As you may know, my constant blathering on about music at impossible hours of the day and for impossible lengths of time has landed me in the only logical place I could end up in: the local radio station doing a music show. Then there was a second music show because I listened to too much music. Then the fact that an hour of playing music didn’t always do music appreciation the full justice it deserved, which culminated in me being responsible for updating and elaborating on our weekly music show’s playlists afterwords in longform on the show’s blog, over at whatthepunkcfrc.wordpress.com. Sometimes I get excited about a week’s playlist and want to share it with you too (new music ahoy!)
So here’s the latest article I’ve written for the radio music blog, and it’s all about experimental, psychedelic, indie, synth-y and hardcore punk.
We here at What The Punk?! try and dig up the best, weirdest, snottiest, sneakiest and most spaced out punk you will find, and this chilly month, we bring you this collection of punktastic snuggles to fill your thoughts and keep you warm.We here at What The Punk?! try and dig up the best, weirdest, snottiest, sneakiest and most spaced out punk you will find, and this chilly month, we bring you this collection of punktastic snuggles to fill your thoughts and keep you warm.
(I’m sorry, sometimes the music we have is pretty diverse and impossible to capture in a single opening sentence. I try, but sometimes even I don’t know what I’ve just written. Read on. There’s great music to follow.)
Also, as a note, the WordPress is crashing because of the inhuman amount of embeds I attempt to squeeze into a single document. WordPress itself is ridiculously loaded as it is. I’ll be including links to the musicians we played on their Bandcamp pages where you can listen to their music, browse through their discographies and merchandise and purchase music or merch from them directly. I’ll only be embedding artists whose music is not on the Spotify playlist we’ve included, but do give them a full listen on their sites if you like them!
21 December, 2020:
We played Mitcham, UK-based queer shoegazy grunge quartet Screaming Toenail, who describe themselves as “sassy, decolonial, queer, punk”. Their album Growth is a must-listen! (“Dedicated to anyone resisting colonial heterosexual bullshit.”, as their Bandcamp page says.)
Screaming Toenail – Divide and Conquer
Also on this set was Die! Die! Die!, the post-punk, post-hardcore trio hailing from Auckland, New Zealand, whose release from October this year we listened to, called I Seek Misery. Back in 2008, Die! Die! Die! had released a two-track album called Sideways, Here We Come (a play on The Smiths’ final studio release, Strangeways Here We Come, as directly referenced in the band’s promotional images), whose music video was very stylistically remnant of Welsh artist Peter Fowler’s distinct lo-fi scrapbook style art, and particularly reminds me of the music video he made for the Super Furry Animals’ song Presidential Suite off their 2001 DVD-album release, Rings Around The World.
(As the Super Furry Animals, having moved from Alan McGee’s indie label Creation Records (known for championing bands like My Bloody Valentine, Oasis, SFA themselves, Primal Scream, Teenage Fanclub, the Jesus and Mary Chain and Bob Mould) to the major label Epic Records, had access to a greater budget for the first time, they opted to make the entire album a DVD-first release, which meant music videos for each of the 13 songs: a tall order on any budget, just ask Gorillaz this year!)
See for yourself, here’s Die! Die! Die!
And here’s the music video for Presidential Suite.
We dipped into the Atlanta, GA punk scene from the mid 2000s, listening to one of Peach State’s leading punk groups, Carbonas. Their brand of snotty, snarky punk throws back to the 1970s, but also features delightfully catchy vocals and a knack for writing good melody. We listened to their 2007 song Phone Booth, from their self-titled album Carbonas.
We also had music from Montpellier, France’s high-energy garage punk quartet Les Lullies, and a Calgary, Alberta based fuzzy punk band who are fast becoming a favourite of this show, Self-Cut Bangs. We heard their rather more alternative song Perfect Posture, off their self-titled debut album.
Carbonas – Phone Booth
Les Lullies – Mourir d’Ennui
Self-Cut Bangs – Perfect Posture
Continuing in the alternative vein, we had some indie music from South Korean band Billy Carter. Taken from their second album (I was about to say “sophomore release” but I’ve learned of late that thanks in no small part to radio presenters overusing the phrase, it’s actually becoming quite annoying to hear in the music world. Thanks Shaun Keaveny… (great guy, just you know. One of the first 6Music presenters to spring to mind!) How do we stop repeating ourselves when we talk of nothing but music day in and day out!?)
Taken from their second album Don’t Push Me, the band straight away tackles heavier themes than their bright debut double EPs The Red and The Yellow which were critically acclaimed and nominated for multiple music awards in South Korea. “The album begins with ‘Invisible Monster’, which contains a strong will to overcome the traumas caused by abuses”, they say, and that’s the song we listened to.
Billy Carter – Invisible Monster
We dug into some more psychedelic punk as well, listening to psychedelic synth punk band NOTS from Memphis, Tennessee. If echoed spoken word vocals over assured basslines are your thing (basically, new wave), you’ll love this band. We also had an anthology release pop up on our radar, as industrial art-punks Dow Jones and the Industrials put together their releases from 1979 to 1981, and in similar vein, we played industrial synth punk pioneers Chrome.
Dow Jones and the Industrials – Can’t Stand the Midwest
NOTS – Half-Painted House
Chrome – Heartbeat
We had new psychedelic punk from Australian band Eggy and some very specifically accusatory indie punk from Melbourne female quartet Parsnip (the song’s called Crossword Cheater), and shooter further across the Tasman, In My Mouth by Auckland, New Zealand post punks Wax Chattels.
Eggy – Johnny Whoop
Parsnip – Crossword Cheater
Wax Chattels – In my Mouth
We at this radio station are big fans of Bandcamp (if you couldn’t guess from the ten or so Bandcamp links throughout this article), not only for championing music in an ethical way that doesn’t shortchange artists (once again, I’ll point you to this article), but as a platform that is also constantly striving to discover and promote the best music that musicians on the platform are making. From their Best Punk of 2020 feature article, we picked some of our favourites, albeit in step with all the limitations that come with having only an hour on radio…
New York band Straw Man Army won us with their noisy lo-fi punk and the lyric “That aching in your mouth is just the presence of a hook” on their song about genocide, Option Despair. We also heard Arrival.
We also had British punks Shopping with their indie brand of catchy, synthy punk and the delightfully sneery and irreverent Sniffany and the Nits, with their blinder of a song Horse Girl.
Shopping – Trust In Us
Find the playlist for the show below.