Philadelphia punkers Dirty Tactics are officially the band I overlooked last year. In a day and age where punk rock music is taking all sorts of diversions into different genres, sometimes I am just hesitant of checking out newer acts.
Maybe it’s the old man in me telling me to hold back as I sadly think I have heard it all or perhaps I’ve just grown tired of band after band sounding alike. Whatever the reason is, I am glad I took a moment to pop in It Is What It Is, the bands sophomore album on Say-10 Records.
From the very start of the CD I was into it. It was not because the band exploded into a infectious jam (that was later), it was because of a certain dated excerpt of an interview that opened the album. Where as I can not pinpoint who the actual band is that is being interviewed, someone who sounds an awful like Mick Jones of the Clash says “it’s just like, there just has to be new groups and that’s just what you got,” when asked where punk rock started. Without time to agree with that statement, Dirty Tactics jumped into “When You Wake Up” a dirty DIY sounding catchy-ass song.
“Baltimore” followed the opening track continuing with an infectious pop-punky (see, I told you that happened later) song that won me over mostly thanks to the use of the organ throughout. Begging to be sung along to was “The Process”, a pop-punk heavy track wit a dab of clapping to keep that good feeling going.
“Secret Lives” had an interesting prelude to an amazing track. “Train Song” proved it is ok to play organ in a punk rock song and have fun doing so. All I could think to myself is how amazingly talented these guys were and I was only halfway thought the album.
“Arkansas” was unlike any other song previously heard and perhaps my favorite. Upright piano, almost whispering gruff singing, and distant percussion brought together this quick gem of a track that begged to be listened to over and over again.
The shift in sound also applied to the final track “Blind Man”, a trippy track that sounded almost as if Jeffrey Lewis wrote it. Even if it was out of the norm I loved it and especially appreciated the repeat of “it’s what you got” taken from the opening sample at the songs end.
Dirty Tactics are group of talented and hardworking musicians that make punk, well…punk. They recorded the It Is What It Is themselves, work their day jobs when home, and tour when the time is right. I only hope to catch this band live one day.
It Is What It Is just isn’t just an album that I’ll be listening to a couple of times and forget about…and yes I mean that. I am pretty sure they will remain in regular rotation for me for quite some time. If you have not heard of Dirty Tactics yet make sure you put that on your to do list.
Working class punk rock has never sounded so good thanks to Scranton, PA’s The Menzingers who recently dropped their sophomore release Chamberlain Waits on Red Scare Records. The foursome are making a name for themselves by escaping from the clutches of The Electric City and sharing their dirty punk rock style with the world. Named one of of AP Magazine’s 2010 bands to watch, all it takes is one listen to understand how exceptional this young act is.
At first listen it was apparent Chamberlain Waits was a winner to my ears. The different genres, ranging from a DIY punk feel to hearty rock and roll, made for a unique style so commonly attempted but rarely fine tuned. Think the likes of The Clash, Against Me!, and even a little Bruce Springsteen added to blatant determination from group of four who were once told they were going no where with their lives. The result is a start to finish straightforward album that absolutely rocks.
All is took was the opening track, “Who’s Your Partner”, for myself to become an instant fan of this band. I enjoyed the more rock feel throughout the song as well as lead vocalist’s Tom May’s singing styles. “I Was Born” continued with the band bordering tastefully on the lines of a punk song and rock song with equal screams and harmony. “Deep Sleep” easily could have been created by a certain Gainsville, FL act with amazing sing along qualities and likable guitar playing but it was not and regardless of the similarities to other bands the song was one of my favorites to listen to on the album.
The fist pumping “Tasker-Morris Station” showed a heavier more intense side of the band. The track was really put together well without being overproduced. “So It Goes” was another great track on the album with insane amounts of sing along opportunities. As great as all previous songs, “Rivalries” hands down was the winning cut on the album for me. I loved the opening of the track that soon morphed into a toe tapping rock track with ever so real lyrics regarding failure and accord. “Come Here Often?” followed and all I could think to myself was how each song seemingly got better and better. Closing album title track “Chamberlain Waits” started off mildly folky but erupted into an energetic group singing jam that closed out the album perfectly.
I can honestly say that this band has the potential to be the next big thing – Chamberlain Waits is an album I can easily listen to over and over without growing tiresome of. Fans of Against Me! and The Gaslight Anthem, I would like to introduce you to your newest obsession…The Menzingers.
The Menzingers are actually the the middle of a giant tour right now with heavy hitters NOFX, Tony Sly, and Teenage Bottlerocket as well as will be playing a couple shows with Against Me! and Cheap Girls. Do yourself a favor and get out to one of their shows if you can and if not I highly suggest you at least check them out and see what they are all about. I don’t usually get this excited for bands these days but The Menzingers pretty much have taken two genres of music I adore and slammed them into something amazing.
Apr 29 2010 – The Riverside Theater W/ NOFX, Teenage Bottlerocket, and Tony Sly -Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Apr 30 2010 – The Madison Theater W/ NOFX, Teenage Bottlerocket, Tony Sly – Covington, Kentucky
May 1 2010 – Pops Nightclub W/ NOFX, Teenage Bottlerocket, Tony Sly – Sauget, Illinois
May 2 2010 – The Beaumont Club W/ NOFX, Teenage Bottlerocket, Tony Sly – Kansas City, Missouri
May 3 2010 – Firehouse Pizza & Pub – Normal, Illinois
May 4 2010 – Rock Island Brewing Company W/ Against Me! and Dead To Me – Rock Island, Illinois
May 5 2010 – Slowdown W/ Against Me! and Dead To Me – Omaha, Nebraska
May 6 2010 – The Black Sheep W/ Against Me! and Dead To Me – Colorado Springs, Colorado
May 7 2010 – Launchpad W/ Against Me! and Dead To Me – Albuquerque, New Mexico
May 10 2010 – Jakes W/ Against Me! and Dead To Me – Lubbock, Texas
May 11 2010 – Scoutbar W/ Against Me! and Dead To Me – San Antonio, Texas
May 12 2010 – One Eyed Jack’s W/ Against Me! and Dead To Me – New Orleans, Louisiana
May 13 2010 – Alabama Music Box W/ Against Me! and Dead To Me – Mobile, Alabama
May 14 2010 – Sector 7G W/ Against Me! and Dead To Me – Augusta, Georgia
May 15 2010 – Visulite Theatre W/ Against Me! – Charlotte, North Carolina
May 17 2010 – The Hangar W/ Nothington, Spanish Gamble – Greenville, South Carolina
May 18 2010 – The Tipsy W/ The Holy Mess – Greenville, North Carolina
May 20 2010 – 538 Johnson W/ The Holy Mess, Timeshares, 10-4 Eleanor – Brooklyn, New York
May 21 2010 – The Democracy Center W/ The Holy Mess, Choke Up – Cambridge, Massachusetts
May 22 2010 – Cafe Metropolis CD RELEASE SHOW! W/ The Holy Mess – Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
May 23 2010 – The Fire CD RELEASE SHOW! W/ The Holy Mess – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
May 27 2010 – Most Wanted Fine Art – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
May 28 2010 – Mickey Finns Pub (All Ages) – Toledo, Ohio
May 29 2010 – Windy City Sound Clash II @ The Subterranean – Chicago, Illinois
May 30 2010 – The Speakeasy (314 S Hamilton St) W/ Cheap Girls – Madison, Wisconsin
May 31 2010 – Triple Rock W/ Cheap Girls – Minneapolis, Minnesota
Jun 2 2010 – Marquis Theatre W/ Cheap Girls – Denver, Colorado
Jun 3 2010 – TBA W/ Cheap Girls – Salt Lake City, Utah
Jun 4 2010 – Red Room W/ Cheap Girls – Boise, Idaho
Jun 5 2010 – The Know W/ Cheap Girls – Portland, Oregon
Jun 6 2010 – Studio Seven W/ Cheap Girls – Seattle, Washington
Jun 7 2010 – TBA W/ Cheap Girls – Redding, California
Jun 8 2010 – Thee Parkside W/ Cheap Girls – San Francisco, California
Jun 9 2010 – The CYC W/ Cheap Girls – Fresno, California
Jun 10 2010 – The Warehouse W/ Cheap Girls – Pomona, California
Jun 11 2010 – Radio Room W/ Cheap Girls – San Diego, California
Jun 12 2010 – Rogue Bar W/ Cheap Girls – Scottsdale, Arizona
Jun 13 2010 – The Underground W/ Soul Control – Mesa, Arizona
Jun 14 2010 – Echo Chamber W/ Soul Control – Portales, New Mexico
Jun 15 2010 – The Maquiladora W/ Soul Control – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Jun 16 2010 – The Ten Eleven W/ Soul Control – San Antonio, Texas
Jun 17 2010 – The Mink W/ Soul Control – Houston, Texas
Jun 18 2010 – The Rabbit Hole W/ Soul Control – Panama City, Florida
Jun 20 2010 – Backbooth W/ Soul Control – Orlando, Florida
Jun 21 2010 – The House Of Hardcore W/ Soul Control – Columbia, South Carolina
Jun 22 2010 – The Camel W/ Soul Control – Richmond, Virginia
Jun 23 2010 – Ava House W/ Soul Control – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Jun 25 2010 – Insubordination Fest – Baltimore, Maryland
Jun 26 2010 – Insubordination Fest – Baltimore, Maryland
Japanther, an amusing, Brooklyn, experimental, trash punk rock act has recently released Tut Tut Now Shake Ya Butt on Wantage Records. This twosome do-it-yourself band has been going strong for over seven years thanks to their inimitable style and rareness. If you are artsy or into performing arts, chances are you may have already heard of this duo. Far from being in the spotlight, they hold their own having played shows in famous NYC museums and venues but have caught a taste of mainstream recently opening for Against Me!
I heard their band name before I ever actually heard their music and I must say after checking out Tut Tut Now Shake Ya Butt I have to say this is a weird yet interesting band reminding me of Negativeland meets the Dead Milkmen. It’s good though in the sense that the duo, art school heroes, do things all by themselves with limited assistance.
Opening tracks “Um, Like Your Smile Is Totally Ruining Me” sounding like a high school basement project and the unusual “Bloated Corpse” made it clear that these guys are in their own little world. Their sound is not what I thought at all but I found myself enjoying it.
“Bumpin’ Rap Tapes” was a cute friendless love track with lyrics that reminded me of something I might have written back in the days of high school hell. The cover of New Bad Things “The Dirge” entertained with under processed rock, but just wasn’t enough for me.
I was impressed to see that legendary Crass drummer Penny Rimbaud was not only the executive producer of their album but also contributed some of his poems for use in “Africa Seems So Far Away” and “I Thee Indigene”. Both tracks were spoken words of sorts with strange beats accompanying Penny Rimbaud reciting his works. Perhaps boring to some but when you are a fan of William S. Burroughs or spoken word in general, like I am, you tend to like stuff like this.
MC Spank Rock from Baltimore added his style to “Radical Businessman” an indie sounding track inspired from actual events of MC Spank Rock getting arrested. “Before The Sun Goes Down” closed out the CD with a track I favored over the rest. The song was a little more punked out over the previous.
The CD may not seem too exciting at first listen but then again this band is more of a DIY performing arts band and probably could care less what anyone thinks. They are known to take their music to the next level with interesting live shows that have featured synchronized swimmers at one show and puppets fighting at another. Not knowing this in advance may really stray you away from their material but once you see a clip of a live performance you can start to understand what the hell is going on…maybe.
The following videos are from previous releases. After viewing them I really see that Tut Tut Now Shake Ya Butt really strays in a different direction and I am thinking it was a result of Penny Rimbaud working with the duo. From what I have seen I think it would be best if I checked out Japanther’s catalog.