Buy Beat Motel at www.beatmotel.co.uk
Are You Really Reading The Sun (The First Year)
50p for 16 A6 copied pages
This is one chap giving you a brief account of his first year of studying for an English degree. It’s kinda informal and had me laughing out loud within just a few pages. I really love the caveats on the last page too. As this is only 50p I think you should take a chance on it!
Tom Brunsdon, 44 Bloomfield Avenue, Oldfield Park, Bath, BA2 3AE
Black Velvet #48
£2 for 40 glossy A4 pages
Another very impressive issue of this more mainstream (maga)zine. Bands featured include Simple Plan, Aiden, Bon Jovi (?), Thunder, MXPX. Zinester Shari is embracing the current trend for outsourcing and has got Beat Union to interview Talking Back Sunday! That bloke from SugarCult has written another column too. One thing that bugs me (only a little bit) is that the reviews are alphabetical, and if I’m having to scrape around to find a critisim that crap then it should give an idea of the quality of this zine!
Shari,336 Birchfield Road,Webheath,Redditch,Worcs,B97 4NG
Bubblegum Slut #22
£1 for 64 A5 printed pages
How on earth can they make this and sell it for just a quid! There’s a glossy nice cover with a furry heart on the front, literally. The content in this issue is a bit more mainstream than usual, including Lacuna Coil (aren’t they just everywhere at the mo), TV Smith, B-Movie Heroes, Dead Kitty clothing and ‘kin loads of others. The interviews and reviews are all interesting reading, what can I say, it’s a great zine! Tiptree is no longer famous just for jam.
Alison B, 27 Stores Lane, Tiptree, Essex, CO7 0LH
50p for 4 A4 copied pages
Eee gads she’s at it again, and this time she’s taking close up photos! Zinesters Caz and debs are probably the only people that will look forward to incontinence in old age! This zine is full of poems, musings and fantasies based around letting a yellow one rip then ahem ‘pleasing’ ones self. I read something a while ago where a London Underground seat was taken into a lab for examination, and they found (amongst many other things like Jiz) that the average seat contains around 5% human urine, now I’m sure that’s Caz’s handywork! Admittedly a lot of this zine made me curl my nose up and made me feel a little queasy, but not in any way that makes me think less of Caz and Debs, more in that kinda way you cringe when you see someone on a train pick their nose, speaking of which (and following on from last issue’s cinema warning) make sure you never sit in a train seat after Caz has been there! This zine is worth getting just to see a total and utterly unique slice of life, and I’ve been to Wivenhoe and I’m not surprised these two have to make their own fun!
Caroline, 54 The Avenue, Wivenhoe, Colchester, Essex, CO7 9AH
£1 for 44 A5 footprinted pages
Hell he’s catching me up! If you’ve never read Debunk before it’s without a doubt Beat Motel’s sister zine. It’s amazing how many people know zinester Mafro thanks to his unique(?) selling method, he gets loaded then sets about asking everything with a pulse if they want to buy a copy! In fact I’ve got vauge recollections of Mafro being so persuasive that he was having a chat with a litter bin on Brighton seafront and it bought a copy! Well okay obviously that never happened but it gives you an idea! This issue is a another massive leap forward for Debunk and has a sort of supernatural theme to proceedings (hence ya man Mafro on the cover). There are some excellent rants in here, one of my faves being the top ten worst things about being a promoter, man I really empathised with that! As with every copy of Debunk there’s at least one column that I can’t tell if it’s for real or not, I think it’s probably funny along similar lines to Brass Eye, you’ll know the column I mean WHEN you buy this zine.
Mafro,3 Pippin Close,Sittingbourne,Kent,ME10 2QL
£2.50 for 44 A4 printed pages
Another zine that’s closer to being a magazine and is going from strength to strength. Devolution is as much about the fashion and glamour of rock music as it is about the music itself. It makes a nice change to see a zine that admits that appearance is big part of any music scene. A lot of punks ignore the fact that (more so with crusts) if we’re not too careful we can all end up looking the same, whilst some of it may be involuntary and a way of feeling that we belong Devolution embraces it and celebrates it. Anyhew, I’ve rabbited on for long enough just buy the fuken thing!
Nickie,137A BRASENOSE ROAD,DIDCOT,OXON,OX11 7BP
50p for 16 A4 copied pages
Not that I even have a telly, but when I did I never found a soap opera that I felt suited me. I think I have now, in the shape of Issue Zine. It’s a Basingstoke scene zine, but calling it a ‘scene zine’ really doesn’t do it justice. The whole zine reads like a wee soap opera! I really like the style of this zine, it will make you chuckle for sure! I really like the way the dude that reviews the cds hates the band that the editor raves about earlier in this issue! In fact editor Neil has had something of an interesting past himself, in this issue he tells us about his old band Mutant Babies, it turns out they used to turn up uninvited at gigs and after first band had finished they’d simply get on stage, plug in and play unannounced and indeed unwanted! Punk as fuck or what! This issue sees the debut of a scene gallery not unlike the one you get in Riot On Your Own, it’s a great idea and I think I’m gonna pinch it for Beat Motel! Issue is fast becoming one of my favourite zines, and at just 50p you should all buy it you tight bastards.
25 Sarum Hill, Basingstoke, Hants, RG21 8SS
50p for 16 A4 copied pages
Bollocks, I think I’ve lost this, but it would have been good!
25 Sarum Hill, Basingstoke, Hants, RG21 8SS
50p for 16 A4 copied pages
Oh no I missed one! This latest ‘episode’ of Issue shows no slacking in the feverish news and gossip output and more photos at gigs than I think I’ve ever seen before! There’s tons of reviews of stuff in the ‘Amazingstoke’ area. And it could just be me, but gig goers in that part of the country seem to be a lot foxier than anywhere else! Love it.
25 Sarum Hill, Basingstoke, Hants, RG21 8SS
Last Hours #13
£2.50 for 155 glossy printed pages
WOW, is all I can say to the new look Last Hours, I’ve become a real fan of this zine and as each issue is so jam packed it takes months to read then it makes sense that it’s now bound properly with a spine, now it will stand up properly and won’t fall off the shelf above my head and surprise me with airborne punk attacks when I least expect it! This issue is a must for comic fans as it’s pretty much the theme of the entire issue. Whilst I’m fairly ambivalent towards graphic novels I do love the artwork and there’s some corkers in here, especially Jeffrey Brown and Alan Martin (tank girl bloke). Weird thing with this issue though is I’m sure there are about five drawings of Chris 12oh5, she’s even yelling down a microphone in one! There’s also a write up on the great fun that was the zine symposium, although I was hoping for a lot more coverage. Also included are the usual smart ‘how to’ pages and interviews with Noel Edmunds haters Pickled Dick, Grinders Born Dead and everyone’s favourite Icelanders Fighting Shit. There are also the results of a punk rock ’census’ that they carried out, Beat Motel came out second in the top ten zines of 2005, I actually let out an exclamation so loud all the cats ran out of the room and someone walking past my house paused and peered through my lounge window! Throw into the mix the top quality reviews and columns as this is truly a zine that everyone should own, love and keep forever. They even liked Beat Motel issue #2 so much they reviewed it twice!
Po Box 382, London, WC2R 0DZ
Maximum Rock and Roll
$4 for bloody loads of A4 printed pages
Quite simply probably the coolest zine there is, I don’t care what anyone else says. You have awesome columns that are full of opinions, you have great political articles and one of my favourite bits are the scene reports with ‘kin loads of smart photos of people fucking shit up. Even the adverts are fascinating! LOVE IT
POB 460760,San Francisco,CA 94146-0760,USA
50p for 40 A5 printed pages
Hell, this is coming along in leaps in bounds, I don’t think I’ve ever a zine develop so fast. Noisy already looks like it’s been around for years, this is one seriously well laid out zine, methinks zinester Sophie is a pro! The content is based entirely on the goings on around Essex, and there’s plenty to write about! Don’t be put off buying this if you’re not an Essex girl (or boy) as there’s plenty of other fascinating articles like the 70s/ 80s history of Essex punk as well as a catch up with the Essex Punks of today with a chat with Romford Punx.
Sophia,143 High Road,South Benfleet,Essex,SS7 5HY
Ox Fanzine #65
€4.50 for 148 colour printed pages
Okay so this zine is in German, which I didn’t pay nearly enough attention to at High School. But for some reason that doesn’t spoil my enjoyment of this fine publication! Reading about your favourite bands in another language gives you a whole new perspective on things! This issue has the first interview with NO FX that I’ve ever seen anywhere! Also included are Sick of it All, Anti-Flag, Good Clean Fun, Pelican (hurrah) and believe it or not that old cunt Gary Bushell! Stop being so fucking English and just buy this zine now.
Positive Creed #9
50p + 50p sae for 44 copied A5 pages
Have you noticed a lot of people use the word ‘random’ as a shortcut to actually describing something? Well they do round there, yoofs can be heard declaring pretty much everything as ‘random’, which is a shame as it means I can’t use it to describe Positive Creed. In fact Positive Creed is much like Beat Motel in that while it has punk leanings it covers all kinds of stuff. The fantastic amount of cut n paste images in this zine means it reads as a of a flow of conciousnes; one pair of pages takes us from David Blunkett to CP30 in just 8 moves! Definitely a zine that I always look forward to seeing the next issue of! I’ve often wondered if Steve’s name was some sort of reference to the Sea, I mean isn’t a ‘Sea Stone’ a pebble? Oh dear, what a random review.
Steve C. Stone,17a Chamley Avenue,St Thomas,Exeter,Devon,EX4 1RD
Positive Creed #10
50p + 50p sae for 46 copied A5 pages
Whenever a zine declares they have had a changeround it generally causes me to clench my buttocks and prepare for the worst, I hope the bits I loved are still present. Well Positive Creed has had a wee reshuffle and all they’ve done is tighten up the layouts a bit. There are still the many random photos of stuff like crashed cop cars, puppets and bizarrely what appear to be operation scars! A firm fave of mine in zines is interviews with other zinesters, and there’s a corker of a chat in here with Mitch from Four Minute Warning zine. I assumed Mitch was a bloke, doh! There’s also rants and all kinds of things I don’t have the space to tell you about!
Steve C. Stone,17a Chamley Avenue,St Thomas,Exeter,Devon,EX4 1RD
Punk Rock Confidential #3
£3 for 98 colour magazine pages
Another issue of the Hello magazine of the punk world. There’s been a bit of a backlash against this zine, with accusations that they are encouraging everything that is wrong with the punk world. In fact there’s no mention or discussion of music anywhere in the whole publication. However, I think these naysayers are totally missing the point. Punk Rock Confidential is far more arse than art and personally I love reading about crap tattoos, who has fallen off their bike/ skateboard and gawping at punk rock wedding photos. This zine is brainless and I love it.
Buy it from email@example.com
£2 for 128 A4 copied pages
The biggest zine in Britain, well in weight anyway! This zine is most like the ‘Repeat Annual’ these days as it only seems to come out once a year, but considering the amazing size of it I’m not surprised! It’s a fine mix of glam-indie a la Manic Street Preachers and Dawn Parade/ Miss Black America as well as some of the most opinionated reviews I’ve ever read, and ain’t that just the best sort! It also contains a great obituary for The Waxing Captors, who were one of my all time favourite bands of all time.
Rosey,PO BOX 438,Cambridge,CB4 1FX
£1 for 24 A5 copied pages
The great thing about zines (here I go again) is that if done well they reflect the authors personality. Sad Zine has been put together by Catherine from Mute Collective who is also a good friend of mine. So I can vouch that this zine is a an almost flawless mirror to her humour. This zine is funny, slightly surreal and irreverent, if you like the columns that Jammo occasionally writes for Beat Motel you'll love this zine. For a sample have a look at the ‘Beligerant Cat Coversation’ that I stole from this zine and placed somewhere in this issue. This zine is going in my ‘keep and cherish’ pile for sure!
Catherine,southline house,wheatley lane,binsted,alton,hants,gu34 4pg
Sweet Shop Syndicate #2
£1 for 40 A5 footprinted pages
Oh sweet shop syndicate, how do I love thee. This is probably the best non music (perzine?) zine I’ve ever seen. The personality of this zine is huge, it’s well travelled, well drunk and sometimes totally naked. The main characters Chris and Rich really do sound like the two most interesting people on earth. There’s musings on all kinds of subjects in here, in fact I’m slightly at a loss as what to write for this review, I just think you should make buying this zine a priority in your life!
23 Quarry Place, Leeds, LS6 2JT
The Computers Are Turned Off For a Reason #2
50p for 30 copied pages
I was bit worried I’d never see another copy of TCATOFAR after the last one, there’s so much attention to detail in this zine that I thought one issue might wipe zinester Will out! But he’s obviously made of sterner stuff as he’s back with another blinder! The cover this time isn’t hand drawn, and I’m not ‘kin surprised! There’s a great interview with Will’s mates The Motherfuckers and a really interesting chat with Anti-Facist historian David Renton. I also really enjoyed the brief history of Will’s musical career, hilarious stuff! Oh, and there’s an interview with me too. Get it now, but be fast as not many copies are printed.
Will Boisseau, 10 Nightingale Cresent, West Horsley, Surrey, KT246PD
Unpeeled Series 7 #4
£1? for 24 printed A5 pages
This zine describes itself as ‘exactly what the NME used to be’, but I’m not sure when it was like this. This zine reads like a bit newsletter and has a nice dose of humour, I would tell you more but I’ve run out of space so you'll have to buy it.
102 Clifton Road,Hastings,E.Sussex,TH35 5AP
You Can’t Say No To Hope #7
£nowt for 8 A5 copied pages
No so much small as ‘consise’ this is a great zine that contains how to guides, a list of veggie beers and some smart rants. Self declared this zine is ‘like Bill Oddie on drugs listening to evil hardcore’.
71 Merlin Avenue, Nuneaton, Warwickshire, CV10 9JY
The first time I listened to this I found it a bit middling, it didn’t make much of an impact, not helped by the lo-fi sound quality. Then I started to really listen to it, this is hip-hop with a very punk attitude. Yer man Aaron seems right on the ball, and some of the sampling on here is inspired, like the Tracey Chapman sample in the last track. There’s also some instrumentation you don’t hear often in hip hop, like the mail voice choir in the first track! I’ve gotta say the ‘call emergency services’ bit in the first track really reminded me of Goldie Looking Chain, sorry Aaron!
Is There Anything?
This album is a melody fest of inventive lyrics and simple but effective acoustic guitar work. There are moments of genius in this album, a great example of this is Track 4 the superb “Monster” an up beat track with an infectious rhythm and vocal line gradually building to a great (albeit 3 word) hook of a chorus / outro, but that’s all it needs. I feel that the songs are finished when Marc believes them to be, rather than the formulaic lets put a middle 8 there, bridge here, double chorus at the end writing style adopted by so many bands / artists today. Other highpoints are Track 7 “The Machinist” a melancholic emotionally charged song, Marc’s partner Lauren White adds a joint vocal to this track and their voices really work well together, also the Opening / title track “Is there anything?” has a very strong vocal melody and some well thought out harmonies and backing vocals by Marc himself. His voice reminds me of Smashing Pumpkins Billy Corgan and the style is reminiscent of Saosin.
Aflightoremember is a solo project by Marc Newby, I caught aflightoremember live recently and Marc is passionate about his songs and when on stage believes in them totally and puts 100% into his performance, it sometimes seems Marc gets a hard time locally and has as many critics as fans, but all I can say to them is, This guy believes in what he is doing , he wears his heart on his sleeve and is out there standing up in venues all over east anglia (with just his guitar for company ) to get himself heard and that in my opinion takes balls the size of the Deathstar!! So what are you lot doing?? Pardon?? Oh no reply, now there’s a surprise!!
In closing if you get the opportunity buy this album then buy it and support someone who’s doing what he wants how he wants, keep up the good work Marc.
Is There Anything?
For awhile I’ve been waiting to get hold of this CD, about a year has past since I saw the one Mr Marc Newby at the Vagabonds café on Princes Street (Ipswich). After two some what mediocre solo performers “Aflightoremember” came as a refreshing change from the other two. With more up beat and interesting songs. So I was very glad to finally hear the man on record and I was not disappointed. “Is There Anything?” is a CD that can go from anything from happy, slow and moody to some of the best melodies you could wish to hear from performers as young as this. The album starts of with the title track “Is There Anything” this song starts of with powerful chords in to a beautiful melodic vocal line. Maybe my only problem with this track is the amount of over dubbing at the end loses a bit of the passion of the song. This goes straight in to “The Startling Truth…” a very epic song with some beautiful harmonies at the end. The next song is “In Bastogne”, this song starts with chords being finger picked it then slows down in to the chords with a soaring vocal melody. Half way through the song it changes to an up beat poppy section worthy of a sing along. The next track is an out and out pop song using catchy melodies, this song has very fast and up beat pace to it. “Wireless” is a track that appeared on his previous E.P. and the re-working has done the song wonders. “Stairways & x-rays” is a bit of an odd one out when it comes to this album using a very moody tone. The guitar work is pretty aggressive chugging out chords to make this song work. The next song is an epic “The Machinist” is a slow ballad featuring guest vocals from Lauren White. With moody vocals and slow finger picked chords. The last song is the second part of this epic piece called “The Machinist’s Hand”. This song is almost the mirror image of “The Machinist”. All in all this is a top quality album and defiantly worth going out and getting hold of as he is defiantly doing something interesting for the Ipswich acoustic scene.
CDEP—FAT WRECK CHORDS
(Positive Nuisance PR)
I’m not sure if this is available to buy or not as it was sent by a PR company rather than direct from Fat Wreck. It’s a collection of four remixes of ‘The Energizer’ from the new Against Me! Album, you know the track, it goes, “condiiiiiiileeeeeeeezaaaaaaaa”. The remixes are all reasonable and all but it left me itching to listen to the original versions again! The phased out swearing made me chuckle though!
Out With The New
CDEP—FIERCE PANDA RECORDS
The first track on this EP starts just like ‘Feelgood hit of the summer’ by The Queens of the Stone Age, then picks up like a really poppy version of Milloy. The vocals are like a mix of Milloy and China Drum. In fact I could sum this EP up by saying it all reminds me in some way of something else, but that would be a crap review wouldn’t it…
CDLP—IN AT THE DEEP END RECORDS
The first track on this album gave me the horrible feeling it was going to be yet another twiddly metal yawnfest. As the album progresses I was proved totally and utterly wrong. Whilst this band is undeniably metal, technical and fast there’s another element that I can’t quite put my finger on. Riffs are lightening fast, breaks are frequent and tight and in their lighter moments this band is sublime. If it wasn’t for the growling vocals I’d probably add this to my cd collection.
The Final Scene
CDLP—TASTY BURGER RECORDS
Atlum Schema is the solo project of Aphron frontman Andy Mort. I’d never heard of Aphron so I spun this disc with no preconceptions at all. This album kinda stumbled into a steady flow over the first few tracks, it’s like a newly born faun finding it’s feet. Once the album takes off properly we’re treated to some wonderfully chilled out tracks in a Massive Attack (but with no big beats) kinda vein. Recorded entirely by the man himself this album sounds like a life’s work and has more feeling crammed into it’s tracks than most bands manage in a lifetime. This is comforting music without being at all emo, it’s a quiet conversation in a darkened room with the one you love, it’s a group of captured memories expressed through verse and chorus backed by a virtual orchestra or sound. I’d have to listen to this album about 1000 times to fully appreciate all the hidden complexities and musical tricks that Andy employs, and I may just do that.
This is an album that I warmed to pretty much right away. It’s tunefully slightly akward, that doesn’t sound like a great thing but if you hear this album you’ll know what I mean. The tunes and even the vocals are akin to Luke Haines and The Autuers but there are also hints in some of the production of Carter USM. This album sounds like a life’s work, it sounds like it’s been made with a great deal of forethought and care. To sum up it’s diversity track three sounds a bit like ‘Button Moon’ where as later tracks on the album have a Crowded House kinda vibe about them. As a total aside Andy Blade was the singer of 77 punkers Eater, I’ve deliberately not mentioned this till the end of the review as I think with an album of this quality what came before it can end up being totally irrelevant. With the many things Andy has done, I’d say this should be the album that defines him. ‘Treasure Here; is unashamed, unabashed and is waiting for your love.
Awake and Dreaming
CD-LP LA PESADILLA RECORDS
Listening to this record one dreaded word keeps recurring in my mind….EMO. It’s hard for me to understand what people mean when they use the term emo to describe music, it often seems to be just a lazy tag slapped onto a band without reason. This band is nothing like what I previously believed to be emo, like Rites of spring or Leatherface. It sounds to me (and forgive this analogy as I am by no means a fan of the genre) like a combination of throwaway disposable Americanised pop punk like McFly combined with the occasional shit 80’s metal sounding guitar.
Six tracks in, and there is absolutely no variation in musical style and content. This band sounds just like a million other bands, there is no artwork for the demo I have been sent, but I guarantee if there was a picture of this band they would all be long haired androgynous pussies.
God this is shit! It’s unfair for them I suppose that I am reviewing this, as I wouldn’t cross the road to spit on someone who made this music, and my personal prejudices obviously have an impact on my opinion. The lyrics are meaningless to me, I don’t care about this guy’s failing love life, I couldn’t give a monkeys! Why is he talking like a bloody Californian? They are from Canada! Get over your gender and national identity crisis for fucks sake! What happened to punk rock that this kind of music is considered in any way relevant to an alternative music community? I’m going to burn it as good as I can, but its not very flammable.
The Autumn Cult
There Is Still A Riot Going On
CDLP—HIDDEN YOUTH RECORDS
I wasn't sure what to make of this at first. To be honest I thought 'what is a new age ambient CD doing amongst a load of rock & punk did they even read the zine?'. But on the second listen I thought 'ok so it's actually fairly listenable' and now on the third listen I am quite warming to it. Whilst it is not something you could just switch on and listen to and would perhaps be a bit depressing to study/work to (not the most motivating music), it is very relaxing without having irritating 'nature' sounds. Good for a come-down after a busy or stressful day or simply just a wind-down CD if you are having trouble drifting off to sleep. 6/10.
Care In the Community
Have you seen that film ‘The Fly II’ when they kinda naff the teleportation process and that horrid dog thing comes out? Well if they had of got the process perfected and had jammed Billy Bragg, Finley Quay and (sorry) Eagle Eye Cherry into one pod then Babar Luck would probably have popped out of the other end, singing a friendly tune. Babar Luck has hit a magical formula , his songs are undeniably political whilst being totally accessible. The whole album has a very relaxed vibe countering topics that wouldn't be out of place on a Clash album. This album has a fantastic air of accomplishment to it, you get the feeling that Mr Luck has been holding these songs under his belts for years. The background sound is sort of London Reggae, but leaning much more towards pop than dub. It’s a goodun.
Eee gads, this first track sounds like Mogwai doing a cover of ‘The Final Countdown’ by Europe! It’s a bit muddly and unsure of itself, and putting an instrumental track first on a demo is just a bad idea. The second track is like a really quirky school fisher price keyboards Muse or early Radiohead, but with weak tinny guitars. The second track is really the standout track on this demo and should have been put on first. I couldn’t get on with the last track at all, it’s a whiney acoustic number and the singers over-vibrato just really got on my tits, he needs to have a decent cough to clear his throat or smoke some fags to get some gravel in that voice.
Beyond Reasonable Doubt
Beyond Reasonable Doubt
CDLP—TEN PAST TEN RECORDS
I’ve always thoughts brothers have some sort of biological advantage over the rest of us when it comes to harmonies, and this band only goes to prove my theory. The only problem is they do it pretty much constantly for every line throughout the entire album. They have a sort of Blocko edge to them but they are more relentless. If could be because I’ve reviewed far too many bands over the last few weeks, or it could be because there are a crap load of bands that sound like this at the moment, but I just couldn’t grab hold of anything original on this album. I know that’s not what everyone looks for in a band, after all how would Oi music exist otherwise! They even have duel guitar parts, but as you will know they were recently made mandatory by an EU directive, right?
Birds of Prestwich
The Final Opus 1.
Apparently this band thinks music is ‘pure’, I thought that about Cathy in Home and Away when I was kid, till I saw those Playboy photos, yeesh! As far as the title of this disc, surely you can’t have ‘final opus 1.’ because that suggests there will be more, therefore meaning it isn’t in fact the final opus. Gramatical oddity aside this is a damn fine disk. These tracks carry off that laid back vibe that leaves too many bands sounding like they can’t be arsed. This demo has that magical ‘something’ that I pray for as I trudge through my review mountain. They have found a niche that is genuinely original. The almost conversational vocals are backed by dead simple instrumentation and some er, ‘odd noises’. I’m usually very wary of odd noises in songs as they always sounds crowbarred in, these fit perfectly. They supplement the song without standing out like a sore thumb. I’m keeping this cd, and I hope to hear more from this band soon.
Get this demo, it will bring joy to your life
(Positive Nuisance PR)
The Bled lean very heavily towards the metal end of the hardcore spectrum and that’s not something I’m a huge fan of. They have huge backing and a big name producer so I’m sure you’ll hear them soon enough and be able to make up your own mind.
Bright Eyes/Ambulance Split CD
Insound Tour Support Series No. 12 (Also sometimes known as 'The Joy In Forgetting The Joy EP')
I was quite pleased when I came across this. I've been a big Bright Eyes fan for a good few years now, but I had started to find his later work a bit forced. Because of this, I hadn't listened to him in a while, which was silly really as his early albums were unbelievable. So when I came accross this and saw it was released six years ago, I was hoping it would be as good. I was right and more so. This is slowly going down as my favourite Bright Eyes release. The four songs Conor offers up here are typical of his early work. The vocals are pretty much yelped and slurred all the way through, the recording is piss poor but the feeling is there. This is espcially noted in the final track 'Untitled', where his voice peaks pretty much during every line. 'The Joy In Discovery' is still one of my favourite Bright Eyes tracks, so it was nice to find it on here as well. The real gem of this CD though has to be Ambulance (now known as Son, Ambulance). Their three songs on here, blow my mind every time I hear them. Joe has a far mellower voice than Conor, and the songs are a more stripped down style of folk. All three of them (especially 'Asturd, Astrud') are pretty much as close to perfect as you can get. If your already a fan of Bright Eyes and don't own this (if you can track it down - it wasn't easy) then get it. Fast. If, on the other hand, you can't stand them, this CD really will not do anything to change your opinion, in fact you'll probably hate him more. A couple of the Bright Eyes tracks are available on other releases (this CD has the early versions), but it is still worth getting hold of if only for the Ambulance tracks.
Capguns n Coke
Capguns n Coke
CDEP—SQUINTY JOE RECORDS
Rough as fuck teenage pop punk, but in the 1980 sense of the phrase. Actually to be fair only the recording quality is rough (well and a little of the playing) but the songs are catchy as fuck. Actually I’m amazed they managed to find a wax-cylinder to record this EP on, they could at least have had it in the same room as the band. The fact that the artwork concept on this EP is fantastic shows this band has far more spark than most bands pushing out the Ramones, Screeching Weasel style punk at the moment. Mind you, the fact that are two track fours confused the hell out of me.
Best Seat In The House
Chaser aren't half bad, with their 'of the moment' indie-rock sound with hints of electro in there too. Quite like them, but I think this would more greatly appeal to, as their press release suggest, fans of Panic! At The Disco, Bloc Party and the likes. It's not the most exciting CD but they are good. Not much else to say about them really..if you like the aforementioned bands, check them out. If not, probably not your thing. 6/10, standout
tracks: 'Ride', 'Best Seat In The House'.
Robot Sgt. Activate
The ‘Champs’ are just two people; John on drums and Dave on unwieldy bass. For just two people they make a huge sound, the bass sounds like it’s about to leap out of the lad’s hand. This is riffing, squealing, frantic and oddly melodic. I don’t want you to get impression that Champion Edition are in any way inaccessible or art house, I’d say the appeal is pretty broad. I’m really pleased I’ve written this whole review without mentioning Lightening Bold, DOH!
CDLP – SELF RELEASED
I first stumbled across this man on purevolume and from that point on, I fell in love.
The Comb-Overs is just one man – Peter Davis. He plays all the instruments on his CD’s (which range from drums and guitar, to accordion and cello), recordeds them all at home and almost never plays live. In fact, not many people get to hear his music, which is a shame. This (his sixth release), has picked together the finest aspects of his older releases and molded them together in a collection of 14 new, beautiful songs. Some songs are played acoustic, others are with a full band (well, Peter adding more instruments). The point is though, there is not a poor song on offer here.
A beautiful singing voice, blended together fantastically with superb guitar work and fascinating melodies, there are moments when listening to this CD that my jaw nearly snapped of my head. Seriously. His lyrics are something which continuously get me as well. His knack for storytelling is something which you don’t come across very often.
It’s hard to sum up the appeal of The Comb-Overs, without naming the obvious comparisons. I’ve tried to think of someone he sounds vaguely like, but I really can’t. He is the most original singer-songwriter I have heard in a couple of years. The best way to experience his work is to listen to this album and his others.
You can download them all for free (another brilliant factor) from his website, www.combovers.net.
The Council E.P
This is ‘acid blues’ apparently. The singer has an amazing voice with tons of range and soul, but then so does my mum and I wouldn’t pay to see her. I love the Hammond organ in the first track, I’ve always wanted to have one in my band, but they’d be a bugger to transport. By half way through the first track I’m starting to get irritated with the lyrics, they are more repetitive than an EastEnders story line. These are certainly accomplished musicians but to me it just sounds like a pub blues band.
Crime In Stereo
The Troubled Stateside
(Positive Nuisance PR)
Just as I was starting to thing the current hardcode scene only had one sound along came Crime in Stereo. Sure enough this is hardcore alright, but the tuneful singalong type rather than the ape trying to clear razors from it’s throat type. This is intelligent hardcore (IntelliCore?), with oodles of thought put into every song. A drawback of hardcore for me has always been that a hardcore album tends to sound like the same song repeated over and over. This album has 12 standout tracks and is going straight onto my iPod!
Criminal Class USA
Echos in the Street
I think I picked this up when this American band turned up and played unannounced at the Railway here in Ipswich, that kinda thing seems to be happening a lot at the moment! This album came out about five years ago in 2001, so when I did my zinester blagging they obviously didn’t have much faith that I would actually do anything with it! Well it’s very well played American street punk, with just the right amount of fuzz at the edges. Pretty much every song is a shout along gang vocals type deal. Very listenable and some kicking tunes.
My World Turns All Around Her/Come Around
The press release states that these guys 'will instantly be your new favourite band' - hmm, maybe not. Whilst they are not awful, they are pretty average. Perhaps the NME-kids will like them, but I get the feeling that this might have been more popular in the 90s with their breezy summer easy-rock grooves. According to another press card they have been compared with The Kinks, The Coral, The Jam and The Who but I feel that to say that is an insult to those bands because I don't hear those influences. Not feeling this one at all, sorry. 4/10.
Some bands spend years trying to sound like a band, some bands just gel and work as a band right away. Dakota is one of these bands, they play early 60s beat pop with a slight modern slant and sound like they’ve been together 30 years. If retro indie pop is your thing check these fellas out.
Dead Next Door
Time To Fight
Sometimes all a band needs to stand out is a really good voice out front, sometimes even if the instrumentation is lacklustre a decent set of lungs can make a song a classic. Whilst the voice of the singer of Dead Next Door has more character than a compendium of Dickens he is let down by the sub U2 ‘safe rock’ of the rest of the band. By the end of this 6 track EP I’d forgotten I’d put it on and wandered out of the room.
The Dead Pets
The Revenge Of The Village Idiots
CDLP—VILLAGE IDIOT RECORDS
It's hard to believe these guys are English due to the very apparent Boston-punk sound reminiscent of Dropkick Murphys & Street Dogs (who, in both cases, they have played with in the U.K) and the likes, but also with hints of Bad Religion. What adds to this band is the background horns which are not quite predominant enough to be considered a skacore/ska punk band but still a nice touch. Whilst it could be argued that the album is much of a muchness if you're not into their sound, it is worth a listen.
Particularly catchy is 'Dreams For A Crook' which is a great uplifting singalong track. Everybody now: "here I go here I go like the littlest hobo, singing hey ho..." Overall 8/10, standout tracks: 'Dreams For A Crook', 'Mother's Ruin', 'We're Coming Back' (make sure to catch the hidden track at the end - i recommend fast forwarding unless you fancy waiting 30 mins or so). If you like these also check out River City Rebels for a slightly similar sound.
The Dead Pets
Too Little Too Late
CDLPVILLAGE IDIOT RECORDS
I hear that The Dead Pets are rated highly and I can see (hear) why. This is the first of two albums by TDPs according to their website, the other being 'The Revenge Of The Village Idiots', a review of which can be found elsewhere in this section. I have quite taken to this band and it is a shame that I missed a show they did with Street Dogs, who I also discovered after the aforementioned tour. This album is personally my preferred one of the two, if only for the greater prominance of the horns in places & a bigger hint of ska in certain tracks. Still, not enough for them to be considered a ska-punk band - but this makes for a good sound in my opinion. In terms of the sound overall though it is not much different from the other CD, which shows they are sticking to their roots well. Most notable about this CD are the song intros on certain tracks, which are bits of spoken word by various types of people. So yeah, check the other review for a further explanation of the sound and buy this CD! 8/10 (as it is only personal preference that makes me like this more), standout tracks: 'King Albert', 'Bad Attiude' & 'Plodding Along'.
De Waonzin/ Nuestros Derechos
Split ‘Em All
I actually thought this band was huge when I looked at the photo on the back sleeve, then I actually bothered to read the press sheet, it is of course a split album. Both bands (for I can’t tell them apart) play a sub Iron Maiden growly screechy metal, that I really can’t be arsed to write any more about.
CDEP—POST MODERN RECORDS
This cd came with the coolest hand written press sheet ever, but as you can’t see that I won’t go on about it. When most bands are referred as coming from a ‘stable’ it’s normally metaphorical, from the sounds of it Demeter singer Anna really did come from a stable. She grew up on a farm with a studio that was used by the likes of Soundgarden and the Foo Fighters! The music reminds me of Denim and is nice enough plodding part electronic, with Kate Bush type whimsical vocals.
It’s amazing how far and wide Beat Motel is know these days, this band send me their EP all the way from Batislava! I was a bit dubious when I saw the predominantly black artwork and pages of medieval imagery, with song titles like ‘Betrayed Warriors’ I was expecting something like a Slovakian version of Three Inches of Blood, and the battle sound effects at the start of the cd did little to change my opinon. But the music started and I was pleasantly surprised! The music is like a mix between 77 punk and early Iron Maiden and the vocals are more Oi than anything, especially all the gang shouting. The fourth track ’Endless Blue’ is a Viking call to arms if ever I heard one, it’s like a cross between Scarborough Fair and something off Led Zeppelin III I really like this ep and I reckon you will too,
Dude on a Mission
Moments Erased EP
This Cambridge band remind me a lot of some the bands that were on Orange Peel Records about four or five years ago especially The Berlin Project. It’s poppy and punky, but it’s sure not pop punk. They have some good tunes but the singer doesn’t sound like he was giving his all in the studio and could do with taking leaf out of the backing vocalist’s book. The singing is a little clumsy but doesn’t have enough character (yet) to carry that off. All in all Id like to see this band live (they are fairly local to Ippo being from Cambridge) and I look forward to hearing their next release.
Exene Cervenka & The Original Sinners
This is the 15th album Exene has released! I must confess I never heard her original band X but this album has a certain cuteness too it. It’s slightly retro 1950s sounding with a slight Juliana Hatfield slacker type slant to it. This album has more swing than a Tory wife swap party but I’m going to resort to lame review excuse #1 and say it’s not my thing.
The Catastrophe EP
In general when I get sent a cd by a political band I tend to let out a sad sigh and put the cd in the player and listen to what is almost always sub-par Crass rip-off with sixth form politics crow-barred in. Fahrenheit451 are a fantastic exception to the rule. They get their message across in a similar way to Anti-Flag without resorting to their lazy trick of breaking down to a single bass note while a lecture is read over the top. Fahrenheit451’s sound isn’t as hard as Anti-Flag, indeed this band wouldn’t sound out of place on the Radio1 daytime playlist. The duel vocals are both excellent, both with a really strong individual character that is a perfect snug and complimenting counterpart to it’s opposite number. If the two singers aren’t brothers then this is further proof that the cosmos has conspired to bring this band together for the greater good and entertainment of all mankind. This is going straight on my iPod, I’m signing up to their mailing list and will wait with baited breath for an album. Incidentily, when I first picked up this cd I read it as ‘The Catasroprophet EP’ which would have been just too perfect as a title! This release just shits coolness and urgency.
The Fire Line
CDLP—RUSSIAN MISSION RECORDS
The vocals on this album must have been recorded with the singer in another room, while he was being attacked by wasps, and was unable to escape due to all the muffling foam everywhere. The songs are reasonable, nothing exceptional I don't think. I say ‘I don’t think’ as they are so fucking badly recorded I struggled to get through the album without getting a migraine. They are sort of Britpop with slightly more country instrumentation. The stand out track by miles is the fifth one ‘Armed Forces’, the beginning and end are really excellent, partly because they remind me of the soundtrack to Young Guns II. Apart from that track the whole album has a definite air of incompletion about it. I shall sit back and wait for the angry email from the band.
Smart little mini-album from this Cincinnati band, they are a sweet cross between Weezer and Blink 182. I’m not really a fan of either band and on first listening I found this album a bit too sickly, but I had some spare time so I listened through again while I was getting frustrated with PhotoShop. And then I listened to it again, and again and now I can’t get the damn thing out of my head, and I’m perfectly happy with that. Fizzgig don’t really break any new ground in the pop punk genre, but there’s nothing wrong with being damn good at what you do, and Fizzgig are very damned good. One oddity, there’s a passing resemblance to No Use For a Name in the second track ‘Angela’, maybe it’s the same Angela that No Use For a Name sung about?
From First To Last
Everything about this release screams money at me, the packaging and design is really nice, the production is flawless and even the guitars sound expensive! From First To Last play to their own unique genre, they are too heavy for EMO, too tunefull for thrash metal and have too many production tricks to be flat out punk. Their sound is undeniably seriously heavy, there are many metal breaks and punches used. The singer sounds like a mix of Brian Moloko of Placebo and whoever that first Saosin singer was. Each track on the album has it’s own unique feel, but by about track 8 that voice was getting just a wee bit too whiney for me, maybe my disposition is just too sunny for me to really get into this band. The final straw was the opening line of track 10, “I can’t eat without shoving my fingers down my throat”, okay so maybe this is just EMO after all.
Fuck Off Machete
What’s the Signal
Imagine The Raincoats if they could actually play, imagine Bjork going back to doing light hearted indie, imagine a female vocalist who sounds equal parts cute and violent. This is Fuck Off Machete, I was promised ‘pulverising hooks’, but they never really materialised. I don’t get it. If you like Queen Adreena then maybe you will.
CDLP—TRUE TALENT RECORDS
(Work Hard PR)
Wow, The Darkness really opened up the traditional rock market didn’t they! Glyder play unapologetic good time rock and party like it’s 1987. Rythyms and vocals are very Iron Maiden and if you’re in the mood for Biker Metal then check this band out.
STREETS OF SALVATION
CDLP - ?
To say there’s no resemblance to the Pogues would be foolish, however the Fishers do have a certain sound of their own and if you like the Pogues (and who doesn’t) then you’ll love this. Their thanks list reads like my (currently) fav bands list, Real McKenzies, Porters, Dropkicks, Blood or Whisky etc. Oh yeah and Arthur Guinness. Can’t get better inspiration than that.
Back to the music, there’s some fantastic whistle playing, also the fiddle playing is top notch. The whole feel to the album is very Pogue-ish and although they come from Greenland they have an incredible Celtish feel (although this is probably due to the proximity to Scotland which lies just the other side of Iceland). I think most of the songs are originals but there is an interesting version of ‘Fields of Athenry’, not as fast as the Dropkicks’ or Necks’ or even Whisky Chasers’ for that matter but really quite moving (as it should be due to the subject matter). The instrumental track ‘When the insane came marching in’ is a corker and shows the skills of the musicians off really well. A really charming thing is the pronunciation of the words, their accent is ever present.
One of my favourite moments is the accordion intro to ‘The great exercise day’ (track six). It’s difficult to pick a fav track but I really enjoyed ‘The night Rick Holler died’ (track eleven) and any song called ‘For bitter and whiskey’ (note the E in there Doog) is bound to be a corker.
I play this album a lot and have given up trying to read the lyrics from the CD inlay, it may be my eyes but white hand written text on black is almost impossible to make out. So I make up the words to sing along with “The party’s over, there’s a bunch of demons in my head” are a feel of how they go.
Great stuff to drive to, bop around to or just sit back and listen to. However I challenge you to not have a smile on your face whilst this album is on (unless you have no taste in music at all).
Cheers and I’m off to drink some Whiskey and Guinness.
All bands need a unique selling point, good or bad. Sometimes the sign of a good song is if it reminds you of something else, but the second track on this IS ‘Come as you are’ by Nirvana with just a couple of notes changed, granted the guitar isn’t the same but the slightly bored sounding vocals aren’t a million miles away. Hatch sound slightly lost, kinda like they’re not prepared to take any massive risks, and whilst that obviously works for some (Status Quo) it isn’t doing the trick just yet for this band. Haven’t said that, the lyrics made me laugh, “you’re still wet and I’m still horny”. Indeed!
10 Re-mixes To Pay For Our Love Hotel Bills
CDLP—HIDDEN YOUTH RECORDS
First up, I’ve never heard of any of the bands remixed on this album so I’m going to treat this is largely original as I have no way of telling what impact the remixes have had on the original tracks! The album starts of with some very sugary but bloody intense and heavy Pitzicato Five style pop techno with odd noises. A lot of the album is quite intense bass, fantastic bass(ish) melody lines and it’s not till the last track ‘Love For Sale’ that we get anywhere near what I would traditionally called Techno. My favourite tracks were the Frottage remix for it’s retro 50s washing powder commercial vibe and track 9 for it’s sublime Aphex Twin style smooth vibe.
In 1977 there must have been hundreds of bands up and down the country like Isaws, they were heavily infludenced by an exciting new band called The Sex Pistols and felt compelled (in the case of Isaws) to play gigs at their school. Sadly the first few tracks on this album lack any of the cheeky ferocity of The Sex Pistols and are plodding badly recordered nasel shite. By the 5th track ‘Feather’ they had apparently started to also be influenced by X-ray specs. This album is compiled using tracks from the band’s two ‘tape only’ albums and you can see a sort of progression. The last few tracks show a noisier more experimental side to the band and hint at something great happening just around the corner, but they split up and never managed to release anything good. It’s probably not a bad thing that a lot of first wave bands like this never got round to recording. Oh, and the fucking abysmal cover of ‘20th Century Boy’ on the end of this disc only goes prove they didn’t quite get what was going on in the punk world around them.
The press sheet claims that this band is going to change the face of Rock and Roll, but then don’t they all! The first track is a misplaced tuneful little number reminisant of something off Ziggy Stardust, and bizarrely Eleanor Rigby by the Beatles! The singers voice really reminds me of someone but I just can’t place it. The second track is a fairly standard rock track that wouldn’t sound out of place at a wedding reception and I’m afraid the acoustic noodling of the last track lost me totally. I don’t think I’d buy this, but I’ll definitely lean over and turn up the radio when (not if) it comes on.
Highs and Lows
Well about bloody time, we finally get to hear the band that this mysterious producer Ian Crow is in! He’s producing everyone worth listening to round these parts at the moment. Very few producers manage to pull off actually sounding cool with their own stuff, normally falling into the trap of over producing themselves al la Garbage. But Kerbslider sound total natural and powerful. This is one of the most together and polished sounding bands (that hasn’t sold a million albums) I’ve ever heard. Their sound is somewhere along the lines of Semisonic with some of the bigger sounding elements of Muse but ultimately, and as with any shite review I write I’ve gotta say they sound unlike either. Get it, sing it in your head, play it to your friends and dream of a faraway day when your band could be as good as this.
HOSANNAS FROM THE BASEMENTS OF HELL
CDLP - COOKING VINYL
Gggreaattt! Just what the Doctor ordered - a new Killing Joke album! I fucking love this stuff! Absolute intensity, absolute sincerity, inventiveness and glorious apocalyptic tribal rhythms. Geordie’s guitar sounds as great as ever (albeit a bit heavier than the early days), Jaz’s vocals are disturbing (that goes for his lyrics too), repetitive tribal drumbeats and bass provided by Youth’s replacement Paul Raven. Standout tracks are the title track (also a single), The Tribal Antidote, Majestic, Invocation, Implosion, hell, the whole fucking album is great. Funnily enough given the current political climate and war in the middle east Killing Joke seem to make more sense the longer they go on. Jaz’s lyrical apocalypse and the tribal music (permeated with orchestral style keyboards ) really gives Killing Joke the sense of menace that keeps old punks (like me), new age thrash metallers and paranoid conspiracy theorists jumping to the WARDANCE! Yep, KJ remind me of the musical equivalent of the geezers who used to walk round with the sandwich boards reading ‘The End Is Nigh’. Approach with caution. 10/10.
DVD - CHERRY RED
Accept for a brief piss-take of an interview at the beginning This DVD consists entirely of footage of King Kurt plating the Marquee club in London in 1983. I have seen King Kurt live, and enjoyed myself, but that gig doesn’t compare to the footage captured in this DVD, of a gig that happened before I was even born.
King Kurt enjoyed a fair bit of success in the 80’s with a few top 40 hits and an appearance on top of the pops, with their irritatingly catchy sing-along party song ‘banana banana’ they are noticeably different to other Psychobilly bands with their unique display of speed induced Saturday morning television style, scooter riding, egg throwing rock n roll.
The gig shown on the DVD is a clear example of the chaotic atmosphere for which the band have become infamous for creating at their shows, in which large amounts off eggs, flour, foam and baked beans amongst other things are launched around a venue. Whilst some people dance around like hyperactive children, others throw their fists around in a good old fashioned brawl in the wrecking pit. One couple spend the majority of the gig getting off with each other in front of the stage, oblivious to the surrounding insanity.
The music, is tight and all good natured party music, although the music can at times seem a bit much (how long can you be in a happy party mood?) it is undeniably well structured, and although the band members appear to be drunken fools they are by no means un-talented. Show highlights include the legendary Psychobilly songs “wreck-a-party rock” and of course “destination Zululand”
If you don’t like King Kurt, Psychobilly, shirtless men with stupid hair, saxophones drunken idiocy or the general type of mess making and tomfoolery associated with television programs like ‘Dick and Dom in da bungalow’ then you will by no means enjoy this DVD. Anyone else however will not regret seeing this awesome band on top form.
Another Hostile Takeover
(Work Hard PR)
Holy shit I’ve travelled back in time! Snares have more reverb than a Phychobilly convention, the drummer is a muscleman wearing white leather gloves and there’s more leopard tights and fake hair than a whore’s starter kit! This album has more cock than Ron Jeremy’s portfolio,,, You can see where I’m going with this can’t you.
In the Box Seat
CDLP—HI TOM RECORDS
Hayze don’t want to fit into any genre, they want to be taken without pigeonholed prejudice. Their sound makes this pretty clear, I mean they are obviously not bangra or swing but their sound is hard to pin down much further than that, so I’m not going to bother. This is an album of well constructed and fairly easy going songs, choruses are memorable and the instrumentation is kept interesting at all times. Having seen this band live a few times this album had more diversity in it than I was expecting, that’s no criticism of their live act, more a commendation for making the most of the studio time they spent on this album. In overall vibe I’d say this album would be good for driving or relaxing in the evening. The stand out track for me is the last one, ‘Eleven Years’, purely because it is a proper album ender. My only negative criticism of this album is the use of fade outs in some of the songs, the band have more than proved their technical prowess so why do they resort to such a musical short cut?
Face up to it!
Another in the Boss Tuneage retro series. Heresy were a fast as fuck hardcore band, and this remastered album dates from 1988. The lovely digipack that all these retro releases are getting includes a meaty booklet giving the history of the band, which is this case is largely a complaint about this album! If you like noisy shouted badly recorded hardcore then this is your cue.
Leave a Trail
Okay so I’m always on about nobody doing anything new, well Hokum have proved me wrong. The first track ‘Superman’ sounds like a really odd reworking of Hey Joe by Hendrix. That’s not where the Hendrix influences stop either. One thing that did catch me out is the synths and samplers, but some of the best parts of this EP are when everything is stripped down to the basics. I must admit I cringed a bit at some of the lyrics, the singing needs to hold more melody, but mainly because it has to compete with some top notch playing from the guitar and bass. Something else that took me by surprise is the dirty dirty bass sound, it sounds like the bass amp has been hit by a truck, fucking excellent! One criticism on the mastering though, go steady on that compressor lads, everything cuts down when it should be explosive in the first track, don’t compress it, let it fly! This is a good sophomore ep, I’d say the next one will be a blinder, Hokum have a ton of ideas but the overall impression I get from this EP is that they are trying to use them all at once. And as for the noodling, we know you can all play very well, no need to dwell on the noodles.
CDLP—GO KART RECORDS
I like it when bands work really hard, we all know too many bands get signed when they’ve only just formed to have a bunch of cash chucked and them, leading to ultimate failure and a fast route to a sacking by aforementioned heartless major label. I Farm have gone the long route to signing to one of my favourite labels. Unfortunetly all I can hear in the music is bog standard hardcore. There’s a slight metal edge, but then aren’t all hardcore bands doing that these days? I listened to this album about four times in a row, to see if it would grow on me, sadly it just ended up annoying me.
Dropped Their Brains
Without opening that age old debate I’m gonna start by saying the majority of American bands really know how to do the DIY thing. This release looks fucking brilliant and the artwork is top notch, original, gripping and memorable. The music sounds more English than everything else, it’s like they’ve taken all the good bits from the last 30 years of brit punk and rearranged them into something new and interesting. I winced a bit when the second track started with a jinky jinky ska guitar but thankfully before too long I was saved by another flat out big tune. If you like fast punk played bloody well then you’re gonan love this. Only criticism is that like with Anti-Flag the political content, whist insightful and relevant does get a bit tiresome. If you go to their webshite you can get this on tasty green wax.
I’d heard good things about this band before the cd even dropped through my door, which makes a nice change. Jaed is unapologetic proper modern punk. Vanessa’s vocals are frank, a bit shocking and actually pretty funny in a slighty sick way. The music is like a progression of Hole and the marvellous Veruca Salt. I really like this and can’t wait to hear the album which is out in March.
Last Stop China Town
There’s more cock in this rock than Ron Jeromy’s photo diary. Standard commercial metal, cheesy lyrics and the singer sounds like Simon LeBon from Duran Duran! Last Stop China Town rock like it’s 1988. Heard it all before.
The Lawrence Arms
CDLP—FAT WRECK CHORDS
12 corkers from our Chicago counsins. I really hate the term ‘pop punk’ as it’s been totally abused by the likes of Busted, but this really is pop punk! It’s more intelligent than Green Day, and with political sentiments that are believeable but not too preachy. This is a really strong album, if you’ve not heard The Lawrence Arms before get this album, if you’re already a fan then this is a must have. Stand out tracks for me were the opener ‘The Devil’s Takin’ Names’, ‘Great Lakes/ Great Escapes’ and there is a great deal that pop punk wannabes could learn from genius tracks like ‘recovering the opposable thumb’. I’ve just realised I was about to list the entire album, so I’ll stop here!
Love Equals Death
CDLP—FAT WRECK CHORDS
I like Love Equals Death but this CD is a little disappointing. From the couple of tracks I had already heard, I was excited for a full lengther, but it could have been so much better. Some tracks are more exciting than others and some just aren't up to par, lacking something I can't put my finger on.
Pretty much your average punk band, nothing special in this CD unfortunately but still reasonably listenable and enjoyable all the same and of course there is the token acoustic track to show a softer side, which is nice. 7/10 standout tracks 'V.O.C. (Voice Of Change)', 'The Broadcast', 'When We Fall'.
Love That Kills
To Cruel Nails Surrendered
CDLP—IN AT THE DEEP END RECORDS
Another release from the increasingly heavy IATDE. Whereas some bands like Send More Paramendics are what I would consider to be thrash punk with a metallic edge, Love That Kills are flat out thrash metal. The vocal growl isn’t quite the sonic bowel shifter that normally gets on my tits in modern metal and some of the half spoken/ sung parts in tracks ‘Razor Blade Smile’ and the title track expose a pretty decent voice, although I’m not sure what part of Kent this band comes from to get an American accent. This is one of those metal bands that use that discordant guitar bending noise that goes right through me. If the object of this mini album is annihilating brutality they succeeded, it was a feat of stamina to sit through all six tracks.
The Loved Ones
Keep Your Heart
CDLP—FAT WRECK CHORDS
I love getting new albums through the door when they come from strong labels like Fat Wreck, you know whatever it is it’s not going to be total shite even if it’s something I don’t like. The Loved Ones sound like 60% passion 40% ability, which I’d always say is the right way round. All the ingredients are there to make this a classic punk album, it just sounds a tiny tiny bit immature to me. There are some really strong stand out tracks like ‘Sickening’ that show a different side to the band that really suits them… I’m going to hang onto it as I get the impression there are hidden depths that will reveal themselves to me over time, and I look forward to it!
Between The Lines
To get the guitar sound used at the start of this single I can only assume they used an amp that they spent days dragging around the country behind a van. This is good time rock, silly solos, big riffs, but a very indie vibe to the whole thing. Imagine the Darkness without the gayness. The singers voice sound like that chap that sung ‘My Woman’ years ago, I can’t remember his name! The second track is a massive Cougars style track with a horn section and a oddly Britpop sounding chorus. Lovemat have one foot in the past and a fist in your future.
The PR sheet with this album mentions ‘math rock’. What on earth is that? I’ve listened to the lyrics and can’t find any mention of hypotenuse triangles or complex algebra. I didn’t even notice any lyrics along the lines of ‘If Akbar has two apples and give Debbie one,,,’ Anyway, enough of my gibberish. Lower Forty-Eight play a heavy sometimes discordant but definitely angry brand of punk along the lines of Jimmy Eat World and play it very well. It’s an emotional album alright, and maybe that’s what’s putting me off, I’m just too vacuous, I don’t feel intelligent enough to get this! Gotta love the riffing though!
The Mercy Suite
CDLP—BOMBED OUR RECORDS
Competant northern punk in the vein of Milloy. There’s nothing technically wrong with this album, it just sounds a whole lot like a lot of other punk doing the rounds at the moment. I may be missing something, but it just didn’t get me hard. The clank on the bass got on my tits after a while, you’ve got new stings, we get it already! The artwork is fucking awesome thought.
& DON’T TOUCH THE BANG BANG FRUIT
CDLP - ANAGRAM RECORDS
2 old LP’s ( 1986 & 1987) that have been given the remastered and bonus track treatment from Anagram. This is original ‘Psychobilly’ if you’re wondering. Basically it’s just Rockabilly with a bit of Punk energy thrown in. The Stray Cats with a hard-on. Quite refreshing and relatively timeless (as long as you think 50’s rock is timeless!) Both albums sound exactly the same so buying either should give you a perfect idea of what 80‘s Scooter boys were slamming to. Some decent tunes and cracking party music.
The latest in the nicely done Anagram digipack reissues. The Meteors are original Phychobilly from the early 80s so this album is all jangly bouncy guitars with more Tremelo in them then Chesney Hawks (now that’s an obscure joke!). It’s all very lighthearted rock and roll, and even although I’m going to have a thousand Phychobilly’s after me for saying this, when you’ve heard one you’ve heard them all, and the same goes for this album. It would be good as background music at a party, but that’s about it.
How's It Working Out For You?
I've heard a lot about this band and to hear this CD I am a little disappointed. Although it sounds as though they have a good live show, this E.P is just not enough to go out of my way to listen to. It is ok as light, listenable background music but there just seems to be something lacking.
They are not bad as such, they just need a bit of oomph and possibly the live experience gives this. I'd say, worth listening to but don't buy it straight out. 6/10.
The Red Tree
(Positive Nuisance PR)
Whilst it’s undeniable this band has a punk edge they are way more mainstream than that and not in a cheesy irritating way either, Songs are thoughtful without being EMO, instrumentation is intelligent without being wanktastic. I’ve had this album on a few times fairly low while I’m working and it fits the bill perfectly, I’m just not going to be driving to it in my car flashing the lights and punching the air with my fist. Mind you, maybe if I listen to this in the car I won’t hit as many kerbs, sign posts, pot holes or elderly folk.
If someone asked me what my dream stoner rock band would consist of I’d probably ask for members of Kyuss and Fu-Manchu to be melded together in some sort of dirty grinding way. Well that’s (kinda) what Nebula are, two parts Fu-Machu, one part Kyuss (well Scott Reeder used to be in the band, that’s close enough). Nebula don’t have the crushing heaviness of Kyuss but they do have the Californian cool and swing of Fu-Manchu. The vocals are more like Unida but not quite as husky and strong as Garcia. This album comes with a nice intro and outro that link together if you listen to the album on repeat, which you will want to when you hear it. This album isn't just flat out rock there’s all kinds of other coolness going on, even a lounge moment or two! Basically if stoner/ desert rock is your thing then there will be a big hole in your life till you buy this album.
Wolves in Wolves Clothing
CDLP—FAT WRECK CHORDS
Wa-hoo! It seems like an age since the last NoFx album. I really didn’t want to write this review with a list of comparisons to NoFx’s massive back catalogue, it’s a fair challenge but I’m gonna give it a go. If you’ve never heard NoFx (firstly where the hell have you been?) they are undeniably punk in attitude but not always what you might think of as traditionally punk in sound. A lot of this band’s output is really pop and commercial, which is maybe more of a cause of their success than their ethics. NoFx could well have ruled the world in a Green Day fashion but choose to concentrate a lot of their energies on trying to say unknown. In fact one of their older albums even has notices to MTV and Major labels ordering them to leave the band alone! This album cements NoFx’s reputation for tight harmonies, some tongue in cheek moments and more important (to me) than anything else, totally unflinching originality, although saying that the beginning of ’Getting High On The Low Down’ does sound like the kinks. Subject matter leaps from the social commentary in ‘60%’ to singer Fat Mike wistfully waxing lyrical about assassinating George Bush in ‘The Man I Killed’. This album will make you think, make you wink, and will definitely leave you with a smile on your face. Whilst some bands make use of secret tracks to put out a song that wasn’t good enough to go on the album properly, NoFx give you what sounds like the demos for the entire album! Oh, and just so you know your copy isn’t fucked when you buy it, yes track 14 really does fade out after 30 seconds!
None More Black
This is Satire
CDLP—FAT WRECK CHORDS
I don’t think I’ve ever heard a band on Fat like this, they have the passion of bands like Against Me! But aren’t quite as shouty. This sure ain’t hardcore, it’s much more on the poppy side of punk but definitely aren’t pop punk. I’m not going to pigeon hole them any more, I’m just going to tell you that if you like slightly mellow well written intelligent music with guitars you should check this out.
Oliver Under The Moon
In short, this album is a treasure. If you like a bit of passionate indie, piano rock or are just open minded then this is for you. Going from beautiful melody to almost screaming passion (no this isn't screamo), this CD is one of those that you can put on after a while and once again go 'wow'. An example of the shift between beauty and passion is 'Fadawhite', starting with soft piano and gradually building up the guitars and drums exploding to a steady pace but then building up again and crashing back to the soft piano and the steady pace. Definitely one of the favourites. A bit of variety comes into this album with the fast-paced 'Metronome' that you could almost mosh/circle pit to in parts. In places, the vocals take a lil getting used to but overall, you should check these guys out - stream the cd at purevolume.com/pistolita first or just go for it and buy it from interpunk.com. 8/10, stand out tracks: 'Bení Accident', 'Fadawhite', 'Metronome'.
CDLP—A COTTAGE INDUSTRY
This is the kinda band that is DIY and proud, and boy do they give DIY a good name! They play slippy noisy drinking music, the sound is really polished and slides between early Dinosaur Jnr and A slightly more indie spazzy Sex Pistols kinda sound. There’s a shit load of personality in this band, and some of the humour and ‘odd bits’ are right up by back passage, or should that be alley. Me like, shame the album is so short.
Protest the Hero
(Positive Nuisance PR)
First thing to say about this CD is the damn copy protection. I mean, fair enough, but it's set up so computers won't even play it which for people like me who rely on their computer as their music player means you're buggered. Anyway I did not let this stop me from giving it a go and took someone's CD player over. What strikes me about this CD is the vocals - sometimes with metal the music starts up and songs are ruined by growls but these guys actually sing which is a bonus. This is a 'concept' album but the songs could stand alone and it's not too bad. However, I got bored of the CD fairly quickly and could not listen to it straight through. Possibly due to personal preference, but it is the better side of metal. Best for fans of Avenged Sevenfold and the likes, for general rock fans...or for emo kids.
5/10 for getting bored and for not being able to play it on a computer.
Protest the Hero
(Positive Nuisance PR)
If you thought Three Inches of Blood or Megadeath were a bit over the top on the solos then this band makes them look like they showed total restraint. Protest the Hero play quite simply the most insane music I’ve ever heard. Imagine At The Drive In if all the crack the took effected their music a bit more, imagine Iron Maiden if they had 30 guitarists instead of three. A couple of the tracks on this album are even like Muse but MORE complex and musical. Protest the Hero have no restraint and ultimately no shame. Buy this album if you like metal that makes your head melt.
Cowboys of the Apocolypse
I wonder if they know they’ve named their EP after an episode of Red Dwarf? Power are a new Ippo band that have been creating one hell of a storm round these parts. In an age of countless American ProtoPunk bands (hell, just check out these review pages) Power play good time music with the edge of happier days about it. The first track (complete with battle sounds) would sound perfect sat round a fire in the dank night air of the Reading Festival circa 1983. Power are quite simply daft, everything is overblown and taken to the extreme. But where bands like Three Inches Of Blood lose out big time by taking themselves far too seriously Power have found a middle ground between the aforementioned band and totally lampoonery a la The Darkness. There are more solos than the Iron Maiden back catalogue, more motoring clichés than an Aerosmith fan club and it’s a fuck sight more fun to listen to than any so called metal band that I’ve heard in years. They really have taken ever idea every metal band has had over the last 30 years and crammed them into one short but perfect E.P. The singing is bloody excellent and I was amazed to learn that all vocals were by front man Buzz Grogan, including the deeeeeeep bits on the second track. This was produced by blossoming legend Ian Crow, and he even lends a few licks on a track or two. Get your ripped jeans and faded black tee shirts out, wrap a bandana round your head and through up them horns, Power are here to rock your world motherfucker.
Actually don’t take the MySluts versions of the songs as a fair representation, they are compressed to fuck and sound shite!
Live at the ICA
CDLP—ONE LITTLE INDIAN
(Work Hard PR)
Remember Daisy Chainsaw? Well this apparently is the band they evolved into, I say ‘apparently’ as I seem to be the human in this green and pleasant isle that didn't know that. This band is everywhere right now, it’s impossible to pick up one of them posh glam/ metal zines without seeing them featured somewhere. I’ve gotta say I don’t get it, the music plods and whilst is does have a slight scuzzy feel there’s nothing there that grabs me. The vocals are cutesy sure enough, but that just kinda got on my tits after about seven tracks. I actually had to take this CD out of the player as is put me in a really bad mood.
CDEP—LONE SHARK RECORDS
I imagine a lot of reviews this band gets mention their young age, well I’m not going to dwell on it as I’d only see that as patronising and too close to sounding like I’m just surprised that they’re not shit. And believe me they are FAR from shit, they take the Refused type mold and totally mess with it. There are moments on this EP that sound sublime and light and the whole disc has a very staccato energy to it. At times it’s a shade too stop start to grab hold of properly but on the whole this is a cd that I’m very glad plopped through my door. The artwork is smart too, it’s kinda stamped on with some sort of pencil, very punk! They also have a bit of The Misnomer about them. Bollocks, I’ve just realised I missed them, they played in Ipswich a couple of days ago!
Beyond the Grave
Gawd there’s a lot of Phychobilly about at the moment, thing is this one ain’t half bad. Rezurex are a supergroup made up by Nekromantix and Tiger Army. That should give you an idea of the subject matter on offer here too. Songs like ‘Devil Woman from Outer Space’ set the tone of the album. It’s lightening fast tight complicated rock and roll with a certain south of the usa border influence. If you’ve been wondering where the actor that plays Lister in Red Dwarf is these days, well according to this cover he’s in Rezurex.
Those Who Can’t
CDEP—ART GOES POP RECORDS
If my dad could hear me listening to this he’d probably say something like, “what is this crap?” Ruby Tombs play a shouty akward largely undefined scratchy mess. The vocals are like an angry Bow wow wow and the rest of the instrumentation appears to have been recorded in different rooms, and is as if the band never actually met. So why does it work so well?
The Sainte Catherines
Dancing for Decadence
CDLP—FAT WRECK CHORDS
Apparently this is the first French-Canadian band to sign to Fat, but the looks of it they are also the first band to sign to Fat with a pirate theme. The vocals sound like a nicer, more polite and ultimately less gruff version of Sick of it all but their sound bares no relation at all. There’s a very slight metal edge to this band, but that sounds more like it’s coming from the production that anything else. This is actually the first band I’ve ever heard that reminded me of LoveJunk, but only for the silly soundbites inbetween some of the tracks! Songs are all hard punches, riffs are kicks and the THREE guitars are Chinese burns. If you figure out what I mean by that please email me and let me know. If you like this band then check out the Fanny Pads at www.thefannypads.co.uk
Saves The Day
Sound the Alarm
(Positive Nuisance PR)
Saves the Day are a real life cautionary tale when it comes to major labels. The major they were on collapsed when Saves the Day were poised to take over the world, but they carried on and managed to sell 150,000 copies of their next album with no label support, now that’s a whole lot of envelope stuffing! This album is easy going guitar music, I don’t want to call it punk but there’s a definite element of punk in the mix. Maybe if I had to force myself to make it fit into a genre I’d invent a new one and call it ‘RadioPunk’. This is a quality band, I don’t particularly like them but I can appreciate talent when I see it.
THE SECRET LIFE OF A TEENAGE PUNK ROCKER
THE ANDY BLADE CHRONICLES
CHERRY RED BOOKS - 200 PAGES.
Andy Blade was the founding member of Eater who were at the forefront of the exploding UK Punk scene in 1976. This is his autobiography. This anecdotal and lighthearted look at 1976 Punk isn’t bad - no deep delving into ‘Situationist theory’ or anything else really. Having Johnny Rotten throwing piss over him for accepting a blowjob from Nora is about as deep as it gets. Joe Strummer thought the Damned wanted to be Black Sabbath, Sid Vicious was a bully (although you can’t hold it against him when it’s Billy Idol he’s bullying), Lou Reed was weird (no! really?), Johnny Thunders introduced smack to the UK Punk scene and lots more. After the demise of the first wave of Punk Andy turned into a Hippy Stoner, tried some transcendental meditation, reformed Eater in 1996 for the Holidays In The Sun hair and cider festival in some cheesy seaside place and had a run in with a clearly demented (and dishonest) Bob Dylan. Then he had some fucked up relationships and that’s it really. To my mind it’s OK, not essential but pleasant and amusing enough for a couple of nights. Worth getting if you know jack-shit about ‘76 Punk and you want a slice of unbiased tales from then.
Imagine a cross between the Brand New Heavies and that chap with all the hats (Jamariquoi?) but with some cockney humour. That’s what you have hear, disco groove easy listening tracks to don your tracksuit and head down your local nightclub to. All pretty funky and despite the fact it’s not my bag, I could see myself drunkenly dancing and falling over to this at a family wedding or something.
The Worm Has Turned
This is a really odd mix of Phychobilly, Crust and late 80s Anarcho sounding stuff. It appears to work though, there’s tons going on to keep things interesting, not least the smooooooooooooth female vocals. There’s a very loose vibe to the whole recording, it does suit the band though.
She Machine/ Plaything
Hell, this really reminds me of some games my mates used to have on Spectrum. When this first starts it makes lots of electronic farty noises and belches and sounds like a million crappy electronica bands that have recently sprung out of the woodwork. But then it actually evolves into something pretty damn palateable. The press sheet mentioned ‘raunch’ when describing the vocals, which is normally an indicator that some lass is going to be huffing and puffing like chain smoking monkey, but I’ve got to say that for once the press sheet has got it right! If you like AIR then you’ll love this, not to say it’s identical, but considering it’s described as Electronica there’s a shit load of depth there. My only slight cringe was the middle 8 where they take all the treble off the mix then bring it back in, that Ibiza trick is getting a bit cheesy now ain’t it?
I love the artwork for this album, it’s all laid out like some sort of Victorian funfair, complete with freaks! The Slackers are a New York band that sound like they grew up on a West Indian plantation. I can just imagine them sat under palm trees, cheeb in hand, playing their laid back roots Reggae. There’s the commercial element in this band that the Mighty Mighty Bosstones had, this is Reggae made accessible. Apparently they put down the rhythm tracks for this album live on stage, which is pretty impressive, and I swear it’s given it a real smart vibe. Roll on summer!
Sofa Head are a female fronted melodic punk band formed out of the ashes of 80’s anarcho punks ‘DAN’ they also have members of ‘Leatherface’ and their sound is best described as a combination of 80’s anarcho like Rudimentary Peni and 90’s melodic emotional punk like Leatherface
This is a double album combining the albums “what a predicament’ and ‘pre-marital yodelling’ The music is generally sombre and negative in atmosphere, with the exception of dodgy funk track “this town” I like the duel male/female vocals, it reminds me of Becky Bondage sharing a stage with Lemmy from Motorhead.
The lyrics are outraged, intelligent feminist social comments, Ranging in subject matter from media representation of women to child abuse. The lyrics are mostly focused on issues of gender equality, this becomes quite tiresome after awhile, especially since there are 30 tracks on this double album, alright women have a hard time! I get it!
My favourite track is ‘one for the road’, where the duel vocals are used to full effect in a tune that reminds me of Amebix. The style of music is varied, from metallic to funky, even including a cover of The Doors ‘break on through’ and an embarrassing cover of Suzanne Vega – ‘my name is luca’ but most songs are simply melodic feminist anarcho punk., and if you like that sort of thing you’ll enjoy this.
Phoenix Soul/ My Baby By Me
The Sphere play laid back commercial soul, they sound competent enough but this isn’t a music contest and it’s all a bit Simply Red for me.
Squad 69 Vs She Said Shit
This is a split E.P between two Bridgwater bands. I can’t tell which of the three tracks were by which band, or indeed if they were a collaboration (which I suspect, and if it’s true then that’s unspeakably cool). All tracks are backed with a Jesus and Mary Chain style 80s drum machine and metallic guitars whilst the vocals veer towards Prolapse (female vox) and Chuwumbawumba (make vox). There’s definite humour to this lo-fi bunch, and the stand out track by far is the last one ‘Goldie Lookin’ Groover’. Squad 69 are something of an all out assault on the senses, check out there website for tons of smart videos and whatnot. I didn’t think I liked this when I first heard it, and then I realised I’d just listened to it about six times over! I’ve just noticed Beat Motel mentioned on the back of this Ep, no idea what that’s about! Seems far to easy to get mentioned in thanks sections on stuff these days!
The State Addiction
The Manhattan Project
No the Manhattan project isn’t some sort of loft conversion kit from Ikea. So many bands that try and capture intensity just end up sounding kinda like they are trying to fight their way out of a deflating bouncy castle, well The State Addiction sound more like they are charging at a 10,000 strong army carrying just those wooden forks you get free from chip shops, and I mean that in a good way. Proper intense slightly screamy punk in the vein of The Refused. Good stuff.
THE PUNK COLLECTION
This CD features the Straps singles and their live/studio LP. Dates from 1980 - 1982. New Age is great and Brixton was OK. Other than that not too much to recommend it. They sound like they missed the 1977 boat and just sounded dull in 1982. For collectors and family members only.
Lessons on how to detach
CD-LP LAPESADILLA RECORDS
Not more of this shite! The band describe themselves as pop-punk on their website. The word pop-punk makes me think of amusing high energy childishly offensive punk bands like The Toy Dolls or The Briefs, Unfortunately this lot sound more like Simple Plan. The American accents are so thick it makes me sick, I’ve had enough by track three, where they bring out the acoustic guitars. Stand out tracks? HA! They all sound the same to me.
I’ll summarise without going into too much detail, if you like slow, boring melodic pop punk emo stuff with lyrics that sound like they were ripped off of Boyzone then you’ll love this. If you, like me, are tired of hearing this watered down, irritating, meaningless crap being played in every music venue in the Western world, with endless hordes of side parted hair sporting wankers throwing away their parents hard earned cash on girls clothing, then you will be appauled by this crap. Im trying to think of a well balanced and less emotionally charged criticism to put forward in this review, but the best I can think of is I hope they get Aids and die!
Wastrels and Whippersnappers
Take four or the oddest looking Brum kids and give them the worst equipment in the world (including army surplus speakers), kids toys and kitchen implements. Give them a primitive reel to reel recorder and see what happens. This is pretty much the story of this Swellmaps album, it’s a collection of (very) lo-fi recordings from mid-seventies. Pre-empting punk, hip hop and maybe even industrial music this album has a real charm to it, maybe it’s from the ‘no rules’ attitude of the band, maybe it’s the off key out of tune vocals. This album captures the exciting formative years of the band and is obscure enough to appeal to collectors as well as being accessible enough to appeal to anyone that has never heard the Swellmaps. I’ve gotta say this also reminds me of 1994 era Junk Culture!
Telford Mining Disaster
Gawd, all these bloody retro bands about at the moment, makes me wanna puke. Telford Mining Disaster are the only so called retro band that actually sound at all retro. The tracks on this long player actually sound like they were recorded in a shared session with The Small Faces. Maybe this is what the Monkees would have sounded like if they were actually cool. Just to chuck a few more obscure references at you, think The Stairs, The Cling and maybe even Love. As the album goes on it develops a sort of charming sloppyness, it’s cute but gets a bit tired though and ends up making them sound like Hanson. The singing melody in the second track does sound like the theme tune to Rentaghost though.
Predictable metal bollocks
THE HISTORY OF NO FUTURE
HE VIOLATORS : THE NO FUTURE YEARS
CDLP - ANAGRAM RECORDS
Double CD compilation of No Future Records singles. All this stuff was released 1981 - 1983. Pretty good actually. There is , of course, some drivel - ROSE OF VICTORY (cack Bowie cover), ATTAK (Blitz played by 8 year olds), SCREAMING DEAD (proto goth), ABH (dullards), CRUX (just shit). But the good outweighs the average here with some sterling UK Punk rock from PETER & THE TEST TUBE BABIES (Banned from the Pubs, Up Yer Bum), THE VIOLATORS (Summer of 81 & Gangland - both classics), THE BLOOD (Megalomania - bit like the Damned circa ‘79), RED ALERT, THE PARTISANS, CHANNEL 3 (I’ve Got A Gun - a fantastic proto US hardcore band), THE SAMPLES, THE INSANE (El Salvadore) and probably the most famous - BLITZ. Not too sure about the titles of the Blitz tunes (Someones Gonna Die Tonight & Razors In The Night) but, by fuck, the music is fantastically paced steam hammer punk! All in all this 54 track compilation is well worth the cash. Good informative booklet too. Which brings us neatly to THE VIOLATORS compilation. As I said above the two tracks Gangland & Summer of 81 are great punk classics from 1982 but then the band folded and went shite. This 16 track compilation features those 2 tracks and maybe another 3 that are any good then a pile of filler shite. Theres an hilarious live version of Summer of 81 (someone from the crowd is singing ‘ACAB’ throughout - clearly a true fan). Funnily enough the No Future comp features the 5 good tracks which makes the Violators CD totally redundant.
Things Found in Sharks
I’ve been looking forward to getting my mits on this for a while. I’ve been a fan of the band for some time but their old recordings have failed pretty miserably to capture the spirit of the band. In the past, and without a decent producer the sheer power and energy this band kicks out live somehow translated into a barely reasonable jangly indie mumble. Thank god they found the fantastic Ian Crow and Amblin Man studios. This release is Things Found in Sharks arriving in the world fully prepared, polished and kicking fucking arse. Live this band cuts a slice through any venue, and although it’s said about far too many bands these days they really ARE emotive. First track ‘So Hard So Far’ features the band’s trademark breaks, wandering (in a good way) lyrics and slight Dinosaur Jnr vocals style and bounding instrumentation stuck together with the strongest possible musical glue. Each track spews out it’s own unique personality. In a lot of ways each song is like a chapter in a novel. Starting with the character intro ‘So Hard, So Far’, settling into the pace of the plot with ‘splinters’ before the dark twist of ‘Lenny’ where the story takes on a far more sinister edge. The happy ending on this EP is the remix by Mr Ian Crow himself, which you’d swear near as damnit that you heard on the radio just this morning. I would say that if your wondering what is found in sharks, I’d have to say my heart, but that would be just silly and kinda gay.
It’s amazing what you can do in your bedroom as a teenager these days isn’t it. Gone are the days of a quick knuckle shuffle to a few dog eared copies of Razzle, whilst have a sneaky sniff of gas. These days teens have the web, iPods, RoboDogs and home studios. Matt recorded this whole cd himself, presumably in his bedroom. Now whereas if you are in a band and come up with an idea that might not be your best ever then there are your band mates to tell you that you’re being shite. I’ve often wondered where solo artists get that force of creative restraint from. The first track on this EP is like a mix of early 90s Verve and the Stone Roses doing something like ‘Guernica’, it’s all backwards vocals, breathy guitars and odd noises. The second track would be a half decent rock track if it was backed by a real band rather than a band consisting of noughts and ones (er, that’s computers people). The third track wanders a bit and seems to try and fit in every genre popular in the western world, although the Bob Dylan style harmonica whaling is pretty smart. There’s nothing actually wrong with this EP, but I think Matt would benefit greatly from being in a band, not so much for creative restraint, more so that by working with others he could cement these ideas and expand on them, because there’s something really major trying to break out of this cd.
When I was sent this album I was expecting a total snoozefest, the first track did little to convince me otherwise. Then in a really pleasing way the second track ‘Glasgow Mega Snake’ blew my assumptions to pieces, it’s as big as an aircraft hanger! This album has a lot of variety, from the instrumental tracks that would be heavy as hell if detuned so the light Massive Attack moments. I defy anyone to deny that they love at least one track on this album. Buy this album if you are into Pelican, Massive Attack, Air, Serg Gainsbourg and maybe even Belle & Sebastian. I already know this album is going to be a life long favourite of mine.
They Fight Crime
Hints and Tips
I’ve been looking forward to hearing this band on record for a long time, calling this band elusive is like calling Fred West ‘a bit of a meanie’. I’ve managed to see them twice, ever. They play a conversational style of light guitar music with the humour of Billy Brag and the self effacing friendliness of Badly Drawn Boy. The songs are intelligent and leave you feeling kinda warm and fuzzy. I’m listening to this the morning after getting it at the launch gig and it’s been the perfect anitidote to a pounding head. Buy this album and save it for Sunday mornings and rainy days when you need cheering up.
This Mourning After
CDLP – Q NOT Q
My anticipations for this album were high, very high.
Having seen TMA play around Ipswich a few times (and having completely worn out their track on myspace) I was itching to get this. In fact, I had no skin left by the time I got it. I wasn’t disappointed. The beautiful thing about this band is that you feel you are listening to early Converge (predictable I know, but true) one minute and Sigur Ros the next. This is something which is best experienced live but I was hoping they could capture it on CD. Again, I was made very happy. Kicking off with ‘The Unmasked…’, it is seven and a half minutes of pummeling hardcore, showing off both Ross’s brilliant voice and lyric writing ability. But then, here’s the change. The next track ‘Embers Part 1’ couldn’t be more different. A slow burning number, which builds up steadily until the end, where it just, stops. I’d like to point out at this point that you actually hear Ross sing in this one, which is refreshing to hear in an album of this sorts. Next up is probably my favorite track on the CD ‘Embers Part II’, which although I think a good 2/5’s (or more) of the band hate it, I think sums up their sound perfectly. Beautifully chaotic.
I could bitch on about every track on this album (I’d love to do a review of each one) but I will just mention ‘Ligature Points’. Performed by Sam, completely on piano, it’s a beautiful interlude, just reiterating again that there is so much depth to this band that you’d be hard pressed to find it all.
All in all then, I’d recommend this album to well, anyone. Nearly everyone will be able to find something worthwhile to take away from this.
See them live and buy this album, NOW.
Thousand Natural Shocks
Under The Sun
CDEP—PLAY IT AGAIN
Remember when bands had proper short names like ACDC or even X? There was this band in Ipswich called I will take you on in a race around the world and I will win and I will bite your arm, I think they changed their name in the end as nobody would book them due to the flyer complications they would cause. Anyway, on with the review, this band sound pretty good, they have that Talking Heads thing going on that a lot of bands seem to be into these days, but somehow they seem to do it with more soul. If the vocals were a shade more coarse this would go in my ‘keep pile’. I shouldn’t judge all bands by how bad my current cold is making my voice, but I’m gonna!
Uniting The Elements
Rebel At My Core
Hell this lot don’t hang about, I only reviewed their album in the last issue and they’ve already gone and knocked out a new EP! This set of tracks has a harder edge to it, as well as more of the bloopy blippy synth stuff. Uniting the Elements have a very mature glam/rock/ pop sound about them, and are set apart by the really odd vocalisation that singer Dawn sets down. It’s all a bit pop for me, but I imagine we’ll all be hearing a lot more from this band. But Dawn, please stop calling, I get sent TONS of stuff to review and do my best to review it all, hold yer horses!
Fear of a Black Kennett
This has been our for quite a while, but being the generous kinda lad he is Rosey Repeat sent this to me by accident so I thought the least I could do it review it! There’s some big hitters on what has become something of a legendry album including Miss Black America, Antihero, Dawn Parade, King Adora and even Asian Dub Foundation! So that should give you an idea of the quality and indeed the content. There are some real gems on here like the totally wonderful Chris TT who plays earnestly funny gentle pop, kinda like Badly Drawn Boy but cool. You should buy this while there are some left, it’s practically a collectors item!
New Roads, New Routes
It’s been a long time since I’ve heard a really good compilation album. They are almost always put together with some sort of motive other than just for pure quality of music. This album was put together for charity, and stands above most comps of it’s type by actually being pretty damned good. A lot of the bands are from the Brighton area, and as much as they’d hate me to say, they do have their own sound down there! There are bunch of bands on here that I’ve been wanting to hear for ages, like the porno/ ska/ lounge groove of Mumrah. There are other bands that I’ve seen live a bunch of times but never heard on cd, like Ippo faves Once Over and Horsham coolsters Jalopy. There are also some bigger bands like You Me & The Atom Bomb and Phinius Gage. This album is a bargain and you should buy it right now, don't pause, drop whatever you are doing and head on over to www.newroadsnewroutes.co.uk You’d better be quick as they are only making a few.
Die Walter Elf
Die Angst Des Tormanns Beim Elfmeter
Walter Elf were formed by members of The Spermbirds and some other noteable German punks of the day.
Literally translated this album title means ‘The fear of the gate man with the eleven-meter’ but I’m guessing by the artwork on this album it’s actually something to do with goal keepers, the fact that pretty much all Die Walter Elf stuff seems to be footy obsessed is a fairly hefty clue too! This album is a part of the growing retro series that Boss Tuneage is doing at the moment, this album was originally released in 1988. I don’t want to say it sounds dated but it really sounds like an 80s album. It’s got some massive reverb on the snare, which all bands back then seemed to do. I’m sure in 15 years time reviewers will look back on today’s bands and say the same about thing about compression and pro-tools! This album is sun in German and will appeal to fans of The Replacements. It claims to be punk but is way more easy listening and Radio 2 than that. The occasional tumpet augments what is generally a great feel good album. The two cover versions seem utterly pointless though.
Die Walter Elf
Heut Oder Nie
This is the first (chronologically) of these Walter Elf reissues, originally relased in 1986. This is total flat out party punk, there’s good time horns sing-along choruses (even although it’s all sung in German and I don’t understand it!). If you like easy fun punk along the lines of Screeching Weasel then you’ll love this album.
Die Walter Elf
This album sounds very much more mature than in the other two albums reissued albums reviewed in here. To my mind they also sound a whole lot more like The Replacements, there’s also shades of The Waterboys and U2, but don’t let that put you off. I don’t know how popular Die Walter Elf were, but from the sounds of this album they should have been huge. The extra freebie EP tacked on the end of this album is an EP the band released of cover versions and is hilarious!
THE REAL McKENZIES
CDLP- FAT WRECK CHORDS
From the opening chuggy power chords I knew I was gonna love this album. ‘Smokin Bowl’ (track one) is a classic and possibly my favourite. I may be biased (being in Whisky Chaser) but words by Robbie Burns coupled with driving punk rock guitar, a bit of metal influence and a pounding rythmn section, that has gotta keep me interested. This is my sort of music and the originals sit nicely alongside the traditional songs, like their version of ‘Bugger off’ (a live fav) and the acoustic ‘The Catalpa’. Particularly noteworthy is the country-esqe ‘I hate my band’. I like the bass in this, so hats off to little Joe Raposo, who I believe is not a full time member but plays with them live occasionally (and plays on just two tracks on this CD). That’s not to say the regular bass player is in any way shabby, in fact the general performances are top notch from everybody. There’s some good singing on it to with some great backing vocals, particularly on ‘Best day until tomorrow’, and pretty much all the tracks had me singing along within a couple of plays. The only downside to the album is the production, it’s maybe a little too good and I think the pipes have suffered a bit, they sound a bit squeaky clean for my liking and lacking a bit of bollocks. Maybe a bit more rough and ready sounding with more drones would have me smiling a bit more. After all the piper isn’t called MacNasty for nothing. I’ve seen him and the line from ‘I hate my band’ which goes “holes in their socks and even their kilts” must be aimed in some way at him. His kilt is possibly just held together by stubborn understains, a very cool kilt indeed and one possibly with a tale or two to tell. All in all if you wanted to bop about to some celtic punkrock with some shocking metal guitar you wouldn’t go far wrong with this album. I know it sounds like an advert for them but they do know how to knock out a rowdy, rebellious, sing-along racket.
I’d definitely recommend this album as a first buy from the McKenzies’ catalogue. Also try to catch them live, you won’t be disappointed.
Cheers for now and "ALBA GU BRATH!!!"
The Wireless Stores
CDLP—IN AT THE DEEP END RECORDS
The singer of The Wireless Stores (Paul Yeadon) is a a man who has very much been there and done that. He was the singer of indie meganaughts Bivouac who I must confess I’ve never heard. I was really excited when this album arrived as I’ve been looking forward to it for a good few years, I love the first EP and interviewed Monsieur Yeadon for Real Overdose years ago. The Wireless Stores create something unique, they have a slight melancholy about them with a wry sense of humour. It’s almost like they are admitting defeat, but they’re quite happy about it as they just won the lottery. This album has a far larger sound than the last EP, and as it should with the now expanded supporting cast (bizarrely) including the guitarist of Send More Paramedics! Some of the big choruses remind me of Semisonic only without that American twang, if you like thoughtful music like Chris TT then you’re going to love this album.
The Yorkshire Rats
For Queen & Country
Apparently this band is proud of their ‘Yorkshire Punk’ sound, at first I thought the notion of a Yorkshire sound was cobblers. But then this band does a kinda Milloy/ Blocko kinda feel to it! Er, I think they are both from Yorkshire? Vocals are ace and this EP will give you everything you want from Yorkshire Punkers. Not too sure about the cover of ‘Swing Low, Sweet Chariot’, but it does make sense with the vaguely folky sound The Yorkshire Rats have
The Zero Point
2005 4-track Promo CD
Er, catchy name for an EP lads! We interviewed Zero Point in the last issue of Beat Motel so this review should have been in that issue really, but it’s not like us to be actually organised or nuffink! This band has been going since 1979 but they certainly don’t sound like it, this EP is fresher than most of the current fledgling bands we’re hearing. The sound has a hard street punk edge to it but it dead catchy, vocals are scratchy and pretty powerful. If you like punk ‘fuckin’ rock buy this EP now. Steen and the lads are dead nice blokes too! With any luck Steen will be doing some writing for Beat Motel soon. Oh another point of interest (maybe) is that they selotaped this CD case shut, it took me bloody ages to figure out why I couldn’t open it!