Life SucksDodgeball Records
By AJ Phink
Dodgeball Records is the latest in a long and proud line of Chicago based independent punk imprints, the label is founded by Showoff frontman Chris Messer and Mike Felumlee, of Smoking Popes and Alkaline Trio fame, they have secured Indianapolis punks Amuse as their first signing and will be releasing the band’s latest EP, Life Sucks, in a few days time on August 4th. The bands first release for Dodgeball Records follows on from their 2015 EP, Tosche Station Lot Lizards, and for me Life Sucks is up there amongst the best releases I’ve heard so far this year, and this is not hollow praise given that 2017 really has been an excellent vintage for punk rock.
Offend Me kicks off Life Sucks with a Ramones inspired blast that is played exactly as pop punk oughta be, then it promptly kicks things up a gear with F.U.Y. that’s an ode to fucked up youth and not wanting to grow up. Every track on Life Sucks hits the spot and there’s no sense of deja vu or the predictability that blights so many releases that fly under the pop punk banner, the title track and Toxic keeps the energy flowing nicely, while Tarkin, a love song for bassist Mike Muse‘s dog, brings a harsher old school quality to the EP before I Want To Believe (In Me And You) brings the EP to a close with another love song, this time for the X-Files Agent Scully.
There’s a distinct feel of the likes of The Methadones, The Queers and The Copyrights, who make a guest appearance on the album, about the Life Sucks EP, in the sense that this is an EP of high energy punk that’s played in a good natured punky knockabout feel. Everything from the b-movie sleeve art, courtesy of Jennie Cotterill of Bad Cop/Bad Cop, to the production by the legendary Mass Giorgini and of course the six tracks that inhabit Life Sucks, combine to make this EP an utter blast. Dodgeball Records have scored an impressive first signing with Amuse, and if they can keep this standard up on the full length planned for next year then the future of both the label and the band look very bright.