Sometimes, the little gremlin things that run the Spotify algorithms get it exactly right. I mean, after listening to Spotify in excess of 10,000 hours a year I guess it shouldn’t be hard for them to figure out what I like.
About a year ago or so, I put on my “Your Discover Weekly” playlist that is purely algorithm-generated, introduced me to a song by a group called Chaser. I don’t remember which song it was but I do remember liking the hard guitars and punk vibe to it. Fast forward to the beginning of 2021; while I’m not really active on social media, I did join a group on Facebook called Punk Rock Dads Official. One day, a member named Mike LeDonne posted that his band, Chaser, was releasing a new single with a full album coming in the spring. I was stoked.
Chaser is a four-piece punk band from SoCal made up of close friends who want to make a difference with their music. The band consists of Mike LeDonne (vocals), Jesse Stopnitzky (bass and vocals), Bill Hockmuth (guitar) and Davey Guy (drums). Dreamers, due for release on Friday April 9 via Sound Speed Records, is the band’s fifth album and their first since 2018. In 2020 they released a two-song, 7” record that sold out its entire 400 run pressing with all the proceeds going to charity.
“Fight of Our Lives” opens with a quote by Charlie Chaplin in “The Dictator” then jumps into a killer bass line that really sets the stage for the rest of the record. This is a punk album, without question.
Stopnitzky shares, “Dreamers is a 13-song burst of anthemic and melodic punk energy with self-reflecting and hopeful lyrics. It is a reminder to keep chasing your dreams and keep your head up. It’s the most personal album we have written, touching on the highs and lows of life, but as always, with a positive CHASER twist.”
All the tracks are tight with strong vocals from LeDonne, making the messages of the songs clear. I really like Hockmuth’s riffs. Stopnitzky and Guy are perfectly in sync; each song has strong memorable bass lines and the drums keep the momentum going.
Over the past few months there have been many songs about 2020 that sound dated even now, so soon after the events of the year; however, this is not the case with the “2020,” one of the first singles released off the effort . Instead, it acknowledges some of the trials, tribulations and lessons of the past year and is a call to not be victimized by them. The listener is encouraged to take the lessons and apply them to make the future better.
The title track is about the promises to friends and family that no matter what, they will stick together and make it through whatever life throws at them. “Good Times” is a banger of a track that shows the maturity that comes with age, taking experiences of the past and using them to face the future head on. My favorite song on the album, “Always With You,” is the song that really sticks out for me. It’s a touching song that LeDonne wrote for his son. I can really relate to the lyrics that describe the special bond the two of them have. I can’t wait to share the song with my son once the album is released.
The band had toured extensively prior to Covid, playing numerous festivals in the US, Canada and Europe. I’m looking forward to when the borders open up and they’ll be playing a show in Toronto; I’m sure it will be one to remember.