Friday, July 13, 2012

Earthen Grave- Self Titled

Claude+Elmo Music 2012

What we have here is success to communicate! Chicago strikes again with one badass, lowdown, leather-clad, unorthodox Metal tempo regalia named, Earthen Grave who have their sights set on every alternative media-mixin', DIY channel, ropin' in a Manson Ranch-size circuit of underground cult fans and friends coming out of the classical wood string works. Earthen Grave's future is so bright and explosive, we're all liable to need Russian, WWII gas masks with protective goggles to watch them live this summer. I was one of the lucky few to stream the entire album right around the time they released this blast of fog rock from their frosted-breath of a doom-sized beast of a band, only to awaken every fullmoon, hair-rasising wolfmother veins connected to my barren nether regions. Full of fuzz with little fuss, there's only one little problem with releasing a Doom Metal album this clean., and thats half the busted eardrums of all the stoner crust punks wont even be able to hear it, to know classical Doom if they could afford it.

Bassist, Ron Holzner from Trouble starring in an episode of "Where Are The Veterans Of Doom Metal Stars Now' unites with a female violinist idol, named Rachael Barton Pine, and an ALL-IN-THE-NAME -Of-Doom star lineup ranging from Illinoisy to the fields of Michigan. When six musicians collectively work together on a sound, solar flare-size foundation, it might be advised to stay seated, but if my recollection serves much purpose, that'll be damn, near impossible.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

The Cheats - "Pussyfootin"

The Cheats 
Screaming Crow Records

Pittsburgh punks The Cheats have garnered the reputation for booze-soaked, fire-breathing, shit-slinging '77-style rock 'n' roll anthems.
"Pussyfootin," a record some two years in the making, offers a lot of the similar beer-chugging, foot-stomping punk of the past but adds dashes of Swedish-style rock 'n' roll by way of the Steel City. This record was worth the wait. "Make You Pay" opens things a little more melodic than effort's past and carries a gang-vocal chorus ala Bombshell Rocks or former Cleveland streetpunkers the GC5. Any Cleveland comparisons are typically tantamount to severe beatings at any number of Pittsburgh establishments, but calling The Cheats "Dead Boys on speed" is probably passable as long as you've got an Iron City in your hand and respect the holy altar of Jack Ham. Failing that, you better know the crucial differences between the Backyard Babies and The Vines and also know that The Cheats are the finest rock 'n' roll band outta Pittsburgh since the one Todd Cheat fronted before it, Silver Tongued Devil. In many ways, "Pussyfootin" is a lot more like STD than past Cheats records taking swigs from a lot of the same bottles -- Black Halos, Electric Frankenstein, Rocket From The Crypt, Gluecifer and Joan Jett. "Better Than The Rest," "Sober Days, Wasted Nights," "Pissin' It All Away" and "Star Tattoo" are among the best tracks the band has ever written. Essential punk 'n' roll from Pittsburgh rock legends fast separating themselves from the rest of the rock heap. 8.5/10 - B.J. Lisko

Monday, July 02, 2012

The Bermondsey Joyriders
'Noise & Revolution'
(Reviewed by Alex Eruptor)

Photo: Nikki Qureshi

A couple of years back I reviewed Bermondsey Joyriders’ first album, a lo-fi-lower-than-a-snakes-belly,  spit n’ sawdust blues-punk explosion. The songs were good, the energy levels high, and the sheer self-belief  hinted that these cockney geezers were onto something even if it took a couple of spins to get past the raw production.   Since then, a great deal of shows have been played, a Spinal Tap-esque array of drummers have been and gone, and all went relatively quiet for a while. Fortunately that was merely the calm before the storm because in 2012 the Bermondsey Joyriders are back like a souped-up Ford tearing up the Old Kent Road, releasing what might just be the album of the year. Not just the blues-punk concept album of the year, but the album of the year. 

The concept itself involves the tale of greedy property developers, corrupt public figures, and a punk rock band here to save us all but tempted by the glory of rock n roll superstardom. Narrated by John Sinclair of MC5 fame, and brimming with great songs, it is a compelling listen. ‘Society is rapidly....changing!’ they yell in the eponymous pedal-to-the-metal stab-it-and-steer opening number, before ranting about hospital buildings being sold off to hamburger chains and libraries turning into computer game vendors (a first in the history of rock n roll lyrics as far as I’m aware) . From there on in the listener is sent on a musical journey taking in all manner of twists and turns.  The structure and flow of the album works really well, a mixture of styles and tempos, with a heavy 1960s vibe in a couple of places (most noticeably in the garagey ‘Shakin Leaves’) and straight-up 1977 punk rock in others (as, in, errr ‘1977’).  Some of the songs are how I’d imagine The Kinks to sound, had they formed in the midst of the punk explosion, whilst the overall flow of the album brings to mind another classic British concept album, the Small Faces’ ‘Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake’ (albeit with more streetpunk swagger than the whimsical psychadelia of Steve Marriot and Co’s Unwin narrated classic).

There’s not much new in punk rock but Bermondsey joyriders manage here to sound pissed-off, rebellious and vital, whilst having a few laughs along the way.  Yes, throughout is a sense of humour and ability to entertain that sets this apart from many of their peers. It’s loud and it’s pissed off, but there’s an attention to detail that will make you keep coming back for repeated listens and discover something new each time.  Best of all, listen out for some lyrical gems, such as the rhyming of ‘Johnny Cash’ with ‘Joe Strummer from the Clash’ in the aforementioned song, ‘1977’.

So, do The Bermondsey Joyriders save the world from the corrupt corporate authorities, or do they succumb to the temptations of the jet-setting, yacht-sailing, champagne and Bolivian marching powder snorting lifestyle that comes with being the saviours of rock n’ roll? Buy the album and find out, and...... enjoy the ride!

Alex Eruptor
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