Do all the decent bands come from Sweden? It certainly seems like it at the moment and The Hawkins are no exception to the rule. ”Live in the Woods” is an eclectic collection of tunes with a sound ranging between Tom Petty’s cool and the frantic pop of The Killers.
”Live in the Woods” was partly recorded in a deep Swedish forest, partly recorded in an abandoned barn, and partly recorded at Brasstacks Brewing.
In the download digital world, you get 7 cuts, but if you’re feeling saucy you can get an extra track on a cheeky slab of green vinyl. Well, it would be rude not to…
Disclaimer – Obviously being Swedish there is an undercurrent of Hellacopters throughout so I won’t mention them again today.
Kicking off with 4 tracks recorded live somewhere in the trees. ‘ Hilow’ is a cool slice of post-grunge Americana with a kind of Tom Petty meets Goo Goo Dolls vibe though it really doesn’t set the direction of the rest of the album. Next up ‘Stranger in the Next Room’ swings the listener off into a falsetto and funky world with only the slightest hint of the sound that came before it.
Still in the same forest “Black Gold’ flings us into a country super speed country barn dance with a little hint of The Darkness to it.
Finally, before we move indoors and the woodland field trip ends, ‘Libertine’ bringing a further shift towards Justin Hawkins (oooh fancy that) and Brandon Flowers vocally but with much more meat than their respective bands. Much heavier than the previous 3 tracks, ‘Libertine’ takes the band to the borders of Muse territory….. but in a good way!
Side 2 takes us indoors to Brasstacks Brewing with ‘Roomer ‘. Certainly, as the album progresses I’m hearing more of a Killer’s feel, and coupled with ‘ Cut Moon Bleeds’, the full-on and massive sound is stepping further away from the Scandi-rock of the clubs and well into arena territory.
Finally ‘ Fisherman Blues’ takes us into the aforementioned barn. However, this barn must be located in Progsville as we’ve shifted musical style again. Sure it’s a heady mix of the Darkness and Muse though this may be 1 swerve too far for me.
All in all, a really good album mixing styles in and around a classic rock vibe.
Order the LP on green vinyl (with an extra track) from – Here
The Hawkins strike me as a band of brothers who like loud guitars and goofin’ around in equal measures. After the quiet intro we get straight down to business with the vibrant ‘Roomer’. It sounds like they have a love of classic Rock and scandi attitude Action Rock again in equal measures and the whole of that is encapsulated in the single ‘Roomer’
There is a love of the duel guitar licks a la Thin Lizzy as perfectly performed on ‘Hilow’ but played out in the verses and chorus to some very sharp power pop.
It’s retro but in a thoroughly modern way. They’ve been together forever it would seem doing what they do and perfecting their art since 2013 which would explain their tightness.
During the first four years, The Hawkins kept the ball rolling by releasing EPs and singles while constantly being on the road, playing everything from small venue gigs to some of the biggest festivals in Scandinavia, including Sweden Rock Festival, Metallsvenskan and Peace & Love. They ended the year of 2016 with a huge bang by flying over to Russia to support pop/punk act ”4 Aprils” on a 10 day tour.
The Hawkins debut album “Ain’t Rock N Roll” (released via GAIN/Sony Music) entered the world with a superb bang in October 2017. The album included the single ”Fuck You All I’m Outta Here”, a powerful song with a strong anti-fascist message which quickly gained momentum in the Swedish rock scene, securing the band’s role as one the most promising bands of the country.
But three years have flown by and now in 2020 the time has come to step up and when they rock out as they do on ‘Stones’ they are easily a match for the likes of Imperial State Electric its fast-paced and tight and its catchy. Often I feel like we’ve met before. Whilst I’m not a big fan of the layered vocals ‘Mynah’ I certainly do get songs like ‘Minuette’ and its rough edges and the fire in their guts it reminds me a little of The Dahmers and they are always fantastic. I’m sure in a tight club with volume on their side these songs would take on another dimension especially cuts like ‘Libertine’.
On the final tune, I get a vibe of My Chemical Romance maybe in the vocals and the drama of the song which shows they draw from a large pool and whilst there are bits I’m not keen on there are some belters on here and I’m sure once one of the hooks lodges itself in my head that’s it -they’ll reel me in.
Doesn’t really need an introduction but here goes – Jesse Malin pays tribute to NYC hardcore legend and former bandmate in both D Generation and Malins St Marks Social. It features Bad Brains Legend H.R as well and you can order the 7″ via Bandcamp from Wicked Cool Records.
‘In the Shade of the Wild Oak Tree’ – from the album ‘Wrapped up in Ribbons’ by Craggy Collyde is up next and the 10″ record can be purchased from their Facebook page also shipping from the UK.
Finally, check this one from The Hawkins taken from their new album out this week on The Sign records.
Mala Vista – Mala Vista EP (Self Released / Dead Beat Records / No Front Teeth Records) When is a single and EP and when is an EP a mini album or a full album? Mala Vista knows how to confuse those who like categories and lists and like to departmentalise their music with this seven-track (digital) five-track seven-inch release and my pick of the month’s best EPs. Kicking off with an ‘Intro’ and then the rapid ‘Mouth Breeder’ reminding me of our very own Hip Priests in many ways. The ‘Nuclear Missile Crisis’ is another belter from this New York quartet sounding like the bastard offspring of Buzzcocks and SLF.
Originally released early last year but repressed and re-released and thank God for that otherwise we’d have missed out on ‘NY Groove’ and its rapid rock and roll breathing new life into the spirit of The Ramones. I love the feel of the record songs like ‘Criminal’ get better and better the more you spin it and the fact it certainly doesn’t have any Bob Rock big production values only adds to the record. great tunes played well and with a tonne of energy and love poured into every one of them. Keep an eye on these boys I love what I’ve heard thus far. Facebook / Bandcamp
Slash City Daggers – ‘Lose Myself On You (I’m Gonna) It’s certainly been a while but I love me some Slash City Daggers and with this tune I find I’m jonesing for some good time junk rock n roll and this has just given me my fix but what next? I want more, more, more! A wonderful late-night slice of quality from the Daggers who clearly get what it takes to absorb all the New York Dolls and trashy Rock and Roll possible but has it been almost twenty years since we last had a Daggers tune? Wow please don’t make us wait another twenty before the next one, get on with it we need some more of this right here right now. Whoo ho! baby rock and fuckin’ roll! Bandcamp
No Fix – ‘Apocalyptic Rock’ (Self Release) well kids Canada is killing again as Ontario’s No Fix wipes their nose on the sleeve of Rock and Roll with this here EP. First out the gate is the snarling ‘Get Outta Punk’ and in a similar vein, there’s no let-up on the hypnotic ‘Arm The Boys’ which sounds like they’ve found Doc Brown’s time machine and headed back to the early 80s and shown up at a Partisans show and nicked their chord book. The pick of the tunes on offer for me would be the latter offerings. ‘Vicious Cycle’ has guitar playing a simple strum n lick and the rhythm is solid, it might not be breaking new ground but who cares just enjoy the moment and pogo! ‘Big Bopper’ is more like it and they’ve saved the best til last for sure.
The Hawkins – ‘Roomer’ (The Sign Records) The first track taken from their new album sees Swedens rockers The Hawkins with a huge sounding song with a big dramatic chorus and full-on rolling guitar lick that mixes classic rock with something you might have on latter Hellacopters records. ‘Silence is a Bomb’ is due in September and looks like being as solid as their previous album. Infectious tune and it’s got handclaps as well. What’s not to like Rockers. Get those sweatbands on your wrists and turn it up let’s go!
Mononegatives – ‘Half Hour Tour Tape’ Uncompromising lo-fi punk rock. This EP is pushing the needle into the red as the tunes come thick and fast ‘5 Second Future’ is first up and a no-holds attack is their MO. Canada has a rich history of churning out fantastic underground bands and on this EP it seems that conveyor belt is still in production as ‘Lower Animals’ continues with the wall of noise but with added synth into the mix. There is more clarity on ‘Exit’ using a tonne of reverb on the guitar whilst the drums remind me of early Joy Division and if your waiting for the lyrics then forget it there aren’t any. Hit em up over at Bandcamp
The Dirty Truckers – ‘Little Mine’ (Rum Bar Records) The Boston Wrangler’s are back with a brand new penned Tom Baker single and a ‘Second Dose’ from The Dirty Truckers. The brand new single ‘LITTLE MINE’ leads off ‘Second Dose’ celebrating the recklessness & abandonment of Barroom-Heartland Rock n’ Roll delivering the spirit of the moment and kicking its arse’ into high gear. My advice would simply be TURN It UP! It’s never too early to Rock and Roll and this good time tune is outta the Georgia Satellites family songbook its got that overdriven six-string going on and a little ray of sunshine when we need it. Get on it folks have Rum BAr ever let you down? Of Course not. Bandcamp
The Dukes Of Bordello – ‘Deaf Or Gory’ (Self Release) The EP begins with the chugging riff-a-rama of ‘Think I’m Turning Psyco’ but you can follow that with an honest take on The Sonics classic ‘Strychnine’. It might be missing the sax and piano of the original but this is an altogether more stripped back and rocked out take and that’s cool, it has a great guitar solo thrown into the mix adding something new to a top tune.
‘Won’t You Make Up Your Mind’ sees the band rock out with the uptempo boogie-woogie with a cheeky tip of the hat to the mighty Quo for the solo. To round up the EP you get a live run through ‘All In The Name’ with its Motorhead like riff tearing it up without overdubs and sounding like a good quality desk bootleg keeping it real.
Territories / The Vicious Cycles – Split 7″ (Pirates Press Records) ‘Prairie Twister’ from Territories on one side is a great slice of boogie street punk. It’s a punchy tight sound with vocals not unlike those Dropkick Murphys whereas The vicious Cycles is more in line with mid-period Misfits with lots of gang vocals as ‘Problem Officer’ is rowdy like the bar band in a bike clubhouse who give it a twist with some keys before the solo and sounding like a right good time party on record. Both bands are of course from Canada and met at the Pirates Press boat shindig recently so decided to cement the friendship with this here split.
How Tragic – ‘Past Lives’ EP (Self Release) Four tracks of vibrant rock and roll with a super sharp production from the lead track ‘Deathwish’ through the punky ‘Spare ME’ comparisons to the likes of the Distillers are going to be made may be slightly more glossy in production and vocals but its got the same attitude shining through.
‘Let Me Down’ is another twist with a steady rhythm and a great song but the riot Grrrl theme comes to the fore on the final track ‘Done’ which is totally out of the L7 vibe of grinding rhythm and tempo but the guitars are loud and proud. An altogether impressive EP for sure and maybe its time for a riot grrrl resurgence and How Tragic will be at the forefront of that movement. Check em out at their Website
Obnoxious Youth – ‘Mouth Sewn Shut’ (Svart Records) Punk meet metal, metal meet punk now go and come up with something loud obnoxious but good. Ok pop pickers say hello to Obnoxious Youth from Finland and check out their unholy racket of rapid metallic punk rock. Described as six tracks of mayhem, havoc, chaos, death, destruction and savagery which pretty much nails their sound in a nutshell.
What’s not to like? Discharge, Ramones, The Misfits, Danzig, Septic Death, Celtic Frost, Black Flag, Zeke, Adrenalin OD, Slayer, Negative Approach, Venom, Motörhead and Agnostic Front are some of the influences on this beast and if that doesn’t perk your interest then maybe we should give up. If you love a bit of Midnight (We do) then you simply have to jump on board with this lot. It’s fast as fuck – loud as fuck – tight as fuck and a whole lot of pulse-raising uncompromising noise. Get on this before they all vanish. Buy Here / Facebook