2005:   PAGE 1 -  PAGE 2 -  PAGE 3 -  PAGE 4  
SNOTTYNESS... Punk Rock Classic - World Contender - Worth A Listen - Average - Plastic - No Future
'Stamp Out Straight Edge'
CD 2005
The crazily named Mr Nipples and
the Dangleberries
conjures up
something you'd expect from out the
pages of a Roald Dahl book? But
nope these 5 spiky fugitives that once
roamed the streets of 21st century
Belfast with an array of studs, spikes
and everything else you'd imagine a
modern day hardcore punk outfit to
feature, had something more than a
bad reputation and chaotic disposition.
And that something peers out from this
album when you least expect it. Seems
they've got more publicity since their
demise than they ever got when they
were around making a mess. But ain't
that always the way in punk? This
double CD boasts an albums worth of
material dating back from their sole
album 'Nipples Militia' released in
2003, through to early demos and
dodgy outtakes from 'Feck Yis All'. A
ramshackle compilation that will at
times impress, but also cut the bands
own throats in the process. For 'Stamp
Out Straight Edge' features the good,
the bad and the ugly. And some of
that ugliness is that hideous it's
actually very good. They give us a
generous 25 studio tracks to race
through, so you can chuck out the
crud while yer enjoy the 10 or so
standout tracks. I first heard about
within the pages of Riot On
Your Own zine circa 2001. They also
appeared on the 'Riot Down Your
Lane' compilation with a track called
Dependence' which kicks off this
album in fine form. It shows you there
was definitely a lot more to this bunch
of jokers and crazy coloured freaks
than they were given credit for. It also
comes with a surprisingly decent
production job, buzz saw guitars,
pissed off vocals and gang choruses
seal the deal. Yeah you do get the full
on unrefined chaos punk tirades and
heads down riffs on this collection. But
what's a bit different about
is they keep you listening for
the full whack due to being able to turn
their mitts to some impressive
skanking punk that has enough
energy and atmosphere to compete
with their best all out bombardment.
'Slogans' features some subtle sax in
the mix as this anti RUC track hops
along quite merrily to a bouncy beat
that almost hides the scurrilous
subject matter, before the band
scatter into heads down mode. It's
followed by
'Bricks Of Propaganda'
which has a fucking great chorus that
reminds me of prime time
Runnin Riot
and its dual guitar power.
is preceded by a phone tone
and has a certain
SLF vibe with that
militaristic drumming that heralds the
arrival of a chorus singing the praises
of boredom. Straight Edge gets a
severe and utterly deserving bashing
'Hate Edge' as the sussed
lyrics scream
"Clever Remarks
Sarcastic tones/ Accusing us of
being the clones"
smart! And its
underlined by one of the most funny
spit 'n' sawdust rants I've heard since
Cheap Sex. Another song with
bigger hooks than a crack den in
heath Town is the exceptional
'Everyone Thinks Im Paranoid'. Which
is a hilarious insight into punk's glory
state of paranoia? They then turn tack
completely and stagger into an
amusing dub track with convincing
rassssclarddd vocals and
atmospheric bass during
'Futile Dub'.
What are also worth checking out are
the lyrics which are reprinted for our
pleasure and are really very good. In
fact it's a pity they are mostly wasted
in a sea of gruff machine gunned jibes
coz some of these songs and
statements would benefit from being
screamed across maybe a more apt
backdrop. The skank driven
'This City'
represents the bands view of home
town Belfast as it falls into yuppie
paradise and comes with a neat riff
and another authentic toast as they
skank away into the corporate debris.
The sinister
'Disparity' riff and stage
fave trades a unified message. While

'Ballix To The RUC'
has a lone
drumbeat that’s joined by prowling
guitar riffs and that clinical guitar lick
that almost cuts you to the bone as
they blow kisses once more at the
black mafia or cops to you and me.
The choppy
'Smithfield Market' is a
song about days spent trying to make
a few quid by selling what they can for
a cheap night out or a smoke. A real
song about real people. Which sadly
ain't covered as much as it should be
in these days of protest! It has
elements of
Rancid when they were
really good, and an impressive reality
check. '
Yer Ma' is the closest they
come to
Napalm Death, as they end
with a humorous piss take and cover
of '
Stand By Me'.
Disc 2 consists of a live set also
recorded at Giros, Belfast on 20th
December 2002 which is now defunct
and much missed in Belfast. This 50
minute set captures all of the above
tracks and more and features
at their chaotic best with
some side-splitting mid song banter
from singer Darren who is a star in the
making; you simply gotta hear it to
believe it. A fitting farewell to a band
who offered snotty alternative.
'The Confession'
(TIR001) CD 2005
The Confession are a young
energetic bunch of punks from
Sweden, who sound like they
've got
some good ideas on this their debut
release. We get 7 well played taut
numbers, which roll in at just over 10
minutes worth of listening time. They
't hang around, but even with two
songs coming in under 45 seconds,
they don
't just simply rip through
these with energetic disregard.
The Confession actually
thought this out enough to add those
neat little twists to keep your interest.
And it all comes with a professional
production and some clever
arrangements. Their opening number
'1997' has definite touches of the
circa the 'Time Was Right'
period. While the impressive
'No Luck
', whizzes in on a definite
Rancid vibe. It clocks in at an
amazing 44 seconds and could
come straight off the
'Lets Go' album.
Especially during those Tim Armstrong
guitar licks and high end bass runs.
The singer Adam reminds me of the
geezer from
the Revolvers, but
since this recording he
's left the band.
Hope they can find a new singer to
keep up with the high quality of songs
here, but for now they
're soldiering on
with one of the guitarists taking over
vocals. As this EP progresses you
start to experience more and more the
favoured early
Rancid influence,
which is done with skill and enough of
their own input to make it believable.
Although one of my fave tracks was
the short, sharp, shock of
'Get Off My
'..."you fucking cunt!". Which
was the rowdiest of the lot, and made
a neat foil to the East Bay overtones?
I loved the intro to
'Take It Back' too,
which they should
've let run for a lot
longer, coz it quickly turned into a
speedy little number that lost its initial
pull. Last track,
'The Problem With
The Law
' was another noble effort with
its gang chorus and enough
Frederikson presence to earn em a
Bastards support slot next time they
hit Sweden. A couple of Split releases
are in the offering too. Excellent
packaging and comes with an 8 page
lyric booklet.

Cheers to Thompa for throwing this
my way. You can hear them for
yourself here

'I Love NY Punk'
CD September 2005
This 15 tracker came free with the
September 2005 issue of Mojo
Magazine. It's a good compilation of
some of the Big Apples best punk
exports, along side a few notable
outsiders to make up the numbers.
Strange we got no
Ramones but we
can't have it all can we? We kick off
the proceedings with rock 'n' rolls
worst dressed trannies, the
New York
. They give us the street hustling
Trash' as they stumble around in high
heels amongst the debris of 1973.
They're followed in hot pursuit to Max's
Wayne County and his Electric
who spit out their 1977 meat
rack anthem '
Fuck Off'. Which is one
of the snottiest punk tracks that's ever
gonna feature an r'n'b piano solo.
Queen of the Bowery Miss Debbie
Harry of
Blondie keeps the quality
control running high with a bitchy live
rendition of '
Rip Her To Shreds' which
is always a pleasure to endure. I was
never a big fan of
Mink De Ville after
I spotted Willy De Ville in one of the
most lurid pair of grey snakeskin
shoes you'd be hard pressed to see
outside Huggy Bears wardrobe.
However the laid back track '
She's So
don't sound half as bad 30
years later. It's left to
Richard Hell to
really send us to sleep through one of
his bland album tracks and a cover
too! He sounds as laboured as his
'Village Voice' column during Dylan's
Going Going Gone', and luckily he
don't make a return! The
Real Kids
from Boston must've got lost coming
out the Rat Club to end up on here?
They were another band I wasn't much
in awe of back in the late 70's, and by
rights they should've stayed
there as they teeter out the sickly
sweet '
All Kindsa Girls'. Thankfully the
tension skyrockets as those muddy
chunky chords from the
Heartbreakers 'Chinese Rocks' kicks
in and offers us their most famous
anthem complete with "
whoo -
of the rush. I'm pretty
ignorant regarding the
Bush Tetras
'no wave' back catalogue. Reason
being I hated their name and just sort
of avoided them. But they seem pretty
good during the dark but clinical
sounding '
Cowboys In Africa'. I dunno
how Detroit's
Destroy All Monsters
found their way onto a New York
compilation, but these could've been
born within the depths of a sleazy
subway station, they're so New York.
Especially on their '78 punk classic
Bored', which features the deadpan
drawl of Niagra Falls and Ron
Asheton's crawling up the wall
rifferama. New York mime artists
Suicide give us a tame live version
recorded at CBGB's of their synthetic
drum machined '
Keep Your Dreams'.
Pity it wasn't lifted from their debut UK
tour when you would've heard glasses
and gob raining through the air as
they supported
the Clash! Next up is
one of the best live introductions I've
heard in a long time. Dick Manitoba of
the Dictators give us a 1980's
version of possibly their best track the
brilliant '
Next Big Thing'. Which is
armed to the teeth with one muvver
fucker of a riff. From delirium to tedium
as a live version of
Television from
'78 is shuffled out and Tom Verlaine
whines his way through
'See No Evil'. It
takes Washington DC's
Bad Brains to
inject some hardcore impact back into
this album as they run through the
gigantic '
Big Takeover' from '81. The
are the babies of this
collection, but for kids they certainly
ain't shy in coming forward with a
blitzing live version of their 1982
hardcore anthem '
Loud And Fast
. To close we have a 9.50
minutes worth of sax induced
Chance And The Contortions
. The
contorted one slithers out a live
version of his own smak anthem
, which was brilliantly written
and could probably have only been
conceived by someone who knew best.
Great lyrics, bang on performance and
razor sharp insight.
'Sold Out Of Love'
(TKO) CD 2005
This is an extremely slick debut
album from New York's most popular
modern day punk band since
found a can of hairspray
in their mom's handbag. But unlike
the formula approach to hardcore
punk that their spiky brethren use,
NY Rel-x adopt a more sussed
line of attack which ain't so much a
mosh in your favourite mayhem
scenario. Nahh these vamps go for
the more intriguing approach with an
ultra mature resonance and
interesting song structures.
Something akin to
Vice Squad if
they had formed in the big Apple
during the 90's. What hits you
straight away is the enhanced
production courtesy of Pete Dee of
the Adicts on these 11 tracks, which
is this albums 5th element. And
something a lotta bands in the punk
scene today don't seem to
appreciate. This little baby is potent,
addictive and completely throwaway.
You won't get any anti war rhetoric or
Bush rants here. Naaah these punks
and punkettes are more concerned
with their own personal agendas,
relationships and lifestyles that
besiege their NYC enclave. Which
might be a cop out to the more direct
action militants amongst us. But I
think there's more than enough room
for well played punk rock you just
wanna sing-along-to instead of
analyse. Some may sneer that this is
too pop, but it's well crafted punk
rock and makes a great niche
amongst the less articulate
contenders out there. It would be
great to see these on the Blink 182
merry go round, coz they do have
that crossover feel about em without
totally refining their rawer elements.
Their songs are the biggest clincher
despite the singers pinup looks. Even
Erika's once robotic delivery has
gained more experience and makes
a heady combination. She's now
revealed an almost humane touch
which gives her that attractive
characteristic most women in punk
dream of, and that's star quality.
Loads of midpaced energy gets
unleashed with a lean sheen that will
see these relics on many a punk bill
well into future. They may suffer from
dumb punk tunes sung from a
personal outlook, but despite being
two hot chicks and two talented
geezers, the
NY Rel-x understand
how to create addictive punk rock
tunes with impressive arrangements.
Check out Johnny Kray's guitar solo
on '
No More Tears' or the sinister
overtones of '
Sorrow Is A Prison'.
However even with the strong title
track the outstanding number of the
album for me, was the brilliant power
chord lure of
'Why'. Which has one
of the most alluringly defiant chorus's
I've heard for a long time? I also
enjoyed the full on
'Its All Wasted'
which gives John Kray a rare lead
vocal which works well with Erika's
duel inclusions. They take their
influences from the early 80's school
of punk melodramatics but with
elements of
Girlschool thrown in,
which they repay in kindness with a
fiesty cover of
'Emergency' just so we
know. Highly recommended and
comes as always in one of Dave
Glass's impressive vampish covers.
Cheers to Trev Hagl for throwing this
my way. Check em out here...
'Hotline To Hades'
CD (PSR018/DFE001) 2005
Birmingham's Drongos For Europe
seem to have overcome that dreaded
second album syndrome with an even
more impressive, solid dose of punk
rock here. 'Hotline To Hades' has been
reformatted and released on local
label Punk Shit Records in conjunction
with their own DFE imprint. Only 2,000
copies in existence, but it enables
dullards from Wolverhampton like
myself who missed the initial thrust on
some other label, to finally sample their
latest studio set. They kick off with the
defiant '
Untamed' declaring the bands
un-shifting commitment to exercising
their human rights '
No matter what
they do to us, no matter what they
say we'll stay untamed'.
And you
know something having met the band. I
can safely say a couple of 'em are at
least doing just that. Tommy Drongo
may not have the roar of his beloved
Holt End at his disposal in the booth,
but he has an uncanny knack of
making '
who are we' sound like
"whoarrgh whoarrgh whoarrgh!"
'Children Of Apathy'. 'Punk
Rock Radio'
dare I say it, see's the
drifting into almost
commercial punk territory. This catchy
little number is probably their most
radio friendly song to date. Give or
take a few lyrical incisions. It's a song
with an almost Phil Spector type drum
mix, an East Bay Ray riff and that
nenacing bass.
The Drongos are a
band who produce tense, rowdy
hardcore with gang chorus's and
enough tunes to satisfy all walks of
punk life. They are fighting for your
rights and giving the underdog a voice,
which has to be applauded. But I'd
really like to hear em slag off
something a bit more diverse than the
obvious Bush/government targets. Coz
lets face it there's a whole world full of
cunts who need abuse and the list is
growing! During '
Fight For Your Rights'
they incorporate a neat dropout and a
chanting Brummy rap, which actually
'Johnny Guitar' has elements of
Rancid without becoming totally
Americanised like so many bands tend
to. The song traces
the Drongos
story through the eyes of two of their
confederates who have now departed
for the big bar in the sky. And as well
as being one of the best tracks on the
album, makes for a fitting tribute. The
autobiographical '
We Are The
boasts a rare nifty guitar
solo by the usually riffy drenched
Anton Drongo. Then he adds a
skanking intro to their pissed off '
Need A Gun'
which has the best lyrics
on this album. Tommy rips apart the
gun culture that's rife on our city
streets by swarms of 'bloods' and run
by rats. '
Whose Army' is destined  to
be another one of those tunes the kids
love to sing at gigs. There are a few
average tracks on here too, but
nothing mediocre enough to rattle their
current creative edge.
The Drongos
know their limitations but are diligently
gaining confidence with each new
release. I even liked the lyrics on '
This Life'
which mentions local
characters in dead end jobs and dead
end lives. It's always good when bands
sing about their own environment
instead of what's usually media driven.
You have to give it to bands like
though, coz they do know
how to kick out the occasional anthem
without sounding phoney or trying too
hard. They end on a high with the title
track '
Hotline To Hades' which
although is another anti Bush rage
along the lines of
"War, Profit,
Religion Hate"
. Musically its one of
their most progressive tunes to date.
Tight rhythm section, plenty of riffs and
a singer with a genuine snarl adds up
to another good release from
Birmingham's most active punk band.
Comes with a full colour lyric booklet
and a decent production from Fish,
which proves he can do it when he
wants to!
Available from...
'Steal Yer Heart'
LP/CD (Byo Records) 2005
I know this was a long time coming
and i gotta say thanks to my pal Erin
in Minneapolis for recently chucking
this platter my way. 'Steal Yer Heart' is
an album I was meaning to get for the
past couple of years, but never
seemed to land lucky. When I
browsed my local record emporiums I
always come up zilch? And before you
say it...no I don't have a credit card
either. So maybe there was a valid
reason for being out in the dark and
'two years too late' on this occasion?
Or was it some sort of omen of things
to come? I gotta say after numerous
plays, this set of 12 songs is showing
the Briefs could be finally running
outta road? For a band who positively
deliver at least a handful of anthems
on each of their album releases over
the years, 'Steal Your Heart' for me is
their poorest release to date! And
whats worse it's possibly their last for
the time being. Don't get me wrong, it
still stinks of
the Briefs plastic
shades, narrow ties and melodic edge
they are renowned for, it just seems a
bit vague and half hearted (pardon
the pun). Even with good songs about
dossing in smelly Euro Squats (
) or the gripes at the straight
world (
'Normal Jerks') that are worthy
of inclusion, it wasn't gonna register
up there with past glories like
or 'Dead In The Suburbs'.
Maybe my 7 year love affair with the
band is finally waining? Although I'm
gonna make it a priority to get their
recently released DVD/CD 'Greatest
Story Ever Told' which captures their
career on celluloid from rags to riches
and back again in a two hour film.
They also offer some rare live bonus
CD tracks but no new studio outbursts
tut tut. Even so this studio recording is
still a bit of an anti climax compared to
their usual high standards. Die hard
fans will be relieved to know we do get
two strand out tracks that most bands
would die for.
'Getting Hit On At The
which I certainly wouldn't
complain about is a laid back classic
revolving around the misunderstood
pulling power of bleach blonde punks
to bank tellers, record producers and
groupies. It's a song that comes with a
great off the wall solo that sounds like
the strings are about go twang at any
given minute. And Stevie E. Nix vocal
delivery is spot on.
'Forty And Above'
is the other must hear track and pretty
much autobiographical as its sung by
horny bass player Kicks. Kicks is the
bands romancer on and off stage. He
fits perfectly into
the Briefs world of
tongue in cheek pop punk songs as
he sing the praises of the more
amorous, mature breed of female,
with some great licks, addictive
backing vocals and that late 70's vibe
running through the whole lusty
episode. However another gripe about
this album is there's no lyric insert!
Which is probably down to BYO's
tightness, but its essential with a band
this popular to know whats getting you
excited, so you can bawl back at the
band during gigs without getting it all
wrong and looking like a red faced
moron. Does come in aN eye catching
stark cover with Stevie E. Nix clutching
a bloody heart. Oh well this album
despite everything gets a disgruntled
from a poor and weird fanatic!
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