Dan Vapid is best known for his work in Screeching Weasel, but he left that band after an infamous performance at SXSW in 2011. Dan Vapid And The Cheats was convened afterward to cover a canceled Screeching Weasel date and what was supposed to be a last-minute stopgap turned into an actual, continuing, functional band.
The Cheats don't stray too far from the pop-punk formula practiced by Naked Raygun, Screeching Weasel and a host of other Midwestern bands all sharing a similar sound. There are hints of 50s rock buried underneath the buzz-saw riffage and the songs bounce along happily even when the lyrics are centered on broken hearts and similar fare. The band recently released their sophomore album, inventively titled Two, packed with toe-tapping politely moshing fun. Coming out of the gates blasting with the under two minute mission statement "I'm A Contrarian," Vapid and the Cheats set the stage for what's to come. The energy carries through, delivering verses and choruses tailored for kids to scream along with while the band merges the punk pogoing with pretty harmonies and core melodies that stick in your ears like melted chewing gum.