#soundcheck: punk rock in hawaii! the substitoots’ – ‘mustard face’

January 8, 2014

Since punk bands have always reached new audiences in a beat up minivan, it makes sense that we don’t hear much about punk rock in Hawaii. But Honolulu boasts a vibrant scene. One of the central figures is Kevin Titty of The Substitoots (and a half-dozen other bands), whose latest record Mustard Face is that rare pop punk record as full of warped hooks as snarling intensity.

By Nathan Leigh, AFROPUNK Contributor

Album Stream/Download:

Singer Kevin Titty comes off like a cross between Fat Mike (thankfully, not in personality…) and Greg Graffin (thankfully, not in pretentiousness…). His rasp is at turns defiant and sarcastic. The songs range from jokey pop-punk riffs on current events “Bath Salts,” odes to their friends “Malcolm,” and a handful of songs that shuffle between criticizing someone for drinking too much and having no ambition and celebrating smoking weed and skating; “Chris Benoit” and “420 MPH.” (“420 MPH” wins for the best De La Soul reference in a pop punk song.)

The band saves the best for last with “Axe Questions (Hair, Body, & Brain Wash).” You set the bar high when you lead with a George Carlin clip, but the tight band rolls with the drive of early Jawbreaker (before Blake Schwarzenbach got all sad all the time…). It’s a 3 minute burst of frustration with how fucked the world is right now.

“Shop until you fucking drop, spending money you don’t got
on things you dont need, with lots of hungry to feed
I don’t know about you now, I feel you are ignoring how
You should be more aware, wipe off that dumb looking stare“

The record is available through the band’s Bandcamp above. Check this out. It’s one of the best pop punk records I’ve heard in a while.