The Queers - Pleasant screams (Lookout)
My fave Punkers return with another collection of Ramones-fuelled three-minute wonders and again they deliver the goods. It's also their twentieth anniversary release, kids, and to celebrate they've collaborated with a bunch of Punk 'celebs' to bring you quality punk rock. Kicking off with 'Get a life & live it' the Berkley trio promptly gives you finger straight up your nose, then kick you in the family jewels with the classic-in-the-making 'See you later, fuckface'.
Then it's gem after gem, 'I never got the girl', 'Generation swine', 'I don't want you hanging around', 'Homo' … absolute Punk-perfection. Some may say they sound too much like the Ramones (this album is dedicated to Joey Ramone, by the way), but one can't deny that The Queers can write a damn catchy tune.
If you haven't already check them out - the album is worth the price alone for 'Tic tic toc', a contender for the greatest three-chord song ever written.
Joe Queer, Dangerous Dave, Matt Drastic - God, I love this band.
The Beards - Funtown (SFTRI)
Anyone like The Muffs? If you do then you will do wise to check out The Beards, a trio featuring my babe Kim Shattuck of the aforementioned cult punks. Also featuring Sherri Solinger on drums and Lisa Marr on vocals and bass, The Beards come across as a combo of The Breeders meets Juliana Hatfield, and damn good it is too.
The quirky, mid-tempo opener 'This Girl' kicks off the album, about a girl declaring her love for you (aww!) which leads into the nasty, sing-a-long anthem of 'True confessions', especially for anyone who's ever been fucked over by a bitch, male or female. And you just know when Marr sings 'What makes you think that I care?' that she's thinking about the new series of Big Brother...
Shattuck's voice on the sleepy 'My pillow' is truly gorgeous here, dreamy, soothing. 'Make it in America' rocks your socks off, a homage, one could say, to 'Kids of America' (also covered by The Muffs, trivia fans). But it's track #4, 'T.S. Elliot', which is the album's highlight. Moody, mellow, this is a hidden gem that slowly seeps into you after repeated listens, Marr's voice, the pain of the memory of an ex-lover haunting, mesmerising.
Loved this album, I really did. I bought it thinking I was getting a Muffs part 2, but was pleasantly surprised. Oh, and if you play it on your PC, each track is a homemade video - how cool is that?
Hanson Bros - My Game (Wrong)
Nomeansno's alter-egos, the geeky, ice-hockey, Ramones-obsessed Hanson Bros return with another offering of Canadian brew-fuelled tunes, and as usual it's a cracker. There's not an awful lot to explain here - if you know of the Hanson's previous efforts then you'll know what to expect; 15 tracks in all, including a cover of the 70's classic 'Get it right back', two-minute, melodic dash-for-the-finish-line stompers, heavy on that distinctive NMN sound of bass and drums.
'Give me anything', 'I've been there', 'Honey, I'm home', 'Rookie of the year', 'Joey had to go' (about the late, great Joey Ramone) and the hilarious 'Tranquil', surely the best song NOFX never wrote. Should you get it? Hell, yes. Especially when they have an instrumental called 'Unsung heroes' that sounds as if it was lifted from the old 'Charlie Brown' cartoons. Your life needs at least one Hanson Bros album, might as well be this one!
Zen Guerrilla - Shadows on the sun (Sub Pop)
Two and a half words for you - rock n' roll. That's it. That's all you need to know about Zen Guerrilla. The back to basics rock style may be coming back into fashion with the likes of The Hives and The Strokes leading the pack, but Zen Guerrilla don't have to worry about coming into fashion, because they were never out of fashion, because they were never in fashion. They've been doing what they do for ten years and the experience and hard work shows, "Shadows on the sun" is a classic, excellent album. One part blues, one part Motown-esque hardcore, one part mighty riff rock, mix it together in a sweaty, shouty bar fight in some dusty saloon and you get one head rush of a rock 'n' roll album.
Dirty, dirty rock music. Big riffs, growled vocals, driving drums. Perfection. Singer Marcus Durant sounds like his vocal chords were removed at birth, soaked in whiskey and then given back to him just in time to record "Shadows on the sun". No way is this going to appeal to everyone but by fuck is it good. Opening with the harmonica and nasty-noise guitar of 'Barbed wire' and finishing with live track 'Fingers', on which Marcus Durant sounds like Elvis being fucked by Satan, there's hardly a moment for you to stop and adjust your shit-kicking boots. Intense.
Breaking up the run of things nicely is the instrumental 'Subway Transmission' which trips around before the band explode into the bluesy 'Dirty Mile', Marcus's vocals being about as filthy as the mile in question. The acoustic and laid-back 'Evening Sun' proves that it's not all fucked, fuzzed up riffs and deep throat growling a-go-go on this guerrilla radio. Respect this band. Buy this album. Hurt yourself jumping around your bedroom listening to it.
Serca - Singularity (Demo EP, no.1) (Beige Chino)
More of a proper EP than a demo in my opinion Serca's debut release, despite being far from perfect, is definitely worth listening to. Drawing influences from Nine Inch Nails, Sepultura, Pitchshifter and the Deftones, this is a young band with a future. The only thing standing in their way is a fuck load of hard work. Opener 'Upload' mixes all that's great about industrial electronic drumming, with Sepultura inspired tribal drumming, while Bart Lawless croons gently about never having found love before.
Electronic music with a heart? Quite possibly! I know, I'm as shocked as the rest of you, but the whole cyborg-metal scene really needed a bit of emotion injected into its dying techno-organic arm. The dancier, but horrifically titled, 'Morphological freedom' is excellent, only suffering slightly in the lyrics department. The cymbal-led drum breakdown and throbbing bass rumble onwards, like a truck through a playground at lunchtime before opening up, like a gunshot wound, into the pounding, guitar driven 'Side affects'.
The production is perfect, with every electronic blip and scrape captured for your aural pleasure. The only drawback is vocalist, Bart Lawless, who sounds one minute like Jay Gordon (Orgy) and the next like Brian Molko. This isn't to say that his voice doesn't work in the context of the music because it does, especially on 'Upload' and the more moody 'Reinvention' (which if you like NIN's "Fixed" you should really get a kick out of). If the band hopes to grow however, he just needs to try and find a more distinctive and unique sound.
For purchasing details visit: www.serca.net
Genitorturers - Flesh is the law (G-Force Records)
Looking like they crawled from the same explosion in a make-up factory disaster that spawned Marilyn Manson and the Misfits, Genitorturers look about as much fun as the blade brandished on the cover by frontwoman, Gen. However unlike, say, Cradle of Filth, there is substance, not just comedy value behind this bunch of painted freaks. Opener, 'Lecher Bitch' falls somewhere into the gap between Marilyn Manson's "Portrait of an American Family" and "Anti-Christ Superstar" albums. Gen has a real rough edge to her voice, but it's an edge that's covered in honey. Sweet, but dangerous. She's also one of the few women in metal these days who seems to have realised that you don't need to scream and growl to keep up with the guys (SugarComa, Defenestration, we're looking in your direction).
'Public Enemy #1' is even better than 'Lecher Bitch', with its driving, powerful bass keeping the foot to the floor. It retains that distinctive Manson sound in the verse before building up and exploding into a speeding White Zombie chorus and drum breakdown. Storming stuff. 'Flesh is the Law' is more spooky-core than the previous two tracks with its disturbing, perverted lyrical content, "She's coming tonight/I change my sex slowly/shape my member right/ join the pussy worship tonight". Westlife this ain't.
If this EP is a good indicator of the forthcoming album then it will definitely be worth picking up. Here's hoping.