Archive for Punk Rock

Album Review – Jon Spencer Blues Explosion “Meat & Bone” 2012

Posted in Album Reviews, Sevens to Nines with tags , , , on January 3, 2013 by Lightning Slim

Galette-The-Jon-Spencer-Blues-Explosion-Meat-and-Bone  We should be glad that instead of simply pursuing litigation against the Black Keys for Grand Theft Style, the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion instead produced an album of their own as a retort. A pretty good album, too, with Return To Form™ stamped all over it and a sound that slots it neatly in between everyone’s favourites, Now I Got Worry and Orange. If you don’t think this was intentional, note the inclusion of a song based on the riff from “Bell Bottoms”, this time called “Boot Cut”.

For those interested in a little JSBX bingo, pull out your cards, listen to Meat & Bone and see how many of these old chestnuts and calling cards you can hear:

“Yayuh! Do it!”

“Do the Monkey!”

“Get up! Get down!”

“Sock it to me”

“Got to get it!”

“Come OAN!”

“UHHHNNHH!”

Don’t bother, actually. Everybody wins, ‘cos they’re all there in a sort of “Plastic Fang never-happened” mash-up. It’s very tightly wound and delivered with a trashy sound mix that likely took forever to make it sound so off-the-cuff.

While the jury’s still out as to whether Meat & Bone is a genuine back-to-basics approach or a designed-by-committee appeal to purists, it’s an ass-kicker of a  daytime commute record. It does its thing with aplomb, and it would be churlish not to enjoy the results. 7.5 out of 10

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Box Set Review – Misfits “Coffin Box” 1996

Posted in Album Reviews, Sevens to Nines with tags , , , , , on July 2, 2012 by Lightning Slim

First Edition.

  What: A four-disc set of Misfits classics from the Danzig years. Over 100 tracks of horror-punk fun.

Selection: With the exception of Walk Among Us (the rights were not available) this set has basically everything they put on wax before 1986, back when they were a punk band and not a New York Yankees-sized logo marketing device. 8 out of 10

Sick of this guy yet? Don’t worry, you can put it all back into the plain coffin and just listen to the music.

Packaging: A coffin-shaped velvet-lined box. The discs are in black slimline jewel cases with the track listing embossed on them. The Static Age disc is in a custom slide-case with the Crimson Ghost logo in relief on the front. Beware later re-issues of the set, as over the years the embossed cases have become ordinary double jewels. There is a thin but well put together lyric booklet. 9 out of 10

Sonic Manipulation: None that I can hear. These are shitty-sounding old punk songs; what needs to be done to them? N/A

Rarities/Extras: The third disc consists mainly of unreleased studio sessions, many of which are interesting. There’s an affectionate band retrospective essay by Eerie Von, and an enamel Fiend Club lapel pin for your kutte jacket. Once again, later editions have downgraded and this pin is now of the standard variety. 8 out of 10 

Later version. Note the regular-style jewel cases with paper inserts.

Overall: If you can get your hands on a first pressing of this set, do not hesitate. It’s a great listen and will distinguish you as an actual fan,  set apart from the Hot Topic trapper-keeper crowd. 9 out of 10

Deals & Steals: Something Old, Something Older, Something Jurassic

Posted in Deals & Steals with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 26, 2012 by Lightning Slim

  Weird selection from Second Spin  (and my local places) this time around, but oh so fun. We’ve got games, remixes, compilations and collaborations. The S-S prices are in $US, and the Second Spin folks took another $10 off the top, which basically covered shipping. Onward!

Original Soundtrack: Mass Effect $8.99. The Mass Effect universe has been as much fun for me to hang around in as Hogwarts or even Middle Earth. I gave a damn about these games (we can talk about sticking the landing later) and it was due in no small part to the music. Very well executed stuff by Jack Wall and Sam Hulick, and a brilliant end credits song by Faunts that truly makes you believe you have saved the galaxy. In the eighties!

Fear Factory: Soul of a New Machine (Expanded Edition) $8.99. This fills a long-overlooked gap in my collection, and does it in style by including some great retrospective liner notes and the Fear is the Mindkiller EP as well.

Negativland: These Guys Are From England And Who Gives A Shit $5.77. This “Official Bootleg” brings a bit of closure to one of the world’s longest-beaten dead horses, acting as a final word on Negativland’s feud/collaboration/fascination/lawsuit with the world’s biggest band and America’s best known radio DJ.

Jello Biafra with Nomeansno: The Sky is Falling, and I Want My Mommy $7.99. Don’t know why I held out so long before getting this. It’s a bit like I knew I liked peanut butter and I knew I liked chocolate, but I didn’t trust this candy hybrid. Fixed now!

  Rush: Chronicles $21.99. Big deal, you say. Anyone with half a brain knows Chronicles is the non plus ultra of best-of compilations, representing perfect track choices and sequencing.  Ah, but what if you had to replace your worn-out copy? What if you had a chance to do it with a version containing an extra DVD full of the band’s videos? What then, smart guy?

Super big deal: Last weekend I was in Toronto and saw this, still wrapped,  in a used record shop:

 

Yup, that’s the full series of The Shield encased in a coffee-table picture book. I was going to pay the $99 sticker price when the clerk told me it was 20% off. Madness. I love you, place I don’t remember the name of. It’s across the side street from The Rex, if that helps.

It gets better; I found this at my local Value Village for twelve dollars:

 

It was a good week for scrounging!

Deals & Steals: Nuh-Wabbim!

Posted in Deals & Steals with tags , , , , , , , on May 22, 2012 by Lightning Slim

This was the cover:

This was the track list:

1. Am I Evil? – Diamond Head
2. Riding With The Angels – Samson
3. My Number – Girl
4. Wheels Of Steel – Saxon
5. C’mon Let’s Go – Girlschool
6. Hellbound – Tygers Of Pan Tang
7. Backs To The Grind – White Spirit
8. Angel Witch – Angel Witch
9. Bloodlust – Venom
10. If I Were King – Vardis
11. Satisfied Then Crucified – Rock Goddess
12. Give ‘Em Hell – Witchfynde
13. Hard Ride – Raven
14. Killing Time – Sweet Savage
15. Lady Of Mars – Dark Star
16. Death Or Glory – Holocaust
17. Captured City – Praying Mantis
18. Down The Road – Bitches Sin
19. Blitzkrieg – Blitzkrieg
20. Name Rank And Serial Number – Fist

The price? $8.00 at Encore Records.

The Bliss? Indescribable.

Album Review – Killing Joke “MMXII” 2012

Posted in Album Reviews, Sevens to Nines with tags , , , , on May 18, 2012 by Lightning Slim

  While Killing Joke’s last effort Absolute Dissent mixed their latter-day grunge trance sensibilities with the spirit of their 1990 masterwork Extremities, Dirt and Various Repressed Emotions, MMXII goes farther by grabbing Extremities with both hands and pulling it into the TARDIS, destination right now.

What emerges is filled with glorious analogue retro-power, the soundtrack for the greatest John Carpenter/Vangelis collaboration never made. All this atmospheric synth work provides the backdrop for a war between simple yet powerful hypnotic guitar riffs that more commercially successful bands have been pilfering from KJ for years.*

No band this old deserves to sound this good. Luckily, Killing Joke are more interested in what they can still create rather than what they deserve. There’s very little downside in this collection of great rock music; one con might be that it succumbs to a bit of that modern condition, loud-mastering (“Pole Shift” opens with a throb of Laswellian bass so profound that it threatened to loosen both my dental work and the door of my Hyundai).

MMXII proves Killing Joke are as influential and dangerous as ever. Highly recommended. 8 out of 10

*You know who I mean. One is named for some wee fairy folk, another for UFO’s. And there are many more!

 

Deals & Steals – All Roads Lead to Metal

Posted in Deals & Steals with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 7, 2012 by Lightning Slim

  All over the place this time around – I really just wanted to fill up the order because I’d been looking for the Overkill so long, so I took a few chances. All prices $US, shipping $6.99.

Nomeansno – All Roads Lead to Ausfahrt $7.99. NMN is never a bad choice. Sometimes, it’s perfect.

Overkill – Under the Influence $7.99. OK’s punk/glam phase – a neat transitional record.

Cradle of Filth – Lovecraft & Witch Hearts $7.99. I got this compilation because I admire CoF’s balls-out weirdness but I can’t be arsed to pick up the whole discography.

Evanescence – Evanescence $8.99. Because I’m a masochist.

Wonder Woman $3.20 and Batman: Gotham Knight $5.10 – DC Animated selections. Because my discount coupon only worked on movies. Also, Keri Russel as Diana? I thought it was Samson who lost power with a haircut.

And the big deal:

  Lair of the Minotaur – War Metal Battle Master $6.99. Whoa. Is it Stoner Metal? Stoners aren’t this blood thirsty.

Album Review – Kvelertak “Kvelertak” 2010

Posted in Album Reviews, Sevens to Nines with tags , , , on January 21, 2012 by Lightning Slim

  Kvelertak is Norwegian for “Chokehold”, although until I looked it up I assumed it meant “More Cowbell”, since this band spends their entire self-titled debut tear-assing around classic rock territory with wild abandon and no regard for genre labels. This sextet from Norway purveys a state-of-the-art blend of punk, fuzzy rock and early black metal with a bit of something for everyone. All lyrics are in their mother tongue, so I don’t really know what’s happening, but based on lone English title “Sultans of Satan” I think it’s safe to say it ain’t all unicorns and rainbows*. The band act as though they’ve been defrosted à la Demolition Man and are prepared to show the new millennium how the rock is done. Oh yes, you did just hear a tambourine and you liked it.

This album has swing to spare and points to a bright future for a new generation of Nordic retro-rockers. Think a heavier version of The Sword, a less amusing Chrome Division, or Karma to Burn with Gallows-style vocals. Think obvious tour partner for Danko Jones on his Scandinavian jaunts (where they might give the Mango Kid’s legendary live set a run for its money). Think if you just understood any of that you should be thinking about checking Kvelertak out. Plug it in and prepare to surrender to the 70’s. 8 out of 10

*Unless you mean Blackmore’s Rainbow, because then, yeah maybe.

 

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