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The Music...

BURNT CROSS “Life Is A Battlefield” 7” Tadpole / Active Rebellion etc

This is something like the 11th 7” from Burnt Cross, and it keeps up the high standard that they set with all the others. Impassioned, opinionated, angry and outspoken punk, recorded in Rob’s bedroom and released by Tadpole in conjunction with 12 other labels; the DIY spirit is alive and well and proving that it works. If you’ve liked Burnt Cross’ other releases then you’ll like this, if you’ve not heard them then this is as good a place to start as any. This is another quality release.

Tadpole:  (Tony)

THE DESTRUCTORS “Greatest Misses” CD Rowdy Farrago

After their 1983 split The Destructors returned to the fold in 2005 and have been with us ever since. They came spinning out of the second wave of UK Punk bands and produced a few gems in that time but since 2005 they have probably been the most prolific recording band I have ever known. EP’s LP’s  & split releases have come out on an almost monthly basis it seemed at one point! So if you’ve not been back to join them in the fold but have been curious, then this is probably the one release you should own. They have re-recorded some of those early gems, covered some gems by many a band – not just punk ones either and wrote a few more of their own! Some of their releases have been on a theme and dealt with entirely one subject like the media, politics and drinking to name but a few.. Peterborough’s punk rock finest like a good wine have only improved with age and despite that advance in age they have kept the rage! Hard hitting and punchy, I don’t see them caging that rage for a while yet.. There’s just too much to get angry about sometimes and you just gotta get it out! Blessed are the meek but what shall they inherit?

The Destructors: (Gaz)

DIS-TANK “D-Beat Hardcore Bruisers Vol.1” 7” Kibou / others

The title of this pretty much sums up what you’ll get here; ten tracks of straight ahead, no frills hardcore punk rock. Three of the tracks are from their “D-Beat Machine” cassette, but that’s out of print now, so you get to have them on vinyl along with 7 new ones. Musically it’s reminiscent of The Domestics, but that is just because of James’ vocal delivery and the ferocious songs, it’s a bit more ragged round the edges, which is no bad thing in my book. I’ve been playing it a lot these past couple of days, I guess with no song over 1 minute, ten seconds, it finishes leaving me wanting more, so I just flip the record and start again. This is another multi-label release with Global Resistance, Mono Canibal and Desorden also involved in its release.

Kibou: (Tony)

THE DOMESTICS “Routine & Ritual” LP TNS etc

If you want to know what keeps me motivated to keep involved with this punk rock lark, just play this record. The Domestics have always been a good band, but here they take it to the next level with a brilliant album that is without doubt the best thing they have released so far. There’s no messing around or niceties here; it’s an all out assault of pummelling, fast punk rock with lyrics attacking the ills of the world and human kind. An album full or energy, anger, speed and power is just what is needed to prove that DIY punk is alive and kicking and as relevant as ever. This is released by TNS Records along with Kibou, Imminent Destruction and Orchestrated Dystopia, so hats off to them for making tis happen.

TNS: (Tony)

EPIC PROBLEM / HOLIDAY split 7” Brassneck / JSNTGM etc

Another of those multi label releases, something I’m all for if it means that good bands get their music out. Epic Problem certainly are a good band, and each release sees them raise their own personal bar a little bit higher. Their opener here, “Petrol Blue” sees them give Off With Their Heads a run for their money, while “Blindside” could just be their best song yet, a real stunner. Over on the other side, Holiday deliver two songs in ta similar vein;  gruff vocals backed by energetic, melodic punk rock, good but with slightly less of the aggressive edge that makes Epic Problem really hit home for me. This is a damn fine release that has a real co-operative feel about the whole thing, and that appeals to me as much as the music.

Brassneck:  (Tony)

411 “The Side You Cannot See” LP Workshed

Some bands hit the right chord straight away, they have an instant impact on me and more often than not that ensures that they remain firm favourites from then on. 411 are one of those bands; 1990/91 was a time of great personal upheaval and confusion for me, everything was cool when it came to punk rock, the local scene and this zine, but away from that, real life was giving me a good kicking and 411’s driving melodic brand of hardcore was exactly what I wanted to hear, to help me escape, I could lose myself in their songs. In the years since then the “Say It” 7” and “This isn’t Me” LP have continued to be regular visitors to my record player. This brilliant record compiles those two releases along with compilation tracks, 16 tracks in all that still sound so good 25 years on. Guitarist Kevin Murphy went on to play on Farside’s best records, but I don’t think he ever bettered his playing on these songs, and that guitar sound along with the powerful rhythm section of Josh Stanton and Mario Rubalcaba provided a wonderful platform for possibly Dan O’Mahony’s best vocal delivery. This re-mastered compilation will hopefully make these songs more available to those who may have missed them first time round.

Workshed: (Tony)

THE JONES “Gravity Blues” CD Boss Tuneage

Wow, this was originally released 15 years ago! Re-released to help Boss T celebrate 25 years of putting out records, this is a fine album to have back available again. At the time this was a very exciting album for someone like me who was a big fan of HDQ, as it featured singer Golly and guitarist Dickie Hammond back together and releasing an album that really could have been a lost HDQ album. The driving, melodic punk rock could have been released between “Sinking” and “SoulFinder” and fitted in perfectly, it has the harder edge of the former and the tunes of the latter. Quite something when you consider there had been something like a ten year gap between HDQ’s final release and this. Not only do you get the album here, but also tracks from Golly and Dickie’s other post HDQ bands, Fatty Jones and Stokoe. I have to admit to not playing this album for a few years, and I now realise that was an error on my part as I’d forgotten just how much I like it; once again Boss Tuneage comes to my rescue.

Boss Tuneage: (Tony)

LA URSS “Maravillas Del Mundo” 12” Sabotage

This Spanish band my have offered up 10 very melodic punk songs here, but don’t let that fool you into thinking they are weak, there’s an edge to them and they have good energy. They remind me of the sounds coming out of Northern Ireland in the late ‘70s, with a bit of  an early ‘80s sound too; the two bands I keep being reminded of are Rudi and Chron Gen. That’s not to say that La Urss directly copy those bands, but that is the sort of feel I get from listening to it. It’s good album of driving punk rock tunes with lyrics inspired by their local social environment and the current social political situation.

Sabotacge: (Tony)

MERCY KILLINGS “Snuffed Out EP” 7” Beach Impediment

Brand new EP that follows on nicely from their self titled rager. Heads down, straight ahead, full throttle hardcore punk that’s angry and hard hitting without sounding like it just wants to be a soundtrack to mindless violence. These guys have been around a long time, playing with bands like Wasted Time and Direct Control among many others, and they certainly know what they’re doing, and have delivered five more blistering tracks. This is another great release, and one not to miss out on.

Beach Impediment: (Tony)

POISON IDEA “Confuse & Conquer” LP Southern Lord

It’s 2015, the world continues to be fucked by governments and religion, so what better time for there to be a new Poison Idea album? I think I may be in the minority by preferring Poison Idea’s earlier stuff over their later, heavier releases, so it’s good to be able to report that “Confuse & Conquer” has elements that appeal to me, as well as catering for fans of their later output; there are faster, more direct songs, more mid-paced, harder songs and over all there is familiar feel to this brand new album. A lot of long standing bands seem to loose their energy and power as they get older, not Poison Idea, they are as pissed off, hard hitting and confrontational as they’ve ever been. This is hardcore punk rock!

Southern Lord: (Tony)

CJ RAMONE “Last Chance To Dance” LP Fat Wreck Chords

Let’s face it, when Dee Dee quit The Ramones, for a ‘career’ in Hip Hop, it wasn’t looking good for the not-so Happy Family, so credit must go to CJ Ramone for stepping up and assuming bass duties. That was a huge pair of Chucks to fill, but CJ’s integration into the Brotherhood revitalized the band and gave ‘em a few more good years. Life has been a rollercoaster for CJ in the intervening years, and he’s back with a new album, a stand-up band - that includes Steve Soto and Dan Root from The Adolescents – and this new album. The chemistry is definitely there, with punchy Punk Rock ‘n Roll numbers injected by some solid West Coast harmonizing from the Southern Californian contingent. A real smooth ‘n fun listen from start to close, and my foot didn’t stop tapping for the duration. This outfit has toured in The America’s (North ‘n South) and Australasia, so here’s hoping some UK dates are not far in the offing. Hey Ho… you’ll wanna go!   

Fat Wreck: (PeteZ)

REALLY RED “Teaching You The Fear - The Complete Collection 1978-1985” Alternative Tentacles

Wow, this is so good. Really Red are probably not among the first names that spring to mind when you think of the USHC explosion of the early ‘80s, but they damn well should be. Hailing from Houston, Texas they had a style that was similar to what The Dicks were doing over in Austin, taking the USHC sound and adding a groove that brings to mind UK bands like Gang Of Four and Wire. Like all good punk from that era it wasn’t afraid to be a little different soundwise and a challenge to the status quo. This two disc CD compilation brings together their 1981 LP “Teaching You The Fear”, their second LP, long-lost second album, "Rest In Pain", all their sought-after 7"s, and some unreleased songs as well. For vinyl lovers you can get these songs over three LPs. It’s all been restored from the original tapes and remastered by Jello Biafra to bring out the true quality of these songs, and this band. Every home should own this.

Alternative Tentacles:  (Tony)

RITUAL CONTROL “Inoculation” EP Sabotage

Thundering out of the currently prolific Bay Area and featuring members of bands as great as No Static and Torso (among others), Ritual Control are a heavy juggernaut of a band. They are fast and heavy and uncompromising and at times a little too much for me. But they do have their moments where it clicks into place and I’m taken along for the ride. “Gifting the Flesh” is the one that ticks the boxes, it’s still punishing, but it’s fast and even has a hook to reel you in, while “No Cure” brings to mind Punch. Despite any misgivings I may have about the heaviness of these songs, I do find myself playing this a lot.

Sabotage: (Tony)

SHALLOW CUTS  “Storm Watching”  7” No Idea

A hugely promising 4 track 7” from a band comprising members of Dear Landlord, Gateway District, Dan Padilla and Madison Bloodbath, which is pretty impressive I’m sure you’ll agree. And you pretty much get exactly what you’d expect, Gainesville type, melodic, gruff (though not that gruff) punk but with a pretty strong Replacements thing going on too,  and the songs are very short and it’s all over far too quick. Not much else to say about it really other than I want an LP!

No Idea: (si)

S.H.I.T. “Feeding Time” 7” Static Shock

You know this by now of course, but I’m going to say it anyway; S.H.I.T. are one of the best bands around, anywhere, at the moment. This is their third 7” and features a title track that is a re-recorded version of a song from their demo, it was a great song then and an even better one now. The other side has a new song that may be slower, but retains all their trademark power and intensity. Nothing more needs to be said, except, “buy this damn record.”

Static Shock: (Tony)

SPIRIT BOMB “Killer In Your Stereo” CD KIYS

OK, this was probably the first band I saw at Rebellion last year (2014) and were probably one of the bands of the weekend for me personally. Their youthful mates sold me the CD outside the room for a quid and said I should check them out. I did and the rest as they say is history. They were great live and the six tracks on this CD just confirm what a sharp act they are.. They have power, tunes, good lyrics and the singer Phil can sing; almost a touch of Ian Astbury of The Cult there in some places but that’s where any similarity ends! Spirit Bomb are just great and I’d like to hear more. This shit does really shine and it was always going to with Dek from Drongos For Europe playing the bass!

Spirit Bomb: (Gaz)

STUPIDS “The Kids Don’t Like It” LP Boss Tuneage

Back in 2009, The Stupids had been gone for 20 years or so, leaving behind a catalogue of masterpieces that Boss Tuneage had done a fine job of re-issuing. Then they were back with gigs and a brand new album. It could have been a disaster, but it wasn’t, it was the Stupids sounding like we all want the Stupids to sound like, and despite the long gap between records, “The Kids Don’t Like It” stood its ground alongside those old classics. I don’t think it came out on vinyl then, but this ‘Deluxe Edition’ is on colour vinyl as well as CD. It contains the original album, the “Japanese Vacation” and “Feel The Suck” EP tracks along with a live set, recorded in Japan in 2011. “There’s no point in changing, because all they want is the same old shit!” When it’s this good, damn right.

Boss Tuneage: (Tony)

SYSTEMATIK “Bondage” LP Sabotage

This may only have 8 songs, but they are all mighty ragers, and unlike most punk records I listen to, 1 minute ten seconds is the length of the shortest song here, so you know they pack a lot of anger and energy into each track. Canada’s Systematik take their cues from “Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing” era Discharge, so you get the idea of the sort of sound they get here; fast, heavy and hard hitting.

Sabotacge: (Tony)

SUICIDAS  “Los Primeros Seven Inches” 12” Sabotage

Based in Barcelona, with members also hailing from Vienna and Chile, who have also served time in Belgrado, Ruidosa and Destino Final, Suicidas deliver a powerful, driving, melodic brand of punk, with duel female/male vocals belting out lyrics both political and personal. This 12” features the tracks from their first two 7” EPs, and I have been playing it an awful lot recently, it’s another quality release from Barcelona that seems to have an uplifting quality that is also evident in bands like Las Otras and Crosta, without really sounding like either. The press blurb finished by saying “more to come.” I can’t wait.

Sabotage: (Tony)

TERMINUS “Back Among The Blind” CD Boss Tuneage

I think I may have said it in a review somewhere before but to a lot of people there seemed to be a bit of a void in the UK punk scene between the mid 1980’s and mid 1990’s when a lot of bands started reforming and getting back on the wagon. Even the revered Ian Glasper saw the end of the second punk coming in 1984 in his first couple of books (The Day The Country Died & Burning Britain).  Although what he has done and done so well is write another couple of books to take things on from 1984 and that’s where bands like Terminus filled the supposed void. I actually thought that the gigs I attended from 85 to 88 time were probably the most DIY the Punk scene has ever been. Terminus were not a hardcore Punk band covered in leather and studs but they did crank out some tunes with attitude and thought. This album was released in 1992 on the excellent Words of Warning label originally which hailed from Newport in South Wales and is now on the just as excellent Boss Tuneage label as part of its retro series. I always liked Terminus as they seemed to have a real honesty about them, they could be a bit dark and grim in their outlook lyrically but they had something to say and they said it well. I’m not sure Terminus will ever get back together like some old Punk bands as their profile was not like the earlier more well known bands. But they have certainly left us with a couple of good albums and kept the flag flying for the ones who never left the punk scene once Bands like Crass split. No extra tracks – just as it was released with all words included. 

Boss Tunesage: (Gaz)

THIRTY SIX STRATEGIES “Strategy 3” CD Boss Tuneage

As the title suggests, this is the third release from Thirty Six Strategies, and it’s obvious right from the start that, as good as the two EPs were, they were just flexing their muscles for this album. The songs are just as melodic as before, but here they hit home harder and have a lot more energy about them. New singer Marie has a great voice, perfect for these songs, there’s an edge to her voice that sits just right with this band. I keep seeing ‘Revolution Summer’ mentioned in reviews etc, and there is an element of that sound here (“(We) Disconnect” certainly has a Fugazi/SoulSide feel), but this is a band that aren’t just rooted in the past, these songs feel perfect for today. So if melodic punk rock is your thing, then there aren’t many bands around doing it better than Thirty Six Strategies.

Boss Tunesage: (Tony)

UK SUBS “Yellow Leader” CD Captain Oi

We can only marvel at Mr Harper can’t we? Where does his energy and drive come from to keep it all punk rocking? Who knows but this album is another gem. I think it helps that the current Subs line up is one of the best and probably the most consistent in the history of the band too. All the band have helped with the lyrics and the music is tight and top drawer with a punch guaranteed to be a knock out with all you UK Subs die hards. Classic Subs sound in some places and daring to be different in others but loaded with attitude and something to say. In fact as they advance down the alphabet Subs albums seem to have a lot more politics than I can remember. Eighteen tracks in all; I’m not going to pick favourites from this one as they are all great, the UK Subs are great! “UK Subs UK Subs…” is the chant at the end of every gig they play and that’s the way I want to end this review but before I do, a mention for the artwork; Roy Lichtenstein produced some great boys-own comic book style artwork in his time and the Subs have had some superbly adapted by Daryl Smith and Steve Kitchen for the album cover and liners. Worth owning a copy just for that in some ways and beats a digital download any day that’s for sure.      UK SUBS UK SUBS Come on!

Captain Oi: (Gaz)

VIOLENT ARREST “Life Inside The Western Bloc” LP Boss Tuneage

What better way to kick off 2015 than a new album from Violent Arrest. After the departure of singer Steve Hazard, the band replaced one great hardcore singer with another as vocal duties are now handled by Artcore/Four Letter Word man Welly. Of course it’s no surprise that Welly fits in so well with this band, his vocal delivery is perfect for the raging hardcore punk that VA deliver, and he has honed his socio-political lyrics to fit the shorter songs here, which helps to hammer the points home. It’s like watching the News with a Truth filter on. Musically it’s what you’d expect; ten fast and furious punk attacks and one song that’s a bit longer and slower, however it loses none of it’s intensity or impact. This is another great release from one of the best bands around; it’s pretty much the perfect album, being exhilarating, angry and outspoken, everything a punk rock record should be. This is out on CD and LP, the LP version also has the CD included, which also includes the last album, “Distorted View”, their tracks from the split with Endless Grinning Skulls 7” and a brilliant cover of the Mau Maus’ “Clampdown”. If there’s a better album released this year I can’t wait to hear it; but I won’t hold my breath.

Boss Tuneage: (Tony)

WESTERN ADDICTION “I’m Not The Man That I Thought I’d Be” EP Fat Wreck

It’s ten years since I last got a Western Addiction record, and it’s probably just as long since I listened to them. I remember that I quite liked the album, but it wasn’t strong enough to have remained with me, so I was curious as what this would sound like. The title track is different to how I remember them sounding, it’s more mid-paced, more rockin’ and with more ‘punk’ sounding vocals. The other two songs are more like the sound I recall, and although “Clatter & Hiss” is a demo of a song that will appear on their forthcoming album, “Cold-Hearted Maceration” is pretty good.

Fat Wreck: (Tony)

ZOUNDS “The Curse Of Zounds” LP Overground

Brand new, white vinyl re-issue of one of the most iconic albums of early ‘80s. Almost by accident Zounds got caught up with the anarcho punk scene that exploded in the wake of the early Crass records and gigs; although they had been going for a while, releasing an EP on Crass records gained them an army of new followers and led to them going to Rough Trade for more EPs and this album. Of course, you know what it’s like: melodic, guitar driven songs that sound as good today as they did 25 years ago. This is an album that is as influential as Crass’ more harsh sounding records and still as fondly remembered, and this is a welcome vinyl re-issue,. The white vinyl looks stunning.

Overground: (Tony)

VARIOUS “A Country Fit For Heroes ‘15” Cassette Artcore

The cover of this tape is a nice nostalgia trip for us old buggers, but that’s where the looking back ends, this is about what is happening now, in the UK. 24 songs from 12 bands showcasing some of the styles currently bursting out of the practise rooms, studios and venues of this country. Back when I was at school, compilation albums were a valuable source of new bands and new styles, they introduced me to bands that would go on to become firm favourites, and some of the records remain special for me. Then for a while compilations were just substandard label samplers that offered nothing new; just recently though, there have been a few great comps released, and this is one of them. True I had already heard a fair few of these bands, but that’s ok, because there are a couple here that I’m going to track down more from. This comes with the latest issue of Artcore, and if the tapes have all gone, you’ll still get a download code and a copy of the cover so you can make your own.

Artcore: (Tony)

YDI “A Place In The Sun/Black Dust” LP Southern Lord

What we have here is the complete discography of Phiiladelphia’s YDI. Starting with their  demo, the first 15 tracks are a blistering whirlwind of chaotic hardcore, bursting with the sort of energy you’d expect from the East Coast of the US in the early ‘80s. It reminds me of those early Dischord bands, only faster. Later that same year, 1983, nine of those songs were released as the “A Place In The Sun” EP. The recording may be a little cleaner, but that doesn’t take away from their blistering fury; the songs race by in a blur of exhilarating noise, so much so that the intervening years haven’t dulled their impact one bit. A couple of years later, and with a new rhythm section YDI released an album. “Black Dust” was far heavier, with longer songs, guitar leads and a slower pace; a sound that in it’s better moments is reminiscent of later Black Flag, but more often than not is just metallic, stomping, macho hardcore, the sort of stuff that has always left me cold. Having said that, this is a great document of one of the lesser heralded bands form USHC history. This double vinyl document contains every known recording of the band, also inside is a 10”x10” full color photo book with tons of never before seen images from the era.

Southern Lord: (Tony)

...the message

ARTCORE #33 / A4 / 2.50

Hot on the heals of the last one comes another great issue. This one is a special UK punk  rock addition, showcasing some of the great bands currently making waves both here and further afield, with bands like DIE and Good Throb both featuring in several of the MRR 2014 Top Ten lists. Along with those two you also get to read about The No Marks, Arms Race, Broken Cogs, Thirty Six Strategies, Violent Reaction, Bloodbuzz etc, as well as Tadpole Records, a report from the Static Shock Fest, a UK tour report from Modern Love and still more. This comes with a compilation featuring 12 UK bands. I think the cassette version has sold out, but there is a download code and a copy of the cover for you to make you own tape copy. Another essential issue of Artcore.

Artcore: (Tony)

EVERLONG #13 / A5 / £1 & Suitable SAE

This is the last ever issue of this great Bristol fanzine as sadly founding writer Clay Baldwin passed away last year after contracting a virus that attacked his heart. He was the younger brother of founding Vice Squad member Shane Baldwin and the Everlong contribution to the fanzine community will be very much missed but all the richer for having had it there. This last issue is featuring his interviews done with Mudhoney, Rancid, L7 and Mega City Four done in previously released issues. There is also a previously unreleased interview done with Roi Pearce of The Last Resort, tattooist Jo ‘Candymachine’ Bourgon, The Cheaterslicks and The BelleFleurs. This last issue is a great read and a fitting tribute to Clay, who I never had the pleasure of meeting, but anyone who had the energy and enthusiasm to start a fanzine is surely one of life’s good guys. RIP Clay.

A bit light on contact details but contact me via SD if you want a copy (Gaz)

FAILSAFE #12 (I think!) / A4 / Price?

Firmly stuck in all things UK82 Failsafe is a glossy well put together zine. Guaranteed no new bands (Their words not mine!), but guaranteed to give an intimate insight into your Punk bands from that now legendary era for the UK punk scene! This issue features The Fits, Anti-Establishment and American outfit  Dont No.. All the right questions are asked and all well answered by Mick Crudge of The Fits, Gavin Gritton vocalist with Anti-Establishment and a huge interview with Albee Sacramone of American band Dont No.. I have no idea how much this zine costs but it is a great read so contact them via the email address.

Failsafe: (Gaz) 


The Truth of Revolution, Brother… is a serious book and is not easy reading for the most part as it explores the philosophy of Punk. I will say that this is probably the ultimate book on the matter. The great and the good who have played their part, many from the start, shaped so many minds and presented a genuine, unforced alternative are interviewed. Penny Rimbaud, Steve Ignorant  and Gee Vaucher of Crass are featured as you might expect as are Vi Subversa (Poison Girls), Steve Lake (Zounds), Mark Wilson (The Mob) and others in bands in their own autonomous right but never the less often named alongside Crass. But, it’s not a book falling all that way; Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys), Charlie Harper (UK Subs), John Robb (Goldblade), Ian MacKaye (Minor Threat, Fugazi & more) Tim ‘TV’ Smith, Dick Lucas (Subhumans), Deek Allen (Oi Polloi) and many others tell their story and give their take on what Punk means to them. The book itself has been thoughtfully created by many individuals, no money taken from banks to get it to you and printed by a workers co-op based in the East End of London. This I guess is the true spirit of Punk!

Situation Press: (Gaz)