Album Review: Astpai – True Capacity

Austrian grit-and-guitar maestros Astpai reach melodic punk perfection on their fifth studio album. FFO: The Flatliners, Gnarwolves, RX Bandits.

Article by Sarah Williams.

Since beginning Shout Louder, I’ve been sent a lot of records. I listen to every single submission, so it’s easy for an album to pass me by, falling into the mediocre cracks in the floorboards of scruffy punk fodder. As a result, it’s a rarity that an album will grip me from a first listen but, guess what? True Capacity has done just that.

Astpai have been on the gruff-punk radar for many years now, pulling big, dedicated audiences in the UK as well as on the mainland. True Capacity is the fifth studio album from this Viennese five-piece; a strong melodic punk offering that will instantly appeal to fans of The Flatliners and Gnarwolves.

Main single, Best Years, has to be the one of the best melodic punk songs written in 2018. It hooks you in with a devilishly catchy riff before slamming you with understated, earworm lyrics. Astpai have nailed a unique and enticing combination of written-in-your-bedroom simplicity and owning-a-huge-stage atmospherics that resonates through the whole record. I’m singing along with the my fist in the air, nodding my head and tapping my feet for, “That’s the best you can do.” The more I hear this song, the more it resonates with me.

Zock’s gruffer, gently accented vocal is something of an acquired taste, but he’s outdone himself on this recording, bringing a passionate depth to the lyrics without being show-offish. “Rejection is the final nail to your coffin of despair,” on No Hero is another instantly memorable lyric, as is, “Love is a strong word when you don’t mean it.” Continue reading “Album Review: Astpai – True Capacity”

Gig Review: SBÄM Fest, Austria [4-5 May 2018]

Austria’s hottest new punk festival was a blast, with Propagandhi, Iron Chic, No Trigger, Satanic Surfers and lots of gin…

Article by Sarah Williams. Photos by Andreas Wörister / Slihs Photgraphy.

I leapt into SBÄM Fest with a tangible sense of punk adventure. I drove overnight from Manchester to Stansted, got two hours kip in the back of my car, then parked up and met a pal at the airport in time for a 7am flight. One Wetherspoons breakfast and not-enough black coffee later and we’re hopping buses and trains in Austria to get to Wels. SBÄM takes place at Alter Schlachtof, an old slaughterhouse converted into a graffiti-adorned grassroots gig venue, holding 750 keen music fans this weekend. The impressive line-up (featuring Propagandhi, Donots, Satanic Surfers, Iron Chic and No Trigger to name a few) has been enough to draw people in from around the world.

Friday

We get reach the venue just in time to catch the opening act, Missstand. They perform seriously energetic, punchy political songs, just the way punk should be played. They’ve got a lot of Anti Flag-style singalong sections, but they’re loaded with more Rancid-ish grit. I’d been enjoying listening to Hinterland on record and it carries across with a lot more force live. As they’re speaking in German, we’re amused that the only words we can pick up between songs are ‘super-cool’. They’ve nailed it: SBÄM feels super cool!

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The Murderburgers

Following Misstand are two favourite British acts: The Murderburgers and Wonk Unit, who are mid-way through a joint mainland tour. The Murderburgers are fiery, funny and frantic just as you come to expect them. My friend and I giggle along to Fraser’s on-point banter, although we’re not sure how well his Scottish drawl translates to the international audience. Wonk Unit proceed to play one of the best sets I’ve ever seen them perform – they seem comfortable, played-in and every element of the show feels like the top of their game. It’s good to see some of the Wonk Fam rocking out down the front, and it’s a treat to see new tunes like Christmas In A Crackhouse and Day Job Wanker on stage. They still pull out old favourites Guts and Horses, which give us an excuse for a proper dance.

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Wonk Unit

It turns out that two beers on top of two hours sleep in two days is enough to make your head swim, so I decide to have a tactical sit down while I wait for the sky to stop spiralling, before adopting the tried-and-tested sunglasses-indoors coping mechanism. We also have to take a quick jaunt to check in to a hotel. Unfortunately, this means we miss Joe McMahon, however we’re back and raring to go around in time for Astpai. Continue reading “Gig Review: SBÄM Fest, Austria [4-5 May 2018]”

Podcast #6: The Bennies, Consumed, SBÄM Fest & El Topo

Episode 4 is packed full of punk rock treats for you! We have an interview with Australian party machines The Bennies, a massive Umlaut Records giveaway to celebrate the new Consumed release and tales of SBÄM Fest and El Topo Goes Loco. We also play new tunes from The Human Project, Youth Avoiders, Tragical History Tour and Consumed!

Our highlight was catching up with Anty and Nick from The Bennies in Beligum, and asking them about their worst experience ever! Hold on till the end of the episode for that.

First up, Mark and Sarah discuss their recent gigs, including an account Austrian punk festival SBÄM Fest, including talk of Propagandhi, Satanic Surfers, No Trigger, Astpai, Wonk Unit, Donots and The Murderburgers. Sarah gets emotional, has Iron Chic mansplained to her, gains a boob bruise and discovers the perils of getting drunk with Darko two weeks in a row.

We also cover Belgian sunny ska/skate romp El Topo Goes Loco, including The Bennies, Beat The Red Light, The Affect Heuristic, Thanx 4 All The Shoes, The Burnt Tapes, Slack Birds, Imperial Leisure and Not Available. Mark also chats about TIE Fighter Pilot, Project Revise and Butt Plug Babies, plus we share a love of a Bangers.

Come join us in Sarah’s living room, talking faster than light to get through all this awesome content.

Continue reading “Podcast #6: The Bennies, Consumed, SBÄM Fest & El Topo”

Podcast #5: Jamie from Aerial Salad Chatting Utter Shite

Jamie Munro joins us a guest for this no-holds-barred episode, bonding over a love of drinking, punk rock and conversational tangents.

On Episode #5 Mark and Sarah are joined by the Aerial Salad’s loquacious frontman Jamie Munro. If you’re not already familiar with Manchester’s freshest pop-punks then this is a great chance to get to know them better.

Join us in Sarah’s living room as we bond over a love of conversational tangents and talk utter shite about the UK punk rock world. Share in the laughter as Mark ‘Hunkasaurus’ Bell makes a failed attempt to rein Jamie and Sarah in!

We cover myriad topics, including Jamie’s wholesome adventures in Disneyland, alt-girl-specific paedophilia, drug-induced escapades, an ex-girlfriend crying during Jamie’s set and a prediction for Jamie’s miserable future. We also share our love for Triple Sundae, Fastfade, Burnt Tapes, Incisions, Clayface, Pizzzatramp, Astpai, Sham City Roasters and many more.

We’ve even got an exclusive unreleased Aerial Salad track and an announcement for their upcoming European tour with The Raging Nathans. We also celebrate the line-up announcement for Polite Riot festival, including the addition of Apologies, I Have None to an incredible line-up that already features Teenage Bottlerocket and A Wilhelm Scream.

If that’s not enough for you, we’ve even got music from EAT DIRT, Two Houses and The Affect Heuristic.

Continue reading “Podcast #5: Jamie from Aerial Salad Chatting Utter Shite”