'Hyped To Death #12'
CD Summer 2001
Another series of long forgotten low profile US/Canadian punk bands beginning with the letters 'T- U'. I gotta admit this collection didn't capture my imagination quite so much as the previous 'Bad Teeth' CD. Maybe Chuck was dredging the punk canals for suitable tracks on this session? He still managed to drag out a few short lived punk gems amongst the murkier depths though. Tracks get the ball rolling with a great Ramones inspired riff on their '77 call to arms 'Bombs Away', but was spoiled badly by a crooning asshole. Toxic Reasons give us their by now familiar and highly underrated debut 45 'War Hero' from 1980. A great mini US anthem that has been covered far and wide by bands, including the brilliant Anti-Flag. Tools from San Francisco were pretty laboured but really picked up on their third attempt with 'Asexuality' which give em a big boost. Smart atmospheric guitar work trades with a strong platonic chorus. Thundertrain from Boston are more rock 'n' roller than punk. They would've gone down well on an R 'N' B compilation. The Marc Thor Band is another Boston combo who trod the pub rock scene, or is that the bar rock scene in the States? They do have a sort of Richard Hell quirkiness about em on 'Love Sucks'. But bands with pianos in their sound are always very iffy if they ain't used with suss. Tot Rocket And The Twins sound like yer average faceless new wave band, and considering they get 3 tracks compared to say US Chaos who only get one...beggars belief. However their last track '24 Hour Protection' saved em a major red face. Truth from Detroit were 'Doin Nothing' but were followed by another Detroit combo who were actually doing something and were one of this albums highlights. Namely The 27 and 'Catastrophe' from 1978 which also boasted keyboards (shock horror!). But these oddly named sci-fi punks manage to add some real new wave to the CD with their catchy, distorted blasts backed by a lively rhythm section. The brilliantly named Tru Fax And The Insaniax present us their sarcy 1980's 'Washington' anthem. Boasting treble guitars and the great robotic vocals supplied Libby Hatch, was always gonna get em noticed. Justin Trouble supplies a co-written/Johnny Thunders/co-produced song called 'No Love'. It's hard to imagine Mr Thunders being anywhere near this record, as it lacks power and sleaze. Maybe he was out scoring smak at the time of the mix? Snottiest track of the bunch was supplied by the attitude filled Tracers and their semi rapping 'Too Hot To Handle' all the way outta New York City. The Tyros from California are an early Talking Heads circa 'Psycho Killer' band of angst. Their anti-idol song 'Parasites' was recorded in 1979 before they disappeared into obscurity. U-Boats from Tampa give us two basic punk blasts with fuzzy guitars and echoing vocals on their best track 'American Employed'. More male snot this time from Frisco's Urban Assault which typified the American punk sound for me in 1982. I loved their simple cry of defiance on 'Product Of Society' great stuff. Boston's Unnatural Axe has a truly original vocalist in Richie Parsons. His piss weak delivery added something different. And whatever he was lacking in hardcore punk growls the band made up for in some good Buzzcocks inspired one note leads. In true contrast Unruled come out to play with a 1984 inspired Discharge romp entitled 'Time Is Running Out'. Followed closely by Illinois's Urbn DK and their plodding drum sodden 1982 effort called 'Mass Grave'. They made this antiwar statement before turning into street metal merchants. Tyrants from Wisconsin sound the spit of Northern Ireland's Outcasts. They displayed some great clean vocals and a jolly good song in 'Attitude'. One of my newly discovered American favourites are up next and it's US Chaos from New Jersey. A band I just can't understand why they never were up there with the bigger guns? They give us their nihilistic 'Don't Wanna Live' from 1984, complete with deadpan vocals and a mid-paced ballsy guitar riff. More spirited big Apple components comes in the shape of early 80's punks The Undead. They're more direct but equally as snotty with 'My Kinda Town'. Ugly from Toronto were too laid back for my liking, good name though. We close the 28 tracks with a by now familiar off the wall track, this time supplied by That Hideous Strength. The song 'Steaming locomotive' includes a hideous laugh, howls and is propelled along by a generic mid-paced trumpet roll call. This band of New Yorkers has more personalities than a possessed Linda Blair! These comps are proving to be a great resource for long lost punk bands if your that way inclined, plus the usual in-depth sleeve notes to accompany it definitely WORTH A LISTEN www.hyped2death.com
'Advance Tracks' CD 2001
This is a 3-track sneak preview of the sort of sound due on the bands follow up to their highly rated self titled debut from last year. And The Pits from Sunderland are a band who can pull off melody and tunes without it sounding tame. Definitely a bunch of veteran punks who can play their instruments like masters. In fact too well sometimes? From the off I can tell they've matured. And from the chimeing first track intro I was beginning to think have they blown it. But they proved me wrong and 'Nauseaville' become the best of the three on show. It's up there with their best stuff from the previous debut. The Rottenesque vocals are in attendance but not quite so Rotten this time. I think Mr Pit Jr. is finding his own identity. Which has gotta be a must for a band trying it out on their own. The Pits are growing up. You can tell by their more adventurous and accomplished sound. This ain't a band who write 1 minutes blasts. These are a band who aim at anthems. And maybe they oughta give the short blasts a go too? Well not this time coz these songs are all well over the 3 minute mark. But they seem to pull it off. 'Marxman' is the most poppy of the bunch. It's got a good chorus but they're moving into a different domain from the snotty one they once walked in. And I ain't sure it's gonna last as long as songs like 'National Anthem'? Finally the new mammoth album title track...'The Face Of England'. Boasts a great bass solo that JJ Burnel would've been proud of. And the early Stranglers influence is a lot more dominant on this session, particularly the guitars. They've lost that Steve Jones sound which I thought gave em a bit more oomph. But it'll be interesting to see what the whole album sounds like when it hits the streets any time now. WORTH A LISTEN The Pits
'4 Years Of Blood, Sweat & Beer'
(mad2001cd) CD Jan 2001
A mammoth 37 tracks here covering the Bloody Sods hot, sweaty recording career from 1996-99. After hearing their later output I wasn't looking forward to this at all. And I'm afraid '4 Years Of Blood Sweat & Beer' ain't gonna change my mind! I like this band in small doses...very small doses like the 'Hate Of Mind' 45! So 37 tracks of predicable streetpunk/oi! with a heavy dose of hardcore is a fucking tall order. Hey Oeb did you send me this as punishment for missing their gig in Brum or wot? I gotta say the music at least is a lot more punk rock this time around. It's in a more early 80's vein than their present hardcore sound. And believe me that is a relief! Coz the Bloody Sods as well as being in the running for the ugliest band in the universe slot (tee hee). Also own a couple of those fucking detestable Jack Russell dual vocalist soundalikes. But even those pair can't drag this one down to the depths their last album plummeted too. But only just!!! Highlights had to be some of the diverse covers they maimed along the way. The Circle Jerks 'Murder The Disturbed' was just very pedestrian, but Clint Black's 'Killing Time' was a good 'un. Out of their own tunes, they did manage to conjure up a decent bit of interest via 'State Of The Union'. Which kicked off with a great big beefy riff. I thought hey at long last we're getting there, but again those boring fucking vocals fuck things up good 'n' proper! Still without a shadow of doubt their best track on display was their rendition of the Anti Nowhere League's 'For You' . Which is a good song no matter who does it. They then give us their version of the catchy punk/oi! anthem '4Q' by Blitz. Which miraculously escapes a butchering. But it comes to something in this day and age when a punk band can release a 37 track CD and the best tracks on here are the covers!!!!!!! Does that tell you something boys? Take no fucking prisoners and sack the singers before they drag you further down the pit of oblivion. Great cartoon back cover but it reminds me of where this band are destined!
THE CLASS ASSASSINS
These are a new Toronto band to my ears and are highly rated by Dick Vein from Soap And Spikes
fame, who is gonna be releasing a 45 by em soon so he sent me this 6-track taster. The Class Assassins sound a pretty adapt bunch of streetpunks. Lots of Dropkick Murphy's styled influences on here, but without the power or impact. Some really well arranged songs do make their presence felt though. I just don't go all out for this kinda working class rebellion stance put to music! Y'know, the raising fists in anger at company bosses and such stuff. Maybe it's a Canadian thing? I'm a working class dolester so unions and bosses and this kinda punk stuff bores me. D.O.A. had a thing about it too, but that kinda stuff comes over as pretty shallow subject matter for a barfly like me. But hey the Class Assassins can play their instruments and they can knock a tune together so maybe I'm a bit fussy. Chad Nugents vocals sounds like another Canadian Ian Stuart (no kidding). Is this some kinda new retro fad creeping in the Canadian wastelands? Well the dead ringer vocals shows itself on songs like 'Uprise' which is nothing suspect lyrically, but that's the feel I get from his style of singing. There seems to be lacking some punch or spit to this band, I can't quite put my finger on it coz it's a top class production with some good riffs aired on songs like 'Breakout'. So they can produce the goods but it seems a bit too polished if you know what I mean? Whatever the case a good worthy introduction and I can see some label giving em a push somewhere in the scene. WORTH A LISTEN Soap And Spikes Records
(mad20019) 45 January 2001
Now this is more like it, from the band with the clever name. I wonder why bands of this ilk powerful hardcore, are great in short fast blasts and become a labour to listen to on full length albums? Well the punk jury are still out on that? So whatever your tastes, this 4-track 7" EP by Positively Negative is a great introduction to the band. Especially if you don't know em already. For a start It's comes in the thickest most colourful slab of vinyl I've seen since the late 1970's boom. In fact it's such a good looking picture disc it's a shame not to hang it up on the wall. Full marks to Madskull here. And besides the look, Positively Negative play blitzing punk rock with angst filled vocals all about death and murder. Not that you can tell from the lyrics. But you don't need the lyrics if the tunes can keep it interesting. The title track 'Killing Spree' has a distinct old Threats (Scotland) feel about it. Especially in those vocals. And is backed up by enough guitar work to kick sand in the face of their comptemporaries. I particularly liked the air raid siren track 'Emergency America' . Which feeds us a full on venomous dose of American paranoia. The flip side keeps up the momentum with 'Compliance' with it's distinctive buzzsaw riffs. Even the obligatory gang chorus was fitting. They lapse slightly towards the end on 'I Hate'. Which had way too many stop/starts that seriously damaged the EP's momentum. But 3 outta 4 ain't bad. This is a 300 limited edition, so a definite collectors item on E-bay in a few years time I bet?....but not this copy! WORTH A LISTEN MadSkull Records
'Westernize, Customise, Bastardize'
Demo Tape 2001
Good to see a new young punk band coming out in the UK and Affray have been together 12 months. The cover tells you straight away this is gonna be Anarcho incorporated with the Crass style sleeve design and sentiments, but the music ain't. It's pretty fast uncompromising early 80's punk, with duel vocals. In fact the lead singer Larrraaa has that high pitched, sheering Dirt tone, down to a tee! And just like Piglet Warrior, her high-pitched shrill can get pretty fucking annoying unless you spend your spare time in a large bird Avery! She's supported in the vocal department by the brilliantly named Bassist Gary Violent. Mr Violent gives us the lower guttural pissed off growls every now and then just to give the listeners some variation I spose. Variation is pretty sparse on the ground in the Affray camp, but they're a new band so maybe there's plenty of ideas still growing. Their best song has gotta be 'Jesus Sucks' which starts off slow and rumbles into an all out attack on Religion. The rest of the 5 tracks cover pretty much the same ground musically with scathing attacks on designer babies, western civilization, dead-end jobs and fox hunting. There's also a 6 track rehearsal tape added on the end which gives you even more Affray but this time in low-fi mode plus a couple of covers of the Epileptics 'Tube Disasters' and T.B.A.C.'s 'Get That Tit Off Your Head'. Maybe they need more time, so don't write em off yet but this debut was pretty AVERAGE.
£2.00 postpaid from 80 Ramuz Drive, Westcliff-on -Sea, Essex,SS0 9JJ, England.