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Strictly Punk Vol.16

Buenos dias,

Welcome to another exciting edition of Strictly Punk and we start with bleak news for Sonisphere

Sonisphere Cancelled??

As of the evening of the 28th of March Sonisphere’s website has stopped taking ticket bookings and there are big announcements today (29th), needless to say it doesn’t look good for the festival or any punks looking forward to seeing Refused for the first time in forever in the UK. Fingers crossed they pop up elsewhere.

The Offspring are also done…

…in the studio (seriously, when they call it a day I’m starting a 40 days and nights of mourning). The band have tweeted they are done in the studio but are yet to announce a date or in fact a name for their new record. It’s going to be the band’s first record with new drummer Pete Parada. More about The ‘Spring later…

Pennywise six stringer Hospitalised

Mammoth Pennywise guitarist Fletcher Dragge has been omitted to hospital for observations causing the skate punk outfit to have to cancel dates in California and Nevada. They’re on a touring break now until late May which should give the big guy a chance to bounce back and by which time the band’s new record, All or Nothing, will be with us all.

Hot Water Music – ‘Drag My Body’

Chuck Ragan & Co. have made the track ‘Drag My Body’ available for download this week via Rolling Stone. It’s from their forthcoming record Exister which is due out mid May. Sample it here for free:


My thoughts, it’s melodic, fist-pumping, gravely and worth the 8 year wait for the new material. Bring on the whole record come May I say!


The Real McKenzies – Westwinds

Scottish Punks The Real McKenzies new record, Westwinds, is out now on Fat Wreck Chords, the band’s follow-up to their last studio record, 2008’s Off The Leash.

I’ve always found The Real McKenzies something of a bargain basement Dropkick Murphys. Sure they’re Scottish and the Murphys are Irish, but they both plumb the same Celtic well. Anyway, onto this new record…

All the elements you’d expect are there including bagpipes a plenty on intro to ‘The Tempest’ which is basically a sea shanty with a lone drum running throughout. The pipes are also in force on ‘Halloween’ as well as some beefy guitars that punk things up a bit. With a cynical head on this Scottish themed punk rock from Canada can seem contrived and even a little bit naff or gimmicky but I daresay with a few beers (or whiskys) in me I’d enjoy it a lot more. It’s definitely got a drinking record vibe to it and could definitely soundtrack a wicked party. In that sense, it’s fun and a good record. And as with all Fat Wreck releases, if you fancy a sample track for free check out the website to download ‘The Message’ and decide for yourself. I’ll give this one a solid 3 out of 5 (3 and a half if I was half cut).


Smash turns 18

This Monday the biggest selling independent record in human history will celebrate its 18th birthday. With that in mind I’ll tell you what makes Smash so great so sit back, it’s time to relax…

The Offspring’s Smash generally requires little introduction amongst fans of punk. It’s a record breaker, almost a record label breaker (Epitaph nearly went under trying to keep up with CD pressing and the immense turnover the record generated) and is the record that broke The Offspring into the mainstream and through the stratosphere.

Smash has a little of something for everyone. Enough angst to appeal to the grunge crowd, enough genuine punk sensibility and DIY ethic to appeal to the hardcore and enough hooks and melody to book them some serious airplay on radio and MTV and sell by the wheelbarrow load.

‘Come Out and Play’ with its infectious middle eastern riff landed the band in tepid water with fellow So Cal punks Agent Orange and their guitarist Mike Palm who felt Dexter and Noodles had ripped off their best known song, ‘Bloodstains’. The case came to nothing and to rub salt into Palm’s wounds The Vandals would record ‘Aging Orange’ taking Palm down a peg for his alleged greed and desire to have a slice of the pie.

‘Gotta Get Away’ came about from an old Manic Subsidal (The Offspring  before they became The Offspring) song ‘Cogs’. The video of a wild mosh pit in black and white was said to scare off young female fans of the band. ‘Bad Habit’ is the band’s road rage anthem and features the now legendary line:

“Stupid dumbshit godamn motherfucker”

‘Self Esteem’ is probably Smash’s most well known track. A variation on the grunge template of quiet, loud, quiet and an anthem of a failed love life stemming from a low self esteem for the slacker generation.

Off the back of Smash’s success The Offspring signed with Columbia in 1996 for 1997’s follow-up Ixnay on the Hombre. Another record of pop hooks, punk riffs and dark sensibilities it never lived up to Smash and even the band referred to it as something of a sophomore slump. In fact, the band never made another record that lived up to Smash in terms of critical acclaim or sales but without Smash the band wouldn’t have headlined festivals all over the world, independent music wouldn’t have its gold standard and punk music would be worse off too.



Author: david

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