Friday, 25 May 2018

CPRW Playlist: May 2018

CPRW Playlist: Here's what Dan, Emma, Jack, Omar, Richard, Robyn and myself have been listening to this May.

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Top Tens: Dan Peters' Top Ten Goldfinger Songs

Writing a Goldfinger top ten has been a tough challenge. They are a seminal band and share a fond place in the hearts of so many. However, depending on how and when you first heard them, you may have a wildly differing opinion on the type of band they are. I also realised I have a strong bias towards one particular album and haven’t spent a lot of time with the material post 2000s. Therefore in the interest of desperately trying to please the Goldfinger fanbase and in trying to remain as impartial to all their albums as possible I’m off for a monster Goldfinger marathon. See you back in the next 20 or so hours…

10. Answers (from Goldfinger)
The first album is criminally overlooked a lot of the time which is a real shame when there are bangers like this on it. Classic GF ska and my favourite of the original bunch.

9. Say It Out Loud (from The Knife)
The Knife was an incredibly strong entry in their discography and of all the songs in there I feel like Say It Out Loud was one of the most OG Goldfinger songs in there, since you can hear so many outside influences in a lot of the other material. This one made me the most nostalgically happy when the album dropped last year.

8. Bro (from Stomping Ground)
Goldfinger are a band that were optimised by a humorous ‘don’t give a fuck’ attitude and this mock-hardcore-into-dub-back-to-mock-hardcore number never fails to elicit a smile from me.

7. Open Your Eyes (from Open Your Eyes)
Maybe a controversial entry here, this song was a marked difference to anything Goldfinger had done beforehand and I myself disliked its obvious emo serve and altogether severely serious nature. It was however a huge commercial success for them and got a hell of a lot of alternative club playtime. As the years have gone on, and I’ve grown up, I like it more and more.

6. Get Up (from Hello Destiny)
I hadn’t listened to Hello Destiny before writing this list. That’s a huge shame because it’s a gem of an album. Get Up is a skank-a-long kickass tune that, if you’ve not heard it before, I guarantee will have you dancing like nobody's watching. Honestly, if Hello Destiny passed you by like it did me I recommend it highly.

5. Pick A Fight (from Stomping Ground)
I love this song with reckless abandon. It’s one of the quintessential Goldfinger pop punk tunes and a banger in every sense. Great vocals, some of the best in its class and just a great all round tune. You’re probably going to notice from here on out that I’m incredibly Stomping Ground heavy. I apologise to no one for that. It was my first Goldfinger album and the one I draw on whenever I think of the band.

4. San Simeon (from Stomping Ground)
San Simeon is peak Goldfinger pop punk. It is great on so many levels it hurts my brain to think about how much excellent is in here. There’s so much fun and energy in this song that it brings an instant smile to my face.

3. 99 Red Balloons (from Stomping Ground)
You always remember your first time. 99 Red Balloons is the first experience I had with Goldfinger and is still to this day top three on my list of greatest punk covers ever. To be honest I didn’t know it was a cover when I first heard it. I just thought it was one of the greatest songs on the earth and wondered why they sang in German at the end. The only thing I can think of that would make me like a Goldfinger song more would be if they’d somehow written a mashup track with MxPx…

2. Put The Knife Away (from The Knife)
Put The Knife Away is basically a mashup track with MxPx. Obviously at this stage in the band's life having Mike Herrera on bass can have that effect on their songs and nowhere is this more apparent than on this track. The speed, melody, vocals… everything screams MxPx to me and that is more than enough to have this come out near the top of this list.

1. Superman (from Hang-Ups)
How could it not be? I know I like songs more than Superman, I know they have better ska tunes and I know it’s been overplayed to the point of ridiculousness but fact are facts. Superman is the biggest, greatest, most influential Goldfinger song of all time. Even amongst the rest of the THPS1 soundtrack Superman was special, sharing a popularity that outshone everything else of the classic soundtrack. It’s most of the world’s entry to Goldfinger and something that has defined generations and been an entry to all of our tastes in music for countless people. A special song indeed.

This top ten was written by Dan Peters.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Gig Review: New Town Kings Album Launch at Colchester Arts Centre 19/5/18

Hot on the heels of last week's Popes Of Chillitown album launch show, Emma and I found ourselves at another. On Saturday the 19th of May we made the journey back to my hometown of Colchester to go and have a dance at the album launch for Colchester's greatest EVER band, the New Town Kings, for the release of their long awaited third full length, Reach Out. Of course the only place the Kings could have their album launch show was at the home venue, Colchester Arts Centre. And as an added bonus, their good buddies and one of our favourite bands in the world, Faintest Idea were support for the evening. The sun was shining and we were ready for a fun night of ska and reggae.

Faintest Idea were the only band announced as support. Normally I like to see at least two support bands but Norfolk's finest band put on a show worthy of two bands. This was their first time playing Colchester so their tradition of having the brass section begin the set in the crowd for opening track Back To The Asylum took a fair few people by surprise. I've seen this a lot of times now and every time it puts a big smile on my face. I have to admit I was wondering how the Colchester crowd would react to Faintest Idea. The New Town Kings generally attract more of an old school reggae and ska crowd these days rather than the punk rockers so it might not be the type of crowd that Faintest Idea are usually used to. Of course they quickly got the crowd on side with a high energy set and they got many of us dancing and skanking away, as well as shouting along to songs such as Youth, Mutual Aid and Bull In A China Shop. We were also treated to a couple of new songs which will hopefully be recorded soon. One was named Stomp Them Down and unfortunately I didn't get the name of the other but they both sounded superb and has me impatiently awaiting some more new material. Faintest Idea were fantastic, they always are. After the set we popped to the bar and overheard a gentleman talking about their set and saying how good they were. It was "really punky." That's at least one new fan gained for the band but I suspect there were many more.

After a speedy changeover it was time for the mighty New Town Kings. I don't know if it's because I don't live in Colchester anymore but over the last year it has felt as if the eight piece have been quite quiet. Now we know why – they've been working hard on a brand new album and it's excellent! We were treated to eleven of the thirteen songs from Reach Out and they already seem like old favourites. That's a big testament to how talented the Kings are as songwriters and performers. Their setlist started with The Hawk and Francine. Both are songs the band have been playing for a while and it's great to see them finally get recorded. Then I was taken a little by surprise as they went on to play many classic songs such as Hold On, Stop, Dynamite and News Stand before moving on to the new, new material. They played the album's title track Reach Out, Borderline, Why You Always Take, British Summer, Deep Water, Music, Long Long Road and Coconut Tree and I loved every single one of them. I've often found that album launch shows can feel a bit awkward as people don't know how to react to things they haven't heard. That certainly wasn't the case at the Arts Centre as people treated the new songs like they'd known them for years. With all these new songs as well as the oldies this was a very long set but it absolutely flew by. We danced from the beginning of The Hawk right the way through to traditional set closer Fire In The Hole and then through to the encore of La La World, Change and Deptford Skank where Faintest Idea drummer Jack Brew joined the band on stage to play a bit of trombone – what a surprise that was!

Earlier in this review I stated that the New Town Kings are the best band to come out of Colchester EVER! I don't think that that is an exaggeration. The New Town Kings are eight incredibly talented people who write and perform this amazing music that gets people singing, dancing and most importantly smiling. We need more bands like the Kings in the world!

This review was written by Colin Clark. Photos by Emma Prew.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Album Review: 1,555 Syllables That Mean Everything by Jake Martin (by Emma Prew)

Jake Martin is a Brighton-based DIY singer songwriter who plays songs that could loosely be described as ‘acoustic folk punk’. I heard about him and his new EP thanks to an email from Aaahh!!! Real Records via Bandcamp (You know those emails you get because you’ve previously bought something from that label or band but really should turn off because you get loads of them… except sometimes you discover gems like these!). Jake Martin wasn’t a name I was familiar with but I was instantly drawn in by the artwork – clearly the work of Dan Allen – and soon discovered that his sound was right up my street.

1,555 Syllables That Mean Everything is a four track EP and the first of those four songs is called May Your Venue Never Die. This is a song that I think, if you’re reading this blog, you will or at least should wholeheartedly agree with and believe in. May Your Venue Never Die is about not wanting to lose another independent music venue to corporate giants and property developers – something that is happening all too often across the UK. So the subject matter certainly had me hooked but what about the music? The song starts out with some simple acoustic guitar but before too long there’s some violin and banjo thrown in as well – the violin actually has a striking solo part that precedes the chorus. I wasn’t sure if this EP was simply going to be purely solo acoustic guy (yes, I stole that from Gaz Brookfield) so, although that would have been fine by me, I was pleasantly surprised to find more going on. The banjo is probably my favourite of the folkier instruments so the start of the second song, Mountains, immediately had my attention. The gentle melody had me nodding along as I took in the words – by this point I’m well aware of and enjoying the great messages and stories that are delivered in Jake Martin’s songs. Mountains is about how we can quite easily get used to our standard everyday life – working to pay the bills and put food on the table, sitting on the sofa in the evening, etc. but never really ‘living’ – without thinking about what we could actually have or do if we wanted to. We can move mountains if we want to. After the second verse, what was a moderately paced track is injected with a energy in the form of an instrumental breakdown. With this comes an increase in volume and a singalong bridge that really is the highlight of the song – ‘If you’re not pissed off, It’s time to listen.’ Although it did instantly remind me of some very similar lyrics from King’s Lynn ska punk band Faintest Idea – that said, the sentiment is still true whichever voice is singing in.

The first two songs on 1,555 Syllables That Mean Everything tackled some fairly important subjects but did so in an uplifting and positive manor. The third song, To All The Ones I Love, is by contrast a somewhat sad but honest outpouring. To All The Ones I Love is about feeling like you’re, of your own choosing, far away from your friends and people that you care about and wanting to let them know you’re sorry for all the times they have been let down by you. Jake sings of how he’s often only ‘home’ for a short period of time and in that time he is most likely still attached to his guitar. The instruments manage to retain a brightness that contrasts with Jake’s words and mean that the song doesn’t simple become a downhearted and sombre tune. The song’s subject made me properly stop and think about how difficult it must be to have a ‘normal life’ whilst also being a touring DIY musician. I’m so grateful that musicians like Jake do what they do so that people like me can enjoy hearing their songs live – I’m almost certain I couldn’t hack it myself so thank you. Finishing off the EP is a song titled We Sing The Words All Wrong. From that title and the opening chords of the song, I was anticipating that this was going to be a fine closing song – hopefully with a singalong element to it. I was not at all disappointed. The song progresses steadily with the level of passion in Jake’s vocals increasing as well as the volume. I’m often reluctant to mention Frank Turner in reviews of anything vaguely acoustic-based as I feel like that can often be a cop-out comparison to make. However, We Sing The Words All Wrong definitely has a bit of a Ballad Of Me And My Friends old school Turner feel to it and I’m all for that (especially when I’m not so fussed about Mr Turner anymore). The bridge says it all – ‘Won’t you sing from your heart, Or never sing again.’ Oh and the whole song is definitely one big singalong, complete with whoa-ohs. Perfect punk rock, acoustic or otherwise.

1,555 Syllables That Mean Everything is available to stream and download on the Aaahh!!! Real Records Bandcamp page now and you can also find Jake Martin on Facebook.

This review was written by Emma Prew.

Monday, 21 May 2018

Album Review: Canadian Businessman by Canadian Businessman

It's always nice when a fantastic release comes out of nowhere. That was certainly the case for new Manchester based band Canadian Businessman. The three piece, formed of Stand Out Riot's Tessa, Ben and Francis released their debut self titled EP just before Easter to little fanfare. Being a fan of Stand Out Riot I previewed it immediately and was gobsmacked by how good it is. It jumped right to the top of my review list.

While Stand Out Riot play a unique mix of ska, punk and gypsy music, Canadian Businessman is a straight up punk band. As in Stand Out Riot Ben plays the drums but for Canadian Businessman Tessa swaps her violin for a bass guitar and Francis swaps his trombone for a guitar. Francis and Tessa also share vocal duties. Now we've got that important information out of the way, let's get on with the review!

The opening track is titled Original and begins in a fantastically upbeat way. I'm actually reminded of Francis's other band, Leagues Apart, as there is that dirty sing-a-long punk rock sound to the song. Francis takes the lead on the song with Tessa supplying some fantastic harmonies throughout. Original is a positive sounding song about reassuring yourself that despite everything it's going to be alright. As you would expect, the chorus is brilliantly catchy and it won't be long until you're singing along quite gleefully. I loved the breakdown section where Francis and Tessa trade off vocals along with a bass solo before building to the finish. Next up is the song Giant which starts off in a relatively heavy fashion before Tessa's vocals come in. Even after years of listening to Stand Out Riot, I'd never realised just what a beautiful vocal she has. It's great that she's given the chance shine here. Francis comes back in for the chorus and the pair display some awesome harmonies once again. The song has a pretty lengthy outro with some high energy buzzsaw guitars ending the song with some aplomb.

Holes reminds me of a more upbeat Above Them. This is honestly one of my favourite songs of the year so far. There's a chugging stop start to the song before an intense Francis comes in with some of the most intense and urgent vocals on the EP. There is a section in the song where the vocals become distorted alongside the guitars to create an interesting sound. This leads to the song's big highlight at the end of the track - a big gang vocal finale where everyone can sing-a-long! The EP finishes off with Warm Welcome. This track is one where the band show off what a great bunch of musicians they are thanks to some fantastic solos throughout the song with Francis's guitar playing in particular standing out. Tessa again handles lead vocal duties beautifully as she sings a song about not feeling as welcome in a scene as you first thought you were. The three part harmonies towards the end of the song, as the band sing the line "I've never felt so cold", are excellent. The layering is incredible. A fantastic way to end such a great EP.

When we get to December and we start thinking about what our favourite releases of the year are I'm expecting Canadian Businessman to feature quite highly in mine. This is so good. I hope there are plans in the works to play these songs live at some point and that band do some more bits like this.

Like Canadian Businessman here:

This review was written by Colin Clark.

Friday, 18 May 2018

Gig Review: Popes Of Chillitown Album Launch Show at New Cross Inn 11/5/18

2018 could go down in history as the year ska punk made its big comeback. Legends such as Random Hand and Lightyear are back at it, Sonic Boom Six are still wowing crowds all around the UK, Call Me Malcolm have just put out what's potentially the best ska punk album of the past ten years, The Bar Stool Preachers have a new album imminent that I'm hearing great things about and I have a feeling we also might see something new from Faintest Idea before the year ends. London based band the Popes Of Chillitown are the band that I think are leading this new wave of ska punk bands into this exciting new era. The Popes have just released a brand new album titled Work Hard, Play Hard, See You In The Graveyard which has been getting rave reviews – check out what Dan Peters had to say about it here. To celebrate this release the Popes, with the help of Be Sharp Promotions, threw an album launch show at the New Cross Inn. The Popes are renowned for being an incredible live band so Emma and I were very excited for the gig.

The first band of the night were just about to get started when we arrived at the New Cross. Codename Colin are a band I've been trying to see for a while now, since I came across their excellent cover of Feeder's classic Just A Day on the YouTube. They play some fantastic ska pop punk that is full of energy and will get even the saddest of people smiling. Codename Colin also had some exciting news for the people who got down to New Cross early – they've won a competition to play Slam Dunk South at the end of the month. This is a great opportunity, well done gentlemen. We only actually had two thirds of Codename Colin in attendance for the gig as two of the horn players unfortunately couldn't make it. That however did not stop Codename Colin putting on a fun show. Mostly playing songs from their debut EP Outgunned, they soon got the crowd warmed up nicely with the tracks Declan and Losing Touch standing out. On Declan in particular I was reminded a bit of Operation Ivy's Jesse Michaels when Codename Colin's lead singer, Charlie Gabriel, sang. In a live setting these songs definitely pack a bit more of a punch than the recorded versions. It's not a ska punk support band without a cover or two and Codename Colin dutifully obliged with fun covers of Britney Spears' Hit Me Baby One More Time and Five's Keep On Moving, both of which went down really well with the crowd. If you're off to Slam Dunk South this year be sure to check out Codename Colin. They're also back at New Cross in July for Level Up Festival.

Up next were a band I knew very, very little about however Be Sharp Promotions Paul Smith was very excited to see them. He spent a good portion of time telling my why 3dbs Down were the best band ever and even stating that Be Sharp wouldn't even exist without them. He also told me that 3dbs Down play melodic punk rock with hints of ska. He didn't tell me that the band featured three lead singers who deliver some of the best harmonies I've seen in years. Musically, of course 3dbs Down were fantastic but what I really fell in love with was the vocals. I adore bands that have multiple singers. Very often it's a case of one of the singers sings the entirety of a song and the other singers do the same on other songs. That's not the case for 3dbs Down. They take turns in doing verses, lines and choruses on their tracks and it works so well. The vocals complement each other brilliantly and give so much life to their songs. The four piece from Gravesend only play a couple of shows each year so catching them live is a real treat. It also makes me feel less bad that I've never seen them before, as I can't remember the last time I saw a band without ever listening to them before and being so impressed. 3dbs Down absolutely ruled and I fully understand just why Paul was so excited.

The main support act of the evening were The Foamers. This long running band would now be playing to a huge New Cross crowd who seemed just as excited to see them as they were the Popes Of Chillitown. The Foamers formed in 1996 and split in 2004 gaining a tonne of passionate fans along the way. They've since reformed and play shows here and there, including a slot at Level Up Festival last year. That was my first time seeing them and I thought they were great. This time they were even better! The crowd loved them and skanked, moshed and sang throughout their whole set. Combining street punk and ska to brilliant effect, the four piece played a set that could easily have been thought of as a headline set. All bands should put as much into their set as The Foamers did no matter what their position on the line up is. So many people have such fond memories of the Household Name/Golf Records era of punk and ska in the UK and it's such a treat to still have the opportunity to see those bands every now and then. I've no doubt that The Foamers played a big part in influencing many of today's skacore bands and I just think it's great the band still come out and play shows.

If the gig had finished with The Foamers I'm sure the now packed New Cross Inn would have gone home happy but we still had the evening's headliners still to play. The Popes Of Chillitown are big favourites in South London so it was only right that their album launch party was at the New Cross Inn. The big crowd gathered around the front of the stage in anticipation for something special happening. And for the next hour that's what they got. You'll have to forgive my lack of knowledge on the new album as I wanted to hear it live before I listened to it properly. Plus my memory of the song order is a little fuzzy, as I just stood in awe of this awesome band. I believe that they started the set with a handful of songs from Work Hard, Play Hard, See You In The Graveyard that immediately had the floor of the New Cross vibrating because of the high intensity skanking that was taking place. It had me slightly worrying how much more this floor could take! The Popes are one of the most watchable bands in the UK scene. They are effortlessly slick along with having seemingly an endless amount of energy. This only amps the crowd up even more and, as the set progresses, things only get rowdier and rowdier. It was great seeing the new tracks getting the same amount of love as the old favourites. Whilst the band were playing To The Moon we were treated to a new extended version where they blow the power and do a little improv crowd chanting before the power gets fixed and they play the song all other again. I'm sure this was all supposed to happen. If you've not seen the Popes yet then you are really missing out. There aren't many better live bands in the UK and there isn't a single band like them sonically. They take ska, punk, reggae, dub and some hip hop, put it in the blender with some relentless energy and have mixed together a whirlwind of a sound that cannot be ignored. On the basis of this album launch show, I can see Work Hard, Play Hard, See You In The Graveyard being a big catalyst in pushing the Popes Of Chillitown to big things.

This review was written by Colin Clark. Photos by Emma Prew.

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Top Tens: Jim & Dan from Reuther's Top Ten Punk Rock Influences

Jim's List:

My uncle inspired me to play guitar, but this band made me want to start a band of my own. Really, I think it was the theatrics of Kiss that caught my attention more so than the music. My young self would frequently day-dream of being Ace Frehley playing guitar solos on stage. When I started middle school, I convinced my parents to buy me tickets for their concert.

Sum 41
This band was my gateway into punk music. I was a little too young to appreciate Green Day when Dookie came out, and still didn't have the attention span to explore more than the radio hits when Blink dropped Enema. When Sum 41 released All Killer No Filler I was hooked and listened to that record almost constantly front to back. I use to skateboard with my friends and have that album going. From there I started to dive deeper into punk music.

The Loved Ones
Dave Hause is one of my favorite songwriters. When I discovered The Loved Ones, I was hooked. Everything from the lyrics to the guitar riffs are weighted in meaning. Plus they're one of those pop punk bands that's not overly produced which makes them standout in a world of overproduction.

The Suicide Machines
I have to throw love to The Suicide Machines. I was really into punk/ska music in high school, and while they weren't my gateway into the scene they sure provided the soundtrack to many nights. With them being from our hometown of Detroit, it made it even more inspiring to see them out there touring and making records. Their shows are always packed and so much fun.

Against Me!
I feel like Against Me! is one of those bands that everyone can agree on. The first track I heard was "You Look Like I Need A Drink" from a Fat Wreck E-Card that a friend sent me. I had never heard a band like them before and remember being blown away by the intensity. The music is just raw and honest, and would inspire anyone pick up a guitar and write a song of their own.

Dan's List:

The Flatliners
I remember I first saw The Flatliners around 2005 after they released Destroy to Create. I was in a band at the time that was opening for them at a VFW Hall – I was immediately hooked. Such tenacity, such energy. I picked up that record and it most definitely honed how I wanted to play, both as a member of a band and a drummer, if that makes sense? It’s been amazing being able to hear their progression through the years, resulting in their best record and one of my favorite records of all time, Cavalcade. Even though they've outgrown their older sound and I miss it, I'm really optimistic for their career to continue. The drumming of Paul Ramirez alone is enough to make this band #1 on my list.

Less Than Jake
These guys were my first favorite band. I forget who it was exactly that gave me the record Losing Streak, but god damn, the first song alone was enough for me. Just poppy, catchy, energetic – I had to have more. I literally became obsessed with knowing everything about the band – collecting every record, knowing what the lyrics all meant, their Pez obsession, etc. I remember seeing them for the first time in early 2006 and every single expectation I had was met and exceeded. Years later, I've been able to share the stage with them numerous times and put out records on their labels. Safe to say my younger self would be quite pleased with my older self.

No Doubt
Say what you will about ND, but they changed the game when it came to mainstream rock. When Tragic Kingdom came out and dominated the charts, it was a surprise to some people, I'm sure. This came out when I was pretty young, but I managed to hear it and get a copy – it really just hit all the notes I wanted to hear and some I didn't even know I wanted, but loved anyway. It definitely had something to do with my initial love of ska, before I even know what that was.

The Suicide Machines
"But Dan, Don't you play in a band with Jay?" Yes, this is true. That really doesn't stop TSM from being one of my all time favorite bands. I feel TSM had an interesting evolution in their sound and presence throughout their career, which really just means they have something for everyone. Do you like fast, poppy ska punk? Go ahead and give Destruction By Definition a spin. Harder punk? Battle Hymns. Political punk? War Profiteering. It's really been great to share the stage with these guys so often and just lends to how much of an inspiration they've been. I remember first getting my hands on Destruction By Definition in High School and was just blown away that there was a band (from Detroit, no less) that hit every mark for what I wanted to hear at that time. Since then, they've been in the regular rotation.

Green Day
I feel like this doesn't really need a huge explanation. For a band to hit the mainstream with such an important album as Dookie and then remain relevant and popular to this day is certainly saying a lot. I first heard Dookie from my older brother who bought it – it took a few years for me to actually understand how amazing this record was and then that just led me to their subsequent albums which I still have on regular rotation. It really doesn't get more classic than that album. Their most recent years of music aren't exactly my favorite, but it's just very impressive they're still able to pull it after all these years.

Stream and download Reuther's new album Like A Ghost here, like them here and check out our review of the album here.