Reviews

Less Than Jake – Sound the Alarm

Less Than Jake

Pure Noise Records – Release Date: 2/03/17

Making their Pure Noise Records debut, Less Than Jake recently issued a seven-song EP entitled Sound the Alarm. Recorded by singer/bassist Roger Lima at his own studio and mixed by Jason Livermore at The Blasting Room, these songs sound exceptional and allow for the individual instruments to really shine through at the appropriate times. Additionally, this record signifies the most spirited that the band has sounded in over a decade, which is especially impressive considering they’re celebrating their 25th anniversary this year. The EP gets underway with “Call to Arms,” a track that evokes memories of fan-favorite album Borders & Boundaries and employs a bouncy chorus that’s peppered with horns and an array of backing vocals. It’s followed by “Whatever the Weather,” a mid-tempo, ska-leaning number that features prominent horn lines and a resilient message, (“It’s out of my hands, these too heavy times/No matter the weather, I’ll never waiver”). “Welcome to My Life” is a laidback ska tune with introspective lyrics that recalls their 2003 hit “The Science of Selling Yourself Short,” while “Good Sign” is a fast-paced, upbeat punk entry that talks about embracing optimism. The EP fittingly concludes with “Things Change,” a track that highlights some of their top characteristics: high-flying horn parts, the alternating vocal talents of Lima and singer/guitarist Chris DeMakes, and the sturdy rhythms of drummer Vinnie Fiorello. Sound the Alarm is recommended for those in search of a quality ska/punk fix and will likely leave fans anxiously anticipating their next full-length.

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Reviews

The Menzingers – After the Party

The Menzingers After The Party

Epitaph – Release Date: 2/03/17

Earlier this month, The Menzingers released their fifth album, marking their most mature and detailed collection of songs yet. As the record’s title implies, most of its songs talk about growing older, with some looking in the review and others focused on moving forward. Either way, this album’s lyrics clearly represent the band’s strongest to date. Similarly, the songwriting has also noticeably elevated, which makes sense given that it’s been three years since the release of their last full-length. “Thick as Thieves” is the first notable entry, with its crafty lyrics, (“I held up a liquor store/Demanding top-shelf metaphors”) and massive-sounding guitars, courtesy of producer Will Yip. “Lookers” is up next and it’s one of the catchiest songs they’ve ever written, complete with melodic guitar leads, Kerouac references and a healthy dose of nostalgia. “Midwestern States” addresses topical issues and describes a young couple trying to make it, (“We both got worthless diplomas from worthless universities/Two bachelors in worthless studies, but at least it made our parents happy”). “Your Wild Years” reminisces about a past love and enjoys arguably the record’s most memorable hook, while the title track appropriately includes all of the band’s best attributes, (descriptive lyrics, raw emotion and a fist-pumping, shout-along chorus). With After the Party, The Menzingers have managed to mature stylishly and not lose sight of what made them so appealing to begin with. It’s their most complete record so far and one that simply demonstrates a band in top form.

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Post Child – Wax Wings

Post Child - Wax Wings

Album artwork by Aertime

Today, Post Child will release their second album, called Wax Wings. It was recorded by Joe Gac, (Meat Wave) and is available courtesy of In the Lake Records. The band’s lineup is comprised of singer Bryan Alvarez, guitarist Jared Olson, bassist Justin Gutierrez and drummer Mustafa Daka. Post Child’s members have also lent their talents to bands such as Elephant Gun, High Priests and The Brokedowns. Tonight, they’ll celebrate the record’s release with a free show at Emporium Arcade that also features Closed Mouths and Sonny Falls. Check out a stream of the full album below and for those attending the show, be sure to grab Wax Wings on limited edition cassette, (50 black and 50 pink).

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Interviews

Dead To Me

Photo by Katie Hovland

Photo by Katie Hovland

Last month, Dead To Me played Double Door and we caught up with the band at a nearby coffee shop before the show. We spoke with singer/bassist Tyson “Chicken” Annicharico, guitarist/singer Jack Dalyrmple and drummer Ian Anderson. Guitarist Ken Yamazaki was also present, but did not take part in the interview. We talked about the band’s latest 7” for Fat Wreck Chords, I Wanna Die in Los Angeles, including how it was written and the motivation behind its title. We also discussed Annicharico’s newfound sobriety, Dalyrmple’s return to the band, where they’re at with recording their next full-length and more. Click here to view…

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The Addisons – “Standing Outside Your Door”

The Addisons

Chicago’s The Addisons recently released their debut single, called So American / Standing Outside Your Door. The band features Tom Counihan and Dave Lysien of Not Rebecca, and this project marks the first time that the two have worked together in over ten years. Their lineup is solidified by bassist Rick Uncapher, (Textbook, Noise By Numbers) and drummer Daisun Derrijk, (The Sonnets). The band recorded their introductory release in October of last year with Jeff Dean at Million Yen Studios. We’re streaming one of the tracks below, “Standing Outside Your Door,” and the single can be purchased via Bandcamp here. Also, be sure to catch The Addisons on Friday, January 20th when they play Livewire Lounge with Sweet Figurines, The Cells and Farewell Captain. The show starts at 9:00 PM and costs $10.

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The Flips – “Borne On the FM Waves of the Heart” (Exclusive)

On New Year’s Day, Artistic Integrity Records will release its fourth annual covers compilation, and this year it’s a tribute to Against Me!. Featuring 26 bands in total, An Impression of an Original: A Tribute to Against Me!, finds a variety of artists covering songs that span the band’s entire catalog. Proceeds from the compilation will be donated to Gender Is Over, which is a project that AM! frontwoman Laura Jane Grace has supported and worked closely with in the past. We’re premiering the record’s third song below, and it’s from Chicago’s own The Flips. The band chose to cover “Borne On the FM Waves of the Heart,” one of the most prominent tracks from Against Me!’s major label debut, New Wave. Check out the song now and don’t forget to purchase the compilation on January 1st here.

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Sean McKeough Memorial Benefit

Sean McKeough Memorial Benefit

Riot Fest partner and Cobra Lounge/All Rise Brewing founder, Sean McKeough, passed away unexpectedly on November 29th, 2016. Through the All Rise Foundation that McKeough established in 2014, his family and friends strive to preserve his memory and have planned an event to celebrate his life next month. On Friday, January 6th, Naked Raygun and Deal’s Gone Bad will play the Concord Music Hall, and there will also be a silent auction with all proceeds benefitting the All Rise Foundation. The foundation is managed by Sean’s longtime partner, Erin Raymer, and aims to assist causes that McKeough supported, like underserved youth musicians, animal shelters and cancer research. The show starts at 7:00 PM, is 17+ and tickets are available here.

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New Dougs

Last week, Chicago’s New Dougs released their debut EP, Stoked, via Hewhocorrupts Inc. The band formed earlier this year and features Jason Waclawik, (Sig Transit Gloria/Brockmeyers) on guitar, vocals and keyboards, as well as singer Michelle Diamond, (Eternal Flames). When asked about the band’s origins, Waclawik said “I have always been a fan of Michelle’s voice and jumped at the chance to sing with her. We gelled musically, so I asked Michelle if she’d want to try working on original material I had been writing and recording. Some of these songs would eventually appear on Stoked.”

The duo recently made a video for one of the EP’s songs, “Spaghetti,” which Waclawik described as being about “my adulthood brain mush.” When discussing the video’s creation, he said “We knew the ‘Spaghetti’ video would be the introduction to our band for many. I wanted to shoot some scenic footage and let the story emerge during post-production. On a beautiful fall morning we headed to the North Park Village Nature Center and the Avondale neighborhood, walking around with binoculars and yelling, ‘DOUG!’ Our friend Rich Szczepanski shot it using my iPhone and I did the edit. The end result was a feel good video for sure and we really did spot that deer, (the first one).”

Check out the video for “Spaghetti” above and be sure to head to New Dougs’ release show this Friday at the Burlington Bar. The event, billed as the Hewhocorrupts Holiday Party, starts at 9:00 PM and also features Lasers and Fast and Sh!t.

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Interviews

Me First and the Gimme Gimmes

Me First and the Gimme Gimmes

Photos by Katie Hovland

We met up with Me First and the Gimme Gimmes at Riot Fest this year and talked with singer Spike Slawson. We discussed their latest collection of cover songs, Are We Not Men? We Are Diva!, as well as a range of other topics that spanned the punk rock supergroup’s two-decade-plus career. We asked Slawson about the band’s process for choosing songs, what his favorite ones are to sing, if they’ve ever heard back from any of the artists they’ve covered and more. We also spoke about The Gimmes’ upcoming greatest hits record, which they plan on releasing in 2017.

Click here to view…

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Interviews

Swingin’ Utters

Swingin' Utters

Photo by Katie Hovland

We caught up with Swingin’ Utters earlier this year when they played Riot Fest and spoke with singer Johnny “Peebucks” Bonnel and guitarist/singer Darius Koski. We talked about their latest album, Fistful of Hollow, including its style and how it was recorded. We also discussed the reasons for the band being so productive as of late, having released three full-lengths in the last six years. Additionally, we conversed about their upcoming new album, which they’ve already begun writing and hope to release next year. Click here to view…

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The Gunshy – “Lancaster, PA”

Artwork by Jason Hendrix

Artwork by Jason Hendrix

Earlier this month, The Gunshy released a new album, their sixth overall, called Porterhouse. It was recorded in Water Valley, Mississippi with producer Andrew Bryant and is available via Sleep Recordings. While the band has been based out of Chicago for over a decade, they initially formed in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in 2002. One of the album’s songs uses Lancaster as its setting and we’re premiering the video for this song below. Also, be sure to catch The Gunshy tonight at Beat Kitchen with The Smith Street Band, Typesetter and Rapids. The show starts at 6:30 PM, costs $15 and is all-ages. On Thursday, the band leaves for a brief tour and plays Atlanta with Cheap Girls and Signals Midwest, followed by an appearance at Fest and subsequent shows in Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas and Kansas.

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Interviews

Great Apes

Photo by Katie Hovland

Photo by Katie Hovland

This Friday, San Francisco’s Great Apes will release their second full-length via Asian Man Records, called California Heart. We spoke with singer/guitarist Brian Moss about the album’s writing process and its concept. We also talked in detail about what it was like recording with Jack Shirley, as well as where the record’s title comes from, its overall style and more. This album finds the band combining heavier elements with pop tendencies to create a wide-ranging, complete punk record that redefines their sound. If for some reason you haven’t previously listened to Great Apes, do yourself a favor and check them out now. Click here to view…

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