Review: The Interrupters – In The Wild

The Interrupters managed to do the impossible by making ska-punk appear on the radio for the first time in decades. Fight The Good Fight was a shot of adrenaline to the genre that has reverberated since its release four years ago. In the Wild, the band’s fourth record, takes a step back from the breakneck pace of earlier releases to broaden their take on the genre and expand their sound in ways that feel natural and fresh.

In the Wild succeeds by jumping into new lanes. Vocalist Aimee Interrupter delves into personal topics, ranging from abusive relationships (“Let ‘Em Go”) to anxiety (“In the Mirror”) and dealing with the loss of a loved one (“Love Never Dies”). Although the content is deeper and uglier, it pairs well with the buoyant guitars and reggae beats plastered throughout. While in theory this album is about facing the demons that haunt you, it still tempts you to dance and sing to the remarkably catchy choruses.

You can buy or stream Into the Wild on Apple Music.

The Bivona brothers play to their strengths and jump into these songs with simplistic ska sounds, raging guitars (“Jailbird”), and a swirl of steady beats (“As We Live”, “Worst For Me”) that make the most of their time. While much of the album retains the swagger that helped the band find their audience, (“Worst For Me”), there are some stretches to find the limits of genre. “My Heart” experiments with a doo-wop sound that initially sounds out of place, but quickly leaves its mark in the band’s pantheon. “Kiss The Ground” slows down to a reggae jam session before quickly launching at full speed into “Jailbird”, a furious single chasing the highs of “She’s Kerosene”. 

Singer Aimee once again is a force of nature on the mic. Her gravelly vocals generate an electricity that demands attention. She runs the scale from softer notes that seem to be musings (“Anything Was Better”) to shouting chaos and pushing herself to throat-shredding limits (“Jailbird”). She carries a hypnotic leading quality that tempts the listener to sing back to her, be it the chorus or the drunken “la la la’s” in “Worst For Me”. Most striking perhaps is “Raised By Wolves”, which somehow manages to turn a wolf howl into an integral part of the chorus instead of a cringe-inducing detail.

Although every song is a genuine sing-along, there are moments that stop the listener in their tracks with the realness that slips through. In the piano-driven closer “Alien”, Aimee struggles to relate to others (“My bones are the bars of a jail and I’ve never felt completely female / I sleep when the sun starts to rise so I spend the night drying my eyes / And I watch all the humans, they move place to place and hide in plain sight with that look on their face / Do they feel the same or is it just me?”).

Meanwhile “Afterthought” explores a disastrous relationship (After the sad song of my childhood, you were a warm, familiar tune / You cut me deeper than the ocean then I poured whiskey in my wounds”) before boasting about the clarity that came after moving on from it (“Thank you for the bruises, thank you for my broken brain / ‘Cause I made it through the battle stronger than I used to be”).

The Interrupters managed the unenviable task of following up a breakthrough album by doubling down on what made them stand out in the first place. In The Wild is a more measured album than the band has ever released. However, taking time to occasionally slow the journey down doesn’t mean the album isn’t brimming with energy. The Interrupters not only managed to revive a genre that was on life support, they’re making it fuller and richer than it’s been in years.


by Kyle Schultz

Kyle Schultz is the Senior Editor at It’s All Dead and has worked as a gaming journalist at Structure Gaming. He lives in Chicago and he finished two novels today. He is currently lost, wandering the fields like an old goat trying to find a new series to read.

Review: Goldfinger – Never Look Back

This year has been a surprisingly busy one for Goldfinger. During the early days of the pandemic, the band released a series of re-recordings of their favorite hits from separate locations, which became a shockingly well-received reprieve from the dark times of quarantine. Never Look Back, the band’s new album, launches directly from the momentum of those videos, creating a quasi “best of” in terms of sound by incorporating every grand element of the band’s discography into an elegantly written punk rock album. 

You can buy or stream Never Look Back on Apple Music.

Never Look Back feels like a ‘classic’ Goldfinger album as much as it does a modern punk record. Each track sizzles with raging guitar riffs that, more often than not, incorporates ska into most of the album. For an album steeped in the essence of the past, it sounds incredibly fresh in 2020. Comprised of a semi supergroup, Goldfinger simply sound better than they ever have. 

Songwriter and singer John Feldmann sounds incredible, pushing his vocals from chorus to chorus and carrying a melodic monotone through most verses that have helped define the band. MXPX frontman Mike Herrera settles in once again as bassist, shifting from blistering punk tracks and backup singer (“Good Guy”) to smooth ska rhythms (“The Best Life”). Guitarists Philip Sneed and original Goldfinger member Charlie Paulson rage through tracks, crafting some of the best songs in the band’s career (“Cannonball”, “The City”). Drummer Nick Gross keeps percussion running between genres, picking up seamlessly after Travis Barker‘s run on the band’s last album. 

Despite the title, Never Look Back revels in reflection. Sonically, the album reverts to Goldfinger’s early records, reinvigorating the ska elements and leaning heavily into the pop punk elements of more recent albums. Lyrically, the album settles into the tried-and-true concepts of failed relationships and energetically addressing grievances (“Nothing To Me”). Don’t expect Never Look Back to have a message that will make you think too hard. Instead, it will have you fist pumping to elegantly simple choruses primed for swirling mosh pits.

Opening track “Infinite” explores the pull Feldmann feels producing for seemingly every pop punk band in existence balanced against the expectations set on Goldfinger as one of the few remaining genre bands from the late 90’s (“Save yourself from me / Cause I’m about to change, about to break / Cause everybody wants me to be somebody else”). The song also gives Charlie Paulson and Mike Herrera a chance to take lead vocals on a verse each. 

Lead single “Wallflower”, one of the few positive songs on the album, is a reflection on Feldmann’s wife and plays out as a California love story, complete with an extravagant horn section (“It’s only getting better / Since the day I met her, she wears my sweater / In California weather”).

The nostalgic-named “Golden Days” sounds like a Less Than Jake track from the early 2000’s, reflecting on the lost days of youth and looking fearlessly ahead toward lifelong dreams (“Whatever happened to the golden days? / Whatever happened to the plans we made? / Whatever happened to the late night drives, there was nothing to hide”).

Never Look Back is the type of throwback album 2020 was primed for. Bursting with punk energy and the dance ethics of third-wave ska, the album manages to make the listener feel good despite the angry themes found from song to song. Personifying the frustrations of the year through relationships and reflecting on older, enjoyable times, Never Look Back maintains classic sensibilities through a modern lens. Goldfinger sound more energized than ever, and ready to command a thrilling live presence when shows become a thing again.


by Kyle Schultz

kyle_catKyle Schultz is the Senior Editor at It’s All Dead and has worked as a gaming journalist at Structure Gaming. He lives in Chicago and still has a pound of gummi bears to eat despite snacking on them all week. Why would he buy this many gummi bears?!

Most Anticipated Music of 2020: The Interrupters Become the Title Holder

The Interrupters have slowly become the most famous band no one has heard of. Early in 2019, I discovered their album Fight The Good Fight (2018), after it had been out for almost a full year. Not only did this album set off a four-month spree of listening to nearly nonstop ska music, I also found out that I was the last person to discover them. Friends who don’t even listen to music were fans, teaching their children to sing along to songs like “Title Holder” and “She’s Kerosene”.

In the two years since the release of their third album, The Interrupters have made a brazen name for themselves. Their brand of music is reminiscent of the golden age of ska punk from the early 90’s, especially with the backing and blessing of Rancid’s Tim Armstrong.

In 2020, The Interrupters are opening for Green Day, Fall Out Boy and Weezer on The Hella Mega Tour. As the flag bearers of a modern take on classic punk music, The Interrupters are in a prime spot to capture the attention of the last few people who have yet to fall in love with them. If their next album captures even half of the magic of Fight The Good Fight, The Interrupters will have released two of the best rock albums in recent memory.

by Kyle Schultz

kyle_catKyle Schultz is the Senior Editor at It’s All Dead and has worked as a gaming journalist at Structure Gaming. He lives in Chicago and somehow got chocolate….. just… EVERYWHERE. Who gets chocolate on a TV screen?! He wasn’t even near it! Did it teleport there or did he blackout during an onset of of “brownie madness” and try to pet Tina Belcher’s cheek?! The world is weird.

Review: Showoff – Wish You Were Her…


Timing is key. Releasing an album at the right time can make or break a band and catapult a style of music to fame. As a recent fan of Showoff, I’ve been unaware of most of their history in the Chicago music scene, but the people who grew up with them will tell you that they came “this close” to making it big before they seemed to just disappear in the early 2000’s.

The band’s follow up to 1999’s self-titled album was only just recently released within the last couple of months online. Recorded in 2001 (Thanks Wikipedia!), Wish You Were Her… is a throwback to an era when pop punk was exploding. Had it originally released when it was meant to, there’s a chance it could be regarded the same way that people talk about New Found Glory’s Sticks and Stones.

Wish You Were Her does something that few records manage to do: the songwriting shows its age, but the songs hold up as great pop punk songs by today’s standards. I say that they show their age because of how “simple” they sound. The guitars chug with a crisp determination, with gang chorus vocals and elements of ska from the late 90’s. The songs remind me of hearing New Found Glory or Simple Plan for the firs time in high school. It’s a feeling that most modern bands attempt to replicate, but sadly can’t pull off.

Unfortunately, due to a revolving door of lineup changes through the years, I have no idea who plays what parts on the album. The guitars grind out waves of skater punk (“Losing It”), only to suddenly be interrupted by a quick, succinct solo (“I Won’t Leave You”) or a few lines that remind you why pop punk caught on in the first place (“Jackie”). The bass thumps along as a hidden highlight (“So Long”), blistering under the guitars. The drumming sounds a bit simpler than the effort on Showoff, but is intricately spaced within the ska sound and reminds me at times of early Blink 182’s Travis Barker (“Waiting For You”, “Hello Again”).

Vocalist Chris Envy is phenomenal, throwing high notes and energy into most every chorus and lyric (“Losing It”). Depending on what fans liked about Showoff, they may be disappointed at the disappearance of most of Envy’s rap-inspired singing. The songs are incredibly fun. You won’t find much in the way of modern pop punk’s trend of social commentary or personal life experience. Instead, it relishes in the instantly memorable, sing-along-pop of relationships and angst.

The gang vocal chorus for “Losing It” of, “I’m drifting away, can’t stand to feel this way / Maybe it’s all of those little things / Tell me you’re using, seems you’ve been using me”. “Bad Date” is flush with the humor of the late 90’s, from bands like Blink 182 or Homegrown, and hearing the song made me realize how much I’ve missed it from modern punk. As Envy sings, “Lighting my cigarette, I accidentally set fire to her hair / I guess what I said had a lot to do with it / She said I’m crazy and I smell like shit / I tried to kiss her and I got bit / I guess I’m not getting laid”.

I’m sad that this album just became available. There are several songs that sound prime to have been singles in 2001, dueling on TRL with Simple Plan. “Losing It” and “Waiting For You” sound like they were prepped for radio play. Showoff in 2016 seems to be a Chicago-based effort, with Wish You Were Her a reward for longtime fans and a bridge for new fans (such as myself) to fall in love with.


by Kyle Schultz

kyle_catKyle Schultz is the Senior Editor at It’s All Dead and has worked as a gaming journalist at Structure Gaming. He lives in Chicago and has been listening to the townsfolk talk about Showoff for years before actually listening to them. You know, like an adult and a lover of music. Way to support the cause, dummy.

Lucky Boys Confusion: Playing Chicago’s signature album


“All I Ask is You Play Something Good.”

Lucky Boys Confusion’s Throwing The Game is a staple to the Chicago punk scene. Thirteen years after its release, and after several years of minimal activity from the band, it is still wildly beloved and worshiped, a fact proven by the animalistic sold out show at the downtown House of Blues to hear it played start to finish.

“I was standing right here last year when they played Commitment all the way through,” said one random guy I met in the crowd of eager drunks. He throws back a wide gulp of beer before smiling widely, saying simply, “This one of the best albums ever written. They’re playing it front to back acoustically in August. I bought my tickets for that show the day they went on sale”.

I wrote once before about how literally everyone I’ve met in Chicago knows about Lucky Boys Confusion, and though their entire discography is a magnificent lesson in stylized punk, Throwing The Game is the album that most people refer to when talking about the band. It’s a party album with songs about drinking, getting high, the perils of relationships and outrunning the cops. These themes are the backbone of what Lucky Boys Confusion embodies: making a mess of trying to find yourself and enjoying the hell out of every second of it.

Lucky Boys Confusion from a terrible camera

Lucky Boys Confusion from a terrible camera

Lucky Boys Confusion is set to start at 11:30 p.m. and run until 1 a.m., but the crowd has rushed the pit in the House of Blues well before that and show no signs of getting tired. While the normal teen rockers are crushed in the crowd, it’s filled more with men and women in their upper twenties and early thirties; literally the people who have supported the band their entire career. And they’re lit.

Alcohol of every variation in hand, they’re joined as one excited entity, talking to each other about how many times they’ve seen the band over the years. The same conversation is literally spilling across the floor until the chant of, “LBC! LBC!” fills the air.

By the end of the first song, the crowd is completely drenched in sweat and spilled beer; every single word being sung back to the stage. This sets the stage for the entire night: nonstop jumping, dancing and singing. While I’ve heard these songs played many times by the band, there was an extra energy in the air. Everyone knows that Throwing the Game is the main reason most everyone fell loyally in love with the band and LBC are vividly aware of how important the record is to their fans.

Tiny details are a part of the set to help this feel like an authentic experience of Throwing the Game, such as the full-blown salsa-jazz breakdown in “Not About Debra”, complete with saxophone solo and maracas while the pit shifted from jumping and moshing to dancing, or at least as much as was possible in the cramped conditions of the floor. “40/80”, a song about hiding weed from the cops, was complimented by a fake cop on stage, saying the lines that pop up between verses in the song; “I can smell it, but I sure can’t find it”.

As the lyrics shift from crooning punk to brash, lightning quick rap, the entire crowd knows each line and provides the backup gang vocals while singer Stubhy Pandav plows ahead. These aren’t just songs, they’re the soundtrack to a generation of young adults still finding their own way in the world. Lyrics like those from “Saturday Night” carry an extra weight as the pit opens up, “This room is like a bottle, it’s never full enough”.

Vocalist Stubhy Pandav paced the stage like an expert, owning every inch. Drummer Ryan Fergus blasted away, swaying the tempo of grueling punk beats. Guitarists Adam Krier and Jason Schultejann, also of their incredible side/ main project AM Taxi, crunched out their power chords, easily shifting from punk to ska. As is Adam’s signature style, even in the sweltering body heat and the seeping sweat, he incredibly played the entire show in a leather jacket.



The final twenty minutes of the concert though, was a plethora of crowd favorites to close out the night, with Stubhy briefly walking to the side of the stage, only to return with a bottle of Jack Daniels that he chugged. One of the bands’ oldest songs, the appropriately titled “LBC”, made a surprise appearance as one of the hidden gems to celebrate the occasion. Although not one of their most well-known songs, a majority of the crowd knows each word enough to be heard singing over the sound of the music.

“Hey Driver” sent the entire venue into a last minute fury of fist pumps and falling sweat, only to act as the precursor to the finale of their signature cover of Dramarama’s “Anything, Anything”, a guitar heavy song that has Stubhy showing his full vocal range.

Throwing the Game could possibly be one of the biggest records that no one has heard, save for the Chicagoland area. It’s such a large part of people’s lives that it brought out the older crowd that most bands would kill to have, partying and jumping until early in the morning without losing a drop of energy. What could have been just another sold out show for a band that comes around every few months turned into a celebration for the songs that have ingrained themselves into the city itself.

by Kyle Schultz

kyle_catKyle Schultz is the Senior Editor at It’s All Dead and has worked as a gaming journalist at Structure Gaming. He lives in Chicago and yells at the rain on occasion. He also wants to play you in FIFA.

Lucky Boys Confusion: Soundtrack of the Midwest


“Thank you for letting us pretend to be rock stars for a night.” – Stubhy Pandav, singer of Lucky Boys Confusion

Chicago is known for being a hub for the punk scene, having been the home to bands like Fall Out Boy and Rise Against. But those bands don’t have a connection to Chicago itself; they’re a national brand. It requires a unique sound to associate any band specifically with a city and Chicago is lucky enough to have one in the form of Lucky Boys Confusion.

Lucky Boys Confusion is both Chicago’s greatest secret and arguably the most beloved band in the city. This is a band that never made a big splash nationally but is nothing short of hometown heroes in the Midwest.

The makeup of the band has all of the ingredients of perfection – masterfully written, frantic pop punk, relatable lyrics telling the stories of parties and heartbreak and subtle influences from rap, ska and reggae thrown in at odd intervals to keep the listener on their toes. Songs like “Fred Astaire”, “Hey Driver” and “Do You Miss Me (Killians) Gutierrez” are stadium shattering anthems comparable to the energy that Green Day emits onstage.

I moved to Chicago six months ago, and although the band has been relatively quiet over the last few years, there’s one thing I have noticed: everyone with any interest in the punk scene knows who this band is. Everyone that I’ve met has a collection of their concert tickets, their CD’s are in something of a constant rotation and everyone’s older brother passed the band down to them.

With a small tour capacity, LBC quietly conquer the scenes of Milwaukee, St. Louis, Iowa City and Chicago when they’re in town. It’s a weird thing to see a band perform when they’ve more or less retired their group and gone on to other projects.

Oftentimes, songs lose their passion after so many years, especially if the band has been inactive. It can feel like you’re seeing a cover band attempt to hit the spark that drew you to the song in the first place. But after the release of their most recent record (and most likely last) in 2009, their shows have grown tighter and the heart of the music is still raging. I’ve managed to see them play almost yearly when the odd show crops up, and almost every time, the venue has been sold out, especially at the House of Blues.

What is genuine about the band is how quiet the buzz surrounding them appears to be. They don’t do any major touring and play as a side project to not only the other projects that the band members have moved on to, but steady day jobs as well. Despite this though, the groundswell of fans who come to the shows keeps LBC coming back to play again and again. This is a band that exists to please their fans and to keep the sound of a city alive.

It always sounds cliché to say it’s a travesty to the scene when a band doesn’t make it big, but the case of Lucky Boys Confusion is a double edged sword. While it seems a travesty that the band never became the household name that they should’ve, what came of it is a band with a relationship to their fan base that is unparalleled. There’s an amount of love and reminiscent wonder to the group akin to remembering your first Disney movie (if your first Disney movie’s theme was about drinking and marijuana).

If you’ve never listened to Lucky Boys Confusion over the last fifteen years, you’re missing out on one of the most individual sounds to come out of Chicago. But what they missed out on in a mainstream vein of the scene, they’ve more than made up for in a loyal allegiance of the city and surrounding region. In the end, that’s what punk was made for.

by Kyle Schultz

kyle_catKyle Schultz is the Senior Editor at It’s All Dead and has worked as a gaming journalist at Structure Gaming. He lives in Chicago and yells at the rain on occasion. He also wants to play you in FIFA.