Friend Music

Hartford Courant

This New London three-piece has been serving up giant platters of exceptional garage rock for just about a decade now. Each release features memorable sing-alongs, chunky riffs and enough fuzz and feedback to get just about anyone riled up in the best way.

This album sees Straight To VHS tone down the vitriol a bit and trade it in for something with a more eclectic and decidedly pop edge. It’s easily their most ambitious and experimental album to date and is executed with aplomb, proving that they are masters of their craft, no matter which direction they decide to take it.  – [CHIP MCCABE]

CBS names Straight to VHS in Top 5 up and coming bands of 2014!

[ Joshua Palmes ]

Straight To VHS out of New London may be the state’s greatest garage band. The trio, consisting of singer-guitarist Jon Young, bassist Tim Donnel and drummer Jay Silva, released its latest record “Weekend Weekend Weekend” this spring and watched it garner positive press and airplay on some of the top college radio stations in the East. The album includes lots of two-minute punk outbursts which the band recommends “be played at maximum volume,” but it also contains tracks like the jangly “Mountain Song,” which is reminiscent of prime Meat Puppets.


Connecticut has a long and storied punk rock history. While that apple down 95 gets all the fame and glory, CT is not without bands that have made their own mark in the punk rock world. New London’s Straight to VHS have spent the last handful of years slowly creeping towards the top of the punk rock heap with their brand of catchy, garage rock infused noise. Their newest EP, Landmind, has them hinting at more accessible territory, taking their already infectious vibe into more alternative waters. While losing some of their overall cacophony, they certainly don’t lose any of their ability to write a song that sticks to your ribs.


“Weekend Weekend Weekend” 

– Lonesome Review: “Chip’s Top 50 Albums of 2014”  [ Chip Mccabe ]

Arguably the best punk/garage rock record to come out of CT in 2014 belongs to New London’s Straight To VHS.  They play a rambunctious brand of rock n’ roll that will remind you of everything from MC5 to The Stooges to some of the great punk rock of the late 70’s/early 80’s.  This is a record that is equally fun to dance to as it is to break shit to.


 – CT 11/26/14 [ jeffrey thunders ]

They released one of the best records last year and now it seems New London Garage rockers Straight To VHS have struck again. With the release of “Weekend, Weekend, Weekend” the Wailing City three piece have solidified themselves as a band not to mess with.

“Weekend, Weekend, Weekend” is full of lo-fi garage & punk nuggets that will be stuck in your brain for the rest of time. Recorded and Mixed by, Andrew Oedel at Fortune Recording Studios, New London, CT this record is a blistering 11 tracks that will probably go down as one of the best records in recent memory.

Exploding right off the bat with “Bitch, You Ain’t No Ninja” you can tell that this band is pure fun. Jay Silva’s snare drum cuts through the hypnotizing guitars. The lyrics are pretty repetitive but they work in this song, and it’ll make you want to dance your face off all night. Deeper into the record is “Sore Loser.” This song has a Dinosaur Jr feel mixed with local rock gods Fatal Film. The song is the “slow jam” of the album and shows how Straight To VHS can slow it down and still know how to party.

“Weekend, Weekend, Weekend” ends with the infectious “Mountain Song”. With its slight country undertones, loose drumming, and bashing acoustic guitars it’s a perfect way to end this flawless record.


 – [ Chip McCabe ] August 29th 2014

Garage rock was born in the slums of the rock world, the dirty cousin to the polished, mainstream, radio-friendly monsters that roamed the Earth.  It’s bastard offspring was punk, an unwashed, feral animal of the gritty streets of inner cities across the globe.  New London, Connecticut’s Straight To VHS fall somewhere in between.  They’re like the milk that punk has suckled off the teats of garage rock, nurturing one genre while simultaneously being generated from the other.

Straight To VHS is about to release a brand new full-length album, Weekend Weekend Weekend.  It’s a wild ride of a record that pulls from over forty years of the most unyielding and tenacious influences to ever take a stage, yet successfully remains easily accessible to anyone who doesn’t use safety pins as an every day wardrobe accessory.  It’s also easily the band’s most focused and well-written set of songs.  From the surf-punk styling of album opener, “Bitch, You Ain’t No Ninja” to the downright folksy “Mountain Song”, Straight To VHS has made an album full of tunes that are so catchy and likeable you would be hard pressed not to be humming something off this album for days after, once it’s all said and done.  Yet there’s enough dour moments on this album to appease the circle pits as well.  Tracks like “Punk Rock Black Chicks” and “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah” are throwbacks to cheap beer and cheaper shows held in some squat on the decrepit side of town.  Your parents didn’t want you in those neighborhoods and there was an excitement in the supposed danger of it all.  Straight To VHS channel that energy with aplomb.

An argument could be made that Straight To VHS are born too late.  They are a garage-fueled, power trio riding through the grimy streets of the mundane, kicking up dust and garbage to cover their tracks as they tear off to the next town.  They are modern day musical outlaws who’ve stolen the secrets of what lies between the 60’s forefathers of the punk genre and the 70’s innovators.  Fans of everything from MC5 and The Stooges to The Buzzcocks, The Damned, UK Subs, Avail, and even The Pixies will find something to dig on this album for sure.

You can experience a pair of songs over at the Straight To VHS Bandcamp page.  You can also join them for their CD Release party at Hygienic Art in New London on Saturday, August 30.


– THE DAY Newspaper [ RICK KOSTER ] February 13, 2013

 When Katherine Bergeron, the new president of Connecticut College, was on an early tour of the campus, she and two other dignitaries were led into Fortune Studio, the school’s world-class 32-track recording facility.

One of the first things she saw was the moderately ursine figure of Tim Donnel, bassist for Straight to VHS, New London punk/garage titans. He was standing on a chair, wearing only boxers and socks, energetically overdubbing a bass line in the pure energy of the music – and most would agree that, as a snapshot moment, it was a fine introduction for Bergeron into the fertile artistic scene of her new city.

“She thought it was hilarious, though they might have been a little overdressed for the occasion,” says Jon Young, the band’s guitarist/vocalist. “But she comes from a musical background and she was very cool.”

The result of those recording sessions is the brand new Straight to VHS album, “Weekend Weekend Weekend,” which the band will celebrate with a release party Saturday in the Hygienic Art Park. Copies of the album and commemorative T-shirts will be on sale, and the Supreme Hot Dog folks will be on hand purveying fine chili dogs. Plus: a fine musical bill has been assembled for the occasion. Along with VHS, Heap, The 3-Pack and Anderson Family Picnic will also perform.

“Weekend Weekend Weekend” is hilarious and roaring, the 11-song equivalent of a whitewater trip down a raging river of beer with the ghosts of Joey Ramone, Ron Asheton and Lee Ving cheering from the banks – even though Ving’s not dead and thus could actually be on the shore in corporeal form.

Of course, that sort of conceptual fun indelibly reflects the idea of a “weekend,” and the title comes from a song called “Punk Rock Black Chicks.” In perhaps excellent VHS fashion, the phrase wasn’t actually in Young’s original version of the tune. But drummer Jay Silva misheard the lyrics and thought Young was singing “Weekend weekend weekend.”

“It was perfect,” Young says. “I wrote the phrase on my shirt and Jay ended up changing the lyrics. It sort of became the anthem for the whole project because we all work day jobs all week long and go for it on the weekends.”

Straight to VHS has always had that sort of attitude, wit, spirit and ardor – but “Weekend Weekend Weekend” is the first time they’ve truly captured all of those qualities on a recording.

“It’s a great sounding studio,” Donnel says, “and (house engineer) Andrew (Oedel) was awesome to work with. He’s around our age and understood what we were trying to go for and made it really easy.”

A sense of fraternal camaraderie is also at the base of the Straight to VHS magic.

“We’re brothers through and through,” says Silva, “and with that kind of tight-knit connection, it builds confidence and excitement and lets our humor shine through.”

Indeed, “Weekend Weekend Weekend” contains the band’s best batch of songs – driving, super-glue-catchy and very funny in the fashion of the best observational comics. “Bitch, You Ain’t No Ninja” describes a fictitious character that sprang from a bit of graffiti Young saw a few years ago – a photo of which was on the cover of their previous album, “Rewinder.” “Cart Pushin’ Man” is a portrait of a guy Silva once saw who relentlessly pushes a grocery cart up and down the beach at Atlantic City and who, Silva was led to believe, was once a professional wrestler.

Part of the magic of the tunes is that VHS isn’t afraid to expand the template of the typical punk song – as on “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah,” when the running-with-the-bulls tempo suddenly downshifts into a brief but majestic piano/vocal break that recalls Bloodrock’s immortal death ballad, “DOA.”

“For a lot of songs on the album, we’re trying to step out of the VHS box a little bit and try some things we wouldn’t normally do,” Young says. “I love the Beatles and one of the great things about them is how each album progressed. We’re trying to do that and part of it was to make this record sound a lot more professional.”



“RewindeR” [ Max Mercy ]

People who think of Connecticut solely as a state full of country clubs and gold-lined streets have never been to New London. And anybody who’s wondering where the spirit of punk-rock is these days can find it there.While listening to “Rewinder,” I smelled stale beer and sweat. I felt concrete under my sneakers. I saw dive bars and littered parking lots and empty strip malls. Suburbia after nightfall.Stylistically, Straight to VHS makes use of early punk templates and can resemble pioneer groups like the Sex Pistols and the Wipers. Their production standards are relatively high for garagerock so I can understand the Jay Reatard comparisons. They’re working within the form, keeping the rough edges and apathetic attitude but it’s obvious they care how the sound comes across. They’re craftsmen.At just over 20 minutes, the album is a sonic roller coaster ride with one song cascading into the next. The standout track that represents the whole experience is “patchwork city.” In the red vocals, sweet bass doodles, a chorus that turns the groove of the verses on its head and guitar with enough crunch to chip a tooth. The count-in alone is beautifully rock and roll.

Yup, the spirit of punk is alive. I’m not sure if it’s well but when has it ever been? One thing’s for sure: it takes equal amounts pain and love to play this kind of music.


– [ Jeffrey Thunders ] – via

“Let me out, Let me out of this town” opens up “Rewinder” by New London garage punks. After a crunchy, fuzzy guitar intro singer/guitarist Jon Young screams that line that most suburban heartbroken kids can relate to. ” Don’t call it love” its a song about a love gone wrong and a girl who has lied. The second track starts out like something The Thermals would do and keeps in that lo-fi garage/punk sound that i love with “Untitled”. ” It’s not the money” sounds like something from Black Flag’s ” The first four years” record when Keith Morris was still in the band. Complete with a nice drums and bass breakdown. ” Yea, shutup” slides more into the “Slip in in” area of Black Flag. Great intro in this song. Classic old hardcore/punk guitar riff but staying within the that garage sound that makes this band so good. Deeper into the record is “Patchwork city”. This is the song that drew me into this album ( the band released it earlier as a single). This song is pure garage/punk bliss from the sound of the vocals to the drum rolls to lyrics that seem like the band just wants to go out and have a good time. “One thing” has the catchy “whoa’s” with a beat that will make you get up and dance. After what sounds something like Jay Reatard mixed with early to mid 1990’s Sub Pop with the song “Stuck in transit” “Rewinder ends with “Your face” a song that builds up and hits you with pop sensibility mixed with that pretty basement sound and just may give you a peek inside what has happened in the two year hiatus Straight to VHS has taken. All the songs on “Rewinder” are around the two minute mark and each song leaves you wanting more. The band has been through alot in the past and its nice to see they are back making great garage music. If you like stuff like The Kinks, Jay Reatard, The Thermals, and maybe even The Cramps this record is for you.


– The Big Takeover Dec.’10 Edition – The Big Takeover [ JACK RABID ]

“It used to be that too few bands sounded like The Wipers—other than Hot Snakes and early Nirvana—but like Ready the Destroyer, StV has Greg Sage’s unrelenting riffage prowess in spades on this five-song debut EP produced by Fatal Film’s Matt Potter. Having also rocked Cosmodemonic’s double-CD Powers New London, CT sampler harder than any band this side of 30-year vets The Reducers, the trio bust a fuzzy, sweaty garage punk with nasty bass in an early punk-ish attack, with 70’s Detroit tough guy vocals. It’s only five songs in 11-and-a-half minutes, but its rough and ready, full of piss, vinegar, and vigor, ripping it up like an update on The MC5’s “American Ruse.” And like an MC5, Radio Birdman, early Damned, or Wipers record, when they chant “Hey” every few seconds, you chant with them, fist in the air.

—————————————————   [ Adam Wujtewicz ]

“Straight to VHS has wasted no time getting their name out as the hot new thing in New London. They’ve been playing shows, shaking hands,and now they’re releasing their debut EP Self Titled.The production values are somewhere between Jay Reatard (R.I.P.) and Times New Viking. As for what catches your ear… the vocals and the bass completely rule the tone of this record. The overdriven bass cuts through absolutely everything and socks you straight in the gut. The vocals, though melodic, are multi tracked so that it sounds like there is a large gang of people singing at you…. (and by the way, that actually happens too, thanks to Matt Potter and second Fatal Film guitarist Sebastian Coppotelli on backing vocals on tracks “Hey!” and “Have You Gone”). There will be a lot of comparisons to ’77 style punk when people talk about this record but the snarl and swagger of this record is much more rock n’ roll.In short Self Titled is 5 simple and well crafted rock songs. ”


– New Haven Advocate  [ Brian Larue ]

“There’s something almost intangibly arresting about the defiantly scuzzy, 11-minute, five-song debut EP from this New London garage rock trio, something that glimmers through the bare-bones songwriting, rough-edged (at times flat-out sloppy) musicianship and bargain-basement production values. In fact, in a certain light, the raw, urgent spirit Straight to VHS exude increases in power when they’re at their wildest and least professional: the chorus of “Hey,” which is actually just a quick, shouted, “HEY!” The bit on “Self-Titled” that probably should be a chorus, but instead remains a frantic ascending/descending chord progression. The disproportionately loud overdubbed power-chord that ends that song. The mere fact that they named one of their songs “Self Titled.” The many times when it sounds like the members of the rhythm section are falling over each other. This stuff swaggers and staggers, and it’s likely to engross people who like their rock music loud, sweaty, grimy and simple. Why, exactly? I dunno; rock ’n’ roll’s magic that way.”


“Straight to VHS released their “Self Titled” debut EP a few weeks ago on Cosmodemonic Telegraph. I don’t know about you folks, but krautrock beats, lo-fi fuzzy guitars and earnest vocals are all I need to rock the hell out. I find myself revisiting this one whenever I need a good shot in the arm, it’s just as good as black coffee. The whole thing just sounds perfectly unwashed and covered with grime, just like those jeans you’ve had hanging in the closet since 1993. ”

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