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DLC Week of 7/13: CIVIC and Militarie Gun

You’re a fan of hardcore and post-punk, but wish an artist would come along and add something new to those genres? CIVIC “Born In The Heat” and Militarie Gun “Let Me Be Normal” are just what you’re looking for! Grab this new DLC debuting Thursday in the Rock Band Music Store.

Melbourne punk five-piece CIVIC dropped “Born In The Heat” in late December 2022 as the second “teaser single” from their 2023 album Taken By Force. The track begins as a frenetic blast of unguarded tension, with the full-band (sans vocals) chugging away furiously from the very first moment. There’s palpable urgency and muscle to the gloriously raucous performances from guitarists Jackson Harry and Lewis Hodgson, drummer Matt Blach and bassist Roland Hlavka. 34 seconds in, frontman Jim McCullough adds his snarly sandpaper howl to the picture and this ripper takes on an even greater harmonic appeal as it’s clear these guys understand that full-tilt speed and volume on their own doesn’t wield the potency of such elements married to a catchy melody. When the first refrain arrives at the 58-second mark, it’s accompanied by a tuneful lead guitar line that quite nicely supports the hooky vocals. A little less than a minute later we reach the middle eight, which dials back the intensity just enough to set the stage for a gracefully executed, twangy guitar solo that dovetails into another double-dose of the refrain before the last notes are played at 2:47 and then ring out for another eight or so seconds.

“Born In The Heat” is pub-bred punk that confidently straddles the line between ferocious catharsis and no-holds-barred joyous expression. The visceral resolve apparent in all aspects of the song’s delivery speaks to the band members’ shared history in the Australian hardcore scene and makes for a listening experience that is one of both elation and release.

Lyrically, the track deals with the mental anguish that accompanies feeling ill at ease in your own situation and surroundings. As Lewis Hodgson explains, “’Born In The Heat’ is about being forced to leave somewhere you felt was home, and conforming to an idea that you don’t believe in.” McCullough elaborates: “It’s about being [led] or distracted by something that seems alluring, only to find yourself trapped somewhere you don’t belong. There is a moment of defiance, a stand, then change.” Lest you think the boys are taking themselves a little too seriously here, he goes on to explain that the song’s title was selected “just for fun” and is really just “an ode to being born in the Australian climate.” Ultimately what CIVIC have created is an infectiously scuzzy punk rager that carries serious emotional heft just beneath the surface. An early contender for rock song of the year, for sure!

L.A.-based post-hardcore quintet (we’ll get more into what specific genre – or genres – the band inhabits in a bit, as they more comfortably exist within a much broader stylistic realm) Militarie Gun served up an instant hit with “Let Me Be Normal” from the October 2022 deluxe edition of All Roads Lead To The Gun double EP. Both brash and simultaneously melodic, the track is equal doses hardcore punk and tuneful alt-rock, making for a distinct and fascinating overall sound. 

Crashing out of the gate with slashing guitars over a chugging, insistent rhythm section, “Let Me Be Normal” is burly riffage and punchy, raw rhythms that compellingly draw the listener in from the first note. Ian Shelton’s shout-sung vocals join the fray at just five seconds in, immediately making this a relentless, infectious howler of a single. At the 25-second mark, the band throws the listener a curveball with a stuttering, syncopated, descending guitar and bass line that adds an unexpected level of “Oh, hey – so these folks have some serious performance and songwriting chops!” The musicianship and energy remain top-notch all the way through a final rhythmically tricky instrumental line that concludes “Let Me Be Normal” at a mere one minute and 10 seconds. Truly, beneath the distorted guitars and scratchy, aggressive vocals lies a firm understanding of melody and the value of fully formed hooks. Shelton explains, “I was making something that I thought was a lot more pop and a lot more catchy, but I didn’t have the skills to do something that was wholly catchy and poppy. Which I think is a huge part of the whole thing with punk music, which is unskilled musicians trying to make something beyond their means, and falling short but making something new and unique. But ‘Let Me Be Normal’ was a song that has a lot more songwriting experience behind it than other All Roads Lead to the Gun songs. It was nice, because it was a chance to give a peek behind the curtain to what’s coming.”

Guitarists Nick Cogan and William Acuña, bassist Max Epstein, and drummer Vince Nguyen provide a powerful backdrop for Shelton’s expressions of frustration.A raging blast of powerexcellence (emphasis on “power”), “Let Me Be Normal” examines the sometimes fraught transition into adulthood. “‘Let me be normal’ is a statement I make constantly,” Shelton admits. “I’ll say, ‘God, I just wish I can be normal.’ But it’s not possible, and I’ll always be the person I am due to it. So, I think whatever I was going through the day that I wrote largely has to do with, I just wish I had the same problems as other people instead of the ones that I actually do.” 

This is one *very* short burst of creative and powerful heavy rock that blurs the lines between spiky aggression and melodic sensitivity; an instantly relatable and enjoyable expression of universally relatable themes. Prepare to add this one to your playlist!

CIVIC “Born In The Heat” and Militarie Gun “Let Me Be Normal” are both included in the Season 32 Pass. Pick these up today and enjoy the full season of DLC! Each are available for $1.99 each.

  • CIVIC – “Born In The Heat”
  • Militaire Gun – “Let Me Be Normal”

VIDEO: Rock Band 4 DLC Week of 7/13: CIVIC “Born In The Heat” and Militarie Gun “Let Me Be Normal”



*Please note that this week’s DLC tracks will be available for purchase on Thursday, July 13th.