Not done one of these for a fair old while. In fact, a bunch of this stuff I’d already written and forgotten about. Just rediscovered it in the “drafts” area, all covered in dust and cobwebs and that. What can I say? Life gets in the way. You get distracted and then before you know it, you forget you intended to do something. And then somehow convince yourself that you did actually publish the reviews, blah de blah de blah. So, er, yeah. Apologies to the bands and the labels involved… We’ve got several volumes of the Drunk Dial Records 7in series to go at here, as well as a split from Pirate’s Press Records.
By way of broad introduction to Drunk Dial Records (I feel like I’ve done this before SO many times), they pick a band, send them to the studio, get them fucked up on their poison of choice. The band then proceeds to record a new original track and a cover version. Erm, shenanigans ensue? Anyway…
Drakulas – Drunk Dial Records vol. 10, 7in (Drunk Dial Records)
For the unititiated in the dark arts, Drakulas are described thusly on the Dine Alone Records: A sonic marriage of proto-punk, garage, 1980’s synth and new wave with lyrical content to match, Drakulas are a concept band donning black turtlenecks & medallions who exist in a fictionalized, late-’70s metropolis soundtracked by drugs, pornography, video games, nightclubs, art movements and a little bit of a occult …. So, there we go… Sounds like an alternative soundtrack to Garth Merenghi’s Dark Place, am I right?
The original track here is titled Shame. What a word. Evokes images of Cersei Lannister being paraded through the streets of King’s Landing sheared and naked being pelted with rubbish. The sound here feels very much like a garage band joined in unholy matrimony with the mishapen progeny of Hakan and The Stooges. As you’d expect, it’s genius of some sort, stapling melody to a primitive and basic backbeat in a thoroughly convincing manner. A confessional of sorts, although I’m not convinced the protagonist is all that penitent when it comes down to it.
Three Sisters is the cover version here, orignally performed by the Jim Carroll Band. Having looked this guy up, as I had no idea, he apparently wrote that book The Basketball Diaries, which was adapted to film for Hollywood purposes and starred Leonardo Di Caprio and Mark Wahlberg. Everyday, it seems is a school day. I did have a spin of the original, which sounds a bit like a pub rock version of the Ramones if they were fronted by Lou Reed or something. The version from Drakulas I feel outstrips the original; it feels kinda sleazier… and I’m all for it.
Steve Adamyk Band – Drunk Dial Records vol. 11, 7in (Drunk Dial Records)
Steve Adamyk Band are from Ottawa, Ontario. They describe themselves as playing “power garage”. I can only assume this is a hybrid of garage rock and power pop. Having listened to a bit of Adamyk previously (they’ve had stuff out on Dirtnap Records and All In Vinyl), I’d say that’s probably as fair a description as any. Does pretty much what I says on the tin, I suppose. And there’s absolutely nowt wrong wi’ that.
Ah. This one books the standard Drunk Dial Records trend. There’s no original cut here (naughty naughty!). Rather we have two cover versions. First up is Do You Wanna Know by Belgian classic punk rockers The Kids. It’s a classic song with killer hooks, and Adamyk does this shit some justice in a totally respectful way. T’other song is a cover of Slip Away by fellow Ottawa band, Sedatives. Interestingly enough, they have yer man there, Steve Adamyk as a member also. Go figure. I went and had a listen to the Sedatives version of this song. Kind of sounds like a less well produced version of this cover version. Did he forget which band he’s supposed to be in? I’d love to hear the story of what went on here. I feel like it was probably a particularly heavy duty DDR session.
Gentleman Jesse – Drunk Dial Records vol. 12, 7in (Drunk Dial Records)
Gentleman Jesse I hadn’t personally heard of until recently. It seems I can’t currently go anywhere without seeing or hearing this dude’s name. Seemingly he’s from Atlanta, Georgia. Beyond that I seem to know naff all about the guy. Not having heard any of his other material, I can’t really pass comment, innit. I’m sure I once heard country music refered to as “farm emo”, and original number Where Time Stands Still seems to qualify as a darker version of this. I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about. It just seemed strangely appropriate for some reason. I kinda like it. Whatever.
The cover version here is of ‘Return of the Mack‘. Yes, that one. The one by the bloke from Leicester, Leicestershire. I related an anecdote relating to Mark Morrison to my dude Jordan Stamm on the Drunk Dial Records Instagram page. Story goes that I once drunkenly yelled something borderline incoherent along the lines of “you’re really shit!” at Mark Morrison from a taxi window, at which point he made a big show of dramatically being “held back” by his minders. What can I say? I was even more of a total doink when I was 18 than I am now at 46. Anyway, hats off to Gentleman Jesse for making this utter dross listenable in the form of some sort of alt-country slow jam or something. Was Return of the Mack an international hit?
The Drowns / Wonk Unit – split 7in (Pirate’s Press Records)
I’ve been a fan of The Drowns for a goodly while now, and Alex from Wonk Unit is a mate, so I was psyched to see them hook up for a split 7in. Two hard working bands right there.
The Drowns drop a new one in the form of The Beast. Right out of the blocks, this one sounds like some jaunty worship of The Clash. Only delivered in the typical street punk meets glam Drowns fashion. Andy Wylie takes the vocal lead on this one, guiding it comfortably into anthemic territory.
On the flip, Wonk Unit deliver Rebecca. It’s (as is often the case) a highly personal number. Seemingly describing the difficulties of conducting a relationship as a sober person in recovery with a somewhat nihilistic approach to alcohol. I mean, yeah. It sounds difficult on many levels. Alex is great at setting this soul-baring heart on the sleeve stuff to music in a way that doesn’t come off as overly self-indulgent, but does come off as incredibly honest. It’s buoyed along by Vez’s keyboard line in a dare I say almost poppy way. This is a great song. I’ll go on to say that it’s not my place (or anyone elses) to judge anyone or anything like that, I just hope everything works out for you, mate.