Tuning OutHidden Home Records
By AJ Phink
Hidden Home Records released Wicked Bears sophomore album, Tuning Out, on October 13th, the band’s latest full length follows on from last year’s self titled release, and once more the Utah pop punk quartet are doing what they do best, producing energetic and fun punk rock that has the charm that you’d expect from pop punk, but they do it with all the rough edges intact with the punk element firmly at the forefront of their sound. The end result is that Tuning Out is one of the best pop punk albums I’ve heard in the last few years, and further evidence that Hidden Home Records is one of best grass roots labels out there.
The album starts in 2049, an energetic two and a half minutes of frenetic pop punk with all the harmony choruses and enthusiasm you could wish for, the album’s title track carries the bounce of early Green Day and Bowling For Soup, whereas No Vacancy channels Nerf Herder and Blink-182, and on it goes, each track carries the hallmarks of pop punk, but at the same time managing to sound fresh and energetic. More importantly it carries the other element that made pop punk so popular, whilst some of the tracks make valid social points this is an album that is fun and has a sense of humour, something that has sadly been forgotten by a lot of the recent pop punk releases.
There seem to be two approaches to creating a pop punk album, to take it and try to blend it’s trademark elements with other styles and make it your own, or to do just do it well and carry the energy and enthusiasm that made pop punk such a worldwide phenomenon, Wicked Bears are very much in the latter camp. They take all the best elements from those that came before them and blend them to create a gloriously anthemic and upbeat album. If you thought pop punk had nothing left in the tank Wicked Bears are living and breathing proof that this is a scene that is still alive and kicking.
Tuning Out can be ordered on CD and cassette via Hidden Home Records here
You can stream and download Tuning Out via Bandcamp here
Wicked Bears Facebook page can be found here
Hidden Home Records are set to release Wicked Bears sophomore album, Tuning Out, on October 13th, and ahead of the album’s release the band have released a video for the track Reebok Classics. Wicked Bears will also be playing an album release show on Friday 13th October at the Beehive Social Club in Salt Lake City
Tuning Out can be pre-ordered via Hidden Home Records here
You can watch the video for Reebok Classics below Read More…
Pop WarnerHidden Home Records
By AJ Phink
Pop Warner are a four piece punk band from Utah that has been around since the tail end of 2014, since their formation the band have released a five-song demo, as well as notching up numerous appearance on various splits and compilations, now the band have finally made the decision to release their first studio EP. Pop Warner released their debut EP via Hidden Home Records earlier this month, the self titled EP is now available on CD and cassette via the label, and for download and streaming via Bandcamp.
Geneva kicks the self titled EP into life with a discordant opener that it followed by Ansazi, the brings a more accessible feel to the EP with a track that builds to an anthemic close. Wallace brings the pace down with a brief reflective number that segues into Mockingbird, a track that jump starts the self titled EP with a dose of full tilt gruff punk, these two tracks differ completely in style but they blend together perfectly for the EP’s finest moments. Finally November Air brings the EP full circle to mark the end of an impressive debut EP from the Utah quartet.
There’s a distinct influence from the likes of Small Brown Bike and Hot Water Music on the EP, but Pop Warner bring their own style in addition to their influences, and it’s this that makes the self titled EP such an impressive studio debut. Across the five track EP there is no repetition, each track carries it’s own identity, and whilst the combination of Wallace and Mockingbird are my personal highlights there isn’t a weak track on this impressive debut, and this is a release that marks another impressive signing to the ever expanding Hidden Home Records roster.
You can stream and purchase Pop Warner‘s self titled EP via Bandcamp here
The EP can be ordered on CD and Cassette via Hidden Home Records here
Weekend ForeverOpen Door Records / Celebrity Punk House / Hidden Home Records / Counter Intuitive Records
By AJ Phink
The Southern Californian power pop influenced rockers Casual Friday have released their debut album, Weekend Forever, via a joint enterprise through the combined independent alliance of Open Door Records, Hidden Home Records, Celebrity Punk House and Counter Intuitive Records. With such an impressive independent backing and it’s upbeat title, it would seem that Casual Friday are offering us the soundtrack for an extended weekend of fun and excess, but like many planned extended weekends that promise everything there’s almost inevitably a raincloud on the horizon.
Banger kicks things off with an elongated introduction that eventually brings an infectious slice of power pop and punk influenced rock that merges into the slightly heavier Direct Deposit, and there’s virtually no break as FOMO brings the pace down and this more relaxed vibe carries through into California. The majority of this album carries on down this well trodden path and with the exception of the melancholic Blackhole, that brings a touch of depth and variation to proceedings, Weekend Forever is a slice of sunny power pop and indie inspired rock that just doesn’t seem to bring anything new to the party.
There is a sense of deja vu as the Californian slacker power pop washes over you in a not unpleasant wave, but for me there’s never quite the essential hook to pull you into the album, and that’s a shame as all the ingredients are there but the mix of influences seems out of kilter, resulting in an album that’s neither fish nor fowl. There’s an obvious influence from the likes of Weezer, Piebald and The Wannadies on this release, and if those bands have a place in your heart then I’d recommend Casual Friday for your playlist, but for me Weekend Forever falls just short of the mark.
You can order the vinyl release of Weekend Forever via Open Door Records here
Weekend Forever is available for streaming and download via Bandcamp here
The Southern Californian power pop influenced rockers Casual Friday have released their debut album, Weekend Forever, via a joint enterprise through the combined independent alliance of Open Door Records, Hidden Home Records, Celebrity Punk House and Counter Intuitive Records, and the album is now available as a free download via their Bandcamp.
Weekend Forever is also available on ltd edition seafoam vinyl via Open Door Records here
You can download Weekend Forever for FREE via Bandcamp here
I Am The Night And You're The SunriseHidden Home Records
By AJ Phink
Hidden Home Records is an Idaho based grass roots label with a growing reputation for signing idiosyncratic bands, and it’s an imprint that seems to be on a mission to develop a roster that covers everything from folk punk to hardcore, now Young Planetary have been added to the label’s eclectic roster. The lengthy and ominously titled I Am The Night And You’re The Sunrise is the latest release from the Idaho based post hardcore quintet, and their latest EP follows on from their 2016 debut full length, Wilt.
Undone opens I Am The Night And You’re The Sunrise in brutal style, encapsulating an approach to post hardcore that goes full circle back to hardcore via punk and grunge influences, Spiderwebs brings the pace down and brings their crushing turn it up to eleven approach to something that in another life could have been an indie or shoegaze number. Daybreak returns to the pulverising approach of the opening track, but it keeps a subtle undertone running along with the distorted riffing and screaming backing vocals but Young Planetary have kept the best for last, Teeth Fall Out boats a hook laden riff before it breaks down into almost haunting vocals and complex beats before the track kicks back in to close the EP in stormy and triumphant style.
Young Planetary are another string to the incredibly diverse bow that Hidden Home Records has armed themselves with, as the title suggests this is a dark and intense affair where everything is louder than everything else, which at times means that some of the complexities of the songs are almost lost in the heavily distorted delivery, almost. I Am The Night And You’re The Sunrise picks things up exactly where Wilt left off, making this a logical if not somewhat unsurprising release, but if you have a taste for Young Planetary‘s previous releases, or you have a fondness for the more twisted side of post hardcore then I Am The Night And You’re The Sunrise is an EP that should already be on your playlist.
You can pre-order I Am The Night And You’re The Sunrise via Hidden Home Records here
Idaho’s post hardcore punk quintet, Young Planetary, released their latest EP, I Am The Night And You’re The Sunrise, via Hidden Home Records at the end of last month. The EP is now available on CD and digital formats as well as being available for streaming and download via iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and most major digital platforms.
Young Planetary‘s Facebook page can be found here
You can stream and purchase I Am The Night And You’re The Sunrise here
California based pop punks Casual Friday have released a brand new video for the song, Weekend Forever, that is taken from their forthcoming album of the same name, that will be coming out through Hidden Home Records, Open Door Records, and Celebrity Punkhouse later this year. Casual Friday have also announced they will playing The Fest 16 this October.
Weekend Forever can be downloaded and streamed via Bandcamp here
GingerkickerHidden Home Records
By AJ Phink
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
Do You Remember Punk Rock Comps? Vol. 1 features two tracks by each of the following bands Wicked Bears, sKITTISH iTZ, Union Stockyards, Young Planetary, Urban Outfielders, LATE, CROWN, Sheep Amongst Wolves and Destroy Nate Allen.
Do You Remember Punk Rock Comps? Vol. 1 can be downloaded for free here
The Grandest SlamsHidden Home Records
By AJ Phink
The Grandest Slams is the debut album by the self proclaimed “world’s greatest baseball punk rock & roll band” and that description tells you almost everything you need to know, there is a hefty debt to the Ramones that’s infused with a rock ‘n roll sensibility, and the whole package is delivered with an authentic lo-fi punk quality that is reminiscent of the earliest recordings by da brudders. The Grandest Slams is influenced by an equal love of punk rock and baseball and is due for release tomorrow, the 27th January 2017, and will be available on CD from Hidden Home Records and on cassette via Ronald Records.
Like The Hanson Brothers before them, this is a spin on the classic Ramones sound with a sporting theme, but this time baseball is the inspiration. The album opens in fine style with 3 Strikes, a hammering drum beat and rousing chant leads into some fine anthemic punk rock, you’ve probably gathered that baseball themed punk rock is the mainstay of The Grandest Slams, but tracks like Underneath The Stadium Lights, my personal favourite off the album, channels 1950’s doo wop and blends it with punk rock abrasiveness. There are of course numerous nods to the Ramones back catalogue, in particular on the ukulele tinged track, I Wanna Be Traded, and I’m sure you can work out which song that’s based on without my assistance.
Whilst for me this isn’t a grand slam or a home run Urban Outfielders have by no means struck out with their debut album, there are melodic elements that remind me of the likes of Osaka Popstar and Masked Intruder, as well as obvious comparisons to The Methadones, The Huntingtons and a certain New York quartet. The album has a lo-fi basement recording quality to it that will either endear you to, or detract from, the album depending on your preferences, for me with a few touches on production, especially on the rock ‘n roll influenced numbers, this could easily have been a home run, but even so it gets safely to third base.
You can stream the opening track, 3 Strikes, via The Alternative here
The Grandest Slams can be ordered on CD and tape here
Salt Lake City pop punkers Wicked Bears have announced January 2017 dates for their Danger Zone Tour, the band are on the road in support of their self titled EP, the Wicked Bears EP was released via Hidden Home Records earlier this year
The Wicked Bears self titled EP can be streamed and purchased here
Wicked Bears Facebook page can be found here
The dates for the January 2017 Danger Zone Tour can be viewed below
Two Things At OnceHidden Home Records
By AJ Phink
Union Stockyards are a melodic hardcore band that are as catchy, fast and hard edged as any other band of this genre I’ve encountered, Hidden Home Records have announced there will be a limited edition cassette re-release of the bands two EPs, Self Titled and Tracks, that were originally released between May 2014 and November 2015. The resemblance on the cover art to the Descendents Two Things At Once is no coincidence, as they are a major influence on Union Stockyards.
Let’s start with the six songs that originally made up 2014’s Tracks EP. From the opening 99 seconds of Garbage Hill you get a feel of what you’re in for, this is loud, fast and gruff melodic hardcore that doesn’t relent until the breakdown at the end of the final track, Mother of Exiles, eases you away from the brutal pounding that the other half dozen tracks deliver. The second half of this album is comprised of the five tracks that comprised their second eponymous EP. If you were expecting the passage of time that occurred between these two EP’s to have maybe mellowed Union Stockyards, then you’ll be sadly disappointed. The self titled second EP is maybe a little more street punk orientated than their debut, but none of the attack has been lost and it’s just as intense and pummelling.
If you’re a fan of hardcore that has a melodic edge to it’s assault, think of this a heavyweight boxing match instead of a bare knuckle brawl, then this is a band you need to acquaint yourself with. Union Stockyards avoid being a one dimensional barrage of noise by incorporating street punk stylings, and the occasional breakdown into mid paced punk ferocity, into their sound. This is an impressive compilation of two EP’s that embody the DIY spirit of the hardcore scene, what more could you possibly want? Apart from maybe a vinyl release instead of a cassette, Two Things At Once will be released on the 30th September on Hidden Home Records.
You can pre-order the limited edition cassette of Two Things At Once here
Both EP’s are available for free download from Union Stockyard‘s bandcamp here
Union Stockyards are a melodic hardcore band that are as catchy as Lifetime and as fast and hard as Paint it Black. Hidden Home Records have announced there will be a limited edition cassette re-release of the bands two EPs, Self Titled and Tracks, that were originally released between May 2014 and November 2015. The resemblance to the Descendents Two Things At Once is no coincidence as they are a major influence on Union Stockyards. Two Things At Once will be released on the 30th September.
You can pre-order the limited edition cassette of Two Things At Once here
You can check out the Hidden Home Records announcement of Two Things At Once below Read More…
Back To RealityHidden Home Records
By AJ Phink
Idaho’s Skittish Itz have been with us since the winter of 2006, meaning that they have been relentlessly touring and plying their own brand of frantic ska tinged punk rock for almost ten years. This quintet feature the usual guitars, drums and bass but also features a member, Haffstack, who is billed as ‘pure awesomeness’ alongside his role of fill in guitar, I don’t think any other band I’ve encountered has made that claim of one of their members! Back To Reality is the follow up to last years Start The Game mini album and their latest offering picks up exactly where their last release left off.
From the opening number CDL Class B, it’s clear that Skittish Itz don’t take themselves too seriously, they play an infectious brand of pop punk which has a strong ska influence, this skanking beat blends in seamlessly with the cartoonish punk style and adds to the upbeat tone of the album. Numbers such as Midlife Crisis Man and Hungry Hungry Hipsters, which is one of my favourite song titles of 2016, are light hearted and entertaining without veering too far into the comedy end of punk to mark them out as a novelty act. Underneath the light hearted approach and comedic lyrical content there is some grit and substance to their music.
This album will appeal immensely to fans of the likes of Goldfinger and Reel Big Fish and their sound is pitched somewhere between the two bands output, that pretty much tells you everything you need to know. Back To Reality is eleven tracks of light hearted punk rock that is done with style, it combines punk rock attitude, frantic skanking guitar riffs and anthemic choruses that together make a highly enjoyable album. Back To Reality might not be an original take on punk rock, but it is one that’s fun and bouncy enough to keep you happy throughout the twenty four minutes that the eleven tracks are done and dusted in
You can order Back To Reality here
The Hidden Home Records web presence can be found here