Monday, August 10, 2009

Beat Motel Issue #6 Reviews

Buy Beat Motel at www.beatmotel.co.uk

ZINES

A Short Fanzine About Rocking #15
£1 for 80 A5 printed pages
I sometimes wonder how when I dedicate so much of my life to hunting down zines I manage to miss such a kickass established zine such as this. ASFAR is pretty much entirely interviews and reviews but each is carried out with a ton of verve. The only thing that slightly annoyed me was that despite the fact there is a contents list, there aren’t any page numbers! Overall I’m impressed, in fact I’ve already subscribed! Bands featured include Sick of It All, Bring Me the Horizon (I never expected to see them in a zine!), Against Me! (Rah!), Thrice and loads more. Shame there’s no columns as I’m sure this lot have plenty say!
http://www.myspace.com/ashortfanzineaboutrocking
Nick, Flat 18, Tall Trees, 8 Mersey Road, Manchester, M20 2PE

Anarchoi #17
£1.50 for 40 A4 Printed Pages
I always seem to give all zines I get a good review in Beat Motel, and this is no exception. Anarchoi is insightfull, swearfull, and I would say it’s ‘OiFull’m but that would give negative connotations. This zine is more cut ‘n’ paste than a Sweeny Todd pie and all is all the better for it, although some of the text is a bit Mills N Boon in size. This issue has a massive bit on a Chernobyl benefit gig that looked like a bloody good Craic. There’s the second oart of the history of Punk Rock do-dad too.
James, 3 Hazel Grove, Kilwinning, Ayrshire, KA13 7JH

Artrocker #43
£1.95 for 28 (nearly) A3 Colour Glossy Pages.
I don’t get it, this mag/ zine is mostly full of big label glossy adverts and bands that look like escapee History Teachers. I’m sure I must be missing something here, but it looks like it would suit arty type, er, like the subject suggests I guess. I’m going to buy some more issues as I’m sure I’m missing out on something here and I don’t like zines that make me feel like a think cunt.
Chris, 3A Highbury Crescent, London, N5 1RN

Backlash #5
£1 for 40 A5(& a bit) Printed Pages
This is one of the zines I picked up a the marvellous zine symposium in London earlier in the year. These dudes looked a little lost in the largely anarcho crowd that was swelling the squat so I thought I’d go say hi and trade with them. Backlash is a very pro looking and glossy printed zine but has a very big heart (or several hearts) behind it. The music covered in pretty much mainsteam (Eels, Pistolas) but written very much from the perspective of the underground. There are also some great columns like the vaguely disturbing ‘Your Dad’ and a column written by a member of Jet Plane Landing. There’s a nice mix of columns and reviews but sadly no zine reviews, but then you do get a free cd with a pretty Bumble Bee on it! This is a classy mag and I look forward to seeing the next one.
120b Bethune Road, London, N16 5DU

Bald Cactus #24
50p for 28 A5 FootPrinted Pages
Bald Cactus is a constant in this hurly burly world of UK zines. This issue has an interview with the always interesting Andy Higgins of Just Say No To Government Records and Higgins++ . This issue seems to have more rants that usual, but with Andy Cactus’ outlook on life that can only be a good thing! There are some brilliant little news bits pasted into this zine that made me chuckle. The weirdest thing is I’m sure I’ve reviewed this issue before, but I can’t find it anywhere!
Also covered with class and insight in this issue is Abrasive Wheels, The Dauntless Elite and The Restarts. What can I say, layouts are great, content is great, this all adds up to a zine that you really should own yourself. Get in touch with Andy for details of his distro too.
145-149 CARDIGAN ROAD,LEEDS,WEST YORKSHIRE,LS6 1LJ

Blackpool Rox II #9
£2 for 28 A4 Printed Pages
Andy has really stepped up a gear with this issue, it’s pretty much a proper printed magazine now, just minus the gloss! Actually it’s missing more than that, it’s missing the bullshit attitude that comes with most of the glossies. For the first time (that I know of) there are also columns in this issue, along the theme of ditching ya telly. There’s an impressive slew of zine reviews and some damned insightful interviews with The Weakerthans, the punks that put on Wasted and more. If Mensa had a Punk section Andy would be in it for sure, probably standing at the front of meetings shouting his head off with a half crushed can of beer in his raised fist!
www.jsntgm.com
Andy Higgins, PO BOX 1025, Blackpool, FY3 0FA

Bubblegum Slut #23
£1 for 68 A5 Printed Pages
Although I would have thought it previously impossible zinester Alison to cram anything more betwixt these pages compared to her previous publications but she’s managed it somehow! Bands lovingly covered in this mammoth issue include Hanoi Rocks, Dresden Dolls, Tiger Army, Rezurex, Trashlight Vision and chuffin’ loads more! There are also chats with a few models and fashion which seems to be something that’s getting more and more commoni in zines. I’d like to see more columns, but bar that this zine is damn near essential.
www.myspace.com/bubblegumslutzine
Alison B, 27 Stores Lane, Tiptree, Essex, CO7 0LH

Empty Playground #1
£1 for 34 A5 Printed Pages
Very nicely printed new metal/ rock zine from not a million miles away from where Beat Motel hails from. I’ve been to the birthplace of this zine (Frinton, Essex) and zinester Ben has done the only thing you can do if you live in such a place, dedicate your efforts to putting out a kick ass little zine. This is all laid out very nicely, although my eternal gripe about to much white space in zines comes into play again here. Bands covered/ interviewed in this issue include Therapy?, Biomechanical, Inflames, My Ruin and Four Day Hombre. This zine is written with proper passion and there’s not many zines that pull off something this awesome with their first issue, I look forward to reading more! One particularly original and cool idea is that the interview with Biomechanical is actually a separate sheet folded and ‘stored’ inside the zine, great stuff!
Ben, 84 Pole Barn lane, Frinton-on-sea, Essex, Co13 9NH

Everlong #15
£1 for 48 A5 Printed Pages
Apparently this zine is knocked out by an ex Vice Squad drummer, but then I’m not sure that narrows it down much. This is a solid wee zine with some smart features like a report on the Dutch wasted festival and some very insightful interviews with the likes of Goldblade and The Straps. Ses it’s a Bristol Punk zine but much like ourselves it’s cirque of influence is far wider. In fact the music taste on display in Everlong seems pretty similar to our tastes too, with Dinosaur Jr getting a live review. One of the live reviews made me laugh, there’s a band called Gerbil Diarrhoea!
Dave, 7 Nicholas Lane, St George, Bristol, B55 8TY

Fast N Loud #6
£1.50 for 34 A4 Printed Pages
This zine is always a ‘read now’ kinda zine, by which I mean I’ve always read it cover to cover within 24 hours of it’s arrival! This issue is no exception with a fascinating and insightful interview with Beki Bondage and a fantastic bit on the 4BE2s which taught me a whole lot I never knew about John Lydon’s wee brother. This zine is put together with a helluva lot of research and it really shows, there are related news clippings up the yin-yang and I eagerly await the next issue!
Jon, 88 Overbrook Road, Hardwicke, Gloucester, GL2 4RZ

Fear and Loathing #61
£2 for 40 A4 Printed Pages
Blimey charlie, I haven’t seen one of these for a while! This zine shows proper old school sensibilities. It is well thought out, well written and dead informative. Fortunetly the text isn’t as micro-small as it was in the last issue (hell, I really am the pot calling the kettle black there!). This issue is a must if you are a Damned fan as there is an absolutely HUGE interview with messers Scabies and James in here.
Andy, 17 Medway Avenue, Witham, Essex, CM8 1TF

Food Stamp #1
Free? For 8 A6 copied Pages
Make by the same zinester as Gulper, this is an 8 page musing on food stamps, written whilst waiting in line for food stamps, and printed on a foodstamp application form. So as far as themes go they’re pretty damned consistent!
Shoshanna Choen, PO BOX 6294, Portland, OR 97210, USA

Funky as Fudge #3
£1 for 34 A5 FootPrinted Pages
Good to see this back on paper after the last issue came out only on PDF. Gareth Fudge has packed another issue full of stuff he’s really into like ‘Joan as Policewoman’ and ‘Volcano’. I’ve not heard of any of the bands but they are still enjoyable to read about as it’s all done with such fresh style. FAF is one of the most original zines I’ve seen in yonks, the layouts are pretty basic and in some instances lack a bit of originality but this is more than made up for by bits like the intermission in middle of the zine. Keep up the godo work Mr.Fudge!
Gareth Ludkin, 57 Chestnut Ave, Oulton Broad, Lowestoft, Suffolk, NR32 3JB

Gadgie #21/ Ripping Thrash 23
50p for 46 A5 FootPrinted Pages
In this day and age with fuel prices rising ever skyward, the cost of penny sweets spiralling out of control and with some Sunday newspapers costing nearly two quid I find it stunning that it’s possible to get something of far more value for just fifty pence! Of course most of us could live without the above, but I’m not sure we’d do so well without honest to god good ole proper punk zines. And here we have two of the best join forces! Ripping Thrash has it’s usual high standard of interesting interviews with bands I’ve never heard of and even some advice on fare dodging. Steve at Ripping Thrash really crams his zines full, which is something I love to see and there’s an impressive number of zine reviews in here too, just a shame they ain’t alphabetised, but hey, who am I to get critical on how someone else lays out reviews, and in fact it probably makes the reader check out stuff they would have otherwise ignored! Gadgie, whilst also a hot favourite of mine and a bastion of the UK hardcore zine is a totally different circle pit of fish. In this issue Marv Gadgie takes us on another journey through the mists of time to his childhood and a mental meander detailing his recent trip to our failing footy cousins up in Narrrrrrrrrich. This is great as usual but my only complaint as usual is that it ain’t long enough! If bum blasting hardcore is your thing then you should buy this zine for the hardcore reviews if note else, corking stuff.
Marv,PO BOX 93,Boston,Lincolnshire,PE21 7YB

The Gulper #1
£? For 28 A5 Copied Pages
I love zines like this, created for nobody other than the author, and designed to appeal to whoever might fancy it, rather than pandering to anything, well, at all! Zinester Shoosh lets us know what she likes and hates, what she’s been up to recently and well as chucking in a few tasty recipes, all through the medium of what looks like the worlds most knackered typewriter. I’ve just noticed this zine came out nearly five years ago! But I’d still recommend getting a copy, it’s well worth a few minutes of your distraction!
Shoshanna Choen, PO BOX 6294, Portland, OR 97210, USA

Happy Times #2
AUS$2.50 for 34 A5 Printed Pages
Wow, I love zines like this. It’s part comic book, part scrawled explainations of the graphical stories. The first story was written by the author over a period of 24 hours with one page being written every hour.
You can kinda tell when the guy must have been getting sleep deprived as the drawing style noticeably changes and things get a little weird(er) in the story line. You can even spot when the author broke his pen! The second graphic story is a post apocalyptic story of friendship and disembodied personalities. This zine is all the way from Australia and I heartily recommend you track it down, it’s like Morganmuffle but with a lot more oddness. I really loved the glossary in the back explaining cultural references used in the stories, like Black Flag! I got this zine from Sticky Distro down in Australia so your best bet of grabbing a copy for yourself would be to email them on sticky@platform.org.au. This issue came out July 2005 so with any luck you’ll be able to grab some newer copies too!

High Heels Slut #9
€1.50 for 58 printed A5 pages
I had a bit of trouble looking for this zine on Google, ooh, the results would make Traci Lords blush! This is an incredibly enthusiastic zine from Belgium. There are lots of (hopefully not patronising) endearing things about this zine like the author Wim’s constant use of the acronym R’n’R for Rock n Roll instead of Punk Rock, although to be honest I think Rock n Roll is probably a better description! There’s a bunch of very human interviews with the likes of Heart Attacks, Guilty Hearts and Mexican Blackbirds. There’s a massive feature on European zines which is bloody great. I really like the constant use of words ya just don’t here over here anymore like ‘Retards’ and there’s so much crammed in here it will take you forever to read. I’ve always wondered why so many foreign zines are written in English, maybe zinester Retard Wim can enlighten us!
http://www.myspace.com/highheelsslut

Insomnia Magazine #3
£2.50 for 48 A4 Printed Pages
Holy moly this zine has undergone a radical change since I last saw it! The print job and layouts are awesome, I’m honestly seriously impressed with the speed this zine/ magazine has developed at! The bands covered are along similar lines to Devolution and to a certain extent Black Velvet and Trashpit, so you can expect a bunch of gothic punk/ metal stuff. There are some seriously foxy young ladies in this zine, all very classy I might add, not least in the lowdown on the presenters of Redemption TV. There’s even a big lump of fiction in here, this just helps cement this zines place in the UK scene, expect to be hearing about this everywhere soon. Oh, and there’s a free 16 track cd on the cover!
Mark, 75 High Street, Loscoe Heanor, Derbyshire, DE75 7LG

Maximum Rock N Roll #281
$4 for bloody loads of A4 printed pages
I was going to stop reviewing MRR, not because I don’t like it, but because I like it so much I get it as often as I can! If I reviewed every copy then it would take up most of my zine review space! If you’ve never read MMR you’ve missed out on fantastic columns ranging from funny to shocking, from eco-warrior to boozehound. You’ve missed out on fantastic photos from around the world. And if you don’t buy this issue you’ll miss out on a fantastic Blackpool scene report written by our mate Andy Higgens of Blackpool Rox II/ Just Say No To Government Music fame. So basically not getting MMR leads to a whole lot of missing out on your part!


Negative Reaction #5
£1 for 30 A4 Printed Pages
A zine I always run off to the bog with as soon it comes through the door, and there’s so much smart and funny stuff in here that I’ve come close to getting a big ring shaped pressure sore on my arse every time a new issue comes out. Trev is doing things a bit differently this issue, he’s making a stand on his own, well nearly on his own, he’s got a bird! Said lass (Dawn) writes some fucking funny stuff too, from the sound of it Trev is half boyfriend/ half semi-tame pet! Interviews this issue include Anti-Nowhere League and Dr.Strange Records. Now Trev’s interviews ain’t the usual crap so check them out. Other stuff to tickle your fancies include a map of Blair’s Britain, another inside scoop about working at ASDA and something I never thought I’d see in this most Oi of zines, poetry!!! If you think you don’t need to by this zine you’re fucking deluded you cunt. Oh-er Trev’s rubbing off on me, oh jebus that’s no good, I’ll get me coat.
Trev, 20 New Front Street, T/Lea, Stanley, Co.Duhram, DH9 9LY

Robots and Electronic Brains #14,15,16
£1 for up to 44 A5 printed pages
Wahoo! I love the type of humour and personality that this zine oozes by the bucket load. It’s kinda cliquey but when reading the zine you are very much made to feel a part of the joke. The bulk of each issue is taken up by a squillion reviews, but don’t let that put you off as there is just as much humour and personality in the reviews as the best of zines have in their columns! Each issue follows a sort of artwork theme, all based on some sort of silly but cute futuristic machine, it’s all very endearing. Each issue also comes with a compilation CD, which is pretty impressive. This zine has been going for ten years, and as we all know time is the ultimate cull for shite zines, so by that logic this is a corker! I wanna be a robot.
www.robotsandelectronicbrains.co.uk
Jimmy Possession, c/o r+eb, 133 Green End Road, Cambridge, CB4 1RW

Snailwell Gazette #1
£1 for 40 A6 Printed Pages
This is a neat idea, this is a kinda family newsletter, that’s available to the whole world. This zine is written by an American family headed up by their mum (acting as editor), who is a peace loving yoga teaching eco-groover with a smart sense of humour. The family are currently living in a small Suffolk village called ‘Snailwell’ whilst their dad flys fighter jets from a nearby USAF base. What you get for your quid is 40 cute as pie pages filled with wee drawings, observations on Suffolk life (from the humorous perspective of a visitor) and a few other random musings. Everyone gets involved, even one of the neighbours gets a page dedicated to them! I’m hoping they stick to their promise to get out four copies a year as I can’t wait for the next one! In the zine it says to get copies from the USA address below, but I’m sure if you email them direct they’ll sell you a copy direct! The Snailwell girls have found the perfect perzine, it's intimate, funny, and when you've finished reading it you feel like you've made another friend! It’s zines like this that make the whole zineworld so much more accessible.
c/o Uncle Chris, 174 Delancey Street, Apt 7R, New York, NY 10002
www.snailwellgazette.com

Trashpit #9
£1 for 32 A5 gloss Printed Pages
This mag just looks better and better with every issue. Zinester Rob has found a nice balance between being a fully blown magazine and a good ole zine. Hell, if I could afford it I’d print Beat Motel this way! There are only a few reviews but I guess Rob picks out the albums that he really loves, either that or the lucky bugger isn’t drowning under a massive review pile like I am! The Trashpit theme is kinda sleaze metal and hair metal, although having said that there is a hilarious interview with Bowling for Soup, but then you’ll see the connection with the rest of the zine when you read it, which you will.
Rob,95 Frlamstead Ave,Loscoe,Heanor,Derbyshire,DE75 7RP

A few more that I haven't had a chance to review for this issue but I’d still recommend: Last Hours (any issue), Hey Surburbia #4, Riot On Your Own, El Diablo, Runnin’ Feart, Oscars Eye, Punker Mentality #1.


RELEASES

:(
First Blood
CDMINILP—MUST DESTROY MUSIC
(Division PR)
If Ministry had used a ZX80 on their industrial stuff, and had a fruit machine guest on each track it might have sounded something like this. Is is possible to be creative and new when you’re this retro? The vocals sing a good madchester type tune, but next to the silly arcade noises they sound like a bit of an afterthought.
Andrew Culture

Against Me!
Americans Abroad
CDLP—FAT WRECK CHORDS
Rip-roaring live London show from this massive band. This live album sees Against Me make them most of their massive back catalogue, and when old and new songs are played back to back it really highlights how much this band has developed. This is a good fun album and fans will love it, if you’re not 100% up on Against Me! Then this would be probably serve as a pretty smart intro. Get this album if you like passionate political power punk pop.
Andrew Culture

Alice Donut
Fuzz
CDLP—HOWLER RECORDS
(Division PR)
Man this band has a full sound, there’s all kinds of stuff going on in here! It’s a pretty smart sound too, like surfy garage loose drunken rock. This is a fun, good time rock n roll album,the artwork made me laugh and the actual band are a funny looking bunch of goons too!
Andrew Culture

ALICE DONUT
FUZZ
CDLP – HOWLER RECORDS
Alice Donut sound like Liam Gallagher and Neil Finn fighting over a joint, tripping over instruments, pretending to be Nirvana and pressing record. To be frank, the album bored me and I found myself skipping each track after about 3 minutes. The recording quality is pretty facking good, but that’s what you’d expect from 20 years practice – maybe by 2026 they’ll start writing facking good songs?
‘Fuzz’ is out in September on Howler Records – steer clear… unless you enjoy mediocre grunge – rock. Didn’t think so.
Fisher

Amarillo
9 Minute demo
CDEP—SELF RELEASE
Seriously people, don’t fucken send me country music, not even if you’re being ironic. You wouldn’t like it if I took an ironic piss in your fridge would you.
Andrew Culture

Angel City Outcasts
Deadrose Junction
CDLP—I USED TO FUCK PEOPLE LIKE YOU IN PRISON RECORDS
This is a promising name for this fastish melodic punk band, just a shame there’s just too much cock in this rock for my tastes. Add a few ‘whoa ohs’ and you’d have old Bon Jovi. Bugger, I think I’ve used that line in a review elsewhere before.
Andrew Culture

Arch Stanton
Comfort in Stereo
CDEP—MEANTIME RECORDS
Another great hit of tuneful interesting inventive sonically different punk with a (very) vauge emo edge to it. Buy this is you like Vanilla Pod & Southpaw.
www.myspace.com/thestanton
Andrew Culture

Autons
Snakes
CD-S - R*E*P*E*A*T RECORDS
The fact that Autons claim to have met while auditioning for extras on Doctor Who gives them a better back-story than basically any other band, ever.
The lead track on this single, Snakes, is a great two-minute punky blast. I like it – sounds like the kind of thing that’s even more fun live. The b-side, Ice Major, is good too, although not as memorable understandably. Together, it’s ace – five minutes of great electro pop-punk.
Charlotte Sometimes

Bestial Mockery
Gospel of the Insane
CDLP—OSMOSE PRODUCTIONS
Ya know, I only heard ‘Scum’ by Napalm Death for the first time last week, now I know where bands like Bestial Mockery get their ideas from. Although this album can’t be all that bad, a punter in my shop tried to buy it while I had it on the shop stereo! If you wanna know what French grindcore sounds like then get this album.
Andrew Culture

Black Tax/ Heroic Doses
Split Album
CDLP—HOLLOW SKULL RECORDS
Black Tax are screamo-hardcore I guess, I dunno, there’s some lad with something stuck in his foot or something proper screaming his head off while the rest of the band are trying to play faster than each other. Heroic Doses sound much the same, but with some slower DUH DUH bits, and some vocals that sound like the Darkness. I’ve heard enough.
Andrew Culture

BLACK TAX/HEROIC DOSES
BLACK TAX/HEROIC DOSES
CDLP – HOLLOW SOUL RECORDS
This split on hollow soul records is a collaboration of fast-core punk by Black Tax and Heroic Doses and it bodes well that the Tax are first in line to be mentioned, because they steal this CD from the off. Their brand of energetic hardcore-punk is hardly original, but contains enough variety in progression and sheer balls to carry the songs off. The tracks sound good and are delivered at such pace and with such ferocity that you can’t help but get into it. Heroic Doses unfortunately fail to grab the attention with a rather ropey intro to their first song, but the impact of the harsh and exciting vocals redeems this. On a whole the songs aren’t particularly strong, and the recording doesn’t sound half as tight as those recorded by Black Tax. The band’s sounds work together and would work live great, but to be honest I’d feel quite happy if my CD got scratched from track 6 onwards. Black Tax/Heroic Doses is out now, available in shops that sell it.
Fisher

Bombshell Rocks
The Conclusion
CDLP—HOUSEHOLD NAME RECORDS
Effortlessly sliding between Screeching Weasel fast punk to punchy Good Clean Fun style riffs this band plays damn intelligent hardcore. It sounds like a hundred years in the planning as there are very few weak tracks here, although bizzarely one of the best tracks has been relegated to being the secret track!
Rah, get your fist in the air, get your arms around your mates and jump in time and gang shout along to the choruses, this is a dam fine record.
Andrew Culture

Bossk
1
CDEP—Q not Q Records
First of all calling this an EP really doesn’t do it justice! Slightly heavier than Pelican and live they can shift impacted faeces at 200 yards. Swirrling effects laden instrumental melodies with world ending crunch downs. This may be one of my favourite cds of the year so far, I’m totally in love with this band! Holy crap I hope they play live nearby soon!
Andrew Culture

Bullets To Broadway
Drink Positive
CDLP—HOUSEHOLD NAME RECORDS
Sometimes, if I’m in a bad mood from reviewing too much mediocre punk shite I approach each new album with a scowl and it takes a hell of a lot to make me listen past the third or fourth track. Thankfully Bullets to Broadway are a decent cheery USA punk band, with duel boy/ girl vocals that lifted my mood and had me smiling in minutes. Think along the lines of Screeching Weasel and you’ll get the vibe I’m trying to describe, good stuff.
Andrew Culture

The Clerks
The Dissidents
CD-S – ART GOES POP
Ooh, I like this. The a-side is really catchy and good at the same time. For some reason The Clerks have been likened to Franz Ferdinand, but I don’t see much of that in them. They’re more similar to all the dancier bands coming out of Leeds at the moment. This is quite commercial, but at the moment it works for them. I’d be interesting to see what happens if they make it big – they sound like they’ve got quite a lot more in them, and I hope they don’t just stick to this admittedly quite excellent dance-punk formula. As long as their songs stay as great as the two in this single, though, I can’t really complain.
Charlotte Sometimes

Circlesound
Feel The Energy
CDEP-REVERB
(Work Hard-PR)
Finally, a band with enough musical integrity and aptitude to actually amount to something bigger than one hurried demo tape that was recorded in your mates’ garden shed, with no electricity! This is a very promising EP that is driven by intense emotion and compassion. Circlesound have been able to maintain a level of maturity that outstretches their time together as a professional band. Even in the early years of their career they have supported other indie elitists such as The Departure, Maximo Park and The Editors. Feel The Energy is the most appropriate title for this four-track EP as that it what you must do in order to appreciate the majestic power that dominates every song. Their quirky, indie-rock is riddled with melancholic guitar jangles and intelligent lyrics, which elevates them miles higher than most guitar bands that are being mass produced in the market today. Circlesounds’ potential certainly does outweigh the majority of their superiors. Check them out.
Tom Watsom

The Common Redstarts
Save It For Your Friends-Radio Edit
CDEP-SEECA
(Work Hard-PR)
Where has the excitement gone? Why do I feel an overwhelming sense of apathetic emptiness after listening to this single? I mean, The Common Redstarts don’t sound overly bad. They have adopted the reputable playfulness of early Stereophonics and appear to be a band with a degree of musical ability. The single, “Save it for your friends,” has had mass audience appeal by the listeners of Radio 1, BBC 6 Music and XFM. But that’s not enough (for me at least). It lacks creativity and the freshness that indie-pop owned during the 90’s. It has all been done/heard/criticized before. The Redstarts are proud ticket holders of a reserved seat on the overcrowding indie bandwagon as it grudgingly chugs along, with bands such as The Arctic Monkeys and The Paddingtons as its’ fuel. When is it going to cease or take another direction? And what will come of the infinite number of bands such as The Common Redstarts when it does? Only time will tell.
Tom Watsom

CONFLICT
Back catalogue reissues
CDLP - CHERRY RED/ MOTARHATE
Right,I’m sure most people are aware of Conflicts exitstance,but should you not – then the setting is 1981 & a new ep appears on CRASS records by a new Anarcho punk band from Eltham named Conflict.Whom over the next few years will follow in a similar vein to Crass (Starting their own label,giving a platform to a host of new raw talent,while always keeping record & gig prices low) & kind of carry the torch as Crass played their last gig & demised.So to these here reissues,they are put out by Mortarhate / Cherry Red in nice digi-packs,all digitally remastered & containing bonus ep’s with excellent bulky lyric,info booklets.First up is
IT’S TIME TO SEE WHO’S WHO – Debut album that suffered a poor production at the time,on hearing it again for the first time in ages was great,slightly loose in places but good pissed of punk straight outta the Crass camp with some memorable numbers on here “meat means murder”,”One nation under the bomb” (though the best are yet to come) also includes the Disarm or die & Nation of animal lovers ep’s (that must have turned 1000s to vegetarianism or direct action with it’s 7” packaging) in their entirety.INCREASE THE PRESSURE - 2nd album from 84,containing a studio & live side from Brixton Ace in 83,the former is powerful from the off with a good intro build up & “Never mind the bullshit here’s the facts” Straight into it with a punch,Angry & in your face with mellower melodic moments & running one song into the next,with a tyrade against,nuclear arms,hunting,the law etc.The live side’s ok & contains a lot of the 1st album.This package includes the excellent “Serenade is dead”ep / This is not enough & other alt mixes.
THE UNGOVERNABLE FORCE - Brilliant production & argueably their finest release.At a time when the authorities were obtaining more & more power & clashing with these said authorities was more & more frequent.This an ass kickin document of that time challenging the changing face of punk & the law,we’d had riots,Stop the city,The miners,Stonehenge & Thatcher still at the helm.This really takes me back to an angry youth.Still sounds great & comes with “Battle continues” 7” & a few alt mixes.So we culminate with TURNING REBELLION INTO MONEY or the gig known as “The gathering of the 5000” which saw Conflict team up with Crass frontman Steve Ignorant to perform a set of both bands songs.The event was a brave venture,in hiring the Brixton Academy for a mammoth benefit gig.Come the day,optimism filled the air,rumours went round about Conflict,Police plants,riots & more.As for the gig the prolonged intro to “Banned from the Roxy” whipped it up into pure excitement.This is a well recorded document covering both bands catalogue that unfortunately ended up with ugly scenes both inside the venue & out.The accompanying booklet to this cd gives a good account of the build up to the event,how the day itself unfolded & the aftermath.I was at this gig & on leaving the venue,the streets were lined with cops & vans,were they expecting trouble ? It certainly seemed on reflection & after the buzz of charging up Brixton High Road to a soundtrack of breaking glass,that the Met Police had a good rehearsal of their ability to both start & quell a minor riot.All in a good bunch of re-issues.Look out for more to follow from Conflict & the Mortarhate label archives.Conflict are still active,check them out at www.conflict-uk.com
Rikki Flag

The Cravats
The Land of Giants
CDLP—OVERGROUND RECORDS
(Division PR)
This is a two disc set that is allegedly the best of the Cravats. I really wish I hadn’t listened to this first thing in the morning with a headache. This ‘jazz punk’ is one of the most horrible things I have ever heard, it’s all discordant and grates really quickly. Maybe I’m missing something as I’m not a real musician, and to be honest I’m fucking glad because if being a proper muso meant listening to shit like this all day I think I’d rather plug my ears with molten lava. By track 4 I felt like I had a swarm of switchblade carrying wasps trying to escape from behind my eyes. If this is the best I fucken hope I never heard the worst.
Andrew Culture

Dead Hearts
Bitter Verses
CDLP—FERRET MUSIC
Coming across like a thoughtful and contemplative Sick of it All Dead Hearts play the This Mourning After game of hardcore, they soften you up with some nice light instrumental parts before slamming into some noise capable of causing permanent organ damage, not bad at all.
Andrew Culture

Dead To Me
Cuban Ballerina
CDLP – FAT WRECK RECORDS
Kicking off like the Dickies and pounding on in a Stiff Little Fingers vein, only not quite as pissed off. I haven’t used the word ‘enjoyable’ to describe an album for a long time, but this album just has a really cool positive vibe to it. The tunes are strong as snorting vodka (don’t try it).
Andrew Culture

Destructors 666
06:06:06
CDEP - ROWDY FARAGO RECORDS
Some bands take a long time to get round to recording, before the internet came along bands used to practice for at least a couple of years before recording their first demo. As you know a lot of bands enter the ‘studio’ after only being together for a matter of minutes these days. Well Destructors make a stand for the old skool, they formed in 1977 and as far as I can tell this is their first release. Dispite being originally a 77 band they have a very 80s harder metallic sound. The lyrics are kinda hilarious, I can’t tell if that’s intentional or not, like in ‘The Neighbour of The Beast’.
www.destructors666.com
Andrew Culture

Destructors 666/ The ruined
Plus Ca Change Pour La Meme Chose
CDEP - ROWDY FARAGO RECORDS
Destructors 666 play pacey simple 80s sounding punk with simple shout along choruses. Eg, the first chorus is ‘bullshit, bullshit, fucking bullshit’. Oh bollocks I just dropped the cd case and it’s bust! There are elements of Screeching Weasel in the band sounds really English, which means I’ll probably find out they are somewhere far away. The second Destructors track has a slight riffy metal edge to it and to be honest is a far stronger track than the first one. The Ruined play what I guess you could call horror punk, there’s more than a passing resemblance to the Misfits but a healthy slice of something original going on there too. One of the best things about this EP is the note on the back, it says, “It was Easy, It Was Cheap, Now you do it! Any way you look at it this EP has pedigree, the Destructors have been going on and off since 1977 and have had such members as Giz Butt in their ranks!
www.destructors666.com
www.the-runined.com
Andrew Culture

Devilish Presley
Memphisto
CDLP-NOVEMBER 10TH RECORDS
There were moments within Memphisto that unwillingly brought me to wince with sheer embarrassment. This brutally tedious 12 track record fashions Devilish Presley’s own brand of “sexy horror-rock”. In all honesty, there is more sexual implication in Rik Waller’s overflowing toilet bowl, filled to the brim with refuse. This record sounds like Richard O’Brien, squealing with orgasmic delight, whilst he humps Angus Young’s leg in mid-flow of Highway to Hell. From the opening howler, “Prick up your ears,” to the anti-climatic “Jukebox Hades,” Memphisto certainly is one of the worst records that I have ever listened to.
Tom Watsom

Escape the Fate
Dying Is Your Latest Fashion
CDLP—EPITAPH RECORDS
Eee-gads, the second track on this album has a vocoder on it! Well I can’t tell if it’s a vocoder or if they’ve treated the singers vocals to make them sound in tune, either way it’s poo. Escape the Fate are the 763rd emo band to join the Warp tour in search of rock and rolls riches. They claim they are here to change the face of music, which I think about a third of the bands I review in Beat Motel claim, unfortunetly like most of the bands of this ilk that I hear they seem to grab a whole bunch of influences and seem to think by jamming them together they are creating something new. I can’t deny that they are crossing quite a few boundries, they even have some mock growly metal vocals on ’The Guillotine’. As this album plays on Escape The Fate make me think that maybe they do have something new to offer. Just as I’m starting to enjoy this I look at some of the lyrics, ‘You’re the only one that wore your seatbelt, we’re the only ones that cried catastrophic accident, you’re the only one that died so keep my casket closed.’ Oh dear...
Andrew Culture

Fallopian
Dammit, Eat Your Pudding
CDLP—AVEBURY RECORDS
My first impression of this band was that they were a dodgy knock off of The Raincoats only not as talented at playing in time or in tune. But as this album continues it’s mix of Huggy Bear, Helen Love and every band of 12 year olds you’ve ever heard starts to burrow into your head. This album comes across as more of a collection of playground chants backed by half assed instrumentation than a disc of well crafted tunes. It’s pretty patronising of me but this whole package comes across as undeniably cute, and we’re not just talking cute like a toddler saying fuck, we’re talking cute like sitting in field with fluffy bunnies jumping around you and a novelty size lollipop in hand making daisy chains in the shapes of boys you fancy. Man, I think this album is so cute it’s turning me! Highlights include ‘Free Peepshow’, ‘I love Beans’, ‘My Thoughts On Boogers’ and the great ‘Check Out My Rash’. This band comes across as more of a gang of rough but cute girls, the kinda girls you’d fancy at school but be mildly terrified by if they cornered you by the candy machine.
Andrew Culture

Feverdream
You are Happening
CDLP—COALITION RECORDS
Wow, someone has stolen this band’s fuzz pedals! The songs are all reasonably structured, but sound very restrained. The album has a very live feel to it and the tunes are dangerously close to MOR rawk for my tastes.
Andrew Culture

Frommars
Frommars
CD-EP - 48V RECORDS
I don't understand why this EP has a picture of a foetus on the front at least, I think that's a foetus. It's not particularly edgy anymore, guys.
This is just dull. There's some quite nice guitar sounds on the first song, but it's all a bit epic and powerful for me, I'm afraid. The kind of music that's going to appeal more to classic rock fans than anyone else, I expect. I have nothing particularly against it, it's just I don't understand how these songs are supposed to hold my attention. There's nothing interesting here, nothing that I haven't heard before. They remind me of Wolfmother a bit, just less crazy. Not awful, just not memorable. For all their attempts to be grim and cutting-edge, it's a bit too safe.
Charlotte Sometimes

GALLOWS
Orchestra of wolves
CDEP – IN AT THE DEEP END RECORDS
First impressions remind me of Refused but with a hint of some thing I can’t quite put my finger on at the moment. Refreshingly the singer doesn’t put on an American accent which is great as he adds a lovely cockney feel. Gang chants help make any things better if done right and they do. Tight drums, duel guitars, crunchy bass and a singer who really helps set this band apart from most other groups in today’s "scene".
A let down would be the keyboards although they help calm down the chaos at the end of “roll with the punches’" half way through the album
"Ladies and gentlemen... may I have your attention please... this is the captain of your ship...I’m sorry we depart this way...
YOU LEAVE ME BROKEN HEARTED. But I never loved you anyway"
For fans of Refused, WOW owls, Bones Brigade, The Birds Are Spies…
MushrooM

Ghostwood Shanks
Farewell Dead City
CDLP-KILLA MOTHZ
This is a promising debut from the LO-FI four-piece, Ghostwood Shanks. Recorded at the home of guitarist/vocalist, Paul Dale, it holds a refined DIY sound that effortlessly carries itself through 14 absurdly unique tracks. The record opens with the acoustic driven, “My Extended Network,” where we first hear Dale’s peculiar vocals, as he carelessly steps in and out of tune to the melody. This is later followed by the hauntingly beautiful instrumental, “Mountain Song,” that melts the ears with its delicate guitar harmonies and spaceward sound effects. However, the record begins to lose its’ charm nearing the last couple of songs as the original concept becomes tiresome and boring. There are definite influences from bands such as Modest Mouse and The Velvet Underground- which is evident in their overall sound- yet they don’t live up to the magnitude of either. But still, Ghostwood Shanks show great potential to be a respectable LO-FI indie band. I’d like to think that they have progressed since the release of this record and, in return, show greater prospects of being acknowledged by a wider audience.
Tom Watsom

GL*XO BABIES
DREAMS INTERRUPTED: THE BEWILDERMENT YEARS 1978-80
CDLP – HEARTBEAT RECORDS
‘Dreams Interrupted: The Bewilderment Years 1978-80’ is a collection out on Heartbeat records by a band as sophisticated as they sound surreal.
Gl*xo Babies’ unique style mixes post-punk with grunge and rock, to create an eerie drone that penetrates the ears. This initial sound experience is for me where the interest ends, as the speed of the songs and the overall sounds becomes very tedious, very quick. What back in ’78 would seem a revolution in sound now sounds like bored, unhappy men making boring, unhappy music. Undeniably intelligent, undeniably *opens mouth, breathes out deep and pats with palm of hand*.
Fisher

Good Riddance
My Republic
CDLP—FAT WRECK CHORDS
Man, I’m sure Good Riddance rattle their albums out, although I could be confusing them Lawrence Arms for some reason, I don’t exactly know what I’m talking about. This album pounds along nicely enough, there’s no one stand out track, party due to the thick production. If you’re a fan grab it.
Andrew Culture

The Hazey Janes
Fire In The Sky
CDEP—MEASURED RECORDS
With Bluetones style vocals and instrumentation this band pulled no surprises and were so inoffensive it was nearly offensive. Not my cuppa.
Andrew Culture

Heavens
Patent Pending
CDLP—EPITAPH
Oo-er, I know all about style revivals (ska etc) but this album sounds like ti could be at the forefront of a New Romantics revival! The vocals are pushing out a nice strong tune but they just sound so bored, that laid back Talking Heads/ New Order/ Early Cure sorta vibe and the lyrics certainly nod knowingly at The Smiths. There’s not a ton of variety going on here and most of the songs have a similar dum dum dum dum sort of flow to them. This is okay, but left me a bit cold, lets just hope there won’t be a new romantics revival!
Andrew Culture

Hostage Life
Sing For The Enemy
CDLP—HOUSEHOLD NAME RECORDS
Mile a minute hardcore with no let up to the pounding aural beating. I’ve always wondered how music can go a mile a minute though, I mean, surely that’s travelling at 60mph isn’t it? So if a rumba cd was travelling in the boot of my car (shh) and I was on the motorway then that music could be considered faster than a mile a minute? I’m wandering from the fact, this album is good fast punk, but not exceptional.
Andrew Culture

Icons of Filth
Onward Christian Soldiers
CDLP—MORTARHATE
Motarhate resissue of the debut Icons album from the early 80s. Coming from a background inspired by Crass, Conflict. They brought a heavy anarcho sound, on this and their first few (now highly collectable) E.Ps. A good merging of the above mentioned bands meeting more of a Discharge/ Varukers sound. Popular in the day and still sounding good. Although the band had been playing again recently and recording again, this is probably the best testament to vocalist Stig who sadly passed away a while back.
Rikki Flag

Johnny Mental
Pining For The Fjords
CD-S – HANGMANS JOKE RECORDINGS
No, I’m sorry, this is SO BAD. We already have loads of ‘heavy’ and ‘melodic’ bands that scream and jump around seriously, why are there so many bands from Wales alone that fit this description? – we don’t need another one that doesn’t even try to do anything new with the formula.
You know what’d be really great? if a band did that kind of music but made it a bit more cheerful. Instead of having song titles like ‘Meat Cleaver’ and ‘Flies In Amber’ they could have tracks called things such as ‘I Like Your Hair’ and ‘Blueberries Are Ace’. Not that you’d be able to hear the lyrics if they were anything like this band, but still. No, I’m sorry, this is still really, really dire.
Charlotte Sometimes

Judder and the Jack Rabbits
Demo
CDEP—SELF RELEASED
Further proof that Psychobilly is coming back in a big way, this Norwich band have dug their sound from a dirty dank graveyard of rock and roll. Far from the clean sounding bands like Rantanplan this band is rough and wild, and vocals that wouldn’t sound out of place in Send More Paramedics this is a great combination. If you’re a fan of psychobilly in general and like a bit of Misfits style debauchery then check this lot out.
www.myspace.com/judderjackrabbits
Andrew Culture

Kenisia
Prototype
CDLP—HOUSEHOLD NAME RECORDS
More fun pop ska punk funky stuff from one of the most popular Londonish bands doing the rounds at the moment. There is a fair amount of variety here but this isn’t a band that binds to my soul, I recognise they are talented and original but they just don’t light my fire.
Andrew Culture

The King Blues
Under The Fog
CDLP—HOUSEHOLD NAME RECORDS
This release is totally different to anything else I’ve heard on HHN. They play largely acoustic music with a very chilled vibe, this ain’t no Coldplay bollocks. It’s all vaguely skiffle, vaguely reggae, vaguely barber shop and totally original and refreshing.
Andrew Culture

Last Stop China Town
Vital Signs
CD-LP – CARGO RECORDS
This is so, so bad. I can’t get over how genuinely and unashamedly awful the lyrics are – the first song alone contains perhaps the worst chorus ever – ‘just ashes remain in my place and a crimson covered knife’. The music is just as dull and uninspired as this suggests.
I’m amused by the fact that the singer looks like Captain Jack from Doctor Who, but that’s not really much of a redeeming feature. This is boring, so unoriginal that it borders on self-parody I’m now wondering if I’ve fallen for some elaborate joke and I honestly can’t think of anything nice to say. So I’ll stop.
Charlotte Sometimes

Left Alone
Dead American Radio
CDLP—HELLCAT RECORDS
This bears more than a passing resemblance to Rancid but with a great sounding Hammond type organ rumbling away in the background. The album whips by and is over before you know it, but you’ve just gotta go back and put it on again, I listened to this three times in a row! There’s a lot more to this band than I’m expressing here, so check it out.
Andrew Culture

Lily Allen
Alright, Still...
CDLP – EMI Records
Whoever declared that chav-chic was dead was basically well and truly misinformed, as Lily Allen’s bling-encrusted entrance on to the pop music scene is twenty-four carat gold evidence of. For months on end the Artic Monkeys have been the press’s playthings, hailed as The Beatles of the 21st century spawned fresh from cyber space, well My Space to be more specific. We’ve been treated to dosage after dosage of delirium via music publications surrounding these masculine Sheffield-based young rockers and now, Ms. Allen is living, breathing, singing, shining proof that the girls of the internet have something to contribute to the cyber cultural movement that the music charts seem to be evolving more towards these days.
To dismiss Lily as just another kid getting rich off the back of their parent’s fame (ahem… Paris Hilton) would be wrong, as: yes, this gold-loving girl is daughter of comic legend, Keith Allen (the grubby-looking guy in Twin Town who ends up naked in a nearby field as a result of too many magic mushrooms), but music-lovers should just let her material do the talking. As I hail this young woman, after listening to this delicious debut album, as the female equivalent of Streets front man, Mike Skinner. She’s got the down to earth, girl next-door persona. She’s got the songs saturated in sombre streetwise soliloquies and the poetry-peppered choruses. The press have attempted to sensationally shroud her in disapproval after she openly admitted that she was set to celebrate smiley, shiny, summer single, ‘Smile’ reaching number one by treating herself to a line of cocaine. Or by repeatedly referring to the gigging goddess as ‘Keith Allen’s daughter’ but I’m sure Keith Allen shall soon be known as ‘Lily Allen’s dad’ and nothing more because his realism-spouting songstress of a daughter is going places.
Songs sprinkled full of memoirs from trips down the pub (Friday Night), common heartbreak (The Littlest Things), observations of a stoner of a younger brother (Alfie) and the filth taking away your license (LDN) makes ‘Alright, Still…’ a winning formula. I just hope that whiny, pale-looking female solo artists churning out soppy ballads about how they can’t live without their blokes is a thing of the past, and hopefully Lily Allen’s lascivious array of gold sovereigns shall light the way.
Saz

Lost Cherrees
Free To Speak, But Not To Question
CDLP—CHERRY RED RECORDS
Apparently legendry anarcho band with a new album, I say apparently cos I’m no expert. The male/ female vocals are cheery and the music is basic and have a dose of ska in there too, it’s all decent enough, although I imagine that if this is your kinda thing you’ll love this!
Andrew Culture

Lost Cherrees
In the Very Beginning …
The Studio & Live Recordings 1982-1985
CDLP—CHERRY RED RECORDS
I should probably of heard this before listening to their new album (see the previous review). The really early stuff is pretty great, raw and kinda pissed off. It’s anarcho in a strangely innocent kinda way, and the vocals sound more than a little bit like Becki Bondage of Vice Squad. It’s a shame the second CD is damn rough, in fact it’s worth having to show just what a decent studio production did to make the band what they are.
Andrew Culture

LoveMat
The Fearless Hair Days Of Youth
CDLP—DISTUBIA RECORDS
Okay, so maybe the current trend for ridiculously long band names may be fading away, but silly long album titles appears to be coming in vogue. It’s a real trick to be in a band where everyone is really talented and not come across as arseholes, but LoveMat seem to carry it off pretty well. The songs are all big riff slightly psycadelic and sound dirtier than a festival goers skids. Track 8 sounds like it’s got a Suede sample in it! It also makes a change to hear hand claps in a song without it sounding either cheesy or just naff. LoveMat have found a nice balance between retro and total originality, I’m impressed.
Andrew Culture

The Marble Index
The Marble Index
CDLP—HIGH COIN RECORDS
(Division PR)
Now what would a marble index actually look like do you think? It sounds like the kinda thing I could have done with when I was a wee kiddy with marbles strewn all round my room, I could have done with some sort of organisational system to keep track of my marbles. This band is apparently yet another ‘best kept secret’ (man, how many bands use that!), but this secret is from Canada. I must say, if a best mate smooshed up to me in a pub and excitedly told me they had a secret they could no longer keep from me, then it turned out to be a band I’d be pretty disappointed, I mean that’s pretty greedy. If you find a band you like you are supposed to share it with your mates, not keep it a secret! Yeesh, some people hey. Anyway, this band sounds very English, in fact they sound like most NME bands do at the moment. But at least this lot sound like they’re putting a bit of soul into their music. Pete Dogherty should sit up and take notice, then he should have a wash, get a proper haircut, then maybe pay the window cleaners or something, what do I know or care? Hell, I can’t even spell his name right.
Andrew Culture

Mercury Tilt Switch
Kiprono
CDLP—PET PIRANHA RECORDS
This album kicks in like a heady mix of Mogwai and Cave In which made me prick my ears up. This Dundee band hammer through this album like they’re in a hurry to get somewhere, but in a good way. As the album draws to an end I couldn’t help but feel the tracks were getting a bit middling. On the whole this is a remarkably strong album, that will be a long time favourite for very many people.
Andrew Culture

Mercy Killers
Bloodlove
CDLP—HELLCAT RECORDS
This is kinda like a gothic mix between The Clash and Rancid with some church organs thrown in for good measure. Not bad at all, just didn’t thrill me.
Andrew Culture

The Meteors
MONKEYS BREATH
CDLP—ANAGRAM RECORDS
Number 50 (blimey!) in the current Anagram/ Cherry Red reissue frenzy. I’ve always thought of the Meteors as a bit of a safe bet when it comes to Psychobilly but this album from 1995 sees the band push the boundaries a bit with some pretty original sounding sonic trickery. This is a good album, as are most Psycho albums, but as an introduction to the band I wouldn’t recommend this album, although if you’re a fan then grab it! As with all the Anagram reissues this comes in a nice digipack with a wee history of the band and some bonus tracks.
Andrew Culture

MJ Hibbett & The Validators
We Validate!
CD-LP - ARTISTS AGAINST SUCCESS
I'm fed up with people plucking quotes for press-releases (here from those guys at Rolling Stone that seem to like any music from Bury) that slag off a more popular band. We should 'fuck the fucking Libertines', apparently, 'cos 'this is the true face of post-millennial Albion!'
If you ignore this silly playground tactic to gain support, the album's actually, er, kind of amazing. I really like the singer's accent, too, which is probably a pretty weak reason to like a song or twelve, but there you go. He sounds a bit like Billy Bragg, but happier. Silly amounts of fun can be had singing the chorus to 'The Lesson Of The Smiths', while the cheeriness in 'Better Things To Do' makes me smile. This album is much more fun than an intelligent indie record has any right to be. It's also packed with extras, so it’s good value for money and everything. If y'want to spend the summer miserable, give this a miss, but otherwise give it a try. It's worth it, I promise.
Charlotte Sometimes

Mob Rules
Ethnolution A.D
CDLP— SPV RECORDS
(Work Hard PR)
This album has it all, synth string driven metal with Bon-Jovi style guitar solos, searing vocals, piano ballads, it has all the ingredients to make perfect power metal, which is why I hate it so fucking much.
Andrew Culture

MONSTROUS
MOTHER NATURE’S SLAVES
CDLP – HOWLER RECORDS
Like the Eels with distortion, Monstrous exclaim their tuneful melodies with a good deal of crunch. They create technical songs that sound simple and are very easy to listen to. Not really my cuppa’ tea, but not a bad band at all. For fans of rock and roll who like their shit on the tepid side of hot, but can appreciate craftsmanship. “Mother Nature’s Slaves” is out in September.
Fisher

Monstrous
Mother Nature’s Slaves
CDLP—HOWLER RECORDS
(Division PR)
These days people seem to be either impressed or damming about bands that have been together a long time, well this band has been together twenty years and this is their first major release! What’s more amazing is that they are only in their early 20s themselves, yup, they are brothers. Whilst brothers in bands can lead to horrific consequences (Bee Gees anyone?) these three are leaning more towards the Neil and Tim Finn arena of brothers forming bands that are actually good! Musically this band swings wildly between dreamy ELO stompalongs to lightish stoner rock to physcadelia that wouldn’t sound out of place on Abbey Road by the Beatles. The vocals have something of Janes Addiction about them. All in all it’s a decent record, with great growing potential. I’m listening to this sitting in my shop on a blistering day, with a gentle breeze and it’s fitting the mood nicely.
Andrew Culture

Motorhead new album
A new Motorhead album is a lot like a meatball sub from Subway. You know what you’re getting, there’s not a lot of surprises but there’s room for a few new ingredients to be snuck in without spoiling the general taste. It’s great, it’s nothing new (apart from the yukky ballad) but you know what you’re getting, and you know you love it.
Andrew Culture

Misery Signals
Mirrors
CDLP—FERRET MUSIC
I’ve had so much metal to review recently I found myself actually hoping this band was going to be emo with a name like Misery Signals, that should tell you how much bad metal I’ve been getting here recently. Sadly this was more of the same stilted guitars gruff bollocks vocals and slicing discordant guitar fucking awful bullshit. I was having this chat with my lass last night about how no music is shit, there’s just music you like and music you don’t, I was starting to agree with her till I heard this unoriginal dog shite. I’ve heard some of my mates really love this band so maybe I’m just missing something, maybe it is something I would love if I hadn’t heard it at tail end of an awful day of reviewing.
Andrew Culture

Mishkin
Elevate
CD-LP -
Why is it that Brits have to insist on ditching their homeland accents, eh? Mishkin are fresh from the UK... but like a million other bands before them insist on shedding their accents, because they are under some illusion that good punk-metal has to sound like a replica of Metallica. Dammit! A blend of gorging masculine growling, combined ironically with what sounds like choir boy crooning. It'll get the moshers moshing, as 'Elevate' is a whopping 6 minutes+ track, so on a positive note you'll have a good alibi to rip a dance floor up near you at least!
Saz Parry

Mushroom Head
Savior Sorrow
CDLP—MEGAFORCE RECORDS
(Division PR)
Apparently this lot were doing shite metal crunched down repetitive vaguely industrial stuff before Slipknot or Evanesence, so it’s kinda odd that they sound like a watered down Marlyn Mason. Also, isn’t that claim like being one of many pigeons and claiming you were the first to shit on statues?
Andrew Culture

MYBE
SMALL MAN SYNDROME
CDLP – ON THE ROAD RECORDS
You strapped in? Seriously, check your seatbelt. Done? Good. Press play. FUCK. Belts just don’t do the job. MYBE are a three-piece pop-punk band from Sheffield who create shit-pushingly catchy riffs, laced with piss-inducingly melodic vocal harmonies. “But hasn’t this been done before?” “Cant I just buy a simple plan CD?” – yes and fuck off. We all know this is about as unique as Sir Elton John is straight, but just LISTEN! Fuck originality. If I cared about originality I wouldn’t listen to punk past the 70s, I wouldn’t watch scrubs and I certainly wouldn’t be playing in a ska/punk band that wants to be NOFX so hard that I’m considering circumcision. They take what has been done so many times and physically, musically and vocally slap so much wit, intelligence, smut and dear-me-lord catchyness that it makes you wanna destroy all your previous pop-punk records. “Small Man Syndrome” is out now, as is “The Shite Album” and “A Trip Down Mammary Lane”. Buy them all, see them live, make fun of their height, and for the love of god stop listening to Simple Plan.
Fisher

The Other
We Are Who We Eat
CDLP—FIEND FORCE RECORDS
(Division PR)
You kinda know what you’re getting when an album turns up on your doorstep with band in gore makeup, spiked hair and a singer with a big pointy fringe. The artwork inside confirms things, with zombie/ horror makeup adorning each band member and gruesome scenes being played out. In fact this is a pretty decent horrorpunk/ vauge metal album along the lines of The Misfits/ The Devil Rides Out. If you’re into horror punk you’re gonna love this, especially the vocals, imagine Nick Cave fronting Send More Paramedics.
Andrew Culture

Patchwork Grace
Zebra
CDEP—TRASHPIT RECORDS
Imagine sugar power guitar pop minus the sickly bit and you’ve pretty much summed up this band. It’s accessible, cute, cutting and memorable. The knob twiddling duties were carried out by none other than Paul Yeadon (The Wireless Stores) and it really shows, great stuff!
Andrew Culture

Pama International
The Trojan Sessions
CDLP—TROJAN RECORDS
It must really take something to be the first new band signed to Trojan in 30 years, but Pama International have done it! This album is proper old style Reggae full of soul and summer. This album reads like a who’s who of old Reggae with input from members of The Specials, The Loafers and Special Beat.
Andrew Culture

Popup
Lucy, what are you trying to say?
CDEP—ART GOES POP
Frantic cute ScotPop along the lines of Bromheads Jacket and very much sounds like it belongs on t the Art Goes Pop label. Holds itself at arms distance from serious and boring indie twee-pop. Despite the singer’s inability to hold a solid note the personality in his voice coupled with the stunning lyric dexterity and speed of delivery of some of the lines make complaining about tune holding the musical equivalent of getting a blowjob and complaining that the giver has teeth. www.popuptheband.com
Andrew Culture

Rantanplan
Two Worlds At Once
CDLP—CHERRY RED RECORDS
Take four young and innocent young German lads, give them enough beer to sink a battleship, lock them in a studio with a nutter and this is what comes out. This is a very together and polished sounding Psychobilly album, which is surprising when you research the environment they recorded it in! As this sort of music goes this is of a pretty high standard I guess, they only recorded one album before most of the band went on to get normal adult jobs. There’s a slight country twang to this album, with the singer occasionally twanking a banjo but ultimately this just sounds like a whole load of other Pshycho albums I’ve heard recently.
Andrew Culture

Raw Poo
Job Nonseekers Allowance
CDEP—SELF RELEASE
Hell, this band has gone to a whole lot of effort with their packaging. The whole thing is packaged up like a modern day UB40, er, dole booklet thing. It would be a great idea if Junk Culture hadn’t already done it in 1996! The music is pretty good standard early 80s sounding streetpunk along the lines of Beerzone or something. Lyrics are a very comedy Oi type, for example, ’drinks white rum, does ’em up the bum’ and ’He’s had birds untold, and some of ’em have been quite fit, he does this one girl up the arse but his dreadlocks hung down to far, pulled it out it was covered in shit’. The stand out track by miles is the last track, ’ode to my last beer’ and it stands out by miles, bloody great song, shame about the fade out at the end though. They really should send this to Trev at Negative Reaction! Smart to see a band make a fucken effort.
www.myspace.com/rawpoo
Andrew Culture

Raymond Simmons
Hot Percussion Licks Parts 1 & 2
CD-LP - THE SIMMONS MUSIC COMPANY
Yea! We have an American accent from a guy who is actually, wait for it: American! Wahoo! This is blues all the way, the kind of chilled-back blues that could leave an innocent music-lover comatosed. Mr Simmons can sing, but his repertoire seems to be a decade...or two behind the British music industry. Could be used to sedate loonies at the local asylum though, as yes it is that laid-back!
Saz Parry

The Resistance
CD-S - R*E*P*E*A*T RECORDS
This three-track single which doesn’t seem to have a title, although the tracks are called Crossing The Road With Your Eyes Closed, Sleeping and Polar is the first that The Resistance have released. About as far away from the dull riffing of many self-proclaimed rock bands, they mix guitars with electro with feedback. It’s a bit pretentious – the fact that the music apparently ‘has something it wants to say’ all seems a bit dubious, considering the complete lack of a vocalist. If you ignore the fact that the first song on here seems a bit like an intro that’s got caught on repeat, this is pretty decent, however. Not the best thing I’ve heard all day, but certainly not the worst.
Charlotte Sometimes

Rolo Tomassi
Rolo Tomassi EP
CDEP—HOLY ROAR RECORDS
Let me set the scene, in the last years of the twentieth century Dixons in an illadvised marketing move have opened a branch store in an conjunction with a travelling circus. On the opening night the circus organ player pops in with his mate Tazzy the clown to check out their selection of of casio keyboards. With a look of expectant joy in his eyes he plonks himself down in front of the flashing keyboard display and hits the ‘shop demo’ button while Tazzy is off looking for clown filth in the dvd section. After a matter of seconds the flashing lights prove too much of a stimuli for the organ player and an epileptic fit kicks in. Seeing his gay lover passed out and twitching on the bank of keyboards Tazzy loses it and starts screaming and shouting at the manager.
Andrew Culture

Row Z
Stalemate
CD-SINGLE - PULVER RECORDS
Allegedly described by Jools Holland as 'amazing'... but these Beeb kiss-asses will endorse anything, won't they Jonathan Ross? I am sure that jazz maverick, Richard Smith, brainchild of this ensemble is a talented musician, however this fact does not change the transparent truth: this single is basically the music that hotels play in their lobbies, or pop on when you are riding in their elevators. Brass boogie, it'll be appreciated in jazz circles, sadly not by me. The nearest branch of 'Novotel' might be interested though...
Saz Parry

Samiam
Whatever’s Got You Down
CDLP—BURNING HEART RECORDS
I’ve mentioned it before, but I swear that Yorkshire bands have a particular sound. I have no idea where Samiam are from, and I’m pretty Samiam was the name of that hairy bugger that lived in a pile of sand and could grant wishes to ugly rich kids. Or was that the Samad? Anyway this is reasonable popish punk with a northern twang and some interesting ideas thrown in, there’s just not a ton to really turn me on. The cover nearly made me vomit and made me really glad I’ve never done acid.
Andrew Culture

Selotape
Injection
CD-LP - ABSORBMUSIC
These lads, I have to say really impressed me with this electro-indie effort fresh out of Birmingham. Think the surrealist sound of 'The Mighty Boosh' dubbed in with a dash of good indie: it sounds well worth trying don't it? There is a lot of whiney bad indie around at the moment...ahem Embrace... but this is top drawer, and I am sure with the amount of air play these lads are getting, combined with the rate this Brummie bounty are touring that many more peeps are gonna have heard of 'Selotape' by the end of the year.
Saz Parry

Send More Paramedics
The Awakening
CDLP—IN A THE DEEP END RECORDS
They’re back and they want your brains, jeez, how many other reviews of this album are gonna say that! If you’ve never heard SMP before then you can expect some Slayer type riffs with a serious hardcore punk edge, while the vocals owe a lot more to 80s thrash than flat out metal. This album is going to have fans spewing blood with joy and is accessible enough to garuntee the already meteoric rise of Send More Paramedics continues it’s ungodly rise.
Andrew Culture

Skid Row
Revolutions Per Minute
CDLP—SPV RECORDS
There is no way in hell I’m going to actually chose to listen to a Skid Blow album. I’ve never eaten a dog shit but I don’t need to scour the streets for canine droppings and shove them in my gob to confirm that it would be fucking horrid.
Andrew Culture

Sharp End First
Songs for the betrayed
CDEP—GLASSTONE RECORDS
Take a large portion of chuggy chuggy sillyness, shake in some Lost Prophets sickly harmonies, sprinkle liberally with duelling guitars. Bake for 40 minutes in a commercial scale oven and ignore.
Andrew Culture

Stasi
Mixed Inglish
CDEP-RIOT CLUB MUSIC
(Work Hard-PR)
It can’t be easy, knowing that your music is nothing but a half-decent regurgitation of another bands’ sound. Well, that’s exactly what Stasi have done. They’ve taken the sophistication and profound intensity of Radioheads’ “Kid A,” and merged it with the melancholic greatness of Radioheads’ “Amnesiac”. The overall result is not a good sound at all. This EP consists of 3 lengthy “songs” that are all strenuously repetitive and dull. The band lack originality and direction, which is evident throughout the EP. This is not to say, however, that they are not gifted musicians. The production, for example, is top-notch and the vocals are superb. But, they have enough musical ability to create their own sound instead of depending on Tom Yorke & co. to do it for them. A disappointing waste of talent.
Tom Watsom

Stage Fright
Island of Lost Souls
CDLP—ANAGRAM RECORDS
Cool, a local Psychobilly band! From the dark wilds of East Anglia Stage Fright play an old school almost rockabilly style of ‘billy. As with the rest of the marvellous Anagram collectors series you get a nice booklet thrown in as well.
Andrew Culture

Stig
Rum ‘n Brass
CD-LP – REBEL MUSIC RECORDS
It’s another album with a foetus on the front – and no, the fact that he’s holding a bugle I think doesn’t make it better. I really don’t know what to say about this. I don’t like it, it’s not enjoyable, but I think I’m probably about as far away from the target audience as it’s possible to be. It’s all a bit too ‘being-crazy-for-the-sake-of-it’, which puts me off even more.
Probably best if you listen to this when you’re really, really shitfaced. As I’m not, however, I’m going to have to say that this is probably best avoided.
Charlotte Sometimes

Strike Anywhere
Dead FM
CDLP—FAT WRECK CHORDS
I’ve never been much of a Strike Anywhere fan, which I’ll admit is a shite way to start a review, but I’m going to try and claw back and say I kinda warmed to the band with this album. It’s not that they’ve gone more pop, they just seem more accessible, in a Bad Religion kinda way.
Andrew Culture

The Studiofix
Will Change Your Life
CDLP—AVEBURY RECORDS
First up WOW what a voice! This album is pretty easy going and is full of nice little surprises in an unusual Wire type way. The album is undebyably great and it’s worth grabbing just to hear that great female voice, totally stunning in a Making Eyes At Elvis/ Charlie Brown type way.
Andrew Culture

Suns of the Tundra
Tunguska
CDLP—SHINY MACK RECORDS
(Work Hard PR)
Is it me or are a lot of bands claiming to be stoner rock these days? Anyhew, this band actually has a cool riff groove feel to them, there are moments in here that remind me of Kyuss, Fu-Manchu and even Nebula, and lets face it, if you’ve got those covered you’re headed in a good direction. I felt the album lost it’s way a bit in the middle and if anything lets down proceedings then it’s the vocals, but given time I’m sure I’d grow to love them, they’re just a bit ‘relaxed’. To sum up this album I’d say it’s Psycadellic-Stoner Rock, then I’d eat some pizza, which is exactly what I’m going to do now.
Andrew Culture

The Superkings
Secret Chiefs
CDEP-FEEDBACK PROMOTIONS
This collection of demos, from 2005, epitomises what the Superkings’ ethos is as songwriters. Their ethos is simple, which is “to try and capture what excites them about songwriting and performance…” And this is achieved with eight bitter-sweet, jazz-imbued indie gems. Vocalist, David Wright, delivers with such splendour as he quivers through tracks such as the salacious, “Requesting Balance,” and the tender, piano-driven, “Little Hope”. This is what Morrissey would sound like if he fronted the Bad Seeds. It contains a plethora of various genres, ranging from folk, to jazz, to indie, to piano-pop, which makes it harder to pinpoint which audience they are aiming towards. In other words, their songs are likeable but not anthemic. Nevertheless, “Secret Chiefs” is a gracious attempt in being unique and innovative-both in sound and appeal-however, in terms of being memorable, it doesn’t quite make the grade.
Tom Watsom

The Tailgators
The Tailgators
CDLP—ANAGRAM RECORDS
Number 51 in the seemingly never ending psychobilly series of Anagram reissues, and indeed may they never end! Not familiar with these first time round, the Tailgators play in more of a Rock and Roll vein than your straight up Psychobilly in the vein of The Meteors. Contains some interesting extras like a Clash cover, plus a rocked up version of ’Tainted Love’ and a bunch of live tracks tacked on the end ta boot.
Rikki Flag

Tat
Champagne, Cocaine & Strawberries
CDEP-EX RECORDS
(Work Hard-PR)
Now, I know that I don’t like this record. It’s so cheesy that your speakers will secrete parmesan for the duration of the song. The lyrics are cringe worthy and the structure is overly simple. However, ever since the first time it entered my hi-fi system, it has been lodged inside my head and refuses to budge. No matter how hard I try (no matter how much Against me! I listen to…) I can’t stop hearing it go over and over again in my head. Tat is a female-fronted pop-punk band that produces undeniably catchy songs, but contains no substance or value. Their second single to date, “Champagne, Cocaine & Strawberries,” is a concoction of light-hearted sassiness and childlike humour. The result is your average, run-of-the-mill, pop-punk song that will piss you off for weeks on end. One thing is for sure though; Warped Tour certainly has gone downhill if they chose to put these popsters on the bill. Listen to this if your Simple Plan CD is all scratched up from constant use and unable to play anymore.
Tom Watsom

Teenage Casket Company
Eat Your Heart Out
With band members including Real Overdose columnist/ Panic main man Jamie Delerict and nicer hair than any other band around I wasn’t sure quite what to expect from this band. Actually that’s a reviewing lie, I’ve seen this band live, fuck I’ve even booked them for an ill-conceived fireworks party gig in Ipswich! Teenage Casket Company bring an edge of punk to a very glam metal sound. Get yer eyeliner on, wrap a bandana round your hear and dig out your vintage metal shirts, this band means business.
Andrew Culture

Thumpermonkey
Not the Motorcycle Diaries
CD-SINGLE -
When John Lydon stood up for punk as a seventies god, I am certain that the Sex Pistols did not sound like this, as this single sounds like just another heavy, Americana, screaming 'modern-punk' band. But hey, maybe 'run of the mill' was what these guys were aiming for? A lot of hype has been circulating about this trio, but don't expect anything that you have not heard before circulating your local 'alternative' music circuit. Hats off to them for trying to incorporate a bit of funk into punk, however I'm angling more towards 'old hat' than 'hats off' in this instance.
Saz Parry

Turbo!
Sailboats are White
CDLP—POPTONES RECORDS
(Goldstar PR)
The cover of this album has a giant cat attacking a city on it, which earned them a few plus points. These were sadly short lived as their album of xxxxCasioGrindCoreSmoreGoreBorexxx has been ruined by a shouty drunk somehow getting into the studio and yelling his head off over the tracks. Although to their credit it does sound like the band was trying to out-rubbish him by pretending they couldn’t tune or play their guitars. I don’t know if this noise based exorcism was successful as I could only make it to track 6.
Andrew Culture

Twelve Tribes
Midwest Pandemic
CDLP—FERRET RECORDS
Now I sometimes have tolerance for Tazmanian Devil vocals like this if there’s something interesting and crushingly heavy going on behind them, along the lines of Isis or Bossk but this backing seems to follow the norm of slicing guitars, lurching breakdowns etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc
Andrew Culture

Unleashed
Midvinterblot
CDLP—SPV RECORDS
(Work Hard PR)
The press sheet for this album opens with the phrase ‘Swedish Viking Death Metal’, as you an guess I really wasn’t looking forward to yet another album with widdly widdly guitars and Wookie vocals. But this band seem to have branched a little bit beyond the standard Slayer/ Bathory standard. Don’t get me wrong, they haven’t strayed far, and it’s still not enough to make me embrace death metal but it did make me raise an eyebrow in a curious fashion.
Andrew Culture

US Bombs
We Are The Problem
CDLP
I guess the US Bombs are a pretty legendary punk band. Duane Peters, the vocalist certainly is. I guess I never really had a big opinion on them, an old band mate used to rave about them big time. In fact I think I may have an older album or 2 sitting around at home but it obviously never really rocked my world as I can't remember them. So I was going into this whole CD reviewing with a pretty open mind about them. This is pure rock n roll street punk. I gotta say it's not really my thing, the whole album is really quite samey. It would appeal to fans of Rancid for definite. 16 tracks and although they do try a couple of different sounds ("Heartbreak Motel" wouldn't sound out of place in the movie Grease for instance, Track
12 sounds like a harmonica is being used and there was one which was pretty short and fast, kinda almost "Coffee Mug" by The Descendents esque but nowhere near as good) it's really just a street punk plod through for me.
So if you're already a fan of the band then I'm sure it's gonna be great, if you like Rancid then yeah get it. But it's just seems a bit unimaginative as a whole. More ideas next time please Mr. Peters.
Mr. T

Varsity Drag
For Crying Out Loud
CDLP—BOSS TUNEAGE
Formed by Ben Deily of The Lemonheads this album offers up more than a slight nod to the aforementioned band. Ben has a pretty smart voice but it’s weak in really odd ways, there are some high notes that he can really belt out but then some really simple singing lines come across as being totally out of tune. The tunes are alright I guess, but this has a really cheap sounding production and it makes the whole album sound like a bit of a rush job, either that or songs were written just before they entered the studio. This is worth a listen, but I don't I’d miss it if I didn’t hear it for months.
Andrew Culture

Various
It’s All Looking A Bit Black Over Bill’s Mother’s House… - Random Camel Records Sampler Vol.1
CDR – RANDOM CAMEL RECORDS
The second track on this – the badly titled Born A Cunt, Die A Cunt,by Ben Shadow is really good – it involves what sounds like a siren or an alarm and volume changes, but you really need to hear it to understand why it’s so good.
This compilation is odd – it starts off with experimental music that’s basically feedback and not a lot else. It’s quite interesting, but tracks 3 by Buttercup Insurgent and 4 by Decentered Space in particular are very long and everything start to merge together. There are songs that are more conventional later on – and by conventional I mean ‘feature a vocalist’ – but they’re not actually worth listening to. It’s quite hit-and-miss in general and probably not worth a look unless you’re deeply into the sort of experimental noise that’s the main focus here.
Charlotte Sometimes

Volume
Blind / Do The Knowledge
CD-S – ILLICIT RECORDINGS
I didn’t like this much on first listen, but it’s growing on me. The first song – Blind - is a bit anthemic, but its good fun and I like the slightly distorted vocals. Nice keyboard/synth work, too, I like that they haven’t taken over the sound but are still quite key to the songs.
The second song isn’t as good, and could perhaps have been a b-side instead of the second a-side, but I like the more frantic moments in it - nice and sharp. I don’t quite think that Volume’ll ‘ultimately make you realise what you never knew your life was missing’ like their press-release claims, but they’re worth a listen or two.
Charlotte Sometimes

You, Me and the Atom Bomb
Shake Up
CDLP—HOUSEFOLD NAME RECORDS
I remember playing with this lot in Burgess Hill a few months back and being really impressed by them. This CD is a pretty fair representation of the nut clenchingly tight live show they put on. Seriously, I’ve never seen a band play so well whilst retaining a live sound, sure bands like U2 play note perfect and tight as hell but lose all soul. YMATAB (c’mon, I can’t be the first person to acronyze this band!) are tight and note perfect whilst retaining more character than a year of soap operas. These days so many hardcore bands are getting so good that a band has to be totally expeptional to stand out from the crowd, last issue it was ‘Crime In Stereo’, this issue it may well be You, Me and the Atom Bomb. The breaks and pauses in the songs are like momentary lapses of concentration during a drunken conversation and the rung out chords are the call back to reality. One thing I’ve learnt from writing a lot of reviews is that when I start spouting shite like that it’s time to quit for a while…
Andrew Culture

Various
Anti-Capitalism
CDLP—OVERGROUND RECORDS
DIVISION PR
Admittedly I was going to start this review with a joke about this label selling a cd about anti-capitalism but I’d be wrong. Turns out this forth in a series of compilations put together by Sean McGhee of Physo Faction. This isn’t your usual comp either, Sean has tracked down a lot of rare stuff ‘ere. Conflict are present as expected along with Crass but some of the real gems are bands I’ve never heard of like Anarka and Poppy who play a quite jolly number along the lines of The Lost Cherries. Any Anarcho compilation wouldn’t be complete without a band that sounds like they recorded everything in room full of tin foil shavings, and Atomic Filth embrace the foil and make it one with their fizzy music. There’s futher evidence of the author of this disc and his punky archaeology with tracks like the D&V one, you can actually hear the ancient tape going round the reels with this one, the vocals have got a proper wobble on them! The Cravats track gives a hint of punk to come with the smattering of horns in their track ‘XMP’. The Culture Shock track really sounds like Citizen Fish, in fact I was so sure I looked into it and Jasper fish was indeed involved. There’s no real reason for me telling you this, I’m just really proud that I actually knew something about punk history! I’d say if you’re into anarcho punk, or even just wondering what it’s all about you should sit in a knackered arm chair with a dog on a string tied to your shoe, a bottle of warm cider between your legs, the great 24 page booklet that accompanies this cd in one hand and a roll up in the other and ENJOY.
Andrew Culture

Various
Gigantour
CDLP—SPV RECORDS
(Work Hard PR)
Massive double LP featuring live tracks from the bands on Dave Mustaine’s travelling heavy metal freak show. Featuring classics from such bands I can’t stick, like Anthrax, Fear Factory, Dream Theatre, and of course Megadeath. Bored the arse off me, but you might like it.
Andrew Culture

We Are Invasion
Demo
CDEP—SELF RELEASE
At last, something decent to review! We Are The Invasion are kinda like a heavier and more structured version of Lightening Bolt but with the most sublime female vocals laid perfectly over the top of the meaty riffs and rock solid drumming. Sadly this taster only had three tracks on it so I’m hoping to hear some more soon. I’m also trying to snare them for an interview some time so hopefully I’ll find out more about them soon.
Andrew Culture


LIVE REVIEWS

Less Than Jake
Norwich UEA
12th April 2006
As ever the tedious drive to Norwich from sunny Ippo meant we weren’t able to give support acts Boys Night Out and Bullets To Broadway a good listen. That said, the few songs of whoever was on second sounded pretty good !
Less Than Jake have been perennial faves of mine for many years, having seen them on most UK tours since before the ‘Warner Bros’ days. I recall seeing them play a packed show at the much smaller Norwich Waterfront club around 1999 / 2000 with a fledgling MxPx in support and what a gig that was. With an incendiary live show and some quality albums released since, the band has gone from strength to strength.
Normally bands tour to coincide with the release of a new CD however in this case ‘In With The Out Crowd’ is not in the shops yet so the sold out crowd had not had time to become familiar with the new stuff, hence only 3 new songs were played. Due to us standing on the left hand side of the UEA and the sound being bass heavy the song titles when announced by singer / guitarist Chris escaped me but they sounded typical LTJ, plenty of attitude, horns and certainly danceable.
Recent years have seen the bands line-up stripped right back from the early days when they would record and tour with anything up to 9 people. In the live setting this certainly has no major effect on the fullness of the sound and with the brass section adding both backing vocals and a very visible stage presence you never lack for action. In some ways the band staying as a 5 piece has brought a cohesion to the live performance that perhaps was overlooked when the number of members was higher and the stage constantly over-run with dancing skeletons, fire-breathers and a plethora of horn players. Nowadays each member has their role and plays it to the max with all quite clearly having a blast on stage. It’s also good to see bassist Roger taking the occasional lead vocal as his voice is markedly different and suits his songs.
The set itself consisted largely of tracks from the more recent albums…’Hello Rockview’, ‘Borders and Boundaries’ and ‘Anthem’ which was fine by me as they represent classic LTJ. All the hits were played and in the live setting only serves to ramp up the atmosphere even further. What seemed like a breath-takingly quick set actually ran for 80 minutes which, for a punk show, was quite lengthy. A 2 song encore followed and then they were gone. A fast and furious visit from a band that the UK crowd seems to have taken to their hearts and continues to support irrespective of trends elsewhere in the ‘scene’. Hopefully LTJ will be playing some of the European festivals this summer as that setting suits them too and it’s good to see bands of their calibre mixing it on the live circuit.
Wast

Mary McBride
Hayseed Dixie
Cambridge Junction
26th April 2006
It’s been a while since I saw a band at the Junction and I’d forgotten what a good venue it is. Last time I saw the mighty Hayseed Dixie their support band failed to make it from the previous nights gig in Nottingham due to van trouble so the headliners simply played for another hour which made for a fantastic night. With expectations set for a similarly eventful night we made our way to the front to watch support act Mary McBride.
Basically a country styled songstress with acoustic and electric guitars backing she played for about 40 minutes and seemed to please the crowd. After a few songs her voice began to grate but maybe that’s because it was very high in the mix as you would expect of a lead vocal. Apparently one of her songs was used in the movie ‘Brokeback Mountain’ but having not seen this much acclaimed film I couldn’t vouch for it. However that particular song did strike a chord with the audience and got the best reception of the night. All in all an entertaining enough opening set but not quite to my taste, although my girlfriend has pledged to get both of Mary McBride’s CD’s next pay day so there’s at least one convert which is always good news.
Given Hayseed Dixie don’t have much of a backline to set up the wait was minimal. In fact the only work for the roadie was to bring out a massive crate of beer for the band to consume between songs !
For the uninitiated Hayseed Dixie specialise in bluegrass country versions of classic rock songs. This bizarre combination works wonderfully well and has seen the band perform at Glastonbury as well as several plays on Radio 1, apparently Chris Moyles is a big fan.
Lead singer (and guitar and fiddle player) Barley has been scalped since we last saw HD but this only goes further to emphasise the hillbilly look and fortunately, unlike Samson, has had no ill effects on his musical abilities. All 4 musicians are incredibly accomplished and regardless of the songs they play I would pay to see them as they are truly entertaining. Opening with AC/DC’s ‘Dirty Deeds’ they proceeded to rock an 80 minute set containing all the classic covers from their 4 CD’s…’Detroit Rock City’, ‘Whole Lotta Rosie’, ‘Ace Of Spades’ etc. It was noticeable from the last time I saw them in Colchester that only one new cover song has been added, Green Day’s ‘Holiday’ which admittedly was done fabulously well. Instead more original songs have been incorporated and these additions give the band the chance to demonstrate more of their musical prowess while still keeping the enjoyment factor high.
‘Brothers’ Don Wayne Reno and Dale Reno, banjo and mandolin respectively, trade licks and continually amaze with their dexterity. Dale in particular puts on quite a show, playing the ‘axe’ god and showing the crowd some classic poses all the while dressed in cut-off dungarees, bandana and a tye-dye t-shirt. This tour has seen the application of some eye make-up which adds a ‘glam’ feel to the proceedings and had us howling when he burst on stage. By contrast Don Wayne looks more like Mike Love from the Beach Boys but none of this detracts from his incredible banjo playing. I was delighted to hear them finish with ‘Duelling Banjos’ from the film ‘Deliverance’ which is a marvellous workout although by the time it finished they had lost their way a little with the improvised nature of the song however this may have had more to do with them draining the aforementioned beer crate.
The between-song banter is pretty damn good too. I expect it is rehearsed but their tales of the deep South, ex-wives and on-the-road sagas makes the whole event interesting and the set flies by. Like I said earlier the previous gig I attended lasted longer due to the support act problems but this show, I felt, was far more entertaining as Hayseed Dixie now have more touring experience under their belts and know how to play the UK crowds. I’ve just heard they will be back at Colchester in July so I know what I’ll be doing on that particular night…breaking out my copy of ‘Let There Be Rockgrass’ and heading over to the Arts Centre.
Wast

UK Subs
Red Flag 77
Wally & The Wankers
Saigon Kiss
The Railway, Ipswich
5th May 2006
It’s been a while since I ventured to the Railway for a gig. Previously it was notorious as a biker pub and this was reflected in the bands and punters giving it a particular appeal, or not depending on your musical tastes. Some well known bands have played there including Status Quo, Magnum and Girlschool but as you can see from that list it was a rather limited genre in terms of mass appeal.
Since Ray from the Saxmundham White Hart took over things have started to change. There’s still an ample selection of original rock and covers bands but this is now being interspersed with old school punk plus some up and coming local bands. All in all it’s becoming a well rounded venue with good facilities for live bands. That said it could seriously do with a facelift but from what I’ve heard recently this is on the cards. If successful it could make the Railway even more popular, recent gigs already generating some big crowds.
I hadn’t planned to go to this gig, not least as I was away for the rest of the weekend in London seeing Me First and the Gimme Gimmies but once I realised I was at a loose end this particular Friday night and Red Flag were playing it seemed a shame to miss out. I didn’t get to see the UK Subs when they played the old Drum & Monkey so this was a good opportunity to check them out too and see if time had been kind to Charlie Harper.
Arriving as Saigon Kiss were kicking off it was good to see so many there already. With the very reasonable admission fee paid and a good vantage point taken up near the bar we set about watching the first band on. Not the most original of punk bands it has to be said but you can’t fault them for energy or enthusiasm. The lead singer was climbing all over the wooden railings that surround the stage after only the 2nd or 3rd song such was his desire to get the crowd going. I suspect they often open bills like this as theirs is a very pedestrian set of 70’s punk but even so it was a good opening to what promised to be a great night.
A brief chat with Rikki Flag at his Know Your Product stall, during which time I secured the new Bad Religion DVD, and it was onto Wally and the Wankers. I’ve seen them a few times since their very first gig at The Smock a couple of years ago. I always thought they were a throw-away version of a Ramones style band but each time I see them they get better and better. Admittedly Boon Dog is never going to be the greatest singer but he isn’t half funny and he leads the band well through a ramshackle but incredibly entertaining set. Best of all, for me, was their punk / rap / hip-hop hybrid which they pulled off with considerable aplomb. Boony even battled through the after effects of the recent snip which had most blokes in the crowd wincing in sympathy !!!
After the recent withdrawal from a big European tour and with all the rumours that were flying around things didn’t look good for perennial Ippo fave’s Red Flag 77. However, a bit of time away to recharge the batteries and a couple of Camp David type summit meetings have seen the band return with renewed enthusiasm. It appears they’re going to limit gigs to a more manageable level which will hopefully enable them to carry on for a few more years to come. Let’s face it if you want quality 1970’s style punk rock there’s few better than the mighty Flag. Ok, so we’re a bit biased seeing as they’re from our home town but putting that aside I think they are pretty damned good. Frontman Rikki knows how to work a crowd, chatting in his own inimitable way between songs keeping the atmosphere right on the money. Musically they’ve been going long enough so as to rarely play a duff show. The recent (?) addition of Mickey on 2nd guitar has brought a much fuller sound and has made them tighter as a result. 2 full albums worth of material means they can vary the set now and prevents them from becoming predictable. For me, providing they always close with Football Crazy they can play whatever the hell they like as this song always makes me get down the front and get sweaty with the crowd…I would say the kids but lets face it we’re as old as the band.
Finally after all the previous noise it was time for headliners the UK Subs to drag their carcasses onstage. The only surviving member is original lead growler, Charlie Harper. He must be older than Lemmy but still seems to love the rock’n’roll lifestyle otherwise he wouldn’t still be doing it. Let’s face it he can’t be in it for the money ! Surrounded by a young band of accomplished musicians the Subs proceeded to knock out a set of punk standards culminating with ‘hit’ Warhead. I would provide a more accurate review but to be fair the Stella had taken grip and my ability to stand, let alone watch a band was being seriously impaired by this stage. From the few numbers I did see I am able to report that the crowd rocked, as did the band, so it would not surprise me to see them in the area again soon as there always seems to be an audience for them especially when so ably supported.
Wast

Me First & The Gimmie Gimmies
Billy No Mates
The Saint Catherines
London Astoria
7th May 2006
I need to preface this review by thanking Andrew from Beat Motel and Nanette from Fat Wreck Chords for trying to sort out an interview with the headliners. Sadly time constraints made it impossible for this to happen and it had no impact on my enjoyment of what was a fabulous show.
When this gig was cancelled last year I was very disappointed. MFATGG’s rarely tour Europe, the UK even less so I thought I’d missed my chance to see the world’s greatest punk covers band. Fortunately the shows were rearranged and duly sold out.
Montreal natives The Saint Catherines opened the show and these guys are current Fat Wreck favourites. Their 3 pronged guitar sound was very full and they certainly created a full on atmosphere on stage. I suspect the crowd were not that familiar with them or their recent debut release so the response was somewhat muted. That said there was good banter from the lead singer and they played an energetic set so I think they will return to these shores many times in the future.
Next up were Billy No Mates. Lead by Duncan from Snuff, Guns ‘N’ Wankers and, so I’ve heard, soon to be in the Toy Dolls. I got their debut CD from Ten Past Twelve Records when it came out last year and for whatever reason have only played it a few times. I felt it lacked the immediacy of earlier Snuff stuff. However in the live setting all the songs take on a whole different feel. If anything they become more Snuff-like, maybe Duncan’s voice is more prominent than on the album. Whatever it was it made for an incredible live show. A similar line-up musician-wise gave them a really clean sound…2 guitars and old school Hammond keyboard…so that when the classic Snuff tracks were played they sounded really fresh and vibrant. Plus any band that features a bass player resembling ‘Jay’ from the Kevin Smith films can’t be all bad !!!
The BNM set flew by and since the gig I’ve checked out the album again, I can’t recommend it enough and hopefully this brief support slot will encourage the band to tour and record some more.
A few minutes to grab much needed refreshment and stake our claim to a fabulous view in the upstairs area of the Astoria to wait for the Gimme Gimmies. I have to say I love this venue, if you want the hardcore crowd action there’s plenty to be had but equally if you want a good view while still soaking up the atmosphere you can’t beat the terrace like area upstairs that affords all a good view without the crush.
MFATGG’s amble onstage to a huge cheer. I think most UK fans have waited an age to see this band knowing the line-up can’t fail to deliver. Boasting members of punk legends Nofx, Lagwagon and The Swinging Utters combined with some outrageously good covers can only result in a cracking nights entertainment and we were not disappointed. All of us in our party had favourites we hoped they’d play and my mate was ecstatic when they opened with Rocket Man, easily blowing away the Elton John version. From the off it was clear that even though Fat Mike isn’t the lead singer he simply can’t stay away from leading the band. Whether actual lead singer, Spike Slawson, is happy about this is anyone’s guess. Irrespective he’s got a cracking voice that really fits the cheesy tunes they cover despite standing at the back near the amps and drums. Dressed in matching Hawaiian shirts and replete with day-glo guitars they tear through an 80 minute set stopping long enough to have a chuckle with the crowd, telling us how bad we are compared to last night and that they can’t wait to get to Nottingham where the crowds really appreciate them !
All sorts of crap gets thrown onto the stage to be cleared away by the one very dedicated roadie…however I wonder if the lad who threw his shoe in a fit of excitement regretted it when trudging home. With 4 good albums under their belts plus one decidedly average one (let’s face it ‘Johnny’s Bah mitzvah’ is a real piss take even for this band) gives them plenty of material to chose from and this they do with everything from show tunes to soul classics given the Gimme Gimmie treatment. Encoring while dressed as cowboys leaves us all with a broad smile on our faces even bearing in mind the long trek back to Ippo Rock City. So, if you ever get the chance to see this bunch of desperado’s live action, take it…you won’t be disappointed.
Wast

Foo Fighters
+Scott Matthews
Ipswich Regent
June 12th 2006
This should really be an optimistic review, but I don’t think that’s the outlook I’m going to take. Scott Matthews was a good musician, he has an amazing voice but I couldn’t really appreciate him because I was feeling really antsy and hoping I wouldn’t regret paying £27.50 which I didn’t really have. The Foo Fighters are a good band. It was worth going just to see Pat Smear playing with them, and it was obvious how much effort had gone into making the songs work acoustically. I couldn’t help wishing it wasn’t acoustic though. The atmosphere was just too laid back and a majority of the songs were from the acoustic disk of ‘In Your Honour’ and lacked the energy that the Foos have when they play plugged in. In was fantastic to see them in my hometown though. And the finale was ‘Everlong’ which I couldn’t possibly criticise; I just wasn’t as impressed as I hoped I would be.
Dayna

Foo Fighters
Scott Matthews
Ipswich Regent
Monday 12th June 2006
I never thought I would be sitting here typing a review of a Foo Fighters gig in my home town. That said the venue did everything they could to ruin a potentially magnificent night, the fact that it was an incredible show was purely down to the band.
If nothing else this gig proved that Ipswich as a large rock venue is finished. The Regent have no idea how to present a show or handle a crowd who want nothing more than to support the bands, be entertained and have a good time. This was apparent from the off when it took ages to get through the front doors. Security was so tight that all bags were searched (not that unusual I grant you) but anyone carrying a mobile phone was told to switch it off so that pictures could not be taken. Then we were all scanned with a hand-held metal detector, by this stage it was getting silly. Once in it was then a constant battle with the ape-like bouncers who’s main aim seemed to be to spoil the show. I know many will say “they’re just doing their job” but these guys seemed to take great pleasure in ensuring everyone stayed in their seat, removed anyone who even looked at a mobile phone (a girl behind us was removed and questioned for texting despite proving this and arguing that she was not taking pictures) and stood in the main walkways obscuring paying punters views until the complaints were so loud they had to move for fear of a walk out.
Ok, rant over…the heavy handed approach could not ruin this surprise gig. Let’s face it, who amongst the live music fan base of Ipswich ever thought we would see the Foo Fighters playing a secret acoustic show ? Certainly not me so once I got wind of it I was straight online to secure some tickets. I guess I got lucky as we had great seats only 30 feet from the stage. This and the other acoustic show on Wednesday are clearly designed to be a way of warming up for the full-blown electric set this coming Saturday in Hyde Park. Obviously such a massive event will lack the intimacy of last nights show and be an entirely different spectacle but still well worth going to.
This night opened with a set from Midlands singer / songwriter Scott Matthews. Clearly the support line-up for the Hyde Park gig would not be on view here but just imagine if we’d got acoustic sets from Queens of the Stone Age and Motorhead. Sadly I could not get into the slow, meandering bluesy songs of Scott Matthews. Maybe he just wasn’t my cup of tea but after 2 songs we had to leave our seats and retreat to the bar. A few mates told us he got better but judging by the rapidly growing queue for beer I somehow doubt that. It could be he was the wrong act for this crowd but whatever the reason I won’t be racing to see him again or buy his records.
The minimal support rig was cleared and the huge black curtain drawn back to reveal the Foo’s stage set up. Although an acoustic set it was good to see a full drum kit. I would have been disappointed to miss out on seeing Taylor Hawkins play as I consider him to be one of the best rock drummers out there right now. Even in the darkness it was possible to make out the silhouette of Dave Grohl as he ambled on to take up his position centre stage. Dressed all in black he greeted us with a beaming smile although clearly perplexed as to where in the world he actually was !
Positioning himself on the seat that was to be his main setting for the duration of the evening and grabbing an acoustic guitar from the selection that surrounded him Grohl chose to open the show with a solo number, Razor, from the recent In Your Honour recordings. Following the initial tumultuous applause that greeted him as he walked onstage the crowd fell into a kind of mesmerised silence, so thrilled were we all to be seeing this rock icon in the flesh.
Once the opening song had finished the rest of the band wandered on stage. Usually you would expect to see only FF band mates Nate, Taylor and Chris but tonight there were numerous additional players. Percussion, keys, violin / mandolin and another guitar were all added and this really filled out the sound well. Personally I was waiting for the more well known songs to be covered acoustically as that is what I love about these kind of gigs but most around us thought it would be a chance for the band to play the material from the 2nd CD of their most recent release….and this is exactly what they did. Virginia Moon, On The Mend and Miracle were all played faultlessly and the crowd lapped it up. For me this material is a little patchy but the night was not about individual tastes it was about losing yourself in an incredible event. It some ways it reminded me of the old acoustic jams that Led Zeppelin used to perform back in the 70’s, it had that laid back vibe about it.
Added to this was Dave Grohl’s perfect turn as host and front man. Interacting constantly with the crowd, still stunned as to where he was or how we all managed to get tickets for such a small place. Telling jokes and filling in expertly between songs he made an already excellent night even better. Sipping from a glass of Shiraz (how rock’n’roll) before introducing the band…the returning Pat Smear on second guitar probably got the biggest cheer of the night.
As the set wound towards it’s inevitable conclusion we were treated to Taylor Hawkins taking a turn on lead vocals and, for me, putting Grohl in the shade such was the quality of his voice. Petra Hadin took over vocals for Floaty from the debut CD before they ended with Times Like These. By this stage the crowd were on their feet and no bouncer was going to make us sit down again. After the protracted, but expected, delay Grohl returned to play us out with a solo version of Best Of you which had the hairs on the back of my neck standing up such was the power of the song and it’s delivery. Finally he struck the opening chord to Everlong and after the first 2 verses the band came back in to help finish this greatest of all Foo Fighters songs.
Although never the biggest Foo Fighters fan this show was too good an opportunity to pass up as I know in years to come I would have regretted not going. I love certain songs and The Colour and the Shape is still one of my favourite CD’s but since then I’ve always felt the FF’s recordings lacked quality throughout. However nothing could detract from the enjoyment of this show, sure I would love to have heard different songs, but the night was about seeing a band playing at the peak of their powers in a secret and obscure location, giving a packed house the kind of intimate evening they can tell their kids about. My greatest memory was looking at my girlfriend as we both just stood there grinning from ear to ear like children, such was the pleasure this show gave us.
Wast

Camera Obscura
+Francois and the Atlas Mountains
Colchester Arts Centre
June 13th 2006
I used to hate the French. That was, up until I saw Francois and the Atlas Mountains. A French man and his pals who can play instruments from the early learning centre, flail about on stage in a feminine manner, and still pull off sounding great were not something I had seen before. It’s a shame that there were only about a dozen people to actually see them. More people turned up and Camera Obscura took to the stage. I’d only heard two songs by them but I found them quite impressive. They’re a very mellow band and they appear to be a bit old-fashioned but the music is really beautiful, I’m not good at remembering song titles though. It was good to see them in such an intimate place. Although I’m not sure they even play bigger venues.
Dayna

Death Cab for Cutie
+Viva Voce
Carling Academy Brixton
28th June 2006
I had been looking forward to this for about four months, and I was right to be so excited. Viva Voce is a husband/wife combination, although live they had some other woman playing too. They were a really good band, their songs sound familiar in a really weird way, they were like the heavier bits of Death Cab with female vocals, and the guitar parts just sounded crazy. The drummer played a kazoo too! Death Cab for Cutie though, were pretty much flawless. They varied between the mellow and more electric songs and covered all of their albums. They were amazing to watch, the highlight being roadies bringing out and setting up a second drum kit during ‘We Looked Like Giants’ for Ben Gibbard to play, and then disassembling it all before the song was over. If you haven’t heard this band, listen to anything from ‘The Photo Album’ or ‘Transatlanticism’.
Dayna

Regina Spektor
+Only Son
The Junction, Cambridge
July 2nd 2006
I hate Cambridge. Everyone there is so polite and the number of bikes just scares me. But I overcame my fear of Cambridge in order to go to this gig. Only Son musically, was nothing particularly spectacular. He was good at what he did though, which is singing and playing acoustic guitar, and he was a real funny guy, or just brave enough to constantly heckle the crowd about how much he loves Oxford. He was a good warm up for Regina though. Regina Spektor was amazing. She is one of the best live acts I have ever seen, and one of the simplest too. She spent the set sitting at a keyboard, getting up to play the guitar very rarely and a one point simultaneously playing the keyboard whilst hitting a chair with a drumstick. Her music has been described as ‘children’s songs for adults’ and she is someone who really just has to be seen live.
Dayna

The Big
The Chancers
The Floating Maxwells
Ipswich - Drum & Monkey
5th July 2006
This was the first time I’d been to the D&M since it reopened. Apart from the fact it was like a sauna inside I am delighted to report it’s a cracking venue. They’re making no attempt for the left hand room to be anything other than a decent place to host bands and as a result it works really well. A good sized stage (with those awful railings now removed) and plenty of space to dance / watch the gig.
First up were The Floating Maxwells who I believe have formed out of the ashes of The Rejects. Frontman Uncle J and saxophonist Nickie have returned with a similar type of ska-based band but are now trying to encompass a range of styles into their sound as evidenced by the brief foray into rap (!). Apparently this was their first gig and apart from a few technical hitches it went very well, the songs were good and were well played. There was even some between song banter with J offering anyone a tenner if they would be the first to dance. I was also mightily impressed with drummer KY adding some excellent fills as well as taking lead vocals too. All in all a tidy start to this bands career, lets hope we see them in town again soon.
During the Maxwells set I spotted a diminutive chap at the front of the crowd. Sporting a classic 2-Tone t-shirt and being rather reminiscent of a smaller Buster Bloodvessel I thought here’s a bloke looking forward to a good night…turns out he was the lead singer of The Chancers !
As they completed their sound check he put down his bottle of beer, ambled up on stage and proceeded to lead this 9 piece band through a blistering set of Eastern European ska. Speaking to Roki from the Ballistics beforehand I’d been informed The Chancers were from the Czech Republic but the first voices I heard coming from the stage were distinctly south London and Scottish so I reckon they must have recruited members more locally. That said it doesn’t matter where the band comes from if they can play as good a set as this lot. Checking out their website later it seems they’re now getting used to playing UK gigs and I certainly hope they come back again soon as once they’d got up a head of steam they really got the D&M skanking with loads of people dancing.
After a brief break to cool down and recharge the beer glass it’s time to catch up with The Big. I saw them at this very venue several years ago supporting perennial Ippo faves LoveJunk and they were so good I’ve tried to see them every time they’ve come back since. It’s probably been a year since they visited the Steamboat and if it wasn’t for the fact lead singer / guitarist Ed is so huge then I wouldn’t have recognised him as he strolled around the bar beforehand. Normally sporting a crew cut he’s now decided to grow out his ‘fro and take possession of a massive, Grizzly Adams style beard. I’ve never seen someone’s appearance change so radically but fortunately it hasn’t changed the quality of his performance onstage as he’s his normal entertaining self. Strangely for someone who thinks he’s such a fan of the band I’ve only actually got one album, Last Chance, but the lack of familiarity with other songs in the set never stops the enjoyment. The musicianship is always spot on but it never gets so technical as to spoil the vibe of the set. You can sing or dance along to every number this band plays such is the infectious nature of each tune. All the favourites are played with ‘Essex Wanker’ getting a particularly loud cheer. By the end of the set the crowd, and the band themselves, are flagging from the extreme heat in the venue but that doesn’t stop them inviting all members of the support bands on stage for a 5 minute ska jam. It’s quite a sight to see 15 plus people playing a variety of instruments all thoroughly enjoying themselves and seeing the crowd get off equally as much.
I’ve now made it a priority to check out the rest of their albums as each time I see The Big I’ve clearly forgotten what a good band they are and just how great their music is. If they come to a town near you it’d be a mistake to miss out, take it from me these boys (and girls) play up a storm !
Wast

Pretty Girls Make Graves
+Lost Alone
Carling Academy Islington
July 6th 2006
After going to the Carling Academy in Brixton I was kinda disappointed by the one in Islington, it’s a lot smaller but still a really great venue. Lost Alone, for me, weren’t anything special, they sounded like a lot of other bands but obviously had a real passion for their music which is really good to see. I don’t actually know what to label their music, I’m not sure if pop-rock really fits. Anyway, turns out the person I went with thought PGMG were Miss Black America and so he ruined the night for me. PGMG experienced sound troubles during the first song but it didn’t sway them and their set was very tight and the bassist very sweaty. Their best album though is Good Health and they played nothing off that album. Replacing a guitarist with a keyboard/accordion player sometimes worked but an aspect of their sound has just disappeared now. Their new stuff is alright but I probably wouldn’t go out of my way to see them again.
Dayna

Bossk
Symmetry
I Piñata
Ipswich - Drum & Monkey
23rd July 2006
I missed the first band, although apparently they only did one song then everything fell apart. Sadly the second band wasn’t even in Ipswich let alone at the Drum & Monkey. But no matter, the band I was really here to see was Bossk. I’d heard rave reports since their last gig in Ippo and was gagging to get a first hand gawp at the action this time round. As soon as they started their set Bossk changed the mood of the room, their instrumental sound is sultry and down tuned without sounding at all trad-metal or even morbid. When they were light they were uplifting and relaxing, when they were heavy they were enveloping and demanding but oddly comforting. I was stunned by their sound and the whole set was only slightly spoilt by the hint of rock star bullshit attitude that the bassist was showing. I appreciate it was the end of the tour and they must all be exhausted but be nice! Their set swirled to a massive climax and just when I thought it couldn’t get any more intense another guitarist leapt up on stage and some lad ran onto the stage and started vocals. Imense, intense and a near religious experience. If you like Mogwai, Pelican, Red Sparowes and just about any heart endingly heavy bank then check out Bossk!
Andrew Culture

Guns and Roses
Bullet for my Valentine
Skid Row
Birmingham NEC
25th July 2006
Last night was a strange one.
First up, Sebastian Bach's band played first with Bullet for my Valentine playing second. What's that all about? Bullet stuck out like a sore thumb, 2 classic rock bands sandwiching a metalcore band that didn't really inspire on any level. They had an army of young fans who all looked the same and no joke, actually got really emotional when they played, as if their lives were now complete having seen the band.
The second thing that was strange was that Axl was on time, lamb dinner or no lamb dinner, he was on stage at 9.30 on the dot. Blasting straight into Welcome to the Jungle, "Guns" (I'm putting in inverted commas, well, you'll see why) ripped into an eruption of old songs straight from the get go, Jungle, Mr Brownstone, It's So Easy, they reeled them off like they hadn't been away for so long. Axl moving and working the stage, showing no sign of ever slowing up.
Here's where it gets stranger. After the songs, there was pretty much complete silence and I could actually talk to my mate Whinney and hear him clearly without raising my voice. Now and again Axl would introduce a guitarist and he'd have a solo slot to "entertain" the crowd. I'll mention at this point that "Guns" have three guitarists and a bass player, the three guitarists only interested in showing how many notes they can play in the short space of time. The solo's to the classic songs were tweaked here and there to give an individual feel and made me feel empty, kind of like looking at a photocopy of the Mona Lisa. You know what it should look like, but for some reason it has no soul.
"Guns" new songs have an air of "epic" about them, Axl really pushing everything into them but maybe too much. It saddened me in a way to hear the new songs and look around the crowd, who clearly didn't have a clue what was going on. Maybe he should have released "Chinese Democracy" before embarking on a tour, but who's to say?
The last strangest thing was a Mr Izzy Stradlin showing up and then virtually playing the last three quarters of the set with them, now having four guitarists on stage!
A good night nevertheless but for all the wrong reasons. Having now heard Skid Row songs live, slapped a huge smile on my face. Having seen Guns N Roses made me realise that maybe Axl should give up the name. Lets face it, they haven't been Guns since they split, and unfortunetly, they never will be again for me.
Lu

GOOD CLEAN FUN
OVERTON, ST.LUKES HALL
27TH JULY 2006
Posi hardcore? For me that's just another term for your straight edge, no drugs, no drink, no smoking, no meat. Well I approve of two of those beliefs (which two will be up for you to decide). Good Clean Fun are a great band though and I'm quite looking forward to checking them out.
Overton is a bizarre place though, small village in the middle of nowhere yet it has an awesome d.i.y. scene. It's full of kids from well what looks like 12 up to about 25, and then a few of us that are that little bit older.
A place full of emo looking kids, fringes and tight black jeans.
I managed to miss the first 3 bands but turned up to see what quite honestly is one of the worst bands I've ever seen. Biff Tannen. Great name, but I don't really see the need to cuss with every other word, abuse the audience.
They look about 16, they're drinking Strongbow and they have a how to swear by number dictionary. Every word you could think of is coming out of their mouths....the kids these days...potty mouthed! I'm sure they could be good if thye just learned to stop being so abusive. I'm sure playing in Overton to their mates is one thing, but for other people it's not the way to introduce them to your band. Only positive note about them was when he gave a shout out to my beard! You gotta respect the beard!
So onto Good Clean Fun - a band from Washington and well 2 of them look they could be in a hardcore band. The other 3 now so much. Before they start we are treated to a talk on animal rights and being veggie/vegan from one of their mates. Yeah she makes a great point but I still plan on getting a kebab on the way home. First up is the song “Good Clean Fun” and right away the crowd is in a right frenzy with slam dancing, wall of deaths and just an intense circle pit. More fast paced tunes like Loserdotcom, Song For The Ladies and Positive Hardcore follow. You really should be checking this band out, it’s super crazy if you don’t.
http://www.myspace.com/goodcleanfun
Mr. T
----------------------------------
GOOD CLEAN FUN
THE STEAL
MIKE PARK
CHIEF
KINGSTON PEEL
28TH JULY 2006
Yes I know another Good Clean Fun review, but sod it! The Peel is a pretty nice little venue, although the stage does spoil it a bit, there's just something much nicer about a floor show. First up are Liverpool band Chief.
Now I wanted to like these guys before hearing them as the singer's twin brother used to drum for my band. But luckily they are actually damn amazing. Power, politics and a sound like Strike Anywhere. Yep that's what I'm talking about, great band, thoroughly impressed - so check them out.
Next up is head honcho of Asian Man Records, Mike Park doing a short solo set with him and his acoustic guitar. Normally acoustic stuff drags but not today. Mike Park is great - check out "Don't sit next to me just because I'm Asian" if you don't know the song already. Also a Billy Bragg cover is always spot on, so far this is shaping up to be a great night.
Then it's the turn of The Steal. I band I have heard so much about and still haven't managed to see. Can they live up to the hype? Erm...yes!
Again super fast paced hardcore stuff, it's Kid Dynamite influenced for sure. Another band to definitely check out.
So to Good Clean Fun. As you have probably read I saw them last night as well and they are never going to be able to top the Overton show. Overton is a scene unto itself. Again the girl talks about going veggie + vegan beforehand. Not me thanks. But this set is once again full of passion, pretty much the same songs as last night. The crowd are into them that's for sure, maybe not as passionate as in Overton though. Sing-along posi hardcore, is this the way forward? Good Clean Fun are a great band, maybe the girl guitarist could look like she was as much into it as the bass player, she kinda stands there (apart from taking her turn on the vocals) and looks kinda not into it at times, I'm sure she is though.
So to be honest this was one of the best shows for enjoying every band on the bill that I've been too for ages. But you all need to be checking Good Clean Fun out - in fact use Myspace and you can check their awesome "The Myspace Song" out - what are you waiting for? Do it now.
Mr. T

AIDEN
BAYSIDE
THE AUDITION
THE SLEEPING
EXETER LEMON GROVE
SEPTEMBER 22ND
VICTORY 2006 TOUR
"The Victory Records 2006 tour hits Exeter tonight, and it looks like the crowds in the Universitys Lemon Grove couldn't be more ready for its invasion. Tonight will see four bands- all from the States- hit the stage to a crowd of lively fans who are evidently eager for the show to begin. The first to hit the stage tonight are upcoming alternative rock band The Sleeping, who warm the audience up a treat with infectious songs like 'Don't Hold Back' that succeed in getting everyone moving. By the end of their set, Exeter has evidently warmed to this band- you would never guess it was their first tour in England.
Next up are Chicago pop-punkers The Audition, who perform exceptionally well and get the crowd singing with favourites such as 'You Made Us Concious'. They are incredibly well received, and their set seems to end all too quick.
When New Yorkers Bayside take to the stage, theres a sense of excitement in the crowd, but after the energetic performances from The Sleeping and The Audition, even the classic 'Devotion and Desire' fails to get anyone moving. There are a lot of Bayside fans here tonight, though, and it seems that everyone has respect for this band, who put their hearts into their live show. After much applause, Bayside leave the stage and the band everyone has been waiting for- Aiden- begin their long awaited set. There's no band that can come close to Aidens success right now, and they know it. Everyone goes absolutely mad when they play favourites including 'Knife Blood Nightmare' and 'See You In Hell', and this almost immaculate live show proves just why Aiden are so big right now. F our amazing bands plus an extremely lively crowd made this a night not to be missed- the Victory Records invasion has started!"
Sarah Smith

THE LEMONHEADS
OXFORD BROOKES UNIVERSITY
10TH OCTOBER 2006
The Lemonheads are back touring with a new album and single to promote.
With only one original member still in place it's hardly The Lemonheads that became a popular force on the festival circuit in the 90's. Evan Dando however is an icon but tonight to be honest with you it's not the normal fun performance you expect from him. He's hardly said anything to the crowd throughout the set, it's as if he's just getting on with business. The classics are all there "Down About It", "Confetti", "Hospital" and "It's A Shame About Ray" but it's song after song after song. Dare I say Dando can't really be bothered tonight, or maybe he's letting the songs speak for themselves. The normal acoustic set nearer the end of the set is of course there. But the normally chirpy Dando just rushes through them and manages to cram eleven acoustic songs in. Including "Ride With Me", "The Outdoor Type", "Being Around" and "All My Life". I can't fault them musically, I grew up listening to them, I love the new album and I'm thoroughly enjoying the set. I just wish he seemed more happy like he always used to be. Maybe the crowd doesn't help. I remember going to packed out Lemonheads shows in the 90's and the audience would be bouncing along singing every word. I guess people have grown up, everyone looks older and there's a definite lack of bouncing. Gone are the indie band t-shirts, people are there in jumpers from Next and Shirts from Gap. Still, the performance musically is very tight, highly enjoyable. And the encore includes "It's About Time" and final crowd pleaser for the night "Rudderless". The Lemonheads are still one of the greatest bands around for sure.
Mr. T