Pop-punk rockers The Early Strike armed with their female and male vocal assault are here with a catchy new album called “Ten Outta Ten”. While only their sophomore release, it’s surprisingly well-written and entertaining. “Ten Outta Ten” brings back lots of memories of past pop-punk bands from the turn of the century – gosh that makes it sound old even though we’re talking ten or so years huh? Sugary sweet melodies and entertaining lyrics, producer David J. Holman (Bush, No Doubt) was able to help The Early Strike have flecks of New Found Glory, The Ataris, Saves the Day, and Something Corporate.
Posts in category punk
Authority Zero burst onto the punk scene in the mid ‘90s but didn’t see any significant commercial success until ’01. Their debut on Lava Records, “A Passage in Time” in 2002 saw a slow but steady rise in the pop-punk community. Stints on the Warped Tour and tours with hugely successful groups such as Sum 41, NOFX, and Alkaline Trio helped further propel their career. Fast forward to “Stories of Survival” and their sound that at once could have been compared to Bad Religion has morphed into their own signature sound. Armed with lots of sing-a-longs and melodic guitar chords, Authority Zero has found their niche amid pop-punk, indie rock, and elements of ska and reggae. Lyrically the album explores socio-political issues and the current state of the music industry. Relentlessly touring and writing music, Authority Zero seems destined to still be doing what they do throughout the next decade.
“In the Moment” is an alternative pop-rock album with some pop-punk and emo backdrops. When I heard that this was a band that played on the same stage as My Chemical Romance, the Jonas Brothers, Jesse McCartney, and Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, I had no real idea what to expect. So what we got was awfully cheesy MTV-oriented pop fodder that while well-written and performed is just laughably clichéd. Flawed as Alamance is, given that they have a 19-year old singer/songwriter they’ll probably make tons of money and have adoring fans. Puke.
Produced by Lou Giordano (Plain White T’s, Taking Back Sunday), “Phoenix” is another notch in Just Surrender’s belt. As a group that has explored the nuances of pop-punk and emotional hardcore over the past four years as they have toured relentlessly with two releases that have sold upwards of 40,000 copies, Just Surrender put their laser focus on crafting an album that would further expand their fanbase. With both vocalists featured throughout with perfect layering, “Phoenix” is an admittedly guilty pleasure of the type of emotional rock that now dominates the Warped Tour. While other bands seem to stall amid the clichés and mall-punk normalcy, Just Surrender seems to shrug that off.
Screamo that isn’t obnoxious and packaged for the mall rats, La Dispute churns out hardcore riffs amid soul-searching lyrics and hypnotic compositions. Frantic melodies lend an air of chaos that the vocally shouted, said, and uttered lyrics only make more urgent and hyper. Contemplating songs that beg one to decipher the strong song structures and well-written musical structures that are beguilingly deliberately removed from the standard verse/chorus/verse mentality. Pressing and obsessive, “Somewhere at the Bottom of the River Between Vega and Altair” seems to emerge as a flame-retardant for those of us with psychological issues and our hearts on our sleeves.
Hands down best press sheet I’ve ever been given. Instead of the usual bullshit discussing who they sound like, what obscure band their members were a part of, and filled to the brim with adjectives and prerogative of music nationalities, this one was a story. A story of a young man who was on the phone with his then-girlfriend, the conversation lasted for over 2 hours and this young man had to piss. Badly. And he tried to hold it not wanting her to hear him and yet somehow unable to simply escape for a quick moment. He rushed to the bathroom finally and was just about to make it, only to pee himself. She says just as he’s doing it that she needed to get off the phone because dinner was ready. What devastation and annoyance must have, excuse the pun, flowed over him. So you probably are glad that this story made its way to you. Now you want to know, “so what, what of the music”? Well let me assure you that’s just as great of a story; this one told through the voice of art-punk and chaotic yet measured angular indie rock. Screamed vocals, hummed melodies, strict breakdowns, and layered filthy guitars, “Teeth Union” by the funnily titled Ice, Sea, Dead People is a fast and violent slap-in-the-face. So many post-hardcore groups are doing this or that, but not focused on truly creating an epic masterpiece. Not so with this British-based group. “Teeth Union” is fucking essential cranium blasts.
Ah politically and inspirationally virulent hardcore! “Wartime Citizens” by The Efforts is their painting of how The American Dream is a farce and that the mainstream media is conspiring to put us all into the zombie haze. “Dear Sarah,” is their statement to Sarah Palin and her parade of misleading and fame mongering. “Wartime Citizens” and its incredibly passionate and pissed lyrics makes me wish that The Effort would write a book – could you imagine their vitriol next to the false Tea Party and social conservatism “books” at Borders? And what they do with their words is matched nicely with their textured hardcore; crunchy guitars, sing-a-long anthems, and pounding percussion. This isn’t your papa’s chugga-chugga hardcore. Love it, buy it, spread the love, and memorize.
Young Livers evokes post-hardcore gritty dank guitars that drop bombs similar to seminal outfit Drive Like Jehu. “Of Misery and Toil” burns no bridges as they embark upon a steady diet of breakdowns, odd song structures, and tinkering with what we’ve all come to expect from post-indie rock outfits. Mid-range rhythms with some blasts of devastation that are few and far between remind me of a Far that doesn’t deploy a melodic singer (think Hot Water Music) and nods firmly in the direction of punk rock. Each song evokes an immediate attention span quadrant that scans the horizon looking for something better but comes up empty. I swear they are a few decades removed from the DC hardcore scene.
Lesson 1 for those of you in unsigned bands hoping to get review coverage and notice in the music industry – first impressions are key. And no I’m not just talking about the fact that the first 30 seconds of your first song should be killer (that’s a no brainer folks) but it’s the little things, like the look-n-feel of your packaging. Some bands subscribe to the notion that they should put airplane size bottles of booze in there (awesome and much appreciated, keep ‘em coming!), others have cute 8×10 press cuts (yawn, please no more brick wall photos, thanks!), and then the inventive take it from the very first look – what and how you pack your music that’s sent via the mail. Get Laid nailed it – excuse the pun. Not only did they use Simpsons stamps, which is universally noted as ‘awesome’ but they put their vinyl in a decorated package. Going that extra mile means the world and shows that you really REALLY want folks to open it up to see what surprises lay inside. “Pretty Weathered” is a female-fronted proto-punk, spazz, and crusty indie rock outfit that deploys intriguing stop-and-go guitar chugs while firmly nodding to their hardcore brethren. “Decca A.D.” is oddly a B-side but could be their lead track. Easily mistaken for D.C. era post-hardcore and dare I say, emocore, Get Laid is one up-and-comer that everyone worth their salt in the music biz and Regular Joes who just want to be in the know for the next best band. Love it.
Indie rock that’s busy bridging gaps and forging in the forest of dissonance and chaos, “Instant Everything” by Untied States (that’s not a typo English majors, thanks) is a whirlwind and cacophony of noise, both spazzy and delightful. Post-punk noise nuance is a great way to describe this Atlanta-based five-piece. Experimental jam sessions gone awry and hectic, lunging from unexpected to predictable seemingly in the same stanza of prose. I hear a lot of yesteryear Sonic Youth influences minus Kim Gordon but plus David Yow of the Jesus Lizard. Loud and abrasive guitar-centric noise machines Untied States write raw and authentic college rock anthems that are sometimes hard to follow but always pleasing to the appreciative ear.