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The Johnnie Squizzercrow Experiment Announce New EP

Johnnie Squizzercrow Food Bank EPThe Johnnie Squizzercrow Experiment have a habit of hijacking well recognised days for releases, this years Aprils Fools Day will be the launch date for The Great Foodbank Robbery EP, in advance of the launch they have released a video for a track from the EP, Freaky Flakazoid Counter Culture Kid. The band have also announced they are planning to do a live broadcast on the 2nd April, further announcements regarding the EP’s release and the live webcast will be released over the coming weeks.

The Johnnie Squizzercrow Experiment‘s website is here and their Facebook page is here

You can view the video for Flaky Freakazoid Counter Culture Kid below Read More…

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Escape Is Not Freedom

Goldsmith

Self Released
By

Rating: 3/5

 
 

 

 

Chicago’s Escape Is Not Freedom are set to release their debut full length, Goldsmith, on February 24th, they are a band that combine sludge, metal and noise rock to make an intense, discordant and fuzzy soundtrack. The Illinois trio’s debut album follows on from their 2015 EP, The Truants, and it feels like a logical follow up, however, on their previous release the sound was more refined and precise, for Escape Is Not Freedom the rough edges are firmly in place, for me this gives the album a darker and rawer feel than it’s predecessor, and it’s an approach that better suits their dark hybrid of styles.

Goldsmith opens with the intense fuzz driven riff of Coriander, this is a dark primal number that recalls the heavier end of punk, grunge and alt rock, Annul switches the pace, but not the intensity, this is accompanied by a haunting female vocal that contrasts with the gruff delivery of the opening track. Night Light‘s remorseless bass grind signals that a downbeat heavier element is being bought into the mix, an element that continues through the short but sweet dose of Morphine that follows it. The track Sodium signals another shift, this time into a discordant post punk delivery before we hit the anguished Dispossessed, this is a number that signals a return to a melodic vocal delivery that is juxtaposed against an intense riff. The album continues to vary it’s intensity, delivery and melody across the ten tracks, until you get to album’s finale, the dark, disturbing, extended, and appropriately named, Migraine.

Goldsmith is an album that resembles a collision between The Melvins, Smashing Pumpkins, Soundgarden and Killing Joke, this results in an album of extended hazy riffs that are relentlessly delivered in a discordant and fuzz drenched style. In case you hadn’t guessed this is by no means an easy listen, it is a remorseless dark and heavy album that is born of the suspiciously hazy origins of sludge and stoner rock, but the fact that this is coupled with elements of metal and noise rock, that inject a dose of adrenalin into the album, prevent it from being an album that gets mired in it’s own heady sludge. Goldsmith is an impressive self released album that will be available via Escape Is Not Freedom‘s Bandcamp, and it’s one that is worth investigating if you’re tastes lie towards the heavier end of the alternative spectrum.

Goldsmith will be released tomorrow, February 24th, and can be ordered here

Escape Is Not Freedom‘s Facebook presence can be found here

This Gun For Hire To Release Debut Album On March 31st

SLV-1Metalcore Vancouverites This Gun For Hire have announced they will release their upcoming debut album, Something A Little More Sinister, on March 31st, 2017. The debut full length displays a keen awareness of pace and dynamics, moving deftly from the seething chaos of the opening number, Infection, to the grandiose and melodic epic of To The Fallen And The Faithful, and back again for the staccato grunt of album closer Barn Burner, there’s little doubt as to This Gun For Hire‘s capabilities.

This Gun For Hire‘s website can be found here

You can view the video for the opening track, Infection, below Read More…

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George Morris

Self Titled

Self Released
By

Rating: 3.5/5

 
 

 

 

Detroit’s George Morris releases his latest album today, February 10th, he has worked towards this solo release through his work with The Satin Peaches, as well as through his previous solo releases. After the Satin Peaches went their separate ways in 2010, George Morris began writing the new material that would populate his solo releases, whilst simultaneously expanding his guitar and piano skills. In 2012, he recorded his first solo record, Organ Solos, after this release he formed a backing band, The Gypsy Chorus, and released his second album, We Will Go To Hell For This, now shorn of the backing band he has bought us his latest self titled release.

George Morris has stated that his new album centres around getting old and having all your friends die, something that becomes abundantly clear on the opening number, 100 Years, but  this is not as melancholy as it’s sounds, and the album opens with a strangely uplifting track that simultaneously recalls The Strokes and The Raveonettes. The album then shifts sideways into the synth led Full Of Stars, that carries the same feel, but with a very different delivery. The opening due of tracks set a pattern of unpredictability on this self titled album, George Morris varies the approach on every single track across the album, incorporating musical influences from The Beatles to Moby, via a hefty indie influence, and it is all delivered with a heavyweight wall of sound production

This a sprawling genre spanning album that is perfectly produced, the mix comes straight from the Phil Spector school of production, but thankfully none of his other traits are present on this album. The subtle touches that are incorporated into this release, and the variation in the style and approach to the songs, mark this out as a unique and experimental album, that despite the changes in style and delivery works perfectly. George Morris has brought us an album that is made to be played in one sitting, rather than being an album where you can identify obvious highlights or singles, although the stunning 100 Years does comes close to being that track. George Morris has released a solo album that is simultaneously recalling the past, living in the present and looking to the future, no one else is producing anything quite like this at the moment, and on that basis I’d recommend giving this idiosyncratic release a listen.

The self titled album will be available via digital platforms and via George Morris‘s Bandcamp here

Mohwak Radio Shoot From The Hip

Mohawk Radio

Shoot From The Hip

Self Released
By

Rating: 3.5/5

 
 

 

 

Manchester UK’s Mohawk Radio have spent the last four years developing an impressive following, they’ve built up from cult status and have steadily grown their fanbase, as a result they have now played sell out shows across their native Manchester, and far beyond, including concerts in New Orleans, Los Angeles and Bermuda. Now Mohawk Radio have announced that they will be releasing the Shoot From The Hip EP on the 9th February, this release follows on from the acclaimed debut, 2014’s Halfway To Heaven EP. You can order Shoot From The Hip direct from the band, and there are also early bird CD and ticket packages available for their upcoming tour dates.

The Shoot From The Hip EP kicks off with the anthemic On Your Knees, this is an rousing slice of alt rock featuring some accomplished soaring vocals, that are backed up by the kind of hook laden guitar riff that demonstrates why they deserve such a loyal following. Eyes Wide Shut takes things in a slightly more ominous direction, before Shoot From The Hip takes the pace down with mellower duo of tracks, Ready To Love and Even, that almost hark back to the days of the power ballad, almost, before Deserve closes out the EP, this is an accomplished rocker that acts a an appropriate finale. Whilst I prefer the opening heavier duo of tracks, this is a seriously accomplished alt rock release from a band that are still doing everything on their own terms

This is alt rock, but it’s a strand that that is heavily infused with the hedonism of straight up rock, but whilst it embraces the spirit of that genre, they steer clear of the worst excesses and overblown histrionics that creep into many rock bands recordings. They channel the alt side of rock to create an EP that, if there’s any justice, should tip Mohawk Radio over the edge into mainstream success. This is a polished five track EP of rock and alt rock that has retained enough of an edge to appeal to their fanbase, whilst at the same time possessing enough mainstream appeal to push them onto greater success, not an easy balancing act to pull off, but one Mohawk Radio have managed with ease

Mohawk Radio‘s website, where you can order the Shoot From The Hip EP, is located here

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Who Killed Nancy Johnson?

Cops And Robbers

Self Released
By

Rating: 3.5/5

 
 

 

 

Who Killed Nancy Johnson? are a UK based high energy punk band whose influences include The Stooges, The Ruts, Buzzcocks, The Rezillos and Alkaline Trio. Until January 2015 the band was known simply as Nancy Johnson, they resurfaced from a lengthy hiatus last year with a new vocalist, James Bronson of legendary London rhythm and blues band The Bronsons, and fresh material, the band immediately headed into the studio and they have now issued their debut self released EP, Cops and Robbers, that is available from today, the 20th January 2017.

The EP kicks off with the title track, a wail of sirens precedes a solid guitar riff kicking the EP into life, this and the subsequent track, Terminal Love, are played at a relatively sedate pace, at least when compared to many of the releases I’ve heard this year, with more of a feel of the bands that preceded punk rock, however, the EP kicks into life like it’s been spiked with amphetamines on the infectious track Buzz (In Your Head), it ups the ante and features a hypnotic chorus that will be impossible to dislodge from your memory for weeks, for me this track was the highlight of the EP, this is no slander on the initial pair of tracks, or closing number Stay Out Late, but the frantic pace and insistent chorus raised it above the other tracks.

Who Killed Nancy Johnson? are another band that has emerged from the UK’s thriving grass roots punk scene, this is punk rock played with a melodic old school flourish, but crucially this is not a band that is stuck in the past, they are a band that embraces punks origins as well as influences from the last four decades. This is a solid debut that makes Who Killed Nancy Johnson? another band that I will hoping to catch live at some point this year, there are few bands that play punk rock with the original style and attitude of punks first wave fully intact, but don’t interpret this as meaning that they are in anyway an anachronism, you can also hear the influence of later bands in their sound, it is this combination of elements that contributes to Cops And Robbers being such an impressive debut.

The Cops And Robbers EP is available on CD at gigs, or as a download via a link on the bands website here

 Who killed Nancy Johnson‘s Soundcloud page is here and their Facebook page is here
 

Who Killed Nancy Johnson? To Release Debut EP

who-killed-nancy-johnson-carWho Killed Nancy Johnson? are a UK based high-energy punk band whose influences include The Stooges, The Ruts, Buzzcocks, The Rezillos and Alkaline Trio. Until January 2015 the band was known simply as Nancy Johnson, they resurfaced from a lengthy hiatus last year with a new vocalist and fresh material, the band have now finished recording their debut EP, Cops and Robbers, that will be released on the 20th January. The EP will be available on CD at gigs, starting with the EP launch gig on the 20th January at The Anchor in Maidenhead, or via high-quality download from the band’s yet-to-be-unveiled Bandcamp page, from the 20th January the EP will be available via a link on the bands website here
 
Who killed Nancy Johnson‘s Soundcloud page is here and their Facebook page is here
 
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Bordertown Devils

Bordertown Devils EP

Self Released
By

Rating: 4.5/5

 
 

 

 

Arizona’sThe Bordertown Devils released their self titled debut EP towards the end of 2016, everything about this EP, from the band’s name and the sleeve art onwards, indicates that this is a band that intend to make an impression from the off. Once you delve into the Bordertown Devils EP you find that they deliver a pumped up crossbreed of punk and rock n’ roll that hits the spot on pretty much every track. The Bordertown Devils debut release is one that channels the spirit of some of the finest of the original punk bands from the USA, but at the same time it injects a dose of rock n’ roll swagger, and a hefty hit of adrenalin, that sits alongside their own style, and it’s this that keeps them sounding contemporary, rather than being just another band recreating the past.

Rot N’ Roll opens the Bordertown Devils EP, it’s a fast paced punk number that sits somewhere between The Ramones and Motorhead, it’s a fine feel good full tilt start to the EP that is followed up by Count Me Out, this track changes the style, but not the tempo, it recalls a high velocity Glenn Danzig era incarnation of The Misfits, Open keeps the relentless high octane pace of the EP running as does Hell Cell and finally Cash returns to a heady influence from The Misfits at full throttle. The Bordertown Devils EP is listed as a five track release, however there’s a hidden track lurking at the end of this release, and it’s not an afterthought, remix or demo, the unlisted track, Saturday Night, is a damn fine conclusion to an impressive debut, this is the only time the Bordertown Devils collective foot is taken off the accelerator, but it’s only a slight deceleration in what has been an exhilarating EP of up front aggressive punk rock.

The Bordertown Devils might sound like a band that is reviving the past, but that is not the case, this is a band that wear their influences like badges of honour, but they bring their own south western influence to bear across the half dozen tracks that populate the EP, and it’s this that stops them from being a band recreating a previous punk era. Had I heard this when it was released at the tail end of last year it would have been listed amongst my favourite releases from 2016, the Bordertown Devils play bare knuckle punk rock as it oughta be, they acknowledge the past and their influences, especially The Misfits, but they have delivered their debut EP in a style that is very much their own. The Bordertown Devils EP is available via all major download and streaming services and the physical CD is available via the Bordertown Devils website.

The Bordertown Devils website can be found here

Bordertown Devils Release Debut EP

bordertown-devils-jan-17The Bordertown Devils have released their self titled debut EP, the EP showcases a straightforward style of punk rock and roll that is infused with hook laden choruses and raw rock guitar chords, hearkening back to old school punk bands such as The Misfits, The Ramones and Social Distortion. The Bordertown Devils debut release is steeped in melody and doused in ferocity, attacking with a one-two combination of punk swagger and hooky songwriting. The EP is available via all major download and streaming services and the physical CD is available via the Bordertown Devils website.

The Bordertown Devils web presence can be found here

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The Johnnie Squizzercrow Experiment

Bootleg 3 EP

Self Released
By

Rating: 3.5/5

 
 

 

 

There is something of a convoluted back story as to how The Johnnie Squizzercrow Experiment came to release the Bootleg 3 EP, sadly it is one I have only tugged at a few strands of, but I have enough to share the basics of the EP’s origins. The band were disappointed with the direction that their, now disowned, album was headed in, so The Johnnie Squizzercrow Experiment decided to take matters into their own hands. They remixed the raw recordings for the ill fated album, stripping them back down into their raw live state and releasing the alternative mixes as the limited edition Bootleg 3 EP.

The Johnnie Squizzercrow Experiment deliver authentic and unpredictable punk rock in the style of the first wave of UK punk bands, with a hefty influence from the likes of The Slits and X-Ray Spex. The opening number, Baliff, carries dub tones in the bass that is married to a distorted post punk guitar style, both this track and Consumer carry razor sharp social observations that are all delivered with a northern sensibility, this is especially prevalent on the dead pan vocal delivery on the short but sweet Fuck OffThe Bootleg 3 EP concludes with TV Dinner, another track containing wry observations that carries dub stylings, but on this track it is juxtaposed against a gentle melodic guitar riff.

The Bootleg 3 EP delivers something unique amongst the releases I’ve heard this year, the quartet of songs contained on the EP blend reggae, post punk, indie and punk together and the result is unlike anything else I’ve heard this year, it manages to capture the original attitude of punk and harbours obvious influences in it’s DNA, but crucially they manage this without actually sounding like anyone else. The Johnnie Squizzercrow Experiment have produced something unique and, as their name indicates, experimental, the Bootleg 3 EP is a limited edition physical release that was originally intended to be solely for gig goers, but whilst stocks last this unique EP is available via their Bandcamp.

The Johnnie Squizzercrow Experiment‘s website is here

The Bootleg 3 EP can be ordered here

late-night-flights-jousthouse

Late Night Flights

Jousthouse

Self Released
By

Rating: 3/5

 
 

 

 

Minneapolis rockers Late Night Fights are a trio featuring Ryan ‘Guanz’ Guanzon, guitar and vocals, Shane ‘Train’ Peckham, bass, and Daniel ‘Sledgehammer’ Johnson, obviously the drummer, who self released their debut album, JoustHouse, earlier this month. This is a band that unashamedly draws heavily on it’s influences, these range from grunge and alternative to alt rock and post hardcore, which if nothing else guarantees that this will be a discordant and distorted debut. Jousthouse, delivers angst and melody that is more than a touch reminiscent of the Seattle grunge era, but it is delivered with a contemporary feel that keeps Late Night Flights from sounding like a complete anachronism.

Jousthouse kicks straight in with Nothing To Lose, this is a Queens Of The Stone Age influenced slice of alt rock that delivers a serious punch, it follows this up with three more heavy duty slabs of grunge infused guitar heavy rock, it’s not until you get to The Only One that they start to move away from the past, and stamp their own identity onto the album. The Only One heralded a change of direction, and after this the album moves into a somewhat a more melodic frame of mind with Ode To Owed, which acts a breakwater before the full tilt alt rock kicks back in for one last time with Break The Chains. This track signified the last rallying call as the album eases into a mellower, at least by Late Night Flights standards, end to the album that demonstrates they are by no means a one trick pony with a distortion pedal.

Jousthouse is an album that owes a hefty debt to nineties alt rock, it’s distorted riffs and gruff vocals vary across the album from the fist pumping and anthemic, to the dark and disaffected, at times the album veers so heavily into the territory of what came before it that it almost takes you back two decades. This is clearly an album that wears it’s influences on it’s sleeves, so much so that it verges on becoming somewhat derivative of the bands that inspired them, in particular Queens Of The Stone Age’s influence isn’t so much worn on the sleeve as tattooed into a sleeve. They manage to stay a step away from being a band that’s living in the past, but being only a step removed does mean that Late Night Flights stands in the shadow of grunge and alt rock, but if that’s an era that you treasure, then you may just have found your new favourite band.

Jousthouse can be pre-ordered via iTunes here and Amazon here

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Altar Flowers

I.D.S.T.

Self Released
By

Rating: 3.5/5

 
 

 

 

Since their formation in 2013 Manchester’s Altar Flowers have released 2 EP’s, 2013’s 2 For Joy and 2015’s Teenager EP, the latter of which caught the attention of BBC Radio 6. they have toured across the UK and they released their debut album, I.D.S.T., earlier this year. The band has undergone numerous line up changes since their inception but the current line up seems to be one that’s settled, and more importantly it is one that has produced their strongest material to date.

I.D.S.T. contains eleven tracks that carry all the hallmarks from the gothic side of the late eighties alternative scene. The album boasts an emotive and atmospheric sound and every track features guitar riffs that build to huge choruses, whilst the post punk and alternative influences are to the fore, Altar Flowers have a poppier element that steers them away from being just another downbeat goth band. The band have created a multi layered soundtrack that has one foot in the past, there’s a strong influence from the likes of The Chameleons, The Psychedelic Furs and The Cure that is present throughout the album, but this isn’t just a recreation of the past, Altar Flowers have their own interpretation on the soundtrack that influenced a generation of bands.

This is the kind of gothic tinged rock music that in another era may well have seen Altar Flowers filling much bigger venues, echo heavy guitars compliment the swirling keyboards along with the subtle vocal delivery and anthemic choruses. If I had to fault this release, my only quibble would be that there is nothing that raises the tempo, personally I feel that it just needs that uptempo rockier number to lift the album, but this a minor complaint in what is a fine slice of gothic influenced stadium rock. 

I.D.S.T. can be purchased from Amazon and iTunes as well as being available for streaming via Spotify.

I.D.S.T. can be purchased directly from Altar Flowers via their Bandcamp here

The Altar Flowers website can be found here

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Con Etiquette

Resulting In...

Self Released
By

Rating: 3/5

 
 

 

 

Con Etiquette is a post rock band hailing from Connecticut, the band formed in fairly unique circumstances following a tattoo session by drummer Michael Mandanici on frontman Antonino Lappostato. The duo formed the fledgling version of Con Etiquette and began revisiting some of the tracks from the vocalists solo EP, Profound. Vin Testani and Brian Gamse completed the line up and new material was penned, which has led to the release of their debut album, Resulting In…

It seems there has to be a post everything scene, where thing are a little darker and spikier than the original scene that spawned it, welcome to the post rock world of Con Etiquette. All of the tracks on Resulting In… seem to ebb and flow, building up into rockier sections and then fading back down to quieter slower elements, but never quite hitting the joyous highs that rock can sometimes hit. Whilst most of the tracks are fine I’ve noticed that ther’is an element that’s creeping into a fair few albums I’ve heard this year. There seems to be a trend of including musical interludes that are completely at odds with the rest of the material on the album, Resulting In… is no exception, if anyone can explain the popularity of these tracks, that I’m convinced will almost always be ignored or skipped, let me know.

This is neither punk or rock, it straddles the two genres in a unique manner, the feel and attitude of the album borrows heavily from their spiky cousins, but the delivery is taken straight from their hairy brethren, making this a odd hybrid. It’s an album that lies at the darker end of alt rock, but is somehow feels like everything is being restrained, when you get the sense that what it really wants to do is let loose. For me Resulting In… never quite seems to reach it’s potential, it leaves you wanting just a few more tracks so it can hit the high point you know is in there somewhere.

Resulting In… can be ordered here

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Korean Fire Drill

More Badass Than Half Ass

Self Released
By

Rating: 1.5/5

 
 

 

 

This is Korean Fire Drill‘s sophomore album, More Badass Than Half Ass follows on from their debut release, Halfass Is Badass, just from the album titles it would seem that this is a band that appears to have found a formula that works for them, and it’s one that they’re going to stick with. More Badass Than Half Ass is at first glance a hefty twenty six song album, however once you’ve whittled down the numerous skits that populate almost half of this release, what you have is fourteen tracks, four of which are covers or remakes, of hard edged rock and alt rock that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

More Badass Than Half Ass opens with a rocky ode to Kanye West and before long you hit a patch of covers, ranging from straight up rock, Heart‘s Barracuda, through rocked up hip hop and a band that were obviously an inspiration to Korean Fire Drill, The Bloodhound Gang. This is an album that varies between straight up rock and alt rock, as technically proficient as Korean Fire Drill are the album feels unadventurous, I can’t help feeling that live, and with a fair few beers inside you, these would be a great party band, but that party vibe just doesn’t seem to transfer onto a studio recording.

With a band that’s intentionally playing things for laughs it’s hard for the joke not to start wearing a bit thin, and I found this was the case with More Badass Than Half Ass. The intermittent skits become an irritation after your first listen and will inevitably be deleted or skipped, there are covers and remakes from the likes of Gorillaz, Dr Dre, and The Bloodhound Gang but these seem to be fairly straight forward versions, just with guitars replacing the original instruments of the songs in question. In short this is a fairly uninspiring rock album that’s covering ground that was well covered by others in the mists of time, if you’re a fan of Faith No More, Alien Ant Farm or Ugly Kid Joe, and are stuck in a time warp, then you’ll probably enjoy this, for me it’s more half ass than badass.

Korean Fire Drill‘s Facebook page can be found here

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Excuses Excuses

Frame Of Mind

Self Released
By

Rating: 3.5/5

 
 

 

 

Excuses Excuses are a Candian punk rock influenced trio, two thirds of the line has risen from the ashes of Stained Glass Army to form this new and promising outfit. Frame Of Mind is the bands debut release, it follows their formation earlier this year, and for a debut release released only nine months after they first decided to make some noise together this is a very impressive and accomplished EP.

Frame Of Mind is a five track EP that covers a variety of styles, The Outsider is an anthem for underdogs everywhere, it kicks things off with an impressive chugging riff that builds to an impressive chorus, Alibis continues in a similar vein before Rewind! brings a noticeable change of pace, this is a song that wouldn’t sound out of place on the Foxboro Hot Tubs album. The title track heads into slightly rockier territory before (Is That) What You Meant closing things with an anthemic number that sounds like a bonus track from 21st Century Breakdown.

Excuses Excuses, as I’ve already hinted at, sound like they owe a hefty debt to Green Day, but also to acts like Billy Talent and The Foo Fighters, this is punk rock, but it’s a variety that is infused with elements of power pop, rock and pop punk. Frame Of Mind is a self released EP that manages to embrace the worlds of self released punk rock and the stadium filling end of alternative music, which is quite a feat to pull off when you think about it. This is a very radio friendly EP, and I don’t mean that as any kind of slur, this kind of punk rock is incredibly popular and Excuses Excuses do it very well, it can only be a matter of time before someone picks up on this and they’ll be headed for bigger and better things.

Excuses Excuses Facebook page is here and their Bandcamp is here

The Johnnie Squizzercrow Experiment Release Bootleg 3 EP

the-johnnie-squizzercrow-experiment-b3The Johnnie Squizzercrow Experiment have released a limited edition physical release intended for gig goers, but it is available, whilst stocks last, via their Bandcamp. The Bootleg 3 EP features alternative, non-album remixes of the raw recordings of tracks Bailiff, Consumer, Fuck Off and TV Dinner that were used in the making of album.

The Johnnie Squizzercrow Experiment‘s website is here

The Bootleg 3 EP can be streamed and purchased here

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The 99 Degree

Dead Or Alive

Self Released
By

Rating: 4/5

 
 

 

 

The 99 Degree released their debut single, Dead Or Alive, earlier this year, they play an unhinged combination of surf, psych and garage which sounds like it originates from a sparsely populated ghost town in the mid west of America, rather than the urban sprawl of Greater Manchester in the UK. The 99 Degree have regularly been tearing up stages in the North West of England, but now those further afield can be exposed to their unique brand of garage psychosis

Dead Or Alive opens with the kind of ominous tones that usually precede a mysterious stranger gunning people down in a spaghetti western, this is a dark and deranged preacher killing murder ballad that captures the spirit of the best Sergio Leone westerns and combines this with the ghost of the original spirit of deranged rock ‘n roll. Vocalist Joe Sartini delivers the murderous tale with his transatlantic spanning vocal style while Phil Turner‘s twisted Gretsch guitar tones give the single it’s underlying menace, the whole package is underpinned by Paul Featherstone and Craig Trickett‘s rock solid rhythm section that keeps The 99 Degree‘s excesses securely anchored.

If you have any love for primitive garage bands such as The Cramps, or the original purveyors of garage and psyche that populated the legendary Pebbles compilations, then The 99 Degree are a band you need to acquaint yourself with, and as this single has been made available as a name your price download then what are you waiting for?

Dead Or Alive is available as a name your price download via The 99 Degree‘s Bandcamp here

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The Madding Crowd

The 78th Bridge On The Rochdale Canal

Self Released
By

Rating: 4/5

 
 

 

 

Manchester’s The Madding Crowd have been around since 2010, in that time they have undergone numerous line up changes before settling on the current, and strongest, incarnation. To date they have released three EPs, the latest is the uniquely titled EP, The 78th Bridge On The Rochdale Canal, this oddly monikered release follows on from the success of last years single, God’s Greatest Flaw, and continues in their tradition of making music that encompasses a conflicting array of musical influences. The EP is released and available to purchase from today, November 26th 2016.

The 78th Bridge On The Rochdale Canal kicks off in a confrontational style with You’ll Fucking Get Yours, spacy keyboards give way the echo drenched guitars and a solid drum beat, true to form The Madding Crowd defy description, containing and combining elements from influences that shouldn’t work, yet they do. The closest I can get to describing the opening track is that it sounds like Black Grape channelling The Chameleons. The previously released single from the EP, January Begins follows, and takes things in a different direction, a relentless driving fuzzy guitar riff coupled with vocal delivery reminiscent of Janes Addiction. Sinking Low contains a sleazy glam rock element that seems appropriate given the political nature of the lyrics, and finally Where’s The Glamour? round things off in typical genre defying style, containing both gentle passages and driven garage rock elements.

The Madding Crowd have consistently built upon their reputation with each release and The 78th Bridge On The Rochdale Canal is easily their most accomplished release to date, they are an amalgamation of alternative music from the past five decades that doesn’t so much as mark them out from the pack, but separate them completely from it. The Madding Crowd have always done things there own way, rather than jumping on the nearest bandwagon, and this release is no exception. The 78th Bridge On The Rochdale Canal is a stunning EP that shows The Madding Crowd remain a unique facet in the vibrant musical culture of Greater Manchester.

The 78th Bridge On The Rochdale Canal can be purchased here

world-over-mountains

The World Over

Mountains

Self Released
By

Rating: 3/5

 
 

 

 

Los Angeles based alternative rock band The World Over have released their latest EP, Mountains. The World Over is led by Tiaday Ball, for trivia fans she’s the granddaughter of the guitar string creator Ernie Ball, who along with Ryan Knecht, Guitar, and Donovan Allen, bass, make up the current line up of The World Over, for this release Melvin Murray of Abandon All Ships stepped into breach to play drums on the Mountains EP.

Mountains is an impressive self released EP of alt rock, it must be said the initial impression of the first track, Traitor, concerned me. It started with a worryingly polished and commercial introduction, but I’m glad to report this is short lived as the track kicks in at the around the one minute mark. Following this is Liberosis, this is a much darker sounding affair, with a much heavier guitar and drumbeat compared to the initial number. The Mountains EP alternates across it’s five tracks between a softer more commercial sound and the slightly darker heavier and ultimately more satisfying style, for me it is those tracks, Liberosis and Invisible, that work best and it’s also these that suit Tiaday Ball’s vocals, which it must be said are stunning, she is able to equally deliver both melody and a hair raising alt rock howl.

The World Over has mainlined the sound that bands like Skunk Anansie pioneered, and they’ve taken it a step further, on the Mountains EP they’ve incorporated some of the heavier end of alt rock into their sound, alongside the post hardcore influences from their debut EP, Rampart District. The production is a little too slick for my tastes, I always feel a band benefits from a few rough edges but this aside I don’t really have any complaints and you can see The World Over going onto much bigger things on the basis of this EP.

The Mountains EP can be streamed and purchased here

ramonas-you-asked-for-it-cover-art

The Ramonas

You Asked For It

Self Released
By

Rating: 4.5/5

 
 

 

 

The Ramonas are the world’s best known all female Ramones tribute band, they have been relentlessly touring the UK, Europe and America since 2008. Their intense, high energy live shows have earned them a loyal fan base, huge online presence and regular slots at festivals, including the legendary Rebellion Festival, they’ve even been joined on stage by Richie Ramone. Now The Ramonas are moving beyond the constraints of the Ramones extensive back catalogue and are putting out their own material.

You Asked For It opens with the saintly vocals the precede the full tilt punk rock that is Speak Up, this is the lead track from their debut EP, and to be honest you couldn’t ask for a finer opening assault of high energy punk rock. A traditional 1234 heralds the start of Money, a track that that The Ramonas namesakes would have been proud of, it is straight up driving punk rock that carries an irresistibly infectious chorus. You hardly have time to draw breath before Hard And Fast At 69 kicks in, this keeps the adrenalized EP going, but with a slightly darker tone than the previous two tracks, and V.O.I.D. keeps the beat alive before Zombie Crawl rounds out the You Asked For It EP. The final number opens with bass rumble and a cry of “get out of my way cocksuckers” before it kicks into a high tempo punk number that’s perfectly designed for catharsis during rush hour.

You Asked For It is The Ramonas first EP of original material, and it’s a exactly what you’d want them to deliver, this is five tracks of relentless punk rock that has carried on the legacy that da brudders first started laying down back in 1974. The You Asked For It EP effortlessly blends the intensity of their punk rock roots with infectious pop melodies and killer hooks, and as you’d expect all of this is achieved in under three minutes on every track. For a band that has established itself playing the back catalogue of a legendary artist to move in a new direction is a brave move, but this EP is evidence that The Ramonas have made the right decision. You Asked For It is a product of demand from their many fans, and I can guarantee that anyone who buy this will be glad they got it.

You Asked For It is available on CD here and can be downloaded via iTunes

The Ramonas Release ‘You Asked Fot It’ EP

Tramonas-you-asked-for-it-cover-arthe Ramonas are the world’s best known all female Ramones tribute band, they have been relentlessly touring the world since 2008 and their intense, high energy live shows have earned them a loyal fan base, huge online presence and regular slots at festivals. Now The Ramonas are moving beyond the constraints of the Ramones extensive back catalogue and are putting out their own material with their debut EP, You Asked For It, which was released earlier this week

You Asked For It is available on CD here and can be downloaded via iTunes

The Punk Site review of the lead track, Speak Up, is here and the video can be viewed below Read More…

ashes-of-my-regrets-cover

Ashes Of My Regrets

Caricatures

Self Released
By

Rating: 3.5/5

 
 

 

 

Ashes Of My Regrets are a metalcore quintet originating from New Jersey, they are a band consisting of five long standing friends who looked to make an impact on today’s music scene. The band came to be after multiple failed musical attempts by some of the band members, they finally all came together, crucially with each member approaching things from a different musical background, but with all of them retaining a love for current metalcore bands, and the dedication to create something different in the genre they loved, and for me they’ve succeeded in that goal.

The brief haunting instrumental, that sounds like the sinister introduction to a horror movie, eases you into Cariactures before all hell breaks loose. Cariactures has all the familiar features of metalcore, including brutal riffs and thunderous drumming, but this has something else, something is very different, it’s not just the moments of subtlety, the dual vocals or the lack of overproduction, it’s that I really like this EP. I normally find metalcore releases bombastic and repetitive, this is far from that, the demonic vocals still aren’t exactly to my taste, but musically this is a significant step up. Established fans of this genre need not fear, the breakdowns and soaring choruses are still firmly in place, but with a unique approach that for me makes Cariactures not so much stand out from the metalcore pack, but take control and lead it.

As far as I’m concerned this is a game changer for metalcore, the guitar riffs are still brutal and the attack and aggression are still in place, but they are skilfully blended and the songs are made with a unique approach. Fans of bands like Asking Alexandria, Crown The Empire, The Word Alive, Memphis May Fire and Bring Me The Horizon will undoubtedly find something familiar, but more importantly they will also experience something new, what more could you ask for.

Cariacatures was released on the 4th November and can be ordered here

mansell-mantra

Mansell

Mantra

Self Released
By

Rating: 2/5

 
 

 

 

Georgia trio Mansell formed a few years ago, they have a truly independent DIY spirit, writing and releasing their music on their own terms, Mantra is their debut album and it will be released digitally on November 11th. Mansell play a mix of Alternative and Indie that forms the core of their sound, but that’s not the whole story, as they state there is also an influence from art and expression, and it is this that prevents Mantra from being just another generic indie album.

We can skip the opening twenty second introduction of Walking On Bank Street and get straight to the meat and potatoes of the album, Mantra is an album that switches between downbeat bass driven indie rock and mellow unconventional art inspired sections, this means that this is by no means an album of indie by numbers, but the mix of styles means that the album just doesn’t really seem to flow. Mantra comes across as selections of atmospheric art rock that gel together, that are interspersed with slick sections of indie rock that seem to act as bookmarks between the more experimental elements of the album.

Mantra was produced and engineered by Jason Hoard, Ryan Wilson and Mansell themselves, this isn’t surprising given their commitment to independence and DIY, something that I will always encourage. Whilst Mantra isn’t an album that suits my tastes, it lacks the energy that I look for in a release, but that isn’t to say that is in anyway a bad album. It is an unconventional and individual approach to the indie genre, and in a world of identikit indie bands that is something to be encouraged.

Mantra will be available at all digital retail outlets this Friday, November 11th, and is available for pre-order now on iTunes

Mansell‘s website can be found here and their facebook page is here

mantras

Mantras

Mantras

Self Released
By

Rating: 3.5/5

 
 

 

 

Brighton four piece Mantras are celebrating the official release of their debut EP, this is a self released, self titled four track EP that channels some of the best known bands from the last two decades of the UK’s indie scene. The Mantras EP contains four tracks of guitar based indie rock that recalls the days when Manchester was the musical epicentre of the world, and it does it in style.

The Mantras EP has such a strong influence from some of Manchester’s finest bands that when I first heard them I presumed they were natives of that city, the Stone Roses and Oasis, along with a strong vocal delivery that reminds me of Tim Booth of James, are key influences. If they were just recreating those bands this would be rather disappointing, as there are hundreds of bands doing this. What puts Mantras ahead of the pack is that they’ve adopted some of the stylings of those bands and amalgamated them into their own original compositions, rather than trying to reproduce what has already been recorded and repeatedly imitated ever since.

I recently caught Mantras live at Gullivers in Manchester, whilst they haven’t quite caught the energy they display in a live setting this is a solid four track EP that is influenced by the best of the more rock ‘n roll side of UK indie rock. Importantly they have avoided the excesses and self indulgence that many of those bands slipped into with their later recordings, and have delivered a quartet of anthemic tunes that recall the highpoints of the peak of Britpop and the Madchester era bands. The Mantras EP is released today, November 4th, and will be available via iTunes and streaming services.

Mantras Facebook page is here and their Bandcamp, where you can also purchase the EP, is here

Inire Premiere ‘Crash’ From Forthcoming ‘Cauchemar’ Album

inire-cauchemarCanada’s heavy hitting northern riffing groove demons INIRE have released a stream of the second single, Crash, off their upcoming album, Cauchemar, that’s due out on November 18th. The hard knocking 13 track album was produced by drummer Chris Bonavia and continues the band’s reputation of delivering energetic anthems. In additional news, INIRE have been given the nod and will be local opening support for Sebastian Bach‘s tour stop in Ottawa on November 24th at Barrymore’s

You can order Cauchemar here and stream Crash here

big-o-nothing-is-the-same

Big O

Nothing Is The Same

Self Released
By

Rating: 3.5/5

 
 

 

 

Big O is an Idaho based hip hop artist, and I presume not the artist of the same name who contributed to The Return Of The Living Dead II soundtrack, but this is not you’re run of the mill hip hop release. Nothing Is The Same is recorded with live drums and bass, the live bass that is predominant in the mix particularly adds an extra dimension and depth that I often find missing from releases of this nature. The lyrical content of the EP reflects Big O‘s personal experiences and incorporates the varied influences he has experimented with over the years.

The opening track It’s Music has a hard hitting bass line and drum beat that immediately pulled me into the EP, there’s a feel about this release that is reminiscent of the early Beastie Boys. Not that Nothing Is The Same is derivative of that band, but the delivery of this EP reminds me of the attitude that they possessed when they first started out. The similarities don’t end there, like the Beastie Boys Big O originally had his roots in the punk scene and that really comes across in this release.

Each of the tracks on Nothing Is The Same have a different quality, but all retain that fusion of hip hop beats and punk attitude, the lyrical content avoids the generic subjects of violence or wealth and the lyrical content remains positive and life affirming. This is a different take on hip hop, the addition of the live band and the incorporation of punk attitude means I found Nothing Is The Same to be something I think would be worth investigating if you have any love for hip hop, but want something different that has a positive and progressive approach and attitude.

Nothing Is the Same is available on almost every major distribution and streaming service or can be ordered here

thought-vomit-album-cover

Thought Vomit

Punks Brutal Retaliation / Sync The Skies

Self Released
By

Rating: 2.5/5

 
 

 

 

After the completion of their self financed Makes No Cents tour in April 2016, Thought Vomit have been hard at work on their fourth self produced studio album, Punks Brutal Retaliation/Sync The SkiesGlass Jaw starts proceedings with samples and screaming feedback that lead into a riff that suddenly gains momentum and intensity like it’s been injected with cheap amphetamines, as the pace eases back down I find that I’m transported temporarily back to the eighties hardcore scene, where I first encountered crossover albums like this.

The first nine tracks are all an intense assault and battery of old school crossover hardcore thrash, it’s not until you get to the penultimate track, Flame In The Rain, that things change, and when I say change I mean it, this is a melodic quiet number bookended by samples and sound effects that stands out from the rest of album, it sounds like a completely different band has hijacked the recording studio. After this you then get Sync The Skies, weighing in at almost twelve minutes in length this is an intense and more menacing delivery than the tracks that preceded it, it breaks from the slower paced sinister delivery into growled hardcore and it then settles back into its menacing pace and tone, it’s tempo and intensity varying constantly through this epic final track, this is another unexpected track that for me lifts the album.

This album owes a huge debt to the more recognised bands from this scene such as Suicidal Tendencies and DRI, as well as to the original punk bands that pioneered hardcore, take a bow Black Flag and Dead Kennedys, and the myriad underground and DIY hardcore bands that made the original scene such an exciting movement to be part of. Much of the album is what you’d expect to receive, but the fact that two incredibly diverse and genre hopping tracks are included raises this album above some of its contemporaries. For me hardcore will always be at it’s best when experienced live, but this is a welcome addition to a genre that can all too often slip into a predictable and comfy rut.

Thought Vomit‘s web presence can be found here and their Facebook page is here

Brave Vultures INCIYNH

Brave Vultures

I'm Not Coming Back If You're Not Here

Self Released
By

Rating: 3.5/5

 
 

 

 

Brave Vultures are a four piece emo tinged punk band who hail from the county of Essex in the UK, the I’m Not Coming Back If You’re Not Here EP is their debut release. There already seems to be something of a buzz around them, and they will be building on their following shortly when they head out on a tour that encompasses not only the UK, but also incorporates their initial foray into Europe. The I’m Not Coming Back If You’re Not Here EP was released earlier this month, so what have this Essex quartet bought us with their first offering?

The EP opens with a sample that contains the words “turn it on and rip the knob off’, this has infuriated me ever since trying to place where I’ve heard the sample but I won’t hold that against them, especially as the first track on the EP, This Is Where I Wanna Be, is such a powerful opener. This is how records should start, this track grabs you and makes you pay attention, its powerful chugging riff and powerhouse drums compete with impassioned vocals, straight away they have a new convert to their cause. Whilst first impressions aren’t everything this song has made a hell of an impression on me. They take things down a fair few notches for Safe Ground, this is more of a slow burner that isn’t as immediate as the opening track, but it’s not lacking in the quality and neither is If You Run which steps the pace back up a few notches. The next two tracks, With Me and Don’t Let Me Down, repeat this pattern of easing you down and bringing you back up again.

This is an impressive debut EP, it never quite hits the highs of the opening number, but that is a seriously impressive song so it is a difficult act to follow. There isn’t a weak track, or any moments that have you reaching to skip to the next track, on I’m Not Coming Back If You’re Not Here. If they can build from this impressive starting point then the future looks bright for Brave Vultures.

You can order the I’m Not Coming Back If You’re Not Here EP here

The Brave Vultures website can be found here

Osmium Guillotine Tickturds Split

Osmium Guillotine / The Tickturds

Osmium Guillotine vs The Tickturds

Self Released
By

Rating: 1.5/5

 
 

 

 

Heavy metal and punk rock go head to head on this split EP from two bands from the county of Essex in the UK, The Tickturds and Osmium Guillotine.The split EP was released at the tail end of last month and it features five tracks, including a brand new song Imitators, co-written and co-performed by all members from both The Tickturds and Osmium Guillotine. Also on this Split EP are two tracks from each band, a couple of original songs, Wasteland Warriors 2099 by Osmium Guillotine, and Pointless by The Tickturds, and a cover of each other band’s songs, one punked up metal song, City of Chaos and one metalled up punk song, Mr Angry.

The closest thing I can compare Osmium Guillotine to is the spoof rock band Bad News, that was essentially a British version of the legendary Spinal Tap, the track featuring both bands even ends with excerpts from the riffs of two well known rock songs to add to the parody feel of the song. The other two contributions from Osmium Guillotine continue the feeling that they don’t take themselves too seriously, and the Bad News comparisons continue with the spoken introduction to Wasteland Warriors. The Tickturds are a back to basics punk band featuring fuzzy hard edged riffs, to me they sound like the kind of generic punk band that surfaced in the early eighties, there’s nothing particularly wrong with that but it’s now 2016, and to me recreating the past just seems to be a tad pointless.

I will always try and encourage the grass roots scenes of alternative music, but sometimes it’s difficult as neither band on this EP is one that appeals to me. Osmium Guillotine are rooted in heavy metal of the early eighties and The Tickturds seem to be based in the same era’s punk scene, as much as I enjoy a flashback from time to time this isn’t an EP that I can find any positives in. Their cause isn’t helped by the production on the EP, everything sounds like a recording of a rehearsal session and I’m just left wondering what the point was.

Osmium Guillotine vs The Tickturds is available on CD in comic book packaging, or as a download, from either here or here
 
ramonas-speak-up

Ramonas

Speak Up

Self Released
By

Rating: 4/5

 
 

 

 

The Ramonas are the world’s best known all female Ramones tribute band, they have been relentlessly touring the UK, Europe and America since 2008. Their intense, high energy live shows have earned them a loyal fan base, huge online presence and regular slots at festivals, including the legendary Rebellion Festival. They’ve even been joined on stage by one of da brudders, Richie Ramone. Now The Ramonas are moving beyond the constraints of the Ramones extensive back catalogue and are putting out their own material.

Fan pressure has led to The Ramonas finally recording original material, and Speak Up is the first single of original material to be released and it will appear on their forthcoming EP, appropriately enough this is entitled You Asked For It. Speak Up starts with almost saintly vocals before a typically frantic 1234 kicks the song into life, this is high energy punk rock that follows on from the Ramones legacy, but this isn’t just a rehash of the Ramones past glories, obviously they are on influence on The Ramonas but whilst it carries the spirit of the band that changed everything it is a single that has it’s own character and style.

The only element of the song that is a carbon copy of The Ramones is the 1234 that kicks the track off, from their on it’s the sound of a band who are moving beyond the boundaries of being a tribute band, even if they are one of the best tributes to one of the most important bands of all time. Speak Up is exactly what you’d hope for from The Ramonas, it effortlessly blends the intensity of their punk rock roots with infectious pop melodies and killer hooks, and as you’d expect all of this is achieved in under three minutes.

Speak Up will be available to download from today, the 17th October, from the usual suspects, including iTunes and Amazon

You can visit The Ramonas website here and their Facebook account here for tour dates and details of the single and EP.

super whatevr good luck

Super Whatevr

Good Luck

Self Released
By

Rating: 3.5/5

 
 

 

 

Californian quartet Super Whatevr are the result of a series of poor decisions and misfortunes that have befallen the lead vocalist of Super Whatevr, Skyler McKee. Like any good story the wrong turns and mishaps of one individual have an upside, in this case it’s the debut EP by Super Whatevr, that is ironically entitled Good Luck. His bad luck and mistakes have led to the creation of an impressive five track EP that is comprised of four original songs and a bonus demo track. 

The Good Luck EP carries on in the melodic post punk legacy that the likes of Interpol and The Editors spearheaded in the early to mid 2000’s. The Good Luck EP is a set of curiously upbeat, yet seemingly disgruntled, songs that are not without their charm, the balance between the melancholy subject matter and delicate more upbeat indie tunes is maintained throughout the four completed tracks The only downside to this release is the additional demo track, it feels like something of an afterthought and doesn’t come close to meeting the standards of the rest of the Good Luck EP

Super Whatevr have managed to produce an intriguing EP of upbeat tunes that deal with the trials, tribulations and disappointments of daily life. The end result is a quartet of curiously upbeat, yet simultaneously downbeat songs, the more you become familiar with the Good Luck EP, the more Super Whatevr grow on you. if I was to review this EP in a months time I suspect the gritty lyrical content, and it’s indie tinged melodic post punk style, could well have grown on me even more than it already has.

Super Whatevr ‘s web presence, where you can stream the Good Luck EP, can be found here

The Good Luck EP can be purchased via iTunes