'Fucked Into Oblivion'
2XCD May 2009
Didn't really know what to expect from
this a
Coitus 20th Anniversary
Anthology and I'm ashamed to admit I
never actually got to hear em on
record till now. Obviously I'd heard a
lot about 'em in the fanzine press and
knew they were very active from within
the North London punk Squat scene
with its predominant Irish connection
(now European). A scene which can
generate glaring rancid turds with
unwashed frequency or spit out truly
exceptional punk in the case of bands
the Restarts. And I gotta say this
first encounter courtesy of my London
drug (sorry punk dealer) Martin falls
into the later category. It's an
impressive encounter.
Coitus reminds
me of early
Discharge but with a
Restarts snarl, and with their
own unique take on events. They have
the same predicament for a tune
amongst the onslaught of fuzz! Dirty
fuzzy guitars in punk will never fail to
ignite an audience, especially if its
done with enough grime and passion
coz we don't get too much of that these
days. Especially with all the technical
digitalised tools at even our squatters
fingertips. But
Coitus can do it
brilliantly without sounding samey or
heaven forbid posey. These are the
real deal. This collection features a
mammoth 40 tracks over two discs
dating from 92-96. Tracks and material
garnered from the bands early days to
their implosion 1996.
Disc one
Rumbles in with an impressive
instrumental intro that morphs into the
title track 'Fucked Into Oblivion' belted
out with gruff sincerity. 'Submission/
Domination' has elements of
Rudimentary Peni on Ketamine within
the backing vocals, but the overall
assault features pure
inspired rampaging guitars bass and
drums, but without the nuclear threat
subject matter. I like the way
can create atmosphere in their
compositions which I experienced in a
similar vein listening to
particularly on 'Panic Screams' which
takes the momentum out the rampage
for a few minutes as the drums and
guitars take control. In fact I much
Coitus instrumentals to their all
out growlers, for they can create great
background sound tracks for writing
and absorbing punk to, be it reading a
zine, cruisin the internet or just getting
ready to hit the bars. And although the
raw vocals are a commodity in this
genre thats hard to differenciate on all
the 40 tracks, it has to be said they
ain't as rough or obese as some of the
deplorable screamers in the scene.
And do at least inject some kinda
melody with the riffs. Talking of which
'Vacuum' is easily the most melodic 6
tracks in, and features a great
rumbling riff with some dare I say it
tuneful they bawl
geezers standing against the wall"
. I
like the bands grasp of playing it
simple instead of heading for more
metallic showboating which inevitably
Discharge, but Coitus are
better for it. They can still shoot off a
guitar solo when required, but for the
main keep it dirty and cheap which is
how this kinda punk is best served.
Nice to hear another bands version of
Ramones classic 'Commando'
although not the best lol. 'Black Bart'
however has elements of
with its slightly tongue in cheek
nihilistic delivery and those
vocals adds to the raunch.
Followed by 'Real Cold Fear' which is a
frantic cold ride into the dark world of
fear. This being a double CD might be
a bit much for one sitting, but I'm sure
if its on in the background like most
punk is heard its a soundtrack that will
prime you for a night out. I doubt many
people could fuck to it though?
Although with a name like
Coitus they
do come exceedingly close on 'Distant
Desire' which smacks of a song about
romance, passion and lust which is
executed brilliantly. This could be the
crusty punk love song to grind to
amongst the leather 'n' sweat and
special brew. Another theme this band
could be absorbed into is marauding
vikings. Coz if ever punk was around in
those days im sure Coitus would be
blazing from their long ships as they
lurched into battle. As i mentioned
earlier, my only real weak link is the
vocals. And wondered how these
songs would sound if they had a say a
Dick Lucas vocal or even a Stu Pid
Idiot bawling em out, y'know someone
without a growl but not a crooner. In
reality thats pure conjecture to change
what is set to become a blueprint for
countless squatters the world over.
They bounce back with 'When We
Depart' which is a rip roaring bass
throbbing grinder that I could listen too
all night long and bids us a fond
farewell to Disc 1, but not without one
last track called 'Up The Punks (bunch
of cunts)' which sounds like it comes
from the bands very earliest demo
days. You can still smell the glue and
was reportedly recorded in a toilet ha!
Disc 2
Gives us a more intense metallic vibe,
which has elements of
coming into the sound and the gruff
vocals would not be out of place with
the metal heads out there, particularly
on the impressive 'Darkness On The
Streets'. This progression does have
its negative points if your listening from
a punk perspective as my idea of punk
ain't what the squatter kids gloat over
these days. However the songs are a
lot more involved and seem a lot
longer with the
Discharge vibe
slowing ebbing away for more metallic
excursions which can become a little
boring as it sounds like a million other
bands who litter the pages of
Terrorizer magazine. They do hark
back to the more pro-active territory
during 'Forward Blade' which comes
with an addictive chugging grindy riff
complete with rip curdling solo. 'We
Despair' picks up the speed and is an
all out no compromise retort as is
another good number called 'Outsider'.
We then get a surreal piano inclusion
during 'Squeeze The Trigger' which
has a sinister quality and sounds like
its been nicked from some movie
soundtrack, before you hear the
booming "blam blam" sounds of
gunshot as the track rips into a
chugging grinder which could've stole
the best track on disc 2 had it not been
for the slightly less inspiring vocal.  
Loved the one note solo in 'The Hated
Flesh' which is another grinding
instrumental that only has a few lines
grunted as the
Coitus monster
careers ahead. We get a reprise of
'Real Cold Fear' from disc one which
shows how good this song is as its re
recorded. Not sure which version I like
best as they're both good. They then
give us a neat cover of
Fear's 'I Love
Livin In The City' before waving
goodbye with an hilarious version of
the Steptoe and son theme tune
entitled 'Dirty Little Old Man' which
begs the question why don't punk
bands do more of these kinda covers
instead of the regulation punk covers.
(Crashed Out Recordings) CD
12th October 2009
The Abrasive Wheels, Leeds best
named punk outfit by a long shot,
return with an effective if somewhat
contrived release. This is not the
original line-up it's all new members
with only singer Shonna remaining
from the 80's era. You can tell they've
been listening to their
Rancid albums
and have adopted that modern
Southern Californian gloss into their
songs. Well they did ape
GBH and
others in the early 80's, so no change
there. It does sound good though, with
a lot more variation than their earlier
material and I was surprised how much
I found myself playing 'Skum' outside
of review time. This is classed as the
follow up to their popular debut album
'When The Punks Go Marchin In',
which was a dreadful thought and title.
At least 'Skum' trips off the tongue
more easily and the recent group
cover shot does in fact look the part.
Despite all these positive factors, I did
find Shonna's vocal struggling with the
ranges these days. Maybe he should
put on his Rolling Stones albums
again. There's nowhere left to hide
when there's no more fast chants we
and he was accustomed to. These
complex songs require quite a bit of
vocal variation and that's where he
fails to convince us. You find yerself
cringing as he stumbles through
certain sections on this album. His
voice isn't unique enough to pull off a
non singing punk role no more. You
know when punks try to actually sing,
some can pull it off, others fail
miserably. To be fair he does hold his
own most of the other times though.
The musicianship however is very
good, with 12 tracks of original songs
that sound like they've been lovingly
cast inside the Leeds ghetto instead of
just jumping in and giving us filler on a
brand 'band' name adopted onto kids
leathers. Subject matter is still naive,
they sing about kids 'fightin and
uniting' which I personally find
sickening. Wasnt/isn't punk about bein'
an outcast? Not forming movements.
And whats worse is, it's done by middle
aged blokes ha! But uniting was what
this band were all about in the old days
and the youth who brought into that
are the same old geezers you see at
Rebellion festivals today. A glimpse of
ya fewcha there for ya kids! It certainly
is a vicious circle as 'Class Of 82'
complete with militaristic
"hey hey
could've come out the punk
bunker back then, and if you close
your eyes you could even be in
downtown Albany. With a lot of
reformed punk bands you get a certain
metal sheen creeping in as the
guitarists have learnt all those solo's,
but they do work well amongst the
heavy duty punk rifferama. The gruff
voiced 'Bornloser' is a case in question
with an addictive chorus that is aimed
at the American market, but works well
even in the Peacock I bet? 'Survivors'
shows the
Abrasive Wheels in their
most potent form, a song which
incorporates a good gang chorus,
melodic twists and neat mid-paced
guitar shots to the bows.
comparisons may be evident, but the
kids who love the Brummies will also
like these, same sort of mindset.
Standout track for me had to be
'Breadline' an earthy true grit dose of
reality, which concentrates on issues
we can all empathise with. I believe this
band work best when they forget about
aiming at a specific audience and just
play what comes naturally, this track
sounds the most authentic and looks
set to become another anthem for da
kids of all ages. 'Soldiers Prayer' is
poignant if your Saturday night off is a
night in Camp Bastion and a major
leap from 'Army Song. 'Out Of Control'
gives us a rare taste of the old
Abrasive Wheels sound. 'Jonny Law'
is more homegrown and has influences
the Clash through to SLF. It's
surprising that getting nicked can still
sound good on record. Cringe-worthy
moment comes on the intro to title
track 'Skum' when Shonna does his
level best to portray a piece of shit
hanging from the heel of ya shoe.
You'll have to hear the track yerself to
see if he succeeds, can't wait to hear
that live! They regain face with final
track 'Crashed Out And Wasted' that
ends the album on a rowdy high with
its big singalong ....
"were gonna hit
them pubs and hit them clubs
. They also list a load of
bands who they were inspired by, but
no Mick Jagger, Pizza Delivery or
Rancid? If you want a re-run from the
80's you'll be very surprised at what
you get, and if you want a decent
comeback album from one of ya faves
you'll be surprised and very
impressed. Ends with a sneaky punk
radio insert of jocks slagging em
"its dated!" US ignorance is bliss!
Cheers to Kaz for passing this on.  
Abrasive Wheels
2009:     PAGE 1
'Inner City Riots'
(Up Against It All) CDEP 2009
You'd think with a name like
Decontrol these Scots punks would
Discharge clones. As we all know
Discharge clones can vary in power
and malice. Most fall between a pale
imitation or an excruciating noise.
Luckily for us
Decontrol are far from
any of those descriptions and offer
instead an authentic display of early
80's punk with inventive tunes on this
neat black 'n' white package. An EP to
entice us outta the clonedom which is
quite addictive and healthy after a few
Decontrol you may recall 18
months ago, were a dodgy covers
band but are now thankfully writing
and performing in their own right.
Sirens blare out, drums roll in and the
bass rumbles through feedback as
guitars resonate from your speakers.
Even Snaba's vocals have become
less of a joke and seem more
confident on these 4 songs. The
opening track called 'Decontrolled'
owns a rabid riff and has signs of
good things to come from these
Fraserburgh punks, whose ages
range from 16 to early 40's. The
scuzzy riff on 'Societies Scum' is worth
your time and energy and maybe
could've only been improved by a
slightly more rabid vocal. All the song
titles could've come straight
off  a 'No Future' compilation, but don't
let that put you off coz this sounds
amazingly fresh in 2009 and the
playing is tight and profficient enough
to be worthy of a bigger audience.
Lets face it 'Inner City Riots' are a
definite possibility with this bunch of
fucking crooks who run our affairs in
Government, as the title track is
Decontrol have a neat
songwriting ability at their disposal with
some interesting song structures and
the production is crisp and clear. It will
be interesting to see what the next 12
months will throw up for
Decontrol. Im
sure gigs will be secured and if they
can make this much progress who
knows? Final track the monsterous
'Lifes Blood' continues the medium
paced punk rock that would've been
snapped up easily 20 years ago but
the band are finding it hard to get a
snifter from labels today? They most
definitely make a great foil for all the
noise and hardcore punk bands out
there today.
'Let The Dominoes Fall'
CD (Epitaph) June 2009
Rancid are back with tours and a new
album, that upon first listening was
pretty much expected of what we
know as
Rancid. But please keep
with it coz upon further investigation
it's one helluva grower and my fave
Rancid album since the classic 'Out
Come The Wolves'. 19 songs of
short, sharp and decidedly fresh
sounding punk snapshots and
ska-rred perspectives as
Rancid take
a long hard look at themselves and
their surroundings. Opening track
'East Bay Night' sees
Rancid herald
the virtues of San Francisco bay
nights spent on the porch watching
the Albany landfill.
comparisons may rise once more, but
Rancid do it good and in their own
way. The cheeky skanking of 'Up To
No Good' has some classic
observations as they incorporate
Hammond organs and horns into this
skanking upbeat glorification of
thievery and survival. Check out the
neat lyrics like
"quick like a snake
he's good at stealing, he'll even
steal the plaster off the ceiling".

They may glorify the punk rock
lifestyle, but its easy to do that when
your getting paid good money to do it.
And anyone with an ounce of suss
knows this fact, so do
"that's just the way things are,
that's just the way it is now'
. Which
has to be said
Rancid were once
upon a time very poor! The epic
single and guaranteed new live fave
'Last One To Die' is
Rancid at their
most impressive with some powerful
duel guitars as they tell us how they
survived the last 18 years years and
defied their critics.
.."through the
storms and the gigs and the good
and the bad there ain't no doubt,
we knew from the very first show
what it was all about"
'Disconnected' is another strong
contender about the state of the USA
and would've been even better if Matt
Freeman's embarrassing attempt at
singing was cut from the mix. Just play
the bass man, coz your singing is
fucking deplorable! He even scuppers
the organ filled 'I Ain't Worried' where
the band take it in turns to sing a
verse and give
the Specials a run
for their money with this atmospheric
skanking track.
Rancid like Wolves,
so do I, but does that make us
lycanthropic? Answers on a postcard
to Campbell CA please. Suprisingly
punk mafioso Lars Frederikson sings
less on this album than previous, but
he makes his mark on the more
sentimental tunes like 'New Orleans'
where it rains all night especially on
his tattooed brow. I still think Tim
Armstrong is the Joe Strummer of the
new generation in delivery and
empathy with his punk rock audience.
Doubt whether Josh Homme would
ignite such sentiment though.
Rancid's view is still ..."black brown
white were all punk rock, were the
kings of our low income block!"
its hard to feel that's totally genuine
when you know they're now "rich men"
singing about poor kids which seems
so patronising, but does sound great
on this record. However its exactly
why bands like
the Clash had to
move on swiftly, song writing wise and
bow out releasing increasingly inferior
Rancid on this release are
very much back in contention, so their
staying power is guaranteed. Sure
they are still making a good living out
of punk rock but I think they should
sing about stuff that effects them now,
not then. They do try, but can't help
throwing in the "punk rock" number
for street cred or youngsters who
won't question why? They are also
flexing their musical muscle a lot more
these days and gradually moving
away from their teenage punk
soundtrack. Well Tim is in his early
40's these days.
Rancid to me are
first and foremost a bunch of talented
musicians who ensnare influences
from real life. Some good, some not
so good. Especially on tracks like
'Civilian Ways' which is
discovering their acoustic roots (oh
gawd). This track was only included at
the request of producer Brett
Gurewitz, so say no more! Its funny
how punk musos merge into other
once rejected musical genres with
ease once they've gotten their
sneakers under the table.. They're
like modern day hippies with tattoos
which is pretty scary for any punk who
still wants to take on the world, but I'm
afraid so inevitable when you make it
big! If me or you was a musician
maybe we'd be more understanding,
but I'm not, I'm just a fan of punk rock!
I do think
Rancid's faster numbers
ain't quite as effective these days,
although songs like 'The Bravest Kids'
are really good as they sound out the
perils of kids who are out in
Afghanistan facing death on a daily
basis, which needs saying. In the
Rancid are a band who
appreciate the female form in songs
like 'Skull City' which is apparently
inspired by Northern Soul and
alongside 'Lu Lu'' where the single
parent families get a respectful nod
you get the impression they'd buy you
a beer if you were broke. 'La River'
has a fantastic chorus but yet again is
sabotaged by bass player Freeman's
irritating vocal, pity really coz his bass
playing is still impeccable. The title
track wasn't really as good as most,
but had some good creative organ.
They also write of Locomotives but I
bet they all drive cars and Tim
Armstrong's vocals can come off
annoying sometimes, especially when
he goes all fucking gospel or even
worse Woody Guthrie on us! Check
out the final track 'The Highway'. But
even so with all these quibles its still
getting played regularly in the Wolf's
Lair! You know a band like
were destined to be punk whatever
your views on their transition to
middle-age this album is a very
welcome return to favour and might
even tempt you to check em out on
their worldwide tours. Comes with a
gate fold sleeve with a fold out poster
and lyric sheet. Black and very red!
'Boots & Ballads'
CD (Dead Lamb) 2009
3 years since Runnin Riot released a
full length and having not heard the
previously 'Built In Belfast' (slated for
poor production in some corners)
'Boots & Ballads' certainly comes with
enough angst and aggro in the
production to dismiss its predecessor
(courtesy of Bangor Tech). You can
also tell by now the band are tight and
industrious in their compositions of life
on the streets of Belfast. It's good to
hear a street punk/oi! band who can
actually write a decent tune these
days. Kicking off in fine form with
inspired chugging guitar on
'Lost Generation' ...
"bringing the
sounds of the street to you"
Violence is never far away from this
crew, although seeing them live you'd
be mistaken for thinking they're such a
nice bunch of blokes. However even
nice blokes get steamed by Spides on
the streets of Belfast. Musically I
thought 'When The Boots Fly In' was a
little light for an aggro song, especially
with its r 'n' b soundtrack. However
Runnin Riot are still one of the few
street punk bands who write songs
about where they come from instead of
romanticising it like so many career
hooligan bands try to. You can't beat
first hand knowledge, and you can tell
its all from the heart with this band. I
gotta say Colin Riot's gruff sawdust
delivery can sometimes get a little
tedious, making you wanna give him a
BIG bottle of cough medicine, not to
get him off his head round the back of
Giros, but to clear the frog in his
throat. His predominant Belfast brogue
was the secret weapon on the debut
album adding to the bands attack, but
12 years on afters years of roll ups
and a few Shandy's its becoming more
of a croak than the growl it once was.
Runnin Riot are Belfast
ambassadors and it just wouldn't be
the same without him at the helm.
'Double The Pain' sees him redeem
himself as they tell of a poignant
descent into the realms of alcoholism,
with some neat musical interludes.
'Ode To The Working Man' tells the
story of unemployment. Which shares
a lot more insight than geezers like
Billy Bragg who I bet has never had
blisters on his mitts through work.
Gang chorus's, despair and a jolly
good tune to slash yer wrists to. The
mood is uplifting as the addictive 'Bold
As Brass' tells the story of outcasts
in "bold as brass Belfast punk
rocker, he's the underclass so you
really can't knock him"
. 'King Of The
Swig' maintains the momentum as the
band add yet another song about the
booze but like their others, its well
worth your consumption. Just a pity out
of all the lyrics produced this song
wasn't included in the booklet, coz I bet
theres a few gems on here. Fave track
has gotta be the defiant 'Ballad Of A
Glue sniffer' with its ultra raw riff and
infectious rowdy chorus of
"half a pint
of time bomb, me and me mates are
gonna get fucked up"
. They close
with another depressing, but highly
amusing economic casualty of our
times during '16 On The Dole' which
has some brilliant observations of life
on dole with
"he was 16 years a
schoolkid, now hes 16 on the dole".

Finally there's a hidden bonus track
called 'Oi Oi Angel' which feature's
Belfast's punk/fashion starlet Cushla
duetting on guest vocals. Sorta beauty
and beast across the buckfast debris
as cherry reds glisten and
testosterone fizzles. Comes in a great
sleeve shot from the Belfast city
archives of some big kid getting
battered by some young scrammels
and a lyric booklet, but strangely no
band pics.
Cheers to Billy Riot for chucking this in
the review pile.
LP (Pure Punk Records) 2009
Forget the cheesy cover or the
throwaway name, coz
the Snazzy
debut album comes dressed up
with some good snotty punk rock in the
vein of
the Briefs, or closer to home
the Shocks. They sound and look like
they just stepped out the late 70's UK
punk scene instead of 21st century
Italian suburbia. Especially armed with
that authentic sounding Brit vocal and
a polyurethene magazine of short,
sharp, snazzy punk tunes. You
certainly won't be disappointed with
this 11 tracker if that's yer bag. This
white vinyl slab maybe a little short on
quantity (only 11 tracks), but its high
on quality! The clean, gritty guitar riffs
give it a quirky vibe which can
sometimes get slightly annoying for a
whole album, as they relentlessly jump
into one abstract scenario after
another. Rarely moving away from the
banal subject matter or rampant pace.
But this is pogo punk in the classic
mould. No intricate complexity's or 6
minute solos here, just simple,
abrasive punk rock. Which could mean
the difference between global
domination or just another support slot
on the next
Cute Lepers tour. The
bench marked this kinda punk
to mass appeal but also confronted
serious issues in their own ingenious
way. Where as
the Snazzy Boys ain't
quite grasped that concept yet.
However given time who knows? You
certainly can't take away their obvious
knack for creating kitsch, short blasts
of escapist punk rock, which is
something we all need in these grey
times. Resplendent in retro punk
shades and pulling faces
the Snazzy
have only been around since
2005 but seem set on filling in
creeper print by kicking off with
the ultra scratchy 'Bbq Party' that
features slashing guitars and lets rip at
a breakneck pace, together with a
pounding beat. 'Rockin In The Streets'
has more mass appeal and with a
harder polished edge could see em
really infiltrating the space left vacant
by the Seattle crew. They are a band
who has that cheeky vibe
the Boys
gave us, only with a lot more energy.
'Dear Mayor' has a classic '77 touch
with its vintage guitar overdubs. But I
think there's a reason the lyrics weren't
included, coz they're basically throw
away. These boys are certainly audio
based and concentrate solely on the
tunes and excitement, with any
message if any, left as an after
thought. 'Carpentier' is the only native
Italian sung track and sounds just as
good as the rest. 'Punk Rock Girls'
opens side 2 and is another standout
as it chugs to a dramatic close.
'Organized Octopus' seems to confirm
a disturbing fixation with a slippery
Octopus. Which incidentally features
on the sleeve artwork in lurid green. Of
course no trashy punk rock album is
complete with out some kinda Alien
reference and 'They Came From Outta
Space' does its very neatly indeed.
Closing our first encounter with one of
Italy's more exhilarating b-movie punk
'Detroit Punk'
CD 2009
Chocking Susan remind me of the
sleazy swagger of the 70's era of punk.
Sort of
Wayne County and Iggy
combined with later elements of
Terri Bomb
, but with a way more
feminine edge. In today's punk age, it's
such a novel approach as these
Detroit flag bearers rub shoulders with
the countless spiky hordes or pop
punkers. They stick out like a
proverbial sore thumb with an urban
real world charm about 'em. Attitude
wise there's no global histrionics, no
party political bullshit, just real life trials
and tribulations you deal with from a
Chocking Susan
perspective. They have been around
since 2000 in one shape or form, and
this CD is only their 3rd official release
and probably their most infectious to
date! The band have toured
extensively playing DIY dives worldwide
and with no record company backing
have hauled their asses through word
of mouth. They have however gained
momentum and respect in far flung
corners of the globe. Which is radiated
on stage and in the studio by lead
singer, the well informed Colleen
Caffeine, whose already a bona fide
star on the underground punk circuit.
'Detroit Punk' is certainly accessible in
all the right places if you know where
to look. I picked this CD up in
Birmingham at a warm up gig to their
by now annual appearance at the UK
Rebellion festival. At which by all
accounts they triumphed. This disc
features quite a few numbers from
their current set, but even more we
never got to hear live. So there's
plenty of ammo left in their Motor City
tank. As well as being the bands main
focal point and all round courteous
ambassador. Down to earth Colleen is
a charming poetess as she introduces
this 9 tracker with the spoken 'Word
Maggot'. An introductory piece where
she wraps words up, conjures up
innuendo and resoundingly draws us
in for the spectacle of a true
wordsmith. She would make a great
narrator if ever the live work drys up!
Drums roll and 'Forever Free' comes
racing out the ghetto with a
Heartbreakers glare guitar wise and
Colleens distinct delivery. Not a
profanity in sight, but
don't need to spit 'n' swear to
make a point. They merely drench
your emotions with invective and
raunchy punk rock instead. 'Lemon
And The Tramps' is a quirky besotted
courtship song in a vivid
"lemon hue".
'Necklace Of Violence' has white trash
credentials, some sinister guitars and
along with the mesmerising
gives this anti domestic violence track
that subtle twist. Probably the most
memorable of the bunch is the zany
'Dolly Parton' with even more majestic
word play. 'I'll Love You Lonely' is their
closest to a regular love song, but has
that Michigan off the wall appeal.
Another fave and the rather good
'Anorexia' is as mouth watering as
Bulimia or as attractive as a craving
disorder is ever gonna get. More
women's issues are explored on
'Silicone Chest', which could probably
reach more than a million 'riot grrrl' era
feminist rants on the female figure
could ever achieve. It's armed with
some highly amusing facts without
boring you. Ending with 'Sleazy Girl'
that grinds in on a riff to ferment yr
juices and brings this album to a seedy
Sadly since penning this review the
band are on the lookout for a new
rhythm section and I'm sure they will
have dates on offer this summer. So if
you live in the Detroit metro area and
fancy playing in a real punk rock band
who tour both home and abroad, apply
Chocking Susan
'Ain't No Hiding'
CDEP 2009
It's hard to keep a good man down,
and since the
Violent Fuckwits
entered the Belfast scene back in
2003 and duly imploded last year.
Lead singer Billy Riot seems
determined to reignite the adrenalin
rush of a live performance when he
ain't busy scribbling in his legendary
fanzine. Yeah the spit 'n' sawdust glare
was just too much to resist, so he
quickly formed a new combo called
Hard Case with waifs 'n' strays from
local bands like
the Troubles and
Spastik Dockters. So are we in for a
more serious approach? I doubt that's
an optimistic hope? But
Hard Case do
seem to be heading in a more
restrained Oi/street punk direction on
the studio tracks hastily put together
for this Christmas debut. 'Welcome To
The Romper Room' is a song about
local drug dealers getting 'some' on
the streets of Belfast. Gritty urban
lyrics sung to a basic but menacing riff
with a token guitar solo plus gang
chorus. Followed by band signature
tune 'Hardcase' which is coming at us
in the same direction and vibe, but the
sloppy chorus lets this down and is
even more belligerent than the last.
Billy's vocals sound determined and a
little more adventurous on this outing,
but the band need to get their chanting
act in time to do some serious
damage. 'Please Come Back Mr Mellor'
(a tribute to Joe Strummer) shows a
little extra musical deviation with some
skanky tinges on the intro and seems
to be their most confident song, music
wise. Not sure the band were ready for
recording just yet? Maybe another 3
months and I bet the violence in their
minds would've been way more
excessive. They do add 3 live rowdy
covers on at the end which shows on
stage is where
Hard Case are doing
the real damage, leaving the studio
tracks a wee bit tame. We get live cuts
from a gig they recorded in Kelly's
Cellar on September 2009 including -
The Exploited's 'Dog Of War' which
has a load more energy, plus some
hilarious pre song banter. 'Beat On
The Brat' by
the Ramones is
resurrected once more and particularly
impressive with its manic outbursts.
Seems to be a big fave with the local
crowd too. They end things chaotically
with a brave attempt at
the Pistols
'Bodies' which ends up in an
unpredictable bloody mess! They did
have the courtesy to warn us before
hand though lol. An album is
reportedly in the making.
Hard Case
seem to be in it for fun, but do need
more practice if they wanna keep us
rolling in aisles or cowering in the
Hard Case
'21st Century Breakdown'
(Reprise Records)
CD May 15th 2009
A crackly radio creaks out our
speakers as little Billie Joe serenades
us in his most sickly Disney tones
during 'Song Of The Century'. On this
the 8th
Green Day studio album. 21st
Century Breakdown is the most recent
platter from the band. I never heard it's
highly rated predecessor American
Idiot, which bought the band back into
the mega selling spotlight and was the
Green Day 'rock opera'. 21st
Century Breakdown follows suit and is
shockingly melodic. After a few plays I
nearly binned this as a band who had
truly lost touch with their quirky,
catchy, punk edge. Glad I didn't, coz it
does eventually sink into your aural
Green Day do bring
melody to the punk scene, but it was
the kinda melody riddled with enough
snarly punk attitude and creativity that
it scored a hit over many generations.
Crossing over the punk wasteland into
the pop mainstream.
Singer Billy Joe Armstrong sure don't
make it easy for his punkier brethren
as he does his level best to become
the Judy Garland of the pop punk
scene. Something about his crooning
vocal gives off a 50's veneer. And it
has to be said he makes a very
fetching Miss Garland clone in his tone
and black eyeliner/kiss curls and those
twinkling blue eyes. So if its just punk
rock you want to hear from
Green Day
these days you'll need to head back to
the more rabid sounds of Dookie, coz
they are moving in totally different
circles. They're showing us all the
signs of being a classic MOR rock 'n'
roll band. Their brand of 'safe' populist
punk is despite anything else
annoyingly addictive. Its surprising how
creating music with almost limitless
success can also make it sound so
contrived. As they unleash a set of
songs which comes in 3 acts. This
album reminds me of what a band like
Queen would have sounded like if they
were born in Berkeley, listened to
Operation Ivy and smoked too much
weed instead of snorting coke. This
album has that same expanse of
majestic rock god sound and
splendour. Which for a punk band
shouldn't be sniffed at. 21st Century
Breakdown is a massive piece of work
with anthems, hooks and trite syrupy
toons which no doubt has given them a
new lineage of acceptance and
admission to a fan base who rates
his/her Kaiser Chiefs along with ELO.
Opening tracks '21st Century
Breakdown' and the relentless 'Know
Your Enemy' hark back to the Gilman
St. day's of yore, with an addictive
jerky riff and pounding drums. 'Viva La
Gloria' introduces strings and a piano
accompaniment, which fits rather too
neatly into the
Green Day spec,
before morphing into some kinda
religious epiphany. Lyric wise they
return to the well trodden path of mixed
up misfit persona's during 'Before The
Lobotomy'. Which is a gigantic eulogy
towards mental illness, but done with
great haunting effect. 'Christians
Inferno' was a weak track in
comparison till it really kicked in, but
was ambushed by irritating segments.
'Last Night On Earth' is squeaky clean
and shows the alarming way
have fit into mainstream music
culture on this conceptual love song.
This album is way too sanctimonious
for my Catholic tastes. And of the 20 or
so tracks it's difficult to find a recurring
theme you can put your finger on in
our estranged lovers Christian and
Gloria's vague story. Which leave us
the listener with a confusing lyric on
the whole, but sound wise it has plenty
of highs that blur the lows.
Green Day still say in their interviews
they're a punk band with ideals, but
their street credibility has by now been
flushed down the 924 pan never to
resurface again. However who actually
needs punk credibility in this day 'n'
age? Lets face most die hard punks
are a bunch of fakes anyway. And if
your audience spans across the board
with groups of kids and adults alike,
who cares? I think they should leave all
that 'punk rock forever' diatribe to
bands like
Rancid who remain punk
devotees in spirit at least. Meanwhile
Green Day have stepped onto the
mega bucks circuit with positive ease
and continue to produce interesting if
not classic pop punk albums.
For instance the notable 'Peacemaker'
is a flamenco of obscenely addictive
punk with an incisive chorus you could
be singing for a long time. Billie Joe's
vocals are still as mesmeric as ever
when he gets it right, its spot on! 'Last
Of The American Girls' is purportedly
written about his wife Adrienne and
ends in a great bit of feedback before
moving into one of the other albums
highlights. 'Murder City' which owns the
most memorable line on the album

"desperate but not hopeless"
, which
is hard to believe on both counts.
I suspect we will be hearing a lot more
albums outta
Green Day yet. Unlike
contemporaries like
Offspring who
seem to have totally burnt out
Green Day certainly ain't
run outta material. However they do
seem destined to never retain the
charm and downright addictiveness of
those early classic albums as they
pursue a more creative career than an
undying hungry love.
The final act 'Horseshoes And Hand
Grenades' signals the most raw
version of songs on the album, with a
heavy demolition attack and the single
'21 Guns' which has rock anthem
written all over it. 'Mass Hysteria' is
another fantastic
Green Day classic
though 'Modern World' was a little
infuriating, especially the shitty vocals.
'See The Light' closes the album which
is yer average
Green Day toon that
they seem so good at but can
sometimes also become grating.
The packaging is simple but neat with
a great chunky lyric book done in pen
and stencils on brick backdrops.
Overall the music is a bit too clean to
be classed as punk rock, although
drummer Tre Cool stated punk was
their religion. Produced by Butch Vig
so its guaranteed a great sound and
he seems to have captured their grand
illusion perfectly. Maybe I should check
out American Idiot after all?
The band are currently recording their
9th studio album which reportedly
contains a mammoth 30 new songs.
'Rotten On The Inside
(Red Flag Records)
Rikki Flag shoved this CD in my
skyrocket on a rare appearance in
Brum last year. I feel nearly as guilty in
the delay in reviewing this CD as I did
to miss his bands performance later
evening. What a fucking cunt I am!
Whatever the case,
the Flag are one
of those bands who can still produce
exciting punk rock'n'roll sounds in an
age of hardcore mojo or brass necked
ska. They never falter to keep it punk
and entertaining. Its certainly been a
long time since I last heard the band
on record, and I have to say the
decline that has hit a lot of bands who
formed in th
at early 90's era, certainly
ain't happening with
RF77. They still
have that punk rock passion for a tune
and with enough expe
tise and on the
road exper
ience make sure its
recorded spot on in their beloved
! Passionate Ipswich Town fans
whose team maybe peddling in the
championship, but
Red Flag 77 the
band are as good as bands like the

UK Subs
or GBH for instance. They
just don't have as much pedigree or
history, but that's certainly clocking up
fast. 'Insane People'..
."insane lives"
greets us in an energetic start to
Rotten On The Inside. With those
prominent scrunchy guitars that I love,
and Rikki's by now distinctive "Gravelly
Hill" vocal Delivery. With 21 years
under their studded belts
Red Flag 77
are a tight proficient punk rock outfit
with lots of ideas to make their songs
interesting without actually veering off
the by now formularic punk route.
'Tomorrow Never Comes' has more
darker overtone as they explore the
disturbing side of human nature.
'Coming To The USA' sees a change
in attitude
, coz 3 decades on UK punk
bands are itching the play the USA,
instead of being bored with it or
deriding its existence. But can you
blame 'em for wanting to taste it, as it
from personal experience have a
healthier punk scene compared to the
tiny UK's pockets of resistance. And in
the American scene I reckon
a band
Red Flag 77 would go down a
treat. Although the lyrics about
on this track seems a teeny bit
naive in retrospect lol. 'Stormy
Weather' is more rock 'n' roll and less
interesting. 'Hard Men' however has a
certain Gaelic feel as the guitars offer
Dropkick Murphy's style twang as
Rikardo spits out a tale about a local
heavy with a neat catchy chorus and
interesting storyline.
The Flag
certainly have an ear for a tune and
would, you imagine, be open to a
bigger exploration of their sound given
half a chance. 'For All Eternity' boasts
a rare bass solo which hasn't a whiff of
those nauseating taught hardcore
tones which is refreshing. 'You Wont
Get Me' is the potential anthem of this
set as they veer towards a more rowdy
Sham 69 posture with the most
addictive chanting chorus on this
album. And destined to become a live
fave. On a critical note
Red Flag 77
are a band who seem to have their
brothel creepers dipped into
a lot of
different elements of punk, but neither
sound completely convincing.
You get
the feeling they aim to please
everyone. Like on songs like
Crest Of A Wave'
which is really strong
, but suffers from a weak
hook line. 'Why You Do It' however
posts an animal abuse message in the
lyrics with a much needed tuneful
sound scape that always works better
than the usual noisy
ranty diatribes on
this subject matter
, by less imaginative
outfits. 'If God Cares' offers the band
to flex that theatrical musical
edge that seems to emerge from the
Ippo bands DNA on a regular basis as
they ponder the meaning of life
. It's a
thoughtful end to the album. As a
bonus track they chuck in a cover of
'Nice Boys' by Rose Tattoo. Comes
with a
Hammy horror cover and neat
glossy booklet with the full
lyrics printed and a centre spread
photo montage of
the Flag and fans
doing rotten things.