Tag Archives: Video

Watch This: NOFX – “Six Years On Dope”

NOFX dropped a new track today and it is bad ass.  Check out the lyric video below:

“Six Years on Dope” is a new track off of First Ditch Effort which drops this October.  The song reflects years of substance abuse by the band and really is not meant to be taken in comical form.

NOFX

To say I am excited about their new album is an understatement.

Watch This: Worship This! Live @ Bad Racket

Akron, OH’s prom kings Worship This! stopped out at Bad Racket earlier this summer and played one of my favorite OG songs, “Best Parts”.

Check it out:

Bad Racket is one of the coolest recording studios in Cleveland and have been doing their thing since 2009.  They specialize in welcoming bands into their studio to play a song and be filmed while doing so.  If you want to see more amazing acts do their things, click the below link:

Music Videos | Live From Bad Racket

 

Album Review: Blink 182 – California

Blink 182 - CaliforniaIt’s pretty crazy to me that Blink 182 still exists.  Don’t get me wrong, I have been a fan since the 90s when they were just some unknown pop-punkers.  After all they have been through, all of the fame, all of the drama, and most of all the departure of one Tom DeLonge, wouldn’t you think the band would just call it quits for good already?

Perhaps in a fit of spite, Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker continued on and invited Alkaline Trio‘s Matt Skiba to take on vocal/guitar duties for a reunion show of sorts.  I remember thinking “how bad ass would that be if Skiba just joined them and they put out a new album?”  I know I was not the only one who thought that either.

Shortly after, it was confirmed Skiba had joined Blink and they were recording a new album.  Now here I am about to throw some words and whatnot into a review for it.  Perhaps a little delayed, but here it is.

Time for a story about me.  Feel free to skip over…

The lyrics “nobody likes you when you’re 23” will always have special meaning in my mind for the rest of my life.  Any Blink fan knows what song those lyrics come from.  The year that song came out, an immature me swore the song was about my own experiences in a sense as I worked hard to get through a tough year thanks to an ex-psycho girlfriend and my own bad decision-making.

What I am trying to get at is simple, I was a Blink fan back then.  “Dammit” was one of my go to songs, I loved Dude Ranch and Cheshire Cat.  I remember even seeing Blink live at Blossom with Bad Religion opening for the Enema of the State tour.  That was the show Barker missed as he broke his hand punching some a-hole at the Taco Bell my cousin was working at in Akron.  Good times.

A few years later thanks to an old friend, I scored a front row ticket to see them again at Blossom with No Doubt.  Both shows were amazing.

As the years passed, more Blink albums came out, Angels & Airwaves, Boxcar Racer, Transplants, and other side projects emerged, and Blink slowly moved out of my continual rotation of daily tunes.  It happens folks, you know exactly what I am talking about.  I got bored with them.

Blink-182A certain Blink flame was re-ignited inside of me the day I heard Skiba was going to be on their new album.  I remember hearing the first single off the new album, I was stoked.  I still am stoked.  So pardon my fandom and honestly on this post, these are my favorite reviews to do, the ones that I am legit excited to write on.

California is Blink 182’s seventh full-length release.  Currently consisting of Hoppus, Barker, and the recent addition of Skiba (Alkaline Trio), who replaced Tom DeLonge.  Blink 182 has been around since the early 90s and moved from a silly pop-punk band on underground labels, to a heavy-hitting act selling out stages all over the world.

When I listened to California the first time, my initial thought was that there was a lot of filler songs on the album.  Long gone are the days of bands putting out albums with 16 tracks.  After listening to the album over and over, that thought went away.

Opening track “Cynical” reminded me of past Blink material, at least the start did.  Barker’s over the top drumming helped speed up the song and Skiba’s introductory backup singing proved this was not going to be the same Blink at all and not in a bad way.

“Bored To Death” has already taken over the radio stations.  The beginning had an “Adam’s Song” similarity to it, but not enough to discourage.  When the band jumps in together at the chorus, it pretty much blew me away.  I know in time I am going to get sick of this song in time as it will be played over and over, but until that happens, I am going to enjoy the hell out of it.  The video for the song cracked me up too, but only because I have reached old man status and remember feeling invincible once.

“She’s Out of Her Mind” will probably take responsibility for the younger generation to have a sudden interest in Bauhaus.  Aside from that, this catchy song really planted a positive reminder that you should be yourself and not care about what others think.

“Los Angeles” was more of a rock masterpiece than a pop-punk track.  I would not be shocked if this track alone brings in new fans of all ages.  Hoppus and Skiba trading vocals and howls throughout was just perfect.

A more realistic “Sober” sang a story about substance-abused-rough-times in relationships and carried a level of honesty throughout.  It was easy to compare my own bad decisions from my past in this track and also recall the apologetic resolutions.  This song grew on me the more and more I listened to it.  I loved the lyric “I’m a dandelion, you’re a four-leafed clover.”

The quick “Built This Pool” was about as crass as the band got on this album.  Seeing how raw they used to be, I am glad they have not completely thrown away their comical ideals.  Personally speaking, I really was hoping for a lot more of their humor throughout.

Skiba just killed it on “No Future”.  This track was the song that had me smiling ear to ear knowing that Skiba was the perfect fit for the redesigned Blink.  Hoppus and Skiba compliment the hell out of one another on this track.  This dreary track which seemingly sounded like a humble departure, was one of the more catchier ones on the entire album for me.

“Kings of the Weekend” was one of the tracks I felt was more of a filler track at first, but the more I listened to it, the more I enjoyed it.  This is everything a Blink fan could want in a Blink song.  Not to mention the different singing styles keep things interesting.

I feel like I can say there is a lot I can say about”San Diego” as it really reminded me of the good times, but I won’t.  I will just say it has grown on me a lot and I know the younger generation is going to eat this song up.

“Brohemian Rhapsody” was lame until I saw this:

Then it was hilarious…

All in all, California is an exceptional release.  I can admit that I have not been a fan of Blink’s last few releases, but this one hits all the high marks in my mind.  Initially I told myself and others that I only liked about 70% of the album, but the more and more I listen to it, the more I am digging it.

Perhaps my liking of California is because Skiba is on board now and I’ve been a AK3 fan for as long as I can remember, but I wish nothing but the best for Blink 182 and love seeing them at the top of the music world again.  I seriously hope they continue and can not wait to see what they come up with next.

Interview: James Alex of Beach Slang

Beach Slang Unless you were living under a rock last year, chances are you have heard about a band called Beach Slang.

If you recall, they topped my best of 2015 list.  This is all with good reason too of course.

In the event you are sitting there scratching your head at who I am talking about, perhaps I can persuade you into checking them out.  Think about the Replacements, a juvenile Goo Goo Dolls, and Jawbreaker.  Beach Slang is a perfect variation of those bands and still manages to hold their own sound.

James Alex fronts the punk outfit I am babbling about.  You might remember him from the 90s pop punk act Weston.  No?  It’s ok, I am not judging you.

I personally have been a fan of Beach Slang since they released Cheap Thrills on a Dead End Street on their BandCamp page in 2014.  I also remember rocking out to Weston years back (Got Beat Up on Go-Kart Records ruled!!!).  It only made sense for me to try and interview James.  Of course he was cool about it.

The Peter Pan of punk rock was happy to answer a few pondering questions from this fan – who am I kidding, it is a short novel…  Check it out:

Beach Slang Logo

BHP: First off, what does it feel like to be in a band that had their debut full-length anticipated by so many fans all over the world? Your first two EPs personally won me over and I can not tell you how long I waited for you guys to drop The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us.

James Alex:  It’s been overwhelmingly humbling and incredible and perfect and heart-swelling. I swear, there are times I randomly sit in some weirdo smile-haze trying to figure out how Beach Slang got so lucky, you know?

How did Beach Slang emerge after Weston called it quits? I am sure it was not an A to B process. With the timespan, one might think about just not even trying again but you all did. What inspired you to try?

I never stopped writing words and songs and stuff. I just sort of stayed hidden away doing it. When Weston was asked to play Riot Fest in 2009, our drummer couldn’t make it so I reached out to JP to fill in. While we were hanging out for that, I let him hear some things I had been writing and he told me they needed to be heard. I thought maybe they should, too.

I mean seriously, this shit happened so fast. How did y’all cope with all of the immediate attention? I actually heard that in NYC, the fans were already singing along to your songs the first time you played there.

There could be worse things than people digging the thing you’re doing, right? So, yeah, coping was pretty easy.

Your lyrics are so personable and seem to include anyone who wants to listen and relate. Were many of the lyrics written based off of past experiences growing up?

They all are, man. Every one. I just did this podcast and I summed it up like this: To me, Beach Slang songs are little two-minute novels. They’re about me and my friends and the things we’ve done, and they’re important to me.

tumblr_nluanchxHr1tmjjmqo1_1280I need to ask about the artwork on all of your releases and online. It is so classic in a sense with carefully selected photos with some that are then spliced or manipulated. Where did this idea come from?

I’ve been asked about my approach to the visual stuff I make and I chopped it down to this very accurate summary: Mary Ellen Mark, Craig Stecyk, 1970s California and The Smiths, in equal parts. That feels very Beach Slang to me.

Speaking of Beach Slang  your style of music is like a fine mix of Jawbreaker, the Replacements, and even Goo Goo Dolls. Was that intended or when you guys started jamming out it just came together?

I had the first EP written before I ever played with the other gents so, yeah, it wasn’t a thing that came out of playing together. I’m not necessarily sure it was intended either. I think all the beautiful records I had been shoving into my ears finally shared themselves with my heart and my hands. Finally.

You are a punk DIY band. There is no arguing that. What was it like growing up a punker in Philly in the 90s?

I’m guessing probably a lot like growing up punk most other places—really, man, all of the things that really matter are pretty much the same. Kids feel misplaced so they write poems, pick up a guitar, start a band, make ‘zines, screen shirts, make posters—it stays the same because it needs to, right?  We’re all still those same wrecked kids looking to feel not so alone.

 

How was it to play Fest last October?

Fest is this beautiful car crash of everything that fucking matters. For one weekend every year, a whole bunch of punks get to takeover a college town and throw really loud parties. You get to leave behind all the things you want to forget and make a whole bunch of good trouble you never will. Baptism by amplifiers…yeah, it’s heaven.

Touring is not always the most fun. Tell me about a rough adventure you and the band experienced.

We’re fairly easily entertained. That stuff helps. But, yeah, on our last U.S. tour, we were doing like 75 mph across some Texas highway when our trailer tire blew out and we went into some wild skidding. Stuff like that is kind of not fun. But, mostly, we’re pretty A-OK. I mean, we do this thing because we love it. If it wasn’t fun, at least most of the time, I’d look for something else that was.

How do you pass the time when traveling?

Writing, reading, getting caught in tourist traps, meeting strange, wonderful people, drinking good beer and sometimes, I even sleep.

How well does the band see eye to eye with that huge age range difference? Do any of you find yourselves shaking your heads sometimes at your bandmates?

The age thing is a completely invisible, total non-factor in Beach Slang. Finally, my wild immaturity pays off.

You toured with Cursive. How rad was that? How did Cursive fans dig your sets?

It was pretty damn dream-come-true, you know? Their fans were wildly open-minded/open-eared and whether they dug or us didn’t, they gave us an honest chance. But, yeah, we were lucky enough that, far and away, they really seemed to be into the thing we do.

If you could tour with any band, current or past, who would you choose and why?

The Replacements but, you know, only if they wanted us there. I spend enough time being inconvenient. Why?—to me, they are the blueprint of everything a rock & roll band should be. I dig every fucking thing about them.

What is your favorite roadside meal?

Cheeseless pizza—easily.

Are you all super stoked to be playing overseas soon?

Wildly. We went to the UK & Europe for a couple weeks last year and it knocked my socks off in the absolute best way. We split in two days and I cannot wait for every out-of-control moment of this lovely time.

You’ve played my hometown of Cleveland a few times with a bunch bands I am pals with. What did you think of the city when you visited?

I dig it big. Look, for me, rock & roll is holy. And being able to have at the Hall of Fame is really right-on. There’s also a whole bunch of really sweet humans hiding out there. I cannot wait to make soft trouble with them again soon. Oh, and Melt is delicious.

Melt IS delicious…  Have any of you received a compliment over the years from a fan that stuck with you you in a positive manner and impacted they way you make music?

“I was going to kill myself and your songs made me not do that.” Yeah, that one will stick around for the rest of forever, you know?

What does it feel like to see all of these tattoos with Beach Slang lyrics pop up? I seriously need to add one to my personal human canvas.

I wanted to be a writer long before I ever picked up a guitar so, yeah, words are big, necessary things to me. What I mean is—those lyric tattoos mean fucking everything to me.

You guys are active as hell on social media. Do you get a lot of fans contacting you all of the time? How important is it to respond to everyone and not just ignore the appreciation?

Thanks, man. The Slang social media is all me. I mean, I write all the time. That stuff gives me a place to go with all of these words and pictures I make. I suppose you could say people contact me a lot, but that’s the whole thing, you know? It means everything. If writing back, thoughtfully, to everyone means less sleep for me, that’s really the least I can do. Look, it’s not lost on me how lucky I am that people care enough to write me a letter or care enough about Beach Slang or care enough to even participate in rock & roll. I want to always say ‘thank you’ and I want them to feel how sincerely I mean it.

Having grown up in the 90s myself, there are quite a few bands that I appreciated and do to this day, one of them being Hum. What bands from your past are you still obsessed with?

The Replacements, The Psychedelic Furs, Jesus & Mary Chain, The Pixies, The Smiths, The Clash, Jawbreaker, The Buzzcocks, Senseless Things, Tommy Keene, fuck, man, this list could go on and on for far too long.

I know your debut just dropped just last Fall, but as a Beach Slang fan I have to ask…when can we expect a follow up?

I have half of LP2 already written and home-demoed. The other half is finished in its skeletal state. I just have to work out the guitar overdubs, vocal harmonies and finalizing lyrics. Meaning the hardest part is already sussed. Then, it’s on to teaching the other Slangs and going into the studio. I plan on doing that before leaving for our full U.S. tour in late April. And releasing the thing in the Fall of 2016. We are also recording Mixtape Volume II and I’m recording a Quiet Beach Slang record with my acoustic guitar, a cellist and pianist. Both of those will be available before LP2. Yeah, this year is going to be alright.

I am seriously excited about all of that…thank you.  Your debut dropped on Polyvinyl, a label that happens to have Japandroids on. Can you please just tour with them in my backyard? I’ll grill tofu or beef. I hope you like babies and dogs.

You set that beautiful thing up and we’re there. We’re a band of vegetarians so, yeah, tofu works. And we dig both babies and dogs. So, yeah, let’s have a go.

Finally, did any of you ever think Beach Slang would blow up the way it did? Maybe you don’t think you have, but damn…tons of people adore you.

No way, man, not even a little. The most I ever dare to hope is someone might care, that something I write might matter. I hope it does. Thanks for making me think that maybe that might be.

The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us is available on LP/CD/Cassette/Download from Polyvinyl Records.

Album Review: The Brokedowns – Life Is A Breeze

The Brokedowns - Life Is A BreezeLots can be said about punk act The Brokedowns by this music lover.

First, The Brokedowns released an amazing album years ago that I still listen to often, so chances are, this review may show light favoritism.  Secondly, they rule…tons.  Lastly, they have not released an album in at least 4 years, so this is something worth getting excited about.

I learned of The Brokedowns back in 2009 when I was flipping through 45s at Blue Arrow Records.  I picked up a split 7″ with them and Turkish Techno on it and totally made a blind buy having no idea what to expect.  I remember spinning the crap out of that 45.  I loved what both bands had to offer.

The Brokedowns hail from Elgin, Illinois and have been creating their own melodic punk rock since at least 2002.  They have definitely matured over the years and have mastered their sound throughout their time but without losing their unique charm.

“Joliet, The Maui Of The Midwest” started the album off with a gracious and humorous nod to their hometown area.  This song was a straight up jam with a heavy dose of gang vocal opportunities at the end.

Title track “Life Is A Breeze” was a drum hitting, screaming, killer song that was ever so poppy and melodic yet kept that punk edge to it.  I loved how this song was just about dealing with the surroundings and admitting things are not that bad.

“Murder Junkie/CPA” was a pop punk jam that to me sounded like a mix of Low Culture and Iron Chic.  There was a garage rock sound with the punk vibe that just made this track stand out over the others.

“Everything Is Immoral” was brutal.  I loved everything about this track, especially the group harmony just past the halfway mark.  It fit so perfectly.  I just wish I knew what that intro clip was from.  Anyone?  Bueller?  Bueller?

Without trying to talk about every track on this album, I have to mention how much I loved “Born On The Bayou Too”.  The track alone was one of the best on the album.  I loved the quick breakdowns and just 90s reminiscant guitar playing.

“Cash For Gold” was a quick fun track, but the video for it was beyond freaking hilarious.  The music video titled  GG and Merle Get Jobs was more of a short film with “Cash For Gold” playing throughout.  A true ode to not only crust brothers GG and Merle Allen, but also to Looney Tunes.  The black and white was a nice touch, especially with assisting removing the brown.  Scroll down to see what I am talking about.  The song was bad ass thanks to the  typical Brokedowns flavor throughout I have grown to dig.

For a second there I thought “God Hates Math” was a lost Ween track as it extended from the prior track “I Respect Your Right To Always Be Wrong About Everything” but soon just ignited.

I hope “Keep Branson Weird” was about Sir Branson.  I met that dude once in Baltimore.  True story.  He was nice, but so weird.

Anyways…

Closing the album down was “A Child’s Guide To Black Metal”, a song that may have been toned down a bit versus the others starting ups, but still just awesome, especially once things picked up.

The end of this track left me wanting a copy of the vinyl as backwards lines repeated over seagulls and I am just dying to play the record backwards just to make out what is being said.  A true cliffhanger if you ask me.

This is one memorable album by an amazing group of dudes throughout.  I really hope more people than me are so over-excited about what I just heard.  It rules and is not to be missed.

Head on over to Red Scare Industries and pick up a copy or two.

As promised, here is the video I made mention of earlier.  It’s not exactly a safe for work video.  To make it tamer, let’s just say them boys have really oily hands…  Don’t say I did not warn you.  Enjoy!