Tag Archives: Tropical Punk

Top 20 of 2012

Punch Brothers - Who's Feeling Young Now?

1. Punch Brothers – Who’s Feeling Young Now?
2. Japandroids – Celebration Rock 
3. Tropical Punk – Ends of the World 
4. John K. Samson – Provincial 
5. Flume – Flume
6. Frank Ocean – channel ORANGE 
7. Tame Impala – Lonerism 
8. Fiona Apple – The Idler Wheel…
9. Balmorhea – Stranger
10. The Mountain Goats – Transcendental Youth
11. Titus Andronicus – Local Business
12. Leonard Cohen – Old Ideas
13. The Men – Open Your Heart
14. The Avett Brothers – The Carpenter
15. Bob Dylan – Tempest
16. First Aid Kit – The Lion’s Roar
17. Miguel – Kaleidoscope Dream
18. Flying Lotus – Until the Quiet Comes
19. St. Lucia – St. Lucia EP
20. Yeasayer – Fragrant World

Honorable Mentions: People Get Ready, Grizzly Bear, Lucero, Black Moth Super Rainbow, The Tallest Man on Earth

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Top 20 of 2012: 3. Tropical Punk – Ends of the World

3. Tropical Punk – Ends of the World

Tropical Punk - Ends of the WorldTropical Punk was by-far my most-played artist of 2012. No contest. The Nashville-via-Ithaca band put out a series of three 7″ EPs called Runaway American Kids and their debut full-length Ends of the World this year on their own Denim Records, and I can’t stop playing them.

The handmade Ends of the World CD lived in my car for months, where it became my go-to album. If I didn’t have a specific plan for something else, Ends of the World stayed in, and when it was over, I just let it cycle through again.

Usually, this is a great way to start hating your favorite bands, but for some reason, with each listen, Tropical Punk keeps getting better.

Ends of the World and all three Runaway American Kids 7″s are now available on vinyl via Tropical Punk’s Bandcamp. The rest of Denim Records is also worth checking out — including Music Band‘s Satan’s Grave and Kin Ship’s Where I Live, released yesterday.

Tropical Punk at Pete’s on Cayuga

Tropical Punk at Pete's on Cayuga poster - June 30, 2012Tropical Punk is tearin’ it up across the country. They’re playing a full U.S. tour this summer to promote their upcoming Runaway American Kids.

The Nashville band came to their old stomping grounds in Ithaca, N.Y. to play a show at Pete’s on Cayuga.

Though its graffiti-covered walls might suggest otherwise, Pete’s doesn’t normally host shows. A small lamp with an angled shade barely lit the bands. There was no stage and no in-house sound, and that was OK.

Joe Steinhardt, a co-founder of Don Giovanni Records (home of Screaming Females and Waxahatchee) played first. The New Jersey native, who performs as Modern Hut, showed off his songwriting with a lonely acoustic set. He was modest and gracious to the small group of friends and listeners watching.

Routine Involvements at Pete's on Cayuga - Ithaca, N.Y. - June 30, 2012 - Photo by Peter CauvelRoutine Involvements replaced Candy Pants, who were originally billed for the show. The Rochester band had played with Tropical Punk the night before and were invited to fill the spot. The powerhouse garage-punk duo caught the attention of the bar-dwellers in the next room and soon filled the tiny space. Atom Mac played the drums with incredible force, and Ben Corey switched between noise-heavy chords and blues riffs.

Tropical Punk started to play at about midnight. They played some old favorites for the local crowd, opening with “Witch Doctor.” They also flew through summertime rock ‘n’ roll songs like “Try To,” “Why Don’t We Take a Ride?” and “Crackin’ Up.”

Tropical Punk at Pete's on Cayuga - Ithaca, N.Y. - June 30, 2012 - Photo by Peter CauvelSomewhere in the flurry of their set, the lamp was kicked over, smashing the bulb. The band shrugged it off, playing harder than ever. “Take Me to the Party, Baby” got the crowd moving even more, and “Dream Darlin'” turned into a giant sing-a-long to finish the set.

Don’t miss Tropical Punk this summer. Check out the tour dates after the jump. Continue reading

Tropical Punk – Runaway American Kids

Tropical Punk - Runaway American Kids - DesertTropical Punk is getting ready to release the follow up to their awesome debut LP, Ends of the World. Their new recording project, Runaway American Kids, is split into three 7″ EPs. The Nashville band is pressing up 250 copies of the first EP on red vinyl, to be released this summer.

Recorded at the band’s house, the first EP finds the band looking outside the basements and parties of their debut album.

They kick it off with the spaghetti-western instrumental “Summer Heat (part 1).” The massive guitar sounds like a single Sonic Youth riff echoing dark and mysterious in the desert night. As the riff fades out, the music picks back up with the pure summertime rock ‘n’ roll of “That Night.”

The second half of the album finds the band slowing down and pushing its boundaries. “Dreams Out West” mellows out, floating on the bassline, but maintains a certain grit in the jagged strums and reverb. In the final track, singer Zach Puls nails the lonesome vocals, making “On the Run” into a classic country song.

The first Runaway American Kids EP is out August 27 on Denim Records. Stream or download it below and pre-order it on Tropical Punk’s Bandcamp.

Tropical Punk – Ends of the World

Tropical Punk - Ends of the World cassetteEvery second Wednesday of every month for the last three years, the guys in Tropical Punk have had a party and pretended the world is ending at midnight. Recorded in just two days in Ithaca, N.Y., their debut album, Ends of the World, captures those feelings in its ten tracks.

I tried, but couldn’t come up with a better description than the band’s own: “ten songs about parties and highways and broken hearts that sound like The Ramones and Bruce Springsteen if they played together in some basement and then woke up & went driving around the country.”

The album opens with the hum of an amp, two chords and the click of drumsticks before the band dives into the surfy garage-punk of “Basement.” The catchy energy of the first track carries through the whole album. The bar-rock anthem “Dream Darlin’,” perhaps my favorite on the album, sounds exactly like a summer night with friends. “Take Me to the Party, Baby,” “Why Don’t We Take a Ride” and “Hearts” maintain the party vibe, and the band channels The Stooges on “Crackin’ Up,” the album’s heaviest track. “Together in Texas” and “Old Rebel” slow it down, but are every bit as catchy.

Tropical Punk - Ends of the WorldClocking in at just 30 minutes, Ends of the World begs for frequent listens. By the second time, you’ll be singing right along.

You can order a copy of Ends of the World on Tropical Punk’s Bandcamp page. The limited edition CD-Rs with hand-made covers are only $5. It’s definitely worth it. Ends of the World is hands-down my favorite album of the year so far.

New music from Tropical Punk: Dream Darlin’

Tropical PunkTropical Punk came on my radar last year when they opened for Free Energy and Titus Andronicus. I was immediately attracted to the energy and earnestness of their music. The group, originally from Ithaca, N.Y. and now out of Nashville, dropped their last EP, Sweetheart earlier this year — which you can buy on cassette or download for free.

Now, with a new city and a new website, they’re debuting their latest song, “Dream Darlin’.” It’s a fantastic, rollicking punk-rock bar song in the vein of Lucero or Gaslight Anthem. Check out the video and download it for free on their Bandcamp page.

I’m really hoping to see these guys back in upstate N.Y. soon.

tropical punk “dream darlin” from DENIM RECORDS on Vimeo.

My Favorite Live Shows of 2010

I end up going to a lot of shows, but these were my 10 favorite of this year. The Hold Steady, Pavement and The Extra Lens/John Vanderslice link to bootlegs of the shows. If you have recordings of any of the others, I’d love to hear them.

The Hold Steady - Westcott Theater Poster

10. The Hold Steady with The Oranges Band – Westcott Theater – Syracuse, NY – April 10
The Hold Steady is always a great show. The speakers blare as singer Craig Finn drags his microphone stand back and forth across the sing. The crowd is always into it, and Syracuse was no exception, singing anthems like “Constructive Summer” and “Stevie Nix” at the top of their lungs.  The 24-song set is available for download at The Hold Steady Taped Show Archive.

9. Vampire Weekend with Beach House and Dum Dum Girls – Main Street Armory – Rochester, NY – September 10
The last time Vampire Weekend played in Rochester, they opened for Dirty Projectors and Yacht at the Bug Jar, which has a capacity of about 200. This year, they played Main Street Armory – which boasts a capacity of 6,500. I don’t think it sold out, but it was close. They put on a great, energetic show, but for my money, Beach House stole the show.

Pavement - Central Park Poster8. Pavement – Central Park Summerstage – New York, NY – September 23
Going to see the reunited Pavement in Central Park was a last-minute decision. My friend Zack had been mulling it over for a while, patrolling Craigslist for cheap tickets. He found some that, when you factor in overnighting them from Chicago, ended up being less than face value. Zack and I piled into his car with our friend Sam and made the six-hour drive to New York. We ended up being the first ones in the gate – front row, center. I left Central Park with a drum stick from drummer Steve West and “Gold Soundz” in my head for a week. You can download the show at nyctaper.

7. Gayngs with Glasser – Alfred University – Alfred, NY – October 1
Gayngs only played about 10 shows – ever. They played all the big cities – New York, Chicago, Boston… and Alfred, N.Y. Alfred was about a 20-minute drive from school, so I couldn’t pass up the chance to see Gayngs. The whole band dressed in white, played their whole album (plus a Sade cover) and did the strangest encore I’ve ever seen. After their last song, the band kept jamming, with members slowly trickling off stage, but a few even came back. I listened to “Relayted” nonstop for about a week after.

6. Titus Andronicus and Free Energy with Tropical Punk – Castaways – Ithaca, NY – August 25
This was the second time I saw Free Energy over the summer of 2010 – the first was with Mates of State. They were the real draw for me – catchy anthems like “Free Energy” and “Hope Child” – but I couldn’t help but get into Titus Andronicus after seeing their show. They played a blistering live set, starting with “A More Perfect Union.” Even though their songs are all pretty long, they never lost any steam.

5. The Extra Lens with John Vanderslice and Dan Mangan – Mercury Lounge – New York, NY – October 21
John Darnielle is both one of my favorite songwriters and one of my favorite performers for mostly the same reason – his gift with words. He tells the best stories – in song and on stage. If you listen to the recorded show, a good chunk of it is devoted to his musings between songs. His musical performance with Franklin Bruno as the Extra Lens was great, and his banter is some of the funniest I’ve ever heard.

Avett Brothers - State Theatre Poster

4. The Avett Brothers with The Low Anthem – State Theatre – Ithaca, NY – February 26
To get to this show, my girlfriend and I had to drive through a blizzard. In the two-and-a-half hour drive to Ithaca, we saw a car go off the road – and not much else besides snow. Even more stressful, the show was already sold out. I had requested tickets on the guest list (the perks of working as a music director) and was told they would be there – but that’s never a guarantee.  But we made it and the tickets were there. Both the Avett Brothers and the Low Anthem put on a great show. I’m already making plans to see the Avett Brothers when they play the Smith Opera House this February.

My Morning Jacket CMAC Poster3. My Morning Jacket and The New Pornographers – CMAC – Canandaigua, NY – August 28
Usually there aren’t many concerts close to where I live, but luckily CMAC in Canandaigua, N.Y. partnered with Bowery Presents to bring in some great shows. My Morning Jacket was one of the last shows of the summer concert season – I moved back to school a day late to see it. The New Pornographers (sans Neko Case, unfortunately) opened to a lukewarm crowd while the sun set. It was a good performance but seemed like the wrong setting. My Morning Jacket melted faces, though. The set was heavy, blurring the lines of psychedelic and folk rock. Even through the jams and extended guitar solos, the band was completely mesmerizing.

2. Of Montreal and Janelle Monae – Town Ballroom – Buffalo, NY – September 19
This show was the second in a two-day stint the weekend before my twenty-first birthday – I had gone to see Ra Ra Riot in Geneva the night before. I was completely unprepared for this show, though. First, Janelle Monae delivered a fantastic performance – covering ground in funk, soul, pop and hip-hop. Then, Of Montreal completely floored me. They played most of the songs from their latest, False Priest, and a few old ones like “She’s a Rejector” and “The Party’s Crashing Us.” Their performance was filled with dancing, actors dressed as animals, monsters or any number of things, and a giant feather explosion at the end. They ended the party with an encore of Michael Jackson covers.

1. The Flaming Lips and the Black Keys – CMAC – Canandaigua, NY – July 23
Flaming Lips - CMACThis was an easy choice for my favorite concert of the year. If you’ve ever seen the Flaming Lips perform, you’ll know why. The band starts their performance with singer Wayne Coyne rolling over the crowd in a giant space bubble, and it only gets better from there. They couple their performance with psychedelic lights, confetti explosions, dancing monsters and bears, and giant balloons that explode with more confetti. The Black Keys were an outstanding opener too. The show was unforgettable and easily ranks among my favorite concerts of all time.