The Brokedowns and Vacation Bible School both came to my attention a few years ago; The Brokedowns by way of Adam Fletcher's (The Copyrights, Dear Landlord) insistence that I check them out and later Sam North's (Traffic Street Records) insistence that I start with their most recent releases and work backwards instead of the other way around; Vacation Bible School also came by way of Sam North after he released a split 7" with them on Traffic Street Records. I knew both bands had been around about a decade already and had even heard some of their earliest releases. But the music I heard from both these bands nearly ten years into their existence totally floored me and had me wondering how I wasn't already a fan of these bands. I worked my way back through all of their releases and have been a huge fan ever since.
Knowing both bands were from the same general area of Elgin, Illinois and that both were making some of the very best punk rock around, I thought it'd be rad to hit them up about doing a split 7" with each other on It's Alive. That's when I found out Traffic Street had already planned to do just that. But shit went south for Sam and Traffic Street was no longer active in releasing records, so I contacted all parties involved and asked if they were into doing the split with It's Alive.
The Brokedowns play some of the most singular, heavy hitting, far from simple punk rock by any band around. I've read many failed attempts at describing their sound. I am sure this will be another one. At times it is punishing. At others totally poppy. And more often than not it is both at the same time. These guys are some kind of punk rock wizards!
Vacation Bible School play pop punk the way the greats of the early 90s did. The roots of their music are embedded in the same place as they are for all pop punk bands, but from there they grew and spread out into branches of style and substance that as a whole make for an incredibly unique and well crafted sound in a genre that is often lacking of individuality and significance. Vacation Bible School have been perfecting their sound for nearly a decade and it shows.