suspect device reviews - new
 

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)


ANARCHISTWOOD / FLOWERS IN THE DUSTBIN - split 7” EP - Grow Your Own

Ever wondered what Crass would have sounded like if Chrissy Hynde had been their singer? No, well neither had I until I heard the jagged, rhythmic start of Anarchistwood’s ‘Bomb In A Luggage Rack’ and that image instantly came to mind; it then exploded into a more conventional punk rock song, all fuzzed guitars, crashing drums and bags of energy. I’d never heard this band before, but this song certainly had me wanting more. Then you have Flowers In The Dustbin’s much more tuneful offering, and if you are familiar with this band then you know exactly what to expect. The guitars a cleaner and the tom heavy drums are more understated. It’s good, and I like the contrast between the two bands, and I like that fact that they are so different but still can share a 7” and somehow it just seems to fit just fine.

https://anthraxuk.bandcamp.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 PASTI - Rise Up CD - Westworld

After Anti Pasti rode the crest of the wave during the early 80’s UK punk explosion it’s been about 30 odd years since the last official Anti Pasti album ‘Caution in the Wind’ and I can assure you that it’s been well worth the wait! We all know that their first album ‘The Last Call’ was a debut Punk classic and has served them well over the years as it’s been re-issued countless times but ‘Rise Up’ is going to give it a run for it’s money! Actually in my opinion ‘Rise Up’ is a far better album musically and far more hard hitting but I take into account many factors in writing this review, not least a generation passing! The twelve tracks of rocking, political Punk on ‘Rise Up’ will put AP back on the Punk map for sure especially if a decent replacement for the recently departed vocalist Gez Addictive can be found. This album has it all, tunes, guitar riffs galore and bags of energy. Every track is a confirmed hit with not a hint of a miss in sight! Find them on Facebook and send them some 21st Century digital fan mail – for they deserve high praise indeed for this come back.

http://www.westworldrecordings.co.uk (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)


THE CRAVATS - Blurred/Bigband 7” - Overground

I always think that The Cravats were put into the Punk conscious by their single on Crass Records all those years ago. Their recent revival has no doubt been in part to do with Penny Rimbaud’s appearance in the video to what can only be described as the undoubted hit earlier in the year that was their ‘Jingo Bells’ 7” – again on the visionary Overground label. This record just carries on from there and is just as good and worthy of selling out as the last one. You can’t ever label The Cravats, even if they did once have a record out on the mighty Crass Records! Their great strength is that the music sounds chaotic, disjointed and almost downright unrehearsed in places but stretches far beyond the boundaries of Anarcho Punk! You don’t have to like punk to like The Cravats but having an imagination that is prepared to cross your usual musical boundaries and tastes will definitely help you get on board the Cravats open top bus ride! The Shend and the rest of the Cravats are going to become ‘Legshends’ with those of you striving for something just a bit different if they keep this up!

www.overgroundrecords.co.uk (Gaz)


DISASTER STRIKES - In The Age Of Corporate Personhood - Alternative Tentacles

Melodic yet hard hitting punk rock from Boston, Mass. If you imagine later Propaganda with hints of Good Riddance, Kill Your Idols and even The Guantanamo School Of Medicine (Jello Biafra makes a guest appearance, on the title track) you’ll have some idea of what this band sounds like. It’s always good to hear political and socially conscious lyrics and although the songs are expertly played and well recorded, they still retain a hard edge so they don’t sound like watered down commercial dross. These are punk rock songs, they have something to say and they pull no punches. They fit well with Alternative Tentacles.

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


DIVERS  - Hello Hello - Sabotage

I was excited about this as soon as I saw that it was on Rumbletowne Records, the label run by the people in RVIVR. And I’m glad to say it doesn’t disappoint, it is in a similar vein to said band, real melodic, catchy as heck punk rock tuneage though generally speaking it’s a more mellow, slower affair, a bit more dynamic? I guess some songs do wander into the proper rock area but hey I don’t mind that. The vocals are of the properly sung ilk and really fitting of the music. I get the feeling they will be a pretty amazing live band, the way the music varies, going from real quiet noodle stuff to big ROCKING outbursts. 10 tracks, most pretty long, some of them over 4 mins, though they don’t feel like it, and great live sounding production. I’ve been on their bandcamp page and got a few other things they have on there.

http://sabotagerecords.net (si)


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)


THE FLEAS - s/t 7” - Grow Your Own

Proving that they aren’t just interested in older bands, Grow Your Own release this great EP from young Brighton Band The Fleas. Five tracks of straight forward, energetic punk rock, packed with drive and enthusiasm that remind me of bands I love - Primetime, Hagar The Womb and, with the nice sax use on a couple of tracks, X-Ray Spex too. It has the feel of something from the late ‘70s, but the exuberance of this band makes it sound bang up to date. As ever, great packaging rounds off another wonderful GYO release.

https://anthraxuk.bandcamp.com/album/the-fleas (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)


GEOFFREY Oi!COTT - Incredible Shrinking Dickie Birds 7" Picture Disc EP - Boss Tuneage

I do like a nice picture disc, and the Oi!Cott take on the ‘Incredible Shrinking Dickies’ album cover, looks great with their ode to cricket’s most famous umpire probably being their best song yet. The flip side, showcasing two more cricket anthems, has a picture that’s a take on the Rosie The Riveter image.

http://bosstuneage.bigcartel.com (Tony)


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 really should be buying it.

richterscalerecords@yahoo.co.uk (Tony)


GOOD THROB - S/T EP 7” - La Vida Es Un Mus

Can Good Grief do any wrong? It doesn’t seem so as this is another brilliant release; in fact this could be my favourite thing they’ve done yet. Basic, raw and angry, with a prominent bass sound, crashing drums, angular guitars and barked vocals; these songs wouldn’t have sounded out of place in 1977, or on a ‘Bullshit Detector’ compilation but they  feel just perfect for the early 21st Century. Forget all your slickly recorded, precise, radio friendly nonsense, this is punk rock. Nice fold around sleeve too.

http://www.lavidaesunmus.com/shop/ (Tony)


HALSHUG – Sort Sind - Southern Lord

I had not heard Halshug before but I believe this is their third album, and it is absolutely raging. On first sight the track-suited band members with burning torches grouped around a BMW on the cover make this look a bit like the bleakest hip-hop LP ever, but once you are inside, it is far darker than that! The band say that these songs are their thoughts and feelings on growing up in the 1990’s – 2000’s in neglected parts of Denmark. The album title translates as Black mind, and there are songs here called Vold (Violence), Helvede (Hell), Nederlag (Defeat) and Ensom Dod (Lonely Dead) so it clearly wasn’t all Lego and Hans Christian Andersen for them in Copenhagen. It even opens with a sample of rain and someone crying in pain. From there is gets more dystopian with each step. Musically Halshug include a fistful of breakneck D-beat tunes in the severed vein of Disfear and Avskum, and a number of equally heavy mid-pace crust anthems with riffs which would have Tony Iommi cowering behind the sofa. I love a bit of D-beat but there are so many bands doing it that inevitably there are some who don’t make the grade and many who wander into metal territory. Not so Halshug! This had me scowling and head nodding from start to finish. There is enough metal influence here to create good driving tunes but the bedraggled hate-filled bellows and crunching basslines keep it firmly in the punk/hard-core camp. Think Inepsy’s rock edge with the snarl of Skit System. Full of atmosphere and heartfelt rage – I’m off to lurk menacingly in some doorways.

http://www.southernlord.com/ (Alan)

 

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)


JILTED JOHN - Demos Rehearsals & Gigs 1977 - 2008 LP - Boss Tuneage

Hearing “Pretty Vacant” in early 1977 may have been my introduction to punk rock, and although seeing Generation X and X-Ray Spex and others on Top Of The Pops made me a punk rocker, but it wasn’t until 1978 that i bought my first record, and it was “Jilted John”. It didn’t cross my mind that this wasn’t a real punk band, I loved the primitive song with it’s repetitive guitar and whinny vocals; it was also so damn catchy. From that point on I was buying records  by The Clash, Pistols, Damned, Banshees and all the others, but that first single held, and still holds, a special place in my heart. I didn’t buy the album until years later when I found it on CD, I had fallen for other bands. This double LP does exactly what it says on the tin, it features all of the above, and I think you have to have been touched by John (urgh) to really appreciate this. I’m a sucker for stuff like this, collecting together the odds and ends; I’ll probably not play it much, but I know it’s there, in the collection, just incase I need to hear that demo version of ‘Paperboy Song’.

http://bosstuneage.bigcartel.com (Tony)


MARTYRDOD – List - Southern Lord

I am sure most people who know me are bored to tears of me telling them I don’t like heavy metal. Despite this, I seem to listen to rather a lot of the crust coming out of Scandinavia (Blackened crust, Metallic crust, Stuffed crust – whatever the kids are calling it these days!), so I might as well stop pretending and embrace the joy of twidley solos. This is Martyrdod’s 6th album and sees them bringing even more metal riffage into the mix than their previous output. It is Nordic crust noir at its very best – so bleak and expansive you can almost feel the permafrost and smell the birch forests. For reasons I can’t put my finger on, I always get a whiff of Rudimentary Peni from these guys (Ooh er!). They sound nothing like them, but there is a slightly askew weird aura about their music, enhanced I guess by their often scratchy stick-insect cover art (not on this LP however which has a weird upside down man with no nose on the sleeve). What they do sound like is harder to pin down. On the surface there are the obvious Skit System (who they share members with I believe) and Anti-Cimex comparisons, which are undoubtable true. This is way more in the Scandinavian Jawbreaker than Raped Ass camp – doom-sodden vocals, ferocious guitars that sound like they have down-tuned leaden strings, galloping D-beat – you know the drill. But Matyrdod also bring in melodies and almost folky influences which give the album much greater depth At times there are touches of Myrkur’s black metal folk but never as soft or ethereal, at others I am even reminded (incongruously) of Stuart Adamson’s rousing guitars in Big Country but with no hint of pop music or airiness. These guys are still as righteously pissed off as their first recordings but have learned to harness it; the fury is in the tone and delivery they produce rather than the vitriol of the subject matter. Personal favourites are Oemotstandlig and Harmagedon which both incorporate folk elements, but there are plenty of other straight forward ripping crust tunes which also hit the mark. Whatever they have added, it works. Dark tundra and shallow graves in freezing peat bogs abound.

http://www.southernlord.com/ (Alan)


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)


NOFX – First Ditch Effort - Fat Wreck

There are two ways to approach a new NOFX album:

Sure there’s a tried and tested formula – you know it, the one where Eric Melvin shouts a lot, the one with close harmonies about one of Mike’s sexual kinks, the one which descends into a languid mariachi trumpet solo. But there is also no doubt that NOFX do what they do with exceptional skill and write some cracking good tunes, and this LP is no different. There are some seemingly effortless but expertly crafted songs here. For me NOFX have become increasingly relevant as their output has included more and more songs with a political/moral conscience (‘The War on Errorism’ LP being the standout example), especially as these songs are still presented with a healthy dose of sardonic wit – for example ‘It ain’t lonely at the bottom’, ‘Generation Z’ and ‘Oxy Moronic’ – about American drug companies and health professionals bleeding the country dry, which has enough drug tradename inspired wordplay to have made Ronnie Barker jealous (I am still down with the kids right?). Keeping the irreverent NOFX faith, there is also subject matter ranging from occasional cross-dressing (‘Transvest-lite’) to dumping your girlfriend when they have cancer (‘Bye bye biopsy girl’ [not so morally conscious!]) and some more personal stuff such as ‘I’m so sorry Tony’ and ‘I don’t like me any more’ (which confronts Fat Mike’s infamous head kicking incident). NOFX have a way of sounding like they are just about holding it together whilst consistently delivering everything with split second timing, covering ground from the crunching metal/punk riff of Ditch Effort to the melodic Dead beat mom. So, yeah, there are songs here that sound like other NOFX albums of the past, and you kind of know what’s coming next, but when that delivers catchy, stuck-in-your-head punk tunes one after another the formula obviously works – they pretty much invented it after all!

http://www.fatwreck.com/ (Alan)


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)


RIPCORD - Defiance Of Power / Poetic Justice Double LPs - Boss Tuneage

The problem with bands, and records, becoming legendary is what do you say when a re-issue arrives? Everyone already knows how great the music is, and you can be pretty sure that most will already have a copy of the albums, on one format or other. But, these two albums are so lovingly re-issued that even if, like me, you already own the original copies it’s still worth picking these up. Of course Ripcord were there when UK hardcore really took off and the DIY scenes around the country were starting to establish themselves; it was a time of great creativity and it allowed bands like Ripcord to get out and play and take their ferocious energy around the country and across the sea into Europe. Over the course of these two records you can hear how they progressed without ever losing their bite or impact. The two albums have been re-mastered and now sound even more intense. Expanding both to double albums means there are extra tracks, and lots of them, with each release now boasting over 40 songs. ‘Defiance Of Power’ also has a live set from Arnhem in the Netherlands from July 1987 and a truly blistering rehearsal from March of that year; they were certainly fast, it takes your breath away. The 21 original songs on ‘Poetic Justice’ have been joined by 24 others with the addition of a live set recorded in Bristol on 19th October 1988. The original artwork for each has been reproduced and spruced up by Artcore’s Welly, and there are sleeve notes from Baz and John along with photos and flyers. Of course the LP versions come with a CD version too. Brilliant.

http://bosstuneage.bigcartel.com (Tony)


RIPCORD - 1988 In 2016 7” - Raging

You know that story behind this; in October 2016, to celebrate Baz’s 50th birthday, Ripcord decided to reunite for one final time with their ”classic” line up. Also, while compiling stuff for the Boss Tuneage re-issues, they found three songs on an old cassette that had never been recorded properly, so they came up with the idea of going into a studio and recording them for a limited run 7” (300 were pressed) to be sold at the gig (and the subsequent second gig in Leeds). The result is breathtaking; from the moment John hits the snare at the start of ‘Besieged’ a barrage of super fast punk rock greatness is unleashed. The three songs were recorded in 6 hours, and in that time they managed to capture all their blistering urgency and power; it’s amazing to think these songs never made it onto any Ripcord release until now. With it’s simple white, hand stamped cover, with A5 wrap around lyric/info sheet this is one of my favourite records of this and many other year.

(Tony)


SANCTION THIS - Wipe Us Out 7” - Grow Your Own

‘Wipe Us Out’ is a bit of a departure from pervious Grow Your Own releases; the first track, ’Erase Us’, is a slower, brooding song with elements that have me thinking of bands as different as Rudimentary Pend, Killing Joke and even some of the late ‘80s Dischord Records bands. The B-Side has two, more up-tempo, slightly more straight ahead punk songs, ‘Media Trap’ even has me thinking of Endless Grinning Skulls with it’s rapid fire snare attack and growled vocals, but neither are just run of the mill punk-by-numbers. Punk has always had bands that break the mould a little, and that's what keeps it relevant and interesting, and I’m guessing that these guys have been with it for a good few years, soaking up its many twists and turns and letting all those influences and ideas come flooding out in their song writing. I love the DIY fold around sleeve that this wonderful record is covered with, and I know I’m always impressed with Grow Your Own Records’ releases, but this is close to being my favourite thing they’ve put out.

https://anthraxuk.bandcamp.com/ (Tony)


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

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)


THE SYSTEM - Slave To The Machine LP - Grow Your Own

This is such a great record, I know I always mention Grow Your Own’s packaging, but this latest release is another example of how you can put out a quality product and not charge people silly money for it, and that a punk release is more than just the music. As for the music, The System offer up ten tracks of powerful, political, punk rock; hard hitting and driving, these veterans are showing that there is still a lot of life in them yet, as this is easily as good as anything they did first time around. Age certainly hasn’t mellowed them lyrically; they are scathing of the way the world is, and rightly so as there is a lot to be angry about these days. Full colour sleeve, lyrics sheet and poster, this is a tremendous release. Let’s hear it for The System, Grow Your Own, and DIY punk rock!

https://anthraxuk.bandcamp.com/ (Tony)


THE U.K. SUBS - Summer 1977 Demo 7” - Time & Matter

I know it’s Gaz who usually reviews Subs’ releases, but I thought I’d do these two. With the UK Subs having reached the letter Z with their official album releases, it’s nice to hear where it all started, their first demo. What we have here is very the earliest versions of ‘I Couldn’t Be You’ and “I Live In A Car’, remastered from the original cassette, and they perfectly capture the essence that would make the Subs such favourites with young punks all over the country. There is something about raw, demo versions of songs that really appeals to me, you can hear the enthusiasm coming out of the speakers. Released by real fans of the band on coloured vinyl, with sleeve notes and info on the recording.

THE U.K. SUBS - November 1977 Demo 7” - Time & Matter

This was their second demo, coming three months after the first and they were already on their second line up, with only Charlie and bassist Steve Slack remaining. This demo was the first to feature Nicky Garrett on four songs that you’ll all know; ‘Telephone Numbers’, ‘Tomorrow’s Girls’, ‘Stranglehold’ and ‘Disease’. I kind of like these versions, but then, as I said above, I have always had a soft sport for early, raw, versions of songs and there’s something pleasingly funky about the bass lines here. This is lovingly released on two-tone blue vinyl and has sleeve notes from Nicky Garratt as well as original photos. Two great releases for lovers of punk rock history.

http://timematterrecordings.bigcartel.com (Tony)


URBAN DOGS - Attack - CD Time & Matter

The Urban Dogs! Who are they? For those of you who have been living a sheltered life or are probably under the age of about 50 then they are basically an outlet for the Punk legends that are Charlie Harper of the UK Subs and Knox of the Vibrators. Doing stuff that the bands they have famously fronted for the last 40 years would probably not consider a song for their respective styles or fans even! Playing sporadically since the early 1980’s this is actually the UD’s 5th album and is basically Punk as source with a chance to spin off into Harmonica’s, Keyboards, Organs’ and one or two other items of percussion that don’t form part of a regular drum kit! A bit self-indulgent I hear one or two of you probably thinking – yes of course and who could begrudge them? No one really cos I think they have more than earned the right and let’s be in no doubt that this is one for the fan, collector and the curious with a sense of Punk adventure! Twelve tracks that once you have played them a few times will sink in with the effect no doubt desired by the line-up of Harper, Knox, Alvin Gibbs and Matthew Best of Psychic TV on drums. Punk, Pop, Rock and even a bit of Blues in places played with some of the snarl you’d expect from these old dogs!

www.uksubstimeandmatter.net  (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)


PULL THE TRIGGER #2 / A5 / £2

Second issue of this great zine. Like the first one it manages to be slick and well put together, but still feel like a good old cut and paste zine. It’s stuffed full of great reading, so you can find out about Cult Syndrome, Girl Power, Imminent Destruction Records, Jonah Falco and tons more. The print job is good, so the photos are nice and clear and I really do like the way the text is presented. It’s great that people still care enough to produce proper, paper zines, and this one should be an inspiration to everyone to give it a go.

kibourecords@hotmail.co.uk (Tony)