This year is rolling along just fine! So many killer bands are getting ready to drop new releases, there’s some great festivals and shows on the way, and some other surprises in store for 2018. I’d like to list them all here, but I’m constantly being sworn to secrecy. Ha!

Instead, let’s start this issue off by taking a look at something new. Something positive, and new.

Let’s go!

Meet Smash The Discos Webzine’s first official Pin Up Girl, Karina Rockelli!!! Karina will be making appearances real soon. She’s like a rose in a field of ugly ass skinheads.

COMING SOON

Another free digital download, featuring Savage Beat, Wolf Bites Boy, Dogs In The Fight, and many more!!! Stay tuned.

There is an endless list of clothing companies out there affiliated with our subculture. They usually start off by printing up some T’s for their buddies band. Before you know it, they’re whipping up a few more designs. Then they throw up a website and advertise on social media. The lucky ones get in good with the labels and sell through their webshops. Sometimes, clothing brands get completely overlooked. Bands can just send their design to any decent screenprinter and have a box on their porch within a week. Whatever route you go to get your shirts, or scarves, is all good. All of these outlets are welcome. In the end, the bands get their support, and there’s nothing wrong with an aspiring businessperson, or artist, making a few bucks. We all gotta eat.

But… there’s always room for a much needed new approach as well.

Lets face it. Our scene is no stranger to struggling. Some even say it’s on life support. Well, the majority of us are getting older. While there’s a steady flow of new bands, it’s the younger bands we lack. This current generation of skinheads doesn’t have many youthful eyes looking up to it. Attendance at shows is at a low, despite all of the killer music out there. New bands become discouraged at taking risks traveling, fearing hit or miss locations. The festivals are the only safe bets anymore… if you can afford the expenses associated with that… if you’re even invited. I’ve personally spoken with some amazing younger bands who simply cannot afford to record. The scene has problems, and we could go on all day with theories as to why, but instead I’d rather focus on the positive, with a Streetwear brand that is prepared to help make some changes for the better.

FRONTLINE STREETWEAR

Kris H., from the band Hardsell, came up with the idea for Frontline Streetwear after seeing reports on some of the clothing brands, that are popular in our scene, who would denounce the skinhead and punk influences in their brand. In 1995, Kris formed the Frontline Skins in Europe. These were skins from all over Holland, Belgium, and Germany who would get together at shows. Working as advocates of the scene, they’d help bands set up shows, and even get to shows. They started off jokingly calling themselves Frontline Skins, but that’s where they always were… the Frontline. Creating something bigger. A brotherhood.

Interest for Frontline Skins T shirts started to generate, so Kris got with Jeff Hultgren to create some new ones. If you’re reading this, and don’t know who Jeff is, look down. There’s a good chance you’re wearing one of his designs. Jeff is the go-to guy for graphics from most of the heaviest hitters in Streetpunk. 

Together, they kicked around the idea of creating a clothing brand that would exist for the best interest of the scene. Frontline Streetwear was born! 

FRONTLINE STREETWEAR was created by two people who have been in the scene for many years. Two people who owe their lives to the scene…. and they want to give something back. 
The goal is to be able to provide struggling bands with a chance to play. A chance to record. A chance to reach the festivals. Providing struggling bands the money to accomplish these goals is what they’re striving for. “We want to keep this scene, the scene that has given us so much; great friend’s and experiences; we want to keep it alive by all means possible”.

The symbol of the torches represents the past and the bright future of the skinhead and punk subculture. Frontline Streetwear wants people to feel as if they are part of a bigger family; someone who knows that whenever they make a purchase, a portion of the sale goes back into the scene, providing opportunity intended to preserve, strengthen, and grow the subculture we love. Respect for the past, hope for the future… with two torches shining the way in a positive light. Encouraging the youth to step and make their mark. 

The two most important points in the companies by-laws state: 1) They’ll never sell out to the Hot Topic’s, or other trendy cesspools, leaving Frontline Streetwear in a position to always be run properly and always take care of family first. 2) They will always continue to put money back into the scene. As the company grows, so will the investment back into the scene. Every dollar made gets put back into the company, investing in more shirts, designs, and sponsoring new bands. The first mission is Midwest Live & Loud. Financial issues hindered the festivals progress last year, so Frontline Streetwear will be one of the proud sponsors of this great event, to help guarantee it continues on for years to come!

FROM THE SCENE, FOR THE SCENE, LOYAL TO THE SCENE

“I want to see the next generation of skins, punks, and hardcore kids. I want to see those bands out there. We want to leave something behind. We’re all in this together. This is something everyone can be a part of and participate in.” – Kris H.

The future is looking bright!

Visit FRONTLINE STREETWEAR’s site at MerchPlanet, and their Facebook page at Frontline Streetwear Facebook Page

Weve been waiting for this one for quite some time… and it did not disappoint. Empire Down has made their mark and joins the ranks of the best of the midwest… tomorrow the world.

First off, I just want to say that I’m blown away by this EP. Being an extreme hardcore and punk fan, I find Empire Down to be the perfect sound; strong, forceful, and heavy. Could you tell us how, and why, the band came to be, and introduce us to the bandmembers?

J: Thanks! Our drummer Bill and I came up together. We’ve known each other since we were 13, around 1993. We love punk and hardcore, and were in our first band together when we were young. Over the years we’ve played in a bunch of different bands, and those bands always played shows together. Maybe like 4 years ago, we started talking about starting a melodic Oi band. We talked for awhile and it never came together, but about a year ago, we said “fuck it” and got Chris Gullickson from The Virgin Whores, Pete Ayres from Holding On, and Buc Page from Relentless, and decided too really give it a go and make it happen. It kinda came together really well. We didn’t have the mindset of “This is what we need to sound like”…we just started writing some riffs and it all came together.

Up in your area of the states, the better bands tend to have a harder edge to their sounds. Why do you think that’s so? In Detroit, we have our obvious reasons, but what’s life like growing up punk and skin up your way?

J: I don’t know, maybe it’s the 7 month long winters that make us cranky motherfuckers! Haha! I grew up in the suburbs about 30 minutes outside of Milwaukee. There wasn’t shit to do besides get into trouble and skateboard. I grew up in a  town that punks weren’t readily accepted by the status quo. We took our lumps quite a few times. It took pulling knives and billy clubs a few times to just be left the fuck alone. I dont know, maybe that hard edge comes from when we were younger having to stand up for ourselves all the time. I know in my life now, the hard edge stems from the political and economic state of the world. I don’t know, I’m a pretty jumpy dude. I can find rage and a hard edge in almost anything, hahaha.

“Room To Breathe” is definitely one of the attention grabbers on the album. What was going through your mind the day you put those lyrics onto paper?

J: Honestly, the thoughts going through my head when I wrote those lyrics were based around the fact that my Union, Local 5 Bricklayers And Allied Craftworkers, have our contract up in Spring and we need raises. Im a proud Union member going on 20 years, and we gotta keep fighting.


So, pretty soon this album is going to be making it’s rounds. What can you tell us about what to expect from the album as a whole? What are some of the topics, and since we’re catching Empire Down in the beginning, what are some of your personal connections to these tracks?


J: I think you can expect a band making heavy, melodic Oi with something to say. I’m a big fan of lyrics with a messege and I try to convey that as much as possible. Most of the topics are pretty personal ones. Like I said, “Room To Breathe” is about never giving up on your working class roots. The first song on the 7″ is called “Bastards For The Butcher”, and it’s all about finding solid ground through music and the ones you love, no matter how many times you fail. The song “Collapse” is about trying to hold onto hope even though you know the end is near. The song “Start Running” was loosely written around the Proud Boys movement. Those dudes are fucking ridiculous pieces of shit. Stealing our culture for some political agenda. I hope those fucks disappear. I can’t write about things I don’t experience, so all the lyrics usually come from a place where I’ve stored some hate, or fear, and need to let it out.



I see you have Matt from Noi!se, and Dan from Victory making appearances on the album. How did that come about, and what was it like working with them?


J: I’m a pretty big Noi!se fan, and did a few reviews on Oi Of America for them. We just stayed in contact over the last few years, and when we started to record, I sent him the tracks to hear and he asked if he could lay down some vocals on a part. We obviously said YES. Dan has been a friend of the band for awhile. Empire Down has played with Victory numerous times, so it was just a no brainer to have him come into the studio. It was great working with both of them. Two of the nicest and down to earth people around.

The gang backups came out fucking great! Who all participated in that?

J: Thanks! Those were all laid down by the band, our buddy Jason, and Dan again. Yeah they really gave the recording a tougher sound.

The album art is killer! Who’s responsible for that? Do you have any room left to get it inked? Haha

J: The art was done by Richie Murry from Assault and Battery. He is also a bad ass Tattoo Artist, and is always making killer flyers for shows up here. He did an amazing job on everything. I think I have some thigh meat that I would zap this artwork into, haha!

Could you hook us up on the links to find the album when it drops?

J:The presale is going up at Oi! The Boat on March 8th…We will also have copies at shows and on our Bandcamp soon as well, along with some new and old shirt designs.

Well, you know I was down with your previous band, Doomhammer, and have been waiting to hear what you were going to do next. Fuckin A! Keep this shit up! Any final thoughts for the readers?

J: Just wanna say thanks to Jason and Smash The Discos, and anyone that takes the time to read this and order the new 7″. We really a appreciate all the hard work you put in promoting and supporting the scene. Thanks again.

LINKS: Empire Down Facebook PageEmpire Down BandcampOi! The Boat Records.

From The south side of Chicago, here’s a punk band that boasts “nasty riffs and attitude problems”… We Agree!

Hey guys. Let’s start this off by getting a little info on the band members. Who is everyone and what do they do?

Ryan: I’m Ryan and I sing and play guitar. I try to boss everyone around from time to time and they shut me up. Then we have Chris, he plays bass. He is essentially a lead bass player with our style. He’s always up to something. Mike plays lead guitar. It’s kinda like we just installed a “Let The Fuck Loose” button on him, and it’s just been stuck on ever since. Anthony is the newest to the bunch. He is coming up to being with us for a year now. He’s whooped our asses into shape and really brought a new dimension to the table, in which we are gladly eating the fuck up.

You got a really upbeat rock n roll drive to your sound. What music did you all grow up on, and which bands influenced your style?

Ryan: Everything. I got into punk rock (70’s – 80’s especially) at a very young age, and that has forever left it’s mark on anything and everything I do. I’ve also been a huge fan of just straight up Rock N Roll of all sorts, 60’s Garage, and Soul shit. I think Otis Redding is sometimes just as rough as Rod stewart with The Faces, which I can hear both in the grittiness of Jake Burns from Stiff Little Fingers, for example. They’re all important to me. That gritty voice, that at times, sounds like it’s being overdriven through an amp. I love voices who have life. I also love a mix between New York Dolls or Rolling Stones guitars mixed with the abrasive hard hittingness of 70’s Punk.

Chris: Influences range all over. Musical astronauts like Sam Cooke, David Bowie, and The Who to name just a few. Lemmy, John Entwistle, and Matt Freeman influenced my bass playing. Festivals like The Blues Fest, Taste Of Chicago, and Milwaukee Fest is where I experienced the pulse of loud, live music.

Mike: Grew up on seventies punk. Then after some time, started getting into more rock and roll and bluesy guitar stuff. I’m a sucker for riffs, so undoubtedly my favorite artists are people like Billy Gibbons, Slash, Thin Lizzy’s Brian Robertson, and Scott Gotham, etc. Another band that had a big impact on the way I try to play guitar is Kill Cheerleader.

Anthony: Is not sure if he even likes music.

So, we’ve heard two killer tracks so far, “Outcast” and “Night”. Can you give us any spoilers about the other songs? What are they about and what are they called?

Ryan: We’re revamping some of our older ones, which only saw the light of day in what we’d consider “terrible demo versions”. We pulled two from those sessions, and one from even further back from our beginning. Those are “Takin It Back”, “Little Bitch”, and the oldest being called “Life”. “Takin It Back” is about the current (Well, it’s still as relevant as when we wrote it a few years ago) distaste in the state of music. “Little Bitch” is a rough and dirty song about two people using one another in their own little lust-like ways. “Life” is a song I wrote when I was 17, and I thought it would be cool to do it with our current abilities. It’s a great sum up of our older sound. Then that leaves one more you haven’t heard, which is called “Vanity”, and is a good capture of where our sound is today. It may or may not be about one, or two, of my friend’s girlfriends. They should know who they are! 

Is there one Criminal Kids song that you think best reps what the band is all about? If so, why?

Ryan:That’s a rough one. I think they all represent us pretty well in their own little ways. “Night” is actually a cover of an unreleased demo from our friends dad’s band, The Exit. They’re south side Chicago punk from 1979, and are essentially unheard of. So, we’ll pardon that one because we can’t take credit. Check them out though, their first release goes for about 2,000 bucks online!

When are you dropping this album on us?

Ryan: Hoping for Spring 18’. A 6 Song 12” EP. Keep them eyes peeled!

Thanks for talking with us. We’ll be keeping an eye on your progress. Any words you wanna leave us with? 

Ryan: We sure do. Stay on the lookout for a video of “Takin it Back”, and get our record when it comes out. Thanks for letting us yap our asses off!

LINKS: Criminal Kids Facebook PageCriminal Kids Bandcamp.

(Associated Press. Mark Jones manages and writes for the Sounds Of The Street Blogsite)

B-Squadron are one of the best bands on the scene at the moment and have just released an absolutely cracking album in ‘Sons Of Tigers’ which was one of my albums of the year. I caught up with lead vocalist, Travis to talk about the album, the current scene, football among other things. If you have not got a copy of the album yet head over to Rebellion Records to pick one up, you won’t be disappointed.

 SOTS – Cheers Travis for taking the time to speak to me. Can you start by giving us a brief history of the band?

Travis -Hello Mark. It’s always a pleasure to do these things for good folk. Right, the band was originally formed in 2014 after we’d been talking about doing it for ages. We’d be at a gig, and the subject would always come up. The line-up was as it is today, except with Ryan Dunn on guitar. We wrote the “Saturdays Soldiers EP” over a matter of 5/6 practices. We recorded those tracks on a laptop with one mic, haha! That’s why it sounds so rough. I think that line up did about 4 gigs. After one gig in Leeds, it all got a bit heavy and we ended up kicking the fuck out of each other, haha. The band split. After a few weeks, tempers had calmed and we came back with Kevin on guitar, the line-up we have today, and one that works very well. There’s a good chemistry there and we bounce off each other. Everyone is involved in the writing, so there’s a good bit of each of us in those tracks on the album.

SOTS – You have recently released your debut album “Sons Of Tigers”, which has been well received everywhere. You must be extremely happy and proud of the album?

Travis – I’m very very proud of the album. It might mean fuck all to 99% of people, but it’s something we created. It’s something we’ve done that’s positive. That’s good enough for me. The fact it’s been so well received is just icing on the cake. We ain’t fucking rockstars. We’re just 4 hard grafting working class lads, so all the support and kind comments really are truly appreciated.

SOTS – The album has a mixture of tracks that appeared on your debut EP “Saturday’s Soldiers”, some new tracks, and a couple of cover versions. Was picking the track listing a difficult choice? Were there any songs that had to be left out, either original songs or cover versions?

Travis – Not difficult really, but some thought went into it. We re-recorded the “Saturdays Soldiers” tracks simply because we wanted Kev to put his own stamp on them. There were a couple of tracks that didn’t make the grade just because we couldn’t get that early 80’s vibe with them. Good songs in their own right, but we are all about that aggressive original sound. If it ain’t got that, then it ain’t getting done. The covers are there simply as a tribute to the bands that inspired us. Two classics that we grew up with that made a big impression on us as nippers. I just hope we did them the justice they rightfully deserve. I must say thanks here to Hoxton Tom of the 4 Skins, and to Deptford John of Combat 84 for granting us kind permission to use those tracks.

SOTS – You covered the 4-Skins and Combat 84 on the album, but what are the bands other influences?




Travis – There’s loads of influence in there. Cockney Rejects directly inspired the title track. “This is England” is inspired by the UK82 punk bands. The sound on that track was deliberately meant to sound like Chaos UK, and the track is loosely based on Instant Agony’s think of England. Overall influences are the original British Oi bands. Last Resort, Business, East End Badoes, Blitz, Attack, you get the picture.

SOTS – What I like about the band is that you come across as really down to earth, don’t give us any bullshit, and are really passionate about what you do. Would you agree with this?

Travis – I wholeheartedly agree with that. We write and sing about what we see. The ups and downs of everyday life. I don’t see the point in bullshitting in your music. You’ll just get found out and exposed for the cunt you are. Look, we ain’t angels. We’ve all got histories, and some of it is not very nice, but if you come to us openly and honestly we will afford you the same respect. If only everyone could be like that, eh? The world would be a much better place, haha. I’m ultra-passionate about this band. It’s my baby. I love it and treat it exactly that way, and I’ll defend it the same way should anyone want to do it harm. No fucking mercy.

SOTS – One of my favourite songs on the album is “Working Class Heroes”, where you mention some of the newer bands on the scene. What do think of the current scene, and what are you currently listening to?

Travis – I think currently the scene is as strong as it ever was bands wise. It’s just a shame about all the finger pointing wankers that try and ruin it. See, I blame the internet. Whilst it’s a great tool for doing things, like this interview or promoting gigs, it also gives a platform to cunts, who in the real world are nothing, non-entities, insignificant maggots. These sad wankers wouldn’t have lasted 5 minutes back in the day, and if they did have the rag to front anyone, they’d last even less today. There are certain bands around now that are no different to us, yet they seem to have been blacklisted by these anonymous shithouses. Queensbury Rules, No quarter, TMF, and the sadly missed Citizen Keyne spring to mind. Venues and promoters are equally to blame for listening to this bollocks in the first place. Some fucking clown had a go at us not so long back. When asked to show himself and explain, he miraculously disappeared. That tells you all you need to know. As we speak, I’m listening to DDC’s cracking new album.

SOTS – Other than yourselves and The Glory, whose singer Timmo appears on “Sons Of Tigers”, are there any other good bands from Leicester that we should check out?

Travis – No. Leicester is full of the crybaby wankers described in the last question.

SOTS – What does being part of the Skinhead/Oi! scene mean to you? Do you ever get frustrated with some of the bullshit that comes with the scene?

Travis – None of us in the band are, or ever have been, skinheads really. Me and Daz (drummer) were both punx back in the day. Having said, It’s Oi music that had the biggest impact on us. To me, Oi is what punk always should have been; the voice of rebellious working class folk, and to be involved in that is brilliant. As described in a previous question, yes, we get frustrated with all the bullshit, but to let it affect us would be giving ground to these slags. Something we are NOT prepared to do. Until the day they actually turn up face to face, we don’t let it worry us.

SOTS – It’s no secret that in the past you have been involved in football hooliganism, but what has given you the biggest buzz? The fights in football, boxing, or playing in front of a crowd as the frontman B-Squadron?

Travis – Tough question. All massive buzzes, but all slightly different, if you know what I mean. The football thing is much much more than fighting. Yes, that was a massive part of it, but there’s so much more involved. It’s the camaraderie, the laughs, the clobber, and the day out on the piss with pals that will back you up win, lose, or draw. Boxing though is a very lonely sport. I used to get terrible nerves before a fight, but once you get a clump in the mouth all that goes out the window and it’s just you and the other geezer, hand to hand. The best and noblest of all sports for me. I much prefer the buzz of playing these days. I’d say there’s no risk of a smack in the mouth, but being in this band, that ain’t strictly true, haha. Look, when you see a crowd of people, and they’re singing your own songs back to you, there’s nothing on earth can beat that.

SOTS – It would be rude not to ask a question about Leicester City. As a Man Utd fan, we always seem to get unstuck against Leicester, but how do you think the season is going and where do you think you will end up?

Travis – Really? I always see us getting the rough end of the stick from United, in my experience anyway. Ok, we’ve had a couple of results recently, but if you look at the record books, I’m sure you’ll see who gets the lion’s share. This really is a question for Daz, as he’s still a home and away die hard when he’s not banned. I get to about 2/3 games a season these days. As any true Leicester fan will tell you, avoiding relegation and a decent cup run is a good season. Realistically, a top ten spot is now the expectation. Possibly another Euro adventure via the Europa league.

SOTS – I was lucky enough to catch you guys at last year’s Rebellion festival, which was one of the highlights of the weekend for me. How was it for you guys? You are booked again for next year. Are you looking forward to it?

Travis – It was, without doubt, the biggest gig we’ve done. I’m not gonna lie. We were all a bit edgy before we played, but after the first track, we started to enjoy ourselves. The crowd blew us away to be honest. Fucking brilliant support. We are most definitely looking forward to it. The festival comes in for a bit of stick from certain quarters, but lets have it right. It’s the biggest punk gig on the fucking planet, and we are proud to play our small part. Sold out?? FUCK OFF!

SOTS – With the album now out, what’s next for B-Squadron?

Travis – We’ve got a couple of gigs coming up, then we are gonna work on a few new tracks. Maybe for another EP, or we may save em for a second album. Who knows?

SOTS – Thanks again for taking the time to speak to me, and I can’t wait to catch you guys at Rebellion.

Travis – It’s been a pleasure mate, and thank you for your interest. It really does mean a lot to us. Yeah, make sure you introduce yourself to us and we will have a beer. On behalf of the band.. Cheers. Football. Boxing. Oi Oi music. B SQUADRON 2018.

Well, that’s that! Thanks for reading to the end. Oi! Oi!

SFFS