Category Archives: House Show

Album Review: MakeWar – Developing a Theory of Integrity

MakeWar "Developing A Theory Of Integrity"I admit, I do not get to crank out reviews like I used to.  If I had it my way, I would quit my paying gig and do this full time, but the truth of the matter is that I do this for fun and not profit and I have bills to pay.  20-year-old me would kick my ass right now for even mentioning that.  I sound like grandpa punk again…

I’ve been trying to find some time to write about one of my favorite albums of 2016 for the past month now.  I am seriously stoked to have found some time tonight to do so.  With that said, here we go.

Developing a Theory of Integrity by Brooklyn’s MakeWar immediately jumped to the top of my favorite albums the moment I heard the first song.  I cannot get enough of this album and have been listening to it almost daily since it dropped on Red Scare Industries in September.

Side note: Not even two days after I heard the album, I learned that they were playing the final Dag House show in Cleveland (RIP DAG).  As luck would have it, I had a free night and I booked it over to that historical home to see MakeWar do their thing in the basement and got to act like a fanboy afterwards who was short $1 when trying to buy their debut self-titled LP out of their van while they were literally trying to back out of the driveway to make a long ass drive to Omaha.  Thanks Jose, I will pay you back that $1 next time you roll through town.

Originally an acoustic act called Sad and French, MakeWar took their songs to a new dynamic and turned themselves into a full fletched punk rock band that carries so many likable qualities from catchy hooks to relatable lyrical content.  Don’t get me wrong, Sad and French were absolutely amazing, but plugging in the guitars and turning up those amps have MakeWar way more exciting to listen to.

As previously mentioned, opening track “Matador Pool Party” blew me away.  There was so much going on with this track from the group singing to the Rancid/Face To Face reminiscing bass playing, brutal drumming, and lyrical content that just brought it all together perfectly.

“Ode” was just that, an ode to living life with booze in hand in NYC.  I loved the line “fuck not drinking for a week” as I’ve said that in my heyday when having a rough week of celebrating but refused to give it up.  I also loved the random thought process throughout the song that really could pertain to any city.  This is about as real as a song gets with spirits raised high.

“DTFH” was another standout track that begged to be sung along to.  Ironically this track reminded me in a sense of more upbeat Iron Chic who used to be on DTFH records.  “Don’t Panic” resembled Taking Back Sunday’s earlier years in a good way.

“On Feelings” might have been the most emotional track on the album but not in a cowering sense.  This track just make me happy for some reason and brought back some memories of great hangouts with great pals.  “Sallie” was another amazing song on this album.  I feel like I keep saying that, but it is true.  There were a lot of songs of this album that caught my attention including this one that referenced the paying back of those stupid ass student loans.

“Distractions” was more technical like Strung Out.  I really loved the change up of musical style on this track which clearly was the heaviest.  “Dust” ended the album in a completely different style full of dismay and sorrow, but damn it was beautiful.

I can not say enough good things about MakeWar.  If you are reading this, you need to at least check out the video for “Ode” below so you can see what got me so excited.  If you dig like I do, snag the album.  You will not be disappointed.

Visit MakeWar on Facebook and check them out live if you can.

Best Of 2011 According To BHP

Well it would appear that 2011 is coming to an end.  With that said, it’s time for a “Best Of…” Broken Headphones 2011 edition.

There were a ton of amazing releases throughout the year as well as live shows that I was able to attend.  Below is just a various list of bands that caught my attention, be it a recording or live show, over the past 12 months.

I should add that some of my favorite releases were from local Akron/Cleveland acts.  I am not just dropping their names because we are pals or anything, they all worked hard and put out some excellent releases.  If you have not heard of any of them, you really should check them out.

I may have missed a band here or there, but the following were the ones that stood out over the rest.

Albums of the Year:

SeahavenWinter Forever

*Hands down this is one of my favorite albums to drop this year.  They just have this indie punk rock sound that is ever so likable – trust me on this.  The first time I listened to it, I was hooked.  I see big things happening with this band in the near future.

NothingtonBorrowed Time

*This is another album I favored over the rest this year.  Catchy lyrics layered over wholesome punk rock is what this album is all about.  To make matters even better, they kick ass live.  They are coming back to Cleveland next month and I can not wait to see them again.  Listening to this band brings me band to the punk rock 90s I grew up on.

All DinosaursParanoid Indigenous

*So maybe the music was released in 2010, but the LP dropped this past Spring so I consider it a 2011 release.  This Cleveland act is beyond fun to listen to plus they put on one of the best live shows ever.  They are funny, quote 80s movies and are in it for the fun.  It helps they are also all super cool dudes.  If you are a Cleveland native, you should already know how amazing this band is.

Dave HauseResolutions

*I was a little late checking this album out as it was released in early 2011, but am glad I did not pass it up.  Hause (The Loved Ones) is an amazing musician and proves it in this killer solo release.  With help from his friends, he put together one hell of a release.  Do me a favor, if you like music, listen to this.

Living With LionsHoly Shit

*Words can not really describe how impressed I was when I heard these guys.  All I know is I will have this album playing regularly for a long long time.

Deer TickDivine Providence

*The boys in Deer Tick changed it up a bit and put forth a bitching rock album that I really dug.

DawesNothing Is Wrong

*Oh Dawes…you’ve done it again.  What a solid release.  You guys are on your way to being huge.  Keep it up.

Those DarlinsScrews Get Loose

*The girls and Lynwood dropped a impressive follow-up to their debut this year and I adore it.  Still kicking around the country-punk attitude, the foursome toyed with a more indie / garage rock sound and did a fine job doing so.

Old Man MarkleyGuts n’ Teeth

*This self-proclaimed “New Grass” band was one of the more fun releases I had have the pleasure of checking out this year.  I can not wait to see what happens next with these guys and gals.

Banner PilotHeart Beats Pacific

*Impressive release by a great punk rock band.  They need to play Cleveland soon.

White WivesHappeners

*This was the surprise release of the year for me.  Featuring members of Anti-Flag, this album is far from a pop-punk rock album.  On the lines of indie rock, White Wives needs to be heard.

A.A. BondyBelievers

*This guy really outdid himself.  You really have to check it out for yourself to realize why I appreciate it so much.  It’s a really beautiful release to listen to.

Bon IverBon Iver

*Not normally something I would listen to, but holy shit – it rules.

The Black KeysEl Camino

*Yeah yeah yeah… The former Akron, OH boys once again put out a release I admit I love.  I do not love the fact that the next time they hit Cleveland, they will be playing an arena.  It is safe to say they made it big time.  Let’s hope they don’t screw it up.

Signals MidwestLatitudes & Longitudes

*And yet another local act.  These guys are a big deal though…to me at least.  The dropped a really good record.  For serious.

EPs of the year:

LutherSiblings & Sevens

*Folk / Punk / Rock awesomeness.  I was caught off guard by this band.  They rule.  Sadly they had to cancel their Cleveland show after the band was involved in an accident in Chicago.  Luckily no one was seriously injured.  I can not wait for their full-length to drop.

Harvey PekarThirty Ghosts

*Dear Harvey Pekar (the band), thank you for existing.

Worship This! – Demo

*I normally do not mention bands that I am really good friends with the members, but I adore this band.  That’s all I have to say about that.

Two Hand FoolsBelieveland

*These guys better get signed in 2012 or else I am going to fight someone.  Another Cleveland act with plenty of talent.

Cherry Cola Champions – EP

*I remember the first time I saw these guys live.  I was not into them during their first song, and once their second song started, I was blown away.  Looking forward to seeing what this duo has up their sleeves next year.

The Awesome:

-Going to SXSW and seeing bands such as The Dead Milkmen, Flatliners, Dead To Me, Eyehategod, and tons others at various venues in Austin, TX earlier this Spring.  It was one hell of an experience to see so many bands cramped into such an amazing city.  Sadly when you have that many bands, you tend to miss out on some great sets by amazing bands.  Regardless, it was just awesome.  Plus…I saw Dale Watson play at Ginny’s.  That right there made my trip.

-Hanging out with Ninja Gun for a few days.  These guys are some of the best dudes I know.  They wanted to play shows on the East coast and I was able to lure them to Kent to play a show in September.  We all enjoyed hanging out so much that they kicked it for a couple more days where I took them up to Melt for some cheesy deliciousness.

-Getting Dave Hause to play a house show in Akron.  After seeing that Dave Hause was not playing a show in the Cleveland area just 2 weeks ago, I threw him the idea of a house show and he and tour mate Cory Branan were totally down with the idea.  The result was a show to remember with Hause and Branan trading off songs all night long.

-Hanging out with friends, new and old, at the Inner Sanctum Pier show on the E. 9th pier.  More people could have showed up, but regardless, I had a killer time that sunny day and got to watch Pat The Producer turn into a human tomato.

-Hanging out with Rise Against and doing some charity work them at the Malachi House in Cleveland.  The guys were super cool to hang with and really did not have that “rock star” attitude built from success.  Props to 92.3 for making that happen.

-Making the trip back to Austin, TX early November and attending Fun Fun Fun Fest.  I got to see some of my favorite bands all in one weekend including Murder City Devils, Hot Snakes, Hum, Slayer, Eyehategod, The Damned, Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears, and Russian Circles.  This was one of my favorite festivals of all time.  It was a festival I had wanted to attend for a a few years now and I decided to go for it.  I am so glad I did.

-It’s A Kling Thing House & Girley House.  Both houses put on some amazing shows in 2011 with local acts as well as touring bands.  Seeing Jeff Rowe over the summer as well as Mixtapes just a month or so ago in a basement is as good as live shows get for this guy.

-Daytrotter’s Barnstormer Tour.  What a great evening of music that was.  The show was in a freaking barn.  Yes, I do not remember much as the beers were going down like water, but I know I had a blast with some pretty special people.

The Suck:

-Ben Weasel’s SXSW blowout.  Sadly I was on the other side of town watching Cleveland’s very own Ringworm in a ghetto ass bar.  Don’t ask me why I skipped out on seeing Screeching Weasel live, I was under the influence of many ice cold Lone Star beers.  Honestly, I am kind of glad I missed Weasel acting like a little girl on stage.

-Danzig’s Fun Fun Fun hissy fit.  One of the main reasons I wanted to go to Fun Fun Fun Fest was because the Danzig Legacy was playing it.  I was stoked to finally see Danzig sing some Misfits songs with Doyle on stage.  Instead I witnessed a diva take the stage late and get their set cut as they played past curfew.  I only heard two Misfits songs and left with a bad taste in my mouth.  People can think what they want about Danzig and that night.  I was in the crowd watching heater being pulled on stage as well as the side of the stage tarped up so that little Glen would not get cold.  It was over an hour until the stage met his needs and the dude was fully aware of the curfew.  I will say that the two Mistfits songs had me feeling like a kid all over again.  Shame I could not witness the entire set that he had planned.  Lucky for me Ted Leo did a TV Casualty set the next day and made up for the Danzig drama.

-Seeing NOFX over Those Darlins.  I regret that decision a lot.  Two of my favorite bands played the same night and I had to choose one over the other.  The good news was that I got to see and meet Old Man Markley.  Sorry Darlins, I will not miss you next time you all hit up Cleveland.  Please forgive me.

-Atari Teenage Riot’s Cleveland show getting cancelled.  I was stoked to see these guys and was prepared to lose my hearing that night.  Hours before the show, their promoter cancelled the show.  Needless to say, I was pissed.

-92.3 and 107.3 changing formats.  Cleveland is a lost cause with radio now that both those stations were yanked.

Wrapping it up…

2011 ended with a bang for this music lover.  Thanks to all my friends from all over who made this year extra special for me.  You all know who you are.  From letting me crashing on couches to allowing bands to play in their basements you helped make this year what it was.  Also to everyone who attended shows with me and shared the same passion I have for music, thanks.

Happy holidays everyone and thanks for taking a part out of your day to visit this site.

Ok 2012, let’s see what you have in store.

Interview: Jeff Rowe

Singer / songwriter Jeff Rowe is one of the most DIY guys I have had the pleasure of meeting.  A few months back, he stopped and played a show in Akron at the Gurley House.  I remembered canceling plans to see another band that night just to make sure I could see Rowe play.  I’ve been a fan of his music after I reviewed his solo-debut Barstool Conversations last year.  There was just something about his sincere-ness in every song that I ate up and when I found out he was touring, I really wanted to make sure I was in attendance.

That night, I chatted with Rowe for a while and I will say this: He is hands down one of the nicest people I have ever had the pleasure to meet.  His wife was pretty damn awesome too.  His stories were great and he was just so happy to be able to play for everyone at the house that night.

I finally got some time to chat with Rowe again, this time through email, as I feel more people need to know about this DIY musician.  I look forward to the next time he swings through Akron and can not wait for his next release.

BHP – First and foremost, for those who do not know you, who are you and what is it that you do?

JR – I’m a songwriter (sigh) from just north of Boston. I tour a lot and do my best to have a great time and make friends along the way. I’m more of a story collector than a story teller.

You grew up in a tough town just outside of Boston. How did you deal with the hard times as a youth?

The fair city of Gloucester, Massachusetts made for an interesting childhood. In all my travels I’ve still not yet come across a place quite like it. “The Island” is really a conundrum of sorts that is packed with characters that Hemingway would have been banging the keys for if he were writing an episode of the twilight zone. I had a mixed bag of a childhood but falling in love with music in many ways created an exit strategy for me and a way to not fall into some of the trappings that we all know too well.

What types of music were you listening to while growing up?

In the kitchen and living room my mom would be listening to Neil Diamond, Joan Baez and various Motown artists…from my brothers room i would hear Metallica, Slayer and COC… From my sisters room could be heard The Dead Kennedy’s, The Pixies and the Violent Femmes… I think all of that wound up giving me a healthy appreciation for music and shaped my listening habits as a child.

So how did you get your start as a musician? Was Boxing Water the first band you were in?

I got a guitar when I was fifteen years old and started a few local punk bands and helped start a small venue that would later play a vital role for the north shore punk scene as a whole, a life source of sorts. It was a room that held maybe 40 people but we’d pack in a hundred. It still amazes me today thinking about how many bands came through our little venue that went on to be national acts. It was all very DIY for me from the start, my feeling was that if you want something to happen you’ve got to make it happen because no one is gonna do it for you.

What happened to Boxingwater? Where can I find some of their songs at?

Boxingwater was together for 6 or 7 years, we started moving around a bit and it just got to be too hard. Two of the members of Boxingwater are now in the band Landmines and they are fantastic. I was in several bands before Boxingwater but that band was the first time i took it seriously and tried to do something that would go beyond Massachusetts. Most of our stuff is now out of print but I think we may try to get some kind of discography going one of these years, I’ll send you some songs though.

Sweet!  You left a punk band and completely shifted in musical style.  When did you decide that punk music was not your thing anymore?

I’ve never felt that punk wasn’t my thing at all, playing acoustic is something that I’ve been doing for many years now and it just sort of took over organically and went from convenient to a legit outlet. I love playing songs alone and feeling like I’m walking a wire of sorts with no band to fall back on but at the same time I really do miss playing in a band. That is something I am going to re-visit at some point for sure. Right now its so much easier to tour and write on my own.

Playing acoustic music huh? How did that transition happen?

To be honest I started playing acoustic shows years back when I couldn’t find a drummer and it forced me to take a more detailed look at my songs and how I’d be able to format them to be played acoustic. It really just kind of stuck and i got offered more shows and just went with it. My horizons have been broadened as a result and I’ve stumbled (literally) across some great music that exists beyond the bounds of the punk community.

I heard that you left Boston for Richmond, Va., to more or less perfect your musical style. Is that true? Did you have any influences there that helped you fine tune your act?

I actually moved down to RVA with a bunch of Boston friends because it was much cheaper and we thought it would be easier to tour, not to mention that Richmond is a great city as well. I made many friends down there but I’m not sure how much of an effect it had on my music or playing acoustic in general. Richmond has always had a wealth of great bands from Born Against and Inquisition up to Smoke or Fire and Landmines.

Your debut full length Barstool Conversations was dropped about a year ago, how personal were the songs on that release to you? It was not the most upbeat album, but to me hit me hard in a good way.

Barstool for me is a very personal record. There is a lot of myself and my close friends in those songs. In a way I think songs are my way of confronting some things in my life that I otherwise couldn’t find the words to articulate or convey what it was exactly that I was feeling. Those songs are all very real for me and I’m proud of that record for what it is and even though in some cases it makes my head spin that those songs had to be written, I wouldn’t change a thing.

You have toured not only the US but also overseas. What were your experiences like while traveling?

The travel is one of the absolute best parts of touring for me. Music has taken me to places that I never thought I’d get the opportunity to see and I’m real thankful for that. I’ve made some friends in far off cities and countries that I will have for the rest of my life and nothing can touch that. The experience of letting your guard down in a foreign country and just going with whatever the days and experiences bring is something that I’ll always keep close and those memories are the ones that inevitably stick when the tour is over.

You tour with your wife correct?

I always tour with my wife Alissa. She is my best friend and to be honest she’d much better with handling the rigors of the road and more adept than most folks I’ve ever traveled with. At the end of the day we both want the same things and neither one of us is willing to fracture our relationship over extensive touring so we do it together, the planning, the routing, merch etc…

You dropped an EP in the spring called New Winter, New England. I dug what I heard, but what exactly is a Tragabigzanda?

Tragabigzanda is what the city of Gloucester was called by its original inhabitants. All that seems to be left of that history is a road on the outskirts of town where wealthy folks “summer” called Tragabigzanda. I used it because I thought it was fitting because the song is really about trying to remember the innocence of teenage years and the steps that were taken to inevitably lose it. Also there is an amazing poet from Gloucester named Charles Olson that dropped it a few times in his earlier work.

Are you going to record a new full length anytime soon? Will you put that song you recorded in a hotel room in it? I forget what it was called, but I loved it when you played it live at the Gurley House.

Right now I’m writing and culling through a bunch of new songs to start piecing together the next record, not sure of any timeline, but by the end of 2012 I’d very much like to have a new record out. That song is called “simple & fair” and I’m 99.9% sure that’s going on the next one.

When we chatted the night you played Akron, you were telling me some funny stories about touring Europe. Care to entertain the readers here with one or two?

Where to begin… I’ve actually thought about compiling a bunch of road stories for a zine and giving them out at the merch table to anyone interested. I could take up pages and pages for this one. I’ll just say that I’ve got a doozy that takes place in Russia and involves a man that’s incapable of reading social queues, a potential kidnapping, wild dogs and Dostoevsky.

Potential Kidnapping?  I do not think you told me that one.  I would totally love to read that.  So, when not touring you have quite the cool job back home in Boston. Who is it that you work for again?

I have been a professional craft brewer for the last five years with Harpoon Brewery in Boston. It’s a fantastic job that couples hard work with science… perfect for a dork like me.

Two dream jobs, man you lucked out. What’s next for Jeff Rowe?

I’ve got a split 7″ with a sick pop punk band called Mayflower. We both have an original and we cover one of each others songs. I’ll be playing Fest 10 and plan on hitting the road again in Feb. It looks like I’ve got Europe, U.S., Canada and beyond on the docket.

Check out Jeff Rowe’s website,, for more videos and updates from this one man band (and his lovely wife).  If you want to hear more of his music, head over to his MySpace page or Facebook page.  Better yet, head over to Anchorless Records and grab one of his albums!

Jeff Rowe from efi on Vimeo

This video was Jeff on a boat overseas.  I remembered him telling me he played a show on a river.  I love it when the fans sing along…

Jeff Rowe To Play The Gurley House On Wednesday

So in a change of events, it looks as if I will not be heading down to the Rock Hall on Wednesday after all (sorry Cleveland!).


Well, it turns out that folk/punk rocker Jeff Roweis playing the Gurley House in Akron at the same time. 

I reviewed Rowe’s debut releaselast year and loved it.  This is going to be an intimate show right down the street from my hood.  Why would I not go??? 

Honestly, I was torn for a moment as I know the show going on at the Rock Hall will be entertaining, but then I came to my senses knowing I needed to be at the Gurley House for this show on Wednesday.

Supporting acts The Ohioans and Scott Moses (Annabel, Northwestern, Comfort Clouds, etc) will join Rowe.

The fun starts around 7pm.  The house show is free to all who attend but please bring cash to donate!!!

Daytrader & Mixtapes @ It’s A Kling Thing House – This Sunday!!!

Screw you Valentines Day.  I never liked you.  You do nothing for me at all and I refuse to buy your stupid cards/flowers/crap to proclaim my love for someone special in my life on just one special day…  Granted I am flying solo this year, but still.  Screw you!

This weekend is going to be all sorts of red and pink and all lovey dovey and honestly, I am not into it.

Luckily for me (and those who are not suckers for V-Day) there is going to be a sweet house show this Sunday featuring two of my favorite newer acts Daytrader (from NY) and Mixtapes (from Cincinnati, OH).

The show will take place in the basement of the glorious It’s A Kling Thing House located on (you guessed it) Kling St. in tropical Akron, OH.  The fun starts at 8 p.m.  Local openers Northwestern will be performing their very first show, so make sure you get there early!

Daytrader features current and ex-members of Crime in Stereo, Latterman/Bridge and Tunnel/Monikers, the Motorcycle Industry and Divider. The band recently released an ever-so-addicting EP entitled Last Days Of Rome, a release that I have been listening to daily since it dropped.

I caught Daytrader just before Jesus Day last year at the Grog Shop and they killed it on stage so obviously I have high expectations seeing them again live.

Mixtapes, a band that just can’t seem to stop releasing songs (no, that is not a bad thing), hails from Cincinnati, OH and really have grown on me thanks to my other pop-punk loving friends who insisted I keep listening to them.  I started loving them the moment I realized I (at my thirty-ish prime) can actually identify with their lyrics as they sing about staying home and drinking Diet Coke.  Recently the band shared a two-song EP on Death To False Hope Records.  The first song is a cover to some Nickeldeon show and the other acoustic song titled “Hey Baby” bashes a Strung Out / Tim Burton loving lady who sucks.  Grab yourself a copy by clicking HERE.

It’s A Kling Thing House is a donation based DIY house so many sure you bring plenty of donation money to help out these hard-working bands.  Merch will be sold there, BYOB, and don’t be a jerk.

Looking forward to seeing everyone out there. Sunday can not come soon enough!