The Riptides

The Riptides

Canadian Graffiti

Self Released

Rating: 3.5/5




Canadian pop-punkers The Riptides released one of my favourite albums back in 2009, Tales From Planet Earth.  A smart little Ramones-inspired pop-rocker playing to the theme of science fiction classics, the album drew inspiration from The Lillingtons for a memorable career highlight.  So how do you follow-up such an defining work?  Apparently you don’t.  Instead you wait eight years, release a few splits and EPs to stay active, and then discretely return to the basics.  The Ontario quintet follow with their long awaited full length, Canadian Graffiti.  

An album that opens to the unforgiving sound of flatulence, the band makes clear that Canadian Graffiti doesn’t take itself seriously or offer any grand pursuit beyond hosting college party keggers.  Generally, the album’s eighteen songs come in two sizes; fast, aggressively played bursts of energy hovering around a minute or so, and more involved chorus-heavy earworms.  For instance, the minute and a half opener “Couldn’t Care Less” frames the album in a we’ll-do-as-we-please-because-we-can attitude which fits the first-album-in-eight-years mentality.  Other amusing examples of these quick-and-dirty bursts include the Nerf Herder style nerd-punk of “Get Out of My Dreams, Get into My Tardis” (revisited in greater length in “Beam me Up”) and the sloppy punk of “Wimpy Goes To Washington.”

The increasingly involved songs adhere to a more conventional verse-chorus-verse structure dominated by Andy Vandal’s gruff poppy vocals and the band’s classic take on three chord pop-punk circa Teenage Bottlerocket.  “Goodbye Hawaii” ushers in a fresh feelgood vibe by injecting elements of surf culture and doo-wop that is echoed more directly several songs later with the very 50’s leaning “Fast Girls.”  Others like “Homing Missile” and “Happily Ever After” land with a more combative punch.  The longer the song, the more opportunity for The Riptides to realize the potential of their powerful backing vocal harmonies.  From sweeping “woah-oah” chorus lines to delegating entire chorus lines to the backup section, centrepiece songs swell until they border on anthemic.  Take “Manchurian Candidate,” which captures the band’s thematic and musical potential as they recollect the classic novel/film much in the same vein of high points lifted from Tales From Planet Earth.  Only a minority of songs (“Babybottle” jumps to mind) are a tad juvenile in scope, and lack the same quick wit and slick penmanship as their more entertaining counterparts.

Overall, Canadian Graffiti is an easy going pop-punk album that brings the The Riptides back to basics.  A fun-loving feel runs through the album, bringing together the at times disparate array of themes, tempos, and styles.  While the album’s track-listing bloat could stand to be slimmed down, that may have meant trimming some of the album’s funnier moments, in which case the band leaves that dilemma for listeners to adjust on their own playlists.  An easy choice for pop-punk enthusiasts.


The Riptides Announce New LP

RiptidesPop-punk act The Riptides will be releasing their first full length since 2010 Tough Luck EP. The album will be titled Canadian Graffiti  and is set to drop on September 12, 2017 via Something To Do Records

Track listing can be found below.

Read More…

The Riptides - Tales from Planet Earth

The Riptides

Tales From Planet Earth

Asian Man Records

Rating: 4/5




Forget what you thought you knew about The Riptides.  If you previously thought of the Ottawa four-piece as a forgettable pop-punk outfit, then it’s time to give them another listen.  In fact, their latest album,Tales From Planet Earth, could be thought of as somewhat of a relaunch for the ten-year-old group.

What’s changed you ask? Well, for starters lead vocalist Andy Vandal has completely abandoned his gruff edge and now resembles some sort of LillingtonsMethadones-Mark Hoppus hybrid.  His enunciation is now slow and calculated, and his demeanor calm and reserved.  While many of their contemporaries have been doing this for years, Vandal’s delivery actually eclipses the majority of The Riptides’ inspirations, and places them on par with touted genre staples like Teenage Bottlerocket and the aforementioned Lillingtons.

Furthermore, a choral section provides unparalleled backing harmonies, bolstering their newfound melodic core.  With backing vocals that could easily draw comparisons to godfathers of punk rock, Bad ReligionThe Riptides move between varieties of more obscure influences.  Most notably, songs like “She Gets Around” feature bright and sunny Beach Boys-inspired harmonies, and the surprisingly fun “I Can’t Have A Merry Christmas” draw upon 50’s doo-wop.  Such touches really help distinguish Tales From Planet Earth from the legions of other pop-punk releases that have come to dominate 2009.

Style aside, The Riptides also demonstrate lyrical adeptness.  As the album name implies, these tracks are a combination of brief little stories and snippets covering a wide spectrum of material.  Tales From Planet Earth has it all, from love stories to science fiction heroes.  But generally they can be divided into two camps: cutesy love tales and extreme novelties.

Now, I’m typically a skeptic of albums based largely around affection because most artists end up repeating the same shallow message from song to song.  But here The Riptides stand out.  Their tracks span a spectrum of lighthearted encounters with snarky lyrics and a fun intent.  Tracks like “Hung Up” feature oogling punks with idolizing crushes as seen in passages like “see the girls with the high tops on, leather jacket with the little pink thong, she’s tearing up my heart like it was last years Valentine,” while others like “I Go Mental” comedically describe the agony of separation.  The best example, “Two Minute Penalty” compares relationships to hockey, keeping these cutesy tracks fresh even towards the album’s end.

But the real treat lies with the novelty tracks.  Undoubtedly drawing inspiration from The Lillingtons’ classic TV based album, The Too Late Show, these novelty tracks fill the album with an extra layer of life.  Specifically “Dial M For Murder” and “Omega Man” detail classic 50’s and 70’s suspense movies respectively, and “Stranger in the House” draws inspiration from early spy movies.  Here, The Riptides blend their catchy hooks with odd source material with infectious results.

The key word to remember with Tales From Planet Earth is ‘fun.’  In fact, I can’t think of another album this year as outright enjoyable and uplifting as Planet Earth.  Sure, there probably isn’t too much here that you haven’t heard before, but with Planet Earth the band has crafted a shining example of why 90’s era Fat Wreck Chords pop-punk has yet to die.  So to wrap up, Tales From Planet Earth isn’t justThe Riptides’ definitive album, it’s also my candidate for 2009’s pop-punk album of the year.

The Riptides - Hang Out

The Riptides

Hang Out

Union 2112 Records, Red Scare Industries

Rating: 4/5




There are certain CDs that take a while to grow on you, others that jump at you right away and some that never really slight that spark within the listener. The Riptides‘ would probably fall in the first category. When I first heard Hang Out I thought little off it. It was okay, but nothing great and I pushed it aside for now. A few weeks later I pulled it out again to give it another spin, and this time it not only grew on me but jumped out at me as well.

The Riptides are a much needed breath of fresh air in an over saturated scene as they rip through the twelve track album with a solid output of punk rock, no gimmicks attached. That’s not saying they’re the most inventive band out there, far from it; instead they play a tried and true formula of punk rock just for the love of it.They combine the pop-punk influences of the likes of The Ramones, The Queers, Chixdiggit!, and Screeching Weasel. It’s pop-punk from the mid-nineties, where the vocals weren’t spotless and annoying. It’s simple melodies that get implanted in your skull instantly thanks to sing-along choruses and the memorable hooks. But most importantly, it’s damn fun punk rock.

The drumming is reminiscent of early No Use For A Name, steady and constant throughout the track keeping a solid backbone that would be the basis of any widespread circle pit. Throw in the fist-pumping sing-along chants and you’re all set for one hell of a time. The vocals are probably the highlight of the album, as they are sturdy and rough without being rusty and overly harsh either; think of a slightly softer Jim Lindberg or Joe Queer (who actually lends his vocal talents to the pop-punk love anthem China Girl).

The most surprising aspect of the album though is how it progresses so well. After a few listens, it’s plainly evident that the second half of the album is where The Riptides really shine. Songs like Change Gonna Come, I Wanna Riot (which would be a perfect live song), The Girl Next Door and Subway Surfin’ 2 are all standouts on the album and show what the band is capable of doing.

Hang Out is a solid punk rock release that steadily grows on you the more you listen to it. Not the most original, but it doesn’t have to be; it’s still a breath of fresh air just because it’s not whiny and self involved. So thumbs up for Hang Out.

Video: The Riptides – I Don’t Wanna Go to the Movies

Ottawa’s The Riptides have unveiled a new music video for the song “I Don’t Wanna Go to the Movies.

It can be seen below.

The track is set to appear on their upcoming split with The Apers, due out in the spring via Asian Man Records.

Read More…


Riptides Announce Two Split 7" Vinyl Splits

The Riptides have announced that the pop punkers will be releasing two separate 7″ splits with bands The Dwarves and The Queers on Asian Man Records this December. Only 500 copies of each will be made available.

The Riptides last released their Tough Luck EP on Rally Records in 2010.

Riptides Announce Two Split 7″ Vinyl Splits

The Riptides have announced that the pop punkers will be releasing two separate 7″ splits with bands The Dwarves and The Queers on Asian Man Records this December. Only 500 copies of each will be made available.

The Riptides last released their Tough Luck EP on Rally Records in 2010.

Open for The Queers

The QueersAsian Man Records is giving bands a chance to open for The Queers on their upcoming tour with Kepi Ghoulie and The Riptides on their Rocket to America Tour 2010. In order to participate in the contest bands must submit an mp3 of themselves playing a Ramones song. The entire list of rules can be seen here. The deadline is September 17th.

The Queers released Munki Brain in 2007 on Asian Man Records and their newest release, Back to the Basement, will also be released on Asian Man Records November 16th. A complete list of confirmed and unconfirmed tour dates of their Rocket to America Tour 2010 with Kepi Ghoulie and The Riptides can be seen below. Read More…

The Riptides On Rock Band

Ottawa’s The Riptides have released a song from their new  Mass Giorgini-produced 7-inch, “Tough Luck,” on Rock Band. The song is called Friday The 13th and can be downloaded here.