Mystic Inane – EP’s of M/I

It’s very rare that a record label gets a description incorrect of one of its bands.  They know them best, theiy know their secret likes and all that goes into the wiritng of their songs.  So when their record label, lavidaesunmus, describe Mystic Inane as “Freaked out FLIPPER meets RUDIMENTARY PENI acid punk from New Orleans who channels the weird vibes of earlier SACCHARINE TRUST and battles them against modern distorted hardcore creating a hybrid soundtrack to a bad trip.” there is no point in me arguing for something else.

It drifts along at a fuzzed out speed as indeed is as confusing as it is exciting

niallhope.

 

 

Anxiety -new record

Anxiety, from Glasgow, have been on the go for a year. It is punk rock that would have found a home on the same bill as a band like Amebix but without the fear. There is an unease, almost anxious feel to some of the songs. They are ready to atttack you in a way that Rudimentary Peni did but underneath have an almost early US hardcore feel.

Pretty cool

Album of the Week – Membranes Dark Matter

Membranes-Dark-Matter

The Membranes

Dark Matter / Dark Energy

Cherry Red

 

Dark brooding atmospheric noise pop from the membranes 25 years since their last release. They have lost none of their manic soundscape or youthful abandon even if they have been unable to halt time and regain their youth.

As singer John Robb sings “I am a middle aged fucked up 21st Century Man, My Body is creaking but my mind is so alive”. He sings for all of us who listened to the band when they started taking Blackpool by storm in the 80’s but who couldn’t halt the tide of time. Not that we would have but when the mind is alive you can see and hear so much.

The membranes always experimerented with sound, they were part of the post punk explosion that believed in Death to trad rock. They were never a band for straight forward melodies and always tried to challenge the listener to join their madcap team with colourful antics and lots of noise. Deep down there was always a rhythm and there still is on this album.

It’s quiet at times, raucous at others but always feels one chord away from madness, maybe that sums us all up as people, one step away from abandon.

We get some sort of explanation of the universe with Dark Matter, I know now why I never listened to in Science Class in school, I would have the membranes to explain it all many decades later with a soundscape.

Songs like Space Junk which sees Robb spitting out the words while Rob Haynes bangs a cowbell to keep us moving to the guitar riff and dirty bass or Hail to the lovers with is fast bass riff driven song are more of a nod to the death to trad rock era and maybe some trex for good measure.

The bass driven Into The graveyard makes you feel like you are walking through a darken graveyard being led by a manic John Robb hopping aliong playing the bass talking about all thoise bodies deep down, a nine minute trip. And then there’s Magic Eye (To See The Sky) interwoven with almost a nod to sitar sound droning on.

5776 (The Breathing Sky) with its dub sounding bass or Money Is Dust which takes a funk beat and develops it through noise and then dust to dust it fades shows that this is a maturing Membranes, still not stuck in a box but taking their surroundings and trying to figure out what the hell is going on

A re-mix is on the way with versions of the songs being dones by guests, that should prove an interesting experiment, like life this band are always looking to evolve.


niallhope

Roughneck Riot – Out of anger

roughneck

Roughneck Riot

Out Of Anger

TNS Records

Have you ever been in a situation where you are party to a conversation and just can’t hold back on giving the punchline? Or butting in where you shouldn’t? Are you one of those who can just let the story flow, hold your peace and come in a the right moment? Nah me neither. Let’s cut straight to the chase, Men They Couldn’t Hang, teaming up with the Levellers to try their hand at Dropkick Murphys.

Now that I’ve unleashed that I can get on with the review.

The problem using non traditional rock band instruments in favour of traditional ones means lazy comparisons are inevitable. Roughneck Riot are perfect for these lazy comparisons. This comparison would be like many of the injustices this band sing about.

We get banjo, mandolin and accordion joining up with upbeat high tempo Guitar, bass and drums but it never thrashes along. Good high tempo observations.

Listening to Out of Anger it becomes quite obvious that it is a collection spawned from anger at injustice but not an anger that has beaten the band. From the opening track, Animosity, that exclaims “Without Hope, we’ll never question why. Or seperate from anything that’s feeding you the lies” through Never Silenced, Never Stopped that passes on the wise words “Minds are filled with inspiration until they are saturated…Raise our voices to the night, Forever we will sing” we get a band still wishing for that better way.

The mandolin drenched Need I remind You is one highlight here. No need for a guitar solo when the mandolin can easily substitute. The last of the fourteen songs is a more poignant number “He Never Came Home”, it is a nice sing along number that tells the brutal truth for so many of us as time passes. Our all night teenage and early twenties talking sessions about ruling the world with high hopes and empty pockets to fuel us don’t last forever. Some people call it moving on, some say it’s maturing or many of us ruminate that they never come home.  Maybe they simply run out of anger which ironically is the anger that spurned them into doing things to begin with

Great record

 

niallhope

Cannibales and Vahines – Songs For a Free Body

cannibales

Cannibales and Vahines
Songs For a Free Body
Freddy Morezon Productions

All We Want
is that which makes
us less than free
should stop
now

Since leaving the Ex as its lead singer and troubador GW Sok has been as busy as ever. His artisitic output continues to grow as he collaborates with many around Europe.

This time it is with French artists Cannibales & Vahines. We get the trademark GW vocals, spat and spoken with a jazz improv background. The words are always meaningful and we start with Whatever, one of GW’s more downbeat opines. Almost like the lost activist or using the term we have all resorted to when dealing with what we perceive as ignorance…Whatever!!!

The lyrics generally are more downbeat than previous observations, more of an introspective nature. It reminds me of the thoughts that go through my head as I’m jogging along, solitary with the pavement, wondering why things are so bleak.

Musically the saxophone is prevalent amongst guitar bass and drums. Very much an improvised feel with a solid beat always prevalent. GW sings with his monotone drawl whilst the drum and bass travel solidly along. We then get the rhythm of the guitar vying with sax in a battle to join in, looking to participate, wanting to be on the drum and bass team. Many of the tracks are like those long walks you go on in a strange city (well some of you), where you aren’t sure where you are heading and get to the next corner to see what surprise awaits you.

It all finishes poignantly with a Free Body as GW simply reflects that all we ask for is that what makes us less free should stop

niallhope

Hard Skin – We’re the Fucking Business

hardskinHard Skin

We’re the Fucking Business

JT Classics

http://jtclassics.co.uk/product.php?id_product=142

 

So many football teams have them – players that don’t pull their weight but seem to get away with it.

Workplaces have them, people that turn up but do little and yet the bosses love them

Hard Skin are that player, that workmate. They are obnoxious, loud, practice very little and don’t care what you think. But yet we all love them. I know I do. I have sang along to hard skin songs that I wouldn’t dream of uttering anywhere else in public. And now they are back with a new record. Aptly title “We’re the Fucking business, Singles 1975-1977”, covering a time they weren’t even in existence.

Yet the name of the album does give something away. The Business were and are once more an Oi band reverred by Skinheads in their homeland of the UK and further afield. Hard Skin are similar in music but the background of both bands are mirror opposites. Whilst Mickey Fitz started the band as a working class release during his school days Hard Skin were formed late in the musical careers of Nipper, Fat bob and Johnny Takeaway. Whilst the business lived their musical lives on the streets Hard Skin can dream of those streets. And yet there are similiarites but Hard Skin through it all remain completely diy and honourable in their dealings.

JT records is their label and this is the 6th record on the label. It’s a collection of recent 7 and 12″s that are elusive so rather than cashing in this gives people a chance to get their releases.Punk rock, in your face and now you can get ready to sing aloing to We Are the wankers

Joe Solo – Never Be Defeated

Joe Solo

Never Be Defeated

Resolve Records

https://joesolomusic.bandcamp.com/album/never-be-defeated

joesolo

 

It is no secret that punk rock has been the main ingredient for the overall music that have gone through my ears through the past 30 years. It, as a genre, has helped shape my entire life. I haven’t eaten meat since Flux sang about it and the last time I knowingly took dairy was in the 1980’s.

At that stage the miners had been defeated but the struggle these people went through also had a profound effect on me. I remember vividly interviewing miners who SIPTU had brought to Dublin for my fanzine at the time. The stories of hardship and struggle were always interspersed with hope. They couldn’t countenance defeat and I most definitely decided what side I would be on for the rest of my life during that struggle. I watched Red Wedge grow from it, always had respect for any bands who sang the union tune.

Of course over the intervening period the real world has caught up with me and I am a proud union activist who has seen both sides of the angry comments about organised labour. I am also a proud punk rocker and have continued to try and spread the community at any given opportunity, hence this blog, numerous fanzines, a regular radio show and a book on the matter.

In the three decades that has passed since the defeat of the miners we are now at the juncture where the last coal mine shut down. The industry is gone in the U, decimated – communities have been devastated and neo liberal ideology is the order of the day. Of course there could be a case made that burning fossil fuels is not going to save the planet and maybe unions could have foreseen this earlier, however the smashing of the miners was about politics and not the longevity of the planet where it creeps towards ruin, just like the coal industry.

Another vivid memory I have is of hearing of Joe Strummer’s death. Ever since reading Glen E Friedman’s Fuck You Heroes I have been more of Threat By Example person. Sure, there are good people, but there’s no need to revere them. We all use the toilet on a daily basis. However there was something special about Joe Strummer, front man of the Clash. He spoke for my generation, I disagreed with many of his life choices but knew that he would always feature in my community. Ironic that 13 years after this death I receive a cd in the post. Never Be Defeated by my friend Joe Solo. Solo is also influenced by Strummer, his trajectory is by using his voice and guitar. One man railing against the world.

As the anniversary of strummer increases annually Joe’s output of albums seem to increase at the same pace. This year it is the commemoration of the miners strike that is the theme for all 13 songs. Joe’s Christmas is about Solidarity, standing by the workers and NEVER EVER pass a picket line. Never!!!

I am in a punk rock community and Joe is busy being active in our world. His sound is the folk music of Christy Moore or the agit prop of Thee Faction or Dick Gaughan still believing after all this time that there is a better way. Union people believe there is a better, fairer way. Joe believes that we will never be defeated, I am behind him all the way.

I hope you are too

 

Please support Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign by visiting otjc.org.uk

Maid of Ace S/t

Maid of ace s/t
Www.maid-of-ace.com
image

Shamefully I have to say I was sceptical when I saw maid of ace for the first time. How can a band be this good and I have heard nothing of them? Not only was I unaware of their existence but the fact that the four siblings from Essex hadn’t a history of punk that I could rattle knowingly about was somehow an impediment.

Thankfully that prejudice dissipated by the second time I saw them. If I listened to much metal growing up I would know a bit more about Girlschool as it would seem that would beta good reference point here. 4 women thrashing out songs that sound like they are stuck to a gutter. The songs however are trying their best to scrape themselves off that metal pipe and make their way into your soul. It’s dirty, it’s heavy and at times fast.

The ramones never feature far from any discussion on punk rock and maid of ace have scuzzed up that influence, I’m sure there are influences a plenty here as the 11 songs dip into various punk genres down through the years but always end up coming back to that dirtier punk rock and roll sound. It can’t get away from it. With song titles like sick of you, spittin blood, cannibal and dirty girl you get a good feeling where maid of ace are coming from. With a dirty fuzzed up guitar sound on top of snarling vocals to accompany such titles you may get anoucture of these four siblings.

Bone Deth is the highlight for me. When Aison proclaims “when boredom and poverty has taken its toll, losing all control to this rock’n’roll, we’re goin’ down” as the rest of the family scream “Bone Deth” I do wonder what Christmas dinner must be like in their home.

The album finished with the old “we’ve got a fuzzbox and we are gonna use it” song, ‘Rules and regulations’ the fuzz is still there but the pop sparkle has been replaced by grime and maid of ace are made to keep it that way

Niallhope

Strange Wilds – Subjective Concepts lp

Strange Wilds
Subjective Concepts
Sub Pop

strangewilds

It’s amazing how few members are required to be in a band to make an unholy racket. There’s three in Strange Wilds and have a force to be reckoned with. Pounding drums behind a solid riff laden bassline with explosive rock guitars provide the background to vocals being screamed to be heard.

It’s a nirvana, holy rollers tool mix. Plenty of hair, plenty of heads bopping and lots of riffs. THis is the debut album from the Olympia based band. They are a self proclaimed power trio and that goes to a certain distance in explaining the sound.

It’s a sweat laden journey of dirty rock and roll with some Seaweed or Torche shining through. I haven’t really heard much of the term grunge in recent years and don’t want to make it seem that Strange WIlds are somehow retro in their playing. Throughout the 11 songs there are hints to the sound that defined Sub Pop and may bands from Seattle, close neighbours to Olympia. Whilst Olympia were looking to Kill Rock Stars, Seattle was creating them and Strange Wilds sound closer to their stately Washington neighbours in Seattle.

It’s not all grunge and power, tracks like Don’t Have to roll along at a slow pace but you just know the power is going to kick in and snarl

niallhope

Dune Rats s/t

Dune Rats
Dune Rats
Ratbag Records

I always wonder about the term ‘dumb’band. It seems to be a description doing the rounds for Brisbanes Dune Rats. I’m not sure what quantifies as dumb but to me this is a clever bunch of surfers.

Sorry, I’ve no idea whether they surf or not it’s just the impression I get. There’s a punding drum beat with tunes a plenty and the bizarrerst lyrics I’ve seen in a while.

They have the tunes the Jesus and Mary Chain were hiding and have been partying with the Ramones and Beach Boys. it’s uptempo and loud and would be a far better way to go round a grand prix circuit than a car. The speed wold carry you long as you reach hair pin bends singing at the top of your voice “Dalai Lama, Big Banana, Marijuana” (yep that is a line from the opening track.

It’s anthemic at times and never ones to take themselves too seriously the Dune Rats sing about Drugs, Superman and ET.

When I played in my first band we had a song about people being in the Army, we knew we wanted to say that we don’t want to be soldiers when we grew up and just had to find any words that rhymed once we could proclaim that Soldier Soldier is this what youy wanna be. I get that feeling at times with the Dune Rats, I guess they don’t ever wanna grow up and once they can sing “Drugs, make you lose yourself” they will be forever happy.

Turn up the volume, forget abut the lyrics and surf along