It was unfortunate that Denver punks didn’t have a chance to see Get Dead perform this November on the 2013 Fat Tour with headliners Less Than Jake; the band missed performances in Omaha and Denver due to a van wreck on black ice en route to Omaha. Luckily, the band members (minus their van known as Rose) were fine, but Denver fans did miss the opportunity to see a band heralded for live performances. Bad News is the latest release from the band and it is whole-heartedly recommended for fans of the folk-punk genre. The album is harder than most records on the scene currently, and hard to describe. The most general way to do so would to say that fans of the Swingin’ Utters and Nothington and everything in between will dig this album.
Get Dead is a five-piece band (made up of acoustic and electric guitars, bass, drums, and vocals) from San Francisco, California. The band has been around since 2007 and has put out two other full-length albums; a self-titled EP, a demo and was also one of the bands featured on The Songs of Tony Sly: A Tribute. The band was signed to Fat Wreck Chords after “Fat” Mike Burkett saw them perform live and the punk rock legend even produced Bad News himself at his own Motor Studios. Josh Garcia (head sound engineer at Motor Records) returned to work on production for this album. He has worked on both of the other full-lengths (recording and production) and also played percussion on Tall Cans & Loose Ends.
Bad News is a twelve-song album and the sound is mainly rock music made by punks with punk driven ethics. Singer Sam King’s voice is raspy and gritty; the track “Burn Out” is reminiscent of the anarchy-minded beatnik poets of the 60’s folk scene. The new record is different from the others in that both acoustic and electronic instruments are used on the same album, even together on the same track. The guitars (Mike McGuire lead, Dave “Moki” Marino guitar, and Tim Mehew bass) blend together well and add a powerful layer of dimension to the songs using this concept. The band shares a collective Irish heritage and their songs reflect that upbringing. They are a folky, barroom sing-a-long band that’s known for impressive live performances. The lyrics prevent the songs from sounding too anthemic. The track “Here’s Your Song” is, at times, so full of emotion that the lyrics are almost indeterminable and the tracks’ ending is unexpected, going from full speed to completion in just a few drumbeats (Scott Powell, drums).
Bad News features seven newly released songs and five re-releases: “Kerouac’s Teeth”, “This One’s For Johnny” and “Battlelines” (originally “Battle Lines”) were all on the 2012 album Tall Cans & Loose Ends. “Here’s Your Song” and “Leave A Message” are re-released songs off Letters Home (2008). The production value makes the tracks remarkably different; “Kerouac’s Teeth” has such a difference in quality that the original should be ashamed of itself. The volume is increased, in general, and the individual sound each instrument makes is noticeable instead of blurring together to make an indecipherable harmony. The song becomes symphonic and the background vocals are magnificent. All of the re-released tracks are improved; the vocals louder (at times you can hear a lisp to King’s voice), the instrumentals in general are amplified and the guitars are crisper and cleaner. This album also features trumpets from Keith Douglas (Mad Caddies) and the backup vocals from Stacey Dee (Bad Cop/Bad cop) on “Bartender” are sublime. Bad News is great for current fans and for those who haven’t heard Get Dead, this is the album to hear first. Its haunting lyrics will have you wishing your headphones were better.
Get Dead’s third album, Bad News ,was released on July 23rd, 2013 on Fat Wreck Chords.