LA WEEKY BEST OF 2019
Faster and Louder
May 2020: Oh my god, I am so excited! honeychain has a new record coming out next month on Die Laughing and Golden Robot Records! In advance of this upcoming release, the band has debuted a lyric video for the song "Pocket Full Of Good Luck". It's hardly shocking given honeychain's prior body of work, but this song is amazing! This is more of that punky powerpop meets '90s alternative rock that you've come to expect from this fabulous LA outfit. But the band sounds even punkier than usual on this exhilarating number. Hillary's guitars blast hard while the bass and drums power along at a rapid-fire pace. The lyrics, of course, are terrific. "Pocket Full Of Bad Luck" is a super fun ride for two and a half minutes, and then it leaves you wanting more. And that's how great punk pop is done! Official release date is June 19th!
June 2017: I have been waiting quite a while for the chance to write about a new honeychain record. Honeychain, to me, is the quintessential southern California punky pop band. I was late to discover the group's 2013 EP Futurabut have since found it to be one of the present decade's most satisfying power pop releases. Fast forward to today. Crushed is the L.A. trio's highly anticipated debut LP - four years in the making and worth every minute of the wait.
While the quick sell on honeychain is to appeal to fans of The Muffs, Veruca Salt, Go-Go's, etc., the real story is that singer/guitarist Hillary Burton is an immensely talented songwriter. When I heard that honeychain was recording a cover of Material Issue's "Going Through Your Purse" for an upcoming Girlsville/Nerve Centre compilation called Neon Maniacs, I thought that was perfect. Hillary Burton is very much like Jim Ellison - a gifted storyteller with a flair for the bittersweet and a willingness to wear heart on sleeve. She can write a simple hook that will knock you out, but there's even more there if you dig deeper into the songs. Enlisting Kim Shattuck to produce Crushed was clearly a smart move. Seriously, who knows great pop better than Kim Shattuck? And as a producer, Shattuck totally "gets" Burton and really allows her songs to shine. The vibe is punky power pop by way of '90s alternative rock, a recipe that holds up remarkably well in 2017.
Crushed represents so many things I love in music - mixing crunchy guitars, sweet melodies, and soaring harmonies with Burton's emotional vocals and clever, often acidic lyrics. Opener "Bombs Away" is that rare four-minute pop song that doesn't seem a minute too long. It grabs you not just with a strong melody, but also with exceptional lyrics and a vocal that allows you to genuinely feel the disillusionment of love gone bad. The title track is more of the same in an entirely good way. Once that hook comes in, it seems unfathomable that this song is not all over the radio! And while Burton is so incredibly good at articulating heartbreak and regret (a cover of Kathy Valentine's "Some Other Girl" is one of this album's can't-miss moments, and you have to love the deceivingly peppy "Three Horizons"), she's equally adept at taking the optimist's angle. "Ready for the World to End" is unabashedly romantic but in a darkly, twisted way. I wish I had written it! And "Messy Love" is a completely real yet genuinely affirming love song - something very rare in today's rock world.
So after all of this time, I finally have the pleasure of recommending a honeychain album to all of you reading right now. If you like the idea of quality power pop with a touch of punk and the spirit of what alternative rock used to be when it was good, Crushed is a can't-miss release. It's a darn near flawless album that works in plenty of variety (be sure to check out the gorgeous, chiming pop of "When I Stumble" and the heart-racing punk rush of "There Goes That Girl [Again]"). As we step into the month of June, this is the perfect album to crank loud in the car as you soak up the summertime sun and enjoy the heck out of life. And if it seems like nearly every song on the record could be seamlessly added to the Clueless soundtrack, that is a very good thing indeed.
By: Lord Rutledge
honeychain ‘Go Away’ b/w ‘Goin’ Through Your Purse’ 7 Inch
“Go Away” is easily honey chain’s best song so far. It’s got a cool, gritty vibe to it which is a few steps away from the cleaner sound this L.A. trio has previously exhibited. It’s a simple song with a simple structure but it’s extremely catchy and hits the mark. The flipside is a cover of a Material Issues track from 1994 and I must admit to having no previous knowledge of that band. However, using the resources at my disposal I can confirm that honeychain’s version of what is a great power pop tune, differs only in that it is a bit faster and features female, not male, vocals. An excellent single which has also made me a far on Material Issue - Rich Cocksedge (RAZORCAKE MAGAZINE, 2019
Review of CRUSHED - Razorcake, August 2, 2017
If you have ever wondered what it would be like if Debbie Harry sang for The Muffs, then wonder no more as L.A.’s Honeychain has nailed that sound on the head, especially on the opening track “Bombs Away.” It’s actually ex-Nushu member Hillary Burton taking on vocal and guitar duties in the three piece and additionally writing lyrics which would easily fit in many songs by The Muffs. It’s no coincidence then to discover that The Muffs’ Kim Shattuck produced Crushed and that she and Burton are both in the current lineup of Shattuck’s other band, The Pandoras. If Flipside was still around today, I’m certain that Honeychain would be featuring heavily in its pages. I love it! –Rich Cocksedge (Self-released, firstname.lastname@example.org, honeychainmusic.com)