Posts Tagged ‘Healthy Junkies’

Christopher Nosnbor

By this time in any normal year, I’ll have been to at least three or four gigs by now, but 2022 has got off to a slow start largely because the impacts of Covid-19 continue to hit live music harder than perhaps most industries. Planning is nigh on impossible when bandmembers find they have to quarantine as late as the day of a show. Plus, people – bands and punters alike – are still cautious, and the dilemma of to play or not to play, attend or not attend is one that’s understandable. But, having attended my first live music at The Victoria Vaults (a seated show) last August, I’ve been working to overcome any anxieties I may have by getting out more, at least incrementally, and it’s remarkably life-affirming to arrive early doors to find a fair few others have already turned up for what promises to be a top night out, with touring London acts The Kut and Healthy Junkies supported by local quartet The Bricks.

If the name suggests something unsubtle, and also blankly nihilistic, it’s halfway to a fair representation, in that The Bricks trade in dark, spiky goth-tinged (post) punk, with some busy but solid bass grooves. Gemma Kennedy delivers gutsy vocals at the lower end of the range but then rising to a scream, and brings real power to the songs, and she’s a compelling focal point for the band, too. Introducing one of the songs, it dawns on me that the three guys playing instruments probably remember the miner’s strike that one of the songs is or isn’t about, in contrast to the vocalist who very much doesn’t, but they work cohesively as a unit, and deliver a solid and exhilarating set, and they’re admirably tight.

Bricks

The Bricks

Healthy Junkies – a band who’ve been on my radar for a while as a band to see – don’t disappoint and kick ass from the outset. They power out of the traps channelling Pretty On the Inside era Hole sonically and visually (and perhaps Nina Courson brings a dash of Katie Jane Garside to the punk rock party too). They sustain full throttle, max energy, punky energy for the duration, and while their cover of ‘These Boots Were Made for Walking’ is perhaps a bit standard, it’s played with feeling as part of a set that builds. Recent single ‘Tricky Situation’ is but one of a number of standouts in a set delivered with real panache.

Junkies

Healthy Junkies

I won’t bang on about how long I’ve been listening to and covering The Kut, but will say that it’s been a long but rewarding journey tracing their ascent, and following the release of their long-awaited debut album, they’ve continued that upward trajectory. While it’s Princess Maha as the band’s principal member who’s driven this, it’s only been possible by building a grassroots fanbase through hard gigging, and regardless of lineup, The Kut have always been a strong live band, and this is never more apparent than tonight. It’s a different lineup from the last time I saw them at Verve in Leeds in August 2018, which is practically a lifetime ago.

In a set that rocks hard, post-album single cut ‘Animo’ lands second. It’s perhaps a shame that the ‘girls to the front’ shout suffers from the wall of male photographers making up the front row, but they’re not going to throw a Dream Nails strop about it: they’re clearly enjoying being up there in front of a respectable crowd, playing songs after so long away, and they’re on strong form. Maha’s vocals are scratchy in the throat, but actually sound really good against the backdrop of chunky rock guitars. There’s palpable pleasure on their faces as they rip through the poppier ‘Hollywood Rock ‘n’ Roll’, and the moshing down the front expands from a couple off people to a proper pit. Maha’s grinning and pogoing, and it’s a joy to witness, as is the kickass rendition of ‘DMA’, and ‘I Want You Maniac’ brings forth more solid riffing. The forthcoming album is well represented with a number of songs, too. Of these, ‘Burn Your Bridges’ is slower and more dynamic, and something of a standout.

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The Kut

Main set closer ‘Badman’ brings most of the moshers up onto the stage, and I realise that it’s precisely this that I’ve missed; people cutting loose, enjoying themselves, the whole gig principle of getting lost in the moment. I’m immersed in the performance, the show, the experience, and for a few minutes at least, this is the world. There is nothing more, and this is the entirety of the universe. If only life was always this way – because in there here and now, with a pint in my hand and a band blasting away, giving it their all, this feels like the best of living.

Chapter 22 Records – 27th October 2021

Christopher Nosnibor

After paying their dues pedalling their hefty wares in all the little venues the length and breadth of the country after relocating to London from Brazil, Your Mum are really starting to reap the rewards of some incredible sweat and toil for the release of their second album.

Having shared the stage with DIY stalwarts such as Maid Of Ace, Svetlanas, Healthy Junkies, Hands Off Gretel, I-Destroy & Dream Nails as well as well-established acts and legends such as New Model Army, The Adolescents, Vice Squad, Kirk Brandon, UK Subs, The Vibrators and TV Smith, they’ve scored prestigious deals with to Chapter 22 Records in the UK and M&O Music in France. For all that, their latest release is accompanied by a video which was shot entirely on a GoPro & edited by the duo, who are evidently staying true to their DIT ethos and their roots – no sellout here!

The title track of their new album, now released as a single, finds the duo weighing in hard and heavy with blistering overdriven bass that sounds like bass and guitar at the same time, propelled by thunderous drums: ‘Club Tropicana’ is ain’t and nor is it some mellow, languorous beach chillout with a cocktail: no, the only thong tropical about this is the raging heat, meaning it’s mostly about the fuzz, Anelise Kunz’ full-lunged vocals distorted by volume and it blasts away for a high-impact, high-octane three minutes of raw power.

If you’ve not yet met Yur Mum, let me introduce you – because you’ve been missing out, and this is a beast of a track.

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Yur Mum Press Shot 1

Healthy Junkies are everything that epitomizes the indie punk spirit – driven, authentic, and capable of causing a riot at any moment. Following the release of their new album Forever on the Road pt.1, the band are back with a new single from the record in the form of infectious full on garage rock onslaught ‘Tricky Situation’, as they prepare to release Forever on the Road pt.2 on 11th December.

As a band that have toured relentlessly since their formation in 2011, until the global lockdown of 2020, they came into their new music still firmly locked in the groove. On the new single, guitarist Phil Honey Jones explains, “the lyrics take on a variety of tricky situations including ‘getting lost in translation’, ‘a bloody revolution’ and problems with ‘The U.S immigration’. The Brexit fiasco is referenced with ‘No deal, no good’ and ‘Off with her head’ being symbolic of course.”

The new double album was made during the aforementioned period of quarantine and have reflections of recent tours and life beyond the road. It offers a compelling record more akin to chapters of a thrilling novel rather than bubblegum throwaway rock n pop. Lead singer Nina Courson shines throughout with her Parisian drawl inflecting the Junkies’ brand of rock n roll with tones of 60s femme fatales Nico and Brigitte Bardot.

Check the video for ‘Tricky Situation’ here:

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HG Band

23rd September 2020

Christopher Nosnibor

Just two days before the release of their new album, Forever on the Road, Healthy Junkies have dropped a cover of Nirvana’s ‘Something in the Way.’

To my ear, the Nevermind version was a shade lacking, and while it works well enough in the overall context of the album, the hard-to-find electric version has not only more bite, but also more passion and, perhaps unexpectedly, more atmosphere, the howling feedback that form the lead guitar line bringing a whole new dimension.

I can’t help but wonder if this was, at least in part, the template for Healthy Junkies’ take on the track, which places a unique stamp on it and adds a whole load of layers – and noise – in comparison to the version everyone knows.

It’s something of a departure for the band: instead of the punky grunge sound that’s their signature, they’ve adopted a decidedly shoegaze style here. The guitars cascade in deep, washing blurs, layered and rich in texture, and Nina Courson’s ethereal, breathy vocal is more Toni Halliday than Courtney Love. The result is haunting and possesses a real depth that draws the listener into the heart of the song. Understated, but strong.

28th August 2020

Christopher Nosnibor

‘Last Day In L.A.’ is the lead single from the UK quartet’s forthcoming album Forever on the Road, which promises a mash-up of psychedelic rock, punk, grunge and goth. They’ve toured relentlessly since their formation in 2011, gathering a respectable international following along the way, and kicking out four albums and a bunch of EPs, too.

Listening to this reminds me that I had been due my first day in LA in May, on my first proper family holiday in over a decade, but the 2020 happened – or didn’t – and life activity was suspended. But, filtering through all of the shit of the last six months, the trade-off is that while the absence of live music has left a gaping chasm in the lives of many, including mine, (although I’m fortunate to only have been impacted socially and spiritually, rather than financially unlike so many bands, sound engineers, roadies, and so on), many artists have found ways of using the time off the road to record and release new material, and this is true of Healthy Junkies.

‘Last Day in L.A.’ may not represent a major departure from anything they’ve done previously, but it’s lively, vibrant, and has a proper late 70s / early 80s vintage feel, but equally, it’s got a grunge-pop element, as well as a corking hook and the kind of riff that totally grabs you.

There’s also a certain sassy spin thanks to Nina Courson’s vocals, ad it all adds up to an exciting single and an enticing prelude to the album.