UK punk band Grade 2 have just released “Only Ones I Trust,” an outtake from the band’s 2019 album Graveyard Island. Co-written and produced by Rancid’s Tim Armstrong, the band hopes this feel good track with stomping choruses will “unify those who have seen struggles this year, because together in this game we are damned and we are all the same. We aim to have you singing your heart out, for now just in your living room but hopefully at a show soon!”
Grade 2 is Sid Ryan (vocals/bass), Jack Chatfield (vocals/guitar), and Jacob Hull (drums). Formed in 2013, the band met at school where they would spend their lunch break playing covers of classic punk tunes together in the music room. Since their formation, the band has released several EPs and three studio albums; Mainstream View (2016) and Break The Routine (2017), and Graveyard Island (2019). The bands’ Hellcat debut Graveyard Island was recorded and produced by Rancid’s Tim Armstrong at Armstrong’s Shiprec Studios and mixed by The Interrupters’ Kevin Bivona.
As I’m sure you can tell from the dust around here, I don’t get around to writing about much anymore. Another phase of my life I suppose. What’s a fella to do? Every now and then I get a brief impetus to write something though. Today I shall grace you with the results of one of those urges.
I’ve got Shot Balowski’s self-titled debut album, out 03/29/2019, fired up on ye olde hifi and I’m rocking out to it. There’s a bit of a Ramonescore vibe as well as secondary source influence like Teenage Bottlerocket and Masked Intruder, combine that with a mix of The Pixies, an odd dash of Motorhead, add in a left-leaning bent and somewhat more raw of a sound and that’ll give you the gist.
The album provides 12 tracks of mostly up-tempo 3-piece punk rock, interlaced with the occasional folksy ballad on track six, Kitchen Sink / Girl in the Call Centre. There’s a bit of spoken word poetry as well mixed into the overall pastiche of a protest album. This isn’t to say it’s derivative in an overt way, so much as the song writing seems aware of its roots.
Overall it’s a great debut and I look forward to more from Shot Balowski in the future.
Hit the band up online to find out where to buy the new album, or catch a live show! Twitter:@shotbalowski
ShoT BAlowSki is a three-piece UK rock band with a leftist attitude and punk leanings. Debbie, Simon and Tef take grit, melody and acerbic lyrics and spit them out in two minutes flat.
Their self-titled debut album is released by Abnormal Product on Friday 29 March 2019 – it will be available on CD, download and streaming. It’s high-octane, classic punk rock from the dis-United Kingdom, tackling subjects like far right populism, and corrupt media, organisations and governments, while giving props to radical heroes like Emily Wilding Davison and Muhammad Ali.
The album’s tracks include Commander in Cheat (about Trump’s sexist, racist presidency), Nissan Poppy 24/7 (about patriotism and the politicisation of remembrance), Emily Does (about militant suffragette martyr Emily Wilding Davison), In the Suicide Forest (a short tone poem about vacuous vlogger Logan Paul), and a punk rock cover of Bob Marley’s Redemption Song.
Destroy the Daily Mail features a section written and performed by Wales’ most prominent living literary figure, poet and playwright Patrick Jones (see patrick-jones.info), elder brother of Nicky Wire of the Manic Street Preachers and a frequent collaborator with the Welsh chart-topping band. Jones adds a stream-of-consciousness set of Mail-esque headlines. He agreed to the collaboration after reading the lyrics and listening to the raw track, calling the song “important and powerful”.
If you like your punk served up old school British style, but want something new to be mad chuffed about, then here’s your ticket, kiddies.
“Radio Therapy” is the debut EP by South UK, “‘77 style” punkers, Brash Bullets. While you only get six tracks, what you get is chock full of punk tunes tempered by the influence of bands like, Crass, Business, Sham 69, Stiff Little Fingers, etc. I ain’t gonna lie to ya, if you’re not into the “77” sound you’re probably going to pan it as derivative. However, if you ARE into that, I think this will be right up your alley.
The tracks are mostly mid to up tempo and clock in around the two minute mark on average. This is great for short attention span folks like myself. Oddly the epic length track, Girl Next Door, registering in at a mind bending 2:34 is my personal fav on the EP.
As far as the “sound” coming from my speakers, the recording seems efficient, and there’s a rather garage/basement vibe. Not that the tracks aren’t clean, so much as they are minimalist. It seems that overdubs are used sparingly if at all and I’d suspect that it was recorded in as few tracks, with as few takes as possible. I like the result, it’s sharp, yet raw. I think overproduction would diminish that feel.
At any rate, a solid dose of new punk from some old soul upstarts in the South of the UK, check ‘em out.
Brash Bullets started gigging in mid 2015 flying the punk flag in the south of the UK. Taking inspiration from many of the ’77 punk bands and adding a pinch of modern life, Brash Bullets’ aim is to leave you questioning the existence of glossy la-dee-dah talent shows & mainstream pop. Ripping through their set lists at rapid pace, they have found themselves sharing the stage of punk royalty such as Richie Ramone, Anti-Nowhere League, GBH, Angelic Upstarts and Peter & The Test Tube Babies to name a few. Their debut ep ‘Radio Therapy’ is available now!
2. I Wanna Buy Her Love
4. Girl Next Door
5. Capital City Disappointment
6. Soldier On
The Barstool Preachers – One Fool Down
Pirates Press Records
“Never look down on anyone, unless you’re giving ‘em a hand up.” ~The Barstool Preachers. This lyric sets the tone for the debut EP from UK ska punk band The Barstool Preachers. I’ve been listening to the three track EP for a couple weekends now and the more I listen, the more I get drawn into the upbeat hook heavy sound.
If I may make an attempt to describe the sound, (you know I’m going to) I’d say we’ve got about a 60/40 blend with the high side leaning towards the ska end of the ska-punk spectrum. I hear influences of Madness, Specials, NOFX, Dropkick Murphys, Goldfinger, and “Stay Tuned” era Let’s Go Bowling. Of course these other bands may or not be influential in the least for this band, but artifacts or their sounds can be gleaned if you listen in.
All of my perceived references aside, despite lyrics that are tinged with a bit of drunken regret, I get a solid sense of positivity out of this band’s sound. They don’t come across as pissed or whiney, but friendly and real. Sure, I like ska punk and this is 100% up my alley, but the songs tell a story and the sound puts me in a happy mood. The only drawback is that you only get four-ish minutes of this gem.
What you get at the end is a one fine EP from what seems to be a promising beginning to an new ska punk band. Three cheers for The Barstool Preachers.
And just in case you don’t want to take my word for it, please enjoy this video:
The Crisis Kings are a new band in the old familiar genres of thrash/grind/hardcore metal. Newly formed in 2011, the East U.K. quartet wasted no time in busting out a 7 track EP. The seven tracks do an adequate job of showcasing the band’s skills and for a debut effort recorded in a pig shed, it really deserves praise just for sheer effort.
The music is great. It is aggressive and brutal with overtones of Sick of it All, but tempered with more plodding riffs and screamo / growl vocals in the vein of Superjoint Ritual and perhaps Crowbar. There is also a certain dissonance that I enjoy. This style is especially prevalent on track 4 – S.O.W. the overall effect really reminds me of Leatherface.
However, (and here’s where we bring in the down note kids) As with so many things musical, the major detractor for me is screaming vocals. I just don’t like ‘em. So take that in stride if you’re reading this review. Again, the music lives up to its brutal roots, but takes it over the top with too much throat sandpaper. Seriously man, you’re gonna snap a vocal cord or something.