Folk Killer ready for new album, tour.
Gabe Williams, Drew Hamilton, Nick Sterchi, John Barrett and Mat Turner. They are Folk Killer, and they are brilliant. The boys in the band have been together for about a year, have done some great shows with some interesting performers and have just wrapped up and are about to release their first album. They call themselves rock and roll. I call them the best damned proto-punk band I’ve heard in a long time.
Falling somewhere neatly between the Ramones and the Buzzcocks, Folk Killer celebrates the ethos of fast, driven tunes with minimalist instrumentation. Of the nine songs they shared with me, none made it to the three-minute mark. All featured big, brassy, punchy guitar parts and crisp, in-your-face drumming. The recording technique was perfect for the style of music (or perhaps this style of music is the inevitable result of their recording technique).
Managing to be loud but clean, the tunes explode with all the musical potential you can cram in to one hundred and fifty seconds. From the shimmering opening chords of “Breakin’ Broken Things” to the final party-anthem chorus of “Rock–N–Roll Wishlist” is a sonic amusement park where none of the rides suck.
So, proto-punk? I couldn’t find any place where someone else conferred that moniker on the band’s music but it’s what I hear, and the fact they’ve gigged with the likes of The Coathangers and Jonathan Richman (whose debut band The Modern Lovers is a classic proto-punk outfit) supports my assessment.
Years ago in Bowling Green, Kentucky, I met a young man who, having never played an instrument in his life, announced he was forming a punk band and that soon they would be touring. When I suggested that he might want to invest some time in learning to play first, he sneered (I admit he had that part down pat) and said, “Why should I? It’s punk music! All we have to do is be really loud and beat the hell out of the instruments!”
The young man’s band lasted somewhere between the three- and four-week mark and their one and only tour was a whirlwind series of appearances at the drummer’s garage and the singer’s parents’ basement.
The young man was an idiot, of course, but his attitude wasn’t altogether uncommon. There are more than a few people who equate punk music with playing badly. These people are also idiots.
I suppose that in the hardcore scene, sometimes volume and violence trump actual talent, but there’s more to punk than hardcore and Folk Killer represents the opposite end of that spectrum inasmuch as they are all very talented musicians, each with an impressive resumé of respected projects.
It doesn’t matter if your thing is Hardcore, Oi!, New Wave, Garage, Surf, Rockabilly or any of a dozen other musical sub-genres, there is an awful lot to love about Folk Killer.
The guys are set to embark on an autumn tour of the Southeast. The places and dates as well as the album release will be featured in a follow-up sidebar right here in The Pulse but if you want to catch them locally, your next best chance will be at Sluggo’s on Sept. 26.
Check them out—and fall in love with someone you shouldn’t have fallen in love with.