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.
Fresh off the presses! (as of 01/28/2014) “As Bold As Brass”, the brand new LP from London’s hard working Oi! band Booze & Glory. It’s a rollicking and rowdy one indeed and sure to be a hit with all you street punks and Oi! fans out there. To be honest, this is my first listen to the band, but I like what I’ve heard thus far.
Seriously though, as fans of Oi! and street punk know, any self-respecting band of the genre is going to have driving rhythms, blue collar themes, a whole lot of loyalty to friends and fans, and of course, choruses that are chock full of, “Oi! Oi! Oi!”. “As Bold As Brass” doesn’t disappoint in that department at all.
The songs are solid and well played. This is a band that, while admittedly crafts simple, straight-forward songs, does what they do well. You know what? There’s nothing in the world wrong with that. I like my rock and roll to have a little bit of street edge and a chorus that I can scream along with at the top of my lungs to the point where the next day I’m so hoarse that you can barely understand a word that I’m saying. That’s what the fun’s all about, isn’t it?
Speaking of “about”, as a sidebar, the band’s vocals and syncopation reminds me subtly of Scottish/Canadian punk rockers the Real McKenzies. Odd perhaps, but I guess not entirely out of the vein. At any rate, this an album worth checking out for fans of both Oi! and punk rock.
1. Off We Go!
2. Leave The Kids Alone
3. Down and Out
4. Waiting For Tomorrow
5. One of Them
7. Only Fools Get Caught
8. Sick of You
9. Farewell Goodbye
10. I Hope You Still Remember
11. Cock & Bull Story
12. We’ll Stick Together
13. Always on the Wrong Side (Bonus Acoustic Track)
With a name like “Harrington Saints”, I’m immediately struck with the idea that this is a serious business, no holds barred, blue collar, in your face, working man’s street punk band. Maybe it’s familiarity with the genre, but there was no mistake in my assumption. These particular saints hail out of a little east bay town know as Oakland. You may have heard of it.
The band has been around since 2005 and Pride and Tradition is their second full-length. This one is produced by Lars Frederiksen. You may have heard of him. With it you get 11 tracks planted firmly in the vein of Oi and Street Punk; Blue collar rock and roll for the poor souls that have had their back broken by the man and get nothing in return.
The music is short, crisp, poignant, and timely yet timeless. (until such a time as people aren’t getting the short end of the stick I guess … so yeah, timeless.) That said, Street Punk isn’t the be all, end all for me. There is a strong tendency to get a bit repetitive. The Harrington Saints work to remedy this by not sticking strictly by the books. Tempos shift and not every track is a full on shout along. The themes run constant though; A desire for more, the tenuous grasp on the American Dream, white collar bandits, the ones who don’t put the effort in for their fair share.
Bottom line: If you like punk rock and you feel like you’ve constantly got the boot against your neck, rock the hell out and shout along with the Harrington Saints when they come crushing through your town.
The Decay, hailing from Guelph, Ontario, Canada (which makes me think of the 12th/13th century conflict between the papacy and the holy roman empire, but I digress) are a punk rock band and they graciously sent me a CD. I happen to be listening to it right now.
“This Months Rent” contains 14 tracks and an intro of reasonably snotty and rowdy punk rock, but with more song-craft than you’d initially suspect from my pigeon hole description. I’m lead to believe that the cost to produce and distribute this disc was the cost of a month’s rent. Presumably the band is either now homeless or have successfully worked things out with their landlord. … and I digress further.
The Decay bridges the gap between straight up punk and rock and roll by adding emphasis on melodic hooks and well structured choruses as evident on track four, The Street. Speaking of that particular track, it reminds me a lot of Gaslight Anthem. Without being overly verbose, because I keep getting distracted, let it suffice that “This Months Rent” is a rock solid DIY punk rock release with a serious nod to its roots of rock and roll.
On another note, there is a track on here that is over the four minute mark. Normally I’d start to complain about anything past three. In this case, I think the harmonica interlude divided it up enough to maintain my attention. When all is said and done, I like this and it makes a damn fine road CD.
For fans of: Street Dogs, Gaslight Anthem, Hudson Falcons, Welchboys
Welcome to the B-side. What have we here but no less than 32 tracks of B-side, demos, 4-track takes and BS schlock from none other than Swingin’ Utters. It is generally easy to dismiss B-side compilations as strictly for the die hard fan. Generally they consist of crap to lackluster to otherwise distribute. That is only partially true for Hatest Grits. Instead of the usual 90% garbage 10% diamond, the Utters give you a sketchbook chronology of one of the best bands of the hybrid folk punk genre. Of course you also get some crap to lackluster to otherwise distribute, meant only for the die hard fan. But thanks to the good graces of the band, the ratio is more like 75% kick ass takes and 25% filler. You slice it how you like it though. I for one am down with their brand of rock and roll. Highly recommended from your friends at !upstarter.
Following up 2006’s “Keep Your Heart”, The Loved Ones are back with 10 news tracks on “Build & Burn”. I wasn’t familiar with the band prior to this release, but I like what I hear. They have a blue collar, american anthemic rock’n punk sound akin to the Street Dogs and Hudson Falcons. Mix that with riffs akin to No Use For A Name and a vocalist that reminds me a bit of Milo (Aukerman) and you get a pretty damn well rounded punk band. So cheers for the sophomore effort of The Loved Ones. 10 songs of choices and consequence to help you through your dreary workaday life.