Canadian punks The Flatliners are celebrating their 20th anniversary this year with an ongoing tour, and their first album in five years, New Ruin, just dropped today via Fat Wreck Chords (order yours). The album finds Chris Cresswell (who's now also a guitarist/co-vocalist in Hot Water Music) & company churning out the kinds of melodic punk anthems that they've always done so well, while battling bigotry, oppression, abuse of power, the climate crisis, anxiety, and more. "What can I say? It’s an angry record," Chris says with a laugh. For a deeper dive into these songs, Chris made us a track-by-track breakdown. Read on for what he had to say, and stream the album via a YouTube playlist below.

The Flatliners' tour hits NYC on November 18 at Brooklyn Made with Pet Symmetry and Taking Meds. All dates are listed at the bottom of this post.

"Performative Hours"

There’s a desperation that’s run rampant within us as people, and it's the need to be validated. A shadow of what’s really real, a version of the truth, a performance at all hours. As the world around us grows more mechanically able to connect, us as people will abuse that power to simply brag or complain, feverishly attempting to create a moment instead of just enjoying one. It feels as though we’ve found ourselves in an age of insincerity, with people putting in the hours for nothing more than upholding an image. Time now ticks in performative hours.

"Rat King"

Some things simply deserve to burn. The abuse of power and stark division that’s born from it should have no place left to thrive in our world, and yet it all still hides in plain sight. And for as much progress has been made in bringing people together, learning from each other’s differences, and creating a more positive world from those conversations, there are always those who personify taking two steps back. The tails of hate always intertwine to create quite the mess. Together we can unify against the ignorance and arrogance of the rat king.

"Big Strum"

Around every corner, there’s evil to be exposed. As loudmouth trolls take to their screens to unravel - willingly and publicly - their consequences appear in their wake. As they scatter like rats, they’ll find that there isn’t much room left for them to hide. There’s darkness in power, and that power preys on people. Their secrets, their ignorance, their lust for loftiness - it all grows in that dead darkness. Let’s shine a light on the vermin who hide at the family reunion, in plain sight.

"Top Left Door"

The perpetual motion that art can inspire can be magical. It can be powerful. It can be a crutch. Some say that great art comes from great struggle, and while that may not be true for all, the psychology of that is true for many. The struggle itself is a byproduct of creating art, with all the sacrifice that dedicating your life to your craft can require. And sometimes, the urge to create something can inspire one to feel as though they must create a struggle in order to make art itself. That something needs to go wrong in order for it to be worth writing about. Chaos is welcomed, as is disappointment, disaster and heartbreak. Just so there’s something to talk about. Just so you can keep creating.

"It’ll Hurt"

It can be hard to find your place in a world that’s always moving. The growing pains synonymous with carving out a space to call your own usually end up as accomplishments in the rear rear view, but when they’re still in front of you, when they envelop you, it’s a fight you can’t help but feel. For everybody digging in to find what’s truly theirs, to make something their own, the mountain can be brutal. But it's worth the climb home.


Love doesn’t have a dress code. It doesn’t have a rigid set of guidelines to abide by. It is liberating. It is empowering. It is truth. Since we as people have no control over who we ourselves fall for, we have absolutely no business policing the hearts, minds and bodies of anyone else and who they love. There are no rules. However you want to identify, you get to choose. Whoever you love, it’s a beautiful thing to behold. Acceptance over anger. Openness over ignorance. No homophobia. No transphobia. No room for it. Not for us.


There’s something almost thrilling about a chest wound up so tight that each breath feels like you’re barreling over a speed bump. There is no control over when anxiety strikes, or who it can profoundly affect. In that moment, the body becomes a vessel for something that feels like it’s far too powerful to be contained. Like it’s within something’s grip that could make or break. When pushed to the edge, do you recoil or recover?


The mind is such a powerful thing - for better or for worse - and this song comes straight from the deep pit anxiety can dig with its help. When a moment’s hesitation can send one spiraling, when the smallest task can stand in the way, when you find it in a place you least expect it, like a souvenir stuffed deep in your drawer, you can let it wash over you or try your best to will it away. "Souvenir" is about finding your footing, even when the ground beneath you can only crumble.

"Tunnel Vision"

There comes a point where there really can be too much of a ‘good thing’. The vast rat’s nest of modern capitalism has taught us all to ‘rise and grind’, leaving so many duped into working so hard to provide for themselves, their families, or just to afford their life, that they put life itself on hold in order to work... to afford their life. It can be a a vicious cycle. A long tunnel. May the culture of toxic productivity crumble, and may happiness return as our resounding measure of success.


The self proclaimed ‘Greatest Generation’ have always insisted that the children are the future, and that the future is the children. That future looks to be painted with a pale brush now, after decades of industrialization so immense that younger generations can not afford the world they live in, and furthermore, the environmental toll of their predecessor’s ‘brilliance’ and ‘ingenuity’ has left the odds stacked against them, and against the planet. In the bright blue, there’s a feeling. It’s up to us now to right these wrongs and ensure that a livable planet is possible, and that we leave it better than we found it. After all, it wasn’t ours to begin with. It wasn’t theirs either.

"Under A Dying Sun"

Joy becomes something you need to work for. It can hold more value, or have more of an impact once thats the case. But as time trudges on, and life evolves into a balancing act of responsibilities, failing governments, ruthless classism, environmental collapse, and more and more and more, it can all feel like it’s falling on the shoulders of each and every person who feel as though they are a part of something. Who feel as though they can help, and create change, and try to make a positive impact. At a certain age, time becomes fleeting and the weight of the responsibility thrust upon you by those factors can be immense. Your actions must change, and the work must be done. It’s a grind, but it’s a grind for happiness.


The Flatliners -- 2022 Tour Dates
5 Aug 2022 in Duffel, Belgium @ Brakrock 2022
6 Aug 2022 in Amsterdam, Netherlands @ Q-Factory
7 Aug 2022 in Hamburg, Germany @ Knust
8 Aug 2022 in Tolmin, Slovenia @ Punk Rock Holiday 2022
9 Aug 2022 in Munich, Germany @ Strom
11 Aug 2022 in Igea Marina, Italy @ Bay Fest 2022
12 Aug 2022 in Limburg, Germany @ Tells Bells Festival 2022
13 Aug 2022 in Berlin, Germany @ SO36
8 Sep 2022 in Vancouver, BC, Canada @ Rickshaw Theatre
9 Sep 2022 in Winnipeg, MB, Canada @ SOS Fest
10 Sep 2022 in Edmonton, AB, Canada @ Super Friendly Fest
11 Sep 2022 in Calgary, AB, Canada @ Commonwealth
28 Oct 2022 in Gainesville, FL, US @ FEST
5 Nov 2022 in Silverado, CA, US @ Punk In The Park 2022
16 Nov 2022 in Washington, D.C., US @ Songbyrd
17 Nov 2022 in Philadelphia, PA, US @ First Unitarian Church
18 Nov 2022 in Brooklyn, NY, US @ Brooklyn Made
19 Nov 2022 in Boston, MA, US @ Sonia
8 Dec 2022 in Quebec City, QC, Canada @ L'Anti Bar
9 Dec 2022 in Ottawa, ON, Canada @ Bronson Centre
10 Dec 2022 in Montreal, QC, Canada @ Foufounes Electrique
16 Dec 2022 in Toronto, ON, Canada @ Longboat Hall
17 Dec 2022 in Toronto, ON, Canada @ Danforth Music Hall

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