Stellar Corpses Follow The Punk Book With Newest Album

Punk has always been a genre with a thick history. Ever since its inception decades ago, the name of the game has been speed, fury, and a love of rebellion. It makes it all the more discouraging now that punk has become a numbers game, one where breaking free from oppressive convention is painfully rare. It’s so common seeing up-and-coming punk bands begin slipping into a pattern. For every At the Drive-in and Gaslight Anthem, there are ten other groups appearing to stake their claim from the over-harvested stock brought about by The Ramones, Dead Kennedys , and Bad Religion. We really haven’t seen a huge punk revolution since the late 90’s. But from the rambunctious shores of Santa Cruz come Stellar Corpses, a punk band with a fascination with The Lost Boys and a penchant for classic, crowd-pleasing alternative anthems. With their newest album Dead Stars Drive-in, Stellar Corpses fall into a rut, one where experimenting is forbidden and the template is all the more enforced.

While Stellar Corpses are a punk outfit first a foremost, there are some interesting examples of the band escaping the rapid-fire rush of the punk world. “Pins & Needles” offers a boom-heavy groove with just enough swing and glide to stand out (a very cool use of the upright bass instrument from bassist Dan Lamothe). The band even opens the 50’s rock book, with the single “Vampire Kiss” harkening back to Elvis Presley’s groovy voice. For a genre so venerable and rooted in history, these examples are proof that the genre can go somewhere new. These unorthodox combinations are very welcome and more interesting than one might expect.

Still, Stellar Corpses love their punk. It becomes perfectly clear that these guys grew up listening to the intensity of The Misfits along with the more modern alternative punk bands like AFI or Rancid. The revving guitars and furious drum fills of “Train Wreck” bleed adrenaline, while the title track harkens back to 90’s era AFI with melodic guitar solos and a riotous pace that would make even Blink-182 gasp for air. Drummer Kyle Moore shines during the mind-blowingly intricate fills of “Be Still My Heart.” Bassist Dan Lamothe, once again, uses the upright bass in a very fascinating way, keeping the distortion low and the melody smoother. It’s a cool way to approach punk, one that the band should surely capitalize on for future musical endeavors.

Vocalist and lead guitarist Dusty Sheehan plays a mean axe, with his solos being remarkably gritty, but full of groove. “Blood Red” has a great guitar solo, for example, so Sheehan shows his virtuosity with the six-string very well here. Sheehan’s vocals, however, while respectable, don’t show very much range. He croons like Davey Havok and screams like Tim McIIrath, but his vocals feel repetitive and don’t do much to distinguish one song on the album from another. For a band with so much respect for the entire spectrum and history of punk music, Stellar Corpses haven’t done as much research as they should have.

Despite some solid musicianship, though, Stellar Corpses’ songwriting is where Dead Stars Drive-in loses momentum. Punk music is something of a straightforward affair; successful punk bands like The Ramones and The Clash are amazing since they can keep a stunningly frantic pace, all while making enough left turns to keep the pace from getting stale. Sadly, Stellar Corpses never make those left turns on Dead Stars Drive-in. Many of the songs are fine punk songs, all things considered, but when every song uses the whole “whoa” backing vocal line atop chugging power chords and snare drum gatling guns, the album goes from “fine” to “less than fine.” This becomes clearest when comparing the archetypal punk songs like “Steel Butterfly” and the ridiculously named “Death Ray Vision.” Half of the album sounds interchangeable; there isn’t nearly as much variety in the songwriting as there should be, causing Dead Stars Drive-in to melt together into one giant, middle-of-the-road punk marathon (two words that really should never be put together).

Dead Stars Drive-In may have some small instances of uniqueness, but it quickly becomes extremely difficult to find those instances behind the derivative nature of the rest of the album. For every step outside of the punk archetype the band makes, there’s another two steps back into stale power chords and overused “whoas” of the vocals. The template is organized neatly, but Stellar Corpses never seem to draw outside the lines with Dead Stars Drive-in.

“Vampire Kiss,” the groups’ new video for their first single off the album was recently filmed in Hollywood at a raucous house party, by director Jared Sagal (Rockerrazzi Films), check out the band performing the track singer Dusty Sheehan calls “a tribute to the greatest vampire movie of all time, The Lost Boys, filmed in our hometown of Santa Cruz.” View everything online at



DATE                             VENUE                                                  CITY/STATE

March 23                        Sharonville Convention Center                  Cincinnati, OH

(Horrorhound Weekend with The Koffin Kats, Harley Poe, The Big Bad, and more!)

March 24                        Third Street Dive                                      Louisville, KY

March 25                        Lindberg’s                                                Springfield, MO

March 26                        Wreckroom at Zietaine Nights                    Amarillo, TX

March 27                        Rocky Point Cantina                                 Phoenix, AZ

March 28                        House of Blues                                         San Diego, CA w/Tiger Army

March 29                        Favorites                                                  Las Vegas, NV

March 30                        The Bum Steer                                          Winchester, CA

April 12                           Tropics                                                     Fullerton, CA

April 13                            Webers                                                    Reseda, CA

April 14                             Babylon                                                  Fresno, CA

Stellar Corpses…morbidly fun punk rock from Santa Cruz:


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Follow the band on Twitter: @StellarCorpses


Italian Deathrock Masters HORROR VACUI Release “In Darkness You Will Feel Alright”

Absolute Goth/Deathrock performed by five Vampire Punks! Horror Vacui are a Post-Punk Gothic band that formed in the UK and Italy, referred to as the European answer to Spectres, Lost Tribe, Funeral Parade and Moral Hex. The definition of Horror Vacui is “Fear Of Emptiness”, a statement that perfectly suits the atmosphere which features highly memorable guitar riffs, infectious bass lines, thunderous drums and haunting vocals. Lyrical content is varied and deals with issues ranging from mental health, to anti-militaristic activism, to the governments moral decay. This exclusive CD pressing includes six bonus demo tracks that are not found on the vinyl LP version. For fans of Anasazi, Bauhaus, Bludwulf, Christian Death, The Cure, The Dead Boys, Depeche Mode, Fields Of The Nephilim, Lords Of The New Church, The Misfits, The Ramones, Screaming Dead, Sisters Of Mercy and Swans. In Darkness You Will Feel Alright!

You can pre-order your copy for only $10 including shipping at

Album Sampler:

1. Intro
2. Black Rivers
3. I Like It When A Soldier Dies
4. Corvus Corax
5. Everytime
6. In Darkness You Will Feel Alright
7. Yersinia
8. Arabian Spring
9. Leave Me Alone
10. Outro
11. A Destructive Game (demo)
12. I Like It When A Soldier Dies (demo)
13. Black Rivers (demo)
14. Everytime (demo)
15. Insanity (demo)
16. In Darkness You Will Feel Alright (demo)

The Plateaus Self Titled Debut Harks Back to Early Punk

To bring an end to this fall month, Art Fag Records will release the first full-length LP by California-bred punks, Plateaus. Led by Jon Greene, who occasionally offers skills as a sound manager for Art Fag events, the band delivers a rushing thirty minutes of non-stop pop punk, summery jams, reminiscent to those by early punk pioneers like The Clash, The Ramones, and even surf rock one-hit-wonders, The Surfaris. The driven guitar intro to “Suzy” is extremely similar to guitar riffs in the iconic surfer track, “Wipeout.”

Despite the very infrequent similarities to already existent songs, Plateaus is sure to please the typical punk fan. The upbeat, feel good mood of the record is set by shrill, arpeggiated guitar notes rung out in the opening track entitled “Blackout.” This feel is consistently held throughout the fast paced sounds of songs like “Oh Man” and “Do It For You” up until the final track, an indie-rock love ballad which strays away from the overall aura of the album. That is, until the final forty seconds in which the listener would be surprised to hear an abrupt change in tone from mellow chords to screechy thirty-second note guitar shredding to wrap up the record in the exact style of its beginning.

Other noteworthy tracks include “Beach Coma” and “Jump Now.” The self-titled LP by Plateaus comes out Tuesday, October 30th.

-written by Mitchell McDermott