onsdag 30 oktober 2019

Review: Spökstan - Hål i betongen

Spökstan - Hål i betongen 
Links: Facebook
A Message To You Records

It's been a while since Spökstan released their latest EP "Hej Kompis". It was actually five years ago. So it was about time that a new release saw the light of day. "Hål i betongen" is their first album and they prove that their material works fine not just on an EP but as an album as well. Spökstan which means Ghost Town are one of the most interesting skaband from Sweden for a very long time. 

Their sound is a result of a mishmash from different styles and different eras. And it's impressive that they keep it all together. It's a mix of british twotone, swedish 80's skamusic and modern reggae. I could refer to a variety of bands for days but I think that all in all they're pretty much close to the american ska band The Toasters. They both challenge the classic ska style and dare to experiment. 

This record contains several potential hit songs but I prefer the more up-tempo songs like "Kniven mot strupen", "Skeva vida värld" and "Parasit". The lyrics are in Swedish but I think that Spökstan works fine even if you just want to dance to nice backbeat music. And nice backbeat music is just what you will get, 12 songs where the last two are live recorded and a running time of 40 minutes. 

måndag 21 oktober 2019

Interview: The Backstreet Abortions

I found The Backstreet Abortions from UK at Instagram and they aroused my interest very fast. I had to listen, and wow... all of a sudden I've got a new favorite band. The mix of pure punkrock and classic anarcho punk makes me overwhelmed. 

Hi, please start with an introduction of the band

Hello we are The Backstreet Abortions! Me Jesse on vocals Biff on guitar , Kev on drums , and Les on Bass 

How would you describe your music? Can you try to pick 3 bands that you’ve been influenced by and explain why?  

I guess we are punk rock. Biff writes the music to fit my lyrics most of the time. Devo who’s message and sound is a big influence on me and how I look at things, Motörhead I have been into as long as I can remember. Angry Samoans and the Exploited short to the point songs influence the way I write lyrics. There is so many bands and hip hop artists that mean the world to me , but the way our music sounds I would say those three have more of an influence.

You are obviously pro-choice and pro-abortions, what is the public opinion about that in England? 

I am from the US but have lived in the UK last 17 years, I have had an Abortion in both countries. There was a very big difference, in the Uk they are free and easy access , as it should be. In America not as easy and now getting harder as you see on the news, I am worried for girls back home in the States. That’s why I started to write lyrics. 

How come that you focus a lot on this question? Are you involved in any compounds as well or do you just stick to the music and to express your thoughts that way? 

I think it’s the most important thing in the world not being forced to breed. Abortion is freedom. I wouldn’t be happy or where I am today if I was forced to have those unwanted pregnancies. 

This is of course a question about women’s rights, can you feel that the society are heading in the right direction even though we’re far from being equal? 

I have always felt I was equal even if I’m not in some peoples eyes. No one is going to stop me from doing what I want to do. I feel that if we really want to attack the people that keep women down we should start with religion. 

Well back to the music, God’s a pig was released in 2018, what are your plans for the future when it comes to new records and music? 

We have some new songs we are working on, two already in the set. The rest of the band are also in The Varukers, last year was really busy  for  them. This year we will have some time to do stuff. 

What do you think about the UK punk scene today? Any bands you will recommend? 

It’s great super friendly everyone looks out for each other.  Butcher Baby,  Circle None, Overload and the Blue Carpet Band are some great newer bands

tisdag 15 oktober 2019

Review: Flyktsoda Fanzine #28

Flyktsoda Fanzine #28 
52 pages, A5

Flyktsoda is one of the last remaining paper zines hailing from Sweden. And the quality is top notch. Johan the editor has been in the fanzine business since the 90's and really knows how to create an interest in the bands he writes about. The interviews in this issue consists of: Skrammel, Smierc, Grå Vardag, Signal Crimes, Wolf Hour/Döda Katten Podcast, Radar and the exellent label Second Class Kids Records. 

In addition to the interviews there are also reviews and some interesting articles. One is written by Johan himself about his band that celebrates 20 years. Another one is about Jello Biafra post-Dead Kennedys. Flyktsoda provides lot's of good reading as always. 

Flyktsoda is written in Sweden, intended for swedish readers but I can really recommend it to all bands, labels and everyone else who's involved in the DIY/punk scene for promotion, reviews etc. It's so impressive that Johan keeps his enthusiasm up for the DIY scene. 
This issue of Flyktsoda also comes with a bonus CD from Second Class Kids Records. It's a copy of Lastkaj 14 - Becksvart from 2017. Lastkaj 14 is one of the most prominent swedish bands around playing melodic punk. So that's not a bad bonus at all. 

lördag 12 oktober 2019

Review: Belta 53 - Om du faller

Belta 53 - Om du faller CD
Links: Facebook I Website
Self Released

This is without a doubt the best release from Belta 53 so far. I would describe their earlier style as some kind of punk influenced alternative rock but this record is stuffed with nice melodic pop punk. I was hoping years ago that they would choose this path so I am very satisfied. 

The lyrics are good as always  and especially "En kväll i augusti" which is about the tragic murder of the homeless Romanian guy Gica who lived in a park in Sweden. A stunning rock ballad with lot's of feelings. It's actually a candidate for the best ballad of the year. 

There is something special with female fronted bands and Jojo has a voice that fits perfect to the music. It doens't matter if it's a fast or slow song, she makes it perfect all the time. It's easy to try to comparing other female singers but I can't think of anyone else that sounds like Jojo. 

Belta 53 have their own sound which is pretty Swedish in some way. That's why it's hard to compare them with other bands from around the world. But I would say there's small parts from bands such as Descendents and New Found Glory. But still very Swedish. Anyway, there's lot's of good rock n roll riffs and melodies and the opening song "Fri" is probably the best song they've ever done. 

onsdag 9 oktober 2019

Reveiw: Pank - Demo

Pank - Demo 
Links: Bandcamp
Self Released

Pank is yet another new swedish band consisting of two very young guys, this wave of kids playing punk gives me hope for the future. This is their first demo which I guess is recorded the old school way in the rehearsal room. The sound isn't very good and the lack of a bass player is obvious, but they're actually looking for one at the moment. 

But anyhow, the sound makes me pretty nostalgic, this is how it sounded when I took my first chords with my band in the early 90's. It is so charming and this is what punk once was all about, the fact that everyone can play. 

When it comes to the music I would compare Pank with oldschool anarcho-punk bands. The musical structure isn't far from a band such as Crass. If it is by purpose or because they are beginners doesn't really matter. This is just pure punkrock with a pissed attitude and without following any rules. I love it. The running time of the 4 songs is around 8 minutes and I enjoy every second. My feeling is that Pank will be a bad ass band in the future after some more practice.

måndag 7 oktober 2019

Interview: Corporate Citizen

Here's an interview with Corporate Citizen. My questions has been answered by the entire band so I had to shorten it down a bit. If you are into melodic hardcore you will probably like this San Diego band with strong influences from the 90's hardcore punk scene. Here we go.

Hello Corporate Citizen, please introduce the band

Steve O: I am Steve O’Brien and I play guitar.

Bob: I am Bob Meder and I sing

Dan: I am Dan Achin and I play drums.

Mike: The “New Guy”.  I play bass

I wrote in the review that your music sums up four decades of hardcore, do you agree? How would you describe your music? 

Steve O: I always love seeing the references to the DC bands (Minor Threat, Fugazi) when it comes to describing our music. The style of guitar and structures of the songs were heavily influenced by the DC bands. Our style of music sits between what people would consider traditional hardcore, melodic hardcore and post-hardcore as well. 

Bob: I totally agree with Steve but would add that some of the stuff we do with vocals can be reminiscent of the 90’s Epitaph and Fat Wreck bands as well.

Dan: I come from a little bit of a different background than Bob and Steve O’Brien.  I spent the first 26 years of my life in Omaha, NE and when I started playing drums I was into metal. I got into Hardcore, Punk and Ska late, and even though I really like Hardcore bands like The Gorilla Biscuits, Judge, Killing Time, and Ignite, I probably identify more with 90s Punk and Ska.

What was your ambitions when you formed the band? 

Steve O: Bob, Dan and I were all in bands with each other previous to Corporate Citizen. When Bob reached out to me about playing again I was psyched since we were always on the same page in terms of music. Plus he is a great frontman and brings a lot of energy. Dan is a great drummer who can also help with the songwriting. It was a perfect foundation to start a new band.

You pick up a lot of influences from the 90’s melodic hardcore scene, what was the best with that era and how do you think that the scene has been developed from that time until now? 

Steve O: I was lucky enough to play a lot of great shows in the NYHC scene in the 90s in my previous band. To me the 90s were a great time because you had bands like Quicksand, CIV, SOIA and then H20. All blending together the great elements of the Bad Brains, Cro-Mags and AF. Kid Dynamite is a perfect example and a band I take a lot of inspiration form when coming up with a riff. Fast, hard and melodic.

Bob: I think the era of 90’s melodic hardcore  was especially cool because you had a lot of bands that were pretty uncompromising in their style and sound that were able to reach a very wide audience. To me the best bands from that era were H20, Pennywise, Pulley, Bad Religion, Bouncing Souls, Kid Dynamite, Avail, and Strung Out to name a few. 

Mike: I think the melody is the best part. There is always melody in music. Some groups utilised it better than others, but in the 90’s it reached a new level. In my opinion that whole metal core scene is what killed the melodic hardcore. It’s nice to see melodic hardcore coming back.    

How is the San Diego punk scene? Any good venues or bands you can recommend? 

Bob: The scene is doing well! There a bunch of promoters who really want to build a scene here. Venues are always popping up but the most popular are probably Tower Bar, Brick by Brick, The Observatory, and the Belly Up. But there are smaller places like Legacy Brewery that are always willing to host a punk or hardcore show. San Diego is full of great bands right now. You should check out the Spotify Playlist “San Diego Punks United”. It showcases a lot of the great bands that are currently playing around here. Some of my favorites are Wanted Noise, Gut Punch, Skipjack, Fishing For Chips, War Fever and Bossfight.

Dan: There are definitely a lot of really cool bands in the San Diego area right now and for the most part, everyone supports one another. 

What have you released so far, and what response have you got? 

Steve O: We recorded the “What Would He Do?” EP that was available on bandcamp. That was the real start of Corporate Citizen. Due to a lack of a guitar player, I had to switch from bass to guitar and play both instruments on the recording. When we released our full length “A Brief Moment of Sanity” we had a full band and the songs benefited from it.

Bob: Pretty much everything we have seen has been really positive. It is nice to see that people like what you are doing.

Are you satisfied with El Topo Records and your collaboration? Will they be involved in the future as well? 

Steve O: When we recorded “A Brief Moment of Sanity” we believed that it was worthy of a wider release. Through our friends the Midnight Block we sent the recordings to Carlos at El TOpo and he really liked them. He agreed to handle all the online distribution (Bandcamp, Spotify, etc.) for the record. We still put out the vinyl version and cassette ourselves but in concert with El Topo. Carlos has been really supportive which is what you want in a label.

I noticed that a majority of your gigs has been local, do you have or will you play outside California in the future?  

Steve O: In a perfect world we would be on the road a lot more. We are all in the same situation where the needs band has to balance with our lives. Everyone in the band has a family and full time jobs which makes touring a bit of a challenge.

Bob: if we could pack up all the kids and wives and become travelling gypsy musicians we would but I don’t think it is in the cards right now.

So what about the future, do you have any plans? 

Steve O: We are already working on a new record with the new line up. With Steve Diaz and Mike Ruggerio in the group we can now expand the sound of the songs. This will create a texture that you don’t always find in a hardcore band.

Bob: I am especially excited about the next record. The demos Steve has put together sound so rad already and i can’t wait until we can set aside time to really hash them out. I think the next record is going to be really freaking good.

Dan:  I agree, we have high expectations for the next album and adding in some new members is going to broaden the range of influences we bring to our sound.

Mike: Make music! Like I said earlier, it's been a while….Im excited for the future!

torsdag 3 oktober 2019

Review: F.I.L - Wake Up

F.I.L - Wake Up (CD)
Links: Facebook I Website

First In Line (F.I.L.) were formed back in 1988 and played for 12 years before they quit. Eight years later they reunited the band and now is their new record "Wake Up" released. And what a record, it is totally brilliant. Fast-paced without any frills just like Gorilla Biscuits and similar bands who play fast and pretty aggressive hardcore. I hadn't heard F.I.L before so I was pleasantly surprised but not amazed since their hometown Linköping has a great history of hardcore. 

I really prefer this kind of straight on NYHC without breakdowns and chug-chuggin'. I guess their influences comes from the BYO Records and Revelation Records bands. And F.I.L are just as good as those bands. Everything is perfect in my opinion, the melodies, the vocals and the lyrics which focuses on equality in different topics. This record contains seven songs and the running time is just over ten minutes, high class hardcore!