Does anybody know??

The mighty Spears from Florida made my summer last year.  Their first LP, “Shove” was hardly off my ipod.  Every track was a stormer, and the combination of sleazy punk riffing and Chris Barrows’ tremendous voice, both pissed and whiny at the same time, was unbeatable.

So I have discovered that the band have, as promised, recorded tracks for a new album [although I don’t know whether the rumoured Gregg Ginn cameo happened]; and below is one of them.  The band’s Facebook page reveals that the tracks are all locked up and playfully teases that they ‘may never be released’.

Below, an advert for a show states:

“The spears are doing our final show on saturday jan 19 at mojos records and books on fowler ave in tampa (mojos is in the plaza just east of university sq mall). There are 7 really good bands and it is FREE. The spears play around 9 pm”

So can anybody wise me up?  Have the band split?  I know that there are various ‘other’ projects going on, most notably Down by Law.

Leave me a comment if you’re any the wiser.

Sequoia: Doom it Up!

Another big rage last summer was Poland’s Major Kong.  Providing us with an immense dose of slow doom, they ticked mine and DeHud’s palates with the superb ‘Doom for the Black Sun’ release.

Well, the Polish doom scene shows no signs of abating, and while Rip It Up napped, they sneaked out a new track back in February entitled ‘Sequoia’.  Building on their previous melodic outing, they have delved even deeper into the dark pit this time, with the track oozing a stoned, confused mix of guitars and fuzzed up bass, all held together by Bonham-esque drums.  The emphasis this time around seems to be less on heaviness and more ‘rock’ orientated, [it even goes off on a Hawkwind-esque reverie at about 8 minutes] but it’s a great track for sure and hopefully serves as a portent of exciting new material to come.

Check this out:

 

Conan / Bongripper Split

Last year we made great play about Liverpool doom merchants Conan, with their brand of super-downtuned slow doom.  And just as I thought they couldn’t possibly top their last efforts, they’ve just released a split ep with Chicago’s Bongripper on Lion’s Roar records, which showcases a new 16 minute behemoth, the subtly entitled ‘Beheaded’.

A drummed intro gradually gets overlaid with the deep, warm hum of their vintage valve amps.  This continues for a couple of minutes until the super low tuned riff kicks in, and it pretty much stays like that for the duration.  That is Conan’s trick – they simply use the riff to bludgeon you into submission, and somehow they make art using the most basic ingredients.

This is a corking track and a progression as well for the band.

In Praise of The Pink Flag

Firstly, awfully sorry for the lapse in posting! I’ve been very busy with work and general life stuff, and after my summer hiatus, I never really got going again – but then again the initial 2 to 3 posts a day work rate was never going to last.  And, apology over with, I want to talk about a band who have become one of my favorites over the years.

Wire.

Now, before you accuse me of indulging myself in a post-Christmas nostalgia-fest, the London-based art punks have actually been hard at it, even recently.  A new LP, ‘Change Becomes Us‘, is due for release in March 2013.  Messrs Newman, Lewis and Grey [minus Mr Gilbert] have, it seems, put together a new album at last – their first since 2010’s ‘Red Barked Tree’.

Going right back to the truly prehistoric period of 1977, when it seemed that every man jack was about to release a single or album riding on the crest of the previous year’s Punk cultural tsunami, Wire put out the truly confounding – and outstanding – ‘Pink Flag’.  The title alone – was it a play on the iconography of the still-taboo gay community? – stood out like a sore…..thumb.  The content – kicked off with the still awesome ‘Reuters’ – took you on a journey you simply didn’t expect.  Solid, punk-influenced [yet, tantalisingly still not really punk] foundations gave way to music that betrayed a million bedroom-based influences; everything from Beefheart to Can, meshed together with the headiness of the art punk excitement of the time.  Whatever the fuck ‘art punk’ means.

The thing that had me coming back again – ‘Object 47’, ‘Red Barked Tree’ and the part live epic ‘Send’ – was the sheer schizophrenic pinballing that these three skinny guys seemed to perform.  One minute terrace chanting [1-2-X-U – covered by amongst others Serious Drinking and Minor Threat], the next crafting soothing, yet spikily worded ballads [Bad Worn Thing], the band seemed to be playing with the idea of conventional music like a cat with a toy mouse.  Ever creative, my sense of excitement at novelty keeps me hooked.

Often derided for being Stone Roses-like in the gaps between their output, they were in fact prolific – although their busts of creativity seemed to last about four albums before they took a well earned 10-year break each time.  And now they’re back – and I’m looking forward to seeing these three balding, grey haired survivors top their last effort.  Confounding expectations, they seem to become more nimble and playful each time.  Here’s to Wire, and 2013.

As the Wright brothers correctly point out, Old is The New Young!

Unkind – Harhakuvat

Back in August, when most of us were trying to get a bit of sunshine on our backs and find a long enough break in the rain to fire up the barbie, Finland was the setting for the unleashing of this furious slab of prime D-Beat from Unkind.  I know that it’s always tempting to refer to the dark/cold/extreme northern-ness of Scandinavia when reviewing a release from bands hailing from this region, but in this case, you can’t draw any other conclusions.  ‘Harhakuvat’ is a collection of despair and rage, with few let ups.

A five piece band, this eight track ep is their fifth release since 2005, and although there is an obvious influence of Discharge simply by virtue of this being classified as ‘D-Beat’, the influences on show here range from metal to downtuned all out punk that brings to mind the hellish despair of Wolfbrigade’s excellent ‘Damned’ outing earlier in the year.  Slow, metallic passages give way to all out headlong rushes into a snowdrift of angry punk.  I dunno if it’s something in the water up there, or if it’s the long periods of night time and the price of a beer [ok, that’s enough cliches thanks…..Finland Tourist Board] but something has got under these boys’ skin and they have produced a powerful, hard hitting slab of dark punk rock.  Have a bad day and then play this loud!

Chinese Demography

As well as boasting the wonderful Manges, Italy has also been responsible for producing the irrepressible Teenage Gluesniffers, who have recently issued a new 7 track EP, which is entitled in a playful swipe at the awful Guns & Roses comeback effort of a few years ago.  Describing themselves as a punk rock band from Milan, Italy, the band formed in May 2006 and since then has played nearly 200 shows touring Italy and Europe.

Musically, Teenage Gluesniffers sit firmly in the pop punk bracket, and while no new ground is broken, they make a catchy as hell racket which is displayed amply on this record, along with comedy Chinese accents.  Short, punchy songs [Everytime is my fave] leave no room for self indulgence, and you can’t really help but crack a smile.  Lyrics describing lost loves and youthful frustration are what you’d expect, but the songs are well constructed enough to make this a varied listen.  Check it out, and while you’re at it, listen to their other releases too.  Their slightly rawer 2009 album, ‘Nervous Breakdown‘ cocks a snook at Lookout bands of the early 90s, which is never a bad thing.

Remember Raped Teenagers????  Not the Jimmy Saville victims, but the Swedish HC band? Neither do I really, so it’s a delight to stumble upon this fabulous E.P. from former members of Raped Teenagers now in TV Eye, released from Just 4 Fun records in Sweden – 10 snapping, breakneck choppy singalong punk tunes guaranteed to raise your spirits.

Their 1st album from 2009 is great aswell – 30 Tracks! :

Learning to Crawl

Waaaay back in May this year, when we were still enjoying torrential rain of Biblical proportions, I posted about a band I had picked up on called Crawl, who hailed from Douglasville, Georgia.  At the time, I described their initial outings – little more than demos posted on Soundcloud – thus:

“A recent discovery has been a band that hails from Douglasville, Georgia and who go by the name of Crawl.  Only formed this spring, the band comprises Eric Crowe on guitar[of FULCI and ex-Social Infestation, Molehill & Hog Mountin], John Holloway on bass [Of Legend] and Tommy Butler on drums. This three-piece like to play heavy, downtuned southern rock with gusto.  Not yet in possession of any releases, you’ll have to check out these two tracks from Soundcloud and make your own mind up, but early signs sound promising.”

Well, they’ve now got their proverbial shit together and produced a really cracking 4 track ep, which is so sleazy and dirty it makes you afraid to touch the speakers.  The line up for this release is: Tommy Butler – Drums , Eric Crowe – Guitar & Vocals , Brad Claborn – Guitar, Bass.

In case you don’t know, Crawl delight in getting soaked in southern bluesy sludge – think Weedeater having a whiskey and crack evening with Tony Iommi and you’re not even close!  Slow and enjoyably fast in the same song, they have really come together on this release, a notable progression since their initial forays.  My feet were tapping away as I listened to this on the Mac, and I can only imagine how great this sounds in a smoky, sleazy club with the bass cabs pushing the fetid air right into your chest!

This eponymous slab of doom is buzzing with low frequency mischief and it shoots right up to the higher reaches of Rip It Up’s releases of the year.  There are, it has to be said, far too many bands out there unwilling to get a bit of dirt under their fingernails, and frankly this is the aural equivalent of an evening of the strongest pale ale and the hottest curry you can imagine – searingly good stuff, boys.  Play this loud, right now!

 

 

I’m dismayed to see that my go-to punk podcast, Via the-a-hole, has disappeared, well , up it’s own a-hole – it seems for good, after 80 mighty episodes. I loved it’s no-talking, no-nonsense, delightfully scattergun approach, creating a 20 minute monthly punk jukebox from a truly diverse collection – epitomised by the face smashingly stunning final track…: