Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Top Twenty

It’s getting to the time of year when zine writers start to think about summing up the good the bad and the ugly, and making lists.
Personally I’ll be glad to see the back of 2012, this year has been like a sea of shit with little islands of happiness dotted around; it’s been a real struggle to get to those little islands without drowning in the raging tide of crap. More than once things have seemed hopeless, and my self esteem has hit rock bottom. I dread to think what would happen if I didn’t have my family and punk rock. Anyway, below are some things that have lifted my spirits this year...

Hold on, hold on, hold on. It seems I was a little hasty in making this post; as another wave of shit wipes me out, some more great music reaches me and made me feel life was a little less worthless...

Geriatric Unit "Never Give Up" 12"
Needles "Desesperación" EP
Anthrax “All For The Cause” LP & Live in Southampton
Sudor 7”EP / Amigo Blas zine
Porkeria 7”EP & Live in Brighton
First Times 7”EP
Belgrado “Panopticon / Vicious Circle” 7”
The Gutters “Should We Make A Seven Inch” 7”
1981 “Cycle/Symptom” 7”
Desperat “Demokrati Eller Diktatur?” 7” & "Början På Slutet" 7"
Epic Problem 7” & new recordings
Ilegal “El Aire Libre Fuera De Los Dientes Del Monstruo Tirano Y Canibal” LP & “Callejon Sin Salida” 7”
School Jerks s/t LP
The Phoenix Foundation “Silence” LP
Kuudes Silmä 7”EP
State Funeral “Protest Music” 7” & Artcore 30
Big Eyes “Back From The Moon” 7”
Citizens Patrol “Retarded Nation” 7”
Burnt Cross “Mankind’s Obituary” CD
Shame s/t Tape
OFF! s/t LP & Live in Brighton
Punch Live in Brighton
GET SHOT - A Visual Diary 1985-2012 by Martin Sorrondeguy
THE ART OF PUNK by Russ Bestley & Alex Ogg
ARMED WITH ANGER - How UK Punk Survived The Nineties by Ian Glasper

And putting out The Shorts 7". I didn't think we, as Suspect Device, would release another record and I didn't think that I'd be in another band that would release anything on vinyl. Both things make me very happy. 

There's a new issue of Suspect Device out too - 

Saturday, 3 November 2012

She's Nineteen

It seems that putting a new issue of Suspect Device together and sorting out the Shorts 7” doesn’t really leave me much spare time to write a blog. But the zine has at the printers and the 7” will be going to the pressing plant this week, so with that with the fact that some crap TV program is on in the next room, I’m spending the evening listening to music and writing rubbish.
I have been getting a lot of great records recently, a lot seem to be from Europe, particularly from Spain and Finland, but other countries have been well represented...

Back at the end of August, The Shorts played with Porkeria from Texas, in Brighton, they were really great, kind of like Los Crudos playing Discharge songs; they were energetic, powerful and I loved them. Their LP “La Mierda De Siempre” is a collection of addictive, straight ahead, speedy punk rock gems; that they sing in Spanish doesn't take anything away from their greatness. Their self titled 7” may see them easing off the accelerator just a little, but the songs are still there and I love this record just as much.
Other Spanish speaking bands that I have been playing a lot recently include Canada’s wonderful Ilegal, and Barcelona’s brilliant Sudor, who play stripped down punk that has really hit a chord with me, their new 7” only arrived this week and has hardly left my turntable, and my Sudor playlist has accompanied me most days at work too.

Over in Finland Combat Rock Industry Records have been supplying me with some great melodic stuff; favourites have been Atom Notes, First Times, Kuudes Silmä, Särkyneet and  Ydinperhe. Not forgetting the new Phoenix Foundation “Silence” LP and 1981 7”. Sweden has been represented by Desperat, who’s “Demokrati Eller Diktatur?” 7” has been re-released by US label Beach Impediment. These guys were in Mob 47, so it’s no surprise that they deliver some great Discharge inspired fast hardcore, I”m not sure anyone does this stuff better than these veterans.
And not forgetting the Netherlands, Citizen Patrol's new 7”EP is probably the best stuff this band has done yet, and that’s saying something as their previous EPs and LP have been firm favourites.

The UK hasn’t been sleeping either, with great EPs from Violent Reaction, Endless Grinning Skulls and State Funeral, the latter coming with the excellent new issue of Artcore. Epic Problem have been recording again and their new songs are the best stuff they’ve done so far, I can’t wait for them to be properly released, hopefully early next year.
Old favourites Anthrax put out a great LP, not just resting on their laurels and going in for the Rebellion cabaret stuff, they put out a record of strong new songs. The subject matter deals with the crap going on in this country and the rest of the world, and that they are scarily similar to the subjects they covered with those great early record shows how little has changed over the last 30 years.

Heading back across the Atlantic and Grave Mistake put out the School Jerks LP, a nice slab of snotty punk rock in the vein of early Black Flag, SOA and DOA. Speaking of those Canadia veterans, their new (and last?) album, “We Come In Peace”, sees them turning back the years to deliver an album to rank alongside anything they’ve ever done. If it is to be their last then they’ve certainly gone out on a high.

Away from records, I went to see Negative Approach and Punch in Brighton. despite the horrible drive I like going to gigs in Brighton, there’s a good vibe and I have some good friends there. Punch were as great as I’d hoped they’d be, tight, powerful and inspiring. To be honest I wasn’t expecting much from Negative Approach, but they totally nailed it in the most surprising way. Hard and fast and taking no prisoners.

I have recently got a couple of books; Russ Bestley & Alex Ogg’s The Art Of Punk is a wonderful collection of punk rock sleeve, poster, zine and flyer artwork spanning the history of punk rock, from the ‘70s right up to the present. Looking through it brought back so many memories. Also Martin Sorrondeguy’s Get Shot is a collection of his photos from 1985 - 2012. There are some brilliant shots in there, and both books are wonderful documents.

I have found some of the music mentioned above has really inspired me, and not just because it’s been great to listen to but also because it’s reaffirmed why I’m still so involved and motivated by punk rock even though I’m 46 and married with a 14 year old daughter. The fact that there are bands and records that still have that affect on me is something I cherish. Long may it continue.

The new issue of Suspect Device will be out very soon, as will the Shorts 7”, so keep an eye on our website, and while you’re there check out our distro.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Eighteen Seconds

Man I've been slack. I can't believe the last post was in July, and that wasn't even really from me.
I do have a few excuses:
1. My sister and brother-in-law moved in for a few weeks while they were between houses and we put them up in the same room as the computer.
2. I had to apply for and then didn't get my own job, which caused more stress than I would like to admit; in fact I think it was bordering on depression at times.
3. We had a couple of weeks away in Bulgaria.
4. The Paralympics!

I think that about covers it. And now I have started on a new issue of Suspect Device, so all my spare time is going into that.

This week I have mainly been enjoying Porkeria, both live and on record. Check them out.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Forever Seventeen

Instead of some waffle from me this time I thought I'd do a little to help Grave Mistake Records spread some news. Here's what Alex had to say...

1. I'm running a 50% off code for the Grave Mistake bandcamp page - so anyone who wants to buy some music off the site can enter the code GMDIGITHNX and get half off their downloads.

2. I'm running a little 7" special, any four Grave Mistake 7" releases for $12 plus shipping. Customers can choose from a list of available releases, but it includes pretty much every GM title I currently have in print, including all of 2012's releases.

I have all of the info in a a full update on the Grave Mistake Blog / Webiste here:

And the bandcamp page is here:

And the link to the 7" special is here:

Thanks, Alex

P.O. BOX 12482

Friday, 27 April 2012

Nutrasweet Sixteen

New records have been a bit thin on the ground for me this past month. I have bough a few things, but they haven’t reached me from Brighton yet. I did get a couple of the NO 12” from Static Sock for the distro, and that is a great record, but I neglected to get one for myself, so I need to sort that out soon as I really like it.
I want to get more in for the distro, but no one is really buying stuff at the moment and I can’t afford to buy anything more at the moment. I’d like to sell some of the stuff we have so I can pay my debt to Aston at Boss Tunage, and get some more stock.
The only other record I have bought recently is the new Killing Joke album. Killing Joke are one of those bands whose new albums I always get, even if they don’t always totally hit the spot. “MMXII” is a really good album, it’s less “industrial” sounding than their last couple, and although it’s not as pulsating as their debut self titled album or “What’s This For?” and has elements of their more commercial sounding mid 1980’s stuff, it still has enough of an edge to make it interesting for me. Actually, it’s more than that, it’s an good album, their best for a while and I’ve played it quite a lot over the last month. The lyrics are political, and Jaz’s voice sounds better than it’s done for a few years I think, and some of the songs have really locked themselves into my head.
I bought the double LP version (on the day of release), which is on lovely red vinyl in a gatefold sleeve; it was damn expensive, but it was released a couple of days after my birthday, and more importantly payday, so I thought I’d treat myself.
I like the fact that the original line up is back releasing records, now I just need to get my act together and get to see them live again, it’s been far too long.
I have noticed that HMV (sadly the only shop in Southampton selling new music) is stocking more and more vinyl; most of it isn’t very interesting, but I do like to sometimes go in and flick through the records, just for old times sake. They do charge a lot though, the cheapest album I saw was the new Stranglers one, and that was £16; the most expensive one was over double that price. A bit different from the early ‘80s when we’d buy albums in a tiny HMV for £3.99.
I’ve been checking out some stuff on-line and my shopping list for payday is growing rapidly.
Suspect Device Records is going to put out the Shorts 7” fairly soon. We recorded four new songs at the beginning of April, and we plan to back them up with the three songs we recorded last year to make a 7 track EP. 

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

15 Nights

After going to London recently and probably buying more records than I could afford, it’s been a bit of a lean month. But I do have a new turntable; my old one still worked, but it was cheap and tinny and had a few little quirks that annoyed me, so I was on the hunt for a new one. After internet searches and getting both my dad and a mate on the case I decided on one that was reasonably priced (for a turntable) but decent quality.
The first record I tried out was the Treblinka LP I got off my friend Ralf in Brighton. Operating the turntable was so much more satisfying, it felt solid, like a proper record player should, and when the needle hit the vinyl the difference was instantly noticeable. So much so that initially I wondered if it was just because I really wanted it to be better that it sounded as good as it did, but no, it really did sound better. The music seemed somehow warmer (no really it did) and more intense, it was like I could now hear the record as the band would have wanted me to hear it. My vinyl playing love affair has now reached a new level of intensity.

One record I did buy last week was the 7” by The Lowest Form, I saw it in London but it was really too expensive for me to buy, so as soon as I’d been paid I sent to La Vida Es Un Mus for it, and boy was it worth the wait; blistering, chaotic hardcore that was brimming over with energetic intensity.

Alex at Grave Mistake Records is a good sort, and he has just sent over his two new releases for me to review.  For some reason I wasn't sure that I was going to like the Bad Advice one, so it was the Sectarian Violence EP that I reached for first. It's a good, hard hitting record that I was sure would prove to be the best of the two, but I was blown away by Bad Advice, it's a great EP bringing to mind those great early USHC bands; I'm so pleased my baseless feelings about this record turned out to be so wide of the mark. Check out the Grave MIstake bandcamp page…
I also bought a couple of copies of each for the distro.
Static Shock are putting out the debut NO record; a band that features ex Shitty Limits and Sceptres people. I should have copies of that record for the distro next week. Listening to the track on the Static Shock website has certainly got me looking forward to hearing it all. I'm also getting in a couple of copies of the Brain F≠ LP on Static Shock too.
On Saturday morning, after finding a good price for a return ticket, I took a train to Brighton. I had a re-print of SD#35 to pick up from Buz at Punker Bunker, and I also went to see Darren Tadpole as he had some records for me to review. They are all releases from Loud Punk Records; Germ Attak "Fear Of THe Unknown" and Civil Victim "No False Hope" LPs, plus EPs from The Diskonected, External Menace and Neutron Rats. I haven't played it all yet but Civil Victim and Germ Attak sound pretty damn good, one with a UK82 type sound and one with an early USHC vibe. That's all good with me.

Soon, The Shorts are going back to the studio to record four new songs, we will then put out a seven track 7". I didn't ever think that SD would release another record, but if we don't no one else is going to do it.
Right, I need to get some reviewing done….

Sunday, 19 February 2012

14 Steps

On Friday 17th February Gaz and me did something we haven’t done for a good few years, we took a train to London and went record shopping. Back when we were at school we’d get the train into Southampton city centre on a Saturday and do a round of the then great record shops. Later when we had a bit more money we’d often take a train to London and treat ourselves to a record shopping spree.
It’s something we haven’t done for so long, mainly because we now live a couple of hundred miles apart, we have busy lives and money is tight, as it is for everyone these days. But Gaz was back down south for a few days and I had a day off work, so it seemed as good a time as any to treat ourselves.
On the train ride up to London we decided that our first stop would be Rough Trade East. I had been there once before but Gaz hadn’t, so it seemed a good place to start. The tube ride there wasn’t as straight forward as it should have been, but after a brief detour we made it to Liverpool Street and took the short walk to Brick Lane. It’s fair to say Gaz was impressed with the size of it and I was happy that I wouldn’t feel rushed or pushed for time like I did on my last visit. Whilst there my friend Tom Ellis walked over and it was good to have a chat with him, and being the good sort he is he pointed out the TV Casualty 7”, so I grabbed that, as well as a Hagar The Womb 12”. I wanted the Lowest Form 7” too, but it was a little expensive, so I reluctantly put that back. Gaz got himself a couple of LPs and debated over a Black Flag double album.
                                                                     (Gaz takes in the awesomeness of Rough Trade East)

After paying up and saying goodbye to Tom we headed off. On the way back to the station we debated getting some chips, but settled for a cup of tea instead. While relaxing with our tea we decided that seeing as we’d visited their East shop we’d take a tube right across London to see if Sean Forbes was at Rough Trade West. Sean wasn’t behind the counter when we got there, but after looking through the racks he came out and we had a good chat with him. I also picked up one of the Messthetics CD compilations. I’m not sure if Gaz got anything there or not. 
On one of our previous trips to Rough Trade West, many years ago, Sean had mentioned that his new piss-take Oi band had sent a demo to Helen Of Oi Records, and they were interested in releasing an LP. This time he told us that Hard Skin were about to go and record a new album.

I took Gaz to a vegetarian food place that I remembered Si had enjoyed when we were there with Paint It Black a couple of summers ago; Gaz was also impressed. While he ate we debated if we should go to Camden or Soho for our next fix of record shopping. Soho won, so it was back on a tube. After emerging from Oxford Circus station we dodged out of the Oxford Street crowds and made our was to Soho via the back streets.
We reached Sister Ray Records and first looked for the Black Flag album that Gaz had now decided he did want after all. We didn’t find that, but I did find an LP of Adam & The Ants demos recorded in 1978 (which made me very excited), the 25th Anniversary release of The Damned’s “New Rose” 7” and a copy of Maximum Rock n Roll. I had to put back a live Ants LP (also from 1978) and CDs by Killing Joke and Psychedelic Furs; but Gaz did buy me The Damned’s Stiff SIngles CD Box-set, calling it my birthday present (even though my birthday is a month away). He also got an LP of Dead Kennedys demos.
Just up the road form Sister Ray we found a second hand shop where I got a Ripcord LP I didn’t have.
We were done then, and time was getting on, so we decided to head back to the station; we never did make it to Camden, but we did find a couple of second hand shops that Gaz just happen to remember were just off Oxford Street, even though it must have been over 20 years since we’d last been in them.
With just enough time to grab a cup of tea we got our train and had an uncomfortably packed ride home.

It was fun to go record shopping like that again as we hardly ever get to do stuff like that together any more. Gaz is lucky in that he has several decent record shops in Norwich;, but Southampton has either HMV or the Oxfam Record shop and that’s it, its a sad state of affairs.
The next night we went to see The Dauntless Elite in town and I bought the Underparts 7”,  the new Attack! Vipers! LP and the new Dauntless Elite album, none of which I’ve had a chance to give a proper listen to yet, but I will do very soon and put reviews up on our the SD website.
Dauntless Elite were great live too; it’s been a few years since I’ve seen them play and they were just as good as I remembered.
As well as all that I bought a Treblinka LP off Ralf in Brighton, another record I haven’t had a good listen to yet, and was sent the wonderful Take Warning 7”. Take Warning are French and play a rough and ready Pegboy style of punk that really hit the spot (see review on our website).
I think it’s fair to say it’s been a good few days for new music, and apart from a couple of exceptions, it’s all been vinyl. I do love my vinyl, but I wish I could afford a better quality record player and amp. When I was about 14 or 15 I bough some second hand stereo equipment, it was really good stuff and lasted me years. I think I’m going to need to hunt some stuff down, although how I'm going to pay for it is a question I don’t have a good answer for yet.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Lucky Thirteen

I've had lots of ideas for things to write about this time, but after spending time re-launching the Suspect Device distro Suspect Device Shop all those good ideas have disappeared. So here's some records I've bought over the past couple of weeks.

Anyway, The new Artcore is out, issue 29, and it comes with a superb comp LP. "Terminal Decay" has tracks by 1981, Endless Grinning Skulls, Night Birds, Arctic Flowers, Off With Their Heads, Pettybone, Hygiene and lots of others. Twenty tracks, thirteen of which are previously unreleased. You can order it here Artcore Fanzine.

I also bought the Anthrax 7" that is a benefit for the 1 in 12 Club. A great band and a great cause. It's a limited release, so I don't know if there are any left, but it's got to be worth an email to see if you can still get your hands on a copy -

My friend Casey Jones sent me a copy of the No For An Answer 7""It Makes Me Sick". Recorded by the same line-up that recorded "You Laugh" EP, and it sounds like No For An Answer should sound. Great hardcore, good lyrics and great to hear that these guys can still do it.

There's a Hard Skin singles LP out too, so I had to buy that as well. It felt like being a kid again, buying dodgy singles collections that I probably shouldn't.
I been on the hunt for the Speed Kills 7", but hopefully I can get my hands on a copy in the next week or so, once I've been paid. I have a download of their demo and it's a real ripper.

Ok, that's it for now. Go buy some records...

Suspect Device

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

12 Bars Of Gold

It's that time of year again; so here it is, my 2011 top 10 lists....

Night Birds “The Other Side Of Darkness” LP Grave Mistake
Violent Arrest “Tooth & Nail” LP Boss Tuneage / Tadpole
Section 13 “Burning Bridges” CD Boss Tuneage
Arctic Flowers “Reveries” LP Inimical
Endless Grinning Skulls s/t LP Viral Age
Brain F≠ “Sleep Rough” LP Grave Mistake / Static Shock
The Phoenix Foundation “No Love Lost” LP Stonehenge
Deep Sleep “Turn Me Off” CD Grave Mistake
Zounds “The Redemption Of...” CD Overground
Burnt Cross “Mankind’s Obituary” CD Tadpole

Punch “Nothing Lasts” 7” Deathwish
OFF! “First Four EPs” 7” Boxset Vice
Whole In The Head “Them & Us” 7” Tadpole
Night Birds “Midnight Movies” 7” No Way
1981 “Decay” 7” Kämäset Levyt
Epic Problem “EP” CD Self Released
Burnt Cross “Fight The Law Not The Poor” 7” Tadpole
Pet Milk “Philadelphia Punklife” download
Career Suicide “Cherry Beach” 7” Dirtnap
The Shirks “Cry Cry Cry” 7” Grave Mistake 

Culture Shock “Everything” CD Boxset Bluurg
HDQ “You Suck / Hung Drawn & Quartered” CD Boss Tuneage
Faith “Subject To Change & First Demo” LP Dischord
Depraved / Visions Of Change s/t CD Boss Tuneage
Exit Condition “Impact Time / Bite Down Hard” LP Boss Tuneage
Night Birds “Fresh Kills Vol.1” CD Grave Mistake
Exit Condition “Days Of Wild Skies” CD Boss Tuneage
Political Asylum “Winter” CD Boss Tuneage
UK Subs “The Complete Punk Singles Collection” CD boxset Captain Oi
Skids “The Singles Collection 1978-1981” CD Boxset Captain Oi

Violent Arrest - The Hobbit, Southampton
Subhumans - The Joiners, Southampton
Night Birds -  Sticky Mike's Frog Bar, Brighton 
OFF! - Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth
Punch -  Sticky Mike's Frog Bar, Brighton
Deep Sleep -  Sticky Mike's Frog Bar, Brighton
Peter & The Test Tube Babies - The Prince Albert, Brighton
Stupids - The Prince Albert, Brighton
Liberty - The Joiners, Southampton
Steve Ignorant - Shepherds Bush Empire, London