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Davey Dynamite full band set at Gnarnia

Phil Collins - April 18, 2014

Davey Dynamite's much anticipated full band set is this Saturday at Gnarnia in Chicago. A number of musicians will join Davey to play his songs with full live instrumentation for the first time. Click on the flier for more details. Many of us have been looking forward to the prospect of a Davey Dynamite full band show for a long time. Below are a few of Davey's electric songs that are making us geek out about this show.

Davey Dynamite full band set

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Random Records with Steve O

Antonio Vivaldi - The Four Seasons

Steve O - April 13, 2014

The Four Seasons

Wait a minute, this isn’t punk rock! Well, thank you Captain Obvious. Did you know the first hominin-made tools are from around 2.5 million years ago? They were rocks with one side stuck to create an edge. It took about a million years for someone to turn the rock over and hit the other side, creating a bi-facial tool. A million years. Think about that. I think you’re needed back there Captain Obvious.

[Captain Obvious walks off, dejected, to his time machine.]

But I digress. Antonio Vivaldi is probably most well-known for this work, The Four Seasons. You probably know some of these melodies without realizing it. Melodies in the first movements of “Spring” and “Winter” are some of those classical melodies that are known in popular culture for some reason or another, kind of like Beethoven’s Ode to Joy or Grieg’s In the Hall of the Mountain King. You know it without knowing you know it. How’s that for mind bending?

Anyways, I highlight The Four Seasons because it’s the time of year where you can get weather that feels like all four seasons. Last week I went out wearing my winter coat. Today I went for a bike ride wearing shorts. The weather is unpredictable. So Vivaldi gives us a feeling for all four seasons. From the uplifting spirit of “Spring” to the melancholy of “Winter”, this has it all. “Summer” has those relaxing moments where you’re just lounging around followed by sudden bombasts (like at the very end of the first movement), just like an arriving afternoon thunderstorm.

And that’s one of the coolest things about classical music. The dynamics. It can get so soft and calm you have to turn the speakers way up to hear it, and a split second later it can be so overwhelmingly loud, that you rush back to those same speakers to turn it down. It’s dynamic element, those sudden bombasts of noise and furor are just like punk music. Just listen to Night on Bald Mountain (also known as the best part of Fantasia) or anything by Wagner (Kill the Wabbit anyone?) for proof. Captain Obvious might have missed that. But Captain Subtle Observation sure caught it.

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Recap: Against Me! at Durty Nellies

Phil Collins - April 7, 2014

Friday night Against Me! headlined a show at Durty Nellies in Palatine. The band is on tour in support of "Transgender Dysphoria Blues," the excellent new album they released in January. This album is significant on two fronts, the first being that this is the first album Against Me! has released since lead singer Laura Jane Grace came out as a woman. Second, the band released "Transgender Dysphoria Blues" on their own Total Treble Records after putting out their last two albums on Sire, a subsidiary of Warner Bros. Records. So, this album cycle marks a new era in Against Me! history, likely the fourth era (pre-"Reinventing Axl Rose," "Reinventing Axl Rose" and the Fat Wreck Chords years, the Sire years, and the current era.) There seems to be more positive buzz from the punk community around "Transgender Dysphoria Blues" than there has been around the band for quite some time, and for good reason. The album is catchy, incisive and angry. It embodies what excited so many people about Against Me! in the first place. They played the majority of the album at Friday's sold out show, opening with "FUCKMYLIFE666" and blasting through "Unconditional Love," "True Trans Soul Rebel," "Drinking with the Jocks" and "Transgender Dysphoria Blues." The album's closer, "Black Me Out," was a raging anthem toward the end of the set. The band recently released an interesting shadow puppet video for that song. Check that out below.

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Kettle Rebellion (proto-Mischief Brew) stream long-lost album

Phil Collins - March 26, 2014

Kettle Rebellion

Folk punk enthusiasts: Mischief Brew have unearthed a long lost album from the band's earliest days, when they were called Kettle Rebellion. The eight song album will be released April 1 on Fistolo Records (250 copies, Oxblood vinyl.) The album was recorded in 2002 and the masters were promptly lost or stolen. According to the story circulating around the web today, some tracks leaked online over the years. Eventually, Mischief Brew found that they did have these recordings in bits and pieces and were able to reassemble them for this release. Kettle Rebellion was formed in 2001, toward the end of The Orphans' run. After the Kettle Rebellion recordings went missing, the band decided to pursue other interests but soon got back together as Mischief Brew.

This is not the kind of finding that happens every day, so enjoy it. There have been many exciting releases so far this year, but at 12 years, this is by far the oldest. Punk News has the album streaming in full so there is no need to wait one more day to hear these songs. The songs sound like Mischief Brew in their full-out electric form, which makes sense if they were written while The Orphans were still active. Mischief Brew is currently working on their next studio album, "This is Not For Children." Earlier this year, they released a career-spanning collection of demos called "Thanks, Bastards!" Stream or download that release for free on their bandcamp page.

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Reel Big Fish don't stop skankin at Durty Nellies

Phil Collins - March 25, 2014

Reel Big Fish, one of the banner bands of the third wave ska revival in the 1990s and still one of the most fun ska bands around, brought their Don't Stop Skankin tour to Durty Nellies in Palatine on Sunday. They played songs spanning their 20-plus year career, from their classic sophomore album "Turn the Radio Off" through their most recent release, 2012's "Candy Coated Fury." The crowd at the sold out show responded just as well to the newer tunes, especially "Everyone Else is an Asshole," the opener of "Candy Coated Fury." The band opened with two songs from "Turn the Radio Off," still the album they are best known for and one of the staples of mid to late 1990s pop culture. They started with "Everything Sucks" followed by my personal favorite song of theirs, "Trendy."

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Liner Notes: The Bruce Lee Band- "Community Support Group" 7"

Phil Collins - March 22, 2014

Community Support Group

Welcome to Liner Notes, a new feature in which I will talk about the production design, packaging, and process of buying a particular record. I am building a collection of vinyl. The look and feel of the record is important to me, otherwise I would be satisfied to have all my music solely in a digital format. People do not buy records because it is convenient. They take up a lot of space, they are fragile and they get dusty. Record collectors do not mind these drawbacks so much because of what we get in return: big artwork, full liner notes and the tangibility of vinyl.

First up is The Bruce Lee Band's "Community Support Group" 7-inch released on Jeff Rosenstock's Really Records in January. Rosenstock, of Bomb the Music Industry!, appears in this iteration of The Bruce Lee Band on bass, organ, saxophone and vocals. Mike Park, founder of Asian Man Records, is on vocals as always. This time out the band also includes Mike Huguenor on guitar and vocals and Kevin Higuchi on drums. The band has included different members on each of its three releases. Mike Park has been on vocals for each release, backed by Less Than Jake and RX Bandits, respectively, on the first two releases. "Community Support Group" contains the first new songs from the group since 2005. I bought this one online directly from Really Records, which is now sold out of the limited pressing. The label says there is a full-length on the way this summer.

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The So So Glos release animated video for "Blowout"

Phil Collins - March 15, 2014

Brooklyn punk outfit The So So Glos released this fun animated clip for the title track from their 2013 album "Blowout." The song itself is a rolling bundle of firecrackers. It is mostly instrumental, with periodic shoutouts. The animation style matches the goofy enthusiasm that is integral to the song. The album, the third full-length from The So So Glos, is frenetic from front to back.The band is now wrapping up a week of shows at SXSW in Austin, where they seem to have become a staple.

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Road Report: The Lawrence Arms in Rhode Island

Steve O - March 9, 2014

The Lawrence Arms

So I realize that while I usually write about random records, I’ve done a couple of what I feel like calling Road Reports. The last Streetlight Manifesto shows in New Jersey and Good Riddance in Cambridge, MA. Well, now let’s add the Lawrence Arms in Pawtucket, Rhode Island to the list. (What a stereotypical New England name, right?)

Yes, I drove almost three hours to see a band that I’ve seen so many times I’ve lost count. Crazy? Likely. But it was also a great time, as every Lawrence Arms show is. This one had the added bonus as I was able to cross Rhode Island off the list of states I’d been to. It was the last holdout on the east coast until you get all the way down to South Carolina.

The show also featured Elway and the Copyrights. Despite having seen the Copyrights a bunch, I don’t really know their songs too well. But they’re all fast and catchy, and they played songs like “Shit’s Fucked,” “Sleepwalker,” and “Charlie Birger Time,” so I was happy. As for Elway, I’ve been getting into them a lot lately. Kinda like Chris-only Lawrence Arms. They were great live, and pretty funny too. Their debut record, Delusions, has some great songs, off which they played “Passing Days,” “It’s Alive!” “Whispers in a Shot Glass,” and “Kristina’s Last Song.” Check them out, especially if you dig the Lawrence Arms songs starring Chris.

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When Flying Feels Like Falling release new song

Album due out this Spring

Phil Collins - March 3, 2014

Chicago punk band When Flying Feels Like Falling released "Class War," the first taste of their upcoming debut album. It is exciting to hear a studio recording from this band. I have played their excellent live album into the ground. Will the new album contain studio recordings of tracks from that album, which was recorded at Reggies, or will it be mostly new tracks? It will likely be a mix of both. "Class War," in any case, is a new catchy number. This band writes the choruses of pop punk songs while retaining the influence of the crack rock steady and crust punk scenes. Enjoy "Class War" and catch When Flying Feels Like Falling at the 7th Street Space in DeKalb this Saturday with Davey Dynamite, Praise the Sinners, Butchered and Morphine Squirtgun. They also have a Chicago show this weekend, at Reggies Rock Club on Sunday with Burndoubt, Nick Van Horn and Lasers.

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Green Dot Session with Henry Brawlins

Dave Anians - February 17, 2014

Hey, here’s a new edition of Green Dot Sessions! It’s been a bit, but this is a good one.

Henry Brawlins (Kevin Sawa) is a songwriter/poet/drummer/singer/photographer. He writes and plays for The Stockyards and Sleeping is my 9 to 5. He’s got a lot of passion and a lot of things to say. His work is very real and really good.

We talked about art and music and punk and drumming and you can just read it.

The Stockyards:

Sleeping is My 9 to 5:

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Random Records with Steve O- Nasum's Helvete

Steve O - February 14, 2014

So we’re gonna try something a little different for Random Records this time. Five records that sound nothing alike, but there’s something connecting all of them. See if you can figure out what it is.

In 2012, during the same weekend NATO was in Chicago, so was Nasum. One of those things is awesome, the other… well, not so much. Quite obviously, Nasum is the one that falls into the awesome category. They also fall into the list of bands I never thought I would get to see live, with founding member Mieszko Talarczyk passing away in the tsunami of 2004. But 2012 brought them on a short tour with Rotten Sound’s Keijo Niinimaa handling vocals.

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Random Records with Steve O- Mayhem's Live in Leipzig

Steve O - February 13, 2014

So we’re gonna try something a little different for Random Records this time. Five records that sound nothing alike, but there’s something connecting all of them. See if you can figure out what it is.

This is the second live record on this list. Both are from highly influential musicians, but on quite different levels. Regardless of that, Mayhem had as much to do with the rise of black metal as Pete Seeger did with folk music. This was one of the few records to feature the legendary Dead (a.k.a. Per Yngve Ohlin) on vocals.

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Random Records with Steve O- Dio's Holy Diver

Steve O - February 12, 2014

So we’re gonna try something a little different for Random Records this time. Five records that sound nothing alike, but there’s something connecting all of them. See if you can figure out what it is.

After leaving Black Sabbath after two albums, Ronnie James Dio started his own band, giving a new outlet for his distinct voice and mythical storylines. Holy Diver, in 1983, was the debut, and probably receives little debate for being the best Dio record (though “Last in Line” deserves a mention). I think it's hands down the best, and might be Ronnie James Dio’s best (though Heaven and Hell, his debut with Black Sabbath, and Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow are both amazing records).

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Random Records with Steve O- Queen's self-titled album

Steve O - February 11, 2014

So we’re gonna try something a little different for Random Records this time. Five records that sound nothing alike, but there’s something connecting all of them. See if you can figure out what it is.

I love Queen. They wrote some awesome songs and Freddie Mercury was a great vocalist. And guitarist Brain May is an astrophysicist. How fucking cool is that? Queen had a huge influence on a lot of genres, one of which was giving metal an alternative to blues based guitar structure. And their 1973 self-titled debut was where all of that started.

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Random Records with Steve O- Pete Seeger's We Shall Overcome

Steve O - February 10, 2014

So we’re gonna try something a little different for Random Records this time. Five records that sound nothing alike, but there’s something connecting all of them. See if you can figure out what it is.

So I found out Pete Seeger died, at 94, in quite a shitty way. I made a rare trip onto Facebook, to send a friend a couple questions for my thesis. The first thing I see? A Pete Seeger memorial post that Davey made. I found out that Lou Reed died in a similar way. Now you know why I rarely ever go on Facebook.

Anyways… Pete Seeger was a phenomenal musician who had some wonderful things to say. There is nothing that I’ll write here that is better than the memorial Davey has written. So let’s talk about Seeger’s 1963 live album, We Shall Overcome, recorded live at Carnegie Hall.

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Pete Seeger and Me: Some YouTubin and reminiscin

Dave Anians - February 6, 2014

The news of Pete Seeger’s death came through a random tumblr post I managed to catch right before going to sleep. Right away, so many different feelings came into my head in a way that may not happen again, from initial shock to sadness to happiness to inspiration. While I have only known of Pete and his work for about four years, the mark he has left on my psyche and soul is something to always hold close. Written are just a few different aspects of Pete that I find inspiring and contribute to the person I try to be (and hopefully never stop trying to be).

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Recap: Screaming Females at The Hideout

Phil Collins - February 2, 2014

Screaming Females at The Hideout

Going to so many shows over the years, you would think it would only be a matter of time before one of those shows got recorded. I don't mean recorded and put on the Internet. I mean recorded professionally for a proper release. Friday's Screaming Females show at The Hideout is the first such show I have been to. A couple times a band has recorded a show on the same tour that I saw them, so the set list was similar and the recording felt close to home. This was my first time being part of the actual moment of the recording of a live album.

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January is a big month for record releases

Phil Collins - January 26, 2014

Transgender Dysphoria Blues Metropole Can't Contain It Community Support Group

We just finished talking about the best albums of 2013, and here we are in the midst of a month full of high profile releases. A couple of 2014's most anticipated albums in punk are out in January. One month into the year, we already have some likely frontrunners for the end of the year bracket.

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Random Records with Steve O

Boysetsfire - While a Nation Sleeps...

Steve O - January 14, 2014

While a Nation Sleeps

So the other night Change the Rotation voted on the best records of the year. We had a bracket with 32 contenders, randomly arranged. This resulted in some interesting matchups and some early outs for a few heavy hitters. The biggest upset? (Well, it upset me at least.) Boysetsfire’s new record falling to Stomp, the new Big D & the Kids Table record.

While a Nation Sleeps… is the first record from the reformed Boysetsfire since 2006’s The Misery Index: Notes from the Plague Years. I had the privilege to see them in April 2013 in a small bar in Newburgh, NY. This was the only time I’ve ever met anyone else that liked this band, something I never understood.

At their roots, Boysetsfire are a melodic hardcore band. However, their sound ranges from raging blasts like “Everything Went Black” and “Far From Over” to melodic sing-alongs like “Never Said” and “Closure.” Lyrically, BSF cover radical politics (“The system’s dead and we spit on the grave / Let it fucking rot until nothing remains” – from “Until Nothing Remains”), though with a touch of hope, as illustrated by songs like “Reason to Believe” and “Never Said.” Adding to the songs are sound-clips of Charlie Chaplin’s phenomenal speech from The Great Dictator. They provide interesting transitions, especially since the sound-clips are not arranged in the order of the speech.

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Change the Rotation's 2013 albums of the year bracket beatdown

Phil Collins - January 12, 2014

During the last month of 2013 and the first couple weeks of 2014, the Change the Rotation staff put our heads together to come up with our favorite albums of 2013. Steve O, Dave Anians and I each submitted our top picks. We narrowed that list down to 32 and bracketized it to see who would come out on top in a March Madness style throwdown. OK, the real inspiration for this came from that episode of "How I Met Your Mother" when Barney puts the names of all the women he has wronged into a bracket to figure out who is sabotaging him. We drew the 32 albums completely at random, resulting in some painful first round matchups. Some albums may have made it farther than they did with a different draw, while others benefitted and made it farther than they otherwise would have. In any case, I think we ended up with a winner that would have been hard to beat however the matchups came out.

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The Lawrence Arms share video for "Seventeener (17th and 37th)"

Phil Collins - January 6, 2014

Chicago's pop punk titans, The Lawrence Arms, shared a video for the track "Seventeener (17th and 37th)." This is a song off their upcoming album, "Metropole," out January 28th on Epitaph Records. This is their first full-length album since "Oh, Calcutta" came out in 2006. The band played a hometown show on New Year's Eve with Masked Intruder, Downtown Struts and Direct Hit! They will tour the East and West coasts during the next couple months.

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