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 Thank goodness the first track, ‘Asylum’ had been replaced by a couple of minutes of silence, ‘The Sound Of Free Speech’, otherwise Eve Libertine on Mogadon would have given the game away straight away, PMT is scary at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)

   

MANTA BIROSTRIS - BOG UROJONY EP

Ok so what on earth have we got here? None other than a polish punk EP with industrial overtones. This strange beast was sent to be by polish punk rocker Adam Sokół so I am going to try and review it.

Track 1 – Wiosna (pronounce it and anything else any way you want, even tomato). This is a piece of eastern mystic chant with grind punk, God Fleshy sounding guitar. This I like YES for those who don’t like hippy crap. Reminiscent of Killdozer and Kalinger Co if they were to have a car crash with Ravi Shankar. ‘You’re my sitar hero’.

Track 2-Bóg urojony more polish language chanty punk rock but this time it makes me think old French punk band Komintern Sect. To really unsettle you there’s slight hints of industrial repetiveness thrown in. I think I will start drinking tea again.

Track 3- Preludium. This track is more anarcho industrial, think The Ex and chuck in a Slab of sub tonal dance with Front 242, Front Line Assembly vibes. The vocals are tuneful and growly and the effect is unsettling in an early Einsturzende Neubarten kind of way. It’s nice to hear some experimentation in punk still. Hey Ho Lets Go and let’s eat Depeche Mode for breakfast.

Track 4- Klamca - Polish spoken word intro. I do not know what’s going on but things might be scary. Aaaagggghhhhhhh they got scarier (sorry did I frighten you?). The noise sucks me in and I have no idea where I am. No reference points and no Sat Nav, best enjoy my stay. Hark I hear the rumblings of familiar punk rock yet the growls and echoes keep my senses keen and my mosh pit worn body jerking.

Track 5- Wczorajsi królowie  - Acoustica chanting. There is a strange tale being told in a language I do not understand.

Overall - I thoroughly enjoyed this dance with the unfamiliar in a land we call DIY punk rock.

Review by Gary Eagling (Eagle Spits)

   

EXIT THE NETWORK - EVERYDAY OBJECTS

I have been asked by Johnny Vincent, front guy from Exit The Network to do an honest review of their forthcoming album. So honestly, here’s what I think:-

The album kicks off with 'Pondlife', which is a pounding and angular tune. Intense in a Munch's Scream kind of way, get ready to implode. It is punk but thank goodness not of the generic variety, think the jaggedness of Crisis (one of my favourite old school punk bands). The songs opening moment could almost be The Exploited (but Exit The Network are too intelligent to be followers) until the Mark E Smithesque vocals kick in and the Joy Division-sequel bass line. First time I listened to this track I thought it was good but the second time it hooked me in then fucking bit me. The lyrics “can't think” are repeated often throughout the song, they obviously can think to be able to produce a track this educated and crafted.

'Don't Need It is the next song to come under scrutiny. It kicks off with crunchy guitar and death beat drumming. Another track belonging to the days when being a punk band meant you could play whatever the fuck you wanted. The lyrics are well thought through and there are no empty one liners, no flexing of muscle, just musically tight determination. Smidgens of the better anarcho bands but still with the Joy Division/Crisis angles and Steve Lake meets Mark E Smith at a Gang of Four gig vocals. There is a personal politic etched into the song with the positioning of oneself in the wider world. Another winner.

The third song 'Run' is akin to a post-modern apocalypse in the world of The Pop Group and Foucault. Musically they are indeed approaching a “brand new age” with 'Run'. The track is musically very left of field but with punk rock intentions and attitude. Again crafted and very thoughtful. Exit The Network will, thankfully, never be found in a punk rock by numbers book and for this I love them. The song speaks gently with a third person political voice with real concern about the shit going down in the world “going to get you when you go on strike” the listener is warned. The band know there’s a class war going on but realize volume isn’t the only way of getting their message across. FOR YOU THAT’S HOW THE WORLD COULD CHANGE, NOT WITH A BANG BUT A WHISPER.

'Design' is a quieter, slower number. Less angular, more in the groove. The vocals are pissed off but slowly determined. There is a beautiful use of repetition which gloriously reminds me of Can but a Can who have been sleeping with Crisis and Flux. I love this track but it took a few seconds to grab me. It is obvious that the band have a love affair with their music and here they smooch. Few bands achieve the musical depth and colour we see here, especially in the punk world and to add to this, it reminds me a little of Zounds - sweet.

'Behind You', begins with swirling guitar and a pounding drum beat. It conjures up feelings of otherness. Musically it reminded me of a place I vaguely remembered from years ago. Then it clicked, the place was Peterborough circa 1978, when a young band, The Dole were doing their thing. If anyone remembers The Doles single 'New Wave Love/ Hungry Men No Longer Steal Sheep But Are There Hanging Judges' then you will have an inkling where I am coming from. That is in no way indicating 'Behind You' sounds dated, it doesn't. This track excites me because although punk is my first musical love often the range of emotions it provokes are limited. 'Behind You' triggers a wide range of emotions and almost feels ethereal and for some reason reminds me of Iggy Pops 'Passenger'. It sounds nothing like it but evokes very similar feelings within me. It has its own distinctive sound which is complex and angular but definitely very punk rock.

'Turing Machine' swaggers on in with a tight drum opener and an attitude. The crushing guitar halts and vocals are semi-spoken. There is so much going on and Exit The Network jerk around like an Ian Curtis dance caught up in a 100 Philistine Foreskins song. The song also kind of gallops in a 100 Philistine Foreskins kind of way . Again splendid use of repetition “the more you speak, the less they seek” chants the vocalist in an earnest but unpretentious manner. The track is multi-layered and multi-faceted. Yet more proof that the band haven’t held anything back but have put their all into this album. Parole King once sang about life being a tapestry of rich and royal hue... Exit The Network come over as an intensely woven soundscape where every sound adds to the overall colourful sonic picture.

Next we have 'Shoe' another almost laid back song which isn’t so edgy as the rest of the album. Although musically different it has the same kind of force as an early New Model Army song. The band don’t need noise, volume or speed to score. Instead they disturb the listener by tunefully making them feel uncomfortable, occasionally provoking the same feelings caused by the discordant compositions of some neo-Austrian composers. There are undertones of The Stranglers circa The Black and White album but Brunel and the boys have been knocking about with Joy Division and Wasted Life. The track ends with some excellent riffage which wouldn’t have sounded out of place on The Clash's first album. All the time echoing the sentiments coined in the songs line "nothing left, no human rights”

The penultimate track 'The Wall' perhaps coincidently, reminds me of 'New Way' by The Wall. The band aren’t afraid to take chances and the track kicks off with a biscuit tin drum intro which sounds tinny but tinniness is what’s required, there is nothing wrong with clangs and echoes. There are riffs, fuck there are riffs. This machine is well oiled and precise. This is not four blokes it is a single unit, as tight as Cameron conducting an Atos assessment. If this track was a hospital ward it would be where schizophrenia, mania and paranoia were inappropriately treated. Yet there are traces of UK Subs left in the packet and on the flip-side Exit The Network certainly ain’t no suckers. The Stooges 'No Fun' kind of creeps in and Johnny Vincent sings “the drugs don’t work they say and the alcohol has lost its taste”. Yes there are echoes of other bands in this song but they are just echoes or possibly even phantoms captured and trained by the band to perform new musical manoeuvres.

'Fixed' is the title of the last track which has more of a generic punk intro but musically the track could be Zounds playing The Exploited's “Dogs of War”. It has a more straight ahead feel but the vocals remain edgy and angular with the musicianship being top quality. Again there is the Kraut Rock repetitiveness with Johnny chanting “that’s the reason it will never be fixed”. Overall another fine track.

The Verdict - If I was going to mark this album out of 10 I would give it 9 ½, they would loose the half just so I didn’t come over as kissing arse 100%. The album is brilliant, no bullshit, its just brilliant. The band obviously put a lot of time, effort, emotion, conviction etc. into the album and it paid off. I would like to thank them personally because I was asked for an honest review, under the circumstances I would have felt a right twat if I had to give them a bad review. I have seldom heard a punk album of this quality and for me it touches all the right places. It is original but fits in well with the musical evolution of left of field punk rock. It takes quality influences and twists them to fit its own direction. It is deeper than Loch Lomond and has more angles than a many multi-sided mathematical shape. The work is polished but the edges merely got sharper with the polishing. If Adult Orientated (punk) Rock meant not being a childish twat but presenting as thoughtful, thought provoking, educated and clued in, then this could be A.O.R. or punk music for the thinking man (or woman, in days of equality). Buy two copies of this album, one for your pleasure, the other to force feed to the next generic punk band who are to inspire some other generic punk band. Like I say, brilliant, just fucking brilliant.

Review by Gary Eagling (Eagle Spits)

   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
 
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