Red Mass - Semprini Records

Created by Choyce of Montreal's CPC Gangbangs, Red Mass is a forum for creative auras, amidst swirling energies of flanger fused guitars, rip roaring surf sonic solos, swinging beats, two toned dark vocals, fun intelligent lyrics, interesting live set up, two keyboards two drummers, red ties, hat, cape and jackets. It's a psychedelic garage punk explosion abounding with the free thinking ideals it pursues, a metamorphosis of a new musical vision of love, sex, death and chaos. Helping mastermind Choyce, fulfill his unique vision of Red Mass there have been a collection of alternating participants in live show performances and on this EP, The Roller and Dan Pedro Dorito among many others. This is a wild trip you should take!

Stemm – Blood Scent CD (Catch 22)
Hmm white guys with dreadlocks and goatee beards, a Nine Inch Nails cover song; I think I know what's coming. Chunky down tuned riffs, pounding double bass drums, angst ridden vocals. It's competently done and if you're a fan of Pantera style groove metal this pretty much ticks all the boxes, although it's a bit formulaic at times for me.

Ian Pickens

Exciter – Exciter (O.T.T.) CD (Magnetic Air)
Always the bridesmaid and never the bride; like Accept, Exciter never seemed to raise their game enough to get themselves into the Premier League of metal which is a shame because they played some decent Judas Priest-on-speed metal. Fans of the aforementioned Priest and Accept, or 80s heavy metal in general, will enjoy this album which showcases the more melodic side of the band, although it's not essential listening by any stretch of the imagination, for that check out their seminal speed metal classic Violence and Force.

Ian Pickens

Zooparty – You Are Here (Acme Records)
OK, Zooparty are from Sweden and they have the rubber stamp of Out Cold's John Evicci so what more do you need to know? Anthemic, melodic punk, with a large dash of UK 77 sound and attitude, and the odd nod to Detroit legends the Stooges. Shades of the Damned, Lurkers, Pistols and the Buzzcocks, all done with the trademark flair that Swedish bands seem to bring to the table, and topped off by guest appearances from Glen Matlock and Brian James. There's no standout track on this CD simply because all 12 tracks scream quality. If you love punk rock you really need to check this band out.

Ian Pickens

Firebird – Grand Union CD (Rise Above)
The welcome return of the legend that is Bill Steer but if you're hoping for a new Carcass you're in the wrong tent brother. This is solid 70s style blues based rock ala Grand Funk Railroad, Mountain and Leafhound. A genuine celebration of the style rather than conscious faux retro; rich in groove laden, catchy riffs and passionate vocals, this is well and truly floating my boat. If your 40 plus and remember this stuff from the first time around you will dig it, if you're under 30 and think that Wolfmother and the Answer are doing a good job then you seriously need to check this out. Classic Rock in the truest sense and yes, there is cowbell.

Ian Pickens

Antigama – Warning CD (Relapse)
Blast beat heaven. Relapse delivers the goods with another dose of grindcore to delight fans of Brutal Truth and Pig Destroyer. This Polish four piece can thrash with the best of them adding a few interesting twists along the way such as the Voi Vod'esque ‘Heartbeat'. This is about as uncompromising as it gets, intense and pummelling and very much akin to having a root canal surgery without anaesthetic or repeatedly head butting a brick wall.

Ian Pickens

The Cockroaches (Real Big North Records)

Hip, catchy and swingy! The Cockroaches self titled release is a must-have for any rockabilly music fan. They've got a real 50's style authentic echo- type rockabilly sound, and their songs are pretty fun to listen to, songs about girls and love, some all dreamy and innocent-like in “Long Blond Hair” or more alluring and red hot-like in “Holly”, or heart-broken and love forlorn in “Cruel Hearted Dame” and “Shoobydoowa”. There's also a pretty good range in types of songs, from slow-ish to fast but not too fast, and instrumental too, with lots of vibrant twangy guitar, fuzzy-warm rattling snappy slappy bass, rata-tat-tat snare tapping, and hot passionate crooning vocals.

Dirtbombs – We Have You Surrounded (In the Red)

Super fuzzy sounding, emotive hooks, Mick has a slightly different singing style with opener “It's Not Fun UntilTthey See You Cry”, this new record is lots of fun and eclectic styles are all over it to with different sounding songs, and great covers like Sherlock Holmes is kind of like the ballad on this record, but I love this track, love Mick soft high pitched singing, and feel like it's a got a gentle creepy feeling to it. “Wreck my flow” is super groovy and dance-y for getting down and boogying your ass off. “Leopardman at C & A” has got power to boot, with fuzzy, sassy riffs, and jungle like drumming and doubled vocals. Fire in the Western World sucks you into its sweet sounding deluge. Pretty Princes Day, Davie Allen-ish fuzzed up sour riffs, up tempo “I Hear the Sirens” will bring down the house with immense thunderousity, and sexy, surly playful riffs. For the ultimate in fuzzy screechy noise a-la-Mick-style “Race to the Bottom” will take you there. “La Fin Du Monde” is a nice friendly melodic tune perfect for an ending, sung in French, it's a lullaby that gives you a hug, holds you tight and rocks you to peaceful dreamland.

-Samia C.

The Mome Raths - Vaporized My Brain

I really love this, extremely entertaining and fun, bare bones sassy garage punk with guitar (Daniel Rath- male), bass (Tracey Rath-female), drums (Boss Rath), vocals - who needs more?! Very energetic, up tempo, go crazy kind of feel to these songs with Daniel and Tracey trading off singing .

Samia C.

Dirty Revolution – Its Gonna Get Dirty… ep (Do The Dog Music) Running Time: 18:16

Spikey, spunky Ska/Reggae with punk undercurrents. Think Citizen Fish, Culture Shock and AOS3 but with female vocals which occasionally drift into an almost Kate Nash estuary style. Lyrics of a personal-political nature. Bright and bouncy stuff with ‘Failure to Communicate' being my particular favourite. Guaranteed to put a smile on your face, although some may find it a tad thin sounding - Bring the bass back!                                                                               Ian Pickens

Eddie and the Subtitles – Fuck You Eddie (Frontier Records) Running Time: 37:45

Interesting 80s SoCal curio on the label that brought you Suicidal Tendencies classic first album. The Eddie in question was an unofficial manager/booking agent/drug dealer to the fledgling SoCal scene before deciding to chance his arm with Mike Patton (no not the geek from Faith No More, the guitarist from original West Coast hardcore band Middle Class). The result in various incarnations was Eddie and the Subtitles. Fuck You Eddie is a collection of songs, including the classic sludge of ‘American Society' (as covered by L7 and Manic Hispanic), the ubiquitous Louie Louie and a few tracks from the Subtitles two full length albums.  It's a mixed bag, the original version of American Society and some of the faster punk rock tracks are pretty good and compare well with most of the hardcore punk emanating from the west coast in the early 80s, but the home recordings such as WWIII are so painful as be unlistenable. Not exactly an essential album but worth checking out for historical reasons.                                                                                             Ian Pickens

A New Day – Perfect Passion (Lockjaw Records) Running Time: 21:43

Mid paced melodic hardcore. Vibrant and packed full of youthful energy. Noodly guitar parts with lots of stop-start and vocal harmonising, at times reminding me of AFI mixed with Lost Prophets. Not sure how that comparison will go down but if it sounds like your Cup of Joe then this bunch are for you. Not really my thing but then I'm a BOF who likes 80s hardcore and stoner rock. The kids will love it.                                                                                                                            Ian Pickens

Ancestors – Neptune with Fire (TeePee Records) Running Time: 38.27

Two songs, 38 and a half minutes - oh yes. Now this is the shit. Sprawling psychedelic rock, organ driven, solos in extreme (without degenerating into pointless shredding for the sake of it), vocals trimmed to a minimum. Plug in your earphones, crank up the volume and tune out to the cosmic ocean inhabited by Neptune with Fire. Beautiful gatefold sleeve artwork reminiscent of the best 70s psyche out merchants such as Amon Duul II. Neither 70s nor stoner rock in the conventional sense, but managing to sound both grounded in classic rock and yet heavy in the sense of bands like label mates Kalas and Sleep. Damn fine stuff.                          Ian Pickens

Bill Bondsmen – Swallowed by the World (Dead Beat Records) Running Time: 24:24

For many people, hardcore passed its sell by date in '86 but Detroit's finest, Bill Bondsmen confound that view by playing blistering old school hardcore with a passion and vitriol that eludes the majority of their contemporaries. 12 songs of amped up, searing Negative Approach/Die Kreuzen style core with thought provoking lyrics dealing with the alienation and futility of our corporately sponsored existence. The musicianship is tight and economic and retains a high energy level throughout without lapsing into predictable ‘mosh' parts. Vocalist Gabby spits the words with a venom sadly lacking from many current punk and HC bands. Excellent stuff. .

Ian Pickens

Dead Child – Attack (Quarterstick Records) Running Time: 47:35

80s style thrash metal from Slint's David Pajo and co. Elements of Anthrax and Metallica on the chugging rifferama and OTT vocals with more traditional style metal solos. Choppy opening track ‘Sweet Chariot' pretty much captures the spirit of the album, however the indie roots of the protagonists can't help but shine through with a distinctly off kilter style on some of the songs particularly the QOTSA leaning ‘Wasp Riot'. The song titles and lyrics are suitably horror based but at times it sounds almost like a parody of the genre rather than a celebration. That said the outstanding musicianship and exceedingly good tunes save the day

Bad Chopper – Bad Chopper (Acme Records) Running Time: 31:13

Respect is due to anyone who can step in to the shoes of an original Ramone and that's exactly what Bad Chopper's head honcho CJ Ward aka CJ Ramone did when he replaced Dee Dee (RIP) in 1989. So big expectations for this 3 piece (completed by guitarist Brian Costanza and Out Cold vocalist Mark Sheehan on drums), and they certainly deliver. 12 tracks of mid paced, catchy punk rock with the inevitable Ramones influence and hooks aplenty. Guest lead guitar spots from Walter Lure and produced by famed Ramones knob twiddler Daniel Rey ensure that the quality is kept to a premium. An absolutely essential album for fans of punk rock done properly.

Ian Pickens

Thomas Patrick Maguire – Pissing Streams – Luv-A-Lot Records

Heartfelt simple acoustic folk rock with real soulful vocals. The sound and intonation of Thomas Patrick Maguire's voice makes this quite intimate sounding, like he's playing these songs to himself alone in a cabin in the woods, in the vast wilderness with not another human around for miles. I like the quiet feeling it brings to me, and the soft and pure sound of just his acoustic guitar and his lonely boy voice filled with a little angst and sadness. The songwriting is simple but fun to listen to as he lets you in to his world of little scrapes and secret cozy stories. There's a few tracks thrown in with drums and bass for variety but mostly it's just Thomas P Maguire and his guitar.

–Samia C.

Lucian  - Lucian (DeadLamb Records) Total Running Time: 30:35

Swedish punk RnR with hard rock/metal overtones. Obvious comparisons are going to be made with the mighty Hellacopters; and sure enough hi-octane opening track, ‘Unholy Lords of Rock', despite is cheese laden title, is a slice of pure RAWK which would easily fit on any Hellacopters/Glucifer album, even down to the noodley solos.

Lucien keep up the pace until the chorus of ‘The Plowman Vs the Wind'. The repeated ‘on and on' phrase, does just that and grates, losing points for what otherwise would have been a very decent AFI style gothic punk tune (a genre which is reflected in the Misfits/AFI leaning lyrics). Thankfully its only a minor slip and the band reaffirm themselves on the brilliant ‘Gunslinger', a Judas Priest riff tinged rocker which stands out as one of the highlights of the album.

Its back to the punkier stuff on ‘Firechild' with its sped up ‘Girl Can't Help it' guitar lick, the punchy ‘Nocturnally Yours' and the speed metal solo fest that is ‘Destroy The Ark'. It's on these high speed rockers that Lucien shine and with a decent chunky production behind them I think these Scandinavians could easily move up a division.                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ian Pickens

Rezmo – 5 Minute Demo (Self Released) Total Running Time: 5:14

What seems to be the final release for the self labelled Raggedy Punks and it's a shame because this stuff is definitely a step up on their first two demos. Three blasts of raging 90s style hardcore, reminiscent of bands like Assert and Rectify. Each song is less than 2 minutes long and fuelled by ferocious blast beat drumming with intensely angry vocals.

Reduced to a three piece, the riffing is still technically proficient but the overall sound is less cluttered than some of their older stuff and this definitely helps to make the songs more defined. I hope these guys reconsider splitting because on the strength of this demo I think their best is yet to come.

Ian Pickens

Monster Magnet – 4-Way Diablo (SPV) Total Running Time – 57:53

Monster Magnet is the aural equivalent of a tight rope walker. Finely balanced between perfection and a fatal fall from grace. Like all the best tight rope walkers they pull off the trick, every time.

            ‘Monolithic Baby' was s significant departure from their recognised magnum opus, ‘Powertrip', and ‘4-Way Diablo' is a similarly unique beast. This could well be MM's defining moment. A reality which might escape the listener on first hearing, but this is an album that deserves, nay demands, your attention and commitment.

            4-Way Diablo may be viewed historically as Monster Magnet's ‘Exile on Main St. ' if you will. A comparison drawn not only for their exceedingly well executed cover of  ‘2000 Light Years From Home' but like the Stones their alchemic ability to turn garage RnR into pure gold.

            The loss of guitarist Phil Caivano has resulted in a more Spartan sound which excels in understatement, never more so than on the melancholic bleakness of ‘I'm Calling You'. When Wyndorf utters the words ‘Oh please let's have another game' the Universe feels cold and dead. Its not all dark psychedelic vibes though, the frenzied ‘Wall of Fire' and biting ‘You're Alive' stride confidently out of the speakers in a glorious burst of  bravado reminiscent of the Stooges in their prime.

Jim Baglino reprises his role on bass and once again proves his ability to inject a contemporary element into the sound as on the Primal Scream-esque ‘Solid Gold'.

If this isn't the most influential and career defining album that Monster Magnet have produced, there is something very wrong in the Multiverse.

Ian Pickens

Facel Vega  - 4 Track Demo  (Self Released)

Interesting, intelligent and sincere hardcore punk which avoids the trap of backing itself into a corner of lame sub categorisation In places this reminds me of Articles of Faith, in others early Dag Nasty and yet it stands on its own. Unique and contemporary.

There's maybe a slight element of emo about the introspective lyrics and quotes which comprise the cover art, but unlike the corporate sponsored version this sounds genuine and more in keeping with the original emo acts such as Rites of Spring and the aforementioned Dag Nasty. It's difficult to pick out a standout track; all four are of an equally high standard. Impressive and pleasing to discover a band mining this particular area of hardcore punk in 2008. Well worth checking out.

Available from:  Facel Vega, 9 Tern Road , Porthcawl. South Wales.UK. CF36 3TS /                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ian Pickens

Sucking the 70s Vol II – Back In the Saddle (Small Stone Records)

Follow up to the awesome Sucking the 70s comp, which is definitely in my top 10 compilation albums of all time; can this one match its cheesy 70s rock nostalgia? The answer is yes and then some. If you ever come across a better version of The Osmonds environmental anthem ‘Crazy Horses' than Puny Humans' take on it, then I want to hear it! Clutch and Five Horse Johnson deliver an expectedly superb version of Funkadelic's ‘Red Hot Mama' and Gideon Smith and the Dixie Damned do the same with an eerie interpretation of Donovan's ‘Season of the Witch' In fact picking out individual tracks on this album is pretty much a negligible task. There isn't a bad track on here, even the Eagles covers!

There's Hammond organ and cow bell aplenty, a veritable riff and solo fest, not to mention some of the best tracks to come out of the decade that forgot austerity... Rock Candy, When The Levee Breaks, Snortin' Whiskey; a passing nod to the punk and new wave eras with Dozer's crushing version of ‘Mongoloid' and Orange Goblins' fresh and unexpected cover of the Damneds' “New Rose”

So, an excellent (if slightly dishonest) take on 70s rock (I'm sure ‘Born to be Wild came out in ‘69 if not before) and a worthy successor to its first born brother. Essential purchase.

                                                                                                                                                                      Ian Pickens

Terror Visions - Terror Visions (FDH Records)

This record is a loads of fun. The cover is smoking hot with Jay Reatard's fucked up looking mug shot - a must have collectors item, and the music is a terror-filled blend of electronic synth punk and 80's newwave. The awesome synth outer-wordly sounds and beats are totally piercing in their sinfully joyous demented angst of a scary world gone shit. "Medicating Dreams" my favorite song on the 1st side has earie wind sounds and a electrifying dance beat and Jay's signature emotional outpouring of screamo vocals.  Side 2 is mesmerizing with Master Wait and She Looks pretty in Red.  If you love Jay Reatard, get this.  If you love 80's new wave, get this. If you love electro synth punk, own this now!!!!! -Samia

Black Lips “Los Valientes Del Mundo Nuevo” (Vice)

From the wild and crazy opening in Mexican Spanish, you get the feeling that the creative exuberance of this psychedelic ride is going to blow you clear out the cosmos. The energy of this live record, performed in Tijuana at a mariachi club, transcends beyond any live recording you've heard. Wild debauchery and Mexican sweat permeates your membranes and the songs are laced with crispy fuzz drizzling in a tornado of brotherly love and comradery. The Black Lips entice and excite with every single one of their greatest musical gems, like “Boomerang”, “Fairy Stories”, “Stranger”, “Juvenile”, “Not a Problem” and “Hippie, Hippie, Hoorah”, performing at maximum capacity, with tidbits of in between song drunken crowd and band banter and trumpets abound in a kaleidoscope of happy feelings and swirly prisms. This is probably the greatest live record of all time, if not my favorite at least. -Samia

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion - Jukebox Explosion Rockin Mid 90's Punkers (In The Red)

With an homage to the cover of Crypt's 1st Back from the Grave compilation done by Mort Todd himself who also did the original, this brand new compilation of early Jon Spencer's Blues Explosion singles on In The Red, is material originally released by In The Red back in the day, and it reminds us that this record is a root of today's punk blues garage scene - whatever that may be- cause nobody can do this style and sound this good at it like JSBE. The early Blues Explosion is some of the most raw-ist, crazy-ist bluesy-ist, stuff you'll ever hear, with classic BE songs like "Shirt Jac", "Son of Sam", "Bent", and others. I get so excited it feels like my body will blow up when I hear those crazy ass primal, guttural, bluesy, funky, hook jam parts that seem to go bezerk, thrust upon you with howls and grunts and Jon Spencer's holy bad-ass juicy sonic machete thermined-up guitar madness that stabs you repeatedly through your soul. It's blues gone wacko, beat up, bent over, smashed up, swallowed and spat out right back at you in a dirty, rhythmically regurgitated newly f*%ked up sorta way. - Samia

The Lamps - The Lamps (In the Red)

The Lamps in many ways sounds like a multitude of pots, pans and dishes being smashed together…but… in a good way. It's joyful chaos. It sounds like you walked in a factory and you're about to get killed any moment by dangerous machines. Their minimal sound and very primitive beat and sounds of smashing instruments with barely audible distorted vocals are seriously quite endearing and fun to listen to. I love the sound of the muffled grungy bass, it has a juicy presence that you just want to gobble up. This is extremely ultra low musical trash can rock. - Samia

The Goodnight Loving – Crooked Lake (Dusty Medical Records)

I guess bands in not too obvious parts of the country, like Milwaukee , are much cooler than you would think they would be. Fact is, it seems that the farther you are away from a major metropolis the better chance you have of writing good music you. The Goodnight Loving are 5 young hip lads who know how to make great music. I was immediately swallowed up by their infectious country trash twang with a lot of heart, feel good kind of songs. It's just good music, what can I say? It's like a younger, hipper version of the Violent Femmes with their predominately acoustic up tempo short ballads, well written and interesting lyrics, and I can't seem to get enough of the acoustic strumming that prevails on most of the songs. Its mellowness wrapped up in a sweet soulful happy feeling. I feel like getting a cabin in the woods and going fishing, and I am more of a city girl, so you know this has got to be good. - Samia

Miss Alex White & The Red Orchestra - Space & Time -( In The Red)

A curious mesh of 1960's garage and psychedelia fronted by powerful melodic sensually captivating singing by Miss Alex, and more terrific melodic instrumentation throughout on guitar, bass and drums that's inventively catchy, swingy, groovy, sly, sexy and dirty sounding.  Although only 4 members in total they seem to earn the right to be called an orchestra, with varying instruments like trumpet, piano, and tenor sax, giving this recording a full sound and augmenting the levels of intrigue on this mesmerizing soulful recording. Another excellent quality worth mentioning is the raw and vintage sounding production. It's a complete wondrous soundscape that has now made me ever so eager to see Miss Alex and her very talented Red Orchestra live because it sounds like a live show bursting with raw creative energy. -Samia C.

Whiskey Daredevils - The Essential Whiskey Daredevils
Knock Out Records

The Essential Whiskey Daredevils gives you the best of the best of down-home, corn fed fun. Silly songs, such as “Jesus Walks Beside Me” and “Bacon Martini” had me giggling but tapping my feet, none-the-less. These tunes are dripping with bluesy, rockabilly guitars, courtesy of Dave Bowling and Bobby Lanphier. Greg Miller belts out truck stop imagery while Leo P. Love keeps a steady hand on drums and Ken Miller marries percussion and strings with his bass. Nothing but fun from these Cleveland , Ohio boys! This album has left me wishing for a day of demolition derbies and beer at the county fair.

Gina Clemente

The Defectors - Bruised and Satisfied
Bad Afro Records

I was in love with the Defectors upon hearing the first blaring organ notes. Hailing from Aarhus , Denmark , the Defectors are bringing melodic, haunting grooves to your stereo. Gravelly vocals from Mort Harder give these garage -style anthems a rougher edge than the jingly songs you may hear from the 60's. Yeah Bonde and Hell-eye keep a scary beat with drums and bass. Krist West brings the guitars while Martin Budde threads each tune with macabre sounds of farfisa organ. Songs such as Creep Crawl, Dancing Ghouls and Resurrection leave me wishing Halloween was right around the corner…while Fuck You ‘Cause You're Lookin' Good and Getting' It On had me dancing in my living room. The Final Thrill and I want Blood add a ghastly mellow touch to the CD. I was sad to learn I missed The Defectors when they came to New Jersey and New York because I'm now dying to see them. This album has me wanting more!

- Gina Clemente

Miss 45
No Talent Records

Miss 45, from Stockholm , Sweden , first introduce themselves with their quirky song, “High Heeled Bitches”. This paves the way for the following “(Everything's More Fun) When You're High”, “I Don't Care” and “I Don't Want To Be Like That”. Even though this album is limited to a hand full of songs, you'll be left with a poppy slap in the face, courtesy of a lot of “oohs” and “woo hoo's”. Colonel M. Knoxx and Felix Vendetta serve up some serious guitars. Singer/bassist Eric Beretta sings to us about sniffing glue and makes hating girls in tall shoes sound like fun. Drummer Dan Frankenstein throws in some piano here and there, keeping things a little unique. I'm hoping the group comes out with another, longer CD soon because these boys have great potential! - Gina Clemente

Celtic Frost - Monotheist (Century Media)
Running Time: 73:21

A welcome return to the classic sound of Swiss Black Metal denizens Celtic Frost. 'Progeny' opens this 12 song testament to desolation in typical Frost style managing to sound both Spartan and heavy as lead. To Mega Therion fans will rejoice.
Eschewing the pompous symphonic of the Black Metal bands they have undoubtedly influenced, Frost have, however, evolved beyond the dimensions of their raw earlier works, and incorporate some of the more avant garde/gothic influences of their later releases, most notably on the brooding melancholy of 'A Dying God Coming IntoHuman Flesh' and the Sisters of Mercy-on-downers that is 'Drown In Ashes'.
Pretentious song titles and overwrought liner notes aside, this is a triumphant album which proves Frost are still at the forefront of truly bleak music. Beautifully dark artwork. Ian Pickens

Unsane - Visqueen (Ipecac)
Running Time: 42:07

Follow up to one of 2005' best albums, this 11 track diary of despondent, discordance doesn't quite match 'Blood Run' in immediacy, intensity or downright disturbing content. It is however a solid album which grows with each listen.
Subtle blues and even country peak out through the density, raising songs such as 'This Stops at the River', with its harmonica driven opening riff, far above the Johnny-Come-Latelys who Unsane have influenced.
Despite the heaviness of the music, Unsane convey a feeling of utter isolation and emptiness; the vocals of Chris Spencer and Dave Curran perfectly capturing the despondency and frustration of modern life.
The crushing 'East Broadway' would probably test the patience of all but the most diehard fan; surely the aural equivalent of sitting in the mind of a serial killer. Intense and disturbing. Ian Pickens

Clutch - From Beale Street to Oblivion (DRT)
Running Time: 48:18

Yet another stunning retro packaged release from Brother Fallon and his cohorts in Clutch; surely the hardest touring band in history (yes including Black Flag!).
FBSTO is a wonderful blues-rock driven affair, laced with Southern warmness that follows on beautifully from Robot Hive/Exodus. Heartfelt and genuine, this is an album celebrating the roots of hard rock with nods to the catchy riffs of Zeppelin, the organ driven pomp of Purple and the blue collar rock of Grand Funk, without directly poaching from any of them.
With so many highlights it's difficult to choose between the spacey Sabbathness of 'White Ferry', the witty 'When Vegans Attack' or the 'La Grange'esque 'Electric Worry', man it could almost be vintage ZZ Top! Particularly the splendid drum fills of Jean-Paul Gaster. Ian Pickins

Sebadoh Live at Maxwells, Hoboken, NJ.

I saw Sebadoh (Eric Gaffney - Lou Barlow - Jason Loewenstein!) at Maxwells in Hoboken, NJ on April 1st, 2007. A long time fan with interviews in Gravy with both Lou and Jason, but I had never seen the complete line-up with Eric. It was like a wave of youthful replenishing, with their show concentrating on mostly the early stuff from Sebadoh III , Bubble and Scrape, and Smash Your Head on the Punk Rock… I felt transplanted back to my feelings and emotions that I can only conjure up with a solid good classic Sebadoh listening. Songs like Violet Execution, God Told Me, Supernatural Force, Brand New Love, Junk Bonds, Cry Sis, The Freed Pig, filled the room with abundant joy and hyped punk rocked goodness, and an assemblage of guitars fused with delectable phasers of glorious sounds massaging my happy soul, made it a memorable unforgettable performance. The humorous in-between song banter between Lou, Eric and Jason and the audience was entertainment alone, and instrument changes and rotations, continuous throughout the show; Jason and Eric switch on drums and guitars, while Lou and Jason switch on Bass and guitar…If they are playing in your town, go see them, to witness this historic event, to revel in true indie punk rock originality as it should be for always and never be forgotten. – Samia C.
Remaining tour dates: 4/2 Philadelphia, PA, 4/03 DC 9:30 Club, 4/04 Carrboro Cats Cradle NC, 4/06 Louisville Headliners KY, 4/07 Nashville Exit In TN, 4/08 Atlanta Variety Playhouse GA, 4/09 Tallahassee Beta Bar FL, 4/10 Orlando The Social FL, 4/12 Baton Rouge, New Orleans LA, 4/13 Houston Walters on Washington TX, 4/14 Austin Emos TX 4/16 Tucson Club Congress AZ

THE GRUSOMES "Live in Hell"( Ricochet Sound)

This band was one of my all time favorite bands growing up as a teen in Montreal and I was luck to witness many of their great live performances. They bust out the fiercest, liveliest, funnest , most intoxicating, partying 60’s garage you’ll ever hear. You’ll feel just like you were transplanted back to the time of those stone-age monsters we all know and love. Live in Hell features all the best songs the Gruesomes ever played and it’s all together, live and kicking on this here CD, along with some funny inbetween song banter. For those missing the live performance sounds of the Gruesomes as they were in the late 80’s and for those of you new comers who don’t know them, Live in Hell will awaken your senses and feet to the movements of the toe-tapping, ass-shaking, head bopping, limb jittering mayhem live show of the Gruesomes. Bobby Beaton’s bratty, snotty, high octane vocals will make all the girls go wild. This release was originally a tape the Gruesomes would sell at their shows and so you’ll be lucky and smart to own this in CD format.

Samia C.

The Gruesomes “Cave In” (Ricochet Sound)

More great 60's garage from those ‘tyrants of teen trash’. Originally released in 2000, “Cave In” gots the fuzz power action going on, with full stomping drums, shredding fuzzed up guitar, and groovy bass sounds. You won’t be able to control your pulsating gyrations and dancing feet and swimming arms. As I was writing this I needed to take a five minute dance break, seriously! - Samia C.



DEMON'S CLAWS - Satan's Little Pet Pig (In The Red)

These 5 scruffy French boys from Montreal, smashing and crashing out the ruddiest, soulfulest, bluesyest, twangy country tinged raw rock’n’roll ditties you’ll ever hear. The rhythms are thumping, stomping and riveting while the vocals are sweet feeling, earnest and searching, delivery a soulful mood, never ending, incredible and exciting. This record also has a nice variety and mixture of tempos between songs. Energetic like it’s live. Recorded loud, clear, not muddy, but powerful. It’s mastered by Jay Reatard, giving it a rich and not typical sound. On stage these guys are wild and manic, amps fall over, instruments unplug and break, people fall down, and the audience screams in excitement, confusion and fear like on a rollercoaster and this record has the sam sensation as that only better, and you can play it over and over again which I know you’ll want to do because it gives you a happy feel good feeling that you just won’t want to go away.
Samia C.

Reducers SF - Raise Your Hackles (TKO Records,
Total Running Time: 39:48

Catchy, Celtic tinged street punk. Very much in the mould of the first
Dropkick Murphys first album or the Swingin Utters 'Streets of San
Francisco'. Lyrics are mainly social/personal commentaries and resound with
the familier motifs of working class struggles and experience. The musics
not stunningly original but the guitar breaks are particularly engaging and
work well within the anthemic songs to lift the Reducers above the level of
so many average bands in this genre. If 'Out Tonight' doesn't get you
jigging you must be lacking a pulse. Their take on the Pogues 'Broad
Majestic Shannon' easily matches the original too. A good solid punk rock
album. Like it. (Conan Troutman)

The Stitches- 8 x 12" (TKO Records,
Total Running Time: 18:01

Yet another TKO bands takes on the genius of Shane MacGowen. This time a
raucous rendition of 'That womans got me drinking', and I can't help feeling
that ole snaggletooth would approve of the Stitches fuct up treatment of the
track. Its hard to believe this 8 track ep originally came out in '95. How
prophetic it sounds now. By the end of the 90s this style of retro SoCal
(ala Adolecents) and Motorhead tinged, Toy Dolls'esque UK punk had undergone
a massive revival and along with the US Bombs I think these guys can take a
lot of the credit. For fans of UK punk and old school SoCal punk rock - this
ones for you. (Conan Troutman)

G.G. Allin & ANTiSEEN – ‘Murder Junkies’ (TKO Records)
Total Running Time – 41:45

What can you say about an album featuring two of the most controversial artists in the an(n)als of punk rock history? Its a case of love or hate depending on your opinion of the ultimate outlaw scumfuc and the kings of Redneck RnR. Its brutal, raw and everything you would expect - song titles like Sister Sodomy, the crawling misanthropy of I Hate People and Cock on the Loose epitomising GGs attitude and style. The 15 tracks have all been remastered although the bonus tracks of GG and the Carolina Shitkickers are still some of the roughest, bare assed recordings you will ever hear. Some suitably nauseating shots of GG in his jockstrap grace the cover make this a diehard GG fan's wetdream. Not for fans of N'Sync. Conan Troutman

Various – ‘Anti-Disco Leagu Vol 1’ (Templescombe Records)
Total Running Time – 51:30

16 tracks of Oi which alternates between the brisling energy of acts such as The Templars, Des Kontrol and Deadline, and others which struggle to rise above the mediocre. It all gets a bit predictable after a while and without the humour of Hard Skin or the ability to broaden the scope of street punk/Oi music ala Dropkick Murphys it often fails to hold the interest. One for the Bootboy diehards only I'm afraid. Conan Troutman

Suns of Thunder – ‘Last of the High Rollers (What The Deuce Records)
Total Running Time - 36:46

Awesome stoner rock from that bastion of all things Gloomy, Swansea, Wales! Catchy, tight and progressive songs which rival pretty much anything I've heard from the big league bands of late. 6 tracks of groove ridden heaviness in the vein of Fu Manchu, Sabbath and Nebula and one sprawling epic in the form of Part II, which features some spectular female vocals over a brooding backdrop rising to a suitably histrionic crescendo. More rock than doom, the SOTs indulge their love of a good riff with solid rhythms, a positive upbeat vibe and some Purplesque organ playing. Undoubtably one of the best new (well newish, apparently they have been around in one form or another since 2000) I have heard in a long time. Highly recomended. Conan Troutman


Dearly Beloved – “You are the Jaguar” Kindling / Warner

Check out these dapper Toronto rock sophisticates, this CD really knocks your socks off – no joke!!! Opening with “The Ride” and its infectious riffs, fuzzy heavy bass, guitar noodling and screaming guitar techniques, you’ll feel rejuvenated in this ocean of 70’s rock hooks with a 21st century sophistication. The vocals are fabulous with gutsy girl back-up and lead singer soulful rendering. The rock blast party continues on with “Manifesto” and its upbeat dance-ableness, lethal guitar soloing, amazing anthemic appeal, and just continues for the whole length of this cd, with the more slower stoner rock of “Perils of Snap Decisions”, and the total rock fury of “All Points Return”. Their song structure is mind-blowing, and prolific, with real crafty and flowing changes throughout, and their range in song writing is a multi-faceted labyrinth of possibility, when their softer more psychedelic and ethereal rock side comes through on songs like “The Butler Routine” and “Noise Submitted to Order”, and the brooding, sludgy, and epic “Queen St. vs Park Ave.” They just simply ARE my new favorite band!!!
-Samia C.

Be Your Own Pet – Full length on XL Recordings

Brutal, fierce and beautiful! You’ll go crazy! This full length from this amazing 4-some from Nashville is addicting and friendly and wacky and fast and hard and rockin’ and sweet like a red cherry lollipop. It’s totally punk, and unpredictable, deconstructed in a no-wave sense. Jemina’s voice is unforgettable and the guys (Jonas, Nathan, and Jamin) know how to rock the shit out of you. Unique quality all over the place, just an onslaught of youthful creativity, fresh and uplifting. Every song is a song-writing gem, and the songs flow perfectly into each-other making this CD just natural like breathing, and jumping and thrashing about. I love ALL of it but some of my absolute fave songs are BOG, WILDCAT, FILL MY PILL, FUUUUUUN, and LOVE YOUR SHOTGUN…but all are awesome and this band should be worshipped for an eternity.

Samia C.

The Dead Pets – “The Revenge of the Village Idiots” and “Too Little Too Late”

Fast and furious ska punk-core from the UK. These guys are as entertaining and creative as their names are. Great energy, full raspy tough guy vocals from Sweeney Todd, splintering guitar riffs by Stivy and Devastating Dave, brazen trumpet and saxophone blows from Stash and Sponge-Bob, steady hard bass by Stew Disgrace, and smash it up drums courtesy of Clinkard. This is not the kind of music I normally listen to but I definitely like and recommend it cause it just plain rocks my ass off! I might just exercise to this later.

Romance – “When Things are Better”

Check out this alluring dark post punk with a 80's quality yet modern day sophistication and maturity. I hear real interesting song changes and choruses and a myriad of sublte parts intermingling. It seems totally urban sounding like desolate city streets in urgent turmoil. This rocks! Please have listen, you'll see what I'm talking about!

Samia C.

Nazi Dogs - Chase The Man (TKO Records,
Total Running Time: 28:58 

Deliciously fucked up sounding punk which on first listen I thought I  would hate but which has incredibly grown on me. Messy, trashy garage style punk rock n roll. 8 originals and covers of the Suicide Kings, Pagans and Devo (Mongoloid - what else?). 11 songs in 29 minutes kinda sums it up really.
Ifyou like the sound of glue sniffing punks playing Dead Boys through practise amps - this is for you.The Easy Rider piss take cover art is fantastic. Simultaneously both sublime and ridiculous. Check 'em out - no review can really do this justice. (Conan Troutman) 

46 Short - Truth Denied (TKO Records,

Total Running Time: 34:52
 Old school Cali style HC punk. Short, catchy and dripping with attitude. More than a passing nod to early Poison Idea on some of the riffing with elements of pre Rollins Black Flag/Golden Shower of Hits era Circle Jerks on some tracks. Social/Political lyrics but with a personal slant. Stand out tracks; the incredibly infectious 'Damned Nation' and the feral 'Pornography'. Good to hear 80s style HC done with this sort of 
commitment - its sounds 'old style' but with a freshness and energy that keeps itbouncing along. I'm finding it impossible not to think of 'Suburbia' whenlistening to this album - it just brings back the feelings I had when Ifirst got into this stuff back in the mid 80s. Recomended.
(Conan  Troutman)

Organ - Volume of Hate (Meltdown Records, Total  Running Time: 34:55

8 tracks of peace and love, delicate and mellow. Yeah right, with a title like 'Volume of Hate'? This is blisteringly ferocious Southern Sludge. Relentlous and unforgiving. Crowbar, Eye Hate God, Black Sabbath and Down - obvious reference points and guarenteed to appeal to fans of those bands.Occasional moments of melody break up the grind such as the Pantera-esqueintro to 'Unmeasured' but this is one hell of a HEAVY album, alternating between slow, doom laden grind and double bass drum driven thrash occasionally touching on classic 80s style Death Metal. Excellent stuff. Lyrically the band lean to liberal baiting and a highly pro military stance which might upset those leaning to the left but I have a feeling that's exactly what the band intended. Fans of extreme metal will love them.
(Conan Troutman)

Be Your Own Pet –“Damn Damn Leash” single XL Recordings

Deconstructive punk rock from Nashville, with surprises around every corner. Not typical of anything, just a new fountain of youthful creativity and raw unpredictable fun. Singer Jemina’s voice is pretty amazing sounding, sweet yet playful, loud, obnoxious and crackly at the best moments. Lyrics to the songs like “Spill” are just absurd and funny, and “Damn Damn Leash” is like a fist fight and “Electric Shake” is an epic progressive monster. I love it and can’t wait for their full length coming out soon. You will love this!
Samia C.

She Wants Revenge – Flawless Records/Geffen

When I first heard this I was really excited. It transports me to a different time, back to my teenage years of discovery, sounding like the dark alternative bands I liked then, New Order, Sisters of Mercy, Bauhaus…. A darkly orphic mood prevails on this pulsing beat of 80’s sounding gothic rock. And it’s just two guys, Adam on bass, keyboard, percussion and programming, and Justin on vocals, and guitar. I was immediately sucked into their sound, hypnotized, loving Justin’s deep and warm rich voice and lust soaked witty lyrics and grooving to the ominous and fully layered sound of synthesizers, precise drum beats, fat juicy bass lines with injections and interludes of glassy fluid lustrous edgy guitar. The opening song “Red Flags and Long Nights” sets a somber and urgent mood, with it’s long simple intro and then your hit by Justin’s heavy voice and you escape into this mysterious and secret dim world and it’s refreshing.
Samia C.

Deadline - Getting Serious (I Used to Fuck people Like You in Prison Records)Total Running Time: 39:54

Outstanding 3rd album from one of the UK's best live acts and one of the best punk bandsof the last 10 years. Getting Serious is something of a departure from the first two Deadline
albums which leaned predominantly towards street punk with the odd nod to Ska. This albumis chock full of catchy pop hooks backed up by tight and agressive punk rock. Liz Rose confirms her position as probably the most listenable female vocalist in punk today, sounding at times
like a steet toughend Kirsty McColl. The music too has outgrown the potential bottle neck of Oi and incorporated elements of Rockabilly, HC, straight up RnR and on the incredibly catchy 'Wave You Goodbye'the savvy pop punk of the Rezilloes and X Ray Spex. The 14 tracks (15 if you count the hiddent track) speed along with barely a pause for breath and when the ride is over your first thoughtis to flick back to opening track 'The World Keeps Turning' and run through the whole album again. How many times have you found yourself doing that lately? Lyrically the band lean more towards personal experiences and social commentary, avoiding both the cliches bedevilling Oi and the stale political retoric of a great number of punk bands. Highly recomended. 
   Conan Troutman

Jukebox Zeros - Four on the Floor (Steel Cage Records)
Total Running Time: 34:08
RFTC's Speedo has described the Zeros as an 'Honest but fierce rock 'n' roll attack' and that sums it up nicely. 11 tracks of Thunders/Dead Boys style punk rock with catchy choruses and solos make this an easy album to enjoy.Add in a few nods to the Stones,Pistols and Ramones and you have all the necessary ingredients for a solid collection of Rock 'n' Roll anthems. Lyrics are difficult to pin down without a lyric sheet although the vocalsare pretty clear in a snarly Iggy way. Standout tracks are the raw opening track 'Flophouse', the less than subtle reworking of 'Stepping Stone' that is 'Film Noir Love' and the blistering organ driven 'Don't Tell Me (More Than I wanna Know)'. A thouroughly listenable album that gets better each time you listen. If straight ahead no bullshit
Rock 'n'Roll is your bag then do your ears a favour and check out the Jukebox Zeros'. A recomended slice of Philly. Conan Troutman

The Boils - From the Bleachers (TKO Records)
Running Time: 45:01

The first time I came across Philly bros The Boils was their take on
'Submission' on the woefully uninspired 'Never Mind The Sex Pistols Here's
The Tribute' disk and I have to be honest nothing on that album particularly
impressed me, so I appraoched this full length 25 track album with not a
great deal of enthusiasm. 1.09 later and I'm eating my words, this is MUCH
better. Old school HC with a shade of steet punk about the vocals, lots of
'Whooaaoohhs' and 'Hey hey heys'. Punk rock! There's elements of UK82 and
80s HC, especially on the speedier tracks like 'Mjollnir' and for me these
tracks work the best, full of energy and passion. But The Boils seem just at
home playing the almost Rancid sounding skinhead reggae of 'The Arson Song'
or the country tinged 'Summer's Brightest Day'. A great album for sinking a
few ales to and hanging out with your mates. (Conan Troutman)

Rezmo - Water Down for Mass Consumption (Rageddy Records)
Running Time: 13:10

Self proclaimed Raggedy punks Rezmo dish out 5 tracks of catchy pop punk
rock which you can't help bobbing your head to. Some suitably over the top
metal guitar histrionics and tempo changes keep it interesting - kinda
reminds me of a rougher version of Propaghandi in places. Some neat enhanced
extras phtos, gifs, lyrics etc make this a nice little value for money
package. Available from Check out their drummer too - he's
only 8. (Conan Troutman)

Stupid Brick - Proud as Punch (Exhume Records)
Running Time: 21:01

Top notch stuff from a band that deserves a much better name. Metallic
without sounding either Nu or Heavy, technical without sounding self
indulgent. Shades of No Use For A Name come across on 'White Flag' but
theres more to SB than emulating Fat Wreck bands. Of the seven tracks on
this mini album only 'Half Full' fails to make the grade sounding a little
predictable and definitely over long but the remaining 6 tracks certainly
warrant the attention of fans of metallic tinged pop punk..
(Conan Troutman)

We Are Trees - Demo (self released)
Running Time: 9:43

Quirky and unusual. One of those bands that on first listen you can't quite
pin down but get more intersting with each listen. This is pop in the Beach
Boys sense of pop, but with a darker almost progressive rock edge. Hmm kinda
like Deep Purple meets the Kaiser Chiefs. Intriguing. Check them out at
(Conan Troutman)

Various - Get Outta Philly (TickTickTick Records)
Running Time: 47:45

17 tracks of rock n roll from the city of Brotherly Love. A wide variety of
styles on display from 60s style Mod's The Chance to Toothless Georges'
thinly disguised take on the Stones 'Used to Love her', through the Punked
up sounds of he Blow Goes and The Party Wreckers to the stripped down garage
rock n roll of Jukebox Zeros. There's some good quality tracks on here
although I could happily go through life without ever hearing the Bad News
Bats again. Not essential but a decent enough introduction to the varied
sounds of the Philly RnR scene. (Conan Troutman)

Various - Planting a Seed (De Rok)
Running Time: 78:49

A benefit for the Parkinson Alliance - an organisation dedicated to finding
a cure for Parkinson's disease. A cause worth supporting by buying this CD
even if the music isn't to your taste. And so to the music - 68 (yes you
read that right) tracks of blast beat, grind and crusty style HC featuring
some of the prime movers in the current HC scene such as the mighty
Deadfall, Voetsek and Holier Than Thou and a few new acts that reignited my
interest in this stuff such as the ENT influenced Bulletrainmafia. There are
inevitably some less inspired acts on the album and some of the live/demo
versions are understandably rough around the edges but it seems churlish to
single that out given the goal of the album. Fans of 80s HC such as BGK,
Rattus, Siege, Terveet Kadet, Doom, ENT and Heresy would lap this up. (Conan

Tommy and the Terrors - Unleash The Fury (TKO Records)
Running Time: 26:46

Another stripped down 77 style album from the folks at TKO, apparently the
second release from Tommy and the boys. It definitely captures the sound and
fury of 77 punk/80s Oi.The band certainly don't compromise an inch to
accomodate any commerciality and you have to admire their integrity. That
said its a tad repetitive and unlike Deadline (the UK band not the classic
DCHC band) or label mates The Boils, the band don't introduce any variety
into the style. This might as well have come out in 1982 but maybe that's
the intention right? If you think punk rock begins and ends with the UK Subs
and the Cockney Rejects then you will love Tommy and The Terrors but
personally I'd like to hear a bit more variety in the songs. (Conan

Abandon All Hope - From The Deathbed Of... (De Rok)
Running Time: 45:48

Metal influenced HC. Choppy rhythms and crunchy guitars. Very much the sound
of a band brought up on Iron Maiden, Thrash Metal and late 80s HC. Vocals
alternate between the guitarists which kinda breaks the continuity a bit,
and sometimes feels like they are forced to fit the complex musical
arrangements but overall it works. A brave take on the Bad Brains' 'I
Against I' comes off OK, although the intro solo sounds a little wobbly. 10
tracks and some truly inspired song titles - 'Cry me a river but don't drown
in your tears' and 'Hell is a nice place to visit but you wouldn't want to
live there'. Recomended, although sadly the band have already called it
quits. Shame really. (Conan Troutman)

Unsane - Blood Run (Relapse Records)
Running Time: 43:47
When people talk about 'disturbing' or 'dark' music, more often or not they are refering to the comic book antics of shite like Slipknot or the insanity of Norwegian Death Metal. Either way there's little to geuinely unsettle you when you listen to these acts. Unsane on the other hand are really usettling. From the artistically shot but none the less nauseating cover pics of a slit wrist suicide (11 pages to be exact), to lyrics dealing with isolation and despondancy to the uber depressing vibe on tunes like 'Killing Time' or the sludgefest that is 'Dead Weight' - this is not easy listening. Musically somwhere between the slow dirge of Neurosis and the discordancy of Shellac, heavy but not in the traditional sense, this is a definite must hear for fans of extreme metal ala Scum Angel, industrial, noise or Amphetamine Reptile bands. Recomended (but not if your feeling a tad depressed already). - Conan Troutman

Toothfairy – “The CMJ Demo” – Noiseville
Wow, I wasn’t expecting this very intriguing and trippy experimental feast of sounds. Sultry, dark, moody, psychedelic, and mysterious too. . This is an intimate candlelit conversation, a pondering of deep thoughts, or maybe even a séance. A refreshing change from all the regular musical crap you hear on a daily basis although the last track on this demo, “Bad Choices”, is a sobered sense of reality sung and acoustically strung in a cosmically gentle voice, giving the feel of this outer-worldly experience a perfect send-off.
Samia C.

Annihilation Time - II (Manic Ride Records)
Running Time: 32:32
As soon as this came on I knew I was going to love this album. High energy rock and roll of the finest pedigree. Think Black Flag, think Blast, think Black Sabbath, think Poison Idea, think Deep Purple... immense. By the end of opening track 'Imaginary Mirror' I was nodding like the proverbial dog and wondering if this was going to trump the years other worthy contenders for my highly uncoveted 'Album of the Year' award. Ah dammit they just kicked in with a cowbell!! I'm hooked. Probably the best mix of Sabbath style metal and punk/HC since Corrosion of Conformity in their finest hour. Catchy 70s style riffing fused seemlessly with 80s style HC energy. I guess the two tracks that best capture the AT vibe are 'Bigger Problems' with it's Chuck Dukowski style bass intro leading into one of the best tracks Black Flag never did but should have done (its even got a, would you believe it, ........ hammer on solo - class), and the obviously Sabbath inspired instrumental 'Blast Off'. I cannot praise this album enough. If you buy one album this month it has to be this one. Superb. - Conan Troutman

Clams - Untitled New Album (Promo - contact
Running Time: 34:44
Finally a new British rock band to be proud of. Clams have received unreserved commendations from just about every music mag in the UK, unusually both the metal mags and the alternative press. In most cases I wouldn't say that was anything to brag about, but it looks as if finally the press have opened their ears for once and are prepared to give a British rock band an unbiased listen (pantomine clowns The Darkness excluded, but even they can't seem to put a foot right in the fickle Britsh press these days). Most comparisons have been with 70s rockers Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin and I'd have to agree there's fair dose of each in the sound, especially on the Zepplinesque instrumentals 'October' and 'Sticklebirch', but its Soungarden who come most to mind on groove laden affairs like 'Get Well Soon' and 'You Bring Me Worry'. The songs are tight and well executed, there's a maturity about Clams which is remarkable for such a young band. Each song is memorable and catchy enough to launch these guys into the same kind of stratosphere as Jet, given the right kind of support. Best new band in the UK? Very Probably. - Conan Troutman

Whiskey Daredevils – “Greatest Hits” Drink and Drive Records

A real romp and stomp raucous of rock’a’billy and country twang on this fine collection of hits. Great raunchy yet fluid guitar, songs seething with hot sweltering energy and a nice blend of the heavy and the light showcases the wide range of talent these daredevils possess. And these guys obviously know how to stick to their guns, with their raunchy country sound delivered throughout this repertoire of fine gems, not to mention lots of opportunity here for toe-tapping, head-bopping, heal-kicking and hip-swaying.
Samia C.

William Elliot Whitmore - Latitudes (Southern Records)
Running Time: 20:51
If the opening bars of 'One Man's Shame' doesn't immediately bring to mind Robert Johnson then I'll buy the new Dixie Chicks album! This is blues from the heart. No frills, no bullshit, just one man with a banjo and the kind of voice that makes shivers run up and down your spine - literally. This six track ep was released to coincide with Willie's recent European jaunt and its a decent introduction to the king of country tinged bluegrass. 5 new tracks and an acoustic reworking of the beautiful 'Sometimes Our Dreams (Float Like Anchors) from Whitmore's debut 'Hymns For The Hopeless'. The poignant lyrics and heartfelt delivery couldn't fail to move even the most stoic individual. Each song sounding as if he's put every ounce of his heart and soul into it. At times sounding almost like Tom Waits, Willie's voice is the lynchpin of these tracks. Blues at it's very best. One day this guy will rate up there with Johnson, Waters and Leadbelly. Trust me. - Conan Troutman

Losing Six Seconds - Omniscient and in Control (Engineer Records)
Running Time: 16:35
If you like your HC/Punk heavily influenced by techno metal style guitars and some very tight drumming then L6S are definitely for you. The vocals, speed and length of the songs sit them firmly in the Punk camp but then the guitars blast in with some truly magnificent Maiden/Megadeth style riffing. The vocals are probably the only thing that don't really fire me up about this record. They're heartfelt and angry but tend to sound a little generic. I'd like to hear this guy sing a little more and shout a little less. Overall solid and progressive follow up to their first release which sets L6S up as a band with the potential to rise above their contenders in this style of HC Punk. - Conan Trouman

Criminal Class USA - Echos In The Street (GMM Records)
Running Time: 54:41
Anthemic, political punk rock from this Alabama four piece and at 55 minutes surely one of the longest punk albums since London Calling! GMM is famed for its clssic back catalogue of top notch street punk and Oi bands and theres a healthy dose of street punk in the CCUSA sound but these guys like to stretch the bounderies a bit by incorporating a more traditional Rock N Roll element to the songs and even shades of the Clash on the reggae tinged 'New Begginings' and 'God Save The Children'. Good stuff particularly if your a fan of more traditional sounding punk rock.
- Conan Troutman

The Hatepinks – 'Plastic Bag Ambitions' - TKO Records

Sassy french garage punk rock’n’roll with a minimalist 80’s edge. All songs are sung in english but for the heck of it are written in french in the insert! In fact, they’ve given you the choice to also refer to them with their French name Hate le Pink! Also, here are the most hilarious song titles I’ve read in a long time, like “I am a Divorce” and “Microwave Drugs”. The music is totally infectious and the songs short, 13 songs in just 16.28 minutes, so you’ll for sure be playing this cd over and over again. I just love that french-english accent, don’t you? Real foot stompers and waist twisters in “Tupperware Love” and “I Piss in your Swimming Pools”. Feel the deadly manic thrusts of “Plastic Bag Ambitions” and “Broken and Kaputt” and then sink into the garage groove of “Razor Lips”, “Fashion is Crime” and “Kissing Cops with my Ass”. If you know what’s good for you you’ll run out and get this now!!!


FM Bats – 'Everybody Out…Shark in the Water' – TKO Records

If you are akin to like pseudo intellectual emo-noise rock with a very whiney, mopey disonent sound then this is the band for you. With ex-members of Le Shock this should interest music enthusiasts alone, although FM Bats definitely stand apart in their own genre, which is more or less a blend of 80’s and 90's minimalist alternative bands ranging from The Fall to Chokebore. These songs are not happy but are at times like an old tin of rusty nails scraping and cutting and poking your insides till you’re bloody…”Sinking Ships of Adult Lips” and “There’s only one Captain on the Ship” sounds very Fall like and are the most musical with a wonderful sounding melody that makes me happy because it reminds me of something that I can’t remember and brings me back to some happy moment in my youth that I can’t quite pinpoint…but a comforting feeling nonetheless.


Winnebago Deal – ‘Dead Gone’ (Double Dragon Music) Total Running Time: 39:05

Duos seem to be the flavour of the month, with Evil Beaver and Jucifer kicking up a lot of interest in the US underground and for once the UK has something of quality to match them in the form of Winnebago Deal. Indeed such an impact have these guys made that not only have they supported Fugazi and Mondo Generator live, but they secured Jack Endino to twiddle the knobs on their debut full length release. Pretty nifty. The Nirvana references don’t stop with Endino however, Ben Perrier’s vocals often resemble Cobain’s at his most intense, but whereas Nirvana often used light and shade to balance their songs, Winnebago Deal keep everything amped up and uncompromising. If anything ‘Dead Gone’ reminds me of ‘Damaged’ era Black Flag but stripped down to one guitar, drums and vocals. The absence of saccharine, sweet pop hooks does nothing to dent the infectious nature of the tunes; in fact the lack of complex musical arrangements simply focus on the relentless nature of the riffs such as ‘Did it, Done It, Doing It Again’ – one listen and its hooked in your brain. Equally impressive are the AC/DC tinged ‘Takin’ Care of Business’ and the awesome title track -7 minutes of heavy duty riffage that owes more than a passing resemblance to Motorhead’s ‘Deaf Forever’.  The only problem with the album is its sheer abrasiveness. It’s not an album to be played again and again in rapid succession, unless of course you want to induce cerebral haemorrhaging.            Conan Troutman

Ironhead – ‘Livin’ Like We Wanna Die’ (Heatslick Records) Total Running Time: 40:77

Now this I have been looking forward to hearing for quite a while now. And it doesn’t disappoint. Sleazy, high energy rock and roll which successfully fuses the cock rock rifferama of 80s metal acts like LA Guns and Motley Crue with the energy and attitude of punk bands like the Dead Boys and the Plasmatics. ‘Broken Heart, Broken Bones’ sounds uncannily like Electric Frankenstein  – not surprising given guitarist Johnny Sonics stints as stand in bass player for the Electroid ones, while ‘Ironhead’ sounds has elements of  AC/DC’S ‘Bad Boy Boogie’ about it. If that’s the kind of rock and Roll that floats your boat then you need to buy this album. Pure Punk Rock n Roll without the pretensions. Highly recommended.                              Conan Troutman

Greenlawn Abbey – ‘S/T’ (Diaphragm Records) Total Running Time: 31:20

Regular readers will know that I will always try and offer as positive review as I possibly can. After all if a band has taken the time to write and record a record, it seems churlish to simply dismiss them with negative comments. But I’ll be honest I’m struggling with this one. Despite giving it several plays, this album simply isn’t growing on me in any way. The songs are lethargic and uninspiring, and the guy’s voice just puts me to sleep. This is garage with a very ‘alt’ rock overtone and it just doesn’t do anything for me. Sorry guys.                                     Conan Troutman

Motorpsychos – ‘Piston Whipped’ (Self Released) Total Running Time: 35:57

Ever wondered what would happen if Joan Jett had joined a Thrash Metal band back in the mid 80s? Well wonder no more. This is a solid, well played album which grabbed my attention on the high octane opener ‘Primer’ and kept it all the way through to the almost Death Metal closing track ‘Bullshit’, complete with a nice dose of double bass drumming by the lone man in the band Denis Brown. It’s really the girls’ show though, with strong musicianship backing up catchy riffs and, incredibly, three really strong vocalists in the form of Pam, Amy and Abby. It’s enough to make you cry. Particularly strong vocally is ‘Under the Knife’, a chirpy little ditty about terminal illness. The song has all the hallmarks of a typical classic 80s metal track with a totally infectious chorus. There’s even a nice touch of Alice in Chains on the equally disturbing ‘Dirty Man’.  Although hampered by a less than perfect production which sometimes loses the second guitar, the quality and catchiness of these songs make this an essential album for fans of thrash, punk and rock and roll, particularly if you like strong female vocals. (                                                                                                                                       Conan Troutman

Classical Ass – ‘After Lunch We Kill Tony’ (Diaphragm Records) Total Running Time: 32:35

‘You Make Me Wish I Was Deaf’ is the title of the albums opener, but I’m happy to say that Classical Ass most definitely don’t have that effect. Surf infused garage punk rock, which almost shuns the obligatory Dick Dale influence and instead extends a few nods to the Dead Kennedys, Electric Six and maybe even Naked Raygun & Angry Samoans along the way, ‘The Trish and Amy Show’ probably best exhibiting this hotchpotch of eclectic influences. The songs bounce along at a fairly fast pace, and with almost all of them clocking in at under two minutes it’s impossible to lose interest. There’s even a few perky little surf instrumentals to rub your rhubarb. Like it.                                                                                                           Conan Troutman

Turbonegro – ‘Party Animals’ (Burning Heart/Epitaph) Total Running Time: 47:47

Hmm, after speaking to a couple of other diehard deathpunk fans, it’s fairly obvious that this album could either break Turbonegro on the world stage or lose them fans in truckloads. Party Animals is a highly polished affair which sees the band broaden the rock leanings they displayed on 2003’s ‘Scandinavian Leather’. The progression from the Poison Idea/ Black Flag style HC of ‘Ass Cobra’ to this more glam rock tinged offering is obvious. From the ‘We Will Rock You’ style intro, through the heavily Kiss influenced ‘Blow Me like the Wind’ to the Faces/Bowiesque ‘Hot Stuff/Hot Shit’, it’s this dichotomy that will decide the future success of the band. For a generation of kids that didn’t grow up listening to Van Halen and Kiss this must be truly refreshing amongst the miserable self absorption of ‘alt’ music and the superficial, status obsessed Rap artists. However fans of the uncompromising deathpunk of earlier Trbongr may find it just a little too refined. Black Sabbath’s ‘War Pigs’/ Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You’ gets a suitably Trbngr reworking on the obvious live crowd pleaser ‘City of Satan’ but the song gets elevated beyond simple cock rock chicanery with the addition of the sweeping orchestral sounds of the Norwegian Radio Orchestra. Pure, unadulterated, OTT genius. The strength of Trbngr lies in their ability to touch on these reference points without sounding as if they are directly stealing anything from their influences (even when they are). It’s definitely their most accessible album to date but even they can’t resist a little bit of subversion; check out ‘If You See Kaye (Tell Her I L-O-V-E Her). What do you mean you don’t get it? I like this album and I definitely recommend it if you love 70s/80s style glam rock, but if you’re expecting another ‘Apocalypse Dudes’, you may be disappointed. That said, if you REALLY do appreciate Trbngr then you won’t be expecting another ‘Apocalypse Dudes’ anyway.                                                                         Conan Troutman

Electric Frankenstein – ‘Burn Bright, Burn Fast’ (TKO Records) Total Running Time – 44:25

 From the impressive cover art by ‘Famous Monsters’ artist Basil Gogos to the full and chunky production spanning the 14 tracks, its clear that EF are going for the big push with this album. The opening title track sets the standard for the rest of the album – a rip roaring rocker which features some of Steve Miller’s best vocals to date. Overall there’s a more ‘classic rock’ feel to this album than previous efforts. The bands earlier Dead Boys and Motorhead influences are still prevalent but there’s also a nod to old Aerosmith and Alice Cooper too. Live favourite ‘Gone to the Other Room’ makes an impressive album debut and sounds a lot stronger than the demo version which has been floating about for the last year. The Punkier EF sound typified by early tracks like ‘Demolition  Joyride’ is revisited throughout the album but more as an element within songs rather than the whole song itself, although ‘Spit It Out’ lives up to it’s title by snarling through 1:55 of highly charged punk rock n roll. The 3 covers reflect the classic rock feel of the album and although the Music Machine track doesn’t quite do it for me, both the Flo & Eddie track and particularly the Cars song are pretty impressive, and work well with the EF sound. So, a well crafted and well played album EF can be justifiably proud of. It may not be to the taste of the die hard punk fans, but it just might be the album to open EF up to a wider fan base and about time too.                                                                                                                                                                                              

    Ian  Pickins

Hard Skin – ‘Same Meat, Different Gravy’ (TKO Records) Total Running Time – 30:00  
Oh the irony! Take the concept of an Oi parody band, write a whole bunch of songs that mock the limited lyrical lexicon of most Herberts, then just to rub salt in the wounds put some of the best Oi music ever played behind it. For anyone with half a brain, a sense of humour and a fondness for the Cockney Rejects, Business and the 4 Skins, this is one of the best records you will ever hear. Covering all the usual topics – the footie, drinking, fighting, ‘birds’, coppers, mates going to jail – with tongue firmly in cheek and to top it all having the balls to put a song called ‘Still Fighting Thatcher’ on your album is pure genius. This album brings a smile to my face every time I play it. Can you ask for more?                                                                                                                                              

Ian Pickins

The Nitwitz – ‘Sex, Lies and Duct Tape (Rocket Dog Records)Total Running Time - 34:05

Long overdue return of the kings of Dutch punk rock. Fast paced and furious, this is a pretty relentless album. ‘Overreactor’ comes blazing out in an obvious nod to Motorhead and sets the pace for the rest of the album. Hard riffin’ is the name of the Sluggy game and these guys have more than their fair share of them. Subtlety is not an option here either musically or lyrically. Each track an attempt to outdo the previous one in catchiness and dubious lyrical nature – just check out ‘Put out or get out’, co-written by Turbonegro’s Happy Tom no less.  ‘Rock Pusher’ is undoubtedly one of the finest examples of high energy Rock n Roll committed to record in the last 10 years – you will be playing this song before going out on the ales for many months to come, I guarantee it. 13 songs in 30 minutes kinda sums it up really. Essential for fans of ass kicking punk rock n roll.                                                                                                                                                                               

Ian Pickins

Estee Louder - ‘Ohio’s Best’ (Diaphragm records)Total Running Time – 23:22 

Pacey punk rock with male/female trade off vocals which I always find a bit hit and miss. There’s a definite Black Flag vibe going on in some of the songs and a fair slab of Garage, maybe a tinge of the Hangmen too? But dang these guys are hard to get a handle on, which I guess is a good thing, but at the same time it doesn’t really grab me immediately. That said  ‘Get Yours’ and ‘Teenage Mullet’ kinda got my groove on and the Salt n Pepa ‘Push It’ piss take in ‘Train Wreck’ raised a smile so maybe this is a grower.

Ian Pickins                                                                                                       

Fat Ass – ‘We Have Come For Your Mothers’ (Diaphragm Records) Total Running Time – 21:28

Cool old style punk/rock from these Indiana wreck-heads.  Mixing fast n furious punk riffs with a more solid mid paced rock sound, this is pretty darn good. There’s nothing groundbreaking here but it’s consistent enough, and with all bar two songs clocking in at less than 2 minutes there’s little chance you’ll lose interest. There’s no standout tracks and depending on your point of view that could be either a good thing or a bad thing. ‘Lonesome’ makes maybe slightly more impact due to the Iggy/Stiv type vocals and overall Dead Boys style. Personally I think the band sounds at its best on the faster more energetic style songs but whichever style they’re playing in these guys are definitly worth checking out.                                                                                                                             

Ian Pickins

NYC Rel-X - "Sold out of Love" TKO Records Bittersweet love punk songs, sung by phenomenal beautifully haunting voice of female vocalist Erica, in a slightly Siouxie style and tone. Music and vocals perfectly complementing each other, the dark gothicness of the sadly piercing love lorn and torn lyrics and magnetic quality of the vocals, blend smoothly with the dissonant key of the 80’s-ish razor sharp guitars and soulfully urgent bass and drums. Songs are really catchy, with fast and to the point chorus’ like with “So Long” , “The One She Adores” , “No More Tears” and “Why”. I really enjoy listening to this CD over and over again and think that you will too!

Samia C



Nasty On – “Lester Bangs” on Stutter Records

Real heavy duty punk rock’n’roll on this 1st EP from one of the best Canadian bands ever!!!!!!!! Awesome riffage on Lester Bangs! Garage-y hyped up feel on “Last PAGE”. “Sometime I Take Pills” has wicked stop and starts, and a distinctly interesting verse that revs you up. “Girl I Won’t Come Over”, is such a sad little heart-breaking ditty that brings a tear to my eye, the chorus is beautiful and busting with heart-felt melody. “Gimme More”, a real rock’n’roll teaser with piercing guitars and sexy vocals. “Kick Out the Lights” a super shocked energy buster that puts a nice finish on this collectors item!

Samia C

Choking Susan – Longer and Harder (Self Released) Total Running Time – 8.05

4 track demo of mid paced punk rock from Detroit

’s Choking Susan with a slightly poppy edge, think Rezilloes rather than Blink 182. There’s a definite 80s UK Punk influence permeating the sound with elements of Vice Squad and the Exploited creeping in, especially on the pacier ‘I’m Alone’, although singer Colleen Caffeine’s vocals are more Lene Lovich than Wattie. Second track ‘Gone Astray’ bizarrely conjures up the ghost of L7 circa ‘Bricks are Heavy’ perhaps suggesting an underlying metal influence? It’s an interesting mix but the lack of production leaves the songs sounding a little lethargic at times. It would be interesting to hear Choking Susan with a decent producer at the helm, but worth checking out all the same.

  Ian Pickens

Queens of the Stone Age – Lullabies to Paralyse (Interscope Records) Total Running Time – 66.08

The incomparable QOTSA return with the follow up to 2002’s ‘Songs for the Deaf’. The question is can they produce an album of the same quality in the absence of both patron Dave Grohl and key member Nick Oliveri? The answer is a resounding positive. ‘Lullabies to Paralyse’ walks us through the same dark, labyrinthine vistas as SFTD. Josh Homme’s lilting vocals paradoxically disturb and soothe, often simultaneously, and perfectly complement the stark guitar riffs and left of centre tunes. It’s impossible to pick out standout tracks with each song being a distinctive entity in its own right. Incorporating elements from punk and heavy metal, with a noticeably increased blues influence (particularly on the track ‘Burn the Witch’ featuring ZZ Tops’ Billy Gibbons as guest vocalist/guitarist) tempos, song length and style vary throughout the album. QOTSA cannot be easily categorised and therein lies their strength.  Beautifully packaged with a gatefold sleeve and bonus DVD, this could well be my album of the year. Quite an achievement given the fact that we are still only in March. One of 2005’s essential albums.                                           

  Ian Pickens

A New Days Enemy – No More EP (Shut Up Records)  Total Running Time -

Opening title track ‘No More’ starts off with a typical street punk type intro, ala the Filaments, before taking a severe change of direction and wandering into Iron Maiden territory, before finally pulling it back into standard punk rock faire. So, all the influences out in the open on the first track then! Its very ‘British’ sounding despite the fact that these guys obviously listen to a lot of 90’s American Punk, which puts a refreshing slant on this style of music. Kinda brings to mind Oxymoron crossed with Snuff but with more metallic influences.  The 4-4 beats/breakdowns get a bit repetitive after a while but ANDE just about pull it off with youthful enthusiasm. Not groundbreaking but solid enough to impress. Cheap as chips too so check ‘em out. Contact                                                   

 Ian Pickens


Antiseen/Electric Frankenstein split 7” (TKO Records)

One track each from two of the undergrounds undisputed heavyweights. If you’re not familiar with Antiseen’s patented brand of southern hostility; where the hell have you been for the last 20 years?? These guys really know how to rip shit up and ‘Weight of the World’ is no exception. Searing, rivet splitting RnR that will have you quaking like a baby by the end of the track. Vicious. Keeping up their profile with the flipside track is New Jersey miscreants Electric Frankenstein with an alternate version of the title track from their forthcoming new album. ‘Burn Bright, Burn Fast’ kicks off with an almost Monster Magnetish style guitar intro before breaking into another pulsating slice of prime time punk rock.  With the added bonus of Linda Blair vomit coloured vinyl, you would have to be a complete numpty not to pick this up.              

  Ian Pickens

Mermaid - Red Led or Death (Munster Records)
Running Time: 47:27

Every once in a while you come across a band that reawakens your enthusiasm for a particular style of music. I’ve always been a fan of ‘70s style heavy rock thanks to my older sister, so it was no surprise that I took to bands like Kyuss and Fu Manchu in the ‘90s. Well Kyuss are long gone, Fu Manchu are still kicking out the jams, Small Stone and Southern Lord are putting out some classy stuff but where’s the new blood? Enter Spain’s Mermaid into the fray. Kicking off with ‘Silver Bullet’ and sounding like the Hellacopters’ younger brothers, this is excellent stuff. Touching on some classic acts such as Budgie (circa ‘Zoom Club’) on ‘Boots Nights’, The Stooges, Blue Oyster Cult, Santana (yes, he did do some good stuff in the 70s!), Fu Manchu and maybe a few ‘80s metal riffs thrown in for good measure. This isn’t Stoner rock in the conventional sense more a celebration of a long gone era of classic rock, played with youthful energy and passion. There’s a remarkably full sound for a trio, with some well placed horns and keyboards such as on the Doorseque ‘Forgiven in the Awakening of Sand’ which fades out to an almost military beat and trumpet pairing. Evocative stuff indeed. Highly recommend.             Ian Pickens

Loose – Rock The Fuck On (Punch)
Total Running Time - 40:09

Hmm deceptive. An album sleeve straight out of the ‘Knock Out In The …Round’ Oi series, covers of the Stooges and MC5? You think you know what’s coming and then Bam! Italy’s Loose turn 180 degrees and surprise you with an album of keyboard tinged garage rock, laced with dark psychedelic influences.  An interesting and intriguing album, at times sounding like a less metallic, mid paced Hellacopters with Detroit style guitar solos and vocals reminiscent of the Damned’s Dave Vanian or a less raspy Dave Wyndorf.  High points of the album - the spooky organ driven ‘Something Good’ – one of the albums pacier tracks’ along with ‘A-OK’ another pugilistic, prime punk mover, with ‘My Shelter and ‘Second Wind’ providing a more Doors influenced Californian Psychedelic rock style. More of these please.  The production does however let the band down somewhat as it’s a bit flat. I would love to hear Loose with a punchier, harder production behind them. Well worth checking out all the same. Contact:

                             Ian Pickens

SLUDGEFEAST – ‘King of the Arcade’ mini album (Must Destroy Music)
Total Running Time – 16:09

 The UK’s Sludgefeast do indeed live up to their name, providing a sumptuous meal rich in fuzz and feedback, low in gristle. Each of the 10 songs clocks in at roughly 2 minutes and with nobody making any attempt to claim production duties Sludgefeast bludgeon your brain into submission.
Part Mudhoney, part Fu Manchu, part Garage Rock, shades of ‘80s USHC, if you’re looking for clean and classic rock cuts then brother you are in the wrong restaurant. The whole experience is over before you can truly appreciate what you have just heard and an immediate second play is necessary just to realign your equilibrium.
      The UK hasn’t turned out too many interesting bands in recent years and Sludgefeast’s attempt to head butt their way into the RnR riff fest that the rest of the world is holding makes them one UK act definitely worth checking out.                                                                                         Ian Pickens


This heavy rockin’ EP is like a energy coaster ride of dirty riffage, sultry tough-guy sounding vocals, with an overall ramblin and rollin’ feel. Songs range from having good stops and starts and interesting parts like in “Lucky Charm” to faster moving songs with some ear piercing solos and guitar noodling like in “StormFront”, “Southern Comfort” and “Cutthroat”. A very good output of rock’n’roll with tons of energetic moments! Good for jumping around, dancing, air guitaring and just plain rockin’ out. Check out their kick-ass site: Maximum RnR

Samia C.

JukeBox Zeroes – ‘Stunk’ (Do Not Use Records)
Total Running Time – 39:03

Cool Thunder’s style RnR, with a hint of Lazy Cowgirls. 10 originals plus a take on Iggy’s Kill City for $6 (plus $1 PnP) – can you go wrong?
The tracks were recorded live for WPRB so obviously the sound quality is not too hot but it’s clean enough to appreciate the raw, stripped down style of punk rock the Jukebox Zeroes take great joy in playing. Standouts are definitely the opener ‘Static, Static’ sounding like Jagger fronting the Pistols, sleazy and slung low, the Stoneseque (You’re so) Emotional’ and the more up tempo ‘Don’t Tell Me’ which kinda reminds me a tad of the Hangmen.
Available from, limited to 100 copies so get your ass in gear and support these Philly Rock n Rollers.Ian Pickens

Lazy Cowgirls – I’m Goin’ Out and Get Hurt Tonight (Reservation)
Total Running Time – 49:52

 On their 10th full length album the Cowgirls have finally meshed their Ramones influenced Rock n Roll with genuine Country and Western. In fact the C&W influence is probably on an equal standing with the RnR tunes both in quality and quantity. Openers ‘Burnin’ Daylight’ and ‘Are You Ready’ set things off in fine ass kicking style, but even these tracks contain a smidgen of the twang, which results in ‘Burnin Daylight’ coming across as a punked up Georgia Satellites type affair. ‘Swept Across The Borderline’ drops the pace but not the quality. A haunting, steel guitar driven Country tune that conjures up images of stoic, Stetson wearing cowboys riding across the desert. Beautiful, and one of the standout tracks in my opinion. The Cowgirls reworking of the ‘Tapping The Source’ favourite ‘Goddamn Bottle’ is both poignant and moving with Pat Todd’s lyrics really coming to life in this version.  It’s back to high octane, amped up punk for the title track, another standout song with one of those catchy sing-along choruses that gets inside your head and has you humming it for weeks. The album ends on a mellow note with the harmonica led ‘The Risin’ Sun Over Naga-Gun’, leaving a mood of reflection that really permeates this entire album. This won’t be to all people’s tastes, the punk rock purists may hate the C&W, whilst the C&W fraternity might not appreciate the energy of the more rockier tracks, but this is undoubtedly one of the Lazy Cowgirls best albums both in terms of lyrics and musical execution, which could, if there’s any justice left, finally elevate them into the territory long held by Cash and Springsteen.                                                                                                                             I@n Pickens

The Hangmen – Loteria (Acetate Records)       Total running time: 44:28

With Rock & Roll currently in the ascendant it’s always good to hear bands play it because they love it, not because ‘Rock’s the next big thing’, and the Hangmen definitely love RnR!
        The opening track ‘Blood Red’ has the kind of guitar riff and intro lead that makes you want to close your eyes and go noodling around the room in air guitar ecstasy. But just as your getting started ‘Sleepin On The Floor’ opens up and the band drop into a low down, dirty, honky tonk tune sitting somewhere between T-Rex, the Stones and AC/DC. Class. The DC influence rears its head again on ‘Wild Beast’ or is it the Cult circa ‘Wild Flower’? Either way it’s a real head shaker and undoubtedly one of the albums high points.
       Loteria alternates between pure high-energy rockers and slower, Indie style brooders. The Hangmen pull both styles off beautifully, even successfully incorporating a violin on ‘Can’t Stop The Train’ to create a melancholic mood to match the doleful lyrics.

10 original songs and 3 covers  - the Stones (Citadel), ‘Here She Comes’ (Dirty Strangers I think?) - oddly sounding a lot like Nirvana at their best and ‘I Just Wanna Feel Good’ - which I’m not familiar with. Both originals and covers deliver, making Loteria an album well worth checking out, whether you’re an out and out rocker or prefer the more baleful, cerebral sounds of American indie music.                                                                                                                   Ian Pickens

Monster Magnet - Monolithic Baby (SPV)         Total running time: 54:21

Monster Magnet’s sixth release and their first since parting company from major label bankrollers A&M. The question is can they still cut it or did A&M rid themselves of a real white elephant?
         Well, I can confidently predict that someone at A&M is now crying into their Starbucks coffee, wondering what they’ve done and how they are going to explain it to the boss. ‘Monolithic Baby’ is a swaggering, leather clad beast of an album, rawer and tighter than previous efforts, but retaining the trademark classic metal and psychedelic space rock excursions of past releases. The first thing that strikes you about ‘Monolithic Baby’ is the raw, garage punk sound. Losing the big bucks production seems to have focused the band on rediscovering their roots and the end result is a finely crafted rock album with a middle finger attitude. Hell on ‘Super Cruel’ they even start off sounding like New Jersey neighbours Electric Frankenstein.
          Don’t expect a full blown punk album though. Wyndorf re-establishes MM’s mantle as the kings of modern Space Rock with a mesmerising cover of Captain Lockheed and the Starfighters ‘The Right Stuff’, and the Sabbath flavoured ‘Radiation Day’ shows they still have the chops to play classic style Metal. The twin guitar tradeoffs of Phil Caivano and Ed Mundell throughout the album prove these guys are still one of the tightest guitar units in music today. New boy on the bass Jim Baglino seems to be working out well, bringing a solid groove to the songs, that tightly underpins the guitars. Wyndorf retains his usual high vocal standard but lyrically seems even more disenfranchised by the modern world than usual, resulting in some of the most vitriolic put downs on the vacuous nature of a self pitying, consumer society in recent years.
          Superbly packaged in a gatefold sleeve, lyrics, photo’s and bonus DVD comprising two full length promo videos, an interview and two live videos makes this excellent value for money, especially when you consider the 12 gems contained on the actual CD itself. This is an essential album for anyone with a passion for 70s style Acid Rock or Heavy Metal, and proves that’s there’s many more miles left to burn for Monster Magnet.
                                                                                                                            Ian Pickens

Electric Frankenstein – SuperKool EP (VMS) Total Running Time – 26:59

 8 track EP featuring some tempting tasters from the forthcoming ‘Burn Bright, Burn Fast’ album and a few special live treats to guarantee this is an ep definitely worth picking up. Opening title track SuperKool is EF at their Punk/Rock fusion best. A high energy blast, combining the speed and passion of punk with the structure and sound of solid metal ala Motorhead. ‘My Distraction’ is one of the appetisers from the new album and it bodes well, as the do the other tracks ‘Whose Watching You’ and ‘Injected’. The three tracks are some of the fastest songs EF have done in a long while and reaffirm their punk/HC credentials, while maintaining the high standard of musicianship you can expect from these guys. The live tracks suffer a bit on the sound quality especially after the well produced studio tracks, but what the tracks lack in finesse they make up for in spirit. The EF take on ‘Satellite’ is pretty close to the Pistols version particularly Steve Miller’s vocal sneer, while their version of Black Sabbath’s highly underrated ‘Never Say Die’ definitely hits the spot. I’d like to here a studio version of this track.  Special mention for the sleeve - another Johnny Ace /Kali Verra classic. I love these guys artwork, and it compliments the EF sound perfectly.

           Ian Pickens

Simon Chainsaw and the Hippy Killers – ‘Told Me A Lie’ (TronAdor Music)
Total Running Time – 48:56

Simon Chainsaw returns with his latest release and a new band into the bargain! Told Me A Lie takes up where 2002’s Basta left off.  Hard rock tinged punk with hook laden sing along choruses and blistering solos. Opener ‘Get It On’ kicks thing off in fine, feisty fashion. A rooting, tooting rockfest which segues nicely into the catchy mid paced title track, both songs setting the tone for the rest of the album. There’s maybe less of a Sonny Vincent influence this time around, and more of a 90s RnR sound, maybe even a nod to the Wildhearts? Hell they even throw in a ballad in the form of ‘I Said Well’.If I have one criticism of the album its that some of the songs run a little long but overall a more rounded and varied album than Basta which should appeal to those who dig hard rock with a Punk n Roll influence.

Ian Pickens

Simon Chainsaw and the Forgotten Boys – ‘Basta’ (TronAdor Music)
Total Running Time – 53:15

Pleasant enough punk rock n roll with both pop sensibilities and a major hard rock edge.The riffing is solid if a little unoriginal in places with some definite metal influence.  Simon has obviously listened to a lot of Sonny Vincent and thrown in a pinch of Ramones, Rainbow (yes you read that correctly), Alice In Chains and Turbonegro on the noodly guitar solos most notably on ‘I’ve Been Down’ and opener ‘Thinking About It’.The Turbonegro comparison rears its head again on the title track a pounding rocker and one of the highlights of the album in my opinion. Worth checking out.


ELLIOTT SMITH – From a Basement on the Hill

I never imagined that this record could sound so amazing. I mean I knew it was destined for greatness just because it’s Elliott Smith, but actually hearing it, and feeling the last songs he recorded brings it into a whole different reality. It’s possibly the most beautiful of all his records, the songs and melodies ache of an heavenly ethereal tenderness and presence that leaves me breathless and which leaves me to believe that Elliott was in fact maybe a living angel. Having heard many of these songs live, I was curious to hear how they would sound on the record instead of the stripped down versions, and I adore those stripped down versions but now hearing them crafted in the studio, they sound really incredibly powerful more than I ever imagined and just superb! I want to say something about some of the songs that really had a great impact on me. "Coast to Coast" starts off with a mysterious screechy melody intro and then blasts forth into the melody with full instrumentation. A slight fuzz effect in the bass and guitar in alternate tuning ebbs and flows along to Elliott’s singing sounding like a sort of far eastern melody. It’s the perfect 1st song because it gives a taste of the what’s to come on the rest of the album, bestowing many qualities that cradle many of the songs. "Let’s Get Lost" is a quiet soulful song with a tiny pitter patter keeping rhythm with Elliott’s eloquent strumming and tender voice. It feels like an easy and calming summer day in a field of flowers. "Don’t go Down": A rumbling noise in the background sets the stage of anticipation with the start up of buzzing guitars warming up and then cymbal and drum beat intro in threes surmounting to a massive fuzzed out wall of resonating swirly kaleidoscope sound with a spooky extra-terrestrial like guitar melody that haunts Elliott’s mesmerizing lyrics of love and protection. "Strung Out Again": The way Elliott sings this is so fragile and choked up matching the fragile state of mind he sings about, and it’s quiet for the most part but then un-expectantly erupts into an explosive and melodic solo and expanse of shocking sound and then goes back to the other extreme of quietude and back again. The first time I heard this on the new record I really started crying. The way he sings this song sounds tragic to me and reminds me of Elliott’s too short life and abrupt exit. "King’s Crossing": I think this might be my favorite song on this record. It’s loaded with awesome experimental sounds and production techniques. It’s got this real eerie intro and it’s a total trip, captivating in it’s doomful delay and psychedelic sound. His lyrics are cleaver and have a real ease to their rhyme, so uncontrived in their perfection demonstrating his amazing talent. "Twilight": Words can hardly describe how beautiful this song is – it makes my heart just stop beating. Elliott’s singing is perfect, angelically soft and with his natural and earnest lyrics it is the most tender song I ever heard in my life. The vocal layers bring a real fullness to the feeling in this song. He really evokes a sense of twilight with the subtle crickets, frogs and owl sounds in the background of his simple strumming and orchestration of strings. "The Last Hour": Another quiet and fragile song that is a pure enjoyment feeling so intimate with just his soft voice and spiraling gradually down from heaven. I just love the guitar layers and the prominence of the drums when he starts singing and the bass groove that pops up here and there. And the changes that move the song along from part to part. The finale is long and winding and makes this song the longest on the record although it hardly feels long at all. "A Distorted Reality is Now a Necessity to be Free": A completely different version than the single on suicide records – the lyrics are stark and bold and the marching drums culminate this song to the ending of a total masterpiece that is Basement on the Hill. Don’t hesitate to get this if you are not sure. Any true Elliott Smith fan will feel and know the energy of the touching beauty that he created in his lyrics, voice and music.



FU MANCHU – ‘Start the Machine’ (DRT)
Total Running Time – 35:34

 Three years since their last release and it’s a welcome return to form for San Clemente’s sons of thunder Fu Manchu. 'California Crossing’ received some unfair criticism in certain circles for the clean, choppy ‘70s style sound. Well those lead headed lemmings can rest in peace because this is one heavy muthatrucking record. Fu Manchu have always been graced with an instantly recognisable style, both in the fuzz ridden riffing and the drawled vocals of Scott Hill and ‘Start the Machine’ taps the same vein. Tracks such as ‘Written in Stone’ and ‘Make Them Believe’ recall past classics ‘In Search of’ and ‘The Action is Go’ but the album never the less develops along different lines, at times reminiscent of peers Kyuss but retaining the trademark FM sound , with ‘Hey’ being a typical example.  The spacey ‘Out to Sea’ meanders into territory seldom travelled by Fu Manchu and provides a timely respite from the ear soldering chunks of heaviness that make up the rest of the album.          
If I have one criticism of ‘Start the Machine’ it’s the lack of a cover version. FM’s takes on BOC’s Godzilla and Devo’s ‘Freedom of Choice’ are two of the best covers you will ever hear, so bring the covers back guys. 

                                                                                                            Ian Pickens


One man bands are always fascinating, and Bloodshot Bill is no exception. Rockabilly at its finest, with tons of original songs with the bad-ass kick starter, “Backseat of my Heart” in psycho garage madness that’s just superb and also some real sassy covers, like “Rat Fink” and “Five and Ten”. Real catchy tunes that make you go nuts just loving that twang and reverb on the guitar and Bloodshot Bill’s heavy lingering breaths on the mic, not to mention his low dreamy country voice that shifts to a higher and heartfelt nasely pitch at times, as the songs build up to sure rockabilly craziness. Check out his website and get yourself some o’ that rockabilly love. Bloodshot Bill

Samia C.


Various – ‘Here’s Fifty Bucks’ Compilation (RocketDog Records) Total Running Time – 55:00

 ‘Here’s Fifty Bucks’ features 19 of the dirtiest, low down, kings of gutter level punk rock currently upsetting the neighbours, and yes the aim is to please and offend in equal measure. From the nauseating cover to the bands - hand picked by the titan of Totalitarian Rock n Roll himself Mr. Tony Slug, you know instantly this CD is going to rock your ass in a most damaging way. Featuring the cream of the current crop, the CD opens up with ‘God’s Chosen Dealer’s Glucifer. Other heavy hitters on this salacious slab of smut are the NitWitz, Street Walkin’ Cheetahs and the Powder Monkeys, plus bonus live tracks by Jeff Dahl and Swedish supernauts the Hellacopters. Worth getting for these tracks alone. Add in the Turbonegro sickness of Union 69’s ‘Mongo Magnet’, the Plunger’s breakneck rocker ‘Lost City Lover’ and  Boss 302’s ‘Failure’ and you’re looking at one of the must have comps of 2004. Highly recommended to all fans of scuzzy, riff ridden, punk rock. Available from

Ian Pickens

Electric Frankenstein – We Will Bury You (TKO) Total Running Time: CD1 – 40:22 CD2 – 48:32 (Double CD)

After muchos delay the world finally gets to hear the much anticipated double CD/Vinyl covers album by New Joisey’s finest purveyors of prime punk rock. And was it worth the wait? Oh yes indeed! An eclectic assortment of anthems form artists as disparate as Pink Floyd, DRI, Johnny Cash and Girlschool all given the patented EF kick in the nuts style treatment. Guitars rage, bass rumbles, drums thunder and Rik L Rik, Scott Wilkins and Steve Miller sneer their way through 31 tracks which will bring back fond memories for many of you, and maybe introduce some artists you might have overlooked. I mean lets face it how many DRI fans have Johnny Cash’s ‘Cocaine Blues’ lurking in their record collections? It’s the sheer diversity that makes this such a listenable album. EF have chosen songs that have moved them in some way and made them their own, the essence of a good cover version, and here you get every single gem that those good ‘ol boys have done between 1991 and 2003, complete with cool liner notes explaining who chose which tracks and why. Stand out songs – obviously being two of EF iggest influences - AC/DC’s ‘High Voltage’ and the Dead Boys’ ‘Third Generation’ Nation, X’ ‘Sex & Dying in High Society’, a very well executed, punked up take on Iron Maidens’ ‘Aces High’ and an excellent reworking of the Misfits’ ‘Queen Wasp’. These guys have been criminally overshadowed by the pop punk/nu-metal acts of the last few years, but with the tide hopefully turning towards well executed Rock N Roll, this album should go a long way to redressing that injustice and pave the way for the new EF material out in the Fall. I@n Pickens

The Cramps
“Fiends Of Dope Island”
(Vengeance Records)

Aha, so this is where they been hiding out all these years… the self-professed “Fiends” have been fine tuning their ultra cool, ravishingly revolting brand of bat-music for some five years since their last “Big Beat From adsville” came out and it’s apparent they’ve re-emerged not only the worse for wear, but with that much more ability to wear thin the patience of Rock aficionados everywhere. All is said in only the most endearing terms however, and if not for their outrageous get ups and horror-flick personas, they’d easily be the greatest band the outside world’s ever known. As it is they’re without a doubt the greatest underground act still running 25 years after it all started.
“Fiends Of Dope Island” is vintage Cramps – but then again, so are all of their records – they remain unscathed by outside influence and accepted their fate as true tormentors of popular trends since they first began wielding the whip all those years ago. From the ominous moments of “Big Black Witchcraft Rock,” to the groovin’ “Hang Up,” the voracity of “Elvis Fucking Christ” or the smooth chill of “Taboo,” we’re running the dark path between sex, drugs, debauchery, and Great Balls of Fire times three, with a number of ill-intended one liners and a well-spring of gratuitous nonsense for another good measure of “bad music” for those in their grip. Having just recently grabbed ack their early catalog and re-released it in 2001 on their Vengeance label, “Fiends” is a point to prove for critics and passersby that no one is safe from the swarm of sarcasm and sinister intent from this thematical romp through the recesses of damp swamps and dead brain cells.
Aside from three well placed covers, including Jerry Reed’s “Oowee Baby,” and think Country/Western caped in black clouds, blood-curdling, and booze, it’s a thirteen song tribute to the dead of night, the walking dead, and the devil, with a quick two-step stopover on their grave of choice. Never before has a record been more fun to listen and/or follow along to, a rare commodity for a forty-something band of misfits still off on the idea of merging the occult with obnoxious F-laced gratuity and leopard skins. by Vinnie Apicella

The Little Killers “The Little Killers”(Crypt Records)

The NYC trio couldn’t have scripted it any better.  The three of them met in a downtown bar, wanted to band together, could barely play, got cocked on Chuck Berry riffs and ‘50s cruising’ tunes, and before they knew it, Crypt ecords comes calling after hearing a hand me down in the local shop.  They’re The Little Killers and their music’s simple, unassuming, and easy to digest; pure Rock n’ Roll the way it began and the way it’s meant to be played.  The Little Killers came from the underground just like the Rock idols before ‘em, and like the ones before ‘em, will likely cause a stir in the mainstream community tired of pre-packaged, pre-positioned, mass produced crap. 
       The chops are rugged, the production’s rough, and there’s plenty to groove to; sure there are  more than a few sound-alikes in the mix, but then so what, the rhythm and pace are set from the onset and the driving jam is pure pool hall, Jukebox Rock that sews the golden age with the glitter and grime of ‘70s era Punk.  When one song sounds good, they all do and you won’t care if you’re listening to “Volume,” “Happy,” or “Pucker Up,” they’re repetitive and retro on rapid fire progression and it sure feels fun to listen or fall over drunk to. 
        The Little Killers first release features more than enough licks and fills forced into a ten dollar budget than you’d have the right to expect.  The tunes are shakin’, soulful and catchy, recalling the likes of Ritchie Valens, The Romantics, and old Replacements, with a mattering of The Stooges in and around the coarseness delivered by Andy’s vox, the sixty percent of the Sub Pop roster and The Stones in-demand.  The rest of the band features a female rhythm section adding a touch of feminine harmonic charm to the overriding coarseness.  Crypt’s first score in five years could prove to be a sleeper hit for the influential underground label and proves that accidental heroes can and do exist.    
  by Vinnie Apicella


SEWERGROOVES single "Tonight, Tonight"/"Don't Know What to Do". Lonestar
Records LS-004.

Our boys from Sweden are back with more of their riff-ridin' rock (with some changes in the line-up?). Side 1 satisfies us as always with Seventies Rock inspired soundwaves, plus it features a cool, great melody line that really sticks with you.
Side 2 pounds the turntable with heavy-riffing, MC5 meets Motorhead high-energy rock! Definitely groovy seventies
melody and more super riffs. They have The Rock seeping through their veins. Nice, dirty production. At this point,
for High Energy, they may be passing their Hellacopters roots. Worth gettingif you are a Detroit Rock fan!

SONS OF CYRUS EP "What to Do", "Devil in a Blue Dress"/"Sons of Cyrus","Nothing Matter Anymore". Lonestar Records LS-005.

Side 1 begins with a riveting intro! Then, some fast-paced Punk Rock & ROll with High-Energy rhythm, crunching guitars, and a simple but irresistible melody. A real nice surprise, after hearing some many other wanna-be bands lately! And, a great choice of a cover song! Their soulful rendition of this classic shows their love for early Rock &
Roll, plus their dirty production gives more authenticity to the sound. Side 2, the eponymous song is a great "rock ditty" of sorts, with fun hand-clapping, foot stomping, and guitar noodling. Then, flies ina candy-coats Rocker, soundin' like a cherry bomb ready to pop! You know, if the Runaways were boys they would have sounded like this!

WEIRDOS “We Got The Neutron Bomb”(Frontier Records

The UK had the Pistols and The Damned, the U.S. had The Ramones and The Dolls, and the West Coast had Deadbeats, Germs and… Weirdos! As in “The” Weirdos. Why separate them from the rest of the pack? Because they’re from Holly-weird… right? Yes, in spite of their pleas to the contrary, they were and are as extreme as Punk’s ever meant to be. They began life in ’77, the pin prick in the hand of mainstream convention, brandishing songs about teenage angst, defiance, rudeness, crudeness, independence, delivered with equal parts sloppiness, silliness, and sincerity in playing style that only furthered their following as true Punk devotees against the climes of corporate rock and dance music. Throughout their career, the band would become associated with what today would amount to an impressive roster of rotating rhythm section players which included names like Beefheart, Freese, and Flea among many others. The sound was an ill-conceived concoction of eeriness of Damned Damned Damned, the dampness of The Cramps, the wit of The Dickies, the pomposity of Spinal Tap, and somehow the resultant creation is pure listening satisfaction with a skull-cracking production.
“We Got The Neutron Bomb: Weird World – Volume Two” follows up on ‘89s first volume, featuring a closet full of A-sides, B-sides, previously unreleased, never should’ve been released and various assorted rarities to bang your head, shake your head, scratch your head, and convulse to while the rest of the world stiffens with fear and finger pointing. There are sixteen tunes ranging from newest to oldest, covering ’89s “Condor” featuring the trashy opening anthem, “Terrain,” a tune that should be at the forefront of everyone’s Punked-up vernacular, the windshield smashing insanity of “Cyclops Helicopter,” and the previously unreleased “7&7 Is,” originally done by a band called Love in the mid-60s that must have been rather resounding for its period. From the weirdness descends and descends, wobbling backward to the earliest recorded moments in ’77 from the rehearsal studio, as with the previously unreleased “I Want What I Want” and “I’m Not Like You,” both of which close this endearingly clunky collection in typically raucous fashion.
In between, fans and first timers alike are in for some hard-hitting obscurities, most of which seem to only make sense after downing a few and forcing yourself into a frothy-faced fixation. “What Will You Do?” and their covers of “Jungle Rock” and the torrid instrumental, “Fat Back” make highlight reel status the second and third go-rounds, all of which indicate a slowly building sloppy to streamline effect the further along they went. Still in all, the rancor and raw abandon with which they threw it all out there was matched by few others who’d shared a similar timeline; and their time was something cut entirely too short as the band disbanded only four years after they began.
The group rallied the troops in the late ‘80s to record the “Condor” LP, released their first “Weird” collection in ’91, then took a thirteen year break. Now, featuring the core group of the Denney Bros. on guitar and vox, and Cliff Roman on guitar, having released this essential second phase collection of junk drawer treasures, they’ve resurfaced to tour again. And one can only wonder what they might conceive of in this day and age of nothing shocking and uncensored senselessness! by Vinnie Apicella

28 DAYS LATER - UK DVD Release (PAL)
Probably the best horror film to hit the theaters in over a decade, Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later  in Brittish DVD format is even greater, with 8 astonishing unrealeased scenes, an alternate ending,  audio commentary and other features like the trailer and an ultra cool red box!  I am proud to own it and even prouder that my DVD machine, Malata, can play any foreign format.  For those who haven't seen 28 Days Later, well, what are you waiting for? It is a cinematic and horrorfying masterpiece!! It's got  innumerable, unforgetable scenes, many terribly suspenceful  moments, chilling in its eariness of deserted and desolate streets,  frightning with the lunatic rage of the infected,  strength and  also playfulness of main characters Jim, Selena, Hannah and Frank, despite the world of carnage they must drudge through, and a perfectly crazy ending that's oh soooo satisfying.    The music score is really reflective, capivating it's viewers like when Jim goes exploring the deserted streets of London, and stalking him starts the almost inaudible to deathening and deafening loud strings, as he learns some part of the mystery, reading the littered kiosk with notes and old newspapers. And the raw, quickened filming of the rage attacking, sharp and angled to astonishing scenic views behind windmills and the green English Samia C.

Buy 28 Days Later here

MELVINS “26 Songs” (Ipecac Recordings)
The album formerly known as “10 Songs” gets a 16-track boost by way of “some alternate recordings and garage demos.”  Funny, you’d be hard pressed to know the difference where the original ten begin and the last one ends.  The sound quality is every bit 1986 and done live to two track to boot – imagine a corkscrew of sound entering your head and exiting both ears in bloody chunks.  Credit where its due, Melvins began life before most of what we consider ground breakers of the age like Helmet or Q.O.T.S.A. and god bless ‘em, they haven’t changed much; still as irritably noisy and technically reckless as before, though we may thank the modern era for advancements in sound production in their later years, none of which are present here.  There’s no disguising the Melvins in any age however, nor can we get around those beloved skips and scratches that begin surfacing with track eleven and go deeper from there.  I had to listen twice, but no, it’s not Buzzo’s persistent roar, though it does match up well with the ultra low-fi discharge.  With barely a tour under their belt and lucky to lose a buck, they did this original 10 song abomination at a time when Punk Rock, Metal, and Hardcore didn’t have the slightest clue.  So falling somewhere between Sabbath, Venom, Circle Jerks, Cro-Mags and D.R.I., and apparently landing on their feet somehow – eighteen records and monumental underground fame – these empty-pocketed saviors make like shit on the shoe on more occasions than booze and dead brain cells.  King Buzzo’s (Buzz Osbourne back then) emits a genuinely painful grunt for vox, much like a phlegm induced cough following a plodding, shuffling, wall of sludge and speed that’s as untimely as it is ultimately endearing for its distinctive aggression and discordance.  Most of the extra tracks are satanically strewn repeat performances of the originals and lend nothing to their listenability yet there’s something so completely charming about picking up that needle on vinyl again.  Worth hearing twice would be tunes like “Now A Limo,” “Grinding Process,” “Snake Appeal…” anyone for three times actually?  “Set Me Straight’s” a “new” addition that smokes on all cylinders specially with the double barrel drumming.  So here you’ve got yet another reason to love the Melvins or at least show your next door neighbors how much you care.  Also featuring a flowery redone cover art and four page insider notes on club closing remembrances and how to “be unappreciative bastards” and still come out alright! -  by Vinnie Apicella
Buy Melvins music here

M.A.S.S. single "Live a Little"/"Give Me a Break", "Unbreakable". Lonestar
Records LS-006.

Hmm, something out of the ordinary here.
M.A.S.S. features an almost PJ Harvey-ish singer, but backed up by heavy
rock. Improving on something that might ordinarily have been
mundane Indie Rock. Plus, a really catchy chorus helps too, and is what sets
this apart from typical bands trying to mine this territory.

Probot – Probot (Southern Lord)    Total running time: 52:48

The concept of writing 11 songs of ‘80’s style thrash/doom/crossover metal and using the best singers from this genre as guest vocalists could go one of two ways. Either it’s going to be nostalgic but ultimately sad, or it’s going to be a brilliantly executed celebration of extreme ‘80s metal. Thankfully with Dave Grohl at the helm it’s the latter.
          Writing all the music and playing almost all the instruments (bar a few well selected guest spots) the Foo Fighters front man has delved back into his teens for inspiration, and dished out an album brimming with enthusiasm and passion.
            From the face ripping thrash of opening track ‘Centuries of Sin’ to the eerily unsettling ‘Sweet Dreams’ this is a faultless collection of songs. Grohl has somehow managed to capture the style of the guest vocalists’ original band without directly copying them. ‘Shake your Blood’ (with Lemmy) for example wouldn’t sound out of place on any Motorhead album while ‘Dictatosaurus’ (Snake) captures the off kilter riffing that made VoiVod one of the most interesting metal bands ever. Those of you who yearn for Corrosion of Conformity with Mike Dean on vocals need look no further than ‘Access Babylon’ to recapture their youth and feel the energy and vibrancy of crossover Punk/Metal at it’s best.
         Grohl’s love of this music and his obvious admiration for the vocalists he has chosen shine through, giving the whole project a validity that might otherwise have turned Probot into a parody. Excellent packaging with fantastic cover art by Away of VoiVod, lyrics, photos and a testimonial by Grohl detailing why he chose these vocalists complete the project in a most fulfilling way.
         For devotees of this style of music this is a must have album. For fans of Grohl’s other projects this may or may not appeal to you, depending on how open your mind is. It is definitely not Scream, Nirvana or the FFs.
         Oh and the surprise track? Well I’ll leave that as a surprise.

      Ian Pickens

ADAM WEST single "Sixth Son of a Seventh Son"/"You Can't Stop Rock-N-Roll". Lonestar Records LS-001. Washington DC representing

USA High Energy Rock & Roll overseas! Almost as prolific as ElectricFrankenstein, Jake Starr and his boys continue to testify to the higher power of Rock & Roll, as they unleash on Side 1 more of their straight ahead Hard Rock.Following this, the bring out museum piece worthy Twisted Sister! Don't fret! Adam West deliver! Not just a typical bar band
cover version, as any average band on the East Coast USA is want to do, Adam West breathes enough Punkness to revive a great tune that was hiddenunder Twisted Sister's public image.

SLAUGHTER AND THE DOGS – “A Dog Day Afternoon” (TKO Records)
You can’t teach an old dog new tricks… and don’t expect any here.  The English Punk vets plow through fifteen classics, old and new from their recent and only U.S. tour!  An original member of the old “bootboy” guard during the late ‘70s rise of the UK street scene, S&TD’s underground rumblings made quick work of the prep-school Pop and glitter ball gods of the time with ample three chord chaos, heavy hooks and face full of fun that smacked hard with youthful records like "Do It Dog Style" or the slender "Bite Back". 
TKO’s fourth installment of their in your face live series finds the classic Barrett/ Rossi team tearing ‘em up at NY’s CBGB’s and SF’s Justice League, two landmark staples of the gutter to glory days of ol’ school Punk.  Delightfully crude and spaciously sloppy, S&TD cuts loose like a revived band of lost and lonely legends given their final go at turning a profit… and the “payoff” here is for the lucky fan that either didn’t see ‘em in the first 2,200 go rounds.  Or for those that did and wanna grab a bootleg-quality slab of hedonistic history that begins with yesterday’s “Twist & Turn,” “Runaway,” “Boston Babies,” or the rowdy raise ‘em in the air effects of newer cuts like “Blow” and "Saturday Night Till Sunday Morning”; then there’s the needless picking apart of vintage ‘Dolls and Velvet Underground tunes before kicking back 25 years for “Cranked Up Really High” to end things… loudly.  Don’t believe me?  Just ask the poor RCA mascot on the cover… finally nailed the little sucker after all these years! -
by Vinnie Apicella

Buy Slaughter & the Dogs music here

ELLIOTT SMITH - "Pretty (Ugly Before) b/w A Distorted Reality is Now a Necessity to be Free" 
(Suicide Squeeze Records 7"Single)
Elliott Smith continued to astonish his dedicated hard fans with this taste of  wonder on his latest release since Figure 8.  Both songs are quite eerie sounding as in how Pretty (Ugly Before) starts off, but then it gives way to a beautiful jangly guitar and Elliott's hypnotic and angelic voice melting his sweet sweet lyrics into the music as he sings, and then it breaks into the heart of the song with a  piano that trickles like rain in the distance keeping the tune, as the guitar pokes around,  becoming more and more expressive, with big ballad chords and a solo and that gets all backward sounding.  Somehow his lyrics always get to me.  No other words or phrases can sound as perfect.  Or maybe it's because his voice is so perfect that he makes whatever he is singing sound untouchable. A Distorted Reality is Now a Necessity to be Free is definitely evidence that Elliott was experimenting in the studio, with a thumping rhythm played on a what sounds like a muffled organ, eventually giving way to an even louder reverbed thumping guitar and light drum and cymbal tapping and with an incredible twangy reverby psychedelic guitar solo fading into the end. This single really does impress, pretty much like all of Elliott Smith's music, but this is really spectacular! - by Samia C.

Buy Elliott Smith music here