Pairing raw punk energy with power-pop and alternative rock and roll sensibilities, Santa Rosa's Decent Criminal is back from the grave with a new self-titled, full-length record and a national tour launching next month. Before they leave town, the band plays a free album release show at the Last Record Store on Saturday, May 21.
Hunter Martinez originally formed Decent Criminal in 2008. His brother Tristan joined, in 2010. But that original incarnation was short lived.
"Basically, the band fell apart two years ago," says Tristan. "We recently rejuvenated the band with this lineup, and started playing with a new sound."
The Martinez brothers, Hunter on drums and Tristan taking over guitars and lead vocals, recruited current bandmates Alexander Alcantera Alcantra-Kouninos (bass/vocals) and Brian Gellman (guitars/vocals) and expanded Decent Criminal's sound from strict classic punk riffs to a palette of songs that encompasses '90s alternative rock in the vein of Weezer and the Pixies and current bands like the Strokes while keeping up a high-spirited and hyperactive punk sound.
This year, Decent Criminal unveiled its first full-length album with the current lineup, recorded in one of the practice spaces at Prairie Sun Recording Studios with friend and engineer Ryan Keller.
"Ryan had the gear, charged us $15 an hour, just homies helping out homies," says Tristan, who is the lead songwriter for the band now.
The new album bursts out of the gate with opening track "Vacant," a surf-rock influenced jam that gets loud quick and features an opening chorus of "Ahh, ahh" before Tristan's gruff vocals belt out over abrasive electric guitars. The driving punk rock continues on tracks like "Sore," an aggressive two-minute riot and "Sunburn," a sunny and melodic jam with distinct Southern California vibes.
At the Last Record Store show, the band will have the new self-titled album available, co-released on the Oakland-based indie label Dumptruck Records and East Coast label Endless Bummer, on vinyl, cassette and CD.
Starting June 3, Decent Criminal takes the new batch of songs on the road with a month-long tour that takes them from Los Angeles to Boston for ten shows opening for iconic punk bands the Dwarves and the Queers in the middle of the trek.
"We played a show with the Dwarves in Monterey a little while ago," says Tristan. "And we linked up. I think they're just down to help a band like us who are doing things all on their own. It's super cool."
Decent Criminal plays on Saturday May 21, at the Last Record Store, 1899 Mendocino Ave, Santa Rosa. 2pm. Free. 707.525.1963.