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Anti Flag

Anti-Flag

American Fall

Spinefarm Records
By

Rating: 3/5

 
 

 

 

Anti-Flag’s Spinefarm Records debut, American Spring, was a strong, anthemic album.  A great launching pad from which to establish themselves on their new home, and from which to lead into its sister namesake and follow up, American Fall.  Serving as the band’s tenth full length, American Fall also marks a new collaboration with producer Benji Madden.  Madden is no stranger to sitting in the producer booth, but considering his pop-orientation, the pairing with Anti-Flag may be surprising.  In many regards American Fall contains a few steps in different directions, and one has to wonder if Madden’s influence bares any responsibility.

Opener “American Attraction” may throw longtime fans for a loop.  The track plays out like a straight up hard rock song, with heavy guitar licks punctuating each tract of vocals, and the tempo stomping away at the pace of a lumbering giant.  While Anti-Flag has never chased the radio waves, this song feels targeted to a more conventional audience – even more so than major label counterparts Rise Against.  That being said, the track is consistent with the band’s portrayal of society’s blind acceptance of American spektacle and Anti-Flag’s counter culture sentiment remains in tact.  Several track later, “Throw It Away” follows the same rock-heavy framework, but with somewhat less production gloss.  On the opposite side of the spectrum, the passion of “I Came. I Saw. I Believed.” feels somewhat muted thanks to a pop-tinted production that seems to compromise the anger of the lyrics.  This is a recurring issue that hinders certain tracts of American Fall.  “Finish What We Started” suffers the same fate, featuring an outright addictive gang driven chorus diluted by bubbly basswork that would sound more in place on a Patent Pending album.  The change in direction presented in these circumstances becomes a little less disorienting with each passing listen, but they tend to live in the shadow of the ediger tracks in between.

A strong selection of more familiar sounds serve to counter some of of these questionable decisions.  “The Criminals” comes bolstered with very targeted guitar and the band’s outright angry call to denounce a corrupt political system.  A chorus of passionately landing “woah-oah” accompaniment make for a melodic and memorable chorus.  “When The Wall Falls” channels the same classic Anti-Flag feel through a well suited and sparingly executed upstroke that leads into the chorus, “if the come for you in the night, then they will come for me in the morning.”  Every Anti-Flag album has a sense of danger in resistance, and while this track is mostly upbeat, there is always a reminder of the consequence for standing up for what you believe.  Catchy mid-tempo tune  “Racists” is the most explicitly damning anthem of the bunch, and it’s also the most likely to which you’ll sing along with.  “Just ’cause you don’t know you’re racist… You don’t get a pass, get a pass for your ignorance” sings the band in harmony, to which they eventually add “sexist” and “fascist” in later verses.  The song sends a strong message to those denying ownership over a national social crisis: “No you weren’t alive in the time of slavery / But that’s no excuse to ignore its legacy.”  There are at least a handful of tracks that work quite well.

If anything, American Fall will be a polarizing album for fans.  While the message is consistent with all of Anti-Flag’s work, the mode of delivery has shifted more than some may be comfortable with.  Whether these differences can be credited to Madden’s perspective are up for debate, but the poppy, playful beats composing much of American Fall will likely be the source of much discussion.

Video: Anti-Flag – Liar

Anti FlagPolitical-punks Anti-Flag have premiered a new music video from their next full length.  The video features the song “Liar” and appears on the disc, American Fall, which dropped last week via Spinefarm Records.

Listen to the song below.

Read More…

Video: Anti-Flag – When The Wall Falls

Anti FlagPolitical-punks Anti-Flag have premiered a new music video from their next full length.  The video features the song “When The Wall Falls” and will appear on the disc, American Fall, which is set to drop on November 3, 2017 via Spinefarm Records.

Listen to the song below.

Read More…

Fireball Tour Sept 17

Fireball - Fuelling The Fire Tour

The Ritz, Manchester, UK

11th October 2017
By

Rating: 4.5/5

 
 

 

 

Fireball AF 5Tonight is the opening night of the second annual Fireball – Fuelling The Fire Tour, I rarely encounter sponsored tours but everytime I do it seems to be by a whisky of some description, tonight’s Fireball Whisky sponsored tour boasts an impressive five band line up featuring Anti-Flag, Mad Caddies and Reel Big Fish with support from Sweet Little Machine, ‘Fireball’s Hottest Band 2017‘, and finally the winner of the open call to local bands, Everyone And Anyone, with a different act opening each night of the tour. What’s almost impressive as tonight’s line up is the fact that tickets for tonight’s show were a mere £10, which is a bargain by anyone’s standards.

Fireball EAAWelsh five piece Everyone and Anyone are the first band up, despite the early start for the local opening act there’s still a healthy crowd present in The Ritz which steadily grows as people work their way through the stringent but friendly security. Everyone and Anyone are an eclectic looking quintet who deliver an frantic and all too brief set of pop punk, which includes a Blink-182 cover to confirm their pop punk credentials. Everyone And Anyone don’t look or sound out of place opening the Fireball – Fuelling The Fire Tour, and from their short but sweet set you can see why they won the place as the local support on the first night of the tour.
 
Fireball SLM 3Early into the evening I’m already regretting the decision to drive tonight as the Fireball Whisky is quite literally flowing freely tonight. There’s a short break as there’s a swift changeover to Fireball’s Hottest Band of 2017, Sweet Little Machine. They are touring in support of their freshly released Monsters EP, and their set contains almost every track from their impressive sophomore release. Sweet Little Machine take the stage and treat tonight’s set like they’re headlining, and the doors that being Fireball’s Hottest Band of 2017 has opened for them has resulted in a band whose confidence and following has increased dramatically. 
 
Fireball SLM 2Sweet little Machine carry elements of Green Day in their sound and their frontman, Alex Lantrua, has more than a touch of the hyperactive stage personae of Billy Joe Armstrong about him, and they close their impressive set with the anthemic title track of their latest release. Sweet Little Machine‘s material and stage presence is something that is all their own, the leg up afforded them by being Fireball’s Hottest Band 2017 would seem to have only speeded up the inevitable based on their new EP and tonight’s show, and I get the feeling that Sweet Little Machine are a band that we’ll be hearing a lot more off in the coming years.
 
Fireball MC 1Next up is the Mad Caddies with a long overdue return to the UK, despite the lack of new material, it’s been three long years since the Dirty Rice album was released, they remain as effervescent as ever. They channel the roots of two tone and ska and blend it with dub, punk, moments of hardcore and touches of ragtime jazz to create something that is unique and rather special in the overcrowded world of ska punk, and from the first song in its clear its been too long since they paid a visit to our shores. Their set is heavily reliant on their recent albums at the expense of their earlier and more frantic material, meaning that this a more laid back set than the times I’ve previously encountered them.
 
Fireball MC 2The Mad Caddies haven’t completely abandoned their early days though, their set gains a degree of momentum and the inclusion of Leavin‘ and Monkeys, from their classic sophomore album Duck And Cover, brings a party atmosphere to The Ritz, but for the most part the Mad Caddies deliver a ska and reggae heavy set that keeps the crowd happy, although the exclusion of tracks such as Road Rash leaves me feeling that an encore was warranted. The Fireball- Fuelling The Fire Tour has been well named as it’s the sold out crowd is warming the venue up to melting point ahead of the next act, the highly anticipated return of Anti-Flag.
 
Fireball AF 1By now The Ritz is at capacity and the floor is awash with discarded beer and whisky glasses, from the start of Anti-Flag‘s set wherever you were that’s where you’re staying as almost everyone is rammed into the downstairs of the venue for their set. Their rabble rousing set of course carries their signature fuck you to the right to right wing, and to say that Anti-Flag were stunning tonight is an understatement. Mid set they are joined on stage by the Reel Big Fish horn section and each song they launch into really does make you think that things can be changed for the better when they call for equality and unity, and of course a hefty dose of their venom is reserved for Donald Trump.
 
fireball AF 2If an Anti-Flag show indicates anything it’s that the resistance is alive and well and has a strident and eloquent voice, and it is also having a fucking good time. We need bands like Anti-Flag more than ever now, and they’ve stepped up to the plate as tonight they delivered a perfect set of resistance fuelled punk rock. Anti-fascist, anti-sexist, anti-racist, Anti-Flag walk the walk and their 45 minute set is as good as anyone I’ve seen live this year. They throw a frantic rendition of The Clash’s Should I Stay Or Should I Go into the set, a band that had a huge influence on them both politically and musically, and this is accompanied by a delerious circle pit and they end the set with half the band, including drummer Pat Thetic, in the middle of the pit.
 
Fireball RBFOver the course of the set tonight’s DJ has steadily transformed into Pennywise the clown, or at least a close facsimile, and the transformation is complete prior to the appearance of Reel Big Fish. They kick the party up a notch with their brass heavy ska, tracks like Everyone Else Is Asshole gets a rousing singalong from the crowd and it’s clear that this is a band that know how to deliver a set of feel good ska. The relentless upbeat party doesn’t stop, and neither does the sold out crowd that are crammed onto the dance floor. Monkey Man returns things to the roots of ska with The Maytals classic causing a unified front to back bounce
 
Fireball AF 3From my vantage point there literally no one who isn’t skanking, bouncing or dancing anywhere in the venue. This continues throughout Reel Big Fish‘s set, inflatables are batted about, and the atmosphere is about as good as you get, with something to suit everyone who is of a punk mentality and they deliver a set of crowd pleasers and covers that is their hallmark. Tonight’s opening date of the Fireball – Fuelling The Fire Tour has contained five very different bands, everything from the pop punk of the local openers, through, the slick punk rock of Sweet Little Machine, the hybrid ska of Mad Caddies and the politically sussed punk of Anti-Flag, that was all topped off with the party ska of Reel Big Fish
 

Fireball AF 4Anti-Flag‘s website is here

Mad Caddies website can be found here

Reel Big Fish‘s web presence is here

Sweet Little Machine‘s Facebook page is here

Everyone And Anyone‘s Facebook presence is here

Live photography is by Dean Unsworth, his Instagram account is located here 

You can click on any of Dean’s photos to view a slide show of the images

The Bottom Line Added To ‘Fireball – Fuelling The Fire’ Tour

Fireball Tour Sept 17London pop-punks The Bottom Line have been added as very special opening guests to the 17th October London date on the Fireball – Fuelling The Fire Tour. Fresh from a European tour supporting Waterparks, they will be appearing alongside Reel Big Fish, Anti-Flag, Mad Caddies and Sweet Little Machine, with The Skints replacing Anti-Flag at the Liverpool and Sheffield shows. The Fireball – Fuelling The Fire Tour is your only chance to see some of the finest live bands the international punk scene has to offer on one stage this October .
 
You can view the video for I Still Hate You, and the Fireball – Fuelling The Fire tour dates, below

Read More…

Sweet Little Machine Reveal ‘Monsters’ Video

Sweet Little Machine Monsters Sweet Little Machine have revealed a brand new video for ‘Monsters‘, the title track from their new EP that is set for release on 6th October 2017. The band will be opening every night on the forthcoming Fireball – Fuelling The Fire tour in October 2017 playing alongside Reel Big Fish, Anti-Flag, Mad Caddies and The Skints.

The Monsters EP can be pre-ordered here

The Fireball – Fuelling The Fire tour dates, and the Monsters video, can be viewed below Read More…

Sweet Little Machine To Release ‘Monsters’ EP

Sweet Little Machine MonstersMonsters is the new EP from Fireball’s Hottest Band 2017, Sweet Little Machine, that is due to be released on the 6th October. Monsters is an EP packed full of the kind of arena ready punk rock songs that were made for the big stage and the radio waves, and you can catch the band on tour throughout the UK with Reel Big Fish, Anti-FlagThe Skints and Mad Caddies next month on the Fireball – Fuelling The Fire tour.
 
You can pre-order the Monsters EP here
 
You can view the Fireball – Fuelling The Fire UK Tour dates below

Read More…

The Skints Added To The ‘Fireball – Fuelling The Fire’ Tour

Fireball Tour Sept 17The Skints have been added as very special guests to the Liverpool and Sheffield dates on this year’s Fireball – Fuelling The Fire Tour alongside Reel Big Fish, Mad Caddies and Sweet Little Machine, Anti-Flag will be appearing in the same slot on all other dates. In addition to The Skints being added to the line up the regional support acts for all dates have now been confirmed and there will be a special DJ set at each date from Matt Stocks, presenter and punk fanatic for the likes of Kerrang! Radio, Scuzz TV and Team Rock Radio.
 
You can view the Fireball – Fuelling The Fire tour dates with the regional support acts below

Read More…

Sweet Little Machine Release Stream Of ‘Monsters’

Fireball Tour 17Sheffield pop punk quartet Sweet Little Machine have announced the release of their new EP, Monsters, on the 6th October 2017, ahead of the release the band have unleashed a stream of the EP’s title track. Sweet Little Machine were chosen last year as Fireball’s Hottest Band 2017, and the band will be opening every night on the forthcoming Fireball – Fuelling The Fire Tour in October 2017 playing alongside Reel Big Fish, Anti-Flag and Mad Caddies each night.

The title tracks from the Monsters EP can be streamed here

You can view the Fireball – Fuelling The Fire tour dates below Read More…

Anti-Flag Announce New Album; Premiere New Music Video

Anti FlagPolitical-punks Anti-Flag have announced details for their next full length.  The disc will be titled American Fall and is set to drop on November 3, 2017 via Spinefarm Records.

The song is titled ” American Attraction” below.

Read More…

Anti-Flag Releases New Song

Anti FlagIn the wake of the violence that occurred this past weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, Anti-Flag have released a new song in combat of these racist events.

The song is titled “Racists” and is available to stream below.

Read More…

   

A-F Records, Anti-Flag Detail Record Club

A-F RecordsLocated in Pittsburgh, Pa., A-F Records and punk legends Anti-Flag initiated the 2017 A-F Record Club. The club is limited to 150 subscribers who are able to help choose color variants, vote on artwork and more. The subscription will last one year, through summer 2018.

Check out what is included in the subscription below, and become a subscriber here.

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Win The Chance To Open The UK ‘Fireball Fuelling The Fire’ Tour

Reel Big Fish Anti-Flag Mad Caddies October TourAcademy Events in association with Fireball have announced a return of the open call for local bands to play their respective hometown date on this year’s Fireball – Fuelling The Fire Tour, joining a bill that already boasts three of the biggest international names in punk and ska music in Reel Big Fish, Anti-Flag and Mad Caddies. The overall winners of the competition will be crowned Fireball’s Hottest Band 2018 and will win a place as the opening band on the entirety of next year’s tour, as well a whole host of further support throughout the year. Bands can enter the competition here until the 21st August 2017.
 
You can watch a teaser trailer for Fireball – Fuelling The Fire tour, and the tour dates, below

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Homeless Gospel Choir Normal

The Homeless Gospel Choir

Normal

A-F Records
By

Rating: 4/5

 
 

 

 

Derek Zanetti, also known as The Homeless Gospel Choir, is a protest singer, author and artist from Pennsylvania, The Homeless Gospel Choir released their new single, Normal, on June 9th via Anti-Flag‘s label, A-F Records, the single is a taster of what’s to come on the band’s new full length, that will be coming out in the fall and will include guest appearances from Frank Turner and Frank Iero.

Normal is a good old fashioned two track single, and it’s one that displays two very different sides to The Homeless Gospel Choir. The singles title track is recorded with a full band and it’s a defiant three and half minutes of punk rock that is an anthem for all the punks who’ve ever felt like outsiders, and let’s face it if you’re reading this then that probably includes you. The flip side of Normal is Why?, a stripped down live acoustic track that possesses a frantic and unbalanced feel and is delivered with good natured politically sussed humour.

Normal is a single that has an immediate appeal, the title track is something of an autobiographical song with an infectious chorus, when you consider that it is coupled with it’s manic acoustic b-side you have a winning combination that hints at what’s to come. Based on the two tracks on display on this single I’m already looking forward to hearing The Homeless Gospel Choir‘s full length album later this year, but for now I’m happy enough to add Normal to my playlist and to carry on embracing being an outsider, it’s good to know we’re not alone.

Normal can be ordered via A-F Records here

Reel Big Fish, Anti-Flag And Mad Caddies Announce UK Tour

Reel Big Fish Anti-Flag Mad Caddies October TourAcademy Events in association with Fireball have announced the line up for the second annual Fireball – Fuelling The Fire tour which hits the road in the UK throughout October 2017. The run of dates will feature a star studded line-up of the best in punk and ska, headlined by California’s legendary ska punk outfit Reel Big Fish, with support from Pennsylvania punks Anti-Flag and California based ska punks Mad Caddies. In addition to the announced line up, Fireball’s Hottest Band 2017 winners, Sheffield quartet Sweet Little Machine, will take the opening slot on the 2017 leg of the tour. Yet again, tickets are eye wateringly cheap at just £10 each and go on general sale on Friday 26th May with O2 priority tickets on sale at 10am on Wednesday 24th May.

You can view the dates for the Fireball – Fuelling The Fire tour below

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Vans Warped Tour 2017 Announces Artist Lineup; Launch Ticket Sales

Warped TourTickets are now available for the annual 2017 edition of the Vans Warped Tour.  Additionally, the full tour line-up has already been announced, and will include Sick Of It All, CKY, GWAR, The Adolescents, Strung Out, T.S.O.L,Hatebreed, Emmure, Anti-Flag, The Ataris and many more.  Tour founder Kevin Lyman expresses his excitement for the ongoing event:

“As we enter our 23rd year on the road, continuing our mission of music, philanthropy and education is what I look forward to most.  The Vans Warped Tour is not for all, but every summer I look forward to seeing those fans who do chose to come and engage and be a positive force in our community.”

Full details and ticket sales can be found here.

Reel Big Fish / Anti-Flag / Ballyhoo! / Pkew Pkew Pkew

Reel Big Fish / Anti-Flag / Ballyhoo! / Pkew Pkew Pkew

Live in Vancouver (02/09/17)

The Commodore Ballroom - Vancouver, BC
By

 
 

 

 

There are several types of concerts. Among others, there are some that you go to just for the hell of it with no real expectations. Sometimes you go to check out a new band you’ve never seen before. Sometimes you go just to hang with friends. Sometimes you’re bored, sometimes you’re engaged. There are times you see your favorite band for the umpteenth time and they put on the show you expect but don’t wow you – sometimes they do. You get shitty shows, and good shows, bad shows and great shows. Shows you enjoy than instantly forget, and some that stay with you long after the final chords ring out. Then you get shows that resonate so hard within you that you’re remembered why you fell in love with concerts in the first place.

Thursday’s show was that one.

A rather large four band bill topped by co-headlining sets by two wildly different bands (Reel Big Fish and Anti-Flag) celebrating twentieth anniversaries of major albums (Turn the Radio Off and Die For Your Government respectively), the show was a throwback to the old school punk tours that used to happen all the time but are an all too rare occurrence now.

Starting the night’s festivities was Toronto four piece Pkew Pkew Pkew who immediately put on the best show I’ve seen in months.

Although they would’ve been more at home in a smaller venue like the Cobalt, Pkew Pkew Pkew made the large Commodore Stage feel intimidate. With their straight forward skate-punk style,  and three alternating vocalists yelling chaotically into the microphones, Pkew Pkew Pkew put on the type of show that pulled me into this crazy scene so many years ago.

Their songs are goofy and sometimes moronic, but fun and seeped in earnestness. Songs about trying to skateboard (Mid-20s Skateboarder) and failing (Blood Clot), the need for pizza (Lets Order A Pizza), growing up (Glory Days), and drinking (Drinking In The Park, Hanging Out, Before We go Out Drinking) fill their catalog. These aren’t serious songs, but man are they fun.

You sing, you dance, you let loose in the two minute blasts of passion. For an opening band, the set was almost unheard of in terms of quality and control – this is the type of set that creates punk careers and Pkew Pkew Pkew will be at it for a long time if this is any indication of what to come.

Maryland’s reggae quartet Ballyhoo! came next and performed one of those shows that were enjoyable, but oddly forgettable.  Having just passed their twenty year mark together as a band, Ballyhoo! know how to work the stage – frontman Howi Spangler alongside keyboardist Scott Vandrey sufficiently wave their arms around and engage with the audience as they work through their Jamaican flavored tunes but it missed a certain punch.  Pulling from the likes of Pepper and IllScarlett, Spangler’s vocals are smooth and the set picked up the pace by the end; yet it still felt like what you’d expect to see from an opening band.

With a giant American flag hanging upside down behind the stage, Pittsburgh’s Anti-Flag came next celebrating twenty years of Die For Your Government and ripped into ten tracks from their debut album. It was a smart move to not play all seventeen tracks because their musicianship has definitely grown since their early days and it would’ve been a disservice to ignore some of their newer material. Nevertheless, those ten songs they played showed the foundation of what was to become from the political punk band and helped fill out the best set I’ve seen in years.

With an added guitar now, the songs are fuller and fiercer than they were as a three piece. Justin Sane’s vocals are more confident than they were twenty years ago and Chris #2’s take on Andy Flag’s original vocals fit in their modern incarnation of the band much better. You could sense the teenage angst in the songs of You’d Do the Same, Drink Drank Punk, Davey Destroyed the Punk Scene,  and Summer Squatter Go Home. Not to mention their two mainstays You’re Gonna Die For Your Government and Fuck Police Brutality that make their way into every set whether they’re celebrating the album or not. They ended the ten songs tribute portion with  Your Daddy Was a Rich Man, Your Daddy’s Fucking Dead – a song, ironically, written about Donald Trump twenty years ago and is possibly even more relevant today.

For the second half of their set, they powered through some of their biggest numbers starting with Turncoat and focused heavily on For Blood and Empire tracks including The Press Corpse, This is The End (For Your My Friend),Cities Burn and One Trillion Dollars.  Playing so many from that album made sense since that was released just over ten years ago as well.

Whether they were playing their cover of The Clash‘s Should I Stay or Should I Go or All of The Poison, All of The Pain, it didn’t really matter. Anti-Flag were always Anti-Flag.

I’ve said it before, but Anti-Flag know how to put on a show. Yes, it’s not always spur of the moment anger or unplanned outbursts – the sets are structured and planned to a T, yet the bands’ anger seems real. Chris #2’s guttural screams pull at you, Justin Sane’s political rants ring true, and Pat Thetic’s never ending smile is contagious.

It’s a set full of venomous anger and passion, orchestrated to perfection by the Pittsburgh foursome; and even though they ended the set with Bradenburg Gate instead of Drink Drank Punk, they still moved everyone back and set up the drum kit in the crowd for the final verse. It’s a shtick they do every set, but it still seems just right.  Especially since Pat Thetic stays in the crowd for ten minutes hugging everyone he sees.

It was only an hour long set. There was no encore. Without any glitz or glamour, they lowered the massive American Flag and started setting up for Reel Big Fish – but during those sixty minutes, you were able to lose yourself. Momentarily transported to another plane of existence, Anti-Flag successfully put on a set that rocked you to the core and reignited my love for live shows.

And somehow, the night still  had another sixty minutes of music.

Swapping out the angry fist pumping and circle pits, Reel Big Fish brought out the horns and skanking shoes for their co-headlining spot of the evening. It was an almost 360 degree spin in tone and performance as Aaron Barrett and his co-horts pull in the crowd through comedy and goofiness rather than anger and speed.

Starting with the Ole chant, the band began their real set with three of the famous sarcastic songs: I Want Your Girlfriend to be Mine, Another FU Song and Your Guts (I Hate ‘Em). It immediately set the pace for skanking and sing alongs before Barrett reminded everyone why they were really here: to celebrate 20 years of Turn The Radio Off.

From then on, it was Turn The Radio Off front to back – Sell Out, Trendy, Everything Sucks, S.R. (and all the possible iterations of it), Say Ten. You name it, they played it.

As Monique Powell of Save Ferris was nowhere to be seen, saxophonist Matt Appleton took over her parts on She Has A Girlfriend Now. It was a good effort, but part of me missed how Scott Klopfenstein used to deliver her parts. In fact, the entire night missed the comedy styling’s of Klopfenstein who left the band several years ago. Him and Barrett’s on stage banter used to be the icing on the cake of a Reel Big Fish set. Without him, Barrett seemed somewhat lost and no longer had that comedic edge that made Reel Big Fish what it was.

Nevertheless, the crowd was there for the music and they delivered. After completing Alternative Baby, the band celebrated the album before realizing they missed the biggest song on the album. This led them to play The Mighty Mighty BosstonesThe Impression That I Get segueing into Beer (the missed track) into The Offspring‘s Self Esteem and back into Beer. It was a nostalgia trip if you ever wanted.

A quick encore comprised of Where Have You Been and Take On Me and the night was complete. It was a punk filled, ska filled evening by two of the longer run bands in our scene. Tonight showed why it is that they’re still around.

‘Music for Everyone’, a compilation to support the ACLU feat. Taking Back Sunday, Anti-Flag Coming Spring ’17

Music for Everyone, a compilation project to support the ACLU which has been spearheaded by Taking Back Sunday guitarist John Nolan is due for release this spring in conjunction with Collective Confusion Records and Sub City (the charity arm of Hopeless Records). He has said this about his inspiration behind the project:

“During these next four years, I feel it’s going to be extremely important to support organizations that will stand up to the Trump administration”

Mike Colleran of Collective Confusion Records and Louis Posen, president of Hopeless Records have added:

“John [Nolan] and I had spent some time on the road together last summer during the primaries, and we were glued to the news the entire trip. I personally was shocked and saddened about some of the rhetoric that was slowly becoming more mainstream. There has been a toxic atmosphere to the political climate for years, which only seems to be getting worse. After the election, John approached me about putting together this compilation and I realized it was up to everyone, as average citizens, to do what they can to make their voices heard and to stand up and make it known that these ideas don’t represent us. I jumped on board with the project immediately, and I hope it will do some small part in making our country a better place for everyone.”

“Helping musicians connect with fans to raise funds for important organizations, like the ACLU, is at the heart of everything we do at Sub City, so we are thrilled that our friend John Nolan asked us to be a part of bringing this incredible compilation to life”

The LP will contain rare or unreleased material from the likes of Taking Back Sunday, Anti-Flag, Answering Machine, Baggage, Chris Farren, Potty Mouth, Brendan Kelley, Anthony Green, Frank Iero, Dave Hause, Sleep On It, Jared Hart, Cassino, Dead Heavens featuring Walter Schreifels, Allison Weiss and Brett Newski with more to be announced.

Pre-orders are available here: http://www.musicforeveryone.us/ 

To read more about the ACLU’s commitment to human rights following the election, check out their recent statement.

Anti-Flag Announce Two New Live LPs

Anti Flag 2015Little Rocket Records has teamed up with A-F Records for the release of two new live LPs.  The first volume, Live Vol. 1, was recorded over the course of 3 evenings at the Troubadour in Los Angeles, CA and is due out on January  20, 2017.  The second album will follow later in the year.

Upcoming tour dates are below.

Read More…

The Bouncing Souls Announce American Fall Tour Dates

bouncing-souls-simplicity-tourNew Jersey’s punk rock mainstays, The Bouncing Souls, recently released their landmark tenth full length album, Simplicity, via Rise Records. The legendary band combined the best elements of their past and present to create an album that would translate perfectly into the live setting, and now they’ve announced a run of North American tour dates to put these new classics to the test. Simplicity has been lauded by critics and fans alike for its well-rounded approach in adding to The Bouncing Souls‘ twenty plus year legacy. It’s an album that couldn’t exist without the ones that preceded it, but still captures the element of youthful spontaneity that made The Bouncing Souls so special in the first place. The Bouncing Souls will be joined by of their talented friends to help celebrate the release of Simplicity, the Fall North American tour dates include shows with the likes of Anti-Flag, Off With Their Heads, Masked Intruder, Cayetana and more.

The tour dates can be viewed below and Simplicity can be ordered here

The Punk Site review of Simplicity is here Read More…

Anti Flag LAAIV

Anti-Flag

LIve And Acoustic In Vienna

A-F Records
By

Rating: 4/5

 
 

 

 

Do Anti-Flag really need an introduction? well just in case there’s a few latecomers to the party, they formed in Pennsylvania back in 1988, they are a fiercely independent and political punk band who have released nine full length albums, as well as numerous EP’s, singles, splits and compilation appearances. They are politically left wing and they don’t just talk the talk, they are politically active and support good causes and oppose injustice and inequality, so they also walk the walk. They also established A-F records, which remains an independent outlet for politically motivated bands to gain wider coverage

Live And Acoustic In Vienna does what it says on the sleeve, this is Anti-Flag stripped to the bone, no drums, amps or effects pedals, just two guitars and two voices. I don’t think you can really tame Anti-Flag, their message comes across as well acoustically as it does with a full band, albeit with a massive drop in their usual decibel level. The Press Corpse, which originally appeared on 2006’s from Blood and Empire, and Set Yourself On Fire, from 2015’s American Spring, both stand up well to the minimalist approach on display on this album. The throw a cover of the Ramones The KKK Took My Baby Away, a bonus for me as that’s one of my favourite songs by da brudders, into the six track set and they do this punk classic justice. I found that some of the songs, especially Brandenburg Gate, played in this style almost become rebel country tunes, whilst others, such as Turncoat, retain their punk character and won’t be tamed by being played acoustically. Closing track, This is The End, really benefits from the acoustic interpretation, this gives the song a melancholy feel instead of the defiant style of the original.

This is a fine recording of an intimate and unique recording session and it’s good to hear the songs played completely shorn of distortion, it won’t be a surprise that as a fan of Anti-Flag I prefer the original versions but this album gives you the opportunity to hear them played in a different style. It also has the effect that you appreciate just how well written their songs are, the subtleties that are on display on Live And Acoustic In Vienna are sometimes lost with their full on punk assault. Apart from the fact that this will appeal to anyone who is a fan of Anti-Flag, it’s also an benefit release for Amnesty International so everyone benefits if you buy this, what are you waiting for?

Live And Acoustic In Vienna can be purchased here

Mild In The Streets

Fat Wreck Chords

Mild In The Streets: Fat Music Unplugged

Fat Wreck Chords
By

Rating: 4.5/5

 
 

 

 

Who doesn’t love a Fat Wreck Chords compilation, they were a great way to hear new bands, and tracks from upcoming releases, for next to no money, as a bonus there were always a few exclusive tracks thrown into the mix. Along with Epitaph Records Punk-O-Rama series they were responsible for introducing a new generation of fans to some amazing bands. This time round things have changed as this compilation has been done with a different approach, Mild In The Streets: Fat Music Unplugged is, in case you hadn’t guessed, a collection of songs from bands and singers from the Fat Wreck Chords stable who have traded in their amplifiers and distortion pedals for acoustic guitars.

This sixteen track compilation is a lengthy affair and content is so varied that you can’t summarise the album, so i’m going to a whistle stop tour of Mild In The Streets: Fat Music Unplugged. Tony Sly, of No Use For A Name, opens the album with a soulful piano led version of Under The Garden and The Swingin’ Utters deliver an excellent foottapping country version of Fruitless Fortunes featuring slap bass and violin. Stacey Dee delivers a melancholy number, Everything Is Beautiful, this is one of the songs that is exclusive to this album and to anyone familiar with Bad Cop/Bad Cop this number will come as something of a surprise, this is juxtaposed against Sam Sadowski, of Closet Friends, who delivers some sore throated acoustic blues.

Going acoustic won’t come as a surprise from everyone on this compilation, for Old Man Markley it’s practically second nature, they deliver a mellower version of Guts ‘N Teeth. For others the acoustic approach doesn’t change anything apart from the volume, it clearly doesn’t matter if you take Anti-Flag’s electric guitars away as they remain as angry and political as ever, Israeli punks Useless ID retain their own sound, they keep the character of their hard edged pop punk intact and Matt Skiba delivers a sinister version of Alkaline Trio‘s Continental. Karine Denike bring a touch of fifties glamour to proceedings, this couldn’t be further away from the Dance Hall Crashers upbeat ska if it tried and Get Dead deliver some stripped down punk rock

We’re on the final leg of the tour now, Lagwagon‘s Joey Cape delivers a mellow acoustic number, American Steel bring some upbeat acoustica that features a mournful accordion break and Laura Jane Grace brings a great number that carries a restrained version of the fury that inhabits Against Me‘s output. The closing trilogy of songs continue to deliver, Russ Rankin brings us a heartrending tale of the loneliness of the road and the toll it takes on relationships, Uke-Hunt do a cover of Olivia Newton John‘s Xanadu, this is rather excellent, like an unplugged Me First And the Gimme Gimmes, and for it’s grand finale the album ends with an epic symphonic version of one of my favourite NOFX tunes, The Decline, personally I wish Fat Mike had done vocals over this rather than just an instrumental but it’s a faithful and bombastic end to an excellent compilation.

Compilations are usually a mixed bag but there is little to dislike on here, the versions are all original and unique takes on songs we have come to know and love, the original tracks don’t feel like they were ideas that were rescued from the wastepaper bin. This, as with every other Fat Wreck Chords compilation, is an essential purchase, if you’re a fan of any of the bands that appear on here I doubt that you’ll be disappointed with new versions or the original material. Mild In The Streets: Fat Music Unplugged brings something new to the table on almost every track, the album spans so many genres and styles that it never gets dull, buy this and mellow out for an hour or so.

Mild In The Streets: Fat Music Unplugged is available for download and on CD, Vinyl and Coloured vinyl here

A-Lovely-Crisis-Where-Do-You-Stand-cover

A Lovely Crisis

Where Do You Stand?

A-F Records
By

Rating: 4/5

 
 

 

 

Where Do You Stand? is the second full length release by Pennsylvanian Quartet A Lovely Crisis, this is their follow up to 2013’s When Pigs Fly EP. This is the soundtrack of a band who have come of age during a time of conflict and financial crisis, and you can hear this on almost every track on Where Do You Stand? and it’s an album that asks that question of those willing to listen. To add to the political clout of  the album it’s produced by none other than Anti-Flag‘s Chris Barker.

In an age of recession, privatisation and austerity this is a timely album. Where Do You Stand? is influenced heavily by the political rage of old school punk rock, the majority of the songs are as you’d expect, they are fiery punchy three minute blasts of defiance against the system. Anyone who’s been alienated from society by the seemingly endless parade of increasingly reactionary politicians should identify with the messages on ths album. In particular listen to the tracks When All Else Fails and People Or Profit and tell me you don’t feel like you could bring down the government. Although for all the raised middle finger punk rock contained in Where Do You Stand? it’s a strange twist that weirdly the most effective rant against the system is the least punk rock song on the album, the excellent mid paced country tinged protest song, Fire In The Sky, takes that honour.

A Lovely Crisis are no one trick pony though, it’s not all concentrated counter cultural rage. Golden Mini-Van throws some humour into the mix, it’s easily the poppiest track on the album, it even has some playful xylophone unexpectedly tinkling along with it. If you are a fan of authentic punk fury then this is an album that you need in your collection. Where Do You Stand? is due out on June 3rd on A-F Records with extensive East Coast and Midwest touring to follow.

swiss army

Swiss Army

Swiss Army EP

A-F Records
By

Rating: 3.5/5

 
 

 

 

Swiss Army is the brainchild of Brandon Lehman, who is also the guitarist and vocalist for Mace Ballard, it started out as a solo outlet for compositions about his personal experiences, including his childhood, adoption and mental illness. Since then Swiss Army have expanded into a quartet and have been picked up by A-F Records. This is a project that has quickly gained pace from it’s humble origins, like an alpine avalanche they seem to be gaining momentum.

Once you get past the thirty second throwaway instrumental introduction, which to me seems to be a bit of a pointless inclusion, the six proper tracks contained on Swiss Army are heartfelt and melodic compositions. Swiss Army build impetus over the course of the EP, it seems that each track surpasses the one which preceded it until you get to the final track Due North. For me this is the strongest track of the seven. It catalogues the move away from a dull hometown in search of something bigger and better in a new environment, something that I, and I’m sure many others, can personally identify with. As this has impressed me more with each track I can’t help wishing that this was few tracks longer as it didn’t quite hit the heights I feel they are capable of.

Their are touches of punk, indie and straight up rock that makes this a intriguing and diverse EP, the end result is a solid debut which is worthy of investigation. Swiss Army’s self-titled EP was produced by Eric Downs, who also drums on this eponymous EP, and Chris Barker, of Anti-Flag. It is due out on A-F Records on June 3rd in both digital and CD format. The EP can be pre-ordered here.

Anti-Flag Play Acoustic Benefit Show

Anti-Flag PosterAmerican political punk group, Anti-Flag have announced a special acoustic benefit show.

While on tour through Canada, the band’s schedule was disrupted as wildfires ravaged the northern Alberta city of Fort McMurray causing the evacuation of 80000 people. The band had to cancel their show in the city, but acknowledged the natural disaster by not only providing free admission to displaced residents at their Edmonton show, but also announcing an acoustic show on May 5 with 100% of the proceeds going to support those who have been affected by the fires.

Tour openers Lee Corey Oswald are also on the bill, as well as local artists Ben Sir (Worst Days Down) and James Renton (Fire Next Time). 

Anti-Flag Announces One-Off Show In UK

Anti Flag 2015Pittsburgh’s Anti-Flag has announced that they will be playing a one-off UK headliner at the Wedgewood Rooms in Portsmouth following their appearance at this year’s “Download” event.  The band continues to support 2015’s American Spring.

 Details of the headline show are below.

Read More…

   
Live Concert Review

Anti-Flag

Live In Vancouver (4/28/16)

The Venue - Vancouver, BC
By

 
 

 

 

Before Anti-Flag hit the stage of The Venue Thursday night for their first show on the Make Canada Great Again tour, Russian Tim from CiTR’s Rocket From Russia and I discussed the everlasting appeal of the Pittsburgh  quartet. Was it the music? Was it the political content of their lyrics? The answer was clear: Anti-Flag have survived through their experience and confidence.

Punk rock is built off live shows. It is the bread and butter of the touring echelon and a good show for one person will ensure three come to the next.  You may be able to write a good hook or memorable chorus, but if the song ends and you’re just flat on stage – you’re swimming upstream.

Anti-Flag aren’t like that. Yes, their songs are good – some are fucking great – and at this point in their career, it’s safe to say they’ve made into the punk rock history books to be studied by new punks for generations to come. Yet the reason they continue to survive and strive is because their live show is so consistently solid.

The Make Canada Great Again tour seems to be one more stop on their never disappointing touring schedule. The band is tight, angry, fiery and fierce. Justin Sane and Chris #2 spit their lyrics out with venomous intensity and the sound echoed through the speaker perfectly balanced.

They rarely took a moment’s rest jumping from Cities Burn to This Machine Girls Fascists, I’d Tell You But… to Fabled World, Underground Network to Turncoat. When they did stop to talk, it was with passion and sincerity. Intensity and anger often reserved for singing, not for the in between song banter. They praise the crowd, the everlasting punk rock family with DBS in the crowd, and the punk rock ethos.

The set was fast and furious, only slowing it down for 1 Trillion Dollars, a much needed break after the chaos of Fuck Police Brutality. Their decision to pull out a cover of Fugazi‘s Waiting Room was a very welcome surprised near the tail of the end of the evening; but it was the final three songs of Brandenburg Gate, Die For Your Government and Drink Drank Punk that really stood out.

As they did last year, Pat Thetic dismantled his drum kit for the final verse of Die For Your Government and set it back up on the floor in the middle of the pit. Chris #2 stepped onto the bass drum and together they finished the set as part of the crowd.

Then it was over. Lights came up. There was no encore. The band stayed and mingled with the crowd. They were done, and that was that: even the ending was done with confidence.

   

Contest: Win Anti-Flag Tickets in Vancouver

Anti-Flag Canada TourAnti-Flag are about to embark on their Canadian spring tour in an attempt to “Make Canada Great Again” – or so their tour poster claims. Joining them on the West Coast portion of the tour is Lee Corey Oswald with Black Lungs hoping on during the East Coast Dates.

To kick start their trip across the Great White North, the Pittsburgh quartet will be playing at The Venue in Vancouver, BC on April 28th. In celebration of the show, the fine folks at Blueprint Live have given us a pair of tickets to give away to a lucky winner.

Enter to win below!

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Not Safe To Drink: Fund Raising Compilation for Flintkids.org

Not Safe to drink cover artNot Safe to Drink, a compilation featuring contributions from over 40 bands including Big D & the Kids Table, The Swellers, and Anti-Flag has been put together where 100% of the proceeds will be donated directly to flintkids.org. 

The LP is due for release on February 20th and you can pre-order the LP here or make a donation directly by visiting flintkids.org

We can’t think of a better way to get some great music and support a very deserving cause!

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Anti-Flag – The New Jim Crow

Anti FlagPittsburgh politico-punks Anti-Flag have premiered a new song.  The song is titled “THe New Jim Crow” and is taken from their latest LP, a compilation of re-recorded tracks from their previously subscription-only 20 years of Hell 7″ series. The record will also feature two previously unreleased songs and is due for release on December 18, 2015 via their own label A-F Records.

Listen to the song here.

Anti-Flag – Coward In My Veins

Anti FlagPittsburgh politico-punks Anti-Flag have premiered a new song.  The song is titled “Coward In My Veins” and is taken from their latest LP, a compilation of re-recorded tracks from their previously subscription-only 20 years of Hell 7″ series. The record will also feature two previously unreleased songs and is due for release on December 18, 2015 via their own label A-F Records.

Stream the song here.