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Dodgeball Records Release Benefit Compilation For Santa Rosa

For Santa RosaDodgeball Records have released the charity compilation, For Santa Rosa, to aid the victims of the fires in Santa Rosa, CA, the compilation is now available via Bandcamp and all money raised will go to benefit the community of Santa Rosa, CA. The album features forty familiar, new, live, acoustic and rare tracks from bands such as 88 Fingers Louie, The Dopamines, Smoking Popes, Direct Hit!, Avenues, Showoff, Off With Their Heads, Horace Pinker, Decent Criminal, Sciatic Nerve, Odd Robot, Turnspit, Dan Vapid And The Cheats, Western Settings, AM Taxi, The Dollyrots, Off With Their Heads, Amuse and many more.

For Santa Rosa can be purchased for $5 via Bandcamp here

Off With Their Heads To Play Benefit Concert

Off With Their HeadsMinneapolis punk band Off With Their Heads have announced that they will be playing a benefit show for The Standing Rock Indian Reservation.  The show will take place on December 14, 2016 at The Vault with Masked Intruder, Bridge Under Fire and Hope Is.  The band comments:

“Off With Their Heads and Masked Intruder are teaming up to raise a little money for Standing Rock last night. Even though the pipeline construction has been halted, that doesn’t mean it’s the last of it. Don’t forget that Trump owns stock in the oil company and doesn’t seem to give a fuck about anyone but himself and twitter. I want to do out tiny little part to make sure Standing Rock is prepared for what comes next. Syracuse (Liverpool) NY, come and help out!”

The band continues to support their recent acoustic record, “Won’t Be Missed,” which was released on October 25, 2016 via Anxious & Angry.

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The Bouncing Souls Announce American Fall Tour Dates

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

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

The Punk Site review of Simplicity is here Read More…

Live Concert Review

Good Riddance / Off With Their Heads / Fire Next Time

Live In Vancouver (10/17/15)

The Rickshaw Theatre - Vancouver, BC
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As much as I’m loathe to admit it – I’m old enough now that nostalgia plays a roll in my concert going activities. I still see new bands, but there’s a certain charm from seeing an old favourite live and that’s what happened at the Rickshaw Theatre Saturday night.

First was Fire Next Time – for most, an unknown entity; but for me, nothing will ever be more nostalgic than Fire Next Time and Audio/Rocketry. Those two Edmonton bands defined my Edmonton local punk youth as I watched them play week after week in small venues with sweaty friends.

Now I’m lucky if I see them once a year but when I do, it’s a blessing.

With a new record out on Stomp Records, the folk-punk band is picking up their game, touring more and garnering more fans – and, rightfully so. Fronted by the rough and road weary James Renton – who’s vocals could easily be compared to an amalgamation of Tim Barry and Ben Nichols with an angsty scream – Fire Next Time regaled the theatre with songs about my old hometown. While it would’ve been nice to hear River City Blues one more time, singing along with Red Lion Rampant and Rosewood Jesus just felt right.

Following them was Minnesota’s gruff punks Off With Their Heads who are, sadly, sometimes hit and miss live. Luckily for those in attendance, Ryan Young and company were in top form – barrelling through a non-stop set of self-deprecating, angsty, angry punk. Young only stopped once to condemn beer being thrown at him and otherwise kept his head down low and blasted through their bass-heavy tunes. Staring with I Hope You Know the band played through The Eyes of Death, Start Walking, Nightlife, Focus On your Own Family, Altar Boy (which they dedicated to all those who hate organized religion), Janie and Don’t Make Me Go.

The set was cathartic; a reprieve for any pent up anger as people crowded to the front to sing along to a band that will surely go down in the annals of punk history. Therefore it makes sense that Good Riddance – a band that is already in the punk history books – ended the night.

Having not toured through Vancouver since around 2003 (partly because they broke up between 2007 and 2012), Good Riddance fans were salivating at the prospect of a nostalgic kick and that’s what they got: A pure, unaltered, punk rock show.

Russ Rankin sounded spot on, spitting screaming vocals overtop Luke Pabich’s crunching guitar and Chuck Platt’s pulsating bass lines. Platt’s vocals were shot thanks to a bad sound set up the night before and you could hear it in his harmonies; a tad disappointing, but then again, punk was never about perfect harmonies.

So fists were thrust into the air. Beers were drunk. Circles were created and ran; and punk fans lost themselves in the moment. Whether it was Grace and Virtue or Mother Superior or even Weight of The World, the crowd enthusiastically sang back with Good Riddance.

Always marginally political, the band continually encouraged the crowd to vote in the upcoming election and seemed genuinely excited about the outcome.

Whether you voted or not, it was a shot of nostalgia for fans who waited a dozen years to see the band live again.

It still just blows my mind that I’ve been seeing shows for twelve years. I am old, but damn it still feels good.

Tours: Good Riddance / Off With Their Heads / Iron Chic / Western Addiction / Fire Next Time

Good RiddanceGood Riddance has announce plans to tour North America with Off With Their Heads, Iron Chic, Western Addiction and Fire Next TimeGood Riddance continues to support ttheir latest full length, Peace In Our Time, available now on Fat Wreck Chords.

Full tour listings are below.

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Tours: Off With Their Heads / PEARS

Off With Their HeadsPunk band Off With Their Heads has announced a quick listing for upcoming tour dates in March with PEARS.  Off With Their Heads’ continues to support 2013’s Home (Epitaph Records) and PEARS continue to support their recent debut , Go To Prison.

Tour dates can be found below.

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The Menzingers / Off With Their Heads Winter Tour

The Menzingers Off With Their HeadsEpitaph Records label mates The Menzingers and Off With Their Heads are currently on tour across the US with the latter heading to Australia for a series of dates with The Smith Street Band before heading to Europe for several festival shows. 

Full dates can be found below:

Read More…

Tours: Off With Their Heads / The Flatliners / Sights & Sounds

Off With Their HeadsOff With Their Heads, The Flatliners and Sights & Sounds will be heading on tour in eastern Canada.

Tour dates can be found below.

Read More…

Live Concert Review

Less Than Jake, Supervillains, Off With Their Heads, Dopamines

Live (Feb. 3rd, 2011)

Bottom Lounge - Chicago, IL
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In the midst of the 2011 Chicago snowpocalypse, despite unplowed roads and snowed in vehicles, Less than Jake still made the trek to the Bottom Lounge in Chicago, IL on Thursday, February 3 in support of the re-release of classic Less than Jake, and essential ska albums, 1996’s Losing Streak and 1998’sHello Rockview (set to be released March 1, 2011).

Cincinnati, OH’s The Dopamines, who received a lot of buzz the past year over their June 2010 release of Expect the Worst on Paper+Plastick ,kicked off the evening with some catchy pop-punk. The venue was filled with maybe 100 people when their set started at 6:30, but songs like “Public Domain” had plenty of concertgoers bopping their heads and singing. The three piece is sometimes joined by Mikey Erg on the stage, but this evening they were accompanied by Less Than Jake bassist and vocalist, Roger Manganelli on guitar. They powered through their half hour set full of energy and ended with seeming approval from the crowd. 

Next was Off With Their Heads from Minneapolis, MN. By this time the venue was starting to fill up and about a fourth of the crowd was familiar with their songs. After playing “Drive” off the 2010 release In Desolation, singer Ryan Young explained, “This is fun, let’s get rowdy!” The crowd started to jump around to “Their Own Medicine,” and a small pit broke out. The two vocalists harmonized well, but Young’s singing did not seem as growly as the recorded material. As the set progressed, songs like “Trying to Breath,” “I Am You,” and “Fuck This, I’m Out” had the place looking more alive, and even the kids unfamiliar with the songs were starting to jump into the pit and dance along.

The Supervillains from Orlando, FL made the transition from punk to a reggae/ska sound. The crowd mellowed out for them, but by this time the venue was nearly full. The band was fronted by drummer/vocalist, Dominic Maresco, who also acted as the band smartass. Faster songs, similar to the style ofStreetlight Manifesto, had the once mellow crowd skanking and pushing. 

Before starting “Johnny Too Bad,” Maresco said, “This song is a sing along, and if you can’t sing along, you’re fucking stupid!” As Maresco judged the crowds response, he concluded “Some of you guys did good, but some of you are fucking stupid!” After playing “20 Excuses,” Maresco decided that the people in the back were not doing their part singing and dancing along and said, “You guys are a bunch of pussies! Is that where all your moms and dads are?” Overall, the crowd seemed unfamiliar with the Supervillians and stayed relatively tame. 

People young and old braved the snow to make it out for Less than Jake’s Hello Rockview and Losing Streak re-issue tour, and it was well worth it with the blow away set list. The crowd ranged from youngsters with “I heart ska” t-shirts to adult men dressed in head-to-toe in checkered print, even Dustin Diamond (Screech from Saved By the Bell) was there. 
Less than Jake started their set out with beloved songs like “Sugar in Your Gas Tank,” “Help Save the Youth of America from Exploding,” and “Look What Happened.” Even though the band has been around since 1992, they looked great and were more energetic than ever. The whole band was in good spirits, talking to the crowd and cracking jokes in-between songs, while the front half of the venue never stopped moving. Singer/guitarist Chris DeMakes determined that Chicago is full of “fucking resilient motherfuckers,” in reference to the packed room despite the snow. He joked that the people from their native state of Florida are a bunch of pussies when it comes to bad weather. 

The band stopped their set to pull three men from the crowd onto the stage to have a folicly challenged drinking contest. The prize, DeMakes said with a laugh, would be a copy of his solo cd that sold a few copies in Korea. The crowd laughed and DeMakes remarked, “If you call them bald again, I’ll fucking smack you, they’re folicly challenged!”

Less than Jake 
powered through more favorites such as “Great American Sharp Shooter,” “Dopeman,” and “Automatic.” The band pulled another fan onstage to scold her for texting during the show. When they asked who was so important that she needed to text them during the show and she responded a boy named Brian, the band replied, “Brian better have a ten inch cock and a big bank account, there’s no texting in rock and roll!”

After the texting queen dove into the crowd during “All My Best Friends are Metalheads,” more females started springing on stage to sing into the mic. As the girls jumped back off stage, they let themselves fall backwards into the front row of the crowd, opposed to catapulting across the room.  The guys started to get in on the action and show the girls how to get some air. 

A majority of the songs on the set list were from Hello Rockview and Losing Streak, but towards the end of the set, LTJ played some songs off their latest release, TV, which consists of covers of television theme songs. The played the theme to Anamanics and laughed about their relationship with Warner Brother Records Sire. They talked about more of their favorite cartoon shows, and poked fun at vocalist/bassist Roger Manganelli for watching Disney’s iCarly, to which he defended if your pants stay on during the show, its fine. They went onto play covers of Spongebob SquarepantsScooby Doo, and a song about Big Macs they said had McDonalds bought, would of blown “I’m lovin’ it” out of the water. 

Less than Jake ended their set with songs off 2003’s Anthem, hitting the crowd with confetti and wrapping up with “Plastic Cup Politics.” They came back to play an encore of “The Science of Selling Yourself Short” and “The Ghost of You and Me,” coming in at just over 20 songs. The crowd never stopped moving, people young and old were smiling, singing, and dancing along, the set list was unbeatable, and you could tell Less than Jake still have a great time being a band. Look forward to those re-releases March 1 on LTJ’s own Sleep It Off Records with expanded packaging, new artwork, and a live DVD.

Live Concert Review

Dropkick Murphys, Against Me!, Off With Their Heads

Live (Feb. 26th, 2011)

Congress Theater- Chicago, IL
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Plastic cups of Guinness are raised high in the air, if you are not wearing a green t-shirt, you are the minority my friend, the dude next to you has whiskey breath, and his wasted girlfriend is dancing like she’s Irish (for today at least); is it Saint Patrick’s Day? Not quite yet, but the Dropkick Murphys brought two nights of premature St. Patrick’s Day fun to unite the Irish, frat bros, punk rockers, and everyone else looking for a good time.

The Dropkick Murphys dropped into Chicago Saturday, February 26 and Sunday, 27 at the Congress Theater, a venue where the capacity is near 4,000 and a can (not a tallboy) of PBR will cost you 5 bucks a pop. That aside, the venue brings in a lot of great acts, including October’s Riot Fest. I was at the Sunday show which hosted Off With Their Heads, Against Me!, and The Murphys of course. The Saturday bill had the same line-up except Naked Raygun played instead of Against Me!.

Off With Our Heads (OWTH) did not give Chicago much time to miss them with just rolling through town with Less than Jake on February 3. Their 30-40 minute, almost 15 song set was a mix of tracks off In Desolation, From the Bottom, and 2 songs from Hospitals. The floor was packed and the front and center portion of the crowd embraced OWTH’s speedy return to town. Along with the decent sized pit that was in full force during songs like “Their Own Medicine,” “I Am You,” and “Terrorist Attack?,” there was plenty of fists pumping and scattered sing alongs amongst crowd members.

Singer/guitarist Ryan Young admitted that they’ve been playing the same songs for a while, and played “I Just Want You to Know” and “ZZYZX,” two songs they did not play last time in Chicago. Overall, the band energy was felt more in the music than their on-stage presence. OWTH did not move around stage too much, but killed the songs. They packed as much music into their set as possible, without stopping to make chit-chat. The mixed crowd of old dudes with their flap caps, bros in green, girlfriends clenching onto said bros, and the everyday punk rock t-shirt 20-somes clapped with seeming approval as “Clear the Air” ended and Young explained, “Thanks Motherfuckers!”

After a quick twenty minute set change, a banner adorning Against Me!’s (AM!) latest release, White Crosses dropped while Tom Gabel and the gang took the stage. AM! pounded into “Pints of Guinness Make You Strong,” a fitting track for the Murphys direct support to start with. After this pot of gold, I figured my luck would disappear and the band would trek into lesser enjoyed and listened to tracks, but I was pleasantly surprised with a blow away set list.

AM! played nearly half of As the Eternal Cowboy, a personal favorite, with tracks I haven’t heard live in years. Everyone in the band had big smiles on their faces, bassist Andrew Seward was running back and forth on-stage throughout the set, and they sounded great. Gabel looked reminiscent of Tim McIlrath during the Fat years with his flowing, curly, near shoulder length hair. Gabel’s voice sounded great, he was rocking through the instrumental parts, and every song was dead on.

The front portion of the floor went crazy for songs like “From Her Lips to God’s Ears (The Energizer),” “Rice and Bread,” and “Walking is Still Honest.” A good portion of the crowd was familiar with the set and if not pogoing up and down, at least singing along. Songs like “Thrash Unreal” and “I Was a Teenage Anarchist” had more of the nearly full venue dancing around as their whiskey shots started to take toll. AM! stole the show as they played the shit out of their music, never stopped moving, and the a never ending positive-vibe they displayed on-stage. You could tell they were happy to be there, having the best time ever and really would rather be in-front of these people playing their songs than anywhere else.

The Dropkick Murphys (DKM) are currently touring in support of their new album, Going Out in Style, released March 1, 2011. Going Out in Style is the band’s seventh full-length studio album and the follow-up to 2007’s The Meanest of Times. DKM blend punk rock, Celtic folk, and American rock ‘n roll to create a style of music that draws in everyone from frat boys to punk rockers to teenage girls. The near capacity venue was no exception this evening, packed with people of all ages and styles.

The band took the stage with the cover of Going Out in Style in the background, an elaborate, elevated set-up where a back-up strings section sat, and green and red lights throughout the performance. Lead vocalist Al Barr moved back and forth the stage dressed from head-to-toe in black with black converse. His energy was matched by his six band members playing everything from the bagpipes to the mandolin and accordion.

The venue is big enough that several pits broke-out, but nothing got too crazy in the crowd. The audience mostly jumped around while pumping their fists in the air, and the pits were small and tame. In previous years I’ve seen the Murphys, the fans have been insane with huge Irish flags in the air and vicious pits. The crowd did however break the barricade, and had to stop the set for a bit to temporarily set up a replacement.

The energy did not die amongst the band as they played an impressive approximately 25 song set list. They played many songs from Going out in Style, receiving a positive response from tracks like “Going Out in Style,” “Memorial Day,” and “Hang ‘Em High.” Along with the newbies, they played fan favorites “Citizen C.I.A.,” “Bar Room Hero,” and “Kiss Me, I’m Shitfaced.”

The Murphy’s wrapped up their second night in Chicago with a phenomenal bill of opening of acts, and enough raw emotion and energy packed performances to last concertgoers until next time Congress barricade needs a good breaking.

Live Concert Review

The Bouncing Souls, Youth Brigade, Saint Alvia, Off With Their Heads

Live (Oct. 2nd, 2009)

The Starlite Room - Edmonton, Alberta
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Drunken punks took over downtown Edmonton last night as the Bouncing Souls brought their 20th Anniversary tour through the Starlite Room and proved that after twenty years together, the new Jersey quartet still know how to put on a great punk show.

Up and comers Off With Their Heads kicked off the evening with their fast paced, Dillinger Four-esque pop-punk. Ryan Young was in a good mode as he joked with the crowd in between delivering his always depressing and pessimistic lyrics in songs like Until The Day I Die, Fuck This I’m Out, I Am You, Keep Falling Down and Terrorist Attack. While nothing extremely out of the ordinary, the Minneapolis act were as solid as ever and even threw in a fantastic cover of Joe Strummer‘s Silver and Gold for good measure; all of which made Off With Their Heads the perfect warm up band for the night that was to come.

Saint Alvia picked up where Off With Their Heads left off and put on an equally energizing set, although with a drastically different sound. With four vocalists alternating singing duties, an organ and equal mixes of punk rock, dance hall reggae, and soul, Saint Alvia continued to rile up the crowd as they played through Romeo, Blonde Kryptonite, Unspoken Bond and Time To Go; but it was punk veterans Youth Brigade that truly showed how chaotic a punk show can be.

Celebrating their twenty-fifth anniversary together, the Stern Brothers brought the punk rock style and energy of the eighties with them into the Starlite Room. Playing faster than you could believe, the punk icons had the old school fanatics out in force as they played classics like Believe In Something, Punk Rock Mom, and Violence. However, nothing could compare to their final song: Sink With Kalifornija. The archetype for punk rock sing-along’s, Sink With Kalifornija had everyone, well, singing along; and I mean everyone from the crowd to members of The Bouncing Souls and Off With Their Heads who all jumped at the chance to sing the anthem with the Stern Brothers. It was madness and energy confined to a small stage that cumulated with Shawn Stern playing his guitar with his microphone while being lifted up by a fan. It was an ending that most rock stars would kill for – and they were only the opening band.

By the time the Souls hit the stage a little past midnight the floor was full and ready to explode. Opening with True Believers, the crowd tore apart and never rested as the band sampled tracks from their entire career including as far back as I Like Your Mom and as recent as Gasoline and Airport Security. Throughout it all, the drunken fans sang along with nearly every word; pushing and shoving their way to the front. The occasional stage diver broke through the security, sang a few words and dove into the energetic mass of people below while the rest happily ran in circles and sung along to cuts like Hopeless Romantic, That Song, Private Radio, The Gold Song, Fight to LiveSomething To Believe, Kids and Heroes, Lean on Sheena, and the rousing closer of Gone.

Front man Greg Attonito continued to sing in his very unique, almost static, fashion which is always a comical sight to see. No other singer would be able to pull off a delivery like that, but the intensity and excitement of the crowd always makes up for it; although it would be nice to see him put some more energy into his delivery at times. Alas, it is what it is and twenty years in, nothing’s going to change now.

Oddly enough, the addition of a fifth touring member playing the organ worked as a detriment to the show rather than a benefit as the instrument came through the sound system with a high pitched tinge placed way too high in the mix, creating the cringe-worthy feeling of feedback. In fact, the sound was a slight problem the entire night as the vocals were often slightly harder to hear than necessary but a crowd full of energetic fans could really care less.

Tour: Off With Their Heads

Despite just finishing a tour with Alkaline Trio, Minneapolis punks Off With Their Heads are heading straight back on the Off With Their Headsroad in support of Home, the bands second full length. The album was released back in March on Epitaph Records and this tour has them mixing headline shows with support slots for English acoustic-punk favourite, Frank Turner.

Full tour dates below:

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Off With Their Heads - I WIll Follow

Off With Their Heads

I Will Follow

Pirate Press Records
By

Rating: 3.5/5

 
 

 

 

For Off With Their Heads, joining up with Epitaph Records earlier this year meant entering somewhat of a maturing process – at least in the sense of creating that succinct, defining body of work that fans can point to in justifying their high praise.  That album was In Desolation, and it really turned heads earlier this year.  But despite their current turn towards professionalism, the Minneapolis punk rock quartet hasn’t always been so coherent.

Just a glimpsing over their catalogue reveals a cumulative combination of upwards of twenty EPs, live albums, and splits – going in Epitaph must have known that tying the troupe down wasn’t realistic, because a couple of short months later, the band is at it again, this time releasing a shaped picture disc with Pirates Press Records.  The offering features one brand new song on the A-side, and a host of miscellaneous goodies nestled opposite.

The disc opens with the title track and undeniable star of the show, “I Will Follow You.”  Spinning two minutes of well-paced pop-punk with a razor sharp edge, the track could easily fit alongside Off With Your Head’s Insubordination Records days if it wasn’t for the obvious spill over of the In Desolation production quality.  The track ultimately feels lighthearted and optimistic as Ryan Young’s gravelly vocals leap and bound up and out as he spouts out the mindset of a freshly contented individual finally embracing life’s best moments (“Well I haven’t got much/almost nothing to offer to you/no money, education, or job just to name a few/but I finally feel right/found something worth putting up a fight”).  It’s a fantastic choice for a stand-alone track, as lifting the needle back to the initial groove becomes a natural impulse.

Over to the B-side and the band gets a little angrier by offering up a couple of mean covers followed by a live track from a few years back.  First off is the sub-minute and a half combo track “Drain/East Park River” (where one starts and the other ends isn’t entirely clear), two quick covers by the long dormant collaboration, Cleveland Bound Death Sentence.  Here the band slips in a little anger, but prevents anything from getting too heavy by drowning choruses in some solid woooaahs, and then concluding the final twenty-four seconds by really letting off some steam.  And then, as if to remind fans of the wealth of good times already had, the band plinks down a live version of their 2007 album opener (All Things Move Towards Their End), “Janie.”  It’s arguably cleaner than the original studio version, making a good case for the band drawing from their entire catalogue when taking the stage.

And let’s not forget the nature of the disc itself.  I mean, what could better embody the spirit of Off With Their Heads than a blistering dose of grainy pop-punk spinning in the shape of a flaming vintage pick-up truck?  Yea, that’s right, not much – not much at all.  Two sides, two moods, and one killer package make I Will Follow You a nifty – albeit somewhat obscure – little light hearted follow up to the band’s defining masterpiece.  Sure, at only one new track and under six minutes of run time it’s not an essential, but it’s still pretty darn cool.

Off With Their Heads - In Desolation

Off With Their Heads

In Desolation

Epitaph Records
By

Rating: 4/5

 
 

 

 

Off With Their Heads might be the best punk band going right now. Epitaph needs them; music needs them,”  so said Bad Religion guitarist and Epitaph head honcho Brett Gurewitz when he announced the signing of Minneapolis’ Off With Their Heads. With such high praise being thrown at them from one of the forefathers of punk while riding on the heels of their critically acclaimed 2008 albumFrom The BottomOff With Their Heads have a lot to live up to. Luckily, mere seconds into their Epitaph debut, In Desolation, the band is able to live up to those lofty expectations and prove that yes, they just might be the best punk band going right.

In Desolation is thirty four minutes of thundering, bass heavy punk anthems topped off with a gravelly vocalist wallowing in self pity. It merges together for a perfect call to arms for all the misfits, freaks and outcasts of the world as Ryan Young’s poetically miserable lyrics reach through the speakers and grab onto everyone in ear shot. The lyrics are blunt and direct, delivered with a no bull-shit attitude that is mirrored in the angst filled rhythm.

Yet, there is something starkly beautiful in Young’s words. There’s the call to arms sing along of Their Own Medicine (To everyone that’s been a victim / That’s something I understand / And if you’re looking for a reason / You got one in each hand / I’d love to see us take back what they took from us / Give them some of their own medicine) that sees Young effortlessly tear away the barrier between fan and band. On The Eyes of Death he pulls out a series of couplets that would make Edgar Allen Poe jealous with I’ve seen things that’ll make your eyes burn / I’ve seen the eyes of death through a loved one dying /  And once you’ve seen this you’re not the same / Taste what was once was good and turn it to pain.

Every song sees a man questioning his place in life, recalling past mistakes and failures while searching for an answer deep within. It’s the same thing The Gaslight Anthem does on American Slang – only without hiding behind all the New York imagery.

While the lyrics and vocal delivery are pretty much always the highlight, Off With Their Heads remain a complete band and continue to create some of the best beer-soaked pop-punk ever written. ThinkDillinger Four, think Jawbreaker, think The Briggs, think Alkaline Trio. This is dark and heavy pop-punk, polished just enough to give it a full sounding body. There’s not always a ton of variation, but it doesn’t need to be and when they do switch it up (see the piano-tinged ballad My Episodes or the sparse Clean The Air), it makes it that much more striking.

The best band in punk rock may be a bit lofty, but Off With Their Heads are definitely up there. Don’t let this one squeak by.

Off With Their Heads- Home

Off With Their Heads

Home

Epitaph Records
By

Rating: 4/5

 
 

 

 

In my humble opinion, there’s several punk musicians who will be talked about for years to come. They’re the musicians who may not be the biggest names in pop culture, but will be front and center when you flip through a punk history book a decade from now. They’ve created a musical legacy that will have reverberating implications for generations to come.

Ryan Young is one of those musicians.

As the sole consistent member of Off With Their Heads, Young has continually crafted albums worthy of praise and admiration. Gritty and gruff pop-punk from the heart of Minneapolis, Off With Their Heads have steadily grown with each release, providing a secure backdrop for pissed of anthems of self loathing and introspection. On Home, Young has pushed Off With Their Heads’ sonic landscape even further – adding more depth and maturity to the songs while remaining within their signature style.

At its core, Home is still an album of punk rock gems. It’s gritty, bass heavy, gravely and hoarse. A guttural Minneapolis punk explosion meant to be sung at the top of your lungs, with a beer in one hand and the other pumping in the air. The opening scowl of “There are no words to describe, the awful feeling I feel inside” sets the tone right away: this is the Off With Their Heads we’ve grown to love.

Yet, like any great musician, Young has imbued so much more with each passing riff. There’s no denying that Bill Stevenson’s guidance is evident here as you can feel his steady hand as the album plays through, but Young himself is also experimenting.

Throughout all their past releases, Off With Their Heads have been a venomous source of anger and introspection. Young has always vented his anger at the world – throwing up two middle fingers to everyone around him while also taking a self-loathing stab at himself. Lyrical couplets like “until the day I die, I fucking swear I’m gonna make your life as miserable as mine” have consistently remained highlights of my punk growth but there comes a point where anger like that just hits a ceiling.

For Home, Young remains angry but he’s starting to question why and sometimes finding answers. So while older songs like Janie (which receives a fantastic re-recording here) see him screaming “I fucking hate myself, I hate my friends./ I hate my job, I hate everything but you;” Home is somehow positive. Take Focus On Your Family where he growls “Fuck ’em all, don’t ever listen, don’t ever comply. / Never be scared, never be frightened, hold your head high./ It might seem like it’s all uphill and you may be right, But at the top of this hill, everything’s slick with a new light.”

There’s still anger, something that’s very much needed, yet there’s growth and understanding. All the songs are connected, with a common thread of finding answers within yourself and your home. Music is therapy and Home sees Young making a turning point.

Sonically, Off With Their Heads are pushing themselves here as well. As mentioned, Stevenson definitely has a hand here, but that’s only part of it. There are songs that come blistering through like old – Nightlife will soon become a classic as will Shirts and Stolen Away; but it’s also clear that Young is pushing forward. He’s stretching his vocal reach, singing instead of yelling. There’s more harmony and control, giving the album a wider breadth that allows them to experiment like they do on the sublime Don’t Make Me Go. A post-grunged power ballad, the song is the last thing you’d expect from Young and will stop you in your tracks, making it the most memorable number of the album.

Any Off With Their Heads fan will instantly fall for Home for all it’s classic qualities; but it’s only after several listens that all the true ingenuities of it will begin to sink in and prove to you that yes, Ryan Young will make the punk rock history books.

Off With Their Heads - From The Bottom

Off With Their Heads

From The Bottom

No Idea Records
By

Rating: 4/5

 
 

 

 

Have you ever listened to a record where every song is your favorite song? When you hear the first track and go “wow, this can’t get any better.” But then track two comes by and lo and behold it has. As each new song comes you say to yourself “man, this song rules, definitely the best on the record.” Suddenly the records over so you press play again; and just like before, each and every song sounds like the best song on the record when its playing. Each song excites you, grabs you and absorbs you’re entire attention. If you haven’t heard a record like that, or if – like me – it’s been way too long since you heard a record like that, then you need to hear Off With Their Heads‘ From the Bottom.

It’s a pop-punk record written for bearded drunks to sing-along to at The Fest. The songs are soaked in passion, beer and sweat which adds up for a midwest punk record of massive proportions. Imagine, if you can, vocals from The Briggs, bass lines from Jawbreaker, guitars from Dillinger Four, wild abandon like old Dropkick Murphys and throw in some Kid Dynamite too for good measure. Got it? That is, in a nutshell, Off With Their Heads; and yet there’s still so much more.

The band is able to merge insanely catchy hooks with some of the best bass lines I’ve heard in sometime (seriously, listen to the opening of Terrorist Attack? and try to tell me that the bass isn’t amazing), classic punk rock drum beats, massive choruses, woahs and gruff vocals. Theoretically, it is a sound that shouldn’t be stuck in your heads for hours but when Off With Their Heads does it, you’ll be humming it for days. It starts off with the fast paced I Am You and soon goes for a Briggs styled oi! song on Wrong before picking it back up again. Go On Git Now is a slower, mid-tempo track as is the closer I Hope You Know. Each track has a unique feel to it but is still cohesive enough to fit together without feeling out of place or uneven.

Of course, a review of From The Bottom can’t finish without commenting on the vocals and lyrics of the lead singer. Gruff and worn, the vocals are beer soaked delivered with a right amount of backup vocals to really cement the harmony in your mind. The question is, would you want to be singing the lyrics as you’re walking down the street? I doubt it, because if you were, you’d get some odd looks from any passerby who hears the self-loathing, deprecating and hopeless words. Lyrics like “I’m Always in pain and almost always in tears” or “Pull up a chair, I’ll tell you why I fucking hate my life and I’ll tell you why I can’t seem to get it right” and “There’s nothing left now, it’s all disappeared out of me, I shouldn’t wake up in the morning, I know I’m just going to repeat” are depressing, honest and sad. But just likeAttack In Black (although a drastically different style), Off With Their Heads still have a sense of hope hidden within the lyrics. While the first half is more depressing and anger (until the day I die, I fucking swear I’m gonna make your life as miserable as mine), the second half of the record feels almost regretful with a spark of hope. Whether it’s being too late to say goodbye (I Hope You Know), worrying for the safety of a family (For The Four) or just asking forgiveness (Ten Years Trouble), the songs are sincere, sad yet hopeful.

With each passing listen From The Bottom sounds better and better. If you haven’t heard it yet, you’re missing out. Get it now, before they blow up, then you can say you knew them way back when and get extra scene points. Everyone loves scene points right? Fuck it, just get it.

Videos: Off With Their Heads – Don’t Make Me Go

Off With Their HeadsMinneapolis’ punk rock main stays Off With Their Heads have released yet another video from their new album, Home.

The video, for the track “Don’t Make Me Go,” can be seen below.

Home was released back in March through Epitaph Records.

Video: Off With Their Heads – Start Walking

Off With Their HeadsMinneapolis’ punk rock main stays Off With Their Heads have released yet another video from their new album, Home.

The video, for the track Start Walking, was once again directed by Against Me!‘s Andrew Seward and can be seen below.

Home will be available March 12th through Epitaph Records.

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Video: Off With Their Heads – Seek Advice Elsewhere

Off with Their HeadsAs promised, Off With Their Heads have posted a new video for their song Seek Advice Elsewhere.

The video was directed by the band’s Ryan Young and Against Me!‘s Andrew Seward and can be seen here.

The track is the the ninth song on the band’s upcoming album, Home, which is set for release March 12 via Epitaph Records.

Video: Off With Their Heads – Nightlife

Off With Their HeadsMinneapolis’ Off With Their Heads have posted a new music video for their single Nightlife. The track coes from their new album, also called ‘Nightlife,’ which will be out March 12th through Epitaph Records.

The band has also promised that they will be releasing another new video on Tuesday, so look out for that.

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Off With Their Heads – Nightlife

Off With Their HeadsMinneapolis’ Off With Their Heads have released the first song from their highly anticipated new album, Home. The song, titled Nightlife, can be heard below.

Home will be available on March 12th through Epitaph Records and follow’s 2010’s In Desolation.

 

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Tours: The Isotopes

IsotopesVancouver’s The Isotopes, also known as “Baseball Punks,” will soon head out on their North American Destiny Tour scheduled for this fall 2012.

The Isotopes‘ dropped their Blood Diamond EP independently on May 11, 2012. Catch them on tour at the dates below!

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Tours: Off With Their Heads

Off With Their HeadsMinnesota’s Off With Their Heads has announced that they will be heading on tour after the summer.  The band continues to support their 2010 Epitaph Records full length, In Desolation, with the band currently working on their eventual followup.

Tour dates can be found below.

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Off With Their Heads In The Studio

Off With Their HeadsOff With Their Heads guitarist/singer Ryan Young has announced via twitter that the Epitaph Records punk act has been recording new material under the guidance of producer Bill Stevenson at the Blasting Room in Fort Collins, CO.  

The album will follow 2010’s In Desolation and their upcoming Anchorless Records split.

Off With Their Heads Reveal Timeline For Next Album

Off With Their HeadsOff With Their Heads have unofficially announced that they will be hitting the studio in the summer, after which they plan to tour extensively.  The band writes on Facebook:

“For realzies though, we will be back out on the road all over the US after this record is finished, which is now officially being recorded in July. I can’t tell you who is recording it yet, but I wouldn’t be lying if I said his name rhymes with “Swill Severson.”

As alluded to, the album will likely be produced by Bill Stevenson in his homebase, The Blasting Room.  The album will follow their previoud full length, In Desolation, released backin 2010 via Epitaph Records.

Tours: Off With Their Heads (Europe)

Off With Their HeadsOff With Their Heads has announced a quick European tour.  

The band is currently writing new material for their follow up to 2010’s In Desolation (Epitaph Records).

Tour dates can be found below.

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Off With Their Heads In The Studio With Special Guests

Off With Their HeadsIn the midst of recording new material, Off With Their Heads has given fans a video peak inside the studio.  Ryan Young of Off With Their Heads sat down to drum while a couple of notable guest musicians including Mike Watt of the Minutemen along with bassist Mike “Jimmy” Felix of Toys that Kill and URTC on Drums. The full clip can be watched below.

The band last released In Desolation last year through Epitaph Records.

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Off With Their Heads In The Studio

Off With Their HeadsAccording to a recent Facebook update, Off With Their Heads is currently working on new material:

“Finished recording a couple songs, and did some backups for a new Toys That Kill jam. Leaving for europe tomorrow.”

The band last released In Desolation last year through Epitaph Records.

New Photos: Off With Their Heads / Yellowcard / Swingin’ Utters

Swingin UttersToday is a big day for live photos as we have a trio of album from our Denver based photographer, Michael Fajardo. 

A wide range of photos, we begin with The Swingin’ Utters live at the Marquis Theatre on June 26th right here. Off With Their Heads played the same venue a few weeks later on July 26th; those pictures can be seen here.

Finally, we have some new pictures from Yellowcard live at the Summit Music Hale on June 15th. Check those out here.

New Photos: Off With Their Heads / Yellowcard / Swingin' Utters

Swingin UttersToday is a big day for live photos as we have a trio of album from our Denver based photographer, Michael Fajardo. 

A wide range of photos, we begin with The Swingin’ Utters live at the Marquis Theatre on June 26th right here. Off With Their Heads played the same venue a few weeks later on July 26th; those pictures can be seen here.

Finally, we have some new pictures from Yellowcard live at the Summit Music Hale on June 15th. Check those out here.

Dead To Me And The Swellers Schedule Video Chats

Dead To MeTwo notable new punk bands have been scheduled for live web chats with their fans over on Yowie.

The first is Michigan pop punk band The Swellers, who are scheduled for an appearance on Thursday June 30, 2011.  The band is currently supporting their latest release, Good For Me, released by Fueled By Ramen.

Secondly, Dead To Me will be chatting with fans a week later on Thursday July 7, 2011 along with tour mates Off With Their Heads and The Riverboat Gamblers.  The bands are currently touring in support of their upcoming three way split, due out this summer on Fat Wreck Chords.

The Swellers will be available here, and Dead To Me will be available here on their respective dates.