A round up of the latest punk releases
PUNK ROUND-UP (Oct 2012) – TRASH TALK – THE CASUALTIES – THE CUT-UPS – PUNK GOES POP 5
Season of Mist /
CD LP DL
Much loved and/or much maligned, the Casualties (born 1990, this is their ninth studio album to date) are basically an American tribute-to the Sploited / GeeBeeAitchânt English Dogzzz and their brand of verymetalpunkrock. So, youâre gonna either love âem or hate âem, (whilst I try and sit on the fence and get confortable). They are great at-what-they-do on the basis of this, which is probably their best sounding album production-wise and is pretty good in a kind of streetpunk-rock no-effort-required easy-listening kinda way. There are some solid, pummelling tunes and great big Whoa-oh-oh backing vocals. Itâs definitely good to see a nod to the persecuted South East Asian Rebels and the song Morality Police even sounds so raging that it brings to mind anarcho-punk brand-leaders Conflict. Life On The Line is probably the best song GBH never wrote and the sung-in-Spanish has a guitar hook so sharp you could fire it out of a harpoon-gun.
As an aside; My mate Ben is a fan of relentless angry punk like this, which belies his extremely polite, laidback and gentle nature. He is the-way-he-is though because this is how he externalises his anger; listening to and playing music like this; âIf I didnât Iâd be a fuckinâ psycho-killer mateâ he told me. So remember â keeping the Casualties in business may well be preventing real casualties on the streets!
A lot of people seem to like Trash Talk, Sacramento, California hardcore dope-fiend skate-punks whoâve been around since 2005. The NME, Rolling Stone and the Guardian have all praised them. Theyâve toured with LTW favourites OFF! and played with the best new-punks-on-the-block in-my opinion Cerebral Ballzy.
Trash Talk seem to pretty much talk the talk and walk the walk but somehow they havenât convinced me (yet). Their music is brutal; hard & fast & angry; the vocals are throat-shredingly raw/roar. What they lack in my eyes are humour, personality and really memorable songs. They are sheer, cold, disciplined, muscular, text-book hardest of the hard-core. Their machismo and lack of any vulnerability turns me off. And now theyâve signed to and are working with Odd Future, the label of the bizarre/creative/offensive hip-hop horrorcore collective of the same name, featuring Tyler the Creator, who is some kind of fucked-up genius. The one track on this album that features Tyler and Hodgy Beats does stand-out as a collaboration that really does work and I wouldnât mind betting that there will be a full on soundclash album to follow featuring both bands buzzing off each others energy. In the meantime, this is Trash Talk at the best, however it just aint good enough for me and doesnât live up to the (constant) Black Flag comparisons. The lyrics about incitement to riot, donât ring true enough, when their raison dâetre seems to be to get wasted, get noticed and get (in)famous.
Great band name. Expected some retro-punk sleaze or garage rock trash but surprised to discover that this is the third album by an Exeter band on the Household Name label, featuring ex-members of Annalise (Boss Tuneage artistes who I remember being âOkâ when I saw then a decade back or more.). They describe themselves as punkrock (all one word lower case) but are a triffle lightweight when compared to the Casualties and Trash Talk. Billy Bragg is a distinct influence songwise & vocally but musically its pretty much 1978/9-era power-pop-punk agit-prop-protest with a touch of Clash, Newtown Neurotics, the anarcho-libetarian sound of Zounds, the fraggle-pop of the Mega City Four, the lovelorn pop of Teenage Fanclub and a smidgeon of Dagnasty. What an old mate (with a narrow view of what punk should be) wouldâve dismissed as a âstudent bandâ.
There is that element of worthiness and preachiness about the Cut-Ups which can get a bit annoying, probably just a personal thing as Iâm known for my dislike of Billy Bragg, but a couple of guitar parts/chord sequences remind me of the Manic Street Preachers (of all people). Itâs kinda like I donât want to like the Cut-Ups but canât help myself! Exeter â the opener, after a few listens does reveal itself to be a great song. The lyrics to The Gold War âCome friendly bombs, and never land on anyoneâ I like too, and the personal politics of Building Bridgesâ does have a classic pay-off line â Iâve cancelled you as signatory â.
The fact that the Cut-Ups do make efforts to stretch the self-imposed boundaries of punk is cool, particularly when it manifests itself in the brass, strings and organ that adorn the songs, choruses, a distinctive vocal and lyrics with a bit of intelligence. Occaisonal vocalist Pippa adds a bit of variety with her Amelia Fletcher meets Kirsty MacColl style vocals â although âAnother Bad Moodâ is really only fit for a twee/C86 compilation tape.
Overall though a really enjoyable album of mature, thoughtful protest-stroke-personal/political punk tunes.
Punk (Rock) cover versions have a long, illustrious and glorious history. The Damned sped-up & anhilated Help, the Pistols turned love into hate on Whatcha Gonna Do About It? The Clash introdued reggae to the Blank Generations by covering Police & Thieves. Injecting the speed and energy of punk into old-songs or pop-songs can be a wonderful thing indeedâ¦.
First band I ever saw at a RAR festival in the late 70âs was a Southampton group called K-Oz playing a disastrous unhinged version of Wild Thing with added swearing.
Billy Childish does great punkkovers and generally improves the songs tenfold. Even the Oizone compilation An Indifferent Beat http://damagedgoods.greedbag.com/oizone/ is a work of near-genius, where Pop Music gets a righteous kickingâ¦.
This though, the fifth volume of American bands covering contemporary pop songs by the likes of Beiber, Rhianna, Coldplay and Kanye is utter, utter rubbish. Cak by any other name. Worthless, bland, dull, rubbish. (I was gonna say trash, but that would make it sound cool and Dollsy.) You can hardly tell any difference between the cover and the original as the slick production, autotuned vocal, & disco-beat are the same its just the chunky GuitarHeroTM style guitar is a bit higher in the mix, and the vocal sometimes a bit more growly & scarey. Avoid this album like the plague. I would apologise to Fearless for the thirty seconds they sent sending me this album but apparently âIn the twelve years since it’s launch, the Punk Goes… series has gone to sell over 800,000 albums and 4 million singles in just over a decade.â So I doubt very much theyâll be bothered by just one slaggingâ¦.but if I can lose them just one customer then the pain of listening to this SHITE has all been worthwhile.