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Reel Big Fish

Reel Big FIsh

Aaron Barrett

Rock Ridge Music
By on November 13th, 2015 at Het Depot - Leuven, Belgium

 

 

Reel Big Fish is one of those bands that appeal to large audiences, both within and outside of the punk rock community. They’re loved by die-hard fans, ska kids and punk rockers. Hell, you could play their songs in preschool and get the toddlers skanking.

The band got “mainstream big” with a few solid hits during the 90’s and early 00’s. That’s when I, and probably most of you reading this, got to know Reel Big Fish. These days the band releases their material independently, “Candy Coated Fury” (2012) being the last studio album to have come out.

So when I got the chance to sit down with Aaron Barrett, the face and only remaining founding member of the band, I finally got to ask him about being Sell Out‘s on MTV and about his favourite Beer. I even asked for some fashion advice.

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Psychostick UK Tour Dates

PsychostickAmerican ‘Humicore’ act Psychostick are heading to the UK for their first ever run of shows with Dog Fashion Disco being billed as The Ugly Americans Tour. The band are out in support of their latest full length, IV; Revenge of The Vengeance, released last November via Rock Ridge Music.

Check out the full list of dates below.

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Tours: The Damnwells

DamnwellsIndie rock band The Damnwells has announced upcoming tour dates.  The band will be releasing their self-titled album on April 14, 2015 via Rock Ridge Music.

Dates are below.

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Video: Grace & Tony – The Chameleon

Grace TonyLoretto,TN husband & wife “punkgrass” duo Grace & Tony have released a brand new music video.  The video features the song “The Chameleon” from their debut full length, November, which dropped back in November 2013 via Rock Ridge Music.  

The video will premier at 4:00 p.m. PST tonight, May 5, 2014, on Zuus and will be available to stream here.

Punkgrass Duo Grace & Tony Announce Debut Full Length

Grace TonyLoretto,TN husband & wife “punkgrass” duo Grace & Tony have announced details for their full-length debut album.  The disc will be titled November and is fittingly due out on November 12, 2013 via Rock Ridge Music.  Tony comments:

“November is the next chapter for us, it’s a new set of stories we need to tell… This music is more mature and shows our natural progression as songwriters. We battle tested the songs and chose the ones that would represent our growth as a duo… Punkgrass is simply a natural fusion of my punk rock background, and Grace’s southern gospel and bluegrass upbringing… It isn’t forced, it’s very organic and it stands out because it’s a real fusion of what’s new and old. We play whatever pops into our heads; from classic rock to southern gospel, we scratch every itch. It’s dark, yet happy; silly, yet serious. Plus, it’s a whole lot of fun to play.”

Upcoming tour dates an be found below.

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Sinch - Clearing the Channel

Sinch

Clearing The Channel

Rock Ridge Music
By

Rating: 2/5

 
 

 

 

The worst thing a band member can hear is “Hey, you guys were alright;” because, how often do you remember bands who are “alright”? Even if you hate a band, you will still remember them – you may not like them, but you will remember them. They have made an impression on you, and if anyone ever asks about them, you’ll know what to say. But how often do you remember the mediocre? The average? The generic? Or the alright bands? Sadly, you remember them rarely as they are always quite forgetful. Sinch is the perfect proof of that and although their new CD, Clearing The Channel, is alright, two weeks down the road I will have forgotten all about it.

Sinch do everything they need to do to create the perfect modern rock album, but don’t got a step further. Meaning that it misses that certain kick that wakes up the listener and drills the CD in their mind. Imagine a slightly more technical and atmospheric version of Switchfoot or Submersed and you will picture Clearing The Channel; and although they don’t anything really wrong, the slow modern rock formula is nothing we haven’t heard before. They even have the necessary semi-acoustic song Snails thrown in there for good measure.

Songs like Identity TheftThe Last Scene and Hydroplane contain enough umph to energize the listener a bit, but the rest of the album seems to meld into one giant song that never ends. It gets to the point where you think you’ll be on track 6 by now but rather still on track 2; or think you’re on track 4, but are already on track 8. There’s very little in the songs that differentiates them from one another, making it that much harder for something to stick out. I mean, it took four listens before I even realized that Vanishing Act was a 3 minute long instrumental, and I only found that when randomly skipping around the album.

Sinch fits into the “alright” band category. They aren’t bad, but they aren’t that good either – which means they are very forgetful and although Clearing The Channel could supply a few listens worth of entertainment it definitely won’t last long in the long haul.

 

Reel Big Fish - Our Live Album is Better Than Your Live Album

Reel Big Fish

Our Live Album Is Better Than Your Live Album

Rock Ridge Music
By

Rating: 4/5

 
 

 

 

Live albums are always a tricky thing to do, because for it to work, everything needs to fall into place. The band has to have a solid reputation with a strong back catalogue to dive into. The sound has to be perfect, and you have to get a strong feel for the band’s performance – because when it comes down to it, a live album is basically just a “best-of” album and there has to be something unique there to get the fans, who already own all the songs on the actual CDs, interested in buying. And somehow, Reel Big Fish made all those pieces fall into place, to give one of the best live albums in recent memory.

First, the sound is impeccable. The album has been recorded perfectly, everything is evenly mixed – and it sounds incredibly smooth. Of course, the band had some help in creating this so called “perfect live show” – because really, you know there’s always some slight mistakes in a live show; but to prevent those mistakes, the band recorded 37 songs over the “Deep Freeze Tour” in January 2006 picking the best songs to make it seem like an seamlessly perfect show. This does hurt the flow of the album at certain times, but those times are barely perceptible, and other than the slight lack of chatter that is so common within aReel Big Fish, you could hardly tell. And while the sound is impeccable, that does take away from the “live performance” aspect of the album because the crowd is barely audible during the songs and a big part of any concert is the crowd.

Although, probably the most impressive thing about Our Live Album Is Better Than Your live Album is just the shock and awe you get by looking at all the track listing, and realizing “wow, Reel Big Fish have released some any songs over the past decade.” I mean, there’s Beer, The Bad Guy, Everything Sucks, Valerie, Turn The Radio Off, Where Have You Been, Don’t Start A Band, Dateless Losers, I Want Your Girlfriend to Be My Girlfriend Too, She Has A Girlfriend Now (featuring guest vocals by Rachel Minton of Zolof The Rock & Roll Destroyer), Sell Out and more. Of course, they also through in their signature cover songs like Take On Me, Boys Don’t Cry, Talkin’ Bout A Revolution and Kiss My Deadly. The only song they’re missing is, in my opinion, Suckers; but you can’t always get every song you want. Plus, on top of the two disc live album, Reel Big Fish also threw in a live DVD of a performance in it’s entirety at the Alley in Fullerton.

So while the title may be arrogant, it is true, Reel Big Fish‘s live album is better than most live albums out there; and I, for one, can’t wait to see them live again and skank along to these songs in person once again.

 

Reel Big Fish - Monkeys for Nothin & The Chimps for Free

Reel Big Fish

Monkeys for Nothin & The Chimps for Free

Rock Ridge Music
By

Rating: 4/5

 
 

 

 

Free from their label and ready to go out and do what they’ve always wanted to do, Reel Big Fish are following up their successful live album with a new full length – Monkeys for Nothin & The Chimps for Free; and it’s clear that they’re enjoying this new found freedom.

The songs are just teeming with excitement and a kind of energy that has been missing from their recent studio recordings. The entire album is full of skanable beats and upstrokes and every song features that special Reel Big Fish comedic charm to them. There’s the minute and a half romp through expletives withAnother F.U. Song and the “love” song I’m Her Man (which the Fish have been playing live for a few years now) with lyrics “I can see you looking down her shirt, I can see you looking up her skirt and I’m sick of your shit… you better stay away from my girlfriend” – a nice contrast to their older I Want Your Girlfriend To Be Mine track. Everybody’s Drunk is sure to be the summer drinking song with a shout along tribute to Twisted Sister (We’re all gonna get drunk! Oh! We’re all gonna get drunk! Oh wait, we’re already drunk!) and Hate You is an explosive, horn heavy, pissed off song that only The Fish could produce.

The nicest thing about this gigantic comeback is the diversity that the album brings. While every song is distinctly Reel Big Fish, the band plays on all aspects of the ska genre. Slow Down slows it down with a reggae tune and Why Do All Girls Think They’re Fat sounds like Hello Rockview era Less Than Jake. The album is more cohesive this way and never becomes repetitive. The only thing missing is a cover song; but in a way that’s good, because it proves that Reel Big Fish don’t need to rely on cover tracks to make it.

The only downside is the length as the final few tracks do often run a bit longer – particularly the 6 minute closer Cannibal, on another album the songs could work – but with 17 songs and close to 60 minutes in length they just lose the intensity near the end.

However, this album is still a great ska record from the kings of third wave ska. The freedom from the label has clearly rejuvenated them and Monkey’s For Nothing just shouts that out. A lot better and more cohesive than We’re Not Happy Till You’re Not Happy, the album will surely be one of the best ska records of the year (it’s only competition will be the ever illusive Streetlight Manifesto record.)

 

Reel Big Fish - Fame Fortune and Fornication

Reel Big Fish

Fame, Fortune and Fornication

Rock Ridge Music
By

Rating: 2.5/5

 
 

 

 

Reel Big Fish are famous for taking classic songs and turning them into high energy third wave ska songs. In fact, you’ll be hard pressed to find any of the band’s CDs without a least one cover song on it and their live show is always peppered with them. It was always a treat to hear their unique take on some classic songs but when you sit down to listen to the band’s newest full length, which contains ten cover songs, you find yourself asking “why?”

Why make an album of only cover songs? Why not write some new songs with their classical comical flare? And why, out of only ten songs, do they cover Poison twice? It just makes no sense. It takes away from their uniqueness. It was great to hear them add their spin to a song and mix it seamlessly into the album, but now that attraction isn’t able to hold through when every song is a cover.

Musically, the band has done what you’d expect from them. Each song sounds exactly like Reel Big Fish. Aaron Barrett’s vocals are spot on, the horn section is tight, the guitars create an upbeat rhythm and newcomer Derek Gibbs lays out some fantastic bass lines (particularly on Tom Petty‘s Won’t Back Downand The Eagles‘ The Long Run). Even the opening seconds of Veronica Sawyer sounds like Where Have You Been? – everything here is classic Fish.

Unfortunately, as you get past the halfway mark the record just feels bland and starts to blend together. So while Poison‘s Nothing But A Good Time kicks it off and introduces the album with a high energy party song and the inclusion of The Clash‘s I Fought The War in the midst of John Cougar Mellencamp‘sAuthority Song was genius, Fame, Fortune and Fornication still lacks a punch to really keep the listener’s full attention. It makes it so that somehow Desmond Dekker‘s reggae flavored Keep A Cool Head passes by without notice and Talk Dirty To Me (which features Tatiana DeMaria of Tat on vocals) is abysmally boring.

Not terrible by any means (Authority Song and Brown Eyed Girl are some of the best covers the band has ever done) but it still lacks an identity and I expected more from the Fish.

 

Legbone - Different path

Legbone

Different Path

Rock Ridge Music
By

Rating: 3/5

 
 

 

 

Sometimes you need a hard slap to the face to be woken up from a dream like daze. A daze of walking aimlessly with no real focus or direction, no real plan, just wondering wherever your mind takes you. A slap that wakes you up and brings you back to reality. A slap that reminds you not to screw around anymore but go out there and rock with a no bull shit attitude.Well, Legbone is that slap in the face.

Different Path is fifteen songs of no bull shit hardcore punk. No screaming, just quick, fast, minute to two minute long songs of blistering guitar riffs and gang vocals that gets your fist pumping in the air. The lyrics are straight forward. No metaphors to decipher, no insightful philosophies or vocabulary that makes you reach for a dictionary. They are simple and direct, diverse but still solid. From songs about being cock blocked and giving a dirty sanchez to swallowing razor blades to questioning your life choices and complaining about the lack of skate parks there used to be compared to now, Legbone sings songs surrounding multiple topics. The lyrics can also be very motivational like on Do You Choose where they proudly ask “Do you choose to concede? Or do you choose to fight? Do you choose to take the lead and stand up for your right? Do you choose to live your life? Not fear the unknown.” They are similar to lots of hardcore bands in that aspect, straight forward lyrics that can’t be interpreted any other way then they are supposed to be.

Legbone‘s Different Path is a breeze of fresh air in a stagnant room. It’s not a classic that will go down in history, but it’s not one that will blow up now only to be shoved off to the side later either. Rather, it is an album with qualities that will be able to survive the years. It will never be the CD to listen to all the time, but it is a CD you could listen to anytime. It is solid, heavy, hardcore punk at its finest with powerful gang vocals and simple, but effective, guitar riffs. It’s not trying to be anything it isn’t, it’s just music for the sake of music; and it’s fun to listen to.

 

The Ike Reilly Assassination - Sparkle in the Finish

The Ike Reilly Assassination

Sparkle In The Finish

Rock Ridge Music
By

Rating: 2.5/5

 
 

 

 

The Ike Reilly Assassination is fronted by, you guessed it, Ike Reilly. And even though he has received numerous raving reviews from publications such as New York Times, Chicago Sun-Times, Maxim, and the LA Times, he is still considered a “under appreciated artist” to his fans. He is labeled that due to the fact that he has yet to break into the main stream and get The Ike Reilly Assassination more recognition around the general music community. After hearing Sparkle In The Finish you can see why he’s received all the good press, but its also evident as to why he hasn’t broken into the main stream yet.

Reilly’s bluesy/folksy indie rock songs don’t follow much sturdy structure. There’s the high energy, nearly pop-rock song of Garbage Day that comes right on the heels of the sing-along drinking song The Boat Song (We’re Getting Wasted). The groggy acoustic track of Waitin’ For Daddy that brings up visions of Tom Waits while Holiday In New York could easily be another Honorary Title track. And of course, like on all good indie-rock albums, there’s the ballads of St. Joe’s Band and Ex-Americans to end the album. But even with these variations within each songs, there is one thing constant within them all. And that is Reilly’s passionate and unique vocals spitting out intelligent, thought provoking ironic lyrics. The harsh, beer-worn vocalist sings about sex, drugs, rock’n’roll and more. You just wish the album had come with all the lyrics.

This album features a little bit of something for everyone, but also something that everyone will hate. It takes a while to get a full, solid feel for the album, and even then, there’s times when you will be skipping over tracks that don’t really do it for you. But songs like St. Joe’s BandI Don’t Want What You GotThe Boat Song and Garbage Day will easily find a comfortable place inside any upcoming mix tapes you are trying to complete. Really, its a CD for the guitar and vocal driven fans, because as you would have guessed, The Ike Reilly Assassination is centered around Ike Reilly and his soothing and worn vocals.

Reel Big Fish

Reel Big Fish

Johnny Christmas, Matt Appleton, Aaron Barrett

Rock Ridge Music
By on July 19th, 2011 at Chicago House Of Blues

 

 

It’s been almost 15 years since we were “selling out” with Reel Big Fish. In fact, with new generations getting into RBF each year, most fans are unaware Sell Out used to play on the radio. With RBF’s catchy, fun ska songs and lively, entertaining live show – they manage to tour six to eight months out of the year and still sell out shows. The band is currently touring on their new Best of Us for The Rest of Us album featuring covers, classics, and skacoustic songs. Self-proclaimed trumpet player, back-up singer, interpretive dancer, and show mime Johnny Christmas, and sax player Matt Appleton (who was also in Goldfinger) answered a few questions for The Punk Site before their set in Chicago. We were later joined by lead singer, guitarist, and songwriter Aaron Barrett, who’s comedic, sarcastic attitude shines as well off-stage as it does on.   Read More…

Reel Big Fish Releasing Re-Recorded Greatest Hits Album

90’s ska punk pioneers Reel Big Fish, a headliner on this summer’s Van Warped Tour (July 13-August 15), will be releasing A Best Of Us For The Rest Us on Rock Ridge Music – a 22-track compilation of newly re-recorded renditions of hits and fan favorites (in addition to a special bonus 14-track acoustic disc), exclusively through Best Buy on July 20, 2010. A European release date will be announced soon.

The track listing can be found below.

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