France brings the noise to RPM who’d have thought it? Not really known for producing really popular bands it would be crass of me to suggest a whole country as big as France doesn’t have hardcore scenes especially a city the size of Paris but before today I couldn’t name a single one – well that has all changed with my introduction to Youth Avoiders.  When the bosses at RPM sent me an assignment to uncover something they’d not heard before this was a no-brainer for me. From the moment the needle drops right through to the end of ‘Ohaguro’ they plow a hardcore furrow that is both fruitful and enjoyable.  Their harvest is nothing short of tuneful breakneck hardcore ‘On The Run’ starts off proceedings and whilst it doesn’t have the history of say NYHC it certainly has quality running through it like a stick of seaside rock and Youth Avoiders are uncompromising and as brutal as anyone on the scene but they also have the songs which will set them aside from other noise bringers.

As the artwork alludes there is a dense black and white feel to the music as they capture the cold brutal yet melodic and welcoming punk rock.  A band that has been around for some time have just gotten better as they have refined their sound and songs to a point where there is a steady progression every record and this ‘Relentless’ album being the pinnacle of their body of work thus far.  I love the charm and melody of ‘Watch Me’ and ‘Street Violence’ is like a street fight caught and melted into plastic grooves it’s breathless and a musical punch after punch after kick.

The band has tirelessly toured this record and visited the UK as well as a lot further afield to show just how good Parisian Hardcore is and hopefully if there are others in their scene ready to make music as good as this then we welcome them.  Every song on ‘Relentless’ is exactly that – relentless. A short sharp shock to the system that Hardcore is alive and kicking and with bands like Youth Avoiders playing and making music it will never die.

 

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Author:Seb Boyd

Ben Hughes

Now here’s a crackin’ combo if ever I saw one. Dwarves guitarist He Who Cannot Be Named and our very own punk rock faves The Hip Priests joining forces for a string of UK shows. A trip to the Brudenell in Leeds was a given for me, The Hip Priests were mighty with Thee Hypnotics earlier this year and He Who Cannot Be Named…well, how can you not be intrigued by a guy who wears just a ski mask and a codpiece on stage? I can’t wait to battle through the punk rock hordes to the front for a magnificent hot and sweaty punk rock show.

 

Hang fire a minute! Have I got the wrong night or even the wrong venue? There’s some shite indie band called 77:78 on in the main room and this show is in the Community Room tonight. Ok, I’ve seen bands in there before, it’s not the same atmosphere, more of a school gym feel, but hey ho…let’s go!

It’s 8.30pm, The Hip Priests are due on and there is nobody here, literally nobody! What the hell Leeds, is there some other show going on I don’t know about?

They give it 15 minutes before cracking on as the Spasm Gang Leeds massive finally filter in, 25 people at a stretch and it doesn’t get any busier for the whole night. If this was York, I could understand it, but Jesus, this is Leeds! We are in the heart of studentville with the Uni just around the corner and the bar next door is jam-packed with alternative looking dudes and dudettes who seem none the wiser about some punk rock show going on next door.

 

Zero fucks are given by The Hip Priests, they play a blinder anyways. From the opening salvo of ‘Livin’ Breathin’ Lightning’ and ‘Instant Delinquent’ to the closing ‘Sonic Reproducer,’ they deliver 40 minutes of high octane rock ‘n’ roll with all the thrills and spills you could desire.

The black denim clad brothers, led by panda eyed singer Nathan Von Cruz, blast their way through a selection of 7 inch singles and choice album cuts from their very strong back catalogue of Stooges/Hellacopters influenced rock ‘n’ roll.

To Von Cruz’s left, bassist Lee Love keeps the low end tight and guitarist Silent Mike keeps the riffs coming, giving Austin Rocket the freedom to pull all the rock guitarist shapes he can muster stage right. With his back arched and his guitar pointed to the stars, he peels off sonically powered licks and wah-wah induced solos on the likes of ‘MF Superior’.

With chanting choruses aplenty, the likes of ‘Jesus Died So We Could Ride’, ‘Sha Na Na Na Nihilist’ and latest single ‘Cheers To Me’ would make even the most staid of observers nod their heads and sing along.

The Hip Priests look and sound fantastic, and with more than a handful of glorious anthems to get high and get wasted to, can you really deny them their claim to be “the best band on shit island”?

 

When you come on stage with nothing but a studded leather codpiece, a Mexican wrestler mask and an arsenal of quirky punk rock anthems such as ‘Getting Pissed’ and ‘Duct Tape Love’, the chances are you will not fail to entertain. And Dwarves guitar slinger He Who Cannot Be Named does just that, with the help of a very tight band.

Running through his solo back catalogue and a few Dwarves songs for good measure, the band veer between catchy Ramones styled goodness and fast as fuck hardcore. They even chuck in a fantastic cover of ‘Commando’ for good measure. Rarely have songs about drinking, fucking things and killing things sounded so uplifting!

While HWCBN handles lead vocals, quirky moves and switching between two battered road worn guitars, its bassist Bobby Wilcox who takes center stage and does most of the talking. With his bass hanging from his knees and sporting a Ramones shirt, he looks and plays the part to perfection. To his side, Keith Mueller plays the leads and Eric Borst seems to be having the time of his life bashing away on them skins behind them, what a drummer!

Talking of behinds, the drummer wasn’t the only one to get an eyeful of bare punk rock arse. The moment HWCBN bends over to change his amp settings will be embedded in my mind for some time. Let’s just say that codpiece was a little on the loose side. Unfortunately, you can’t un-see some things!

‘I Eat Babies’ sounds amazing, pure pop-punk goodness, and there’s plenty of “oi oi” style chanters thrown in for good measure. ‘Good Problem’ from the newly released album ‘The Good, The Bad and the Brutal’ is instant and fits the set perfectly.

To be honest, He Who Cannot Be Named were the most entertaining band whose songs I don’t really know, that I have seen in a long time (if you catch my drift?).

 

The Leeds punk massive may have stayed at home, but the faithful few were treated to two great bands tonight that truly deserved a bigger crowd. I just hope the crowds are bigger for the rest of the dates, as I don’t believe this is just a Northern thing, is it?

I am trying not to be too downhearted about gig attendances, but with disappointing turnouts at the last 4 gigs I have attended, it does make me worry about the future of underground music. I feel for the bands, I really do, it must be soul destroying playing to empty rooms, but the likes of The Hip Priests and He Who Cannot Be Named are consummate professionals and continue to play every show like its packed, and it’s up to all of us to continue supporting live music before the bands we love disappear for good.

 

Buy He Who Cannot Be Named Here

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Photos courtesy of Neil Vary Photography

Sometimes somewhere a band comes out of the shadows and blows your socks off. Well, Civic just about did that and had the foundations of RPM HQ shaking to its core as the reckless guitars and Moon the loonesque drum beats tour it up through the speakers.  The unrelenting evil powers of Rock and Roll came out of the Melbourne suburbs and across oceans to get to us but boy when it did it has lost none of its sheer power or excitement.  No, it’s not original but what Civic have done is captured all the excitement of Rock and Roll and slammed it down within these here grooves along with the danger and sheer adrenaline rush you sometimes get off of hearing a band for the first time.  but it’s not all crash bang wallop, no sir.

 

We don’t mind arriving at the party fashionably late sometimes it’s a necessity to let the dust settle and the important thing is your here now. Not a great deal is known about Civic we couldn’t find much if any cyber presence and our contacts down under seemed a little cakey maybe they’re dangerous to know and people are keeping their new favourite band close to their chests.  Anyway, Let’s get this show on the road and try and make sense of the seven songs carpet bombed over twenty minutes.

‘Nuclear Son’ sort of sets the tone its like many previous Australian bands that we know and so should you have a feeling that seems uniquely southern Hemisphere but there are certainly elements of The Saints and Radio Birdman going on here as well as obvious inspirations like Iggy and the Stooges but ‘Nuclear Son’ is like audio nitrogen its off like a rocket sure there is a certain amount of ‘Raw Power’ happening but damn its sounds great as it pounds toward the guitar break its not anything new but boy does it still give me a rush when its done this well.  Jim McCullough, Lewis Hodgson, Darcy Grigg, Roland Hlavka and David Forcier make up Civic and they should take a bow because this is fantastic.  It only took me a few plays and I’ve been hooked ever since.  From the thrash bang wallop of the openers to the slow burn of ‘Street Machine Dream’ and its sleazy dark pace its a fantastic collection of songs.

‘Call The Doctor’ could be a newly found Banshees song given a steady diet of Australian Beer and dragged around a bunch of dive bars as it builds and moves away from the opening guitar lick the bass is more of a stomp than a throb but the howls of Call The Doctor couldn’t be more appropriate. They finish this heart-pumping seven with ‘Burning Steel’ and just let it rip.  Like I’ve alluded to these guys don’t reinvent the wheel just spin it like a motherfucker and see where it goes and luckily for them, they’ve collided it into a bunch of awesome influences and managed to squeeze out a superb album that I really honestly suggest you should investigate.  If you’ve ever had the slightest inkling or hankering for some punk rock whatever genre or garage rock or whatever rock you like then check this bad boy out.  You can thank me later.

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Author:Dom Daley

I think it is important to start with the disclaimer that Smash Fashion has a history of being hit and miss with me. I went into this album expecting that relationship to be more of the same, especially after the video for ‘Runs in the Family’ did nothing for me, but I am happy to say that song seems to be the exception as I have found much to enjoy here.

‘Can’t Take you Anywhere” features a glitter inspired glam guitar riff circa ’77 to start the album on a great note. Roger Deering channels a voice from a bygone era in his vocals, and Smash Fashion immediately made me sit up and pay more attention back on my first listen to this album. With a chorus that sticks like molasses, this would have been my first video from the album. Up next, ‘Soft as a Rock’ continues the hot streak with a jangly guitar riff by Lloyd Stuart Casson leading into a nearly 6 minute epic song. Scarlet Rowe (bass) and Repo Kauppila (drums) provide a tight rhythm section that allows some great starts and stops with Kauppila providing some great drum fills. The musical coda at the end sets up some future jams for the band with a great solo by Casson closing the song. The title track features a slinky beat that explodes into another dimension for the chorus, which has made the song much more enjoyable for me. It provides some great dynamics and builds anticipation throughout the song with the guitar solo being an extra surprise on your first few listens as it appears right before the final chorus.

Harmonica and a blues riff welcome ‘Wolves of Wonderland.’ I have to say one of the amazing things about Smash Fashion is they can take a 5 minute song and make it seem as short as a 3 minute single. The extended solo section here providing another great musical avenue to explore in the live setting. ‘Teenage Demon’ struts out of the speaker like an adrenalin laden T.Rex with spoken word voices giving the song additional texture. This song suffers a bit from not having a more immediate hook as it does take some patient to get its hooks into the brain. Musically, the band channels the glitter glam era exceptionally well with the slow strutting ‘Proper Way to Eat a Muffin’ delivering the goods musically, but the lyrics are just a little too silly for me. It is a fine line sometimes and different for all of us. As I mentioned at the beginning, ‘Runs in the Family’ just does not connect with me at all. It has improved a bit with repeated listens, and I have to say that I enjoy the final ¾ of the song more than the beginning.

Slowing things down a little bit, ‘Tender was the Hook’ serves up a great chorus with Deering twisting his voice around the great beat by Rowe and Kauppila. This song channels the 70’s with perhaps some sprinkles of Nikki Sudden and Dave Kusworth added for good measure. The rock and roll infused ‘Ugly Thugly’ finds Casson letting loose on the guitar with Deering supplying another catchy chorus that would make Bolan and Bowie proud. ‘Gentle Hand’ begins with an awesome guitar riff and features a great hook by Deering. This would be one of my future singles/ videos if I was marketing the album as it hits hard and direct. This is another of my favorites and reminds me of the brilliant and just dissolved Dr. Boogie. The soft ‘Smiles and Daggers’ brings the album to a close with some very nice piano work. It provides something completely different from everything that comes before it. I have not found myself going specifically to it for a listen but do enjoy ending each listen of the album with it as it really winds things down nicely since it builds to an epic rock finish.

Smash Fashion have delivered an album that has made me much more of a fan of the band as the only real stumble for me comes in the middle of the album. They start and finish strong though. If you are looking for some cool rock and roll that will leave your room covered in sequins, glitter, and satin; Smash Fashion will hit the sweet spot for you.

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Author: Gerald Stansbury

 

 

 

Johnny Hayward.

Sick Of It All album reviews kind of write themselves these days with a large proportion of them either falling into the “this is no ‘Scratch The Surface’” or “it’s their best record in decades” camps, with journos being awarded extra special brownie points if they can actually manage to squeeze them both in. For yours truly it’s more of a case of how much of a battering I feel like I’ve had after each new record, because since the release of ‘Death To Tyrants’ back in 2006 I don’t think the band has put a foot wrong release wise.

That’s 12 years of almost non-stop musical perfection encompassing five studio albums, a 30th anniversary EP and God knows how many sweat soaked sold out shows worldwide. ‘Wake The Sleeping Dragon’ then (album number 5 of this winning streak and album number 12 overall from the band) is exactly what I have come to expect from Messrs Koller, Majidi and Setari, just 17 blasts of brutal hardcore at its very best.

You can try and dissect ‘Wake The Sleeping Dragon’ all you want but ultimately the Sick Of It All sound really is their trademark with no ballads, no jazz fusion interludes and not one of the songs breaking the 2 minutes and 40 seconds mark, so there’s also no “shock horror” clickbait headline to accompany this review. ‘Wake The Sleeping Dragon’ is simply the sound of the masters of the genre relishing every single second of their day job and in the process they deliver steamrolling anthems like ‘That Crazy White Boy Shit’, ‘Bad Hombres’ alongside the album’s incendiary title track, each one meticulously designed to make you lose your shirt and your mind in a frenzied mosh pit when the Sick Of It All guys come to a town near you very soon.

Having never been afraid to hold back when it comes to their lyrics, the pick of the bunch here is ‘Robert Moses Was A Racist’, a 1 minute 28 explosion of rage directed at the legacy of New York City’s “master builder” whilst in ‘Beef Between Vegans’ there is a timely nod towards the bigger discussion point of the moment, no not fucking Brexshit, but the world’s ever diminishing resources.

Short, sharp and always on point ‘Wake The Sleeping Dragon’ doesn’t so much as raise the bar for hardcore release worldwide as take a flamethrower to the bar and let the rest of the scene dance around the ashes Sick Of It All leave behind. I fucking love this album and I’m pretty sure you will too.

This is one release destined for the playlist at Daley’s Pumphouse gym that’s for sure.

Buy Wake The Sleeping Dragon Here

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Craggy Collyde

Fertile Hump are a Polish rock ‘n’ roll trio blending a fine mix of blues and garage into something quite special. Emerging from the ashes of previous band, the Stubs, guitarist Tomek Szkiela formed Fertile Hump in 2015 with guitarist/vocalist Magda Kramer and drummer Maciek Misiewicz and the Warsaw-based group have been prolific ever since.

Having caught them at Brno’s excellent Kabinet Muz club earlier this year and picking up a vinyl copy of their 2016 album Dead Heart, I have been eagerly awaiting new material and a return visit. Kiss Kiss or Bang Bang is their second full album and largely builds on the same sound as Dead Heart, only adding a little colour here and there.

Dead Heart was a straightforward, stripped down album of bluesy rock ‘n’ roll which was built around great song writing and the glorious harmonies of Kramer and Szkiela. Thankfully, the same can be said this time round. In both albums there is something hauntingly magical about the songs, held up by a production beautiful in its simplicity. The dual vocals and loose guitar work are backed up with Misiewicz’s punchy rhythm.

The way the vocals play off of each other is an enjoyable element of the album, used fully in songs such as Yeah Right but remaining a dominant feature throughout. While songs such as the opening title song and Old Soul capture the style that was present in Dead Heart, songs such as It Feels So Good, Lost and Lonely and Vultures add a few extra layers to the record.

Simply put, Fertile Hump are an incredibly enjoyable band, producing music which, while based on a simple formula, offers a sound which is particularly theirs. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang takes their previous work and builds on it subtly enough to produce a consistently superb record.

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At last, the most anticipated punk rock record of the last few years is finally out.

Heavy Drapes were the brightest burning meteorites in the U.K. punk scene; a band that soared from playing to twenty-odd people in Bathgate in Scotland to the main stage of Rebellion, the biggest punk festival in the world in little over 24 months.

The sudden death of frontman and motormouth Garry Borland was the only thing that could have possibly stopped them and that tragic event has seen the best band in the U.K. dissolve before the release of this, their long-awaited debut album.

Thankfully, the surviving band members and producer Mark Freegard have made sure that the legacy of Garry lives on. He lived and breathed this band and this is exactly how he would have wanted it. Garry spent every waking hour in the pursuit of his dream- the dream that Heavy Drapes would release the best album that they possibly could. It was a long time in the making; that was Garry, it had to be perfect.

These ten songs stand tall and proud; Heavy Drapes took a very simple formula and gave it a towering, enigmatic makeover. Dangerous, glamorous, sexy and soaring, all of the things that punk rock generally isn’t in the modern world. Heavy Drapes have crafted an album that truly doesn’t have a dull moment on it- these songs do not need to be fawned over; they need to be played, loud, proud and indignant, just like Garry.

 

 

Yup, for those who have to go back to work this morning we apologise. To show we care about you we’d like to offer you three crackers for your viewing pleasure this morning and to shake away any of the weekends overindulgences.

Last week was resignations left right and centre for our right wing politics of me Government so we’d like to show what side of the fence we’re on, (well me anyway seeing as I’m choosing the videos). First up they were subjected to this weekends interview questions the one and only Cyanide Pills with the fantastic ‘Government’.

Second up this morning is the larger than life frontman of the Mighty Wah! the one and only Pete Wylie with his pop tune dedicated to the one and only Iron lady ‘The Day That Margaret Thatcher Died’

Finally bringing up the rear (cheeky) are one of the rising stars of the UK alternative scene the amazing Bar Stool Preachers with ‘Grazie Governo’ taken from their second album of the same name. Anyway, only a few more days til the weekend folks.  Keep it RPM!

I get it you love Biters and you have a soft spot for the likes of The Cars and Cheap Trick and they all have more great songs than they don’t, well, Kurt Baker is like that as well. He doesn’t do bad songs simple as that – original or covers.  He doesn’t write bad tunes, in fact, he writes awesome tunes and this is the proof. He writes great tunes -pop tunes even but he plays them with loud guitars and that’s a lethal combination.

 

Hey, you Eureka Machines fans and you Costello fans get on this and check it out (you can thank me later) ‘Emma Stone’ has a melody and hook that’s just so listenable you can’t stay still it’s infectious and should have a government health warning.

 

He doesn’t change tack much at all (but why would you?) ‘What’s That Got To Do With Rock And Roll’ is a groovin’ slab of T-rex and some 70’s glam slam a go-go but don’t bother looking for imperfections because there aren’t any its just good time Rock ‘n’ Roll and its all about the good time and the party in your head whilst the songs are spinning  and Baker is so good at it.  Damn, there’s even time to sound like Thin Fuckin’ Lizzy on the excellent ‘On The Run’.

Thinks go Costello overload on the laid back ‘Since You’ve Been On My Mind’ its got a certain Joe Jackson about it too.  There’s even time this October to throw in a Christmas song but because its Kurt Baker I’m giving him a pass and it’s perfectly acceptable because when Bakers singing it’s like every day is Christmas such are the power pop gifts being dished out.  I know some of you will be scratching your noggins as this looks familiar well it does and it doesn’t this is the first time it’s had a vinyl release for the first time thanks to Ghost Highway and with some bonus material for all you audiophiles who just want your music on Wax or not at all.

By the time this album reaches the end we’ve got ourselves some synth-pop that’s right, some tasty new wave to put a cherry on the icing on the cake. ‘High Fidelity’ indeed!

Ghost Highway Records

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Author: Dom Daley

Nev Brooks

Sunday afternoon in the big smoke followed by an evening in a venue that I have to say was a new one on me, but the chance to drift along and listen to some rarities and slow sad waltzes, that you knew were going to be delivered perfectly by Margo Timmins and family just couldn’t be missed.

 

I caught the cowboy junkies first live with a certain Ryan Adams guesting back in the Royal Albert Hall and they absolutely stunned me, and since then I’ve been an avid follower of their brand of Blues/Folk/country/Americana, truth be told its music that hooks into an emotional space and just holds you there.

 

On arrival at the theatre I couldn’t help but notice the cast list for a new play being show from Martin McDonagh (Three Billboards outside Ebbing Missouri) called a Very Very Very dark matter what caught my eye was Tom Waits, the ongoing Narrator and a certain Phil Daniels in an extended role, if you fancy checking out some reviews, which I did it might appeal, the premise is suitably dark and almost certainly insane.

 

With a ban on photos, (they were very protective of the said plays set) all I can say is that it provided a macabre backdrop to the nights proceedings.

 

No support act and two sets with an intermission, meant we got straight into the proceedings with the opening set focusing in on the new LP “All that Reckoning” opening up with the title track “All that reckoning” you were instantly caught up lets lay it out there Margo Timmins is probably one of the best female vocalists currently touring across any genre, watching her entranced in the music, feeling every note it was a really special performance, I have to at this point comment on the sound tonight it was incredible, you could hear a pin drop we could hear the vocalist draw breath, it was unreal. Tracks that stood out in this set for me probably the opening number, “Southern Rain,” “The things we do to each other” and the only nod to the past in this section “cause cheap is how I feel”.

 

The second set was simply sublime, heavy raw blues at times, acoustic Americana at others, while dipping in and out of an alternative country base.

Picking out tracks two of the covers, “Powderfinger”(Neil Young) and “Sweet Jane”,(from the velvet underground!!!) it nailed you to the seat with its intensity, while “Misguided Angel” that closed the set left you drifting wanting much more, the solitary song from the new LP, “shining teeth” deserves a special mention it sat so well in this set.

 

Then before you know it the band are gone, or almost gone coming back to cover Bowie’s “Five Years” which was jaw dropping and Patsy Cline’s ‘Walking after midnight” both given the Cowboy Junkies treatment.

 

 

Playing just under an hour set one and an hour and thirty minutes (almost) set two, it genuinely felt like 5 minutes each, I love nights where you just end up lost in the music!!

 

You can buy “All that reckoning” here

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