(prison042-2) MCD/10" June 2001
Now here's a band and singer who really knows how to go for the jugular. The Spades belt out in your face, frantic, 3-chord hardcore punk by numbers. But with a singer on permanent heat who has a thing about getting it up with anything that moves or wears pigtails!!!! From the opening salvo of the debauched 'Friday Night' it's straight forward, heads down, no messing good time punk. With big chunky guitars, thrashing drums and booming bass. The raspy singer who excels in hyperactivity is obviously the biggest draw on their premature odes to shooting your load. Bet he sweats like a pig on stage too ha! Mr Spade will either have you laughing out loud at his love pearls of wisdom, especially if you gotta sensa yuma. Or for all the feminists out there he'll definitely get yer screaming for a ban or his balls on a platter before you can chant "equal rights". There's no lyrics, no info and no pix, which is probably a lucky escape? But they sound very American? Of the 6 tracks on offer you do suss out it's early 80's styled punk with a GBH feel on tracks like 'Gasoline'. You know what? I get the feeling the Spades don't care who they emulate or rip-off just as long as they get some snatch at the end of the night. And with titles like 'Gotta Get Some', 'Cock In My Pocket' and 'Fuck Around' you know where they're hoping to crash tonight. 'Friday Night' ain't the best red blooded punk on the block and it certainly ain't the worse either. But 6 tracks is just about the right quota in one session before any real harm is done. So file under loud mouthed, gutter punk along with as much tact as a Northern Alliance prison guard. WORTH A LISTEN I Used To Fuck People Like You In Prison Records available from Century Media Mail-order
(EMI records) CD April 2001
This is the album Zonophone (EMI) should've put out all of 20 years ago!!!! But due to EMI's utter lack of respect for raw talent and management hassles (check out 'Over The Balcony' coz revenge is sweet and funny), the Stiffs were criminally overlooked. The whole sorry tale is spelt out in the fateful 'Nothing To Lose'. Moving on 2 decades and at last EMI finally let the public hear one of their finer hidden gems stashed away in some dusty vault. The Stiffs were a band much held in high regard from their fanatical army of local fans and new ones picked up along the way via impressive 45's and lively gigs. So why no push or bigger claim to fame compared with less articulate punk outfits? Just listen to 'Standard English', immortalised on here, for the reason why. Y'see northern lads were deemed inferior by London bigwigs who'd rather sell
a less talented bunch of oiks from Chelsea or Camden. But this album demonstrates geographically as well as stereophonically that there was a rapid pulse beating outside the metropolis! 'Innocent Bystanders' is a more streamlined CD than the earlier, impressive Captain Oi release. Coz we get just 16 great blasts of raw punk power, that makes for a great debut now or then. The 2 extra inferior demo version tracks might've been improved on with the inclusion of 'Chelsea Girls' or 'Yer Under Attack'. But let's not get ficcle here ha! Ever wanted to know what that much touted description 'power chords' sounded like in real time? Well put this fucker on and you'll hear for yourself! This CD is one of the few examples of it in real action. The Stiffs could harness that power and strap beefy tunes to it's volatile back with ease. This album puts the 'power chord' ghost to rest. Maybe the word melodic lulls you into a false sense of security coz The Stiffs are a band who had that too. But we ain't talking no pansys hiding behind a brickwall production. Oh no, their tunes were packed full of dynamite inside the studio booth as well as on stage. Take the rampaging 'Volume Control' for evidence. In fact, we are inundated with classic Stiffs like 'Innocent Bystander' (bycicle vandals), 'Magic Roundabout', 'Brookside Riot Squad' plus a couple of newies. This album is the Stiffs at their best....cocked, loaded and playing atmospheric punk rock. And is proven by a lot of newer punks discovering this band for the first time,
better late than never! WORLD CONTENDER Comes in a colorful glossy booklet detailing the full bloodied story. My only regret
is no lyrics included, but you get an added bonus of a heart to heart interview with the much respected Stiffs leader Phil Hendriks, spilling the goods to local Blackburn fan and Pistols author Alan Parker. The Stiffs
SEEIN RED/HUMAN ALERT
(mass20017) Split 45 2001
This is an unusual 45 featuring two of Hollands highly rated punk outfits by Brezhnev themselves. So not well known outside their native country I suspect but a good taster of whats going on on the streets. Human Alert do it in English and Seein Red go Dutch. The Dutch side has humour and comedy soundbites added to each track. Which I must say goes over my head, as I ain't gotta clue what the cracks are? But you can tell it's something amusing. And the songs about punk, bikes, fascists and other stuff? are delivered in a no messing fast blitzing hardcore pace. Seein Red seem to be playing as though their lives depended on it!!! A novel idea as you get both bands playing their own takes on each others songs. So maybe gives it a strange twist too. Gotta say I prefer the Human Alert sound given a choice. It's got a geat beefy rough guitar sound that's by far the bands biggest weapon. And especially on 'PC Not' which brings to mind a sort of a cross between early Black Flag/ Posers sound. The songs are more diverse too, which makes em more addictive. Especially the lead breaks on the anthemic 'C Red'. But actually these are Seein Red songs!!! So who really knows? Well my final conclusion in this mixed up review is Seein Red songs with a Human Alert sound is a great thing to hear. So each band has it's merits. Comes in good foldout sleeve with lyrics and band info. WORTH A LISTEN MadSkull Records
'Everything Went Brown'
(mad20001) CD 2001
These are presumably the American version of the Macc Lads. Even the Industrial black hole vocals would be similar if Mutley had lived in Georgia, US. Stool Sample deliver their payload in a humid, sweaty hardcore fashion. They've got big beer-guts, gruff vocals and a big 'shitty' hang-up. It's all shat out by the stumpy and brown fingered bass player Rotger Rotgut. The guy who's so full of shit he writes songs about it. 'Everything Went Brown' is one major motion concerning his bodily functions and where they end up. The other big eruptions in Rotgers life is beer and women. And girls...you get shit on in every breath! From sticking your tongue up his arse, to him breaking into your arse without permission! It's all here. A trio of drunk, misogynist wind breakers playing hardcore punk ain't a pretty sight! But I doubt this will get heard by girls unless they're dragged to the stereo screaming. This is macho-rama territory. But falls short only just of
G.G. Allen, these farts merely growl about shit instead of eating it. Although that could be wishful thinking. Stool Sample have just enough sleaze in em to make em the envy of the local football team. And their humour is pretty restricted to the jock rock appeal of sweaty dressing rooms or the local biker club. It's obvious The Macc Lads or Deritas Sisters who do this a lot better had/have something more. But these pebble dashers just blast it out! To be fair if most of the 24 tracks were pretty gruff sounding anal tracts with the basic tongue in cheek (tee hee) lyrics. Then they would be an colossal bore! But If you can pinch your nose for one second and forget the barrack room shockers for one minute, you do get the odd shiny gem lying amongst their fly infested turds. Take the pounding drum based 'Jerk Off Grandpa' which is a particularly good piss-take. Or the very clever cover of Soft Cells 'Tainted Love'. This really pulls it off (pardon the pun) and caused the biggest rumble on this album. And it's their rare ability to produce a good tune when you least expect it that gives em some leeway. As the fast as fuck 'Used And Abused' which had a Chaos UK skid mark secreted all over it proved. Plus the strange inclusion of a kazoo! Half way through the album they take a more metallic path in sound. Mainly due to guitarist Cholo who does his best with Rotger Rotgut to resurrect the spirit of Suicidal Tendencies, on the catchy 'Death On The Inside'. They then deliver the funny 'Suck My Dick' as a their best sing-a-long. But unless you got a Lemmyesque vocal and a constant trickle of tunes to go with the diarrhea. Your up shit creek. We wanna see more of Rotgers obvious vocal variation which made 'Everything Went Brown' a lot more interesting than the average dump. Definitely not one for the PC crowd but this could prove a cult hit amongst the bog standard fraternity. WORTH A LISTEN Mad Skull Records
US CHAOS/STATCH & THE RAPES
'We Are Your Enemy'
(prr(s)-1057) Split 45 2001
Split 45''s are pretty common in today's punk scene, but rare to come across 2 tracks that grab yer by the balls and underline the reasons you stuck with punk all this time. 'We Are Your Enemy' has been glued to my stereo ever since it arrived! First up are US Chaos who daub in big, thick, black indelic ink why they're important. They recorded this track way back in 1982! A week before the Misfits stuck down their debut album 'Walk Among Us' (in the very same studio too). So it's got a history and an atmosphere curtsey of Mr Munsch's knob twiddling. US Chaos deliver a mid-paced monster in 'Blame It On Sam'. And its a gem of a song and everything good punk rock is or should be. It's got power chords, tunes and a singer who can actually keep it interesting in a snidey kinda way, which I like a lot. Good news is they just reformed and have an album of tracks just like this...begging to be released. So any labels out there get your arse over to New Jersey pronto! Flip it over and you encounter Portland's very own Statch And The Rapes, immortalised in these very pages elsewhere. They ain't quite in the league of US Chaos for power, but these punks intend to put that right with time. They're from here and now and improve every time I hear em! 'Where Ya Goin Now' has got that early 80's youthful punk taunt written all over it in big offensive letters. And the rabble are led by Statch on the snotty vocal front ...."well this is America and to hell with you!" He's coming on in leaps 'n' bounds in the "fuck you!" stakes. And the more the merrier is all I can say. These ain't just yobbo's though, coz their song structures are getting a lot more bolder give or take the odd bum note ha!. Still simple but highly addictive fuzzy guitars make a mess. And it's all going on above a noxious upbeat rhythm track to conclude their misdemeanours. 'Where Ya Goin Now' is another taster from the band who have their debut album out very soon, I hope? Can't fucking wait!!! Both these tracks were recorded or remixed (all be it in different decades) by Marty Munsch. He's New Jersey's answer to Dave Goodman so cheers to Marty who kindly thrust this slab in my hands. WORLD CONTENDER
'Bad Teeth #1' CD Summer 2001
Fucking hell this brings back memories. It's the first release of the 'Bad Teeth' section. And includes a sniff of the massive 20,000 records stored in the vaults of Chuck Warner's Hyped2death empire. Dunno why it's R-S instead of A-B?...so ask Chuck about that? But if you ever wondered what the smaller clutch of bands in the gut of UK/Irish punk scenes circa 77-82 were like? Then this is the best place to start. Some of the 30 tracks on this comp. ain't seen the light of day since Sid was still on trial for murder and school ties were the ultimate punk fashion accessory. Bad Teeth #1 is a sussed collection of old school punk bought to us on CD and without a crackle in range! What I like best about this collection is it proves just how diverse punk rock was all those years ago. So if you thought I was lying all this time, just take a listen to some of these bands and you'll see why. No big names to spoil the fun either, although Rubella Ballet and their Ants inspired 'Something To Give' (82), Ruefrex with a surreal 'Don't Panic' (79), or The Satellites and 'Two Steps Forward' (80) - all managed to secure minor interest in the national music press at the time. However the rest are pretty much unsung heroes from a bygone age. An age when Punk rock was 4 hours of studio time and enough energy to plant 4 tracks of spunk onto the tapes. Or when the local disenchanted rock band seen a punk bandwagon in town and tried their hand at a piece of the action (see Razar's - 'Idol Rich' (78) for proof!) We also get the nieve Surgeons and their terribly sung, but hysterically funny 'Sid Never Did It' (80), that has gotta be heard to be believed. Riff Raff boasted a young Billy Bragg in their lineup and 'I wanna Be A Cosmonaut' (78) gives us a Lurkers type of sing-a-long. The School Ties from Hitchen sound snotty enough to gob for England on 'No Future' (80), even with the added sub-Stranglers keyboards. Another band with an unknown star in their midst was the Showbiz Kids who featured Olga from the soon come Toy Dolls on guitar. Good to hear The Skunks again and was one of this albums highlights for pure hooks with their moody 'Good From The Bad' (78). Snottiest track however comes from Harlow's Spelling Misteaks and their bath time masterpiece 'Rubber Duck' (79). The grubby Schoolgirl Bitch from Surrey have an early Malcolm Owen sound alike on vocals. We are then treated to public schoolboys the Samples and their stiff upper lip 'I got Rabies' (80). Liverpool's Spitfire Boys boasted Siouxsie's Bo (Budgie) on drums, but he takes a back seat to the classic 70's vocalization and rifferama of 'Mein Kampf' (78). Hard to believe the singer ends up as Paul Rutherford of Frankie Goes To Hollywod fame...what a waste! We are then subjected to one chord wonders Stench from Wolverhampton who sing about 'Nonces' (82) in prison. Their singer later turned up gobbing off on some punk web site?!!! The Suspects return with their deadpan 'Nothing To Declare' from down the Vortex in 1977. The best is left till last and we get that pre-vegetarian classic, John Peel acclaimed and TV advert inspired 'Wots For Lunch, Mom' (78) by the brilliant Shapes. Not really a duff track on here and definitely worth gettin just hear yet again that standard bearer of 77 punk....the police siren in the closing instrumental track of Kid Rogers & The Henchmens - 'Getaway'. Comes with some well informative band background sleeve notes on all the culprits involved too.
MERE DEAD MEN
'United We Stand' (HSI25) CD 2001
Been a long 3 year wait for this, Mere Dead Men's 3rd and I think best album. That old saying "a good wine matures with age" springs to mind. But it's rarely true in punk bands today. Cuz thankfully that can't be said of Liverpool's M.D.M.. They're one punk band who with the lapse of time just seem to get better and better. This 17 tracker boasts punk rock in the truest form. It's got a wide variety of styles imaginatively imprinted onto this stylish album. Lots of diversity mean lots of passion with M.D.M.. After all It's their calling card. And delivered with Mandy's extensive and powerful vocal range it's a hit. Check out the committed and proud 'Own Worst Enemy'. Next up is the atmospheric drum led 'Centre Of Attention' that has the kind of "matter of fact" feeling of early Penetration. It's introduced with a bass driven rhythm track that runs through your head like a madman. And it owns probably the best guitar breaks on the album. They lure us to the grand finale chorus. Great track and one of my favourites. If you want some rapid in your face punk numbers, they're here too. M.D.M. can flip their coin with ease via songs like ultra angry 'F + M' and 'Kill The Trash'. They also have a wicked sensa yuma that's on show via the quirky local boozer tribute 'Peter Brown'. Another track was the intriguing 'Soap Opera Queen'. Strange one this with the telephone line vocals that remind me of the Buggles 'Video Killed The Radio Star'? Back down to earth with '1984' that points out with loving tenderness the stupid and sometimes hilarious comments ex-punks seem to spout. Especially when you bump into em in the pub. Conclusion; Ex-punks make disastrous role models! I've always liked the way M.D.M. can create songs that deal with life on the street or day to day without going through the same punk by numbers approach. M.D.M. are proud punks!!! And so they should be, they've been doing it long enough. So it was good to see one of their old stage favourites 'Destiny' getting a 21st century makeover. And Mandy's son, Connor makes his recording debut by doing the intro. 'Clouded View' gives us the more personnel touch. It's a view of broken relationships. But don't fret dear punk cuz this is a real perspective, which makes a change from the poppy punkers who always seem to get it so wrong! Suitably listed as track 13, 'Friday' is fast becoming my most favoured M.D.M. song of their modern set. And is a rumbling celebration of the weekend escape. Which is sadly fast becoming another thing of the past. Great lyrics, addictive arrangements. Good supporting backing vocals too supplied by Rob the guitarist that have an X feel to em!!! 'Tittle Tattle' spotlights inter band rivalries and gives em a bitter revoke. Mandy's vocals are still the best weapon M.D.M. deploy coz she's actually singing em...shock horror!!! This album is a good testament on how the band have risen from the ashes. Hard to think that this is the band who nearly went down the plug not so long ago. They end with a send up 'rap' all about the UK's ex- international punk playboy Lazza Ogden WHO???. Only regret was another notch of power in the guitar mix, but that's a minor point. Comes with a slick booklet that contains all the lyrics and info on the band. WORLD CONTENDER High Society International or check out their site at www.meredeadmen.co.uk