Ubermanoeuvre – Burn This

(c) 2010 Spartan Records UK


Ubermanoeuvre are a five-piece band, from South East London, UK. They have been compared to Rage Against The Machine and Enter Shikari, to name a few, and dub their own style as high energy rock.

There’s so much going on, and so many differences between each track, that it’s only fair to mention (nearly) every one.

Kicking off this, their debut album, is the title track, with an electro intro, leading into a hip-hop (with underlying synths) verse and shouty chorus, I guarantee you will never have heard anything like this before. And it will be a total mind fuck. There’s so many different elements to the one song, but don’t dismiss it yet.

Track two, ‘If I Were You (I Wouldn’t Be Me)’ opens with a very brief piece of acoustic guitar, then it’s straight into the (quite heavy) thrashing guitars. There’s also a creepy keyboard riff, adding an eerie element to the track. Even though there’s not as much going on, it’s still hard to place under a specific genre.

‘Call To Arms’ marks another change in sound, this one’s more emo, but still electro. Think HelloGoodbye meets Taking Back Sunday- cheesy cheerful, but screamo. Adding to this is the piano breakdown and the screamy choruses.

Track four, ‘Apathy Loves Company’ is one of the catchiest on the record. It’s still really odd, but by now you’ll have got used to the sheer weirdness of it all. Track five is more guitar driven, which suits them more, but then it’s back into the crazy mix with ‘Never Bring Your Girlfriend Flowers’- jazz piano under a hip-hop beat. But, somehow, it works. ‘9am: Monday’ is more hip-hop-y, with a emo/screamo chorus.

Then there’s track eight and 10, (‘Now! That’s What I Call Karma, ‘2378’) that are more downbeat and simple hip-hop rock.

As it’s so unusual compared to anything you’ll have ever heard, it’s impossible to really sum it up- so just check it out and decide for yourselves.

But, to recap, Ubermanoeuvre play screamo- electro- hip-hop, with synths- a- plenty.

There’s way too many dashes in that last sentence.



The Kings of Nuthin’ – Old Habits Die Hard

© 2010 Sailor’s Grave Records


Rating: ★★★★☆

New releases from some bands are like Christmas, immediately after the preceding one you get super excited for the next. The Kings of Nuthin’ are like that for me. I’ve been looking forward to Old Habits Die Hard since before I even knew it was coming out.

The disc doesn’t fail to impress either. The now familiar sounds of booze infused 50s rock and roll hybrid with punk guts and speed and vocals like a Dicky Barrett and Tom Waits shouting match are all intact. This time around you get to enjoy 18 new tracks and revel in the level of depth that The Kings of Nuthin’ have developed over the last several years.

Funny thing is, as much as I enjoy this disc, it wasn’t immediate. Maybe it was environment or situation or my mood at the time, but I wasn’t immediately taken. Some of the more, for lack of a better term right now, “doo-wop” moments threw me. The duet seemed wrong and out of place. Then again, I tend to be the type of person that likes sophomore efforts; the kind of releases that are the gangly and often awkward ones in a bands career.

Successive listens, however, convinced me that Old Habits Die Hard has a lot more going on musically than I initially gave it credit for. The songs are tighter now and a bit more complex. Time signatures swerve and careen but magically remain upright. Instruments weave in and out and always fall back in line. The duet really has some charm … I’m still not sure about the “doo-wop”

I think though, the overarching reason why I like this release and this band is that beyond the rockin’ they craft songs that I can relate to. At some point I can’t tell if the tracks are about someone I know, someone we all know or if they, in some strange twist of fate, started writing songs about me. I don’t know about you, but that makes me feel pretty damn connected to the music.



Heads Held High – So Say We All

(c)2008 Heads Held High on Crossface Records

Rating: ★★★★½

hhh Hot damn, it’s good to listen to old-fashioned, ass-kicking hardcore punk!  I hope these guys have stock in bass drum heads and throat lozenges; I’m sure they go through a lot of them. 

So Say We All is an 11-track musical masterpiece. You get screamish vocals from a frontman who can also sing, classic punk guitar notched up with nu-metal riffs, staunch and strumbly bass support, and insanely exceptional drumming.  Clever nuggets of movie quotes pop up between songs with lyrics ranging from introspective, self-abasing, life-loving and regime challenging — brilliant.

Heads Held High deliver an album that makes you want to go out and drive fast, drink hard, and kiss beautiful strangers.  I can’t wait til they tour the West Coast — go get this CD, learn the lyrics so we can go sing along when they’re here.


Mute – The Raven

(c)2008 Mute on 2nd Wave Records
Rating: ★★★★★

mute-theraven I’m kicking myself for never listening to Mute before. This CD hasn’t left my player since it was sent, but it was time to take it out to write a review. GO GET THIS NOW.  Seriously, if you like music, you should like Mute.  This an amazing album — skate-punk steeped in metal, sweetened with power chords and harmonies, served up with a twist of punch-the-air songs to quench your music thirst.

I can taste the Lagwagon flavor, but Mute takes it over the edge…like a hotdog compares to gourmet imported Italian sausage.  The Raven serves up 12 tasty tracks, amazingly crafted — both lyrically and musically — and beautifully presented.  These guys are technically proficient, crisp, punchy, and savory.  Some lyrics toe the edge of heartbreak and come back swinging, others have you banging your head or shaking it in empathy.  They sing “Can’t be slowing down…” and here’s hoping they don’t.

The Raven is perfect for an afternoon barbeque or a raging party — you may need to re-up on beer, but you can just hit repeat on this CD and be sated.


My Life In Black & White

Cloudy Skies
(c) 2008 Horns Up Records
Rating: ★★★★☆

Where the heck were these guys when I lived in Portland? Not around I guess. I wish I would have would have been in town though. They sound like a hella good band. Folksy and punky with songs of sailing the seas and the drinking of beer. They swagger like Swingin’ Utters and The Pogues and rock out with less melodrama than most of the rain-addled cock-n-roll of many Portland bands. Cloudy Skies contains 12.5 tracks of the aforementioned variety of rock and it does not dissapoint. If you like the drinking and the singalongs and music that may make you want to steal a boat, then this one is for you. There’s more to it of course, but the jist of it is good time rock and roll. Enjoy!

–Jerry Actually


Bankrupt – Rocket to Riot City

(c) 2008 PiaRRecords
Rating: ★★★★☆

First and foremost I’d like to point out that we (that usually being me) here at !upstarter review HQ really dig it when bands from across the world find their way to my inbox. I absolutely love the positive exchange of music and ideas from across this big ol’ punk rock community that I would like to refer to as the Earth. That said I’d like to introduce you to Bankrupt. Readers meet Bankrupt. Bankrupt meet my readers. Right now I’m listening to a five song EP from straight outta Budapest, Hungary. “Rocket to Riot City” is a catchy little number, albeit a short one, but full of substance despite its lack of duration. With a sound somewhere between the rockabilly of the Peacocks and the punk rock of Millencolin, Bankrupt’s Rocket to Riot City blasts back at a messed up world. I suspect there’s nothing like rioting and economic crisis amidst political disarray to make life a waking nightmare. (not that we aren’t becoming a frightening reflection of that here in the states) Despite all the chaos, Bankrupt has made a kick ass EP. I strongly urge everyone to do their part for their local economy and international relations and buy a couple copies.


–Jerry Actually