Saturday, May 8

Male Bonding piece for

. Saturday, May 8

Calling your band Male Bonding is one way of raising eyebrows before you’ve even played a note but these three London bromantics don’t care. Their retro brand of short, sharp punk puts them alongside contemporary bands like No Age and Vivian Girls looking back to Dischord bands from the nineties and paying scuzzy homage. Having met through work (all three of the band worked for London based record shop Reckless Records) Robin Christian, Kevin Hendrick and John Webb started a band together and even moved into the same flat. “We’ve been playing for about two years now” says guitarist/ vocalist John. “Basically we met at shows, seeing bands we all loved and decided to play together for fun.”

Playing their first ever show at a house party dubbed ‘RAGE’ by its organisers, Male Bonding soon established themselves as a raucous live band. However, bassist Kevin admits that a giant trampoline was probably the most memorable thing at that particular party, “I’m pretty good at it” he says, “I can get some serious air.”

From humble beginnings come great things and two years on from that house party find themselves signed to iconic American label Sub Pop. How did the label famous for bringing us Nirvana discover a tiny punk band from East London? “Basically” says John “We set up a label ourselves before Male Bonding even formed called Paradise Vendors. When Male Bonding started nobody showed any interest in us initially, nobody asked to put our stuff out so we decided to release a few split 7”s with bands we were friends with like PENS and Graffiti Island.”

Always with their ear to the ground, Sub Pop’s A&R team got in touch with the guys, “We used to joke that maybe one day Sub Pop would ask us to do a 7” as a real pipe dream. Then one day Sub Pop got in touch and asked if were planning to reissue the singles in America and if they could get involved. We had no plans to but said, tongue in cheek, if Sub Pop wanted to release our single we’d be interested. They then replied straight away saying they wanted more than a single, they wanted an album.”

Signed to the same label as their favourite band, Mudhoney the three members of Male Bonding decamped to Brooklyn, New York in October 2009 to record their album ‘Nothing Hurts’ released in the UK next week (May 10). Despite being thirteen songs long the album still manages to clock in at under half an hour, something John puts down to wandering minds and recording live. “We went into the studio and were done within six days.” he says, “We basically just set up, played it and got it recorded. Because you’re recording and playing together you’re so scared of messing up your own part that it forces you into getting it right as quickly as possible. A lot of people talk about how our songs can be quite short but I think that’s just the punk background we all come from. I don’t really like long songs and don’t feel the need to repeat myself. Plus I’ve got a really short attention span and just start playing my guitar really quickly after a while.”

The results are effective, ‘Nothing Hurts’ is a non-stop, punch-drunk thrill designed to be played at decibel shattering volume.

With copious amounts of touring planned as well as another album scheduled for release in the next six months (“Labels permitting, we just want to stay as creatively active as possible” says John) Male Bonding could soon earn themselves the title of hardest working new bands in music, never mind one of the best.

Male Bonding release their debut album Nothing Hurts on May 10 on Sub Pop. They will also head out on their first headline UK tour shortly after. The band play Liverpool Sound City and Offset festival as well as recently being announced as the main support act for Blood Red Shoes October tour.

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