Old school punk, new old school punk and bipolar metalcore headline the latest roundup of Vegas releases:
NAKED CITY ROMEOS, “Naked City Romeos” (facebook.com/NCRLV): When it comes to Vegas punk rock, this bunch hasn’t just been around the block, they practically built it, pouring plenty of concrete (and cheap hooch) in the seediest stretches of town. Singer Eric Hill (Bad Habits/The Swell/M.I.A.), bassist Cory Naff (F8), guitarist Dirk Vermin and drummer Turbo Proctor (both of The Vermin) are scene lifers who predate said scene.
In the Naked City Romeos, they come with the expected clenched-fist snarlers — “I’m Me” is a 2 a.m. shout-along at the Double Down waiting to happen — but they also delve into dirt-beneath-the-fingernails pop (“Rock N’ Roll Hair”), a cowbell-abetted hard rock swing (“Kill the Rat!”) and harmonica-fired, bluesy bombast (“I Don’t Wanna Girl in the Band”).
Whiskey gets better with age, maybe that also goes for the dudes occasionally catalyzed by it.
BLESSED BY A BURDEN, “Addiction” (facebook.com/blessedbyaburden): Blessed By a Burden is the rare metalcore act for whom “dancing” doesn’t always involve hurling elbows at sweaty dudes in the pit. This is underscored toward the end of “Track 4,” when amidst a dark cloud of steel-belted riffing and vein-bulging exhortations, a dizzy, shimmering, arms-in-the-air synth line gets the songs bouncin’ like it was coated in rubber.
This is Blessed By a Burden’s M.O.: using skittering digital beats and swelling, dramatic keys to breathe some air into claustrophobic heaviness, while galloping, by turns melodic and muscular guitars and strangulated vocals leave plenty of bruises.
Lyrically, the band favors uplift — the better to heal the hurt they inflict.
SURROUNDED BY THIEVES, “Prophecies of Greed” (reverbnation.com/surroundedbythieves): With its hyperventilating harmonies and fired-from-a-cannon velocity, Surrounded By Thieves’ riot-in-the-streets punk is suggestive of the best of the solar-powered SoCal scene (Pennywise, Circle Jerks, etc.), but there’s nothing sunny here: This is a backs-against-the-wall kind of record, something to be blasted to make the neighbors as pissed off as SBT often sounds. Unemployment, civil unrest, hangovers — this is the grist of these melodic, pulse quickening wind sprints, which recall the socially aware charge of Reagan-era punk (the band even riffs on Suicidal Tendencies’ “Institutionalized” at one point).
Prepare to break a sweat — or a few knuckles.
Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0476.