Free Show Tonight @ The Rock Hall w/ Murder By Death & The Buried Wires

Created by Aaron Seachrist at OKpants.com

Summer is coming to an end folks, but that does not mean it is over just yet.

Tonight the very talented Indiana rock/country act Murder By Death will be playing a FREE show at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum.  This show will take place outside in front of the Cleveland staple and is open to everyone who attends. 

I just checked the weather and it looks like it is going to be the perfect evening for an outdoor show.  I have been getting in to Murder By Death over the years after being introduced to them through some friends of an ex of mine.  At first I was not entirely sold, but the more and more I listen to them, the more I really appreciate their style.  This is a band that I have been wanting to check out live for a while now.  Looks like that will happen tonight.

Local rockers The Buried Wires will be opening the night off around 7pm.  Make sure you get there in time to see this up and coming act.  Named by Scene Magazine as a “Band To Watch” in 2010, it is safe to say they will be putting on a great show.

The FREE show is part of the Rock Hall’s Summer In The City Series and sadly, this is the last one of the year. Summer in the City is sponsored by Ohio Natural Gas, Magic Hat Brewing Company, Amtrak, KeyBank and Jim Beam.

Direct Hit! – My Latest Internet Craze.

I hate the term “latest internet craze” when it comes to all those stupid, time-killing photos tons of internet addicted humans who fancy themselves comic reliefs by “planking”, “owling”, “horsemaning”, and oh, let’s not forget “cone-ing” (although I will admit it was funny the first time I saw it). 

If you have no idea what I am talking about, a.) you are lucky and b.) google them for more explanation.  It’s not a craze.  It is stupid and shame on you mainstream media for evening bringing it to light thinking any of it is funny. 

When I think of a latest internet craze, I think of something that is a little more meaningful than some douchebag laying on a curb while some other douche takes a picture of them.  Seriously, that is NOT FUNNY.  Get off the hotel sign and quit pissing me off.

Anyways, enough of my rants today.  I will tell you about the latest internet craze…  DIY bands offering up their music online (some for free).  Skipping “the man”, these DIY bands take care of it all by themselves with help of independent labels and work hard doing it.

That right there is way more interesting to me that seeing a some huge dude perch like an owl (honestly it looks like he is trying to poop his pants).

DIY bands are nothing new, but boy are they becoming more and more plentiful these days.  There are tons of websites out there (some labels and some just hosts) that host DIY bands and their music like Death To False Hope Records, If You Make It, and BandCamp.

One DIY act in particular that I have been digging lately is Direct Hit!.  Last night I downloaded their newest LP called Domesplitter that was put out by Kind Of Like Records.  I found the download on their BandCamp page after receiving an email from one of the band members self-promoting the new release (I think I was on a mailing list from downloading one of their EPs earlier on Death To False Hope Records – I am ok with that as it is not spam).  I will admit that I did not pay anythingfor the download, but I am planning on order ordering Domesplitter  on vinyl (in fact, I just did, so there! Redemption on my end!).

Milwaukee’s Direct Hit! is a pop punk act with an edge.  Domesplitter was a little heavier than I was anticipating and for that I loved it more.  This is the band’s first full length release that actually contains songs from the band’s first five EPs – an anthology have you.  Even if the album is technically not brand new material, I must say I am impressed with it.  Full of hooks and anthem-like sing-a-long opportunities, the songs on this release are down right fun to listen to.  This is a band I should have been a fan of since the beginning.

Check out their BandCamp page.  Or head over to Facebook and be a fan or if you still can tolerate MySpace… 

Here’s a couple entertaining videos for your viewing pleasure:

I love this video and may have posted it before…

Album Review: Dan Andriano In The Emergency Room – Hurricane Season

Dan Andriano, also known as the bassist/singer of Alkaline Trio, recently released an impressive solo album called Hurricane Season. Under the moniker Dan Andriano In The Emergency Room, the man took the album into his hands, literally.  He wrote all the songs, played/sang all the music (sans the organ, piano, and a couple of harmony vocals), and even produced it.  It is safe to say that Hurricane Season is indeed a true solo album.  The man even took it upon himself to supply the photos as seen throughout the album and booklet.

Andriano, in case you live under a rock, is one of the impressive three that make up the popular punk rock band Alkaline Trio.  Formerly of Slapstick, he is known these days for his distinguishable signing in many AK3 songs (including “Fine” as heard on AK3’s last full length This Addiction). Andriano has toyed with side projects in the past including a 2002 split as well as been a part of the punk rock supergroup The Falcon.   He writes, he plays, he performs, and this time with help from Asian Man Records, he has given his talent a challenge of sorts and dropped quite the impressive album.

“It’s Gonna Rain All Day” opens the ten track album with Andriano doing what he does best; write heavy, meaningful lyrics.  Such the sorrowful track with piano sneaking in and out of acoustic guitar playing making for one of my favorite tracks on the release.  “Hurricane Season” followed in a more upbeat rock feel with some familiar cries coming from Andriano’s pipes.  “Hollow Sounds” was more of an acoustic jam with many the reference to addicting temptations and comparisons revolving around a heartfelt memory.

“Let Me In” was a busy rock track throughout, impressive when you think that one man put it together by himself.  “On Monday” had a nice country/rock feel to it.  “The Last Day We Ever Close Our Eyes” was the closest thing on the entire album that resembled a heartfelt track.  Then came, “From This Oil Can”, a seemingly happy ending to Hurricane Season that easily was meant to swoon someone in a clever, direct way.  I really enjoyed this closing track a lot.

Hurricane Season was an album full of songs that easily could have been mistaken for AK3 b-sides or acoustic jams, but I know that is not at all what he was looking to do.  Dan Andriano In The Emergency Room was more of a personal sounding voyage with deep tracks most likely that have been trapped in his mind for quite some time.

Andriano does contribute quite a lot to AK3, so it is not surprising that a lot of the tracks on Hurricane Season are dark and lost.  Knowing though that this album is a solo release means that Andriano has offered so much more to it over the the typical 1/3 he probably does in AK3 as the two other members help make AK3 what they are too.  The result is a personal tribute to himself.  If anything, an amazing musician who probably just wanted to play some songs all by himself for others to listen to did just that.  I just hope he takes this solo project on the road, only time will tell. See tour dates below.  No Cleveland show, but who knows, maybe next time!

Fall Tour Dates:
Sept. 9th – Gainesville, FL at The Double Down
Sept. 10th – Naples, FL at Flieschmann Park
Sept. 11th – Ybor City, FL at Crowbar
Sept. 13th – Charlotte, NC at The Evening Muse
Sept. 14th – Chapel Hill, NC at Local 506
Sept. 15th – West Columbia, SC at New Brookland Tavern
Sept. 16th – St. Augustine, FL at Cafe 11
Sept. 24th – Chicago, IL at The Bottom Lounge

Interview: Darius Koski of Swingin’ Utters

Every once in a while, I’ll have a day where I feel like I am just getting too old to love what I love.  I wonder if I should turn it down a notch.

Face it, a lot has changed in 20 years since I was an adolescent teenager just looking for my piece in life.  I picked my crowd, chose my music, and did not have one single regret about any of it.  Hell, I still don’t.

For those of you who really know me, you can see that not much has changed with me in two decades.  I dress the same, act the same and listen to a lot of the same music I did back when I was a teen.

Still, every once in a while I just feel like I am starting to slow down.  Then I think about the bands that have carried me along my punk rock path who are still alive and kicking and suddenly, I stop feeling sorry for myself.  These bands I speak of have been around as long, if not longer than my appreciation for music has, and year after year they release new material and tour.  They’ve aged, become family oriented, made sacrifices and still are able to do what they love to do the most.

Then there’s little ol’ me feeling sorry for myself…  I should kick my own ass right now.  I should be stoked I haven’t lost my own roots and continue on with what makes me who I am.

One of those bands I speak of is Cali’s Swingin Utters.  An O.F.W.C (Original Fat Wreck Chords) band, the Utters decided to drop an all new album last year called Here, Under Protest (check out my review HERE) after a 7 year hiatus.  They may have taken a time out and done their thing for a while, but they jumped right back onto their 20 year career without missing a beat proving age does not mean a damn thing and it’s all about the attitude and passion, you know the things that make you happy.

I got to see the Utters last year at a small (read: tiny) venue in Cleveland last summer and had an absolute blast.  I felt like a kid all over again.  I was happy to be hanging  with good friends while surrounded by great music.  It was a reminder to me that it does not matter how old you are or feel, you are who you are and never should question or change that.

Recently I had the chance to chat with Darius Koski, one of the bands vocalists/guitarists of the Utters.  Darius was kind enough to answer a few questions for me:

BHP: I guess the first question would be, what took so long to drop new a Swingin Utters album?

D.K.: Raising our kids, working, some of us not interested in touring anymore… it was part burnout, part apathy, and partly just kind of losing track of time. We sat down and talked about what we wanted to be: a band that played long weekends here and there, mostly in California, and didn’t do much recording; or more like the band we used to be, which was a touring band that came out with records every couple of years at least… so we chose the latter.

Whose idea was it to throw in Orson Welles saying “here under protest is beef burgers” at the beginning of the first track on Here, Under Protest?

That was Spike’s idea. We’re kind of obsessed with “Celebrities at their Worst” CDs.

Was there a lot of material in the last 7 years previously written that was to be used on the new album or was this all newer songs?

There were a few older ones… “Kick It Over”, “Good Things”, “Time On My Own”, “Blindness Is Kind” and “Effortless Amnesiac” were written maybe 5-6 years ago, and “Heavy Head” was, for the most part, written about 20 years ago–I kind of messed with that one a little bit, with the lyrics and melody, etc. but it’s basically the same song I wrote back then.

Seems as if everyone took turns writing songs this round on the album more so than past releases. Can we expect to see that as a trend to continue with future releases?

Sure! We don’t really plan stuff like that, but I always encourage people to write. I know Jack’s writing a lot right now, and has a lot of stuff waiting around to be finished; I’ve got a load of stuff, and Johnny does as well. I need to work on Spike a bit, and then we’ll all have some songs on the next one. I think that’d be great, to have 4 different writers on the next one. It’s usually mostly me and Johnny.

How did it feel to get the band back together and on the road last year for a more long range tour?

It’s been great, and I’m really happy we’ve started up again. I’ve missed it. It’s a lot harder now that we’re older, though.

I am sure hitting the road these days is a lot harder now that you have a family. Are they cool with you touring?

My relationship with my wife has always incorporated touring–we got together while we were recording Streets of San Francisco, and went on our first US tour 2 months into our relationship, so we know the drill. My kids have gotten relatively used to it as well, but it’s a little bit tough for them at times I think. My wife’s got a lot more shit she has to do when I’m gone as well, so that sucks for her, but we manage.

Here, Under Protest was an impressive release. I was stoked to hear another folk jam thrown in towards the end of the album. Have you guys ever thought about just dropping an all folk-heavy album?

Not at all, really… That’s what me and Johnny started Filthy Thieving Bastards for.

So when can we expect a new Filthy Thieving Bastards release?

As soon as the Utters decide to take a little break. We’ve got plenty of songs for an album.

What’s going on with your solo material?

Not much. I need to work on it. I need to do something with those fucking songs.

20 years on the scene… Wow, seriously that is impressive. Did you think you would last this long?

Never really thought about it, but it’s pretty crazy that we’ve lasted this long, been as successful as we’ve been. Just to put out a record was a big deal for us, so we’re pretty lucky.

I know you have said in other interviews that you really do not listen to a lot of new punk bands these days. Is there anyone that has caught your ear lately?

Punk-wise, I like the Spits (not new, I know), Modern Action, Sharp Objects… I think the Cobra Skulls are good… Off With Their Heads.

What are some of your all time favorite punk bands?

Black Flag, Sex Pistols, Buzzcocks, Generation X, Stiff Little Fingers, the Clash, Ramones, X, Wire… I don’t know about a million others. Those come to mind pretty quickly…

What is the term “punk” to you these days, if anything?

Just doing what we know how to do, living our life… I don’t know. I’m punk rock, but I’m not a preacher. I don’t really like talking about “punk rock” and how it “changed my life”, or anything like that. As far as being any sort of real movement, or being “shocking” or anything… I think those days are over. It’s just about doing/saying what you want, DIY, etc.

Was there any certain time that you think back to in the scene that you will never forget? Maybe a favorite show?

Just the early days of our own band. Those were really fun times. Ahhhhhh, to be young again…

How did you get Jack from One Man Army / Dead To Me to jump on board with the band? I think he is a great fit.

I just waited for him to disband One Man Army, then I asked him. I knew he’d say yes, because we’d talked about it… I just didn’t want to be partly responsible for ending One Man Army or anything… He was done with the band and it seemed like he was kind of looking for a way out, but I wasn’t gonna be the one to give it to him! Yes, he’s a perfect fit.

Any comments about Ben Weasel’s blowup at this year’s SXSW?

I think he sounds like a little piece of shit that needs to be punched in the fucking face. I’ve always kind of thought that, though.

What’s next for the Utters? Can Cleveland expect to see you return soon?

I’d love to be back in Cleveland sometime next year, maybe in the spring? We’ll be back soon. Europe in September, some Dropkick (Murphys) dates in October, and a little Texas/west coast thing in November. I’d like to record again within the next year as well.

Any last words you care to mention?

Buy our record!

This Charming Man Every Little Secret EP Released

Should things go well for me, I will have this in my collection shortly:

That my friends, is the limited This Charming Man Every Little Secret EP that Suburban Home Records was so generous to re-release.

Taken from the fine folk at Suburban Home Records (they said it better then I could have):

Previous to forming The Gaslight Anthem, Brian Fallon was the singer of the punk rock outfit This Charming Man. This Charming Man’s debut EP, “Every Little Secret” is filled with catchy sing-a-long hooks and unforgettable lyrics. “Every Little Secret” is the only documentation of this short lived band and this vinyl release not only has the 6 songs from the original release, but it also has 4 untitled demos that were never released. This release is extremely limited due to the fact that this will be 1 of the final 2 Vinyl Cooperative releases. The pressing is 333 on black vinyl, 667 on brown vinyl. Due to copies going directly to coop members, the band, and XoXo who released the record originally, there will only be around 70 copies on black and 500 copies on brown for sale. I would appreciate if if you did not buy more than 1 copy of each variant. Shopradiocastwill be the only place this record will be available other than possibly XoXo or Brian Fallon/Gaslight Anthem. There will be a test press contest to go along with this. Good luck.

The 70 black vinyl EPs apparently sold out in 20 minutes on Shopradiocast.  I am pretty sure I placed one of the first orders.  Lightning speed internet quickness ensured a quick order for this guy.  I was a tad excited to see this surface and wanted to make sure that I grabbed a copy.

There should be a few brown versions left if you are lucky.  This will be a sell out item.

If you fancy yourself a die-hard, try placing a bid on the test pressing of Every Little Secret on TheOldLP.com.