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Strung Out Announce Shows with Reverend Horton Heat & Fishbone

Strung OutCalifornia punk outfit Strung Out have announced a tour alongside psychobilly legend Reverend Horton Heat and funk punk rock pioneers Fishbone on select dates. The band are currently working on the follow up to 2015’s Transmission.Alpha.Delta, reportedly titled Black Out The Sky.

Check out the full list of dates below.

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Vans Warped Tour 2017 Announces Artist Lineup; Launch Ticket Sales

Warped TourTickets are now available for the annual 2017 edition of the Vans Warped Tour.  Additionally, the full tour line-up has already been announced, and will include Sick Of It All, CKY, GWAR, The Adolescents, Strung Out, T.S.O.L,Hatebreed, Emmure, Anti-Flag, The Ataris and many more.  Tour founder Kevin Lyman expresses his excitement for the ongoing event:

“As we enter our 23rd year on the road, continuing our mission of music, philanthropy and education is what I look forward to most.  The Vans Warped Tour is not for all, but every summer I look forward to seeing those fans who do chose to come and engage and be a positive force in our community.”

Full details and ticket sales can be found here.

Strung Out Detail Plans For Next LP

Strung OutCalifornia melodic punk act Strung Out has announced details for their next full length.  The album will be titled Black Out The Sky and will follow 2015’s Transmission.Alpha.Delta, available via Fat Wreck Chords. The band comments on what can be expected:

“Well it has begun! Are you ready for something new? We are working on something and it’s gunna be something very special. Stay tuned.”

The original post can be found here.

Runaway Kids Touring With Pennywise On ‘About Time’ Tour

pennywise-2016-tourStarting this weekend, Southern California punk rock band Runaway Kids will be supporting Pennywise on their About Time US Tour, along with Strung Out and Unwritten Law. The tour starts on October 1st and runs through Nov 19th. For their upcoming album, the band has re-teamed with producer Cameron Webb (Motörhead, NOFX, Pennywise, Alkaline Trio) who helmed their most recent EP, 2015’s Better Days, which can be streamed via Spotify. Watch out for a new release from Runaway Kids sometime later this year

Tickets for all shows are available here and the tour dates can be viewed below Read More…

Brakrock Ecofest final line-up announced

Brakrock fest is a yearly festival in the town of Duffel, in the center of Belgium. It’s held on August 6th at a stunning location next to the water, in the shadow of a 16th century castle. The eco-minded festival is only 4 years old but gets more traction and draws a bigger roster every year.

They announced their complete line-up for the 2016 edition. It includes Strung Out, A Wilhelm Scream, The Flatliners, Authority Zero, The Dwarves, The Adolescents and Trophy Lungs.
 
Check out the full roster below.

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Implants Announce EP

ImplantsLA based punk rock collective Implantsa band featuring members of iconic punk groups like Strung Out, No Use For A Name and Face to Face have announced a new EP titled The Golden Age. The 5 track EP is due for release in ‘late spring’ via Cyber Tracks, the record label founded y NOFX guitarist El Hefe and his wife Jen Abeyta.

Jen herself had this to say about the release:

“Hefe and I are so ecstatic to release another Implants album! This EP is beyond fulfilling …their debut album blew me away so much that I never thought it could be surpassed, but they definitely outdid themselves on this EP. I wish it was a full length …after listening to 5 tracks of pure shredding melodic punk, I’m left wanting more.”

Check out the track list and cover art for The Golden Age below.

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Tours: Versus the World (UK/Europe)

Versus The WorldSanta Barbara punks Versus the World are hitting the road with punk legends Strung Out later this month. The quintet are out in support of their latest full length, Homesick/Roadsick, due for release on June 23rd via Kung Fu Records.

Check out the full list of dates below.

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Video: Strung Out – New Drugs

Strung OutStrung Out has released a new music video.  The video features the song “New Drugs” from their latest full length, Transmission Alpha Delta, which was reelased earlier this year on Fat Wreck Chords.

Watch the new video below.

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Tours: Versus The World / Strung Out

Versus-The-World.Sanata Barbara alt-rock outfit Versus The World have announced that they will be touring in the UK and Europe with Strung Out.  The band will be supporting their new album, Homesick/Roadsick is due to drop on April 7, 2015 via Kung Fu Records. 

Tour listings can be found below.

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Strung Out Full Album Stream

Strung OutStrung Out is streaming their freshly dropped new album, Transmission Alpha Delta, which was released today through their steady label Fat Wreck Chords. The album will follow their 2011 compilation, Top Contenders: The Best of Strung Out.

Listen to the full disc here courtesy Noisey.

Strung Out

Strung Out

Transmission.Alpha.Delta

Fat Wreck Chords
By

Rating: 4/5

 
 

 

 

What can be said about Strung Out that hasn’t been said before?  The long running band is just about one of the only groups to successfully live with one foot firmly planted in the melodic punk camp, and the other just as notably rooted in the high flying theatrics of speed metal.  The result makes Strung Out a true underground gem that never ceases to wildly entertain captive audiences.  Their latest full length, Transmission.Alpha.Delta, furthers the California quintet’s legacy with the ferocity and precision that has become a given after twenty five years on the circuit.

Transmission.Alpha.Delta defines itself as one of the most cohesive Strung Out albums in a good while.  Where as Blackhawks Over Los Angeles and Agents Of The Underground placed particular focus on individual tracks, Transmission.Alpha.Delta lends itself well to a strong cross-album sound.  There are some absolutely gargantuan guitar solos propping up the apex of songs like “Black Maps” and “Rebellion Of The Snakes,” they land as smooth as a knife through freshly warmed butter – cutting sharp and with hungry precision.  Jason Cruz’s flawless vocal harmonies buzz hard alongside a whirlwind of melodic gang vocals and jackhammer of hard rock punches.  Take the never-look-back, headstrong mentality of “The Animal And The Machine;” with dynamic and exhilarating chord progressions and a borderline southern drawl, Cruz and company shift into overdrive and never lift their foot from the accelerator.  Throw in a few mexi-punk riffs as per “Spanish Days,” the highly critical and politically passionate commentary of “Tesla,” “Nowheresville’s” upbeat melodies, and Transmission.Alpha.Delta really is a celebration of Strung Out’s universal, cross-genre mastery.

Transmission.Alpha.Delta is a textbook case of if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it; just subtly evolve the next entry in Strung Out’s ongoing anthology and the passionate result will speak for itself.  For those looking for a creative departure, simply check out Cruz’s southern rock side project, Jason Cruz & Howl.

No one handles punk and metal quite like Strung Out.  If forced to highlight an exemplar,  “Magnolia” showcases how adrenaline and finesse can go hand in hand.  It’s too easy a copout to just name drop rapid-fire skatepunk bands like No Use For A Name and furious speed metal bands like Dragonforce to do Strung Out literary justice.  As demonstrated once again, the band is truly more than the sum of its parts, with Transmission.Alpha.Delta marking yet another shining example of the vibrant and sustainable career and niche that Strung Out continues to dominate.

 

Strung Out – The Animal And The Machine

Untitled-1Strung Out recently premiered a brand new song.  The track is titled “The Animal And The Machine” and serves as the first taste from their upcoming album, Transmission Alpha Delta, which will drop on March 24, 2015 through their steady label Fat Wreck Chords. The album will follow their 2011 compilation, Top Contenders: The Best of Strung Out.

Listen to the song here courtesy Revolver.

Tours: Strung Out

Strung OutStrung Out has announced plans for a full national headlining tour with support from La ArmadaMasked Intruder and Red City Radio.   The band will support their upcoming album, Transmission Alpha Delta, which will drop on March 24, 2015 through their steady label Fat Wreck Chords. The album will follow their 2011 compilation, Top Contenders: The Best of Strung Out.

Full tour listing can be found below.

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Strung Out Details Transmission.Alpha.Delta

Untitled-1Strung Out has released track listing and album art for their upcoming album, Transmission Alpha Delta, will drop on March 24, 2015 through their steady label Fat Wreck Chords.  The album will follow their 2011 compilation, Top Contenders: The Best of Strung Out.  Guitarist Jake Kiley comments: 

 “It has been over five years since our last album and we feel this is the most complete and intense music we have ever created.”

Track listing is below.

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Strung Out Releases New Studio Video

Strung OutStrung Out has announced that their upcoming album, Transmission Alpha Delta, will drop on March 24, 2015 through their steady label Fat Wreck Chords.  The album will follow their 2011 compilation, Top Contenders: The Best of Strung Out

Be sure to check out their latest studio journal, which can be found below.

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Strung Out Announce New Album In March

Strung OutStrung Out has released a couple tidbits about their next full length.  The album will be titled Transmission Alpha Delta and the band is currently gunning for a March 2015 release through their steady label Fat Wreck Chords.  The album will follow their 2011 compilation, Top Contenders: The Best of Strung Out

A teaser for the album can be found below.

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Strung Out Teaser Video

Strung OutCalifornia punks Strung Out has released a teaser video for their new album will be titled Transmission Alpha Delta. The band are in the final stages of finishing the record, which is due for release in June 2014 via Fat Wreck Chords. 

This will be the band’s 8th full length and first since 2009’s Agents of the Underground (not including the Best of compilation, which came out in 2011).  Watch the teaser below.

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Strung Out Detail New Album

Strung OutCalifornia punks Strung out have announced that their new album will be titled Transmission Alpha Delta. The band are in the final stages of finishing the record, which is due for release in June 2014 via Fat Wreck Chords. 

This will be the band’s 8th full length and first since 2009’s Agents of the Underground (not including the Best of compilation, which came out in 2011).

 

 

 

Live Concert Review

Strung Out, We Are The Union, Mute, Rufio

Live (Sept. 2nd, 2010)

Starlite Room - Edmonton, Alberta
By

 
 

 

 

In my review for the 2010 Vans Warped Tour I mentioned how I felt old at the show. At 22, I’m older than the average Warped attendee now and it’s kind of a weird feeling. This was not the case last night as Strung Out made their way through Edmonton.

The crowd was older, mid to late twenties for the most part, and everyone was there for the sole purpose of seeing Strung Out and reliving the glory days of technically complex, fast, metal influenced, punk – it is, after all, sort of a niche market nowadays. Luckily for the loyal Strung Out fans, the band didn’t disappoint and the opening acts weren’t too shabby either.

Sadly, I got there later than anticipated and was only able to catch the final song of We Are The Union. This was unfortunate because their Paper + Plastick Records debut is pretty good and their ska-punk would’ve made for a solid set.  Not to worry though, because Quebec’s Mute came on next and put on one of the best opening-acts I’ve seen in recent memory.

Pulling from a Strung Out influence, Mute embodied the technical punk spirit promoted by the likes of Belvedere, No Fun At All and early No Use For A Name. They were tight, fast, had a drummer as the lead singer and threw in a wicked bass solo that is still stuck in my mind nearly twenty-four hours later. This is a band that is ready to take over the Canadian skate-punk torch left by the demise of Calgary’sBelvedere.

Pop-punk act Rufio were up next fresh off a lengthy hiatus that saw them cancel their last appearance in Edmonton back in 2006. With a new album under their belts, Rufio had a burst of energy and while I personally thought they weren’t anything that special, their fans ate it up and sang every word. Hell, Jordan Burns of Strung Out even got involved and ran across the stage pretending to play a trumpet.

As the set change between Rufio and Strung Out dragged on, the excitement became palpable and exploded as the curtains were pulled open to reveal the Californian five piece.  This was the first time I’ve seen them not wearing matching t-shirts and I don’t know what it was but front man Jason Cruz just seemed to be enjoying himself more than ever. In a stark contrast to their darker musical style, Cruz was joking around and appeared to be genuinely enjoying himself as he continually thanked the crowd for being there, high fived everyone and even stole a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles hat and proceeded to strike poses with it. Before that he grabbed a camera (that happened to belong to Chris Wedman as he was snapping photos for the site) and turned the lens on the crowd telling everyone to “work it.”

Just because Cruz was joking around doesn’t mean he wasn’t putting everything he had into the set. The whole band was as they played through a nearly twenty song set. The veins popped on Cruz’s head as he belted out the vocals, crouching down low to sing directly to the crowd. Guitarists Jake Riley and Rob Ramos walked back and forth, shredding wildly on tacks like Black Crosses, Angeldust and Velvet Alley. For their encore, they turned it down and Cruz came on with only an acoustic guitar to play Scarlet– transforming the song into something far from ordinary for Strung Out.

As the show came to an end at a little past one in the morning, the band jumped off stage and began talking to any fan who wanted to. It was a night that celebrated classic punk and saw a band truly enjoying themselves more so than any other time before.

Live Concert Review

Strung Out, A Wilhelm Scream, I Am Ghost

Live (Aug. 17th, 2007)

Dinwoodie Lounge - Edmonton, Alberta
By

 
 

 

 

As music from The Nightmare Before Christmas started to play through the speakers the crowd started moving to the stage in anticipation for the first band of the night. The soft music and the gloomy lights were a good introduction but as soon as I Am Ghost hit the stage there was a perceptible sigh in the crowd and many people turned away and headed to the beer gardens. The instant the band came on stage everyone knew what to expect: emo/screamo that Victory Records has been promoting heavily over the past few years despite they being on Epitaph Records. The fact that the singer looked exactly like Wil from Aiden didn’t really help much either. It’s not that they were bad, but I Am Ghost was just the wrong band to open up for Strung Out and A Wilhelm Scream. Their performance was pretty good, the drumming was great, the singer, while not having that strong a voice, was energetic albeit slightly stereotypical – really the only downside in their performance was that their guitarist seemed bored as hell and just the fact that it wasn’t the right band to open up an old school punk show.

After a short change over, A Wilhelm Scream hit the stage and finally it turned into a punk show. The band that Bill Stevenson calls “one in a million” came out and proved why they have that kind of respect. Ripping through songs like The Rip, Famous Friend & Fashion Drunk, Killing It, William Blake Overdrive, Me Vs. Morrissey In The Pretentiousness ContestLess Bright Eyes, More Deicideand more the band played a set featuring a wide selection of songs. They even played the crowd a few new songs from their upcoming album, Career Suicide. The sound was perfect, the guitars ripped through the speakers as the drum kick got the pit moving and Nuno ran around the stage screaming into the mic with urgency. While they didn’t do anything above and beyond, the band was just consistently strong throughout their entire forty five minute set. The banter was slim but used in the right ways and it all added up for a very memorable show and the right opening act for Strung Out.

Being one of the most prominent names in skate punk for well over the past decade, Fat Wreck Chords‘ Strung Out drew a veteran punk crowd to the Dinwoodie Lounge and everyone knew every single song from the set. Opening with Blackhawks Over Los Angeles, the band played songs from their entire career and showed everyone that they still know how to rock even after all these years. Their polished skate punk fused with metal and insanely fast riffs was the perfect remedy for a summer night as the crowd pulsated with Jason Cruz and his band mates. Like A Wilhelm Scream before them, Strung Outdidn’t do any crazy gimmicks or anything outrageous. Instead, they just played their music fast, hard and strong. They didn’t hold anything back and neither did the crowd and the veteran punk band made it a real solid punk rock show that happens all too rarely.

Live Concert Review

Face To Face, Strung Out, The Darlings,The Artist Life

Live (April 29th, 2011)

Starlite Room - Edmonton, Alberta
By

 
 

 

 

On Friday night, the Starlite Room was a time machine – transporting the aging crowd back in time to a glorious moment of mid-nineties punk rock as Face To Face and Strung Out took the stage in a co-headlining show reminiscent of the hey-days of the skate-punk movement.

Toronto’s The Artist Life, the youngsters of the tour, kicked off the evening and sounded pretty good as the sound seeped through the walls into the line-up of people waiting at the doors (myself included) but being unable to get in time makes it difficult to say much else. The Darlings, however, were another story.  For an opening band, they had the crowd eating out of their hands. Oh yes, they sounded fantastic – another nod to the skate-punk styles that made Epitaph the monster that they are today – but that was only the start as their stage presence made them truly powerful.  They were funny, in your face and confident, controlling the momentum with a poise and grace many headlining acts fail to grasp and even pulled Jason Cruz up for a Misfits cover; the night couldn’t have asked for a better opening act.

Cruz made his second appearance of the night shortly after as Strung Out took the stage and ripped through their fifteen song set list. While not quite as memorable as the last time they took the stage at Starlite Room in September, the Simi Valley punk band still had it in them as they played through their technical, metal influenced punk and got the crowd singing along to songs like Firecracker, Blueprint of the FallVelvet Alley, Wrong Side Of The TracksBlack Crosses and more. Cruz vocals were strong but sometimes got lost in the mix, falling below the blistering solos of Jake Kiley and Rob Ramos. Of course, half the fun of any Strung Out set is watching prolific drummer Jordan Burns tear the skins up and Friday was no exception.

The band left the stage, drenched in sweat, as the crowd chanted for more. Strung Out may not have returned, but their punk brethren in Face To Face took the stage and turned the night’s events into a truly nostalgia soaked messed. 

Yes, they played a few new cuts from their upcoming Laugh Now, Laugh Later album (Should Anything Go Wrong and It’s Not All About You both sounded fantastic) but most of their set focused on older stuff as tracks such as Walk The Walk, Disconnected, You’ve Done Nothing, Ordinary, Complicated littered the set; and despite pushing forty, the band didn’t miss a beat.  In fact, they relished in it, joking about their age and the aging crowd itself and promising to keep playing until their seventies if the fans keep showing up.

As a whole, the evening was a night of nostalgia; and, like a good wine, Face To Face have gotten better with age (or maybe worse, I never saw them back in 1996). Either way, the night was a success despite the added restrictions (no re-entry? come on now) and heightened security. If only more of today’s bands carried a show like this.

Unwritten Law Reunites With Original Drummer For Upcoming Shows

Unwritten LawAlternative rockers Unwritten Law from San Diego, Calif. will reunite with their original drummer Wade Youman for upcoming SRH Fest shows today (August 23) and tomorrow (August 24). The shows will be played with Strung Out and Sprung Monkey at the House of Blues in first Anaheim and then San Diego, Calif.

Youman parted ways with Unwritten Law after the band’s 2003 release of Music in High Places, but will be back behind the drums for SRH Fest 2013.

Strung Out - Prototypes and Painkillers

Strung Out

Prototypes and Painkillers

Fat Wreck Chords
By

Rating: 3.5/5

 
 

 

 

It’s hard to believe that Strung Out have been kicking around for over 18 years now.  A Fat Wreck Chords staple since the 90’s, Strung Out have amassed a respectable following and received favourable reviews throughout their entire career.  To celebrate, the band has released a convenient new B-sides and rarities compilation featuring demos, B-sides, splits, and former limited edition content originally recorded between the band’s formation in 1992 and their recent 2007 full length, Blackhawks Over Los Angeles.  With so many years under their belts, it’s not surprising that the compilation completely exhausts its physical medium, boasting an indulgent 25 tracks and nearly 70 minutes of playtime.

Admittedly, I was only introduced to Strung Out well into 00’s, with their unique blend of speedy power-metal and down-to-earth punk-rock initially grabbing my ear.  But the band’s history can be divided into two distinct eras: Pre and post The Element of Sonic Defiance (released in 2000).  This album represented a transformative stage in the band’s career.  In the 1990s the band channeled a rough pop-punk sound comparable to other bands on the Fat roster including NOFX and No Use For A Name, reaching it’s peak with 1998’s Twisted By Design.  But then the band flexed its creative muscles, initiating a sustained escalation of their metal influence and technical ambition in subsequent releases.  By the time I was eagerly anticipating 2007’s Blackhawks, the band had become known for its raging metal-inspired solos and grand scale production.

What does this near-biography have to do with Strung Out‘s substantive rarities compilation?  Well, Prototypes and Painkillers is a career spanning compilation that strongly emphasizes Strung Out‘s stylistic divide.  The track listing lacks obvious trends or themes, effectively placing gritty, demo-quality tracks from 1992 like “I’m Not a Loser” alongside glossy, polished songs like “Novella.”  At first glance the contrast can be jarring – especially for those like myself who warmed up to the band after their millennial transformation.  Interestingly though, over the years Strung Out have actually retained a surprising amount of common ground.  Specifically, their lyrics have always been dark and ominous – offering Prototypes a little more cohesion than I initially expected.  For example, comparing 1994’s “Season of the Witch” with 2002’s “Betrayal” reveals similar commentaries on society’s lack of human compassion.  The entire compilation is pretty grim for that matter, so don’t listen too closely or you might just get a little depressed.

From a fan perspective, the compilation offers a convenient smorgasbord of songs that, until now, have either only been available through sketchy online “resources,” or have been collecting dust in band’s private library.   From a rabid fan’s perspective (who undoubtedly already have mp3s of many of these songs), this compilation provides the first ethical outlet for possessing, and now owning many of these tracks.  Obviously of most interest to long-time fans, the album consists of seven unreleased tracks, half of which have never even seen a leaked or limited release.  The remainder has been available on everything from splits with bands like the recently renamed Jughead’s Revenge, to limited edition, pre-order exclusive editions of Blackhawks and An American Paradox.  Unlike rarities albums that simply throw a collection of tracks together without further explanation, Strung Out provides a short commentary overviewing where each song’s place in their history.  Tying each track to its context really helped increase my appreciation for Prototypes, giving the album a purpose, and myself a reason listening.

However, there is no denying that Prototypes and Painkillers feels like a rarities album.  During the past few years, bands like The Mighty Mighty Bosstones and The Swingin Utters have released similar releases that feel complete as stand alone products.  Unfortunately Strung Out‘s stylistic evolution since 2000 prevents Prototypes from feeling like a single, natural product.  Even so, the album’s track-by-track commentary and sheer size make Prototypes and Painkillers a must-have for long time fans, and at the very least, an informative introduction to Strung Out‘s fractured past for more recent listeners.

Strung Out - Live in a Dive

Strung Out

Live In A Dive

Fat Wreck Chords
By

Rating: 4/5

 
 

 

 

After jumping onto the scene 11 years ago, Strung Out have released a slew of CDs, EPs, LPs and even a couple 7″ here and there. One year ago they released “American Paradox” to great reviews. This year they bring us the fourth installment in Fat Wreck Chords‘ “Live In A Dive” series. 21 songs recorded over 2 days from a band who has toured the world, and this album shows you why they were able to do that.

The first track opens with the crowd cheering and screaming for the band, giving a feel for the atmosphere and the emotions in the pit. After a short drum rhythm they blast into the opener from their 98 release (“Twisted By Design”), “Too Close To See”. The track shows you what to expect from the rest of the album, high energy from the pit overpowered by a even more enthusiastic band playing their classics. The timing from one track to another is perfect, you don’t miss one single beat at all. Unfortunately, nearing the middle of the album it starts to get repetitive. You still get a nice feeling, but there’s nothing really special from track to track. But a the second night commences the excitement comes running back up at you once again and you get incredibly enthused.

As for the audio quality of this album, it is simply amazing. The vocals are constantly strong and powerful and everything they say is completely understandable. Even the shouts and backup vocals from the crowd are understandable. This is something rare to hear from a live album, or even at the actual show. The Chain Reaction in Anaheim does an amazing job at combining all the sounds produced from the quintet (and the crowd) into one perfect final product.

Overall, this album really demonstrates what an amazing show this band can put on; and is one all Strung Out fans should definitely own, but if you never liked Strung Out; this won’t change your mind.

Strung Out - Exile in Oblivion

Strung Out

Exile in Oblivion

Fat Wreck Chords
By

Rating: 3.5/5

 
 

 

 

Strung Out have been writing, creating and releasing melodic punk songs for the past twelve years. They’ve released four studio albums, a few 7’s, a couple EPs, and were the fourth band in Fat Wreck Chords‘ popular Live In A Dive series; now the southern Californian band is back with their fifth full length, Exile In Oblivion, and with this, the band is ready to show the world that still know how to rock.

There isn’t one standout song on the CD that you play over and over again, but instead features fourteen solid songs that you could play anytime. The melodic fast paced early 90s punk rock tunes are topped off my Jason Cruz’s smooth and strong vocals. Rob Ramos, one of the two guitarists, and Chris Aiken, the bassist, also lend their vocal talents to the mix, helping create catching vocal harmonies which grab your attention immediately. I will be honest with you though, there are some songs on here which seem to blend together. There isn’t that much of a variety between song to song, which does diminish the enjoyment factor of the CD at times, but it is still a solid album. The more you listen to it, the more you pick out and the more you appreciate the little things that make the album great. The vocal harmony here, the lyric there, the guitar breakdown during that certain song, after a few listens you start hearing the little things, and you are blown away.

Is this a must-have album? I’ll say no. There are a lot of albums which are better then Exile In Oblivion, but it still does carry some characteristics which make it standout. Their classic early 90s punk sound will definitely appeal to fans of the band’s previous work and fans of bands like A Wilhelm Scream. They don’t tread much new ground with this album, nor do they give a kick of originality into the scene, what they do is give a strong, solid album of punk rock tunes which is sure to grab anyone’s interest for a least a bit.

Strung Out - Agents of the Underground

Strung Out

Agents of the Underground

Fat Wreck Chords
By

Rating: 5/5

 
 

 

 

Strung Out is probably my favourite band to get people into.  They’re a hit practically every time, and I always get the same response: “who are these guys, and why haven’t I heard of them?” And thus is the story of Strung Out, a band existing on the “fringe of mainstream consciousness,” gaining fans and recognition through word of mouth alone for the entirety of their career.  While other Fat Wreck Chords acts have exploded after moving on to the majors, Strung Out embraces its place under the radar, and nowhere do they celebrate that status more than in their latest release, Agents of the Underground.

The release marks Stung Out’s twentieth year as a unit, and its undeniable quality signifies the band’s dedication to sustained self-improvement and musical evolution.  Twenty years of positive evolution is quite the feat, and a quick survey of their discography reveals a band that has never released the same record twice.  They’ve come a long way from their early years as what might be classified as a skate punk act.  They first struck gold when they enhanced their sound with hints of technical metal at the turn of the millennium.  Any other band would have been content to milk their new formula before changing again.  But not Strung Out.  Every subsequent release sees them realigning their influences and honing their skills.  I’ve always felt that each subsequent Strung Out album consistently outdoes the last, and somehow Agents of the Underground is no different.

Agents of the Underground finds the band maintaining their rock-solid core, but also upping the stakes, as they’ve never sounded this urgent and pressing before.  Over the years Strung Out has become known for pushing their melodic skate-punk roots beyond recognition without ever disowning them.  While 2007’s Blackhawks Over Los Angeles saw the band focusing on their rock personae more than usual, Agents signifies the band taking the speed that worked so well in 2003’s Exile in Oblivion and making an album that feels fast, hard, and aggressive.  I’ve always thought of them as Leche Con Carneera No Use For A Name meets the technical ambition of modern power-metal acts (somewhere just shy of Dragonforce).  While not a perfect description, it does capture how Jason Cruz’s coarse but melodic vocals fly high above what should be, but never is, an uncontrollable combination of Jordan Burns’ furious punk driven drumming, a recurrent salvo of increasingly complex metal solos, and a backdrop of ambitious, heavy riffs.

Boiling Agents of the Underground down to a couple standout tracks is a futile task – there are no throw always here – but some nicely exemplify what makes Agents of the Underground such landmark offering.  Firstly, there are tracks like “Black Crosses,” the type that can boast being catchy, hard, and fast all at once.  These are the adrenaline pumpers, and feel like pure, prolong acceleration – children under four feet tall and those with heart conditions best sit these ones out.

Then there are those like “Carcrashradio,” that while noticeably slower and placing an emphasis on sounding catchy, never compromise Strung Out’s intensity.  And finally there are those like “Nation of Thieves,” featuring unmatched metal solos and chord progressions that would make most metal acts blush.  All of the album’s tracks combine these elements in various ways, and the result is a fresh cut of songs that hold the listener’s attention from start to finish.

Although I won’t dwell on them too deeply, Cruz’s lyrics are also noteworthy.  As always they maintain Strung Out’s tradition of articulate political commentary.  For example, “Black Crosses” presumably refers to the ominous image of Blackhawk helicopters against a scorching desert backdrop, succinctly trying both religious and political agendas neatly together in imagery.  But Strung Out also engages in some fairly introspective pieces as well, specifically “Andy Warhol,” which humbly situates the band’s legacy: “we all play a part in history then we all end up just a memory.”  Agents of the Undergroundeasily holds some of Strung Out’s most insightful passages.

There isn’t much more to say.  I guess if you haven’t been won over by Strung Out in the past then Agents of the Underground won’t feel like anything special.  But for the rest of us, this is Strung Out’s definitive moment.  And really, when a band remains underground and cumulatively sells over one million albums to date, they’re clearly connecting with the audience they want – and how many bands out there can say that?

Strung Out Announces Box Set

Strung OutFat Wreck Chords has announced that they will be releasing a box set for long running Los Angeles punk rock act Strung Out.  The set will include the band’s first three albums, each remixed and remastered by Ryan Greene packaged along with a DVD of live footage.  Drummer Jordan Burns details below:

“We are all pretty stoked on this box set. All 3 albums are sounding so fresh and revived. If we didn’t think you would all love it like we do, we wouldn’t be putting it out. Also the live DVD from our Twisted In A Suburban Wasteland tour last year is going to be sweet. Filmed in Montreal Canada, it will include both STWB and TBD live. I know, our first DVD ever and its looking great!”

The band plans to release deluxe reissues of Another Day In Paradise, Suburban Teenage Wasteland Blues and Twisted By Design this summer.

Members of Strung Out and The Swellers Pay Tribute to Tony Sly with Live Cover

Strung OutMembers from punk bands Strung Out and The Swellers recently paid a tribute to Tony Sly when they covered No Use For A Name‘s Justified Black Eye live. The acknowledgement took place at Vinyl in the Hard Rock Hotel, Las Vegas.

See the performance here.

Paper + Plastered Tour And Bands Announced

Paper + Plastick Records has announced a label-centered tour entitled ‘The Paper + Plastered Tour.’  The tour features The Ataris headlining all dates, with the band inviting Strung Out and Nothington for the West Coast and Southwest dates, and labelmates Flatfoot 56 and Red City Radio joining in for the final three-week stint which finds the band in the South, East Coast and Northeast. 

The band is currently gearing up for the release of their upcoming new album The Graveyard of The Atlantic, expected to drop in the spring of 2013 via Paper + Plastick. Tour dates can be found below.

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Strung Out Announce Additional Tour Dates

Strung OutStrung Out has announced additional dates on their Twisted In A Suburban Wasteland Tour.  The tour includes US and Canadian dates this summer with support from Handguns and rotating appearances from Such Gold and The Darlings. The tour will feature the band focusing on two full album sets featuring their classic full lengths Suburban Teenage Wasteland Blues and Twisted by Design.

The band last released Agents Of The Underground back in 2009 via Fat Wreck Chords.  Tour dates can be found below.

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Tours: Strung Out / Handguns / Such Gold / The Darlings (Canada/US)

Strung OutStrung Out has announced that they will be heading on tour in the US and Canada this summer with support from Handguns and rotating appearances from Such Gold and The Darlings. The tour will feature the band focusing on two full album sets featuring their classic full lengths Suburban Teenage Wasteland Blues and Twisted by Design.   Front man Jason Cruz further comments on the band’s content focus:

“It feels right to do one last retrospective before we head into the making of another album. I think people will really enjoy these older songs played back to back.”

The tour kicks off in Portland Oregon on July 17th and wraps up on August 14th in Omaha.  The band last released Agents Of The Underground back in 2009 via Fat Wreck Chords.