Finally I was able to go on a shopping spree again since I didn’t have any time over the past few weeks being occupied with work every day and having put so much things I really needed to do on my weekends. But today I went out to the record store and this is what I got…
The Yum Yums – “…Whatever Rhymes With Baby” LP
The best band to listen to on a rainy autumn night, a clouded winter day, a warm summer evening or a sunshiny spring morning. This record – as all of their records – will put a smile on your face, whatever the circumstances are. This is just feel good music. I didn’t even listen into this LP before I bought it because I knew what I was to expect. This might be boring to some people, but to me it’s pure magic. The melodies, the harmonies, the sweet background “ooh-aah” vocals, the way they are able to set up a song in three minutes and fit in as many cliché parts as possible without sounding lame for one second. That’s The Yum Yums for you. The best bubblegum pop punk band in the world.
Hammerhead – “Cut The Melon (Singles, Sampler, Sonstiges 1990-2005)” LP
Germany’s most dangerous punk band returns once more to deliver the final blow to a dying scene. Hammerhead always were the unexpected situations at a show, the wild, the furious, the nihilistic, the brutal, …to cut a long story short THE band in the German punk scene, whatever that might be. Their records were briliant stuff andthis is a collection of all the songs that didn’t make it on their full length releases over the years. Singles, Compilation songs, you name it, it’s here. There’s also two previously unreleased tracks on this which makes it worth while even to people who already own the whole stuff. I deeply miss their live shows as there’s not one band at the moment who are as dangerous as they were back when they still existed. A must have!
Warcry – “Not So Distant Future” LP
I say Portland, you say …? You could go into namedropping with this band and you’d instantly know what music you’ll find on this record. Yup, it’s your usual thundering, pumping hardcore-punkrock from the westcoast of the United States. This reeks of squats and spiked hair, beer and sweat, noise and destruction. My only problem was I always confused Warcry with the Japanese band Warhead who play sort of a similar, yet way more chaotic brand of hardcore. Warcry are slightly more melodic (if that makes any sense at all), still they crush anything that comes in their way. A few years back this was the music I had been searching for for quite some time, becoming bored with all the streamlined melodic punkbands and the macho hardcore from the States. This is what I consider to be the best mixture of punk and hardcore.
Envy/Jesu – “Split” LP
I wrote about this one a few months back but now I finally own the record. Surprisingly my impression of the record hasn’t changed over the period of time. To hold it in my hands makes it even better. A wonderful sleeve, beautiful artwork which compliments the music, what better can it get? The only things that keeps me wondering is why are there two inner sleeves for this one? Makes no sense to me. Maybe it’s just for safety reasons only. Anyway, the music is brililant. I still don’t dig the electronics in that one Envy song and I still really like the different feel the Jesu songs have.
The Briggs “Come All You Madmen” LP
I believe I was first introduced to the sound of The Briggs when I was inquiring with my friends about bands who might sound a little bit like Dropkick Murphys. So what do we have on the first song of this record? A guest appearance by Dropkick Murphys bassist/singer Ken Casey. Need more info? I don’t think so. Although sme people might call this a rip off to me it’s just as genuine as anything else out there. Raw, honest and simply highly enjoyable. That might be Los Angeles, not Boston, but there’s not that much of a difference. If you are looking for street punk anthems you can sing along to while leaning at a bar with a beer in front of you and the company of good friends, this is the record to turn to.
Tom Gabel “Heart Burns” LP
The singer of Against Me! releases a solo record and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect of it. Because, seriously, when you listen to Against Me!, all their songs sound like you could play them with just an acoustic guitar at a camp fire, don’t they? Now, Tom Gabel hasn’t changed his approach to songwriting at all, the songs all could make it on any Against Me! record. What makes it slightly different is the use of a drum computer and a different distortion the amplified guitars. And, honestly, I still don’t know what to make of it. The feeling is definetely there, it’s just like I am not finding the right door to enter the world of his solo music at the moment. There’s songs that sound like Joy Division, then there’s another one which reminds me of Billy Bragg, especially because of the political lyrics. But there’s no stringent line. It’s all kept together by this powerful and distinguishable voice. Something’s missing at the moment and I can’t seem to find out what it is right now. All I know is that the coverartwork is questionable, to say the least. Anyway, fans of Against Me! should get this for sure.
Street Dogs “State Of Grace” LP
Streetpunk once again, as some might have guessed from the name. I could have just copied and pasted the stuff I wrote about The Briggs, but Street Dogs from Boston sound a little dirtier and rougher that their westcoast counterparts. Still there isn’t that much that sets them apart. Boston seems to be a tough place indeed. I wonder when I will be fed up with punksbands who include bagpipes into their music. For now I am still very fine with it. So once again, if you like raw and honest punk rock with streetwise lyrics, this is your choice.
Farin Urlaub Racing Team “Die Wahrheit übers Lügen” LP + 7″
There are certain artists where you always by a new record no matter what. Farin Urlaub definetely to me is such an artists. I have been a huge fan of Die Ärzte for the past 20 years and I always liked the stuff he and his band put out over the years. When he released his first solo record in 2001 it was an instant hit with me. To be honest, it was always harder to get into the groove with the songs his partner in crime, Bela B., wrote for Die Ärzte, so having him put out a solo record was a great thing to me. I have been following his solo paths ever since and so this new record was a sure shot for me. Split up on one full length and a 7″ Single this is the Farin Urlaub Racing Team (which is what he calls his band who accompany him on tour) at their best. What I especially like about him is that over the course of his career he slowly became a little bit more serious with his lyrics (touching on topics you wouldn’t expect him to sing about) while still writing stupid teenage love songs. And that man is in his mid 40’s, mind you. This is how you age in style. Great!
Battle Of Mice/Jesu “Split” LP
Just as I wrote about the Envy split this is finally in my possession as well. I really liked everything Battle of Mice have released up to this point and I still like it now. The range of the vocals by Made Out Of Babies singer Julie X-mas is what makes this interesting to me. From innocent, childlike whispering to crazy and insane screaming she delivers everything you can do with a voice. It’s great fun to listen to. As for Jesu, they are just a monster on this record as well. I wonder if they will ever put out a boring record. It’s just fascinating how the manage to keep the level so high with such a steady release of recordings over such a short period of time.
The Gaslight Anthem – “The ’59 Sound” 7″
A single from the album with the same name. Although I simply adore this band I wouldn’t recommend buying this 7″ simply because it contains two songs from the album without any additional value like unreleased tracks. I also only bought this because I know the guys and decided for myself to collect all the stuff they put out. So whoever has money left to burn, go and get this. All others buy their full length records, you’re not missing out on anything with this.
Engrave “Stealing From Death A Few Desperate Moments Of Life” TAPE
The charming girlfriend of this band’s guitarist offered this cassette to me in such a nice way that I simply couldn’t resist buying it. Although I already own the LP version of it, I believe. Engrave were a chaoscore band in the late 90’s, early 00’s putting out lots of records, most importantly a split EP with Yage, I think. They toured a lot and they were well known all across the country, if I recall this correctly. At some point they split up and Jochen, the aforementioned guitarist, started a new band called Lavatch, who are rehearsal room buddies of ours here in Cologne and sort of continue where Engrave left off.