PLAYOFF BEARD: Self-titled: 7”

Playoff Beard isn’t afraid to play pop punk despite the backlash mounted against pop punk since it gained commercial success in the 1990s. Comprised of members of legendary Pittsburgh-area bands including Tommy Gutless, Remainders, The Radio Beats, and The Shutouts, Playoff Beard borrows from other subgenres, including garage and streetpunk. They play earnest, heartfelt songs about growing up in subculture, doing the right thing, and finding balance in life. Decidedly non-trite, this isn’t “la la” pop punk, despite its catchiness. All five of the tracks on this fantastic 7” are instantly lovable and each deals with relatable themes. “First Day of Summer (Pt. 2),” for example, is about hanging out with friends and listening to Screeching Weasel. The vocals are expressive, with a slight, poignant gruffness, keeping the proceedings from becoming corny. The production perfectly captures how tremendous Playoff Beard sounds live, which isn’t an easy feat given how kick-ass their live shows are. A must-have 7” for anyone into melodic punk, Playoff Beard’s new release is easily one of 2015’s best records so far. Seek it out now! 

 –Art Ettinger (Between The Days)