Search Results for "The Flatliners"

DS Exclusive: Chris Cresswell on “Inviting Light,” leaving Fat Wreck Chords and more

Following on the heels of the widely-accepted shitstorm that was 2016, you most certainly don’t need a punk rock news website to break to you the fact that 2017 has been a bit of a weird year. In many ways, both nationally and globally, there seem to be a lot of previously uncharted waters being navigated socially, politically, environmentally, and on and on and on. Yet just because waters are uncharted doesn’t mean that they have to be inherently bad. Enter The Flatliners. Weird though it might be, the calendar turning to 2017 kicked off a series of fairly important milestones in the history of the long-running Canadian punk rock quartet. All four members turn thirty this year. The band itself turns fifteen, and their highly-regarded Fat Wreck Chords debut, The Great Awake, turns ten.

2017 also marked the release of the band’s fifth full-length album, Inviting Light, which as you’re probably well-enough aware by now, marks a bit of a departure for a couple noteworthy reasons: while it still contains its fair share of snarling, aggressive moments, is easily the most anthemic “rock-and-roll” album in the band’s catalog. IT also marks their first album on a new label, Rise Records, after a decade on pioneering punk rock label Fat Wreck Chords.

Dying Scene chatted over the phone with Flatliners frontman Chris Cresswell just before the band left for their current eastern US tour with new SideOneDummy signee Pkew Pkew Pkew and Red City Radio‘s Garrett Dale. Cresswell is honest and engaging, even over the telephone; his frequently digressing rapid fire delivery could fool one into believing he comes from Boston Irish stock (were it not for the fact that he’s charming and humble and self-aware and so obviously Canadian). Cresswell and his Flatliners brothers are very aware that this is a big year for them, and they’re very aware of what some of the grumblings on the message boards and comment sections of the internet might opine about their band’s recent direction. They also come across as okay with all of it. “I’m always curious what people think when we put something new out, for sure, and sometimes that’s difficult,” says Cresswell. He’s also well aware that, while paying attention to some of the critics is okay, there has to be a bit of a balance. “You can’t get caught up in what other people think, because if that were the case, bands would make the same record over and over again. Filmmakers would make the same movie over and over again. The arts would suffer if you always listened to your critics. It’s not a great idea to shut them out either, because it is nice to have that push to always be better no matter what you’re doing in life.”

Due in part to the landmark nature of this particular year within the band, Cresswell and company (the band’s lineup of Scott Brigham on lead guitar, Jon Darbey on bass and Paul Ramirez on drums remains unchanged for the duration) figured it was as good a time as any to mix things up. “You do the same thing for fifteen years as a band, and ten years with the same label, even if it’s all good, there’s a part of you that wonders if there’s something else you could try,” says Cresswell. He’s more than aware of how the move from Fat to Rise Records might look, particularly as Inviting Light has a bit of a different sound. None of those rumblings are true. This is 2017; it’s not about money, it’s not about their old label declining to put it out or their new label influencing their sound. It’s really just about branching out as a band. “When you grow up on fucking Fat Wreck Chords bands and then you become one and you are one for ten years and you reach a level of personal success and fulfillment that you never dreamed to be a reachable or realistic at all, it kind of inspires you to be like “this is cool…what do we do now?” and that kind of thing.

The band had fun — a lot of it — recording Inviting Light, and in spite of the extended space between albums (their last full length, Dead Language, was released four years ago) they actually recorded it fairly quickly, albeit in two separate chunks a year apart. Where Dead Language was recorded live in studio using only the band’s road gear, the Inviting Light sessions saw the band change things up in that avenue too. Drums and bass were still recorded live because, well, because that’s how Jon and Paul seem to groove the best. They initially “played everything live but we just kept the bass and drums, and when Paul and Jon lock up, it’s insane. It’s incredible. In the two sessions we did which were essentially a year apart, they did twenty songs in like four days!” When it came time to record guitars and vocals, however Cresswell and Brigham holed up in a new studio with new producers Peter Pablo and Derek Hoffman and got experimental, playing with tones and textures until dialing working sounds in and ripping through final takes.

The result, as you know by now, is different; more major chords, more melodic, more straight-forward, a little more dare-we-say optimistic, especially when compared to Dead Language. As you might imagine, there’s a reason for that. Says Cresswell: “Before this record, I was in a pretty shit place. If you listened to or read any of the lyrics to Dead Language, it’s pretty fucking bleak, and that’s why that record is so angry and has such heavy elements to it. I was going through a heavy time on a personal level. Nothing dangerous, but I was having a really hard time being away all the time.

Lyrically speaking, Cresswell has tended to paint a bit of an admittedly bleak picture. Even as a native of the Toronto area, living as a socially-aware human in the wake of last year’s US Presidential election has been bleak in-and-of itself. “There’s a lot of evil in the world, especially with what’s happened over the last couple years on a global scale.” We’ve all seen the think-pieces on how the age of Trump will at least inspire some good, angry punk rock, and we’ve already started to see aggressive, confrontational “punk” rock albums come out and tackle those issues head on. Though this may be counter-intuitive to a stereotypical punk rock ethic, maybe there are ways to attack the issue that are less in-your-face. Cresswell offers that maybe his band’s way of trying to focus on the light at the end of the tunnel — hence Inviting Light — can help some people through a bullshit time, though he acknowledges with a self-deprecating laugh how “super fucking noble” that concept sounds. “If you can be, even to a small population of people, somebody who can help them through a tough time, that’s sick! That’s what music did for me when I was a kid and it still does it for me today!

Reflecting on being away for weeks or months at a time has been an ongoing thing as Cresswell and the Flatliners round the corner on 30 years old, particularly when you’re as inward thinking as the frontman is. Any potential ego trips are balanced — and probably eliminated — by what Cresswell calls a “rabbit hole of a self-imposed guilt trip that’s usually at play in a lot of folks who tour a lot because it is a pretty self-serving thing that we do!” The older the band gets, the older their respective family members and close friendships get, meaning additional priorities and perspectives become factored into the increasingly difficult equation. Still, especially in the punk world, the pull of the road doesn’t go away just because you’re no longer in your twenties. “There’s this insatiable desire in us to just hit the road. For instance, if you play Chicago and no one fucking comes, you’re going to go back like three months later and play there again. Punk bands are the only bands that will keep going back and playing even if no one fucking comes out, because it’s just about the experiences of the road, and being away, and the story and just fucking living in a van for real!

While the runs might get a little shorter or more spread out, hitting the road is still very much what this whole thing is about for Cresswell and The Flatliners. So far, 2017 has seen the band already complete tours of Canada with bands like The Dirty Nil and, of course, Weezer, and Europe with their longtime buds in The Menzingers. The aforementioned tour with Pkew Pkew Pkew and Garrett Dale showcases just how varied the bands that fall under the umbrella of punk rock have become, in an inspiring way. Changes in the music industry landscape have equated to differing changes, and like many of us, Cresswell knows that when it comes to one band’s sound or one person’s musical interests, “your brain musically doesn’t have to stay in one lane. You can be into whatever you want to be into. I know today there’s a lot of pressure and social anxiety is through the roof and there’s a reason for it. Day to day, it can be a tough world to live in for a lot of people, you know? But where you should be able to find solitude is in the music you’re into if you’re a music fan. You shouldn’t have to worry about what other people think.”

Check out our full conversation below. There’s a lot of other ground covered, particularly surrounding the band’s decision to leave Fat Wreck Chords – and the yearlong process of actually leaving: “It felt like a break-up, man. It was so sad… I’m just happy that we were able to go about it in a way that everybody is still friends. There’s no bad blood fucking whatsoever.” Check out all of the Flatliners upcoming tour dates here.



The Flatliners announce east coast tour with PKEW PKEW PKEW and Garret Dale (Red City Radio)

Toronto’s The Flatliners recently announced a set of East Coast tour dates around the US. They will be accompanied by fellow Toronto punks PKEW PKEW PKEW and Oklahoma City’s Garret Dale (Red City Radio). The tour will begin in Buffalo NY on July 7th and will come to its end in Philadelphia, PA on July 17th.

You can view a full list of dates and locations below.



The Flatliners release “Hang My Head” video

Toronto punks The Flatliners have released a music video for “Hang My Head”, taken from their new album Inviting Light. You can check it out below.

Inviting Light came out on April 7th and is The Flatliners’ first album on Rise Records. It follows their 2013 LP Dead Language, which was released through Fat Wreck Chords.



Album Review: The Flatliners – ‘Inviting Light’

The Flatliners are the definition of resolve and endurance. After making a splash with their ska-infused debut, 2005’s Destroy to Create, they have steadily honed their craft over 5 subsequent albums with their most recent being 2013’s Dead Language (discounting 2015’s B-sides collection Division of Spoils). Through constant touring and their unwavering adherence to a steadfast punk-rock ethos the band have created a solid fanbase that appreciate their dedicated, no-nonsense approach and unrelenting spirit. However a band cannot run on enthusiasm alone. After spending most of their adult lives touring and promoting, the band quickly came to the realization that they needed a break. Some time away to recapture that spark that made them an enduring punk band of the people.

It soon becomes apparent that that time away has been spent polishing the simple craft of writing tight arena ready rockers. Clearly evident on first song, “Mammals” which, after a brooding opening, states its intentions defiantly as it quickly darts to a razor sharp, buzzing chorus. It contains the bright and spiky pop-punk style they are know for but with a distinct edge, reminiscent of mid-period Against Me!. “Hang My Head” sees the band continue to strike that perfect balance between their poppy and caustic sides. The guitars ring rather than churn with the song quickly bounding to a delirious, anthemic chorus. It sounds supremely confident with the sturt and the swagger of a band who have full faith in what they are doing. “Nicotine Lips” sounds like a carry over from Dead Language, featuring energetic distorted power chords and catchy shout-a-long ‘woahs-woahs’. In the context of the album it provides the connective tissue between this and and their previous work. Nevertheless, it is striking how different the overall sound is on Inviting Light from what the band are known for.

The choppier, heavier songs that made up many of 2010’s Cavalcade’s finest moments are largely absent. Instead, the album is characterised by a fuller, broader sound with the focus on songcraft rather than the foot down, pop-punk that saw them draw comparisons with Dead To Me and Anti-Flag. For example, “Indoors,” rather surprisingly, finds them build a song on similar foundations to those of grunge stalwarts Pearl Jam. It’s a mid-tempo rocker assembled with spacious, echoing riffs and hefty 90s power chords before beating down the door to a yearning, powerful chorus. It’s here that frontman, Chris Cresswell, is really able to demonstrate how his voice has developed into a potent and commanding force whilst retaining that slightly bruised, insecure edge. Those Pearl Jam comparisons continue with “Unconditional Love” with the band channeling the Seattle band’s love of slightly more unorthodox and off-beat arrangements. It sees the band challenging their sound a little, showing a previously unheard experimental side. On the whole, these moments provide the triumphant backbone of the album.

Although, these moments do show the band developing their sound, they still fit the mould of mid-paced rockers, aimed squarely at the heart. While effective, at times they are in danger of feeling a little repetitive and formulaic as strummed guitars quickly lead to another big, rousing chorus. Songs such as “Burn Out Again,” “Infinite Wisdom,” and closer “No Roads” all follow a similarly worn blueprint. They lack the vitality of songs from their back catalogue, too often feeling like the safe option. Remarkably, it is the plaintive, tender punk ballad “Chameleon Skin,” which sees the band wholly succeed in finding a new formula. Cresswell’s wistful cries of “I don’t wanna remember who I am” are a stirring addition that will touch the heart of even the most hardened punk.

While Inviting Light is not a seismic shift, there is an obvious progression from their melodic pop-punk sound. It’s still loud and proud but it sees the band enter a more mature phase of their career. The sound is clearer and more accessible than any of their previous work with the abrasive edges polished down. Everything is carefully constructed with each song crafted to highlight the band’s ability to write hungry, anthemic choruses. However, the over reliance on mid-tempo rockers can get a little wearing. All in all Inviting Light is a testament to taking a step back and re-engaging with what you want from your band. It sees the band entering a new phase of their careers whilst ably demonstrating that they are in it for the long haul.

3.5 / 5 Stars



The Flatliners stream new album “Inviting Light” in its entirety

Today marks the release of Toronto punks The Flatliners‘ new album Inviting Light. The entire record is available to stream, and you can check it out below.

Inviting Light is the band’s first album on Rise Records. The Flatliners last released Dead Language in 2013 through Fat Wreck Chords.



The Flatliners stream new song ‘Indoors’

Canadian punks The Flatliners premiered their new song ‘Indoors’ today. The track appears on the band’s upcoming sixth studio LP, “Inviting Light”, out April 7 on Rise Records. The album is already up for pre-order here.

The band is heading out for some North American tour dates with LA rock veterans Weezer and some European dates with The Menzingers and The Dirty Nil later this month. You can find ‘Indoors’ and full tour dates below.



The Menzingers debut new video for ‘After The Party’

Absolute lookers The Menzingers premiered a new video for their song ‘After The Party’. It’s of course the title track from the bands’ latest album (which we absolutely loved). Head down below to watch the video.

The Menzingers are currently on tour in the States in support of After the Party, with Jeff Rosenstock and Rozwell Kid. They’ll be heading out to Europe and UK with The Flatliners and The Dirty Nil later this spring.



The Flatliners stream new song “Infinite Wisdom”

Toronto punks The Flatliners have premiered a new song from their upcoming album Inviting Light. The track’s called “Infinite Wisdom,” and you can check it out below.

Inviting Light is set to release on April 7th through Rise Records. It will be the band’s first release on the label. Their last album Dead Language came out in 2013 on Fat Wreck Chords.



New Sea Shepherd benefit compilation released

A new, five track benefit compilation has been released by Uncle M Music in Germany, in aid of Sea Shepherd. The compilation features The Flatliners, Apologies I Have None and others performing covers of some of their favorite tracks. Full details of the compilation below. A limited white vinyl pressing with screenprinted B-side is also up for order now.



The Flatliners to release new album “Inviting Light” on April 7th

Toronto punks The Flatliners have some good news for all of us. The band will release a brand new full-length album on April 7th called Inviting Light. This will be their first record with Rise Records, produced by Peter Pablo and Derek Hoffman.

On the topic of the new album, frontman Chris Cresswell explains:

Inviting Light is about trying to keep up with life around you but also wading through the potential bullshit of people thinking that a digital landscape is more important than their friends. It’s inevitable that you’re fighting for people’s attention now, whether you’re a band or an individual, and there’s not as much value placed on face-to-face human interaction as there is in elevating the profile.

He adds, It’s exciting for a band to be 15 years into their existence and have this. It’s a refreshing thing.

In light of this announcement, the group is streaming a brand new song called “Human Party Trick”, which you can listen to below while you check out the sweet looking cover art and track list. There is currently a pre-order happening for the album – you can check that out here and reserve your copy now.

Inviting Light will serve as a follow-up to the band’s recent 2-song EP, Nerves (debut Dine Alone Records release), as well as their 2013 album, Dead Language. 



Weezer announce Western Canadian tour with The Flatliners

Los Angeles Rock veterans Weezer have announced a tour of Western Canada this coming spring. They will be joined by Canadian punks The Flatliners from March 31st to April 8th as the tour moves from Saskatoon, SK to Penticton, BC. You can check out a full list of dates/locations below as well as ticket info here.

Weezer released their latest album, The White Album, on April 1st, 2016. The Flatliners released their EP, Nerves, last October and have plans for a full-length this year.



Lagwagon, The Flatliners, Bad Cop/Bad Cop and more among first wave of Pouzza Fest bands

The first batch of bands has been announced for the 2017 installment of Montreal’s Pouzza Fest, and it’s already a pretty great one. Leading the charge none other than Montreal’s adopted son Joey Cape and his pals in the almighty Lagwagon! Also announced are heavy hitters like The Flatliners, Bad Cop/Bad Cop, Mustard Plug (performing “Evildoers Beware”), The Slackers (performing “Redlight”), Red City Radio, and more.

Pouzza Fest takes place May 19-21 in various Montreal venues. Check out the full rundown here.



The Flatliners sign to Rise Records, plan early 2017 release

More than a decade after signing to Fat Wreck Chords as a scrappy young Toronto punk band, The Flatliners have now flown the coop.

The quartet of Blue Jays fans are the latest act to have been added to the ever-expanding Rise Records roster. They’ll team up with their new label home for a full-length release that’s tentatively slated for the front half of 2017. We’ll obviously keep you posted on that one as details come down the ‘pike, but for now you can stream the track “Hang My Head” (it’ll be included on that aforementioned full-length) right here.

The Glatliners’ last full-length, “Dead Language,” was released on Fat back in 2013. They also put out a new EP, “Nerves,” last month on Dine Alone Records. You may recall “Hang My Head” from that release…



The Flatliners streaming new EP “Nerves”

Canadian punks The Flatliners have announced they will be releasing a new EP titled Nerves on October 28th through Dine Alone Records. It will be available on a 7″ limited to 100 copies at this year’s edition of The Fest in Gainesville, FL.

If you aren’t going to be at The Fest, the good news is the 2-song EP will also be available digitally. And the even better news is that you can listen to it right now, here.

The Flatliners’ latest album Dead Language came out in 2013 through Fat Wreck Chords. After playing The Fest, the band will embark on a short tour with The Bouncing Souls.



The Flatliners release acoustic cover of The Tragically Hip’s “Ahead By a Century”

In celebration of Toronto Mayor John Tory declaring August 10th “Tragically Hip Day,” The Flatliners have released an acoustic cover of the iconic Canadian rock band’s song “Ahead By a Century.” You can give the track a listen below, and purchase it on their Bandcamp page.

The band will be donating 100% of proceeds from the song’s sales to The Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie’s charity, the Gord Downie Fund for Brain Cancer Research.

The Flatliners last released a compilation of b-sides and rarities titled Division of Spoils in August of 2015 on Fat Wreck Chords. Their latest studio album Dead Language came out in 2013.