Punk Rock Ain't Noise Pollution
FLATS Better Living
I think its safe to say that Flats are an acquired taste. To many I can imagine they sound like a cacophony of noise with little sign of any tune, but I have to admit I love em!
Coming in at just under thirty five minutes, Flats provide twelve tracks that largely defy description. Thundering drums and bass lay down a sonic backdrop over which Devine angrily screams his vocals. Guitars whine and feedback rages in a maelstrom of discord that renders the words largely unintelligible. This should be a car crash of a record, but unbelievably it works on all levels. Tracks such as Slam, Frostbite, Fast, Foxtrot Crucifixion and Macabre Unit follow in rapid succession, giving the effect of being punched repeatedly in the solar plexus.
Realistically it is open to question if there is any career longevity or commercial success in playing such hardcore music, but quite frankly I dont think the Flats give a damn!
DIGITAL BY BIRTH Noise Pollution
POSITIVE CREED Punk Fanzine
Back in more familiar territory for me, this is a punk fanzine from of all places Exeter. Apparently their last edition was 6 years ago, which makes our own Roseys output of R*E*P*E*A*T seem positively prolific!
Back when I were a lad fanzines were one of the few ways of getting news on bands that didnt warrant a mention in the more commercial musical publications. With the advent of the MTV, the internet and sundry other technological wonders most of the kids today suffer from information overload, if anything. So it was nice to get tactile again and have the feel of paper and ink on my fingers.
For the 12th issue of this esteemed organ, Positive Creeds main man Rob Stone has some nice little articles. Kicking off with Dave Parsons of Sham 69, its refreshing to get the thoughts of a member of the band other than their normal mouth piece Jimmy Pursey. Questions range from thoughts on the latest reformation, their formative years and his take on the notorious violence that often engulfed their gigs.
This is followed with a review section that runs the gamut of the punk genre. So you have more recent bands such as Cerebral Ballzy and Dropkick Murphys rubbing shoulders with old timers like Gang of Four, Poly Styrene and Jello Biafra. Theres even a piece on the MSPs National Treasures CD, to which they give a complimentary 8 out of 10.
An in depth interview with TV Smith sheds light on his excellent, but sadly often overlooked band, The Adverts. He reminisces on their controversial single Gary Gilmore Eyes, explains what it was like to perform on the Old Grey Whistle Test and gives his view of female punk icon Gay Advert.
A review follows of the End of the Road Festival that take place annually in rural Dorset. Apparently it specialises in acts that are mostly alternative music, folk, alt country or Americana. If truth be known, I had heard of few of them but rather liked the idea of a band being called Kurt Vile and the Violators.
GBH are given a good four and a half pages to talk about (amongst other things) working with Lars Frederiksen from Rancid, the comparison between the first and second wave of punk bands, their forage in heavy metal and the musical influence of their home town Birmingham.
Finally, there is another excellent interview, this time with Paul Slack, ex bass player of UK Subs. Again it charts his long and varied career and throws light on his new venture Monica and the Explosion. I particularly found interesting, and refreshing, his candid and intelligent comments regarding the current state of the punk and music scene in general.
Putting aside that Positive Creed allowed me indulge in middle aged reminiscing, I can vouch for the fact that its a bloody good read and hugely informative. Given that it comes for the princely sum of only 50p (plus A4 SAE) not only that its great vale for your hard earned money. Available from PO Box 777, Exeter, EX1 9TU