Going Underground :: Yashin

For this weeks going Underground I decided to do something of a more comical nature. Enjoy!

I’ve decided to write about the band Yashin. A band with a name which is as fucking stupid and crap as their music. This edition has been pretty much lifted from my personal blog, specifically from a post I wrote about the Vans: Slam Dunk Music Night, which took place this past Saturday (23/10/10).

“There’s two rooms, a punk one and a “scene metal” bullshit room. Which would you choose? I chose the shit one. It was fucking hilarious.

A band called Yashin. Total joke. Bunch of skinny jeans wearing, late twenty something arseholes, with more hair products than Tres-Emmé. These beautiful perms that would look perfect on the cover of Vogue. But fuck that! We can have great hair and still be in a tough guy hardcore band. Score!

So this pansy six piece execute their clearly choreographed bullshit while the loyal audience of 14 year old girls finger themselves relentlessly with every fringe flick and low grunty “OH.” I loved it. Better than any “Live at the Apollo” stand up I’ve ever seen.” So if you haven’t had the utter pleasure of hearing, watching and just being part of the incredible musical ineptitude of these fine young gentleman, please do. It will easily relieve any form of depression you may be suffering.

You can listen to them on their MySpace with such hits like ‘Jump The Fuck Up Manchester’ and ‘America Island, Scotland,’ probably. But don’t blame me if you feel like you’ve wasted a small segment of your life that you’ll never get back. Honestly, when will people stop taking a genre called “Screamo” serious? Really? Screamo? What ever floats your boat I guess.

Yashin get 5/5 brews for being that shit.

Album Review :: Robert Plant – Band of Joy

Veteran rocker and hell-raiser Robert Plant takes a different route and seeks to re-invent himself once more time.


band of joy

Robert Plant - Band of Joy © Decca/Universal Music

“Its not to hard to figure out, you see it everyday/And those that were farthest out have gone the other way.” The less than immortal words of Huey Lewis and The News’ 1986, “Hip to be Square”. Although perhaps a little more recognised as an established artist and influential figure on music than Huey, this lyric no matter perfectly describes the latest offering from Robert Plant. Arriving with the frankly hard to believe ninth solo album since 1982, the once Golden God delivers Band of Joy, a tribute to his band before joining Led Zeppelin. The rest is history of course.

Seeking to capitalise on his vastly popular and Grammy Award winning Pushing Sand with Alison Krause, Plant seeks to further himself from the harder rock and roll edge that has made him a household name and forever the envy of many teenage boys and girls for generations to come. Band of Joy however is far from a conventional rock album, its description more aptly described as folk and bluegrass. Certain buzz words such as “alternative” and “fringe” have also been notably present in general reviews and commentaries on the album, all desperately seeking to tag and brand the work of a man who is progressing through his life into his sixth decade and taking his music styles and influences with him.

The opening quadrant of songs sets a relatively calming, soothing sense of self being about the album as a whole. With songs such as “House of Cards” and “Silver Rider” championing this newfound sense of tranquillity and haunting obedience, Plant and his band deliver what is rapidly becoming the archetypal sound for the aging front man. Masterly crafted with a looming and hair rasiningly ghostly atmosphere, Robert Plant firmly stamps his foot down and eliminates any possibility that this album is another overly produced, mass marketed effort to throw on the re-hashed rock pile.

Band of Joy continues with the rich sounding “You Can’t Buy Me Love”. A much harder rock sounding song than Plant has produced in almost a decade, this track harkens back to his early solo years, not seeming out of place on an album such as Pictures At Eleven, his solo debut in the early 1980s. “Falling in Love Again” and “The Only Sound that Matters” follow, taking the sound and pace of the album to a much softer, bluegrass and delta soul direction. Pedal steel and slide guitars, provided by bluegrass legend Darrell Scott provide a meaty chunk of Americana from the Black Country rocker.

Rounding out the album is “Even this Shall Pass Away” the up-tempo, drum centric book end to the calming and soulful opening, eleven tracks previous. With a much more disjointed, highly amped and distorted guitar feel, this track gives long term fans of Plant and all of his previous incarnations and projects something to smile about. A song that would not feel out of place on a late era Zeppelin album, Plant still proves that his vocal range, although tainted by the inevitable rigors of forty years of hard living, hard drinking and harder women, is still a force to be reckoned with in the 21st Century. In all, this track is as disjointed in its sound as it is being placed on an album with a direction very opposite to its inception, something that has kept a singer like Robert Plant on top for a long time and hopefully for longer to come.

Jonathan Whitelaw


The album is available on general release. Tour info and previous discographies are available from Plant’s official website: http://www.robertplant.com

Going Underground :: Abi Thommes

It’s going to, once again, be something a little different from the usual punk rock antics of “Going Underground.” I am back, Barlow will never again commandeer the ship that is my “new and exciting music” slot, because he is a shit.

This week we have a special treat, singer/songwriter Abi Thommes.


I first met Miss Thommes outside Camden tube station in lovely London. She was busking with such intensity it was hard not to pay attention. Armed with only an acoustic guitar and her mellifluous vocals, she displayed more power than any stadium rock outfit I have ever heard. Quality, not quantity.

Her music is unfeigned, impassioned and very intimate. Every note draws the listener closer to the subject matter and give a feeling that each and every song is written specifically for given moments within your own life.

Semi-psychic-acoustic-pop.

The majority of songs on her MySpace are live but you wouldn’t of known unless it was stated. There’s not a single flaw, off note or finger slip as she graces the headphones and speakers of her growing fan base.

This being said, the studio recorded tracks come as a great treat. With a full band recording the close personal feeling of her live songs is replaced with a copiousness that creates a huge sound which would fill the nooks and crannies of any of the local London venues she often frequents.

Please do check out Abi Thommes if you are a big fan of laid-back acoustica (clearly not a word) and even if you’re not, I think you will be pleasantly surprised! 4/5 brews, can’t give a full 5 to a southerner!

Her upcoming gigs are as follows:

18th October @ The Vibe Bar

4th November @ Hobgoblin in Angel

and “Busking Jubilee Bridge whenever I have a spare moment and it is not raining!”

Germs Of Perfection :: Switchfoot

Sorrow

When I think Bad Religion, Christian Rock is the last thing that comes to mind. Well the latest band to add to Germs Of Perfection are Switchfoot. I’ll be honest, I’ve never heard of these guys and Christian Rock, generally, sucks.  Regardless, I remained open minded.

The San Diego-based band are apparently known for their rowdiness, but have delivered a slowed-down, more chilled out cover here. Unlike other artists contributing to this record, Switchfoot decided to put their own spin on a more modern Bad Religion song and it turned out really well. ‘Sorrow’ is taken from 2002’s The Process Of Belief – Bad Religion’s 12th studio album. You can listen to Switchfoot’s take on ‘Sorrow’ here.

Germs Of Perfection :: Guttermouth

Pity

Guttermouth, I haven’t heard that name in a while. The last time I listened to those guys I was trying to work out the words to one of their songs. I think it was something about bullets…who knows? Well they’re the latest band to add to this wonderful Bad Religion compilation. These guys have almost been around as long as Brett Gurewitz and co.

For their contribution they’ve gone for one of Bad Religion’s early anthems, ‘Pity’. The original track was on the band’s, 1982 album, How Could Hell Be Any Worse. The same album features, the iconic, ‘We’re Only Gonna Die’ and ‘Fuck Armageddon…This Is Hell’. Check out Guttermouth’s interpretation on a Bad Religion classic here.

Germs Of Perfection :: The Weakerthans

Sanity

Canada, eh? That’s where the next band to cover Bad Religion hail from. The Weakerthan’s have been compared to bands like Against Me! for their punk rock take on folk music and they’re really bloody good. Yet another band that I’ve heard of, but not heard much by. Then again, that’s what compilations like this are for aren’t they? Well, besides being a fitting tribute to one of the best punk bands going.

The guys have covered ‘Sanity’ from Bad Religion’s fourth album No Control, released in 1989. It’s a chilled out take on the classic song and, again, isn’t something I’d expect on a compilation like this. Be sure to check it out.

Going Underground :: Doll & The Kicks

© Emma Stone Photography

“You’ll be hard pressed to find a better live band right now”

Going Underground has tended to be the realm of Mr. Critchley and local punk bands. Not that I have anything against either of them, but I’m here to broaden your musical palette with a band that are bound to have you dancing and singing along in no time…Doll & The Kicks.


Their unique sound and elaborate, high energy, performances have made the Brighton based foursome one of the must see bands of the past few years. Their unique brand of danceable, punk infused, pop has captured the attention of music lovers around the world, now they’re back gracing stages across the UK and Europe until the end of November.

Having missed the majority of their set in Manchester earlier this month, I caught them in Leeds on Monday and was, once again, blown away. I must’ve seen them live five times now, each show better than the last. You’ll be hard pressed to find a better live band right now.

These guys are bound for big things and rightly so. Be sure to catch them on one of the following dates:

Sneaky Pete’s – Edinburgh – Oct. 7th

The Classic Grand – Edinburgh – Oct. 8th

The Flapper – Birmingham – Oct. 9th

Hoxton Bar & Kitchen – London – Oct. 13th

The Kraken Wakes – Portsmouth – Oct. 14th

Louisiana – Bristol – Oct 15th

The band’s new double-A side single ‘Skeletons/The First Time’ was released on September 20th and it’s bloody brilliant! You can order a physical copy for some bonus track goodness, or download it on iTunes. For more songs, dates and to buy t-shirts and whatnot check out their MySpace page. Also be sure to check out Emma Stone’s other photos from the Leeds show here.

Germs Of Perfection :: William Elliot Whitmore

Don’t Pray On Me

We’ve had auto-tuned Danish punk from New Politics, the down tempo, acoustic, stylings of Tegan & Sara and now Bad Religion goes country with William Elliot Whitmore. Whitmore’s soulful, Blues infused, voice, with it’s wonderful Southern twang, may be the best and most interesting song on the album thus far. I’d go as far as saying I love it.

The Iowa-born singer/songwriter has covered ‘Don’t Pray On Me’, originally recorded for Bad Religion’s 1993 album Recipe For Hate. You can check it out here and be sure to check out William Elliot Whitmore on MySpace too.

Germs Of Perfection :: New Politics

I’ll be honest with you, I know very little about this band. New Politics are a punk trio from Denmark and, like everyone involved with this wonderful project, heavily influenced by Bad Religion.

They’ve a sound that’s unlike what I’ve heard in a long time. It’s hard punk with a pop-infused edge. How that works, I’ve actually got no idea. It does though, and their take on ‘Generator’ (one of my favorite Bad Religion tracks) is great. It’s got a slight elecro feel too it, but it works well and is definitely worth a listen. The track is taken from Bad Religion’s 1992 album of the same name.

You can listen to the track here.

Going Underground :: Refuse to Lose! (With The Arteries, Bangers & Above Them)

Has it really been 5, 6 or 7 weeks since the last Going Underground? I don’t know, I don’t care and neither should you.

This installment has a bit of a twist as it’s promoting three bands, a gig featuring those three bands and the fucking awesome monthly night this gig is taking place. Intense right? Let’s see how it goes.


Refuse to Lose is a monthly event in Manchester at the Retro Bar, a pub, I’m sure, quite a few are familiar with. If you enjoy good music, good fast hard punk rock music, as I do, then it event is for you. the Anniversary, Lawrence Arms, Against Me! Jawbreaker, Texas is the Reason, the list goes on. In fact, the list never seems to end, with none of the obscure requests I bring to the DJ booth being met with rejection. So if you miss this RTL, there’s always next time.

But don’t miss this one.

It’s this Saturday, 02/10/10, doors are at about 9pm, 21:00 hours soldier! It’s only four pound sterling in and after the bands there’s a party til 3am, will worth 400 pennies.

I’m not entirely sure what order the bands are playing so I’ll just wing it.

Above Them have already been mega vamped within the Going Underground section so go back and read that or check them on their MySpace.

The Arteries are, unfortunately, a southern band, haling from Swansea. I say unfortunately, but it seems to more bands I here from down south, the more I feel like I should live there. To list there influences would be a cliché, repetitious process, so I’ll just say they’re really ace and play some wholesome kick balls punk rock. Check them out.

Bangers are from Falmouth, which is located somewhere in the UK, but I could not tell you were. Google maps it. Another band keeping the groove of 90’s punk alive all the way into the………10’s? Anyway, another is not used in the sense that there are too many bands making this music or that it has gone stale, quite the opposite. There is something very special about Bangers, as there music floods into my ears I imagine Hot Water Music starting out there first tour…….but like, being from the U.K. Fuck it. Here’s their MySpace.

So come down to the show! If you don’t I’ll punch you. All the bands, Refuse to Lose, Retro Bar, everyone involved, everyone who turns up and in fact, everyone on the fucking planet (except Barlow) get’s 5/5 special brews because I love all these bands that fucking much.

Details about the show can be found on Facebook.

The Arteries and the Bangers are releasing a split next month with, the super babe duo of, El Morgan and Kelly Kemp, you can buy that here. Read Barlow’s review of it too.

Above Them’s Album, Blueprint For A Better Time, can be bought here or on iTunes