Tuesday, 31 December 2019
Wednesday, 25 December 2019
Our good pals in Filthy Militia have released a video for their new song Jesus. The band went along to Hermitage Works Studio to record the track. (Sound by S. Evans and N. Ridley, Vision by J. Clay)
Check out Filthy Militia here and Hermitage Works Studio here.
Saturday, 21 December 2019
2019 has been another great year of music, and once again thanks to the folks here at CPRW I have been able to discover and explore more new music than I did before. Choosing a top 10 this year proved more difficult than I expected, with so many great albums released from some of my old and new favourite bands, and I had 5-way tie for 10th for a long time. After many weeks of listening and a lot of swap outs, here is the list of my favourite albums released this year (but I reserve the right to change it if asked in future).
10. Diffuse by Waterweed
9. Railer by Lagwagon
8. Operation Exodus by Adrenalized
It’s no secret that I love fast technical melodic punk rock, and Adrenalized deliver some of the best I’ve experienced. Seeing the band live at MPF was one of my highlights, the band looked like they were having so much fun on stage and the music was tight while looking effortless. I had been anticipating Operation Exodus for a long time, since it had been 6 years since their previous album and I’d been listening to it for a few years already. Operation Exodus picks up right where they left off and delivers 12 blistering tracks of technical punk with a strong sense of melody, and that all sounds difficult to play in just under 40 minutes.
7. Grow Up Trash by Problem Daughter
Thanks to Colin for bringing Problem Daughter to my attention early in the year. I pre-ordered Grow Up Trash after hearing only a few songs on Bandcamp and then had to wait a few months to collect it while attending MPF with Colin and Emma. Because of the time and the sheer amount of music we brought back from MPF, Grow Up Trash was put on the shelf almost to be forgotten, but only almost. I got into it a little while ago when I started going through 2019 releases to begin building a top 10 list. The influences are hard to pin down, the song structures are interesting but catchy, and the vocals are gruff and melodic; all the things that make for an album that is a lot of fun to listen to and won’t be so easily forgotten again.
6. Cut & Stitch by Petrol Girls
In a CPRW review of MPF 2017, Petrol Girls are described as a shouty hardcore band with strong feminist, humanitarian, and anti-fascist views, and at that point in my life it was exactly what I was looking for. Their debut full length, Talk of Violence, was full of powerful lyrics and songs that resonated with me immediately and it became one of my most played albums. I have been eagerly waiting for their new album with anticipation since then and Cut & Stitch did not disappoint. Each song is carefully constructed and there are some moments that remind me of early Refused, post-hardcore at its best with an important and meaningful message behind every lyric. Music like this cannot be ignored.
5. Age Of Unreason by Bad Religion
4. Set Us Free by Reconciler
3. Flash Gordon Ramsay Street by The Decline
2. Deals, Deals, Deals! by Ramona
1. Get It Together by MakeWar
In addition to the albums above, there have also been some great EPs released this year. I didn’t listen to nearly enough to fairly create an entire list. Chicago’s Much The Same released Everything Is Fine on Lockjaw Records living up to all the hype built up since their 2015 return from hiatus. Cape Town’s Crossfire Collision released Deadlock and All This For Nothing (ATFN) from Pretoria gave us Reverence, proving that even though the shows are small, punk rock is still alive in South Africa.
This end of year list was written by Brett Coomer.
Friday, 20 December 2019
2019 has been a crazy year. I managed to find myself a full-time teaching gig and did adult things like buying a car, but I also found myself busier than I’ve ever been. I’m happy and proud that I’ve been able to handle the stress of this year, but it means that I haven’t had much opportunity to dig into new music. There just wasn’t any time to sit with slow-burning albums; anything I listened to really needed to make an immediate impression and give my mind an enjoyable place to rest.
10. Morbid Stuff by Pup
9. Late Bloomers by For I Am
8. Never Better by Burnt Tapes
After being lucky enough to go to MPF again this year, and being unlucky enough to miss seeing Fresh again after they had to pull out, fate finally intervened with an amazing opportunity to see the Burnt Tapes perform. I wasn’t able to catch the whole set, because of other scheduling difficulties, but it was awesome to see these guys play and to see how much the crowd enjoyed their set. The band set the bar really high with their previous musical offering, Alterations, and after the release of the Never Better’s first single ‘Yuzi’, people (including me) were expecting quite a lot from this album. The guys absolutely delivered, with songs that are rich and layered, marrying grizzly vocals and big melodies. It’s great to see Burnt Tapes growing and continuing to put out great music, and I really hope I get the chance to see a full set from them soon.
7. Be Good by Off With Their Heads
I started a routine this year, where every Saturday morning I would begin the day by going for a run and having a good breakfast, picking out a few records to spin, and settling down to some work in the sunniest room of our house. I soon started picking up the new Off With Their Heads album most weekends, and so I think this album wins as the one that got the most physical spins on my turntable. Be Good moves on quickly from its folksy opening into the big, gruff punk sound that you’d expect from Ryan Young. I also like the album’s overall message of “be good, be loud” in the face of all life’s difficulties. In the end, that may be all we can do – but it may also be enough.
6. Withdraw by Fresh
Fresh are easily one of my favourite UK bands, so when they announced that they’d be releasing a new album this year I was super excited. In my review of this album, I described Fresh’s sound as being catchy and fun, while still being really sincere and engaging. I don’t know another band that marries these elements together as well as Fresh, and this album shows the band’s growth and development since they released their self-titled album in 2017. Luck has not been on my side with Fresh (I’ve missed out on seeing them twice) but I’m really hopeful that 2020 is the year I can finally sing along to these songs live.
5. Flash Gordon Ramsay Street by The Decline
4. Deals, Deals, Deals! by Ramona
I remember the day that Brett said he thought he’d found his album of the year and then he threw on Ramona and we bopped and jived, and I thanked the universe again for sending me a husband with impeccable music taste. I love the three-piece, double-vocal style of Ramona, and the lyrics are so expressive and so singable. While Ramona sing about heartache and personal growth in ways that are very honest and relatable, you never stop having a good time. I think this is one of those albums we’ll be talking about for a long time; a future classic.
3. It’s Only Permanent by Rational Anthem
2. This Could Be Okay by Cold Wrecks
I knew I had to listen to this album after reading Emma’s fantastic review of it earlier this year. I hadn’t really got into Cold Wrecks before, but I had a sense that they played the style of punk I like and I couldn’t ignore them any longer once Emma remarked that they may have taken top spot as her new favourite band. I quickly found that her affection was not misplaced, and that this would probably be one of the best albums I listened to this year. ‘Bought Right In’ is as perfect a song as you’re likely to find, but every track is top notch and the whole album just flows beautifully.
1. Get It Together by MakeWar
This end of year list was written by Robyn Pierce.
Thursday, 19 December 2019
2019 has been one hell of a year; we’ve seen the return of established acts and some amazing debut records that have really upped the ante. Reducing this to a list of ten albums has therefore been a real tough challenge this year. Some of the returning established acts, such as Bad Religion and Refused, delivered excellent additions to their back catalogues but ultimately miss out. While debuts by bands such as Eat Dirt seem to come from out of nowhere an upset the natural order! As always there is no magic scoring formula for the selection of my top albums, instead its purely which ones I’ve had the most affinity with and ultimately the ones I think everyone should go out and enjoy… and again we’d love to hear what you think of these choices!
10. In Motion by The Run Up
9. Anthems by Raised Fist
Coming from Scandinavia and averaging an album almost every four years, you could easily describe Sweden’s Raised Fist as glacial with their output – a statement that can’t be levelled at its content. From the opening trio of “Venomous”, “Seventh” and “ Anthem”, the album really drives home their anger at the state of the world (both politically and environmentally) and their pleas for unity. Raised Fist are one of those unique bands in that you instantly know what you are getting and the standard is always high. Anthems is probably the most aptly named album of the year.
8. Death Is Death by Eat Dirt
7. Regulars by Dead Bars
6. Night Shifts by Überyou
5. Thrashing Through The Passion by The Hold Steady
4. Hello Exile by The Menzingers
3. Thoughts and Prayers by Good Riddance
2. Heavy Seas by Misfortune Cookie
1. I Don’t Like Sports by Screaming At Traffic
Albums of the decade
Lastly, from me for this year, a look back over the last decade… and if this doesn’t remind you that the last ten years have produced some amazing music then nothing will!
After The Party by The Menzingers
Mint by Worship This!
LP2 by Restorations
Desire Paths by Turnspit
Home, Like NoPlace Is There by The Hotelier
Prey by Planes Mistaken For Stars
Schmaltz by Spanish Love Songs
Light On The Lake by Signals Midwest
Handwritten by The Gaslight Anthem
Not Like This by Iron Chic
Spin by Tigers Jaw
While A Nation Sleeps by Boysetsfire
Wildlife by La Dispute
Magic Gone by Petal
Better Whenever by Elway
I Don’t Like Sports by Screaming At Traffic
Dead Reflection by Silverstein
Heavy Seas by Misfortune Cookie
Distance by Heavy Heart
Bearable by Timeshares
This end of year list was written by Richard Mair.
Wednesday, 18 December 2019
10. Starve by Blood Youth
Blood Youth’s 2017 debut, Beyond Repair, was one of my albums of that year, mixing crushing hardcore with nu-metal influences. This sophomore effort takes that blueprint and just amplifies it, with the nu-metal flavours more to the fore this time. It’s a dark, twisted, ominous album that manages to be both heavy and melodic, helped in no small part by lead singer Kaya Tarsus’ impressive vocals.
9. Grand Relapse by Pizzatramp
Combine a warped sense of humour, alcohol, thrash-punk and complete disregard for their own health and you get Pizzatramp. These Welsh upstarts released possibly the fastest, filthiest album I heard this year and the snotty, obnoxious thrash will swirl around your head and having you moshing away in no time.
8. A Different Shade Of Blue by Knocked Loose
Hardcore is having a bit of a renaissance at the moment, with bands like Turnstile, Code Orange and Vein leading the way. But, with the release of their second album, Knocked Loose prove they deserve to be in with such exalted company. Adding more groove and power to their arsenal, “A Different Shade Of Blue” is a lesson in unrelenting fury that doesn’t let up for a second.
7. Optimal Lifestyles by Pkew Pkew Pkew
Whilst not as instant as their debut, Optimal Lifestyles, the second album from Pkew Pkew Pkew, is an album that reveals a little more on each subsequent listen. A more grown up sound, incorporating an Americana sound that evokes Bruce Springsteen and The Gaslight Anthem, doesn’t deter these punks from having fun – with more songs about drinking, skateboarding and more drinking.
6. Never Not Nothing by Black Futures
Black Futures sneaked up on me this year when after reading a review I was tempted to check them out. Mixing rock with dance is not a new thing but when done well it’s euphorically life affirming and, having honed their writing skills with The Prodigy and working with Idles, their credentials are not up for debate. If industrial-techno-rave-punk ticks any boxes for you then you must check this out.
5. Morbid Stuff by Pup
Following on from their breakthrough second album was never going to be an easy task but on Morbid Stuff Pup achieved this with some aplomb. Despite sounding angrier than on previous releases, being pissed with the world has never sounded so good.
4. Strength In Numb333rs by Fever333
A band renowned for their incendiary live shows, Fever333 managed to translate that intensity to record and produce one of the best post-hardcore of the year. It takes aim at American politics but also has a very universal feel to it with themes of unity, brotherhood, love and compassion.
Not just one of my albums of the year but one of the few records my wife will listen to with me so it has to be on my list. Seriously though, this album takes everything that’s great about The Skints – the laid back reggae and rude-boi ska – and just amplifies it, proving that Ska-Reggae is not just for summer.
2. Be Good by Off With Their Heads
Back in August I went to an all-dayer at the New Cross Inn, primarily to see a couple of the supports. I’d not heard of Off With Their Heads but their name intrigued me so I stuck around for their headline slot and, boy, I’m glad I did. They kicked off their slot with one of my songs of the year, “Disappear”, and ironically they’ve been on my radar ever since.
1. Body Bag Your Scene by Riskee & The Ridicule
With this, their third album, Riskee & The Ridicule have continued to develop their sound record on record and this may just be their best yet. Taking all of the elements from previous releases and combining them into a clear, coherent vision which backs up their visceral live shows.
This end of year list was written by Lee Morton.
This end of year list was written by Lee Morton.
Tuesday, 17 December 2019
This year I have decided to share my top ten albums, EPs and live sets of 2019. I am by no means saying that my choices are the right choice or the very best overall, I'm sure plenty of other people will have different favourites that they think are better than my choices. Music is subjective after all and I love to hear different opinions on what other folk enjoyed and connected with the most.
Top Ten EPs 2019
10. Kill The Boy Band EP by She/Her/Hers
From the moment I heard the song Kill The Boy Band by Michigan's She/Her/Hers I needed to hear more. Playing wonderfully creative yet sad pop punk, not only do She/Her/Hers write brilliantly hooky songs but they do an amazing job in making you think about things. Not afraid to throw out the genre rule book, the band do things their own way and this really makes them stand out from the pack. I'm hoping a UK tour is in the works for the band as I'd love to hear these songs live.
9. Hexed by The Hallingtons
8. Punxsutawney by The Jawnstowne Standard
7. Crucial Moments by The Bouncing Souls
6. Divide And Conga by King Punch
5. Vacation To Helheim by The Palatines
4. Community Backwash by Flangipanis
3. Everything Trouble Meant by Katie MF
2. Glow by Triple Sundae
1. Murmur by Modern Shakes
Top Ten Albums 2019
Honourable mentions: In Motion by The Run Up, Aced Out by The Overjoyed, Yes I Can't by Devon Kay & The Solutions, Encore by The Specials, Optimal Lifestyles by Pkew Pkew Pkew, Get Lost! by Radio Buzzkills, Grow Up Trash by Problem Daughter, Live Free by Get It Together, Regulars by Dead Bars, This Could Be Okay by Cold Wrecks, Hard Pop by Telethon, Defcon 1-2-3-4 by Covert Flops, Dancing Wrestling Burning Wood by Wham Bam Bodyslam, Escape From Everything by Codename Colin, Ambivalence by The Prozacs, Syphilis Totalus by Flabbercasters, Hans Gruber And The Die Hards 2 by Hans Gruber And The Die Hards, Fires To Find Our Friends by Lead Shot Hazard, Confessions Of A Justified Cynic by The Kimberly Steaks, Get It Together by MakeWar.
10. Missing Parts by Nightmarathons
9. Chosen Family by Burn Burn Burn
8. Parched by Thirsty Guys
7. Night Shifts by Überyou
6. Deals, Deals, Deals! by Ramona
5. No Faith by Omnigone
4. Maximum Effort by Just Say Nay
3. Save Us All by Be Like Max
2. Never Better by Burnt Tapes
1. What An Awful Life by Captain Asshole
Top Ten Live Sets 2019
For me, the ultimate test of how good a band is is by how good they are live. This doesn't have to be because they are technically brilliant and hit every note or chord perfectly. For me, it's about how they connect with the crowd. You can be the most musically proficient band in the world but if you don't make me feel anything then I won't want to see you live. Nothing gives me a bigger high than seeing my favourite bands absolutely kill it live. (Though the mighty Crystal Palace haven't won the league yet, I suspect that would top it). Here's my top ten live sets of 2019:
10. Burnt Tapes at Urban Bar, London (5/4/19)
It felt super fitting that the Burnt Tapes would return to Urban Bar, the setting for the release party of their previous release Alterations, for the launch for their debut LP Never Better. What was even better was that this time they sold it out. This is a great example of how far these lads have come and how they continue to pick up new fans along the way. It was absolutely wonderful to see so many people turn out to not just support but to squeeze down the front and sing along to every word. Never Better had come out a month earlier which meant that the whole room was able to sing along with the band. This was also the only time I've seen them play Dirt Road live, a song I hope they play more next year.
9. Just Say Nay at Level Up Festival, New Cross Inn, London (21/7/19)
When it was announced that Just Say Nay would be playing an acoustic set in the tiny Stock's Bar in the basement of the New Cross Inn for Level Up Festival I don't think that anyone imagined all nine members would be participating. It turned out we were wrong, very wrong, as the band proved just what a "logistical nightmare" they could be. The bar was really cramped for what was the highlight of the entire weekend. Watching the band play through rarely seen acoustic songs of so many favourites was something to behold and the volume of the sing-alongs was incredible.
8. Just Say Nay at New Cross Inn, London (11/10/19)
Yes, Just Say Nay at the New Cross Inn again. This time for the launch party of their album, Maximum Effort. The band have always been excellent live but this set was just something special. Playing through the album from start to finish, the room was full of smiles, dancing and singing along when possible (the album was released on the same day as the show). This was one of those special sets where you get to see a band at the very top of their game, with all nine members of the band on top form. Highlights of the set included trombone player Mikey T getting crowd surfed during With A Twist Of Lemon, Leo taking DIY punk to a new level and playing most of the set balanced on stool on the side of the stage, Low Blow – not many songs get better reactions at New Cross – and a complete play through of the epic Kuromouri. This was Just Say Nay stepping away from being the best kept secret in the UK ska scene and really staking a claim for being the most exciting band in the country.
7. Überyou on MS Tonne, Booze Cruise Festival, Hamburg (9/6/19)
Booze Cruise Festival in Hamburg was a massive highlight of my entire year, it's a wonderful festival that everyone should go to. Part of the festival takes place on a boat that goes around Hamburg harbour, docking between bands so people could get on and off. Emma and I decided to stay on for the duration to see The Muttnicks, Arterials, The Run Up, Bong Mountain and Überyou. Überyou undoubtedly stole the show with a terrific performance. Having seen them the previous night in a more traditional setting and seeing just how good they were live, I knew this set was going to be something special. I've not seen many bands connect with a crowd like Überyou do and when they are floor level with the crowd this connection just goes up another notch. There were so many fists in the air and crowd surfs, it was easy to forget that we were on a moving boat. To add to the wild party atmosphere they had already created, they finished their set with covers of Against Me!'s Sink, Florida Sink and Journey's Don't Stop Believing.
6. Chewing On Tinfoil at New Cross Inn, London (2/2/19)
I'm not sure there's a band more universally loved at the New Cross Inn than Chewing On Tinfoil. When they were announced to be playing Be Sharp Promotion's Paul's birthday show, tickets went very quickly. Friends from all over the UK and pals from Belgium made the trip to South London for what was a very special night. Not many bands illicit such powerful and emotive sing-alongs like Chewing On Tinfoil do. It was just one big party from start to finish and as they played through so many favourites during their set the crowd got more and more joyously raucous. It wasn't long into the set before the stage dives and crowd surfing began, including a couple of first timers who the band encouraged the crowd to look after. This was one of those magical sets where you come away with goose bumps and you're just at a loss for words for how good it was. I can't wait to see them again at Manchester Punk Festival next April.
5. Call Me Malcolm at Gorilla, Manchester Punk Festival (19/4/19)
When Call Me Malcolm were announced for MPF 19 I figured they would play in the tiny zombie shack to what I thought would be a handful of ska punk fans at the festival. Gosh I was wrong. They played in the massive Gorilla venue to a packed crowd and blew the roof off of the place. Call Me Malcolm must be the band I've seen the most over the past couple of years and they have always been a big highlight every time. I don't think the band could have ever imagined the incredible reception they received at the festival, with it seeming like the entire room was enthusiastically dancing and singing along. There was a collective sense of pride from the New Cross Inn gang who were in the crowd, seeing one of our own completely smash their set. The massive sing-along at the end of, the always crowd pleasing, All My Nameless Friends was a true goosebump moment – I'm not sure there was a bigger sing-along to any song throughout the entire weekend.
4. The Run Up at Molotow Club Sky Bar, Booze Cruise Festival, Hamburg (8/6/19)
This was one of those "holy moly" moments. I was watching Überyou in one part of Hamburg and then I dashed across the city to go and watch my friends in The Run Up. I was shocked when I got there and the room was absolutely jam packed, I had to squeeze into the side of the room. I was shocked because I've gotten so used to seeing the band play to fairly small crowds in London – it turns out that The Run Up are megastars in Hamburg and it was so pleasing to see. One of the friendliest and hardest working bands I know getting the kind of reception that I feel they truly deserve. The band had this wonderful connection with the crowd where it felt as if they'd made friends with every person in the room during their set. The final song of their set, The Upside Of Being Down, really became a special moment as the folk at the front of the stage took lead singer Larry into the crowd to carry him around the room all while he kept singing. It felt like a big show of respect for the band from the Booze Cruise crowd.
3. Katie MF at Black Heart, London (9/5/19)
Katie made me cry during this set. This was the launch night for Katie MF's EP Everything Trouble Meant and it was by far the most emotional set of the year. Katie MF are a band that are great recorded but live they just take it to a whole new level. I'm confident that neither Katie, Ben and Tobias had played a set this good before. Splitting the set into three parts – full band, acoustic and then back to full band – the hour long set flew by. It was during the acoustic part of the set where I really began to get emotional as Katie’s sad and moving tales of heartbreak resonated around the room. Since randomly discovering them on Bandcamp and becoming friends with Katie, I've been championing them to anyone who will listen to me and the sense of pride I felt seeing the band be, at that moment, the best band in the UK was really wonderful. This set had it all – it was moving, it was powerful, it was emotional but, most of all, it was a lot of fun. If you haven't checked out Katie MF yet then crack on with it.
2. Lightyear at Signature Brew, London (19/11/19)
During their November tour with Reel Big Fish and [Spunge], UK ska punk legends and the best band ever, Lightyear, decided to put on a secret headline gig on one of their days off. Taking place at Signature Brew in Haggerston, London, under the guise of Weasel Clan, as soon as I found out about it I knew this was not to be missed and I knew it was going to be one of my highlights of the year. Having seen the band supporting Reel Big Fish the day before with a thirty minute set that was a bit silly but not the true amount of silly you would expect from the band, this headline show was a great excuse to really showcase the Lightyear we all know and love. The stage at Signature Brew was tiny which resulted in Chas and Pook spending the majority of the time on the floor. This really helped add to the chaos that would ensue during the next hour. As I said in my review of the Reel Big Fish gig (here), Lightyear were mostly a collection of stand-ins but if you hadn't have known then you would never have guessed. The whole set was chaos, despite being towards the end of a long tour the energy and enthusiasm the band had for this show was nothing short of amazing. The utter madness that was happening didn't seem to affect the quality of the songs either. Even when Chas decided to go to the bar during the introduction of Blindside, Pook and the crowd just took over vocal duties and it all came together seamlessly. Lightyear when they are in this mood don't play gigs, they put on the best party in town and ensure everyone in the room has the very best time. I can't wait to see them back in New Cross for Do It Together 2020. I wonder if they'll be able to get the drum kit on the bar at the New Cross Inn?
1. Goodbye Blue Monday at Conroy’s Basement, Book Yer Ane Fest XIII, Dundee (1/12/19)
They say save the best for last, well my top set of 2019 came from my last gig of the year. Scottish misery-punk heroes Goodbye Blue Monday playing a raucous set in Dundee's Conroy's Basement on the third day of Book Yer Ane Fest XIII. The previous day the Glaswegians had been in Hamburg for Frosty Booze Cruise. Obviously they stayed up all night partying like rock stars, had their 6am flight delayed and arrived in Dundee in time to play. It's safe to say they weren't feeling their best. However, the BYAF crowd were super excited to see them and their energy seemingly carried the band through their set. Opening with one of their newest songs, Trigger Alert, and from then on there were endless crowd surfers and huge sing-alongs. Something I'm sure Graham really appreciated due to having a rather rough feeling voice. This all added to my overall enjoyment of the set – seeing crowd and band coming together as one, like a DIY punk show should be. This was my fourth time seeing Goodbye Blue Monday in 2019 but my first ever time seeing them play in Scotland and it was extremely special. There's something about seeing a band play in front of their home crowd that seems to give them that something extra. This was probably the first time I've seen them play to a crowd where the whole room knew who they were and sang along to every word. For the first time at any punk gig this year, I found myself in the midst of pit, passionately screaming along to every word whilst trying my best to help out crowd surfers. It was a joyous time, that thirty or so minutes of just releasing everything along with some like minded strangers and feeling truly happy and at home. That's the power of punk rock and a experience I felt during this set.
This end of year list was written by Colin Clark.