Noisy London punks USA Nails are preparing for the release of their fifth album ‘Character Stop’ and showcases a more balanced sound with more sober, downbeat moments. The band explore themes of identity, giving up on dreams, the joy and despair of being a part-timer, and contemplating who they would be if they decided to hang up their guitars for good.
Guitarist Gareth Thomas had to say about the album “For me ‘Character Stop’ is the best album USA Nails have ever made by miles. It’s more varied than anything we’ve ever done before and I think it’s stronger for it. I feel like it’s more fully realised, and more complete as a collection of songs. Everytime we get in a room together and write, the dynamic of our relationship as writers (and mates) develops a bit further, we get better at anticipating and complimenting each other. We’ve always tried to be efficient in our creativity, to do what feels natural and just let things flow. I’m obviously still really happy with all the music we’ve written up to this point, but on this record everything seemed to come together so sweetly”.
To celebrate the release of the album and their new single ‘I Don’t Own Anything’, we spoke to USA Nails who each picked an album that inspired them to create their music.
CHEMICAL BROTHERS – ‘EXIT PLANET DUST’
I always select this as my most inspirational album. It was the first album I remember listening to that I realised I was actually listening to something a bit good, a darn sight better than whatever Ant & Dec were doing at the time. I nicked it from my brothers CD collection and kept replaying it so I could learn the drum parts which, were challenging due to the Chemical Brothers sampling all sorts of funk breaks and what not.
I was intrigued to find out much later on about the DIY style gigs they used to do and how they merged with the indie musicians, musically and socially. The whole scene just got bigger as they kept maxing out venues and moving to bigger ones. This album was their rawest in production and sounds very DIY in that sense. The album resembles that era of music very well for me and it’s stood the test of time incredibly well.
GANG OF FOUR – ‘ENTERTAINMENT’
The first song I heard from this record was on a mixtape that my wife made for me years ago. ‘I Found That Essence Rare’ seemed like perfect pop to me and could’ve been brand new at the time. I love the record as a while because of its jerkiness, repetition and robotic beats. Anthrax is a showstopper. I was lucky to see the original line up at an ATP and it was great seeing some mature men kick it harder than many younger bands.
SIOUXSIE AND THE BANSHEES – ‘JUJU’
I came to this record quite late, I mean, considering it was released before I was born. The playing on it is pretty virtuosic in places, but it’s true genius is in the song-craft. The goth post-punk aesthetic is more fully realised on this album than other often-referenced works from the same period. The Cure have arguably been far more consistent across their whole career, but Juju is fully nailed to the top spot for me if we’re talking individual albums. I’ll concede that there’s a song that sounds a bit like Incubus, but even that one is good.
DIRTY BEACHES – ‘THE SPIRIT OF CRAZY HORSE (LIVE AT LANDMARK: BERGEN, NORWAY)’
Been listening to Dirty Beaches for a while now but came across this live recording recently and includes a story of plane mishaps, lost gear, borrowed gear, improvised sets, drinking and feeling jubilant for playing a successful gig out of dire circumstances.
DEVO – ‘FREEDOM OF CHOICE’
It’s close between this and “Are We Not Men”, but the over-produced, colourful pop bangers of Freedom Of Choice put it a nose ahead. It’s probably closer to what their vision of the band should have been, surely? It’s really direct and simple and totally unique. Devo always managed to lean into the absurdity of their aesthetic in a way that makes them still feel totally credible, despite how comedic some of the elements were.
USA Nails‘ new single, ‘I Don’t Own Anything’, is out now. The single is taken from their upcoming album ‘Character Stop’ on October 23rd via Bigout Records, which you can preorder via the band’s BandCamp here.