Shellshag and Co Remind Us What Punk Rock Is All About

Of course, every punk show is special.  They get your blood pumping and make you feel alive in a way that’s both positive and creative but also a little bit rebellious and destructive.  Of course, that’s why we all do this – to scratch an itch that most other things just fucking can’t.  But, while of course, every punk show is special, some are still undeniably specialer.  You’ve ready Animal Farm?

This past Thanksgiving weekend, Volume IV in New Brunswick hosted Brooklyn punk rock OG’s Shellshag playing a show with Cincinnati anti-folk singer/songwriter John Hays, State Champion Records’ Sweaty, featuring label co-owner King Mike, and newcomers Torpedoes in their second show ever.  This show was one of the specialer ones.


steve. gets Drunk @ Brunch

How much can be said about a four-track, seven-minute EP?  I’m not sure, so let’s find out!  Not long ago, New Brunswick punk emo trio steve. released a new EP titled Drunk @ Brunch as a follow-up to their 2016 EP release, Boo-Shemi.  As in steve. Boo-Shemi.  As in Steve Buscemi.  Are you following along?  Please try to keep up.

Drunk @ Brunch does everything it needs to, despite being only seven minutes long.  The riffs are infectious.  The vocals are catchy and succinct enough to be sang along to.   steve. brings an energy that will get you up and dancing.  You’re something less than human if you can listen to these tunes without bopping your head and at least giving it a little sway, especially for “(Breakfast on) Gerard” with the hard upbeats and loose jangling guitar.  The album artwork itself is perfect for encapsulating the type of chaotic energy of this album.  It’s that type of “fuck it, we’ll clean that up in the morning” carefree.  Although, I’m guessing, since this is Drunk @ Brunch, it’s already the morning.


Farewell to the Bomb Shelter

In many ways, the concept of D.I.Y. is what binds this scene together more than anything else.  And I know the obvious response to that is, “Hey jackass, what about music?” But what this scene really means and is about isn’t necessarily the music as an art form in and of itself. The Philharmonic is music; Top 40 is music.  The true defining characteristic of this scene is the do it yourself mentality, the pure creative drive to make what isn’t there and to do so under your own authority.  D.I.Y. has given us more than just the music.  It has given us record labels, publications, festivals, merchandise, venues – and no place in the world feels more like home than a good D.I.Y. venue.  Last weekend marked the end of a good one


Health Palm Ain’t For Your Grandmom…Unless Your Grandmom Cool As Shit

Space power over-watch destroying evil rats!  Space power over-watch destroying evil rats!  SPACE POWER OVER-WATCH DESTROYING EVIL RATS!

I’m sorry, but I can’t promise that’s entirely out of my system. Health Palm, the newest release from New Brunswick’s Spowder, out on Sniffling Indie Kids, is an absolute must-listen for any fans of old school, hardcore, mosh-pitting, punk music, the likes of which have not been seen, heard, or experience at this level of authenticity for quite some time.

The album rips open that can of whoop ass right from the start with the thirty-second first track SPACE POWER OVER-WATCH DESTROYING EVIL RATS, which, in case you haven’t caught on yet, is the most infectious thirty-second headbanger I’ve ever heard.  This track is the thesis statement of the entire album.  You know from Track 1 exactly what’s in store for you.  This isn’t music for Grandma, unless Grandma can do a dirty pop shove-it.


“You Are Not Mine” is Just for You from Rocky and the Chapter

Rocky and the Chapter are back at it with the release of their newest EP, You Are Not Mine, which was released February 24 on Sniffling Indie Kids.  This EP is a follow up to the 2016 release, Aye, which was one of my favorites of the year, and You Are Not Mine exemplifies everything that attracted me to the band initially.  The New Brunswick five-piece, led by Rocky Catanese, will be celebrating at Porta in Jersey City on Saturday, March 4 with a special release show also featuring NGHTCRWLRS and Cicada Radio.


This Much Talent Could Only Fit in a New Jersey Basement


There was a pretty special show hosted at The Edge Mansion in New Brunswick on January 19.  I’ve been meaning to write about it for over a week now, but since January 20 I keep feeling overcome by fear, hopelessness, and impending doom, but so is life following the inauguration of the small-handed Tangerine Tyrant.  I didn’t intend to ever get political on this site, but it’s been vaguely unavoidable in the past ten or so days.  Still, few things can inspire such feelings of freedom and strength as good, honest music.  Just like Woody Guthrie taught us, “This Machine Kills Fascists.”

The Edge Mansion has the perfect setup for a basement venue.  The main stage area is pretty large and wide open, dimly lit with rows of Christmas lights.  There’s the long hallway when you first go down the stairs which gives the artists a great space to set up their merch.  You can pack in right up front and dance around face to face with your favorite bands, or hang back if you’re trying to have a more chill night.  Sure, occasionally a monitor might cut out during a set, but that’s part of the D.I.Y. charm that you grow to love when you start indulging in this scene. 

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