When I was lucky enough to meet the guys in Flamingo Nosebleed two years ago, frontman Jake Emissions told me that all they really wanted to do was (a) set the bar for punk rock in Fort Wayne and (b) maybe take it on the road. Lofty goals, but let’s face it – mission officially accomplished. These flamingos – Emissions (guitar and vocals), “Philthy” Phil Nieswender (bass) and Mike Singleton (drums) – have set the bar high. All told they’ve been around for four years and during that short span have helped define the punk sound in Fort Wayne three chords at a time.
It was during that same, long-ago interview that Emissions also said they wouldn’t mind growing old playing punk (these fresh-faced 20-somethings have a way to go before they collect Social Security) and maybe, just maybe, make enough cash to pay the rent. After a few listens to the band’s sophomore effort, Headbanger, I’m convinced that they’ll be doing more than just paying the rent. Rent? Hell, they own the place.
Headbanger opens with, pardon me, a bang, thanks to “Zombie Daze” which showcases Emissions’ husky yet somehow boyish vocals and Singleton’s talents with the sticks. Next up is “Stag Party!” a track that earns its exclamation point. “Do You Wanna” is filthy with Niewender’s bass, and is it just me or does “Wake Up Today” quite naturally follow the question posed in the previous song? If this album’s playing on the stereo or even the neighbor’s stereo (it is, thank the punk gods, on the loud side), my answer is a resounding “yes!” Next up is my favorite track and one of the band’s most popular hits, “Alcoholic Teenage Queen.” This song, like most alcoholic teenage queens, is simply irresistible, and, unlike alcoholic teenage queens, will not puke all over your shoes. The PBR-fueled “Like a Rocketship” follows in all its Ramones-esque glory, leading into the title track, which double dog dares you not to sing along. In fact, every single song on this 11-tracker, including “Feelin’ Fine,” “Reanimator” and “Brain Surgery,” is infectious, but not in a poppy, heard-it-all-before way. The album closes with “Dance to the Stereo,” the perfect end to a practically perfect punk album. These tunes are original in every sense of the word, and it’s wonderful to see the boys staying true to the motto printed inside the CD case (which, incidentally, features the gorgeously clever art of local painter Jake Sauer): “Death to false pop-punk, dude!” Indeed.
There’s nothing false about Flamingo Nosebleed. When they head bang they do it right. They sweat. They spit. They rock. They make a lot of noise and they do it well. So get to the Brass Rail Friday, July 22 when the boys’ll be headlining their CD release party with openers the Give Ups. Give up? I say give in. (Deborah Kennedy)
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