7in and EP round-up: December 2020 (part 2)

Kimberly Steaks – Stay Another Day (self-released charity single)

Tis the season for novelty Christmas Song Covers it seems, a perilous area for any band. However, I’m a recent convert to Kimberly Steaks and so far I’ve really liked everything I’ve heard. Could this East 17 selection be the first wrong turn or will it jingle our bells, lets see.

This is a charity single, the money raised is going to Glasgow Food Bank, so it’s all for a great cause, the fact that a country as wealthy as ours has so many people relying on foodbanks is an absolute disgrace and something we should be ashamed of, but the foodbanks themselves are amazing and the people who volunteer there are real champions of the community, especially when we have to witness Boris sitting down to an all expenses paid feast to not negotiate an agreement with the EU in the company of many glad handing other politicians at a time when you can’t even pop round and see your nan. Fuck them all in their self-serving faces. They aren’t going to help, so stick whatever you can afford in the pot and help someone out this Christmas, because nobody else will.

On to the release, track one is the East 17 Christmas, errr classic, luckily Kimberly Steaks have been around the block and know how to do a novelty punk rock cover. You start of relatively faithful to the original, then you kick in fast; tick and tick. The tune itself is actually pretty good, which is a testament to Tony Mortimer’s song writing. He’s also nowhere near as big a twat as self-head running over simpleton Brian Harvey, last seen kicking off in a Jobcentre on YouTube (search it).

Anyway, it’s fun and festive and it takes you exactly where you want to be. The remaining tracks are acoustic led tracks, but the chaps have had the decency to have the whole band join in too! As always there will be a Green Day comparison, it’s a bit like the latter tracks on Kerplunk. There’s three sub two minute pop nuggets right here and it’s as pleasing as a battered Mars bar and a can of Irn Bru on a snow swept Duke Street!

It’s Christmas, go buy it from their Bandcamp! Bundie: 9/10

Werecats / The Atoms / Skimmer / The Crashmats – Three Chords, Two Teeth 4-way split 7in (Horn & Hoof Records)

Werecats are from London. They play an infectious blend of old school pop punk and powerpop. It’s catchy and fun, and Pip’s vocals are entirely endearing. You Will Love Me seems to be about stalking a boy. Ode To Pizza Tramp pretty much does what it says on the tin and is a whole 17 seconds of appreciation for the Welsh crossover outfit. To be honest I’d have been happier with another cut along the lines of You Will Love Me or indeed the stuff on their LP on Household Name Records (which is well worth your time by the way).

The Atoms are from Derby, which they describe as the surf capital of the world, which is impressive for the chief town of an entirely landlocked county. Anyway, they describe themselves as being somewhere between BuzzCocks and Buddy Holly. Which I kinda get. It’s kinda on that Ramonescore tip, which can get a little tired, but The Atoms are actually really good at it. Fast, melodic, good vocal harmonies. I’ve been meaning to check these out for a while, and based on this I’m sold. I’ll doubtless pick up their LP on Monster Zero soon enough. Probably the best quadrant on this split for my money.

Skimmer I can remember from way back in the day and I even had a 7in of theirs on Crackle Records called Uncool in the mid 90s. That has at some point made it’s way into the collection of one Andy “Carpet” Turner. Ramones influenced pop punk is the order of the day, and not much has changed in the last 25-odd years. I’m OK with that.

The Crashmats are from Oldham (god help ’em) and describe themselves as idiotic ska punk. On paper, this seems like a terrible idea. Thankfully, the ska element is mainly absent, asides from a bit of “pick-it-upping”. The second track they have here, Curry Party seems to be primarily about smashing loads of curry, and not being particularly fussy about the cuisine of origin as long as they get it. A sentiment I can fully get behind. Tony of Nurgle rating 8/10

You can pick this 7in up from the Horn and Hoof Records bandcamp page

Froggy & The Ringes – Soft G 7in (Amok Records / Kibou Records)

Apologies once again to James Domestic for being so disorganised… But hey, more fool me! This is nuts. In the best possible sense. Four songs in approximately 8 minutes is the order of the day, and 8 minutes will suit me down to the ground, sir.

We have something here that teeters on some kind of strange tightrope between garage punk ala Chubby & The Gang, thrashy hardcore punk like Rat Cage, meat n’ spuds UK82 spikes and studs type stuff and crazy Devo influenced stuff ala Liquids and Coneheads. The first song has frog noises in it too. Call me easily pleased if you want. I don’t care!

Realistically, who am I to complain if some grown adults want to dress put boxes on their heads and wear frog masks? Why would anyone expect me to complain? I’m not a fucking idiot, mate. Subjective statement, clearly. But for what it’s worth, this is the best video on the internet at the moment and I’ll give it a Tony of Nurgle rating of 9/10

You can grab this 7in from Kibou Records in the UK or Amok Records in the EU

Devon Kay & The Solutions – A Little Bit (self-released)

This was out on the 11th of December. The thing that catches my eye in the promotional blurb is a mention of The Hippos, they were on the poppiest end of the late 90’s/early 2000s ska punk movement and I really liked them, so I have hopes for a pop banger.

It doesn’t quite hit that unfortunately. There’s elements of Jimmy Eat World in there and echoes of Ben Folds, and then we are in the realm of the showtune. None of which I particularly mind, truth be known, but it just feels a bit late in the game. It could have probably featured in an American Pie spin off and done pretty well, but things have moved on.

That brings me to the lyrical content, it’s that whole pop punk unrequited love sort of thing. Sounds like he’s pecking this girls head to go out with him. It’s also sounding distinctly like she’s not into it. Here’s the thing, a lot of songs I really love are about that very same thing, bands like Descendents being a prime example. I still love those songs, but they are of their time. I think now, especially in the light of various dodgy goings on with some of the newer pop punk bands that it might be time to ditch the ‘You won’t go out with me and it makes me sad’ schtick. We’ve all been there at some-point or another, but if you genuinely like a person don’t try and make them feel guilty just because they don’t want to play hide the sausage with you.

Anyway, that aside it’s a pleasant enough little pop tune, I’m partial to a bit of that, but it lacks that big pop hook to make it great. Bundie: 6/10

The Cola Heads – Die Young 7in (Cursed Blessings)

The Cola Heads are from Toronto, and this is to my knowledge the first thing they’ve released since 2012, having also been in existence since 1996. Probably longer than some people reading this have been alive. Maybe. Assuming that not everybody is a past-it sad-sack like myself of course. The press info describes the band as “beer soaked pop punm stalwarts”. Obviously I’m therefore immediately interested in checking this shit out.

This is totally reminiscent of stuff from the mid – late 1990s that was tapping the snottier part of that poppier end of what is commonly associated with the 924 Gilman scene / Lookout! Records sound of that time. You know what I’m talking about. It’s got that Screeching Weasel / Pink Lincolns / Riverdales vibe. The sound is filled out a bit with an element of that scrappy mid-west sound ala Dear Landlord, The Slow Death and Cleveland Bound Death Sentence. I get the feeling these guys would be right at home on a label like Rad Girlfriend Records. This is fucking cool. Tony of Nurgle rating: 9/10

You can grab the 7in from the Cursed Blessings store.

Find out more on the bands’ Facebook page

L A S T E L L E – Only Apathy (Year of the Rat)

L A S T E L L E are from Oxfordshire, and are described as being an atmospheric post-hardcore band that have been compared elsewhere to Devil Sold His Soul, Casey, Underoath, Being As An Ocean, and The Elijah. I’m not a fan of that kind of thing, and I find Underoath to be a particularly irritating reminder of that period in 2000s when people with fifteen haircuts allover their heads and those stupid oversized New Era baseball caps were into bad Christian metalcore, badly played guttural death metal and shite MTV 2 / Kerrang! TV “emo”.

Thankfully, this isn’t anywhere near as excruciating as that, though. I can kind of see what these guys are doing. Basically taking that point where metalcore and emo and a penchant for singing about Jesus and adding elements of post-rock and post-metal to the mix. Call me stuck in my ways if you want, and I’ll agree with you, but I don’t like this at all. These guys can clearly play well, but this just irritates me. The singer can sing, which I understand is especially difficult if you are also the drummer, but I just can’t get on with the vocal style at all (which reminds me of those bands like Further Seems Forever before Jon Bunch, and that band The Early November). I’m sure they’ll probably end up being successful, but to me this sounds like a particularly egregious blend of Angels and Airwaves, Norma Jean and Keane playing U2 songs. I’m baffled as to who the target audience for this is meant to be. Clearly I’m not it. As hideous as this may be, it could actually be so so much worse. It could also have been massively improved by being wholly instrumental. Tony of Nurgle rating 2/10

Immerse – Paralyse (self-released?)

This lot are from Bristol, and are also described in the blurb as “post-hardcore”. I’m not going to beat around the bush. This is reminscent of that particularly bad stripe of metalcore with screamed verses and high pitched auto-tuned singy choruses. I’m sure you remember the type of thing be-fringed drips in shit-stoppers and youth medium 18 Visions t-shirts were desperately windmilling to From Autumn to Ashes in Satan’s Hollow in about 2006 in vain attempts to impress callow “scene girls” with loads of hair extensions and rubbish make-up.

This smacks of entourages and personal stylists. The type of kid that was into this kind of thing 14 or 15-odd years ago when CDs were just about still a “thing” was not interested in purchasing music and just freeloaded it off Soulseek, so I’m curious who exactly it is hoped will buy this “product”. Blow this cringeworthy shite out of your arse, mate. Tony of Nurgle rating: 0.5/10

Tony of Nurgle is a true child of the North, recently returned to Yorkshire and residing in Leeds (after close to a decade living in exile in Croydon and South East London). He used to co-run a specialist record store in Manchester (Roadkill Records), and also several years as a promoter, and put on shows for the likes of Leatherface, the Loved Ones, Lucero, Minus The Bear, These Arms Are Snakes, Spy vs Spy, Latterman etc. He also spent several years DJing at shady rock clubs in Manchester, and started the infamous Thursday night "punk room" at Jilly's Rockworld. Also responsible for Middle Finger Response, and collaborated with a couple of friends on a monthly night called Refuse to Lose, which will still occasionally reunite the original DJ line-up - next event at Retro in Manchester on 07/09/2019. Apart from that, it's all bitterness and a jaundiced view of human nature, occasionally skateboarding, always exhausted, often reading books with maps in the front.

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