Every week we are bombarded by packages in the post – people, it would appear, want to see their group/song/act reviewed in the hallowed (?) & dubiously respected pages of tMx.

Some don’t make it past the bin, some are from THE ENEMY (& are duly burnt in a ritual ceremony), some we like - & a few we actually like enough to be bothered to type endless pages of ‘reviews’ to guide & assist you – the typical tMx reader (who ever the fuck you may be) – into making an ‘informed choice’. Aren’t we grown up?

So, come with us, once again, as we sift the wheat from the chaff so you don’t have to buy Q, Mojo, Ucunt or any other periodical that thinks that The Beatles & Neil Young were the last words in rebellion.

LP Of The Issue:

The Ulcers – “Hot Skin & Cold Cash” – (Damaged Goods)

Hey baby, do you like it loud? Fucking hell. I remember PUNK ROCK. The Ulcers may be one of the only groups in the world who’ve actually heard CRIME - & that’s a GOOD thing.

“Hot Skin & Cold Cash” is the kind of record that groups who weren’t actually that punky in 1976 might well have made. There are snatches of Dr Feelgood, the aforementioned CRIME, Rocket From The Tombs – the list can’t be endless – it’s a very short list. The Ulcers are that good. In 20 years time people will search high & low for a long deleted copy of this instant punk rock n roll classic – on yellow & red splattered vinyl.

The Ulcers make me think of Johnny Moped, Eater & Slaughter & The Dogs. Outsiders, misfits – surfers riding a wave - not a trend. Following on from June 04’s “Golden Shower EP” on Oddball Records, London’s The Ulcer’s could teach our capitals bright young things a few new licks for their tribute groups.

The limelight may be shining in another direction presently – but The Ulcers are beating at its true heart.

Jean Encoule – tMx 17 – 10/04

TV Smith – Xmas Bloody Xmas – (Damaged Goods)

Christ in a manger. Don’t you just hate Christmas? That’s OK - ‘cos so does TV Smith - & he’s here to tell us what a load of wank it all is with ONE Christmas record that isn’t shit.

“Xmas Bloody Xmas” is Damaged Goods seasonal offering for 2004 – following last year’s “Merry Christmas Fritz”, by the Buff Medways. Brooce with a bad attitude & too much reality in his punch. TV sounds as vibrant as ever. Great to have him back & seasonally relevant once again.

If you’re looking for that difficult purchase for that difficult aunt or uncle – you could do a lot bloody worse than “Xmas Bloody Xmas” (includes live versions of “Gary Gilmore’s Eyes”, “Bored Teenagers” & “Lord’s Prayer”

Mike Twat – tMx 17 – 10/04

Pantsuit – “The Path From The Lawn To The House” (Olive Juice)

Nan Turner is a busy lady. Not content with being Mrs Major Matt Mason USA & one half of Schwervon! - she has also roped Christine Murray (Bionic Finger) & Tina Harris (Danger!Giant Ranger) into crafting this marvellously formed exercise in affecting whimsy: Pantsuit.

Over the last year Pansuit have evolved from being ‘basically’ a Nan solo vehicle to a fully fledged ‘collaborative affair’. Pansuit share a love of brunch, roadtrips & cats - & would possibly consider living together if they had to. It’s good to get along.

“The Path From The Lawn To The House” is a splendid effort that demands attention like a 2 year old toddler. The FI may be LO but the QUALITY is HI. Pansuit shamble & stumble – twitter & swoon. Pansuit are drenchers of the ears & the tears will surely flow before too long. Pansuit are a stand alone unit now - & all the better for it.

So, if yr at all bored with loud gtrs presently filling any available ear space, then aim yr sights at either Regina Spektor, Eliabeth Harper – or for more of that ‘group’ sound - angle yr jangle at Pansuit. Clever cats.

Marquee Smith – tMx 17 – 10/04

Thee Unstrung – “Contrary Mary” (Poptones)

60’s pastiche sleeve, noughties pastiche sound (courtesy of The Libertines “What Katie Did”), rhyming the words ‘contrary’ & ‘Mary’ – the dulcet tones of pop are back. Don’t believe the hype. Don’t believe the word association. Don’t believe the cool uncaring manner. These boys want to be as big as Mr Magoo wants them to be. You have been warned.

The Katestar – tMx 17 – 10/04

Elizabeth Harper – “Elizabeth Harper” (Angular Recording Corporation).

Sounding far more Anglophile than she has any reasonable right to, NYC performance artist, Elizabeth Harper launches her long-playing debut via the UK’s freshest independent, The Angular Recording Corporation.

Swoon as Elizabeth takes in the best of British melancholia circa 1985 – & spits out shades of Smiths flecked phlegm - complete with unobtrusive used bubblegum wrappers.

Hot on the heels of Regina Spektor (but not half as ‘kooky’), Elizabeth Harper is further proof (if any was needed) of a watershed shift in the perspectives of modern female singer songwriters away from the traditional signposts for the genre. She’s not scared to wear her influences on her sleeve – that’s why we can get the Young Marble Giants & Jeff Buckley in the same verse.

Elizabeth Harper is quietly making some of the very finest highbrow pop on the world market right now. If you like her core influences & have a large collection of early Creation 45s (or a Monochrome Set t-shirt) – she could well be the girl for you.

The Katestar – tMx 17 – 10/04

The Long Blondes – “New Idols” (Sheffield Phonographic Corporation)

Sheffield’s Long Blondes have been developing their particular brand of Phil Spector produces The Slits for a while now. Their “Autonomy Boy” was just one of the floodlights that lit up The Angular Recording Company’s “Rip Off Yr Labels” compilation early this year. You may also have noticed their excellent split 45 with the stupendous Boyfriends (reviewed below).

The Long Blondes are 3 5ths female & 2 5ths male. They have the looks, the inclination & quiet possibly the style too.

Harrison Bored – tMx 17 – 10/04

The Boyfriends/The Long Blondes – (Filthy Little Angels Singles Club)

We’ve already dealt with the excellent Long Blondes above (the stupendous “Autonomy Boy is present & correct here, along with “Long Blonde”, the b-side of the above), so let’s turn our attention to The Boyfriends.

The Boyfriends are the new Smiths Division – a perfect blend of Mancunian melodrama & Salfordian wit. Musically, nods are granted to Sumner, Marr & the drumming of Stephen Morris, whilst vocally - not to mention Morrissey would be a mistake. It shouldn’t work. Surely it looks too mannered on paper to ever get off the ground. Thankfully all discouragement is crushed by the weight of “No Tomorrow” – a song of such magnitude let’s pray it doesn’t become their albatross (& no, that doesn’t mean they sound like PIL).

The Boyfriends are destined for greatness - & if they have a few more tunes of the stature of “No Tomorrow” lying around – it won’t be due to luck.

Mike Twat – tMx 17 – 10/04

The Morningsides – “Summer Song” – (Recommended If You Like Records)

NYC’s the Morningsides play 60s garage rock with the emphasis on 50s rock n roll & early Dylan. Johnny, Sam & Chris also play the field as The Wows (introspective Americana), The Johns & the (superbly named) Post-Modern Lovers. “Summer Song” sounds like Pavement sing Dylan. These boys piss all over the Kings Of Leon - & there are NO – repeat after me – NO – moustaches. Result.

Marquee Smith – tMx 17 – 10/04

Black Wire – “Hard To Love, Easy To Lay” – (48 Crash).

Black Wire have moved the goalposts already. Just as we had them down as the ‘Stooges eat disco punk’ - they go and strip down the guitars & the bottom end away & go disco/ska/r&r. “Hard To Love” has definitely moved on a pace from “Attack, Attack, Attack”. Malcolm Owen & Segs might have something to say about the lifting of their melody from The Ruts’ “Babylon’s Burning”, but apart from that Black Wire come present & correct. There is another 45 on the way as I type – my money’s on Black Wire tinkering with their sound again. These boys have got that something special. Let’s hope they stay away from open cheque books A&R men. This needs to grow properly.

Jean Encoule – tMx 17 – 10/04

The Others – “Stan Bowles” – (Vertigo)

The Others have been snapping at the heels of The Libertines in the ‘outrageous’ stakes in recent months. They do ‘guerrilla’ style gigs on tube trains & at people’s flats/on busses. Their singer is called Dominic & he shares a flat with a transvestite. So far, so convoluted. Which is a shame, because The Others are very fine indeed.

“Stan Bowles” does contain elements of Flowered Up, Keith Levene & (aw my Gawd) Northside - but these are steamrollered by a raucous riff & a passionate vocal. The Others are more than a comedy group jumping the latest bandwagon – this lot have potential. The B-side features their iconic debut 7”, “This Is For The Poor” (BBC RADIO SESSION), as well as a live version of “Stan Bowles” (BBC RADIO SESSION). The Others are very good. Keep an eye on them.

Evan Halshaw – tMx 17 – 10/04

The Paddingtons – “Twenty One”/”Some Old Girl” (Poptones)
As much as I hate Alan Magoo, there’s no avoiding The Paddingtons. The king of slime may have harnessed the zeitgeist once again & swallowed the latest nascent London underground whole - but he’s still merely a well informed cunt.

Anyway, fuck Magoo, The Paddingtons are bigger than him. Already slagged by artROCKER & deemed to be on the wrong side of the trenches, The Paddingtons aren’t really moving that far outside the box marked ‘basic punk’. They play their punk rock the way it used to be played in 1977. They snarl, they pose, they spit & they fart. The Paddingtons sound refreshingly human - & that’s a good start.

Anyway, much as I hate to recommend anything affiliated to Ploptones – I must urge you to look up The Paddingtons in the phonebook sometime very soon. They could be just what you’ve been looking for. Now, watch out, here comes Mr Gruber. Where did I put those marmalade sandwiches?

Jean Encoule – tMx 17 – 10/04

Special Needs – “Francesca” – (Poptones)

Encoule may hate Magoo for his own set of twisted reasons, but I hate him for breaking the heart of British rock n roll. Special Needs have been hanging around artROCKER nights & anywhere vaguely trendy in the hope of being spotted & signed for ages now.

The good news for Special Needs is that they have finally gotten themselves signed – the bad news for the rest of us is that the label in question is (surprise, surprise, Cilla) . . . Poptones!

“Francesca” has got to be one of the largest piles of drivel I have had to listen to since my daughter made me sit through her McFly LP (to be honest, I’m glad I concentrated vaguely, because at least I have a few reference points for this review.

Basically, Special Needs make McFly sound radical. They obviously want to be Busted so much they are prepared to vote Tory. Terrace backing vocals, doo wop lead vocals, gtrs washed in fairy liquid, lyrics so inane they would embarrass your neighbours, artwork by the people who do design for Top Shop & a logo right out of the portfolio of the lady who designed the set for Teletubbies.

Special Needs are a fucking disgrace. Poptones are an embarrassment – oh yeah - & Alan Magoo’s a cunt. That oughta do it.

Harrison Bored – tMx 17 – 10/04

The Departure – “Be My Enemy” – (Parlaphone)

The Departure are very young. They come from Northampton. They’re signed to a massive corporation & we are supposed to like them. We’re supposed to join in with the hype/buzz surrounding them. You know us better than that.

“Be My Enemy” is easier to actually do than to listen to. This is insipid shite of the highest order. Dad’s old Cure records have been shoehorned into a Nirvana type space – money has been thrown against the wall. There’s a 7”. It’s on red vinyl. Like – fuck me – innovation – doncha just love it?

The Katestar – tMx 17 – 10/04

Vicious Cabaret – “EP1 – “Drift Like Effluvia”/”Goodbye Green & Pleasant Land”/”Nuremberg Defence”/”Charisma Has Dug A Billion Graves” - (label to be confirmed)

Vicious Cabaret deliver their debut EP - & it’s a car crash through the window of their local guitar shop. Steeped in Glam-esque shapes & constantly illuminated by follow-strobes, Vicious Cabaret blend the life affirming stomp of prime time T-Rex to the darker shadows cast by the throne of METAL. Short, sharp & slightly sinister tasting, Vicious Cabaret have the lyrical courage to match their musical conviction.

Mike Twat – tMx 17 – 10/04

The Pervz – “Get It Out”

We told you about the Pervs a couple of months back. The Pervz sound like what Green Day think they sound like (i.e. – cocky) crossed with what the Hives would give a large chunk of Polydor’s money to sound like (i.e. NOT parody). The Pervz have got the suits, the badges, the ties, the Stooges records, the stance - & most importantly – the right fucking attitude. If no one wants to know you – knock it up yr self - & take it to the people.

“The Pervz” is, therefore, 9 cuts of kerosene fuelled punk rock & roll with a neat sense of personal independence. The Pervz fire all this shit them selves - & could probably do with some of Billy Joe’s amassed stash of dollars to help spread the word. How about starting a label, Billy Joe? Like I still listen to Radio Clash!

“My Babe” & “Pieces Of You” are the bombs here. Grab a copy quick - before they sell out

Harrison Bored – tMx 17 – 10/04

Ikara Colt – “Modern Feeling” – (Fantastic Plastic)

This sounds much stronger separated from the rest of the LP – but only just. It’s often the way when a group is growing in front of your ears.

The candyfloss has been turned up, the guitars have been glamourised - & the point has been sublimely sidestepped. “What is the point”, Ikara Colt ask? This modern feeling isn’t up to much, is it?

Art Rock looks great on paper - but tired can be a sound – not just a feeling.

Marquee Smith – tMx 17 – 10/04

The Secret Method – “The Summer Demos”

The North of England’s The Secret Method may be as independent as they come – but it’s painfully obvious that they have been listening to the wrong records: Gilbert O’Sullivan, Steely Dan, Harry Nilsson - & a whole boat load of quality (i.e. – forgotten) 70s singer songwriters.

This shit makes me think of an Old Grey Whistle test Xmas special ‘Best Of The Decade’ round up presented by Jeremy Clarkeson. If this is what the kids want – then I’m a chocolate syringe.

Not only have they been listening to the wrong records – they’ve been reading the wrong webzine as well. Now, do us all a favour – here, wear this plastic bag!

To some of us – the summer demos were all about the right to chase small animals on horseback & rip them to shreds in funny clothing. As someone from up North once said: “I was standing at the bar – where were you?”

Jean Encoule – tMx 17 – 10/04

October All Over – “The Sixteen Channels” (Filthy Little Angels)

October All Over employ an emotive darkness to illustrate their work. The vocals are cracked at the edges, the guitars pick out sinewy melodies, the bass snakes about like JJ Burnell - & behind it all the drums pound along like Jim Walker in a hurry. I guess you’d have to call it post-emo – it lacks any of the genre’s tweeness & saccharine overload - & instead plumps for directness & texture. To sum it up in one of those annoying ‘catch all’ sound bites: At The Drive In Play Pavement.

Filthy Little Angels are shaping up to be a very interesting label indeed - & in October All Over they have a quality long player to shift. Good luck to them.

The Katestar – tMx 17 – 10/04

The Scaramanga Six – “We Rode The Storm” (Wrath)

The Six are back. “We Rode The Storm” is their most floor shape shifting moment yet. Strident, muscular & not even remotely qualified to be doing what they’re doing (hurrah). Like The Teardrop Explodes backed by The Attractions – this is tighter than Paris Hilton on location. Described in the press release as ‘their biggest caper yet’ – The Six require all the aiding & abetting you can offer them. This is truly monster sized pop music & we could all do with a bit of that from time to time. Wrath keep up the pressure. Can you really afford to miss out.

Mike Twat – tMx 17 – 10/04

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