Few bands epitomize the camaraderie and spirit of punk like the Bouncing Souls. Neighborhood kids who came together jumping BMX bikes off homemade ramps in each other's yards, they picked up instruments while in junior high 20 years ago. For a long time the most political pronouncement from these creators of joyous punk-pop party tunes ("Bullying the Jukebox," "No Rules") was the track "East Coast! Fuck You!"
But when Michael McDermott replaced drummer Shal Khichi in 2000, the New Jersey quartet underwent a renaissance. The two subsequent albums, How I Spent My Summer Vacation and Anchors Aweigh, are tough, lean punk with the keen edge of Bad Religion. The latest, Gold Record, is a return to the midtempo anthems of the earlier albums. The Souls are a blast in concert, usually inviting the audience onstage en masse for the finale.