Category: punk rock

Throwback: Happy 65th Birthday, Billy Idol

JOVM celebrates Billy Idol’s 65th birthday — a bit belated.

With the release of last year’s debut EP Shut Up Becky, which featured lead single “Mental Health,” the Brisbane-based trio BLUSSH quickly established a feral punk rock sound indebted to Riot Grrl and punk titans L7, Hole and The Distillers while earning a reputation for a unhinged live show through local and national touring with Dicklord, Press Club, Beddy Rays, The Dead Love, The Meanies, WHALEHOUSE, Garlic Nun, KOKO UZI,. Being Jane Lane, Flangipanis, and Wax Chattels, as well as sets across the national festival circuit, including Mountain Goat Valley Crawl, Gr!fest and Sonic Masala.

Building upon a rapidly growing national profile, the act landed at #30 on Brisbane community radio 4ZZZ’s 2019 countdown and received praise from British journalist and post-punk musician Vivien Goldman during her BIGSOUND Keynote address, which led to further industry buzz.

Much like countless other acts across the globe, the members of the rising Aussie punk act have been attempting to maneuver a difficult and challenging year — but they’ve managed to continue some of the momentum of last year with the June release of “Better Than This,” which has received ration of commercial and local radio, as well as COVID-19 safe shows. (Shows, y’all. Shows. Holy shit!) BLUSSH’s second single of 2020 is the mosh pit friendly ripper “Incoming.”

Centered around fuzzy power chords, thunderous drumming, enormous hooks the song is full of the betrayal, confusion, accusation and heartache of a bitter breakup with an unvarnished piss and bile-fueled delivery.It’s tempered, bruised and challenged as it explores themes of being on the other side of love” the members of BLUSSH explain.

New Video: Belgium’s Let It Kill You Releases a Furious METZ-like Ripper

Deriving their name from a famous Charles Bukowski saying “Find what you love and let it kill you,” the emerging Belgian punk/noise rock duo Let It Kill You — Peruvian-born, Belgian-based founding member Diego (bass, guitar, vocals) and Dorian (drums, vocals) — began as a solo recording project of its founding member. After release an EP as a solo project, Dorian joined the band, helping to further flesh out the band’s sound, a sound influenced by Sonic Youth, System of a Down, and Drive Like Jehu.

The Belgian duo’s latest single “On Your Left” is a furious and roaring METZ-like ripper, featuring howled vocals, explosive power chord-driven riffs, thunderous drumming and enormous mosh pit friendly hooks and an urgent, forceful delivery. The song, as he band explains was inspired by real life, personal events: the band’s drummer had luckily survived a serious car accident unscathed. This event had forced Diego to think about how things can change in an instant — and how fragile life actually is. At the time, Diego jokingly told his bandmate that he would write a song about his accident.

Of course, the pandemic has changed just about everything for all of us, including the Let It Kill You’s Diego, who lost his job and was uncertain if he could even remain in Belgium. “‘On Your Left’ was my quarantine song,” Diego explains. “Between anxiety and a lot of disorder in my head, I dedicated all my time to this song. I made more than 15 versions of it. The song has two parts. The first verse is Dorian’s perspective before the accident.” Diego goes on to say that the first verse is meant to express the fear that he imagined Dorian felt as the accident was about to happen — and the desperate attempts to escape what may actually be inevitable. The last section of the first verse, Diego says is dedicated to Dorian’s mother: Dorian told him that as his car and the other were just about to collide, he thought of and saw his mother. And it goes son to Diego imagining having to tell his bandmate’s mother terrible news.

Featuring footage from Yoshiaski Kawajiri’s 1987 animated film Neo Tokyo, the recently released video for “On Your Left” is set in a dystopian future and following a jet car pilot, who’s one of the best in the entire world. Everyone around him views and treats him as an immortal hero but eventually he’s revealed to be fragile and mortal. The main character eventually dies racing — but while eliminating all of his competition. The band’s Diego explains that he saw a little bi too Dorian in the movie’s main character.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays METZ Take the Viewer on a Nightmarishly Sisyphean Journey

I’ve managed to spill quite a bit of virtual ink covering the Toronto-based punk trio and JOVM mainstays METZ throughout this site’s decade of existence. Atlas Vending, the JOVM mainstays’ fourth album was released earlier this month through their longtime label home Sub Pop Records.

The band’s three previously released album found the band thriving on an abrasive restlessness, but before they set to work on Atlas Vending, the Canadian punk trio set a goal for themselves and for the album: they intended to make a much more patient and honest album, an album that invited repeated listens rather than a few exhilarating, mosh-pit friendly bludgeonings. Co-produced by Uniform’s Ben Greenberg and mastered by Seth Manchester at Pawtucket’s Machines with Magnets, the album finds the band crafting music for the long haul, with the hopes that their work could serve as a constant as they (and the listener) navigated life’s trials and tribulations.

The end result is an album that retains the massive sound that has won them attention and hearts across the world — but while arguably being their most articulate, earnest and dynamic of their growing catalog. Thematically, the album covers disparate yet very adult themes: paternity, crushing social anxiety, addiction, isolation, media-induced paranoia and the restless urge to just say “Fuck this!” and leave it all behind. Much like its immediate predecessor, Altas Vending offers a snapshot of the the modern condition as they see it; however, each of the album’s ten songs were written to form a musical and narrative whole with the album’s song sequencing following a cradle-to-grave trajectory.

Because of the cradle-to-grave narrative arch, the album’s material runs through a gamut of emotions and emotional states, starting off with the most rudimentary and simplistic sensations of childhood all the way to the increasingly nuanced and turbulent peaks and valleys of adulthood. Of course, as a result, the album finds the band tackling the inevitable — getting older in an industry seemingly suspending in perpetual youth. “Change is inevitable if you’re lucky,” METZ’s Alex Eadkins says of the band’s fourth album Atlas Vending. “Our goal is to remain in flux, to grow in a natural and gradual way. We’ve always been wary to not overthink or intellectualize the music we love but also not satisfied until we’ve accomplished something that pushes us forward.”

So far I’ve written about four of the album’s released singles:

The album’s first single, album closing track “A Boat to Drown In,” which may be the most expansive and oceanic tracks of their entire catalog.
“Hail Taxi,” an explosive and deceptively prototypical METZ track that’s centered around a deeply adult sense of regret, as the song features a narrator, who desperately attempts to reconcile who they once were with what they’ve become;
“Blind Industrial Park,” a rapturous and euphoric ripper that’s an ode to the naivete of youth and the blissful freedom of being unburdened by the world surrounding you.
“Parasite,” a frenetic and pummeling ripper that they filmed at The Opera House in Toronto.

“Pulse,” Atlas Vending’s latest single is a furious roar, full of the sort of anxious and uncertain dread that has become our daily lives during the Trump Administration — and in the last few of days before a momentous, history altering election. Our lives at this very moment is desperate and urgent; we all feel this and know this, even if we are loathe to admit it.

Directed by Jeremy Gillespie, the recently released and murkily shot visual for “Pulse” follows a space suit wearing astronaut on a nightmarishly Sisphyean journey through a Brutalist world fitting the pummeling and forceful soundtrack.

Throughout the course of this site’s 10-plus year history, I’ve managed to spill a copious amount of virtual ink covering the acclaimed, Atlanta-based JOVM mainstay act The Coathangers. Now, as you may recall, the JOVM mainstay act can trace their origins back to 14 years ago, when four young women — Julia Kegel (vocals, guitar), Stephanie Luke (vocals, drums), Meredith Franco (bass, vocals) and Candace Jones (keys) — without prior musical experience or lofty aspirations decided that they were going to pick up instruments and start a band, so that they could play a friend’s party.

That particular house show led to more shows around town — and those raucous and fiery live sets wound up comprising the band’s self-titled, full-length debut. Recorded during a graveyard shift at a local studio and mixed the following night, the Atlanta-based JOVM mainstays’ full-length debut was a raw, rowdy, revelrous affair. What the album lacked in polish, it made up in energy, charisma and brassy moxie. “We didn’t think anyone was going to listen to it,” The Coathangers’ Julia Kegel recalls. “We knew our friends in Atlanta would get it, but we didn’t think it was going to go anywhere. We were just excited to make a record.” Little did Kugel or her bandmates know that their scrappy house show anthems would catch on, leading to several years of successful international attention and a handful of critically applauded albums, including their out-of-print full-length debut, as well as a number of singles.

I think that the members of The Coathangers could never have imagined that their longtime label home would re-issue their long out-of-print, full-length debut as a deluxe, re-mastered version with a handful of extra tracks. Interestingly, the re-issued full-length debut, should remind listeners and fans of the band’s mischievous genre-fluidity. The band’s multi-faceted approach and diversity is a direct result of having multiple songwriters, who have brought their unique tastes and styles to the collective table. “It’s cool to to see how genre-fluid we‘ve always been,” The Coathangers’ Kugel says in press notes. “We got labeled as punk, and that was cool because that set us up as being against something, going against the grain. But it’s always been a weird dynamic of different tastes, and it still ultimately comes across as a bunch of girls having fun.”

Of course, the album is a bit of blast from the past, with the material possessing a spontaneity and careful spirit that’s invigorating, inspiring — and perhaps more necessary now than ever before. “We were just brash and making fun of things,” Kugel says. “We weren’t thinking about lyrics. We weren’t thinking about the industry. There was no thought about ‘making it’ or how people were gonna perceive it.” And as a result, the album was viewed as a private conversation between close friends, full of in-jokes, references and frivolities that reflected the band’s insular audience at the time — and their casual approach. “With this band I’ve felt like we have to speak for all woman-kind and as the records went on it became more and more at the forefront, but with the first record it was more like ‘ugh, these fuckin’ haters!’ It’s stuff we thought was hilarious and that felt really good to say because we felt safe. We didn’t think anyone was going to listen to it.” Lyrically, the album finds the band at their most unfiltered. Essentially, the album celebrates being young, brash, independent and full of joie de vivre as they say.

The re-issued edition of the self-titled album features the bonus track “Wife Eyes,” is grimy and sweaty bit of garage punk with a mischievously winking sense of humor with the song’s title and chorus being a play on words that’s partially being a tongue-in-cheek jab at the patriarchy and gender roles, and the paranoia of constant connection. It’s goofy fun — but it’s full of a freewheeling energy that seems largely missing right now.

“We have always encouraged each-other to explore other instruments.  For us, switching instruments was a way to explore our creativity and expand our sonic landscape.  Plus it allowed everyone to take a turn at the mic!  You’re breaking up the standard (sometimes stagnant) structure of onstage dynamic and it feels exciting to both the audience and the people on stage,” Kugel says. “We have been told that watching us change instruments is empowering to people as well! It’s like ‘Hell ya! I can do that too! I can play the drums!’ The playfulness of switching sort of takes the pressure off of being so serious or possessive of a certain role or instrument.  It also gives you greater appreciation for each other’s skill sets. I think some of our most creative songs came out of the practice of switching instruments and ‘Wife Eyes’ is one of our earliest recorded songs where we switched instruments: Candice plays drums and Steph the keys.

“The title is an obvious play on words-inspired by a joke on 30 Rock that lent itself well to speaking on the roles of technology and patriarchy in our culture. It’s amazing to see that we are still dealing with these issues today.”

The re-issued self-titled debut album is slated for December 4, 2020 release through Suicide Squeeze.

Live Footage: METZ Perform “Parasite” at The Opera House Toronto

Throughout the course of this site’s 10-plus year history, I’ve spilled a lot of virtual ink covering the Toronto-based punk trio and JOVM mainstays METZ. And as you may recall,. the act’s fourth album, Atlas Vending was released last week through their longtime label home Sub Pop Records.

Their previously released material found the band thriving on an abrasive relentlessness but before they set to work on Atlas Vending, the Canadian punk trio set a goal for themselves and for the album — that they were going to make a much more patient and honest album, an album that invited repeated listens rather than a few exhilarating mosh-pit friendly bludgeonings. Co-produced by Uniform’s Ben Greenberg and mastered by Seth Manchester at Pawtucket’s Machines with Magnets, the album finds the band crafting music for the long haul, with the hopes that their work could serve as a constant as they (and the listener) navigated life’s trials and tribulations.

The end result is an album’s worth of material that retains the massive sound that has won them attention and hearts across the world — but while arguably being their most articulate, earnest and dynamic of their growing catalog. Thematically, the album covers disparate yet very adult themes: paternity, crushing social anxiety, addiction, isolation, media-induced paranoia and the restless urge to just say “Fuck this!” and leave it all behind. Much like its immediate predecessor, Altas Vending offers a snapshot of the the modern condition as they see it; however, each of the album’s ten songs were written to form a musical and narrative whole — with the album’s song sequencing following a cradle-to-grave trajectory.

Naturally, the album’s material runs through the gamut of emotions — from the most rudimentary and simplistic sensations of childhood to the increasingly nuanced and turbulent peaks and valleys of adulthood. And in some way, the album finds the band tackling the inevitable — getting older, especially in an industry seemingly suspended in perpetual youth. “Change is inevitable if you’re lucky,” METZ’s Alex Eadkins says of the band’s fourth album Atlas Vending. “Our goal is to remain in flux, to grow in a natural and gradual way. We’ve always been wary to not overthink or intellectualize the music we love but also not satisfied until we’ve accomplished something that pushes us forward.”

I’ve written about three of the album’s singles so far: the album’s first single, album closing track “A Boat to Drown In,” one of the most expansive and oceanic tracks of their catalog; “Hail Taxi,” an explosive and deceptively prototypical METZ track that’s centered around a deeply adult sense of regret, as the song features a narrator, who desperately attempts to reconcile who they once were with what they’ve become; and “Blind Industrial Park,” a rapturous and euphoric METZ-styled ripper that’s actually an ode to the naivete of youth and the blissful freedom of being unbranded by the world surrounding you.

To celebrate the release of Atlas Vending METZ played a special livestream at The Opera House in Toronto. Last night’s set found them playing Atlas Vending in its entirely with an encore that featured fan favorites ‘Negative Space” and “Wet Blanket” off their self-titled, full=length debut.. The band released a frenetically shot live footage of pummeling new ripper “Parasite.”

You can still get tickets for the live stream of night 2 at The Opera House, which will air at 3PM ET, Noon PT, 8PM BST, 9PM CEST, 8PM AEST. Tickets available here: tickets.