PUNK FACTION : BHP ’91 to’95 by David Gamage

Punk Faction, BHP ’91 to ’95, is a 280-page book collecting together the articles, interviews and reviews from the punk music and alternative lifestyle fanzine.
It contains interviews with Goober Patrol, Angus Bagpipe, Pseudo Hippies, Green Day, Hard-Ons, Ramones, SNFU, Quicksand, All, MTX, Sugar, Alloy, Samiam, Compulsion, Down By Law, Rancid, Shelter, Jawbreaker, Pennywise, Civ, Riverdales, as well as Daniel Clowes and Steven Jesse Bernstein. It also contains tour and scene reports, and articles on everything from censorship to prejudice, hunt saboteurs to third world debt, vegetarianism and the environment, as well as hundreds of live and record reviews.
Now collected into one book, with an introduction from the editor/author and a foreword by Frank Turner.

David Gamage says in his introduction that some of the things he wrote back when he was doing this zine that some parts were a little naive on his being so young, but it is a snapshot of what was going on in his area and in his heart and mind back then. The book is a collection of the complete zines from this time period, warts and all, and in the case of the first few issues… a lot of warts. The first few issues while interesting, suffer from being hard to read because of the poor fonts, bad printing from the time period, small size and the confusing and jumbled layout. As time moves forward, things start to improve and it becomes a lot clearer and easier to read everything. Even though it seems like a complaint, it is cool to see the zines in all their glory. The writing is pretty good, lots of info in the articles, interesting and humourous interviews and cool reviews of shows and music. Some of the political articles sound preachy, but that’s how most of them still sound today. While not agreeing with everything written in these zines, it’s easy to skip over the things that I don’t care about, just like reading the originals and focus on the more interesting, at least to me, stuff. I can see the hard work that was put into these when they were originally done, and for that, I salute you and all the effort put into them.

A great snapshot of bands that have gotten bigger, gone away, or just forgotten, and a scene that didn’t get a lot of press in the larger zines of the time. Of course, it’s always sad to see zines go away, but at least this one will not be forgotten with this fantastic collection that everyone interested in punk and hardcore should get.

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http://engineerrecords.com/

https://www.earthisland.co.uk/

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BLACK BOMBERS : Vol 4

Black Bombers are a Rock ‘n’ Roll band from Birmingham, England that feature Alan Byron (guitar and vocals), Darren Birch (bass guitar), and Dave Twist (drums). Darren Birch is a former member of Gunfire Dance is also a member of The Heartbreakers, Walter Lure’s touring band, and also gigs and records with The Godfathers, Dave Twist is a former member of seminal punk/post-punk band The Prefects and also recorded several albums and toured with The Tenderhooks, and Alan and Darren also play in Birmingham’s long-established, George Romero/Ennio Morricone influenced, Horse Feathers.

“Day After Day” kicks things off with a nice thick sound courtesy of the bouncing bass, the vocals are gruff and impassioned and the guitar is ripping…great start to this EP. “Relentless” is just that, a non-stop attack on your senses that amps up the punk rock and really stands out as a top-notch track. “Animals ‘n’ Cages” makes the punk rock pump up even more and those crazed vocals are terrific. “Gnarly” is an instrumental that holds your ears captive with the raw energy it has. “Sometimes” is another punkish tune with some garage thrown in and sounds like it’s going to fall apart at any time, but stays together in its glorious mess. “Hair Of The Dog” is a cover of Green On Red and it’s another home run. Crunchy, tough-sounding and just as insane as you would hope from them…fantastic.

An EP that goes beyond what I was hoping for and makes for an old-school punk collection that you fans of the 78-77 stuff will love. I was just wondering where the bands were that play this kind of music and here it was all along.

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BRAINIAC 5 : Back To The Shore

I reviewed their last album here on here in 2017 and their mix of rock, prog, punk, psych and a touch of freak out is still the selling point of this great band. Look for that review to give you a background of this interesting and long-lived band.

We are now presented with eight new tracks that carry on from the previous album and put a smile on my face. Starting off with the punk-fuelled “Long Enough,” the band really gets things going with a ton of energy and gets the foot tapping right away. Next song is the first part of “Back To Shore,” subtitled “A Woman’s Work” that is more folk-rock oriented and has amazing vocals from Chrissy Quayle, and at over eight minutes long, doesn’t feel like it at all. Second, of four parts of the title track is called “This Way,” and has toasting from Oxman, and great harmonica and guitar playing throughout. The bagpipes and female vocals added to this eclectic track work together so well. The third part, “Tribute To Alex Ward” has bongos and a guitar that is perfectly all over the place in style combined with the sax and everything else going on, all I can say is wow! Last part, “The Seal Man” has a great beat and that sax is just incredible. It reminds me of 808 State a bit and the female vocals come in and kick it up a notch. “Elegy” is the shortest track at just over two minutes and is a beautiful instrumental. Back to more rock-oriented music with the catchy “What We Can” and its great beat. Closing things off is “Breaking Up” and its crunchy, punky sound that ends off another great collection of songs.

With another mix of instruments and styles that you would scratch your head at for trying, this band proves how talent can figure it out and make it work beautifully. Every track has its merits and is perfectly played with more than enough emotion and will find a fit on your playlist.

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https://brainiac5.bandcamp.com/album/back-to-shore

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MIGHTY QUINN & THE OAKLAND RONIN : S/T

Mighty Quinn aka Quinn Walker is a Musician from Oakland, CA, most famous for his debut single “My Road,” on the TV show “Scrubs” and this is his debut album with this band. The band also includes Geoff Saba (guitar/vocals), Joel Davidson (drums/vocals), and Drew Muhoberc (bass/vocals). “The Nu Punks” kicks things off and it’s a pretty cool sounding garage punk track with a ton of energy and is pretty catchy. “Headfirst” is a terrific rager that is as hard as a kick to the balls, but way better feeling. A driving beat that just makes you want to pogo like a maniac around the house. “Rebel” is an old school sounding punk track that I loved so much and will blast this as much as I can. Great lyrics, anger and a ripping beat, such a great song. “Anxiety” is another song that will kick your ass with the band just going all out and making glorious noise. “Mickey Got Married” is another great song that was a perfect end to the album.

I was hoping for some decent punk rock and got a great punk album that is not the overproduced pop-punk out there, but a bit rawer. Great production that keeps the edge to the songs, but still allows the band’s rough edges to shine.

http://brianleewhite.com/iammightyquinn/

https://mightyquinnwalker.bandcamp.com/

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Crossover the Edge: Where Hardcore, Punk And Metal Collide: Book by Alexandros Anesiadis

Crossover The Edge contains in-depth features on over a hundred key bands from the scene’s 1980s heyday including Agnostic Front, Cro Mags, D.R.I., Corrosion of Conformity, Suicidal Tendencies, Dayglo Abortions, Discharge, Broken Bones, and another five hundred bands are also featured however briefly. Pulling together bands from diverse subcultural backgrounds (including the Skinhead, Oi and Anarcho scenes) to create a unique fusion whose appeal reached out to a large proportion of each of their fans, the movement was nevertheless overlooked by purists from each side, its specific mix sometimes balancing uncomfortably between those tribes. Alexandros Anesiadis was born in 1981 in Greece., and is currently living in Luton whilst on his final year of PhD in Media and Arts.

This lengthy, but the interesting book is well over 500 pages, has a ton of pis and is a very good read. Anesiadis is a definite fan and his writing shows that with the enthusiasm that he brings to the topic. He gets into a ton of bands that are both known and virtually unknown except for a few, but now they can get a moment in the spotlight because of this book. When I was younger and this style was happening, people hated metal if they were punks, and metal fans hated punks…that really didn’t seem to change much even with this style of music gaining fans. I liked some punk, some thrash metal and crossover…matter of fact, I got my mother to pick me up Suicidal Tendencies first, and best album, for me when she was visiting my aunt in Texas. She told me that when she went to the store to ask about it, she got some weird looks and didn’t know why…lol. The book has interviews with band members and they also throw in some interesting memories of things that happened during their careers that often times are funny, but always cool to read about. The amount of research that went into this is astounding, with all the flyers and in-depth information that he has dug up. There is a bit of looking back and coming down on some bands that had some un-PC lyrics back then, but with a different time, and different attitudes back then, it’s easy to say that they have awful lyrics and be a bit above it all now which I got that feeling while reading some of the inclusions. One thing that would have made me happy, would be album covers of the bands since there is talk of how good they were and the art on the covers. I also found that some bands mentioned by Anesiadis were as admitted by him, more metal than crossover, strange and weird, and a lot of crust and anarcho bands that were not really crossover.

If you are a fan of this style of music or have listened to any of the hundreds of bands mentioned in this book, you need to get this. While having a few minor flaws, this is still an amazing book that I had a hard time putting down and after being into punk and reading zines since the early 80s, I was astounded with how much I learned from this and now I have way too many albums to look for because of him.

https://www.cherryred.co.uk/

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STIFF LITTLE FINGERS: The Albums 1991-1997

This 4 CD 64 track clamshell box set covers the albums issued by Punk legends Stiff Little Fingers between 1991 and 1997. While not being the classics that they put out when they first got together, these are still strong albums that kick-ass compared to the tons of weak albums released the same time these were released.

Disc 1 is the band’s comeback studio album after breaking up for a time. It was the first to feature ex-Jam bassist Bruce Foxton. Includes the single “Beirut Moon” that was deleted since it was too provocative for the taking on of the government. It also contains great songs like “(It’s A) Long Way To Paradise (From Here),” and “Die And Burn.” A great return to form from the lads. The CD also includes “The ‘Cosh’ (Remix),” “(It’s a) Long Way to Paradise (From Here) (Demo),” and “Stand Up and Shout (Demo)” as bonus tracks. Disc 2 features the band’s yearly St. Patrick’s Day show at Glasgow’s Barrowlandsone, and this is one of the first they ever did. This is the last release to feature original guitarist Henry Cluney. With energy and gusto, they rip into their old and new songs and give the crowd what they want, a great time. Disc 3 and saw the band down to a trio of Jake Burns, Bruce Foxton and Dolphin Taylor. It includes the singles “Harp” and “Can’t Believe In You” and now comes with three unplugged versions of tracks from their early days; “Silver Lining,” “Listen,” and “Wasted Life.” The tracks “When The Stars Fall From The Sky” and “What If I Want More?” are great versions that were heard on the previous CD. CD 4 has the gritty “Tinderbox” and the ska-like tracks “You Don’t Believe In Me” and “Dust In My Eye” that I really liked too. Vocalist Jake Burns has provided liner notes covering this period in the band’s career whilst the booklet contains rare clippings and memorabilia as well as pictures of all relevant releases.

If you are a fan, this is a great continuation of the band’s output, but if you are new, get the previous collection first and then this one. This is one band that over the years has changed a bit, but are still vital and put on a great show.

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ANGELIC UPSTARTS: The Albums 1983-91

After having pretty good success on their early releases, the band started to lose some traction and after the failure of the Still From The Heart album, EMI said bye-bye and they were back to the indie scene. This was a great wake up for them since Reason Why? was a terrific album that brought them back to the punk rock glory that people loved them for. “Geordies Wife” and “Dollars And Pounds” are both politically charged poetry that adds something interesting to the album. The cool part is that you get ten bonus tracks added to the original album. CD2 which again comes with ten bonus tracks, mainly rare studio demos that show the bands raw edge. Along with politically charged punk rock, you get a cool cover of Martha Reeve & the Vandellas’ “Nowhere To Run.” Next up is Live In Yugoslavia, which is basically a greatest hits collection of the band’s songs and played with vim and vigor. Disc 4 is 1985’s Power Of The Press album which now comes with the bonus single “Brighton Bomb.” The album is a little more into the new wave sound of the time but still is a great listen. Next up is the even more new wave sounding Blood On The Terraces album with an included extra seven bonus tracks. The band still has some punk, but there is a lot of sound of the times going on and some controversial titles like “Heroin is Good For You,” and a cover of Kenny Rogers and The First Edition’s “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town.” Ending with Bombed Out which saw original guitarist Mond reunited with vocalist Mensi for the first time in nearly a decade. This seemed to invigorate the band and they came back to the punk rock sound again, and the box set ends on a high note.

Although not as mandatory as the first box set, this is still a great collection of songs that sound better on this release than on the originals and will bring back memories to us old guys. The booklet features pictures of all relevant sleeves, liner notes, news clippings, and many previously unpublished photos.

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