'Noise Annoys Volume 1'
CD Winter 2000
26 track CD here that came free from last years prototype UK punk magazine Noise Pollution. It's been nearly a year since publication and still no sign of Volume 2 or issue 2? So it looks like the mag bit the dust and all that's left is this CD. 'Noise Annoys' is an eye opener for me coz it gives me chance to sample some of these 'hardcore' bands that the UK zine scene seems to go in a frenzy about. However a very familiar band kicks off the proceedings with Boston's Dropkick Murphy's who provide a cut off their recent 'Sing Loud, Sing Proud' album. 'The Gauntlet' is in keeping with their more powerful beefy side with loud guitars and strangled gang vocals. And you know what, not a folk tinged leprechaun in sight thank fuck! The Movie Life are totally new to me and produce a catchy anthemic track of hardcore in 'Once In A Row', with smart tuneful vocals. The NerveAgents have one of those excitable singers that's barks out his machine gunned anti American tirades on 'Fall Of The All American'. Not the most original outfit in the world but had some good rapid guitar bursts when you lose the singer. Next we get the new (to me) but highly recommended rusty, throaty sandblasting from the Distillers and their 'Red Carpet And Rebellion'. An angst filled track written and sung by Brody Armstrong the rubber lipped Aussie bird who's got a bee in her bonnet and can yer blame her married to Rancid's Tim Armstrong? They are followed closely by the hideously named Osker but this LA band are probably my favourite new find on here. They come at us with a snotty sounding vocalist backed by some fast well played attacking Punk Rock on the inspiring 'Life Sucks'. Yeah Punk Rock is alive 'n' kicking in the 21 st century hardcore community. Nerve live down to my frustration about the pop punk contingent with their whiny sounding singer who sounds like he's pretending to be angry and frustrated whilst cramming a university degree for a doctorate! Plastic! Southport from the UK I 'tink?, are another fucking horribly named band but approach us with some pretty good mid-paced guitar interplay on their 'Morning After' pill. But their emotionally flat vocals are so bland it's a pain, and any band who can write "April Showers" into a lyric has gotta be suspect! The Swingin 'Utters who once were the pride of the East Bay have really sunk into the bay without a trace lately. They now just manage to utter so so punk noises that just sound very laboured in a safe kinda way. Less Than Jake sum up for me that mid-American good, clean livin indie rock that's camouflaged as punk and haunts the high schools of the US like gun-toting pupils. This ain't punk kids and don't let em fool ya with a bit of fuzz. I hate this kinda soulless crap with a vengeance. Gameface and 'The Warmest Heart Attack' are more of the same kinda drab nondescript T-shirt rock that makes me squirm. God those weak, clean vocals really give me an art attack of the nauseous kind! Mouthwash (snigger) were due for the same treatment but they manage to give us a new slant on semi jangling slow paced guitar territory. Old Canadian warhorses DOA sound like they just stepped outta 1980 with 'The Enemy' and although it's not one of their best numbers and the song sentiments sound cliched, it's still got enough spark to show a few of the younger spunkers a thing or two. Powder Monkeys (aaarrgghhhh) start up impressively with some good chugging guitar riffs but are spoilt by a pseudo heavy metal gruff vocals. The Bully's from New York are the snottiest and funniest band on this comp. Their hilarious 'I'm A Boy' is a simple but effective rocker. Check out this lyric "finger nails are full of dirt ,I peek up ladies skirts, I look at girlie mags, I use my brother as a punching bag" classic '77 inspired punk rock. On a serious note one of the Bully's was lost in the September 11th Twin Towers disaster, he was a fireman! They are followed by their female equivalent The Donnas. Now here's a bunch of birds who give us some great punk rock 'n' roller fuzzy guitar and seductive vocals on their addictive 'Hot Pants'. The impressively named Gazza Strippers own a powerful guitar sound and create a slick catchy chorus but I just can't get to grips with the whiney vocals, pity coz 'White Hotel' is a potentially commercial track. Dog Toffee from Manchester, England kick off with a great 'I wanna Be Your Dog' riff and quickly heads off into a powerful semi New Bomb Turks track. These have the power at their fingertips but the vocals just don't match the noise they create. The highly rated (in some circles) Electric Frankenstein from New York just don't live up to their hype. Way too much metallic cock rock for me, with irritable vocals and too much twiddling in the guitar department. Vision on the other hand blew me away with their polished but classic anthem 'Close Minded'. This is a band which has everything a punk rock outfit should strive for. Great riffs, catchy chorus and enough 'pop' to get em into the charts without compromising, one to look out for. Sick Of It All are another band who are a staple diet in some hardcore scenesters collections but I find this chugging, rappy, metallic bollocks a chore and a bore. The Hope Conspiracy continue in this STOP/START mode with more screaming angst by numbers. Veteran's StraitFaced should know better but give us even more heads down nonsense on 'Fuck Your Scene'. I was very disappointed and they're another 'name' band that ain't gonna make me wanna go out there and buy their anthology in a hurry. Drowningmen could be Straitfaced younger brothers they're cloned I tell ya! The interestingly named Death By Stereo don't even get out the traps with even more stuttering rap and those angry duel vocals sound too rehearsed boys. Not From There are playing the sort of stuff that's more at home in a rave. Talk overs and radio inserts bring to mind crap like Fun Lovin Criminals god!!!!! Finally Trans Am are like a duck outta water on this collection. They slide in with a snail like Jesus And Mary Chain track called 'I'm Coming Down'. It's doom laden atmospheric vocals are abetted with a sombre distorted riff and drum machine beats. And showed more novelty appeal than the previous 6 bands could conjure up. Apart from 6 good bands this was very AVERAGE comp. Free with Noise Pollution magazine.
'Positive' Demo Tape
Picked this tape up at the recent Oppressed Logic gig in Birmingham thanks to singer Ian. So it was good to hear what they sound like in a studio after an improved energetic live performance. I gotta admit it shows the band off to be a far more interesting prospect than a bottom of the bill inclusion merits. Intention at long last seem to have got that big sound finely tuned. They play well constructed hardcore. With a crisp, clear production from Gavin in Wolves. 'Code Of Misconduct' their best track and most accomplished tune on here kicks off with some beefy guitars. I ain't a big fan of screaming entity vocals in my punk and Intention do display this but its a more controlled shriek and some of Ian's delivery are diverse enough to change styles with ease. Giving em extra mileage and saving me from a boring review thank god! It ends with a repeated quirky guitar signal showing they ain't scared to experiment. 'Here Goes Nothing' comes at us with some sinister guitar play and more strong riffs, which are always welcome in the Wolfs Lair. Topped with some clever vocal overdubs which is rare in this genre. It sounds like Ian's got a hidden agenda on life, pity the lyrics wasn't included. 'Talk is cheap' is more of the same mid paced duel guitar blasts that can actually change direction without sounding choppy pity some other hardcore bands don't take note. Still ain't gotta clue what's going on in the subject matter but I suspect they ain't a happy bunch of campers. 'When Will It End' was spoiled by an irritating skanking interlude which wasn't their best move. But Intention close with some serious intent and another of their more memorable live songs 'Positive' which is more traditional hardcore but adds a suprise riff similar to the opening chords from the UK Subs 'Keep On Runnin', which gives it an espionage feel. Good demo tape and a now entertaining live band, so one to watch out for. WORTH A LISTEN.
INTENTION c/o Inane PO BOX 7804 Birmingham, B13, 8AS, UK
'Street Justice' (begcd016) CD 2000
This album kicks of with canned crowd noise from the Ramones 'Its Alive' album, and an instrumental called 'Anthem' . A nice try and not bad for a few bars but it soon deteriorates into an anticlimax as far as anthems goes. Well at least they're showing a bit of imagination which is rare amongst your typical Canadian Oi! exports that hug the street corners of this label. The album really gets started on the French sounding 'Mon Days' which seems to be a French/Canadian call to arms and is a good mid-paced track apart from that niggling high-hat sound which dogs it and gives the engineering on this album some serious thought. A good track none the less and one of their best. They then throw in some pretty basic punk/oi! numbers about scrapping, no Saturday nights etc. which is what lets em down. Sometimes the vocals of Can Canada their lead vocalist/guitarist and main songwriter are pretty restricted too. One minute they're pleading less fights, the next they're saying "get em boot boys get em!" as they batter some local arse bandits!!! Biggest surprise of the album was 'On The Run' which is a brooding instrumental which creeps in with a great guitar riff and has a touch of the James Bond spy film theme tune in their somewhere. Little touches like this really shows another side of this band that needs way more exposure than the oh so feeble street punk they seem to have to supply on demand to the boneheads. With hindsight they should've kicked off the album with this. That's what I like about 3 pieces, they all seem capable musicians. They then go and let themselves down again by giving us a few more dumb plodding numbers before the hilarious 'KKK Klansman' comes breezing in. This track is a fucking great rowdy pub song with some sarcy lyrics, that in actual fact is taking the piss something rotten out of the hooded sect. They end on a skanking track which is a good expose of the deadly 'Blatherskite' which seems to be a Canadian boot boy legend in those parts. 'Street Justice is worth a listen for 4 tracks but the rest was pretty fucking dire. AVERAGE
'O.U.C.H.' (im6003) CD Nov. 2000
P.A.I.N. are the band who like all things in initial's. Propaganda And Information Network bring us this their second album 'Our Universe Commences Here'. P.A.I.N. are South London's "finest exponents of Nuclear Dub, genetically modified Ska and B.S.E. laced Punk Rock!" So now you know what's what! But only one of their ingredients fills my universe! And that's the one featuring their punkier outbursts like their signatune 'P.A.I.N.' with it's sax attack and heartfelt action plan which is diverse enough to drag any blinkered punk out his rat run of punk sectors. However this album is crawling with over 50 minutes worth of dub/ska and folk tinged mellowness that bored me to the brink of amphetamine frenzy. I like the odd keyboard intrusions, but it's just too laid back for me. I'm an old punk but still crave for some snot to wipe off my leather, not some ganga influenced aroma drifting out my speakers. And like weed, this album is great for a while but too much skunk numbs the senses and you become just another apathetic bloody mess glued to the chair...."I just speed!...that's all I need!". And Kate Bush is pretty ironic too don't ya think? She's a big supporter of the band and with a name like that who could blame her. The only other song on this 12 song set that tempted me from my lager was the upbeat 'Super Drugs' with it's catchy "oooh we oooh!" chorus. But P.A.I.N. seem to have lost that earlier rawness and power on this album. And it don't half standout on the more lively numbers by it's blatant absence! Lets also not forget the message this album is conveying. Coz being banged up for your rights to smoke weed is bang on, but surely there's more important issues to base an album on? Whether possession of dope is illegal or not, it's pretty insignificant besides the fucking national health issues and the poverty line bollox? Surely you punk rock radicals can see that through your cloud of smoke?. Great cover artwork though with a full lyric sheet. Damn pity the music don't back it up. PLASTIC Iron Man Records
'Boston Punk 2000'
(rpr-034) CD July 2000
Considering Toxic Narcotic ain't my ideal punk sound they have put together a well worthy CD release here. And they themselves kick off this 23 song release with the menacing 'War Song 2000'. That sounds good in very small doses. So full credit for giving other bands a sniff of the action as their label Rodent Popsicle seems to be pretty active lately. A lot of the bands appearing on this compilation promotes the raw new punk acts that emanate from the Boston landscape. And Global Threat show why they're the most widely known band on this comp. with their neat '3 Words Or Less' that brings together melody and angst! After these first 2 opening acts I was treading new ground so it was good to hear some of the novel acts residing in Boston. A Poor Excuse are one of the promising new contenders in the Boston punk scene with their charged chanting 'For All Those In Power'. Followed by The Profits who boast a powerful female vocal with a political outspoken overtone on 'Violent Fringe'. Razorwire are hilarious with an over the top loudmouth excitable streetpunk vocal in their 'Heroes' that has some good guitars running through the song too. Indignation have more dual vocals, this time with 2 punks giving it their all. They're another standout coz this band has more good guitaring and song structures. They don't quite scream so much as some of the other acts which give em a bit more scope. Best band on here for me had to be The Short Lived and their simplistic but addictive street anthem 'Blame It On The punks' . This is made even more so by the fact a snotty little punkette is giving it the big one on the vocals. Entrophy come at us with some melodic styled vocals backed by a riffing guitar attack. The Nockers boast another girl singer but with not quite so much snot as The Short Lived. However 'Small Town boasts an out of tune guitar solo which reminds me why punk is such a great beast to be part of! The brilliantly named Dead Pedestrians and their hateful 'Full Of Shit' was a great, fast, blast of definance with a vocal that dripped with gob! The feed backing Shoot The Hostages end things with their atmospheric 'On Your Knees' which from a great start disappointingly turned into metallic punk, but was well worth an inclusion coz it ain't got too much guitar twiddling. So for a 23 band 23 song CD this was worth checking out just to see what resides in the former home of US Hardcore today. WORTH A LISTEN Rodent Popsicle Records
'Viva Le Rock 'n' Roll'
(st29) CD 2000
Fades in like some impending doom or a squadron of bombers! But don't worry coz it's only a welcome return of the Apocalypse Babys who have been totally UN-Apocalyptic in the UK punk scene for over 2 years now. This CD heralds their healthy return back into the fray with as many hook laden tunes and rhythm as they left us with. They also still have their totally original sounding vocalist/ bass player and mainstay songwriter Asterix the Brat in their fold. A punk whose sometimes irritating vocal delivery made this trio of Derbyshire sons a bit of a novelty act amongst the more hardline studs 'n' spikes brigade. However fuck the snide comments coz 'Apple Tree' for a nondescript song title opener, has some great quality punk rock. It's great, mainly due to the vocal delivery and guitar playing off each other. Asterix has been slated quite a few times for that frog in his throat by the more meat head whooarrghhh singing pariahs in the UK scene. But I gotta admit I quite like it. It certainly gives this band that something extra special in the more poppier punk rock field they roam.. The Apocalypse Babys in case you didn't already know give us that much copied but rarely achieved classic pop punk rock sound. And they continue to dish it out with vigor on this 37 minutes worth of punk rock n roll. And you know what?....there ain't a skateboard in sight!!...but plenty of dirty nappies! They are straight from the 78/79 school of British pop-punk but with a 21st century slant. And the spiky undercurrent goes well with their acned look. Take the addictive 'Secrets' all about bailing out the nest. It's got a chorus that'll go down well in any family planning clinic. Great little tunes and good song structures like this are backed by clean cut riffing guitars and a more than capable rhythm section. They sing of unrequited love, drink, boredom, obsessions. All the things that goes on in South Normanton every day of the week. And don't it make for a much needed interlude from the usual Armageddon or cop/nazi moans. These have a sensa yuma too which is done neatly through the lyrics. They also have a real sickly sweet side to em that thankfully only shows up a few times on the 12 tracks. But like a lot of their stuff it's tongue in cheek so gives em a much needed escape route. They even corrupt a cover of the Beatles 'Saw Her Standing' which is given the buzz saw treatment, and quite rightly so! And talking of buzz saws it's followed by a Ramones tribute song called 'No More Ramones' which is pretty prophetic considering it was released just prior to Joey's recent demise. They reprise one of their earlier better tracks 'I will always Love You' which signals they were struggling to filll an album worth of new material, but they just about manage it coz it's still a worthy of your attention. They do make one major mistake! They introduced a cheesy sounding keyboard to their ultimate wannabe song 'I wanna Be A Pop Star'. This was the low point of the album for me. But they end on a high with the title track 'Vive Le Rock 'N' Roll' that has a Pistols sniff in the guitar stakes. It also lists all the things you need in the Alfreton nouveau riche rock set that these boys obviously live out (tee hee)..Mind you that 1 minute plus drum solo at the end reminded me more of Roy Castle's Record Breakers than Rat Scabies! They close the album with a poignant 'Stars In The Sky' which I presume is all about the Dunblaine school massacre? So a welcome comeback and well WORTH A LISTEN £10.00 from email@example.com