After fixing a little bug in our media gallery, we’re back with a vengeance and have posted a ton of new photos for you to devour.
We’ll start out West in Denver, Colorado as Mike Fajardo captured an intimate Lucero acoustic show at Illegal Pete’s in April. You can check out those pictures here.
Heading up North, Chris Wedman has been busy up in Calgary, Alberta and recently snapped some photos of Anberlin, Make Do and Mend and Knucklehead with The Hockey Fight.
And finally we hit up the East Coast as our resident Toronto photographer got some images of Riot Fest Toronto last year featuring the likes of NOFX, Descendents, Andrew WK, Lawrence Arms, Hot Water Music and Less Than Jake here.
Hearts On Fire
Knucklehead first formed in the mid 1990’s just three hours down the road from me in Calgary and yet, somehow, it is only now that I’m finally hearing the band. It’s too bad, because if the rest of their back catalogue sounds anything like Hearts of Fire then I’ve been missing out.
Hearts of Fire comes out of the starting gate with End In Sight and instantly you’re brought back to the glory days of the EpiFat sound from the mid nineties. This is good solid punk rock from start to finish that pays homage some of the greatest punk bands that have ever slung a guitar over their shoulders.
My reaction to Hearts on Fire is a mixture of references points. There’s the anthemic rock and roll qualities of Bombshell Rocks embedded in almost every song but that’s only the beginning. On the title track,Knucklehead blasts out some cow-punk guitar riffs that would make Mike Ness and Social Distortion proud. There’s a drunken and nasally delivery in the vocal department that echoes the best of Paul McKenzie (The Real McKenzies) and Spike Slawson (Swingin’ Utters) together and there isn’t a better example than the sing-along Please Louise. Normally the vocals reign in on that slightly throaty delivery style, but on First Kick and Restless Heart they tone it back a bit; polishing up the vocals to the point where they sound nearly identical to early Greg Attonito of The Bouncing Souls (with sing-along choruses and all).
Not every song is perfection and some pass by with little to no notice (Rock Rhythm & Boots and Perfect Vision I’m looking at you) but even the weaker tunes aren’t so bad that you have to press skip. Instead, they just kind of nonchalantly pass by without much of an impression; and if you go out of your way to listen to them, you may be pleasantly surprised. But when they hit their stride, Knucklehead is able to soar above all their competitors and deliver a truly beautiful punk rock song.
Hearts on Fire features two of those perfect tunes in the form of Atlanta and North of the 54. The former is easily the highlight of the album, with pitch-perfect vocals reminiscent of Jason Shevchuk,Nothington, or the aforementioned Spike Slawson. It’s played at a slower pace than the rest of the album but pulls in the listener with passion and sincerity. The later stays in the Bombshell Rocks format with a simple guitar lead for most of the track that reflects the serious lyrical nature of the tune.
Hearts on Fire doesn’t push the boundaries of punk rock but instead takes all the best elements and combine them together for an album that any punk rock fan will be pleased with. I know I sure was.
Last year, Calgary’s Knucklehead released one of the best albums of 2010 with Hearts on Fire. Last Friday, the band tore it up in a small, sweaty home town show at The Palomino.
Chris Wedman was there with his camera in hand to capture the sweat-filled evening – those photos can be seen here.