Off With Their Heads

Off With Their Heads

Spells, Tact

Thu, July 26, 2018

Doors: 8:30 pm / Show: 9:00 pm

Everybody Hits

Philadelphia, PA

$12.00 - $14.00

This event is all ages

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Off With Their Heads
Off With Their Heads
The phrase "punk" gets thrown around a lot these days but for over a decade Off With Their Heads has eschewed trends and embodied that ethic with every ounce of their being. Having put out numerous releases and toured the country dozens of times the band are about to release Home, their best-sounding album to date which takes the group's sound to the next level without sacrificing the palpable passion that's made them underground favorites.

Off With Their Heads is the project of Minneapolis native Ryan Young and on Home he's joined by drummer Justin Francis and bassist Robbie Swartwood, the latter of whom has been playing with the group for nearly five years. "It's hard to bring people into a full-time touring punk band because you have to be a musician not someone who is doing this for a hobby," Young admits. "An actual musician is the type of person who does this because it's what they do. Money is always nice but you have to expect nothing and still play like you care."

For their second release on Epitaph the band teamed up with one of Young's heroes, Descendents' drummer Bill Stevenson who produced the album at the Blasting Room in Fort Collins, Colorado—and the result is an album that captures the raw passion of Off With Their Heads' live shows without obscuring any of the instrumentation with a slick, studio sheen. "It was really important that this record didn't sound too polished so once we agreed on a general sound of the record it was great," Young explains. "It's definitely the best-sounding record that we've done."

Home is also the strongest collection of Off With Their Heads' songs to date and certainly the most diverse. From the instantly catchy sing-alongs of "Shirts" to straight-ahead, Ramones-influenced ragers like "Seek Advise Elsewhere" and stripped-down ballads like "Don't' Make Me Go," Home shows how much the band have grown sonically since their last release, a development that is no doubt due to the fact that the band have spent so much time on the road touring with everyone from Municipal Waste to Kind Of Like Spitting in everything from massive theaters to basements.

If there's a lyrical theme on Home, it's personal experiences whether that ranges from struggles with identity ("I don't feel like me, whatever that's supposed to be" from "Shirts") to tales from the road. However as you might expect it all comes back to the fact that for a full-time touring punk rocker the word "home" has a very unique connotation. "I think I used to take for granted the simple notion of having an apartment in Minneapolis," Young explains. "The album is about the bad feelings associated with being at home, why people leave home, and how important it is to have a good one."

Over the course of these twelve songs Young expresses that sentiment in different ways and the content on the disc explores everything from being oppressed because of one's sexuality ("Focus on Your Own Family") in addition to more personal writing that exposes Young's own misgivings about the Catholic church and the impact it's had on his family life ("Altar Boy"). Then there's a song like "Don't Make Me Go" which guest vocalist Tony Kovacs from Shot Baker summarized telling the band, "OWTH has a story and this explains a lot." Listening to the impassioned track, it's evident why this is true.

Having toured with everyone from Bad Religion to the Dropkick Murphys, Young has learned that in order for him to maintain his ethics he tells his bandmates that "playing a show in front of 6,000 people is no different than playing a house show" and you can tell by the group's countless live performances that this isn't just lip service. "I'm proud that I have pretty much maintained my core beliefs over the years," he explains. "Opening for my heroes is cool but that's their crowd and I have always been about carving my own part through all of this."

Despite the fact that Off With Their Heads have performed everywhere from Jacksonville to Japan over the past decade, it's clear that even if OWTH never left Minneapolis they would be doing the exact same thing just as passionately. "Everything involved with this band has become larger and more successful than I could have hoped for," Young admits, citing signing to Epitaph as one of these milestones. "The only goals I have for myself and OWTH is to continue to make music that I care about, try to push myself physically and musically and continue to be able to do what I love for a living."
Spells
Spells
Give it up for the band…

SPELLS is a five-piece rock juggernaut from Denver, CO. They are vacation rock to be exact. They produce short blasts of intense melody and driving rhythms that are custom made to entertain the band members themselves and serve as an excuse to go play shows in cities that have beaches nearby. If your city’s best offers include said beach and a good breakfast joint, count them in. If the best your city can do is a punk house that smells like cat shit and a Subway restaurant inside a gas station, they will pass.

SPELLS works for Snappy Little Numbers Quality Audio Recordings, which is now on the cusp of being a household name the world over. Focused on excellence in music and packaging, SLN is dedicated to the fine art of the analog format, especially vinyl (but maybe a cassette on occasion). “Take Time/Slice Away”, SPELLS’ debut 7”, was a runaway hit in 2013. “Double Cassingle” was the band’s follow up effort that same year and contains four sure-fire gems that are guaranteed* to distract you from the worst 10 minutes of your day and probably turn them into the best 10 minutes of your day.

2014 saw SPELLS leave the confines of the Rocky Mountains to spread their sound to other exotic locations, such as that one dive bar around the corner from that one coffee shop. The band then dropped two releases back to back to satiate their rabid fan base to close out that year. Issued by SLN, “At Sea/Land Locked” is a four song 7” EP that eases the listener in before detonating. One side features more garage/surf inspired numbers while the other has the straight ahead punk stompers. Of course issued by SLN, “Jet Set b/w iA Huevo!” is a cassingle that pays tribute to the band’s genre, vacation rock. Jet Set is about avoiding the van in favor of airplanes and cushy decision-making. iA Heuvo! Is an ode to Tijuana, Mexico that the band took by storm earlier that year.

In 2015, SPELLS was officially invited to play the South By South West Music Festival. They didn’t have anything better to do, so they went and killed it. 2015 would see the band doing a lot of writing that lead into a busy 2016. What did they do in 2016? Aside from some vacation shows, they recorded A LOT of songs. They quickly issued a split cassingle with Denver pals Hooper through SLN before unloading their debut LP, “Staying In > Going Out”. Of course on Snappy Little Numbers, “SI>GO” was met with cheers and bombast by fans and critics alike. The album has all the signature elements of SPELLS- garage-rockers, punk-stompers and even some “college rock”. It shows a band on the way up.

So, naturally 2017 would see the band expanding their fan base by leaving home more often to spread the gospel of vacation rock. They did Midwest dates with label mates Low Forms and capped the year with a West Coast swing opening for Iron Chic, Off With Their Heads and Toys That Kill. Oh, and did I mention they did more recording?

Those sessions yielded their first release of 2018, the “Big Boring Meeting” EP 7”. The EP is a concept of sorts. Side A contains 2 tracks of blasting energy while side B has 4, that’s right, 4 rippers that average a minute apiece. In a nutshell, the concept is “can you, the listener, keep up with SPELLS?!” This writer sure hopes so.

*The band makes no guarantees but thinks this scenario is realistic considering their immense artistic vision and talent.

Deek Chooglin,
Wind Bender Management
Tact
Tact
Cat Park & Jarret Nathan. Philadelphia, PA.
Venue Information:
Everybody Hits
529 W Girard Ave
Philadelphia, PA
http://everybodyhitsphila.com/