River City Rebels
The River City Rebels formed in the sleepy suburban town of Hartford, Vermont, while its members were still in high school. So, what exactly do kids from a wealthy suburb know about rebellion? Well, from the sound of their debut, Racism, Religion and War, not much. Released on Victory Records in 2000, the CD was generally panned by reviewers claiming the band's brand of ska-influenced punk rock didn't have enough fire to sound authentic. By 2001, the band found a new singer and toned down the ska elements in their sound, and that made all the difference. With a catchier set of Rancid-esque punk-pop tunes, River City Rebels' sophomore effort, Playin' To Live, Livin' To Play, fared better with the press and they began getting better and better gigs on the touring circuit. In 2002, the band released No Good No Time No Pride and once again, stepped up the pace. The dozen songs herein were short bursts of anger and adrenaline wrapped in a two-minute music bed. So just when you think you have the RCR all figured out, they go and release Hate To Be Loved in 2004. Produced by New York Doll Syl Sylvain, the band's fourth album saw a sharp turn in the band's direction -- one that, perhaps not surprisingly, strayed into early New York punk/glam territory.