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Cock Sparrer

Forever

Pirate Press Records / Randale Records
By

Rating: 3.5/5

 
 

 

 

COCK SPARRER are easily one of the most influential street punk bands in history, this is not surprising when you consider that they’ve been around since before punk was officially in existence and this year is their 45th anniversary, with punk being a sprightly 41 in comparison. Fashions and trends in the punk scene have come and gone but Cock Sparrer have almost always been there, never one’s to fit in they’ve always done what they do, and their self belief resulted in both the oi! and street punk scenes both adopting them as one of their own. Now well into their fifth decade Cock Sparrer are set to release their new album, Forvever, on the 2nd June, this latest release follows on from their 2007 full length, Here We Stand.

It should come as no surprise that Cock Sparrer haven’t changed, this is an album of high octane street punk that boasts singalong choruses and terrace chants, Forever is an album that maintains the spirit that appeared on the 1980 debut album, Shock Troops, and it’s credit to them that the years haven’t reduced their energy levels in the slightest. You can’t underestimate the influence of Cock Sparrer, everyone from Rancid and Dropkick Murphys to the Bouncing Souls and Agnostic Front owe a debt to this London based band, and the current album, unlike many bands that release album’s at their age, will only reinforce their reputation.

Forever is an album that will be well received by their established fan base, there are no surprises on Forever, but let’s face it, if they were going to mellow with age they would have done it before now. Forever doesn’t have any stand out tracks, but on the other hand there aren’t any low points that have you reaching to skip tracks, this is a solid sixteen track album that delivers exactly what you’d hope for, and expect, from Cock Sparrer. This isn’t a surprising album in any way, shape or form, this is Cock Sparrer delivering what they do best, sounding like they are still loving making the music they want to make and delivering albums that their worldwide fanbase will lap up.

Forever can be ordered via Pirate Press Records and Randale Records here

Cock Sparrer To Release ‘Forever’ LP

Adobe Photoshop PDFCock Sparrer are widely considered to be one of the most influential Street Punk bands in history and 2017 sees them celebrate their 45th Anniversary. With a ten year gap between Cock Sparrer‘s last album, Here We Stand, and the present day, 2017 sees the release of their new full length album, Forever. The album was recorded over a four month period between the end of 2016 and February 2017, Forever is a collection of songs written in what only can be described as “the Cock Sparrer way”, anthemic, filled with hooks and with lyrics relating to real life.

Forever can be ordered via Pirate Press Records and Randale Records here

generators-crashed-out-bsag-split

The Generators / Crashed Out

Blood, Sweat And Glory

Pirate Press Records
By

Rating: 3/5

 
 

 

 

Blood, Sweat And Glory represents the union of two veteran bands who have their roots deep in the street punk scene, The Generators, from the USA, and Crashed Out from the UK. These two bands have been plying their trade for a combined total of around fifty years as they have both been in existence since the early ’90s. Each band has contributed four tracks to create the split album that is Blood, Sweat And Glory.

The Generators occupy the a-side of Blood, Sweat And Glory, two of the four tracks by the Generators, Throw Away The Key and So Sick Of This, are uncompromising slices of street punk, neither of these is a surprise and, as good as they are, I knew tracks like these were coming. For me the stronger tracks are the ones I didn’t expect, Goodbye California and in particular the excellent Killing Time, are slightly slower paced and provide a contrast to the full on tracks of Street Punk. The b-side is occupied the UK’s Crashed Out, who deliver four tracks of bareknuckle street punk, no subtleties, no ambiguity and definitely no compromise. If you’re a fan of Crashed Out this is as good anything else they’ve released, it’s also in the same vein as everything else they’ve released.

This is an album of two bands that compliment each other, if you’re a fan of the more brutal end of street punk then this will be an album that you’ll play on repeat. For me this is also a Split album of two halves, personally I prefer The Generators side as there is more variety, and the stand out track Killing Time. Crashed Out‘s side didn’t really do it for me as I found it to be somewhat predictable, that’s not to say their side of the album is bad, it’s just that I knew exactly what was coming.

Blood, Sweat And Glory can be ordered, on a black or red ten inch vinyl, here

Barstool Preachers BP

The Barstool Preachers

Blatant Propaganda

Pirate Press Records
By

Rating: 4/5

 
 

 

 

The Barstool Preachers formed two years ago in the creative and diverse seaside town of Brighton in the UK, they released the One Fool Down EP, which sold out in less than a month, last year and have been relentlessly touring both the UK and Europe and playing numerous festival dates, they will be supporting Street Dogs and The Slackers later this year in addition to their own headlining shows. The result of this punishing schedule is that this impressive quintet have received critical acclaim and they have now bought us their debut full length, Blatant Propaganda, that features their own unique blend of ska and punk rock.

Opening track Trickledown is an upbeat ska punk number that contains a political message, it is one that makes a solid and promising start to the album with it’s infectious beat and defiant vocal delivery, the rest of Blantant Propaganda follows this path, but that’s not to say this album is in anyway a one trick pony. The relentless and irresistible ska beat is an ever present but the approach, attack and style vary constantly throughout their debut album, but all the time containing a valid and defiant political message. The track Good News is one of the highlights, it is an attack on the state of the media, anyone who’s ever endured Fox News will be able to identify with this, that is delivered with their trademark sound. My other personal favourite is the closing track, Ballad (Of The M1), this is a tale of the trials and tribulations of their life on the road, whilst these two tracks are the ones that stood out for me there isn’t a weak track in sight on Blatant Propaganda. This is an impressive debut album from a band that doesn’t just talk the talk, The Barstool Preachers are a band that walks the walk with a confident swagger. They have been involved in positive action and regularly support charities, both in their local area and internationally, this activity marks them out as a band that are true to their roots and beliefs.

The combination of ska and punk guitars is backed up with an impressive brass section and swirling keyboards that forms a gloriously infectious album, the blend of punk, street punk and ska is severely addictive and the upbeat tone nicely juxtaposes the solid social and political messages that their compositions carry. This is music with a message that also has the benefit of the skanking beat that all great ska records carry, but with a welcome injection of energy and anger that is provided by the punk influences. Fans of the likes of The King Blues, The Interrupters, The Slackers and The Specials will adore this album and Blatant Propaganda will be on my playlist for the foreseeable future, and I would suggest that it should be on yours as well.

The Barstool Preachers tour dates and social media links can be found here

Blatant Propaganda can be downloaded from the usual sources, the vinyl with a download of the album can be ordered here

Tim Timebomb & Friends 7″ Series

Tim TimebombAwesomely prolific, that’s really the only way to describe Tim Timebomb & Friends, side project of Rancid’s Tim Armstrong. According to the man himself:

“Tim Timebomb and Friends is a place for me to share with you some of my favorite songs that I’ve recorded with friends of mine. I’ve always enjoyed sharing music, whether I’m just sitting around playing acoustic guitar with my friends or breaking out old 45’s. I guess you could call me a music nerd. I like everything from Bob Dylan to the Ramones, to Jimmy Cliff to Cock Sparrer. I plan to bring together a great group of players to record covers as well as some originals. I hope you dig it and encourage you to pass them on.”

Songs are released digitally on youtube, and withe literally 100’s available it really is an impressive body of work. Now Hellcat Records and Pirates Press Records are joining forces to compile a series of three 7″ releases featuring a select few of these songs.

Read More…

Off With Their Heads - I WIll Follow

Off With Their Heads

I Will Follow

Pirate Press Records
By

Rating: 3.5/5

 
 

 

 

For Off With Their Heads, joining up with Epitaph Records earlier this year meant entering somewhat of a maturing process – at least in the sense of creating that succinct, defining body of work that fans can point to in justifying their high praise.  That album was In Desolation, and it really turned heads earlier this year.  But despite their current turn towards professionalism, the Minneapolis punk rock quartet hasn’t always been so coherent.

Just a glimpsing over their catalogue reveals a cumulative combination of upwards of twenty EPs, live albums, and splits – going in Epitaph must have known that tying the troupe down wasn’t realistic, because a couple of short months later, the band is at it again, this time releasing a shaped picture disc with Pirates Press Records.  The offering features one brand new song on the A-side, and a host of miscellaneous goodies nestled opposite.

The disc opens with the title track and undeniable star of the show, “I Will Follow You.”  Spinning two minutes of well-paced pop-punk with a razor sharp edge, the track could easily fit alongside Off With Your Head’s Insubordination Records days if it wasn’t for the obvious spill over of the In Desolation production quality.  The track ultimately feels lighthearted and optimistic as Ryan Young’s gravelly vocals leap and bound up and out as he spouts out the mindset of a freshly contented individual finally embracing life’s best moments (“Well I haven’t got much/almost nothing to offer to you/no money, education, or job just to name a few/but I finally feel right/found something worth putting up a fight”).  It’s a fantastic choice for a stand-alone track, as lifting the needle back to the initial groove becomes a natural impulse.

Over to the B-side and the band gets a little angrier by offering up a couple of mean covers followed by a live track from a few years back.  First off is the sub-minute and a half combo track “Drain/East Park River” (where one starts and the other ends isn’t entirely clear), two quick covers by the long dormant collaboration, Cleveland Bound Death Sentence.  Here the band slips in a little anger, but prevents anything from getting too heavy by drowning choruses in some solid woooaahs, and then concluding the final twenty-four seconds by really letting off some steam.  And then, as if to remind fans of the wealth of good times already had, the band plinks down a live version of their 2007 album opener (All Things Move Towards Their End), “Janie.”  It’s arguably cleaner than the original studio version, making a good case for the band drawing from their entire catalogue when taking the stage.

And let’s not forget the nature of the disc itself.  I mean, what could better embody the spirit of Off With Their Heads than a blistering dose of grainy pop-punk spinning in the shape of a flaming vintage pick-up truck?  Yea, that’s right, not much – not much at all.  Two sides, two moods, and one killer package make I Will Follow You a nifty – albeit somewhat obscure – little light hearted follow up to the band’s defining masterpiece.  Sure, at only one new track and under six minutes of run time it’s not an essential, but it’s still pretty darn cool.

The Jons - The Jons

The Jons

Self Titled

Pirate Press Records
By

Rating: 3/5

 
 

 

 

UK indie rock group The JONS seem to have picked up some solid momentum over on their home turf.  Still a relative unknown outside the island nations, they clearly have the ear of the people, already garnering the popular vote in Essex during local station Southend Radio’s people’s choice award, as well as a solid second place in a regional battle of the bands competition with over 11,000 initial entries.  Considering the outright fun present in the band’s first EP, it’s not hard imagining The JONS winning over so many prospective fans.

At their core, The JONS embody a timeless brand of alternative pop that’s easy on the ears and quick to memory.  At only two songs, the band only gets one shot, but thankfully they get it right the first time – making a strong first impression.  Earlier this year Canada’s Teenage Kicks graced my ears by similar means, and although the former certainly bares a sound true to the Brit scene and the latter a product of rural Canada; the EPs exhibits parallel levels of energy, and brims with just as much potential.

Side A opens with “Walk Towards The People,” a great piece I find myself bouncing around in time during each listen.  With a run time of only 2:24, the group has put a lot of love and care into each and every note.  Opening with an energetic splash of retro guitar, and building up with that unmistakable British accent, it wouldn’t be hard imagining the group gaining the ear of foreign markets much like other UK acts, a la Franz Ferdinand.  Their appeal can be attributed to the many little touches helping push The JONS over the edge.  For instance, some moments amalgamate lyrics and style, as seen when the band speaks the line “we never talk,” only to raise collective voices, yelling the line “but we absolutely love to shout!” thereafter.  Other times there sneak in welcome little flourishes, like a groovy 70’s inspired bridge.  Either way, the song is fun little a toe tapper through and through.

Flip the single over and you get “Grass On The Wicket,” a simple, bubbly tune in which the band embraces and overcomes their cultural clichés as they reference European pastimes like cricket when weaving a tale about a “naughty” dame’s childish games.  It’s a song that could make even the most culturally elitist American sing along with conventions obviously rooted in British culture.

Two tracks is all it takes to want to hear more from The JONS, a fact that bodes well for a band still early in their career.  Definitely a convincing argument to keep the Essex quintet on one’s radar.