Direct Hit PEARS

Direct Hit! / PEARS

Human Movement Split

Fat Wreck Chords

Rating: 4/5




The split album is an interesting creature.  Dismissed by many as a place to dump lost b-sides, or a vehicle for reusing existing material, the split doesn’t exactly have a glowing reputation beyond being a cash in for collectors and die hard fans.  But Milwaukee pop-punker innovators Direct Hit! and rising UK hardcore punk powerhouse PEARS seem to be out to change that.  The two notable young bands come together to bring us Human Movement, a split composed of five new tracks and a cover each.  A closer look reveals that perhaps Human Movement best described as a collaborative project more than a compilation.  

Human Movement works so well because each band’s contributions feel as if strategically selected to complement the other.  This agenda first became clear when the bands released a joint music video featuring both “Blood on Your Tongue” and “Arduous Angel.”  The video serves as a well produced narrative, featuring moments of dialogue and story development that drive each band to consider one another’s strengths.  Considering that each band commands a distinct style, they each seem to take a step towards common ground. In the case of the aforementioned tracks, PEARS draws upon Direct Hit!’s melodic nature, making for one of the band’s catchiest tunes to date.  For a band known for their frayed angular presence, PEARS takes risks and infuses a little more structure.  But Human Movement is a two way street, with Direct Hit! diving deep into the pool of frenetic belted hardcore and refusing to come up for air on opener “You Got What You Asked For” and again on closer “Nothing.”  Direct Hit! has always had an edge, but this delivery just feels altogether rawer, and heavily inspired by PEARS presence.  Each band maintains their own distinct identity but isn’t shy to branch out in the context of the split.

Also of note, the bands offer original takes on one another’s tunes.  Direct Hit! covers PEARS’ heavy thrasher “You’re Boring,” infusing their melodic essence in the chorus, but otherwise remaining rough and ragged as per the original.  Meanwhile, PEARS offer a cover of “The World is Ending,” but if you notice melodies and verses lifted from “Buried Alive” and Masked Intruder’s “Heart-Shaped Guitar,” you would be correct – making “The World is Ending” more of a raw and energetic pop-punk mashup than a straight on cover.

There are more reasons to check out Human Movement than I have the time and space to cover in this review, but rest assured, PEARS and Direct Hit! have crafted something special.  The willingness to collaborate, play off one others’ strengths, and stretch beyond their comfort zones as musicians speaks to how much fun listeners stand to have tuning in to Human Movement.  If you’re weary of splits, then Human Movement is the disc that may just change your thinking.

Rise Against EU Tour 17

Rise Against / Sleeping With Sirens / PEARS

Apollo, Manchester, UK

2nd November 2016

Rating: 4/5




Rise Against Venue Nov 17Chicago’s Rise Against hit Manchester tonight on the second date of their current UK tour in support of their new album, Wolves, alongside the melodic hardcore legends is a diverse duo of support acts in the shape of Sleeping With Sirens and hardcore upstarts PEARS. The queue for Rise Against’s return to Manchester snakes round both sides of Manchester’s historic Apollo venue and I start to get worried that we’re not going to catch the opening set by PEARS, and as that’s one of the main reasons I’m here tonight this is a worrying state of affairs. 

Pears1(Best)We thankfully make it into the Apollo in the nick of time for PEARS, they immediately kick into a furious set of hardcore and you can see why they have developed a well deserved reputation for an impressive live show. PEARS deliver an intense  barrage that befits their growing status, and as far as I’m concerned they are one of the best live hardcore acts out there at the moment. When I last caught PEARS, at this years Rebellion Festival, they were impressive, but tonight they sound sharper and more focused and there’s a reason they captured the attention of so many since their formation. PEARS have opened tonight’s show with a short sharp set that’s sets the bar so high that I almost feel sorry for the band that has to follow them, almost.
Pears2PEARS‘ frontman, Zach Quinn, is inevitably bare chested by the end of the set and he cuts a perpetually manic and uninhibited figure during a set that spans their short but prolific career, including material from their freshly released split album with Direct Hit. It’s an intense and all too short twenty five minute set from the New Orleans quartet, aside from the brief easy listening intermissions that punctuate their set this has been an opening salvo that was delivered at full tilt throughout. Despite the early start to their set they play to steadily filling and appreciative crowd at the Manchester Apollo, and you get the impression that PEARS have made more than a few friends tonight.
Sleeping with Sirens (1)Next up is Sleeping With Sirens who are touring in support of their new album, Gossip, and were something of an unknown quantity to me prior to tonight. They play a set of slick post hardcore influenced alt rock that is delivered in an accomplished and crowd pleasing style, but for me their inclusion on this tour seems to be at odds with the two other bands on the bill and for me they came across as a slightly disappointing filling in an otherwise amazing sandwich, however the enthusiastic reaction from a sizable section of the crowd, and the borderline hysteria I encountered whilst queuing to get into the venue, suggests that I am in the minority on this one.
RA1(Colour)There’s a lengthy changeover before Rise Against take the stage, which gives the opportunity for a varied selection of punk tunes old and new, including everything from The Clash to Me First And The Gimme Gimme’s, to warm the crowd up for tonight’s headliners. The house lights eventually drop and the four minute warning sounds revealing two huge video screens displaying cartoon apocalyptic imagery that sets the tone for tonight’s show. The atmosphere builds until the screen then focuses in on it’s last remaining target, Manchester UK, and we’re off into a set that spans Rise Against‘s almost two decade long career.
RA3(HiCont)Rise Against have come a long way since their days with Fat Wreck Chords, major record deals have taken them into bigger concert halls and bought elaborate stage sets and immense lighting rigs, but the core of the band and their ideals remain the same, and before the first number is out they have the crowd in the palm of the hands. New material from their latest full length, Wolves, is dropped into the set and blends in perfectly. Dancing For Rain is appropriately dedicated to Manchester and the set is theatrically punctuated by short dark animated films that depict a dystopian future, the second of these is followed by a triumphant Collapse (Post-Amerika) that’s accompanied by images of resistance and police brutality.
RA4It’s been too long since Rise Against hit the UK and the crowds affection for them hasn’t dimmed in the years have that passed. An acoustic Swing Life Away gets a note perfect chorus from the Manchester crowd, a further heartfelt acoustic number, People Live Here, is dedicated to those who have the courage to fight for peace in the face of aggression. Hero Of War see’s the reappearance of the full band for the finale of the song, and for the remainder of the set Rise Against return to full flow. Tonight’s set has covered the majority of Rise Against’s back catalogue and they close with Satellite from their 2011 album, Endgame.
RA5Prior to their return we get the final instalment of the dystopian animations, that true to the bands self depicts the downtrodden rising up as wolves against those who have created a living hell, and they retake the stage to deliver a suitably defiant encore to close what has been an impressive return to our shores. Tonight’s show was marked by stunning sets that bookended either end of the evening, Pears and Rise Against were both flawless tonight, with the latter’s also having a dramatic visual appeal. But whilst both bands have very different styles they were both equally impressive and share the same vision, and that’s pretty much punk rock in a nutshell, it isn’t our differences that matter, it’s the common bonds that bind us together.
Rise Against Pears Nov 17Rise Against‘s website is here and Wolves can be ordered here
Sleeping With Sirens website can be found here
PEARS website is here
Human Movement can be ordered via Fat Wreck Chords here
Live photography by Steven Alexis
You can click on any of Steven’s photos to view a slide show of the images

PEARS And Direct Hit! Release Split Album ‘Human Movement’

Direct HitFat Wreck Chords have released Human Movement, the brand new split album from Direct Hit! and PEARS. The twelve track album features five new songs from each band, plus one cover of their counterpart’s material. Human Movement is now available on CD, vinyl and digital formats, the album can also be downloaded and streamed via the Fat Wreck Chords Bandcamp.

Human Movement can be ordered via Fat Wreck Chords here and via Bandcamp here 

You can watch the Human Movement video, featuring one track from each band, below Read More…

Direct Hit! And PEARS Premiere Covers From Upcoming Split

Direct HitMilwaukee punk band Direct Hit! and labelmate PEARS have premiered two new songs, each a cover of a song from the other band.  The songs include “The World Is Ending (Sorta)” and “You’re Boring,” with both appearing on their upcoming split, Human Movement, which is set to drop on November 3, 2017 via Fat Wreck Chords

Stream the songs below.

Read More…

PEARS Announce November UK Tour With Rise Against

Direct HitIn their short history PEARS have released two full-lengths, both on Fat Wreck Chords, and have played far and wide, including Australia and Chicago Riot Fest, now PEARS have announced they are opening for Rise Against on their UK tour this November. The band will also be releasing a split album, Human Movement, on November 3rd with Direct Hit via Fat Wreck Chords.

You can pre-order Human Movement via Fat Wreck Chords here

You can view PEARS UK tour dates with Rise Against, and the video for Green Star, below Read More…

Direct Hit! And PEARS Premiere Shared Music Video

Direct HitMilwaukee punk band Direct Hit! and labelmate PEARS have premiered a shared two-part music video for the songs “Blood on Your Tongue” and “Arduous Angel,” which will both appear on their upcoming split, Human Movement, which is set to drop on November 3, 2017 via Fat Wreck Chords

Watch the video below.

The album features 12 songs, and is composed of 5 new tracks per band, and a reciprocal cover of from each band.

Read More…

Direct Hit! and PEARS Announce Split; Stream New Tracks

Direct HitMilwaukee punk band Direct Hit! has announced that they will be releasing a new split with PEARS through Fat Wreck Chords.  The album features 12 songs, and is composed of 5 new tracks per band, and a reciprocal cover of from each band.  Direct Hit‘s Nick Woods comments:

“We’re really proud of how this record turned out, not only because all the tunes on it are rippers, but because we got to collaborate on it with some of our best friends. Splits like these rarely work with everyone involved playing to the others’ strengths. I’m really glad the stars aligned here in a way where the whole thing came together as a unified release, from one of the coolest record labels in the biz right now.”

Brian Pretus from PEARS follows up:

“We’ve been talking about doing this for a long time, since like one of our first tours, which was with Direct Hit. It’s pretty surreal that we finally got to make it happen, and I couldn’t be happier with how both sides of this thing turned out.”

Upcoming tour dates are below.  A new track from Direct Hit! as well as PEARS can be heard below along with tour dates.

Read More…

Rebellion 2017 April

Rebellion Festival (Thursday)

Blackpool Winter Gardens

Thursday 3rd August 2017

Rating: 5/5



The Rebellion Festival is upon us once more, for me this involves a quick blast down the motorway from a rain soaked Manchester to a surprisingly breezy and sunny morning on the Lancashire coast for this annual celebration of all things punk. The initial hour is spent wandering the Winter Gardens, renewing friendships and making some difficult decisions about who to see from the bewildering line up of hundreds of bands that cover every element of the scenes spawned over forty years ago by punk. The first band I catch is The Fucking Glorious who present a welcome lunch time wake up call of bare knuckle punk rock, and whilst getting a much needed drink I hear the raw strains of Tim Holehouse drift over from the Almost Acoustic Stage like the ghost of a ragged Tom Waits.
Rebellion 17 CundeezOutside on the Casbah Stage The Cundeez are hammering out a distinctly Celtic punk variant, complete with bagpipes, on old school punk rock, their singer, clad only in a kilt, declares that they’re “sober as fuck”, something that most of their audience can’t claim despite the early hour, and this is the perfect antidote for those who arrived a day early and are still recovering from the night before. A quick stroll back into the Winter Gardens sees Viki Vortex And The Cumshots delivering their own brand of anarchy tinged and alcohol infused frantic punk rock in the Empress Ballroom, and there’s no point in moving as In Evil Hour follow. In Evil Hour bring a different vibe to what had largely been a DIY feel to the early hours of the Rebellion Festival, they bring a furious element of melodic hardcore, with a slight metalcore influence, and for me this is the band that truly kicked the Rebellion Festival into gear, it also saw the first circle put of the festival and my first, but not my last, CD purchase of the weekend.
It seems I’m in the Empress Ballroom for the duration, apart from essential breaks that involves braving the dive bombing seagulls for cigarettes, beer and food, as Pears are on next, on record, as with a fair few hardcore bands, they didn’t do it for me, but I said if they played live I’d catch them as good hardcore live is perfection, and trust me, Pears are as good as they get live, the short sharp intense hardcore blasts take on a different character when delivered live. Reno Divorce deliver a slice of socal inspired punk rock that recalls Social Distortion, and I catch Strung Out Nights delivering an acoustic version of NOFX‘s Linoleum, and it seems that wherever you wander there is someone playing, or something to distract you, and it’s clear the Rebellion Festival has picked up exactly where it left off last year.
Rebellion 17 Evil BlizzardIt’s back into the Empress Ballroom as 88 Fingers Louie are making a rare UK appearance in support of their comeback album, Thank You For Being A Friend, and tonight’s set builds on the impression that this isn’t one shot reunion, they’re back with a vengeance with a set that spans their three decade history. Over on the outdoor stage Evil Blizzard are blinking in the sunlight and delivering their bass heavy strangeness in the early evening sunlight to a packed Casbah Stage. They exemplify exactly what the Rebellion Festival is all about, Evil Blizzard are closer to the late 60’s and early 70’s roots of punk, but they deliver what will be one of the best sets of the weekend, and to emphasize this they close with a triumphant rendition of Are You Evil.
Rebellion 17 Teenage BottlerocketA brief wander, and a welcome sit down in the Opera House, reveals London, another of punks first wave that are still going strong despite the passing of the decades and they bring a touch of the authentic and untouched spirit of 77 to the Rebellion Festival, fittingly they close with The Stooges classic, I’m Loose. Face to Face hit the outdoor stage and bring their melodic hardcore to the Rebellion Festival, after last year’s Protection album these have been a band that I’ve wanted to catch live, and they don’t disappoint on any level. There’s not much point in moving as Teenage Bottlerocket are next up. With a swift 1234 they launch into their hyperactive Ramones inspired punk rock for a charged set. In between songs they seem obsessed with curious English phrases and habits, and who can blame them as we’re an odd bunch at the best of the times. This is the first time they have played the UK since the death of their drummer Brandon Carlisle and they deliver an emotionally charged number dedicated to him, and you can feel just how much his loss means to the band.
They are followed by the melodic hardcore of Good Riddance, making this corner of Lancashire briefly the best place in the world for the American punk scene, but now it’s time for a change of stage as choosing between bands as the night falls is almost impossible, but the decision is made so it’s a swift stage hop over to the Empress Ballroom. Pennywise are everything you’d hope for now Jim Lindberg is firmly back on board after his sabbatical, and they are back at their defiant best, and the they deliver a vocal fuck you to Donald Trump that is enthusiastically endorsed by the multinational crowd. Mid set they deliver Gimme Gimme Gimme by fellow Hermosa Beach veterans Black Flag, which is followed by a Minor Threat cover, fortunately they return to their own material, with their self titled track, and let’s face is we came to hear Pennywise, and you can’t really argue with tracks like Society, Fuck Authority and Homesick, and if the hairs on the back of your neck weren’t raised by the crowds reaction to Bro Hymn then I suspect you’re clinically dead, and the chorus carries on ringing round the arena long after they’ve left the stage.
Rebellion 17 Bad ReligionAny other year Pennywise would be headlining with that set, but we still have Bad Religion to go, I feel like I’ve been awake for for days and I’ve seen more bands than I normally see in a month but we’re not done yet. Bad Religion kick off with American Jesus and they deliver a four decade spanning best of including what I consider to be one of the finest songs ever written, Stranger Than Fiction, and you can’t ask for more than that to finish the first day of the Rebellion Festival, other than a few late night drinks before returning to my hotel for a brief sleep before doing it all again tomorrow.
The review of the Friday at the Rebellion Festival 2017 will follow shortly on The Punk Site.
The Rebellion Festival wesbsite is here
Unofficial live photography courtesy of Froggy and Eloise Coone
You can click on any of the photos to view a slide show of the images

PEARS – The Real Sisters In Christ Theme Song

PearsPEARS are streaming a song which was originally exclusively available on record store day.

The song is titled “The Real Sister In Christ” and can be heard below.

Im Fine NKB

I'm Fine

Never Knowing Best

Wiretap Records

Rating: 3.5/5




New Orleans, Louisiana’s I’m Fine will release their debut full length album, Never Knowing Best tomorrow, February 3rd 2017, the album was recorded in the band’s hometown of New Orleans by James Whitten with help from Brian Pretus of Pears. I’m Fine combine elements of punk and indie that sit happily alongside post hardcore and emo influences. Whilst this is the band’s first full length I’m Fine have been around since 2011, they released an initial burst of EP’s between 20111 and 2012 and then, at least as far as I can tell, there has been silence, apparently this was due to band members running into personal issues and problems that derailed their initial impetus, but they stayed together regardless of what life threw at them and now it seems they’re back on track with the release of Never Knowing Best.

The album jump starts into life with the lo-fi explosion of Merit Badge, the lead single that was streamed in advance of the release, it carries a raw discordant quality throughout that is reminiscent of an angry hyperactive Dinosaur Jnr, without giving you chance to draw breath the album launches into Dead Eyes, this kicks the pace up a notch and it is swiftly followed by Nabors, this track builds the intensity and incorporates a few math rock flourishes into their sonic assault. Legends In Corners brings a more thoughtful element into the mix that segues into the defiant strains of Cursive before Late Night Talks About Nothing brings an anguished moment to the album. For me Grow With Us and Burma bring the albums finest moments, with fine upbeat and insistent rhythms that are married to their raw discordant style, just as you think I’m Fine are building to a upbeat finale Never Knowing Best has a final twist, it closes with two complex disquieting numbers, Evil Bubbly and Trash Eyes, that brings what has been a wildly fluctuating dissonant debut to a close.

I’m Fine are a band that wear their influences proudly on their collective sleeves, their sound has a resemblances to bands such as Latterman, Gnarwolves, Cursive and At The Drive In, but that isn’t the end of the story, they incorporate different elements and styles into every track making Never Knowing Best an unpredictable beast of an album. It captures the rage of post hardcore, and this is the style that is at their core, but they straddle so many genres you just can’t pin them down, hints of math rock complexity are incorporated, indie and emo sensibilities pervade and it’s all delivered with a punk DIY ethos, with a running time of just over twenty minutes you could argue that Never Knowing Best is somewhat on the short side, but it’s a brief satisfying blast from a band who might not know best, but they certainly know their own minds.

You can pre-order Never Knowing Best digitally here and order the limited edition cassette here

I’m Fine Premiere New Song ‘Merit Badge’ From Upcoming LP

Im Fine NKBNew Orleans, Louisiana’s I’m Fine are premiering the track Merit Badge off their upcoming album, Never Knowing Best, that is due out February 3rd 2017 via Wiretap Records. The new record was recorded in the band’s hometown of Nola by James Whitten (Pears, Thou) with help from Brian Pretus of Pears.

You can pre-order Never Knowing Best digitally here and the limited edition cassette here

You can stream Merit Badge here

PEARS Perform Bridge City Sessions

PearsPEARS recently sat down to perform two songs for the Bridge City Sessions. The songs include “Victim To Be” and “Snowflake.”  The band released Green Star last year via Fat Wreck Chords.  

Watch the session performances below.

Read More…



Green Star

Fat Wreck Chords

Rating: 2/5




This is Pears second album for Fat Wreck Chords and the follow up to 2015’s Go To Prison. This is not the kind of fayre we have come to associate with Fat Wreck Chords, this is a brutal sixteen track assault of old school hardcore, all the elements you’d expect are present and correct. The stop start rhythms, the controlled chaos, the frantic drumming and the snarled vocals are all very much in evidence on Green Star. The only respite from the continuous savage pummelling are the incongruous instrumental piano breaks Dizzy Is Drunk and Jump The Fuckin’ Ship, which act as all too brief buffers of tranquillity.

The problem for me, not just with Pears but with a lot of hardcore bands, is that on record the songs become indistinguishable from one another, were it not for the piano breaks this could be one very long song or sixty very short songs. Don’t get me wrong, I love watching hardcore bands live, to me that’s it natural home and where it’s energy and intensity work best, if I were to see Pears live you would probably see a very different review but on record this just doesn’t work for me.

If you’re a fan of the relentless brutal side of punk this will be very much your cup of tea and it’s worth noting that this is an album that divides opinion, a brief internet search reveals reviews of this album that vary from “truly extraordinary” (Punk News) to “diarrhea pie” (Next Punk). This is the nature of punk music, it should provoke strong reactions, the music we love is not there to provide a forgettable background soundtrack to a polite dinner party, it’s there to demand, provoke and inspire and Pears certainly do this.

Depending on your point of view this will be one of the best or one of the worst punk albums of the year, whilst Green Star is not something I would choose to listen to I can appreciate Pears commitment and no compromise attitude to music.

Video: PEARS – Green Star

PearsPEARS are streaming a new music video for the song “Green Star,” from their latest full length of the same name. The disc was released last month via Fat Wreck Chords.  

Watch the video below along with upcoming tour dates.

Read More…

Interview: Pears

PearsPears have been non-stop since their inception a year and a half ago, we talk with guitarist Brian Pretus to see what it feels like to be so loved so fast.

Read the interview here.



Brian Pretus

Fat Wreck Chords
By on September 9th, 2015 at Phone



Pears have been non-stop since their inception a year and a half ago, we talk with guitarist Brian Pretus to see what it feels like to be so loved so fast. Read More…

Pears Stream New 7″

PearsPEARS are streaming their new two-song 7″, Letters To Memaw, which drops today via Fat Wreck Chords.  

Be sure to listen to both tracks over at DyingScene.

Pears Set To Release New 7″

PearsPEARS has announced plans to release a two-song 7″ this Fall.  The EP will be titled Letters To Memaw and is set to drop on September 18, 2015 via Fat Wreck Chords.  The band comments:

“These are two songs from a quick session in April that subsequently got re recorded for the next full length. They were the first two written for our follow up, Snowflake is loosely about struggling to identify one’s own power, and Anhedonia is loosely about a joyless life versus oblivion. We’ll be touring with our buddies Teenage Bottlerocket through September/October, playing the fest, and then touring with our new friends in Lagwagon in October/November. New record in February. Stay tuned. This is about to get interesting.”

Pre-orders are live.

Tours: Teenage Bottle Rocket / PEARS

Teenage BottlerocketLaramie, Wyoming pop-punk act Teenage Bottlerocket has announced that they will be hitting the road with up and coming punk act PEARS for a string of tour dates.  Teenage Bottle Rocket continues to support their latest full length, Tales From Wyoming, which is available now on Rise Records.  PEARS continue to support their debut album, Go To Prison.  

Full tour dates are below.

Read More…

Tours: PEARS / Red City Radio (Europe)

PearsRagged New Orleans punk group PEARS has announce a series of UK tour dates serving as support for Red City Radio.  The band is currently supporting the European release of their debut full length, Go To Prison, set for release on Gunner Records on January 30, 2015.

Dates can be found below.

Read More…

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.

Read More…

Pears Announce European Tour + Euro Release Of ‘Go To Prison’

PearsNew Orleans hardcore band Pears have announced that their debut full length, Go To Prison, will get an official European release on January 30th via Gunner Records. The band will also be joining Oklahama’s Red City Radio for a UK and Euro tour next year.

Check out the list of announced tour dates, and Pears’ video for Breakfast, below.

Read More…