On Tuesday, The Jacklightsreleased their first single of the year, and, frankly, they couldn't have picked a better time. "Winter" is a melodic punk anthem about the less-than-ideal aspects of the season. "It's a time of year that can be beautiful and cozy — but if you can't connect with that, it can be isolating," lead vocalist and guitarist Nilagia McCoy says. "That stretch between January and spring can feel especially bleak."
From slipping on icy sidewalks, facing seasonal depression, and enduring an unpleasant New Year's Eve gathering, to feeling lonely and sluggish after staying inside for days, the song's lyrics effortlessly capture the essence of a particularly dark time for many, made darker still by the global pandemic.
Still, the track carries a hopeful energy, thanks to 90s and early aughts pop-punk and alternative influences. McCoy draws inspiration from punk bands like Jawbreaker and Alkaline Trio, both known for creating snappy songs that tackle difficult subject matter. "I wanted it to still be fun to listen to — to have some contrast — and not be a complete downer," she says.
The Jacklights have developed amazing chemistry in a short time. McCoy connected with bassist Mike Allen in October 2019; drummer Steve Patton joined in January 2020. Still, starting a band just months before the beginning of a pandemic forced them to rethink the order of many things. For starters, they began recording an album remotely before ever playing a live show together.
"We were scheduled to record and release our debut EP in spring 2020 and had multiple shows lined up in the spring and summer, but the pandemic canceled all of that," McCoy says. "Fortunately, we were all very committed to making this band work, however we could safely do so."
The Jacklights ultimately worked up to recording in-person at the Galaxy Park Recording Studios in Salem last fall. "Winter" is the band's first release on Red on Red Records, which they signed to earlier this month, and they're already working on a second EP.
"Recording is mostly all we can do right now," McCoy says. "We're all excited to play live shows, once it's safe to do so."