Thursday, 18 January 2018

Top Tens: Sean from Coach Bombays' Top Ten Punk Rock Influences

Taco Bell
Definitely the most inclusive fast food restaurant, with plenty of options for the vegan in the band. Ensures that we can all talk about farts and diarrhea equally.

The Mighty Ducks
The biggest influence on our band. Taught us all that it's all about the team.

John Madden
Incredible broadcaster and namesake of a great video game series. It doesn't matter if the horse is blind, just load the wagon.

Ja Rule
Most bands' gruff vocals are probably influenced by Chuck Ragan or Tim Barry. Those folks got nothing on Ja Rule's gravelly tone.

Jud Jud
This one is controversial, some of the band can't appreciate the genius that was Jud Jud. They headlined bands like Minor Threat and Judge, legendary hxc.

Mountain Dew and Whiskey
The best mix drink of all time, made specifically to drink with whiskey.

The Casualties
Just kidding, fuck this band.

Sum 41
Amazing band. All Killer, No Filler remains timeless.

Apparently everyone in the world except us thinks we sound like Rancid. As long as it's pre-Indestructible that's ok.

Iron Chic
Maybe the band the four of us collectively like the best – and an actual influence on our band.

Stream and download Coach Bombay's music here:

Like Coach Bombay here:

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Album Review: The Sickness, The Shame by Goodbye Blue Monday

Goodbye Blue Monday are a band I am embarrassingly slow in getting into. The four piece from Edinburgh released their latest EP The Sickness, The Shame back in February last year on Make-That-A-Take Records and I've only just gotten around to checking it out. I'm almost a year too late on what is a fantastic EP that I loved immediately.

The three track EP begins with a song titled Fungus. A common theme in Goodbye Blue Monday's songs is the topic of mental health. On this opening song the band use fungus as a metaphor for your mental health issues spreading and getting worse. Musically they play melodic shout-a-long punk rock similar to that of Iron Chic and The Flatliners. I love this style of punk rock and Goodbye Blue Monday do it very well. The structure of the song and the melody hooks me in straight away and I quickly want to throw my fists up and scream along to the infectious chorus. Up next is Take Your Pills. What a song this is! Goodbye Blue Monday manage to take a topic of having to take pills to help with your mental health and turn it into a joyous occasion. I wish I had had this song when I was formerly on anti-depressants, it would have been my anthem. I used to absolutely hate having to take them but this song is great to help you realise that it is actually okay if you have to. Again it's a song that I want to shout my heart out to - Goodbye Blue Monday must be an incredible live act. The third and final song is the EP's title track The Sickness, The Shame. This song is just superb. Lyrically it's incredible, it's hugely relatable to anyone who has struggled with mental health issues. Seriously go and check out the lyrics to this song, there's every chance you'll read at least one and think "yeah that's me" or "that was me." Despite the sadness of the lyrics there is again an upbeat nature to the song, probably coming from the shout-a-long qualities pouring out of the song. This is one of those songs where you will get a great feeling of catharsis listening to it but especially from shouting it as loud as you can.

This three song EP is one of the best I've heard in long time. I wish I had given it a chance earlier as it would have placed really high on my end of year lists. It's got everything I want in my punk rock: it makes me smile, it's catchy enough for me to sing along to quickly, it has interesting melodies and it's about a relatable and really important subject that can never be spoken about enough. Goodbye Blue Monday seem to be a band that everyone needs to know about and soon will be the cream of not just the Scottish punk scene but the entire UK scene. I can't wait to catch them at Manchester Punk Festival in April. If you're going (why the hell wouldn't you be!?), make sure you do too!

Stream and download The Sickness, The Shame here:

Like Goodbye Blue Monday here:

This review was written by Colin Clark.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Album Review: Hits From The Void by All In Vain (by Emma Prew)

When I head to Bandcamp to find new music to listen to I usually make the ‘folk punk’ section my first port of call and that’s how I came across All In Vain, a folk punk band based in Liverpool. They put together an EP of five tracks at the beginning of November last year called Hits From The Void. Here’s what I thought of it…

The first track on Hits From The Void is Introspection/Threshold which opens with a slow yet ever so slightly haunting instrumental. I think it’s mostly the banjo that I can hear but there’s some mandolin, guitar, violin and drums in there as well. The eerie melodies, complete with subtle background ah-ahs, bring to mind scenes of a boat lost at sea or something similarly nautical. This is a lengthy track at 7 minutes long but, as you may have guessed form the song’s title, it is sort of split into two parts. After 4 and a half minutes, the music speeds up and we have some vocals. ‘If I were to succumb to our expectations, Would the split second before the fall be worth it all? How would it feel? I guess there's only one way to find out.’ It all feels very existential and mysterious but has me well and truly hooked and keen to hear the rest of the EP.

The second track, Regurgitate, has a faster pace from the outset and those banjo and violin melodies had me eagerly stomping my feet along. As enjoyable as it is just to nod along to the music – maybe even get up and have a bit of a dance in my living room – it’s the lyrics of the song that really hold the power. Regurgitate is about being brave enough to take a stand for what you believe in regardless of how much of an effect it might have. ‘If you speak out they'll make you pay, But some still speak out anyway, Just submitting would be a big mistake, Silently digging our own graves, We're burying ourselves alive.’ Keeping up the pace, Hymn Of The Free Market is a shorter song but that doesn’t stop vocalist Ash from packing plenty of lyrical content into this 2 and a bit minutes. Although the instruments come from more traditional folk music this track is as anarchic as the rowdiest punk band. Hymn Of The Free Market is an anti-consumerism anthem that labels consumerism itself as being like a religion. Worryingly truthful when you think about it. Despite the somewhat dark subject matter, this song has a pretty darn catchy chorus (which is pretty dark too) – ‘Every day is a sabbath day, they have ways to make you pray, Every day is a sabbath day, every day they dig more graves, Quotas to fill, demons to kill, Blood to spill, blood to spill.’

The violin is the star of the show for the opening of No Connection but once again it is the lyrics that really stand out throughout the rest of the song’s duration. In a modern pop music world of unintelligent and derogatory lyrics, we really ought to pay extra attention to songs like these. No Connection is about how we have become disconnected from the land on which we live and how our planet is being exploited for commercial gains. The verses are really rather fast paced but the chorus is much slower, mournful and all the more poignant because of this. ‘No connection, we are landless, History unspoken, history forgotten, No connection, this land was stolen, History unspoken, history forgotten.’ Bringing Hits From The Void to a close is a song called Void, in a nod towards the EP title. The song also nods back to the first track as it is similarly slow paced and atmospheric. This time the scene the song sets is a dark and lonely forest which is reflected in the lines ‘The only utopia that I can see, Is a cabin in the woods just the forest and me.’  Void is definitely not a hopeful song but, of course, that’s far from what All In Vain set out to do with it. Void is bleak, dystopian and melancholic but it left far more of an impression on me than if it had been another cheery pop punk song – I like cheery pop punk but you know what I mean. An appropriate ending to an intelligent, yet catchy, folk punk release. 

All In Vain don’t have much of an Internet presence besides their Bandcamp page but they are featured on a website called Cacophonix Conspiracy which has the following message (and explains the lack of Internet presence): ‘Cacophonix Conspiracy is currently just a website, created in order to provide people with one place to visit to find links to various musical projects who cross-over members or are friends with each other. People often ask us when we are performing in the street where they can find us online and it's easier to provide one link rather than several.’

You can find Cacophonix Conspiracy on Facebook and, of course, download or stream Hits From The Void on All In Vain’s Bandcamp page.

This album review was written by Emma Prew.

Monday, 15 January 2018

Album Review: Losing Eleven by The Chromosomes

The Chromosomes are a pop punk band who formed in 1993 in Livorno, Italy. Playing that pop punk style that is a cross between The Ramones and The Beach Boys made famous by The Queers, the three piece released a brand new eleven song album last October named Losing Eleven. Sounds perfect for a chilly Monday in January.

First up is the track My Rowdy Hula Dancer. Immediately a big smile appeared on my bearded face the first time I listened to this track. It's a cheery one about being in love on a beach and having a wonderful time. How can they not put a smile on anyone's face? Of course it's ridiculously catchy and will have you singing along and tapping your toes quickly. This song really sets the tone for what The Chromosomes and Losing Eleven is all about. The second track is titled A Duet With Dolly and is about exactly what you probably assume it's about, performing a duet with Dolly Parton. It's a song that doesn't take itself too seriously and is just a whole lot of fun. I enjoyed the little dig at the modern day pop stars who rely on autotuning for their vocals. As you might expect from a band that is inspired by The Beach Boys, the song features some delicious harmonies. Watchin' Airplanes is the title of the third song. Musically the song is slightly harder and features some pounding drums throughout. The fun, happy times remain though with a song that is about doing your favourite thing with the person you love - what more could you ever want?

The fourth song is named Heavy Metal Kid. It's a song that pokes a little bit of fun at metal kids and how they're not as hard or dangerous as they like to think. They're actually quite nice. By now it's clear The Chromosomes have a knack of writing witty songs that will make you smirk. Mr. Grabbs is one of my favourite songs on Losing Eleven. It's an ode to an old Basketball teacher named (you guessed it) Mr. Grabbs. What I really loved about this song as the way the vocals flow along with the melody. It's kind of punchy without really hitting hard and immediately grabbed my attention. There are also some more of those delicious harmonies. The sixth song continues the sporting theme. It's named Goalkeeper and is about goalkeepers. If there was an award for the catchiest song by an Italian pop punk band I feel like The Chromosomes would have it in the bag. I challenge you to listen to this song and not be humming it for the rest of the day. It'll be stuck in my head the next time I'm forced to go in goal at five-a-side. Track number seven is titled Leavin' Canada and is about falling in love with a place, the example given being Canada. What a fantastic song this is. Again it's superbly catchy and is the most fun to sing-a-long with. I loved the little nod to Canadian pop punk legends Chixdiggit during the track. Chixdiggit are one of the most underrated pop punk bands ever. The finale of the song is a cracker. The addition of harmonies spelling out Canada to the chorus gives the song that good time feel that a live crowd will adore.

Escape From The Orgy Of Media is probably the darkest sounding song on Losing Eleven. It strays away from The Beach Boys sound and on first listen I was actually reminded of MXPX. The drums in particular thunder along on the track while the guitars and vocals do a good job of attempting to keep up with the tempo. The song itself is about society's need to document everything in their lives to seemingly prove themselves to everyone else. Like if you're unwell you need a picture to prove you are unwell. When you think about it like this the whole concept is crazy but that's modern society and we're all guilty of it. The ninth song is a cover of the Dolly Parton classic Coat Of Many Colors. This is definitely the first time Dolly Parton has gotten two mentions on a CPRW post. It's a fun little cover that a live crowd will absolutely adore. Stupidly catchy and will get everyone having a good ol' barn dance. The penultimate song is TV Will Blast You. I've been waiting for a song on Losing Eleven to start with some "do do dah do"s and TV Will Blast You is that. I'm surprised it took ten songs for it to happen. The song is about how TV can brainwash you if you're not careful. Finally we have the song The Age Of Summer. This song is a nice surprise on the album. It starts out with soft acoustic guitar and quiet vocals, of course you expect the full band to kick in soon. You get far enough into the song where you believe it will stay acoustic throughout and then BOOM! Full band for the song's big finale. Great fun!

What a great record of 90s Lookout style pop punk Losing Eleven is. The Chromosomes have put out one of the best pop punk records of 2017 and proved themselves to be legends in their genre. I wish I had known about them earlier and I feel like many more people should be aware of them. They've been going since 1993 so I have some lost time to make up on.

Stream Losing Eleven here:

Like The Chromosomes here:

This review was written by Colin Clark.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Album Review: Winter Songs From Summer Bruises by Traverse (by Emma Prew)

Traverse are a four-piece indie punk band from Paris, France. Formed in the summer of 2015, they released their first EP in early 2016 titled Winter Songs From Summer Bruises. Not being someone who is up to date with French punk rock, or indeed all that much European punk rock in general, I hadn’t heard about Traverse until more recently. The record label behind the EP, Bad Wolf Records, appear to have only recently set up a their Bandcamp page which is how I came across Winter Songs From Summer Bruises, as well as the label’s other releases, when clicking about the new arrivals in punk. I had a little listen and liked what I heard so figured, new or not, the EP deserved a review.

Winter Songs From Summer Bruises opens with Lights Off. This is a fairly short track, actually all of the songs on this EP are less than 3 minutes long and all 5 total less than 12 minutes – proper punk rock! Lights Off is a catchy and upbeat tune that sounds more uplifting than it actually is. ‘I’ve cleaned the mess in my head, But when I look in your eyes, I see nothing but myself, Falling over again.’ The second song of the EP, Lifelines, opens with an awesome guitar riff that stays present throughout the first verse. It’s darn catchy. There is perhaps more of an indie sound coming through with this song while the punk rock takes a slight backseat. There are however some nice somewhat shouty backing vocals. Towards the end of the song is a slower, quieter bridge section which builds until the volume returns for final verse. ‘May my dark thoughts stay with me, To turn them all into a blaze, If it feels like nothing's changing, We'll fight in an alcoholic haze.’ All I Never Wanted To Be is next up and has an almost eerie reverby guitar fuelled intro accompanied by pounding drums – not exactly what I was expecting on this EP, which is no bad thing. It’s clear to me by this third track that Traverse are a band that pack a lot of emotion into their songs and this is perhaps most apparent with All I Never Wanted To Be. Lines like ‘Staring at a glass I can barely hold in my hands, A thousand failures drawn on my lifeline.’ and ‘So, I raise my glass, keeping me safe from my greatest fears, Choked up with bruises, wishing for the sun to never come.’ show the darkness of struggling with negative feelings and, sometimes, trying to numb the pain with alcohol. 

The penultimate song of Winter Songs From Summer Bruises is called Rooms. As the shortest song of the EP, at a minute and a half long, it isn’t a great surprise that this track has more of a pop punk sound – all the better to pack those lyrics into. Rooms is a short, fast and furious song about knowing you need to make changes in your life for the better, except that is usually easier said than done. There is a neat melodic guitar breakdown after a minute, which is actually two thirds of the way through the track, before the song ends on a more positive note. ‘Now every second I become more awakened, Gotta get up and run before I rust, Start acting, take all this in my hands, choke it, This time I’m sure I can handle it.’ Oh, and did I mention there are some woah-ohs? Everyone loves the punk rock ‘woah’. The More Miles, The Less Troubles is the final track and it kicks off with a rough-around-the-edges almost folk punk sound. The opening lyrics are particularly great – ‘Broken but not defeated, Rough roads for troubled hearts, We never played to win, But we own this time anyway.’  Those are fine words to live by if you ask me. So we had the woah-ohs in the last song but what else makes for a great punk song? An immensely singalong-able chorus of course! And Those More Miles, The Less Troubles certainly has one – spoiler alert: it starts with the song title. There are plenty of sadder moments on Winter Songs From Summer Bruises but I think with the the fifth and final track we are given an uplifting ending.

I was a little late to the party but better late than never, eh? Check out Winter Songs From Summer Bruises if you like all things melodic indie punk. Plus, according to their Facebook, Traverse have an album due out in March so keep your eyes and ears peeled for that.

You can stream and download Winter Songs From Summer Bruises on Bandcamp and like Traverse on Facebook.

This album review was written by Emma Prew.

Friday, 12 January 2018

Classic Album: Keasbey Nights by Catch 22

Prepare to feel really quite old. The very best ska-punk album ever released (fight me!) was released twenty years ago this year. Keasbey Nights by Catch 22 is twenty years old! How on earth did that happen!? Because such an iconic album is reaching such a momentous age, I decided to go back and look at why it's such a classic.

(Any excuse to listen to one of my favourite albums of all time.)

I feel like we should probably talk briefly about the history of Catch 22 and Keasbey Nights. Catch 22 formed in New Jersey in 1996 led by singer and guitarist Tomas Kalnoky. After releasing a very successful demo named Rules Of The Game that same year, Catch 22 were signed to Victory Records and would release their debut album Keasbey Nights in 1998. Not long after the release of Keasbey Nights, Kalnoky along with bassist Josh Ansley and trombonist James Egan left the band to focus on education and family life. Catch 22 continued on after this and are still going today but few will argue that Keasbey Nights is not their best work and this was their classic line up.

In 1998 when the album was released, the USA was in the middle of massive boom of third wave ska. When bands such as Reel Big Fish and The Mighty Mighty Bosstones were finding their way into the charts and there were countless other bands becoming popular enough to become touring machines, travelling all other the country and playing to countless fans. Think of some of the other bands from that time who were beginning to make their names in the ska punk scene. The likes of Less Than Jake, Mustard Plug, Edna's Goldfish, Spring Heeled Jack USA, Slow Gherkin, Buck-O-Nine, Goldfinger and The Aquabats. All of which were Catch 22's contemporaries. To create the best album out of a list containing those bands is some achievement. Now enough with the history, let's talk about the music!

The thing that first made me fall in love with Keasbey Nights is the sheer energy that explodes out of the album. The speed at which Kalnoky sings his songs truly astounded me and still does to this day, on this record and with his next band, Streetlight Manifesto. At times he's almost rapping - singing along is very tricky. And he's going at this rapid pace whilst playing guitar - as a non musical instrument playing person I'm amazed how anyone can do this. The brass section was unlike anything I'd heard before. I was familiar with plenty of bands that utilised brass sections but most of the time they are used to add to the chorus or provide a solo fill during the song. On Keasbey Nights however the brass is really the star of the show. Giving the songs a whole extra life and taking them to places not many other songs go at the time. The brass section that at the time consisted of Ryan Eldred (saxophone), Kevin Gunther (trumpet) and Jamie Egan (trombone) is just incredible on this record.

Picking a favourite song on Keasbey Nights is a near impossible task. I love thirteen of the fourteen tracks equally and the fourteenth, which is a musical interlude, is also among my favourite lyricless songs I've ever heard. Each song has me singing along with every word (as well as I can keep up anyway) and even after going a long time without listening to the album I can go back and sing every word (that I can keep up with) to every song. How many albums are there where you can honestly do that?

I thinks it's one of the biggest shames in punk rock that Kalnoky ended up leaving Catch 22 after the release of Keasbey Nights. Catch 22 and Streetlight Manifesto both went on to be successful bands but I can just imagine what a career they could have had. It would have been incredible!

So to sum up, Keasbey Nights is twenty years old this year and it's still the greatest ska punk album ever made and I love it very much.

This classic album review was written by Colin Clark.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Top Tens: Dave from Dissociates' Top Ten Punk Rock Influences

1. Cardiacs
It took me a while to really get Cardiacs, but when I did I found myself listening to half a song from someone else before thinking ‘I’d rather be listening to Cardiacs’ – it actually became quite a problem. It’s weird, eccentric, unique, very British and they definitely stray into the realm of ‘progressive-punk’, but I stand by it. Cardiacs did their own thing for a long time. There’s some footage of them rehearsing ‘Jibber and Twitch’ and ‘As Cold as can be in an English Sea’ on YouTube and I swear it’s the best thing on the internet.

2. Operation Ivy
When 15 year old me heard that record I started a band (Ye Wiles) almost instantly. They were only a few years older than me when they recorded it and I thought it was the coolest thing that I could do something like that. 20 years later it has the same effect. I miss buying albums before the internet, looking for bands in the ‘thanks list’ on the sleeves of records I liked and hunting them down. Between my friends and I we must have had the complete Lookout back catalogue.

3. Magazine
When my best mate played me ‘Real Life’ I thought it, punk, had all been done 25 years ago. It blew me away – I think Devoto had had enough of the Buzzcocks vibe after one EP in ’77. I was wrong, of course, we’ve had loads of great music, but the fact people were getting better at their instruments and moving on and, that it was OK to do so, gave me a lot of confidence to try new things myself. Although Magazine is quite dramatic – it didn’t produce in me the allergic reaction that Prog and Emo does, one that makes me reach for the off switch. Where’s the energy? Where’s the urgency? 

4. Bad Brains 
Oh yeah, energy and urgency. ‘Do I like this album I just bought?’ ‘No, ok – I’ll just play Rock for Light... again’. I was totally on board from day one of hearing Bad Brains, they are a band, that are so much more than the sum of their parts and more than, in my opinion, some dodgier later records. There’s not much to be said that hasn’t been said before, except perhaps that yes it was the superior 1982 version of ‘Rock for Light’...

5. Wire
Yes, Wire! ‘Pink Flag’ is a classic. There’s so much variation on that record, yet it all seems to marry up perfectly. I kind of thought it was ‘our thing’ with my mates in my home town, maybe too ‘art-y’ or whatever for some, but when I got through the Minor Threat record for the first time I never expected to hear ‘12XU’. I don’t know why I was so surprised now, but I was amazed at how varied the scene was, yet everyone was on the lookout for one another – everything is connected! I saw them recently, and they blew me away, they’ve got a recent track called ‘Harpooned’ which is easily as good as, or better than, their stuff from the early days. It makes me want to keep going too.

6. Refused
I once jumped in the van with Five Knuckle (a truly great band) when Ye Wiles were touring with them and ‘The Deadly Rhythm’ was playing on the stereo. I must have now bought ‘The Shape of Punk to Come’ four or five times, as I have a habit of losing things, and it’s one of those albums I get a craving to listen to from start to finish. I just loved the production of it, it was so far ahead of the curve.

7. Minutemen
I never really got massively into a lot of their peers in a way I know a lot of people do, but Minutemen to my mind were the best of that bunch. Never a hardcore band, or even close, but no-one questioned their punk credentials when they played alongside Black Flag or whoever. There’s such a creative do-it-yourself drive behind it all – ‘Double Nickels on the Dime’ in my opinion will never be surpassed!

8. The Jesus Lizard
I think Goat is a truly great record. To my mind, one of the finest bands ever. I never really considered technical ability to come close to creativity when it comes down to it, but these guys make me want to play better and harder every time I hear them. I think they’re labelled noise-rock or whatever, but their live shows were as punk as anything. If I could go back in time to two shows it’d be Operation Ivy and these guys.

9. Joeyfat
Growing up in Tunbridge Wells, Joeyfat were the first real band I both saw live and knew personally. I think in a way the rock scene (especially then) was its own influence, a self perpetuating community – it’s quite difficult to ignore such an inclusive scene. If you put a little effort in, you got a lot more out. That aside, Joeyfat were and are a ground-breaking band, cutting their own rhythmic path. ‘The Unwilling Astronaut’ is never out of rotation for me. I still recognize how lucky I was to have these guys, and the Tunbridge Wells Forum, right on my doorstep.

10. Pixies
I guess I was really surprised when I first saw a picture of the Pixies, I wasn’t expecting them to look like they did – a kind of normal group of misfits, no dressing up or posing or anything. I remember hearing ‘Tame’ when I was quite young and I didn’t understand it, it was too heavy or loud or whatever, but now it’s one of my all time favourite songs. Ned from Dissociates played me the video of them playing Brixton in ’91 recently and the credits roll to that tune with everyone jumping around in the chorus. It just made grin, it’s so cool. I like how they always separate aggression from heavy music, there’s no bravado, menace sure, but I don’t have to adopt an attitude to listen to it. ‘Surfer Rosa’ is, today at least, my favourite record of all time.

Check out Dissociates on Bandcamp here and on Facebook here.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Album Review: Wasted Daze by Jerkbeast

Jerkbeast are a five piece punk band from Melbourne, Australia. Since forming in 2015 they have released a single and two EPs. The most recent of the EPs was released last October and is titled Wasted Daze. It features four songs of fast paced crack rock that will really grab your attention.

Wasted Daze begins with the track Pace Yo Self. This is a fast and furious punk rock banger somewhat ironically about pacing yourself. Despite the speed at which the song thunders along at, it's still full of hooks and is a real ear worm. It won't be long until you are screaming along with Jerkbeast on this opening track. Trash Baby is the title of the second song and, topically, it's quite a unique one. It is about losing your baby in the rubbish and having a lifelong mission to find her - obviously. Despite the frankly strange subject matter, the song flows along nicely and keeps you interested throughout. It starts out quite quickly but soon overflows with an infectious melody without losing any of its edge. The addition of some female vocals on the chorus works well, giving the song a bit of a pop feeling.

Upper Middle is a song about the different classes in society and how they are stupid. Obviously punk rock was built on rebelling against what society thinks you should do with your life and that has bred many punk rock songs over the past forty years so it's not a new subject matter. Jerkbeast have somehow managed to keep the subject sounding fresh though and I love how you can tell that they are passionate about it. It's not a slogan for Jerkbeast, it's a way of life. The final song is the EP's titled track, Wasted Daze. This feels like Jerkbeast's anthem. It's about wasting your days away one at a time and knowing that you won't change your ways. There is such a punk rock party vibe to this song, I can imagine the amazing reception that this song must get at a gig with a frantic mosh pit screaming along to the chorus as loudly as possible.

This is a really fun EP. Jerkbeast are that weird band that don't really reinvent the wheel but also sound incredibly fresh. If you listen to a Jerkbeast song, you know it's a Jerkbeast song. Despite being relatively new on the Aussie punk scene, Jerkbeast are seemingly quickly making some big waves.

Stream Wasted Daze here:

Like Jerkbeast here:

This review was written by Colin Clark.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Album Review: Sun Dances by Bike Notes (by Emma Prew)

Bike Notes are a melodic punk rock trio from Edinburgh featuring members of The Walking Targets and The Murderburgers. At the end of 2017, after a couple of years of playing together as a band, they released their debut EP Sun Dances on Struck Dum Records. I actually found the EP on Bandcamp, having never heard of the band before, because I was drawn to the tree artwork – I do love trees.

The opening track of Sun Dances is titled May 9th and wastes no time in getting things moving. We have bold in-your-face guitar, bass and drums from the outset but the sound retains that melodiousness that I was hoping for from a band of this genre. The song is upbeat with clean, rather than gruff, vocals that have a lovely subtle hint of Scottish accent. Some people (I’m looking at you, work colleagues) believe that you shouldn’t be able to hear a person’s accent when they sing but I think that’s stupid. May 9th has a sense of trying to be optimistic about it that I found endearing. ‘So if you see me shiver, I’m just trying to shake the feeling, That alone our optimism, Is not enough to keep us close.’ Next up, kicking off with a grooving drum beat, is A Dissolving Line. When the guitars join the mix I am reminded a bit of The Burnt Tapes, kings of London melodic punk, but maybe that’s because I’ve listened to that band a lot over the past year. Perhaps Bike Notes will be my Burnt Tapes of 2018! The opening lyrics of A Dissolving Line stayed lodged in my head long after the song had finished – ‘The problem with an open mind, Is knowing what to let inside.’ This track is more mid-tempo than the first but with plenty of those great catchy melodies that’ll have you nodding along. A quiet bridge section full of emotion took me pleasantly by surprise towards the end of the song and this slower pace continues to the end.

The pace is soon picked up again for the third track of Sun Dance, The Road To Inseros. This is the shortest song of the EP and focusses on themes of self-reflection, self-searching and the romanticism that travelling can bring.  The idea is that the further you travel, the further you leave your worries behind and the clearer state of mind you are left with. ‘And as time keeps slipping on, I’ll keep forcing this perspective.’ A great song with some food for thought in its lyrics. Getting heads nodding for one last time is the fourth and final track, What You Don’t Say. It’s been hard not to overuse the word ‘melodic’ in this review, as I clearly stated in my intro that this is a melodic punk band, but Bike Notes really do have an awesome [melodic] sound. Something this song does feature that I don’t think the previous three did – at least not obviously – is dual vocals, particularly notable in the chorus. The notes on Bandcamp say Kevin Cameron, of fellow Edinburgh punk band Elk Gang, lent his vocal chords to this EP so that could be the second voice here. I feel like this song could be a Bike Notes live set closer and the use of multiple vocalists certainly lends itself well to a singalong. ‘Some say what you don’t say says the most, But when so much goes unsaid I’d say that saying’s over simple.’

I wish this EP was longer and I wish I lived further north to catch Bike Notes live. I’ll definitely be there should they pop down to London however.

Be sure to check out Sun Dances on Bandcamp and you can give Bike Notes a like on the Facebook too if you fancy it.

This album review was written by Emma Prew.

Monday, 8 January 2018

Album Review: Split by Hoist The Colours & RunningLate

I always think splits are such a great way to discover new bands. Back in October last year Dutch skate punk bands Hoist The Colours and RunningLate released a six song split via Melodic Punk Style Records and Morning Wood Records. I love to discover new bands so I dove straight into this review.

The first half of the split belongs to Hoist The Colours. This four piece from Groningen have a shared love of 90s punk rock and aim to keep that spirit alive. The first of their three tracks is named 35 Ta Life. The song starts the split off fantastically with a long building introduction that leads into a track about reaching the midway point of your life and all the problems that come along with that. This is something a lot of us can relate to now as we're approaching midlife and our responsibilities change whether we want them to or not. I particularly enjoyed the use of dual vocalists on the song, this injects some fantastic energy into the song. The opening guitars of the second song 7602 remind me of Teenage Bottlerocket and give the song more of a poppier sound than on 35 Ta Life. 7602 is a song about being happy about where you are in your life and fighting the inevitable - growing up. This is another really relatable song for anyone who has Peter Pan syndrome and just doesn't want to grow up (e.g. me!). The final song on the Hoist The Colours is titled Red Room. This song has some tremendous pounding drums that power the song forward and is brilliantly accompanied by some lovely melodic vocals. Red Room also features an excellent breakdown that allows for a huge finale to finish the track.

RunningLate are a five piece from Zwolle who are influenced by the harder sounding 90s skate punk bands such as Pennywise, Much The Same and Rise Against. They start their half of the split off with a song titled Sink. The pace and ferocity is definitely increased on the RunningLate side of the split. It's cool to hear two bands that are influenced by the same era of punk rock having two fairly different takes on the sound. Sink has a no note wasted approach with RunningLate squeezing as much as they possibly can in to its one minute and forty-eight second duration. Sink is about feeling like you're losing your way and fighting to turn things around. Up next is Trojan Horse. The song begins with a short little bass intro before some great guitars, that would not sound out of place on a Lagwagon record, come in. Trojan Horse is a hard hitting political song about not believing everything that you hear in the media and going out and seeking the truth yourself. Musically Trojan Horse is quite interesting, it's kind of like three songs squashed into one with a pause that makes you think the song is finished and a big melodic switch for the songs ending. This kept me listening intently the whole way through the track. The final song on the split is named Drifting Away. The song wastes no time in getting things started with no intro whatsoever. This is a great way to start a song if you want it to hit the listener immediately. Drifting Away is a track about the frustration of being surrounded by ignorant people who refuse to listen to both sides of an argument and feel like they are being pushed away.

This split showcases two fantastic Dutch bands. It hass done its job in not only thoroughly entertaining me but making me want to check out both bands more. I shall keeping an eye on both Hoist The Colours and RunningLate in the future as I expect them to become household names in the European punk rock scene.

Stream and download the split here:

Like Hoist The Colours here:

Like RunningLate here:

This review was written by Colin Clark.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Album Review: Settling For Survival by Foxtrot (by Emma Prew)

Foxtrot are a four piece punk rock band from Melbourne, Australia. Their 2016 album Habitats was a huge hit with us here at CPRW so when the band released a new 3 track EP in October 2017 we were more than happy to give it a spin. Released on Jackknife Music, Settling For Survival is three songs based around one central theme with each ‘part’ telling a section of the overall story.

Part I – Killing The Minutes opens the EP and for about 30 seconds has the listener thinking that this is going to be a fairly slow paced track. Of course, the pace picks up and we are treated to some classic melodic Aussie punk rock. Killing The Minutes is about missing people that you were once very close to and knowing that you can try to stay in touch but it is often easier said than done. We’ve all been there. I found the lines ‘We drift about, our paths cross where they do, I wish they’d cross a little more often to tell you the truth.’ particularly poignant. Then before you can blink, we’ve shifted into Part II – Old Familiar Strange. In fact, the first couple of times I listened to this in preparation for reviewing I didn’t notice that the first song had ended and the second had begun – I guess that’s part of the nature of this three part EP. I should have known from the opening lines of Part II really, ‘And before you even knew another year passed, And you're still staring at that same half empty glass.’ Continuing the themes of getting through life, losing touch with certain people and the changes that should/could be made to avoid this, Old Familiar Strange feels like the more positive of the first two parts. This song is about the sort of friendship where you don’t have to speak to the person all the time but you know that if you ever need them, they will be there for you – and vice versa. This is a great uplifting head nodder of a tune with some fine guitar riffage. While the final chord of Old Familiar Strange is still ringing, a second more melancholic guitar melody opens up the third and final track, Part III – Settling For Survival. This is certainly slower paced than the previous parts but I think that simply does a fine job of allowing the listener to reflect on the EP’s themes so far. At four and a half minutes long, this song is actually predominantly instrumental with only a single verse at the start of the song. It is incredibly atmospheric and the last couple of lines stay in your mind while the rest of the song plays out. ‘Ha, the fucking meaning of life? We're simply born to live and die, Choose whatever meaning you like, I'm worried all this life is just settling for survival.’

Settling For Survival is not your average three track EP but when has that ever been a bad thing in punk rock? Check it out!

Download and stream Settling For Survival on Bandcamp and be sure to give Foxtrot a like on Facebook as well.

This album review was written by Emma Prew.

Friday, 5 January 2018

Column: 2017 Was Fun, Let's See What Happens in 2018

2017 was a big year. I moved in with Emma, which involved moving house, moving to a new town and transferring at work. Lots of new things that I like to think I have taken to like a duck takes to water.

I'm pretty sure that 99.34% of you couldn't care less about that so perhaps I should start again....

2017 was a big year for punk rock. Honestly I can't remember a year that has been filled with so many fantastic releases as 2017 has. It hasn't just been the more established big hitters putting out fantastic new music either, I've had the pleasure of getting to discover so many cool small bands this year who put out such amazing music. The punk rock underground is thriving with more and more incredible new bands popping up all the time from all over the world.

Something I've really enjoyed this year in particular is checking out bands from all over the world and not just the usual places where people from the UK tend to find new bands, UK and North America. Back in March I did a lot of research into what bands are awesome in the Australian punk scene, they have a strong scene. In 2017 the CPRW team set ourselves a little challenge to try and find bands from some of the more obscure punk rock countries from around the world which turned out some great bands. With Hateful Monday eventually ending up on mine and Robyn's albums of the year. Towards the end of the year I discovered a couple of great bands from South America and Emma has been researching bands from Japan so at some point next year look out for some columns showcasing bands from those places.

Of course live music played a big part of our 2017. I managed to get to 49 gigs throughout the year having the pleasure of seeing over 150 different bands. It can never be said enough just how important live music is so to see so many bands putting on gigs of all different sizes is brilliant. It's because of this that punk rock will never die. There will always be some band somewhere playing a show. It doesn't matter if it's to thousands of people or to five friends at an open mic night. As long as there are still places for bands to play then the punks will show up.

2018 is looking like a massive year for gigs already. The Manchester Punk Festival is always the highlight of the year and has already announced a line up that includes Propagandhi, Iron Chic, Random Hand, The Bennies, Lightyear, Darko and Wonk Unit and they're not even finished yet! If you're haven't got your ticket yet then I suggest you change that! The New Cross Inn is the home of the punk all dayer in London. In 2017 they put on the ska punk festival Level Up which was a huge success. It's back in 2018 with Random Hand and Lightyear announced already. Who would've thought one year ago that in 2018 I'd get to see Random Hand and Lightyear at least twice! Madness! The New Cross Inn will for the first time be hosting a skate punk festival with A Wilhelm Scream and Teenage Bottlerocket already announced. This will be an incredible event. Of course there will be plenty of normal gigs as well. For me the biggest highlight that's been announced so far is Hot Water Music playing at the Electric Ballroom in Camden. There's also a mega tour that features The Menzingers, PUP and Cayetana in February that will be a lot of fun! 2018 will be another great year for live music.

Colin's Punk Rock World has continued to grow beyond my wildest dreams. The way in which this little blog I started as a way to focus an overactive mind has continued to grow and grow amazes me. In 2017 we added to our already exceptional team with Richard and Jack joining, Dan, Emma, Omar, Pan, Robyn and myself. We posted more posts in 2017 than ever before, with plenty of album and gig reviews, top ten lists, columns, future classics and playlists. We also had over 200,000 (that's amazingly not a typo) views this year. It really makes all of the hours I spend sat behind my laptop feel worth it, knowing that people are reading things myself and the CPRW team write is awesome. Hopefully you've found some of your new favourite bands because of the articles we have written.

My absolute favourite thing about doing this blog has been the sheer amount of fantastic, talented and friendly people I've met either online or in actual real life. The amount of people who have come up to me and asked if I'm Colin from Colin's Punk Rock World continues to shock me. I don't think I'll ever not be awkward about it. This year especially after moving away from almost all of my friends, being able to make pals with so many people at gigs has helped to plug the hole left in my life.

Before moving on to my hopes for CPRW in 2018 I want to give a huge thanks to everyone who has read, liked, shared or retweeted a post on CPRW. Every single time I get a notification telling me about some interaction on a post I get excited. Special thanks to anyone who has sent CPRW something to review. That fact that anyone wants me to review something they've created fills me with a lot of pride. I do try my best to do as many as possible as quickly as I can but unfortunately there are only so many hours in the day. Sometimes my real job does get in the way. Extra special thanks go to the many many people who have given up there time to compile top ten lists for the blog. They are a really popular part of the site and always make such interesting reading. And the biggest thanks of all always go to the CPRW team for all the hard work you put in contributing to the blog. I couldn't ask for a better group of people to work with. At some point I will organise a CPRW get together so we can all hang out (I suggest MPF as Robyn will be in the country). If I could somehow pay you all for the work you do I would love to. Thanks Dan, Emma, Jack, Omar, Pan, Richard and Robyn.

So, 2018 for CPRW. Since I began to post five times a week the only aim I've ever had is to do better than the day before. Sometimes we do, sometimes we don't. We always try and learn from the days that we don't. This aim will continue in 2018 and hopefully it will continue to prove relatively successful. We will continue to do the usual album and gig reviews, top tens, columns, future classics, playlists and band of the week features trying to showcase the best of the bands you love and the ones you've never heard of from all of the different worlds of punk rock. As ever we will also look to add some new features and ideas to the site to try and help it continue to grow. In 2017 we made friends with Sarah from Shout Louder (if you haven't checked out her blog do so here it's awesome) and took part in a blog share. That's something I'd love to do with other punk bloggers as well. Punk rock is all about community and working together to build great things so I always love being part of something and helping it grow. We're always on the lookout for awesome people to join the CPRW team, we're a great bunch who love punk rock. If you're great and love punk rock then we want to work with you!

So that's what I thought about 2017 and my aim for 2018. Let's crack on with it then!

This column was written by Colin Clark.