Alternative Alcester













Good Throb – ‘Fuck Off’ (SuperFi)

Like a thrift store punk jumper made out of recycled dayglo mohair, ‘Fuck Off’ transcends its title/artwork to challenge gender hierarchy to fisticuffs by committee. These uppity neo-Spartans have little or no respect for their elders, and that’s exactly the way it should be. If anyone had tried to tell me how to think back when I still could, I’d have told them to ‘Fuck Off’ too.

Meanwhile, back at the plot (damn you, Alzheimer’s), if preceding seven ‘Culture Vulture’ somehow failed to ignite the blue touch paper, stubbornly treading water after the band’s promising debut EP, Good Throb’s first twelve adequately compensates, and then some. Eleven concise and furious tirades against wankers, squares, suits, dicks, dads, dunces and dunderheads, ‘Fuck Off’ doesn’t do prisoners. Musically ever-inventive, twisting, dodging, never plodding, for a record made out of bits of the past, this mother of all fuckers is the epitome of now. In cahoots with Shopping, Frau & Dregs, Good Throb are defining a new femme-centric dawn for capital-based DIY punk.

There isn’t a dull moment on ‘Fuck Off’, solid from birth to death. From the wailing Banshee-like guitar figures of  ‘Acid House’, via the Ramonic 1-2-3-4s of ‘Double White Denim’, through the expressive riffage of ‘Pale Grey Suits’, all the way down to gender-offender closer, ‘Dog Food Dick’, Good Throb reinvent the wheel with every turn. Singer Ellie used to go to Alcester Grammar, and the spirit of The Cravats and a robust essence of the absurd duly loom large throughout ‘Fuck Off’. We can forgive, but we’ll never forget. ‘Fuck Off’ is a record you won’t forget in a hurry, and Good Throb are a band who have come of age. Come all ye faithful, the party isn’t over just yet.

Jean Encoule - April 16th, 2014

A Parade Of Shiny New Artefacts

Those of you who’ve been hanging around this joint long enough will doubtless remember an early featurette of the nascent trakMARX, namely: ‘A Parade Of Dusty Old Record Sleeves’. Ostensibly, a space-filling exercise back when we had little (or nothing) to say, the general idea was to fill up a page with a collection of sleeve scans from the vinyl vaults of the zine’s staff, and to let tMx web-monkey, Marko, get busy with the witty puns. Oh, how we laughed, inevitably (take a trawl back in time into the record box that time forgot if you don’t believe us: BACK ISSUES).

Obviously, these days we’re more forward-thinking-motherfuckers, and, with that firmly in mind, what better way to both fill up a bit of cyberspace and keep our readers up to date with what’s happening down on the ‘street’ than: ‘A Parade Of Shiny New Artefacts‘? Sadly, the way we build trakMARX these days means Marko takes more of a design-focused back seat, so you’ll have to settle for trite observations from yours truly (dementia allowing, eh ageists?), but we’re sure you’ll agree that that’s a small price to pay for the kind of sage-like insight that follows.

Thematically, this collection focuses on the absolutely sterling effort currently being exerted on the part of the UK‘s young agents of hardcore punk rock. It’s no spurious claim to state that there really hasn’t been a better time to be regularly purchasing hardcore punk artefacts in the UK recently than: right here, right now. We’ve opted for the word ‘artefact’ over the word ‘record’ to take into consideration a number of cassettes featured in this stomptastic top ten, representing, as they do, 40% of the sum total of artefacts on display.

So, come with us now, as we stroll through the record and tape box that time has yet to realise it will one day forget:






These London boys have socked us square on the nose with their devastating brew of heady hardcore rage:











Already being lauded as a contender for album-of-the-year in some quarters:








This Harrogate-based three piece put the ‘North Yorkshire’ into NYHC:








Second twelve from this London crew sees them expand on their debut to coruscating effect:







Each postcard from seaside hell marks Family Outing down as individual, and every copy of their raucous demo as ‘unique’:







Still banging this one to bits months down the line:








Recent BOTWers and current holders of the most-played-demo award in the tMx bunker:






Out on bail, another winner from QCHQ:









This kicked in the door 18-months or so ago. clearing the way for much of what followed:










As above, so below:

Jean Encoule - April 14th, 2014

BOTW: Lost Dawn


Falmouth duo Lost Dawn have been around for a little while now. In between sporadic, impressive live demonstrations of style and skill, they have – like the Viet Cong – been biding their time; out there, becoming stronger. Now, the duo of Stanley Duke (Vocals/Guitar) and Ben Woods (Drums/Vocals) have reached a point of readiness. Soon they will strike – An album entitled ‘Sacred Mirrors’ is set for August. It is also set to suck your soul and lick your consciousness to a priapic peak.

Initial evidence of this is provided by their recent Ash Hampton directed ‘Song For Robert’ video, which found the duo ready for bath and bedroom, delivering a swaggering glam stomp, rich in texture and crunch, issued with economy and precision. Although the track immediately reveals Lost Dawn’s mesmeric musical talents and fecund wit, it now transpires that this only serves to unearth a small portion of the group’s mastery of a vast range of styles. A sneak preview of ‘Sacred Mirrors’ reflects the image in its totality – 11 tracks that mesh together in a bewildering variety of ways, interlocking and recombining to splice genres and dislocate the norm.

Ranging from the epic, insidious ‘Manchild’, the snake-eyed hypnosis of ‘The Fall’ (within which melody becomes rhythm, as rhythm transforms into melody), to the cocksure sibilant glam racket of ‘Count On Me’, the album is a travelogue of sound, pulsing with incandescence – at times it throbs and oozes, elsewhere it delivers the same rush as a trip hitting; a transcendent, crystalline aural experience that bewilders and delights.

Comparisons are irrelevant here – Lost Dawn’s capabilities are such that they can dip into the well-forked corpus of rock’n’roll to pull out something moist and pulsing and fashion it into new and wondrous forms. In a world where claims of uniqueness are commonplace, Lost Dawn represent the real thing. Check them out – they have such delights to show you.

Lost Dawn on Facebook

Check out the ‘Song For Robert’ video here

Dick Porter - April 13th, 2014

BOTW: Arms Race





Following in the slipstream of Violent Reaction, The Flex, No & DiE, come ‘three skins and a weirdo’ from London Town: Arms Race. Grinding UK82 stomp into the face of 80′s NYHC swank with a well-heeled Doctor Martin boot, Arms Race allegedly feature members of the aforementioned VxR, plus refugees from both Stab (RIP) & Abolition.

With the UK hardcore scene seemingly in its rudest health in years, Arms Race’s demo c/s on Quality Control HQ (Flophouse Records, USA) provides ample evidence that the band are a force to be reckoned with. Taught chords argue gobbily with street-level poetry, solid tub-thumping bickers with terrace-chant-anti-harmonic bluster to deliver six gaping wounds of HC intensity.

Arms Race fill this writer with the unbridled joy of rabid abandonment that all good hardcore punk should engender. Their guitars cut the mustard with panache, encapsulating a myriad of worthy riffage from the lengthy HC lineage stretching out behind them like a chemtrail. For a demo, these recordings piss vinegar in the general direction of many of their contemporaries. To say I’m anticipating their debut seven with keen interest would be a gross understatement.












Full Live Set:


Jean Encoule - April 6th, 2014

BOTW: Husbands N Knives


Our regular reader may recall us raving about Torquay combo Husbands N Knives’ contribution to the recent ‘Revolt!’ compilation, where their track ‘Jeremy’ trepanned its way into our consciousness courtesy of its melodic, barbed hardcore and beguiling and authoritative vocal. This track was a cut from the band’s 2010 debut album, ‘Raised On Synthetic Bitch Milk’, however the group’s origins date back a further two years, whereupon they coalesced “to create a space where the Riot Grrrl DIY spirit of the 90s would meet the beefier, more classical sound of bands The Gits, Bikini Kill, L7 and Hole. A band that would marry gritty poetry with tongue-in-cheek punk farce and would appeal to the disheveled, the hormonal, the dreamers and the underdogs out there.”

Opening with the understated ramalama of ‘Babalon’, ‘Raised On Synthetic Bitch Milk’ presented a dynamic 11-song set that contained an impressive succession of highlights – ‘BCG’, a Juxtaposition of melodic bubblegum vocal and double timed metal tinged mania that skitters into a full frontal sonic attack; the escape velocity twisted nerve lumber punch of the pounding, rhythmic ‘Simple People’; ‘3 Bottles’ – an irresistible fusion of velocity and melody that roars in like the Au Pairs on crank; the harrowing and miasmic ‘Domestic’; and ‘Knee Jerk Reaction’, a Kennedys’ style pell mell stormer. There’s no fat here, the album fittingly encapsulates what the band describe as their “sleazy, off tune, edgy, political, witchy, PMS fuelled take on old school riot grrrl punk” with imaginative cadences, bravura vocals (imagine if Siouxsie had genuine range and depth) and artful construction.

Since then the group have been further honing their already substantial powers across a variety of South West gigs that have included the Hell Hath No Fury event, last year’s inaugural 3 Chords Festival, Revolt, Clitrock, and the Plymouth and Bristol Punx Picnics. Husbands N Knives have also appeared on a variety of compilations and now stand ready to unleash a second full length set in the shape of their forthcoming ‘Virosa Ebriosa’ album, which is set to provide additional heat and light to the summer. A sneak preview suggests that this will demonstrate the group’s extending mastery of their detonations, such as the coruscating, hook-laden and anthemic ‘You’re One’ and the bass led ‘Lipstick Graffiti’, which packs the hearse with hobbledehoys for a twisted and crepuscular hellride. The group will be showcasing the album when they return to the Bristol Punx Picnic to appear alongside the likes of the legendary Oi Polloi in June.

Husbands N Knives on Facebook

Check out ‘Raised On Synthetic Bitch Milk’ here 


Dick Porter - March 31st, 2014