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Tours: Bad Religion (Europe)

Bad ReligionLA punk rock legends Bad Religion  have announced a series of shows across Europe and the UK. They are still out in support of their most recent full length, True North, released back in 2013 via Epitaph Records.  Front man Greg Graffin released his latest solo effort, Millport, earlier this year.

Tour dates are below.

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Graffin

Greg Graffin

Millport

ANTI-
By

Rating: 3.5/5

 
 

 

 

Bad Religion frontman Greg Graffin has done it all.  From penning academic works exploring the interaction between evolution and religion, delivering lectures at the University of Cornell and University of California, to fronting one of the most celebrated punk rock bands of the past thirty years, little has remained beyond Graffin’s scope of engagement.  

For a man with so much on the go, Graffin has always budgeted a little time for himself.  This typically takes the form of a solo album about every ten or so years.  Each contribution has defined itself uniquely.  1997’s piano driven American Lesion was inspired by the breakup of his marriage, and 2008’s Cold As The Clay paid respects to the Americana that continues to influence Graffin’s songwriting.

His third outing, Millport, serves as a pure passion piece, of which Graffin has likened the organic nature of the songwriting process to that which led to the iconic Bad Religion classic, Suffer.  Performed in a straight up country-rock format, produced and co-written by Bad Religion songwriter Brett Gurewitz, the album features backing instrumentation courtesy members of Social Distortion.  In many ways, Millport is to Graffin what Nick 13’s solo work is to Tiger Army – a significant and passionately executed detour.

Millport is an album defining itself through a healthy dose of country-driven twang, with Graffin’s vocals following suit.  “Backroads of My Mind” sets the tone by kicking up a little dust and drawing gearing up the honky tonk.  It’s far from anything remotely resembling punk-rock, and once you get over the initial shock and embrace the underlying authenticity, thrives because of it.  That being said, Graffin continues to draw upon stylistic staples like sweeping vocal harmonies and steady melodies in songs like “Too Many Virtues,” alongside traditional elements ranging from shifting pedal steel to string plucking banjos.  The title track feels particularly powerful, serving as a significant album standout that weaves in each instrument and influence.  Like a classic Bad Religion song, Graffin latches onto a melody and squeezes every ounce of momentum from chorus straight through to the late song bridge.  Other highlights like “Making Time,” “Echo On The Hill,” and “Sawmill” capture a distinctly rural spirit, filled with subtle “woah ohs” and tuneful backing fiddle and mandolin.  “Time of Need” is a particularly noteworthy aside due largely to the infusion of gospel elements reflecting Graffin’s belief that at the very least, religion has afforded the world with a fine soundtrack.

Overall, Millport shouldn’t be shocking to those of us that have grown up alongside Bad Religion, but it’s understandable for those less versed to find the country-rock content surprising to say the least.  Greg Graffin has had a remarkable career, and Millport affords yet another notable point of reference.  While country rock may not be for everyone, Millport stands to impress those willing to take Graffin’s latest solo for a spin.

Vanishing Life Release New Video Ahead Of TogetherFest

togetherfestVanishing Life have released a new video today for their charged self titled track that is taken from their debut album, Surveillance, which is available via Dine Alone Records. Vanishing Life‘s Walter Schreifels is also curating TogetherFest at London’s Electric Ballroom in Camden this Saturday, expect a full night of live hardcore headlined by Youth of Today, who will be joined by American Nightmare, Trash Talk and Wolf Down, plus a debut UK performance from Vanishing Life whose line-up includes members of Rise Against, …And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead and Bad Religion.

Tickets for TogetherFest can be purchased here and Surveillance can be ordered here

You can view the video for Vanishing Life below Read More…

Bad Religion Confirmed For 2017 Rebellion Festival

Bad Religion Rebellion2016 saw Rebellion Festival celebrate its 20th year alongside the 40th anniversary of punk with a spectacular sold-out event. Over four days at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens, iconic bands from every aspect of punk across the world shared stages with new and emerging talent, and Rebellion 2017 already looks set to be no different.  Returning to Winter Gardens in Blackpool from  the 3rd to the 6th of August, the line-up is already shaping up to be another punk genre defining event. LA punk legends Bad Religion are now confirmed to return to the festival for the first time in seven years, bringing their addictively melodic, politically-charged, high energy punk rock to the seaside punk event.

Tickets for the 2017 Rebellion Festival can be purchased here Read More…

vanishing-life

Vanishing Life

Surveillance

Dine Alone Records
By

Rating: 4/5

 
 

 

 

Vanishing Life are an alternative and punk supergroup that features …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead‘s Autry Fulbright and Jamie Miller, the latter of which is also the sticksman for Bad ReligionWalter Schreifels, formerly of Quicksand, Gorilla Biscuits and Rival Schools, and Zach Blair, from Rise Against, which is a combination that should tantalise anyone who has a love of music from the noisier side of the street. Vanishing Life release their debut album, Surveillance, today, November 25th, via Dine Alone Records, if you were expecting some straight up punk rock, based on the former bands of the majority of the members, then you’ll be in for a surprise, as this is not the album you’d have been anticipating.

From the outset Surveillance is a pounding collection of stripped down fuzzed up garage punk, the second single from the album, The Realist, kicks things off with a grungy hook laden riff, that you’ll find stuck in your head for hours after you’ve listened to the album. Despite the rigid approach to the dark distorted style the songwriting carries enough variety to stop the album ever becoming repetitive. From the upbeat and relentless tracks Painter and Exile, the first single off the album, to the fucked up fuzz of Pretty Ruined and Seven Pointed Star  through to the dark and frantic nature of the title track and People Running, Surveillance is a pulverising forty minutes of fuzzy punk rock

The whole of Surveillance has a lo-fi appeal and resembles the lovechild of a chance meeting between the Mudhoney and Jane’s Addiction after a heavy night out. The album is punctuated by two brief unnecessary instrumentals, that for me don’t fit alongside the rest of the material, but this slight fault aside this is an unpredictable barrage of dark fuzz that defies any preconceptions that you may have had about Vanishing Life, and what more could you ask for from a debut album?

 Surveillance will be available for pre-order on all formats from Dine Alone Records here

‘Togetherfest’ Coming To London on 25th February 2017

togetherfestAmerican hardcore visionary, Walter Schreifels has announced he will curate another TogetherFest at London’s Electric Ballroom in Camden on 25th February with a full night of live hardcore headlined by seminal band Youth of Today, who originally formed in 1985. Other guest bands invited to play include American Nightmare, Trash Talk and Wolf Down, plus Walter’s newest band, Vanishing Life, whose line-up includes members of Rise Against, …And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead and Bad Religion. Vanishing Life will play their debut UK show at TogetherFest bringing those in the scene together for a very special and inspiring night out.

Tickets for Togetherfest are available here

 

Greg Graffin – Lincoln’s Funeral Train (Norman Blake)

ANTI-Bad Religion frontman Greg Graffin has premiered a cover of folk artist Norman Blake.  The track in question is “Lincoln’s Funeral Train,” about which he comments:

“This song is such a sorrowful piece of Americana and is deeply significant today. The vision of that black funeral train heading west forever into the sunset is symbolic of today’s flickering Republican torch. The Great Emancipator’s passing is once again relevant: Lincoln was the founding President of the Republican Party, a blip so distant on the horizon that it is hardly recognizable anymore.”

Instrumental accompaniment was provided by Social Distortion members Jonny ‘Two Bags’ Wickersham, Brent Harding and David Hidalgo, and was produced by Brett Gurewitz.  Listen to the track below.

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Vanishing Life Announce Debut Album ‘Surveillance’

vanishing-lifePunk quartet Vanishing Life, that features members of Rise Against, Quicksand, …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, Gorilla Biscuits and Bad Religion, have announced their debut album, Surveillance, will be released on November 11th via Dine Alone Records. The album features the new single, The Realist, as well as the previously released single, Exile, and twelve more fuzzed out, hard hitting punk rock jams. Vanishing Life distil the hard charged energy and spirit of their punk and hardcore histories into a stripped down, urgent sound that’s reflective of their unique individual talents, but the furthest thing from a retread. The first two singles are available via iTunes and the full album pre-orders will launch on October 14th.

Surveillance will be available for pre-order on all formats from Dine Alone Records here

Cheap Girls GEW

Cheap Girls

God's Ex-Wife

Asian Man Records
By

Rating: 4/5

 
 

 

 

Michigan power pop trio Cheap Girls have announced the release of God’s Ex-Wife, a collection of rarities and B-sides from their back catalouge, that has been released via Asian Man Records. This is their first release since 2014’s critically acclaimed album, Famous Graves and serves as a teaser to an album of new material that was hinted at after their 2015 tour with The Restorations and Chris Farren. When I see that a band has assembled a collection of their unreleased and obscure material I become nervous, as something of a completist with certain bands I’ve bought compilations of unreleased material, and swiftly discovered why it was wasn’t released, so what does God’s Ex Wife have in store?

Opening track Better Thoughts Instead kicks off the album in fine style with three minutes of power pop perfection and Twice As Much keeps the momentum going nicely. The tempo is kept up until you hit the mid way mark, Cheap Girls give you a breather from the fine power pop at this point with the mellow introspective acoustic number, Gone All Summer. God’s Ex-Wife swiftly kicks back in with an impressive alternate take of Cored To The Empty and a cover of Bad Religion‘s Kerosene. The format for the second half of this collection mirrors the first as you get five more energetic numbers, before the album draws to a close in a quieter fashion with I Know, Right. God’s Ex-Wife is an impressive collection of ten tracks of power pop bookmarked by two slower and acoustic numbers, this is an album that doesn’t in any way resemble a collection of rejected songs and b-sides.

The fact that an album of this quality can be made up of from a collection of b-sides, outtakes and compilation appearances is very impressive, and it tells you everything you need to know about Cheap Girls. Many collections of outtakes and b-sides reflect the fact that the material is not from when a band is firing on all cylinders, and they are strictly for die hard fans. This is certainly not the case with God’s Ex-Wife, the majority of the tracks on here would have happily graced a full album, or in some cases made a damn fine single. This is a collection that shows you exactly why the Cheap Girls are held in such high esteem by bands such as The Gaslight Anthem, Joyce Manor, Against Me! and The Hold Steady.

You can order God’s Ex-Wife via Asian Man Records here and Cheap Girls here

Bad Religion To Release ’30 Years Live’ On Vinyl

Bad Religion - 30 Years LiveBad Religion has announced that the formerly digital only anniversary album, 30 Years Live, will receive the vinyl treatment for the first time.  The album will be made available through Epitaph Records.  The album was originally released back in 2010.

Ordering details can be found here.

Greg Graffin To Release Book ‘Population Wars’ This September

Greg GraffinProlific professor and Bad Religion front man Greg Graffin has announced release details for his newest academic book.  The book will be titled Population Wars and will again tackle topics at the intersection of biological science, religion, morality and popular culture.  Graffin earned a PHD from Cornell (Zoology), where he currently serves as a lecturer in evolution.  The book follows 2010’s book Anarchy Evolution.

In celebration of the release, Graffin will embark on a series of special live appearances.  The appearances will feature a combination of acoustic performances of songs related to the book interspersed with spoken word and followed with a question and answer segment.  Full live listings are below.

A special pre order of “Population Wars” is available through Bad Religion’s online store. The package includes a limited edition 7″ EP of specially re-recorded Graffin songs that helped inspire the book. 

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Tours: Bad Religion / Snuff / The Broadway Killers / The Interrupters

Bad ReligionSeminal punk rock band Bad Religion has announced that they will be heading to Europe for a tour with support from Snuff, The Broadway Killers and The Interrupters.  The long running band last released True North back in 2013 via Epitaph Records.

Full tour dates are below.

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Tour: Bad Religion (US)

Bad ReligionLA punk rock legends Bad Religion  have announced a series of shows across the US kicking off in late March. They are still out in support of their most recent full length, True North, released back in 2013 via Epitaph Records. For this tour, they are taking former Black Flag vocalist Keith Morris’ punk rock ‘supergroup’ OFF! with them as support on all dates.

Check out the full list of shows below.

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Video: Bad Religion – “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” / “True North” (Live on Conan)

Bad ReligionOn December 18th, LA’s punk legends Bad Religion recently stopped by Conan to take part in their Holiday Music for the Holidays series.

While there they performed O Come, O Come Emmanuel from their recent Christmas album, cleverly titled Christmas Songs.

They also performed True North the title track from their 2013 album of the same name.

Both videos are below.

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Video: Bad Religion – Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

Bad ReligionBad Religion has released a brand new music video.  The video features their rendition of the Christmas classic, “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” from their brand new holiday album, out now on Epitaph Records.

Watch the video below.

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Bad Religion – O Come, O Come Emmanuel

Bad ReligionPunk legends Bad Religion have posted the first song from their upcoming Christmas album, Christmas Songs.

The track, O Come, O Come Emmanuel, can be heard below. Christmas Songs will be available October 29th through Epitaph Records and features eight classic Christmas songs along with a Andy Wallace remixed version of American Jesus.

Read More…

Bad Religion - True North

Bad Religion

True North

Epitaph Records
By

Rating: 4/5

 
 

 

 

Very few bands are able to sustain a career past a handful of albums, and that’s if they even make it to a handful. To remain interesting, exciting and fresh in an ever changing world is tough and while some bands can rely re-playing their radio hits over and over again, year after year – anything new they release is quickly passed over.

Bad Religion are an anomaly in the music scene. Thirty years after deciding to start their own band as pissed-off teenagers, the California punk band is still as relevant as ever. And unlike some bands, likePennywise for example (really, did The Fuse add anything of note to their career?), Bad Religion are still able to write songs that push them forward. True North, the band’s sixteenth studio album, is proof of that.

Sonically, Bad Religion remains the same as ever. They’ve honed a sound and crafted it in such a way that it has become symbolic and not repetitive. True North is yet another example of that status. Greg Graffin’s vocals soar with multi-syllabic lyrics, flushed together by a chorus of harmonies and “woah”s. Brooks Wackerman’s drums are furious and fierce while the triple guitar attack of Brett Guerewitz, Brian Baker and Greg Hetson are filled with hidden gems only revealed after multiple listens; like the blistering solos on Nothing To Dismay and Land of Endless Greed that fly by almost as quick as they start. They’re not solos to show-off, but to round off the song instead.

Some may, and do, argue that their sound is too similar; but that argument falls flat as you listen to True North repeatedly. The album is dense and, like a good movie, requires multiple plays before everything begins to sink in. It’s an intelligent album, that simultaneously pushes their sound forward while bringing up memories of records long gone making it an album that could fit anywhere in their discography yet is undeniably 2013.  

Lyrically, True North is introspective and rebellious – calling for change both inwards and outwards. Nothing is black and white and Graffin plays with that dilemma throughout the album with songs that make you question your own actions. So while Fuck You may seem like a coarse-slogan swinging tune, it is in fact one that paints the need for shout-able slogans. Robin Hood In Reverse could be the theme song for the Occupy movement while In Their Hearts Is Right, True North and Popular Consensus ensures that the listener examines their own actions as well.

Thirty years on, Bad Religion has more fire in them than some of the youngest bands around today and they show no signs of slowing down.

Live Concert Review

Sonic Boom 2010 with Rise Against, Weezer, City and Colour, Bad Religion and more

Live (Sept. 4th, 2010)

Northlands - Edmonton, Alberta
By

 
 

 

 

Yesterday’s second annual Sonic Boom Festival in Edmonton could really be divided into four separate sections: stoner rock, indie rock, mellow rock and modern rock.

The day began with the stoner rock – mellow, reggae tunes by KO and The Dirty Heads.  KO played as people began filing in at 11:30 in the morning and he seemed a little out of place in the big bandshell with only his acoustic guitar and backing tapes. For the last half of his set he left the acoustic guitar behind and jumped around the stage with his pre-recorded music backing him up. It wasn’t a horrible set; but if you came late and missed him, you didn’t miss much.

SoCal’s reggae act The Dirty Heads came next and continued with the easy-going vibe, singing songs of smoking dope and slowly getting people to bop along with them.  The duo drummers – a bongo set and a standard set – breathed a unique life into the set that ended with their hit single Lay Me Down. While Rome from Sublime With Rome may not have been there to deliver the chorus, the band was more than able to pull of the track without them.

It was The Arkells that really pumped up the volume and was the first true rock band of the day – and the first in the series of indie rock acts set to play in the afternoon. They did everything a burgeoning rock act should do – they had a solid stage presence, were entertaining, sounded spot on, created fan interaction and even dragged members of Tokyo Police Club on stage for Oh, The Boss Is Coming.At the end of the day, The Arkells was the best band outside of the four headliners and spurred the crowd into the middle of the afternoon.

Vancouver’s Mother Mother were next and, sadly, couldn’t keep up the same momentum.  They failed to pull off their quirky sound live and Ryan Guldemond’s vocals sounded weak in the mix. Great harmonies and some funky dance moves saved the show from being a total loss but it was still a step down compared to the energetic Arkells from beforehand. Tokyo Police Club picked it up a bit; but it wasn’t until they played Your English Is Good that the crowd really got into it.

Wintersleep was the first of the two slower bands on the day’s bill and served mostly as background music as I sat around with friends. Nothing against them, just wasn’t in the mood for something so slow and wanted to conserve energy for Bad Religion who on next celebrating their thirty anniversary. Their set was the first truly raucous set of the evening as all the old punks came out in droves and pulled the pit apart.  Bad Religion were in top form, pulling from their extensive catalogue tracks like Fuck Armageddon This Is Hell, A Walk, You, Generator, American Jesus, Sinister Rouge, Los Angeles Is Burning, Requiem for Dissent, Recipe for Hate and more.

The rain began to fall heavily during their set but rather than put a damper on the evening’s events, the rain dropped down as a refresher – cooling off the runners in the circle pit and thirty years in, Bad Religion hadn’t lost a beat.

Alexisonfire’s Dallas Green, under his pseudonym City and Colour, came next in the line-up, an odd choice considering the placement of his set time.  His stripped down acoustic ballads would’ve fit better after Wintersleep – keeping the mellow acts together – rather than after Bad Religion. As it was, he toned down the energy far too much; a fact that he himself commented on. Green is a powerful performer; he’s self-deprecating, has a strong voice and blends nicely into a small surrounding. His shows at the Myer Horowitz and Winspeare Centre have been memorable for their intimated nature and light hearted delivery. Playing on a massive stage set up in an empty parking lot did not allow Green to delivery his set with the same intimacy and pulled the tempo of the evening back down to zero.

Weezer took that tempo and brought up back up to full force, delivering probably the best concert Edmonton has seen in 2009 in their very first trip to the City of Champions. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what Weezer did that made their performance stand out so much – it’s more the fact of how good everything worked together.

Of course there are the songs. In the hour and fifteen minute set, Weezer played every hit they’ve ever written – Say It Aint Show, Undone (The Sweater Song), Troublemaker, Beverley Hills,  Island in the Sun, Hash Pipe, El Schorcho, My Name Is Jonas, Buddy Holly, Surf Wax America and the list goes on.  They merged MGMT’s Kids with Lady Gaga’s Poker Face, introduced their new single Memories and ended with (If You’re Wondering if I Want You To) I Want You To. The set list was spot on and no one could’ve left wanting more; and yet there was still more than that.

After last night’s show, I can’t help but think that Rivers Cuomo may be one of the best front man around despite his anti-frontman traits. Ignoring trends of styles, Cuomo is always himself – who else can sport the same pair of glasses for over fifteen years? He climbed the stage, jumped in the crowd, juggled a soccer ball in the background, bounced on a trampoline and even sat back stage for the entirety ofPork and Beans. No other band could pull it off, but Weezer can and did.

Their final flourish saw all of Weezer climb the drum set, each taking a different tom or cymbal helping Josh Freese complete a furious drum solo. They played, bathed in white spotlights, in front of their glowing W logo and a better ending there could not have been.

Following that set was tough, but Rise Against did a valiant effort.

The sky was finally black as the Chicago four piece hit the stage, meaning the spotlights could be used to full effect. The band was Rise Against to a T – angry, fierce and energetic.  Their crowd has grown monumentally since the first time I saw them at Red’s in 2004 and that can be considered a good thing or bad depending on your perspective. They stuck mostly to newer material from Appeal To Reason –Collapse, Re-education Through Labor, Long Forgotten Sons, Kotov Syndrome, Savior The Strength to Go On, Audience of One, Entertainment;  but did dive into their older material for tracks like Like The Angel (the only Revolutions Per Minute cut sadly), Give It All,  Prayer of the Refugee, Drones and Ready to Fall. For their encore they did their regular acoustic numbers – Swing Life Away and Hero of War and while it would’ve been nice to hear some of their older material; they’ve toured through Edmonton so many times they’ve probably gotten bored of playing those songs by now.

Rise Against were as solid as ever, the only downside being Tim McIlrath’s vocals were weaker than normal. Suffering from being both low in the mix and oddly high pitched at times, McIlrath didn’t deliver his screams with the same growl he normally does. A minor detail but a good show nonetheless.

At the end of the second annual Sonic Boom Festival, my friends and I walked away – limping and hurt in our own individual injuries from the pit – but with a smile on our faces. It may have had a rocky start, but the fest ended with a boom as Rise Against and Weezer delivered the best modern rock show of the summer.

Live Concert Review

Bad Religion, The Bronx

Live (Sept. 24th, 2008)

The Sound Academy- Toronto, Ontario
By

 
 

 

 

Kings of Punk Bad Religion have embarked on a cross Canada tour that would make Stomp’n Tom Connors smile touching down on cities like Saskatoon, Thunder Bay, Halifax and Moncton. I was in the house as the political protester’s stopped by the center of the universe (or so we sometime may think) Toronto for a nearly two hour spectacular last Wednesday at The Sound Academy.

Now, working late + traffic = no chance in hell that I was going to make it in time to see the Bronx. Going into the show this didn’t really bother me for I have seen The Bronx a number of times in the past couple of years. But as I entered the concert hall the band was thanking everybody in the crowd for a good night and announced the last song would be off their second self titled album, “Around the Horn”. They did an amazing job on this track and it had me now wishing I would have been there for the entire set. Oh well I guess you can’t see em’ all.

Next up was the band the entire crowd was there to see. The mighty Bad Religion. The diversity in ages at the show was incredible to see. I am really glad younger people are still catching on to these legends, and I am also glad that old schooler’s alike are still coming out to pay respect and support the seminal California five piece or six piece, whatever you want to call them.

Twenty First Century Digital Boy started off the charged set as the crowd went off to the sounds of the 1990 classic. And from there the hits kept coming like an infinite play list (hate me for using that reference) with classics like Big Bang, Anesthesia, You, Suffer, Stranger Than Fiction, and so on and so on.

I have to be honest around the firth song of the night I found myself thinking that maybe I was getting a little sick of seeing Bad Religion live. I was having a hard time getting that passionate live connection I used to get when I was being crushed against the barrier, as Graffin sang his songs while pointing his finger at you.

I soon realized I was harboring negative thoughts towards quite possibly one of my all time favorite bands. Maybe a change in position would help. I plowed my way through the crowd to stand back by the soundman. It was then from a distance I bitch slapped myself, and snapped out of it. I then realized I was watching by far the most consistent, the most powerful, the most thought provoking, and by far the most relevant punk rock band to carry the torch from an integral period in punk rock history 28 years ago.

BR wound down the night with a couple classics from seminal 1993 album Recipe For Hate. Classics “American Jesus” and the title track for that album on which Brian Baker’s extended solo cut like a Razor Wire.

There was no way that was enough for the packed Sound Academy Bad Religion faithful. The guys came back out and performed “Dearly Beloved” acoustically, followed by Like a fucking atom bomb “Generator”, and closed the curtain with “Sorrow”.

Once again Bad Religion delivered an unmatched flawless (Aside from Bentley’s throaty rap solo during “Let the Eat War”) performance. What was really amazing to see is just how much fun BR is having when they play. This is obviously what has kept the great and united for so many years.

Live Concert Review

Bad Religion

Live (January 27th, 2013)

Horseshoe Tavern - Toronto, Ontario
By

 
 

 

 

Rolling Stones, Wilco, Willie Nelson, The Ramones, Etta James, The Tragically Hip, Teenage Head, The Police, Stomp’n Tom Connors, Frank Black, Neko Case, Ryan Adams, and now Bad Religion. What do all these bands have in common? They are all globally revered artists and groups equally imperative to their genres, which have played the legendary Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

In Bad Religion’s thirty-year tenure they have certainly played some larger venues than the shoe but this was an album release party of sorts for the punk veterans latest work “True North”. The show was put on by Toronto local radio station 102.1 The Edge. You had to win to get in to this very special engagement at a venue that has a capacity of less than 400 people. Unheard of right?

This was a show I had to see, I woke up the morning of the show with an excitement I haven’t felt in a long time. I just couldn’t fathom seeing a band that meant so much to me in a setting like the Horseshoe Tavern. I have seen the band at least a dozen times in the usual setting but as any avid concert – goer knows venue is everything and when you get a chance to see legends in an intimate setting you are undoubtedly in for a treat.

The excitement was running quite high at the shoe leading up to the 8:30pm start. The stage was decorated with golden tinsel. If that isn’t an obvious sign that we were in for a treat, well I don’t know what is? I maneuvered around until I could find a good nook and cranny to take a few pictures of this special occasion also to prove to my friends this actually happened.

As I stood there getting in a zone I noticed Rush’s Tom Sawyer playing on the house speakers. I thought to myself I can’t really stand Rush and this is terrible music to get the crowd pumped for a BR show. The next song to play was Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call me maybe”. Another odd choice I thought. Oh well as I looked at my feet. So what came up next? “Skater Boy” by Avril Lavigne, and then some bull shit Celine Dion song. It became glaringly obvious Bad Religion was going to make us pay for their free concert by forcing us to listen to stereotypical Canadian content crappiness. Dirty pool Bad Religion. Dirty pool.

After five minutes of Celine Dion the quintessential so cal punk veterans took the stage smirking while greeting the crowd, and then blazed head on into 1988’s “Suffer”.

I was happy they started with an oldie. I was slightly worried that they would play their new album from start to finish. But they didn’t. Seeing them so close and feeling their sonic energy from three feet away was an amazing experience.

I continued to photograph them for approximately 15 minutes before it struck me that I need to go grab a couple of Steam Whistle Pilsners and stand back so I can truly take this experience in. Getting out of the pit was tricky as nobody wanted to move an inch. The small bar was completely packed but my thirst for a beer and a sweet eye line was not going to stop me.

The crowd was interesting. I had no idea what to expect. There were definitely some hardcore fans, but with this being a show of contest winners there were also a lot of people who you could tell were not privy to how special of an engagement this truly was. After all I heard a guy on the radio two days before win tickets because he called in to a show called “What’s wrong with you?” This is where callers phone in and tell messed up stories about themselves and usually the most pathetic story wins a prize. This particular guy won tickets because he told a story about walking in on his wife of 17 years having sex with his 17 year old son’s best friend. I’m guessing this guy may have been one of the people selling his tickets for this show on Craigslist for $170 a piece. Who knows?

Anyway Bad Religion ripped through their vast discography playing classics from the 80’s, 90’s, the 2000’s, and whatever the hell you call the decade we are in now. Bangers like Only Gonna Die, Anastesia, You, Conquer the World, Modern Man, Sorrow, and American Jesus had never sounded so good to me live before this.

Front man Greg Graffin also displayed how hilarious he actually is. I guess the confined space put more pressure on between song banter as Graffin proved he has the moves like Jager as he danced while telling tales of playing the Rivoli (a few bars down the street) in ’87 the same night the Stones were playing the Horseshoe. He also cleverly mocked the inevitable drunk guy at every show who loves to continually yell out that one obscure song we all know the band has zero intention on playing.  The band also seemed to be having a genuinely good time performing in the small setting themselves. I’m sure it was quite a different experience for them as well but they looked totally comfortable and excitable during their hour and a half performance.

I have seen Bad Religion perform at a lot of venues in a lot of cities in my time but I have never seen them like this. It was truly epic. To hear those crispy-layered guitar riffs, Jay Bentley’s pounding bass, Brooks Wackerman’s furious drumming, the background staple ooooz’n aaaahs, and Graffin’s brilliant lyrics and crystal clear vocals in a setting like The Horseshoe Tavern will be something I’ll never forget.

If veteran bands are looking to reconnect with fans or break the mold of a regular gig from a fan’s perspective I highly recommend the big band in a small venue format. You really feel like you’re part of something special.

Every generation has that artist or band that they connect, identify, and grow up with. Bad Religion is my Springsteen, my Clash, my Public Enemy, my Jimi Hendrix, my Michael Jackson, my Beatles, my Elvis, or my Bob Dylan.

As I exited the concert hall and walked down the stairs past the long bar of the Tavern I thought to myself how cool it was to feel something so new and so exciting with a band I’ve been listening to over half of my existing life and that is a very special feeling or thing to experience. Before I walked out the door I quickly realized this was by far one of the best shows I’ve ever seen.

   

Bad Religion To Release Christmas Album

Bad ReligionBad Religion has confirmed rumours that they will be releasing a Christmas album in time for the holidays.  The album will be simply titled, Christmas Songs and is due out on October 29, 2013.  The album will follow their recent full length, True North (Epitaph Records).

 Track listing can be found below.

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Video: Bad Religion – True North


Bad ReligionBad Religion
has debuted a brand new music video.  The video features the song “True North” from their recent album of the same name, out now on Epitaph Records.  Director Zach Merck explains the inspiration: 

“I wanted the video to simply capture a feeling that every single one of us has had throughout our years. This is a band that has directly influenced generation after generation of punk rockers, and punk music in its truest form is something that we have and understand that the masses never will. There is something very special and personal about discovering the music on a new album, especially with Bad Religion, so that’s what this video concept became – that intense private moment that happens to all of us….alone with our music, inspired by the lyrics…us against the world.”

Watch the video here.

Greg Graffin - Cold As Clay

Greg Graffin

Cold As Clay

Anti- Records
By

Rating: 4/5

 
 

 

 

Earlier this week, I went up to a cabin with some friends. We were out in the middle of nowhere, next to a giant lake hidden amongst a never ending sea of trees. At night we sat around a fire, drinking, telling stories, hanging out, and acting like, well, drunk teenagers as the night went on. Throughout the night we had this mix CD playing that I had burnt for the trip, cleverly titled “The Compact Disk Of Coolness”; and while the guys loved it, the girls soon started to become annoyed with hearing the same songs over and over again for three days straight. So it eventually became a battle for the CD player and the CDs seemed to switch back and forth at quicker intervals. Now you may be wondering what this story as to do with Greg Graffin‘s solo release, Cold As The Clay; well, the thing is this: the day I came back from the cabin I saw Graffin‘s CD laying on my kitchen table. I threw it in, and as soon as the first melodies of harmonica and guitars floated through the speakers I knew that this, right here, was the CD that should’ve found its place in that sought-after CD player in the middle of nature, surrounded by trees and a collection of friends.

For you see, Cold As The Clay is a soothingly perfect collection of americana folk tunes that are meant to be shared with friends and family as they sit around a fire, telling stories and sharing drinks. They are songs you can easily picture being sung around a campfire, being passed down from generation to generation. Hell, some of them even have, as Graffin has taken some old traditional folklore songs like One More Hill, Willie More, Omie Wise and Little Sadie and given them his own little spin – all with the help of Mr. BrettThe Weakerthans and label-mate Jolie Holland.

Still, anyone who is a Bad Religion fan knows that Graffin is a talented song-writer himself; and he proved that once again with Cold As Clay as he took up the main song-writing duties for the other half of the album. The songs show perfectly that he can do more than write political charged punk anthems; instead, he can also write soothing folklore songs that feel as if they have been passed down through generations and that they will continue to get passed down for years to come. Don’t Be Afraid To Run, The Watchmaker’s Dial and Rebel’s Goodbye are all beautifully crafter americana songs with timeless lyrics that urge you to replay them over and over again.

Yeah, there’s no denying that this is the singer from Bad Religion, after all, Greg Graffin does have a very distinct set of vocals. Still, his vocals fit nicely and he made, maybe not a standout album, but a timeless album. Next time I take a trip up to that hidden cabin with my friends, you can be sure Cold As The Clay will be in my backpack.

Punk Rock Bowling and Music Festival Announce Lineup

Punk Rock BowlingThe 15th annual Punk Rock Bowling and Music Festival released this year’s lineup featuring bands like DEVO, The Weirdos, TurbonegroU.S. Bombs, The Casualties, FLAG, Bad Religion, The Damned, D.R.I., Lagwagon, Bouncing Souls, and many more.

Punk Rock Bowling will take place May 24-27 in downtown Las Vegas, Nev., and weekend passes are currently on sale. Get them here!

Punk Rock Bowling began in 1999 as a way to bring together the independent music scene into one big annual party. Festival organizer, and BYO Records founder and member of YOuth Brigade Shawn Stern commentedo

Being fans of music ourselves, we like to take all the things we dislike about festivals and eliminate them from our event. We want this to be a big party and we want everyone to have a great time. We offer good food with vegan and vegetarian options, and our drinks are probably half the price of most festivals. We also limit the capacity so it still sounds great and because our audience are such die hard fans of punk rock, we have little to no problems in the crowd. It’s like one big family enjoying a debauchery filled weekend in Las Vegas like any normal family! Ha!”

Tours: Bad Religion / Polar Bear Club / Against Me!

BadReligionBad Religion has announce tour dates with Polar Bear Club and Against Me! that will run in March and April.  The band will be supporting their brand new album, True North, which will mark their 16th studio album, and will be available on January 22, 2013 through Epitaph Records.  

Tour dates can be found below.

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Bad Religion Full Album Stream

Bad ReligionBad Religion has debuted a full album stream of their upcoming new album.  The album is titled True North and will mark their 16th studio album, which will be available on January 22, 2013 through Epitaph Records.  Joe Barresi produced the album and it  follows 2010’s The Dissent of Man.

Listen to the full disc here.

Bad Religion – Dept. Of False Hope

Bad ReligionKROQ have posted a stream of a new song from Bad Religion.

The song, dubbed Dept. Of False Hope, can be heard below. The track is set to appear on their 16th studio album, True North, which will be available on January 22, 2013 through Epitaph Records. The Joe Barresi produced album follows 2010’s The Dissent of Man.

Listen to the song here.

Bad Religion – True North

Bad ReligionCalifornia’s punk legends Bad Religion have posted a new song from their upcoming album, True North.

The song serves as the album’s title track and can be heard below.

True North is set to be released on January 22, 2013 and follows 2010’s The Dissent of Man

Read More…

   
Bad Religion - The Dissent Of Man

Bad Religion

The Dissent of Man

Epitaph Records
By

Rating: 3.5/5

 
 

 

 

By now there’s no excuse for you to not know who Bad Religion is – even more so if you call yourself a punk fan in the slightest. Celebrating their thirtieth anniversary, Bad Religion have been all over this year – a world tour, a deluxe vinyl box set featuring every single one of their albums (including the rare and controversial Into the Unknown), a free live album, and a covers tribute album. If you didn’t know them before, the amount of news about them this year should surely have sparked your interest.

To cap of their thirtieth anniversary, the Californian punks are releasing their fifteenth studio album: The Dissent of Man (a nice play on Charles Darwin’s The Descent of Man). Now, thirty years and fifteen albums into their career, you know what Bad Religion sounds like and you either like it or you don’t. On The Dissent of Man, the six-piece doesn’t pull out any surprises but instead delivers a solid, fifteen tracks of their signature punk rock songs who’s only true fault is that it runs a little long. So if you liked them before, you’ll dig this; if you thought they were overrated and weren’t a fan, The Dissent of Manwon’t change your mind.

This is their first album since 2007’s New Maps of Hell which saw the band trying to speed things up and take it back to their earlier days with short blasts of angry punk. It was a solid album but felt a little forced at times, The Dissent of Man reels things in a tad and feels more natural. A slower tempo works as the backbone of the album that falls somewhere in the middle of The Empire Strikes Back, The Process of Belief and Stranger than Fiction.

Front man Greg Graffin’s iconic vocals are in full force as he delivers some of the strongest work in years – even more impressive for a guy pushing fifty. He’s melodic and reserved but able to pick up the pace when necessary as he sings his pointed, socio-political commentary. Unlike many of Bad Religion’s albums, The Dissent of Man isn’t as confrontational as they normally are. A few songs are, that’s for sure; but here Graffin seems to take the Descent of Man theme a step further and merges his lyrical storylines with his evolutionary teachings at UCLA and his recent book (Anarchy Evolution). The songs speak more of evolution, religion and the impact they have on society than war or politics; although, Ad Hominem is definitely a scathing look at the Afghanistan war.

The album has the potential to become a classic Bad Religion album – one that people will happily talk about for years to come. It won’t come out and blow you away (it definitely didn’t win me over on my first listen) but a few listens and it becomes a classic Bad Religion album – with the same hooks, melodies, woahs and riffs that the band is known for.  Before you know it, the lyrics are in your head and you’re humming along with Graffin on tracks like The Resist Stance, The Day That The Earth Stalled, Cyanide, I Won’t Say Anything and Won’t Somebody among others.  There’s a confidence here, a more controlled energy with flourishes that pushes the tracks forward and keeps Bad Religion on the top of their game. They’ve found their stride in the more mid-tempo rockers rather than the faster bursts of albums like Suffer; and at this time in their career, it’s the perfect sound for them.

Bad Religion - The Empire Strikes First

Bad Religion

The Empire Strikes First

Epitaph Records
By

Rating: 4/5

 
 

 

 

As time goes on bands change. They grow older and develop different styles. Some branch out and try new sounds, but sounds they can not do properly and tarnish their careers. Other bands try to do the same thing throughout their entire career and just loose the momentum during that time. Then there are the one who mature. Bad Religion is one of those bands. During the course of their two and a half decade career we have seen them mature and evolve in a way that suits them best. They don’t put on a fake show pretending to be all punk and play quick 2 minute songs like they did when they started. Instead they show their age, their wisdom, and their evolution all without losing any respect or power.

On their thirteenth studio album, The Empire Strikes FirstBad Religion pick up where they left off with 2002’s The Process Of Belief. Greg Graffin’s vocals are just as powerful as ever. They haven’t lost anything over the past 25 years, nor has it become harsh and scratchy. They are smooth, clear, and emotionally filled. His lyrics are insightful and complex, but still incredibly catchy. After only one listen you will be singing chorus to many songs as you walk through the corridors of your house. The album, like many of their albums, have two themes. One of politics and one of religion. Both are furious and condemning. Songs like Los Angeles Is Burning and Let Them Eat War clearly condemn the Bush administrations preemptive war on Iraq. With lyrics like “There’s a prophet on a mountain and he’s making up dinner/ With long division and a riding crop/ Anybody can feel like a winner when it;s served up piping hot/ But the people aren’t looking for a handout/ They’re America’s working corps/ Can this be what they voted for?” you are left simply in awe at Greg Graffin’s skill with the English language. Other songs like Sinister Rouge and All The Is take a easy jab at religion.

If you liked any of Bad Religion‘s newer stuff, they you will instantly fall for The Empire Strikes Back. Each song is packed full of great punk melodies. Maybe not the fastest riffs you’ve ever heard, but its what we’ve come to expect from Bad Religion. They may be growing old, but they show no signs of stopping, only signs of going further and stronger!

 

Bad Religion: Fuck You

Bad ReligionCalifornia’s punk legends Bad Religion have posted the first single from their upcoming album, True North.

The song, Fuck You, can be heard below.

True North is set to be released on January 22, 2013 and follows 2010’s The Dissent of Man

Read More…