Category Archives: Review

The Briggs – Come All You Madmen – CD Review

The Briggs are a punk rock act that had a hard time getting to me.  I am not saying that I was forced to listen to them; rather I missed many occasions to sample them in the past.  I either heard a song by them on a compilation and never researched it or simply showed up to a live show just as they left the stage.  Missed opportunities did not discourage me though as I finally had the prospect of seeing the Irish punk rockers The Briggs live at the 2008 Van’s Warped Tour and I made damn sure I was in the audience before they took stage.

The Los Angeles punk rock act won me over with their punk rock energy and wholesome sound.  I was excited at my decision of finally checking them out as they were one of the few true punk rock acts on the popular tour.  Recently releasing their fourth full length album Come All You Madmen I finally got a taste of what I have been missing all these years and I must say it was scrumptious.

Formed in 2001 the foursome has continually toured the US with heavy hitting punk rock acts such as the Dropkick Murphys and Bad Religion.  They work hard at what they do and take it to heart.  Once quoted as saying that Bob Dylan and Elvis Costello are more punk than most of the punk bands out there today by taking chances and being serious about what they do, The Briggs continue the trend.

“Mad Man” started up the album with politically powerful lyrics and had plenty of sing-a-long opportunities.  The Briggs’ ode to “LA” almost has an Oi feel to it but by no means sounds like a simple creation; this ode is heartfelt to their hometown.

“Bloody Minds” had a hint of Against Me! to it, but the song was really likable, especially the horns making for one of my choice cuts off this disc.  Another track “Not Alone” really captured my attention too.  The song was catchy with unity inspired lyrics layered on top of pleasant sounding punk rock.

“Oblivion” takes a change in the CD’s direction toning down the punk rock feel. The change is welcomed as it is a great song more rock and seemingly more personal to The Briggs.  “Final Words” slows down a tad with a song I feel might have sounded a little better if it were sped up.  At times I am reminded of something the Clash might have created but not enough for me to want to keep this song on repeat.

“Molly” crawled past me as the closer of the album.  What a change in tempo from first to last song.  The song is more of an Irish bawl that would be suitable for a drunken evening in a pub.  I am not sure why the band started so strong and then ended it with almost a sleeper of a track.  Perhaps it was a metaphor I completely missed.

If you are thinking that maybe punk is dead or over processed then maybe you should check out The Briggs.  In my opinion they were one of the bands that helped make the 2008 Warped Tour more memorable and after seeing them live and even talking to them at their merch tent (friendliest band ever), I had to check out their newest release.  What they have created was not thrown together in hopes of making a quick buck.  They are very passionate about the music they display and prove it on Come All You Madmen. Check out their MySpace page if you need some proof.

The Briggs - Live @ Cleveland Warped Tour 2008
The Briggs - Live @ Cleveland Warped Tour 2008

3OH3! – Want – CD Review

3OH!3 (pronounced 3-OH!-3) is far from your ordinary band. For instance, when I downloaded the CD to my iPod it was listed as an unclassifiable genre and that is an understatement. Debuting with WANT, the twosome white-boy rap/rock duo certainly have released material worth talking about as they have mixed up elements of crunk, punk, electronica, and even emo, making for an energy overload album.

3OH3!
3OH3!

Hailing from the streets of… umm… Boulder, the duo have discarded their college educations in favor of creating some of the best crunk rock dance party tracks I have ever heard. Already debuting on the Top 10 on the iTunes album chart, the band has also gained attention from Alternative Press Magazine naming them one of AP’s one hundred bands you need to know.

3OH!3 stands for the area code that front men Sean Foreman and Nathaniel Motte represent. Born and raised in Boulder, Colorado, the duo met while studying physics in college and discovered one another’s love for underground hip hop. The mutual fixation for a genre of music that is rarely handled in the capitol of hippies brought the two united to create 3OH!3 and before they knew it they were selling out local clubs with their high strung dancing layered on top of their truly unique genre-bashing music.

“Punk Bitch” was the first track I heard from these guys and I must admit I thought they were a Lil John wannabe project. Not until halfway through the song did I realized this was not really a rap act but something much more entertaining. The opening to the song imitated lots of crunk music I have heard before, but as you go through the song you start to hear a blend of crunk and emo, something I did not think was possible until now. The result is an infectious track that I have listened to over and over. This gangster emo track will be getting the clubs moving for sure this year.

The third track “Don’t Trust Me” has the greatest refrain ever: “Shush girl, shut your lips. Do the Helen Keller and talk with your hips.” Dance like Helen Keller? Who the hell writes something like this? How offensive… I loved it. I can only see it now, a forbidden dance called the Helen Keller created from this track. Aside from the crude lyrics talking of a no-name groupie, this track is full of danceable music that is far from annoying.

Sounding almost like what Electric Six would sound like if they collaborated with Lil John & The Eastside Boyz is “I’m Not Your Boyfriend Baby”. The electronic beats alone surpass a lot of crap I have heard in the clubs or on the radio, and once the interesting, whiny, emo cry solo was slammed with their tough ass rap lyrics I was addicted.

“Star Struck” has more of a R&B feel a la Kenna mixed with hard electronics and a beat that pretty much has been stuck in my head since I first heard the sexually suggestive song. Then there are the full on rap tracks “Choke Chain” that you will be singing along with and “Photofinnish” that reminded me of the Faint but excessively crunked out.

3OH3! @ the 2008 Warped Tour in Cleveland
3OH3! @ the 2008 Warped Tour in Cleveland

Just when I thought things were insane enough, “Still Around” started up. This slow sensitive track regarding the love of a special something really proves to me these guys are not just out there to jump around and get the party rioting. The lyrics at times were predictable but the music and the idea of the song is sweet and almost depressing, especially if you have been in the situation of which they sing.

No need to be too depressed though, because “Holler ’til You Pass Out” brings back all that energy that was paused for a moment with a full blown anthem all about representing the city of Boulder. This track is tough, addictive, and fun and I wanted more once it was over.

Want might very well be the most fun CD I have heard all year and at this moment I am addicted to 3OH!3 and their crazy ass music. These guys have something a little gangster, a lot insane, and damn well genus. If you are looking for something a tad different from the norm yet catchy at the same time then 3OH!3 is where it’s at.

Already stealing the show at the 2008 Warped Tour with their high vigor, including their hilarious onstage presence, this is one band you need to experience especially if you are in need some new pickup lines to rifle off to the ladies.

Just in case you wanted to hear what they sound like or what the hype is all about:

(Warning, as with many crunk infused tracks, there is a lot of cussing on this video.  Like truck driver cussing….  Play accordingly)