Hardcore Punk legends Dropdead has shared a new single and video for the track “Flesh And Blood“. The song comes from their forthcoming new self-titled album, their first full length in over 20 years. You can pre-order the album from the Armageddon Label at the link below. Continue reading
Anti-Flag is an institution and a treasure of American punk rock. The kind of band we need more bands to emulate and follow in 2018. After two very good albums of anthemic, activist pop-punk the band has mined for almost 30 years with American Spring and American Fall (both Spinefarm), the question is where to go next? The band chose to switch things up and have made an all acoustic album from the best of their last two albums and some well-chosen covers for American Reckoning. Although the “punk goes acoustic” isn’t new or a trend, it’s a good way to re-imagine these tracks the band is not quite done with yet. Continue reading
Punk legends The Casualties have shared the video for their first new single, off of their upcoming new album. Written In Blood will release on Cleopatra Records on October 26th, right in time for the bands’ appearance on The Metal Alliance Tour with Goatwhore. Written In Blood will be the first album with new singer David Rodriguez (The Krum Bums), since Jorge Herrera retired from touring and departed the band earlier in 2018. The “1312” video was directed by John Hale, and you can watch it below. Continue reading
For over fifteen years Otep Shamaya has fought a battle on many levels to shift paradigms in both society and the music industry. Leading her band OTEP, she has made a career of making protest music with her mix of spoken word, theater, metal, art, hip-hop and punk rock. Keith Chachkes of Ghost Cult met up with Otep at Webster Hall in New York City to chat about the current political climate in America, LGTBQ issues, making art, being a veteran band, touring and much more. Videography by Lisa Schuchmann.Continue reading
Long-running activist hardcore leaders DROPDEAD have been around long enough to know, their path is marathon and not sprint. When you make non-sellout music that demands critical thinking from fans, you are not going to get asked on late night TV, or find your music in movies and football stadium. But what drives this band, a staple of the Providence, RI music scene for two-plus decades is not the same motivation for everyone else. Ghost Cult’s Andrew Francis met up with Ben Barnett and Bob Otis in Austin Texas, a long way from home. The band was in town for the Housecore Horror And Music Festival, and despite playing an incredible set, true to form, they never felt “at home”.
Curious about the origin of the band, we started off by asking Ben and Bob what has a great influence on their style: the scene in New England or was it shaped by other bands and their teachings?
Bob Otis: “It was a combinations of things really, me Ben and Bryan started the band. Ben came from California and Bryan and my self grew up in Providence but we all listened to a lot of different stuff.”
“Ben brought a lot of his California influences when he joined the band that I had never heard and I did the same for him with a lot of the anarco – punk, Bryan was in to Japanese punk but we all bonded around the same like of similar forms of music and hardcore punk and the philosophy behind it.”
DROPDEAD is the epitome of n East Coast Hardcore band, but like most in the genre, one can’t deny a multitude of broader influences in the punk rock spectrum: Bob: For me it was more to the punk side, I was really in to anarco-punk and the philosophy and Ben was more to the hardcore side”
Ben Barnett: “I was more into Infest, Negative Approach”
Bob: “Where I was in to Crass and Conflict”.
Ben: “But still in to the politics of that stuff.”
The band has an unmistakable agenda, but bandmates don’t always have the same word view. We asked Ben and Bob if they shared a lot of the same political ideas
Ben: “Oh yeah definitely”
Bob: Whats great about these guys is that they believe exactly the same thing as me, and they allow me to get up on stage and expound upon the beliefs that we all have, together. It’s not just we are going to get together and write the music and you can just go do what ever as long as it doesn’t sound silly?
Bob: “We believe the same thing ,we have the same core values.”
Ben: Yeah I don’t think we could go up there and say what we say and do what we do if we didn’t mean it.
Bob: “No one in the band is going to McDonalds that’s for sure.”
Aside from punk, few bands shaped the political landscape for bands in history like Napalm Death has. A definite influence on the band, we asked both at what point did they discover the seminal Brit grindcore band and if they seeped in.
Ben: “That first Napalm record in 87 definitely blew my mind at first, i never heard anything like it.”
Bob: “To be honest with you they weren’t one of my favorite bands but I can appreciate what they did and stood for, but at the time i was more in to anarco punk but i appreciate it. You can see where the comparison comes from with short song times and ferocity and lyrical content.”
Bob: “Well yea we can see that but we also got a lot of our sound from the Boston Hardcore bands, Siege and California bands like Infest.”
Ben: “We acquired our name from a Siege song the and store name are from a Siege song, we became very influenced by a band from Weymouth.”
If a band was to be considered top-tier and the biggest influence on the band you would all say its Siege?
Bob: “Musically for sure.”
Ben: “Lyrically its not terribly that far off either. If you don’t listen to them already, Siege comes highly recommended young readers!”
Ben is the owner of Armageddon Record Shop and its accompanying label. One of the defining businesses in the North East music scene at the moment, we asked if the distro through the label was created because it makes life easier for a DIY band.
Ben: “I had done a label since the late 80’s up until 98 and I decided it was just time to call it a day. we had a record to put out and we wanted a fresh start and we figured we would do our own thing. we had some not terrible but not fantastic experiences with some people. back in the day Earache hit us up, Century Media hit us up it wasn’t really what we wanted to do.”
Bob: “Part of it was it was all stuff Ben could do himself so why get some one else? I don’t think any one could do it any better than him. he has an invested interest as our guitarist and best friend so obviously he’s gonna put every thing he’s got in to the band so i don’t think a record label would have as much invested in us as someone who’s in the band.”
Ben: “There might be more press, maybe more hype but ..”
Bob: We’ve done pretty good for our selves, he’s done a great job!”
Ben: “We just chug along do our own thing if people buy the records we appreciate it and if not then.. oh well? we’ll play a show some one may be excited then that’s pretty cool too, they go slow but they go.”
We then asked if starting the label became a necessity of being in the band or as a fan of music who later ended up in a band:
Ben: “Originally it was cause I was excited about music, I put out my first record for a California band Apocalypse in like ..1989. Just cause they were friends. It was kinda like you can be a guy going to shows or you could do something, and Otis can attest to this, I’m not really a do nothing kinda guy. kinda a workaholic.”
Bob: “One of the busiest guys I know.”
INTERVIEW BY ANDREW FRANCIS
PHOTOS BY EMMA PARSONS PHOTOGRAPHY
Tom Morello know for bands such as Rage Against The Machine, Audioslave, his solo guise The Nightwatchman and political activism, has launched a record label, dubbed Firebrand Records. Co-founded with Ryan Harvey of the Riot-Folk Collective, Firebrand launches today with a digital sampler of music from Harvey and some underground activist/musicians in the mold of Morello. In addition Harvey and singer songwriter Ike Reilly, Egyptian Ramy Essam, indie rockers Built for the Sea, Swedish punks Lycka Till, and Bronx-based post-rock singer Bell’s Roar, will be the first releases. Hear the compilation’s lead track, ‘It’s Like That’ by Baltimore rapper Son of Nun – below.
In an Interview with Rolling Stone, Morello detailed how the label was formed and what to expect
“People always ask me, ‘Why aren’t there artists writing lyrics like Public Enemy or the Clash or Rage Against the Machine? And my answer is always, ‘There are. They may not be currently at the top of the chart and you have to seek to find them, but there are.’
On the first official release:
“Ike Reilly’s Born on Fire. In my view, he’s one of the best American songwriters of the last 10 years, both in delivery and lyrics. It’s, like, part Springsteen, part Replacements. And we grew up in the same hometown, Libertyville, Illinois, where Adam Jones of Tool and Marlon Brando came from as well [laughs]. There must be something in the water there, for a suburb known principally for its Buick dealership.”
On if the label will be fair and fair to artists
“Well, we are not a non-profit label. We may be more accurately described as an anti-profit label [laughs]. In 2015, nobody with any sense is starting a record label to try and become Interscope Records. We have a very clear mission, and that is to bring global revolutionary music to everyone who wants to hear it. As someone who’s spent a couple of decades with various labels, I see it exclusively from the artist perspective. We’re not trying to get rich off Firebrand Records, we’re trying to enrich people’s hearts and minds.”
“I mean, Ryan comes from the D.I.Y. anarcho-punk folk scene. And for me, in both Rage and the Nightwatchman, we were not, like, label dudes. So a crucial part of it just have it be very artist-friendly.”