An Important Message From Those Darlins…

An important message form the fine fine ladies in Those Darlins (and Linwood):


Those Darlins here. We have a new website and along with it a new 7″, new T-shirts, and new tour dates. Let us know what you think.

Short, simple, and sweet just like Jessi, Nikki, and Kelley Darlin.  The 7″ titled Nightjogger is only $5 and is a preview of their forthcoming sophomore release (can’t wait!!!).

I love the cover and know what it is all about.  Do you?  The vinyl is actually a split with Funstix, a Jessi and Linwood side-project. For more info and to purchase the 7″ along with some other rocking merch head over to

The girls and Linwood are current on tour once again and will be making a stop in Cleveland.  If you have not seen them yet now is your chance…  I am highly considering making the trek down to Louisville to see them play with Trampled By Turtles.

24 – Nashville, TN @ Billups Art Gallery (Heavy Cream release show)
27 – Morning View, KY @ Whispering Beard Folk Festival

8 – Birmingham, AL @ Bottletree #
9 – Atlanta, GA @ The Earl #
10 – Atlanta GA @ The Earl #
11 – Asheville, NC @ The Grey Eagle #
12 – Myrtle Beach, SC @ Drink
14 – Chapel Hill, NC @ Local 506 #
15 – Washington, DC @ Black Cat #
16 – New York, NY@ The Bowery Ballroom #
17 – Boston, MA @ TT The Bears #
19 – Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie # (early show)
20 – Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie # (late show)
21 – Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Tavern %
22 – Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall %
23 – Urbana, IL @ Independent Media Center – Pygmalion Fest
24 – Iowa City, IA @ The Mill %
25 – Madison, WI @ High Noon Saloon %
26 – Minneapolis, MN @ 7th St. Entry %
28 – Omaha, NE @ Slowdown Front Room %
29 – Lincoln, NE @ Lincoln Calling
30 – Kansas City, MO @ The Record Bar %

1 – Columbia, MO @ Roots n’ Blues n’ BBQ Fest
2 – Louisville, KY @ Headliners Music Hall &
7 – Dallas, TX @ Sons of Hermann Hall *
8 – Austin, TX @ Austin City Limits Festival
9 – Laredo, TX @Old No. 2

# w/ The Strange Boys & Gentleman Jesse
% w/Turbo Fruits
& w/Trampled By Turtles
* w/ The Soft Pack

Devil’s Brigade – Devil’s Brigade – CD Review

Chances are if you have heard of Rancid you already know who Matt Freeman is.  Most notably known for his exceptional bass playing abilities he also is the man behind the gruff gritty vocals sometimes heard on Rancid tracks as well as being a founding member of Operation Ivy.

Not just limiting him solely as a member of Rancid, over the years Freeman has played with legendary X member Exene Cervenka in Auntie Christ, stepped in with Social Distortion, as well as started his own band behind the scenes called Devil’s Brigade.

Devil’s Brigade is a psychobilly/punk rock side project started in 2000 with fellow band mate Tim Armstrong between Rancid tours.  The project yielded a couple of EPs and some of the songs were featured on Hellcat Records Give Em The Boot compilations but a formal album never was released.   After Rancid released Let The Dominos Fall in 2009 Freeman decided that it was time to head to the studio and make something of his project.

At first Freeman was hoping to record a musical about the “Half Way To Hell Club”, a name that was given to those who fell off the Golden Gate Bridge during its construction and fell into a safety net.  Although Freeman skipped the idea of the musical, he did take six of the songs he wrote for the musical along with original Devil’s Brigade songs and decided to put them together on an album.

Enlisting Armstrong as well as DJ Bonebrake, another member of X fame, they entered the studio earlier this year and recorded the self titled release.  With Freeman taking vocal duties he also decided to play stand up bass throughout while Armstrong played guitar and DJ Bonebrake on drums.  Dropping at the end of August, the album will mark yet another consecutive release by a member of Rancid on Hellcat Records proving that they have no intentions of quitting anytime soon.

“I’m Moving Through” opens the album full forced with Freeman’s indistinguishable singing backed by his bass playing immediately grabbing my attention.  “My Own Man Now” really did not sound anything outside of Rancid but nonetheless was still enjoyable and carried that Bay City punk sound I have been fond of half my life.  “Shake Down” followed with Freeman slapping his stand up bass singing about his “25 years of punk, rock, and roll”.

“Bridge Of Gold”, featuring Armstrong and Lars Frederickson, was a noteworthy song about the building of the Golden Gate Bridge and was one of my favorite cuts off the album.  I loved the old barroom jam sound with the piano in the background and just the reference itself to a 1930’s wonder of the world.

“Ride Harley Ride” was a mysterious biker tune with an almost Natural Born Killers feel to it.  “Vampire Girl” repeated “I want to get rid of you” throughout the twangy psychobilly tune.  “Gentleman Of The Road” was another track I really enjoyed with xylophone, a distinct bass line, and outlaw story to follow.  Closing the album was the working man’s “Half Way To Hell”, another track I really appreciated due to the guitar playing and history contained within.

It’s easy for someone to assume that this is just another Rancid release, but once you hear the album your opinion will be changed.  Of course it is going to sound like Rancid here and there, look who’s in it.  Once you actually sit back and listen you will understand that it is a Matt Freeman project full of what he enjoys to do.  He has branched in his own direction with his musical talent just like Lars Frederickson & the Bastards did as well as the Transplants.

The album is enjoyable all around without any lulls in between.  Freeman has no trouble displaying his musical abilities from slapping the bass to screaming in the mic.   I am glad he finally decided to do something with Devil’s Brigade finally.  What was just a spare time thing at one time has incorporated into something so much more.

Already touring in support of the release, Freeman has gathered up a touring band and will be joining fellow label mates the Street Dogs and Left Alone.

Devils Brigade Tour Dates:
Sept 7 – San Antonio, TX – White Rabbit
Sept 9 – St. Petersburg, FL – State Theatre
Sept 10 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL – Revolution
Sept 11 – Orlando, FL – Firestone Live
Sept 12 – Jacksonville Beach, FL – Freebird Café
Sept 13 – Charleston, SC – The Oasis
Sept 14 – Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade
Sept 16 – Washington, DC – Rock and Roll Hotel
Sept 17 – Philadelphia, PA – Theatre of Living Arts
Sept 18 – New York City, NY – The Gramercy Theatre
Sept 19 – Pawtucket, RI – The Met Café
Sept 21 – Buffalo, NY – Town Ballroom
Sept 22 – Pittsburgh, PA – Diesel
Sept 23 – Cleveland, OH – Grog Shop
Sept 24 – Hamtramck, MI – Small’s
Sept 25 – Chicago, IL – Reggies Rock Club
Sept 26 – St. Louis, MO – Firebird
Sept 28 – Dallas, TX – The Loft
Sept 29 – Austin, TX – Red Seven
Oct 7 – Tempe, AZ – The Clubhouse
Oct 8 – Santa Ana, CA – Galaxy Theatre
Oct 9 – Los Angeles, CA – El Rey Theatre
Oct 16 – San Francisco, CA – Slim’s
Oct 19 – Portland, OR – Hawthorne Theatre
Oct 20 – Seattle, WA – Chop Suey
Oct 21 – Boise, ID – Knitting Factory Concert House
Oct 22 – Salt Lake City, UT – Club Sound
Oct 23 – Denver, CO – Marquis Theatre
Oct 24 – Colorado Springs, CO – Black Sheep

Friday Night: $wingin’ Utter$, The Menzingers, & The Facials

Do you like punk rock?

No seriously…do you?  I hope you have not made any plans this Friday because punk rock heroes The Swingin’ Utters are playing with The Menzingers, and The Facials in a small bar also know as Rockstar in good ol’ classy Cleveland, OH.

This is your chance to see 3 amazing punk rock acts for the low low price of $13.

The Utters just started recording new material after a seven year break and rumor has it will be releasing a new album shortly. This will be my first time seeing these guys live.  I swear, every time they have played Cleveland I either forgot or had to work.  No way am I missing out on this chance to see them finally.

The Menzingers, one of my top punk acts of 2010, are just full of energy and are looking to have a good time. This will be my first time seeing them live on account of the band canceling their set at the NOFX show I attended earlier this year in Covington, KY.  Needless to say I am psyched.

The Facials….suck.  Show up late so you do not have to see them.  I am kidding.  The Facials are like family to me and have been in the Cleveland punk scene for years now.  If you have not seen this local act yet do yourself a favor and get there early grab a PBR and enjoy.

Tri-C: Coheed & Cambria + Cleveland

Who:   Coheed & Cambria w/ special guests Porcupine Tree and The Dear Hunter
When:  Aug 26th – 7:30pm   
Where: Nautica Pavilion (or whatever the hell it is called)

Progressive indie rockers Coheed & Cambria return to Cleveland this week with special guests Porcupine Tree and The Dear Hunter.  I really didn’t think I was going to make it to this show but a pair of tickets landed in my lap and there is no way I am going to miss seeing them.  Having been to multiple Coheed shows over the years I know they never fail to impress.  Looking forward to seeing Porcupine Tree finally as well as taking in The Dear Hunter.

Interview: Sundowner (aka Chris McCaughan of The Lawrence Arms)

A few weeks back I had the pleasure of reviewing the newest release of Chris McCaughan’s side project, Sundowner.  For those of you who are not familiar with McCaughan, he is a guitarist and vocalist in The Lawrence Arms.   Having been a fan of The Larry Arms for quite some time I was really impressed with what he had to offer on We Chase The Waves It stuck to me in a good way thanks to the mellow feel throughout along side McCaughan’s storytelling.  It’s been, hands down, one of my favorite releases to date this year.

Recently I had the opportunity to chat with McCaughan about Sundowner and just plain old randomness.  He was more than kind to answer some questions for me and actually made me hungry by the end of the interview – a first for me.

Let’s do this…

So let’s start things off…  How did Sundowner start?  Was it something that you wanted to do for a while?

Sundowner started in the attic of my parents house as acoustic songs recorded to an old four track which I posted to a myspace page.  Then eventually there were enough songs to actually consider the idea of making a real record. So, it was born out of wanting to share some songs and enjoying playing the acoustic guitar and singing with it. I didn’t start it with the intention of a fully realized project, just a way to create and have fun.

I know mostly it began with just you during your free time but you have some friends as well who chipped in and soon were playing intimate shows in the Chicago area.  Who all did you recruit or did they sort of just blend in naturally?

It began as a solo foray but as I prepared for making the first record I enlisted Neil of The Lawrence Arms and Jenny Choi, who is a talented musician from Chicago to play on 4152. Only Neil played on We Chase the Waves.  My friend Eli Caterer plays electric guitar live sometimes and adds a really unique element when we have the chance to do that. Now I play solo most of the time but occasionally Neil and Eli join me.

Where did the moniker come from?  Why  Sundowner?  Which sundowner do you refer to with your band name?

It was the original name of a song on 4152 called “Midsummer Classic” but at the time I didn’t want to use my name because it didn’t feel right and I wasn’t certain of where I was going with all this. So I adopted Sundowner and changed the name of that song. I like that the word refers to different things. My initial associations were drinks and sunsets which seemed fitting. If I had to choose the meanings I like the most I’d go with ‘hobo’ or ‘trade wind’ over some of the other references.

Did you ever think that your solo material would make it onto an album, let alone two?

I figured I had one in me but it wasn’t till I was about three quarters of the way through writing the second record that I actually knew I had another one in me and that I wanted to make it. I feel like I’ve just followed where my instincts have taken me and tried to make records that were authentic and genuine. Like I said, I didn’t initially start making acoustic songs as a way to start making records.

Was there any inspiration behind your solo material or was it all you?

Inspiration comes from everywhere, man. I know it sounds funny but for me it’s true. I kind of feel like the songs are a way to filter and understand my experience in the world. It seems cheesy but that’s where it comes from.

I totally get what you are saying.  So what can you tell me about the new album We Chase The Waves that recently dropped on August 10th?

It’s a collection of material that was written, put together and recorded over the last couple years. It’s a homemade album. My friend Neil Hennessy helped me make and played the bass on.  I think it exhibits a progression in sound for me.  I think it offers what a lot of fans of the Lawrence Arms have come to expect from me but my hope is that it displays some kind of evolved focus.

Is it true that it was recorded in eight months at someone’s pad?

Yes, totally true. We recorded some of it at my house and a bunch at Neil’s place. It’s what made the experience so unique and different than any record I’ve ever made. Borrowed gear, just hanging out together making a record with the resources we had and no time limitations or deadlines. It was a super cool process. We were trying to capture the natural feel of the songs and felt like making the record in its home environment was a good way to try to make that happen.

Are there any songs off the new album that you favor over others?  My favorite is easily “Mouth Of A Tiger”.

If I had to choose I would pick “In the Flicker” “What Beadie Said” and “As The Crow Flies”. Those are the songs that I see as the pillars of the record – that hold it all together. “Mouth of A Tiger” is also a song that I think really illustrates what makes the record new and exciting.

Not that I am complaining, but is there any reason why you did your own rendition of “Baseball’s Sad Lexicon”?

I did it cuz it was fun and I’m a lifelong Cubs fan. I like the vintage ditty feel of it. My friend Ryan Suma played the lapsteel on it. It was a blast. I love baseball.

Any offers from the Cubs yet to play that for the fans?  I know Dropkick Murphy’s were asked to play “Tessie” in Boston before.

Not yet but I’d love to sing the seventh inning stretch. Of course I’d probably destroy it. Eh, couldn’t be as bad as Ditka and he’s a god in this town. I’d like to see a bunch of drunk old Cubs fan[s] sing it polka style.

I saw your blog about LeBron James and Chicago a few weeks ago before the final call was made.  I loved the title of the blog – I just hope he remembers to wipe the blood off the knife when he pulls it from Cleveland’s back”.  I am assuming you are a huge sports fan based upon what you wrote.  Are you bummed he did not go to Chicago?

Sure. It would’ve been great. He’s a one of kind talent. But I never really thought we’d get him. We did alright in the off season though and just because the Heat are stacked doesn’t guarantee anything. That’s why they play the games.

Do you agree with me and feel that his stupid ESPN decision special was not needed?

It was poorly executed. I think when everyone tells you you’re a king you’re decision making becomes cloudy. He should’ve gone about it the same way all the big athletes do. It was painful to watch and made him look like kind of a self congratulatory dork.

Seems like a lot of punk rockers turn to folk/acoustic projects as age catches up with them.  Who are some of your favorites?

Of course Chuck Ragan and Tim Barry do great folk punk. I love Joey Cape’s solo stuff a lot. I really love Jose Gonzales. I like to think this new record of mine isn’t really folk/punk. I don’t know entirely how I’d classify it. I think that’s a good thing.

Do you see that movement as a trend or something much more than that?

I don’t know man. I’m not one for identifying movements and trends. I think time and history makes those judgments.

What about in general?  What bands are you currently in to?

I’m not really into a lot of bands. I haven’t really discovered a lot of new music lately. I like Neil Young and Leonard Cohen a lot.

If you had to pick Sundowner or The Lawrence Arms who would you go with?

Picking Sundowner would be quiet, kinda lonesome . . . picking the Arms would be loud, kinda drunk . . . I guess there’s a time for both.

Are you planning on taking Sundowner on the road?

No plans to do any heavy touring but I will get out and play some shows here and there.  It’s tough right now to get out for long runs for a lot of reasons but we’ll see how it all goes.

Technically you could open for yourself.  Has that happened yet?

Yes. Sundowner and The Falcon opened for The Lawrence Arms in 2007. I think that’s something you only try once maybe. I dunno.

During past live Sundowner shows you have covered Lawrence Arms songs, is that something you see happening again when you do get to play out?

Occasionally I play Arms songs, which is fun. I have a lot more Sundowner songs to choose from now so that all depends on timing. I leave those decisions up to the moment and let that happen as it happens.

Why should someone check out Sundowner?

I think fans of the Lawrence Arms will hopefully find something they already kinda like, although it is very different. I think there is something very universal that music fans may be drawn to, melody, lyrics, themes, sounds. I feel like it’s an honest and genuine record and my hope is all types of people will enjoy it.  Cheers.

Finally, what’s next for Chris McCaughan?

Omelettes. . . and some more coffee