Bumsy & The Moochers – Diet Violence

  • Pete Gross posted
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Bumsy & The Moochers

Diet Violence - Sell The Heart Records / Ska Punk International

Chicago’s ska-punks Bumsy And The Moochers are back with Diet Violence, a full length album brought to us by Sell The Heart Records & Ska Punk International. Full disclosure, I do not like most ska bands from the U.S. after the 80’s.  I’m a huge fan of reggae and the British wave of ska and even most modern UK ska bands. But there is something about American ska bands that I just don’t fuck with. So this band has a deep hole to climb out of at the start of this listen.

As for Bumsy and The Moochers, I previously discovered this band on BlankTV when their video “JP Knows How to Party” showed up my YouTube suggestions. JP is one of my best friends from South Florida, so surely they were talking about my JP. He definitely does know how to party. They weren’t of course but I immediately noticed this band had two things I was prejudiced for: the drummer had on a Dead Kennedys shirt and the singer was female. I liked the song, so this band does have a fighting chance. Let’s begin:

Jump the Gun starts with some nice little bass pumps from David Lyon and dives right into singer Caitlin Edwards lambasting all those who so quickly to jump into political fights. There’s a nicely delivered line about overpopulation(?) that leads into a great “hey hey hey” with a nice loud guitar solo by, I would guess, guitarist Dan Engelman. This song has a really cool riff with a little dark attitude. Horns come in all scatting out of left field by Eric Dennis, Ty Staehlin, and Gabriel Rodriguez on saxophone, trombone and trumpet respectively. Nice doubled up vocals by Caitlin Edwards as she harmonizes well. 

The Rat blazes out the gate with a pit stomping riff, that leads into a frenetic ska verse that starts out with clean guitars-a-jumping but they turn into heavier distortion to up the intensity. And again, for a ska band this riff is really dark and cool. Some great vocals by the boys really add dynamics to when Caitlin’s vocals kick back in. I’m not sure what organization this “rat” has infiltrated but Bumsy and the Moochers are coming for you! There’s a great part in this song where drummer Chris Ronspies does a build up from the kick to the snare roll that’ll get you moving. And then wham we get hit a wailing hammer on solo. It’s so out of sync with the rest of what’s going on and it couldn’t be cooler. Not to mention it’s played almost cleanly in a low fi sense that makes it punk AF.

Not Gonna Have It. Oh no, I’m having it. Another great drum roll from Chris Ronspies launches us into this song that is just so infectious and bouncy. In a live setting If you don’t lose your mind to this song you clearly have the soul of stop sign. The horn solo is mixed or recorded with such presence compared to the mild reverb on the horns playing through the rest of the song. This is some ace production in my book. If it’s a solo, turn it the F up and mixer Dan Precision at the Bombshelter does just that. Hats off to Bill Aldridge at Third City Sounds in Joliet Illinois, who captures this band really laying into it. Is Not Gonna Have It. about eating a healthy diet or possibly body shaming? I don’t know but it’s joyous and I’m definitely having it.

Living The Nightmare is a tale about where we are as humanity, and it’s not a happy story. Living the Nightmare is full of hooks and just bad ass time changes. When I listen to this song I’m bewildered that it will not become a hit radio song like any vapid Ariana Grande burping. Maybe it will. It should. Check out the video for it on the Sell The Heart‘s YouTube channel. If you don’t 100% love this song then you’re dumb. Rewind reminisces the days of old, particularly the 90s. This is quintessential 90s ska-punk in musical form and lyrical reference. It features a classic 90s guitar riff. This song could have been plucked from any of your favorite MXPX or Mustard Plug records. And you know it references Blockbuster Video. AKT starts out as another typical mid tempo 90s ska tune, it lulls you in, but that quickly changes when drummer Ronspies lets loose with a blistering paced tempo change that launches this song into a mosh and fight anthem. Once again this band can take dark and unexpected turns at the drop of a dime. I won’t spoil what AKT stands for. Singer Caitlin Edwards is unimpressed by macho boys ruling the pit.

Times Up The guitars are on this song sound a bit different than the rest of the record. They are real dirty and raw and I love it. The bass line laid down by Lyon is as groovy and catchy as you’ll get. This band is so full of riffs. Bumsy can rival death metal bands when it comes to riff changing and song morphing parts. This Cathy Ann must be some hell of a renaissance woman because she inspired one of the best ‘anthems for a friend’ this listener has ever heard, This little gem of a song is so full of love and joy it gave me chills. I mean, yes I do currently have the Corona Virus, but these chills are not from that. This song is will knock the covid right out of you. Seriously, I don’t know which hit me harder, the initial 103 degree fever that came with this covid or this song! Great rising horn solo parts and a wonderful guitar solo. I will keep my bedroom clean for Cathy Ann. I promise!

Hey Margarita follows and a Margarita is what you need to cool down after the stomping ode to Cathy Ann. This song juxtaposes perfectly next to the former track. If I owned a tequila company or advertising agency Bumsy would be getting paid for use of this perfect TV commercial song. New instruments for all. Tiki bars should add this song to their juke box now. The final track Won’t Give Up on Love finds Bumsy reaching beyond and above. This song pushes everything they can do. They are no longer a ska-punk band by the time this songs signals the end of this chapter. They have self-elevated into a band that can transcend any genre and are now beaming out with the light of all good music. 

In conclusion: For me, starting with Naked Raygun back in the 80s, I have always found Chicago bands (and records produced in Illinois) to be so full of talent, tone and stellar song writing abilities. Bumsy and The Moochers proudly carries that flag forward on Diet Violence. I would never in my life imagined I would affix a 5-star rating to a record by an American ska-punk band. But that is exactly what Bumsy and the Moochers get for Diet Violence. This is one for the collection.

Diet Violence will be available from September 8th on CD via Sell The Heart Records, cassette through Ska Punk International, Bandcamp and streaming platforms.