing slow parts and fast, flat out ‘core, the songs crackle with an energy that makes the pit appear irresistible when your common sense is telling you otherwise.  This is great, loud, rude stuff, which is played by Ryan Drever, Mark McGregor, and Chris McGlynn Stu Ken.

No Island

The third selection is by Yeah Detroit, another Scottish hardcore band hailing from Fife area.  With a really quick tempo, melodic assault, their 2 track single was released last year and brings back memories of some of the post NYHC bands who injected a bit more tunefulness into their music such as Shelter, as well as a a sprinkling of some of the more commercial acts such as Hot Water Music.  I really dig this release and would be keen to hear more from this band.

Yeah Detroit

The Jetty Boys: Kings of the Split 7″

Well, the temperature is finally rising off the bottom of the thermometer, the sun keeps threatening to come out from behind the clouds, and I’m imagining the possibility, however remote, that I might be able to wear shorts at some point this summer….so I’ve picked some uptempo, good mood music to help the day along.  It comes to you courtesy of The Jetty Boys, a mega tuneful pop punk outfit hailing from Sheboygan, Wisconsin.  Formed in 2007 and comprising the talents of Drew – Guitar/Vocals, Eric – Bass/Vocals and Bunnz – Drums/Vocals, The Jetty Boys have a fair old back catalogue of releases, mainly split eps and a debut album, the 13-track ‘Sheboygan’ released in 2009.

By late 2007 the Jetty Boys recorded their first demo which ended up being their first official release (Rally! 2008).  Since then the Jetty Boys have gone on to play over 300 shows.  This admirable work ethic has translated into their music, with a clean, tight sound and a whole gang of tunes waiting to cuff you around the head.  Their latest outing on Merman Records is a split with Dan Vapid and the Cheats [now apparently performing Riverdales songs as well] – a release which showcases The Jetty Boys’ catchy, Green Day-esque punk sound nicely.  The sound bounces along with a Lookout! records kinda feel about it, solid fuzzed out guitars and chanted choruses all round.

If the sun should show itself this year, then this is the kind of record that makes me want to pull on my Vans, crack open a can of Punk IPA, and relax as the sun burns my forehead.