A-F Records has signed Pittsburgh pop-punk act Mace Ballard. Their debut 10-inch, produced by Chris(#2)Barker of Anti-Flag, is due out July 15.
Mace Ballard is punk music with a thesaurus in hand, utilizing inventive and sometimes gritty instrumentation as a foundation for the layers of melody that form their unique sound. Originally formed in Pittsburgh, PA in 2009 as a songwriting project between Chris Daley, a lover of words and basic melody, and Brandon Lehman, an actual guitar and song architect prodigy, they eventually would add the driving rhythm section of Steve and TJ to round out their fresh approach to pop punk; blending throwback emo vocals and inventive guitar riffs.
Tiny Engines announced a new full-length from Cleveland, OH’s Signals Midwest. The label will issue the band’s new LP, At This Age, in September of 2016. Recorded at Atlas Studios in Chicago, IL in September of 2015, the album was produced by Into It. Over It.’s Evan Weiss. You can sign up for pre-order notification here. Check out the album video teaser here.
Signals Midwest has some upcoming shows and will once again be playing The Fest. Full dates listed below.
JUN 29 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Murderroom
JUN 30 – Philadelphia, PA @ The Pharmacy w/ Timeshares
JUL 01 – Brooklyn, NY @ Suburbia w/ Katie Ellen, Broadcaster
JUL 02 – Boston, MA @ O’Briens
JUL 03 – Rochester, NY @ Bug Jar
JUL 16 – Cleveland, OH @ Now That’s Class w/ Pup
JUL 30 – Cleveland, OH @ Musica w/ Timeshares & Worship This
AUG 05 – Kalamazoo, MI @ Fat Guy Fest
OCT 26-27 – Ybor City, FL @ Big Pre-Fest In Little Ybor
OCT 28-30 – Gainesville, FL @ The Fest
Following last month’s run of shows with Nada Surf and We Are Scientists, Prism Tats is hitting the road again this summer. The run includes headlining dates, along with shows supporting Scottish indie rock outfit We Were Promised Jetpacks. The tour will wrap July 23 in Seattle with a performance at Capitol Hill Block Party.
The debut album, Prism Tats, was written and recorded in its entirety by van der Spek, featuring his own extraordinary vocals, drum machine, guitar, and bass synth - the work of a true one-man rock ‘n roll machine. It revs its motor on the squealing rubber of that elated sense of discovery in stacks of his father’s vinyl, finds its heartbeat in the inward reflections of its maker’s mind, and distinguishes itself from the rest of the rock bands out there via his rare and self-taught sense of structure and melodic sophistication. It is the culmination of a creative life spent on the grind, honing instincts and eventually going all-in on a singular dream. The debut album is available in stores and online now via Anti-.
Prism Tats Live Shows:
6/21 Dallas, TX Trees^
6/23 St. Louis, MO Firebird
6/24 Chicago, IL Bottom Lounge*
6/25 Cleveland, OH Grog Shop*
6/27 Northampton, MA Pearl Street*
6/28 Pawtucket, RI The Met*
6/29 Portsmouth, NH 3S Artspace*
6/30 Hamden, CT Ballroom at Outer Space*
7/1 Harrisburg, PA Abbey Bar*
7/2 Vienna, VA Jammin’ Java*
7/5 Philadelphia, PA Boot & Saddle
7/6 Brooklyn, NY Baby’s All Right
7/7 Boston, MA Great Scott
7/8 Montreal, QC Turbohaus
7/9 Toronto, ON The Drake
7/11 Detroit, MI UFO Factory
7/12 Madison, WI The Frequency
7/13 Chicago, IL Reckless Records (free in-store)
7/15 Kansas City, MO Tank Room
7/18 Denver, CO Lost Lake
7/19 Salt Lake City, UT Kilby Court
7/21 Boise, ID Neurolux
7/22 Spokane, WA The Bartlett
7/23 Seattle, WA CHBP
* We Were Promised Jetpacks
^ We Were Promised Jetpacks & Tokyo Police Club
Mikey Erg has played in a LOT of bands. Many fans of DIY punk rock and basement shows will know him from his namesake band, The Ergs!, but he’s contributed to countless projects. After accompanying so many artists on their music, Mikey Erg is releasing his first true solo effort, Tentative Decisions, which is now streaming in full via Noisey. The album will be available for purchase via Don Giovanni Records and all DSPs on June 24.
Though they started as a project by a bunch of high school kids from New Jersey, The Ergs! went on to be a nationally recognized and beloved punk band. After they disbanded in 2008, Mikey Erg (keeping the moniker earned while playing in The Ergs!) went on to contribute to numerous projects: he’s played in, toured with, and performed on records with Dirt Bike Annie, The Unlovables, The Dopamines, Star Fucking Hipsters, House Boat, and Worriers, even sitting in with Weston at their recent reunion shows. He also played drums in the house band for The Chris Gethard Show, a weirdo, fringe late night TV show hosted by fellow Don Giovanni Records alum Chris Gethard. Between all those projects, Mikey Erg has also fostered a Billy Bragg-style solo project, where he performs with just a mic and an electric guitar, all over the world.
Having played on so many other people’s records, Tentative Decisions is the first true Mikey Erg solo effort. It’s also the first album of original material he’s released since the Ergs’ Upstairs/ Downstairs, released nearly ten years ago. The familiar, second-generation Ramones worship is intact, but there are moments that touch on almost Celtic and British folk influences which act to refine the blaring down-stroked power chords and driving mid-tempo pop punk drum patterns.
“Most of the songs were written in the latter half of the last year,” Mikey says. “It came together pretty quickly which I love. Everything about the record fell into place totally organically.” The album was produced by fellow renowned DIY artist and live bandmate Jeff Rosenstock. To fans’ delight, the album is currently available to stream in full, and will be available for purchase June 24, or right now on tour.
6/21 – Bloomington, IN @ The Bishop*
6/22 – Cincinnati, OH @ North Side Yacht Club*
6/23 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Sonny’s Tavern*
6/24 – Richmond, VA @ Gallery 5*
6/26 – Baltimore, MD @ Sidebar*
6/27 – Washington DC @ DC9*
7/5 – Las Vegas, NV @ Beauty Bar ^
7/6 – Phoenix, AZ @ Pub Rock Live ^
7/7 – Albuquerque, NM @ Launchpad ^
7/8 – Denver, CO @ Marquis Theater ^
7/9 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court ^
7/10 – Boise, ID @ The Shredder ^
7/11 – Seattle, WA @ El Corazon ^
7/12 – Portland, OR @ Analog ^
7/13 – San Francisco, CA @ Bottom of the Hill ^
7/14 – Fullerton, CA @ Slidebar ^
7/15 – San Diego, CA @ Kensington Club ^
7/16 – Los Angeles, CA @ Troubador ^
* with Worriers
^ with The Falcon, The Copyrights, and Sam Russo
Lithuania have just released a new single “Kill The Thing You Love,” streaming now via Post Trash. The song is available for pay-what-you-want download via Lame-O Records. All proceeds from the song will go to the organization Women Against Abuse, an organization that works towards ending domestic violence by providing services to individuals experiencing violence, and educating the community through advocacy and outreach. For more information on the organization, or to donate directly, visit womenagainstabuse.org. A quote from singer Eric Slick on the song can be found below.
“The song ‘Kill The Thing You Love’ was written in 2014. Its intended purpose was for the Hardcore Friends album, but we decided to leave it off because it didn’t fit the narrative. It’s also a complicated listen. However, the song is of great importance to me. It was written from the perspective of a young woman who runs away from her abysmal home life and starts fresh in a safe environment. It’s based on a story that a close friend told me about her incredibly difficult and abusive childhood. ‘Kill The Thing You Love’ is indeed a jarring title, but its intent is more of a mantra of empowerment. Sometimes we have to let go of things (kill in the figurative sense) we love, especially when they’re hurting us. Abuse is still everywhere. A direct example is the inexcusable behavior of Seagreen Records. Seagreen was initially supposed to release this song until they came under fire for very serious sexual abuse charges. I was horrified. Luckily, Lame-O Records agreed to release this song. I’m relieved that we can benefit a great cause in the process.” – Eric Slick.
Eric Slick and Dominic Angelella have been collaborating as Lithuania for about a decade, and yet until recently they’ve only had an EP (Heavy Hands) and a 7″ (Domesticated God) to show. The two friends are infinitely busy—Slick plays drums in Dr. Dog and Angelella writes songs for DRGN KING—but they finally orchestrated the time to record their first full-length album aptly titled Hardcore Friends, was released on Lame-O Records in August of 2015.
Slick and Angelella first met in the jazz program at University of the Arts in Philadelphia and quickly realized they were the oddballs amongst their classical peers. They immediately connected through mutual musical interests like Husker Du, Captain Beefheart, Boredoms, and Bjork. Dom would take Eric to basement punk shows in West Philly, while Eric would take Dom to the Avant Gentleman’s Lodge, a defunct venue that catered to the Philadelphia art scene. Eventually the two began playing music together and started a conversation about bad band names. “We’ve been a songwriting duo this whole time,” said Eric. “When [Dom] said Lithuania I thought, ‘Oh, it’s like that no man is an island thing.’ No man is an island, so two men are a country, and I thought that was hilarious.” They began playing shows around Philadelphia and went on a short tour last May, but quickly realized they would need to expand live and so they added Ricardo Lagomasino on drums.
Recorded in five days by Joe Reinhart and Kyle Pulley at The Headroom Studios in Philadelphia, Hardcore Friends spans the last ten years of their friendship. “It’s an old perspective,” says Angelella. “All of those early songs are from or about five years ago. It’s this thing where you’re a completely different person. It’s cool to update it to now.”
Writing Hardcore Friends was a completely contrasting experience for the two: Angelella was used to being the sole songwriter in DRGN KING while Eric was usually playing drums in a band. The first half of the album contains older songs from 2007 when Slick was staying with friends in Asheville and emailing song ideas to Angelella in Philadelphia. The second half is all brand new songs written over the past year. “It’s sort of like this chronological narrative of our friendship,” says Slick. “In the past year we’ve gone through some heavy stuff—family stuff, relationship stuff—and it was pretty wild. We finished up this album with a wiser perspective on the first half of it. We even sequenced it so it would tell that story.”
Hardcore Friends opens with the pop-fueled and fleeting “God in Two Persons,” moved along by Slick’s reflective vocals and racked drumming. “Pieces,” the first single off the album, is a solid anthem with unshakeable guitars and genuine lyrics that invoke the likes of Stephen Malkmus and Archers of Loaf. Aside from their mastered melodious punk style, Lithuania is just as capable of writing a dawdling and quiet song like “Coronation Day,” showing their softer side with acoustic guitars, synthesizers, and Angelella’s mollifying vocals. The album closes with “Hardcore Friends,” a mid-tempo anthem with guest vocals from friends Frances Quinlan (Hop Along) and Rachel Browne (Field Mouse). It’s a culmination of what the rest of the tracks have been leading up to: a resilient friendship that resonates in the face of failure and heartache, and prevails sonically.
Awesome Fest recently added six more bands to their already stacked lineup for the 2016 festival – The Arrivals, Decent Criminal, Shellshag, The Stops, Stymie, and The Tim Version. See the full lineup below.
Awesome Fest will take place on September 2-4, 2016 in San Diego, CA. Weekend passes are available for $50, and weekend bundles are available for $65. You can purchase passe and find more info at awesomefest10.com.
Baby J & Friends
Bastards of Young
The Capitalist Kids
Gentlemen Prefer Blood
Hermanas y Hermanas
Nato Coles & The Blue Diamond Band
New Way On
The Raging Nathans
Red City Radio
The Slow Death
The Stupid Daikini
The Tim Version
Toys That Kill
Underground Railroad to Candyland
Awesome Fest is a three-day live music festival of intentionally limited scale aimed at showcasing the diversity, intensity and beauty of DIY punk music. Our goal is to provide a safe, intimate venue to watch awesome bands, discover new music and to hang out with friends from all over the US and the world. Artists are treated fairly and equally. Artists are most often compensated based on a fixed scale associated with how far they came to play. There are no VIP green rooms or even green rooms for that matter. Awesome Fest does not accept corporate sponsorship. We endeavor to engage small, local and independent business owners as that is the kind of economy we want to nurture and participate in. Awesome Fest is not for profit. Only a small reserve of cash is held each year to cover up front expenses for the following year. Curators and volunteers are not compensated for their efforts. Also, rules are mostly for cops and frat boys, however, Awesome Fest does have one: Don’t be an asshole.
AUG 04 – Chicago, IL @ The Hideout w/ Fake Limbs
AUG 05 – Kalamazoo, MI @ Fat Guy Fest
AUG 06 – Detroit, MI @ The UFO Factory w/ Javelins, Congress, Mountain Club
AUG 07 – Toronto, ON @ Smiling Buddha w/ Worst Gift, Shahman
AUG 08 – Montreal, QB @ Poisson Noir w/ Big Eater
AUG 09 – Dover, NH @ Wrong Brain HQ w/ Paper Castles
AUG 10 – Boston, MA @ TBA w/ Lady Bones
AUG 11 – Providence, RI @ TBA
AUG 12 – New York, NY @ Shea Stadium w/ The Gradients
AUG 13 – Philadelphia, PA @ Everybody Hits w/ Mumblr
AUG 14 – Washington, DC @ Bathtub Republic
AUG 15 – Wilmington, NC @ Reggies w/ Sinai Vessel
AUG 16 – Charlotte, NC @ Snug Harbor w/ Sinai Vessel, Faye, It Looks Sad
AUG 17 – Athens, GA @ Caledonia Lounge
AUG 19 – Atlanta, GA @ TBA
AUG 20 – New Orleans @ TBA
AUG 21 – Memphis, TN @ TBA
AUG 22 – Nashville, TN @ drkmttr
AUG 23 – Knoxville, TN @ TBA
AUG 24 – Cincinnati, OH @ TBA
AUG 25 – Oxford, OH @ TBA
AUG 26 – Bloomington, IN @ Kroger Castle
AUG 27 – Chicago, IL @ Observatory w/ Leggy
Year Of Glad have announced their new EP I Don’t Know Where I Am Either, coming to Lame-O Records on July 15. The first single off of the EP “Keeping The Peace” is streaming now via Stereogum. Pre-orders for the EP and an instant download of the band’s single is now available via Lame-O Records for pay-what-you-want. All proceeds from todays pre-orders will be donated to the victims of the Pulse night club shooting in Orlando and their families via the LGBT organization The Center. More information on The Center, as well as information on how to donate directly can be found here. A quote from the band can be found below.
“To our friends in Orlando who are suffering, our hearts are with yours. You have supported the Philadelphia music scene for the better part of a decade through shows/floors/friendship; we are nothing without community and when others hurt, it affects us all. Thanks for listening to our music and please help if you can.” – Year Of Glad.
Year Of Glad contain a star-studded cast of Philly punk rockers. With Mimi Gallagher of Nona and Chris Diehm of Thin Lips switching off on dual vocals, Biff Swenson and Mike Bell of Mike Bell & The Movies, Year Of Glad is the formation of a bunch of incredible songwriters, coming together for some good, old fashioned punk rock, filled with crunchy guitars and killer harmonies.
In 2015, Year Of Glad released their debut self-titled EP via Lame-O Records. Now, the band comes with their follow up I Don’t Know Where I Am Either, ready to knock out their blend of pop, punk and alternative rock.
Listen to the debut album from Chicago’s RLYR, a band comprised of some of the most esteemed members of the city’s experimental rock community: Steven Hess (also of Locrian), Colin DeKuiper (also of Bloodiest, ex: Russian Circles) and Trevor Shelley de Brauw (also of Pelican). Check the stream below, the album Delayer is available this Friday, June 17th via Magic Bullet Records the same day they head out on tour (full dates below).
On their new album, Kayo Dot incorporate a variety of synthesizers (many of them vintage analog) to create another work of ambition and magnitude that fuses the explosive musical imagination of a band like Magma with the forward-thinking experimentalism of Conrad Schnitzler or Morton Subotnick. Think seemingly impossible architecture, dead satellites, trashed space stations, wasted old lady heroin addicts hanging out by cheap motel pools, broken people, and a hopeless dead and polluted world transitioning into artifice and mechanism and reacting by being self-destructive, either to the point of utter obliteration or a glorious transhuman condition.
Check out the second single to premiere from Kayo Dot’s new album Plastic House On Base of Sky, “Amalia’s Theme”, on AV Club who said it “…plays like a classic Genesis track, only without all the acrimony weighing it down.”
Toby Driver, the primary composer and bandleader of Kayo Dot, has been fiercely productive over the years, and while that usually refers to how many songs or albums an artist has made, with Driver the productivity is in the realm of ideas as much as music itself. In the course of a single Kayo Dot song, the amount of risks and liberties taken with form and convention usually outnumbers what other artists cover in a full album. For as much ground as they cover, it’s always in the service of a carefully curated mood and this is apparent on Plastic House on Base of Sky’s exploration of our mechanical post-human future-present.
Plastic House on Base of Sky will be available June 24, 2016 from The Flenser.