Best of Punk Albums 2020

2020 was the absolute worst year for concerts and festivals since all every single event was cancelled this year. So what do we even have left to savor? Just media and merch for this year. Some bands really stepped up and brought us their best within the worst year to date for music. There were many diamonds in the rough across several genres of punk and here’s our top picks of 2020.

WEAR A DAMN MASK. SOCIAL DISTANCE. TAKE THE VACCINE. YOUR FAVORITE ARTISTS WANT TO PLAY, SURVIVE FINANCIALLY, AND BE HEALTHY WHILE DOING IT.

Pears: Pears

It is no secret I am a fan of this band. The quality of how Pears has continually built up their sound up from their first album is impressive. This album definitely sounds like the classic Pears sound we have grown to love. Thrashy, fast, and tongue in cheek lyrics. There are some experiments with different sounds for certain songs such as Traveling Time and Daughter. I also enjoy the small musical jokes they put in songs for example in Dial Up. I don’t think I could have gone any further without a Pears album. Also Naptime is my new anthem.

NOFX/Frank Turner: West Coast vs. Wessex

If you are in the Venn diagram of liking these two artists like me, this was a surprise album this year. My initial thoughts were they might be too different in styles to make this work. Frank Turner is a true singer/songwriter and it would seem too polished for NOFX to cover. Not that Frank Turner can’t get gritty when he wants with his musical background but NOFX has some lackluster covers in their catalog. I think they both picked songs that weren’t the hits and made them their own. I still can’t get over Frank Turner making Bob sound so beautiful. NOFX gave new life to Ballad of Me and My Friends. Plus the video for Bob for this album is truly funny and tribute to the original video.

The Drowns: Under Tension

This band grows on me more and more I listen to them. I am a huge fan of Pirate Press bands and this is no exception to that rule. What I appreciate about this album and sound of The Drowns, is that they take the best parts of the classic punk sounds and breathe new life into them. They sound like several other band stylistically but you distinctly know when you hear a Drowns song though. The lyrics are smart and political in the right ways, which is needed in this current age. This album is great front to back. I really also enjoyed the video for “Them Rats” and “Black Lung” which added to this release.

Idles: Ultra Mono

This band is not for everyone. It is honestly one of my favorite music debates of this past year due to people thinking it either being too mainstream, not punk enough, or just outright hate their sound. I love it and I wish I had a better explanation of why. I think what I love about this band is the main point is to scream about positivity and be chaotic. There is not much more to it. If you overthink it, you could over complicate who they are overall. Their lyrics are funny, well thought out, and politically charged in all the right ways. I really enjoyed Joy as an Act of Resistance but I honestly didn’t think they would top that album since I wrote them off as a one-trick pony. I am eating those words now and Mono just picks up where they left off with even more energy. Grounds and Mr. Motivator give me anxiety in the best way possible.

Laura Jane Grace: Stay Alive

This albums is a collection of songs that might had not seen the light of day and it took a pandemic for them to see the light. It is a stripped down album but has all the essentials needed to demonstrate the song writing talents of Laura. I have been a long time fan of Against Me! since the Crime EP and have been hooked ever since. I was afraid some of the magic would get lost in translation without the band and the punk rock crowds in venues. The songs are hopeful even when it seems bleak, it has some poppy pieces, and is very clever lyrically. This album was also recorded by Steve Albani, which automatically makes this an album worth hearing because he has created so many classic albums. Laura, much like her fans are just trying to stay alive and make it work the best way we know how.

The Chats: High Risk Behavior

The Chats are something missing from the American punk scene. Australia has been killing it the last two years with amazing club style punk. They take playing shitty venues and made that translate to their album. It is raw punk at its finest. Songs are short, funny, and to the point. This was also done on their own label and they probably drew this cover. Which is as punk as it gets. “The Clap” reminds me of the song from Get Him to The Greek but if The Chats wrote it originally. Which is pure genius.

Bad Cop Bad Cop: The Ride

Bad Cop Bad Cop is the crown jewel of the current punk genre. They are a group of extremely talented musicians and added a much needed sound to Fat Wreck Chords. I have enjoyed their previous albums but there is something special about The Ride. It is raw, personal, and very sophisticated songwriting. It talks about going through it and coming out stronger on the other end. Whether it is a battle with cancer or being a child of immigrants, these things change our life perspectives and make us ultimately stronger individuals. It’s about the journey or “the ride”. It still has the classic Bad Cop Bad Cop sound with poppy hooks and beautiful harmonies among the band.

Days N Daze: Show Me the Blue Prints

To be quite honest my folk punk knowledge is slim but one record always makes it onto my best of lists each year. I believe Fat Wreck took a little bit of a gamble when signing this band but definitely gained a lot by doing so. It shows that their idea of punk can include folk punk, which it should because it is punk music. I feel this album carries equal parts of bleakness and optimism, so be prepared for an emotional ride throughout the album. I loved that they used more of Whitney’s voice on certain songs even though the duel singing is an impressive quality of this band. I loved tracks “Fast Tracks” and “My Darling Dopamine” from this album.

Liquid Death: Greatest Hates, Vol. 2

If this album wasn’t for a water company it probably would be album of the year. It would win all kinds of awards. Needless to say, this album is shockingly good. The original Greatest Hates is a metal classic and the punk version lives up to the same hype. Honestly, I did think this company was alcohol and not a water company, which this comment has a whole song about it. The album has punk heavy hitter such as Pinkshift’s Ashrita Kumar, Brendan Kelly of the Lawrence Arms, Anti-Flag‘s Chris #2, Dan Andriano of Alkaline Trio, Jen Razavi and Josh Lewis of the Bombpops, Jer Hunter from We Are The Union and Skatune Network, Joe Principe and Tim McIlrath of Rise Against and ex-Death By Stereo member Paul Miner. I wish all these artists had a real band together because it would be a hit machine.

Field Day: Opposite Land

If you are a fan of Dag Nasty and melodic hardcore punk, this release from Field Day is the EP you have been sleeping on this past year. What makes this album special is not only the members that makes up the band but I miss hearing more positive messages of unity. I know it is a common theme within hardcore but I would say in the state of the world right now we could really use this type of mindset. This album takes a lot of self reflection and looking within for the answers. Going back to these hardcore roots paid off for this EP and I love when music is passionate and really means something at the end of the day. I can’t wait for a full release and more from this band.

Jeff Rosenstock: No Dream

If anyone is winning 2020 somehow, then it has to be Jeff Rosenstock. It is beyond me that he is not a bigger artist than he is when his fans are Mike Park, Seth Myers, and other musical artists. This man made me love Neil Young even after many attempts throughout my life. My favorite album by Jeff Rosenstock will be hands down Worry. but this makes the top 3 best albums he has recorded in his career outside of Bomb the Music Industry! I don’t know how he will top himself but I alway anticipating what he does next. I also hope he does a future tour of this album because I want to hear Scram live more than anything.

Spanish Love Songs: Brave Faces Everyone

This is actually the first album I have listened to by this band. Spanish Loves Songs usually tours with other bands I really love and it was about time to sit down and really give this band a shot. I was blown away by the song writing because of its brutal honesty and being musically refreshing. I haven’t listened to album that really spoke to my generation like Spanish Love Songs has. It is a specific type of dread and worrying about surviving in a world where you are set up to fail. This album blends each song beautifully into the next, which makes it so effortlessly to listen to it front to back.

War on Women: Wonderful Hell

This is exactly the album I needed to get through this political climate and keep me motivated for the future. War on Women always hits the nail on the head when it comes to writing songs about issues and leaves no subtly about what their messages is. The album is a bit of a cleaner sound and deep dive into who they are as a band. Shawna does have a badass scream but she really gives us her strong voice in this album. This is an album that represents the winds of change and revolution. I would hold Wonderfull Hell up to any other politically charged classic albums any day of the week. If this album doesn’t give you goosebumps when you listen to it, then listen closer.

The Lawerence Arms: Skeleton Coast

The Lawerence Arms is a band that took me a while to get into. They have a lot layers, can be serious, and are musically complex in all the best ways. I think they are a band you have to sit down and really listen closely or you will miss the magic. Their style is purely their own style and they created another killer album with Skeleton Coast. I love how they steal their lyrics and really know how to pull at your heart strings. It’s a dynamic album full of fun, cleverness, and sadness which makes it worth listening front to back.

Kill Lincoln: Can’t Complain

Kill Lincoln takes the best parts of pop punk and ska, then takes it to a whole other level. I would say this album is a palate cleanser for me. The albums that came out this year were either political consciousness or attempting something new. When I wanted to escape into music, this definitely helped. The gang vocals reminded me of singing with my friends and music fans at shows. It has fun songs, a cover, and a few conscious jams. Kill Lincoln has just begun to show us what they are made of.

Anti-Flag: 20/20 Vision

We expected and needed an album from Anti-Flag during this election year. In a year full of political discourse, there needed to be a soundtrack to it. I think we will look back at this year when we hear this album and hopefully see how far we have come. And in true Anti-Flag fashion, they will remind us how much further we have to go. The best elements about this album is that it has optimism as well as universal truths. I revisit Anti-Flags discography to have some fun as well as to feel the unity during bleak times. They gave us songs to dance to as well as to march to on this album.

The Shell Corporation: Told Ya So

The Shell Corporation is all the things we need from a political punk band. The fast paced music, the lyrics are clever, and just the right amount of snideness. They summed up the year 2020 in this album with songs like Hot Bleach Injection and Unfollow. Why isn’t this band bigger? Seriously, give this band all your money.

Radkey: Green Room

Radkey is going to be on every alternative festival when those hopefully start back up. Mark my words. Their sound is fresh, leaves all the sweat and blood on the stage, and you can hear it on this record. This album came out this year digitally and is due out in physical media due to their Kickstarter (link above). The fact that a band this talented and are creating their own space in the music world is a very punk move in 2020. If you don’t believe me, then listen to Seize and see what the hype is all about.

Honorable Mentions: Night Birds: Fresh Kills Vol. 2, Metz: Atlas Vending, Western Addiction: Frail Bray, The Keeper Class: States Away, The Damned: The Rockfield Files , Death By Stereo: We’re All Dying Just in Time, PUP: This Place Sucks Ass, Goldfinger: Never Look Back, Raging Nathans: Oppositional Defiance, Alkaline Trio: E.P , Red City Radio: Paradise, Touché Amoré: Lament, Less Than Jake: Silver Linings, Strike Anywhere: Nightmares of the West, The Bombpops: Death in Venice Beach

Here are some videos I made about the best of list if you hate reading or made it this far:

https://open.spotify.com/embed/playlist/7KL3hX1mhAHNyMRzEWEsp8

The Queers: MTX and The Queers Tour 2019

In the final chapter of this three part series, we got to sit down with one of my favorite bands: The Queers. Joe Queer has been the longest member of The Queers and has carried out the vision of this band from the 1980s to the present day. There has been many changes from this band when it comes to labels and members but many albums later The Queers have stood the test of time.

Mr. T Experience and The Queers might be the peanut butter and jelly of the Lookout era days. They are different in styles and personalities but something about this combo really works for this pop punk fan base. The Queers have always had an allure with their bratty and tongue in cheek lyrics but has some real thought behind what they say. They want you to be in on the joke or to be offended by it. With these clever musical stylings, you can’t help but get an ear-worm from time to time.

The main focus of this interview was to find out why this fan base has been coming back to these two specific bands year after year. I have seen The Queers countless times in my punk rock career and it is just a staple of my diet. I am sure a lot of fans can say the same about both these bands. And this is coming full cycle due to their fans bringing their kids with them to have the same experience.

I wanted to know from Joe what the secret is to his success is. The Queers tour constantly and somehow make it work tour after tour. They still have relationships with bands they came up with and they also try to highlight some of the up and coming punk bands they meet on the road. I will say that was the refreshing part of this interview, is that this particular punk ethos is still there and thriving after all these years. It was a short but fun conversation but you can tell he is still a fan of the music that influenced him and wants to keep going back on the road.

Check out the interview below:

Mr. T Experience: MTX/The Queers Tour 2019

The Mr. T Experience is one of the last true musical experiences. They have a full discography, books and blogs, and a ton of pop culture references throughout their music career that has held up after all these years. In 2019, they decided it was time to see Texas again with their friends The Queers for a limited date run. Like I said in my previous post, they are one of the pop punk bands from this particular era of punk history that keep us coming back to time and time again.

Honestly, I wasn’t the biggest MTX fan but I have always been very intrigued on what my friends saw in them. They were 100000% obsessed over the lyrics, specific albums, and my friends even got engaged at a show. I was curious to see how MTX fit into my life. I was into more music like Minor Threat at than MTX at the height of popularity during their Lookout Record era. I think what I was missing then was the emotional availability to understand the complexities of their music and that pop punk allows humor, sadness, and pop to exist in the same space. I understood The Queers right away because they are super direct with their humor and it is the forefront of their songs. But with Mr. T Experience, it’s about the story telling and cleverness interlaced within it. They make you think as a listener and that’s not a bad thing. They have catchy hooks and lyrics throughout each musical phase as a band into the their current sound.

What really helped me understand this band better was seeing their process during these dates. How they made their set lists work for each date, how they interacted with their fans, and most importantly what their fans have to say about them. I meet someone with a several MTX tattoos. Fans were talking about how King Dork changed their life. Fans that go out of their way to see a band (i.e. getting flights and/or babysitters). And of course getting to meet Dr. Frank himself gave me lots of perspective. After all these years, he is just wanting to write the music that he loves and feels resonates with his fans.

I think what keeps MTX beloved is that it is ever changing but doesn’t steer course from the original purpose. This makes Mr. T Experience’s music very relatable to the fans while they grow into the people they become. I enjoyed talking to Dr. Frank about this phenomenon and about this particular tour. I hope we can do a part two with MTX in the future because I feel they will have more stories and music to share. Enjoy the photos and interview below!

The Capitalist Kids: MTX/TheQueers Texas Tour 2019

*This might be strange to see remains of live music from 2019 in the time of COVID 19. Luckily we saved some gems in our archive for a time like this.

Let’s return back to a different day and time just for a moment. Especially since it is where we want to return to in the future for live music. This past winter, I was fortunate enough to join my friends on a pop-punk filled excursion through central Texas. I went to the Dallas and Austin dates to find out why the fans of the Mr. T Experience and The Queers have such a devoted following after all these years. Since the days of Lookout, both these bands have held their own and have influenced a generation of musicians to follow their roots.

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One band that definitely falls in the same vein would be the openers for this tour, The Capitalist Kids. Their power-pop sounds and their punk ethics marry in a delightfully fun way. Don’t sleep on this band because of their flashy pop vibes because there are layers of ethical thought, love, and loss weaved throughout their discography. As stated in this interview, the band has gone through changes, locations, and tours to get where they are now. I can’t think of a better band to represent Texas on this tour with MTX and The Queers. See interview and links to their pages below:

Capitalists Kids: Bandcamp, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

 

Recommends: Circle Pit

Pushed to Revenge was ready for 2020 release out of the gate. This is Circle Pit‘s third release (Wiseass Records) and this 5 song EP gives a good taste of what this band has to come and beyond. They have a unique style of thrash, guitar-driven riffs, with a clever socio-political sense. Circle Pit likes to tackle provocative themes such as religious oppression, scene culture, and the current political climate. In other words, no one is safe from their specific brand of snark and brutality.

a2279639193_10Noteworthy tracks:

Killdozer- This track made me look up if this was a true story of a man rebuilding a bulldozer into a killing machine. Spoiler alert, it is very real. I will let you dig that gem up.

Hipster Holocaust– Reminds me of when Jello Biafra yells about hippies.

Right to Die– Great trash banger about death.

Similar Artists: MDC, D.R.I, Confused, and ASS

Where to find their music: Bandcamp, Spotify, and local shows. Support your local and global scene.

Best Albums of 2019

This hasn’t been my favorite year for punk albums. The past few years have been really hard to beat in comparison. We will still shine some much-needed light on the albums that did break through the competition in 2019.

This definitely has been the year of awesome concert tours. Most of my music listening has been in venues and not in headphones. I firmly believe the local Austin scene has been very active with releases this year and my top favorites are below. Also, check out the Spotify playlist with all the artists listed below and then some!

Top Picks of 2019

Pup: Morid Stuffpup_morbid_stuff

This was a much-anticipated album for Pup and I have to say it didn’t disappoint.  It gave off a lot of the angsty fed up vibes which was the theme of 2019. They are touring into 2020, which I am looking forward to seeing this album live.

Favorite Tracks: “Kids” and “Morbid Stuff”

The Menzingers: Hello Exilea0671515294_10

I will never understand how The Menzingers became one of my favorite bands. I felt like some weird music inception happened in my sleep and now I am obsessed with every album they put out. This is a great release for this year. Personally, After the Party and On the Impossible Past were perfect albums in my opinion. Hello Exile is my third-place choice, which isn’t a bad place to be. This is still a very memorable album and worth the listen.

Favorite Tracks: “Anna” and ” America (You’re Freaking Me Out)”

Bad Religion: Age of Unreasonbad-religion-age-of-unreason-1556896181-720x536

2019 definitely needed a Bad Religion album to get us through the year. This album is a good mix of what Bad Religion does best with some fun new tricks. What I like most about this album is that they didn’t take themselves too seriously and it seems like a natural progression for this band.

Favorite Tracks: “My Sanity”, “Chaos From Within”, “What Tomorrow Brings”

Lagwagon: Railerlagwagon-railer

This album definitely wins my favorite cover for the year. Lagwagon has a great way of nailing their album covers which really speaks to the overall theme of each one. They open this album with the important question “what’s another word for fuck?'” Which ultimately makes you want to find out more. I really loved the last album Hang due to it being a heavier side of Lagwagon. I feel this album is a good mix of heavy sound, sad Joey Cape lyrics, and the clever sides of Lagwagon as a whole.

Favorite Tracks: “Surviving California” and “Bubble”

Strung Out: Songs of Amor and DevotionSO_Armor_Fat112_3000pxl_2000x

Strung Out was one of the top shows I went to this year and where they debuted this album. As a band who has an extensive discography, this album holds up among them. There were tracks that I clung to more than others on this album but whenever Strung Out creates a great song it is truly a master class within itself.

Favorite Tracks: “Under the Western Sky” and ” Ulysses”

Amyl and the Sniffers: Amyl and the Sniffersa3824714544_10

Amyl and the Sniffers are all the things I love about the classic punk sound. It is in your face and has simple yet very clever lyrics that are fun to sing along to. This is their debut album and I hope they do some more touring stateside. I don’t know what is happening in the Australia punk scene this year but I am ready for more of it in 2020 for sure.

Favorite Tracks: “Cup of Destiny” and “Got You”

Clowns: Nature/Nurturea3139792815_10Clowns were exactly the band I felt I was missing in my life.  Clowns/Mean Jeans/ Teenage Bottle Rocket was hands down the best tour of 2019. This album is hauntingly beautiful and raw. It is in your face and is here to shake up what you think about the punk genre.

Favorite Tracks:  “Freezing in the Sun” and ” Bland is the New Black”

Teenage BottleRocket: Stay Rad

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Teenage Bottle Rocket puts out albums at an almost Prince level pace. Luckily this one didn’t slip under my radar which has happened in the past. The video for “I Wanna Be a Dog” was a great promo and introduction to the album. Like I said before, this tour couldn’t have been a better combination to support this rad album.

Favorite tracks: ” I Wanna Be a Dog” and “Anti-Social Media”

Millencolin: SOS87671_Millencolin.jpg.925x925_q90I sometimes forget how much I love Millencolin until they release a new record. When I listen to this album it is like falling in love all over again with this band. It has the riffs, pop sensibility, and fun that Millencolin encompasses. They have remained golden throughout their years and I will also look forward to every release they put out.

Favorite Tracks: “Sour Days” and “Yanny &Laurel”

 

Pkew Pkew Pkew: Optimal Lifestylea3395329665_10

Pkew Pkew Pkew has the most singable songs in the universe. This album and most of their catalog are about being broke, too old, and restless. Especially when this feeling remains into their older age and realizing that there are no fucks left to give.

Favorite Tracks: “Passed Out” and “Adult Party”

Honorable Mentions:

These albums are not exactly punk albums in a traditional sense but definitely are in the same spirit.

Frank Turner: Tales From No Man’s Land -jx1ztubf-ft_talesfromnml_3000_mainart4

This is a project by Frank Turner was very interesting and fun to follow along this year. If you are into history and the songwriting process, Frank Turner released a podcast that went along with the album release. I thought I knew a decent amount about women’s history but it was interesting to see it through an international lens. I highly recommend listening to this podcast and then the album if you haven’t already

Favorite Tracks: “Lioness” and “Jinny Bingham’s Ghost”

FIDLAR: Almost Freefidlar_almost free

I don’t exactly know how to categorize this band but  I do know that FIDLAR is a way of life. I loved their self titled release so much that I wanted to see if this band would live up to the hype. FIDLAR takes you through all the stages of partying, recovery, and relapsing throughout this album. But just remember, fuck it dog life’s a risk.

Favorite Tracks: “By Myself” and “Alcohol”

Best Local:

The Butts: Nightmare at Area 51a3955632133_10

The opening of this album reminds me of the opening to Rocky Horror Picture Show’s “Science Fiction/Double Feature”, which is epic. This album was definitely on trend this year with the supposed raid of Area 51. I also can stand behind any band that takes on Alex Jones. The theme runs throughout the whole album, which makes it worth listening to all the way to the end.

Favorite Tracks: “Down You Go” and “Alex Jones is One of Them”

Dylan Disaster: Remissiona1635388135_10

Dylan Diaster’s Remission is a much-needed breath of fresh air when it comes to 2019 releases. It’s pure and simple musical tracks with complicated themes of self-discovery and reflection. This album has a sophisticated sound with layers of instruments and guest stars throughout each song. ” Milestone”, which was the single from this album really got me through the rough patches of 2019 and made me optimistic about what was ahead.

Favorite Tracks: “Milestone” and “Sun Came Rising”

Hans Gruber and the Die Hards: Hans Gruber and the Die Hards 2a3759970576_10

If you didn’t get enough of Hans Gruber in the first installment, welcome to the sequel! I am obviously super bias when it comes to my love for this band. The members of Hans Gruber and the Die Hards work really hard at their craft and concepts which are showcased throughout their live performances and albums. Whether it is explaining flat earth theories or making a theme song for the Antique’s roadshow, we are all in on the joke.

Favorite Tracks: “The Ballard of Boro the Man” and  “Real Life Walter White”

Nowherebound: Morning Glory

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What can I say about Nowherebound that hasn’t already been said? It is a supergroup of the best Austin has to offer. There are a lot of layers of vocals, multiple instruments, and musical styles on Mourning Glory. I think this is an album that encompasses hope and unity in a very unique way for a punk album.  I think this is why this particular album made it on several best of the year lists. It was obviously a labor of love.

Favorite Tracks: “Featherfist” and ‘Love to All”

All Opposed: A New Clear Life a1681381460_10

This is album cover is a masterpiece of American life. It is like Norman Rockwell painting that went in a terrible direction. What I love about All Opposed’s A New Clear Life is that it marries street punk elements with the right amount of melodies, which makes their music is very dynamic and enjoyable all around. I am definitely ready for a full-length album from All Opposed in 2020? Stay Tuned.

Favorite tracks: ” A Life Recycled” and ” Plurality”

Pickles: Pickled Remaina0291981595_10

Pickles is a band that I discovered in the beginning in 2019. I am not the biggest folk-punk person but I can’t deny their charm and clever song lyrics. It is the right amount of political consciousness, self-depreciation, and humor. There are a lot of personal touches within the album art and storytelling. I look forward to seeing this band again and what they come up with next.

Favorites: “Hate Mosh” and “An Upbeat Song About Depression”

Sober Daze: The Seasona2148927867_10

This was an album I was looking forward to listening to in 2019. Austin definitely needs more skate punk within its city limits. This album has been a long time coming and years of grinding it out in the Austin punk scene. The Season definitely has skateboard anthems but also covers some deep personal growth. I hope this band continues to do releases in the future because the Austin scene hasn’t been the same since their relocation.

Favorite Tracks: “The Sums of All Beers” and “Seeing Change”

****Happy 2020! Thanks for the constant support for my blog from the punk community around the world. I have many things to share this coming year and look forward to another year of Punk Rock Anthropology.****

Grant Announcement: PRA needs a new face and podcast!

This year I plan on rebranding this blog. I really want to keep writing, posting photos and videos, and discussing punk music as it evolves. It takes a lot of time and a lot of sacrifices but it is worth it at the end of the day.

Bossbabes, a women’s creative collective in Austin, Texas is giving away 3 grants to women-owned businesses that need to take it to the next level. For this blog, my dream is to add a podcast and new branding to make the necessary changes needed for this project.  I want to shine a light on the rich Texas punk scene and be able to share that with the rest of the world. If you know anything about audio production, you know that price tag is steep. I currently pay for this website out of pocket. I work several jobs just to keep this website and my life afloat.

So needless to say, I made a video about this website and my qualifications. I discuss what it means to be a woman in a punk world and how this conservation about punk itself should have different narratives. If I gain support behind this video, I will more than likely be considered for this grant. If you are reading this, or have been a reader in the past, please take a second to comment and let them know the importance of women’s voices within the scene and supporting women-owned businesses.

This is my first video EVER online so be kind. I am excited to revamp this website and add new content this year! Thanks for your love and support.

If you liked what you saw or heard please reach out to Bossbabes, comment on Youtube, repost, tweet about this project.

Punk Rock AnthropologyFacebook , Twitter, InstagramYouTube

 

Fest 17 2018: My first Fest!

After many years of obsessing over lineups and getting recommendations from true punk fans, I finally headed to Gainesville, Florida this year for Fest 17. I also got to tag along with the band Hans Gruber and the Die Hards on their journey to make their debut at Fest. After an early flight from Austin to Savannah, I hitched a ride on their This Flat Earth Tour <—Who knew the Earth was flat? (see video link)

My first show was at Mother’s Pub, which was hosting the Happiest Hour Party Time. It truly lived up to the name and I got my first taste of how the rest of the weekend would go. I got to catch up and coming acts such as the Cold Wrecks, The Ridgelands, Goddamnit, and Hans Gruber and the Die Hards.

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The Ridgelands at Fest

The room was packed since the Holiday Inn Pool Party/Officer Bradford’s Jammy Jam was canceled. This happy hour turned into the show to get Fest officially started!

This past year I have had the pleasure of meeting Chris Fox and the members of  Boss’ Daughter. We got to catch their set at the Palamino Pool Hall and it was truly a sight to see. People were jumping on stage and dancing around every inch of that pool hall. If you haven’t been to Boss’ Daughter show, are you even partying? See videos below:

 

 

I saved most of my energy for Saturday and Sunday of Fest. Every morning was a surprise to find out which Mystery bands would be revealed. It is a real “Sophie’s Choice” when deciding which band to see and having to miss one of your other favorite bands.  This isn’t my first music festival where I have had to make similar decisions since I am a South By Southwest veteran at this point. CITY LOGISTICS AND TIMING IS KEY! Since I had missed some artists on Friday, seeing my favorite bands get added to the schedule was a godsend.

The two Mystery bands I caught were Night Birds and Pears on Saturday. Night Birds haven’t left my listening rotation for about 3 years now. I think Mutiny at Muscle Beach is an under-rated masterpiece. I finally got to see them for the second time in my life and that will not be often enough times. Fest also got an added bonus this year from the band Pears. They decided to play their album Go to Prison in full. If you haven’t had the pleasure of listening to this record I would highly recommend it especially if you are not familiar with them previously. I think it is a great representation of their musical range as a band. It is an unbelievable debut album and it only gets better from there.

Pears sounds like no other band out there at the moment. I love that they are clever lyrically and are full of rage but in a satirical way. Another fun fact about Pears at Fest is they were supposedly giving away lyrics sheets if someone got a Pears tattoo from the Fest flash sheet. I am one of those crazy people but I got mine on Sunday after they left. Hopefully, I can connect with them when they come back through Texas. Regardless, I got a cool (permanent) Fest souvenir.

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Fest 17 Flash Sheet with my mods

One of my favorite show experiences was getting to see War on Women finally. I have read about them in many online articles but I wanted to see what the hype was really about. The venue was so packed but the performance was stellar. I had listened to an album a few months ago and I expected it to be intense. When I heard the song “Say it”  live, it was absolutely moving. Having a song blatantly state the obvious and jarring reality about rape was emotional but needs to be screamed from the mountains tops. This is a song that definitely reflects the times of this past year. I also got an informative book written by Shawna Porter about creating safe spaces and I look forward to reading it. She was super loving in person and is an absolute treasure to this scene. I am bummed I didn’t get any footage from this show to share.

Later that night after bouncing around with friends, I headed to Bo Diddley Plaza to check out Rozwell Kid. I really like them and have seen them previously. This time around they really impressed me. I think this band will continue to get better and better as their career develops. I was really looking forward to finally catching The Lawrence Arms set. I have missed this band at many festivals over the years and they rarely tour in southern states. Finally getting to seeing the Lawrence Arms was definitely worth the wait.

 

One of the major appeals of Fest for was getting to see Lagwagon perform “Let’s Talk about Feelings” for the 20th anniversary of the album. This album is fun and has great songs such as “Hurry Up and Wait” and “May 16”. It is said that this is Joey Cape’s favorite Lagwagon album but I feel the band would say that about all their records like they were their children. The first Lagwagon record I ever listened to was Double Plaidinum. That will always be my favorite but Let’s Talk About Feelings is my other go-to album. The cover art and the playfulness of the record itself will make you want to listen to it beginning to end. I am glad I got to celebrate this album at Fest 17.

My late show on Saturday was located at Loosey’s Market to check out pop-punk sensations The Dollyrots. A college friend of mine really sweated this band and turned me on to their style. They are not my usual taste in pop punk but the songs are super fun and catchy. You can tell this is Kelly and Louis’ passion and they always have fun on stage. I am glad I finally got to see them live. I got to catch another Mystery Band, which was The Stereo!

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The Dollyrots at Fest 17

This was a reunion for them, which Fest is known for bringing back fan favorites. When I think of power-pop, the Stereo is possibly my favorite. That might have to do with the members being from the Impossibles and Animal Chin. It is like a perfectly formed Fueled by Ramen super band. I feel this secret show was a test run for the bigger Bo Diddly stage but all the super fans showed up for this particular show. I also had the pleasure of running into my favorite podcaster Jeff from the Rockfuel Podcast at this show. See some footage below:

 

Sunday was a random day for new music and crazy hijinks on the final day of Fest. I headed to the tattoo shop Wunderland to see about getting a Fest tattoo. Since there is always a list of people ready to get inked, we headed down to the see The Stereo for an encore performance. I also had the pleasure of meeting the band after their set and they said they are working on a new album!

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Dollar Signs at Fest 17

I was REALLY looking forward to seeing Dollar Signs at Fest for the first time. This band was a hidden gem in my Spotify. I want to send Spotify a literal thank you letter for introducing me to this band. I am bummed they only had a 30 minute set time at the High Dive. Nevertheless, I was determined to enjoy every second and they did not disappoint.

They wore their party shirts, had hoverboards, and the crowd sang every word. I have to say that was one of the best shows at Fest. I look forward to what they will release next. In an ideal world, I would love to see them tour with Jeff Rosenstock. That would be a match made in heaven.

I eventually got my tattoo (see above) and headed back to Bo Diddley Plaza for the last time. I had to see Masked Intruder for the tenth time in my life. This band literally steals my heart since they steal everything else. I sat on the lawn and watched all the crowd surfers fly by. It was a nice way to spend my last evening at Fest. After getting some dinner and my Masked Intruder fix, I headed back to the High Dive. I had been watching The Shell Corporation on Bridge City Sessions on YouTube for the past month.   “Kumbaya” is my official anthem of the year 2018. I had to see it live. Here is some of the song below (buy their albums!) :

This band should get more credit and be a bigger name, which I feel that will come in time. They have a vision and a style that always leaves me wanting more. I ended up staying at the High Dive with my friends to check out The Fad. I hadn’t listened to or thought of this band since the early 2000s. We had a great time dancing to some throwback ska and having some drinks to close our first Fest. It was definitely one for the books.

I know there was a ton I missed out on. If I didn’t have a full day of traveling then I would have been at “the purge”. There is always an awesome band that shows up and there are new friends to be made. I am sad I missed Iron Chic while getting my tattoo. It would have also been cool to experience Pre-Fest or see the wrestling. I just don’t believe you can do everything at Fest. I am sure many of you have tried. I think that might be the beauty of Fest, it is a unique experience every time with new and old friends.

Even though I have been to many shows in Texas and around the country, I have to admit Fest has the best fanbase hands down. Fans come year after year and are a real punk community. I made a lot of new friends and got to see some old good ones while I was there. I hope to make it back to Gainesville for more great memories and to party with my Fest friends.

For more photos and videos from Fest 17 check out my Instagram.

NEVER STOP FESTING FRIENDS!

Summer 2018: Jawbreaker Reunion Austin

As you can tell from this blog, I love a good reunion show. Jawbreaker is no exception. Austin was lucky enough to get a date added to the reunion tour on July 13, 2018 at the Skyline Theater. Jawbreaker wasn’t always my favorite band. I had to give it several listens. After I started seeing the pattern of the bands that I liked have an affection for Jawbreaker, I started to see the bigger picture.

What also caught my attention was the release of the documentary Don’t Break Down: A Film about Jawbreaker. Seeing all the collective bands and fans of Jawbreaker talk about this moment in time and telling their story of making it brought real light about how life is in a band. Success is defined and showed in different ways. By industry standards, Jawbreaker wasn’t as successful as they wanted. Fans saw something completely different and were hoping for a longer run than they had as a band. Just like any tragic music story, the fallout is the hardest. In the end, the band came to terms and turned it around this year.

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A Giant Dog 

In true punk fashion, Riot Fest got a jump on their reunion plans in 2017. Riot Fest has been responsible for hosting a few reunions under their belt and this was no exception. Luckily, this reunion wasn’t short lived and this tour actually happened. At the Austin date, we had local openers Lemuria and A Giant Dog. I definitely believe Lemuria was influenced by a band like Jawbreaker with their introspective lyrics and riffs.

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Jawbreaker Reunion 2018 

A Giant Dog might be the crown jewel of the current Austin music scene. I am not surprised they opened for sure a high profile show. I am not sure they are completely underneath the umbrella of the punk genre but at the very least you will be entertained by their garage influence.

This was the first show I have seen at this made-up venue. The Long Center is a theatre but doesn’t normally do concerts of this kind. Margin Walker events put on this tour date and built the stage for the Jawbreaker show specifically due to the Mohawk being a smaller more intimate venue in town. It was a cool venue and you could see the whole stage from the hillside. I would like to see this venue set up again for another artist. I would also love to see Jawbreaker again.

Here is the setlist from this date and some videos from this show:

  1. Boxcar
  2. West Bay Invitational
  3. Sea Foam Green
  4. Save Your Generation
  5. Do You Still Hate Me?
  6. Condition Oakland
  7. Chemistry
  8. The Boat Dreams From the Hill
  9. Jet Black
  10. Parabola
  11. Accident Prone
  12. Ache
  13. Sluttering (May 4th)
  14. Housesitter
  15. Kiss the Bottle
  16. Shield Your Eyes

No encore for some weird reason. It was rumored they were going to play Chesterfield King but honestly, it was stupid hot outside so who knows what really happened at the end of the night.

Punk In Drublic Craft Beer & Music Festival: Forth Worth

I was super pumped that this tour was even considering coming to Austin. This city has a small but great punk scene, it just doesn’t attract major punk tours like other cities. Unfortunately, there were a lot of sad punks here since the venue decided to pull out of the deal two days before. Whatever your opinion on the matter is, real life happens and everyone lost out on a fun Cinco de Mayo.

Except there was a bit of hope to be had. Let me just start out with why I love punk bands and their devoted fan base. The festival decided that if you lost out on the Austin date that the next tour date was available to ticket holders. They also upped the ante by allowing a free plus one. Did I mention that included a beer tasting as well? If this was some other major label band they would have just refunded the money or rescheduled with some public statement. And yes, there were some issues with tickets and other details. If you were able to take that sweet deal it was definitely worthwhile.

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I was one of the lucky ones from Austin. Plus we got to bring some extra friends that couldn’t afford a ticket or couldn’t make the original date.

The set up was interesting and was at the Panther Island Pavillion park in Fort Worth. You get drink tickets for beer tastings from vendors which set up before the music begins. You get 10 tastings which are equal to about 2 full beers. The selection was half local and half national brewers. It was tough drinking in the hot Texas sun but it was fun hanging out the all the fans before a show. Here’s the lineup:

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Punk in Drublic Fest

The first act I caught was the Mad Caddies. I have seen them previously but they are an old favorite. I was excited that they played a couple of new tracks for an album that takes punk songs and makes them ska style. They did a cover of “She” by Green Day which was very fitting for this band. I skipped The Interrupters just because they open for every Hellcat Records tour and I have seen them a thousand times. They are a good band but find them a bit redundant.

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Mad Caddies at Punk in Drublic 2018

The highlight was seeing Bad Religion play Suffer front to back. That is one of the most quintessential punk albums of all time. You could literally see Fat Mike sing the entire album word for word from the side of the stage. That album cover, those lyrics, are absolute perfection every time. They also sprinkled some hits from their vast discography. I honestly have to say they are the highlight of this festival. I think Fat Mike also finds ways to book them on any tour or festival he curates since he feels the same.

 

 

 

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NOFX Punk in Drublic Festival 2018

NOFX is still NOFX. The small banner and they sometimes can play the songs they write. I think they have an interesting setlist these days. I think they tend to stick to newer albums rather than their hits. I do enjoy First Ditch Effort quite a bit, so this isn’t a bad thing in my opinion. This wasn’t their best set but I am glad that things are on the up and up for NOFX as far as trying new things such as this festival and camp. Here are some highlights from this date and looking forward to September.

 

*** Note from the Editor:

I previously wrote this review before their comments at Punk Rock Bowling in Las Vegas. I was at the festival and will cover the subject in a future piece. Stone Brewery pulled their sponsorship and NOFX was pulled from the remaining festival dates. On their website, they also took off the postponed Austin date.