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MERE DEAD MEN 'Lets Do It' (stepcd152) CD 2004
These scouse label whores must've had their gear out on every reputable punk label in Europe over the past 15 years, and now it's the turn of Street punk stalwarts Step 1. If you ain't already familiar with MDM then you should be thoroughly ashamed of yerselves. They've been around since the dawn of time (late crustacean period) and play their punk rock with a vintage sheen and a rock 'n' roll swagger. A style that makes em positively unique in this noise core era. They're fronted by the peroxide Mandy who stares out at us on the sleeve with almost Toxteth aloofness. She delivers her songs in a severe no messin vein that'll leave schoolboys whimpering in terror at the foot of the stage, and the big boys cooing like baby's by the bar. She's partnered in crime by the token Brummie of the outfit Rob on chords, keyboards and a lot more vocal chords. They seem to be making full use of the co-vocals option on this 12 tracker, adding an extra texture to the songs. As always the faithful rhythm section of Richie (bass and extra guitar) and Mandy's other half Rag on drums keeps the punk glam wagon right on course as it hits all out assaults or  medium paced grinders through to moody perspectives. MDM have a diverse range of subject material from their veteran days in the punk scene. But they kick off by paying homage to CBGB's on the opening 'Lower East Side', which despite a gritty intro don't quite work. However the gnarly 'Mr Angry' "Bang Bang your dead!" was more like it. They slow it all down for the atmospheric come uppance of 'What Goes Around'. The sad plastic life of Barbie's pardoner in kiddy crime 'Ken' was a suprise hit, with some quirky 80's keyboards, and a tongue in cheek chorus. Followed by some of British children's TV hits from the past 'n' present on the humorous 'This Ones For The Kids'. 'We Were There Too' is an infectious poignant look back at the early days of the Liverpool punk scene, done in a teary eyed but defiantly stylish way. Even Billy Idol got turned down by a young Mandy! But the standout track for me has gotta be the quirky and compulsive 'Little Cars'... "playing shit music, all around the town". A great simple riff put to a jerky back beat gives this track the great potential for a wider appeal, as it rips the piss outta the boy racers in a town near you. They go out with a bang on the last track 'Bad Girls' where mean Mandy delivers a no holds barred personal profile if she's riled up. Always good to see MDM still doing what they do best...playing punk rock, so look out for em on tour playing a toilet near you very soon. WORTH A LISTEN www.step1music.com or check out their site at www.meredeadmen.co.uk   



CROP KNOX 'Rock And Rot' (pc34lp) LP 2004
The highly anticipated debut album from San Francisco's promising young punk outfit greets us with a blood-soaked shattered Gibson sleeve, and comes on shitty brown/green splattered vinyl. As far as looks go they could've just walked straight outta Punk Lives with bullet belts, spikes, mohawks and studs staking their claim amongst the graffiti. I bet they hated posing for those. And the sound they create is as you'd expect. Full on raging anthems of pissed off pogo punk done at a breakneck speed with little shots of finesse for good measure. But what im thinking and presumably you too, is can these kids create enough of an identity for themselves sound wise to make em stick out from the legions of other similarly identi-kit spiky tops? Well what you can tell by this 12 track prototype is there is a definite aura about the Cropknox. They've got something worth your attention. They got a singer with a neat vocal who don't scream or grunt, but he could be way more imposing if he took more control. They got some really gifted guitar interplay that gets used to the max. And the rhythm section ain't here solely for decoration, they keep the vibe on a punk core level with a heads down conviction. But what they really need more of is... time! The 'Rock And Rot' live for today ethic is great in theory, but leaves em with a rushed release that don't do em total justice. They need more time to fester and fully harness their snotty El Cerrito anthem for a whole albums worth of material. They ain't quite managed it this time out, with half the tracks falling below the quality of their significant high spots. Talking of which 'No Hope In Sight' is a track with it's second guitar depth seeking probe showing a natural knack for good tunes. 'Bleak Society' also has a juicy guitar break that nods to Steve Jones and Mr Thunders in direction. But we had to wait for the end of side 1 for their penultimate track. 'Rebel Youth', (yeah I know that same old cliché rears its ugly head again) but this epic comes complete with sprawling guitar signatures reminiscent of Blitz at their best. The Cropknox have that Blitz feel in the song and chorus without it being a parody. Pity there ain't more tracks like this one, coz then they really would've stamped their blackmail brand on the arse of the current punk scene. But these are young punks in progress, they got the energy, they got a good label backing em and they're hungry to get their set out to a baying world of like minded American youth. So maybe naivety really ain't such a crime? They wisely make full use of their previous 'Just Can't Live'  EP, coz that did boast some of the most outstanding tracks they've written to date. But this is a band whose throwaway lyrics about society ills can safely fall back on the solid duel guiitars to really propel this band along. They end with a very good version of an old Riot City track 'East of Dachau' by the Underdogs, which works very well within this albums 21st century soundscape. I'm sure this is gonna sell well but for the band this must be a learning curve and time to work on and knock out that follow up killer album they mere hint at on this session. The Cropknox are currently touring the US promoting this album so why not check em out for yourselves coz we need a new solution! WORTH A LISTEN Punkcore For more info go here www.cropknox.com




FUCK HATE  PROPAGANDA 7 Track Demo CD 2004
This was a nice suprise that came totally FREE with the otherwise disappointing Initonit zine. I'd seen the band name slinking around the current UK gig scene for quite a while, and having never caught em live I liked their no compromising approach. Well as you'd expect this is 7 tracks of in your face dual screaming tirades and angry rants. It's all spat out with a manic pace and complete conviction. They produce a sound that can catch you off balance by throwing in some free form jazzy twists that adds a certain appeal to the in house intensity. No real standout tracks to write home about, but the intro to 'Dead 49-75' was an hilarious piece of agitprop theatre. The tracks just simply blur into each other. Fuck Hate Propaganda often sound like a bunch of pseudo intellectuals with music degrees letting rip their inner turmoil with astute lyrics attacking the Church, Government, Ghetto and Globalisation. Maybe we can just bear to hear yet another take on all this crap that effects our world and lifestyles, but at least these fuckers show signs of originality with their innovative deployment and style that they create within each track. The playing is exceptionally tight and together and comes with big noise core blasts together with intricate fretwork adding some effective little touches. Reminds me of some of the more early 80's melodic anarcho punk in places, then again they just let rip a big thrash workout to demolish all your preconceptions. I bet their gigs are sweat boxes of energy coz you can tell from this taster these are a band in prime crust mode but it just don't make me wanna play it on a regular basis. Comes with a full lyric sheet. AVERAGE FREE from www.fuck-hate-propaganda.org


the threats
THE SHOCKS
EXTERNAL MENACE DEMO
OPAQUE 'New Ways To Criticise' (8m006) CD 2003
One word describes this band and album to me... Indie! And lets face it kids there's nothing quite as offensive or as mind

green day
THE BLOOD SP[LIT

TURbO NEGRO
CLASH COMP
GENERATION X
THE BRAPHSMEARS

SADO-NATION LIVE
MYSTIC COVERS LP
HOTWATER MUSIC
ANGRY SAMOANS

 WORTH A LISTEN www.madsin.com/
 I Used To Fuck People Like You In Prison Records