'The 13th Round'
(88041-2) CD June 2001
Wow fucking wee!!! Ain't it great to be knocked back in your seat by a brand new punk band! You get so far down the punk road and think well we've seen or heard the best punk has to offer, so lets just get on with it! How wrong can a punk get? Straight outta the land of the Rising Sun (probably the last place you'd look) comes the street punkette trio of Thug Murder. Don't let size or gender mislead you here coz these diminutive Japanese punkettes can sure mean business. They make one hell of a fucking noise and create a sound that's demanding your attention. They're angry, snotty and very fucking good! Thug Murder have been likened to early Rancid and Shonen Knife ha! These vixens would have Shonen Knife squealing in their dressing room and leave Tim Armstrong screaming for a throat lozenge. They do have lots of influences, take a pinch of Andi Beltramo-Shay's vocals, a dose of Anti Flags flair and some of Dropkick Murphy's more boisterous compositions then add a load of attitude and energy and you got Thug Murder! They're young, they're fresh and they're making their own sound. Take track 3 'Mie Chan' that spits in your face from the off with a ripping addictive tune to bounce off the walls to. It's followed by the creative 'Calling' with it's scaling chanting chorus that you can see all the kids singing too this time next year. Don't ask me what the songs are about? Coz this promo copy sadly didn't include the lyrics. But even though they're all sung in English I somehow doubt any of us would be any the wiser? That broken English delivery is a must anyway and gives this band X appeal in a rough sort of way. You know a song is good when you can't shake it from your subconscious as it buzzes around your brain. And these vipers have tunes and songs in abundance. They ain't just an all out attack band either, they can slow things down without losing the momentum. Take 'Bus' for instance that combines power with suss as they build up the pace. Thug Murder sure can play their instruments with proficiency and would take a lotta hardcore bands to the cleaners. These birds own enough confidence to get it all on tape making for a great debut. The rock 'n' roll feel of 'Right Back' proves they are open to lots more influence than the restricted 'street punk' tag implies. The gifted Mohawked lead singer/guitarist Ryoka, is destined to own her own label one day just like her heroes, and is definitely the powerhouse behind Thug Murders outbursts. Plus she is ably supported on bass with the equally ambidextrous Chisato. And the tiny (even by Japanese standards) Yurrie pounds the drums with style and enough stamina to give Bruce Lee palpitations. Their best track for me is the 5.22 minute epic of 'Restart' that has some novel touches with a mass oriental folk inspired chorus and some atmospheric dropouts. Showing Ryoka's more melodic side as she carry's "a guitar on my shoulder". There are a few mediocre tracks on here too, but even these are pretty fucking good as the quality on this 15 track release is very high indeed. I'm sure by the time they hit a studio again these glitches will be gone and they'll be loading a battery of modern day anthems. They've already scored a support slot on a Murphy's US tour earlier this year. So fair play to Ken Casey from the Dropkick Murphy's for discovering em. And with high profile gigs like that they can only get tighter, harder and more important. Leaving us with the conclusion there must be one helluva buzz on the streets of Tokyo these days, with bands like Thug Murder coming out to greet us. For Thug Murder however...world domination is a foregone conclusion.WORLD CONTENDER I Used To Fuck People Like You In Prison Records available from Century Media Mail-order
SMOOTH AND GREEDY
'Prison Talk' (88029-2) CD June 2001
All the way from Sweden come the hideously named Smooth And Greedy. And I'm sure I ain't the only one here who's passed em by on their name alone without too much regret. But as Sidernee Vish once said "regrets I've had a few". Well after hearing 'Prison Talk' I soon realised I would've regretted big time missing out on these! This 12 tracker is fucking good! It takes a few listens to get into but it's well worth the wait. 'Prison Talk' blows yer away with just how much power, originality and tunes this criminally unknown band can unleash. Imagine a Scandinavian New York Doll/Pistolesque tattooed swagger with a guitar driven payload, aided and abetted by a Dead Boys outlook!!! Pretty potent force eh? Plus their secret sneering weapon of a singer, who has a truly great original vocal. It's a rare commodity in today's punk scene and makes for a lethal package. Thick coated guitar riffs trade insults with the crooner from hell. Don't be put off by the term crooner coz Ralph the geezer in question can actually sing without it getting pompous. It's fucking great to hear as he sarcily wraps his quivering vocals around the "queers, leers and beer" lyrics. In case you ain't already guessed Smooth And Greedy are over the top. They're sleazy and greasy without it seeming an embarrassing sham. This band has so many influences at work it's hard to take em all in. They grab em all, defile em and make em their own. Ain't many unknown 4- pieces who can produce high standard rock 'n' roll like these theatrical fuck ups. Unknown now....but not for long I suspect! Take the heads down pounding rifferama in 'Do You Remember'. It's a careering articulate juggernaut without breaks, driven by Ralphs kid brother Ray. Followed by the pissed off 'You Didn't Call Me' all about some vixen who nails your balls right to floor. These fuckers won't bore ya with political intrigue or preach of a new order. Their politics are beer, whores, drugs and sleaze and of course the kinda girls you don't wanna turn your back on. These ain't no choir boys on a humanitarian mission they are the kinda dumb thugs and losers who frequent this twilight world of bars, back alleys and dirty needles. So it's a great realist view of life's underbelly with a hellbent soundtrack. Meanwhile 'Still In Vain' is a mid-paced tune, the kinda tune that reminds me of one of those deep South bible belt hymns. Only difference is it's been strapped to a snarling gibson as it slouches around the nearest bar while the singer spits out us some of his blasphemy. Probably favourite round the 'Wolf's Lair' is the howling infective of 'Affect Me', with it's untamable power chords and big beefy chorus. Ralph excels as he rolls his R's and warns his girl he ain't ever gonna fit into the nice crowd, great track.The slow paced Iggy inspired 'Luv Won't Come' has the best singing on here, which is backed by some inevitable lyrics and the best cackling laff I've heard since 'Anarchy'. As I ain't got no lyrics or band info I'm going on gut feeling here and feel these fuckers could go right to the top of the tree with their punk rock gutter anthems! If there is one major flaw with these Swedish desperado's it's their name which they should loose right away, it does em no favours at all. Also maybe lose some of the obvious New York Dolls Americanization's and give us more of your own original character which I'm sure is bursting to get out. These ain't smooth or greedy but a band destined for world recognition. WORLD CONTENDER I Used To Fuck People Like You In Prison Records available from Century Media
THE RED EYES
(tre002) CD Autumn 2001
The Red Eyes are heavily influenced by late 70's 'British New Wave' and formed in Glasgow, Scotland May 1997. Glad to say they've come on a load since their disappointing debut 'Up To Our Eyes In It' released back in 1998. They were then just a squeaky clean bland outfit who were about as exciting as contracting a dose of the pox in the Clydebank tenements. But over 2 years later they've cleaned up their act or should I say polished it with 'On Prescription'. They've returned to produce a slick album with some good touches. These 12 snappy tunes can even give an uncultured swine like me a much needed dose of medication. So there's hope boys even though the sickly smell of pop is still lingering in a lot of the tracks. It's camouflaged cleverly by addictive tunes coated with an easy on the ear style. Main man (Phil Mitchell look alike) and key singer/songwriter Alan Bishop, still gives us that semi-gruff Wellersque vocal style. But he's still missing a certain something in his delivery that you could really get excited about. He more than makes up for this setback in his confident song writing credits. And another noticeable improvement is the inclusion of new lead guitarist, the roly poly James 'H' Hirshall. He's definitely made his mark on the band. And those sometimes hilarious hi-pitched, but memorable backing vocals gives some of the better tracks a new dimension. Take 'Bad Girl' probably their best track on here. Which is in typical throwaway pop punk territory but done with suss and worthy of a bigger audience. The Red Eyes sing about everyday life mainly involving dysfunctional girls (they wish!). So no deep meaningful preaching here just escapist fun. And you know what? You sometimes need that dimension in punk. They're accomplished musicians no doubt, but they still ain't managed to capture or combine the power of songs like 'I Can't Get' or the addictive 'Bullshit Detector' into more of their set. Pity coz it would give em way more scope. They've got a slight feel of the Jam's 'This Is The Modern World' album on some numbers like 'Forever' or R 'n' B '(It's Not) The End Of The World' which sounds good. However their most accomplished track musically is the epic slow burner 'Who's Sorry Now'. All about a hit 'n' run which has depth without getting too self-indulgent. You might need to play this a few times before you get the feel, but its worth it. One tip boys, leave yerself off the front cover next time as I doubt even the most delinquent bird would entertain Red Eyes on prescription. Comes with lyrics and is released on the bands own label so fair play for determination. WORTH A LISTEN Falling Down Records £8.00 plus (3£1.00 p&p) Alan Bishop, Flat 2/2 Dumbarton Road, Clydebank, Dunbartonshire, G81-IEU, Scotland.
'Underground Network' CD 2001
I'm going to make this short and sweet: this album sucks. I mean it. This is completely boring MRR propaganda. I remember when Anti-Flag were fun. But, hey, let's face it. They've just gotten WAY too serious, not to mention they try to smack their political rhetoric on the entire punk scene, and come across as know-it-all little kids. I HATE really serious bands. If they'd talk about cool and fun ways to be an obnoxious fuck and get under the skin of all the "fascists", instead of preaching how bad the system sucks and boo-hoo-hooing in EVERY SINGLE SONG, I'd probably still like 'em. But this sounds like a bunch of hatchling punks trying their damnedest to be anarchists. I mean, not to sound negative or anything... Whatever happened to songs about drinking ("Drink Drank Punk")? Or crushing someone about their dead rich daddy that they're always bragging about ("Your Daddy was a Rich Man, Your Daddy's Fucking Dead")? At least with A New Kind of Army there were a couple of snotty songs for comic relief. This album is shit. Fuck you, Justin. You single-handedly ruined one of the best new school bands that was out. I hope you're happy. I'm not even gonna list any songs just because all of the titles are so stupid I don't even want to waste my time typing them up. http://www.fatwreck.de
Reviewed by Sam Sinister
'Full Metal Racket' 45 (FUG005-7) 2001
This 45 could well be the last we hear from the Apocalypse Babys for another 2 years. Their drummer and guitarist have split leaving Mr Asterix literally holding the baby. But that shouldn't stop him coz he's a determined fucker! Despite all this the Babys still manage to produce the goods on this 3 tracker, with local hired help. And as the title suggests, this has a lot more metallic feel to it than their previous outings. But don't fret dear punkers they ain't closet Judas Priest retards, it's just an in-band joke. Full Metal Racket is by no means a spandex racket and manages to produce a few solid punk tunes as the mid-paced, heads down, no messing 'Submarine Mary' proves. It gives us a blow by blow-job account for all you headers out there. Asterix the brat's excited boasts of "Motorhead scapping with Discharge" are unfounded. But this EP's certainly gotta kick to it as '999' follows next. This is a basic, fast paced sing-a-long for old times sake. The flip side is the moody, slower 'Money To Burn' all about the tobacco industry? And is probably the best track of a good mixed bunch. It rumbles into a dirty riff accompanied by Asterix's customized Jags (remember them?) vocals. The legs on the slick cover are supplied by Mrs Brat! And ain't it good to see another US label putting their faith in UK punk. Comes with a good package and lyric insert. WORTH A LISTEN www.FUGSLAM.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
'Monarchy In The UK'
(disc003) CDEP 2001
Homewbrew hail from Harrogate,UK and are one of the few 'yob' bands around the UK who sound like the real thing. Last time I heard em was back in 1998 and they were good then, but had a more distorted feel with a Motorhead growl. These days with a new line-up of Lee Ninety guitar, Aaron Beatup co/vocals (and mascot). Plus original members Dave Albatross on Bass and lead vocals and John Nobody on Drums/vocals they've refined their sound down to a gutsy, tight-set street punk style, which is no bad thing. This CD seems to get better with each play! Although I missed Dave's brilliant bass solo's that featured in their earlier numbers. However the mid-paced title track 'Monarchy In The UK' boots open the door with a defiant 'piss off' to the rich. Which is done in a sort of tongue in cheek pantomime mode. But it reflects the way were all still very pissed off 25 years after 'God Save The Queen'. This knuckle plaited sovereign is followed by their best and penultimate track of the CD, 'Vic's Alright'. Which is a realistic eyeball on the lovable parasitic rogues who frequent our bars and wealthy women's purses ha! You know the sort who always seem to land on their feet no matter what. Go in any pub in the land and there's a Vic there somewhere tee hee. That's what I like about this band, they sing about the real issues that effect the man on the street, not something that's happening a million miles away. Just straight forward reality!!! This is a band who love their cider too. Which is toasted affectionately in their 'Cider punk Revolution' track. But unlike a lotta sloppy, stagnant drink inspired outfits who can be pretty boring as they drone on about drinking instead of doing it. Homebrew glorify it by playing tight and neat numbers with witty lyrics that scream for a crowd scene and lots of audience participation. They are reputedly a live extravaganza in the N.Yorks punk circles which is always a good omen even it's spread by yerselves ha! On their last track 'Servants And Masters' which is a welcomed assault on the 'suits and ties' they manage to rhyme.... "were acting like servants and masters/ so rise up together and batter the bastards" which I find very poetic indeed! Comes in a great cartoon sleeve courtesy or Aaron Beatup who appears on here somewhere? but could I hear him amidst Dave's no messing vocals.....naaah? Still well WORTH A LISTEN Disclocate Records
DUN 2 DEF
'Bomb Squad' EP (disc002) CD 2001
All the way from Milton Keynes UK come Dun 2 Def which are totally new to me? They've been around since 1998 and were in actual fact a punk covers band (very iffy). Maybe I'm a paranoid e-git but I find something just not quite right about cover bands who suddenly discover enough bottle to play their own punk songs. But if the Red Eyes transformation is anything to go by then why not? My suspicions weren't totally justified on this their debut release. Coz they do kick out 4 tracks of mid-paced riffy guitar inspired punk rock. A sound that's done with enough spike & balls in the musical department to create a stir. But they are really let down badly by the totally misleading Ferret on vocals. God, this is a punk who should be lunging at us from all angles of his cage! But all we actually get is uninspiring ,weak and FLAT poncy vocals. A tamed style that really don't do us or the music any favours at all. Dun 2 Def should thank their lucky stars they've got a good guitarist in Twig Webley. He can supply the big riffs whilst giving us some dirty solo's when needed. And the rhythm section is augmented by the main songwriters Dave Gatis on bass and drummer Mark Vickers who do a good job keeping it tight and concise. They still gotta get a more convincing singer if they wanna escape the plastic covers band stigma. But the 4 songs on show are a promising debut with 'Lights Out' bringing in some late 70's punk rock. A track that boasts a great early Tubeway Army - 'Blue Eyes OD Receiver' ringer of a riff. I like the way they add variation to their songs, something a lot of the newer punk bands forget these days. 'Background Noise' has more ripping guitar work, which we could've seen more of. But probably a sure fire live favourite has to be the last track 'Don't Give Up The Rifle'. Which is their most punchiest sing-a-long number. However back to reality, all the Dun 2 Def punk points in the musical department are wasted without bite. And with no competent front man to deliver the goods leaves you dead in the water. They're off on tour of Europe for 3 month so lets hope Ferret discovers some passion from those sexy Euro punkettes, else its' lights out for Def! AVERAGE Disclocate Records
'Friday Night' Demo CD 2001
This is a rough demo....a very rough demo indeed. Hey lads it's the 21st century y'know! All the way from Norwich, England come Hotwired. The fact Friday Night was recorded in a Church Hall on a mobile studio shows initiative. It certainly reads good on the sleeve? However it's a different scenario once the 3 tracks load up. For a start the power that duel guitars give out is missing big time in the mix. The bass drum fights with the vagrant singer for a piece of the action. The vocals sound like they're recorded in a toilet after a heavy session on meffs! And the laboured overall pace of the tracks don't do em any favours. Hotwired?.... hope their local car thieves are faster than these. Whoever engineered this must've been in the same round as the singer on the Friday night in question. You do get some funny drink related/ bird trouble lyrics on display, but overall this demo is predictable early 80's UK punk by numbers. If this got em a record deal?...one chord wonders will never cease! I do like Hotwired's attitude though, coz they look like they'd be a good crack in the pub. But on this session in the village hall...forget it. Lets hope for Hotwired's sake their soon come re-recorded 45 within a real studio, with a real live sober engineer will produce a more potent result. NO FUTURE www.hotwired.btinternet.co.uk