Sunday, 14 August 2011

News And Suchlike... First Post Of A Few Tonight!

First up, apologies for not posting for a while. We've been hard getting the first issue of Golf Sale ready for print - and ready it is!

It should be available from Tuesday (16th August) - details about how and where to buy it from will be available very soon so keep checking the GOLF SALE page as well, of course, as the ICM page on Facebook.

Just to get you all sweaty about reading issue 1 here's a little idea of what to expect: Dissociates, Carter USM, The Ladykillers, Panic Dance, Mug, The Black Atlantic, Julie Christmas, The Dauntless Elite, 14 Car Pile-Up and artist profiles on the lovely Hannah [SPAN] and Matt Harrower. It's a massive 50 pages and only 3 quid.

So, for anyone that doesn't know, there's some awesome stuff heading your way. First up is the Punk 4 the Homeless 'Cheap as Chips' festival in Anderby Creek, Skegness. A stunning line-up of nearly 50 bands over 3 days and all for 20 quid. Tis a bleedin' bargain and, as with all Punk 4 the Homeless events, all proceeds will be going to Casa Alianza to help them with their work with street kids in South America.

Full details can be found HERE

The 27th finds the ICM (alongside our regular co-hosts Choke On This) back at Archway for an all-dayer for Punk 4 the Homeless. Featuring a fantastic line-up including Wonk Unit, Panic Dance, Ren Spits at Magpies, Perkie, Brocker and more it's set to be a rad day in North London for an awesome cause.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Usual Players - Volume 1: Street Ska

If you don't believe we called this one months ago then you're a mug, simple as that. We told you back last June to keep an eye on Watford's own Usual Players... and now, a year later, we're telling you that their debut album 'Volume 1: Street Ska' is probably one of the most important albums to come out of the scene for longer than anyone probably cares to admit.

Taking this album at face value, it's 10 tracks of brass laden, North London Ska. A little punchier than original ska - maybe even more so than 2nd generation ska too but it's roots show through like a 'blondes' the week before payday.

The cover, and disc itself, are designed to look like a record. To say it's been done well is doing it no justice whatsoever - it looks the business. And as the album starts there's the crackle of a needle on vinyl and straight into track one 'Soul of Rock and Roll (is Dead)'...

The songs on Street Ska are honest, catchy and cover just about any aspect of modern life you'd care to think about - drugs, women, the state of the music scene and Facebook all get the Usual Players treatment. The playing is second to none, the lyrics are sharp and the production is top quality.

Highlights for me would have to be the insanely catchy 'Fancy a Facebook' - boasting one of those choruses that just makes you want to sing along and dance until you're sweating the beer out, 'Bad Pills', 'Lie, Cheat & Steal' and the track that, were there any justice would be played through loudspeakers outside every bar in town on a Friday night, 'So Whatford' - but there's something on here for everyone. You can't help but be swept up in the vibe when this album's playing. You want to get suited, booted and grab a can of lager. This is music to dance to, to listen to in the motor on the way to the pub and for those messy nights with the lads. This is 'Volume 1: Street Ska' and it's about as good as it gets.

The Usual Players on FACEBOOK

To get a copy of the album itself, get your fucking shoes on and get down the shops!

Usual Players - Fancy a Facebook - One Thirty Four Records by Usual Players

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Silent Smiles - Quarter To Twelve EP

Taste is subjective, and taste in music doubly so. One of my favourite things about hearing something new is playing it to my friends to gauge their reaction or to find out if they can hear the same things in a song that I can. The same influences, the same emotions.

The list of bands I got back after playing people the new Silent Smiles EP was a mixed bag. Some were miles away from those I'd come up with on my own but, after a few more listens I could see where these people were coming from.

Some of the bands listed included: The Cure, Editors, Undertones, Arctic Monkeys, Dirty Pretty Things and The Enemy... Which is a pretty impressive list of bands to be compared to in just 5 tracks. But don't get me wrong, this EP is no homage to those listed above - It's a well written, well played and well recorded EP that's far more of it's time than a lot of things I've heard recently.

The opening track 'Quarter to Twelve' has that distinctive guitar sound that XFM cream themselves over... And rightly so. It's by no means the most uplifting track on the EP as it evokes images of late night clubs in London backstreets and nights better off forgotten. Like the best nights out it leaves you feeling slightly dirty but craving more.

Track two 'Roulette' has a much more classic feel to it. The riff could sit as well in the Undertones back catalogue as it would any of the current Indie darlings doing the circuit. The backing vocals add to the timelessness of this track and the chorus has that fantastic quality of getting stuck in your head long after the songs over.

The third track, 'Witches Coven', was the only track that didn't grab me immediately. Whilst musically the track is very clever, the change in vocal style didn't sit well with me on first listen. It was a grower though and whilst I wouldn't skip to this track, I wouldn't skip past it.

'Peach Creek (As I Fall)', the fourth track on this EP is quite American sounding. Much bigger sounding than the earlier tracks in terms of production it's one of those songs you hear and are immediately transported to the last night of a festival. It's road trip music - the soundtrack to something vast and open... And a great counter to the claustrophobic grimy feeling of the first track.

The final track is one I've heard many times before and, I have to admit, I love it. Kicking off with the drums, bass and vocals only it takes you straight to a time where you were more likely to be hanging out with your mates in a park than the pub - a feeling that's mirrored perfectly by the lyrics themselves. As the guitar comes in you're left with the taste of cheap fags, cheaper lager and a longing for another 5 tracks from these lads.

Silent Smiles new EP 'Quarter to Twelve' is available HERE

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Guest Review - Eagle Spits talks about 'Nowhere Fast' - The Punk 4 the Homeless Compilation

Punk 4 The Homeless compilation/ Nowhere Fast-on Stoneage Records. Free Download album.

This comp has many bands from different countries. It has some beautiful artwork and pictures and info on each band. It has taken over a year to put together which is why some bands who are great supporters of Punk 4 The Homeless aren’t on the compilation, probably the most obvious being Born To Destruct whos Sick Scum and Apathy would have been one of this writers first choices to request for the album. However apart from the naff throw away notes written by Eagle Spits at the start of punk 4 the homeless, This album is brilliant and is a brilliant example of how people can work together to help others, even if they have differing world views. IT IS ALSO FREE.

Wolfgang Lotz (Indonesia)- Digital Colinization

From Jakarta comes this scorching d’beat with rage against the machine collision. Brilliant almost talky vocals with shouty bits. Speedy political punk-sorted

Break The Cycle (USA)- Nobody

Punky “house of the rising sun” type thingygoing on, which turns into a touch of Grave Robber/Misfits horror punk, shouts a bit, changes again, remains splendid. All to get the listener to maintain aPositive Mental Attitude-good therapy.

The Duel (UK)- Camden Town

Beautifully sung/shouted female vocals with a solid mid paced punk rock band. Song about homeless folk and rich kids. Excellent chice for a punk 4 the homeless comp

Sharkbite (Indonesia)- Build Our Strength

Classic,nasty, shouty punk/hardcore, I think its political but then whats not, so safe bet. Full in your face, you better back down because its not

OIZ II MEN (UK)- I’m Fattest

How can a band which is so together sound so untogether. A band so tight sound so loose? That’s the oxymoronic brilliance of Oiz ii Men. I am biased, I love this band, but then I love em cuz they are damn good. Expected Oi? Tut tut, judging a book by its cover-shame on you.

The Culprits (UK)- Another Pretender

Full on punk 4 the punks punk rock, yeeesss-boy, girl vocal duel, raging hard, don’t look away it will smack you in the head.

About The Drunker (Indonesia) - Shit Song

This is a bloody racket.I love it. Its punk rock.Sounds like a hyperactive octopus in my pan cupboard.

Maximum Thrash (Indonesia)- That’s the way I choose and I’m gonna stay

Powerviolence, in your face, take no prisoners, Indonesian bands are masters of this style and Maximum Thrash are the daddy.

Tapa Nada (Indonesia)- Senyum Untuk Senyum

Very long some combining fast indonesian bits, talky bits,bad religion type bits, weird enough not to be considered punk if folk like myself and fungalpunk weren’t around, I reckon its great. Love the traditional Indonesian music bits. Beware it is a tad bizarre.

Wages Of Fear (USA)- Strings and Webs

Bizarre edgy vocals and music, think DRI on ketamine. Sometimes you have to adjust to anothers angles. Love it.

White Trash Debutantes (USA) - Hey Nick

One of the finest, more unusual bands I have come across since p4th began. In this song they share a lament for a deceased friend by celebrating his life. Wonderful, sensitive few minutes.

Lowlife Uk (UK) - Down In The City

Top notch slab of old skool punk/oi-get in the pit

SPOG (UK) - Tosser

A couple of minutes of sarcasm played quiuety and intellectually. Bizare to think that these guys got the tag, anarcho punk-crass it aint

100 Philistine Foreskins (UK) - Zekes Old Bones

Broad Scottish vocals with oddball tribal drumming and angular guitars, chuck in a few bits of spoken word nicked from a minor prophet and you get an amazing extremely non generic punk rock anthem, I think.

Struggle Victim (Indonesia) - I Try

Forceful, driving punk rock with almost lad back vocals-this unusual cocktail works, I will have another

Femau (Indonesia)- Politic Is Shit

Punk/hardcore with death metal vocals. Who would have thought…? Agree with the sentiments, the music agrees with me. One of my favourites on this comp.

Freedom Faction (UK) - Scream And Shout

Snotty, pissed off female vocals fronting an extremely tight mid paced punk rock band. Few do this type of thing better than Freedom Faction. This is a great song.

Step On The Rise (Indonesia)- Meraih Mimpi

This is a good song of its genre. Thnk Bad Religion and you wont go far wrong

Realitas (INDONESIA)- Injak

Twangy guitar bit at the beginning,then thrashy bit, returning to twangy bit. Take as prescribed by your doctor. It will make you feel better. Punk rock as we know and love it.

Peter 118 (UK) - Hebrews/Perfect King

No he hasn’t got his leather rock star trousers too tight, the intro is sampled. Sweet bubble gum pop punk. Extremely catchy, feel good factor 118. Splendid, I am dancing at this very moment.

Nowhere Fast is available for free HERE

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Mug - Self-Titled EP

Whilst we're downloading stuff... How's about 4 tracks of Punky goodness (yeah I wasn't sure either but run with it) for gratis courtesy of those fella's in Mug?

Track 1 'Deadbeat' starts off with some talking. I've no idea what about, a rapper or something. It's slightly off-kilter to say the least. Once that's over with the guitar comes in and we're off. This track has that amazing 90's Skate Punk feel to it. The 90's really were the glory days for American Punk and Mug here seem to embrace that so fully it's like being back at Reading in 1997 watching the Warped Tour. Good times indeed. Love this track, it's catchy and one listen gives you that feeling that whilst you've heard it before, you want to hear it again.

Track 2 'Can't Keep Control' and that drum sound makes me think of The Dead Kennedys. It's short lived though as once it gets going this song is much more reminiscent of Bad Religion. I actually prefer this to the first one. It's the sort of tune I'd have played loud enough to kill passers-by when I was younger and more prone to that sort of behaviour. It also has one of those 'easy to shout along to' lines that happens to also be the name of the song and everyone likes those.

Track 3 'Amnesia' - and with a name like that the temptation to do a not being able to remember it joke is almost too much. I won't though... This song has a really sleazy rock and roll feel to it whilst still very much keeping one foot (or maybe even an entire leg) in it's 90's influences.

The closer (or track 4 for those of you that enjoy continuity) is a live cover of Youth Brigade's 'We're In!' - and hats off to whoever recorded this, it sounds great. The guitars are nice and crisp, the drums aren't too heavy and the vocals sit just right and aren't lost the way a live track can often do. It's a blinding cover as well in case you wondered.

It'd be all too easy to dismiss Mug as simply a sum of the bands that have clearly inspired them but to do so would be doing them, and yourself, a huge injustice. There's much more here than a few cobbled together homages to NOFX or 'Smash' era Offspring (You remember... before they were shit?) these songs are polished, well-rounded and instantly likable. The way Punk songs used to be. They ooze fun and sunshine and a beer in the afternoon whilst watching people fall off skateboards. And that's never a bad way to spend a day.

Go grab a copy of this EP from the bands own bandcamp page and experience something you thought you'd lost all over again - maybe even better this around.

Bangers - Small Pleasures

There's a brand spanking new album from Cornish Punk royalty, Bangers. They've rather kindly stuck the thing up for download on their bandcamp page either for free or a donation should you feel like giving them something for producing yet another corker of an album.

If you get the chance to see Bangers live then I thoroughly recommend you do. I was lucky enough to catch them playing at the Cavern in Exeter and they tore the roof off the place - lovely guys too.

This new release really is throwing the gauntlet down to any would be pretenders to their throne at the top of the Punk circuit. Although it's not quite as in your face as Dude Trips was it's a great album that certainly owes more than a nod to those Punks the other side of the pond.

Oh and 'Geeks and Paedophiles' is quite possibly the best song title I've heard for a long time...


It's hard for me to be totally unbiased about a compilation that I was not only really looking forward to receiving and listening to, but also featuring 4 bands that I really dig. Well here goes, Underdog Morsels vol.1: Random Chaos Refreshes Routine: AFS warm up the speakers with their 'Protest Song', a true Underdog punk rock chant that brings a warm smile to your heart. Very much reminiscent of one of my favourite of their songs, and not poppy like some (which for me is a big fat plus). Basically a nice solid dirty UK punk anthem that you can pocket and bring with you wherever life takes you. Check these guys out where ever you can, they won't disappoint.

Next up are the Desponsdents, getting you out of your chair for 'Got Nothing To Lose'. Again, not their best song, but not bad by a long shot. Reminds me of old rock'n'roll trash-garage that used to knock about something like 10-15 years ago, so not exactly my cup of tea, but I would by no means throw it out of the cd-player in disgust. A nice punchy song with a lot of thought and good ol' rock'n'roll in it that I appreciate with my ears.

What can I say about Citizen Keyne that hasn't been said? Probably very little. In my eyes they are one of UK's great modern punk bands, taking you back to simpler days without a lot of the pretentious shite that sometimes follows. 'Punk Not Fashion' is a message that I can't repeat enough, and a song I can listen to plenty - if there was any doubt, this song really seals the deal of this being an Underdog compilation. I'm no Shakespeare, so if you don't know Citizen Keyne then you're probably reading these words by accident or you were stuck in suspended animation for the last 7 years. Go, find, see and listen to them!

xHarold Shitmanx have been on my top play list for over a year. I own a t-shirt. For a band that I've never seen live (because they're based up in Scotland) this means that I like them, quite a bit. The previous recording of this song 'False Hardcore Creates Rapist's was better, but there's little difference, it's still a blinding song. This is everything that I look for in grind (or power violence as the yanks call it). It's incredibly fast, slightly daft, and satisfies all 5 senses at once, leaving you needing to unload your bowels shortly after. The split with Wheelchair x4 (another of my favourites and who they're touring with in summer '11) is a must for anyone that vaguely enjoys this track.

Basically, as you might have guessed, this short comp not only lives up to it's name, but delivers 110% of the goods in a mere 4 songs, allowing you to escape from your shells to go out into the world and figure out the rest... 4 solid bands, 4 solid tracks, 1 solid comp and one happy me.

- This review is courtesy of Alex (of Oiz II Men fame) and Underdog Morsels Volume one is available HERE

Thursday, 5 May 2011

News and Upcoming Gigs

Firstly, we're still waiting for the review of the ICM/Choke On This: Punk 4 the Homeless all-dayer to come in - for a change it's not me writing it. In the meantime here's a look at some other stuff...

First up, the NME (groan) are actually doing something worthwhile and are currently on the hunt for Britain's best small venue - 'small' being less than 500 capacity. Venues such as The Horns (St Albans) and Esquires (Bedford) are amongst the contenders. Go vote for your favourite small venue HERE

Here's a round-up of what the ICM has in store for you over the next couple of months you lucky, lucky people!

May see's the ICM doing something a little different... A night of pure, unadulterated ROCK! Oh yes, we'll be sporting tight jeans and growing our hair long for this one. May 21st at the Flag. Details HERE

June is set to be a sweet month with the mighty Tyrannosaurus Alan coming to play the ICM for the first time. And they're bringing Claypigeon with them! Oh yes, for all those of you that didn't brave the cold last time they visited Watford now is your chance to see what you missed... And, if that wasn't quite enough for you, they'll be joined by My Third Leg and Panic Dance!

Details for that show are HERE

Next up, the ICM are finally getting into Hitchin to put a night on at Club 85. We've been looking for a good opportunity to take our show onto that particular road and now we have one: The ICM/Rubix Tube Productions at Club 85 for Great Ormond Street Hospital. And are we taking a sick line-up with us? Of course we are...

A Major Motion Picture, Attention Thieves, Saving Sebastian, Relentless In Love, Shadow Factory, Skycolouredperfect and Echo Rain will be playing in what is destined to be an awesome night - and all for a great cause.

July 30th we are back at the Flag with more great bands! This time we are proud to present The Casket Hecklers, Public Disgrace and Death Radio! We're waiting for confirmation from our 4th band at the moment but we promise this is going to be a messy night. Details for that show are HERE

In other news, look out for releases from Revenge of the Psychotronic Man and Mike Scott (Phinius Gage) over the next few days.

We've got a shit load more news for you but this post is epic so I'll wrap it up here and get back to you with the rest soon.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Descendents At Shepherds Bush

It's been a long time since a Punk Rock show caused this much controversy or split the opinion of quite so many people... It's been longer since I actually walked out of a gig before the end.

The Descendents are pioneers of Pop Punk - nobody is disputing that. Nobody is saying they aren't a great band with an incredible back catalog and nobody wanted to leave Shepherds Bush last night with anything but a smile on their faces. Unfortunately though, smiling was the very last thing most wanted to do as the first of 2 dates in the UK for around 15 years turned into what can only fairly be described as a farce.

The support bands first. Teenage Bottlerocket were enjoyable enough. I actually enjoyed their set - it was the first time I'd really taken the time to listen to them. The crowd were into them and they played well.

Afterwards came Dead To Me and with them a set of horribly bland Pop Punk tunes that seemed to melt into one long dirge. It was a shame, I'd heard good things.

So, the lights go out and out come The Descendents. The band start playing and already something is not right. It sounds terrible. The support acts had far better sound - this was unusual to say the least. Then Milo starts to sing...

Anyone who was there knows what happened next. The story of the smashed microphone almost blinding his bandmate will go down in history as one of the most surreal moments at any gig ever. For those of you that weren't there let me just fill you in.

The Descendents had just played 2 other dates - Groezrock in Belgium and Monster Bash in Berlin. Apparently these days lead singer Milo's voice can only take a couple of shows in a short space of time as he suffered a complete vocal blow-out leaving him hoarse and barely audible. Realising he wasn't going to be able to sing at the London gig he threw his mic down in a temper and it pretty much exploded on impact - shards of which hit guitarist Stephen Egerton in the face which started to bleed. The band rushed off-stage and stayed there for a while leaving the crowd bewildered.

When the band returned things went from bad to worse. Milo's attempts at singing sounded more like Death Metal than Pop Punk and they bumbled their way through a few more songs before he gave up entirely. This then led to a series of other people singing including the front man from the support band, a roadie and, in one of the strangest sights of the night, Eric Melivin from NOFX.

I'd love to be able to give a proper review of the rest of the night, I really would. But the truth is, I can't... I wasn't in the room. I was so disappointed by the state of this gig that I went outside to lament with others who felt the same way. And there were a lot of others that felt the same way... As I stood there swarms of people either came outside to smoke and complain (justifiably so) or to simply go home.

So, today is the day after and I've spent a considerable amount of time both expressing my own and reading other people's opinions on this gig and I have seen both positive and negative comments towards the band. My own feelings are that Milo couldn't possibly have been surprised to find he couldn't sing. He must know his own voice and if he didn't feel he could perform then he just shouldn't have. (To all of those people that argued about the cost of cancelling or rescheduling - all I have to say to them is they cancelled the second date so bear that in mind) Everyone I have spoken to has expressed that they would rather have had the gig rescheduled until such a time as Milo could handle it than to witness the shambles that was last night.

I've read people saying that it was unfair of the crowd to boo the band - to those people I just want to say that the 20 quid bit of paper everyone had to get into that show was what gave them the right to make any sound they wanted to. People paid to see The Descendents, not glorified Descendent karaoke.

The thing that really upset everyone though was that at no point during the show did anyone apologise. Everybody at that gig had paid to see a show and they deserved to see one. I spoke to people who had travelled from all over the country and beyond all to see a band that hardly ever comes over here - why not take the time to explain the situation and simply apologise? We get that these things happen, we get that occasionally things go wrong... But there has to come a time where bodging together a gig out of the bits and pieces of a band you have left is just not good enough for the first visit in 15 odd years.

Do I still love The Descendents? Of course I do. They wrote some of the finest Pop Punk tunes ever written! But the fact remains that for many this was a piss-poor excuse of a gig and I hope the band go some way to restore the faith of all of those people that made a huge effort and paid a lot of money to see them.

I'd just like to quickly add that I nicked this photo off a mate who was there. Cheers Paul! And thanks to everyone else I got chatting to outside - you made a shit gig a lot more fun to be at.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

ICM/Choke On This Presents: A Major Motion Picture plus support for Punk 4 the Homeless

So, April the 9th found us back at the LHT Urban Bar in Whitechapel for another Punk 4 the Homeless show. We do like the Urban Bar, for one it's a nice, intimate little venue and relatively easy to get to... Oh and it's painted up with tiger stripes - if there's anything in the world cooler than a venue painted to look like a giant tiger with windows then I don't know (or care) what it is.

First up were ICM regulars Saving Sebastian. A good set. They played well and it's always nice to see them. I won't say too much about them as we get them playing ICM a lot so let's move on to a band that broke their ICM cherry...

Public Disgrace are a 3 piece punk band from Cheshunt, I think, (if I was paying attention) and are well worth checking out live. Fast, fun and entertaining - every song was well crafted and punchy. I'd heard a track from them already (as they were kind enough to donate one to Punk 4 Japan) but it really did them no justice as they pulled out all the stops to keep everyone's attention. It may not have been a big crowd but all eyes (and ears) were on them as they flit between Ska, Punk and Thrash effortlessly. Great set and definitely one to watch. Expect to see them on an ICM bill again soon.

Last band of the night was a band I've loved for a while, A Major Motion Picture. This charity show was a stop on AMMP's tour and unfortunately lead singer Adam was showing signs of being on the road as he was a little hoarse at times but they still played an absolute blinder. Old tracks, brand new tracks and, most importantly, my favourite AMMP tune, 'You Ain't Got Nothing On Magic Fingers, Yo', left everyone chipper and wanting more. Am I biased? Probably, I love them. Does it matter? Nope, tis me writing it.

It may not have boasted the biggest crowd at a London show that night but the bands were great and everyone had a good time. I was lucky enough to meet some lovely people and had a good time - all for a great cause... Oh, and did I mention the venue is painted up like a tiger?