FUNGALPUNK - CD REVIEWS Page 1
SILVER DUST - THE AGE OF DECADENCE
Silver Dust are a rock band who have only been on the circuit for 4 years and bring to the tuned table a melting pot of that which is raw and demonic, that which is elaborate and sub-operatic and that which is tinted with pseudo-gothika and that certain dark blood that gives many vibes an ethereal slant. The band arise from the depths of Porrentruy in Switzerland and have their very own style that does take a little adjusting to, especially for a long termed spiked victim like me.
The opening tumbles of multifarious tunery come via a triple salvo known as 'Welcome', 'Heaven Knows' and 'My Heart Is My Saviour', the first of which beautifully combines horror, baroque operatica, power thrusts and the dog basin basics of good song construction. Brick drills, rabid Shoggoth roars and pulsation theatrics are amongst the acoustic ornamentation brandished and throughout the noise the articulation of the mix and precise production is magnificently high. The 2nd cutlet has moments of stripped down soothing, episodes of panoramic grandeur and an overall prepared essence that is just a little too staged rather than naturally delivered...or maybe it is just me (it usually is). The third spillage is almost holy and cathedral-esque in its pseudo-sacrosanct stance that really does make for an imposing, albeit affected, presence. Elements of cock rock emerge from the underbelly of sound but even my punked spirit is hard pushed to stick a nasty boot into the vibes and hail them as shite. No, I must be fair, the band are stretching themselves, mastering many methods and that is all anyone can ask for, even if they like the end product or not.
Further advancement into the meat of the CD reveals continuous flamboyance interwoven with a decisive unpredictability and a steadfast resolve to make sure all areas are highly processed and powerful but retain an individual airspace in which to operate and hold attention. One of the most noteworthy tracks is 'Shame On You', a grinding pulp that retains clarity before disembowelling itself and conveying itself further on a deathbed of high orchestration and...exhibitionism. The switch from the skewering to the silky is quintessential quality that keeps this spiked git involved. We cycle forth into the CD further we more dramatic unfolding via the spread wings of 'Princess De Ma Chair', the classical copulation of pomp and grandiosity of 'Morte D'Aimer' and the pulse fuck, machine drill and all-round future frolic of 'The Age Of Decadence'. We have numerous herbs and spices to toss around the palate within the huge dollops of decadent and thrilling orchestration that consistently combines to give rise to new obsessions. It is a very specific angle from which this lot of overly elaborate huffers blow in from and albeit far from my rocked ragged backyard of noise I can still wave an ensign of appreciation. And why the hell shouldn't I?
The last trio of tunes do not alter the pattern of the CD but continue to embroider the silver donation with many baroque fascinations we may sit back and admire if time is kind. 'Now We Request' begins like a bull in a china shop before dramatically stopping in its tracks and taking on a sagacious stance of pomposity and stating a case. Minimalism combined with a full on knuckle-fuck is the recipe adopted, the band show they can sonically spin bowl or hurl out a blinding bouncer that will bruise your gonads with nothing more than power...and this is always a good thing. The song sticks to the registered formula - fans will love it. The penultimate song relies on mechanoid happenings and goes under the appellation of 'The Judgement Day', a very matter of fact movement that drifts out of line at times and perhaps provides too much variation in one set creation and thus paints a pictures that is, in parts direct, in others blurry and overall quite incoherent. The individual strokes that are power splashed and then caressed are smeared and I am finding that I am looking upon something rather messy. The closure comes via 'Forgive Me (Acoustic Version)' a delicate wave farewell via a porcelain hand holding aloft the transparent tones of virginal gossamer. A tear in the eye, a heart-touching moment in time. The song floats off into the distance mists, it is a mood laden piece and for me oversteps the mark by hanging around too long. Instead of a short tug at the ticker wires we have a nagging irritation and my spiky spirit is far from keen.
So I am over and out and am up and down and roundabout with a listening session that has me thrilled in parts, stilled in others, impressed at times and then downbeat here and there. It is a mixed bag and very specific in its target audience. When the band get it right they do so with breathtaking brilliance and that is the positive note on which I will finish my scribblings. Take a peek folks, some of those opening expulsions are wondrous.
LITTERBUG - YOUR PERCEPTION IS NOT MY REALITY
The crummy resort of Blackpool has produced many good bands over the years and in recent times has many appetising crews for the seeker of DIY and underdog vomit. I have conducted a 'Blackpool Bastards Invasion' gig and it was a joy and the next one looks set to be even better with some Litterbugging louts spreading their rhythmic refuse and adding to the debauchery. I have seen the crew under the spotlight a few times, I have reviewed many silver circles by the said outfit and have found many highlights. They have their own quirky angle on proceedings, have an insightful stripped to the waist honesty and this latest 8 track offering is highly anticipated. And so...
One...'Damage Is Done' - a song that instantaneously exposes the Litterbug lilts and moves with a DIY clutterbucket honesty that has a good scrubbed out feeling and a spirit of frustration at certain wraparound loops that sees various circles in sonic life never really get anywhere. The busy affect, the ceaseless desire and the hassling approach the band naturally take all make for a piece of scratched and scathed punkism borne from a bog brush circuit and a reality based observance. As real and direct as ever and with an approachable rustic rhythm and overall 'bloke down the pub' unaffectedness. Two...'Hanging Around' skids and stutters before popping things up and clattering along on a bedrock of discrepant discomfort that shakes out the cobwebs of affectation and makes for an overspill of out of kilter, sub-unorthodox music that once again has the rusted elements combined with the more rhythmic side of the spectrum. The end result is of something very distinct without being vulgarly so and very much in keeping with what the band do. There are no complaints thus far!
And Three...'Here To Stay', a quick chugging burst that raves about the metamporphing properties of the punk rock scene and how we should embrace the fact that it is here to stay. It has many forms, some convincing some not so concrete in its structure but we have to do what we do and make sure the growth goes forth and as many bands as possible get noted. Litterbug display a good level of frustration here and clobber along in good unwashed style. The sense of rhythm never leaves us, those with a feel for both retro vibrations and those striving to progress should get this. Four...'Let The Night Unfold' begins with awkward string tangents ascending and descending before falling into a nice furrow of melodic accuracy that contains enough fuzz and dust to keep things earthy. A consistency comes, a bass line wobbles, the skins are briskly leathered and the front strings scurf and scratch as per. A very basic song but sometimes nothing else is needed. I regard this as a hybrid borne from Uncle Pop and his crooked partner Auntie Awkward - ooh the randy devils.
Five...'Prozac Zombie', a shushed start, a quick 2 wire wank and then the surge comes. Verse is direct and stripped, the chorus is pacey and uncomplicated. It seems too simple to be true but it sticks in the noggin like a spider in your rectal pubes and no matter how much 'Anal Arachnid Wonder Dust' you apply to the rear region this rockin' bug will not be shifted. I now wander the streets, take a leek, make my breakfast or simply shoplift from the local hardware store with this tune dancing round my head - can't be a bad tune then can it. Mind you, try stealing a lawnmower singing ' I'm Just a Prozac Zombie' - not easy but worth it to keep the grass trimmed! Six...'The Chimp Effect' jangles, is roughshod but coruscates with a certain lifeblood that the band simply inject. There is nothing elaborate or heart-stoppingly outrageous here but the band have an earthiness and 'off the street' reality I find appealing. There is little to add to this one and not much I can add to the next track, namely Track Seven...'Smokescreen'. A quicker thrust, one that lacks patience and wants to get its point across. Clear and scurfy, restless and kicking with spirit. The rippling tones are incessant, the fact that the band move with higher impetus exposes their unity and efficient methodology and this one is one of those songs I would deem a grower.
Eight...we finalise with the multi-faceted frost-fuzz called 'In Your Dream'. Again it is more of the same, typical of the Litterbug leanings with cohesion and awkwardness proffered partners that we, as perverts of sonic shenanigans, are left to wank over and ponder. These songs strike out as being simple but when closely examined have several depths to explore. You have to concentrate and then let go, it is worth your while. This isn't a dazzling finish, in fact I would harshly (but honestly) tag it as average but there ya go, you can disagree if you like and if you care to do so via a review then that would be absolutely spiffing.
Litterbug come, drop their toned trash and leave me to pick up the mess. I like the band but always feel there is more in the tank! Do they believe they can up the ante? Do they not want to change tack and are happy with their lo-fi donations? Who knows, all I can do is say what I feel, prod and poke and put the posers there for you to ponder. Not a bad effort this but...well, you may guess what I am thinking!
FUTURE HATE - POTBOILER
Just as I was clearing a mound of CD reviews those gits at Deadlamb Records sent through a pack of 5 to keep me out of trouble and constantly batter my head with many sounds. The mix was good and here I tackle the first of the batch with a virginal approach I always find best. The info that strikes me from the convoluted web waves is that the band are a hardcore unit from Alabama and have a screaming lass at the fore, something I was soon to be battered into submission by, much to my untold pleasure. Other than that I avoided an over indulgence of info so my judgement would be untainted, darn those pesky sycophants and tellers of bulled shite. So, here goes a Fungalised version of events, a shroomed lowdown of the shizzle on offer.
Blinking open at the first juncture are the piercing and passionate 'Goat Eyes'. This song is the commencement of one long wild and reckless beating with a sincere she-spite that claws, scratches and gouges with a frenzied intensity that, in certain parts, reaches zeniths untold. This opening fist in the face is a repeat nag of gnawing nastiness that, like a rabid Woodpecker, takes up its perch and rattles the dead timber of the noggin like the vicious fuck I have this song nailed has. The vindictive drilling increases as the final slam is taken and along the way we feel as though that the music radiated is both mentally suffering and nauseous. Like a perverted dog to a bowl of reeking vomit I find myself drawn and prone to diseased blackouts that may see me commit some criminal....damage! 'Plinko' is a quick follow-up slap, it initially skewers on warped prongs of devilish intent before steadfastly getting on with a crack-happy forcefulness that is no sooner acclimatised to then it is over - an odd moment that is a swift going over, nothing more, nothing less. 'Punch Little Babies' is a fuckin' giant stride forward from the previous disappointing track and slices through all resilience, all sinew and...all bone. The mania and compelling melody are all heaped together and kicked like fuck around a soundscape that attains behemoth levels when thrashing through those stunning chorus cuts. This helter-skelter raping is relentless and for me it is the fact the carriage of craziness rides on a cusp of total danger and may crash, smash and end up as useless trash at any given time - wonderful. I can't get enough of this perilous product and ramp up the volume, stick a broken bottle in my face and slam like damning fuck. If this isn't enough the razors come forth and slash us to bastard doom with 'FNG Your Wife' another hard-edged episode of almost demonic bleakness borne from heads doused in heavy racket making and clued in to playing it on the cusp. The whole spirit of this song is happening and a certain virulent violence is established at the first strike and refuses to ease off until all players are whacked out and your ears are leaking life-giving blood. If a band is going to make noise of this kind then why the hell not leave your guts on the stage - I reckon a disembowelling has taken place here and for that I offer my congratulations.
'Doomed At Birth' wastes no time in destroying any settling dust of decency that may have gathered in the nano-second of silence between this and the last hefty burst. More billyclubs of belligerence rain down on our battered bones and further sonic steel capped booted sink into to our writhing carcass, this time with something more orthodox and more flat-lined. The delivery is consistent but lacks the high shake-ups previously encountered and I am still coming down from the loftiness of tracks 3 and 4 to give this fair judgement. For me it fails to challenge its predecessors but is a decent stand-alone belt out. 'Spice Jam' is better, is surprisingly the longest track of the CD (2 minutes 30 seconds) and cruises in before brandishing simmered threat via a chorus that is quite controlled for this lot. The chorus addresses matters of restraint and puffs with power, huffs with angst and gives the song...essence. Strings and skins are molested, the front throat is still alive and kicking and the sub-final onslaught that sees the guitar parade and the bass and drums get a rhythmic seeing to all inflames the listening infection further. 'Subshit/Guillotine Licker' and 'Sleepover Dad' are two tetchy cunts of misshapen spastic fist-fucking that come, go and leave one grasping for some semblance of understanding. Both efforts are a double-ended damning that penetrate, provoke pain and yank out without apology. The second invasion gives greatest pleasure and the dark edge opens up delightful vistas of disturbance.
The last two grotesques to grind your musical gears with are as per. 'Blood Pipe' is quick, grumbles in on 4 nasty cables that are shook with gratifying absorption. The cacophony that comes is restless, naturally vomited with effective gut muscles used and has that underscrubbed contour that has served the band so well thus far. 'Swarm On Em' Boys' closes matters and swings and sways with a noise that perhaps would be considered groovy if played with a less hyped up tempo. Again all elements on wired high, they seem in a rush to get to the final deadline and just about hold it together. I like the danger and the tribal chant section but at this last juncture I would have liked to seen a severe curveball thrown in that would leave all listeners...wondering! Just a personal thought to finish.
Future Hate have much going on here and in one or two places attain heights that really take the breath away. Their dark underbelly is regularly exposed as the complete beast regularly upturns and shits out excellent effluence to choke on. The fact they keep things quick and without arse fucking nonsense is just as well and this one will be enjoyed many times over, more than likely in the midst of contrasting tones - oh yeah man!
TRIPWIRE DC - DARK ALLEY
A band here I first saw at The Star and Garter in Manchester and who provided 40 minutes of absorbing interest with their punked and reggaefied rhythms that clashed, collided but, most importantly, cruised with quality. The band won my favour via a 'live' review, as a result I find myself with an album on my hands to do my usual business with! My pleasure as always. The crew hail from Scotland, have an intolerance of Nazis, bullies, prejudice in general and will not be restricted by genre - this sounds fuckin' fabulous. I have done my listening duties and am now ready to clatter the keys with my throbbed and nobbed Digitus secundus manus, a limitation that causes untold problems - such is the life of an arthritic assessor.
Track one, I taste and ponder and let 'Jesus Buddha Mohammed', trickle down my sonic swilling gullet in fascinating, comforting and rewarding style. The delicacy, the soft application of he and her vocals, the Jah man accessories and the movement from placid waters through to motions with apparent strength all induce the listener into a dreamy float that is not to be questioned. The band have aimed high at such an early point and have reached their goal with sincerer talent, insightful know-how. They have a crafted cultivation that is not hurried or over-saturated and the gradual precious peaks and necessary troughs all combine to make a soft oceanic happening to absorb. 'Hey Mr Reggae' has a more calyspotic flavour with the solarised string shimmers upbeating the output and bringing to the fore many essences well wafted in the certain sub-genre. The crisp wire strokes are splendid, the street-wise oral roamings resplendent in accented drapes and the splish-splash tympanics add a further element of animation that aids the overall groove. The undulations are light but noticeable and this escorting follow-up to the gratifying opener is another notch up on the ladder of success.
Next and a change of tack, a more orthodox tune as far as those punk boundaries go. 'Isolation' has more to offer though and the clear vocals are wonderfully shadowed by whispered she-susurrations that breathe extra life into the free-flowing track that I just lap up with each rotation. The wires skank, crisply ascend whilst the sticks tap with controlled regulation and bring something orderly to the tuneful table. The persuasive head rushes, the need to flee from the fascist fuckery and the last push that repeat beats is all nutrition for my noisy nob - it stiffens with delight (ooh heck here I go again). 'Reggae For The Rich Boys' is another scrumptious scoop of creamy cacophony that states its case, snipes with suggestive solidity and erodes any sense of resistance one may have with nothing more than subtlety, exacting tonal blends and languorous lilts that get buoyed along on a surface skin of serenity. Marvellous and a quartet to quiver at the knees with - in the most pleasing way!
Plucked from the verdant bush of sonic fruition comes the most clamorous and clashing marvel yet, namely 'Strawberry Boy'. This kicking song lashes out with regularity and exposes a new facet of the Tripwire crew who can play it cool, wander with a mean drift or hot-foot it with a bit more forthright vulgarity. If one was to dissect this one then there aren't too many layers and it is the most basic piece thus far but the cough up encouragements, precise production and alive and colourful affects make it work. 'I Don't Want To Be Like You' is a rich song with distinct qualities of something 'Lydon-i-fied', and is a real sub-PIL'led up number that moves with a melodic passion and easy magnetising swing that emphasises the entire quality of a band with many strings to their well-twanged bow. This song is a charming sliver of sound that rants, raves, indicates self belief and has a liquidity that will not be shied away from but totally embraced and...involved with - a choice cutlet.
Further on we go and a quick assessing trio beckons. The choppy starlight shine of 'Stand Up' is utterly delicious and is crisply delivered and ideally ruffled with all components superbly complimentary and contributing to an uplifting sensation that will not be frowned on by this cantankerous assessor. Love it I do - love it! Next, and a sneaking serpent of sound that is pencilled down as 'Tyskie'. It moves in before metamorphing into the most basic of tracks and is a simple boozing song that pays homage to the Polish beer that is apparently taking Britain by storm. This repeat insistence is there for the pisspots to slurp and slide with, nothing more and nothing less. I rate it as the weakest track of the lot but it has its place and perhaps is a necessary counterbalance to the more erudite offerings? All I can do is be honest and say what I say - there will never be any other way! Last of the brisk trio is the intriguing 'Down In The Dark Alley’, one of those Virginia Creeper moments that at first appears to be another sonic growth but one that soon reaches out, embraces with tough irresistible tendrils and chokes out a reaction. The zest within the weft of the workings is more intricate than imagined, the barbed branches incessantly snag in a quiet subtle way and as the plays are increased further interest, and pleasure, are aroused. NB - This song is about about a very dodgy back alley underneath Central Station in Glasgow.. and near Ivory Blacks and Audio Music Venue - so sayeth Rich McGlashan.
3 to go and a burst of therapeutic madness next via another jester despising jollity, this one unimaginatively called 'I Hate Clowns'. One of those moments that breaks the patternisation of proceedings and throws in a curve ball to keep you guessing. For me this is bog-standard noise rolling with a theme I have encountered several times over the years. I have to admit though that Tripwire DC do what they do well and this one has some nice touches and avoids a full on savaging but remains in some sort of strait-jacketed control. Not as bad as I first thought if I am honest!
'Not Finished Yet' is an accomplished song with many subtle sophistications that contribute to the songs fluid, fine-spun attractiveness that I for one am quite mesmerised by. It doesn't brandish the more blatant qualities of some of its cacophonic colleagues but it has a quite proficient plumage that is waterproof from any Fungalised critique. No rush encountered, no unnecessary scabbiness to try and create a false punk reality - no, just hard practiced, experienced musicianship with care taken to blend components and do things one's own way - my appreciation gushes. We close down with 'Count To Ten', a remarkable whisper of gossamer gifts artistically ruffled with the warmest zephyr that brings pure sonic sedation. We are lured and lulled, persuaded and pulled and gradually lain down on a waterbed of lucid, lazed and softly illuminated acoustica that finalises this fine CD and, makes sure we are convinced right up until the very last...breath.
I saw Tripwire DC 'live', I walked away taken. I have now listened to Tripwire DC on CD and I am thoroughly sanguine in my belief that this is a very accomplished band with a very rewarding and masterly release on their talented mitts. I shall seek them out again with salivating jowls and look forward to their next release with throbbing nadgers - cripes, pass me the pills vicar!
LIVE 'N' SLEAZY - COMPILATION
Nice and Sleazy is a festival (yes one of those), it is held in the crumbling seaside resort of Morecambe - a tragedy still happening and all the place is good for is some coastal birding, some cheap chips and an annual jaunt for some mixed and matched music (if you so prefer). This is a sampling from the 2016 fiasco with many good tunes to enjoy and perhaps, reminisce about. Here goes my take on the 22 tracks dished up - by heck I best tighten my text-tapping fingers and keep to the point here!
The Negatives are up first, the classic known as 'We're From Bradford', a defiant sing-a-long classic for the old breed and, if they care to have it, the new breed as well. It is what it is this song, it is about making a statement and pokes a finger in the ass of those who create division and think the big smoke is the be all and end all. I like this track, a long time favourite that still defies time, as do the fuckers who play it - they must be mad (I hope so). Big Fat Panda counterpunch against the opening punkery with the two-toned skarring known as 'She Makes Sense'. This is a fuckin' stunner and rises from the 'live' recording with sonic strength not to be under-estimated. The commanding gob, the cathedral keyed opening and the brilliant snag to the ensuing tune is mesmeric. The brass cream laden over the puff pastry of sound is gobbled up and swallowed in one satisfying chunk. From the first spin you will be hard pushed to defy a dance and my advice is to just let yourself go and let this upbeat explosion grab you. Next up and the reliable party people who turn out top tune after top tune come and blast out a song entitled 'My Girlfriend's Best Friends Sister'. Dirtbox Disco have proven their quality, have a repertoire many would suck their grannies teets for and the donation here does the job in keeping the quality high and the foot tapping. Great front gob, honest rhythm, expected trimmings - it seems simple but not everyone can do it - DBD can and they do it with aplomb. A cracking track and onto the emerald tones of Neck we go, a good band this and their offering of 'Sean South' is a nice switch in style for the CD but makes sure quality is still lofted. An intro seems to excite one chap and then the tinkles come, the military drums march us inwards, the whistles and strings enhance the sprinkling and keep this very much a themed tune leaking from a very special box. The blend is precise, the embracing warmth tangible and in truth, it may be run of the mill Irish infused acoustica, but it does do the business mighty well.
RDF next and the fine reggae drift of 'Babylon Is Burning', a mellow wander that is bass lifted and nasally sung and embraces the crowd with its meandering catchiness and shout out chorus that even a cretin with brain pox could latch onto. Accoutrements are minimal with a steady stick beat, a skank string persistence and a quick homage to the old Rutted classic of the same name and we are done, with all success safe. A good song followed by another pip, this one by Media Whores and their delicious donation of 'Black Widow', a superb cutlet that sees the poison of the strain seep into the soul with numerous questions posed, a animated undulation of sound eternally intriguing and the rising vocals of a choice standard and working above the tidy soundscape with classiness. This is a definite favourite of mine and keeps the quality bubbling.
Popes of Chillitown next and the casual snaking serenade of 'Now You Will Never Know'. This is a song that sidles in with brassed fluidity before pepping up and creating a skank-o-licious treat for those who like to hot-foot it on the dance floor and prefer some muscular relaxing vibes to shake off the blues to. The band do what they do, they do it well and all the expected trimmings are here - nothing more, nothing less. The first cover comes via Skaface, who put their own twist on the all time classic 'A Message To You Rudy'. Originally a rocksteady tickle by Dandy Livingstone and then later exposed by The Specials this is what you would expect, a two-tone treat that keeps to the tried and tested formula and no doubt hits the zone with all those festival goers. The band do the job justice here even get my knackered ass twitching. I do like a bit of this stuff though, especially the raw end of the monochrome wedge.
The mix so far is varied, vibrant and a solid example of what the Nice and Sleazy bonanza has on show. Good on em'!
A big name next, namely Sham 69 (well one version at least) and the famed head clout of 'Ulster'. After the recent deluge of jigging joy this is back to the grindstone with a biting gob off that sees the band simmer, clatter and saw-bone to the core of the punk instincts. The mouth is off the street, the tympanics slapping and the guitar buzzing whilst the bass remains orderly and provides good foundation. A loutish song, very much needed at this point! Loaded 44 jump up next and slap out one of their best songs, namely 'Get Ready'. This one begins with the front lass hollering and demanding attention before jumping in line with the tasty riffery that moves from verse to chorus with rock buttered ease. All sections of the song are firm and robust, etched with snagging hooks and drawing in the noggin of noise with ease. We change tack with Root Systems obvious but still sage advice of 'Stop Fighting Each Other' a song the world over should take heed of and instead of indulging in combat they would be well advised to shake off their stress and insecurities and have a good old jig to this uncomplicated but invigorating tune. Easily put together, skanked up and provided with power thrusts when necessary and full of balls out gumption not to be denied. I love this one, it is an effortless dance-inducing delight.
Broken 3 Ways enter the fray next, 'Free To A Degree', is a brassed up and polished new skank vibration that has that strain of sound so often found in nooks and crannies the whole scene over. I have quite an extensive skanky collection, primarily thanks to Do The Dog Records, and this is right up that street. Ska with a high animation level and a leaning to change route whenever the mood arises. Orthodox in some ways, spontaneous and unformulated in others - if this is your thing then fuckin' enjoy! Puked up next is 'Question Time' by a band called Vomit. The song is apparently about that Dickie Bow wearing cantankerous git Robin Day, a man who took no prisoners and shot down many ego's and snorted like a good un'. The song stays within its own limiting jacket and the band do not stretch themselves here but do they really need to. The CD is ready for some bog brush punk and this is what you get. Good plodding guitars, stabilising sticks and a sewer-stained gob - this is just what the insane Doctor ordered for many - those ruddy rampant perverts!
Time for some high end quality from a band I have done my bit with, hold in high regard and have seen flutter off on to bigger (but no better - I will always defend my DIY roots) things. Headsticks ooze class, are set to please the masses and produce quality tinkle after quality tinkle with consummate ease. I have gushed over 'Paper Flowers' before, I need not do so again but I will tell you this - the song is a behemoth, a work of acoustic art and it is a stand out moment - ooh me dribbling willy, I best stop there. Next and a band that has never been my thing, namely the ever popular Peter and the Test Tube Babies. The karsi based insensitive humour they are known for is no bad thing and here is brandished via a shit-stained sonic brush off known as 'Never Made It'. A tale of a follow-through, an unplanned shitty arse, a rectal faux pas of the foulest order. It has the distinct strains of the band and that over-forced gob work and shimmery string play all point to another Test-Tubian bout of madness. It is what it is, fans will fuckin' love whereas I can take it or leave it.
Into the back stretch, Reject Renegades offer up a love song (allegedly) and smooth their way in before opening up and showcasing their straight-ahead 'Fun While It Lasted'. A bitter twist of lemon sucking fruitiness that moves well and strikes me as a tongue-in-cheek tickler that has a consistent melody that keeps it safe but still appeals and gets itself worked up in glorious style. Kid Clumsey turn things down a nastier back alley with their chuff churning 'Pig's Bottom', a grinding tune with a very malevolent sable edge that cuts through to the core and clatters the nucleus. Piston-like, tortuous and ranting - it is a good curve-ball thrown into a CD with many flavours. The snarl is appreciated.
The quality of Nine Bullets is welcomed next with their plucky fucky bounce of 'Skank' a well delivered piece that has a double-she-delivery atop a pulsing underbeat liable to get you jigging with easy joy. No fluster here, no sinister sub-text - just a homage to a fine source of sonic escapism and done with sweet simplicity. Healthy Junkies take over from the bopping delight and billow black sheets of satin sound in an attempt to sex up the existing scenario and give their song of 'Nice n Sleazy' an erotic magnetism. It moves with seductive grace, piles on the atmospherics and whispers into your lugs with hypnotic desires - once again it moves the CD in a different direction and when the song becomes more passionate we are duly won over.
The last 3, the cretinism of Hung Like Hanratty knows no bounds and this superb sing-a-long classic surely gets each and every crowd joining in with the utter lunacy and manic message sometimes overlooked. The lads are diamonds and this song is a set in stone stunner. 'The Ghost Of Jimmy Saville' dabbles on the precipice of controversy, deliberately smears shit on the walls of pseudo-decency and whilst having a twisted laugh still makes sure the filth of the celebrity is spat on. Tis punk and it treads on toes - I like that! Skaciety pop up next and offer one last brass blow-out with all areas bass led and following the four wire weavings with excited gusto. 'I Don't Know You Anymore' is routine fodder for an articulate scene and here we get the usual high quality. The finishing touch of the CD comes via the slagging scrawl known as 'Hater', a middling closure that sees a slow crawl pick itself up and eventually get things biting. It finalises a CD with much to offer and takes us out with a very bitched up feistiness and dustbin lid rawness. The 'fuck the system' request is routine, I shall say no more.
A great compilation showcasing, what is, one of the best festivals around. I am not a festival fan, they are now overdone, part of a dilution and are just mirroring the commercial state of play which many denounce but let us face it - would love to be part of. Well not me, but even though I remain stout in my belief I can still wave the flag for this quality CD - now go forth and get a copy ye buggers.
PROUD CITY FATHERS - SOMETHING FOR ALL EP
Sometimes a CD will drop through the letter box and I am left clueless. PCF have me floundering and I can give no intro! I may be frustrated by this but the punky awkwardness of the situation is quite titivating and has my spiked attitude pleased. In a quandary I put a request on Facebook for help, I got a response and a nudge too and all became clear - oh me fuckin' noggin. The band is Proud City Fathers, a unit I have reviewed before but who slipped through the mental net which, in truth, isn't surprising as I approach the 1300 CD review stage. After a look back at my ancient scribbles I noted that their previous CD was well taken and had much potential and so I jump in here re-invigorated and ready to roll out the wordage.
The 'Blue Sky' opens, the first beam of solar spiked goodness to dazzle the attentive senses and after a scene setting bout of atmosphere the song bites hard on the bit and sets about creating a solid foundation of gritty music that keeps the formula simple but makes sure it is mightily effective. The chugged chorus gnaws at the listening bone before throwing off the strait-jacket of chordage and flying free with an intrinsically basic chorus holler that shouldn't work, but does. A very secure opening this, airtight, pressured and drilling - I find myself in a position with no complaints and the raw and suggested angst in the weaponry appealing to my ever hungry punk needs. 'Time To Bleed' headpecks with 'Rut'ted affect and drives with direction and throttling intent that really chews on the bone of the eavesdropper. Every ounce of resistance is squeezed out, the pores of the players weep crimson life-blood and the sizzling scenario set is maintained up into the last with a powerful blaze blistering the soul. The band are screwed in here, drilling with cruelty and offering no apology. I like tempestuous tunes, I like punk that is riddled with umbrage and discomforting violence - this is just such an offering.
'Work, Rest, Play' heaves in next and is an uptight song that ascends with frustration at life's injustice and the unfairness of a situation when the shits gain success and those trying to do it right...suffer. A very tetchy and worked up turmoil this that has a back-throb that glows with spite and keeps the angry front lout spirited. From the intensity of the verse comes chorus relief with a semi-terraced, streetpunk release that culminates in a 4 line whip that kind of sums up the foul imbalance in this wanked up system of ours. The fat get fatter, the starved get screwed deeper and the full rotations continue - happy days it seems - blah.
We fuck down with 'Love Is', a solid treatment that tramples over your senses in a robust manner and leaves an aftertaste of simmering frustration. From the strangulating coils of the bass, through the somewhat hesitant verse to the advancing theatre of stated hollers that rise and rise with passionate zeal this song sends out slow and steady tendrils and over a period of playing time gradually squeezes out a somewhat positive response. If I was picking the weakest song of the four on show this would be it but it is still a meaty affair.
For me PCF (Proud City Fathers) deliver a good FPC (Four Punch Combination) that is CPF (Crucial Punk Fodder) for the scene to feed upon. It is a slab of hard-hitting, hermetic acoustica that is not for the faint-hearted or those candy crushed half-wits who like things simple. Good effort chaps, good effort indeed.
IRON BASTARDS - FAST AND DANGEROUS
Iron Bastard sound like a nasty bunch and in fact, are just that. They are a power rock band who go at things with all intention aimed at making your lugholes pour that ruddy life giving fluid. The trio of warmongers hail from Strasbourg and despite being no metalhead or long-haired rocking lout I give this my best shot and call on every ounce of CD reviewing experience to try and nail something akin to the accurate truth (as I see it ya cunts).
The opening triplet of sound is distinctly alarming as it seems borne straight from the murky loins of that famed unit, Motorhead, which in many ways is a compliment and in others is not. I was never taken by the band and find this way out of my usual listening circle and so progress with the review on tenterhooks. What is initially thrown forth is a powerhouse of relentless hard rock with the band determined to pummel the senses with an opening hat-trick of relentless riffery that is escorted by slap happy power sticks and a throat that is certainly 'Lemmified' and doused with a ravaged rawness that gives the whole cacophonic corruption character. The band move with flamboyance, show an adept range of talent that many would murder for and the sonic sword is brandished with incessant passion. The pick of the powerhouses from the opening batch must go to 'The Code Is Red', a thoroughly torrential tirade that moves with massive momentum that sees all weaponry flourished with exacting affect and give a persistent pace injection that heightens the whole experience. It is a draining affair, a composition built to suck your sonic soul dry and if one concentrates too hard the brain is liable to turn to mush and leak from any available orifice! This a beating done in a clean, precise and calculated fashion - enjoy!
From here on inwards the batch of power donated is equally reminiscent of vibes suggested and is an exacting collection of sounds the heavy rocking ruffians from many eras will absolutely lap up. As I seek and explore further there are many points and songs that run with all flags of success waving with hot iron riffery, sub-solo flashlighting and those cigarette burnt vocal strains all thrusting forth with no looking back, no regrets and no inkling of a change in routine. 'The Wise Man' does ease the foot on the gas, walks through heavy sludge and gives one a pseudo-chance to re-invigorate the hammered bonse. Having said this, it isn't long before the band are upping the tempo and flamboyantly exposing their artistry to its full advantage - ruddy flash bastards. Other pinnacles that come are via the foaming and feisty 'Born On The Wrong Side', the slightly varied and highly accomplished 'The Snake In The Sky', a song that has many facets to grasp over many rotations and one that will reveal depths that at first may be overlooked. 'Vintage Riders' signs off this collection and is one to cruise the highways with, full throttle, loaded on the bottle and ready to die. There is a certain rock and roll recklessness about this closing track that kind of emphasises the semi-self destruct abandonment one may have passed by throughout the CD proper. I know a few free-wheeling fucks who would tear up the roads to this - good on em' those long haired louts.
There ya go, an overview of a CD that wallops hard and has its rear end ablaze from A to B and creates one long dense discordance that sticks to one distinct theme. For me variation is lacking, but I am an outsider looking in and striving to be objective - others, in the groove, will vehemently disagree. One thing to note though - there are no slack moments here and this watertight blast has real muscle - watch yer privates people!
SCARS DIVIDE - SONS OF TERMINATOR
2 songs for the masticators of metalcore mush and 2 portions that are rammed to the rafters with noisy nutrients and climactic violent vitamins. Those in need of a serious rocked up health check will be all the better for this brutal fist fuck from Vevey in Switzerland. Don't expect anything less than a downright beating here and if you like things nice and gentle or delivered with apology then you best fuck right of out of here...now!
The first track is sable metallised opera, a classical drama played out and fucked rigid over a testing and tortuous 9 minutes and 36 seconds. Throughout the skies vomit black tears, tears laden with acid, poison and passion. Lightning flashes come, forked and fuck and strike in a spiteful way at each and every weak spot you may have left exposed. The blustery howlers that blast occasionally break and give one respite but the musical cum meteorological kicking given has left too many bruises to forget. Visions of rain-drenched Lovecraftian beasts walking the battered lands in hope of escape come to the fore of the bleeding brain, each one glistening in a blackened light and howling along to the savagery. 'Sons Of Terminator (Parts 1 and 2)' is bulldozing grimness that razes all verdant anticipation and moves through any walls of resistance with elbowing violence. I sign off after a one long slog and come out of it surprisingly...impressed.
The flip fuck that glows with demented drive is slagged down as 'The Venom Of Leviathan' and is another toxic slab of intensity that leaves little room to respire. It is a heavy duty number and already I am feeling overwhelmed - my punk patience is stretched - oops. I am in no way on a downer here though, this is virile violence to stand in awe of and these warmongers of seething sonica certainly apply themselves with focused zeal and hammer out an earthquake of sound that many maniacal headbangers will fuckin' adore. I could rattle on with prosaic wanderings but that would be pointless - you get the drift by now I am quite sure.
2 songs, 2 cloudbursts of downpours of devilish delight. A very generic explosion this that will divide in the extreme and conquer in some small way. It is what it is, I can't see the band changing route anytime soon - and why the hell should they!
THE DARLING BUDS - EVERGREEN
Newport in Wales is where The Darling Buds threaten to blossom! They were formed in 1986 and yet this is their latest release since their last, all of 25 years ago! DJ John Peel gave them the chance to record 3 sessions and yet this Indie pop band never built on the promising foundations laid. Never fear, yesterday has gone, today is now and tomorrow could lead anywhere. On my mitts I have 4 tracks to assess so there is no reason to dilly-dally and dwell on things that might have been.
'Evergreen' is just that, a lasting verdant vibration that sparkles with hygienic, mountain spring freshness and cascades from heavens pure and honest. Those twinkle strings, soft tympanic touches and gorgeous feminine donations of refined, country breezed innocence finalise an opening account that is al fresco acoustica untamed. The whole summery application is sagaciously delivered without feeling too rehearsed and overly plastic and all I can ask anyone to do with this number is to play whilst outside under the clear skies, with a summer zephyr kissing your skin and any cares in the world...banished. Lovely.
'Guess The Good Parts' skin ripples, shines bright and moves with greater fluidity and a more babbling brook direction. The pebble lapping effect and rushing waters have less distinction than the previous effort and the song is a more compressed construction as a result. This doesn't deflect from a wholesome tune that blends the delicate and the authoritatively subdued with a commanding wealth of insight into the bands chosen drift. The more I listen to this the more its tendrils embrace and convince - it is definitely one of those we tag as 'growers', and there ain't nowt wrong with that!
'Complicated' has a freshness, initially operates via a squeak and shove methodology that drops coins of comfort onto your awaiting sonic slot. A pulse prickles the eider-down soft upper layers and helps things move into a chorus that isn't as dramatic as it should be and falls back into the blankets of sound without much effect and leaves one a trifle unaroused. The sheets are gently rippled rather than robustly ruffled and although this is a soft pastel parading I wanted something more determined splashing on the canvas. Not a favourite if I am honest!
'Twenty One Aches' finalises the four on show and is an easy contemplative meander of soothing tonal quality. It has bubble-bath laziness that sees musical steam rise in plumes of scented consideration that is best inhaled deeply and let to swirl around the listening lungs so as to absorb the true life blood of the drift. Whispered and wispy, thoughtful and in no rush whatsoever - expect little, do not delve too deeply and you may just well be rewarded.
The end opinion is of a cute band with a gossamer fragility that suggests callow naiveté but is reinforced with a stout underlay of insightful talent and understated simplicity that really is a craft in itself. This isn't music I would play each and every day but it isn't music I would shy away from or stick the brutal assessing boot into. A fair effort, the first song is a peach, I shall retire on that positive note!
STUPID KARATE - PUNK IS A FREE PRICING CORPSE
Stupid Karate come from Lille - they are stupid, they are noisy and they have committed the crime of asking your Fungalised fiddler for an assessment. I accept, get my ears screwed and come out with a textual toss-off as thus.
'The Devil Rides Out' opens with old computer game sonics that ring a distant bell in this crumbling cranium of mine. 'Barbarian' perhaps - I know not! The song that follows is heaving and perverse and insanely seeking out the black inner nucleus that makes the most depraved tick. Double ended gob fucks penetrate, the guitars brew up a glutinous storm and the sticks thunder crack with seizured spontaneity. The final thrust is clamorous and organised and it takes us out with all powerlights flashing - a good wake up call, not for those with sleep still in their eyes. Grunt, grope, grind - I spill the second overview - it has me leaking blood. 'Embrace My O-Goshi' makes no sense to anyone wishing to observe certain decencies and live a life of cleanliness and moral exactitude. Those who are thrilled by the beauty of disgust will lap this up like a mongrel on leprosy and let the weeping filth flow down their ever needy throats. A power slap, a direct gallop with the musical mares arse belted with vindictive desire. Towards the last few fucked up furlongs a few exhibitionist touches come and then we are thrown off onto the seat of our jodhpurs - ouch!
The next brace and a cover begins, surprisingly 'Pet Sematary', the Ramones classic that I thought would be the last song a group like this would tackle. They grab the bull by the horns though, play one of their most orthodox tunes to date, with a certain clean cut opening verse that harks to US dabblings such as Bad Religion and the likes. The move into the chorus is preceded by a rousing fluster and then we have the sing-a-long treat we have been anticipating. It is delivered with gratifying vibes and I applaud this one like any long term punker would. We close the quartet here with the vampiric advice of 'Stand Out Of My Sunlight'. Tub thumps, downward spiralling guitar drills, desperate edged gob labour and a nagging revolution of wire weaving, A switch out and a chance 'whoa hoa' holler for those intrigued. The song races in, hits an eventual glutinous spot and then crawls out on arthritic knees. Does it deserve a kick up the arse or does it meet your needs? Personally I would have preferred a full on slam out.
I am done, I still think this lot have more in their tank but are well on the right track. Something untrustworthy strikes me here, as though the band may take any inane route and leave me off kilter - I am, at this point, still wondering!