Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Unlovables & Dirt Bike Annie Reunion Show!

Wow! Am I just dreaming this, or did two of the greatest pop-punk bands of all-time come out of a combined 17 years of inactivity to make a split album for the venerable Whoa Oh Records? The Unlovables are officially one of my 25 favorite bands ever, and Dirt Bike Annie is still the best live band I've seen in my entire life. So, yeah, you could say I'm a little excited about this release! Excuse me while I go jump up and down for an hour or six.

Let me be honest. These two bands probably could have recorded anything, and I would have been perfectly happy. Hallie could have sung Lucas Duda's advanced stat line over dueling kazoos, and I would have been lauding The Unlovables' triumphant comeback. Dirt Bike Annie could have covered '70s cop show theme songs in the style of Milli Vanilli, and I would have been on my feet applauding. These two bands have brought me so much happiness with their music, and it's just awesome to have new recordings from both. But what I really appreciate about this project is that both bands went all-out and created something truly special. I don't have to wax nostalgic about how great these bands used to be. Even if you've never heard The Unlovables or DBA before, these 11 songs will make you an instant fan.

Jumping off with the fantastic "Miracle Braves", the Unlovables side of Reunion Show picks right up where the band left off. Hallie is still in top form - creating upbeat and super catchy tunes even when she's writing about really serious stuff. Her lyrics, as always, are clever and relatable and all-around awesome. And she remains one of the most likable lead singers you'll ever hear. Whether you're a longtime pop-punk fanatic or just someone who appreciates great music in general, songs like "1996" and "2nd Date" will have you smiling and dancing around in no time flat. I think it's incredibly cool that when Hallie came up with these tunes, she knew they had to be Unlovables songs. There was just no doubting that she had to share them with the world. So here we are, eight years after Heartsickle came out, enjoying as good of a collection of songs as The Unlovables have ever turned out. Yay!

To the best of my recollection, the Dirt Bike Annie side of Reunion Show is the band's first new music in at least ten years. And what a way to come back! After a decade-long breakup, Adam, Jeanie, Dan, and Mike (the "classic" lineup!) have re-grouped and quickly found that old magic. Seriously, this is the best stuff I've ever heard from DBA! And the production is out of this world! This is definitely a case of a band benefiting from so much time passing between recordings. You're talking about a bunch of immensely talented people who have grown personally and musically over the past decade - and that really shows in these songs. While still a pop-punk band at heart, DBA mixes in elements of power pop, indie/alternative, and straight-up rock n' roll to create a sound that is evolved yet distinctly its own. You can still tell it's DBA, but it's like DBA on steroids! Listening to "Ambitious Heart", I can't help picturing an ultra-enthused live crowd singing along to every word. And if "Chik A Walk" doesn't fill you with a complete and utter joy over being alive, you may have serious problems.

If you wondered whether or not new music from The Unlovables and Dirt Bike Annie could possibly be as good as the old stuff, the answer is a resounding YES! Reunion Show is a sure-fire top ten album for 2015. It's now out as a digital release - available from iTunes and Bandcamp. Vinyl coming soon!



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