With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

Music trivia, useless info, extra added random stuff and the odd rant from me

‘Year Zero’ – The Spitfires June 20, 2018


Watford ska punks (although they are far more wide ranging and eclectic than that genre suggests) the Spitfires have a new album, their third, coming out on 27th July on Hatch Records it is called ‘Year Zero’. If you like the Specials, the Ruts, Madness, the Clash, dub reggae and Paul Weller you will love this lot. They formed in 2012 and have released two previous albums; ‘Response’ in 2015 and ‘A Thousand Times’ came out the following year. I love a British band that doesn’t follow the cliché of enunciating rock music in a fake American accent and Billy Sullivan lead singer, guitarist and songwriter for the Spitfires is very British in his delivery.

The band lay down their political credentials throughout this record, opening track starts with a sweet, haunting, delicate keyboard piece from George Moorhouse and then kicks into a full on punky guitar riff and ska beat that drives the anger in the lyrics. “don’t you ever apologise for being young and speaking your mind” is definitely a mantra that today’s youth should stick to. The dub drone opening to “Something Worth Fighting For” is evocative of Big Audio Dynamite with Paul Weller on vocal duties, possibly the best song on this collection. Personally I love bands that are not afraid to make social commentary, protest and political songs and the Spitfires do all that with passion, conviction and soul.

There is an abundance of soul, passion and real emotion in the powerful ballad “By My Side” with an almost ethereal counterpoint vocal harmony provided by Emily Capell, a fresh new singer songwriter from North West London. The muzak styled organ sound on “Move On” would make Jerry Dammers proud. I can hear prime period Dexys Midnight Runners on “Sick Of Hanging Around” mainly in the brass and Kevin Rowland style vocal. Billy Sullivan’s anger at society hits its peak on the riff laden Jam-esque “The New Age”. Title track “Year Zero” is a synth driven ska noise fest that cannot fail to get you moving, although for me that title song is way too short. I have already mentioned singer Billy Sullivan and supremely talented keyboard wizard George Moorhouse, but the underlay that keeps this band together is the staggeringly brilliant rhythm section of bass man Sam Long and versatile drummer Matt Johnson. You need to buy, download or stream the album when it hits the world next month, you will not be disappointed. The band embark on a lengthy UK tour later this year and into 2019. If you haven’t seen them yet, get your damned tickets now! (dates below). I am planning on getting to the York show in February.

Fri 05 Oct – Southend, Chinnerys
Sat 06 Oct – Norwich, Arts Centre
Fri 02 Nov – Dover, Booking Hall
Sat 03 Nov – Brighton, Patterns
Fri 09 Nov – Leamington Spa, Zephyr Lounge
Sat 10 Nov – London, Islington Assembly Hall
Thu 15 Nov – Birmingham, Hare & Hounds
Fri 16 Nov – Glasgow, Broadcast
Sat 17 Nov – Edinburgh, Mash House
Fri 23 Nov – Bristol, Fiddlers
Sat 24 Nov – Exeter, Cavern
Thu 29 Nov – Newcastle, Cluny
Fri 30 Nov – Carlisle, Old Fire Station
Fri 07 Dec – Leeds, Hi Fi Club
Sat 08 Dec – Northampton, Roadmender
Fri 25 Jan – Belfast, Limelight 2
Sat 26 Jan – Dublin, Workman’s Club
Fri 08 Feb – Sheffield, Plug
Sat 09 Feb – Manchester, Gorilla
Fri 15 Feb – Hull, Fruit
Sat 16 Feb – York, Fibbers
Fri 22 Feb – Cardiff, The Globe
Sat 23 Feb – Liverpool, O2 Academy 2

 

‘Terror’ – Wonk Unit March 28, 2018


‘Terror’ is the sixth studio album from South London‘s Punk DIY kings Wonk Unit, following on from 2016’s rather spiffing ‘Mr Splashy’. They have inherited some of the best things from some of the finest British bands; Blur, the Kinks, the Members, Madness and maybe even the Streets. From its title alone “Day Job Wanker” evokes the classic ‘Inbetweener’s’ “bus wankers’ scene, unless of course that is just the way my mind works.

“Hope” is the sound of Jonathan Richman had he been British. Lyrically this is a band at the top of their game. Have you ever had one of those nights where you simply can’t sleep? Yeah me too. Well that experience is perfectly summed up in “As The Rest Of The World Sleeps” as a ‘war rages in you’. I have listened to music for more years than I care to remember and without doubt Wonk Unit are one of the most original bands that I have heard in years. Every time I hear a note or style in one of their songs that reminds me of another band it only exists for a few fleeting seconds then the Wonk Unit DNA kicks in to prove their idiosyncratic, intelligent originality. This is crystal clear in the song that is my current favourite, the infectious “Christmas In A Crack House”

Wonk Unit have been around since 2006 and aiding and abetting highly talented songwriter and front man Alex Brindle Johnson are; Pwosion on Bass, Guitarist Kenny and Tommy on the drums. Eugene Butcher of Big Cheese said that “Wonk Unit have managed the almost impossible task of having found their own sound.It’s punk son, but not as we know it”. I find it impossible not to agree with that. In fact if Wonk Unit didn’t exist then someone would need to invent them. This is the sort of band that music needs. No ridiculous frills, great lyrics, massive hooks, humour, vignettes of real life just pure unadulterated Wonk Unit. The new album is due to hit the stores, streaming sites and hopefully your ears on 20th April, courtesy of Plasterer Records make sure your ears are on the receiving end of it. Don’t be a wanker, be a wonker!

They tour far more than many of their contemporaries and they are behind London’s eclectic Wonkfest. There are plenty of opportunities to catch them on tour this year, in the UK and mainland Europe, have you got your tickets?

30 MAR – Hastings, UK, Blackmarket VIP
31 MAR – Reading UK, Readipop
18 APR – London UK, Black Heart*
19 APR – London UK, Black Heart*
20 APR – Manchester UK, Manchester Punk Festival*
21 APR – Cardiff UK, Clwb Ifor Bach*
22 APR – Keighley UK, Exchange*
23 APR – Edinburgh UK, Bannermans*
24 APR – Inverness UK, The Tooth And Claw*
25 APR – Workington UK, Lounge 41*
26 APR – Sunderland UK, Independent*
27 APR – Nottingham UK, Maze*
28 APR – Stamford UK, Mama Liz’s*
29 APR – Grimsby UK, Yardbirds*
03 MAY – Feldkirch A, Graf Hugo+
04 MAY – Wels A, SBÄM Fest+
05 MAY – Zurich CH, Obenuse Festival+
06 MAY – Bern CH, Roesli+
07 MAY – Lugano CH, Casotto+
08 MAY – Salavaux CH, Le Trou+
09 MAY – München DE, Import Export+
10 MAY – Frankfurt/Main DE, Tiefengrund+
11 MAY – Bonn DE, Bla+
12 MAY – Karlsruhe DE, Alte Hackerei+
13 MAY – Braunschweig DE, B58+
02 JUN – Amsterdam NL, Rebellion Festival
22 JUN – Huddersfield UK, The Parish
23 JUN – Uttoxeter UK, The Old Star
30 JUN – Manchester UK, O2 Ritz
05 JUL – Zwickau DE, Störfaktor Festival
07 JUL – Hameln DE, K3
08 JUL – Hünxe DE, Ruhrpott Rodeo
13 JUL – Bath UK, Belvoir Castle
14 JUL – Wem UK, Wemstock Festival
15 JUL – Derby UK, The Hairy Dog
20 JUL – Cheltenham UK, Frog And Fiddle
21 JUL – Fleckney UK, Mayhem At Mick’s Festival
28 JUL – London UK, The Dome – Wonkfest
04 AUG – Blackpool UK, Rebellion Festival
10 AUG – Winchester UK, Boomtown
* w/ The Raging Nathans + w/ The Murderburgers

A big thank you to Wall Of Sound PR for giving me the opportunity to review this fine release.

 

 

‘Roach’ – Aerial Salad November 12, 2017


Manchester has produced many fine bands over the years and with pop punk trio Aerial Salad I think you can add another to that esteemed list. Formed in 2016 and Jamie Munro (Guitar & Vox), Jack Appleby (Drums) and Michael Wimbleton (Bass Guitar) claim influences from Jawbreaker, Green Day and Weezer to name but a few. I can hear elements of old school punk like the Damned, Sham 69 and the Clash along with a hint of ska punk a la Reel Big Fish. ‘Roach’ is a classy début with hard-hitting life stories and a wall of punk sound that smacks you in the face from the opening bars of “Habits And Problems”. When I listening to “97” I am gobsmacked as to how three people can make such a full on barrage of solid guitar attack.

“Worst Case Ontario” sounds musically like the Undertones and Jamie Munro gives it his best Jimmy Pursey vocal. Aerial Salad are bona-fide rockers who have some great songs, magnificent musicianship, punk attitude and to top it all it feels like they enjoying the bloody hell out of it all. The album has twelve tracks and there is not a dud among them, all I wanted to do after my first listen was to play it again. My favourite tracks after two listens are “Alone Forever” and “Dunhills” but that will probably change after the third. This record is most definitely crammed with top tunes. The album is out now on London-based label Plasterer Records. I definitely want to see this band live, how about Reading/ Leeds 2018? You can still catch them on their UK tour this month. If you have been to any of the shows feel free to let me know what you thought in the comments below. Dates are (can you come to York or Leeds next time please lads?);

08 Nov – Exeter, Cavern
09 Nov – Southampton, Joiners
10 Nov – Brighton, Sticky Mikes
11 Nov – Bristol, Louisiana
12 Nov – London, New Cross Inn
13 Nov – Watford, Flag
14 Nov – Bradford, Big Bang Theory
15 Nov – Glasgow, Bar Bloc
16 Nov – Newcastle, Jumping Jacks
17 Nov – Scunthorpe, Lincoln Imp
18 Nov – Morecombe, The Carleton
19 Nov – Stafford, Redrum
20 Nov – Worcester, Marrs Bar
21 Nov – Canterbury, Lady Luck
22 Nov – Norwich, The Owl Sanctuary
23 Nov – Chester, Live Rooms
24 Nov – Derby, Hairy Dog
25 Nov – Abertillery, Dolls House

A big thank you to those lovely funky punky folk at Wall Of Sound PR for giving me the chance to review this album.

 

 
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