Posts Tagged ‘UK Punk’

Working Men’s Club – “Bad Blood”

UK post-punks Working Men’s Club act as a testament to the binge influence of the internet in 2019. Hailing from the tiny town of Todmorden, were it not for the heavy spread of access and rabbit hole drilldown of influences that pervades the tubes it seems unlikely that a group of seventeen-year-olds would produce a single that effortlessly echoes the rubber band snap of The Monochrome Set commingling with new wave keys and a touch of Medium Medium’s dance freak streak. “Bad Blood” shouldn’t sound like such a natural amalgam of the past while still feeling modern enough to drop in beside newer body shakers like Lithics, Future Punx, or School Damage but it does and we’re all better for it. This single certainly puts the band on the list to watch, but first it puts them on repeat, domineering the speakers with a brittle beat.




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Martha – “Love Keeps Kicking”

Another great track from UK punks Martha lands today and with it the news that the band have an album on the way in April from Dirtnap. As with the previously released “Heart is Healing,” the song tackles the heartbreak that seems to be the core of their new LP. The band’s grip on power pop is as deft as ever and, while not quite as anthemic as “Heart is Healing,” they’ve still got great handle on a hook and a indominatble spirit for charming as hell indie-pop. The accompanying clip sends up ’50s monster movies with a black n’ white on a budget / Ed Wood vibe that keeps the whole thing silly from the start. Looking forward to the album when it drops on April 5th.

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Sauna Youth

Sauna Youth have a handle on the brittle bite of punk that’s long served their country’s history. Their previous LP balanced a crucial clutch of frantic, diesel-paced guitar explosions with caustic hooks. There’s also a thread of art punk that often finds spoken word elements propping up in their work, pushing them out of the standard DIY tenure track. On their third LP they maintain their trajectory, melting away some of the hooks through sheer velocity, but never once letting up on their dedication to the raised hackle wild swing of punk’s fiercest proponents. While there’s not a single as potent as “Transistors” here, the whole package rubs the soul just as raw as anything they’ve brought forth in their catalog.

The album opens with the sucker-punch pounce of “Percentages” and it’s a good indication of the kind of bile and bent aluminum aesthetics the band is pushing to the front on Deaths. The bile in question finds them venting frustration out of multiple channels – the economic impact of sustainable arts and gig economies, political realities that outlive our dumbest estimation, and the daily distractions that threaten to kill our creative core. While the band channels all this into an intense half hour of cranium crunch, the venting of frustrations comes off cathartic more than angry. It’s destructive in the way demolition should be, but they’re smiling while they swing the hammer.

The band still leaves room for a spoken word piece here, which I appreciate, though it does derail the momentum of the album. The choice to forgo streamlined listening for their own indulgences and strange sources of joy seems to be the core of what makes Sauna Youth click. Like a pill that gets stuck in the throat, they’re still hitting the body to full effect, even if the ride’s sometimes uncomfortable. Deaths slots in nicely alongside the rest of this year’s stellar Upset The Rhythm roster, another disjointed slap to the face that’s sorely needed.



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Sauna Youth – “Percentages”

UK DIY outfit Sauna Youth are headed back to record store shelves this fall with their latest LP Deaths. The first cut finds the band in bracing, raised hackles punk position – blaring air raid siren riffs undercut with breathless rhythm work. The track feels as if it might burst into flame at any moment. In under a minute twenty-five the band boils the blood and gets listener’s ready to careen into just about anything in their paths. Their last LP, 2015’s Distractions was sorely (almost criminally) overlooked on this side of the Atlantic, so let’s try not to make the same mistake this time around. The record lands on September 7th.



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Action Painting! – Trial Cuts 1989-1995

Emotional Response is stepping up and doing the universe a solid by rounding up the corners of the Sarah Records catalog and issuing them as much-needed archival compilations. There are full plans to get works by Secret Shine, Even As We Speak, Boyracer and Action Painting! together. For now, though, they’ve got the latter two pressed and dressed for your consumption. Action Painting! found their way to the seminal label late in the game. The Gosport band still operated within Sarah’s system of jangles and sighs, but they updated the sound with a harder edge than many of their labelmates, roping in a love for The Jam and The Go-Betweens then mashing them into an apparent swooning for The Buzzcocks.

Sadly, the band would only issue four singles in their tenure, three for Sarah and one for Damaged Goods, all of which rear their head on Trial Cuts 1980-1995, as do a fair number of demos that speak to what could have been had the band gotten ‘round to getting that LP together proper. This collection will have to stand in the stead of a real album, and while it’s a bit sprawling given that the band likely hat a taught ten or twelve piece they could have hacked out, it does cull together all the material collectors could ever whimper about in one convenient package. For jangle fans, new wave nuts, punk hangers-on and the like this is a pretty solid set that puts straight the history on a band lost to the fringes. Recommended you get into this one as soon as possible.



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Death Pedals

Gonna balance out a band beginning with a band ending today. London’s Death Pedals have been steadily accruing accolades for their live shows over the past couple of years, but for their third and final LP they match the sweaty brutality under the lights with an experimental furor between the spools. Echoing the cave stomp gut punch of bands like Big Black, Drive Like Jehu and Hot Snakes, the band now works its way further down the Albini lineage to incorporate some sonic stretch into Shellac territory, rolling noise in a sonic simmer. It’s a bump up the ladder from their 2016 heart-pounder Meat House, but no worries pit dwellers, the eponymous swan song is still built on the same noise floor bedrock that chokeholds its way through their early works.

No shortage of noise crusted bashers out there, but when you do it right, the result winds up less gym-workout-background-track and more barely constrained chaos. The latter is decidedly the case for Death Pedals and if this is truly their sendoff, then it’s with a bit of sorrow that this record is received. It seems like this is the band just finding their mooring, balancing power with dynamics for an explosive record worth using to test your speakers’ limits.




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