Alternative music reviews

Various Artists

Unsigned Magazine Vol 1 Apr 2006

This is a good quality magazine with interviews with Razorwire, The Eighties B-Line Matchbox Disaster and others. Plus a load of reviews and intersting articles. It is based around the music scene in Stoke-on-Trent (necessary reading for anyone into punk and new music in that area) but spreads it's wings to talk to bands outside of the area as well. A masterstroke is the 15 track CD that comes with the mag featuring local bands making noise like it's about to go out of fashion.

The view I get from the that the Stoke scene is dominated by hardcore punk (I bet there are still a load of bands doing versions of 'The Birdie Song'!). That is no problem to me since the CD gives me a much needed injection of basic guitar thrash with suspiciously good melodies. I used to have a hardcore punk compilation back in the 80s/90s and I loved listening to it when I was in the mood. I've missed it over the past few years and ths CD is a good replacement.

I really don't like to review compilations. They are normally too diverse and I end up forgetting to mention bands that are good. Sometimes you get a compilation that all fits together (Like the Dance TO The Radio compilation that was my last year's CD if the year). This is one of those. It all works together and I can see that Psychophonic records have an overall vision of how music should sound. But of course I am going to have talk about some of the tracks in particular so aplogoies to the bands I miss out.

I want to hate Lesbian Bed Death because the bloke in the pictures in the 'zine looks a bit too old, too RAAAWK for me. Plus he clearly only posing with the rather impressive woman tied to the wooden X he has as bedroom decor. But the song Goth Girls Are Easy is great. Lyrically it is finely honed with the chorus of "Goth girls are easy (dark lips, big tits)". Wonderful driving distorted guitar with a full complement of sympathetic tuneful orchestration. A little gem to my mind.

Faustus provide the brief respite from the overdrive and they sound like a Manchester band - you know a bit of a vibe but still rock and very good at that. I thought When Bullets Fail were going to be the same but just half a minute after the start of a medium paced melodic song the go all hardcore - I just love that mix of straight melodic rock and hardcore - something the Future Kings Of Spain sometimes dabbled in to good effect.

No such approach of mixing genres by Enemo J on Parasite, it's the hardcore voice but you can still hear the lyrics - 'girls like girls like dumb mother f**ker' stands out. Hugely enjoyable.

The real special thing about this CD is that it all fits together so well - unrelentingly guitar based and full of energy and anger. It's the sort of music you can put on while preparing to go out - gets you in the mood to face the world and walk tall feeling like you are the most dangerous bugger to ever walk the streets.

Dinosaur Jr
Sonic Youth
Bill Callahan
Jeffrey Lewis
Florence & The Machine
Resonance Association
The Roe Family Singers
The Peter Parkers

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