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
Hidden Home Records
Gingerkicker is the new solo album by Rob Lanterman, the man responsible for founding and running Hidden Home Records, this is his first solo album and his first acoustic album so he’s breaking his cherry on two counts on this release. Rob Lanterman isn’t the first punk alumni the make an acoustic recording, Greg Gaffin (Bad Religion), Nick 13 (Tiger Army) and Matt Skiba (Alkaline Trio), to name a but a few, have all made critically acclaimed albums where they are shorn of their band mates, An obvious concern of a solo album being released on artists own label is that there is a distinct temptation for them to be self indulgent, but Rob Lantermen has avoided this pitfall and in the process he’s delivered an honest and impressive thirteen tracks of heartfelt folk punk.
Rob Lanterman wrote this album three long years ago, but the demands of running an indie label that is developing a heavyweight reputation have meant that it’s remained unrecorded and unreleased, until now. This is just one man and his guitar throughout, you rarely hear any overdubs and there’s no studio trickery to artificially enhance the sound, this is a raw acoustic live recording that reminds me of the melancholy yearning melody of the Smoking Popes. If you were going to level a criticism at this album, and other acoustic releases, is that it leaves little variety across the album, but that’s the nature of releasing an album that is stripped to the bone.
This is an impressive debut release from one of punk’s many unsung heroes, those who run the independent labels and support the grass roots movement that enable the punk scene to evolve and thrive. For fans of the solo releases by the likes of Frank Turner, Joey Cape and Tony Sly this would be an essential album, Rob Lanterman has all the qualities of comparable solo releases and he delivers a heartfelt album that would translate perfectly to being played with a full band. His label, Hidden Home Records, is one which has the deserved reputation of supporting the DIY grass roots punk scene, and this release indicates that he’s just at home as a recording artist as he is running a record label.
You can stream and purchase Gingerkicker here
The Hidden Home Records website can be found here
Fresh from touring the world with Joe Henry and galvanised by recent political events, not least the worrying rise of popularism, Billy Bragg is dealing with it in the best way he knows how, by strapping on his electric guitar and heading out on tour across the UK and Europe in November, under the title ‘Bridges Not Walls’.
Billy Bragg, in his one-man Clash mode, will perform songs from his long career, along with some pertinent covers by his heroes and mentors and some freshly minted songs about the state of the world.
The Bridges Not Walls Tour Dates can be viewed below Read More…
Destroy Nate Allen are comprised of married couple Nate and Tessa Allen, they are an interactive, sing-a-long, folk punk band whose unique blend of folk, punk rock, campfire songs and foot-stomping country jams set them apart. They have just released an official music video for the song Vegetables, that features footage taken at forty live shows. The track is taken from their album, With Our Powers Combined, that was recorded with Gnarboots.
With Our Powers Combined is available as a pay what you want download here
You can view the video for Vegetables below
Rude Boys Of Bar Rock
What is now the folk punk septet, Steady Hands, began life as the side project for Sean Huber, the drummer of Modern Baseball. The album takes Inspiration from Billy Bragg, Bruce Springsteen and Frank Turner alongside other classic punk influenced singer songwriters. The genesis of Steady Hands began in the bars and basement venues in Philadelphia as Sean Huber began to establish his own musical identity away from Modern Baseball, the band was fleshed out by friends and acquaintances, including members of WC and, his colleague from Modern Baseball, Jacob Ewald. Rude Boys Of Bar Rock was released last week and it encompasses the entire recorded output of Steady Hands on one handy double LP, including re-recordings and even a brand new track.
This is an album that shifts away the approach of Modern Baseball and heads into punkier territory, albeit on the folkier side of the fence. The album opens with the new contribution to the album, Under The Rug, this is an anthemic slab of indie tinged folk punk, and it marks a damn fine start to the album. From this point on it’s a reckless trip back through Steady Hands entire back catalogue. The album veers between upbeat folk punk, introspective acoustic numbers and defiant Celtic influences, The fact that the strongest track on this impressive anthology is the sole new recording by Steady Hands indicates that this is a band that is still on the upswing, and further releases from Steady Hands in 2017 will be something that I’m looking forward to hearing.
For me Steady Hands eclipses the work of Modern Baseball, it’s a more accessible album, and it’s one that encompasses a wide range of influences including punk, folk punk and heartland rock, this will appeal to fans of Modern Baseball, but it has a broader appeal and covers a broader range. I’ll admit that the Nebraska style re-workings of the songs from Not Many Of Us Left felt like something of an afterthought, apart from that minor criticism this is a heartfelt and original twenty track collection that spans their entire recorded output. Hopefully the fact that this is a retrospective collection of their EP’s will allow them to reach a greater audience than their individual releases allowed, and that this will mean that we’ll hear more from Steady Hands over the coming years.
Rude Boys Of Bar Rock
is available from Lame-O Records here
A New Kind Of Hell
Will Romeo should be no stranger to many of you, he’s been fronting punk rock mainstays Gameday Regulars for the last five years. Now it appears that he has felt the need to spread his wings, although not too far as he’s still committed to making punk rock, as this EP marks a distinct change of style. If you’re expecting more of the same from Will Romeo then you’ll be in for a shock, Townes Cosentino is a much more subdued affair that is informed by elements of indie, folk and Americana.
His gravelly tones somewhat surprisingly suit this material perfectly, whilst the majority of the material is just vocals and acoustic guitar, there are also touches of electric lead that weave in an out of this release, provided by Tyler Pursel of Philadelphia punk band Goddamnit, which subtly enhance the songs. Will Romeo has stated that when he was composing material for this project he found that the songs practically wrote themselves, I think this shows as you get four effortless and heartfelt songs that tell a story of overcoming loss.
I’ve heard many members of fine punk bands veer into acoustic territory over the years, some work, and some just make you wish their band would plug them back in again, this release belongs firmly in the former camp. This is Will Romeo‘s songwriting stripped almost to the bone, for me this compliments his fine legacy with Gameday Regulars, rather than being an alternative to it. A New Kind Of Hell is a strong and deeply personal collection of songs that is the perfect soundtrack for those quiet moments of contemplation at the end of the day.
A New Kind Of Hell will be released by Creep Records on August 26, 2016
You can order A New Kind Of Hell here
Five Feet Under Records
ScreamerSongwriter is the debut album from Danish folk punk one man army Stöj Snak, the album was released earlier this month and it follows hot on the heels of four critically acclaimed EPs. I always have a mild sense of trepidation when I approach a folk punk album, I’ve heard so many over the years that promised much but just didn’t deliver, thankfully Stöj Snak has taken big strides in restoring my faith in this genre. The brief opening instrumental Prelude, lulls you into a false of security with it’s mellow strings, before he launches into the frantic opener Fuck. This is folk punk played as it should be, it contains elements of roots music, folk and country can clearly be heard, but this is played with attitude, after a few tracks it becomes clear that ScreamerSongwriter is not only the album title, but also a perfect description.
This album manages to convey a punk attitude, it has warmth and intensity, but also manages moments of tenderness and isn’t afraid to tackle social issues head on, the fact that Stöj Snak has managed all this in the space of one album is a testament to the songwriting and musicianship on this album. There’s a sense of humour present here as well, as demonstrated on the wonderfully titled, Laughter Brings People Together But No One Wants To Fuck The Funny Guy. Inevitably there are quieter moments, but these don’t jar or spoil the flow of the album, they fit in nicely and despite their slower pace they carry the same intensity as the faster tracks
A lot of folk punk releases fall a bit flat as they repeat the highs and lows of those that have come before them, that is evidently not the case on ScreamerSongwriter, this is as punk as anything I’ve heard this year yet there’s not a distortion pedal in sight. As an added bonus there are five additional tracks of outtakes, demos and alternate versions, these are a welcome addition to the album rather than the afterthought that these things often are. This is a damn fine album and I’d say that this is the finest folk punk album I’ve heard, not just this year, add a full stop. This is how an album like this should be done and it sets a new benchmark.
ScreamerSongwriter can be purchased on a variety of formats or downloaded (for the bargain price of two euros) here
Life's Too Short EP
Rating: 2.5 stars/5
Balsall Heathens are an acoustic duo from Balsall Heath in Birmingham, England comprising Colin ‘Jock’ Blythe on guitar, who is better known for being the guitarist for English UK82 legends GBH, and Sam Uendo on vocals and fiddle, who currently plays in Contempt, Alcohol Licks and Screamin’ Abdabz, So it’s clear Balsall Heathens have a hefty punk pedigree behind them. They describe themselves as “gypsy pirate punk” and this release fits nicely into the burgeoning folk punk scene, although I’ll admit that “gypsy pirate punk” sounds like a lot more fun.
This five track EP was recorded in Birmingham, England and will be released via Violated Records and as you’d expect from an acoustic duo this is a minimalist release but it does maintain a punk rock attitude on the majority of it’s tracks. The opening track, Whisky In The Giro, is a spirited folk punk tinged reworking of the Thin Lizzy classic Whisky in The Jar and there are four more tracks of folk punk jiggery contained on the EP. Though this is a perfectly decent release it’s not covering any ground that hasn’t previously been trodden by numerous Celtic and folk punk bands before them and I imagine Balsall Heathens are a band best experienced live, preferably with a glass of something alcoholic clutched in your hand.
Canadian folk punk acts Jon Creeden and James Renton (of Fire Next Time) have announced dates for their Summer Burritour across Canada.
Full tour listings are below.
Toronto’s Anxiety Attack Recordings recently gathered together some of Canada’s best folk-punk bands including the likes of Jesse Lebourdais, The Matchup, Worst Days Down and James Renton of Fire Next Time to cover nine Bruce Springsteen tracks. The nine track compilation, entitled Thunder Road, sees the Canadians tackle songs such as The Wrestler, Atlantic City, and Born In The USA.
The label has posted the compilation online as a free download saying:
This tribute is a free download, No money is being made through the distribution of this compilation. All artists featured on this compilation are showing respect and paying tribute to one of our favorite musicians. If you like what you hear we highly encourage you to check out the original versions by Bruce Springsteen, as well as check out original material from the contributing artists featured here.
Various Artists – Thunder Road
Download from Bandcamp
Acoustic punk with a great British accent a la Frank Turner. I don’t use that comparison lightly, Barefaced Cynics also have a great way with words. I know very little about this band other than that their Be Grateful EP is a fantastic introduction to a clearly very talented young group and bodes well for future endeavors.
Barefaced Cynics – Be Greatful
Download The Album From Bandcamp
I don’t post a lot two song EPs – mostly because they feel like rushed and poorly planned first efforts – but Rev Lee Peters makes an exception. The River House Demo features two tracks of acoustic good times in the vein of Chuck Ragan’s current folk punk career – and damn are they good. Keep an eye out for Peters in the future, an official EP of full length is something not to be missed.
Rev Lee Peters – River House Demo
Download the Album From Bandcamp
There’s a gimmick for appreciating this album, and that is recognizing that it was written and recorded in 24 hours! The band’s description does the most justice, so I’ll do a simple little copy and paste! For fans of The Andrew Jackson Jihad for sure!
10 friends get together at around 1:00 PM. At exactly 2:00 PM, they begin writing and recording an album. By 2:00 PM the next day, they are finished. Listen to the sheer talent and energy that went into each track! Feel the exhaustion and the pride! Taste the bacon, smores, and pancakes in the spirit of each song! Let the music rush into your ears, through your veins, and then let it sit there and get really tired, when it starts making up words and laughing at anything.
Stamp Collective – The Twenty-Four Hour Album
Download the Album from Jamendo
The Andrew Jackson Jihad is one of my favourite folk punk bands out there. Very little comes close to matching their wit, charm, and sarcasm. Candy Cigarettes & Cap Guns is their first album and although it’s completely free it is no less entertaining than their recently released Asian Man Records albums.
This is somewhat of an oddball release in Fake Problem’s discography. The release only has three songs land features an obscure name. Thankfully these are three tracks of top notch folk punk with a southern country twang, so it’s all good.
Fake Problems – Viking Wizard Eyes Wizard Full of Lies
(2008) 192 KB/s
Defiance, Ohio is a little indie-folk-punk band from the US, much like Ghost Mice or the Andrew Jackson Jihad (AJJ). Unlike the AJJ their lyrics are considerably less goofy. The band is offering their newest album “The Fear, The Fear, The Fear” through the Internet Archive’s open source audio project.