"We're in essence a beer league band"
"That sounds terrible"
"Why does it have to be terrible?"
"Think about the athletes in all the beer-league sports you know. Do they inspire you? Put on one hell of a show? Would you pay to see them play?"
"Inspire? Yes. One hell of a show? Yes. Pay to see them? Well I dunno, but music is free these days anyway, right?"
These are the discussions that echo the walls of Rebel Yell's practice space on a frigid Winnipeg night. The group, comprised of Dustin Karsin, Keli Martin and John Vogan, have played in bands throughout their twenties, toured the North American and European circuits and now find themselves immersed in a grown up life away from music. But much like the once-a-week beer-league hockey players who relive their childhood dreams in community arenas, Rebel Yell relives the dream in its practice space, writing seriously wild punk songs that have no purpose but to let their spirit animals howl.
The result is a wonderfully bold mash of punky, thrashy, party music. Frantic drumming, riffy guitars and sassy vocals create the 10 tracks on "Career Day", the band's third full length. The lyrical themes bounce from serious to complete goofball: diving into topics such as the adolescent ambitions of being a pornstar ("Career Day"), mainstream pop helping suburbanites overcome systemic racism ("Dre"), coming to terms with the end of your dog's life ("Dogs"), drinking in classic cars ("Trans-Am (on blocks)") and fighting for the one you love ("Wasn't even Drunk").
Karsin and Vogan vocally riff back and forth on most of the tracks on the record. Vogan delivering straight-from-the-belly howls with Karsin spitting punchy quips in between. Its a far cry from their earlier efforts, which resembled more of a rap-oriented vocal style. The group likes what they did on past records, but are happy to move away from it. "We're probably the only band in Canada that can say they've opened for both Propagandhi and Swollen Members" declares Karsin paradoxically.
"Career Day" certainly jumps around stylistically, but not without relevance. Placing it amongst stalwarts of similar genre would sound something like the spastic catchiness of Nomeansno meeting the head nodding drumming of the best early 90's skate punk (Descendants, Lagwagon), with interesting enough lyrics to keep a listener intrigued longer than they can keep their obligatory metal horns in the air.
released April 1, 2017
Written and recorded by Keli Martin, Dustin Karsin & John Vogan. Mixed by John Paul Peters @ Private Ear Recording. Mastered by Ed Brooks @ Resonant Mastering