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The Music...

ACID FAST  "Rabid Moon" LP Protagonist Music

Completely new to me, but these guys are blowing me away! Reminding me a lot of fast/earlier Jawbreaker and the great Chapel Hill type "Indie Rock" bands like Superchunk et al but with both inter swapping male female vocals which works majestically well! 11 tracks and all but one coming in well under 3 mins, this has left me gagging for more and hitting repeat over and over and after a bit of cyber searching finding a demo for a "name your price" download, nice! A real dense slightly muddy sound is spot on for the style of music. A Californian band formed in 2011 I am told, hoping to hear a lot more from these guys.

Protagonist Music:  http://protagonistmusic.tumblr.com/  (si)


ANTI YOU “Blank Stares” LP Agipunk

It’s been a while since there’s been anything new from these Italian punkers, but boy has it been worth the wait. I loved their EPs and thought that their first album was a masterpiece, but these 16 new songs eclipse pretty much all they’ve done so far. Great fast, yet catchy as hell hardcore punk anthems, bringing to mind early USHC greats like Circle Jerks but amping up the pace and energy levels to make it perfect for the 21st Century. None of the songs make it past the 1 minute 22 seconds mark, so the album flies by meaning it’s almost impossible to just play this through once, you need to flip the record over and settle in for another listen. 

Agipunk: www.agipunk.com (Tony)   


BL’AST “The Expression Of Power” Southern Lord

"The Expression Of Power" is a collection of Bl'ast's multiple attempts to record their first LP, 1986's "The Power Of Expression". The CD contains the 3rd attempt, that would eventually be released as the LP, and the 2nd attempt, the Track sessions. It’s easy to see why they chose the third attempt, a more powerful sound delivers a thumping album, but it does mean that Black Flag comparisons are easy to use. I kind of like the Track sessions, the sound isn’t so powerful, and although it’s obvious that Black Flag were an influence it doesn’t leap out at you quite as much. The triple vinyl version also includes the band's first attempt at the album, but I haven’t heard that so I can’t say how it compares. Still, this is a good document of mid 80’s USHC, remastered for maximum 21st Century impact.

Southern Lord: www.southernlord.com (Tony)


BRAIN F≠ “Empty Set” LP Grave Mistake

It’s been a while since their last album and although I really like that record I have to confess to not really playing it too much over recent months; the memory of how good it was has stuck with me though, so I was looking forward to this. It didn’t take long for me to realise that this was everything I’d hoped for, and more; “Empty Set” is a sonic blast of driving punk rock with great interplay between the two vocals, it has a nice guitar sound, great crashing drums and a thumping bass giving the record an urgent energy that is pretty infectious. I saw Dangerhouse Records mentioned as a reference point somewhere, and I can totally see that, but this is no nostalgia trip, this is the sound of now, and I’m finding it difficult to listen to anything else.

Grave Mistake: www.gravemistakereocrds.com  (Tony)


COKE BUST “Confined/Anthology” CD Grave Mistake

Twenty eight tracks of raging, powerful hardcore, brimming over with anger and energy; there’s no real let up here as they blast through the new “Confined” 12”, their tracks from the split 7” with Vaccine, the “Degredation” 7” tracks and a live EP that I hadn’t realised they’d done, but which includes a cover of Government Issue’s “Teenager In A Box” with vocals by John Stabb himself. The relentless blasts of white hot punk rock keep coming at you, wrapped in feedback, pummelling you with their intensity and assaulting your ears. Add to all that some really good lyrics, which are spat out at breakneck speed to match the blistering music.

Grave Mistake: www.gravemistakereocrds.com  (Tony)   


THE DESTRUCTORS “New York New York” CD Rowdy Farrago

Well this is the 6th EP by The Destructors; twelve tracks tho! Anyway, the subject matter as you’ve no doubt guessed is New York (If you follow the band you’ll know they theme their releases). New York and Warhol in the 60’s through to the birth of Punk in the 70’s and the whole Lou Reed (RIP) and The Velvet Underground thing, CBGB etc. Nine of the songs on here are all new Destructors songs – ‘I’ve Been Watching The New York Dolls’ is such a great song and great covers of songs by The Dictators, Nuns and Chip Hanna & the Berlin 3. I can’t really do this EP any justice with this review. I just wish I knew how The Destructors can be so prolific and keep the quality of everything they do so damn good? This is such a great collection of songs and the booklet that accompanies the CD is straight out of the top drawer of all things Punk!

The Destrucors: www.destructors.co.uk/ (Gaz)

 

THE DESTRUCTORS “13 13 13 (Malchance)” CD  Rowdy Farrago

Following on from my review of The Destructors “New York New York” EP comes “13 13 13”. This EP is all about bad luck and evil it says with the associated write up. Thirteen tracks too; nine new Destructors ones and covers of songs by The Beatles (Eleanor Rigby for the record!), Nirvana, The Monks and Social Distortion. I could not quite believe it when this hit the doormat to be honest, so soon after “New York New York”. It’s no cop out to say that this band are the hardest I’ve ever had to review because of the sheer volume of material released and how hard it is not to repeat myself. I will say that “New York New York” I enjoyed more but only just as this EP has a real buzz and full on driving punk energy. Unlucky you if you can’t get a copy that’s for sure. …And, another great booklet! Where do this band get their energy? Like so many of us, they must have day jobs surely?

The Destrucors: www.destructors.co.uk/ (Gaz)


DIS-TANK “D-Beat Machine” Cass Kibou

The band name and title tell you all you need to know; 8 short, fast blasts of raging punk inspired by prime Discharge, but with the tempo amped up making it sound perfect for 2014 rather than just a straight copy of that early ‘80s sound. Straight to the point lyrics are hammered home by the no frills hardcore punk attack, Dis-Tank really are a D-Beat machine. This sounds great on this limited edition cassette, but I’d love to hear what these songs sound like on vinyl.

Kibou: www.kibourecords.bigcartel.com (Tony)   


EPIC PROBLEM “Lines” 7” Rebellion/Longshot

In my opinion Epic Problem have yet to put a foot wrong, and there’s no resting on their laurels with this brand new EP, with its four tracks of brilliant, aggressive, melodic punk with gravel infused vocals and hooks to die for. Not too different from their other stuff, although it’s a bit faster, a little harder and more urgent; the Leatherface comparison is still valid, if lazy, and I stick to my view that Epic Problem are miles better. There are a lot of bands around with this sort of sound and most of them bore me about half way though the first song, I’m now on my 8th non-stop play through this EP and I haven’t had enough yet; now excuse me while I flip this lovely coloured vinyl over for just one more listen.

Longshot: www.longshotmusic.com (Tony)   


HARD STRIPES s/t 7” Vinyl Conflict

When I first played this I didn’t like it much as I’m not a huge fan of this slower, heavy riffing hardcore; I need a bit more energy with my blind fury. However, continued playing meant there are bits of this that are beginning to win me over; the start of “Pollution” is pretty good and I quite like the instrumental “H.S.S.S.”. Over all though, this hasn’t really grabbed me, I like music to jump out at me and take me along for the ride and this just sort of rumbled along. There are, I realise, plenty of people who will love this pounding, growling style of hardcore and I’m quite prepared to accept that I will be in the minority in not being blown away by Hard Stripes.

Vinyl Conflict: c/o www.gravemistakereocrds.com  (Tony)   


CHARLIE HARPER “Stolen Property” Captain Oi

I suppose this CD gives an insight into where the living legend that is Charlie Harper of the UK Subs began! As many of you out there will know, Charlie was around long before Punk and enjoyed Blues and Rock and Roll in his formative years before fronting the now legendary UK Subs. This debut solo album was released in 1981 with Charlie giving his take on some well known tunes like ‘Louie Louie’, ‘Hey Joe’ and ‘Waiting For My Man’ to name but a few. He was backed by Pete Davies and Steve Slack both of the Subs at some point and Dave Dudley and Tony Conway who Charlie knew from way back including his former band The Marauders. This is one for the collector and may be the curious but hurry as there have been only 500 pressed. The booklet has been given the Captain Oi treatment, with quality sleeve notes from Mark Chadderton who archives all things UK Subs on the Time And Matter website with Rob Cook. Another Kind of Blues you might say!

Captain Oi: www.captainoi.com (Gaz)


THE INSTIGATION “No Way Out” 7”

The second EP from this international band; they are based in Tokyo, but with members from the UK and China as well as Japan. I was really taken with their first EP, but this is even better, the songs have all the energy and urgency of early ‘80s US hardcore punk, and it’s fitting that alongside their three driving originals is a cover of Reagan Youth’s “Degenerated”. Remember what you loved about those early records, the way they took punk and amped up the tempo, the energy and the intensity? Well, you get all that here. Punk may have been hijacked by mainstream wannabes, but we know that this is what real punk should sound like.

The Instigation: theinstigation.bandcamp.com/album/no-way-out-e-p (Tony)   


KICK IT! s/t 7” Kink

Quality punk rock from Germany which reminds me of US hardcore (think early Circle Jerks) as well as more recent bands like their countrymen Deny Everything or Canada’s School Jerks. There is a rockin’ feel to their punk which works really well, and the high energy levels makes this 7 track EP jump out at you like those old records that have had such an impact; who knows in years to come people may be still talking about Kick It’s self titled EP?

Kink: www.kink-records.de (Tony)


NIGHTMARES FOR A WEEK / BANQUETS split LP Black Numbers

Really liking this split LP idea, a full 5 tracks from each band, as opposed to a split single. And really, really liking both these bands, Banquets being faves of mine for quite a while now and NFAW being a band I was aware of, but on here they are really blowing me away. I would say NFAW are more "Indie Rock" than punk, a bit Superchunk maybe, and other Chapel Hill type bands, with a hint of Replacements, Lucero, Ann Beretta, very much my thing. Apparently this split was planned a while back for another label but that fell through but they carried on regardless and got it done anyway, glad they did. NFAW are first band up and if truth be told, if it was a competition, in my opinion, they win it, 5 truly great songs, great harmonised vocals, varied instruments and more of a mellower sound and finishing things off beautifully with a short acoustic instrumental track. Banquets come out of the blocks running with their usual great melodic blasts of American alterna/punk with ace clean vocals and a ton of energy, easily up to par with anything they have done previously, maybe better?, these guys always really sound like they really mean it. Absolute top drawer production/sound for both bands and on the amazing Black Numbers record label, I will most definitely be picking this up as soon as the chance arises.

Black Numbers: www.theblacknumbers.com  (si)


NO “Great Space” 12” Static Shock

The second release from London’s NO is a raging, chaotic monster with the band ripping through seven songs leaving no room to stop and take a breath. It’s like a weird and wonderful hybrid of late ‘70s UK punk and blazing US hardcore; there are tunes here but they are so fast and noisy that you don’t so much hear them as feel them. There aren’t really any bands that spring to mind for me to compare this to, and that’s a good thing as this stands out on its own, proving that punk can still be innovative, relevant and downright arse kicking.

Static Shock: www.staticshockrecords.com (Tony)


NOT TONIGHT & THE HEADACHES “Love...And Other Weapons Of Mass Destruction” CD Boss Tuneage

Now this is a bit of a surprise; the name of the band is terrible and the accompanying text mentioned the words pop and punk, together, and those things are usually enough to see a CD make its way to the bottom of the pile. But this being on Boss Tuneage meant I gave it an early chance, and it’s a lot better than I had feared; I’d call it melodic punk, rather then pop-punk and it brings to mind early Hard Ons, Identity and Mega City 4, with a touch of Skimmer in there too. It all bounces along at a decent pace and holds my interest even when some of the vocal harmonies grate a little from time to time. The highlight for me is the Jane Weidlin cover, they make it sound more like froSTed, Jane’s other band, than her solo stuff, and that is just perfect for me. There are those who will love this to bits from start to finish, but even if it’s not an album I’ll always play through in one sitting (and not just because I’ll always skip acoustic tracks), it is one I will keep revisiting and it is better than most bands playing this kind of melodic stuff.

Boss Tuneage: www.bosstuneage.com (Tony)


THE OFFENDERS “Endless Struggle / We Must Survive” LP Southern Lord

The Offenders formed in the late ‘70s in Texas, and this double album contains their two 12” and two 7” releases. They don’t often get too much of a mention these days, but listening to this now the influence they had on the North American HC scene of the ‘80s is blindingly obvious, from the very earliest USHC right up to the SxE stuff later that decade. Bassist Mikey also played with MDC, and there is a musical similarity between the two bands at times, although the Offenders add some melody to their blistering hardcore as well as the odd rocky guitar break. I had “Endless Struggle” but not the other stuff, so it’s good to hear that and find that if anything it’s even better than the stuff I was familiar with, I’m particularly digging “We Must Rebel”. This is our history, and as much as we need to push forward and celebrate what’s happening now, it’s aways good to know the roots, and The Offenders are very much part of that.

Southern Lord: www.southernlord.com  (Tony)   


RIPCORD “Fast & Furious - The Complete Demos” CD Boss Tuneage

This is the CD, I do have the double LP version of this, which is a totally brilliant package, but I think they are all gone now. Anyway, there are 43 tracks here, which is all their recorded demos from 1985-86, plus a bonus track. The first demo may be the only one that was recorded in a proper studio, and it may be the least “together” of them all, but I kind of like it, it seems to perfectly capture the “anyone can do it” feeling of the time, where people took the early punk rallying cry and put it together with the anarcho punk inspired DIY scene and started to make things happen. So the songs go a little out of time in places, and the guitar sound isn’t what they wanted, the energy is there in abundance and I really like it. Over the next four demos you can see the band improve and evolve as the time passed, adding different elements to their sound as they went along. Now, at this point I feel I should come clean and admit that I was a late convert to Ripcord, they initially passed me by and I had to play catch up; but eventually I came to my senses and got on board and eventually managed to get all their releases on one format or other; I now like them as much as the next person. The way this release has been lovingly put together; the interesting sleeve notes, great artwork and photos make it a wonderful historical document of a moment where anything seemed possible within UK punk rock. There were a lot of people around at that time who are still active now, including members of Ripcord of course, and I think pretty much all of us still carries those ethics and ideals that were formed back when these demos were being bashed out. Boss Tuneage continues to keep these great releases coming, ensuring that these gems are not forgotten.

Boss Tuneage: www.bosstuneage.com (Tony)


RUBELLA BALLET “Punk Planet” CD Overground

It’s been said and written many times but Rubella Ballet really were the light in the darkness of the UK Anarcho punk scene in the early 1980’s. This new album is their first new material since ‘IF’ was released back in 1986 and it is a great progression from where that left off all those years ago. The album has been completely written and performed by Sid and Zillah Minx and is as political as they ever were: many subjects are covered and I was particularly pleased to hear the song for the victims of the Hillsborough football tragedy called ‘Victory for the Victims’. The proceeds from this track will go to the Justice campaign too. All in all the fifteen tracks on this album are quite intense and peppered with overdubs to drive various points home. This all comes with a Dayglo booklet containing all the lyrics and info on what Sid and Zillah have been up to over the years. I think you’ll be surprised at what an influence the Dayglo world pioneered by these dare to be different punks has had.. As ever this album constitutes another great release on Overground records. I hope you’ll give it the support it deserves.

Overground: www.overgroundrecords.co.uk  (Gaz)      


TEEN AGERS  "I Hate It" LP Anchorless

These guys are reminding me of later era Dag Nasty (when Dave Smalley was back in?), the singer sounds quite similar to said Mr Smalley in fact, but the guitar also has that kind of thing going on too I think, but a tad more "modern" sounding? Recorded by Roger Lima of Less Than Jake and mastered by Stephen Egerton of ALL/Descendents so you know it's all tip top and tickety boo in that department. I also hear a little bit of Menzingers in the sound, another great but more modern band, but if you're liking either of them you'll like this I reckon. A Florida band but not particularly sounding like it, and with members from several bands I know of; Go Rydell, Protagonist, How Dare You and Direct Effect. 10 tracks, all around the optimum 3 min mark, for this kind of stuff,  and all told a really great, strong album.

Anchorless:  www.anchorlessrecords.com  (si)


TERMINUS “Going Nowhere Fast” CD Boss Tuneage

The late 1980’s going on into the 1990’s saw many a decent Punk band go by virtually unnoticed I always felt. Apart from fanzines, bands like Terminus received no coverage and never got the credit they deserved really. I’m not saying that they minded that, I’m just saying that it’s a shame they never reached a wider audience in many ways. Luckily DIY record labels like Words Of Warning from Newport in South Wales saw fit to release stuff by bands such as Terminus. “Going Nowhere Fast” was their first album for said label. The band had a very serious take on things when it came to their music and lyrics I always felt, with the futility of war and man’s inability to live with man in peace always on the lyrical agenda. Musically the band was tuneful and well thought out; this combined with the lyrics make this a debut album the band can look back upon with a great amount of satisfaction. Not least because they were not just going through the motions, they believed in what they were doing and trying to get people to think and make a difference. A worthy retro release from Boss Tuneage and one I hope people who missed bands like Terminus the first time around will have a listen to. I love bands like the The Partisans, Chron Gen, Blitz and loads of others from the beginning of the 1980’s but let’s not forget bands like Terminus who finished off the decade in a great way too! This CD comes with a booklet containing all the lyrics and re-done artwork.

Boss Tuneage: www.bosstunage.com (Gaz)


URBAN DOGS “No Pedigree” CD Captain Oi

OK, to put it simply the Urban Dogs were another musical vent for one Charlie Harper of UK Subs fame and Knox of The Vibrators. It was a chance to play Punk but do something they could not in their respective first choice bands. Am I getting this right? A few of their own songs and some unexpected covers of stuff like ‘Monster Mash’ and ‘Children Of The Revolution’. Anyway, “No Pedigree” was the second Urban Dogs album and originally appeared in 1985. This CD release represents part of a collectors series and is limited to 500 copies only. It comes with a great booklet with notes from the great man himself ,Charlie Harper, and one half of those custodians of all things UK Subs, Rob Cook from UK Subs Time And Matter website. Top quality re-release and a must have for the fan, especially my old mate Dave Rhodes (Spud!) who supplied the pictures from a 1985 Urban Dogs gig at London’s 100 Club in Oxford Street!

Captain Oi:  www.captainoi.com (Gaz)   


WORTHY VICTIMS s/t CD/Download Self Released

New (to me anyway) Brighton band who list their influences as ranging from Discharge to Fugazi to Gallows, and there’s bits here that could point to all three; it also explains why not all of these 5 songs hit the spot for me. It’s the straight forward fast bits that capture my attention, and while I’m all for bands doing something a little different I did feel a little let down after the blistering opening of the aptly titled first track “It’s Kicking Off”. However, I will always applaud a band for being outspoken with their lyrics, and when that band quotes Profane Existence by saying “Lets make punk a threat again” you know that they are worth a little bit of attention.

Worthy Victims: worthyvictims.bandcamp.com (Tony)


VARIOUS “Sound The Alarms” LP Maximum RocknRoll

I am old enough to remember when compilations weren’t just boring label samplers, they were my introduction to so many new bands and new styles. I have a whole list of influential compilations that introduced me to bands that went on to be firm favourites; these compilations offered up one of two better known bands plus a whole host of others who were new to me, but sounded equally as good, so I’d then hunt out their records. Maximum RocknRoll keep that spirit alive, and “Sound Of The Alarms” is getting played as much here as those great LPs did in my youth; there are the current favourites, including No Statik, Permanent Ruin, DHK and Anti You, alongside lots of bands I’d not heard before from all over the world. I get just as excited about discovering new bands these days as I ever have, and there isn’t a duff track here, some going when you consider there are 32 songs spread over four sides; I was instantly won over by Poland’s The Fight, Spain’s Silla Eléctrica, Synthetic ID from the US, Gutter from Greece and French band Hondartzako Hondakinak, but I want to hear more from every band featured. MRR remains an invaluable source of information and a focal point for worldwide punk rock, and this is an audio extension of the magazine, bringing together bands from all over the world and exposing them to a wider audience. Just like those old comps who’s impact on me remains so strong in my memory, “Sound The Alarms” has me hunting out bands that I knew little or nothing about before playing this album. You need this, it’s the soundtrack to our underground, the place where real punk lives.

Maximum RocknRoll: PO Box 460760, San Francisco, CA 94146, USA - www.maximumrocknroll.com (Tony)   


VARIOUS “Without Kibou There Is Nothing” 7” Kibou

The second of Kibou’s 7” compilations giving a platform for bands to get heard has arrived. This one is a little more diverse than the first, and as much as I enjoyed Vol.1, I really like the variety here. Apart from The Domestics all these bands were new to me, and Dis-Tank won me over right away with their speedy D-Beat attack, a great track to choose to get things off and running. Following that every band has something to offer; I particularly like the late ‘70s feel to the Dijon Mustard song and the driving “Ethical Dilemma” from Autopsy Boys. This is almost like the snotty little cousin for the great new MRR comp, that didn’t feature any UK bands, but this 7”, like the first one, is proof that the UK does have some great bands that deserve your attention.

Kibou: www.kibourecords.bigcartel.com (Tony)