Punk Explosion/Extension, or Punk Ex for short, is the latest musical detour from the loins of Canadian avant-pop artist Renny Wilson. Recorded between 2007 and 2014, Punk Ex follows Renny’s natural progression from the breakup of his high school garage punk band, the Subatomics, in 2007 to his present- day life in Montréal.
Originally available in an extremely limited, abridged cassette version— simply titled Punk Explosion—the album was a collection of Renny’s more abrasive recordings from the past seven years. Adding a handful of previously unreleased songs recorded at his home studio in Park Ex, Montréal, in late 2014, Punk Explosion/ Extension sees the original recordings back and bulkier than ever.
Calling back to snotty ’70s punk, corn- ball classic rock, and scratchy ’90s garage punk, the album makes more than subtle hints at the past while painting a clear picture of the future. From the lighter fare of “Youngsters” and “Clean” to the cheeky cock-rock of “Stiffed”, or the guttural, cartoon- ish power-pop of “Escaping Alive”, Punk Ex offers a variety of leather jacket-bound jams to choose from, as you would expect from an album made over so many years.
Reflecting on the album’s unique vision of teenage punk, Renny says: “Fresh out of high school I’d recorded some new songs at home that I’d envisioned sounding like ‘the punkest thing ever,’ whatever that means. During the Subatomics, I remember hearing the song ‘Death Has Come Over Me’ by the Knaughty Knights, and loving it so much that from that point on I wanted to base our sound off of it. After we broke up, I started record- ing new songs on my own. Filtering them through Crass, the Oblivians, and classic guitar riff-rock like Ted Nugent’s ‘Cat Scratch Fever’ and Foreigner’s ‘Juke Box Hero,’ they took on a similar feel to what I was after.
“‘Juke Box Hero’ was what I then considered the most over-the-top and corny song on the radio, and I would love to listen to it when it came on the super hits stations. I had a teenage epipha- ny: what would it be like to synthesize For- eigner with Crass? Of course, it took until now to finish all of the tracks, and I guess the vision sort of altered with time. This punk album was always a really big idea in my head, and something I was determined I could execute properly, but something I hardly ever worked on.”
Despite setbacks and stylistic evolutions, Punk Ex, Renny’s own personal Chinese Democracy, is available to the public at last on July 10th on Mint Records!