A record shop with taste!*
It’s been a long year, often not in a good way, and I’ve not been around here that much. I’m hoping that’s going to change in 2014, but first here’s a round up of some stuff I’ve been listening to in 2013.
THE RESTARTS – SICKNESS OF THE MIND (album)
2013 turned out to be quite a good year for albums to my jaded ears. The Restarts started out in Hackney in the mid-90s and have gone on to become pretty popular around the world. They’ve steadily (not necessarily prolifically) released consistently good stuff and I think this album is their best – no mean feat. They are still playing angry, political hardcore punk, with some rough and ready ska chucked in, although the rough edges have been smoothed just a tad. Subject matter on this album includes the US’s drone bombing campaigns, anti-gay violence in Uganda, Basque independence, and school bullying, so not your typical subjects. There’s also more personal (but just as loud) stuff such as this , MIA
BAD SAM – WORKING CLASS HOLOCAUST
Another great hardcore punk album, this time from Newport based “supergroup” Bad Sam featuring ex-members of Cowoy Killers and Dub War. The music veers a bit close to US style punk/metal crossover for me but ulimately it doesn’t matter due to the distinctive “Welsh Jello Biafra” vocals of Beddis. Memorable song titles include sensitive Thatcher tribute Snake With Tits , Dogs With Dicks, and Bastard Son Of A Teddy Boy, but this is my favourite track Black John Wayne. Playing a venue near you soon (as long as you live in Newport)
KILL PRETTY – DARK HEART (album)
My favourite new discovery of the year, not punk with a capital “P”, although they still use the p-word. An unlikely looking bunch – 3 middle aged men and a bassist who looks young enough to be the guitarist’s son – possibly because he is the guitarist’s son. I would shove them in a post-punk pigeonhole, although it’s hard to pin down who they sound like. They occasionally sound a bit like The Fall doing rockabilly, probably because drummer Mike Leigh was Fall drummer a very long time ago (Fiery Jack,etc) and a certain Craig Scanlon makes guest appearances. Sometimes they go in for pop punk, sometimes it’s ominous sounding droning. They have new material on the way in 2014 – who knows what it will sound like. Here’s the irritatingly catchy single Rob A Bank and (non-album) b-side Raining Blood.
THE MOB – RISE UP (7″)
The Kill Pretty stuff was released by All The Madmen, the Mob’s label, and funnily enough so was this. A lot of punk bands have reformed recently. No matter whether they only ever released one track on their mate’s compilation tape; no matter whether only the original bassist is in the “reformed” line up; no matter whether they’ve completely forgotten what they actually sounded like in the first place. The Mob’s comeback is much more convincing, their first record in 3o years somehow picking up where they left off in 83. Rise Up has the same distinctive sound and restrained power that their best old stuff had, although a promo-vid is a new departure for a band that never even used to have their photo taken.
Back very soon with more toe-tapping tunes.
(*Helps if your lead singer owns a record shop of course!)