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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BUTTHOLE SURFERS Washington DC, USA, June 26th 2008

BUTTHOLE SURFERS
THE APES
Washington DC
9:30 Club
26th June

4/5

The Butthole Surfers were preceeded by local Washington, D.C. group the Apes, well worth checking out if you’re a Butthole Surfers fan. Their stage presence and musical style were similar enough to the Butthole Surfers to complement them but were individual enough to make for a great opening act.

The Butthole Surfers didn’t disappoint long-time fans with their classic ‘80s line-up of Gibby Haynes, Paul Leary, Jeff Pinkus, King Coffey and Teresa Taylor. It was a somewhat religious experience that included multiple projectors playing on the same screen, occasional bursts of dry ice and a light show all set to the unique sound that only the Butthole Surfers have managed to achieve. The live show is worth the trek, tickets and traffic.

Performing with the Butthole Surfers was The Paul Green School of Rock All-Stars, who took to the stage with surprising talent and professionalism. In the end, though, it wasn’t hard to remember they were just kids. I was jealous of their reckless abandon as they wrestled on stage, threw empty water bottles at the fans, tore up setlists, duct taped themselves and each other, revelled in a cacophany of instrumental chaos and shouted through the megaphone as the Butthole Surfers slipped out the back door.

Kellie Morton

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UK SUBS – Warhead EP

UK SUBS
WARHEAD EP

(Jet13)
4/5
31 years down the line and the grandfather of punk Charlie Harper is still leading his UK Subs through the pogoing trenches, releasing this 6-track EP, which includes old faves ‘Warhead’ and ‘I Live In A Car’ plus three new songs and a ‘Warhead’ live video. Still sounding razor sharp, Charlie is ‘Punk as Fuck’ and still means every word. This is the letter ‘W’ in Charlie’s attempt to get to Z with Album titles. He’s nearly there! Long may his punk rock!
Eugene Big Cheese
 

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AGATHOCLES – Mince Core History 1996-1997

AGATHOCLES
MINCE CORE HISTORY 1996-1997

(Selfmadegod)
Guaranteed to loosen any dodgy teeth.
3/5
Agathocles were, and still are, self-styled purveyors of mince core, though I must confess that I’m not entirely sure what that means. The years given above are a little misleading, as the Belgian band’s history stretches back as far as 1985, since when, with different line-ups, they’ve toured extensively and built up a huge back catalogue on labels worldwide, many of them split releases. Interestingly, the sleeve notes state that Agathocles recorded a John Peel session in 1997, and there’s no reason to doubt it, but there’s no mention in Ken Garner’s official BBC book ‘In Session Tonight’. I sincerely hope it’s true, though, as the great man would have loved polluting our airwaves with truly brutal material like this.
Shane Baldwin
 

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BAD REACTION – Had It Coming

BAD REACTION
HAD IT COMING

(Reflections)
LA quartet’s debut CD of ripping ’80s hardcore punk worship.
5/5
Coming from Brooklyn and LA, street punk and straight edge backgrounds, a love of bands such as Bad Brains and Minor Threat brought these guys together. ‘Had It Coming’ combines two 7"s (the Plastic World and Dare To Be Dull EPs) and a rare, ripping cover of the Bad Brains classic ‘Pay To Cum’. Every song here is a blast of energy, with speed, passionate vocals and great melodies. The Bad Brains-esque bass line of opener ‘Plastic World’, gang vocal-filled ‘Street Cred’ and the awesome stand out ‘Shitting On Your Subculture’ show variation and sound surprisingly fresh. Short, sharp and fast, bring on the debut album proper!
Ian Chaddock
 

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THE BRIGGS – Come All You Madmen

THE BRIGGS
COME ALL YOU MADMEN

(Side One Dummy)
Uplifting socially aware folk punk that kicks.
4/5
The Briggs have recorded an album that is ferocious in places, melancholy in others and generally uplifting elsewhere. The varied music shows that an acoustic guitar strummed with finger shredding venom found on several tracks can be just as effective as the songs on which they tear into full-on punk assaults. This is folk tinged punk that contains the best elements of both genres – thought provoking lyrics, energy, anger and passion all delivered in a manner that is sure to get the skate parks and parking lots that host this year’s Warped Tour resonating with a thousand joyous voices singing in unison.
Simon Nott
 

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DISCIPLINE – Old Pride, New Glory

DISCIPLINE
OLD PRIDE, NEW GLORY

(I Scream)
From the streets of Oi! rises another classic from the Netherlands boys.
4/5
Dutch street Oi! band Discipline tear it up and beat you down with the return of another hard-hitting, working class Oi! album. However, ‘Old Pride…’ is a cover-based tribute to their musical heroes, comprising of infamous songs from the likes of Motorhead, the Stranglers, Billy Idol and the Ramones, and adapting them with a sharp and aggressive Discipline edge. The album’s sound is crystal clear, with raw rock ‘n’ roll riffs accompanied by fiery street punk vocals. Bringing a very unique flavour, full of attitude and energy, it’s a must listen for any street Oi lover!
Samantha Bruce
 

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GUANA BATZ – Electra Glide In Blue

GUANA BATZ
ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE

(Cherry Red)
Oft overlooked psychobilly gem.
3/5
After forming in 1982 psychobilly stalwarts Guana Batz released three studio albums and the excellent ‘Live Over London’ for ID Records, but the band’s association with the label ended in 1988 when they moved camp to World Service, a branch of the Rough Trade Records group. The band had matured somewhat by this stage, the early signs ably displayed on their last album for ID, the rather inappropriately named ‘Rough Edges’, but with ‘Electra Glide In Blue’ the Batz proved that they were more than capable of turning out class material. PhilipTennant’s production is satisfyingly full, almost lush, but never dampens that ole Batz craziness.
Shane Baldwin
 

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