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* The Brokedowns / Direct Hit! *
“Making A Midwesterner”

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* The Falcon *
“Gather Up The Chaps”

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* The Lippies *
“S/T”

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* Sam Russo *
“Greyhound Dreams”

Beware The Idiots Of March!

Hey comrades, we have two new records coming next month and it’s time you learned about them. First up on March 4th we have The Lippies from Michigan and their self-titled debut full length. 12 punk rock screamers. For all you ahistorical dummies who don’t know, women have contributed to our scene for decades and The Lippies will remind you of badass ladies like Debbie Harry, Penelope Houston, Exene Cervenka, and Mia Zapata. No one else is playing this kind of music right now and we’re honored to bring you some shit-hot dangerous punk rock. Try it out for a change, nerds!

The Lippies are planning to hit the road hard in support of this new record and they’ll be touring with The Falcon and Worriers in April, then touring with The Copyrights and Ray Rocket in May.

That brings us to our next band: The Falcon. Their debut EP came out 12(!) years ago and was our first catalog number as CCCP 101. Ahhh, the memories. Anyhow, these jackoffs are back with a new record and it’s called Gather Up The Chaps. That thing comes out March 18th and the band will take flight for their first proper tour, so check the dates for that. Very exciting times around here, I mean, they’re on the cover of a magazine!

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Oh, Brother.

We wanted to write some words about the passing of Teenage Bottlerocket‘s Brandon Carlisle. This could have easily been twice as long. Ugh. Forgive me, but I am physically exhausted and am currently emotionally unprepared to really dive into this. That said, I am gonna take a cue from Brandon and be relentlessly positive regardless of the situation. That’s how Brandon chose to live. So, given the choice to eulogize or share some fun memories, I’m gonna choose positivity and good times.

If you want the tl;dr version, I will refer to the last texts between Brandon and myself and they pretty much mirror what everyone else is sharing right now…

Bran Bran: You’re the best dude, Toby.

Me: Bro. I love you.

That sentiment is a recurring theme as I scroll though our messages. Like a couple of stinkin’ hippies, I tell ya. Also note the proper punctuation in his texts. I appreciate that.

I first reached out to Teenage Bottlerocket eleven years ago, and it was Brandon that fired back an elated response. Pretty sure his email included the words, “stoked”, “pumped”, and “rad”. Go figure, right? Well, at the time Red Scare had only two releases and the label was about 2 months old, but that didn’t diminish their enthusiasm for putting out a record. The rest, as they say, is history. Fans of the band know they’ve went on to make great albums and play shows all over the world. Your auntie or your boss probably won’t understand their music, but for our little corner/niche of weirdos and nerds, those songs can mean everything.

His loyalty to me as a friend and to our label was unmatched and unwavering. Anyone who would challenge or naysay our team was met with a united front, and as far as I’m concerned, Teenage Bottlerocket is a punk rock success story. In recent years, he would give me the same speech on a monthly basis about how grateful he was for helping get the band off the ground, and I would let him go on and on, tease it out, letting him gush and flatter me. Then I would start laughing and finally let him off the hook by telling him, “DUDE, you realize I wouldn’t be able to do this without you, right?! It’s ME that owes YOU!” And we would both share a laugh and do it all over again a few weeks later.

He was so gracious and appreciative about the things he had been able to experience through music. But music was by no means the only thing that defined Brandon. Not even close. He enjoyed exploring the backroads of the Front Range on his motorcycle, was an avid fisherman, an Astros superfan, a Dachshund enthusiast, and was even an accomplished geologist. Not many people know that about him! I’m not even joking when I say that I would call him up and ask him about sinkholes or a weird rock formation I had seen. Before Brandon toured the world as a musician, he had already been abroad testing soil and groundwater in places like Indonesia, Brazil, and Russia. He lived a very full life, to say the least.

It’s a credit to the punk community that people have been so supportive of Team TBR and right now we’re all very emotional about the people left behind and how we go on with our lives. But I want to remind people about something that I feel is important. I want to remind you about his attitude and about Brandon as an individual. As a twin, Brandon came out of the womb having to share everything in life. As a drummer he had to literally make his music behind the rest of the band. But while we’re here thinking about him, we may as well take something away from his indomitable spirit and maybe borrow some of that upbeat worldview. Let Brandon touch you with his positive energy the same way he touched so many people with his music. Honor him by taking his cue and be relentlessly positive. Smile more, headbang more, love more, hug more… you know, like the song says: shut up and get rad.

And here’s a pic of our Bran Bran (with Peanut as a puppy) from the Total era:

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We welcome The Lippies to Red Scare!

Who wants to hear Uncle Toby’s Story Time?! Too bad, you’re gonna hear it anyhow. Ya see, we KNOW that the music biz (haha!) is dying and we know labels are outmoded, but every once in a while you come across a band that blows you away and you want to help them share their music with the world. That’s what happened when I saw The Lippies play with The Lillingtons at a party in Vegas earlier this year. This was basically the first time these kids had ever played outside their home (of Grand Rapids, Michigan) and I was so impressed that I offered them a Red Scare deal that very night.

The singer, Tonia, is one of the most electric performers I have ever seen. Imagine if Johnny Rotten and Mia Zapata had a critter and didn’t have the good sense to abort the demonspawn. She is a vocal powerhouse and says some of the most offensive and hilarious stuff on stage. The other dudes are total goofballs too and hardly old enough to drink (especially Kole). I encouraged some pals to check them out in L.A. and they were all floored. Then Brendan went and saw them in Chicago and loved them too. What we’re sayin’ is… you’re gonna dig this music. It’s fascinating to me that a band can have an old-school punk sound with buzzsaw guitars, yet still be doing something young and fresh with the songs.

The band is finishing up their debut album now and we’ll get it out to you ASAP. If you wanna learn some more about these promising young nerds, here’s a stream of their self-released EP, you can read a review, or check out a couple good write-ups from the local press here and here. They’ve got some upcoming shows with The Lawrence Arms and Masked Intruder and a bunch more after that. Get stoked, comrades!

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