Reviews
reviews
Reviews.

Boxset Of The Issue:

The Homosexuals – “Astral Glamour” – (Morphius Records – info@morphius.com)

81 songs by legendary London Art Punks, The Homosexuals, spread across 3 CDs.

“Astral Glamour” is the complete recordings of one of the most notorious groups of the DIY era. Covering the years 1978-82 – the set includes a 32 page booklet, unseen photos, artwork, posters, artifacts, lyrics & the extensive history of The Homosexuals (told for the first time anywhere).

The Homsexuals were fucking brilliant. Listen to this boxset - & realise they STILL are - & always will be.

Melvyn Blagg – tMx 16 – 08/04


Single Of The Issue:

The Libertines – “Can’t Stand Me Now” – (Rough Trade Records)

The Libertines have assumed the dubious accolade of ‘Best Group In The UK’ over the last 3 years – & rightfully so. No one else has captured the ears & sensibilities of this generation’s youth more effectively that The Libertines. You’ve read all the tabloid shockers, the NME letters & the broadsheet art section ‘introductions’. The gravy train is rolling on down the track towards ‘big buck central’ - & Pete Doherty remains a thorn in Carl Barat & Alan McGoo’s side. Hurrah!

“Can’t Stand Me Now” documents the pair’s descent into what groups used to describe as ‘musical differences’ – but can these days be better interpreted as ‘chemical differences’. Once again produced by Mick Jones (whose own group were no strangers to the ‘conflicts’ raised by the ‘specialist’ recreational pass-times of individual members), this time aided & abetted by old school buddy, Bill Price, “Can’t Stand Me Now” is The Libertines best-realised recording to date (which, when you think about it, isn’t THAT much of a fucking surprise – is it?).

Building on an extended intro, underpinned by what sounds like a hoary old rock n roll bass line (copyright: Joe Strummer), the song ‘falls down the stairs’ like a wino full of Thunderbird. It’s a drunken dishevelled gem – replete with an “of course I can play it properly” harmonica solo on the outro. Lyrically, the boys are hamming up their differences for the myth register:

“The boy kicked out at the world – & the world kicked back – a lot fucking harder”

The Libertines self-titled sophomore LP will doubtless already be glued into yr CD player by the time you read this. Sometimes all a poor boy/girl can do is eat the grass & go: “Baaaaa!”

www.roughtraderecords.com

Jean Encoule – tMx 16 – 04/08


The Boyfriends/The Long Blondes – Filthy Little Angels Singles Club – (www.filthylittleangels.com)

Issue number 4 from the Filthy Little Angels Singles Club – 2 cuts apiece from The Boyfriends & The Long Blondes:

The Boyfriends have been quietly impressing us for months now. A heady blend of The Smiths melancholia & Joy Division’s urbanism. “No Tomorrow” was one of the stand out cuts from The Angular Recording Company’s recent “Rip Off Yr Labels” comp - & “I Love You” only cements their growing reputation further.

The Long Blondes “Autonomy Boy” also graced the very same “Rip Of Yr Labels” comp (like, wow, synchronicity, maaan – Horroscopes Ed). The Long Blondes are The Slits eating the Au Pairs while Girls At Our Best point, laugh & swoon. “Long Blonde” backs them up ably. Keep an eye out for The Long Blondes.
On wonderful orange vinyl, too!

Marquee Smith – tMx 16 – 08/04


Sick56/Higgins ++ - “Out Of Blackpool EP” – (JSNTGM Records – www.jsntgm.com)

Blackpool is alive & kicking – as this superb split 45 ably illustrates.

Sick56 could strip the foundation cream from a Goth’s face at 50 yards. Hardcore. You know the score. “Violence” & “Crash & Burn” mix Discharge shaped anger with Leatherface power in an exercise that renders 75% of the music reviewed on this page utterly pointless. Punk Rock has every right to sound this righteous in 2004 - & you have no choice but to comply.

Higgins ++ join the party with “Cool Britannia Uber Alles” – a stinging critique of US foreign policy & UK complicity – set to the music of the Dead Kennedy’s classic, “California Uber Alles”. Every bit as convincing as Jello & the boys – but with slightly less chance of being ethically exposed 25 years after the fact. Buy this record.

JSNTGM Appeal:

If you’ve played in a group, wrote a fanzine, produced demos or put on gigs in Blackpool over the last 25 years – then the good folk @ JSNTGM want to hear from you. Pronto. “A History Of Blackpool Punk/Alternative Music” is being assembled now – you could be a part of it. Contact:

andy@jsntgm.com

Marquee Smith – tMx 16 – 08/04

Help She Can’t Swim – “Bunty vs Beano” – (Fantastic Plastic Records)

Help She Can’t Swim are 5 young people from the south coast of the UK with a love of all things Mecca Normal, Beat Happening & Sonic Youth.

So, what do we get? 2 minutes 10 seconds of controlled rage. Sexual stereo-typing, it would appear, is still as annoying as any kind of typing – or ironing, for that matter. The irony may escape me – but I’m not fixing anything tonight.

Help She Can’t Swim sound like Ikara Colt with Bis sewn inside. This is arty & shouty – but ultimately lovely.

The Katestar – tMx 16 – 08/04


Wrath Super Sevens – (Wrath Records – www.wrathrecords.co.uk)

The next batch of Wrath Records split Super Sevens (7”) are upon us:

Chris T-T/Stuffy & The Fuses (Wrath 16)

Chris T-T supplies the effortlessly brilliant “Cull” – Stuffy takes a break from being Coxon’s drummer to re-record “Waltz” from the enormously enjoyable “Join Me Or Die LP.

The Farming Incident/Mama Scuba (Wrath 13)

The Farming Incident have not forgotten Leeds cultural heritage circa 1981 - & recreate it admirably with ill-ease on “The Flute Of Shame”. Mama Scuba bass the fuck out of “Sweetgirl” - whilst still managing to blur the edges with jangle.
The Scaramanga Six/Beachbuggy (Wrath 15)

The Scaramanga Six employ their “Poison Pen” to write their strongest statement yet. Beachbuggy do “Nineteen” with little or no effort (they are that good). One of the best-kept secrets in the west.

Being 747/Magoo (Wrath 14)

Being 747 mash the Pulp out of most of left field pop’s pretenders. Gleefully. Magoo sound like the Buzzcocks. What more can I say?

Wrath Records demand your support. Do it toady.

Melvyn Blagg – tMx 16 – 08/04

Vice – “Postcards To Anywhere EP” – (Positive Impact Records – www.positiveimpactrecords.com)

Shropshire’s Vice may employ one of the very worst names in the history of ‘names for rock n roll groups’ – but they do make a rather glorious racket. Emo tinged but affecting – Vice have obviously been hanging out At Their Local Drive In – but that’s probably preferable t0 ransacking their parent’s record collections for some obscure 80s group to rip off fundamentally. What Vice may lack in taste – they surely make up for in passion alone. This has ‘interesting’ written all over it.

Harrison Bored – tMx 16 – 08/04


Zombina & The Skeletones – “I Was A Human Bomb For The F.B.I.” (Destroy Surf City)

Zombina & The Skeletones are five garage punk rock vampires from Liverpool. All in their early 20s – they’ve already supported the likes of The Damned, The Misfits & The Meteors - & released an self financed LP: “Taste The Blood Of Zombina & The Skeletones”.

“I Was A Human Bomb For The F.B.I” has all the right credentials: gtrs set to stun, boy/girl vocal hooks, pop ambition & rock n roll suss. “I Love Rock N Roll” & “Punk Rock Vampires Destroy!” aren’t bad either. It’s not all mushrooms & peace in Liverpool – evidently.

Skeletone5@hotmail.com

The Katestar – tMx 16 – 08/04


luxembourg – “The Housewives Choice” (Dog Box Records)

Following their inclusion on both excellent Angular Recordings comps, “The New Cross” & “Rip Off Yr Labels”, luxembourg are here (& now) with their debut single in their sweaty, (but) industrious little hands.

“The Housewives Choice” slouches into town on the back of an asymmetrical riff (synthesiser drenched) – strident, confident & authentic. The Triffid’s David MaComb sings early Roxy – slam, glam – thank you, mam (with shades of Magazine).

Complicated things are being written about them already – there may even be a few quid ‘riding’ on them – don’t let either phenomenon worry you. luxembourg are far more than an exclusive principality.

www.dogbox.co.uk
www.luxembourgweb.co.uk

The Katestar – tMx 16 – 08/04


The Hot Puppies – “Green Eyeliner” – (Purr Records)

Aberystwyth’s Hot Puppies have been causing a quiet riot on the underground for bloody ages now. A raft of independently financed 45s has led to this, their Purr Records debut, & the promise of more to come.

Led by the red & black leather-clad frame of vocalist, Becky Newman, The Hot Puppies have their noses firmly pressed against the windows of perceived success. Their sound is pure early 80s pop underlined with Punk attitude. A smoother Kenickie – spiritually produced & arranged by Richard Gottehrer - in the style of Blondie (circa 1979).

Harrison Bored – tMx 16 – 04/08


The Knockout Pills – “1+1 + Ate” (Estrus Records)

The Knockout Pills come from Tucson (AZ) & they do exactly what it says on the bottle. “1+1 = Ate” is one of the fattest blasts of hi-energy punk, rock n roll yr gonna hear all 2004. This is music built in the garage, for the garage – think The Saints, Radio Birdman, The Real Kids. Think of every great punk rock record you’ve ever heard from the 60s to the 00s – add them all together – give them a good shake. What you’re left with is: “1+1 = Ate”.

The Knockout Pills take you by the back of the brain & slam your forehead into the dashboard repeatedly until you scream: “Alright, already – I’ll buy a fucking copy”. 12 cuts of kerosene soaked boisterousness. Just because you’re a punk rock n roll group – don’t mean you don’t bring the tunes. Right?

Too fucking right. “1+1 = Ate” has more hooks than an abattoir. It’s catchier than AIDS on a back packing holiday through the Aboriginal homelands. The Knockout Pills are yet another essential purchase from Estrus Records – the spiritual home of all things punk, rock. . . & roll!

www.estrus.com/press

Jean Encoule – tMx 16 – 04/08


The Insomniacs – “Switched On!” (Estrus Records)

The Insomniacs are modernists. They are faces. Don’t ape their steps or cramp their style – or they’ll get Roger Daltry to sort you out. “Switched On!” is as sharp as a 3-button hand-me-down mohair suit with 4-inch vents – as ‘up all night’ as a fistful of dexedrine.

David, Robert & Michael have no need for surnames (even if they did need a little help from their friends: Dan, Frazier & Hamisch). They have TOTAL confidence in both their sound & their abilities. This LP could have been released by ‘anyone’ during the last 40 year - to equal critical acclaim.

Some may call it pastiche – others may prefer to regard it as homage – but to me it sounds like Crowded House do ‘The Very Best Of Lenny Kaye’s Nuggets” (which may not sound much of a compliment, but most assuredly is).

Harrison Bored – tMx 16 – 04/08


Cayto – “Morning” – (Rictus Records)

Glasgow’s Cayto have been working very hard self-promoting this, their debut 45. “Morning” is a hectic, eclectic brew – all Radiohead time signatures & expansive piano. Produced by Geoff Allan (Arab Strap, Aerogramme & Franz Ferdinand), the press release describes “Morning” as: post-rock-pop-jazz (with classical leanings).

Cayto are obviously going to confuse seasoned pidgeon-holers the industry over (the b-side sounds like The Mars Volta).

There are always two sides to every good story.

theband@cayto.com

Harrison Bored – tMx 16 – 04/08


Death From Above – “Blood On Our Hands” – (679 Recordings)

Already the victims of ‘you can’t use that name, it’s mine (& I’ve been using it for ages)’ type noises from NYC’s DFA Records, Death From Above will probably be called Death From Above (Canadia) by the time you read this.

The hype machine has been working overtime on this drum & bass duo (that’s drummer & bass player, genre definition fans, as opposed to some boffin at twin decks speeding up old breakbeats & dropping Dianna Ross over the top). Imagine Electric Six without the humour - & y’re just about there.

The Katestar – tMx 16 – 04/08


Monkey Boy – “The Creature Of Dr Rumpledink” (Lockjaw)

Langley’s Monkey Boy sure make one hellfuck of a racket. Their particular brand of twin bass & drum attack is duly smeared across 10 cuts of punked-up white-boy-blues on their second long player, “The Creature Of Dr Rumpledink” (a ‘concept’ LP ‘styled’ as if it were a 50s trash b-movie horror feature – including an ‘exclusive’ production commentary by Monkey Boy themselves).

Monkey Boy possess the gravity of Shellac, the humour of The Stranglers - & the good looks of mclucsky!

www.monkeyboy.co.uk

Harrison Bored – tMx 16 – 04/08


Second Monday – “Rewrites Won’t Cover Up” – (Lockjaw)

Second Monday are all only sweet 16 (aaah – Cuteness Ed.)! They hail from Winchester - & “Rewrites Won’t Cover Up” is their debut 6-track release.

Second Monday have obviously moved on from At The Drive In - & now prefer The Mars Volta. This is expressive stuff – melodic, complex, structured & mature. Which begs the question: should a bunch of 16 year olds sound this old?

I don’t know. I have my reservations. Second Monday are all about tonal effect over actually having something to say (like so many of these groups). In my book – if it sounds like you have nothing to say – you have nothing to say.

Second Monday sound generic to me. I’d hate to take a stab at which genre in particular (ooh, all right then, try ‘postmodernist hardcore’). It just all sounds the same to me. It’s OK – it just washes over me.

Marquee Smith – tMx 16 – 08/04


The Briefs – “Singles Only” – (22nd Century Records)

Suburban Kid picked this ‘tour only’ collection up @ a recent Briefs show. It collects all 10 of The Briefs hard to find 7” 45s (released between 1999 & 2002) & will save you a pretty penny in vinyl costs (not to mention the time spent tracking).

The Briefs are still in love with 1977. They sound a lot like The Vibrators covering the best of The Dickies. They write songs called: “Looking Through Gary Glitter’s Eyes” & “(I Think) My Baby Is A Communist”. They have messy hair & ripped clothes - even though they appear to be well into their 30s.

At the end of the day – we’ve heard it all before – a thousand odd times – but who can argue with a chorus that goes: “Kill Bob Seger, right now!” (“Silver Bullet”)?

Yes. The Briefs are enormous fun. Yes. We should have grown out of it by now. Yes. That goes for them too!

www.thebriefs.com

Jean Encoule – tMx 16 – 04/08


Johnny Thunders & Wayne Kramer – “Gang War” – (Jungle Records)

Gangwar formed following a Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreaker’s visit to Detroit in the summer of 1979. Thunders met Kramer that night – dismissed The Heartbreakers - & formed Gangwar.

As a pledge of loyalty to his new group, Thunders moved his wife & kids to Dexter, Michigan. Not long afterwards – Mrs Thunders took the boys & hightailed. Thunder’s usually ‘reliable’ stability was somewhat affected by the incident - & Gangwar suffered accordingly.

In their lifetime, Gangwar played a handful of shows across the States, a few knockout sets in NYC - & made several ‘soundboard’ recordings (very much like the ones contained on this disc). The press barely spoke of Gangwar - but the kids still knew where they were at (& still do, judging by The Star Spangles recent take on “Crime Of The Century”).

This live collection includes sterling runs through “Ramblin’ Rose”, “London Boys”, “Endless Party” - amongst 14 other cuts. The sound throughout is excellent. The sleeve notes are by Nina Antonia.

“Johnny never liked when I would say, “Come on, we gotta go to work.” He’d say, “No, man. I don’t work. I go to play” – Wayne Kramer

www.jungle-records.com

Marquee Smith – tMx 16 – 04/08


The New York Dolls – “Manhattan Mayhem” – (Jungle Records)

“Manhattan Mayhem” is a two disc affair that collects demos from 73 (“Personality Crisis”/”Bad Girl”/”Pills”), demos from 72 (“Looking For A Kiss”/”Don’t Start Me Talking”/”Don’t Mess With Cupid”/”Human Being”), post-Dolls material from Sylvain, Nolan, Corpse Grinders, Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers, a live show from 1974 - & 2 x Actress demos: “That’s Poison” & “I Am Confronted”.
The package is further enhanced by a set of sleeve-notes by Nina Antonia & previously unseen photographs. A must have for any serious Dolls fan.

www.jungle-records.com
Harrison Bored – tMx 16 – 08/04
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