Friday, September 30, 2011

Static Radio NJ: One More for the Good Guys

Since their debut in 2002 Static Radio have come a long way but not without taking some heavy hits. 
It's been almost 10 years since they got on this ride called "punk rock" and they show no signs of getting off or giving up. What makes Michael Santostefano and Vic Castello, original members and main songwriters, keep going? 
Here's some stories shared and questions asked on a September afternoon in my apartment. 
Shannon Perez

Mike: Did you hear The Arteries do the 
Dead Milkmen song? Its "Dean's Dream"?

Vic: It's coming out soon on a split with us.

Shannon: No Way! I love The Dead Milkmen! What other songs are on it?

Mike: We do a demo version of "Last Year" and it's actually Chris Scanlan's last recording with us which is so weird to say.

Vic: We actually do a Gallows cover, "Nowhere To Go". The test press just got ok'd and you can Pre-Order Here

Shannon: You have a new album, "We Are All Beasts".  It's a bit of a leap from your earlier albums..... 

Mike: Yeah,  there's nothing fast. It's definitely different but it wasn't a conscious thing.

Shannon: It's a lot darker and more emotional than your past stuff. Is this the album you would like to be taken more seriously?

Mike: Well, my life changed and my life has changed since then. As you get older life get's harder. Relationships end, people get married, people fucking die. When I was 22 my reference on life was,"dude's on tour can be total dicks, yeah" and that was all I really had to say. I never had to deal with death or deal with a relationship that was flawed and fucked up on both sides. It's not meant to be shocking. I'm just like anybody. I'm writing what I know and that's what I knew at the time. Me and Vic both still live those lives. We're still scared. There's a bigger risk involved now. Our friends are going off and pursuing careers and we're still in that band trying to make it.
Me and Vic went through hating all of our albums at some point but I put this on and I like it. I'm proud of it. It was just a natural progression. It's not like our next album is gonna be a rap/rock album. I really don't think it's miles away from our first record, 
but I hated some of that first record. After every vocal take I felt like I was going to keel over and die. I didn't know what I was doing.

Shannon: So, the song, "Between Hello and Goodbye,"  what's that about?

Mike: Man, my shit isn't about anything. I don't really think about it. I don't look at a chair and say I'm going to write about that chair. I never sat down and said I'm gonna write a song about my dad. Everything subconsciously makes sense afterwards.

Shannon: Do you consider yourself a writer?

Mike: Na' man. I'm just a dude with a dick hole.

Shannon: So, you have a new line-up. Tell us about it.

Vic: I like this stuff now and I love this line-up. Our live shows are as good as it's ever been. We got Chris Krause. He's a drummer from Florida and played with a band we toured with Arm The Poor. He's also in Devout and Bible Dinosaurs. Charles Chaussinand played with No Harm Done and Off-Sides.

Shannon: How did they change the dynamic of the band?

Mike: I just think Chris Krause saved us. Ya know,  your as good as your drummer. He's so, so solid. We were borderline nervous trying to get him in the band.

Vic: The way we wrote the album is me and Mike demo'd the songs with me on drums, we sent it to Chris and when it came time to record I was almost giddy cause he added a whole new thing to it. Then we had a few second guitarists. Dave from Banquets went to Europe with us but he couldn't do it so we got Charles Chaussinand for The Arteries tour we did. He's super amazing and with him we are just unstoppable live.

Shannon: Why did you switch from Black Numbers to Kiss of Death for the new release?

Vic: Well, I shopped it around, had a few people interested but we decided to give Kiss Of Death a try and there's no hard feelings. We love all those guys from Black Numbers. I think this is our best record to date. Hands down.

Shannon: What's next for Static Radio?

Mike: I don't know. Everything else about music is debatable and the only thing that rules everytime is playing, recording and making it happen. It sounds cliche' but if that's why you're not doing it at the end of the day and getting managers and making it is your only focus you shouldn't even be in a fucking band. If you're not worried about writing a good song and getting better at what you're doing, what are you doing it for? There's so many fucking bands with all the business shit in order and sponsors but they play a show and I just want to go to sleep. It's so forced. This shit is pouring out of my ass. It eeks out of me. It's just in me and I have no control. I don't have to force it.

Shannon: Anything you want to add?

Vic: Actually, Shannon, the first time me and Mike technically met was August of 1986. Me and Mike were born in the same hospital 3 days apart, same year.

Shannon: Any joint birthday parties?

Vic: I tried it before. It just doesn't work.

Mike: Me and Vic are attention whores.

Vic: That's why we're still in this band. For all the attention.

Mike: I never fuck with his side of the stage and he never fucks with mine, but if he does, there's a battle royale. We're the most egotistical people you'll ever meet. And i kissed a guy....twice. And we support our troops.

Shannon: Are you really too cool to care?

Mike: Oh no. I care very much about the environment, animal rights, free speech..

Vic: And the right to bear arms

Mike: I own a flesh gun. POW! "We Are All Beasts" was released on Tuesday, Sept. 27th.

Vic and Michael display their love  for Shannon.

Static Radio NJ  Band Site

Kiss of Death Records  Label

Tour  Follow

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Ben Franklin Calls it Quits

It is with sadness and the sense of loss that the band Ben Franklin has decided to, indeed, call it quits.  The band left us with two amazing records and countless shows that left us both inspired and exhausted. I was lucky enough to catch their last show at Brick City Riot Festival where the band flat out killed it. They left an indelible footprint on the New York/New Jersey music scene and will surely be missed.
The band left us with this statement.
James Damion

“…I’m sorry to say that [the band's performance at last weekend's Brick City Sound Riot festival] was our last show together, we’re disbanding, and our future appearances have been canceled. While it may be time for us to move on to new things, I’m quite proud of what we’ve accomplished so far and I’ll always remember the really fun times we had together. Thank you, Frenz Banklin, for being so supportive of us, you really are the best! It’s you guys who keep folks like us going…”

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Fresh Meat - The Stunning Self Destruction 2011

Fresh Meat have a brutal hardcore punk style that is sort of horror inducing. Good recording for a band that has been together for less than 6 months. Give them a listen and keep an eye out for future releases...Dave G.

Fresh Meat bandcamp
Fresh Meat facebook

Fresh Meat started in May of 2011 and within three weeks started gigging. With influences spanning punk, hardcore, psychobilly and also electronic music we opted to use programmed drums instead of a live drummer. This gives the music a cardiac inducing pounding rhythm which will either make you dance or vomit down your favourite Exploited t-shirt

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Night Birds, Give, Devotion, Wet Witch @ The Acheron in Brooklyn.

It has been a stressful couple of weeks filled with tension and angst due largely to the round the clock coverage of Hurricane Irene and the tenth anniversary of 9/11. A combination of houses floating down the river and footage of the Towers going down in the midst of smoke and  flames have put me in one of my shitiest moods ever.
So the idea of seeing on of our favorite bands the Night Birds play in Brooklyn seemed to be just the tonic to cure the mopes. As Friday approached and the day wore on I found myself constantly gasping for air as if I was going to have an anxiety attack of something. The humidity didn't seem to help  either.

I managed to get to Dave to drive in with the promise of him parking in Hoboken while we drove my car to Brooklyn. As I made my way downstairs he was standing outside the car on the passengers side. Something completely foreign to me. "Dude I hate fucking Hoboken." "I couldn't find a spot." Then came the question that turned my tension to panic "Do you mind driving my car there." Shit, I've come to terms with the fact that I'm a bad driver. I get lost or side tracked whenever I go somewhere new and often scare the Bejeezus out of my wife when we go out anywhere. I can handle that. Endangering myself, my vehicle or my spouse doesn't unnerve me in the least.
Taking a friends car and putting his destiny in the crosshairs is a different animal all together.
As I pulled out and adjusted the seat I felt a jolt and took a deep breath. Then, with the turn of the corner, all the tension and anxiety was gone and we were on out. I was psyched to see the Night Birds final show before their European tour and I was finally going to get to see DC's Hardcore outfit Give.
As we rolled into Brooklyn and finally onto Waterbury Street
I felt comfortable amongst the industrial surroundings.
I seem to going to a lot of spots in these less than suburban settings these days. As we pulled in to our spot, Dave turned his head anxiously, "Are you sure we can park here dude?" I let him out to check the signs and even circled the block to look for a more welcoming atmosphere. Only to park in the same exact spot only minutes later.

Acheron's music space is wedged between a small cafe and the bar and makes any basement event look like a trip to the Hilton. I went into the cafe for a coke but all they had was the birch beer shit. I asked Dave if he wanted a beer but it seemed to be the furthest thing from his mind. A crowd was forming outside and it just felt like one of those bad cliche's unfolding. There were a ton of skinny white guys with long, stringy hair, Buffalo Bill mustaches and cut of dungaree jackets. They could have passed as bikers if they had a little meat on their bones. The scene was just old and smelly. The thought of waiting for two bands we had no interest in seeing out in the humid air only to go into a dirty sweat box for the bands we did want to catch just didn't seem like a good idea. Dave was also becoming more and more disconnected. Having no one to talk to while waiting for such misery was enough for me to persuade him to cut our losses and head out of Dodge. As we got back onto the bridge Dave returned to normal and realized it was a good idea. "We'll see the Night Birds when they return from Europe." I said. I'm sure it will be at a cool spot with a better vibe than tonight.

To put an end to my first "No Show" review I want to admit that writing this was just my way of posting some more of my favorite shots of Night Birds. Enjoy. James Damion

Night Birds My Space

Night Birds  Band Camp

Friday, September 9, 2011

Scream - Complete Control Sessions EP

DC based legends Scream are back with their first release since 1993's classic "Fumble". Reunited in 1999 to play a series of shows including one at the DC's Black Cat during the blizzard of 2009. (Yeah, I was there)
Lucky for us they decided to head into the studio to record new material. As I pour over the seven tracks on Control Sessions I can't help but feel this is by far the bands best work to date.
Not to lessen the impact of the bands early work. Records like "Fumble" and "Bang the Drum" were epic recordings that still hold weight decades later. It's just that this record is that good. On Control Sessions
(Recorded live at Dave Grohls Studio 606 in February) the band fires on all cylinders.
It's great to see the original cast of Franz, Pete, Skeeter and Kent, along with the addition of guitarist Clint Walsh. The vocals and guitar work on the record are so good I was shaking my head in awe. All seven tracks have a "Stick to your ribs" effect but "Stopwatch" (The opening track) and "Jamin' at 606" are my absolute favorites. I'd highly recommend this to anyone. Even the most casual Scream fan can love a record that flat out "Rocks".
James Damion

Scream   Band Site

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Negative Degree - 2011 demo tape

Negative Degree - Denver Colorado - contact:

Excellent Straight forward angry punk / hardcore with a bit of a Germs feel in the stripped down guitar sound. Also, brings more current bands like the Formaldehyde Junkies to mind.

Honestly, not much more to be said about this demo, it's just a solid all around demo that should definitely lead to a 7" release in the near future.

Looks like distro's are selling out of this tape pretty quickly so I would get one fast if you like what you hear...Dave G.

Here's a couple songs for you to check out.

Service Industry

Punch Out

Purchase demo tape.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Control - Obsolete Through Automation 2011

Control Facebook
If you are a fan of bands that straddle the alt/punk/hardcore line like Far or even post hardcore bands like Rival Schools or Error Type: 11 then I can present Control to you with my highest recommendation.

"Obsolete Through Automation" is one hell of a well recorded/polished and professional sounding record. Hell, I am not sure that I can even describe just how impressed I am with this cd. The songs are super catchy and powerful with excellent vocals and the overall musicality is well beyond what I would expect from a relatively unknown band from NJ.

At times the music crosses the line into commercial alternative territory but it never remains there long enough to get uncomfortable, and fortunately there's enough grit and post hardcore riffing and bass rumbling to keep things firmly planted in the underground. I've been told that these guys kill live as well, I will definitely have to get off my ass and catch them the next time they play out...Dave G.

Control Bandcamp

The Night Birds - The Other Side of Darkness cd/Lp 2011

Night Birds - Facebook

This is a review I did over on the Rocket Science blog. Since the Night Birds are a local NJ/NY band I figured I would share the review here as well...Dave G.

To my ears the Night Birds have always sounded like a modern day hybrid of Agent Orange and the Adolescents, and on their first full length album "The Other Side of Darkness" they have done nothing to change my opinion. In fact, they have maintained the surf punk twang of Agent Orange and upped the speed, catchiness and snottiness that always brought the Adolescents to mind, however they have modernized everything and thrown in so many hooks that it will make your head a good way.

I must say that we have another candidate for the top 10 list of 2011 right here, and maybe even the top spot at that. I'm finding that I can't get enough of this record, and that it just keeps getting better and better with every listen...Highly Recommended...Dave G.

Night Birds - The Other Side of Darkness - release date 09/13/2011 on compact disc and vinyl, to be followed by a European Tour September/October 2011. Tour dates can be found Here.

Night Birds to perform live on the "Crust Never Sleeps" Radio Show September 13, 2011 @10pm. You can tune in to for an online broadcast of the show.

Grave Mistake Records - Purchase cd, vinyl, T-shirts and special preorder packages.

DYS - More Than Fashion (Live From The Gallery East Reunion)

As kids growing up in the 80's bands like DYS, SSD and Minor Threat, just to name a few, were untouchable.
They were Gods that walked on water as far as this wide eyed fifteen year old was concerned. Brotherhood and even the more Metal influenced
Fire & ice were already classics.
As one of the kids that missed seeing those bands by a few years I salivated over the chance to have seen them in their heyday or owned an original copy of Brotherhood. Fast forward twenty five years and the nostalgia of movies and books such as 'American Hardcore' has a good amount of the bands from that era have reformed are touring and recording. This brings me to DYS - More than Fashion. The music is taken from their reunion show at Gallery East in Boston on August 29th 2010. Looking back I really wish I would have taken the invitation to join Dave Stein and friends for the bus trip they took to this show. I'm sure it was memorable to say the very least. As for the record. It covers much of the bands material from both records rather well Dave Smalley and crew are in good form. However, it's rare when a live record captures the emotion and energy of the actual show. Personally I feel the old saying "You were either there or you weren't" best fits here. It's not a bad record but I think the band would have made their fans a lot happier by recording new material. I really don't feel this record does anything to enhance the bands legacy. James Damion

DYS on Bridge 9 Buy Here

Seaweed - Service Desk 7 inch

Seaweed was always one of those bands that lived outside the shadow of its genre.
Their sound was a mix of post core, punk, indie and what was yet to be copt as grunge. While allowing them to sit comfortably at the table with bands from any of the aforementioned formats. It was their music that set them apart and made them stand out.

On their new single Service Deck/The Weight
(Their first in thirteen years) Seaweed delivers the same hooks, tension and riffage fans are used to while keeping it fresh and not relying on nostalgia or old tricks.
The addition of keyboards on the last thirty-seconds of Service Deck add a new twist that surprisingly works.
The records B-side The Weight carries also has a driving rock sound that carries that classic Seaweed formula while adding a look into what hopes to be more music in the near future. No matter how you approach it this is one hell of a way to cap off the Summer.
James Damion

No Idea Records Buy Here

Feral Babies - Violent Boredom 7 inch

On their debut 7 inch Tampa Florida's Feral Babies deliver nine songs of fast, angry, aggressive
Hardcore Punk that's reminiscent of first generation Cali bands such as Jodie Fosters Army and the
Circle Jerks. Violent Boredom is a record that really took a few listens to properly digest.
The sound is raw, a bit sloppy and completely lacks in the production department. All short comings that, after a few listens, actually become part of the records charm. You might be a bit curious as to how the band managed to cram nine songs on to a 7 inch record. Well, most of the tracks clock in under a minute. The longest track doesn't even register a minute and a half. Which, unfortunately doesn't allow enough time to distinguish one song from the other. Though the record really fell short of resonating with me. I have to admit, however short lived, it had it's moments. James Damion

Though I would add my two cents to James review of the Feral Babies 7".

Feral Babies play an aggressive straight forward form of hardcore punk that took a few listens to grow on me. The positives are the sometime Ray of Today style lead vocals and strong backing vocals along with the loose rumbling bass lines. At times the Feral Babies remind me of "Christian Club" ( an obscure hardcore band from a few years back that few people have probably heard of , but I would suggest you check them out). As James stated the recording could be a bit brighter and tighter, but hey it's punk rock man...Dave G.

Feral Babies Facebook

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Punk Rock Record Party (Podcast)

Bob Suren (founder of Burrito Records ) has decided to start a podcast with his first broadcast going out on September 1st 2011. Bob is a long time record collector with a broad knowledge of all things punk rock, especially those strange and obscure records from the past that many of us have been searching for for years.

Here's the details you will need to tune in to the show:

Download the PUNK ROCK RECORD PARTY podcast #01: It is 60 min (55.04 MB).
Subscribe to weekly episodes.
Download a short promo video or watch it below.

Bob can use some NEW releases to play on the show, so send vinyl and CDs to
Bob Suren
PO Box 3204
Brandon, FL 33509-3204