Anti-Flag, Stray From The Path
The White Noise, Sharptooth
9081 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA, 90069
This event is all ages
Music bestows a voice upon the voiceless. It provides a mouthpiece for the unheard to be heard. It amplifies the cries of the downtrodden in the face of oppression and tyranny. It’s the last line of dissent….
“Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.” – Howard Zinn
Since unleashing their seminal 1996 debut Die for the Government, Anti-Flag has empowered and emboldened the listeners of two generations beset with a new millennium stricken by war, racial upheaval, and financial collapse. The Pittsburgh, PA quartet—Justin Sane [vocals], Chris#2 [bass, vocals], Chris Head [guitar, vocals], and Pat Thetic [drums]—has consistently embodied a timeless punk spirit over the course of nine influential offerings, including The Terror State, For Blood and Empire, and most recently, 2015’s American Spring. The latter boasted appearances from icons such as Tom Morello and Tim Armstrong and yielded the anthem “Brandenburg Gate,” which cracked 1.3 million Spotify streams and counting.
They’ve incinerated stages on tour alongside Rage Against The Machine, Sick of It All, Billy Talent, The Offspring, Rancid, and more in addition to festivals ranging from Coachella to the Vans Warped Tour. A cultural institution, they have spoken out on behalf of movements such as Occupy Together, Greenpeace, Sea Shepherd, and Amnesty International between launching their own label A-F and ANTIFest.
As the world changed again with the controversial 2016 presidential election, the time felt ripe for Anti-Flag’s tenth and most definitive offering yet, American Fall [Spinefarm Records].
“There’s a focus on politics right now for obvious reasons,” says Chris#2. “When that happens, our band gets more attention. Being our tenth record, we wanted to make sure that we were true to ourselves. It had to sound like Anti-Flag. At the same time, London Calling is my favorite by The Clash because they took risks. Since they were in front of more eyes than ever, they didn’t play it safe. We wanted to push the envelope so we had a reason to put out another record when everyone was watching.”
Writing back home in Pittsburgh, the signature sound naturally evolved with slower grooves, tighter songcraft, thicker guitars, and bigger melodies. It provided the perfect musical counterpoint to the incendiary and inflammatory subject matter.
“Because we’re living in very divisive and dark times, we wanted to deliver our message in a way that wasn’t overbearing and oppressive to listeners,” adds Justin. “Getting a little more melodic makes the pill easier to digest. It became more impactful and simple.”
“Any fool can make something complicated. It takes a genius to make it simple.” – Woody Guthrie
Kicking off 2017, the boys traded snowy Pittsburgh in January for sunny Southern California where they would co-produce American Fall with Good Charlotte’s Benji Madden. His personal perspective proved indispensable in the studio.
“He understands that we know how to do this, but he also added a fresh take,” Chris#2 goes on. “It was cool to have him around on these songs, because many of them are structurally and sonically pretty catchy punk rock. We embraced the idea of writing singalongs and big hooks. We were all on a similar page going into this.”
“He had a great sense for feeling where something was heading and pushing it in that direction,” adds Justin. “That was a really impressive skill that he brought to the process.”
Introducing American Fall, opener and first single “American Attraction” hinges on a hulking drum beat and hummable guitars before snapping into an explosive chant. It’s quintessential Anti-Flag as far as the subject matter goes...
“We were definitely interested in talking about the politics of distraction on that one,” Justin exclaims. “The politics of distraction lead people to make choices that aren’t in their best interest. They follow leaders who are just using them and don’t care to actually do something positive for the country. When you live in a society that glorifies guns, drugs, and war, you become susceptible to those politics—while the individuals in charge are only worried about re-election. They don’t care about you.”
“Sooner or later, the people of this country are going to find out the government doesn’t give a fuck about them. Government doesn’t care about you. All they are interested in, is keeping and expanding their own power.” – George Carlin
Elsewhere on the record, “The Criminals” gallops ahead at full speed driven by a performance soaked in blood, sweat, and tears and pure punk fury. The acoustic guitar and chant of “When The Wall Falls” gives way to a buoyant groove, and “Casualty” caps everything off with a fitting middle finger, proclaiming “Try to shut us down, but we won’t be another casualty.”
Speaking directly to those in need, the lyrics to “Casualty” are accompanied by phone numbers for Trans Lifeline, Suicide Prevention, Domestic Violence, Crisis Text Line, and Trevor Project Lifeline. Moreover, the booklet includes essays, quotes, and writings of Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz, Peter Montgomery, Ryan Harvey, and more.
American Fall heralds another era for Anti-Flag as their impact remains as palpable as ever
Stray From The Path
Stray From The Path is an alternative hardcore band from Long Island New York. SFTP is a full time touring band with a mission to bring honest pissed off music to the world.
The White Noise
The White Noise continually flip the script. The Southern California quintet—Shawn Walker [vocals], David Southern [guitar, vocals], Josh “KJ” Strock [guitar], Bailey Crego [bass], and Tommy West [drums]—infuse aggressive rock with cinematic expanse and hardcore punk urgency, striking an elusive middle ground between influences as diverse as Underoath, Brand New, and Nine Inch Nails. On their 2017 full-length debut album AM/PM [Fearless Records], the group boldly bob and weave past convention and emerge with an infectious and inimitable body of work representative of their penchant for unpredictability.
“The name AM/PM is a reference to a song by the band Give Up The Ghost,” explains KJ. “Many people get stuck in the motion of living their everyday lives. The whole album encompasses how we choose to go through life. We’re creatures of habit, but we can choose to break out of that. Think outside the box. A lot of the songs encourage being introspective, self-aware, and not just doing the same typical shit every day.”
Ultimately, The White Noise push listeners to go deeper.
“We don’t want to stick to any one specific sound,” affirms KJ. “Every song stands on its own, but there’s a cohesion to the record because of how we play. At the core of everything, we’re a rock band. There are no boundaries to that.”
Since their formal emergence in 2015, The White Noise has made waves. Alternative Press hailed their Aren’t You Glad? EP among “The 12 Best EPS of 2016” and claimed, “The LA group have left an undeniable mark on the scene with the first six songs of their career.” Further acclaim came from New Noise Magazine and more as the band incinerated stages on tour with I Prevail, Dance Gavin Dance, and many others. Meanwhile, “Picture Day” clocked over 683K Spotify streams and 512K YouTube views. Throughout 2016, the boys recorded what would become AM/PM with producer Drew Fulk [Motionless In White, We Came As Romans] in Los Angeles. Along the way, they succinctly sharpened their style.
“Drew really understands the big picture of a song,” explains KJ. “He knows how to help us arrive at the end result we want. That’s why we love working with him. We got to achieve the vision we set out for together.”
Now, AM/PM codifies that vision. The first single “Bite Marks” swings from an ominous and airy beat into a vampiric vocal volley barely above a whisper before unexpectedly snapping into an unforgettable refrain.
“It’s really about temptation,” he goes on. “You’re giving into a relationship that you know you shouldn’t, but you’re addicted to the feeling. The song has more of a sexual overtone. It’s something different for us.”
Meanwhile, “The Best Songs Are Dead” gallops at full speed ahead on a punked-out riff as it collides into an arena-size chant. “Initially, I wanted to write something that would’ve fit into the video game Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater back in the day,” explains KJ. “It feels like people don’t put the same emotion into the songs that artists used to. The best songs are dead. Bands had something to say. There’s no point now. We wanted to write a call-to-arms for that honesty.”
AM/PM threads together a captivating musical narrative. After a buzz of feedback, “Picture Day” showcases the band’s knack for a hook, and “I Lost My Mind (In California)” taps into a sun-soaked groove a la Weezer. With its chilling clean guitars and haunting lyrics, “Montreal” takes a personal turn. Each moment adds another layer of complexity to the album as a whole.
“There’s a lot going on in the songs,” KJ leaves off. “I’d love for people to listen to this album and find that deeper meaning for themselves and take something tangible away.”
"We're at a really concerning place in politics. Actually, it's downright terrifying. At times like this, it's hard to see any silver lining at all. Thankfully, Baltimore hardcore band, Sharptooth, is here to save the day with their first full length, Clever Girl. If anything is going to be a silver lining in times like these, it's this album. "
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