The Bastards of Young/Wolves and Thieves release is one of the best split releases which I have heard in a long time. This album is pure fun punk rock which will remind you again of what drew you to punk in the first place.
Hailing from Sacramento California, Bastards of Young (a great band name), get the split started. The gruff (think Bronx meets HWM meets Ken Casey), dual, sing-along choruses immediately hook you in. The second song, "Five to Life" has the great chant of "Five to life/Just another criminal" shouted as an ethereal guitar line dances around in the background. The third track, "We Want More" sounds like an odd combination of older Against Me!, The Bouncing Souls, and Anti-Flag, which may sound odd, but really works quite nicely in execution. In fact, it is hard to define the sound of Bastards of Young, but that is one of their biggest strengths. Every song is unique, but all share the common characteristics of being catchy, well constructed songs. This band clearly has the potential to grow into something big.
Wolves and Thieves (who consist of ex-members of Dispute, The Silent Film Stars, and Scissorhands to name a few) side of the split hearkens back to the glory days of the East Bay Hardcore scene, with obvious influence from older AFI, Nerve Agents, and 80's hardcore. The band blasts off with "Damage Control", which is my favorite track on their side. The song is angry, abrasive, catchy, and clocks in at just under two minutes. The rest of their side of the split continues along in much of the same vein with plenty of "Whoas" sprinkled judiciously throughout their 7 song side. The Wolves and Thieves side is short and sweet, never wearing out their hardcore sound during their brief yet triumphant, sonic assault.
One of the joys of hearing this band is listening to Ryan Blasquez strangle his guitar to peel off really great sounding Black Flag-esque guitar solos. Under Blasquez's technically sound guitar work and Jeremy Lux's vocal snarls, the rhythm section of Erik Block, Justin McAllister, and Paul Wiseman keep the band churning forward. Their last song, "Morning After Kill" features Joe Clements, of the band Furry 66, sharing vocal duties and is a great way to bring the album to a close.
Overall, this is an impressive debut for these up and coming bands. Both of these bands could turn into something special and I am looking forward to seeing Wolves and Thieves open for the recently re-united, The Force at Gilman. The split is currently streaming here at punknews.org so go ahead and check it out and remind yourself why you got into punk to begin with.