What I love about punk rock, is that it is so multifaceted and surpasses every definition that someone tried to nail to it. Though there has inter-scene bickering, arguments about what is true punk rock since people gave the genera a name, I believe that so many different sounds and attitudes deserve to be called punk. I love the nihilistic bands like the Sex Pistols, the political bands like The Dead Kennedys, the pop bands like The Descendents, and the ones that scream for social change like Fugazi. They all come from the same core ideals and attitude, yet go off on their own tangents with their own sound. They all know that they are outsiders, at least on the way they view the world, and they know that the status quo is anything but what we should accept.
Okay, so, Living Room’s sound is not my typical style, but Moonchaser accosted and grabbed me immediately. Every single track on Moonchaser is robust, layered, raw, and honest – all those elements make up a special album. Living Room made me sit up straight by forcing me note of the art of the music and pure emotion that was poured out in each of these songs. It feels intensely personal, it is pure emotion, layered out in three minute(ish) bursts.
I am a huge Direct Hit fan, they always give us hard hitting passionate punk rock songs, which is awesome. But what never ceases to amaze me, is their range. They are two tracks on this split, that cannot be more different from one another, yet still sound like the same band. Wasting Away is super catchy, from the first chords will hook you and the chorus will have you tapping your foot. I Ain’t Dreaming of a White Christmas is fast angry hardcore compressed into a minute and a half.
When I was growing up in punk rock I never understood why people went crazy for this one female fronted hardcore band. It wasn’t the fact that I really wasn’t into hardcore at the time, it was that I didn’t get what made her so special. I honestly have no solid memory of the merits of the band, but I feel like no one really cared anyway, the craze was simply because she was a chick (and a hot one at that) in the boys club. Anyway, I didn’t get what the big deal was, and I still kind of don’t, I was always a you should not be judged based on your gender sort of person. But, recently I have strated to see the side of all those bands who made a statement around being a woman, So, in the vein of Bikini Kill and the whole Riot Grrrl movement, suppose there is something to be said and gained from asserting yourself as a woman, especially in a mostly boys club. And I will be psyched when the day comes when gender lines don’t matter anymore. And the way Bad Daddies thrash, I feel like we may be at that point.
When The Hunters Art Electric came across my desk (or email? Or stereo? I am not really sure what the proper phrase is these digital days. Whatever, when I heard it for the first time) I was totally drawn in. While it has been quite a while since I really listened to alternative or indie rock as my primary genre, this album totally made me miss it.
Greys’ If Anything reminds you just how awesome it is to be a punk rock kid. It is distorted and screamy and aggressive and full of messy passion and vigor. I listened to this album so many times before I even started to make notes for the review. It is so visceral that I didn’t know where to begin.
So Beach Slang is made up of guys from other bands (I feel like most punk bands these days are made up of guys from bands that I used to listen top) – Weston, Ex Friends, and Nona. I have to admit, I never listened to Weston, I don’t know why, there were songs on mixtapes and seriously, every one of my friends at least liked, if not loved, Weston and hadn’t heard of Nona, but am currently super digging Ex Friends. So I went into this EP with a fairly open mind.
Though I am not sure if it was the mention of the other bands, or the name Beach Slang, the sound was not what I was expecting. It is indie and raw and ethereal. This is EP is most definitely in the vein of the Replacements. And it kills.
The EP kicks off with Filthy Luck and some feedback. The track ends up being pretty smooth and catchy but with a bit of menace, Kids is a bit grittier yet more energetic and upbeat. Get Lost is quiet in a simmering way, the tension stays below the surface in the subtext and whispers, but stirs you up none the less. Punk or Lust is indie with some shredding guitars and a British punk influenced chorus with a killer hook. If John Hughes was still making awesome movies about awkward teenagers this song would make the final cut.
If you have been reading this column for a while, you have heard about Moovalya before. They are a young punk band from Phoenix who are starting to make a name for themselves in punk rock. Sixer is a 6 track EP that is a mix of unreleased material and rerecording of some tracks they felt didn’t get the proper recording.
I had a totally weird reaction to this comp, like a “how the hell does this pairing feel so natural” type reaction. Not that Walk the Plank and Daycare Swindlers are dramatically different styles of punk rock, but they are also not very similar. Walk the Plank is stripped down hardcore that gets deeper and deeper until it is growling and Daycare Swindlers are all thrashy messy pop punk . Maybe the natural feeling comes from each of their straight forward styles and a bit of experimentation, there is no fluff, no cutesy tricks – just punk rock. Like it used to be, when it was a new genre.
Okay, so I will admit it, I am not super familiar with Banner Pilot. They came out in a time where punk rock and I were kind of estranged (me and most things were estranged during those years). So from 2004 to 2009 new punk rock totally passed me by. So I am listening to Banner Pilot like they are a totally new band, because hell, they are to me.