Another week down, not that I’m wishing 2012 away… I just want the Spring dammit!
Removals – Various Artists (Disconnect Disconnect Records, 2012)
It could be said that the golden age of the low price punk rock sampler compilation is over having had its heyday in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s. Since the demise of Epitaph’s Punk-O-Rama series with Punk-O-Rama Vol. 10 in 2005 and the sporadic releases from Fat Wreck, good old fashioned ‘punk comps’ have been few and far between. Well, this February saw the release of Removals from UK indie punk label Disconnect Disconnect Records hoping to change the punk sampler fortunes. Removals takes you back to the golden age of the punk comp with a range of tracks from a slew of bands and all for fiver.
And it’s quite a cosmopolitan affair with Swedish punks Rebuke sounding like the lost cousins of Millencolin yet to be truly discovered by the masses of skaters, and New York’s After the Fall play with fire and ferocity on their offering ‘Forgive and Forget’. Chicago’s Counterpunch deliver their own brand of melodic hardcore with an ukulele break of all things on their song ‘Blue Skies’ while Ontario’s IVS play some Lagwagon-esque pop punk with suitably gnarly guitars.
There’s also a fair share of local acts on there with Southampton’s Our Time Down Here offering their track ‘Under Dim Light’ which features mellow acoustic guitars and back-up vocals and Guildford’s Darko deliver some 100 mile-an-hour hardcore with ‘The Smarter I Think I Am The Dumber I Get’.
Removals is like a step back in time 10 years but a refreshing one, it’s heartening to know there are still so many bands out there making this kind of music and labels willing to share it with anyone with a bit of foldin’ money.
Valentine’s Day’s a-comin’ – Top 5 Punk Love Songs
Yes, we all know Valentine’s Day is trite, tacky and a made-up holiday to sell cards, chocolates and flowers, a reason to rob those in a relationship and make everyone not in one miserable, but it’s also a flimsy excuse for me to cobble together a punk rock top 5 love songs…
5. ‘A New Hope’ – Blink-182
The geekiest love song going? Possibly… as the pop punkers declare their undying love for Star Wars’ Princess Leia. Unfortunately when she was available the band were drinking Colt .45’s with Lando…
4. ‘If the Government Could Read My Mind’ – The Vandals
The Vandals have always been a profoundly silly band and this song is no different featuring a sci-fi-esque introduction and lyrics touching on government conspiracies, UFOs and guerrilla warfare whilst always remaining mentally focused on that girl.
3. ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ – Me First & The Gimme Gimmes
Me First & The Gimme Gimmes probably love Valentine’s Day, they should with amount of love songs they’ve covered over the years but this ska-punked reworking of this Prince/Sinead O’Connor classic has got to be their best.
2. ‘Nothing With You’ – Descendents
This has got to be the most sincere declaration of love, just being happiest in the company of the one you care about doing nothing at all but watching television on the sofa.
1. ‘Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t Have)’ – The Buzzcocks
‘Ever Fallen in Love’ is a love song that’s actually got some realism behind it…. but it’s still a love song! It’s not self pity as much as it is the realisation that love’s not perfect. Also, killer buzzsaw guitars.
Somewhere Between Heaven & Hell – 20th Anniversary
On February 6th 1992 my all time favourite album in the world ever was released, Somewhere Between Heaven & Hell by Social Distortion, and this week marks the twentieth anniversary of that momentous occasion.
Back in October last year when David here at Strictly Reading and Leeds asked me to write about my favourite album for the site I couldn’t think of any record more suitable than this one. From the retro album cover featuring one Mike Ness mid leap brandishing his Les Paul to the life affirming track list where Mike sings of his troubles but how he’s taking it on the chin and bouncing back too.
Social D blend country, rock n’ roll and punk better on this record than any before or since and it’s just as much Johnny Cash as it is Johnny Ramone. Every track is pure gold (which in my eyes is a requirement of a truly excellent record, every track being great) but ‘99 to Life’, ‘Bad Luck’ and ‘Born to Lose’ are at the top of the heap.