By the end of 2019, few people would have suggested we’d live through a year any more devastating than 2016. That year, famous musicians seemed to be dying on a weekly basis. 2020 had even more of a drastic effect on the music industry with a global pandemic putting a halt on gigs and forcing various small, grass roots venues to close their doors forever.
On the plus side – and you always have to look for a positive, even in the most dire of circumstances – a dramatic change in circumstances has forced musicians to change their way of working. For those with home studios, it’s meant we’ve seen an increase in output. We’ve even been given unexpected albums – right at the end of the year, there were surprise releases from Paul McCartney and Taylor Swift and various other interesting albums were put together remotely. …And as we take stock on a terrible year, it seems that the gift of recorded music has been one of our only constants: 2020 may have been an absolute bastard in so many ways, but we’ve all found new music to love.
For a lot of musicians, 2020 became about making the best of a bad situation. With a global pandemic putting gigs on hold and stopping bands getting together in dedicated rehearsal spaces and studios, people began to work in isolation. That’s easy enough when you’re someone like Jeff Lynne, a multi-instrumentalist with a state of the art home setup and a loyal audience who’ll wait years for your new record, but not quite so convenient when you’re a punk musician who’s used to having close buddies and the interaction with a small crowd in small basement venues.
The lack of outside world didn’t stop Glenn Robinson. The prolific punker went into overdrive throughout the year and with his one man band, Pavid Vermin, set about creating a string of releases that called back to a classic 90s sound. Having already released ‘Throw Me In The Trash’ before lockdown hit, he kept up momentum with the largely excellent ‘Cutting Corners’, a classic pop-punk disc calling back to the glory days of Lookout! Records, and ‘Lookout! Pavid Vermin Ruins Some Songs’ – almost the very thing Pavid Vermin was created for: a covers album featuring material written by many of your favourite bands.
Glenn Robinson is one of the great purveyors of Ramones influenced punk sounds. The Rhode Island musician was previously the drummer with The Prozacs but subsequently used his multi-instrumentalist’s skills to carve out a solo career. Each of his releases offers something to enjoy, but this third album by his “band project” Pavid Vermin (where Robinson plays everything) has the potential to be one of his best. What’s more, ‘Cutting Corners’ isn’t quite everything it appears to be on the surface. A quick look at the track listing suggests a punky romp through the songs from The Beatles’ classic ‘Abbey Road’, but behind the familiar titles lie seventeen of the purest, self-penned pop punk bangers, guaranteed to thrill fans of the style. Titles aside, no further credit goes to Lennon/McCartney.
Glenn Robinson’s 2013 release ‘Modern Mistakes‘ is an underground classic. On that album, the ex-Prozacs man delivered several first class punk pop nuggets which, tempered with the performer’s love of old school power pop, resulted in a record that kind of defied the passing of time. The Ramonescore influences were channelled through various 90s punk outfits; the occasional nods to skinny ties and power pop borne from something a little older, but whatever the style, Robinson’s energy and enthusiasm always shone through. His following EP – ‘Everything Is Stupid‘, released in March 2015 – perhaps seemed to be that album’s leftovers, but was no less enjoyable for sticking to tried and tested formulae.
Glenn Robinson’s 2013 full length ‘Modern Mistakes’ was a great release. Packed with punky riffs, hooky choruses and a touch of new-wave sassiness, its ten songs zipped past in an “all killer no filler” fashion, representing the very best the style has to offer. This three track EP – issued as a stop-gap release before his next long player – presents three previously unreleased tracks of a similarly high quality.