Monday, 31 December 2018

NWOGNB in 2K18

It's almost a pre-requisite now for any band looking to make waves to label themselves as belonging to their own sub-genre as soon as they throw all the unsold copies of their limited to 5 CDR demo in the bin, but as will be abundantly apparent to anyone who has been following the label, zine, or any of my other project, Thisclose, over the past 6 or 7 years there is only one genre which matters to me, The New Wave of the Grave New Beat, and 2018 has produced some fantastic releases which, in my humble opinion, can proudly fly the NWOGNB banner. In no particular orderhere are my top three recommendations for 2018.

Sexplosion - Vol. 3: Nouvel Age Des Tenebres

The comparisons to Gism are easy and appropriate, but it's the whole package of over the top image, in-it-for-life attitude and top-notch musicianship that provide the meat on the bone here. A power-house of nightmare incarnate, dirty hardcore for dirty people living in a dirty world - keeping the true punk spirit real into 2019 - hopefully I will get to catch them live in 2019.

Decade - World Stops Turning

A real coming of age for these Canadian lads,they first got in touch with me before they even had a demo out and, I'll be honest, while I enjoyed the demo when it emerged it did not strike me in the way I was expecting. fast forward to December 2018 and the gauntlet has well and truly been lain down, Decade delivering a visionary take of the Discharge sound, the embodiment of the NWOGNB and a unique record which will be talked about for years to come.

偏執症者 - Heavy Mental Fuck-Up!

Another home-run from everyone's favourite modern-day Swedish Mangel-meisters. Raging hardcore mixed with metallic flourishes (fuck, the Kill 'Em All nod on the first tracked KILLED ME!) without ever falling into the 'metal-punk' bucket. This is angry, powerful music that makes you want to throw your sofa out the window, set fire to the curtains, sell your family, mainline white lightning and howl at the moon - for heavy mental fuck-ups ONLY!

Sunday, 25 November 2018

Decade #1 - A short interview with bassist/Vocalist Gavin Bergeron

Canada's Decade have been around for a few years now and I have been in touch with Gavin pretty much since the bands inception. Although Gavin talked at length about his love of latter (or do we now say mid?) era Discharge from the very beginning of our relationship the first releases from Decade were, to my ears, still working very much within the traditional style of Discharge influenced hardcore - fast, aggressive and simplistic riffs over that particular drum beat - but with a slight noise/psyche influence marking them out as something different. However, with their debut album they have truly found their sound, gone are the trappings of their earlier records and in their place we find a fully realised vision for a mixture of the 90's Discharge records played through a Japanese hardcore blender. A true example of the GRAVE NEW BEAT sound and attitude.

I am extremely proud to be releasing this record next month - stay posted for information on pre-orders including a CD/t-shirt bundle - I am positive this record is going to fly out the door.

Here is a short interview with bassist/vocalist Gavin to give you a bit more of a flavour of the band, it was conducted earlier this year so apologies if some of the answers are a little dated  - there will be a full interview in the next issue of Our Future zine (more info on that one in the new year!)

There seems to be a desire within the bands songwriting to push beyond the norms of the d-beat genre, would you say this is an accurate statement? What is the bands approach to songwriting?

 - G: I'd say that is an entirely accurate statement. Before the band had begun, I had a lot of partial ideas for titles written on guitar. Though I play bass and do vocals, I am still directly involved with the writing of the guitar. The lyrics;especially from newer titles, draw a lot from personal experience and more literal sentiment.

Will we see a further development of this songwriting over the bands future releases? Is there a next release planned for Decade?

- G: There will be a progressive curve with each new release we feel and are encouraging. People who liked the DECADE demo will still like the new sound I believe. We have an LP planned for 2018 that we hope to record by March.

The bands name is quite unusual, is there any special meaning behind it?

- G: The name has no particular origin, it was just something we all felt was strong enough and that didn't carry too much "Dis-ish" vibes but still reminded us of "Discharge" and Japanese punk bands we like.

What is the local scene like in Toronto, any bands you would like to give a shout out to?

- G: Things happen in Toronto, there are shows and bands. Nobody that is really my personal cup of tea or that I feel would be relatable to us. I feel that most of our support comes from outside of Toronto; especially Montreal and internationally. 

Finally - most underrated Discharge record, and why?

- G: Shootin' up the world, because it has the most put together production, best riffage and none of the songs have ever been played live.

World Stops Turning by Decade is up for streaming and pre-order on our bandcamp page now!

Monday, 13 August 2018

GIG: Sete Star Sept

Japanese noise grind legends are returning to Glasgow next month and as anyone who was witness to the last gig will confirm this is not one to miss. Tour support Atomck are also of a very top drawer nature and Droves with their new vocalist is said to be a whole new ball game.

Its also free!

See you all there!

Sunday, 12 August 2018

The Future is Now! - An interview with Scotland's Bratakus

In late 2017 I had the idea to start another zine entitled 'The Future is Now!' which would only focus on younger groups who are currently active within the scene. Sadly, for a variety of reasons, the zine has not come to be, and so I will be posting the interviews and articles I did complete here on my blog over the next few weeks.

As always, if you enjoy what you read please share it via social media - cheers!


Bratakus are 2 piece punk/hardcore group from the North of Scotland. They play non-stop and are part of the backbone of the current Scottish scene. Read on to see whats up!

1. Please tell us about the origins of Bratakus, what did your friends make of you as teenagers living in rural Scotland making punk music in this day an age?

B: Bratakus started about 3 years ago. I had been playing gigs as a solo acoustic act, but I was frustrated because that wasn't what I wanted to do. I spent years trying to form bands with no luck, when finally my sister Onnagh learnt the bass and we decided to play just the two of us and a drum machine! Up where we live there aren't that many like minded people. A lot of farmers and game keepers who don't really like bands singing about animal rights and stuff, we have a few good friends up where we live though and they're all really supportive of the band. It's really nice having people who'll help you out whenever. Even down to little things like helping us film our music videos and stuff.

2. The band has really built a name for itself through relentless touring, how well has this worked for you? Do you see the audience growing as you revisit the same places? How important do you see playing gigs vs online presence in building an audience for Bratakus?

O: It's been really great that we've had the opportunity to play so many gigs. We play basically non stop! Our first gig was at the Glasgow Rock 'N' Roll school for girls fundraiser and we met a lot of really amazing supportive women there that have helped us out a lot since then. I think we've definitely built more of a name for ourselves through gigging, neither of us are very good at keeping up with the social media profiles we have for the band, so we rely mainly on people discovering us at gigs rather than online, but we have had some good opportunities through people finding out about us online too, so I think social media is definitely helpful for promoting yourself as well.

3. Your debut LP 'Target Girl' came out last year - tell us about it, are you happy with the results, how has it gone down with your fans? Any interesting feedback? Would you do anything differently if you could do it again?

B: We put our first album out on our family run label Screaming Babies Records in August last year. The name came about partly because of a video I saw of a woman in the 50s practicing knife throwing on her 2 toddlers in their garden which was so bizarre it started an obsession with knife throwing, and also because Onnagh had done some cool drawings of knife jugglers and stuff and we wanted to incorporate them into the album art. We thought Target Grrrl would be a cool name because although it's the name of the girl that stands in front of the target and gets knives thrown at her for a performance, it also reflects on the way women are targeted in the media, the work place and in day to day life. So far we've had really positive feedback about it which has been really cool. If we could go back, we'd definitely do a few things differently, there are some little things like spelling mistakes on the back cover and stuff. The main annoying thing is that some how 3 of the tracks are mixed up in the middle of the album so they don't match up with the track list on the back. They're in the right order on the lyric sheet, so it's fairly easy to work out what ones they are, but it's still pretty annoying! Other than that everything was a learning experience since we had never recorded anything in a studio before. I think we're both pretty happy with how the album turned out considering we had no idea what we were doing!

4. Its great to see you both flying not only the vegan flag but also the sXe flag but it having nothing to do with the 'vegan straight edge hardcore' scene - are you even aware of that scene/types of bands? What drew you towards these beliefs? Are any of your friends up north sXe as well?

O: We've been vegetarian our whole lives, and we went vegan nearly seven years ago now. We always believed strongly in animal rights and when we started to look into what happens in the dairy/egg industry and realised what really went on we turned vegan very quickly. As for being straight edge, we were just never really into drinking and the whole culture that surrounds it. We really like Minor Threat, but other than that we're not particularly into/don't really know much about the straight edge scene or straight edge bands, but we do have a couple of friends who are straight edge up where we live.

5. As well as political numbers your lyrics also touch upon a lot of personal issues - which kind of song do you enjoy writing more?

B: I very rarely write personal songs because I find them much harder to write, so I'd have to say I enjoy writing political songs more. I find it easier to think of issues to write about because there's so much going on in the world that unfortunately still needs to be sung about. I still struggle with lyric writing for any kind of song though, I'm ridiculously critical of my lyrics considering 99.9% of people can't actually understand them when I'm singing, haha. Because we are away gigging so much, it's getting harder to find the time to write new songs, when I was 14-17 I wrote most of the songs we play on our album cause I could be more focused on it and sit and write a song whenever I had the inspiration, but now I have to sit down and think "Okay, I have a little bit of free time, I should write a new song" and it's much more difficult for me to write songs like that. On the bright side, it's been amazing being able to gig so much!

6. Are there any of your songs that you look back at and think "oh I'd do that differently now" or "did I really write those lyrics?"

B: The lyrics for our song Foodchain from our first EP are pretty terrible, but I was only 13 when I wrote them and I really didn't think anyone but me would hear them, so I didn't try too hard. As I said before, I'm pretty embarrassed by all my lyrics and that stopped me from showing my songs to anyone for ages, until one day I was talking about song writing with our friend Brain (Quarantine, Disaffect, Ruin, Debris, Brian Curran Acoustic) and I said that I didn't play my songs to people cause I didn't like my lyrics and he just said "Neither do I." and I thought, if Brian has been in bands his whole life and still doesn't like the lyrics he writes then what's stopping me? At least now I can disguise them with shouty vocals, haha. (Though I still don't like that I have to print them on our albums and EPs so people know what the songs are about...)

7. As a two piece all female band in a scene full of blokes do you feel any kind of pressures? Have you experienced any prejudice because of this?

O: Mostly we've been really lucky and have met really nice supportive people doing the band. I think the scenes we're part of in Scotland are really good at supporting women in bands. But we've definitely encountered situations where we feel uncomfortable, and where we didn't feel like we were being treated equally. Like we said, for us the good has outweighed the bad. There's a lot of really great people who are doing a lot to help and to encourage women into the music scene right now. So it's important to support these things to help women who have to deal with a lot more than we have.

8. How would you encourage more girls to get involved in the scene?

B: I think the Glasgow Rock N Roll School for Girls is a brilliant way to encourage girls into the music scene, it's a week long event run by volunteers, where girls from age 8 to 16 come in, meet like minded people and learn how to play different instruments, form bands and write songs, amongst other things like zine making and body positivity. At the end of the week there is a showcase and all the girls get to perform their songs on stage and it's really amazing to watch them learn so fast, gain so much confidence and write genuinely great songs in just a week.

Girls Rock Schools happen all over the world now, so find one in your area and either sign up to volunteer or participate. Other than that, just being supportive of the women in bands right now is a massive thing you can do to encourage more women into the scene, e.g. don't say "You're pretty good, for a girl", or just talk about how attractive they are rather than their music, and don't always put them first on the bill, etc.

9. You guys are today's generation - the troops of tomorrow - what do we need to do to make sure we have a future?

O: I think it's really important to sing songs about things that you feel are wrong with the world right now, it's a really good way to spread messages you feel are important, both our parents were turned vegetarian at a young age by bands and what they sang about. Me and Breagha discovered the Riot Grrrl scene through Bikini Kill and that was what got us more into feminism and made us read up a lot more about it and become more passionate about it. So writing lyrics is definitely a good way to spread messages. Also making fanzines or writing a blog or something. Things that seem really small and insignificant can actually help a lot. If you feel really strongly about something find a way to spread the word about it!

10. Finally - whats up with Bratakus - look into your crystal ball and tell us whats gonna happen in 2018

B: : We're slowly getting some new songs together, though it'll probably be a while before we release another LP. We'll hopefully put another EP out before then, we're planning to put out a split EP with our pals Gay Panic Defence sometime soon. We're also hoping to do a European/Scandinavian tour this year, and putting another zine out too, we were thinking of a vegan recipe zine. Plus, we have loads of gigs lined up where you can come and see us. So, keep a look out on our Facebook page for new stuff happening!

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Mob 47 #7 - a wild weekend of wanking mangel!

Well we are now about 4 months since Mob 47 rocked through Scotland for the first time ever, life unfortunately leaving the blog and label activities on the DL for a while.

The tour was a smash hit success and everyone who witnessed the Swedish legends was in agreement that it was well worth the 30 odd year wait.

here is a video clip of the Edinburgh gig shot by Graham over at Everyday Madness Everyday

OurFuture zine is very much on the back burner at the moment with the 4 issues of Volume One now printed  (issues 3 & 4 still available here) however I have started compiling interviews and articles for a future issue with summer 2019 in mind as a release date.

With regards to the label there are three releases in the pipeline, but whether any are released before 2019 is anyone's guess!

So the only thing that is 100% certain is that Our Future will be helping with the promotion of the gig for legendary Japanese grinders Sete Star Sept in Glasgow this coming September - more details to follow!

Saturday, 31 March 2018

Volume 1, issue 4 coming soon

As always there will be a unique free gift for subscribers to the zine!

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Mob 47 #6 - 1 month to go - a quick chat with drummer Chrille

With less than a month to go now until I fired a few questions over drummer Chrille to see whats up with the band and how the preparations are going for their trip. The buzz round all the shows is high and the tour looks set to be one of the hardcore highlights of 2018 - do not miss out, mark the dates in your diaries and follow the events on Facebook today!

Following the interview is a video of the band playing in Singapore a few years back, just because the SxE Asian scene kicks so much ass. Enjoy!

Interview with Mob 47 drummer Chrille Jan 2018

When you were teenagers how did you imagine the UK punk scene? How did you feel when you first heard Discharge? Am I right in thinking you had a some connections with the scene?

UK punk scene was brutal in the eighties but I remember when Åke play Discharge for the first time for me,, how that was amazing I was in love. Yes Discharge is big influence for Mob47 but also Varukers and GBH

What were your expectations when you last came over 10 years ago? Was the UK everything you hoped it would be?

Yes I think so; we didn’t have so such high expectations for UK hahaha

It's ten years now since your last full studio recording the 'Dom Ljuger Igen' EP - are there any plans for perhaps a final Mob 47 EP?

We have talked about it and Åke have done some guitar riffs so will see that happens

Your flexi release from last year featured an unreleased demo from the 80's with Per from Agoni/Discard on vocals who sadly passed away last year - do you have any memories of Per you could share with us?

Per was a lovely person and he did a lot of lyrics to Mob 47, really sad that he passed away.
I don’t have so much memory but he was a big Mob47 fan and was in our rehearsal room many times writing lyrics to us.

final question - what can the Scottish punks expect from Mob 47 next month?

The will see and listening to real Swedish fast C-beat mangel with no krångel !!!
It’s the first time for us to play in Scotland and we really looking forward to it, hope to see you there

Mob 47 and The Wankys - Northern Noise Mangel February 2018

Friday 16th Feb - Ask a punk! - Sheffield
w/Ratcage + State Funeral

Saturday 17th Feb - Pop Records - Sunderland (12-2pm Matinee) 

Saturday 17th Feb - Nice N Sleazy - Glasgow
w/Grieve + Droves

Sunday 18th Feb - Bansee Labyrinth - Edinburgh
w/Grieve + Iron System

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Ten Years of The Wankys - Our Future Issue 3

Issue 3 of Our Future is out now!

here's the blurb:

This issue has UK ‘noise punk’ heroes THE WANKYS as its focus and celebrates the band’s tenth anniversary. The zine includes lengthy interviews with guitarist/vocalist ‘Mr Wanky’, drummer ‘Mr Beat Meat’ and SPHC label boss Dan McGregor as well as a broad selection of articles which look back over the group’s first decade together.

24 A5 pages. PRICE = £1.50 each + postage via bandcamp

Now then, while you await the arrival of your copy I would like to share some photos of The Wankys from 2008. These rare early shots of a London gig were shared with me by Tony Gunnarson of More Noise fanzine and label fame and I think really capture the feel of a fresh faced band ready to take on the world with their noisy guitars. Some of these snaps made it into Issue 3 of Our Future but here is the full set for your perusal - enjoy!

Mob 47 and The Wankys - Northern Noise Mangel February 2018

Friday 16th Feb - the Lughole - Sheffield
w/Ratcage + State Funeral

Saturday 17th Feb - Pop Records - Sunderland (12-2pm Matinee) 

Saturday 17th Feb - Nice N Sleazy - Glasgow
w/Grieve + Droves

Sunday 18th Feb - Bansee Labyrinth - Edinburgh
w/Grieve + Iron System

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Mob 47 #5 - Mob 47 - the Agoni connection

The Swedish hardcore scene has always been recognised as one of the world's powerhouses with wave after wave of distortion wielding viking wizards choosing the medium to express their anger. From first wave artists such as Shitslickers and Anti-Cimex, through 90's heroes like Disfear and Totalitar, to present day bangers 偏執症者, the country continues to punch way above is belt in terms of the quality, and quantity of bands it produces.

So what would be more powerful than a Swedish hardcore band you might ask? Two Swedish hardcore bands of course! For a brief couple of weeks back in early 1984 such a world collision occurred - Per, vocalist with Agoni, found himself fronting Mob 47 long enough to lay down a couple of tracks, but sadly not long enough to take part in the recording session for the legendary Karnvapen Attack EP. Luckily for us the ever fantastic Insane Society label decided to press these Agoni/Mob 47 crossover tracks as a flexi disc in 2016 so that we might all enjoy this unique crossover - and what a rager it is!

Sadly Per passed away earlier this year, but his legacy lives on in wonderful recordings such as these, hopefully inspiring young punks for many generations to come.

Enjoy the sounds, order the record directly from the label, and check out the northern UK tour dates below!

Mob 47 and The Wankys - Northern Noise Mangel February 2018

Friday 16th Feb - the Lughole - Sheffield
w/Ratcage + State Funeral

Saturday 17th Feb - Pop Records - Sunderland (12-2pm Matinee) 

Saturday 17th Feb - Nice N Sleazy - Glasgow
w/Grieve + Droves

Sunday 18th Feb - Bansee Labyrinth - Edinburgh
w/Grieve + Iron System