In what hearkens back to a nice nod to the glory days of Punk when you'd find releases like these more common than you do now, what you have here is a split 7" by an odd coupling of bands - the Svetlanas, a crazy as fuck Punk band so notorious they were banned and exiled from their native land of Russia, and then on the other side of this release you have Local stalwarts New Cold War, who have no Communist leanings that I'm aware of. Aware of. This was recorded during a recent Svetlanas tour stop through Vegas, where the band was put into Camel Hump Studios to record their tracks pretty much spontaneously and probably in one take or less. Brilliant. The Svetlanas stuff sounds great, very Plasmatics sounding, tight and catchy Punk Rock ala the Dwarves or Naked Aggression even. They deliver 2 short, fast blasts of melodic, guitar heavy anger that may be sung in English or might be sung in Russian, I dunno. Doesn't really matter because both songs the Svetlanas do are catchy as fuck and very memorable. Again, they sound great and you should check the Svetlanas out as soon as you get the chance. On the flipside of this release we have a couple of songs that I recognize from seeing New Cold War perform as often as I have, a couple of songs so fucking good that The Bouncing Souls themselves would wish they had written them. Never Coming Home has the most passionate plea chorus about never going home that I've ever heard. John Brown howls that hook like a wounded animal and I love it. Been stuck in my head for days, dammit. The vocals remind me of Gameface, for some reason, except when Cody sings, then it all Rancid, all the time. Cody's bass playing in this group shows off a lot more of his talent on bass than his other band The People's Whiskey does, that's for sure. The guitar work, as always, is intricate and intertwining, lighting quick dexterous riffs heavy on hooks and sounding BIG. The second song, Burn, is a rager, honed to a circle pit inducing sharpness that is frightening in it's stop / start quickness. The drumming is phenomenal, going from pounding like a jackhammer fast to a swinging hard enough to knock down walls march on the drop of a hat. Both songs are epic, in that they're so well written, they're so original, so interesting, so catchy, that it's easy to see why when people who see New Cold War once are immediately fans for life. Their music is that good and it's a crime that they're not bigger than they already are. New Cold War are one of the most underrated bands in Las Vegas, and I hope that this split release with the Svetlanas does a lot to remedy that situation. Check this shit out pronto!!
Brought to you by the fine folks at Squid Hat Records. You can order this split release on limited edition 2 tone 7" vinyl by clicking here, or, you can stream / download it digitally by clicking here. It's also available on Spotify (click here), Amazon (click here), and wherever else music is marketed to the masses. Oh, this release also has it's own Facebook page, which you can go to by clicking here.
FEAR has been on a tear as as of late, raiding the vaults and letting some rare and tasty stuff finally see the light of day. The Paradise Studios Sessions, Vol. 1 and The Paradise Studio Sessions, Vol. 2 have been a godsend, but this, this 7" release, simply called Neighbors, is like a Holy Grail of sorts. This is the stuff of Legend, Ark Of The Covenant type stuff. This isn't supposed to exist, but yet it does. How?
Well, it's a well known fact that John Belushi was an early supporter of the band. It's an odd coupling for sure, but how that came about, and why they were hanging out together, well, that's for a different discussion than this one. When John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd were set to star together in the 1981 comedy Neighbors, it only seemed natural that Belushi would try to get FEAR the gig doing the theme song to the movie. Sessions were booked, the legendary Steve Cropper was producing and mixing the project, tracks were recorded, and then that was pretty much it. No one seems to know what happened after that. The original soundtrack was rejected and replaced with some safe corporate FM lite elevator music, and to make up for it, Belushi got FEAR their legendary gig on Saturday Night Live. No one knew what happened to the original tapes, and after Belushi's death, no one felt right about doing anything with the song, and so it got lost for a while, until Mr. Ving found an old beat up cassette with the song on it recently while putting together a reissue project for the More Beer release (about time, too!), and after a bit of detective work, he found out that the Belushi Estate had the original 2" tapes the song was recorded on, and with their blessing, he decided to remix / release this stunning piece of musical history to the masses.
Remixed and remastered at Dave Grohl's studio, what you get with this release is, on side A, is the 2015 remix / remaster of the song, featuring John Belushi on lead vocals doing a spot on impression of Lee Ving's shouted out scattershot lyrics, with Lee Ving on back up vocals, and on side B you get the 2015 mix of the song with Lee Ving on lead vocals, and John Belushi on back up vocals. Confusing, I know. The version with Lee Ving on lead vocals was never meant to be released. And just to keep things interesting, they included a cleaned up version of the original Steve Cropper mix, which includes some dialogue from the movie as an intro and is a mix of Belushi and Lee Ving doing lead vocals. Very interesting stuff indeed. And as for how the song sounds? Well, it sounds like something that should of been on the first record; it's got that Spit Stix angry, military precision gallop to it, with Philo Cramer's twisted, bending musical shrieks and climbing / descending guitar riffs, and it's even got Derf Scratch honking and caterwauling away on the saxophone!! It's the classic fucking FEAR sound, for Christ's sake!! While not essential, it certainly is a must listen, even if just for the novelty of hearing John Belushi all coked up and singing lead vocals for one of the nastiest, sharpest, hard hitting, most amazing Punk bands to ever be, the almighty FEAR. Color me a believer. This song is the shit!
It was available directly from Atom Age Industries, the ones responsible for putting out this classic and instantly collectible slab of wax, but that shit sold out almost immediately when it was first issued. You can still get it digitally via iTunes by clicking here, and you can listen to it on Rhapsody by clicking here, and you can buy it via Amazon by clicking here, but other than that, better scour Ebay or Discogs or something.
Saxon are one of the long time flag bearers of what's affectionately known as ;Heavy Metal' by those who still believe. They were one of the original 'New Wave Of British Heavy Metal' bands, along with Iron Maiden and Def Leppard in the early 80's, who were putting out seminal albums but for some reason, Saxon never reached the lofty heights that those other bands did, yet they were putting out music that was just as good, if not better, than what those other bands were doing, which was a huge injustice but whatever. Doesn't take away one thing that Saxon has done in their musical career and this album, called Battering Ram, their 21st, is chock full of everything you'd expect to find in a classic Saxon album - crushing guitar riffs from Paul Quint, pounding, thunderous drums ("ramming speed Mr. Nigel") from Senor Glockler, and intense, anthemic vocal work via the Legend himself, Mr. Biff Byford, who hasn't lost a thing vocally in over 40 years with the band. He still sounds good and is a modern marvel of vocal work extraordinaire. I've been lucky enough to see Saxon numerous times throughout their illustrious career, no complaints ever, and while I don't profess to like everything they've done, they've got some really great, well crafted songs in their arsenal that will break your neck from headbanging too hard and shred your face off with rockin' intensity. There's some good songs on here - nothing that's going to knock any of their earlier classic tunes off of their 'greatest hits' set list, but still, if you're in the mood for some raucous hard hitting Heavy Metal music, done by some pro's who know what the fuck that shit is supposed to sound like, then you could do no wrong by listening to this album at a very loud volume and just annoying the shit out of your neighbors. Isn't that what Heavy Metal is for? LOL Good release from Saxon. Here's hoping to another 21 more. Cheers!
Available via CD, vinyl, digital download, etc., worldwide from UDR Music by clicking here, but I don't advise the digital download option because unless you speak German, it's pretty much a crap shoot to get your MP3's from the website. The registration process to download anything is a nightmare. Also available everywhere else music is sold - Amazon, Zia Records, and everywhere else music is sold.
Cheeksplitter... what a great name for a band. :)
This 4 song demo from Local band Cheeksplitter recently crossed my path, and for some strange reason I really liked it when I first heard it. It sounds like it was recorded on a shitty boom box that was submerged in a toilet full of brightness, but underneath all that shittiness of the recording, there is definitely something going on there. Cheeksplitter play a metallic tinged crusty Punk sound ala Amebix, Dirt, Conflict, or some other sort of U.K. spiky haired Punk band with harshly screamed out vocals and D-Beats galore. Song titles like Gerrymandering and Make American Great Again tell you they got something important and urgent to say. It's almost hard to believe that this demo is a Local band. Where the fuck did these guys (and girl I think) come from?
The drummer on this 4 song demo hold everything together, which is important since this tinny recording is all vocals and drums only. The guitars and bass are there, but they're really fuzzy and distorted and lacking any real power. Nope, it's the machine gun steady bang bang bang of the drummer that propels Cheeksplitter into easy transactions from 1,2-1,2 thrash to 4 on the floor tribal breakdown beats, and into the ethos of being a really good band with a promising future. I can't really tell if it's a guy or a girl singing / screaming out the vocals, but they sure sound sick and brutal as fuck. Some real throat shredding going on here. I think it's a girl. I don't know, and it really doesn't matter when you get right down to it, because whoever it is, they make this demo stand out from all the other horse shit I usually get from Local bands, so Kudos! to you on that. I like this demo. Cheeksplitter is definitely a band worth checking out. They're hard, fast, angry, young, and that combination is sure hard to beat. Again, this recording tone and quality wise is complete dog shit, but if you listen beyond that, you'll here some pretty good tunes in this 9 minute burst of rage and fury. Can't wait to hear this band with a proper recording.
This demo is available from the band at every gig they play. The demo is also available from Cheeksplitter on the bands Bandcamp page, which you can go to by clicking here. "Like" the band on Facebook by clicking here.