Sunday, December 25, 2016
Song: "First Step To Recovery"
Album: "First Step To Recovery"
Place Of Origin: San Diego, California
Years Active: 2012 - present
WHAT I THINK THE SONG IS ABOUT:
"First Step To Recovery" is a song that appears to be about how you have to do some soul searching and come to grips with the person who you are. In order to change, you have to own your past mistakes and be honest with yourself. If you accept excuses for your past acts, then you will never really cleanse yourself of the very problems you want to eliminate in your life.
CASTOFF DISCOGRAPHY (Full length albums only):
2013 - The Dividing Line (self-released)
2015 - First Step To Recovery (Morning Wood Records)
CURRENT STATUS OF CASTOFF:
Castoff formed as a band back in 2012, hailing from San Diego, California. Drawing on the influence of bands like Minor Threat and Bad Religion, Castoff joined the ranks of Southern California melodic hardcore bands that preceeded them. The band's first album was the self-released "The Dividing Line" back in 2013. A few years later, the band signed on with Morning Wood Records for the release of their sophmore effort, 2015's "First Step To Recovery". The band released a music video for the song "Certain As The Sun" from that album. Along with their two full length releases, the band has also dropped three EP's, 2014's "Acquisition", 2015's "Lines And Passages" and their most recent release, 2016's "Castoff". Castoff themselves claim that their music is written for the people who have been discarded, written off, overlooked or ignored. And, their sound can be compared to other melodic hardcore punk bands like Bad Religion, Pennywise, Propagandhi, Strung Out and This Is A Standoff. If a band like Pennywise is considered a top tier hardcore punk band, I'd put Castoff a few tiers lower, perhaps in the same class as a 98 Mute. While the lyrical content is similar to PW, the writing isn't as perfected and the vocals aren't as crisp but that being said, Pennywise is a legendary punk band, Castoff still is in it's relative infancy as a band. Perhaps with more years on the road and in the studio, Castoff can really refine and harness their sound.
TEN CASTOFF SONGS YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT:
1. Certain As The Sun
5. True Wealth
6. Promote Irrational Thought
7. All Is Right
8. The Trite And Trivial
9. Perception And Honesty
10. Selective Memory
Sunday, December 18, 2016
Song: "Ditch Digger"
Artist: Jared Hart
Album: "Past Lives & Pass Lines"
Place Of Origin: Bayonne, New Jersey
Years Active: 2004 - present
WHAT I THINK THE SONG IS ABOUT:
After reading the lyrics to "Ditch Digger", I get the sense the song is about someone who is so concerned with everything around them that is going on in the world, that they don't take the time to help or heal themselves. It's like they are digging their own hole by having the weight of the world on their shoulders. The only way to get out is to fix yourself first before worrying about everyone or everything else. Could be wrong about that but that's my interpretation of the song.
JARED HART DISCOGRAPHY (Full length albums only):
2015 - Past Lives & Pass Lines (Gunner Records)
CURRENT STATUS OF JARED HART:
Jared Hart is best known as being the front man for New Jersey punk band The Scandals. He formed The Scandals back in 2004 and for the past 12 years, they released two full length albums and a number of EP's, split singles and 7" singles. Like many a punk band frontman, in 2015, Hart decided to do some solo acoustic touring and by the end of that year released his debut solo album, "Past Lives & Pass Lines". A video was made for the song "Heads Or Tails" on that album. Most recently, Hart released an acoustic version of The Scandals song "Lucky 7's" in 2016. He also played some solo dates in the U.K. in the fall of 2016. If he's not doing solo shows, he's most likely out on the road with The Scandals. Either way, Hart is very active on the touring front. Lots of times, he or his band are opening up for Brian Fallon or The Gaslight Anthem. Early on in Hart's career, Fallon took him and his band under his wing. The New Jersey natives hit it off early on and they often pair up on the same bills together. So of course, when it comes to style, Hart is like many punk band frontmen who've went the solo route like Brian Fallon (The Gaslight Anthem), Dave Hause (The Loved Ones), Frank Turner, Chuck Ragan (Hot Water Music) and Chris Cresswell (The Flatliners). As I said before, Hart is a road dog!! Whether it's solo or with The Scandals, he's a hard working artist so support him or his band when they get to your town!
TEN JARED HART SONGS YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT:
1. Heads Or Tails
2. Lucky 7's (acoustic)
4. The Guillotine
5. The Runaround
7. The Leo
8. Ditch Digger
9. Deacon Ain't Dead Yet
Sunday, December 11, 2016
Artist: 98 Mute
Album: "98 Mute"
Place Of Origin: Hermosa Beach, California
Years Active: 1993 - present
WHAT I THINK THE SONG IS ABOUT:
"A.C.A.B." is a song that appears to be about how cops have lost the respect of the communities they're supposed to protect and serve. Too many cops abuse their authority, abuse minorities and their attitudes are more of a school yard bully rather than a protector of a community. Funny how this song came out in 1996 and here we are 20 years later and their is still so much distrust between citizens and law enforcement officers. This is an issue that has to be fixed so we can build back the trust in those who are supposed to protect us.
98 MUTE DISCOGRAPHY (Full length albums only):
1996 - 98 Mute (Theologian Records)
1998 - Class Of 98 (Theologian Records)
2000 - Slow Motion Riot (Epitaph Records)
2002 - After The Fall (Epitaph Records)
CURRENT STATUS OF 98 MUTE:
98 Mute got it's start as a band back in 1993, hailing from Hermosa Beach, California. Hmm.. Sound familiar? There is another major band in punk rock from that very same place, Pennywise. The connections don't stop there. Justin Thirsk, drummer of 98 Mute, is the younger brother of the late Pennywise bassist and founding member, Jason Matthew Thirsk. Like Pennywise, 98 Mute hooked up with Theologian Records for their first two albums. Theologian was Pennywise's first label. Pennywise guitarist Fletcher Dragge would produce all of the band's albums. By 2000, 98 Mute would join the Epitaph Records line-up, following in the footsteps of.. you guessed it, Pennywise!! The band's debut on Epitaph, 2000's "Slow Motion Riot", was probably the most successful album of the band's career but they never quite got over the hump like Pennywise or Bad Religion. 98 Mute would pretty much always be an opening act. During their career they did go on some major tours opening up for bands like Offspring, Blink 182 and Pennywise. Shortly after the release of their 4th album, 2002's "After The Fall", 98 Mute called it quits as a band. Some members, including Justin Thirsk would join forces with Fletcher Dragge on a project called Chaos Delivery Machine. On March 11, 2016, 98 Mute reunited for a show at the Hollywood Palladium opening for Pennywise. It's not known if this was just a one off performance or if the band is in fact reunited and recharging the batteries to work on new material and tour again. That is still to be determined. 98 Mute is your typical mid 90's skate punk/hardcore punk band. Their contemporaries are bands like Deviates, 88 Fingers Louie, Pulley, Good Riddance and obviously, Pennywise. They're a good band but definitely not on the same level as Pennywise, Bad Religion or Good Riddance, all of whom are the standards that so many up and coming hardcore/skate punk bands aspire to.
TEN 98 MUTE SONGS YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT:
1. Slow Motion Riot
2. Another Boring Day
4. Bullet For You
6. Watch Over Me
7. Hit You Back
8. Something In The Water
Sunday, December 4, 2016
Album: "Losing Weight, Gaining Ground"
Place Of Origin: Falkenberg, Sweden
Years Active: 1991 - present
WHAT I THINK THE SONG IS ABOUT:
"Dunno" is a fast paced, melodic punk song under a minute long that appears to be about being stuck in a rut creatively and personally. The vocalist is living a mundane existence. He wants to change but he seems to be waiting for someone else to steer him towards something new rather than do it himself. Without that helpful nudge, he seems to be content in his situation.
VENEREA DISCOGRAPHY (Full length albums only):
1996 - Shake Your Booty (Gift Of Life Records)
1997 - Both Ends Burning (Gift Of Life Records)
2000 - Losing Weight, Gaining Ground (Community Records)
2003 - Out In The Red (I Used To Fuck People Like You In Prison Records)
2005 - One Louder (Bad Taste Records)
2010 - Lean Back In Anger (Concrete Jungle Records)
2016 - Last Call For Adderall (Dirty Six Records)
CURRENT STATUS OF VENEREA:
Venerea formed as a band back in 1991 when the band members were all still in school. Originally called Venereal Disease, by 1994, the band shortened their name to Venerea. The band released a few EP's early on, most notably "Shake Your Booty" and "Swollen" which would be packaged together in 1996 as a full album called "Shake Your Booty". It wasn't until the 2000 release, "Losing Weight, Gaining Ground", that the band really began to find and harness their sound. That being said, Venerea couldn't remain on a single label for more than one full length album. After releasing four albums in the 2000's decade, Venerea went on a 5 year hiatus. In 2016, however, the band made a comeback with what I feel is the best representation of the band yet, "Last Call For Adderall". It's amazing that this band has been around for 25 years! Perhaps the fact that they are from Sweden, we don't get a whole lot of news about them here in the States. They have shared the stage with some iconic American punk bands, most notably Ten Foot Pole, Ignite and the Deviates. As for style, I'd say early on in the band's career they were more pop punk but I think they were just trying to find their sound at that time. As I said earlier, when they released "Losing Weight, Gaining Ground" is when you get a better idea of what they were and what they were going to become. I'd compare them to bands like Bigwig, Strike Anywhere, Ten Foot Pole, Good Riddance and Pulley. They can be both melodic and intense and still have some pop tendencies and incorporate a splash of metal at times. I found out about this band just a few years ago but after purchasing their "Last Call For Adderall" album, I was sold on them. Hopefully, their next release won't take five or six years to come out like their last one did.
TEN VENEREA SONGS YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT:
1. Calling Card
2. Back To The Start
3. Mark Of Cain
4. The Real Ewe
5. Sound Of Muzak
6. Rise With The Tide
7. No Rules But My Rules
8. Better Day
9. Living It For The Moment
10. All Washed