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Month: March 06
A GLOBAL THREAT - Where The Sun Never Sets (BYO RECORDS)website
Displaying from the outset an obvious UK 80s punk influence,Boston punk band A Global Threat are trademarked by great growling bass lines, that drive the band along throughout, aided by an intense grinding lead that sets the tone on their fourth full album to date. Imagine a leaner hungrier Discharge meeting Crucifix live, add some tuneful immediacy and a studied approach to delivery and you’re getting there.
A tough, beefy sound, opener ‘AGT Crew’ sets the scene with it’s distinctive descending bassline, whilst ‘Keep Dancing’ is an atmospheric anti-statist spoken word piece with a subdued band accompaniment. Elsewhere the ballsy bluster of ‘The Running Man’ and the all out attack of ‘Making Enemies’ the melodic edged ‘One Way Street’ or the inventive bass led stop/start of ‘Channel 34’ stand out amongst a album that does tend to sound overly similar in places, although surprisingly their fired up spirited approach manages to keep the attention meter switched on.
AMPPEZ - The Irony Of A Sweet Fruit (BENTEN LABEL)website
Japanese all girl punk trio The Amppez, have been treading the boards since July 2000, having amassed a healthy 300+ gigs in that time.
‘The Irony…’ their second album is a surprisingly agreeable seven track collection of skewed discordant punk-pop, with vocalist Marie demonstrating versatility and an anguished approach to her delivery. There’s a real lo-fi charm to their left field slant on punk rock, and with the songs delivered in their own language it adds to the appeal.
With sparkling melodies and atmospheric harmonies thrown into the mix for good measure the result is an album that although not hugely groundbreaking, still manages to thrill with its gutsy eccentricity
ANORAK-E-WAR - Anoraks Ep (From the band)website
4 track cd with no info on the band. All it says on the inside of the cover is that it was recorded at Discharge studios on October 2005. First track "That's what she said to me" is Buzzcocky lyric wise but musically it's like a souped up '77 sound. Next up is "Stayin' In " which is much more Sick 56 style, the next rack "Never Invited" ups the temp a lot more and introduces Bev Rage as the main singer and is like picnic style songs (the best one so far) and finally we finish with "Suicide Bomber" opening with jarring riffs and is much more oi/fast Blitz style. This concludes the ep which lasts just over 12 minutes and well worth getting your hands on.
BABAR LUCK - Care In The Community (REBEL MUSIC)website
Born and raised in Pakistan, Babar Luck came to live in London when he was eight. Absorbing his native culture and music, alongside reggae, hip-hop, acoustic music, classic rock, punk, underground music and the sights and sounds of London town, he started to create his own musical vision.
Admittedly the ghost of Cornershop, occasionally appears on his debut album ‘Care In The Community’, although there’s a more confident vibe and internationalist atmosphere going on. His toasting style vocals dominate proceedings, coming to fruitition especially well on the folk flavoured mood of ‘Movies’,‘Raj Kapoor and Nargis’ and ‘Inner Glow’, whilst the strident guitar led ‘Lions’ the reggae flavours of the delightfully titled ‘My Friend Used To Be (A Madaxeman)’ and the infectious skank of opener ‘1 Luv’ reveal a versatility and imagination that illustrates another side to his obvious talent.
BARNYARD MASTURBATOR - Unleash The Cock (From the bandROKBOLOK RECORDS)email
This is a 4 piece band which draws band members from Derby, Leicester and Nottingham.First track "Plastic Surgery Nightmare" had me thinking this is a "version" of Crass's "Nagasaki Nightmare" and seemed oddly similar in places but good non the less. Next up is "Scum Between my Toes" which is like a very fast Vice Squad/Crass (Penis Envy) kind of hybrid which goes into a slower reggae middle and then picks up again. Finally we have "Useless Flesh" and again it's knida Penis Envy time. For a band who've supported the likes of the Subhumans, Discharge and GBH I can see a rosey future. This is good and one for breaking the piggy (or in their case chicken) bank and spending your pennies on this.
CHURCHILL - No One Likes Us (NOISE ANOYS MUSIC/FUNGAL PUNK)website
Five tracks "No One Likes Us", "Bent Copper",, "Streets of Fear", "What Went Wrong" and "Boys in Blue" of classic oi played the way it was meant to be. Ok some might say it's oi by numbers but I'd say this lot would give more well known bands a run for their money. If you're into straight forward old school oi this is definately for you.
DAN - Thology (BOSS TUNEAGE)website
Another very welcome reissue in Boss Tuneage’s retro series, this time a double CD set from Darlington’s very own Dan.
Amongst the black’n’black world of the Anarcho and punk scene of the early to mid 80s, Dan stood apart because they generally seemed to be enjoying themselves onstage, they smiled quite a lot, didn’t dress in black and wrote and played songs that weren’t always deadly serious. They also were capable of producing classic little pop-punk classics before we even knew what that was.
‘Thology’ features a mammoth 64 tracks over the two CDs including their debut single ‘Can You Dig It’, albums ‘Where Have All The Children Gone?’ ‘An Attitude Hits’, ‘Mother And Child With Bunny’ and the ‘Kicking Ass At TJs’ live collection plus their sole Peel Session from 1988.
The bands own brand of upbeat melodic punk was the perfect antidote to the wave of crusty metal dullards that appeared at a similar time. Their ability to laugh at themselves and non too serious approach to performing, meant that even at the peak they were never ever trendy, even amongst punk audiences. From the distance of time and with the benefit of hindsight it’s obvious just how strong the band were as a unit. Although at times the earlier material displays the raw youth club exuberance that launched a plethora of bands from the period, it’s interesting to note their musical progression with bassist Ian Armstrong exhibiting a real knack for creating expressive bass lines whilst guitarist Dallas reveals a talent for producing neat little riffs that add plenty of melodic colour to their sound. By the third album the band was adding wider influences with the acoustic ‘Army Of Fools’ and the pseudo-country flavoured of ‘Vicious Circle’ and the punk – rap of ‘Jack & Jill’ standing shoulder to shoulder with the more expressive punk of ‘Deepest Blue’ and the fiery hardcore of ‘Blind Ignorance’.
Dan left a magnificent legacy, that paved the way for their future work as part of Sofahead, Wat Tyler, Blyth Power and others, but as the opening chapters in that story this will do very nicely.
DANCE HALL CRASHERS - Live At The House Of Blues D.v.d. (Kung Fu Records)website
Formed from the ashes of Operation Ivy and were briefly led by Tim Armstrong and Matt Freeman before they went to to pastures new. This dvd catches a full live performance from the band at the House of Blues in L.A. Having not heard the band before and busy making a cup of tea when I put this on, I thought someone had put a No Doubt disc in the wrong box. Female fronted ska is not something I choose to listen to, unless it’s The Selector, and this is far too poppy for me. There’s no questioning the band are popular and good at what they do, but it doesn’t do anything for me, sorry but that’s how it is. For fans of the band you can’t really go wrong, with a 23 track set list show in full, extra footage of the crowd, trailers for other Kung Fu records dvd’s, a commentary from the band, a photo gallery, subtitles and web links you couldn’t ask for much more. Not one for me but I know loads of you out there will love this. For more info go to www.kungfurecords.com
DEAD JEFF - Dead Inside (From the band)email
10 tracks of metal edged punk from this West Midlands band, nothing more nothing less. The band have some good tunes and at times reminded me of early Broken Bones but with a singer who sounds a little like Steve Ignorant. One minor quibble, it’s very quiet and you really have to crank the volume up to hear this. For more details email email@example.com
DEAD MAN'S SHADOW - The 4p's (Captain Oi Records)website
Pride, Pacifism, Passion, Perseverence the full 14 track album plus 13 bonus tracks from a band I've never heard much by and I bet I'm not the only one. I suppose it's coz there were so many bands about at the time and these were from down south that they didn't make much of an impact up here. Anyway if you're into basic early 80's style punk in a similar style to the Epileptics,Anti Pasti or the Fits then this is definately worth checking out. If you were to compare the early 80's scene to a football league then these lads would be mid table, not the best but far from the worst and I think there would be a lot of interest were they ever to reform.
DESTRUCTORS - Punk Singles Collection (Captain Oi Records)
Although Peterborough punk band The Destructors, never reached the dizzy
heights of fame, or ever became frontrunners in the neu-punk stakes, their
own brand of basic but inventive punk enamoured them to many, and saw them
bother the lower end of the indie charts back in the early to mid 80s.
This collection brings together their seven singles, recorded for a variety
of labels including Carnage, Illuminated and Criminal Damage, and follows
the band as the development from the gutsy punk stomp of the likes of
'Dachau', through the more confident resourceful approach of tracks like
'Religion', 'Agent Orange', 'Forces Of Law', 'Nerve Gas' and 'Electronic
There's still a lot here though that lacks a distinctive edge and a real
vitality, and like their demo tapes of old I found myself reaching for the
skip button more than once.
'The Punk Single Collections' presents The Destructors as they were warts'n'
all, and if you want to discover the rougher underbelly of 80s punk look no
DESTRUCTORS - Exercise The Demons Of Youth (Captain Oi Records)
The debut album from Peterborough’s Destructors saw the band expanded to a five piece, and recording the whole thing on two weekend studio graveyard shifts of 11.00pm-7.00am. Originally released in 1982, ‘Exercise The Demons…’ hasn’t aged well at all. The lack of imagination throughout and similarity of approach of so much of the material makes me long for more of the bonus tracks like ‘Religion’, ‘Corpse Gas’ and ‘Agent Orange’ that display an inventive side of the band in short supply on the rest of the album that bar the occasional highpoint like ‘Urban Terrorist’ disappoints with it’s lack of diversity.
It’s not that anything here is particularly bad its just that so much is short of a real vitality that takes it beyond the confines of typical 80s UK neu-punk fare. What makes it all worse is that the band was capable of producing material far and above what is on offer here.
ELLEGARDEN - Riot On The Grill (DENKO SECCA)website
‘Riot On The Grill’, the fourth album from Japanese four-piece Ellegarden, is a crisply produced, superbly delivered set of ten band originals. It’s admittedly an infectious album, overflowing with catchy power-pop/punk-pop numbers, that you can’t help enjoying taken at face value.
My major problem is that the guys are trying to hard to be American. As well as singing in English (with occasional forays into their own language) they’ve also adopted American accents, which sound incredibly authentic. There’s very little to separate them from a plethora of American acts performing a not dissimilar style. Already selling many hundreds of thousands in their native land, I’m fascinated to know how the American take to them on their debut appearances there later this year.
Nothing particularly bad or disagreeable about this release but does the world really need another Green Day/Sum 41/Offspring?
FACE THE SEEN - Doubt Becomes The New Addiction ()website
Flee The Seen are a young band from Kansas City who debut with an eleven track collection of engaging originals that fuse metal, hardcore, and punk stylings alongside a cutting edge rock with occasional symphonic and jazz flavours. Its all made the more distinct by the Dr Jeckyll and Mr Hyde vocals of front woman Kim Anderson, one minute screaming like a banshee, the next a strikingly restrained harmonious presence.
A track like the hugely ambitious ‘Wardrobe Full Of Fiction’, is draped in mood and tempo changes and underpinned with a boldly expressive back line, whilst the straight ahead attack of the melody rich ‘I’ll Be Back On Sunday’ the spiky riffing of ‘Right Before You Disappear’ and the edge of the seat urgency of ‘Start The End Again’ all demonstrate just how proficient Flee The Seen at this early stage in their musical ‘career’. Despite their ambiguous lyrical content, the power of their talent really does shine through.
FILTHY THIEVING BASTARDS - My Pappy Was A Pistol (BYO RECORDS)website
Johnny Bonnel and Darius Koski of the Swinging Utters, with bassist Spike Slawson of Me First And The Gimme Gimmes in tow present their second album as the Filthy Thieving Bastards ‘My Pappy…’
From the enchanting ‘Freddie and the Dreamers on acid’ style opener ‘That’s Life’ through the folknik eastern European stomp of ‘The Back Of His Hand’ (where they’re joined by The Pogues Spider Stacey on vocals and tin whistle), the 60s pop atmospherics of ‘Crutches And Bows’ the superbly executed harmonies of ‘Mikey Needs To Move’, the skewed shuffle of ‘Sealed Confessions’ the back bar ballad style of ‘Gods Are Fearing Men’ the country blues of ‘Daly City Train’ and the violin and viola coloured closer ‘Bad Afternoon Sun’ ‘My Pappy…’ is always an interesting and entertaining collection. Occasionally it veers towards the predictable, although thankfully the oddball character of the record prevents anything from sounding like a rehash. Whilst a few songs cry out for more melodic colour, you can’t fault the bravado and vision of the duo, and hopefully they’ll produce a real classic in the future.
GERMS - Media Blitz,the Germs Story D.v.d. (Cherry Red Records)website
The Germs came out of L.A.’s late 70’s punk scene with the intent to outgun the Sex Pistols, out pop Iggy and ‘Live fast, die young’ their personal motto. Led by lunatic frontman Darby Crash, who died at the age of 22, and backed up by Pat Smear who would later play guitar in Nirvana and the Foo Fighters, the band were one of the most controversial of their scene. You get a short live performance of the band from 1979, when the band were at their height of success, 18 audio tracks, a photo slide show and an interview with Don Bolles-the bands former drummer. Considering the fact the Germs were the biggest punk band around in L.A. at the time, the live performance is abysmal. It mainly consists of Darby screaming whatever he wants as the band try to play the songs. At one point he sets fire to a piece of paper on stage and the set ends with a bouncer trying to eject someone from the crowd whilst being kicked by Pat Smear. Not the best footage I’ve ever seen and not far off some of the worst. The audio tracks are available elsewhere, so I don’t see the point of them being on the 1st disc. The interview on the second disc is watchable but only just, Don Bolles’ memory seems to come and go at times but he does give an insight into the band no outsider ever could. The pictures are mainly shots of Darby and include his death certificate. This could have been put out as a single disc and no one would have been any the wiser. One for fans of the band only I’m afraid. Go to www.cherryred.co.uk for more details.
HERESY - 1985 – ’87 (BOSS TUNEAGE)website
The first of three CDs revisiting the work of one of the UKs pioneers and premier exponents of ultra fast hardcore, Heresy were an act who made Discharge sound sluggish! Emerging from Nottingham in the mid 80s the original three piece, hugely influenced by the burgeoning American and European hardcore movements, debuted with a six-track flexi disc ‘Never Healed’, included here in its entirety. Their original blistering sandblasting attack, is an absolutely intense wall of almost white noise, that later becomes a more focused metalled edged machine.
Making absolutely no concessions to commercialism, or attempt to produce a more radio friendly sound, cuts like ‘Deathbiter’, ‘Never Healed’, ‘Make The Connection’ and closer ‘Acceptance’ are striking in their ability to still sound as furious and uncompromising today.
Always an acquired taste, anyone raised on pop punk, would probably recoil in terror from this disc, but Heresy took punk in a new faster and more extreme direction and to places where others had previously feared to tread, and ‘1985 –‘87’ is a most welcome reissue.
HOWL IN THE TYPEWRITER - Grand Theft Audio (PUMF RECORDS)website
Before I listen to this I know it's going to be a bit abstract. Other than the disc title, record label and four statements in the cd tray (eg I don't know what the hells in there - but it's wierd and pissed off, whatever it is!!??). There is no information on the cd at all. The track list is a collection of small numbered pictures (a cross, a banana, a telephone and a microwave amongst others). It starts out ok, a bit like a dance remix of a ministry or NIN track, less than a minute later I'm bored. Basically this is a collection of 24 "songs"? that consist of repetative music samples with odd variety of statement/special samples. (Nicole!!....Papa?). I could not listen to one "song" from start to finish.
JACK AND THE RIPPERS - I Think It's Over (Dirty Faces)website
Complete(10 tracks!!)discography of one of the first punk bands to come from Switzerland. Formed in '77, recorded this in '78 and split up in '78. The press release says they sounded like a mix of Ramones/Clash/Pistols and the Beach Boys!!. I'd say their sound is closer to the likes of the Boys or even some of Captain Sensibles solo stuff. There's one reggae song "Endless Peace" sort of Bob Marley style and a crappy cover of John Lennon's "Cold Turkey" which nearly had me singing along but with Eddie Shit's piss take lyrics "Kentucky"(has given me the runs). An ode to the finger lickin chicken. All in all it's quite lightweight, even poppy but not bad to listen to.
JERKS - Jerk Off (Overground Records)website email
This must be a re release coz I've had this cd for years. This is definately one for anyone into the sound of '77 and well worth buying if only for their debut single "Get Your Woofing Dog Off Me" (it should have been fucking dog but that wouldn't have got them airplay on John Peel). Like a lot of bands at the time they formed after seeing the Pistols in '76. They came from Mirfield near Leeds, played their first gig in '77 and split in 1980.This cd contains their 3 singles plus unrealeased stuff with a cover of "California Sun" ( I have to say I prefer the Ramones version), 15 tracks in all, 5 of which are quite shitty (don't really have a punk feel to them) but this is well worth buying for the other 10.
LONESOLDIER/NATION OF SUSPECTS - Split Ep (AMERICAN DEFENSE RECORDINGS)
First side Lonesoldier with two tracks "Lonesoldier" and "No Man's Land" and it's very angry, very fast musically with almost hardcore sounding vocals but it's pure oi at it's rawest. The other side of the "blue" vinyl single is Nation of Suspects with a more classic sounding oi but again the same kind of vocals but musically not as fast and sounding much more complex. Their contributions are "Wages of War" and "The 8th Song". Both sides are played at 33rpm. You get an inside cover with info about the bands and the lyrics for the Lonesoldier tracks. If you're interested write to American Defence Records, P.O.Box 842, Athens, Georgia 30603, USA.
LUNATICS - Drunk City (From the band)email
How many female fronted bands from Poland can you name? if you’re like me it’ll probably be none, well that can all change now with The Lunatics, who indeed come from Poland and are female fronted. The band describe their sound as a mixture of punk rock with vintage rock n roll and the fact that they aren’t trying to create new genres or searching for new artistic expression but try to show original and interesting version of music known for years. In easy English this means they play straight forward punk rock and they do it very well. Songs about love, sex, they place they live mix easily with songs about the right wing politicians in Poland. Sound wise the band remind me of a heavier version of M.D.M. or The Offspring with a better singer, a little bit of Vice Squad also creeps in at times. I have no idea where you would be able to buy this but if you do see it in your local punk record shop I would definitely buy it, especially if you are into any of the bands I have mentioned above. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
ME VERSUS THE MONSTER - The Resurrectionist (SHOW OF HANDS RECORDS)website
Despite the unwieldy moniker, Me Versus The Monster construct a substantial and resilient brand of post punk on ‘The Resurrectionist’, a six track mini album. The three piece absorb metal, screamo and contemporary left field rock influences that adds a greater presence to their imaginative and animated compositions. A basic but addictive riff helps build first track ‘Purgatory Screen’ into a commanding opener. Although vocalist Tyler, brings to mind the psycho-babble voice of Placebo’s Brian Molko, MVTM are a much more aggressive and volatile combination, and even if occasionally their sound does lean a little toward formulaic on the title cut, the pulverising drive of the dark melodious closer ‘Set Up The Support Lines’ kicks the positive meter reading back into the black.
MEMBERS - 1980 – The Choice Is Yours (Captain Oi Records)
By 1980, with the ska/mod revival in full swing, as far as the pop charts went, punk was commercially old hat. Decidedly last year’s thing.
The Members follow up to their debut ‘At The Chelsea Nightclub’, was a hurried affair, planned by their then label Virgin to capitalise on the chart success of the earlier singles.
Sadly today the album sounds like the band were aware their five minutes of fame was probably over, and the ska-flavoured tracks perhaps suggest a little desperation on their part. That said there is still a lot worthy of praise, the superbly realised socio-drama that is ‘Brian Was’, a passionate Clash style ballad, ‘Flying Again’, the single that should’ve given them another hit, with its nifty little infectious riff, and singalong chorus, their animated reworking of Larry Wallis’ ‘Police Car’ and ‘Gang War’ (with Joe Jackson on piano fact buffs) a new-wave epic reminiscent of The Boomtown Rats ‘Rat Trap’, only legions better.
Also included are six bonus cuts including the single ‘Killing Time’, that add little to a collection that fails to reach the dizzy heights of their debut.
NEW HAMPSHIRE STATE MOTTO - Turn Up The Suck (SHOW OF HANDS RECORDS)website
NHSM are purveyors of old school hardcore with a contemporary sharpness, an unnerving confidence, and classy method of delivery. Add breakneck attack, an ability to churn out a series of superbly realised short sharp shocks and an abrasive tuneful edge and you’ve NHSM.
For a three piece they possess a commanding grasp of the hardcore medium, powering out the chugging growler that is ‘Tearin Up The Charts’(a biting attack on punk commercialism) the pile driving melodic edge of ‘Crash Course For Commerce’ whilst ‘Ron Eats Breakfast With The Hell Of Nations’, comes across like a more fired up Anti-Flag.
Although only a relatively young band NHSM are producing music more politically direct, vital, effective and downright inspired than many bands twice their age. A name to really watch
NO INNOCENT VICTIM - To Burn Again (FACEDOWN RECORDS)website
No Innocent Victim, originally formed in 1992, apparently and apparently are regarded as forefathers of ‘Christian hardcore’, a bit of an oxymoron I think.
I’ve never had time for any of this ‘fire’n’brimstone’ ‘pie in the sky’ nonsense that is a belief in a ‘greater being’. Punk was and is about gaining control of your own life, not giving it up to something that has no basis in fact or any proof of existence whatsoever.
Sermon over. NIV on their fifth album (their first in five years) produce an authoritative metal flavoured hardcore trademarked by the gravely vocals of front man Jason Moody. Crunching riffs and grinding guitars collide to create a solid enough rock, but I’m left with the feeling I’ve heard this so many times before.
No Innocent Victim produce a pretty tight and forceful sound, but largely their lack of variety is all a bit uninspiring.
ODD SHAPED HEAD - Odd 2 (CONSTRUCTION RECORDS)website
Well here's another one that I don't think will appeal to many readers of this site.4 piece band from Newcastle who play what I suppose is indie rock although I suppose that's a big pigeon hole to put them in. The music is quite different, a bit poppy with a funky bass but really catchy and at the same time a bit annoying. Anyway I'm probably the wrong person to review this and going by the info that came with this they seem to be doing alright for themselves so the 2/5 I've given this 4 track ep is purely from apunk point of view, I'm sure they'd get a higher mark elsewhere.
PLEASANT VALLEY CHILDREN - Welcome To Bedlam Valley (FLAT EARTH RECORDS)website
Subtitled ‘Discography 89-91’, Leeds band PVC, find their entire recorded output finally together on one 40 track CD, complete with chunky 28 page booklet. Emerging from the Anarcho and hardcore scene, discovering the contradictions within each, PVC basically did as they pleased and along the way created a riotously delivered kind of chaos core sound reminiscent of the likes of the rabid attack of early Disorder, with a more hungry feel.
The uncompromising attack of ‘Myth Of’,‘F.K.D’ and ‘Shouldn’a Sacked Him Bob’ from their flag bearing debut album ‘Fuck, Kill Destroy’, developed into a more streamlined version of the same further down the line via a string of EPs, tapes and compilation tracks. With the demonically possessed vocals of Pig upfront throughout, there’s never a danger that this is going to turn into a pleasant or safe listening experience. Instead what is on offer is the aggressively charged sound of late 80s UK hardcore.
Available as a Ltd Edition of 500 only from www.flatearth.free-online.co.uk
PORK DUKES - Pop Stars Ep Issue 2 (From the band)website
Ahh the Pork Dukes, way back in '77 no one was sure who this band were, they were even rumoured to be the Sex Pistols in disguise but they released some cracking records with very naughty lyrics. Well this doesn't quite match up to their early stuff (not rude enough for one thing) but brilliant all the same. 4 tracks of pure '77 style punk "Crack Cocaine", "Pop Stars", "Lottery" and "Here I Come". If you've never heard of the band then check out their website for some downloads and videos, and don't forget to check them out at Wasted this year coz as they said last year "We're the Pork Dukes and we were punk when you were spunk" which made me feel quite young ha ha.
RED BACTERIA VACUUM - Roller Coaster (BENTEN LABEL)website
Osaka, Japan all girl three piece Red Bacteria Vacuum, offer eight short sharp shocks of sonic mayhem on ‘Roller Coaster’
With their basic, gritty punk sound owing a lot to the proto-punk of The Stooges and even the MC5, the vocals are screaming at the wall one minute, then cleverly subdued the next. They’re also wise enough to add versatility to the mix changing the pace of the attack more than once. Opener, and title track, ‘Roller Coaster’ is a real rip-snorter with vocalist RanRan tearing at her tonsils with a barely concealed anger, whilst ‘Gimme Culture’, a gutsy collection of choppy chords and beefy bass runs, sees her giving it her all on an impassioned delivery. Bar lack lustre closer ‘Standing Here’, ‘Roller Coaster’ really lives up to its name taking you on a wild and menacing ride through contemporary Japanese punk.
REJECTED YOUTH - Angry Kids (MSM 1279 RECORDS)website
Hailing from Hamburg, Germany, three-piece political punk act Rejected Youth, have been around for around seven years. Originally influenced by the directness of early US Hardcore, their years together has widened their musical approach and strengthened their political stance.
‘Angry Kids’ their second album comprises 16 originals, delivered with a decent enough fusion of old school swagger and a more contemporary straight for the throat attack. Front man and guitarist Matze Caulfield delivers his vocals in the kind of lazy garbled style beloved of Rancid’s Tim Armstrong, whilst he’s also capable of kicking out some spiky little riffs. Numbers like the self explanatory ‘Antifascista’, the ironic and catchy ‘Lets Rape The World’ the punk call to arms of ‘A Threat Again’ and closer the frantic paced ‘Still Too Angry’ stand out amongst an album of engaging songs that tend to sound better each listen.
A stirring collection of contemporary politically charged punk,
SPERMBIRDS - Something To Prove (BOSS TUNEAGE)website
Originally appearing in 1986 on We Bite records, ‘Something To Prove’ by southern Germanys Spermbirds, who featured ex GI Lee Hollis on vocals giving the band a direct line to cutting edge American hardcore, finds itself reissued with a very healthy 30 tracks in total.
There’s a real positive vibe to everything here, made more effective by the bands ability to keep cranking out memorable, short blasts of rocket fuelled hardcore, with clever and often hilarious lyrics. Numbers like ‘You’re Not A Punk’, ‘Playboy Subscriber’, ‘My God Rides A Skateboard’, ‘Shit Job’, ‘Bed Tool’, ‘Your Problem’ and ‘It’s Just An Excuse’ manage to broach serious subjects without ever sounding preachy or holier-than-thou. Throw in a few choice covers by Agent Orange the Angry Samoans and a bonus cuts including a chaotically delivered live reading of ‘12XU’, far more Minor Threat than Wire and you’ve a veritable European hardcore classic.
STOKOE - The Experiment Has Been A Complete And Uttter Failure (ROOKIE RECORDS)website
The latest vehicle for Dickie Hammond, guitarist of HDQ, Leatherface, The Jones and Dr Bison and now guesting with The Angelic Upstarts, sees the guy flexing his musical muscles and spreading his net as wide as previously.
Penning all the twelve cuts himself; he calls on the talents of a few German friends and vocalist Gem Smith, who adds her own sublime, and delightfully confident voice to proceedings. Hammond himself adds great big choppy riffs, or bright melodic touches throughout, producing the kind of quality and inventive approach to punk that has built his reputation. The well crafted songwriting, and hook lines a plenty help produce the kind of intelligent infectious songs that can’t fail to impress. ‘Secrets And Lies’, ‘Insomnia Dipsomania’, ‘Maria’ and the glorious closer ‘Sweet Suburbia’ (featuring fellow Leatherface member Frankie Stubbs on guitar and backing vocal) stand out on an album with very few low points.
Superbly realised and inventive guitar fuelled rockers, with a contagious pop flavoured directness.
SWOLLEN BALLZ - Franz Birdinhand (In Yer Face Records)website
Can’t tell you much about this band other than the press release lets you know they’ve all been in various bands before and have some seasoned session musicians amongst their ranks, oh yeah one of ‘em owns In A City Studio in Leeds. First track ‘Ace is High’ sounds like Ian Brown singing an AC/DC song. The next couple of tracks have a more Goth feel to them but still with the Brownesque vocal style, not really what I’d call punk. The next track ‘The Only One’ reminds me of Pink Floyd for some bizarre reason but does contain lyrics about shitting yourself because of the beer in the Duck and Drake (a real ale pub in Leeds, that last time I went in served me the worst pint of Timothy Taylors’ Landlord I’ve ever had). The next couple of tracks are sort of like a poor mans Half Man Half Biscuit, but no where near as clever or funny. A special mention must go to ‘This Is Not Birds Music’ I’m not sure if the band are trying to be ironic or are trying to offend, either way the band use a similar riff to the 1st song, which seeing the talent the band are supposed to have you would have thought they could have come up with more than a couple of tunes. I’m not quite sure who the band are trying to appeal to as this is not remotely punk, apart from the fact the band swear a couple of times, which everyone knows IS big and clever, so maybe this has been sent into the wrong web site. Not for me I’m afraid and like I’ve already said I’m not sure who would like it. If you are still interested after my rant go to www.inyerfacerecords.co.uk One last thing if the band don’t like my review I’m only following the 8th commandment on your press release.
TOXIC EPHEX - Civilised/land Of No Opportunity Promo (Runnin' Feart Records)
2 track promo on c.d. with the proper release being on vinyl. I remember seeing Toxik Ephex about 20 years ago in Leeds at the Duchess of York (if it’s the same band!!) and was impressed by their cover of the folk classic ‘Maggie’ which they punked up and changed the lyrics to be about Thatcher. Well enough of my nostalgia, what you get is a Celtic influenced dub reggae song, which will have you singing the chorus before the end of the song (Civilised) and a more straight forward punk song but still with the Celt influence. Out of the 2 tracks I preferred the slower song, which if you imagine Inner Terrestrials or Culture Shock coming from Scotland you’ll be somewhere close to the bands sound. Good stuff from a band I haven’t heard of for about 20 years, if they are the band I saw all those years ago (answers on a postcard please) For more details contact Callum Masson at 12 Crusader Crescent, Stewarten, Ayrshire, Scotland, KA3 3BL
TSUSHIMAMIRE - Pregnant Fantasy (BENTEN LABEL)website
The debut album from Japanese all–girl trio Tsushimamire (a word they apparently invented!), ‘Pregnant Fantasy’ is a delectably twisted take on the riot grrl phenomenon. With song titles like ‘Umeboshi Plums –Big Seeds’, ‘Tea Time Ska’ and ‘Fish Cakes’, it’s obvious the experience is going to be a little left-field.
What they produce is a thoroughly entertaining fusion of superbly delivered post punk, spirited punk, gritty rock’n’roll, wild jazz, twisted funk and the occasional Japanese traditional musical influence.
That it works is testament to the bands capacity to integrate so much into their sound and still produce something coherent. Points of reference for the confused should probably include The Slits, Kleenex/Lilliput and The Raincoats.
VARIOUS - Godspunk Vol 3 (PUMF RECORDS)website
Never heard of any of the bands/artists here, there's rap, indie, dance and just plain dirge. The nearest to punk is probably Razordogs "This Love's Absurd" quite catchy sort of Buzzcocks with a slight rockabilly feel with the riff from "Stepping Stone". There's a dance or techno (or whatever it's called) version of Crass's "Asylum" by Pissed Off but that's about it. No punk means no points I'm afraid.
VARIOUS - Anti Society (anarcho Punk Compilation Vol.3) (Overground Records)website
23 track compilation which continues Overground records chronicle of 1980’s anarcho-punk bands. Along with some of the bigger name bands i.e. Icons of Filth, Oi Polloi etc you get tracks by less known bands like Revulsion and The Mental (who I think Dick was in before The Subhumans, I could be wrong though!!!). 11 of the tracks on here are previously unreleased and include demos, live tracks and unreleased studio recordings. The quality varies quite a lot between the songs but this can be expected considering the source material the label had to work with. The booklet is a 24 page affair with details about every band/song and has previously unseen photos. As a guide to the 1980’s anarcho scene this, along with the other 2 in the series, is a must have. For more info go to www.overgroundrecords.co.uk
VARIOUS - You Gotta Start Somwhere-Finnish Punk Compilation (Pekka Productions)website
Finland famous for…..reindeer, snow and some of the best unknown bands I’ve heard in ages. I wasn’t sure what to expect from a bunch of bands from a country I know very little about but I was well impressed by nearly every band on here. The c.d. starts of with the fantastically named Anal Thunder with a song called ‘Drink Myself To Death’ which reminded of Bad Religion crossed with the Offspring and ends with King Kong Kids’ ‘Viceroy’ which is a great slice of power pop punk. In between you get every kind of punk you could every think off and a little bit of ska and a strange rock-a-billy style song. The only track I didn’t like was ‘While She’s Thin’ by Horny Boys, which was a pseudo Macc Lads style song but didn’t work for me. Other than the one track this is a really good compilation with the bands having enough variation between them to make you want to listen to it all the way through in one go. Not sure where you can get this from but a good starting point would probably be www.pekkaproductions.com
VARIOUS - To The Bitter End (vol 2) (VINE HELL RECORDS)website
Compiled by San Jose, California indie punk label Vinehell records, ‘To The Bitter End Vol 2’ is a 30-track international punk/hardcore compilation, very much in the flavour of those that began to appear in the mid 80s, as the international punk scene spread its wings and discovered that there were punk scenes in practically every corner of this planet.
This is well reflected here with bands included hailing from Uruguay, Hungary, Finland, Brazil, Sweden, Germany, Italy, Russia, Czech Republic, Poland, France, Japan, USA and UK.
Featuring largely unknown or cult acts, bar the likes of The Detonators, Naked Aggression and the UKs Restarts, there are surprises around every corner, and although they’re not always particularly inspired or unique, that doesn’t lessen the passionate impact of what is on offer. Coming complete with a 16 page zine style booklet the whole thing looks a good bit more than thrown together and the range of approaches, hardcore, thrash, metal punk, pop punk, speedcore, old school punk, punk folk, makes for a constantly entertaining collection.
A nicely rounded collection that suggests the current state of international punk is very well indeed.
BOUNCING SOULS - Live At The Glasshouse (KUNG FU FILMS)
I really can't make my mind up about this one. I suppose if they were the only band playing this type of music I'd say it was brilliant but why is it that American vocalists all seem to sound the same. Most of the songs are a lot faster than your avarage skate punk band but I'd still put them in that catagory. Filmed at the Glasshouse, Pomona, CA in February last year, full gig and the usual special features commentary by the band, multi angles etc. But it doesn't matter what I think of this I could say it's brilliant or say it's shite but it will sell more than any of the other reviews this month.
CASUALTIES - Can’t Stop Us Mexico/japan (SIDE ONE DUMMY)website
NYC based retro hardcore punks The Casualties have created a real interest and audience for themselves with their no compromise, hardcore sound that owes more than a passing debt to the early 80s UK hardcore of Discharge, Disorder, Exploited, GBH and the wider hardcore scene emerging at that time.
‘Can’t Stop Us…’ is pretty much a video diary capturing their experiences, antics and performances in Mexico (May 2005) and Japan (June 2005). The Mexican dates are particularly fascinating as apparently they were advised against visiting the country, and the culture shock is evident as the band display their Spartan washing and toilet facilities before one show, although it’s to their credit that front man Jorge (an Ecuadorian) seems genuinely concerned about the poverty describing it as ‘Just like Ecuador, poor people everywhere’ The shows themselves are largely pretty big events, the evening gigs performed in obviously sweltering heat, with the bands ‘liberty spiked’ hairdos suffering as much as the band from wilt and perspiration! All credit to The Casualties as they do seem to be enjoying themselves and genuinely put on a decent show for the huge crowds of fanatical followers, who interestingly insist on Jorge singing their songs in English instead of their native Spanish.
A particularly captivating moment is when a young Mexican punk zealot, who threatens to kill the band from the audience is invited onstage to explain his problem, whereupon he calls them ‘Capitalists’ and ‘Not Punks’, but after trying to explain the costs of running a band, tour, keep a family and pay rent Jorge sees that the guy isn’t particularly going to listen, and takes his insults in good grace. A similar crowd of punk ‘puritans’ try to storm their Mexico City show, refusing to pay to enter, sparking a riot and the abandonment of the show, fulfilling the prophecy of another young Mexican punk the previous day who advises them not to go to Mexico City With his dire warning ‘They’ll kill you!’
After all the excitement Japan is a little less frenetic, although at times equally fascinating, as the difference in culture is apparent even though punks worldwide tend to look the same. The shows are generally smaller affairs, and the audiences don’t seem to be as wild, although their after show enthusiasm shows an equal devotion to the band. A show in Nagasaki prompts the band to visit the Peace Park and Museum, and they seem genuinely upset by what they experience there with the whole band going uncharacteristically quiet, and when asked how they feel guitarist Jake utters only one word ‘Guilty’.
Throughout the live sound quality is pretty poor, although it captures the spontaneity, and chaotic approach of their live show warts’n’all. If you’re looking for a live set from The Casualties this isn’t it, if you’re intrigued to know what life on the road with the band is like this is worthy of your attention.
DRI - Live At Cbgb's 1984 (Beer City)website
Not really my cup of tea this one but one for the fans of real hardcore, no nonsense fast as fuck 40 songs in 40 minutes. The oldest known footage of the band and to say it's from 1984 the quality's pretty good apart from the last eight minutes which the sound was missing from so they used the sound from the video camera. As a bonus there's the full show from a short notice gig at the Masonic Temple (45 songs in 54 minutes) which was filmed by a fan at the back of a half empty hall and as you'd expect the quality is pretty poor (home video) but no doubt a must have for any fans of the band. A real slice of hardcore history.
RESISTANCE 77 - You Can't Fool Me (R27 RECORDS)website
Another fine DVD from R27 or should I say DVD ep. Only 7 tracks "You Can't Fool Me" is from the long time dead cd with live footage from Stone Pony, New Jersey, USA. A promo video I suppose, then we get "Long Time Dead", "Retaliate First" and "Thoroughbred Men" all live from the Antifest in the Czech Republic with the band on top form as usual, followed by "Nuclear Attack", "Against all Odds" and "Far Away" live in Tampere, Finland. The video quality is spot on, hopefully they'll bring the full gigs out at some point.
SIDE SIXTY SEVEN - Beyond Warped D.v.d. (Aloha Films Group)website
Recorded live during the Warped Tour in 2004 this dvd contains over 25 minutes of live footage interspersed with interviews with the band. The band hail from Vancouver and play fast skate punk, at times very fast and this captures the band in full flow. The sound isn’t the best I’ve ever heard from a live dvd, it’s very bass heavy , but you can tell by this the band havn’t overdubbed anything and what you see is what you get. As far as extras go if you put the dvd into your p.c. you can access extra interviews and lots more, I couldn’t get it to work in my pc so what the lots more stuff is I don’t know. You only get 8 songs from the band so this dvd isn’t on for very long although the video footage is someof the clearest I’ve ever seen. For more details go to www.immergent.com or www.beyondwarped.com
TOXIC NARCOTIC - Live In Boston (RODENT POPSICLE RECORDS)website
Filmed live in front of a fanatical home crowd on the occasion of their 15th Anniversary show, Boston’s Toxic Narcotic are captured for posterity in 5.1 surround sound.
Unlike so many punk DVDs the picture quality and sound is A1, and considering this is a 100% DIY production on the bands own label, it’s a pretty impressive package in total. Recorded live on Dec 18TH 2004, the band charges headlong through a 22 set of originals, from their career to date, to the obvious joy and appreciation of the partisan home crowd. Toxic Narcotic pull no punches with a blistering hardcore attack that rapid fires song after song with barely a pause for breath between numbers. Tracks include People Suck’, ‘Anthem’, ‘5 Billion People Must Die’, ‘Asshole’, ‘Whatever It Takes’, ‘We’re Not Happy’ and of course many more delivered with gusto and real vigour from a band able to really connect as a unit.
Bonus comes in the shape of a couple of extra live videos including the hardcore mutant reggae of ‘21st Century Catastrophe’ (with studio sound) and silly footage of their fans pre show.
TWENTY YEARS OF SUSPECT DEVICE - Book - £6 inc p&p (T. Whatley, PO Box 295, Southampton, S017 1LW)website email
This 92-page A4 book takes the reader on a wild, wacky and often wonderful journey through twenty years of quite possibly the UKs longest running punk zine Suspect Device.
Founded in 1984 and still publishing today, ‘Twenty Years…’ takes us on a nostalgic trip back through time as the two editors, Tony and Gaz recall the influences, ideas and inspiration that produced each issue. The results are sometimes fascinating sometimes hilarious but at all times required reading for anyone interested in just what makes a zine editor tick and why they keep firing out issues year after year with little (if any!) monetary reward. The amount of information in the book makes for an absorbing read with contributions from many who have written for Suspect Device, that alone reads like a who’s who of the UK punk scene with many band members, zine editors and record label founders all once part of the Suspect Device family. The wider picture also includes how the two editors started running a distribution service and running their own label as well. The book also includes a plethora of live photos and zine cover pics.
The prominent feature of the book though is the fact that after 20 years plus of being into this music we call punk, after listening to thousands of bands, attending hundreds of gigs, reading thousands of zines the two guys are still genuinely enthusiastic and excited by what’s around the next corner, very much like John Peel was before his untimely death, who incidentally the book is dedicated to.
SLUG AND LETTUCE - Issue 84 (Slug & Lettuce, PO Box 26632, Richmond, VA 23261 – 6632, USA)email
Not so much a zine as an institution! Having been publishing since the mid 80s, editor Christine has seen a lot of people; bands, clubs etc come and go yet she still retains a real enthusiasm for the punk scene that is, at times, pretty infectious. With the zines roots steeped in the Anarcho/DIY scene, you’re guaranteed to get a real taste of the underground in its tabloid newspaper pages. Issue 84 has 16 pages (although usually it’s 20) with a really small font size meaning there is an incredible amount of text included. Columns, cartoons, reviews, photos and some really useful adverts fill the pages to overflowing, and the thoughts of editor and publisher Christine (that double as the editorial) are always a fascinating little insight into her life and the underground punk scene stateside. Pretty much essential reading, all the more so since its actually free! Get copies in the UK via Active Distribution www.activedistribution.org
EVERLONG - Issue 7 (Shane Baldwin, 1 Shilton Close, Kingswood, Bristol, BS15 9UZ)email
The subtitle, below the cover logo, ‘Bristol Punk Fanzine’, gives you a good idea of what Everlong is about, covering as it does news, opinion, reviews on the Bristol (and wider area)scene, although its remit is wide enough to include an interview with Stateside Paddy punks Flogging Molly and old boys Mudhoney whilst they visited Bristol, alongside home grown talents like The Setbacks, Grebo, Pocket Billiards and more. There’s also a decent old straight talking review section with a round up of the recent-ish punk releases. All put together by Dave Lown and our old pal Shane Baldwin (ex of Vice Squad)
BACK2FRONT - Issue 1, £1 + SAE (Back2Front, Box F, 67 Tannaghmore Road, Ballynahinch, BT24 8NU)email
Back2Front is a new zine put together by N.Ireland based punk veterans Danny O’Rawe, and is fascinating, informative, enjoyable, frustrating and sometimes a little scary (courtesy of Andy Martin’s nightmarish feature on population explosion). Inside the A4 glossy cover and 28 pages are a variety of long and short articles/opinions on Freedom, Anarchist Black Cross, Zapatistas, Mental Health, Situationalism, Punk, Animal rights and more plus a variety of cartoons and artworks and interesting in-depth interviews with more punk veterans in the shape of Dick Subhuman, MDC, Lost Cherrees and Psycho Faction.
AGITATE - Issue 6, 40p + SAE (To Agitate, PO Box 202, Shipley, BD18 3WB)
What was once a two page newsletter has grown into a compact little A5, 40 page zine, with news on the hardcore / crust / grindcore / anarcho punk scene. Inside number six are interviews with Bradford D-beat punks Ruin and time served metal punkers Extinction Of Mankind, plus pieces on the Black Bloc, Cardiff Anarchists and anti-id cards. Also included are all the usual zine and noise reviews.
GOLDBLADE - London, Dirty Water club, Tufnell Park (24/02/2006)
Tonight we were treated to an evening of garage punk from three boisterous bands at the excellent Dirty Water club. I had seen Goldblade at this venue last year and (as usual) they had blown my socks off. Could they repeat their previous triumph?
The place was 75% full, about 250. A mixed crowd of music connoisseurs together with the ‘Blade gambino/gambina faithful. First on, a Spanish three piece called the Negative waves. Wow, pure power. Obvious influences are the saints/Ramones with a bit of the Who thrown in. They went down well and are worth checking out. Next, Blood safari. Fronted by the singer from the Parkinsons who was on crutches. Fast garage punk with a bit of a Gun club sound. Very tight unit who got the crowd moving at the front. Again, recommended.
Onto the Blade. In my view, the best live band around at present. Pure mania from the outset. They kicked off (literally) with ‘Fighting in the streets’ and into ‘AC/DC’. They filled the small stage but the enigmatic Mr. Robb still managed to pogo throughout and jump from the monitors etc. We got 'intoxicant’, ‘psycho’, ‘uranus’, ‘strictly hardcore’, ‘rebel songs’, ‘black sheep radical’ and ‘power of rock and roll’. Lively banter from Brother John and, of course, audience participation on stage. They stayed on for two requests and we got ‘Hometurf’ and (I think) ‘everything is porn’.
An all or nothing performance, running on 100% adrenalin. Great band and true punk rockers who mixed with the crowd before and after the set. They should be huge. You never know, see them now or regret it forever.
ABRASIVE WHEELS - Wakefield, Snooty Fox (25/02/2006)
Well me friends I find my self at Wakefield tonight for the abrasive wheels some very old friends of mine!!! And these guyz rock as ever these days so if you have not seen them yet ?? What’s going on ?? Well it was an all dayer, but I get there just as 3cr are finishing a cracking band from Manchester, ‘’She Was Only 12 ‘’ well go and see them you sick people there great , ok Apocalypse Babies were up next these guys rock to but they had a few problems tonight with amps ect but they get to it in the end but still a cool band to see and they are nice people to !! Well the place is pretty much full tonight to see the speed kings in action the mighty Abrasive Wheels !! Keep an eye on gigz they got loads coming up!! They are all so playing the Anti-Fest gig this year in Prague so I will see you lot there!! Ok we get burn them down, just another punk band, and a classic army song!!, All the songs were there and the kids were lapping it up !! These guys are on top form these days so go and see them they are well worth it !! See you lot in Northampton on the 19th of Feb for these guys a very Enjoyable night !! Hail to the wheels for burning another venue to the ground !!
BROKEN BONES - Stoke, Glebe (24/02/2006)
Well folks as I always like going to Stoke I was looking forward to seeing Broken Bones tonight at a venue I never been before the Glebe !! I found it ok with a little help from my friends!! It was a full house tonight all ready and there were 3 local bands on !! Never heard of them before and I can only remember one bands name the Blue Tax !! A cracking band with a local following!! So the crowd was very lively tonight I can tell you it was a good place and it felt like a good vibe as its not very often the Broken Bones play at home, well the first band played very old style of 80;s feel to them , I liked them and they get a flasher up on the dance floor one for the ladies here !! Not band good fun, we get a short break then the Blue Tax arrive on stage a very young band but dam good at what they do ,very early Doom I think mixed with the amEbix I loved them all the kids did a local band cracking hoping to hook up with these guys again soon ! Right I did remember the other band Destination Venus another local band back on the scene and they play a longer set but pretty good I think and the crowd lapped it up!! It’s been up to this point a very good night all ready but as ever the best was yet to come!! Broken Bones as they start to set up I could feel it was gonna be good !! Right we get fuck off and die !!! Shouted by Quiv the lead vox man and already they was a massive surge to the front as Bones use’s his guitar like a machine guns wasting the front crowd like cannon fodder !! There no stopping these guys tonight!! We get all the classics Wealth Rules, and a classic dropped in for us older folk ‘’Civil War’’ brill stuff by these guys there’s just a mass of twisted bodies on the floor!! Will this rain of terror ever stop!! Ahhrggra no-way we get the classic discharge covers state control state violence, and the possibilities of life’s destruction!! What a cracking night I was one happy guy I can tell you!! These guys now go on a two-week tour of the states good luck and ‘’prepare for the attack’’
Sorry no scene reviews this month, please get in touch if you have any you would like including
All music releases and books / fanzines, video / dvd's from the following genres will be reviewed;
Punk, Oi!, Psychobilly, Ska Hardcore and Mod.
Feel free to email gig and scene reviews for inclusion.