Pop-punk band Never Try to release debut album at Blind Bob’s

Never Try — Dayton’s lively love letter to 1990s and 2000s pop-punk — is having a release party for its debut album, “Takes the Cake,” 8 p.m. Saturday, June 22, at Blind Bob’s.

The album will also be streaming on all major platforms on June 21 — just enough time to let hair dyes set in and studded belts be unearthed before the show.

Performances from hip-hop’s TINO and indie rock’s Sadbox will round out the eclectic multi-genre bill.

Never Try is Moriah Yux (guitar), Jamie Ertley (drums), Phil Doncaster (bass) and Jeff Rudolf (guitar): a hodgepodge of music veterans (the band’s words) who decided to try something new; that is, revisit a bygone sound through a nostalgic lens for the fun of it.

“I think we’re just at the age where we just enjoy doing it,” Yux said. “So as long as you don’t get beat up and make it home, it’s a good show.”

“Takes the Cake” — recorded by Brian Whitten at Room 33 Recording Studio in early 2024 — will be released shy of a year from the band’s first performance last August, and only a year and a half after the band first started rehearsing in basements. But despite Never Try’s infancy, the album plays like a band that’s been together for years: a customary characteristic of a group of seasoned and prolific musicians.

Rudolf and Doncaster — who currently form the basis of the songs — independently came to the project with catalogs of unused material and an affinity for pop-punk. Yux came to it able to write catchy and crunchy guitar hooks at a moment’s notice, while Ertley’s ska obsession drove the stamina of the band from behind the kit (see: track 11 “Long After They’re Gone” for that influence).

It’s a hodgepodge that works, servicing the classic sounds while offering something different, too.

Never Try released its first single “EVERYBODY!” along with a cameo-filled music video on May 10. Written by Rudolf’s daughter, Josie, the song lists a bunch of things for you, me and everybody: happiness, pizza, no hate, strawberries and love. There’s something idealistic about juxtaposing “no hate” and “strawberries” via fast punk music that makes Never Try playful, danceable and thoughtful.

The band also released a second single, “Song on 7,” on June 5.

“Takes the Cake” starts strong with “I Want a Nintendo!” defaulting the listener back to 1999 when the “Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater” soundtrack informed an entire generation of musical tastes. “I Want a Nintendo!” could fit comfortably, and retrospectively, between Goldfinger’s “Superman” and Primus’ “Jerry Was a Race Car Driver” and no one would ollie any differently.

There are two songs on the record with exclamation points, but the exclamations on the other nine tracks are implied.

The youthful aura of “Takes the Cake” is propelled to the forefront by that first track, aided by Yux’s killer Super Mario Bros. theme riff — just recognizable and truncated enough to hopefully prevent litigation.

That youthful feeling continues throughout the 11 tracks, from “Gren” (the shoulda-coulda-woulda love song) to “Echo in the Bowl” (a 45-second potty-training ditty) to “You Belong With Me” (a Taylor Swift cover).

But perhaps the best representation of the band — and the idea of pop-punk in general — is the third track, “That Dream.” Friends graduate, get jobs and new families then forget to call. The narrator wonders where the time went, and asks why he can’t just go swimming.

“I hadn’t been in a band for like seven years… the other one kind of died off and then I had a kid,” Rudolf said. “Then for some reason, I thought it’d be a good idea to start again. And yeah, it’s really busy, but [Josie] gets to go to the shows.”

Never Try pushes timeless ideas through a sound of a particular time, and it proves that pop-punk is still relevant after all these years — or at least that things sometimes come back around.

“Now people are getting to an age where they have kids that are also getting into it,” Yux said. “So I think it is that second-generation nostalgia. Like, you’re into a band that your parents were into, and then you get to experience it together.”

Even if pop-punk isn’t huge again on a mass scale, we can still pretend to have dance parties at 4 a.m., paper routes and a Nintendo with Never Try’s debut album.

Brandon Berry covers the local music scene for the Dayton Daily News. Reach him by email at brandonthomasberry@gmail.com.


More details

Never Try’s album release show for their debut, “Takes the Cake,” is at 8 p.m. June 22 at Blind Bob’s. Limited edition CDs will be available for purchase. TINO and Sadbox will also be performing. $10 at the door. 21 and up.

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