Keeping it loud: exploring the world of STP Records with founder Stu Taylor

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It is hard not to be rather excited about an ever thriving UK punk and rock ‘n’ roll scene which right now seems to be bubbling rather rigorously with great bands, inspiring releases, and memorable live events. Certainly in the underground, intoxicating and thrilling propositions seem to be a perpetual temptation for our ears, new and older bands with their shows and releases breaching new tenacious creativity with impassioned roars bred from aggressive and uncompromising rock ‘n’ roll. Helping provide support and an outlet for many of those incitements are serious music fans like Stu Taylor and his STP Records. From putting on shows on the Manchester music scene through to becoming a regular port of call at the Rebellion festival, Stu and STP has become one of the most potent and respected presences in the underground scene. Embracing punk to punk n’ roll, basically anything exciting them with flavoursome unbridled rock ‘n’ roll, the label has brought fans some essential and refreshing releases whilst introducing wider attention to their creators artists, and its founders a continual supply of history lingering shows and performances in Manchester and around the UK. Without wanting to sound like an advert, as a music fan and reviewer it is impossible to miss the open appetite and professionalism, insight and passion in wanting to help promote good bands and music within STP. Hearing of new plans and adventure afoot within the label we thought it was time to explore more the people behind many of our favourite encounters of recent times. So we grabbed Stu, piled him with a torrent of questions and went about learning about the background to man and label, future plans and their inspirations, the team behind the face and label, and how he ‘annoys’ the STP ladies at shows…

1185331_483457091780505_1556240827_nHi Stu, a big thanks for taking time away from important things to chat with us J

Can we start by asking some background to and what inspired you to set up STP Records?

The release side of things came about as an offshoot from the shows we have been doing at The Star and Garter here in Manchester since the mid Nineties, and those shows we started to do as bands were simply not playing Manchester. So with a friend, Ian, we used to travel to shows to see bands and simply asked them to come and play in Manchester. Like most promoters, we have been privileged to see a fantastic array of bands down the years, and sometimes that can lead to those bands becoming very good friends as well.

You know how it works, you are in the same room with bands sharing a beer and chatting away about anything and everything, a band mentions that they want to get their songs heard but either don’t know how or have anybody willing to release things.

The very first time we released something was for a band called Sadie Hawkins Dance and it became a collaboration with some Norwegian labels (October Party Records, Goldenmusic, Fucking North Pole Records) so we could get the hang of doing things.

The rest as they say is history as we continue with shows and releases.

Did you have a particular intent with it?

There was no particular intent and no initial thought other than to put on shows in Manchester to begin with to save us travelling when bands we liked were touring. Likewise there was no particular intent with the release side of things other than helping friends out and of course you have to like what you’re releasing as well otherwise it just becomes impersonal. As with anybody that attends a show, I suppose you could argue that the initial intent was, and still is, to have fun doing things and as any of the bands we have worked with will attest, I have always maintained that, and that extends to releases, the fun aspect from start to finish that hand in hand with the hard work and financial outlay leads to that smile when you get that finished product in your hand for the first time….something you don’t get with a download.

Obviously punk rock in its various shades is the focus of STP and your passions as a fan. Has this bred from mere love of the music and like us a hunger to hear and embrace the best of the genre or was there been a musical side to you before moving to create the label?

Various shades sum us up quite well, as we hope our selection of releases to date reflects. Of course in some instances we have more than one release from a band and whilst that becomes immediately identifiable to those buying from us, and fans of that band, we also think that the cross selection of musical styles on offer at STP Records keeps things interesting for us and others, at least we hope so.

Love of music as opposed to a musical background has of course kept us fuelled, and continues to do so, so yes we do like to hear and embrace all that several genres of music have to offer.

That having been said I can bathroom sing up there with the best of them in that tone deaf way so many of us enjoy so much, coupled with that at show beer fuelled singing which again many partake in so I don’t know if that counts as musical background, if so I’m an expert.

How would you say STP has evolved most dramatically since those early days?

Three areas to cover here; live shows, releases, merchandise…

On the live show side of things, from those first tentative steps of winging things and not really knowing what was involved, we now have our own backlines, can and have put on shows in various size venues not just in Manchester but around the UK, and are more than happy to share that equipment and knowledge, which we do frequently.

Regarding releases, again initial enthusiasm has now given way to full knowledge of every release from inception to final product, and in partnership with bands we like to ensure releases get honest reviews which benefit ourselves and bands in regards to constructive positive/negative feedback. We do enjoy reading fuller reviews rather than the one or two sentence variety but do appreciate some zines etc. do not have the space to carry fuller reviews, but all are welcomed.

Merchandise has become an offshoot of both shows and releases and for STP has built into a stall that we are able to adapt in size from a full 3 sided 18ft stall at large shows to a couple of release boxes at local shows. We have also rather than just concentrate on tee shirts and releases, added a whole range of items that cater for people wanting to buy jewellery, hair dye, boot polish, and a whole range of quirky and one off items sourced from a variety of places on our travels.

I think the largest evolvement for STP however is the name getting out and about by word of mouth combined with an online presence, and of course being out and about and recognised. We also count ourselves very lucky that without question, everybody we have worked with, whether band, festival, zine etc. has also endorsed what we do and for that we are grateful; this could I suppose count as a fourth area of evolvement.

For us STP Records is much more than a label, it is a proposition truly supporting the independent punk scene and its artists well beyond just providing an outlet for their releases. We can assume this was and is increasingly the driving force for the label and your personal endeavours?

Very nice of you to say so…Of course we do support as much as possible artists we release for and are reliant on sites like The Ringmaster Review to help us achieve that alongside venues / promoters / radio stations and the general public; all of these combine to hopefully get people out to see a band for the first time if they have not yet seen them or bring them back if they like what they see / hear first time round.

Of course anybody can release anything or put on a show to support a band / scene, and it will always be a work in progress in an ever evolving / changing entity as there is always room to take on board new thoughts. Support within not just the independent punk scene, but any scene / genre works 2 ways for us, we will give it unconditionally and are grateful if we get a return and likewise sometimes we get support and will return it. It doesn’t always work this way but it’s the same in any walk of life so it’s nothing new, you just have to accept it for what it is and move on focusing on what’s relevant to what you are doing, and again this train of thought comes with experience. We like everybody else have made mistakes in this area but for where we are now, we concentrate on the positive and it is this on-going positive thinking that has become our driving force.

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Stu, Sam, and Babs

STP is basically a one man band? How difficult was it to set up the company and more so keep it going in the modern music scene?

Whilst it may seem like a one man band, it’s truly not. Initially a good friend Ian Lewis helped me set up shows back in the early nineties which is where we moved from being paying customers to promoters. Today we also have Samantha Mason (my better half), Barbara Taylor (sister) and Laurence Smith (nephew) who help out in their own inimitable way regards merchandise stalls, taking money / tickets on the door, carrying gear and basically supporting what the public perceives as STP in the manifest form of myself.

Of course people see what I do publicly, with bands and online and it’s easy to see how that is taken as a one man band but the above 3 people are as much STP Records as I am.

I would also count the many promoters we have done joint shows with, the staff past and present at the wonderful Star and Garter in Manchester, the bands we have released with, the people who have paid for our releases or come to our shows, and the staff and promoters at venues worldwide who have booked our bands and played our songs, and Rockers England store on Oldham Street for selling tickets and CD’s…all of these when added together knit a far and wide STP blanket under which we can sleep soundly.

As previously mentioned, anybody can set up a label, put out a release, put on a show. You just need a basic amount of research and how you take it forward is dependent on what you want to put into it or get out of it. And as anybody doing any of these will tell you, you learn as you go, you will make mistakes, you will do things right, you will upset people, you will be upset by people but if you take all that on board and continue, you will know if it’s right for you.

The modern music scene shifts all the time and you have to continuously look at things and not be afraid to change things, and I’ll cover this a little more in one of your other questions coming up a little further down.

Whereas previously you have been running the label alongside ‘real life’, I believe you have recently made STP your full-time job and attention?

I have indeed for many years been fitting a lot of what I do around a full time job. The only time this has been any different was a few years ago when I gave up work to work alongside the fantastic people of Vice Squad until a short illness took me away from this and back into work…but that’s another story for another day.

But yes, the decision was taken by myself with full support from Samantha to hand in my notice at work and I did indeed walk away from the day to day routine. Of course this decision was taken as we have paid off our mortgage and having worked since leaving college. It’s still a little strange for me after 7 weeks…and to be honest as I have mentioned to a few folk, how I fitted so much in before I will never know as I now seem to have so much to do but I am slowly incorporating appreciating time, nature, and more alongside thinking ahead for what I want do personally regards bringing money in, which for the moment is unimportant, and also for changing what we do STP wise, again something I will talk about further down the set of questions.

Was this move something you have intended for a while?

I had intended to do this a while ago as mentioned when I was out and about with Vice Squad, and indeed the last couple of years it has been the main thought to change my life outlook and something I am now dealing with on my own terms with the full support of family and friends as I look to integrate STP into an acceptable lifestyle for myself, Samantha, family and friends.

2015 will see a new shift in direction for STP I believe, can you explain what will be changing and growing with the label?

2015 will see a small change in that following a hectic release schedule in 2014 we have slowed down a touch this year, again to fit into my current lifestyle change. We have just released Horror Movie Matinee by The Obnoxious UK, again another band who over the course of a year or two have impressed with their attitude and friendliness as well as their music naturally, and sometimes you just have to release something to help bands like this get a foothold and that is indeed at this moment in time what I am doing. Outside of this we are planning only another 4 releases this year from Dirt Box Disco, Brassick, The Kingcrows, and Healthy Junkies as we also chase up another 2 outstanding releases from late 2014 yet to emerge….but again, I will cover the change and growth question more in your upcoming 2016 question.

Stu & laurence

Stu & lawrence

What about the live side of your work, shows etc.?

Live wise this is a bit bitter sweet at the moment. Our venue of choice for the last 3 decades for putting on shows in Manchester has been the Star and Garter. The venue has now been issued with a compulsory purchase order connected to the upcoming Northern Rail hub work (a story you can look up elsewhere) and that work is scheduled to begin early 2016.

Now a question I have been asked hundreds of times in the last few months is where will I do shows in Manchester…well the simple answer is that I will not be.

I simply cannot bring myself to begin to build the amazing relationship we have built with this venue, it is something unique and if any promoter elsewhere has the same length of time relationship, you will know exactly what we mean. It will be a sad day if/when it closes but I have taken the decision now to hold a last finale weekend for STP shows here and this will take place on Sat / Sun December 19th / 20th and we are urging people to get their tickets for this as for both ourselves at STP and the venue, it will be an emotional one to bow out on and we are hoping we can sell out 2 nights with everyone simply having an amazing time.

We of course have done shows in other venues in and around Manchester as well as further afield, but in a sporting context we view these as away fixtures with Star and Garter shows our home fixtures. We are truly privileged to have worked with the owners, staff past and present and clientele on some truly amazing shows and there are some amazing stories behind some of those shows.

For the future, the only STP shows that will surface will be Dirt Box Disco shows as that is the band we currently work with on a full time basis, and the occasional album release show for when we do decide on a new full release for a band, but none of those will be in Manchester.

How do you see the UK punk scene right now? From the outside its looks and sounds like it is in one of its healthiest states ever since the late seventies. How have you found it working within it?

Very active would probably be the best description. There is an awful lot going on, more so in some places than others but overall it’s in a good place. There’s a healthy mix of young and old, sometimes combining, sometimes not, but overall keeping things going.

There has always been something happening somewhere since the late seventies regards shows, releases, cafes, record shops and that continues today and long may it do so when we finish and leave our little dent in history.

Working within, we have covered every emotion over the years and I think it’s safe to say that’s the same for anybody who has done it. There is good and bad in all walks of life and people will continue to see it first-hand week in week out, but it all blends into making an ever evolving and hopefully thriving set of conditions for others to jump on board and augment, and as we have aged and grown we have learnt to respect anyone who gets on a stage, anyone who works behind that stage, anyone who puts on a show, anyone who releases anything, and anyone who buys anything or attends anything; they are all jigsaw pieces working to finalise an ever unfinished puzzle.

Can we ask a few things about your own musical tastes etc. like what were and have been the bands inspiring your passions as a fan and to get really involved with music? Has it always been punk first spreading outwards?

I hope this was intended as one question, if not apologies for my making it so but it seems apt. As those who know me well know, the only other interview I have ever done was in November 2006 for http://www.fungalpunknature.co.uk and I hit on this very briefly in that interview. Like anybody else of my age group, music played a big part at school and has remained a big part ever since, and hopefully will do so as I approach the big 50 this year and look beyond that.

I have always been drawn towards noisier bands and fortunate enough even at that young age not to pigeonhole things, something that was sometimes frowned upon for peer pressure purposes in the playground, but nonetheless has stood me in better stead for choosing to look at a broader spectrum. Both Rock and Punk gave me the door to finding that need for loud bands and that was augmented by Indie and extreme metal so to answer the second part of this question, it’s not always been punk first spreading outwards, but a good mix of bands and styles, and to answer the first part there are far too many bands over several years to point at. Of course I feel spoilt at having so many good bands over several good decades to watch and listen to and I hope to continue to be spoiled for a while yet.

How about live, what were your earliest pleasures watching gigs and which again especially went towards sparking an appetite to get involved?625591_3939692244749_705180367_n

Anybody who has been bitten by the watching live show bug will know, it starts young…From watching bands at Butlins Holiday Parks as a kid, to watching bands in school, then progressing to venues and pubs (and underage entry and drinking ones included); there have been many a place and reason for going to see something. My earliest pleasure, and still my favourite pleasure (sometimes much to the STP girls displeasure), I have always loved being in venues as early as possible and I continue this today taking in as much as possible and thus giving every band playing my eyes and ears.

Locally, despite closing venue issues aside, we still have many places to go and watch bands ply their trade on a stage, and that’s the same for most towns and cities. We have of course lost many a venue as well already (Banshee, Boardwalk, Metro, International, Rockworld, Gallery etc. etc.) but there are still places to see live bands and always will be, so as long as there are bands to watch and get involved with, that appetite will hopefully remain intact.

Is there anything about the punk scene or the UK music arena in general which has you feeling excited and alternatively things which frustrate even anger as a fan and a label owner?

Pretty much year on year, it’s the not knowing what’s coming next regards a new band, or a new album that keeps me on my toes. With so much talent out there, you just know that somewhere down the line you’re going to want to do something for a band that will hopefully pass on that excited feeling to others, but of course its individual to each and every one of us and it’s also that diversity of feeling that excites as well. Nothing angers me anymore as either a fan or label, I simply now accept things for what they are, do what we do as a label to ensure the best possible platform for our releases and shows, and then quite simply enjoy things and of course if that translates back into someone else being excited about things, all the better.

You mentioned the great releases lined up for the rest of the year, including Dirt Box Disco’s next album, a highly anticipated release from a band we like so many love with a lustful greed. What can you reveal going in 2016?

As previously mentioned above, regards this year and 2016, we have releases planned for indeed Dirt Box Disco, Brassick, The Kingcrows, and Healthy Junkies, and of course you have already reviewed our first release this year from The Obnoxious UK. That’s going to be pretty much it for 2015 as well as our last few shows in Manchester. Of course we will be out and about as usual around the UK (and possibly further afield) at various times this year and for the 2016 part of this question, let me jump straight to the next question and tie it in……..

Are there any ideas or irons in the fire to which you can hint at if not yet fully reveal?

2016 will see a change in thinking regards us releasing things on CD. A continuously shifting attitude to CDs will mean we will literally be doing at the maximum around 3 or 4 full releases in CD format, and by full releases I mean having pressed quantities of 500+, and even then I may even trim these to 300 copies and maybe add a vinyl option.

We do currently have 2 projects for vinyl in the works, one outstanding and one upcoming and we are going to look at maybe releasing some runs of 300 regards vinyl for initially Dirt Box Disco, and then maybe take a look at our back catalogue regards vinyl and in the case of something that may excite us around the corner, possibly a new band release as well.

I am also in 2016 going to be resurrecting and expanding our STPLE range of CD releases. These are Limited Edition releases of just 100 copies of a CD. These will be aimed at bands from overseas looking for some UK zine coverage and radio play, as well as new UK bands that have been in formation for no more than 12 months. The aim for these is to sell 50 to cover costs and use 50 to promote new bands and bands from abroad that folks have not yet heard….we have done 4 of these to date and they proved a very popular concept, plus of course if you own one you know that they are extremely limited with no repeat run by STP Records, so you have to be quick off the mark to order when we start these in January.

And of course our connection with the rise and rise of Dirt Box Disco will continue apace as we plan for 2016, which will see a change too, but I won’t reveal anything on that just yet, people will have to keep watching the sites and social networks.

Where can people best keep abreast of STP and indeed buy its releases etc.?

http://www.stprecords.co.uk/ is our website and of course you can find STP Records on Facebook and Twitter as well.

Thanks again Stu, any last words?

Absolute pleasure, the questions had me re-visiting some memories and I have no doubt omitted a fair bit but as with all things, anybody reading this can come and see me at a show, on a merch stall and ask me about any of this or anything else

Finally a slightly unfair question but is there one release coming up which you are especially excited about?  

Always excited, as mentioned already, about every release so no single one takes precedence over another in the excitement stakes.

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 26/03/2015

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Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard on Reputation Radio @ http://reputationradio.yooco.org/

The Obnoxious UK – Horror Movie Matinee

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With a title like Horror Movie Matinee, you cannot help expecting a viscerally imposing and furiously bloody proposition unafraid to go where angels fear to tread, and it is fair to say that the new album from UK punkers The Obnoxious UK does not disappoint. Bulging to the point of bursting with fifteen tracks which resourcefully draw on horror punk and psychobilly flavours as well as a thick dose of punk rock from over its most potent ages, band and release makes for one compelling and thoroughly enjoyable punk ‘n’ roll roar.

The Midlands based band began in 2001, and whilst going through a few line-up changes over the years has persistently grown and lured in devoted local attention and support which over recent times has solidly spread, Horror Movie Matinee poised to be the band’s biggest and most potent instigator yet. The release of the video for album track God For A Day really whetted the appetite for the forthcoming full-length, though it turns out it is only one particular spice in the hellacious riot.

Anthemic rhythmic bait is food and drink to these ears and that is exactly how album opener Drinking With The Dead makes its first wave of persuasion. The drums of Fez roll in and along with attitude and catchy tempting, swiftly joined by the raw and similarly magnetic riffs of guitarists Bri and Kimbo. The latter is close behind with his vocals too, potently adding to the infectious incitement of the horror punk escapade. It is not a song with a startling statement of originality yet with its punk tenacity and carnivorous shadows, easily provides a soundtrack for any salacious moonlit and cemetery based jiggery-pokery.

The tremendous start is backed by Walking Dead, another horror punk spawned proposal equipped with spicy hooks and melodic fire, though the blood lust seems restrained, as indeed the song, in presence and effect in comparison to the first and the outstanding Drag Me To Hell which follows. Psychobilly is given a poke this time but equally the track has an old school rock ‘n’ roll blaze to its addictive stomp. The string pulls of bassist Jacko resonate across the song whilst the duller but no less gripping beats only help infuse a great vintage tone to the song. With fiery enterprise from the guitars employed too, the track sets down a lofty plateau for the album which is matched and worried time and time again.

     Loaded Roadkill is one straight away unleashing a potent challenge. Fusing a hard rock and rockabilly tenacity into its punk attitude, the song bounces over and pounds the senses with accomplished vindictiveness and anthemic charm. Already across a quartet of tracks there is a distinct variety on show which continues in the mischievous Elvis Is Dead. Opening with what just could be the final croon of the man before he died, we wish, the track erupts into one of those irresistible old school punk sing-a-longs. It is barely over a minute of unbridled shouting and stomping from band and listener alike, loosening things up ready for the more intensive might of Burn and straight after Cadaver Doll. The first of the two snarls and growls in sound and vocals, Misfits like toning coating the caustic punk heart of the contagious track whilst the second takes the influence of the US protagonists even deeper into its primal instincts and expels an extremely tasty and feisty prowl of horror punk with a dash of Calabrese. It is another of the biggest peaks in the landscape of the already highly thrilling release.

The same kind of recipe igniting the last two songs is a flavoursome essence in God For A Day, though the song has a more volatile punk intensity which reminds a touch of Crashed Out. Veined by a great sonic groove and adventure, the track hits the personal sweet spot before making way for the excellent Time For Change. Think Angelic Upstarts meets 4 Past Midnight yet singular to The Obnoxious UK, and you get a thick idea of the excellent encounter, which in turn has to depart to allow the hard rock sculpted When Angels Fly Away to blaze away. Initially the song is a classic rock like croon but once its switch is flicked, it bursts into sonic flame fuelled by a punk abrasion and heavy rock temperament. It is another strong offering but lacks the same kind of spark as other songs and especially that within 3 Dead Souls which preys on ears right after. Another irresistible parade of dark rhythmic tempting opens up the encounter, soon followed by a melodic and sonic venture just as shadowed and gripping. As the song pulls back slightly on its predation for the vocals, a raw Tiger Army breath adds to the intrigue and invention, entangling with the rest of the track’s rock ‘n’ roll for a hefty slab of virulence.

Through the psychobilly/horror punk washed Ginger Is A Werewolf and the hostile punk ‘n’ roll of Iceman, the album tightens its grip further on ears and emotions. Both are inescapable offerings which ruggedly seduce and intimidate respectively before Amelia brings a little caustic ‘necro’ romance to the mix.

The bonus track of The Cottage Strangler brings the CD to a close, and it is indeed a bonus as the band slips into a ska punk and dub warped treat of a finale. Like the Vox Dolomites meets Ruts and probably more so Ruts DC, the song is pure pleasure.

Horror Movie Matinee is not really troubling boundaries and forging new inventive templates for punk and rock ‘n’ roll but The Obnoxious UK has definitely unleashed a romp which has body and imagination eager, and pleasure oozing from every receptive pore. That alone is one big reason for all punksters to check out band and album.

Horror Movie Matinee is released on Friday March 13th on STP Records and can be pre-ordered now @ http://www.stprecords.co.uk/page4.htm

The same day sees the album’s launch party the Cottage of Content in Chasetown where The Obnoxious UK will be joined by Dirt Box Disco.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Obnoxious-UK

RingMaster 04/03/2015

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Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard on Reputation Radio @ http://reputationradio.yooco.org/

 

dragSTER – Dead Punk

Photo by Uglypunk —

Photo by Uglypunk

 

Not sure about you but the quality of British punk rock right now is inspiring tingles not that far removed from those felt when its first generation of sounds and bands were in their heyday. This is all down to bands like Coventry quintet dragSTER and ridiculously exhilarating releases like Dead Punk. Rampaging with thirteen riots of hostile punk ‘n’ roll, the band’s third album is a tempest of feet inflaming, passions rousing ferocity with a strength of invention and virulence to match. There has been some extraordinary rock ‘n’ roll storms in recent times but few can be said to have come close to the fire and flare of Dead Punk.

Formed in 2006, the Coventry hailing dragSTER built, on a love of 50’s iconography, sci-fi and B movie horror, and ‘dirty, fast and energetic music’, their own punk turbulence which was soon stirring up a nest of attention with its voracious energy and aggressively forceful sounds as pungently evidenced on the Rat Scabies produced Trailer Trash EP. Extremely well and greedily received by fans and media alike, the band reinforced their emergence with first album Step Into The Deathray in 2007. It was swiftly devoured upon release whilst subsequent shows with the likes of The Damned, The Buzzcocks, Sham 69, Eighties Matchbox and Electric Frankenstein only enhanced and increased their reputation before second album Here Come The Meat Robots in 2010 had its impressive say. Released as Dead Punk on STP Records, the release marked out the band as one of the most exciting prospects in UK and European rock ‘n’ roll. Featuring ex and current members of bands like UK Subs, Texas Terri Bomb, Criminal Class, and Pigface, dragSTER has pushed on again in both songwriting and sound to now uncage one of the modern punk classics.

A slither of an intro leads ears into the opening fury of Gatecrasher Hostage as Dead Punk begins consuming ears. The song is an instant roar, expelling abrasing riffs and thumping rhythms around the fiery confrontational tones of vocalist Fi Dragster. Ears and appetite are immediately seduced by the onslaught, especially as potent hooks and spicy grooves add their bait to the straight forward but already juicy sound. The machine gun bursts of beats from drummer Ryan Murphy only inflame the intensity and addictiveness of the encounter, leading the listener into a predacious web of dark temptation from guitarists Diesel and Ben Kelly, the latter following up with a short toxic solo of magnetic enterprise. It is a delicious bellow of a song and entrance by the album, a triumph straight away surpassed by its title track.

Dead Punk is, as all tracks to be honest, an addiction forging anthem of belligerence and cantankerous endeavour bound in grooves and hooks to lose inhibitions over. With nostrils flared and dragdradramuscles giving ears a thorough going over, the track compounds its might with a chorus even the deaf and deceased would be drawn to engage in. There is no escaping the slavery of the song, a potency grabbed by Drink You Pretty next and twisted into a new furnace of tangy grooves and chorus placed vocal roars. The song growls and rages with a raw infectiousness and diversely flavoured enterprise, squalling like a mix of X-Ray Spex and Midnight Mob with a healthy dose of  Distillers added. Also repeating and increasing its prowess and bait is the bass of Tom AK, the throaty and at times grizzled tones conjured bringing a perpetual primal lure to this and surrounding tracks, bait again is impossible to resist.

Through the broader dirt clad hard rock spicing of Cattle Prod, band and album keep the variety and thick attraction of the album blazing before Evil Craze provides another massive thrill with its balls to the wall punk rock savagery quipped with another seriously habitual roar of a chorus. The protagonist bursts from the speakers with an almost physical and certainly visceral presence, Fi raging over it like a Queen of attitude and defiance whilst vocally and musically the band beside her unleashes their individual and creative furies to equal intensity and glory.

Such its magnificence, there is an instant fear or feeling that maybe the next track has a mountain to climb to impress but that is soon dismissed by the rampant fifties seeded rock ‘n’ roll of The Dead Are Out In Droves. Garage and old school punk meets horror punk with metal bred venom for company; the track casts its own unique anthem of quarrelsome and addict making sounds, passing on the same challenge to compete to Terminal Loser. Opening with a Generation X like lure of guitar courted by a demonic bass temptation, the song is soon rumbling and grumbled with every note and swiping beat. That antagonistic intent is matched by the fearsome and ever captivating Fi as she opens up the pop tainted heart of the song. A Spinnerette whisper adds to the rigorously seduction at work whilst the guitars scowl and tempt with a canvas of vicious and riveting endeavour which ensures that the track easily matches the potency of the previous storms.

The furiously caustic sounds of Just Wanna Fuck provides one minute of unbridled punk lust next before Liar Like That stamps its raucous authority on ears and emotions with a volatile union of vocals for the chorus the final key in the corrosive passions chaining encounter. Both leaves ears exhausted and spark a serious greed for more, a want and need fed copiously by firstly the Misfits stroked raging of Death By A Thousand Cuts and straight after by the stalking temperament of Indonesian Buzz Cut. The first of the two seizes ears with a raw wind of riffs and bass grievances splintered by the crippling swings of Murphy whilst the second, from a prowling gait of an entrance is soon a viper’s nest of incendiary rhythms, stabbing riffs, and vocal incitement. The pair also come with their own breed of contagion posing as choruses and a lack of thought of using their toxic hooks and inflammatory grooves sparingly.

The refreshing melodic and mellower tones of Fight Fire With Gasoline infuse more new spicery to the album, though that is not to suggest it lacks the same unforgiving attitude in sound and voice as any other proposition with Dead Punk. Thoughts of Penetration come to the fore as the fascinating encounter croons and blazes within its inventive presence before leaving final track Skull Ring to bring it all to a highly satisfying end. The closer is a dark protagonist openly sculpted from the gene pool of seventies punk, The Adverts a suggested spicing, and a bracing and ravenous bruising of unfriendly and irresistible rock ‘n’ roll impressively completing an outstanding provocateur of a release.

Dead Punk is not only one of the finest if not best punk release of recent times but stands on the front line of any emotionally and energetically charged slab of rock ‘n’ roll heard over the past twelve months or so.

Dead Punk is available via STP Records now on CD @ http://www.stprecords.co.uk/page4.htmn and digitally @

www.dragsteruk.com

RingMaster 16/01/2015

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One Last Shot – First Gear

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You just have to love a bruising stomp of rock ‘n’ roll where you feel dirty, battered, and exhaustingly contented at its conclusion, and few come more satisfying than the First Gear EP from French rockers One Last Shot. Without worrying about setting new templates for others to follow, it inspires by simply unleashing heavy passion drenched sounds in a blistering antagonistic and aggressive, not forgetting exhilarating form. The five track release is rowdy and refreshing rock ‘n’ roll at its prime, a riot of metal and rock everyone can lose their inhibitions to.

Consisting of ex-members of The Outburst and Crack Ov Dawn as well as the bassist of Sin And Death, One Last Shot creates a roar which takes essences from the likes of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Motorhead, and Guns N Roses but equally involves groove and stoner metal tenacity with punk belligerence in tempests which easily spark attention and hungry appetites for more. Described by some as dust metal, the quintet’s sound is a take no prisoners brawl with the devilry of the sleaziest salacious and thrilling romps. It is an unbridled and seriously accomplished sonic provocation bound in inescapable fun.

Brawler is the first track to accost ears, casting a melodic enticing instantly through one then the two guitars sculpting the emerging song. It is a restrained but spicy opening awash with a0481176261_2southern winery which opens up into a raw and raucous incitement through the gravelly tones of vocalist Sky and the anthemic riffs of guitarists Shelby and Scarsid. With rhythms as imposing as the hooks and grooves are magnetic, the track virulently strolls with punk hostility and heavy rock intensity. A great solo only adds to the rich lure and enterprise of the track before it all makes way for the even more impressive Skateboard Song. An enslaving hook is the first thing to escape the lips of the song, swiftly followed by the crisp beats of drummer Kmy and a throaty bassline from Void. This is in tandem with great caustic vocals and a contagious blend of ravaging riffs and seductive grooving. The encounter is glorious, again part punk, rock, metal and quite irresistible.

The following G.A.S. is in no mood to let levels drop either, its busier opening a furious mix of snarling riffs and sinew swung rhythms ridden by the abrasing vocals of Sky which are backed by the anthemic calls of the band. Once again infectiousness soaks the guitars as tangy grooves grip ears and passions with consummate ease whilst as in its predecessors, imagination and unpredictability add their own distinctly flavoursome and tenacious bait. By this point in the release, if not earlier, it is hard to imagine anyone not being lost to the impressive craft and addictive hell-raising of First Gear but to make sure another pinnacle consumes the senses through the next up Headbangers. A roll of drums triggers a waspish lure of riffs, each wave coming with a web of toxic grooves and barb loaded hooks. It is a sensational start soon joining a tide of eager intensity and melodic spicing. As elsewhere, there is a gang feel to the presentation and energy of the song, a united front taking on all-comers whilst like an arrogant peacock it simultaneously expels sonic and melodic colours to seduce all before.

Closing with the maybe less dramatic and gripping but no less enjoyable Prophesick, the EP comes to a great imposing end. The last track puts on its heaviest rhythmic boots and harries and batters ears with belligerent enterprise and heart and without lighting the same fires as earlier songs, it still unreservedly pleases as it completes what is an excellent and refreshing proposition.

It is hard to do anything but heartily recommend First Gear; yes maybe originality is not high on the agenda but it twists established weaponry into a ferocious and riveting storm which quite honestly leaves most other similarly bred offerings in the shade.

The First Gear EP is available via Just For Fun Records now and digitally @ http://onelastshotofficial.bandcamp.com/releases

https://www.facebook.com/onelastshotofficial

RingMaster 07/01/2015

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Krum Bums – Smoke 12″ EP

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Angry, antagonistic, and some of the best punk rock you will have heard this year, the Smoke EP from Krum Bums celebrates Record Store Day/ Black Friday in sublimely belligerent style. Made up of four rages jammed packed with essential hooks and unique antagonism, EP and band brawl and roar with insatiable passion and intensity. Quite simply street punk has never sounded better.

Hailing from Austin, Texas, Krum Bums was formed in 2000 by vocalist Dave Tejas and guitarist Trae Martinez. The years has seen numerous line-up changes but equally a continuing evolution and impressive growth of sound, a charge coming to a peak with previous and fourth album Cut The Noose in 2011.The band now though has unleashed their finest ferocity yet with Smoke, incendiary punk at its virulent best.

The EPs title track sets the rampage off, riffs and raw chords from guitarists Martinez and Josh Stiffs exploding on the senses alongside the staggered rallies of beats from drummer Nika Bennet. It is an imposing and attention grabbing start, but just a teaser as the track swings into fierce action with a riveting groove and heavy throated bass tempting from Zach Volta. It is the distinctive and gripping scaly vocal tones of Tejas which completes and seals the deal, his coarse persuasion complimented perfectly by the backing calls of the band. Grooves proceed to wind around ears and imagination with addictive potency whilst the sheer tenacity and energy of the song is a blaze which withers the senses and ignites the passions.

The stunning start is swiftly emulated by Nightmares, its sonic lure the first touch to the subsequent furnace of lyrical and vocal spite within a sonic web of searing enterprise and merciless rhythms. Again hooks provide inescapable bait whilst the heavy swings of Bennett only stir up the body with dangerous anthemic tempting. Added to the rasping might of Tejas and predatory tones of the bass, it all colludes to harass and bruise thoughts and senses into willing submission.

The broader melodic hard rock scenery of Falling Down whips up a frenzy in release and listener next, the song a punk anthem demanding the assistance of its victim but also unafraid to flirt with flavoursome rock and horror punk essences. Actually the ‘weakest ‘of the four songs but outstanding aggressive drama and contagion all the same, it makes way for the closing might of Plastic Bomb, arguably the strongest track on Smoke. To be honest there is little between all of the protagonists but with tangy grooves, a tsunami of beats, and ravenous urgency, the track just has the edge. A raging furnace of enterprise and stalking predation within a torrential outpouring, the encounter is sheer slavery of ears and emotions.

We have constantly suggested that punk rock is having a new heyday right now, and with releases like this from bands like Krum Bums, who only get better and more essential with every maturing year, there is no chance of doubting our claim.

The Smoke EP is available via Jailhouse Records from November 28th on 12“coloured vinyl limited to 500 copies and digitally @ http://jailhouserecords3.bandcamp.com/album/krum-bums-smoke-12-e-p with a re-release with different packaging and artwork due in 2015.

https://www.facebook.com/krumbums

RingMaster 28/11/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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The Amsterdam Red Light District – Gone For A While

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With a mouthful of a name and a flavoursome depth to their captivating sound, French rockers The Amsterdam Red Light District unleash their new and highly anticipated album Gone For A While. It is a striking encounter which intrigues and pleases at every turn, the band’s mix of alternative rock in a fusion of melodic punk and hardcore, ensuring a persistent drama and vivacity to each and every track. That it does not ignite the passions as rigorously as it maybe should have is a mystery and probably a personal thing, but certainly the eleven track proposition provides a tasty stomp for ears and imagination to invest a real appetite in.

Seemingly with members based in Lyon and California, The Amsterdam Red Light District since forming in 2005 has earned a potent reputation and recognition for their sound and live presence. Employing inspirations from the likes of Refused, The Bronx, The Ghost of a Thousand, and The Bled into their own distinct ideas and invention, the band has made striking marks through debut album Dear Diary in 2010 and the I’m Not Insane EP two years later, their success backed by a live presence which has seen The Amsterdam Red Light District play all over Europe with great regularity, feature at festivals such as Groezrock, Mair1, Resurrection, Sylak and Rockstorm, as well as play with bands such as Refused, Anti-Flag, Thrice, 36 Crazyfists, Comeback Kid, and Slayer. In July this year the band set about recording second full-length Gone for a While, its release like the first with Red Light Records, now upon us and likely to only intensify the spotlight on the band.

Opener Time Flies swiftly has ears and feet involved in its feisty stomp, riffs and rhythms an immediate frenzy bound in enticing grooves. Vocalist Elio Sxone is a commanding presence within the raucous persuasion from his first syllable, whilst guitarist Maxime Comby is soon complimenting his caustic riffs with sonic enterprise. Arguably there are no real surprises within the song but equally it is a refreshing and magnetic offering with real power to its energy and persuasion capped by the great Red Tape like vocal roars alongside the velvety shadowed tones of bass provided by Gregory Clert.

The attention grabbing start is surpassed by the fascinating Just Have A Good Time, its initial Southern rock/Cajun twang the lead into a ferociously fiery and impressive incitement. Swiftly the_amsterdam_red_light_district_hb_251114revealing more of the depths and diversity to the band’s sound, the heavy rock fuelled track stomps with contagious and aggressive intent driven forcibly by the imposing skills of drummer Julien Chanel. The song though is still as welcoming and catchy as its predecessor, whilst the blend of raw and melodic vocals work a treat across song and subsequently the album, their union as bracing as the contrasting sounds igniting the beast of a song.

   Million Miles Away is no slouch in getting the blood running hungrily through band and listener either, its on-going charge littered with spicy hooks aligned to harsh and melodic elements of punk. Fuelled with a torrent of barbed and addiction forging twists, with further outbreaks of chunky riffing and virulent grooving piling on the temptation, the song keeps the album flying high before handing over ears and emotions to the similarly compelling and voraciously sculpted A Chance To Change. Its energy is as full and insatiable as in its predecessor, and with a thick melodic tempting to its rigorous tenacity, provides another weighty slab of punk hunger and irrepressible contagion.

The brief evocative presence of Final Boarding Call is underwhelming, the track seemingly an intro into the album’s following title track but lacks anything to halt the urge to simply move straight to Gone For A While, itself a song lacking something compared to the first quartet of encounters but reinforcing the craft and imagination surging through the album with ease, if not the earlier adventure shown. Its gentler caresses definitely make for a satisfying companionship before Behind Your Sunglasses unveils its fiercer presence and emotion. Still missing that spark of bold inventiveness, the track impresses as it bawls and croons simultaneously, the vocals especially gripping within the tasty web of chords and hooks.

Both These Kids That Your Parents Warned You About and Come Closer leave ears and appetite full of lingering pleasure, the first with gnarly bass tones and bordering on hostile rhythms, a grouchy and thrilling protagonist. Its growl is wholly infectious, as is the return of that bolder inventiveness which marked the start of the album as the track shows itself to be another lofty peak in the landscape of the release. Its successor is built from the same template, a hearty snarl coating every predatory note and heavily swung beat, not forgetting the raw vocal side of the band, whilst grooves and hooks find their own unique venom to infest the imagination.

The two songs has body and thoughts back hungrily engaged before making way for the addiction causing Set The World On Fire, the track one of those anthemic stomps which only a loss of hearing can deter. Its muscular brawl of a seduction is followed by closing track Waiting For So Long, an encounter featuring Justin Schlosberg from Hell Is For Heroes. A final blaze of rugged and melodic punk vitality which maybe misses truly lighting the passions, it nevertheless gives the album a furnace of a send-off whilst egging on the urge to dive right back into the heart of Gone For A While.

At the start we said that the album did not inflame the strength of ardour that it probably should have. It is hard to define why, certainly there is not an abundance of surprises but there is plenty to enthral and spark a greed for more. It is easy to expect Gone For A While to be a major trigger for the passions in a great many though, and for the rest of us it has to be said The Amsterdam Red Light District has placed a strong enough grip with the album that anticipation for their next endeavour is unavoidable.

Gone For A While is available now via Red Light Records, digitally @ https://itunes.apple.com/fr/album/gone-for-a-while/id918599363 and on CD @ http://tarld.bigcartel.com/

http://www.tarldtheband.com/

RingMaster 26/11/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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The Mobbs – Garage Punk For Boys

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Ever wondered what would happen when you mixed ’77 bred punk rock with garage rock? UK rockers The Mobbs obviously did and with additional doses of sixties beat and R&B have crafted a sound which insatiably infests body and soul. In the mischievous shape of their third album Garage Punk For Boys, this adventure it is fair to say also provides one of the releases of the year. The accompanying promo sheet for the album suggests that “The Mobbs play a Wilko Johnson infused Billy Childish explosion”, an accurately pungent description of their sound but to that we would add the unreserved devilry of Radio Stars, the raw charm of Television Personalities, and the bracing fever of Thee Exciters in its armoury. The concoction is a riveting and exhilarating stomp with a hunger as shown by Garage Punk For Boys, which infects the listener from head to toe.

Formed in 2008, the trio from Northampton has persistently lit up stages, earning a rich reputation for energy strewn live performances, a stirring presence backed up and spread further by their greedily received full-length It’s… The Mobbs of 2011 and its acclaimed successor Stiff Upper Lip & Trousers To Match last year. With a couple of singles equally stirring the passions, the band has been a live spark in the European garage rock scene, though it is easy to expect Garage Punk For Boys being the trigger to a far more ferocious spotlight upon the inimitable uniqueness of The Mobbs.

The trio of vocalist/guitarist Joe B. Humbled, drummer Cheadle, and bassist The Bishop, who is making his recording debut with the band on the album, unleash an instantly grabbing eighteen second punk brawl through Gpfb to set GPFB-FRONT-COVERthings off, following it with the magnetic grooving of Get Your Hair Cut. Bass and guitar cast the first spicy lure on the second track, before snipping scissors unlock a feisty stomp littered with a wholly seductive bassline and similarly alluring hooks. Matching the devilment of the sounds, Humbled incites ears and imagination with his raw and unfussy delivery, a boisterous and infectious enticing to misbehave or conform depending how you want to take the exceptional track.

Its bewitching bounce is followed by the tangy presence of I Am the Anticlimax, clanging riffs an easy enslavement from the first breath. With The Bishop adding another delicious velvety tempting on the bass within the crisp rhythms of Cheadle, the track entwines beat and vintage punk rock, kind of like The Rockin’ Vickers meets Leyton Buzzards. Striding with attitude and sonic enterprise, the song is an instant anthem, as so much of the album, an almost concussive and certainly inescapable treat whipped up by scything guitar and punchy rhythmic enterprise, everything lorded over by the compelling tones of Humbled.

Do the Bishop! comes next and is just the wickedest instrumental baiting possible. The skills of The Bishop seduce and rumble throughout whilst Humbled’s guitar launches its own virulent seducing as Cheadle smashes anything in arms-length resourcefully. With a tang of blues sweetness to its epidemic waltz, the song sets up further hunger in the appetite for the album before making way for the melodic causticity and intriguing narrative of Demobbed. The track is primarily garage rock but at times you can almost swear there is an element of The Undertones in its slim but impossibly potent sonic endeavour.

The hungrily vivacious ride of the album is taken to another level with We Don’t Need a God, a brilliant furnace of searing grooves and greedy hooks ridden by the punk honesty of the vocals. It is pure addictiveness, every twist and tenacious slither of bait soaked in infectiousness and anthemic irreverence, leaving feet, body, and soul blissfully exhausted and thoughts rebellious. Imagine The Masonics flirting voraciously with The Adicts and you get not only the heart of the song but arguably of the whole release.

The title track is next, romping with ears and nostalgia through jabbing beats and jangly hooks, its title summing up song, sound, and the whole garage premise which fuelled punk and garage rock at their outsets. It also has thrilling melodic warmth to its gentle uprising, everything aligning for an irresistible rousing of pleasure, taken on again by the blink and you miss shortness of second instrumental Chicken Run. Its enticing strut is swiftly pushed aside by the exceptional sonic commentary of Where’s the Punk Rock!?, angst and fury as much a part of its gripping clang and garage punk fever as creative relish.

Photo 1   It is not exaggerating to say that every song on Garage Punk for Boys is devious rascality, all instinctively and simultaneously appealing to the styles it weaves its propositions from, One Erotic Thought another fine example with its sixties spawned beat infused garage rock tromp. As here, they all keep feet and limbs as busy as ears and imagination, and whilst thoughts may not be erotic as the song reveals of itself, they are nevertheless keen to indulge in knavish practices after each encounter.

Put It in Your Pipe clunks and swings in next, riffs bulky lures courted by compelling bass craft and vocal devilment, everything framed by precise and eagerly wicked beats. Stepping out with a punk seeded swagger, the track also wears the mischief breeding charm and adventure of King Salami and the Cumberland 3 and the aforementioned Billy Childish, drawing out more lust for the album from the passions.

The final stretch sees the blues rock induced R&B stamp of Just as Bad as You light up air and ears first before the exotic swing of Mk II immerses senses and imagination in a sultry dance of the seven salacious temptresses, well in my dreams anyway. Both songs leave appetite as greedy as ever whilst closing riot of Mad! is an aggressively spirited and ferociously contagious garage punk assault, and oh so scintillating.

It is impossible not to drool from start to finish over Garage Punk for Boys, a release which if anything from punk to garage rock, beat to flirty rock ‘n’ roll gets the juices flowing, is a must. The thing with The Mobbs is they not only create sensational stomps but do it with a presence and flavour like no other, this simply makes them one of the UKs seriously exciting and innovative bands.

Garage Punk for Boys is available digitally and on CD now via Cravat Records @ http://themobbsuk.bandcamp.com/album/garage-punk-for-boys

http://www.themobbs.co.uk/

RingMaster 21/11/2014

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Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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