Review: Haest – EP #2

“Haest sound like they’ll drink all your cider and shit in your bathtub.” FFO: Amebix, Axegrinder, Discharge

Review by Ollie Stygall.

Let me ask you a question. What is punk rock?

Is it the aggressive take on hard rock first put forward by bands such as The Sex Pistols and The Damned? Is it the metallic rush of bands such as Discharge and The Exploited? Is it the hyperspeed grind of hardcore bands such as Ripcord or Heresy? Is it the melodic, pop-tinged sounds of The Offspring? Is it the off-kilter, angular, dub-infused sounds of Fugazi? The answer is, it’s all of this… and more.

Haest from Hastings (see what they did there?) is punk but don’t easily fit into a convenient punk-rock pigeon hole. To my grizzled, ancient ears they sound like the modern day bedfellows of 80’s crust bands such as Amebix and Axegrinder as they throw a touch of sludge into their grimy grind. Continue reading “Review: Haest – EP #2”

Album Review: The Overjoyed – Aced Out

Greek power-punks The Overjoyed have made a thrilling start to 2019. FFO: Rocket From The Crypt, Direct Hit!, The Lillingtons

Review by Mark Bartlett.

It’s early January and, with all the fantastic music of 2018 still fresh in our hearts and ears, The Overjoyed have fired a spectacularly catchy and fun starting pistol for what will no doubt be an even better 2019.

For those of you who enjoy making lists (much like myself) you’d do well to check out this fantastic slice of pop-punk n’roll immediately; as well as pop a note in your diary to remember it for your end of year considerations, as I don’t foresee more than a handful of albums being able to match both the catchiness and consistency of this record.

The Overjoyed are a four-piece hailing from Athens, Greece, and I feel they’re somewhat underrated in the UK. Given the strength of the material on offer here, I can’t imagine them being much of a secret for long, though (London’s finest The Burnt Tapes recently concluded an eventful tour of Greece with them that you can read about here). Continue reading “Album Review: The Overjoyed – Aced Out”

Top 10 Punk Rock Albums Of 2018

The punk rock albums that have endured the most repeat listens in 2018.

Written by Sarah Williams. Cover photo by Cold Front Photography.

There have been an overwhelming number of excellent releases this year, and there’s no chance at Top 10 list will ever do justice to the talent out there. I have based this list on the punk rock records that have had the most repeat spins on my stereo this year, as I think it’s that long-term connection that gives an album real weight.

As Burnt Tapes once said, “This year’s been a weird one.” That lyric rung true enough for me in 2018 that I got it inked on my arm, and it’s really only gotten weirder since then.

One of the strangest things to happen to me in 2018 was being invited to join the crew at Lockjaw Records. As a result I’ve been able to work with some of my favourite bands. Clearly I’m incredibly biased towards bands I’ve worked with however I felt like I’d be lying if I didn’t include them here – I wouldn’t have volunteered my time and effort into the releases if I wasn’t completely in love with them.

Note: I’ve restricted this list to punk-related records, however my ‘true’ top 10 includes other genres as well. I’ve written a Top 10 Releases for the Lockjaw Records site that gives an even more accurate picture of my top picks. Notable mentions go to Kali Uchis, Jorja Smith, Tim Loud, Incisions, The Human Project, Nosebleed, Call Me Malcolm, Eat Defeat, Not Scientists and Spanish Love Songs.

#10: Tim Loud – Salvation

Tim Loud Salvation Album Cover

Since his days in Bootscraper, Tim Loud’s been a consistently entertaining songwriter and performer, however 2018’s Salvation is his darkest release to date. The record becomes a window into his soul at times, especially as it skips from genre to genre. The first and second halves of the album are distinctly different releases. Continue reading “Top 10 Punk Rock Albums Of 2018”

Top 5 Punk Rock EPs of 2018

Sarah’s Top 5 picks of this year’s shorter punk rock releases.

Written by Sarah Williams.

There’s a true beauty in a short, snappy EP. Whether is a new band looking for a cost-effective way to showcase their talents and learn how to record, or a more established act wanting to immortalise some of their current material, EPs are often better than full albums.

To me a full album is an experience. The longer playing time allows the music to breathe and have highs and lows. Conversely, the short, sweet EP is typically a relevant blast of the band’s most recent material: a audio snapshot of this moment in their career, with no room for filler, fuss or faff.

Speaking to Lasse from Forever Unclean recently, I asked him whether they were considering doing an album. “We prefer doing EPs,” he said, if I remember correctly (I was drunk, so let’s paraphrase). “That way we can put out music that we currently enjoy playing, without having to wait for a full album’s worth of material.”

The albums released in 2018 were probably written and recorded long before. With that in mind, the shorter, more manageable EPs offer a more current insight into the musical landscape. That’s why, to me, some of this year’s most memorable releases are the short ones.

#5: Layman’s Terms – An Invite To The End

Bristol shredders Layman’s Terms produced an absolutely superb 6-track effort early in 2018.  An Invite To The End opens with some heavy guitar-work that quickly develops into urgent, frantic fast-punk. Like Fair Do’s, they’ve taken a lot of elements of double-time classic skate-punk and blended some of the heavier elements of metal. It works. Really well.

The whole EP keeps you on the edge of your seat with some adrenaline-loaded riffs and momentary heavy breakdowns. It’s unrelenting, ferocious and suggests there will be some great things from the band in future. I cannot wait to shout along to this live.

If you want to hear melodic hardcore done right, listen to Cut The Line and Letters To The Dead. Layman’s Terms have nailed this. Continue reading “Top 5 Punk Rock EPs of 2018”

Album Review: Mudhoney – Digital Garbage

“Digital Garbage throws the Mudhoney right back to the raw days of Superfuzz Bigmuff with a sense of vitriol and big, fuzzy guitars.” FFO: FUCKING MUDHONEY!!!!

Review by Ollie Stygall.

What’s this? Mudhoney on a punk website? Fuck yeah it is!!!! Mudhoney were certainly seen as one of the pioneers of the grunge movement but at their heart they are a punk rock band. They always eschewed the more metallic leanings of bands such as Alice In Chains and Soundgarden and the stadium rock of Pearl Jam and ploughed a furrow that was as informed by old school punk rock as it was psychedelic garage rock. A quick look at some of the bands they’ve covered in their career gives a real clue as to there the band is truly coming from, The Dicks, Angry Samoans, The Damned, The Adolescents, Fang, Black Flag, Void and The Crucifucks to name but a few. Make no mistake my friends, Mudhoney are a punk rock band.

The band’s punk credentials are fully apparent on this new album, their 10th studio offering in 30 years. Recent albums have seen some of the rougher edges shaved off of the band’s sound but Digital Garbage throws the band right back to the raw days of Superfuzz Bigmuff with a sense of vitriol and big, fuzzy guitars that made the band’s name in the first place.

Continue reading “Album Review: Mudhoney – Digital Garbage”

Album Review: Fastfade – Happy If You Aren’t

London skate-punks Fastfade have produced a straight-up classic. FFO: Early blink-182 / Green Day / Frenzal Rhomb

Review by Alan O’Corcorain.

Clocking in at 13 songs in 34 minutes, Fastfade have made a breathless, exuberant punk album for disaffected youth and nostalgic punk rockers everywhere.

Listing Blink-182 as an influence can sometimes be a red flag. For a band that are often viewed as three jackasses who struck it lucky, they are actually really fucking good songwriters, you guys! Not sure if you’ve listened to Enema Of The State lately, but it’s got some songs, people.

Usually the Blink-influenced band are three snotty teenagers in their parents’ shed throwing shitty chords at the wall and hoping they stick. Now, Fastfade are self described as three lads playing snotty punk music that they wrote as teenagers in their parents garage, I’ll grant you that…but here’s the thing. They’re all that, but they’re actually pretty damn good to boot.

Fastfade is a pretty amazing name for a punk band on the edges of 90s skate punk. Both familiar and fresh, somehow. It’s a perfectly distilled name for a young punk band.  They know what they want to sound like. You know what they are going to sound like. And you’re excited for it. Continue reading “Album Review: Fastfade – Happy If You Aren’t”

Album Review: Mean Caesar – Self Titled

Mean Caesar’s 6 track, self-titled EP is a sharp collection of brash yet melodic punk rock, FFO: Hot Water Music, Leatherface and Samiam.

Review by Ollie Stygall.

The Caesars, the emperors of Rome, were by and large a pretty horrible lot. Venerated as gods they frequently abused their power to indulge their sexual and sadistic whims. So it begs a question, if a Caesar is mean, how much of an utter bastard must he really be?

Fortunately South London’s Mean Caesar are not a scary proposition. Fearsome, yes, but certainly something to be embraced in the punk scene. Mean Caesar have been an active gigging band since early 2018 but prior to that they spent two years holed up in the rehearsal space, honing their song writing and sound before hitting the ground running as a fully formed and functional outfit. This time spent and attention to their craft and presentation has clearly paid off in the first recorded fruits of their labours.

This 6 track, self-titled EP is a sharp collection of brash yet melodic punk rock that draws influence from Hot Water Music and the much beloved Leatherface. Each track is packed with more hooks than a fisherman’s tackle box and more drive than an episode of Top Gear, all capped off by vocalist Danny Lester’s impassioned, gruff bark. Vocally Lester will definitely draw comparisons to Chuck Ragan and Frankie Stubbs as he combines a rough gargle with a keen sense of melody. Continue reading “Album Review: Mean Caesar – Self Titled”