TURNSTILE: Welcome to a thrashing of the new

Welcome to a thrashing of the new

Copyrights to Shane Collins & Gonzo Okanagan

This is not really a review, but a confession of sorts. Turnstile is a new band for me. A new discovery. An old friend of mine, who is as much of a music nerd as I am, came across Turnstile’s latest EP and sent me their brilliant music video, ‘Turnstile Love Connection’ (TLC). He said, “I think you’ll appreciate this,” and you know what? I did. Big time. 

Turnstile is described as a thrash punk rock band out of Baltimore, Maryland and, ya, if you watch their slew of online live performances, you’ll see moshpits pulsating with rowdy, young viggor erupting from everyone in attendance. I’ve NEVER seen so much stage diving during one two-minute song in all my life. 

I, however, have a hard time putting these guys in any kind of a box. I can’t call them any one thing because that label just don’t stick. There is no better example of this than their collaborative work with Mall Grab on their 3 song, 2020 EP, `Share a view.’

You think you’re going to go down a road and you realize you’re now where you’re supposed to be. You have your adidas sneaks, your torn jeans and favourite Black Flag T-shirt on but you’ve ended up in a disco, not at the bar. The beats are a deep house blended into a fusion of dirty bass, a sprinkling of synthesizer and both the repetitive lull and scream of Turnstiles lead vocalist Brandon Yates. Songs like ‘Yes I need my Generator’ and ‘The real thing,’ which to me sounds like a new take on NIN’s ‘Closer,’ blends beefy bass beats and rising harmonics, keyboards and that screaming whale of Yates. It’s reminiscent of Raised Fist but softer. It works and it’s so far removed from the punk rock thrash of the bulk of Turnstiles 2021 release ‘Glow on.’ 

Have you seen the TLC video? I watched it and then I watched it again. And again. A video hasn’t taken me in for such a ride like this since Childish Gambino hypnotized the world with his video, ‘This is America.’

The genius of the video feels both new and old. It looks to have been shot on film, not video. There is a theme of youth strewn throughout it, from the energy of the band performing in an abandoned high school stadium, to the running youth slowed down in slow motion, running through the music video. There is an interlude with the song, ‘No surprise.’ It’s like a scene cut from a Wes Anderson sketch with a young man singing if again, in slow motion. He sings on the railing of some sort of tree house and a woman emerges from the doorway, walks down the walk and throws herself over the edge and drops out of sight as the next song begins.

The album of Glow On is filled with fast paced bangers like WILD WRLD, (even the misspelling of world speaks to their generations presence in the music, lol) you have songs like ‘Lonely desires,’ ‘New heart designs’ and ‘Endless’ that will not only have you banging your head and driving a little too fast down the highway, but they’ll have you dancing as well. There’s some kind of anthem in their music. There’s an essence of being young and wild. Songs you can sing to. Dance to. Thrash to.

Of all the music I’ve come across so far in 2021, Turnstile has made the biggest impact. I even see them added to mega music festivals like Knotfest where the young rockers would rub shoulders with acts like Lamb of God, Megadeath, Trivium, Gojira and Slipknot. Anyone who tells you that this band hasn’t made it’s impact, politely as you can, tell them to give their heads a shake. 

Turnstile has absolutely blown me and my friends away and, as I have my doubts about live music returning to its full potential anytime soon, I am personally going to keep this album on repeat. It has a gravitational force to it and I am going to hope that when bands are once again returning to our remaining venues capable enough to host such a powerhouse of a band, I’m in attendance and able to throw myself from the stage and into the crowd because there’s just no other way to experience their show. Well done, Turnstile, I hope to photograph your band and have a chat here in Kelowna, one day soon. 

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The Okanagan’s been my home since I was born. Life has taken me across the planet several times and through that transient lifestyle I developed a journalistic style to my photography and to my writing. My influences would be that of James Nachtwey, Annie Lebovitz, Ashley Maile, Hunter S Thompson, Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, Tom Robbins, Wes Anderson and Charles Bukowski. The world outside this incredible valley, its cultures and its mystery is what’s kept me working and trying to save my money, so I can keep getting back into the world. That’s the way it used to be. Covid has opened my eyes to the land I call my home and there are so many tales to tell right here in BC. From tales of the impoverished to the neglected to those who overcome adversity, to the spirit to overcome fear, the power of storytelling has never been more relevant. I’ve always been a storyteller. There’s a tale worth telling in every neighborhood. I just happen to write about what happens to me along the way and I’ve kept them close to my heart, hoping one day I’ll have an outlet so I can tell those stories the best way I know how; by writing them down. From adventures of long ago, both here or maybe far away, future interviews with musicians, artists of all kinds, the coverage of events, the people I meet along the way, whatever I get up to I intend to have you as my guest as I go back in time and dig up the bones of those old adventures or chase down new ones. Through the alchemy of storytelling, you can come along with me if you like. Before Covid-19 I was really coming into my own photographing live shows; punk rock bands, hip hop showcases, tattoo portraits, rock climbing adventures, Femme Fatale burlesque performances you name it, the phone was finally beginning to ring. Then Covid showed up like a hurricane and I guess it wiped us all out in one way or another. I have a real bone to pick with Covid-19 and if I can share some stories for our readers to enjoy, I’ll do that and when we can return to live music and to foreign travel and we can safely get to working on mending what’s been damaged I tell you I want to be ringside like Joe Rogan commentating on Covid getting its ass whooped. I want to see it tap out and watch us overcome this hardship, raise our collective hands triumphantly and move on into whatever new normal is waiting for us. I’ll be there and through my eyes, just like the boss man, Hunter himself, I’ll do it in Gonzo fashion and bring you kicking and screaming along with me. So hold on tight and dig in. It might not always be pretty but I won’t call it all ugly, neither. That’s for you to decide. My name is Shane Collins and I hope you’ll read along with me and our team here at Gonzookanagan.com


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