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Fucked Up – Year of the Dragon

April 17th, 2014
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The Year of Fucked Up (Again)

Since the release of 2012’s many-a-year-end list topper David Comes to Life, fans have been wondering whether we’d seen the best, and possibly the last, of Fucked Up, and worried that maybe it was time to prepare for the almost inevitable downfall. The sixth in their now nearly 10-year-old Zodiac Series, Year of the Dragon answers that question once and for all: Fucked Up is here to stay and they’re bringing our heads banging right along with them. Springtime may be the season for pop punk, but Fucked Up wants to make sure we don’t head into the sunshine all full of smiles and rainbows, and they’ve got a 20 minute musical onslaught that should do just the trick. Read more…

By Laura Ansill Posted in Reviews

OFF! – Wasted Years

April 15th, 2014
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Time is on Their Side

Formed in 2009 out of Black Flag/Circle Jerks singer Keith Morris and members of a handful of other Los Angeles punk bands, OFF! has provided the punk music world with a time machine straight back to the 1980s. After releasing four short EPs and one full-length record in 2012 (coinciding with a tour of Morris’ new version of Black Flag, now known only as Flag), OFF! has released their sophomore record, Wasted Years. With no lack of influence from Morris’s earlier days in Nervous Breakdown-era Black Flag, Wasted Years stands as an upbeat and energetic example of how early punk rock can thrive today. Read more…

By Laura Ansill Posted in Reviews

S.O.A – First Demo 12/29/80

March 28th, 2014
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Re-Flex Your Head

Before Black Flag changed the punk and hardcore game forever, easily their most notorious vocalist Henry Garfield (better known as Henry Rollins) joined forces with other members of early DC punk band The Extorts to form State of Alert, or SOA. During their one active year as a band, S.O.A released one short 7”, No Policy, and contributed a few songs to the now legendary Flex Your Head DC hardcore compilation. Now, 30 years later, they have released their first eight-song demo, from December of 1980 and it is a must buy for any hardcore and punk fan. Including songs that long time fans will recognize from No Policy and a few other short and angry singles, this demo will serve as a great flashback to the salad days of hardcore punk as well as a quintessential introduction for any younger punks who might find it. Read more…

By Laura Ansill Posted in High Fidelity, Reviews

Barren Womb – the sun’s not yellow, it’s chicken

March 18th, 2014
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Womb-stone Blues

Once again Norway has shown that it is paving the way for inventive and exciting heavy music with noise punk duo Barren Womb, who have just released their debut record, the sun’s not yellow, it’s chicken. As their name might suggest, their music is raw, bleak and guaranteed to make you bang your head. Combining elements of hardcore, crust, black metal and even some country, Barren Womb has created a truly unique sound that you won’t soon get out of your head. It may not make you particularly optimistic about the future, yourself or life in general, but if that’s what you’re looking for then the sun’s not yellow, it’s chicken is going to blow your mind to pieces and bury it deep, deep in the ground. Read more…

By Laura Ansill Posted in High Fidelity, Reviews

Wolves Like Us – Black Soul Choir

March 10th, 2014
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Norway Wins Again

Fans of heavy music have long known that Norway is capable of producing some truly dark metal, but the newest release from Oslo’s Wolves Like Us, Black Soul Choir, proves that their rock wheelhouse is far broader. Citing influence from post-hardcore heavyweights Quicksand and Husker Du and clearly drawing from prog metal bands like Mastodon (and the sludgier Baroness), Wolves Like Us has developed a unique style of post-metal. With catchy drum beats, interesting and melodic guitar and bass riffs and clean, beautiful vocals with just enough edge to entice metal fans, Black Soul Choir is the record for those looking for something dark without all the screaming. Read more…

By Laura Ansill Posted in Reviews

Booze & Glory – As Bold As Brass

March 3rd, 2014
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Booze & Boring

It is a truth universally acknowledged that spring is the perfect season for upbeat punk music, and Oi! skinhead influenced punk band Booze & Glory are hoping to cash in on this fact by releasing As Bold as Brass, an unfortunately rather cliché take on a genre that has been beaten into the ground. Oi! is a simple, straight forward style of punk that has existed since before the Sex Pistols ever strapped on a guitar, and after 40 years it has become pretty well-worn territory, so it’s easy for bands attempting this style to all blend together if there’s nothing unique to stand out about them, as seems to be the case with this record. Read more…

By Laura Ansill Posted in Reviews

Twin Forks – Twin Forks

March 2nd, 2014
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A New Generation

As the promise of spring seems, finally, just on the horizon, you may be looking for a soundtrack to the melting snow and blooming plants, and Dashboard Confessional’s Chris Carrabba may have produced just that with the first full-length, self-titled release from his folk rock super group, Twin Forks. Soft, sweet and catchy, Twin Forks has joined the ranks of the newly reunited Nickel Creek and their more rocking cousins The Decemberists as musicians who might be able to keep folk music alive as its earlier legends begin to pass on. Bringing together a number of indie rock musicians, Twin Forks is a perfect blend of their individual styles, forming a unique and enticing take on folk music. Read more…

By Laura Ansill Posted in High Fidelity, Reviews

Interview: Jake Burns of Stiff Little Fingers on Songwriting, Bernie Madoff and Audience Faith

February 20th, 2014
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It’s been ten years since Irish punk legends Stiff Little Fingers have released a record, but in March the wait will finally be over. With the return of their original bass player and a Pledge Music drive to fund the record, this release can be seen as a return to form for the band, but their sound has undoubtedly matured. On the brink of a substantial tour, lead singer (and the only member who has stayed with the band since the beginning) Jake Burns took some time to speak with mxdwn about his feelings on the new record and state of the Stiff Little Fingers today. Read more…

By Laura Ansill Posted in Features

Kevin Seconds – Off Stockton

February 19th, 2014
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Not Just Hardcore Fun

If someone told you they were about to play you the newest solo record from Kevin Seconds, lead singer of hardcore icons 7 Seconds (and if you hadn’t heard any of his previous releases), you’d likely find yourself mighty surprised by what was to come out of your speakers. Leaving his screams and shouts behind, Kevin Seconds has adopted a gentile, folky acoustic style for his solo project, releasing his newest album Off Stockton, and it is definitely worth your time. And while Kevin Seconds’ penchant for songs no longer than two minutes hasn’t changed, it’s probable that without knowing it ahead of time, a listener would never connect the two projects, and that’s exactly what needed to happen. Read more…

By Laura Ansill Posted in Reviews ,

Against Me! – Transgender Dysphoria Blues

January 24th, 2014
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Does God Bless Your Transsexual Heart?

A lot has happened for punk staples Against Me! since the release of their last record of new material, White Crosses, in 2010. Along with splitting from their first and only mainstream record label and making some large changes to their lineup, singer and lead guitarist Laura Jane Grace came out as a transgender woman, announcing the beginning of her transition. While much of the music related to her transition and identity has been performed by Grace as a solo act, Against Me! has released Transgender Dysphoria Blues, a concept album about a transgender sex worker. This record is an absolute must-buy for Against Me! fans new and old and for anyone who has ever questioned their own identity. Read more…

By Laura Ansill Posted in High Fidelity, Reviews ,