FUNGALPUNK - CD REVIEWS Page 79
ANTIPOP - COMPILATION 2013
Antipop is a record store and if one takes time to cruise their website one can see that they deal in quality by the absolute bucketload. Many familiar bands are on their roster and some fine albums have already been reviewed by this key tapping twat. I am sure there is some dross within the mix but I have yet to find it and so this showcase collection was duly scrutinised and given many good spins to try and separate the wheat from the chaff and also to help appreciate what the label is actually doing. Oodles of tracks on offer, many familiar, some excitingly new, here is a rundown of the Antipop current Top 20. Hi there shit kickers!
The acoustic presence that is Billy Liar opens with a fine construction filled with professionalism and angular aspects. ICH's Ed Ache chips in to the end product and 'Change' is a cute attack on the indolent hearted bands out there who go through the motions with an eye on self gain, kudos and nothing more. Despite the content the style is gently put forth and that contrasting effect is noted and contributes to the end quality. Nicely shuffled, vocally sweet (almost desperate in parts) - many needy noise merchants should be able to relate to this. As a stark switch in mode the marvellous mania of Wonk Unit spills out next with the haphazard order (purist oxymoron) of 'Spooky' shakes its ass in many impossible directions but still comes out as an utter gem. Shuffling in, melting in mayhem, deliciously maintaining an absorbing edge and evasive melody one is enchanted by but just can't catch hold of - a masterpiece of the idiot - wondrous! Biteback bring us back to Planet Sanity with the anthemic tribute to dear lost friends known as 'To Those I Remember', a marvellous song that embraces a sincere and heartfelt approach and combines a captivating hook and believable essence that rises high into the cacophonic clouds and creates a sheer sing-a-long tribute to many a lost warrior. The opening 3 pearlers is complete and being familiar with all contributors I had no doubts whatsoever.
Vamos next (oooh a new one - I be intrigued) and 'Fives And Twos And Ones' is a really spirited number bursting with feel good energy and bounce and bash vigour. The application is primarily loaded with highly fidgeted infection and gets right in yer face with big strums, heavy drum slaps and that pinging vibration one can't resist. Loaded with an old school style but brought up to date with a suitable production that gets the best out of a fine band that have my curiosity roused - job done. Old Radio next and perhaps the most accomplished and sanguine intro of the whole CD with 'Fall Like Rome' making a big initial impression before metamorphing into an unexpected rough-house, arse angry skank verse that nails the opposing effect sought and adds the more earthy aspect required. The all out thrust of the chorus is a beauty, carrying us to different highs, we skank on, billow in repeat style, increase the rage - this is a pip.
Pete Bentham And The Dinner Ladies dish up a garage instrumental with a delightful 60's surfy TV themed tonic that really lifts the spirits. Gushed and pushed with utter relish this is a beauty that you can shuffle around to and bop till ya flop (non sexualised of course). There is a rich vein of insight to what makes a good vibe here and this lot have me delighted. I have been at a gig twice where these have played and been fuckin' plastered both times - my loss! Sheepy offer a repeat beat with another lo-fi'ish example of good rhythm making. 'You Have To Pay' is cheap and cheerful in overall output but tickles senses many more so-called advanced composites really don't do - yeah I am jigging here. There is an open, honest and a quite lucid suggestion without too much fannying - it always gets my vote. Bolshy skip to the fore next with a deliciously effective sub skank reggaefied injection boost of encouragement via 'Every Little Helps'. Quickly entering with much enthusiasm the ditty takes pure hold when the vocals bubble up from lively waters that create much hope, much pleasure. The life within the weave is embraced and the friendly and exact sounds issuing forth are surely gonna win bucketloads of favour - in fact it is 100% guaranteed - a lovely little inclusion coupling the old, the new and making something quite true. The Vermin Suicides are a curious band that seem to slot between many obvious genres and sub-genres without actually finding an appropriate filing place. A few pulsations, an abrasive guitar escort, a mid tempo flurry and then yet again something akin to ska. The vocals are odd and drink from the well of post-punkage (only just), the chorus is a stuttered opposite that scrapes by (only just), the end result is of a song that still has me scratching my noggin as to where it fits (but it ain't a bad effort after all). I reckon I best investigate these a little further.
The Stopouts exude an essential classiness one needs to play good ska the result which brings most erudite and excellent tuneage from toned players who know what they want to spit forth. 'Bank Robbers' is taken from an exemplary album and this one nails it big time from the open bold and sanguine commencement through the snaking whizzed up segments to the shuffling cocky skank down to the neat finale. A very accomplished sound for a band who are shockingly neglected and overlooked - boy this fuckin' scene has many questions to be answered. The Probes next and a really bargain basement effect that is a 'live' demo loaded with atmosphere and suggestive malevolence. 'Hybrid' is seemingly just such a thing combining several generic modes and puking up as a sub-post punk joint of pseudo-experimentation. Judgement is hindered by being surrounded by so many better produced tracks so several lonesome spins are advised. A tricky one nonetheless with a creeping method, a haunted hint and a far from smooth running style. I can grasp the intent but would be foolish to either condemn or praise the band on this single effort. 2 Sick Monkeys blast up next with 'Sayonara', a fuckin' delicious explosion show-piecing this duo at their dynamite best. As ever brimming with energy, sonic spunk and life loving enthusiasm with a song chucked to the fore on bubbled bass and discordant yet well timed drum work. Love the band, love the incessant spice and spiral upwards - faultless. Acid Drop have many followers, always come across on the web waves with positivity, are built on a cultured and considered punkiness that is just tinged with Americanisation but undoubtedly retain their own personal application. This is a swift moving number awash with 'happening' drum work, metallic wired bass, nicely abrasive guitars and growing grabbing gobbage that is rough and yet coherent. 'Halcyon Days' knocks down many skittles of reward and if the Acid Drop just continue bowling out their tunes in this manner surely undoubted success will come. I see many rolling in greener pastures who are not worthy to lick the sonic rings of these dudes - balance and justice is what I holler for.
Saul Goodman vomits up 'Queen Bee Pt 2', a song that starts with a spaghetti western rumble and is soon contorted into a open wound that bleeds oddity and slightly quirky threat. A very strange amble down an acoustic lane of lunacy that leaves me wondering what the fuck this prune is on about - quite interesting. Pauses, ad-libbed spouting, dark strums - I need to investigate further. Flat Back Four have been high on the quality for years and this effort does nothing to alter that level. 'Reach For The Sky' encourages, rides on new school technicalities and hybridised genres. The band have advanced over the time that they have been around and are now a fully functioning machine that produce good set after good set. Some of their recorded offerings fly past my radar without a blink of the eye - some catch hold and have me nodding in appreciation - this is such an articulate moment. Liberation knock out a loverly dubbly track entitled 'Can't See You Coming', a beautifully skanked snip of sub-reggae, textured and shuffled along with the expected bass, some haunted whoa hoa's and plenty of convincing insight into how to capture a certain generic sound. The song has a good 'oomph' factor too which is an added bonus - dig it and mellow mister.
Carl Moorcroft is 'On The Road' next and another six-strung saunter comes, this time with a usual aspect with the strings kept crisp and slightly grated whilst the songster ploughs out wordage from the heart. It is well played and of a certain ilk - nowt new under the sun but that doesn't make it a dried up dud. Nomeansno are arguably the biggest name on this CD and perhaps they cough up the most difficult song to enjoy. An awkward factory-fried grind heaped high with grungy grime and obstructive mechanical vibes. Similar to Killing Joke being thrown into the set of Fritz Langs. masterpiece and told to defy the silence and make apt discordance. Acoustic interference is plentiful, the infusion of many angular cogs creates an engrossing end product for the sheer perverse. 'Ghost Of Time' can be classed as a stray runt, a misplaced afterbirth, an out of sync piston but...it is indeed necessary and may just be better than I think. 'Elmo And The Styx' throw up a sinister request and desire 'Milk'. The sexualised innuendo, the full on thrust and overall need is most attractive but the general power and modernised mule between metal, punk, new school and much more gives this an edge - plus the front dude can't half holler. Fat Phace close and hit ya with the neat and stylised power thrust entitled 'Night Wire'. Again, even at the last, the CD throws in new sub-generic modes of melody and even though this isn't my chosen pit of racket I can easily deem this the product of a choice band with huge capabilities and articulate assets. Hard riffs are flamboyantly put and the odd extra tweak and twang is thrown in for good measure. The construct is not routine and leans to the new school again but hey - they do it so well.
So one of the best compilations to hit my lugs in a long while due to the high standard, abundance of outstanding material and the assortment of tracks that keep one wondering what will spill forth next. The label has some nouse as regards noise and if they hang on in there, keep enthusing all concerned I reckon (hope) that good rewards will come their way (mainly in the form of respect). Go get one of these - you'll be hard pushed to find any serious complaints.
CAPTAIN ACCIDENT - SLIPPIN' UP
A Cardiff crooner who cultivates his cacophonic creations in his own bedroom studio that undoubtedly gives a true DIY angle to all offerings - now you have me captured. This guy goes on tour with his backing band 'The Disasters' and has clocked up some great support slots with many big names (whom I won't mention because I am more concerned with the artiste in question). There is good talk and overheated hype regarding this the Captains second album and so with ears tuned in, digits ready to bounce and the usual ethos at the fore I am raring to go and get my maulers over this 10 track acoustic arrangement.
Parted curtains of silence are had and 'Captivity' is at centre stage, sparkling inwards on a new day of ditty making, kept fresh and lively with initial notes that are perfectly plucked and positioned. The upstrokes add extra fizz and the accomplished vocals confirm the impressive start. The ascension to the sub-chorus is subtle, the strength of the rise in mouth work equally so. Guitar strings get manipulated with more brightened effect and we go into the second lap with balanced quality. All masterful stuff with the finale nothing too outrageous but doing the job required - the melodic morning is a joy, the day ahead looks filled with sunny prospects. 'It's Typical' ponders on a seasoned bed of tranquillity, a Caribbean breakfast is served up with all ingredients gently embracing one another and not offending its immediate counterpart. Keys, strings, drums and the floating desperation of the voice all intermingle to give easily identifiable individual flavours but one great end taste. It isn't a get up and go, bish, bash, bosh gathering of harsh victuals but an assuring serving of plentiful nourishment that can keep you going for a fair while. The production is clearly exact and of a tip top cleanliness that undoubtedly gives this dish a cordon bleu certificate of excellence.
'Save Your Time' gets up from the table and tunes itself up for the tasks ahead. This one waltzes with lyrical caution and yet has a sanguine swing in the old body vibe. Utterly soaked in solar rays and persuasively positive rhythms despite sobered gobbage this one has many facets and is a creamy drift without fluster and yet punches its own weight - a crafty stance. 'One In A Million' closes the door on the opening hat -trick of excellence and skips down the street with headphones on and the delicacies filtering through, caressing the eardrums and heightening the sparkle of the sonic rays. Again we have an avalanche of hope and upbeat toneage that comes forth with sincerity and switch off casualness. The bass comes more to the fore and shows it muscularity and how much it actual contributes to the strength of each track (kick up the arse if you missed this earlier - ouch). From these 4 wired foundations the rest comes as a matter of course with each and every contributor allowed to relax a little and do their own thing in accordance with the rhythm set. The end result is of another track in keeping with what has already transpired and yet more massaging melody that ticks many reggaefied boxes.
3 quick assessments now with 'Stompin' Thru Twilight' a premature jaunt loaded with atmosphere and wondrous Marley-esque liquidity. Eyes seem set to look forward whilst capturing a retro essence and what comes to the fore is a very accomplished artiste that can ensnare a lilt, infuse with individual quality and duly mould to a set style. Perhaps the pick of the crop - certainly a gem. 'Business' is a bag of beans that pings about here and there, none of which is overloaded with pace - we are set to drift at mid-tempo with little bursts of frothing enthusiasm. Shuffly non scuffly with a hungry, eager beaver slant that swings around your favour and gets you digging on down and having some of this groove. Very typical of its genre with much life and observation - the song is heightened during the chorus when strings flutter and give that bonus zest - yeah. 'Only When You Dance With Me' is a soothing siesta, a laid back moment to consider, a cut that now has all the usual touches this craftsman is pouring into this CD collection. Nice and easy although the chorus does little for my melodic stance but that is purely a personal thing. The song is played well, delivered on serene tones, as chilled as the rest and fits in sweetly - just coz this Fungalised bugger doesn't take to it is not the point - there are an abundance of flavoursome points to enjoy.
'Heads Up' is insipid compared to many counterparts and only beyond the midway point do we find more magnetic flavours. Again all the content is precisely placed and ultra hygienic with yet more comfortable vocals but I find this one a bit too...well just a bit too stale. Again just a personal preference and this is a very decent song that leaves me cold - like I say - it happens and I won't lie when it does. 'Summer Day With You' says so much on the tin and within the first few bars captures the entire sensation. Calypsotic, relaxed, loved up, sugared with sparkled guitar, absolutely switched off due to the good time emotion that dominates the whole construction. I shouldn't like this but who am I to shoot down a corned croon for a cherished one - go on and have a kiss and a cuddle ya soppy twats. 'Eyes And Thoughts' slides to the lead spot, has a slightly withdrawn verse that eases up and melts into a chorus, thus continuing a snaky flow. The energy levels are held in check and I feel this combined with the lengthy running time don't do enough to punctuate a good CD. The midway toss about deflects slightly and the drift is interrupted too late in the day. Most times we just need a swift humdinger to rubber stamp quality instead of something similar to preceding outpourings. A faux pas? I think so!
Hey this is yet more acoustic artistry thrown your way and I am just wondering, after listening to this, if we have one of the best sub genres in the entire world - worth considering don't ya think? This style of noise will always have its place with many pools and when played so professionally, so carefully and so sincerely one can't envision where the player can go wrong. Of course you can readily overdose on this stuff and limitations can arise (as well as some songs that just don’t click with the lug) but the Captain here is in control of his own sonic ship so positive vibes are duly sent. The commercialised cunts will like this, hows about the more ardent outsiders - I am still in preference for muckier music but am certainly not kickin' this bunch of ten. Your thoughts please!
POTENTIAL VICTIMS - UNTITLED EP
A good to honest reliable band who play their punk without bullshit and stick to their routine with dedication and encouraging application. Bread and butter punkage with subtle frills that don't cause any reason for the offerings to be regarded as unnecessary constructions trying to be something they ain't - well that's how I read this lot anyway. Hailing from the haven of Rochdale (I take the piss most deeply) and with many years of twiddling under their rusted studded belts the band must now up the ante and reinforce their presence and obvious potential - no longer the victims, how about becoming the victors (in an awkward and angular way of course).
Sonic spillage comes from the rectum of rhythm in the form of the tuned turd known as 'Mid Life Crisis'. A good stomping tempo, plenty of groove and grind, a dark and serious tone of gob that kicks back against the doubters. The verses are inter-cut with some relieved choral moments that contrast and make this a good opening gambit. There is a lack of variety throughout the 4 minute plus running time but the PV pirates get away with it via assisting quality levels from the mixing room, some decent tweaks here and there and the sincerity of the band. I would be a bastard to kick this opening bugger in the nuts of noise, so I move on.
'Television (Chewing Gum For The Brain)' flushes shit and sense down the drain as a warning for the goggle eyed idiots is farted forth and the chain is pulled. Whispered repeats of the song title, a paced up groove follows with strings twinged, skins twatted, bass tamed. Verse statements are kept in check before the chorus comes in simple fashion with a solid end upchuck. Despite the chorus being quite basic the band get a good sense of life from within and make it a real catchy moment that certainly has me singing along. Textures are added as we progress, the band are in no rush to close this one out but are wise enough not to outstay their welcome. A 'live' fave of mine and now a fave on the old silver circle. 'Torment' ponders matters at first before getting on with a statement/shout it alternation that ends with a screw of the strings and a ram and roll of the skins. Onwards, impetus carries all, repeat twice and slam out the finale - simple and a good speed rush is sorted and dropped nicely in.
'Actin' Dumb' is an old weapon of war that leaves many craters in the ass of the eaves-dropper. No matter how appealing the song was this new, spruced up and shaken down offering is a vast improvement and outlines the fact that the band are working hard to capture their full capabilities. Shuffling in with strings and drums working together the main drift is offered and the clarity of the gob thrives. Verse over and a fine unified holler of 'Don't do it' gets neatly followed by the chant of 'Look what you've become' before the lead lout spits out the title - repeat. Each component rewards its immediate neighbour and the contrast works splendidly - nothing too shocking but a good steady bout of gentle opposition. A guitar solo comes, fades and the bass and drums are isolated whilst whispered words offer a choice change of styles - pause - back to the main thrust - a quite accomplished track of earthy punkage with extra studio room attention. Good work dudes! 'Even The Score' has a frosted and murky start but turns out to be the most liquid track of the lot. It still retains the upper surface scuzz but suggests a more hip-swinging smoothness and levelled out conviction. The vocals are still ideally roasted, the backing gobs do just enough and compliment precisely - the mix is way ahead of what this lot have done in the past - fine stuff. The bass is lively as per, the drums add power, strings chug and indulge in exhibitionism when required - one of the best songs the band have released and surely full stopping this CD with class and opening huge doorways of potential for the future (nudge, nudge, wink, wank) - I shall say no more...
only to add...
this lot are on form, they have a new hunger, it proves the old dogs can still do it if they have the desire - all you have to do is keep em' chewing on the bone of discordance, I know I will.
MAXIMUM RNR - ROUGH SIDE OF THE DIAL
The CD says 11 tracks, chuck it in the player and 35 tracks pop up, in fact there are only 7 - confused - not as half as confused as I was when confronted with the review. These devilish bastards from Canada play by their own rules and fuck everything around them as a consequence (literally in some instances - the dirty buggers). Anyway, no matter what, these twats from Toronto play it with balls out and combine rock and roll basics with punk rock ethics, inject inwards some big riffage and extra pace and then thrash forth in the twinkling of a bloodshot eye. Here is a review and my explanation as to what happens when a bunch of wayward toon wankers get together to make some noise.
'Clacked...Almost In' is 14 seconds of wallop and wank riffage, nothing less and preparing the way for the carnage to come. 'Ire Of The Ram - The Prequel/Trainwreck' ponders around with notes ground to dust and atmospheric restraint the order of the day. I suspect an upheaval is due and am duly met with a Tommy Gun attack of tympanic terror before strings are tortured to screaming point and the vocal maniac yells in with a roared metalised accent that screws out extra hardcore inflection and adrenalin based madness. The rush, the rabid desire, the sub-cock and roll courtship these dastardly din makers force us to participate in is all passionate stuff and highlights minstrels tattooed with a desire to make a fuckin' racket. I would expect nothing less.
So a good start and 'Attack Panther' immediately elevates the standard with a fast blast of hip swinging hunger that tears out the arsehole of the indolent and makes those desperate danglers boom with big unapologetic riffs. They slam, splatter, stagger and sugar surge with something similar to the offspring of Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis that has been pumped up with punk know how, amphetamines and lunatic energy - you'll get sucked in baby! 'Missing Leeds/Brickwall' come as bastard brothers with the former a beltin' intro that is a brief bag of grenades exploding with consistency and the latter a stunning flashlight experience that singes the anal air of those getting way too close. The routine is busy, supported by crazed sticks that are a joy to see in the 'live' pit (one of the best out there this guy), a frighteningly over wobbled set of bass strings and the usual careening and clatter twatter guitar. The gobbage is untamed, as wild as yer like but kept on a flimsy leash and therefore gratifyingly held just in check. The band have a certain slant and they slide down it so well - drop yer pants, jiggle yer joint man!
'Norte Russo/Hangin Judge' power punches with blurred intent before increasing the pace and angles of the breathless attack - wow! The hectic avalanche leaves us reeling, we stagger dazed but the next assault comes - mother fuckin' jive ass sanguinity keeps us on the back foot, the rat-a tat jab comes between verses loaded with grooved rock at its relaxed best - fired up to fuck but without any strain - totally natural and one of the best beatings you will receive from this pleasingly inconvenient collection. Or is it? 'Comin' In Hot' is a speed need that is ultimately relieving - straight at yer, jacking off the senses with focused alertness and tight musicianship - the only respite is the H/C throat wrench in the bang centre of the song. No sooner has this segment finished than we are dragged to the finish line in a haze of controlled chaos - yeah.
' Clocked In/Business As Usual' is the seventh track and to add to the confusion begins with the intro as found on track one. Pummelling stuff and eventually (after 54 seconds) calming down to consider where to go next and finalise this bastard CD. Striding on raw feet is a malevolent monster of noise that is the darkest number of the lot with something evil just below the main epidermal layer. The source is a viral infection - the band get dosed up but are already taken by the disease and erupt in a mish mash of ordered disorder (tri or bi oxymoron befuddlement achieved - as if we weren't already addled enough). The only injection needed to save the day is one of speed and utter abandonment - the band do just that and then swagger to the closure with yet more massive chordage - what a bunch of bellowing pigs!
Repeat! Repeat! Repeat! Repeat! Repeat! Repeat! Recover! No chance!
MRNR look to create blisters on the eardrums, seek to find weak spots in which to force an expulsion of boiling blood - all via their raucous music. Believe me when I tell you that they are not too far off the mark and deliver a free flying spillage to cause real pleasurable pain. 'Live' they are darn exciting executioners and in this instance the same can be said of the recorded shit - get the bandages out!
THE TERRACES - EXTRA TIME EP
A very British sound from what is primarily an Australian band - how odd? Led by ex-One Way System hollerer (which is of no significance and I duly give myself a slapped wrist for mentioning it) this band have a very distinct classiness to their spillage and have obviously taken care in creating their sound and general sub-scene vibe. The much raped and pillaged name of punk gets pulled in many directions and here we have another upchuck being labelled as such - this time without the DIY ethos, the undercooked approach, the guttered, hardly buttered breadline offerings that I find myself feeding on quite regularly. Again I feel it apt to reinforce that you can fuck all scenes and anything played with pride, passion, belief, conviction and spirit will do for me - not half arsed commercialised dog shit! Think on and let us plunge into the mire of this 6 track effort.
'Britannia' sets the ball rolling, comes in with a Braggish working class busker-do before stylish waltzing further with a rags to riches rhythm that embraces your whole cacophonic soul and utterly persuades with hefty open-hearted chords, soul searched gobbage, working class aroma. A sickened spirit sails away, a stark disgruntlement is delivered, the players at the rear provide the perfect waves and this mid-paced voyage is meeting all set requirements (of the band and the listener). The vessel on which we float is no cockroach infested junk but a glamorous yacht that lays claim to not forgetting its roots - I am drawn here, I have me fingers crossed all is ringing true. A concrete start! 'Who You Looking At' brandishes the cock of confidence a little more and is a pugnacious affair that bops along on spring loaded heels very much looking to stamp on your doubts. A very 'Sparrer' dosed ditty that will have followers of the bar room sing-a-long joining in and raising many a glass and many a smile. One to swill and stomp too with a cracking twang I personally am enthralled by no matter how basic it seems when stripped totally down. Again all components are thoroughly convincing - I seek a fault, I am up against it - bah! 'Billy' slaps with care and attention, twists up taut strings and sub-whispers a swift verse before taking numerous shifts that all combine to lead to a simple chorus that completes an opening gambit to drool over. This is highly accomplished acoustica with a documentary reality, a nostalgic tint of real life, a barrer boy inflection that undoubtedly adds character. The musical components are comforting and are lacking in anything too harsh which will undoubtedly widen the appeal factor. The fact that all can play, the singer can actually sing and the band are working as a very tight and efficient unit makes this an exhilarating number for many satisfying reasons. Crackin' track!
'Complete Control' is, of course, a darn Clash cover and despite my 'take it or leave it' approach to the band of yore I am quite convinced by this lively imitation. The initial twinges give way to a pulsation that leads to the recognisable first verse followed by the unified and demanding 'Whoa hoa's'. Plenty of snorted slants are within the stream of wordage, guitars are choice and played with precision, the rise in stature of the song is upon you without you even realising it. Sometimes a good cover can wake up a nostalgia nut, can confirm the bands overall talent to those not willing to make the effort to scratch too deeply, can capture immediate attention without much fuss - such is the case here I feel. It is a sterling homage with a flourish to the closure utterly believable and ably rousing the rebellious rabble - good work ye talented bastards.
Back on the reviewing waters and 'Care About Nothing' pulses with passion as a relationship turns sour and embitters a heart that has put itself on the line. There is a real rage beneath the surface of the vocals which seethe with style and ride along on the bobbing acoustic waves created by the pirates at the back. An inner solo isn't as neat as could be but the rest of the song rocks and rolls on the crest of an ear-catching acoustic ocean. 'The Hustler' slaps tympanic arse and then cruises via a regular riff and ready verse that once more has an extra captivating quality that heightens the sonic senses. The gobbage is slightly shadowy, the guitar comfortable, the bass vitally strong, the drums hit with ardent accuracy - the end result is a mini snip of something different that works well and shows the capabilities of the obviously talented team at hand.
A taster, a 6 track treat, a small collection showcasing a band that like to keep it clean, urbanised and with many touches of Oi. The construction throughout is loaded with influences we should all pick up on but the band have an identity in a scene where not that many are doing this mode of sub-generic spillage - it could carry them a long way. Who knows - it be a funny old game but...at least get this in the meantime and give em' a helping hand along the way - if ya like ya skinbo stuff with a bit 'o' class you won't be let down.
MAYORS OF MIYAZAKI - HOLY COP
2005 was the year that gave birth to these alleged math punkers and after all these years it is my job to calculate the quality of the rhythmic constructs. Hailing from London the band lay claim to DIY ethics (my interest grows) and throw forth intricate offerings that twist, twang and twat in many directions (I become all wary). After several spins my headed was confused, there was a lot to take in, was I falling victim to an overdose of new school flamboyance (oh diddly fuck)? Perhaps not - a sub sensation had me gripped and something within the melee was telling me to listen in, don't despair, this is pretty good shit (darn those sub-conscious whispers). Of course I paid heed, the result...oh the result...wouldn't you just like to know? Well, read on and find out ya lazy git, be over in a jiffy and maybe you shall be provoked to buy this or completely avoid it - that is all I can do.
The first of the many crippled and crumpled cadences is entitled 'Souvenir' an initially chopping number of metallic quality before becoming a heavier riff laden creature that is yelled in and really gets all tangents puked up. Many rotations are needed to fully appreciate the hectic order that is gushing forth with strings laying on ‘think’ layers and then adorning with handfuls of sprinkles whilst he and she bash out the gobbage back and forth. An unsettled number with components flying in unison whilst being allowed a certain level of something akin to ad-libbing. An essential factor needed for this whirling shit is a good production value - the band get that and so this and the chasing 'Start After One' get the CD off to an intriguing and successful start. The latter track combines more honest riffage between tweaked and slightly tortured snips that are once more battered with opposing bitch and boy singing styles. Moments of all out attack raise the bar of excitement (and uncertainty) with the band definitely pushing themselves hard and, even if not fully meeting the needs of this noise lover, they sure do keep one attentive. 2 solid and technically flamboyant tracks - I know an abundance of young lugs who would love this!
'Sugar In The Fuel Tank' has a desperation and sincere oddness in the opening few lines before becoming involved in a brief burst of soaring, high flying notes that awaken the listener. The discordance soon becomes prolapsed and takes a lot of concentration to retain the escaping deluge of angular chords and confused notes. I try and within I find is much fine intricacy, much pleasing direction - in fact when the band nail the way in which they are going and go straight for it on a path of focus they achieve greater results (well on this old buggers scorecard they do anyway). 'Tongues' is perhaps the most unflustered offering and goes from A to B across the sonic circle on a dissecting line that hardly wavers off course at all (in comparison to the rest of the rhythmic residue). Power levels are healthy and respectable, textures are alive and profitable to the track, the busy approach is fine and not overly done, the impact made...well surprisingly not as effective which makes me ask the question as to whether or not this discordance is slipping through my fingers. The whole gathering of melodies are Mephistophilan deceptions it feels and I am a mere Faustian victim utterly conned via my aural receptors - I bite the bit harder, I deny these bewildering passages of techno trickery.
Already at track 5 and 'Parts Per Million' spirals downwards like an agitated spider eager to be thrown into a maelstrom of bewildering racketology. The opening gambit is unsettled and seems to be indecisive but stick with it folks, the band pluck out a power surge - the result is supreme success - so why slip back into the restless mode? Perhaps the fidgeted areas are the causal agent for the resultant explosion but the wait is too lengthy but oh so relieving when it comes - albeit too briefly. Again the construction is the critical point and the question does arise as to how many will have the patience to hang in, analyse and pluck out the beauty? This one is loaded with much pleasure, discomfort, much brilliance - a glow in the dark spiked butt plug is the only comparison I can make. 'Human Resources' is a choice clatter festival that slaps many polished nails into a serene and levelled out sheet of satin silence. The puncturing takes place to the massively effective din the band create and the muscular riffs, relentless pounds of their acoustic hammer and the overall frighteningly uncompromising insistence that this one will hurt is admirable. The initial sheet of silence is ruined, the quietitude we may run for after this deluge of unsettling musical accuracy will be hard to find - indulge yourself in this 1 minute 22 second eruption.
'Get A Hobby' red alerts the rail track before eventually (after much dismantling) finds itself settled and bordering on something akin to regularity - we needn't worry - awkward aspects are soon thrown forth although to a lesser degree than what has already passed by. Some tempered verses, high fused chugs, more unified gobbage, continuous drums and bass adhering all components together and...a song once more that has many layers to peel away and consider. 'Dry Palm' has a relaxed feel with positive energy dripping forth from a hope built on plans for the future. The he/she tonsils clash, collide, harmonise and stand alone in a dainty little offering that exposes many fine parts of this rhythmically spasmodic crew. Twinkles assist in elevating the gob work to higher strata levels and the general sub-calypsotic style of delivery is a sweet change of routine and keeps many options open. 'Muy Sexo' is taut, ready to riff it up...which is duly does in a grand way. More power chords, drum slaps, excitable and hungry mouth work, greedy note chomping, hard compression tactics and...tight as fuck musicianship. What can I add? 'Mortise And Tenon' trickles, dawdles and as it turns out hangs around for too long. This seems one of those that is a track too far and I really desired a short, sharp knockout blow to punctuate the finale of what has been a decent dish of hectic deliveries. It is, as you would expect, played with choice articulation but this is my squashed fish in a frying pan on prize finned fuckers.
I won't say this CD has been easy to review, I won't deceive you and say it has been within my comfort zone (which I hate having but we are all cursed) but I will say that this is highly technical stuff with a superfluity of quality moments that are found within a whole hotch potch of adrenalin soaked samplings from an obvious cupboard full of influences and feisty facets. The verdict is of a very talented crew who will not sit within one sub-generic flow and take an easy ride. No - these players are purely moth minded - drawn to many lights, unable to really settle and forever flapping their sonic wings. I suggest you check them out and mull over the content several times before making a hasty judgement - there is much to take in and many triumphs to discover.
THE BRAINS - THE MONSTER WITHIN
Canadian based and plunged into that sub-scene of obscene horror making mayhem that dabbles with psychobilly, retro rock 'n' roll and something more - ye know the score. Once a 4-piece now down to a trio and with a few years under the belt one would be far from vulgar if expecting a pretty good offering here. I like to dabble with this kind of stuff now and again, I love the old 50's horror slant, I like the effort these bands put in to presenting their wares and so...in I go with head all clear, confidence high of a decent discordance and hoping the band play locally so I can check em' out in the flesh (but fuck it if they are on a festival - a consistent gutter cunt I be).
'The Monster Within' immediately rattles the bones of the initial skeletonised phantom with attractive controlled vigour. Twisting guitar, quick thumps of the tubs, a scuttling first verse that leads into a liberated outbreak of a highly professional chorus and 'baboom' the first number magnetises the attention and leaves one with a veritable thirst for more. Many bands who try this mode of voodoo tuneage lean too much to the dark side and more often than not create a cacophony that is too hollowed out and, may it be said, too chilled. The Brains take the recipe, throw in their own life giving artistry and make this some of the most appealing sub generic terrors to touch my taste buds. It has a very black and white grain throughout, a tattoo of yesteryear snaking across the upper surface but...this is very modern day spillage. Great start! 'Give It All' has a machine-like commencement before the vocalists escorts all players into darker recesses where the acoustic curtains are convincingly billowed, the gentle atmospherics created are in keeping with the chosen theme and the general liquid smooth delivery is advanced enough to keep ones interest provoked. There is nothing too flamboyant about this effort it is just a sure-fire bout of stabilising sonica that you really can't pick fault with. It does little but does so much and is built on tympanic rumbles that keep all skins subtly blooded.
'Misery' is a ghost train wreck that hits the rails and causes immediate concern with its careening start. The acoustic engineers at the helm sort things and the tracks are soon stuck to like glue as this trundling engine makes good headway and produces much believable steam. The guitar and hot wired bass work in a delightful chomping unison with the drums adding to the 'bounce' factor. The gob is sub-ghoulish and contains a clarity that will attract those wanting a sing-a-long moment. Whilst grooving down the guitar twinges now and again, a mid-way twist and shuffle is neat and the final cruise out adequately ascending - a band on a plateau where good song after good song seems to be coming naturally. One tap, a rousing scuffle, a minimalistic section with aforementioned tones set - whoa's hoa's come through the chorus and add a slightly haunted edge - 'The Damned' maintains the consistency and mode of melody and doesn't bring anything new to the worm riddled table of creaking pleasure but is still a nice poke around in yet another rhythmic room of fear. The skiffling underscore, the free flown upper layers, the tidy gusto of the end concoction make this an electrified monster happy to get up and buzz with the vibromatic essence.
'Bleed' is a charming cruise until one gets a little too involved. The dictating double bass is in fact a trembled main vein that gushes a rhythmic liquid loaded with unsettling intent of the most murderous kind. The enchantment of the melody may suggest innocence but that malevolent streak is hard to contain and via the words and insidious inflection the band reveal their true colours. A cute touch and capturing opposing shades then combining into a mid-paced delight with utter ease. The midway break is a prime cut of apt acoustica and again we have a song that somehow hints at minimalism but is detailed throughout - quite clever if you ask me! 'Stay Back' is a Jimmy Dean machine grind that has the rebellious star brought back to life and sending out a pertinent warning to all the hypnotised skirt that this dude ain't for getting involved with. A real chunk of manliness this with a chugging routine and a cool cat refusal to play by the rules - a tattooed mother fucker if ever I heard one.
'Electrick Shock' is, at first, a ramshackle jerk fest filled with fidgety nerves. The song levels out between these jitterbug bursts and pops about with vitality whilst the mouth at the fore remains sobered, sweetly undulated and grasping of that advanced slant. Look, I am refusing to over analyse - this is music of a high quality that is easily pocketed and appreciated - dip in yer digits and try some. 'Rest In Hell' is a detached offering that keeps the flavour to savour, details with the terrorising theme, applies that wonderful sub-scene musicianship and yet again leaves me little to say about another simple song to get involved with and enjoy. The least said the better about these latter two tracks is surely the most exact compliment I can pay.
'Cucaracha In Leather' is a nice stroke and is nothing short of a westernised jaunt that see these 3 Lone Ranger's galloping across the dust ridden desert of discordance kicking up plumes of spiralling motes of melody, each one in unison and adding character to fine theme tuned spillage. Loaded with frivolous life, exuding an insistent you get your ass in gear and thoroughly ensnaring the style sought. I love this jolly!
4 to go, let me sum up briefly - they are all quality, they may be regarded as too much of a good thing (if that is indeed a bad thing), they signify great consistency. 'Suffering And Pain' and 'Devil In Disguise' are typical of what has transpired - you can almost read the words before they are written (which they won't be because repetition is never a good thing). The latter track takes us back to the marrow trembling style that kicked off the CD - I reckon you will be still bopping at this point - it is the kind of creeping music that sneaks beneath your skin, crawls silently into the grey matter and nibbles away at anything resembling resistance - fiendish stuff. 'Lies' is one of the best of the lot with an opening volley of the words embracing the title and delivering with advanced classiness. The passage of the ditty is even, unhindered and gratifying and from the first splintered guitar tones, through the prolonged mid-paced meander of the verses via the hypnotic chorus cuts right up to the final twinges of the strings - this is a pearler. 'Rolling Down' closes and once more gallops with gusto, this time to the finish line and thus leaving a fine taste of a an accomplished CD by a more than capable band.
I like the Brains but if I was to be harshly critical here then the only fault I could suggest would be that all tracks are played too well and are too familiar - talk about clutching at straws hey? If I was pushed to be praiseworthy anymore then I am sure I would exhaust the bag of superlatives and contribute to these buggers resting on their laurels (which is never a good thing - wink, wink). All I can say is top notch quality and more of the same with just a little more variation but other than that - pure class to chase up folks!
THE TICKTURDS - DEMO EP
Of these minstrels I know absolute zilch. Their vibes have yet to wobble the Fungal airwaves and so I go in completely unbiased towards the rhythms of the Tickturdian. What I do know is that they hail from Colchester, they have been on the circuit since 2012 and the music they play is DIY and they place emphasis on attitude before the acoustic upchuck (the only way I reckon). So we have a few tracks to dabble with, a few ditties to dissect and generally sum up and use as a basis on which to build constructive criticism - be it taken as positive or negative, let us not arse about but instead plunge in with some textual honesty!
The first dropping to slip from the insectivorous rear end slams our way by the name of 'Fire Inside'. The main striking characteristic is the stinkingly blatant reek of gristled and grimaced passion that is duly spiced with several cacophonic homemade components. This isn't some prize turd, isn't a loaded log of nutritious noise but is a good expulsion of nasty low living dinnage that emanates a quite convincing punked honesty lacking polish but making up for it with initial dirt bomb passion that is slipped out via a mid-pace consistency. Regular rhythmic squeezes of the sonic sphincter release the filth which makes an adequate splash to get sprayed by. I like the compact feel of this as well as the utterly defiant tones throughout - a very honest start.
A passage of wind, a reverberation around the pissbowl and then another release of digested upheaval with the wheat/chaff forced to float at separate levels as the necessary question is asked - 'Are You With Me'. This one doesn't waste time and grinds out with relish via a quite irate inflection. The ill-temperament, the suggestion of hardcore venom, the rigid construct that maintains a fairly tight routine and the sub-violent vocals once more create convincing simplicity - I like it. 'Start Again' is the mid-dump sausage that disappears in the entanglement of bodily refuse. Take time, hitch up yer kecks, don the marigolds and duly...delve. Chopped in, rolled around a metallic port-a-loo this one is orthodox, an expected nut brown product, safe and created without too much strain. This shit happens - nowt to moan about, nowt to enthuse about - an example of the average.
'Squid' is a machine-like bout of pebble-dashed repetition that re-opens the composing orifice and offers many chestnut orbs of similarity. Tension is kept consistent and incessant before eventually drawing you in and creating a more than adequate bout of head-slamming hypnosis. If every song was like this then sonic laxatives would be an urgent must however this drop, plop lack of slop bone dry episode is needed here and the band play it out so well. We are ready to rise, the last evacuation is here, 'Mr Angry' we bid thee welcome. Scratching and scathing, gnarled, knotted and forcefully upset this is a straight ahead affair of bog brush rage that full stops a shithouse session with discordant displeasure - I expected more of this last one to be honest.
In summing up I reckon four out of the five sheets of acoustic arse paper used by these foul operators of DIY noise are worth further sniffs and snorts with one (the latter) easily taken or left well alone. I would like to hear more and see how they progress and for sure would I like to get em' on a Fungal show as this is pure, straight from the gut reality which is right down my well used U-bend.
THE FELINES - DADDY WALK EP
Behold, a quartet of lo-fi garage outbursts with a sheer in your face abundance of minimalistic structures and unflustered arrangements that make the end products easy to pick up, play and enjoy. The female trio of proudly basic cacophoners from Copenhagen do their stuff with simplicity in mind as well as the ethos of the sub-scene in which they fiddle and fuck. Keep it true, keep it genuine, bollocks to any detractors who demand perfection, highly polished nuggets of nothingness, pristine Peacock numbers that lack essential life. As many may know, my lugs are always on the alert for grimed deliveries and if puked forth correctly some of the best vibes on the whole planet can be found but, and a nasty big fuck off but...if played poorly the ultimate examples of garbage can be created. I step into the review with great trepidation!
The opening shaven pussy of sound tinnily strums on primitive tones whilst the feminine clarity enthuses and immediately gets into the obvious low slung swing. A 50's suggestion jitter bugs a response, the waxed finish gives a sub-arousing smoothness, the captured girly thrust milks a gushing of positive reviewing seeds that can only repay the stripped down pleasure - yeah - 'Daddy Walk' talks the talk.
'The Sneak' is a shadow and light nightclub horror where a million phantoms gather and drink rich spirits, smoke shaded cigarettes and discuss varied underworld dealings. Within a cage in a darkened corner the band play out a quite apt theme tune and duly add exact textures and sensations. There is sex and danger present - the sex emitting from the lasses manipulation of their chosen weapons, the danger from a sonically summoned leopard that prowls within the cacophonic cage and screams for release. Vision created, melody masturbated, opinion - elated.
'Boots' is tribal, the drums dictate from the off, the strings punctuate in cheap arsed fashion, the gobbage is innocent beauty - the resultant mix does little, does much, the release of energy and pent up exhibitionism through the medium of a midway break adds a bout of unexpected funky plucked and fucked excitement and shows these girls have resources in their rhythmic rucksacks. 'Black Joe' closes with a cool vibe that is the most orthodox piece of this quartered pussy pie. Verse, chorus, verse etc. each block of noise slips into the next, a few extra cementing additions are slapped in, the final crash out leaves you feeling that you have been teased throughout and the whole arrangement is holding something back...for next time!
The stripped down offerings are a total art movement in themselves, they attract generic obsessed moles to tunnel towards the tuneage and move to the groove of the rhythmic worm...and why not? The sonic spectrum has many flavours and on this evidence thank fuckin' goodness.
DON BLAKE - BLAKES 7
I recently watched these guys on a show that highlighted the pop punk edge out there and the quality it contains (which as per is very fuckin' high) and this lot more than held their own. I know the drummer from previous bands (and what a nice chap he is) and was surprised that he had gone down this mellower and more melodic route (although one of his old bands Crouch Mog certainly rattled off many a fine rhythm). I feel as though the choice is the right one and after the initial viewing was more than keen to see what this disc would offer up. Based in the Lancashire area and with a good working knowledge between the crew I expected big things even though this was the debut dabble - do I ask for too much?
First track and 'Underpants Collection' immediately says 'fun' and a band who take themselves non too seriously - but the tune says different. This is a very liquid track that is poured forth with extreme expertise and insightful know how thus sugaring the sonic bowl with precise acuteness and highly pleasant snap, crackle and pop. The double-ended gobbage, the harmonies, the active and accurate drums and the blended strength make this a marble moment with much inner sinew to resist any critical kicking. The tempo is ideal and the odd instrumental snip has much going on in such a short space of time - a very energetic piece. 'Warp Zones' is a more tempered track and lacks the zest of the initial saccharine surge. Nevertheless the song has much to admire with a clean and healthy hygiene apparent throughout and a straight edge poppicity neatly threaded through the general construct. The opposing defeatist/hopeless and optimistic edges are there to ponder and the contrast is subtle and easily overlooked if one pays poor heed. The song is highlighted with controlled guitar manipulations and my only criticism is perhaps the crew should have let themselves go a little more and slung out this one from a more relaxed stance. 'Deathbed' wants the impossible, takes a theme all we worry worms know too well and yearns for a repeat spin of one’s life where errors can be corrected and different routes taken (well that is the plan I suppose). Alas there is no chance of this heartfelt request and the inflection of the tune gently tells you this. Quick, to the point, saturated with good acoustic fat and without too much pointless tossology - this one is a decent connection between the more attractive links of this 7 piece cacophonic chain.
'Fall Guy' has a strong Americanised twang that promises much but alas the sobered gob style dumbs down hope and takes us on a dreary bout of seeming defeatism that has a distinct lack of bubblegum freshness that I very much desire from this pool of noise. The band do the somewhat opposing style well and embrace a fucked off emotion quite decently but...nah this is the flattest tit in a bunch of well proportioned balloons - plop rather than pop I be afraid (but not the smelliest out there by a long chalk). Advice - if creating a moment of contrast do it quite utterly and make the black and white divisions stark rather than a nebulous grey - just a humble pointer chaps. 'The Ballad Of Bonnie MacFarlane' is better and gets the tempo moving with hectic guitar, encouraging sticks and more breeze blown mouth work. The whole construct becomes fresher, has the band increase the gas injection and the gentle moves from verse, chorus, instrumental etc. are all as smooth as you like which again is down to the surging fashion of the song.
Last 2 and 'KGB' is surely the one to win most adoration in the 'live' pit (and on here for that matter) with its simplistic, agenda-less daydream approach and tweaked and twanged effect that appeals to the lover of the innocent. Harmonies, subtle rolls and riffs work excellently, the increase in enthusiasm here and there is welcome and the terse running time and well packaged end product make this a mini-highlight. 'Heartbroken' reaches into a different emotive reservoir and comes out stinking of wayward weed rather than being all cleansed through and representing a good finalising cacophony. The band lose the pace, sound quite insipid and I feel have yet to master the more soul driven saunters. This may sound harsh and many will disagree but reviewing CD's ain't no easy task and as per, I refuse to bullshit and much rather place emphasis on helping the bands move it on faster. A thumbs down on this last one for sure but much to take back to the drawing board and rehash.
Overall I like this lot despite the odd criticism and I must repeat that the initial 'live' viewing I have had was a real pleasure. I reckon they have a lot more to come though but it is definitely apparent that the tools, foundations and other peripheral necessities are there - all I ask is keep on, construct and keep the curve turning upwards. I reckon if they do another EP it will blow this out of the water and if they get the production and tempo absolutely bang on we will have a minor masterpiece- I wait with keenly open anticipatory lugs.