Barry McCormack – Cut Throat Lane

Barry McCormack
Cut Throat Lane

hags head records
cutthroat_cover

Barry McCormack is a modern day story teller. His tales are from the streets of Dublin. The words are stories from the darker side of these streets. Not the gloss and shine of the newly built areas but the reality of the grim world that people are living in. He does this through traditional instruments and with the help of many of his friends. The fact that a lot of these people have roots in Dublins punk and indie scene is telling for me but not given away in the music.

Imagine, if you will, that you have walked into a bar on one of Dublins side streets. Ths bar would not have a bouncer on the door, there is very little plastic and neon lights are at a minimum. You may have an extra light in the toilet to prevent addicts from shooting up. It will stink but ehre will be something in this stench that keeps you there. In the corner of this strange but alluring abode there is a band playing. Each brought their own instruments and have no need for amplification. Banjos, accordian, acoustic guitar all appear. In the middle is a fresh faced young man quietly leading the way. You may miss him but he is the articulate one. His songs are the aformentioned stories. When he breaks into “When THe Windows Shake” you will sing along to a tuneful take of shootings in the city. You may then hear how “Life it burns a path, then it leaves a trace” during the Night Before The Horse Fair. That man is Barry McCormack.

Unbelievably this is his fifth solo album and the man isn’t sharing a stage with someone like Damien Dempsey. It’s probably that background that is holding him back. It’s a self released album and is a reflection of Dublin and ireland today. This is the country facing austerity measures, shootings on street corners, people living on our cold streets. All the while Barry tries to lift spirits by not ignoring these events but at least trying to get us to sing along to them

“A moment of Silence
While we hang our heads in shame
While we try to figure out exactly who is to blame”

Hags head records

New Model Army – Between Dog And Wolf

NMA_Between_Dog_And_Wolf

New Model Army played a huge part in my life. There I’ve said it. When Conflict had their only stupid Bastards sign to EMI t-shirt I was devastated. Here was my band, new Model Army, a band I had almost befriended. a band I had bought every record by, believed in and now they jumped ship to the other side. I was 18, the miners had lost their strike, our victories were in songs and little else. We were the independents fighting against the sharks of the major labels. NMA went with the sharks, appeared on Top Of The Pops and then Conflict had the t-shirt…..

Of course it is never that easy. The midst of time has helped me realise that. I left school and found myself a job. i was working for the man railing against those who wanted to be the man. But we travelled different roads and i wished them well on their journey. The way I see it we are travelling
through this life on a journey. What we do with our time and how we reach the end is the direction we take. In the 1980’s when a band signed to a major record label they decided to go on the motorway, me? I’ve always preferred the bypassed villages, the secondary roads are more interesting.

I’ve seen New Model Army quite a few times live. I was a regular in the early days with arms flapping as the clog travellers who attended their gigs were the family that I was an outsider to. I have great memories of gigs in Liverpool, Bradford, London and Dublin that reached a crescendo when the band hit the stage. I interviewed them for my zine in 1984 and they have never been anything but nice. I questioned their wisdom of finding an employer for their music.

I guess after this time I bear no grudges but for a while I questioned. It is no harm to question, Justin Sullivan has been doing so since he was speaking as Slade The Leveller and has always been nothing but emotional in his words and music. I can’t believe it is Thirty years since their first record. it is that midst of time we can’t prevent from moving. What we do with it is important though.

I’ve written tons of reviews since my first attempt at getting someone to listen to a Crass record. i have spoken of the virtues of many many bands but New Model Army have always been up there for me. There’s no other way of saying this but I LOVE NEW MODEL ARMY. Their songs are laden down with emotion, sang with such feeling. I can never imagine them being in a studio and someone having to say “One more take, this time with feeling”. There is an intensity to everything they do and the latest record is no different. The opening track of Horsemen must have Justin exhausted every time he sings with such feeling.

The other 13 tracks are no less intense. There is a haunting eeriness to their sound. The modern day Sherlock Holmes, chasing down the Hound Of the Baskervilles on the moors would have to listen to NMA. When the haunting rhythmic percussion kicks in during Ghosts or Did You Make It Safe you can almost feel the fog on those moors. Tracks like Lean Back and Fall and I Need more Time have such a haunting sound the season of Halloween seems the perfect time for them. Of course it’s not all mean and moody and Seven Times will give you a chance to get those arms moving in through NMA style when you are singing along to “I tried to tell you that you had everything you need, but you wouldn’t believe it”

Brilliant

http://www.newmodelarmy.org/

niallhope

Stay Clean Jolene Green 7″

Stay Clean Jolene – Green 7′ Just Say No To Government Music

stay_clean

 

I love checking out new music. it’s even better when I like it, makes it all the more worthwhile. I knew nothing about Stay Clean Jolene before I got this 7″. It is on the excellent Just Say No To Government Music label, split release with 3 other labels. There’s very little info on the sleeve so after 5 seconds I was ready for the needle to hit the record. It made me sit down. It made me write this. I want you to hear them. I wanted to find out more and now it all makes sense.

TO me hardcore music is about singing along to great tunes. It helps if there is a meaning to the songs, they can be played and listened to with great passion. You see the Great St Louis, along with Dauntless Elite are two of the greatest UK punky hardcore bands (Southport would be up there if they met the strict criteria). They are in frankie Stubbs and Leatherface’s shadow but are emerging. Stay Clean Jolene have a connection to the Great St Louis and that’s where the connection comes in. Powerfully packed guitar based tunes that pack a punch. Over in an instant like the sun bursting through clouds. I need more

Brilliant

 

http://staycleanjolene.bandcamp.com/album/3-songs

 

Hunx and His Punx – Street Punk

Hunx And His Punx
Street Punk
Hardly Art

HunxAndHisPunx_LP2

Seth Bogart started Hunx and His Punx in 2008 and this is their third albm. Hunx is Seth’s alter ego and the Punx are two women playing obnoxious US hardcore with an almost riot grrl feel.

The first time I had coffee I spat it out and said why would people drink this garbage. There’s so many other hot drinks out there in the world. Street Punk reminded me of that time. Initially I found it awful. I wanted so much more. its basic u.s. nearly 80’s hardcore feel had me very interested. But the obnoxiousness? Does the world need another obnoxious record? Listening to songs about Bad Skin, Blondes, being a pussy is about as interesting to me as watching a soap opera on tv. However some of the music is compelling.

So I’m in a quandary here. I don’t know what to say or think. Hunx is Seth Bogart’s alter ego. Seth is making a statement, trying to be obnoxious in a world that causes him hardship as a gay man. Shannon Shaw and Erin Emslie are his punx and they want to scream, they wanna be in your face and they are sneering all through. There’s two great songs, You think You’re tough and I’m coming Back rocks with sing along songs. There’s other parts that remind me of LA punk in a great time for LA punk if only they wanted to sing about something different!

Maybe they’re of a different era but the world they find obnoxious still exists and maybe that’s the real shame.

niallhope

Lazy way
Bad SKin – obnoxious
Everyone’s a Pussy – and why?
You Think Yoy’re tough – great track, bikini kill playing the germs?
Born Blonde Hair Die – Song about a Hair Dye?
I’m COming Back – Punk rock us style
Mud IN Your Eyes – I wanna keep playing this
Street Punk – Communist eyes and Liberal Guys sung to perfection
Don’t Call Me Fabulous – rasps at ya
Rat Bag – from the gutter
Egg Radi on Mojo – Early Beastie Boys Cover, fast and direct
KIll Elaine – Riot grrl with that loud raw punk sound
It’s Not Easy – It’s not easy being me, bluesy, rocky and filler?

Roughneck Riot – This is our day lp

roughneck riot
This Is Our Day

Bomber Music
roughneck riot

So we have an assembled group of musicians complete with tattoos guitars, bass, drums, ukelele, accordion. Armed with a manifesto of making the world a better place, ready to scream it out, ready to take you with them. “Is there anybody out there that can see what I see.. Question everything… Ignorance Is Easy when you’re told what to believe”. So what’s not to like for an Irish person?

Roughneck Riot have been compared to the likes of Real McKenzies, Dropkick Murphys and bands that have taken punk / hardcore and given it a traditional (maybe Irish folksy) with the addition of those non punk rock instruments. Of course we can say the Pogues started it off and these have taken it a step further but listening to the record there is one band that screams out to me. The Men They Couldn’t Hang. I remember the Men did a tour in ireland in the late 80’s and we followed them to as many gigs as possible. There was an urgency to their music that equated to many punk bands rebelling at the time. However the Men they couldn’t Hang were armed with mandolins and acoustic guitars. They were proudly anti-fascist and spoke of the dire conditions in Britain that they were living in. They were proud to support the miners in their battle and all workers in their fight for their rights. Listening to This Is Our Day I am reminded of those days. The gig in Drogheda Boxing Club when we were ready to take whatever fight we were asked to the people.

Of course since those days, many bands have come and gone and have kept us on that garden path. Roughneck Riot are a welcome addition and when they sing “All across the nation a distinct lack of patience, we sing our contempt in such imperfect cadence, in the hope that one day, we’ll make just one small change” I am screaming it with them knowing we are making small steps along the way.

niallhope

The Pukes – Will I learn

The Pukes
Will I Learn 7″
Damaged Goods

thepukes

New single from 20 piece Ukelele playing (mainly), female (mainly) Punk Covers band(mainly).

In a word riotous. 3 covers and an original here give a great introduction to the madcap ukelele antics of the Pukes. Formed in true punk style as a gang of friends getting together every week playing some music. All with the same instrument. These friends grew in number and learned to play ukelele.

They then got some friends to provide the backing and rhythm of guitar, bass and drums and started playing live. Their gigs are madcap affairs of classic punk covers and we get an insight here.

Don’t take my word for it, watch this video and then buy the record
niallhope

No Age – ‘An Object’

No Age
An Object
Sub Pop

no age

I saw No Age play in Dublin with Mika Miko wheny Skinny Wolves put them on in the Boom Boom room 6 years ago. The Boom Boom room was opposite the rotunda hospital, north dublin’s maternity hospital. I’m sure some babies were born that night to the strained noise of no age and I wonder if we will have a collection of teenagers on this forum in years to come dabbling with music as an art form. I loved both bands on the night and whilst mika miko were more straightforward in their offerings no age offered up a substantial sound. This is their fourth album since those early days.

First thing to notice this album by is the colour scheme. Illuminous orange and green – colours that blend and clash and whilst being aestethically pleasing can also be difficult to read at time. That nearly sums up No Age’s sound. Full of layers, tunes and riffs in there hidden behind the noise but also sometimes haunting. Not making it too easy on the listener. But still easy enough to capture your attention. It is art for the ears.

Like a painting on display in an art gallery the crowds viewing it can have different notions and ideas. It’s the same picture but our eyes can interpret the colours and layers in different ways.

From the riff laden, layered sound, with vocals at different levels we can draw many conclusions from these songs. With no ground starting off and asking “Does anybody Really Care” we have 29 minutes of various tones and fuzz laden dreams. An Object has its haunting parts too, ‘running from a go-go” brings us on a melodic yet haunting journey that has Dean singing the line “I don’t want to be alone again” which has me wondering what life is really like in a sucessful band? Commerce, Comment, Commence finishes our half hour with a layered expolosion of noise.

I love albums that take as long as a soap opera on tv. There’s always time to fit them in. You don’t need to pick out a few songs you can deal with the whole record in one sitting. That’s the best way to capture no age. Sit back, open your mind to the layers of sound and enjoy, better than Fair City any day.

track by track – a lazy synopsis

no ground – riff down, layered vocals and sound – “does anybody really care?”
I won’t be your generator – softer song, noise pop
C’mon Stimmung – faster, layered sound
Defactor/ed – beautiful, yet slightly eery riff – discontent
An impresssion – softer composition with strings
Lockbox – heavier, tuneful
Running from A Go-G0 – journey, melodic and haunting
My Hands, Birch and Steel – haunting
Circling with dizzy – riff layered
A ceiling dreams of a floor – dreamy
Commerce Comment Commence – dreamy and haunting, layered explosion of noise

niallhope

2 for the price of 2 – Hard Skin

Why Do Birds Suddenly Appear / On The Balls
jtclassics records

hardskin

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.
niallhope
HArdSkin_WomenHardSkin_Men

Terror of Modern Life

Goldblade

The Terror of modern Life

Overground Records

Goldblade-the-terror-of-modern-life

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….

niallhope

Southern Soul

Southern_Soul_cover

Southport
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.

niallhope