Do Rancid need an introduction? Well just in case, the legendary Californian punk band have now been with us for over a quarter of a century, ever since the release of their self titled debut full length back in 1993 they have been steadily assimilating different, and often unexpected, elements of punk into their sound, street punk, ska and reggae have all featured heavily but there have also been other elements that have crept into their sound to keep each release from the band fresh and unpredictable, and if their eight previous studio albums weren’t enough each member has developed their own solo and side projects that incorporate influences that go way beyond the constraints of the punk genre, now Rancid have released Troublemaker, their latest, and ninth, full length that is now available vis Hellcat Records.
Troublemaker hits the ground running with Track Fast, a short sharp shock of an opener that channels Motorhead‘s more intense moments, before we head back in more familiar Rancid territory, it’s no surprise that there’s a strong street punk influence on the majority of the tracks, if you’re looking for highlights then Farewell Lola Blue would amongst my choices with it’s straight up punk feel, that for me is reminiscent of the old school approach of the likes of The Lurkers, and a classic Rancid chorus that hits the spot nicely. From here on in we have an album that will be more than enough to keep any Rancid fan happy, there are touches of hardcore spattered across the album that sit alongside Glam Punk Stomp, rock ‘n roll infused bangers and of course full tilt punk rock, including the fine rousing finale, This Is Not The End.
With a few noble exceptions Troublemaker seems to be Rancid playing to their strengths, with a distinct emphasis on their street punk and straight up punk rock roots. This certainly doesn’t pack the punch that …And Out Come The Wolves had, but then again few punk albums do, it’s not as catchy or accessible as Let The Dominoes Fall and it’s not as intense as their early releases or their second self titled release from 2000. On every other Rancid album there has been a song, usually a fair few, that a struck a chord with me and set the hairs on the back of my neck on end, this experience is sadly largely absent from Troublemaker, don’t get me wrong, this is not in any way shape or form a bad album, and there certainly isn’t any filler present on Troublemaker, this just doesn’t seem to quite hit the heights that many of their previous albums have hit, but having said that this is still the equal of many punk releases and a fine addition to their back catalogue.
Troublemaker can be ordered here
Pirate Press Records / Randale Records
COCK SPARRER are easily one of the most influential street punk bands in history, this is not surprising when you consider that they’ve been around since before punk was officially in existence and this year is their 45th anniversary, with punk being a sprightly 41 in comparison. Fashions and trends in the punk scene have come and gone but Cock Sparrer have almost always been there, never one’s to fit in they’ve always done what they do, and their self belief resulted in both the oi! and street punk scenes both adopting them as one of their own. Now well into their fifth decade Cock Sparrer are set to release their new album, Forvever, on the 2nd June, this latest release follows on from their 2007 full length, Here We Stand.
It should come as no surprise that Cock Sparrer haven’t changed, this is an album of high octane street punk that boasts singalong choruses and terrace chants, Forever is an album that maintains the spirit that appeared on the 1980 debut album, Shock Troops, and it’s credit to them that the years haven’t reduced their energy levels in the slightest. You can’t underestimate the influence of Cock Sparrer, everyone from Rancid and Dropkick Murphys to the Bouncing Souls and Agnostic Front owe a debt to this London based band, and the current album, unlike many bands that release album’s at their age, will only reinforce their reputation.
Forever is an album that will be well received by their established fan base, there are no surprises on Forever, but let’s face it, if they were going to mellow with age they would have done it before now. Forever doesn’t have any stand out tracks, but on the other hand there aren’t any low points that have you reaching to skip tracks, this is a solid sixteen track album that delivers exactly what you’d hope for, and expect, from Cock Sparrer. This isn’t a surprising album in any way, shape or form, this is Cock Sparrer delivering what they do best, sounding like they are still loving making the music they want to make and delivering albums that their worldwide fanbase will lap up.
Forever can be ordered via Pirate Press Records and Randale Records here
Cock Sparrer are widely considered to be one of the most influential Street Punk bands in history and 2017 sees them celebrate their 45th Anniversary. With a ten year gap between Cock Sparrer‘s last album, Here We Stand, and the present day, 2017 sees the release of their new full length album, Forever. The album was recorded over a four month period between the end of 2016 and February 2017, Forever is a collection of songs written in what only can be described as “the Cock Sparrer way”, anthemic, filled with hooks and with lyrics relating to real life.
Forever can be ordered via Pirate Press Records and Randale Records here
Violated Records is an independent punk label based in Philadelphia that provides a platform for a multinational roster of punk bands to release their music. The label has made a commitment to only releasing the very best punk rock that represents the authentic attitude that our music carries, from the first generation of bands that emerged back in 1976, up to the current generation of acts. In the spirit of this they have brought together two bands from opposite sides of the Atlantic who both carry the spirit of punk rock. This split single matches up the USA’s Violent Society and Scotland’s External Menace, both are veteran bands of the punk scene and each occupies one side of this vinyl release.
Violent Society have provided the A-side of this release with three brand new tracks that are as incendiary as anything else they’ve released. Their side of this feisty five track split EP kicks off with Simcha, this is an aggressive blast of hardcore influenced street punk, they continue in the same vein with Abandoned Cities, although this is a subtler number that carries more of an old school punk feel in the verse before it returns to the hardcore style in the chorus. All The Same is the highlight of their trio of tracks, this contains all the fury, but the guitar riff has an irresistible hook and it’s a frantic blend of all the influences that inform the initial duo of tracks, but in this case they are perfectly blended together.
The resurrected External Menace occupy the B-side with two songs recorded at Manchester’s Blueprint Studios, this marks a return for External Menace after a decade in the wilderness and they are a different prospect altogether to their counterparts. Their initial track, the wonderfully titled Citizen Caned, is a ska tinged punk number, it has an old school approach that recalls the work of TV Smith and The Adverts, but all delivered with a steady skanking beat, until it builds up a frantic climax, for me this track is easily the highlight of the EP. Their second track, and the EP’s closing track, No Uniform, is a more direct affair and is a fast paced number that has a feel of the later generation of bands that emerged in the UK in the early eighties.
On this split single Violated Records have teamed up a transatlantic connection with a pair of bands that are perfectly matched, whilst the EP’s content varies between the harder edged styles of street punk and hardcore, down to a more ska infused quality, these are two bands that anyone who is already an established fan of either External Menace or Violent Society will find another band that will be their tastes on the flip side. This five track split is a blast of frantic punk rock that, with the noble exception of Citizen Caned, is a little predictable, but if full tilt punk rock is your thing then this is a slab of vinyl you’ll happily add to your collection
You can purchase the Violent Society / External Menace Split Single here
All Guts No Glory
The Crash Landings are a street punk band from the South Coast of the UK, their debut album, All Guts No Glory, contains ten tracks that clock in at a meagre, but highly enjoyable, twenty five minutes. The band have been playing this material on the live circuit for a few years, all the while building up a good head of steam in preparation for the release of All Guts No Glory, which was recorded at the tail end of last year. As you’d expect the album has been recorded completely on their own terms, and it’s clear that The Crash Landings are proudly and defiantly a product of the UK’s thriving DIY grass roots punk scene.
The Crash Landings take their lead from the UK Oi and punk scenes, and the US street punk movement, to produce an album that is exactly the kind of bare knuckle punk rock we all need in our lives. Opening track Prozac Empire sets the tone nicely for All Guts No Glory, from the outset it is clear that this is an album of short sharp blasts of stripped down DIY punk rock, and each of the ten tracks on the album hits the spot nicely. Alongside the street punk and Oi there are tinges of ska, most prominently on my personal favourite off the album, Hatemail, there are songs that make a serious point which sit happily alongside the likes of Billy’s Got Tourettes, proving that you can make valid points and still retain a sense of humour.
I can hear a prominent influence from the likes Cock Sparrer, UK Subs and Snuff from this side of the Atlantic, these sit happily alongside the street punk influences from the USA. In less than half an hour The Crash Landings deliver a joyous burst of authentic punk rock that ticks all the boxes, if they ever head to the northern end of the UK you can be assured that I’ll be down the front. All Guts No Glory is further evidence that UK’s grass roots punk scene is alive and kicking, although in the case of The Crash Landings it’s probably stood at the bar ordering another round.
No Guts No Glory can be downloaded here
The Crash Landings are a street punk band from the South Coast of the UK, whose debut album, All Guts No Glory, was self released earlier this year, the band have been touring extensively since their formation just a few years ago and they have now announced their latest set of tour dates, taking them well into 2017. The Crash Landings will be playing alongside bands such as Sonic Boom Six, Skurvi, The Last Resort, The Members, TV Smith and X-SLF. To celebrate the upcoming date with Sonic Boom Six, The Crash Landings debut album is available at a reduced price until November 25th
A review of All Guts No Glory will be published on The Punk Site Shortly
All Guts No Glory can be purchased here, and the tour flyer can be viewed below Read More…
Blood, Sweat And Glory
Pirate Press Records
Blood, Sweat And Glory represents the union of two veteran bands who have their roots deep in the street punk scene, The Generators, from the USA, and Crashed Out from the UK. These two bands have been plying their trade for a combined total of around fifty years as they have both been in existence since the early ’90s. Each band has contributed four tracks to create the split album that is Blood, Sweat And Glory.
The Generators occupy the a-side of Blood, Sweat And Glory, two of the four tracks by the Generators, Throw Away The Key and So Sick Of This, are uncompromising slices of street punk, neither of these is a surprise and, as good as they are, I knew tracks like these were coming. For me the stronger tracks are the ones I didn’t expect, Goodbye California and in particular the excellent Killing Time, are slightly slower paced and provide a contrast to the full on tracks of Street Punk. The b-side is occupied the UK’s Crashed Out, who deliver four tracks of bareknuckle street punk, no subtleties, no ambiguity and definitely no compromise. If you’re a fan of Crashed Out this is as good anything else they’ve released, it’s also in the same vein as everything else they’ve released.
This is an album of two bands that compliment each other, if you’re a fan of the more brutal end of street punk then this will be an album that you’ll play on repeat. For me this is also a Split album of two halves, personally I prefer The Generators side as there is more variety, and the stand out track Killing Time. Crashed Out‘s side didn’t really do it for me as I found it to be somewhat predictable, that’s not to say their side of the album is bad, it’s just that I knew exactly what was coming.
Blood, Sweat And Glory can be ordered, on a black or red ten inch vinyl, here
Brave New World
Riot Dog Records
The Dogtown Rebels are a DIY punk rock band from Norwich in the east of the UK, they are comprised of members of Special Duties, Red Flag 77, Infa Riot and Dangers Close and they deliver a fast, catchy and grass roots interpretation of punk that is heavily influenced by the first wave of punk bands. I had the privilege of catching Dogtown Rebels at this years Rebellion Festival, they certainly made an impression on me when they played live, so what does their latest album have to offer? not every band can capture the energy of their live performances in the studio.
From the opening title track it’s clear that Dogtown Rebels play an impressive variety of street punk with a social conscience, their uplifting lyrics are delivered alongside an irresistible combination of infectious guitar hooks and rousing choruses. Their spirited street punk anthems sum up the original punk ethos, tracks such as Brave New World, Look To The Future and Fight For Liberty are perfect examples of how street punk should be delivered, and as a result this is a powerful and defiant album that I can’t recommend highly enough.
Brave New World is fourteen tracks of spirited, energetic and anthemic punk rock that really is hard to find any fault with. I would encourage anyone who has a love of grass roots punk rock to buy this album, and to go and see them live. Dogtown Rebels are a band that embodies the punk spirit, and crucially they are one that is equally impressive live and in the studio. Whilst bands like the Dogtown Rebels are around the grass roots of punk will be in good shape, in short Brave New World is a near perfect example of how a contemporary take on the defiant sprit of punk rock should be delivered.
The Dogtown Rebels
Facebook page, where you can also purchase the CD of Brave New World
, can be found here
Brave New World is available for download from the usual sources including Amazon and iTunes
Stumble And Stand
As We Go are a five piece punk band who hail from the city of Cologne in Germany, Stumble And Stand is their debut full length and it follows on from their debut DIY EP, Alright For Now that was unleashed in 2014. With their DIY credentials and the fact that Stumble And Stand was recorded with renowned producer Uwe Sabirowsky, responsible for production on Beatsteaks, Boysetsfire and The Donots records, then this is an album that has the potential to be something to look forward to.
From the first track, All Things, it is clear that this is a full tilt punk rock album with a hefty influence from other side of the Atlantic. The subject matter isn’t going to raise any eyebrows, loss, unity and of course beer, are all covered across Stumble And Stand‘s eleven tracks and 35 minutes. The pace doesn’t relent, the guitar hooks are all strong and the production is perfection, no surprises there given the quality of the man at helms pedigree, and whilst it’s hard to pick a favourite from this album I think that Waking Up My Friend stands slightly above the other ten cuts on this impressive debut, but only slightly.
There is a clear influence from Hot Water Music but is that a bad thing, this is eleven tracks of melodic punk rock with anthemic fist pumping choruses that doesn’t disappoint on any level. Stumble And Stand isn’t the most original album I’ve heard this year, but it’s such an energising and consistent album that I find myself not caring in the slightest. If I had a major criticism of this album it would the cover art, I find it slightly misleading as the cartoonish style hints at something a lot poppier than the hard edged melodic punk that comprises Stumble And Stand. Had I not been reviewing Stumble And Stand I might well have passed this album over, hopefully I can stop a few others making that mistake as this is a seriously impressive and uncompromising slab of punk rock.
Stumble And Stand can be ordered here
Pirate Press Records
The Barstool Preachers formed two years ago in the creative and diverse seaside town of Brighton in the UK, they released the One Fool Down EP, which sold out in less than a month, last year and have been relentlessly touring both the UK and Europe and playing numerous festival dates, they will be supporting Street Dogs and The Slackers later this year in addition to their own headlining shows. The result of this punishing schedule is that this impressive quintet have received critical acclaim and they have now bought us their debut full length, Blatant Propaganda, that features their own unique blend of ska and punk rock.
Opening track Trickledown is an upbeat ska punk number that contains a political message, it is one that makes a solid and promising start to the album with it’s infectious beat and defiant vocal delivery, the rest of Blantant Propaganda follows this path, but that’s not to say this album is in anyway a one trick pony. The relentless and irresistible ska beat is an ever present but the approach, attack and style vary constantly throughout their debut album, but all the time containing a valid and defiant political message. The track Good News is one of the highlights, it is an attack on the state of the media, anyone who’s ever endured Fox News will be able to identify with this, that is delivered with their trademark sound. My other personal favourite is the closing track, Ballad (Of The M1), this is a tale of the trials and tribulations of their life on the road, whilst these two tracks are the ones that stood out for me there isn’t a weak track in sight on Blatant Propaganda. This is an impressive debut album from a band that doesn’t just talk the talk, The Barstool Preachers are a band that walks the walk with a confident swagger. They have been involved in positive action and regularly support charities, both in their local area and internationally, this activity marks them out as a band that are true to their roots and beliefs.
The combination of ska and punk guitars is backed up with an impressive brass section and swirling keyboards that forms a gloriously infectious album, the blend of punk, street punk and ska is severely addictive and the upbeat tone nicely juxtaposes the solid social and political messages that their compositions carry. This is music with a message that also has the benefit of the skanking beat that all great ska records carry, but with a welcome injection of energy and anger that is provided by the punk influences. Fans of the likes of The King Blues, The Interrupters, The Slackers and The Specials will adore this album and Blatant Propaganda will be on my playlist for the foreseeable future, and I would suggest that it should be on yours as well.
The Barstool Preachers tour dates and social media links can be found here
Blatant Propaganda can be downloaded from the usual sources, the vinyl with a download of the album can be ordered here
Get 'Em In
Skurvi are an old school punk band based in Brighton, England, Get ‘Em In is their debut album and has been bought to you by the grassroots punk label STP Records. Their previous release, Pints Half Full, was released in 2014, that EP served up five tracks of short sharp old school punk rock, Get ‘Em In is a further thirteen cuts of the same alcohol influenced raucousness.
The album opens with ‘Til We Die, a fine statement of intent about their dedication to the punk rock lifestyle, for me this is easily the high point on the album as this a catchy frantic number that celebrates doing the same thing every night, and that is an appropriate metaphor for the rest of the album. The remaining tracks seem somewhat unoriginal to me, from the opening number you know what you’re going to get. You can hear the echoes of the likes of Cock Sparrer and Peter And The Test Tube Babies throughout this album, if you’re a fan of those bands, and want more of the same, then this is definitely the album for you, but I can’t shake the feeling that I’ve heard it all before.
The album is in no way subtle, It’s no frills punk rock and if you like your music tinged with alcohol and humour then you will play this, and then play it again, but for me it’s too close to sounding like the bands that have come before them and Skurvi don’t say anything that hasn’t been said before.
You can order Get ‘Em In here
Rating: 2 /5
This is the debut album from Philadelphia’s Dive In The Box, they recorded the ten songs that make up Relagation Battle in Nashville in what I can only assume was a frantic thirteen hours. Dive In The Box are an Oi band, but with a slight difference, as this is a football (soccer for American’s reading this) themed album which fervently waves the flag for MLS team Philadelphia Union. The only other band I can recall combining football and punk on a regular basis is English Oi band and West Ham United fanatics The Business, who I assume are a big influence on Dive In The Box.
The general themes on the album are unsurprisingly football and alcohol which to be fair sounds like a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon, but would you want to spend every day doing this? As I’m nursing a mild hangover following an injury time victory yesterday I can see the appeal, but for all it’s bluster I feel that Dive In The Box have scored something of an own goal and I can’t help feeling that an occasional change in their tactics would add depth to Dive In The Box‘s Relegation Battle.
This is a straight up in your face Oi album, it is aggressive and relentless but ultimately one which I found repetetive. Fans of this genre will treasure Relegation Battle and whilst there are flashes of melody, some great guitar hooks and solid brutal bass lines this is a somewhat one dimensional release. With the exception of the final track Don’t Tell Me How To Union, which offers a slight change of tempo, it is a full on pummelling assault from start to end. For me Dive In The Box would benefit from remembering that relentless attacking has it’s appeal but you need to vary your strategy from time to time to get the victory.
Dive In The Box‘s Bandcamp can be found here.
Grungy, low-fi, street punk, The Dogtown Rebels rekindle the love of classic ’77 era UK punk explosion. It makes sense too considering they feature members of classic English Punk bands Infa Riot, Special Duties, Red Flag 77 and Dangers Close. Heavily distorted, it’s a mixture of garage and street punk with a tad of old school Oi. Despite the somewhat low quality recording, chances are you’ll be singing along and throwing your fist in the air in no time.
For a limited time only, the band has posted a three song, self-titled EP for download through Dropbox.
Dogtown Rebels – Self Titled
Download from Dropbox.
This is a real treat. I love this album. And why wouldn’t I? Label quality independent street-punk in the vein of acts like Rancid with a touch of Oi! This is their latest album, and if you enjoy it, the rest of the discography is also available on their website here.
Autonomadic – Gift of the Sun
Download the album from Jamendo
Don’t be fooled by the fact that this is a demo. The recording quality of this “Demo” is as good as any independently released punk album. Bottle Rocket play an intense, gruff New York city hardcore brand of street punk. It’s right up my alley, and I love it.
Bottle Rocket – Demo + 1
Download This Album From ifyoumakeit.com