Round-up of albums I missed from the middle of the year.
Band – Japandroids
Album – Celebration Rock
Label – Polyvinyl Records
Sounds like – A sweaty, all-embracing hug that doesn’t let go for 35 minutes.
Five reasons why you should own ‘Celebration Rock’.
1. ‘Celebration Rock‘ is one of, if not the most positive, uplifting and joyous collection of songs I’ve heard all year. (Yes, even more so than Torche).
2. ‘Celebration Rock’ is both the raucous party animal and the reassuring hug that you’ve longed for but have always missed out on.
3. ‘Celebration Rock’ is called CELEBRATION ROCK for a reason.
4. ‘Celebration Rock’ will make you want to yell like hell to the heavens.
5. ‘Celebration Rock’ begins and ends in a burst of triumphant fireworks.
Ok, so this album is pretty special. The fuzzed-out raucous rock of ‘Post Nothing‘ is still present, but this time, Japandroids sound louder, heavier, and more enthused with vibrancy and unrelenting joy. From the opening punch of â€˜The Nights Of Wine and Rosesâ€™ you know that Brian King and David Prowse are having the time of their lives. â€œLONG LIT UP TONIGHT! AND STILL DRINKING! DONâ€™T WE HAVE ANYTHING TO LIVE FOR?â€ bellows King â€“ instantly youâ€™re smiling; instantly youâ€™ve cracked open a cold one, soaked your head in half the contents, but youâ€™re laughing and roaring along, whilst trying to air-drum with one hand, whilst the other batters the beer.
â€˜Fires Highwayâ€™ rings out a jubilant chord of â€œwoah-oh-ohsâ€ in a chaotic ramshackle of sound, whilst â€˜Evilâ€™s Swayâ€™ is a tuneful, punk rock explosion of â€œoh yeahs!â€ and “alrights” that pounds defiant roars of delight into your veins, especially on the furious drum-roll near the end â€“ credit to Prowse, whoâ€™s an actual machine of drumming beauty on â€˜Celebration Rockâ€™ a sweaty, boisterous machine of never-ending rolls, fills and rampant beats.
The Gun Club cover of â€˜For The Love Of Ivyâ€™ is a scuzzy, and discordant venomous bite of three-chords and ultimate noise, whilst â€˜Younger Usâ€™ will make you feel like an absolute champion; it will make you feel loved, brimming with vigorous fervour.
â€œIf they try to slow you down, tell them all to go to hell!â€ roars an almost joyful and possibly bitter King on â€˜The House That Hope Builtâ€™, a five minute, opus of getting over a lost love. The slow-burn, misty-eyed rattle of â€˜Continuous Thunderâ€™ is a storming closer, with Kingâ€™s guitar making a eerie hissing sound, whilst laying on the fuzz, whilst Prowse keeps an almost militant beat. It loops spirals this haze of bliss and more importantly, the warmth of a legendary fire. â€˜Celebration Rockâ€™ burns brightly with an intense and jubilant frenzy of persistent courage and thunder.
Band â€“ Hot Water Music
Album â€“ Exister
Label â€“ Rise Records
Sounds like â€“ alcohol-soaked punk rock at itâ€™s very best.
Itâ€™s been eight years, eight long years since a Hot Water Music album. Between then, vocalist Chuck Ragan pumped out god-knows how many solo albums, whilst the other members formed The Draft a band Iâ€™ve never really listened to. â€˜Existerâ€™ is kind of a â€˜does anyone still listen to us?â€™ kind of record. Hell yes we do.
Raganâ€™s voice is even more haggard than I remembered it being from â€˜A Flight And A Crashâ€™ â€“ heâ€™s slightly less nasally, but on â€˜Existerâ€™ it sounds weathered and raw with age. Vocally, this is some of, if not, his best work to date. I mean, itâ€™s absolutely fucking drenched in alcohol â€“ Iâ€™m surprised you canâ€™t smell it through the speakers. Not that Iâ€™m saying Raganâ€™s a lush, but his fucking voicebox is.
â€œWe are here and time is relevant, to mainline every worthy elementâ€ bellows Ragan on opener â€˜Mainlineâ€™, which is an obvious dig at consumerism and being a fairly empty, desperate soul. Nice. Itâ€™s delivered with such bitter-sounding zest to commentary on waste and being beaten feels less of a gut punch, but more of a slap and a wake-up call. â€˜Boy Youâ€™re Gonna Hurt Someoneâ€™ swaggers with an almost Springstreen-gait on a song about a never-ending attempt at escaping. The guitars on â€˜State of Graceâ€™ howl with a jarring hum, whilst Ragan roars his lungs red over the intense and strident growth of hard rock. â€˜Drown In Itâ€™ is a mixture of busy punk rock and twiddling bass work, which stands out superbly on a song that youâ€™ll want to throw yourself around to every time you hear it.
The title track is a feedback, scrawl of vibrant, explosive punk that batters past with killer determination and speed. The chorus of â€œANOTHER TIME ANOTHER PLACE, ANOTHER TIME ANOTHER PLACE, THEY NEVER CHANGE!â€ is quite simply, awesome especially when the backing vocals strain to be heard over the caterwaul. â€˜Wrong Wayâ€™ bleeds turmoil and despondence, but itâ€™s saved from despair event horizon by the word â€˜togetherâ€™, giving some much needed hope to a song about failing. â€˜Pledge Worn Thinâ€™ feels very Gaslight Anthem in delivery; Brian Fallon should take notes of this somewhat arrogant and strutting sound, anthemic chorus and those brilliant basslines â€“ hell yes. (See also â€˜Drag My Bodyâ€™ for more of Jason Black the bass-master, twiddling, mathcore styles!)
More fucking cymbal hits at the beginning please â€“ â€˜The Trapsâ€™ bounces with a gritty pop-punk roll of soaring, guitar lines and melodic backing â€˜woah-ah-ohsâ€™ whilst still retaining that typical Hot Water Music-bark.
â€˜Existerâ€™ is the result of a band re-united and back on exhilarating form â€“ every track is laced with passion, energy and rough determination â€“ an absolute stormer.
Band â€“ Turbonegro
Album â€“ Sexual Harassment
Label â€“ Volcom
Sounds like â€“ Proper haircuts, proper tunes
With new singer in the form of The Duke of Nothing (think of a man who looks similar to Father Damian, wearing a bowler hat with a fucking tiger face tattooed on his chest) and a new album entitled â€˜Sexual Harassmentâ€™; itâ€™s good news everyone, because Turbonegro still sound like a derailed party train oâ€™destruction, which is exemplified best on â€˜Tight Jeans, Loose Leashâ€™ which features The Duke bellowing â€œPARTY TIME! GET YOURSELF OFF!â€ To which you reply â€œyes, I think I will.â€
The Duke attacks songs with the same maniacal enthusiasm that old singer Hank had (and possibly a similar air of campness) but itâ€™s the delivery that differs. The Duke is a brash, bellowing bear of a man, barking words with a gruff, swaggering bravado thatâ€™s quite, quite brilliant. He sounds like heâ€™s constantly partying â€“ and why not? On the delightfully infectious piano-led stomp â€˜Shake Your Shit Machineâ€™ youâ€™re instructed to â€˜cream your jeans (â€œyou pair of queens!â€) and the bark of â€œYOUâ€™RE A BIG GIRL, AINâ€™T CHA?â€ is delightfully debauched, which is fitting because â€˜Sexual Harassmentâ€™ is just over 30 minutes of punk rock debauchery.
â€˜You Give Me Wormsâ€™ is 3 minutes of immature, but no-less hilarious fist-pumping good times, with some yet more infectious (is that the right word?) backing â€˜whoosâ€™ and joyful handclaps, whilst some massive bearded man is yelling about parasites and maggots.
Props to the drumming on â€˜Hello Darknessâ€™ which is absolutely blisteringly chaotic, whilst the guitars howl and squeal, sounding both raw and filthy to the core. â€˜TNA (The Nihilistic Army)â€™ roars past with the ferocity of The Bronx, while â€˜Dude Without A Faceâ€™ is dark as hell and builds to an ominous but fiery conclusion. â€˜Buried Aliveâ€™ chugs past with yet more bluster and cocksure attitude and only cements Turbonegroâ€™s â€˜kings of death-punkâ€™ boast. â€˜Rise Belowâ€™ is perhaps the closest Turbonegro will get to being melodic, yet still struts with a sweaty hard-rock haughtiness.
Looking for a party record? â€˜Sexual Harassmentâ€™ should be your first port of call. When itâ€™s over, hit play again. Repeat until youâ€™re a drunken, exhausted mess.
Buy Turbonegro‘sÂ ‘Sexual Harassment’ from Volcom here and then get drunk as hell.
Japandroids released ‘Celebration Rock‘ through Polyvinyl – get it and embrace life.
Hot Water Music‘s 8th album ‘Exister’ can be bought through Rise Records.
By Ross Macdonald