Living with Lions: Make Your Mark

What do you get when you mix pure punk attitude with viral energy, in-your-face lyrics, and raw vocals? How about when you put five punk rockers in a Vancouver pad nicknamed the Dude Manor, mix with alcohol and serve cold to the masses? In this case, the result is a no-frills LP, courtesy of Canadian punks Living with Lions.

The band’s first full-length release Make Your Mark sounds like a combination of Rise Against, circa Siren Song of the Counter Culture, and more recent releases by the Bouncing Souls. There are just enough snare-filled verses, and anti-authority lyrics to classify these guys as a punk band, but occasionally, LWL unleashes a catchy hook or two, showing off a more refined sound than was present on their debut EP, Dude Manor. Make Your Mark’s opener, “She’s a Hack,” sets the tone for the record with a strong chorus, and current single, “A Bottle of Charades” sets the bar as one of the most commercial-friendly tunes the guys have ever penned. LWL taps into influences like Hot Water Music with the track, “Cold Coffee,” which sounds like a mosh pit to the face, and slows things down a bit with a softer chorus on “Hotel: Part Seven,” but never skimps on the energy. Make Your Mark closes with “Dude Manor (R.I.P.),” a tribute to the band’s old crib and then a short “Outro,” which gives a nod to old school punk acts, swelling from one simple note into a whirlwind of screeching guitars and intricate drum fills before fading out just under the two-minute mark.

There’s no denying Make Your Mark draws on some strong influences, but the bulk of the record is incredibly original, and full of potential. As a freshman LP, Mark makes a strong statement as an honest punk record by five guys who just happen to love playing music together. For a first attempt it’ll do, and it will be interesting to see how Living with Lions evolves. So, if you’re looking for a more melodically driven record, Make Your Mark may not be for you. But, if you’re at all a fan of bands like the Bouncing Souls, Green Day, Hot Water Music, Lifetime, Rancid, or Bad Religion definitely give Living With Lions a listen. (Adeline 2009)

Living with Lions MySpace page

  

Riverboat Gamblers Win Big With New Record

Riverboat Gamblers

From Volcom Entertainment comes the six-piece indie-rock outfit the Riverboat Gamblers.  Their fourth studio album Underneath The Owl hit stores last Tuesday and has been creating quite a buzz, thanks to their unique punk-inspired sound. 

Hailing from Austin, TX the Riverboat Gamblers bring the energetic spirit of the Lone Star State to rock ‘n roll with intense choruses and surprisingly heartfelt lyrics.  Their sound is the perfect mix of Rise Against and the Foo Fighters; just poppy enough to get stuck in your head, but sill hard enough to get your blood pumpin’.

            Their latest record is the perfect combination of infectious hooks and heavy guitars.  In a recent review Spin.com wrote:

It’s weird to think that these Texas upstarts are largely relegated to the fringes of pop — what they do is so basic, so elemental, it’s hard to even come up with a modifier to place in front of “rock.”

It’s true that the normal definition of “pop” is nowhere to be found on Owl but there is a definite influence that shines brightly through their punk/rock façade.  Snobsmusic.com described Riverboat Gamberls’ sound perfectly, saying:

Much like Against Me!, Riverboat Gamblers make fast paced punk with all the hooks you could ask for…and they manage to do it without a whiff of bubblegum. 

The music isn’t the only thing that has critics raving; the Riverboat Gamblers put on one hell of a show.  In fact, in this month’s issue of RollingStone David Fricke wrote:

If there was a Purple Heart for punk-rock performance, Mike Weibe of raging Texans the Riverboat Gamblers would have a chestful.  He’s a singer who always brings the show to you—surfing on hands, swinging from rafters and spinning around pillars—and he has the scars, abused muscles and mended bones to prove it.

Fricke goes on to rave about Owl’s “high-velocity bundles of sanded-fuzz guitars and bloodlust-rah-rah choruses.”  There’s really nothing negative to say about this band.  Their sound is polished, infectious, and straight-up rockin’.  They’re currently on a nationwide tour complete with a few opening shows for Super-Punk stars Rise Against and Rancid.  Check out Riverboat Gamblers’ MySpace for a complete list of tour dates and shows near you.

  

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