Rock ‘n’ roll has many different ingredients that make the genre enjoyable for fans of the music and the bands that play it. There’s one particular ingredient that is a must have for all rock albums though, and almost all of these “new rock” bands I’m hearing on the radio don’t have it. That ingredient I’m talking about is attitude; if you’re like me and listen to this new age version of what the media are labeling as rock, then you’re probably wondering what happened to that fiery attitude that made so many bands of past decades incredible. Well I’m here to tell you that one Charlotte band has just released an album full of enough attitude to make up for the rest.
The Fill Ins recently released their first full length album, Hipster Killers, and man does it have some balls. This album is full of fast paced, aggressive, guitar driven rock that will have the most hardcore of fans pleased. The guys wear their influences on their sleeves with these songs, having a heavy dose of classic punk similar in style to greats like the Ramones, the Sex Pistols and the Misfits. The songs may only be three or four power chords, but they’re mixed with frantic drumming and a simple and powerful thumping of the bass that bring so much of that attitude I was talking about earlier to the album. Guitarist Mikey Black brings a little extra flavor to the group’s music with something very rarely featured in punk: guitar solos. Black’s solos add just enough to make the Fill Ins stand ahead of the rest of the punk rockers in Charlotte.
Having the attitude to the music is one thing, but if it’s not in the lyrics then you’re still not doing it right. Lucky for these guys, vocalist Alex Stiff seems to have this under control. Belting out songs about drinking, sex, and saving the style of music he loves, Stiff has that raw and powerful voice punk rock needs to be real. He has the one thing every musician needs to succeed, and that is passion. On the second track off the album, “Save the Rock,” he asks the question, “Where is the passion? Where is the fun?” Finally, someone that understands that rock ‘n’ roll is all about having fun and loving the music, not money or striving to be some huge rockstar. The passion and energy this band has for their music is what makes this album so good. They put every drop of intensity and love into these thirteen songs and it proves that real rock still exists.
Rock ‘n’ roll may be endangered, but it will never go extinct. You may have to look really hard to find the good stuff. You may have to search every hole in the wall club, punk rocker’s basement or house party, but the real rock is still out there. The Fill Ins are one of those bands keeping it alive and picking up right where the legends that came before them left off. Hipster Killers is full of upbeat, guitar driven, headbanging, and real punk rock that has that one ingredient that most bands don’t, attitude. Adding this album to your collection should be a no brainer by now.