Special Duties – 7 Days A Week

So I had a chance to check out the new album 7 Days a Week by English punk band Special Duties. If you’re in the mood for an old-school Oi! sound that’s been polished up and produced in a much more modern way, then look no further, 7 Days a Week is exactly that. 

This album is chock full songs about social issues, addiction, and class struggle, as well as some songs that feel like you should be singing along to while tipping back pints in an English pub. And that is exactly what you’d expect from these guys.

At first pass the album kinda falls flat and seems like the lyrics were put together in a hasty, hap-hazard fashion. Subsequent listening will have you singing along to the better constructed tunes like the albums namesake 7 Days a Week and Punks and Bootboys. The songs Fight Back, Rebel and Time Bomb show a more aggressive side of the band and are my personal favourites from this release. 

At times the high quality of the recording feels like it takes away from the expected “punkness”. If that’s a thing… but this is just wishful thinking on my part I suppose. It’s not like we can expect modern engineers to deliberately make a band sound like shit… can we? 

All in all it’s a passable album, and if you grew up listening to the older British punk of the early 80s you should definitely at the very least, give this a try. I won’t be running out to get the first pressing or anything, but it might be fun to catch the live show at some point.

–Jëffy

Milquetoast – Caterwaul

I can’t pretend like I’m ever terribly excited to hear a band that has descriptors like “doom”, “stoner”, and “sludge”. This is mostly because modern bands who fall into these categories often take themselves too seriously, and frankly I just don’t understand why you’re so goddamn negative and serious if you’re blazing up all the time. Thankfully, Milquetoast does not fall into this genre trapping.

They have instead crafted a modern day album of AmRep-style bangers that sometimes even veers into old school hardcore goofiness, a la Flag of Democracy. Before grunge was called grunge and ruined by shit bands like Alice In Chains, it kind of sounded like this. There is definitely some excellent Mark Arm howling going on. I’m also hearing Cows, particularly in the way Milquetoast throws instrumental curve balls at you to keep things interesting.

I’m listening to this via a YouTube link, so it’s difficult to refer to specific tracks, but there’s enough variety on here to make the whole thing worth your time. This is a quality I’ve found lacking in other “doom” and “sludge” bands. Unless your band is exclusively marijuana referencing in the name, I don’t get the “stoner” part either.

Historically, AmRep, Mudhoney, and proto-grunge bands like Cosmic Psychos (who invented that blown out sound) have been way more famous for beer consumption. To me, this is drunk music more than stoner rock, and that’s a good thing. Whatever you like to do to your brain when you pretend like the world isn’t ending, do it while blasting Milquetoast. This is a super fun record that I wish I had a hard copy of. Highly (or drunkenly) recommended.

–Zach Akenson

Tracks:
Intro
Dead Inside
Recognize
Matapacos
Stoner Safari
Step Off
Space Force
Fake News Blues
Wall
Forgotten Death

Bio:
When Milquetoast (milk-ˌtōst) is used as an adjective, it means timid, meek, or unassertive. But you only need a single distorted power chord or unhinged howl from the Indiana trio’s punked-up party sludge to get sucker-punched by the band name’s irony. Milquetoast will kick 2022’s front door off its hinges with their debut LP mastered by Chris Fielding of the mighty Conan, appropriately named Caterwaul.

Formed in 2018 by vocalist/guitarist Ty Winslow, Milquetoast was devised as an expression of weirdo punk fury. In fact, it was Winslow’s penchant for loud riffs and cheeky vibes that initially lured vocalist/bassist Andy Bowerman as a collaborator.

“In a church 2.5 hours in the middle of nowhere,” Bowerman recalls, “I was looking out into the melee [of a mosh pit] and seeing crossdressing members of [Winslow’s then-band] Battersea riding each other around like jousting mounts. So the friendship came easy—and came often.”

After recruiting drumming dynamo Nick James, the band’s unique impish energy took shape. Gather the mops that soaked up sweat and blood from stages in the ’80s west coast punk and Seattle grunge scenes. Squeeze the fluids into a shot glass…

MILQUETOAST IS:
Ty – guitar and vocals
Andy – bass, vocals, and synth
Nick – drums

The Dynamite Club – Is The Dancefloor Calling?… No.

So I had a chance to listen to the debut EP from The Dynamite ClubIs The Dancefloor Calling?… No.” If you’re unfamiliar with them now, you won’t be for long. This EP hits hard right out of the gate with the opening song “Wake Up” and then keeps you guessing just what kind of band you’re listening to with more anthem styled tunes like “Apocalypse” and “One Sixth” to more pop punk influenced tunes like “Erotomania”. 

This hard working punk band from across the pond with two snarky English singers has been working it out for the past five years in the London area. Their DIY ethics are evident in this recording produced and mixed by James Kirsch

My only complaint about this EP is that there isn’t, as of yet more from The Dynamite Club to listen to. If you’re in the mood for a band that is a little different than you’re used to, but would fit perfectly on a playlist with your favourite SoCal punk bands, Is The Dance Floor Calling?… No. might just hit the spot.

-Jëffy

Tracks:
1. Wake Up
2. Apocalypse
3. Erotomania
4. Lights Out
5. Third Eye
6. One Sixth

The Dynamite Club is
Sam – vocals and guitar
James  – vocals and guitar
Luke – Bass 
Steven – Drums 

Bio:
Been a band for about 5 years, with James and Steven joining in last couple. Everything you see and hear is done totally DIY (with a little help from our friends). 

​We’ve played shows for the likes of the Garageland club, Camden Rocks and South London Punk Collective.

​Influences: fast punk n roll from 1950s to present day.

The Effens – New song “Punishment” out now!

Punishment” is a sweet yet sinister love song. It’s about all the ways that someone can control another by ‘caring’ or ‘helping’ them. You can put yourself in the role of caregiver and have it become such a deep rooted part of your identity that you actually don’t want the person you ‘care’ for to get better.
 
This song is written from the point of someone who is sabotaging an individual just enough so that they are unable to become independent and will continue to rely on their ‘caregiver.’

Hear “Punishment,” taken from our upcoming EP, Eventually (out July 30th), on your preferred streaming platform.  

Do I get what I want, when she sets fire? The narrator of this song needs to be with someone who ‘sets herself on fire’ to feel like they are needed. Maybe they are admitting this to themselves for the first time in this cycle or maybe this admission is part of the cycle as well.

Instagram // Twitter // Facebook // Bandcamp
http://www.theeffens.com/

Skism – 2021

Got a CD in the post box the other day. It’s been on deck in the CD player for a week or so now. Finally enough of a lull in the day job to throw a few words at it. A paucity of words leaves them hanging though, right?

Here’s some quick thoughts about Skism and their new release “2021”. A blast of old school (which I realize is a term I use a lot) street punk from NYC. 

Loud, gritty, in-your-face Punk / Hardcore / Oi

The lyric run a course from the murderous lament of “Eyes”, into the markedly anti-Nazi “U.S. Nazis Fuck Off and Die”, to the questioning retorts of “Agent Orange” and “Trioxin”. 

Things delve into the personal with “Knocked Down With A 40”, a song, as it turns out, about being knocked down with a 40. The final track, something we all can relate to, “Outside the Club” brings how the feeling of being shut out in the cold. 

You know what street punk sounds like? The drums pound. The guitar chugs. The bass rumbles. The vocals are somewhere between a sing and a shout. You know what you like. So check out Skism on all the streaming platforms. (but especially Bandcamp)

Tracks:
1. Pain and Pain 02:12
2. Eyes 02:24
3. U.S. Nazies Fuck Off and Die 01:32
4. Agent Orange 01:46
5. Trioxin 01:52
6. Knocked Down With A 40 01:26
7. Nomad 02:08
8. In Control (Eyes Reprise) 02:00
9. Outside the Club 01:29

Bio:
Skism is an anti-social, angst ridden, hyperactive punks who pound out driving music with screaming vocals, fast guitars and pounding drums, with old school punk, hardcore and oi influences, featuring players who played in The Krays, American Eagle, WRENCH and Mad Mulligans. 

Cheers!
Jerry Actually

Sacri-Political – Shove It Up Your Ass!

Sacri-Political sent me a copy of their new single, Shove It Up Your Ass!, and well, fuck yeah. It rocks in an old school way that reminds me of the snottiness of Wasted Youth’s “Fuck Authority”. 

There’s, of course a very compelling reason there’s such an “old school” sound. They’ve been around for a couple minutes. According to the band’s bio:

‘Sacripolitical (1982 – 1993, 2019 – present) is a punk rock band from Marin County, CA. The name Sacripolitical refers to the band members’ attitude toward politics. Just as a person who is sacrilegious is irreverent toward the sacred, Sacripolitical plays songs, like “Peace: Under our Supervision,” “The Nihilist Void,” and “Napalm Baby,” that are politically and philosophically irreverent.’

The track is both irreverent and finger wagging, opening a view into what I think a lot of people have felt during the pandemic. It is kind of the idea that everything is pretty fucked, because everybody (politicians, corporations, racists, zealots) keep fucking everything up. Everything is fucked. It’s your fault, and you can, well, shove it up your ass. 

The music itself is a mid-tempo 3-chord banger. Very straight forward 4-piece punk rock with a little bit of a shuffle to it. It’s not out to pave new roads, but fits nicely in the well worn grooves in the asphalt. 

The B-side, “Gogol’s Nose” is in a little more of a DK vein, but with some horn parts dropped in. At any rate, I dig it. Check it out. Support local music any way you can. 

Stay safe!

Jerry Actually

Sex Cuts – cop bait

No time to mince words. We’re all starving for entertainment during the pandemic. So unjam your earholes and stuff some rock and roll into ‘em. 

Now listening to “Cop Bait” by Sex Cuts, a lo-fi rager from Gothenburg Sweden’s Sex Cuts. This collection of six tracks of Apocolyptica will blast new and/or additional holes in your head.

Very garage, anti-music vibe going on. I dig the dissonance. Feels a bit like old Sonic Youth meets Rollins Band. It’s a raw release. Straight to cassette, which is cool I suppose for easy and cost effective media production. Thankfully there’s digital copies, because my cassette deck is fucked and I’d never hear it otherwise.

Cheers to Sex Cuts for a banger of an EP. Check them out at their Bandcamp site. Buy some shit. Support independent music!

Tracks:
1. Designer Thoughts 03:10
2. 1994:137 03:17
3. The Politics of Sinking 02:35
4. Chaos Rites 04:15
5. Cultural Sale 03:52
6. 52 Hertz 01:40

Terminal City Rats – Year of the Rat

Year of the Rat

Here’s a quick shout out to Terminal City Rats with their new album, Year of the Rat. Hailing from Vancouver BC, these neighbors to the north have kicked out a solid punk rock record.

13 tracks of punk. largely in the vein of some of the crack rocksteady sounds of Leftover Crack, Star Fucking Hipsters, Morning Glory etc. Not a carbon copy, of course, but clearly going down that path. 

It’s good, so give it a listen. You aren’t doing anything right now anyway. 

Cheers!
Jerry Actually

Tracks:
1. Intro 00:58
2. Year of the Rat 00:17
3. TCRA 01:11
4. Stand Proud 02:14
5. More than a Scene 01:32
6. Lion’s Roar 01:37
7. Never Surrender 02:00
8. The Struggle 01:53
9. Hastings 01:29
10. Stay Sharp 01:21
11. Here’s to You (Broken and Alone) 01:33
12. Queens 01:41
13. Wants and Needs 01:56

Bio:
Started sometime in early 2018 by founding members, bassist and songwriter Jeremy Starcok and drummer Liam Ready, Terminal City Rats were just two new friends brought together by their mutual love for punk rock. The duo spent a couple of months jamming and composing ideas before guitarist Chris “Crash” Campbell (F’Neh / The Receptionists) joined. “I ran into Crash at a show and casually mentioned that I had started a new project when he pretty much informed me that he was going to be our guitar player”, recalls Jeremy. “He basically told me right there on the spot that he was coming to our next practice without me even asking.”

Having played together in the short lived Vancouver punk band Struck A Nerve years earlier, the two knew they shared some musical chemistry and common tastes. Eager to find a singer, the trio made a social media post in search of someone. Bed ridden and recovering from a nasty knee injury, Jameson Trenholm (Obscene Being) answered jokingly with “I’ll join your band”, not expecting anything to actually come of it. “…I had turned my knee into mashed potato. I somehow managed to hobble my broke self to a few jams where I was crowned the Singer”.

Now a four piece and the addition of a second songwriter in Jameson, the band spent the next few months crafting a collection of songs, three of which would be recorded on their debut self titled demo recorded at Rain City Recorders by Stu McKillop in the fall of 2018. For the next year or so, Terminal City Rats played a handful of shows at venues around Vancouver including the Have A Good Laugh festival and legendary local haunts such as the Alf house, Pub 340 and SBC. “Those were really fun shows and we played with some killer local and touring bands but when we started this band, it was always the plan to have two guitar players. Two differently styled players who complimented each other.” says Jeremy.

Enter Mandy Green (Frank Love) in August of 2019. “…having known Jameson through the Vancouver music scene, he said they were looking for a second guitarist and after hearing their fast, raw, high energy sound I said ‘I’m in.’” With the long time plan of being a 5 piece finally coming to fruition, the band set out to incorporate Mandy’s guitar playing into their set. More shows followed including a sold out night at the Cambie in downtown Vancouver playing with some of Vancouver’s finest in Space Chimp, Alien Boys, Chain Whip and The Vicious Cycles. Riding the high of that night, the band again decided to enter the studio to record the follow up to their first release.

Whilst practicing and preparing to record, the Covid-19 pandemic hit, essentially halting the band’s ability to get together and jam. Months passed, during which time founding member Liam decided that he no longer wanted to be a part of Terminal City Rats and left to focus on other areas of his life. The band, now without a drummer and quickly approaching studio time, started to consider cancelling their scheduled recording session. As some of the pandemic restrictions started to be lifted, the band was able to begin jamming again but was still without a drummer.

Through friendship and connections in the local community, Jameson approached drummer Marco Bieri (Space Chimp, ATD, The Dreadnoughts) about the possibility of helping the band in the studio. With his various projects also on hold due to the pandemic and itching to play, Marco welcomed the opportunity. Learning 5 songs in only a few practices, the band entered Rain City Recorders for two days in June 2020 again with Stu McKillop at the helm. With the reinvigorated energy of a new drummer in addition to the results of that session, Marco asked “Why not do a full length album?” 8 more songs and two weeks later, Terminal City Rats returned to the studio to finish their debut full length album “The Year of the Rat”.

Subliminal Landmines – Gibberish

Listening to Gibberish, the recently released album from Lafayette, Louisiana punk band, Subliminal Landmines. 12 tracks of bouncy, mid-tempo, rock and roll songs, with enough grit and sneer to take the more poppy edges off, and keep it just dangerous enough to not drift into pure rock territory. The sound is defiantly out of garageland, and totally suits the band. Three piece, three chords, 1. 2. 3. Go!

Everything reminds me of everything these days, but Subliminal Landmines has a vocal style that is similar to something, but I can’t put my finger on it. It’s good and it’s cool, so there’s that at any rate. Maybe I’m wrong, but as I’ve continued listening, the vocals kind of strike me as being like psychobilly/rockabilly act The Blackjakits. I dunno maybe I’m nuts. 

I’ve half listened to the Gibberish a couple times now and it is growing on me with each successive run. The album as a whole sounds great and is entirely listenable, however standout Track six, Crutch, comes out of the gate like a Cheap Trick number. The intro really hooks in, and it’s totally a song about lost friendship, and about the things that you do to get by. Great stuff musically and lyrically. 

The songs speak of loss, lament, drugs illicit or otherwise, and the type of soul searching that comes along with life on an isolated and often bleak planet. The effect is cathartic though. It helps to diffuse the pain of living.  

From Crutch:
“Staring at the ceiling while thinking bout way too much
Having trouble standing without you as my crutch”

Bonus Green Day cover at the end, which I suppose puts a finer point on the sound and spirit Subliminal Landmines are trying to capture. 

There’s a bunch of links below if you’d like to check them out. I think that perhaps you should.

Cheers!
Jerry Actually

Tracks:
1. Criticized 02:13
2. Where’s My Coke? 03:54
3. Room for 3 02:36
4. She May Be 03:01
5. I’m Okay 02:53
6. Crutch 03:17
7. Suit Up 05:09
8. Target (Twenty-20) 02:59
9. I Love You a Camel 02:45
10. Ungrateful 01:48
11. Losing Heartbeats 03:16
12. Brain Stew / Jaded 04:30

Bio:
Taking form in 2017, Subliminal Landmines exploded onto the South Louisiana Music scene with their energetic punk. Influenced by the grimey dive bars, garages, and smoke stained lungs of their youth, Subliminal Landmines released their debut EP “Captivity” which was received with open arms. Currently writing their first full length album to be called “Gibberish” which is set to release in the fall of 2020

Members:
Grant Duhon: Vocals and Guitar
Chris Hayes: Vocals and Bass
Lee Gauthreaux: Drums

Social Media links:
Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/subliminallandmines
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SubLandmines
Instagram : http://www.instagram.com/subliminallandmines
Bandcamp : https://subliminallandmines.bandcamp.com/
Youtube : https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPVJVEVYTV9GpYgVwoNA0hg?
Spotify : https://open.spotify.com/artist/1NQS1qtyBDeT3po1O8ck9k?si=KxjWGnv7QVqL1cR-JIigVA  

Get Dead – Dancing With The Curse

I’ve been pretty uninspired for a few months now. At the beginning of the pandemic, I was pretty upbeat. Working from home, being creative, and generally enjoying things to the fullest extent possible with the obvious restrictions. As spring drifted, summer languished, somehow we careened straight into fall. With that passage of time I have become a bit despondent. Colors have dulled. Highlights and lows have all reached their eventual entropy. Sometimes though, every now and again, you get a little bit of a boost.

Today’s boost arrived in the form of a brand new album from San Francisco’s Get Dead. “Dancing With The Curse” is out on October 9th, on the now venerable Fat Wreck Chords. What can I say, it’s a cathartic delight.

We were given a teaser of the album at the end of summer, via video for the intro track Disruption, a syncopated punk/rap number. The lead track segues into the remaining 11 tracks in a seamless fashion. The tracks move in and out of tempos from the fast-slow-fast-faster-slow-slower-fast-faster-slow keeping the sound swirling around in your gray matter.

Elements of folk, rap, ska, and reggae flavor the tracks and the band’s punk rock DNA. It makes  for a lively album, one which repaves well worn ground with fresh new layers. It’s good stuff. It’s dynamic. You know what I’m saying?

Things, of course, are delivered in a patently dark fashion, tonally, but especially lyrically. That’s what keeps us coming back, right? Take some lines from track 4: Stickup

Did you really think
You could start again
This place is collapsing
Hordes of incontrollable bastards
They are coming for you
It feels like this place is cursed
So do your worst
We are all going down

It’s not the sort of thing that engenders a lot of hope, not in a traditional way at least. There’s a certain comfort in knowing that you’re doomed, and it’s always nice to have a soundtrack to that feeling.

But, you know, there is hope. From track 7: Hard Times

Trouble breathing?
Feel like something’s wrong?
Have you felt like
It’s been like this for too long?
Is your heart beating?
Can you hear this song?
Then everything is okay

Maybe there will be better days? I know it made my day better. 

Here’s the deal, there’s a new album by Get Dead and it’s the shit, as the kids used to say. 

Cheers!
Jerry Actually   

Tracks:

  1. Disruption
  2. Nickel Plated
  3. Fire Sale
  4. Stickup
  5. Glitch
  6. Confrontation
  7. Hard Times
  8. 8 Track
  9. Green’s Girl
  10. Pepperspray
  11. Confidence Game
  12. Take It

Bio:

There aren’t a lot of bands like Get Dead around these days. Instead of worrying about gimmicks and trends, this fivesome from San Francisco, California have always focused on the music and that’s evident with every passion-filled note they play. Get Dead started out performing together in 2007 after their respective bands called it quits and eventually attracted the attention of NOFX frontman Fat Mike who produced the band’s first full-length, “Bad News”, as well as their new full-length, “Honesty Lives Elsewhere”, and released both records on his label Fat Wreck Chords.