Category Archives: Review

Album Review: Heart Attack Man – Fake Blood

There’s just something to be said about hearing an album that brings back great amounts of angst from 20+ years ago.

Sure, we really don’t care to remember when some of the jocks in high school threatened to kick your ass because you were different.  We sure as hell don’t want to think about how pissed off it made you and how you held your ground and prepared to fight back only for them to say they were just kidding.  That never happens to anyone right?

Fake Blood by Cleveland’s very own Heart Attack Man had no problem digging into my hippocampus and ripping out crippling episodes in life offering for a retrospect on how they shaped me.  That right there is exactly what Fake Blood encompassed from start to finish for this listener.

This sophomore album has been on my radar for months now ever since singer / guitarist Eric Egan and drummer extraordinaire Adam Paducah made mention of finishing up recording.  Add to the fact that one of the friendliest guys I know, Ty Sickels, is part of this incredible band and one might just called me jaded when it comes to talking about this act.  Pals or not, this bad rips and I know I am not the only who thinks that.

With riffs that reach all the way back to the 90s “Fake Blood” started off things off with a fierce, intense track that was catchy as hell.  You know you are in for something excellent when the first track immediately gets stuck in your head.

Not trying to sound cliché, but “Blood Blister” brought me back to some awkward teen years of mine when music was my crutch and most folk were my enemy.  Egan’s directness complimented my own thoughts when things just didn’t go my way and you bet your ass I never let it go.

“Out For Blood” is a vindictive jam that will instantly take over your good day and put you in a savage mood.  The kids are going to love this one, i know it.

“Moths in a Lampshade” strayed away from the others in a good way.    This was that kind of track you listen to at 3am when driving in the middle of nowhere trying to just grab ahold of yourself.

Hands down the best track was “Cut My Losses.”  It wasn’t a love song and it sure as hell wasn’t a song about moving on peacefully.  This track’s raw emotion succeeded most of the ill-will I have ever had for someone that’s ever threatened me.  Egan is a total bad ass on this track and when they are ready to do a music video for it, it best be him walking away from an explosion without looking back.

“Sugar Coated” wasn’t nice at all and that’s perfectly fine by me.  This track pretty much could have fueled my worst years as a teen all while begging to be sung along with.

Fake Blood easily is going to be one of my favorite releases in 2019.  This Cleveland band is beyond talented and I really see big things happening to them especially if they continue to just kick ass and forget names.  They have been doing things their way and honestly, I think it’ll work out just fine.

Do not sit on this band.  That’s my advice to you.  You’ve been warned.

Album Review: Teenage Bottlerocket – Stay Rad!

Consider me a born-again Teenage Bottlerocket super-fan after obsessing Stay Rad!, the band’s latest release.

These Wyoming punkers just did it right in a whooping 33 minutes and the result was me playing this album over and over for a solid week desperately trying to memorize every lyric so I could sing along.

Once again, the band is on Fat Wreck Chords and have dropped what I feel is one of their best efforts in a long time.  The thing I liked the most about this one was that their songs were happy, sad, damaging, adorning, funny, and just real.  Add that to solid, catchy punk rock tunes throughout and it’s easy to understand why I can’t get enough of this album.

I’ll just get to the point with this review that pretty much had me in tears while listening to it.  “Everything To Me”, an ode to Ray Carlisle’s son Milo, punched me right in the heart over and over.  This track stopped me in my tracks the moment I heard it and of course had me gushing over my son while seemingly agreeing with everything Ray had to say about how amazing his kid was.  I’ll never stop listening to this total dad rock track.  I can’t wait to play it for my boy when he’s just a little bit older.

“Night of the Knuckleheads” was like a Misfits track, but pop-punk and fun.  “Creature From the Black Metal Lagoon” was like a Dio song, but not really.  It was however, kind of a solid track to listen to even if they did bash on Deafhaven.

More like something a reformed GG Allen might sing about in a diaper, “The First Time That I Did Acid Was the Last Time That I Did Acid” was a little raw and unordinary at the start but my god it was so true.  I could only imaging some of the people I used to watch have bad trips back in the 90s.  Do people even do acid anymore?

“Stupid Song” really was not that stupid at all.  It was pretty much a day in the life of anyone out there who utilizes music to block all the shit the real world dishes out.

“Little Kid” was a somber track Ray wrote about his brother who, as most of you reading this are well aware of, passed in 2015.  This track was tough to listen to but just so important and I am glad Ray did it.  I hope it gave him, and the band for that matter, some well needed closure.

Album closer “I Never Knew”, the only track written for a girl, was written by yogi extraordinaire and bassist Miguel Chen.  File this track under punk rock love songs to be added to future mixes.  This one was not cheesy at all and clearly an honest track.

As much as I hate to even say this, but these guys are the modern-day Ramones and Riverdales that everyone needs.  They do it on their own accord and have no problem jumping from seriousness to silly in two minutes flat.  They have been through hell after losing a brother/drummer and easily could have hung it all up.  Instead, they  refused to give it up in a blatant honor to their fallen bandmate by releasing Stay Rad!

Album Review: Ramoms / Dad Brains – Merry XMas Spilt 7″

Tis the season to be burnt out by Christmas music on indefinite rotation, right?  I know we only have like 2 weeks left of this, but every year seemingly becomes more challenging for me to stomach.  Hang in there folks.

Now if you happen to have kids as I do, repeating Christmas music intensifies to levels that can bring someone to the edge of insanity.   Seriously, I am at wit’s end with some of the tunes my son demands be played over and over especially when covered by off-key kids who probably were never compensated for their efforts in singing about a certain bullied reindeer.

Luckily, there are plenty of punk bands out there keeping me sane with their renditions and original songs about the holiday season that help ease the pain.  I do my best to sneak them in to daily rotation so my kids can appreciate what their old man is into.  Current favorites by my kids include Bad Religion and MXPX and I am totally ok with that.

It really seems especially this year there were quite a few releases by punk bands with holiday themed tunes, but one particular release caught my attention in a good, good way and has turned into my current holiday favorite.

The release I speak of is actually a split by Ramoms and Dad Brains called Merry  Xmas.  Put out recently by Pirates Press Records, this split encompasses everything a punk parent could appreciate during a stressful time of the year from more than one level.  Satire and spirit for all to embellish is the best distraction.

Ramoms, as you guessed, are an all Mom punk Ramones cover band from the Philadelphia area.  These ladies may not have full band credentials (I was totally mistaken and apologize – see comment below!) and are incredibly passionate about punk rock and more so with their kiddos.

Dad Brains is an all Dad hardcore band from California.  Featuring former members of No Motiv, The Missing 23rd, Creep Division,  and The F-ing Wrath, it’s safe to say this side project is not a total joke.

Ramoms took the classic “Chinese Rock” by the beloved Heartbreakers and turned it into “Lego Blocks”.  As a parent, Lego blocks can entertain kids for hours as well as cause some serious damage to feet in the evening, so I really appreciated this song.

Keeping true to their passion and reasoning to form a band, Ramoms also provided a great cover of the classic “Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight)” by the Ramones.  Gritty and poppy, I am sure Joey would have approved.

“It’s Christmas Time” was a hilarious holiday spin-off of the classic Suicidal Tendencies track “Institutionalized” by Dad Brains.  You know you are in for something good when Cousin Eddie is quoted at the beginning of a track.  Substituting La Croix for Pepsi, it was spot on when it came to modern day holiday feelings and woes.  That last line though, “it doesn’t matter, I’ll probably go to Costco anyway” had me rolling.

“Grinch” was modernized by Dad Brains to have the hairy green Dr. Seuss character antagonizing at a local show.  I especially loved the nod to Ill Repute and Tony Cortez.

This EP seriously is great and had me chuckling a few times and easily could be the perfect gift for your punk parent of choice this holiday season.

Check out some of the tracks below and if you like what you hear, throw some cash their way and download it or better yet, head to Pirates Press Records and buy the wax before it sells out!

Album Review: Worlds Scariest Police Chases – Ablum 3

The thing I love most about Pittsburgh’s Worlds Scariest Police Chases is simply that they give no shits.

Fueled by cheap beers, working class aggression, and heavy doses of realness, they are like Propaghandi in a sense but only love themselves.  Jerks.

The punk rock outfit at one time was thought to have called it quits in 2014 only to change their mind or just screw with anyone they could.  For what it’s worth, I am glad they continued on because we need more bands like WSPC.

Recently dropping Ablum 3, the band aims to mess with fans, new and old, instantly.  Released on Say 10 Records, I have to confess, this is some good, harsh stuff and just seems to outsmart that “Oh let’s reference a bunch of 90s punk album titles into our album title” release.

“Modernbaseballiswar” started off with the band questioning “what if everyone hates us for this” followed by “I hope everyone hates us for this.”  The raw, don’t care attitude easily can relate to any young punker as well as us old punkers who can just sit back and laugh at when we cared what people thought about us.

“Mindtrap” easily was my favorite track on this album.  It’s probably all due to the xylophone playing, but honestly, it was just a killer track calling out everyone as possible in less than 2 minutes.  I laughed when I heard “punk is dead, no matter what Kevin says” might have been targeted at that guy who did that Warped Tour for a couple of years but who knows.  The video was entertaining as hell though.

“My Death” was a 90s punk rock track down to the core.  The band really offered some mature, hard moments on this one.  I adored this track for the punk ethos being blasted out.  I’ll be keeping this song handy for when I’m having one of those days.

Of course my old ass appreciated the rerecorded version of “Adolph Hipster”, a track that was released in 2015 and clearly was aimed at those who think punk is a fashion statement.  With the band admitting they are poking fun at anyone who thought the song was about them, the true genius of this song was the Kid Rock “get in the pit and try to love someone” tossed in.

Calling out douchebags was “Trigger Warning”, a track that dismissed anyone who takes advantage of others.  Clearly this track was aimed at a certain someone with “you violated trust, you are not one of us” being released at the end.  Whoever this is, even I think you suck.

I found entertainment in the song titles too which held reference to some classic punk rock acts.  Titles like “The Shape of Punk is Dumb” and “How To Glean Everything” just reminded me how clever these guys really are.  Both tracks were good too.

WSPC remain a true gem of a punk band and Ablum 3 clearly showcased that.  It’s nice to see these 6 hard-working dudes carry on their band with purpose to piss off, have fun, and just play for themselves (and their fans too of course).

WSPC is playing Cleveland on 12/28 with Boston’s Rebuilder at Now That’s Class.  You can bet your ass I will be there.

Album Review: Brendan Kelly and the Wandering Birds – Keep Walkin’ Pal

I am not going to blow smoke up Brendan Kelly‘s ass, so I’ll just say it: This guy is fascinating in a  weird as hell way.

He is more clever than you’ll ever aspire to be and he’s much more of a musician than I think he is credited for.

I feel like the smoke is blowing even though I said I wouldn’t.

I do not know him personally and he sure as hell does not know me, but I can tell you I admire him for his comedic approach to life as well as standing his ground for his beliefs.  Then there’s the countless Tweets from @Nihilist_Arbys that he finally fessed up to being behind.

Normally he fronts Chicago’s The Lawrence Arms as well as toys with The Falcon like once every 10 years.  He also has a solo project called Brendan Kelly and the Wandering Birds and let me tell you, it’s different in a good way kind of like putting A-1 sauce on over-easy eggs.

Recently Kelly dropped Keep Walkin’ Pal on the ever awesome Red Scare Records and it’s not really a solo album, but a collective release featuring Kelly and a bunch of his pals including Alkaline Trio’s Derek Grant and Atlas Studio’s Dan Tinkler making for a sporadic listen with no agenda.

Album title track “Keep Walkin’ Pal” had Kelly and his signature raspy voice just spilling brutal truth with lines like “I blacked out 17 of my best years.”

“Shitty Margarita” was this poppy punk jam complete with synthesizer that was all about what extreme amounts of sugar and tequila can do to you good and bad.  Not going to lie, I dug this track a lot mostly due to the music.  It was fun even though the lyrics might have brought back 1 or 7 bad memories at Chi-Chi’s.

“Huggz” should be a theme song for Kelly.  The 80s-ish heavy track was all about simple affections, at least I think it was.  Kelly was pretty damn stern about getting them to function and how music he likes them – even from Sergio.  (Remember I said he was clever?)

“Black Cat Boy” was one of my favorite tracks on the album.  With Kelly’s signature singing over the electronic keyboard and beats, this song was just one that stuck in my head quickly.

Best track on the album by far was “The Ballad of Buffalo Bill”.  From singing about putting the lotion on the skin again to having a dog barking, this song was beyond entertaining.  Clearly you need to know what Kelly is referencing to fully appreciate.  I’m glad he tucked it in here.  (I’m clever too you know)

As much as I wished “I’m the Man” was an Anthrax cover, it was not.  This closing track was pretty much all the drunk and high thoughts packed into 3 minutes and 22 seconds.  It was a bizarre track with shoutouts to Mr. Clean and excellent backup vocals with a digital beat Daft Punk would be jealous of.  I’m not quite sure what the hell was going on there, but I like to think I enjoyed it.

Overall, Keep Walkin’ Pal was a solid listen.  Kelly and pals once again have managed to entertain and confuse me at the same time.  If that was the intent, awesome, but if not, maybe I am getting too old for this shit.  Anyways, check out the album, it was pretty great.