Monday, 17 August 2009

Fenn - Spanish

Right, don't expect to gain much insight into Fenn by reading any of this as I know absolutely zero about the band and the internet is not exactly overflowing with information about this Scottish four-some either. And that about wraps up all I know about them, they were Scottish and there were four of them.

Looking at my vinyl version of this record I can see that it is actually signed by the members of the band. Now I am as much of a fanboy as anyone but I specifically remember buying my LP copy when it came out and it coming pre-signed as if it was the new U2 album or something. Who in the hell thought it was a good idea to get the members of the band to sit there signing god knows how many copies of their LP when not one person in the world is going to care, not one? Even as an impressionable 15 year old I wasn't the slightest bit impressed, I think I knew then the band were destined to dissolve into obscurity leaving behind only a few illegible scribbles on an otherwise lovely cardboard sleeve.

Despite the illusions of grandeur the band may have had, this album is absolutely great. Noisy guitar pop with sweetly, melodic but completely indistinct vocals buried in the mix. The single 'Not Jelly' is a corker.

Fenn - Spanish (Mean Recordings 1992)

1. Quietly Vegan
2. Not Jelly
3. Mild Mannered Janitor
4. Anagram Stan
5. Numb
6. Pop Jop
7. Saint's Gate
8. Lead Limb
9. Cosh
10. Head Realiser

Monday, 13 July 2009

Freewill - Sun Return

For some reason this record never got an official release. Wishingwell Records had planned to release it, and there are a few test presses doing the rounds, but for reasons I cannot remember anymore it never saw the light of day until the infamous German rip off label Lost & Found saw fit to release it sometime in the mid 90s. Around the same time, in fact, that the band actually took the original tapes for the album and re-recorded the vocals and the bass tracks with a new bass player and released a vastly inferior version of the album under the name Stone Telling. Confused?

This is the definitive version of the album - it's total, total Dag Nasty worship. If this had been released after 'Field Day' with the name Dag Nasty on it they would've gotten away with it - it is that blatant. But it's a straight edge hardcore record, where things like originality and innovation do not exist. And the tunes are actually, really fucking good.

Freewill - Sun Return (Wishingwell Records)

1. Almost Again
2. For Times
3. I Can't Stand To See You
4. Disappear Here
5. Always
6. Every Breath
7. Easy
8. Shine
9. Reach
10. Nothing Lasts

Kill Creek - St. Valentines Garage

I picked this album up merely for the fact it was dirt cheap and in the punk section of the record shop. I had no idea who the band were or what they sounded like, and on first listens I did not like. Not one bit. Luckily for me I grew out of only liking music recorded by people with big shorts, backwards caps and Airwalks and this record seemed to be on hand when I realised the new Pennywise record pretty much sounded exactly the same as the last one, and the one before that.

Kill Creek actually seemed to be doing the rounds on the indie circuit for quite a bit of time, releasing 3 albums and a retrospective CD which are all handily available at their webpage here. 'St Valentine's Garage' is their first album and, in my opinion, by far their best. Whereas their later stuff slowed down and mellowed out, this album is filled with self loathing, hate and repressed anger. Seriously, check the lyrics of songs like 'Busted', 'Gett On' and 'Kelly's Dead' - the guy sure does have some issues with the opposite sex. Maybe he ironed them out after this record and settled down with a wife and kid but there is something really fucked about this album that I love.

Kill Creek - St Valentine's Garage (Mammoth Records, 1994)

1. Cosmetic Surgery
2. Busted
3. Stretch
4. Mother's Friends
5. Gett On
6. Kelly's Dead
7. Seven-Eleven
8. Killing
9. Fruit Pie
10. Million
11. Harass
12. Wuss Cliff
13. Die Young
14. Funeral

Alligator Gun - Onehundredpercentfreak

Oh man, this is a beauty. Absolutely ripping pop punk from mid 90s Milwaukee released on the same record label as Sick Of It All, Steve Vai and Tigertailz! No wonder this band disappeared quicker than a pork pie at a Weight Watchers meeting. It would seem psuedo major label Relativity tried to cash in on the pop punk boom of the mid 90s with this release but failed miserably, Alligator Gun were just not immediate enough to appeal to the MTV types looking for a new Offspring. It takes a few listens for the beauty of songs like 'Countdown by Fives' and 'Hundred Year Stare' to really sink in but once they do you will not get bored of them - believe me, I have been listening to this album for nearly 15 years now and I still put 'Countdown By Fives' in my playlists.

Alligator Gun - Onehundredpercentfreak (Relativity Records, 1995)

1. From The Top Of My Lung
2. Sinker
3. Lowell
4. Hundred Year Stare
5. Cut To Fit
6. Countdown By Fives
7. Johnson
8. Gantner
9. Strange That I Have Not
10. Curfew
11. Flinch
12. Square One
13. I Told You So

Seaweed - assorted B Sides

A collection of relatively hard to find b-sides and compilation tracks from one of my big favourites back in the day. The trio of albums starting with the pop punky 'Weak' moving onto the big soaring choruses of 'Four' and ending with their major label flop 'Spanaway' are pretty unbeatable in melodic hardcore terms. Only Samiam and Texas Is The Reason give these lads a run for their money.

These songs are mostly taken from their Sub Pop years before they got caught up in the Green Day explosion and went absolutely nowhere - the Fastbacks cover 'My Letters' is awesome.

Seaweed - B Sides

1. Measure
2. Turnout
3. Taxing (demo)
4. Baggage (demo)
5. Go Your Own Way
6. Losing Skin (remix)
7. She Cracked (Johnathon Richman cover)
8. Pumpkin
9. Squint, The Killerest Expression
10. Sing Through Me (Dehumanizers cover)
11. Days Missed Dearly
12. Shepherd's Pie
13. Foggy Eyes (Beat Happening cover)
14. Bewitched (Beat Happening cover)
15. Brand New Order
16. My Letters (Fastbacks cover)

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Maxeen - Hello Echo

This is a total guilty pleasure for me really, Maxeen are just super polished pop punk probably aimed at kids who have just started puberty and think Good Charlotte are old school punk. But in all honestly they write some absolutely amazing songs, seriously. There are 4 songs on here that I think I could play on constant rotation and not get bored with them - trust me, the lyrics may be cheesy and it may all sound a bit too slick and polished but 'Seconds Later', 'Block Out The World', 'Hurry Up And Wait' and 'Don't Make No Sense' are just incredible songs.

This is their second album which they recorded after signing to Warner Bros, and in typical major label fashion was never properly released because they didn't know how to market it - too new wave for the little kids and too poppy for the punks.

I think I like them so much because it is pretty obvious the band just want to be The Police and in my book that is no bad thing at all!

Maxeen - Hello Echo

1. Loud As War
2. Love Goes A Long Way
3. Seconds Later
4. Beautiful Disease
5. Let Go
6. Don't Make No Sense
7. Replace Us
8. Hurry Up And Wait
9. Stay
10. Echolalia
11. Block Out The World

The Killingtons - American Made

Yet another completely overlooked gem of a band - The Killingtons came from California and probably suffered from having a bit of an identity crisis when they first appeared. For a start the name is pretty fucking rubbish and then they seemed to get lumped in with a load of dodgy ska punk bands on compilations featuring third rate Operation Ivy rip offs like Link 80 and Jeffries Fan Club. So they were probably doomed from the outset to remain unloved and unknown, playing gigs in Armpit, Arizona on a Tuesday night supporting Mustard Plug.

Far from playing bad punk music mixed with even worse ska music The Killingtons actually played awesome indie rock with a hint of a shoegaze influence. This EP, their debut release, is a little punkier than their self titled album and subsequent mini album but still contains all the elements that I love about them. The opening song 'American Made' kicks off in an almost pop punk way but the other two songs slow down the pace a little and show the direction they were heading for their album. If anybody likes what they hear I can hook you up with their other stuff, just give me a holler.

After the demise of this band the singer is now in The Secret 6 who carry on in a very similar vein. They have just put up a free download of their new single so here's the link for that as well.

The Secret 6 - Breaking Down mp3

The Killingtons - American Made

1. American Made
2. Ventolin (Breathe)
3. Crawl Space