Former Murderdolls, Dope and Trashlight Vision man returns.
Known for his work in a range of dark glam rock/punk bands, it’s refreshing to hear New York musician Acey Slade explore a more experimental sound with his new project, The Dark Party. Working with English drum and bass producer Shaun Morris (DJ Stakka), this is a collision of sneering punk vocals, pop rock melodies and electronic atmospherics. Slade’s trademark dark themes and gloomy lyrics give this intriguing (poisoned) cocktail an added kick on tracks such as ‘Sugarcum’, ‘Spiders In A Snowglobe’ and a throbbing electro cover of The Cult’s ‘She Sells Sanctuary’. Fans of Placebo, Bowie and Murderdolls should join this spellbinding dark party.
Rachel Owen

Them XX
Their first ‘best of’ but with only 12 tracks?
The dozen tracks that you get here are as you would expect from the Swedish veteran rockers. If you have nothing by them in your collection and you are curious you get some killer sleaze punk rock tracks and an extensive 32-page booklet. If you are a fan already and have the previous six albums there is little reason to buy this. They have been knocking about for 20 years and it begs the question – why such a half-arsed go at a ‘best of’ now they’ve finally done one? However, you can’t argue with the quality of the songs and it’s a great starting point for newcomers.
Simon Nott

Beans On Toast
Standing On A Chair
(Xtra Mile)
Massive fifty-track double album from this cheeky Essex songsmith.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the quirky acoustic ramblings of one-man band Beans On Toast just think Frank Turner with his tongue firmly wedged in his cheek. His raspy doodlings on life, drugs and politics are brimming with an inimitable humour that sets him aside from most alt-singer-songwriters. There is an awful lot to digest here but tracks like 'M-D-M-Amazing', 'Fuck The Smoking Ban' and 'An Afternoon With Henry Rollins' are short yet sweet and will leave a wry smile embossed across your face. Beans On Toast is a welcome breath of thought-provoking yet amusing fresh air.
Miles Hackett

(Fuel Injection)
Former Cock Sparrer man’s blues-soaked return.
Gary Lammin penned many of street punk legends Cock Sparrer’s greatest songs, including the glorious ‘Running Riot’. Since then he’s had various musical projects, worked with Joe Strummer and become a regular actor on shows like ‘The Bill’. Now he’s back with an album recorded in just 12 hours that’s a fantastic mix of Sparrer style rock ‘n’ roll mixed with slide guitar and a dose of the Rolling Stones. It’s lo-fi, it’s pub-rock and, with members of Chelsea and the Heavy Metal Kids keeping rhythm, the Joyriders are a great burnout live. It ain’t reinventing the wheel kid, but it’s a retrotastic, blues-soaked cruise down the highway. Count me in!
Eugene Big Cheese

Black Box Revelation
(T For Tunes)
Enticing garage-blues from the Brussels duo.
I’m not sure what’s stirring in the Low Countries, but along with last year’s offering from the Hickey Underworld, this third album from Black Box Revelation seems to indicate a healthy Belgian scene poised to break big. With their uniquely fried take on the garage-blues, Black Box Revelation exhibit that spiky quality that characterises the current Benelux underground. The upbeat roadhouse stomp of ‘High On A Wire’ opens proceedings and there’s similarly energetic fare on the frazzled juke-joint raver ‘Run Wild’. But it’s the downbeat ruminations of the sinuous ‘Love Licks’ that provide ‘Silver Threats’ with more evocative moments, and closing cut ‘Here Comes The Kick’ is a haunting mantra.
Hugh Gulland

Black Breath
Heavy Breathing
(Southern Lord)
New anger-fuelled hardcore debut from Seattle.
When you mix an influence of Swedish black metal and US hardcore the result is going to be something special, and Black Breath certainly are. Blasting drums, screaming vocals and technical guitar riffs are what this quintet is all about. One listen to their dark, heavy first full-length will make you angry as hell – in a good way. Sounding as if The Banner and Trap Them made a deal with the devil, this is pure rage. It is no surprise that hardcore giants Converge have asked the band to go on tour with them as main support and tear up the States. 2010 is going to bring big things for Black Breath.
Tim Birkbeck

South Wales bruisers keep it simple but impressively effective.
Self-proclaimed ‘South Wales heavyweights’ Chains Of Hate certainly deliver the goods on this, their debut EP. Right from the off, it’s obvious this lot aren’t ones to mess around, as the intro’s meaty chug and intense drumming promises plenty of vein-popping muscle to follow, which the ensuing six tracks more than deliver. Taking obvious influence from the mid-90’s hardcore scene (especially Madball), ‘Cold Harsh Reality’ is no-frills stuff, but, what numbers like ‘C.H.R.’ and ‘Fading Fast’ lack in subtlety and invention, they more than make up for in sheer brute force.
Nick Mann

I Was Trying To Describe You To Someone
(Bridge Nine)
Sophomore B9 release from the Long Island quintet.
Crime In Stereo's last album ‘...Is Dead’ saw the band stray from their early hardcore sound into a more post-hardcore vibe. ‘I Was Trying..’ heads deeper into that territory, leaving behind the influence of Lifetime for a sound more akin to ‘Deja Entendu’-era Brand New (the production is handled ably by long-time Brand New
producer Mike Sapone). Intricate songwriting with bold and striking sonic execution make this a really progressive listen. Complex and dynamic yet absorbing is the only way to describe what Crime In Stereo have achieved here, giving a stagnant genre a precision kick to the groin.
Miles Hackett

Elvis Jackson
Against The Gravity
Slovenians mix styles on fourth album.
How many Slovenian bands can you name? Me neither. With a string of impressive support slots fulfilled (Faith No More, Offspring), this fourth record even has FNM’s Billy Gould twiddling the knobs. Considering the potential disaster likely to occur when attempting to mash together ska, reggae, metal and punk, ‘Against The Gravity’ is really quite palatable. In the same way that FNM enjoyed keeping their fans guessing, EJ have a knack for writing particularly catchy songs that transcend various genres. If Faith No More, Pennywise and Devildriver had kids… well, you get the idea. It’s good, but Elvis Jackson, who are you?
Gary Lancaster

The Fallen Leaves
(Parliament records)
Second installment of tasty mod-pop from the ex-Subway Secters
Spiritually rooted in the Marquee club when it still boasted a Wardour Street address, the Fallen Leaves continue to explore a rich seam of maximum R&B with this characteristic set of tightly-cranked mod-pop janglers. With the gain turned up high on the amps and an economical directness, That’s Right packs in succinct jabs from the songwriting team of Rob Green and Rob Symmons. Shades of vintage Townshend and Davies are conjured up on cuts like My Phantoms or Misdemeanour, while the band’s historical fascinations are touched on in The International Brigade. Closing with the sublime and tender When You’re Gone, the Leaves’ second is another concise and energetic statement.
Hugh Gulland

Falling Red
Shake The Faith
Sex, rock ‘n’ roll and er… sheep?
This is high-octane sleaze rock at its filthiest – the kind that dirt-mongers Motley Crüe would be proud of. Think powering, thundering rock that was made for ladies in skimpy undies to gyrate to, men to rock out to and for large amounts of whiskey to be drunk to. Yet despite their strong American sound that feels like it was destined for the sun-drenched coast of California (albeit maybe a good generation ago), this foursome hail from the less glamorous fields of Cumbria. Nonetheless, tracks such as ‘Out Of Control’ and title track ‘Shake The Faith’ are anthemic and energetic. Get down to a gig and shake your tail feathers.
Sarah Cakebread

Harrington Saints
Dead Broke in the USA
(Pirate Press)
Bay Area punk bravado with a Brit attitude.
Old Blighty may have given birth to the genre, but it’s the New World that’s most responsible for shunting street punk into the 21st century. Still, the British aftertaste has never really faded and the Harrington Saints are no exception, playing ballsy Californian Oi! that you’d swear came from the heart of London’s East End. Akin to Roger Miret and chock-a-block with working class clichés, boisterous gang vocals and three-chord melodies, ‘Dead Broke In The USA’ marks the band’s debut full-length effort and, while it may not be on Hellcat, it’s sure to rouse a rabble or two.
Tom Williams

Holly Golightly & The Brokeoffs
Medicine County
(Damaged Goods)
Pure Americana wrapped up in a limey package.
Making her name through garage rock roots and an established career of collaborations and solo projects, British singer/songwriter Holly Golightly is back with long-time bandmate Lawyer Dave in tow for a third album of bluesy alternative rock. Mixing equal measures of traditional US folk tunes and the band’s own originals, ‘Medicine County’ walks a swarthy, bourbon soaked road between ‘60s psychedelia and honky-tonk blues. Capped off by the Nancy Sinatra crooning of Miss Golightly herself, the record oozes southern charm by the bushel and shows evidently that this English rose completed the transition to American splendour.
Tom Williams

Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll: The Essential Collection 
More reasons to be cheerful.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 10 years since Ian Dury's untimely passing. So, hot on the heels of Andy Serkis’ recent gritty portrayal of him in the film of the same name, this collection serves as a timely reminder of his lyrical genius and how these songs have stood the test of time. That said, die-hard fans will already have most, if not all, of these songs as they’ve been previously available in some form or other over the years. But the inclusion of a hefty chunk of material from ‘New Boots & Panties’ is a plus. If the film wetted your appetite, this is a great introduction to a uniquely British and sorely missed talent.
Lee Cotterell

Hairdos & Heartaches
(Western Star)
The kings of sleaze-abilly on top form.

Having established themselves as one of the leading lights of contemporary UK rockabilly, with a succession of critically acclaimed albums, this latest record shows Jack Rabbit Slim are not a band to rest on their laurels. The ‘Sleaze-abilly’ remains intact (‘21st Century Bettie Page’ will have the pit wrecking) but they’ve got a few surprises up their sleeves. The title-track is a fairly mellow affair followed by a dose of harmonica-driven R&B with ‘Shake Rag’. ‘The Gift’ hints at Hank Mizell’s ‘Jungle Rock’, ‘Skin’ goes way out there with a nod to Adam Ant and ‘Need You’ would do The Kinks proud. A nicely varied album that doesn’t compromise the band’s trademark sound.
Lee Cotterell

(People Like You)
Swiss rockabilly punk veterans keep bopping.
Having survived a lot more touring, health problems and stress, Switzerland’s finest are back and the long-standing trio of Hasu Langhart (vocals/guitar), Simon Langhard (upright bass) and Jurg Luder (drums) have produced another belting record of energetic and fun rockabilly punk. Tracks such as the anthemic title track opener, the angry ‘Stuck Again’ and the catchy ‘Not Your Man’ bounce along with driving double bass and booze-soaked vocals. The black-clad, quiff-sporting Peacocks are arguably Europe’s finest rockabilly band and these 15 tracks are further proof of their skills. They’re cooler than you too.
Rachel Owen

(Rowdy Farrago)
UK punk 2010 style.
Rowdy Farrago Records just keep the punk coming with this in yer’ face showdown between Sick On The Bus and the Destructors. The Bus kick things off with three slabs of GBH style power designed to offend and blow you to bits in equal measure. Meanwhile, the Destructors slow it down a bit with a brutal cover of the Saints’ ‘This Perfect Day’ and a couple of their own members. As it says on the tin: ‘punk as fuck’.
Eugene Big Cheese

Full-on party rock ‘n’ roll.
The Smoking Hearts’ punk ‘n’ roll assault brings to mind the likes of the Supersuckers and a (slightly less manic) Zeke. You pretty much know what you’re going to get when a band decides to give their songs titles such as ‘Thrash B4 Gash’ and ‘Shred And Destroy’. The Smoking Hearts don’t disappoint, blasting through their debut album with admirable joy, gusto and adrenaline. It really does sound like the soundtrack to the drunkest, wildest party you’ve ever been to. Clearly, they’re the sort of band you have to see live to full appreciate their anarchic energy but they do an excellent job of capturing their unrestrained, care-free and hyperactive sound here.
Paul Hagen

(Paper + Plastick)
Anthemic debut from the Gainesville gruff melodic punks.
Formerly known as Dirty Money, the first full-length from Gainesville, FL’s Spanish Gamble has spent the last few years honing their sound on the road. Thankfully it’s been worth the wait as ‘It’s All Coming Down’ is bursting with melodic but raw and gritty sing-alongs, from energetic opener ‘There Is No God Tonight’ and infectious album highlight ‘Science Can’t Explain Magic’ to the rousing ‘Four Letter Word’ and ‘Can I Live?’ Fans of American Steel, Hot Water Music and The Riot Before should definitely check these guys out, as, far from all coming down, this debut proves Spanish Gamble are building something spectacular.
Ian Chaddock

(Concrete Jungle)
Swedish street punk ‘n’ rollers bludgeon your ears in.
Ticking Bombs is an apt name for this blazing punk ‘n’ roll four-piece. Despite having been a band for a decade, they sound hungrier and more dangerous on ever on this thundering fourth full-length, with the opening Molotov cocktail of ‘Riot In The Streets’ and the blistering pace and wild guitar solo-filled ‘Streets Up Streets Down’ showing their unstoppable force. Recorded at Millencolin’s studio in Orebro, the 11 tracks are full of raw vocals and lyrics about crises, violence and monotony. Sounding like Peter Pan Speedrock in a brawl with Bombshell Rocks, this album deserves to be the one which sees Ticking Bombs explode into the hearts of punks and rockers worldwide.
John Damon

Tim Barry 
28th And Stonewall 
(Suburban Home)
Third full-length from the Avail man turned folk singer.
There's something very humbling about listening to Tim Barry's acoustic-led tales of life, loss, consumerism and drinking and ‘28th And Stonewall’ is his most consistent and experimental work to date. His country-tinged acoustic folk songs are both humorous and touching in
equal measure and, although he may not be the most eloquent lyricist, it's his powerful delivery that has the hairs on the back of your neck stand up on end. Tim Barry is a hobo poet for the jilted generation and whether you like his hardcore punk roots or the likes of Frank Turner, this album is for you. Essential.
Miles Hackett

12 Song Program
(Fat Wreck)
Another frontman plies his solo wares.
Mostly the stuff these frontmen turned solo artists are churning out has no relevance to the band they front and it’s the case with Tony Sly from No Use For A Name. Fine if vocalists want to go it alone but any NUFAN fans that buy this because of the sticker on the front explaining who Tony is are going to feel cheated if they expect that connection to mean anything at all. This is a showcase for his songwriting talents, displayed in this album of ‘soothing and captivating melodies’. However, it’s actually not bad if that’s what you are after.
Simon Nott

Poets of England
(Damaged Goods)
Billy Childish and his lo-fi cohorts commit vaticide (the murder of poets).
Featuring Neil Palmer on guitar and vocals, the Vermin Poets have an unmistakeable Billy Childish influence, with the man himself lurking there on bass and backing vocals. They really enjoy themselves on this one with some colourful lyrics delivered in an often tone-deaf but always endearing manner. The vibe is all lo-fi garage goodness, as you’d expect from the people involved. The rough edges are there and all the better for it, though there are parts where you half-expect an engineer to pipe in and say “Give it another go from the top guys”. Terms like ‘engineer’ and ‘more than one take’ are clearly fantasy though.
Simon Nott

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