SEPTEMBER REVIEWS (20 reviews inside)
THE WACKY HIGH JINKS OF…
Double re-issue from these NJ comic hardcore punkers
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.
THE BEST OF…
If you love them you’ll love this.
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.
HATRED : DESTRUCTION = CONSTRUCTION
New album from the Japanese Misfits approved horror rockers.
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.
HELL HATH NO FURY
Four stunning women, collectively a roaring punk band!
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.
DESTRUCTORS 666 / THE RUINED
888 (THE TED ROGERS E.P.)
Peterborough punks bridge the generation gap.
’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.
HAND IT OVER
Alt-rock legends’ stunning 1997 album gets a re-release.
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.
GANG OF FOUR
SONGS OF THE FREE / HARD
UK post-punk pioneers.
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.
GG ELVIS AND THE TCP BAND
BACK FROM THE DEAD
Punk Elvis tribute. No, seriously.
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.
Ahoy shipmates, this is one ship you’d not want to mutiny!
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.
GUNS ON THE ROOF
Young Leeds punks deliver the goods.
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.
Former Suicide Machines men set to go off with explosive melodic punk debut.
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.
THE LIVING END
Re-release of career-spanning live album.
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.
BLACK CAT BONE
Perfectly crafted rockabilly but…
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.
GOD SAVE THE SIN
(People Like You)
Celebrate the Sin one more time!
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.
NIGEL LEWIS AND THE ZORCHMEN
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, ATTENTION PLEASE
Nigel, Nigel, Nigel and Nigel.
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.
THE NEW GENERATION
Big Cheese exclusive compilation CD shows New Zealand punks at their finest.
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.
THE MOTIVE FOR MOVEMENT
San Francisco street punks return with sharper teeth.
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.
‘70s punk vets’ swag of hits.
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!
WHERE THE BAD BOYS ROCK 4
(People Like You)
Hellish cuts straight from Europe’s seediest punk ‘n’ roll merchants.
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.
SOMETHING IN MY BLINDSPOT
Latest solo effort from The Slackers’ singer.
‘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.