Since the year 2000, Flatfoot 56 have steadily unleashed a rollicking barrage of Celtic punk and folk-tinged hardcore from the South Side of Chicago to an international audience with intense and positive party-like energy. Coinciding with their 10-year anniversary, Flatfoot is set to launch the release of their 3rd label-backed studio effort, Black Thorn, on March 30, 2010.
Led by spirited front man Tobin Bawinkel (Vocals/Guitar), along with brothers Justin (Drums), and Kyle (Bass), and multi-instrumentalists Eric McMahon (Bagpipes/Guitar) and Brandon Good (Mandolin/Guitar), the band is fueled by a sense of camaraderie that directly translates to their die-hard fans and highly energetic live shows. “We really try to create a positive environment every time we play so people feel comfortable and can let loose. It’s an experience that everyone is a part of,” explains Tobin.
Produced by the Street Dogs’ Johnny Rioux, Black Thorn tightly packs the quartet’s eclectic and driving musical charge into thirteen tracks that celebrate the pride of the working class and their Chicago roots. A collection of songs that delves into weighty thematic content, Tobin explains that the cohesive theme of Black Thorn is a fundamentally universal one. “Everyone goes through hardships, but you aren’t alone. Punk rock is about community and brotherhood. This record is our contribution to that.” As cathartic as it is ambitious, Black Thorn is an emphatic assault that remains vintage Flatfoot in its effortless combination of Celtic instrumentation and street corner punk rock. Bagpipes and mandolins remain just as vital as drums and guitars in defining Flatfoot’s sound.
While other bands run the risk of turning their message into overbearing banter from high on the soapbox, FLATFOOT 56 remain true to their ability to convey the profound all while allowing fans to get lost in the sheer energy of the music. The band’s multi-faceted approach to their craft, both in substance and in presentation, ensures that from the novice to the die-hard fan, everyone walks away with a reason to come back. After ten years of tour vans, dive bars, late nights, diverse crowds, broken bones, blood, sweat, and tears, FLATFOOT 56 offers sincere semblance of the tradition behind the music. When you have a reason to sing, you will sing louder. And when you have a reason to dance, you will bring the house down brick by brick.
The band’s sonic arsenal, which includes classic rough-and-tumble albums Knuckles Up and Jungle Of The Midwest Sea, captures both the nostalgia of brass tacks street punk and hardcore as well as inspiration taken from traditional Celtic folk. Within this musical fury, FLATFOOT 56 attacks dark and pressing subject matter—avarice, strength, faithlessness, courage, and cowardice—that speaks volumes of the values and principles on which the band was founded.
The band’s forthcoming album, Black Thorn, will be released on Old Shoe Records in the United States, Stomp Records in Canada, and Big Mouth Japan in Japan.