Category Archives: A Kick In The Pants

A Kick In The Pants # 2 – The Pillow Fights

This past weekend I attended the 5th annual Insubordination Fest in Baltimore, MD. As always it was a blast, and I saw a couple dozen bands that kicked ass. The headliners (The Queers, Smoking Popes, and Less Than Jake) were amazing but I wanted to shove something else in front of your radar – San Jose, CA’s Pillow Fights. The four-piece play short, poppy punk tunes that zip along like kids on a sugar high running through the living room. Catchy hooks that bounce between good ol’ Lookout pop punk and the new school notion that you can write a punk song with more than 3 chords.   Singer Danielle Bailey’s vocals are something along the lines of “I am cute, hear me roar!” The band’s latest release is a split 7″ with Seattle’s Smokejumper on Silver Sprocket. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that you get more bang for your buck by picking up their 2009 CD Round 1, but the vinyl has “Get Out Of Here,” which is easily the band’s best song. Perhaps groundbreaking even, if one were to offhandedly declare a new genre called power twee. It’s one of those wonderful sing-alongs that’s both for and about the audience. “Whaddya think about / you and me / get out of here?!” I can tell why they ended their set with it.

Leave a Comment

Filed under A Kick In The Pants, Commentary

A Kick In The Pants # 1 – The Challenged

Nothing like an awesome punk rock album to start off the summer. Last year Brooklyn New York’s The Challenged gave us three excellent cuts on their 7 Guys, 1 Cup split digital EP with Nancy, and now a new full-length is at our doorstep thanks to the fine folks at Rally Records. On first listen Loaded Language seems a little straightforward – well executed melodic punk that’s neither sophomoric nor pretentious. Further spins reveal a trail of influences that were scraped off the entire map of modern-age punk rock. The punk pop of Pennsylvania’s Slacker (see: Mutant Pop, not Moon Ska), the spastic sounds of Ohio’s Dopamines, and the semi-slick sound of SoCal skate punk can be heard throughout these 13 tracks.  All songs are propelled by frenzied guitars and drums that careen around each turn of phrase; there’s not a trace of neanderthal shouting or brain dead solos.  You can tell these guys took the time to craft these songs into something (albeit slightly) more refined than the typical basement output.  The formula works best when speed and the anthemic combine on songs like “Hook, Line, and Sink Her,” “Lost In The Music,” and the title track.  Impressive stuff here.

Leave a Comment

Filed under A Kick In The Pants, Releases