Formed in 2012 Headsticks have created their very own brand of Revolutionary Punk Roots Rock'n'Roll through relentless gigging which has seen their profile continually on the rise, backed by an ever increasing army of loyal and fanatical followers. Despite the current wave of uncertainty within the music industry the band have continued to shine, and are delighted to join the fold of the iconic label that is Chapter 22 Records!
Last years tour supports with New Model Army saw the band reach new levels, and this together with supports with bands as varied as The Wildhearts, Lindisfarne, Spear Of Destiny, Ferocious Dog, and Buzzcocks has underlined the band's ability to cross genres and appeal to audiences with their enthusiasm and passion infused performances built on their very own message of honesty and integrity, delivering raw social commentaries with a wry sense of humour ensuring an uplifting experience second to none!
The release of their third studio album in 2019 was greeted with simply stunning reviews from pillars of both the Punk Rock and Folk worlds, receiving plaudit after plaudit and considered 'Album Of The Year' by some publications! This, simply cementing further, the band's reputation for crowd pleasing, genre crossing, inspirational songs...many of which are now indeed covered by artists from within their scene....the highest accolade for any artist surely?
Fast becoming Festival Favourites, 2020 was to see Headsticks embark on their most comprehensive Festival Season, with performances at Beautiful Days and Rebellion (their fifth in a row there!) among an endless list of high profile bookings.....unfortunately plans were cruelly cut short due to the current pandemic. Enthusiasm for live performances has seen the band reach new audiences with their 'Live Sessions' broadcast through Social Media, and wonderful receptions have ensured that the band's fervour has not, and will not be dampened as they continue to say it like it is!
With a new single Peace + Quiet released ahead of their imminent fourth Studio album, Headsticks look to flourish within their new Chapter 22 home, bolstered by a label sharing similar ethics, spirit, and motivation, and of course, a love for great songs! Expect further hard hitting, emotive, infectious anthems and barbed lyrics a plenty.
'Peace + Quiet'? Don't you believe it...this is a crusade, and rest assured, there will be very little of either!
Next up are the excellent Headsticks from Stoke. I’d been given the heads up on this raucous punk band and now I know why. They’re like a Northern version of Idles who get in your face with their punk offerings. Andrew Tranter the frontman prowls the audience and gets in your face with his vitriolic shit which brings me back memories of see Fucked Up in their heyday. All politics and what is now is what they’re about and it hits home. Even a song named Paper Flowers which is an open message about our war heroes and how they’re ignored. You’re Killing Me America has a similar message but aimed at the inbred fuckers who voted for a…. I’ll let you fill that in….
-Louder Than War (Salty Dog, Northwich with Steve Ignorant's Slice Of Life)
Next on at the well attended venue were Headsticks, who to me are one of the best bands around at the moment blending ye olde punk rock, with folk’n’roll and Americana to create an irresistible force with lyrics that put The Clash to shame and if that sounds far fetched, go and see them, and then comment, believe me you won’t be disappointed!
-Eaten Alive Punkzine (Queen's Hall, Nuneaton, with Ruts DC)
Their 45 minutes here starts in pretty sedate fashion. Stephen Dunn strums an acoustic, but even in “Mississippi Burning” there’s an undercurrent, a thought that you wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of the argument. The influences are obvious – but then if you’re a politically aware folk band, have a punk side and don’t have a nod to The Levellers then you’re doing it wrong – but “Flatline Town” is full of harmonica, and for every song about the homeless, “Cold Grey English Skies” is a cracker too, there’s a ska flavoured romp like “I Love You But I Don’t Understand You”. A couple of new songs are given an airing, with “My Own War” particularly impressive. The same could be said for the rest of their set, and by the time “You’re Killing America” from last year’s fine “Muster” album whips up a storm of indignation to end things, Headsticks have made many new friends.
-Maximum Volume Music (With The Wildhearts, Tivoli, Buckley)
Headsticks are modern day troubadours who don't rehearse, they just gig constantly and so their sound is razor sharp and tight. In Andrew Tranter they have a charismatic frontman who has no airs or graces, but a boundless energy and an innate sense of right and wrong. A sparkling collision of punk and folk is demonstrated with ‘Cold Grey English Skies' a moving and vivid picture of the desolation and depression of growing up and told in a post-industrial wasteland. They finish with Killing Me America a song so spot on it is heartbreaking 'You're in my mind, the blind leading the blind, you're in my mind, you're bleeding me dry!'
-Bob Obram, the Morning Star (Festival of Solidarity, Barnsley)
Headsticks – boy have I fought their corner (and continue to do so) and it is all time well spent. As I have told you many times, a cut above with concrete culture in built. The band bleed class, watch this space – the ascension will continue and I will gush in good time – tonight I swigged and jigged and immersed my whole being in the sound – it was fuckin' great!
-Fungal Punk (Star and Garter, Manchester)
Their blend of Folk influenced melodic acoustic-punk, incorporates elements of reggae and possesses a directness, that brings to mind Blyth Power, Zounds or Levellers, though it is still very much their own sound, with a particularly solid back line serving as the perfect accompaniment to acoustic and electric guitar, harmonica, and the heartfelt and distinctive vocals of frontman Andrew Tranter.
They have hit upon a distinctive sound — folk-derived melodies harnessed to a powerful rock machine — which I like a lot. It’s not something you hear much at all, since most contemporary punk-folk-rock seems to follow the Levellers/Ferocious Dog fiddle-driven frenzy path and the only other band I’ve heard with anything like this sound are the mighty Blyth Power. For those who haven’t heard of them, and if you want a really simplistic analogy, it’s the Clash, both in their rock and reggae moments, playing a kind of muscular Steeleye Span. Forget the categorisations, though. It’s bloody great music and the songwriting is excellent.
-Attila The Stockbroker, the Morning Star
So is it punk? Or folk? Or roots? Yes, to all of them......Should you buy Kept In The Dark? Yes, unambiguously. I love traditional music and, at it’s heart, this is an album of traditional music for the 21st century.
Headsticks have carved out their own original niche in the world of modern punk rock. Drawing inspiration from the likes of Joe Strummer and The Levellers (both musically and in attitude), their latest album 'Kept in the Dark' effortlessly straddles several different genres and it sounds like a band raucously honing their craft.... Kept in the Dark' is an album that makes most contemporary music sound weak by comparison.
Headsticks take punk as merely a starting point, before spreading their creative wings all over the place, to foist upon the listener a most eclectic and agitated pop rock punk fraggle fest. They entertain the masses with a mix of Zounds-esque song craft and mutant crusty skanky anarcho politics. The vocals are a standout with a singer, rather than a ranter, who at one point has something of a theatrical flourish and at others he wouldn’t sound out of place on an unhinged pop punk record plus everywhere in between. There’s a bit of Cravats or Paranoid Visions, Bamboo Vipers type melodrama to proceedings and I even detect a hint of modern era Damned in the odd number.
-Lights Out Zine
Tighter than a gnat's chuff where they need to be and loose and rhythmic when the songs demand it. I can't praise this album highly enough, it was a gamble but one that's paid off handsomely to the extent that it has to be an early contender for album of the year.
Their blend of Folk influenced melodic acoustic-punk incorporates elements of reggae and possesses a directness that brings to mind Blyth Power, Zounds or Levellers though it is still very much their own sound, with a particularly solid back line serving as the perfect accompaniment to acoustic and electric guitar, harmonica, and the heartfelt and distinctive vocals of frontman Andrew Tranter.
One of the few bands around at the moment that are able to channel the hopelessness felt by so many into viable, upbeat, revolutionary songs that make you think there is a chance in this world to make a difference and for that the band need to be championed by all........So if you only listen to one album this year, this one is it, you won’t be disappointed!”
Whichever angle you come at Feather and Flame, the new album from UK quartet Headsticks, it is a seriously rousing incitement. Offering eleven diverse and eventful slices bred in the band’s fusion of folk and punk rock, the release gets the body bouncing, thoughts sparking, and the spirit racing. The breeding of serious pleasure is not low on successes triggered either as Feather and Flame not only reinforces the reputation already earned by the band but confirms Headsticks as one of Britain’s most irresistible and essential punk ‘n’ roll adventures.
-The Ring Master Reviews
Another chance to get an earful of Headsticks' brand of punked up indie new wave rock and roll. A bit of a folk and roots crossover with attitude and heaven forbid, even a bit of passionately charged fist pumping thrown in for good measure. They're back with a second album to gird the loins and lift the spirits. Their debut EP and first album 'Muster' both gathered some decent feedback and with their natural exhuberance transferring perfectly to the live environment, festivals a speciality, 'Feather And Flame' is another step in validating that reputation.
Twelve tracks and an impressive 45 minutes long ‘Muster’ pulls you in from the first seconds of brilliant opening track ‘Flatline Town’...... very reminiscent of classic British folk-rock acts like the New Model Army, Billy Bragg, and Blyth Power.....A great album and recommended for all here. Despite only being formed in 2012 I can see these boys shortly becoming firm favourites on the festival scene. Their music will appeal to all from the teeny punk bopper to the grizzled old folkie and with sound politics and even sounder ethics this is a band we can all put our trust in.
-London Celtic Punks
Dark humour and humanity permeate the full-on debut album by the glorious Headsticks, which serves notice on modern music as we know it. Rebecca Sowray is swept along. Adrift on stadium rock that grew old before it grew up? Alternative has turned the corner so many times it's become square? Has your pop lost its shine, even for a second? Ah, you gave in and went home? Back to local? Good. Because it's where you should be and it's where this music draws strength from. This is what you're missing.
-Louder Than War
It may be my age, but listening to Headsticks new album takes me back to when bands said what we thought, but were scared to come out with. In my opinion they are right up there with my heroes; The Jam and the Levellers. They have given Indie-Folk-Roots-Punk-RockNRoll a new edge and my fist is in the air in solidarity, I can't wait to see them perform this live!
-Blues and Roots Radio
Bloody brilliant. Different yet very relevant and this folk-punk genre seems to be gathering a lot of pace judging by the amount of bands/artists out there..... you are soon left in no doubt that these guys are not just here for the music alone, albeit very good punk/folk that it is. The lyrics are hard-hitting and political but fit in perfectly with the music and I am instantly reminded of a certain Billy Bragg and Waiting for the Great Leap Forwards.
-Punks On Line