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Music: Bands to check out at Riot Fest 2019

For 15 years now Chicago-based Riot Fest has been a multi-day music festival specializing in punk, rock, alternative, metal, and hip-hop. Although festivals are popping ... read more

Interviews: Aaron Rice

Having started out in bands and working in collaboration with other musicians, Minnesotan musician Aaron Rice decided to strike out on his own in 2015, ... read more

Regular Columns: Only Death Is Real #3

The third iteration of Only Death Is Real is perhaps its darkest yet. Oppressive black metal, frozen winds and French melancholy all feature with the ... read more

Interviews: Multicult / four-band interview

With the new Simultaneity Now out on Friday August 2, Multicult provide yet another reason to love Baltimore. The new record releases on Learning Curve ... read more

Interviews: Nadir

Nadir is a punk trio with some names and faces you might recognize from their work with Off With Their Heads, Fake Boys, and Hard ... read more

Top story

SPB Premiere: Synapses Firing - Mention Me

SPB Premiere: Synapses Firing - Mention Me

New York City is rightfully regarded as one of the hotbeds of American punk music, but coming out of the Bronx district presented some challenges to Synapses Firing's singer and guitarist Sean Dowling. “We all come from the Bronx hardcore/punk scene which sometimes had rough edges," Dowling says. "As we grew older, we all drifted towards musical influences outside of metal and hardcore, and wanted a project to reflect that. Making a music scene work in the Bronx was always an uphill battle, there are very few places to practice out here, no house shows and very few all ages events. Cops and neighbors were never used to hearing a punk show down the block. There was never a culture or a model to follow.”

Originally formed as an acoustic project allowing Dowling to develop his songwriting chops in work outside of hardcore and metal, Synapses Firing has, over the past five years and a series of releases, expanded out to a four-piece specializing in a crunchy sort of alt rock that has unmistakeable punk influences. The band is now getting set for the October release of Ruining You, a new full-length containing a mixture of songs both old and new that, as the band's Facebook page describes, hit "straight from the gut to the jaw."

Listen to first single "Mention Me" below and head over to the Synapses Firing Facebook page for more info and to pre-order Ruining You.

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Records SPB Premiere: Small Stresses - Either Way I Lose

SPB Premiere: Small Stresses - Either Way I Lose

Growing up in middle-of-nowhere Pennsylvania, the local college station stood as the one place on the radio dial that I could consistently turn to for listening enjoyment. The hours of classical music programing each day didn't bother me much, and the sense of not knowing quite what you'd hear next, from edgy indie music to just-plain bizarre monologues from the amateur DJs, made college radio and its eclectic, frequently fantastic playlist the perfect alternative to the same, tired songs being repeated on the other stations.  

Blending '90s-era alt rock and pop punk with a dash of emo and a finishing garnish of interesting perspective provided by vocalist Janie, Small Stresses strikes me as exactly the type of band that would be right at home on the college radio airwaves. Having released an EP earlier this year on Head2Wall Records, the Detroit-based group is now gearing up for the release of their debut LP.

With its driving opening leading to a more expressive segway around the midway point, "Either Way I Lose" represents the various aspects of the Small Stresses sound quite nicely and effectively delivers an emotional punch.

Says the band: "This song is the title track of our new record. The song deals with a end of a friendship. We are excited for people to hear it, and we hope y’all enjoy it!"

Give the track a listen below, and watch out for the LP on Head2Wall Records later this year.

Records SPB exclusive: Filthy Hearts - Beyond Repair

SPB exclusive: Filthy Hearts - Beyond Repair

Photo by Jessica Kanzenbach

We're excited to share an exclusive stream of Filthy Hearts' brand new release Beyond Repair, released August 30th on Hidden Home Records. You can pre-order the album here and check out the full album via the stream below.

Hailing from Denver, Colorado, Filthy Hearts are a punk band featuring ex-Larimers vocalist Ryan Hatfield and released their debut EP I'll Sleep When I'm Dead (Inside) in 2016. Beyond Repair is their first full-length and you can catch them on tour tonight in Denver (details here).

Follow the band on Facebook, Twitter, SpotifyiTunes or BandCamp and check out the album right here below.

Shows Nerf Herder to headline "A Merry Punking Christmas" Show

Posted Sept. 15, 2019, 4:55 p.m.

Nerf Herder to headline "A Merry Punking Christmas" Show

photo by Chris Goyette

Pop-punk geek rockers Nerf Herder will return to Chicago on Dec. 7 for the inaugural "A Merry Punking Christmas" show, the band's first time in Chicago in 17 years. The lineup for the event also feautre The Copyrights, Dan Vapid & The Cheats, and Capgun Heroes. 

While the group released records on Fat Wreck Chords, Arista, and Oglio Records, they are perhaps best known for composing the theme song for TV's Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

All proceeds from the show will benefit Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Greater Chicago Food Depository, and Toy Box Connection. The current Nerf Herder lineup features founding members Parry Gripp and Steve Sherlock, with Linus Dotson and Ben Pringle. 

Records A new Consumer album

Posted Sept. 15, 2019, 4:18 p.m.

A new Consumer album

photo by Sam Nikitas

Consumer return with the new In Computers on Oct. 25 on The Flenser. The project, formed two years ago uses a variety of experimental sounds collected from analog and digital electronics.

The band features Tim Macuga (Have A Nice Life), and also Have a Nice Life’s live band members Myke Cameron (bass) and Rich Otero (drums, synths, programming), plus Joe Streeter (guitar/engineering).

Records New to Fat Wreck: MakeWar

Posted Sept. 15, 2019, 10:34 a.m.

New to Fat Wreck: MakeWar

photo by Loren Green

The next record from MakeWar will release on Fat Wreck Chords. The label sent an announcement earlier this week that Get It Together, the followq-up to 2016's Developing A Theory Of Integrity. Currently calling Brooklyn and Florida home, the band features members originally from Venezuela and Columbia. The new record will have two songs sung in Spanish.

The band will also be touring extensively this fall, including dates with Lagwagon and Face To Face, and a stop at The Fest 18.

Tours Brother Ali/Evidence joint tour

Posted Sept. 15, 2019, 9:57 a.m.

Brother Ali/Evidence joint tour

Rhymesayers  labelmates Brother Ali and Evidence will embark on a co-headlining tour on Nov. 7, getting things started at The Observatory in Santa Ana, CA and wrapping up at Vervantes' Masterpiece Ballroom in Denver, CO.

Brother Ali last released All The Beauty in This Whole Life while Evidence most recently released Weather or Not.

Labels Katie Malco joins 6131

Posted Sept. 15, 2019, 9:27 a.m.

Katie Malco joins 6131

6131 Records has announced the addition of Katie Malco to the label's lineup. Malco, who played at If Not Now, When? Festival this weekend, is also scheduled to perform at Wild Paths Festival in Norwich, UK next month.

Along with signing to 6131, she is now streaming the song "Creatures," her first new recorded material in six years. Listen below.

Labels New Age Midwest Fest compiles benefit comp

Posted Sept. 15, 2019, 8:58 a.m.

New Age Midwest Fest compiles benefit comp

New Age Midwest Fest, taking place in two weeks in St. Louis, MO, will release a 15-band compilation this year to raise funds for the Dayton Foundation, an important resouce following the Oregon District Tragdy that took place in Dayton, OH last month.

The festival takes place on Sept. 28 (with a pre-show on Sept. 27) and features several bands. This year the label is also releasing the Actioni Over Words companion compilation:

"I had the idea to do a 'mixtape' of all the bands playing the fest. Kind of a promotion tool you can also have as a special keepsake. One of the first shows I ever went to, when I was probably 14, the flyer was a CD-R with a couple of songs from each band on it," says B, who co-produces alongside Nicholas. "That always stuck with me and I’ve wanted to do something like that forever. Then we got to talking and said why not make this a fundraiser? Comps are a great way for the scene to come together to raise money and awareness."

Bands included in both the festival and the compilation include Life Force, Kill Their Past, Heel Turn, Abraxas, Redbait, Mean Season, True Self, Treason, Dying For It, Decline, Brute Force, The Dividing Line, Disappear, Through N Through, and ThirdFace.

Records Martin Bisi's Solstice

Posted Sept. 14, 2019, 2:28 p.m.

Martin Bisi's Solstice

photo by Joan Hacker

Veteran New York producer Martin Bisi is returning with his first solo album in five years. Having worked with the likes of Brian Eno, Bill Laswell, Sonic Youth, Swans, Helmet, John Zorn and more from his BC Studio in Brooklyn, Bisi now returns with his sixth full-length solo record, Solstice, which features a different backing lineup on Side A (summer) and Side B (winter).

"Most of the music was born out of improvisation, then developed from there," Bisi says from the making-of. Side A is more active whereas side B is more reflective in nature.

Bisi will be on tour in the US and Europe this fall. Solstice releases November 8 on Bronson Recordings.

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Top review

CJ Ramone

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200 Words Or Less

As of August 6th, it’s been 23 long, languid year’s since The Ramones played their final show. Since then, all the original members - Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee and Tommy have been called home.  Richie and Marky continue to carry the flag, but it’s CJ that’s been keeping the Ramones spirit alive and well through the past two decades. Whether through Los Gusanos, or Bad Chopper or as a solo artist, he’s proven that both with The Ramones and long ...

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Ai Weiwei: Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

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Sept. 15, 2019, 8:14 a.m.

Ai Weiwei: Good Fences Make Good Neighbors   Unlikely that you have not come across internationally renowned activist and artist Ai Weiwei and his commentary on the status quo in ... read more

CaI-Guo Qiang: The Transient Landscape exhibit

Posted by T
Sept. 14, 2019, 11 a.m.

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Sydney Contemporary 2019 @ Carriageworks

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Sept. 13, 2019, 7:01 p.m.

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