hip priests - The I-94 Bar
Heavy Medication Records honcho
To be honest, 2020 wasn’t too big of a train wreck for me. I generally work remotely, so there was no adjustment to the joys and pitfalls of working from home. Even though live concerts were few and far between, I still managed to catch a few great ones before the gates closed. (Poison Heart’s Ten-Year Anniversary gig and an aurally hallucinogenic set by Brazil’s Rakta come to mind.)
Alas, some long-anticipated plans got scrapped (some well-paying DJ gigs, a Heavy Medication LabelFest with Puffball and Hell Nation Army in Berlin, travelling somewhere to catch Pat Todd & the Rankoutsiders on their European tour), but new plans rose out of the ashes of the fallen ones to make the best out of a bad situation. But more on that later…
Here are some things I dug in 2020:
1.) Smalltown Tigers “Five Things” mini-album(Area Pirata Records)
Loud guitars, catchy tunes and simplicity have always worked in punk rock’s favor, and these three Italian chicas (sorry, regazze) follow this recipe while mixing in their own sonic special sauce through the eight songs on this tasty debut platter. The Ramones and Runaways are obvious reference points (especially Valli’s gritty Joan Jett growl), but these Tigers manage to sound both ferocious and sweet at the same time. The no-frills execution and earworm-quality of the songs kept me playing this mini-LP on endless repeat. Listen up here.
The Hip Priests are angry as fuck and want you to know about it. The urgency and energy of past albums are intact but leery innuendos and odes to drinkis-and-drugs excess are toned down on their latest long-player, replaced by a seething fury.
There's no mistaking the target of the musical Exocet that's opening track "Welcome To Shit Island". It's an all-guitars-blazing assault on the pro-Brexit brigade wrapped up in a punk rock letter bomb. And there's more in store on the other nine tracks - with a focus on everyone from the forces that would wipe out rock and roll to the man down the road at number 19. .
Hip Priests hail from Nottingham in the UK and if you think Little John's longbow was the most dangerous thing to come out of Sherwood Forest, adjust your green tights. The Priests play it like Backyard Babies. TBNGR and the 'Copters - which means they sound like all those dirty arse Scandirock bands of the late '90s and early '00s.
You could say "Stand For Nothing" is not for the faint-hearted or the hard of hearing. You would be right. You could also say Hip Priests are in that last-man-standing category of Real Rock and Roll Bands. Correct again. You win a cigar.
It’s said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again. If it’s true, The Hip Priests deserve a lengthy rest in a luxury grade rock and roll rubber room. One with booze on tap, room service high-class hookers and a mound of coke. Praise the lord and pass the straight jackets.
These Pommy punks from Nottingham have been driving their sonic battering ram against the gates of mainstream acceptance for a decade now without breaching its defences. Fame and fortune have clearly evaded them but they make it obvious that they couldn’t give a fuck.