Dad Brains: Dad Brains: Pirates Press Records
Ah, fatherhood. A 20-year adventure that beckons the stress and anxiety of trying to raise a human into a decent person without damaging the young soul. Dad Brains were birthed as a nurturing outlet to help the members vent their struggles and joys with punk speed, riffs, and humor. The Oxnard and Ventura, California-based fervent fathers are formulated of former members of No Motiv, The Missing 23rd, Creep Division, and The Fucking Wrath. Dad Brains teased punk fans with their video for “I’m Old” on Father’s Day Weekend.
Producer Roger Camero—who has worked with No Motiv, Silver Snakes, The Velvet Teen, The Warriors, and more—recorded the self-titled EP. He polished the five tracks, with titles like “Baby Jail” and “Quiet Time,” with a brash punch. At 10 minutes long, you’ll have enough time to rock this whole 7” while your kid is in time-out.
The 7” vinyl was released Sept. 14: 100 on black, a Pirates Press Records exclusive; 300 on red; 300 on green; and 300 on yellow. –Hutch
Justus Proffit & Jay Som: Nothing’s Changed: Polyvinyl Records
After the release of her 2017 debut LP, Everybody Works, Jay Som’s Melina Duterte left the Bay behind to hang her hat in Los Angeles. There, she encountered an unexpected welcome wagon in the form of L.A.-based singer-songwriter Justus Proffit, who extended a casual invitation to get together and jam. Their melodic chemistry was undeniable, and on Sept. 28, the duo released their debut EP, Nothing’s Changed, via Polyvinyl Records.
The EP’s five tracks distill a mélange of garage rock, country, and art-pop influences into a heaping helping of musical comfort food. “Neil Young, Crosby, Stills, and Nash are big influences to me,” Proffit says. “I don’t consider myself a big country head, more of an Americana or just singer-songwriter fan. If a song has a sweet pop hook, then I’m all about it. I think Melina and I were looking to make predictable yet interesting music in each song on this EP.” –Kelley O’Death
Lair Of The Minotaur: Dragon Eagle of Chaos: Self-released
Chicago doom and sludge slingers Lair Of The Minotaur released their first material in five years with Dragon Eagle of Chaos on Aug. 24. A quick EP—with two four-minute tracks—summons enough damage to allay any nervous fan. The title track, “Dragon Eagle of Chaos,” was recorded in May at Horse Drawn Studios with John E. Bohmer and mixed by Bohmer and drummer Chris Wozniak. This song pummels with heavy stomps and a spitting spurt halfway through.
On the flip side, boasting a rugged riff and head-banging fodder of evil, the previously-unreleased “Kunsult the Bones” appears. This vicious track—which eventually slides into a gruff, bluesy tone—was recorded in January 2010 at Semaphore Studios by Sanford Parker and mixed by Parker and vocalist and guitarist Steve Rathbone. The tracks were both mastered by Rathbone, and the EP was completed with cover art by Unexpected Specter.
Lair Of The Minotaur played Scorched Tundra X in Chicago on Aug. 31, a two-day event also featuring Monolord, Sumac, Yakuza, In The Company Of Serpents, Telekinetic Yeti, Couch Slut, and more. This sold-out performance saw Lair Of The Minotaur selling an extremely limited-edition 7” vinyl version of Dragon Eagle Of Chaos, pressed in a run of only 33 hand-numbered copies. –Hutch
Modern Color: Portuguese Bend: Indecision Records
Named after the beautiful coastline near where the band grew up in Redondo Beach, California, Portuguese Bend is just as beautiful as the famed untouched stretch of mountainous bluffs. Modern Color’s style is lush, luxurious, and calming—which are all odd descriptors for a post-hardcore group, but Modern Color aren’t here to start a moshpit. The two songs on this lovely 7” are a great introduction to the band’s shoegaze-centric take on modern melodic hardcore and a masterclass in poignant tunes.
The real Portuguese Bend is noted for its challenging, inhospitable terrain, which is why developers have left it untouched. Modern Color’s Portuguese Bend, on the other hand, is built on the foundation of famed melodic hardcore groups before them, yet the band stand tall in their own right. The potential for greatness is clear on this short release. A purple vinyl variant was released via Indecision Records on Sept. 28. –Nicholas Senior
Waterfools: Title TBA: MaDa Music
An Oxford-based garage rock duo comprised of vocalist and guitarist Wilf Cartwright and drummer Jamie Langford, Waterfools do a lot with a little on their second, yet-untitled EP, due out in late September via MaDa Music. Its four raucous, catchy tracks transport the listener back to the ’90s, recalling the grungy effects employed by bands such as Nirvana, Foo Fighters, and Butthole Surfers but never falling into the trap of mimicry. Opener “Breathe” kicks in with a punk snarl and squealing guitars that belie the song’s underlying pop genius. The EP’s first single, “Material,” divebombs directly into your brain and stays there, while “Two Solids” snatches the alt-pop torch of adolescent anguish from Weezer’s sweaty palms and sprints off into the future, giggling madly all the while. Closer “Three Leaf Clover” settles into a danceable groove without sacrificing Waterfools’ signature thrashy drum-attack, and as the last ring of distortion fades away, you’re left with no choice but to spin that shit again. –Kelley O’Death
Calvero: “Vanishing Streets”: Self-released
Stepping for the first time into the shoes of his alter ego Calvero, singer-songwriter Gabe Liebowitz plumbs the bittersweet depths of city living on his first single, “Vanishing Streets,” out on all digital platforms Oct. 24. Teasing the release of his debut EP later in the year, the track bundles his years of experience as a bandleader and solo artist in the Chicago music scene into a deceptively simple package of shadowy guitar lines, towering vocal melodies, and swelling choruses. Halfway between the distinctly American longing of Bruce Spingsteen and the shimmering romantic ecstasy of Bonnie Tyler, Calvero defies listeners to resist the urge to raise their arms above their heads, breathe in the steam rising from the asphalt, and sway to the rhythm of distant sirens. The alleyway is dark, but the twinkling neon lights of “Vanishing Streets” are a beacon for all who wander lost among the skyscrapers, pounding the pavement on their journey toward redemption and belonging. –Kelley O’Death
Cable: Never Trust a Gemini: Translation Loss Records
Culled from the archives is a lost gem from Hartford, Connecticut, noise rock and punk slayers Cable. Cable gave the world six LPs and various splits and EPs on labels such as Hydra Head, Atomic Action!, and The End from 1996 to 2009. On Aug. 31, Translation Loss reissued their fourth full-length, 2003’s Never Trust a Gemini, remixed by Alex Garcia-Rivera—who has worked with 454 Big Block, American Nightmare, Bloodhorse, Chrome Over Brass, and more—and remastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege, known for an impressive roster that includes work with Iron Monkey, Sleep, and High On Fire. New artwork by Aaron Horkey blesses the spread.
Never Trust a Gemini is a punishing exercise in tension and confrontation, aptly reborn in 2018 for fans of Earth, ISIS, and Neurosis—for those who are unfamiliar. The opener, “Tennessee,” stomps and ravages, and the third track, “Battle of the Asses,” treks eight minutes as it ebbs and flows with fuzzed-out, gripping guitar work. All will appreciate the skilled writing filled with taut emotions balanced with a jam-stoner feel. Loose grooves define the tracks “Bad Luck Highway” and “Missoula,” and “Gemini” carries a grandiose feel that delivers a Western-rock-meets-AmRep vibe. This is a fantastic rock album deservedly remastered.
LPs are packed in a sturdy 350gsm jacket with enticing metallic PMS gold printing. Vinyl is on metallic gold, limited to 150 copies, and 100 copies on metallic gold and black merge. –Hutch
King Diamond: The Puppet Master, Deadly Lullabyes Live, and Give Me Your Soul… Please: Metal Blade Records
On Sept. 14, Metal Blade continued their rereleasing of King Diamond classics. This round—there have been 11 already—the demonic Dane’s fans are lucky to receive the sacrament of 2003’s The Puppet Master, 2004’s Deadly Lullabyes Live, and 2007’s Give Me Your Soul… Please.
Still flanked by King Diamond and Mercyful Fate guitar vets Andy LaRocque and Mike Wead, these recent albums have amassed critical and fan praise, respected and played loudly. The Puppet Master especially is seen as a modern classic, and nearly-perfect critical ratings are common. The sweet visuals raise the stakes and channel the satanic sonic seduction coming through your home speakers.
Each release is a double-LP, and all four sides feature a different image. These limited editions are each one of 2,000 copies. –Hutch
La Dispute: Somewhere at the Bottom of the River Between Vega and Altair: No Sleep Records
While remaking a classic—and yes, La Dispute’s enigmatic, frantic 2008 debut certainly qualifies—tends to lead to disappointment, the Nov. 9 reworking of Somewhere at the Bottom of the River Between Vega and Altair is actually better than the original. The Grand Rapids band worked with No Sleep Records, the label that put out the landmark release, putting three all-star engineers on the case. Will Yip—famous for his work with Circa Survive, The Menzingers, and many more—re-amped the guitars from the original files; Dave Schiffman—Thrice, Trash Talk—provided a new mix; and the album was remastered by Emily Lazar, who has worked with Beck and Foo Fighters. The original was fine, great even, however, this reissue sounds fucking fantastic. There’s a viciousness and power that this new version unleashes, even though the original recording was not lacking in either department. This is a wonderful example of a reissue that rekindles and enhances a previous love. –Nicholas Senior
Manic Hispanic: The Recline of Mexican Civilization: Indecision Records
It’s been 17 years since the brilliant Orange County Chicano punk rock band Manic Hispanic put out The Recline of Mexican Civilization, and it’s just about time a new generation discovered that Cali-made classic. “[It] was released on July 10, 2001. Staind and Nickelback controlled the rock charts and Cristian Castro the Latin charts with his hit ‘Azul.’ Manic Hispanic had just found each other on the yard, and the man put us in a room and turned on the mics,” guitarist Mo Grease says. “The band was coming out of a dark place and finding its way back. We had some times with our homies, good and bad, but we all came out of that time period in a good place. The Recline… was a big part of that. The band kept cruising.” Indecision Records is releasing a one-time pressing of 500 of copies on red vinyl, out Oct. 26. –John B. Moore
Anti-Flag: American Reckoning: A-F Records
A quieter but still—thankfully—political Anti-Flag returned with an all-acoustic album on Sept. 28. American Reckoning takes seven tracks from the group’s last two albums and reinterprets them as acoustic jams. In addition to their own songs, Anti-Flag included covers of three songs that have inspired them over the decades: tracks by Cheap Trick, John Lennon, and Buffalo Springfield. American Reckoning is out on Spinefarm Records in the U.K. and available as a bundle from the band’s own A-F Records, limited to 100, which includes 2015’s American Spring on black and pink half-and-half, 2017’s American Fall on black, and American Reckoning on opaque white LPs, as well as a screen-printed poster cover that is hand-numbered and signed by the band. The covers were printed using a blended ink process, so each jacket color is unique. –John B. Moore
Bayside: Acoustic Volume 2: Hopeless Records
It took more than a decade to follow up, but Bayside are finally ready for their second acoustic offering. As the title suggests, it’s an unplugged reimagining of tracks from across their catalog. “Our first acoustic record is 12 years old and still holds a special place in our hearts and our fans’ hearts,” vocalist Anthony Raneri says. “We figured it was time for an update with newer versions and some newer songs. We wanted to be able to show the songs in a new light and worked out some arrangements that we think give the songs a whole new perspective.” The album is out on Hopeless Records on Sept. 28. –John B. Moore
TTNG: Animals Acoustic: Sargent House
After years of relentless touring and three LPs, Oxford, England’s TTNG—formerly This Town Needs Guns—revisited their 2008 debut record, Animals, for its 10th anniversary. Animals Acoustic, released Oct. 5 via Sargent House Records, features acoustic renditions of some fan favorites, as well as the band’s original vocalist, Stuart Smith.
Since their formation in the early ’00s, TTNG have combined sweet, dancing guitars and complex rhythms. Animals Acoustic takes the band’s masterful musicianship and allows it to breathe in a way never heard before. The record features subtle contributions from artists like Nate Kinsella of Birthmark and American Football, The Kraken Quartet, Yvette Young of Covet, Mivos Quartet, and more.
Not only was revisiting these songs nostalgic for TTNG, it was also an exciting challenge. “We knew we had a bunch of songs that were loved by a lot of people, so we were very conscious that we had to balance the pressure to remain true to the originals with the urge to express ourselves musically,” Smith says. “I think the outcome is a record that is fresh yet familiar—which I guess is the best you can hope for from an album of covers.” –Yong Los
Kadavar: Live in Copenhagen: Nuclear Blast
Kadavar sated eager fans when Nuclear Blast released an infamous live set from the band on Oct. 14. The CD version of Live in Copenhagen will be a bonus CD on a tour-edition package of 2017’s Rough Times. Packed with two extra tracks, the vinyl boasts three alluring colors in a gatefold LP. The Berlin, Germany, band have been distributing their radiant retro rock riffs and rhythms since 2010. Pushing themselves as a touring band constantly has been a priority. Finally, fans can find the groove and fury of Kadavar’s live set on record—though European fans can catch them in person from Oct. 25 to Dec. 6 with Monolord. The band also dropped a video for “You Found the Best in Me,” capturing a live show for a small, fortunate crowd on a beach. The limited-edition double-gatefold 12” LP is out on clear, red and white swirl, and deep blue and yellow swirl. –Hutch
Opeth: Garden of the Titans: Live at Red Rocks Amphitheatre: Nuclear Blast
There are great live records. There are amazing venues. Then, there are live records recorded at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, one of the most unique and satisfying venues. The Denver outdoor theater is where Sweden’s Opeth recorded their latest live record, Garden of the Titans, out Nov. 2. Opeth exploited the opportunity of this significantly specific production sound to display their original take on metal over 10 songs lasting 88 minutes. They whisk the audience on a journey of death metal riffs and blast beats, acoustic subtlety and mesmerizing prog-rock challenges. Stimulating and refreshing, Opeth’s sound knows no label and resonates with the eager audience.
Sweden’s Moderbolaget Records and Nuclear Blast Entertainment work to release Opeth’s May 11, 2017, performance on double-CD and DVD or Blu-ray options, with art by Travis Smith—who has worked with Nevermore, Katatonia, and Testament. There are also numerous double-LP colored vinyl options: transparent yellow, orange, blue, metallic sand, red, white, olive green with black splatter, beer with red splatter, red with green splatter, brown and bronze swirl, and red and green swirl. –Hutch
Yony Leyser: “Queercore: How To Punk a Revolution”: Altered Innocence
“What happens when the community you need is not the community you have?” Over 83 challenging and cathartic minutes, Berlin-based director Yony Leyser seeks to answer this question by relating the story of two Canadian punks, Bruce LaBruce and G. B. Jones, who stood up and challenged both the bourgeois mainstream gay culture and hypermasculine, often homophobic punk scene of the mid ’80s with a new, blossoming subculture: queercore.
“Queercore: How To Punk a Revolution” chronicles how a crop of young radicals redefined what it meant to be both queer and punk through art, zines, film, music, and activism, planting the seeds of a cultural battle that is still be waged today. A who’s who of transgressive queer icons including Kim Gordon, John Waters, Peaches, Beth Ditto, Kathleen Hanna, Genesis P-Orridge, Justin Vivian Bond, and many more lend their voices to the documentary, discussing wide-ranging issues from feminism and anti-capitalism to AIDS and assimilation.
After opening on Sept. 28, the film will make its way through festivals and independent theaters around the U.S. in October and November. –Kelley O’Death