Scary kids, getting it right.
It’s a sure sign that you’re getting old when you’re at a festival telling a friend a few facts about the band on stage, he asks “Do you know them, then?”, and you’re forced to admit “No, but I do know their Dad”. The Dad in question is John Bentham, who ran the Jettisoundz video company back in the ‘80s, and now oversees many of Cherry Red’s punk DVD releases, and the fruits of his loins are Bobby, Will, and Jack, who along with Stuart Newburn make up the frighteningly youthful Outl4w. At that festival, Blackpool 2006, the band tore up the stage, no doubt putting the wind up many more seasoned performers, and since then they’ve gone from strength to strength, touring far and wide and putting out a string of fine releases. However, there was always a niggling doubt that the novelty of their precociousness may have had at least something to do with the support of the media, and that it must eventually wear off. Now that the band are weary old war-horses, four years into their career and well into their teens (!), the moment of truth has arrived with their first album. But happily, this album, though brief, is the goods, 27-odd minutes of furious, exuberant punk rock, just the right mixture of old school, hardcore and tinges of metal, the stand-out track being joyous singalong ‘Sonic Youth’.
THE FLYING PADOVANIS
THREE FOR TROUBLE
Instrumental rock ’n’ rumble.
Corsican twangmeister (and founder member of The Police) Henry Padovani received a definite nudge in the right direction when drag-punk queen Wayne County presented him with a Ventures LP. From that point on the gospel of the reverb-heavy guitar instrumental would be Padovani’s creed; hooking up with former UK Subs bassist Paul Slack and future Johnny Thunders sticksman Chris Musto, over the next five years Padovani would take the rumble to the masses. Three For Trouble pulls together the cream of the Padovanis output, and while in their day they might have seemed an anachronistic throwback to the surf instro’s golden age, with hindsight it’s evident that Henry’s made some highly creditable entrees into that noble genre; ripe for rediscovery, and impeccably timed for their upcoming string of reunion dates.
DIMI DERO INC
SISYPHUS, WINDOW CLEANING
Red-eyed boneshaking gallic rock’n’roll
This is a break from the norm for Basque country ozziephobes Bang records, who’ve gone out on a limb for a rare non-Australian signing, France’s Dimi Dero Inc. As it turns out though, Sysiphus, Window Cleaning doesn’t present too much of a departure for the label; DD Inc seem to be highly versed in down under rock ’n’ roll’s whiplash dynamics, which isn’t to say these guys are mere imitators; Little Birds and other such cuts of kinetic rockin’ nastiness indicate this outfit have enough of their own to bring to the party, although they’ve learned their lessons well from such anitipodean luminaries as the Scientists and the Birthday Party, whose lingering influence is acknowledged on the closing track, a searing blast through Rowland S Howard’s wonderful Sleep Alone.
WILD AND WANDERING
One from the vaults of the proto-gothic trailblazers.
Denizens of Canning Town‘s fabled rock ’n’ roll hangout the Bridge House, Wasted Youth explored the darker reaches of rockin’ hedonism, matching their nihilistic shades-after-dark credo with an attendant lifestyle that’s done at least one of their former members no favours at all. As an artefact of those times, Wild and Wandering is a shadowy atmospheric affair replete with pre-gothic musical stylings and post-Joy Division self-introspective angst. The morose musings of vocalist Ken Scott (along with the band’s over-reliance on state-of-the-art eighties digi-pedals) might put Wasted Youth rather firmly in the ‘miserablist’ corner, but when the ’Youth hit their stride – as with the melodic Games or the driving I Wish I Was A Girl – they strike an adequate claim for a place on the post-punk map.
LAST NIGHT RITES
Low down, dirty G’n’R loving Rock revivalists.
It comes as no surprise to learn that Texan rockers New Disasters formed from the ashes of a Guns ‘N’ Roses tribute act as that band’s influence is writ large all over this album. It comes as even less of a surprise to find them opening up for the likes of the Drowning Pool, LA Guns, Skid Row and Quiet Riot. The one thing they have got that sets them apart the legions of overproduced, poodle rock worshipping wannabes is a love of harder rockers like Rose Tattoo, The Stooges and the Dead Boys and some of that all important dirt has rubbed off them. So no points for originality but at least they do this thing with some balls.
THE NIGHT OF THE ROCK ‘N’ ROLL MUTANTS
A budget priced global Psychobilly sampler.
This is a Psychobilly sampler defining the state of the genre now in 2008. It collects bands from the world over and quality tracks at that. The whole gamut of the variations of a musical style that rather than the just ‘refusing to die’ stage it languished in for much of the 1990s, at least in UK, that is back in full flow. This is probably the fist global celebration of Neo- Psychobilly with only The Hangmen and The Go-Katz representing the old school though both bands have evolved alongside the new nutters on the block. Twenty killer tracks too good to pick out a standout in the wordage allowed, an essential purchase for curious and converted alike.
THE JUKE JOINT PIMPS
BOOGIE THE HOUSE DOWN
Talk about authentic, the birth of rock n roll in the 21st century.
The popular belief is that Elvis Presley wandered into Sun Records in 1954, laid down ‘That’s Alright Mama’ and Rock N Roll was born. The truth is that ‘Rock N Roll (street slang for fucking) had been bashed out since the early 40s by a myriad of artists playing up-tempo jumping blues, filthy lyrics, a stomping beat and even filthier distorted electric guitars being the omnipresent features. What we have with The Juke Joint Pimps is a stunningly authentic take on those days of proto Rock n Roll. This could be seamlessly played alongside a collection from the vaults. Everyone seems to be doing ‘roots’ this month, but none better than these guys.
See the entries below here for all the April reviews.
THE RUTS – FEATURING HENRY ROLLINS
Anyone who missed this incredible show back in July missed what is being described as one of the “Best punk gigs ever.” Of course it was in tragic circumstances as guitarist Paul ‘Foxy’ Fox played his last ever show with the Ruts before passing away barely a month later. This DVD does a fine job as a tribute for Foxy and the Ruts and shows both what a great guitarist he was, and just how good the Ruts could be. With Henry Rollins doing a fine, underplayed job on vocals, the band tear through anthems like ‘Something That I Said’ and ‘Staring At The Rudeboys’, plus there’s clips from all the supporting cast including the Damned and the U.K. Subs. And with a poignant interview with Foxy a few days after the show, plus insights from friends and members of the support acts, this double DVD is an essential memento from one of punk rock’s greatest, and sometimes unsung bands. All profits go to cancer charities. Get it at indiestore.com/theruts.
THE WHITE STRIPES
Back to the future for Jack and Meg…
Returning with their sixth album the original odd couple of Jack and Meg White have pushed their sound forward with an ambitious and creative record, whilst still including the infectious elements of their earlier work. Taking their basic drum, guitar and vocal dynamic on straight-forward songs such as ‘Bone Broke’, the heavy ‘Little Cream Soda’ and the raw, energetic ‘Catch Hell Blues’. There’s plenty of experimentation on ‘Icky Thump’ too, with the two-piece incorporating bagpipes, horns and synthesiser into songs, such as the angular but destined to be a hit title track and the excellent use of horns in ‘Conquest’. There’s even country (‘You Don’t Know What Love Is’, ‘Effect and Cause’), folk (‘Prickly Thorn’), psychedelic (‘St. Andrew’) and humorous spoken word (‘Rag & Bone’) parts, making it their most diverse and rewarding album to date. This is why they’re the world’s biggest garage rockers right now.
THE UNPERVERTED PANTOMIME 5/5
NO WAY OUT BUT FORWARD 5/5
With no sign of the Killing Joke killing machine slowing down on the back of their cracking new album and world tour, now we get two reissues of early and live material that fans and casual listeners alike will want to pick up. ‘The Unperverted Pantomime’ pulls together early singles like ‘Nervous Systems’ and ‘Wardance’ with Capital Radio sessions and live recordings. It’s surprising how fresh it all still sounds, and it’s not hard to see why KJ have influenced everyone from the Foo Fighters to Ministry. ‘No Way Out…’ is from a live show from 1985 and contains their top 10 chart hit ‘Love Like Blood’ and songs from the ‘Night Time’ album. With seldom heard studio tracks included, any member of Killing Jokes ‘Gatherers’ will want both of these for their record collections.
NEW YORK DOLLS
ONE DAY IT WILL PLEASE US TO REMEMBER EVEN THIS
Reconstituted punk/glam icons pick it up again after 30 years.
Even when all the original participants still drew breath, a third album from the New York Dolls was always going to be a tall order. Whittled down to just two old-time members through drugs, drink and bad luck, the 21st century Dolls no longer pack the careening trash-rock edge afforded by Messrs Thunders, Kane and Nolan; but with Sylvain Sylvain’s trebly 1950s twang and David Johansen’s growling wit still sparking, the boys have something in their corner and have pulled a more than half-decent album out the bag here. While the hired help play it too much like a straight-up rawk act – surely never the point with this band – the record is pretty respectable, and in fact damn good on some of the cuts; ‘Dance Like A Monkey’ is pure Diddley-daddy jungle-beat, and ‘Fishnets And Cigarettes’ is prime hook-heavy rock ‘n’ roll swagger, fully in key with the ‘Dolls of old. Doubters might sniff, but overall, it‚s worthy of the name. The fuchsia-pink sleeve-art should swing it for most fans in any case.
Old punks in ‘Still cutting it’ shock!
Thirty years on and the Men In Black, ’76 UK punks The Stranglers still release good albums shock! Following on from the ‘Norfolk Coast’ album that hit the charts, The Stranglers are still on a major label, and sound fresh, contemporary and relevant. Opener ‘Unbroken’ almost sounds like a heavier Panic! At The Disco, with trademark keyboards and their dark gothic touches rubbing shoulders with groovy pop on ‘See Me Coming’, The Stranglers sound anything but the bunch of old codgers you would expect them to. Surprisingly bloody good!
THE ONLY ONES
ANOTHER GIRL, ANOTHER PLANET: THE BEST OF
Another girl, another cash-in. Hold out for the box-set, kids.
The languid decadence of Peter Perrett‘s 1970s band made for some of British rock music‘s headiest moments, not least this compilation’s title track. Arguably the greatest hit record that never was, ’Another Girl…’ was a consummate three-minute cardiac rush that still brings up the hairs on the back of the neck to this day. That said, we’ve already seen a perfectly fine Only Ones ’Best Of’ in ‘The Immortal Story’, which offered a superior track selection and showed a whole lot more effort with regard to the band’s rarities than this set. Don’t get me wrong, I shouldn’t complain about 21 Only Ones tracks in any shape or form, but there’s a strong whiff of ‘Let’s capitalise on that mobile ad/tenuous Shamblin’ Pete associations’ here, which hardly does the band justice and raises the hackles somewhat. It’s also worth pointing out that you can pick up the complete CBS recordings for around a tenner without looking too hard. Nice try.
THE BIG STIFF BOX SET
Essential punk and new wave box set.
Stiff Records will go down in history as the most important UK independent label ever. During its thirty years the Stiff staff have released some of the most legendary punk and new wave records of all time. Started by Dave Robinson and Jake Riviera in 1976 on the back of the then-booming pub rock scene, Stiff’s early releases were pretty standard R&B, like Nick Lowe and Lew Lewis, but it was the birth of punk that blew them into orbit. They released The Damned’s ‘New Rose’, the first-ever punk single, following it with hits from the likes of Ian Dury, The Adverts, The Members, Lene Lovich and US whackos Devo. Embracing new wave, they launched the careers of Elvis Costello, Tenpole Tudor (and the excellent Swords Of A Thousand Men), Theatre Of Hate, The Belle Stars, Plasmatics and Any Trouble before moving into ska with Madness’s ‘One Step Beyond’ and giving us the folk punk of the first Pogues records. Along with the ska/soul of America’s The Untouchables, mod sounds like Makin’ Time and The Prisoners, Stiff covered every cool musical revolution first – and with style. Recently reactivated with their latest signings The Tranzmitors and The Producers (included here), this is a hundred track slice of punk and new wave history, complete with 68 page book. Their motto was “If it ain’t Stiff it ain’t worth a fuck’. Long may they remain Stiff!
THE ROAD TO RAMPTON
The League’s first album on their own label.
Of course Tunbridge Wells’ wildest export (not much competition, surely?) have been knocking around since the UK82 boom, and cut a swathe through lesser mortals of the time with a mixture of biker/punk garb, pumping delivery and uncompromising attitude, particularly on ‘So What’, replete with a diatribe of filthy lyrics that backed their fine cover of Ralph MacTells’ ‘Streets Of London’ that made the UK chart in 1982 and would have risen higher if the Obscene Publications Squad hadn’t stepped in. To cut a long story short, the League continued, eventually moving into rather bad metal territory, but eventually saw the error of their ways, and these days purvey a decent enough mixture of rock-tinged punk. Or is that punk-tinged rock? Yes, I think so. And that’s just what you get on ‘The Road To Rampton’, the League’s first album on their own label, and if you pick up the limited edition you can also cop a second DVD disc with a rather swish video for ‘Mother…You’re A Liar’.
THE TRUTH THE WHOLE TRUTH AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH
Second comeback album from oi! originals
Strange to think that an album by the Business can be a decade old but still considered among their ‘new’ material, but that’s what happens when bands split and reform. After calling it a day in 1988, the band got back on the recording trail with the fine ‘Keep The Faith’ album in 1994, and built on it, taking deserved advantage of the respect shown by fans and new street punk outfits like Rancid, and even Blink 182. They apparently met up with the latter, and got on well, but understandably had more in common with the former, so it came as no surprise when it was revealed that Lars Frederiksen was to produce the 1997 Business album ‘TTTWTANBTT’ for Burning Heart in Europe and Taang! in the US. It was recorded at former Vibrators bassist Pat Collier’s studio, and the combination proved a winner, giving us a feisty album that stayed true to the band’s oi! and old school punk roots, but upped the pace a little.
Classic punk from Down Under.
New Zealand isn’t really know for its musical output of recent years, other than Crowded House and more recent acts like Die Die Die and Shihad. But back in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s it had a thriving punk and new wave scene. Desperate Measures hailed from Christchurch in NZ’s south Island and played a mix of Killing Joke style post-punk and full on three chord thrash. This combines their 1984 EP (the title track could have easily have been an early ‘80s UK band) plus a live in-studio set, where they tackle subjects like bootboys’ mindless violence and police oppression in catchy and feisty fashion. An interesting insight into life Down Under in the early ‘80s and the worldwide spread of punk.