Saturday, 30 May 2020

Duncan Reid And The Big Heads - To Live Or Live Not (Guest Review By Mike Patton)



  Vista Blue (https://www.facebook.com/wearevistablue/) frontman Mike Patton is certainly no stranger to this blog and if anyone should recognise a great power pop/pop punk tune when he hears it it's him so when I noticed him praising a new song he'd stumbled across I quickly pounced and asked him to share his thoughts with you guys.

  Cheers Mike...

  Duncan Reid is an original member of The Boys, so you'd expect to hear good songs from his current project, Duncan Reid and the Big Heads. But it goes even further than that. The band's new album, Don't Blame Yourself, is a collection of hooky songs that allows the pop in their pop punk to really shine.

https://duncanreidandthebigheads.bandcamp.com/album/dont-blame-yourself

The single "To Live or Live Not" is a power pop gem. It's starts simply enough, following a quick intro with a palm-muted verse and a catchy riff. But then some jangly guitars enter before the chorus explodes into wonderful three-part harmony. The middle of the song breaks down, as the band "oohs" over some synth and kick drum, but the chorus comes right back again, taking us to the end of the song. It's a fast 3:25, and you'll be playing it again as soon as it's over.

This is my introduction to this band, which has the two main ingredients that I look for in power pop and pop punk: melody and harmony. In this case, the production is slick, the melody is super catchy, and the harmonies are tight.

As a bonus, the video is very fun as well, showing the band members doing their best to have fun during the current quarantine we're all experiencing. There are shots on back patios, solo performances on park benches, and even toilet paper rolls transformed into drums. And if you weren't tapping your toes to the song already, you'll definitely be dancing along when you see the energy these guys and girls have, even while social distancing.

Thanks to Mick for allowing me to share my thoughts here, and thanks to Duncan Reid and the Big Heads for writing a killer song and album. You've got a new fan!


This is To Live Or Live Not...

Gonna rent my house out to a stranger
Gonna let them treat it like their own
Gonna move abroad and try some danger
Gonna try a taste of the unknown

I’ve spent my whole life being safe and steady
Now it's time to roll the dice

To live or live not
That is the question
To Love or love not
Before my times up
To lose the whole plot
Let's skip confession
To Sin or sin not
I've made my mind up

Gonna catch the first plane to Caracas
Why go somewhere that’s far too safe
Gonna find a girl who plays maracas
Gonna ask her out with all her mates

And we'll go dancing till the sun comes up
Sleep all day then start again

To live or live not
Start the ignition
To give all I've got
Let's seize the day
Let's stop the rot
C-carpe diem
To Dare or dare not
That's what I say

Friday, 29 May 2020

Slow Faction - 1945 (demo)

 

  If you love '77 influenced London punks Slow Faction (https://www.facebook.com/slow.faction/) as much as I do then you're in for a real treat today. Not only have they just shared with us the demo of a very impressive brand new song, they've also decided to celebrate their 7 years together by compiling a 20 song retrospective of some of the choicest cuts from their excellent back catalogue. 20 extremely well written political punk classics all for the very reasonable price of... name your price! You'll be daft not to take them up on the offer.

  The album contains all their best known should have been hits (A Little England, Woody Guthrie, Antifascist, The Breitbart Boys etc) alongside lesser well known but equally as great tracks such as 59 minutes past 11 and Live In Fear. If it wasn't a comp it'd probably already have secured a place as my album of the year.

  You can get it, the new demo and everything else they've released here :   https://slowfaction.bandcamp.com/

  Vocalist and song writer John Youens had this to say;

  Thought this whole lockdown thing is a good opportunity to take stock of certain things... We've had a brilliant 7 years since this incarnation of Slow Faction got together and when we emerge from the current situation and get back to playing, writing and recording, we'll be doing so with Gianfranco on drums, who joined us just before Christmas 2019.

  The demo is a withering put down of US foreign policy and asks why a country that claims to stand for peace is always waging war. I often get a little bit over enthusiastic about John's song writing skills but let's be honest, he's the best out there at the moment.

  This is 1945...

Harry was the one who had a great big bomb
He said he only dropped it so the war was won
Then he and General Ike, they simply carried on
Fighting in Korea, destabilise Iran
Feverish nights after Cold War days
So who's going to win the rearmament race?
Military complex, it's so industrial
Warnings ignored because it's profitable

Then came Johnny K, he had some funny ways
So the CIA made the problem go away
Lyndon was their man, he followed all their plans
He sent the boys to die out in Vietnam
Dicky was so tricky, always acting shifty
As he sought to undermine poor Allende down in Chile
Operation Charlie, Argentina
Sponsored regime change in Central America

Must it always stay the same?
Are you never going to change?
You say you stand for peace
Yet you're always waging war

You're killing all the time
So don't deny it
Cos your words don't mean a thing
Since 1945
You're killing all the time
So can't you see it?
Your guns have never brought peace
Since 1945

Ronnie didn't like his neighbours in the south
So he sent his advisors to flush them all out
Daniel Ortega, Nicaragua
Washington Bullets and the Sandinistas
The Star War years and SDI
Strategic defence to win the war up in the sky
Daddy George left it unfinished in Iraq
But don't worry Saddam, they'll soon be coming back...

Little Georgie came and went so much further
Doubling up the sins and the failings of his father
Obama thought himself so much better than the rest
But he bloodied his hands for US interests
Then here comes Donny, what a brilliant man
He's so brave to starve the poorest in Iran
He stands with Israel and Saudi Arabia
They can do what they want as they're Friends of America



Thursday, 28 May 2020

Killed By Florida - My Vote Counts



  Killed By Florida (https://www.facebook.com/killedbyflorida/) are an energetic thrash punk 5 piece from West Palm Beach who were originally called Causeway Cannibal and who released a debut Self Titled album in 2017. They line up with Tard Nugent (Guitar), Dave Lee Tard (Vocals), Ricky Retardo (Bass), Leotardo DeCrapo (Drums) and Justard Timberfuck (Guitar) although I have my suspicions as to whether their mothers actually christened them with those names!

  Mixing speed, power and anger, they've recently released a sophomore album called Die Among Us and it's taking me back to the era when bands like the Dead Kennedys were ripping the establishment a new arsehole. Targets of their ire include homophobic Christians... those born with a silver spoon in their mouths... flag waving, gun toting, beer guzzling, God bothering assholes... and those that turn a blind eye to the creeping rise of the far right. The album is a blast and it's available on cd and digitally here : https://killedbyflorida.bandcamp.com/album/die-among-us

  This track is topical given as we're only a few months away from the US elections and the choice for voters seems to be hardly inspiring. They have a choice to vote for the lesser of two evils in the knowledge that not much is likely to change. It's called My Vote Counts...

Two party system rigged from the start
Two separate chambers of the same black heart
Two different ways to go get fucked
Two different options shoved down your throat
My vote counts !
You have no voice
Your outcome is chosen
You have no choice
Were winning is losing
You have no
dreams worth pursuing
Your Living a lie
Life is an illusion
The American Dream sold
to the highest bidder
You are a commodity
Prepare for nuclear winter
You are the Cattle
led to the slaughter
You are not a person
You are a number
Nothing will change
this upcoming November
Nothing will change
not now not ever
My vote counts


Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Yammerer - Life in the New Build


 (photo : Kevin Barrett)

  Based in Liverpool, Yammerer are a post punk band featuring Jason Corbett (vocals), Garvin Cosgrove (guitar), Steve Dee (guitar), Conor Simpson (bass) and Jason Dugdale (drums). They released their debut ep, Reality Escape Resort, last year on Chester label Restless Bear (https://restlessbear.bandcamp.com/album/reality-escape-resort-e-p) and it earned them plenty of gushing reviews and comparisons with the likes of The Fall, Can, Gang Of Four, Wire, Minutemen...

  They also released a record store day cassette which has recently been added to Bandcamp as a name your price download. Titled Donnay Death Housing Cryssis it features a couple of tracks that are both rambling and hypnotic. You can find it here :   https://restlessbear.bandcamp.com/album/donnay-death-housing-cryssis

  50HB is a 5 minute psychedelic trip that sees Corbett shouting "burn it to the ground" as the music weaves and warps it's way around him. The song you'll find below is a little more spiky with some great guitar meanderings but it's still dominated by the in your face vocals. It's called Life In The New Build...

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

SCIMMIA - Uptight



  I've been meaning to post this for a while now but it seems to have done a bit of shuffling down the "to do" list. It's a song that you'll find on a Demo by a band from Lyon called SCIMMIA (which seems to be the Italian name for a large monkey with little or no tail). They line up with Tom on vocals, Skub (guitar), Matteo (bass) and Thomas (drums) and as a knowledgeable punk enthusiast called Clint Parsons comments, they're the most British sounding French band he's heard!

  There's 8 tracks on the Demo, I noticed in a recent interview another excellent French band Litige described them as pure punk rock and whilst I certainly wouldn't disagree I'm also picking up a strong post-punk vibe. They sound extremely promising and I look forward to hearing more. You can snap up the Demo as a name your price download here : https://scimmia.bandcamp.com/album/demo

  This is the opening track, a spoken word intro leads into an bruising attack of angular guitars, pounding drum and choppy vocals. I'm predicting a place in the Just Some Punk Songs' end of year chart. It's called Uptight...

Monday, 25 May 2020

The Sewer Rats - I Don't Wanna Go To The Dentist No More

 

  I don't care for the rest of the year This is what I wanna do The sun is out The feelings right It's all up to you....

  Lyrics from a rather fine 1980 hit single by The Barracudas which I'm borrowing to announce that top European pop punk label Monster Zero are bringing a little sunshine into our lives with 3 new releases. There's Battlestar Galactica which is a new album by Italian veterans Riccobellis ("14 tracks with classic themes like lost loves, addiction, science-fiction, horror, anxiety and more stuff that Ramones would also sing about") and a fun split album which features 6 tracks each from Austrian pairing Dorkatron and 7 Years Bad Luck. Plus there's the album I'm highlighting below.

  The Sewer Rats hail from Cologne, sport 50's haircuts, watch 80's movies and play 90's style punk rock. 12 catchy tunes which having been produced by Brown Barcella (Apers, Manges, Peawees) and mastered by Jason Livermore at The Blasting Room (Descendents, Teenage Bottlerocket, NOFX) were always going to sound great but when played by a band this talented are guaranteed to get the pop punk fraternity talking.

  The line up is Chris Gin, Schorni Walker, Dom Aqua and Archi Appleyard, their influences include Lillingtons, Face to Face, Stray Cats, Rancid, Social Distortion, The Clash, Hank Williams, Methadones etc and the buzzword is FUN! The album is titled Magic Summer and it features tracks about wanting more than the shitty 9-5 lifestyle, knowing your girl is having fun at the punk festival whilst you're all alone and sad and feeling nostalgic for the blood, sweat and beers of the good old days. You can get the album on ltd edition vinyl and cd here   https://monsterzerorecords.com/products/sewer-rats-the-magic-summer

  and all Monster Zero releases are streaming here :   https://monsterzerorecords.bandcamp.com/album/magic-summer

  With a title straight out of the Ramones songbook, this is  I Don't Wanna Go To The Dentist No More...

Sunday, 24 May 2020

The Биты - Hey I Gonna Be Your Girl (The Donnas cover)



  Hey! Ho!, do you like The Donnas? Ukraine's top Ramonescore band The Биты (The Bity) certainly do. Down the years their lengthy back catalogue has expanded to include tribute albums to many of their favourite artists (Ramones, Misfits, Queers, Beach Boys, Riverdales, Screeching Weasel, Mr T Experience etc). This week, Palo Alto's finest all girl rock n rollers were added to that list.

  The Donnas Tribute features 10 tracks that appeared on the 1998 re release of The Donnas debut studio album. Classics like Teenage Runaway, I Wanna Be A Unabomber and their cover of Da Doo Ron Ron receive loving makeovers, the male vocals and Ramones style backing distinguishing them from the originals. The album's available as a name your price download here :   https://bitytheband.bandcamp.com/album/the-donnas-tribute-2

  This is the opening track, Hey I Gonna Be Your Girl...

Hey hey hey
Hey hey hey
Hey hey hey
Hey hey hey
Hey, pretty boy, what's your name?
You're just making me go insane.
I see you sitting there--don't know what to do
'Cause I just wanna french kiss you!
Hey, I'm gonna be your girl
Hey, I'm gonna be your girl
Hey, I'm gonna be your girl
And are you gonna be my guy?
And are you gonna be my guy?
Wednesday night and we're at paco's
Teaching all of them to pogo.
I see you sitting there--don't know what to do
'Cause everytime I see you I go cuckoo
Hey, I'm gonna be your girl
Hey, I'm gonna be your girl
Hey, I'm gonna be your girl
And are you gonna be my guy?
And are you gonna be my guy?
Come on, baby, rab with me
You're the best dressed in pali
You can make me go go go
Let's go to my room and blow!
Hey hey hey
Hey hey hey
Hey