Less Than Jake – Sound The Alarm

With every release, it becomes more apparent that no one can accuse Less Than Jake of rehashing old tunes. Still, the sense of familiarity that they provide with Sound The Alarm will pull even the oldest of fans back in for another helping of this inarguably influential ska/punk band.

Sound The Alarm begins with Call To Arms. This song doesn’t kick in the way you want it to until it’s pretty close to ending, however, once Chris DeMakes (vocals / guitar) hits the key change this EP goes into full swing. The song feels aptly named for that reason, almost as if it is warming up to welcome you back to everything that you’ve always loved about this band.

An interesting note here is that the first track is predominantly sung by DeMakes with very little interjection from Roger Lima (vocals / bass) and the second track, Whatever The Weather is the inverse of that. While Call To Arms is most definitely a punk song at it’s core, Whatever The Weather is reminiscent of previous releases from Less Than Jake. The horns shine in some of the most impressive harmonies this band has ever produced and you can hear them hit their stride in this track. They don’t let go of it until the last note of the EP fades out.

Lima and DeMakes finally come together on the third track, Bomb Drop. I’m tempted to say that Bomb Drop is the song that your friend would show you to get you into Less Than Jake. It’s fun, it’s spunky, and you’ll probably put it on loop for a while before you go on to the next track.

For me, the height of the EP lies in the track Welcome To My Life. This track is where Less Than Jake dance into uncharted territory. The vocal rhythm provided by Lima is unparalleled during the chorus of this song and I’m warning you now that it will get stuck in your head for days after your first listen. Welcome To My Life is almost an instant classic in the band’s 25 year repertoire, right up with the mainstream favorite The Science of Selling Yourself Short. I think it has something to do with the güiro hidden in the mix.

I have to admit at this point in the review that I have a bias toward Less Than Jake. Their songs have been the soundtrack to my life since freshman year of highschool and I have had the great opportunity to interview and spend a good amount of time with them since then. With that, I can tell you this; it’s real. Their excitement is genuine. They strive to do better and their attitude to create something refreshing with each release is unparalleled. Sound The Alarm hits that mark of doing something better and is without a doubt the best Less Than Jake release yet.

I don’t think anyone, myself included, would be able to sum up the urgency that is apparent in each song on Sound The Alarm. None of these songs truly outweigh the others and Less Than Jake has set the bar high with this release. I implore you to check out Sound The Alarm, it is worth every minute.

The EP will be available from Pure Noise Records on February 3rd but is available for streaming here!

Super Saturdays, Jan. 28th, 2017

This weekend on Super Saturdays we have pop punk band Exit, pop-metal act Youth in Revolt, and electronic rockers ESTHER.

Hailing from Connecticut, Exit provides smooth vocals over a wall of solid pop punk music. Taking the classic dual-vocalist approach, the band hits hard with their debut single. Their EP, also called Familiar Ground, will be released on Friday, February 3rd.

Youth in Revolt, from Holmdel, NJ (where NJ's Warped Tour stop is held every year) have released a new single about life on the road and leaving loved ones behind. Their album The Broken is due on February 17th.

If you like rock infused with synths, you'll like ESTHER. The British four piece brings a heavy edge to their music, but also has a solid sound with funky bass lines abound.

See you next weekend for another Super Saturdays!

Live: Less Than Jake

On their co-headlining tour with Pepper, Less Than Jake didn’t fail to impress. The fun, energetic ska-punk band from Gainesville, FL, showed that even after 25 years, they haven’t lost their energy.


Kash’d Out

Kash’d Out was unfortunately terribly unimpressive. Their mix was pretty bad, with the kick drum being so boomy that it was completely impossible to make it out during any of their songs. Their music was low energy and didn’t really do much to rile the crowd up for the bands to come later, and to be honest wasn’t original sounding at all.


Red City Radio

This band did a much better job of getting the audience ready for the show – perhaps because they were a punk band rather than a reggae band, but at the same time I’ve seen a reggae/ska band get a crowd going really well before (shoutout to Ballyhoo!). Red City Radio played a solid set of fast punk songs, circle pits and all, and it was clear that they’ve been perfecting their craft for quite some time.


Less Than Jake

My highlight of the night, Less Than Jake had a circle pit going from song one through the end of the set, except for the quiet part of “The Rest of My Life”. The band brought their classic stage shenanigans, including toilet paper launching leaf blowers, giant balloons, and confetti cannons, while Evolution Kid (the band’s mascot) throws merch into the crowd. The band played most of their hits such as “The Science of Selling Yourself Short”, “Johnny Quest Thinks We’re Sellouts”, and of course “Look What Happened”. However, they made sure to include some cuts off of their upcoming EP, Sound the Alarm, in the form of  “Bomb Drop” and “Things Change”. Overall, the band did an amazing job at keeping the crowd going, and even those Pepper fans who seemed uninterested in the band at the start of the set were enjoying Less Than Jake thoroughly by the end of the set.


Less Than Jake’s EP Sound the Alarm will be released on February 3rd via Pure Noise Records. You can preorder a copy from the band’s store now. You can also check out our gallery of Groezrock 2016, which has some great shots of Less Than Jake. We’ll have a review of Sound the Alarm soon, as well.

Photo by Jurriaan Hodzelmans for RMP Magazine.

Triple Tuesdays, Jan 24th, 2017

You know what time it is… Time for Triple Tuesdays! This time around, we've got Barcreeps, another new track from Tenth Electric, and Mark of 1000 Evils.

If you're a fan of Teenage Bottlerocket, Frank Turner and The Sleeping Souls, or Dropkick Murphys (minus the bagpipes), you'll probably like Barcreeps, the UK's newest punk band. Their single, "Joey Smokes", was released yesterday and Eponymous EP (yes, that's actually the title) will be released on Friday the 27th.

You may remember we shared Tenth Electric's song "Burn" a few months ago – the band is now back with another hit, "Lie To Me". Keep in mind that their EP Burn is out on March 1st!

Another band from the UK (we're three for three this week), Mark of 1000 Evils has released their track "Pay to Play". The driving but spooky sounding song invites the listener to dance along to the uptempo track.

See you at the next Triple Tuesdays!

Metal Mondays, Jan 23rd, 2017

For this edition of Metal Mondays, we have Fatally Yours, Final Drive, Deconbrio, and Atlanta is Burning.

Maryland hard rockers Fatally Yours recently released a video for their song, "Damn Your Eyes". Consisting of members formerly of the bands Bleed the Dream and Voodoo Blue, Fatally Yours provides powerful lyrics over solid, heavy riffs.

Though they only list Pantera, Clutch, Slayer, and AC/DC as influences, I hear quite a bit of Slipknot in Final Drive's new song "This is How". Mostly in the arrangement, but also in the mix and even the vocal sound. I'll let you all decide for what you think, but I really think Corey Taylor could be replaced by Jordan, the vocalist for Final Drive, if Taylor ever decided to leave Slipknot.

Deconbrio have dropped their new track "The Secret". This one reminds me a lot of Emigrate, the side project of Rammstein guitarist Richard Kruspe.

My favorite song out of the bunch (I have a bias towards bands that sound like they could play Warped Tour, as I was on the tour for a few years), Atlanta Is Burning's "Broadway". Though I think the clean vocals could definitely use some improvement, overall it's a really solid recording.

Until next week for another Metal Mondays!

Super Saturdays, Jan 21st, 2017

This week we have ME7ROPOLIS, The Dahmers, Darko, and Dave's Neck on Super Saturdays.

Italian pop-punk band M3ROPOLIS have released a new song, titled "Wrong or Paranoid". The song channels various bands, including The Offspring, Blink-182, and Four Year Strong.

Next up, from Sweden, The Dahmers release a spooky new single called "Nightcrawler". The song was released on January 15th, and is available now!

On to British punk band Darko, and their track "Hiraeth". The album Bonsai Mammoth will be released on February 3rd of this year.

Last but not least, Swedish punk band Dave's Neck dropping their song "Knock Knock Idiot". The song is a gritty tale of not wanting to see the idiot(s) mentioned in the song ever again.

See you next week for another Super Saturdays!

Triple Tuesdays, Jan. 17th, 2017

Welcome to another Triple Tuesdays! This time around we have Will Tenney and the Music Business, Ripe, and Echo Texture.

To kick things off, let me introduce you to my new favorite song: "Sometimes" by songwriter Will Tenney. It was produced by Ace Enders (The Early November), Zack Odom, Kenneth Mount, and Christian Medice. This fun, upbeat song is quite catchy but manages to not be cliche. I can definitely recommend Will Tenney and the Music Business.

Boston funk band Ripe have released a killer cover of Ellie Goulding's "On My Mind". If you're in Boston on January 27th, check out their show at the Paradise Rock Club, or one of the other shows on their upcoming tour!

Rounding out the trio, we have Echo Texture and their song "Rayon". The Seattle band fuze shoegaze with hard rock. Powerful vocals are layered over a driving rhythm section, though the low end can be a bit overpowering at times.

See you next week for another Triple Tuesdays!

Triple Tuesdays, Jan. 10th, 2017

Welcome back to Triple Tuesdays! Today we have Daggerplay, Barbott, and Army of Bones.

Helsinki punk band Daggerplay have released a blazing classic punk song called "One Mile Town", which will be on their upcoming sophomore album. The anthemic song combines elements of punk, pop punk, and folk – fans of Frank Turner, Dropkick Murphys, and Pure Love will be sure fans of Daggerplay.

Hailing from Spain, indie rockers Barbott showcase their incredible talent on the song "Cream". The song is off of their debut album, released in 2015, Curves. The energy behind this song is absolutely amazing, and the instrumentation and arrangement are exquisite to boot.

From their self titled debut, Army of Bones have shared the track "Don't Be Long". It's an atmospheric, yet driving indie song similar to what you might hear from Civil Twilight. Truly a band to keep on your radar, and if you're in the UK I highly recommend trying to catch them live at one of their upcoming shows.

Until next Tuesday!

Metal Mondays, Jan. 9th, 2017

Featured this week on Metal Mondays: Bulgarian operatic metal project Pagliacci, hard rock band Atrium of the Fall, and Arkansas metalcore act Levels.

Consisting of Zhivko Koev (music, lyrics, and keys) and Katerina Simeonova, Pagliacci have released song "Wise Men & Lunatics". The song is from their upcoming album, The Village of Madmen, due out later this year. Each of the four main characters on the concept album is played by a different singer. "Wise Men & Lunatics" features Dimitar Belchev as The Traveler, and Simeonova as Colombina. If you're a fan of metal and musicals as I am, you'll love Pagliacci!

Atrium of the Fall showcase "Hope Without a Crime" from their upcoming debut record, Zipper Mouth, due on February 1st. The song has lots of 90s throwbacks, but at the same time has more modern sounding elements. For example, the mid-2000s guitar lead. I love it, and hopefully you do too!

Five piece progressive metalcore act Levels recently released a video for their song "Slip". The band from Arkansas have a fairly standard sound, but that doesn't mean you can't bang your head to this killer song. Of interesting note is that clean lead vocals are provided by the drummer, which is slightly unusual for a metalcore band.

That's it for now, until next week for another edition of Metal Mondays!

Super Saturdays, Jan. 7th, 2016

Here it is, the first Super Saturdays of 2017! Today we have three artists, The Color Canvas, Meteor Fright, and The Black Line.

Kicking things off with Denver band The Color Canvas, who have just released the single "Just in Time". The song is from their upcoming album, which is due out on January 27th. This anthemic song mixes atmospheric sounds akin to Angels and Airwaves with darker sounds that could be heard from a post hardcore band.

After that stellar track, we have Blink-182 ripoff band Meteor Fright. Not only is the fun, catchy song, a stereotypical four chord song, the band seemingly grabbed their guitar tone right out of a Blink song. In the meantime, the vocals arrangement sounds like something Teenage Bottlerocket would do. I dig the song, but only because it reminds me of other artists I like – not because I find anything particularly original in the music. Still, that doesn't mean it isn't a kickass song!

Rounding out the trio of songs, we have "Burning Out" by The Black Line. Though it's a solid punk song, with obvious influences from the likes of Green Day and Pennywise, the mix could use some work. There's some pretty prominent low end "boom" and overall things are a bit unbalanced. That being said, I liked the song itself so much I still wanted to share it with you.

Until next week, for another Super Saturdays!