I’m a sucker for Christmas, I love the whole sentimentality of it. The signs that one year is nearly complete and we can prepare for the next. Of course the cynical punk rocker in me gets pushed deep down as commercialism is to the fore in this season. Christmas gives people in the west a chance to take stock of where we are, what we have and what we have done over the past 12 months. Personally I feel like I’ve had a long sleep and we are back again. Thankfully though there’s been a good soundtrack to my sleep. That soundtracks has included some really cool UK diy punky hardcore bands. There’s a whole stream out there bashing away at their guitars, playing like their lives depend on it and holding on to some sort of hope.
As someone who gladly attends the annual Rebellion punk festival it is heartening to see old punks hanging on to what they believe in and treating each other well. Under the surface of the leather, bristles spikes and anarchy there is a movement of players who came from that punk scene but wanted their tunes to really shine through. Few of them play at Rebellion but these people are in bands like Bedford Falls, The No Marks, Southport, Bear Trade, Epic Problem and Holiday. There’s a ton more, like the people around the Make That A Take scene in Scotland.
One of the best 7″‘s in recent years came from Boltons Stay Clean Jolene, I wrote previously after being privileged to see them play this year, “soaring guitars, heartfelt tunes and an integrity that can’t be made up. We are lucky to have bands like Stay Clean Jolene. Lucky they want to continue to play music to 100 people, and lucky they feel lucky to do so. They are incredible. Such talent, criminally ignored but whilst it is that way we can still cling on to them.” And now they have released their album. And it’s Christmas time!
Ten songs of action packed guitar tunes. It is heartfelt and has more than a nod to Husker Du and Leatherface. Leaving it with those comparisons is lazy and unfair – I’m just trying to help you. They have their own stamp. Guitars soar with tunes that leave you wanting more. They are anthems, tuneful and clear. I have listenened to this record at least 10 times in two days, it’s that good. Just like Santa Claus, if only the world could be like this all the time, I could ignore all the austerity and measures imposed on the populace.
I bet Stay Clean Jolene would be on the side of the people. A sure sign of community is the fact that so many labels have released this record. Well three have clubbed in for the vinyl and two, at least, for the CD. I only wished I wasn’t too late to the party and could have been their Irish distributor.