Punktuation!

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Monday, January 30, 2023

2022- A Year in Punk (Part 2)! July-December

In the second half of a huge year for punk, there were more releases, tours, triumphs and losses.

Aaaaaand we’re back! You’ve had a taste of what punk gave us for the first six months of the year; now let’s have an overview of July to December and bring our look back over 2022 to a close. Settle down with your third tub of Quality Street and reminisce about the tail end of this year…….

Things were hotting up in more ways than one as we headed into the Summer and the start of festival season and there was a veritable smorgasbord of punk activity, probably fuelled by all those energising UV rays.

Lots of lovely releases saw us into the Summer, including ‘Depression, Disorder and Paranoia’ (not a very summery title, I’ll admit) by Italian punks Debunk. Our Alex Curle reviewed and called it: “A punk album to its core… a relentless drive of head-banging works, loaded with gravelly vocals, high-octave guitar screeches and hard-hitting drums that pack a punch through any speaker, its DIY punk at its best.”

We had great fun listening to the new Breakup Haircut album ‘Punk Dancing for Self Defence’ which Molly Tie called “A charming, full-bodied and full-hearted debut album from rising stars of UK pop punk”.

Breakup Haircut
Breakup Haircut

We also had albums by The Faim, For the Record’s EP and new single by The Chats ‘I’ve Been Drunk In Every Pub in Brisbane’ (a title fit for those summer vibes).

We were lucky enough to catch up with Bouncing Souls’ guitarist Pete Steinkopf about his new project, punk supergroup Beach Rats and their new album; Finny McConnell from Ultrabomb spoke to Punktuation about bandmate Greg Norton’s cancer operation, and Nick Howden caught up with punk legend Steve Diggle from the Buzzcocks who took Nick through his new album ‘Sonics In the Soul’.

Steve Diggle Punktuation mag
Steve Diggle.

August

With the glare of Summer fully upon us, we continued to toil to bring you the best of the best punk shenanigans.

Welsh punks Red Bastards released their self-titled album; Massachusetts band No Trigger returned with their first full-length release in ten years (‘Dr Album‘), and Scary Hours proved New Jersey hardcore was alive and well with their politically searing album ‘Symptoms of Modern Hegemony’.

Perhaps one of the most eagerly awaited releases of the month was Brooklyn trio THICK’s album ‘Happy Now’ released via Epitaph, which is “full of catchy, insightful, heartfelt songs that combine anger and humour with a punk edge”.

We had tour announcements by State Champs and news of a co-headlining tour between Social Distortion and Bad Religion.

Talking of State Champs, Tracey Moyle caught up with Scott Ryan to talk new album and the aforementioned tour.

But surely the award for the most punk thing that happened in August was the annual Rebellion Punk Festival in Blackpool, UK. Always an astoundingly kickass lineup and this year was no exception. Pretty much every punk you can think of was there- The Skids, Circle Jerks, Anti-Flag, Undertones, The Stranglers…. The list goes on! And our Roger Kasper was there for the whole thing, diligently reporting back to Punktuation HQ in between pogoing and tending to his mohawk. Read his coverage HERE.

Roger haircut
Roger with his new do.

September

As bands started their period of recovery after the hectic Summer live schedules, the rate of releases showed no signs of slowing down.

September saw EP releases by Manchester feminist punks Loose Articles and New York’s Baby Got Back Talk.

Full-length releases by Pulled Apart by Horses (‘Reality Cheques’); WACO (‘Rock Spirit Absolute Joy’), and Rob Moss and the Skin Tight Skin (‘Now With More Rockets’) graced our ears. The PABH album was deemed by Alex Curle to have a “refreshed, leaner feel” with a “guttural menace of psychedelic power” whilst the Rob Moss album featured a plethora of guest musicians for 11 tracks of “guitar-driven bluesy punk”.

Rob Moss album

For those still in fighting festival spirit, the annual Loud Women fest took place in London- featuring (amongst many others) The Menstrual Cramps, Bugeye, Deux Furieuses and I, Doris.

To continue punk’s knack of making a lot of us feel old, Green Day‘s beloved second album ‘Kerplunk’ turned 30, and in honour of this, there was a bit of whimsy with a tribute album featuring covers of the original tracks by a cohort of Latino bands.

It was also a great month for interviews. Molly Tie caught up with Ren Aldridge from Petrol Girls to discuss their new album, tour and the fight for reproductive autonomy.

Dom Tyer interviewed Jim Ruland about his new book on legendary punk label SST Records; Tracey Moyle caught up with Pennywise guitarist Fletcher Dragge about the band’s upcoming Australian tour and Nick spoke to Dead Kennedy’s East Bay Ray in anticipation of the controversial reissue of the band’s seminal album ‘Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables’.

Fletcher, Pennywise. © facebook.com/pennywise Tl
Fletcher, Pennywise. © facebook.com/pennywise

October

Halloween month was upon us, and it was frightening how much great punk was still being released (get it? Because it was Halloween?)

As the darker nights rolled in and the temperature started to drop, some bands took a stand and raised money for various causes.

New Wave faves Squeeze released a new EP and went on tour, looking to raise awareness and funds for independent food banks across the UK. Their song ‘Food For Thought’ captures the struggles of those trying to make ends meet. Squeeze songwriter Glenn Tilbrook said of the situation:

“It’s terrible and wrong that so many people have no choice other than the help that food banks provide to feed their families. That there are so many people who have to choose between food and heating is a disgrace.”

Squeeze

There was also the ‘Punks Listen’ book- a collection of essays from musicians, writers, actors and music fans reflecting on the albums that have meant the most to them. The book raised funds for the Red Cross Ukraine Refugee appeal and featured contributions from the likes of Gaye Black, Henry Rollins and Mike Watt.

Some big hitters released albums in October, including Less Than Jake with the ‘Silver Linings’ deluxe album and oi punks Cockney Rejects were back with LP ‘Power Grab’ .  

We also saw new single ‘Brassic’ by Isle of Wight punk’s Grade 2; RT Zed released ‘Zednation’ and brooding post-punks Girls In Synthesis released album ‘The Rest is Distraction’ which our review stated:

“The album has a lot going on and a lot to offer- clearly, this is a band who can craft layers of powerful and maze-like music and intersperse poetry and existential lamentations amongst their lyrics.”

Nick Howden continued his run of big-name interviews, this month it was the turn of Strangler Hugh Cornwell who discussed his new LP ‘Moments of Madness’ and his imminent UK tour.

Hugh Cornwell

Unfortunately, the punk world also suffered a big loss with the passing of Dead Kennedy’s drummer DH Peligro, who passed away aged 63 following a fall at home. Former bandmate Jello Biafra paid tribute to his friend:

“He was not just our powerful, unforgettable drummer; he was a gifted singer, songwriter, guitarist, and so much more”.

November

As the end of the year began to loom, punk releases were still coming thick and fast.

Sick Visor’s debut EP was clearly named after our discerning readership- ‘For Wise People Who Enjoy Quality’; Shark Bait’s single ‘Smile and Wave’ was a powerful, catchy pop-punk tune; and Vancouver punks BRASS and UK agitators Glitchers both had EPs released this month (‘Look on the Bright Side’ and ‘Ctrl Alt Del’ respectively).

A fantastic Horror Punk compilation Horrorpunk’s Not Dead! ‘Vol. 1 was released via UK label We Are Horror Records, and a boxset celebrating the work of X-Ray Spex saxophonist Lora Logic was released containing a whopping 5 LPs.

Debut albums by Sunliner (self-titled) and Magnolia Park (‘Baku’s Revenge’)were met with great acclaim and proved that punk is not dead- it continues to reinvent and reinvigorate.

Two albums that are to top many people’s best of 2022 just squeezed in the penultimate month of the year. ‘Counterculture?’ By Ruts DC was very well received by all, particularly Ruth Rae:

“It’s not often that an album has such a strong emotional impact on me, but musically and lyrically “Counterculture?” takes it to a new level. Segs has his finger on the pulse of what’s really going on, and all three band members emphatically demonstrate that they are accomplished musicians with a talent for writing instantly relatable, highly memorable songs.” Full review HERE.

Meryl Streek released the critically acclaimed ‘796’, described by Punktuation as “A Molotov cocktail of electronic beats, pounding drums and oscillating moods, there is no let up in this LP.”

The punk world suffered another significant loss with the passing of Keith Levene. The founding member of The Clash and later guitarist for Public Image Ltd, died aged 65. Considered to be one of the influential figures of the early punk scene, author Adam Hammond said:

“As well as helping to make PiL the most important band of the age, Keith also founded The Clash with Mick Jones and had a major influence on their early sound. So much of what we listen to today owes much to Keith’s work”.

Keith Lavine
Keith Levene

December

December kicked off on a sad note when The Stranglers release the news that their original drummer, Jet Black, passed away at the age of 84. Jet was a major part of The Stranglers’ punk sound and helped to shape the British punk scene in the 1970s.

On the news of Jet’s passing Jean-Jacques Burnel said, “The welcoming committee has doubled. After years of ill health, Jet has finally been released. He was a force of nature. An inspiration. The Stranglers would not have been if it wasn’t for him. The most erudite of men. A rebel with many causes.

The Stranglers black and white

The band’s former lead singer Hugh Cornwell said, “It is with great sadness I have learnt that Jet Black has passed away. We shared a special period of our lives when we strived to become professional musicians.

“We were immediately drawn to one another, he had a singular sense of purpose that I identified with. He threw everything in his previous life out, to dedicate himself to our common goal. Our birthdays were 2 days apart, so we were quite similar. The Stranglers’ success was founded on his determination and drive. His timing was faultless. All power to him and his legacy.”

Punk legend Iggy Pop came out with new track ‘Strung Out Johnny’; US pop punks Sarchasm released their final album ‘Conditional Love’ and punk supergroup Wingmen launched their new album (and our Ruth Rae was there).

Good Things Festival in Brisbane took place and saw headliners Bring Me the Horizon and Deftones joined by NOFX and Millencolin to name but a few. Australian punks were also treated to a doubleheader for the Sum 41 and Offspring tour, which took place this month.

good things 22
NOFX, Good Things Festival

Speaking of live music, Siouxsie Sioux announced her first live performance since 2013 with news she will appear at UK’s Latitude Festival in July 2023.

New Found Glory released video ‘Walk Through Fire’, prior to the release of their upcoming album ‘Make the Most Of It’. This new video sees the band discuss the impact of guitarist Chad Gilbert’s pheochromocytoma diagnosis. It’s an emotional watch.

We wrapped up the year with some awesome interviews: Ruth Rae caught up with Newtown Neurotics after a big year for them; Michelle Nursimiloo spoke to The Zips about 40-odd years in the punk scene, and Roger Kasper caught up with Big Joanie lead singer Stephanie Phillips about the band’s new album.

As December drew to its close, there was another loss when singer Terry Hall, (The Specials, Fun Boy Three) died after a brief illness.

In a statement, the Specials said:

“His music and his performances encapsulated the very essence of life… the joy, the pain, the humour, the fight for justice, but mostly the love.

“He will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved him and leaves behind the gift of his remarkable music and profound humanity.”

December also marked the 20-year anniversary of another huge loss – Clash frontman and many a punk’s hero – Joe Strummer.

Sadly another punk icon passed away as 2022 drew to a close when British fashion designer Dame Vivienne Westwood passed away, aged 81, on 29th December.

In a statement on Twitter, her fashion house said she died “peacefully and surrounded” by her family in Clapham, south London.

westwood Punk

Westwood made her name with her controversial punk and new wave styles in the 1970s and went on to dress some of the biggest names in fashion.

Her husband and creative partner Andreas Kronthaler said: “I will continue with Vivienne in my heart.

“We have been working until the end and she has given me plenty of things to get on with.”

RIP – Dame Vivienne Westwood – the godmother of punk!

So there you have it, folks, 12 months in punk. We cannot wait to see what 2023 has to offer. To be sure you don’t miss anything, make sure you follow Punkutation for all your punk needs.

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