The Dollheads Release "Et Cetera" EP, Pure Sport Put Out "Bigger Business"
Two of the very best rock bands in Vegas have decided 2023 is the year of the EP, and with The Dollheads’ new release “Et Cetera” coming out on May 6th, 2023, it will mark their second release in less than a year as they put out their debut LP (full-length album) What Teenage Angst? in September of 2022 which was one of the best debut albums I have heard from a band under 18, and it was the reason the band won the Best New Artist award from the Powered By Rock Music Awards for 2022.
The other band I would be speaking about is Pure Sport who put out their first EP called “Big Business” in July of 2022 which was an instant classic and has helped them grow their fanbase in Vegas over that time. Now, their follow-up EP “Bigger Business” has been released last month, and it is an absolute masterpiece.
Let’s first dive into The Dollheads upcoming release “Et Cetera” though since that is about to drop, and it is something I think you are really going to enjoy.
This release has some incredible growth on it, especially for a band whose oldest member is 16 years old.
The album kicks off with the aforementioned “The Microphone” which is an anxiety-inducing anthem layered over the band’s brand of pop-punk, and it is brilliant.
The concept behind the song seems to be the alienation that rockers like Roger Waters had when he wrote The Wall about how people who are performing artists have a disconnect with the people in the real world in some way, and in this song it is the connection between peers and how that turns into creating songs about the inner struggles that comes with performing those songs.
It’s a very impressive song with a true ability to look outside of oneself to see the problems that come with being an open book.
“This Bitch” is the rage filled banger up next and is definitely a feeling that anyone can relate to about two-faced, snake people who either pretend to be your friend or just straight up talk shit about you behind your back. There are no feelings spared on this one.
Next up is the more melodic slower-tempo song “No Rain” which is absolutely haunting throughout. The song gives me vibes of when Kim Deal was in Pixies and she just had some truly incredible vocals and contributions to those albums.
This song is probably best described as a true pop-punk ballad. Another song it reminds me of is Millencolin’s “The Ballad” – I think the comparison should be self-explanatory there.
However, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that this band is full of Green Day fans, so I would expect their inspirations came more from songs like “Wake Me Up When September Ends” than either of the two bands I mentioned.
The main reason I didn’t mention that song right away is because I don’t particularly like that song, and “No Rain” doesn’t sound anything like it…it’s just more in the same realm and a more popular reference point.
The chorus is just incredibly well sung and you can definitely get some chills from the song whether it is from your current situation or from nostalgia of being young.
The album ends with the two other unreleased songs “Hallways” and “Desolate Girl” which are both very solid songs as well.
“Hallways”, as you can probably guess from the title, is about school days and the desire to get attention from love interests or even just people who are “cool” in general. Goddamn, I don’t miss those days of trying to impress people my age with some sort of new fashion or actions. I never tried that hard to fit in anyway, but it is always a struggle during those teenage years.
“Desolate Girl” is a self-reflection song that looks in the mirror (literally) and starts asking why the person in the reflection isn’t stronger, better, mentally healthier, and from there becomes a self-examination of how that turns into loneliness and depression.
ALL of these songs seem incredibly deep and insightful from such young people, not because it’s impossible for teens to creatively express themselves, but it’s more due to the fact that most adult humans can’t express themselves half as well or even create something as artistically thoughtful as what The Dollheads have done between “Et Cetera” and their last album.
I have probably said this before, but if their lyrics were sung by Johnny Cash or Leonard Cohen, they would break your heart, and be 100% suitable for those guys to have sung them.
Based on all my “old man” references here, I have probably alienated the younger crowd who may read this article, but that’s okay. Maybe using some of the references will inspire some research around those bands and artists too, who knows.
Either way, I HIGHLY recommend getting “Et Cetera” directly from The Dollheds’ page right now!
I can’t personally put into words how good these guys actually are.
The only comparable contemporary that I have seen would be the band Turnstile, because while there are other bands like Knocked Loose or The Bronx who can put on great live shows, there are very few bands who can create absolutely killer tunes that would be just as easy to listen to while you are chilling in a pool as you are moshing in the pit.
That’s what Pure Sport does so well.
They are melodic chaos.
They are loud. They are angry. They are chill. They are humble. They are the band you want to party with but also who you can have a totally real conversation with as well.
The EP starts off with a new feature for this release which is a skit that incorporates their “corporate business” identity into the actual album. The band has been using this identity to create a unification between themselves and their fans by using the tongue-and-cheek idea that Stephen Colbert used to do so well on “The Colbert Report” where he acted like an incredibly idiotic conservative media head.
Pure Sport uses the corporate landscape to simultaneously create “bro-party-rock” songs and also use ironically-fashioned lyrics that poke fun and pass animosity directly towards that exact demographic.
A good example of this is in the song “Waterboy” (a crowd favorite for sure) where the lyrics essentially depict a person watching from the proverbial “sidelines” but they are just a glorified cheerleader. Literally speaking, it is directly depicting a waterboy on the sidelines of a sporting team (in this scenario they visually chose baseball for their music video), but on the analogy side of the song sits that whole entire type of person who literally just enables bad behavior, poor decisions, and creates a toxic environment within our culture and society.
These guys are so clever with the way they put their music together it is almost like a really good dark comedy that makes you laugh, but then it hits you that, “Oh shit, this is actually happening in real life.”
I will not try to dig into each song on this album, because I would rather leave some of those analogies unexplained (or even better yet, I don’t want to misrepresent any of the songs), but I will say the diversity on this album is also incredible.
The song “One Too Much” is kind of like when the party ends, and this person has to look their self in the mirror and try to figure out what the actual problems are in their life…or you know, just pass the buck and blow it off as just having too many drinks, too many substances or whatever else.
It’s a slow drag too. This song absolutely makes me think of when I used to smoke cigarettes (don’t do it, kids), and I would just sort of sit and start to contemplate things. Taking a big long drag of the cigarette, getting some inner reflection, and then just blowing the smoke out and releasing it all at once.
Put the cigarette out. Go back to the rest of my day.
Sometimes I swear these guys are writing a semi-biography of my life even though they know little about me, and at times I am like, “Hey man, too close to home!” While other times, I am thinking, “Yeah, f#%k the man.”
Then I realize to some, I am considered “the man” which makes me hate that part of myself.
This whole EP is just one absolute fire song after the next. I really can’t tell you which ones to choose for yourself, because I think everyone will have a different connection to each song.
All I know is that if you don’t like Pure Sport, then you and I may have no musical connection at all. Ha ha.
That may be a bit harsh, but listen to Pure Sport, love Pure Sport, and become an unpaid intern at Pure Sport LLC. I have probably logged close to an apprenticeship by now.