Rising Australian punks Skegss share new single “Bush TV” ahead of their new album Rehearsal out this Friday (26 March) via Loma Vista Recordings. The infectious track comes with a Jamieson Kerr-directed video, showing the freedom of the great outdoors, from riding dirt bikes on drummer Jonny Lani’s own farm, hanging with bassist Toby Cregan’s dog Blaze, to swimming, barbecuing, and drinking beers by the fire pit.
On directing the video, Jamieson says
“The video was a lot of fun to make. The motorbike shots were pretty wild. I was in the back of a Ute hanging off the end with my camera whilst we were pinning it around bends and bumps. At one point I got some air which was pretty scary. It was lovely to see Jonny’s farm, it was my first time out there, and it was so nice to see him in his element. It was also my first time shooting super 8, when I sent it to get developed, it didn’t turn up for ages and the post was saying it was lost in transit which was devastating, but it eventually turned up and I’m stoked with how it turned out.”
While “Bush TV” is tinged with a feeling of bittersweet nostalgia, it also showcases the youthful intensity for which Skegss is known, and its video is a peek into the fun loving attitude that also permeates Rehearsal’s 13-track thrill ride. From the playful romp of single ‘Valhalla’ and the intoxicating narrative of ‘Running From Nothing’, to the staggering beauty of singer Ben Reed’s acoustic ballad ‘Wake Up’, Rehearsal encapsulates Skegss’ sound: nostalgic riffs, tight hooks, and masterful storytelling.
It’s always enticing to listen to an album and wonder how it will play out in a live setting. That’s been the case for many albums released over the past year, but at least those bands played shows before the pandemic hit. In fact they’ve only ever played one live show, in a disused industrial freezer, so naturally this collection of songs will be fresh to about every audience member when the times comes. Born out of childhood friends needing a new get up in life, TV Priest aren’t just the latest in the new wave of post-punk bands to emerge from South London, they’re something more. Their lyrics still speak and focus mainly on the failings of the conservative government and the disparity of life in modern Britain. But unlike their contemporaries they offer up a conversation “It’s about the meshing of information strands. It is supposed to be a snapshot of a time and place” says lead singer Charlie Drinkwater“. And this can be heard in the likes of “This Island” where Drinkwater sings “Well I found singularity, I found it at the bottom of the mail online comments section”. Through grinding riffs and snarling vocals TV Priest have set about to deliver a sermon of understanding.
Perhaps the standout element of this album is Drinkwater’s storytelling charm and weave. Consistently he not only captures the emotion of a time and people, but displays the absurdity found within the mundane and everyday. On “Decorations” he’s breaking down the idea of ‘personal progression’, all these small victories that he describes like “A certain medal on a certain chest, A nought and a cross and a Sunday best” are supposed to take you “Through to the next round” as he puts it. The conversation that Drinkwater is trying to create is clear. Let’s look at the world and question it together rather than dying on a hill for our own beliefs. “I thought we were getting closer, but we’re further apart” he declares on “Slideshow”, which has certainly been the case over the last decade or so, stoked by politics, Brexit, racial injustice and somehow the pandemic. This is not Drinkwater abstaining from the conversation, his views clearly match those of other contemporary punk frontmen, but through his lyricism he’s wit-fully documented a moment in time. Of course no one’s safe from his intentful gaze, not even Prince Louis who’s “On a throne of his own, a bovril biscuit, a cup of milk, not saving lives but not taking ones either” he remarks on “Powers Of Ten”.
Being a document of the there would inevitably be a mention of the pandemic. On “Journal Of A Plague” year Drinkwater lays down the general collective emotions and tellings of the year, “Hey buddy, Normalize this, you better dig that pit” he sings over the somewhat understated instrumental. Much like a journal Drinkwater offers small insights and records of what transpired within the year, rather than commenting on the impact they had.
This wouldn’t be a punk album of course without some chugging riffs and screeching guitars to soundtrack Drinkwater’s musings. And there are moments where these axe wielded flurries reach truly euphoric heights. Although closer “Saintless” might not follow the formula instrumentally than the rest of the album, adding in embellishments of acoustic guitar and bedroom pop synthesisers, it leaves you feeling almost hopeful for what’s to come. As each layer is slowly added you can feel the intensity and emotional outpour slowly building until it erupts into an impassioned chorus cry of “We’re no saints, but that’s okay, would you have it any other way?”. Surrounded by a cacophony of whirring guitars and pounding drums, it’s truly an explosive ending that caps off this journey with a topping of grandeur.
This vehement sound does appear on occasion on the likes of “This Island” and “Slideshow”. But too often does this album get lost in the ‘1,2’ beats, with a rolling bass line placed on top, that after a while of the same motion gets a bit too comfortable in its current gear, unwilling to switch it up. And there’s almost a sense of the song wanting to burst out into a fury of anger or flailing guitars, but it never quite reaches it. The like of which can be seen on “Fathers And Sons” as the palm muted strums and rumbling four note bass line carry the song through verse and chorus, but are overarched with a feeling on tepidness, as if they don’t want to become to chaotic. There’s definitely the emotional intensity packed and ready to blow, but its never quite unlocked.
They may not be miles apart sonically or contextually from contemporaries IDLES, Shame or Fontaines D.C. (Drinkwater funnily enough designed their latest album cover), but what TV Priest bring to this new wave of punk is a sense of perseverance. Whether it be from their own story of reformation, or though the stories they tell of a struggling world, not to shame it, but analyse it and see where we can all move forward together.
The best things in life come to those who wait. And it seems to have been quite the age since Shame first broke out into underground stardom with debut album Songs Of Praise way back in 2018. The release and subsequent success of that album almost paved a way for the new age of post punk and independent artists to be able to break into the top spots on the UK album charts. Since the release the likes of Black Midi, Sports Team and IDLES have all found themselves racing up the charts in fashion that hasn’t been seen in many years for these ‘guitar bands’. The south London 5-piece now return with their long awaited, long delayed sophomore album Drunk Tank Pink. Taking its name from both the colour that is supposed to invoke a more relaxed state of mind as well as the bedroom that lead singer Charlie Steen moved into after two years of relentless touring with the band. Where Songs Of Praise sought to understand the teenage angst that is felt as you start to come away from your childhood, Drunk Tank Pink is about finding your identity as an adult, where your place is in this brutalist world. “I’m half the man I should be” chants Steen on “Human, For A Minute”.
Written and recorded before any of the horrors of the past year took place, the themes of this album preceded many of the feelings of isolation and longing to get somewhere that were felt by many people, but perhaps that’s the beauty of this songwriting. “In my room, in my womb, Is the only place I find peace, All alone, in my home, Yeah, I still can’t get to sleep” sings Steen on “March Day”. The innocence of not knowing what was to come, and yet capturing the spirit of us all without trying to jump on the bandwagon of lockdown songs allows the emotion felt in this track to become more pure, and therefore more relatable to us all. But you can hear the descent into a wealth of anxiety as this album goes on, through to the second half Steen now sings “I devote all this timе, To a world that’s not mine, Then I fade far away, Then I fade far away, As I talk to myself, You emerge ill of health” on “Harsh Degrees”, slowly feeling as though he’s losing his place in the world the more time he spends alone with himself.
It would have easy to repeat the same formula of Songs Of Praise which sonically was centred largely around the raucous riffs that burst along every second of the way. However this album takes its time in allowing each sound and idea to be played out in full. There’s elements of funk sewn into the riffs and beats of the off-kilter “Nigel Hitter” that demand you to get up and groove along. And then there’s the slow chugging hopefulness of closer “Station Wagon” that asks you to take a step back and look at the beauty of the world, as the ballad like piano and controlled drum beats chug along until the track reaches its frenzy fuelled closure. “But nobody said this was gonna be easy, And with you as my witness, I’m gonna try and achieve, The unachievable, Because one day, That vapour will be in my pocket” declares Steen as he looks to the heavens above.
One reoccurrence that the band leans heavily into is the big anthemic chorus, from the climatic closing of “Born In Luton” to the euphoric half time explosion of intensity on “Water In The Well”. They serve as emotive outbursts that allow the stories that Steen is singing about to be presented with an air of pure cathartic bliss. This grandeur not only amplifies Shame’s blistering sound, but allows it to become even more bittersweet. The maturity that is sung about within the lyrics is also matched within the songwriting. The movement from the off-beat guitar riffs to the half-speed chaotic chorus calls on “Snow Day” perfectly distills the intensity and erratic nature of becoming in love with the idea of a time, as it takes over your every thought. “And then I fall to you, In my mind”. The crashing drums and colliding guitars fly around the soundscape whilst simultaneously keeping their mark of driving the the song to its colourfully flourished finish line. But they don’t have to have the flailing guitars at every moment to sound truly haunting. The epitome of the bands songwriting as well as this albums production value comes in the form of “Human, For A Minute”. Through its closely patched chugging bass line, deadpan vocal delivery and truly sinister guitar lines this song embodies the lack of self worth that many young adults begin to feel in their early twenties. There’s so much darkness packed into this song that from the moment you first hear it you get sucked into its deep endless ravine of self depreciation.
But this isn’t to say the power and chaos is gone from their sound. The three track run of “Great Dog”, “6/1” and “Harsh Degrees” is packed with that full faced intensity that was found all over their debut album, each song leading into the next without giving you a second to breath. It’s fast and furious but unlike the film franchise, the songs don’t overstay their welcome. Sometimes however the riff and beat on certain songs can become a bit too predictable and leave you yearning for those changes in pace. Although only a few songs into the tracklist the flurrying early 2000’s indie paced guitar lines of “March Day” and “Water In The Well” feel as though they’ve been heard many times before and don’t quite match up to the grandeur of many other moments in the album. Hidden behind explosions of sound, they are exciting in their drive but don’t really offer anything new in terms of sonic exploration.
Whether you’ve been bullying the band on twitter or patiently awaiting the second coming of these boys from the south, one things for sure, they have delivered the goods. And not just a second helping of what we’ve all had a good taste for, but an album that has been grown and allowed to mature along with us until it was ready to be consumed. The confidence and bravado of Shame has never died down in this time and that can be felt all over this album as the band look to challenge themselves at almost every turn.
TV Priest have shared new single “Press Gang” from their upcoming album Uppers, set to be released on February 5th, 2021 via Sub Pop. They have also shared an accompanying music video directed by Joe Wheatley.
“Press Gang” is inspired by Charlie’s grandfather’s life’s work as a photojournalist and war correspondent on Fleet Street from the 1950s to the early 1980s. The song is about the shifting role in the dissemination of information and ideas, and how the prevailing narrative that the “Death of Print Media” has contributed to a “post-truth” world.
Uppers is now available to preorder in the U.K. and Europe through select independent retailers.
The band have rescheduled February’s first London headliner and only the band’s second ever show – socially distanced at Oslo – for April 10th. The show was already sold out but the band will perform two shows across the evening, with the second now announced for 6pm. Details and tickets available here: https://www.alttickets.com/tv-priest-tickets
Shame have shared new single “Nigel Hitter” from upcoming sophomore album Drunk Tank Pink, set to be released on January 15th via Dead Oceans. The single was premiered on Annie Mac’s “Hottest Record In The World”. This is the fourth single from the new album following on from “Snow Day”, “Water in the Well” and “Alphabet”.
The band have also shared an accompanying music video. Watch below.
Hailing from Melbourne, Australia, Gutter Girls aren’t your average punk outfit. In their own words they’re a “coupla gals playing songs about hot chips n heartbreak coming to a bar near u”. But behind this laid back ethos is music that is as enticing as it is raw. Smoking riffs, groovy beats and knock you down vocals that’ll be bouncing about your head all day long. Releasing their latest single “Skin 2 Skin” in November, Gutter Girls have continued in their streak of fully charged bangers, we spoke to the group to learn about their collective love of Joan Jett, recording in isolation and where to get the best chips in Melbourne.
What drew each of you to music and how did you get into it?
I grew up surrounded by music but always assumed I’d just be a fan as I lacked any musical talent. I gave up piano after briefly learning as a kid and by the time I was really into seeing live music, I figured I had missed the boat to learn an instrument. It is never too late!!!
How did the group form and where did you meet?
In 2018 we all met through the local Melbourne music scene but didn’t know each other too well before deciding to join forces and start a band. None of us played any instruments beforehand except Amada, who only didn’t play drums. So naturally we got Amada on the drums and Alicia on synth, Bec on bass and myself on guitar and roughly learnt a few Joan Jett covers to get us going. We’d only been practicing (to learn our instruments) for a few months before we agreed to our first gig and quickly got a few tunes together in time.
How would you describe your sound?
Hot chips left out in the sun too long.
What was it like recording the new single whilst separated from each other?
It was challenging recording separately in lockdown as we would normally record live together. It felt a bit more serious when you’re alone to critique yourself. Recording separately meant that I had to record vocals with my housemates stuck at home to suffer through the takes, so to take the pressure off myself I made them drink whisky with me and sing along which turned out to be a very fun afternoon.
What was the inspiration behind “Skin 2 Skin” ?
GG songs never have much meaning or strategy behind them, I usually just have a silly thought and try to expand on it enough to call it a song. The lyrics rarely make any sense, but the great thing is that they don’t have to. You can definitely leave it up to the listener to interpret however they like. So the inspo for this track was just to have a new song for the collection really haha.
Who are some of your biggest influences?
All of our friends who play in rockin bands and inspired us to rawk with them.
Favourite gig you’ve been to?
There have been so many, but just before the first lockdown in Australia we luckily had the Golden Plains music festival. Screaming along to the Pixies with my BFFs will forever be burned into my brain.
Who would you love to be a support act for?
The Runaways Japan tour in 1977 please
Favourite show you’ve played?
There’s been so many favourites, but just before lockdown we got in a gig with Constant Mongrel at Cherry Bar. We are all big fans and it would have been a gig we’d attend anyway, so getting to play with them (and then dance afterwards to Springsteen with them) was a huge highlight.
What will it be like playing that first show once shows are allowed again? (Here in the UK shows aren’t happening currently)
It’ll definitely be a little strange until it’s back to normal capacity shows. In Melbourne, shows have returned to a seated, limited audience but with restrictions easing it looks like we will be able to stand and hopefully dance in near-future shows. We might be lucky and hopefully life will be semi-normal by the time we play our first gig back.
Any future musical plans after the new single?
Excited to get back under the same roof to start working on new songs and hopefully release something physical in the next year.
What are your favourite type of chips?
Hot ones, super soggy and covered in sauce. Shoutout to Tramway Hotel in Melb that has ripper ones!!