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The music...

ADVERSARY s/t CD Boss Tuneage

I had forgotten how good Adversary could be; I saw them a few times, including at The Dome in London when they played with Bad Religion, and had their demos and although I remember liking them they have been a little lost in my mind behind contemporaries like Exit Condition, Flame On and Shutdown. However, listening to this reminded me that they had some great melodic hardcore songs and were much more like Shutdown than I would ever had said. Once again Boss T has done a find job of keeping the music of yet another UK band that deserve to have their songs heard, as they never made it past releasing demos. This is everything they recorded, and is a good indication of how good demos could be in the grand old days of tape trading and letter writing. Time moves on, as it should, but that doesn’t mean we should forget our history or where we came from.

www.bosstuneage.com (Tony)


ANGELIC UPSTARTS  Bullingdon Bastards CD Boss Tuneage

The Angelic Upstarts were one of the bands that really got me into Punk; more than bands like The Clash and The Pistols to be honest. They had a raw and straight forward attitude, said it as they saw it and didn’t give a monkey’s if you thought otherwise. Since they formed in South Shields way back in 1977 they are the original Streetpunk band if you like your sub-genres! Basically I think this is their finest output since ‘Two Million Voices’ and I’ve not missed much since I were a lad. The writing partnership on this album of the main man Mensi and Bassist Neil Newton have knocked out some classic Upstarts lyrics, none more so than the opening track on this twelve track album, ‘Tories Tories Tories (Out Out Out)’. This may be their first album for thirteen years but what a way to come back; a true beating of their working class chests. The limited edition CD also has their side of a split album they released with Crashed Out a few years back. So what are you waiting for? Get it on loud and shout it out - Tories Tories Tories Out! Out! Out! Too right! 

www.bosstuneage.com (Gaz)


ANTI YOU Nightmare Unfolds 7” Agipunk

You know what you’re going to get from Anti You, and their straight ahead, super fast hardcore punk rock never disappoints. They manage to capture the unbridled enthusiasm and excitement of early Dischord releases, the Teen Idles 7” comes to mind, and the joyous, non-nonsense attack that made 7 Seconds’ “The Crew” sound so thrilling. Only one of the six songs here gets over the 1 minute 10 seconds mark, so when you get to the end of side two you are itching for more; I must have played this record about six times in a row when it first arrived, and I woke up the next morning desperate to play it again. I have loved all their records, but this has to be my favourite.

http://www.agipunk.com (TONY)


COUCH POTATOES Excess All Areas CD Boss Tuneage

Recorded in 1992, this never got an official release, which is a shame as it probably showcases this Kent band’s best stuff. It certainly brings back some memories and is a good document of a particular time un UK punk rock’s history, when the influence of Descendents, ALL and melodic US bands was coming to the fore, and this has a Big Drill Car feel to it. We ran interviews with the Couch Potatoes and they appeared on our comp tapes at a time when even though they weren’t playing exactly what Gaz or me really liked, they were a good DIY band and worthy of any help we could give them. I am enjoying listening to this more than I expected to.

www.bosstuneage.com (Tony)


EAST TOWN PIRATES Seven Seas Of Sin CD Rumrunner

Not even sure you would call the ETP’s a punk band really? Sure they support a lot of Punk bands but basically they are a bunch of rogues from Ipswich who play great songs about Pirates led by one Captain Rikki Flag of Red Flag 77 fame! Jack Sparrow has got nothing on this guy as he conducts his merry Buccaneers through their second album of fun filled scullduggery. So sink a few at the bar you scurvy dogs as this album and their live performances will get you swinging from the riggin’ for sure. This album is not all that new but worthy of a mention just because it is! Find them on Facebook.

(Gaz)


EASTFIELD Another Boring Eastfield Album: A Rail Punk Collection Violated

Shamefully, my collection is sadly lacking in Eastfield releases, and I’m not really sure why. They’ve been around ages, they play good, straight ahead punk rock, have a strong DIY ethic and yet I’ve not picked up anything much by them at all; after listening to this I’m disappointed in myself. This thirty three track album is a collection of earlier songs (that are all currently out of print) and is full of buzzing guitars and clever, witty lyrics with a sound that seems to be playing in the style Ramones, Blyth Power and late ‘70s punk all at the same time. It works a treat, and I will endeavour to track sow more of their stuff now. Of course, after a lifetime of friendship with Gaz the fact that they like trains is now also a plus point for me. This is good stuff.

http://www.violatedrecords.com (Tony)


FLAME ON Corrupt Mind CD Boss Tuneage

Now this brings back memories, if I close my eyes I see Gaz and me in his house in Totton, in the room he kept his records, sat on the floor doing reviews and putting comp tapes together surrounded by tapes. I was really into Fame On, I loved their demos and the 7” and I would write to drummer Mark, so I was really excited to get this compilation of that EP and their three demos. “Corrupt Mind” is still a great song, and I love the bass sound it has. Playing melodic hardcore, but with a more abrasive edge than a lot of melodic bands of the time, they had moments where they reminded me of  their local contemporaries Exit Condition, although they were never as fast. One or two of these songs may not have made it through the passing of time too well, but for the most part this stuff still sounds as good as it always did.

www.bosstuneage.com (Tony)


GEEZAPUNX Angry CDEP Self Released

Basically Geezapunx are a bunch of angry old (But probably nice guys really) Punks from Basingstoke! The Angry EP is four tracks of pretty basic but straight forward Punk with sing along chorus lines. The band in one form or another date back to Punk year zero and I guess Geezapunx are the legacy of a well spent youth?! Don’t take them too seriously, but lend them your ears if you get the chance.

geezapunx.co.uk (Gaz)


GIRL POWER s/t 7” Richter Scale

Fast, furious punk, strained vocals, raucous tunes and just the right amount of noise, what more do you need? In places this is great 5 EP reminds me of The Domestics, it’s not a direct comparison, just a feeling, probably it’s the noisy whirlwind of hardcore punk rock that does it. There’s not much else that needs to be said about this record; all you need to know is that it’s good and you you really be buying it.

richterscalerecords@yahoo.co.uk (Tony)


HEX Poison in the System – The Demos CD Boss Tuneage

Anarcho Punks Hex formed in Sunderland in 1984 and came from an enthusiastic scene that ended up with them spawning future members of HDQ and Leatherface. Like so many bands they were influenced by Crass and Conflict and this CD is a document of their contribution over a few short years to that scene. Front man Pikey has also provided the write up and takes you through their journey as a band. They only had one vinyl outing and that was split EP on the Words of Warning label. I doubt there are too many copies out there so that makes this CD a good addition to any collection. Musically they were pretty typical of their time and style but the lyrics seem as relevant now as they ever were thirty years ago.

Boss Tuneage: www.bosstuneage.com (Gaz)


IMMOLATO TOMATOES Stumbling Block: Complete Recordings 86-88 CD Boss Tuneage

The 1980s was a terrible decade, pretty much a disaster from start to finish, however the one thing that kept me sane was punk rock. The mainstream media had long since killed it off, but it had gone underground, where it belongs, stronger than ever with local scenes springing up in towns and cities throughout the UK. From that and the network of friends, fanzines and tape trading it fostered, we got to hear of local bands from all around who were creating great music. Out of Brighton and, inspired by US hardcore, came Immolate Tomatoes with a high energy, infectious, speedy sound that, even now, nearly 30 years later, sounds so inspiring. Sadly they didn’t get round to releasing anything on vinyl at the time, but thankfully Boss Tuneage have come along to make these songs available to all with a 22 track CD featuring the three demos they did record. Obviously the recordings aren’t polished, but I think that makes this all the more valuable, it allows the spirit and vibrancy of these songs and this band to shine through. The CD booklet has great sleeve notes and some cool pictures and getting this in the post put a big stupid smile on my face; now every time I listen to it that smile always returns. As much as punk needs to keep moving forward, and new bands need to be championed, it’s also important to make songs like this available; this is our history and it should be celebrated and cherished.

Boss Tuneage: www.bosstuneage.com (Tony)


INSTIGATORS Phoenix CD Boss Tuneage

This is my favourite Instigators album. Yes I know the first one is a classic, and I did love it, but this is the one where I really connected with the band, and when the familiar orchestral intro started the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. These songs have been no strangers over the years, but even so I was impressed at how great they sounded here, and the quality of the songs still shines through as brightly as they every did. When the wonderful album closer “Dark & Lonely” finishes, there’s a ten song live set, recorded in Berlin in March 1987; this brings back memories of the countless times I saw them around that time; a nice mixture of songs from “Phoenix” and the first album, plus the brilliant “The Blood Is On Your Hands”. The booklet has the lyrics and some cool photos and the stark artwork still looks great too. Instigators were an important band for me, and when this was originally released, the record was quickly copied onto cassette which I took everywhere with me, so these songs are burned into my brain. Boss Tuneage are providing a public service making these old releases available again and this is another top re-issue.

Boss Tuneage: www.bosstuneage.com (Tony)


JADED EYES The Eternal Sea CD Boss Tuneage

Second album from these UK veterans; I know that everyone loved the first one and, as good as it was, I didn’t really ‘love’ it. This one, however, is on its way to being a really favourite. It’s not all that different to ‘Gods & Monsters’, there is still the obvious love of Dag Nasty and later Government Issue flowing through the album, but the songs sound more urgent and seem to have captured the essence of those bands and that sound better. “I’m An Idiot” is a perfect example of this driving, infectious, melodic punk sound that is in evidence throughout this. Great stuff.

www.bosstuneage.com (Tony)


NEWTON NEUROTICS Triumph Over Adversity (Live At Brunel University 04/04/1987) Violated

From the first time I heard this band they became firm favourites; I loved the tunes, the politics and that they seemed to have the human touch, singing about the personal struggles of growing up as well as problems of living with a hated far right Tory government. Anyway, what we have here is a 14 track live set from 1987 played after the venue was subjected to a bomb scare, and in a time when the “Troubles” in Northern Ireland were reaching the mainland, bomb scares were not to be taken lightly. This recording has not been subjected to overdubs, or remixing and despite the primitive recording equipment on offer then (by today’s standards) the sound quality here is good and clear while allowing the energy and passion of this band shine through. This is a good selection of songs, including tracks from all their albums, however, with this gig taking place two months before a general election in the UK that saw Thatcher win again, I am surprised that there is no “Kick Out The Tories”. Still, we do have “Fighting Times”, “Wake Up”, “Take Strike Action” and “Living With Unemployment” amongst the strong set. The Newtown Neurotics were a great band and this recording shows how powerful a trio can be when all three compliment each other so well. Of course, of of those three was bassist Colin Dredd who sadly died last year.

http://www.violatedrecords.com (Tony)


NOT TONIGHT & THE HEADACHES If You Were Real You’d Do Your Own Stunts CD Boss Tunage

I always try to pick out the positives in bands if I can, but when the band are halfway between One Direction and Busted (If you remember them?) then I’m gonna struggle! Uninspiring at their best NT&TH are everything I never want a band to be! I’m probably the wrong person to be reviewing this because when you’ve spent most of a lifetime avoiding this sort of pop-pap then the result is not going to be favourable to say the least. I’ll leave it there with the ten tracks of mush that make up this album and this can be filed this under ‘melodic hardcore’ if you want a genre!

www.bosstuneage.com (Gaz)


OI POLLOI / GRAND COLLAPSE Split 7” Artcore

This comes with the 30th Anniversary issue of Artcore, so not only do you get a great record, you get something worthwhile to read as well. Oi Polloi deliver two of the best songs I’ve heard from them for years, one sung in English, one in Spanish. On this evidence I’ll be searching out their new album as I’ve been playing this a lot. Although I enjoyed Grand Collapse live, and I like their political stance, I wasn’t really taken with the album but here, however, they deliver the goods. Like a hybrid of Strike Anywhere and Propagandhi their two songs are fast, angry, adrenaline fuelled blasts of high energy punk rock. Four top quality songs, green vinyl and a brilliant fanzine; what are you waiting for?

artcorefanzine.co.uk (Tony)


SERIOUS SAM BARRETT  Sometimes You’ve Got To Lose CD Ya Dig? Records

Been listening to this a whole lot since I was sent it about a week ago, and man it’s so good!!! It’s a real bare bones affair with just Sam playing his acoustic 12 string, or  occasional banjo, apart from 2 songs where he gets a bit of help off old Squeezebox Bob, and it’s all the better for it it seems like. 10 really strong songs played in his usual authentic finger picking style bringing to mind the  vast open lands of mid America, or Yorkshire? In my opinion it’s an album that starts strongly and then just gets better as it meanders along, track 4, “from the Shoals to Montana”, is played on the banjo it sounds like, and is so evocative both lyrically and musically. Track 7, “my last sad song”, has an amazing intro, a real bluesy/rock n roll type riff using the slide guitar thing and the lyrics are all of heartbreak and then redemption, nice! Tracks 8 and 10, which are the ones with Squeezebox Bob on, giving them a really great melancholy sound, are amazing!, especially “new bird, needle and the dustbowl”, the final track, all about skating and DIY spot building, hits the spot so hard. The artwork once again is also aces, done by the Sami Gravestone, who has done several of his covers, so fitting, crossed guitar and banjo in a block print style. Amazing!

serioussambarratt.bandcamp.com (si)


STATE OF DECAY Justified CDEP Never Fall Into Silence

Three chords, sore throat vocals, stripped to the basics angry punk rock! I like this release I have to say. There have been and still are loads of bands like State Of Decay out there having their say and for this reason alone you gotta like em! Six tracks in all and that’s all you really need in one hit for them not to lose their impact.

www.neverfallintosilencerecords.bigcartel.com (Gaz)


STAY CLEAN JOLENE s/t CD JSNTGM/Bombed Out

…and that’s just what I don’t like about SCJ; Too clean! Sure they are good at what they do and no doubt work hard as a band but it’s just too much of a plod through the pop Punk ordinary for me! Wishy washy, sad teenager stuck in his bedroom lyrics, who should really get out more and get angry about stuff! If SCJ could rough it up and make a bit of a point they would get my vote, but until such times I’m gonna keep electing to listen to bands that campaign for change!

www.staycleanjolene.com (Gaz)


VINCENT AND THE ONEPOTTS Best of Enemies CD Label?

Named after a vintage British 600cc motorcycle with one cylinder (One Pot) I guess it will come as no surprise to anyone who cares to give them a listen that V.A.T.O will fall under the Punk ‘n’ Roll cover of the great Punk umbrella! Not a band I’d usually go for in some ways but I have to say that V.A.T.O have been a bloody good listen overall. With plenty of attitude and guitar hooks I don’t think they have much of an agenda other than to be part of a good night out for you. The stand out track for me is Dead Train from the eleven on this album but don’t take my word for it.. Check em’ out and get taken for a ride on the back of Vincent and the Onepotts!

www.vincentandtheonepotts.com (Gaz)


VIOLENT ARREST Authors Of Our Own Demise 7” Artcore

Wow, Violent Arrest really get in your face with these six tracks. Blistering hardcore punk that is probably the fastest most intense they’ve delivered yet; when I played it for the first time it sounded like the greatest thing I’d ever heard. For the first time they didn’t record at the Whitehouse, this is recorded on a porta-studio set up and although they have always sounded great, I think the change makes for much more urgent sounding songs. Punk rock should be exhilarating, and angry and it should make you want to get up and do something; this does all those things. These guys may be veterans, but there isn’t anyone making more exciting, relevant and downright brilliant hardcore anywhere on the planet. The pressing of this is being held up by Record Store Day, but hopefully it’ll be out in a month or so.

artcorefanzine.co.uk (Tony)


...The Message

ARTCORE 30th Anniversary Issue / A4 / #6.00 post paid

What better way to celebrate 30 years of doing a fanzine that to put out another brilliant issue, one that not only includes the usual high quality content, but also comes with a fantastic 7” too. I know we’ve come to expect this from Artcore, but you have to admit it takes some doing to keep the enthusiasm and drive to keep producing quality like this for this long. The zine has Maailmanoppu, Epic Problem, Oi Polloi, Henry Rollins, Sorry State Records, Dry Heaves, Spoilers and much more. Of course there’s the usual Vaultage section, this time featuring FIX, Aggression, the art of Randy Biscuit Turner and others. All good stuff. The record is a split 7” from Oi Polloi and Grand Collapse (you will find a review above). Glossy magazines like Vive Le Rock are all well and good, and they do have the odd interesting piece, but really they are just focussed on old mainstream stuff and are not really concerned with what’s going on underground where the real punk is. Artcore is ours, like all DIY zines it belongs to us, it reflects what we listen to and what we’re about, a viable alternative to anything you’ll find in WH Smiths. Celebrate Artcore and celebrate DIY punk zines. Long live Artcore!

artcorefanzine.co.uk (Tony)