Thursday, 31 October 2019

Top Tens: Top Ten Unreviewed Albums (Part 2)

Here is part two in our series of releases that we criminally have overlooked in 2019. This year has had a incredible amount of great new releases and I continue to find more and more gems than I didn't get round to checking out when they first came out. (You can read part one here.)

Sweet Empire – A New Cycle
Dutch punks Sweet Empire are a band that I've been a fan of for years but don't give anywhere near enough time to on CPRW. In April, they released A New Cycle on Shield Recordings and Umlaut Records and it's another album of political and socially conscious themed bangers. Something that has always made Sweet Empire stand out to me is lead singer Rowald's superb and distinctive vocal. I can't think of anyone else who sound like him and it really helps you take in Sweet Empire's message.

Hans Roofthooft – Skeletons
Belgium’s Hans Roofthooft is an acoustic folk rocker. His album Skeletons may be one of my biggest musical surprises of the year. Acoustic folk isn't often a go to of mine but I checked the album out and was hooked. It's an album expertly crafted and full of stories. It's spellbinding and captivating. There's also a fantastic song about Bjorn from Bearded Punk Records, a label that Hans is also a member of.

Potty Mouth – SNAFU
Boston's Potty Mouth are a three piece who play wonderfully poppy pop punk music. SNAFU is a super accessible album whether you're a fan of punk music or pop with hook-filled songs and superb sugary sweet vocals. At their best when they play with a harder edge and at a quicker pace but also fantastic when they slow things down. Lovely harmonies.

Wasting Time – Separation From Your Senses
Canada's Wasting Time are a fast paced punk rock band. Falling between the 90s skate punk and a 2000s pop punk sound, their EP Separation From Your Senses really grabbed my attention when I first heard it. As you might expect from that description, it's a lot of fun but there's also a lot of thoughtfulness in these four songs. If you're a fan of MxPx or Midtown you will adore Wasting Time. I can only imagine what a good band they are to watch live.

Youth Fountain – Letters To Our Former Selves
I discovered Youth Fountain thanks to my pal Rojarax on Bandcamp. They are an emo/pop punk duo from Vancouver who released the album Letters To Our Former Selves on Pure Noise Records back in March. Emo isn't really my thing but I loved the vocals from both Tyler Zanon and Cody Muraro on the album. They manage to strike the perfect balance of clean poppy and raspy screaming vocals throughout the album. Neither are over done and they work fantastically together. This is better that 99% of the emo that the kids are listening to these days.

Younger Than Neil – Write New History
It was only a matter of time before a ska punk band found its way onto this list. Younger Than Neil have already been a Band Of The Week on CPRW but I never found the time to review their album Write New Hero. Younger Than Neil combine third wave ska and 2000s hardcore to create than high octane blast of skacore that will get you skanking and moshing in equal measure. The Denver based eight piece have put together one of the best ska albums of 2019 and are showing that ska certainly isn't dead.

The Peabodys – Concentrated Satanic Attack
Long running Pennsylvanian pop punks The Peabodys released the EP Concentrated Satanic Attack in March. The EP is only four songs long but is so varied. Sometimes playing blisteringly fast pop punk, then switching to some garage rock and then some slow paced surf rock, the EP has it all. Concentrated Satanic Attack has somewhat of an old school recording sound, at times sounding a bit grainy or distorted, this adds to the charm of the EP. It's not super clean and overproduced and has more of a live feel.

The Murderburgers – What A Mess
These Scottish pop punk legends have seemingly done it all in the time that they've been together. Perhaps that's why they are calling it a day (for now) at the end of this year. If we're not getting another Murderburgers album for a while then What A Mess is a great album to leave us with. The band have progressed from a fast paced Ramonescore pop punk act to a band oozing with melody. This really allows Fraser's dark lyrics to shine on the album.

Angel Du$t – Pretty Buff
Pretty Buff by Angel Du$t was a massive surprise. I kind of assumed they would be a hip hop band. I was very wrong. Pretty Buff is an acoustic guitar lead pop punk album full of absolute crackers. Ranging from upbeat ragers to soft quiet songs, it's an impressively varied album. Emma and I listened to Pretty Buff on a long drive home from Wales at the beginning of October and both said "wow, who's this?" It was Angel Du$t. I'm very keen to see them live now.

Cabana Wear – Cabana Wear
Cabana Wear's debut self titled LP is full of fuzzy pop rock songs that will quickly get stuck in your head. The four piece from New Jersey have a fantastic knack of writing easy listening pop tunes that you'll be humming for days on end. I love the laid back feel of the album, it's a great one to sit back and just chill out and listen to. It's not one to get you amped up, it's not one to make you feel full of emotion but it will put a smile on your face and get your toes tapping.

This top ten was written by Colin Clark.

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Album Review: The Coming Collapse by Foxhall Stacks (by Omar Ramlugon)

Supergroups are a funny thing. It’s easy to forget that quite a lot of household names such as Broken Social Scene, Cream and Led Zeppelin are in fact supergroups, seeing as their output has sort of swallowed up the music that came from their previous outfits. And then there’s the supergroups that, unfortunately, just make you long for the member’s original bands to reform all the more – Prophets of Rage, I’m looking in your direction.

And then there’s the third category, wherein the members manage to create something which is exciting and new which also touches on their respective backgrounds in a respectful, smile-inducing manner. I think it’s safe to say that Foxhall Stacks slots right into this niche.

The foursome is comprised of Government Issue’s Pete Moffatt on drums, ex-Velocity Girl and High Back Chairs guitarist Jim Spellman on lead guitar, Jawbox guitarist Bill Barbot on vocals and guitar, and Brian Baker of Bad Religion, Dag Nasty and Minor Threat fame on bass. This might seem like a strange move given Baker’s legendary lead guitar talents but it’s worth remembering that he was also the bassist in Minor Threat.

That’s a whole lot of DC hardcore talent to pack into one band, and with that in mind you’d be completely right to expect The Coming Collapse to be a gnarled, mailed-fist blow to the jaw sort of record, especially given the political and social climate that surrounded the band. But right from the off, the band manage to completely rock out while – dare I say it – clearly having a huge amount of fun, which is absolutely infectious. Baker and Moffatt’s watertight rhythm section always play to support the song, and the end product is all the better for it.

There’s edge and muscly overdriven guitars, but delivered with more hooks than a pirate amputee hospital. Opener ‘The Reckoning’ manages to deliver a superbly declamatory lyric while completely taking place in your head with its vocal harmonies; “In an unwavering voice / Willing to make a choice for the first time / I want to scream at the bluebloods sitting pretty / In the canyons of the city”. Lyrically these songs aren’t the recondite sketches displayed on your average Jawbox record, while still remaining sharp and skirting cliché.

The following ‘Turntable Exiles’ and ‘Law of Averages’ manage to raise the game from what’s an already strong start, piling chugging harmonic guitars on top of Barbot’s smooth, inviting vocal timbre. Really, this whole record is a reminder that, on top of his usual guitar fencing with J Robbins, Bill Barbot is an excellent and underrated singer, and he is more than capably supported by some oozin’ aahs from the rest of the band throughout. ‘Turntable Exiles’ winds down to a close with a gentle piano that functions as a warm accompaniment rather than a vanity add-on, while ‘Law of Averages’ even includes a left turn into an acoustic driven bridge before roaring back into life with a beautifully composed guitar solo that is just the right length.

The overriding impression that one gets from The Coming Collapse is of these hardcore veterans relaxing and letting the pop melodies that they had perhaps subverted or otherwise transmuted in their younger bands come to the fore, while adding in ear-catching twists and chord changes that serve to draw the listener in further. This is the kind of album that is equally rewarding to the casual listener as it is to in-depth headphone analysis, which reveals clever little twists and hooks all the way through; there’s even some slide guitar on tracks like ‘Failure’ and the late-album standout ‘Top Of The Pops’.

This is a great record, bridging the gap between its members’ pasts and the present in style with verve, wit and well-honed songs. The whole band is in fine form from start to finish, and it will not fail to put a smile on your face. Highly recommended.

Stream and download The Coming Collapse here:

Like Foxhall Stacks here:

This review was written by Omar Ramlugon

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Album Review: Community Backwash by Flangipanis

Australian skate punks Flangipanis were one of my favourite discoveries of 2018. Their album Always The Bridesmaid even made it into my top ten albums of the year. Playing fast and catchy skate punk with a big theme of partying and having fun, I was pleasantly surprised when I saw that the four piece had released a new EP named Community Backwash. Big things were expected.

The seven track EP begins with the song Scully. Starting in an expectedly crass manner, where lead singer Jodie tells Mulder of Mulder & Scully X-Files fame to fellate her penis, the track is about wanting to team up with Scully to save the world. It's all a bit of silly nonsense but my gosh it's fun. They're not changing the world with their content but, listening to the musicianship displayed by the band, you have to take them seriously – there's some serious shredding going on throughout the song. Up next is the first of three songs on the EP that are less than one minute long. Titled In The Bin, it's a punchy song with a bouncy melody that really made me smile. In The Bin is about having a really bad day and wanting to forget it ever happened, something we can all relate to. Following this is the fifteen second long Paper Bag. Played at a blistering speed, it's a bit of an ode to the versatility of the paper bag and all the things it can be used for when you've had a bad day. What an interesting and original topic for a song. Piss In Your Beer more than doubles the previous song’s length but uses much fewer words. Through the thirty-four second track, Jodie repeatedly tells the listener that she is going to "piss in your beer." Again, it's all a bit silly but it's so much fun.

The Ballad Of Chad And Becky sees Flangipanis go down a hardcore route. The intensity and anger is really upped on the track and it certainly took me by surprise. It's nice to hear the band experiment with a different style and really pull it off. Jodie's vocals ooze with venom, particularly in the chorus. I loved the band shouting out backing vocals for the chorus, adding another element of intensity to the song. It's relentless and really gets you pumped up. The penultimate song is titled Getting By. The track starts with a massive contrast to the hardcore sound of The Ballad Of Chad And Becky – with some sugary sweet "oooohs" that you might expect from a pop track. Of course, this is Flangipanis and soon enough the band jump into their energetic skate punk sound. The track goes along at a quick pace and, at times, is kind of hard to keep up with – for me this adds to the incredible energy in the song. This is probably my favourite song on Community Backwash. It's about struggling through life, surviving and getting by the best way that you can. Community Backwash is completed by Favourite Songs. There's a real throwback 90s skate punk sound to the track that I enjoyed, perhaps showing off some of Flangipanis’ influences. It's more melodic than the punchy, bouncy style that I would expect from Flangipanis and the song is packed with backing harmonies, as was the style back in the day. The song is a song about friendship, going to gigs and singing along to your favourite songs. It's a really nice and uplifting way to finish the EP.

Flangipanis are on their way to becoming my favourite Australian band. They have this infectious energy to all of their songs that just can't be ignored. They can be silly but I love that. Not all songs have to be about important issues and changing the world, they can be about having a great time. For me, that's just as important. This is a great EP for a bit of escapism that is always needed in your life. I hope the band can find their way to the UK some time soon.

Stream and download Community Backwash here:

Like Flangipanis here:

This review was written by Colin Clark.

Monday, 28 October 2019

Album Review: Together Alone by Lone Wolf (by Emma Prew)

Lone Wolf are a four-piece from Rotterdam in the Netherlands. Formed by ex-members of Accelerators, The Apers and The Bat Bites in 2017, Lone Wolf play catchy, melodic punk rock with underlying elements of garage and indie rock. Just a year ago the band released their debut self-titled album and on the 5th of October this year Lone Wolf released its follow-up.

I discovered Lone Wolf when I spotted the wolf artwork of their first album in All Ages Records in Camden some time either late last year or early this year. Wolves are one of my favourite animals so I was immediately drawn to it and, although I wasn’t brave enough to literally buy the album based on the artwork, I did go home at look up the band. I really liked what I heard and have been looking forward to checking out the band’s second album. Titled Together Alone, the 12-track album is out now on Stardumb Records (as well as being available on CD in Japan thanks to Waterslide Records). Here’s what I thought of it…

Together Alone kicks off with Can’t Stop You Anyway. It’s pleasantly mid-tempo with melodic guitars and from drums from the outset – a good example of the Lone Wolf sound if this is your first time hearing them. A major draw of the song is the exchanging of vocals between guitarist Merel and bassist Ox, along with a damn catchy and repetitive chorus – ‘But we can’t stop you anyway, we can’t stop you anyway.’ The song is about not being able to deter someone from something because they won’t listen to your point of view – and you’ll simply be ‘fighting fire with fire’. Runaway is next up. Things are a bit slower here but some big sounding opening riffage – not too dissimilar to The Menzingers – immediately grabs your attention. The pace slows further when vocals come in and Merel proceeds to sing of running away, with a special someone, to escape from everything else. Runaway is a carefree and fun tune, particularly when the pace picks up a little for another super catchy chorus. I think they key is in its seeming simplicity. Runaway may have seemed carefree but the next song certainly isn’t. There’s venom in Ox’s vocals and an air of anger in Something To Destroy. It’s a relatively upbeat song, musically, about wanting to release negative and angry feelings – and what better release than in the form of punk rock. The rhythm section, in particular, shines through with heavy drums and a chunky bass line throughout. There’s also some of those classic punk rock whoa-oh-whoa-ohs – what’s not to like?

Heartbeat is the fourth song on Together Alone. It has a melodic indie style and feels almost dreamlike – perhaps due to its nostalgic subject matter. Heartbeat is a song about missing someone but also growing up and, in some ways, moving on. There’s a sense of nostalgia for summer’s gone by and the people you spent those summers with. ‘Summer’s come, summer’s passed, It’s been weeks now since you left, I’m still here all alone, Still have the pictures on my phone.’ There’s a great contrast between the end of Heartbeat the next track. Don’t Know How opens slowly with muted, distorted vocals and just some simple strums of a guitar. Of course, the pace and volume soon picks up when the rest of the band comes in and the vocals gradually become cleaner in sound. There’s a distinct sense of negative feelings in this song, but I find it’s these sort of songs that I connect with the most – it’s just so honest and down to earth. ‘I don’t know how to make this right, I’m better off on my own’. The mixture of palm-muted guitars in the verses and more super melodic and catchy guitar work in the chorus, plus Merel and Ox singing at the same time, is just great. The sixth song comes in the form of Tearing Me Apart, a head-nodder of a tune that bobs along at a decent not-too-fast rate. The song is about having so much to do but oh so little time and feeling like you’re wasting the time you do have – I know the feeling. Featuring a nice, big guitar solo before a bridge section of ‘It’s tearing me apart’ that builds and builds and is begging to be sung along to, Tearing Me Apart seems like it would be particularly great played live.

The album’s title track, Together Alone, aptly comes as what would be the first track Side B of the record. Lone Wolf waste no time in getting going with this one. It’s upbeat, one of the faster songs on the album, and punchy from the very start – a real highlight of the album in my opinion. This is another song where the rhythm section really stands out. With similar themes to Runaway, Together Alone is sort of about getting away or, well actually, going back to your hometown. There’s a lot of songs in punk rock about wanting to get out of your hometown so it’s nice to hear a song that expresses fondness for ones home instead. Waiting On The Other Side has a, by comparison, slightly slower pace but it is certainly no less melodic. This is a song about finding yourself in a familiar situation over and over again even though you know you need to step away from that situation – or a person (‘I don’t want to be your friend no longer anymore’). It feels like saying goodbye to someone, as well as perhaps a part of yourself. I’ve used the word catchy a lot already in this review but the fast paced chorus here is one of the most infectious of the album – ‘Yeah I’ll be waiting, Yeah I’ll be waiting, I’ll be waiting on the other side.’ It’s just a great example of Lone Wolf doing what they do best and I definitely think this song could be their next single. With a slightly slower pace and a somewhat lengthier intro, Into The Unknown sets itself up for big things. It was the lyrics that really connected with me on this song rather than the [catchy] melodies. The song is about wondering where time has gone and if you’re doing the right things in life to be happy – would you be happier if you quit your job and did something else or would it be silly to quit your job at this point in your life? There’s a theme of dealing with anxiety which will be relatable for many listeners, myself included. ‘Should I worry more? Or do I worry far too much? I hear demons in my head, I can’t make it stop.’ After a melodic interlude in the middle of the song there’s a somewhat dark, emotional section about how sometimes you ‘should reach out into the unknown’ because it might turn out for the best. Such brilliant songwriting.

City Lights features yet more infectious riffs, particularly the bass line which stands out alongside Merel’s vocals in the first verse. The song is about trying to clear your head outside and away from everything and everybody – viewing the city lights. I’m imagining a scene in my head with the narrator sitting on a hilltop on the outskirts of a city, just looking down at all the lights. It’s always nice to invent the music video for a song in your own head! City Lights’ bridge is just the best and ends the song on a more positive note – ‘I know that the sun will shine again, Someday.’ Another line that would be awesome to sing along to in a live setting. The penultimate song comes in the form of Everything Stays The Same. With an upbeat tempo and overlaid guitar riffs, we seem set to speed our way to the album’s end. Everything Stays The Same is about how you can sometimes be oblivious to what’s in front of you. Merel sings of having a difference of opinion or feeling differently to someone else – one person has moved on and the other hasn’t. ‘I know that it’s already too late, All you ever wanted was everything to change, I know that it’s already too late, All I ever wanted was everything to stay the same.’ Complete with a sweet guitar solo that showcases a more technical side to Lone Wolf’s sound, the track feels quite apt for this point on the album as it brings us into the closing track. Together Alone closes with Without You and an extended intro seems to suggest that the band mean to end things in style. The dual vocals that we loved so much earlier on in the album are apparent from the outset here alongside palm muted guitars. This allows the focus to be completely on vocals which feel firm and decisive, really holding your attention and making you believe every word (‘Without you I’d be much better off.’ – not actually directed at the listener, of course). As the song, and the album, draws to a close there’s more repetition to really drive the message home. This band sure does like repetition but it certainly works and is one of the things I love about Lone Wolf. It worked for the Ramones, it works for Lone Wolf.

Lone Wolf have done it again and delivered a brilliant album packed with infectiously catchy and melodic tunes with highly relatable subject matter. You’ll be humming and singing along to this album in no time at all. I mentioned The Menzingers early on in this review and I know the comparison has been made before but it’s worth noting that I instantly enjoyed Together Alone more than The Menzingers’ latest album! So, what are you waiting for? Check out Together Alone by Lone Wolf now!

You can purchase Together Alone through Stardumb Records here and like Lone Wolf on Facebook here.

This review was written by Emma Prew.

Friday, 25 October 2019

CPRW Playlist: October 2019

CPRW Playlist: Here's what Brett, Dan, Emma, Lee, Omar, Richard, Robyn, myself and our special guest Mike Smith from Triple Sundae have been listening to this October.

Thursday, 24 October 2019

Top Tens: Colin's Top Ten UK & European Bands Playing The Fest 18

The Fest in Gainesville is a mecca where punks from all over the world turn up in the Floridian town to celebrate this wonderful scene. Bands from all over the world also play the festival. Here's ten of the top bands from the UK and Europe that are embarking on Gainesville to play and enjoy the festivities.

Good Friend (Saturday at High Dive 16.10–16.40)
Heart-on-your-sleeve punk rockers Good Friend are no strangers to playing Fest. The trio play loud, sing-a-long punk rock that is crying out to be shouted back at the band – a sound that is very popular at the festival. Their last offering, Ride The Storm, was released in 2016 by Red Scare and still receives regular plays at CPRW towers. Good Friend are a band for a good time.

Arms & Hearts (Saturday at Civic Media Centre 20.10–20.40)
Someone making their first appearance at the Fest is Arms & Hearts. The Manchester based folk singer has been working hard, travelling around the UK and Europe spreading. Whether it's a quiet folk show or a rousing punk rock night, Arms & Hearts will capture the audience's attention and their hearts.

Chloe Hawes (Saturday at Civic Media Centre 20.50–21.20)
Formerly from Essex and now based in Manchester, Chloe Hawes plays a mixture of folk, Americana and rock music. I'm yet to see Chloe live but whenever I've listened to her I've been captivated by her voice. It's mesmerising as she weaves her way through stories about life in your twenties. If you're in need of slowing things down a bit at Fest then Chloe is a must see.

Hell & Back (Sunday at Loosey's 15.50–16.20)
I first became aware of Stuttgart’s Hell & Back when they played an astonishing covers set at Booze Cruise Festival in Hamburg. After that I went and checked out their own material and loved it. Combining a gruff/orgcore style with a melodic skate punk sound, Hell & Back are the perfect band for a small, sweaty bar where the crowd is right in the band’s face.

Eat Defeat (Sunday at Loosey's 19.10–19.40)
I was over the moon when I heard that Eat Defeat were announced for Fest. The foursome have been CPRW favourites since the beginning and it's just lovely to see the band’s hard work paying off, with more and more big opportunities earning them more and more fans along the way. Eat Defeat play uplifting pop punk music with the overreaching message being that despite how bad things may seem at the moment, they will get better.

Question The Mark (Sunday at Loosey's 20.50–21.20)
Welsh punk rockers Question The Mark return to The Fest with their gruff punk rock sounds. I've always loved the band’s unique vocals, something that really helps them stand out among their peers. It's everyman music that everyone can sing along with, which is something that I always enjoy. Question The Mark are one of the UK punk scenes best kept secrets – check them out and see why.

Captain Asshole (Sunday at Loosey's 21.40–22.10)
No new band have got me more excited than Munich's Captain Asshole. Their debut album, What An Awful Life, is going to place very highly on my 2019 end of year list. They were the band I was most looking forward to seeing at Booze Cruise in June and they did not disappoint. Playing pop punk with loads of gang vocals and harmonies, Captain Asshole do this great thing of making you feel involved in their set. I love Captain Asshole and I highly suspect that you will too.

Forever Unclean (Sunday at Loosey's 23.20–23.50)
I always find it so satisfying when you find a band at the start of their career and get to see them progress on to great things. I was fortunate to discover Denmark's Forever Unclean when they released their debut EP Shreds in 2015 and it's been wonderful seeing people get on board with this great band ever since. Indie, poppy, skatey, punk stuff from one of Europe's very best bands.

The Run Up (Sunday at Loosey's 00.10–00.40)
2019 has been a massive year for Bristol's The Run Up. Following a really successful tour of Europe, with Bong Mountain and Laureate, they released their stunning second album In Motion. Having the privilege of watching these guys progress over the past couple of years has been an absolute pleasure. Playing songs about trying to figure out life and making the best of bad situations, The Run Up always deliver live.

Überyou (Sunday at Loosey's 01.00–01.30)
Switzerland's Überyou are one of the best bands I've seen live – ever. The five piece connect with a crowd like no band I've ever seen before. You get the sense that the band and the crowd are all in this together and it's not just a cliché. Their 2019 album Night Shifts has become a firm favourite at CPRW towers and if you were to peak into our window (although that would be weird) you will often see Emma and I screaming along to every word on the album. Überyou are closing Fest, I can't think of a better band to do so.

This top ten was written by Colin Clark.

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Album Review: Tiny Stills / Odd Robot Split

I love a split release. You already know this if you're a regular CPRW reader. Having the chance to check out more than one band on a single release is just a wonderful thing for all involved. The latest one I've checked out is a four track from LA based Tiny Stills and Odd Robot from Fullerton. I've been a fan of Odd Robot for a little while now but this was my first encounter of Tiny Stills. On the split they have performed one original each as well as a cover of the other band’s song.

Tiny Stills are a four piece that formed in 2012. Playing a combination of indie rock and power pop music about sad times, this split is their first release since 2018's Laughing In The Void. Their first song on the split is titled Everything Is Going Great. The song starts out with lead singer Kailynn West's sugary sweet vocal along with a subtle electric guitar before the song jump starts and the whole band come in. At this moment, West's vocals become full of attitude. This repeats between the verse and chorus throughout the song, really taking you on a series of ups and downs. The song is about finding it hard to be honest with yourself and admitting that you're not doing as well as you think you are. Tiny Stills cover Odd Robot's song Schadenfreude. I absolutely loved what Tiny Stills have done with this song. The Odd Robot version is a very melodic pop punk track, this Tiny Stills version however has much more of a bubblegum pop feel that really put a smile on my face. The punchy melody of the song draws you in and makes it vey accessible very quickly.

Odd Robot's original song is named I Am A Cortisol Factory. On this song, Odd Robot seem to explore a more indie rock sound and I'm slightly reminded of The Strokes at times. The guitars have that higher pitched jangly tone that I always associate with the indie genre and the vocals sound slightly like they've been through an auto-tune device. This gives the band a bit of a unique and interesting sound that I don't often find listening to punk music and I really enjoyed the song because of that. It's a different route for Odd Robot to go down but it's a great song that will encourage people to check out their other material. For the split, Odd Robot covered Tiny Stills’ song 15-17 months which originally appeared on their 2014 album Falling Is Like Flying. The original version of the track has a bit of a punchy, stabby melody and is pretty stripped back musically. Odd Robot give the song a fuller sound and much more melody – as you might expect from Odd Robot. I love how they've managed to take a pretty distinctive song and make it their own without changing that much. Fantastic stuff!

This was everything I could possibly want from a split EP. Each half of the split had me wanting to check out more of the bands’ material and it showcases some fantastic songwriting and musical ability. Check out Tiny Stills, check out Odd Robot!

Stream and download Tiny Stills / Odd Robot Split here:

Like Tiny Stills here:

Like Odd Robot here:

This review was written by Colin Clark.

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Album Review: Broken Stories by Nelson Savage

New Edinburgh based band Nelson Savage have had a very busy 2019. Back in April, they released their debut self-titled EP which was bloody excellent. Not wanting to slow down, just five months later the five piece released a second EP named Broken Ghosts. I was extremely impressed with this productivity but was anxious to see whether or not this new release would match up to their first. There's only one way to find out!

Broken Stories begins with the song Twisted. The track begins quickly with a rapid drum roll, some upbeat guitars and some dreamy "ooohs" that make you feel involved in the song from the start. When we hit the first verse and the question "how did we become so twisted?" is asked, I was very keen to see where the song would take us. Twisted is a melody-driven pop punk song with some shoegazey qualities. The track has these great moments of urgency that add plenty of emotion to the song and kept me hooked throughout. The second of the three songs on Broken Stories is the more powerful Holes. Holes immediately bursts into life with a crunching start – it's really quite startling. Musically it's again very up tempo with the vocals doing most of the work with the melody. When Holes reaches its middle section however, it begins to slow things down a bit allowing the band to build towards the big finale complete with some superb backing harmonies. The final song is titled Is It Halloween Yet? I loved the interesting high pitched guitar picking that opens the song – it's different and a great way of attracting the listener’s attention. This is perhaps the catchiest of the three songs on Broken Stories with the chorus quickly implanting itself in your mind. It might just be because of the theme of the song but I kind of feel as if the track has somewhat of a horror punk tone. I'm sure there's an Alkaline Trio influence here.

This is another strong release from Nelson Savage. The band seem set to make a big impression on the Scottish punk rock scene for the remainder of the year and going into the next. Hopefully they'll make the same impression on the fine folk south of the border as well.

Stream and download Broken Stories here:

Like Nelson Savage here:

This review was written by Colin Clark.

Monday, 21 October 2019

Album Review: What Did You Expect? I Got It Off The Internet! by Breakup Haircut

What Did You Expect? I Got It Off The Internet! is the debut EP from new London based band Breakup Haircut. The four piece, which consists of Delphine (lead guitar), Ishani (guitar and vocals), Ripley (bass and vocals) and Jordan (drums), play upbeat sounding catchy indie pop punk music that quickly gets stuck in your head. What Did You Expect? I Got It Off The Internet! was released in September on Hell Hath No Fury Records.

The EP begins with I (Don't) Wanna Do Things. Starting out with a thick bass line and a simple drum beat, the two guitars soon join the fray with some interesting guitar riffs. It's not a long wait before the vocals come in and begin to tell a story about finding yourself constantly being busy and wanting to relax but not feeling like you are allowed to. I was humming along to the insanely catchy chorus after just one listen of it – you will as well. I also had a lot of love for the bass solo that leads into the final section of the song. It's a great way to break the song up and the guitar riffs that come off the bass line give it a fantastic extra flavour. Up next is Why Can't I Be Cool Enough To Move To Berlin? This is another song where I found myself singing along to the chorus after just one listen – Breakup Haircut sure know how to write a catchy melody. Obviously, the song is about wanting to move to Berlin – which is understandable as it's a great city. The song starts out with just guitar and vocals for the entirety of the first verse welcoming the listener in slowly before that big catchy chorus comes in along with the entire band.

Kim Pine starts with another big bass line that gives the track a bit of a spooky beginning. Breakup Haircut slow things down considerably here and there's almost a grungey vibe to things. I'll give the band the benefit of the doubt and say that the atmospheric aura given out by the vocals was done on purpose and is nothing to do with the perhaps budget recording. Either way, it works really well and showcases a different side of the band. The penultimate song is titled Mystery Inc. Picking the pace right back up, Mystery Inc sees Breakup Haircut at their pop punk finest. The song is about life in a gang, solving spooky mysteries and trying to make time for your social life. Yes, the song is a bit silly, but that's exactly why I love it. Sometimes bands can take themselves too seriously and this is very refreshing. The final track on the EP is Mum, I Wanna Be A Greaser. Another song that doesn't take itself too seriously, this is a tongue-in-cheek song about wanting to be a greaser. If you're unaware, a greaser was the nickname for a youth culture movement in the 50s and 60s that would wear leather jackets and ride motorcycles. The second verse is the most poignant and perhaps a bit of a social comment about how boys were (and perhaps still are) allowed to do and have different things to girls just because they were boys. I love when a song, that on the surface is a little silly, really starts to make you think.

This is a fantastic debut EP from Breakup Haircut. Despite some questionable recording quality, there's a batch of five really solid songs here and a whole load of potential. I'm really looking forward to seeing how Breakup Haircut progress over the next couple of years.

Stream and download What Did You Expect? I Got It Off The Internet! here:

Like Breakup Haircut here:

This review was written by Colin Clark.

Friday, 18 October 2019

News: CPRW Premiere Our Souls’ New Video for Beer Bullet

Our Souls are set to release their second EP, I've Made A Terrible Mistake, on November 1st. We're very excited to present the premiere of their video for the song Beer Bullet, which can be found on the EP. I first fell in love with Our Souls when I reviewed their debut EP, I Might Drink Myself To Death, and I can't wait to hear I've Made A Terrible Mistake.

Check out Our Souls on Facebook and Bandcamp to keep up to date with the band and listen to their fantastic music – including I've Made A Terrible Mistake on November 1st.

News: Do It Together Fest Announce First Wave Of Bands

It's with great pleasure that we at CPRW get to announce the first eight bands playing Do It Together Fest 2020. The two day festival, which takes place on the 24th and 25th of January at the New Cross Inn in South London, is a celebration of the UK's DIY punk rock community. The fine folk from Be Sharp Promotions, Shout Louder and CPRW have been working hard on putting together a line up of some of our favourite bands from around the UK – not only to celebrate the goodness that is the UK's DIY punk scene but also to celebrate our (Paul, Sarah and Colin’s) birthdays.

Call Me Malcolm
It would be criminal to throw a party at the New Cross Inn and not invite Call Me Malcolm. These ska punks exemplify what the South London punk and ska scene is all about: love, empathy and looking after each other. By now you've probably seen Call Me Malcolm live, so you know what a special occasion it is, particularly when they play their home venue.

Eat Defeat
By the time Do It Together Fest rolls around, Eat Defeat will be fresh from conquering America, following a tour and an appearance at The Fest. The Leeds based quartet's uplifting brand of pop punk never fails to win a crowd over; they pick up fans wherever they play. Never a band to miss. Ask Summers nicely and he might pop out and play some Pokemon Go with you between bands.

Forever Unclean
Coming all the way from Denmark, Forever Unclean are already a big part of the UK DIY punk scene. The band's fresh take on indie punk rock has been delighting crowds around the UK for a few years now, and I for one was really excited when they were confirmed for Do It Together Fest. If you don't know them yet you're in for a treat.

Just Say Nay
Just Say Nay have just released the ska punk album of the year in Maximum Effort. That's reason enough to go and see them. The nine piece have been steadily building a name for themselves as one of the best up and coming ska bands in the country and Maximum Effort solidifies that reputation. It's also pretty entertaining watching them all squeeze onto a stage.

Katie MF
If you're a regular reader of CPRW you probably know how much I love Katie MF. One of my biggest musical highlights of the last couple of years is watching the three piece wow crowds no matter the size. This is powerful, emotional, sing-along anti-folk punk at its finest. Prepare to be moved.

Toodles & The Hectic Pity
Bristol's Toodles & The Hectic Pity released one of mine and Sarah Shout Louder's favourite EPs of 2017 in Call In Sick. Sadly neither of us have been able to see them full band before, so we decided Do It Together Fest was the perfect excuse to remedy that. Playing pop-tinged folk punk, I have no doubt that Toodles are going to leave New Cross with a lot of new pals.

Triple Sundae
2019 was a big year for melodic pop punks Triple Sundae. It saw the release of the phenomenal Glow, a UK tour with The Jukebox Romantics and a tour of Canada. I'm predicting 2020 is going to be even bigger for the band, kicking things off with a performance at Do It Together Fest. These guys continue to get better and better, don't sleep on them.

Coming down from Dundee are Uniforms. Legends of the Scottish punk scene, this will be a very rare London appearance. Playing energetic gruff punk rock, these guys are one of my favourite live bands – blowing me away whenever I see them. Last year they released the excellent Reasons To Breathe EP, and word on the street is they've been hard at work on a debut LP. That's very exciting.

We've still got some more bands, including some fantastic headliners, to announce.

Alongside some great bands, there will also be a record and zine fair to check out. Shout Louder will also be making a special zine for the event with all the proceeds being donated to Mind.

Weekend Tickets for Do It Together Fest are £20 (£23 with zine) and can be purchased here:

Keep up to date with Do It Together Fest here:

Thursday, 17 October 2019

Gig Review: Just Say Nay’s Maximum Effort Album Release Show at New Cross Inn, London 11/10/19

Recently I posted my review of London ska punks Just Say Nay's incredible debut album Maximum Effort. The album was officially released on Friday October 11th. To celebrate, the band, with the help of Be Sharp Promotions, had a launch party at the New Cross Inn. To help celebrate, the band asked long time friends Triple Sundae, King Punch and Lucias from Call Me Malcolm to support. It was shaping up to be a very memorable night!

Fresh from finishing a tour with The Slackers the night earlier, Lucias Malcolm took to the New Cross stage to start the evening off. This was a rare acoustic performance for Lucias and one that I was rather looking forward to. It was nice to see a sizeable crowd gathered early, eager to see him. Playing stripped back songs taken from Call Me Malcolm's wonderful I Was Broken When You Got Here, the set was full of big sing-alongs – including the brass parts being sung loudly back at the stage. It was really a great experience hearing so many songs that I love played in a different manner. More acoustic shows please, Lucias.

Next to take to the stage were Triple Sundae. These melodic pop punks might have looked like a bit of an odd choice for support at a ska punk show if you're unaware of the history between the two bands but both bands are born out of the South London New Cross scene and JSN's Dave was a former member of Triple Sundae in their early incarnations. I was excited to see Triple Sundae as it would be my first time since they released their fantastic new EP Glow. This was also Triple Sundae's first London show since they returned from a small tour of Canada at the end of the summer. The band got a great reception from the quickly expanding New Cross Inn crowd and deservedly so as this was the best I've seen them. This was my tenth time seeing the band and I'm pretty sure I've said that every single time – they just get better and better. There's a growing confidence in their stage presence and they just look like their having the most amount of fun on stage whenever they play. I think this applies to lead singer and guitarist Hassan in particular. Off stage he's quite reserved and laid back but on stage and playing these songs he’s never looked happier. I always enjoy Mike's pop punk jumps as well. 2019 has been a big year for Triple Sundae and I only expect 2020 to be even bigger.

When we had arrived at New Cross earlier in the evening, we had discovered that King Punch would actually be playing an after party set so up next was the main event. The New Cross Inn was now completely full to see Just Say Nay play Maximum Effort in full alongside some old favourites. If you don't already know, Just Say Nay are a nine piece so at times squeezing them all on stage can be a bit of a logistical nightmare (pun very much intended). To make a little bit more room for himself, bass master Leo placed a stool next to the stage and proceeded to play the set with one foot on the stage and the other on the stool. That's the sort of nonsense you get at a DIY show. From the moment they started their set, Just Say Nay just blew everyone in the room away. It was clear that a lot of people in the room had been listening to Maximum Effort during the day as each song got superb receptions. There was so much love and excitement around the room during the set, I'm not sure I've been to many gigs ever with a more positive and uplifting attitude. I'm always amazed by how energetic Just Say Nay manage to be on stage, given how little room that have. They find a way though and their energy quickly projected into the crowd. The room was skanking immediately and it wasn't long before there was a constant stream of crowdsurfers. Midway through the set, things got emotional as the band took a moment to remember their good friend Mike Crampton who sadly passed away in 2017. Luke May, a friend of the band, joined them on stage to perform his poem Two Empty Glasses which appears on Maximum Effort before the band jumped into their own tribute to Mike – the absolute banger that is Don't Let The Coffee Grind You Down. Highlights of the set for me were With A Twist Of Lemon, the song where trombone player Mikey T gets the crowd to yodel/chant/shout along with him. Normally at this stage, Mikey takes on the role of a preacher character but for this occasion he was his humble self and asked the crowd if they would crowd surf him during the song as he's always wanted to. Of course, the crowd obliged and it created an awesome spectacle. Other highlights for me were Butterfingers (which is surely going to be a single at some point?), Techno Guilt and the classic Low Blow where I accidentally ran into the pit, forgetting how ruined my wrist currently is (Whoops!). The absolute highlight was their final song, Kuromouri. The song is an eight minute long epic that I've been really excited to hear live since I first got to hear it on a promo copy of Maximum Effort. I was absolutely astonished by this performance – it was amazing. I wish I had better words to really explain just what a moment it was. I'm not sure how often the band will play it live as it is so long but I do hope they are able to bust it out on regular occasions. During their own set, King Punch took the time to say how this was the very best version of Just Say Nay they had ever seen and I'm sure the whole room will agree with that sentiment. If you haven't checked out Maximum Effort yet, get on with it!

I can't think of many bands in the New Cross scene better to play an after party set than King Punch. The band are always so full of energy and charisma and never fail to get a crowd moving. Unfortunately, the night was running a little behind schedule so we had to miss out on some of their set but had thoroughly enjoyable times dancing to King Punch originals such as Wishbone and Sit Still as well as covers of Walking On Sunshine and I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That). I had a wonderful time dancing along to a band who are quickly becoming one of my favourites to see live. Later in the night, I saw online that the band had got a massive conga line going after we had left that even exited the venue and made its way into the rainy street.

This was a superb night of music spent with wonderful people. When I look back on 2019, it will definitely rank among by favourites of the year. Particularly as that Just Say Nay set where they really announced themselves as one of the leading bands in the scene. I can see Maximum Effort taking them to some very big and exciting things in the coming year. Thanks for a great night JSN!

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

Top Tens: Emma’s Top Ten Bands She’d See At The Fest 18, If She Was Going To Fest 18

As you can probably gather from the title of this top ten, I am sadly not going to The Fest this year but that doesn’t stop me from listening to plenty of the bands on the line-up. I’ve decided to write about the top ten bands I would go and see, if I was going to Fest this year. I’ve chosen ten bands that I’ve never seen live before and, conveniently, none of my picks clash!

Okay, before we get into this, I realise that I’ve managed to pick only one ‘international’ band that’s playing The Fest this year for which I apologise but, given that I don’t live in the States, that kind of makes sense. (See the end of this post for a further note about international bands.)

Lone Wolf (Friday at High Dive 22:00–22:30)
First up we have said international band – Lone Wolf from Rotterdam in the Netherlands. I first became aware of this foursome when I spotted their debut self-titled album in All Ages Records, Camden. It has a wolf on the cover and wolves are one of my favourite animals so obviously I was intrigued. Lone Wolf play catchy, melodic tunes featuring some excellent dual vocals from Merel and Ox. Their second album, Together Alone, which came out two weeks ago, is definitely worth your time. (Full review of said album coming soon!)

Big Nothing (Friday at The Wooly 23:20–23:50)
Big Nothing, a four-piece from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, recently played their first UK tour… and I ‘discovered’ them a couple of days after the London date thanks to their album Chris popping up on Colin’s mega 2019 playlist. I should have found out about them sooner given that they have a familiar face in the band in the form of Pat Graham from Spraynard but, alas, I did not. Big Nothing play big fuzzy indie punk and, like Lone Wolf, also feature some killer dual vocals from Liz Parsons alongside Pat.

Cold Wrecks (Saturday at Boca Fiesta 13:20–13:50)
I may have mentioned it once or twice already but This Could Be Okay by Cold Wrecks is quite possibly my album of the year. If you’re not familiar with the band, they are from Brooklyn, New York, and play a perfect blend of emotional pop punk – music that is highly singalong-able that also gives you all of the feels. In my review of the aforementioned album, I said something along the lines of ‘Sorry, Spanish Love Songs, Cold Wrecks are my new favourite band’ and they are probably the band I am most gutted to not be seeing at Fest.

Nightmarathons (Saturday at Boca Fiesta 14:10–14:40)
I have to be honest, I knew the name Nightmarathons but until writing this list I knew next to nothing about this band. When we were looking at the line-up however, Colin pointed out that they were one of those bands where I always said ‘I like this, who is this?’ when a song of theirs is playing – I had their album Missing Parts on my ‘New For Prew’ playlist earlier in the year. Nightmarathons are from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and play melodic punk rock with post-punk and emo influences that shine through. 

Devon Kay & The Solutions (Saturday at CMC Paper + Plastik Showcase 16:40–17:10)
Devon Kay may be most well-known as the guitarist of Direct Hit! but Devon Kay & The Solutions, based in Chicago, Illinois, are a six-piece who play the most wonderfully eclectic brand of punk rock. On their last album, Yes I Can’t, alone the songs range from jangly power pop, to vibrant folk and ska punk. It’s a whole lot of fun musically but also features some  relatable lyrical content that will make you think as well as dance. Rerelocating is one of my favourite songs of the year.

The Eradicator (Saturday at The Wooly 21:10–21:40)
Also from Chicago, The Eradicator is an artist that I figured everyone needs to experience at some point. Sometimes solo and sometimes backed by a mixed cast of backing members, The Eradicator play aggressive punk rock songs that are quite often about squash (the sport, not the vegetable or drink). I imagine a live performance to be as absurd as that description sounds but also to be heaps of fun. Plus, I just really want to scream along to I’m A Squash Man!

Worriers (Saturday at 8 Seconds 23:20–00:10)
It feels well overdue time to see Worriers live, having missed them the times they’ve been to the UK in the past. The Brooklyn, New York, band whose music centres around the songwriting of Lauren Denitzio alongside friends including Mikey Erg, Lou Hanman and Nick Psillas play melodic punk rock. Their 2018 album, Survival Pop, was so, so good and I know the band have finished recording the follow-up. I’m not sure if it’s due out this year or not but, either way, I’m keen.  

Telethon (Sunday at Hardback Cafe 12:30–13:00)
Another of my favourite discoveries this year, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, based five-piece Telethon released an absolutely brilliant album called Hard Pop in June. It, and the band in general, are difficult to describe in a single genre but that’s just one reason why I love them – their songs are so varied, there’s got to be something for everyone in a Telethon live set. They’re playing early on the last day of Fest but I reckon there will be a lot of people battling through hangovers to make sure they see this band play. 

Ramona (Sunday at High Dive 18:50–19:20)
Colin reviewed Ramona’s Red Scare debut Deals, Deals, Deals! earlier this year and it has understandably been on a lot at CPRW HQ – we both love it. The Philly via Seattle, trio play catchy and energetic indie pop punk songs that are equal parts sad and cathartic. We’d love nothing more than to see the band live and sing along with some of our favourite songs from the record. Also, from what I’ve seen on YouTube, Ramona seem like a damn good live band.

Rebuilder (Sunday at Downtown Fats 01:10–01:40)
Closing the whole damn festival (and partly clashing with my equally beloved Überyou) are Boston, Massachusetts, foursome Rebuilder. I wrote about Rebuilder last year in a sort of bucket list of bands I’d really love to see live (which you can check out here) and also reviewed their 2017 EP Sounds From The Massachusetts Turnpike EP. The EP, quite frankly, blew me away and made me a big fan. I have since tweeted them many times asking when they’re coming over to the UK. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem likely in the foreseeable future but I think watching them at The Fest would be ten times better anyway. 

Finally, my special mentions go to New Junk City, Spanish Love Songs and Überyou, all of whom I have seen before but would absolutely love to see again. I was also going to list some of the UK/European bands that I’d personally recommend (other than Lone Wolf and Überyou, who are from Switzerland) but Colin has a post specifically about just that coming next week so I’ll leave it to him! And if you are going to The Fest this year, have an amazing time – I won’t be at all jealous of your photos and videos on Instagram…

This top ten was written by Emma Prew.

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Album Review: Thoughts And Prayers by Good Riddance (by Richard Mair)

The Santa Cruz melodic hardcore stalwarts love a good quote to provide context to their music. These can often be categorised in two groups – political speeches such as the raging Mario Savio socialist diatribe that appears before “Article IV” or the relevant and poignant Martin Luther King Jrs Poverty of the Soul speech that links to “Shadows Of Defeat”.

The other camp is film quotes such as Some Kind Of Wonderful’s “show me the money Keith” ahead of “Heresay, Hypocrisy and Revenge”. Thoughts And Prayers, the 9th studio album by Good Riddance, opens with arguably one of Michael Douglas’ most iconic quotes from the loathsome Wall Street capitalist Gordon Gekko. Whilst not as obvious as “Greed is good”, the rationale behind the used excerpt is very much of our time – its argument that big business is the new political class and the fact that they control so much of our world; capitalism on steroids and success at any cost is so relevant that you forget that the film it’s taken from is 32 years old!

Consequently, in introducing “Thoughts And Prayers” in this way you instantly realise that Russ Rankin and co have lost none of their vitriol as they explode into “Edmund Pettus Bridge” (a US landmark in Alabama which is named after a confederate general and Ku Klux Klan grand wizard and the site of the ruthless beatings by police on civil rights activists on Bloody Sunday). That GR have named the first song on the album after one of the most important events in the civil rights movement after the Gordon Gekko quote is not lost – consider how many left behind communities in both the UK and USA are largely dominated by minority groups, the reference that white authoritarian capitalism is holding people back is explicit. It’s also a pummelling statement of intent!

So where to start with the music? It’s Good Riddance so it’s fast and melodic punk, punctuated by some heavier parts and fist in the air sing-a-long moments that are politically and socially motivated; and let’s be honest few bands have had the impact and success of delivering this skate punk / melodic hardcore blend as this band, and “Thoughts And Prayers” doesn’t deviate from this approach at all. Personally that’s a good thing as across their career they have been one of the most consistently brilliant bands around; never compromising on quality and always with something interesting and relevant to say.

Whilst GR have always delivered on the hardcore bangers (and this album is no exception) the melodic moments on Thoughts And Prayers are stunning. The three mid-album songs “Wish You Well”, “Precariat” and “No King But Caesar” are truly excellent and a masterclass in how to put together an album to keep your interest. The first of the three is a slow burner, vocally driven, with some excellent pieces of guitar work punctuating the verses before an uplifting chorus. “Precariat” is a straight up fast melodic pop-punk tune; quite light and airy, it releases some of the angst and anger contained within the album (lyrically it remains on point for GR). Whilst the final one of the trio “No King But Caesar” is a song of thirds; a rhythmic introduction led by a great riff and equally excellent drumming before exploding into a typical melodic hardcore song, finally closing with an anthemic melodic refrain. This is Good Riddance at their best, cramming so much high quality content into 2:30 minutes.

The more straight forward songs are also excellent. “Rapture” is such a stereotypical Good Riddance song where the drumming of Sean Sellers really stands out. “Don’t Have Time” is reminiscent of one of my favourite GR songs “Stand”; albeit lacking the special hook that elevates the classic of yesteryear. Whilst “Who We Are” is just a classic sounding GR song; everything about it is quintessentially what you want from a GR song – take the lovely guitar line that overlays the verses to the clarity of the vocals and building to a satisfying ending; in one word it’s ‘textbook’!

The closing stages of the album help solidify it as a high point in their back catalogue. “Pox Americana” is another ‘fun’ song whilst “Lo Que Sucede” with its Spanish verses is possibly the darkest song on the album (whether that’s because of my limited understanding of Spanish I’m unsure), it’s arguably the one that carries the most sinister edge, building to an explosive conclusion. “Requisite Catastrophes” is a brilliant way to close the album; its hopeful, uplifting music at odds with the lyrics at times which talk of being suppressed and of materialistic consumerism but at the same time a positivity also speaks of change.

As a band who I feel have never disappointed, and some 25 years into their career, it’s amazing that Good Riddance can still produce something as relevant and essential today as they could back in the mid-90s. The case in point is “No Safe Space” – on first impressions it’s a really quiet, almost ballad-esque song. Yet with the squealing guitars, shotgun drumming and excellent lyrical content you have one of the single best songs released this year.

So this, their 9th album, will certainly not win awards for reinvention but will hopefully win over some new fans. It’s arguably their most accessible album but, at the same time, I personally think it’s one of their best since 1996’s “Comprehensive Guide To Modern Rebellion”; which let’s face it is a landmark album and easily in my top 10 of all time. Recent years have seen so many iconic and important bands rediscovering their mojo and, whilst I don’t think GR ever lost theirs, this is easily an essential long player to add to your collections! Welcome back Russ and the boys!

Stream and download Thoughts And Prayers here:

Like Good Riddance here:

This review was written by Richard Mair.

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Album Review: Redefining Home by Little Teeth

Little Teeth is a new band fronted by Arliss Nancy's Cory Call. A few years ago Cory moved to Germany and formed a band with Jason S. Thompson (The Sky We Scrape), Max Phillip (Captain Asshole) and Bastian Wegner. The four piece have been hard at work crafting their debut album Redefining Home which was released last month through Gunner Records and Say-10 Records. After catching part of their set at Booze Cruise in July, I was seriously looking forward to checking the album out.

Redefining Home starts with One Hotel Room. As all album openers should do, it really lays down a marker of what to expect – mid-tempo Americana-inspired punk rock with Call's distinctive raspy vocals leading the way. There's a really warm tone to the Little Teeth sound, making you feel welcome and reminding you of an old friend. I'm instantly on board with the album. Atlanticism is a slightly more up-tempo track that caught my attention immediately. Not only do Little Teeth up the tempo but the track is ridiculously catchy and it will become ingrained in your head before you even realise it. I really loved the addition of the harmonies on the track, it just takes the song up another level. These harmonies are a little subtle so they add to the song without taking anything away from Call's vocals. The first thing that struck me about the third song, Avondale, was how big it sounds. The song has this brilliant anthemic quality that makes it equally easy to imagine it being played in a big arena or in a tiny, sweaty basement – in both settings the crowd will sing the words back passionately at the band. Avondale is a bit of a mushy love song. It talks about living life to the absolute fullest with the person you're in love with, as there's so much to experience and so little time to do it.

Thinning Out is a song about friendship. It's about going to gigs and connecting with people that help you see a light at the end of a dark tunnel. This is something I'm certain the majority of people reading this will relate to in some way. As one of the strongest songs on Redefining Home, it's the sort of song that is great to sing along to with all of your gig pals. I really enjoyed the trade off between Call singing a line solo and then the band repeating the line with some great gang vocals. It sounds awesome. Sixteen Candles was a stand out song on my first listen of Redefining Home. It was the line "All I know, nothing ever mattered but these basement shows. Alone and getting hammered with the friends who chose music as a better way to make our way out of the fire." The song is about the power of music for perhaps the briefest of moments, how it can make you feel alive and forget about all the bad things that are happening in your life. Another extremely relatable theme. There's something special about those nights spent with your own bunch of misfits singing along to your favourite songs that can make everything seem better and it's something I'm personally eternally grateful for.

Bender was released as a single before Redefining Home. This was a great choice as it showcases many of the great things about Little Teeth. It's a hook filled and catchy mid-tempo song with introspective lyrics, a great chorus and some great harmonies. A particular highlight of the song for me was the breakdown that then builds up to a spectacular conclusion to the song. The seventh song, Amphetamine, looks at abusing alcohol and drugs to get through hard times before meeting someone who helps you move away from those life choices. It's a really uplifting and life affirming track that ends on a lovely positive note. It's good for people to hear there is sometimes a way out of your darkest moments. Pillow Cases starts out with a generally heavier tone with some pounding drums opening the song up. It's fitting as the opening lyrics of the song are "Oh dark and deadly bleak and miserable night." Despite the heavier tone this is still unmistakably Little Teeth, displaying all we've come to expect from them so far whilst also showing a moodier side to the band. I was impressed with the range Call shows with his gravelly vocal on the song. Expertly switching between moody and hopeful.

The ninth song is titled Drunk Apostles. Drunk Apostles is perhaps my favourite track on Redefining Home. Really upping the tempo, the song is filled with this beautiful and infectious energy that I really loved. The track starts slowly, gradually building towards the pop-like melody that quickly hooked me in. It's about how the people you meet on tour can inspire you and give you hope when all seems lost. There's an autobiographical feel to the track as Cory recounts a tour with Makewar (which I went to the London show of) and how that lead him onto the right path. I adore when the chorus hits – it's sung with such a passion and urgency. The penultimate song on Redefining Home is Sleep Better. Bringing the pace back down slightly, this is a track heavy on gang vocals and harmonies – two of my favourite things. This gives the track a great feeling of inclusiveness that invited you to sing along with the song. There is another positive feel to the song as Call sings about finding a way to ease his mind and sleep better. Last up is Western Skies. I immediately loved that this feels like a final track. The way in which it builds up at the start gives you the immediate feeling that it's going to be a big ending to Redefining Home. The song doesn’t stray far from the Little Teeth sound but everything sounds like it's been turned up a notch. Western Skies tackles the theme of separation but always managing to find your way back to someone. A fine song to finish a fine album.

Redefining Home is as good as you would expect from a band featuring such talented songwriters and musicians. There's a definite crossover appeal for plenty of different genres that fall under the rock 'n' roll banner. Whether it's punk, Americana or even indie, I can see plenty of people getting on board with Little Teeth.

Stream and download Redefining Home here:

Like Little Teeth here:

This review was written by Colin Clark.

Monday, 14 October 2019

Album Review: Death Is Death by EAT DIRT. (by Richard Mair)

London based EAT DIRT. have been making waves in the scene since their inception a couple of years ago, and only enhanced their reputation with two excellent EPs prior to unleashing their debut album “Death Is Death” which will inevitably take them further outside of their South East homeland. Melding visceral, angry and defiant vocals and lyrics with a melting pot of punk and hardcore influences, “Death Is Death” is arguably the most schizophrenic album you’ll hear this year; but with good reason. It’s not a hardcore album nor is it a punk album, it’s pitched perfectly in the line between the two sounds; combining the best of say Cancer Bats or Death by Stereo with The Hives, yet at the same time sounding nothing like these bands.

Clocking in at 25 minutes for 14 songs should give some indication as to its brevity and speed. EAT DIRT. don’t do epics; instead just 4 of the songs clock over 2 minutes. This isn’t a case of quantity over quality though as the standard across the album is high and none of the songs in any way feel like fillers.

Lyrically the album is typical of late 90s or early 00s hardcore (I’ll fight anyone that doesn’t agree that Indecision / Initial / Revelation Records / Bridge Nine are responsible for creating the greatest era of hardcore). Given my love for the bands of this time, having something new yet that feels nostalgic back to this time is brilliant. Opening track “Make Peace” could easily find itself on a sampler from this era. It’s a great introduction to the band and the album; the heavy shotgun style drumming a real statement of intent. It’s a proper hardcore song which is followed by a more punk tune in “Worms Of The Earth”, which barely reaches the minute mark despite it following a typical song structure of verse-chorus-verse. Both songs work well next to each other to introduce the album and its themes.

Showing they can mix it up, third track “Come And See” is more of a slow burner and whilst the bulk of the song is pretty epic it’s the closing stages which really elevate it; the frantic shouting of “The devil and God are raging in me” is a real crowd pleaser. This ability to mix things up is also apparent on the track that follows; “Moribund”, which has a melodic edge that is more reminiscent of skate punk than hardcore, again it’s a curveball that pays off big style.

The album’s title track “Death Is Death” is a straight up hardcore bruiser that doesn’t even make 1:40. It’s a cracking tune and its circle pit inducing credentials are apparent for all to hear. “Punk Rock Con” is an excellent nostalgia driven song; and by this I mean it reminds me so much of the aforementioned early Bridge9 / Indecision / Initial bands (particularly Breathe In) in that its simplicity, musicality and driving beats will transport you back to the hardcore heydays.

It’s not all straight up hardcore belters on the album, straddling the line between punk and hardcore their more punk leanings come to the fore with tracks such as “Night Terrors”, ” The Beast” and “Bones”. Taking “The Beast” for example, it’s a tune evoking the spirit of The Hives at their most brattish. At the middle of the album, it’s a great pacing decision. In addition, the melodic elements of both “Night Terrors” and “Bones” are real standout moments of the album; again highlighting the band’s ability to turn traditional hardcore tropes on their heads. Finally the guitar work on “Bones” is brilliant; containing the closest thing to a solo on the album and is reminiscent of the metal tinged approach of latter day Death By Stereo.

The closing stages of the album pick up the pace again. “Spend Your Life” with its whoa-whoas is another brilliant song designed to get fists in the air as it talks of the traditional hardcore values of “breaking chains” and “standing up for yourself”.

Closing track “Pull Out” pulls strands of everything that has gone before into a stunning culmination of the bands efforts; bringing an end to proceedings with a brief sing-a-long punk rock song.

Eat Dirt are not the most innovative boundary pushing band. Personally I don’t think they set out to be the next La Dispute but what they have achieved is to deliver a real bombastic, fun, angry and ultimately essential slab of British hardcore. It’s an album you can put on and listen to over and over with ease, the brevity of the songs keeping it interesting and their ability to deliver all the essential hardcore elements in a variety of ways makes for an album that never outstays its welcome. Much like the now iconic (and CPRW faves) Drug Church, if you’re looking for something to listen to that’s more edgy and hardcore than your typical pop-punk fare this could be the release for you.

One final thing to recommend the album is the artwork. I’m a sucker for good art and often feel that if done well can really help set a release apart. The work of Ben Mills (who also happens to be a member of the band) is stunning; I might even go as far to say have we got a British Lubrano on our hands – here is hoping future releases draw on those artistic skills!

Stream and download Death Is Death here:

Like EAT DIRT. here:

This review was written by Richard Mair.

Friday, 11 October 2019

Gig Review: The Slackers at Esquires, Bedford 4/10/19

Something I don't do enough is go to local shows. I go to loads of DIY gigs in London but I very rarely go to shows in Bedford, where I live. This is partly because there aren't often gigs in Bedford that really cola my coke but also because most of my gig going pals are based in London and it's nice to see them. It took me 42 gigs and until October before I managed to get to a Bedford gig this year but what a line up it was. New York ska legends The Slackers were making their first ever appearance in Bedford and were joined (as they would be for the duration of the tour) by my favourite UK ska punk band, Call Me Malcolm.

We arrived at Esquires not long before the bands started and it was lovely to see plenty of people gathering early to see all the bands. For some reason there were no local supports on the evening’s bill so it was up to Call Me Malcolm to get the crowd warmed up. Obviously the five piece were more than up for the task. I wasn't sure how many people in the crowd were aware of the band before the gig began but they quickly won the crowd over with a typically energetic performance. Playing a set comprised mostly of songs from their classic album I Was Broken When You Got here as well as old favourites Does My Offbeat Look Big In This and I Sold My Cat, I couldn't help but sing along and dance from start to finish – even to the instrumental track F.T.I.M (I sang along to the brass parts). I'm now very used to seeing Malcolm play to an adoring crowd at the New Cross Inn so it was an absolutely pleasure to watch them in different surroundings winning over a new crowd. The sing-along at the end of All My Nameless Friends was as special as ever. Call Me Malcolm aim to spread love and empathy wherever they go, they certainly did this at Esquires and Esquires gave them plenty of love back.

After the excitement of the Call Me Malcolm set, it was now time for The Slackers. The band have been making frequent trips to the UK in their nearly thirty year career but this was their first ever time in Bedford. The good folks of the town were super appreciative that they had finally made it. A crowd of very enthusiastic people gathered at the front of the room began to dance and sing as soon as the six piece began to play. As you would imagine from a band that have been going as long as the Slackers, they were incredibly tight. I'll hate myself for saying this when this review is posted but you could say that there was nothing slack about them. Also, having been a band for such a long long time, The Slackers have a lot of songs to choose from when compiling their set list. I won't even try and name them because I will miss something out but it was a very crowd pleasing set. Playing a mixture of ska, rocksteady and reggae it was a joyous performance. It was great to see the band playing with such big smiles on their faces, clearly enjoying the enthusiasm for them that the crowd showed. Highlights of the performance came from vocalist and organist Vic Ruggiero's dry humour between songs and trombone player Glen Pine's unmatched charisma – he connects so well with the crowd. This was the first stop on a long UK and European tour for The Slackers so there's a chance they were only really warming up here, anyone who sees them later on in the tour is certainly going to be in for a treat.

This was a fantastic way to spend a Friday night in Bedford. Great atmosphere, friendly faces, big smiles and great music.

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

Thursday, 10 October 2019

Top Tens: Top Ten Unreviewed Albums (Part 1)

Recently I've been on a massive binge of trying to listen to as many albums from 2019 as I can. I mean, doing CPRW I feel like I've listened to a lot but, when you look at just how much punk rock has been released this year, our reviews are only really scraping the barrel. To help myself work through all of the punk releases of 2019, I've made a mega playlist which currently contains 3733 songs and is almost 186 hours long (you can check it out here). So to make this new binge addiction of mine productive, I've decided to start a new series of top tens. I'm going to run through some of the favourite releases I've discovered recently, from earlier in the year, that the CPRW team haven't reviewed. Hopefully you'll find some hidden gems like I have!

Dollar Signs – I Need Some Space
Dollar Signs’ 2018 album This Will Haunt Me was one of my favourite albums of the year so I have no idea how I managed to miss their next EP I Need Some Space which was released by A-F Records in January. Here we have four older Dollar Signs songs that have been given a fresh lick of paint with the band’s current line-up – and they're sounding great. This EP is a cool introduction for new fans of Dollar Signs to get a feel of their history whilst being exposed to their current sound.

Celebrity Hangover – Upon Reflection
Originally from Ireland but now based in San Diego, Celebrity Hangover released Upon Reflection on New Year’s Day. The album features sixteen highly infectious melodic punk rock songs. From start to finish Upon Reflection is full of sing-along fist in the air moments that you instantly pick up. The band also released an EP titled Older in June which also fantastic.

A Crash Republic – Homewreckers: Sweet Apathy
I wasn’t sure I was really going to like A Crash Republic after reading they were influenced by bands such as Neck Deep and Knuckle Puck but I was pleasantly surprised by Homewreckers: Sweet Apathy. What really stood out to me was the vocals. They were so much rawer than the clean cut polished vocal I expected and really help A Crash Republic stand out from other modern pop punk bands. They remind me of one of my favourite bands Problem Daughter and are definitely worth checking out.

The Specials – Encore
Despite being a fan of The Specials it took me eight months to listen to Encore, which was the legendary ska band’s first new album in over twenty years. It took me so long to listen because I couldn't see how it would match up to all those classic songs the band had written during their career. It doesn't match up, but it doesn't try too. This is a different sounding Specials tackling the issues of today in their own distinctive way. Given the reach that The Specials have, this could be one of the most important political albums of the year.

Good Shade – Way Out
Ohio's Good Shade is the ambitious solo project of Shane Natalie. Shane writes, composes and plays all of the music in Good Shade themself and gets friends to help perform it live. In February, Good Shade released a new album named Way Out. Twelve songs of energetic indie/power pop goodness that is a breath of fresh air.

Millencolin – SOS
Swedish skate punk legends Millencolin released their ninth studio album SOS back in February to quite the fanfare. Why it took me so long to check it out I don't know as I thoroughly enjoyed their previous album, True Brew, from 2015. SOS continues that new found form the band had with their previous album and, for certain, it doesn't stray from the Millencolin sound we've become accustomed to over the past twenty-five years. When such an influential band from the scene continues to put out such accomplished work it does make me happy.

Lenny Lashley's Gang Of One – All Are Welcome
You might know Lenny Lashley from his days fronting Darkbuster or from playing guitar with the Street Dogs. All Are Welcome is the title of his new solo album performed under the pseudonym of Lenny Lashley's Gang Of One. All Are Welcome is a powerful and emotional album combining Americana and folk with a slice of punk rock. Lashley proves just what a fantastic songwriter he is on All Are Welcome as he manage to grab your attention without having to resort to blisteringly fast and loud punk rock.

Coral Springs – Always Lost, Never Found
Always Lost, Never Found is the debut album from Dutch pop punk band Coral Springs. Released in February on Umlaut Records in the UK, Coral Springs continue to show why they are one of the most exciting bands in mainland Europe. Imagine if you take Rise Against and add Agent M from Tsunami Bombs’ vocals, that's what you get from Coral Springs. This is an album I really regret sleeping on for so long as it's very very good.

Bony Macaroni – Bony Macaroni
I first listened to Bony Macaroni whilst travelling around the North Wales coast in early October. The weather was pretty bleak and I was a bit tired, then this EP came on and it really raised my spirits. Playing poppy emo punk tunes with jangly guitars and a stunning vocal, it was hard not to take notice. They quickly reminded me of one of my favourite UK based bands Toodles & The Hectic Pity. One to keep an eye on for sure.

Clarkkent – Stranger Than Fiction
I discovered Clarkkent thanks to F.O.D's Lode De Feyter. The Finnish skate punk act’s latest album Stranger Than Fiction is on the heavier side of skate punk and I found this refreshing. It managed to hook me in immediately with some soaring vocals, technical guitars that at time verge on metal riffs and some ferocious drums. If all punk rock from Finland sounds like this then I best do some more research into the country's scene.

This top ten was written by Colin Clark.