Tag Archives: punk rock

SWMRS – Artist Profile


Formed all the way back in 2004, the band SWMRS is originally from Oakland but has the sun-soaked surf punk sound of your favorite SoCal band. But they might be offended if you said so – they have a song called “I Hate L.A.” and their new album, set for release on February 12th is titled Drive North. You may be familiar with their lyrical ode to Miley Cyrus and fans of fashion might even recognize brothers/guitarists/singers Max and Cole Becker as models for Yves Saint Laurent last year. But their biggest claim to fame is arguably their punk rock lineage. Drummer Joey Armstrong is the son of none other than Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong, who helped them produce their first studio albums under their original band name Emily’s Army.

According to their Facebook page, they classify their genre as “hawiiange” (Hawaiian grunge?) which is decidedly accurate. Their lyrics play upon themes of young romance, adolescent confusion and general teenage antics making for fun and lighthearted songs that incorporate both punk and beach pop influences. But rather than relying on super distorted low-fi guitars and simplistic drum beats, their sound is refreshingly clean and refined and surprising to hear coming from such young dudes.

Even though many of their songs might be about love and the beach, it should be noted that as a band they also deal with some more serious and current subject matter. Perhaps this is what sets SWMRS apart from the rest. The Becker brothers also create Boyzine, defined on their Facebook page as “a zine for boyz (and girlz)… New masculinity not defined by patriarchy.” At their show at Chop Suey this month, their encore included a cover of “Boys Don’t Cry” by The Cure. Max closed the set by proclaiming “boys can cry, girls can cry, non-binary people can cry, everyone can cry!” SWMRS may be just the band to lead today’s socially progressive punk youth.

They have already established themselves in the Oakland music scene and are quickly garnering the attention of the rest of the country too. Seeing as they opened for Wavves and Twin Peaks on their September tour last year and are currently headlining their own tour with Melissa Brooks and the Aquadolls (aptly named the “Aquatic Reference Overkill Tour”) I have no doubts we will be hearing more about SWMRS in the very near future.

Chloe Hagans

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Feminists Can Be Funny

Featuring some pretty hardcore salad-eating, Childbirth’s new video for their song, “Let’s Be Bad”, tells the story of a hardworking woman (comedienne Alicia McDaidwho decides to be crazy for once–i.e. eating cake and drinking a few glasses of wine. Lead singer Julia Shapiro fades in and out in a godlike fashion, whispering, “Let’s be bad,” into McDaid’s ear. The rest of the band is there, too, in their usual maternity gowns.

The Seattle punk trio released the video in late November and the song is off their album, Women’s Rights. Bree McKenna opens the song with a dark bass line accompanied by Stacy Peck’s dynamic drumming. Distorted guitars drone on as Shapiro mocks the gravity that many women put on their diets. I’m going to take Childbirth’s advice and eat some cake and drink wine, and I have a good feeling you will too. Take a look at their video if you’re not convinced.

And if you like it just as much as I do, here’s a heads up: Childbirth is coming to Nuemos on December 18!

Claire Marvet

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Album Review: Seaway – Colour Blind


If a new American Pie
movie were to be made today, Canada’s up-and-coming Seaway would write the soundtrack. Colour Blind is the band’s sophomore album and their first full-length
release for Pure Noise Records, and
it’s definitely one of the year’s best pop-punk releases.

Pop-punk exploded in the mid-to-late 2000’s and, like most
of us, you probably got sick of it. But in the past few years the genre has
seen what could almost be called a re-birth. You’ve got everything from bands
like The Story So Far and Knuckle Puck combining the grit of hardcore
with pop-punk to groups like The Front
who put a folk-esque twist on the genre. While the music’s great,
it seems like so much of it lacks the fun
that used to be such a staple of the genre.


That’s where Seaway’s got you covered.

What makes Seaway unique is that they harken back to the pop-punk of the early
2000’s. Remember the days when you’d hear blink-182
and Sum 41 at the mall? From the
start of Colour Blind you’ll
instantly feel like you’re back in that mall jamming to “Fat Lip” over the PA. These
songs aren’t out to make you sad. They’re for blasting on your way to a party
where you hope you don’t hurt yourself doing a keg stand. A few of the standout
tracks are “Best Mistake”, “Still Weird”, and “Turn Me Away”.

The lead single for the album, “Freak”, is the best of the bunch. It kicks off with a beautiful guitar riff and leads into an intro that will make you want to
stop whatever you’re doing and find the nearest available mosh pit.

For some, the nostalgia-factor may come across a little shtick-y,
but I enjoy it. The video for “Best Mistake” bombards you with everything it meant to be
a Canadian kid growing up in the late 90’s. Some of the video’s references
might be lost on Americans, but those of us south of the border will still eat
up the Drake/Degrassi cameo and the old videogame references.

The lyrics, while undoubtedly catchy, aren’t exactly
groundbreaking. The subject matter for most of the songs is your standard
pop-punk fare (girls, not fitting into the crowd, etc.). Sometimes a strong vocal delivery
can make up for less-than-innovative lyrics though, and I think this is where Seaway
really shines on this record. When Ryan Locke, the vocalist with the deeper register,
belts out the chorus to “Airhead” or the outro of “Stubborn Love”, you can
really feel the raw emotion behind the words. 

In a style similar to Taking Back Sunday or Four Year Strong (Alan Day of Four Year
Strong was actually one of the producers of the album), the band features two
vocalists who often trade lines back and forth throughout the songs. “Turn Me
Away” is the best example of what can happen when the dual vocals are used
right, and when it works it sounds great.


While this record doesn’t exactly push any boundaries musically or lyrically, it’s just so damn fun. Look for Seaway to make a big splash in the pop-punk scene with this solid release.

RJ Morgan

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Honey Bucket: Punk Geniuses


While I am usually a huge proponent of complex musical genius, it’s hard to ignore the brilliance of a simple (and kick-ass) punk song.  Portland, OR’s indie rock scene is doing a fantastic job of giving us just that; and in the case of Honey Bucket,
it’s coming at us in a sardonically playful, utterly catchy package.  Their self-titled EP sounds as if it was
recorded on an 8-track in the basement of your parents’ house senior year
(which is fitting since that’s how this EP was
recorded) – complete with the twangy, distorted power chords and a few layers
of fuzz carpeting the drums and vocals.
And despite the lo-fi film covering all sound, each instrument manages
to stand out from the rest, playing its important role in the development of each
(albeit simple) song.  Their sound
doesn’t vary much within their EP, and to magical results: 8 tracks of
three-chord garage-punk masterpieces, each one wackier than the last.  

If the basic catchiness of Honey Bucket’s musical abilities
reels you in, their off-beat sense of humor keeps you hooked.  Honey Bucket stole their name from the
Pacific Northwest’s favorite port-a-potty company, characteristic of their
unique sense of humor.  Their lyrics
follow suit, playing up somewhat disturbing scenarios with injections of biting
sarcasm to round out the off-kilter vibes.
The opening track “Dumpster Dive” chronicles a day of pointless teenage
activities, including a trip to a dumpster, a graveyard, and other random places
to search for buddies to get stoned with.

“Spot Me” is a slower, groovy track highlighting a classic slacker teen’s
woe of dealing with that one friend who is constantly asking to borrow money,
summed up in a lighthearted, sarcastic tone.

“Hairspray” is the standout track of the
EP.  Not only does its three-chord earworm
riff make its home in your head for days, its brilliantly biting lyrics about
eating razorblades, drinking hairspray, and spending nice days under the
freeway pinpoint the sentiment of outsider-dom that all punks/teenagers in general feel at some
point in their ‘slacker’ careers. Perhaps
my favorite part of the short track is the perfectly placed “um”s that define
the musical groove while also increasing the sarcastic humor to its full

All in all, while this
particular EP may not be the most interesting piece musically speaking, its
clever storytelling coupled with its raging simplicity is certainly setting the
stage for Honey Bucket’s sound to blow up the circuit. 

Be sure to keep a lookout for more music on their Bandcamp and for upcoming tour dates/other information on their Facebook page!

Katie Hanford

Sleater-Kinney is back!

I was born in the 90s, but, more importantly, so was Sleater-Kinney.


Just over 20 years ago Corin Tucker, Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss got together in Olympia, Washington and joined their musical forces and created the punk rock genius that is Sleater-Kinney. By converting their riot grrrl movement experience into music, this Pacific Northwest-based girl group was known for proudly vocalizing their feminist and liberal perspectives. The band released seven studio albums before (unfortunately) announcing their indefinite hiatus in 2006.

Luckily, though, they’re back! After nearly a decade of silence, Sleater-Kinney came back to life on Tuesday, January 20 and released their eighth studio album, No Cities to Love. Listen to it here.

Sleater-Kinney’s lengthy hiatus made room for some fresh collaboration and resulted in an empowering, catchy-as-hell album. I love this album because it combines Brownstein’s outrageous guitar skills with Tucker’s intense vocals in a way that will make you want to dance around and dismantle the patriarchy at the same time. The distinctive sound of No Cities to Love will allow long-time fans to reminisce on the good old days and give new listeners the opportunity to step outside of their contemporary comfort zones.


“The core of this record is our relationship to each other, to the music, and how all of us still felt strongly enough to about those to sweat it out in the basement and to try and reinvent our band,” said lead vocalist Corin Tucker.

The band is currently on a world tour, too. If you like what you hear and you want to see Sleater-Kinney live and in the flesh check out their website for tour dates here.

Thanks, Sleater-Kinney, for reigniting the fiery grrrl power in all of us.