‘The Light Below’ is the third album from Walking Papers, due in early 2021. “What Did You Expect?”, the first track from the album, is penned by principals Jefferson Angell and Benjamin Anderson, and represents a continuation of the impactful and artful rock and blues sound Walking Papers have developed. Lyrically, Angell challenges anyone who has dug themselves a hole, or who stood in their own way. Get it Here
Alvin Gibbs managed to pen one of my favourite books ever when he wrote about his adventures on the road with Iggy Pop. Apart from it being a time in my life when I tried to absorb as much music and everything around it that was humanly possible it was also a record that I adored and a line up of Iggys that was incredible so all the stars aligned and Alvin managed to encapsulate the same feelings when his pen hit the paper so, when Tome & Metre said they were releasing his autobiography I ready Neighbourhood Threat, again and waited in excitement for the book to land on my doormat. I’ve read it twice now and felt intimidated about writing my review for several reasons. How can I pay Alvin the respect he deserves as a musician (one that I greatly admire and whose work I’ve followed from the Mid ’80s) and as an accomplished and excellent writer. I came to the conclusion that I couldn’t meet my expectations but if my words help one person read his book then job done so here goes.
Alvin doesn’t labour over the detail as I suspect most don’t want to know about the finer details of his childhood but an overview is provided and certain memories relaid to paint a picture. Its the birth into what would become the punk scene is where we begin our captive participation and Alvin gives his background and shines a light on his days with Brian James as the tales from behind the curtain begin to unfold and I find myself digging up the records that relate to the chapters as something of a background especially when Alvin talks about the recordings of ‘Diminished Responsibilities’ and ‘Endangered Species’ and it sort of opens up another dimension to what you’re hearing as the pages get turned.
Alvin is a fantastic writer and his education obviously helps with his descriptions and use of the English Language which I’m sure he’ll come to in vol two! but his relationships with his bandmates and the respect he has for band members and fellow musicians he’s shared a hotel, bus, plane and beer with also shines through as does his respect for the fine art he finds himself dedicating his life to. Alvin doesn’t shy away from his flaws either and there is no airbrushing of incidents and behaviours that he might not look back on with 20/20 hindsight and offer scant hollow apologies and neither does he try and explain them away or blame others.
What you get is the feeling that his life is a life worth living and one that has seen the vast changes in an industry and he’s seen the highs and the not so great highs but has taken them all as part of his education and life journey there are passages that made me laugh out loud as well as wonder what the other parties felt.
Obviously I can’t recommend this book highly enough but not just for fans of The UK Subs, Iggy Pop, Cheap & Nasty but for anyone who appreciates a well-written book by someone who writes with passion, honesty and fantastic use of the language – you get a snapshot of what it was like being part of a club that enjoyed some of the trappings of being a good-sized band in the ’80s and beyond about how the shark pool that is the music business works and how cutthroat it is and an ability to dust yourself down and fly by the seat of your pants (quite literally at times it would seem) and live your life with a mindset or joie de vivre that most 9-5 people would ever understand and people like Alvin do it for the rest of us, they’re modern-day pioneers, crusaders, adventurers, pirates even.
We need people like Alvin to document their time on this earth and show us what it was really like inside the beast of Rock and Roll. As soon as I got to the last words I began to wonder how long before we get Volume two? I get the feeling that Volume one might just have been the starter and the main course is to follow so strap yourselves in kids this is set to get way more exciting. Absorbing, passionate and another mightily impressive book from the talented Mr Gibbs. Alvin’s life as a UK Sub is set to continue but his story is one we all need to read as he’s managed to eclipse ‘Neighbourhood Threat’ we’ve gotten to meet the man and understand his politics and what makes him tick and from my point of view have even more respect for one of the finest craftsmen in his chosen field. Musician, Songwriter, Author and a thoroughly good bloke, Alvin Gibbs I salute you and urge anyone whos made it thus far into my ramblings to click the link and order a copy of this book you won’t regret it for a second.
In the wake of Coronavirus many albums being released are cited as “an album of the times” or “the soundtrack to lockdown”, yet most were written and recorded before lockdown was even a thing. It seems some musicians are just clued in to the right frequency for the times. One such band is Brighton folk heroes the Levellers.
Now, Levellers have been releasing “an album of the times” since their first album ‘A Weapon Called The Word’ was released on an unsuspecting world in 1990. Taking their name from the political movement, the band have always been outspoken with their left-wing political views and voicing change with their lyrics and in interviews.
They outgrew their humble, crusty beginnings, headlined Glastonbury in 1994 and even bothered the charts a few years later with the likes of ‘Just The One’ and ‘What A Beautiful Day’. The mid nineties saw the band go it alone, becoming independent with their own self-contained headquarters called The Metway. There they have their offices, where they run the fan club, it houses a rehearsal space and recording studio. And they continue to be self-sufficient to this day with their On The Fiddle record label.
While ‘Peace’ is their first new studio album in 8 years, the band has not been sitting on their laurels. 2008’s ‘We The Collective’ saw the band re-imagine an album of their songs acoustically, with an orchestra at Abbey Road. They continue to tour extensively and host their own Beautiful Days Festival. The recent deluxe vinyl reissues of their discography have kept fans content in the lead up to album number 11.
And album number 11 is a throwback to what the band does best. Produced by long time collaborator Sean Lakeman, ‘Peace’ sees the band in fine form, delivering the perfect mix of Celtic, guitar-driven anthems and folk-tinged balladry.
3 singles have whetted the fans appetites over the past months in lockdown. Opener and first single ‘Food Roof Family’ is an energised burst of noise, with driving bass and frantic fiddle and the same thought provoking lyricism that captures the same vibe as their early recordings. An instant anthem. With its retro keyboard refrain ‘Generation Fear’ sees a different, edgy direction. Still bold, brazen and relevant in 2020, it will surely become a future live favourite, guaranteed to get your inner crusty bouncing. ‘Calling Out’ sees guitarist Simon Friend take to the mic for a raspy tale of escaping the rat race. All 3 have their own merits but are very much Levellers in sound and feel.
Friend appears for lead vocals on several occasions, as he has done in the past. The emotive ‘Four Boys Lost’ is a sea shanty recalling the tragic tale of sailors lost at sea. ‘The Men Who Would Be King’ is raucous, punk fuelled noise-mongery, and for the first time he duets with singer Mark Chadwick on the marvellous ‘Albion and Phoenix’. The latter references the bands beginnings, Albion being a hill in Brighton and The Phoenix is the squat they used to hang out at. Full of choppy riffs and melodious fiddle, the juxtaposition of Chadwick and Friend’s vocals work perfectly on a song of reflection and sentimentality.
Elsewhere, the likes of Chadwick’s ‘Born That Way’ with its Clash-lite riff and fiddle refrain, along with Friend’s upbeat stomper ‘Our New Day’ show the more commercial mid-nineties Levellers along with the more poignant traditional laments of ‘Ghost In The Water’ and album closer ‘Our Future’.
Choc-a-bloc with their trademark observational lyricism and Celtic punk vibes, ‘Peace’ preaches a message of hope, which is nothing new for this band, but in these trying times the message seems just as relevant, if not more so than it was in the early nineties. They may be older, wiser and not the angry young punks they once were, but the Levellers still have something to say and in the current political and social climate, ‘Peace’ could well be the perfect soundtrack to our times.
We are 4 bubblegum punks, playing short, sharp, saccharine songs. Young Francis plays guitar and sings, Jimi Dymond plays guitar and does backups, Mac Daddy plays bass and Danny Joe Handsome plays drums.
Where did the name come from?
I started out playing as a lo-fi One Man Band. Drums by foot, guitar by hand, ‘less is more’ ethic, real DIY. Last year I was playing a free show on the beach in Brighton. Jimi, Mac Daddy and Danny Joe were hanging out watching and towards the end of the show started banging on bottles and tambourines and a guitar and joined in with me. We played together for about 2 hours as the sun went down, people going crazy, dancing in the sea, having a blast. Everybody needed us to harness that magic in a bottle, so we changed Young Francis from a lo-fi one man band to a full power, full lineup Young Francis Hi Fi.
Where are the band from I know in your biog it says Brighton but how did you end up there?
I was born in Berlin-Kreuzberg. I learned about music from the punks who hung out by the U-Bahn, I’d stop and talk to them, share smokes and listen to their stories, and they would give me tons of tapes of stuff I got into like DDR Punk, Abwärts, Die Goldenen Zitronen or Ton Steine Scherben.
Jimi, Mac and Danny Joe grew up together, somewhere out in the woods. I think they came to Brighton for the same reason I did, to live with good people by the beach and make sunshine punk songs together.
What recordings have you made?
We have a bunch done that we would like to put out. And we are recording more soon, including our gig favourite, “Do You Like Good Music?”.
What are the post-pandemic plans?
I wanna hold you tight (every night), once it’s safe.
The concert event will actually feature an equal mix of live performances and additional pre-recorded footage. Comedian Joe Sib, a former bandmate of Soto’s in 22 Jacks, will be the live on-air host.
In order to access the livestream, viewers will be required to make a donation to National Independent Talent Organization (NITO), a non-profit organization created in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis. NITO exists for the purpose of supporting local musicians and helping to keep live music venues operational. After production costs for the event, 100% of the proceeds will go to NITO.
Also scheduled to perform at this Southern California punk rock extravaganza are members of Adolescents, Bad Cop/Bad Cop, CH3, Death by Stereo, Left Alone, Manic Hispanic, Punk Rock Karaoke, Swingin’ Utters, and other surprise guests.
This will be the first concert celebrating Soto’s birthday. Soto (August 23, 1963 – June 27, 2018) was a multi-talented instrumentalist and founding member of the long-running SoCal punk bands Agent Orange (1979) and Adolescents (1980). During his lifelong career in rock ‘n’ roll, he was also a member of Legal Weapon, Joyride, Manic Hispanic, and the punk supergroup 22 Jacks. Soto fronted his own band, Steve Soto and the Twisted Hearts, and he also became a member of Punk Rock Karaoke. Soto died peacefully in his sleep at the age of 54 from natural causes.
Greg Antista, who released the well-received Shake, Stomp and Stumble album with his band The Lonely Streets in 2019, was a lifelong friend of Soto’s. In 1979, the two met in shop class at Troy High School in their native Fullerton, CA. “I had never thought about playing an instrument until punk rock exploded at my high school” Antista recalls. “I had members of Adolescents, Agent Orange, and Social Distortion as my schoolmates and they were all playing backyard parties and their first local club gigs. Being that close to the bands and music made many of us pick up guitars.” In 1990, Antista, Soto, and Adolescents drummer Sandy Hanson joined forces in Joyride, a pop-punk band that released two albums on Dr. Dream Records.
Antista’s bandmates in the Lonely Streets also shared close ties to Soto. In 1981-1982, guitarist Frank Agnew played with Soto in the Los Angeles band Legal Weapon, appearing together on the group’s Death of Innocence album. In the 1990s and 2000s, Lonely Streets bassist Warren Renfrow performed alongside Soto in the bands Manic Hispanic and 22 Jacks. The Lonely Streets’ lineup is completed by drummer Jorge E. Disguster, who while never having played in a band with Soto, has nevertheless shared many stages with the musician.
We head out to Scandinavia this morning for a great tune from Doojiman & The Explorers – ‘Milk’ from the album – ‘Doojiman & The Exploders II: Electric Boogaloo’. Buy the latest vinyl at these reputable music emporiums –Beluga records / Heavy Medication / Bandcamp / Facebook / instagram
Swedish punk band Acid Blood has a brand-new video out for the track ‘Harvest Day’, taken from their debut album ‘Acid Blood’ (JANML/MvL). The new video was directed by Nicklas Viberg and is the 6th video released from the album. Facebook / Instagram
Might as well stay in Scandinavia for a greased up rocket ride courtesy of those Scumbag Millionaires Hit them up at these social media hangouts – Facebook / Instagram / Bandcamp and pick up a copy of their brand new long player ‘Poor And Infamous’ that’s out in the next month on Suburban Records
If Godzilla was Swedish he’d be playing hard, fast and nasty rock & roll in a band just like Scumbag Millionaire. He may even grow a moustache and change his name to Max.
Now you’ve got the picture, let me introduce you to “Poor and Infamous”, the second long-player from these four Gothenburg gutter deviants. The record that’ll get you safely through the rest of this Covid craziness.
From full-throttle opener, “Demi-God” to sleazoid closer “One For The Road”, “Poor and Infamous” is an ass-kicking classic. Think early ‘copters (obvs), think classic Motorhead and you’re almost halfway there. Where ever there is !?!
Lead single “Ain’t No Doubt” is everything The Backyard Babies used to be, totally Total 13 and a bang on dyed in the wool classic. Check out the video.
“You Had It Coming” gets a little Mick Taylor-era Stones groove on, while “Chasing Dawn” pummels you in the ears into submission.
The distorted bass intro to“Put A Price On My Soul” is pure Boss DS1 magic courtesy of the legendary Sunlight Studio. Tomas Skogsberg’s production is spot on, the man is the Phil Spector of the garage punk metal universe.
“Desperado” is a monster. A face-fucking distorted onslaught.
“Subterranean Twist” reminds me of the early Scumbag singles (check out US compilation “Fast Track Big Pack” if you missed them).
“Highway Blues” calls on those super sexy bass tones again. Not as full on as its “Poor and Infamous” bed fellows but it’s a tune that BYB would kill for.
“Trouble City” is pure Motorhead magic and “Dead Man’s Hand” ain’t no slacker either.
Rounding things off with the aforementioned Sea Hags-tastic “One For The Road”, “Poor and Infamous” is simply the bollocks.
Pre-order the album Here on limited transparent magenta vinyl, regular black vinyl or on ye-olde traditional CD.
While you’re at it grab the US comp “Fast Track Big Pack” along with debut album “Speed”. You won’t regret it. Guaranteed !!!
Another week comes to a crashing end and another week of pretty impressive singles get dumped on the RPM Singles Club dancefloor. The finest in wax, digital and video are here to tickle your taste buds and hopefully inspire you into finding your new favourite band. From all corners and alleyways of the world we search
Jenny – ‘Same’ (Wanda Records) When we saw that this band was fronted by LA Drugz Justin Maurer we had to go and crack it open and crank up the volume and from the first clashing chords of the harmonious ‘Stupid Band’ we smiled knowing we were in the presence of a power pop genius. But with five tunes on this release, it could only get better as the dreamy ‘Rose City’ took us in an upwards trajectory as far as moods go towards that layered vocal chorus it was already a must-have new record. ‘Cockroach Tea’ is more power-pop goodies leaning more towards the pop and then the 60s infused acoustic Thunders melodic ‘Alright With Me’ it has a really early Who mod like quality if it’s possible to mash up some Thunders, meets The Who if it’s not possible then it has just been invented.
To round it off there’s the acoustic ‘Song For Sadie’ an old Suspect PArts track but redone here making this a more eclectic offering than Maurers LA Drugz or Suspect Parts but none the less desirable. Don’t dilly dally as they say in the olden days get it here or on one sided vinyl 12″ from Wanda Records Here
Stiff Richards – ‘Going Numb’ (Legless Records) With two albums in the bag Australias Stiff Richards are hot property. If you managed to get a hold of their debut album first time around then you’re good if you managed to pick up a repress then, well-done pat yourself on the back. Then came ‘Dig’ which was also pretty spectacular to be fair and seemingly unable to do any wrong they sneak out this digital single to let us all know they’re still alive and ready to go (hopefully) with album number three due in October it looks like a winter assault from Melbourne’s finest and we can’t get enough from the southern hemisphere who are leading the way with some awesome punk rock.
Death By Unga Bunga – ‘Trouble’ (Jansen Records) The second in a series of new singles set to be released in the coming months. These Norweigan Nutters have got a slice of summer sunshine in the shape of ‘Trouble’ With a great hook over that steady beat its catchier than a global pandemic. once this one lodges itself into your head it’s not coming out and you’ll be muttering the lyrics for days wondering just who the hell it is. That’s Death By Unga Bunga that is and with the news of more to come there is light at the end of this pandemic that’s for sure and it’s coming from Norway and not some lab in England it might be power pop it might be death metal but one thing for sure it’ll have the DBUB logo on it. Get it here
Killer Hearts – ‘Get Some’ (Spaghetty Town Records) Houston we have a problem. We’re not getting enough Rock and Fucking Roll and that’s a problem. What isn’t a problem is when Killer Hearts this is the first glimpse of what’s coming on their long player ‘Skintight Electric’. Lots of loose riffs and oohs and arghs and some of the best sleazy Rock and Roll since Flash Boys and The Adjusters were about. Go Get some high octane Rock and Roll if you know what’s good for you! Buy Here
Guerrilla Teens – ‘Tell Me What To Do’ (Self Release) Another day another Guerrilla Teens record gets released via Bandcamp. This week’s offering is a right thumper by the name of ‘Tell Me What To Do’ backed by ‘Hurry Up’. One is in your face and bouncing on its toes like a young hooligan the other is a more laid back confident slow burner but both ooze quality and will make for awesome tracks when these weekly offerings finally get pressed by some awesome record label onto a slab of plastic to nestle alongside Those Humpers, Lovesores records you’ve got. buy Here
14 Units – ‘Listen’ (Self Release) This is the lockdown-busting debut release from 14 Units who cram five tunes into this debut EP, Five songs about drinking, getting old, murder, regret, not drinking and Brexit (possibly). opening with a neat uptempo twelve-bar with melody and somewhere between Frank Turner vocally and a cowpunk Quo. They get their jig on from a sprightly ‘Can’t Unlike You’ its melodic and uptempo and carries a decent melody. They certainly like to boogie and then they turn down for a more mellow knocking on heavens door progression for ‘Looks Like Rain’ which heads off down a Buffalo Tom wormhole and its probably the best track on offer with the sparse verse with just percussion before the guitars rejoin for the build-up to the chorus which is a catchy sing-along. A decent EP and first offering from 14 Units. Buy Here
Grindhouse – ‘Ramma Damma’ (Tuff Cuff Records) Melbourne must have something in the water because over the last couple of years its turning up some smoking hot records and this summer has seen that continue with those purveyors of pounding Rock and Roll Grindhouse are back in the room with some sweaty flesh pressing high octane Rock and Roll. in the shape of ‘Ramma Damma’ and ‘City High’ with its bruising riff-a-rama and moon the loon like drumming this is the dogs bollocks. If there ever was a sleeve that best described what was going on in the grooves before you ever played it then it’s this bad boy. or should that be bad girl? Rock and Roll can get you high so fuckin high and Grindhouse has the goods baby!
Relentlessly good band and with a new album on the way these are good times for fans of high octane Rock and Fuckin’ Roll Grindhouse Style. Bring it on. Buy it here
Girls In Synthesis – ‘They’re Not Listening’ (Harbinger Sound) Taken from the debut album ‘Now Here’s An Echo From Your Future’ this video will guarantee you a head fuck from the Jesus and mary chain feedback and the repetitive pounding to the strobe on the video GIS are fucking with you and that’s always a good thing. turn it up and then some more and get lost in that caustic guitar riff before the bass rumble nails you to the floor. Extreme music for extreme times uncompromising and uncomfortable just like punk rock should be. Like crass for the 2020s the album is due the end of the month. Let’s hope this isn’t the soundtrack to the apocalypse like my neighbours think it is.
Cutters – ‘Cutters’ (Legless Records) Another day another slice of punk rock from Down under. This time labelmates of Stiff Richards Cutters are here with this tasty three-track EP. With howls of feedback and a frantic hoof around your ears, this is relentless. ‘Chewed Up Fortune’ is first up and lead throat Al insists he wants to fuck and sleep in that order I guess. Cutters aren’t fucking around either with their Lo-‘Fi take it to the edge of reason and give it a good fuckin’ thrashing. If you think they would be spent after that opener then you’d obviously be wrong. ‘Robo Debt Blues’ is like Motorhead in their late 70s heyday knocking out some ANL and uk82 anthems and dragging through the Melbourne back streets before dropping them off at the studio. Nice!
But then they get all proggy on the five-minute headfuck frenzy of Twister’. Only yanking your chain the intro is painless before they go fuckin’ ape-like Venom meets the Exploited. Its frantic, Nasty, out of control and fuckin’ champion – Buy it here
Zip Gun Bomber – ‘Paper Aeroplanes EP’ (Rum Bar Records) Outta Cambridge, Massachusetts Zip Gun Bombers have been a thing since 2011 and with this being a revisited yup, you guessed it its a new improved take on that EP. Sure its a Nostalgic trip for that early 90’s era Lookout! Records and all things Green Day. ZipGun Bomber’s ‘Paper Airplanes’ EP embraces and embodies all of that. From the opening of ‘Chase That Feeling’ to the acoustic closing of ‘Paper Airplanes’, its easy on the ear pop-punk where the lyrics are easy to embrace and before you know it you’ll be singing the songs like they’ve always been on your playlist. Well worth checking out if any of the previous words ever meant anything to you jump in and lose yourself in the tunes. Sure there is a familiarity here but it’s only pop-punk Rock and Roll and I like it! Oh and if you like you can download the EP for free or name your price. Pick it up Here
Science Man – ‘Match Game’ (Swimming Faith Records) Punk as fuck – a 7″ single with not 2 or 3 songs on it but nine slabs of uncompromising head mashing industrial hardcore. Science Man from Buffalo NY isn’t here to compromise he’s here to lay out his manifesto and from the opening repetitive thump of ‘Tiny Tower’ it’s game on through the frantic thirty-two seconds of ‘Steal The Street’. Don’t leave the fuckin room for gawds sake.
‘Surge’ sounds like the cassette on a Commadore 64 or finally, the aliens are coming. At times it sounds like out of control chaos but I suspect it’s far from that and the almost prog length of the final track ‘Cursed’ clocking in at almost two minutes is a challenge but industrial hardcore isn’t meant to be easy listening, I’m sure only the hearty punk amongst us will endure or even get this straight off. But its certainly interesting as well as a challenging listen.
S V & the Eruptions – ‘Tomorrows Promises’ (Avenue Recordz) An altogether more sombre and thoughtful SV & The Eruptions, It’s not all cheeky chappies and a bit of slap and tickle it can’t be. Here SV busts out a mid-paced thoughtful number with a big catchy chorus that drops back into the muted guitar work and into another tuneful verse. A most excellent twist and shows how versatile and downright bloody good these gents are. I have told him myself the tunes you aren’t expecting are some of his best work and this will grow and grow and in time will be one of those late in the set anthems you look forward to. Excellent song with great vocals.
Ryan Hamilton & Kay Hanley – ‘Oh No’ This dropped last minute so we thought we’d include it in the singles Club because we love some Ryan Hamilton.
The Fuzzstainz – ‘Sick! Sick! Sick!'(Beluga Records) How could we sign off this week’s singles Club without dropping in on Scandinavia Again. Always reliable, Always churning out quality Rock and Roll from all the corners of the world Beluga Records have released this banging 7″ platter with two tracks of sizzling Garage Punk courtesy of The Fuzzstainz. The lead track is sick – no it literally is sick! those guitars sound like razor blades trying to cut through some barbed wire. But it’s catchy and easy to sing along to but the best is yet to come in the shape of ‘Thinkin’ ‘Bout Me’ again the same standards are set but with added floor tom and is that a buzzsaw? Gawd knows but its got swagger and I love it. Pick it up here
We are four strong individuals who love coming together to play our songs. Every one of us has his own wheelhouse in terms of genre and at some point in our lives, we have all been part of different projects ranging from indie to stoner rock all the way to reggae and back. For me personally, soul is an important influence that breaks out of me in a James Brown kind of scream once in a while.
Where do you call home for the band?
Cologne, or as it is known in Germany, Köln, is our home. We are all born and raised here and apart from Pete we even sort of grew up together and went to the same school. Most notably, Cologne is known for the perfume 4711 (it stinks!) but is also full of history and culture. It is home to a couple of pretty good rock’n’roll bands and has/had some cool live music venues and festivals.
How did you come together?
I guess it all started in Dom’s parent’s basement. They are both musicians and were kind enough to put up with us butchering Turbonegro and Hellacopters songs. I always wanted to form a rock band with Dom but another friend beat me to the punch and formed an indie rock band with Dom on drums and Andi on lead guitar. I was always a little jealous but managed to poach them both for what later became Stacy Crowne. We went through a couple of line-up changes until, finally, we found the right drummer in Pete. That was around 2011, Stacy Crowne was founded a little later.
Our first release was an EP recorded at a local studio in 2014. We weren’t entirely sure what we wanted to sound like but the songs are still in our setlist today. At some stage Carey from Savage Magic Records got hold of one of the CDs and we’ve been working with him ever since. In 2016 we release a split 7″ with The Empire Strikes and last year we released our first LP, We Sound Electric. We also just made another split 7″ with hardcore punk band Christmas and have another release in the pipeline for later this year.
Post-pandemic – what are the plans?
Hit the ground running from where we left off, basically. A bunch of shows in Italy and Spain had to be cancelled due to the pandemic which we’d really like to make up for. Otherwise, we’ll just keep working on new material. Luckily we have a decent home studio where we can record and work on stuff in our own time. These ‘Corona Sessions’ have been very productive. So next year will see another few smaller releases and eventually our second LP.
Public Eye’s second album ‘Music For Leisure’. Written in the wake of the US presidential election in 2016, and surrounded by the sinister political voices that seemingly felt legitimised by Trump, it’s the sound of fury, Boredom, Alienation, exercised through repetitive solid basslines, raw guitar stabs that loop (‘Awful Questions’) and a production that sounds cold at times and angular, sharp and isolated. Arty punk if you like videos that would be black and white and feature urban landscapes apartment blocks and concrete you know the drill.
Formed in Portland, Oregon in 2016, Public Eye’s membership takes in three-quarters of notorious punks Autistic Youth, vocalist Nick Vicario delivers his words through a one-paced tone it remains melodic taking a leaf out of Joy Divisions Ian Curtis’ book (possibly) as he remains impassive throughout its tastefully melodic stuff. There is a certain amount of metallic industrial Buzzcocks going on as well like the borrowed licks on ‘New Years’ which is totally early Shelley and Diggle.
The vibe might be one of worry about how the world is turning to shit due to all the right-wing nonsense we’re currently experiencing in countries around the globe and not just America which helps resonate these songs. It’s not a warm fuzzy record but a jarring jolt and they encapsulate that on the excellent ‘Lost Dog’. I guess they’re preaching to the converted here because I can’t imagine a Make America Great again trucker hat-wearing no to immigrants or let’s help the less fortunate is going to gravitate towards a record of this nature anyway.
It does soften and the mood isn’t always one of despair honest! ‘Neat Machine / Red Flag’ is a great mid-paced song with great arrangement and I love the bv’s and gang vocals on the chorus. If you want to escape the madness tracks like the lo-fi riffs of ‘The Fiend’ is basic and simple but that doesn’t take anything away from the energy it creates. Certainly, the second half of this record gets warmer if you know what I mean and the penultimate slab of black and white ‘The Duet’ is excellent with its rolling bassline taking centre stage before the headfuck whig out of the saxophone comes crashing in. It only leaves the decidedly frosty but strongest track on the record ‘You’re Being Laughed At’ to wrap this up all the best bits of this record all poured into one three and a half minute song.
If all else fails and we’re indeed heading to Hell in a handcart thanks to governments who only serve themselves then we’ve got a pretty decent mixtape for the trip and this would make the cut.