At Grim Prom at Blind Bob’s bar in Dayton, Ohio this weekend Swimming With Sharks covered Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream.” It was rad.
Released January 13 via Don Giovanni Records, California X’s latest effort both delivers on the promises of their eponymous debut, and dives deeper into influences that draw from ’70s to ’90s guitar heroes. Scuzzy and growling with grunge rock chops, the more mature sophomore effort is heavy, lush, melodic and finds the band postured to turn the ear of even the most discerning indie rock fan.
Formed by Lemmy Gurtowsky and Dan Jones, and joined by guitarist Zach Brower and drummer Cole Lanier, the band has quickly been gaining steam in indie rock circles, including their noteable east coast locale.
“We are transplants to Amherst, Massachusetts,” Jones confessed. “Lemmy and I are originally from Connecticut and we grew up together. Lemmy is from New Jersey and Cole is from the Boston area. We just found ourselves in Western Massachusetts in the last couple of years.”
But before the band could get off the ground, they had to catch the attention of some well-positioned champions.
“There was a label from the UK who sought us out and helped us to do a 7-inch and that’s how we originally got our music out there,” said Jones of the band’s first exposure. “Then we recorded our first full-length and sent it to Don Giovanni. We sort of knew the guys from Don Giovanni through our old drummer and playing punk shows in upstate New York, so they were a little bit familiar with us and were into it.”
“I think we were the first band on the label who weren’t from the New Jersey or New York areas,” said Brower. “It is always fun to go visit other bands from the label in those areas or Ohio on tour. We’ve really enjoyed that DIY, community atmosphere.”
Though expectations were high for the album, fears over a sophomore slump rode backseat to finding the actual time to make the album.
“We were in school and it was hard to find the time to do it,” Gurtowsky said. “But this band also had hype that was bigger than any band I’ve ever been in so we had an expectation to live up to. So we struggled to find the album that was work making and we eventually found it. It just took us longer to find out what we were going to go for.”
For any relatively young ’90s guitar rock disciple who pours heart and soul through their fingers into a fret board, comparisons to Dinosaur Jr’s J. Mascis are compliments of the highest regard and California X has received those in spades. Conversely, it allows the uninitiated, possible rock curmudgeon, to surmise ones credibility. But, without a record that delivers on the promise of that gnarly, full-tilt grind, all bets are quickly off
“We all really like Dinosaur Jr, but I’m not sure that’s the model were basing ourselves on,” Jones said.
“It’s definitely not the worst band in the world to be compared to and I think it’s an easy story to tell,” confessed Gurtowsky. “And we live in the same place and play guitar solos, so there you go. I really don’t think it is a specific influence as much as a general one. Every loud indie band isn’t trying to be Dinosaur Jr Were definitely not trying to be dismissive to those comparisons, but we like a lot of other stuff too.”
Despite well-intentioned protests, the band again enlisted the engineering expertise of Justin Pizzoferrato, who has worked with Dinosaur Jr and indie rock luminaries and noteables like Speedy Ortiz.
“We have worked with him for every recording we’ve done. We just really connected,” Jones admitted. “He has a huge influence on the quality and sound of the record.”
“I definitely went in with a hyper specific plan for the arrangements and songs our first time with him and he was great with streamlining that process,” Gurtowsky said. “But this time we allowed for more experimentation in the studio. That helped us to give the record and songs and expansiveness we didn’t find during our first recordings.”
With Pizzoferrato in their corner, the band retain the characteristic fuzzed out sound they’re recognized for, while pushing themselves to even loftier heights. And Nights In The Dark, delivers dizzying, anthemic guitar jams and power pop hooks in spades.
“I think we’ve always really wanted to do something with big loud guitars,” confessed Jones. “We wanted it to sound huge, but to also retain a pop element. It just came from that. I think for the last album we wrote a couple of songs that had an explicit vocal chorus. With this album we’ve written the songs to have big guitar melodies and choruses where the vocal melodies may have left off.
“Now we have two guitarists and we definitely make a point of connecting both guitars and interconnecting them with the vocals and melodic elements in the most seamless way possible.”
Electrifying pop-punkers Post Season and Such A Mess have teamed up to release a four-song EP, titled Greetings From – Split.’ The EP features two tracks from each group, and will be released on August 28, 2015 via breakout label, Common Ground Records. Pre-orders for the Greetings From – Split are available here.
Post Season’s portion of ‘Greetings From’ was produced, recorded and mixed by Paul Leavitt of Valencia Recording Studio, with Johnny Liu producing and engineering Such A Mess’ half. The full EP was mastered by Michael Fossenkempter of Turtle Tone Studio.
In support of the release, Post Season and Such A Mess will join forces on the road for the ‘Greetings From’ summer tour. Kicking off on July 18th in Columbus Ohio, the run will take them all across the U.S., to wrap up on August 29 in Pittsburgh, PA. A full list of confirmed dates can be seen below.
‘Greetings From’ Tour Dates:
7/18 – Columbus, OH – Donato’s Basement *
7/19 – Chicago, IL – Centennial Lanes *
7/20 – Ottumwa, IA – Green Street Hall Mall *
7/21 – Omaha, NE – TBA *
7/23 – Denver, CO – The Toad Tavern *
7/24 – Albuquerque, NM – TBA *
7/25 – Las Vegas, NV – Beach Hut Deli
7/26 – Fresno, CA – The Cyc
7/27 – Chico, CA – 1078 Gallery
7/28 – Sacramento, CA – TBA
7/30 – Bakersfield, CA – Jerry’s Pizza
7/31 – San Francisco, CA – Honey Five Gallery
8/01 – Los Angeles, CA – TBA
8/02 – San Diego, CA – Woody’s
8/03 – Tucson, AZ – The Rock
8/04 – Phoenix, AZ – 51 West
8/06 – Dallas, TX – The Door
8/07 – Austin, TX – Red Eye Fly (free show)
8/08 – San Antonio, TX – Ten Eleven
8/10 – New Orleans, LA – TBA
8/12 – Pensacola, FL – The Handle Bar
8/13 – Jacksonville, FL – Jack Rabbits
8/14 – Sunrise, FL – Anonymous Guitars
8/15 – Orlando, FL – Backbooth
8/16 – Atlanta, GA – Swayze’s
8/16 – Nashville, TN – Rocketown
8/19 – Columbia, SC – New Brookland Tavern
8/21 – Virginia Beach, VA – Retro Cafe
8/22 – Towson, MD – Tavern Inn
8/23 – New Jersey – TBA
8/24 – Long Island, NY – Amityville Music Hall
8/26 – Buffalo, NY – Mohawk’s Place
8/28 – Altoona, PA – The Archway Center (release show)
8/29 – Pittsburgh, PA – The Smiling Moose
*indicates Post Season only
New Jersey’s Puddle Splasher have announced a string of Summer shows in July. Dates listed below. The band is out in support of their debut EP, Poor Planning, which is out now on Black Numbers. The EP is available for Order now. The band is also prepping a brand new EP coming later this year. More details to follow.
You can hear the Poor Planning EP in its entirety on Brooklyn Vegan now.
Puddle Splasher was formed in late 2013 out of the hardcore/powerviolence band, Damaged Goods. Taking influence from 90s bands like Sunny Day Real Estate and Dinosaur Jr, the trio recorded and produced an EP entitled Poor Planning with Brett Romnes (I Am The Avalanche). It was then mastered by Will Yip (Title Fight, Tigers Jaw, Polar Bear Club) at Studio 4. The EP features four songs that show the band’s love for ’90s Emo and Indie rock.
Catch them live:
7/03 – Lancaster, PA @ Fulton St Arts Co-op
7/04 – Philadelphia, PA @ TBA
7/05 – Baltimore, MD @ Wind-Up Space
7/07 – Richmond, VA @ TBA
7/08 – Roanoke, VA @ Leftovers
7/09 – Athens, OH @ TBA
7/10 – Akron, OH @ Kling Thing
7/11 – Pittsburgh, PA @ TBA
7/12 – Buffalo, NY @ The Lair
7/13 – Rochester, NY @ Vineyard
7/14 – Warwick, NY @ Village Billiards
7/15 – Albany, NY @ The Treehouse
7/16 – Allston, MA @ Banana Hammock
7/17 – Manchester, NH @ TBA
7/18 – West Haven, CT @ UANC
At Columbus, Ohio’s Comfest this weekend The Kyle Sowashes covered INXS and it was rad:
Young Guv, aka Ben Cook of Fucked Up, has released a new video. It’s for the song “Aquarian,” off Ripe 4 Luv. You can see the video below.
Take This To Heart Records and New Noise Magazine team up to bring you “Second Chance Breakdown” from Salt Lake City’s Nerve Clinic. The song comes from their upcoming album titled “Fail Better” which will be released on July 17. If you’re a fan of such acts as Fireworks, Hot Rod Circuit and The Juliana Theory you will be into Nerve Clinic’s brand of Power-pop/rock/punk.
Nerve Clinic is the project of Chase Griffis from Salt Lake City, Utah. Forming in October 2011, Griffis gave life to his collection of bedroom songs and teamed up with Jeremy Conder and Eric Rose (I am the Ocean, Bon Viviant) and Bryan Lee (Heartless Breakers, Visitors) to create Fail Better – recorded during spring of 2012 at Rigby Roads Studio with Joel Pack. Nerve Clinic played a handful of shows until Chase’s and Bryan’s focus shifted to Heartless Breakers in 2013.
Fail Better serves as a prequel to Griffis’ ongoing progression as a person and musician prior to continuing his stories through Heartless Breakers. “After revisiting these songs four years later, I find that what I was writing about was very petty and laugh at the thought that I could have failed better.” Capturing heartbreak, self-defeat, and anger of an early twenty-something, lines like ‘I don’t understand the competence it takes to make me a man. I swear my conscious speaks in past tense’ express his desire and need to evolve prior to understanding what is required of him to do so. Fail Better also provides an in-depth look at the beginning stages of Griffis becoming the person he deserves to be and the progress made during the last four years.
Fail Better will be available digitally July 17 on Take This To Heart Records.
Never ones to rest on their laurels, organizers of Maryland Deathfest 2016 (MDF XIV) have announced the first wave of bands that will appear at next spring’s fest, which is slated to take place May 26, 27, 28, and 29 at Edison Lot, Rams Head Live, and Baltimore Soundstage in Baltimore, MD. Here are the confirmations thus far:
Hail of Bullets
Lady Bones are sharing the entire stream of their full length debut Dying this week via Noisey, ahead of the album’s June 30 release date on Midnight Werewolf Records (Kal Marks, Big Mess, Sneeze). Following single premieres on Stereogum, Vice, and Impose, the Boston trio are excited to share Dying in its entirety.
Produced by Dan Angel and James Ryskalchick at Sex Dungeon Studios (Pile, Fat History Month, Little Big League) in Philadelphia, Dying is a spectacular record of dark and haunting indie punk with a backwoods twang that alternates between down-home cooked grunge and blues inspired “sludge pop”. Lady Bones, a stand out in the ever growing Boston basement punk community, represent their city and it’s scrappy DIY scene… another hardworking band void of self-seriousness but overflowing with musical chops and a love of tangled chord progressions and stampeding rhythmic chaos. Lady Bones’ self described “ugly pop” is full of intriguing melodies, riffs, and vibrant polyrhythms that contort between deranged and sincere, pulling influence from the scene around them while molding it into their own sound.
STREAM LADY BONES’ ”DYING” VIA NOISEY:
Pre-orders are now available via Midnight Werewolf Records on vinyl, digital, and a limited edition t-shirt/vinyl bundle.
Season of Mist announced the signing of international grind collective Venomous Concept. The band, featuring members of Brutal Truth and Napalm Death among others, will release a new album via Season of Mist in 2016.
Regarding the signing, the band comments: “It’s been a long time coming, distractions happen, chaos happens… life happens… But hey, still here – still killing it… still grinding… couldn’t be more happy to be with Michael and Gordon and the Season of Mist people… Couldn’t think of anyone better suited to get our friends and family the attitude adjustment they needed… so I hope you guys check it out… throw a few pints down and smash… we sure did.. be sure to bring your drinking money to the show!”
Paying homage to the legendary Poison Idea amongst other hardcore/punk stalwarts, Venomous Concept were conceived as grind/punk collective featuring two of the genre’s leading figures: Brutal Truth vocalist Kevin Sharp, and guitarist Shane Embury of the iconic Napalm Death. Rounding out the lineup, the band have enlisted the talents of Danny Herrera of Napalm Death on drums, Dan Lilker (Brutal Truth, Nuclear Assault, Anthrax, SOD, and more) on bass, and Corrupt Moral Altar’s John Cooke on guitar.