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LP Of The Issue:

The Beat Up – “Black Rays Defence” (Fantastic Plastic)

The Beatings are dead – long live The Beat Up.

It all started back in 2002 with the meticulous sonic rumble of “Jailhouse” (hand painted 7” set to become a genuine collector’s item) – continued with the even stronger “Bad Feeling” (included here) – & then it all went a bit quiet. Legal complications surrounding their name & too many hours spent building Kevin “Green” Shields’ studio consigned The Beatings to the waiting room situated somewhere beneath the radar of public awareness.

The last 2 years ‘in waiting’ have not been wasted – as recent 45 “Messed Up” confirmed - extensive live work & much studio honing has resulted in a name change - & a corking 10 cut debut LP: “Black Rays Defence”. Recorded & produced by the enigmatic Kevin “Green” Shields of My Bloody Valentine infamy – “Black Ray’s Defence” is a superlative exercise in capturing the filth & the fury of their explosive live show.

Blue Cheer, The Dead Boys & The Sonics are cited as influences in a press release that clearly labels “Black Rays Defence” ‘the 1st sneering blast of unadulterated Punk Rock of 2005’. Personally, I can hear way more of Brian James in the mix than Cheatah Chrome - & vocalist Nick’s voice is eerily reminiscent of a young Dave Vanian in places too – so I’d substitute The Damned Mark 1 for The Dead Boys – scratch Blue Cheer & The Sonics - & substitute “Raw Power” era Stooges fucking Radio Birdman up the arse with a Heartbreakers dildo. Motorhead born Australian circa 1977.

Refreshingly – The Beat Up stick to the template they outlined with “Jailhouse” back in 2002 – there are few concessions to the vacuous vaudeville of vacant fashion - & for that alone they should be roundly applauded. As this nation’s youth move inexorably backwards towards a rediscovered art-core ethic – The Beat Up’s luddite tendencies are admirable to say the least.

“Black Rays Defence” carves a hole in the face of yr attention span from the get go. “Messed Up” crawls right in & fucks you up. “Alright” twists the knife – breaks down – then does it all again. “Bad Feeling” towers above your bleeding body - pissing on yr wounds. “The Flame” burns as it cleans – killing all known infections dead in their tracks. “When I Set My Mind To Forget” will deny everything at a later date. “Heartbreak” doesn’t give a fuck about the carnage it wreaks in its name. “Detonator” blows up the evidence before the forensic team arrives. “Hum” refuses to call an ambulance, & instead, simply heads for the door. By the time you reach “Damage” yr record collection will never be the same again. This is punk rock from the depths of the swamp. This is religion – my religion.

These days, too many groups make the transition from debut 45 to debut LP in no time at all – sacrificing quality & integrity in the process. The Beat Up have taken their time - & once you’ve grown to love “Black Rays Defence” as I do – you’ll thank them for the 3 years it’s taken them to deliver.

This is Garageland 2005. No bullshit detector required.

Jean Encoule – tMx 18 – 01/05

The Others – “The Others” – (Mercury)

Les Autres – as absolutely no one else refers to them – have become our favourite argument here in the tMx Bunker of late. Some have them marked down as pseudo-cockerney purveyors of faux-retro implied-class-consciousness – others point out that they look like a collective made up of ex-members of The Cure, The Godfathers, Flowered Up & Saxon.

Vocally, Les Autres walk a thin line between Mark Perry & a weird hybrid of Stinky Turner & Liam Maher. Some may find Dominic’s incessant whine a touch grating – others point out that Dom’s talking voice is plum-drenched Townie whilst his singing voice is hammed-up Mockerney. Dominic is 27 – he used to work in advertising.

Lyrically, Les Autres are not going to win any literary prize nominations. Guttersnipe poetry, this ain’t. In fact, the majority of it is so toe-curlingly appalling that you have to assume he’s either taking the piss or intellectually challenged. Simplistically referencing a few choice socio-economic themes & vaguely highlighting some of the current concerns of the under-classes does not make Les Autres the new Crass.

Musically, however, Les Autres do have something to offer: Jimmy Lager’s guitars are a rag bag collective of post punk invention littered with references to Keith Levene & Bernhard Sumner, ex-music journalist Johnny Others’ bass boasts a strident majesty that blends Peter Hook with Jean Jacques Burnell, Martin Oldham’s drums punctuate with a knowing alertness & positive drive - & together they forge a sound that is as interesting as it is convoluted. That’s about it. Les Autres are not about to change a light bulb – let alone the world.

“Music that inspires you & can change your life” – The Express

“Transcending the rules to create something extraordinary” – The Observer

The most interesting phenomenon surrounding Les Autres is their instant deification at the hands of the mainstream press. Hacks are quite literally tripping over their thesauruses in the rush to find adequate superlatives to spit at a gullible public.

If you make your ‘informed choices’ based on recommendations from such respected bastions of rock’n’roll zeitgeist as The Sunday Times, The Guardian & Vice Magazine – then Les Autres could well be the alternative lifestyle commitment for you.

Why not drop an e-mail to Dom’s Blackberry or txt one of his many mobile handsets & ask him to help you set up a drug advisory centre in your local town. I’m sure he’d be only too pleased to get involved with you – whoever you are. He is a man of the people, after all.

Mike Twat – tMx 18 – 01/05

The A-Lines – “The A-Lines” – (Purr)

The A-Lines are made from Action Times, Stuck-Ups, Headcoatees & Mambo Taxis. They boast not only a former Mrs Childish - but the current Mrs Childish, too! No surprise, then, that Mr Childish himself occupies the producer’s chair.

The A-Lines have impeccable taste. They love Kleenex, The Raincoats & The Slits almost as much as they love Love, The Electric Eels & Nuggets/Rubble compilation LPs. The A-Lines make their cover versions (Love’s “Can’t Explain” & The Electric Eels “Agitated”) sound like their own tunes: the mark of a top combo.

The A-Lines peddle raw garage clutter shot through with Euro art-punk sensibilities. Honest, passionate & as concise as the genre demands, “The A-Lines” is a textbook lesson in effective fuzz-tone minimalism.

Evan Halshaw – tMx 18 – 02/05

Sexaphone – “My Baby Don’t Like Nobody (But Me)”/”No Heart/No Brain”/”Backstage & The Bedroom”/”It’s Sick”

Sexaphone exist somewhere in between kill surf city USA & the happy when it rains UK. Resolutely lo-fi, unquestionably first take - & most definitely punk rock - Sexaphone are essentially Janie from Black Time with a little help from her friends: this 4-track self-funded release was produced by Black Time’s Lemmy Caution @ Rocket Reducers in Tottenham, N15.

Sexaphone are live & direct. Sexaphone are low slung & dirty. Sexaphone are shelter from the fuzz-storm. They made it fucked up. Get a piece of their action before time says it’s too late.

Broken equipment rarely sounds this good.

Harrison Bored – tMx 18 – 02/05

LCD Soundsystem – “LCD Soundsystem” – (DFA)

James Murphy – aka LCD Soundsystem – has been loudly building a reputation over the formative years of this century - artfully blending a Punk attitude to a patchwork quilt House ethos. Lowest common denominator – it ain’t.

Murphy has got previous convictions - many years spent pounding away behind a drum kit in various guitar orientated groups – but it’s his current fruitful partnership with fellow DFA associates, Jonathan Galkin & Tim Goldsworthy, that’s finally propelled his star into orbit. Together, they continue to remind us that NYC is as much about the heritage of Suicide as it is heritage of The Ramones.

“LCD Soundsystem” is a 2-disc affair:

Disc 1 features the LP proper – an eclectic collective of analogue synths, delicious loops, devilish bass-lines, devious grooves, crashing beats, dualing hi-hats, spoken/whispered vocals, ghostly harmonies - & the odd dash of instrumentation to dress. You’ll hear shades of Pil, Gang Of Four (“On Repeat”), New Order, Daft Punk, Talking Heads (“Great Release”), Prince (“Disco Infiltrator”), Suicide, No Wave, New Wave, Punk Rock (“Movement”), Disco - & The Beatles (“Never As Tired As When I’m Waking Up”). This soundsystem picks up where Dub Narcotic left off.

“LCD Soundsystem” works on many different levels – you can dance to it, sure – but you can also listen to it – think to it – fuck to it – do whatever the hell you want to it. Murphy deals in grove-based songs - & in many respects he’s pulled of something with “LCD Soundsystem” that dance music as a genre has never really accomplished before. The closest comparison, for me anyhow, would have to be Underworld’s “Second Toughest In The Infants” – the fact that it was all down hill for them from then on in is probably irrelevant (hopefully).

Disc 2 captures LCD’s previous 45s on one handy compilation - including the now legendary “Losing My Edge” – the ultimate aging hipsters lament – as well as the surging pulse of “Beat Connection”, the magnificent industrial complex of “Give It Up” & the swirling acid snowstorm of “Yeah” (crass version).

On the whole - “LCD Soundsystem” is a resounding success. Murphy & Co may owe a great debt to Vega & Rev – but they are far more than mere spectators of Suicide.

The Katestar – tMx 18 – 01/05

Dead Fly Buchowski – “Blackout” – (Beggars Banquet)

Glasgow’s superbly monikered Dead Fly Buchowski were always going to struggle match the brilliance of their name. So, in many ways, as soon as we put the CD in the player we kinda knew it was going to be duff - & it duly was.

A-side, “Blackout”, is the sound of (the corpse of) Pearl Jam being infiltrated by a member of Devo operating an ancient synthesiser in a covert manner. It doesn’t really work on any level at all.
B-side, “Hope Is Treasure”, fares better – but it’s hard to see what all the fuss is about. C-side, “Been Down Before”, takes the Pearl Jam referencing to obsessive levels causing the CD & the cover to be immersed in lighter fluid & ceremonially burnt.

Whichever way you look at it:

a)Grunged up Indie.
b)Watered down Metal.

We’ve heard it all before. TTFN.

The Koala Brothers – tMx 18 – 01/05

Striplight – “Still Beating” –

Noir-wave angular art-stars, Striplight, unleash their debut self-financed 45 (ltd edition - 500 copies).

Available directly from the group’s website (url above) – “Still Beating” shadow boxes clever with a host of malevolent influences. Siouxsie Sioux & Her Banshees, PiL, GO4 & The Raincoats splash their mannerisms across the crowded canvas – but it’s Birmingham’s Au Pairs who are closest to where Striplight are coming from. This has a strut & a purpose more righteous than mere record collection replication. Striplight are bathed in darkness. Take care in the shadows.

Marquee Smith – tMx 18 – 01/05

Martini Henry Rifles – “Slash The Seats” (My Kung Fu)

Welsh Punks Martini Henry Rifles have been accused of everything from sounding like ‘The Stooges @ 45 crossed with the Pixies’ to being ‘so brain hurtingly bad that they’re brilliant’.

“Slash The Seats” has been culled from their superb “SuperBastard” LP & radically re-interpreted in 4 movements by Culprit One – Wales’ answer to DJ Shadow. The results are simply marvellous. Martini Henry Rifles are primed to set the airwaves alight. Primed - & ready for a fight.

“Strapped to the wrong side of a Messerschmidt with a monkey that’s dressed like Elvis” – goes the refrain. You’ll all be singing it pissed up on the dance-floor before the weekend is over. Remember where you didn’t hear it first.

Go steady past yr grannies.

The Koala Brothers – tMx 18 – 01/05

Empty Vessels – “Snakes”/”Monkey”/”(It’s No) Guilty Pleasure” (

Empty Vessels are convinced they sound like no one else on earth – in their minds they’re operating in hitherto un-chartered waters. They like: stripped-down grooves, art not art & cartoon animals shouting at each other. They don’t like: gtr solos, long songs, acts, gimmicks, real men - & messy eaters.

Empty Vessels could well be onto something here. Early PiL are the obvious ‘catch-all’ reference – the drumming of Jim Walker has possibly been examined under the microscope round at their drummer’s house – night after lonely night.

There is, however, some way to go yet for Empty Vessels. “(It’s No) Guilty Pleasure”, in particular, is barely formed – to say the least – but they should be applauded for daring to be different & kept under observation in the Bunker laboratory. We’ll let you know how it turns out.

Come back Arthur “Two Sheds” Jackson. All is forgotten.

Harrison Bored – tMx 18 – 01/05

Gold Blade – “Psycho” (Captain Oi)

John Robb returns with another quality blast of stonkingly vibrant Punk Rock’n’Soul. “Psycho” hits all the right buttons straight on the nose & leaves you bloodied & bound from the 1st play.

This is the kind of stuff we need on our radio waves – replete with terrace chant vocals on the chorus & the kind of gtr solo any group under the age of 40 seem incapable of playing correctly.

Taken from the forthcoming LP, “Rebel Songs”, “Psycho” is an anthem for the disaffected – a rallying call to the darker corners of fucked up Blighty.

Come out, come out – wherever you are – you have nothing to loose except yr preconceptions.

Harrison Bored – tMx 18 – 01/05

The Cherry Reds – “Concrete & Clay EP (Sneetch)

The Cherry Reds are one of London’s finest Punk groups - & the “Concrete & Clay EP” only further cements their claim to the throne vacated by The Clash way back when.

“Two Dollar Rebel Song” does everything S*M*A*S*H threatened but never quite managed to deliver. This is fucking excellent – I can’t believe these boys aren’t already pissing all over the insubstantial parades of far lesser groups with acres more coverage.

“Assassination Stare” charges out of the blocks at full tilt – this renders the entire careers of pseudo punks like The Others & their ilk utterly redundant in one foul swoop - & fully deserves it’s chance to slug it out with the massed ranks of England’s young pretenders.

“Burned Away” skanks as it swaggers – hinting at a caustic pop sensibility beneath the fury – it never hurts to have more than one string to yr bow – or two strings to yr guitar, for that matter.

The Cherry Reds deserve to be heard & loved by you all. Take my advice – get involved today – before it’s too late.

Marquee Smith – tMx 18 – 01/05

Being 747 – “The Girl Who Fell Asleep Whilst Watching Her Life Flash Before Her Eyes” (Wrath)

Being 747 are back - & this time they’ve brought with them one of the best songs from “Fun & Games”. “TGWFAWWHLFBHE” is another slice of eccentric populist culture shot through with wry observational humour – as well as the longest song tile in the short history of intel.pop (registered genre definition copyright reserved – Mike Twat – 2005).

It sounds like this – it sounds like that – it reminds me of blah blah blah - at their best. Think this – think that. I don’t have to think - because I write for the NME. Will this do?

Part of the new vanguard of intelligent independent pop - Being 747 will surely be manning the barricades - along with the likes of Luxembourg, The Boyfriends, The Vichy Government & The Long Blondes - in the war on fakers that will break out any day now.

Mike Twat – tMx 18 – 01/05

Stuffy & The Fuses – “Where’s The Captain?” (Wrath)

Hurrah for Stuffy & his Fuses – “Where’s The Captain” has been beefed up from the version available on their enormously entertaining Wrath long player, “Join Me Or Die” (WrathCD18). They’re soon to be recording their new LP with Steve “West Bromwich” Albini - & you know he doesn’t work with any old crap.

More Wire than Nicky. More ecstatic than XTC. More independent than the United States of America. What more do expect from a fucking record? Don’t believe the Captain. He’s a fucking liar - & he wants to cave my head in with a hammer.

Jean Encoule – tMx 18 – 01/05

Termites – “Boltgun”/”I Stand Alone” (Purr)

Termites put the cabaret back into Voltaire. Termites put the alternative back into tentacles. Termites are 1. Termites are Bristolians.

‘Psychedelic death pop’ - is what it says here. The Cramps at 78 rpm is how it registered in what passes for my brain. Either way – make a note of Termites - & look out for a ltd hand stamped 7” 45 bearing these audio gifts. Ooh - & don’t let them near any wooden objects that hold a place in yr heart.

Harrison Bored – tMx 18 – 01/05

Yena Veldt – “1”

Yena Veldt is Yiddish for ‘the middle of nowhere’ - & everyone knows this is nowhere, right? Nowhere, as Douglas Coupland rakishly observed, is now here - & so are Yena Veldt.

It’s fitting that Yena Veldt have surfaced in the same issue of tMx as Captain Beefheart – as they share both musical & titular issues with the Don. We need more groups with members called things like Jude, Makovitch, Uptonius & White Acre. Fast & most definitely bulbous. Tapered, also.

Yena Veldt say that people say they sound like: Jesus Lizard, Shellac, Rapeman, Melt Banana, Big Black, Fugazi, Jawbox, Sonic Youth, Polvo, Wire & Siouxsie & The Banshees (?!!?). I think this says more about the way that people are obsessed with pigeonholes than it does about Yena Veldt. Sure, they use guitars & drums in artistic shapes – but doesn’t everyone these days? There are shades of artcore, hardcore & weirdcore going down chez Yena Veldt – but to simply write a list of possible influences would be missing the point.

The point: Yena Veldt are making their art on their own terms - & it has nothing to do with the cult of personality over relevance. Yena Veldt are fully formed & waiting to perplex & excite you at the same time. I’d never heard or heard of Yena Veldt until this CD dropped into the tMx bunker bin – but I know instinctively that they only sound like Yena Veldt. Now how many new groups can you say that about in 2005?

Conclusion: “Semite Song”, “I Died Of A Broken Leg” & “Abbreviation Is A Long Word” are destined to become classics – even if this process only takes place in my own mind. After 3 years, you should know me by now. Take my advice. Embrace Yena Veldt.

Jean Encoule – tMx 18 – 02/05

Kill Kill Kill – “First Thing In The Morning”

Kill Kill Kill have got the blues. Not the watered-down chart bothering White Stripes kind of blues, you understand, but The Bassholes kinda Immortal Lee County Killers 1st LP kinda fucked up stumblebum blues. Kill Kill Kill defiantly operate somewhere way south of South X Southwest convention. They are filthy dirty beyond belief. Like The Cramps playing Robert Johnson through a single 50w bass amp down the telephone via satellite – Kill Kill Kill are condensed to fuck.

Kill Kill Killed by death rattle snakes. The rest is up to you.

Evan Halshaw – tMx 18 – 02/05

Dufus – “Ball Of Design” – Roir

Seth Faergolzia’s Dufus return with their 1st for NYC’s legendary Roir Records. Dufus rough up elements of Captain Beefheart, The Fugs & Frank Zappa to bring us eclectic eccentricity of the highest quality.

“Ball Of Design” is heavier than their previous outing, “1:3:1” – heavier not only in sound & intensity – but in terms of political content too. Dufus are outsiders banging on yr windows clutching photocopied fliers in their bloodied hands – demanding your attention. Dufus could change the way you arrange the musical chairs around the dining table of your mind.

Opener, “Freedom”, is the 10-best-songs-you-ever- heard-in-your-entire-life all rolled into one big fat 10-skin Camberwell carrot. It pulsates & mutates around an acoustic guitar riff so chunky it could be hanging round the collective necks of GLC. Seth rides the riff & the choir like a scooter to stunning effect. Mere words can only fail spectacularly to adequately describe the utter brilliance of what’s going on here.

“Wut Kolors” is apocalypse skiffle. “Wrinkle” is Kurt Wagner fronting They Might Be Giants. “Radiation” is Jeff Buckley drowning in the Aphex Twin’s bathwater. “Specinal” is a schizophrenic Cat Stevens on crack. “Deemon” isn’t a million miles away from the spirit of David Peel & The Lower East Side. “Pakistan Enellellope” is a Joe Strummer outtake from “Walker” that morphs into an Andalusian raga of epic proportions. “Addictive” is Malcolm McLaren playing chip music riffs on his old skool Gameboy in the background whilst Seth turns into some kind of Southern-Baptist-Hellfire-Preacher-Eminem in the foreground. “Kids” is an aural patchwork quilt of stitched together sound. “Civil War” a passionate plea to ‘set aside your idiot for a minute’.

Finale, “Sunchein”, builds to a cinematic crescendo – chucking in everything but the kitchen sync (more whistling, more barking) – as passers by from blocks around drop in to join the choir. A foregone conclusion, this ain’t.

Fiercely independent, fiercely committed & suitably deranged - Dufus stand alone in their field holding back the waves of corporate crap like a platoon of modern day Canutes. Dufus know intuitively that there are ultimately way more solutions than there are problems.

Evan Halshaw – tMx 18 – 02/05

Bassholes – “Broke Chamber Music” – Secret Keeper

“Broke Chamber Music” collects Bassholes previous releases from In The Red, Sympathy For The Record Industry, Bag Of Hammers & Honey Man Records & smears them all over this 23 track disc. Many of these cuts are now out-of-print & plenty more are previously unreleased gems from the earliest days of the group’s history.

“Broken Chamber Music” is the perfect history lesson for those consumed with the passion of stumblebum punk blues. Find out where The White Stripes stole it all from.

Harrison Bored – tMx 18 – 02/05

Bassholes – “Bassholes” – Dead Canary Records

Bassholes first new material since 1998’s “Long Way Blues” (Matador) is a “weird-shit-hi-fi” production on utterly independent Dead Canary Records of Columbus, Ohio.

Opening with Blind Willie McTell’s “Broke Down Engine”, Bassholes ride the boxcar through 8 Howland compositions, 1 group original, 2 trad-arrs & a John Entwistle & Lew Lewis cover apiece. The sound throughout is expansive & evocative – mature & seasoned – ripe on the vine.

As usual, Bassholes choice of covers say more about where they’re coming from than I could ever do: a Punk/Blues duo that covers the likes of Joy Division, The Ramones, The Fugs, The Band, The Germs, Alan Vega & ESG – you can’t argue with taste of that magnitude.

If you were to press Don Howland as to how he sees Bassholes himself he’d apparently reply: “sort of like Punk Rock”. You can’t argue with that.

Marquee Smith – tMx 18 – 02/05

Demon’s Claws – “Demon’s Claws” – Dead Canary Records

Demon’s Claws crawl out of their (Back From The) Grave to present us with the distorted crunch of their debut LP.

Made up from remnants of the Cut Offs & Les Metiors, Demon’s Claws make scuzzed up garage nuggets with an acerbic noughties glaze: shaken but not stirred - bitter but never twisted. 12 cuts of primal, gut-churningly honest punk rock’n’roll stomp with the emphasis on authenticity over originality.

Billy Childish would doubtless tweak his not insubstantial moustache with pride & nod accordingly.

Evan Halshaw – tMx 18 – 02/05

Chelsea – “Urban Kids – A Punk Rock Anthology” (Castle)

Chelsea were one of the most unpopular groups in the history of Punk Rock. No one had a good word to say about Gene October – so nothing’s changed there, then. Their first line up lasted no more than couple of weeks before messers James, Towe & Broad fucked off to form Generation X. The second line up secured a deal with Mark P’s Step Forward Records & released their one moment of perfect clarity, “Right To Work” (& the one decent track on this 32 selection collection – work it out, ratio fans). That is where the story should have ended – unfortunately – October refused to go quietly.

Musicians came & went, October hustled & pimped – but all Chelsea could ever do efficiently was mimic The Clash (often hilariously - as on “Twelve Men”) – except with really, really, really shit vocals & appalling songs.

“When the history of punk is discussed amongst the media it is usually the likes of the Sex Pistols, The Clash & The Damned that are credited as standard bearers & given all the acclaim. Whilst there is no doubting those bands importance, to many followers of the movement it is the ‘foot soldiers like Chelsea who were equally important as their better known counterparts” – even the sleeve notes are utter shit.

Chelsea were fucking awful. Gene October was a predator. This compilation is embarrassing. That’s all you need to know.

Marquee Smith – tMx 18 – 02/05


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