Hailing from the Land of 10, clinic 000 Lakes Malls, Minneapolis, Minnesota’s Mall’d to Death came to life in summer of 2009. Their fiery brand of melodic punk throws conventional pop songwriting techniques out the window while delivering all the catchy hooks they can pack into their short, punchy songs.
Wasting no time on excessive noodling or melodramatics, Mall’d to Death centers their songs around clever lyrics and unorthodox structures, making the most of their three-person approach and dropping references to everyone from Crime in Stereo to J Church and Modern Life is War.
After being featured on the 2009 Protect 2 benefit compilation, the band delivers ten shots of rough pop-punk on their 2010 debut Can’t Make a Living, recorded DIY by the band themselves with cover artwork by Corey Ayd of Minneapolis pop-punk act Banner Pilot.
“…When you listen to the track “Mall’d to Death” you realize that it’s no accident this band came out of Minnesota where the world famous Mall of America is located. The mall houses over 400 stores and claims to have more than 30 million visitors annually. The crafty lyrics deal with contemporary themes such as corporate greed and consumerism, but there are some added bonuses with tracks like “Skateboards for Afghanistan” and “Armani Needle Exchange” that deal with more humanitarian elements. I want to steer from labeling these guys as “eco punks” but it’s the best fit. Get this album and listen to it many many times. It’s a strong debut album and I look forward to future releases by these guys.” – VERBICIDE MAGAZINE
“…Playing off of the groundwork laid by fellow Minneapolis brethren Dillinger Four and Off With Their Heads, Mall’d To Death are in the business of writing catchy punk songs focusing on snarled, gnarly topics— Can’t Make a Living features such gems as “Blood For Gas Money” and “Armani Needle Exchange.” If you plan on drinking yourself to death this summer or maybe just throwing yourself into oncoming traffic with a smile fixed firmly across your face, Can’t Make A Living was probably written for you. Have yourself a preview by logging onto myspace.com/malldtodeath.” – ANTIGRAVITY MAGAZINE
“Mall’d To Death are a Minneapolis punk band. That sentence right there should be a good enough selling point to get you to pick up their debut full length, Can’t Make A Living. It’s fast, low-end heavy and hard – just like Off With Their Heads, Banner Pilot or The Gateway District – but Mall’d To Death aren’t just going through the motions and regurgitating a tried and true formula. Instead they’re building their own sound, pulling from the Minneapolis structure but adding so much more to it in order to create a collection of ten songs that are fast, catchy and packed with a punch to keep you playing it over and over again. Its bass heavy yes, but the vocals are cleaner than you’d expect. They’re more melodic but with enough gruffness to keep it in tone with the low-end vibe. Unorthodox structures break through every song, eliminating the need for choruses or repeated sections. The songs play through the rotation once and end, making the ten song CD play through in just over eleven minutes, leaving the listener loudly begging for more. The ten songs combine to become a pop-punk fan’s wet dream. The slower Hymns of J Church has a slight Fat Wreck vibe, the opening bass line of Hedge Fun sounds like Mark Hoppus’ line on Blink182’s Carousel. Live In A Dumpster Drive uses a small chorus of “la, la, la, la”s and it’s almost as if The Vandal’s Warren Fitzergald is singing. Bomb The Defense Industry! has certain ska-punk qualities, like Edmonton’s Feast or Famine, creating a change in direction for the otherwise pop-punk oriented band that is only matched during the breakdown of Armani Needle Exchange. Lyrically, the band is the lighter side of Off With Their Heads. There’s a sarcastic quality to their lyrics, with tongue-in-cheek references to bands and the music scene that birthed them. Nothing is better than on the anti-downloading track Young Man On A Downloading Spree, in which they sing “from DOA to RKL / DI to TSOL / He knows the letters well / But he don’t know what they spell.” Sadly, Can’t Make A Living is a relatively small release which means not everyone who will love it may get the chance to hear it; which is disappointing because it deserves to be heard by as many people as possible.” – THEPUNKSITE(DOT)COM
“Guess what? There is actually a punk band in Minneapolis. Ha, I know! While you’re still recovering from your initial shock, I’m already listening to this album and am busy nodding and tapping along. The tapping is kinda hard though with my bum knee playing up again… They do a pretty good job of playing poppunk while having a good time, all the time with tongue planted firmly in cheek. I mean what’s not to like about a line like ‘From DOA to RKL / DI to TSOL / He knows the letters well / But he don’t know what they spell’ from the song “Young Man On A Downloading Spree”? “Can’t Make A Living” won’t assure these guys of a steady monthly income but it’s worth checking out if you’re as heavily into poppunk as I am.” – PUNKROCKTHEORY ZINE
“Fun punk rock in the vein of Against Me. Mall’d to Death bounce in between fast, paced three chord punk rock mayhem, and various other styles of aggressive pop and ska nicely, not mention, write songs that make you pay attention and want to learn the words to…The songs are good, the production is tough. Killer backup vocals, and a great batch of sing along punk rock for you and your friends. Check it out” – JERSEY BEAT
“…A Minneapolis-based pop punk trio titled Mall’d to Death. That alone should spark a few ideas of what they sound like, and unless you’ve been living under a rock and don’t know who Off with Their Heads or Dillinger Four are, chances are you’re probably right. However, Mall’d to Death seem to have a lot more fun. Their first offering to the punk world, Can’t Make a Living is more an homage to their favorite bands than a forum for self-loathing or snarky, political commentary. Whether the song titles are referring to Crime in Stereo (“Skateboards for Afghanistan”) and Bomb the Music Industry! (“Bomb the Defense Industry!”), or they’re singing about J Church and an interesting interpretation of the Hedgecore craze, it’s safe to say that their tongues are planted firmly in their cheeks. Barrett’s vocals are much like Ryan Young and match the humorous vibe, rarely disclosing a smoother and serious tone. Strangely, the first two tracks, “Armani Needle Exchange” and “Blood for Gas Money” seem to be the most serious. It loses it after that. Not in a bad way, mind you; I got a real kick out of the line “from DOA to RKL / DI to TSOL / He knows the letters well / But he don’t know what they spell” in the ode to the music downloader, “Young Man on a Downloading Spree.” Sonically, Can’t Make a Living isn’t really your new Org obsession. But if you’re a punk fan in general, sit down and thumb through the lyric sheet while listening to the catchy tunes: you’re guaranteed a good time.” – PUNKNEWS(DOT)ORG
“…From what I gather they’re one of the newest additions to the crowded list of formidable Minneapolis pop-punk bands. Although they don’t sound all that unlike Dillinger Four or Banner Pilot, the twist comes in their “econopunk” style according to their Myspace. I guess by econopunk they mean that everything is short and efficient, from their songs to their CD as a whole. You could blink and miss a whole tribute to Lance Hahn (RIP) on the 58-second “The Hymns of J Church” or the ode to making use of junk that people throw out on the 59-second “Live in a Dumpster Dive.” A lot of the songs almost seem like pop-punk meets hardcore, which makes sense when you consider the band’s members have played both for pop-punk bands as well as hardcore bands. Some of the songs don’t even have choruses, which is unusual for pop-punk but fairly normal for hardcore. “Young Man on a Downloading Spree” has really gravelly hardcore vocals while it humorously lists off a bunch of 80’s hardcore acronyms like SOA, DYS, DRI, TSOL, and such. Sometimes the songs seem like they would be funny from the titles but end up rather serious. “Bomb the Defense Industry!” (obviously a reference to Bomb the Music Industry!) ponders war profiteering as an option to make end’s meet and references the album’s title: “I can’t make a living if I’m making a killing.” On somewhat of a similar note, the singer contemplates selling plasma to pay bills on “Blood For Gas Money” shouting “It’s not the saline causing pain/But all the thoughts inside my brain/That there’s not more to life than this/Lying down and clenching fists.” The only real bad thing about this CD is how short it is. But it’s short and sweet and it will leave you coming back for more.” – DYING SCENE