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.

https://www.facebook.com/StiffLittleFingers/

https://slf.rocks/home-base

https://www.facebook.com/CherryRedRecords/

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

https://www.facebook.com/captainoirecords/

http://www.captainoi.com/

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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.

https://www.facebook.com/angelicupstartsofficial/

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http://captainoi.com/

999: The Albums 1987-2007

 

Jumping from the previous box set that covered 1977-1980, this one skips a few albums and goes right to their most up-to-date album currently. Maybe there will be another collection of the missing albums…we’ll see.

With just four albums over a twenty-year span, the band slowed their releases down a whole lot, but what we have is a great collection all the same. Starting off with the band’s first official full-length live album Lust Power And Money, recorded at the legendary Klub Foot in London, it has a track listing that reads like a Greatest Hits Live with classics such as “Emergency,” and “Homicide” played with energy and power. Disc 2 contains 1993’s You Us It!, their first studio album in eight years which saw the addition of new member Arturo Bassick, formerly of The Lurkers. The band got right back to the harder-edged sound of their younger days and it was a great return to form. Disc 3 is the Takeover album which was originally released in 1997 and is even better than their last album. A classic from start to finish with tracks that stand up to their older gems. The final disc is 2007’s Death In Soho, which keeps up the high standard of punk rock with catchy choruses and great playing that bands more than half their age would be and should be jealous of. This is a great ending to the box set but makes you yearn for more from them.

The 20-page booklet contains in-depth liner notes, pictures of all relevant sleeves plus memorabilia and clippings from the era. The sound is so good and improves on the original releases by a long shot. Although the classic period was in the previous box set, this is still a terrific collection to get and will definitely be something that you will come back to, time and time again.

https://www.facebook.com/999Music/

http://www.nineninenine.net/

https://www.facebook.com/CherryRedRecords/

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

https://www.facebook.com/captainoirecords/

http://captainoi.com/

THE FLESH EATERS: Continental Club Austin, TX 2/22/19

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So, the Flesh Eaters got the classic lineup back together and out on tour they went, so I obviously had to go see them. There were two other bands playing that night, Sean Wheeler and the Reluctant Messengers, and Churchwood, but I really was there for just one band…the Flesh Eaters! I was looking forward to this show since I heard they were coming to my very extended area, but some mishaps were presented to me that night.

 

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I live around an hour away from Austin, so I had to fight the traffic to get there, as expected it was crappy, but I made it to Austin. Of course, the next obstacle was to find the venue which I had never been to before. I got to the venue, saw that the parking was this ridiculous “back into the spot while blocking traffic style,” which no one would let me do, and I nearly got hit by a car trying to do it. Luckily, there was a side street close to the club and after parking on the street there, I was off to the show. Walking in, I showed my identification and the email pass that I had and of course, I was not on the list…sigh. After a bit of back and forth, I was inside! The show was on! The band blazed through old songs with the energy of guys a third of their present age, reminding me of the old days back in the 80s, which is what the club was like. They played their two new songs, “Black Temptation” and “Ghost Cave Lament” with emotion and the crowd accepted them as if they had always been part of the set. While playing on the cramped stage, the band gave a performance that was smoldering, energetic, and full of raw emotion. Playing some covers as well, especially the fantastic take on Fleetwood Mac’s “The Green Manalishi.” That song was a definite highlight. With banter from lead singer Chris Desjardins, the songs got some explanation and some fun stories about the past. According to the club’s website, they were to only play for around 45 minutes, but they played longer than that and I was in heaven. The sound was a bit off, with a lot of high-end making it a bit hard on the ears at times, but the band’s performance more than made up for that. The saxophone and marimba really gave the band such depth and added a lot to the sound. I really have to give it to Dave Alvin whose guitar playing was tremendous, with such flair and technique, drummer Bill Bateman pounding away in the back and the thick and fluid bass work by John Doe. These guys have proven through the years just how good they are at playing in their own bands and really shined in this setting.

This was a great night, despite some not so fun things that happened, but the good thing is that the band took the negatives and turned my face into a great big smile, and a memory that I will cherish. Thanks for the great night guys, and many more for the future.thumbnail (5)

https://www.flesheaters.com/

https://www.facebook.com/theFlesheaters/

http://www.yeproc.com/

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http://continentalclub.com/

 

THE DIAMOND DEAD: No Revolution

This four-piece band from Napier, New Zealand used to be called Diamond Doll and have changed their name to The Diamond Dead now. The band consists of Tom, Liv, Tyley, and Kane, and this song is a preview of their forthcoming EP Becoming.

With a song that is “about the internal struggle of being part of an apathetic generation, of realizing what’s going on in the world but being too preoccupied with yourself to care,” as the band says, you can see that they are a bit more cerebral than a lot of other bands out there. The band plays tight, fierce and with so much energy and emotion that you are drawn into the song right from the start. The vocals are amazing, going from a smoother, yet tough sound to the shouted, almost Wendy O. Williams style of singing. This is such a treat since so many female vocals are wimpy or don’t have any power to them at all.

If this is just a single from the forthcoming EP, I can’t wait to hear the whole thing. Also, please keep on making fantastic music, and more frequently if, at all possible, the time between releases kills me.

https://www.facebook.com/thediamonddead/

https://thediamonddead.bandcamp.com/

https://www.thediamonddead.com/

BPM: ​Oh Fuck, Axl Rose

This secret member band from Texas has done it again, on Halloween 2018, they released another masterpiece of mayhem on the masses. Seven more short, to the point brutal songs for the punters.

With a mix of shouted/crazed vocals and throatier moments, the band rips through their new collection of songs with all the energy of a nuclear bomb. One kick in the balls after another coming at you with no rest between…awesome! I can never pick one song that stands out since they are all great, no fluff at all, just powerful tunes. The band is still playing a bit sloppy, but it works so well and you know that this will sound just as good live…if they would ever play live that is.

This is real deal punk/hardcore, the kind of stuff that I never get tired of hearing. I’m glad that they sent me the info so I could listen to this devasting collection of songs.

https://www.facebook.com/blastphlegme/

https://blastphlegme.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/WiseassRecords

BPM: ​Now You’re A Cop

Here we go…this secret member band from Texas has seven super short songs that come at you like a psycho chasing you down the street.

This kick in the nuts album has some George Carlin samples on the first song “Shangry Torando’s Win Again!!!” “Now You’re A Cop” is even better than the first with the Ice-T sample and the great chorus. This is so in your face and sloppy, but damn…I just love that they keep the punk rock going and going. For those sick of over-produced punk, this reminds me of the good old days when you could find cool stuff on tapes. The shouted, sometimes growled vocals, the crazed drumming, the guitar that seems to be playing its own song different from the rest of the band and the bass keeping up, make for such a fun listen, plus the lyrics are cool as well.

Definitely worth checking out and supporting these guys because they do this for the love of the music, not for corporate crap-fests. Download this and scare the animals in your neighborhood.

https://blastphlegme.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/blastphlegme/

https://www.facebook.com/WiseassRecords