Kieren Hills aka DorfpunkTapes, is somewhat of an Australian renaissance man. His love of underground fare means he performs in more than his fair share of bands, from crust punk to goth, though his punk attitude shines through all. One of his incarnations is his one man, industrial punk act called SchkeuditzerKreuz. In September of 2020, the EP Give Me Nothing was released.
This is your “Warning” that starts with a nationalistic anthem of a non existent, fascist state. It smacks of Laibach as it launches, hammering into your skull, the staccato beat with wailing siren. The warning is about a population devoid of control, will find others to exert power over to prove they exist.
Metallic industrial rhythm heralds in “Amerika:, a song written in the time of the Trump presidency and on a personal computer that had no working ‘C’. The angst of watching the erosion of rights, injustice and wholesale lies are ground out by Hills.
Consumerism drives economies, drives environmental destruction, plunges many into poverty and leaves many always wanting what they do not need. Greed is the theme behind, “But What If“. Screeching electronics, contorted in the fervour before the final meltdown.
“Traitor” is a slower track in some ways with an electronic sludginess like sonic glue, however surprisingly does speed up with a near psychedelic overdrive.
Final track, “Give Me Nothing” is the equivalent of Edvard Münch’sThe Scream, a cry to escape the tragedy of life. Not necessarily escaping through death but no longer plugged into the machine that pounds away with fuzzy fury.
It’s a little gem of an EP and gets better every play. It is punchy and doesn’t pull any punches about the state of society in general but then it just wouldn’t be punk if it didn’t have something to say. Should you ever get the chance to see SchkeuditzerKreuz live, take it. The experience will blow your mind but in the meantime indulge in Give Me Nothing on Bandcamp for nameyourprice.
March the 19th is the release date for the album And The Light Goes White by LA based act, TheDramedy, aka Dave Dramedy. The Dramedy have been around since 2014, with EPs and the album StrAngr(S)tiL in 2018 under their belt, so with this new LP, has come the joys of recording in a time of pestilence.
Kicking this off is “Vow“, and acoustic guitars starts the steam locomotive style rhythm. It’s a bit like a western and then you hear the bangs like gun shots and glass tinkling that might happen in a bar brawl accompanied by electric guitar and raw vocals.
The second single released off the album is “Parasite“, with wonderfully jangly guitars. Something eats away at the back of my mind… the way Dramedy sings and then it hits me. He reminds me of Stan Ridgeway (ex Wall Of Voodoo) in the animated drawl and the post punk ambience. This is a great little number with a lot of heart, even if it’s about the fact that all is lost. I think Buffalo Tom would have been proud to call this their song.
“The Clock Strikes Heaven” does sound very spontaneous, as if written in one sitting and they just said, this is it. For a tune about when you’re time is up, it seems pretty cheery and has a slightly live feel to it.
Heavier guitars herald “Popsicle” and can we say sexual connotations. Sucking on popsicles can make people very, very happy but the downside is addiction and a nasty case of diabetes. Gosh, I’m not sure if this a promise or a threat but it does make me giggle and even with the driving guitar, Dramedy doesn’t sound like he’s taking it all that seriously.
A more acoustic flamenco influenced turn with “Days“. Lyrically, it could be the verbalising of an abusive relationship, purposely going off key to set you on edge.
The first single, “Waiting On You” changes track again. Like a 50s doo whoop of teenage longing with a dose of blinkered crazy on the side, you hence get the slightly erratic guitar work upping the ante. This number also appeared on an EP in 2019 but less dressed up, let us say.
There is a very skiffle Brit-pop sensibility to “What’s Left To Say?”. It still it definitely overall American but the timing and rhythm have that undeniable joyous bouncing flavour that you got from bands such as Swervedriver and Suede.
Oh I hear a bit of the deathrock in “Life BitesMe” and quite frankly life can be like that in these times of covid… watching the time tick by. This could also be a reference to a dead romance that one can’t get over. A cacophony of guitar, drums and enthusiastic vocals.
On a more reflective note is “Circle The Road” which questions why someone else gets to walk away from a relationship and leave the other with no answers. I hear the influence of Jesus and Mary Chain in the guitar here.
As it began, so it finishes with an acoustic piece, “All Our Yesterdays“, which is a ballad with harmonisation from Caroline Blind. Again there is the sound of Jesus And Mary Chain in the structure and also the sentiment, with a bit of Screamadelica, Primal Scream thrown in for good measure.
Dave Dramedy comes with some lofty cred in the post punk/goth community, as the main live guitar player for Caroline Blind (ex SunshineBlind) and appearing on her debut solo album with a host of other heavyweights such as RichWitherspoon (The Wake), Dave Wolfenden (RedLorrry Yellow Lorry, The Mission), Gordon Young (Children On Stun, Pretentious Moi?), WilliamFaith (Faith And The Muse, Christian Death) and we could go on. Plus he was in the deathrock band Readership Hostile, which has its own claims to fame.
This is not some over polished jewel but then there is no fun if everything is over produced. You won’t find any voice modulation or slick production. You will get the bull, horns and everything though, with all the emotion and genuine candour. It’s a little western (pew pew), a bit more angst soul searching and a lot of jangly guitar. Get The Dramedy on and indulge in And The Light Goes White.
Brixton Alley are three lads, Alex, Ben and Jonny, from the UK, who somehow ended up in Brisbane, Australia. This punk/pop/rap fusion band also released this year a new EP called, “Nevermore“.
Alex Wells is the drummer for the band with his brother, Ben Wells, playing bass and contributing backing vocals, as well as Jonny Magro as lead singer and on guitar.
There are vibrant highs, through to staccato vocal punctuations in the first track, “Headache“. The frustration of finding work and trying to escape the hometown/village and its sad populace, in order to find something better.
The guitars sing out to you in “Voices” and it is a bit of an indie pop anthem to the youth of the day… the daily struggle with moments of beauty. The girl in the song might be hearing voices but maybe we need to hear those inner voices.
The brit pop influenced guitar lines bring us “Owl“. This is a cheeky observation on men out on the town, ogling girls to the point, their heads swivel around like the feathered night predators, as they greedily look for pretty prey. This has a really nice, catchy hook which you will hear in your head after the song has finished.
“Animals” has a reggae sensibility with rap incursions. It is feels joyous and yet laments that we have forgotten our primal instincts. A good laid back rock number.
The acoustic beginning of “Outsider” shows a slower and more romantic piece. This is a modern ode to love, including cigarettes and a can of cider. This is laconic and slightly darker that it admits to, with the pleads to over look mental struggles.
The tunes are fun to listen to and yet are observations on modern existence in this age of excess. In some ways they remind me of one of my favourite post punk bands, NewModelArmy, with their swagger and revelations. It’s all about the journey, so it might be time time join BrixtonAlley and have a listen to Nevermore.
July has seen the release of the EP, Unicorn Bones, by Chicago duo, Karen Righeimer and Ivan Russia, also known as Bellhead. I can definitely say the rhythm section for this band is tight. Both Righeimer and Russia both play bass, low and high respectively, both share vocal duties, though Ivan is very much the lead singer and are backed up by their dependable drum machine.
The band in their bio, make reference to their influences from goth rock legends, Bauhaus to the alternative rock royalty that is the White Stripes to the gothic/post punk stylings of She Wants Revenge, yet truthfully, they definitely have a sound that is very much their own.
“Snuff Film 1974” is straight off the bat with it’s thumping heavy rhythm that grabs your attention before dragging said attention to the graveled out vocals of Russia and the disturbing lyric content about a small female child murdered in film for others entertainment. This is the only track not written by Bellhead but rather penned by Sheriff Michael Scabs of the Sheriff Scabs band of which Russia has also been a member of. A thing of nightmares.
Really dig “Unicorn Bones” as it is a very nonchalant, grooving number that just has that keep ontrucking feel. The vocals play tag as they paint a vision of glittering violence and sad demise of those that live in the shadowed, dangerous places. Sinister and sleazy.
A song about a conman or less than reputable fellow, trying to stay one step in front of oblivion but wanting to take to take one last stab of having the person they have always loved. A final last chance is of happiness is “Always (Running After The Sun)“. This is a far more poignant track, slower and thoughtful with intensity.
Annnd serial killer/psycho time. “Knife” is sexy whispers with the intent of maiming and destroying. Low and distorted noise backs the bass just for that extra creepy ambiance.
“Sidewinder” has a more rock flare about it, but it’s all the dirty bits of rock. The low and high bass building the sound up in such a manner that it feels angry and greasy, finishing off the EP.
The choice and use of high and low bass without any regular guitar is an interesting marriage of instruments but works well for Bellhead. Bass brings on the rhythm and produces a rich, big sound.
So if you fancy the darker, more nightmarish side of the industrial, gothic rock genre, then do catch up with Bellhead and their not so sparkly but equally intriguing, UnicornBones, with none of the guitar bull.
Pablo Zumarraga is the man behind the act known as Trust In None. He hails from the capital of Argentina, Buenos Aires and this year released his EP, Inhale, with five tracks in all on it.
“The Law of the Weak” is the intro track with a near imperceptible beat before a sudden explosion of guitar. I feel like I’m listening to some lost Trent Reznor track from the Pretty Hate Machine era.
A nice piece of guitar work and the second track that seems to be nameless brings in the drum machine. The whispers become musical screams that say “I never, never trust you!”. This has an extremely bluesy feel even though it is also very industrial at the same time.
“Inhale” has echos of White Zombie/Rob Zombie with the drum machine having little metal blast beats and is quite a heavy number. Lots of distortion and feedback with a revisitation at the end just to remind you of where you have just been.
The rather interesting named “Squirt”. Pablo mixes his violent whispers whilst dueling with his guitar work. This is full on rock and roll and you could roll on down the highway with this blaring out. The guitar riffs just keep on coming and persistent, spiraling out of control.
Last is the single, “The Circle of Shame”. Again you here Zumarraga’s love of the blues coming through. Heavy and dirty. The vocals are distorted and pain filled. The guitar work here reminds me of the old Soundgarden sound from BadMotorFinger
Not kidding when I say it reminds me very much of the early industrial days of Nine Inch Nails, especially vocally. This is brooding and dark and with the distorted guitar work, is indeed heavily blues influenced and yet this adds to the sinister heaviness of it all.
So if you are looking for something that ignites your blood with punk attitude and industrial smarts, then check out Trust In None.