JULY RECORD REVIEWS

GREEN DAY
21ST CENTURY BREAKDOWN
(Reprise)
Ambitious return from legendary trio.
3/5
“Sing us the song of the century” sings Billie Joe Armstrong by way of introduction, lost in a static mist before the trio kick into the muscular power-pop of the title track and single ‘Know Your Enemy’, heralding the arrival of first act ‘Heroes And Cons’. As far as ambition goes, ‘21st Century Breakdown’ has it in spades, from the concept (main characters Gloria and Christian’s journey across the United (and not so united) States,
witnessing bonfires of ideals and morals from paranoia and the rise of the Christian right. Recalling the likes of The Who and U2 more so than, say, Black Flag, Armstrong, Dirnt and Cool have created an album that, were it a few tracks shorter, would be a masterstroke. However, the likes of ‘Before The Lobotomy’, ‘Peacemaker’ and ‘Restless Heart Syndrome’ bloat an album that would have been genuinely fantastic, muddying the narrative along the way. However, the sheer infectiousness of the Tom Petty-esque ‘Last Of The American Girls’ and ’21 Guns’, coupled with the rip and roll of ‘Murder City’ sees ‘21st Century Breakdown’ destined to climb the same heights as ‘American Idiot’ – perhaps even surpassing it.
Jim Sharples
 
Also Available:
‘39/Smooth’ 1990
‘Kerplunk’ 1992
‘Dookie’ 1994
‘Insomniac’ 1995
‘Nimrod’ 1997
‘Warning’ 2000
‘American Idiot’ 2004

ANTI-FLAG
THE PEOPLE OR THE GUN
(SideOneDummy)
Plenty to say on Pittsburgh punks’ ninth full-length.
4/5
Anti-Flag’s first album with SideOneDummy was recorded at their own studio that they built in Pittsburgh so they could record an album ‘on their own terms’. They have come up with some material that is going to win them a whole host of new fans with songs like their opening track ‘Sodom, Gomorrah, Washington D.C.’ which is definitely as catchy as everyone is telling us swine flu could be. The topics of their angry (but slightly more melodic) and still furiously paced punk are bang up to date. Job losses, rebellion, politicians’ consciences and religion rammed down throats are all battered about with their trademark holler and chant-back vocals. Since the band had all the time in the world to put down this their new slab of anti-establishment it is perhaps surprising that the album is barely 30 minutes long (with a pretty throwaway hidden track to boot), though the 11 tracks are thought-provoking. That hidden song forgotten, maybe the clue is in the anthem of the closing track, the rabble-rousing ‘The Old Guard’, which could well be a joyous out with Bush and in with the Obama celebration. If correct, it would explain why Anti-Flag appear to be less venomous and pissed off, but the great tunes shine through, albeit only 10 times. Not angry enough to write ‘get mad about’  material in this dawn of a new age of hope maybe?
Simon Nott

Also Available:
‘Die For The Government’ 1996
‘Their System Doesn’t Work For You’ 1998
‘A New Kind Of Army’ 1999
‘Underground Network’ 2001
‘Mobilize’ 2002
‘The Terror State’ 2003
‘For Blood And Empire’ 2006
‘The Bright Lights Of America’ 2008

ASSEMBLE HEAD
WHEN SWEET SLEEP RETURNED
(Tee Pee)
Hallucinatory guitar grooves from San Francisco.
4/5
Assemble Head’s expansive guitar sound stretches out between California‘s sun-bleached canyons and the further limits of overdriven space-rock, with a heavy nod towards the acid-blasted sounds of the late-sixties west-coast and more than a hint of early Floyd and Hawkwind at work to boot. When Sweet Sleep Returned is an exploratory sonic sweep, propelled by limber psyche-rock grooves into shimmering, tranced-out realms. It‘s beguiling enough to have your hardened Cheese scribe driveling away like an old hippie, but this particular headspace is no bad place to be. So wipe that smirk off your face, punk, and don’t bum me out. It may well do the same for you.
Hugh Gulland

BLACK PRESIDENT
BLACK PRESIDENT
(People Like You)
Punk rock supergroup strikes black gold.
5/5
Formed by Circle Jerks/Bad Religion axe-man Greg Hetson and Goldfinger guitarist Charlie Paulson, Black President are a brash collective comprised from some of the gnarliest punk rock talent the underground has to offer. But despite Hetson’s recent departure, this debut shows no signs of flaccidity: in fact it’s pretty damn hardcore! 14 tracks of classic punk rock built for bar room brawls, with a cheeky Motorhead number thrown in for good measure, can we really ask for more? Well, maybe a tour with Bouncing Souls this June. If you were wondering, the name came before Obama – ain’t life just hilarious?
Tom Williams

THE BOLSHEVIKS
ACTION REACTION
(Red Square)
Old Bristol punks deliver the goods.
4/5
When these long-running punks split recently, it proved to be so brief that it made TSOL’s hiatus look like a few decades in the wilderness. But hey, we’d have missed the old buggers if they’d stayed away. And the same goes for the Bolsheviks! This new album on their own Red Square imprint is darned good. The predominant influence on a lot of these 11 tracks seems to be old school NY punk, with plenty of nods to R&B (in the old sense) and the spirit of the Clash is never too far away. Crunchy funky closer ‘The Need’ is the stand out track, but there’s no filler here.
Shane Baldwin

DRUGLORDS OF THE AVENUES
SING SONGS
(Red Scare)
A definite grower from Swingin’ Utters vocalist’s new side-project.
3/5
Druglords of the Avenues are a punk supergroup, comprising of Swingin’ Utters, Knuckle Up, Moonshine, Butterface and Hot Heresy members, so I didn’t think it was wrong to expect my bollocks to be blown off by this debut album. Unfortunately for my astronomically high expectations, we’re merely presented with serviceable street punk. Fronted by the haunting, gruff vocals of Johnny Bonnel (the man does have a beautiful voice), on first listen this just didn’t click. Repeat listening shows the record to be one of depth, lyrical intelligence and a stealth-ninja-style way of getting trapped in your head. Special mention goes to the fantastic artwork.
Ian Dransfield

DUSTY RHODES AND THE RIVER BAND
PALACE AND STAGE
(SideOneDummy)
Swirling, huge sounds with no pigeon hole.
3/5
I suppose these days with the world’s biggest punk band releasing what has been described as rock opera, this isn’t totally out of place. This album is one you have to sit back and listen to while it swirls around you unwrapping its layers as it goes. And layered it is, you name it (possibly with the exception of punk) it’s all here. Folk, rock and country are probably the bedrock of this album as it takes you on a journey of harmonic vocal-related laments and misdeeds. The general feel of the album can be unnervingly dark in places, but it certainly is quality.
Simon Nott

FISHBONE
LIVE IN BORDEAUX
(Ter A Terre)
Live album and DVD from these often overlooked funk metallers.
3/5
Back in the funk metal explosion of the early ‘90s, poor old Fishbone blew up and then were somewhat left by the wayside. However, they still whip it up live, the thing they have done best all these years. Anyone who has seen this madcap circus will tell you what fun they are so this live album and DVD does its best to capture the madness. On the whole it succeeds, although I suspect just the DVD would be enough as its good to see and hear the mayhem. Somehow though, it just isn’t the same as seeing them in the flesh – you need to feel the sweat.
Miles Hackett

FLIPPER
GENERIC / GONE FISHIN’ / PUBLIC FLIPPER LIMITED
(Domino)
Essential recordings from the SF artcore giants.
4/5 / 4/5 / 4/5
A vital influence on the 1980s hardcore scene, yet cussedly at odds with it, Flipper emerged from the San Francisco punk scene at the end of the ‘70s and trailblazed their driving dissonant noise across the US underground for the next half-decade or so. These two studio albums and the double live ‘Ltd’ collection reveal Flipper as an abrasive, provocative and highly inventive combo, melding their morbid humour with a nagging punk-core grind, their white-heat guitar noise shot through with an experimental jazziness that yields in places – the prime example being the classic ‘Sex Bomb’. The most demented don’t-give-a-fuck freeform flip-outs this side of the Stooges’ ‘Funhouse’.
Hugh Gulland

JOE COFFEE
WHEN THE FABRIC DIDN’T FIT THE FRAME
(I-Scream)
Lumbering and rumbling Joe hits low.
3/5
Joe Coffee hail from the mean streets of New York City and play gritty, mid-paced garage rock in a low down and dirty manner that will have aficionados of such sounds in raptures. The almost totally self-penned songs are as understated and morose as the fella on the cover  (though thankfully better performed than he is drawn), although they do perk up a bit with the odd sax honk in the more ‘cheerful’ songs. The whole album sounds slightly ‘muddy’ but that does really go with the ambience that deep voiced Joe and crew are hoping to put across.
Simon Nott

THE MAHONES
IRISH PUNK COLLECTION
(Stumble)
Canadian paddy punk.
4/5
Fast approaching their 10th year in existence, the Mahones pull out all the stops on this, their eighth album. Like most bands playing this sort of thing, they lack the dangerous, slightly seedy edge that Shane MacGowan gives to the Pogues, but the Mahones are boisterous, uplifting and a hell of a lot of fun. Their own songs like ‘Drunken Lazy Bastard’ and ‘Drunken Night In Dublin’ (do we spot a trend here?) are top notch. Scruffy Wallace from Dropkick Murphys guests on ‘Amsterdam Song’, and there are also creditable versions of ‘Irish Rover’ and traditional song ‘Whiskey In The Jar’ that the likes of me know from the 1972 Thin Lizzy single.
Shane Baldwin

MOB RESEARCH
HOLY CITY ZOO
(Echozone)
Killing Joke’s Raven’s last recording.
4/5
With his sudden death, the colourful life of bassist Paul Raven was celebrated by a shocked rock world last year. And his death was not only a great loss to his long-term bands Killing Joke and Ministry, he was also in the final stages of recording this debut for the star-studded Mob Research. For fans of KJ and Ministry, it won’t disappoint. With Warrior Soul’s Korey Clarke on vocals and members from Queens of the Stone Age and the Mission, ‘Holy City Zoo’ is a sonic slice of 21st century rock ‘n’ roll. At times concrete-like heavy and with just the right amount of Warrior Soul swagger, Mob Research were looking like real heavyweight prospects. R.I.P Raven.
El Prez

NICK WELSH
THE SOHO SESSIONS
(Moon Ska World)
Debut solo slice from the superstar of ska.
5/5
Nick Welsh (aka King Hammond) has run the 2-tone gamut in his time, lending word-slinging and musical skills to bands as diverse as The Selecter, Bad Manners and Skaville UK, to name but a few. ‘The Soho Sessions’, his first solo effort, compiles all the choicest morsels from his accredited writing and recording career in kickback acoustic format and, truth be told, the man has never sounded better. From leisurely classics like ‘Return Of The Ugly’ and ‘Memory Train’ to lesser known, but equally smooth, tracks like ‘Outrageous’, this one’s bound to have you digging in the attic for those 7” originals. Set your skank to slo-mo: this record is a chair dance extravaganza. 
Tom Williams

NO DIRECTION
NO DIRECTION
(Nicotine)
Anglo-Finnish rock ‘n’ roll machine.
4/5
Containing past and present members of the Vibrators, the Wildhearts and Tokyo Dragons, and a European mix of half Finnish, half English, No Direction convene under a united flag of pure, full-on rock ‘n’ roll. Taking a trademark Scandinavian sound of greased up riffs, sideburns and songs about their ‘Dead End Generation’, ND have made a fresh sounding mix of Social Distortion and the Backyard Babies at their ‘Total 13’ best. And with potential hits like ‘Skip Tomorrow’ and ‘Right Today’ along for the ride, they are most definitely heading in the ‘right’ direction. BC is trying to get them to play our Vive Le Punk club night, so you’ve been warned!
El Prez

NORTH LINCOLN
MIDWESTERN BLOOD
(No Idea)
Long-awaited second album from Michigan gruff punk rockers.
4/5
Celebrating their 10th anniversary this summer, fans of this Grand Rapids, MI band will be excited to finally hear their new album, following a two year lull between recording and release. Thankfully, it was worth the wait. Their raw, dual-vocalled punk songs sound more powerful and honest than ever, and instrumental stretches (and perfect cover art) add to their helpless but not hopeless lyrics. Hot Water Music and Jawbreaker fans will enjoy the heart-on-sleeve grittiness of ‘Bridge Jumpers’, ‘All This Time’ and upbeat closer ‘Siblings’ – the light at the end of the tunnel with the final lyrics “I’m strong now, so much stronger than I’ve known”. Album three is on the way too…
Ian Chaddock

PARANOID VISIONS
BEWARE OF THE GOD
(FOAD)
Reformed Irish anarcho punks.
3/5
Paranoid Visions formed in Dublin way back in 1981, joining in the anarcho punk scene with gusto, releasing records on their own FOAD label, licensed to All The Madmen, and playing with bands like Poison Girls, the Subhumans and the Instigators before splitting in 1992. They reformed in 1996 to support the Sex Pistols, then again in 2001 and 2005, and have continued since, releasing a new album, ’40 Shades Of Gangreen’, a couple of years ago. And here they are again, still dark, brooding, and angry as all hell, with a rather spiffing, nicely produced new album. ‘I Am The One’ is especially fine, a pumping crowd pleaser, but there’s really nothing to disappoint here.
Shane Baldwin

SHOOK ONES
THE UNQUOTABLE A.M.H.
(Paper + Plastick)
Rousing third full-length from Seattle melodic hardcore punks.
5/5
With two storming albums of Kid Dynamite-loving melodic hardcore punk and an exhilirating live show, Shook Ones are one hell of a band. As hinted at with recent releases, ‘The Unquotable A.M.H.’ is their most uplifting and melodic (but pleasingly not overproduced) record to date, with vocalist Scott’s raw voice mixing perfectly with infectious guitar lines and hooks on ‘For Collards’ and the melodic punk anthems ‘For Flannel’ and ‘They’re Very “Yes”’. More None More Black than Kid Dynamite here, this is a stunning album right up to the passionate crescendo of closer ‘Tip The Weatherman’ and looks set to be my soundtrack of the summer. Play it loud and sing along.
Ian Chaddock

SYMARIP
MOONSTOMPIN’ AT CLUB SKA
(Moon Ska World)
Skinhead reggae originators reform to shake your ass!
5/5
They’ve gone by The Bees, Seven Letters, Zubada and The Pyramids since their late ‘60s origins, but Symarip are undeniably one of the most iconic bands in ska history, accredited with kick-starting the skinhead movement. Now brought back to life 35 years on by former members Monty Neysmith and Roy ‘Kaleb’ Ellis, this is truly as authentic as British ska can get. Recorded live at London’s premier ska club, the album oozes West Indian riddim’ and good times and by the end you’ll be green with envy that you didn’t get your tickets. Luckily, there’s a bonus 90 minute DVD to show exactly what you missed. 
Tom Williams

VARIOUS ARTISTS
LOS SUAVES NEGROS – TURBONEGRO TRIBUTE
(Despot)
Bossanova Turbonegro covers, assuming you need ‘em.
3/5
That‘s right, this is lounge/bossa Turbonegro, and the ugly spectre of the funny-for-five-minutes Nouvelle Vague looms large. As with the latter’s punk-samba efforts, this is agreeable enough for a couple of tracks, but the compulsion to hit the eject yelling ‘Okay, I GET it’ is overpowering. In other words, life’s too short. That said, it’s pleasant enough taken as easy listening ear candy and maybe says something for the adaptability of the ’negro’s songs, if adaptability counts for anything with a song catalogue as cock-fixated as the Scandinavian leather boys’.
Hugh Gulland

 

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VIVE LE PUNK FESTIVAL

VIVE LE PUNK FESTIVAL
Leamington Spa The Assembly
April 26th

Here are two fan reviews of the VLP festival. All photos are copyright Uglypunk.

The venue was excellent, recently refurbished – and it looked it too. Great stage with good visibility from anywhere in the room. There was mention of a new £250,000 sound system having been installed, and after hearing all the bands play you couldn’t argue with it either – they all sounded exceptionally good. Even the light show was very good all day and reached its peak at the end of the night for the UK Subs and the Anti Nowhere League. The only downside during the whole proceedings was the over-use of the smoke machines for the last few bands – so much so that Nato (the ANWL drummer, for those that don’t know) couldn’t even read his set list at one point – and it was less than three foot away from him !!!!!

ALL the staff (yes, INCLUDING the bouncers) were excellent, and as usual at these events there was no trouble whatsoever – just everybody having a good time and really enjoying themselves watching the bands.

First up on stage were a local band called SECTION 13 (4/5) – pictured below – who did a great set, watched by a decent gathering for first on like. Very energetic and watchable frontman, with a good punk sound made for a fine start to the days proceedings.

Next up – the ever fast and furious VARUKERS (4/5), who never fail to produce the goods, with Rat stalking the stage and taking command as usual. Bit early in the day for them to be playing – but with so many other good bands still to come someone had to be second on!

Similar can be said for the third band too, THE LURKERS (4/5) – but Arthur was needed later on for the 999 set, so we’ll give yer that one !! Another polished performance by the three piece punk legends and very well recieved.

The day was still only young and already it was time for the consistently brilliant VICE SQUAD (4/5). With the super Beki Bondage up front they put in another great performance (even when Paul’s Amp blew! But he sorted it out, and most punters probably didn’t even notice!) Excellent delivery and energy throughout the whole set.

Time for THE MEMBERS (3/5) now. Recently re-formed after approx 20 years (so I was told) and this was only about their fifth gig since then. The least lively band of the day, which was only to be expected – played a mixed range of tunes including some slow ska/reggae types and the crowd pleasing Solitary Confinement and Sound of the Suburbs. Not my type of music – but that is nothing against their collective performance.

Arthur has had a long enough break now! So it’s the turn of 999 (4/5). Brill set with lots of old stuff mixed with a few of the new album tracks, and they all went down well. Nick Cash was lively on the large stage and even managed to get airborne a couple of times too!

Enter the maestro… Charlie Harper and the UK SUBS (5/5). Charlie was on top form, clad in leather jacket and Vibrators T shirt – prancing around, throwing the mike stand in the air, jumping about, and more. How does he do it after all these years, AND, at his age?! Sorry Charlie. A great performance from a great man. He always has time for the many people that want a word or a photograph with him, and today was no exception – mixing with the crowd/fans all day/night. Top man. Anyway, an excellent set produced by the whole band – even though Jamie (the drummer) was clouded in smoke for most of it!

Headline time, and the ANTI-NOWHERE LEAGUE (5/5). Up steps Animal to take centre stage, flanked by Shady and the recent new member Johny Skullknuckles (still playing with Goldblade as well by the way), and the awesome Nato pounding the skins at the back, and the power level is massively increased with the shout of "We ARE The League". A fabulous show put on by all of them, well over an hour of their fav/best songs had the crowd enthralled and bouncing around. A great finale helped by the top quality pa system and the cranked up light show. Even the smoke effects looked good for the punters (and the photographs!), but it was a bit much for the band members.

Another all-dayer like this should be a must. Big thanks from me and many others to Nigel, the General Manager, and ALL involved at The Assembly in Leamington Spa for their hospitality and for Hosting the event. If you’ve never been to this place to see a gig, then GO ! You wont be disappointed.

CHEEEEEEEEEEERS,
‘UGLYPUNK’

ALL photographs are copyright of ‘Uglypunk’ and may not be reproduced without prior permission.

THE VIVE LE PUNK FESTIVAL

Had an excellent weekend in Leamington, rounded off by a superb gig promoted by the Vive Le Punk website.

The venue, The Assembly Rooms in Leamington is ideal for a gig. Great sound and great lighting with a couple of well staffed bars.

The gig started off with local band SECTION 13 (3/5), whom I had not heard before, and they got the afternoon off to a great start. More hardcore than ‘77 punk but very enjoyable. They even played Black Flag and Bad
Brains covers, which they nailed.

Next up were the VARUKERS (4/5) who are celebrating 30 years of hardcore punk! Rat, Biff and the crew piledrived out a great set of apocalyptic sounds and
proved they still have the fire. They are off to New Zealand and Australia right now as part of a world tour. Catch ‘em when they are back.

We then had THE LURKERS (5/5) who never disappoint. Arturo is a great frontman and the band always play a great show. They played old and new tracks including “Rubber Room", "Shadow" and the brilliant "Come and reminisce if you think you’re old enough", finishing off with "Go ahead Punk".

Next up were VICE SQUAD (4/5), who despite early amp problems, were excellent.

999 (5/5) took to the stage next and like The Lurkers were on blistering form. We got the usual tracks, "Homicide", "Nasty Nasty", "Feeling alright with
the crew" as well as a couple of tracks from the superb "Death In Soho" album.

Then a band that I never saw first time around – THE MEMBERS (4/5). When they took to the stage I thought "Who the fuck are these old blokes?" because they looked like old blokes and not your usual "punk band". Being one of their first gigs in 20 odd years showed and they made a few cock ups, BUT, it was great hearing "Sound of the suburbs", "Soho a go go", "Police car" etc
live. Their new single "International Financial Crisis", which is an updated version of "Offshore banking business", was also played and is superb. Give them a bit of time and go and see them – superb.

Good ol’ Charlie and his merry gang were up next and as usual the UK SUBS (5/5) were superb. Admittedly you could probably know from memory what the band are going to play, CID / RIOT / WARHEAD / STRANGLEHOLD etc but they always play so well. It was good to see the band so high on the list, although quite a few people thought that they should be headlining and a few left before the League took to the stage.

Now I love the ANTI-NOWHERE LEAGUE (5/5), and despite knowing the set list pretty well, I am never disappointed, and this gig was no exception. From WE ARE THE LEAGUE / SNOWMAN / WOMAN / LET’S BREAK THE LAW to tracks from ROAD TO RAMPTON, always superb. Johnny Knuckles, from Goldblade, is probably the best guitarist they have ever had live and it makes them well worth seeing.

All in all, a superb day and thanks to Vive Le Punk for organising it.

Tim Richards

A big thanks go out to Uglypunk and Tim for their reviews and Uglypunk for the great photos!

FOR LIVE REVIEWS OF THE JIM JONES REVUE AND THE STRAWBERRY BLONDES, CLICK HERE.

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MAY RECORD REVIEWS

A DEATH IN THE FAMILY
SMALL TOWN STORIES
(Resist)
Gruff punk from Down Under.
3/5
Following heralded debut ‘This Microscopic War’, Melbourne quartet A Death In The Family are back with this second album, mixed by producer extraordinaire J Robbins (Against Me!, Paint It Black). ‘Small Town Stories’ reflects life growing up in the small communities of Australia. Its powerful drive is fuelled by the same wayward angst as the likes of Hot Water Music or The Draft yet the band manage to cunningly fuse this with a classic Aussie rock feel to produce a sound that is distinctly their own. This is a good solid record and stands shoulder to shoulder with most of its contemporaries but just falls short of reaching outstanding.
Miles Hackett

BOB MOULD
LIFE AND TIMES
(Anti-)
Former Husker Du frontman with eighth solo effort.
3/5
It’s only just over a year since Bob Mould’s impressive return to form that was the impressive alt-rock solo album ‘District Line’ and now he’s back with another record, produced and mixed by the man himself. Whilst ‘Life And Times’ is certainly a worthy addition to fans’ collections, it’s not as compelling as his last album, with an almost alt-folk rock direction and more use of electronics again. ‘City Lights (Days Go By)’ is a nice tune but many songs here lack the impact and infectiousness of ‘District Line’ material. ‘Argos’ proves he can still pen a brilliant melodic punk rock song and this is another solid effort from the punk/post-hardcore hero. Roll on album number nine!
Ian Chaddock

COCK SPARRER
GUILTY AS CHARGED / TWO MONKEYS
(Captain Oi!)
Pepped-up later albums from the Sparrer.
4/5 / 4/5
These two albums by East London street punk pioneers Cock Sparrer were originally released by German label Bitz Core in 1994 and 1997 respectively, but as the band have apparently never been happy with them, here they have been “re-recorded, re-mixed and re-mastered”. They sound great now – sharp, punchy and doing full justice to some classic later Sparrer works like ‘Because You’re Young’ and ‘Don’t Blame Us’, the stand-out tracks from ‘Guilty As Charged’. And as you also get the four tracks that comprised the 1995 EP ‘Run Away’ as bonus tracks with ‘Guilty’ and four unreleased live tracks with ‘Two Monkeys’. You can’t go wrong here.
Shane Baldwin

DEVILISH PRESLEY
FLESH RIDE
(November 10th)
Glam horror duo need to get angry more often.
3/5
‘Flesh Ride’ owes more to ‘70s glam and riffage than their previous more rocking releases. The songs are all about the sort of things that any self-respecting ghoul would expect by a duo from the dark side. Dead rockers get the nod in the lyrics (Billy Fury) and in the name of their drum machine (Elvis). Maybe it’s the fault of the King’s namesake, maybe not, but a good half of this album fails to ignite. Interestingly, when Johnny Navarro gets angry, on songs like ‘Bloodsuckers’ and ‘Losin’ Ground’, things start to spark and those moments are well worth it.
Simon Nott

DUN2DEF / DESTRUCTORS 666
DEUS EX MACHINA
(Rowdy Farrago)
Another Destructors split album.
3/5
In this, probably the 232nd Destructors 666 split album, the Peterborough outfit team up with Milton Keynes’ Dun2Def, with pleasing results. The latter play decent enough old school punk, chugging along nicely with two of their own songs, ‘You’re A Disease’ and ‘Drinking & Fighting’, before having a fair stab at the UK Subs’ ‘Riot’ that misses Charlie Harper’s trademark growl. In contrast, Destructors 666 singer Allen Adams, the only survivor from the ‘80s Destructors, does a more than fair Colin Abrahall impersonation on GBH’s ‘Diplomatic Immunity’, and the band’s own songs here are proof that, through all these releases, they really are coming on in leaps and bounds.
Shane Baldwin

DUNCAN REDMONDS
BUBBLE AND SQUEAK
(Boss Tuneage)
Snuff legend collaborates with friends on first solo album.
4/5
Duncan Redmonds has been the driving force behind UK punk heroes Snuff for the last 20 years, as well as Billy No Mates and Guns N Wankers. He’s currently playing in Toy Dolls and Duncan’s Divas too. Over the last four years, Duncan has put this record together, featuring guest collaborations with friends from all over the world. Highlights on the 22-track CD include songs with Frankie Stubbs (Leatherface), Fat Mike (NOFX), Simon Wells (original Snuff/Southport), Ken Yokoyama (Hi-Standard), Hard Skin and No Means No, to name just a few. ‘Bubble And Squeak’ shows exactly why Duncan Redmonds is a punk legend.
Ian Chaddock

EARTH CRISIS
TO THE DEATH
(Century Media)
Syracuse straight edge legends return with a bang.
4/5
While their militant straight edge stance attracted controversy over the years, NY’s Earth Crisis helped to define the metallic hardcore genre in the mid-‘90s; and anyone who remembers the awesomeness of ‘Firestorm’ and ‘Destroy The Machines’ is sure to be intrigued by what the band have to offer more than a decade later. It’s a pleasure to report that they’ve lost none of the things that made those albums so important – Karl Buechner’s raging vocals and a blend of chugging riffs and thrashy mid-sections that’s both bruising and dynamic. Sounding surprisingly fresh and energetic throughout, it’s great to have them back.
Nick Mann

THE GRIT
STRAIGHT OUT THE ALLEY
(People Like You)
The best home grown punkabilly album of the decade.
5/5
The Grit have come up with what will go down as an all-time classic album, simple as that. This has all the elements of what’s great about their genre bending style of punk rock. The songs are relevant and heartfelt, the tunes are infectious and the pace only lets up when it’s the perfect time to do so. This album also stands out because it is totally British and unashamedly so – from the lyrics, to the accent and slang – but not in a jingoistic way. This will assure their place right up there with the greats. Joe Strummer would be proud.
Simon Nott

HEARTBREAK STEREO
INSPIRATION (BACK FROM THE DEAD)
(Boss Tuneage)
Finnish Trio have the right mix of power pop and punk.
4/5
Never judge a CD by its cover. One look at the trio trying to look whacky, with their daft glasses and even dafter expressions, had me not really wanting to play this. I’m glad that I did. The guys do nothing new, their sound could quite easily fit into the Hellcat roster (no doubt pissing all over a few of them) but they simply play power pop punk in a way that anyone who likes the genre is going to love. It’s all great sing-along, snotty fun that conjures up images of Californian sunshine. What more could you ask for?
Simon Nott

HOLLY GOLIGHTLY
PAINTED ON / UP THE EMPIRE / DOWN GINA’S AT 3
(Damaged Goods)
Reissues from the first lady of Medway Delta blues.
4/5 / 3/5 / 3/5
First coming to public attention as a member of the Headcoatees, the girl-group counterpart to garage hero Billy Childish’s Headcoats, Ms Golightly was to forge a distinctive solo identity for herself as a chanteuse from the mid to late 1990s, as these reissues reveal. Taking the Headcoats’ no-frills valve-amp credo as a starting point, Golightly’s songs vault stylistically from blues to jazz to ‘60s girly pop, with a measure of femme-punk sass to top things off. One in the studio and the other two live, this brace of reissues catches the stark authenticity of Holly Golightly’s lo-fi kitchen sink dramas rather admirably.
Hugh Gulland

JEFFREY LEWIS AND THE JUNKYARD
EM ARE I
(Rough Trade)
Further observations from folk music’s funniest punks.
4/5
Jeffrey Lewis mixes observational comedy and folk-pop; he even does wonderful Robert Crumb-esque illustrations and comic strips. So it’s a pleasant surprise when Lewis starts the album loose and dirty, bringing an Undertones/Replacements-esque punk rock riff to the punchy mess of ‘Slogans’. Throughout ‘Em Are I’ it’s clear Lewis thinks and ponders a lot, probably too much. His insecurities devour him on the perfect ‘Broken Broken Broken Heart’ and all Lewis can do is “try not to think”. ‘The Upside-Down Cross’ is a no funk free jam that pulls tightly until its verses explodes in messy feedback. ‘Em Are I’ is an excellent and rewarding album.
Jonathan Falcone

JON SNODGRASS
VISITOR’S BAND
(Suburban Home)
Drag The River and Armchair Martian frontman goes solo.
4/5
Having recently embarked on a UK tour with good friend Joey Cape of Lagwagon and Bad Astronaut fame, Jon Snodgrass’ first solo outing picks up where his other bands left off. His gentle, heartfelt croon makes acoustic alt-country tracks such as opener ‘Brave With Strangers’ and ‘Murderfield’ rub shoulders comfortably with the electrified country rock of ‘Remember My Name’ and ‘Fast In Last’, which bring to mind Lucero at points. A talented and deservedly respected singer/songwriter, ‘Visitor’s Band’ is the perfect laid back record to listen to while enjoying springtime out in the sun.
Ian Chaddock

LEFT ALONE
LEFT ALONE
(Hellcat)
Blistering punk ska opus from the latest Hellcat heroes.
5/5
While frequently measured alongside label bosses Rancid, Left Alone have clawed a commendable position on the Hellcat roster since their welcome in 2005 and this, the third full-length from the Wilmington, CA crew, marks the highest point of their recording career: their own ‘…And Out Come The Wolves’ you might say. Following up from their ‘Dead American Radio’ sophomore success, this self-titled album is packed with catchy punk rock hooks, scuzzy street ska and a smidge of countrified home-cooking. Broadening lyrically into more serious topics, yet retaining the three-chord fun, this is definitely one Hellcat release that it’s hard to find a low point in.
Tom Williams

LOS ALBERTOS
DISH IT OUT
(Chief)
Seaside ska hi-jinks from Brighton’s signature 2tone troupe. 
4/5
Summer fest favourites Los Albertos have beaten out a comfortable niche in the UK underground ska scene since their conception in 2002, along with similar modern 2tone acts like 3 Minute Warning and Smoke Like A Fish. With a definite British flavour, ‘Dish It Out’ merges clever tongue-twister vocals with sharp ska upstokes and bubble-popping brass. Easily as manic, intelligent and openly fun as its predecessors, this third full-length marks another solid effort for the Brighton six-piece and it’s a crop of songs we’re bound to be singing and skanking to in the upcoming sunny months.
Tom Williams

MAGAZINE
LIVE AND INTERMITTENT
(Wire-Sound)
Ultra-rare live cuts from Devoto and co.
4/5
On the back of Magazine’s much-lauded 2009 reunion comes this 17-track live anthology, compiled from three live recordings spanning 1979-1980. Naturally there’s a little fluctuation in sound quality, but caveats aside, what you get here is the best document of Magazine’s live dynamic yet available. This group’s interplay was seldom short of dazzling and there’s ample evidence here; along with seldom-heard live renditions of ‘Sweetheart Contract’ and ‘Cut Out Shapes’, the crucial tracks from the Magazine repertoire are well represented, not least with a stinging performance of ‘Shot By Both Sides’ which captures the much-missed guitarist John McGeoch – sadly no longer with us – in fine flow.
Hugh Gulland

MUSTARD CITY ROCKERS
GET INVOLVED
(Gratuitous Beaver/Code7/PHD)
Fiery debut from Norwich’s own folk punk minstrels.
4/5
Patched together in 2006 from a number of defunct Norwich outfits, Mustard City Rockers are truly a Frankenstein’s monster of music. Merging biting wit, punk rock and a heavy dose of folk, they end up with something that makes you want to jig like a drunken sailor. Fans of Gogol Bordello and Flogging Molly will be in mead-swilling heaven with this full-length UK debut.  Utilizing an entire ensemble of traditional instruments and gruff vocals straight outta the gutter, the band are touring in the near future if you fancy ‘getting involved’. This is one band built for the barroom tiles.
Tom Williams

THE NERVE SCHEME
THE NERVE SCHEME
(Jailhouse!)
Un-PC hard-edged punk pop.
3/5
This Virginian outfit have been knocking around, in one form or another, since the ‘90s, slogging around the US circuit and playing shows with the likes of Murphy’s Law, the Queers and Agent Orange, with an unpredictable live show that apparently involves dodgy smoke machines, confetti cannons and much politically incorrect banter. And listening to this self-titled EP that actually came out last autumn, one can certainly believe all of the above, especially the last bit. Here the current line-up of Hector XXX (vocals), Bobby Analog (drums) and Gary Sinn (bass) serve up six tracks of pop punk in the NOFX/Dwarves vein, which, while not exactly original, certainly packs a punch.
Shane Baldwin

NICK CAVE AND THE BAD SEEDS
FROM HER TO ETERNITY / FIRSTBORN IS DEAD / KICKING AGAINST THE PRICKS / YOUR FUNERAL MY TRIAL
First steps to solo stardom from the post-Birthday Party Cave.
3/5 / 3/5 / 4/5 / 4/5
Having extricated himself from the wreckage of his seminal band The Birthday Party in 1983, Cave’s early solo efforts templated his subsequent success in their exploration of wracked blues, sea-sick shanties and a long-running Elvis fixation. The first couple of discs are mixed affairs, magnificent cuts fighting for space with morose dirges. The 1986 covers album ‘Kicking Against The Pricks’ saw Cave mapping out his diverse influences, re-working the likes of Gene Pitney and Johnny Cash, an appetiser for ‘Your Funeral My Trial’. Easily the most fully-formed of the early Cave albums, the sense of redemption hinted at lets some light in on that often overbearing Cave grimness.
Hugh Gulland

NO CHOICE
ANAESTHETIZE THIS… ANNIHILATE THAT!
(Good Music For Good People)
Sing-along punk rock from Wales.
3/5
As much as we are taught to avoid judging things by titles, ‘Anaesthetize This…’, the follow up to 2002’s ‘Dry River Fishing’, did come across as a record that would back up the anger it clearly has within it with a blistering pace, but what we are presented with is a far more considered album. ‘Take That up the Arse… and Party!’, ‘Change’ and ‘Your Sport’ offer up great examples of what No Choice are about – righteous, sing-along punk rock with backing tunes to encourage a dance and a real message behind everything. Honestly, it isn’t anything you haven’t heard before, but you will get a decent listen out of No Choice.
Ian Dransfield

PULLING TEETH
PARANOID DELUSIONS/PARANOID ILLUSIONS
(Deathwish)
Epic, crushing doom-edged hardcore from Baltimore.
4/5
Further reinforcing Deathwish’s reputation as the home of hardcore bands willing to try something a bit different, this five-track EP sees Pulling Teeth displaying a diverse sound – from the full-blooded proto-thrash of opener ‘Paranoid Delusions’ to the epic, downbeat ‘Bloodwolves’ that brings proceedings to a close. What comes in between is pretty damn awesome as well, with the band proving they’re just as adept at slow-burning doom as they are full-throttle metallic rage. Perhaps the only criticism that could be levelled at ‘Paranoid Illusions’ is that, at just 23 minutes long, when the EP’s over, you’re left begging for more.
Nick Mann

RIVERBOAT GAMBLERS
UNDERNEATH THE OWL
(Volcom)
Texan punks struggle to capture their live energy.
3/5
The Riverboat Gamblers are a band with a wicked reputation as a live act, putting on intense shows to get the blood pumping and the walls a-bouncing. On first listen to ‘UTO’, it’s pretty hard to understand where this status comes from or how an album that opens so well, with the jagged ‘Dissdissdisskisskisskiss’, can descend into mediocrity so suddenly. Sounding like the offspring of a late night sojourn between The Donnas and The Bronx, ‘UTO’ – while not poisoning the ears – doesn’t live up to the initial explosion it opens with. However, there’s still a hell of a lot of potential with the Gamblers and they look like a band to watch on the live circuit.
Ian Dransfield

SONIC BOOM SIX
CITY OF THIEVES
(Rebel Alliance)
SB6 return with plenty to say.
4/5
Sonic Boom Six have always been one of the most diverse and inventive bands to get lumped into the British ska punk scene. The follow-up to the outstanding ‘Ruff Guide To Genre-Terrorism’ sees the band in equally thrilling territory. ‘City of Thieves’ is something of a concept album as it focuses on city life, from schools and consumerism to binge drinking and traffic issues. The combination of vibrant, eclectic music, dub one minute and RATM vocal samples the next, with some slightly bleak lyrics paints a lively example of the various elements that make up British culture in 2009. It’s smart, joyous music that has plenty to say and does so eloquently.
Paul Hagen

SORRY AND THE SINATRAS
HIGHBALL ROLLER
(Undergroove)
Familiar sounding punk ‘n’ roll.
4/5
Listening to ‘Highball Roller’, the band’s debut album, I couldn’t help but think this sounds a lot like The Wildhearts. Which is obviously no bad thing. Turns out singer/guitarist Scott Sorry is currently playing bass with The Wildhearts, so I guess it’s not that surprising. Sorry and co. kick out a mean blend of raucous yet melodic punk ‘n’ roll that puts a smile on your face. The album rattles along at a fair old pace, featuring plenty of choruses and spitting infectious energy out of the speakers with skill and good humour. If you like The Wildhearts, you’ll be hard pressed not to get drawn in by this.
Paul Hagen

STRUNG OUT
PROTOTYPES AND PAINKILLERS
(Fat Wreck)
Rare and unreleased compilation from these metallic punk stalwarts.
3/5
Strung Out have been kicking around now for an incredible 17 years, so I guess Fat Wreck felt it was about time to release this huge 25 track compilation. As you might expect though the quality of material here is hit and miss and, let’s face it, some tracks are unreleased for a reason! That said, it’s safe to say that about 70% on here is killer. Overall, it’s an interesting comp from an innovative band. It’s probably one for the fans only but the covers alone (‘Bark At The Moon’ and The Descendents’ ‘I’m Not A Loser’) are probably worth buying it for.
Miles Hackett

TERROR
LIVE AT CBGB
(Wienerworld)
Somewhat pointless live album from LA hardcore heavyweights.
3/5
There are few things more hit and miss in the world of music than live albums, and this effort, which brings you a set at CBGB’s from 2004, is a case in point. While Terror are always a fantastic live band, and this showcases some of their very best songs – ‘Overcome’ and ‘Lowest Of The Low’ – it’s also hampered by a shocking mix, with absolutely no power in the guitars, and the vocals way too high up in the mix. You do hear singer Scott Vogel’s typically ‘enthusiastic’ between-song rants, but the CD comes nowhere near capturing how great Terror are live. One for rabid fans of the band only.
Nick Mann

TOM ALLALONE AND THE 78S
MAJOR SINS PART 1
(Nettwerk)
Sharp-witted rockabilly/soul with a very English slant.
4/5
Kent has proved a fertile patch for the garage rock underground and Tom Allalone’s Gravesend-based outfit pack enough sharp-edged rockabilly twang to align them loosely with the Medway sound lineage. They’re distinguished, however, by Allalone’s very individual – and very English – way with a song; witty, and unflinching with it. Allalone forays into the darker sublevels of smalltown Britain in ‘Dogshit Creek’, tangles with nightclub jitters in ‘I’m Just The DJ’ and cocks snooks at social expectation in the amusingly-titled ‘Sign On You Lazy Diamond’. A grimy-edged musical postcard from a dirty old south coast English town, this album brings all the trials and tribulations vividly to life.
Hugh Gulland

WAU Y LOS ARRRGHS!!!
VIVEN!!!
(Munster)
Rockin’ latino-garage party.
3/5
Down there in the Iberian peninsular, the locals appear to have drunk from the well of frat-shack retro-rock rather enthusiastically, and if the number of exclamation marks in the title are any kind of indication, those latinos must be an excitable bunch. And while my comprehension of the lingo is near-zilch, it appears that a sweaty Chelsea-booted, Farfisa-propelled rave-up is much the same in any language. So while these chaps couldn’t be said to be advancing the art form in any significant way – ‘Viven!!!’ is party music with no pretensions otherwise – they sound the perfect accompaniment to a few Friday night cervezas, and that counts for plenty.
Hugh Gulland

WHITE LIGHT PARADE
HOUSE OF COMMONS
(Split)
These Bradford indie punks should be huge.
5/5
This Yorkshire quartet have already had songs riding high in the UK indie charts and featured on ‘Grand Theft Auto IV’, not to mention support slots with the likes of The Jam and The Subways. Thankfully, this debut album more than explains the buzz. From the energetic opener ‘Burn It Down’, you know this is something special. The melodies are bigger than houses and all tracks are crisp and infectious, whether it’s the nod to The Clash of ‘Hundrum’, ridiculously catchy single ‘Wake Up’ or the massive sing-alongs of ‘Wait For The Weekend’ and ‘We Start Fires’. They’ll be on festival main stages in no time…
Rachel Owen
 

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MAY ISSUE LIVE REVIEWS

THE JIM JONES REVUE
London Madame Jo Jo’s
March 5th

Sleazed into a sold-out Madame Jo Jo’s, the UK’s best-kept rock ‘n’ roll secret is exploding onstage.
THE JIM JONES REVUE (5/5) take the fire of Jerry Lee Lewis, gargle down a bottle of cheap pills with a whisky chaser and spit it out on great tunes like their current single ‘Cement Mixer’. Culled from their cracking debut album, songs whistle past in a barrelling rampage of punk rock fury and hard licks as Jones stalks the stage like a man hopped-up after a session toking on Chuck Berry’s adrenal gland.
It ain’t new and it ain’t pretty, but it’s so raw and passionate that Big Cheese wants in big time. The Jim Jones Revue will make you love rock ‘n’ roll again. You’ve been warned.
El Prez

STRAWBERRY BLONDES
Newport TJs
February 21st

With the current recession triggering alarm bells about the decline of the UK live music scene you could be mistaken for thinking that tonight punters might be a bit thin on the ground, but it looks like they’ve had to widen TJ’s door frames to accommodate the crowd that has swelled into the legendary venue to witness the triumphant return of Newport street punks STRAWBERRY BLONDES (4/5). Back on home turf the Blondes explode onto the tiny stage and the crowd erupts into a flailing mass of limbs as front man Mickie Stabbs leads his mob straight into prime rabble rousing anthem’s ‘Rebel Rebel’, ‘Rise Up’ and the ska infused ‘Beat Down Babylon’.
New songs such as ‘Social Control’, ‘Hard Times’, ‘No Way Out’ and ‘Fight Back’ show that Strawberry Blondes have that knack of writing songs that perfectly capture the mood of the times. After an all-too-brief forty five minutes an incendiary ‘Kingmob’ brings their set to a close as they leave the stage to a barrage of feedback and chants for more from the sweat drenched crowd. Tonight there’s no encore but something tells me we haven’t seen the last of this lot.
Tim Grayson

 

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GOLDBLADE Aberdeen, April 11th 2009

   

GOLDBLADE
Aberdeen
The Moorings 
April 11th
5/5

Goldblade came along and did what they do best. They took the evening by the scruff of the neck and turned it into the best party in town. The name of Goldblade’s game is participation and, right from the off, they had the very enthusiastic crowd pogoing and singing along with their anthemic, football terrace choruses. Opening up with crowd favourite Fighting in the dancehall,followed by strictly hardcore, we then had a minor technical hitch when they lost Pete Birchmore’s guitar midway through the second song. However, after a couple of minutes break, they started at the beginning again with another, even more frenzied run through of Fighting in the dancehall and their theme song, Strictly Hardcore.
The set continued apace, drawing mainly from their last two albums, Rebel Songs and Mutiny. Motormouth front man John Robb never stops moving and it wasn’t long before his shirt was off and he was dripping sweat. There was no let up though as the classics kept on coming. Recent single Jukebox Generation blasted out along side Mutiny along side Riot Riot. Towards the end of their set, John invited someone up on stage to help them out with a final run through Psycho again. The volunteer, although not quite possessing the physique of Mr Robb, got right into the spirit of things, ripping off his shirt and giving it 100% with the lyrics, and a fine job he made of it too. The final song of the night was a sizzling version of Black Elvis which, as ever, had the crowd bellowing along with the words. After that they left the stage and you could see the steam hanging in the air from all the sweating that was going on from both band and crowd.
Goldblade really are one of the best live acts in the country at the moment. Do yourself a favour and check them out when they play your town. You won’t be disappointed.
 
www.myspace.com/dmphotographyaberdeen

 

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APRIL RECORD REVIEWS

ACTION BEAT
THE NOISE BAND FROM BLETCHLEY
(Truth Cult)
Sonic experimentalists from the land of concrete cows.
2/5
Milton Keynes based Action Beat are a (mostly) instrumental art/noise outfit not a million miles away from the likes of Sonic Youth and The Boredoms. They have a penchant for experimenting with sound, but they’re astute enough to keep things reasonably melodic, so as not to make their music completely inaccessible. They’re a loose collective of available musicians and, when playing live, can feature up to four guitarists, some bassists and between one and four drummers! There are snippets of Killing Joke, The Pixies and Fugazi in their chaotic sonic melting pot. They’re an acquired taste but if you like your music off-kilter this may be for you.
Lee Cotterell

A DAY TO REMEMBER
HOMESICK
(Victory)
Florida beatdown pop punk favourites drop third album.
4/5
Opening with an accapella beatdown before bursting into a real one, opener ‘The Downfall of Us All’ shows why ADTR can mix hardcore guitar work and huge pop punk melodies (not to mention a flutter of handclaps) better than most newcomers. This seamless combination continues throughout all 12 tracks and this is the band’s most solid and infectious album to date. If ‘NJ Legion Iced Tea’ doesn’t make you sing along and ‘You Already Know What You Are’ doesn’t cause you to start a moshpit in your room, then you should probably check your pulse. Not original but more hyper than a kid with ADD filled full of Red Bull.
Rachel Owen

…AND YOU WLL KNOW US BY THE TRAIL OF DEAD
THE CENTURY OF SELF
(Richter Scale/Universal)
Art-rock monsters return for outing number 6.
3/5
AYWKUBTTOD have continuously dumfounded critics (and fans) with their melding of punk, art-rock, prog and desert rock. From their self-titled debut to the acclaimed ‘Source Tags & Codes’, the sextet have honed their sound. ‘The Century of Self’ is a typically bold statement from the Texan titans, with songs like ‘Halcyon Days’ and the poptastic ‘Fields of Coal’ standing out. However, it all feels a little too laboured to be up there with their best work and in parts reminiscent of the dull My Morning Jacket. A shame, elsewhere ‘The Century of Self’ really is rather good.
Rob Mair

BELL X1
BLUE LIGHTS ON THE RUNWAY
(Bellyup)
Pleasant Irish boys return.
3/5
You may have heard these guys covering ‘Another Girl, Another Planet’ on a popular phone network commercial a few years ago or if you live in Ireland, where they’re apparently massive. Signs seem to point to this album being the one that gains them a wider following. The opening is a mellow, ‘80s tinged track with fantastic, quirky lyrics such as, “Like the ribs of a broken umbrella, sticking out of a bin”. ‘The Great Defector’ channels Talking Heads, maybe a little too much, but is still enjoyable. Paul Noonan’s impressive vocal range on ‘Light Catches Your Face’, is a brilliantly memorable ballad. A genuinely interesting band who are well worth a listen.
Tracey Lowe

BILLY CLUB SANDWICH
THE USUAL SUSPECTS
(Rucktion)
Gold plated ghetto hardcore, fool!
4/5
Despite the suckapunch vocals and visceral guitars, I can’t help but smile whenever I hear Billy Club Sandwich: I mean who doesn’t love gangster hardcore? This 8 track EP follows in the bands usual frantic style, with lyrics ranging from the standard NYC angry topics to hip-hop spits about life in the hood. It manages to balance a fun style of heavy punk with all the brutal concussion of metalcore. With 3 bonus videos included and a lyric guide with regular, cracker and Spanish versions (just in case your struggling with the lingo), this little release is a 24-carat gem in the career of the Bronx’s most badass hardcore collective.
Tom Williams

BONNIE ‘PRINCE’ BILLY
BEWARE
(Domino)
Audio drop-outs on promo copies are a very annoying thing. Except in this case.
4/5
The Bonnie one returns with yet another album of love, despair, hope and regret. A haunting mixture of Americana, folksy-punk and more, ‘Beware’ manages to be as uplifting as a slow-paced, thoughtful album could be. The familiar warble of the Prince is as relaxing as it ever was, especially on tracks such as ‘Death Final’ and ‘You Are Lost’, and is backed up by some wonderful guest vocalists. The flow isn’t even broken up that badly by the constant “this is a promotional copy” interruptions that Billy personally litters the album with. Yes, so they won’t be on the retail version, but shut up. Good stuff.
Ian Dransfield

CHRIS WOLLARD & THE SHIP THIEVES
CHRIS WOLLARD & THE SHIP THIEVES
(No Idea)
Hot Water Music vocalist goes back to roots (rock).
4/5
Many punk vocalists are turning their hand to self-indulgent acoustic side-projects these days but, as always, Chris Wollard side-steps convention and comes through with a truly immersive record. Mixing the early ‘90s influenced electric power-pop of infectious opener ‘No Exception’ and ‘All the Things You Know’ with the majestic, upbeat alt-folk/country of ‘Reason in My Rhyme’, ‘In the Middle of the Sea’ and the catchy ‘Oh Whatever’. While the odd track, such as ‘Up to the Moon’ lacks a solid hook and chorus, these 10 drawled tracks are full of soul and passion for music. Another triumph for Chris Wollard.
Ian Chaddock

CHUCK & THE HULAS
ALL GOOD PIRATES GO TO HAWAII
(Western Star)
Honolulu rock ‘n’ roll party.
4/5
I don’t know what it is about albums by Chuck Harvey, he gets away with what nobody else could. The genuine drug and booze battered lunatic of rockabilly has recorded an album of songs loosely based on fun and frolics in Hawaii, mostly classic songs just covered in Chuck’s inimitable fashion. There’s a smattering of reggae, rockabilly and country performed on double bass, ukulele, lap steel and ‘unprotected’ sax. ‘Remember You’re A Hula’ is even a loosely veiled 1970s kids TV programme theme tune! It’s a summery party album and it’s out while the snow around Western Star studio is a foot deep.
Simon Nott

DEFEATER
DEFEATER
(Bridge Nine)
Massachusetts hardcore with plenty to deliver.
4/5
Defeater originally released their self-titled debut album on Top Shelf. Top Shelf is owned by a Bridge Nine employee and the label wisely decided to pick ‘Defeater’ up and give it a wider release. This intelligent band’s album works best listened to as a whole and heralds a vital new force in the hardcore world. The music is hardcore without being clichéd, displaying fresh variety both in atmosphere and style. There are aspects of traditional hardcore but also more experimental leanings too. Overall, it’s a clever and cohesive piece of work. It’s definitely worth reading the lyrics book as well because the album is essentially an involving novella about one man’s travels.
Paul Hagen

DER FLUCH
IM DORF DER VERDAMMTEN
(Fiendforce)
Cult German gothabilly band’s comeback album.
3/5
Der Fluch (‘The Curse’) are hailed as the godfathers of German gothic rock in their homeland. They originally formed in 1981, recorded one album, split shortly after before rising from the grave, recording three more and calling it a day again in the early ‘90s. Cult status meant they wouldn’t stay dead for long, culminating in a return to the stage at the world’s largest goth festival Wave-Gotik-Treffen in 2007 and prompting them to re-record a bunch of their classic tracks along with three new ones. The result is an album which should appeal to fans of Rezurex and Zombina and The Skeletones. It’s all sung in German though, sprechen sie Deutsch, anyone?
Lee Cotterell

THE EXPLOITED
LET’S START A WAR/LIVE AND LOUD!
(Anagram)
Mohicaned Scots maniacs get a double-disc reissue.
3/5
This Exploited collection isn’t essential, consisting of the band’s third studio album from late 1983, the last to feature the mighty Big John Duncan on guitar, with Link Records’ ‘Live And Loud!’ compilation of live tracks from various gigs, with various line-ups, and variable results. Still, even if ‘Let’s Start A War’ didn’t match its illustrious predecessors on the material front, it showed that Wattie still had plenty of fire in his belly, and the live comp is fun, in a ragged sort of way. As always with these Anagram reissues, there are plenty of bonus tracks and great sleeve notes.
Shane Baldwin

FAKE PROBLEMS
IT’S GREAT TO BE ALIVE
(Side One Dummy)
Riotous indie-punk-folk mash-up generally hits the spot.
3/5
Though they were last seen in the UK supporting melodic punks Smoke Or Fire, Florida’s Fake Problems draw from an altogether wider musical palette than simply keeping it fast and loud. The super-posi titled ‘It’s Great To Be Alive’ comes across like the bastard offspring of The Hold Steady and Against Me! (circa ‘New Wave’), with a touch of Flogging Molly. When it works, it’s great – creating a party atmosphere on record. It’s just when things get a bit too quirky, as is the case on ‘Don’t Worry Baby’ and ‘Level With The Devil’, that they begin to lose their charm slightly.
Nick Mann

THE GUILTY PLEASURES
WHAT ARE WE FIGHTING FOR?
(Radio Controlled)
North Western punks unleash rousing political debut.
4/5
Hailing from the Lancaster/Manchester area, this three-piece are inspired by the likes of Anti-Flag, Rancid and Bad Religion and their first album is full of the kind of raging yet melody-filled modern politi-punk that would make Leftover Crack proud. With all three members providing gritty vocals, exemplified on opener ‘Fear, Hate, Lies, Deceit’ and infectious guitar lines, such as on the title track, this raucous and ragged bunch have the raw sound of the genre’s veterans (many of whom they’ve already shared a stage with) with the youthful power of the new wave. Catch them at Rebellion Festival to see what they’re fighting for.
John Damon

HENRY AND THE BLEEDERS
OUT OF CASH, OUT OF LUCK, OUT ON BAIL
(Western Star)
A driving license was sacrificed in the making of this album.
4/5
Henry and the Bleeders are one of the better of a whole host of young bands popping up to play rockabilly inspired music. While a lot of them are pushing the boundaries and getting involved in sorts of unholy and incestuous genre inter-fucking, H&TB are more than happy to belt out their take on the genre in a more traditional manner, with stomping songs about drinking. The album nearly didn’t happen at all after shenanigans at a local pub, a police helicopter and being generally naughty boys – read the cuttings in the sleeve!
Simon Nott

JOHN PLAYER SPECIALS
IDENTIFICATION EP
(Do The Dog)
Sweet and soulful stylings from Wigan youngsters.
4/5
Softly does it with the debut release from these Northern boys. In fact it’s such a gentle record that all five tracks pass by without too much of a tempo change or a wee bit of aggression. But this is melodic two-tone ska and they do it very well. With lead vocalist Jordan providing a very tuneful and soothing voice to the EP that at times feels like he might be holding back, especially on one of the darker tracks ‘Identification’, hinting that he has the ability to deliver more power. It’s all very promising but feels cautionary. However, it’s a lovely record that’s likely to make you wish it was summer already.
Sarah Cakebread

THE LOVED ONES
DISTRACTIONS
(Fat Wreck)
Philly soulful punks unleash EP of originals and covers.
3/5
The Loved Ones have released two quite different albums on Fat Wreck – 2006’s energetic ‘Keep Your Heart’ and last year’s more Boss-influenced ‘Build & Burn’. This new EP should keep fans happy until the next album, but it’s hit and miss. Of the three originals, ‘Distracted’ isn’t bad (with the Hold Steady’s Franz Nicolay on keys) and ‘Spy Diddley’ was recorded in their early, faster days. The acoustic Springsteen classic ‘Johnny 99’ is ruined with an electric interpretation but the reworkings of Billy Bragg’s ‘Summer Town Revisited’ and Joe Strummer and the Mescalero’s ‘Coma Girl’, as a pop punk tune and a campfire sing-along respectively, are pretty inspired efforts. Roll on album three.
Ian Chaddock

MAGAZINE
TOUCH AND GO: ANTHOLOGY 02.78 – 06.81
(Virgin)
Two-disc career spanning collection from the newly reformed post-punks.
5/5
While Howard Devoto’s chilly lyrical preoccupations and his band’s angular arrangements may have sat Magazine rather awkwardly among their contemporaries, thirty years down the line their intense musical vision can still provoke a sharp intake of breath. This adroitly selected two-CD rundown balances the choice extracts from Magazine’s four studio LPs, with single tracks including the knife-sharp swipe at punk conformity that is ‘Shot By Both Sides’ and a smattering of rarities including a vein-popping take on Captain Beefheart’s ‘Big Dummy’. As overlooked and misunderstood as Magazine have been over the years, Devoto and co. boast an impeccable back catalogue, one that affords fresh revelations on each listen.
Hugh Gulland

THE METEORS
KINGS OF PSYCHOBILLY: A 5 DISC CAREER RETROSPECTIVE
(Cherry Red)
Royals of the wrecking pit since 1980!
5/5
Ever wondered who was first responsible for taking the rockin’ spirit of the ‘50s and twisting it into the tortured, blood-spewing screams of psychobilly we know and love? For diehard fans, only one band can come to mind. Almost 30 years old and more demented than ever, The Meteors were there at the beginning – scratch that – The Meteors are the beginning. This 81-track retrospective picks all the choicest gory morsels from their career, right up to the present. The sleeve notes include a comprehensive history of the band via an interview with long-time member Mr. P. Paul Fenech. A must-have for any self-respecting gangrene greaser.
Tom Williams

THE ONLY ONES
THE ONLY ONES / EVEN SERPENTS SHINE / BABY’S GOT A GUN
(Sony)
Pristine reissues of the lost legends’ original albums.
5/5 / 5/5 / 4/5
The definitive band-out-of-time, the Only Ones flourished briefly but brilliantly between 1976 and 1980, pancaking messily in 1981 after a marked lack of commercial success, all the more paradoxical considering their much lauded 1978 single ‘Another Girl Another Planet’. The song was no fluke either – over their first two albums, the Only Ones delineate their own particular twilight world of gloom and glitter, Peter Perrett’s bewitching songs delving deep into emotional torment and forbidden love. If the final album is the sound of the Only Ones falling apart, it takes a band this good to make career burnout sound so stylish.
Hugh Gulland

PROPAGANDHI
SUPPORTING CASTE
(Hassle)
Canadian punk favourites unleash again on fifth full-length.
4/5
Having set the bar so high with their previous albums, most bands would struggle to keep the quality up. Not Propagandhi. ‘Supporting Caste’ is another behemoth that again stunningly melds hardcore punk, skate punk, huge melodies (‘Human(e) Meat’ is a sing-along with a great guitar solo at the end) and an obvious love of metal (most evident on crunching opener ‘Night Matters’ and the raging ‘This Is Your Life’) to jaw-dropping effect. There is a slight feel that the band are holding back and it lacks the urgency of the mighty ‘Today’s Empires…’, but it’s still a powerful and welcome return from one of Canada’s finest.
Ian Chaddock

PUSH THE GHOST
LISTEN UP!
(Scratched)
Aggressive? Check. Punk as fuck? Check. Set to be one of this year’s top bands? Double check!
4/5
This is pure punk rock spit and grit that comes tearing out of your speakers with this EP from the perhaps less punk rock Grimsby. Anthemic and frantic, ‘Listen Up!’ is a high-speed cocktail of Anti-Flag, Lagwagon and H20. It’s a mixture of ten dirty spirits in a big old jug that’ll knock you off your feet and leave you feeling the effects for weeks after. ‘Fnfg’ is a stand out track, invoking the melodic punch of Strike Anywhere. This is the kind of record that makes you want to go to a gig and get the living shit kicked out of you.
Sarah Cakebread

THE SEWER RATS
RAT ATTACK
(Bitzcore)
Excellent mash-up of all that’s good in punk.
4/5
The Sewer Rats’ debut album hits all the right spots from start to finish. The intro is by Mad Sin man-mountain Koefte De Ville but, apart from the use of the double bass, that is about all the nod there is to psychobilly. This platter owes much more to Social Distortion and Rancid. There’s plenty of snotty sneer in the songs, some heroic guitar riffs and double bass that actually contributes to the finished article, as opposed to being a visual prop, which all adds up to an album that should be tracked down and played loud.
Simon Nott

THE SHAKING HANDS
THE SHAKING HANDS
(A.D.D./Kiss Of Death)
Fist-pumping street punk from Gainsville, Florida.
3/5
You read it right, street punk from Florida and not some wannabe Hot Water Music or Against Me! band! The Shaking Hands mix up ingredients from the punk fountain of youth, both new and old. Bits of the Clash, Youth Brigade, early Rancid and a little Bouncing Souls-style chant-alongs all go into the broth. This 11-tracker won’t set the world alight in the originality stakes but it’s played with passion, precision and has some damn fine choruses, like the rousing ‘A New Reason To Rise’. Overall The Shaking Hands deserves to be sought out if you like your punk stomping and raucous.
Miles Hackett

THE SKIDS
THE ABSOLUTE GAME
(Captain Oi!)
Tasty re-issue of the Dunfermline punkers’ anthemic third outing.
4/5
Originally released in 1980, The Absolute Game was the final Skids album to feature Stuart Adamson’s stirring guitar work, but while his longstanding writing partnership with vocalist Richard Jobson would shortly fall apart, the Skids’ third saw the two riffing powerfully on each other’s input. One of the finest guitar talents of the UK punk era, Adamson fires off melodic volleys to Jobson’s semi-historical mini-epics. The album’s high points – opening track ‘Circus Games’, with its Slade-style kiddie-chorus, the captivating ‘Woman In Winter’ and ‘Arena’s masterful outro – arguably eclipse the band’s earlier, and better-remembered, hit singles.
Hugh Gulland

SPECIAL MOVE
CURSE OF THE BLACKWATER
(Rucktion)
The hardcore elite take a deep breath and dive.
4/5
Chelmsford beatdown merchants Special Move are back to deliver their unique eclectic style of musical pain and aural destruction. Despite forming over ten years ago, with their original heritage hailing back to the mid-‘90s UK hardcore explosion, ‘Curse Of The Blackwater’ marks the band’s second full-length release and hits harder than the spin kicks in the face it’s bound to instigate. Without any loss of their trademark vehemence and cruelty, ‘COTBW’ marries angry and lyrically innovative vocals with equally angry drum blasts and choking guitars. A full-bodied and blistering release with a tangy metallic aftertaste.
Tom Williams

THIN LIZZY
STILL DANGEROUS
(Thin Lizzy Productions)
What can you say…?
4/5
I normally avoid reviewing live albums because, let’s face it, most of them are shameless cash-ins or merely serve to satisfy contractual obligations. It would also be impossible to review this record without mentioning ‘Live and Dangerous’ (which this new record predates), considered by many to be a contender for one of the best live albums of all time. I am a huge fan of Thin Lizzy and this record captures probably the most effective line-up in brilliant form on the 1977 ‘Bad Reputation’ tour when the band were still buzzing from success. The editing is pretty brutal but you can’t fault it other than that.
James Batty

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FEBRUARY ISSUE LIVE REVIEWS

MAGAZINE
LONDON HMV FORUM, KENTISH TOWN
February 12th

The disembodied voice of Howard Devoto cuts short a wordy recorded intro, explaining away the band’s highly anticipated reunion with ‘There’s This Woman I Need to Impress’. Drummer John Doyle, keyboardist Dave Formula and bassist Barry Adamson materialize from the shadows, with dapper guitarist Noko filling the shoes of the late John McGeogh, and the insistent stomp of ‘The Light Pours Out Of Me’ blows away the decades and dispels all need for further explanations. A leisurely figure in half-mast trews, Devoto appears perfectly at ease considering his long absence from the scene. What follows is a near flawless coast through Magazine’s back pages, classic after classic – ‘Because You’re Frightened’, ‘Rhythm of Cruelty’, ‘Permafrost’ – dispatched with panache. Noko executes those McGeoch guitar lines admirably, while Adamson delivers sinewy basslines with uber-cool nonchalance. The set hits a new level with the urgent groove of ‘20 Years Ago’ which sequences immaculately into the giddying ‘Definitive Gaze’. The classic single ‘Shot By Both Sides’ kicks pure adrenaline with its needling guitar riff and the final encore, an amped-up cover of Beefheart’s ‘Big Dummy’, closes proceedings on an unmatchable “never thought I’d see the day” type of show.
Hugh Gulland


Sick Of It All by Nick Mann

BIG CHEESE SPONSORED…
PERSISTENCE TOUR
LONDON KENTISH TOWN FORUM
December 11th

Four o’clock on a Thursday afternoon is definitely not the optimum time for a gig to start, and it’s no surprise early acts WAR OF AGES and DISCIPLINE are missed by many – this reviewer included. The venue’s still far from full as Dutch outfit BORN FROM PAIN (3/5) bully their way through a set that’s high on aggression but low on originality. There’s some serous Hatebreed-worshipping going on here, and even though their on-stage enthusiasm gets a few hyped-up individuals down the front moving, there’s not enough real quality to drag their set above the realms of average-ness. Mediocrity remains the order of the day with Germany’s HEAVEN SHALL BURN (2/5), who also do little to leave any lasting impression with their one-dimensional brand of metalcore. It’s not until TERROR (4/5) take to the stage, that the crowd actually seems interested in what’s going on, and the Los Angeles bruisers up the ante from the off, inciting the first real crowd activity of the night. With just half an hour to play with, it’s good to hear them only dropping in two songs from this year’s ‘The Damned, The Shamed’ effort, leaving space for crowd faces like ‘One With The Underdogs’ and ‘Push It Away’. Fast, furious and straight-to-the-point, they’re pretty much awesome from start to finish.
The feeling that the night was actually getting going was reinforced from the moment H20 (5/5) took to the stage and deliver a consistently great set of super-positive hardcore that’s tailor-made for bringing a smile to the face. Despite a rubbish sound mix, the anthemic nature of their material shines through, right from opener ‘1995’ via the likes of ‘Everready’, ‘Thicker Than Water’, an ace ‘Guilty By Association’ and cleverly dropping Fugazi’s ‘Waiting Room’ into the middle of ‘Five Year Plan’ – it’s all fist-in-the-air, shout-along fun and their set ends far too soon. Thankfully, their departure from the stage merely paves the way for fellow NYHC legends SICK OF IT ALL (5/5). It might actually be impossible for SOIA to deliver a duff set, because tonight is – as ever – pretty much flawless. Right from the proto-mosh of ‘It’s Clobberin’ Time’ through to newer songs from last album ‘Death To Tyrants’, they’ve always remained hard-hitting but anthemic, angry but fun, and their set tonight offers up all of that and more. Twenty years into their career, and SOIA are still the hardcore band to see live.
Words/Photo: Nick Mann

 

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FEBRUARY RECORD REVIEWS (12 reviews inside)

CHAOS UK
KINGS FOR A DAY – THE VINYL JAPAN YEARS
(Anagram)
Bristol second wave punks’ collection of late ‘90s material.
4/5

This double disc round-up of tracks recorded for the seminal Vinyl Japan record label is a real treat for fans of Chaos UK. One disc has the whole of the ‘Heard It, Seen It, Done It’ album (originally released in ’99), including three bonus tracks, and the other features the King For A Day EP, the Kanpai EP, the Making Half A Killing mini LP, the split Dangerous Study single and rare cuts from the Punk’s Not Dread covers compilation. With many of these releases deleted this is a great chance to get these 35 tracks of raw and raging UK hardcore punk. Fuckin’ have it.
John Damon

THE CUT UPS
THE HIGH AND MIGHTY
(Household Name)
Second album from Exeter melodic punks almost lives up to its title.
4/5

The Cut Ups return with the follow-up to 2006’s ‘Paris Street in Ruins’ and it’s a grower that hooks you in . While the Bouncing Souls influence is still strong and some songs are too basic, such as the opening title track, ‘The High and Mighty’ is a more varied album than their debut. Upbeat anthems such as ‘Die Lieber Zimmer Auf’ and future live favourite ‘These Bones Were Built On Rice’ mix with more restrained tunes such as ‘I Know It’s OK’. These infectious sing-alongs are sure to raise a smile from fans of the Souls, Against Me! And Leatherface. Pick it up and catch them live.
Ian Chaddock

DEAL WITH IT
END TIME PROPHECIES
(Ruktion)
Debut full-length from Leeds crossover crew.
4/5

In the wake of the success of Municipal Waste there have been plenty of wannabes coming out of the woodwork looking to jump on the bandwagon. However, Leeds’ Deal With It sound so energised and dangerous that they’re more likely to ram the bandwagon off the road and torch it than jump on it. With the speed, crew shouts and aggression of hardcore combining with the blazing guitar solos and darkness of metal on tracks like ‘Atlas Shrugged’ and ‘Streets of Rage II’, this is a bleak and pissed off album that looks to the ‘80s for inspiration. With a wild frontman and live show and awesome cover art by the legendary Ed Repka, what’s not to love?
John Damon

THE GUN CLUB
THE LIFE AND TIMES OF JEFFREY LEE PIERCE AND THE GUN CLUB
(Vibrant)
Extensive retrospective of the late Jeffrey Lee.
4/5

A visionary in marrying punk rock’s attitude with the blues and other traditional American musical forms, Jeffrey Lee Pierce’s reputation seems to have undergone a posthumous resurgence lately. This four-disc collection starts with a well-chosen 17-track career overview, and ventures from there into the labyrinthine live archives, charting shows from the band’s myriad line-ups – from the drunkenly anarchic to the downright sublime. Along the way neglected pearls are uncovered, such as a 1980 romp through Bo Diddley‘s ‘Gunslinger’, some ultra-rare solo live recordings and some broadcast-quality cuts from Gun Club’s consummate performances at Lyon in 1990 and Utrecht in 1992.
Hugh Gulland

HOT PANDA
VOLCANO… BLOODY VOLCANO
(Mint)
Neat debut album from Canadian chaps and chapette.
4/5

It’s normally easy to lazily pigeonhole a band, but Hot Panda have been compared to the likes of The Talking Heads and Daniel Johnson. Throw in some garage, pop, an accordion, vocals that could be from a distant relation of (a female) Fred Schneider of the B52s and finally sprinkle on some Zolof the Rock and Roll Destroyer and you have the genre that these Canucks should be crammed into. We have to settle for describing them as jaunty pop rockers with genuine personality to their music, a sense of fun throughout the record and an infectiously upbeat way of looking at things. Definitely worth a listen.
Ian Dransfield

THE HUNCHES
EXIT DREAMS
(In The Red)
Fuzzed up garage car wreck.
3/5

If your taste is a frenzied, head-mashing garage rock that bangs sounds into your ears with the aid of a nail gun then this is for you. Although you’re aurally pummelled for the most of the time, you get an almost sinister break as the tempo slows down. It’s sickeningly beautiful how these slower songs are the most evil. They conjur up the same feelings I would imagine a poor, hooded wretch gets when he thinks he’s reprieved only to realise the sound he can hear is the executioner sharpening his axe. The whole thing ends in a blaze of almost sing-along glory. I only hope you get that far.
Simon Nott

SUBHUMANS
THE DAY THE COUNTRY DIED / FROM THE CRADLE TO THE GRAVE
(Bluurg)
Swish reissues of ‘80s UK anarcho punks’ first two albums.
4/5

Melksham’s Subhumans were an integral part of the early ‘80s UK anarcho scene, bursting with politically charged, heartfelt lyrics, and fierce commitment to the cause. But former Mental vocalist Dick Lucas could always maintain an easy balance between diatribe and easy-going humour and a palatable tune was never too far away. Here you get nicely remastered reissues of their 1983 debut ‘The Day The Country Died’ and the following album ‘From The Cradle To The Grave’. Both come in snazzy digipaks, with a neat poster and lyric booklet, and both provide ample evidence of just why the band are still revered.
Shane Baldwin

VINCE TAYLOR
JET BLACK LEATHER MACHINE
(Ace)
Brand New Cadillac mans’ retrospective.
3/5

He may have come from Uxbridge but 50’s rock n roller Vince Taylor modelled himself as the Hollywood rot rod rocker after living in California during this teenage years. Heading back to the U.K to try his luck in the rock n roll pond, he never quite made it. However he did write possibly one of the greatest British rock n roll songs of the 50’s, the damn near perfect ‘Brand New Cadillac’, included here and made famous by the Clash.’Jet Black Machine’ is another highlight but its all fairly standard stuff. Poor old Vince went downhill after falling inlove with LSD and doing one too many trips, ending up bonkers and believing he was god!! The closing track, ‘Rock n roll station’ is especially disturbing showing Vince had definitely lost his Cadillac and his marbles by 1976!
Eugene Big Cheese

THE THINGS
SOME KIND OF KICK
(Nicotine)
‘Verbed-out garage stompers from Dublin quintet.
3/5

Carrying the authentic whiff of garage grease before it, The Things’ debut offering wades up to its neck in the mucky waters of rock ’n’ roll, particularly that of the black leather and bad vibes strain. It’s a mess of rockabilly reverb, creaky frat-shack Farfisa and the V8 throb of Motor City guitar rock. ‘Outrun The Law’ is gleefully reminiscent of Sonic’s Rendezvous Band, while the work of The Cramps comes to mind elsewhere, as on ‘Make Her Cry’ with its swamp-stomp guitar twang. These boys aren’t inventing anything new here, but they do their well-chosen reference points a great deal of justice and it makes for a pretty satisfying trash-rock rave up.
Hugh Gulland

THE WET TEENS
LET IT PEE
(Kosher Kitten)
Silly and rude but quite fun.
3/5

As you can guess from the band name, album title, the fact that its introduced by porn star Ron Jeremy, and song titles like ‘Love Cream’, ‘Lick You To The Core’ and ‘Triple X Sex’, these are recordings of newly discovered religious baroque works by German composer Johann Sebastian Bach, penned by the great man circa 1700. Oh, alright, it’s a lot of smut by some dirty scamps from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Good smut, mind, with pumping drums, pounding guitars, thrusting drums… ahem. Well, I think that’s enough of that.
Shane Baldwin

THE ZERO POINT
SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION
(Impact)
New album by battle-scarred Danish veterans.
4/5

The Zero Point formed in 1979 and are one of Denmark’s most enduring punk bands, having been reformed (with a new line-up) by singer Steen Thomsen in 2002 after splitting in ‘87. Since then The Zero Point have been more active than ever. Despite being a fan of the band since way back when, I only clocked them live for the first time last year, and was impressed with their hard-hitting brand of tuneful street punk. And that’s just what you get from the veterans on new album ‘Shameless Self Promotion’. It’s classy, well produced fare and they close with a storming ‘Chinese Rocks’.
Shane Baldwin

ZOMBINA AND THE SKELETONES
OUT OF THE CRYPT AND INTO YOUR HEART
(Fiendforce)
Bone-shakingly good horror punk/pop!
5/5

Having been a band for over a decade, this spooky Liverpudlian quintet certainly have a bloodthirsty following and it’s no surprise when you hear their third album. Mixing surf guitars, unhinged organ and devilishly good harmonising, their mix of rock ‘n’ roll, horror punk and pop should see them finally get the recognition they deserve. Zombina is on fine form and her vocals are passionate and distinctive. Like the mutant child of the Misfits and the Shangri-Las, tracks such as the dangerously infectious ‘Evil Science’, the biting ‘Raised In Hell’ and the atmospheric ‘Flaming Skull’ prove that they must have sold their souls to the devil to get this good!
Rachel Owen

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JANUARY RECORD REVIEWS (24 new reviews inside)

THE BONNEVILLES
GOOD SUITS AND FIGHTING BOOTS
(Motorsounds)
Raw garage blues from Northern Irish duo.
4/5

This is proper ‘sell your soul to the Devil at the crossroads’ blues in its rawest form (none of that glossy, watered down stuff the likes of Clapton and Cray peddle these days) played with a garage punk sense of urgency. The obvious comparison to make would be Jon Spencer or Seasick Steve, although they’ve also been compared to the Black Keys and Rory Gallagher’s early work. Choc-full of songs about God, Satan, fighting, drinking, cars, sex, love and revolutionaries and with great titles like ‘One More Nail Outta Rock ‘n’ Roll’s Coffin’ and ‘The Belgians Are Coming’, they’ve hit on a winning formula.
Lee Cotterell

THE BOYS
PUNK ROCK ANTHOLOGY
(Cherry Red)
Great package from underrated ‘77 punks.
4/5

Of all the original punk bands, the Boys are perhaps one of the most underrated and forgotten. Releasing their first single ‘I Don’t Care’ way back at the start of 1977, they were really there at the start when punk began. And, as usual, Cherry Red have done a great job in putting together this 2 CD, 47 track anthology. They always did a nice line in power pop/new wave and classic tracks like ‘Brickfield Nights’, ‘Kamikaze’ and ‘Livin’ in the City’ still sound great today. Having just played a couple of London shows, catch their Christmas alter ego the Yobs at December’s Rebellion Festival because they are still a great live act.
El Prez

THE COMPUTERS
YOU CAN’T HIDE FROM THE COMPUTERS
(Fierce Panda)
Do blues and hardcore punk mix? Well The Computers make it!
4/5

Well the strap line says it all really. Hailing from Exeter, The Computers have really hit a niche that’s never really been explored before. A curios mish-mash of ‘80s hardcore, aka Black Flag and MC5 style garage punk and rock n’roll, riffed up with some classic twelve bar blues and you have, well, The Computers. It sounds like it wouldn’t work on paper but tracks like opener ‘Teenage Tourettes Camp’ have a groove and stomp about them the likes of which I haven’t heard in a long time. It’s raw and abrasive – everything punk and rock n’ roll was meant to be!
Miles Hackett

DANKO JONES
NEVER TOO LOUD
(Bad Taste)
Further rock greatness form Canadian legends.
5/5

Danko Jones just don’t quit, and it shows in how tough and lean their music is. Their fourth album is stripped down musically, it sounds live and is simply recorded. It still packs one hell of a punch though. ‘City Streets’ has the astute melody and romance that Thin Lizzy were so good at, whilst ‘Still In High School’ is all dumb kid jokes set to riffs that chop like AC/DC. Danko Jones are so good at documenting, basically, a man’s life. This isn’t to say it’s chauvinistic – ‘Take Me Home’ is clearly them dying to go home (“take me home, to where my records are”) and is set to country harmonies and QOTSA guitar riffs. This album rocks, period.
Jonathan Falcone

THE GO SET
A JOURNEY FOR A NATION
(Bad Dog)
Melodic Celt-punk from Melbourne.
3/5

The Celtic punk genre seems to be enjoying a bit of a renaissance at the moment, with contemporary acts like Flogging Molly, Dropkick Murphys and Neck flying the flag and veterans The Pogues still selling out venues the world over. The latest name to add is Australian quintet The Go Set, who having built up a following down under, look set to do the business in Europe. Rather than opt for a raucous, Guinness-soaked approach they’ve opted for a more subtle sound, recalling The Levellers or Dexy’s Midnight Runners circa ‘Come on Eileen’. Billy Bragg is cited as an influence and his ‘Waiting for the Great Leap Forward’ is covered here. A good set of uplifting tunes all round.
Lee Cotterell

GRAVEYARD JOHNNYS
STREETBLOCKS AND CITY LIGHTS
(Let It Rock)
Impressive debut from bass-bothering Welsh trio.
4/5

This is an impressive debut mini album from the young Welsh trio, already making a name for themselves on the live circuit. This is hard rockabilly-inspired punk with attitude, and aptitude to boot. The classic formula for this stuff is pretty much followed – rattling guitar and chugging double bass with sparse drumming – but the Graveyard Johnnys have that something else. There is a freshness about this debut that bodes well for the future. Stand-out track is ‘Holloway’ with a stomping beat, sing-along chorus and atmospheric presence. Look out for these fellas.
Simon Nott

HISTORY OF GUNS
ACEDIA
(Line Out)
Bleak as you like industrial rock.
2/5

History Of Guns describe their sound as ‘Dark’ and they’re not joking. Opening track ‘Born Brutalised, Bought then Buried’ builds up ominously with a tinkling piano before a harsh voice barks “Welcome to the world, little cunt!” over a metal riff. It’s the musical equivalent of watching Ben Kingsley’s malevolent gangster in ‘Sexy Beast’. ‘It’s Easy to Go Blind’ is just as cheerful sounding, like Joy Division’s Ian Curtis providing vocals for Therapy? The musical backdrop owes much to the likes of Killing Joke and Nine Inch Nails. It’s very well executed but the overbearing nihilism wears you down after a while. Mind you, it’d make great stocking filler for the miserable goth in your life.
Lee Cotterell

IMELDA MAY
LOVE TATTOO
(Ambassador)
Devilishly sexy female-fronted rockabilly.
5/5

It sure is nice to see some females re-emerging in the rockabilly world – a scene that these days seems largely male-driven. Hepkittens like Wanda Jackson and Jean Chapel were frontrunners of the genre, even nurturing its birth, but when the revival came, so the ladies went. Imelda May is here to change things. As genuine as the 2000’s will allow, ‘Love Tattoo’ marries the smoky attitude of classic ‘50s rockabilly with the jaw-dropping sex appeal of piano-top jazz in an equal mix of ballads and bad boy bass. Topped off by Miss May’s honeyed vocals, that aren’t without their fair share of bee stings, ‘Love Tattoo’ is a deliciously devilish sophomore solo effort from this burlesque singing sensation.
Tom Williams

JOHNNY THUNDERS
BOOTLEGGING THE BOOTLEGGERS
(Jungle)
Barrel scrapings with redeeming qualities.
3/5

Originally released in 1990, a five year gap from Thunders’ last album of original studio material, this ragbag of live cuts was received at the time as the stalling tactic of a washed-up punk legend, with at least some justification. You’d have to be psychotically obsessive to find any merit in a sloppy medley of ‘In Cold Blood/Stepping Stone/Hit the Road Jack’, nevermind the regrettable ‘banter’ between tracks. Even so, there’s a few goodies tucked away amid the dreck; ‘MIA’ easily betters its studio version and the acoustic renditions of Dylan’s ‘Joey Joey’ and The
Stones’ ‘As Tears Go By’ are genuinely soulful, touching moments. It’s hardly the definitive Thunders document, but since it’s going out low-price, who‘s to argue?
Hugh Gulland

LET ME RUN
MEET ME AT THE BOTTOM
(XOXO)
Great stuff but it all sounds familiar.
3/5

This has all the ingredients that are needed to make a great melodic punk album. There are excellent lyrics, rumbling bass lines, heartfelt vocals and a full and swirling production. The trouble is, when hearing something great here, my head kept screaming ‘Gaslight Anthem’, ‘Alkaline Trio’, ‘Hot Water Music’. The bits that would normally make a good album a great one were popping up over and over again, but to my ears they were ideas cherry-picked from other bands. Saying that, it is a very good album. It’s just that so little of it is original.
Simon Nott

THE LUCKY DEVILS
GOIN’ MAD
(Crazy Love)
One of the top ten rockin’ albums of the year.
5/5

This album simply mashes you into a quivering splodge of rockin’ rolling pulp from the opening bass line, and boy, oh boy, this is bass amp busting stuff. This is rockabilly/psychobilly of the highest order. There is very little original, but every element of it is 100% top notch and there are some additional musical flourishes. They take on some brave covers that work well, but to my ears the strength is in the originals. This is one of the best rockabilly-flavoured albums of the year so track it down.
Simon Nott

PRONG
BEG TO DIFFER/ PROVE YOU WRONG/ RUDE AWAKENING
(SPV)
Fancy digipak re-issues from New York’s finest metal three-piece.
3/5 / 4/5 / 2/5

Back in the early ‘90s when Prong were in their heyday they were second to none in the offbeat noise/metal stakes. These re-issues chart their 2nd, 3rd and 5th albums respectively. ‘Beg To Differ’, their major label debut, is a joyous rhythmical affair which saw the band assert their sound into left of centre style. Following on was the mighty ‘Prove You Wrong’ a groove-laden affair that started to introduce samples into their crunchy metal mix. By the time ‘Rude Awakening’ hit the streets the trio were a force to be reckoned with as Raven from Killing Joke joined their ranks and the band were on the crest of a wave resulting in a bit a trendy industrial reworking. The groove and crunch however fell to the way side in favour of a machine like chug which leaves this album uninspiring and dull. Sadly not all good things come in threes, so grab the first two for some definitive Prong.
Miles Hackett

RISE AGAINST
APPEAL TO REASON
(Interscope)
The Chicago boys are still going strong.
4/5

There are so many bands that are so insistent in shoving their ‘message’ in your face that they sacrifice the quality of their music. This is definitely not the case with Rise Against. Sure, they’re doing their bit by using recycled paper and vegetable inks on their CD packaging, but opening track ‘Collapse’ is absolutely amazing. The lyrics are political, but you can’t deny it’s a fantastic song. Future single ‘Re-Education’ contains a shout-along chorus that will lodge in your head for days. ‘Saviour’ is a great love song, unexpected given the general seriousness of the rest of the album. Proving you can have purpose and write great songs, Rise Against are amazing.
Tracey Lowe

RUBELLA BALLET
ANARCHY IN THE U.V.
(Overground)
Quite colourful, and rather good, early anarcho types.
4/5

In punk terms, Rubella Ballet founding members Gem Stone and Pete Fender had something of a privileged upbringing, as their mother was none other than Vi Subversa, singer with anarcho legends the Poison Girls. This set is the first of two that will round up all the band’s output, this one spanning 1979-1985 – from two previously unreleased tracks from early 1979, ‘The Night Russia Died’, and ‘Napalm’, to the decidedly more commercial-sounding ‘Money Talks’ single, with Zillah sounding more than a little like Siouxsie. Not a bad thing, of course. Rubella Ballet were as political and committed as anyone else on the anarcho scene but delivered a pleasing tuneful and powerful, if sometimes doomy, sound.
Shane Baldwin

SHAM 69
SERIOUSLY ULTIMATE
(Bad Dog)
The new Sham re-do the old classics.
3/5

Not unnaturally, many people wondered how Sham 69 would fare after parting company with founding motormouth Jimmy Pursey a couple of years ago, but in fact they seem to have gone from strength to strength. Now led by guitarist Dave Parsons – not strictly speaking a founder member, but the one that wrote and played on all the classics – the band have proved to be a much more active Sham incarnation than we’ve seen in many a year. Here you get the new line-up re-recording jaunty renditions of 23 of the band’s finest compositions, which, while sometimes lacking the bite of the originals, bode well for future live shows.
Shane Baldwin

STIFF LITTLE FINGERS
LIVE AND LOUD / FLY THE FLAGS
(Cherry Red)
Belfast’s finest caught in action.
4/5

This two CD release is pretty much a live ‘Best Of’ collection as it includes versions of Stiff Little Fingers’ finest moments, including ‘At The Edge’, Nobody’s Hero’ ‘Suspect Device’, ‘Alternative Ulster’ and ‘Wasted Life’. Disc one is from the band’s reunion tour of 1987 and features their classic line-up and a greatest hits set. Disc two is from a sell-out show at Brixton Academy in 1991, by which time The Jam’s Bruce Foxton had been recruited on bass. The recording quality is crystal clear and, whilst it doesn’t have the urgency of their seminal ‘Hanx’ live album, it’s a good starting point for new fans and a nice addition for die-hards.
Lee Cotterell

STIGMA
NEW YORK BLOOD
(I Scream)
No surprises on debut solo effort from Agnostic Front guitarist.
3/5

It’s taken 28 years in Agnostic Front for founding member Vinnie Stigma to get around to releasing his solo album, and I doubt anyone will be surprised by the fact that much of this album sounds an awful lot like his ‘day job’. As such, much of ‘New York Blood’ is characterised by fast-paced, boisterous street punk edged hardcore that’s really a lot of fun. Unfortunately, while the half of the album that sticks to the AF blueprint is great, the other half fails to hit the spot. There are more than a few uninspiring mid-paced numbers which do little to stick in the memory, while the handful of bar-room sing-alongs are reminiscent of a pub rock outfit – not good. One for staunch fans of Agnostic Front.
Nick Mann

SUPERSUCKERS
GET IT TOGETHER
(Abstract Sounds)
The Supersuckers return to further demonstrate the evil powers of rock n’ roll.
3/5

You know exactly what you’re going to get when you put a new Supersuckers album in your stereo. Anthemic, straight forward, American rock n’ roll (unless it’s one of their country albums). Eddie Spaghetti and company are experts in creating fist-pumping, good time rock and ‘Get It Together’, their first album in five years, certainly shows that the band aren’t losing their touch. Highlights are numerous – the slightly melancholy ‘She Is Leaving’ is great while the more up-tempo ‘I’m A Fucking Genius’ is sure to go down well at gigs. It isn’t exactly revolutionary but when you can create rock n’ roll this good, why bother changing?
Paul Hagen

THE TERMITES
KICKED IN THE TEETH
(Crazy Love)
The tartan psychobillies kick you in the chops.
4/5

It took almost 20 years for The Termites to come up with a follow-up to their now considered classic slab of psychobilly and debut album ‘Overload’. They have had a chequered past that has included a fair bit of booze and a liberal spanking of violence. The songs have been given a Celtic feel, with the addition of a frantic fiddler, but, that aside, this is the original line-up and they continue pretty much where they left off. The subject matter is often violent and sexual with no thought of taboo. This is tough but hugely enjoyable stuff.
Simon Nott

TOM GABEL
HEART BURNS
(Sire)
Against Me! frontman goes back to his solo roots.
3/5

Tom Gabel is the next in a seemingly endless line of successful band frontmen to come out with a solo offering, although that’s how Against Me! started. As also seems to be the normal in these cases, the 7-track EP was pretty much knocked out in a couple of weeks, with sparse instrumentation and guest vocals from Matt Skiba and Chuck Ragan. But are these albums vanity projects or essential additions to the output of their respective bands? This is well written, but is it going to be an all-time favourite or just keep you going until the next Against Me! release?
Simon Nott

VARIOUS ARTISTS
IT CAME FROM THE BEACH
(Ace)
Rockin’ surf instrumentals – the antidote to winter.
5/5

This is just what is needed to brighten up a miserable winter’s evening – 26 rockin’ surf and hot rod instrumentals from the golden era of the style. Forget the Beach Boys, this is the stuff the hardcore draggers and surfers would have been listening to. As you would expect with an Ace release, this comes with a hugely informative booklet so you can read all about the bands that laid these tracks down. Have it ready for the car to play on your first trip to the beach next summer, all honking sax and twang for your thang you can almost smell the sex, wax, petrol and nitrous oxide.
Simon Nott

VINCE RAY AND THE BONESHAKERS
ZOMBIE RADIO
(Raucous)
A primal rockabilly audio-visual workout by Voodoo Vince.
4/5

This is the best of Vince Ray’s releases. This album really does capture the eerie B-movie feel you get from his artwork, though I’m sure that wasn’t the priority. It bounces along like the Elephant’s Head on a Saturday night. The rhythm section take no prisoners, while Vince’s guitar is sparse but more than enough to send this little beauty into orbit. There are thirteen voodoolicious tracks, including a superb version of ‘What’s Inside A Girl’. The blues get a bit of a look in too, but this is mainly stompingly good in your face rockabilly from the darkside. There’s even a free poster.
Simon Nott

VOORHEES
THE FINAL CHAPTER
(Violent Change)
Impressively raging hardcore punk retrospective from UK outfit.
4/5

Durham’s Voorhees may have died a death back in 2001, but they’re still talked about in reverential tones within the UK hardcore and punk scene. This 21-song collection, bringing together their contributions to a host of split EPs, shows just why. Their confrontational brand of in-your-face, fast and furious noise drew on the blueprint laid down by Discharge but also brought a definite hint of some Negative Approach worshipping to their short, sharp shocks. And, while there’s not much in the way of diversity or studio sheen here, there is plenty of pure, unfettered hardcore rage. That’ll do just fine.
Nick Mann

THE WELCH BOYS
DRINKIN’ ANGRY
(I Scream)
They sound like they’ve been drinking and you made them angry.
3/5

Tough street punk with a message relayed by growling vocals, sing-along choruses and lots of blood and thunder is what you get from this Boston five-piece. They have toured with the Dropkick Murphys and there are obvious similarities, not least the aggression with which the songs are delivered. You get the feeling that they mean it in all eighteen tracks. This is great stuff, I’m sure that they would all be great blokes to go out on the lash with and that the gigs would be a scream. The only drawback is that some of this sounds just a bit too generic. Great boozy nonsense but not essential.
Simon Nott

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JANUARY ISSUE LIVE REVIEWS

REBELLION FESTIVAL
London Forum
December 13th

On a day when many experienced massive travel difficulties, arrived to catch the last thrashings of THE RABBLE (4/5), prior to a typically serene GOLDBLADE (4/5) performance; John Robb spending the entire set perched on a barstool, smiling demurely from behind his coiffed fringe. Oh, okay then, it was the usual full-throttle, bare-chested broadside from Blackpool’s favourite punk rock son. A lot of people have made a real effort to see THE SHAPES (5/5) reunite, and revisit those dole snoop-dodging pseudonyms of yesteryear (Seymour Bybuss is still an all-time favourite). That man stage left is Brian Helicopter, and he’s on vacation from the day job (champion skydiver). How cool to hear ‘Batman In The Launderette’ again… Won the sweepstake on how old Andy Ellison of the Radio Stars is (112 officially) but nobody seems to have told him, and he’s soon doing a Robbster, disrobing and taunting the audience with his man-sweat. Next up is the similarly ageless and ever-engaging TV SMITH (3/5). I’ve always preferred him in smaller venues, generally, but he’s never knowingly undersold any audience I’ve been part of. This is the best I’ve seen Charlie Harper and the UK SUBS (4/5) for a while; excellent energy, a thumping ‘Warhead’ that sees the venue really light up for the first time late afternoon, some of my all-time favourite B-sides, and a lot of smiles. YOBS (4/5), the Yule-tidey reincarnation of THE BOYS, were great too; wonderfully appropriate season’s fare if you like a dose of vulgarity with your roasting chestnuts. Had to laugh at one on-stage introduction: “This one’s called . . . ‘C**t’.” The real highlight, though, is catching PENETRATION (5/5) in fine form. They apologise self-consciously for peppering the set with new material from their current Damaged Goods release, but pretty much all of it sounded great. Pauline, Rob et al seem to be having a ball and it’s not too slouchy from where I’m standing, either. After years of under the radar cultdom, kitchen porter colossus JOHNNY MOPED (3/5) has been a practical tart of late; perhaps he’s getting better at giving wife Brenda the slip. When they finally sell him off to medical science and dissect that gladiatorial physique, they’ll find rock ‘n’ roll running through his spine like a stick of rock. Travel anxieties preclude a fuller report of THE DAMNED’s performance, sadly; though I’ll be catching up with them shortly anyway and the new album is as pleasing as everyone is saying.
Alex Ogg

RANCID
THE LAST RESORT, JACSON UNITED
London Astoria
November 16th

It’s been two years too long since the second wave’s biggest punk rock band graced our chilly shores, and on this, their third London show and the last of their sold out UK winter tour, hopes are that they’ll be going out with a bang.
With differing support acts for differing cities, tonight’s show opens with new Deck Cheese signers JACKSON UNITED (5/5). On the second night of their own UK tour, Chris Shiflett’s boys receive a warm welcome from the ravenous crowd, rocking their newly acquired faster-edged sound to its full potential.  A set comprised predominantly of tracks from their recent ‘Harmony And Dissidence’ release, including the future classic single ‘21st Century Fight Song’ and solid moshing songs  ‘White Flag Burning’ and ‘The Land Without Law’, Jackson United leave the audience pumped, but not panting, proving themselves as the perfect warm up band for the evening.
THE LAST RESORT (4/5) take the middle slot of the bill, joining other seminal punk legends GBH, The Exploited and the UK Subs who have filled it on various dates of the tour. True up-starters of the Oi! Movement, The Last Resort are old school through and through and their loud, proud hooligan anthems soon have fists flying en masse. Cropping up lyrically in ‘The Ballad Of Jimmy & Johnny’, a classic track from the headliner’s Let’s Go release, it’s hardly surprising these guys were asked to join the tour, but the raw and belligerent deliverance of tracks like ‘Working Class Heroes’ and ‘Held Hostage’ paints a clear picture of where the Hellcat punx themselves learned the ropes of punk rock.
With little delay, RANCID (5/5), the guys we’re all here to see, take to the stage and if the years have taken their toll on these punk rock megastars, it sure ain’t showing.  All members, including new boy Brandon Steineckert, are on top form and judging by the mash of crowd and size of the circle pit, their fans haven’t grown tired of the tunes either.  A generous set featuring a nice mix of tracks that span their discography, from no-brainers ‘Radio’, ‘Old Friend’ and ‘Roots Radicals’ and ‘Ruby Soho’ to more obscure, often forgotten Life Won’t Wait tracks like ‘Hoover Street’, ‘There’s Something In The World Tonight’ and ‘Who Would’ve Thought’. As per usual Matt Freeman outperforms any pre-recorded effort and as his fingers fly in the ‘Maxwell Murder’ solo, nobody watching can deny Lars when he declares him as ‘the greatest fucking bassist in the world!’ Although no new material is let loose from next years anticipated release, nobody is left disappointed by a set full of sing-alongs.  Rancid is one live band that cannot be faulted and if this performance is anything to go by, then the upcoming stuff is going to be one hell of a riot.
Tom Williams

BIG CHEESE SPONSORED
GOLDBLADE
ARGY BARGY, THE GRAVEYARD JOHNNYS, THE RABBLE
London Camden Dingwalls
October 19th

A real eclectic mix of stuff to warm up a Sunday night started off with an excellent set by New Zealand’s THE RABBLE (3/5) who blasted their way through a set encompassing their relatively short career. They did in a manner that made the look and sound like old professionals with attitude as they didn’t let a sparse Sunday opening band crowd bother them, but rather gave it to them with both barrels. Those that missed it lost out big style. THE GRAVEYARD JOHNNYS (3/5) were buoyed up and ready to go after their recent airplay on Mike Davies’s Radio One Punk Show and didn’t let the crowd, that had been swelling by the minute, down. Their ‘no quiffs’ attitude on their take on psychobilly had led to some recent online banter about ‘Emo Cowboys’ so they took this opportunity to let their doubters have it right between the ears in the manner of a fairly short sharp rocking shock as stinging as bassist Joe’s fingers appeared to be in a full-on psychobilly for the noughties assault. ARGY BARGY (4/5) are pretty much the best street punk/Oi! band around and they blasted the crowd with an enjoyable set made up  from songs from their very fine new album ‘The Likes Of Us’ before getting Cocksparrers’ Colin onstage to end with an encore of their signature tune ‘Argy Bargy’. GOLDBLADE (4/5) had a fair bit to follow but if anyone can rise to a challenge it’s John Robb, and there is barely a better sight in rock ‘n’ roll than him going absolutely apeshit onstage. Stripped to that waist and in full piledriver mode, he fronted Goldblade through a crowd-pummelling set of all-time favourites mixed in with the best off the new album ‘Mutiny’, which left those at the front not knowing what hit them.
Simon Nott/Eugene VLP

EASTPAK ANTIDOTE TOUR
London Astoria
November 5th

As smoke and coloured lights burst in the sky over London this November 5th, fans can be guaranteed that tonight’s Eastpak Antidote Tour is jam packed with enough fireworks to satisfy the most destructive punk rock pyromaniac’s appetites. High spirits are all round following the morning’s election results and as Hellcat punx TIME AGAIN (3/5) open the display, the beers are already flowing fast and frequent.  Tales of ugly shoes accompany other true stories from both their namesake debut and this year’s ‘Darker Days’ release and although the crowd is small, a fast and thunderous effort in tracks like ‘Day Like This’ and ‘Cold Concrete’ soon have them spinning in circles.  The set may be short, but it’s still nice to see Dan Dare and his crew again before their upcoming hiatus.
The ‘Star Spangled Banner’ blasts in the background as their label mates STREET DOGS (4/5) take the stage and it’s clear from the sweat in the air and the swell of the crowd that is going to be a rowdy performance. A ‘Not Without A Purpose’ opener receives a meaty response and immediately fists are pummelling the air. Rambunctious jigging soon ensues and after more props to Obama and a quick lesson in pogo dancing, Mike McColgan finishes with a solo spoken version of U2’s ‘MLK’, the ex-fire fighter’s own personal dedication to the new president elect.
Tribal drum pounds guide Newport’s SKINDRED (5/5) onstage, an innovative choice for the tour, but definitively a popular one with the teeming audience, who are caught under Benji Webbe’s spell within seconds.  Unleashing a brutal performance that sees limbs and bodies hurled in all directions to the ragga metal riddim’, Skindred are truly the definition of raw energy.  Tracks from both their ‘Babylon’ debut and new album ‘Roots Rock Riot’ are served up in generous portions, including volatile tracks ‘Pressure’, ‘Trouble’ and a ‘Nobody’ ending that leaves the crowd infected with a furious primal rage.
It’s doubtful if FLOGGING MOLLY (4/5) could ever put on a poor performance and tonight’s effort does nothing to dampen their spotless reputation.  As violins, banjos and squeezeboxes arrive onstage, the crowd begins to chant, still pumped from the hectic former performance and as the seven-piece take stage, the thrall begins.  With everyone’s favourite redhead Dave King delivering Celtic charm in excess, the dancefloor soon becomes a full-blown Irish céilí.  A boisterous set of the best paddy punk money can buy, songs like ‘Swagger’, ‘Drunken Lullabies’ and ‘Devil’s Dance Floor’ prove that Flogging Molly really are one of the liveliest and most fun live acts out there.  Signing off with ‘What’s Left Of The Flag’ and ‘Seven Deadly Sins’ this has possibly been the most explosive Guy Fawkes night since 1605.
Tom Williams

THE BRONX
CLOUDS, DOOMRIDERS
The Middle East
Cambridge, Massachusetts
October 16th
4/5

THE BRONX started soundcheck just as the Red Sox were rallying back in the ninth inning in an elimination playoff game against the Tampa Bay Rays. Unfortunately for the Los Angeles-based band, they were playing in Bean Town and they’d have to wait a good twenty minutes before the audience could tear their attention away from the bar’s small television.
As soon as the Sox won the game, The Bronx hit the stage to the clanking of beer bottles and uproarious celebration. Wasting no time, the band treated the crowd—who by now had been accustomed to the plodding experimental rock stylings of openers CLOUDS and DOOMRIDERS – to their brand of fast, gritty punk. Then came the first chords of fan-favourite ‘Heart Attack American’ accompanied by vocalist Matt Caughthran’s signature opening scream and all hell broke loose. Fuelled by a set list that included ‘Knifeman’, ‘Shitty Future’ and ‘History’s Stranglers’, the previously tame Cambridge crowd whipped itself into a frenzy as Caughthran bounced around onstage like a madman, constantly in danger of hitting his head on the East’s exposed ceiling pipes. The band debuted an untitled song off their upcoming ‘Bronx III’ release and it fit right at home with the controlled chaos playing out in front of the small stage. A couple of songs later it was all over. Few bands do this genre justice live anymore, and The Bronx are definitely one of them.
Kevin Sirois

CRO MAGS JAM
The Nike Theatre
Los Angeles, California
5/5

Original Cro Mags vocalist John Joseph made his long awaited West Coast appearance with his all-star CRO MAGS JAM band at the ‘Radio Silence: A Selected Visual History Of American Hardcore’ book release show. A packed room eagerly awaited the appearance of the tattooed frontman to throw down the old school hardcore jams, and he, along with the band, definitely did. The band, featuring guitarist A.J. Novello (Leeway), drummer Mackie Jayson (Bad Brains, Hazen Street, Madball, Cro-Mags), and bassist Craig Away (Sick Of It All) delivered the goods, punching away at all of the classic tunes and keeping the crowd moving throughout their set. Joseph introduced many of their long-time friends in the crowd, including Lord Ezec (Skarhead/Danny Diablo) and Toby Morse (H20), dedicating songs to them and speaking about the positive message behind hardcore. They played many favourites including ‘We Gotta Know,’ ‘Don’t Tread On Me’ and ‘Hard Times’, with Morse and friends joining in the fun. Showing that despite the drama behind some of the members’ relations, the Cro Mags were definitely a huge part of shaping hardcore and heavy music in today’s scene, nobody should ignore this.
Rei Nishimoto

 

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DECEMBER ISSUE LIVE REVIEWS


CRO MAGS JAM
The Nike Theatre at Montelban Theatre
Los Angeles, USA
October 8th
5/5

Original Cro Mags vocalist John Joseph made his long awaited West Coast appearance with his all star Cro Mags Jam Band at the Radio Silence: A Selected Visual History of American Hardcore book release show. A packed room eagerly awaited the tattooed front man to throw down the old school hardcore jams, and they definitely did. The band featuring guitarist A.J. Novello (Leeway), drummer Mackie Jayson (Bad Brains, Hazen Street, Madball, Cro-Mags), and bassist Craig Away (Sick Of It All) delivered the goods, punching away at all of the classic tunes and keeping the crowd moving throughout their set. Joseph introduced many of their longtime friends in the crowd, including Lord Ezec (Skarhead/Danny Diablo) and Toby Morse (H20), dedicating songs to them and speaking about the positive message behind hardcore. They played many favorites including ‘We Gotta Know,’ ‘Don’t Tread On Me’ and ‘Hard Times,’ with Morse and friends joining in the fun. They showed that despite the drama behind some of the members’ relations, the Cro Mags are definitely a huge part of shaping hardcore and heavy music in today’s scene. Nobody should ignore this fact.
Rei Nishimoto

THE LUCHAGORS
LOVE AND A .45
London Camden Purple Turtle
September 29th
3/5

The overly excited Monday night crowd at the Purple Turtle were out with good intentions, if not in droves. Most people were there to see the final night of the Luchagors’ UK tour and expectantly waiting to see if Amy Dumas, ex-WWE wrestler ‘Lita’ could put on a decent punk show. Support came first from Londoners LOVE AND A .45 who are currently tearing up the punk scene with catchy songs and gravely honesty – just don’t call them Paramore as one punter learnt the hard way!
The LUCHAGORS form a tight unit and are musically exactly what I wanted to hear – there are no weak links in this four piece from Georgia.  Naming her band after a wrestling move, Dumas isn’t trying to shy away from her roots, but also doesn’t give out any attitude – she’s as happy playing to a Monday night punk crowd as anyone, no bodyguards and no bullshit. She also surprised me with her voice – I thought it might be all gimmick and no substance, not so. They finished on standout track ‘March Of The Luchagors’, a rallying cry to come on in and have a good time.
Hazel Savage

BACKYARD BABIES
CRUCIFIED BARBARA
London ULU
September 12th
4/5

While they might have dropped off the radar of mainstream rock fans over the last few years, Sweden’s finest continue to draw more than respectable crowds due to one reason and one reason alone: when it comes to providing a soundtrack for dancing, drinking and screwing (all three not necessarily done on the premises this evening although we couldn’t say for certain), Dregen’s mob still kick out the jams in mighty fine fashion. Support act CRUCIFIED BARBARA did the j-o-b, looking good on the stage and pulling off a credible version of Motorhead’s ‘Killed By Death’, even if they did look a little rabbit-in-the-headlights-esque. Ploughing through a set packed with greasy riffs, moob-vibrating bass and glaring aggression, the BACKYARD BABIES prove that they can still more than cut it, slice it and stab it live, even if their recent releases have never matched the brilliance of ‘Total 13’. And even so, as we leave sweat-drenched and beer-stained, we can even forgive them that.
Tim Grayson
 

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DECEMBER REVIEWS (31 new reviews inside)

AC/DC
BLACK ICE
(Sony BMG)
Business as usual from Aussie rawk legends.
3/5

Let’s be honest, when it comes to AC/DC albums, would you prefer the band to merry toddle off for a few years to emerge proudly clutching a four CD album of freeform gabbacore and jazz funk interludes that consist of Angus Young playing the kazoo with his scrotum or came back with another round of granite solid songs with the word ‘rock’ in them, played at a million decibels and packed full of solos, blazing riffs, Brian Johnson’s dust ‘n’ bones pipes and lyrics about girls and the bad things he’d like to do to them given half the chance? Thought so. More of the same, but when the same’s so damn good, who’s complaining?
Jim Sharples

BUZZCOCKS
ANOTHER MUSIC IN A DIFFERENT KITCHEN / LOVE BITES / A DIFFERENT KIND OF TENSION
(EMI)
Sumptuous two-disc reissues of these pop-punk must-haves.
4/5 / 5/5 / 4/5

A near-faultless string of 45s between 1977 and 1980 has immortalized Manchester‘s Buzzcocks as the definitive punk rock singles act, but they could easily cook up an album’s worth of pop punk delirium. These reissues unite their original albums with the associated singles, b-sides, demos, radio sessions and live cuts. The evolution from the jittery, three-chord teen angst of ‘Another Music In A Different Kitchen’ (1978), through the more assured delivery and songwriting of their breakthrough ‘Love Bites’ (1978) and the powerchord-propelled ‘A Different Kind Of Tension’ (1979), shows how they consolidated their reputation as purveyors of catchy punk rock.
Hugh Gulland

DESTRUCTORS 666/MARCH TO THE GRAVE
GEISTBAHN
(Rowdy Farrago)
Spite and sniggers on this half ‘n’ half EP.
4/5

This is a welcome split from Stamford’s March To The Grave and new incarnation Destructors 666 (formed from the Destructors). Both acts donate a good mix of piss-take old school punk and horror-tinged GBH speed. It’s a shame to see March To The Grave with a smaller share of the record, but the three tracks provided are a laugh riot, especially opener ‘Bad Bob’. Destructors 666, a darker reanimation of their former selves, offer a few solid Destructors classics, a cover and new track ‘Hey There God Dammit’, which is presented in the band’s signature brutal approach. Let’s hope we soon see more of both bands.
Tom Williams

DIE! DIE! DIE!
PROMISES PROMISES
(S.A.F.)
Well-titled if they added ‘broken’ at the end.
2/5

The blurb that came with this likened them to musical luminaries, along with plenty of words of praise about Die! Die! Die! such as, “New Zealand’s finest avant-garde punk band”. As you can imagine I was almost drooling as I put this in the player. Sadly the swirling, artsy punk noise that ensued was pleasant enough to begin with, but soon became tedious and at times downright dull. It would be unfair not to say it had its odd moment where there was a glimmer of hope that it might perk up, but it only disappointed again.
Simon Nott

DILLINGER FOUR
C I V I L W A R
(Fat Wreck)
Minneapolis punk heroes smooth their rough edges.
4/5

‘Midwestern Songs of the Americas’ (1998) and ‘Versus God’ (2000) are two punk classics in my eyes. So I was surprised when this long-awaited fourth album (six years since their last record, ‘Situationist Comedy’) didn’t instantly blow me away. This is a poppier, more polished album, with Erik Funk’s cleaner vocals dominating and more mid-paced, straightforward tunes than in the past. The melodies are huge on sing-along ‘Gainesville’, but it’s on more urgent tracks like ‘Like Eye Contact in an Elevator’, with (elsewhere sadly absent) duelling vocals, and ‘The Art of Whore’ that they do what they do best. Not D4 firing on all cylinders, but a definite grower of anthemic, melodic punk.
Ian Chaddock

DISCHARGE
DISENSITISE
(Vile)
UK82 punks’ defiant return.
4/5

You gotta hand it to Stoke-on-Trent punk legends Discharge, they pretty much invented hardcore back in 1982 with the release of their seminal ‘Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing’ album and indie chart hits like their ‘Why’ EP. In fact, up until Discharge steamed in, Britain and punk rock in general had simply never heard the likes of ‘Ain’t No Feeble Bastard’. Re-ignited since 2001 with the Varukers’ Rat on vocals, ‘Disensitise’ is the band’s second album since reforming. Titles like ‘Spoils of War’ and ‘Ignorance Your Surrender’ signal it’s business as usual, with thundering drums, searing speedcore riffing and apocalyptic war cries. Sounding like they would still slaughter most of today’s hardcore contemporaries with a single riff, Discharge still won’t let the bastards grind them down. And that’s good enough for me.
El Prez

FABULOUS DISASTER/OCTOONS
AWESOME FROMAGE
(Various labels)
Yank/French split album.
3/5

As far as I can make out, this split between all-girl San Francisco outfit Fabulous Disaster and French crew Octoons has been released as a joint effort by several labels, including Cider City, Felony and Brokenheart, but the sleeve is none too clear on this point. The four tracks by Fabulous Disaster, who split up last year, are a punchy mix of punk/sleaze rock that gives the likes of the Donnas a run for their money. Them’s the breaks. Octoons are impressive at first, assaulting the eardrums with a potent blend of hardcore and metal guitar, but they disappear down a dark alley of widdly guitar solos and impenetrable tempo changes. No, I’m not sure what that means either.
Shane Baldwin

GRAHAM DAY & THE GAOLERS
TRIPLE DISTILLED
(Damaged Goods)
Seminal Medway garage rocker unleashes another belter.
4/5

Formerly of the legendary ‘80s garage band The Prisoners, as well as subsequent bands such as The Prime Movers, Planet and The SolarFlares and more, Graham Day is back with more of what he does best. The underrated UK hero of garage rock returns with his new band The Gaolers, joined by members of US band The Woggles. On retro blasts such as ‘Begging You’, ‘Pass That Whiskey’ and the raucous ‘Wanna Smoke’, they blend melodies with choppy guitars and see Day’s sublime song writing shine through again. Forget the White Stripes, if you want to hear how garage rock should sound then this is a pretty damn good place to start. A delicious brew.
John Damon

HANSON BROTHERS
IT’S A LIVING
(Wrong)
Canadian puck-rockers skate into play with a live release.
3/5

Nomeansno’s belligerent alter-ego have somehow managed to throw together a live album between rink side scuffles, and the result is pretty much as expected: slushy. Amid the slurring and hockey banter however, there are some salvageable tracks and pretty hilarious interviews, all delivered in the band’s off-the-wall Ramones style. Classics like ‘Hockey Song’ and ‘Joe Had to Go’ stand out and there’s even an unreleased track, titled ‘Cabbage in a Bag’. The bonus DVD, entitled ‘All Grain Brewing With Johnny Hanson’ features tips on how to make your own ‘rockin’ ale’ from scratch, plus some live videos thrown in for good measure. Belch!
Tom Williams

HYPERJAX
THE WILDEST CARD
(Cherry Bomb)
The third album and the best yet.
4/5

The Hyperjax have been doing the hard yards touring over the last few years but it has paid dividends with an extremely impressive third album. There are some cracking songs on here, with some excellent guitar work and catchy sing-a-long choruses, that could well propel them into the higher stratosphere of stardom that they sorely deserve. The whole package is hugely impressive but a special mention has to go to the outstanding double bass playing that weaves the whole ensemble together and really makes the album.
Simon Nott

JACKSON UNITED
HARMONY AND DISSIDENCE
(Deck Cheese)
Foos guitarist Chris Shiflett’s mod punks hit the bulls-eye with second album.
5/5

Jackson United’s 2004 debut ‘Western Ballads’ was a solid effort but ‘Harmony and Dissidence’ is a big step forward. Featuring Chris’ brother Scott (Face to Face) on bass, Doug Sangalang on guitar (ex-Screw 32, Limp and more) and Foos bandmates Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins providing studio drums, ‘Harmony…’ is sharper and more infectious. The urgent political new single ‘21st Century Fight Song’ gets things off to a great start, ‘Undertow’ shows reggae influences and a darker edge is shown on ‘Trigger Happy’. Second single ‘White Flag Burning’ is a soaring, punchy sing-along and ‘Stitching’ is a new mod anthem. The Foo Fighters may be on a break but Jackson United are on fire.
Rachel Owen

JOEY CAPE
BRIDGE
(Bad Taste)
You know those annoying people that insist on getting their guitars out at parties?
2/5

There are some great singer/songwriters doing acoustic albums at the moment. For it to work the listener has to identify with the songs and the singer, otherwise it all becomes a bit like being force-fed a student’s self-pitying blog while he strums a tune on his guitar and hums a tale of lost love. Well that’s what Joey Cape’s (frontman of skate punks Lagwagon) new album sounds like, all dribbling with dubious lyrics and no entertainment value. No that’s unfair, the first song does mention the Ramones. Then it’s dull as dishwater until halfway through the last track, ‘Home’, where it kicks in all too late. Maybe just start there.
Simon Nott

JOHNNY ROCKET
PAIN IS HER GAME
(Wolverine)
Blast off with this German punk n’ roll debut.
4/5

If Lemmy, Brian Setzer, a case of Jim Beam and a ‘Punk-O-Rama’ record were locked in a room together for a week, then Johnny Rocket could well be the end result. Despite their German heritage, this rock ‘n’ roll quartet sound like they just crawled home from some backwater Arkansas bar; playing a fusion of rockabilly, blues and biker punk. 11 tales of booze, babes and bust-ups make up this debut release. Each track is angry, throaty and written with fun-loving guile. And if that’s not enough, check out the cheeky snaps of pin-up vixen Fuel Durdan featured in the album booklet. Well, I do declare!
Tom Williams

LONG TALL TEXANS
SATURNALIA
(Anagram)
Re-release of Brighton psychobilly trio’s finest hour.
4/5

Brighton’s Long Tall Texans are veterans of the ‘80s psychobilly scene and are still a big draw on the live circuit. ‘Saturnalia’ was originally released in ’89, when the genre was moving on from the increasingly clichéd B-movie/horror schtick. It kicks off with the controversial ‘Get Back, Wetback’, which examines the treatment of ethnic minorities in the old West, resulting in them becoming the target of ill-informed accusations of racism. Other long-time live favourites included are ‘Cairo’ and a cover of the Golinsky Brothers’ ‘Bloody’. Two decades on, it stands up well without sounding dated and is highly recommended for newcomers to psychobilly. The sleeve notes by some reprobate called Simon Nott are well worth a look too.
Lee Cotterell

MAGAZINE
COMPLETE JOHN PEEL SESSIONS
(Virgin)
Howard Devoto’s post-Buzzcocks masterstroke.
5/5

A pivotal punk rock figure, one-time Buzzcock Howard Devoto was unwilling to stick to genre constraints, instead riding the movement’s energy with Magazine. Their consistently challenging output over the course of three years is neatly condensed in these sessions. From ‘Touch and Go’s opening chords in 1978, it’s plain that Devoto and co. could deliver where their contemporaries struggled to promise, with an intensity and needling tension that are arguably more pronounced here. 1979’s ‘Permafrost’ is majestically unsettling, even with its “I will drug you and fuck you” refrain edited for broadcast purposes, and ‘Song From Under The Floorboards’, from 1980’s superb ‘Correct Use Of Soap’ LP, is Magazine’s most wondrous ‘pop’ moment.
Hugh Gulland

THE METROS
MORE MONEY LESS GRIEF
(1965/Columbia)
Young upstarts from Peckham show us how it’s done.
4/5

Raucous and with more than just cheeky cockney swagger, The Metros pack a punch with their debut album, sounding like Bugsy Malone crossed with Ian Dury. As well as indie rock they unleash infectious funk punk that thrashes its way through tracks like ‘Last Of The Lookers’, that are at once jaded and celebratory of the teenage generation of sexual adventure, excess and friendship. There’s plenty of tongue-in-cheek humour to boot. Having supported The Streets recently, they deserve success for creating such an original and witty take on the somewhat tired ‘indie’ genre.
Sarah Cakebread

MOUTHWASH
TRUE STORIES
(W.D.C)
Wash your mouth out with something fresh.
3/5

For a self-proclaimed ‘ska/pop’ band, it’s a massive surprise to the ears to be greeted by grinding electro beats. In fact, it’s mostly cheery, sing-along pop-induced tunes that are vaguely reminiscent of UB40 – which is a good thing I’ll have you know. It’s feel good music at its best. ‘That Girl’ is so undeniably happy that it’s irresistible and difficult not to bop along, despite the clichéd lyrical focus. Mouthwash proudly walk the line between Specials-style ska and electro-pop, with melodic vocal lines that stay the right side of gritty. ‘What I Don’t Know’ even features blazing guitar lines and booming vocals but is so catchy it could easily see them break into the mainstream.
Sarah Cakebread

NECK
COME OUT FIGHTING
(Golf)
The real deal in Irish folk punk.
4/5

If you are a fan of the Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly and you’ve not heard this, you want to get a move on down to your local CD outlet. This compares to that duo like any So-Cal Dickies wearing punk outfit do to The Clash. This is full on and in your face aural assault by a six-piece fronted by Leeson O’Keeffe who used to be a member of Shane MacGowan’s Popes. The live shows are rumoured to be legendary and if this is a toned down example of them, then they must go off in a big way. Fourteen tracks to knock your socks off.
Simon Nott

NO.1 STATION
BOSS BEAT
(Rockers Revolt)
Scorching rocksteady the way it should sound.
5/5

The sultans of riddim No.1 Station, along with label mates Pama International, are among the ripest crop of newly emerging UK trad-ska outfits. If you like your music oozing with soul and a Jamaican sound, then look no further. There are succinct horns, ethereal harmonies and rocksteady floor-fillers aplenty on this new release from premiere roots merchants Rockers Revolt and a nice mix of vocal styles, including guest spots from Ms. Moretti and MC Boss, complete the album’s non-instrumental tracks. Check out the haunting dub ditty ‘Player Hater’ and the summertime skanthem ‘Alpha Skank’ and you’ll release exactly why Mark Lamarr called No.1 Station “the UK’s premiere ska band”.
Tom Williams

NORTH SIDE KINGS
SUBURBAN ROYALTY
(I Scream)
US hardcore band excel at delivering every cliché in the tuff guy book.
4/5

Whether or not you like this CD very much depends on whether or not you think generic tuff guy hardcore is either a) a joke or b) really good fun. If you fall into the former category then turn away now, but if you sit the latter, and the idea of a band who sound like all the usual suspects (Hatebreed, Terror, Knuckledust) rocks your world, then you’re guaranteed to enjoy this album. Although the pseudo-gangster lyrics of the likes of ‘Street Trash’ and ‘Nice Girls Finish Last’ might require you to disengage your brain partially to enjoy them, ‘Suburban Royalty’ is a blast.
Nick Mann

PENETRATION
1978/9: LIVE
(Easy Action)
Vintage live album from Durham’s punk figureheads.
4/5

Finally available in their entirety, the two shows represented on this twin CD set, Thames Poly in 1978 and Newcastle City Hall in 1979, both see Ferryhill’s finest in sparking live form, albeit at very different stages of their career. The Woolwich gig sees Pauline Murray and boys riding high with debut album ‘Moving Targets’, undoubtedly the group’s finest moment and a landmark punk release. By October 1979, Penetration are playing for the history books, effectively signing off at their last hometown gig with a blistering career run-through. Around all too briefly in their original run, Penetration were a blast of unsullied idealism, and the adrenaline kick of their live shows is evident here.
Hugh Gulland

POISON HEARTS
TRUE NECROMANCE
(Monochrome)
Nice ‘n’ sleazy.
3/5

Currently on tour with the Stranglers, Isle of Man’s Poison Hearts may not be startlingly original, but they know how to hit you where it hurts. Jonny P’s drums pound most impressively, Paul Confused’s guitar chuggs and soars and Mark E Moon’s vocals alternate between earthy bombast and metal shrieking. The band tear through 13 tracks that take in street punk, early NY sleaze, Motorhead-style riffing and all conceivable points in between. Nice production job as well, and you even get a stick-on tattoo. Well, I got about ten – does that count as a bribe?
Shane Baldwin

ROBB BLAKE
ONE MAN SKA EXPLOSION
(Do The Dog)
He’s back for more…14 tracks more.
2/5

Mr. Blake has his heart in the right place when it comes to his music. With the artwork of his second solo album a tribute to Trojan and his uplifting ska ditties, it’s promising. But, as always with ex-Whitmore man Mr. Blake, his downfall is his voice. ‘10ft Wall’ is one of the few tracks that he manages not to force his vocal style into a constipated growl and mostly sticks to a pleasant soulful tone. That said, the album isn’t horrifying, with plenty of surprises; such as with a gritty guitar intro of ‘Easy Come Easy Go’. This will keep some ska fans happy, it’s just a shame about his voice.
Sarah Cakebread

SCHEISSE MINELLI
THE CRIME HAS COME
(Destiny)
Thrashing Teutonic skate hardcore.
3/5

You gotta love this band’s name, it instantly cast a smile across my face. This, their second album, is a furious thrash metal artillery of sixteen breakneck songs in the vein of fellow Germans Spermbirds, plus a sprinkle of classic crossover
thrashers like Nuclear Assault. The guys have their tongues firmly stuck in their cheeks throughout tracks like ‘Run From The Cops’ and ‘Sin and Tonic’ race by with an unnerving ferocity harking back to the eighties. The only downside to Scheisse Minelli is that they are a little bit of a one trick pony, with little variety to be found from their thrashing blueprint. That aside it’s all good clean fun!
Miles Hackett

SSS
THE DIVIDING LINE
(Earache)
Crossover thrashers decimate everything in their path.
4/5

Short Sharp Shock (SSS) really live up to their name on their new album as they blast through 20 songs. ‘Purple Reign’ is possibly the most breathlessly fast thrash song ever created, the effort taking its toll on vocalist Simon Fox as he pants like he’s run a marathon at the end of the song. Another highlight is ‘Sk8+Destroy’, which features skaters Geoff Rowley and Howard Cooke on gang vocals. But these Scouse crossover thrash artists offer slight a slight breather from the pummelling with a couple of instrumental tracks. The riffs are heavy, the vocals vitriolic and super fast, and ‘The Dividing Line’ makes for a great punky, thrashy party.
Paul Hagen

STAR FUCKING HIPSTERS
UNTIL WE’RE DEAD
(Fat Wreck)
Crust/punk/ska super group pick up the baton from Leftover Crack.
3/5

Star Fucking Hipsters are a who’s who of the NYC squat punk scene, featuring vocalist Sturgeon (Leftover Crack), drummer Ara Babajian (The Slackers), guitarist Frank Piegaro (Degeneracy, Ensign, Fanshen), bassist Ula Beeri (ex-World Inferno/Friendship Society) and vocalist Nico De Gaillo. Originally conceived around the time LOC worked on their ‘Deadline’ split with Citizen Fish, the band carry on where those songs left off. While Sturgeon has lost none of his angry vocal delivery (nor any of his socio-political lyrical bite), it’s often tempered by Nico’s more dulcet tones, like on ‘Only Sleep’ and ‘This Wal-Mart Life’. Therefore, this band is very much a natural progression from LOC.
Lee Cotterell

SUICIDAL TENDENCIES
PRIME CUTS / THE ART OF REBELLION / LIGHTS CAMERA REVOLUTION & STILL CYCO AFTER ALL THESE YEARS
(SPV)
Timely re-issues of a clutch of Suicidal’s classic albums.
4/5 / 3/5 / 4/5

It only seems fitting that some of the Venice Beach legends’ later material is dug out of the archives for the nice digipak-style re-release treatment. ‘Prime Cuts’ is a ‘best of’-type affair and only falls short of a 5/5 because tracks from their first two albums are re-recorded and fail to capture the venom of the originals. ‘The Art Of Rebellion’ is one of their last as a ‘metal’ band and lacked their usual punch. ‘Lights Camera…’ on the other hand is one of their finest, and a re-recording of their seminal self-titled album in the shape of ‘Still Cyco..’ makes it a tasty little double set. Anyway, buy ‘em all if you know what’s good for you.
Miles Hackett

TSOL
LIVE FROM LONG BEACH
(Cider City)
TSOL’s swan song. Or not.
4/5

“Right, so this is the end, after twenty five fuckin’ years of this.” So sayeth TSOL singer Jack Grisham on stage at The Vault, Long Beach, California, on 25th November 2006, one of the band’s two ‘farewell’ shows that weekend. It was quite a coup for Chris Valdez’s Bristol-based label Cider City to release this CD, capturing the legendary band’s final outing, but then TSOL rather spoiled things by reforming only months later. Some people have no consideration. Oh well, this is still a top notch 25-track round-up of the band’s finest moments, powerfully delivered, crisply recorded and chock-full of Grisham’s witty asides.
Shane Baldwin

THE UNDERTONES
AN ANTHOLOGY
(Salvo)
Pop punk master class from John Peel faves.
5/5

Firing out of Derry, Northern Ireland, the Undertones are only rivalled by the Buzzcocks as the masters of the 3-minute pop punk masterpiece. Swirling harmonies, Fergal Sharkey’s creaky vocals, and the O’Neil brothers chiming guitars still sound great on this 2 CD, 56-track collection of live, demo and studio tracks from their first 2 album period. And so, ‘Teenage Kicks’ may be John Peel’s favourite song of all time, but the likes of ‘Jimmy Jimmy’, ‘The Love Parade’, ‘Family Entertainment’ and ‘My Perfect Cousin’ all deserve to be in the top 100 punk songs of all time too.
El Prez

VARIOUS ARTISITS
BIKES ‘N’ LEATHER – ROCKIN’ AT THE ACE
(Cherry Pie)
The motorbike-themed rockin’ tribute to the Ace Café.
3/5

If you like rock and motorbikes (who doesn’t?), then you’re going to love this. The idea is to celebrate the legendary Ace Café. The mixture is fairly eclectic – ranging from new recordings by legends like John Leyton and ‘70s classics from Crazy Cavan and the Rhythm Rockers to psychobillies The Guana Batz. There are 20 tracks in total. The booklet gives a history of the bikers’ favourite greasy spoon, as well as a personal journal by veteran BBC rocking DJ Geoff Barker. Seasoned collectors may well have a lot of these tracks but if not you can be assured that it’s all great stuff.
Simon Nott

VARIOUS ARTISTS
WESTERN STAR PSYCHOBILLIES VOL 3
(Western Star)
More great psychobilly and the like.
4/5

This is the third in the ‘Western Star Psychobillies’ series and it’s probably the best yet. Most of this material is still hot from the studio. For example, The Eyelids were only brought to Western Star’s attention in April but here they are with three great tracks boding great things to come. Other stand outs come from The Rock-It Dogs, the Hyperjax and Henry And The Bleeders. The majority of this collection is by refreshingly new talent, though Chuck and the Crackpipes and Frenzy get a look in too just to keep the young pups in check. By far the most disturbing track is ‘King Sperm’ by Popeye’s Dick, but don’t let that put you off!
Simon Nott

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KILLING JOKE London, October 3rd & 4th 2008

KILLING JOKE
LONDON FORUM
OCT 3rd & 4th
5/5
Following the tragic and sudden death of Paul Raven this year, Killing Joke announced it would tour again in his honour-and tonight they are playing their first 2 albums ‘Killing Joke’ and ‘Whats this For?’ on the first night followed by their dance/techno influenced era ‘Pandemonium’ album With screens blasting out old KJ images and their famous Jester icon the ram-packed Forum is treated to Killing Jokes ground breaking grinding punk, dub and industrial. With the original line-up including Youth and Big Paul, this is the real deal and over these 2 nights the band proved why they are such an influential part of so many scenes. From the Likes of ‘Fall of Because’ ‘Eighties’ and the always haunting ‘Requiem’ through to the pulsating and rocked out ‘Pandemonium’, KJ pushed the boundaries in a fitting reminder of what a powerful force they have been over the last 30 years. And while dedicating ‘Love Like Blood’ to Paul Raven, it was a very special night in the band’s history. Monumental!
Eugene Big Cheese
 

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OCTOBER LIVE REVIEWS

GALLON DRUNK
London
Corsica Studios
July 16th
4/5
A rain-sodden night on a back street beneath a dank south London railway arch, the setting for tonight’s show could have come straight out of a Derek Raymond novel. For a band who over their twenty-year career have often appeared to have staggered off the pages of their own latter-day crime-pulp, these surroundings seem apt. Launching into ‘Dragging Along’, the ‘Drunk set their stall out, with sozzled dimestore-malevolence and fuzztoned grind to the fore. Hunkered over his distressed Fender Jaguar, head ’drunker James Johnston whips up an equally distressed twang with as much regard for fretting technique as a man with a mike in his left hand can possibly muster; be-shirted in retro-polyester and a heroic distance from his last encounter with shampoo, Johnston growls his blues between his guitar swipes. Terry Edwards meanwhile, a vision of spivvy cool in sharp dogtooth check, parps Funhousey free-jazz figures over the distorted throb. Dredging up the silt with recent single ‘Grand Union Canal’, and lurching through ‘Running Out Of Time’ and ‘Bad Servant’, Gallon Drunk steer their sozzled set towards its red-eyed climax, stirring up some neon-streaked London murk in the downbeat setting of the E & C.
Hugh Gulland

YOUNG LIVERS
DOWN AND OUTS, ATTACK! VIPERS!, CHILLERTON

London Brixton Windmill
October 4th
5/5
One of the most exciting new bands on No Idea’s impressive roster supported by some of the finest bands in the UK punk and hardcore scene at the moment? Yes, tonight was sure to be good. The first of tonight’s pair of Pompey bands (the second being Attack! Vipers!), CHILLERTON impress with their raw and emotional melodic punk. Fans of Jawbreaker take note. The energetic and vicious ATTACK! VIPERS! savage the crowd with their Converge-meets-Mogwai hardcore assaults and vocalist Joe Watson gives it everything as always. Liverpool street/pop punk hybrid DOWN AND OUTS get everyone singing along to their infectious tunes before Gainesville, Florida’s YOUNG LIVERS blow the roof off the place with their anthemic and discordant blasts. With three gravel-vocalled singers and a relentless sense of urgency that sees the songs on their debut ‘The New Drop Era’ and their recent split with Attack! Vipers! come alive, this is the perfect end to a varied and thrilling night of punk rock.
Ian Chaddock

THE LUCHAGORS
LOVE AND A .45

London Camden Purple Turtle
September 29th
3/5
The overly excited Monday night crowd at the Purple Turtle were out with good intentions, if not in droves. Most people were there to see the final night of the Luchagors’ UK tour and expectantly waiting to see if Amy Dumas, ex-WWE wrestler ‘Lita’ could put on a decent punk show. Support came first from Londoners LOVE AND A .45 who are currently tearing up the punk scene with catchy songs and gravely honesty – just don’t call them Paramore as one punter learnt the hard way!
The LUCHAGORS form a tight unit and are musically exactly what I wanted to hear – there are no weak links in this four piece from Georgia. Naming her band after a wrestling move, Dumas isn’t trying to shy away from her roots, but also doesn’t give out any attitude – she’s as happy playing to a Monday night punk crowd as anyone, no bodyguards and no bullshit. She also surprised me with her voice – I thought it might be all gimmick and no substance, not so. They finished on standout track ‘March Of The Luchagors’, a rallying cry to come on in and have a good time.
Hazel Savage

REBELLION FESTIVAL
Blackpool Winter Gardens
August 7th – 10th

Three months after the two day extravaganza that was Spring Rebellion 2008 in Vienna, Blackpool yet again played host to this summer’s Rebellion UK, seen by some as the most important festival of the year. Winter Gardens opened its doors to sea of punks, skins, psychobillies and old school boot boys anxiously awaiting Darren Russell’s punk alternative to the UK festival music scene on Thursday 7th August for fours days of live punk, oi!, ska, drink, and Max Splodge’s infamous and humorous bingo. With the deafening sets of Section 5, Total Chaos, Short Bus Window Lickers and Dom Collins opening the weekend, it was the bands of Friday that really worked festival punters into a punk rock frenzy.

Friday

New Zealand trio THE RABBLE (3/5) kicked off Friday in the Empress Ballroom. Shaking off their fear, the boys played energetically to their biggest crowd to date with their electrifying mixture of punk and ska. After a well received set, The Rabble left the audience wanting more, but there was little time to dwell on the fact as soon after the Manchester ska sensation Sonic Boom Six took to the stage followed by Watford’s own Argy Bargy. Rising oi! menace ARGY BARGY (5/5) delivered an explosive set with songs including ‘Light Over London’ and ‘No Regrets’ from their new album ’The Likes Of Us’. Watford John’s powerful street vocals accompanied by rock and roll rhythms, coupled with excitement and stage charisma, the North London boys set the mayhem for the rest of the weekend. Deadline, Love and a .45, Moral Dilemma, Fire Exit and London are just a handful of bands that kept the relentless rebels entertained until the first main act of the evening took to the stage. After 21 years of silence, THE BOOMTOWN RATS (4/5) have reformed as a 4 piece (minus Geldof) to thrash out their crossover of punk rock and new wave tunes. The good sound and a tight set was well received by the diverse crowd who particularly enjoyed ‘20th Century Girl’ and the new improved version of ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’. Meanwhile, over on the acoustic stage in ‘Bizarre Bazaar’, south London cockney duo CHAS AND DAVE (4/5) got the modest crowd into a hoe down mood with boot stomping and hands clapping in Blackpool’s first knees up since the Queens Coronation. With classics such as ‘Gertcha’, ‘Rabbit’ and ‘London Girl’ it just goes to show how much variety Darren Russell puts into these shows, and just how diverse the punk rock scene actually is.

Saturday

With an early start Saturday, the best hangover cure since the headache tablet, Max Splodge’s Bingo had the bands fresh from their morning sound checks in fits of laughter. Constantly repeating numbers, and giving out prices pinched from hotel rooms, the unlikely bingo caller put everyone in the right mood for another day of live bands and weak beer. PETER AND THE TEST TUBE BABIES (4/5) packed out ‘The Arena’, with more trying to squeeze in, all anxious to see a glimpse of the no nonsense punk rock band that has been going for 30 years. The boys put on a good show but after a while, the sped up tracks all blended into one and making them hard to distinguish one from the other. However classics like ‘Band From The Pubs’ and ‘Run Like Hell’ got fists pumping, feet stomping and beer flying.

Lloyd Grossman’s 1970’s reformed new wave punk band JET BRONX AND THE FORBIDDEN (2/5) preformed a very easy going set, with Grossman playing some funky bass, accompanied by the vocal of ‘Valentine Guinness’ they were dishing up their own recipe of rock ‘n’ roll. However lack of enthusiasm on stage didn’t engage many punters but considering this was the band’s first festival since reforming, they did their best!
Edinburgh’s punk rockers THE REZILLOS (3/5) delivered a classic set covering all their best hits such as ‘Somebody’s Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonight!’, ‘Getting Me Down’ and ‘Flying Saucer Attack’, with a glitzy glam punk rocking image and powerful struts on stage, accompanied by thumping guitars, but on the other hand were let down by a distorted echoey sound, but fans remained content. STIFF LITTLE FINGERS (5/5) followed on from The Rezillos to a crowd of thousands, all anxious to catch a glimpse of Jake Burns and his crew smashing out their catchy punk tunes. From the moment the band took to the stage the audience went mental, and from here on in the set just got better and better. Each band member putting in the energy of a new band playing for the first time, with bassist Ali McMordie especially taking over every available piece of stage he could, running and jumping around. ‘Strummerville’ made an early appearance in the set, along with ‘Barbed Wire Love’, but unlike most bands, the set order made little difference to the feel of the gig. ‘Alternative Ulster’ was the song to close the show leaving everyone in on a high ready for the band that everyone had flocked to Blackpool to see. Cock Sparrer. In 1972 four mates from an East London school started a band. 36 years, after a few line up changes over the years, COCK SPARRER (5/5) are one of the most influential, iconic and genre breaking bands on the punk scene. Mixing political punk lyrics with catchy lead guitars and heavy bass lines, and the occassional love song thrown in for good messure. Another packed room in the venues biggest arena, Cock Sparrer, as always, fulfil all expections everyone had of them. Playing tight and professionally (not a word you hear a lot in punk circles) while still having a laugh on stage. From Colin’s jokes to his re-entrance to the stage for their first encore wearing a police helmet ready for ‘Riot Squad’, without a doubt Cock Sparrer was the band to really made Rebellion the weekend it was, the one band everyone wanted to see, and the one band who after 1am finish and another 5 hours of drinking could be up at 11am looking for a fish and chips with a Guinness to wash it down. And to top it all off, on Sunday morning, Colin and Micky joined Middle Finger Salute on stage to replay ‘Because You’re Young’.

Sunday

The escapade of Rebellion 2008 was dawning to a close end upon Blackpool’s punk rockers, and kick starting the day was Blackburn’s punk rocking quartet MIDDLE FINGER SALUTE (4/5). Over the past year MFS have gone from strength to strength. Their original punk rock sound is tuneful yet aggressive and even though they were on early Sunday afternoon, enough people had made it out of bed to make it all worth while. Lead vocalist Calum really knows how to work his audience, cracking jokes between songs and digging into his guitar to make the whole sound experience one to remember. MFS are set to climb the punk rock social ladder over the next few years, starting with a support slot with Rancid this November! The four piece punk band STRAWBERRY BLONDES (3/5) rocked the pavillion with spitting attitude and a booming thrashy sound, as they hit the stage frantically with a fast paced rhythm, Strawberry Blondes will be touring with the likes of Millencolin and Neville Staples later this year so catch them near you! Andy Scott’s own reformation of THE SWEET (5/5) gave an outstanding performance bringing back the original days of true glam rock. Accompanied by high pitched vocals, outlandish lighting, roaring guitars, and glitz glam fashion, the Rebellion punters couldn’t resist a good old sing a long. Soaring through infamous hits such as ‘Teenage Rampage’, ‘Wig Wam Bam’ and ‘Ballroom Blitz’, the hall of the Empress Ballroom had an eccentric atmosphere as crowds among crowds couldn’t help but sing to one another, chanting to every word in awe of true honest glam rock. The Sweet did not disappoint. The legend that is Charlie Harper, vocalist of UK SUBS (3/5), had no problems packing out The Empress Ballroom, with the full original 1970’s line up by his side. With Harper taking on the show like a breeze, the Subs produced a well received set, with a crystal clear sound and punks stomping their feet continiously to all those dear Subs hits we love so much, from ‘Warhead’, ‘Stranglehold’ and ‘I Live In
A Car’ the show only got better for the audience of Blackpool. With the Gary Hodges’ 4- Skins closing this year’s Rebellion festival 2008, We now await anxiously for the next Rebellion, eager for more…
Nick Quinn/Samantha Bruce

THE REVEREND HORTON HEAT
NASHVILLE PUSSY, VINCE RAY & THE BONESHAKERS

London Astoria 2
August 6th
5/5
Rednecks and psychos aplenty flocked to this sold-out rock ‘n’ roll cavalcade but, due to the questionable 6pm start, they don’t all come at once. Kicking off are VINCE RAY & THE BONESHAKERS and although the cult pin up artist, whose designs you’ll know from T-shirts and record sleeves worldwide, and his band provide an above average set of rockabilly tunes, including the hot-boppin ‘Everybody Smokes In Hell’, the small crowd seem unimpressed: a crying shame! Husband and wife team NASHVILLE PUSSY take to the stage next and by now both tiers of the LA2 are teeming with angry fans, but equipment troubles see the band leave after only a couple of songs. A disappointing half an hour later, The Pussy return and play a hard rockin’, if a little concise, set of southern sleaze, throwing in favourites ‘Go Muthafucka Go’, ‘You’re Goin’ Down’ and a headbanging cover of ‘Nutbush City Limits’. There’s still a bad taste left in everyone’s mouth as the band leave, but that all changes when Jim Heath steps onstage in a flame tipped suit, signature Gretch in hand and flashes a smile that’s oozing with Texan charm. After exploding into ‘The Baddest Of The Bad’, THE REVEREND HORTON HEAT treat the congregation to a host of cover songs from past decades, including punkabilly takes on ‘Greensleeves’, ‘Paranoid’ and ‘In Bloom’, proving the holy man and his pastors can convert any genre to the faith. Next it’s back to their own classics, with ‘Galaxy 500’, ‘Martini Time’ and ‘Bales Of Cocaine’. Jim’s fingers seem to somersault off the fret board in a blur and as the band leave the stage, the crowd scream for more. A short while later, they get it, with Blaine from Nashville Pussy joining the rock ‘n’ roll trio onstage for a rendition of ‘Ace Of Spades’, diving into the heaving pit at its climax. Topping the night off with the wrecktastic ‘Psychobilly Freakout’ and ‘The Big Red Rocket Of Love’, breaking midway for a trio of awesome solos, the crowd are left thoroughly satisfied. Praise the word!
Tom Williams

16TH PSYCHOBILLY MEETING
June 26th-29th
Pineda Del Mar
Spain
5/5
This was the year that the annual Spanish Psychobilly Meeting became the scene’s official favourite festival. There had been fears that having moved up the beach from its previous spiritual home in Calella things just wouldn’t be the same. The fears proved right – it was twice as good. The new beachfront semi-permanent marquee was perfect, as was the whole event. The four day festival kicked off on the Thursday kicked off with all-girl Brazilian band AS DIABATZ who were only on their fourth gig ever but went down well, BEN COOPER ROCKIN’ pleased many but it was SPELLBOUND who got the place jumping for the first time of the festival, cracking set. Veteran’s THE BOPPIN KIDS preceded the headliners THE DEAD KIDS who are fronted by Koefte of Mad Sin fame. The name was almost apt as a falling lighting rig nearly killed the lot of them during a freak storm the brought the opening night to an end (footage ‘The Dead Kings – The End’ on YouTube). On Friday TABALTIX started the trend showing the massive talent of the new breed early playing American bands that are emerging on the scene. It was the old guard that took the limelight though, THE KLINGONZ put on a massive show, featuring clowns and fire-breathers and a severe rocking performance, a hard act to follow, but it was BATMOBILE headlining and they blew the place away, showing why they have been top of their game for decades. BAMBOULA once again displayed the talent of the young Americans but Saturday was a night of old school headliners, ROCHEE AND THE SARNOS were Klub Foot Favourites and went down well, but THE LONG TALL TEXANS had the place in a wrecking frenzy with their set of classic after classic that incorporated new tracks that still sounded like classics. THE GUANA BATZ headlined and rose to the unenviable task of following them, but follow them they did, Pip and the Batz belied the years and put on a show that would have had a Klub Foot pit begging for mercy. Sunday was hard work, for bands and fans competing with the football. THE CRACKS from Japan were a revelation, tons of make-up, great songs and a monks habits added by a Texan guest made for a top show. BANG BANG BAZOOKA rocked, and the COFFIN NAILS followed. As always they were great, Humungous seemed thirsty but the party onstage spilled off it, perfect. NIGEL LEWIS headlined, everyone was fucked by this time but it only takes a verse or two of ‘My Daddy Is A Vampire’ from the granddaddy of the genre to inject some reserves of energy into a psycho crowd. A fitting end to what is a must-attend festival. It’s a budget flight to Barcelona away – be there next year.
Simon Nott

 

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OCTOBER REVIEWS (29 inside)

THE 241ERS
MURDERERS
(Household Name)
Members of Stockyard Stoics, Filaments, Suicide Bid and MDC kill it with acoustic political punk.
3/5

Written without drummers in their living rooms and with a sound that has nods to a range of artists such as Billy Bragg (on ‘The Ballad of Ronald Timbers’ and ‘Stories of Old’), The Clash, Against Me! (on ‘Ronnie Goes to Heaven’) and Stiff Little Fingers, ‘Murderers’ has a pretty special collective punk feel. Political and passionate, there are songs about police murder and organisation against the BNP, not to mention a dialogue between the devil and former US president Ronald Reagan on his decent to hell! This isn’t groundbreaking but its fun sing along stuff, with guest appearances from members of The Hold Steady, World/Inferno Friendship Society and Morning Glory. Raise your voice.
Ian Chaddock

ADAM WEST
EXTRA SEXUAL PERCEPTION
(People Like You)
Washington DC rockers call it quits in style.
3/5

After a long, productive partnership that produced some corking albums, Adam West have decided to throw in the towel after their forthcoming autumn tour of Europe. If you’ve never heard of them before now, the question, ‘where the hell have you been all this time?’ springs to mind. For the rest of us who’ve had the pleasure of listening to their particular brand of kick arse rock ‘n’ roll (think the Stooges, Motorhead, AC/DC and MC5) for the last decade or so, this is a bit of a bittersweet farewell. At least they’re going out in style and can look back on their back catalogue with pride.
Lee Cotterell

THE ADICTS
SONGS OF PRAISE (25TH ANNIVERSARY LIMITED EDITION)
(People Like You)
‘80s UK punks’ debut album – 25th anniversary posh version.
3/5

Ipswich Droog-types The Adicts hold the distinction of being the oldest existing punk band that still boast their original line-up and, as their debut EP came out in 1979, that’s not to be sniffed at. ‘Songs Of Praise’ had two releases, first on Fall Out in 1981, then Razor in 1982, when it hit no.2 on the old Indie Chart. Not quite sure how that makes it the 25th anniversary. Here you get the original album, plus unnecessary re-recordings of the same songs. Still, the newies boast better production and the classics like ‘Viva La Revolution’ and ‘England’ are still great.
Shane Baldwin

BEN COOPER
ROCKIN’
(Cherry Pie)
Unpretentious neo-rockabilly from former Restless sticksman.
3/5

Ben Cooper is best known as the drummer and founder member of premier British rockabilly legends Restless prior to going solo in 2006. Being a bit of a multi-instrumentalist and a dab-hand behind a studio mixing desk to boot, this album is in every sense of the word a one man show. It comes as no surprise to find him sticking mainly to the neo-rockabilly blueprint of his previous band on foot tappers like ‘Ready to Go’ and ‘Like an H-Bomb’, with the occasional foray into country (‘The Crossroads’) and blues (‘Celestine’). I guess if it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it. Good rockin’ stuff indeed.
Lee Cotterell

CALABRESE
THE TRAVELING VAMPIRE SHOW
(Abstract)
Ghoulish punk rock from Phoenix, Arizona.
3/5

Claiming to be “the world’s greatest horror rock band” may be a little over-ambitious but Jimmy, Bobby and Davey Calabrese are certainly an (undead) force to be reckoned with. Combining the sounds of legends such as The Misfits, The Damned and early AFI, with the old horror film quotes between songs that Rob Zombie loves so much, this is nothing new but tunes such as ‘Your Ghost’ and ‘Voices Of The Dead’ will probably have you dancing on your grave. The harmonies and backing vocals make Calabrese a cut above most of their monstrous rivals. This follow-up to their debut ’13 Halloweens’ will lurch its way onto your stereo with an anthemic collection of graveyard stomps.
Ian Chaddock

THE CHORDS
THE MOD SINGLES COLLECTION
(Captain Mod)
Underrated second wave of Mod classic.
4/5

Riding in on their brand new scooters, The Chords took to the mod revival of 1979 with a handful of chart singles and their combination of punk energy and power pop tunes. As usual, Captain (Oi!) Mod have done a great job in putting together this 20 track compilation with the usual comprehensive sleeve notes, extra tracks and unreleased singles. It was a fine line between the punk rock of 1979 and the Mods Mayday youth anthems the Chords were writing, and they were even contracted to Sham 69’s Jimmy Purseys’ JP records briefly. But it was on Polydor that they hit the charts with their powerful ‘Maybe Tomorrow’ single, probably their finest moment. Their debut album also charted but it was a brief ride for the Chords and the rising tide of Two Tone and New Romantics all but killed off the Chords and the New Mod Movement. Feisty and anthemic, the chords deserve their moment in history.
El Prez

THE CREEPSHOW
RUN FOR YOUR LIFE
(People Like You)
Sarah Sin’s Canadian punk psycho combo rock the joint.
4/5

The Creepshow’s long awaited follow-up to ‘Sell Your Soul’ does not disappoint, with pummelling double bass and drums ensuring that the ten tracks stomp along so much so that when you get to the murder ballads your foot’s still bouncing anyway. Sarah Sin’s vocals are powerful, and complimented by liberal use of keyboards and some hearty choruses, which give the whole album a very full and polished sound that does not undermine any of its pure rocking energy in any negative way. This lot get on prime-time TV back home and you can hear why.
Simon Nott

THE DATSUNS
HEAD STUNTS
(Cooking Vinyl)
Good, just not as good as…
3/5

The Datsuns have the classic problem of struggling to better a brilliant debut. The self-titled first album was brim-full of wailing rock and memorable tunes. Their second and third albums failed to excite. Now they’re back with self-produced fourth album ‘Head Stunts’ (an anagram if you hadn’t worked it out). It’s a return to form of sorts, if only my expectations weren’t still so high. There is nothing here to rival ‘Sitting Pretty’ or ‘Harmonic Generator’ but it’s their most promising release in years. Though it’s not the all-out craziness of their debut, you can’t help but get carried along with their brand of retro rock.
Matt Quin

DEADLY SINS
SELLING OUR WEAKNESSES
(People Like You)
Boston punks unveil varied debut full-length.
4/5

Vocalist Stephanie Dougherty has toured with the Dropkick Murphys since 2002 and Deadly Sins also include former members of Reach the Sky and Crash and Burn in their ranks. This experience has resulted in a well-rounded and enjoyable debut from their new band. The biting, dark punk rock of opener ‘Grey Skies Turn’ is followed by the energetic and anthemic punk ‘n’ roll of ‘Barely Breathing’ and ‘Riot’ firing out ass kicking, raw rock ‘n’ roll,  its obvious that these guys are very talented and can turn their hand to a wide range of styles, while still sounding cohesive. There’s not a dud track on the whole 12-song record, so I’m still to find these weaknesses they’re selling.
Ian Chaddock

DUFF MCKAGAN’S LOADED
WASTED HEART EP
(Century Media)
Former Guns N’ Roses and Velvet Revolver bassist steps back up to the microphone.
3/5

Given that Velvet Revolver have yet to find a replacement for erstwhile frontman Scott Weiland, you can’t blame bassist Duff McKagan for getting tired of waiting around and decided to revive his old side project. This is their first release since 2001’s ‘Dark Days’ album – a 5-track EP, featuring some dark, punked-up riff action in ‘Sleaze Factory’, the surprisingly melodic ‘IOU’ and an enjoyably stripped-down acoustic lament in the title track. It’s not the best thing Duff has put his name to, but it’s far more convincing than Velvet Revolver’s last album, and – if nothing else – proves that the rock ‘n’ roll flame still burns brightly within his tattooed soul.
Alex Gosman

GUANA BATZ
LOAN SHARKS
(Anagram/Cherry Red)
Batz out of hell!
4/5

Back to the mid-‘80s for this favourite re-release from psychobilly pioneers The Guana Batz: Anagram/Cherry Red Records ensures none of us forget where it all began. Originally reaching number 2 in the UK Indie charts, ‘Loan Sharks’ sees the band trying their hand at a slurry of rock ‘n’ roll classics, including Chuck Berry’s ‘No Particular Place to Go’, Chan Romero’s ‘Hippy Hippy Shake’ and Costello’s ‘Radio Sweetheart’. plus six of their own hectic gems.  With a possible new album on the horizon and the band still hard at work both sides of the pond, now’s the time to loosen the straight jacket.
Tom Williams

IMPERIAL LEISURE
THE ART OF SAYING NOTHING
(Steamroller)
Solid gold straight off the ska-rap heap.
5/5

Famed for their guerilla gigs, DIY videos and high-octane live shows, this band’s reputation is one that’s hard to match, and all without releasing a full-length debut! Taking up where bands like Sublime started, and others like Adequate 7 on Sonic Boom Six carried on, this North London ten-piece collective intertwine punk rock riffs and bratty horn-based ska with fast flowing hip-hop-laced lyrics, culminating in an electrified sound that forces you onto your feet. An impressive mix of styles from the skankariffic ‘Sombrero’, head bobbing singles ‘Great British Summertime’ and ‘The Landlord’s Daughter’ all deliver with subject matter that’ll have you pissing your pants with laugher. Frickin’ awesome!
Tom Williams

KILLING JOKE
THE PEEL SESSIONS 1979-1981
(Virgin)
Early Joke’s raw energy captured by the Beeb.
5/5

Neatly timed to lock in with the original Killing Joke lineup’s first full reunion since 1982, these four John Peel sessions (bulked up with a Richard Skinner show recording from the same period) are the best precis of the power of early period Joke you could hope for. Youth’s clanking dub-funk bass, Paul Ferguson’s post-industrial Burundi-beat drums, Geordie Walker’s martial guitar tones and the eerie vocals and seething synth of Jaz Coleman, all in their creative first flush from the Joke’s all-important first three albums. From 1979’s out-of-the-garage renditions of ‘Psycche’ and ‘Wardance’ to the ominous power-surge of ‘The Hum’ and ‘Empire Song’, this is unpolished post-punk perfection.
Hugh Gulland

LAGWAGON
I THINK MY OLDER BROTHER USED TO LISTEN TO LAGWAGON
(Fat Wreck)
Slight return from the ‘wagon.
3/5

The guys in Lagwagon have always had a sense of humour. With this new, tongue-in-cheek titled 7-track EP singer Joey Cape has explained that “it’s gonna change the world”. However, while the band’s songwriting has matured a little over the years, there’s nothing new here. Opener ‘B side’ and ‘Errands’ displays the kind of skate punk that made the first band to sign to Fat Wreck Chords so loved in the ‘90s, but there’s nothing here to rival ‘Trashed’. Tracks such as ‘No Little Pill’ and ‘Live It Down’ plod along and lack the vocal urgency and speed that made them so exhilarating in their early days. Here’s hoping they rediscover skate punk and play to their strengths again.
Ian Chaddock

LEGENDARY PINK DOTS
PLUTONIUM BLONDE
(Roir)
Experimental and hallucinatory new outing from the Dots.
4/5

Legendary Pink Dots appear to have hovered around music‘s outer reaches since the early 1980s. This latest recording sees Edward Ka-Spel and crew continuing their sonic explorations, somewhere between the childlike surreality of vintage psych-folk and the hypnotic pulsations of Phillip Glass. The results are at points claustrophobically threatening, as with Torchsong‘s currents of bottled-up paranoia, pleasingly whimsical on tracks such as My First Zonee, or hauntingly mesmeric as Rainbows Too or the Spookily skewed carousel of Faded Photography both attest. If Plutonium Blonde’s out-there meanderings might test the casual listener’s attention in places, this album has moments of beguiling eccentricity which more than compensate.
Hugh Gulland

THE LEGENDARY RAW DEAL
OUTLAW MAN
(Anagram)
P Paul Fenech’s 1997 rockabilly project re-issued.
3/5

I’ve only given this a three but if you don’t have it don’t let that put you off. It’s great rockabilly, but it’s PPF so it’s not all about boppin’ all night. It’s pretty hardcore stuff with a simple but very effective bass sound and, of course, great guitar. There are a mixture of Fenech originals and some classic (but obscure) rockabilly covers. Johnny Cash’s ‘Jackson’ even gets the treatment in duet. This re-issue has the original cover, which features blank-eyed bullet-ridden corpses. A nice touch I thought for what is an excellent and worthy re-issue.
Simon Nott

LIGHTNING BEAT-MAN AND HIS NO TALENT
WRESTLING ROCK N ROLL
(Voodoo Rhythm)
The no hit wonder’s classic trash album back to fuck you up.
4/5

This is pure trash so badly recorded (on a four-track) and wild it’s the sound the genre is all about. When this record came out in 1995 the psychobillies hated it so much that they used to wait for poor old Beat-Man after gigs to give him a kicking, so there’s the perfect reason to buy it. It’s the original 16-tracks plus three bonus tracks. But the real killer on here is ‘I Wanna Be Your Pussycat’. “Brain fuckin’ rock ‘n’ roll for bad tasters and adults only” is what it says on the cover, you’d better believe it. Classic!
Simon Nott

THE LONDON COWBOYS
RELAPSE
(Jungle)
Mixed twin CD bag from post-NY Dolls sleaze punk spin-offs.
2/5

There’s no denying Johnny Thunders’ influence on the class of ‘77, but not everyone could run with that baton as far The Clash or the Pistols. Similarly enthralled with Johnny’s vagabond stance, Steve Dior and Barry Jones fell into Thunders’ orbit in 1976, and from the ashes of The Idols, formed with JT’s former cohorts Arthur Kane and Jerry Nolan, London Cowboys were born. Disc one offers up some acceptable early-‘80s sleaze punk. It’s decent enough in a ‘Friday night down the Clarendon’ fashion. Disc two meanwhile documents the band’s unsuccessful remould in a late-‘80s LA sleaze metal vein, and is considerably less engaging. Overall, this is one for Dolls completists only.
Hugh Gulland

LOU REED
BERLIN: LIVE AT ST. ANN’S WAREHOUSE
(Matador)
The ghosts of Berlin still haunt.
5/5

Before recording his tai chi meditations Reed found time to stage 1973’s controversial follow up to his biggest album Transformer. Berlin was a critical disaster upon release – just too dark and disturbing to follow the Bowie reeking pop of Transformer. Now the tables have turned and it is rightly viewed as Reed’s sinister masterpiece. This live reincarnation is stunning – the sound roars out of the speakers – and the songs are hauntingly resurrected. Sometimes it can sound too revitalised, lacking the dismal murky atmosphere of the album’s original production. But the crying children still haunt and the blunt street lyrics still make you despair. Still as dark, uncompromising and challenging as ever.
Matt Quin

MATT BOROFF & THE MIRRORS
ELEVATOR RIDE
(Lo End)
Surf rock twang with surreal undertones.
4/5

A three-piece based around Matt Boroff’s surrealistic songwriting and hyperactive tremolo-arm, Matt and his Mirrors’ third album comes on like a skewed re-work of the ‘Pulp Fiction’ soundtrack. The retro-tone aural flavors take on an alternate narrative thanks to Boroff’s otherworldly way with a song. Cuts like ‘Zombie Machine’ and ‘Like A Train’ filter early sixties twang through psychedelia’s prism, whilst ‘Red’ boasts the kind of psychotic wasp-in-a-jam-jar guitar action you tend to have to go way underground to find these days.  A ‘Link Wray through the looking glass’ kind of trip, ‘Elevator Ride’ pushes timeless sounds through some unusual contortions.
Hugh Gulland

THE OTHER
THE PLACE TO BLEED
(Fiendforce)
Walk Among Us!
5/5

Probably the strongest horror punk outfit in Europe, fiends and freaks raise your stumps in the air for this bloodcurdling third release from Germany’s answer to Armageddon: The Other.  Following 2006’s ‘We Are Who We Eat’, this offering features a coffin-load of Misfits-esque tracks that’ll have you hounding for human flesh, including the foreboding ‘Black Angel’, metal-tinged ‘Bleed’ and the death rock hymns ‘Murder in the House of Wax’, ‘Become Undead’ and ‘The Creature From The Black Lagoon’; all introduced by a creepy piano tinkling sideshow opener. With subject matter ranging from Edgar Allen Poe to the legendary Gill-Man, devilocks will be flapping worldwide.     
Tom Williams

SUICIDE
LIVE 1977-1978
(Blast First Petite)
Box set of smeary historical gold from the NYC electro-punkers.
4/5

This thirteen-gig live document, crudely recorded 30 years ago, is too much to chew on for non-devotees. Suicide’s work, even as punk rock was upturning the world order, was so unacceptable that many gigs met with outright riots. If you love Suicide’s self-titled 1978 album and are willing to dig further, this limited edition set is a gift, a grimy ground-level punters-eye view of revolution unfolding. With the sinister tick of Rev’s pawn shop electronics pulsing beneath the crooning and shrieking of Vega’s subterranean Elvis. Suicide’s paranoiac urban vistas repeatedly play out over this series of gigs across the US and europe, too real for comfort even after all these years.
Hugh Gulland

TEENAGE JESUS & THE JERKS/BEIRUT SLUMP
SHUT UP & BLEED
(Cherry Red)
Arty early NY punk.
4/5

In 1976 prime nutcase Lydia Lunch formed Teenage Jesus & The Jerks in New York, and thought “the point of using music was to merely exaggerate the bitter words and bilious intentions which were burning holes inside my head”. With that attitude, and initial collaborators James Chance, Bradley Field and bassist Reck, Lunch made quite an impression on the NY scene, but didn’t hit vinyl until the single ‘Orphans’, produced by Voidoid Robert Quinn, appeared in 1978. These 29 tracks cherry-pick the best of The Jerks’ discordant, confrontational, but often exhilarating output, along with La Lunch’s decidedly weird 1979 project Beirut Slump, which lasted for just three live shows and the ‘Try Me’ single.
Shane Baldwin

TRASHCAT
TOO MUCH AIN’T ENOUGH
(Dirtbird)
The sound of a great punk rock night out.
4/5

Ten tracks of near perfect punk ‘n’ roll. The opening track is probably the weakest but that’s when you are opening your beer anyway. Songs about Hackney nightlife, sex, drugs and all the rest of it blast from the speakers. It’s all a little rough around the edges but is all the better for it. Shout-along vocals that are weirdly endearing in a loud but laid back way, basic guitar, bass and drums put together in the way that is probably way cooler than Trashcat would ever want to be. I played ‘Dirtbird Paradise’ over and over again when I first got this. It’s genius and so bloody catchy it should be class A.
Simon Nott

VARIOUS ARTISTS
WESTERN STAR ROCKABILLIES – VOLUME 3
(Western Star)
Another fine rockabilly sampler from Western Star.
4/5

Twenty fine rockabilly tracks from a whole host of Western Star’s roster of bass slapping, guitar twanging bands. There isn’t a duff track on this album that leans more towards an authentic sound, rather than turning up like most psychobilly comps. That’s not to say that a lot of this stuff is not wild. Jack Rabbit Slim and Bill Fadden probably top the bill on here but it is hard to find a stand out. This is the ideal opportunity to get a listen to some of the best modern rockabilly out there at the moment. Recommended.
Simon Nott

VOLBEAT
GUITAR GANGSTERS & CADILLAC BLOOD
(Mascot)
Rock ‘n’ roll meets metal…
4/5

Claiming to “make metal that even your mom would like”, this four-piece from Copenhagen, Denmark sound like the resulting bastard child after a night of passion between Johnny Cash and all four members of Metallica. Volbeat’s third release boasts a generous, if not a little over adventurous, 14 tracks and with musical nods to the Misfits, Elvis Presley and Iron Maiden, this album is quite the mixed bag of tricks. Be warned, it does get a little monotonous towards the end, but quirky tracks like ‘Maybellene I Hofteholder’ (on this month’s covermount CD!), are definitely worth checking out.
Jen Walker

THE WILDHEARTS
STOP US IF YOU’VE HEARD THIS ONE BEFORE (VOLUME 1)
(Cargo)
Ginger and his cohorts have some fun.
3/5

This is The Wildhearts doing 15 cover versions and, as it’s Volume 1, it’s safe to suppose that they didn’t stop there. Fans of the band will want this because it’s them all over. They do a weird and wonderful collection of other people’s songs in their own inimitable style. Each band member has a go at vocals at least once. There are songs borrowed from everyone from The Distillers to Regurgitator, blasted out in the proper manner. This is more than enough to keep you interested until Volume 2 rears its head. An interesting and worthy release.
Simon Nott

THE WOLFMEN
MODERNITY KILLED EVERY NIGHT
(Damaged Goods)
Ex-Adam and the Ants make album of the year?
5/5

Former Adam and the Ants men Marco Pirroni and Chris Constantinou certainly have a good pedigree between them. Infact, as well as playing in an early incarnation of Siouxsie and the Banshees with Sid Vicious, Marco went on to write 6 number one singles and 13 other top 20 hits with Adam Ant. His new project The Wolfmen, pulls together everything that was great about British music in the ‘70s and ‘80s and turns it into the glorious sound that is The Wolfmen. So, with the sounds of glam rock mixing with ‘Lust For Life’ era Iggy Pop and David Bowie, and Roxy Music shining through on ‘If You Talk Like That’, The Wolfmen have made one of the freshest sounding albums of the year. Single ‘Cecilie’ is just about as addictive as a song can get and the whole album has an elegance and charm that’s missing in so many of todays records. While young pretenders like Panic At The Disco fail miserably reaching for the stars, The Wolfmen effortlessly float into orbit. Get bitten!
El Prez

WRECKLESS ERIC AND AMY RIGBY
WRECKLESS ERIC AND AMY RIGBY
(Stiff)
Eric collaborates with his better half for a reconciliation with Stiff.
3/5

Paired off with ex-Shams Ms Rigby and reunited with his original label, the reconstituted Stiff Records, the veteran pub-rock maverick may sound a little more careworn than the fresh-faced scamp who brought us ‘Big Smash’ and the rest, but Eric can still do a lot with two chords. ‘Here Comes My Ship’ opens the album with a languid Lou Reed-y lilt, and Rigby’s input adds more songwriters’ craft to the sound, athough a DIY ethic is still in evidence. There’s a tangible bounce of ideas between the two collaborators, resulting in an intimate album with a home-cooked kind of feel.
Hugh Gulland
 

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SEPTEMBER REVIEWS (20 reviews inside)

ADRENALIN O.D.
THE WACKY HIGH JINKS OF… 
(Chunksaah)
Double re-issue from these NJ comic hardcore punkers
3/5

If you’re unfamiliar with the work of Adrenalin O.D. then just try to imagine if you crossed Black Flag with a bit of The Stupids, but played and sung as if it were the musical accompaniment to classic ‘70s Saturday morning kids show Tiswas. Yup. Slapstick hardcore punk. This album, their debut, is now a quarter of a decade old and Chunksaah have lovingly re-released it as a double disc set with a ton of extra tracks, liner notes and loads more gumpf. It’s rough and some of it sounds a little dated but it was 1983 so cut ‘em some slack. Grab this and get nostalgic.
Miles Hackett

ANTISEEN
THE BEST OF…
(TKO)
If you love them you’ll love this.
4/5

Antiseen are the epitome of underground. They originate from North Carolina and have been bashing out their brutal sounds for 25 years with very little help or reward from anyone, hence this double album. It has been lovingly (hardly a fitting word for these guys but) packaged with liner notes on each track for the uninitiated to their furious style of music. It’s impossible to generalise about Antiseen, they are anti-genre but the wider umbrella of punk will just about cover it. What you get here is 40 tracks and an excellent tribute to a band that aren’t done yet. There must be longevity in them there hills.
Simon Nott

BALZAC
HATRED : DESTRUCTION = CONSTRUCTION
(Dark Union)
New album from the Japanese Misfits approved horror rockers.
3/5

It’s little wonder that punk legends turned cabaret band the Misfits adopted Balzac into their horror clique, as I imagine they are everything that they aspire to be in contemporary music. However the devilocks and skeleton suits is about where the similarity between the two ends. This new Balzac offering is a thunderous affair from haunting opener ‘The Shadows Of Daybreak’ to the off the wall riffage of ‘Dakede Sonna Hibi’; it’s like riding a an out of control rollercoaster. The bludgeoning guitar attack lurches, twists and turns with an apocalyptic severity. Part metal, part punk this twisted avant garde horror outfit certainly know how to think outside the box.
Miles Hackett

CIVET
HELL HATH NO FURY
(Hellcat)
Four stunning women, collectively a roaring punk band!
3/5

Hold the phone! An all girl rock ‘n’ roll band that aren’t half bad? Admittedly the LA quartet’s use of simplistic chord sequences and effortless bass lines isn’t always that appealing. But combine it with awe-inspiring, raw vocals from Ms. Liza Graves and some wild riffs and you have a fast-paced, energetic record. ‘All I Want’ changes the pace to reveal a more melodic, catchy song that highlights the girls’ playful side perfectly. Yet, I can’t help but feel this is the only song that ventures off from the hoarse vocals and anthemic punk rock template. Civet’s debut certainly shows promise though and hell hath no fury like these girls at full tilt.
Amy Russell

DESTRUCTORS 666 / THE RUINED
888 (THE TED ROGERS E.P.)
(Rowdy Farrago)
Peterborough punks bridge the generation gap.
3/5

’77 punks The Destructors, now reincarnated as Destructors 666, are back with their second split with the young ragers The Ruined. This time Destructors 666 are more glam than normal, but their three tracks still explode with raw energy and gritty vocals, even ‘Silk Subway’ when its acoustic intro erupts into a full on rocker. The Ruined come on like early AFI on ‘Ghost’ and later AFI covering Leatherface on ‘Anything Anything’. For some reason there’s a track by a band called Punky Rebel Media at the end of this six-track EP which will leave you lunging for the ‘stop’ button with its horribly out of tune guitars and singing. Another solid Destructors 666 EP by all accounts.
Ian Chaddock

DINOSAUR JR.
HAND IT OVER
(Reprise)
Alt-rock legends’ stunning 1997 album gets a re-release.
5/5

As their seventh and final album before they split (subsequently reforming in 2005 and releasing their latest album, last year’s ‘Beyond’) it’s a surprise this album is so focused. Working with two of My Bloody Valentine added an extra depth. The fuzzy, heavily distorted guitars, J. Mascis’ unmistakable aching and passionate vocals and the majestic melodies make ‘Nothin’s Goin’ On’, the catchy, French horn filled ‘I’m Insane’ and the subtle beauty of ‘Never Bought It’ and ‘Alone’ just a few of the classics on here. While its commercial success didn’t match their earlier hit albums ‘Bug’ and ‘Where You Been’, ‘Hand It Over’ is artistically up there and still sounds as mesmerising as it did over a decade ago.
Rachel Owen

GANG OF FOUR
SONGS OF THE FREE / HARD
(EMI)
UK post-punk pioneers.
4/5

Formed in Leeds in 1977, Gang Of Four are often credited as pioneers of post-punk. They fused dub-inspired bass lines, slashing guitars, staccato drums and intelligent, political lyrics. They could also knock out some pretty neat tunes. ‘Songs Of The Free’, the band’s third album from 1982, was more polished than its predecessors ‘Entertainment!’ and ‘Solid Gold’, and the first with bassist Sara Lee, formerly with Robert Fripp’s band. The album spawned the excellent single ‘I Love A Man In Uniform’, destined for chart success until it was banned by the BBC due to the outbreak of the Falklands war. ‘Hard’, released the following year, was a more poppy, dance-style effort, but still had that GOF edge and bite lurking just beneath the surface.
Shane Baldwin

GG ELVIS AND THE TCP BAND
BACK FROM THE DEAD
(Mental)
Punk Elvis tribute. No, seriously.
3/5

Genius. Everything about this is genius. From combining ‘That’s All Right Mama’ with ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’, to the scratch and sniff picture of a guy’s arsehole in the inlay (I’m not even kidding, but I’m not brave enough to sniff) to the DVD that comes with the CD with stuff you never wanted to see. Okay, it’s everything you would ever want from an Elvis punk tribute; it’s noisy, it’s anarchic, but it’s familiar, blasting through ‘Blue Suede Shoes’ and ‘Love Me Tender’. The concept gets a little worn after five or so tracks, but throw it on at a party and you can guarantee a good time. Even your Nan can sing along. And it’s only seven quid.
Tracey Lowe

GOLDBLADE
MUTINY
(Captain Oi)
Ahoy shipmates, this is one ship you’d not want to mutiny!
5/5

Great stuff from Goldblade. From the opening track you know that you are in for a stomper with this album. John Robb’s men unleash tongue in cheek, riotous punk with a rockabilly edge and more than a hint of folky sea shanty too. Think ‘Friggin’ In The Riggin’ for overall effect, but it’s only on some tracks so you won’t be drowning in it. The nautical theme fits well because this album rocks, rolls and lurches like a galleon in a force ten with a drunken sailor at the wheel. There’s plenty going on here to keep you going until the last drop of rum. Brilliant stuff.
Simon Nott

GUNS ON THE ROOF
NEW FRUSTRATION
(Glory Glory)
Young Leeds punks deliver the goods.
4/5

At last, the much-anticipated second album by Guns On The Roof. 2005’s ‘Pure Punk Rock Therapy’ was a cracker, but ‘New Frustration’ sees the band come of age, despite their still tender years. The influences are the same as ever: The Clash, SLF and the best of old school punk, mixed up with Rancid and Green Day. It’s served up on great songs like ‘Last Orders’ and ‘Punk Sweat and Tears’, bursting with youthful vigour, a fierce passion and swaggering self-assurance that proves the past few years of heavy touring have paid dividends. Truly excellent.
Shane Baldwin

HIFI HANDGRENADES
CARRY ON
(Deck Cheese)
Former Suicide Machines men set to go off with explosive melodic punk debut.
5/5

Featuring former members of Detroit punk favourites the Suicide Machines and the Fags, HiFi Handgrenades have unleashed a blinding album. ‘Carry On’ is full of melody-soaked sing alongs, such as ‘Stupid’, the title track and the urgent ‘Smiling Judas’. The driving, fast paced ‘Sunset to Sunrise’ and uplifting closer ‘Detroit Has a Skyline’ are also anthemic highlights. Drawing influence from the likes of The Descendents, Naked Raygun and The Replacements, these honest, buzzsaw songs are sure to win them plenty of fans. With Dave Grohl saying they’re his favourite new band and UK shows with Alkaline Trio and Millencolin throughout September, HiFi Handgrenades are about to explode out of the underground. Energetic and passionate, this is one of the debuts of the year.
Ian Chaddock

HUSKER DU
THE LIVING END
(Warners)
Re-release of career-spanning live album.
3/5

This epic 24-song second live album (after their 1982 live-recorded debut album ‘Land Speed Record’) gives you some kind of an idea of the energy of a Husker Du show. Recorded in 1987, the same year the hardcore punks turned alt-rock legends split, at a number of North American gigs. Unfortunately over half the album was recorded in an echo-filled large venue in Montreal, resulting in a poor sound on classics such as ‘It’s Not Funny Anymore’, ‘Celebrated Summer’ and ‘Terms of Psychic Warfare’. However, the in-depth liner notes by rock critic David Fricke are an intriguing view of why the band fell apart and it’s exciting to hear these songs in their raw, live form.
Ian Chaddock

LEE ROCKER
BLACK CAT BONE
(Alligator)
Perfectly crafted rockabilly but…
3/5

Lee Rocker has come up with another album that has all the ingredients of a classic modern rockabilly-influenced album. The songs are great, the musicianship stunning and the vocals cooler than cool. So why hasn’t it got a five? Well… (see what I did there rockabilly fans?) I don’t know what it is with all those qualities in this style of music that always comes up with the goods, but those goods always seem to equate to rockabilly, dare I say it, ‘easy listening’, even the fast tracks. The extra-edge, probably only possessed by the young, drunk and slightly inept is always missing, and it that’s obviously missing here. It is an excellent, polished album if that’s what you’re after.
Simon Nott

MAD SIN
GOD SAVE THE SIN
(People Like You)
Celebrate the Sin one more time!
4/5

Originally released in 2003 on Batmobile’s Count Orlock Records, ‘God Save The Sin’ sees Germany’s number one hellbilly bastards at their most hungry and deranged. Backed by chugging riffs, bass thwacks and drum pounds, Koefte Deville’s demented growls solidify this album as the strongest of Mad Sin’s career and a classic of the genre. 16 tracks fresh from the mausoleum and still stinking of death, including the rockin’ deadneck anthem ‘Misery’, wrecking pit instigators ‘Loco Toxico’ and ‘50 Miles From Nowhere’ and skull thumping classics ‘Speak No Evil’ and ‘Holy Vacation’- this is euro psychobilly at it’s most insane.   
Tom Williams

NIGEL LEWIS AND THE ZORCHMEN
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, ATTENTION PLEASE
(Drunkabilly)
Nigel, Nigel, Nigel and Nigel.
3/5

Nigel Lewis is a psychobilly legend, founder member of The Meteors and frontman with subsequent bands, The Tall Boys and The Johnson Family. This is billed as Nigel Lewis and The Zorchmen, this is a double disc; the second is a live recording with his backing band. The studio disc is Nigel Lewis on everything and incorporates rockabilly, garage and psychobilly; all of course in the inimitable vocal style of Nigel. There are some truly classic tunes here, notably ‘Foolsteps’ and ‘The Demon and the Angel’. There are a couple of songs that should have stayed in the can but didn’t, which is maybe a danger of a solo project. The great outweighs the bad though.
Simon Nott

THE RABBLE
THE NEW GENERATION
(Filthy Lucre)
Big Cheese exclusive compilation CD shows New Zealand punks at their finest.
5/5

These 15 tracks are taken from the band’s two albums and an EP that they’ve released in their homeland – ‘No Clue, No Future’ (2005), ‘This Is Our Lives’ EP (2006) and ‘The Battle’s Almost Over’ (2007). Their powerful songs draw on influences such as the Clash, Rancid and the Dropkick Murphys. The best tracks here are anthemic, raucous tunes from their latest album, such as ‘Blood & Whiskey’ and the raging ‘Sick & Tired’, showing that they’re getting even better. To get the free CD, which the Rabble are giving to their fans, order a back issue of Big Cheese issue 102 now! Also, check out the Rabble on tour in the UK for the next couple of months.
Rachel Owen

STATIC THOUGHT
THE MOTIVE FOR MOVEMENT
(Hellcat)
San Francisco street punks return with sharper teeth.
3/5

Static Thought’s first album, ‘In The Trenches’, was a generic slice of street punk which didn’t really merit more than a couple of listens. Thankfully, they’ve raised their game considerably for this, their second offering, which sees them moving away from the Hellcat melodic street punk sound. Instead, they’ve developed a rough edged, rock ‘n’ roll tinged sound that sees songs like ‘Ambivalence‘ and ‘Splinters And Stones’ burst from your stereo in a blaze of breakneck-speed riffs, squalling solos and raw-throated vocals. Granted, it’s nothing that hasn’t already been done a thousand times before, but there’s enough quality on show here to suggest that Static Thought might be a band worth keeping an eye on, after all.
Alex Gosman

THE STRANGLERS
FORTYTWOFORTY
(Sony/BMG)
‘70s punk vets’ swag of hits.
5/5

At their recent Hyde Park mega show it wasn’t headliners The Police that stood out, it was grizzly old ’76 punks the Stranglers. They packed out their tent and treated the crowd to their hit-fuelled arsenal. With an incredible 42 top 40 hits to their credit, this collection collects 22 of them, from 1997’s growling ‘Five Minutes’ through to their ode to smack, ‘Golden Brown’ and their most recent success, 2006’s ‘Spectre of Love’. But besides their durability, the thing that shines through is their pure and unique, English sound. Layered with Dave Grenfield’s keyboards, they sound like only a band from these isles could, and in 2008 just how many bands do sound English? Four decades of hits, 18 top 40 albums. Go Buddy Go!
El Prez

VARIOUS ARTISTS
WHERE THE BAD BOYS ROCK 4
(People Like You)
 Hellish cuts straight from Europe’s seediest punk ‘n’ roll merchants.
5/5

It seems People Like You are snapping up all the latest punk rock talent, with newcomers Thee Merry Widows, The Creepshow and our own Tyne lads The Grit joining Deutschland’s finest on this latest bone shaking concoction. A pick and mix of punk and psychobilly gems spanning the entire roster, with classics from legends The Adicts, Mad Sin and The Meteors, as well as unreleased tunes from Deadly Sins, circus rednecks the Kings Of Nuthin’ and a whole bunch more. If you can’t get enough of that double bass snicker-snacker and you like your music fast, abrasive and dripping with axel grease, then here’s one album to get the wrecking started.
Tom Williams          

VIC RUGGIERO
SOMETHING IN MY BLINDSPOT
(Household Name)
Latest solo effort from The Slackers’ singer.
3/5

‘Something In My Blindspot’ is The Slackers’ Vic Ruggiero first solo album to get a proper release in the UK and features plenty of gentle, laid-back retro pop to listen to in the sunshine. The production is quite lo-fi and fits perfectly with the musical style that he’s aiming for. Ruggiero’s solo output is a fair bit different from the trad ska that The Slackers are known for and has less of an overt ska feel about it. The album also features several duets with Lisa Müller of German swing band Black Cat Zoot and his slightly gruff vocals contrast well with Müller’s clear singing. This ‘60s flavoured album has a simple, refreshing charm.
Paul Hagen

 

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X-RAY SPEX London, September 6th 2008

X RAY SPEX.
GOLDBLADE
The Roundhouse
6th September

3/5

It may have been 30 years since X Ray Spex last played Camden’s Roundhouse but tonight the venue was just about sold out with close to 3,000 packing it out. We arrived to find John Robb and Goldblade ploughing through songs from new album Mutiny. Stripped to the waist John puts 150% into his bands piratecore punk rock with some manic dancing and the crowd lapped it up. Look out for them on their Big Cheese sponsored ‘Mutiny’ tour in October. With Roxy legend Don Letts manning the decks between bands there was a real air of this being a very special gig indeed. Taking to the stage looking elegant Poly Styrene and the rest of the band look a bit nervous and the sound isn’t great as they rip into ‘Oh’ Bondage Up Yours’ for the first time in Camden for 3 decades. Her voice is unmistakeable, but a little shaky at times and as the gig goes on they get a bit more into their stride. The crowd are going crazy though and many can’t believe they are actually seeing X Ray Spex after all these years. Bonafide punk classics like ‘Warrior In Woolworths’ and the storming ‘Identity’ with its honking sax crash by, but for me, its not until the haunting ‘Germ Free Adolescents’ that Poly and her band really hit their mark. There lyrics and image always were ahead of their time and this moment sums it all up perfectly.Its all over too soon for many though and already people are praying they will tour. For me though, it was all about nostalgia and hearing some of these songs live – just one more time.

Eugene Big Cheese

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