v/a – They Came From Boston vol. 1 (State Line Records, 2017)

What we got here is what amounts to a 4-way split LP between some perhaps not so well known bands from the current Boston punk rock scene: Stray Bullets, Duck & Cover, The Warning Shots, and Blood Stained Brindle. It offers a decent spread of differing styles and approaches, which is kind of what you want from this type of affair, with three songs from each band. Our boy Mark at State Line really has put together a great selection of bands for this collection. It’s also got some nice art work going on: a pastiche of the classic cut n’ paste punk rock flyer. Which is exactly how I always used to do mine. Stuff all that photo-shop bollocks – it’s got less personality than a microwave shepherd’s pie, mate. Plus I’m shit at computers. Boom.

Stray Bullets

First up, we’ve got Stray Bullets, who I’d best describe as a mash-up of ska punk, folk punk and Boston street punk. You’d be forgiven for mistakenly believing that this is music for the kind of dickheads that go to university (or college for the US readers – which means something different over in the UK) just so they can join circus club. We aren’t talking Reel Big fish fans doing the MU330 power-skank. This is more a heady brew of Operation Ivy, The Clash, Slapstick, Cuban Ballerina era Dead To Me and classic Rancid, with a touch of Swingin’ Utters from the classic A Juvenile Product of the Working Class era. It’s rugged, dynamic and full of attitude. Also kind of reminds me (in attitude rather than sound) of when the Suicide Machines filled in for Blink 182 at the Reading Festival 1998 (or was it 1997? I can’t remember) opening the Warped Tour day, and blowing the audience away and every other band’s socks off. favourite track: Already Dead. They’ve got a varied sound across the tracks presented here, and I look forward to hearing more. You can find their other stuff at their band camp page and their second album on the Dying Scene band camp page This is the first ska related band I’ve heard in years that has piqued my interest since 1999, and definitely doesn’t make me feel like flinging myself headfirst into the whirling blades of a combine harvester.

Duck & Cover

Duck & Cover blow my mind. They play a captivating blend of melodic hardcore meets rock n’ roll. These guys kind of put me in mind of None More Black meets Lagwagon, with an element that kind of reminds me of the Won’t Turn Down album by River City High (remember that one?). Sheriff of Broken Jaw is my cut of choice here, and also adds a touch of Drive Like Jehu. Fucking ace, mate. Riffy as three bastards. Tight and intricate. Got a real swagger to them. I’d go for a thrash to these guys (if I wasn’t 40 next month) – skate mental, mate. I look forward to hearing a full length from these guys at some point in the not too distant future. In the mean time, though, they have a couple of mini-albums out (s/t and Stuck in Decline) which you can check out on their band camp page – it’s good stuff, friends!

The Warning Shots

The Warning Shots need a little less introduction at this point. They are label owner Mark Lind’s current main band. Here, they present three tracks that aren’t available on their other releases (which are reviewed elsewhere on this site – just search for them, innit). As is usual with these guys, there’s nods to previous bands they’ve variously been in, such as The Ducky Boys, Sinners and Saints and so on. Expect genius backing vocal arrangements, and rock n’rolling street punk attitude in the vein of early Rancid meets Social Distortion at their bitter best. A Little Bit Longer oddly has a brief melody reminiscent of Summer of ’69 by Bryan Adams in a couple of places. Not that this coincidental similarity (lasting about a coupla seconds) to Canada’s premier acne-scarred rock midget and his karaoke favourite should prejudice you against these guys, of course. It’s actually my favourite cut of the three, and The Warning Shots have consistently ruled, in my opinion – I consider them one of contemporary punk rock’s best kept secrets. You can check their shabizzle out here on band camp

Blood Stained Brindle

Blood Stained Brindle I’d heard some talk of over the last year or so, and I was interested to get to check ‘em out. A brief look at the internet shows that these guys put out a mini album in 2009, but beyond this I’m struggling to find out much about them. I feel like they are doing something refreshing with their take on the typical street punk template. There seems to me to be a range of influences in the mix here, from oi! giants such as The Business, The Bruisers and Cock Sparrer, trad punk ala Sham 69 and Stiff Little Fingers. In more modern terms, I’m put in mind of the first three albums from Liverpool’s Down and Outs as well as Born to Lose, Pinkerton Thugs, The Hudson Falcons, and Roger Miret & the Disasters. Running through the core of this there’s a real flavour of Appetite for Destruction lead guitar breaks. These guys are another band I feel have real promise (even though I suppose they’ve been around for quite a while now – they just haven’t been that prolific – unless of course, they’ve split and reformed – like I say, info is pretty scarce). Favourite track: Red Shield. Sadly I cannot find the early record anywhere in full to point you all to…

You can listen to this full compilation record on the band camp player below:

It’s also available on LP from State Line here

Tony of Nurgle is a true child of the North, currently living in exile in Croydon, South East London. He used to co-run a specialist record store in Manchester (Roadkill Records), and also spent a couple of 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 – hopefully in the not too distant future.
Apart from that, it’s all bitterness and a jaundiced view of human nature, rarely skateboarding, often reading books with maps in the front.

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