So there’s this genre called “folk punk.” It’s basically inspired by Irish punk bands, the most notable being The Pogues. (Wiki confirms this. Here is a photo of the Pogues’ lead singer. He is attractive.) It’s pretty much what it sounds like–folky instrumentation and aesthetics mixed with the attitudes and song structures of punk rawk. In the Celtic punk genre, there are two bands everyone has heard of, probably because they are pretty fun to listen to while getting drunk (Dropkick Murphys, Flogging Molly).
Anyway, there’s a set of American “folk punk” bands that includes Dillinger Four, Andrew Jackson Jihad, Ghost Mice, and (early) Against Me!. All great bands, all great music. There’s this one though, who is also good, and their name is Defiance, Ohio. Now that we are over 100 words into this post, I can finally make my point.
Nana Grizol are led by Theo Hilton, who is also a member of or collaborator with, Defiance, Ohio. So, knowing the folk punk roots are kinda crucial to explaining this band. NG are folky, but don’t make folk music. They are punky (has this word ever been used before?) but not punks. Definitely less abrasive and raw than Defiance, but possibly better. Their first record, Love It Love It, from 2008, was awesome but went unnoticed by just about everyone. But now they have Ruth, and it’s time to get the word out.
On first listen I kinda thought meh, but by listen 1.5 I was in. It’s an understated album, easy to overlook and underrate. There’s something about the soft textures and loose feel that seems very earnest to me. Hilton’s lyrics are for the most part pretty frank, although sometimes cryptic. (This could describe 99% of songwriters.) I just feel like these “folk punkers” think they have a strong grip on society and comment on it in interesting ways. Do they? Who knows, they could be total blowhards. Still, with a little effort, Nana Grizol could steal your heart and keep you warm until spring arrives.
Check out “Cynicism,” “Galaxies,” “From Here” and “Arthur Hall.”
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