Converge drummer in yet another side project.
It seems as though Converge drummer Ben Koller and guitarist Lukas Previn of The A.K.A.s had so much fun playing together in punk grindcore supergroup United Nations that they decided to collaborate on another project with another couple of guys to play energetic prog rock-infused punk. The seven songs on Acid Tiger’s debut album are lengthy affairs and, while there is plenty of fast-paced rock music scattered throughout, this 40-minute record feels overlong. There’s even an extended drum solo by the supremely talented Koller. Still, this Kurt Ballou-produced effort rocks hard and manages to effortlessly merge prog rock and punk rock to create an entertaining album. Maybe you could call it prunk rock.
CAST OF THOUSANDS
Quality reissue of the much-overlooked second Ads album.
1979 was the year that derailed a lot of punk acts. While the support of a fickle industry wavered, audience expectations demanded repetition rather than musical adventure. The Adverts’ second LP was a casualty of this, suffering a vicious journalistic backlash on its release, sounding their death knell. With hindsight, ‘Cast’ reveals a more multi-dimensional Adverts than was evident on their 1978 debut. It boasts some fine numbers – ‘Television’s Over’ and ‘Love Songs’ easily rank among TV Smith’s best. If the Adverts received a clobbering for pushing their boundaries first time around, this reissue - including singles tracks and the Peel Sessions too - demands a reappraisal.
FUCK YOU AND ALL YOU STAND FOR!
UK82 hardcore heavyweights, still as angry as ever.
For the uninitiated, Broken Bones are veterans of the early ‘80s street punk movement and feature former members of Discharge and Conflict; two of the leading lights of that era. Fusing very angry hardcore punk with Motorhead style metal riffing, not much has changed over the decades. Their old enemies, the government and the Nazis come in for lyrical flack on ‘House of Frauds’ and ‘Persecution’ respectively but this time round they really got to town on the subjects of war and terrorism with songs like ‘Death on Demand’ and ‘Brainwashed’. After the recent election results, it’s likely they’ll have plenty of lyrical source material for years to come.
(Paper + Plastick)
Less Than Jake and Rehasher men playing acoustic tunes.
Featuring Buddy Schaub (Less Than Jake) and Jake Crown (Rehasher), this Gainesville, Florida duo produce organic acoustic tunes with catchy trombone melodies adding a different angle. Make no mistake, this is not ska but it does have the upbeat, summer feel of that chirpy genre with which Schaub is accustomed to. These honest, simple songs about life in a college town, such as the upbeat ‘Oh Sweet Pickle’ and the reflective ‘Big Trouble In Little Gainesville’, show a refreshing, intimate touch to the song writing compared to many singer-songwriters. Recording in home studios, this is the sound of friends playing music for the love of the music – something that doesn’t happen nearly enough these days.
And on they go...
Perhaps due to the fact that only early Destructors bassist Allen Adams had anything to do with the original ‘80s outfit, when he 'reformed' the band a few years back, they added 666 to their moniker, but here he sees fit to reclaim the name. It's tempting to dismiss the constant barrage of self-financed CDs they have turned out as a sort of vanity publishing, and Destructors 666 have sometimes come off second best with their split albums with other bands, but it also has to be admitted that, overall, the standard remains pretty high. Here you get perfectly competent, even impassioned punk tunes, all on the subject of politics and intended to coincide with the general election.
DRONGOS FOR EUROPE
CAGE THE RAGE
Fast and furious tuneful punk from Birmingham veterans.
‘Cage The Rage’ could easily have been recorded in 1982. There are no nods to US pop/punk or anything that came afterwards, giving the album a vintage but still relevant feel. Stand out tracks like ‘Freedom’, with its chiming guitars, highlight their powerful Upstarts meets GBH roots whilst celebration of the working class anthem ‘Stand Up Be Strong’ bristles with attitude. With a clear-cut no-nonsense production, which lets the songs speak loudly for themselves, this rager keeps Drongos on the punk rock map.
THE FABULOUS PENETRATORS
Glorious, rockin' weirdoes.
Hailing from the Shoreditch area, The Fabulous Penetrators have been around since 2006 (formed after their first incarnation as Vaudeville-style outfit Paloma And The Penetrators came to a halt), but this is their first album. And a curiously eclectic collection it is too - a mental mish-mash of garage, rockabilly, psychobilly, glam, swing and blues that could have ended up an unholy mess, but succeeds due to the sheer bravado and delivery of yelping, shrieking singer Liam Casey and the rock solid band behind him. Apparently, they're a sight to behold live too, and, on this evidence of this, I can well believe it.
YOUR FUTURE OUR CLUTTER
Manchester legends still the Mark on album no. 28.
Fall albums can only be measured against other Fall albums these days and this one scores well using that Mark E Smith barometer. The band's 28th album finds Smith with his latest line-up at their musical peak. ‘Bury Pts. 1 + 3’ is every great Fall song rolled into one and reminds you just how current they can still sound. 'Cowboy George' is a storming rockabilly/country-tinged whirlwind only missing a few 'Rawhides'. There's the usual quality song titles ('Mexico Wax Solvent', 'Hot Cake') plus enough willful obscure bits and pieces to keep the diehards happy. A national treasure.
IGGY AND THE STOOGES
RAW POWER LEGACY/DELUXE EDITIONS
Expanded reissue of punk rock’s 1973 cornerstone album.
Aptly scheduled to tie in with their storming reunion shows, Columbia’s reissue of this most vital of punk rock catechism comes in two packages – the ‘Legacy Edition’ comprising the original 1973 album, the ‘Georgia Peaches’ live show from the same year and a booklet, while the ‘Deluxe Edition’ throws in a third disc of outtakes and rarities and a ‘making of’ DVD. It makes for an impressive array of peripherals, but the meat is in the original article, the glitter-in-the-gutter conflagration of frustration, nihilism and pure bad attitude that primed a punk rock explosion on both sides of the Atlantic. ‘Hard To Beat’ indeed.
30th anniversary reissue for the early ‘80s classic.
It's more than fair to say that Priest made better records than this 1980 album both before and after, but it certainly represented a shift towards metal becoming more of a mainstream entity. Along with other records such as the early Maiden material and Motorhead's 'Ace of Spades', it came to represent the sounds of an era in heavy music. For that reason alone it deserves a bit of jazzing up and, if your vinyl version is anything like mine, you are probably due another copy of this record. There's a live DVD in the package as well and interviews with all four members. Good value for money.
THE BRIDE SCREAMED MURDER
Back once again to fuck with your head.
Yes it seems that King Buzzo and Dale Crover have returned with those two guys from Big Business. I don't think this band could write a bad record if they tried. They release a great record every two years and then tour it to much acclaim, then they disappear again. This record has elements of 2002's 'Hostile Ambient Takeover' mixed with classic Melvins material and continues to push the envelope in new and interesting ways. They surround the listener with a heavy sound laced with menace and dread like no one else and if you haven't heard them before then you should.
THE MEN WHO WILL NOT BE BLAMED FOR NOTHING
NOW THAT’S WHAT I CALL STEAMPUNK VOLUME 1
Bonkers album from steampunk gents.
By now you’ll no doubt have read our introductory feature to the retro/futuristic delights of steampunk. When it comes to music for the genre, London’s The Men Who Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing (who, interestingly enough, feature former Million Dead drummer Ben Dawson among their number) are intent on “putting the punk back into steampunk” and, with album ‘Now That’s What I Call Steampunk Volume 1’ that’s exactly what they’ve done. Playing refreshingly simple punk rock with foot firmly stomped on the accelerator, the likes of ‘Etiquette’ (with the refrain “Manners maketh the man”) zip past in a flurry of steam and smoke while references to Jules Verne, Captain Nemo, Darwin and HG Wells on the likes of ‘A Traditional Victorian Gentlemen’s Boasting Song’ and ‘Blood Red’. Outstanding.
DREAMS OF DEATH AND THE DEATH OF DREAMS
Girl rock that ain’t so girly and will probably kick your ass.
Obsessive Compulsive are a throwback to the multitude of 90’s female-fronted gritty rock bands, shading themselves the colour of Hole, The Distillers or Skunk Anansie. If this already doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, don’t let it put it you off just yet. This Manchester four-piece have been rocking since 2003 and the hard work seems to have paid off here in the form of their debut album. Singer Kelli drawls and lustfully growls and the guitars are fearless and clear. From the dark and sickly ‘A Cocktail of Toxins’ to the bittersweet ‘Vigaro’, this record delivers a venomous kiss.
Is horror punk heaven hell? Either way, this is it.
The Other are already arguably Germany’s best-loved horror punk outfit and this album looks certain to confirm that. Their mixture of goth, punk and metal is pretty much the perfect blend on this. The sound is cavernous and almost operatic as far as the soaring and plummeting vocals go – with that description almost fitting for the arrangements too. No doubt bolstered by the success of their previous album, they have been confident enough to include a German language song here too, but you don’t have to be bi-lingual to enjoy the hugeness of it. If horror punk is your (body)bag, look no further.
ROWLAND S HOWARD
Elegiac final album from the sadly missed Birthday Party guitarist.
Misunderstood and unappreciated for a large part of his career, at the time of his death from liver cancer in late 2009, Rowland S Howard was beginning to enjoy a resurgence in public and critical interest, and he managed to get this final album done. The serrated guitar twang and the careworn lyrical twists and turns could have come from no other musician, whether delineating a world of moral bankruptcy in the smoldering title cut, or laying open his own emotional diary in confessionals such as ‘Shut Me Down’ or ‘Wayward Man’. Rowland’s musical powers remained undiminished ‘til the end, and ‘Pop Crimes’ stands as a fine testimonial to the man.
THE MERCURY ALBUMS ANTHOLOGY
Two-disc retrospective of the original Queens Of Noise.
The all-girl five-piece the Runaways may have appeared to be a gimmick when they first came to public attention as Kim Fowley-chaperoned ‘jailbait rockers’, but Joan Jett and co. soon proved to have as much balls at their male counterparts, and then some. Pulling together their first three studio albums in their entirety together with the ‘Live In Japan’ LP, this anthology showcases the Runaways’ ebullient hard-rock raunch, with 42 tracks of teen-trash anthems. Packed with femme-rock belters such as ‘Cherry Bomb’, ‘Hollywood’ and ‘Trash Can Murders’, this is an air-punching jamboree.
Superb second offering of The Creepshow’s Sarah Sin’s angelic side.
Sarah Blackwood’s follow-up to her highly praised debut solo album ‘Way Back Home’ is more of the same. The ‘Sarah Sin of The Creepshow’ days are left well behind with this collection of heartfelt country ballads with a rockabilly leaning. Lap steel, banjo, piano, ukulele and double bass all enrich 11 songs that are surprisingly uplifting, despite quite often embracing desolate themes. All the tracks are self-penned and sung so beautifully that they will melt the hardest heart. Did I just type that? There’s the proof then.
SPARKLE IN THE MUD – UNRELEASED SONGS AND DEMOS VOLUME ONE: 1979-1983
Unreleased gold from Adverts singer/songwriter.
While one naturally baulks at using that awful 'It says what it does on the tin' cliché, it's impossible to escape here. Tim 'TV' Smith may not have troubled the charts since his first band The Adverts did so in 1977 and 1978, but those gloriously ramshackle records also revealed a songwriter of rare talent. His work with bands like The Explorers and Cheap, then his more recent one-man shows and recordings have amply proved that point. So, this first set of rare TV Smith recordings, with detailed sleeve notes by Tim himself and Dave Thompson telling the story behind them, is most welcome.
Smart mod collection mixes ‘60s and ‘70s stylish sounds.
This fantastic 50-track double CD has something for mod fans of all ages, kicking off with The Jam and The Who and incorporating Gloria Jones' northern soul classic 'Tainted Love' via Booker T & The MG's timeless instrumental 'Green Onions' through to the recently reformed Purple Hearts late ‘70s punk-fuelled debut single 'Millions Like Us'. The mod scene's influence can’t be underestimated. For proof, check out Chuck Woods’ 'Seven Days Too Long', covered by Dexy’s Midnight Runners, and R. Dean Taylor's 'There's A Ghost In My House' - a hit single when covered by The Fall in the ‘80s. A timely reminder of a movement full of soul, style and a fair few scooters.