Chain Whip – s/t 7in (Dirt Cult Records /Neon Taste Records, 2018)
Oh-ho-ho yeah!!! Holy shit. This rips, mate. Dirt Cult Records do it again, with another classy release. No word of a lie, this is blinding.
Chain Whip are made up of members of Fashionism, Corner Boys, and Nervous Talk. I suppose this places them as Canadian, then if memory serves. Whereas you’d expect powerpop from the likes of Fashionism and Corner Boys, Chain Whip serve up five helpings of 1980’s style hardcore in the vein of Negative Approach and Poison Idea.
This has it all – chewed off and spat out snotty vocals, thrashy speed, and stripped back pummelling rhythms. No holds are barred here, and there’s definitely no time wasting going on. Which is as it should be. Tough as old boots, straight down the line gnarly punk rock. This is what you assholes should be shredding bowls to. I could certainly imagine the current iteration of Mad Max (i.e. Tom Hardy and not that total racist Mel Gibson) razzing this into his tape deck and mowing down bozos in a radioactive desert… So what’s not to like?
A clear win for this dude, right here. Quite possibly the best 7in I’ve heard in 2018, too. It’s a solid Tony of Nurgle rating of 10/10.
Check it out on the player below, you fools:
Lovebites – Social Hell (Sabbath City Records, 2018)
Lovebites are also from Birmingham, and are a four-piece, featuring amongst their ranks ex-members of Sharks, Octane OK and Foes. They cite influences as diverse as The Replacements, The Who and Jawbreaker as being key to their sound.
Not really sure how to describe this beyond punk n’ roll with a country edge. There’s also a Springsteen vibe to this too, not to mention a 1990s UK indie feel. Which, even when taken together, probably doesn’t really do credit to what’s going on here. Anyway, it’s a heady and inspired blend.
If I had to throw out some “sounds like” type references (and everyone knows I habitually do so), then I’d suggest somewhere between Lucero, Culture Abuse, The Weakerthans and oddly, These Animal Men (when they were fuelled by piss, vinegar and amphetamines – before they turned into some ridiculous glam rock stompathon of a band). Anyways, this is kind of summery in its’ own way, and a thoroughly enjoyable listen.
Tony of Nurgle rating: 9/10
I’m short of a link to give you to where you can buy this as I can’t find a website for the band or their label (which is their own imprint), but this is out on the 20th July. You can probably find out more on the Lovebites Facebook page
Maypine – Bend/Break 10in (self released, 2018)
Maypine are from Brighton, and Bend/Break sees the band take a new musical direction, moving away from a sound that was more rooted in pop punk. They apparently take inspiration from the likes of Boston Manor, Thrice, PVRIS and Nirvana.
So what’s the crack here, then? This sounds to me like your typical run of the mill big venue “emo revival” kind of deal that the kids seem to enjoy, only it’s not totally terrible. The main bands I’m put in mind of here are Thursday (around Full Collapse) and Thrice (around The Artist In The Ambulance), only without the contrived squawking and shrieking.
The playing here is perfectly competent, this lot clearly know how to structure a song, and the vocal is clear and not Americanised in the slightest, which is a couple of check marks in their favour, in my opinion. However, having said this, the band have opted to go for a big, produced sound (which is fine), whereas I would have preferred there to be more grit and rough edges to this. The over produced aspect leaves me feeling a little cold, but I feel like I would be really interested to hear what Maypine could do by taking a more raw approach…
Tony of Nurgle rating: 6.5/10
You can listen to this on Spotify
You can pick this up on CD or 10in record from the Maypine webstore
Orchards – Losers/Lovers EP (Big Scary Monsters Records, 2018)
Orchards are also from Brighton, and have also put a slash in their record title. Weird coincidence? Who knows. Anyway, they must be doing alright for themselves as they’ve recently had a fairly high profile support slot with Tiny Moving Parts.
The promo material states that:
Orchards are following in the footsteps of luminaries Everything Everything and Foals, though their personal influences range from the super mainstream pop of Anne Marie and Dua Lipa, through to the danceable indie of Bloc Party and The Wombats, to more progressive, heavier bands like The Mars Volta and The Fall of Troy.
On paper, this sounds like an absurdly terrible idea. In reality? Well, I’m a sucker for a great female vocal, which Orchards seem to provide. Musically this record seems to teeter on the brink of sounding quite disjointed and jerky – kind of like a pop version of those abrasive skramz bands that were dead popular in mid 2000s. It’s all a bit mathy and a bit too shimmery for my personal tastes. Kind of reminds me of early Minus The Bear (which was great), but with an unhealthy dose of eternally irritating 2000s indie bands like Foals, the Ting Tings and The Klaxons thrown in.
I can imagine loads of people of a more arty persuasion than me would properly dig this. I’m not down with this really, but it’s far from the worst thing I’ve heard recently. Tony of Nurgle rating: 5/10
You can check out their previous material on their bandcamp page, although this new record is not featured as yet.
You Know The Drill – Selfhood (Scylla Records, 2018)
I’m still waiting for one of these young easycore or whatever daft label type of bands to prove me wrong. Until that point I’m thoroughly unconvinced by the whole subgenre, which as far as I can tell is comprised overgrown children from middle-class or upper-class backgrounds (i.e. privileged) posturing in bands with the key aim being to either bag off with the opposite sex, and/or make a bucket-load of money.
There’s no sense of integrity in that scene either here in the UK or the US scene, which the UK scene seeks to imitate. A scene which is saturated with a problematic rate of sexual abuse and poor behaviour towards young women, perpetrated by those that feel they are untouchable and can get away with what they want. In a way it’s something of a bold move for a band to want to thrust themselves into a scene like that. Not that other scenes don’t have their own problems with sexism, homophobia, racism transphobia and so the list goes on…
I feel strongly that the music being churned out by bands of this type is generic and unexciting. It challenges nothing and achieves nothing. It tends towards use of Americanised accents. You Know The Drill are guilty on the accent front. They’re from Birmingham according to their bandcamp page – they should to my mind sound like the Peaky Blinders not Californians. I’d encourage the singer to take more pride in who he is and where he’s from rather than perpetrating this kind of pretense. Unless of course he’s from California and has the misfortune to live beneath the overcast skies of the UK.
Having said this, it’s far from the worst example of this kind of thing I’ve been exposed to, and the musicianship is pretty good. Apparently it’s “a must” if you like ROAM, State Champs and New Found Glory. Fuck knows, mate, it’s so uninspired at times that it just makes me feel like nailing my own face to the table – but then gain I’m clearly not the target audience. Tony of Nurgle rating: 5/10
You can check it out on Spotify here
You can pick this up on blue or yellow/green splattered 12in from the You Know The Drill webstore.
Youth Man – Five Songs EP (Alcopop! Records)
Birmingham’s Youth Man are a two-piece punk band, and are apparently hotly tipped. Five Songs is the follow up to the Wax EP that they released last year. If I’ve learned anything over the years, it’s to pretty much almost without exception, avoid two-piece bands. I count my exceptions to this rule on two fingers: Dog Party, and Ogikubo Station – the latter being more of an acoustic duo. I dunno, there’s probably others, but I can’t summon the energy to engage my brain.
Typically, in my experience, the two-piece is the watchword for self-indulgent oh-so-clever arts nonsense. The press release describes these guys as “often anxious, twitching agitpunk”. To me this sounds like a blend of the worst things about Muse, Ink & Dagger, The Computers, Blood Brothers and stuff deemed too shit to be included on a Mars Volta LP.
Fuck this noise. I’d rather be repeatedly volleyed in the head by a right bunch of cunts than listen to this bollocks again – two listens through was enough to last a lifetime. Music for people that enjoy wearing clothes that are two sizes too small for them.
Tony of Nurgle rating: 2/10.
Check it for yourself on the player below and form your own opinion, as I may have been unduly harsh. I can imagine there’s probably a wealth of people that would get a kick out of something like this.
Should you feel inclined to investigate further, this is available on orange and yellow marbled 12in record from Alcopop! Records