Hey all, I will be the first to admit I have neglected the hell out of this site.
I am going through some life changes currently and have every intention of rebooting this blog very soon. I promise y’all, I am ok. Been a rough start to the year, but the future is looking to be just fine.
Aiming to cover this summer’s Punk in Drublic festival at Nautica (it will always be Nautica). I also have a handful of albums I need to review so stick around and see if I hold myself to this.
Bands like Big Nothing are hard to come by. I first learned of them back in 2019 and have been a fan since. Their style then was something that was just so enticing to my ears. Said release became one of my favorites and to this day is still in regular rotation.
Featuring Liz Parsons (bass/vocals), Matt Quinn (guitar/vocals), Pat Graham (guitar/vocals), and Chris Jordan (drums), Big Nothing has this distinctive charisma all in thanks to how they share vocal duties that coincides with the music they create. Their overall style, which clearly shows strong appreciation for various genres of music, results in an unique sound that teeters between indie punk and alt-country without missing a beat.
“Always On My Mind” opened up this 10-track album with an impactful yet chill song about inhibitions around courtship. I loved their regressed sound that the band managed to produce outside of traditional studio sessions all in thanks to stupid Covid.
I loved everything about “A Lot of Finding Out.” With so many proper Westerberg similarities, this track sucked me in immediately. It was personal and wholesome and catered directly to the listener.
“Still Sorta Healing,” all in thanks to Parsons, reminded me of early Juliana Hatfield in the best way. This track brought me back to the days when I shook off the grunge and started expanding on my musical tastes
The damper “Curiosity” was an alt-country stumble that truly hit at somber feelings. I’m almost afraid to know what this one was about. Truly a personal battle with the loss of great impact.
I feel the band came together the most in “Dog Hours.” This track was just great in every way. Without being overly complex, it carried a good sound throughout.
“Make Believe” had Parsons taking over lead vocals once again changing the dynamic of the album without distraction. I honestly look forward to this shift as it showcases the true talent of this band.
“Accents” just ruled. The hook on this track was so memorable it had me singing along at first listen. This track is going to get this band a lot of attention I feel. Seriously, scroll down and listen to this one.
In true alt-country form, “What I Wanna Say” closed down the album with a good story backed by harmony and twang. I loved the laughing and someone saying “done” at the end, but it just left me wanting more.
Dog Hours continued where Chris left off for listeners like myself who just simply wanted more jams from their debut. There was a clear in change in tempo and style for the benefit of the band. With a more intimate, pure sound, I feel more connected to this band. As much as I adore their debut, Dog Years is equally as impressive.
Call me corny, but they really should have called themselves Big Everything. Dog Hours without a doubt is one of my fav releases of the year.
I am probably a little overdue for a review, so allow me to take a few moments to talk about a ripper of an album that was sent to me a couple months back by Jake from The Decayed .
I promise y’all it was listened to upon release, the delay on my end came from carving out some time to talk about it.
Hailing from South Chicago, The Decayed manage to smash punk and thrash together making for a unique, full of angst listen. The foursome are working class dudes with vocal opinions and zero filter. Their debut Corrupt Politician Will Set You Free dropped almost a year to the day, so apologies on my end for the delay of this post.
The album cover clearly has a They Live feel with a money-hungry politician surrounded by brute force that more than compensates for the album’s title. Before even listening to this, I had a feeling it was going to have tons of raw energy.
“Piece By Piece” had me slightly nervous that the back was nothing more than a Jackyl spinoff with the chainsaw, but boy I was dead wrong. These dudes just jumped right into it and got to business. Think street punk mixed with thrash and a steady bass lick keeping it all together.
“Abandon Hope” was the prominent song off this album with a powerful metal / punk collaboration enjoyable throughout. Loved the riffs on this one that tore into solitude and escape.
“Desolate” to me is what Bleeding Through would have sounded like if they skipped the metalcore and fell towards hardcore. This was a brutal track all surrounding gut feelings about propaganda and failed states.
Sounding like and angry early AFI sans emotion came “A Fire Inside”. I laugh about this one because it was not until a few minutes into writing that comparison did I line up that AFI is abbreviation for, yeah, you guessed it. Coincidence? Perhaps. The track is a good listen.
“The Old & The Dead” easily was one of my choice cuts all in thanks to angry old man punk with Matt Fremon-like bass playing. This song isn’t cookie-cutter at all and just blatantly tells you how it is and I for one appreciated the hell out of it.
“One Last Ride” was a working class, do-or-die punk rock track. I have to hand it to them, hearing “I got a perfect view of heaven from my front row seat in hell” was quite appealing to me. This wasn’t a happy-ending by any means and was more so a vision of extremities when all else is lost.
The Decayed are on the same page as Anti-Flag but far heavier. If you carry the same ideals and need something to just get your blood pumping as you question this reality built around, I’d consider checking out Corrupt Politicians Will Never Set You Free. If you are on the other side of the tracks, I hope this offends the shit out of you.
The debut was pressed on a black & white splatter LP which just looks awesome and sounds amazing when played loud. You can snag one for yourself on their Bandcamp page. It is also steaming on all of those platforms that will never pay artists what they truly deserve, except for Bandcamp. Here, I will make it easy on you, check them out:
Oh look, the year is about up already. Guess that means it is time to drop my fav releases of yet another messed up year.
The good news about 2021 is that I went to exactly one show, but it was a great show with amazing humans all around.
Anyways, I am busy as shit with the paying gig and that dad life, so I am going to try and keep things short and sweet this year. With any luck, I will add to this some content on why these hit me the most. To be continued I suppose.
Check out the albums in no particular order that caught my attention throughout the year:
BHP BEST OF 2021 LIST
Turnstyle – Glow On
Heart Attack Man – Thoughtz & Prayerz
Lars Fredericksen – To Victory
One Step Closer – This Place You know
Johnny Dynamite and the Bloodsuckers – Sleeveless
Kali Masi – [Laughs]
Haunt – Beautiful Distraction
Neighborhood Brats – Confines of Life
Shitty Neighbors – People I Know
Heart & Lung – Twistin’ The Knife Away
Joystick – I Can’t Take It Anymore
Descendents – 9th & Walnut
Jeff Rosenstock – SKA DREAM
Lucero – When You Found Me
Jonathan Richman – Want To Visit My Inner House?
Sincere Engineer – Bless My Psyche
Juice Newson – Suburban Soul
Needles//Pins – Self-Titled
Brain Cave – Log World
Section H8 – Welcome to the Nightmare
Fiddlehead – Between The Richness
Bands: Thanks for doing what you do.
Labels & Promoters: Thanks for helping out the bands to their thing and release their music be it physical or digital and for supporting them while trying to tour in these most uncertain times. Also, thanks for the consideration when pimping them out. I am a lucky guy for this opportunity.
Finally: Thanks to YOU (yes, you). If you are even looking at this. I struggle every year if I want to keep blogging, and honestly I figure if someone out there can take some time to log in and look, then I can at least try and do my thing.
Heart & Lung were one of Cleveland’s best kept punk rock secrets until that Toby guy over at Red Scare had to sign them and promote the ever-living hell out of them for all to adore.
Rightfully so though, this upbeat band rips on so many levels, is fun, and absolutely deserves the attention.
The foursome has been doing their thing for over 5 years now and just have this ability to put you in a great freaking mood. They are hilarious, but will strike your ass with their snark and style – so try not to make any eye-contact at a show (just kidding, they are super friendly folk).
Unlike any typical non-serious review I have ever done, I think it is important to share my latest dumb idea for a t-shirt for these guys to lean into what I want to say next about them:
HEART, LUNGS, & HARMONY (This of course is done in the style of the Bone, Thugs, and Harmony logo …)
The balance these dudes carry is unreal. This is not some NOFX-bellyaching where they talk over tunes, Heart & Lung just carry an ability to combine and lead from each other’s verses without disrupting.
Anyways stupid, but rad idea – hint, hint.
The boys dropped their sophomore release titled Twistin’ The Knife Away in mid-October on Red Scare records, and it was an instant classic to my ears. Hell, Brenden Kelly said himself, “What do you kids say these days? It fucks? It slaps? It does all that stuff.” He ain’t wrong.
The album is a quick listen, but is full of tracks that are going to get stuck in your head and played over and over.
“Watch You Suffer” started off the release with a fast-paced banger for all to adore. The band has no problem holding back on this track surrounded by the best intentions for someone who clearly sucks. As much as I adore the breakdown on this one, the guitar licks are where it’s at.
“I’m Fine” is a day-to-day reminder of the things we do living in this repetitious life. Loved that they tossed in their debut album name on this, but the punky bluegrass build up was what won me over on this track. The harmonies kick in hard here to the point I have been singing this one to myself a lot lately when the day is challenging.
“Headache” was slightly toned down with good reason. I loved the emotion in this track while sitting back and realizing how aligned I am with the subject.
Loved the Blazing Saddles quote on “Shit Together”, a song the pretty much defined many of our entry to adulthood lives while stuck trying to figure things out. Damn song almost made me sad listening to it as I recalled too many parts of it in a personal aspect.
Probably one of my favorite tracks was “Never Come Home”. This song did not let up once and carried almost hidden powerful encouragement in regards to moving on when life comes down in the worst way. Maybe skip this one if you just broke up with someone recently.
“Control” was another good one that had some hints of bluegrass masked over clearly by the good stuff. This track was harmonic, yet quick and totally captured my total attention.
With 3 singers who connect on the best level, this band is incredible and entertaining to listen to. Taking queues from their previous bluegrass talent, these boys know how to steal your attention with some of the catchiest music I have heard all year. Do not take my word for it, check out Twistin’ The Knife Away and thank me later after your 20th listen.
Heart & Lung have been touring to the best of their ability lately and are opening for some band called Lagwagon in early December at the Grog Shop. Should be a good time had by all!
Twistin’ The Knife Away is on those streaming services, but if you really want to supposed a rad act, head over to the Red Scare Industries store and pick up a copy or 2. Tis the season to rack up credit!