In the words of Burnt Tapes, “This year’s been a weird one.”
Despite that, it’s not been a bad one. Shout Louder’s been quieter than usual, but I did publish two books (PAPERCUTS #1 & #2 – get yours here!). I started a punk rock radio podcast that was surprisingly popular (65k listens on Episode 4 is surely a fluke?!) and co-hosted Do It Together Fest… which I hope would have made a few folk’s ‘Top 10 Gigs of 2020’ list even if it weren’t one of the only gigs in 2020.
The musical landscape is not the only thing that’s changed dramatically in 2020, but it’s the one I’ve noticed the most. I’ve read that the unpredictability of the year’s events has driven people to a lot of nostalgic listening – replaying comforting past releases rather than diving into new albums. I’ve definitely fallen into that trap: it turns out I still know all the words to Anthology by Alien Ant Farm and every Limp Bizkit and Slipknot album.
I’ve also found myself exploring a lot of genres outside of ‘punk rock’, because for me punk is ultimately about live music. Without gigs, without all-dayers and without people buzzing with excitement around me, I’ve had less interest in discovering new bands. According to my Spotify Wrapped, I’ve spent 2020 listening to ‘jazz rap’, ‘neo-soul’ and grime instead. For anyone interested, my personal 2020 Bangers playlist can be found here.
I’m not doing a traditional Top 10 Releases but I didn’t want to let the occasion pass without identifying a few top albums, EPs and singles that I’ve enjoyed this year.
Episode two of our Punk Rock Radio show is now online, featuring a lot of angry banter plus new tunes from Swayze, Jealous, Neurotic Fiction, Screaming Toenail and more.
On this week’s podcast I got really damn angry about the UK government, coronavirus, sexism and racism, and I argued with trolls on the internet. I thought: where better to let out that rage than on a public music forum, where will respond and/or care?
I enjoyed the new radio podcast format massively for Round #1, so I thought I’d try it again. I’ve played some bangers and done my best to give you some solo banter – I’ve talked a lot more on this episode and I will not be the slightest bit offended if you skip ahead to the juicy punk rock tunes.
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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.
The Shout Louder Punk Podcast returns with an interview with Scottish misery-punks Goodbye Blue Monday!
The Shout Louder podcast makes a triumphant return, with Scottish misery-punks Goodbye Blue Monday!
Sarah caught up with Graham Lough on tour, to talk about the band’s musical origins, the minefield of mental health and The Power of Ska.
The whole interview with Goodbye Blue Monday was a right giggle, and will appeal to old fans and new. Give it a listen and get excited for the new season of the podcast!
The podcast features some special musical treats from Goodbye Blue Monday, the Garry Biscuits cover band and Terrafraid‘s ‘Control’. Misery-punk may have ruined their lives, but it makes for a hilarious listen.
Rick Delaney taste tests Lockjaw Records’ Coffee midway through Manchester Punk Festival. The result is this hilarious, hungover story, that’ll resonate even if you don’t have the slightest interest in coffee.
Lockjaw Records (Sarah Shout Louder’s other love) recently teamed up with Sham City Roasters to create their own bespoke Lockjaw Coffee. They challenged Rick Delaney, who usually writes serious stuff for Dying Scene, to take it for a serious taste-test.
Bravely, Delaney chose to do this early in the morning, halfway through the liver-crippling marathon of Manchester Punk Festival. He’s a true hero; here’s his (inebriated, tangential, absolutely hilarious) story.
In screaming sunshine, I hotfoot across Manchester with a photographer on the verge of alcohol-induced paralysis and a shopping list of accoutrements and crucial equipment for a coffee morning. The goal is a double review – the latest compilation and a custom coffee blend from the hardworking and frankly spectacular bunch at Lockjaw Records.
Surprisingly minimal fucking around in shops later – camera operator Josh Sumner [Shout Louder’s resident photographer] sweats outside – we get the gear and head for an apartment on the North side of town. We call Carly Ashburner – one of many truly magical humans attending Manchester Punk Festival 2019 and literal bench-presser of band members. She meets us on the street in typical high spirits. We head upstairs.
We’ve made a Spotify playlist of all the best punk rock bands we’ve seen live this year, just for you. Want to discover your new favourite band, or relive the best music festivals of 2019? Look no further.
Live music is the best barometer for new bands. No matter your budget, it’s impossible to capture the energy of a good gig on vinyl. Watching a band live is the fastest way to fall in love with them.
Writing in August, I’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy a plenty of punk gigs and festivals already this year. Feisty bands like Not On Tour, The Penske File and Nosebleed have consistently got me dancing. I’ve been impressed by old favourites like The Bronx and Consumed, who haven’t lost their edge. And I’ve caught new acts like Cryptic Street and Daves and had my mind blown.
Here is a Spotify playlist of the best punk rock bands of 2019 so far. Who would be on your list?
Years ago, Groezrock was as much a draw for British punk rockers as Download or Reading. For many of us it was our first festival outside of the UK. After a fallow year, Groezrock has evolved and become more refined, but it still boasts an exceptional line-up and an excellent atmosphere.
I travelled over to the sprawling festival site in sleepy Meerhout in the company of Goodbye Blue Monday, who were playing the smaller Cockpit stage on Saturday. We were keen to get a Jupiler down our necks as soon as we arrived, which fortunately coincided with Pkew Pkew Pkew getting things started. Continue reading “Live Review: Groezrock 2019”
Moving North have sourced an exceptional punk rock line-up for a cold Wednesday in the Rainy City. Tonight’s bill of Spanish Love Songs, Pkew Pkew Pkew and Goodbye Blue Monday showcases the future of melodic punk rock: each of these bands is set to explode in the near future. This is a tour that will go down in the history books.
Selling out weeks in advance, tonight’s also due to be a shoulder-to-shoulder riot in Manchester’s tasteful Soup Kitchen basement. Exposed brick, classy beers and healthy grub here make it one of the best venues the city has to offer. It’s gigs like this that put Manchester at the forefront of the UK’s live music scene.
Now that we’ve completed our round-up of 2018 (check out our top albums, EPs, festivals and live bands) it’s time to look ahead of the future.
The DIY punk scene is thriving in Europe currently; it’s feels like we’re on riding the crest of a wave that’s growing into a tsunami. Online connections are enabling us to share recommendations and enthusiasm across continents, so word is spread quickly about exciting new acts.
It’s easy to find new music nowadays, however I’ve believe there are two methods that stand out above the others: watching support acts at gigs and listening to recommendations from your friends. In 2019, I implore you to get out and see as many new bands as possible. To get you started, here are Shout Louder’s top recommendations:
Canadian thrashers Wolfrik are unlike any other band I’ve heard… although it’s safe to say they’re fans of Alexisonfire, A Wilhelm Scream, Protest The Hero and Belvedere. I’ve been keen to get their EP SkeletonCity into the ears of anyone I can find and, so far, everyone’s been bowled over by their awesome sound.
Fortunately Skeleton City also found its way to the ears of the Manchester Punk Festival promoters, who pretty much instantly added them to the bill. If Wolfrik are as good live as they are on record then they’re going to tear the faces off the whole UK punk scene when they arrive in England in April. Erring on the metal / rock end of the punk scale, they combine a variety of genres, but it’s all fast, raucous fun with a healthy dose of experimentation. Continue reading “7 Punk Rock Bands To Stalk In 2019”