Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein and famed author Nora Ephron probably had big literary aspirations for their son, Max. But he went and started a Los Angeles punk band, the Actual, instead. Over the past few years, the trio -- comprising Bernstein on guitar and vocals and brothers Jeremy and Aaron Bonsall on bass and drums -- released a self-titled EP (which featured Quicksand drummer Alan Cage) and the critically lauded album Songs on Radio Idaho, establishing a sound that balances heavy hooks and grim emotion with polished power-pop songcraft. As catchy as Alkaline Trio or latter-day Jawbreaker, yet devoid of cloying Sum 41-isms, the Actual somehow caught the ear of erstwhile grunge goon Scott Weiland, who produced the bandmembers' imminent sophomore full-length and took them on the road with Velvet Revolver last year. But don't be fooled by Bernstein's streamlined, understated tunes; lurking within those indelible melodies is the literary complexity and soul of a poet. Mom and Pop must be proud.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Denver, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.