Independent punk rock band Five Hundred Bucks debuted the latest single from its forthcoming self-titled debut album this week.
The band premiered the album’s new single, ‘Animal’ Tuesday. The song is the record’s third single, behind the songs, ‘Spinal,’ and ‘S*** Shaped Heart.’ All three songs are available to stream here.
The musical arrangement featured in Five Hundred Bucks’ new single is a rich, driving work that at times, lends itself to comparison to works from Green Day, and at others to other punk bands.
No information was provided about the song’s lyrical theme in the news release announcing the single’s premiere. However a comment about the album’s overall lyrical approach from front man Jeff Riddle gives a hint into the song’s theme.
“The record, on a whole, has an air of gleeful nihilism, or dare I even say optimistic nihilism to it, whatever the hell that means,” Riddle said. “There’s a lot of ‘I really want to give up or quit, but I don’t know what the hell else I would do so I might as well stick with it,’ which is a sentiment that I’ve felt when it comes to music or just even life in general.”
In other news, Five Hundred Bucks is scheduled to launch a tour in support of its new album May 4 in Richmond, VA. The band’s tour schedule is noted below.
Richmond, VA 5/4 @ Hot For Pizza
with Bashful and Dead Format
Charlotte, NC 5/5 @ Spoke Easy
with Paint Fumes, Comino, ACNE, and Dipstick
Atlanta, GA 5/6 @ The Earl
with Reconciler, New Junk City, and The Howdymen
Gainesville, FL 5/7 @ Loosey’s
with Reconciler, New Junk City, and The Howdymen
Pittsburgh, PA 5/14 @ Polish Hills Tennis Court
with Big Baby, Lizard Academy, Go. No. Go
Philadelphia, PA 7/19 @ Silk City
with Signals Midwest and Downhaul
More information on Five Hundred Bucks’ upcoming tour, its new album and single is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:
Almost a year ago to the day, independent punk rock outfit Steadfast released its then latest album, Transmitters through Pine Box Derby. The problem is that because of the COVID-19 pandemic, its release never really got the distribution and coverage that it otherwise could have had. To that end, Pine Box Derby is giving the album a new push to punk rock fans worldwide. Those audiences are certain to appreciate this new record in part because of the record’s featured musical arrangements. They will be discussed shortly. The lyrical themes that accompany the album’s featured musical arrangements add their own appeal to the album, so they will be discussed a little later. The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements and will be discussed later, too. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the record. All things considered, they make Transmitters a record that will send a strong signal of its own to any punk rock fans.
Steadfast’s most recent album Transmitters was released July 10, 2020, but as noted, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic negatively impacted its distribution and coverage. Had it received the distribution and coverage that it deserved last year, it no doubt would have become one of the year’s top new independent and punk rock albums. That is proven in part through its featured arrangements. The arrangements in question are punk rock at its purest. Throughout the course of the album’s 11 songs, the arrangements immediately lend themselves to works from the likes of Rancid, Dropkick Murphys, and to a lesser extent, Green Day. As a matter of fact, if audiences were to hear any part of this album without knowing it was Steadfast, the vocals alone would lead listeners to believe they were hearing DKM co-vocalist Al Barr or even Rancid front man Tim Armstrong. The addition of the catchy guitars, driving time keeping, and rich bass line does just as much in each song to make the arrangements bear such a close similarity. Even with all of this in mind, the arrangements do still bear their own identity separate from those of the aforementioned bands. That is revealed through a close listen. It is just that the similarities are that close between Steadfast and its more well-known counterparts. All in all, the arrangements featured in Transmitters prove to be reason enough in themselves for audiences to hear the album. They are collectively just one part of what makes Transmitters successful. The lyrical themes that accompany the album’s musical arrangements add another layer of enjoyment to the album.
The lyrical themes featured in Transmitters are fully accessible in their own right. Right from the record’s outset, the band offers up a song in its title track that celebrates independent music and the pirate (independent) radio stations that help spread the word about that music. This is made clear right from the song’s lead verse, which states, “I heard the needle on the record drop while the DJ said “this ain’t the top of the charts/The music’s fast and it’s f****** loud/This is your pirate radio!”/Hear the sounds from the underground/Beaming their waves all over town/It’s a radio riot and it won’t settle down it’s a force they can’t control/Turn it all the way up – to the limit/Gonna watch the speakers explode/Turn it all the way up – to the limit on Revolution Radio/Revolution Radio/Turn it all the way up for the world to know/That it’s a force that they can’t control (whoa oh) Revolution Radio.” The song’s second verse continues that celebration of all things independent as it states, “Transmitters to receivers hidden around the town for the disbelievers/To hear the truths from the rebel youths on the pirate radio!/Tune it in, turn it loud, sing along until you’re falling down/It belongs to me and you so be proud that it’s a force they can’t control.” So right here, audiences clearly understand the accessibility of the album’s lyrical themes. That simple, accessible theme, paired with the song’s equally infectious musical arrangement, makes the song in whole a powerful whole for the album.
As much as ‘Transmitters’ does to show the importance of the album’s fully accessible lyrical themes, it is just one example of that impact. ‘Integrity,’ one of the album’s late entries, is accessible in its own right even as it presents a familiar political commentary throughout its three-and-a-half-minute presentation. Front man Jason Bancroft takes no sides here, instead indicting politicians really on both sides of the aisle. This is made clear as he sings in the song’s lead verse and chorus, “You’re a career politician with nothing to say/A puppet of a party who’s pulling the strings/With everything you do and everything your say/It proves that you have no f****** integrity/Now we’re sick and tired of the same old s***/How can you ignore the truth with no regrets?/The passions of the people will not calm lightly/You’re adding fuel to the fire of the next uprising/Don’t tell us lies just tell us the truth/See people suffer from your indecision/Don’t tell us lies just tell us the truth/Are you ready for the inquisition?/It’s defiance not reliance that we need/Because the system that’s controlling us is making us bleed.” The song’s second verse continues the indictment of the political elite on both sides as it attacks both sides for “Giving to the rich/While robbing from the poor/Getting what you want by giving empty promises.” Such lyrical content is familiar territory for any punk band. Keeping that in mind, it is yet another clear, accessible theme that because of that clarity and connection, shows once more, the importance of the album’s lyrical themes. It is just one more of the songs that serves to show the noted importance. ‘Just Disbelievers’ is yet another example of that importance.
‘Just Disbelievers’ is, lyrically, a familiar anthem for a disenfranchised generation. It is an anthem of proud defiance against those who would otherwise just discount said individuals. As with the other themes addressed here, it is an all-too-familiar lyrical theme in the punk realm. The anthem opens with Bancroft singing in the song’s lead verse and chorus, “We may seem young and hopeless – we may seem all the same/You might think that you know about us – but you don’t even know our name/You might think that you can stop us – put our backs up against a wall/It will take much more to stop us – because you’ll have to stop us all/We won’t go down without a fight/We might not win but that’s alright/We won’t go down without a fight/We won’t give in – no!” that proud defiance continues in the song’s second verse in which Bancroft sings, “We are all saints and sinners – losers and sometimes winners/We are not king and queens/or followers/Just Disbelievers!/We will not be forgotten – won’t be content just to move along/Didn’t say we weren’t contradictions/But when we’re not right we’re still not wrong.” Such content goes back a long way through the history of punk (and rock/metal in general). That the band presented such a familiar theme in such an easily accessible fashion, reminding a whole new generation of listeners to stand up to those who would just toss them aside, is even more proof of the importance of the album’s lyrical themes. When it and the other lyrical themes examined here are considered along with the album’s other lyrical themes, the whole leaves no doubt as to the importance of the album’s lyrical content. When that overall content is paired with the album’s equally accessible punk sounds, the whole of that content forms a solid foundation for the album. Taking all of that into account, the sequencing of that content rounds out the album’s most important elements.
Transmitters’ sequencing is important in part because in considering the album’s content, it ensures the album’s lyrical themes change from one song to the next. From the fun to the more serious to the generally contemplative, the themes change throughout the course of the record’s 40-minute run time. That in itself ensures listeners’ engagement and entertainment. Additionally, the sequencing keeps the record’s energy high from one arrangement to the next. The DIY, garage punk stylistic approach stays largely the same throughout with the changes in the arrangements remaining subtle from one to the next. A close listen to the songs reveals those subtle changes from one song to the next. That and the constant energy does its own part to keep listeners engaged, too. When it and the engagement and entertainment ensured through the album’s lyrical variety are considered together, it shows clearly the role of the album’s sequencing to its presentation, too. All things considered, these three elements make Transmitters an impressive offering from Steadfast that deserves its own share of attention among punk purists.
Steadfast’s most recent album, Transmitters is a positive offering from the independent punk rock band. The album’s success comes in part through its featured musical arrangements. The arrangements are all high-energy compositions whose melodies and general presentations lend themselves to comparison to works from the likes of Rancid, Dropkick Murphys and even Green Day. They are infectious works that even with the comparisons in mind still have their own identities, making for reason enough to hear the album. The album’s lyrical themes are just as accessible as their musical counterparts. They are varied from one to the next, ranging from the silly to the serious. When they are considered along with the album’s musical arrangements, the collective gives audiences even more reason for audiences to hear the album. The record’s sequencing brings all of that content together and keeps the album’s energy high from start to end. At the same time, it ensures listeners remain engaged and entertained by changing up the record’s lyrical themes throughout its 40-minute run time. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the album. All things considered, they make Transmitters a presentation that any punk purist will enjoy.
Transmitters is available now through Pine Box Derby. More information on the album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:
Punk rock band American Television released its new EP, Adolescence Friday.
In celebration of the EP’s release, which came through Wiretap Records, the band premiered the video for its cover of Black Flag’s song, ‘Nervous Breakdown’ Saturday.
The band’s DIY-style video features the band members — Steve Rovery (guitar, vocals), Jerred Lazar (guitar, vocals), Bryan Flowers (drums), and Edwin Wikfors (bass) — each being themselves as Rovery and Lazar go kind of crazy.
American Television’s take on ‘Nervous Breakdown’ stays largely true to its source material. The only difference between the two renditions is that the original work has more of a Sex Pistols type sound thanks to its production. American Television’s rendition by comparison has a somewhat richer sound even despite its still raw sense.
‘Nervous Breakdown’ is just one of the covers featured in the five-song record, which is in fact a collection of covers. The band also takes on songs from Operation Ivy, Green Day, Bad Religion, and Fugazi. The EP’s track listing is noted below.
The Go-Gos’ 2001 album God Bless The Go-Gos is getting its own re-issue.
The album, which was at the time its first together since 1984’s Talk Show, is scheduled for release May 14 on vinyl. The re-issue celebrates the 20th anniversary of that album’s release and on deluxe CD and digital platforms. The re-issue will feature new cover art, shown here, and the bonus tracks ‘I Think I Need Sleep’ and ‘King of Confusion.’ Pre-orders are open.
The re-issue’s track listing is noted below.
VINYL TRACK LISTING:
SIDE 1 1. La La Land 2. Unforgiven 3. Apology 4. Stuck In My Car 5. Vision Of Nowness 6. Here You Are 7. Automatic Rainy Day
SIDE 2 1. Kissing Asphalt 2. Insincere 3. Sonic Superslide 4. Throw Me A Curve 5. Talking Myself Down 6. Daisy Chain
CD/DIGITAL TRACK LISTING 1. La La Land 2. Unforgiven 3 .Apology 4. Stuck In My Car 5. Vision Of Nowness 6. Here You Are 7. Automatic Rainy Day 8. Kissing Asphalt 9. Insincere 10. Sonic Superslide 11. Throw Me A Curve 12. Talking Myself Down 13. Daisy Chain 14. I Think I Need Sleep 15. King Of Confusion
God Bless The Go-Gos reached #57 on the Billboard Top 200 and has since reached #17 on the Top Internet Albums Chart. Paul Kolderie and Sean Slade (Radiohead, Hole) co-produced the album.
Green Day front man Billie Joe Armstrong made a guest appearance on the album’s track, ‘Unforgiven.’ Ram Jaffee (The Wallflowers, Foo Fighters) lent his talents to another of the album’s tracks, ‘Here You Are.’ ‘Daisy Chain’ featured a guest appearance by Roger Manning (Jellyfish, Imperial Drag, The Moog Cookbook).
In other news, The Go-Gos’ documentary — simply titled The Go-Gos — was released through digital and rental services Friday through Eagle Vision and Mercury Studios. Its physical release is scheduled for Feb. 26 through Polygram/UMe on DVD/Blu-ray combo pack.
The documentary, which premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, presents the history of the all-female band from its roots in the Los Angeles punk scene to its meteoric rise to fame. The story features interviews with subjects, such as Belinda Carlisle, Kathy Valentine, and Gina Schock to add to its depth.
As an added bonus, the documentary follows the band as it writes its female empowerment anthem ‘Club Zero,’ its first new song in almost 20 years. The song hit the Top 10 on Billboard’s Rock Digital Sales Chart.
In more news, The Go-Gos are scheduled to launch a series of live dates starting June 18 in San Francisco, CA, conditions pending due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The tour is scheduled to run just under a month long, ending on July 11 in Asbury Park, NJ. The tour’s tentative schedule is noted below.
Summer 2021 North American tour dates: Jun 18 The Masonic San Francisco, CA + Jun 23 Humphreys San Diego, CA + Jun 24 Humphreys San Diego, CA + Jun 27 Pechanga Resort Casino Temecula, CA + Jun 29 Orpheum Theater Los Angeles, CA + Jun 30 Orpheum Theater Los Angeles, CA + Jul 7 Theatre at Westbury Westbury, NY Jul 8 Parx Casino Bensalem, PA Jul 10 Foxwoods Resort Casino Mashantucket, CT Jul 11 Stone Pony Asbury Park, NJ +
More information on The Go-Gos’ new re-issue, documentary, and tour is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:
Independent rock band Gentlemen Rogues debuted the first song this week from its forthcoming 7″ single ‘Do The Resurrection.’
The band debuted the single’s title track Thursday. The song is the single’s a-side, and mixes elements of Green Day with some light country rock for an intriguing new whole that will engage and entertain listeners. Its b-side, ‘Bloody Rudderless,’ features a musical arrangement that mixes elements of The Lemonheads, Destination Ursa Major, and My Bloody Valentine for its own unique composition.
The band talked about its new song in a prepared statement.
“Do the Resurrection! is a fuzzed-out blast of power-pop that playfully tackles love and loss, life and death, dying and undying devotion, rinsing and repeating,” the statement reads. “It also has a dueling guitar solo, that gives White Reaper a run for their money.”
‘Do The Resurrection’ is scheduled for release Dec. 4 through Snappy Little Numbers. Pre-orders are open.
More information on ‘Do The Resurrection’ is available along with all of gentlemen Rogues’ latest news at:
Green Day will see one of its classic albums get the vinyl re-issue treatment next month.
Reprise Records will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the release of Green Day’s hit 1997 album Nimrod on Oct. 13 with a vinyl re-issue of the album. It will be available by itself as a yellow, 140-gram double LP pressing and as a bundle pack that includes a bonus t-shirt. Pre-orders are open now for both.
Nimrod was originally released Oct. 14, 1997 via Reprise Records, and was produced by Rob Cavallo in Los Angeles, CA. The album debuted in the Top 10 in the Billboard 200 Chart, and has gone on to sell more than 2,000,000 copies since then. It spawned some of the band’s biggest hits including ‘Good Riddance (Time of your Life),’ ‘Nice Guys Finish Last,’ ‘Redundant’ and others.
More information on Nimrod’s upcoming vinyl re-issue is available online now along with all of Green Day’s latest news and more at:
Green Day has changed a pair of dates for the Fall 2017 leg of its Revolution Radio.
The band has flipped the dates for two performances in Texas. The dates are September 8th and 9th. The band will now perform at the Austin 360 Amphitheatre in Austin, TX on September 8. It will perform at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, TX on September 9.
The dates were changed due to scheduling conflicts. Sources close to the band did not comment on the nature of the scheduling change. The tour date information is listed in whole below.
San Antonio, TX
More information on Green Day’s tour is available online along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:
Veteran punk outfit Green Day has premiered another single from its upcoming album Revolution Radio.
The band premiered ‘Still Breathing’ this week. The introspective song takes the band–Billie Joe Armstrong (guitar, vocals), Tre Cool (drums), Mike Dirnt (bass, vocals)–in a different direction than it has taken before. That is because of the approach taken to its musical arrangement and even its lyrical content. Audiences can hear the song now and see its lyric video online now here.
Fans can get the song now as an instant download along with the previously premiered singles ‘Bang Bang’ and ‘Revolution Radio’ when they pre-orderRevolution Radio. ‘Still Breathing’ is available for download now.
Green Day is currently touring in support of Revolution Radio. The band is currently wrapping up the current North American leg of its tour. That leg ends October, 20 in Berkeley, CA. After finishing the North American leg of its tour the band will take the rest of the year to rest and recharge in preparation for the European leg of its tour. That leg begins January 10 in Turin, Italy.
Audiences can see the band’s full tour schedule, hear its latest single and get all of the band’s latest news at:
Author Kevin Prested’s new book Punk USA: The Rise and Fall of Lookout Records is essential reading for anyone that has any interest in the history of punk rock. The book, published in paperback late this past January via Microcosm Publishing,, examines as the title states, the rise and fall of one of punk’s most influential record labels. It is a label that was home to greats such as Operation Ivy, Crimpshrine, and even none other than Green Day in its heyday. But as with all great things, it came to an end; an end that was obviously not the way that anyone wanted for a once great institution, but an end nonetheless. Now thanks to Prested, who is also a music journalist, audiences get a first-hand look at what led to the famed label’s beginning and eventual sad fall. Readers will especially enjoy this book primarily thanks to the presentation of the story. Prested doesn’t try to make his story another run-of-the-mill bio/history style presentation. Rather, it comes across more as a video documentary put into book form versus the other way around. That will be discussed shortly. Another aspect of the book that readers will appreciate is the history lesson provided by Prested. Audiences learn about not just the history of Lookout Records but of the bands that once called Lookout Records home. One more factor worth noting of Prested’s book that makes it so interesting is the inclusion of the occasional picture here and there as an added illustration of Lookout’s history. None of the photos are the standard publicity photos either. Rather, they are often times more candid shots of different bands and releases put out by Lookout. It’s a minor detail, yes. But it still adds its own interest to Prested’s book. The combination of those photos, the history presented by the story, and the overall structure of the story makes Punk USA: The Rise and Fall of Lookout Records a must read not just for those with a love of music history but especially for those with an interest of and love for punk and its roots.
Punk USA: The Rise and Fall of Lookout Records is a must read for anyone with a love for and interest in not just music history but also for the history of punk rock and its roots. The main reason that it proves itself such essential reading is its overall structure. The overall structure of Prested’s presentation is not just another run-of-the-mill bio or history piece. Rather what Prested has done here is taken the road less traveled. Instead of just being a long-winded read–unlike those bios and historical pieces–Prested has used his journalistic roots and crafted a piece that is presented more like the script for a televised documentary than a literary piece. The story and the quotes from Prested’s subjects (E.g. former Lookout employee Chris Applegren, Frank Portman (The Mister T Experience, The Bomb Bassets), Scott Conway (Screeching Weasel, Even in Blackouts), etc.) are clearly separated and even specifically labeled throughout each chapter. Speaking of the chapters, the book’s chapters are relatively short, ranging anywhere from three pages to five and maybe a little more. In general though, the chapters are relatively short. So readers won’t find themselves constantly asking when the chapters are going to end. On a directly related note, the historical reflections on Lookout’s history both on the part of Prested and his subjects are themselves so entertaining that even if the chapters were longer, readers still wouldn’t have to worry about the story dragging along. The story in whole is that well-written and structured. Considering this, it would be interesting to see if Prested would ever consider turning what is essentially a script into an actual visual presentation to complement his book. Needless to say it would be just as welcome among music lovers and punk fans as his book.
The overall structure of Punk USA: The Rise and Fall of Lookout Records is central to its success. The road taken by Prested in this book is the polar opposite of its much more well-known counterparts. In other words it isn’t just another of those long-winded pieces that relies more on facts and figures than actually engaging the reader. For this reason alone Prested is more than deserving of his share of applause. It is just one reason that Prested is deserving of credit in examining his new book, too. The history provided by the book makes Prested just as deserving of credit. The story presents not only the history of Lookout Records but also of the bands that once made Lookout one of the biggest names in the music industry before its eventual demise. Prested explains through the course of his story Lookout Records’ humble beginnings, its slowly building fame, which seemed to climax at the debut of Green Day’s hit 1994 record Dookie, and its not entirely surprising (and in turn sad) eventual fall. The thing is that as readers will note early on in the label’s history, there was some foreshadowing of what was to come for Lookout. The warning signs were there. They just didn’t seem to be entirely heeded. In regards to the history of the bands that called Lookout home, some readers will be surprised to learn that Green Day once called Lookout Records home as did punk icons Operation Ivy, Screeching Weasel, Pansy Division, and a number of others. Readers even get to hear from members of the noted bands as part of the label’s history in regards to their own experiences during their time on Lookout Records. The combination of the labels’ history and the history of the bands signed to the label together makes for quite the interesting read that true punk devotees will not want to put down. That coupled with the book’s overall structure makes it even more of a work that music lovers and punk lovers specifically will enjoy.
The structure of Punk USA: The Rise and Fall of Lookout Records coupled with the history of the label and its bands makes this book one that is well worth the read whether one is a punk devotee or a music lover in general. They are together only two parts of the whole that make it such an interesting read. Last of note in regards to the book’s enjoyment is its photos. While minor, they do play their own part in the book’s enjoyment. That is because the photos, much like the overall structure of the book, are not the standard prim and proper publicity photos that one might expect. Rather, the band pictures are candid shots of some of the bands that helped Lookout get its start and vice versa. There are also random pictures of some of the vinyls and cassettes that were distributed by Lookout throughout its life. Audiences will be interested in examining some of the pictures that Prested actually discusses in his book aspects of the albums such as their artwork. Readers, for example, will be interested to learn of the DIY approach taken in regards to the artwork of many of the bands’ albums. It wasn’t that spit-shined look of so many of today’s labels. That approach mirrors the overall approach of Lookout Records in whole in terms of signing and promoting bands. It makes even more interesting the fact that said approach coupled with so much dedication and hard work led to the rise of Lookout Records. At the same time, thinking about that in the same fashion, it is just as interesting to learn that that same approach also contributed to the label’s end. Again, that goes right back to the story at the heart of the book. It shows in the grand scheme of things why in fact the pictures included in this book are just as important to its overall story as the story itself and its structure. All three elements together show clearly why Punk USA: The Rise and Fall of Lookout Records is a must read for music lovers in general and for those more devoted to punk rock and its roots.
Punk Rock USA: The Rise and Fall of Lookout Records is a must read for any music lover in general and for those whose loyalties are more linked to punk and its history. The structure of the book makes it easy to follow for audiences. It comes across more along the lines of a video documentary’s script than a standard, long-winded historical piece. The story that is presented within the book’s pages makes it even more interesting for readers. That is because the story focuses not only on the history of Lookout Records in regards to its rise and fall, but also to the history of the band’s that once called Lookout Records home. Both histories are balanced quite well throughout the course of the book with the end result being an overall story that will keep readers from wanting to put the book down at any point. The band photos and photos of albums and EPs released via Lookout are just as intriguing of an addition to the overall presentation. That is because in some cases, the photos are accompanied by stories of the DIY approach taken by Lookout’s employees to crafting the releases’ artwork as well as the DIY approach taken to promote its bands. It shows that Prested was really thinking about that aspect of the book. He didn’t want to just throw in some random photos here and there. He wanted them to play their own important part in the whole of his book. The understanding of that approach also helps readers understand its role later in the label’s life, proving yet again the importance of the included photos even as minor of an element as they may seem. The combination of all three elements together proves once and for all why Punk USA: The Rise and Fall of Lookout Records is a book that is a must read for music lovers and more specifically punk loyalists alike. It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered direct online via Microcosm Publishing’s online store at http://microcosmpublishing.com/catalog/books/5160/. More information on this and other titles available from Microcosm Publishing is available online at:
Teenage Bottlerocket is one of the best punk rock bands that audiences have never heard. For almost fifteen years, this Laramie, Wyoming-based band has been making its own brand of punk rock and building its audience base. All the while, it has remained just under the mainstream radar. This is actually a good thing. That is because it has kept the band from becoming just another cookie cutter pop punk rock band a la Sum 41, Blink 182, Newfound Glory, etc. Remaining just under that mainstream radar has allowed the band to continue crafting its own brand of music more akin to its counterparts in The Lillingtons, Bowling For Soup, and others of that ilk, all the while building its legions of fans around the world. The band’s latest album Tales From Wisconsin is proof of that. It is a fourteen track, thirty-five minute record that is just as certain to have listeners singing along happily just as much as any of the band’s previous releases. This has already been proven thanks to the album’s lead single, the light-hearted ‘Nothing Else Matters (When I’m With You),’ and its follow-up ‘They Call Me Steve.’ Both songs clearly show that nearly fifteen years after it first formed and roughly thirteen years after the release of its debut album Another Way, Teenage Bottlerocket has not lost a single step. The album’s gentle, acoustic closer ‘First Time’ shows this just as much. What’s more, it shows a certain growth from the members of Teenage Bottlerocket. Sure, the comparison to Dropkick Murphys and Green Day are inescapable here. But considering TBR’s body of work up to this point, it shows a turning point for the band and just as with the album’s first two singles shows yet again why this album is one more success from what is one of the punk realm’s best kept secrets.
TBR’s new album Tales From Wisconsin comes some thirteen years after the release of its debut record Another Way. One would think that considering how long TBR has been making music together, it would have broken through into the mainstream a long time ago when MTV and VH1 were still airing music videos and when they, along with the nation’s mainstream radio stations, were thirsting for the next big name in punk rock. Interestingly enough that never happened. Yet considering what those outlets did to the reputation of punk rock, maybe it’s a good thing that TBR never did break through. It allowed TBR to continue making its own music rather than give in to some A&R rep and other label exec along the way. Because it has manage to avoid those trappings, the band has manage to craft an album in Tales From Wisconsin–its sixth full-length studio effort–that is just as enjoyable as any of its previous recordings. That is evident early on in the record courtesy of its lead single ‘Nothing Else Matters (When I’m With You).’ This fully tongue-in-cheek song pays homage to veteran hard rock/metal act Metallica all while presenting a story of a man who has met a woman who is just as much a fan of the band as him. The song’s standard, melodic punk sound will itself have audiences on their feet, dancing in time as Brandon Carlisle keeps time alongside brother Ray Carlisle and fellow guitarist Kody Templeman. The song’s lyrical side is just as apt to put a smile on audiences faces as Templeman makes reference after reference to Metallica’s body of work throughout the song, singing, “That guy was such a d*******/When we were sticking up for Jason Newstead/That’s when you said you loved …And Justice For All/I didn’t make up with the creeps that night/they were looking for a fight/I was totally right on/The frayed ends of sanity/The shortest straw has been pulled for me/I’ll probably fade to black someday/Unless you hit the lights and escape with me.” The references to Metallica’s extensive catalogue don’t stop here. There is also a reference to ‘The Unforgiven’ and ‘Nothing Else Matters.’ The song’s very title is itself a reference to ‘Nothing Else Matters.’ Such playful use of references coupled with the standard theme of a love found make this one of the most original compositions of its kind to be churned out by a musical act in any genre. Such originality makes clear why this song was chosen as the lead single for TFW. It also makes clear by itself what makes TFW one more wonderful release from one of the rock world’s best kept secrets. Audiences can check out the song’s lyric video online now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdRrN4xQ8zk.
‘Nothing Else Matters (When I’m With You) is one of the most original compositions about a relationship that has ever been crafted by any act in any of the music world’s many genres. The playful references to Metallica’s biggest hits as the basis for the song’s story coupled with the song’s catchy hooks and chorus makes it obvious why the song was chosen as TFW’s lead single. It also stands as just one clear example of why TBR remains today one of the best kept secrets in both the world of punk and rock in general. The song’s follow-up ‘They Call Me Steve’ shows just as clearly how much TBR has to offer on its latest release. The song’s musical side boasts even more infectious hooks and choruses throughout its two-minute, twenty-one second run time. Looking at the song from a lyrical standpoint, it is just as intriguing as Templeman sings, “I knocked down a tree with my bare hands/And I’ve been to all four corners of this land/I killed a giant spider with an iron sword/And I ran ten miles being chased by a zombie horde/They call me Steve/I’ll do anything you want me to/They call me Steve/I’ll dig a hole to Hell and back for you.” If not for the song’s companion video, which can be viewed online now, the song alone would definitely have had audiences talking. The song’s companion video is a Minecraft themed creation that perfectly complements the song’s lyrical content. It’s a love story in a video game world. The video can be viewed online via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IqLAkjRyiJU. In viewing the video, audiences will agree that it perfectly illustrates the story presented in the song and in turn makes the song even more enjoyable than it is on its own musical merits. The combination of the song’s musical and lyrical sides, and its companion video makes clear once again why TBR remains one of the best names in the punk realm and one of rock’s best kept secrets. Alongside ‘Nothing Else Matters (Without You),’ it shows even more clearly whyTFW is such an enjoyable record.
‘Nothing Else Matters (Without You)’ and ‘They Call Me Steve’ are both clear examples of what makes TFW such an enjoyable record both for fans that are new to the band’s material and to those that are more familiar with the band’s body of work. As much enjoyment as those songs offer audiences, there is one more song on this record that stands out even more than them as one of the album’s highest of points. That song is the album’s string-laden acoustic closer ‘First Time.’ Both musically and lyrically it presents the band’s much more rarely exhibited softer side. The comparison to Green Day and Dropkick Murphys among others is inescapable here because of that combination of music and lyrics. But being one of those truly rare times that the band has gotten to display its softer side, it makes this moment something special. It shows the band a little more willing to grow and show a more mature side from the band in comparison to what audiences have become accustomed to hearing. There is almost a certain desperation in Templeman’s voice as he sings I’m falling apart with a broken heart for the first time/I’m starting to doubt what this feeling’s about/For the first time/I stare at the wall/I’m beginning to fall…For the first time/spinning out of control/With nowhere left to go.” It’s not the standard oh, woe is me sort of delivery musically or lyrically that audiences have become all too familiar with from so many punk and emo bands. It has its own identity. Because of that, it proves yet again what makes TFW just as enjoyable as TBR’s previous records and why this veteran punk rock band remains today one of the best kept secrets of the rock world in whole. Together with ‘Nothing Else Matters (When I’m With You)’ and ‘They Call Me Steve,’ all three songs together exhibit why this record is just as enjoyable for first time listeners and for those that are more familiar with the band’s body of work. That is not to discount the other dozen tracks that make up this record, either. Each of those tracks not noted here makes its own argument in favor of TFW, too. The whole of those tracks and those more fully noted here show clearly why every punk rock fan should hear this record regardless of their familiarity with TBR.
TBR is currently out on tour in support of its new album. It will wrap up the U.S. leg of its tour this Sunday, April 19th in Denver, Colorado before taking a few days off to recharge and prep for the European leg of its tour. That leg kicks off next Thursday, April 24th in Lindau, Germany. Fans will be able to pick up TFW at either of those shows or any of its upcoming shows, too. Fans that can’t make it to the band’s shows can also pick up TFWin stores and online. Fans can check out TBR’s latest tour dates and get more information on TFW, and where they can purchase it online now at: