Tuesday 29 September 2020

Pavid Vermin - The Beach Boys Never Surfed


   "You know this song: “Let’s go surfin’ now, Everybody’s learning how, Come on and safari with me!” In the early 1960s, the Beach Boys all but invented California rock, propagating an irresistible West Coast teen fantasy: You’d load your car (a classic Woody) with “boards inside” and drive to the beach to lie in the sand, surf, and swim with pretty girls. Life was good."

  "Their early era-defining hits were all about riding the waves—“Surfing is the only life, the only way of for me.” But the Beach Boys didn’t  live the life they sang about. In fact, only one of the five original band members actually surfed, and lead singer Brian kept a healthy distance from the ocean because he was deathly afraid of the water."

  "In a cruel irony, Dennis, the Beach Boys’ drummer and the only brother who actually knew how to surf, died by drowning in 1983."

  It's only been 3 months since Glenn Robinson, aka Pavid Vermin (https://www.facebook.com/pavidvermin/) last featured on here (with a track from a love letter album to his favourite record label https://justsomepunksongs.blogspot.com/2020/06/pavid-vermin-judy-go-home-guest-review.html) but he's back today with the title track of a splendid new ep. Titled The Beach Boys Never Surfed, the ep will be available next month on Jarama 45rpm Records. Limited to 300 copies on sea blue vinyl you can get more details here : https://pavidvermin.bandcamp.com/album/the-beach-boys-never-surfed 

  The title track deserves to be a smash hit but the other 3 songs are also very impressive. Pavid's on top form. Most of Hawthorne, California's finest might not have ridden the waves but they put out some great music. Their influence still lives on. 

  The Beach Boys Never Surfed... 

Monday 28 September 2020

Neon Bone - Surrender to you


  Are you in the mood for something catchy? Maybe along the lines of the infectious bubblegum pop tunes that were mainstays of the singles chart back in the 60's? How about a collision of The Archies and The Ramones, sugar sweet harmonies and super catchy power pop-punk?  Then this one's for you... 

  No strangers to Just Some Punk Songs (first featuring back in 2014 when they were a solo project), Neon Bone (https://www.facebook.com/neonbone/) are the Munster band that formed in 2010 and have grown into one of the catchiest outfits around. They've an impressive back catalogue of releases that'll brighten up the gloomiest of days (check it out... https://neonbone.bandcamp.com/ ).

  They recently returned with their 4th full length (their 3rd on Monster Zero). It's titled Make It Last and unsurprisingly it's a joy. Plenty of riffs, even more hooks and every song is an earworm. You'll find yourself singing along to the likes of I've Got A Friend, I'm Coming Home and Ricky Nelson cover It's Up To You. As I mentioned earlier, it's a sugar rush but it's not sweet enough to leave you feeling sick, musically there's more than enough punch and grit to get the punk kids jumping around. 

  You can get it on vinyl or digital download here : https://monsterzerorecords.bandcamp.com/album/make-it-last

  Pretty much any of the 12 tracks would qualify as the "hit" so as there's a cool animated video available I'm going to post that. This is Surrender To You... 


Sunday 27 September 2020

The Mudd Club - Bored To Death


  The Mudd Club are a trio based in Machynlleth, Wales (https://www.facebook.com/themuddclub/) with a line up of Sadie Capps (vocals/guitar), Julian West (drums) and Huw Hickman (bass). Sadie and Julian are from Lawrence, Kansas and were weaned on a diet of 50's, 60's & 70's surf and rock n roll music. Presumably taking their name from the famous late 70's/early 80's New York City nightclub, they take their love of surf rock and mix it with "delinquent garage punk" to brew up a flavoursome concoction.  

  They've got a new album out titled Bottle Blonde and it's been causing a few ripples down in the valleys with plenty of local radio airplay.  You can find it here : https://www.themuddclubband.com/  

  Showing why they've been called the Welsh Amyl And The Sniffers, this track is titled Bored To Death... 

Dennis Cometti - Waxit


  Dennis Cometti (https://www.facebook.com/dcometti/) are a 3 piece budget rock trio from Perth featuring a line up of Alex Patching (guitar/vocals), John Peers (bass) and Mitch Cross (drums). Naming themselves after an Australian sports commentator they've spent the past 5 years building a following from gigging with the likes of The Chats and Cosmic Psychos and releasing a string of well received eps. October sees the release of a self titled album on The Chats' Bargain Bin Records label. The album's up for pre order here :  https://denniscometti.bandcamp.com/album/dennis-cometti-2 

  There's been plenty of awesome punk music coming out of Australia in 2020 (you only have to listen to the recent Just Some Punk Songs Australian special show for proof of that  https://www.mixcloud.com/mick-fletcher/just-some-punk-songs-aussie-punk-special/) and on the evidence of the teaser single below, the new Dennis Cometti album is gonna be up there with the best of them. 

   I'll play a different song from the album on this week's Just Some Punk Songs show (later today 8pm UK time : https://www.facebook.com/events/366593321416567/) but today I'm posting the single. A call for Western Australia to secede from the rest of the country (think down under Brexit), this is Waxit... 

Saturday 26 September 2020

Dead Sheeran - Keep Your Distance


  It was going to be the 7th and concluding part of Randy Smith's favourite political songs today but He's still slaving away on it ("such an important band to both me and the label ... so ... agonizing over every word, plus just plain exhausted! Will try to make it worth the wait!") and it'll be posted in a couple of days. Instead I'm salivating a song that I'm pretty sure Randy would approve of by one of the hottest new artists to hit the UK punk scene this year. 

  When I say new, Paul Catten has actually been releasing music for a while now (https://paulcatten.bandcamp.com/music) but his latest project, Dead Sheeran (https://www.facebook.com/deadsheeran), blew me (and many others) away back in May when he unleased a track from what turned out to be an excellent debut S/T ep (https://deadsheeran.bandcamp.com/album/dead-sheeran). It was a no brainer to feature a song on here and play a few on the show though considering how much positive press he'd been getting (plus a bit of chart success) it was a somewhat of a surprise to get a message recently saying "Hello mate, new Dead Sheeran  track for you. First one off the album, halfway through a vid. You've given me loads of support so I'm sending to you before anyone else. Hope you like it enough to play it mate!" 

  Did I like it enough to play it? Fuck yeah! (https://www.mixcloud.com/mick-fletcher/just-some-punk-songs-130920/) Unsurprisingly it went down a storm. And now the video is available it's going straight on here. 

  The track is yet another Corvid related tune but unlike many, it's totally brilliant. It's the sound of Paul venting his fury over the current situation but lacing it with cutting black humour. Lyrics include "We got so fucking stupid, we're just waiting around, for some clueless fucking guidance from these stupid fucking clowns" and "I can't fucking breath and it's uncomfortable to wear...just wait until you spend some time in intensive care." Musically it's like a visit to the fairground whilst jacked up on speed. I've been lucky enough to hear the upcoming album, A National Disgrace (out December 4th...vinyl January), and I'm happy to report that it more than lives up to the promise shown so far. Definitely one to keep a space for on your best of 2020 lists. 

  So put on your fucking mask and get away from me, this is Keep Your Distance... 

Thursday 24 September 2020

Randy Smith selects his favourite protest songs from 2000 onwards (part 6)

  Day 6 of Randy's favourite recent political/protest songs...

  GRIT - Nowhere Else

  Grit (https://www.facebook.com/GRITDUBLINOIPUNK/) is from Dublin, Ireland. Comprised of folks / musicians generally associated with a heavier crust / hardcore sound. Musically, Grit is melodic, catchy, anthemic oi / punk done up just right. As one band member put it in an interview with Idioteq: "a band that’s a bit of fun, catchy sing-along, good for a dance yet punk as fuck." Inspired by bands like Camera Silens, Bishops Green, Syndrome 81, etc.

  Lyrically, Grit says: "Topics include: work, class struggle, friendship, loyalty and the sad state of our country due to austerity policies of the government hopefully with a different edge. With GRIT it’s “real” singing and you can hear the words and we need super-catchy choruses." And: "Some of the topics we have tackled are: austerity politics, class struggle, the decline of the Irish small town, dysfunctional relationships, mental health, friendship.We try to have a defiant tone, I hope that although some of the subject matter may be bleak you will still feel optimistic about the future when you listen."
  For me, I've reached the age where I wax poetically, nostalgically and at great and unwarranted length about the past, about the 'good old days'. And for me, that's the late 80s/early 90s in Toronto. There was definitely nowhere else I wanted to be and, for me personally, this song is important because it sums up the tenor of those times quite succinctly. This song 'takes me back.' There was fun, there was friendship, there was fighting (and infighting!), there was adventure, there was debate and debauchery and, I'll add, in retrospect, there was the arrogance of youth and a sometimes blinding belief in our own correctness and rightness. But, goddam, we did get shit done.

  We literally lived and breathed left-radical politics 24/7. And, like the song says, we also drank a lot of pints along the way. This song takes me back to beer-filled nights at the South African Centre in Kensington Market and  shows at Sneaky Dees, it takes me back to the Love And Rage conference in Hamilton and ARA conferences in Columbus, Ohio, to endless meetings, countless demos, never-ending debates, punk rock fundraisers with bands like Blundermen, Random Killing, Jersey and Repeat Offender, and to numerous road-trips to conferences, prisons, courtrooms / trials and assorted actions.

  It takes me back to publications and organizations such as Arm The Spirit, Toronto Anarchist Black Cross, Toronto Ecomedia, Anti-Racist Action, Love And Rage, RASH, Community Charge, Prison News Service; all of which influenced me one way or another. Proud to have been part of or worked on / with a few of them. This song takes me back to Toronto Anarchist Black Cross meetings, to hanging out at the Blackbird Design studio watching the newest Toronto Ecomedia being laid out, to sitting in Jim's living room and stuffing copies of the latest Prison News Service / Bulldozer into envelopes for mail out.  It takes me back to Myrtle Street and Dundurn Street in Hamilton and Huntley Street in Toronto, where numerous issues of Arm The Spirit were put together.

  Mostly though, this song takes me back to the people / crew whose mentorship, camaraderie, kindness and commitment to the 'cause' inspired me, influenced me, moved me. I'm very thankful to have had (and in some cases still have) these folks in my life. A partial and certainly very incomplete list in no particular order: Ron, Kraaker, Kim, Steve, Kevin, Shannonbrooke, Superfred, Patricio, Ruth, Tom, Rich, Bilbo, Kieran, Mike in Detroit, Eden, Rick L., Jim Campbell, Gord H. ,Craig, Karl and Dale, Sunday, Kristine, Dan/RASH. Apologies to those I've forgotten. Thanks to all. The struggle continues.

Our scene, our fight
Poseurs, yuppies can stand aside
Cos we're going to get pissed tonight
Our crew, side by side
Unspoken bonds last our whole lives
And we're gonna have the craic tonight

I've kept it together the whole week long
I've tried so hard to toe the line
I work all week, pay the bills, pay my dues
Keep in touch with my roots, with my crew
Cos we don't fit in nowhere else

We'll sing, we'll fight
Nowhere to hide
Good night white pride
And we're gonna use our fists tonight
Our crew, side by side
Unspoken bonds last our whole lives
And we're going to have the craic tonight

Nowhere else
We don't fit in nowhere else

Wednesday 23 September 2020

Randy Smith selects his favourite protest songs from 2000 onwards (part 5)


  Randy from Rebel Time Records (https://rebeltimerecords.bandcamp.com/) continues selecting his favourite recent political/protest songs... 

  Urban Vietcong - Attacco

your proletarian hand
tight on the world's throat!
Paper the sky with flags!
March boldly ahead, don't be late!
Who's marching out of step?

  The poem "Left March" (excerpted above and written in 1918) by Russian poet and playwright Vladimir Mayakovsky has been described as "a unique hymn to proletarian strength and determination" and "an appeal to struggle against slavery and violence and to work for the future." It's a poem "which inspired movement and pointed toward the proper direction - to the left" and which "was written like a marching song, which beat to cadence. It was a call to arms."

  And I bring this up why??

  Because, the song "Attacco" by Italian band Urban Vietcong (
https://www.facebook.com/urbanvietcong/) seems to me to directly take it's inspiration, inflection, meter and, most importantly, its message, from this poem. It too is a marching song and a call to arms.

  Based out of Livorno, Italy, Urban Vietcong deal in combative left-radical punk/oi/core.

  Singer Bebe stated that "In “Attacco” we express our desire for a greater organization of left movement, in order to, as Majakovsky said, attack the sky." Further,"Attacco" concerns itself with, as Bebe put it, "what should we, the proletariat (understood as workers, students, unemployed) do to organize, create and be more united."

  It's a song that is tense, taut, melodic and motivating, a song which name-checks and acknowledges the struggles of the the Black Panthers, the Viet Cong and the Palestinian resistance, a song that calls for unity, organization, prioritization and attack. It's a song that finds the band "always sitting on the wrong side, together with the exploited, behind a barricade"

  An important song to me for a few reasons.

  First and foremost, it was my introduction to Urban Vietcong.  Back in May of 2017, I received a Facebook message from a guy named Bebe who said he liked the label and wanted to let me know about the band Urban Vietcong (out of Livorno, Italy) that he sang for. He included a couple of videos, including the "Attacco" video and left it at that. I watched the video, I loved the video and thus began my ongoing love affair with Urban Vietcong.

  And, as I got to know Bebe and the band,  I was stoked to learn that both he and bass player Schiu were also in Trade Unions, a band I had long loved (and listened to often via Youtube), but knew next to nothing about. Very cool.

  So happy to have been able to get to know the band and to have been able to help out with their latest release "Storie Tra Bottiglie E Ciminiere." Especially happy to have been able to have the band over on this side of pond for a few shows. The Fall Offensive / Attacco Tour 2019 was just a success on so many levels, a truly international effort, steeped in a love for left-radical punk and politics, based on / in mutual affinity and affection, respect and regard, camaraderie and cooperation.

  It's just so cool ... one day you get a random Facebook message from a band you've never heard of, the next day they are cooking you pasta in your kitchen!

  And, very importantly, it was through my work with Urban Vietcong that Rebel Time Records was able to, as Bebe put it, "organize, create and be more united" with our comrades at RASH CDMX / RASH Mexico and with our comrades-in-musical-arms at Discos Machete ("independent label based in Mexico City. From our barricade we seek to support, promote and disseminate anti-authoritarian, anti-fascist and politically committed musical projects. Long live the sounds of the revolution!”) as well as with the comrades at Dure Realite ("a self-managed and militant Montreal association that wishes to promote a revolutionary culture through artistic outlets. We believe that a label that shows clearly its political positions will support, promote and develop scenes where all forms of discrimination and reactionary ideas won’t be tolerated").

  All this, thanks to one fortuitous Facebook message!

  And, hey, this song got me reading poetry again! No small feat!

  Siamo tutti Urban Vietcong! Thanks for everything Bebe, Giovanni, Luca and Schiu!!


Discoccupati senza dio e rifugiati
presi a calci in faccia trattati come feccia
il proletariatovariegato e incazzato
va reso coscienzoso e pure organizzato

PRIORITA' è la casa e si difende coi picchetti
PRIORITA' e il lavoro si bastona i sindacati
PRIORITA' la scuola lotta con gli studenti
PRIORITA' è la strada si difende dai fascisti

Non stringeremo le cinghie le farem rotear davvero
caricheremo uniti assalteremo il cielo
Non mancheremo il colpo vi spazzeremo il via
con il sangue agli occhi non sarà solo utopia

Lo stato borghese si difende con i maiali
sguinzagliando digos usando tribunali
seduti sempre dalla parte sbagliata
insieme allo sfruttato dietro una barricata
ATTACCO vietcong a colpi di machete
ATTACCO al razzismo come pantere nere
ATTACCO come Palestina contro israele
ATTACCO come Spartaco contro il potere "

Tuesday 22 September 2020

Randy Smith selects his favourite protest songs from 2000 onwards (part 4)


  Rebel Time Records' Randy Smith selects another of his favourite recent political/protest songs... 

  THE FALLOUT - Talkin' Punk Rock Civil War

  The first time I saw The Fallout was at the release show for their 2004 CD "Turning Money Into Revolution." I was wearing an F.U.s t-shirt that featured a picture of Ronald Reagan holding a pistol, Clint Eastwood style. The F.U.s had courted a bit of controversy, via MRR, for their supposed patriotic lyrics. Personally, I viewed the lyrics as sarcastic, and, having had the band (in their Straw Dogs incarnation) stay at my place a couple of times and chatting about it all only served to confirm that.

  Anyways, I have a distinct memory of two members of the band eyeballing me and the shirt and laughing with each other. A little unnerving ... were they laughing at me or with me? Were they laughing at the shirt or at my expense? I still don't know. But, I'm very proud to have been able to work with ( and have some laughs with ) The Fallout over the past few years, having had a hand in releases on both Insurgence Records and Rebel Time Records.

  One reviewer noted: "These guys write catchy songs that are tailor made for you to shout along with. The music is powerful and aggressive but also fun to listen to. And that’s the way it ought to be. If a song is going to inspire people, it has to be inspiring. Songs like “Red Light Union” and “Raise Your Flag” will have you fired up to run through a brick wall for the cause! This is “street” punk in the truest sense of the term – music for the people that is relevant to what’s actually happening on our streets." From another reviwer: "The Fallout make you wanna get up, dance and then go and do nasty but well-deserved things to animal abusers / fascists / cops while happily humming one of their delightful ditties." For me personally, like Moral Crux, pretty much a perfect band.

  An important song for me personally and a song I come back to often. It serves somewhat as a 'daily affirmation - a 'positive reminder or statement that can be used to encourage and motivate yourself / myself.' I'm basically 60, and for 40 years my life has revolved, in great part, around punk rock, politics and 'action,' in its various forms. I'm getting old, I'm getting tired, my knees are shot, I'm getting really grumpy and at times its tempting to say 'fuck it' and go sit on the porch and rest on my laurels, spending my time looking back in introspection (or anger) remembering the good old days. But, songs like this ( and other songs on this album such as "Action Today" and "Another Way" ) put a little 'pep in my step'. I may not make it out to a lot of demos or actions these days, but, yep, goldarnit, there are still new and inspiring bands and songs that need to be heard, via Rebel Time Records and there is still a diaper load of old (and hopefully still inspirational) political documentation and history that needs to be preserved, scanned and uploaded via the Arm The Spirit and Dragonfly archives. The fact that I can do this work whilst ensconced in my Lazy Boy Recliner is just a plus ... 'take it easy, but take it' ...

  As singer / guitarist Byron noted: "A lot of punk is about making changes. Songs about political action and anarchy. But getting wasted at the Warped Tour isn’t going to bring about the revolution anytime soon. Chant-along working class hymns don’t create change. At most we’re bringing awareness to social issues. So this song is hopefully encouraging folks to get out there, get involved in their communities and start making the kinds of changes punk rockers are always singing about. Real changes are being made by real people everyday at union halls, the United Way, Canadian Blood Services, the Daily Bread Food Bank. The jocks who think it’s cool to slam the hardest on the dance floor just don’t get it, that’s not revolution.

  The song is written in talkin’ blues style like the old folk singers because Bob Dylan, the icon of all protest singers, is just as guilty of a lot of talk but little action. And The Fallout are no different either. We’re busy making music, booking shows and recording while trying not to go broke. We’ve played a lot of benefit shows, we’ve attended various protests, but have we affected any real change? It’s not about being cynical, but being honest about what it really means to be a punk."

  And: "It’s sometimes easy to think that music is a catalyst for change. This song is about being honest and accepting the fact that real change comes from people who take action. It’s about lifestyle choices that are in harmony with our communities. I participate in protests, I’m active in my trade union and I’m a regular blood donor. It’s about doing whatever you can do to impact your community in a positive way."

Please don't get excited cause I'm not keeping score
Of the chances you've blown and opportunities ignored
To help the ones you love and say you care for
While you talk righteously all about it

And it ain't getting better in fact it's getting worse
Poor are getting poorer the meek inheriting the earth
While here in the America's we're still giving birth
To the notion we're all created equal

Now I don't think you understand what you're fighting for
Our music, poetry and politics don't lead to a cure
We need more than talkin'' punk rock civil war

Please don't take me wrong, don't get pissed off
But the injustice and violence that you think you can stop
Continues everyday as we sing our protest songs

Talk without action produces no results
Self-gratifying lifestyles removing any doubt
The chimes of freedom have long wrung out
In a world where direct action counts

Monday 21 September 2020

Randy Smith selects his favourite protest songs from 2000 onwards (part 3)


  Randy from Rebel Time Records continues selecting his favourite recent protest songs... 


  Frank Sinatra sings, masterfully, "regrets, I've had a few, but, then again, too few to mention." One of my big regrets is not having been able to see Streetlight Saints (https://www.facebook.com/streetlightsaintsyyc/) when they played a Sunday Slamfest in Hamilton in October 2019 as, alas, the band broke up shortly thereafter. To paraphrase Frank: "Just like a flame / Streetlight Saints burned brightly, then became / An empty smoke dream that has gone / Gone with the wind." That said, thankfully, I did see the band once, at The Casbah in Hamilton.

  In their own words, Streetlight Saints were: "melodic street punk from Calgary, Alberta Canada. Sing along pub rock anthems with a social conscience. (Providing) a positive voice for the underdogs, outcasts and down trodden in today's society."

  As far as I can tell, the band unleashed upon the world, at most, 7 songs. Each one is an instant classic, anchored by singer Pete's perfect pipes. Songs about bashing the fash, about Canada's residential schools and our treatment of First Nations, etc. I think my first exposure to the band was the video for the song "Our Common Struggle / Bash The Fash." An auspicious beginning to say the least!

  As one member of the band noted, in an interview with Porkpie E-Zine: "most working class bands share an ideology and a distaste for injustice and imbalance socially, politically and economically and that is something I can get behind. The stuff we write as a band means something to me, I like that we have some things of substance to say to people who are listening." And, "part of our mantra has always been about thinking for yourself, unity, doing the right thing, using your influence to create change, let's hope that rubs off on people."


  This was the band's first song on their first release; a split 7" with the amazing Reckless Upstarts that was released on Insurgence Records (as an aside, I was tickled pink to have Rebel Time Records described by a member of the band in the aforementioned interview as "Insurgence Record's more punk sister label") and it certainly seemed to me to be a harbinger of greatness to come. Thus it's importance. Just a humdinger of a tune. Passionate, political punk. On-point, meaningful and masterful musicianship and message. "More, please," I said to myself!

 With regards to this particular tune, the band writes:

  "We wrote this song prior to the Covid-19 outbreak as a response to the widening gap between the ruling class and the shrinking middle class. We've been provided with so many distractions in the form of the media and the entertainment industry that we lost track of what was really going on in the world.

  How much is enough? The ruling class making record profits yet still their hands are firmly in our pockets squeezing out the last bit of toothpaste from the working class's collective tube.

  The system is broken, it needs to be broken down and re-built if we're ever to experience true equality. The only vote that truly counts as democracy falls is with your wallet and your actions. Social media posts will not save the world. Status Quo?, no, we'll push forward.

  No war but the class war."

  So...I tip my hat and raise my glass to a band that burned briefly but brightly. Like Frank sang, "Thanks for the memory."

Rock together walk together heads are all held high
Our bond cannot be broken we'll be true until we die
Some people come, some people go
It's your line that we won't toe
Status quo no we'll push forward

Blind folded eyes can't see the disorder
We'll burn the corporations to the ground
Build upon the ashes fuck your petty rations
Blind folded eyes can't see the disorder

How much is too much where do you draw the line?
What's yours is yours yet you still want mine
A country that only cares about the upper class
Vote with your wallet and give them the brass

Blind folded eyes can't see the disorder
We'll burn the corporations to the ground
Build upon the ashes fuck your petty rations
Blind folded eyes can't see the disorder

Blind folded eyes can't see the disorder
We'll burn the corporations to the ground
Build upon the ashes fuck your petty rations
Blind folded eyes can't see the disorder

Sunday 20 September 2020

Randy Smith selects his favourite protest songs from 2000 onwards (part 2)

  Randy from Rebel Times Records (https://rebeltimerecords.bandcamp.com/) continues chatting about his favourite political/protest songs released since 2000... 

Moral Crux - Revolution (Shouldn't Be So Hard)

  I've long been a fan of Moral Crux (https://www.facebook.com/moralcruxofficial/). Based out of Spokane, Washington, around since the '80s, poppy punk rock centered around singer James Farris's lefty social and political commentary. For me personally, pretty much a perfect band.

  One reviewer said of the band: "It was as if Generation X and the Canadian Subhumans had a head-on collision at The Ramones’ practice pad." Nicely put, and I'll add that Moral Crux is, for me, kind of, sort of, somewhat of a potent and perfect blend of two of my favourite bands: you get the politics of MDC (Millions of Dead Cops) and the pop-punk of MTX (Mr. T. Experience). An odd combination? Maybe, but, hey, both MDC and MTX played together at the Anarchist Unconvention in Toronto in 1988 (an evening of which I have, due to some over-indulgence, only a very hazy memory)!

  A political band for sure, but that's not to say James can't write a poppy love song / unrequited love song / break-up song. Just check out "Yesterday's Kisses","Get Outta My Brain,""Firing Squad," or their cover of "Teenage Kicks." Because, let's face it, while Buenaventura Durruti said that "we carry a new world here, in our hearts. That world is growing this minute, " sometimes those hearts get broken and those worlds are shattered." Need a 'hurtin' song'? Moral Crux may just have you covered.

  And, I'll just get a plug in for Rebel Time Records here and mention that both Moral Crux and The Fallout (new album out now on Rebel Time Records and Discos Machete ... 15 tracks of  partisan and unapologetically political agitp(r)op punk rock) cite The Queers as musical influences ...

  My first exposure to Moral Crux came when I picked up a copy of their 1993 release "...And Nothing But The Truth" at a record store on Queen Street in Toronto. What I thought would be my last exposure to Moral Crux came when I picked up 2003's "Pop Culture Assassins" which came out on Ben Weasel's Panic Button Records and which was distributed by Lookout Records.

  Between 1993 and 2003 Moral Crux released a veritable cornucopia of outstanding albums on various labels. And, well, sadly, that seemed to be it. Then, suddenly, and without a lot of hullabaloo, in 2015, the band released the "Revolution" 7" on Mooster Records. Considering it had been 12 long years since their last release, this was a very, very pleasant and unexpected surprise. Frankly, I was gob-smacked. The "Revolution" EP is 4 tracks of Moral Crux's perfect, timeless and catchy-as-heck political pop punk and the welcome return of a band whose music and message  continue to be, 30+ years into it, motivating and mobilizing.

  James was kind enough to write a few words about the origin of the song. Thanks so much James!

  "I was mowing the lawn and for decades I always was fascinated how we (the 99 percent) have the power if we can just unite on so many issues of fairness, decency that we all have in common. It just came to me in a simple, perhaps, juvenile sense of: revolution shouldn’t be so hard since we have the number of people in our favor. It was one of those organic moments that a lot of times a songwriter will toss the term / slogan away due to it sounding too simplistic. But, in this case I assumed it worked. Of course the Beatles song Revolution and many other songs in rock over the years dealing with said topic exist, granted ... kinda interesting the background vocal on ”Revolution shouldn’t be so hard” has an early Beatles feel. The bridge/breakdown has a Ramones style cop."

  And, while revolution may be hard, getting your hands on (or ears wrapped around) the sounds of revolution ain't. Literally as I'm writing this, I see, via FB that Moral Crux has added yet more material to their Moral Crux bandcamp page...

  In Moral Crux news, according to James, the band is looking for a label to re-release some of their vinyl and the band does have new material ready to be recorded! Yes!! Stay tuned!!

Revolution shouldn't be so hard
We've got the numbers and the cause at heart
Revolution shouldn't be so hard
Plutocrats without regard
Society's soul in disregard

Dignity a distant memory in a system that destroys
No concessions, true correctives - solidarity!

Corporate elites absent of care
They can steal but cannot share
Revolution shouldn't be so hard
They can destroy but cannot build
They can repress but cannot lead
Revolution shouldn't be so hard

Dignity a distant memory in a system that destroys
No concessions, true correctives - solidarity!

We live is a society not just an economy
Social justice is equality

Revolution shouldn't be so hard...

Randy Smith selects his favourite protest songs from 2000 onwards (part 1)


  Randy is the guy behind the Canadian independent music project Rebel Time Records. He's spent most of his life involved in political activism. He's also someone who goes above and beyond the call of duty when I ask him to contribute to this blog. The next 8 days I'm turning the blog over to him... 

Intro: Mick was kind enough/ brave enough to ask me to do another of my long-winded lists for this blog. Thanks Mick! Somewhat vaguely he asked me to do up a "top ten of your favourite political or protest songs (with maybe a few words as to why they're so important)?" I decided to narrow it down to songs from the 2000s, with the one rule being that I not include any Rebel Time Records releases ( a rule I immediately broke, because, well, fuck my rules). Basically, these are all songs that I continually come back to, songs that I never get tired of listening to. Thematically, these are simply songs of unity, inclusion, solidarity and struggle. And, rather than having to put up with me droning on endlessly and ad nauseum, I've, where possible / needed, enlisted the help of the songwriters themselves to explain what the songs are about. Thank you all! Of course, the views and opinions expressed below are those of the author / songwriters only.

Afterboltxebike - De Que Lado Estas?

I've oft been asked by people who don't know me very well: "Hey, what sports you into?" My stock response has been and always will be: "Politics is my sport." I mean, there are similarities, analogies and parallels for sure. You've got 'parties' and 'teams' and 'sides' you've got 'us' and 'them,'you've got 'winning' and 'losing,' you've got 'Super Tuesday' and 'Super Bowl.'
When asked "What sport is politics?," President Obamba said  "It’s probably most like football.” Because a lot of players. A lot of specialization. A lot of hitting.” A lot of attrition. But then every once in a while you’ll see an opening. You hit the line, you get one yard. You try a play, you get sacked, now it’s like third and 15. But every once in a while — you have to punt a lot — but every once in a while you’ll see a hole and then there’s open field.”

Sounds like some of the political 'campagains' I've been involved in over the years for sure!
"De Que Lado Estas?" by Afterboltxebike ("anti-capitalist, anti-fascist, anti-racist, and one hundred percent communist punk from Nuevo Leon, Mexico" ) asks the simple, yet essential and all-important question, ‘Which Side Are You On?’ or, to go with the sports analogy, "Which Team Are You On?" or "Who Are You Cheering For?" Are you on Team Proletariat or Team Oppressor? For Afterboltxebike, the answer (and the way / the path down the field) is clear,  you’re either with the bosses or with the oppressed and this band is on the side of the workers/the proletariat/the exploited. Afterboltxebike knows that class struggle is the motor of history. And, it is a struggle. Afterboltxebike knows that we're going to get sacked, we're going get hit and there will be attrition, but we'll keep aiming for that 'open field.'

Diego Armando, singer / guitarist says that "Afterbolxebike was born with the idea of using music as a medium to spread marxism, anti-capitalism and anti-fascism. "What Side Are You On?" was the first song I wrote. What I was looking for was a kind of declaration of our principles so that those who listened to us would know our political ideas and there would be no doubt about what kind of band we are. It’s also an invitation to question our own participation within society. We believe that the worker continues to be the revolutionary subject capable of transforming capitalism into a superior society in which we can overcome the relationship between the exploited worker and the exploiting employer. A simple question, what side are you on? It’s enough to be able to question and answer what we are doing in our life and in this society."

An important song and an important band for me because, like with Urban Vietcong, a chance internet encounter has led to an ongoing love affair. In 2016 I saw a video for this song on facebook and was immediately hooked. I got in touch with the band, via Diego, and the rest is history. Got the 8-song "No Pasaran" cassette under our belts and the 3-song "Marxist Agitiation" 7" on the way.

What attracted me to Afterboltxebike was, of course, the music, but especially the lyrics. Songs about waking up very early in the morning to go to a shitty job,songs about ETA and YPJ/YPG,songs about anti-fascism and anti-colonialism, and, especially, a song about reading (The song "Leer")!! How many bands have done a song about the importance of reading?? For me personally, literature/books/zines are very important and a big part of my life, so it was inspiring to hear the band sing: “Read to study/ Read to learn/ Read for liberation.” Go read a book!

What also impressed me (and is very important to me) is that Afterboltxebike “walks the talk." Diego not only produces a political punk zine and makes punk documentaries, but he (and, at the time) other members of the band were active in local left-wing political organizations and struggles. Like DOA said: “talk minus action equals zero.”

And, by the way, this week I managed to get 11 out of 15 winning teams picked in the National Football League pool I'm in at work ... not bad ...

No tengo duda estoy convencido
Que mis patrones son mis enemigos
No aspiro a ser como uno de ellos
Mi fuerza esta con los obreros

Las cadenas que te tienen atado
Están en tu cabeza, están en tus manos
Nuestra trinchera te está esperando

Nuestro camino está muy claro
Revolución del proletariado
Nuestro sendero está iluminado
Por los comunistas que han luchado

¿De qué lado estas?
¿Del patrón o del proletariado?

I have no doubt, I am convinced
That the bosses are my enemies
I do not aspire to be like one of them
My strength is with the workers

The chains that have you tied
They are in your head, they are in your hands
Our struggle is waiting for you
You are with the bosses or with the exploited ones
Our way is very clear
Revolution of the proletariat
Our path is illuminated
By the Communists who have fought
What side are you on?
Of the boss or the proletariat
What side are you on?

Saturday 19 September 2020

The Cool Greenhouse - Alexa! (Guest Review By Billy Ouka)


  "Alexa play something decent"

  "It's better to be both loved and hated in equal measure than merely tolerated" is a comment I made in the Just Some Punk Songs chatroom as the listeners were giving their opinions on the new single by The Cool Greenhouse (https://www.facebook.com/thecoolgreenhouse/). A few people loved it, a few didn't. One pissed off for a smoke disappointed that once again I wasn't playing anything by Hawkwind!. But I'm a fan (otherwise I wouldn't have played it) and Billy Ouka rushed off to buy it so I asked him to write a few words of recommendation... 

  The Cool Greenhouse new single is great piece of simple DIY pop magic, coming after their highly acclaimed debut album, this new single is their best release yet, a simple beat and tune, two notes at most, with a deadpan monologue vocal delivery commenting upon the use of AI Alexa's role in our lives (not mine I might add).

  A solo project that has developed into a  five piece, they craft humorous repetitive pop-leaning gems that are as bizarre as they are brilliant. With live performances that have been received really well. There's so many influences in there but the two that stand out are Jonathan Richmond and the Modern Lovers and Attila the Stockbroker, not a bad mix. With articles in Maximum Rock n Roll and DIYMag, this is a band to watch out for, as our future becomes more dystopian The Cool Greenhouse will be a perfect soundtrack. 

  It's available on random colour vinyl or as a digital download : https://thecoolgreenhouse.bandcamp.com/album/alexa 

  This is Alexa!... 

Friday 18 September 2020

Helen Love - Songs From My Teens (PUNK AS F**K)


  For almost 30 years now, Welsh band Helen Love have been mixing up punk rock, indie, disco, pop and a love of Joey Ramone to create some of the catchiest music you'll ever hear. They recently returned with a rather splendid double A sided single on Alcopop! Records. 

  On one side is another of their many Ramones love fests, it's titled 1234 Dee Dee Ramone and it's a jump up and down with a big grin on your face slice of pure bubblegum joy. You can check out the video here :  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfoPacEDIX0

  The flip side, in my opinion is even better and comes with 2 videos. There's the 90's version (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9-SfO1AGyg) which takes us down memory lane via the likes of Pulp, Ash, Gorky's Zygotic Mynci, Atari Teenage Riot, Stereolab, Kenickie, Heavenly etc and there's also the punk as F**k version in which Helen demonstrates how her 70's & 80's record collection is every bit as vital as her 90's one (Buzzcocks, Adverts, Young Marble Giants, Undertones, X Ray Spex, Blondie, Altered Images to name a few).  

  This is Songs From My Teens...