Monday, January 10, 2011


When I was growing up, we had great pop-punk bands available to us on the radio-- Rancid, Green Day, Blink 182, Alkaline Trio, The Offspring, Sum41, and more. Bands with Jolt cola like energy that could bring down house parties and were highly accessible to various music tastes and backgrounds. It feels that a lot of those bands from the 90's have disappeared, but a five piece band from Worcester, Massachusetts is here to fill that void.

Challenges is a pop-punk band fronted by lead vocalist and founder Corey Maynard, lead guitarist/backup vocalist Brian Dempsey, guitarist Danny Massei, bassist James Tripaldi, and drummer RJ Sumblin. After forming in 2009, the band quickly hit the studio to record their first demo, Apollo, which was lauded by MySpace and other social media networks, opening up numerous live performance avenues for the band. Solidifying the band's line-up in June 2009 with the addition of Danny Massei on guitar, James Tripaldi on bass, and Ralph Sumblin on drums, the band set out to write and record their debut full length, We Ruined the Neighborhood. The record was written and recorded with steadfast determination from July 2009 to August 2010 and then officially released on November 26th.

We Ruined the Neighborhood is an 11-track debut record full of hyperactive energy and youthful swagger. Corey Maynard's lead vocals are a pop-punk band's dream and the supporting members' musicianship is surprisingly crisp and refined. I guess Challenges ruined the neighborhood in celebration after they found out they are radio ready.

The new album is now available to stream in full on their bandcamp site and the band was generous enough to put a "name your own price" tag on it, but after you hear their efforts I'm willing to bet you'll fork over your pocket change to help support an emerging band that have what it takes to make it big.

For anyone around the age of 30 and below, Challenges will instantly give you bouts of High School nostalgia where, for some, listening to a discman in class with the earphones hidden in your coat sleeve, shooting v-wads, writing lyrics on your Airwalks, and skating away from school security down the hallways reigned supreme.

Challenges make things fun again.

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