Posts Tagged ‘punk rock’

4th February 2022

James Wellsz

Quebec City’s Still Insane are punk to the core, and the ‘Black Sheep’ EP represents their first output since 2017’s ‘Friends & Family’ EP. According to their bio, ‘Their goal is simple: to play fast, to play loud, and to play everywhere.’. and since they can’t really play anywhere much right now, they might as well focus on the other two goals.

Still Insane have announced their new ‘Black Sheep’ EP out February 4th and have released the title track. It’s the band’s first new music since 2017’s ‘Friends & Family’ EP.

The first cut, ‘Sleeping on the Floor’ is the longest of the five, and after a slow, atmosphere building intro, it slams into a hell-for-leather fast-and—furious melodic funk anthem bursting with energy and harmonies. Around halfway through, there’s a vocal switch from male to female, then back again.

The title track is heavier by far, but the song itself isn’t anywhere near as heavy as the intro implies will follow; for all the industrial chug of the instrumental passages, which allude to 90s Ministry, it’s still got pop at its heart: the same is true of the minute-long ‘No More Targets’ which lands with a plummeting nosedive into Dead Kennedys terrain, as does the frenetic thrashabout of ‘Stay Home’. The last track, ‘Thank You, and…’ is very much your standard middle of the road melodic punk that could be anything post-millennium, although the band prefer to cite the bands they’ve supported, like NOFX and Bad Religion.

The guitar solos may be wince-inducing by virtue of their existence alone, but they’re kept brief and to the point, and while the ‘melodic punk’ tag doesn’t seem to carry much weight, I’d rather be dealing with the proper raw and rage than some tame intimation. On Black Sheep, Still Insane don’t inspire me much. But then, little does. Life is hard like that.

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Black Sheep EP Cover

6th May 2021

Christopher Nosnibor

As the band’s name suggests, their roots and influences lie very much in the spirit of 1977. The year which saw ABBA, Bread, The Eagles, The Shadows, Johnny Mathis, and Fleetwood Mac dominate the album charts, and the year’s best-selling singles being by the likes of Wings’ ‘Mull of Kintyre’ and acts like Leo Sayer, Brotherhood of Man, and Hot Chocolate here in the UK, will also be forever marked in history as the year punk broke. Alongside all the anodyne MOR pap and slock disco, 1977 also saw the release of Never Mind the Bollocks, The Damned’s Damned Damned Damned , The Clash’s eponymous debut, The Buzzcocks’ Spiral Scratch EP, and The Dead Boys’ Young Loud and Snotty, as well as classic releases by The Stranglers and Richard Hell & The Voidoids.

These, of course, are the seeds these guys are referring to, although they also draw on a host of other stylistic elements, ranging from psyche to glam, and in a title that seems to echo Sham 69’s ‘Borstal Breakout’, the sextet have forged their debut long player in lockdown. As the title suggests, they’re keen to escape this interminable drag and get the fuck back out there.

There’s a choppy ska-tinged guitar that leads the high-octane opener ‘Kick it Out’, which sets out their stall nicely. It’s unaffected, and while the playing it tight, the production is direct and unfussy. The wandering bass cuts through the trebly guitars and it demonstrates all the hallmarks of authentic punk.

With the majority of the tracks clocking in at around the three-minute mark, it doesn’t take long for them to power through thirteen songs, and they’ve totally nailed that three-chord chop. But there’s also a sense of crafting behind the songs, with a solid grasp of dynamic range, and if most of the choruses are more about everyone shouting the hook than any real harmonies – it’s true to the spirit of the genre, being hooky in that most primitive of ways: keep shouting it till it sticks.

Then again they throw in some curveballs – ‘Lost_Found’ is a soulful piano-led duetting ballad augmented by aching strings, where the hell-for-leather drumming is replaced by a subdued machine. Placed mid-album, it’s a touching tune that serves as an interlude before the full-on chug of ‘Reality Bites’. The switching of lead vocals between Vince Mahon and Michi Sinn adds to the album’s range and dynamism: they’re both strong vocalists, but distinctive stylistically, beyond the obvious male / female.

Seeds of 77 have got some solid riffs and catchy choruses, but it’s the bass that really makes the sound, going far beyond the thudding four-square to-the-floor thud that’s standard, and instead showing some real flair – and when trad punk bands are two-a-penny, those distinctions count for a lot.

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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