This may see a bit premature – May 28th is just under three months away – but we’ve been working on these releases for a while now, and we’ve been eagerly awaiting them even longer. I mean, it makes sense; we’re in a pandemic. There are no release shows to plan for, no tours to book, there isn’t a whole lot to plan for if you’ve somehow managed to pull yourself out of despair and keep creating. Maybe I’m being cautiously optimistic or maybe it’s the changing weather, but it feels like we might start to see the light at the end of that tunnel soon. And when we do, I’d give anything to see either of these bands live. But in the meantime, both Neighborhood Brats and Needles//Pins are gracing us with new records.
Needles//Pins – S/T LP is their forth, and the third for the label. This one is limited to 300 copies. 100 of those will be on gold vinyl. And yes, those are burning cop cars on the cover.
Neighborhood Brats – Confines of LP LP is their third, and the second for the label. On this one we’re doing 200 on white/black/red swirl and 400 on black. There’s also another color version that’s limited to 100 available exclusively via Green Noise Records. So for those nerds that want multiple colors of the same records, here’s your change. Euro folks can also grab a copy from Taken By Surprise.
We’re also doing something we’ve never tried before: a pre-order bundle on the Neighborhood Brats LP. Those will include a limited color copy of the record, a t-shirt, and a promo poster for the record. I’ll probably take those off of the site in early May to make sure I have enough time to print the correct amount of tees.
No streams yet. Those are coming soon. But for any fans of the band, I promise that you won’t be disappointed. Dare I say, this is some of the best work from both bands yet!
The street date for both of these is May 28th, but if the plants move them along quicker, they’ll ship early.
Ok then! Let’s do this!
Neighborhood Brats – Confines of Life LP
On Confines of Life, the third studio album from California punk band Neighborhood Brats, the band dives head-first into songs about environmental crisis, systemic oppression, interpersonal/intrapersonal conflict, and the trappings of modern existence. Following blueprints of ‘77 punk, ‘80s hardcore and elements of post-punk, the diverse songwriting influences of vocalist Jenny Angelillo and guitarist George Rager are showcased throughout, putting the band in their element, while expanding on their original concept.
Recorded in February and March 2020 at Station House studio with Grammy Award-winning producer/engineer Mark Rains, following their busiest year yet (including tours with Adolescents and Subhumans UK). The band had barely finished production when Los Angeles went into its initial shutdown in response to the incoming pandemic. Multiple 2020 tours were subsequently canceled as the music industry, and life in general, came to a standstill.
As live music faces challenges unlike any other in modern existence, the band looks forward to a time when they can safely return to the road. With Nick Aguilar (drums) and Mike West (bass), Neighborhood Brats stands at-the-ready. As their song goes… “We’ll Find You.”
Needles//Pins – S/T LP
Maybe it’s the endless pieces of soft, soothing music being described as ‘a soothing balm for the stresses of the pandemic age’, but don’t you sometimes find yourself wishing for a solid rock’n’roll record to cut to your core and send your fists soaring towards the sky? Okay, our moshpits may not extend much further than the faces in our living rooms right now, but goddamit, some of us really just want some punk rock to help us feel alive.
Here’s where Needles//Pins’ mighty fourth album comes in. From the surging rush of opener ‘Woe Is Us’ (sounds relatable), via the organ-drenched scuffle of ‘Winnipeg ‘03’ right through to anthemic closer ‘The Tyranny Of Comforts’, this is a record that takes your emotional concerns and bundles them up into sweet little packets of raw-throated, chest-swelling, moves-into-your-brain-and-never-leaves melody.
They’re self-aware too; by referencing Cap’n Jazz’s ‘Little Leagues’ in the opening verse to ‘A Rather Strained Apologetic’, they lay bare that in a less complicated era you might have been tempted to call their take on punk ‘emo’. Hey, come back – OK, it’s not a Jade Tree special, but it’s got the same gravel throated delivery and honeyed approach to melody that Blake Schwarzenbach delivered on ‘24 Hour Revenge Therapy’. Needles//Pins are equally indebted to classic Canadian powerpop like The Pointed Sticks – hell, 1979’s essential ‘Vancouver Complication’ comp feels as much of a reference here as ‘Boxcar’. They know their history, they know their craft, and they know their shit. If you’ve not been keeping count, this all adds up to ‘plenty to love’.
Of course, you could just ignore everything I just wrote and listen for yourself. What you’ll find is a record that sounds simple on first listen but offers more layers to peel back the more you listen. It’s comforting, it’s thrilling, it’s… well, it’s not a soothing balm, but it might just be what you need right now to pick you up off the floor and (as referenced on the aforementioned ‘Woe Is Us’) make you shake and shimmer. A future classic? Hell, why not? – Will Fitzpatrick