Off with Their Heads - Hospitals (Cover Artwork)

Off with Their Heads

Hospitals (2006)


This is a good as it gets when it comes to a punk rock EP. 10/10, folks.

Off with Their Heads' Hospitals EP was originally released as a 12" on Rock Bottom Wreckids out of Brooklyn, NY. The four-piece comes from Minneapolis, and sound -- get this -- a lot like and just as good as fellow Minnesotans, Dillinger Four. They're not a D4 clone, but they definitely share that gritty sound that you've come to expect from bands like the Arrivals, Toys That Kill, the Lawrence Arms, and much of what's released on No Idea Records. Like all the aforementioned bands, you can always trace something back to Screeching Weasel, and although we may be talking about bands with a "dirty" punk sound, OWTH couple that with some of the catchiest melodies I've heard all year.

Aside from the hooks, another notable feature on this release is the genuinely dark nature of the lyrics. You've heard that before about other droopy bands, but this is real struggle. Not songs about how hard it is to be in a band or about your girlfriend in the neighboring cul de sac. No sir. Off with Your Heads would rather sing about dead-end jobs, health problems, suicide, drug abuse, being ridiculed by your know, an average punker's life! If song titles like "Die Today" and "Your Child Is Dead" don't give you an idea of how cold the material is, the lyrics will. The last line on track 8 for example (which ironically happens to be one of the most sugary-sweet melodies on the EP) goes a little something like this: "I keep it simple, I love and trust my friends, but I'd rather be back in New York doing heroin again." Yikes. I'm guessing Aiden doesn't have songs like that?

I saw them play an amazing and hilarious house show in Oakland a few months ago and they were fucking great. They nailed all the back-ups and "whoa"s while frontman Ryan's rasp sounded perfect in that living room. I can't recommend them more. Don't take my word for it either -- two members of Dillinger Four have raved to me about Off with Their Heads, and that's all the endorsement you could ask for. Name-dropping and hometown biases aside, I put OWTH up there with a small crop of new bands that are both good and playing REAL punk rock. Bands like Dead to Me, Teenage Bottlerocket, and the Copyrights. When all the make-up washes away, I think we're still gonna have some decent punk rock music to look forward to and I think it's gonna come from these bands.

The record has since been released on CD by Recess Records, so not having a turntable is no longer an excuse. The band is also doing a fair amount of touring, so you should see 'em pronto.