BE YOUR OWN PET – Get Awkward


BE YOUR OWN PET
GET AWKWARD

(XL)
Teen angst gets a sexy electro overhaul.
4/5
The second, more refined album from the Nashville foursome sees erratic garage rock at it’s most blinding and abrasive. Like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs on speed, singer Jemina Pearl sweetly snarls (yes a contradiction but it works!) punk vitriol over angular guitars with a series of fast and bewildering songs. From defying growing up in ‘Super Soaked’, to violent high school bitterness in ‘Becky’ and a refreshing rockabilly feel to anti-love song ‘Zombie Graveyard Party’ reminiscent of Zombina And The Skeletones; ‘love is lame so let me eat your brain’. Pearl’s vocals range from sugary sweet to a gravel voiced vixen, flowing deliciously along with the sheer dynamism of the album, briefly finding its softer moments with indignant ‘You’re A Waste’. A collection of raw and frantic pop songs with a punk heart that chronicle growing up in a refreshing and surprisingly mature manner.
Sarah Cakebread

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BURNT CROSS – Carcass of Humanity

BURNT CROSS
CARCASS OF HUMANITY

(Pumpkin)
Modern UK anarcho duo.
3/5
Comprising solely of brothers Paul and Rob Marriott, and, Burnt Cross, who formed last year in Brighton, now take up the mantle of old-fashioned anarcho punk, all recorded on an 8-track desk in Rob’s bedroom. Full marks for determination and ingenuity, then, with integrity taken as read (even the worst anarcho types meant well), but how do the boys shape up musically? Well, with their self-imposed restrictions of genre, personnel and recording facilities, the lads have done well, displaying decent songwriting and undoubted commitment that would have easily ranked alongside the likes of Crass et al back in the day.
Shane Baldwin

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THE BUSINESS – Mean Girl

 

THE BUSINESS
MEAN GIRL

(Bad Dog)
Original Sarf Lahndan OI!-sters, still with us
4/5
It was a sad day when guitarist Steve Whale left long-standing Oi! outfit the Business, but singer Micky Fitz soldiers on, and the three powerful new recordings on this ep bode well for the future of the band, even if they are all covers. The title track is an old Status Quo song, and one of their better ones, but the stand-out is the Professionals’ classic ‘1-2-3′, as Fitz’s vocals aren’t a million miles away from Steve Jones’ original. Shame the track listing gets it and the Bruisers’ ‘Til The End’ the wrong way round. The ep is rounded off nicely with an impromptu 15 minute live set recorded at the Marquee way back in June 1982, and treat it is too.
Shane Baldwin

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DONITA SPARKS & THE STELLAR MOMENTS – Transmiticate

 

DONITA SPARKS & THE STELLAR MOMENTS
TRANSMITICATE

(Sparksfly)
Solo venture from L7 frontwoman
3/5
Donita Sparks is something of a stateswoman of rock, recording this on her own label and as a founder of CASH Music.org (which seeks to find sustainable ways of making music a sustainable livelihood) she’s fiercely independent, this is reflected in her music. There’s very much the Joan Jett about her, the riffs rock, the production is glam but dirty and the melodies part agro part angel. ‘Dare Dare’ is a great, sleazy pop song, part the Breeders part the Donnas it’s the albums highlight. The rest of the album is competent and this is incredibly well arranged, the only downfall is the lack of songs as strong as ‘Dare Dare’ and the occasional veer into MOR rock.
Jonathan Falcone

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DOWN & OUTS – Friday Night, Monday Mornings


DOWN AND OUTS
FRIDAY NIGHT, MONDAY MORNINGS

(Dead & Gone)
Second full length from these scouse melodic punk scallywags
4/5
It’s always great to hear Brit punk spat forth in its native tongue and the snotty Liverpudlian accents on this record really adds to the already tasty mix of early ’77 style punk ala Clash or Buzzcocks with the more modern ‘90s Bay Area, Lookout sound of Green Day or Rancid. The eleven tracks here are pure working class punk anthems citing the weekly timetable of humdrum work followed by weekend partying. It’s gritty yet catchy, is instantly likeable and one that the listener can really relate to. These northern lads have done good!
Miles Hackett

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THE FORGOTTEN – The Forgotten


THE FORGOTTEN
THE FORGOTTEN

(TKO)
Sprightly US street punk
4/5
San Jose street punks the Forgotten have been doing the rounds, and doing some damned fine work, since 1997, but this self-titled album is certainly their best release to date. Produced by Rancid’s Lars Frederiksen (not Tim Armstrong, as stated on the press release), who also chipped in with some guitar and backing vocals and co-wrote brooding closing track ‘Endless Parade’, this is pretty slick stuff, but never lacking in spirit or bite.
Shane Baldwin

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THE HELLACOPTERS – Head Off

 

THE HELLACOPTERS
HEAD OFF

(Wild Kingdom)
Swedish rock n’ roll kings sign off.
4/5
Well it seems Nicke Andersson is finally calling time on the Hellacopters and this will be their final album. And that’s a same, ‘cos this seventh album is twelve slices of super-catchy, melodic, 70’s rock n’ roll that kicks chrome-plated ass from start to finish. This is great top down, foot to the floor driving music with huge choruses on the likes of ‘Midnight Angels’ and ‘In the Sign of the Octopus’. At times sounding both like Australian punk legends Radio Birdman or Finnish neighbours Hanoi Rocks, ‘Head Off’ is a great way to go out and in these times of copycat emo bands and anonymous metal it’s a super charged shot of powered up punk, pop and rock n’ roll that’s a real breath of fresh air. Check ‘em out before they’re gone.
El Prez

 

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THEE MERRY WIDOWS – The Devil’s Outlaws


THEE MERRY WIDOWS
THE DEVIL’S OUTLAWS

(People Like You)

All-girl Psychobilly crew with attitude
4/5
Judging by the promotional shots, it’s a fairly safe bet Thee Merry Widows are not the kind of ladies you mess with. Fronted by burlesque queen Eva Von Slut, this Californian quintet have established themselves as major players on the US psychobilly scene. They’ve played with the likes of The Meteors, Demented Are Go, Mad Sin and Necromantix and have even followed Johnny Cash’s footsteps by playing at San Quentin. For the most part they play straight up Psychobilly only straying slightly with Misfit’s style Horrorpunk on ‘I Want ‘Em Dead’ and the slow and sleazy ‘Snakebite Kinda Love’. At a time when the genre is starting to attract a number of bandwagon jumping chancers, these girls are here to show them how it’s done.
Lee Cotterell

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GEOFFREY OI!COTT – The Good, The Bad & The Googly

 

GEOFFREY Oi!COTT
THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE GOOGLY

(Boss Tuneage)
Street punk, Yorkshire style.
3/5
It was surely only a matter of time before someone would take the Oi! movement to its logical conclusion by bringing the supremely British subject matter of cricket into the equation. And that someone, ladies and gentlemen, is the band known as Geoffrey Oi!Cott, an outfit also fixated with darts, lager and their native Yorkshire. Alright, you’re not falling for this are you? Geoffrey Oi!Cott are of course a spoof band, but like Hard Skin, they have the sound nailed well and proper, showing genuine knowledge and affection for the genre. The album name and sleeve, outrageously aping the 4-Skins’ first album is also a nice touch.
Shane Baldwin

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OUTL4W – Outl4w

 

OUTL4W
OUTL4W

(Destiny)
Scary kids, getting it right.
4/5
It’s a sure sign that you’re getting old when you’re at a festival telling a friend a few facts about the band on stage, he asks “Do you know them, then?”, and you’re forced to admit “No, but I do know their Dad”. The Dad in question is John Bentham, who ran the Jettisoundz video company back in the ‘80s, and now oversees many of Cherry Red’s punk DVD releases, and the fruits of his loins are Bobby, Will, and Jack, who along with Stuart Newburn make up the frighteningly youthful Outl4w. At that festival, Blackpool 2006, the band tore up the stage, no doubt putting the wind up many more seasoned performers, and since then they’ve gone from strength to strength, touring far and wide and putting out a string of fine releases. However, there was always a niggling doubt that the novelty of their precociousness may have had at least something to do with the support of the media, and that it must eventually wear off. Now that the band are weary old war-horses, four years into their career and well into their teens (!), the moment of truth has arrived with their first album. But happily, this album, though brief, is the goods, 27-odd minutes of furious, exuberant punk rock, just the right mixture of old school, hardcore and tinges of metal, the stand-out track being joyous singalong ‘Sonic Youth’.
Shane Baldwin

 

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THE FLYING PADOVANIS – Three For Trouble

 

THE FLYING PADOVANIS
THREE FOR TROUBLE

(Diesel Motor)
Instrumental rock ’n’ rumble.
4/5
Corsican twangmeister (and founder member of The Police) Henry Padovani received a definite nudge in the right direction when drag-punk queen Wayne County presented him with a Ventures LP. From that point on the gospel of the reverb-heavy guitar instrumental would be Padovani’s creed; hooking up with former UK Subs bassist Paul Slack and future Johnny Thunders sticksman Chris Musto, over the next five years Padovani would take the rumble to the masses. Three For Trouble pulls together the cream of the Padovanis output, and while in their day they might have seemed an anachronistic throwback to the surf instro’s golden age, with hindsight it’s evident that Henry’s made some highly creditable entrees into that noble genre; ripe for rediscovery, and impeccably timed for their upcoming string of reunion dates.
Hugh Gulland

 

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DIMI DERO INC – Sisyphus, Window Cleaning


DIMI DERO INC
SISYPHUS, WINDOW CLEANING

(Bang)

Red-eyed boneshaking gallic rock’n’roll
4/5
This is a break from the norm for Basque country ozziephobes Bang records, who’ve gone out on a limb for a rare non-Australian signing, France’s Dimi Dero Inc. As it turns out though, Sysiphus, Window Cleaning doesn’t present too much of a departure for the label; DD Inc seem to be highly versed in down under rock ’n’ roll’s whiplash dynamics, which isn’t to say these guys are mere imitators; Little Birds and other such cuts of kinetic rockin’ nastiness indicate this outfit have enough of their own to bring to the party, although they’ve learned their lessons well from such anitipodean luminaries as the Scientists and the Birthday Party, whose lingering influence is acknowledged on the closing track, a searing blast through Rowland S Howard’s wonderful Sleep Alone.
Hugh Gulland

 

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WASTED YOUTH – Wild and Wandering


WASTED YOUTH
WILD AND WANDERING

(Cherry Red)

One from the vaults of the proto-gothic trailblazers.
3/5
Denizens of Canning Town‘s fabled rock ’n’ roll hangout the Bridge House, Wasted Youth explored the darker reaches of rockin’ hedonism, matching their nihilistic shades-after-dark credo with an attendant lifestyle that’s done at least one of their former members no favours at all. As an artefact of those times, Wild and Wandering is a shadowy atmospheric affair replete with pre-gothic musical stylings and post-Joy Division self-introspective angst. The morose musings of vocalist Ken Scott (along with the band’s over-reliance on state-of-the-art eighties digi-pedals) might put Wasted Youth rather firmly in the ‘miserablist’ corner, but when the ’Youth hit their stride – as with the melodic Games or the driving I Wish I Was A Girl – they strike an adequate claim for a place on the post-punk map.
Hugh Gulland

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NEW DISASTER – Last Night Rites


NEW DISASTER
LAST NIGHT RITES

(Tex-Tone)
Low down, dirty G’n’R loving Rock revivalists.
3/5
It comes as no surprise to learn that Texan rockers New Disasters formed from the ashes of a Guns ‘N’ Roses tribute act as that band’s influence is writ large all over this album. It comes as even less of a surprise to find them opening up for the likes of the Drowning Pool, LA Guns, Skid Row and Quiet Riot. The one thing they have got that sets them apart the legions of overproduced, poodle rock worshipping wannabes is a love of harder rockers like Rose Tattoo, The Stooges and the Dead Boys and some of that all important dirt has rubbed off them. So no points for originality but at least they do this thing with some balls.
Lee Cotterell

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VARIOUS ARTISTS – The Night of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Mutants

 

VARIOUS ARTISTS
THE NIGHT OF THE ROCK ‘N’ ROLL MUTANTS

(Pumpkin)
A budget priced global Psychobilly sampler.
5/5
This is a Psychobilly sampler defining the state of the genre now in 2008. It collects bands from the world over and quality tracks at that. The whole gamut of the variations of a musical style that rather than the just ‘refusing to die’ stage it languished in for much of the 1990s, at least in UK, that is back in full flow. This is probably the fist global celebration of Neo- Psychobilly with only The Hangmen and The Go-Katz representing the old school though both bands have evolved alongside the new nutters on the block. Twenty killer tracks too good to pick out a standout in the wordage allowed, an essential purchase for curious and converted alike.
Simon Nott.

 

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THE JUKE JOINT PIMPS – Boogie the House Down

 

THE JUKE JOINT PIMPS
BOOGIE THE HOUSE DOWN

(Voodoo Rhythm)
Talk about authentic, the birth of rock n roll in the 21st century.
4/5
The popular belief is that Elvis Presley wandered into Sun Records in 1954, laid down ‘That’s Alright Mama’ and Rock N Roll was born. The truth is that ‘Rock N Roll (street slang for fucking) had been bashed out since the early 40s by a myriad of artists playing up-tempo jumping blues, filthy lyrics, a stomping beat and even filthier distorted electric guitars being the omnipresent features. What we have with The Juke Joint Pimps is a stunningly authentic take on those days of proto Rock n Roll. This could be seamlessly played alongside a collection from the vaults. Everyone seems to be doing ‘roots’ this month, but none better than these guys.
Simon Nott

 

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X-RAY SPEX

 

So its true, Poly Styrene is putting on her X-RAY SPEX again. Here we have a quick look at their history.


X-RAY SPEX SPECS

 

X-Ray Spex formed in London in 1976 with the original line up of Poly Styrene on vocals, Jak Airport on guitars, Paul Dean on bass, Paul B.P. on drums and Lora Logic on saxophone.

Poly Styrene found members by placing adverts in musical papers NME and Melody Maker.

The band existed between 1976 and 1979, releasing five singles (‘Oh Bondage, Up Yours’, ‘Identity’, ‘The Day The World Turned Day-Glo’, ‘Germ Free Adolescents’ and ‘Highly Inflammable’) and one album ‘Germ Free Adolescents’.

Their music, although punk-based, was less centred on nihilism and anger and more around colourful wit and mockery.

The first gig they played was at The Roxy in Covent Garden after just six rehearsals. It was energetic and messy – as can be heard on the ‘Live At The Roxy’ album.

Single ‘Oh Bondage, Up Yours’, which was released by Virgin Records in 1977, has often been recognised as their best known song despite not hitting the charts.

Their lyrics often discussed rampant commercialism in an increasingly sterile and artificial world.

Poly Styrene refused to be seen as a sex symbol, stating that “If anyone tried to make me one I’d shave my head tomorrow”

Poly Styrene left the band in 1979 to release a solo album ‘Translucence’ before joining the Hare Krishna movement alongside Lora Logic who left the band in 1977 aged just 16.

The band reformed twice, once in 1991 sans-Poly playing a sell-out gig at the Brixton Academy and again in 1995 with Poly back in the frame.

Reforming without Poly was seen as a mistake by Lora Logic, who said “You can’t really have it without Poly”.

The second reformation led to the release of their second and last album, ‘Conscious Consumer’

The album was a commercial failure, mostly down to the lack of tour and promotion due to Poly being run over by a fire engine and breaking her pelvis.

Jak Airport died through cancer in 2004 after working for the BBC’s Corporate and Public Relations department.

The band is set to reform once again in September at the Roundhouse in Camden. The reunion will include original members Poly Styrene and bassist Paul Dean.

Lora’s mother was born in Finland, where Lora is now known as "The Godmother of Punk".

Touring and promotional work for ‘Conscious Consumer’ was cut short when Poly was run over by a fire engine in central London, luckily escaping with only a fractured pelvis.

 

X-RAY SPEX play Londons Roundhouse on Sept 6th. Look out for a full interview with Polystyrene on Vivelepunk soon.

 

 

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