Hello, my name is Kathryn and I play in the band Fresh. I would describe us as “indie punk”. My favourite part of being in a band is playing live shows. We’ve been incredibly lucky in the four years that we’ve existed; we’ve played and toured with amazing bands and formed really deep and meaningful friendships. I think I’m bringing this up because my love of playing live has always affected how I listen to my favourite albums, even long before I’d even played my first show. I will listen to records and imagine the performance. Before I learnt guitar, I’d imagine that I was able to play and I would pretend that I was the one making the music. I spent years doing that alone in my room before I felt brave enough to actually learn guitar, then move to practice spaces and studios, then finally playing to people in venues.
My Chemical Romance – Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge
This is on a lot of people’s “favourite albums of all-time” lists, and for good reason. Production-wise, it isn’t very good. The drums sound like bin-lids. But it’s for this very reason that the songs sound so good. They’re the first songs I ever heard that made me love fast punk. I’m probably not correct in this, and I’m sure lots of self-proclaimed genre experts will hasten to correct me, but when I hear Give ‘Em Hell Kid and Thank You For The Venom, I always think: that’s punk rock. I can’t think of anything more punk than My chemical Romance, their flamboyant stage presence, and their faux-goth personas that shocked the Daily mail into writing a fear-mongering piece that called them a “suicide cult”. Gerard Way’s vocals on The Ghost of You and Hang ‘Em High are phenomenal, Ray Toro’s guitar on every single song is crazy good. I think Cemetery Drive might be one of my favourite songs of all time, the drums are hypnotising. I guess the songs are quite heavy and loud, but at the same time they’re so catchy and concise that even fourteen year old me heard the hooks immediately and racked up literally tens and thousands of plays of Three Cheers on my iTunes library. My Chemical Romance were the first band I ever saw live, and I still have a poster of Frank Iero on my bedroom wall.
Charly Bliss – Guppy
Calling Guppy one of my favourite records of all-time feels quite bold, because it only came out two years ago. But nobody can write pop bangers like Charly Bliss can. They seem to take all the best bits of 80s music and all the frustration and angst of being a woman who is young, in love and in pain and make these really sublime and ecstatic punk songs. Percolator might be one of the best album-openers of all time, and the emotion that Eva Hendricks pours into singing the chorus of Julia just KILLS ME.
The Mountain Goats – All Hail West Texas
I first got into The Mountain Goats when I was fifteen. Their album “The Sunset Tree” affected me in a way that not many other things have since. I’m listing All Hail West Texas here because it’s not only an album that has a meaningful message, the songs are all incredibly catchy and well-written. John Darnielle recorded them all in one take on a Panasonic boombox, and a lot of the songs revolve around the same three or four chords, but the album’s narrative creates and fills this whole expansive universe in a way that no other record has ever done for me. As somebody who never felt secure in their musicianship, I took a lot of comfort from this album of grainy songs that, rudimentary though they may be, spoke to me more than any other music did at that time. This album is so familiar and comforting to me. Like Three Cheers, it’s pretentious and adventurous, written on the cover it says: “fourteen songs about seven people, two houses, a motorcycle, and a locked treatment facility for adolescent boys” which really appealed to me when I was fifteen years old, medicated, in trouble all the time, and depressed. I love reading and All Hail West Texas felt like a novella as much as it did a record. The lyrics in Riches and Wonders, Blues in Dallas, The Best Ever Death Metal Band Out of Denton, Balance and The Mess Inside (to name a few) were poignant and immersive. As a songwriter today I still go by the general rule of less is more, which I think I picked up from Darnielle’s short song style and carefully-chosen but highly descriptive lyrics. This album taught me that it’s okay to be lonely and that every day language is the most powerful language.
Fresh is an indie punk band from London, England.