MATT ELLIS: High Risk Assurance.



Matt Ellis, you absolute GOD! If you don’t know, Matt Ellis is in a band that I have been obsessed with for a few years now. I heard them whilst spending my lunch break at All Ages Records in Camden a few years ago- that band was Flesh Rag. I don’t know what it was about what I was hearing, but I knew it was something that was going to stick with me. I remember having a record already in my hands to buy, then I listened more and more to Flesh Rag being blasted out; the record in my hands was placed back where I got it from and I asked for a copy of the Flesh Rag record that was playing. This was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, musically.



High Risk Assurance was recorded in Matt’s bathroom last month. Some people take baths, others make great Punk records! There are only 4 songs on this record, but it still has that Flesh Rag feel to it, but it also has something else to it. It reminds me a little bit of the Ramones- the songs have that same pace of Blitzkrieg Bop and Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue. The songs are short, and fast. They are super lo-fi, and I love that he’s done this all by himself in a typically small space. The songs are heavy, and although at times his vocals are little quiet- you can still hear everything that’s going on, and the fact that the vocals are quite low just gives it that much vulnerability to it in a way. I just think it’s a really great record, and if this is what happens when we’re all stuck indoors- then keep it coming!

 The songs mainly hit the 1 minute 30 second mark, and the record opens with the face-smacking Poison Holiday. I would love to hear this live- can you imagine just how ferocious and rowdy it would be? It’s got everything you’d want from a real gnarly Punk song. It’s got the snarly vocals, the intense sound- everything you could want and more. I just love the sheer passion that comes through on this, and it really sets the mood for the record. It feels like with every song on the record, it gets louder. All By Myself is a touch louder than Poison Holiday, it’s an ode to self-isolation and Matt’s done it in such a great way. Sure, it’s easy to stay indoors and feel sorry for ourselves, but I’d rather stay indoors than risk make someone feel poorly by going outside for no good reason. To be honest, as an introvert who is partially shit with people I don’t know really well, staying at home (aside from going to work!) isn’t so bad.

 Missing You has a real Ramones feel to it; you can easily imagine Joey singing to this and I really love that about this song, and Matt’s style in general. He and Flesh Rag have a really authentic Punk sound that makes you want to start your own basement Punk band then make a record in your bathroom. My bathroom is too small to do this, but you get my point! I just love the DIY feel to this record, and it’s something I’ve always admired about Matt and the music he makes with Flesh Rag; they’ve always had this consistent DIY feel and you know they always do it THEIR way. High Risk Assurance is a great cure to the isolation blues some of us are feeling. It sucks to not be around people and to be able to go to shows, but records like this can ease the loneliness slightly.

 The record ends on Bad Day, and it’s the perfect song to play after you’ve had a bit of a shitty day. You can blast this super loud, and when the song ends, you’ll feel as if a massive weight has been lifted. Or you might feel angrier. It’s all on you, but just keep on listening until that nagging feeling disappears. It’s a great song, and the record truly is made up of a strong selection of raw Punk songs to just get you through the day.



Also, any money made from the Bandcamp sales of this record will go to the Toronto Overdose Prevention Society, so thank you to Matt for again being a great human being and making a difference. We need to help each other out now more than ever, and gestures like this go a really long way.

FLESH RAG: Inside Your Mind.



About a year and a bit ago, I was in All Ages record store in Camden, and this song was blasting out of the speakers. I already had a record in my hands that I was going to buy, but after hearing this song (and limited money) I put the record down, and bought the first Flesh Rag record. Since then, I’ve been hooked. More than hooked. You can call it obsessed.

Writing about Inside Your Mind is going to be an enjoyable experience. Flesh Rag are essentially, a Punk band but there’s way more to them than being a genre. They have that raw, snarly feel that the Dead Boys had. When their songs are really obnoxious, that’s when you play them a bit louder – In Another Dimension is a prime example of that. Flesh Rag are a band that can only be played loud. If you even try to listen to them quietly, the dial magically turns itself up.

I love how Matt’s vocals remind me of Stiv Bators and Captain Beefheart. He’s got a real distinctive sound, and on this record you notice it more. Just One Kiss is definitely peak Dead Boys reference, and as someone who is a huge fan of Dead Boys- I feel Flesh Rag pick up where Punk left off. This is their first full length record, and if you’ve listened to their previous hits- you’ll hear a band that are stoic in their sound, and most certainly are our saviours. It even says so on the press release; “Flesh Rag is Rock and Roll salvation, and only believers are gonna be saved.” Embrace your sins, and forget holy water saving you- Flesh Rag are where it is at.

Sunday Morning is one of my favourites on the record. You’d like to think that a song with this title may be gentle or easy on the ears. Fortunately, Flesh Rag do not do what is expect. This is a loud number, and it makes you think a little of any song off Raw Power by The Stooges. Sometimes when you pick up influences easily in a band, it takes away the excitement and originality of the music. However, with Flesh Rag I can hear all these influences and it is just amazing. It is almost as if I don’t need to listen to all the records I love on a loop- I can just listen to this record, and it takes me where the likes of Safe As Milk and Young, Loud And Snotty do.

Inside Your Mind is made up of 13 instant Punk classics. I love that Flesh Rag again, do not make you feel like you are listening to a band from 2018. I feel like I’m experiencing Punk in the 70s and living through it. For me that is such a powerful trait to possess, and I can’t praise these Kings of Canada enough.

Flesh Rag are evidently a band that properly come alive at their shows. They probably throw things around, have stage invasions and have the crowd leaving covered in beer, and bruises. All the things any good show should do. Inside Your Mind is such an exciting record, and is easily one of the best (current) Punk records I’ve heard. But like I’ve mentioned, they go beyond being a Punk band. Love Dump is one of my favourites, and that one really messes with whatever you expect from the band, and music in general.

You can stream the record here:  and you can get yourself a physical copy now too. Inside Your Mind is released via Schizophrenic Records.

Play this record loud, because any other setting just won’t do!





Canada as I’ve mentioned before is the home to some great music, but for me there is one band that have massively blown me away with their appealing rage and passion. I discovered Flesh Rag a few months ago whilst in All Ages Records. A brilliant record store in Camden that stocks some of the best music around. It’s ran by guys who know their stuff and are just a pleasure to talk to. I’ve spent many lunch breaks in there forgoing buying something to eat because I’d rather my ears fed than my belly full. I was immediately hooked by Flesh Rag because they reminded me so much of Dead Boys, who I highly regard as one of the greatest bands ever.

Their new 3 track EP consists of songs that do not reach the 3 minute mark but that does not matter. The fury and urgency are put across in a way that doesn’t require any more time. The songs are for the hopeless, helpless and those who are fed up. To feel these emotions all you need to do is put the news on and see how the government are bending us all over and having their way with us, without any say so. I mean Flesh Rag aren’t really political, but it’s easy to apply songs that stir something in you like this and apply it to what you see on the TV etc. If you’re not fed up and you’re all okay with it all, then you’re just part of the problem.

I got home when I bought it this week and played it pretty loud. Nobody was home and I doubt the neighbours were home. I played it and off I went to Punk paradise. I was front row at their show in my mind. Bodies covered in sweat moving around in timely and untimely fashion. What I get from the music of Flesh Rag is that it is made for a live show. The day they come to England will be a bloody great day, but until then I live with the images in my mind that I have created. The power of music greater than we know, and that’s one of the many reasons as to why I adore the music that Flesh Rag make.

I wasn’t born when Punk first came around, but it’s always been the one style of music that owned my heart more than anything or anyone else could. I remember falling in love with the Ramones for the first time, I remember hearing Horses for the first time, I remember hearing the Sex Pistols and knowing that this was IT. Flesh Rag have brought up these feelings that I got the first time with those I’ve mentioned, and more. I feel like I’ve gone back to the 70s and been thrown into a world of chaos and fury. As someone who cannot settle into a daily routine, Flesh Rag are the perfect band to help me adjust. I’d take better care if I knew how. Panic attacks bring on migraines and migraines bring on panic attacks- music is the thing that eases it all out. Unless it’s a really bad migraine and all I can do is just sleep. You sometimes find yourself delving into thoughts and feelings when a band hits you in the gut for the first time, and with Flesh Rag I know that feeling is going to happen each time I listen to them. I’m pretty sure I got the last copy of the 7″ from AAR, so I’m sorry if you were looking for it- but to know that there’s a place for these guys makes it all worth it. Their music is the opposite of how I am, and I think that again, is part of my attraction to their music.

Matt’s gritty snarl on It Ain’t Enough is one of my favourite music based moments of the year. You can keep what the mainstream radio shoves down your neck and shove it up your you know where- I’d take a band like Flesh Rag over them any day. The sheer grittiness in the vocals and the angst in the drums, bass and guitar makes you want to start your own kind of noise. Some are adamant that Punk is dead. But for me, Punk is an attitude, a way of being not just the music. Bands like Flesh Rag are keeping it alive. Ignore all that “Pop-Punk” shit, that’s nothing. You need bands like Flesh Rag. Let them help you get through daily life by creating music for you to lob your limbs about to, sweat it out and throw your body into a wall as if your possessed. I’m fairly sure anyone who has seen their live shows are super lucky, so I’ll wait my turn. Live in my mind until it happens.

There have been many great records released this year, but as far as 7″ EPs go- Flesh Rag undoubtedly are the winners this year for the best release.

The self titled 7″ is out now on It’s Trash Records, and details for picking up a copy/streaming the release are here:


I got paid on Monday, so I decided to treat myself to a new record. I didn’t know what I wanted to buy, but I was going to buy something anyway. I went to All Ages Records in Camden. It’s my new favourite place in London. The bus from work stops right by it, so obviously it was fate. Sometimes in record stores the staff can be proper grumpy and a bit pretentious. This isn’t the case with All Ages. The guy who works there was one of the loveliest chaps I’ve ever met. Totally nuts about music and played a record at the wrong speed. My kind of person. Ever played Sex Pistols slowed down? I have. Sometimes by accident, other times because I’m easily amused. Another customer comes in, and by this stage I have a record in my hand. Suddenly, he plays something. I’ve convinced myself it’s Dead Boys. It isn’t. I’m told the other guy is after the record and there’s only one in the shop. A lunchtime brawl in Camden? I’ve not eaten so I’m unsure of the challenge. I’m a friendly Northerner, so I accept defeat without saying anything. Turns out, the guy was after something else and I end up with the record (a badge and a zine. I know how to live!)

Flesh Rag are brilliantly named and are as mental as they sound. They’re on the same level as Dead Boys. For snotty, obnoxious brats who don’t give a toss what you think. They’re loud and they are coming to deafen you. The louder you play them, the better. And if you can crank it up louder, then make sure you do it. You want this shaking the walls and scaring your neighbours. Again I reckon these guys are a band that you need to see live to really appreciate the music. They’ve got a proper Punk feel to them. It doesn’t feel forced or anything like that. It’s a genuine sound that needs to be heard. They aren’t for everyone. I’m pretty sure if I played them to certain people they’d think I was a bit mental, but I live in hope that there’s someone out there who digs this. I’m 100% sure my uncle would love this band. He got me into Punk, he’s to blame for my many music based obsessions.

Flesh Rage are the band that Lester Bangs would piss himself with excitement over. The kind of band The Stooges would have taken on tour and left a trail of destruction and mayhem. It’s chaotic bliss that leaves you feeling bruised all over. I feel like that anyway because I’ve got some cold/flu thing going on. Night Nurse is a lifesaver. I’ve had excellent sleep by taking this recently due to feeling ill. When I wake up I have no idea where I am (no more than usual.)

Each song feels like a glorious punch to the face. You feel as if someone is launching punches at you, and you just take it because, what else is there to do? These three guys are ferocious beats and are out for blood and guts. They’ll make you squirm- as if you can’t take the thrashing, but the thing is, these guys are making some of the rawest music around. You’ve heard Flowers Of Evil, right? You’ve heard Young Boys, right? On that level but a little more aggressive. Loud, powerful and a brutal attack on your general being.

The growling in the vocals, the rage in the drums, the electric shock in the guitar and the boldness of the bass are incredible, and they leave you wishing you could make noise like this. There’s nothing stopping you,

The songs don’t really last longer than 3 and a half minutes, so all you can do is keep it on repeat. Take what you can from the music. Invest in this band. They’re bloody great and someone needs to bring them to the UK. Urgently. Many great things have come from Canada, but Flesh Rag are probably the best band to come from there in a long, long time. They don’t hold back and they gnaw at your skin like a rabid dog.