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Lanky
Lanky
by Aaron Cometbus
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Charming!, 29 Mar. 2016
This review is from: Lanky (Paperback)
This book is out of print and expensive, but Lanky is available in the cheaper Add Toner collection! It's an excellent book in its own right, a novella about growing up in the East Bay, full of local details and engaging characters and people. Cometbus has Gissing's eye for the mundane and geographical description, but writes with a cheerful optimism and humour that keeps the prose entertaining to read. It was a laugh at first, but by the end of it, I was deeply invested in the plot. A fantastic little book.


Punk Singles and Rarities 1980-1983
Punk Singles and Rarities 1980-1983
Price: £12.80

4.0 out of 5 stars Blitz are brilliant, so get this, 29 July 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Blitz are influential of course, but their appeal doesn't stop there; they're just so bloody good. I wasn't about in their prime, but I have to say they've aged really well, unlike some groups of the era.

They're not as mid-tempo as a lot of Oi! bands are, with a lot of fast-paced tracks, like 'Attack', alongside slower ones like 'Youth'. Absurdly catchy choruses abound, and though the lyrics are simple they're certainly not stupid. This would be worth it for Someone's Gonna Die and New Age alone, but although nothing else on here scales such heights, pretty much every track is at least decent, with the majority being great.

If you found your way here you probably know what you're getting anyway but if you don't know Blitz, give them a listen immediately.


Rip it Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978-1984
Rip it Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978-1984
by Simon Reynolds
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.08

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reynolds, you mug... I love you, 27 May 2015
My irritation at the way Reynolds pretty much writes off The Buzzcocks, The Ruts, Crass, and, most vehemently, The Clash, who were some of the most innovative punk bands of the era, still can't stop me absolutely loving this book.

Contrary to what some idiots might say, Reynolds keeps his prose light, fleshing out the musical and theoretical concepts that drove the artists covered in an easy to understand way, and never saying 'oh yeah, this is definitely related to Bataille somehow' in the most irritatingly obtuse way imaginable like some academic music writers do - and yes I am talking about you, Paul Hegarty, you fiend. As well as looking at numerous brilliant groups and artists (it convinced me to finally check out the Meat Puppets, and, unlike every other publication to talk about them ever, highlights their album Up on the Sun, which is now one of my all-time favourites), it also talks a bit about the thinkers who influenced them, such as Gramsci, Ballard and De Sade, and contains a lot of great, witty descriptions of the various odd personalities in and around the bands, like Martin Hannett and Stevo Pearce. Furthermore, it explains quite beautifully what a monumentally terrible person Malcolm McLaren was.

A fascinating non-fiction book, that reads like good fiction.


Dead
Dead
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars I.A.H., 5 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Dead (Audio CD)
This album has got a lot of bad comments due to the attention drawn to it by the Mercury prize it won; all publicity is good publicity, they say, but when people who wanted Royal Blood or Bombay Bicycle Club to win the Mercury Prize listen to the utterly mind-bending album that won it instead, those people may well dislike it.

This album is extremely good; bent out of shape neo-soul, ragged African percussion, immense Gary Numan synth drones, psychedelised raps, battering Def Jux beats, grime aggression and classical scope are all present within its running time. It is very very strange, and it's not for everyone, and that's fine, but it is definitely for me, and other less awful people. Yet even with its artistic merits and innovatory nature, this album is also club and party ready (with the exception of a couple of particularly abrasive numbers), with massive, stone cold bangers like 'No Way', 'Get Up' and 'Just Another Bullet'. Young Fathers sound like no one else, and this is my favourite album of 2014.


Stray Dog Town
Stray Dog Town

5.0 out of 5 stars A punk classic, 6 Sept. 2014
This review is from: Stray Dog Town (Audio CD)
Absolutely fantastic album. Probably going to end up as one of my all-time favourites, and contains one of my favourite songs ever, the title track.
Sloppily played, wonderful punk rock, indebted to The Replacements' earlier and later eras, as well as, I reckon, The Clash and Johnny Thunders. That's not to say they sound exactly like any of these bands; at any rate, the music, roughly recorded and chock-full of yelled vocals, obviously drunk gang vocals, amazing solos, and power-chords played in such a manner as to evoke a lost youth you may or may not have had or are experiencing at that very moment, is amazing.
Bent Outta Shape are among the last of the guitar romantics, and it shows through their fantastic lyrics (I bought this album specifically to get the lyric sheet), with endless gems about brokedown relationships like 'whenever I fight with my friends you never take my side, you always stick with them, and you're westbound, you got some nerve, not selling yourself shorter than you deserve' and about boredom, poverty and dead end jobs, like the entirety of 'Rudes and Cheaps'. One of my many favourites is from the title track, 'walkin round so desperate for something but we're the patron saints of doing absolutely nothin, except, runnin our bodies into the ground'. Lyrics to make you feel great about ruining everything, and just life in general.
Tragically their lead singer and guitarist Jamie passed after they broke up, denying us the opportunity to ever hear more than their one album and handful of splits and EPs. But what he, and the rest of Bent Outta Shape, left behind, is worth a hundred okay gruff melodic pop-punk reocrds.


Deep Fantasy
Deep Fantasy
Price: £10.74

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fast, nasty punk, with a twist., 6 Sept. 2014
This review is from: Deep Fantasy (Audio CD)
Based on the first three listens, I'm enjoying this album a lot. It has a fast pace, burning aggression, and a touch of melody, all things I love in a punk album, but it does more.
The guitar work is really interesting; I've heard some thrash metal comparisons, which ring true, and personally hear a lot of similarity to East Bay Ray's surf-influenced work in the Dead Kennedys (as well as some of his more experimental moments, like the opening to Holiday in Cambodia), but it goes beyond, epic and ominous as well as fast and nasty. The whole record is kind of doing with surf-punk what Torche's Harmonicraft did with sludge/stoner metal, in its bringing of an indie rock sensibility to an unlikely form of music, and it actually working really well.
The excellent guitar work combined with a driving rhythm section and Mish Way's seething vocals, it's an excellent package. The production is also excellent, bringing out that aforementioned epic and ominous feel without sacrificing the anger. My favourite tracks are 'Drown With the Monster' and 'In Your Home'.


Christmas Island
Christmas Island
Price: £10.92

4.0 out of 5 stars I LOVE AJJ, 5 Sept. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Christmas Island (Audio CD)
Andrew Jackson Jihad STRIKE BACK with a brilliant album. The lyrics are more hilariously articulated attacks of self-loathing and anxiety dreams, with the occasional touch of heartbreaking sincerity in the face of what seems like an ever colder and less caring world. Musically, there's a shift from both the countryish folk-punk of their older releases and the more straightforward punk songs that cropped up occasionally on their last album, towards a strange full-band sound, that'd be hard to call psychedelic, but is extremely odd, sometimes jaunty, sometimes faintly terrifying. It never quite reaches the heights of "Free Bird/Big Bird" from Knife Man but is their most coherent record that I've heard, and like all their work is absolutely great for perversely fun singalongs.


Whats Next
Whats Next

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Spiffing, 17 April 2013
This review is from: Whats Next (Audio CD)
A mix of lighting fast streetpunk and hardcore, a touch of mid-tempo Oi! and some ska, done really, really well. The vocals are brilliant, the sinister horn section sets them apart from other bands, and the lyrics are good too. Essential school listening for me.

Psst - they have a bandcamp you can get this and all their other work from, at a good price too.


Death in the Andes
Death in the Andes
by Mario Vargas Llosa
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Bloody Hell, 17 Jan. 2013
This review is from: Death in the Andes (Paperback)
I like this book, a lot, it's one of my favourites now (though admittedly I am a young'in).

It's hugely different to other detective novels, full of spiritual and political subplots, and brilliantly written, with many flashbacks and changes of scene and narrator (which it pulls off very well). It has it all: beautiful description, marvelous dialogue, intriguing plot, and a range of great characters from an animal loving mute to a cake gobbling gangster, not to mention the wonderfully cynical and sardonic protagonist Corporal Lituma. The not knowing who or what to trust, and the strange ways of writing adopted by Llosa, give the book a dream-like quality at times, particularly towards the end, and a constant tension. By turns hilarious, thrilling, educational, and shockingly brutal, it's clear that it's more than novelty that made me like Death in the Andes so flipping much. This book bowled me over!


Behringer SF-300 Super Fuzz
Behringer SF-300 Super Fuzz
Price: £20.50

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nasty, but in a good way, 6 Jan. 2013
I'm no fuzz expert at all, though I understand there are many different types and many fuzz aficionados out there who are far better qualified to talk about such things. Still, these are the things I found notable:

The first fuzz setting is horrible, horribly amazing though. A more modern sounding, slightly blunter take on fuzz than "FUZZ 2", it makes a Ramones riff sound like Damaged era Black Flag in the push of a pedal! Turning up the bass makes things sound pleasantly sludgy.

The second setting is DIRTY. With treble way up, it can impregnate a woman at 50 paces, and makes you sound like the better guitarist in a 60s garage rock band! Turn up the bass, and you have instant doom! Treble up or down, there is a sound within what this setting does that is like the audio equivalent of shrapnel or broken glass, and the setting has a sharper, clearer sound than FUZZ 1.

The gain boost is fun too, I find it's good to play surf with - that and a bit of reverb (or my replacement, the flexible Behringer Vintage Delay 400, with the repeat rate turned way up). This being said, it doesn't do much besides boost the gain, as it says.

The batteries I can't comment on - since my Chord OD pedal ate through several in no time, I've been a user of power supplies instead. Endless fun! The build of the pedal is solid, despite being plastic, the design is most aesthetic, and it's very user friendly.

As for problems, it would be that both fuzz settings distort too much, burying more subtle sounds and making sevenths and such sound terrifying rather than smooth. Fuzz is also less noticeable on higher pitched notes. I don't know if it's just this pedal or fuzz in general, so don't hold me to this.

Still, it's a lot of fun. If you want to play some psychedelia or garage rock you could do worse than this, especially considering the price, and it'll have many uses for punks and metalheads too. Watch some demos or something though, because christ, I hardly know what I'm talking about and this is the only fuzz pedal I own.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 21, 2015 8:45 PM GMT


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