As I recently span the new Restarts record for the first time I was thinking what a great year for new albums 2013 has been so far so I began to fully write out a list. Before the year is out I thought I’d first share my previous couple of years overview as well. I hasten to add there are releases from these years (as any others) I’m still yet to acquire by bands whose previous material I rate highly, not to mention ones I have been recommended and of course the inevitable many I am yet to know of, or the countless I will never ever encounter, such is life.
Here, however, were some of my thoughts on 2011 releases I have dug up and endeavoured to present in a readable fashion. I had considered listing by number, top tens etc. as I have in the past as it can be vaguely useful for the craic to provoke discussion and so forth but of course it can serve to devalue the true motive of listening and responding to music just as somebody asking ‘what’s your favourite novel?’ is simply not getting the point. What an absurdly fruitless question. Similarly, to say an album is the ‘standard by which others are to be measured by’ is something I will never understand. To be fair I often conjure up similar ill-worded platitudes and of course all this is simply due to the difficulty in the limitation of language and it would be facetious to entirely cross your arms when such comments arise. The other person probably merely wants to share and communicate in your ideas and emotional feedback to the given topic. It is lighthearted and fun which is just fine and can lead to deeper contemplation. And how lucky you are to be in such a conversation. I mean to say, you could be sat alone typing your nonsense to yourself instead. eek.waah. shush. I jest.
And before I divert into writing about language for too long, here are my two pennies on several (twenty two in fact) 2011 albums. This is essentially in some regards a recommendations list. I don’t claim that I would or could begin to know what anyone may garner from such reviews, I happen to think it is minimal. I hope only to briefly promote many of the artists’ albums so that some may choose to get hold of (in the physical sense I hasten to add you can’t *choose* to ‘get’ hold of it in the other regard) and so too be moved by the offerings some of these creative minds have presented us with. Hope I don’t ramble too much. So I’ll begin.
Wonk Unit– Trolleys Thank You/ Wonk Unit Saved My Life –
This band is extraordinarily special to me personally for many many reasons I won’t go into here due to both time and space constraints. One day I will write a full account of my adventures going to see them all over London, Birmingham, Oxford, Surrey, Swindon, Bristol, Manchester, Liverpool, Blackpool, even Ireland and beyond and my experience (both externally and internally) of all things Wonk. They have become my good friends and are a sensationally invigorating band to say the least. This second album is as incredible as the first (which is such a classic I’ll have to assume the reader has a copy). An unrivaled British serving of genuine poetry and the fresh unique boundless energy the punk rock circuit has been lacking for so long. An album that escapes being pigeonholed into any typical subgenre, that flows seamlessly yet sticks and lingers in the listeners psyche perpetually. You’ll enjoy Adam (Apostates) on sticks for one half of the album and Duncan (Snuff) on the other providing the splintering backdrop to a heartening collection of gloom and joy that both amuses and distresses invariably. Alex’s consistently astute lyricism is to be chewed on by the ruminative listener, the language transported and interwoven all the while within enduring melodies and gracefully raw punk chord sequences. Or you can just dance around like a tit to them. Covers both moods and provides space for either or a combination of them. Original music yet immediately strangely comfortable even when exploring the most painful of subject material, relationship breakdown (Zara, a more potent version of Los Angeles), loneliness (Running), sobering up (Guts) and beyond. As I said I’ll keep this brief or we will be here hours there is so much to say (but more for the individual to think about and remember). Alex’s songs are often highly personal but what happens to him often happens to you so you will find yourself moved throughout this. Follow the mudkiss link below to an eye opening interview with Alex and listen to the albums yourself. Wonk Unit are down to earth visionaries. The music’s sound is in some ways orthodox punk and yet it intrigues as entirely unheard. Euguene Butcher of Big Cheese magazine sums it up- ”Wonk Unit have managed the almost impossible task of having found their own sound. It’s punk son, but not as we know it.”
Screeching Weasel– First World Manifesto –
Eleven years since the last Screeching Weasel album and Ben Weasel is joined this time by Danny Vapid, Drew Fredrichsen, Justin Perkins (Yesterday’s Kids) and Adam Cargin (Blueheels). I could (and do in the mix of life) muse on each track for some time but just a quick few words here to encourage you to buy this wonderful record. ‘Beginningless Vacation’ is the ballad of a worker’s frustratingly inevitable dream of an impossible life without the daily grind, lifting us into a euphoric state of false release before landing in the uncomfortable consolation ‘at least I have the weekends all to me.’ Like all good poets Ben manages to encapsulate the wonderfully bleak tensions of life, the perceived dreams, impossibilities, injustices, realities, hopes et al swiftly by verse in ridiculous paradoxes, in this case throughout a 2 minute pop punk classic. No song on this release is a boring prescriptive ‘this is what i think’ and none a bland A to B walk. Musically this may be in some regards the usual recognisable Weasel 3 chord Ramones style riffs but nothing about this album could be described as in any way mundane at all. In ‘Come see the violence inherent in the system’ (a nod to Python) Ben takes a cheerful swipe at the smug liberal left by mimicking the chattering classes’ condescending attitudes ”we know whats good for you creeps, things like vinyl and bikes, indie coffee shops and microbrews and LGBT friendly soccer teams!” This is joyous stuff. I can’t think of a track I could overtly dislike at any time (though of course they may/will move me/you differently on varying occasions, this is thoughtful music), this is an absolute belter to me without reservations. Unrequited love songs, sneering at the punk rock elite and everything in between with a great sense of humour all the while, this is the highest intelligence album I’ve heard in ages. Joe Queer and Dr Frank are guest vocals on this fantastic record that you really should get from Fat Wreck Chords as soon as possible.
Captain Hotknives– I Hate Babies –
Another awesome CD from good old Chris. Bradford folk story telling unlike any other. He’s an artist who can pack out small south east london pubs or large Blackpool halls alike and inevitably wins over whole audiences sometimes most of whom may never have heard of him (seen this happen before). His marvelous wit is so captivating due to the truth in the often grim experiences described, that is, the material is inescapably hilarious and intended to amuse but this is no ‘act’ or aping of the darker areas explored, the man is simply telling it how it has been for him. Hotknives speaks from what he knows. It is funny yes and many songs are deliberately comic but is not a ‘comedy act,’ if you think that you’re not quite getting it. But never mind. What a top bloke. Always fascinating to catch up with and chat to, I have had great times talking nonsense about anything and nothing and everything in a particular graveyard in Gloucester with him for instance but I won’t go down those roads today. This newest album can be yours for £5/6 on the site linked below or at gigs and contains premier sing alongs such as the priceless title track and of course the epic cautionary tale ‘Safety Is Important.’ Take the advice-
Bomb The Music Industry!– Vacation –
Effortlessly beautiful composition. The usual Btmi intriguing use of a stirring wealth of sounds, imagery and poetry unabashed in it’s understanding of the struggle to be human, the impossible ease and the easy impossibility. Yak yak yak yak. A mournfully uplifting journey of sorts. A band that always employs such a variety of instruments (on this album- Guitars, Bass, Drums, Banjo, Trombone, Mandolin, Synthesizer, Glockenspie, Keyboard..) and audible programming techniques yet still manages to have everything simply in place and straightforwardly accessible (that word is overused and often misplaced but I think you follow). As Billy Childish reminds us -you can do alot of things to appear original and perverse but you don’t eat soup with a fork cos it doesn’t work (paraphrased). Btmi resonate a silly unique quirk but with Billy’s words in mind to me that is simply doing what feels natural to them and sounds natural to me, that is, nothing appears forced or contrived in terms of banal gimmick. No, this is authentic, plain and rare. A band that reeks of what I am fond of referring to as deadly playfulness. Indeed a band that recognises or rather *feels* what it is doing (*creating*) is not a nice nugget of quaintness or merely a decoration to existence but rather a necessity embedded in our collective narrative and imagination. Seriously fun, serious and heart-wrenching stuff. I’m not even going to comment on specific lyrics or music here or much of anything in fact (I’m not very good at these reviews am I?). I just hope you believe my sincerity in suggesting this album *and* band (not minus!-see what I did there?) and give this many listens. Suffice to say I love this album and this band. Maybe you do as well? Oh you do. Good. Let’s be friends. Oh no? Well, don’t forget-”The shit that you hate don’t make you special.” Smile sometimes.
Corporate Hearts– S/T –
The Philadelphia brothers Craig and Zack have blown the vast majority of acoustic bands I’ve heard of late out the water with this debut. I first became aware of Craig’s solo efforts in 2007 or 2008 and interviewed him for a zine I was collaborating on at the time. I remember instantly loving the way he took British folk influences and blended them with his obvious appreciation of America’s Gaslight Anthem and other favourite bands native to the US to create his own brave form of story telling. He had a wonderful ballad- ‘Last of the romantics’ and in 2010 he formed this acoustic two piece who certainly wear their heart on their sleeves. This band is Craig with his brother Zack who was previously in ‘This Business Is Killing Me’ as well. Many UK heads will fairly likely either have heard of them through me or another degree of separation of my urging as I am often to be found spreading word of these guys round the islands thick and fast so more ears may get involved in this uniquely bold American acoustic sound (particularly when unimaginative people are extolling the whiney grating ‘Blackbird Raum’ or woefully lacking in ideas ‘Ghost Mice’). The opening track of this is a classic drinking ode ”I’m throwing you up today and leaving on my own…I only did what my body told me to do” a heartfelt acceptance of personal failure is acknowledged ”no way to treat whats left of my friends” and we witness the attempt to reconnect with companions old in ‘Talkin bout friends forever’ ”we had nothing to say but we talked all night anyway.” ‘You Are My Biggest Fan’ challenges self-important punk celebrity egos disdain for the average punter ”you blow off your fans who listen to every word you say.” In a perfectly British paradox, as a proud supporter of corporate hearts in the cheeky hope that they won’t treat me as the character in the song treats his fans, (and indeed as a stupid ego myself) of course I felt the need to get the song title inked on my bum cheek so as to display to my own endearing fans and other fellow creatures when I in turn perform solo music/poetry gigs (amongst other times). Ho ho ho. But that’s that. ’21 is the new 65′ is cheerfully rousing in healing old wounds through active creativity and solid friendship”it’s alright that she never replied when I reached out to her, so i set my alarm for 7.30 prepared to wake up for it, one year before i never would’ve gotten out of bed..through the side walk to the backyard…burning the fuses at both ends..” ‘5 year Plan’ both charts the electric (or not) highs and lows of playing (or not) on the DIY punk circuit and simultaneously underlines the true innovative minds of the brothers, the compulsion, the need for them to do what they do as opposed to a ‘want’ or superficial desire for fame or cash.. ”and we drove home in the van in total silence but even then it never felt like we were losing hope…by the end of the summer some of us were chasing something, most of us were home by winter, but afew of us kept running.” And long may they continue running. Not that I have any doubt that they will. Alas I suspect it is not simply a simple choice for them (the sighing interjection beginning the sentence here to imply the inevitable malady of abandoning the pen/guitar, if you follow). This is a sublime debut recording that avoids the trappings of the lame stereotypical ‘folk punk’ fashionable sub-genre that seems to have become the must imitate formula of anybody who likes punk and has an acoustic guitar. I urge you to get hold of this more imaginative music, spread the word and send them a helpful donation if you are in a position to do so.
World/Inferno Friendship Society– The Anarchy and the Ecstasy –
Absolutely ingenious songwriting possibly even surpassing that found in Red Eyed Soul which was the last I got by them (still need to pick up the Peter Lorre one). For those who haven’t heard World/Inferno it’s extremely hard to paint the picture sufficiently. A molten amalgamation of soul, punk, jazz, ska, folk and everything in between building a weirdly decadent avant-garde story telling of sorts. Jack Terricloth who has fronted the collaboration since 1996 when it set out has described the World/Inferno sound as ”the music of the joy of your heart breaking…with a riot going on outside…everything is going to be ok even though everything is terribly wrong.” Sounds about right to me. Whilst the characteristic groups vocals and blasting horns are to be found this is overall far more poised to steady melancholic reflections rather than the booming cabaret stadium fillers typical of previous albums. The sorrowful progress of ‘The Politics Of Passing Out’ saddened me considerably and made me most grateful. I love the piano and vocals on this record. See what you feel. Take it on the chin. This tour de force is out on The Bouncing Souls’ own Chunksaah records-
Bangers– Small Pleasures –
I would say the first track is definately just the fear talking. But that’s ok. The music carries the tightrope of the anxiety well. Great grand great opener. This is a band I’m willing to travel far to see and do so. I hadn’t caught them since London and Surrey dates afew years ago but since caught up in Cheltenham and Bristol several times and pleased they’re still producing this kind of raw gutsy pop punk. The full throttle abruptness of the guitar riffs propels some beautifully crafted stanzas forward. If Wiz’s ‘Awkward Kid’ was the blurb then Bangers are still writing, living the trilogy and making sure we’re all (un)comfortable for the ride. It’s another courageous record from the Cornish chaps touching on all matter of the absurdities of the modern situation, ‘Integral Faults’ mourns certain transgressions ”I wish just once I had a bed that didn’t squeak or a door that blocked the sound out” while contradictorily being obsessed with ‘function function function.’ Church Street sees the soulless neo-liberal uniform commodification of the British high street and sends a unambiguous pithy message to the rampant consumerism on display ”the last thing I need is any more things.” Irritants is superb in numerous ways. When ”Is there any worth in playing games with words?” is asked I wonder if Roo has considered that this is of course all we can do with language in the first place not that it belittles or should depress anything about life or communication at all? Excellent and very absorbing LP with supreme punk musicianship. Seeing as Dude Trips was technically a compilation of previous splits and so on you could say this is actually their first full album as well when you think about it. Blimey. 10 fine Bangers from Bangers. Thoroughly recommended.
UK Subs– Work In Progress –
The Subs have put out over 50 albums and you would’ve thought the caliber would have to be suffering but you couldn’t be more wrong. The legendary Charlie Harper has been come to be known as the Godfather of punk and for good reasons. This album is reminiscent of earlier classics but maintains a fresh edge from the scorching ‘Hell Is Other People’ to the anthemic ‘Rock n Roll Whore.’ These guys albeit a different line up were the first really well known of the early punk bands still relentlessly putting out albums and touring I saw at age 13 and always still one of the most hard working entertaining authentic performances you can go to and see any year which is why I regularly trek round the country to catch them. Frankly I always have a good time, it’s standard energised and formulaic (though varied enough) punk done smashingly and sometimes that’s enough. There’s a Sonics cover and Lars Fredrickson collaboration amongst the track list here and everything is straight forward no frills subs as you’d expect. As usual with Charlie there’s actually occasionally some really good poetry that could be missed by those who aren’t listening as close as perhaps they should be, myself for one. This is out on Captain Oi go buy it now if you like. Very much approved.
Smokey Bastard– Tales From The Wasteland –
Celtic style punk infused folksters return. Been a long time listener and watcher try catch them live as much as possible from the old line up to the new one along the way, Brighton, Bristol, Reading, Cambridge, Manchester and Blackpool they always bring terrifically exciting energy and superb song writing to the stage and stereo. Wasteland is a great album to my ears. I love the acapella tunes as well as the traditional (Mong Some Hoof). Mongrel is an exceptional chorus. These guys have technically extremely skilled and honed musical ability, as well as a whimsical sense of care free and delightful mischief (that doesn’t stray into hippy land thankfully). Yuppie Dracula is ridiculously catchy thanks to the sharp mandolin lead executed with top precision. Unfortunately the title track they’d already been playing for a while (about their hometown Reading) is a little too Flogging molly for some who have told me it’s chord structure is too close to Drunken lullabies and they can’t listen to it without irritation. I confess I hadn’t noticed and am yet to fully check whether this argument holds up, I actually think it not too vital or interesting but anyway the newer material on this release was what really excited me. Aspirations is a heartfelt pop-punk chronicle concerning stifled male ambition. Sound wise it’s not to dissimilar from PJ & Gaby but with a huge backing band and wicked sense of humour. Ex fiddle player Sophie Crabtree does guest vocals on the romantic Dear Mol (I like the bit where she calls him a wanker), and the languid Bad Reception is a touch of brilliance. The album closes with a grand Abba cover (Mamma Mia) unmatched only by Raw Poo’s version and of course the original but still great fun. Overall the 2009 propping up the floor was stronger for my personal taste as a whole but Wasteland has specific amazing blinders on it that make it equally worth many rotations on your CD player. An essential purchase from Bomber-
Booze & Glory– Trouble Free –
Following on from 2010s ‘Always on the Wrong Side’ this second album keeps up the great anthemic London (london irish and polish origin) no holds barred oi. Classic skinhead themes throughout, football (the hammers specifically), work, reggae, laughing off cyber warrior punk police, drinking, even romance in ‘My Girl’ where Mark gives acknowledgment to Sparrer ”it’s not a crime that even tough guys need someone sometimes” etc. and indeed B&G take the baton after the aforementioned heroes in style, skill and passion. This is one of the tightest street punk bands around at the moment and like their first one this album is packed with consistently great sing alongs the highlight for me being the raging workers classic ‘Always left behind’ where guitarist Liam (ex-Neck banjo wielder) takes on vocal duties fantastically. Strongly suggest all UK folk pick it up this ace contribution from Step 1 music or at a gig.
Mischief Brew- The Stone Operation –
I’ll assume the reader is familiar with the back story of Mischief Brew and their sounds- a mix of labour union protest folk music and anarchistic carnivalesque punk borrowing from a variety of traditions and keep this short in saying that simply this is the sixth full length album from Erik Peterson’s folk project and the best in many ways. Eleven well developed songs that are astounding in creating and recounting a variety of moods and journeys. For one I was overjoyed to finally hear a studio recording of ‘Stuffs Weird’ a romantic tune quite unlike anything they have really ever played before save perhaps Punx Win. Songs like A Lawless World and Pompous-Ass Manifesto are almost straight up raging punk rock at times but with the varying rhythms blended keep them within the realm of the homespun beer fueled circus/swing wantonness that is typical of their music. On The Sly is reminiscent of the better days of the Levellers but seems punchier by a long way. Finally striped down folk refrains such as Nevada and Home Stretch are much welcome end of the night singalongs. The barrels are empty again. If you like your folk off the beaten track with a rowdy punk ethos but respect to traditional form you’ll need look no further. Peterson oversees a fine mix of percussion switching tempos from rapid reels to be swept up in to the unhurried choruses of boozey welcoming brotherhood (Three Chord Circus). Many bands attempt to embarrassingly mimic MB but the less said about all that the better. Love them and intend to get to America to watch them one day as I missed the time they came to the UK due to a series of blunders. But anyhow definately encourage people to get this, it’s out on Erik’s own fistolo records-
Claypigeon– Time Won’t Cease –
Those who have been watching this band for previous years will first notice the absence of trombone as the opener ‘Circles’ forgoes its previous intro section (The White EP 2007). To be fair the trombones been gone a while and I’m really lax on knowing the details but Claypigeon for a while had problems with injury, changing line ups and other commitments etc which meant I’d catch them sporadically in pubs and squats in London circa 2008/9 but personally I never saw enough of them. Now they are back for good with a solid line up and continued gigging presence and this is to be welcomed without reservation. Unlike contemporaries the ridiculously over rated Skints and Dirty Revolution (in the sense of the level of undeserved praise that is heaped upon them not the amount of people who like them, I am not one of these crusty puritans who dislike bands for the sole reason they are popular, how ignorantly immature (e.g. I love Green Day), indeed I really enjoyed Skints first ep for example they are good just not as good as it is claimed), Claypigeon are yet to have found the same audience in numbers as and for the life of me I can’t work out why and in many ways hope to see that change. Their music is far more original, varied, interesting and reflective not to mention fun to experience. It is good to hear champion beat boxer Reeps One their good friend collaborating on this record as he used to in their old acoustic set up as Squab. Claypigeon blend punk, ska, metal, beat boxing, hip-hop, rock, whatever they can blend and utilise. The overwhelming atmosphere is young mates having a great time being creative together. Art for it’s own sake. It’s as authentically simple and brilliant as that. Top band doing their own inventive thing. Highlights for me- Brickwall, Down I Go, Go Play Nice and the witty poem on track 8 of course and a rabbit please. If you have the money and like them why not buy all their CDs-
Caves– Homeward Bound –
A good entertaining first full length of punk pop from Bristol’s Caves. This album has great energy, catchy riffs and plenty of harmonies and whoooas to keep the punters singing along (I’m almost tempted to cover Nofx’s woah on the woahs with the revised lyrics- ”between Caves and Apologies i have none I don’t think we need anyone else to have sung any more wooahs we hate wooahs” etc.etc,), this is at times a thoroughly enjoyable LP/CD. It’s got a certain familiar fairly twee particular type of Americanised sound alot of UK bands seem to be going for right now and this will simply not be for everyone. But just as many bands who stay close music genre wise to a particular sub genre be it ’77 punk’ oi’ or ‘american ska punk’ or the kind of music Caves play it is of course easy to laugh at and be cynically clever and ironic about but this is largely pointless and you will be missing out on what you can get from many a band through boring stubborn arrogance. Often your willingness to categorise and caricature a band (as many other things) to spurn them for whatever reasons far exceeds the actual reality of what the band is doing even if they may have a familiar genre sound. In any case I must say this stuff escapes becoming irritating as some similar bands can due to Lou’s sound song writing about personal issues, she has an undeniable raw passion throughout from the high pace melodic chorus ‘The Mess I Made’ to the sober acoustic ‘Bad Weather’ there is a resounding commitment from this three piece that refuses to be overlooked. Good show the live the times I’ve seen them and definately worth a listen. Will be interesting to see what they do next.
Kate Bush– 50 Words For Snow –
For a while it’s been custom at punk gigs for some of my ridoinkulous associates and I to heckle ‘Play some Kate Bush’ at bands who are boring us or who we wish to annoy for whatever reason (normally because they are our mates rubbish bands and it’s all in good humour). This started at a psychobilly show at The Gaff (RIP) in North London afew years back and like most daftly magical moments of hilarity I encounter it was started by my good buddy Bricket. Some people can’t get on board with his off key humour (an extensive list of troublesome encounters is due for another day) but I personally fucking love it. The even stupider thing is we actually both love Kate Bush. Me probably more seriously than him. I’ve been a fan since my teens (I was a grammar school loser etc). But seriously I’ve generally found most bright people have time for her Bushy goodness. Or I’m saying that to big myself up and truthfully to like her makes me as sad as my Dad rekons it does? There’s a great moment though where John Lydon collects an award in 2001 at ‘Q’ awards and shouts down to Kate ”I love you to death your music is fucking brilliant…we are worthy” bowing down in a playful Waynes World style moment and probably rightly dismissing many of the rest of the artists (or so-called artists depending) present that always amused me (alot of the time such events are populated by people who produce sounds more to do with what sells or maybe more accurately people who have been manipulated into doing so and sounds have been manufactured and molded primarily for cash outcome rather than what actually has good content and music for it’s own sake). Similarly, my English literature teacher in secondary school, a great intelligent man who used to sit and mark papers after school while blasting The Clash, (and in other news was spotted once drunk in a pub telling random members of the public to tuck their shirts in) once said to me, ”I won’t have a bad word said against Kate Bush,” a mantra I carry forward to this day. Oh yea, about the album. Buy it.
Monkish– You Can’t Polish A Turd –
Raucous fun from these London pathetique punks. You may already know them by their live shows, if so there’s nothing unexpected here. It won’t be a CD you play alot but a good reminder of why they’re well worth going to see when they’re about. It’d be easy to dismiss these jokers (not that they’d particularly give a fuck I imagine) and you do need to be in the right mood to fully enjoy it as with contemporaries of this kind of stuff i.e. Bus Station Loonies, Kunt & The Gang, Arse Full Of Chips etc. but when you are it can be great. I say buy the album help support them to do what they do best- live displays of 3 chord chaotic madness with favourites such as ‘D-List Celebrity Stalker,’ ‘Please Don’t Piss In My Microwave’ and the hilarious ‘Shit Cunt’ keeping you creasing. While not as clever or witty as Splodge, not as deliberately offensive a laugh as The Macc Lads, or as anthemic as The Pork Dukes, Monkish still carry on the kind of crass non PC humour that has always remained in one form or another throughout the decades of punk bands and I for one am glad. Bound to irritate po-faced crusties everywhere. Bargain. Unlike ’17p For A Freddo?- Get FUCKED.’
New Town Kings– M.O.J.O. –
This second installment from New Town Kings is a big improvement from the debut 2007 release ‘Sound Of The New Town.’ The Colchester Ska 9 piece have benefited from the subsequent years gigging and have come up with a more well rounded album. Whereas the previous effort to me felt more like afew stand out tracks with some filler, this new record unchangingly pleases. First saw these guys headline on the Friday of North London punx picnic in 2009 and was well impressed so keep coming back for more gigs when and where I can. That full lively sound I get from their shows is captured as well as it can be on a studio record here. This is proper ska. Oh by the way the title stands for Music Of Jamaican Origin. In case you wondered. Yea. I’m full of interesting facts, not just an ugly face and all that. I politely suggest that you obtain this CD, it can be bought from Bomber Music or at the band’s gigs. Good. Yes. Good.
The Spartan Dreggs– Forensic RnB –
There were some other albums released with merit I purchased this year of course and I will rattle through them as typing is becoming too frustrating at this time, (really don’t like being in front of screen too long)- Billy Childish’s latest incarnation The Spartan Dreggs (who are the same but different than Vermin Poets if you follow ahem)- Forensic RnB, not one of Childish’s finest groups but reasonably enjoyable all the same. They’re no MBEs or Buff Medways. Damaged Goods for this one of course-
Wegrowbeards– Gunpowder Treason and Plot –
Haven’t seen Fun Alf’s Dork town punx since 2009 good to see they’re still going and this is a decent first physical release, with lyrical lashings of English history. It’s got some folk to it, some nice melodies, some straight up good punk. It’s alright, yea. I got a pencil and badges with mine.
The Indelicates– David Koresh Superstar –
Saga of a musical concept album. Guess what it’s to do with. Didn’t move this listener much, I’d rather they got back to what they do best (see the first two albums). I suppose that was the trouble in naming it an album from The Indelicates. Perhaps it should’ve just been released under another band name so the simple lay man such as myself didn’t continue comparing the incomparable that were not (I’d guess) intended to be on the same tram lines. Ho hum. Love Indelicates mind, serious shame not many people I know have discovered them. Go listen.
Stand Out Riot– The Gentleman Bandits –
Manchester ska punk yoofs give us their energetic second full length. It’s all good clean fun. I suppose they’ve got to get music out there to spread the word and it’s nice to have something solid to be proud of and show the grand kids but you won’t be playing this CD much unless this genre brand of Americanised ska punk is your personal favourite. I don’t wish to come across dismissive, I like the band. I just mean, the new CD, it’s hardly anywhere near as fun as going to see the 6 piece jump about live (particularly the beautiful ladies says this observer). That’s where this young band really yearn to be (playing gigs) and provided you’re in an agreeable mood it’s very nice to have a wee bop with them. Seen great performances by them in Manchester a couple of times, Blackpool, London afew places. Very talented, hard working and friendly bunch. I’ve bought up all their records to support them and TNS records and encourage you to do likewise.
Bon Iver– S/T –
Bon Iver’s self titled album wasn’t his best shall we say, far weaker than the first one and not even as good as the Blood Bank ep but it had some good moments. Yea I like him so I invite your cynical bottom to fucking sue me.
Zounds– The Redemption Of –
First full length release since their original Curse Of (81). I just found this was pretty embarrassing for them however many times I played it looking for the promised gold within. I mean to say there was afew decent songs, (Roadside Attraction and er one of them other ones), but quite a let down in total I found. For some reason I kept getting the image of a camp Bowie look alike in my head swaying and pointing his finger at me mouthing the ‘deep’ political lyrics cynically. No I don’t know why either. The album was slow in more ways than one. Steve Lake just sounds bored as if he doesn’t really want to be doing this, as if he knows that whatever they chuck out the established crusty fan base will lap up regardless of it’s actual content merely because they are Zounds, were on Crass records and were ‘there’ back in ‘the day.’ This kind of attitude doesn’t wash when the Vibrators ask you for big money for a ticket for the ‘chance’ to see ‘them’ (Knox no longer even there), so why would it here just because these are ‘anarcho’ sorts? Lame. On a more positive note I felt afew of the songs could be really useful for a film or theatrical score not that that suggestion would likely impress them or their die hard supporters as a response, sorry my brain forces my hand on this one, honestly it didn’t work on it’s own *as an album* for me whatsoever. Sounded laboured and lazy.
2012 and 2013 album reviews next up…