BOTF: Primetime



Meanwhile, back in rainy London town, Primetime slip on their Raincoats to protect them from the inclement downpour of Slits references falling from the grey clouds above like confetti at a marriage made in reactionary radical heaven. Their debut 4-track EP on LVEUM is up there with Levitations‘ ‘Partners In Crime’ as one of the finest artifacts of its genre in recent times.

Recorded and mixed at Sound Savers by Daniel Husayn, side-1’s opener, ‘Tied Down’, sets the bar high, invoking images of restraint and mastication. Musically shambolic, astride their Desperate Bicycles , Primetime’s lazily drawled solos may pose as inept, but the metronomic drumming and ennui inflected vocals that saunter just the right side of the street from pedestrian suggest there’s far more occurring here than casual accident. ‘Last Night’ follows a similar pattern, bemoaning a poor decision to stay in, instead of going out, all in the best possible taste. Meanwhile, over on side-2, ‘Right Track”s bass line cuts through the enveloping fuzz to lead the song towards pastures new, shifting emphasis slightly, just as partial repetition was beginning to creep in. Closer ‘Slushy’ moves one-further to the left, with the bass line again to the fore, a fitting end to a quality record.

In conclusion, all four songs are masterfully constructed, ably developing Primetime’s engaging formula in four variations across the EP. The capital’s self-proclaimed ‘chaotic neurotics’ have snuck up on the blindside and stolen the show. Chapeau!









Jean Encoule - September 16th, 2014

Börn Again












Alexandra – Söngur/Anna Guðný – Gítar/Júlíana – Bassi/Fannar – Trommur

To wake of a morning with nothing to do but trawl the internet for new music is truly a wonderful thing. Casting my net due North, I was overjoyed to land Börn‘s (Icelandic for ‘children’) debut 7-track twelve basking off the shores of their native Iceland in long-disputed fishing waters.

Mastered by Will Killingsworth at Dead Air Studios, ‘Börn’ (Paradísarborgarplötur) captures the band’s richly evocative punk noire in maximum fidelity. Drawing influence from the work of the Siouxsie & The Banshees circa ‘The Scream’ and ‘Fetisch’-era Xmal Deutschland, Börn share a contemporary genre pool with the likes of BelgradoCrosta and Sect.

Börn aren’t wasting any time stopping up all night arguing about a past that didn’t exist, they’re too busy creating Future! Now! Like a pristine blade slicing through a pulsing vein, a cigarette extinguished on the back of an already scarred hand, or a Hessian noose tightening around a confused and tormented neck, Börn articulate your pain in a way you will always struggle to express, in a language you will never fully understand.

Imagined, birthed and raised within Reykjavík City limits, Börn (formally known as Norn) exist outside the paradigm of hierarchy, beyond the ley lines of connectivity that seemingly inform the pyramid structure of the global underground DIY punk network. Börn’s songs are crafted with natural skill, not talent. Talent is different to natural skill. Talent is quantified by the already successful at talent shows. Skill is defined by the ability to create in isolation. The very concept of talent is a patronisation developed by those already in the club, those climbing the greased ladder of ambition, those with one nicotine-stained finger inside the silk gusset of careerism. Talent seeks your approval. Natural skill doesn’t give a fuck who you sat next to at a marketing symposium in Seattle.

The record’s cover depicts a female with a bloodied nose. A Gorilla Angreb patch on her denim jacket suggests not only an affiliation with the Danish noughties’ HC punks, but also states that the women of Börn are perfectly at home passaging their rights in the pit, struggling to balance the power-share: shoulder-to-shoulder, pound-for-pound.

The Icelandic people are currently leading the world in taking banksters to task, setting democratic templates for braver nations to emulate. Now they’re leading the way in the field of punk noire.

Börn: making the old ways new.

Jean Encoule - September 15th, 2014

Derbe Lebowski












“Derbe Lebowski absolutely won’t tolerate any kind of sexism, racism, antisemitism, homophobia and other types of discrimination.”

As with Failures ‘Decline And Fall’ earlier this year, Derbe Lebowski‘s ‘Broken Glass’ has snuck up behind me and smashed me over the head with a bottle. The connection doesn’t end there: Berlin-based label Adagio 830 introduced me to Failures, and Derbe Lebowski are a Berlin-based band. Alongside Piss and Pig//Control, Berlin is seemingly building a contemporary HC reputation of growing renown.

Following 2012’s well-received demo, Derbe Lebowski have blown the lid off with ‘Broken Glass’, seventeen frantic bursts of HC, shot through with powerful violence, and a splattering of death grunts. Mastered by Ben John (Afterlife Kids, Henry Fonda), in terms of fidelity, the album is a great leap forward from the production values of the aforementioned demo, and the resultant whole is a work of art worthy of comparison to anything coming out of Youth Attack.

Available in black wax (400 copies), red wax (100 copies), and red wax with an alternative cover (100 copies – see header image), full details are available via the Derbe Lebowski bandcamp page:

Jean Encoule - September 11th, 2014

Spit Records

logo2c_500Spit Records is the spiritual home of Northern Irish first generation punk rock. Formed in 2011 by Sean O’Neill, co-author of the NI Punk bible, ‘It Makes You Want To Spit!’, Spit Records relentlessly archives data on the NI Punk scene and releases records.

With young Irish bands such as the Number Ones harking back to the NI Punk/Good Vibrations glory days of the late 70s, early 80s, it’s important to remember that the original scene was set against a backdrop of spiraling troubles, curfews, home-made mortars, car bombs, Maze hunger strikes, security checks as you entered the city centre, and, worst of all . . . show bands in goddamn flares!

As an addendum to their expansive virtual mapping of these vibrant times, Spit Records issues previously unreleased archive material from bands that were active at the time on both CD and vinyl.

Spit Records Discography:

The Outcasts – ‘Vive Lyon’ – CD: “Culled from two concerts recorded at the same venue, less than four months apart, ‘Vive Lyon’ is a faithful representation of The Outcasts live set at that time. For the avid collector, there is a 24-page booklet which includes many rare photographs and contributions from band members. The set also contains the previously unreleased track ‘Ghetto Blaster’, plus an exclusive version of the opening track, ‘Nowhere Left to Run’, which contains an extended middle section with no singing, due to a microphone malfunction!”

V/A – ‘Shellshock Rockers Vol 1′ – CD: “A 24-track compilation which contains previously unreleased studio recordings from 1978 to 1981. Six bands contribute four songs each, with a detailed 12-page booklet where ex-band members explain what inspired each song featured.”

V/A – ‘Shellshock Rockers Vol 2′ – CD: “A collection of 20-previously unreleased demos recorded between 1978 and 1985 from a number of different bands, including The Icons, The Lids, The Xposers and many more!

Shock Treatment 21 – ‘The Days Of The Buckshee Bounce Are Nearly Over’ – CD: “Shock Treatment were formed in 1978, and were signed to Terri Hooley’s Good Vibrations Record label following a gig at the Harp Bar in Belfast. The band split in 1982 but re-emerged as Shock Treatment 21 in 2012, and Spit Records have recently released their debut album, ‘The Days Of The Buckshee Bounce Are Nearly Over’. The album contains reworkings of old material together with a sprinkling of new material.

Victim – ‘Empty Men’ – 7″ Vinyl: “The title track, ‘Empty Men’ was recorded at Bootleg Studios, in Manchester, in December 1980. This was Victim’s attempt at recreating the ‘Good Vibrations’ sound! The song is about those people we all meet in life who bullshit about everything, yet offer nothing. ‘The Bus’ kicks off the flip side, and was recorded at the same time as the A-side. The line up on both recordings being: Joe Moody (guitar & vocals), Wes Graham (bass & vocals), Gary Platt (drums) and Phil Platt (guitar). The song was inspired by Wes catching the wrong bus one day in Belfast, and instead found himself on a bus full of people with various disabilities and mental health conditions. It was an eye opening experience for Wes which he tried to articulate in song. The final track on the EP is ‘Another Weird Dream’. This is the only song Victim ever wrote about ‘The Troubles’ in N.I. They never felt the need to elaborate further on their teenage experiences during this period. This track was recorded in April 1982, again at Bootleg Studios in Manchester. The line up on this track is Joe Moody (guitar & vocals), Wes Graham (bass & vocals) and Mike Joyce at the drum stool.

Jean Encoule - September 9th, 2014

BOTF: Farang















Farang hail from Toronto, Ontario, and have previously dropped two demos, in 2012 and 2013, respectively. Comprising bits of Kremlin, Endless Blockade and School Jerks, Farang peddle a frantic hotchpotch of hardcore, fronted by one of the strongest female voices on punk planet, circa now.

There’s a veritable grrrl riot going on in cellblock punk: fucked up guitars zip and fizz around the mix, drop a Kremlin-shaped riff here and there, splatter some melody about like fake blood on a Tarantino set, then scoot off towards oblivion, with nary a by-your-leave.

This seven-track, one-sided twelve-inch on Bad Vibrations Records comes complete with DJ-jacket, sticker, and insert. I’ve always been a big fan of both School Jerks and Kremlin, and I was gutted when Kremlin split up. Farang go someway towards healing that pain, this is a mandatory release from an essential combo.

Jean Encoule - September 1st, 2014