Sju Svåra År – Ingen Tog Det Som Ett Skämt

 

Ingen Tog Det Som Ett Skämt is the new EP from Swedish punks Sju Svåra År, a band said to be “a precursor to the wave of Swedish-language punk swept across Sweden in the early 2000’s.” With their name translated as Seven Hard Years, and latest outing as Nobody Took It Like a Joke, the Stockholm quintet is still possibly a proposition yet to be encountered by many outside their homeland but one which now rewards their investigation with one storming slab of politically charged punk ‘n’ roll.

Emerging from the ashes of Burning Kitchen in 2001, Sju Svåra År consists of Sara Hedberg (Burning Kitchen, Hellregn), Josefin Finer (Burning Kitchen), Linus Segerstedt (True Moon), Emma Söderberg (Satirnine), and Erik Gärdegård (Icos). Returning after a break between 2003 and 2007, the band released their acclaimed debut album Storma hver hjärta in 2012. Its presence teased broader and keener attention which Ingen Tog Det Som Ett Skämt should easily match if not eclipse.

The EP opens with Skicka Några Rader, beats instantly rapping the senses as hooks and riffs gather to launch their own equally inviting assault. Just as potent are Josefin’s vocals, melodic yet forceful and backed with matching command by Sara within a web of hooks and punk grooves. The bass is rich captivation, guitars an imposing lure as rhythms bite with an instinctive snarl. Together it is a riveting enticement with a great Au-Pairs like hue to its brooding enterprise.

The following Maskeradbalen trespasses the senses from its first breath but again with a melodic infectiousness which enhances rather than tempers the song’s natural irritability. As with its predecessor, there is a seventies punk spicing at play but more Vice Squad meets Dolly Mixtures adding to the individual adventure cast by Sju Svåra År. Brief and snappy, the track is a viral growl which hits the spot within seconds, relentlessly teasing it for the next two minutes plus.

Fyra Sista Siffror is a more reserved slab of punk ‘n’ roll but just as bold in its imposing contagion and confrontational weave of melody and riff bound in suggestive grooves. Vocals drive the persuasion with continued magnetism whilst nagging beats are at the virulent heart of the song’s instinctive catchiness. Captivation at its harrying punk best with a hint of Sex Pistols inspiration at times, the track is superb and swiftly matched by the EP closing Oroliga avdelningen, a stirring incursion of rock ‘n roll as caustic as it is melodically seductive.

Having only now coming across Sju Svåra År though the excellent Ingen Tog Det Som Ett Skämt there is no escaping the feeling of having missed out the past decade, something an overdue courting of Storma hver hjärta will partly remedy. The best punk rock is instinctive, from the heart and there is no escaping that natural pulse behind one treat of a release.

Ingen Tog Det Som Ett Skämt is available now via Gaphals @ https://gaphals.bandcamp.com/album/ingen-tog-det-som-ett-sk-mt

https://www.facebook.com/sjusvaraar/

Pete RingMaster 27/02/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Petrol Girls – Some Thing EP

PG_RingMaster Review

Originally formed for an international women’s day gig in 2013, feminist post-hardcore band, Petrol Girls have proved to be one fiery roar within British punk ‘n’ roll. Their attitude loaded, defiance fuelled sound has ignited many a venue across the UK and Europe as well as an ever increasing horde of eager ears, a success bound to be accelerated by the release of the Some Thing EP.

Inspired by the likes of Refused, White Lung, Bikini Kill, Fugazi, RVIVR, Propagandhi, At The Drive-In, and War On Woman, Petrol Girls create a ferocious brew of punk rock unafraid to embrace other spices. Certainly the six tracks making up Some Thing have varying echoes of those influences but equally there is a coincidental eighties punk/post punk essence which lures thoughts of bands like Au-Pairs, The Molesters, and Vice Squad. Lyrically too, the South East London hailing quartet pulls no punches in exploring and challenging sexism and other themes such as politics, alienation, the migrant crisis, and mental health. It all unites for one stirring and invigorating incitement and an EP which attacks, inspires, and rouses body and thoughts from start to finish.

PetrolGirls_SomeThing_Cover_RingMaster ReviewProduced by the band and Marta Salogni at Strongroom Studios, London, Some Thing embraces ears with fiery directness straight away through Slug. The guitars of Ren Aldridge and Joe York dance as they sizzle on the senses whilst the jabbing pokes of drummer Zock reveal a swing and relish which only sparks stronger involvement in the swiftly contagious and dramatic encounter. The darker prowling tone of Liepa Kuraite’s bass adds weight to the thick lure of the song too, a tempting enhanced further by the potent vocals and expression of Aldridge backed as potently by York and Kuraite.

The strong start kicks up another gear with Protagonist where short spicy grooves aligned to piercing sonic and rhythmic hooks instantly prey on ears and imagination. As in the first, a contagious energy and flirtation is a persistent beckoning, this time within a hardcore ire that has a Red Tape meets Billy Talent feel to it before an X-Ray Spex meets The Raincoats like confrontation shows through to stir up song and enjoyment even more.

Separated strolls in next, its mellower melodic landscape courting a catchiness which combined hints at the earlier mentioned band Au-Pairs. Expectantly, it too has a raw snarl and antagonistic nature which perfectly tempers and works with the calmer but no less imposing punk ‘n’ roll revelry, but as great as it is, the track is totally eclipsed by the outstanding Restless. The best track on the EP, it is a scathing sonic tempest which seduces as it wrong foots, sudden slips into warm caresses and virulent old school punk devilment complete with addictive hooks and abrasive intensity an inescapable enslavement. At certain points, the song has thoughts wondering if this is what The Slits would sound like if starting out now, but ultimately and once more the striking provocateur is distinctly Petrol Girls.

The predatory enticement and belligerent roar of System comes next, band and song creating infectious and intimidating emotive contumacy before Disgrace brings the EP to a close with its even more cantankerous proposal. Again as wilful and rebellious as both are, there is an underlying catchiness which has the body as hooked as ears and mind.

Petrol Girls is maybe a band on the outskirts of recognition, or was as that is surely going to change if the Some Thing EP gets its persuasive way.

The Some Thing EP is available on CD, Digital Download, and three-track 7” Vinyl featuring the first trio of songs above now via Bomber Music @ http://www.petrolgirls.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Petrolgirls

Pete RingMaster 20/02/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Bad Mary – Killing Dinosaurs EP

Photo by Nick P Jiannaras of Nicolai Patrick Photography_

Photo by Nick P Jiannaras of Nicolai Patrick Photography_

When presented with a band name like Bad Mary mischievous thoughts of course spring up as well as hopes that they have a sound to back up the devilish allure of their name. The Long Island quartet has that and more on the evidence of new EP Killing Dinosaurs. It is six highly flavoursome and raucous slices of punk ‘n’ roll unafraid to be as pop catchy as they are belligerently irritable. It is steeped in seventies punk and power pop with the attitude and tenacity of modern rock ‘n’ roll, and quite irresistible.

Bad Mary’s beginnings sprung in 2010 from the regular happening of Hofstra University’s professor of drama and guitarist David Henderson putting a band together with students each semester to play a bunch of covers. At this moment in time vocalist Amanda Mac and bassist/vocalist Mike Staub were the students who became involved, with a time of turnover in drummers ending with Amanda’s dad and veteran drummer Bill Mac joining the band. Playing songs from favourite new wave and punk artists from several eras, initially as Madame X, Bad Mary was officially launched in 2012, and through each member’s individual love of punk and rock from different decades, the band’s own sound grew and blossomed. Debut album Better Days was the first offering, a 2014 release going on to garner three first-round ballot Grammy nominations, success matched by their live presence and their songs luring media and radio attention on both sides of the pond.

cover_RingMaster Review     With inspirations ranging from The Ramones, The Sex Pistols, and Motorhead to The Tom Robinson Band, The Police, Blondie, and Green Day amongst many, the band’s new EP is a non-stop stomp that growls as it invites, bullies as it sets ears and imagination alight. Recorded with producer/engineer Matt Storm and assistant engineer Francisco Botero at Studio G in Brooklyn, Killing Dinosaurs gets straight to the point with opener Soapbox. Amanda leads the confrontation from the off, her potent tones the first touch and fiery guitars around rampant rhythms the next. It is an infectious and grouchy start with the growl of bass alone a brooding impossible to resist temptation as the guitars release their similarly enticing caustic flames. The backing roars of Mike brings a fiercer texture to compliment the intimidatingly tantalising tones of Amanda whilst more metal bred hues add to the overall brawl of the excellent start to the EP.

Whereas the first track has a presence crossing years, the following Want What I Want carries a great old school punk character, strolling with a swagger which is part Vice Squad and part The Objex. The bass of Mike again captivates with its heavy swagger whilst David weaves a hook lined web of enterprise part venom part flirtation as Bill slaps the listeners’ proverbial cheeks around. Eclipsing its predecessor, it too is shaded a touch by next up Hanging Around, a boisterous canter carrying the glam rock of Sweet, the mischievous pop punk of the Rezillos, and the rapacious virulence of dragSTER. The track steals the show, leaving an already strong appetite greedier and already by this time an exhausted body more wasted but energised.

A cover of The Police song Next to You swings in next with a similar swagger and nature whilst delving into more classic heavy rock enterprise whilst adding a tasty scent of early No Doubt punk pop to it . Again physical involvement is a given as it spins its lures, a success emulated by the X-Ray Spex meets The Avengers like Sucks to Be You, another rousing middle finger of word and energy

Killing Dinosaurs is completed by One More Song, a compelling mix of fifties rock ‘n’ roll and sixties pop embroiled in power pop/punk rock imagination and dexterity. It is an infectious end to an increasingly enjoyable encounter; a collusion of old school and twenty first century punk ‘n’ roll to lift emotions from the doldrums and bodies into feverish participation.

The Killing Dinosaurs EP is out now @ https://badmary.bandcamp.com/album/killing-dinosaurs-ep

http://badmary.com/  https://twitter.com/BadMaryBand   https://www.facebook.com/badmaryband

Pete RingMaster 22/10/2105

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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The Kingcrows – Funland

 

Kingcrows_RingMaster Review

For all the exceptional punk releases and bands igniting the rock scene over recent years, there is no still no substitute yet for the special tingle which only lifts its head with a ‘77 found roar. As we all know, it is a never diminishing inspirational period for punk rock and the never ending torrent of bands spawning their own identity with its antagonistic hues. Some breed a sound which is as close a cousin as you could wish for, amongst them The Kingcrows who are simply a rousing bridge between the late seventies and modern punk ‘n’ roll. Their previous releases have already made that declaration but new album Funland sets it in stone, the UK quartet involving the listener in something energetically aggressive, attitude driven, and most of all undiluted sleaze wrapped fun.

Hailing from Leeds, the quartet of vocalist Phil E Stine, guitarist Lee J., bassist Rocco, and drummer Ratbag have been a bruising and thrilling live presence across the north of England moving outwards. Emerging in 2005, The Kingcrows has torn up stages with their filthy rock ‘n’ roll ever since, playing alongside the likes of Spear Of Destiny, UK Subs, The Rezillos, TV Smith, Anti Nowhere League, Tokyo Dragons, Vice Squad, The Lurkers, 999, The Vibrators, Red Alert, The Outcasts, Peter & The Test Tube Babies and many more legendary and emerging bands over the years. They have also released a clutch of attention grabbing EPs, which made an even bigger impression when collected together and released in the shape of Corvus Maximus through STP Records in 2013. The album awoke a broader focus and awareness of the band’s unfussy and virulent sound, which Funland should now push into new spotlights and recognition.

The album erupts with Here We Go, the first riot initially blooming from a fairground organ and its warm invitation. Soon rhythms rumble with attitude and riffs stir up the air as the opener’s eager rock ‘n’ roll seizes ears and attention. The song is quickly into its virulent and persistent stride, cruising with jabbing beats spearing grouchy guitar and bass tenacity. The track is like a mix of Spunk Volcano and The Eruptions and The Adicts, similarity and nostalgia colluding with fresh attitude and revelry.

cover_RingMaster Review     A potent start to the album is further ignited by the following She’s My Rock ‘N’ Roll and its thrilling tempting. An alluring rhythmic enticing sparks a rockabilly bred grooving flirted with by spicy harmonica, they in turn kick-starting a heavy anthemic canter of contagious rhythms and incendiary sonic enterprise led by the ever magnetic tones of Stine. The track is glorious, punk rock at its tenacious and riotous best, and again as old school as it is imposingly new. The album’s first major pinnacle is backed, if not quite matched, by On The Road Again, a swiftly engaging and infectious stomp which has ears, feet, and appetite locked in within a handful of chords and resourceful seconds. There are no big surprises within song and arguably Funland in general, yet they only provide a nonstop and fully satisfying stomp to get eagerly involved in.

A southern whisper lines the lure and rampage of Rock ‘N’ Roll Rebel Songs, the track aflame with sultry guitar endeavour, inviting group vocals, and the breath and atmosphere of ’77. Lyrically it also sparks memories of times past, it all colluding in one easy going and gripping persuasion, though outshone by Forgotten Son straight after. Its opening riff comes with dark intent and imagination igniting attitude, its bait continuing to enthral as the song grows and breeds new sonic colour and lyrical drama around it. There is a touch of Angelic Upstarts to the encounter though that is but one flavour within the emotive shadows and provocative narrative on offer.

The album’s title track kicks up a storm of attitude and insatiable rock ‘n’ roll next, the track forcibly prowling with essences of bands like Suburban Studs and Crisis in its armoury before making way for the irresistible presence of Kick ‘Em Down. The album is truly at its loftiest height at this point, the tasty provocateur, and its predecessor, unleashing welcomingly bullying and virulently infectious rock ‘n’ roll with the second also unveiling another tonic of harmonica belligerence, before the brilliant Apocalypso steals the whole show. Opening on a delicious throaty bass riff with tendrils of guitar adding their spice before the drums create a brooding and catchy confrontation, the track evolves into one seriously magnetic shuffle. The beats of Ratbag continue to incite song and ears with their anthemic swings, whilst around them voice, riffs, and contagion ebb and flow like virulent waves soaked in inescapable temptation.

Never Gonna Fall continues the album’s elevated and invigorating energy and enjoyment with ease, its thumping presence and gait luring many strains of rock into one bulging incitement whilst Sick Of Love Songs creates its own individual fusion of old school punk and new rock ‘n’ roll. The bass of Rocco breeds a bestial snarl to its tone whilst Lee J. once again leaves sonic vapours from his searing and ever to the point exploits. Led by the beckoning delivery of Stine, the track is another hitting the sweet spot whilst proving to be another proposition you only wish its two or so minutes was stretches longer.

Funland ends with Beer and Whiskey, arguably the weakest song on the album. In context though, with it holding ears and pleasure firmly in its rip-roaring escapade, it simply reinforces the might of the tracks which over shadow it. It is indeed a fine end to an excellent slab of rock ‘n’ roll, Funland rigorously feeding appetites for seventies punk and today’s punk ‘n’ roll from start to finish.

2015 has already been blessed with some mighty punk offerings which The Kingcrows now rival if not surpass with their new proposal, but few of those others will become as big a favourite as Funland is destined to be we suggest.

Funland will be released through STP Records at Rebellion on August 6th and then available @ http://www.stprecords.co.uk/page4.htm

http://www.kingcrows.com/     https://www.facebook.com/kingcrows

RingMaster 31/07/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

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

STPlogo

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

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Dog Company – War Stories

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Continuing the recent trend of punk rock throwing up some real treats we have another from you in the mighty shape of War Stories from US punks Dog Company. Stomping with eight massively virulent anthems, the album is a feisty protagonist of thoughts and passions, a fusion of old school punk and Oi! with additional twangs which is quite simply essential punk ‘n’ roll. The release celebrates the ten year anniversary of the band and the Dallas quartet could not have sculpted a stronger revelry to mark its moment.

Formed in 2004 and including members from Dallas punk bands The Staggers, Wayward Boy, and Dryline, Dog Company has been a persistent source of inciting political lyrical antagonism and rigorously invigorating sounds. It is a proposition which is thrillingly lean and direct as well as passionate in its intent and invention. Steering well away from the mediocrity and excesses the genre can sometimes indulge in, vocalist/rhythm guitarist Joe Blow (ex-Staggers/Riot Squad) leading the way from day one, the band soon earned a passionate and loyal fanbase. The album Songs of Discontent in 2008 drew certain spotlight upon their emergence which the acclaimed A Bullet for Every Lie two years later reinforced and pushed further. Live the band has equally impressed and constantly roused passions headlining and sharing stages with bands such as Street Dogs, Flatfoot 56, Lower Class Brats, The Briefs, Vice Squad, Agnostic Front, The Business, and Subhumans. War Stories though is the band at its mightiest and the perfect way to signpost their anniversary whilst surely recruiting an even greater horde of fans.

With lead guitarist Garrett Chapman, bassist Shea Close, and drummer Mick alongside Blow, Dog Company declare the rebel within its presence and southern kissed sound with a pleasing intro before the first irresistible contagion Elected Enemy hits the sweet spot. The track immediately sizes ears up with strikes of guitar and thumping rhythms which already are driven by the need to shape an anthem. It is a magnetic entrance which refuses to lose its potency as the song settles into an easy stride, guitars sending out twanging grooves and sonic colour to skirt the just as straightforward and appealing vocals of Blow, aided at times by both Chapman and Close. Feet are soon enslaved by the urgency and rhythmic bait of the song whilst imagination is coaxed into action by the lyrical narrative and heated guitar endeavour.

The captivating start is swiftly matched by the storming charge of For Our Friends, that earlier contagion taken to a new thrilling toxicity. The guitar craft of Chapman lights up the rapacious eagerness of the song, enterprise drizzling over and veining the riotous canvas and breath-taking stomp careering skilfully over its surface. Like a mix of The Clash in their early days and Flogging Molly, the song is insatiable in rousing emotions and thoughts whilst breeding an even greater flush of hunger and rapture for the album with its commanding presence.

Both Printed Word and Battle Fatigue keep the exhaustive pleasure flowing, the first a punchy and incendiary offering which again has limbs and emotions submissive to the catchy bait laid before them. As with most songs, the track feels like a friend before it has even completed its first suasion, a familiarity that is present but undefined in the fresh presentation and invention of Dog Company. The song’s successor entwines delicious sonic grooves around the ears straight away; a Buzzcocks like venom fuelled their enticement before the song provides a raw and wholly persuasive brew of riffs and rhythms ridden by again a lyrically challenging and vocally recruiting theme. The jagged scrub of riffs across the song only adds to the impossibly addictive nature of the track whilst the sonic croon of guitar simply adds coal to satisfaction’s fire.

Rhythms announce Combat Zone just how you would expect and hope they would, their military bearing the lead into a bracing blues seeping rock ‘n’ roll storm before Not Dead Yet brings its defiance, musically and vocally to bear on the eager passions. Again it is one to have the listener bursting in on its territory with voice and body, the song irresistible with its roving bass lines, battling rhythms, and sonic lures. As shown by the song as an example, Dog Company looks at issues and comments in a way all can relate to without ramming it down throats. Like the music Blow delivers the song’s heart with a forceful but undemanding swagger aligned to a fun built relish which ensures a good time for all comes hand in hand with the intent.

The album closes on the ridiculously contagious Last Call and the similarly epidemically driven and succeeding Can’t Keep Me Down, both tracks slabs of rock which brawl and seduce with an instinctive understanding of what makes the passions tick. Looking for something to temper our enthusiasm for War Stories proved fruitless with only the fact the release is sparse on major originality though definitely not short on invention, enterprise, and most of all passion. The album is one of the best punk records this year so far and if memory serves across the last too.

War Stories is available now via Cadre Records and Rebel Sound Music on CD and various 10” vinyl options.

https://www.facebook.com/dogcompany

9/10

RingMaster 02/05/2014

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Steve Ignorant With Paranoid Visions – When…?

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It is hard to imagine any punk fan not being excited about the thought of Crass frontman Steve Ignorant and Irish punk legends Paranoid Visions raging together, and even harder to think they will not be blissfully satisfied by this striking union on When…?, their impressively magnetic album. The twelve track release is a thrilling encounter, a deep pool of rebellious anarcho punk and old school contempt fused into an antagonistic diversity bred of the now. The mouth-watering album album follows on from the acclaimed If Ignorance Is Bliss EP of earlier this year and powerfully realises the triumph forcibly hinted at upon the earlier three track provocation.

The seeds to the link-up between the band and Steve Ignorant can be said to have begun way back in 1979 when a 13 year old punk kid called Peter in Dublin received a reply to a letter he had written to Crass. It set a belief in the young lad that one day he would play with the vocalist of one of punk’s all-time major forces. That teenager, guitarist P.A.Y.E went on to form Paranoid Visions with vocalist Deko Dachau and the rest as they say is history, one still going from strength to strength for the band and their unique inventive sound. The If Ignorance Is Bliss EP brought that thirty year odd dream into reality whilst When…? simply places the alignment of greats into the list of punk’s finest moments.

The Overground Records released album opens with a mix of haunting and biting calls of the name of the title track. It instantly captures the imagination, especially once joined by the thumping terraces like anthemic rhythmic beckoning and short stabs of guitar grazing. The track is pure captivation from its opening seconds, the ever distinctive and delicious caustic tones of Deko igniting the passions as potently as the sounds. Add the in-the-face delivery of Steve Ignorant, the teasing caresses of Sarah Bellum and Aoife Destruction, as well as an inventive musical taunting, and the song strides forward as an immense and riveting start to the album. It alone breeds a hunger which greedily demands and ultimately receives across the rest of the release.

The following Join The Dots is rapping at the senses from its first breath, the rhythms of Paul Zapart nagging the ears whilst a sonic and voracious mix from the guitars of P.A.Y.E and Dan Sonyagrave snarls over the barracking bait. In full charge the song becomes a riot of vintage punk, the alternating and blended vocals of the main protagonists treating the ear to a welcome uncompromising bruising whilst the ladies add an infectiousness which is like Vice Squad and Dolly Mixtures does pop punk. It is a ridiculously addictive slice of punk ‘n’ roll which again leaves the passions flying and ready for the next confrontation which comes in the sizeable form of Brain-Dance. Once again the challenging rhythmic bait is skilful and contagious, the perfect hook into the equally incendiary groove and exciting vocal ear bashing from all quarters. Already When…? is like traversing the Alps, nothing but peaks and breath-taking times rampaging through the imagination and senses.

Lyrically as to be expected the album has no fear in taking swipes at all and sundry, the man at the top, you, me, all apathies, inequalities etc. No track pulls its punches whatever the canvas the narrative is sculpted upon, the virulently contagious United Left Annoyance and the acoustically carved Log On…Bog Off no exceptions. The first of the pair has one of those hooks which haunts thoughts and vacant moments with the toxicity always prevalent in the sounds of Paranoid Visions, its call a cousin to those conjured by Buzzcocks or any version of his band Spizz examined his invention under. Its successor it has to be said took time to convince, but all the time its smouldering almost deceptive sirenesque consumption of the imagination worked away within the slowly dawning victorious persuasion.

No Contrition brawls with and challenges thoughts and emotions next, the open causticity to sound and lyrical intent providing another healthy feast for appetite and passions to devour whilst basking in the continually impressive invention upon the album, whilst Charity Begins At Home with its opening sample a full on poke at Bono and charitable deceptions, is ingenious brilliance. Abrasive and seductive in a torrent of inventive and epidemically addictive enterprise, the track is the pinnacle of the release, the highest plateau in a parade of nothing but lofty suasions.

Both the UK Subs/Crisis tinted Changing Times and the brilliant Independence Day with a presence which is best described as early March Violets meets Crass meets The Pack, continue the wonderfully imposing and passions igniting stance of the album whilst the exceptional Sex Kills attempts to steal the whole show with its carnivorous riffs and bass predation alongside another pop punk infectiousness, well if pop was in the bands of The Duel and Penetration. The rich heights of the track is soon matched by Rock n Roll n Revolution, cantankerous beats and rapacious riffs fuelled by another blaze of insatiable invention and the staggeringly impression union of two muscularly creative forces.

Closing on ?….NEHW, an unbridled ferocious take on the opener, When…? is simply magnificent, a release which is exceptional at the first meeting and grows into one of the most potent, tantalising, and creative punk albums of the year. Outstanding…quite outstanding!

10/10

www.steveignorant.co.uk

www.paranoidvisions.weebly.com

RingMaster 12/11/2013

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