Posts Tagged Punk

Good Vibrations

Good Vibrations PosterAnyone in Belfast who plays in a band, appreciates music or even who buys records regularly will probably have come across Terri Hooley. Terri would admit that he is an unlikely businessman. He certainly can’t claim to be the most successful record shop owner in history, but then again, the Virgin Megastores, Zavvi, Tower Records and Our Price have passed into history and HMV is in deep trouble but Good Vibrations manages to hang on in there, despite it all.

The crazy thing is that Terri Hooley opened his shop in Belfast in the mid-seventies in the city’s most-bombed street above a dusty whole food shop run by the Guru Maharaj Ji’s Divine Light Mission. The city in the 1970s was a bleak place. Belfast city centre emptied at 6 o’clock of all but the brave or the foolhardy. The conflict – which Ulsterfolk euphemistically call ‘The Troubles’ – was at the height of its random tit-for-tat viciousness. People retreated in the evenings to the ghettos where they lived in search of some security. They socialised where they could; in local clubs, pubs, parish halls, Orange halls or illegal sheebeens. They rarely – if ever – met with people from ‘the other side’.

The novelist Glenn Patterson and Colin Carberry have conjured up a film script that really captures the nature of this anarchic mould -breaking larger-than-life character. Their script buzzes with dark Belfast humour and a soundtrack that brings everything to the mix from Hank Williams’ I Saw the Light, Phil Spector’s girl bands, through to Rudi’s Big Time and of course, the Undertones’ Teenage Kicks. The action was intercut with contemporary footage of background events. This gave an immediate reminder of the very real dangers stalking the city then. Many folk of a certain age would have been delighted to see one-time Scene-Around-Six news anchor Barry Cowan, (sadly no longer with us), on-screen again.

Terri’s mum was a devout Methodist and his dad was a revolutionary socialist. He never quite fitted in to Ulster’s divided society. In the Sixties, he protested against the Vietnam war and in favour of nuclear disarmament, but as the Troubles took hold many of his contemporaries forsook protesting for peace in favour of violence.

His first love was music, especially reggae, but he became enthused by the energy of the growing punk movement which drew young folk from both communities to the rundown Pound Club on the edge of the city centre to hear bands like Rudi and the Outcasts. This led him into launching a record label to introduce Rudi to a wider public. Other bands followed. The ‘big one’ was The Undertones from Derry whose single, Teenage Kicks went stratospheric after it was taken up by the influential Radio One presenter, John Peel.

Despite its bleak environment of bombs everywhere, soldiers on the streets, officious cops and random, casual violence, this is a real fun, feel good movie. Dormer’s Hooley often messes things up, not least his life and his relationship with his wife, Ruth. He’s more interested in the music than making money from it.

Some scenes will haunt the viewer for life. I was struck by the scene where Terri hears ‘that’ Undertones song for the first time and fell about laughing at a scene where a bemused British soldiers stops Hooley and the band in the van only to discover that they are both Protestants and Catholics from north, east and west Belfast. Terri had never asked them what they were.

Coming out at a time when old divisions threaten to open up again in Belfast, this movie reminds us that we can do better. In the country of the blind the one-eyed man is king. Roll on the DVD release. One Love!

PS.  The DVD is now available,

By David Kerr

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Music: Pick Yer Poison

Click on image to buy CD

Pick Yer Poison is a split CD featuring two bands, Rum Rebellion and Hammered Grunts.

 

 

 

 

 

Rum Rebellion

Rum Rebellion

Rum Rebellion emerged from Portland, Oregon as an acoustic group in 2005. Their bio describes them as a, “a salty mix of Irish tunes, sea chanteys, oi!, and street punk. A union of maritime instrumentation with street punk energy, folk punk and Irish rock bands.” They are one of the better new bands coming out of the West coast scene, and I am seldom easily impressed.

Rum Rebellion are an interesting and hard hitting mix in a similar vein as the Pogues, Flogging Molly and the Dropkick Murphys, in my opinion, they do it better…

They soon added bass and drums and began playing live in January of 2006. They released “Cruisin’ For A Boozin’”, the band’s first full-length album in November ’06. This release was well received and they began playing around the US, mainly West coast.

The CD, I am listening to was a recently released split CD with their mates, Hammered Grunts, called “Pick Yer Poison”. Released on Bostons’, Rodent Popsicle label and distributed by Pyrate Punx Records from Oakland. Recorded at Opal Studios, and engineered and mastered by Kevin Hahn.

Current Line up

Dave Noyes - Acoustic Guitar, Lead Vox
Tyler Miles - Tin-Whistle, Backup Vox
Sage Howard - Bass, Backup Vox
Greg Smasher - Electric Guitar, Backup Vox
Jason Robbins - Drums

A Little Bit of History:

These guys are named for the historical Rum Rebellion of 1808. William Bligh, the Governor of New South Wales made an attempt to normalise trade conditions by prohibiting the use of Rum as payment for commodities. This was an attempt to squash the power of the rum merchants and the NSW Corps who both had stakes in the trade. Bligh’s interference led to a military rebellion in January of 1808. Bligh was eventually arrested by the mutineers, namely George Johnston of the NSW Corps, held for over a year then sent packing off to England.

I seriously can’t say enough about these guys, they are one of my favourite newer bands. I have listened to a lot of punk rock over the years and I am not easily impressed with many newer bands, who seem to me to be mainly generic hard-core and tributes to bands from the early 80s. There are few bands who have come along in the late 90s and after 2000 who I felt were original or really had that genuine quality about them. Rum Rebellion is one of them. Pick Yer Poison is well worth the few quid you will put down on it.
It includes:-

1: Burn It Down
2: Stand Up
3: Drink With The Devil
4: Off To Limerick
5: Gotta Go
6: On Call
Burn it to the ground: what can I say? A snappy little sing-along song of destruction.
Drink with the Devil: My favourite song by far on the CD, This is an driving ditty that gets you up on your feet for a bit of a mosh and a bit of a jig… these guys are really tight and the traditional folk element of flutes and fiddle really add to the composition, bringing a warm touch to their rousing drinking tunes.
Gotta Go: Another traditional melody to get you up on your feet and downing those pints before you head out for some live music! Catchy this one, if you are not careful it will sneak up on you and you will find yourself humming it to yourself as you head out about your day.

Off to Limerick: Nothing soft about these guys, they are straight ahead swashbuckling swaggering punk rock. Much more of an Oi! feel to this one with the sing along choruses and the straight punk beat, but there is a surprise halfway through the song with a lush solo of drums and more traditional acoustics, before they kick back into the good ole punky oi! boys sound.
On Call: Another traditional folk feel to this one, until they hit the top of that intro and it gets quite heavy with some amazing drum work. Damn these guys kick ass! I can’t think of too many young bands on the West coast who can really match these guys in many ways. Funny mix on this one of folk and an old school punk melody that just works.

Further info on Rum Rebellion at:

youtube video

Merch

 

Hammered Grunts

Hammered Grunts

Genre: street thrash
Members:
VOX Thaddeus Hammered
Bass Germey Grunt
Drums Bro-dog
Guitar Dooger
Record label: Rodent Popsicle/Underdog Records
Current Location Portland OR
Press contact thompsonthad@yahoo.com

Background:
Hammered Grunts were established 2004 to the dismay of neighbours and music snobs alike. Hammered Grunts have been compared to bands such as Blood Clots and Carrier Soldiers, however I am not familiar with these bands, so I cannot comment on that comparison. The group consists of four friends dedicated to being involved and making music in the local Vancouver and Portland punk rock scene. After releasing their self-titled 15 song street punk album, the band delivered a very successful 5 state 23 shows tour in August of 2008.

Next the Hammered Grunts recorded a split EP with Hometown Hero’s “Rum Rebellion” and will displayed another 6 song onslaught of energy & angst. “Hammered Grunts” also went on a summer 2009 tour to support the record. This is the CD I have been listening to.

What I can say is the recorded material from these guys is fast, tight, melodic hard-core. I do not like much of the more generic young hard-core that have come along since the late 80s, however these guys are tight and have a bit of a metal edge, and are worth checking out. Listen to them at Reverbnation.
I was perusing through the net to find some band pics of these guys and saw someone make this comparison of them, “Hammered Grunts’ Music sounds like a cross between Metallica (Creeping Death) Slayer and Suicidal Tendencies”. Their singer’s a fucking speed-vox maniac while the guitar bass duo are a mosh pit of brilliant madness.
Self-Destruct This is probably the song I like best of theirs on the CD. It’s the type of song I would love to sing as a speedcore/hardcore vocalist.. with some excellent timing and stops in it. Stand up is another brilliant song – pure in your face punk rock, not for the pusillanimous.
Ok the drummer in this band kicks ass too… where the hell were these drummers when we were looking for one?? And lo and behold I hear an Irish tin whistle in there with all this hard-corey goodness! Thrashingly excellent.
And speaking of Thrash, since 2010, the Grunts have taken big steps towards playing and producing more of a thrash feel with their music. Hammered Grunts, I believe, have released their next album “Hostile Takeover” which is meant to include 12 tracks of a much more brutal sound. If they want to send me this new one as well, I would definitely review it. I can say these guys grow on you.. and they appear to be getting better with the new recordings! Check out Hostile Takeover with a video and song links here

You can find them on MySpace and Facebook.

Review by Rosdaughr

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