Upon Second Listen

In the punk rock/indie scene, there are bands that seem like perennial openers, destined to play to cross-armed audience members lingering in the back of a club, waiting for the other acts to come on stage. For a few years, Flordia-based Fake Problems felt like that to me. In the mid-late 2000s, I saw them open for a slew of larger punk/indie acts, including Against Me!, Gaslight Anthem, and others.  Each time I saw them, I never gave them much attention and wasn’t impressed by their folksy sound. I was simply burned out by the folk-punk/indie-folk sound at that point. I also thought the singer sounded like a high-pitched muppet.

Recently, due to a Youtube playlist, I came across some of Fake Problems’ newer songs from their 2010 release Real Ghosts Caught on Tape, released by one of my favorite labels-SideOneDummy Records. Since the last time I saw them, Fake Problems’ sound has expanded and matured. Gone are the high-pitched vocals and complete folksy vibe. The use of electric guitar riffs and big hooks/choruses benefit the band well.  I plan to order the album on wax, just for the tracks “Song for Teenagers” and “ADT” alone. It’s now clear to me this band has grown from an opener to a group that should start headlining and continuing to expand and explore its sound.

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About Brian Fanelli

I'm a poet, teacher, music junkie and much more. My first chapbook of poems, Front Man, was published in 2010 by Big Table Publishing. My full-length book of poems, All That Remains, was published in 2013 by Unbound Content. My latest book, Waiting for the Dead to Speak, was published in the fall of 2016 by NYQ Books. My work has also been published by The Los Angeles Times, World Literature Today, Harpur Palate, Boston Literary Magazine, Kentucky Review, Verse Daily, Spillway, Portland Review, and several other publications. My poetry has also been featured on "The Writer's Almanac" with Garrison Keillor. Currently, I teach English full-time at Lackawanna College.
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