Category Archives: Emo

BHP Best of 2016

It’s that time of the year again folks.  Time to sit here and type out a list of bands that have impressed me one way or another.  I am not keeping to a set number as it would take me forever to narrow it down.

A sincere thanks to everyone who’s ever visited this site – seriously.  I know I tend to say that around the time I do my best of lists, but I really mean it.  I almost called it quits  earlier this year and reconsidered at the last minute.

This blog is very personal to me and even if more people find it while Googling how to fix their headphones, it is still fun to do.  If I can turn someone on to a new band just by one post, then my job is done.

With that said, I plan on sticking around for a while.

I am sure I will add a few more as they come to me in the next couple of weeks (as I always do [up to 3 edits now]), but for now, here’s the list of the albums that really caught my attention in 2016:

[EDIT:  The year is not over yet and I needed to throw in just a couple more…]


Chandeli’ers – Breaker
-This was the album that hit me in the right way.  It was fun across the board and sounded like the Clash meets Elvis Costello.  What more could you ask for?


Run The Jewels – RTJ3
-This album was not supposed to drop until 3 weeks into the new year, but El-P and Killer Mike decided to drop it on Christmas day for all to enjoy.  I can not stop listening to it.  I know I am not the only one either.

MakeWar "Developing A Theory Of Integrity"
MakeWar – Developing a Theory of Integrity
-Hands down one of my favorite surprise releases of the year.  This punk rock band has thrown together an album I will be listening to over and over for years to come.

joe-mcmahon
Joe McMahon – Another Life
-This is another one of my favorite albums this year.  McMahon shared with the world an outstanding collection of tunes that everyone needs to check out.  His solo material is a lot different from his Smoke or Fire days and that is not a bad thing at all.

Bob Mould
Bob Mould – Patch the Sky
-Mould recorded a masterpiece with Patch the Sky.  If you have not had the chance to listen to this album, you are missing out.  This album is perfect to listen to any day.

Jonathan Richman
Jonathan Richman – Ishkode! Ishkode!
-I am kicking myself for not putting this on my list initially.  Richman is one of the most prolific songwriters out there and put out quite the release.  I loved how song his songs were fun at times while others were just complex and reached across borders.  He really showcased his musical abilities on this release.  This guy has been writing music for longer than I have been alive and still is able to put out quality albums.

Dinosaur Jr.
Dinosaur Jr. – Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not
-I have been a fan of this band for over 25 years now, so it only makes sense that this release made my list.  Oh, it also kicks so much ass.  Lou Barlow singing on it made it that much better.

All Dinosaurs
All Dinosaurs – Total Dissatisfaction
-Where do I even start with this one?  It’s like listening to the Bronx, but better, and from Cleveland.  I love this album so much that I literally just bought the LP from their bandcamp page.  No lie.

Useless ID
Useless ID – State is Burning
-This band will always be one of my favorites and this release continued to keep me a fan.  With a much more harder approach, they really killed it on this one.  I also adored the nod to the late Brandon Carlisle of Teenage Bottlerocket.

pulley
Pulley – No Change in the Weather 
This band was a huge favorite of mine in the late 90s and I thought they were done in the mid-2000s, but low and behold, they came back with an album that seemingly continued where they left off without missing a beat.  “Sometimes” is such a great track.

Beach Slang
Beach Slang – A Loud Bash of Teenage Feelings
-James Alex (and former crew) have created a timeless album for music fans of all ages.  Catchy yet poignant, the album has been on a weekly rotation to my ears since the album dropped.  It may clock in at around 30 minutes, but it is a hell of a ride from start to finish.

Worship This! - Mint
Worship This! – Mint
-So what if these guys are my pals, their sophomore release blew me away.  I can not say enough good things about this album.  It is poppy, punky, and addictive.  More people need to check this album out as these Akron/Cleveland boys really know how to make sweet jams.  They are the next big thing in my mind and I love them all dearly.


Descendents – Hypercaffium Spazzinate 
-Having one of my all time favorite bands release something new in 2016 was pretty rad.  Having one of my all time favorite bands stick to their sound from start to finish and have no indication of slowing down made it that much better.

Nothing
Nothing – Tired of Tomorrow
-I never thought I would like shoegazing.  To be honest, I really never knew what shoegaze was until I heard this album and I am still not quite sure.  Indie rock and neo-psychadelica mixed with plenty of distortion and emotion made for an album that I could not get out of my head for weeks.  That’s a good thing.

Mean Jeans
Mean Jeans – Tight New Dimension 
-Mean Jeans are probably one of the most underrated bands out there right now.  This album further proved that.  A modern-day Ramones-like banger.  I loved it.


Bouncing Souls – Simplicity 
-The Souls are like a fine cheese or wine to me.  With age, this band seems to just get better.  Their latest release was just full of punk rock fun.  When I started singing along to the first song during my first listen, I knew I was going to love this album and play it over and over.

Blink 182 - California
Blink 182 – California
-I can’t help it, I got sucked in to the new Blink and I know why…  Matt Skiba.  He was the perfect addition to reinvent this band.

The Avalanches
The Avalanches – Wildflower
-16 years after their debut, The Avalanches came back with an all new release that very well probably took all 16 years to create.  I know some of my pals were not digging this release fully, but I adored it.  It probably helps that the likes of Danny Brown and Biz Marke helped make this album what it is.

Arms Aloft
Arms Aloft – What a Time to be Barely Alive
This is the one album I really need to do a proper review on, but I keep getting sidetracked.  I listen to it all of the time and it is freaking amazing.  Punk rock from the 80s perfectly blended with punk rock from the mid 2000s is one way I can describe these fellows.  The music is infections, the lyrics are fun, and from what I hear the band is pretty cool too.  This kind of sounds like a review, but it is not.  This is just me telling y’all that this album was impressive.

Signals Midwest
Signals Midwest – At This Age
-This is their third release and probably their most tied together, mature material I have heard them create.  They have pushed their limits from a one time local band and are more or less prepping themselves for what’s next to come.  I am proud of these dudes.

Arilss Nancy
Arliss Nancy – Greater Divides
-This band really should be at Lucero levels by now.  They are exceptional at what they do and it can be heard throughout their latest release.

har-mar-superstar
Har Mar Superstar – Best Summer Ever
-Har Mar continues to put out incredible material with each release.  This man is so talented that he drops albums that cover various genres and avoids any and all gimmicky sounds.

NOFX
NOFX – First Ditch Effort
-After all this band has been though, it only makes sense that they dropped a more personal album.  It took me a couple of listens to truly appreciate.  Don’t worry, it’s still crass at times as well as hilarious, but man, that Tony Sly tribute song will put tears in your eyes.

Harvey Pekar
Harvey Pekar – The Astral We
-This Cleveland hardcore band is just that…  This album was insane yet intelligent, and I loved every moment of it.

the-falcon-gather-up-the-chaps
The Falcon – Gather Up the Chaps
-I love that Dave Hause was on this album.  I love that he had to play ska riffs knowing how much he hates ska because Brendan Kelly decided it was a good idea.  This album was far from serious and a good time all around.

NOTE: I promise you, Red Scare did not pay me for putting so many albums on this list.  They just had a hell of a year with releases…  Toby, I take plastic btw.

I wanted to throw a couple of EPs on here as well:

Jonathan Richman
Jonathan Richman & Tommy Larkins – That’s All We Need at Our Party
Blue Arrow Records and the creative vinyl masters Wax Merge teamed up to put out an insane variant of this 7″.  I was lucky enough to score #100 out of 100.  It’s a thing of beauty plus the tunes on it kick ass.  I love me some Jonathan Richman.  I am sure there are a few left, so snag one if you can.

Throw Shade
Throw Shade – Self-Titled
-I have talented friends who make beautiful music.  This EP is absolute proof.


Nine Inch Nails – Not the Actual Events
-I really did not know what to expect from Reznor and crew with this EP seeing how I just lost interest in their material for the last 10 years.  Man, was I pleasantly surprised.  This EP brought me back to 90s NIN and I can not wait for their full-length to drop in 2017.

bracket
Bracket – The Last Page
-At just over 70 minutes, this is one long-ass song and it’s amazing.  The track keeps it together for the listener and takes them on a punk rock voyage.  My first listed was distracted thanks to my paying gig, but my second listen with headphones on was incredible.

Finally, I know this is a best of list, but it would not be right if I did not make mention of this:

RIP Dag House…
Dag HouseIt goes without saying, sometimes you find yourself in the right situations by chance.  Thanks to an amazing batch of pals who kept Dag House going for years.  Not everyone gets to experience basement shows, and some of that could be by choice, but goddamn, if you are a music fan, basement shows are the best shows.  Dag House threw together a hell of a rager for their last show, and I was happy to be a part of it.  Thanks for the memories Dag.

2016 was a crazy year.  If you’ve made it this far in my post, thanks for sticking around and being so rad.  It is people like you and the bands above that keep me doing what I do.  Be well.

4-Way Split Review: Sundae Bloody Sundae

Sundae Bloody Sundae4 bands, 4 songs, all emo.  That is what Sundae Bloody Sundae is all about.

The 4-Way Split was put out by Skeletal Lightning last November and easily has the ability to make you take a break from life and check your feelings.

Don’t worry, it’s ok to do that – we are human after all and this split is not all that sad.

Featuring new and unreleased music by four talented acts, Sundae Bloody Sundae is a great comp to be listening to if you are looking for a little variety by some bands you may have overlooked at one time or have not even heard of.

The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die‘s “Fat Heaven” will depress the shit out of you and make you hungry possibly for a donut.  Man, what a downer of track.  I seriously think listening to this with your head down, walking slowly in public and avoiding all eye contact is the only way to listen to this tune.  I loved it.  There is a reason so many people dig this band…

Rozwell Kid did an impressive cover of Spirit Night’s “The Weather”.   I can’t lie, I thought I liked the original more, but the more and more I listened to this track over and over,  Rozwell Kid’s own Weezer-esque twist on the original won me over.

Kittyhawk….oh Kittyhawk.  You make my heart bleed.  Listening to “Soft Serve” turned me into just a pile of mush.  The thing I loved the most about this track is the 90s feel I sensed throughout.  Dare I say, but the dual vocals remind me of The Cranberries a ton.

Two  Knights‘s “Benji’s Cool Times Summer Jamz” was a little technical, a little instrumental, and plenty interesting to listen to.  Starting off uppity, things soon slowed down with a self-reflection of sorts.

At a whopping $3 to download or $5 for a flexie, I think this would be well spent money to any music fan out there.  This will last a lot longer than a sundae, especially if you are me.

Tracklisting (Two-sided):
Side A:
The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die – “Fat Heaven”
Rozwell Kid – “The Weather (Spirit Night)”

Side B:
Kittyhawk – “Soft Serve”
Two Knights – “Benji’s Cool Times Summer Jamz”

Pressing information
1,000 copies –
– /250 White Flexi w/ screenprinted hand-numbered covers (Available exclusively at FEST 13)
– /750 Clear Flexi w/ full color cover.

Album Review: Xerxes – Collision Blonde

Xerxes - Collision BlondeI was waiting for an album to drop this year that would completely steal my undivided attention.  Xerxes has just done that to me.

If any of you know me, chances are you know my love for bands like the Refused, Murder City Devils, Gallows, Thursday and At The Drive-In.  The vocal styles of all those acts is one of the main reasons I have such an appreciation for them.

Xerxes’s new album Collision Blonde seemingly took queues from all those acts and more throwing them together into one killer release.

I love it.  I adore it.  Thank you Xerxes and thank you No Sleep Records for throwing their album on your label.

This young post-punk act from Louisville, KY mixes in so many different musical styles in their jams, I almost hate to classify them into one genre.  With elements of punk,  post-hardcore, goth rock and more, this avant-garde act blew me away the moment I heard their sophomore release Collision Blonde.  

This album overflows with plenty of mental anguish guaranteeing to satisfy any emotional train wreck out there.  Pain, love, and drugs seemingly fueled this release and I’m pretty sure anyone who hasn’t always been in a positive path through life will totally get into Collision Blonde.

Once “I Was Wrong” started I knew this was going to be one of those albums I listened to all the way through with no interruptions.  Calvin Philley just destroys his voice throughout with plenty of distortion that would make Trent Reznor proud.

“Criminal Animal” appealed to me with a garage rock start quickly morphing to something a little more hardcore.  I got a huge kick out of Philley switching to almost a furious spoken word only to start singing again.  “Knife”, toned things down for a moment and clearly was about some object being stuck into one’s back.

“A Toast” had this Cure-like melody and bass line hiding behind intermittent hard riffs and screaming vocals making for a great listen.  The transitions from the singing to the spoken word throughout this track made it even better to listen to.

“Collision Blonde” was beyond a daunting track with Philley just spilling his guts out on top of a melody that easily could be mistaken with The Jesus And Mary Chain or even Bauhaus.  Although dark and lonely, this track really was amazing in so many ways once you got past the emotion and pain.

“Nosedive” ended the album with Philley screaming “just make it stop” over and over.  It was almost like this entire album was a brutal nightmare and it needed to come to an end.

I am not sure if this album was a revelation of pain or a public cry for help.  Regardless, it is powerful lyrically and musically making  Collision Blonde easily one of my favorite releases of 2014 so far.

Perhaps I took in this album a little differently from others.  Having grown up listening to darker styles of music in the 80s and 90s like The Cure and Jesus and Mary Chain, I always wished it were heavier back then.  I loved the music but craved more vocals.  Xerxes seriously captured some of my favorite band styles and added their own harsh twist on it satisfying that younger request.  The result is just insane and I adore it.

Collision Blonde drops on Oct. 21st.  You can pre-order it now over at No Sleep Records.

Check It Out: Panucci’s Pizza

Don't Tip the Delivery Boy by Panucci's PizzaPunk rock and pizza?

Awesome.

Downingtown / West Chester, Pennsylvanians Panucci’s Pizza are an emo-ish punk rock duo with a heavy appreciation for pizza and straight up ridiculous song titles.

Not only were the track names entertaining, the music itself was pretty bad ass to listen to.  I liked the mix of acoustic demos and just full blown chaotic jams.  I did not know what to expect with each track and by the end I just wanted some more.  Funny, that is exactly how I feel about pizza sometimes…

Panucci’s Pizza re-released their 2013 full length Don’t Tip the Delivery Boy on CD via Songs from the Road Records. You can order the pizza-decorated CD here.  Scroll down a bit to check it out via Bandcamp.

I can not help but be reminded of my homies Cherry Cola Champions and Two Hand Fools a lot though this release.  It’s definitely worth checking out.

Track Listing:

1. Holy Diver Pt. 2
2. Ladies, Welcome to my Swaggrokrag
3. You know when the Trojans got that horse and they were all “Yeah this is totally a gift” Thats how sure I am
4. Pokemon Cards and an Empty Bottle of Grape Juice
5. The World’s greatest Bowler is the World’s worst anything else
6. Nicholas Cajun (Stole the Declaration of Pizzapendence!)
7. Wait, you know who Frankie Muniz is right?
8. I still haven’t seen “Almost Famous”
9. My Imaginary Friend is STILL addicted to Pornography

The Ataris Announce So Long, Astoria Reunion Tour

The Ataris

The Ataris made a huge announcement yesterday.  They have decided to get the old band back together to play live So Long, Astoria.

Old man moment.  So Long Astoria was released 10 years ago.  And to think, I thought I was old then… yikes.

Spite me feeling sorry for myself, I am absolutely THRILLED to hear that The Ataris are getting the original lineup together to perform So Long, Astoria in its entirety. This will be a show not to be missed.

The Ataris - So Long, Astoria

For one tour only, Kristopher Roe, Mike Davenport, Chris Knapp and John Collura will hit the road and play So Long, Astoria.  Supporting acts include: Authority Zero, Drag The River, Versus The World and Gasoline Heart.  Tickets for the upcoming tour will go on sale to the public on December 20th.

And yes, there is a Cleveland show.  March 24th at the Agora.

I don’t remember the last time they played Cleveland.  No seriously, I do not remember a single thing.  Someone apparently snuck up on me that night and got me drunk.  I think his name was PBR.  Lucky for me, I have some good friends who put up with me for the night and made sure I make it home safely.

Additionally, rumor has it that there may be a re-press of So Long, Astoria  thanks to Kung-Fu Records

As if that was not enough, The Ataris also released on their BandCamp page 50 demos and unreleased tracks from So Long, Astoria for “pay what you want”.

Check it out:

The Ataris’ So Long, Astoria Reunion Tour Dates:
Feb 28 – Scottsdale, AZ – Pub Rock (w/Versus The World)
March 1 – Las Vegas, NV – Backstage Bar (w/Versus The World)
March 2 – Fresno, CA – Strummer’s (w/Versus The World)
March 3 – San Luis Obispo, CA – SLO Brewing Company (w/Versus The World)
March 5 – Los Angeles, CA – House of Blues (w/Authority Zero, Drag The River, Versus The World)
March 6 – Anaheim, CA – House of Blues (w/Authority Zero, Drag The River, Versus The World)
March 7 – San Diego, CA – House of Blues (w/Authority Zero, Drag The River, Versus The World)
March 8 – San Francisco, CA – Bottom of the Hill (w/Authority Zero, Drag The River, Versus The World)
March 11 – Portland, OR – Hawthorne Theatre (w/Authority Zero, Drag The River, Versus The World)
March 12 – Seattle, WA – The Showbox at the Market (w/Authority Zero, Drag The River, Versus The World)
March 13 – Boise, ID – Knitting Factory (w/Authority Zero, Drag The River, Versus The World)
March 14 – Salt Lake City, UT – In The Venue (Club Sound) (w/Authority Zero, Drag The River, Versus The World)
March 15 – Denver, CO – The Summit Music Hall (w/Drag The River, Versus The World)
March 16 – Kansas City, MO – Riot Room (w/Authority Zero, Drag The River, Versus The World)
March 18 – St. Louis, MO – Old Rock House (w/Authority Zero, Drag The River, Versus The World)
March 20 – Minneapolis, MN – Mill City Nights (w/Authority Zero, Drag The River, Gasoline Heart)
March 21 – Chicago, IL – House of Blues (w/Authority Zero, Drag The River, Gasoline Heart)
March 22 – Indianapolis, IN – The Vogue (w/Authority Zero, Drag The River, Gasoline Heart)
March 23 – Detroit, MI – The Shelter (w/Authority Zero, Drag The River, Gasoline Heart)
March 24 – Cleveland, OH – Agora Ballroom (w/Authority Zero, Drag The River, Gasoline Heart)
March 25 – Pittsburgh, PA – Altar Bar (w/Authority Zero, Drag The River, Gasoline Heart)
March 27 – Philadelphia, PA – Theatre of Living Arts (w/Authority Zero, Drag The River, Gasoline Heart)
March 28 – Silver Spring, MD – The Fillmore (w/Authority Zero, Drag The River, Gasoline Heart)
March 29 – Boston, MA – Brighton Music Hall (w/Authority Zero, Drag The River, Gasoline Heart)
March 30 – New York, NY – The Gramercy Theatre (w/Authority Zero, Drag The River, Gasoline Heart)