Oi! The Boat drops this yellow vinyl comprised of two of the strongest street punk/Oi! bands right now. As they are perched for their annual killing at Midwest Live & Live 2016, this release whets the palate. The record offers two tracks a piece from these bands, representing passionate, No Coast street rock ‘n’ roll. Dog Company—from the ashes of The Staggers—continue to deliver their catchy riffs and emotional, provocative lyrics. Hard Ev’ bless their side with their gruff but evocative, tough but well-written tracks, blending Whiskey Rebels, Cockney Rejects, Sham 69, and The GC5.
Chaotic and engaging, gnarly and catchy, Epic Problem move forward from their straight Leatherface worship. These brash tracks are snarling, yet harvest a mature sound of punk rock. Catchy guitar lines and drum patterns do not diminish the fury or the rough punk execution. Having Mackie from legends, Blitz, thickens the plot. The Slow Death conjure their cold Minneapolis upbringing for two introspective, solemn tunes. Frantic and fast, their stellar songs pack a punch. Bands like Face To Face and Avail weigh in their influence. In the past, they’ve covered (Young) Pioneers songs on a split with comedian Kyle Kinane. The two sides of this 7” make total sense together in sound and in quality.
Glory Days: Chaos Rise: 7”
Back again, Warsaw’s Glory Days keep the momentum going after their last split with Italy’s Dead End Street with the Chaos Rise EP, three tracks of traditional Oi! on a limited run of 300 EPs. Coarse vocals over thick and balanced guitars, driven by a solid bovver backbeat. Releases are too few and far between for this band, but I’ll take what I can get of this raucous gem.
Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell: Isobelle: 7”
(Rise Above Records)
England’s Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell kick out two new tracks. Evoking pints and tinkering on Triumphs, they master the lo-fi-garage-proto-doom-whatever genre here with heavier than normal psych rock. Time changes channel Santana as much Sabbath and early Deep Purple. Heavy and greasy, the long hair and leather will bond in sweat, but the secret is that under the stoner solos that meander and seduce, the drums can retreat into breakbeats with groove. One of the coolest and most unique bands out there have done it again.
Beastmaker: You Must Sin: 7”
(Rise Above Records)
Taking two cuts from the incredible full-length, Lusus Naturae—also on Rise Above—Beastmaker give a chilling taste of their sound. The cover is the ghoulish visage of Vincent Price. The music is a fuzzed out blend of Black Sabbath and Witchfinder General. The Iommi flutters are strong here, but Beastmaker go far beyond cloning Birmingham’s finest. Heavy and plodding, the riffs thrash about and ensnare the listener. The drums wander and push the taut riffs. Spooky and ominous, Beastmaker have arrived with a Satanic taste of their full-length. Tapping analog brilliance with a recorded live feel, Beastmaker herald their antithetical approach to normal musical practices.
Maleficence: Realms of Mortification: 7”
(Blood Harvest Records)
Last year, Blood Harvest Records took the iron out the fire and struck while it was hot. The renowned label reissued the blasphemous Maleficence demo, Journey to the Depths. The Belgium death metal force now return with two new tracks on Realms of Mortification. Maleficence add some thrash swing to some Obituary and Death adoration. The songs move quickly with influences stemming from thrash dudes like Sodom and Kreator, and some Entombed. The music pummels the listener, and growled yet palatable vocals push the death metal agenda. The drumming is superb. Time changes and layered guitar lines keep things interesting. Beyond generic death metal, by infusing blackened thrash—like recent Vastum, Destroyer 666, or that swan song from Urgehal—Maleficence crush this EP. Limited to 300 copies, with 200 on black vinyl, 50 on translucent red, and 50 on purple.
Khanus: Rites of Fire: CD
(I, Voidhanger Records)
Oulu, Finland, has spawned Khanus and what they call “Shamanic Metal of Death.” They proclaim to “explore the boundaries of matter, spirit, consciousness and the universe,” according to I, Voidhanger Records. The chanted vocals on the first of the three tracks prove that claim unequivocally. With an almost Faith No More vibe—yeah, I said it—the hypnotizing, wavering riff and tone produce trances like Tannis Root. The second track pushes significantly past that: a slaughtering of the fretboard gets moves it toward more traditional—and well played—death metal. Growls and crushing music now have the burden of transporting the listener. The band claims to propel their audience into “spiritual vertigo.” The Death-esque basslines and rhythms fulfill that task easily. Erratic meters and punishing delivery will garner attention. Unfortunately, this release is not on vinyl, but is nicely delivered in a four panel digipak with a six page booklet, which includes lyrics and liner notes; it is strictly limited to 300 copies, never to be reprinted in this format. Cover art by Romanian artist Luciana Nedelea.
Candlemass: Death Thy Lover: 12”
Candlemass—one of the first and one of the best doom bands—turn 30 this year. They are celebrating with this four song EP. Death Thy Lover kicks off with a seven minute track. The second song has a grinding, burdensome riff that weighs down the audience. Each track relies on the band’s signature tumultuous riffs of despair. The final track, “The Goose,” is especially slow and monumental. Vocalist Mats Levén gives a haunting performance here, backed by evil, looming guitars. It’s no Freudian slip to call this doom metal epic. They coined it and continue to represent. Four tracks collectively clocking in at over 25 minutes: that’s a hell of a celebration of three decades of soul-crushing doom metal. One version is on red vinyl, 300 copies. The other is a gold vinyl edition, packaged with skull logo, limited to 200 copies.
Mean Jeans: Night Vision: 7”
(Fat Wreck Chords)
I kept seeing this band’s name and now I know why. Damn. Mean Jeans play a surging Ramones impression, and cultivate the love of The Lillingtons, The Queers, and Screeching Weasel, while giving it all a fresh new energy. Simple rock ‘n’ roll, sped up, with a dark but catchy vibe. Touring with NOFX has garnered them some serious attention and their full-length, Tight New Dimension, just dropped. This companion EP is focused and fun. Crack a beer and get ready to party. Rock ‘n’ Roll is supposed to be fun.
Grave Mistake—one the strongest hardcore labels of the last decade—continue to redefine themselves. Now, they’re releasing a compilation of Tenement, who themselves redefined conceptions of blending punk and “pop.” Formed in 2006, Appleton, Wis.’ Tenement were a noisy, frenzied trio that Grave Mistake says “married the genres of ‘pop’ and ‘punk’ without being explicitly ‘pop punk,’ and to many, represented the power and urgency of hardcore without actually conforming to the genre itself.”
After releasing Bruised Music Volume 1, Tenement churned out a harvested compilation on this double LP. This first pressing is 800 on black and 200 on Coke bottle clear vinyl. Harnessing Hüsker Dü to Avail, Real Kids to Kid Dynamite, Descendents to Replacements, Tenement peddled their unique brand of anger and regret over energetic music designed as fuel for the soul. Permitting the release of frustration and loss as well any tough guy hardcore, Tenement didn’t shy from singalongs or rock ‘n’ roll impulse. This collection finds the band moving further outside the parameters of punk and eschewing all preconceptions. Still driving and harsh, Bruised Music Volume 2 expands the notion of punk and your record collection.
Six Feet Under: Graveyard Classics IV: The Number of the Priest: LP
(Metal Blade Records)
Six Feet Under will release the fourth record in their Graveyard Classics series On May 27. They began these tributes in 2000 with Volume I, which tipped a hat to AC/DC, Sabbath, Dead Kennedys, Venom, Exodus, Hendrix, and The Monkees—or possibly Minor Threat. Volume II was all AC/DC, while Volume III featured covers of Mercyful Fate, Metallica, Slayer, BTO, Ramones, Prong, and more. Graveyard Classics IV: The Number of the Priest sees Barnes and company ripping through five Judas Priest covers on side A and six Iron Maiden covers on side B, all of which were handpicked by Metal Blade CEO Brian Slagel. The 12” vinyl comes in scarlet red marble.
Pro-Pain: Foul Taste of Freedom / The Truth Hurts: LPs
Last year saw Pro-Pain release their 17th album. Voice of Rebellion was a refreshing boost in the band’s discography. Keeping their momentum, Pro-Pain are digging into the vault, going back to 1992 and 1994. After founder Gary Meskil’s Crumbsuckers broke up, he started taking his heavy version of crossover steeped in New York attitude and mixing in hip hop rhythms and NYHC. A little Cro-Mags—well, a lot if you’re talking Alpha Omega—Madball, and mostly Biohazard was the formula. Hell, Ice-T showed up on “Put the Lights Out” on The Truth Hurts, and then later, a saxophone shows up, à la Dog Eat Dog. As odd as it sounds, it works.
Meskil is elated with this unearthing from 20-plus years ago: “We are thrilled to announce the rerelease of our first two albums. Both albums have been remastered (from the original recordings) by V.O. Pulver at Little Creek Studios (Gelterkinden, Switzerland).” Foul Taste of Freedom comes in a gatefold edition on orange vinyl; The Truth Hurts comes on black and white marbled vinyl. Both will include bonus tracks, original release replica artwork, and brand new liner notes, plus photos.
Asschapel: Total Destruction: 1999–2006: Double LP
Southern Lord puts out great records in great packages, including some great collections from lesser-known bands. Back again, Southern Lord are releasing the complete works of Asschapel. The collection merges the band’s Fire and Destruction full-length, the Live through Destruction live video, and more. The presentation is thorough with a double LP gatefold-jacketed package, a poster insert, and DVD.
Total Destruction gathers 31 tracks of musical devastation. Big, ugly, thick guitars and crusty basslines fuel screamed words of hate. The band’s members looked upon their heavily religious and antiquated Tennessee suburbs with spite and enmity. Fusing punk, D-beat, crust, powerviolence, and simple frustration, Asschapel defined a sound unique to itself. For the uninitiated, they infuse aspects of Chokehold, Charles Bronson, DS-13, Turmoil, Race Traitor, Coalesce, Assuck, From Ashes Rise, Damnation A.D., and many more. Now remastered by the mighty Brad Boatright, this compilation brings to lights a little-known band whose members went on to join Pelican, The Swan King, Tijuana Goat Ride, Hans Condor, and others. Get ready for this one.
Wolves In The Throne Room: Diadem of 12 Stars: LP
Wolves In The Throne Room have grown for over a decade. The 13 years have seen this band—mostly a duo—incur fear and respect everywhere they’ve played, from basements to Roadburn. Five albums deep, the legend has strengthened. They started in the cold, sullen forests of Olympia, Wash., and soon released their debut, Diadem of 12 Stars. Its four caustic tracks span one hour. Embracing black metal traditions while infusing other elements, such as funeral doom, Wolves In The Throne Room released this first album on a small DIY label, Vendlus Records, and it has been unavailable physically for many years. This reissued version has been carefully remastered by Jason Ward at Chicago Mastering Service.
“Described by guitarist Nathan Weaver as the rawest and most ‘punk’ of their five full-length releases, Diadem of 12 Stars was recorded live to tape in Oakland by Tim Green. Joined in the studio by Jamie Myers (Hammers Of Misfortune, Sabbath Assembly) and Dino Sommese (Asunder, Dystopia), every song was rendered in one or two takes and the album was mixed without the aid of a computer,” says Dave Brenner of Earsplit PR.
The Diadem Of 12 Stars reissue will be released June 17 on CD, green marble and black vinyl double LPs, cassette, and digital formats.
Cloud Rat: Discography 2010–2015: 2-Disc
(Dead Tank Records)
Dead Tank Records are releasing the collected works of Cloud Rat on Discography 2010–2015. This is a two CD package for only 12 dollars. Cloud Rat spew fierce grindcore. Their brand is vicious and confrontational on 2015’s Qliphoth, but the pith of the attraction here are the searing yet personal vocals of Madison Marshall. Including Moksha, Blind River, and Cloud Rat, this collection is impressive. Five albums in five years is an achievement. This is a cool way to celebrate.
The Muffs: Blonder and Blonder: LP
Female vocals and catchy, simple songs. The Muffs’ formula was simple. After releasing singles on indie stalwarts, Sympathy For The Record Industry and SubPop, and in the wake of close friends, Green Day, growing larger than life, Kim Shattuck and The Muffs were signed to Warner Bros. where they released their eponymous debut. Then, they lost two members, replaced one, and stayed a trio.
Shattuck wrote all the bouncy, snotty tracks here. Blonder and Blonder was originally released on Reprise, again, owned by Warner, the label on which Green Day released Dookie. Stripped down but clean production brings a punch to these tracks, which are actual songs and not just three chord wonders. Infectious and indulgent, this is pop punk in its most familiar form. The CD release contains seven bonus tracks, five of which are previously unreleased. Blonder and Blonder is also available on vinyl for first time in decades—baby blue vinyl to be exact—with essays from the band.
White Zombie: It Came From N.Y.C.: Box Set
Speaking of the ‘90s, Numero Group have released a staggeringly complete treasure trove of White Zombie. Yeah, that White Zombie. I knew they existed prior to their two mammoth, simplistic MTV hits, “Thunder Kiss ‘65” and “More Human than Human,” but, hot damn, I had no idea how much they existed. Oozing from the 1985 New York art-rock scene of NYC and CBGBs, Rob Cummings and his girlfriend, Sean Yseult, fused garage punk and noise rock. They put out five albums before Beavis was a sparkle in Mike Judge’s pen.
This has to be one of the most intense and extensive packages I have ever seen. I have always loved Numero Group for their CDs and vinyl packages, but they mostly dig into obscure, folded soul and funk labels from the past and dredge up elongated ruminations. Recent years have seen them reach beyond those boundaries, but I never thought I would see them grasp onto such a popular and commercially successful band as White Zombie. There is nothing commercial about these records. They share sounds with Amphetamine Reptile Records noise bands. “Drowning the Colossus”—the opener off of Soul-Crusher—is in no way marketable.
The collection spans five LPs in the box set, combining Zombie’s two LPs—Soul-Crusher from 1987 and Make Them Die Slowly and from 1989—and their EPs, Gods on Voodoo Moon from 1985, Pig Heaven from 1986, Psycho-Head Blowout from 1987, and God of Thunder from 1989. Coming to stores on June 3, Numero have harvested White Zombie’s out-of-print early EPs and LPs, culminating in It Came From N.Y.C. All 39 tracks have been remastered by guitarist J. Yuenger and packaged alongside the original artwork. The music is paired with a 108 page book, which extensively documents White Zombie’s history through dozens of unpublished photos, period discography, a T-shirtography, and stories from the danger and chaos that was LES NYC in the late ‘80s.
“The Damned: Don’t You Wish that We Were Dead” Documentary by Wes Orshoski
Finally coming to theaters in New England is the filmed story of The Damned, “The Damned: Don’t You Wish that We Were Dead.” On May 20, the film is being released on DVD by MVD. With one of the most impactful punk debuts and careers, The Damned are damned legends. Birthed alongside The Clash, Sex Pistols, and Stiff Little Fingers, The Damned were the first U.K. punk band to release a single—1976’s, “New Rose”—the first to release an album—1977’s Damned Damned Damned—and the first to tour the States, playing CBGBs in April 1977.
For this documentary, the band were filmed around the globe over three years. It premiered at SXSW in 2015. As the world was exposed, the reviews slanted mightily in one direction, as it was “hailed as ‘excellent’ by Uncut, ‘fascinating’ by The Arts Desk, and ‘funny, fast-moving, and gloriously chaotic’ by The Hollywood Reporter,” reports MVD. Directed and produced by Wes Orshoski—who also made the “Lemmy” documentary—the film recruits original Damned founders Captain Sensible, Dave Vanian, Rat Scabies, and Brian James, and features commentary and adulation from The Pretenders’ Chrissie Hynde, Mick Jones of The Clash, Lemmy Kilmister of Motörhead, Nick Mason of Pink Floyd, Glen Matlock of Sex Pistols, Steve Diggle of Buzzcocks, JJ Burnel of The Stranglers, Dave Gahan of Depeche Mode, Billy Idol of Generation X, Ian MacKaye of Minor Threat and Fugazi, Jello Biafra (of Dead Kennedys, Keith Morris of Black Flag, Circle Jerks, and OFF!, Dexter Holland of The Offspring, Jack Grisham of T.S.O.L., and many more.
The Arts Desk reports, “Where many music documentaries have a similar dynamic arc—rise, fall, rise again—‘Don’t You Wish that We Were Dead’ is a fascinating, rambling saga that emanates a rich, sometimes morose, sense of what it’s really like to have a whole life defined by the oh-so-brief explosion that was punk rock.”
The band officially kick off their 40th anniversary tour on May 20 with a sold out gig at The Royal Albert Hall in London.