To better understand Arms Aloft you need to get to know their homeland, The Great Lakes. No no, not Chicago or Cleveland or Detroit, these punk weirdos are from THE NORTH. Half the band hails from Minneapolis and the other two lumberjacks are from Eau Claire, WI. Up in that neck of the woods the people wear large bricks of cheese upon their heads in a display of provincial unity. Ya sure, ya betcha. Well, these kids were destined for more than a life of ice-fishing and drinking Rhinelanders at the sawmill, so they started a band and caught people’s attention with their leftist message and raspy melodies. And on “What A Time To Be Barely Alive” they have 12 songs that take rootsy punk (like Billy Bragg and early Gaslight Anthem) and blend it with the personal politics of bands like The Clash and Dillinger Four. Plus, the cover art has a herd of swine busting out of a pigpen. Ain’t that some shit?