By The Old Punk, on Wednesday 29th August 2012 @ 19:00 Section(s): Punk Pics
I spent a very pleasant few hours in the company of around 100 other folk and three cracking bands a few weeks ago. As well as the ageless Subhumans, support came from local loudmouthed ska-punkers Spanner and the superbly shouty Grand Collapse (my first chance to see 'em in action - very impressed by their tight, face-melting anarcho-hardcore sound). Here are a few pics (none of Spanner, but you'll find around a gazillion on their own site). Click to make 'em bigger.
By The Old Punk, on Monday 18th June 2012 @ 18:00 Section(s): Green Pieces
Having suddenly realised that lye = sodium hydroxide = caustic soda = drain cleaner (thanks, internets), I decided to have a go at making my own soap using the cold process method. And it turned out to be a piece of piss, albeit a piece of piss that could horribly scar you if you don't take precautions with the lye.
Basically, you mix lye with water, add it to vegetable oils of your choice, agitate until it goes custardy, pour it into a mould for a day or two, tip it out, cut it up into bars and give the bars a few weeks (depending on the oils used) to allow the chemical stuff to happen and the soap to harden off.
The tricky / dangerous bit is using exactly the right amount of lye and making a solution with it. Lye reacts with water and produces heat and a strong alkaline solution. Long sleeves, gloves, eye protection and long arms (optional) are strongly advised. Do all of the dangerous stuff in the garden if possible, or at least a well-ventilated area, as it releases very unpleasant fumes when first mixed. Make sure all kids / pets / unstable adults are kept well away while you're making your soap.
The core principles are explained here, and you'll find a fantastic calculator for working out how much of everything to use here.
You can readily buy 500g of caustic soda for a couple of quid or so, often sold as drain cleaner (check the label to make sure it's actually caustic soda and not something else). Google 'cold process soap recipes' for loads of ideas or use the calculator to create your own.
While it may seem counter-intuitive to use such a dangerous ingredient as lye in something used to clean yourself, the wonders of chemistry really do ensure that, if you follow the recipes to the letter, you end up with a safe, gentle and natural soap.
NB: I've also learnt that you can make a really simple, eco-friendly, cheap and just-as-effective-as-shop-bought washing powder using (home-made) castile soap (80-100% olive oil), borax and washing soda (sodium carbonate). I was a bit sceptical (my default setting) but it really does work.
By The Old Punk, on Friday 18th May 2012 @ 19:53 Section(s): Quickies
I don't always have the time / brain capacity to write full-length reviews about everything I get my mitts on, but there are definitely things I want to tell you about. I figured a handful of brief notes every now and again would be a good compromise.
Showing no let up in their commitment to tackling the bigger picture, ATU's latest offering rips into more of the usual suspects. Backed up by their battery of metallic anarcho-punk, Sarah's vox pin your ears to your head and make sure the message hits square between the eyes. They realise the contradictions that capitalism creates in their (our) lives but don't shun away from biting the hand that pretends to feed while it bleeds. The brooding black-with-a-hint-of-colour cover art sets the tone, and the fold-out image / lyric packed poster is always a welcome bonus. Nice random marbled vinyl too (mine is a kinda camo-diarrhea combo).
They had problems with the pressing plant over one of the tracks due to the use of samples, and an edited version appears on the EP. Helpful as ever, ATU have made the unedited version available for free online.
I've only just discovered this band after Prejudice Me gave me a heads-up. Glad they did too. For a very reasonable sum of money, you get 3 tracks of tight, intense and finely-controlled fury that slam as hard as a sledgehammer to the face. The lyrics are intelligent and meaningful, definitely a step above the common clichés often found elsewhere. The whole package is wrapped in a slick fold-out sleeve complete with beautifully disturbing colour artwork and lyrics.
When a great deal of what passes for hardcore amounts to nothing more than macho posturing and hanging out with the bros, bands like Cop Problem continue to prove that it can be so much more. Highly recommended.
This is the new album from Brighton’s Burnt Cross. It’s a comp of their last 3 EPs, a track from a comp EP and some unreleased tracks. All in all you get 14 inspiring hits of @-punk fury, mostly original but with a couple of well-matched covers thrown in.
For those who don’t know 'em, BC are a pair of bruvs with a drum machine, a four-track and a shedload of attitude. Don't be fooled by the simple technology – these boys produce music that holds its own against anything you'd find coming from a 'pro' studio. If you like your @-punk à la Conflict, then this is for you!
Only 300 have been pressed and they’re going quick. Grab one while you can.
This lot should need no introduction to anyone who claims any kind of allegiance to anarcho-punk, and I'm mainly mentioning it to show off the fact that I've got my hands on this sweet package. Well, it made sense, given the fact that all of my originals are showing the passage of time and I had some spare cash.
From the spiky debut of 'War' to the jangly antipop on 'True Love', the tracks on these EPs capture the band from every angle. Lovingly remastered by Steve Lake and with all sleeves faithfully reproduced, this release does away with any kind of need to pay record collector prices for the full analogue experience. Not only that, it's all kept safe in a specially-designed box complete with 6 badges in a blister pack (the 5 EP covers and a Zounds logo design) AND comes with a download card.
By The Old Punk, on Friday 18th May 2012 @ 15:16 Section(s): Free Noise
Artist: Bender Title: Jehovas Allstars Source: CD Bitrate: FLAC Running time (h:m:s): 00:42:30 Size (mb): 245 Label: Words Of Warning (defunct) Cat. No: WOWCD48 Year: 1996
2. Over Emotional
3. Going Against The Grain
4. It's Personal
5. Fool's Paradise
6. Breaking the Law
8. We Rule
9. Freedom Day
10. A Misunderstanding
Thanks to their lovely ex-manager Del and vocalist Alex, I've now got my hands on Bender's final album and permission to share it with you all. You lucky, lucky people.
Picking up where 'Lost City Of Dalston' finished, Jehovas Allstars is a natural progression from its predecessor. The music and words have even more punch and depth and carry a real sense of life within them. Imagine the bastard offspring of The Ex and The Astronauts raised on a diet of hiphop, English Romanticism and steroids and you'll probably be none the wiser. Like the best 'punk', it's uncategorisable.
This is another criminally unknown recording, so take full advantage of what's on offer. Your head and feet will thank you.
Where Shadows Lie Side 1:
1. Where Shadows Lie
2. But A Child
3. Far Too Long
4. The Question (Chains Of Guilt)
Where Shadows Lie Side 2:
2. Clockwork Mind
3. Standing In The Hall Of Vanity
4. Lost In The Voices
If the internets died tomorrow I wouldn't weep too many tears, for I have finally obtained my punk rock Holy Grail thanks to its myriad tentacles. The cousin of the bass player for Pro Patria Mori, the most criminally almost unheard of band in all of @-punkdom, somehow saw a post where I'd mentioned them and passed on the info to his relative. Said cousin, Paul, got in touch, we had a quick e-chat and next thing you know I've got my mitts on the cleanest ever rips of most of their recorded legacy (the first demo is still MIA).
The tracks on 'Where Shadows Lie' are nothing short of perfectly controlled fury. At a time when the metal edge was being taken on board by the @-punk crowd, PPM set a standard for others to aim for. Personally speaking, I don't think anyone else did it quite as well. Even Antisect, for all the power hinted at in their later stuff, couldn't quite hit the spot as sweetly or as competently as PPM did.
The 'Lament' track wasn't brilliant to begin with, audio-wise - I remember Pete (guitar) having a good moan about the quality due to poor studio work. Nevertheless, once your ears adjust to it, the technical skill and lyrical strength on this track (originally intended for a comp that never happened if memory serves me right) showed a promising progression in their sound that sadly remained unfulfilled.
Paul has kindly given me permission to share these almost-unknown classics with you, and I would urge anyone passing through to grab them. Even if you're one of the few who has/had the tapes, you'll never have heard the tracks sounding this fucking awesome.
AKA 'Artcore Vinyl Fanzine Volume Five'. Punk rock fixture 'n' fitting Welly is back with yet another broadside in his war against mediocrity in the zine scene. And he's a veteran in every sense - this is issue #29 of the exceptional 'Artcore', an organ that he's been thrusting into the hands of grateful punks since 1986. But with the printed word becoming harder to sell to the internet masses, Welly's risen to the challenge and occasionally produces a vinyl fanzine to bring something a bit different to the table. Like this one.
The mag is as jam-packed as ever and, with Welly's experienced eye, beautifully laid out. All of the bands on the album are covered within, some with full interviews and the rest with smaller info panels, there are a few dozen quick reviews (I wish I had the ability to be both that brief and informative), a couple of Wellian polemics (the one on 'knowing your place' is outstanding), a bit of ranting banter from a few mates, some history lessons (MDC and more German punk), interviews with a range of deviant types (the highlight for me has to be the one with Rob 'The Baron' Miller of Amebix), and all tail-ended by some lovely '50s horror comic style artwork courtesy of Dirty Donny, who also gets to say a few words.
Crammed on to the large round thing that accompanies the mag (AKA 'Terminal Decay') are twenty tracks that showcase a load of new(ish) bands from across the punk spectrum who are taking punk forwards on their own terms (whilst respecting the traditions that preceded them). Like any comp, there will almost certainly be a track or two that don't quite gel with your ears. It's music, it's a personal response, that's what happens. But, to these ears, this one hits the spot far more often than not, and even the 'worst' of the tunes is alright.
Other great things about the comp are that the bands represent 12 countries between them, thirteen of the tracks are previously unreleased while, for two more, it's their first vinyl outing. That's proper old-school, when comp albums would be made up almost exclusively of new songs and / or unknown bands from all over the place.
Welly wants to keep this deal as analogue as possible, but has kindly agreed to let me upload the title track (as used in the above video). If you want to hear the rest of it (and you'd be bonkers not to), you'll have to grab this quick.
By The Old Punk, on Sunday 22nd January 2012 @ 18:16 Section(s): Anarchy For Sale
Click for larger image
Responding to the earnest demands of aged aesthetes, veteran crusters Misery have had their recent DIY download-only release pressed on to vinyl by the good people at Inimical Records. Not any old vinyl, of course. It's a double album, cut at 45rpm to ensure maximum heaviness, on beautiful grey splatter vinyl (limited to the first 200 who mailorder from Inimical, plain black after that), with a weighty matt card gatefold sleeve illustrated by Leffer that reflects the intricate monotones of the contents. Grey has never been so dynamic or intense.
The whole deal is only twelve Yankee bucks. Even with the postage across the pond, I got this beast for the equivalent of twenty quid. And that's a price I'm more than happy to have paid.
OP's opinion: (it gets the extra half an @ over the download for being a proper record with loads of class).
This is a limited vinyl pressing (300, each numbered) of their first new studio tracks in 25 years, originally released on MCD in 2009. The band have put this out to raise money for Bradford's legendary '1 in 12 Club', who are facing large bills for essential safety work on their building.
Which means the first thing you'll get for your money is a warm glow from having helped out a punk institution.
You'll also get a heavy fold-out card cover with a piece about the club, lyrics to both tracks and some classic Anthrax artwork. They even include the MCD for free. Oh, and there's a record.
Never mind the 25 year gap, this is about as fresh as punk gets. The pace may have slowed a fraction but the urgency hasn't diminished one bit. The A side has a really powerful sound, almost an Oi! feel but with more depth to it. The flip is more traditionally moody @-punk, perked up with a simple semi-acoustic refrain along the way. The whole thing is like the second EP on steroids, and I'm really impressed with the progression. I'd even go as far as saying that, as a whole package, it's the best thing they've done to date.
The whole deal is £4 plus postage direct from the band at email@example.com or buy it on ebay for a little bit more.
By The Old Punk, on Wednesday 11th January 2012 @ 11:46 Section(s): Anarchy For Sale
I've been using whatever remnants of knowledge and wisdom I have in my head to help a young punk put this benefit compilation together. And I'm very excited by how it's turning out.
There are some great acts involved, covering the whole gamut of punk, ska, folk and other related noise, and they've all given their time and tracks for free. Things like this just reinforce why punk will always be a central part of my life and why it's about so much more than just the music.
Stay tuned for the release date, you'll hear it here first.