2 for the price of 2 – Hard Skin

Why Do Birds Suddenly Appear / On The Balls
jtclassics records


During my days on the football pitch I developed a (some would say annoying) habit of repeating every call I made. As a goalkeeper, on the last line of defence, I could be heard duplicating my every order. “Clear, clear”! “Away, Away!” I suppose it came about as I thought it’d be more effective. Didn’t hear me first time? Well the second should get ya.

maybe that’s what Hard Skin were thinking when they were putting this together? maybe not, maybe it was just the money. 2 for the price of 2 indeed.

So what they’ve done is write 12 songs and put them on an album. the usual 3 piece of Johnny takeaway, fat Bob and the drummer bloke sing and play on one album. That may not be hard enough for all their fans so they got some mates in to sing the same songs (who were all women) and they released both on the same day. Same songs, same music, different singers. 2 for the price of 2! Priceless

If you don’t know their music it is a straight forward oi / Punk sound that gets you singing along. terrace anthems for the football fans. They take every skinhead stereotype and magnify it. They are the ultimate in parody. Underneath it all is a sincerity that is becoming less prevalent in music these days. You won’t see Hard Skin on bills just for the sake of it. Their gigs are all independently promoted with reasonable door prices and they records all come for the independent scene. It’s a dozen songs under 30 minutes with an irreverance for the listener, full of language I don’t use around my young family. They care about everything yet care about nothing.

Terror of Modern Life


The Terror of modern Life

Overground Records


13 slabs of modern day Punk rock is presented to us here in the form of Goldblade’s new album. This band have been touring worldwide since 1995 with a work ethic that is second to none. Give them a gig and a chance to get to it and the men from Manchester (or at least living there) will do their damndest to make it.

It’s been 5 years since their last album, Mutiny, but in that intervening period they have played in Europe, America, Asia and Africa and singer John Robb manages to turn up almost weekly on television discussing some aspect of music.

This album is a punk rock bespectacled look at the world these days. From Brother Johns succint observations to Brothers Keith and Pete’s manic riffs to Brother Robs frantic drumming we are served up a fast punk lesson. Listening to the drone like title track and the Membranes esque bass driven sound of tracks like Shaman is Coming and hey You Elastic Face gives an insight to the bands record collection. It’s like a history lesson of independent music, part Killing Joke, part Clash, but in no part trad Rock this takes us on a journey through popular music culture.

Goldblade’s real value has been in their live shows which are an anarchic mix of rebel rousing choruses and the antics of lead singer John Robb. However this album has brought us a step closer to that experience. I’ve been using it as a soundtrack to my jogging. Plenty of speed to keep me going but not too fast for me to loose pace. And then there’s the singalong bits “Psycho Takes A Holiday” and “Sick/Tired” notable ones, however if you see an aging man jogging down the street, grinning and singing “We’re All In It Together” don’t run away from me….


Southern Soul


Southern Soul
YO YO records

This record has been on pretty constant rotation around my head for the past month. I have played most tracks on my radio show .

It is Southports third offering and they have bucked the trend for those bands who offer their first as the most memorable. Whilst trying to make things easy for you the reader by giving comparisons, Midway Still sprang to mind. I then read further and saw that Dec Kelly was the drummer in that aforementioned band is a member. It is glorious pop punk that really deserves to be heard.

The songs linger in your head forever and make the sun shine on these cloudy summer days. 10 Songs that blend so well together and have tunes that will be making you wonder what bands have to do to be heard. I can’t understand why Southport aren’t been spoken about in larger circles. Best album of the year.


the evens ‘the odds’


the evens – the odds (dischord records)

before I start I have to admit to a vested interest here. The last gig I was involved in putting on (which total over 200) was the evens when they visited dublin in 2005. I have never said that I’ve stopped doing gigs, Im just taking a
break…. I haven’t given listening to music a break and whilst its harder and harder for a parent of three to keep up to date with new sounds (finance to buy, access to a computer to seek out as well as time not spent taxi-ing kids around to listen are my excuses – what are yours?) I am always happy when old friends release new music.

the odds is a continuation from where the evens left 6 years ago with the second album Get Evens. Since then a child has been born for the two-piece and they have had plenty of time domestically to hone their sound and write songs. The sound is baritone guitar (which as far as i can make out is a lower tuned guitar) strummed with a mixture of chord progression in a folk sense and string strumming in a punk rock mode and jazz fusion drumming (have I made it sound interesting enough)? It’s bare bones electric guitar and drums coupled with male and female vocals that are mixed evenly.

The songs are all well written collections and are tales of the world around us, when Ian sings “What if every single person was a deputy…jails in search of prisoners” in wanted criminals or amy communicating “We got to sort out how to share this place” in king of kings right up to both off them detailing “and the architects lie awake trying to forget all their mistakes” in architects sleep” we remember that another world is possible and the evens want in.

Listen there is history here, I don’t need to rewrite this but this is the present and you should treat yourself.


Paranoid Visions – Escape from The Austerity Complex (Overground Records)

Paranoid Visions – Escape From the Austerity Complex (Overground Records)

Haunting start – I sit here typing this review in to a computer nearly 30 years after seeing Paranoid Visions for the first time.  It’s a debut I will never forget.  My journey started at the bus stop with my bro who was the instigator of most of my punk rock education.  As we stood waiting for a bus to bring us in to the Ivy Rooms on Dublins Parnell Street a cyclist kept going past complete with baseball bat in hand.  He didn’t need his hands for the steering wheel it was to make sure his intended victim was going to meet their designated fate.  It didn’t get any less menacing when i entered the ivy rooms as an underage punker.  Dublin was a a scary place, Parnell Street was its breeding ground. Some concerned parents were marching against drugs, others were trying to keep their kids away from those mean streets.


And so my Paranoid Vision journey still continues.  This album could captures that feeling all those years ago.  It is at parts frightening, at times energising and also at times confusing.  The visions have done so much to assist the punk rock community in Ireland.  My first band, formed soon after seeing them play, rehearsed in the same space because we asked Deko and PA where should we practice.They brought us to many gigs and we travelled together on many journeys. As someone who has felt like an outsider at times in punk rock I was always welcomed into the visions family. After a while I got involved in putting on gigs myself, and for a brief time became the person who would get the venues as Paranoid Visions were banned from them.  That didn’t last too long as the trend in Ireland was to turn on fire extinguishers or break toilet cisterns(if not try to break people) and gigs were scary at times.  Deko’s presence  on stage always had that violent edge as he reflected what was happening in his city.  They faded as a band when the Celtic Tiger was kicking off which probaby makes sense.  They are a band of the city, very much depicting Ireland as it is.  When recession kicked back in it seems only right that the Visions crawled out of whatever gutter they were keeping warm and spat their vitriol once more.

This is their fifth album since 40 shades of ganggreen sheparded in their return in 2007 and it is their best work since those days of the 80’s in the ivy rooms. I’m sitting here listening and can still see bodies flying through the air as Deko screamed about the system failing us, the difference is that the fire extinguishers generally stay on the walls and that leaks aren’t coming in from broken cisterns.

Winner – Outsider Artist with TV Smith guesting


Flies On You – Nothing To Write Home About

Flies On You – Nothing to write Home About

I Love that bass sound. It’s like JJ burnell from the Stranglers has joined nomeansno. I have this album on loop for a few days and Am loving it.

I remember a world of compilation tapes and hand written letters we mailed to each other. I had nerve rack on quite a few of my tapes for a while and Doug from flies on you is a fixture in both bands. Nerve Rack also had that bass sound but flies on you have the drum machine to suck you in with some post punk tunes. You’ll be singing along to lines you never thought possible if you give them a chance.

As a union activist I attend diversity forums from time to time – if there was a forum on albums I would make a case for this as it dips into different modes – almost mob, rudimentary peni, de kift, riff based punk with Doug snarling at you most of the time.  and then there’s some dance a dub version of the exploiteds dead cities which dougs daughter sings in. This is greAt – please try and seek them out.

Winner  – “Josephine ”      josephine

for the line – “You wouldn’t want a holiday in my head, well I wouldn’t want one in yours either””