Back in the 90’s, before everyone and their dog had a skateboard, punk rock and skateboarding were pretty much synonymous with each other. Most skaters were punks and most punks attempted to be skaters. That’s how it was where I grew up anyway. Out in Flint Michigan (home of poisonous water) the skaters were punks too. It’s all chronicled here on this stupendous comp of live recordings in the late 90’s from a Flint skate shop called Empire Of One. The Get Up Kids, Hot Water Music, even Jimmy Eat World all got their start there. Ok they didn’t get their start there but they played there and it was amazing (probably).
Hailing from Mexicali Mexico (Home of, umm, hot weather, and right across the border from Calexico USA. Isn’t that cute? You know, in my province, there’s a lake that spans the border between Canada and the US called Lake Koocanusa. It’s a mash up of Kootney/Canada/USA. I’m full of fun geographical facts like this) Juan Cirerol has been hammering out the tunes for a while now. Over 200 of them apparently. I’m willing to bet they’re all as enjoyable as this collection. He’s like all of your favourite old-timey country/folk singers, but en Español and maybe with a bit more attitude. I’m sure Mexico has it’s own storied history of country/folk stuff, but I’m not going to pretend I know anything about that, so yeah.. Just imagine Woody Guthrie or Bob Dylan in Spanish. I’ve been listening to this all week at work within earshot of my lovely Peruvian co-worker, so I really hope the lyrics are SFW, cuz I honestly have no idea. Oh god, what if this is Anti-Peruvian music?
Strange Ranger – Daymoon
This album made the top 5 before I even heard it. I guess I’m a bit biased. They put out what was, in my opinion, the best album of 2016, Rot Forever. They were called Sioux Falls back then. To me, that was the perfect record. It quickly became one of my all time favos, so predictably, this one doesn’t quite live up to the hype I created within myself. Still, it’s rad as Hell, and Hell is pretty rad,, or so I’m told. I don’t necessarily want to go to Hell per se, unless maybe I had like a fire-suit or something. Listen on Bandcamp or Spotify
Pinky – Mood Swings
The album art is misleading. I expected it to be pop punk or one of those ‘gnar’ bands. Instead it’s shoegazy melodic hardcore in the vein of Title Fight, which I am highly in favor of. Especially when it’s done right. These guys are doing it right and killin’ it. Like multiple-stab-wounds killin’ it. I can’t stress enough how perfectly this was executed. Here’s hoping they have a lot more songs under their belt or in their back pocket or up their sleeve or in whatever other part of their clothing. Maybe in their backpack if they have one. I don’t care, just hand it over. Listen on Bandcamp
Simon Joyner – Step Into The Earthquake
I don’t think anything can be said that isn’t already implied when you say the man’s name. I mean, he is a freakin’ delight to listen to. This guy makes better Bob Dylan albums than Bob Dylan does. Well, better than he has in a very long time anyway. Big, dusty old songs that make today’s mainstream radio-folk seem utterly and completely irrelevant. If Bob Dylan listened to this album he would mumble an entirely incoherent sentence. If Bob Dylan read this review he would start shouting out verbal crazy like that guy on the train people don’t want to sit next to. In conclusion: Bob Dylan was amazing. Simon Joyner still is. Listen on Spotify
Atlas – S/T
Straight out of The Big Diaper, Toronto Ontario. That’s what the locals call it right? As a Canadian who doesn’t live there, I’m actually obliged by law to shit-talk Toronto. I think they really do call it that though. I’m pretty much positive. The weather here in Vancouver is beautiful by the way. Look, I don’t want any trouble. This is an awesome record. They should be in the conversation along with all those other big emo-revival (a term even stupider than ‘emo’ itself) bands, like MoBo and Sorority Noise and the such. An argument could be made that these guys are better than both of those bands. Now I’m not the one starting that argument. I’m just saying it’s absolutely true and if you don’t think so you’re just wrong. Listen on Bandcamp
Poster-iti – Sarı Çizgiyi Geçmeyiniz
Joe Strummer was born in Turkey you know.. That’s up against the point though. I don’t understand the words on this album, but I still find myself singing along to it. It’s super catchy 80’s style punk. A little first-wavy, a little hardcore. It’s actually a re-issue, but I’m including it anyway because it’s totally awesome and it does have some unreleased material on it. The original album was released in 2005 to much acclaim in Turkey. Actually, I made that up. I have no idea how well it did in Turkey, but in my imagination this was an instant classic and the punks went fuckin’ bananas for it. Listen on Bandcamp