Face To Face
Southern California's Face to Face was formed in 1991 by singer/guitarist Trever Keith. Debuting early the following year on the Dr. Strange label with Don't Turn Away, the trio was quickly snapped up by Fat Wreck Chords, which reissued the LP soon after. Adding second guitarist ... Chad Yaro, Face to Face toured relentlessly in the months to follow, recording a series of singles and compilation tracks collected in 1994 as Over It. When the song "Disconnected" became a local hit thanks to steady airplay on Los Angeles station KROQ, the group's profile grew considerably, and 1995's Big Choice, the groups sophomore release, increased the band's momentum even further. In the wake of Riddle's exit, bassist Scott Shiflett signed on for Face to Face's major-label debut, a self-titled release issued on A&M in 1996. The adventurous Ignorance Is Bliss followed in mid-1999 featuring new drummer Pete Parada.
The following year saw Face to Face returning to their core sound with Reactionary. Through a promotion with MP3.com, Face to Face allowed fans to shape the set list for Reactionary by downloading snippets of the songs and voting which ones should make it onto the album. Nearly two million votes were received during a six-week period. Reactionary was released on June 20, 2000. The cover album Standards & Practices, which featured the band's own rendition of songs by the Smiths, the Pogues, Fugazi, the Jam, and others, was issued on Vagrant in early 2001. That year also saw the formation of Shiflett's side project Viva Death, which released its eponymous debut in September 2002. Meanwhile, Face to Face had joined the Dropkick Murphys for a split EP, and How to Ruin Everything, the band's sixth studio album, had appeared in March 2002.
In fall 2003, Face to Face disbanded after 13 years and six albums. Two years later, the retrospective Shoot the Moon: The Essential Collection was released on Keith's Antagonist Records. During this period Keith went on to form the remix/electronic duo The Legion of Doom whose internet-only hardcore/emo/mashup phenomenon "Incorporated" was hugely popular and kept the duo in the top ranking positions on the myspace music charts. Keith also recorded a solo album and released a very limited number of CDs on his Antagonist label.
In 2008 Face to Face reformed with Danny Thompson on drums. Their new album, "Laugh Now, Laugh Later" will be released in May 2011.
Man, these days everyone with a chipped tooth and a bad haircut says they're street punk. It's almost gotten to the point where it just seems like gimmickry, like being bi-polar or good looking. But once in a while, a dude who works in a warehouse gets together with a truck driver and makes shit kickin' punk rock songs so ball-smashingly radical that they end up getting the guys from Me First and the Gimme Gimmes and One Man Army to help 'em sing, and the end result is everybody's favorite San Francisco institution that isn't completely riddled with glory holes, the Swingin' Utters. I know what you're saying: what the fuck am I doing reading a Swingin' Utters bio in 2011? Sure, they're pretty much the trailblaizenist band that ever decided to put grandpa's banjo and spittoon next to the marshall full stacks and the booze, but what have they done lately? Well, I'll tell you, you impudent young whippersnapper. They've recorded Here, Under Protest, the single best album of their already award winning career (handsomest ballsack on a punk, 2001-02 [Darius]) and that's saying something. It's, as Ron Burgundy would attest, a pretty big deal.
It's a big deal because the Utters have been kicking ass since even before 1995's The Streets Of San Francisco, which was so good that it got them signed to Fat Wreck Chords (back when that was a hard thing to do [Heyo!]), got them the attention of pretty much everyone that listens to good, aggressive music, got them on the Warped Tour and even won them a Bay Area Music award or two. Now, I know what you're thinking, and sure, awards shows can be a self congratulatory blow-a-thon, but when a bunch of vagabonds like the Utters stroll in drunk wearing Dickies and tee shirts and stagger out with some awards, to the chagrin of all the dipshits, well, that's pretty cool, right? Of course. So what happened then?
Well, they put out a ton of great records, including A Juvenile Product of the Working Class, Five Lessons Learned, Dead Flowers, Bottles, Bluegrass, and Bones, an eponymous record, and a veritable shit-ton of EP's and live stuff, toured relentlessly with such little-known bands as Rancid, NOFX, The Damned and Dropkick Murphys, sold over two hundred thousand records, annexed the golden voiced Spike Slawson of Me First and the Gimme Gimmes fame on bass and vocals, convinced Jack from Dead to Me and One Man Army to start playing guitar and singin' too, and suddenly, on Here, Under Protest, the Utters have found themselves with this insanely stacked, Voltron-esque lineup, boasting a goddamned reckless cavalcade of vocal ability. That's right, man. The Utters are bringin' THREE FUCKING LEAD VOCALISTS to the table, and three vocalists that all could (and do) front amazing bands of their own. It's like if Velvet Revolver was good or if the Backstreet Boys had stayed an oi band. Look, we're getting off the subject. The point is, the Utters are back with their first full length in eight years, one that features Spike and Jack singing alongside Johnny and Darius for the first time in, uh…ever, and one that is going to kick the dicks of the Oi/Streetpunk scene like only a bunch of dudes with shitty jobs, axes to grind, beers to drink and a history of defining and putting out the best records of the genre can do.
Here, Under Protest is fourteen tracks of the Irish/Oi/streetpunk sound that you've come to expect from the Utters, and it's also their best record. Look, all bios say that the musicianship is great and what you've become accustomed to is now being brought in bold new ways and then some, but this time, we're talking about the Swingin' Utters, and you already know how awesome they are, so let's fuck the pretense, and close by saying that despite the smug, 'eye on the exits' title of Here, Under Protest, these dudes show no signs of slowing down after a staggering twenty-one years of doing it. So here's a toast to the best new record by the best classic band in recent memory. In the words of my grandpa "To our wives and girlfriends! May they never meet!" Hey, whaddaya want? These are the Utters and it's been eight years since their last record. Drink up! Don't be such a dildo.
Teenage Bottlerocket is a pop-punk band from Laramie, Wyoming, formed in 2001. The band was formed by twin brothers Ray and Brandon Carlisle after their previous band Homeless Wonders broke up in 2000, and is completed by Kody Templeman and Miguel Chen. The band's music is heavily influenced by Kody's other band, The Lillingtons.
The band released their debut EP A Bomb on a Laramie communal label, One Legged Pup, in 2002 and soon after on October 31st 2003 the band released their first album, Another Way, on vinyl only through that same label.
After touring through 2004, they set to work on their next release, Total, which was released in April 2005 through Red Scare. After more touring in support of Total, and a spot on the warped tour, they recorded their next LP for Red Scare, Warning Device, which was released on January 8, 2008. A video was released for the song "In the Basement" on December 28, 2007.
On February 10th 2009, Teenage Bottlerocket signed with punk label Fat Wreck Chords, later releasing They Came From The Shadows, their fourth and most recent album, on the 15th of September.
The Goddamn Gallows
The Goddamn Gallows came from the heart of America's Rust Belt, arising from a night of flophouse violence. Drifting across the states, they cemented their sound in Portland, OR and later in Los Angeles, CA, where they lived in abandoned buildings, squatter camps, storage units and shoebox apartments.
In 2007, they left everything behind and spent the next 4 years living out of whatever vehicle would get them to the next town. Building upon their original sound of "twanged-out, punk rock gutterbilly"(Life of Sin 2004 and Gutterbillyblues 2007), they began picking up stray musicians along the way and adding to their sound; washboard, accordion, mandolin and banjo (Ghost of th' Rails 2009 and 7 Devils 2011) creating a sound referred to as "hobocore", "gypsy-punk" or "americana-punk", while never being stuck in any one sound.
The Goddamn Gallows continue to rapidly grow a devoted following with their volatile and spectacular live shows; a contagious, spontaneous eruption of unpredictability.
Joshua Black Wilkins
Sprawling From East Nashville, Joshua black Wilkins blend of American music is helping define the new "alternative country" sound. Taking influences from across all genres of American music, his new album, Hellbent & brokenhearted showcases not only the sounds of Nashville's "lower Broadway" but more diverse instrumentation and song structures. Written with an acoustic solo record in mind, the songs are well grouped to shape the description of it's title. Using members (or former members) of bands like Agent Orange, Tarbox Ramblers, Rosie Flores' band, Bad Livers, Hank III and the Camaros, the musicians are challenged to Create a new sound for Joshua, and make it authentic. With the help of bass player Scott McEwen as producer, they have. Both intimate and moving at times, and forceful and cruel at other times, the record bridges Joshua's solo performances with the intense power of his band on stage. With little left to the imagination in his songwriting, his lyrics go straight for the throat.