Squat The Lot!

Squatingt benefit CD poster

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.

Opposition Rising – Aftermathematics LP

Opposition Rising posterThis is the first vinyl release from the rapidly-expanding Riot Ska Records collective (among others), and it’s a great start for them.

Opposition Rising hail from Boston and band members have been heavily involved with the scene for many years. Their diverse tastes are reflected in the sound they’ve produced here, a pleasant cocktail of sharp old-school hardcore and dismetal with touches of what is probably best described as ska-crust. The production job is crisp without being too clean, very well suited to what they’re doing, and everything fits nicely into place.

The band have matched the noise to some creative and intelligent lyrics, which is exactly what you’d expect from folk who’ve been around the block a few times. There’s an an uncompromising attitude that could only really come from veterans of the social war. They’ve also made some conscious positive decisions about what DIY means to them when it comes to putting out their music in this day and age. It’s nice to see the old guard (still) setting the pace in political punk rock discourse.

Being a vinyl nut, I scooped up the limited edition swamp green version from Riot Ska. The other labels involved – Active Rebellion (UK), Crash Assailant Records (US), Pirates Press Records (US), Rodent Popsicle (US) and Tankcrimes Records (US) – have each got their own limited colour pressings too (and they’re all really nice). There are (not-so-limited) black copies available from the band’s own label, Opposition Records, and all of the above.

You may also be able to track down the free CD version or, if not, you can download it for absolutely nothing from the Bandcamp page.

For people who also like: Varukers, Toxic Narcotic, Mouth Sewn Shut

OP’s opinion: Four half

Opposition Rising website
Buy from the labels or from Iron Column Records (black version).

NB: the band also appear on a 4-way split 7″ with Embrace The Kill, In Defence and Hellmouth, which is also available from ICR.

A Year In My Ears 2011

Although I don’t think I’ve spent so much on new music this year when compared to last, what I have bought has been immensely satisfying. These ten releases have ended up doing multiple revolutions on various stereophonic devices around my house, and have definitely earned their keep.

Amebix – Sonic Mass LP (Easy Action Records). An album that was more than two decades in the making, and one that surpassed every expectation. There were some who didn’t ‘get’ this release, but I wasn’t one of them. Awesome on every level.

The Rebel Spell – It’s A Beautiful Future CD* (Rebel Time Records). Rebel Time have turned me on to some mighty fine noise coming out from the land of lumberjacks, and The Rebel Spell have continued that trend. Brilliantly tuneful and full of energy.

The Astronauts – Survivors LP (La Vida Es Un Mus). While the tracks on this release (a collection of their first 2 EPs and their side of a rare split) may be thirty years old, Paco at LVEUM has given them a new lease of life on this album. Off-the-wall kinda-folk-flavoured tunes for those willing to go on a punk rock adventure.

Burnt Cross – Break The Law, Not The Poor EP* (various labels). Two brothers with a mic, a guitar and a portastudio give Conflict a run for their money. When you want your punk rock old-school, no-nonsense and full-on, the Marriott boys should be near the top of your list. Like here.

Spanner – Crisis LP* (Iron Column Records / various labels). Disclaimer 1 – I have a financial and emotional interest in this. Disclaimer 2 – I can’t be held responsible for any outbreaks of crazy dancing and/or revolutionary activity that may result from hearing it.

ATU / Oi Polloi split EP* (Profane Existence / Nikt Nic Nie Wie). The 7″ single has never been so dangerous! A handful of blitzkreig attack tracks from two of the hardest-working and most genuine bands in the scene, ripping into a range of very legitimate targets. Saw both bands this year and they rocked!

Defcon Zero – Music For Gluesniffers, Terrorists And The Mentally Ill CD* (Pumpkin Records). This would get a place for the title alone. As it happens, it’s also a cracking disc. No-frills rapidfire punk rock delivered with just the right balance of venom and humour.

Misery – From Where The Sun Never Shines DL (self-released on Bandcamp). This took almost 6 years to put together in a punk’s basement, in true DIY style. It was worth the time, for this is a mighty beast that sums up the band perfectly. Soon-to-be available on double-LP vinyl from Inimical Records (limited pressing on grey wax for mail order).

The Freebooters – Ordinary Level Oi! CD* (Distro-y Records). Every time I play this, I end up singing along at the top of my voice and smiling like a loon. Grade 1 Oi! for grade 1 haircuts.

VA – Prisoner Of War Benefit CD (no label). Released initially to raise funds for JJ (Active Slaughter’s guitarist who did time for animal lib activities), this CD is now carrying on the good work for anti-fascist prisoners. A great punk pick ‘n’ mix of tunes by a load of bands who haven’t forgotten what it’s really all about.

Not bad at all, eh?

* available to buy from Iron Column Records

Mixing It Up For The Indonesian Punks!

As mentioned a couple of days ago, I’ve put together a mix for my punk friends in Indonesia. It’s not much, but I hope that someone who’s had a bit of a shit time at the rough end of this theocratic fascism ends up with a smile on their face after listening to it. Same goes for you lot too.

1. Blaggers ITA – Emergency
2. Extinction Of Mankind – Fourth Reich Religion
3. Rudimentary Peni – Teenage Time Killer
4. Inner Terrestrials – 1066
5. Burnt Cross – Mob Violence*
6. PAIN – Propaganda And Information Network
7. Appalachian Terror Unit – Judgemental, Ignorant, Stupid And Blind*
8. Doom – Reasonable Force
9. Bender – People’s Army
10. Oi Polloi – Bash The Fash
11. Restarts, The – Bolloxology
12. Warprayer – White Over Red
13. Jesus Bruiser – Oh Really
14. Propagandhi – Technocracy
15. Autonomads, The – Cloud Song
16. Hellbastard – Massacre
17. SubHumAns – This Year’s War
18. Division’s Ruin – Resist And Occupy
19. Spanner – Quiet Life*

*these are available from Iron Column Records

All in FLAC format. Once you’ve unzipped them, you’ll find that it’ll all fit perfectly onto a CD-R. There are a couple of skips, a few pops and the occasional bit of background noise in places. This is because some of the vinyl is old, not all of it was particularly well-treated in the past, and / or I didn’t have time to give it a deep clean before ripping. Nor could I be arsed with cleaning up the rips afterwards. Keeps it real though, eh?

Some notes about each song (and a bit of showing off):

1. Taken from the ‘Blaggamuffin’ mini-LP, Words Of Warning WOWLP19, 1991
2. Taken from the ‘Northern Scum’ LP, Profane Existence Vinyl Retentive Series VR001, limited edition of 200, split red / black wax, 2007
3. Taken from ‘Rudimentary Peni’ 7″ EP, Outer Mongolian Records BOOBOO1, 1981
4. Taken from the ‘Enter The Dragon’ 10″ EP, Maloka MAL017, 2001
5. Taken from the ‘Break The Law, Not The Poor’ 7″ EP, Tadpole Records tadpole030, Lukket Avdeling Records LAR-014, Loud Punk Records LOUD23, Opiate Records Opiate15, Rawby Records RAWBY008, Active Rebellion ACT021, Arripurri Records (none), Schizo Zine (none), Höhnie Records (none), Rusty Knife Records (none), 2011
6. Taken from the ‘Our Universe Commences Here’ LP, Iron Man Records IMB6003, 2001
7. Taken from the untitled split 7″ EP with Oi Polloi, Profane Existence Exist120, 2011
8. Taken from the untitled 2011 US tour EP, marbled wax, Black Cloud Records (none), 2011
9. Taken from the ‘People’s Army’ 7″ EP, Words Of Warning WOW39, limited edition of 500, clear red wax, 1994
10. Taken from the ‘Guilty 7″ EP, Ruptured Ambitions RA01, 1994
11. Taken from the ‘Outsider LP’, Rodent Popsicle Records RPR105, limited edition of 500, split red / white wax, 2007
12. Taken from the untitled split LP with Morne, Alerta Antifascista AA53, limited edition of 400, white wax, 2009
13. Taken from the ‘A Political Treatise In Six Parts’ 10″ EP, La Société Pue Prod, limited edition of 300, 2009
14. Taken from the untitled split 7″ EP with Sacrifice, War On Music WOM017, 1st pressing of 1000 copies, 2010
15. Taken from the ‘No Mans Land’ LP, Ruin Nation Records BOLLOX024, Mass Productions MASS124, Pumpkin Records PUM022, 2010
16. Taken from the untitled split 7″ EP with Dissent, Torture Garden Picture Company TG-39.0, limited edition of 500, purple splatter, 2010
17. Taken from the ‘Internal Riot’ LP, Bluurg Records FISH50, 2007
18. Taken from the untitled split LP with Easpa Measa, Contraszt! Records #18, Suburban Mayhem 003, Holy Shit Records (none), Distro-Y Records DY05, 2010
19. Taken from the ‘Crisis’ LP, Iron Column Records ICR1, limited edition of 100, split red / black wax, 2011

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If you are the copyright owner and want us to take down your music, just click here and let us know. We’re really not trying to piss anyone off.

Smog UK – Misfit Songs 7″ EP

Artist: Smog UK
Title: Misfit Songs
Source: Vinyl 7″ EP
Bitrate: FLAC
Running time (h:m:s): 00:09:52
Size (mb): 70.1
Label: Smog Records
Cat. No: SUK 002
Year: 1995

Smog UK live at The Joiners, Southampton

Smog UK live at The Joiners many, many years ago

For a while, it seemed like you couldn’t avoid seeing Smog play if you were at any punky-related gig in and around Southampton in the ’90s. And that was a very good thing.

These boys knew how to knock up and belt out some mighty fine ska-tinted punk rock, reminiscent of early SLF with an ‘ampshire ‘og accent and a splash of Motorhead sauce. It’s no wonder I became mates with ’em (and still am to this day).

Life has since given the band members other commitments and Smog UK is no more. It’s a shame they only got around to putting out this EP and a split with Shutdown (which will be next up) in all their years together, as an album would’ve been far more fitting. Still, I’m happy they left any legacy at all.

OP’s opinion: Four

Click here to request the download link.

If you are the copyright owner and want us to take down your music, just click here and let us know. We’re really not trying to piss anyone off, we just want to share rare and out-of-print music with people who want to hear it.

Spanner In The Manor

This is a quick heads-up to let you know that my good friends Spanner are on the verge of releasing ‘Crisis’, their first full-length album, in April. It’ll be available on both CD and 12 inches of shiny vinyl and is a collaborative effort between some of my favourite DIY labels – Active Distribution, Pumpkin Records and Maloka Records, as well as my new project Iron Column Records. Spanner logoYou can listen to / download four tracks from it on their Soundcloud page right now, and the rest of the album will be going up very shortly (all under a people-friendly Creative Commons licence).

Spanner knock out in-yer-face political punky ska, more spikey than skanky but still eminently danceable. They almost exclusively play benefit gigs at grassroots / DIY venues and band members aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty at the sharp end of the struggle. And, while work and families occupy a lot of their time, they try and get out on the road as often as possible, including the odd jaunt to Europe. If they turn up somewhere near you, go and check ’em out.

Jakal For Jack All

While you may not yet heard of ’em, Jakal have been knocking out bouncy political skadubpunk tunes for quite a few years now. You’ll regularly find them in a pub or squat playing a benefit gig for not much more than a bowl of food and a beer. And they’re really friendly too, seemingly happy to chat about whatever mindless nonsense spills out of your drunken mouth in the early hours of the morning (sorry, Jakal). I caught ’em again just a few weeks back when they played one of their occasional soirées at the best pub in the world.

The band are also happy to share their sounds with people who haven’t had the chance to see them in person. If you visit their Bandcamp page you’ll be able to download everything they’ve released, totally free and in a load of formats including FLAC for audiogeeks like me, with the exception of their latest (and best so far) 5-track CDEP which cost me a recession-friendly £2 at the gig, less than the cost of a pint and giving me pleasure for a whole lot longer. As they say themselves

Download our first 4 releases for FREE then burn 100 copies for your mates 🙂 spread the word…

So that’s exactly what I’m doing. You may be asked to sign up to their mailing list along the way, but that’s no big deal. They only use it to tell you about nice things like this.

Sonic Boom Six – Rude Awakening CD/LP

Rude Awakening coverFor anyone not yet familiar with this bunch of cheeky Mancs, you could do worse than pick up either (or both) of these juicy releases. Hand-picked by the band, the tracks on show represent the finest fruits of the skapunkdubfunkmetaljungle tree. Tunes have been collected from their earliest works to their most recent offerings, with a particular emphasis on the ones they love to play out on the road (something they do a great deal of), to give a really nicely rounded overview of their energy, range and capabilities.

Both versions share tracks, but there are one or two differences too that make owning the pair very appealing. If you have to plump for one, get the CD – there are more songs, an exclusive new version of Puretone’s ‘Addicted To Bass’ and a couple of videos thrown in too. For a tenner a piece they’re a top deal in these recessionary times, and will certainly help keep your revolutionary fervour fiesty.

OP’s opinion: Five

Sonic Boom Six website
Buy the CD or LP

Bender – Lost City Of Dalston LP

Artist: Bender
Title: Lost City Of Dalston
Source: Vinyl 12″ LP
Bitrate: FLAC
Running time (h:m:s): 00:42:26
Label: Words Of Warning (defunct)
Cat. No: WOWLP43
Year: 1995

1. (00:01:01) Bender – I Did A Windmill
2. (00:03:48) Bender – Man Like You
3. (00:04:14) Bender – Peoples Army
4. (00:03:13) Bender – Freez Up
5. (00:04:12) Bender – Date Line
6. (00:02:50) Bender – Sponging Scum
7. (00:01:46) Bender – Pond Life
8. (00:04:45) Bender – Power To The People
9. (00:02:12) Bender – Fools Paradise
10. (00:04:32) Bender – Injun Dub
11. (00:06:09) Bender – Earth Zone
12. (00:03:28) Bender – Junk
13. (00:00:17) Bender – Silver Hippy

Bender were another free fest fixture ‘n’ fitting (well, with a name like bender, what did you expect?) and added a further dimension to the great bands and songs that such a culture inspired. There’s all of the dubby skanky stuff you’d rightly expect but with some really slick funky discordance and left-field tuneship layered on – just check out the cover of Op Ivy’s ‘Freez Up’ for evidence of their ability to creatively recycle an old classic. It’s eminently danceable, musically engaging and lyrically clever, even raising a chuckle or two along the way.

OP’s opinion: Four

Click here to request the download link.

If you are the copyright owner and want us to take down your music, just click here and let us know. We’re really not trying to piss anyone off, we just want to share rare and out-of-print music with people who want to hear it.

AOS3 – On A Knight Train 12″ EP

AOS3 - On A Knight Train labelArtist: AOS3
Title: On A Knight Train
Source: Vinyl 12″ EP
Format: FLAC
Running time (h:m:s): 00:15:00
Size (mb): 100
Label: Inna State
Cat. No: I.S. TV002
Year: 1996

With the British summer seemingly over, I needed something a bit warm and cuddly to perk me up so grabbed this and threw it on the platter. It’s been quite a while since I’d heard it and I’d forgotten just how chirpy it is. Don’t expect the usual AOS3 sound if you grab this – the remixers, Zion Train and Knights Of The Occasional Table, take these tracks on a dancey mission that nicely exemplifies how the punks and ravers could ‘get it on’ when the mood took ’em.

It seemed a shame to keep these uplifting beeps and bleeps to myself so, whether it’s grey or sunny outside, grab these and give yourself a drug-free boost (unless, like me, it’s too late for the drug-free bit).

OP’s opinion: Three half

Click here to request the download link.

If you are the copyright owner and want us to take down your music, just click here and let us know. We’re really not trying to piss anyone off, we just want to share rare and out-of-print music with people who want to hear it.