Category Archives: Punk

SAILOR POON: ‘Sailor Poon’s First Album.’

The trouble with finding bands on Bandcamp, is that it can be difficult to find out much about them.

The beauty of finding bands on Bandcamp is that you have no preconceived notion of what to expect; no inflated PR description to influence your thoughts, often leaving you on the distinctly underwhelmed side.

So here’s what I’ve got:
SAILOR POON are a five-piece, all girl group from Austin, Texas. They sound to me like a really interesting, fun and vibrant amalgam of old skool punk, mixed with a growling horror-pop undercurrent.

If doing that really annoying pretentious ‘wine tasting’ thing that not-very-good-music-writers often resort to, I’d say I could hear influences such as X-Ray Spex, The Stooges, The Horrors, The Cramps. And given the excellent and manic use of saxophone at various stages, you’d have to throw into the mix, the likes of The Comet Is Coming. It’s the law, apparently.

SAILOR POON have been around a good few years, initially as all bands do, messing around in their bedrooms and garages, before graduating to the local Austin punk scene.
Not long after, their demo was picked up on by King Khan, who invited the girls to join him on tour.

In 2016, a digital EP was released, (‘Yeast Pigeon‘) and the following year saw the album CD / digital release of ‘B-sides and Rarities.’ No – I’m not sure how that works, either.

I can find no other releases until this year, when February’s ‘Moneysnake Rising‘ digital single was the precursor to the free download of the lead track to this, ‘Sailor Poon’s First Album,’ – ‘Be My Dog.’

The music throughout the album’s thirteen tracks is high energy; frantic. Only the final track, ‘Fly in the Attic,’ tops three minutes in duration, which is just perfect for their spiky delivery. This particular track does hold back slightly on the tempo compared to the others, but does still climb to frenzied peaks with the discordant sax giving a bit of early Roxy Music feel, while the swirling keyboards and pounding drums reflect shades of Inspiral Carpets. There is also still that threatening, gothic growl underpinning the whole thing.

It’s an eclectic mix, for sure, but one that works so well. And as I’m now onto my 4th listen to the album, I’d say it has become my favourite track.

Too Many Boyfriends,’ is the direct antithesis – at only fifty-eight seconds and as fast as it’s furious. ‘Neglect Attraction‘ has a cult comic book feel to it – I think perhaps because the organ and bassline sound remind me a little of the B-52s.

And maybe the comic book reference is not too far from the truth, as the girls obviously have a wicked sense of humour, with a song titles like, ‘She Farts Like A Motorcycle,’ and the fourth track, (thirty-one seconds long) ‘New York’s All Right If You Like Saxophones.’


I’m conscious that throughout this wee piece, I’ve referenced several other bands. This is not something I generally like to do. But I think it fantastically exciting that I have been able to reference some of favourites and write about a band that can meld so many different sounds into something so fresh and vibrant – and importantly, without losing that defined punk sensibility.

SAILOR POON’S FIRST ALBUM – definitely worth checking out!



VIC & KEPI: ‘After the Flood.’

Wow!

You know how it is: you’re on coronavirus lockdown, stuck in the house. There are no shops open, which means no record stores to hang out in. But that doesn’t really matter, ’cause you ain’t working and have no money anyway.

Bored out your box, you half heartedly surf through Bandcamp looking for something fresh. But it’s a struggle.

Then, BOOM!

I’ll admit, it was the album’s artwork that first caught my eye. Then the names … VIC RUGGIERO & KEPI GHOULIE. I know these dudes. Well, I know of them – they both already have places in my record and CD collections, courtesy of their history with The Slackers and Groovie Ghoulies respectively. This was gonna be good.

In fact, it was more than’good.’ The next thirty-five minutes or so were spent foot tapping and bouncing around my room to a good, old fashioned, stripped back rhythm & blues vibe.

My first reaction was it reminded me very much of the Rolling Stones album, ‘Stripped‘ from around 1995. I had never really noticed before, but perhaps because of the song content on this album, there is a similarity at times between Vic and Mick’s vocal intonation.

And then, just as I was reveling in this comparison, I reached track four, ‘Bright Lights.’ Of course this is a Jimmy Reed standard, but I recognised it from an ‘unofficial’ Stones album from back in the day when their staple was covering some of the big blues players from USA.

(An old performance of ‘Big Kiss,’ from 2017)

Several songs on ‘After the Flood,’ sound familiar, I have to say, though I really have no idea as to the writing credits. I do know, though, that Vic & Kepi cover the Shangri-las – twice. ‘Big Kiss,‘ at track six is a slowed down version of the Sixties hit. It works really well, though I personally prefer the album-closing version of the track, ‘Great Big Reprise,’ which is a lot more ‘perky’ in its delivery

There’s something really endearing about an acoustic and more organic interpretation of rhythm & blues. Maybe it’s because the bass lines have more room to cut through and add to the bouncy feel; maybe it’s because, as in this case, Vic & Kepi are afforded space to blend their vocals and interaction, or maybe it’s just that good music doesn’t need to be over complicated and cluttered.

Seriously, there’s not one dodgy track on this album. It just feels like the lads are playing a relaxed, fun jam and somebody left the recording switch on accidentally.

Which, actually, if you read the notes to this Bandcamp release …..

SANS: ‘Aztec Drips.’

Over the past few years SANS have emerged from Bristol’s more avant-garde scene as one of the more hard-edged yet versatile bands.

The SANS sound melds post punk, experimental noise and hardcore, incorporating a maelstrom of overdriven guitars, jazz drumming and heavy breakdowns.

Their forthcoming eponymous EP, being released via Breakfast Records on 22nd May is a reflection of this, as you can hear from the lead track, ‘Aztec Drips,’ below.

THE MEMBRANES: ‘Nocturnal’ (Kitty Lectro Remix.

See – here’s the thing with remixes: I almost feel kinda guilty if I like one better than the original.

I always think a band wouldn’t have released the version they did if they felt it could be improved upon.

But I obviously tend to overthink things.

Until about ten minute before writing this post, I thought that the track ‘Nocturnal,’ from the Membranes‘ latest album (June 2019) ‘What Nature Gives … Nature Takes Away) was as good as it gets.

But I was wrong. THIS is as good as it gets!

The Kitty Lectro remix is brilliantly dark, broody and moody. It has a retro ‘goth’ feel to it and is almost like a new track entirely.

Both versions merit a play – you decide.

(Featured, header, photo by @rshashamane )

BANDAID BRIGADE: ‘Break The Grid.’

It’s never been enough for me, a band just producing excellent music; there needs to be more for them to make it onto my ‘favourites’ list.

In the case of Bandaid Brigade, the first criteria is easily fulfilled. Just listen to their latest offering, ‘Break the Grid,’ and their debut track, ‘Travel Light,’ (both below.)

But why are they my new favourite band?
Their debut album is not due until the turn of the New Year, and they certainly haven’t played here in Glasgow.

I’ll tell you why – it’s precisely because I can’t put my finger on what they offer! There’s an air of mystery about them, but a real punk attitude, harking back to the fun punk of the early 2000s. The music seems based on punk, but then isn’t what you’d call ‘punk.’

Their music and attitude makes me smile. They make me wanna dance … though you really don’t wanna see that.

Heck! Who cares what label is put on Bandaid Brigade. They have fun – we have fun. Everyone’s a winner.