Okay, as this is my first column of the year I'd like to start off by saying Happy New Year, I hope everyone's 2015 was as good as mine. Before we get into the actual topic of this column I'd like to say thank you for your support over the past year, whether you liked, retweeted, shared, favourited, or commented - thank you. If you took the time to write me a top ten punk rock influences - thank you. Big thanks always go to Avon and Emma for all their hard work making me sound and look good, I'm sure that takes a lot of effort. Emma and Avon - thank you so much. With everyone's help and support Colin's Punk Rock World has had far more success than I ever expected, I only started doing it as a way to focus my mind when I was struggling with some life stuff so to still be doing it and getting more views and likes all of the time is something I'm very happy about. Here's to having an ever bigger 2016!
That leads me on to the subject of this blog - Hopes For 2016.
For me 2015 was a really good year for punk rock. I'll admit a lot of the big guns didn't really release much but this allowed a lot of the newer bands coming through all over the world a chance to get their share of the spotlight and show off just how good they are. Six of my top ten albums of the year were from bands that I'd never heard of before. I'm hoping to discover more and more great underground bands in the next year - as I'm typing this I'm listening to a fantastic German band named The Lamplighters you should all check out.
I think that the UK's punk scene is the best it's ever been at the moment, with so many great bands constantly emerging. Three of the bigger bands in the scene, Muncie Girls, Ducking Punches and Apologies, I Have None, are all due to release albums this year and I'm expecting them all to be classics and to really help further the bands’ careers. I actually know just how good Ducking Punches album is as I pledged and so already own a copy, but I'm looking forward to the big release it gets on Xtra Mile Recordings. In Scotland there are new releases due from The Murderburgers, Paper Rifles, Elk Gang and Billy Liar, all of which I am very excited for and expect all to feature highly in my end of 2016 lists.
The UK's ska scene was dealt a huge blow last year with Random Hand's departure but after attending a couple of Skankfest All-Dayer's at The Fleece in Bristol I am more than confident that there are a lot of talented bands ready to take on the mantle of the UK's best ska punk bands. One band in particular - Faintest Idea - I'm hoping will have a breakthrough year, with a new album due and one of the best live shows you'll see they are a band that need and deserve to be heard by many, many more people. Also this year will see the return of ska punk legends Sonic Boom Six with their long awaited album The F-Bomb finally due in February. This will be one of the most anticipated releases in years and I'm hoping to be blown away by The Boom all over again.
In the world of legendary punk bands I'd love a new Descendents album, it's been rumoured for a long time and I'll keep crossing my fingers it'll be soon. The Descendents are one of two bucket list bands I've still yet to see. This year they are coming to the UK to play Rebellion Festival and I'm really hoping they add a London show to the tour! My other bucket list band I'm yet to see is The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. It's been years since The Bosstones graced our small island and I imagine seeing them live would be a very special experience. Other North American acts I'd love to do some UK shows this year are Rancid (playing And Out Come The Wolves), The Briggs, Jeff Rosenstock, The Planet Smashers, Mustard Plug and Hot Water Music.
One band that is coming to England that I'm completely "stoked" about is Australia's The Bennies. I love everything these guys have put out and have been eagerly awaiting news of a first UK tour. Currently they are only announced for Bristol's Deadpunk Special in May but I'm expecting a lot more shows to be announced. The Bennies’ best pals The Smith Street Band are, I believe, starting a new album this year which I'm hoping will be released before the year is finished, if it's only half as good as previous effort Throw Me In The River it's still going to be one of the albums of the year. I'm expecting another UK tour from Wil Wagner and the boys as well this year and I'd love some solo shows as well.
In 2015 I managed to get to more festivals and all-dayers than ever and I loved every single one of them. This year I'm planning on getting back to most of them and going to even more, including Emma and I fulfilling a dream to get across to Gainesville for The Fest. There's something truly special about a punk festival that brings so many brilliant people together in such positive ways and it's always a pleasure to be part of it.
Last year [spunge] and Whitmore got together for the Extraction Fest tour. Also Lightyear reformed for Slam Dunk Festival. The year before that Jesse James got together for a few shows. These are bands that I first loved when I found UK underground punk rock. I've seen a lot of people talk about how fantastic it would be for these bands and others such as 4ft Fingers, Captain Everything and Fletcher from that brilliant era of punk rock to get together for a reunion festival. Please someone make that happen!
Finally I'm hoping to make more and more punk rock friends in 2016. I met the most important person in my life because of our love of punk rock and it would be great to befriend more punks this year. I'm completely rubbish at talking to people I don't know but when I have I've met some of the friendliest people I've ever met so I am going to make more effort in this aspect of my life. The punk community is the most welcoming one in the world and it's an honour to be a tiny part of it.
Here's to a brilliant year for punk in 2016!