Artwork by Miguel Angel Echemendia
Red Scare Industries – Release Date: 9/22/14
Ten years ago, former Fat Wreck Chords employee Tobias Jeg was living in San Francisco when The Falcon expressed that they were looking for a new label to release its debut EP, God Don’t Make No Trash or Up Your Ass with Broken Glass. Jeg put it out and Red Scare Industries was born. Ten Years of Your Dumb Bullshit showcases 17 new songs by bands that Red Scare has lifted up and out of the basements over the past decade. Starting the compilation is the catchy occult-themed track, “Pyramids” by The Lillingtons, the first new recording in eight years by Red Scare’s longest-running band. Following that, The Falcon pops in for 1:43 after six years with “We Are the Bald,” an upbeat yet self-deprecating song that’s difficult not to crack a smile at. Masked Intruder offers up “I Don’t Mind,” a song about being so malleable in a relationship that death is the only way the subject can get rid of the suitor. The Copyrights, who just released a full-length on Red Scare, offer up the shortest and one of the most melodic songs on the compilation, “Oedipus Dill,” clocking in at 1:25. Teenage Bottlerocket keeps it straightforward with “TV Set,” a simple song about being overwhelmed by and sick of television. Elgin, Illinois’ Brokedowns really stand out with “Ouija Jive,” which sounds like a B-side to the Species Bender recording session that should have made it on the album. The Reaganomics come back after four years with “Bite Your Tongue,” a pop punk track about self-righteous individuals who post on the internet trying to change the world, but only end up sounding ignorant. One of Red Scare’s first bands, Cobra Skulls, contributes an angst-laced song sung in Spanish called “No Puede Mas,” which translates to “I’ve Had Enough.” The Methadones played their last show in 2010, but chalk up a new tune called “Trip Wire,” reminiscent of The Ramones, but with the Methadones’ refreshing signature power pop style. The comp’s tone mellows out a bit with “The Wallflowers,” a melodic indie jam by The Sidekicks. Brendan Kelly makes a second appearance on vocals with “Gluesday Evening Blues” by his band Brendan Kelly and the Wandering Birds – quite a bit slower and folkier than The Falcon. Great new tracks by Elway, Nothington, Enemy You, Direct Hit! and Druglords of the Avenues round out this compilation nicely. The album ends on a soft, sobering note with an acoustic song called “Forever West” by one of the newest additions to the Red Scare family, Sam Russo. His poetic, somber tone gives a great balance to this heavily punk-driven compilation. Check out the Red Scare Records 10-year anniversary show this Saturday at the Metro at 3:45 PM, featuring The Falcon, The Lillingtons, The Methadones (reunion show), Masked Intruder, Enemy You, The Sidekicks, Teenage Bottlerocket, Brendan Kelly and the Wandering Birds, The Holy Mess, Direct Hit!, Elway, The Brokedowns and The Reaganomics.
- Jason Duarte
Rise Against released their seventh full-length album last month, entitled The Black Market. The record finds the band embracing a rejuvenated sense of energy, resulting in especially personal lyrics and a range of newfound musical landscapes. We spoke with bassist Joe Principe shortly after the album came out and discussed the writing of the record, its lyrics and how it was recorded. We also talked about the band’s early days, their continued widespread success, future plans and more. Click here to view…
Photo by Katie Hovland
Dan Potthast, best known as the singer/guitarist of MU330, recently embarked on the “Dan P. Living Room Tour 2014.” The nationwide trek began in early June and will conclude in August, and we caught up with Dan shortly after he played Chicago to discuss the tour. We talked about what inspired this journey, how it was planned and what some of the shows have been like so far. We also spoke about his latest solo album, My Living Room, which came out in conjunction with the tour. Additional topics discussed include Dan’s other music projects, future plans and more. Click here to view…
Photo by Katie Hovland
Last week, influential second-wave emo act Braid released their first full-length album since 1998, entitled No Coast. The record is both energetic and mature, offering subtle hints of their classic sound along with a range of new influences. Simply put, it doesn’t sound as though the band was ever on any kind of a hiatus. We caught up with singer/guitarist Bob Nanna shortly after the release of No Coast and discussed the album at length. We talked about how it was written, the recording process and the motivation behind some of its lyrics. We also spoke about the band’s new partnership with Topshelf Records, touring and more. Click here to view…
In April of this year, Banner Pilot released their latest album for Fat Wreck Chords, called Souvenir. We conducted an email interview with singer/guitarist Nick Johnson and discussed in detail what is arguably their most diverse and complete record yet. We talked about how it was written, the recording process, its lyrics and more. We also conversed about the music scene in Minneapolis, touring and several other topics. After the interview, be sure to check out Banner Pilot’s video for the first song on Souvenir, “Modern Shakes.” Click here to view…
Fat Wreck Chords – Release Date: 5/27/14
The first Masked Intruder album sent shockwaves through the world of punk rock. Their raw talent, mystique and the fact that they seemed to appear overnight were all integral factors in the band’s initial momentum. In the last couple of years, they’ve toured around the world and after the dust settled a bit, it raised the question: what’s Masked Intruder’s next move? With Fat Wreck scooping them up, the bar was raised. On M.I., they’ve strayed slightly from their criminal and hijinks-heavy themes, and focus more on love. They’ve tweaked song structures a bit, incorporating more vocal harmonies, doo-wop influences and most impressively – a song almost completely made up of vocals. They’ve also re-recorded two existing songs, “I Fought the Law,” from their demo and “Hey Girl,” from their split with The Turkletons. M.I. is a perfect album for music fans, because it doesn’t conform to the standard three-chord formula most pop punk sticks to, but they are maintaining their sound. The Ramones-core fanbase gets short, fast songs like “Hey Girl” and “The Most Beautiful Girl.” Heart-wrenching songs like “Stars” display raw desire, honesty and humility. The vocals are sincere and pitch-perfect. “Almost Like We’re Already In Love,” Masked Intruder’s impressive vocal display, is sheer magnificence. Their barbershop quartet-style of singing is guided only with shakers and finger snaps. The lyrics paint a picture of yearning, and do it in a way that sounds just plain pretty. Think of it as an evolved version of the intro to “Wish You Were Mine,” from their first album. M.I. is a must, as it’s one of the best albums that’s been released this year.
- Jason Duarte
Rapids are releasing their debut EP this Saturday, called Traction. The relatively new band features members of Slapstick, Colossal, Dead End Days, The Love Shots and others. Their EP was recorded last winter by Chris Heilemann in Elgin, IL and its cover art is by Jason Swearingen. Beginning this Saturday, the EP can be downloaded at Rapids’ Bandcamp page. Rapids are also playing the very same day at Quenchers with Two Houses, Nervous Passenger and Costanza. The show starts at 10:00 PM, is 21+ and costs $5. Check out an exclusive stream of one of Rapids’ new songs below, called “Coroner Bar.”
Side One Dummy – Release Date: 4/08/14
PUP, which stands for Pathetic Use of Potential, formed in 2013 and hails from Toronto, Ontario. They’re one of the latest additions to Side One Dummy’s roster, and much like label-mates Restorations, PUP is comprised of especially talented musicians and their sound is uniquely original. They combine elements of power pop, indie rock, punk rock and straightforward rock ‘n’ roll to create a style that’s decidedly their own. They also play with a sense of youthful energy and just enough reckless abandon to make things interesting. The album begins with “Guilt Trip,” an angst-filled rant that evokes Pinkerton era Weezer, but with increased aggression and ferocity. It’s followed by “Reservoir,” which features post-punk guitar riffs, fist-pumping verses and a shout-along chorus. The band really hits its stride on “Mabu,” a melodic gem that offers numerous impressive guitar leads and a surplus of precisely-placed backing vocals. Other highpoints include the bouncy, shimmering pop of “Dark Days” and the driving, rhythm-heavy tune that is “Lionheart.” What shines through most about PUP is that the band members are longtime friends and therefore they’re extremely adept at playing together. This allows for creative and unpredictable songwriting that emphasizes the performance aspect. Since the release of their debut record last month, PUP has understandably received a lot of attention. Take a listen to their song “Mabu” below and get to know one of today’s most exciting up-and-coming bands.
In February of this year, pop punk legends The Queers played two shows at Township on Valentine’s Day. Due to bad weather, the band arrived late and our interview was understandably postponed. Over the next couple months, we corresponded with singer/guitarist Joe Queer before ultimately connecting for a phone interview. Once we caught up with Joe, we talked about The Queers’ decision to play their album Love Songs for the Retarded in its entirety at the Township shows. We discussed that record in greater detail, and did the same for their classic Don’t Back Down album. We also spoke about the band’s relationship with Asian Man Records, the formation of a possible new band featuring Joe, Ben Weasel and Richie Ramone, The Queers’ plans to re-record a pair of their old records, and much more. Click here to view…
Iron Chic released their second album last fall and first for Bridge Nine Records, called The Constant One. In many ways, it builds upon the successful formula that they constructed on their debut record, Not Like This. The songwriting is decidedly more complex, but the shout-along anthems and huge hooks that fans have come to expect are all still abundantly present. Iron Chic recently concluded their U.S. tour and we caught up with singer Jason Lubrano a few days after to discuss their latest album. We talked about how it was recorded and what some of its songs are about, as well as touring, their plans for the remainder of the year and more. Click here to view…
Elephant Gun, which features members of Meat Wave, Truman & His Trophy, Rad Payoff and more, will self-release their latest full-length, Castle Boots, this Sunday, 4/27. It was recorded by Joe Gac and has artwork from Frank Porcaro. To celebrate, the band is playing a record release show at Township on the same day. The event starts at 8:00 PM and is 21+, with openers Chicken Happen, Hot Garbage and Secret Science. Also, fans that bring their own jump drive will be able to download Elephant Gun’s entire new album for free. Check out an exclusive stream from Castle Boots below, called “I Know Why.”