Sunday, March 11, 2018

EP Review: SIMON AND THE BAR SINISTERS Didn’t I Piss You Off This Time?? (Independent)

Country of origin: USA
Genre: Punk
Recorded at: Oceanus, Rockaway Beach, New York, February 2018
Engineer: Matt Walsh
Producers: Simon Chardiet and Matt Walsh
Release date: February 19, 2018
I saw Simon and the Bar Sinisters at the 2015 Tompkins Square Park Riot 27th anniversary show. I remember a sunny late summer’s day in August, about a month before autumn would start creeping in, and the bands and attendees were there to remember a rather unpleasant day in New York history. You may have read about it here or elsewhere on the net, but for those of you who are unfamiliar with the incident, NYC police clashed with protestors over a curfew imposed on Tompkins Square Park that lasted for hours. Ironically the neighborhood was divided over the homeless and squatters there but were united in their condemnation of the police department after the riot, which is commemorated to this day. Other bands appearing at the 2015 memorial were The Blame and Sewage with Jesse Mosher. While my visits to Manhattan are less frequent, attending this show felt just like the old days, with the angst and activism as tangible as ever. Simon and the Bar Sinisters capture the feeling of those memorials quite well. Didn’t I Piss You Off This Time?? is their third EP after Who Knows (December 2017) and The Rooftoppers Play For… YOU! (January 2018). For an EP recorded and released to Bandcamp within a month it embodies the outer fringes of modern punk with its dangerous vibes and rejection of anything amounting to mediocrity, whether in news or entertainment. You know the story. The grit I’ve written about reviewing other bands from the city is channeled through each guitar chop and vocal line. Life Coach has something of a Ramones feel with some implications of pop punk but this promptly changes with the blazing hardcore feel of Mass Incarceration. Drive ‘Em Out is a personal favorite, retaining the attitude of the bands who railed against the curfew so long ago and the Quality Of Life agenda a decade later. The lyrics are every bit as choleric as the music, adding to the determination of the New York punk scene to stay afloat and continue spreading information through music and print, to generate change for the better. Why Are You Stupid sounds more personal, with snotty vocals that made me think of Johnny Rotten in his heyday with the Sex Pistols. Worth checking out if you’re curious about NYC punk. -Dave Wolff

Band lineup:
Simon Chardiet: Guitar, Rickenbacker bass, 12 string bass, vocals
Tommy Mattioli: Drums

Track list:
1. Life Coach
2. Mass Incarceration
3. Drive 'Em Out!
4. Why Are You Stupid

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