The Brokedowns

Life Is A Breeze

Ever since it went mainstream, there’s often been a disconnect between punk the music and punk the lifestyle. Not so for this four-piece from Elgin, Illinois, whose music comes off as an accurate soundtrack to their lives. Much of that comes down to the moments that recall Crimpshine, the East Bay punk outfit led by Aaron Elliott, founder of the influential Cometbus zine and punk-house king. This record might come some 25 years after Elliott’s rent-free, punk-as-fuck lifestyle was in full swing, but its intentions are just as pure and it feels authentic. Songs like “Born On The Bayou Too” and “Keep Branson Weird” are rough, gruff blasts of belligerent, bass-heavy punk tempered with spritely melodies and catchy choruses. Of all 16 tracks, though, the punishing, brooding “The End Is Not Near” stands out most, its rambunctious riffs shimmering with tension, hard times and uncompromising defiance. Abrasive, raw and real, this isn’t just the sound of punk music, but of the reality of punk-rock life—as fun as it tough, and as coarse as it is catchy. Long may they live it.

Red Scare

“The End Is Not Near”