'88-99' (rpro20) CD July 2000
Toxic Narcotic are a new band to my ears but should be well known on the US circuit. They hail from Boston, US and are the longest serving punk band from that city! They've been around in one shape or form since 1989, and are about to inflict their noise on a European tour this summer. Well '88-99' is their calling card of songs and venue meal ticket! This CD features 19 tracks from the bands 12 year career. And it kicks off with 'Junkie Bastard' by far their best number. It's a fast, powerful hardcore punk blast against anarchists, nihilists and any other cunt under sun who robs to fix! Followed hot on it's heels by the blitzing 'Alleston Violence' which is another steamroller of intensity. With frantic guitars and horse drawn vocals. It's all done in a 'I hate the world' style of punk, that only the metallic hardcore fraternity can make a career out of. I find the 'anti-everything' lyrics humourous as fuck. They're bitter 'n' twisted attacks on anything with a pulse and they make me laff in all the wrong places. But I suspect the Toxic message they're putting over ain't quite so funny. Bill the multitalented ex-bass player/ vocalist now front man, Rodent Popsicle Records label boss extraordinaire and founder member on vocals, spits em out in classic hardcore dog tag machine gun style. He's never gonna be the most original sounding growler on the block, but who is within this genre? Especially when that yawningly dull over the top "whoooarrrghhhhhs" and the Tyrannosaurus Rex impersonations come into play! Gawwwwd, when are the punks gonna realise this style is so overrated and restricted? From about 5 tracks in, it all went downhill pretty fast. And no matter how intense you style the music, it soon becomes just another monotonous stop/start drone. There just ain't no fun for the listener after so long. You should get an idea of what fucks these geezers heads up by song titles like 'All bands Suck', 'Fuck You', 'People Suck' and 'Scum bag' tee hee! Yeah Toxic Narcotic ain't got a good word to say for anyone which is promising, but sadly their anger and spite is wasted on the way it's put over! Hey Bill I'd really like ya to try and sing for your supper, just for curiosities sake? They've now gotten a bagpipe player in their midst which should make for an hilarious addition to their sound. PLASTIC Rodent Popsicle Records
'My Castle' (mad20002) 45 2000.
Another new band to hit the 'Nihilism' stereo and this four-piece hail from Altlanta, GA. Another US city which seems to be spewing out street punk combo's by the boatload at the moment. But Terminus City on this showing are one of the more competent outfits from that neck of the woods. The title track 'My Castle' boasts some good punk tunes done in an original manner that had hints of Menace in the guitar sound. The rants are spat out in a strangled brogue by a singer who has enough depth in his vocal range to make it interesting. The title track is a song all about your local neighbourhood being overrun with skum defiling your property and invading your personnel space. A tight rhythm section makes this the stand- out track. On the flip we have a couple of shorter blasts that maintain the Terminus City momentum, boasting a cover of the Cro-Mags 'Hard Times' which brings up the rear. A promising new band who you should keep your eyes and ears open for in the near future! WORTH A LISTEN MadSkull Records
'Danny's Wednesday' (hsi20) CD 2000.
Thorsten's the High Society International record label guru warned me when he sent this in that is was pretty poppy, and by Jove he ain't kidding! The promo sheet mentions aggressive pop-punk but that's a sham! I'm a sucker for female vocals most of the time and if the singers good looking, that's an added bonus! But what can I say about these Italians with the atrocious name? Danny's Wednesday singer, Amanda who is blonde, good looking and looks like she's just stepped out of a Maria Carey video, is the bands selling point full- stop! But I'm afraid good looking birds alone, won't make it in punk! This ain't the gullible mainstream pop market here y'know, this is a full on punk rock den of iniquity and I'm afraid I can see right through this release like a pane of glass. There's nothing there! No substance, no character, it's a fucking joke! At the end of the day all there is to talk about is the lead singers looks. Girls like Amanda should be hitting the indie arena not the seedier side of punk where she'll get ripped apart by cunts like me! Perhaps these bouncy Genova kids see punk as their best shot, a sort of stepping stone to the big time? But I hate to shatter their dreams coz bands like this will always get found out sooner or later. Although her vocals are okay if you like yer sugar coated crap, it was far too sickly for me and my dole Q viewpoint. The lyrics are totally throw- away, and to tell you the truth it all sounds exactly the same. The guitars are riffed out like a leaner, weaker Jam but that was about it. The Bam Bams (who are also on the same label) do this sort of stuff so much better. One poppy band is more than enough for any punk. Thorsten for once has let his dick rule his brain coz blondes are definitely his weakness. And this blonde is fodder for the Euro charts not punk. Some good band snaps by Paul Jellybrain litter the inside and we know why he was there too! NO FUTURE High Society Records
'Rape The Pope' EP
(rabidalligator731) 45 2000
4 raging slabs of punk hit you like a baseball bat around the head. This is Sweden's answer to the blasphemy squad. Rapeing the Pope don't exactly fill me with glee, but the music sure rams it home! The Vectors are manic, they're fast and it's all over before censors can draw breath. 'Spit On You' is even faster and aimed at Bill Clinton's extra curricular activities, but forget the lyrics coz the Vectors biggest asset is their rampaging untamable noise. All delivered on a backdrop of blitzing guitars, pounding bass and rumbling drums. Flip it over and Side B kicks off with 'Babble' that's the slowest track on here by a millisecond and has the best riff by far. Last track 'See You In The Parking Lot' begins with a Pistols 'Satellite' crescendo and reminds me of early Pack in the way the revenging guitar rings out, which can't be bad. A nasty little punk 3-piece here that deserves more attention.
'Negative Reaction' (promo tape) 2000
Trev Hagl from Savage Amusement newsletter has been gagging about this Stanley, UK outfit since he got hold of their demo tape. Well this promo tape for the CD (which is finally out) of "100% authentic and varied 77 punk" is another hit or miss affair. Sure these cunts sound authentic, but varied is a hard one to take after 19 tracks. On first impressions B'Arse 77 or (Birds Arse Seventy Seven outside Stanley's refined confines), just fails to get my spine a tingling in quite the same way as his Lordship promised. Sir Hagl's usually spot on concerning new bands, but a low-fi production and consistency factors were against em! Sure there's a snotty charm about this band that I like a lot. And their dog rough real life council estate scenario's are hilarious occasionally. Take a song like 'Thin, Good Looking & Clean' where women are put in their place and come a close 4th after beer, football and grub. It has some sniggeringly funny moments. But with the laughs aside, this sounds a bit too much like a demo to me. Yeah, bands were releasing stuff like this in '77 but fucking hell that was nearly 25 years ago and surely studios have come on a bit since then? This don't go near the Richter scale on power, but maybe that was what they were after? The weak production and sometimes one dimensional songs driven by a thinly coated guitar keeps the interest to a minimum. The cheeky vocals are really good on some of the outstanding tracks, coz you can tell the singer likes to ridicule with as much gusto as befits a Stanley wide boy, but they also sound a bit tame and jaded in places too. And even with chancers like Phil Bile Duct (who - ?) drafted in for that early 80's "don't know what they're doing" sort of influence, it was obvious the band had no control over the original sound recording (which was done by some nonce with pop connections). Maybe if they'd have threatened the stoned engineer with a slap and told him to pump up the volume till it hits the red lights, this might've come out with a more impressive mix, that it so badly counted on! 19 songs in one session is great value but you can push some things too far! Even Trev admits that, but hey the band wanted em included so they have to face the consequences. And no it wasn't all arse over tits, songs like 'You Can Bring Who You Like Around' and 'Fashion Parade' were rough-cut diamonds. And that 'Guttersnipe' track could've definitely have come straight out of 77's 3rd division punk scene! Y'know, one of those bands that appeared on Live At The Roxy or on a bill down at the Vortex, It's that kind of sound and feel. Followed by the hilarious 'Chelsea Bridge' , which is yet another North East 'top yourself' song!!! But for gems like these.we had to sit through fillers that were queuing up like Kurds at Dover. So with only about 10 tracks doing the bizness maybe an EP would've been the wisest move, coz songs like the hysterical 'My Bird Got Hit By A Car' with it's classic "Get off the road you fucking crazy Bastard' will go down in the North East's punk history books for years to come. AVERAGE £6.00 from firstname.lastname@example.org
DERITA SISTERS & JUNIOR
'Nobody Cares About The Derita Sisters' (st32) CD 2000
Still in my book the most humourous US punk band around today who can still churn out volumes of piss taking jerky punk rock for the masses to laff at or get upset about. Maybe the jokes are wearing a bit thin on this their latest album, coz some of the targets are turning up once more all be it in different scenarios, but this is a Derita Sisters & Junior album so you expect it and they're the purveyors of the 1.20 second tracks, so you never really have time to get bored. And anyway, these ridiculing odes need telling and if it's done in a clever way the more the merrier. This is one trait that points to why this band has such a phenomenal recording output. Take the hilarious 'Banned From Wal-Marts' with it's classic line of "Lots and lots of filthy words, shit 'n' fuck 'n' cunt 'n' turd" (snigger). That has gotta go down in the anals of punk history alongside the likes of Strummer/Jones or Biafra for pure Shakespearian punk rock verbal! This band still manage to produce at least a handful of superior melodic but snotty punk rock tunes in every fucked up sitting. And on this album they show an increasing Buzzcocks influence sound wise! But if it's love songs you want, forget it! The nerdy Messrs. Smith/Gilman are incapable of such heartbreaking tales of boy meets girl. These suburban sarcy middle aged individuals are more passionate about dropping literary turds from a great height on the Homeless and Ant farms!!! So take that frown from your face coz they're telling it like it is! Go in any bar, in any town and you''ll hear these remarks, which I find fucking great! Punks don't seem to mix in the real world much these days but these fuckers do and they eavesdrop on what's being said. Out of the mammoth 27 tracks on show there's bound to be the odd turkey but I only spotted a couple, so wasn't disappointed too often. Another highlight was the infectious reverbed guitar on 'We Miss You' . If you didn't know any better you'd think it was destined for the charts, but whose gonna push a band like these on an unsuspecting public, they're just too wacky for that, which is a pity!!! Another pity was no lyric sheet!!! Hey you fuckers print em next time coz the hilarious lyrics are what make this band a step below the rest. They can still speed it up too on the anti-LA PD track 'Chokehold' which is basically heads down punk rock but tells a comic/tragic story that resides on the LA streets. And y'know what, the Sisters can still lead you into a false sense of insecurity on the slower numbers like 'Big And Fat' with it's sensible talk over styled vocals and spazzy backing vocals all about eating disorders. They still stick their tongues out and sneer at easy targets like short arse blokes, bible punchers and mullets, but hey that's life! And thank fuck someone's doing it. Although their unhealthy fascination with quirky English habits is heading for overkill via the impressive 'Down The Pasty Shoppe' , a song you'll be humming all the way to the chippy in downtown Bilston. One downer on this album I found was the production wasn't quite up there with their previous album, the sharp 'Sylagomania'. Their previous hard hitting power was a bit swamped in the mix but it's still better than the majority of punk releases. They end matters with the paranoid but funny 'Stalker At The Mall' with it's observational lyric of "he's big and fat and kinda tall!" (tee hee). Check em out if you can but watch what your saying, it just might go into a song. WORTH A LISTEN
'I'll See You Never Walk Again' (imb6004) CD November 2000
So-called London deviants on a Brummy based record label, with 11 songs of ska, jazz and political comment makes for a pretty diverse sound eh? But I ain't sold in the least, coz one sniff of ska or jazz and I start to yawn! Less ain't a band that really colours my black 'n' white punk rock imagination I'm afraid. And the highly attractive Magic Roundabout sleeve with black and red lyrics still couldn't save this from an early grave. Jazz/rock fusion has always spelt trouble for me, it's a form of music that screams session musicians and has no part in world of feedback . It takes over the songs like a fucking terminal facelift. Having said that there's one helluva crisp production on show, something a lot of punk bands can only seem to dream about these days. But musically this ain't a punk album... far from it, so who do they think they're kidding? Although the best tracks, namely the auto- biographical 'Sharon' and it's punkette desires and 'Good Night John' (Sidernee Vish) lyrics, would say otherwise. I'm afraid Less is a band I won't remember very quickly and forget almost immediately. Some of the hardcore elements are there merely as window dressing as they are then wrapped up in a psychotic overcoat which just seems to dwarf any punk spirit on here. Suprisingly John the singer who also fronts skanking political Anarcho's P.A.I.N., seems to have adopted a Sting mode to his voice, which just adds to the "muso" feel of this album. Less so I'm told like to wind people up, and maybe they succeed on the odd occasion, but this just makes me wanna wind down! PLASTIC Iron Man Records
'Brewed In Canada'
(DPO4) CD July 2000
I was really expecting more ham fisted Oi! here from a label that does it's utmost to promote the worst of this genre, but thankfully this compilation of Canadian Oi! ain't bad at all. It's without a doubt the best thing I've heard from this label so far, and full marks to Peter from Blind Beggar Records coz you've saved yourself from more ridicule. However things don't get off to a good start with so so Blatherskites who are strangled pedestrian vocal tones dropped over the standard Oi! by numbers backdrop. But I guess someone had to warm the stage up for the heavy sounding Hammerboiz from Hamilton,Ontario. These hoodlums do the honours with a bit more suss on 'Common Man' , that's all about corruption and malpractice in big business. Yeah they are thug rock, bit it's done pretty good. They seem to have a viewpoint within the skinhead world that ain't just big boots 'n' braces, although the urang-u-tang backing vocals could prove me wrong. The New Breed from Halifax, Nova Scotia are probably the best band on here. They've got good punk rock tunes via a distorted guitar, and a singer who's got his own identity, which is pretty rare in the Oi!/streetpunk scene today. And given the three tracks allocated (most of the rest only get got 2) speaks for itself. Although there sound is in the demo stage, this showcases they could produce the goods given time. Standout track had to be 'The Times'. Subway Thugs are from Vancouver. I heard em before on their debut 45 a few years back. Well they still bring us that Skrewdriver style delivery with tinny guitars and an Ian Stuart styled vocal, but that guitar sound was never a big favourite of mine. I prefer a more beefy noise that matches their physique, but it ain't happening here. They do try and bring some tunes to the proceedings, but the low vocals seem to be an after thought. RabbleRousers sound the punkiest Of the lot with their low-fi 'Get em Bootboys' chants, but it soon looses momentum lashed to basic arrangements. They do show a good sensa yuma with their piss taking 'KKK Klansman' track, that adds some pseudo barber shop quartet onto the front and back of the track. And I put money on the PC punks shunning it as extremist? ...but who fucking cares coz I don't. Lastly it's King Size Braces produce the kind of Oi! that's got loads of influence from the Rejects to the Business with some good Dropkick Murphys fashioned backing vocals threw in for good measure. However the scrawny lead vocals let it down and those out of tune guitar solos are either taking the piss or they meant it? I wouldn't like to say? On the whole though, not a bad preview of the Canadian Oi! scene, and has gotta be at least WORTH A LISTEN if only coz this is dedicated to the tragic loss of label boss Peter's, 6 month old baby son Robin, whose picture appears on the back cover.
'The Final Punk Sound'
(DPO4) CD July 2000
NCA are yet another new French band out the Mass Products traps, and this their debut album kicks off in fine form with a hypnotic wailing guitar sound that quickly leaps into their Motorhead influenced opener. I was just reading their promo sheet and the "Breton street punk" band I.D. was a bit misleading. Coz NCA ain't your run of the mill street punk apes, they play well constructed powerful Hardcore. And with just enough 'street' in their to keep everyone happy. Crunchy mid paced rocking tunes trade blows with the chanting "Oi! Oi! Oi!" chorus's. A mix that sounds good on paper, but it don't always work on this album. The songs are well mixed with the French/English lyrics so dumb white suburban punks like meself don't get lost amid the rustic and sometimes very French style of crooning. A lot of this album just don't tempt me any further coz it's simply too French in the vocal department. But the standout tracks of the 13 on display (and 42 minutes in duration) had to be the anti Oasis song 'Oiasis' . Yeah even us Brits can't stand em either. The piss taking intro to 'Get The Nazis Out' was good.too, with a cartoony keyboard intro of the French National Anthem. They end things with a hidden bonus track that was just a humourous pub song complete with jangling beer bottles. Comes in a great misleading pastiche of Europe (spandex rockers) cover shot, which was a clever move. But overall humour aside NCA need a more diverse vocal to really ram home the songs. This album is released on 4 different labels giving reviewers a nightmare but being as Mass Prod. sent this in, they get the credits. AVERAGE Mass Products Records
B.P. 287-35005 Rennes Cedex France.