Junior Battles – I Think It Was Called ‘The Bus That Couldn’t Slow Down

Junior BattlesOntario pop-punk band Junior Battles has premiered a new song.  The track is titled “I Think It Was Called ‘The Bus That Couldn’t Slow Down” and appears as part of Paper + Plastick Records‘ The Sound Of The Skulls series.

Listen here courtesy Exclaim.

Paper + Plastick Release FREE Spring 2015 Sampler

Paper + Plastick RecordsPaper + Plastick Records has announced released a new Spring 2015 label sampler.  The compilation, available as a free download from the label’s webstore, contains tracks from DwayneBrutal YouthJunior Battles and many more.

Download the compilation here.

Junior Battles Full Album Stream

Junior BattlesToronto-based pop-punk quartet Junior Battles has premiered an album stream of their brand new full length.  Their sophomore effort is titled Rally, which was released yesterday on digital and CD formats via Paper + Plastick Records.  The album follows their 2011 debut LP, Idle Ages

Listen to the full album below.  Pre-order details can be found on the Paper + Plastick Webstore.

Be sure to check out our full review of the disc here.

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Junior Battles - Rally

Junior Battles


Paper + Plastick Records

Rating: 4/5




Canadian pop-punk quartet Junior Battles has been growing their catchy brand of lyrically sensitive anthems since first inking a deal south of the border with Paper + Plastick Records.  Targeted at a stubborn but aging demographic of late twenty-somethings that refuse to give up on their adolescent aspirations, the Toronto-based band offers fans another chance to hang on to their dreams in their sophomore effort, Rally.  Expanding upon their debut, Rally signifies a band refining their musical repertoire and branching out from their comfort zone with encouraging results. 

“You will score the winning goal, cause you are very good at sports, you’ve got several awards that recognize you as being the best in your town in 2003” chant co-vocalists Sam Sutherland and Aaron Zorgel as they describe the thoughts of those struggling to redefine themselves a decade after high school.  Aided only by distant and drawn guitar reverb, the band eases into the first fifty seconds with steady growing handclaps accompanied by anthemic delusions of grandeur.  It’s a somber statement and captivating departure unlike anything Junior Battles has attempted.  Then “Rafts” follows with a heavy bass and maturely layered notes that jolt listeners out of Rally’s initial daydream and plant them squarely back in reality.  Even just the phrase, “they say that the worst is yet to come,” contrasts with the album’s initially blind optimism. 

After setting the tone Junior Battles expands their reach, emerging every bit more adventurous in the process.  “Three Whole Years” ups the tempo while twisting slightly less than conventional chords between verses.  “Believe It Or Not, George Isn’t At Home” celebrates life’s underachieving years in an uplifting melody and assertive gang vocals.  “All the things you said you’d do but never did, all the dreams you had when you were just a kid… but I don’t even try anymore,” shouts Sutherland gleefully, capturing the blissful essence of a downward spiral.  Meanwhile, “Assholes & Rollerblades” takes a rapid-fire, nasally pop-punk approach in the vein of Green Day or Ataris with some added late-track finesse (in the form of indie-esque vocal “oooos” that sweep the song into the minute long acoustic instrumental, “27th Floor!”).  Thanks to Junior Battles’ innovative methodology, the songs seldom stick to any one formula.

Sutherland and Zorgel’s vocal chemistry also deserves a shout out.  The way Sutherland and Zorgel trade lines and words will inevitably encourage comparisons to Mark Hoppus and Tom Delonge’s synergy in Blink 182.  Their collective comfort feels high, as neither seems terribly concerned about fading into the other’s shadow.  A quick survey reveals how vocal highlights in “TPS Report” and “Every Town” take advantage of Sutherland and Zorgal’s respective high and low pitches reinforce each track’s emotional evolution.

But just when the disc seems to hit its peak, the band ends on a brilliant two-part note.  The first, “Architecture II: Future Music for the Children of the Future,” serves as the spiritual successor to Idle Ages’ memorable gang-led interlude of a similar title.  This time around Junior Battles has penned a lyrically ambitious anecdote to bring the whole outing full circle.  Speaking in a coarse whisper amidst a slowly dissipating instrumental void, the band revisits the concept of lost years in the passage “planned a life till 23, sleep a week and wake up 28.”  Paired with the powerful realization that “every decision you’ve ever made is haunting you because it got you to this place,” a track later the album’s disillusioned protagonist concedes that, “I don’t feel invincible anymore.”  Finally, “(You Are Very Good At) Sports” bookends the album by revisiting the blissful opening chorus, reinforcing the willpower required to “rally” one’s life by looking in the mirror and accepting the long road ahead. 

Clocking in at a mere twenty-six minutes, Junior Battles drives home a clear and concise message.  Rally’s overarching themes unravel in rewarding chunks that leave just enough open to interpretation to challenge listeners’ intelligence.  For a sophomore performance, Junior Battles has come leaps and bounds since their already impressive Paper + Plastick Records debut.  While it might be tempting to ponder what follow-up course Junior Battles will cook up next, it is perhaps more important to savor this truly deserving dish.

Video: Junior Battles – Bunk

Junior BattlesToronto-based pop-punk quartet Junior Battles has debuted a brand new music video.  The video features the song “Bunk” from their upcoming sophomore album, Rally, which is due out on May 27, 2014 on digital and CD formats via Paper + Plastick Records.  The album will follow their 2011 debut LP, Idle Ages

Watch the full video below.  Pre-order details can be found on the Paper + Plastick Webstore.

Video: Junior Battles – Rafts

Junior BattlesToronto-based pop-punk quartet Junior Battles has debuted a brand new music video.  The video features the song “Rafts” from their upcoming sophomore album, Rally, which is due out on May 27, 2014 on digital and CD formats via Paper + Plastick Records.  The album will follow their 2011 debut LP, Idle Ages

Watch the full video below.  Pre-order details can be found on the Paper + Plastick Webstore.

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Junior Battles Announce Sophomore Full Length

Junior BattlesToronto-based pop-punk quartet Junior Battles has announced details for their sophomore full length.  The album will be titled, Rally and is due out on May 27, 2014 on digital and CD formats via Paper + Plastick Records.  The album will follow their 2011 debut LP, Idle Ages

The first song from the album is title d”Rafts” and can be streamed here.  Pre-order details can be found on the Paper + Plastick Webstore.

Tours: The Flatliners / Junior Battles / Direct Hit!

The FlatlinersThe Flatliners are heading on tour with support from Junior Battles And Direct Hit!.  The band continues to support their fourth full length album, Dead Language, which was released last year on New Damage Records in Canada and Fat Wreck Chords in the US.

Full tour listings are below.

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Junior Battles - Seven Inch

Junior Battles

Self Titled

Four Square Records

Rating: 4/5




Junior Battles were a band that I had heard about occasionally. I knew they were doing a split with O Pioneers! and Chris Creswell from The Flatliners seemed to constantly be name dropping them; but I never actually had any idea who they were (the fact that they were named 100 Bands You Need To know by Alternative Press did little to change that for me). Then, a few months ago, I went down to California for the Warped Tour and one of the people I ended up travelling with was Sam Sutherland who turned out to be the singer and guitarist of Junior Battles.

To be a nice a guy, I decided to check out my new buddy’s band with secret hopes of being able to be a sarcastic ass and completely rip it apart and say how utterly horrible it was. Sadly I can’t do that becauseJunior Battles’ self-titled seven inch (or free download) is actually quite awesome.

This is the pop-punk that I love. It’s catchy and bouncy but with enough of an oomph behind it that could start a circle pit and not just a pogo stick jump-along.  When I first heard it, I scribbled down a note that said “Marathon meets Allister, NJ Pop-punk” and nothing could sum it up better. It’s melodic punk with some intricate guitar work supported by a solid bass rhythm and the occasional gang vocal part too. The dual vocalists serves as a change of scenery, pushing the choruses even further into your memory banks and, in Major Label Bidding War, creates one of the more memorable sing-along choruses in a while.

Simply put, Junior Battles re-kindles the sixteen year old pop-punk fan within me. The songs are energetic and fun, with a sarcastic and cynical comedic edge to the lyrics that I adore. Like Major Label Bidding War – a tongue in cheek description of the music industry – or the Back To The Future hat tip in Roads? Where We’re Going We Definitely Need Roads  that is actually another punk rock ode to touring in crappy vans and making friends all along the ways; it all just works.

This is a pop-punk record that touches on all spectrums of the pop-punk sound. From the darker Jawbreaker ambiance, to the old school Blink-182 melodies and the No Idea Records overall sensation,Junior Battles is a nearly perfect pop-punk EP. Yes, there’s an odd moment where the vocals are a tad too nasally (sorry Sam!) but quite frankly, I can’t wait to sing along to every word with them when I see them at The Fest this year.

It looks like Chris Cresswell was right to name drop them so often.

Junior Battles - Idle Ages

Junior Battles

Idle Ages

Paper + Plastick Records

Rating: 3.5/5




I was astounded to hear that Paper & Plastick had picked up mediocre Canadian pop punk band Junior Battles. Their amazing track record had not prepared me for such a blatantly terrible move. These guys made Simple Plan look like Madball, recycling clichés and predictable music on their first two releases. There are so many amazing underground Canadian bands that deserve State-side recognition and these guys had not shown any reason why they should be included on that list.

After listening to Idle Ages through the first time, I felt ashamed to have written the band off during their awkward pubescent stage of development. This is a decent album that proves that the band do in fact deserve much of the praise that has been sent their way recently. If their previous work was full of growing pains, this release shows a band struggling to find an identity and where they fit into the world.

While the album is firmly rooted in pop punk, they move all over the genre, drawing comparisons to a multitude of bands, from Fall Out Boy to Jawbreaker. The amazing guests on the album prove that these guys are doing something right. Franz Nicolay from the Hold Steady and Matt Kurz from Bomb the Music Industry! make appearances, as well as Fucked Up’s Damian Abraham’s growl and a saxophone on the most punk rock song on the album, “Ever Get the Feeling You’ve Been Cheated?”

Lyrically the album falls into the disillusionment of the 20s theme, much like their peers in the Wonder Years. This helps to set it apart from the bratty teen early Blink 182 style of pop punk that has become increasingly irrelevant to most people in recent years. The combo of the album opener 17 and follow up song 25, sets the mood for the album early on. It starts off with a softcore lament on being a teen before moving into the dark melodic punk follow-up that deals with depression and confusion.

The album avoids coming across as a whine fest by using variety to its advantage. “Birthday Parties” is a moody emo influenced song that is reminiscent of Kids in the Way, while “Living in the Future” could be Social Code’s “Whisper to a Scream” part 2. These bands may be relatively unknown, but Junior Battles touch on all manner of sounds throughout the album. They channel the Ataris on the acoustic interlude “Architecture” which could have been longer. On the other hand, “Passing Out” suffers from too much unnecessary content and could have been trimmed to half its’ length.

Overall, this album is a solid release and another notch in the Paper & Plastick success story. The album is definitely worth a listen. It will not win over those who hate the genre, nor will it please fans who swear that Dude Ranch and Dookie are the greatest albums ever released. But it has a simple charm that makes it awful hard to hate.

Junior Battles Debuts New EP

Junior BattlesJunior Battles has released a surprise EP in preparation for their appearance at FEST 11.  The release comes in the form of a two-song EP entitled Wow, That’s Really Cool!, and can be purchased digitally via Paper + Plastick Records.

Each of the songs from the EP can be streamed here and here.

Junior Battles Posts Free Album Download

Junior BattlesFor a limited time only, Toronto’s Junior Battles are giving away their 2011 critically acclaimed full-length Idle Ages for free download in the Paper + Plastick Records webstore. The free download will be available for only one more day and comes in anticipation of the band’s September tour dates supporting Less Than Jake with A Wilhelm Scream. 

The free download is here while the dates are below.

The band will be heading into the studio this Thursday, for the first time since releasing Idle Ages. They will be recording two new songs for a tape they will have on tour with them for The Fest this October in Gainesville, Fla. The two songs also may be featured on the next Junior Battles full-length as well.

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Tours: Less Than Jake / A Wilhelm Scream / Junior Battles

Less Than JakeLess Than Jake has announced a collection of tour dates between Riot Fest Toronto and Riot Fest Dallas, with Riot Fest Chicago included in the middle. The tour includes support from A Wilhelm Scream and Junior Battles, and is part of the band’s 20th Anniversary Tour.

Tour dates can be found below.


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Video: Junior Battles – “Architecture,” “With Honours” and “Living In the Future of Feelings”

Junior BattlesToronto’s pop-punk superstars Junior Battles has released a short film-style music video for three songs from its recent debut full-length, Idle Ages. The songs “Architecture,” “With Honours” and “Living In the Future of Feelings” play out in order on the record, and the 6-and-a-half-minute music video sees these songs playing out in backwards sequence. 

The video was directed by Chris Nash of Gasfire Films and takes place in Nash’s hometown of Sault Ste. Marie, which provides an chilling, wintry backdrop for the symobolic video. Nash says a lot of the video was built around concepts from his own adolescence, a fitting theme for the project considering a chunk of Idle Ages‘ lyricism is centered around the battle between staying young and growing up.

The short film is the first music video Junior Battles has released from Idle Ages, which dropped in June 2011 via Paper + Plastick Records. 

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Paper + Plastick Offering Limited Edition Junior Battles Vinyl

Junior BattlesPaper + Plastick Records has added a limited edition vinyl edition Junior Battles their recent full Idle Ages, to their webstore.  The online sales will be limited in number to 25 copies, with the remainder available at live shows.

Details can be found here.

Limited Time Pay-What-You-Want Download From Junior Battles

Junior BattlesFor a limited time only, Junior Battles are offering their new album – Idles Ages – as a pay-what-you-want download from Bandcamp.

The record was released today through Paper + Plastick Records and follows their free self titled EP, which we covered last year in our free music blog.

The pay-what-you-want download will only be available this week.

Exclusive: Junior Battles – Living In The Future Of Feelings / No Plan

Junior BattlesToronto’s Junior Battles may very well be one of the best pop-punk bands around today. Unafraid to be who they are, the foursome hearken back to the glory days of pop-punk and bring out the inner-sixteen year old in all of us.

After releasing a spectacular four song EP last year (which is still available as a free download right here), the band are poised to take their pop-punk domination a step further with their Paper + Plastick Records debut album, Idle Ages. The album will be available next Tuesday, June 28th but will also be up for pre-order this Friday which will come with an automatic download of the album.

However, we don’t want you to have to wait that long to hear some of their songs. So, without further ado, we’re pleased to present you with a brand new song from Junior Battles exclusively on Living In The Future Of Feelings / No Plan. Just sit back, relax, press play and get pumped.

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Junior Battles: Birthday Parties vs Punkroutine

Junior BattlesToronto’s Junior Battles have teamed up with Absolute Punk to stream the second track from their debut Paper + Plastick album, Idle Ages, which is due out June 28th.

The track, “Birthday Parties vs. Punkroutine,” can be heard here.


Junior Battles Signs with Paper + Plastick, Posts First Song

Junior BattlesToronto’s Junior Battles has signed with Paper + Plastick. They will release their debut full length, Idle Ages, on June 28th on vinyl, CD and digital formats. Paper + Plastick founder Vinnie Fiorello explained the reasoning for the signing saying:

“I started to like Junior Battles because of the 90s melodic, pop-punk influence; but if that was the hook that got me on board to start with, then the new songs have me becoming a true fan of the band. The 90’s pop-punk blasts are still there, but on the new record the band adds in musical twists and turns, sudden stops and starts, and melody mixed with gruff vocals. The band mixes layers of influence under a nice candy coating of pop punk nostalgia without ever being a throwback.”

Idle Ages features guest appearances from ex-Hold Steady member Franz Nicolay (piano, organ, banjo), Bomb The Music Industry’s Matt Keegan (trombone), and hardcore vocals from fellow Canuck Damian Abraham of F*cked Up. They have posted the first single, Seventeen, online for streaming. It can be heard below.

Information regarding a pre-sale and a US tour will be announced shortly.

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Junior Battles Finish New Album

Junior BattlesToronto’s pop-punk quartet Junior Battles have finished recording the follow-up to their self-titled EP; and it appears that they’ll be some interesting guest vocals on the album. They said:

Officially done recording as of tonight. Had Damian from Fucked Up come in and bark over some tunes. It ruled. And made our actual vocals sound unfathomably wimpy. Expect to hear it… some time.

Their self-titled EP can still be downloaded for free from

Garageland Picked Up By Aux TV

GaragelandExclaim!’s punk-themed interview/performance show, Grageland has been picked up by AUX TV in Canada. The show is hosted by our good friend Sam Sutherland of Junior Battles and has featured interviews with a number of bands, including Strike Anywhere, The Gaslioght Anthem, Bouncing Souls, Joey Cape, Tony Sly, Fucked Up, Living With Lions, Tim Barry, Comeback Kid, Weakerthans, Planet Smashers, A Wilhelm Scream, Off With Their Heads  and many, many more.

The television version of the show will debut on February 9 at 7:30 EST.  The trailer can be seen below while old episodes can be seen here.

In addition, there will be a launch party on February 11 at the Bovine in Toronto (542 Queen St. W) featuring Statues, the Decay, and Victim Party. Doors at 9:00pm EST, $5.

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Video: Junior Battles – Hotel Bibles (Pink Couch Sessions)

Toronto’s Junior Battles are the latest band to stop by‘s apartment to play a song on their Pink Couch Sessions.

They performed the title track from last year’s EP, Hotel Bibles. The video can be seen below.

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Video: Junior Battles – Basements

Pop punk group Junior Battles has released a new video for the track “Basement.”  The song comes from the band’s self titled 7″, released earlier this year as a free download over on ifyoumakeit.

Watch the video below.

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Juicebox Offers Free Covers Compilation

Free/donation based music label Juicebox Recordings Co. has announced the release of their first covers compilation, Our Favourite Songs.  Label pioneer Aaron Zorgel (also of Junior Battles fame) weighs in:

“Given that many of us spent our youth listening to punk and its associated sub-genres, we seem to be hitting an interesting stage where a lot of bands today are formed on feelings of nostalgia. More and more bands are described as “______ worship” or “throwback (genre)” or whatever. And even for bands who are trying to respectfully transcend their influences, I think it’s pretty interesting to hear them talk about their favourite bands / records. So in the spirit of giving away more free music via the Internetz, I thought it’d be cool to coax a bunch of Juicebox Recording Co. buddy bands into recording something for a cover song compilation. What we have in the end is a super fun, and telling collection of influences. And as if it wasn’t obvious / indulgent enough, the liner notes come with a blurb directly from each band, detailing why they chose to cover the song they did. It was really fun to make and pull together, and hopefully that translates. Also, let the record show that I wanted to call this compilation Pop-Punk Boner Origins but Sam wouldn’t let me.”

Notable bands include Junior Battles, The Decay, Wayfarer, The Roman Line, and Dig It Up and cover material ranges from Blink 182, to The Misfits, Brand New, and Green Day to name a few.  A full track listing and donation details can be found below, with the album available for download here.

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Junior Battles – Self Titled

Here’s a short little EP filled with poppy hooks, soaring melodies, and overall fun and good times.  The disc is Junior Battles’ self titled debut.  It’s only four tracks long, but has the potential to be played again and again without losing any of its initial draw.  It’s another ifyoumakeit freebie, so feel free to drop a donation if it’s to your liking.

Junior BattlesSelf Titled

Download the album from ifyoumakeit

Free Download from Junior Battles / O Pioneers!

Kiss of Death RecordsKiss of Death Records has released a free download of the new Junior Battles/ O Pioneers! split seven inch record  The album can be downloaded here.

Both bands released a new song on the split, with O Pioneers! releasing That’s My Blood (which can be streamed their MySpace page) and Junior Battles releasing Passing Out; which is also on their MySpace.

Tours: Junior Battles/O Pioneers!!!

Toronto punk band Junior Battles will join Houston’s O Pioneers!!! for two weeks’ worth of shows throughout the U.S. and Canada (May 06 – 22).

The quartet is touring support of its latest Self-Titled 7″ release on Square Up Records, as well as an upcoming split 7″ between the two touring bands via Kiss Of Death. And as if playing shows and releasing records together wasn’t incestuous enough, for the duration of the tour, 3/4 of Junior Battles will provide their considerable talents as the backing band for O Pioneer’s front man, Eric Solomon.

Details of the split release are still forthcoming, but the Self-Titled 7″can be procured from Square Up here.
Limited to a pressing of 500, the record is available on green / white (150) and grey marble (350) colorways.

Check out tour dates below.

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O Pioneers! Lineup Change, Split 7 Inch and Tour

O Pioneers!Houston, TX’s O Pioneers! have announced yet another lineup change as they take Toronto’s Junior Battles as vocalist/guitarist Eric Solomon’s backing band. The two bands will release a split seven inch on Kiss of Death Records that was recorded in Toronto last month. Both bands will give new tracks to the split.

You can head over to O Pioneers!’ MySpace page to check out “That’s My Blood” and to Junior Battles’ MySpace page to hear “Passing Out.”

This pairing marks the eighth line-up change for O Pioneers! in half as many years, as half a dozen rhythm sections have done time alongside band mainstay Eric Solomon. Solomon elaborated:

“In December, we did our big month-long tour. Everything was awesome; all the shows were great, we weren’t struggling on the road, and then we got into a sweet van accident that totaled our van. So after dealing with all of that, getting everyone and everything home safely, I was stuck with myself in Houston and band mates in Indiana, with no economical way to get back and forth between the two. So at this point, I was looking to call it quits on this band. The dudes in Indiana didn’t really want to come down anymore, so I just said, “Fuck it. We’ll do Harvest of Hope, and that’ll be the last show. We’ll be surrounded by friends and family, and we’ll go out on a high note.”

When I started to break the news to said friends and family, people got bummed. Which kinda took me by surprise, because if you know me, I don’t think anyone likes my shitty band. I started talking with Sam from Junior Battles and Bryon from Kiss Of Death, and they basically persuaded me to not stop doing this band, with the promise of hugs and kisses. So I agreed, and kinda became the guy who has a back up band. Pioneers! played a couple of shows around Harvest of Hope with New Bruises filling in, and shit was epic. It was so fun, it made me excited to play music again. A week later, I flew up to Toronto to write and record the O Pioneers!/Junior Battles split 7″, and although I was only in town for 5 days and we only had 10 hours to practice, we wrote three of the best songs this band (with any members) has ever produced. Also, setting up a tour with these fine gentlemen to and from Rad Fest was a no-brainer. So although Pioneers! is really, really different now, I’m really excited for what the future has to offer for once.”

O Pioneers! and Junior Battles will be touring together in May on their way to Wilmington, NC’s Rad Fest. Dates are listed below.

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