It’s pretty common for a band to find their sound and just exist within that niche. You do something well and you keep doing it. Play it safe and the fans know what to expect with each album that comes out. No surprises, no disappointments. But it takes a certain boldness for an artist to venture outside their wheelhouse and try something new and to allow their music to naturally grow and evolve. With their new album, Serf Rock, New Brunswick’s American Lions demonstrates that exact boldness.
I’ve been told not to post shit at 1am on Sunday morning and that it’s better to have a consistent schedule, post regularly either at the beginning of the day or at lunch time on a week day. Those are great tips if you’re measuring your success in terms of Facebook likes and follows. Honestly, I don’t really give a shit and I’m assuming that everyone else that saw Spowder tonight at In The West is also probably still up.
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.
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.
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
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.