WANG CHUNG: Points On A Curve: CD

Points on the Curve is Wang Chung’s second album and first album since changing their name from Huang Chung and switching from Arista to the Geffen record label. I first heard this when taping songs off the radio and getting into new wave and instantly loved “Dance Hall Days,” and “Don’t Let Go” when I heard them.

Years later, here is a remaster of their second and in my mind, best album…how did it hold out? As soon as I hit play, the memories of hearing “Don’t Let Go” for the first time came flooding back to me and took me back to hanging out in the mall back in high school. A great song that gets you dancing and singing along and a perfect way to start the album. Then comes the massive “Dance Hall Days,” a song that has grown in popularity since the time it was first released. A classic that still holds up and never gets old. You also get the singles “Don’t Be My Enemy,” which was released as the third single from the album, and reached #86 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in late 1984, and “Wait,” which was the only single by Wang Chung that failed to chart on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, however, it peaked at #17 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart. The other songs are also good, “True Love” has a great keyboard sound and a powerful beat. “The Wave” is a relaxing track while “Look at Me Now” really kicks it up a notch. “Even If You Dream” is a good new wave track. “Devoted Friends” is a great ballad. “Talk It Out” has a unique sound and is a bit more mellow.

The sound is greatly improved with the remastering and gives the songs a nice punch and clarity that makes it a pleasure to turn up and play loud and dance around the house to. I love the way that they made this release to look like the original album, it helps bring back those memories and for that, there is nothing better.

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INSPIRAL CARPETS: Dung 4: CD

This is the Inspiral Carpets‘ legendary 1989 mail-order only cassette DUNG 4 on CD for the very first time ever. Originally issued on the band’s own Cow label, this tape was never issued on vinyl or CD and it contained unique songs as well as versions of tracks which were later re-recorded. It sold 8,000 cassettes and has the contents of their earlier demo EP Cow as bonus tracks.

Their debut single “Garage Full Of Flowers” is here in a totally different version, that’s fast and peppy. Their breakthrough single “Joe” is present with a spoken word intro from drummer Craig Gill that’s missing from the better known later version. There’s a version of ? And The Mysterians’ “96 Tears,” that was recorded before The Stranglers had a hit with it on their album 10. “Inside My Head” and “Seeds Of Doubt” are fast and hard-hitting songs, “Sun Don’t Shine” is a beautiful organ-led ballad that was later re-recorded for the band’s debut album Life. “Theme From Cow” is a short stab of organ-led pop that shows their garage roots. “Butterfly” is taken off the band’s second EP, Trainsurfing. as well as “Causeway.” “26” is a slower song that was written before vocalist Stephen Holt left the band. The four bonus tracks from the band’s previous Cow demo cassette capture a slightly harder Inspiral sound than you’re used to hearing. “Head For The Sun” is fast, and driven by Graham Lambert’s wild guitar playing. “Now You’re Gone” has the feel of ’60s psychedelia. “Whisky” is a fast organ based ode to drinking. The final “Love Can Never Lose Its Own” is another shot of ’60s psychedelia. The booklet has great pictures of posters and other bits of memorabilia from the era, plus comments from each band member. The sound has been improved on and sounds nice and clear, giving you the full experience of their earliest recordings.

Yes, the band became a big thing not long after this and for fans, it shows the roots of a band that just kept getting better. It stands as not a relic, but an insight to a band on the cusp of greatness.

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http://www.cherryred.co.uk/cherryred.asp

MENSTRUAL TRAMPS: No Hesitation, No Defeat: CD

This trio from Minneapolis, MN play short, tight, and angry punk rock that brings to mind the old days when you needed heart and soul instead of pop, metal and glossy production to make a statement. You get nine originals and a cover of “Pro Choice” from Suicidal Supermarket Trolleys and zero filler.

Gruff vocals, buzz saw guitars, thick bass and pounding drums, plus great lyrics…what more do you need? You just need to grab a copy of this album and crank it up loud to piss off your neighbors, that’s all. Every song comes at you like a blast out of a shotgun, trying to blow a hole in your head, but not one to kill, one to blast out the garbage that you’ve been spoon-fed and replaced with knowledge and ideas that will take you to a new enlightened place. Angry and well thought out, the lyrics are a step ahead of a lot of bands trying to get a message across, these ladies really give a damn and want you to know it. Great tracks like “Americanized Suicide,” “No Heroes,” “Burn Fucker Burn,” “History Repeats,” and “Our Fight” kick major ass, but the other tracks are just as good as these ones, plus I really liked the sound bites between the songs…very cool.

An album that you need for your collection to play loud and often and to hear what these women have to say about the shit going on around them. They really need to release more music, this is too good to be this short.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Menstrual-Tramps/192097617321

 

ACCEPT: Russian Roulette: CD

The final release in the classic quartet of mid-period Accept, Russian Roulette, an album that proved if you wanted crunchy metal, nobody did it better. The band has been around since 1976 and this was to be their final album with lead vocalist Udo Dirkschneider until 1992.

The Cherry Red reissue finds the original ten tracks joined by a further three live songs which can originally be found on the 1990 live album, Staying A Life. “T.V. War” roars from the start, setting up a killer intro to this under-rated album. “Monsterman” keeps the high quality of the album going, “Russian Roulette” showcases gang vocals and builds into a massive track. “It’s Hard To Find A Way” is a more restrained track that has intensity and great vocals, “Walking In The Shadows” is a thick and heavy track that has incredible guitar playing. “Aiming High” is a definite highlight with a chorus that grabs you and doesn’t let go.

This excellent reissue from Cherry Red has a full sound, with mastering courtesy of Andy Pearce, and adds excellent liner notes by Malcolm Dome which feature contributions from drummer Stefan Kaufmann and guitarist Wolf Hoffmann, as well as vintage pictures and the three live tracks add value to this great album.

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NEW JACOBIN CLUB: Soldiers Of The Mark: CD

Champagne Ivy cover art

Since forming in the mid-90’s as a three-piece, New Jacobin Club has shared the stage with KMFDM, Voltaire, The Groovie Ghoulies, Nashville Pussy, and The Nekromantix and gotten more interesting as time passed. By incorporating an electric cello, keyboards, synthesizers and even a theremin, The New Jacobin Club created an unique sound that bounces back and forth between the genres of punk, goth, hard rock, and metal.

“The Mark” kicks things off and has a tight mix of metal and goth with a touch of punk that really gets you in the mood for a hard-hitting collection of songs. The dual vocals really add to the song, as well as the theremin giving a nice spooky touch to the song. “Champagne Ivy” has a great groove and the band brings in the male / female vocals to a great harmonizing effect. The song just picks you up and pushes you into the more punk side and really stands out. “Angel MMXIV” has a great female vocal lead that gives the album a different feel, but still has that edge to it that makes you want to hit replay on. “Garthim” is the only song that I hit the skip button on, the song is interesting as a mood piece, kind of like Jolly Tambourine Band’s “Apple Strudel Man,” but just not as interesting.

The band hits hard and heavy, giving you a kick to the forehead and making you notice them and the great talent that is on display here. This is an album that brings different sounds and genres together to make a glorious racket.

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http://newjacobinclub.bandcamp.com/

CHURCH OF THE DEAD: Vol. 4 Meet Me In The Tomb: CD

Finnish death metal that combines d-beat and punk attitude that feels like old school death metal, but is fresh and super tight. This is the fourth brutal release and in four songs, they will crush you.

Started off with an incredible first song, “Bedlam,” the EP gets things going with a song that  goes from frenzied attack to a slow grind and just kills. “The Gallows Pole” has a nice punk / thrash feel to it that gets the head banging right away. Great guttural vocals and some screamed vocals combine to an amazing effect. “The Reckoning (Abyss pt. 2)” just continues the assault with chugging guitar playing mixed with tight leads, thick bass, and pounding drums that are fantastic. Last song “Masturbating on the Grave of Everything” is a short, fast attack that kicks up the thrash and will make the pit a fun place to be in when these guys play live.

Four songs, not one song wasted, just insanity from the get go with a bit of diversity to break things up and show the skill that these guys have, This band has not recorded a clunker yet, buy all of their releases today!

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http://churchofthedead.bandcamp.com/

HAVOK: UNNATURAL SELECTION: CD

 

In the nine years since their started, this Denver-based thrash band have already turned out two fairly successful albums and have gone on to worldwide acclaim as one of the metal acts to watch for. Their latest release, Unnatural Selection, cracked the Billboard Top 200 list in its first week and solidified Havok as a solid player in the metal field.

Opener “I Am the State” rages with anger, the riffs have heft and intensity and the simple chorus hits hard. “Give Me Liberty…or Give Me Death” kills with in-your-face, razor-sharp riffing, and timely lyrics. “Worse Than War” has a killer lead riff and sticks in your head. Some other songs that stood out were “Is It True?,” “Chasing the Edge,” and the BLACK SABBATH cover of “Children of the Grave.” As musicians, they are first-rate with David Sanchez and Reece Scruggs playing the hell out of their guitars, new bassist Michael Leon with his rumbling lines, and Pete Webber smashing away behind the kit. Sanchez is a good thrash vocalist, and his cleaner style on here really adds to the power of the music with the lyrics being clearer.

The lyrical content is what really gets me about this record, and most of all. it’s a pretty focused effort lyrically. It’s great to hear lyrics that actually took some thought to write. The whole record is well-thought out and really put together down to the last detail.

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