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Sciatic Nerve

Sciatic Nerve

Gunnar Records
By

Rating: 4/5

 
 

 

 

Sciatic Nerve are a band with a line up that is born of members of some of the scenes best loved bands, the outfit is comprised of members of The Swingin’ Utters, Nothington, Western Addiction and Cobra Skulls, but if you were expecting a recreation of the sounds from any of those bands you’ll be disappointed as Sciatic Nerve are not the result of a nostalgic trip into any of the members past or present recordings, they are a completely different beast from any of the members well known outfits. Sciatic Nerve will be released through Gunner Records on limited edition red and clear vinyl, as well as digitally, on the 29th September 2017.

The album’s title track kicks in with a forty nine second introduction that embodies the best of old school hardcore, and from this point we’re away into an album that owes a hefty debt to that scene, one that is done and dusted in a shade under twenty minutes. There are moments that veer away from the hardcore assault, Get Away has the feel of the best garage inspired bands and Things I Can Look At and With Who You Go slow the pace down but if anything up the intensity. For the most part Sciatic Nerve is a headlong blast of reckless hardcore inspired punk rock that any fan of the likes of The Bronx, Minor Threat and Black Flag will need to add to their collection.

It must be said that for a band that is formed from veterans of the punk scene Sciatic Nerve makes a pleasant change from the trend for acoustic albums that are veering towards Americana, country and introspection. Sciatic Nerve are living proof that you can grow old disgracefully without being dependent on your past glories and they have released an an album that bears no resemblance to any of the members former outfits, and for me that makes Sciatic Nerve an all the more impressive and original release from punk’s old school.

Sciatic Nerve can be pre-ordered via Gunner Records here

Western Settings Working On New Full Length ‘Another Year’

Western Settings July 17 TourWestern Settings have begun recording demos this past weekend for their upcoming full length, Another Year, which will be the band’s first album since their debut, Yes It Is, and a Spring 2018 release is planned. Western Settings are currently on tour with Heartsounds and will follow this up with a tour supporting Swingin’ Utters, the band will be heading to Europe for a three week tour in September and October, as well as appearing at The Fest in Florida.

Western Settings webstore can be found on the La Escalera Records website here

You can view Western Settings tour dates below Read More…

Mild In The Streets

Fat Wreck Chords

Mild In The Streets: Fat Music Unplugged

Fat Wreck Chords
By

Rating: 4.5/5

 
 

 

 

Who doesn’t love a Fat Wreck Chords compilation, they were a great way to hear new bands, and tracks from upcoming releases, for next to no money, as a bonus there were always a few exclusive tracks thrown into the mix. Along with Epitaph Records Punk-O-Rama series they were responsible for introducing a new generation of fans to some amazing bands. This time round things have changed as this compilation has been done with a different approach, Mild In The Streets: Fat Music Unplugged is, in case you hadn’t guessed, a collection of songs from bands and singers from the Fat Wreck Chords stable who have traded in their amplifiers and distortion pedals for acoustic guitars.

This sixteen track compilation is a lengthy affair and content is so varied that you can’t summarise the album, so i’m going to a whistle stop tour of Mild In The Streets: Fat Music Unplugged. Tony Sly, of No Use For A Name, opens the album with a soulful piano led version of Under The Garden and The Swingin’ Utters deliver an excellent foottapping country version of Fruitless Fortunes featuring slap bass and violin. Stacey Dee delivers a melancholy number, Everything Is Beautiful, this is one of the songs that is exclusive to this album and to anyone familiar with Bad Cop/Bad Cop this number will come as something of a surprise, this is juxtaposed against Sam Sadowski, of Closet Friends, who delivers some sore throated acoustic blues.

Going acoustic won’t come as a surprise from everyone on this compilation, for Old Man Markley it’s practically second nature, they deliver a mellower version of Guts ‘N Teeth. For others the acoustic approach doesn’t change anything apart from the volume, it clearly doesn’t matter if you take Anti-Flag’s electric guitars away as they remain as angry and political as ever, Israeli punks Useless ID retain their own sound, they keep the character of their hard edged pop punk intact and Matt Skiba delivers a sinister version of Alkaline Trio‘s Continental. Karine Denike bring a touch of fifties glamour to proceedings, this couldn’t be further away from the Dance Hall Crashers upbeat ska if it tried and Get Dead deliver some stripped down punk rock

We’re on the final leg of the tour now, Lagwagon‘s Joey Cape delivers a mellow acoustic number, American Steel bring some upbeat acoustica that features a mournful accordion break and Laura Jane Grace brings a great number that carries a restrained version of the fury that inhabits Against Me‘s output. The closing trilogy of songs continue to deliver, Russ Rankin brings us a heartrending tale of the loneliness of the road and the toll it takes on relationships, Uke-Hunt do a cover of Olivia Newton John‘s Xanadu, this is rather excellent, like an unplugged Me First And the Gimme Gimmes, and for it’s grand finale the album ends with an epic symphonic version of one of my favourite NOFX tunes, The Decline, personally I wish Fat Mike had done vocals over this rather than just an instrumental but it’s a faithful and bombastic end to an excellent compilation.

Compilations are usually a mixed bag but there is little to dislike on here, the versions are all original and unique takes on songs we have come to know and love, the original tracks don’t feel like they were ideas that were rescued from the wastepaper bin. This, as with every other Fat Wreck Chords compilation, is an essential purchase, if you’re a fan of any of the bands that appear on here I doubt that you’ll be disappointed with new versions or the original material. Mild In The Streets: Fat Music Unplugged brings something new to the table on almost every track, the album spans so many genres and styles that it never gets dull, buy this and mellow out for an hour or so.

Mild In The Streets: Fat Music Unplugged is available for download and on CD, Vinyl and Coloured vinyl here

Tour: Lagwagon/ Swingin’ Utters

Lagwagon - Fat Wreck ChordsLong running punk group Lagwagon is celebrating the release of their new record Hang (which comes out on October 28th) by extending their tour with Swingin’ Utters north across the border into Canada. The Lagwagon Hang Canadian Tour starts on November 13th in Vancouver.

Swingin’ Utters are also supporting a new record. Fistful of Hollow is out through Fat Wreck Chords on November 11th.

Full tour dates can be seen below.

Read More…

The Swingin' Utters - Live In A Dive

The Swingin' Utters

Live In A Dive

Fat Wreck Chords
By

Rating: 4/5

 
 

 

 

Swingin’ Utters is a band name that most people are familiar with. They’ve released 6 albums and one seven inch on Fat Wreck Chords since 1996, each one to good press. They are many people’s favorites street punk band, and Fat Wreck decided to capture that and display the band in a live setting. So what does that leave us with? Well, it means that we get the sixth installment in the label’s Live In A Diveseries, and are able to picture a live show by these punkers.

Now, if you are like me and don’t know too much by the Utter’s, then after one listen to this 23 track CD, you will wish you knew more. With each song you get pretty much the same layout, steady drum and guitar beats, with Johnny Bonnel’s sore vocals rounding it all off. But yet, each song is still unique and they know how to change it up when needed. Like the acoustic Fruitless Fortunes, or the accordion onMother Of The Mad and London Drunk. Each song is fast and full of energy, its not often that a band can rip through 23 tracks in only an hour; but the Utters are able to without missing a beat.

Another good thing about this Live In A Dive CD by The Swingin’ Utters, is that they play songs from practically their entire catalog. This lets you hear songs from almost every CD they’ve released, so you get a feel of them all and then can go and buy your favorite from your nearest record store! Plus, like all Live In A Dive releases, they have a nice cartoon with it. This time its the band in a Scooby Doo theme being haunted by the punks of the past. And then, once you pop the CD in your computer you get two live videos and interview! That’s some good bonus stuff there.

Swinging’ Utter‘ Live In A Dive is a good live CD. The quality is nice and clear, and you don’t really miss anything because of the sound quality. You can listen to it over and over again without getting bored, and it introduces you to the band if you didn’t know much by them beforehand.

 

The Swingin Utters - Here Under Protest

The Swingin' Utters

Here, Under Protest

Fat Wreck Chords
By

Rating: 3/5

 
 

 

 

There are many bands out there that never make it past the debut album and if they do, many fail to re-create the glory of their debut. Some bands fall into oblivion and disappear, never to be heard from again while others continually regurgitate new material that never lives up to it’s expectations. That’s why it’s so rare to find a band that has been around for more than twenty years still producing quality material.  Every once in a while though you find one and there’s something uniquely cavalier about them that makes you understand why it is that the band has had such staying power. The Swingin’ Utters are one of those bands and with Here, Under Protest (their first album in eight years), they show that they still have it in them twenty-four years into it all.

Fast, snotty, punk rock in a mixture of folk punk with classic punk ala Clash or Pogues. They have tinges of the signature Fat Wreck sound with fast, three chord punk that keeps the momentum flowing throughout it all. It’s akin to old Green Day with nasally vocals, and that’s not a bad thing.

The album starts off strong with Brand New Lungs (which first appeared on Harder, Fatter& Louder last year). It’s catchy, upbeat and memorable and right away you know that The Swingin’ Utters are here to stay – and that the eight year wait was well worth it. They follow it up with Taking The Long Way Home, where they really pummel in the Green Day point of reference, as vocalist Johnny Bonnel spits out lyrics with a vengeance. His vocals are unique, raspy with the slight Irish accent to them and delivered at a break neck speed to ensure that they remain distinctive and memorable.

No other time on the album is that evident than on the energetic Good Things. A song about drugs and alcohol, Bonnel begins the track with “Medicate yourself, you’ll feel much better. Take those drugs again, they’ll take you higher. Smoke your cigarettes for stress, drink more just to feel less. This must feel like paradise, but better” and you know you’re in for a treat.

The whole album is a treat in reality. A few bumps fall amidst it all (Kick It Over for instance) but even their faults are better than most band’s best efforts. This is authentic punk rock, eschewing many of the trends of today and instead delivering a catchy, beer soaked pop-punk album with high replay value that may not be the most ground breaking but succeeds nonetheless because after twenty-four years, The Swingin’ Utters have it down pat.

The Swingin Utters - Hatest Grits

Hatest Grits: B-Sides And Bullshit

Swingin' Utters

Fat Wreck Chords
By

Rating: 4.5/5

 
 

 

 

Every great once in a while – even more rarely in the often short shelf-lives of punk bands – a musical relationship is formed between two or more folks that’s jawdropping in its fluidity, versatility and just plain-out fucking rockingness. In their nearly twenty years as a band, the main songwriters of Swingin’ Utters, vocalist Johnny Bonnel and guitarist Darius Koski, have proven themselves over and over again, through nearly two dozen releases and scores of anthems. There’s just something there between these dudes that works, and works consistently and with a terrific amount of strength.

Hatest Grits (which is arguably their second singles/rarities collection after More Scared: The House of Faith Years, which collected their first few seven inches, a comp song and their first ten-inch – back when they still went under the moniker Johnny Peebucks and the Swingin’ Utters) never stumbles, even with a very few unfortunate inclusions, such as the 30-second acoustic clunker “Billy the Poop.” Relying heavily on outtakes from A Juvenile Product of the Working Class and Five Lessons Learned and scores of out of print seven-inches and comp tracks, Hatest Grits acts as that rarest of collections: one that works for both completists and those looking for an introduction to the band. At twenty-six songs (and half a dozen uber-rough acoustic demos tacked on as secret tracks), this album is absolutely fantastic, showcasing a band that’s continually been outdoing themselves, pressing against their own boundaries and coming out victorious for about, oh, the past fifteen years or so.

At their heart, Swingin Utters are a streetpunk band, but one that’s managed to consistently eschew the boneheadedness of that label by having absolutely whipsmart and heartfelt lyrics coupled with musicianship that incorporates instruments (accordion, anyone?) and melodies that your average oi! band wouldn’t dream of tackling. Again, it’s a result of that fluidity and goddamn magic that exists between Bonnel and Koski.

From the Cock Sparrer covers (there’s three of em) to the unreleased demo versions of material off of their first full-length, The Streets of San Francisco, to the later-period outtakes from their self-titledSwingin’ Utters, it’s all consistently catchy yet snarling punk rock – they’re one of the few bands I can think of who’ve managed to mature over the years without ever turning on a dime and changing their sound. It’s never the same song, but you can always tell who it is that’s playing it.

Swingin’ Utters are a punk band. They’re a punk band in the same way the Pogues were a punk band – totally unafraid to explore both melody and the darker rooms of the heart. And this is a punk record, and as a collection it skimps on nothing – the liner notes are extensive, humble and hilarious, the booklet’s packed with photos and the songs themselves, some dating back to 1991, have lost none of their bite or venom over the years.

The only reason Hatest Grits didn’t get a 5 out of 5 rating is because, at twenty-plus songs and years worth of material to choose from, there are some minute jumps in pacing that are a little jarring. But that’s it as far as complaints go. Again, they’re an incredible band, almost all of these songs are top-notch and it’s absolutely great to have them all gathered together. While I still favor A Juvenile Product or More Scared, it’s really not by much, and this one still comes with the highest recommendation. Grab it up.

The Swingin Utters - Dead Flowers, Bottles, Bluegrass and Bones'

The Swingin' Utters

Dead Flowers, Bottles, Bluegrass and Bones'

Fat Wreck Chords
By

Rating: 3.5/5

 
 

 

 

The Utters, a good old fashion punk rock band. Steady drum and guitar beats, with Johnny Bonnel’s sore vocals rounding it all off. You can never be sure what you will get when you listen to a Swingin’ Utters‘ song. It could be a incredibly fast paced like Elation or a slow moving song like Shadows And Lies. You could get an onslaught of powerful guitar or the more mellow sounds of an accordion, violin, organ or  piano. Overall you get 17 songs full of “milky” goodness!

Opening the album is No Pariah and Glad. The first of the two is opens up with a powerful guitar rhythm and is a fast paced song that opens the album pretty well.  The second of the two opens with a more of a bass and drum combo, it is a slightly slower song but still fill of the grungy punk rock feel. Its all about being happy about meeting someone, then sad once they leave.

Sign In A Window was originally released on the Fat Wreck compilation, Uncontrollable Fatulence and it hasn’t lost it’s touch since then. The scratchy vocals are in perfect coordination with the tune.

Letters To Yourself (track 9) starts off a lot slower then the rest of the CD. The introduction catches your attention as it is very different from the rest of the songs, it then soon picks up the pace and hits you in the face with a powerful mix of guitar, bass and drums. Track 12, If You Want Me To is a song which I recommend. It has a much more of a country feel to it, a much strong guitar usage with pretty good vocals by Spike Slawson.

Poor Me is located on the 14th track, and is my favorite song. It is a classic punk rock song. The vocals are incredibly easy to catch onto.

Overall the album is one that I think I will be able to come back to in a couple months and still listen to.