The Sheriffs, the Burning Heads, the Washington Dead Cats… French punk rock is making a comeback

“Punk’s not dead”: punk is not dead, proclaimed the slogan from the beginning of the 1980s, barely a handful of years after the eruption of this musical current that came to put the souk in rock which was beginning to turn round from the late late 70s. Many decades later, we want to take up the slogan, but to apply it to France.

In quick succession, three veterans of the French scene, Les Sheriffs, Burning Heads, and Washington Dead Cats, have indeed come to remember us with very good albums. Reformed or reactivated a few years ago, these early “keupons” have kept their early days intact, and they continue to give joyful and messy concerts that you will never see on prime time on TV. But at the next Hellfest in June – the festival offers two weekends in quick succession -, where the three formations will be present, if. Not to mention the tours already started by these irreducible propagators of the punk word…

The very good albums of the three bands

Let’s open with Les Sheriff, from Montpellier. Their “Grand Bombardment Tardif”, released last December, lives up to its title. It beats hard, but with the accent and the humor of the South (it’s not for nothing that a song is called “À Montpellier”, the city of origin of the group). For their first studio album since “Electrochoc” in 1998, they offer an unstoppable series of titles which, like those of the Ramones, can be whistled in the shower.

Editor’s note:

” Great Late Bombardment », (Kicking Records). On tour, 27th in Beautor, 4th June in Lyon, 11th in Saint-Prouant, 24th in Clisson (Hellfest), 2nd July in Signy-l’Abbaye, 25th in Sélestat, 27th in Paris (Trabendo )

The Burning Heads, them based in Orléans, had already given their news in 2020, after a hiatus of a few years. But that was for a cover album, “Under Their Influence”. The recent “Torches Of Freedom”, published at the beginning of April, sets the record straight: despite the departure of Pierre Mestrinaro, their emblematic singer, replaced by Fra, the group still excels in this “skate rock” combining energy and melody, in line with Bad Religion or Adolescents.

Editor’s note:

” Torches Of Freedom », (Kicking Records). On tour, June 1 and 2 in Paris (Boule Noire), the 7 in Tours, the 11 in Parthenay, the 17 in Clisson (Hellfest), the 2 July in Osmoy-Saint-Valery, the 13 in Albas, the 20 August in Saint-Nolff, the 26th in La Flèche…

As for the Washington Dead Cats, they continue to chart their course, in a style that has few equals in France: a mix of punk, rockabilly and brassy groove, all carried by the voodoo voice of Mat Firehair, the soul of these dead cats since 1984 With “Monkey Brain”, they continue their crazy inventory already populated by giant lobsters in 2019, or prehistoric women in 2013. The album can be listened to in one go, haunted by a marsh creature, Mata Hari, a female rattlesnake and obviously zombies. A delight.

Editor’s note:

” Monkey Brain », (MDD). On tour, June 4 in Lillers, June 18 in Clisson (Hellfest), October 1 in Niort…

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The Sheriffs, the Burning Heads, the Washington Dead Cats… French punk rock is making a comeback


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