Welcome to (all the way to) volume 11 of Strictly Punk
Some of punk’s biggest names have been twittering away this week. The Offspring’s tweets can be a mixed bag of nonsense and downright bollocks but the occasional titbit of hope does occasionally emerge. The band’s guitarist Noodles tends to be behind the nonsense and bollocks but front man Dexter Holland is usually the voice of reason and it’s Dexter who’s been talking up the beginning of the end of the recording sessions for the band’s still as yet untitled follow-up to 2008’s Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace.
NoFX return to the UK
Perennial Californian punk under-achievers NoFX announced this week that they are playing a brief UK tour in June. Right now different sources have different dates and the band’s website has not yet been updated, but once the facts are known, I will post accurate dates and locations. One thing that does seem clear is that they are playing June 5th to 8th then starting up again June 13th to 16th. A weekend off to play a certain festival in Derbyshire?? (Download, duh!)
“Almost” – Mest
Illinois pop punk band Mest are back with new single “Almost” which is set to be the first track from their new album due this Spring. It will be their full length record since 2005’s Photographs and the band’s 2006 separation.
‘Almost’ does what you’d expect from a pop punk outfit like Mest, who have never been the kind of band to bring down society or shake the establishment to its very foundations. The track itself is aggressive enough with its drums and guitars to earn the “punk” label whilst remaining bubblegum enough to secure it plenty of primetime airplay on the likes of Kerrang and Scuzz and in that way is painfully non-descript. Still, make up your minds for yourselves on this one…
Symptoms – Useless ID
Having reviewed the single ‘Before it Kills’ from Israeli punks Useless ID a few weeks back, this week sees the release of its parent album Symptoms. The Descendents Bill Stevenson is once again in charge of the band’s production having overseen producing duties on Useless ID’s last record, 2008’s The Lost Broken Bones, and this new long player is another polished and tight affair.
First track ‘Live or Die’ opens with an ominous guitar/drum intro and the energy keeps on going into lead single ‘Before it Kills’ which remains a solid example of modern skate punk. If Useless ID can do anything well it’s keep a song driving along. ‘Manic Depression’s rhythmic, repetitive stabbing guitars, drums and vocals make for an interesting opening to the song before a chorus somewhat reminiscent of the melodic rock of 21st Century Offspring. So far, so solid.
After all these driven, rocked up skate punk numbers it’s nice that the album’s closer ‘Somewhere’ is a more melancholic, slowed down, almost ballad-esque affair; a more serene side to the band showing off their range and what they can achieve. All in all a solid skate punk record that won’t disappoint the band’s current fans and given the chance might win over some more listeners already fans of Pennywise, Lagwagon or No use for a Name.