If you know me at a personal level, you know that this year was a wild one and full of challenges and accomplishments. Needless to say, I have made the best of it and can tell you I have managed to take time for myself to enjoy it.
I went to more shows this year than ever and rekindled my love for live music. I reconnected with friends and even started a side gig making lamps with some of my fav people.
Even with all that has been going on, I still have listened to music on a daily basis. I may not have done as much as I had wanted to with the site here, but I am still going to take a moment to share with you a random ass list of albums that dropped in 2022 that caught my attention.
There are plenty more I am sure I overlooked. I am sure I will add to it here and there, but the following were amazing according to me:
BHP BEST OF 2022 LIST
STS x RJD2 – Escape from Sweet Auburn
This is one of those albums that just blew me away from the moment I checked it out. I am a huge RJD2 fan, but I had no idea of the talent that is STS. These two joined forces for a reason and the outcome is amazing.
SACK – Ripper!
This band rips so hard that I caught Covid at their show when they played Cleveland. No joke. Certainly, one of my fav punk albums of the year.
Cave In – Heavy Pendulum
Per Spotify, this was my most listened to album of this year. There is a reason for that. I absolutely love what this band has turned into. This album exceeded all expectations as a fan.
Curtail – When the Sway Sets
This album is like dipping back to my teenage years. So much 90s flair with a lo-fi sound that easily sucked me in. Added bonus, this band is comprised of some amazing humans.
Pool Kids – Pool Kids
This right here is the #1 album to not listen to when you are having a relationship change. It brought me to almost tears the moment I heard it, but honestly, I needed it.
Dream Widow – Dream Widow
This album was made specifically for the cult slasher flick Studio 666 starring everyone’s fav rock band the Foo Fighters. The movie was amazing, but this album is just insane.
Frank Turner – FTHC
This album was a little harder then the last few and carried some pent up angst that I fed on during tougher times this year. “Haven’t Been Doing So Well” seemingly was my theme song this year at times.
No Trigger – Dr. Album
Easily one of the best punk rock albums to drop this year. Do not sleep on this one.
Signals Midwest – Dent
I adore this band and everything they stand for. It was no surprise how much I got into this release. I will sound like dad here, but it is what it is: I am so proud of how this band has grown as musicians. This album is a total testament to that.
Cigar – The Visitor
It’s not every day a band busts out an album 22 years after their debut. With a slight lineup change, the band sounded as amazing as ever.
Soul Glo – Diaspora Problems
This band has certainly had some challenges over the years but haven’t let anything stop them. In fact, I think they just got stronger because of it.
The Flatliners – New Ruin
Cresswell and crew simply can do no wrong. Full of anger and angst, this release at times pointed back to the younger years of the band with heavier moments.
Gospel – The Loser
17 years after their debut, Gospel dropped this album. I cannot tell you how many times I have listened to this prog heavy masterpiece.
City of Caterpillar – Mystic Sisters
I am not complaining at all how many bands from years back dropped albums after an extensive period of time, but City of Caterpillar dropped a follow-up 20 years later and needless to say, it rules a lot.
The Smile – A Light for Attracting Attention
Comprised of Radiohead’s Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood and as well as Sons of Kemet’s Tom Skinner, this album really reached back to a younger Radiohead sound, something I absolutely adore.
Viagra Boys – Cave World
Viagra Boys are like Ween and Electric Six on a cocaine bender. This band is a new level of fun and this album helps prove that.
Vein.fm – This World Is Going to Ruin You
This is a post-hardcore / nu-metal release that may be my favorite thing this band has done to date.
EDIT (6-JAN-2023) Shocking….I totally forgot these few too:
A Wilhelm Scream – Lose Your Delusion
Easily the catchiest punk album of 2023. I listened to this probably too much. That opening track alone…
The Interrupters – In The Wild
Solid release by a band that certainly deserves all of the attention. I almost wish Rancid would have just recorded this for themselves. Not dismissing the band at all, but def has that Hellcat love.
Cory Branan – When I Go I Ghost
Cory is easily one of the best song writers out there. This album confirms that statement.
Arlo McKinley – This Mess We’re In
Sad and emotional songs sometimes are the best. Arlo has really taken a few steps forward with this amazing release.
Birds In Row – Gris Klein
I was sucked into this album instantly. Powerful and moving I think is the best way to describe it.
Big ups to the bands, the labels, and the readers of this blog. I feel like I say it all of the time, but if it wasn’t for y’all, this blog would not be here.
Special thanks to my friends and family who have gone above and beyond in a time of need. You have no idea how much I value you all. Detail not needed, but I offer my eternal gratitude for helping me get though the low times and keeping me going.
Here’s looking at 2023. I can sit here and say this and that about the blog, but we will see what happens with it. Happy Holidays to you and yours.
Today marks the 14th year that Brokenheadphones has been in existence. It is kind of a cool milestone, so to celebrate I am letting someone else post some content.
Recently I reviewed the bad ass SACK album and Matt from The Witzard reached out saying he recently interviewed Kody and was hoping I could share their conversation on my site. Well of course I said yes.
It was a good read so I hope y’all enjoy it! I can confirm now that I share something with Kody now – getting Covid during the tour. haha.
Take it away Matt:
Straight outta the slums of Northwest Denver, Colorado, SACK is a mysterious band of Party Punks complete with songs about bongs, bikers, and brothels. Like any disreputable gang, they’ve had a series of rotating members over the years, but on Ripper!, it’s Bruzzy (Teenage Bottlerocket, The Lillingtons, The Hybrids,) a couple shredders from Peru (Father Fil & Joe Camel,) a gym teacher, and the neighborhood electrician (which comes in handy, believe it or not!)
They recorded 12 songs at Descendents/Black Flag drummer Bill Stevenson’s The Blasting Room and now these headbangers plan on touring (read: crashing house parties) across the land. SACK’s Ripper! Is now available on Red Scare Industries and is recommended Ffr fans of Turbonegro, FEAR & Lee Ving, The Dwarves, Iggy & The Stooges, and Motörhead.
We got a chance to send some questions over to and conduct a completely wild interview with SACK’s resident dipshit Bruzzy (aka Kody Templeman). Check it out below, if you dare!
Witzard – Who are the various members of SACK and what is each member’s role within the band?
Bruzzy – Dipshit, Joe Camel – Weed, Father Fil – Ears, Chuck Steak – Punctuality, Coach – Motivational Speaker, It – Compassion, Davey Crocket – Smokes, [and] Crash – Hype Man
Aside from SACK, what other note-worthy bands are each of you part of currently or previously played with?
Bricheros, Sleights, Teenage Bottlerockets.
Who or what would you readily cite as of some of your major sources of inspiration and influence while creating your aptly-titled sophomore album, Ripper!?
Alcohol, weed, Dayglo Abortions.
How did you come up with the band name, SACK, and album name, Ripper!, and what do each signify and/or mean?
We used our imagination. Neither stand for shit
What did your writing, recording, production, creation, etc. processes behind Ripper! typically entail?
Bruzzy wrote a good chunk. Fil wrote the music on a few. Bruzzy wrote the lyrics. And the rest of SACK helped tweak the songs. In the studio Coach gave pep talks and pushed the performances further.
How did you guys end up linking up with Tobias “Toby” Jeg, Brendan Kelly (The Lawrence Arms) and Red Scare Industries to ultimately release Ripper!?
They were the only suckers dumb enough to put it out.
Why do you “Hate” The Beach Boys, one of America’s most beloved bands, so much?
We love The Beach Boys! Honest!
How did the headlining SACK tour you guys just recently wrapped up end up going?
We broke down, Bruzzy fucked up his ankle, two of us got Covid. Support band (Flamingo Nosebleed) broke down, singer lost his voice, one dude got Covid, shredded a brand new pair of front tires… I’d call it a win!
When not Ripping! it up as part of SACK, what do each of you guys do for day jobs?
None of your fucking business! Oh, Fil has a recording studio called Green Door in Denver. It’s the best. Your band should record there.
How would you say SACK’s overall sound, style, musical mindset, and approach has changed and evolved since your 2005 debut, Get Wrecked?
Who gives a shit?
Matt Horowitz is a D.I.Y. writer and life-long music lover. He runs his own site, The Witzard and has written for NO ECHO, IDIOTEQ, The Find Mag, post-trash, GrownUpRap, and The Punk Site.
Matt enjoys attending Punk/Hardcore & Hip-Hop shows with his friends and beautiful wife, Caroline. His favorite pastimes include writing, discovering new bands, re-discovering his favorite Punk, Hardcore, Emo, and, yes, Pop-punk bands from high, school, drinking iced coffee, craft beer, and fine wines, and hanging out with his energy-filled 2-year-old son, Peter.
Give Matt a Follow on Twitter (@SharpCheddar856) and Instagram (sharpcheddar856) and check out his website, TheWitzard.com.
Party thrash punkers SACK rip so hard that I got Covid when I saw them live.
No seriously, they played Cleveland at the end of June at a local BBQ joint/bar/venue and I went with a few pals. Two days later, I tested positive for that stupid bastard virus and was knocked off my ass for a week. Totally worth it though, it was one of the better shows I went to this year.
Disclaimer: Not everyone who sees this band is guaranteed to contract a virus.
SACK hails from the Denver area and honestly have had changes in their lineup since they started making music in the early 2000s, but have always entertained the hell out of me.
Currently, Kody of The Lillingtons and Teenage Bottlerocket fronts the band along with a couple of dudes from Peru, some gym teacher, and apparently a local electrician.
Ripper is a 12 song banger of sorts that was recorded at The Blasting Room and released earlier this year on Red Scare Records. This album is for the drunks, the punks, some more drunks, and anyone looking to just rock the hell out. From start to finish, Ripperabsolutely slays, slaps, shreds…shit like that.
“I Hate The Beach Boys” has zero love for that surfer boy band your mom and grandma probably batted lashes at in their younger years. The distaste for the band is evident with Kody just screaming out reasons why he hates them.
“The Return of Mr. Bong” is definitely to be adored by all the stoner heavy metal lovers. Clearly a tale of a party encounter with a superior water pipe taking on everyone.
True story real quick: I was driving somewhere with my windows down blasting “I Tried Suicide” recently and stopped at a light and looked over just in time to see that the song offended another driver enough to make a face of disapproval while rolling up their window. This song is about ending it all with no buffer.
“I Used to Give a Shit” has been my theme song lately. All about not caring and just living life sometimes is the best logic to carry in this day and age. Take it from SACK, caring is stupid.
“Night Shift” for whatever reason reminded me of something that should have been playing in Repo Man when Otto and Bud were driving around L.A.
I loved “The Thesis”, even if it was just a complete train wreck that clocked in at 0:43. I guess I just appreciated the raw, insanity of the track. I could see it as paying homage to a few 80s punk acts.
“Turf War” was upbeat, but clearly tied gangs maintaining their hood. I kind of wish SACK did a music video for this one. It could be like Warriors meet Grand Theft Auto or some bullshit like that.
Ripper was just that when describing the sound held within the album. I literally listened to this for weeks on end over and over. It is fun, raw, and just aimed at having a good time. Sure, if you like Teenage Bottlerocket you will likely be into these dudes especially since “Headbanger” was originally a SACK track. Kody really gives it his all with this band vocally and there is no doubt about that.
Also if you like Guttermouth, FEAR, or even Zeke, chances are you will eat up SACK. Yes, I wrote that on purpose.
No LP yet for Ripper (hint hint), but the album is out all all $treaming $iteS or you can snag a CD from Red Scare if you still rock that compact disc life.
If SACK happens to play a show by you, go. Seeing Kody try and pound a 12-pack during their set was impressive as hell. Just make sure you let the man hit the bathroom after because chances are, he is going to need to relieve himself after that feat.
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!
For well over half my life, I have appreciated all things punk rock. This blogsite here really has stuck around because of that notion. I love listening to the genre, I love talking about it, and specifically I love being part of the community.
I find myself fascinated with 80s and 90s punk mostly perhaps as it was what I was solely focused on as a teen and just is a comforting reminder where I came from. I love learning of side-acts and projects from many of the members of these bands that have helped fuel my life.
A couple months back I was given an opportunity to chat with someone who I have always been a fan of since my early days of becoming obsessed with punk rock. It is no lie, she’s played in one of my favorite bands that I never was able to see back in their heyday.
Thanks to her releasing a debut solo album, Kira Roessler was available for an interview and I made sure I jumped on this opportunity.
If you have no idea who Kira is, then I will give you the high-level recap. She once was the bassist for Black Flag, but that isn’t the only think you should know. Her punk roots go pretty far back to the point Pat Smear and her were in a band called Twisted Roots.
She actually was asked to join Black Flag while she played with DC3 – Mind you, DC3 was fronted by Dez Cadena, formerly of Black Flag,.. – Anyways, she later formed a dual bass band called dos with Mike Watt soon after and dropped a few albums before moving on to other avenues in the film industry. Where not completely removing herself from music, her priorities shifted.
Throughout her musical career, she matured into a more prolific bassist which in turn just continued to impress me. Her solo album is no exception and where it has been years in the making, it is everything I would have expected to come from her.
I had a million questions I wanted to ask Kira, but also did not want to be a nuisance so toned it down some which in turn became quite a great conversation.
Check it out:
BHP: Hey Kira, not going to lie, slightly freaking out over here given your musical history and the the impact your music had on me growing up. I must say I am so stoked to have a moment of your time and promise I am not going to just ask about Black Flag from the get go.
Instead, I’ll start off asking about MinuteFlag. I love that EP so much although hate that the music essentially was released because of Boon’s untimely passing. I am just curious though, how did this collaboration come together in the first place?
Kira: Wow – not many dig this deep. Well Minutemen and Black Flag were obviously label-mates on SST. For a while Mike worked at the office at SST. I am not sure what the deciding factors were, I know the Minutemen often felt a little competitive with the other bands – they did a double album because Husker Du did one. But Black Flag was jamming pretty regularly in practice, and playing instrumental material regularly. But I do not know who suggested the joint recording. Mike and I hadn’t done the two-bass thing yet and I felt like it was hard to find space during the jams with another bass wailing away. It didn’t really come out as well as he hoped and I think that was part of why they agreed to wait until one of the bands no longer existed to release it. But I like it, it’s pretty weird.
BHP: Ok, now that I got that out of the way, what took you this long do something on your own terms? Given people you have surrounded yourself with throughout your life, many who have done solo projects themselves, I’d have thought you would have done something decades ago.
K: Well I have been recording my own music in my room for many years. Building songs virtually by sending ideas to other people who then would add their parts just became a good way to operate. Since I work a lot of hours sometimes, most of my bass work happens early in the morning which is not necessarily when others want to play. So I have had a body of work (so to speak) for a while. The intention was never really to release any of it. But Kitten Robot had a label and my brother Paul approached me and said they wanted to release a record. I turned 60 this year and it was somehow the right time. It doesn’t hurt to have someone ask. I will always be making music, though, whether it is released or not. That is where the joy comes, in the creation.
BHP: In a day and age of global pandemics, I assume a lot of what was recently recorded came from constant solitude. What was differed this time for you about recording music?
K: Actually much of the music was recorded before the pandemic. Working alone in my room made sense to me long before 2020. The actual final phase of polishing and mastering happened in 2021, so very little of this record had it roots in the pandemic. I did write some songs during that time… and I actually mixed and mastered a record for my favorite guitar player Glenn Brown of his songs, that I had written bass lines. This material was created virtually as well. I just tried my hand at mixing and mastering since I needed an extra project during the pandemic.
BHP: Your debut is very intimate and carries experimental vibes throughout. When you started recording this did you have an idea of where you were headed, or was this more of a “let’s see where this takes me?”
K: My music always tends to be very personal. I am moved to write from a feeling or idea that comes from inside, and I try to capture it with my bass and then my voice. This particular group of songs tells a story – it is chronological – so I did not know exactly where I was heading because it was written across time as things were happening.
BHP: Who was “The Ghosts” about? I really enjoyed that one and figured I would at least ask.
K: “The Ghosts” captures the story of the record the best in a way. It is a story about love and loss. “The Ghosts” was written at a time when I was facing a loss and all the losses that had come before in my life came into my head and heart like ghosts… appearing to torment me just as I was facing this new pain …
BHP: Your brother helped with producing this release and dropped it on his label, Kitten Robot Studios. It absolutely kills me by the way that he more or less hung out with Darby Crash and Pat Smear in high school by the way. Anyways, what was it like to work so closely with him when putting things together?
K: Paul and I have a very close relationship. We have been in bands together and gone through this long journey together. But working on my songs at Kitten Robot Studio I feel that our collaboration has grown a great deal. Paul’s music tends to be very lush and layered and it doesn’t necessarily come naturally to him to leave the spaces. I am quite the opposite. So he will help me with ideas of layers to add, and I will strip away things I feel are using up too much space. It’s a dance. On my songs, he gives me ultimate decision making so in a way – he just works hard to facilitate what I am trying to do. He is an excellent producer in that way. His goal is to help people achieve their vision.
BHP: Do you think you’ll do a small tour to support this release?
K: I do not have any plans to tour. I do not have any plans to play live. I will say that I am trying to find a way to share something, some kind of event, but I have not but a vague concept so far.
BHP: One thing I really have admired about you is once you parted ways from the L.A. punk scene, you started experimenting with sound in dos first from a far and then in person, contributed to some of the most essential releases in various ways. and then managed to become a dialogue editor and sound editor. How were you able to accomplish off of this? Did you make any sacrifices to take leaps towards any goals you may have had?
K: Of course it can feel, at times, like it is a sacrifice having to put my musical life to the side in order to make a living… but the truth is that I have been nothing but lucky.
When Mike and I thought about having a two bass band – we were very clear that for us to have the space we needed, there needed to be no other instruments. I learned a lot during dos about leaving holes and spaces and also how to find the spaces in order to add something. It became my preferred sound or style, not to have everything on top of each other. My tastes became stripped down, because I could hear the emotion better. And after all, I love music when the people playing are felling something and then I get to feel it too. That became the goal.
In terms of work, I studied computers at UCLA and then became a computer programmer to support myself after college. But working in the corporate world was kind of miserable for me. I am a non-conformist and the corporate world insists on conformity. I felt like an oddball the whole time. Then I met a guy by chance through Paul who was doing sound for a USC student film. Paul was composing for it and I played some bass. I became enamored with the idea of using my musical background and my computer background to work in sound editing for television or film. I twisted the guy’s arm to hire me and answered phones and did admin work until I could learn the skills I needed to contribute in sound. Just lucky – because it is work that suits me very well.
BHP: Luck or not, I am sure it was not easy, can you tell me about some challenges you overcame?
K: Well of course the biggest challenge is to achieve some kind of balance. To make a lot of music, work on a lot of great projects – but there are only so many hours in the day. I go through times when it is very hard to find time to create music because work is challenging. And I am not a prolific song writer. I go through very dry periods when the ideas just don’t come, or the ability to translate the ideas feels stuck. But I try very hard to just appreciate what I have – recognize how lucky I am, and not focus on what isn’t happening at any given time.
BHP: Clearly you have so many stories about your life from the mid-80s onward. Have you ever thought about maybe writing an auto-biography?
K: I find writing to be a pretty challenging type of work. It does not feel natural, especially to blather on about myself. Then there is the problem of having to remember all those fascinating details that I should remember. And actually my life before the 80s had some pretty cool stuff too!!
BHP: If you could regroup with one band you played with in the past, which would be be and why?
K: Interesting question. Like go back in time? Or like the re-hash thing where groups re-form after years off and do a record or tour? The truth is that for me, the idea of re-creating something years after the fact is less appealing than doing new music and moving forward. I do not regret any of the time I spent in any band … but that doesn’t mean I want to revisit them. For me there is always the journey forward, with new things to say, and potentially new people to say them with. So … I got nothing.
BHP: You know, I wanted to follow-up here and just say regroup with any band you ever played with and for the sake of nostalgic purposes, but I get what you are saying and understand sometimes dripping back isn’t as purposeful as looking ahead.
Finally, probably one of the more important questions. You said in your bio you are a dog mom. Tell me about your pups.
K: I currently have 3 rescued dogs … all seniors 14, 12, and 10 years old. They are 20 pounds and under, as I live in a 2 bedroom condo. For them, there is room to run if the mood strikes them. The oldest, Jim is in some ways the most active. But he has gone almost completely deaf … which is hard for him.
Hank, the middle child, is the problem child. He has bitten my husband and I on more than one occasion. Generally speaking he feels that he is under attack at times and those are dangerous times indeed. He is 15 pounds of fury in those moments. Luckily they are relatively rare.
Our youngest is our female, nicknamed Stinky … the reason is probably self-evident. She is a sweetheart, very calm and loving… she just prefers to wear a layer of yuck if she is able to find one. But we (my husband and I) love them all dearly. I never had kids – so my dogs give me that opportunity to nurture and care for a being who loves me unconditionally (most of the time).
BHP: Thanks for your time. I enjoyed the release a lot!
K: Thank you, and I am glad you enjoyed the listen.
Kira, the debut solo album by Kira was released on 19-OCT-2021 on Kitten Robot Records. Check out the video below for the song “The Ghosts”: