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Tuesday, October 8, 2019

"Aging Punks" Craig Finn (The Hold Steady) & Dad Brains Release Age-appropriate Musings On Punk/Hardcore Scenes [Digital Singles]


I guess, at this point in my life, on the verge of 32, I would deem myself an "aging Punk" (I know, it's an extremely un-Punk thing to do!) but I feel, as though, before labeling someone else an "aging Punk," I should, at least, own up to my own dwindling status in the community/sub-culture. I've been listening to Punk/Hardcore music for about 17 years now; so, that would mean I first discovered the genres around 15-16, which sounds about right. I guess, if my memory serves me correctly, I discovered a bunch of formative 80's punk bands like Black Flag, Fugazi, Minor Threat, The Misfits, Samhain, Bad Religion, etc. through listening to Pop Punk bands, such as blink-182, Sum 41, and Green Day, during the early 2000's. I've always felt a special attachment to the worlds of Punk/Hardcore—attending amany sweaty shows dimly-lit shows long before I was even old enough to drink!—and oddly enough, the older I get, the more of an attachment I feel towards the overall ethos and impassioned angst. But enough about myself, let's move onto the main attraction here...



Craig Finn is an American singer-songwriter, musician, and long-time frontman of beloved Indie Rock act, The Hold Steady. It appears as though Finn was once an angsty Punk himself and in adulthood, through his professional career, has often shown allegiance to Punk/Hardcore-adjacent artists including: Brian Fallon (The Gaslight Anthem,) Patrick Stickles & Titus Andronicus, Culture Abuse, The Men, Dillinger Four, Reigning Sound, Jawbreaker, Sleaford Mods, The Fall, Hot Snakes, and his own pre-Hold Steady Post-punk group, Lifter Puller. Craig Finn once cited Blake Schwarzenbach from Jawbreaker & Jets to Brazil, as well as Bruce Springsteen, amongst his greatest lyrical influences and has described The Replacements' LET IT BE (1984) as his "favorite ever record." Finn very recently released his latest album, I Need A New War, the third part in a trilogy, which started with 2015's Faith In The Future. Ahead of an upcoming October/November jaunt across The UK & Europe with his band, The Uptown Controllers, Laura Stevenson & Cassandra Jenkins, Craig Finn released a new non-album digital single, "It's Never Been A Fair Fight."


Craig Finn has arranged the song in such a way wherein the aforementioned "It" is, actually, Punk/Hardcore with lyrics including lines such as: "I said Hardcore's in the eye of the beholder / I've got a broken heart from 1989 / I was holding my head in my hands from the heat / And there were elbows in my eyes..." "'It's Never Been A Fair Fight" is about the extreme difficulty of staying true to the rigid rules of a sub-culture as you get older," says Finn. "The character in the song re-visits an old peer and finds struggle and disappointment in the place he left behind. I've always really loved this song and people seemed to connect with it on my acoustic tour with Brian Fallon. Excited to be sharing the full band version with the world." Craig Finn has simultaneously released three separate versions of "It's Never Been A Fair Fight:" 1.) an Acoustic Version, 2.) a Studio/B-side Version, and 3.) a Live Version with The We All Want The Same Things Band. "It's Never Been A Fair Fight" was previously released as part of Finn's PLATTSBURG EP, initially, available as a digital download for anyone who pre-ordered I Need A New War directly from Partisan Records. It's now become widely available on your digital streaming platform of chOi!-ce.


Dad Brains are a bit of a tongue-in-cheek crew signed to Pirates Press Records, but rest assured, their Punk/Hardcore credentials are, indeed, "too legit to quit!" Part-time members/dads Patrick "Pat" Pedraza, Matt Kash, John Crerar & Craig Kasamis have collectively spent time playing with Creep Division, D*ck Circus, From Satellite, The F*cking Wrath, The Missing 23rd, Night Demon, No Motiv, Peter Pan's Army, The Pullmen, and Stop Breathing. Since initially forming around 2018, Dad Brains have released two EP's, Dad Brains & dadditude, on Pirates Press, as well as numerous flexi-disc singles and an X-mas split EP with Ramoms. Now, following the widespread success of their previous releases boasting their unique "Punk Rock Dads" formula, Dad Brains have returned with a new stand-alone/non-album single just months after dadditude's Father's Day release. "Punk Rock & Hardcore!" is a bit more Rap-Rock/Hip-Hop indebted than Dad Brains' typical fair, but, it seems as though, it's all for good reason. "I'm a big fan of the [Beastie Boys'] Licensed to Ill album. I wanted the beginning to sound like "Paul Revere" haha," frontman Pat Pedraza explained to The Witzard, via email.


"I was a fan of 80's Rap & Punk, so I wanted to do something funny with a head-bobbing beat. Those are real drums and guitar on the track! People might not get it, but it was fun to record the guys rapping haha," Pedraza continued. "Punk Rock & Hardcore!" also, manages to shout-out a number of bands, both lyrically and visually, within its companion music video: Nardcore, Suicidal Tendencies, Beastie Boys, Minor Threat, Ill Repute, "DK" AKA Dead Kennedys, SSD, Youth of Today, P.M.A. and, of course, Bad Brains. Dad Brains cleverly incorporated a couple uniqye samples into "Punk Rock & Hardcore!" including the title refrain from Minor Threat's "I Don't Wanna Hear It," as well as back-up vocals in the beginning provided by Chuck Platt from Good Riddance wailing "yuuup!" In addition to the aforementioned Ian MacKaye-cleared sample, Dad Brains, also, payed homage to the style of a number of early Minor Threat releases, most notably, Minor Threat/First Two Seven Inches and Complete Discography, on the single's black-and-pink cover. "Punk Rock & Hardcore!" single is now available to stream, purchase, or download on your digital streaming platform of chOi!-ce.

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