Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Album Review: Par For The Corpse by The Back Nine

Today I'm listening to yet more fantastic Canadian punk rock. This time I'm listening to four piece Ontario based punk rockers The Back Nine. Back in October 2017 The Back Nine released their debut EP titled Par For The Corpse. Judging by how much I love many of their countrymen's bands, I had high hopes for the seven songs on this release.

Par For The Corpse opens up with Curse Of The Man-Child. This is high-tempo pop punk that will get you bouncing and is full of hooks. The song wastes no time in getting going and sets a great tone of what to expect from the rest of the EP. Curse Of The Man-Child is about parents being worried about the person you're growing into and being concerned about your life choices. Muscles & Money begins with a short and sweet drum roll before some more guitars that make you want to pogo. I'm sure you can have a good guess at what Muscles & Money is about - the frustration of girls picking guys who have all of the cash and the bodies ahead of Joe Average. I really enjoyed the line "At Least I've Got Charm And Wit" at the end of the track. The third song on the EP is titled Boy Meets Corporate. This track is about having a boss who expects certain sexual favours from you if you want to get a promotion. The band take quite a humorous and upbeat attitude to the song but I'm certain that it's meant to be sarcastic.

One Nighter, No Fighter is a real throwback with its sound. It takes you back the early 2000s pop punk era with bands such as The Starting Line and Home Grown. I was slightly disappointed in the production of the song as at times the vocals are very difficult to make out and I'm sure that's not supposed to be the case. The track is about having a one night stand and then not calling the girl again. I'm sure that this is another track that relies heavily on sarcasm and these aren't the actions of the band. Track five is titled Golden Years. Finding itself more in the skate punk realm, it wastes no time in getting started and continues with a high tempo throughout. There is a massive amount of energy in the song with the lead vocalist getting his lyrics out at a great speed. This is definitely one of my favourite tracks on the EP. I'm a sucker for high energy skate punk. The penultimate song on Par For The Corpse is named Brojob. The initial guitars on the track have a bit of an atmospheric sound before the song really comes in with a bang. From there it goes along nicely. I particularly enjoyed the sudden change of vocal melody for the chorus on the track, it hits you quickly and really peeks your interest in the song. Last up is Jimmy Goodtimes. This song is well placed at the end of the EP as it starts fairly slowly and builds towards its big chorus and ending. This song also feels like it will have a permanent home at the end of The Back Nine set list. It's about a friend who drinks too much and messes everything up.

If you're a fan of early 2000s pop punk music I'm very confident that you will enjoy The Back Nine. This is high energy pop punk that will find a permanent place in your head whether you want it to or not.

Stream and download Par For The Corpse here: https://thebackninemusic.bandcamp.com/releases

Like The Back Nine here: https://www.facebook.com/back9punk/

This review was written by Colin Clark.

Monday, 19 February 2018

Album Review: Slapshot Regatta by Slapshot Regatta

Slapshot Regatta are a melodic punk band from Ohio. The four piece are influenced by punk bands from the late 90s and early 2000s such as NOFX, Millencolin, Jimmy Eat World, Sugarcult and MXPX. Consisting of Jeremy Van Dress (vocals and guitar), Nathan Satola (bass and vocals), Keith Krysiak (guitar) and Derek Warfle (drums), Slapshot Regatta released their debut self titled album back in November 2017. Here's my take on it.

The album begins with Raised By Wolves. This song begins with some quite sombre guitars before the drums hit and we get treated with some great 90s skate punk. Van Dress's vocals soar on the song, singing with plenty of emotion. The track is about being brought up in a family that you don't feel like you belong in. The next song, Calling Out explores the pop punk side of Slapshot Regatta's sound. There is a lot more bounce in the melody of the track and it will have you happily swaying from side to side before you know it. The subtle use of harmonies on the chorus works well, adding an extra little layer to the song without going overboard. The third track Rewind starts slowly with what I can imagine is a great sing-a-long at a Slapshot Regatta gig before building towards a much more bombastic chorus. The band then repeat this trick for the next verse and chorus cycle. I feel like this song would really be the song that defines Slapshot Regatta to their fans, it's a fantastic pop punk song.

Legendary brings us back to the skate punk world. The track is about the people you grew up with at a young age. Derek Warfle's drums really stand out on the song as he relentlessly pounds his way through the song. There is also a nice throwback to Pennywise's Bro Hymn, another song about losing the people you love, with some "whoa-ohs" towards the end of the track. Stick Around is a delightful melodic pop punk song that gives a bit of rest bite after the skate punk fun. There is definitely a more restrained approach to the song with Stick Around, they can hold back and still craft great music. The track is about staying in a relationship for too long and trying to make it work despite yourself. Half Empty is a ska punk song. What!? This was completely unexpected but also something I loved. I love ska punk. Playing homage to Goldfinger on the track with some brilliant ska guitar during the verse and some big pop choruses, it's a song that had me moving immediately. Half Empty was a really fun change of pace in the middle of the record and shows an extra side of the Slapshot Regatta dice. On my first listen of Run Away I was reminded of legendary Californian punks No Use For A Name, a band who were renowned for the poppier take on the 90s skate punk sound. I enjoyed the more melodic approach on Run Away with the band letting Van Dress's vocals carry the melody of the song.

Last Call To Lose It All is a punchy pop punk song that makes me think about to the glory days of Drive Thru Records, possibly the greatest pop punk label in history? The opening guitars make you think that this will be a heavier sounding song before the vocals come in. The chorus is as you would expect from a pop punk song - really catchy and gives you the urge to pogo up and down. This is just what pop punk should be like. The ninth song, Out Of My Mind, continues the pop punk sound with another catchy and upbeat sounding track. It's about struggling to deal with the tough times in life and feeling like you're losing some control. The chorus of "Going Out Of My Mind, I'm Not Feeling Right" will be really relatable to a lot of people and could be quite cathartic for them. The penultimate song is titled Superlative Flaw. Here we revert back to the skate punk. It really is great to hear Slapshot Regatta playing these two different styles of punk rock and doing both extremely well. It feels as if the band put a lot more of their passion and energy into the skate punk songs and I do find myself becoming more emotionally attached to them. Finally we finish the album with the song Emotional Devotional. The song begins slowly with just Van Dress's guitar and vocal. He recounts a bad time in his life that he wants to forget until things can be made better. Soon enough the full band join him for a fast paced pop punk song to finish off the album.

What I really liked about Slaphot Regatta was how they don't pigeon hole themselves with a particular style and are more than happy and capable of jumping between a couple of different genres, whilst remaining true to what makes them great. This is one hell of a debut album from an extremely promising new band.

Stream and download Slapshot Regatta here: https://slapshotregatta.bandcamp.com/releases

Like Slapshot Regatta here: https://www.facebook.com/slapshotregattapunk/

This review was written by Colin Clark.

Saturday, 17 February 2018

Album Review: Northern Blue by Cold Years (by Emma Prew)

Cold Years are a rocking and rolling four-piece from Aberdeen, Scotland. Simply put, they are more of a rock band than a punk band but they draw influences from punk rock as well as bluesy rock ’n’ roll and Americana music. As with many of my recent favourite artists that I’ve had introduced to me over the past couple of years, I have Colin to thank for telling me about Cold Years. On a cold and snowy early December weekend in 2015, Colin was in Dundee, Scotland, for Book Yer Ane Fest (we’d only known each other for a few months and his trip was already planned so I wasn’t with him – plus I didn’t much fancy the 11 hour bus journey!). One of the many bands he saw over the weekend was Cold Years. He described them to me as sounding like ‘A Scottish Gaslight Anthem’ and so I was sold – The Gaslight Anthem being one of my favourite bands of all time.

Cold Years’ last release was the EP Death Chasers in 2016 so I think we can all agree that we are keen to hear something new from the band. Well, the wait is almost over as a 4-track EP titled Northern Blue is set for released on 2nd March, on German label Homebound Records. This was one I was looking forward to anyway so I was all the more excited to get to hear it early. Here’s what I thought.

Cold Years launch into Northern Blue full pelt with pounding drums and forceful guitars opening up the first track, Seasons. At least, that’s what we get for the first ten seconds or so before the vocals come in. When frontman Ross’s wistful voice comes in, the guitars switch to a palm-muted style but you can tell that it won’t stay that way for long. The pace and volume pick up again as we head towards a belting chorus. This is pure dynamic and bold rock ’n’ roll. Seasons mulls over the subject of escaping to a better time and place. The bridge is a real highlight with the lines ‘Never could find the words to say, Never thought that I would lose you this way, Give me your hand and I’ll take you away.’ giving way to a huge guitar solo, soon accompanied by soulful singing of ‘No, no, no’. Next up we have the lead single from the EP that was released at the end of last year, Miss You To Death. This song starts fairly slowly with that sense of building once again ever present. It’s superbly melodic with the two guitars and bass taking their own distinct parts while the drums pound away holding everything together. Miss You To Death is a very nostalgic song – well, the whole of Northern Blue is to be honest but it’s particularly apparent here. The chorus is catchy, and it certainly keeps your head nodding along, but it’s the themes within the lyrics that really stand out – growing up surrounded by music, missing someone close to you (missing them to death, you could say) but most of all being thankful for those memories and moments. ‘So put the record on and play those songs you had behind, And all those songs that our mothers and fathers danced to in time, Put on that dress, Forget all the stress, Come with me and never look back…’

What I Lost is the third song on Northern Blue and it starts up with a super sweet opening guitar riff, backed up by the second guitar and a steady drumbeat. Of course, it’s Ross’s vocals take centre stage as soon he opens his mouth. That theme of nostalgia and sense of longing continues with What I Lost. You’d be forgiven for thinking this band was from New Jersey rather than Aberdeen – I thought it too the first time I heard them, at least until I noticed the undertones of a Scottish accent. We do actually get a nod to the mighty Springsteen in this song. ‘Young in our hearts and old in our souls, Even for the youth, No Surrender on the radio…’  There’s another intense guitar solo towards the end of this track that I think shows real rock ’n’ roll flare, before a lengthy melodic outro takes us into the final track of Northern Blue. Appropriately titled Final Call, this song begins with a clean dual guitar part that quickly holds the listener’s attention, perhaps even more so than on a song with pounding drums or bouncy bass. Less is more. Melody-wise, the guitars actually remind me of the Fake Problem’s song Songs For Teenagers but I think I’m thinking of the time when The Gaslight Anthem covered it as that was more of an acoustic version. Similarities aside, this is another brilliantly heartfelt and soulful track. It begins slowly, as Ross takes you on a journey with his voice, reflecting on the idea that time flies but we never forget the past and what it means to us. Final Call could have easily remained at its slower pace but Cold Years have plenty of energy left for the last third of the song. After the poignant lines of ‘And all the people who leave you behind, Are never far from your mind, Fading memories and haunted regret. These songs are etched into my head…’ there is a huge crescendo and POW, the full band is back with the volume cranked up. There is so much passion packed into the last minute of the song. Amazing end to an amazing set of songs.

Cold Years did not disappoint with Northern Blue. Each of the four songs on this release are brilliant in their own way but they also fit wonderfully together with recurring themes of reflecting on fond memories and the overall sense of nostalgia in their rock ’n’ roll guitar solos as well as soulful and contemplative lyrics.

Check out Cold Years on Facebook and keep an eye out for pre-order details for Northern Blue. In the meantime, you can stream Miss You To Death on Spotify. What are you waiting for?

This album review was written by Emma Prew.

Friday, 16 February 2018

Column: DIY vs Academies

Recently, probably like many of you reading this post, I went to see The Menzingers with PUP and Cayetana. You can check out Emma's review here. As I waited for The Menzingers to come on stage I looked around the room, and the sheer amount of people packed into the Shepherd's Bush Empire, and wondered "Where are all these people for the small local DIY punk rock shows?" It's something that I often think when I attend shows like this. It does frustrate me when I go see some of the awesome underground UK punk rock bands and a sizeable portion of the crowd seems to be either members of the other bands on the line up or friends and families of the bands. I don't understand why this is as the UK punk scene is absolutely brimming with incredible acts that really do deserve much more attention.

Getting people to listen to the underground bands we are privileged to have in the UK is a passion and to be honest a bit of on obsession of mine. So I decided to try and work out why exactly there are people who enjoy punk music such as The Menzingers or Bad Religion or Anti-Flag or Reel Big Fish or Descendents or Flogging Molly but don't seem willing to go and see small bands playing places similar to where these legendary bands got started. I asked the excellent folk of the CPRW team and Sarah from Shout Louder for their opinions on the subject.

Triple Sundae at Urban Bar, London

The first point and biggest point, and probably most obvious, is that people just aren't aware that a UK punk scene even exists. I guess it's called an underground scene for a good reason. After this point was made to me I instantly ask why not!? I understand that people might not be as passionate about music as me and might be more than happy to continue to listen to your favourite band you had as a teenager. I still listen to all of my favourite bands from my teens as well but in this day and age of streaming music it's so easy to discover a new band. If you're a user of Spotify they compile you a weekly playlist based on your listening trends to help you discover new bands similar to what you like. Bandcamp has an incredible discover section where you can lose hours finding your new favourite band. There is some real quality to be found out there, three of my top ten albums of 2017 were due to Bandcamp discovery - they were Flabbercasters, Plan 37 and Quitters. So what I'm saying is that there definitely is an underground scene out there just waiting to be discovered. You can also find your new favourite band at a local DIY punk show.

I appreciate that it is a big step to attend a show where you don't necessarily know the bands playing. Why should you give up your time and money to go and see bands you've not heard of before? You could rephrase that statement to say why WOULD you give up your time and money to go and see bands you've not heard of before? Rationally it kind of doesn't make sense. Even though most DIY punk shows will cost you less than £10, it's still money and time spent travelling to a venue where in all likelihood the sound won't be as good (and the toilets won't be as clean!). But you also won't have to queue for ages between bands and miss the beginning of your favourite band of the past twenty years set because you're paying an extortionate amount for a drink. Oh London drink prices, I do hate you. But there is a flipside to this! As I said in the previous paragraph, it is so simple and easy to check out a new band because of that wonderful thing called the Internet - it isn't just memes, GIFs, videos of cats and pornography. Because of social media it is also quite easy to find a local show and most promoters will post Bandcamp or Youtube links to the bands on the bill so you're not going in blind or, perhaps in a musical sense, deaf.

Flogging Molly at The Forum, London

Okay, so now you've found your new favourite underground band and they're playing a show local to you and you would like to go. But you've got nobody to go with as none of your friends have taken the time to listen to the band you've suggested - they aren't willing to go to the gig and hope for the best. You've got nobody to go with and don't really fancy going by yourself so you stay at home and watch videos of cats. When I first started going to gigs regularly I had a good posse of pals who were willing to come along. But as I started to discover more and more small bands and wanted to go to more and more gigs people started to jump off the bandwagon because of, you know, life and stuff. It got to the stage where it was either bite the bullet and go by myself or stop doing something I truly loved. Probably my first love. Easy decision to make really. Sure the hour long journey on the train after a full day of work sucks and the getting home at 2am the following morning and having to be at work at 8am is the worst thing that will ever happen to you, but that four hours of incredible music and performance in the middle makes it all worth it. The hardest thing for me when I started going to gigs by myself was walking in the door of a small venue you've never been to before. I used to get really anxious over the prospect of doing that but you soon get over it. You might worry about the people inside the venue. Will you fit in? Will people be rude to you? Will there be people? The answers to those questions are yes, no and then yes again. The folk you'll meet at a DIY punk show are amongst the nicest and best people you will ever meet. Just have a chat with them and you'll discover this. Some of the best friends I've made over the past few years are folk I've met at little DIY punk shows. Everyone there is at the same show to see the same band so you've already got things in common.

The travelling is the worst part of going to a show. Emma has said that in the past she's been put off of going to shows on her own because the venue has been in an awkward place, at a fair distance from the nearest Underground station and has felt unsafe walking to the venue. I can completely understand why this would put people off going to small gigs. There have been plenty of times when I've been on my way to a gig and had to avoid some unsavoury people. One time I was offered some of the hardcore drugs and called a devil worshipper by two separate groups within thirty seconds of each other. I wasn't called a devil worshipper because I accepted the drugs. I didn't accept the drugs. If this is a big issue for you perhaps a solution could be to message the gig's event page on the Facebook and mention your concerns and see if anyone can meet you somewhere you feel safe. Punks are good folk, I have no doubt someone would at least try and help you out and you'll probably make a new friend in the process.

The Filaments at New Cross Inn (for Level Up Fest), London

Emma and I do a lot of travelling for gigs which will mean we'll often get home from a gig way past our bedtime. This understandably stops people going to too many gigs because of work commitments. So you might be picky with your gig choice selection and probably go and see a band that you have loved for a long time and can guarantee a great show rather than a smaller DIY show where you don't know the bands very well, particularly if it is somewhere you think might be awkward to get to and you just think it might be a bit rubbish. (It most definitely won't be!)

Something else put forward to me as a reason for people only attending bigger gigs is because society associates monetary value with quality. After working in retail for far too many years I've seen this first hand, a lot. People will spend a fortune on the more expensive branded items rather than buying the cheaper own brand things that taste just the same. You can easily argue, and I would usually agree, that you get a better quality gig when you pay more for a ticket. You do often get more of a stage show at one of the bigger venues than you do in the backroom of a pub. Do extravagant light shows, fireworks, flying drumkits, backing dancers, video screens and the like make a great show? I wouldn't say so. They certainly add to a performance and make for great photo opportunities but it's not what makes a great show. Especially a great punk show. It's about the passion and energy coming from a band who do it for the love of it and will be doing the exact same thing you'll be doing the next day, going back to your boring day job. At a £5 DIY gig you get something that for me is huge - you get to feel part of a community and a movement of people coming together to do something very special. Due to a lack of space for a backstage area at a DIY gig the band will hang out in the crowd and you'll see that they are just the same as you. There is no sense of hierarchy at a small show. Everyone is the same and everyone is together. There's a special feeling to realising you're just the same as your heroes. So yeah, in summary, as in life, money is not a measurement of quality in punk rock.

Masked Intruder at Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London

I could probably go on about this for another 1500 words but if I did I imagine you'd get bored of my seemingly endless rambling and stop reading. So to sum everything up here are some pros and cons for bigger and small gigs.

Big Venue Pros

1. Bigger bands
2. Bigger stage show
3. More of your friends are likely to attend
4. The stage is higher up (helpful for short folk)
5. Better disabled access
6. Easier to find venues, more centrally located
7. Cleaner toilets

Big Venue Cons

1. More expensive tickets
2. Bigger queues
3. Overpriced drinks
4. Further away from the stage
5. Worse views
6. Less thoughtful crowd (eg. throwing beer, barging past people, people being unaware of the other people around them)
7. Less intimate
8. Merchandise is more expensive as the bands have to increase prices because the venue takes a cut
9. Ticket touts
10. Less of a community feel
11. People trying to film, Facetime and take six dozen selfies during a band's set
12. Sticky floors

Small Venue Pros

1. Cheap tickets (sometimes even free!)
2. No queues
3. Seeing bands before they get big
4. More variety of punk gigs at small venues
5. Intimate atmosphere
6. Friendlier crowds
7. More of a community feeling
8. Supporting independent venues
9. Supporting new music
10. The lovely feeling of feeling like you're contributing to the scene
11. Better views
12. Less people filming or Facetiming during the gig
13. It's usually just your name on the door so you save paper as you don't need a ticket
14. You can meet your heroes
15. You can become friends with familiar faces in the scene
16. Supporting local talent
17. More of an inclusive feel - no hierarchy, no discrimination, no cool club, everyone welcome

Small Venue Cons

1. Smelly toilets
2. You won't know all the bands
3. Some smaller venues can be a little difficult to get to
4. Sticky floors
5. Tickets can be hard to get for popular bands

Faintest Idea at the Portland Arms, Cambridge

Ultimately this column is the opinions of a handful of people who are extremely passionate about DIY punk rock and doing what they can to support it. Of course if you prefer going to a bigger show that's awesome, you do what makes you happy. We're very lucky to still have the option in this country and that there is a big enough punk scene that it can cater to everyone's tastes. This column is an attempt to encourage anyone reading who has never been to a DIY show to give it a go, hopefully it will become your big passion like it has become mine.

This column was put together by Colin Clark with the help of the CPRW team and Sarah Williams of Shout Louder

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Top Tens: Triple Sundae's Top Ten Punk Rock Influences

We decided to take a different approach and have each member give two influences, as well as adding two overall influences for the band itself! Enjoy.

Personal influences for each member:

Mike (Guitar)

We Are The Union
Probably the best "pop-punk with horns" band. ‘Who We Are’ is incredible from start to finish. Huge riffs and ska undertones, the balance is perfect and WATU are a huge influence as a result.

The Flatliners
They've consistently released quality music and their style has developed while still keeping it instantly recognisable as The Flatliners. Cavalcade especially was a game changer.

Zandro (Drums/Vocals)

Pink Floyd
They were the first band me and my dad ever bonded over and the more I explored their back catalogue and history, the more their music blew me away! I still get goosebumps when I listen to The Wall.

I was a little late getting into Metallica! I had bought the S&M live album because I'd liked what I'd heard. The album was so different, with the inclusion of the orchestra that it threw me off! Now S&M is my favourite live album of all time. Life's fun like that.

Andy (Bass)

Box Car Racer and Alkaline Trio
Because they are like totes good and stuff.

Hassan (Guitar/Vocals)

A Tribe Called Quest
“Microphone check one, two, what is this?
The five foot assassin with the roughneck business
I float like gravity, never had a cavity,
Got more rhymes than the Winans got family
No need to sweat Arsenio to gain some type of fame
No shame in my game cause I’ll always be the same
Styles upon styles upon styles is what I have,
You wanna diss the Phifer but you still don’t know the half”

RIP Phife Dawg.

The Pharcyde
“Trapped in the cockpit at forty thousand feet
The sky is the limit, but we supersede
The greed for the speed is like way beyond limits,
I grab my parachute with like forks and spoons in it,
And I’m falling, I’m falling, with my heart rapid rushes
Death before my eyes, oh why did I trust this?
My reactions are repeated over and over and over,
Oh it seems like I will never be sober.”

Triple Sundae overall

I can’t think of a melodic punk band that did time signature changes and palm muted middle 8s as well as Lifetime did. I will forever try to emulate that one way or another in my songwriting for TS. Lifetime are a perfect band and, as much as we don’t sound like them to a tee, it’s safe to say they have heavily influenced the songwriting style for Tripsun.

The Menzingers
Honest lyrics, big choruses and beautiful dynamics – on the the other side of the spectrum from where Lifetime’s fast, raspy and fun melodic punk style lays. The Menzingers are the second band I would choose to cite as an overall influence for this piece as the story telling is amazing and they haven’t put out a single bad record yet - every band in this genre should aim to provide half the quality of content as The Menzingers have.

Honourable mentions: Title Fight, Candy Hearts, Tigers Jaw, Jeff Rosenstock, Alicia Keys, Iron Chic, and Green Day pre-Warning… and post-Warning. Green Day will forever be a punk band, shut the fuck up about it.

Our upcoming EP ‘Peace of Mind’ will be out April 2nd through Umlaut Records - first single Indecisive is out now! It's now streaming on Punknews.org. Check it out here.

Like Triple Sundae here.

Hassan is also playing an acoustic set this Sunday at New Cross Inn supporting Ray Rocket (Teenage Bottlerocket), Sam Russo, Alex Wonk Unit, Dan RxR and many more. The details are here.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Album Review: Roll With by The Dodges

Today we're featuring another new release from the always excellent La Escalera Records. Today I'm reviewing San Diego based four piece The Dodges new EP Roll With. The Dodges, who consist of Mike Hertel (guitar and vocals), Kyle Porter (drums), Alex Snyder (guitar) and Donnie Cardenas (bass), play a great mix of indie and infectious pop punk music. Enough intro now, let's check out Roll With.

First up is the song Chasing Amy. This is by far the shortest song on the album and I must admit I found it kind of strange that they'd open with such a short song. Then the opening guitars and those pounding drums bring the song to a crashing opening and I know exactly why this was picked as the opener. There's an immediate energy in the song that has you wanting to hear more and more. Mike Hertel's vocals really stand out. They're quite clean in sound with just a hint of the punk gruff about it. This little hint of gruff really helps add the emotion into the track. The second track is titled Old Habits. Old Habits is about trying not to let yourself slip and go back to your old bad ways. This song is indie pop punk at its absolute finest. The jangly guitars stood out quickly as do some more pounding drums. Midway through, the band really show off some great musicianship with an extended instrumental sections which include a kick-ass guitar solo. It's superbly catchy as well and you'll pick up on the lyrics at a great speed so you'll be singing along with the band before the song has even finished its first run through.

Dilemmas is quick in getting started. When listening to the song I was really reminded of long running rock act The Goo Goo Dolls. The song is about making bad decisions constantly and becoming known for it. The song features yet another fantastic guitar solo that helps to break the song up a bit. This really helps given its lengthy running time of over four minutes. The next song, Ordinary Joke, is another that goes past the four minute mark. This one is just fantastic. Everything about it seems much harder than its predecessor. The guitars are strummed harder, the drums are hit harder and there is a great amount of attitude in Hertel's vocal. There is also a great amount of energy in the song that keeps you into the song and by its ending you are almost breathless.

The fifth song on the EP is titled The Hits You Dodge. It begins with a great rolling drumbeat and honestly superb drumming throughout by Kyle Porter. He provides an strong back beat to a high tempo pop punk song about happily being different from the crowd. Something that really does set The Dodges apart from their many of their contemporaries is the amazing skill that they show with their instruments. So far on the EP it's like they're trying to outdo the guitar solo from the previous song. The penultimate song on the EP is Get Serious. That Goo Goo Dolls similarity returns here with more high energy indie pop punk. There is also quite an upbeat feeling to the song that adds to its infectious charm. Then we have the final song Thrive which actually begins with a bit of a dark tone. It's about taking your chance for excellence and not being held back. I love this message and I love this song. The song does feel more restrained than the other songs on Roll With but of course it finishes with another great solo.

Roll With is a lovely slice of indie pop punk. It shows excellent musicianship and some great songwriting. It also doesn't really sound much like anything else in its genre so there is a great freshness to it that really makes it stand out. Looking forward to big things from The Dodges.

Stream and download Roll With here: https://laescalerarecords.bandcamp.com/album/roll-with

Like The Dodges here: https://www.facebook.com/Thedodgesband/

This review was written by Colin Clark.

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Album Review: Post- by Jeff Rosenstock (by Dan Peters)

Post Record Company

Hands up who had a hangover on New Years Day? I’ll put mine up. Do you know who else did? Probably Jeff Rostenstock too. He played a show at the Boot and Saddle in Philadelphia on NYE and then the very next morning POST- appeared on the internet. This is an album with absolutely none of the expected secondary considerations seemingly attached to it. No marketing, no previous reviews or associated videos or singles released prior. Just one day he’s touring and the next hello world! And why not? Currently looking at Spotify, it’s had hundreds of thousands of plays and by all accounts seems to be well received.

It’s a ballsy move and one that the record industry should rightly be terrified of. Jeff released this as a “pay what you want” album on Bandcamp. Sure you can pay more for things like physical media and whatnot but if you only have £1 to spend on music and you want to own something incredible then that option is there for you, or just have it for free. I love everything about this approach to music production. There is currently a large barrier to entry for young artists but if this kind of attitude became more prevalent then maybe it would be easier for new bands to pick up momentum. It also strips out any meddling from outside sources, which works perfectly when your subject matter could be considered as a hot potato issue, although let’s be honest, saying you’re disgusted by the Trump administration and US politics isn’t exactly unpopular opinion these days.

So the album itself. Yes, it’s great. As I mentioned it’s very much a current events reaction so it’ll be interesting to see how it holds up in five or ten years time, however judging by the stark relevance of punk songs written during the Bush administration today, the pessimist in me thinks it’s gonna hold up just fine. The instrumental side of things here is very satisfying. Everything is chunky and sounds big and crisp as snow. Jeff has enough charisma in his voice to fill the national mall. POST- is basically a concept album with everything running through the same themes of helplessness in the face of a country effectively shooting itself in the leg, from the ballsy 7 minute USA right through to the backhanded acceptance of Let Them Win (“They can profit from their lies again”). Anti Trump sentiment isn’t exactly breaking new ground but it’s something that should not stop being said as long as there are people who will support it. Rather than being stark and oppressive political fact stating, it’s more of a personal struggle and that endears me to each song so much more than the fact I agree. The sadness and melancholy is something I’m positive anyone picking up a Jeff Rosenstock album will undoubtedly relate to and, for that, this really deserves to get a listen from anyone that can – which in this case is everyone since it’s free to those who can’t afford it.

In conclusion this is an album literally anyone can and surely will enjoy and something of a landmark in terms of the way it was released. More of this please.

Stream and download Post- here: https://jeffrosenstock.bandcamp.com/album/post

Specialist Subject are handling the physical release in the UK here: http://shop.specialistsubjectrecords.co.uk/products/608360-jeff-rosenstock-post-lp-cd

Like Jeff Rosenstock here: https://www.facebook.com/jeffrosenstockmusic/

This review was written by Dan Peters.