SNOTTYNESS... Punk Rock Classic - World Contender - Worth A Listen - Average - Plastic - No Future
45 (ppr008) 2004
A Scottish/Italian split EP here, which
on paper should produce something
The Swellbelly's from
Dalkeith, Scotland are one band that
seem to appear on every DIY record
label with a vacant slot, these days.
They continue in their mission to give
us a full frontal
Exploited lobotomy.
Their 2 track offering comes without
Wattie's nihilism, but creates enough
of that mid 80's thrashy vibe, via
Needs tattooed tones. They are
propelled out the traps with a scary
kind of vigour, but can soon get
predictable. These geezers are as
ugly as sin with enough flab to let you
know they've been round the block a
few times. So full marks for carrying
out a grotesque punk execution, but
I'm afraid that's all they got to offer
with their one dimensional guitar riffs
and high speed delivery. The lyrics
are just as basic, but to the point! '
More Poor'
they scream, yeah we
wish! Followed by '
Fraud' which is a
bang on attack on UK Dole squad!!!
Still  pretty
On the flipside there ain't many
bands that can really compete with
Swellbelly's in a head to head
collision like this. And the ear assault
from a younger, less grotesque
Dishonour Squad from Sulmona in
Italy, does have a go! They give us a
weedier, scrawnier take on the
Swellbelly's fast as fuck assault.
They sing in English but it would
probably sound better in Italian, and
give us exactly what you'd expect
from this unimaginative thrash core.
Singer Fabrizio seems to be
permanently entrapped in his Jack
Russell lair, while the drummer Ivan
pounds his kit to a pulp in the
background. '
Destruction' is a rapid
lambaste against techno with some
healthy sentiments, but fails to ignite
and merely creates an irritating
racket. It's followed by their token riot
song '
Riot United'. Gawd how many
more years must we endure punk
bands doing songs about riots???
Comes with a colour foldout lyric
sleeve, complete with unsightly
Swellbelly band shots.
'...Do what?'
45 (ppr007) 2004
The Cropknox are a testosterone
fuelled spiky punk rock outfit from
San Francisco, and continue in their
quest to rip out 21st century battle
cries and bag themselves another
rather good 45. Heavy duty drums
signal the introduction to the opening
track '
Do What', which is by far the
best track of the 3 on show. These
punks work so much better on the
single format than an albums worth.
They got a fuller sound now, with
some impressive guitar work from
Dave 'n' Nathan, giving this platter
enough beef to create a fuss
amongst the young studs. '
Fear Of
, shows a nod to the Defiance
(who also get a name check on the
cover) school of big guitars, sweaty
creepers and gang anthems.
Cropknox are starting to display a
more mature rock 'n' roll sound that's
slowly creeping into their youthful
attack, and it works well alongside
the obvious power. To get the full
effect listen to this with your
headphones on full blast as side one
closes with a neat 'SOS' feedback
signal. B-side '
Sleeping Sound'
boasts some metallic lead guitar
breaks as the rhythm tracks soars
along. Nothing to write home about
lyrically, as they give us standard
spiky lines about disenchantment
with the American dream and the
usual shit these young bands
endure. But if they think they got
problems they ought to try living on
the Low Hill estate!
The Cropknox
are a band who goes for an aural
approach, rather than the perceptive
route which works in small 45 doses.
This is summed up completely by a
very large Smith & Wesson magnum
on the back cover. Not as impressive
as their debut 45, but leaves a lot of
their comptemporaries in this genre
way behind. Comes with a lyric sheet
and information insert.
'Sex Objects' CD
(BYO Records) July 2004
At long last Nihilism On the Prowl
gets to hear the latest quirky and
ultimately brief (31 minutes) punk
rock offering  from without doubt the
best band in the American punk
scene today! 'Sex Objects' is yet
another hilarious and often cynical
look at the American life style, and is
created with infectious class. Who'd
have thought it possible in the age
when everything in punk has
practically been done, signed, sealed
and delivered? It's time to get excited
again! These cheeky fuckers from
Seattle come up with the goods time
and time again, both in well crafted
tunes, subtle arrangements and a
devastating approach.
The Briefs
are 21st century kings of the 2 min.
30 sec, punk anthem. And the most
vital band around in every scene or
sense of the word. They can do it
both in their energetic live
performances and in the studio
confines, which this set proves. This
album contains 14 tracks of
paranoia, treason, perversion and
anti social themes to blast out at the
ignorant straight world. 'Sex Objects'
their latest full length, makes you
think how much longer have these
wired up guttersnipes gotta wait till
they're in the national charts rubbing
shoulders with the likes of the
Offspring or the way
less talented White Stripes, Hives
etc. They deserve your attention and
fast!!! Their short, sharp infectious
shocks hit home every time. If you
want cocky, entertaining punk rock
with tunes and a compulsive
bravado, then get this album! These
punk rockers have all the susssss,
and know how to figure it all out
visually and aurally for themselves.
Clever kids with a sense of humour is
one of our greatest assets. Check
out the rowdy opening track of
Orange Alert' for example. Or the
popular '
Destroy The USA', which
sums up everything you always knew
about the land of the free, but was
too fuckin lazy to notice. All the tracks
on show are in a class all by
themselves, as they so effortlessly
put it in '
So Stupid'. They have the
triple vocal talents of Steve E. Nix
(guitar), Daniel Travanti (guitar), and
of course drummer Chris Brief!
Which work brilliantly together giving
the songs and the sound that
sneering touch most punk bands can
only dream of.
The Briefs maybe
seen as a quirky joke in some idiotic
circles. And maybe their wraparound
shades and peroxide barnets do give
them a sort of
Toy Dolls veneer. But
with so much talent in their ranks and
a legion of anthems in their arsenal,
you gotta take notice sooner or later.
Probably the hottest punk property
Rancid or Green Day, and
thats no bullshit! Clever attacks
wrapped up in spiky anthems ain't
easily deployed, but these boys know
their stuff bringing together all the
best quality's in punk from the
Ramones to the Buzzcocks and
beyond. This band has an intimate
social commentary on everyday life
and covers almost everything from
lifes cosmos like the hilarious
Shoplifting At Macys' to the pill
popping intrigue of '
Mystery Pill'.
Their lyrical diversity within these
rampant attacks are so effective
giving the band an almost Biafra
styled view on life.
The Briefs just
keep coming out with hit after hitâ
€¦god bless the fucked up USA!!!!
'Singles Only'
(BYO Records) CD December 2004
This gang of Seattle punks just can't
seem to make a bad move here in
the Wolfs Lair. And it's great to get
my latest fix of
the Briefs with this
their 'Singles Only' collection (cheers
Paul). They are all handily repacked
on one CD for wankers like me who
missed 'em first time around. And you
know what, these hyperactive cases
ain't no fluke, coz they had it all down
even from the start in 2000. Right
from the pounding drumming intro to
Poor And Weird'  - "baby you got
no time for me"
onwards, it made
me realise with this album in my
stereo I truly feel loaded!!! Not many
punk bands can do that these days! I
love the moody '
Rotten Love' with a
classic swaying guitar riff that festers
right under yer desires. And in the
blink of an eye they cheekily nick the
opening riff from '
Blitzkrieg Bop' to
propel their hilarious anti Bob Seger
killing spree, during '
Silver Bullet' tee
hee. This band explores all the
lunacy of day to day living and turns
it into compact 2 minute sneering
anthems. There's no excess weight
on these louts! Everything including
lyrics, arrangements and
performance is water tight. Take for
instance the schoolboy gone bad,
€˜Benny’s Got A Cigarette’
Which is a fucking great social
The Ramones influence
the Briefs is a lot more prevalent
on these early tracks. However they
have created their own sound. These
cheeky fuckers have a mischievous
glint in their eye and enough
imagination in their underwear to
realise aping your betters is bad for
health. Especially when you can
inject your very own manic pop
personality! A trait that will have all
the young punks singing along to
before they can ask
'Where Did He
Which is an addictive killer of a
track (pardon the pun). And like
they've got bird trouble too
(who ain't?). See the energetic
"don't get me wrong, no she ain't
evil, she's like a stunt man evil
) or the excellent
McArthuresque obsession of '
Baby's A Communist'
for example.
Like most Americans
the Briefs sing
about hypochondria, paranoia and
anorexia? which naturally leads to
getting dumped by your girlfriend.
Crazy tales that are lovingly
displayed on tunes such as the
disposable '
Like A Heart Attack'.
Highlight for me had to be the sinister
bass pounding of '
Dead In The
Our Seattle psychos
witness murder and debauchery
behind the draped stars 'n' stripes in
front yard USA, along side one the
best tunes and chorus's executed
this decade.There are a couple of
throwaway tracks amongst the 18 on
show, but they're few and far
between. And when they got '
, 'Ain't It The Truth'
bringing us right up to date, they
can't fail.We await their next creation
with baited breath!
'Barcode Generation'
(dislocate) CD April 20th 2004
Picked this up at a recent Drongo's
gig, and it's good to finally hear the
21st century version of Birmingham's
Drongo's For Europe on record.
Like their current live performance,
this 14 tracker is tight, slick and
doesn't disappoint. Their relentless
UK82 assault has a definite
streamline veneer to it these days.
But they still maintain that gritty
Brummy bite. Guitarist Anton supply's
plenty of competent power chord riffs
that never veer too far from the
frenzy, and he throws in a few
capable lead breaks to rise above
the wreckage. Adding some melody
to the fury. Big Dek Drongo on bass
delivers good ballsy bass runs to
give 'em depth and muscle
pummelling behind the scenes. And
he's ably backed up by drummer
Kimbo's solid drumming workouts.
Which are a load better than his
cover artwork, thank gawd! Finally
Tommy Drongo's vocals have
matured considerably from the
Drongo's of old. He deploys a more
strained and intense roar these
days. Which befits their fist clenched
anthems like a leather studded
glove. With a unit like this firing on all
cylinders and converging on the
punk underground, they can’t
help but create some good rowdy
punk rock. And If I was
GBH I'd be
looking over me shoulder coz these
Drongo's are catching you up fast!
The Drongo's even portray a
conscience (shock horror!) steering
into political and social issues that
demand an individual stance in
today's faceless, numerical society.
It's all let loose on a hardcore
landscape not too dissimilar to local
GBH, but with a more street
level rrumble. Highlights of this album
had to be '
May Day', 'Wait A Minute',
and the title track 'Barcode
which even shows signs
of dare I say it, an American
influence! They attack the corporate
magnates, the governments who
declare war and increase poverty
levels, plus all the other cunts who
try and feed us or try and blackmail
us into falling for the con! It's hard to
believe that they can still realistically
capture the anger after all these
years. But they spit it out with a
genuine conviction that not many
punk vets can sustain these days.
And in doing so have earned
themselves a growing army of
younger punksters who
unsurprisingly lap 'em up big time!
Comes with a good solid production
that matches the Drongo's manifesto
and the lyrical proclamations. My
only gripe is the tacky 'green' cover
which Tommy was quick to point out
was the drummers responsibility tee
hee. This is heads down punk rock
for a new generation!
'The Gospel According To...'
(rbr-063cd) CD December 2004
The Spittin' Vicars come gobbing
out the pulpit in this their debut slab
of quirky, blasphemous but rather
pleasing punk rock. These Euro
punks dispense 13 tracks of
harmonious but spiky punk doses
with an eager eye for melody and a
snotty nose for the late 70's in
design. It helps having a band with
so much punk pedigree in their
ranks. Coz you can tell these
geezers know how to knock up a
good punk rock tune. Sometimes
punk bands made up from different
elements of the scene can sound
puerile, once you get 'em in the
studio! But these fuckers do seem to
gel well, and although there are a
couple of mediocre tracks on here,
for the main 'The Gospel According
To' seems to work. They give us a
professional punk rock display, which
will hold its own against most of the
bands on the circuit today. Jon
Codger ex-
Stains, Alternative on
bass and vocals may not be the most
powerful singer in punk, but he's got
a certain wide boy appeal to his
delivery that gives him his own
unique style. And alongside Vince
Incredible's guitar licks, which are
jagged and gritty creating a manic
serrated edge, as he throws in some
Johnny Thunders licks for added
effect its a good combination. Finally
on drums we got the experienced
and solid Vom who's been making a
racket in punk outfits since the 70s?
They kick off with a neat guitar riff
that slices through a crackling radio
broadcast during their current labels
endorsement during '
Radio Blast'.
The Spittin' Vicars come from the
rock 'n' roll high school of punk, with
clean cut production and mid paced
tunes that your either gonna sing
along to or jump around too, they
deserve a reaction. No big political
rants here, just bitter sweet social
commentary's. I particularly liked the
undercurrent guitar licks in the
anti-social '
We Don't Like You',
which chugs along in a slightly
sinister mode. They then dismiss
their UK roots on '
What England
which along with 'Oddball'
(which If you get a chance check out
their hilarious video to this tune that
should get MTV rotation if they pray
hard enough) is the highlight of this
album. I suspect these ex-pats have
a secret affinity with their UK
homeland or at least the
groundbreaking punk rock it once
spat out so vehemently. And this
album tries to instil past glories but is
lacking the killer punch to ram these
songs home. However you can see
the Spittin' Vicars cruising towards
that exalted punk arena by the next
time they manage to congregate in a
studio in the same continent. Let's
not forget this trio of punk rock
refugees all live in different sectors
of the European zone so it proves
their hunger is still rife in their spray
painted vestry. Talking of clerical
duties their song '
Erotica' all about
getting a blowjob on the Kings Rd is
another worth your attention, with its
addictive chorus. And alongside the
anthem like
'Repression' with its
tantalisingly familiar riff that you just
can't quite put your finger on, should
also be a big crowd fave im sure?
Vom the drummer who's about the
same size as Dudley Moore gives us
a chuckle as the album closes on a
Peter Cook/Dudley More spoof of
Jump' to send this cheeky album
jumping off the nearest block of flats
for sure.
'Norah Louise Kuzma' EP
CDEP (TREE04) 2004
4 tracks here from Glasgow's slickest
bunch of melodic punk rockers.
Red Eyes
lineage is a former 90's
SLF cover band HANX, which seems
to have been a good springboard to
conduct business via their measured
but intelligent song structures that
reflect a uncanny knack for a tune.
The Red Eyes have been together
since 1997 and may be lacking an
immediate punk presence or
hardcore grit in the 21st century. But
what they do give us is competent,
audible punk sound thats wrapped in
a strictly late 70's style. Of course
this may be old hat to some spiky
ears these days, but I know I'd rather
listen to this than some intense Jack
Russell growling above a million miles
an hour's backbeat. Title track and
cover star theme, the alluring '
Louise Kuzma'
is definitely the best
track of the bunch. But who the fuck
is Norah? After consulting
singer/songwriter Alan, and doing
some rather intensive research of my
own (ahem!), it turns out to be none
other than porn star Traci Lords! You
live 'n' learn don'tcha!
The Red
seem to know Traci very well as
they tell her sanitised life story on top
of a good tune. And with Alan's
uncanny Paul Weller delivery you
can't help but notice a distinct
vibe, circa 'All Mod Cons' resonating
around these Scots. They even have
that clean cut Rickenbacker guitar
sound down to a tee. They follow it
with a leisurely romp through

by the Ruts, which was
lacking the burning intensity of the
original, but delivered well enough to
get a slot on the next
Ruts covers
album. 3rd track '
All Dressed Up
(NowhereTo Go)'
continues the
relaxed pace, which by now should've
had the momentum upped a gear or
two. It did come with neat lead break
though. Final track '
RottenRow Baby'
continues the high quality delivery
but lyrically this didn't really captivate
The Red Eyes need more pace
to send their intricate tunes home coz
that's where they'd hit the bulls eye
everytime if they captured a more
intence sound of urgency.
CD 2004
This record makes me feel really old
coz it features the son of my old band
the Stench's guitarist) on
guitar/vocals. Its funny how your past
comes back to haunt ya in such a
strange way. This Blackpool based 3
piece are thankfully a lot more
accomplished musically than the
Stench ever were, and sound more
like a clean cut North West version of
Nirvana if you want a wild
comparison. They don't have as
much impact or anthems as the
Seattle mob, and are quite possibly
more metallic in nature too. The
guitars could do with a bit more scuzz
for starters, but Luke's voice has a
remarkable maturity for his age. And
when the guitars do finally kick in
they take on a gigantic stature.
also seem to have keen ear for
complex song arrangements and
they can dropout with the best of em.
But it can lead to some of their songs
losing the required impact if they'd
only just kept on chugging at those
guitars a bit longer. And that jangling
interruption they seem so keen on
could be lost for more of the big
chord progressions they are more
than capable of kicking out. It gives
them a hideous Indie vibe like on the
opening track 'My Life Ruined' which
was a bit up and down for me.
However this 5 tracker hots up
sufficiently on the last couple of
tracks with 'Freedom' having a neat
guitar solo and their best track
'Odium' which starts off with chiming
guitar, pounding drums before
growling guitars step in as it builds
into a fitting grandiose death metal
finale. They've recently been gigging
all over the Northern hemisphere so
it can only add to their musical
prowess for future recordings and
give them a bigger audience to crawl
through. Not quite the sort of music
style i'd probably venture far from the
bar to hear, but fair dues to em for
creating a very professional
sounding dark debut wand it all
comes with a great production too.
You'll probably be reading more
about em in the pages of Terrorizer
or Kerrang magazines pretty soon
but until then check em out online if
you want.
'Idiot Nation'
(drstrange) CD July 2004
The Partisans reform and come
back from the dead with their first
album in over 20 years. This
collection is the follow up to their
rather grown-up 'Time Was Right'
album from 1984. It's a long reprise
but continues the style which saw the
band turning away from their rowdy
but highly energetic teenage punk
outbursts, into a more measured
musical entity. Not sure the
developed sound of 'Idiot Nation' is
what the kids today with
spray painted on their
leathers really wanna hear? But it's a
pretty good comeback all the same.
Singer Spike and guitarist Andy
Lealand remain from the original
line-up, with an unknown Swedish
rhythm section completing the
line-up.  If your expecting more
re-runs of '
17 Years Of Hell' your
gonna be disappointed, coz lets face
it all their most outstanding tunes
were from the first album and period,
but on this release they continue
their desire to be the new or should I
say latest
Clash clones on the block.
It's a blinkered assumption for me to
make you might think, but just check
out '
Hypervalue' for an immediate
'Strummer/Jones' comparison. Im
sure the band would love the
contrast and it's definitely one that
runs through most of this album. But
their undoubted musical prowess has
to be commended in it's own right
too. However being good composers
don't ignite the original spark they've
obviously left back in the early 80's.
This collection just doesn't excite me
quite as much as their formative era
and sound.
The Partisans in 2004
sound rather tame in comparison,
and when you got bands like the far
Revolvers doing this sorta
'west way' sound, but with a load
more gusto and hunger. You have to
wonder if they would've got a deal
with Dr Strange if they were a totally
new band. You also have to ask the
question, is it worth coming back
after all this time with a middle aged
whine instead of a teenage roar? I
think we all know when they play live
today were only gonna wanna hear
Police Story', 'Arms Race' etc and im
sure they can still dish out those old
tunes with relish in a live situation,
but this collection merely creates a
less enthusiastic degree of interest in
a 20 year old name from punks past.
Although without writing off
completely, tracks like
5am' shows they can still knock out a
rather good swinging tune when they
turn on the creative juices. And it's
spotlighted eve more so during
songs like the moody '
That Girl'
which has Mick Jones circa 'Give Em
Enough Rope' written all over it in
style and delivery. And of the other
outstanding tracks was '
which has a really good
Jail Guitar Doors' kinda vibe, along
side the impressive '
Celebrity' with its
clever chiming guitar ringing out in
the background. They even manage
to create some high octane skanking
ambience during their last track
Keep On' which is reminiscent of
Armageddon Times' in some aspects
as the dropout kicks in alongside
some midpaced rock combinations,
plus it's got the best vocal on the
album. All in all
for the curious amongst us, just don't
expect any all out rockers.
DR Strange
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