Introducing killer high school punks the Ungnomes

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Beautiful, hand-crafted artwork.
  • Beautiful, handcrafted artwork
The first time the Ungnomes appeared on my radar was when someone linked me to a video of them covering a song by a band I used to play in (the late and not-so-great Loose Dudes). I was both baffled and flattered that a group of kids in high school would go out of their way to cover a band that not only had been broken up for almost two years, but really wasn't very cool to begin with. It turns out the Ungnomes are fronted by Jimmy Langford, the 15-year-old son of local legend Jon, and they're actually pretty awesome. They absolutely put my high school bands to shame.

The Ungnomes play straightforward punk rock that owes a lot to west-coast bands of the 80s, like Black Flag or the Adolescents. The songs are speedy and snotty, and lyrical subject matter ranges from childish nihilism ("Religion is stupid!") to childish commentary on local politics (one song is called "Fuck Kill Rahm"). They're by no means breaking down any boundaries or forging new musical frontiers, but that's what makes it so great. This is spirited punk rock made by excited kids, and listening to it makes me excited. The music is played with a lot of skill too; what I hear are four young musicians with bright futures ahead of them. You can listen to their new album, Grape Drink, in its entirety on their Bandcamp page.

The Ungnomes have been hopping on a lot of gigs at legitimate venues lately. Once again, they're doing a lot better than I was when I was their age. They play an all-ages show this Saturday, January 12, at Martyrs' at 56 PM with Twin Peaks and Rubber.

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