Tuesday

Spectres - Nostalgia

Formed in Vancouver by vocalist and founder Brian Gustavson, SPECTRES is a DIY death-rock outfit that mixes post-punk, the ethic of anarcho-punk, and an incredible knack for writing catchy songs. The band are ready to stun audiences with their 2020 release Nostalgia. Emerging from the DIY Punk underground, SPECTRES wanted to blend the grassroots and independent ethic of anarcho-punk with the anomie and cold, modulated sounds of 1980’s post-punk and death-rock genres. Though the band’s output has matured with time to embrace a wider range of new-wave and shoegaze influences, their ethos remains rooted in DIY punk. The blending of these influences allows for the curious juxtaposition of 80’s influenced pop sensibilities with lyrics that explore the alienation and cynicism of modern life. On the album, Nostalgia, these influences are carried even further to create a wonderfully crafted suite of songs that evoke the primal sounds of Beastmilk with the melody of New Order.

 

Monday

Various - Artoffact Records 2019 Sampler

Welcome to a warm and sunny Monday evening here in darkest Essex. I’ve purchased a number of records and CDs from artists on Artoffact Records in the past year or so, and I’m mightily impressed. While I was aimlessly surfing through Bandcamp I noticed that there were a couple or three, free to download, label samplers. Well, I though, would be rude not to. 

Iceage - Beyondless

The fourth album by Danish punk upstarts Iceage is a study in sonic evolution, from the abrasive chaos of their debut to their more thoughtful 2018 incarnation. Their progression has been impressive, hopefully staving off the divisive nature that comes with changing direction; sharp turns are likely to perturb subsections of fans, but here the rudder was adjusted early enough that long-time admirers might have seen it coming since album two. Over time, space that has been carved out of the song writing has given way to the overall density of the lyrical content, meaning that while the delivery might not be as urgent on Beyondless, it lands with a new degree of clarity. Nevertheless, the album opens with all guns blazing, as "Hurrah" rattles off on people's insatiable, sometimes celebratory, relationship with violence, and does so in a sardonic explosion of gratuity. Leading straight into "Painkiller," the most prominent example of who Iceage are here; it's catchy, it's bombastic, and once it has its hooks in it won't let go, although all of this is still underpinned by Rønnenfelt's signature drawl. The rest of the record plays out with an abundance of dramatic flair -- even if the pacing gradually reduces toward the back half -- riddling the run time with the slow angst of "Catch It," the uneasy cabaret of "Showtime," or the call-and-response-baiting closer "Beyondless." It would be easy to lament the raw energy of previous Iceage records, but if they had continued in that vein they would have risked obscurity by now; instead, they're a band who refuse to stop moving and exploring their sound, emerging every time with a more refined approach to the music. That they can achieve this with integrity should be celebrated, except maybe this time with a bottle of red wine instead of cheap beer.
Liam Martin

Sunday

The Hellacopters - Supershitty To The Max!

The Hellacopters were formed in 1994 by Entombed drummer Nicke Andersson (who sings and plays guitar on this album), Backyard Babies guitarist Dregen, drummer Robert Eriksson (who was a roadie for Entombed) and Nicke Andersson´s childhood friend Kenny Håkansson (bass). The band was initially a hobby-project, but it became obvious that Andersson had acquired a taste for a more garage rock/rock´n´roll music style from playing with The Hellacopters, which probably resulted in the band becoming a full-time act for the members (Dregen would still work with Backyard Babies though) after Andersson left Entombed in 1997.

I wasn´t prepared for "Supershitty to the Max!", the debut full-length studio album by Swedish garage rock act The Hellacopters. It sounds like a filthy, noisy, and energetic hard rock/garage rock mix of MC5, The Stooges, Motörhead and The Ramones, delivered with great conviction. The album features one of the strongest and most "Fuck Yeahh!!!” opening tracks in history in "(Gotta Get Some Action) Now!", which is simply party starter track number one on my party starter playlist. Now this is how you open a rock´n´roll album in style. The quality drops slightly from there, but overall "Supershitty" is a powerful and enjoyable album throughout. 

Saturday

Hyperhead - Metaphasia

When the UK band Gaye Bykers On Acid folded, front man Mary Mary (previously known as Mary Millington, although his real name is Ian Garfield Hoxley) began following a different musical path, working with the experimental industrial collective Pigface, before forming Hyperhead with a long-time friend, American bass player Karl Leiker. Pigface colleagues Martin Atkins (drums, ex-PiL; Killing Joke) and guitarist William Tucker (My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult; Revolting Cocks), along with guitarist Paul Dalloway, contributed to Metaphasia, showcasing an unpredictable hybrid style that drew from hard rock, soul, funk, indie pop and industrial for a diverse and interesting album. Mary, Leiker and Dalloway assembled a touring band with guitarist Oscar, drummer Chin and percussionist Keith, and this line-up recorded the Terminal Fear EP, which actually preceded Metaphasia’s release. Hyperhead established an excellent live reputation, boosted by Keith’s sometimes crazed behaviour on stage, adding to the band’s unpredictable air. Mary went on to work with dance music outfit Apollo 440.

by Rovi.

Innovative Alternative Industrial Rock Album!

Friday

Patricia Morrison - Reflect On This

The Morticia of the punk and goth scene, Patricia Morrison, offers up this 'one and done' solo offering and what a delightful treat it is. Despite not sounding like anything she'd been involved with prior (and why should it?) she presents herself as an assured, accomplished frontwoman in her own right, with well over a decade in the industry under her belt. Neither the punk fury of the Bags or the Gun Club is present, nor the gothic bombast of her time in The Sisters Of Mercy, this has a plaintive, stripped-down twist on post-punk-cum-hard rock. Recorded in 1994, the '80s were over and Patricia looked ahead to re-imagine herself in an almost '90s singer/songwriter context. Why she didn't follow-up with anything else is beyond me because this is proof the woman was gifted.

I’ve played this non-stop while ripping the CD. It's infectious as hell and doesn't deserve its obscurity.

Thursday

Isolated Youth - Warfare

Isolated Youth play that kind of Post Punk we almost forgot about. It’s fragile and beautiful, vulnerable and wild, exactly how it was at the edge of 70s and 80s. From the very first track of the debut work, ‘Warfare’, ‘Oath’ with its emotions, almost ritual monotony, the ghostly world of the old-school Post Punk genre is created, which gains flesh and blood on following ‘Warfare’ as well as Coldwave and ethereal flair and fits very naturally in the release. ‘Safety’ then is closer to the modern perception of the genre chosen by the band, but without loss of general authenticity, while ‘Gold Lane’ has a lot in common with something from the segmented Dark Folk / Neofolk genre. ‘Seasons’ again is changing the main style of the project to the orthodox, vintage, but of current interest. ‘There is yet a reason for us to bloom’ is the debut release of Isolated Youth that illustrates their own words really well. This band has big future in the form we can see on ‘Warfare’, so let’s wish them rational stability.

Wednesday

XC-NN - XC-NN

This Leeds-based band of electro industrial rockers was formed as CNN by ex-Sisters Of Mercy guitarist Tim Bricheno with vocalist/guitarist David Tomlinson and drummer Neill Lambert. They made their debut on 1992’s Hot Wired Monstertrux compilation with ‘Looking Forward To The Day (I Stop Breathing)’, a quirkily upbeat yet lyrically nihilistic song, with a bizarrely borrowed Buddy Holly lyric in the pre-chorus setting out the band’s humorous stall. The Young, Stupid & White EP followed with a publicity campaign encouraging fans to nominate celebrities whom they thought fitted that particular bill, with weekly winners featuring on that week’s advertising. ‘Looking Forward To The Day’ was re-recorded for the Copyright EP with a sampled intro from 2 Unlimited’s ‘No Limits’, bringing legal action from producer Pete Waterman, but the legal muscle of the American news channel CNN proved rather more threatening, enforcing a name change - although the band retained a sense of identity by becoming XC-NN. They finally recruited a bass player in Nick Witherick, having previously played with sampled bass lines as a three-piece, before recording XC-NN. The debut’s diversity and quality surprised many people who regarded XC-NN as nothing more than a frivolous gimmick band, with inventive songs ranging from the pop accessibility of ‘1000 Easy’ to industrial guitar-based blasts. The band’s live performances continued to be exhilarating, but lack of commercial success led to their break-up. Bricheno and Tomlinson formed Tin Star.

Tuesday

New Disco (Bop'tilYouDrop)

Back in the day, when everything seemed a little easier, and life didn’t revolve around mobile phones and their abhorrent apps, I liked to make Compilation Tapes of all my favourite tunes of the day. I would usually rip a tape to order or request and you’d get 90 minutes of New Wave, Post Punk and early Goth. Fast forward to the 21st Century and I had progressed to making CD best of’s and this was my very first attempt. 

Monday

The Datsuns - The Datsuns

Never mind the garage punk, here comes the cock rock revival in the form of New Zealand's Datsuns and their alternately righteous and ridiculous self-titled debut. While the group has been associated with the Strokes, the Hives, and the White Stripes, this isn't exactly accurate -- though the Datsuns are very much a "return to rock," the rock they return to, and how they return to it, is considerably different. While the other bands mix mid-'60s mod and garage rock with late-'70s punk (as well as other influences), the Datsuns re-create the sound of a beer- and weed-fueled Saturday night in 1973, borrowing and blending the revving guitar riffs and choked, macho vocals of Thin Lizzy, Bad Company, .38 Special, and on occasion, the hornier side of Led Zeppelin. Unabashedly heavy and silly at the same time, the band approaches the excesses of '70s rock in a relatively straightforward fashion, as compared to overtly stylized acts like Urge Overkill or Spinal Tap's outright parody. Ultimately, the Datsuns' take may be the most contrived out of all of these since they replicate the details of the music so slavishly. From the phased vocals on "MF From Hell" to the Deep Purple-esque organ that introduces "In Love" to the omnipresent cowbells, The Datsuns provides a nearly exact replica of a generically entertaining, early-'70s hard rock album. At their best, as on the opener, "Sittin' Pretty," and the wonderfully stupid "Harmonic Generator," the Datsuns rise above their influences and produce some undeniably fun rock, but too often the album falls prey to the indulgences that sank the bands who inspired them. In particular, the second half features too many squealing guitars and vocals and not enough memorable hooks. Though their melodic sensibilities desert them by the end of the album, on their debut the Datsuns prove that they can craft vintage-sounding hard rock like no one else. Whether or not that's a good thing is debatable, but The Datsuns does feature more worthwhile songs than some of the band's inspirations managed in an entire career.

Sunday

L7 - L7

A raunchy punk stampede that predated both grunge and girlpower, L7's self-titled debut is proof that chicks can rock just as hard, if not harder, than any guy. A surplus of rockin' punk/metal guitars and driving drums equal 11 tracks to remind yourself that it¹s ok to bang your head, HARD. Released in 1988 and produced by Brett Gurewitz.

Saturday

Siouxsie And The Banshees – Nocturne

 One of the best Post-Punk live albums of all time is most certainly Siouxsie and The Banshees’ Nocturne. Recorded September 30th and October 1st, and released on November 25th, 1983, Nocturne was a double live album and concert video from two amazing sets at Royal Albert Hall in London.

The concerts were two homecoming gigs after the band had performed abroad in Japan, Australia, and Israel, following the release of the “Dear Prudence” single which marked the enlistment of The Cure’s Bob Smith as an official member of the band. Smith had previously been a temporary member replacing John McKay for the remainder of the Join Hands tour in ’79, so this was the Cure singer/guitarist’s second time filling in for an outgoing Banshees guitarist; in this case, the hard to fill shoes of the brilliant John McGeoch.

Along with the televised performance on Rockpalast, Nocturne showcases Siouxsie and The Banshees at their very best.

Friday

Chemlab - Burn Out At The Hydrogen Bar

Chemlab (singer Jared Louche, programmer Dylan Thomas More and a changing cast of supporting musicians) started out as an aggressive, but not overpoweringly so, electro-dance outfit. The band's debut album reveals a group lurching toward tightly controlled sonic pandemonium while still maintaining a firm grip on old-fashioned, blippy, synth riffs and the occasional shred of actual melody. Charming song titles like "Codeine, Glue and You" and "Summer of Hate" will give the faint of heart fair warning; those who don't mind a little aggro-nihilism with their dance beats will know just what to expect. Highlights include the nicely arranged "Neurozone" and the very heavy "Suicide Jag”. The album was produced by Jeff "Critter" Newell and has been considered by critics to be a defining moment within the coldwave genre.

Thursday

Last Rites - Guided By Light

This album was marketed like some Fields of the Nephilim spin-off, since Paul and Nod Wright contribute. The thing is that the main man behind Last Rites is Alexander Wright (a third, yet unknown brother?). Anyhow, Nod has actually produced it and Paul plays the guitar, so they have a big part here as well.

The guitar sound is different to Fields, yet the same, at least to some degree. In songs like "Full Circle" and "Race a Train", it's swinging in typical Paul Wright manner. The guitars sound heavier than they use to be, but very nice indeed. Regarding the capability of the mysterious Alexander Wright, I establish that he has a good voice and obviously, he has succeeded with this dark guitar-based project. Now, it seems even weirder that the Fields guys recruited Andy Delany for Rubicon.

There aren't any bad tracks on this album, but there are fewer interesting ones. This is something else, something different and not that gothic.

 

 

Wednesday

She Past Away - Narin Yalnızlık

The Turkish darkwavers She Past Away are back in 2015 with their second longplayer Narin Yalnızlık! No insider tip any more, the now almost eleven year old debut Belirdi Gece made a lot of people paint the dance-floor black all over Europe and now these twelve people are anxiously waiting to lay their hands on Narin Yalnızlık.


 

Tuesday

Tones On Tail - Night Music

With the admonition “don’t rock — wobble,” the 72-minute Night Music CD compiles sixteen previously released Tones on Tails items, including most of ‘Pop’, half of Tones on Tail, the wonderfully bent dance kineticism of “Go!” and a horrible, bootleg-quality live “Heartbreak Hotel.” 


 

Monday

Feeder - Polythene

London trio Feeder's debut, Polythene, was released in 1997 in the wake of grunge and Brit rock and trod much of the same ground as their contemporaries. However, Feeder never really stakes out their own sound, instead resembling other popular acts of the period like Smashing Pumpkins. 


Sunday

NFD - Dead Pool Rising

This is big arsed rock and roll with a 1985-goth-rock standard bolted on – The album doesn’t disappoint, bridging the sounds of the main gothic rock sound with latter day darkwave / death metal – the band have all the right credentials and pedigrees to pull this off too.
 

 

Saturday

Echo And The Bunnymen - John Peel Session 1980

 

Echo And The Bunnymen - BBC Radio Peel Session, 12th November 1980 (TB FM 2448 Master)

The Leopards - They Tried Staying Calm

 

Jonder posted a link to this wee thing. Here's an underrated album, "They Tried Staying Calm" by The Leopards (1997, Creeping Bent) with a few bonus tracks. RLYL The Cramps, Screaming Blue Messiahs, and a bit of glam.