BAD BRAINS: The Yellow Tape/Debut Record.

16 04 2020

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There are records that become vital to you the second you hear them. The first note, that first lyric- stays with you. Something about it just does something to you, and you seek that same feeling in everything you listen to. This record that becomes your world can be one from decades ago that you’ve only just found, or it can be something brand new. It doesn’t matter. With this, time doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you find it or rather, it finds you.

 Anyone and everyone could talk about what the greatest Punk record of all time is or who the greatest bands are. It’s all a matter of choice. Some people don’t dig the Ramones (don’t ever trust these people) and some people might think that bands like Dead Boys served no purpose (again, don’t trust these people either!) Every band has made an impression. Some did it with one record then disappeared whilst others have lasted and are still being cited as an influence to this day. Again, it’s all choice.

 

 

 

I haven’t gone back and listened to old records I love and written about them in a while. Whilst seeking something new to listen to, I keep gravitating back to Bad Brains, so I’m taking it as a sign that I need to write about their debut record (The Yellow Tape if you want to go that way, it’s your call.) What Bad Brains did on their debut record is something truly remarkable. They merged two hugely vital styles of music- Hardcore Punk and Reggae and made something that just blows you away. Sure, it isn’t for those who may want lovey dovey soft songs, but it’s for those who are frustrated, who want change and are on the outside looking in. Outside of society but aren’t all too mad about it. Bad Brains will ALWAYS be one of the most influential bands of all time. When the record came out in 1982, many were shocked that the band members were African American. When you think about that now, you think “Why the fuck would it matter what they look like or where they are from?!” But sadly, that’s what it was like and to a degree it still happens to this day doesn’t it. All too many times we will see someone express their concerns for someone who is a certain race doing a certain style of music, and they will question it. But here’s the thing- music doesn’t have a race, gender, religion, or sexuality. Bands like Bad Brains are the prime example of music just going beyond labels and whatnot. Their debut record was ahead of its time, and to this day we still haven’t heard anything quite like it. Attitude and Banned In D.C. are just an example of two of the best songs ever created, and if you’re looking for something else to smack you in the kisser then blast out Supertouch/Shitfit as loud as you can. The whole record is a Hardcore masterpiece.

 H.R. has to be one of best frontmen of all time. There’s no one else who had that energy and power, and when you mix that with Darryl, Earl and Dr. Know- then you are going to get a wealth of trouble. They all played their part in creating one of the best and most important records of all time. Leaving Babylon is one of those songs that just play and escape the world; it’s got this power that isn’t found in anything else. Some songs we have H.R. screaming his lungs out, then we have him on this song pouring his heart out. If this song and the lyrics don’t break your heart, then you’re not hearing it right. It is one of the strongest songs of all time, and it’s political without it being all in your face. It perfectly shows injustice, and sadly it is something that still exists. This song, and the whole record are still so relevant.

 

 

Bad Brains are made up of some of the best musicians you will ever hear, and the fact that you can pick up on their distinctive sound, and their own individual style instantly full justifies why this band are nothing short of influential. They go beyond being a band that merged Hardcore Punk and Reggae. They go beyond anything in music could ever compare to; they gave us something that will never ever die out. Their debut record is easily one of the greatest records of all time, but when you go deep into their discography and even solo work, you will truly see that everything they did was just a mind-blowing experience. The way they mess with your head on songs like F.V.K. and are then able to just mellow you out on I Love I Jah (contender for my favourite Bad Brains song ever) is just a testament to their greatness.

 Bad Brains are a band that I’ll never tire of listening to or talking about. They’re one of those bands that have evidently brought people together and created a community with their sound. When I see bands like Ho99o9 (who I fucking love SO much and do amazing covers of Bad Brains songs) I can see another band who will have exactly the same impact Bad Brains did on a new generation. Bad Brains created a monster with their debut record, and that monster will never sleep nor will it fade away.





THE RATZ: After The Blackout.

28 03 2020

 

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Ready for something to knock you out in matters of seconds? Alright then, well you need to listen to the new record by New Haven’s The Ratz. The songs aren’t meant for you to slow dance, instead they are made for you to smash your body into someone else, bounce off a wall and leave you battered and bruised. Perfect, right? Of course. Their new record consists of 8 songs that were made to blow the roof off and melt your brain.

 The Ratz are the kind of band that take you back to when Black Flag and Fugazi were ruling the world and weren’t afraid to speak out and speak loudly. The gang mentality that The Ratz have makes you want to be part of what they are giving you. They are insanely talented, and prior to listening to their new record I went back and listened to some of their older stuff, and my god this band know how to play. After The Blackout (seems apt right now) is their new record, and it is full of hyperactive Punk songs that don’t even come close to hitting the 2 minute mark, and although I can be a sucker for songs that hit over 5 minutes, what The Ratz do in so little time is just so vital. You could easily imagine this band ripping apart venues like CBGB years ago. They’ve got that gnarly and raw Punk sound that just makes you want to lose your mind. Destroy You just gets to the 2 minute mark, and it’s one of the best songs that they have ever done. I love how they are unapologetically raw with their sound and are just so brutal. Ines is a fucking incredible guitarist, and she makes you wish you were as cool as her. The way she plays is just *chef’s kiss! *

 

 

You cannot get enough of this band; I just love them. The artwork for the record is so cool, and it really gives off the feeling you get when you listen to the record; you feel a little bit dirty but in the best way possible. It’s a brutal record, and it’s got this rambunctiousness to it that you simply cannot get enough off. Put it in a drip and hook it right into my veins!

 After The Blackout is the record you play to hype yourself up. It gives you that boost, that spring in your step so you feel alright in going outside and facing up to whatever you need to. As far as Hardcore records go, this is some top level shit. I’m not a pro at Hardcore Punk, but I know what I like, and I know what I’m not a fan of, and it’s fair to say that The Ratz are definitely a band to adore and play loud. I love what they do, and I just love their whole style. Each of them brings something unique to the band, and it is so obvious on this record. Like I said, I went back and listened to earlier stuff to get mor familiar with their sound, and what they’ve done on After The Black Out is firmly let us know what they are about and they have truly shown us what they are made of.

 The Ratz are the kind of band that you psyched up to see on a weekend after you’ve had a tough week. I’m one of the lucky ones where I love my job and I love the people I work with, but there are people who work and hate their surroundings, and when the weekend hits then BAM they can unleash it all. As someone who suffers with depression and anxiety (who doesn’t! But this isn’t from a Buzzfeed quiz, I actually went to a doctor) sometimes a lot gets pent up, and my release comes from music. Finding music, listening to it and writing about it. I am so fucking grateful when a band reaches out to me and asks me to write about them because it keeps me focused on other things. I think that’s part of the reason as to why I’ve never been paid to do this, and never want to. If someone in a band ever says to their friend, “Hey, send your music to Olivia, she’ll probably write about you because she loves music!” then that’s fine by me, that’s all I want. I’m happy with that and having bands like The Ratz reach out is just the best! I love this record, and I love how it’s got that raw sound that you find in bands like Flesh Rag (Canadian Punk band that we all know I’m in love with!) After The Blackout deserves to be played insanely loud and as often as you can. Take it like a vitamin to keep you nice and healthy.

 The atmosphere that The Ratz have created on this record is one to completely wrap yourself up in. You can really picture yourself at their show with a bunch of people around you who equally love this band, your arms around each other shouting the words back. It’s a real Punk mentality with a sense of unity (see bands like my beloved IDLES for the same feeling) and this sense of unity is what Punk is about. No one gets left behind. The loudness on the record may intimidate some, but please just play the record. Soak up just how amazing they are as musicians, and you will truly hear one of the best Punk bands around. In fact, let’s leave genres out of this and soak up how great they are as a band.

 

 

 If you’re looking for a wild record to lose your shit to or if you’re looking for something new to just give you a kick- then The Ratz are for you. Immerse yourself in the record and play songs like These Streets and I Don’t as loud as you want. These 8 songs will enhance your life and make you and your record collection look that much cooler.





XENU & THE THETANS

12 10 2019

 

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Here is something to invest in and play super loud: Xenu & The Thetans. You are welcome.

If you want fast and raw Punk, then get this record in your ears. Their debut record is everything you could possibly want from a Punk record; in fact, it is just everything you’d want from music. It is the kind of music you’d play to impress your cool uncle (basically, I’d play this record to my uncle and I’m pretty sure he’d love it, because he’s cool!) Every song feels like a smack in that face in the most euphoric way imaginable.

Xenu & The Thetans are a supergroup based in Mexico. Punk and Mexico go hand in hand, and the scene there should not be ignored. I’d go there if 1- I wasn’t scared of flying and 2- My passport wasn’t expired. I need to sort that, but I keep spending money on other things. I like to put things like this off because there’s always something better to do isn’t there. Anyway, the record. Yes.

 

 

I have no idea what the songs are about, but I’m not going to let that stop me from enjoying the record. Besides, hearing music in another language is just fine! This is the record you get drunk to and trash your room to, isn’t it? Guess my weekend plans are sorted. I jest, I’m going to sleep. A lot. Hopefully. What I love about this record is that I don’t feel like I’m listening to a band from now. I feel like I’m listening to a band that could have been buddies with the likes of Die Böslinge, Kraut or Bad Brains. They’ve got something about them that’s just effortlessly timeless and so, so cool. You cannot deny that Tee Crees Mejor Que Yo is probably one of the best Punk songs you’ve heard in a long time. It’s such a great record, and it’s probably a really great way to learn/improve on your Spanish.

You can always tell when a band plays with a lot of passion, and this band most certainly do. You’ve got one of the best humans around, Brandon Welchez ripping this record apart beautifully, and members from Davila 666 and Descartes A Kant (Johnny and Cristi) going apeshit on this record too. It is everything you’d want from a real Hardcore Punk record. Only a couple of songs go over the 2-minute mark, and it is enough time to just make you throw your body around in an insane way and probably smack someone in the face during it. Careless dancing- we’ve all done it. Xenu & The Thetans are the band you want to hear when you should really be heading home, but they pull you in and once they’ve got you- you’re done for. There is absolutely no denying just how excellent this record is. It’s fast, ferocious and loud- it’s the Punk record we all need. Like I mentioned earlier, it really doesn’t sound like a record from 2019 and that’s by no means a bad thing at all.

This tough and raw sound just makes you fall in love with the sound instantly. Every single song sounds like it should be chanted back at the band. Alternatively, you can just do it at home and have a great time. There’s only one way to play this record, and that’s loud. Super loud to the point where you wonder if you’ll ever hear again. You know how it is. The singer of this insane band, Julián Name keeps up ferociously and effortlessly with the intense drumming of Cachi. I love the sheer colossal sound on this record, and how you can hear influences from their own bands, and like I mentioned, Bad Brains etc. too. The songs are fast and powerful; a true Punk record to let blister your ears.

 

 

Sometimes I just hear something, and it makes me want to carry on writing about music; Xenu & The Thetans have created a record to keep going back to and appreciating every single time. Nadie Por Quién Morir is one my favourites to play on repeat and louder than the others, I love the slickness to it and how it just sounds like a drunken bar brawl. This record could have worked in the (greatest film of all time) The Warriors- it’s got that feel to it. I just really love this record.

Anyway, I’ve gone on enough about this record. Go listen to it, religiously.





ISSUE: Cross The Line.

14 07 2019

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If you’re looking for a band that sound like KRAUT mixed with VOID, then you’ll find it in Paris’s finest Punk band, ISSUE. One of the greatest guitarists of all time are in the band also (Charlie from Crocodiles, of course!) Cross The Line, their debut record, came out on Friday and let me tell you, it’s obnoxiously loud and really cleanses the soul.

Cross The Line is a proper rowdy record. Every single song, all nine of them, will blow your mind and eardrums in 16 quick minutes. The record is over far too soon, but there is no harm in playing it all over again, and again. And again. It’s record to trash shit to, it’s a record to just go completely wild to. It’s everything you want from a raw Punk record. Play it as loud as you can, then try a bit louder. Only a couple of the songs are over the 2 minute mark- how it should be done with this kind of music. The songs are full of this rambunctious energy that makes you want to just play it so loud, and throw shit out of the window. I mean, maybe don’t do that but you get what I mean. They have this ability to make you feel like you are right at their show taking it all in with elbows hitting you in the face and lukewarm beer being thrown about.

 

 

This is definitely one of the most enjoyable and out-there Punk records I’ve heard in a long time, and it just makes you feel like you’re experiencing bands like KRAUT for the first time. As soon as I heard this record, I automatically likened it to An Adjustment To Society by KRAUT (which is one of the greatest records ever made.) The same level of excellence is there, and I can’t get enough of it. By no means am I comparing the bands in a lazy way. I’m just holding them up as highly as each other because they are fucking incredible.

25 and Spit Mask are currently my favourite songs on the record, but my mind does change quite a bit. I’ve found that the record sounds best if you play it in order but the thing is, when you play it in no particular order you still get that “OH SHIT!” feel- like it’s hitting you for the first time. There is so much to love about this record. The production is perfect; the sound is something that’s been well thought out and you can definitely hear how much effort has gone into creating something so powerful. Mirror is a song that is meant to be play a hell of a lot, and definitely at a deafening volume. It’s a record that makes you want to start your own Punk band or just immerse yourself in as much live music as possible.

In terms of touring, I have no idea where they are going but if someone could get them to the UK that would be really much appreciated by me. They definitely have a sound that is made to be heard live. I love how the songs feel like an animal that’s been trapped for years, and is now being released into the wild. It has this brilliant untameable sound that I adore so much. In the best way possible, this record is so chaotic and brutal. I can’t get enough of it, and songs like  I Surrender just annihilate your eardrums in the most perfect way.

 

 

Cross The Line is out now via Third Coming Records; and the record artwork is by Nicky Rat.





FLOWERS OF EVIL: City Of Fear.

13 07 2017

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A couple years back, a super group formed in New York City. Flowers Of Evil erupted and tore up eardrums, and limbs alike. Made up of Young Boys lead guy, David and also Brandon and Charlie from Crocodiles it’s pretty obvious that Flowers Of Evil are going to end up putting one of the best records of the year, right? Their first release was brilliantly loud and pleasantly dangerous. Where have they headed with City Of Fear?

City Of Fear is a real Hardcore Punk record. It can easily stand up against the greats, and wouldn’t look out of place next to a Black Flag record. It’s got this effortless raw and brutal sound that so many try to perfect, but it just sounds overdone. Flowers Of Evil make it look so easy and they make it sound exactly like it should. This record is a collection of songs that need to be played in a sweaty dive bar with everyone yelling the words back at the band as David screams them in your face. There is this glorious urgency in the songs that makes you wish you could do this. The alternative is okay- playing it as loud as you can without a care in the world.

It’s nice to allow yourself to be exposed to gentle sounds but sometimes you just need something obnoxiously loud to satisfy what certain parts of you need. If I could, I’d go on about my favourite song on City Of Fear but it’s pretty tough to pick one. Each song comes in just under 2 and a half minutes- the perfect amount of time to get a point across. The lyrics on every song are extremely poignant, especially with how society can be and certain world leaders being absolute shitheads. You need an escape. Every day music is my escape. We’re all getting away from something.

David’s snarl on these songs is brilliant. He has this demeanour that comes through wonderfully on these songs, and it probably makes him on of the most underrated singers/frontman of our generation. City Of Fear is an excellent portrayal of the world we currently live in, and the way in which Flowers Of Evil have exposed it make it much easier to digest.

I know I said I couldn’t pick one particular song, but I’m really into Sedation Vacation. I love how furiously quick it is, and will just make you want to rip shit up. MAN also has David’s infamous snarl on it that like pretty much the whole record, again, will make you just want to destroy stuff.

Play the record loud and throw stuff out of your bedroom window. Unleash that fury you’re carrying around. I love the rage and beautifully deafening sounds on City Of Fear. It sounds real nice right after playing their first record. These 14 songs deserve to rule the rest of your year. The colossal sound on this record is something that just makes you want to pick up a guitar and make a mass amount of noise. Sure 14 songs don’t feel enough, but just go back to the start and let yourself get utterly immersed in the record all over again.

There’s really no point in trying to compare Flowers Of Evil or this record to anything or anyone, it’s totally pointless. The songs truly speak for themselves and must be played as loud as possible. They’re worth losing your hearing over.

You can buy City Of Evil via the Deranged Records bandcamp page: https://derangedrecords.bandcamp.com/album/city-of-fear





KRAUT.

17 12 2016

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Last week I went to my favourite record shop (in London.) It’s about 15 minutes from my work, so when I go I plan my dinner break carefully around it but I’d rather buy records than food anyway. Blasting in the shop was a sound that seemed familiar but unlike anything I had heard before. It was raw, loud and beautifully obnoxious. Sometimes at 12:30pm you need to hear something that feels like a smack to the face. Become totally enamoured by it.

I went to the record shop to pick up my uncle’s present, but I ended up buying something for myself also. It happens, I guess. But if it makes Christmas shopping easier- then so be it. The band that was being blasted out in the shop was Kraut. I’d never heard their music before, but as I was listening to them I could reel off the bands in my head that resembled them in some way. Kraut were one of the first hardcore bands and are responsible, quite possibly, for a lot of bands I love and listen to.

An Adjustment To Society was the record that I picked up last week, and for a week solid I have been playing it over and over. I play it irrespective of my mood. I’ve found every single song to be a real masterpiece and each song is you guessed it, a punch to the gut. The songs are deafening and full of an enviable fury that you wish you could unleash. We live vicariously through the bands and songs we love. However, the songs on An Adjustment To Society are equally as important now as they were in 1982. From disdain and despair felt towards to those in power and the way society is, never has a band like Kraut been so vital. What they started I feel is still being lived out by others bands, but Kraut started it. They were the blueprint- and are not to be tampered with.

Only one song on An Adjustment To Society creeps up to the 3 and a half minute mark, the rest make their point in a little over 2 minutes. Their sound didn’t require the urge to go on and on. All it required was the urge to be heard, and for anyone who listened to fully take on board what these guys where saying. Their songs were a middle finger to everything around them; they made their own rules and that is worth admiring. Also, as if being one of the first hardcore bands wasn’t enough- Kraut were also the first independent band to be played on MTV. That’s right, MTV used to play music videos rather than shitty TV programmes about who got drunk and got pregnant. It used to be the home of music videos. Not really sure what the M stands for now to be honest.

Not all great music must hold a message but a fair but of it does. With Kraut, what they stood for included everyone- mainly those who were pissed off at their circumstance, and I think that is something that is so apt for most of us right now. Their music was made to be played loud and to share daily frustrations to. The frustrations can come from what you see happening around you to an underlying frustration you carry inside your head to do with yourself. None of these frustrations are petty or less significant than anybody else’s. I may be entirely late in finding out about Kraut and I’m not going to act like I am their biggest fan ever, but I know this much- I know what they stood for, I know how important they were and still are. I know the best education I received came from record shops and not textbooks.

Everyone has their own take on what makes a band great or what makes a band important to them. It can come the lyrics, the sound and all in-between. Kraut had something else. They had something about them that just made your ears prick up and listen. They didn’t tame anything in the mind or body. They fuelled the rage towards all that was happening around them, and that just makes An Adjustment To Society as essential now as it was in ’82.