2020 was a crap year. It’s also another year where I couldn’t often find the motivation to write, or to do much of anything, really. Here’s to 2021 being a bit better. I don’t want to be too negative, but I’m not holding my breath.
As I didn’t really write much, the best album of the year honors were among limited choices. So with all due respect to anyone who got it together enough to produce material in 2020, cheers to you!
Burning Nickels (containing members of Trashed Ambulance and The Moröns) has dropped their latest release – a 5 song EP called Bernie Goes To College via High End Denim Records. Recorded and mixed at Overserved Studios in Red Deer, Alberta, the songs are a heaping pile of fun, bubblegum pop punk. With subject matter ranging from the excellence of their niece to the unstoppable force known as Jerome the dog, listeners are encouraged to kick off their shoes, put their feet up, and forget about their worries for the 15 minutes it takes to spin this EP!
Guitarist/Singer/A-hole Josh Hauta comments on the creation of the EP.: “We had a bunch of silly songs in our repertoire that certainly didn’t fit in with our other bands so we decided that since the only rule we have in Burning Nickels is that there are no rules, we made the call to go super fluffy fun punk with this one. Walking and Waiting was actually a song that Ozone and I’s wives grandfather (they’re sisters, not the same person) had written and recorded onto a 45 back in the 50’s so we gave it the old Nickels twist. He’s sure to hate it. Then I blew my voice out singing along to the Boney M Christmas album so luckily, Rob and Ozone stepped up to write and sing on Summer Boner and Long Minute, respectively. I think it all turned out wonderful!”
You can pick up the album on the High End Denim Records bandcamp or stream it on your favourite platform. There is currently no plan to release these songs physically but stranger things have happened! Stay safe!
Here’s a quick shout out to Terminal City Rats with their new album, Year of the Rat. Hailing from Vancouver BC, these neighbors to the north have kicked out a solid punk rock record.
13 tracks of punk. largely in the vein of some of the crack rocksteady sounds of Leftover Crack, Star Fucking Hipsters, Morning Glory etc. Not a carbon copy, of course, but clearly going down that path.
It’s good, so give it a listen. You aren’t doing anything right now anyway.
Cheers! Jerry Actually
Tracks: 1. Intro 00:58 2. Year of the Rat 00:17 3. TCRA 01:11 4. Stand Proud 02:14 5. More than a Scene 01:32 6. Lion’s Roar 01:37 7. Never Surrender 02:00 8. The Struggle 01:53 9. Hastings 01:29 10. Stay Sharp 01:21 11. Here’s to You (Broken and Alone) 01:33 12. Queens 01:41 13. Wants and Needs 01:56
Bio: Started sometime in early 2018 by founding members, bassist and songwriter Jeremy Starcok and drummer Liam Ready, Terminal City Rats were just two new friends brought together by their mutual love for punk rock. The duo spent a couple of months jamming and composing ideas before guitarist Chris “Crash” Campbell (F’Neh / The Receptionists) joined. “I ran into Crash at a show and casually mentioned that I had started a new project when he pretty much informed me that he was going to be our guitar player”, recalls Jeremy. “He basically told me right there on the spot that he was coming to our next practice without me even asking.”
Having played together in the short lived Vancouver punk band Struck A Nerve years earlier, the two knew they shared some musical chemistry and common tastes. Eager to find a singer, the trio made a social media post in search of someone. Bed ridden and recovering from a nasty knee injury, Jameson Trenholm (Obscene Being) answered jokingly with “I’ll join your band”, not expecting anything to actually come of it. “…I had turned my knee into mashed potato. I somehow managed to hobble my broke self to a few jams where I was crowned the Singer”.
Now a four piece and the addition of a second songwriter in Jameson, the band spent the next few months crafting a collection of songs, three of which would be recorded on their debut self titled demo recorded at Rain City Recorders by Stu McKillop in the fall of 2018. For the next year or so, Terminal City Rats played a handful of shows at venues around Vancouver including the Have A Good Laugh festival and legendary local haunts such as the Alf house, Pub 340 and SBC. “Those were really fun shows and we played with some killer local and touring bands but when we started this band, it was always the plan to have two guitar players. Two differently styled players who complimented each other.” says Jeremy.
Enter Mandy Green (Frank Love) in August of 2019. “…having known Jameson through the Vancouver music scene, he said they were looking for a second guitarist and after hearing their fast, raw, high energy sound I said ‘I’m in.’” With the long time plan of being a 5 piece finally coming to fruition, the band set out to incorporate Mandy’s guitar playing into their set. More shows followed including a sold out night at the Cambie in downtown Vancouver playing with some of Vancouver’s finest in Space Chimp, Alien Boys, Chain Whip and The Vicious Cycles. Riding the high of that night, the band again decided to enter the studio to record the follow up to their first release.
Whilst practicing and preparing to record, the Covid-19 pandemic hit, essentially halting the band’s ability to get together and jam. Months passed, during which time founding member Liam decided that he no longer wanted to be a part of Terminal City Rats and left to focus on other areas of his life. The band, now without a drummer and quickly approaching studio time, started to consider cancelling their scheduled recording session. As some of the pandemic restrictions started to be lifted, the band was able to begin jamming again but was still without a drummer.
Through friendship and connections in the local community, Jameson approached drummer Marco Bieri (Space Chimp, ATD, The Dreadnoughts) about the possibility of helping the band in the studio. With his various projects also on hold due to the pandemic and itching to play, Marco welcomed the opportunity. Learning 5 songs in only a few practices, the band entered Rain City Recorders for two days in June 2020 again with Stu McKillop at the helm. With the reinvigorated energy of a new drummer in addition to the results of that session, Marco asked “Why not do a full length album?” 8 more songs and two weeks later, Terminal City Rats returned to the studio to finish their debut full length album “The Year of the Rat”.