Category Archives: Punk

Album Review: Broadway Calls – Sad in the City

It’s refreshing as hell to find something to distract you when the world seems like it is on the verge of caving in.  2020 can suck all the butts as far as I am concerned, but then again if this crap year were to somehow disappear, we would all miss out on Broadway Calls dropping the greatest pop punk album I’ve heard this year.

Released on July 10th on Red Scare, I opted to listen to this a few times throughout before tossing my thoughts on this here ol’ blog.  Sometimes you just need to take in something this good to appreciate it even more.  The album made me think, pulled on the old heartstrings, and even invoked a childhood fear of mine.

“If my country collapses, can I crash on your couch” started the album off on “Never Take Us Alive.”  This plaintive reality of a track basically was a full-forced promise of not giving up fighting what’s right.

“You Gotta Know” is easily one of my favorite songs currently.  I adored this track for all it was worth.  Might have to borrow this one to prove to the wife she still drives me crazy in a good way.  I seriously can not get this song out of my head.

Album title track “Sad in the City” was just so likable as it tore into the blatant imbalance causing pain and sorrow.  With talking about bombs and death in the street, this was not intended to be tongue-in-cheek but more so a nod at hope for change.

“Radiophobia” was an 80s nightmare regarding nuclear meltdowns (check out the video below).  Turns out, the track was based on actual events from Ty Vaughn’s childhood as he grew up around reactors.  I actually grew up fearing the Perry Nuclear Powerplant in Ohio, so I get it and sided with this track a ton.  Those smokestacks still freak me the hell out.

“Meet Me on the Moon” was an amorous tune eluding to not wanting to give up the night with a special someone.  Looking deeper into this one, it’s possible no one wants to be alone during a time like this.

Album closer “Went Dyin'” catered to my old punk rock self so much.  I appreciated the suffering in this one as it reminded me where I came from, what I’v been through, and where it has taken me.  My mentality was molded and healed from tunes like this because, as cliche as it might sound, punk rock saved my life.  True story.

It’s been 7 years since these Oregon punkers have dropped something and as far as I’m concerned, Broadway Calls saved this year.  Sad in the City is just perfect from start to finish, full of catchy jams, and just begs to be heard.  That’s not to say this is a happy, joyful collection of anthems.  This album hits at the bullshit reality thats been draining our collective mentality.

Missing out on this album would not be in your best interest, especially if you fancy punk tunes.  Trust me on this.

Album Review: Brain Cave – Stuck In The Mud

I got to see one of my all time favorite bands play Cleveland last year. Worried I would not have a good spot to see said band, I arrived early to claim my area.

I’m glad I showed up early that night because, little did I know, I was about to be introduced to my soon to be favorite local band.

The band I speak of is Brain Cave.  The three-piece noise-rock / post-hardcore locals blew me away that night and turned me into a fan.

Fast-forward 6+ months and I just so happen to see that the band is taking preorders for Stuck In The Mud, the band’s first full-length album released by Tiny God Inc. (the drummer’s label).  They had a couple of songs to check out and after hearing them both, I immediately preordered the release on cassette. I cannot even tell you the last time I did something like that.

So I guess I take this time now to talk about why I’m so enthusiastic about these guys.

“Erosion” started off the album with a self-preservation method many of us could use right about now with “reset” being repeated throughout along with other words of encouragement.

“Night Work” continued with aggression and force.  This tune accompanied with restless thoughts was full of breakdowns, riffs, and just insane drumming.  Technical as hell, as much as I hate to say this, it was almost Mastodon-y sans that wizard shit and whiney vocals.

“Assigned Seat” brought me back to the years when I would see hardcore and post hardcore shows what seemed like daily.  Loved this track a ton musically as well as the message presented about not giving up ever.

“Sideline To Rot” was equally technical as was it just untamed.  This was one of those tracks where I asked myself how the hell a three-piece pulled this out.

“Bar Seat No. 1” are on me a lot since this album dropped.  Maybe it was the hint of punk embedded within the post-hardcore track.  It was most likely because this song filled me up with rage in the best way.

Precise like a Cave In track, “Ahead Thought” sucked me in.  Just when I thought I liked it, things shifted down and I became even more consumed.  The ending of this track was dead-on amazing.

“Moved Obstacle” finished up the album with the bad just not letting up at all.  This was the kind of song introduced to a young me that held the capability to open up my thought process.  I am trying to think of best how to explain this.  Think about the message and hose it was received.  That is the feeling that hit me when this song played.

The sound that Brain Cave delivered brought me back to the 90s in the best way possible.  All I could keep thinking about while listening is how they related to Helmet, Handsome, and Quicksand.  The year is half gone and Stuck In The Mud will be sitting high on my best of list for this pretty screwed up year.

Perhaps once this COVID crap is tame and venues start allowing shows to play Brain Cave will play again.  I honestly would love to check this band out again, especially now.

With that said, if you need a solid distraction due to these current events, check out the Brain Cave debut already.  I cannot get enough of it.  In fact, I listened to it two times earlier today and once more this evening as I wrapped up this review.  It’s that damn good.

Album Review: Western Addiction – Frail Bray

Perhaps the hardest sounding band on the Fat Wreck Chords roster -sorry Me First and the Gimme Gimmes-  Western Addiction is back with an all new album and it freaking shreds.  I think the best thing about this is that we only had to wait 3 years for them to pump out more tunes.

Featuring veteran punks, some of who were perviously Fat staff, Western Addiction are not your ordinary punk band.  It’s their sounds of punk, melodic hardcore, and even doses of metal that make this band so unique and just badass.

Hailing from San Francisco, this is the band’s third release and was produced by Jack Shirley who, if you know the name, has helped with more than a few amazing releases.

Starting off the album was “The Leopard and the Juniper”, a precise, methodical hard track that clearly wasn’t just thrown together overnight.  The lyrics are out of this world, or at least dimension, and carry well with the brutal guitar playing.

“They Burned Our Paintings’ was just insane.  Based off true events, this track recalled the demise of masterpieces without stepping away from the canvas.  I loved the lyrics: “You can burn our paintings. We’ll dream a thousand more. Each one more coercive than before”.  I just could sense the passion and willingness to fight for creation on this track.

There was something about “Lurchers” that had me thinking about Dave Mustaine often.  This track honestly could have passed for a Megadeth track and I do not mean that in a bad way at all.  Of course at the end of the track Jason Hall makes a grunt that solidified my notion.

“Rose’s Hammer I” and “Rose’s Hammer II” clearly were about the perils of motherhood.  I have to credit Hall and crew for taking a personal approach on their beliefs and putting it to music.  Once I learned that Hall’s wife is a doula, it made even more sense.  Both tracks are a clear tribute to bringing in life and she who is responsible for it.

“Wildflowers of Italy” was probably my favorite track on the album with a more of a 80s/90s metal feel.  Far from cheesy, this track just spoke to me for some reason.  I loved the shift of the track when the piano just busted in making for a great listen most likely because it reminded me of some classic TSOL.

“Deranged By Grief” closed the album down with an almost haunting start that just shifted into an all out assault.  Tracks like this are why I adore this band.

I’ve listened to Frail Bray a few times now, and my god, it just keeps getting better with each listen.  I’m sure I have said that about other albums in the past, but this really hold true.  They seemingly touch on so many decades of punk/metal/hardcore without intention and I think that’s what makes them so unique.

Interview: Doug Carrion of Field Day (Dag Nasty, Descendents)

I have to admit, I was a little stoked when Doug Carrion emailed me the other day asking me to check out his new band called Field Day.

In case you were not aware, Carrion has been in some of the greatest punk bands out there including Dag Nasty and Descendents.  So yeah, I might have geeked out slightly.

Field Day formed in 2019 after Carrion and other Dag OGs Brian Baker and Peter Cortner tossed around the idea of performing Dag Nasty’s Wig Out At Denko’s (Dischord Records) and Field Day (Giant Records) live.  The discussion turned over a new leaf in terms of a band and Carrion and Cortner decided to start the band.

The band has a 7″ titled 2.0 coming out this summer and the one track I heard called “Searching For Answers” is just solid.  They were supposed to play Now That’s Class in support of the release, but that stupid virus had to go and ruin that for now.

Seeing how we are all stuck indoors, I thought I’d ask Carrion a few questions about the new band:

BHP: So whose idea was it to even talk about getting Dag Nasty back together?

DC: The idea of a reboot was mostly driven by the fans asking where Peter was hiding and if we would ever perform the Wig Out at Denko’s material live. Just to be super clear, Field Day is the band with me and Peter Cortner who sang on Wig Out at Denko’s and Field Day (Giant Records), Kevin Avery, and Shay Mehrdad.

Between the fans asking, and a few conversations with the members, we agreed that Peter and I would call this project Field Day in order to avoid confusion with the fans and promoters.  Now, when you see a flyer with Field Day on it, you know it’s Peter and Doug and if you see a flyer with Dag on it, that’s gonna be Shawn and Brian.

What was the turning point in the discussion to where you decided that maybe it was best to just try something new?  

Peter and I talked about Field Day being an extension of where we left off with Dag Nasty, so I’d say maybe that was right at the beginning of the conversation in Nov 2018.  Our initial goal was to have fun, start doing shows, start writing and to start recording.  We gave ourselves around 9 months to work on the live show and then set our minds on having new music done and released within the first year.  Well, our first show as Field Day was July 12th, 2019 and we have new music recorded and coming out June 5th, 2020…that’s 11 months from the first show!!!

Prior to me hearing “Searching For Answers” and getting ever so pumped for more material, I noticed y’all were supposed to play a Cleveland show.  Sadly this pandemic prevented that from happening.  How’s the band handling all of this and will the tour happen in time?
Glad you like it!! Yep, we have a new 7” coming out on Unity Worldwide in Germany, distributed by Cortex in Europe and RevHQ here in the states.  I produced it, Cameron Webb (Pennywise, Ignite, Motorhead) mixed it. If you’re a vinyl fan, you can preorder a few different colors from the distributors and if you just want to download the songs, iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, etc. will have music June 5th.

Cleveland, along with a bunch of other shows, had to be postponed which was frustrating, but had to be done.  We’re hoping to get back to Cleveland in late July but that really depends if the local and state governments are allowing concerts. For the states it’s up in the air at the moment.

Separately, we are scheduled to go to Europe [from] October 31st to November 8th and we’re hoping that comes together. It’s also out of our hands and up in the air, but a possibility.  Although we haven’t been playing live shows because of the virus, during the downtime, we’ve stayed really busy doing press, a lyric video, interviews, and etc to set up this 7”.  Also we’ve been writing new songs for our next release possibly later this year.  On our end we’re ready to jump right back into the studio as soon as we get the OK.

What can Dag Nasty and Descendents fans expect from Field Day?Positive vibes and singalongs for sure!! We play almost everything from Wig Out at Denko’s and Can I Say with a few select tracks from the Field Day recording. Expect to have fun and be projected into a time warp because Field Day play the recorded songs true to form.

Our motto in the band is “Be Humble and Don’t Suck.” Over the past 10 months of shows, we’ve met lots of new faces, reconnected with old friends and everyone is having a blast!!

Another thing people can expect is the informal hangout with the band after the show.  Usually two weeks before a show, we start getting requests from people who want to get photos or have stuff signed when we come into their town, so we started building in time after the shows to hangout with fans. It’s really cool!!

Head over to RevHQ.com to preorder a copy of the 7″.  The EP will be streaming online upon release.
Check out the band’s Facebook page for updates.

Album Review: Sam Russo – Back to the Party

Being cooped up because of some asinine virus has not been my favorite thing as of late.  I really shouldn’t complain though, as I know many pals of mine are hurting severely because of this pandemic.  If I could help everyone, I would.  Trust me on that.

I offer a distraction to anyone who needs it right now via music.  It’s the least I can do.

My pal Toby from that punk label out there called Red Hair Bimbo Trees or something sent me a message today reminding me that the great Sam Russo has new material that just dropped and encouraged me to stop sitting there and do something.

Who is Sam Russo you ask?  He’s a UK punk rocker who honestly could put his back up these days to a young Frank Turner when it comes to musical style and craftsmanship, but that’s being a little lazy for comparison.  Said differently, if you love when punk lead singers do their solo thing and get all Revival Tour on your ass, you’ll love this dude.  I guarantee it based on his storytelling ability.

Russo has actually been around for a while now and Back to the Party is his third release on Red Scare Records.  I was lucky enough to get a good taste of him thanks to 2015’s Greyhound Dreams and have really been waiting for the day he dropped some new tunes.

“I took a lot of risks on this record and I’m so glad I did because it came out sounding really original and totally true to what I was trying to say for so many years.” – Sam Russo

“Purple Snow” started off the album a little personal and a tad incoherent in terms of the story within the song.  I adored this track upon first listen.  Russo honestly has never sounded better.  Perhaps a personal memoir, this track carried enough emotion to have me thinking of some of my past history.  I am curious though, was the snow purple from Mad Dog 20/20?  One can hope…one can hope.

“Good and Gone” I think was taken from my own personal memory of most of 2009.  This song hit the heart hard, as it sung of hurt and triumph.  These are the tunes that make me happy exist because the show me where I’ve been, where I can from, and what I’ve become.

“Darkness” followed and continued to tug on forced-in feelings with an apologetic excuse on interpersonal communication, or the lack thereof.  Wholesome and pure, this track probably will be relating to a lot of folk.

There’s so much that can be said about “Young Heroes” based on how the listener took it in.  Given the current situation, this track speaks volumes to those who are working harder than ever based on some stupid pandemic.  Not trying to sound cliché at all, but there’s a lot of heroes in my book right now.

I can not really talk about a certain track on here in great detail, but if you know me, you know it totally kicked my ass by the title alone.  The past will always sting back when you least expect it.  Maybe I need to appreciate it more than I give myself credit for seeing how it shaped me, but still, that shit hurts.  Nice job Russo, you jerk – I might have had a tear or two let loose…

Just when you think there’d be a slight let up of sorrow on the album, “Tears” kicked in.  This really was a beautiful track overall, but not to be reckoned with if you’re trying to lift them spirits high.  I mean, that chorus alone gave me chills.  Add lap-steel guitar playing that sparked a slight country feel made for my favorite track of the record.

“The Basement” ended the album with symbolism at its finest.  Russo came to terms with life due to rummaging around and only could sit back and reflect on where things went wrong.  Putting a lid to the album with this track just made so much sense.

Russo is a storyteller as much as he is a musician.  Personal tales might make you want to hug your drink a little harder when you listen to this album, but let’s be real – sometimes it is nice to remember you’re human.

Back to the Party is a must listen for any music fan.  Although some songs were full of ache, there really was a  silver lining in terms of hope.  I feel like I am trying to be motivational here, but let’s face it, times are weird as hell right now.  We can all use a distraction.

Hang in there folks.