PUNK FACTION : BHP ’91 to’95 by David Gamage

Punk Faction, BHP ’91 to ’95, is a 280-page book collecting together the articles, interviews and reviews from the punk music and alternative lifestyle fanzine.
It contains interviews with Goober Patrol, Angus Bagpipe, Pseudo Hippies, Green Day, Hard-Ons, Ramones, SNFU, Quicksand, All, MTX, Sugar, Alloy, Samiam, Compulsion, Down By Law, Rancid, Shelter, Jawbreaker, Pennywise, Civ, Riverdales, as well as Daniel Clowes and Steven Jesse Bernstein. It also contains tour and scene reports, and articles on everything from censorship to prejudice, hunt saboteurs to third world debt, vegetarianism and the environment, as well as hundreds of live and record reviews.
Now collected into one book, with an introduction from the editor/author and a foreword by Frank Turner.

David Gamage says in his introduction that some of the things he wrote back when he was doing this zine that some parts were a little naive on his being so young, but it is a snapshot of what was going on in his area and in his heart and mind back then. The book is a collection of the complete zines from this time period, warts and all, and in the case of the first few issues… a lot of warts. The first few issues while interesting, suffer from being hard to read because of the poor fonts, bad printing from the time period, small size and the confusing and jumbled layout. As time moves forward, things start to improve and it becomes a lot clearer and easier to read everything. Even though it seems like a complaint, it is cool to see the zines in all their glory. The writing is pretty good, lots of info in the articles, interesting and humourous interviews and cool reviews of shows and music. Some of the political articles sound preachy, but that’s how most of them still sound today. While not agreeing with everything written in these zines, it’s easy to skip over the things that I don’t care about, just like reading the originals and focus on the more interesting, at least to me, stuff. I can see the hard work that was put into these when they were originally done, and for that, I salute you and all the effort put into them.

A great snapshot of bands that have gotten bigger, gone away, or just forgotten, and a scene that didn’t get a lot of press in the larger zines of the time. Of course, it’s always sad to see zines go away, but at least this one will not be forgotten with this fantastic collection that everyone interested in punk and hardcore should get.

https://www.facebook.com/david.gamage.5

https://www.facebook.com/engineerrecords/

http://engineerrecords.com/

https://www.earthisland.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/EarthIslandUK

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BEST INTENSIONS : The Loser’s Club

Nashville based Pop punk band composed of Tony Pietrafesa (vocals, guitar), Matthew Kleinman (guitar), Evan Aliquo (Bass) and Jim Collett (drums); Best Intention’s sound encompasses elements of rock, hard rock, and pop-punk, with emphasis on the pop-punk. Best Intentions was born in Philadelphia, in 2016, the brainchild of Kleinman, who moved to Nashville a year later, where he re-launched the band with a new lineup.

If you like Blink-182 and Weezer, this is the band for you. This is as catchy as a hooker in Times Square back in the early ‘80s before they cleaned it up. The band has a ton of energy and keeps things bouncing along with strong song after strong song. I really liked “At The Ocean” with its peppy playing and terrific guitar playing. The vocals are clean and clear, with just enough of a snottiness to keep things fun. First track “Ghosted” is just someone making a phone call and no one being there, nothing too exciting, easy to skip over, but don’t you dare do that to anything on the rest of the album. “Roses’ is another song that stuck out to me with the punchiness of the track and the catchiness of the song. “Would You Be Proud Of Me Now” starts off slow and quiet and then gets going into a faster tempo and is a great song with thoughtful lyrics. “Welcome To…” is another track that can be skipped over, just a recap of the album made up like someone skipping around the tracks with it playing in the background. “The Loser’s Club” is catchy and has a great bunch of swearing in it that will be great shouted out live in concert. The playing is tight, great lyrics and enough emotion coming through to give it heartfelt feelings for the listener.

After getting burned out on pop-punk and how many bad bands there were out there playing it, this is a breath of fresh air and shows that when someone gets it, they can really play the hell out of it. This is a band that I will be keeping my eyes and ears on.

https://www.facebook.com/BestIntentionsMusic/

https://www.facebook.com/racestreetmusicgroup/

THE MUFFS:Blonder And Blonder

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This is the Muffs second, and best-selling album, now remastered and with seven bonus songs included, five previously unreleased as well as notes from the band. The sound is crisper and the added tracks add to the album and give some insight to what they were up to at that time.

The album is a 90s punk staple in my house and should be one in yours too, with its tight playing and sharp lyrics. The songs are fast, catchy and full of energy, so much more fulfilling than the pop punk that is out there today. What the hell happened to that style of music? Anyways, this has hit written all over it and they deservedly had the biggest selling album with this amazing album. The crunchy guitars, the assured, yet manic vocals, and clean sounding drums still hold up after all these years. I remember getting this album when it first came out and playing it a lot, but this really takes it up a notch with the improved sound. This hook laden album has been mostly left behind by kids nowadays, but really needs to be heard and loved all over again. The album has intricate playing mixed with the quick and furious songs, and also the clear production helps add to the mix.

If you haven’t heard them before, grab this album and turn it up loud, be proud of your new-found favorite album, and if you are a fan from the old days, play the hell out of the album too. The album is a definite must have in your collection, so stop wasting time and get a copy today.

https://www.facebook.com/TheMuffsMusic/

https://www.facebook.com/omnivorerecordings

http://omnivorerecordings.com/

 

RANSOM PRICE: My Kidnap Money: CD

Ransom Price, hails from the Philadelphia suburbs of southern New Jersey, was founded in December 2012 by Mike Ransom, formerly a member of 90s punk band Point Blank, and by former Endless Sacrifice drummer Chris Mazure. Ransom Price plays catchy and melodic punk rock that is guaranteed to stick with you long after the first time you hear it.

Well I grabbed this CD and took a look at the cover and got scared, it looks like a touchy-feelie band playing emo/acoustic crap, that is until you notice the bloodstains on the shirt…hmmmmmm. So I threw it on and was surprised by the melodic punk that has a nice hint of pop to it, but not that crappy pop punk that is everywhere now. These guys play punk the way it was back in the ’90s with just enough sweetness, but not enough to put you into a diabetic coma. The songs are played tightly, with clear, crisp production, giving the songs a nice punch to them. The vocals are not too snotty, but they have a bit of an edge to them which adds to the overall feel of the songs, the band is on point, with the occasional gang vocal, chugging guitar playing with the riffs being spare, but well done, strong bass playing and driving drumming. The songs are so melodic and catchy that it’s hard to pick favorites, but a few that stood out, at least on this play, are “Radar Contact Lost,” “Fire Escape,” “Another Day,” and “Drink.”

This shows that punk played with melody and some pop can work when done well, thank you for getting it right…hallelujah! An album that will sound great blasting from the windows of your house or car when the weather co-operates.

https://www.facebook.com/RansomPrice

https://www.facebook.com/unablerecords

http://www.unablerecords.com/index/

SAVE ENDS: Warm Hearts, Cold Hands: LP

Warm Hearts, Cold Hands cover art

The Boston, MA five-piece band’s debut album has ten songs that will get in your head and grow until there is room for nothing except this album. The shared male and female vocals are such a treat on give the album nuances that are a pleasure to listen to.

This mix of pop punk and indie is a pleasure to hear from when the needle hits the vinyl right up until the last note has faded. The band plays their hearts out, and the vocals just grab you and sweep you off of your feet and take you on an exciting trip away from your troubles. This is the kind of album that when you’re listening to it, you can’t help break into a smile and feel good. This would fit perfectly into the scene of the mid ’90s, but don’t think of this as a retro album, no, it’s an album of energy and power that hits your soul and brings happiness into your day, kind of like a reminder of when things were easier or not so hectic before. The songs shimmer and they just make you want to listen to them over and over again.

This is the kind of band that I would drag everyone that I know to see live, and make them buy merch from them. This band deserves your attention and you need to do what you can to show them love.

https://www.facebook.com/SaveEnds  http://saveends.bandcamp.com/music

https://www.facebook.com/tinyengines  http://tinyengines.bandcamp.com/album/warm-hearts-cold-hands

http://tinyengines.limitedrun.com/

SIGNALS MIDWEST: Light On The Lake: LP

Light On The Lake cover art

These guys from Cleveland, OH play a mix of punk, pop punk, and post hardcore that blends together very well. We have twelve songs that showcase the emotive vocals and energetic playing of people who really enjoy what they are doing and it shows so well on this album.

The pacing of the album gives you the ragers and the softer moments to give you a break, the sharp hooks come at you one after another, and the high level of musicianship gives this album a head up over other bands who struggle through their own albums. The vocals have a nice range of being smooth to becoming louder and more manic, the bass playing is a highlight, especially on “The Desert To Denver” which is a favorite of mine, the drumming is devastating and the guitar playing really shines as well.

This is an album that will shake up your expectations and worm its way into your head after one listen. This is one terrific album that just gets better the more that you listen to it.

https://www.facebook.com/signalsmidwest  http://signalsmidwest.bandcamp.com/album/light-on-the-lake

https://www.facebook.com/tinyengines  http://tinyengines.bandcamp.com/

http://tinyengines.limitedrun.com/

TEEN AGERS: I Hate It: CD

I Hate It cover art

These four guys from Orlando, FL are not teenagers anymore, but that doesn’t stop them from spilling all the angst one has at that time in their life on their debut full length album. Ten high energy punk songs with just enough pop to smooth over the rough edges, but not make things too sugary sweet.

The band comes out ready to get you up out of your seat and get you rocking out, always a good way to start off your album with a killer tune. The band keeps the pace going through out the ten songs with a slight cool down in speed on the middle of the album, but not slow songs, just a tad slower, but still ass kicking all the same. Lots of manic riffage, throbbing bass lines, solid drumming and vocals with a hint of snottiness add up to a winning combination.

The clear production really lets the band shine and the songs are strong and stand up to repeated listening. Repeated listening seems to be what they were shooting for and it worked in spades.

https://www.facebook.com/Teen.AgersFL  http://anchorlessrecords.bandcamp.com/album/i-hate-it

https://www.facebook.com/AnchorlessRecords  http://anchorlessrecords.bandcamp.com/album/i-hate-it