Philadelphia's Ex Friends have a song where the refrain goes, "Cops crack skulls! Cops crack skulls! Cops crack skulls!" The funny thing is, that while you expect the vocals to be some grizzled, crustie-lifer, they are actually extremely poppy sounding, and with different words, could fit on pretty much any radio hit that you could name. Such is the quagmire of Ex Friends - a band of smart, thoughtful people that can go toe-to-toe with you on Anarcho-punk or Flaubert.
One of the group's driving forces is Joel Tannenbaum, who, as you may know, is also one of the guys in Plow United. He did some heavy time in the Gomorrah that was the 90's Philly punk scene before spreading his wings and getting a doctorate. But now, he's back and is eager to smash out some pretty hard punk rock that also flirts with sounds far outside usual punk conceits- think Conflict meets Leatherface.
Because Mr.-Smarty-Pants just got his PHD, features Editor John Gentile rang him up and they spoke about the newest Ex Friends album Rules for Making Up Words (which just got released on vinyl, yo!), memories of the old Philly punk scene, and fightin' with the cops!!!
You can click read more for the brawling tips.
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Happening Now: We made a mix of our favorite BURGER RECORDS tunes for Burger Revolution 2014. Check it out.We're sponsors of Pouzza Fest! Have you seen their official promo video?Here's Buzz of the Melvins doing his first acoustic show everCheck out Episode 1 of Chris Farren and Jeff Rosenstock's 'Back to the Island' podcast about LOSTDavid Byrne covering BIZ MARKIE. 'Nuff said. The Clash "meet" Stevie Wonder- this rules.Vinyl release for The Bled' 'Found in the Flood' in AprilHere's the commercial for Tankcrimes Brainsqueeze 2. It rules.
Posted by johng on Thursday, March 6, 2014 at 8:00 PM (EST)
Philadelphia post-punks Death of Lovers feature members of other local acts probably familiar to early 2000s hardcore and shoegaze fans: Horror Show, Nothing, Swan Dive and Night Sins. The group, whose Buried Under a World of Roses EP recently came out via Deathwish Inc., incorporates musical elements of the past but does so with a unique twist that is not easy to pin down. Staff interviewer Andrew Clark spoke with vocalist/guitarist Domenic "Nicky" Palermo a few weeks ago on Skype in what felt like a stream of consciousness dream, touching upon the band's history, Philly being a crappy place and personal musical evolutions.
Posted by johng on Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 8:00 PM (EST)
Your favorite band? Yeah, Rebecca Reed has shot them- twice. She's pulled the trigger on everyone from Masked Intruder to Rise Against to Gaslight Anthem to Nas to Green Day to Fucked Up to AFI to Slayer Kendrick Lamar to Rancid to Iron Chic to Tim Barry to Elvis Costello to Chuck Ragan to Alkaline Trio to The Melvins! And not only that, she's had her shots published in Alternative Press, Rock Sound, and pretty much every promo shot ever. Also, she once photographed a bottle of Coca-Cola.
Because Reed is the professor of punk photos, features editor John Gentile spoke to her about her shots, the portrayal of women in modern photography, and of course, Melviiiiiiiiiiiinsssssss!
Click read more for the conversation and a set of hella awesome pics.
Posted by johng on Monday, March 3, 2014 at 6:00 PM (EST)
This week Morning Glory releases their new album, War Psalms.
In order to celebrate the release of the album, Punknews had Morning Glory frontman Ezra Kire pick ten of his favorite war songs and tell us a little bit about each tune. In addition to his picks, Kire penned a pretty heartfelt letter about his youth, growing up in Sri Lanka, and what the new album means to him.
You can click read more for the letter and Kire's ten favorite war tunes.
Posted by adame on Thursday, February 27, 2014 at 8:00 PM (EST)
Alex DiMattesa is a busy guy. The man behind Grave Mistake Records puts in a full day's work handling every aspect of the label's operations, while also managing one of the largest distros you're likely to find. That work entails much more than just putting out the finished product from bands like Night Birds, Big Eyes and Red Dons. It means packing tape and cardboard, daily trips to the post office and having an accountant. Punknews Copy Editor Adam Eisenberg caught up with DiMattesa to talk about life at the the helm of a DIY label, how he built his massive distro and where he keeps all those damn records.
In the 80s and 90s, New York was a blistering hotbed of gritty music, thumping through the alleyways and manhole covers, telling brazen tales of the streets. Much of it came via hip-hop pioneers like Grandmaster Flash, EPMD and Public Enemy. Much of it was also told by the emerging hardcore scene including Agnostic Front, the Cro-Mags and of course, Sick of It All.
"It was cool because a lot of the messages in hip hop are similar to those in punk rock," says Sick of It All/Cro-Mags bass player Craig Setari (aka Craig Ahead) in a light Queens accent. "Like, slightly different, but with the same underlying message of fighting oppression…of fighting and seeing the injustices in the world and not closing your eyes."
He pauses, pondering the similarities a bit more.
"It was definitely a parallel movement and even though it was a different genre of music, the message was ultimately the same," he adds. "Yeah, they had a lot in common."
Just after some grocery shopping at an Asian vegetarian market in the Flushing neighbourhood of Queens ("Sorry, can you hold on for a sec? I have to pay"), Setari spoke to Punknews interviewer Gen Handley about the legendary New York hardcore scene and the yet-to-be-named Sick of It All album coming out (hopefully) this fall.
Posted by johng on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 8:00 PM (EST)
Adam Davis is a maniac. Like, this one time, he drew 100 robots. Some were happy. Some were sad. Some were murderous. Some were just robots. That's (an insane) dedication of Nick Blinko proportions. THEN, after that, he drew 100 dinosaurs! But, not only did he draw 100 of them, he hid them in random spots around the Bay Area, spread clues as to where they were hidden, and then kept track of them as people found them.
On top of that, he's done art for Mike Park's Childrens records, about a million punk rock flyers, and probably did a logo for your friend's band. But! On top of THAT, he was in Link 80 and Desa, formed the the crust/death metal band Primary (which did anarcho-metal versions of Mormon schoolchildren songs), and is one of the masterminds behind the wonderfully chaotic and bizarre Gnarboots.
Because Davis likes hiding things in bushes around the bay area, and because he's in a few of the wildest, most creative punk bands ever, features editor John Gentile spoke to him about art, robots and why Mike Park doesn't like to look at paintings of wieners.
You can click read more to learn all about Mr. Roboto.
Photo by Kevin Zamani
Comeback Kid singer Andrew Neufeld knows the band inside and out, not only from a vocalist's standpoint but also a guitarist's point of view as well. Neufeld switched from guitar to vocals after the 2006 departure of original CBK vocalist Scott Wade. After the switch, the band has seen a few other members come and go, but its current incarnation has birthed the band's newest album Die Knowing, set for release through Distort and Victory Records on March 4th. Staff interviewer Gregg Harrington caught up with Neufeld to discuss the new album, the band's recent trip to South Africa and touring with a wide array of bands.
When Iron Chic announced last spring that they had signed to Bridge Nine Records, flannel-wearing bearded and non-bearded punks alike rejoiced. It had been nearly three years since their brilliant debut full length, Not Like This, and while they managed to release a few 7-inch records and played some shows, there was always a lingering concern that at any moment the Huntington Station, NY band could just up and collapse.
It's no secret that all of them are pushing - if not already - 30 years of age, and they did almost break up once before. News that The Constant One, the sophomore follow up, was planned for a fall release was exciting. Now, after letting it whet punk palates everywhere, Iron Chic are gearing up for a trek across the US, taking them to cities they've never been before. To psych you up, Punknews staffer Matthew Bentel called up vocalist Jason Lubrano to discuss the shift in the new record, the DIY scene and crowd surfing.
Posted by johng on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 8:00 PM (EST)
Zak Kaplan is the packaging man. He designed the huge Rancid 7-inch box set (though the bat wasn't his idea). In his band Detournement, he made a flexi-disc that could double as an assault weapon. He made a heart-shaped disc that quoted the Mao-ist doctrine.
On top of that, he makes striking posters that combine Cold War and communist imagery with modern punk aesthetic. He made a None More Black poster with the Russian scythe raised perilously in the air. He placed dinosaurs next to exploding volcanoes for Catch-22. He drew a cat for Off with their Heads!
Because Kaplan is the go-to guy for packaging, and because World/Inferno Friendship Society gave him a special "thanks" in one of their jackets for unspecified reasons, Features Editor John Gentile spoke to him about his inspiration, that Rancid bat and records that might qualify as class three firearms.
Posted by armando on Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 8:00 PM (EST)
Philly-based Cayetana have started off 2014 strong. They are currently in the studio working on a full length record and last Tuesday they released a brand new 7-inch titled Hot Dad Calendar via Tiny Engines. The previous month they embarked on a short run of dates along the East Coast with Waxahatchee.
Interviewer and Contributing Editor Armando Olivas was able to chat over the phone with guitarist/lead singer Augusta Koch right before the release of their single. The two talked about the lack of hot dad calendars on the calendar market as well as the band's plans for the rest of the year.
You can click Read More for the interview.
Managing EditorAdam White
Contributing EditorsKira Wisniewski Brittany Strummer Armando Olivas John Flynn Chris Moran John Gentile
Copy EditorAdam Eisenberg Britt Reiser
Podcast ProducerNariman Shariat
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