Dexter Danger: Hellafornia review by Halimun (Indonesia)

Dexter Danger, from San Francisco, California, was born into the world in the year 2000, right before pop-punk became wildly popular in mainstream music. In the early 2000s, I was surrounded by pop punk that was played on local radio, usually around evening time. My sister routinely listened to the radio to hear her favorite music including pop punk like Blink 182 and Sum 41. I was 5 years old at the time, but my ears were adept enough to be taken by the sound of those pop punk riffs and melodies that still ring in my ears today.

If people are enthusiastic about Tom Delonge’s return to blink-182, who recently released a new song entitled “Edging” and plan to release a new album, then I prefer to listen to Dexter Danger’s album – Hellafornia. I dig the nostalgic pop punk vibes I get from Dexter Danger, who not many people know these days, including me, if not from surfing Bandcamp. But the quality of their DIY music is no less good than mainstream pop punk music that is more popular than them. Dexter Danger is a band that is great at creating captivating intros and catchy choruses with hooks and melodies that you can feel. Although my favorite Dexter Danger song is “Seven Days,” from their 2003 Written In Blood EP, overall, I like Hellafornia better.

Hellafornia opens with “No Disgrace Like Home,” kicking into a mid-tempo beat and punk rock riff that seems to take you flying like the hero on their album cover. It coasts with vocals that build with an edgier tone as the song progresses. “Trainwreck” rolls in as the second track with the dominant bass rhythm of Isaiah Sanchez locked in with the pounding drums of Russ Akin, and the advice of always staying true to yourself. If you have a girlfriend and your relationship is on the rocks, take her to the park and play “The Rise and Fall Of Erica Vallejo” before your relationship comes to a sad end. I found out the song was written by guitarist Miguel Ceja and was featured in his film “Como La Guitarra,” which I need to see somehow. The next track, “System Overload,” starts ominously slow and then lets go before it jumps into punk up-tempo drums layered with catchy melodies and angst-ridden lyrics about people who take life too seriously.

In the middle of the album, Dexter Danger slows things down with “Far Away,” and as vocalist Aymen Trouble performs the bridge, I am taken back to their earlier material on Written In Blood which has a very raw and punk feel. More notables include “Promises,” which reminds me that ‘no promise is truer than a lover’s sunrise,’ and I love the ska sounding riff on “Modern Day Sid and Nancy.” Closing out the album is “See You In Hell,” a great title and song, with biting lyrics and riff similar to “Seven Days” at the end. Badasses!

Dexter Danger released two singles in 2016, “Hey Sunshine” and “Lucky Strike,” and I’m not sure if the band is still active or on hiatus. Maybe blink-182, Green Day, or Descendents will remain legends for most mainstream pop punk fans, but Dexter Danger, remains memorable and legendary to their dedicated fans from the United States to right here in Indonesia.

REVIEWED BY: Halimun, October 22, 2022

Listen to Hellafornia

Hellafornia turns 17!

“‘Hellafornia’ is one that could be listened to all the way through, without wanting to skip forward to the next song. There is a sound for every mood, so for those that like variety, Dexter Danger’s ‘Hellafornia’, will give you just that… It goes to say without question they’ve got what it takes to be heard.”

REVIEWED BY: Zero Magazine, June 2005

“These guys will be huge, it’s just a matter of time.”

REVIEWED BY: Hussieskunk.com, June 2005

“’Hellafornia’ is much like the reincarnation of Green Day’s ‘Dookie’ record.” –

REVIEWED BY: TheHxC.com, July 2005

It’s Not Pretty Being Easy turns 21!

Dexter Danger’s first release, the “It’s Not Pretty Being Easy” EP turns 20 this month! Building on the groundwork of Spoiled Rotten (the band’s former name), Aymen Trouble, Sean McKnight, and Josh Curmi introduced Dexter Danger to what would eventually become a global audience before the band’s indefinite hiatus in 2006.

The EP was recorded at the Art of Ears studio in Hayward, California with the legendary punk recording engineer Andy Ernst who recorded and produced the early albums of Bay Area punk powerhouses like Green Day, Rancid, and AFI. Driven by a D.I.Y. spirit, the band sold Dexter Danger buttons, patches, stickers at shows to foot the recording bill.

While the group developed a large and loyal following across the Bay Area with regular performances at venues like Slim’s and the Great American Music Hall, “It’s Not Pretty Being Easy” caught the attention of the largest Bay Area modern rock radio station Live 105 KITS 105.3 FM and received regular airplay on the station’s popular weekly program “Local Lounge.”

Only 500 physical copies of the EP were produced which makes it an elusive find for Dexter Danger fans. Thanks to this great little invention called the Internet, we’re able to share “It’s Not Pretty Being Easy” with you without needing a physical copy of the EP! Can you imagine that?

Go back in time and take a listen to the very beginning of Dexter Danger! Listen to the “It’s Not Pretty Being Easy” EP on Bandcamp.

Forever Broken turns 20!

“Dexter Danger? What a name, I love it. Well, Dexter Danger is a band that plays California pop punk. The one thing that sets them apart from the rest of those bands is lead singer Aymen Trouble’s nasaly yet extremely catchy voice. He has one of those voices that sticks in your head and you can’t help but sing along. On “Forever Broken” they give us 12 fast paced songs. Like I said these are incredibly poppy songs that stick in your head like gum on the bottom of your shoe. The best songs on the release are “The Second I Asked For” which has a kick-ass drum beat at one part and “View Her Discretion” which starts off with some distorted vocals and then blends into a catchy chorus and some vocal harmonies that this band pulls of very well. This is by far way better than any pop punk that you are going to buy from a label like Drive-Thru. I give this band a lot of credit for putting together such a solid recording without the backing of a label. Certainly that won’t be the case for long with their loyal local following and a sound that has been sweeping the pop charts lately these guys are sure to have some offers to be deciding over shortly.”

Dexter Danger
Forever Broken
Self-Released, April 19, 2002

REVIEW BY: Jason Stoner, Poptartzine.com

Hellafornia turns 16!

“The Bay Area’s Dexter Danger pump out a high-energy power-pop with a loud, brash and youthful exuberance that makes one want to jump around. With two EP’s and one full-length CD under their belts, this SF quartet has just come out with a new LP, “Hellafornia”, a panoply of loud, guitar-driven punk-pop (or pop-punk), with a tight, slick studio finish. Already a favorite on the Bay Area’s LIVE 105 (the KROQ of the North), Dexter Danger, no doubt, hope to broaden that airplay to your neck of the woods, and why not? The well-crafted pop-songs on “Hellafornia” show a potential for wide acceptance by teenagers everywhere through a combination of heavy-rotation, touring and word-of-mouth. Check ‘em out when they come to your town and you’ll be jumping up and down too!”

REVIEW BY: KM

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: Reviewer Magazine – San Diego, Issue 31, 12/24/2005

It’s Not Pretty Being Easy turns 20!

Dexter Danger’s first release, the “It’s Not Pretty Being Easy” EP turns 20 this month! Building on the groundwork of Spoiled Rotten (the band’s former name), Aymen Trouble, Sean McKnight, and Josh Curmi introduced Dexter Danger to what would eventually become a global audience before the band’s indefinite hiatus in 2006.

The EP was recorded at the Art of Ears studio in Hayward, California with the legendary punk recording engineer Andy Ernst who recorded and produced the early albums of Bay Area punk powerhouses like Green Day, Rancid, and AFI. Driven by a D.I.Y. spirit, the band sold Dexter Danger buttons, patches, stickers at shows to foot the recording bill.

While the group developed a large and loyal following across the Bay Area with regular performances at venues like Slim’s and the Great American Music Hall, “It’s Not Pretty Being Easy” caught the attention of the largest Bay Area modern rock radio station Live 105 KITS 105.3 FM and received regular airplay on the station’s popular weekly program “Local Lounge.”

Only 500 physical copies of the EP were produced which makes it an elusive find for Dexter Danger fans. Thanks to this great little invention called the Internet, we’re able to share “It’s Not Pretty Being Easy” with you without needing a physical copy of the EP! Can you imagine that?

Go back in time and take a listen to the very beginning of Dexter Danger! Listen to the “It’s Not Pretty Being Easy” EP on Bandcamp.

Forever Broken review by PopTartZine.com

“Dexter Danger? What a name, I love it. Well, Dexter Danger is a band that plays California pop punk. The one thing that sets them apart from the rest of those bands is lead singer Aymen Trouble’s nasaly yet extremely catchy voice. He has one of those voices that sticks in your head and you can’t help but sing along. On “Forever Broken” they give us 12 fast paced songs. Like I said these are incredibly poppy songs that stick in your head like gum on the bottom of your shoe. The best songs on the release are “The Second I Asked For” which has a kick-ass drum beat at one part and “View Her Discretion” which starts off with some distorted vocals and then blends into a catchy chorus and some vocal harmonies that this band pulls of very well. This is by far way better than any pop punk that you are going to buy from a label like Drive-Thru. I give this band a lot of credit for putting together such a solid recording without the backing of a label. Certainly that won’t be the case for long with their loyal local following and a sound that has been sweeping the pop charts lately these guys are sure to have some offers to be deciding over shortly.”

Dexter Danger
Forever Broken
Self-Released, April 19, 2002

REVIEW BY: Jason Stoner, Poptartzine.com

Forever Broken turns 19!

“Forever Broken” is our first full-length album. It was released in April 2002 and produced by Dexter Danger and Andy Ernst (Green Day, AFI, Rancid). To recognize 19 years of “Forever Broken,” we are sharing an album review by Aiden Dire, a local punk stalwart who would usually be found donning the tallest mohawk and standing front-row for all of his favorite local bands in the late 90s / early 2000s San Francisco peninsula punk scene.

“I got the new album early; I was very excited and rightfully so. While some may be critical about the re-release of some of their older songs, they carry new life with the new guitarist Miguel Ceja. With his addition, the set is complete. Each song gains new fullness and power. The re-releases are well worth hearing. I’d like to shine the spotlight on the 2 previously unheard songs The Angel That Got Away and Crimson Pools. The Angel That Got Away is a deep heartfelt cry to a loved one who has left and no one can do this better than Dexter Danger. This acoustic ballad strikes the heart with an uprising melody to contradict the sad lyrics, a feat few can do while still keeping the thought intact. Aymen Trouble’s haunting voice does just the trick to make a true beauty of a song. Crimson Pools is a confusion of feelings that comes with a torrid breakup. With a hook that grabs your attention and doesn’t let go, this is one song that truly shows Dexter Danger’s growth as musicians.

Dexter Danger is one of the few bands that have escaped the pitfall of an album, redundancy. With many bands/albums the songs seem to fall together, blurring. This is not the case with Forever Broken. Each song stands alone in its own epic way. Each song has its own personality and is unlike any other.

This is an album everyone needs to hear. If you’re already a fan, it will make you love Dexter Danger all the more, if not, you will be. So go buy it!!! This is Aiden Dire saying goodbye, much love and PUNK ROCK FOREVER!”

– Aiden Dire

Hellafornia review by The Daily Vault

I don’t usually spend a lot of time with the artwork on a CD, but the the cover of Dexter Danger’s Hellafornia demands attention. Imagine a super hero, complete with cape, flying near the Golden Gate Bridge. If you look very carefully, you notice the emblem on his shirt. It’s a heart with a line through the middle and a safety pin holding it together. It’s the perfect symbol for this release.

Ever since I heard Count The Stars’ Never be Taken Alive, I’ve been waiting for another band to grab me and not release me. I found that band: Dexter Danger. This quartet from California bring an energy and determination to their music that captures you and doesn’t release you. I can sit down and listen to this release over and over. It has the same magical quality, for me, that Count The Stars has — great musicianship, an awareness of melody and introspective lyrics. The vocals/guitars of Aymen Trouble melt into the pounding drums of Russ Akin, who is locked in with bassist Isaiah Sanchez. Lead guitarist Miguel Ceja provides interesting solos and another layer to the music.

I like this release so much because Dexter Danger tackle the main subject of my other favorite bands, namely Spitafield, Count The Stars, Somehow Hollow, and Project Bottlecap. The main subject of this release is relationships, mainly the ugly ones. “No Disgrace Like Home” confronts parental abandonment when Trouble sings, “So don’t bother because we turned out okay / And we didn’t need your guidance anyway / You’re the reason we are who [we] are today / And as for us, I guess there’s no disgrace like home.” Later, he sings about the frustration that has resulted from this relationship when he declares “We saw you once or twice, when you had the time / It’s great to see that you’ve prioritized your life.”

Another strong track is “System Overload,” which should have opened the disc, since the riff and vocals are the best ones here. After a subtle guitar intro, the intensity is turned up when vocalist Trouble belts out “I hope it’s okay / If I tell you that I fucking hate you.” The harmonies are perfect and the music captures the frustration of this relationship. That hatred comes out when Trouble sings, “You better pray that all the demons won’t come back to haunt you / ‘Cause you know that I’ll be waiting there with a smile to taunt you.”

“The Angel That Got Away” is the closest track to a ballad on this release, with words such as “I’ve been desparate to see your face / Never thought it would cause so much pain” on top of beautiful violins and an acoustic guitar. There’s more pain in my favorite track on this release, “Return To Sender,” which tells the story of being on tour, sending letters to the special person left behind, and finding out that they were all marked returned to sender. It captures the magic of the band.

Another great track that makes me chuckle is “See You In Hell.” No, it’s not a Grim Reaper cover — Dexter Danger wrote it. This song deals with another chaotic relationship when Trouble sings, “I’ve got some knives stuck in my back / From all the friends I used to have / Revenge is sweet I hear her say / The only faith that I believe.” What makes me chuckle is how this song leads into the last hidden track, a vulgar answering machine message followed by a hilarious vocal collaboration. It summarizes the release perfectly.

Dexter Danger joins the ranks of my favorite bands. Their musicianship is tight and their lyrics give you something to think about. While I don’t wish to be in their world, dealing with their issues, I think Hellafornia gives me just the right amount of pain.

Dexter Danger
Hellafornia
Orange Peal, 2005

REVIEW BY: Paul Hanson

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 04/28/2006

RATING: A