Those Who Knew formed two short years ago, since that time they have been industriously playing the local circuits and building up an ever growing fanbase, now the Nottingham based alternative quintet are looking to spread their wings beyond their local scene as they are set to self release their debut EP, New Perspective, on Friday 28th April. Prior to the EP’s launch the lead single from EP, Losing Touch, has already racked up airplay on BBC Radio as well as becoming a fan favourite at their live shows. New Perspective can be pre-ordered via all the main digital streaming services and retailers. Those Who Knew have now provided The Punk Site with an exclusive track by track breakdown of their new EP
By AJ Phink
Italian alternative quartet Soldiers Of A Wrong War released their second studio album, Countdowns, on April the 18th, the album follows on from their 2011 debut full length, Lights And Karma, and Countdowns is now available digitally from most major digital retailers, and also on a limited edition signed digipack CD. As with their previous releases Countdowns is self released and self financed, something that demonstrates the level of commitment to their music, and after listening to Countdowns you can see exactly why they have such a sense of self belief as this is a very impressive sophomore album.
Deep Impact is the first track on Countdowns and it does exactly what it says on the sleeve, an immense relentless crunching guitar riff that marks a promising start to the album, tracks such as Hit Me and We Will Never Fall channel Green Day‘s later releases and bring a more urgent tone to the album. Through This Wall maintains the pounding assault until Clocks marks the midway point with a the album’s mellowest moment, before Broken Bones kick starts things back into life. Countdowns continues to plough an anthemic and driving feel, from the atmospheric In Our Skin Again to the lead single from the album, Yeah! A track that is another example of what Soldiers Of A Wrong War do best, as it provides a hit of infectious adrenaline fuelled rock ‘n roll, before the closing duo of Milestone and Out Of Time bring the album to a triumphant conclusion.
Countdowns is the first time I’ve encountered Soldiers Of A Wrong War, like their fellow countrymen Guida, they deliver a European spin on alternative rock that brings something new to the table, whilst there is a clear influence from established acts, including later Green Day and early Oasis, they bring their own character to an album of dynamic and anthemic punk and indie influenced alternative rock that I can only imagine will sound even better live. I can only hope they will be making their way over to the UK in the coming months, on the basis of Countdowns this is a band that deserve to be recognised outside of the native Italy.
Countdowns can be ordered digitally and on signed CD here
Alternative combo Super 73 have returned to the fold with their new single, Monkey See Monkey Do, that is due out on the 14th April. The Midlands based quartet have received glowing comparisons to everyone from Coheed & Cambria, Biffy Clyro to Taking Back Sunday. Armed with a barrage of powerful riffs, melodic vocals and unique angular phrasing that sets them apart, Super73 are an accomplished alternative combo who reward your attention with a cluster of snappy rock-filled cuts. An exclusive preview of the single can be found on Super73‘s website.
Super73’s website can be found here
Beyond The SunSelf Released
By AJ Phink
Slathered in rock and roll riffs and dealing with a case of wanderlust, Calgary’s stoner rock heroes Woodhawk have released their debut self released full length, Beyond The Sun, this nine track album follows on from their self titled debut EP that was released back in 2014. All the elements you’d expect to encounter on an album of this type are present and correct and it’s no surprise that Beyond The Sun contains a hefty science fiction influence, including A New Hope, a track dedicated to the rapidly expanding Star Wars franchise,
From the off Beyond The Sun is an album that sounds like the bastard offspring of Queens Of The Stone Age and Hawkwind, the title track kicks things off with a suitably hazy vibe before the album’s stand out track, The High Priest, moves things up a gear and with the exception of the brief instrumental, Foresee The Future, it pretty much stays there and steadily builds to the album’s epic finale, Chrononaut. Beyond The Sun is an album that veers between proto metal influences and alt rock, all the while delivered with the authentic feel of a band that exist primarily in an altered state.
Beyond The Sun is an album that contains equal parts proto metal, stoner rock and alt rock to an impressive effect, at it’s core this album is something of a throwback, although it’s one that has embraced contemporary influences that stop it from being a complete anachronism. Beyond The Sun is an album that will appeal to fans of stoner rock from across the decades, from the distant influences of seventies bands that pioneered the bass driven grooves of the genre, through to the more recent pioneers of intoxication such as Kyuss.
The Johnnie Squizzercrow Experiment released their latest EP, The Great Foodbank Robbery, on Aprils Fools Day, the band have now released videos for two tracks from the EP, the title track from the EP and the dub heavy One People.
The Punk Site review of The Great Foodbank Robbery can be found here
The Great Foodbank Robbery EP can be streamed and ordered here
You can view the videos for The Great Foodbank Robbery and One People below Read More…
Gnash RamblerSelf Released
By AJ Phink
Vancouver’s Gnash Rambler was formed back in 2007 from the ashes of various Vancouver bands, including Betty Kracker, Pet Fairies, Facepuller, Little Guitar Army, Aging Youth Gang and The Strugglers. The band have now unleashed their latest release, the self titled self released album came out a few days ago, on the 31st march 2017, and it’s now available via Gnash Rambler‘s Bandcamp and through all the main digital retailers and streaming services.
From the off Gnash Rambler remind me of a more melodic version of Vancouver’s most famous punk sons, DOA, maybe there’s something in the water in Vancouver? There’s a touch of rock that surfaces here and there, but not too much, in places you pick up influences from the likes of Motorhead, and to my ears the track Doin’ It All Wrong has a distinct influence from The Who, but for the main part this is an album that’s informed by the sounds of the early punk scene. The stand out moment on the album is the lead single, Man Over, a furious slice of punk rock that bears a fair influence from Danzig and his tenure in The Misfits, and the album ends with a revved up cover of The Gun Club‘s Sex Beat, well it’s almost the end, there’s a bonus track tagged onto the album, a radio friendly version of the track Bad Karma for those of a more sensitive disposition.
Gnash Rambler‘s self titled full length is twelve tracks of straight up punk rock whose influences are worn firmly, and proudly, on their sleeves. Gnash Rambler have produced an album that is born of the early days of punk rock, and of the bands that came before, whilst this is an album that treads a well worn path it does so with a self assured swagger. For those with a preference for punk’s halcyon days, and the garage and rock bands from the 60’s and 70’s who were considered to be ‘proto punks’, then Gnash Rambler would be well worth investigating.
The Great Food Bank RobberySelf Released
By AJ Phink
I have a deep admiration for bands like The Johnnie Squizzercrow Experiment, they are out there doing things on their own terms, whether anyone likes it is of secondary importance to them, they make the music that they want to make and fly in the face of any commercial notions. As it happens I do rather like The Johnnie Squizzercrow Experiment, ever since I encountered them at a festival in North Manchester in 2016 I’ve had a fondness for their experimental spirit of ’77 attitude and their regular supply of self released EP’s. The Great Food Bank Robbery is their latest EP and it is released today, April 1st 2017, and will be available for streaming, and on CD and download formats, via their Bandcamp.
The Great Food Bank Robbery follows on from last years Bootleg 3 EP, that release was what they salvaged from an aborted album session, this time they’re back with an EP of a new material that’s heavily influenced by the more experimental side of the class of ’77. The Great Food Bank Robbery is delivered in their trademark dub style, from the likes of the more upbeat Kill ‘Em All to the laid back reggae influenced strains of One People, although for me the highlight of the EP is the track that was the lead single from the EP, the wonderful Freaky Flakazoid Counter Culture Kid, that embraces sixties garage, punk and whatever it is that fuels The Johnnie Squizzercrow Eperiment.
As far as I’m concerned the punk scene needs bands like the The Johnnie Squizzercrow Experiment, the perpetual outsiders who make the noise they want to make and patiently wait for everyone else to realise they were right all along. The Great Food Bank Robbery is a step forward from 2016’s Bootleg 3 EP, this latest release seems more focused, probably as it’s intended as a coherent EP rather than the remnants of an ill fated recording session. As it says on their website “like us? don’t like us? whatever!”, what’s important to bands like The Johnnie Squizzercrow Experiment is that they love what they do, and I can’t help feeling that this EP will make a few more feel that way.
The Johnnie Squizzercrow Experiment‘s Bandcamp is located here
The 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.
You can view the video for Flaky Freakazoid Counter Culture Kid below Read More…
By AJ Phink
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
Self TitledSelf Released
By AJ Phink
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
Shoot From The HipSelf Released
By AJ Phink
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
Cops And RobbersSelf Released
By AJ Phink
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
Bordertown Devils EPSelf Released
By AJ Phink
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
The 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
Bootleg 3 EPSelf Released
By AJ Phink
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 Off. The 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
By AJ Phink
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.
By AJ Phink
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
Resulting In...Self Released
By AJ Phink
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
More Badass Than Half AssSelf Released
By AJ Phink
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
Frame Of MindSelf Released
By AJ Phink
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.
The 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
Dead Or AliveSelf Released
By AJ Phink
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
The 78th Bridge On The Rochdale CanalSelf Released
By AJ Phink
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
By AJ Phink
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
You Asked For ItSelf Released
By AJ Phink
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 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
By AJ Phink
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
By AJ Phink
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.