NEW ALBUM REVIEWS
BEANS ON TOAST
WRITING ON THE WALL
Festival favourite with 30 minutes of folk tinged observation.
If this wasn’t recorded live then it’s made to sound as if it is and that would be a bit pointless, anyway. I have seen this fella a few times at festivals and he is always great in that environment, with songs about drugs and flipping the bird to the system. I wasn’t sure how it was going to translate for sober entertainment, I feared the worst after the first two, dare I say, morose songs but things kick off after that with Beans’ distinctive voice lending itself well to the folk backing. Standout tracks are about methadone, grunge and country. You can’t go wrong with that.
Who knew cannibals could make music?
Many bands now have a gimmick, but acting like they’re cannibals is extreme. Welcome to the weird world of Bloodattack, who combine insane brutal metal riffs with a hardcore punk element. If you can get past the silly gimmick the music the band produce is an onslaught of the ears, with a mix of pure noise and intelligent music. If this nine track record was a straight hardcore record I think it would work a lot better, but the rough vocals and metal riffs somehow don’t mix as well. If you are looking to listen to something a bit light-hearted then Bloodattack is ideal for you. Who knows, cannibal metal could be the way forward…
CALL OFF THE SEARCH
WHAT DOESN’T KILL US
Anthemic UK pop punks with new EP.
Hailing from Canterbury, it’s obvious that this young quartet have grown up listening to bands like New Found Glory, Four Year Strong, The Get Up Kids and Fall Out Boy. With bouncing, crunching guitars adding a hardcore-esque flavour to their pop punk melodies on the uplifting ‘Train Yourself To Drive In Colour’ (which you can hear on this issue’s free covermount CD) and the catchy ‘Second Best’ and ‘Angels Today’. There are a lot of bands doing this kind of sound at the moment but few that inject it with an emotional centre as raw and honest as Call Off The Search. This release won’t kill them, it will make them stronger…
FAMOUS FOR FUCK ALL
No frills hooky street punk featuring knife crime, hoodies and Motorhead-style cannibalism.
With the sudden emergence of a swarm of –core bands it would be easy to think that straightforward punk has been lost in a sea of fringes and v-neck t-shirts. Condition: DEAD are here to prove that wrong. They’re all about stripped-back punk, and with former S.O.R.B and Refuse/All vocalist Al Symers at the helm, it’s no surprise. ‘Famous For Fuck All’ has political statements on war, crime and David Cameron, breakneck beats and driving distorted bass and good straightforward punk rock. If you’re after some real, old school punk, then this is the record for you.
THE BLAME GAME
Catchy Norwegian punk rock.
Members of Danger!Man are veterans of the Norwegian punk scene (having played in Life But How To Live It and So Much Hate) and ‘The Blame Game’ sounds great for a debut. Singer St. Faen has an appealing voice that’s as rough as sandpaper, how Nikola Sarcevic would sound if he started drinking gallons of whisky and smoking 40 fags a day. ‘The Blame Game’ is full of 12 rough and ready melodic punk rock songs that they blast through in 25 minutes. The speed and short running time of the album definitely works in their favour and they manage to pack a lot of wallop and catchy choruses in.
Peterborough punks get spooky!
Having reformed in 2005, scuzzy garage punk veterans the Destructors have been occasionally dipping into horror songs for a while but this year they decided to unleash an album of horror punk anthems on Halloween. Although they seem to release an EP every other week, this material seems a cut (or should that be slash to the throat) above, with ten storming new original tracks and covers of the Dead Kennedys (‘Helloween’), the Ramones (‘Pinhead’) and the Misfits (‘All Hell Breaks Loose’) that hold their own. They’re hinting that there may be more horror to come so hide behind your sofas and turn the volume up, the Destructors are a scream.
ROCK & ROLL
Folk punk hero tops off an amazing year with a storming EP.
Frank Turner has had his best year yet and this five-track EP to accompany his UK tour seems like a fitting way to bring it to a close. Opener ‘I Still Believe’ is already a live favourite with call outs to the likes of Elvis, The Undertones, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and the power of rock ‘n’ roll, accompanied by backing gang vocals from festival crowds. The other four exclusive tracks, from the folk of ‘Pass It Along’, the intimate ‘Rock & Roll Romance’ and ‘The Next Round’ to the anthemic melodic rocker ‘To Absent Friend’, shine with variety and sheer talent.
AUDIT OF ENEMIES
Quality UK hardcore from Heresy/Hard To Swallow/Iron Monkey alumni.
It’s refreshing to come across a hardcore band that lambasts machismo – as Geriatric Unit do on ‘Conundrum Alpha Male’ – rather than embodying it. Which makes you think that they’re probably really nice blokes; although, after listening to ‘Audit Of Enemies’ you wouldn’t want to cross them. Quite simply, this is 30-odd minutes of fast, focused, furious British hardcore punk, with a suitably raw production job, and not a single chugging breakdown in sight (thank fuck). These guys are no spring chickens, but they’re tight as hell, and as vocalist Gords takes aim at greedy promoters (‘Pay To Play’), middle-aged rage has never sounded so compelling.
SHOT LIVE AT THE 100 CLUB
Reformed rock ‘n’ roll gangsters tear it up live.
On 17th June this year a reformed and revamped Godfathers celebrated their 25th anniversary by playing the legendary 100 Club and this is a recording of that momentous occasion. It’s admittedly not the classic line-up that recorded their mid-‘80s hits (ex-Sid Presley Experience guitarist Del Bartle and drummer Grant Nicholas on board) but the Coyne brothers’ legacy is in safe hands. There’s the essentials, including ‘Cause I said So’, ‘Love Is Dead’ and ‘Lonely Man’ along with Sid Presley gems (‘Hup, 2, 3, 4’ , Public Enemy No.1) and covers of ‘Brand New Cadillac’ and ‘Cold Turkey’. This also comes with a DVD of the gig as a bonus.
SONGS FROM THE BUNKER
Norwegian Celt punks with a bit of a Pogues influence.
According to the band, the name Greenland Whalefishers has nothing to do with actual whale hunting. It would appear, however, it’s got everything to do with the traditional song of the same name on the first Pogues album. Singer Arvid Grov may hail from Bergen but he sounds scarily like Shane MacGowan at the height of his powers. There are a lot of Pogues influenced bands out there but none sound as much like the originals as these guys and the songs that don’t sound like Shane’s other band the Popes. Fortunately, they’ve got enough decent tunes to elevate them above tribute band status.
HANG THE BASTARD
With three years of intensive touring, a fantastic demo EP and two top-notch 7”s, Hang The Bastard have already built up a reputation as a band to look out for. This debut album confirms that they’re one of the finest noisemongers the UK has to offer. In just 36 minutes, HTB rampage through an awesome mix of doom, stoner and metallic hardcore that suggests a love of Integrity and Eyehategod. But, it also sees them inject barnstorming numbers like ‘The Blackest Eyes’ and ‘Snake Charmer’ with the kind of energy and raw anger that you can only really get from a band that’s still hungry to prove themselves. With ‘Hellfire Reign’, HTB certainly succeed in that aim.
THE LUCKY ONES
THE BOOZE SESSIONS
The Canadian Oi! boys’ homage to homebrew.
In addition to managing a record label and fronting its flagship band Sick Boys, Canadian punk pisshead Steve Stumble is clearly in dire need of a detox centre, a factor exemplified in his side-project’s recent release ‘The Booze Sessions’. Though reputedly recorded while the singer was a good 10ft under the influence, the ten track testament to ‘getting tanked’ is actually a pretty decent punk record, reminiscent of early Black Flag, Cock Sparrer and The Business. Expect fast chords, beer-brawlin’ lyrics and loutish vocals; everything you need from a good Oi! band bar the Cockney postcode. Call it irresponsible, call it immature – it’s still a good album to tie one down to.
MAKE DO AND MEND
END MEASURED MILE
(Paper + Plastick)
Connecticut infectious raw punks’ debut full-length.
After making a name for themselves from EP releases and live shows, Make Do And Mend have proved that they can do it over a full album. From the dynamic opener ‘Unknowingly Strong’ and strong follow-up of ‘Oak Square’ through the emotional yet powerful ‘Stand/Stagger’ and the explosive finale of ‘Night Is The Only Time Of Day’, this is an album that draws on a similar honest lyricism and gruff vocal delivery as greats like Hot Water Music and Samiam, with the added anthemic nature of the Bouncing Souls. Overall, it’s an album that goes the extra mile to prove that they mean every raw-vocalled word.
Acoustic voodoo tunes from this celebrated Swiss trio.
Certainly one for those with an eclectic ear, this soon-to-be breakthrough album from Swiss experimentalists Mama Rosin marks another fantastic step for roots music in the modern era. Fusing folk punk with dirty Cajun blues ripped straight from the bayou’s edge, the fiery three-piece, who were recently spotlighted on the BBC’s ‘Later With Jools Holland’, utilize a variety of traditional instrument, including the melodeon and washboard. Despite their 21st century Genevan local, they’re drenched in ‘20s Louisiana flair. Featuring singing in alternating French and English, this third album is a smoky mishmash of soulful tunes and voodoo rhythms. It’s sure to find favour with fans of forgotten genres.
THE WORLD IS YOURS
Lemmy still rocks harder than most on 20th studio album.
What more can you say about Lemmy and Motorhead? Celebrating 35 years and back on the road with his biopic soon to be released, the man puts the Rock in rock n roll like no one else can or ever will. And on their 20th studio album its business as usual and Lemmy is in as fine a voice as ever. There’s not a lot here that is different from previous Motorhead albums but just like the Ramones pretty much kept to their trademark sound through their entire career, I guess if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. They have moved away from Ironfist era ‘Head and some things have slowed down and have a more rock ‘n’ roll flavour. Tracks like ‘Devils In My Head’ almost hark back to ‘Another Perfect Day’ era Motorhead. On ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Music’ Lemmy requests that “Rock ‘n’ roll saves his soul”, but Lemmy’s soul ain’t going nowhere except the next tour bus. Pass the JD and play it loud.
WHEELS OF PURGATORY
Gasoline, god and Germans.
If you’re picking a band name it’s important to tick two boxes, first the name should sum up your sound, and secondly, it shouldn’t be terrible. At least Motorjesus got the first part right. Hailing from Germany, the band formerly known as the Shitheadz have now taken on a different guise, writing about cars and God, with the overall effect of coming across like Creed reworking Metallica’s ‘Fuel’, using Disturbed’s David Draiman as a vocal influence. While the music is standard fare, the band’s lyrics drag the whole album down, although some, such as “I know the Lord is an 8 foot killing machine” are almost funny enough to provide some light entertainment.
NEW MODEL ARMY
30TH ANNIVERSARY BOXSET
Mammoth collection from Bradford punk/rock legends.
Formed by Justin Sullivan in Bradford way back in 1980, NMA are a British rock institution who should be heralded for their staunch independence, staying power and 13 albums of impassioned punk, rock and folk. With more than 200 songs in their arsenal and time spent in the charts and on EMI records, the last few years have been spent making superb albums like last years; ‘Today Is A Good Day’ and reclaiming their back catalogue. Now celebrating 30 years of politically inspired anthems like ‘Vengence’ and ‘Christian Militia’, this boxset includes 3 DVD’s, concert footage, bootlegs, an 80 page photo book,art prints, puzzle and logo stencils. A fans dream (and they have plenty of them), NMA are a national treasure, and after all they wrote ‘Green and Grey’, one of the finest songs this country has ever produced. Gold dust.
Eugene Big Cheese.
THE GRAND THEATRE VOLUME 1
Contemporary country rock from Dallas, Texas.
Alongside the likes of Whiskeytown and Uncle Tupelo, this Dallas four-piece blazed the trail for the alternative country movement in the mid 1990s, and, while they may not have made the same inroads this side of the pond as some of their contemporaries, they’ve built a solid reputation for themselves and are currently onto album number eight. For the most part, ‘Grand Theatre’ exhibits a tendency towards lively country-influenced rock; pleasant enough, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. When Old 97s tap into country’s dark vein of inspiration (‘Born To Be In Battle’, ‘Let The Whiskey Take The Rein’) they’re on a whole other level.
P. PAUL FENECH
INTERNATIONAL SUPER BASTARD
(People Like You)
Hellish psychobilly king with another solo offering.
Meteors founder P. Paul Fenech knows how to pen a low down psychbilly track and ‘International Super Bastard’ is another solo album teeming with them. Fenech’s growled, distinctive vocals make these songs (as they always do), with a larynx-shredding style that’s all his own. From the opening title track to the ‘Dead Man’s Road’ and the closing ‘Fuck Em All (God Save The Kings)’, he’s full of bile and undead charm. A true psychobilly legend, it’s another grave robbin’, foot stompin’, Devil dancin’ ho down. Fuck you Fenech!
ROBB BLAKE/LIAM O’KANE
HEAVYWEIGHT ACOUSTIC SHOWDOWN
(Do The Dog)
Acoustic ska double bill.
Acoustic ska might not seem the most natural of musical genres but Do the Dog have brought together two of the UK’s leading figures in Robb Blake and Jimmy the Squirrel frontman Liam O’Kane for a decent enough split album. Ex-Whitmore singer Blake kicks things off with five songs of smooth reggae and ska grooves in a Chris Murray style. O’Kane’s contribution is five new songs, none of which appear on Jimmy the Squirrel’s recent fine debut album. The splendidly titled ‘Breaking The Habit Of A Lunchtime’ is full of guilty vices, whilst the closing ‘Coming Back for More’ highlights O’Kane’s strength as a songwriter who is not limited within the ska scene.
COUP DE GRACE
Shoegazer rock from Michigan.
Featuring the former drummer of gruff punks North Lincoln, this band from Grand Rapids is a world away from his last band, with slow, distorted shoegazer indie rock songs, clean vocals and songs that shuffle past the five minute mark. The likes of opener ‘Meanwhile’ and the shimmering ‘One Palm Sunday’ are slow, emotional and powerful in their subtlety. Channelling the likes of Codeine, Slowdive and Red House Painters, this is a haunting and heartfelt album that is dark and wintry but not depressing. It shows strong musicianship and, while its not particularly to my taste, it’s sure to find favour with fans of the genre.
NO MERCY FOOL! / SUICIDAL FAMILY
Suicidal rehash some of their old school jams.
Suicidal Tendencies’ recent visits to Europe have re-established them as a powerhouse and a force to be reckoned with. Mike Muir and long-time cohort Mike Clarke have assembled a top-notch batch of musicians around them but why they’ve chosen to re-record old material is a bit of a mystery. Half of this album is re-workings of their classic ‘Join The Army’ album and they’ve been tampered with a little too much, with drum fills and bass runs overcrowding ‘Suicidal Maniac’. The other half of the album however is great skate thrash, with skull-splitting renditions of Clarke’s old band No Mercy’s material. A new studio album please?
(Big Scary Monsters)
Intense instrumental goodness.
The flow of Talons’ debut album is key to its beauty. Almost symphonic in its structure, the eight tracks were written as one single piece of music. The carefully paced body of work is one coherent journey of instrumental tension continually building to heady, often crunchingly discordant, climaxes and then dissolving into plateaus of peaceful calm. There is a frenetic energy present throughout, fuelled by the dual violin attack, and this band prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that they’re capable of making quite a racket. A compelling and carefully considered racket, that is.
FAT MUSIC VOL. 7: HARDER, FATTER + LOUDER!
After eight years slim, it’s time to get Fat again!
The ‘Fat Music’ compilations helped me discover some punk bands that I loved for years (and still do in some cases) so I’m more than happy to see them return with the first ‘Fat Music’ compilation in eight years. It’s cheap and it’s got 22 tracks from Fat bands, established and new. From firm favourites such as Dillinger Four, The Lawrence Arms and Strung Out through to equally great bands like Teenage Bottlerocket, Dead To Me and None More Black and up to new additions like Old Man Markley and Cobra Skulls, this is a stormer. It’s bursting at the seams with quality punk rock.
THE WESTFIELD MINING DISASTER
BIG IDEAS FROM SMALL PLACES
Jangly pop with a social conscience.
The Westfield Mining Disaster are a Bristol based band founded by Paul Towler, who used to be in ‘80s indie band The Haywains. Musically they aren’t a massive leap forward from the Haywains, specialising as they do in jangly guitars reminiscent of bands like The Smiths and The Housemartins. They’ve got more in common with the latter as they share Paul Heaton’s knack for sneaking barbed social commentary into the most innocent sounding of melodies, with swipes at Tories and the BNP (‘Greedy Bastards, Save Our Souls’) and the prolonged effects of cuts, past and present (‘Doctor Beeching’). A rare beast, melodic pop with bite!
(Cargo/We Deliver The Guts)
If ever there was a poorly named album it’s this one.
If you are going to cram 14 songs into 30 minutes then this is the way to do it. It’s not some sort of half-arsed ‘let’s save some money on studio times’ hash up either. There are 14 fast and furious punk rock powerhouses here, with a real garage rough and ready edge, while still sounding tight and professional. The title track is a smasher and it’s quite possibly the least prophetic album title ever. This is going to boot Winnebago Deal’s already right up there credentials into orbit.
THE YALLA YALLAS
DIAMOND IN DIRT
Leeds punk ‘n’ rollers unleash second album.
With a name taken from an early Joe Strummer recording, the Mescaleros are definitely one of the most obvious influences on this five-piece, along with the likes of Social Distortion and Rancid. A step up from their first album ‘Act Of Defiance’, ‘Diamond In Dirt’ is a varied effort from these former members of The Dead Pets, 3milehigh and The Gushers, from the acoustic guitars and brass of ‘Death Shoes’ to the aggressive hardcore punk-infused ‘S.B.H.C.’. Rob Galloway’s strained vocals may divide opinion but these rousing folk and old school influenced punk tunes are straight from the heart, in true Strummerville style.