Punk Rock Highlights: October 2nd 2014
This is my first official “blog post” here at Freedom Like a Song and what is more fitting than to discuss a little PUNK ROCK, one of my favorite genres and pastimes. So let’s light a fire and pump our fists in the air. Make sure to check out Freedom Like a Song on Facebook / Twitter.
This acoustically led punk release is unlike the norm and challenges the mindset of what a typical punk album should sound like. Sef has done himself a favor and took a huge risk by putting the distortion to the side, wearing his heart proudly on the sleeve and sharing stories about life & love. Sef’s day job is leading the punk band False Idle as their frontman/guitarist/songwriter if you aren’t familiar with him (look them up).
Thumper Punk are diversifying their roster more and more each day and this ep is further proof that you don’t have to release just stagnant garage oriented punk that sounds like it’s recorded in a bathroom with a single mic in one take. Listen to the tracks “5AM”, “Start Again”, and the teary eyed “Big and Strong” (My personal favorite). Don’t just take those as standout tracks, every single one is memorable and worthy of a listen. The simplicity of song and gentle soothing voice of Sef coupled with the upbeat strum of an acoustic guitar make this a must for every punk and non-punk fan alike. A+, buy it now!
Thought provoking punk rock from this Houston, Texas pop-punk duo. I’m telling you, you don’t hear tunes like this typically from the “Christian” market let alone the punk rock music scene. These guys are one of a kind and that’s what draws me into their music. Their sound is reminiscent to bands like NoFx, Mxpx, Shop 11 Phoenix, Rufio, Screeching Weasel, etc. Postmodern Failurism is the pop-punk ep you’ve been dying to hear for the past decade that’s been missing since it died out the last time. They have this “classic” sound yet modern enough for audiences of this day and age to latch on to as to not label them some “old” band as kids like to say. Check them out and download this ep if you get a chance. Some of my favorite tracks on this ep include “Innocent Blood”, “Blood of the Martyrs”, “Now They’re Dead”.
Living Fire are a unique outfit. How many “Christian” punk groups can you count that originate from the country of Brazil? Yeah, not too many. Living Fire count as heavy hitters in my book not just in independent punk rock but in the realm of Christian music. Their fiery brand of spirituality is infectious and cause for major fist pumping action. “Dead to Sin” marks the first official album by the band that I can call myself a fan of. I didn’t really dig their last one too much but I can say without a doubt that this one is a definite step up from the Thumper Punk debut and a positive new direction for the band toward a fruitful future in punk rock. The band strikes that perfect balance between unbridled aggression and the melodic. Melody is certainly not something lost on the weak for this band handles it with ease and still keeps their gritty realism in tact.
If you’re looking for an accurate description of the sounds permeating from the album, I would best describe them as a toss between Dogwood, Bouncing Souls, Millencolin, Flatfoot 56, and Nothington. Even a bit of old school Officer Negative can be found in some songs (as is evident even in their tip of the hat through the cover of the classic Officer Negative song ‘JCHC’).
Overall, I am most impressed with this sophomore effort from Living Fire and would recommend it to true punk rock fans as well as new punk fans just getting into the scene and looking for that next Faith based band to latch on to. If you’re looking for great lyrics and aggressive yet melodic punk tunes to jam out on the next cruise around town, look no further than Living Fire. We miss you Dogwood, but Living Fire can certainly fill the void 🙂
This Orange County punk rock band really surprised me with this sophomore Thumper Punk release. Some Thumper Punk albums can be hit or miss (sorry bands, no hurt feelings k thnx) but this band went and released an album that has risen above all the garbage out there in the music scene. Spiritual lyrics mixed with hard hitting guitar rhythms and fast melodic beats, enough to drive plenty of circle pits. They have a unique style not just for “Christian” music but for the punk scene. They do have a classic sound that hearkens back to a few decades ago yet still current enough to bring in the kiddies (and their parents!). I miss the days when bands would open up an album with a movie quote or bible verse and this band certainly isn’t ashamed of what they believe and why it is they believe what they do, which to me is definitely admirable. In today’s watered down, dumb-ed down music scene, bands like this are welcomed change (thank you Thumper Punk for keeping it real). Lyrics run the gamut of substance abuse and reconciliation, to sexual abuse/trafficking, to the healing grace of God. If you’re looking for a deeply personal record sure to raise a few eyebrows and yet put a smile on your face, then this album is for you. For fans of Descendants, Social Distortion, TSOL, Value Pac, Altar Boys, and more.
Mike Stand is a songwriter/guitarist with over 3 decades of music making under his belt yet still earns that underrated musician status. Mike Stand is a humble soul yet I believe he has helped (with his band The Altar Boys) create, found, and otherwise spread the modern day Christian punk rock movement. Yet you wouldn’t know it by the lack of love and admiration his band gets from peers and the “industry”. I certainly think they deserve it above all the other craptastic CCM bands of the past several decades earning their awards, walking down red carpets, and amassing plaques to hang on their temporary large home (mansion) walls. Where is the support for Mike Stand and what his band accomplished during their reign in “Christian Music”? I am sure he doesn’t need the awards or induction into some hall of fame but just a simple tip of the hat by industry insiders would be sufficient. There, I said it. I had to get that off my chest and now with my blog I can safely say whatever the heck I want without irritating readers and causing a ruckus among fellow staff members who disagree with my generalized statements 🙂
So about that new side project of Mike Stand titled The Altar Billies? Well, I must say Mike Stand, Johnny X, and Chuck Cummings, have created the finest piece of Rockabilly/Punkabilly music the west coast has seen in the past few years. Christian music has zero bands like this. I am sorry but they don’t. I can tell you why, because radio wont play it, kids wont buy it because “it wont sell”, “it doesn’t have screaming in it”, “it isn’t youthful”, “it isn’t about ‘Oceans'” (Oh God help us). Guess what, none of that matters when it comes to just plain GREAT music. Mike and company are EXCELLENT musicians who have perfected their craft from years of playing not only side by side but also in their own bands for countless years. After 3 decades of songwriting and singing, Mike shows no signs of slowing up or fatiguing that comes with age and that is due in part to God’s gift of music making he has been blessed with.
The 15 tracks on this album are worth every penny. They are ragers, fast and aggressive with that punkabilly edge yet still rooted firmly in country with a tad bit of twang. It’s a blasting combo of music that is sure to delight all fans of music and fans of this genre especially. Those hunting for something “different” that is above the norm, something recorded by men your father’s age yet with that youthful spirit that would put most kids more than half their age to shame. Give this trio a chance and listen to the songs on Amazon above and consider supporting independent music today. Standout tracks include the Altar Boys cover “World Burning”, “I’m Still Stand’n”, “Head’n Out West”, “Rock My Soul Alive”, “Is It Me?”.
Punk Rock Kickstarter:
Posted on October 2, 2014, in News, Reviews and tagged Christ's Sake, Head'n Out West, JCHC, Living Fire, Moral Monsters, Post Modern Failurism, Punk, Punk Rock, Punkabilly, Reviews, Rockabilly, Sef Idle, Start Again Ep, The Altar Billies, Thumper Punk Records, Veritas Vinyl. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.