Punktastic Presents: Playlist – May ’20

By Andy Joice

We’re not going to mention it. We’re not going to say anything other than we hope you’re all keeping safe and healthy, and washing your hands thoroughly. Let’s move on.

We’ve not published one of these for a while but it feels the right time to try to bring it back. We’re all frustrated with the lack of gigs – the musky smell of sweat, the taste of warm flat beer, the ache in your whole body the following morning. While we can’t replicate it for you, we can definitely provide you with some fantastic tunes to keep you entertained and distracted.

Check out the Punktastic Playlist below, and have a read our thoughts on some tracks below.

AJJ – ‘A Big Day For Grimley’

When AJJ penned the line, “And you can bet it’s gonna be a bunch of bullshit too out in sweet 2020″, not even at their prophetic best could they have imagined a world where the only form of communication is via a Zoom call. Taken from their 2020 LP, ‘Good Luck Everybody’, ‘A Big Day for Grimley’ is an all-too real apocalyptic lullaby. Sean Bonnette paints a picture of a better world free from persecution, racism, and a world where we look after each other. This arms-around-the-campfire track, however, is set against the ominous tone of falling bombs and creeping dread. The cheerful whistling at the end, punctuated by muffled rumblings, convey that even the most positive outlook on life cannot prevent what’s coming. A real feel-good anthem for your self-isolation.


Borts – ‘The Lake’

I have fond memories of Salisbury; my great granddad lived there so every summer involved a trip down to see him, and a trip to Reeves the bakers – if you know, you know! If you don’t and you’re visiting, check it out, it’s seriously worth the visit. So when I saw a band hailing from Salisbury on The Pickup, I had to give them a listen. Borts are a fresh faced punk band sounding like a crossed between Gnarwolves, Modern Baseball, and PUP. ‘The Lake’ is the first track on the debut EP ‘No Golf’ released last year by the 3-piece. It’s full of chunky riffs and heavy un-punk like beats. Borts have more music coming this year, and I, for one, am looking forward to it.


Kid Kapichi – ‘Cinderella’

It’s easy to talk about the lockdown, isolation and the terrible state of the world but it’s a little obvious. While it’s clearly at the front of everyone’s mind, it can be particularly difficult for people stuck in abusive relationships, where lockdown has be become a literal, inescapable prison. Painting a picture of torment, destruction, and ultimately a happier ending, Kid Kapichi’s 2018 hellblazer ‘Cinderella’ is a harrowing, pointed and overwhelming take on walking away from relationships that are no longer safe. With one of the catchiest choruses in years, the Hastings quartet thrash their way through with such dedicated force, it’s impossible to imagine this wouldn’t cause even the most stoic of gig attendance to throw themselves around till they ache. Relatively local to the Brighton scene, there’s almost certainly some influence from the city, with a punk undertone that’s rife throughout the entire South Coast, complete with a message that seems dark but borders a more positive outlook. Kid Kapichi dropped new single ‘Household Shame’ earlier this month, and with ‘Thugs’ released in February, will there be a new EP or album on the horizon? We can only hope.


Tigercub – ‘Control’

When it comes to distortion, nobody does it better than Brighton. Such alumni as YONAKA, Demob Happy, and Royal Blood will tell you that. It’s a city that’s exemplified the alternative for years, and for a band like Tigercub, who are, to quote them directly, “so f***ing bored of rock music and scared that punk is becoming its own version of conservatism” it’s an apt home. ‘Control’ comes from the trio’s 2016 debut LP ‘Abstract Figures In The Dark’, an accurate name for the 43 minutes of warped and dreamy noise-pop it contains. The hazy sound is one all too familiar in modern rock, but it’s one that’s been tweaked and toyed with by the Brighton scene, by bands like Tigercub, to produce some incredibly memorable results. A few singles have followed, which hopefully indicates a second full length release in the future soon.


Giver – ‘Imitation Dreams’

When it comes to slabs of hardcore gold, ‘Imitation Dreams’ from Giver’s incredible record ‘Sculpture of Violence’, released earlier this year, stands tall above the crowd. The importance of the subject matter of ‘Imitation Dreams’ is not one always discussed with the nuance required – challenging harmful ideals of masculinity – yet Giver navigate the subject with deftness of touch, with lyrics such as “relish my privilege by dismantling it.” ‘Imitation Dreams’ demonstrates Giver’s versatile approach to hardcore, with brutality and melody intermeshing in perfect harmony, however the pièce de résistance lies in a call to arms that will be stuck in your heads for weeks. I don’t know about you, but I can hardly wait to join in on the “are you listening?” gang vocals when gigs finally come back.


Alkaline Trio – ‘Minds Like Minefields’

One of the earlier lockdown treats was for Alkaline Trio to release new material for the first time in two years. The three-track EP, mercifully, is devoid of any of the hangovers of Matt Skiba’s blink-182 output and ‘Minds Like Minefields’ is trademark Trio. The staccato guitar riffs, the references of unavoidable death, and, naturally, a female protagonist is simply everything we need to get through these weird times. The soothing familiarity of Skiba and Dan Andriano’s battling vocals can make us believe that these days are just temporary. And we can almost forgive them for not touring ‘Is This Thing Cursed?’ in the UK and Europe. Almost.


Spanish Love Songs – ‘Funeral’

Finding a cover that’s as good as the original is difficult. Finding one that’s better – almost impossible. And yet, Spanish Love Songs have managed to turn Phoebe Bridgers’ ‘Funeral’ into a song that sounds so different, you would be forgiven for thinking frontman Dylan Slocum wrote it himself. While Bridgers’ largely acoustic rendition hits with poignancy and delicate fragility, Spanish Love Songs have developed it in their style, subtle synths, driving drumbeats and effortless melodies that sit just below the lyrics. With Slocum using his distinctive, vibrato-laden vocals to full effect, it layers new meaning to the song – the opening lines of the chorus, “Well, Jesus Christ / I’m so blue all the time”, carry the pained, insecure thread throughout the track, as if every word is overwhelmingly stuck in his throat. With Spanish Love Songs having recently set up a Patreon that promises regular covers of other tracks, it’s almost guaranteed they’ll be delivering more heartbreakingly beautiful songs in their own way.