FUNGALPUNK - CD REVIEWS Page 1
 
 

NATHAN SEATON - RUNNIN' LATE AGAIN

More one man meddling via the Hospital Food stalwart, one Nathan Seaton.   A good old bread and butter bloke and an important part of the DIY scene with an appreciation of the shit being shifted and the shit being thrown.  He has stuck in through thick and thin, stayed loyal to the cause and seen his outfit finally get due reward.  Here he bravely goes it alone and perhaps even more intrepidly asks yours truly for a review.  Is the man laden with self-belief, keen to get advice or playing with fire - we will just have to wait and see.

'What Was Yer Name' is the opening gambit, it knocks me sideways as I genuinely and truly had reservations about Mr Seaton's ability to pull off the one man routine - my doubts were unfounded - I love the raw talent in this underprocessed outburst, an effort that sees the man shine bright.  The string work is wispy, a gentle accompaniment to a vocal effort that is worked at with a naturalness that operates at a quite convincing level.  The episode here concerns a meeting, a forgetfulness, a moment in time that is scratched in the subversive annals of history as a faux pas.  It is a mere confessional moment, it works well, I am rather taken.  'Thick Rick' calls upon our doofer to test his mettle, the 'whoa hoa's' require accuracy, I think flying colours are exposed before we travel into a tale of an idling, weaving wanker who takes all and gives nothing (we all know one don't we).  A song to remember is played out with careful adjustments in tone, a steady oral application held and a certain disgruntlement with one of life's parasites convincingly relayed.  I like the way the irritation ascends, I like the exposure of a recalcitrant shitehawk who has no morals, no cares, no fuckin' decency.  I think the job here, is once again, a good un'.

'Secrets' shuffles, delivers, keeps the opening verse honest whilst regarding a date, a word best not shared.  The move into the chorus is done without perspiration on the brow, the content deals with a dubious slag who, in truth, wants her fanny kicking in.  I prefer loyalty, there is no place in life for deceivers.  I am sure many will be able to relate to this underhand dabbling, I am not interested.   Tis a well played song, the content just turns me off.  'Armageddon' is a serious stalker whose presence is just lightened by the odd string flick and the general rhythm.  Our plucking gent grinds out a gravelly account, faces head on the decaying mess that grows and grows, assesses the situation and seems to fall down when it comes to any solution.  This is a strong song and one that has solid resonations, I consider and give a thumbs up - it would be rude not to!

'She's A Hurricane' stops and starts, looks back to the 1980's and seems to have a fondness for the shit that went on due to another episode of loved-soaked misdirection.  The song has its own character, the minimalism works well, it gives space for our player to expose his dulcet tones and expose them he does in unabashed and careful style with a small flag of victory flying at the end.  The overall construction is uncluttered, reflects a DIY approach and succeeds as a result!  Next and 'We Gotta Fight' drives in with a resolute determination emanated from the strings, states a case, looks forward to the end full stop and relieves one's chest of many, many gripes.  The tilt, the sway, the imbalance are all there to correct and realign but as long as people are kept distracted that is the way it will stay.  The intent of the song is to provoke thought and to inspire action, the pied piper needs to blow damn hard to shift some of the many redundant arses out there and I wish him well.   The flow here is tidy, orthodox and sweetly executed, it is not a bad effort despite staying within certain parameters.  'Superman' is a far better song, a song with a searching soul stretching himself, creating a sound of very gratifying tones and one, that once again, is blessed with a voice that is honest, effortless and very real.  The blend of string work and throat application is found to be in a fine state of equilibrium and as the song progresses one feels we may be witnessing the best effort to date.  I play over and over, tis a lovely number.

'Goodbye Harry Patch' is a Hospital Foot re-jig, a sanguine song that deals with a lost soul, a victim to the senselessness of war, an emotive serving that shows how people can be persuaded to abandon common sense and follow some senseless propaganda.  The tonal touches of the guitars are splendid, the oral escort blended with disbelief, sadness and regret.  The whole composite is perfectly put together with thought behind every ounce of the acoustic arrangement and the weight of the chorus perfectly contrasting with the considered verses - a pinnacle for sure and a tribute to the last fighting Tommy of WW1.  'Suck On That' is a feisty number, plucking with zeal, throatily spitting out its verbage and seemingly coming out on top.  The guitar neck is molested, the domestic situation out of control, I find this one a struggle to fully enjoy, I reckon the main cause is that is comes after the preceding whopper and the one chasing it - like a spat out cherry stone between the cleavage of 2 fine heavers no less.  The chasing number is entitled 'Small Man In A Big World', a very gentle song despite the subject matter, a ditty held in good check even though there is an undercurrent of ill-feeling towards a ten-man bully beef who really needs bringing down a peg or two.  The soft whoa hoa's, the tender verse, the embracing chorus all count and make for a drawn out listening experience made by an artiste very much in his own quality-riddled zone.

The last 3, She's The One Who's Cryin',  'Jimmy' and 'Intimidating Man' are all sober tunes, the first a miserable dirge that does little for me and leaves me with ghastly visions of a well-punctured hag who has lost her self-respect and is mere an article for society to use and abuse.  There are many out there who are in the same situation, stuck in a rut at the beck and call of men's needs and using the only way they know to gain some sort of twisted love - quite tragic and the song, although not for me, captures the theme quite ideally.  The second ditty is a very accomplished piece of corn that rings many a bell but retains its own identity.  A war torn tune that relates the usual tale of loss and overall pointless stupidity - you know the script, just enjoy it.  The latter song regards a washed-up wanker, who is looking to strut his stuff and is never what he seems.  A middling effort for me, one not listed on the CD case, it may have been a mistake to add it at this late juncture.

I sign off, despite a few songs I find not to my liking I can confidently say Mr Seaton has worked wonders here and done himself proud with an acoustic venture he should continue to follow.  Next time a few different themes, some obscure genres and perhaps a few extra instruments and we could be in for another treat - I hope so.  Personally I would like to see an alternating pattern of Hospital Food songs and solo efforts - I think it would work a treat.

1

LES BOF - VIOLA

Vintage vibrations surf forth with many accents and strains via a band that jump from one age to the next and leave one struggling to actually assess.  The mix is best described as 'strange', the accented avenues invaded are at times dubious, at others slightly unsettling but all the while reminiscent of acoustic areas I have wandered in my time and come out of aurally bummed.  It is good to explore and when something unexpected turns up one must appreciate it even if one doesn't like it.  I pounce here and let the assessing words flow - naturalness must be maintained.

'Jezebel' jangles, gyrates, emits a hunger for the cause whilst radiating a lusty sex-drive with all implements getting fucked.  The throwback mix is cavernous, straight from the cool cat dives where monochromed montages move and groove beneath a myriad of swirling lights.   The brothel creeping bass line that arises from the opening cacophony drives the song forward with the regulated skin tap equally motivational.   The strings play it low, the vocal is sub-sinister and stalking, the back 'whoa's' add to an overall eeriness.  This is a decent opener, I am wondering where this CD will go already - tis no bad position to be in.  'Fin De Monde' begins with big swishing drums, rolls on with dramatic effect, screws out a sonic revelation from yesterday all ready for the morrow.  The stop start guitars, the Euro-salivations, the easy chorus that breezes through all make for a mix that is delivered by obviously excited artistes.  This excitement gushes over from out of the speakers into the receptive acoustic valleys and pings around many easily persuaded neurones - I get greatly affected, shake the ass and find myself enjoying this one - oh man, let's groove!

'Vie De Chien' gives suggestions of Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich throughout, rustily travels and oozes itself outward through a constipated sound system that, in some slight way, hinders the end fluidity.  The inclinations are awkward, not as effective as they should be and of a certain B-grade ilk that, despite the critique, just manages to saves its sonic arse and have some semblance of success.   All the while though I can't help feeling this one is not the finished article and I do struggle trying to get into the proffered zone.  I prefer the funky chicken strut of 'Ma Claque' with its jingle-jangle accents, corn-ball cruising and uncomplicated approach that is easy to pick up, digest and puke back up in the nearest bin.  A throwaway morsel from and old era, almost of the pubescent rock and roll times when greased barnets and basic tones ruled the roost and innocence was a commodity taken for granted - how silly!  Yeah, I like this one, I move on with a skip in the arthritic step.

The blues pour down from shimmering skies were tub thunder seizures all helps welcome the zoned-in, staccato vocals that make for one higgledy-piggledy listening excursion. 'Je Suis le Boss' rides roughshod over an uneven musical substrate and sticks to a very direct route with no diversions had.  The band have their methodology set in stone, they stick to the drawing board plans and come out with an easily digested song of sub-generic character.  'Drogue 'N' Roll' is another uneven trundle, traversing scuzz-fuzz trackways with all manner of tonal parts falling this way and that as the chassis of the song clanks and clatters forward on a mission to destination 'uncertain'.  For me, the greatest failure of this song is to not fully grab the steering wheel and drive along without any strict direction and acoustic smoothness.  There is an inner break that brings a cruised cacophony but we are soon back on the ambiguous track and all the while, I lose a certain interest!

A snatch of 4, 'Souviens Toi' is a slightly darkened mystery, casually sweeping in on low thermality and convincing me this may be the true direction that the band must aim for.  They capture a Noir-esque sub sexual ambience, create an end result that oozes conviction that I am sure will get any cool cats out there releasing their pheromones after only a few eavesdropping sessions.  'Un, Deux, Trois, Quatre' boogies and bops with a strict stutter style that shakes the undercarriage and gets any loose nuts and bolts rolling down the trouser leg and relieving a little tension.  For me, the saving grace is the sax soothing that helps balance the journey as well as the blatant throwback tones that will appeal to many aging passers-by (oops).  'Soixante-Huitard' is a spunky number with a dirty guitar lick and some bass and stick driven gumption that helps the richly accented vocals overspill with obvious relish, a relish that keeps the listener appreciative and involved.  The style may be a slight upheaval but it gets by, just!  The last of the quartet examined in one passing fist is 'Liberes Moi',  a song that begins with a fine splashing appeal before saw-boning, stopping and starting and then swinging along with invigorated joy with one of the most naturally kicking tunes of the pack.  The fuzz, the buzz and the emboldened drive make this a slightly elevated episode and I listen over and over just to make sure the juices are flowing in the right direction.

The wind down comes, I enter the tune known as 'C'est La Vie', a creeping feline slinking along your aural alleyways and flicking its tickling tail here and there to create extra invigorating sensations.  The whole composition steps with stealth but makes good headway into the inner receptive recesses and leaves one with a fine impression of a song with more depth than initially considered.  The harmonica spices matters up, the slow staccato certainty creates a stratagem to explore over a longer period - nice!   'La Fievre Du R'n'R' is a frothy number, over-spilling with much dynamism and general breathless steam that comes in relentless minor plumes, each one as clear and lucid as the next and giving note that the internal machinations are well-lubed and moving as one.  The positioning of this number gives it greater success, I go into the last two rather juiced up.

'Port St Louis' is a short, spicy Blues-ed up jangle of instrumental inspiration, thrown together with a blend of sub-skiffle, surf and psychedelia - it doesn't hang about, it hits the nerve and gets one jigging.  The closure comes, 'Formidable' has the responsibility to full-stop matters, it does so with a riff akin to an Edgar Wallace mystery souped up with oral offerers very much up for some resonating sensations to inspire a reaction.  The guitar is the main dictator and twangs and twilights whilst the bass beetles and the drums skip and splash.  The vocals over the top are clear and precise, I think this minor flourish suits the CD as a whole.

I am outta here - this CD has taken up a huge portion of my time (don't they always) and I am 60% sure I like it.  This may sound harsh but I listen to a lot of stuff and sometimes get lost in a maze of musical madness and have times when some tunes work and then they don't.  This is such a CD, I have to be in the zone to fully appreciate and when I do it feels mighty good.  There are of course some tracks that stand tall, I particularly like the instrumental - it is all about different flavours for different folk though and let us hope it stays that way.

PAT BUTCHER - SELF-TITLED

Pat Butcher - no not the fat-slab of ham from Eastenders but a group of hardcore arse-wipes raring to go and always willing to smear their sonic shit over your aural wall.  I have spun many times over, have found nothing new to fracture the spiky sun that pours its rhythmic rays forever on my sizzled pate but I have discovered some good bollock-hoofing bellicose noise that rather excites something inside this seasoned and spiked carcass.

'Conservative Crop Circles' celebrates the madness of our ex-Tory leader who threw caution to the wind and ran riot through the fields of wheat proving that pure, unadulterated rebellion is rife in all walks of life (I doth taketh the piss).  The opening confession is soon drowned out in a bloodbath of dirty fuckin' noise that rumbles, grumbles and winds itself up into manky states of spasmodic shit-kicking.   At times the musicianship collapses in on itself but is utterly forgivable as the design of this discordance is purely aimed at dabbling with disaster - I don't mind the end result at all.  'Raceday Wanker' is typical drilling that is based on a repeat-beat blasting and a clobberin-time energy.  A titled statement, a gruff-response, a fast and furious sonic approach and some high-wire wanking and a full-on fuelled throat release - there you fuckin' go.  No nonsense, no nobbing any niceties, just a slam-ram with juicy jangling jam smeared all over your apathetic arse - have it.

'The Suit Is Black' is an 8 second speedburst - many bands of this ilk do these kind of things - it comes, it goes, it is barely noticed.

'Butcher's Block' shadow taps in, power pronounces and then pummels away with much excitable industry.  The stall has been set, kicked over and set on fire - the meat served is bloodied and flung many ways with the gristle grimly riddled with many toxic tones and dripping with a thermality not to be underestimated.  I like the pulverising strength of this one and the unapologetic raucousness - sometimes we all need to get sonically molested by something primitive.  'Clifton Cat' is a tale about a scavenging bastard who takes and doesn't give a fuck whilst doing so.   The song has a rasping tongue in the furry cheek, bounces along with the greatest rhythm grabbed thus far and uses a double-ended gob jab that penetrates with arduous hollering gusto and taut wire work that soon fuzzes up and gets some fluttering sticks to assist.  I don't mind this bout of tomfoolery, the song has multi-dimensions and much contrast, it works well, it may be a route the band could ponder a little more.

We belch outwards towards the final silence with 'Boozehound' a rabid foamer that starts on the leash before running wild around the bar whilst barking hard for more liquid refreshment of the intoxicating kind.  The immersion into all things raw, alcho-based and frenzied is done with such utter sincerity that one could easily question the mentality of the players at the helm which, in truth, is always a good sign.  From the stated to the sprinted, from the controlled to the clattering, this is no bad way to shut the door on this 6 track sensation.

Pat Butcher, come, throw their full weight behind matters and splat down into one's lap with decent impact.  Some accepting eavesdroppers may get squashed, some may survive and live to share the experience, either way I think it is worth taking the risk.

LUCY AND THE RATS - STICK TO YOU/TRUE ROMANCE

From London to Melbourne and now from here, to there and back again.   Lucy and the Rats have been reviewed on this site before, I am rushed and can't keep repeating the introductions, here is a 2 tracker - make of this what you will and if intrigued, go find out a little more - they have produced some quite nifty noises over the years.

'Stick To You' sub-fuzzes, jumps into a groovy tune and slaps it out like a pseudo-Quatro clone hepped up and with many throwback punk qualities.  The persistent fuzz-scuzz saws with great consistency and focused accuracy whilst the radio-fied ravings above the wire and skin weavings give the thrust a credible character as well providing the final rock and roll edginess.  When stripped bare and examined more closely we find we get nothing more than straight-forward pop punkery - if this is your thing you may ruddy well enjoy this.

And flip, as per.

'True Romance' is a fleet-footed song just trailing behind its counterpart but finding recognition via a really quirked bubble and squeak popsicle of sound that drips fruity juices of joy borne from a feel-good vibe found within the 'love' soaked ticker.  The persuasive resonations of the whole composite are squeaky clean but have just enough abrasive edges to keep the listener involved.  The opening lilt and slip into a sub-chorus lift is utterly sweet and the sugary feel is maintained right up until the last tonal touch.

So, quickly in, quickly out and hopefully I have impregnated your noggins with a seed of curiosity that will get you investigating this band further - it is decent trash-can pop and there is a place in everyone's heart for such sonic shizzle.

   

TRIPLE SUNDAE - GLOW

Look, let me make one thing clear, when something gets labelled 'melodic punk' I do get concerned and after having witnessed so many bands turn out the same 'sub-generic' noise and fail to rock one's conkers I have to try darned hard not to be a petty purveyor and add salted criticisms due to a long-term sozzling of the same old, same old.  The same can be said of many other sub-generic areas but when one is dealing with one zone less favoured one has to watch their step.  Triple Sundae come, offer nothing new and so I step back and take it for what it is, consider where they will fit in, where they won't and how they ply their trade - at over 1500 reviews in, assessing CD's gets no fuckin' easier.  Oh, the band come from London by the way and, at the time of writing, have been on the rhythmic block for about 5 years.

'Mental Pollution' is a full-on song, alters tempo at will and at times gushes in torrents and bubbles with perhaps debilitating mediocrity.  For me the band showcase many skills in this strongly orchestrated piece, the only blip I uncover is the harmonised moments that get caught up in cobwebs of consideration and so impede the more liquid moments that give the song the most impressive spice of life.  The crew have obviously spent time composing, recording and generally mixing, the question that immediately springs to my DIY encrusting mind is 'have they over done things'.  I remain in judgemental limbo, the song isn't a favoured tipple but is indicative of a tidy band - ooh the perpetual problems of this musical life! 'Swisher' is a rather ordinary episode that comes from an era when many a band fell into a kind of suffocating middle-of-the-road punkism that, in truth, wasn't punk at all but some watered down bi-product that catered to a new generation of dudes looking to chill rather than challenge.  The ability shown, as is the case here, was very applaudable but just never rang true in my barbed heart that always requires things more obvious.   Here the players pull out a decent effort with the blend of all areas just right and complimentary, I however, remain uninspired.  'Dazed' has more clout due to its machine-like drive and fuller feel to the soundwaves.   Again, I am out of sync with the flavour and would like to see some bare-arsed bollocks of the crudest kind thrown in but hey, this music menagerie is all about personal tastes.  The main gripe I have is that the song appears to have no real backbone of sound and waltzes around a flimsy core of nebularity that never really catches the passing ear (well, mine at least).   Upsurges in power do come, the density of sound works well, but once more, young Fungal is left flapping away and struggling to spill true praise.

The 4th song, 'Everything's Cool' is a straight-forward, stated case that is initially easy to get in line with and shows that the band are thinking on their feet and striving to keep the flavours varied.   The track soon veers off into many different avenues which is a shame as I found this rather uncomplicated approach highly appealling and think it could have led to a moment of angular surprise.  What comes is a multi-faceted mush of technically sound music with great gusto poured - it is what bands of this ilk do - I think sometimes say and do too much in one blast though.  Not a bad effort this and throughout lucidity is upheld.  The title track 'Glow' is a number I find too bland and lacking in any decisive moments to make an impression on my rhythmically bombarded noggin.  Time submerged in tonal waters does take its toll and on my quest for new treats and something close to originality I find myself with nothing to inspire here.  The route taken is very safe, the stabilisers are working and there is nothing whatsoever out of place and no frayed edges.  This is pure bleached and blended music that, to me at least, needs a good noxious rocket up its arse.  I can't fault the musicianship, the application, it is just the end result and sobered edges that are just too refined - no not my bag at all.

We close with 'Safe', I shudder at the title and hope the band don't play it so!  The opening is reliant on minimal guitars and gobwork, a twilight tinkle enhances, the movement stays mid-paced.  Again the cream at the core is slowly curdled, the foam that rises is of an acquired taste, the mathematical precision may be too much for those who prefer things off the cuff and raw-assed.  A casual croon this one, with all individual components easily examined and given the thumbs up and yet overall, I am still on the outside feeling rather chilled - ah shit happens.

No, not my thing, no, not a flavour I am taken by and by a band that are very, very good at what they do but fail to turn on my nob of musical attention.  I will sign off and leave it there, if you like the more modernised pop sub-punkism that gets bandied about then this may very well be your thing - please have a see and do a review more 'glow'-ing than mine - it is all about balance after all.

   
1

THE WASTERS - SELF-TITLED

The Wasters pogo in to my listening parameters all the way from Scouse land and vomit forth a youthful mix of retro-fied garaged sonica that is played with the paradoxical controlled recklessness liable to serve the band well in areas best described as 'grubby'.  Many clean cut and processed punk rock wankers may not fully get the gist here, they will be outweighed by the ones in the groove, soaked through with long term head-clattering and ones besotted with all things bordering on the beautifully shabby.

The first track has a 'couldn't give a flying fuck' essence with an almost ad-hoc perpetual reactive methodology that makes the song a really salty kickback and throwaway piece of trash.  This is all positive stuff, there is a place for this lovely 'crash, bang, wallop...and fuck off' noise, it is an acoustic area where many deviants find salvation and as a bonus it helps them relieve much tension rather than wank off their privates to utter oblivion.  The opening pronouncement promises big time here, the song reels around, has a purpose to blow ones one mind, to let those 'Three Fat Stripes' do the ultimate business.  Yeah - sometimes tis the only fuckin' way baby!  'Another Pointless War' adopts a regular and organised riffery, bounces along with great gusto before pseudo-skanking above a serpentine bass line that adds a perky pizzazz to generate a certain joy de vivre that all other components can thrive upon.   The six-strung tool friskily fuzz bounces, the skins are skipped over and slapped, the gob remains slightly snotted, always annoyed and sweetly contrasting - I am rather taken by this political rant that has great tuned flavours.

'Anti-Freeze' sums up the position of the crew's mental state and their insistence to get wrecked.  The main spine of the set-up is ascending grooves pepped up with splash and crash drums and the expected 'get fucked' gobbage.   The running time is terse, it compliments the action and makes sure we don't fall into the realms of pissed off ennui.  The song comes and goes and does what it has to - any further questions can be answered on-line via 'kissmyarse.com' - get over it!  'We Will Never Die' tin bins with bass focus, slaps down the lids with tympanic forthrightness, screws out a twist with six-strung malevolence.  The promise is upheld by a quick gear shift and a direction found.  The vocal overflow adds a certain recklessness, the move from verse to chorus is mightily effective. The question raised is to all those energy vampires that feed on those that struggle, the schadenfreude soaked shits who leak sexual juices when they know a struggle is going on beneath their feet - what a bunch of utter cunts they are.  The effort here has bite, defiance and throws in a few extra textures just for the sheer Hell of it!

I kick on, 'Drink, Drink, Drink' is a mid-paced tickle with an easy vibe to get swallowed up by.  The message is simple, the arrangement without snagging intricacies, the ease with which the band deliver neatly done - I have little to criticise here.  The flow is steady, the mix ideal for the crew  and the slightly snotty edge appreciated.  I move on with a quick ping in the step, 'Happy' is a great tune that poses a real craw-sticking question and leaves one pondering the masses of 'sad sacks' who are looking in the wrong places for that elusive 'feel-good' emotion.  There are many bastards who take and build their piles, they remain frustrated, there are many who have little and seem contented - are you getting the message!  The arrangement of this melodic poppet is to keep all areas moving as one, highly fluent whilst making sure the accents are fairly relaxed.   I ruddy well love this one, I love the spiralling ascension to the finish - it is fuckin' marvellous.  'Nosebleed' is a more serious sounding effort with deliberate statements stamped down onto the recording substrate via genuine juiced up determination and great off-kilter relish.  The band are enjoying a certain self-inflicted pain, wallowing in a situation gone 'wank' and all the while jacking off and splashing forth a right good riff-up.   The mix is spot on, when volume is injected the slaggy serenade works a treat, it gets beneath the trembling epidermis and has one all a-quiver - I like this feeling.

The closure is here, another bass-beginning and then a holler from the madhouse where rooms are rubberised, electro-shock treatment is the order of the day and all those 'desperately seeking a pal' are confined in a room where they can wank like buggery to get the idiot needs out of their system.  The disgust, the sub-fear, the superb bass work and the tireless pushing passion all culminate and contribute to a very effective full stop - yes!

I have listened in, done my honest bit, now have the band booked and hopefully can help them get a bit more note and keep them on their toes.   What they do here has all the fundamentals of early defiant punkism and is delivered with a good modern day spirit.  I am looking forward to the 'live' viewing, I expect it to be deliciously 'off the cuff' and a times promisingly shambolic - there is no other way.

   

THE BORDELLOS - UNDERGROUND TAPES 22

The Bordellos continue to avoid the flow, they continue to be productive, they continue to do things their own way - and for that we should be truly thankful.  They offer an array of bedroom-based expulsions, you know the ones, those creations thrown off the cuff when the thought arises and slapped down and recorded before the inspiration flutters away into the great all-consuming ether.   On many occasions they produce something magical, of course now and again they produce something off kilter and not to my tastes but throughout they produce what they want to and ask my humble opinion - I am appreciative of that.

So to the 4 tracks on offer, the first is the electro quirk known as 'Elastic Band Man (Dan Bordello Mix), a cold, almost Kraut-Rockian episode of embryonic roboticised madness that inches along like a sonic slug wary of the awaiting critical lettuce.  The abstraction of the verbology, the stylophpone punctuations, the general 'away with the fairies' expressionism has subdued angles, strait-jacketed vulgarities and an almost insightful autisticness that slowly undulates over many emotive sensations.  The only word to use at this juncture is one I have already called upon in the past and will do so again in the future, that word is 'odd' - and there ain't nowt wrong with that!  'Tattoo For The Heart (Echo Mix)' disturbs the stinking substrate and kicks up an initial plume of toxic vibrology that sets the mucky dog senses reeling.  The cloud becomes thick and cloying, from within oral offerings struggle for the snippet of the spotlight, all the while the musical industry continues unabated and keeps on clogging the listener's aural airwaves and leaving one in a state of indecision.  There is a good song going on here, the pulverising plumes are too overwhelming and what we get is a dirty move lost in a miasma of muck many may not have the wherewithal or patience to battle through.  I like certain elements, some I would alter, the entire shebang though piques my curiosity – I am not in the least bit surprised by this situation.

Shush, shush sneaking comes with 'Snatch' floating in beneath the doorway of your attention and reaching in with cooled tendrils of remote acoustica that always seems to be coming at you from just behind the shoulder.  A rear-ground offering done with the lilt The Bordellos are mildly renowned for (well, in my head at least).  The crew are, in many ways, at their best here, emanating a quite pure 'off the couch' DIY touch that gives hope to every plucker and fucker looking to have a go.  There is a nervousness, an anxiety found throughout the score, the strings and tubs are barely touched, this faux lack of sanguinity is not to be believed - the band know what they are doing and do it well.

We close with a pseudo - 'Warhead' bass suggestion, a painful anguish from mote swirling depths, a gnawing nightmare that sees the hazards of mixing 'Smack, Crack and Iggy Pop' come tumbling down onto ones unsuspecting bonse.  The echo-vibes at times hurt, the players are undergoing a therapy, they seem to be banishing demons, within the unpalatable offal a stench of something worthwhile apprehends my doubting sensors - The Bordellos do this time and time again.  I don't like this one and yet for some reason I disagree with myself - isn't DIY music just the best.

There is a crisis going on, a troubled period that will never end and therefore will always force our minstrels at the helm to go on 'creating'.  At times I am elated, now and again deflated, quite frequently things are debated and the shaft of reason is masturbated but, one thing is for sure, I am eternally intrigued and an unashamed fan of what transpires here.  I think it is healthy to be a fan and not claim to like all, I also think honesty leads to respect and vice versa – put that in your jacksie and digest it.  

   

BEHIND THE NUT - HOLIDAY IN DYSTOPIA

And I quote 'We are an acoustic duo who play our own songs and with the odd cover thrown in done in our own way. Our aim is to raise awareness of mental health with music' - now isn't that punk rock encapsulated.  Of course I received, I was requested and here I deliver a piece of forthright wordage - we are all trying to keep things flowing...the right way!

'Diamonds Aren't Forever' is a cool cucumber of sound, begins with an ominous clang of a doom-laden bell followed by a heartbeat seemingly under pressure.   The musical wafting that eases inward is contemplative, below mid-pace, considerate of the soundspace in which things are created.   The tonal construction reminds me of several bands I have recently reviewed, each one with light suggestive pop tones and deliberately considered tempo that creates an end product that is utterly lucid and persuasively effective.  This initial song deals with cerebral difficulties that are borne from loss, a loss that perpetually provokes, insistently aggravates - the band relay the emotion well.  'Marching Feet' hesitantly works under ones skin, stealthily operates with the rear tympanic repeat flutter indicative of a nervous composite drenched in thoughtfulness and quietly racked by palpitating problems.  For me, here we have an example of the dangers of thinking too much, the output seems borne from a mind expecting doom, a cranial area awaiting an unknown horror - the threat appears all too real.  The outcome for me is of a song best played when the mood is bright and best avoided when certain clouds gather and one is on the precipice of a mentally cloying chasm.  Heavy work it may be, but the band have grasped their target methinks.

Next and 'If Only You Knew' is a perfect drift of complimenting tones that seem to get the best out of the band and give the vocalist the most ideal foundations on which to operate and...shine.   The orchestration is uncomplicated, slowly swaying and without intricacy but is pleasantly delivered and so brings about a reclining stance that is prone to reflection.  The sound is not completely polished, maybe that gives things an extra touch of reality and believability - either way, I like it!  I am not keen on the chasing track, one known as 'Disasterpiece'!  For me it is a moribund inclusion that just lacks the spark of life found elsewhere within the weft of the 6 track acoustic embroidery.  The tale, regarding  certain treatments is a dry and dragging account, perhaps reminiscent of the feeling one has when certain promised therapies have gone awry.  I get the gist of the creation, I can see the target aimed for, I feel as though the discordant arrow chucked just needs a bit of extra pizzazz and something to electrify the inner turmoil sought.   The band have their style though, I am merely an honest assessor striving to push the buggers a little harder (nudge, nudge).

'The Black Mountains' progresses at its own thoughtful pace, spices things up with a mellow guitar peppering whilst making sure all stays within the strict strait-jacket of sound adopted.  The crew are playing well within themselves, keeping their expressions bleak and highly sobered, again it is important to reiterate, this is distinctly 'mood' music and will leave some feeling frosted if not in the right frame of mind.  Each touch, each tonal position, each vocal utterance is utterly deliberate - does this impede the essence or help add depth?  I am in a flux of indecision but realise this one explore matters a little more deeply and am appreciative of that.  'The Silence' hesitantly tiptoes in with a nervous disposition, ploughs along over a lengthy distance with a flat-line persistence that relies on shaded tones that are resistant to anything garish and makes sure all is safe and steady and somewhat soporific.   At this point my patience has been stretched, my interest is waning, I think that even though the CD is only 6 tracks long some severe upbeat inclusions are needed to indicate the unpredictability of mental ill health and to help accentuate the overall delivery - just personal thoughts.

At the end of this intriguing gambit I find myself with mixed feelings and in some parts am convinced but am equally of the belief that things need to change for the next release.  I like the aim, I like the careful thoughtfulness but I demand an input of energy next time around, I am watching this space!

   
1

REBELLION 2017 INTRODUCING STAGE - COMPILATION

Rebellion hey - a fixation for many that distracts from level zero and a festival that is built more on socialising than getting sonically sated.  I went to the first one and another in 2002 - the first was fine as a one off, the second a faux pas on my part.  Years have gone by, the same old shit gets regurgitated and then an 'introducing' stage was thrown into the mix - as a business all bases must be covered I suppose.  Many bands I had dealt with saw a dangled carrot, some who claimed they weren't fussed about the festival or said they would refuse to play made embarrassments of themselves, some shit their pants in public and were equally shameful.   I have been asked to review this CD by a fine fellow I know, I have a screwed up nose but have gotta be fair.  Sometimes not liking something is no reason to be a git - although I do 'Git-ism' very well.  I won't fuck about here, I'll keep each review of each song to two lines - it keeps things rolling forward - fuck all festivals, up the underdogs!

'Atterkop' shimmer shake, begin with fine nervous energy before getting their heads down and fuzz-fucking like good focused troopers they should ruddy well be.  The initial drill is nicely supplemented and may it be said, invaded, by a skankoid moment that soups up the slop spilled - there is certainly much vigour poured into the opening strains with the follow-up rape and pillage being borne from skacore realms with added vitality supplied by big riffery and much musical nouse.  I have worked with a few bands of this ilk over the years - this is what it is certainly all about.  The follow up to this quality riddled sound is 'Punk Til I Die' by Japanese jerkers A Page Of Punk.  This is a double quick whammy thank you mammy celebrating the zest of the punk rock vibe and ramming it home in a sure-fire style.  Loud, raucous and over and done with in the spasm of a wombat's wotsit.  I like this one as it doesn't fuck around and hollers well - oh aye.

Bono come next - no, not the shaded rockstar with his heavy ego, but a UK punk band writhing and rolling with nothing more than utter fractured 'Despair'.  This is a brief tear-up that leaves the listener with an extra arsehole due to the overall cacophonic calamity and persistently thrusting urgency.  The splodge left on this particularly CD is nothing new under the great shining musical moon but the song does work.  The best moment thus far though comes via the authoritarian command of Chaos 8 who deliver forth the heavy duty warning known as '4 Minutes'.   This heaving moment of relentless hammering sends a vibration down the spine, shakes up the shack and leaves one salivating at the jowls due to the highly impressive saturation point reached.   The song is a cauldron, sat atop volcanic thermals keeping the inner brewing core boiling - prepare to be scalded.  The Delinquents come next, offer up the fresh and clean 'Never Gonna Fit In', a song that, in truth, attempts to fit in, and does so with a hygienic style many will be duly taken by.  The pulses are of more modernised districts, float along with smooth and well-groomed accents and will appeal to those who like a certain era of US punkery and a bit of skaterism - it isn't a bad effort if the truth be told.

Demon Smiles next with the very forthright and impressive 'Keys'.  The strong feminine streak resists the cretinous behaviour and all-consuming macho filth that really should be dead and buried.  The lilt is bold and rises amid a cacophony with much musical wisdom radiated from pluckers not settling into any groove.  The song has essences of many things I have heard before, but then again, what doesn't these days!  The key for this one is that the gob has been given enough air to breathe, has enough encouragement for the clatterers - not bad and the chilled out moment is a touch worthy of more pursuit.  Dedo Podre deliver 'Adeus Homens De Deus' and storm through matters in galloping double-quick time leaving a great steaming cloud of disturb debris behind.   The intro is grandiose and promises big things, the band back up the promise with a fuming explosion of blitzkrieg-ing noise that really does shatter the soundscape.  There are angles thrown in, cute flicks that alter the attack but all the while the unstoppable menace and intent is upheld - a very bold inclusion that leaves a good dent in the framwork.  The follow-up is a beauty too, albeit for different reasons.   The Droogettes rock and roll and with 'No Apologies'.  A quite snagging serenade built on the basic elements of groovy noise and bitched up with salivated goodness.  It is an easy song to get into, has a rebellious spirit and will no doubt please many pinging pirates - go for it.

The Eddies pose a question, offer a paradox by appearing on a CD that has contributed to a dilution and seen many heads take a route all too easy whilst spouting off about how punk rock is not the same.  The song 'Lost Years' is a well-crafted piece of work and shows a good talent and some insight into what makes a splendid ditty.  Punk rock is not the same, in fact it is a watered down force with little chomp that sees many get a duff deal.  I hope the band here live up to their expulsion, question, kick-back and piss in the flowing rivers of idiocy.  This is a solid song though despite my cantankerous niggles.  Fat Randall prepare, suddenly explode to the fore, kick along with a new-school noise that has all the trimmings of a sub-generic pool that sometimes leaves me a little cold.  'Paranoia' is a decent mover, especially when the accelerator is pressed via a sub-chorus that heightens the prospects of the song.   The verse cuts are not completely satisfying and therefore as a result my opinion is split - but I have no doubts as to the quality of the band that is for sure!  'Katie Hopkins In Human Form' by Flies On You is a machine-like piece of automated oddness that has an icy aspect borne almost from digitised digits that remain aloof.  The quirkiness adds character, the celebration of the opposing is done via a regular guitar repetition and an increasing computerised aspect that adds even more intrigue.  The last chant and rant full stops matters, I like this one, I don't like the bigoted bint under the spotlight.   

The follow-on chunk of noise needs contrast and good clout, The Gaak provide just that with the accomplished formula of 'Giving Me Away'.   This song has a caustic intro that cleanses the listening lugs, progresses on chipper glistens, forces the issue through the first well scrunched verse and flies into the sub-chorus brilliance with educated effortlessness.  The song pulls sinews tight, releases and avoids any strain whilst making matters utterly embracing and completely professional - as a DIY dog I should say 'no', as a music lover I say 'yes'.  'Back To Reality' by Informal Society is a screwed up, short-slamming old-school noise that begins within an Amanita-induced fly in the head before breaking down and becoming a scrambled sub-hardcore tear-up of rough and ready DIY proportions.   The band hammer along at full-steam, spit with spite and get outta there before any serious damage is done - that bass is groovy man.

According to the CD track-listing we should be now on Track 14 with Kickback Generation spewing forth 'Riptide Refugee' which, surprise, surprise we are.  This heavily laden walloping pounds in with bold artillery and 'Magazine' touches whilst maintaining a healthy billow in the sails and cutting a dash through the crowded waters.  The drums have authority, the guitars are in no mood to fuck about, the vocal style is lucid and convincing - a politically strong inclusion for sure.   Klammer jump into action next with 'Power Of N', a stylish sounding throwback that plays its cards cool, keeps the verse sections utterly minimalist and ascends into the neatly composed chorus with rewarding well-oiled practice.  The band stand out due to their casual methodology and switch from the latent muscularity to that which is obviously commanding - I like it!

Rattling on, The Last Gang ask you to 'Sing For Your Supper', slowly tickle their way inwards, smoothly deliver a confident song that has all the hallmarks of a sub-generic punk/metal hybrid with extra trimmings to enhance the experience.  The mix is leak-proof, the lilt emboldened, the musical application aiming to uphold a power - I think they tick all 3 boxes.  'Blood Money' is a more theatrical piece and given extra polish and 'oomph' throughout with the impressive vocal work rising above the sonic substrate and contributing to an incessantly flowing chunk of dominating noise that exposes a band with tendencies toward several sub-pits.  The Mis-Made offer darkened blades on which to cut your attentive wrists, I can think of worse ways to commit sonic suicide and am more than happy to give this one a huge vote of confidence.

Nobel Schrott shit out 'Berlin', a rusty arsed eruption from the well shaken rectum of the band and one that drops without fuss into the awaiting, well splattered basin of your attention.  For me the song would be better over a shorter period, the corrosive effect would be more impressive and the general DIY delivery would get more note.  There is something simplistically raw here, I don't mind this at all but would just like to see a little touch of extra fizz.  Pizzatramp don't need any additional pizzazz as what they do is quick, to the point and wonderfully blazing.  I have recently reviewed a track of theirs on another compilation, it wasn't their best.  Here we have a fuckin' stunner though as 'CCTV' cuts a wound into the flesh of the CD and leaves one bleeding hotspot for we passers-by to pause at and indulge.   The bubbling contents we get loaded on tastes good, the violence of the noise feeds one's most primitive soul - hot damn.

A fistful of four next as I attempt something akin to liquidity when tackling this hefty collection.  The Relitics ask us to 'Do Something' with a breezing nag snag that insists you move your recalcitrant arse from the absorbing comfort of the couch and be fuckin' animated.   The all-consuming gusts that billow against the framework are greatly received and for some reason, I really rate this somewhat simplistic song.  By contrast we get the 'fuck it all' accents of Rotten Foxes who blow it out of the fiery arses and lay claim that 'Smokes Let's Go'.  A frenzied and rash rip-up of rhythm that comes from greedy guzzling desires for all things toxic.  The band absolutely belt along and do so with much incandescent intensity that exposes heavy duty riff makers and souls in need of some therapeutic release.   The pent-up emotion is bang on the mark and leaves us with a nice aural bruising.  The Scumbrians come next, kick out a rust-bucket sing-a-long that is frayed around the edges, as dirty as fuck and liable to tickle the senses of those rather pickled.  The hometown feel of 'These Streets' has a sub-quaint edge and seems borne from the rank and file of those under-rehearsed - I like that but the song does get on my tits a bit after one or two plays - tis just the way it is!  'Turn Me On' is the last of the fucked four and is a throwback pop song that has a pre-punk feel straight from the backstreet pub where many honest and trying crews cut their teeth and made sure they stuck to their earthy principals (a rare commodity indeed).  I have a lot of time for this song, it adopts a tried and tested formula, doesn't try to be anything angular or outrageously original but sticks to some reliable rhythmic guns and fires with sure-fire confidence - nice indeed!

Into the final stretch, The Siknotes are 'Drunk And Disorderly', begin with a fart and a belch like many songs I have heard and then rattle along the riffing railway lines like a whizzed up steam-engine driven by musically erudite nobrots determined to stick to the route despite shake-shacking the entire carriages of sound and giving all the eavesdropping travellers a good old thrill.  The band may have a tongue-in-cheek leaning but they know their sonic stuff.  Next and sexed up bitchy rock played with accents strutted and screamed.  'Prostitution' by Tiger Sex is typical hormone-riddled posturing swinging without apology into the sweating lustful pit of all things metallic.  The roaring and riffing comes from an area I barely tread, it just ain't my thing but now and again I don't mind the odd

ifter.  The heavy pulsing, hefty humping methodology and obvious she-proud suggestions are perfectly delivered, I know a few aging limp-dicks who may just need this. 'Limits' by Traits is a darn tidy song, of modernised moods and as clean as the younger fuckers want it.  The clarity does not hinder the power and the sharp delivery and overall new-school vibrations do work mighty well.   Despite my yearning for things filthy, fucked and played with steaming awkwardness I delve here and there and listen to a great array of noise - in this instance I am glad I do.  Uberyou rise to the task of making sure the CD, at such a late stage, loses none of its impetus and affect and billows out the acoustically dense and dynamic upsurge of 'So Long'.   A song that blooms mighty bright and leaves no spacious respite and no vulgar flaw.   The song begins with sanguinity high, grows in stature with every passing movement and finishes with a quite consistent and gratifying release - the steady hands that sail the good discordant vessel are keeping things flowing the right way methinks.

And to the final 2 with UK's Lowest punching with flamboyance via the accomplished well-condensed vibrations of 'City Sound'.  The brisk application, the fresh and flourishing guitar work and the all action drums make the start a good one before a quick cool down is taken and we cut a dash through the well-worked meat of the music that has a sound liable to cross borders.  The strength of the racket continues until the last and then we go into the final blast with Wreck-Age pseudo-skank wanking, scuzz-buzzing and creating one weirdo warped wonder that has a quite identifiable lilt and a very nice underscore of bass work keeping all areas fluent and activated.  The sound of 'Two-Minutes' is a decent way to finish, there are angles to be explored, dirty noisy needles that inject a certain tuned toxin to be partaken of - I sign off happy.

So, all done, a glimpse into a thriving scene and only one message for all - keep it varied, always look below the obvious, and avoid the brain drain.

   

SNIDE REMARKS - LIFE IS HELL

There is no bullshit with Snide Remarks, they are what they are and play their brand of music in good old punk tradition.  They come from Teeside, twat out some good tuneage and have shared a stage with all the usual bands.  They have served a good apprenticeship, I am wondering if this is the time to step things up and move things on to the next level (wherever that is).  I am, for some unknown reason, expectant of a good earthy do here, I may be granted such offerings or I may get served up some real docile and pointless crap - either way, by the end of this review you will know the score.

'Simon Says; is as honest as the day is long, rolls with a good earthy effect and has a suggestion of some old snotty punkism that somehow, still turns me on.  The pace is middling, the angle slightly slanted, the arrangement solid enough.  The mix gets the best out of the band and displays each component well.  This isn't a testicle-twatting start, it isn't a genuine 'in the face' classic but for me, it is a firm foundation played in a way that captures an old-school vibe as well as many facets the scene was, and still is, built on.  'Don't Come Back' is the better song of the opening brace and shows sees the band come together and produce an easily digestible ditty that I have played many times and...enjoyed.  The vocal style is distinctive, the musical escort determined to keep things tidy, melodic and not overly fussy.  The opening bars subtly suggest something Pistolonian without the overlays, the initial verse is well within itself and the chorus cut is put forth with a liquid lilt that shows the band producing the goods with well-versed ease.  It is more than obvious that we are dealing with buggers here who have been in it for the long term and there will be no change anytime soon.

'Millionaires' is perhaps the best song on the CD, a real sharp-eyed piece that exposes a contradiction many of us are guilty of and why the world is perhaps topsy-fuckin'-turvy.  The reasons for this being a favoured track are manifold, I like sarcasm, sharp acidic wit and when it gets across a very pertinent point via a fuckin' fine tune then all the better.  The chorus is a certain cracker that the pogoing populace should lap up and agree with.  If it creates deeper thought then the song will be a 100% success - it certainly gets my vote and as usual, gets me re-examining my input, output and the overall idiot tilted balance.  'Social Animal' is a mean driven song, keeps the opening verse within the cage of care and struts along with stated vocals before poking the tuneful todge through the restraining bars and giving it a rather swift, uplifting waggle.  The musical member proffered doesn't penetrate any new orifices or rupture any eavesdropping rings but gives a fair sonic sensation while sporting a decent sense of rhythm and throwing in a few raw rock and roll touches to keep the necessary neurones alert.

'Punk Rock Mafia' is a song I find a trifle bland with no sincere snagging zeniths and no blatantly obvious hooks to get duly ensnared by.   The song is mid-paced, has a sniping sharpness that somehow gets lost and if only this effort would have bared more teeth and made its point with a certain vulgarity I think all would have been more favourable within my words.  Having shown my ill-favour with the general gist of the song I can't fault the application and the production levels - one must be fair tha' knows.  'Village Of The Damned' is a far more complete song with shifts and sensations executed with great aplomb and showing a band that are capable of more than what they offered during the previous expulsion.  An anthemic mockery opens, a groovy glammed guitar follows, a strutting verse is executed and a sweetly undulated chorus is nicely entered.   The smooth segues continue as a great sing-a-long inclusion comes calling upon a great hook and some raucous backing vocals and suddenly...we are done.  I think this one is another pinnacle in the package - onwards.

'Dead Pop Stars' is a cold matter of fact lesson that chugs along and gets things done with very little concern.   The approach is to keep it honest, simplistic and against the abysmal shit we are fed via the radio, a radio that is best left switched off or tuned to Radio 4 for me.  In truth, over the years, the music industry has proven itself to be one big ball of corrupting filth and what is deem a hit or a shit counts for sweet fuck all.  Pull the plug, get off yer arse and go find some gutter tunes - I remain 60/40 here!  'I Don't Care' is right up the bands street, a snotty shit out and full of old style fruity 'fuck it' attitude straight from the early days to the present time via Boys who are far from Dead!  It is a cover as you may well have guessed, done with very little variation on the theme but definitely one for the nostalgia nuts - I am happy to leave this assessment there.

'Mine Tonight' takes us into the run in, it is a slow starting song that gradually spirals upward with a sub-crescendo appeal akin to a firework lighting up the sky of silence and producing a myriad of tuned explosions.  The lyrical content is verbal spillage from a wannabe charmer who uses his limited persuasive techniques in the hope of winning the affections of a lady.  It is an almost comical jaunt, filled with undying love-tinted self-belief and done by a bloke who can't believe his luck - I think it is the overall innocence that wins my favour - the ruddy cracked sods.  'God Has Got Your Number' is a cute tickle, a serious little thought provoker that gets one pondering the possibilities of being watched all the time and having ones every move assessed.  We are all sussed, you better watch out you wayward rapscallions.  The song here is given strength via the loutish back hollers, the well-brandished strings and the slapped and sorted skins - it makes for a ditty that I can't help singing along to.

'Punks Unite' is a very honest holler, thoroughly well-meant and a tidy reminder to all in these very fractured times.  The tub thump that initially calls is straight from the terrace, full of boisterous and demanding spirit and of a very, very pertinent slant.   In this age of division we need to hitch up our trousers, focus our rage and put the wind up the ruling authorities rather than killing time partying and keeping things 'mild'.  A straight forward clobber clout, there is sometimes every need for such an outburst.  'Life Is Hell' chases, stays within the parameters of the bands style and rips up the substrate with a sub-unruly fiasco that is tidied up, given good riffage and splattered forth with unending gusto.  'Oi's are thrown in to add beef, the twists and turns and general energy do the business and the frontman gobs off with the usual recognisable fervid tones.  Not a bad un' this but outshone by the finalising full stop known as 'Apologies'.  Here the band come into their own and find an emotive texturisation on which they glide to ideal success.   The tale is touching, simply but perfectly put.  The jealously culminates in a tragedy, the 'sorry' is way too late, the pang in the heart is all too tangible.   The pill taken is bittersweet, from something so wonderful something quite horrific is had, the band create a situation that really touches a nerve - tis  a grand way to end a fair and up-front CD.

Snide Remarks have done well here with a tidily packaged product that has many gratifying moments to consider further.  The band roll their rhythmic dice, have a distinct sound and once again, have further depths to call upon that will thus put this effort into the shadows.  A couple of songs really do give hint of great strides about to be taken, I hope they take pride in this piece of work and don't rest on their laurels - as per, Fungalpunk is pushing with passion!

   
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