Punk Rock and Mindful Hope

Mark McConville reflects on the importance of punk rock in uncertain times, and its power to mentally uplift us.

Written by Mark McConville. Cover photo by Cold Front Photography.

Punk rock can save us from the mundanity of life. It can aid us in silencing the demons at large who thrust their voices in our heads.

They say punk is a lifestyle, one which only some can endure. That’s not true, as punk is a universal genre of music and culture, instilled in the framework of this breaking planet. To be truthful, punk is needed more than ever in these unprecedented times where animosity is overthrowing human affection. People are changing, they’re frightened, which is understandable, but love has been undermined by stupidity and panic.

Punk rock isn’t a cure, nor is it a foundation to lay problems upon. What it does is create collaborations amongst musicians and writers, even in virtual terms. It also has the charm to build friendships and conversations.  

Continue reading “Punk Rock and Mindful Hope”

Volunteers: The Unsung Heroes of Manchester Punk Fest

Manchester Punk Festival is a large multi-venue festival taking place in April each year. Remaining fervently DIY, it is staffed by a dedicated volunteers who come back every year. As part of that group, Sarah endeavoured to find out what makes MPF’s volunteer team so special. 

Article by Sarah Williams, originally written for the Manchester Punk Festival 2020 programme. 

The heart of DIY is a willingness to dedicate your time and energy for the love of punk. While MPF is run by a collective, there’s a supportive group of volunteers working behind the scenes at the event: packing and selling merchandise, running the stages, looking after the bands, wrist-banding and making sure that you’re having the best festival possible.

The volunteers are such a crucial part of this weekend, we wouldn’t be able to do it without them,” says Kaz Hinsley, who helps to head up the volunteer team. “Each and every person that helps in some way really does make the weekend run more smoothly.”

Volunteering at MPF is unlike volunteering at any other event. Everyone pitches in a few hours, with a big grin on their face, proud to be helping the festival run without a hitch. It’s a stark contrast to commercial festivals, where volunteering can mean struggling through a six hour shift on a comedown, covered in glitter and mud, doing the bare minimum to earn yourself a ticket. MPF’s volunteers are all keen to see that the festival operates at the highest standard possible. Continue reading “Volunteers: The Unsung Heroes of Manchester Punk Fest”

Japanese Punk Rock Bands You Need To See Live

Musicians who’ve toured Japan recommend the best live punk rock bands they saw over there: this a one-stop list of Japanese punk recommendations you need to check out.

Article by Sarah Williams. Cover photo: Shames taken by Cold Front Photography.

We’ve made a playlist of all the bands featured in this article – listen on Spotify.

For UK bands, touring Japan is the Holy Grail of punk rock. Success in DIY music cannot be quantified by financial gains or commercial exposure, but it can be measured by how far you’ve travelled to share your music with excited fans.

With the assistance of dedicated organisations like RNR Tours, increasingly more UK and European bands are playing Japan. We’ve covered them in Tree’s Fair Do’s tour diary and Tom West’s Japan Tour Survival Guide. Although many tours have been cancelled recently as a result of COVID-19, PMX made it over just before the global travel restrictions.

As more UK and European bands are receiving attention from Japanese crowds, we thought it time to reciprocate and give column space to the Japanese bands making waves over here. No doubt a knock-on effect from Anarchistic Undertones promoter Ian ‘Tree’ Robinson’s trip to Tokyo with Fair Do’s last year, Manchester Punk Festival this year had booked four incredible Japanese gems: SHAMES, Stone Leek, Green Eyed Monster and Gibberish (who have one Japanese member). Although MPF’s fallen foul of the Corona catastrophe, there’s no doubt that the same bands will be invited again for a future event. Beyond these, there is a whole culture of uptempo, angry, exciting bands that many of us are yet to discover.

I asked UK artists who’ve toured Japan to recommend their favourite acts, to give you an trustworthy overview of what Japanese punk rock has to offer. Continue reading “Japanese Punk Rock Bands You Need To See Live”

Advice for Surviving Lockdown from Someone Who’s Overcome Severe Depression

#MentallySound: tips for managing coronavirus panic and isolation, from someone’s who’s survived their own mental hell

Written by Sarah Williams. Gratuitous cat photos by Cold Front Photography

As stricter rules have been imposed by government in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19, my anxious friends and I have joked that ‘normies’ will suddenly know what it’s like to feel mad all the time.

Anxiety: sweats, shakes, racing thoughts, imagining impending catastrophe. Depression: solitude, sadness and worthlessness. We’re being told that if we don’t wash out hands well enough, it might kill our Nan. We’re scared to leave the house. There’s an omnipresent, invisible threat, lurking around waiting to take us out. Coronavirus panic has an awful lot in common with good ol’ run-of-the-mill depression. Continue reading “Advice for Surviving Lockdown from Someone Who’s Overcome Severe Depression”

Punk Rock Tour Tales #5: Pat from The Decline

Pat from Australia’s best skate-punk exports The Decline shares his memories of gigging, in jokes, and on-the-road antics.

Punk Rock Tour Tales is a new Shout Louder feature, where we interview bands about their tour stories. Read them all here.

The Decline are a high-energy straight up skate-punk band from Perth, Australia. Unfortunately, their UK/Euro tour has been scrapped to due to whole pandemic malarkey, but we still had a chat with them about their past touring experiences.

They’ve recently released a rad album: Flash Gordon Ramsay Street on Pee Records (with international collab from Bird Attack, Disconnect Disconnect, Bells On, Cargo and Oxford Records). It fits right in the vein of Frenzal Rhomb, NoFX and Lagwagon. Questions were answered by guitarist / vocalist Pat, who first up said that they ‘love touring, drinking beers and playing legend of Zelda’.

Of the touring you’ve done, what’s been your favourite so far?

It’s very hard to say! Maybe Punk Rock Holiday in Slovenia? Maybe South America with Much The Same and The Fullblast. Maybe Australia or Mexico with A Wilhelm Scream. It’s usually the people you’re touring with or the people you meet who make it the best, rather than the actual place… maybe the USA with MakeWar. Continue reading “Punk Rock Tour Tales #5: Pat from The Decline”

Memories & Highlights from Do It Together Fest 2020

Sarah’s personal highlights from the Do It Together Fest weekend, including bananas, oranges, pastry and some punk rock somewhere along the lines.

Written by Sarah Williams.

Thank you to everyone who attended Do It Together Fest. In collaboration with Paul Smith (Be Sharp Promotions) and Colin Clark (Colin’s Punk Rock World), we’d hoped to put together an event that celebrated the punk rock community, and what we achieved exceeded my expectations completed.

Firstly I’d like to announce that we raised a grand total of £880.72 for Mind! Thank you to everyone who donated, played our punk rock tombola or scoffed OGGS kindly donated cakes. Thanks also to every single person who attended, all the bands who played and everyone who lent a hand: you could truly feel the power of our community over the weekend, and every single person was a part of that. Continue reading “Memories & Highlights from Do It Together Fest 2020”

Knife Club: The Power of Hype Marketing

We explore the intentions and hype of punk rock’s new, secret band Knife Club.

Written by Sarah Williams.

It’s likely that by now you’ll have heard of Knife Club. Their distinctive switchblade graphics and their provocative ‘#WhoAreKnifeClub?’ hashtag have been spread across social media since August 2019.

They have been announced to play enviable slots on big name festivals like Manchester Punk Fest and Rebellion, plus a smattering of club gigs, beginning with a spot high up the bill at April’s edition of Garlic Bread Club at Manchester’s Retro Bar

How is it possible for a band to exist, get bookings, tease an album recording and create so much controversy… without anyone knowing who they are? Continue reading “Knife Club: The Power of Hype Marketing”

Do It Together Fest Preview

Introducing the bands playing Do It Together Fest this weekend, including music videos, fun facts and recommended reading.

Do It Together Fest is a celebration of the DIY punk rock community, which we’re hosting alongside our friends Be Sharp Promotions and Colin’s Punk Rock World on 24-25th January 2020.

Sat in a beer garden last summer, I stumbled on the idea of putting on a London weekender (an evolution of Shout Louder Fest in 2019)… a flurry of WhatsApp messages and not a lot of thought later, we’d planned the whole thing.

Paul, Colin and I all have our birthdays over the same two weekends so, rather than competing, we’ve clubbed together to create this shindig. We’ve invited our mutual favourite bands to play, and we’re giving a platform to other promoters by offering stalls to labels and zines. I’m even making PAPERCUTS (our community themed book) to tie in with the event.

Do It Together Fest takes place on 24-25 January at New Cross Inn, London. Grab a ticket and a zine.

Our aim was to create a diverse line-up, hoping to help you to discover some bands you may not have experienced yet. Here’s a run down of all the awesome artists we’ve got playing. Continue reading “Do It Together Fest Preview”

Punk Rock Tour Tales #3: Jason from UNIFORMS

Jason Rees talks about why touring is a gift, despite flight delays, unreliable vehicles and too many hot chillis. We also learn all about his survival techniques and his Megamixes.

Punk Rock Tour Tales is a new Shout Louder feature, where we interview bands about their tour stories. Read them all here.

Many musicians and fans who’ve stayed over in Dundee will be familiar with the smile, hospitality and positive approach of Jason Rees; drummer in UNIFORMS and The Blood Red Moon, supporter of Make-That-A-Take Records and some-time drummer in Terrafraid (and probably plenty of other bands we don’t remember!).

UNIFORMS are a gritty, honest poppy punk band from Scotland, with one hell of a live show. They’re playing Do It Together Fest, which Shout Louder is hosting in London in January 2020. We thought it’d be a great time to speak to Jason about some of his past tour experiences.

Of the touring you’ve done, what’s been your favourite so far?

I have fond memories from pretty much all the tours I’ve been on, though going round Europe with Forever Unclean (whilst drumming for Terrafraid) was bloody great. I’d never met them properly before the tour, but we all got on brilliantly and the tour was stress free. Even when faced with nowhere to sleep and not being able to get over the border, their attitudes towards difficult situations were infectious and we’d all just accept the reality of what was happening and find a solution together. Continue reading “Punk Rock Tour Tales #3: Jason from UNIFORMS”

Top 10 Punk Rock Records of 2019

Make sure you haven’t missed out on any of 2019’s top punk rock albums.

Written by Sarah Williams.

Another year, another deluge of arbitrary Top 10 selections. We punk rockers love a list, and it’s fun to take a nostalgic look back at the past 12 months.

I’ve mapped out a lot of 2019 in records that are a far cry from the punk rock genre, although ethically they’re still subversive and alternative. My true Top 10 of 2019 would include albums by P Money, Lizzo, Loyle Carner and Kevin Abstract. You can read it over at the Lockjaw Records website.

Nonetheless, there have been some great punk rock releases this year. Here are my Top 10 Punk Rock Records of 2019.  Yes, it starts with #9… the reason will become clear at the end. Continue reading “Top 10 Punk Rock Records of 2019”