punk

Answering a question no one asked can be a dangerous enterprise, because the greatest uncertainty involved is in assuming someone cares about the answer. It’s Casual, the punk-ish band with roots in Los Angeles, is the erstwhile answer to the question “What would a mix of Black Flag and Rush sound like?” While that question seems to land on the spectrum somewhere between ‘untenable’ and ‘impossible,‘ the evident answer lies in the band’s new record “The New Los Angeles II”

Both as a journalist, and as someone with an interest in heavy guitar music, it's difficult for me to admit the staggering gaps in my knowledge. I wish I could say I know more than I do about every aspect of the music we cover here, but I came to the party late, and with a musical basis predetermined that makes it difficult for me to appreciate certain types of heavy music in anything but an intellectual way. One of those gaps in my knowledge is punk/hardcore.

This recent run of popularity for Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein comes a little out of nowhere. Doyle’s place in music history is certainly assured, having been a fixture for the Misfits. Yet, Doyle never seemed to possess the stature (gargantuan physical size notwithstanding) to float an entire project by himself and appeared more likely to forever be typecast as Jerry Only’s monolith of a brother. Yet, Doyle has reunited with Misfits legend Dr. Chud and here we are talking about an album with “Doyle” emblazoned across the top.

Nickelback.

That’s an extremely charged word for anyone who has a more-than-casual interest in music of any type. Nickelback has come to symbolize all that is wrong with mainstream radio, the music industry and the lowest common denominator. More to the point, Nickelback also represents the current state of popular rock, encompassing the twin ideas of sleaze and arena rock.

Somewhere between 1997 and 2006, we saw the marketplace dominance of pop punk. It was everywhere; at several spots on the radio dial and ever-present in the hallways of colleges and high schools. Punk’s old guard railed and bellowed, but the youth had spoken – pop punk would be the music of the day. Its cascade of popularity even gave itself into willing parody, culminating in the birth of the Aquabats and a handful of others.

Finnish upstart Snow White’s Poison Bite is being billed as in the same vein as Black Veil Brides, but there’s more going on than that. Where the later band presents themselves in shades of gray with little mirth, SWPB is inherently and undeniably tongue in cheek, cloaking their music in the veil of a horror show.

The album, entitled “Featuring: Dr. Gruesome And The Gruesome Gory Horror Show,” centers around theme not altogether different from the old “Tales From the Crypt,” with the titular Doctor Gruesome in the role of Crypt Keeper.

In 1990, The Casualties formed to resurrect the sound of true street punk, a sound that they thought was abandoned in the mid eighties. It’s an important task that the band took on, attempting to keep alive the spiritual successor to the Ramones and Black Flag, the sound that laid the foundation for much of American rock and metal during and after the Cold War. To that end, The Casualties are on a one band crusade to keep that image alive and they’re returned with another studio album of to-the-core gritty punk called “Resistance.”

An awful lot of noise. That’s the first gut reaction to “Bloodstreams,” the new full-length album from Australian do-it-all duo DZ Deathrays. For just two people, this is a full-bore effort, ripped from the core of punk’s heart and rock and roll’s soul.

Fewer things test the patience of a rock or metal fan more than hearing the word 'pop' used to describe the music they love. Is it a stereotype? Yes, but not without merit. Rock and metal fans love their music for the power and aggression, the aspects that keep their favorite bands from breaking into the mainstream in almost every case. When they hear the word 'pop' come from a reviewer, or a press release, there's fear dripping from their pores. Pop music is for teenagers and people who never had the good taste to discover Led Zeppelin, not for tenured fans of 'real music'.

Originally rising out of a competitive Chicago punk scene, Rise Against has been bringing their music and their message to crowds all over the world for a couple of decades. Taking a moment between tours, singer and songwriter Tim McIlrath sat down for a few minutes to take some of our questions about the band, punk rock in the modern age, and their new album “Endgame.”