CD REVIEWS (Guest Reviewers) Page 3
 
 

LEATHER ZOO - NAKED FEEDBACK

Having had my ears blasted by successive waves of punk noise, I'm always a bit wary of listening to a full albums worth. I usually only find one or two gems and only occasionally do I find one that I listen to more than once. So it was with a touch of trepidation that I put on ‘Naked Feedback’ The blast of guitar noise and the driving rhythm of "Fleur Du Lys" soon got my ears out of their weary stupor. Add the vocals into this and Leather Zoo have got  an anthemic punk thing going on here. Next comes ‘George and the Dragonwhore’ with its punkabilly feel and fantastic drumming, definitely one to get the troops leaping about.

Track four ‘Release Me’ has got a good old school vibe and a chorus to kill for. This is my personal favourite and one that would have been in any hipsters 1976/77 collection. A change of pace next with ‘Serial killer’ and its skanky rock qualities, with a touch of the clash hiding in there, it ends in a perfect 30 secs of punk rock power. ‘Charlie’ is another track for the 76 fanatics and reminds me of the early Undertones (no bad thing). Overall a great collection of songs from a band that deserves as many ears as possible. I would love to catch them live. Great guitars, these dudes have been paying attention to a certain Mr. Jones, powerhouse drums that give the songs a good solid spine, and the vocals are a punk princess revelation, some real singing going on here, cracking tunes and melodies. Could maybe add a bit more in the sonic armament department, a-la ‘Belliss Coldwine’.  I'm about to put the CD back on (at least once more!)

Review by Pig Copeland

   

THE OLD TIMERS - SOLI DEO GLORIA

As a 16 year old punk rocker (I am 50 in December, if you are making me a cake don’t forget I am diabetic) I picked up a copy of Crass' ‘Feeding Of The 5000’ -awesome. I love the thing. It was one of the funniest things I had ever heard. Taking a teenage Johnny Rotten’s crap rhyming couplet ‘I am an anti-Christ , I am an anarchist’ and making a whole album out of it was sheer comic genius. Thank goodness the first track, ‘Asylum’ had been replaced by a couple of minutes of silence, ‘The Sound Of Free Speech’, otherwise Eve Libertine on Mogadon would have given the game away straight away, PMT is scary at the best of times. One of my mates told me that they were being serious and I pawned all my belongings and lost the lot to Ladbrokes on a bet that Crass weren’t being serious. I was surprised that the bookies even knew who Crass were, must have been the marketing campaign! Apparently I was wrong, never mind, still laughing.

So what’s the point I am making?- None, so lets get down to talking about the disc at hand.  Anarcho punk of the finest quality. For those who realize Crass ripped off Leo Tolstoy’s political theory, from his Christian anarchist classic ‘The Kingdom Of God Is Within You’ Crass had an idea which they ripped off Leo then like Zeppelin to Leadbelly, they paid no royalties (some punk poet geezer).

Ok, ok - first track.

‘Intro/Old Timers Theme’ – something’s happening here akin to early 80's hard punk after it has been freshened up a bit.  A smudge of Conflict and a bit of hymn singing-bizzare but it works.

‘Adonias's Agape’ - full on, in your face, enthusiastic anarcho punk-far superior to most of Crass records back catalogue-up there with Zounds I reckon.  These guys make no secret of loving Crass, Conflict, Headnoise et al (Headnoise are the oldest punk band in Chicago, they were booked to support Crass a few years ago but received a message from Steve Ignorant saying they couldn’t because they were too Christian –‘The Sound Of Free Speech’ raises its head again. I love anarcho stuff, the Old Timers do it very well.

‘This City’ - I have had this album for a couple of weeks now, I cant stop playing this track. It’s quite possibly the best song I have heard for some time. Run as fast as you like you are not going to catch up with this band. Punk is my home, I have been listening to punk for 36 years, I love the stuff, trust me, catch my excitement this track is awesome.  The closest thing you will get to an orgasm in an anarcho punk song. Yeeessss, yeeesssss!  A love, hate relationship with your home town in 1 minute 41 seconds. Mmmmmmm

‘Posi Isn't Enough’- f... We are off again. There is something more than positivity.  These guys feel, believe and play with passion.  I can’t keep still. It is indeed preachy but having a conviction about something beats apathy hands down. Punk for me is about passion, free speech and attitude - find it here.

‘On Hope’ - a song about hope played at 200 mph, do they have mph in South Africa? Anyway - awesome shouty anarcho punk/hardcore interspersed with agitated singing and at times almost an Oi chant. These guys know their punk and play exceptionally well. It is meant.

‘This State’ - and they’re off...this music takes up residence in your mind and body and makes you jerk about. Again they sing about their God, like it or not, that’s the way it is.  I love it. Have I already said that, well I just said it again. Also they sing about South Africa needing still to get its shit together - sweet.

‘The Language Barrier’ - I have no idea what is going on here – next!

‘Soli Deo Gloria’ - some kind of anarcho punk meets DC hardcore love affair. Love, Justice, Minor Threat, Youth Of Today, Dry Rot and Scripture.

‘Prescribed Rebellion’ - drug overdoses and VD had the former, don't want the latter. Good tune however - still no slowing down.

‘Annals Of Klepis’ - my fiancée laughs at me when I am doing a full punk set, my body seems to realize its slowing down time half way through, that’s when it comes time to rolling about on the floor and screaming into the mic. This track seems to be the bands slowing down point - its an age thing for me but these chaps are relatively youngsters, so no excuse-not a bad track...

‘Run In A Circle’ - a fast paced song about looking after others in a circle pit-sweet as you like, aaaah!

‘Turnbull AC's’ - back to full speed, excellent song about the struggle within oneself.  Fast anarcho punk meets full on hardcore. I am enjoying my one man mosh pit in my living room right now.

‘This Decay’ - my neighbours have just arrived, we are going ape shit in a circle pit round my coffee table - bring it on-lets (slam) dance Mr Bowie.  This track is right back on form, doing exactly what a fine punk tune should do - whatever that is.

‘Family (A Prayer)’ - last track, nice gesture, listen once then stop CD after penultimate track.

Ok, overall an awesome album, sublimating the best of anarcho punk and DC Hardcore, and giving both genres a good scrub up.  I will be playing this album a lot. I have, over the years, collected a great deal of punk related stuff from loads of places all over the world. It is nice to get something of this quality from South Africa.  Splendid album but chuck us a slither of Zounds in on the next album, always my favourite anarcho band.

Review by Gary Eagling (Eagle Spits)

   

DESTROY NATE ALLEN - WITH OUR POWERS COMBINED (featuring Gnarboots)

For thos who don't know Destroy Nate Allen (DNA) they are a married, American  couple (Nate and Tessa Allen) who are a sing-a-long, folk punk band. Two voices and one guitar causing mayhem. I did a couple of gigs with them in the USA and their sets were somewhat bizarre. The audience surround the couple in a large circle, Nate and Tessa have radio mics attached to their heads and Nate uses a radio/remote amp for his acoustic guitar. The couple run about in the middle of the circle and run up to people and sing in their faces. Total D.I.Y., Total Punk Rock. This is their 7th full length album and it is different to their previous output, in the sense that the previous 6 were acoustic. This album uses the help of Gnarboots (apparently they had something to do with Link 80 and Shinobo) to give a full band sound. So what’s it like?

The first track, WAKING UP IS HARD TO DO has Mrs Allen doing lone vocal duty and sounding like a Headcoatee singing along to a weird B Movie. Mars Needs Women but the punk world needs ones like Tessa. We all hate getting up in the mornings but we don't all sound so good about it.

EMERGENCY sees a more typical DNA sound. In fact I am not too sure if it’s not a reworking of one of their old songs. Positive vibed poppish punk of good quality.

CHICK FLICKS is a ska love song. Again with Tessa sounding very Holly Golightly/Headcoatees-ish but the twin vocals and catchy rhythm give it a very Rezillos feel, which I am very happy about. The song gives over the positive message that real relationships are far much more rewarding than celluloid ones although they might be more difficult at times.

WE TALK OCCASIONALLY ON THE INTERNET is about the breakdown of relationships/friendships where only talking online is what’s left. An off kilter ska punk with bizarre Man Or Astroman type bits. It works well. It uses repetition well. It uses repetition well.

OUR FIRST APPARTMENT talks about their first apartment being a ghetto where everything leaks, there are unexplainable stains on the walls and a local junky buys all their stuff from a garage sale. However a twist comes when they are reminiscing and realize that the place wasn’t a ghetto but an apartment they could afford but are now too skint to rent.  A song about a bleak place done in a catchy up tempo manner. Another fine song.

BOOBIE BAR "don’t go down to the boobie bar, if you want a relationship you won’t get far" - Good advice given by a two headed vocalist beast during a boppy pop punk tune. DNA write songs which get stuck in your head and boobies is no exception -sweet.

LONG WEEKEND BLUES is more typical,  acoustic DNA stuff. A song about receiving  news that someone has passed away. Moody number which delicately deals with sadness. Very blues as the title suggests.

DESTRACTED NATE O-BOT lifts the mood again with more skastructure and chord changes. The song is positively bizarre and could be about wasting time but I am not sure but it is catchy.   It finishes with some slower brass section ska.  It lifts you up then mellows you out.  Well done.

EL DIABLO  TACOS ARE THE BEST is Spaghetti western ska!  Yes I did say that. A song about having your hopes and dreams stolen by the devil. Also a song about shining in the darkness. Complete with manic female laughter to finish. Sort of Bonzai Kitten turned bubblegum .

HOSPITAL is a dark song about having to wait six days for treatment after a burst appendix. However the nurses are cool and surgeon does a good job. This doesn’t stop Mrs Allen screaming during the song. She was sicker than she realized but very thankful to the catholic church for footing the bill. So despite getting infected she is around tossing the tale.

I NEED TO KNOW is lead by Nate doing most of the vocals. A slow, droning number about things getting better. However it does have a swaggering banjo in the mix making it a happy miserable song. Pot of gold at the rainbows end type scenario.

ALMOST OUT OF TEXAS is bouncy and mid paced with some sweet harmonizing by the happy couple. About being stranded with a three days walk away from Texas due to dodgy fuel pump. They walked for three days hence the repetitive singing of the line "with every single step I take"... I get closer to you. See punk vans do break down sometimes. It’s not always an excuse to pull a gig. The number finishes with some appropriate cavalry influenced drumming. Like all DNA stuff, original, interesting and somewhat quirky (although not quirky in a negative sense).

VEGETABLES is the last number on the album. Intentionally subdued punk rock guitar amongst some raging ska. I am a huge Violent Femmes fan and this song happily reminds me of said band. A song about cutting down on coffee and eating more vegetables. Doing more exercise and possibly even dance classes. Quite possibly a song about nowt but extremely listenable and not a bad number to finish off a fine album.

So to recap:-  A good album which reminds me of Damaged Goods records and Violent Femmes - this pleases me. A very quirky American sounding album but at the same time very D.I.Y and very punk. Lots of people in UK punk scene aren’t going to get this. THAT'S A GOOD THING - doing what you want is far more PUNK than shagging the leg of the punk rock beast.

Review by Gary Eagling (Eagle Spits)

   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
 
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