Tag Archives: Featured

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.

Album Review: Notches – New Kinda Love

I’ve told myself over and over that I need to try and hammer out more reviews.  I have a million excuses why I choose bed over blog as of late and two of said excuses are the most important things in my life – my kids.  Clearly nothing is more important than them and of course my wife, so please excuse me for not paying attention to this here ol’ blog this year.

Time to change that of course.

With recent events going on to which I need not point out, I can tell you I have been thinking about a lot of things and one of them was how much I enjoy listening to tunes, discovering new bands, and especially sharing the love.  I have been wanting to talk about one particular release by a New Hampshire punk/emo/rad/DIY 3 piece band.  So here we go…

After listening to New Kinda Love by Notches back in early January, I literally stopped what I was doing and ordered the LP off of their Bandcamp page.

This was an album I fell in love with instantly and deemed one of my favorites that I’ve heard of in quite some time.  The album dropped in December 2019 from what I learned, but did not make it onto Bandcamp until this year.

Released by Dead Broke Rekerds/Salina Records, this is the band’s third proper release and sadly the fist time I really got into them.  They’ve been around since 2013 and have made an impact on the New England punk scene, but honestly once you hear them you’d think they have been around for far longer.

Starting off the album was “Room Upstairs”, a catchy track that really carried through different equal moments of catchiness and relaxed.  I really loved how much energy this band held in just on the first track.

It’s hard to believe “Museum of More Dumb Art” hasn’t been around for years and years.  This track just was so tenured sounding that I had to make sure I was still listening to the same band.  In other words, I was impressed as hell with this one.

“Crystall Ball” was emo Dinosaur Jr. on speed thanks to excessive fuzz throughout a memorable riff of a song.  This track just brought me back 25+ years to when all that mattered to me was alternative rock.  I adored it.  Had a music video been made for this one, it would have been all over MTV back when they were tolerable.

I won’t lie, the best part of “Keep My Name” was the brutal aggressiveness layered with memorable bass and guitar playing.  Quick track, but clearly full of angst that never sounded so good.

“Twist The Knife” won me over with the pop-punk edge that snuck into what otherwise could have been a track that amounted to an 80s SST Records artist song.

“Sober Souls” to me was a modern day Hüsker Dü track.  This track was just beautiful.  I really can’t explain why other than I’m over 40 and was brought years just from absorbing myself in this.  Weird, right?

The number of times I told myself how great this band was while listening was almost annoying to me.  Luckily I know i am not the only one who thinks this.  In fact, my soon to be 5-year-old loves these guys.

Need proof?

Once this bullmess of a virus pandemic goes the hell away, Notches should be touring and it looks like they may be making a stop in Cleveland so who knows, maybe I’ll be taking my son to see his first show a littler earlier than I first intended.  If he’s not quite ready, perhaps I’ll bribe the band for a quick high-five and an apple juice or something.

Don’t sleep on these guys.  Notches have dropped an album you aging punks and young ones too will truly appreciate.

Check It Out: Don’t Fall in Love with Yourself: A documentary about Justin Pearson, Three One G and the San Diego Punk Scene.

My pals at the talented TurnStyle Films never cease to amaze me.

They are a collective group of hardworking music lovers who always manage to drop things equally interesting as unique.

I wish I could remember what show I was at when I saw Jon Nix last year, but he was full of excitement as he told me he was working on something he knew I was going to like.  As he started telling me about it, I immediately smiled ear to ear.  I knew this was going to be something awesome.

Months later, an announcement was made to the world that TurnStyle Films was working on a Justin Pearson documentary.  As a fellow punk lover, it is clear why I shared so much excitement when I first learned of the project.

The documentary is in the final rounds of finishing and TurnStyle is asking for help via a great Kickstarter campaign with plenty of great rewards including autographed books, vinyl, and enamel pins.

I think Jon and crew said it best on Kickstarter what this documentary is all about:

Don’t Fall in Love With Yourself is a documentary that explores the life of enigmatic musician and artist, Justin Pearson. From childhood tragedy and his roots in the San Diego punk scene, to his appearance on Jerry Springer and rise to cult celebrity status. An in-depth look at a career made out of blood, sweat and spit.

Much of the B-roll has been sourced from dozens of VHS & Mini-DV tapes recorded over the past three decades. Controversial and never-before-seen footage of one of the most interesting and unique musical movements is recent memory.

The film’s interviews include Justin Pearson, Dave Lombardo, Eric Paul, Gabe Serbian, Bobby Bray, Travis Ryan, Jeremy Bolm, Alexis Marshall, Jon Syverson, Molly Neuman & Becky DiGiglio and more.

I took a few moments to toss my support they way in hopes this campaign is fully funded.  This looks to be one of the best things TurnStyle has done to date.

Check it out:  https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jonnixfilm/dont-fall-in-love-with-yourself-finishing-funds?ref=project_build