Since the turn of the year, I’ve been listening to a variety of music – new and old – and in a variety of formats. I’ve never been a fan of streaming, but I’m trying to get into the 21st Century and using these formats where there isn’t an alternative.
I’ve been playing catch up on music I’ve been sent over the last few months as well as listening to Christmas presents and recent recommendations from friends.
Speaking of recommendations – I recently wrote a blog about Jason How, if you haven’t already checked him out. I’d recommend a listen, regardless of what “genre” you normally listen to. It’s a musical treat to the eardrums.
The Secret Life of a Teenage Punk Rocker – Andy Blade
Over the last week I also finally got around to ordering Andy Blade’s audiobook version of “The Secret Life of a Teenage Punk Rocker: The Andy Blade Chronicles”. Narrated by the man himself, the book is an entertaining romp through his teenage years and the formation of Eater. I’m only a couple of hours in at the moment, but already would highly recommend it to anyone. I say this whether you are a fan of Eater or not, even if you aren’t a fan of punk, you don’t need to be.
Andy has a great way of telling a story and has me engrossed and laughing along with him a lot of the time. Whether that be due to an in-depth tale of “stalking” The Runaways at their Bayswater Hotel as a 14 year old, his comparing his feelings about dancing to teenage sexual urges or even simple asides about Tennents Lager cans. It is fascinating to hear a first-hand account from someone who was a fan of and involved in the scene as a band from the outset. I’m listening in the car on the way to and from work and I’m disappointed when I get to my destination! Looking forward to my next car trip…
The Fall, Gerry Cinnamon, The Skids
From a music perspective, as well as working through The Fall complete singles and b-sides (what an amazing body of work!). I’ve also found myself listening a lot to Gerry Cinnamon. His album goes to prove that in this day and age, just because you pick up an acoustic guitar you don’t need to sing insipid love songs about some girl or other being “between my arms”. (When I hear that song, am I the only one who conjures up a picture of Sheeran standing with arms outstretched in front of him and some lassie standing in front of him “between” his arms?).
I’ve also been enjoying the new Skids album which arrived last Friday after what seemed like aeons since I pledged for it. It has been well worth the wait and with some songs co-written by The Filthy Tongues Martin Metcalfe and produced by Youth the album stands up well with their classics. Having seen them live a couple of days prior in King Tuts, the band proved that they still have what it takes to get a crowd going, even if Jobson still can’t dance (still, that is part of the charm). They were tight, the musicianship was fantastic, some amazing drumming from Mike Baillie, a brilliant night was had by all. And of course they ended the night with the “worst song we ever wrote”, TV Stars.
Buzzbomb – 60 Miles of Bad Road
On the album front, another new release that deserves your attention is the third album from Bathgate’s Buzzbomb. Not only do I love this band’s music, but the cover art on the new album by 2000AD artist Patrick Goddard is a joy to behold too. I pre-ordered the vinyl to ensure I get the full effect of the artwork (and also the fact that I love vinyl) but have been listening to the download in the meantime.
The album, “Sixty Miles of Bad Road” is a high-octane thrill ride that doesn’t let up for a second for a breath. I don’t know if anyone recently watched the B-movie style TV series “Blood Drive” (a futuristic schlock horror blood and guts TV series with a murderous race involving cars that are powered by blood – you get the picture). Maybe it’s a combination of the music and the cover art, but I could easily visualise the high-adrenaline psychobilly/punkabilly music of “Buzzbomb” sound-tracking the series.
Only one of the tracks disappoints me slightly, their cover of “Born to Lose”. I’m not averse to bands covering classic songs, but something about this version leaves me cold.
High Adrenaline Thrill Ride
However, that aside, the rest of the album delivers blow after blow and hits the target every time with a dead-shot. From the intoxication and chanted chorus of “Blood and Whiskey” via the breakneck reality that is the banding having an “Existential Crisis”. Leaving “Wreckage” (One of my favourites on the album – “Forget yesterday, learn to walk away”) in their wake, all the way through to the 100mph drumming and buzz saw guitar of the “All that I have and all that I believe in refrain” of “Russian Roulette”. I’m exhausted by the end of the album – in an exceptionally satisfying way.
With a number of dates already secured including Michale Graves another support date for the Kings of Psychobilly, The Meteors, 2018 already looks good for Buzzbomb.
Another album that was sent to me via my blog, was a re-release of old tracks from “Godfather of Turkish Punk” Tünay Akendiz. I’ll be honest, I didn’t know of his existence before the link dropped into my inbox with a bit of background. However, from what I can glean from the press release and a couple of quick internet searches he appears to have been somewhat of a maverick in Turkey.
Ironhand Records is proud to present one of the greatest legends of Turkish rock music:
Tünay Akdeniz was quite a figure in 70’s music scene in Turkey with mocking lyrics, punk-rock image and bad boy attitude. He had once used giblets for accessory in a photo session, had sued state television for not airing his music, used the title “punk-rock” first time in Turkey and had earned the title “big rocker” as he made cassette copies of hard ’n’ heavy albums for younger generation who lack resources to find originals with mail order for years.”
What you get on this album is 14 tracks in all, 8 different tracks (6 of the tracks are instrumental versions of tracks on the album)
Bear in mind that this was in the 1970s, when in the UK we were struggling with strikes, 3 days weeks, unemployment, the winter of discontent and a heatwave in ’76. In Turkey, the decade was book-ended by military coups in ’71 and ’80 and much political violence from 76-79 resulting in over 5000 deaths. If you bear this in mind as a backdrop to the times, the activities listed that he undertook in 1970’s Turkey would have seemed fairly radical and extreme, even if they don’t seem so now in modern day UK.
The music is of its time, not an overtly “punk” sound as you would necessarily classify it, but you need to remember a lot of these songs pre-date punk as we would know it. If you believe that punk is an attitude more than a style of music and way of dressing as many of the punk police would have you believe, then yes, Tünay could very much be described as punk.
I can’t really vouch for the lyrics to songs as I don’t speak the language, but there are some good wee tunes in here. “Nicin Seni Seviyorum” (which if google translate serves me right translates as “Why I Love You”) musically has a “Roadrunner” feel to it while some of the other tracks have more of an early 70’s sparse rock sound incorporating disco/funk guitar effects (“Dişi Denen Canlı” / “The Creature Called Female”) or an almost Johnny Cash/country guitar (“Mesela Mesele” / “For Example The Matter Is…”). The aforementioned “Babam Yazdı Ben Besteledim İşte Aşkın Tarifi” (“Daddy Wrote the Lyrics, I Composed the Music, That’s the Recipe of Love”) has perhaps my favourite translated song title on the album.
Certainly not an unpleasant listen and has also given an insight into alternative/protest music scene in another culture during the 70s.
Moving to the here and now, and punk as it is today, The Apparents have a new EP, “The Face May Change” out on various download and streaming sites.
These Scottish protest-punks have presented 5 tracks of in your face punk rock with some accomplished guitar playing. The majority of the tracks have an angry edge to them – whether that be directed to the government (Tory Boy), a rant about the proliferation of reality TV (Reali-TV), Indyref related (This is Scotland) or religion (Fuck Religion – which brings to mind the Fire Exit classic – Religion is the Cause of all War).
However, for me both musically and lyrically, the stand out track on the EP has to be the one with a more positive vibe, “Nothing is Set in Stone”. With pulsing guitar and messages about making the most of life, “Don’t take life for granted – it can all be taken away” I’d like to hear more of this side of The Apparents in the future.
Another band that have been on the go since 2016 but I’ve not had the pleasure of seeing yet are The Dunts.
Describing themselves as Council Punk, I’ve been enjoying the 4 tracks on their “Not Working is Class EP” on Spotify. All tracks are high voltage with clever and often amusing lyrics (“Hampden Cabs”) with a similar style to Slaves, Idles & Eagulls.
I’m also enjoying the song available on Spotify by Voicex –“Never”. A tasty collaboration between members of various bands from the alternative scene in Scotland – Scars, Boots for Dancing and Heavy Drapes, with words provided by performance poet Suky.
The song is a jubilant post-punk romp with shades of the Velvet Underground. Suky delivers a passionate performance and the song has been on repeat in my ears a good few times over the last few weeks.
I look forward to hearing more from Voicex in 2018
I’m late to the game AGAIN, but I’ve been listening to WHITE recently too. They have been going at least a couple of years, but I’ve been enjoying listening to their album “One Night Stand Forever”. It is more poppy than a lot of stuff I listen too, but I can hear enough in their sound that appeals and makes it interesting. Occasionally there is a bit of a Billy McKenzie twang to it, especially on tracks like “Future Pleasures”. Elements of the guitar hark back to early 80’s angular post-punk bands like Josef K, Fire Engines and the like, with a bit of Sparks and Hot Chip thrown in for good measure.
There are a few bands that I would love to have seen in the New Year series of gigs in King Tuts in January, but have had to make do with listening to their output available online at the moment. These bands are The Ninth Wave, Motion Poets and Sway.
The Ninth Wave
The Ninth Wave are an interesting proposition. They have an EP available just now, “Reformation”, which I have been listening to on repeat. Their wide open sonance bringing to mind vast landscapes, with rich atmospheric electronic keyboards adding to the sophisticated layers. Vocals in places not unlike Propaganda and the delicacy of Shellyann Orphan and complemented by the huge dark powerful sound of noughties bands like White Lies, whilst also encapsulating 80’s goth rock god, Robert Smith.
The Motion Poets
Hopefully 2018 will see Edinburgh based band The Motion Poets follow up their first single from 2017, the extremely catchy “One Too Many” with more of the same jangly indie-rock guitars and drums bounding along and hooking you in along the way,
I’ve mentioned Sway in a previous post with their latest single “To Be a Man” and I’m still listening to this along with “Planet Earth”/”Give You it All”, all available to stream on Spotify. Their songs, at least the sound and passion of “Give You it All”, takes me back to Whipping Boy & Power of Dreams gigs in King Tuts in the ‘90s.
I’m hoping to catch all of these bands during 2018 at some point. I listen to a lot of music by bands of a certain era and even many of the current or newer bands I listen to are made up of “older” musicians. It is good to hear some new music out there that I enjoy, made by the younger generation who aren’t stuck in the bedrooms communicating virtually only. I include the aforementioned Dunts in that list too.
Always open to new music – any recommendations?