I remember the first time I saw Green Day a few decades back and left the show knowing that I had witnessed something special. I also realized that the distinctive music they delivered was a fresh and welcome new take on punk rock. Friday night in Orlando, I had the same feeling, watching SWMRS, four talented Oakland, California punks deliver a fiery 45 minute set.
You just have to love the chorus to “Avoiding Boys,” the bodacious new single from ROMP.
“I don’t care what you might say,
This is gonna be a great fucking day”
THE GILLS! The name kind of makes me want to scream it. This upbeat punk/pop/rock hybrid sound coming from Nashville via Pensacola, Florida is sure to get you on your feet. I got the chance to listen to The Gills over the past week, and I gotta admit. I’m impressed.
It’s been one hell of a start to 2016 for our favorite quintet of Nashville rockers. The Dead Deads have just disembarked from a raucous week rocking the high seas and then quickly released the video for their new single “Super Tiny” which you can sample below.
Check out some fun new rock from SWMRS, as they honor the occasionally eccentric Miley Cyrus with a fun new song, simply titled “Miley.” It’s one of the first songs released from their forthcoming debut album, and if it is a sign of what to expect, good things are on the way.
Last night at Will’s Pub, I witnessed one of the most impressive and inspirational acts I’ve seen in years. Hank & Cupcakes are an uber-talented duo who have perfected a fantastic live act through a relentless and vigorous touring regimen.
Radkey Steals the Show
Full disclosure: we only got to the arena early to make sure we had a good spot secured for the headliners, Rise Against, but we came away with so much more. This talented young trio from Missouri showed us their tremendous potential in a power-packed thirty minute set.
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Radkey are three young brothers from St. Joseph, who defy categorization. They absolutely embody everything that is great about rock ‘n roll. They are different for sure, and in rock music, different is so damn rare these days, and in this case, oh so welcome!
With singer and lead guitarist, Dee Radke being the eldest brother at a tender 20 years old, they are young, but on stage they put on a show that belies their youth. Dee’s vocals feature a nice range including a distinct powerful baritone. He’s joined by 18 year-old Isaiah on bass and the baby-faced Solomon beating the drums. All three members are talented musicians, three home-schooled youngsters who are the antithesis of sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll. They’re into reading, anime, and science fiction, oh and apparently pretty serious about their music, as they are all self-taught.
They are three young African Americans who grew up on The Misfits, Ramones and Foo Fighters, and those influences ooze through clearly when they command the stage. (As a writer named after a Ramones song, I have a special affinity for young bands influenced by the punk legends). I’d characterize their music as pop-punk; it’s aggressive rock with clever riffs and hooks. Their guitar and bass riffs are captivating and catchy as hell. The arrangement of their songs is deliciously messy, yet polished at the same time.
The two eldest brothers fly around the stage, all the while thrashing out fantastic music. Isaiah is a whirling dervish who never stops moving and seems quite comfortable interacting with the crowd, while dishing out breakneck bass chords. Dee was slightly less aggressive on-stage, but still put on a tremendous performance, and had a few nice slides across the floor as he dished out killer riffs. Solomon capped off the trio perfectly, delivering freight train drums throughout the powerful seven song set.
The crowd was actively engaged in the performance and seemed to deeply appreciate their delicious rock noise. Tim McIlrath of Rise Against dished out a tremendous compliment, when he compared this hard working band to their own roots a decade and a half ago.
If there’s anything right in the rock ‘n roll world, we will be seeing this band perform live for many years to come.
Man On Earth Album Review
I literally get dozens of albums a week in my InBox and it is basically impossible to listen to everything that comes through the mailbox, but this offering from Man On Earth, a band totally unfamiliar to me, caught my attention.
First, the email came from a band member, bassist Adam Root, and that always makes a positive impression to me, as I have a great deal of respect for hard-working passionate bands. Their bio mentioned linkages to three bands I have a great deal of appreciation for: Theory Of A Deadman, Fun., and Lenny Kravitz, and they have a relationship with a professional hockey team (sure it’s just the Islanders, but still…). Interest piqued, I downloaded the album and took it for a spin, and I was not disappointed.
The eponymously titled album is a fun offering that boasts big, powerful rock songs; music that should translate excellently on stage. At times gritty garage rock, pop punk and mainstream rock, it’s a nice mix of songs that will appeal to most active rock fans. We immediately get good insight into what the albums has in store for us with the hard-driving drums and aggressive bass line that kick-off the subtly titled first track, “Bang Bang Bitch.”
Throughout the album, the New York City band’s talent and diversity is frequently on display. “If Not Then, When” boasts searing guitars, and “On Our Own” is bouncy pop punk that rekindles fun memories of Sum 41. “We Are The Dreamers” is borderline sappy, but Steven Nathan’s vocals and lyrics are worthy of attention, and the tender Knopfler-esque guitar damn near beautiful.
My favorite track is the radio hit-in-waiting, “Lost In These Lights.” It’s a little slicker and poppier than most of the tracks. It’s a clean, well-produced, catchy tune that would feel perfect blasting through any car stereo.
As noted, there are a handful of highlights, but the record is at times a little uneven, and there are a few tracks that will get minimal play on my iPod, but overall, it’s an album worth owning from a band that should be on the radar of rock fans throughout the country.
Check out the album on iTunes: