Welcome to the singles club, we’ve not had many sittings recently probably due to the Christmas period but they’ve started to trickle in and when we had a few exciting tunes fly in we had to fire up the jukebox and get some 45″ RPM action going.

First up is a mighty fine 7” split for groups LJ & The Sleeze (Richmond, VA) and Killer Hearts (Houston, TX).

LJ & The Sleeze / Killer Hearts – Split (Eight Ball Record$) The 2 song split features the first new tune since Killer Hearts Debut LP was released last year (one we certainly championed here) ‘Skintight Electric’ was truly all killer and absolutely no filler. ‘High Temptress’ is more of the same with manic, rabid rock and roll resplendent with its chest-beating & frantic tempo, those Dead Boys inspired solos and catchy choruses that make you want to sling down a yard of ale before running through a brick wall – great stuff.


LJ & The Sleeze’s side of the split holds the newly redone ‘I’m Bad’, off of their LP ‘Stay Sleezy’, giving in-your-face punk attitude aplenty. It’s got a swagger and a hook that you won’t be able to free from your head, nor would you want to. Menacing and snotty with just enough snarling venom to make you want to root through your sister’s purse to fund this record. Exactly how a split should be done – Get on it Here it’s out in the middle of March so be sure to keep that link locked down – you won’t regret it.

Totally Slow – ‘The Lost Art of Shutting Up’ ( Refresh Records) Another new one on us comes out off their new album ‘Casual Drag’ its indie punk rock with a great hook and a foot in the past it’s got a tonne of energy like melodic punk of so-cal punks a really good earworm that just gets better the more you hear it.

I love the breakdown and want to hear more. Which is the whole original point of a 45″ single right? I dove into the back catalogue and am currently loving ‘Casual Drag’. Pick it up Here

These Arms Are Snakes – ‘Camera Shy’ (Suicide Squeeze Records) US hardcore/mathrock band These Arms Are Snakes have today announced a new rarities release called ‘Duct Tape & Shivering Crows’ which will be released April 15th via Suicide Squeeze Records.

Formed from the ashes of legendary noise bands Botch and Killsadie, These Arms Are Snakes had a 7-year run in the early 2000s and released three albums and many Eps and splits, toured relentlessly, before splitting in 2009.

Described rather wonderfully as a ‘synth-infused noise rock, bad-trip psychedelia, flamboyant proto-metal boogie, and unhinged basement-show hardcore,’ These Arms Are Snakes reformed for some reunion gigs in 2021 and now have this rarities comp

The Good The Bad And The Zugly – ‘One Dimensional Man’ (Fysisk Format) Any day you get to head a new GBATZ tune is a great fucking day so today must be fanfuckingtastic seeing as two of them have shown up. The first earworms from their new Covid produced album is here. ‘Nostradumbass’ is a huge melodic masterclass. Sure it’s the B side but its got a poptastic lick and a chorus that could have been lifted from Abba.

Now the A-side is loud and has a thumping rhythm and the hook is classic Turbonegro-tastic to boot right out of that ballpark. It’ll take a while to properly burrow down and lay its musical explosions that will go off for weeks to come but you know they’re in there. Bring on that damn album and bring it on now. Essential purchase! Here

The Blue Carpet Band – The Slow Death Of Camden (Bomber Music) dealing with the gentrification and all the changes happening on the once rock n’ roll streets of Camden Town. Major brands taking over and the loss of iconic venues and drinking places have erased the edginess and excitement. The rock’n’roll bandits are all gone. Pretty much the same thing happened in Soho and Wardour St and I guess the LES of Manhattan and St Marks and Time Sq as well as a host of other places to boot. Mores the pitty but these times they are a-changing but Rock and Roll will never die don’t you go thinking otherwise.

The Blue Carpet Band are true Rock and Rollers and this is another slice of sleazy Rock n Roll. Check it out – you won’t regret it. With a new album on the way 2022 is shaping up nicely. Buy Here

Find The Blue Carpet Band Online at: FACEBOOK INSTAGRAM BOMBER MUSIC

Electric Boys – ‘Favorite Hello, Worst Goodbye’ (Mighty Music) Another new song recorded by these hard rockin’ Swedes during the “Ups!de Down” sessions. The first one, “Favorite Hello, Worst Goodbye” is out on digital platforms now.

Claiming the song is made up using Cheap Tricks DNA is a big call but it isn’t a million miles from the mark. The Electric Boys play solid hard rock n roll and do it well. Conny Bloom rallies his troops through this meaty rocker and slides some neat fretwork. Fans will lick it up no doubt it’ll be interesting to hear more of this new material

Supera Morza – ‘I’m Working It Out’ (Bad Apple Music Group) The band’s third single sees Supera Morza, ‘Working It Out’ hailing from Manchester these spikey individuals play uncompromising punk rock. It’s possibly in the same ballpark as Blackwater and Cabbage in its gritty, angular post-punk attack with melody and aggression. Two-and-a-half minutes of uncompromising shit or bust anarchic grunge. Hailed as one of Manchester’s most exciting prospects expect to hear and see a lot more of these guys. The previous singles ‘Roadkill’ which had similarities to Nirvana pre ‘Nevermind’ (which isn’t a bad thing either) and my personal favourite the frantic Scrubber. Check them out via Facebook and Spotify

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Fontains D.C – ‘I Love You’ (Partisan Records) Taken from the band’s forthcoming album ‘Skinty Fia’ due in April. A slow-burning, brooding and intense love song the track sees the band offer up a dark insight into what they’ve been up to during lockdown. It follows hot on the heels of ‘Jackie Down The Line’. Check out the video here.

Stacy Crowne had their single reviewed here last year but have since shot a video for the B side of their cover of Golden Earrings ‘Radar Love’ check out the lively ‘Dead Of Night’ Get it while it’s hot Here

A follow up on two successful Captain Oi! box sets by the band, ‘THE EPIC YEARS’ and ‘THE ALBUMS 1979-85’

Disc One is the band’s first-ever live album that includes Punk classics like ‘Baby Baby’, ‘Automatic Lover’ and ‘Troops Of Tomorrow’. The recordings are vibrantly captured and the band’s boundless energy is well captured. When I’m listening it dawned on me how overlooked the band’s catalogue has been in general terms. Knox and the gang wrote some really great slabs of power pop punk rock and had it down to a tee and did it better than most of that time period. None more outstanding than ‘Amphetamine Blue’ which has stood the test of time and is still a stone-cold classic.

The second disc is 1988’s ‘Recharged’ album which features the single ‘String Him Along’ that opens the album in a more countrified power-pop but the band was able to go from that to the more aggressive and choppy ‘Hey Little Doll’. ‘Go Go Go’ is pure Rock n Roll’ and indicative of the time with regards to the production. One of my favourites off the album is the acoustic ‘Every Day I Die A Little’ maybe a predictable rise and fall middle section as the drums kick in but a top track all the same. Rounded off nicely with a crowd-edited rendition of ‘Disco In Moscow’.

Disc Three is the ‘Meltdown’ album which now adds the previously non LP ‘Wasted Life’ as a bonus track. ‘Office Girls’ kicked off the album and the band had lost none of their appetites to pen spikey punchy power pop, tight verses and uplifting chorus. Again I love the balladeering on ‘So Young’ with its great saxophone break from Waterboy Anthony Thislewaite that took the Green On Red sounding track into another direction making it one hell of a song. The band mixed the songs up quite a bit on ‘Meltdown’ running through their repertoire of influences from the balladeering to the tougher punkier songs and other genres getting some oxygen which helped make The Vibrators one of the best bands to emerge out of punk and beyond.

In under twelve months the band released the follow up to ‘Meltdown’ with the fourth disc in this set 1989’s ‘Vicious Circle’ album which features the Billy Fury cover of ‘Halfway To Paradise’ single and the rare bonus B-side ‘Drive’. With a better fuller more rounded production that really suited The Vibrators songs, ‘Vicious Circle’ kept the show on the road with topical ‘Polltax Blues’ adding some grunt to proceedings and that Stooges piano tonk underpinning the rolling riff.

Whilst ‘Fire’ was still snotty having it lean on the Billy Fury cover still sounds weird such is the contrast.

The final disc is the band’s tenth album, imaginatively called ‘Volume Ten’. Opening with ‘Losing It’ is something of a classic sounding Vibrators song with a strong pop melody and chorus glued together with a sharp guitar riff that leads to a palatable chorus. ‘Hot For You’ is more uptempo and yet another example as to how good the band was even when they did a cover of ‘Rave On’ which I’m still not sure about. It’s not like they were struggling with writer’s block and could have gone with just original tunes but hey ho what do I know.

The clamshell box also has a booklet containing detailed liner notes overseen by Jon ‘Eddie’ Edwards which are pretty cool.

For a relatively cheap amount of dosh, these Vibrators box sets are a fantastic purchase and people who possibly got blown off course and missed out on these recordings now have the chance to fill those gaps with some great records. Pick one up it’s a no-brainer!

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Author: Dom Daley

Fried Cheese & Pivo, the first time on vinyl, was originally recorded in Czech Republic in 1992 and was only released on CD in 1993 and for Czech market.

The Pleasure Fuckers were formed in 1988 in Madrid (Spain) and were led by legendary Kike Turmix there is no doubt they were an absolute tour de force of Garage punk rock and did it with style and played it hard.

During their ten years, they put in the hard yards on the touring circuit extensively across the toilets clubs of Europe and the USA.

From the opening roar of ‘Solid Steel Automobile’ they take no prisoners. I think that’s fair to say and the relentless barrage continues at pace throughout these four sides of wax.

If you’ve never experienced The Pleasure Fuckers then I guess it’s Bored!CavemenAsteroid B-612Turbonegro, The Ramones, Motorhead at their rowdiest, and then some Stooges (obviously), ‘Oh Yeah!’ has easy lyrics to remember but the solos that slice through the solid wall of Rock and trust me they are blissful. the sonic six-stringery of Norah Findlay and Mike Sobieski is off the scale at times, as for the rhythm section they were tight as two rizzlas and had style and swagger.

You know the drill it’s pretty much two to three minutes of all-out sonic assault with Marshall stacks turned up to 11 and away you go. ‘Away’ is supper snotty to the max and it’s followed by the 100 miles per hour blitzkrieg of ‘No Naggin Hag’.

They did pause for breath but it’s literally just that a pause. It’s not the best quality recording but that only adds to the charm of songs like ‘Haven’t Got Time’. ‘Destination Uranus’ is like a punk n roll hand jive if I might be so bold with its strip club pole grinding rhythm and sleazy attitude.

They’d slip in some extraordinary covers like the Dead Boys classic ‘What Love Is’ that truly gives Stiv and the gang a run for their money. I guess it’s fair to say These guys couldn’t give a fuck who they offended either (then again you aren’t hoping to reach TOTP with a name like The Pleasure Fuckers are you?). With albums like the charmingly titled ‘First Abortion’ they are truly underrated but this live album might go some way to bring them to a new generation of fans as it leans heavily on the ‘Supper Star’ album that was released the same year. Tracks like The Ramonesish ‘The Gimp’ is the band showing how tight they are and that they indeed had their tongue in their cheek as well.

Great to see bands like The Pleasure Fuckers getting some love from Bang! Records and hopefully we might see the studio albums get a similar treatment that would be the icing on the cake. Signing off with their tip of the hat to The Ramones is perfectly acceptable as is their slog through ‘1970’ it seems about right.

We need timely reminders that the 90’s weren’t all bad and bands like this didn’t give a shiny shit about what was fashionable because good honest loud Rock and Fuckin’ Roll has always been Hip and in fashion to those who knew it and they certainly did. The Pleasure Fuckers walked the walk and talked the talk. My advice would be to Just buy this its a start and better late than never right? It’s almost twenty years since the man-mountain and formidable force that was Kike Turmix passed away so time to catch up me thinks.

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Author: Dom Daley

HeWhoCannotBeNamed (The Dwarves) Releases Kids Concept Album w/ Milo Aukerman (Descendents), Spike Slawson (Me First and the Gimme Gimmes) and Chris Barrows (Pink Lincolns, Chris Barrows band)

Laptop Punk Records has unveiled the new LP from HeWhoCannontBeNamed of the Dwarves!

Here’s a special gift for the holiday season: HeWhoCannotBeNamed has enlisted the help of family and allies to create an ambitious themed musical that harkens back to the classic works Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein. All original songs, all composed and performed by HeWhoCannotBeNamed with the assistance of some very special guests including: Spike Slawson of Me First and the Gimme GimmesChris Barrows of Pink Lincolns and Chris Barrows Band and, Milo Aukerman of Descendents, and many more!
Laptop Punk Records was formed by Grim Deeds in 2020 as an outlet for friends and underground punk artists to release singles and albums digitally, and to release a compilation series in the spirit of Lookout! and Fat Wreck Chords. Laptop Punk emphasizes DIY and encourages home recording projects, and also celebrates side-projects and one-offs from both obscure and well-known artists. Lisa Marr of Cub, Kim Warnick of The Fastbacks, and John Jughead Pierson of Screeching Weasel are among the artists who’ve contributed songs, as well as many obscure and new artists with exciting ideas and talent to offer. Laptop Punk’s mission is to promote inspired songwriting from across the globe, and there are already great releases from international (Japanese, Indonesian, Ukrainian, Russian) artists in the catalog. With new releases launching every month, the pace is set to continue strong into 2022 and a new compilation cd is on the way. Laptop Punk Records Compilation Volume 1 is now available and features 29 hits from a wide variety of artists. 
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I have been spinning this album off and on for a little while now. When I first went to write my review, I wasn’t feeling it as much and then we had the great freeze in Texas where we lost our power and just tried to stay warm. The album clicked soon after that, and, while I don’t quite see it being in my top 10 at the end of the year, I am really enjoying the album more with every listen.

 

The Flaming Sideburns first came onto my radar when they did their split album with the Hellacopters many many years ago which I loved, with the band itself tracing its roots back over 25 years now. After many years, they have returned with this new album that finds the band staying true to their roots.

‘Silver Flame’ has proven to really be a grower as an opener. For whatever reason, it took me more time to really connect with this slice of action rock. The chorus contains a solid hook, and that guitar refrain does get lodged in the head. Follow up ‘Perfect Storm’ feels slightly more subdued until the chorus grabs you by the neck and pours itself into your head. Musically, this one swims in the same musical pool as the Hellacopters around the ‘High Visibility’ and ‘By the Grace of God’ period. The slow opener of ‘A Song for Robert’ hits the heart hard with the band turning the energy up as a celebration of life before settling back into a somber ending that just really works well for all the song is capturing.

Up next, ‘Cast Out My Demons’ has a beat that I really enjoy, but the song overall is not one of my favorites from the album. With the way the album has grown on me, I might be feeling different in the future. ‘Reverberation (Doubt)’ oozes out of the speakers with a slow groove that remains one of my favorites from my first listen. The vocal hook is simple but works incredibly well. Musically, it lives up to its title as it will take your mind and soul on a journey if you close your eyes and give into the music. Closing out the first half of the album, the guys channel some straight forward classic rock with ‘Lighthouse Keeper.’ The chorus is a grower while the musical hook will sink its teeth into the listener first, with the break in the song serving to make the end of the first half of the album rather special.

Kicking off the second half of the album, ‘Soulshaking’ explodes out of the speakers with a shot od adrenaline. The chorus induces everyone listening to sing, and I have found myself on occasion wondering if this album would have grabbed me right away if this were swapped with the album opener. The action rock continues with ‘Searching Like a Hyena’ keeping the musical urgency at a high level, even if I have found myself pondering how a hyena actually does search for things. It would be a cool world though to hear teenage boys dedicating this to girls on radio stations around the world. ‘Freak Out’ does not stay around long with its awesome groove making it another one of my favorites.

‘Neverending’ slows the pace a bit and feels like a slower brilliant nugget from the 60’s that ramps up more intensity as it progresses. It provides some great musical depth to the album as well. ‘Nibiru’ arises with a killer guitar riff and some backing vocals that perfectly set the tone. This is another of my favorites from the album, and I love how it leads into closer ‘Trance-Noche.’ If your body is not moving during the last two, I really don’t know what to tell you. My Spanish is rusty, but it doesn’t stop me from badly singing along while breaking out my air guitar.

As I said at the beginning, this one has been a grower of an album for me. Each listen brings out more and more from the album which is awesome for the listener. To borrow from the closing song- listen, listen now, give this album a few spins to worm its way into your musical world. You will be glad you did.

 

 

Buy ‘Silver Flames Here

 

Author: Gerald Stansbury

 

Discography
It’s Time to Testify (1999, Bad Afro Records, compilation)
Hallelujah Rock’n’Rollah (2001, Bad Afro Records)
Save Rock’n’Roll (2002, Ranch Records/Jetset, US version of Hallelujah Rock’n’Rollah)
Sky Pilots (2003, Ranch/Jetset; 2004 Bitzcore)
Keys to the Highway (2007, Ranch/Bitzcore)
Silver Flames (2021, Svart Records)

The Flaming Sideburns on social media:
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Alice Cooper must be one of a very rare breed in rock ‘n’ roll. Having now written and released music across seven different decades, I bet if you polled his fanbase for their favourite era or albums, the results would probably encompass most, if not all, of his many different career phases.

 

Me personally, I love the original Alice Cooper band albums (along with some of his mid and later era albums like ‘Special Forces’ and ‘Dirty Diamonds’) and of those records, it’s ‘Killer’ and ‘School’s Out’ that are my own go-to’s whenever I truly need to rekindle my love of Alice’s extensive back catalogue.

 

This rather conveniently brings me to ‘Detroit Stories’, an album that not only sees Alice return to his hometown and Alice Cooper band era roots, but also sees him fully reunited with producer Bob Ezrin, the man behind the desk for both of those old Alice Cooper band records I love so much.

 

Written and recorded using only Detroit based musicians (albeit with the exception of guest guitarists Joe Bonamassa and current AC band mainstay Tommy Henriksen) the fifteen songs that make up ‘Detroit Stories’ are what Alice himself refers to as being ‘Pure Detroit’. With the crack team of musicians assembled around him boasting the likes of Wayne Kramer (guitarist with the MC5), Johnny ‘Bee’ Badanjek (drummer with the legendary Detroit Wheels), Paul Randolph (legendary Detroit jazz and R&B bassist) as well as the Motor City Horns, they all help to build on the formula that Alice first tested out with his 2019 ‘Breadcrumbs EP, and in turn are all helping him create perhaps his most diverse set of (luney) tunes in quite some time.

 

As with ‘Breadcrumbs’ a few of these songs turn out to cover versions, like the excellent album opener – Alice’s version of Velvet Undergrounds’ ‘Rock And Roll’. However, what Alice does here (unlike with the covers that he does with Hollywood Vampires) is he really makes this song sound like one of his own. I mean you could be forgiven for thinking that ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll’ is actually an Alice song, or that it was at perhaps written just for him.

 

‘Go Man Go’ is the album’s first Cooper co-write and having been originally included on the aforementioned ‘Breadcrumbs’ EP the almost punk-like swagger of this tune might actually come as something of a surprise to some of Alice’s more hard rock biased fans who are yet to hear that EP, however knowing just how many punk rockers were originally influenced by Da Coop it’s great to hear him re-engaging with that rougher 70s spirit once again.

 

Likewise, ‘Our Love Will Change The World’ is also something of a surprise – not least because it’s a pretty faithful retelling of a 2008 penned Outrageous Cherry tune – and as such it sounds not much like Alice and much more like a latter day John Lennon song, one that bounces around on an optimistically youthful refrain. Some AC fans have already voiced their dislike of this song since it was first aired back in late 2020, but I like it as it fits perfectly within the jigsaw puzzle of songs that make up the complete ‘Detroit Stories’ picture.

 

‘Social Debris’ is up next and that finds us very much back on more familiar Alice Cooper band territory (featuring as it does Messrs Dunaway, Smith, and Bruce), albeit I just can’t get out of my head how much this could be a song written for an in his prime Ace Frehley. And talking of KISS on ‘$1000 High Heel Shoes’ AC once again proves that anything Starchild can do he can do better, as this delicious funky soul jam has seemingly already earned the moniker of one of the oddest songs Alice has ever recorded…well it is I suppose if all you have ever heard by AC is ‘Poison’ or ‘Trash’.

‘Hail Mary’ and the 2021 reboot of ‘Detroit City’ (originally on Alice’s 2003 ‘Eye’s Of…’ album and featured again on the ‘Breadcrumbs’ EP) return things to Alice’s more modern day upbeat hard rock territory before the sleazy blues jam of ‘Drunk And In Love’ and the high kicking ‘Independence Dave’ both once again usher in the anything goes attitude of those ‘70s Ezrin produced albums I mentioned earlier.

 

The Cooper, Dunaway, and Ezrin penned ‘I Hate You’ is another fantastic sonic curveball, as is the almost showtunes-y ‘Wonderful World’. Both tracks giving the mid-section of ‘Detroit Stories’ a couple more “WTF” moments (and I do mean that in the most positive sense too).

 

As ‘Detroit Stories’ enters its final four chapters the inclusion of MC5’s ‘Sister Anne’ and Bob Seger’s East Side Story’ are the only times when I’m left thinking that perhaps they were best just left on ‘Breadcrumbs’, largely because the original Cooper tunes that they bookend in ‘Don’t Give Up’ and ‘Shut Up And Rock’ just sounds so much more interesting. It’s the only tiny gripe that I have with ‘Detroit Stories’ though, as four years on from ‘Paranormal’ and with everything else going on across the world right now it’s just an absolute joy to get to grips with such an upbeat and positive sounding Alice Cooper record.

 

Oh, and talking of ‘Paranormal’ if you are fortunate enough to get one of the expanded formats of ‘Detroit Stories’ you will also find a DVD or Blu-ray copy of Alice’s A Paranormal Evening at the Olympia Paris’ concert film included as part of your package, as the great man wants us to experience this show in the safety of our homes. A truly wonderful gesture from an artist who with ‘Detroit Stories’ is proving he is still one of the greatest storytellers the rock world has ever had.

 

Long live Alice Cooper!

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Author: Johnny Hayward

It might’ve taken 20 years but here it is: the original line-up of The Flaming Sideburns unleashes a brand new album “Silver Flames”. It can be seen as a follow-up to their now legendary debut “Hallelujah Rock’n’Rollah”, which was released two decades prior in 2001.

“Silver Flames” is an album nobody expected to happen. Most certainly it’s out of time and out of place in 2021 but that has never stopped the Flaming Sideburns on their mission. Instead, they launch a rock’n’roll assault at full throttle.

It’s all there from straight-ahead rockers (“Silver Flame”, “Searching Like a Hyena”) to deep psychedelia (“Niburu”, “Reverberation”) and from classic rock (“A Song for Robert”) to pop-tinged choruses (“Perfect Storm”, “Cast out my Demons”). The album is wrapped up by “Trance-Noché” and its unusual combination of Latin American madness and Arctic hysteria — topped with the lyrics en Español.

 

 

Pre-orders have started. Digipak CDs, regular black vinyl, and limited crystal clear vinyl edition available HERE

Racism and homophobia, homelessness and job loss, fear-mongery, anxiety, and suicide. These are not new words, but along with ‘Pandemic’, are these the keywords that we will look back on to describe the year 2020? One thing’s for sure, there’s been a lot of relevant music released so far this year that seems to fit the lockdown vibe, but you need look no further than Bob Vylan for the ultimate reaction and the perfect soundtrack to the new normal.

‘We Live Here’ was actually recorded in 2019 and is self-released because the music industry won’t touch them with a barge pole. Even radio and magazines cite them too extreme, and fair play, this 8 track EP from the London duo Bobby Vylan and Bobb13 Vylan is 18 minutes of uneasy listening, but it is also essential listening.

 

A mash up of grime and punk rock, ‘We Live Here’ pulls no punches from the very first pulsating beats until a cheerful girl signs off at the end of the last track, telling us not to forget that “the Queen killed Diana”!

My first introduction to Bob Vylan was the single ‘We Live Here’. It is one of the most brutal, hard-hitting tunes I have heard in a long time. A sloppy Slaves-esque guitar riff, frantic rhythms and a diatribe of childhood racial abuse, delivered with the rage of a lion and power of a ten-ton hammer coming down on a balsa wood Houses of Parliament. It’s no coincidence that Bobby is sporting a Crass t-shirt in the video, this is politically-charged punk rock 2020, and utterly essential listening.

Police brutality is covered in the hardcore ‘Pulled Pork’. A song that channels Rage Against The Machine and Body Count to great effect. You want edgy? Well, this is teetering on the edge of the fuckin precipice, bruthas and sistas! And the skulking beast that is ‘Lynch Your Leaders’ could very well incite you to do just that with its hypnotic beats and deep, thought-provoking lyricism.

You just can’t ignore Bob Vylan. This is life through the eyes of black working-class youth, an angry mouthpiece for generations of black minorities that have suffered prejudice in the same country they were born in.

“I can’t breathe, just leave me alone” screams Bobby on the fear and anxiety induced trip through the London underground that is ‘Northern Line’. Scarily, it mirrors recent events more than the writer could have ever imagined.  Then ‘Save Yourself’ offers retribution before blasting into a 2 minute brutal assault on the senses. It’s the last song proper before ‘Moment Of Silence’ literally gives you breathing space to digest the Bob Vylan experience.

 

This is an album that needs to be heard, a wakeup call that is loud and clear. It crosses genres and it crosses classes. Like the musical equivalent of LiveLeak, it’s what the ‘powers that be’ don’t want you to hear, what they don’t want you to feel or act on. This is the sound of the streets, the true punk rock and the most relevant collection of songs you will hear all year.

You won’t hear it on the radio, you won’t be able to stream it on Spotify, but you can buy it directly from the band on their own Bandcamp page. I strongly suggest you get clicking right away!

Buy ‘We Live Here’ Here

Author: Ben Hughes

 

 

 

It’s all gone a bit Bob Mould bonkers this last month what with the post Husker Du reissues and Box set bonanza and this here new album. Solo album number fourteen if I’m not mistaken has seen him go from the darkness of ‘Black Sheets Of Rain’ to his last offering ‘Sunshine Rock’ covering just about everything in between the polar opposites.

‘Blue Hearts’ see that sunshine hidden behind some pretty dark clouds from the crackle of the opening acoustic Mould certainly does wear his heart on his sleeve as he pulls no punches.  Government, Climate change its a sad portrait he paints but one that can’t be denied or refuted. From there on the guitars are turned up to eleven and the ‘Next Generation’ crashes in.

Sure it’s familiar territory but I kinda like it when Bob Mould is raging against the machine.  Like being hit on the temple by a wrecking ball, Mould gives his guitar one hell of a seeing to as he doesn’t go gently into the night.  But wait it gets darker, ‘American Crisis’ is as angry as I can remember him Husker Du and Sugar included. Regan Bush and now Trump there seems to be an ever lasting conveyor belt of shit rolling through the white house doors and Sub two and a half minutes punk rock with a dark melodic chorus is the only thing that can save us. It’s crushing.  Pausing momentarily in the middle for breath (Not).

Fourteen songs mean its not anywhere near prog lengths for each number as one crashes into the other like a stormy sea its wave after wave as your senses get pummeled with each track devouring the last but there is respite with acoustic guitars being abused on ‘Forcast Of Rain’  even with its church organ sarcastically filing ever corner of darkness with more darkness its bleak and depressing but it isn’t if you know what I mean.

I don’t know if I should admit to being pleased that Mould is pissed off or disappointed with the wider world because it brings out the beast in his songwriting and this has been the case here.  He voices his disappointment at the state of the US at religion at the fact that man in the western world doesn’t seem to learn from its mistakes and as he roars “never thought I’d see this bullshit again” yet here he is. It’s fair to say Trump won’t ever see Mould wearing one of his trucker caps nor waving a patriotic flag at a rally any day soon.

‘When You Left’ sounds like a one-take number as Bob tries to break his voice it does mellow (did I just say mellow) I mean ease up a little on the next couple of tracks maybe Bob thought we needed to catch out breath and he’d be right.

I bet Bob’s guitar amps all go to eleven, it sounds like they do and it must be exhilarating to listen to the playback in a good studio as he wrestles to control the feedback on ‘Baby Needs A Cookie’.

The fact that this came out the same day Idles released their new album I think it’s safe to say that alternative guitar music is in safe hands.  Men who give a shit are standing on a mountain raging against the pricks and I like it.

It might be brand new but I already love it.  Don’t ask me in a month I love it here and now and it’s just what I need to hear every time I turn on the news I’m disappointed and I find myself shouting at the interviewers to hold the politician’s feet a little closer to the fire and I wish one day the powers that be will tell the truth or be a little honest or humble but until then I’m getting behind people like Bob Mould because they can turn that rage into something quite beautiful.  ‘Blue Hearts’ is Bob Mould doing what he excels at just at the right time. Anger is an energy and energy is something Bob Mould has in spades – come to think of it anger is something he’s pretty bloody good at as well – Exquisite record.

Buy Bob Mould Here

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Author: Dom Daley

Let’s not hang about here ‘War’ is the sound of bombs dropping from the sky and panic on the streets. Idles are on it and as a unit won’t be stopped by conventional weapons or pandemics it would seem.  Taking it to the next level after the joy of the Glasto performance and it would seem being taken into the bosoms of the press beast and being hailed as the saviours of alternative post-punk rock and roll all by themselves. Idles have taken it in their stride and just gotten on with it, seemingly oblivious as to the outpouring of adulation currently being heaped upon them.

I liked ‘Brutalism’ and I liked what they offered as the next step on ‘Joy As An Act’ so it was with an intake of breath I pressed play on this their third long-player as the band lock-in and pour out what is inside them onto the black grooves.

 

Frontman Joe Talbot says of “Grounds”: “We wanted to write a song that embodied self-belief, and gave us self-belief – a counter-punch to all the doubt we build up from all the noise we so easily let in. We wanted to make the sound of our own hearts’ marching band, armed with a jackhammer and a smile. We wanted to make the sound of our engine starting. So we did. Thank you.”  Talbot sounds like he knows the score. top tune and instantly recognisable and more honed in, more finely tuned.  Sounds like they know exactly where they’re going with this lark.

If you thought the band had hit the peak on ‘Joy’ and the worm might turn from here on in, well, think again this album is more vibrant, focussed and raging than the previous offerings.  Across all twelve songs, there is a brutality as the band continues the social commentary of their past work, with themes of class, gender inequality, nationalism, community, and toxic masculinity and empowerment and ultimately fighting back.  Its not preachy it poignant and informative that there are people who think just like you!

 

Produced by Nick Launay (Nick Cave, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Arcade Fire) and Adam ‘Atom’ Greenspan (Anna Calvi, Cut Copy), ‘Ultra Mono’ sounds huge. The album also features guest vocals from Jehnny Beth (Savages), and additional guest contributions from Warren Ellis (Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds), David Yow, and Jamie Cullum like it needed any.

The constant touring sounds like it has galvanised the band and they’re locked in as one and the twists and turns of the opening few tracks are epic and brutal but quite beautiful as well.

Safe it isn’t but I’m sure there will be a hipster backlash along anytime soon saying something along the lines of them selling out or commercial this and that and not being the same anymore (not with these lyrics).  Tosh, I say this is where they’ve been striving to get for the last two albums and this is excellent.  Even after a few plays I’m easily enjoying it as much as the previous offerings if not more due to the production and songs being a lot tighter.

I’ve not read any of the reviews yet but I’ve seen the comments to the videos released so far and I like it and it would seem so do the punters (those that matter anyway).  Hopefully when all this pandemic strife is sorted and we can get back to live music being a thing I’m sure these songs will take on a new life as they get performed and dissected more by the public as we break them in.

 

Its a pummeling album and songs like ‘Mr. Motivator’ has taken things to the next level without a doubt.  I’m sure reviews will champion them as the soundtrack to the revolution, Well, the likes of the Guardian and Mirror will and The Mail will hate it. Fuck em!  This album is demanding another spin and I’m already liking it a lot “How D’you like them cliches?”.  To be honest,  Idles have managed to create music that is pretty much universally recognisable which is always a bonus and something bands strive to achieve – sure they borrow bits here and there who doesn’t but the magic when they are in full flight is awesome.

Ultimately ‘Ultra Mono’ is a document of its time and a bloody good one at that.  They look destined to get bigger and bigger.  From their Rebellion Festival appearance to their Glasto triumph and now this release and the raft of enormadomes they will play once it’s safe to do so is proof that alternative music is alive and kicking and screaming.

Crack on Idles I love it.  Some will love join me – some just won’t get it and others will shy away because they’re too popular. fuck that if you can’t love ‘Anxiety’ then why not? Talbot hits the nail on the head lyrically and when he states our government does hate the poor he means it but not to be cool or trendy but because it matters and people need to wake up maybe this is the sound of the fightback.

It’s not all crash, bang, wallop mind.  Well, I say that ‘Kill Them With Kindness’ has a polite intro before Talbot barks his best Iggy Pop. ‘Carcinogenic’ has a lovely throbbing bassline as does ‘Reigns’ as they push the envelope a little further again. A dozen songs later and I’m thinking that Idles have penned a classic of its kind it’s easily their best twelve songs thus far (no seriously) Check it out.  Stream it (if you have to) buy it on tape if you’re hip but turn the volume up for others to hear and sing along. ‘Ultra Mono’ might only have just been born but it sounds like a band has grown in stature and become a real force to be reckoned with – alternative music always needs bands like Idles so let’s enjoy them here and now – Buy it!

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Author: Dom Daley