In an attempt to bring you a compressed overview of alternative, garage and punk music in September, we've condensed a lot of information into three brief reviews and regarding some notable September releases.
Nuclear Socketts - Overload
Release Date: September 3rd 2007 Label: Overground Genre: UK Punk '77
John Peel liked them so much that he would eventually give Nuclear Socketts regular airplay. Infectious, bass driven tracks such as Spy In My Brain offer melody and precision to the punk scene. The vocals are a little low in the mix, but the relative lack of gain on the guitars saves the production team's blushes. Of course, being an overlooked punk band for today's nostalgic punk scene has some advantages. People are dying to hear punk bands that aren't just punk in a name to sell records and The Socketts fit the bill. Socially conscious lyrics and interesting guitar playing, it's great to hear passion and tightness in a punk band. They may not be the most celebrated of bands, but since it's so difficult to get your hands on original EPs and singles, this compilation is your best bet. A great discovery for those of us who love '77-'79 punk and overlooked Nuclear Socketts the first time round.
Black Lips - Good Bad Not Evil
Release Date: September 11th 2007 Label: Vice Genre: Flower Punk/Noise Rock/Garage
Renowned for their live antics, Black Lips provide much enjoyment to the casual listener. They can certainly play, but despite Good Bad Not Evil's rebellious stance, it really is an anti-climax. Not to say that it isn't enjoyable, but the record's lacking in the energy department when it sounds as if the band has been slowed down. The stand out track could be Katrina with its raw, crunchy guitar solo and faster rhythms.
There is an unquestionable Cramps influence somewhere along the line and Black Lips certainly deserve the chance to grow on you and prove they can match up to the music they aspire to. My head is spinning, it feels alright provides plenty of fun on the title track and generally, Black Lips keep a good groove going throughout this album, involving use of the staccato technique.
When speaking about the production, one must also keep in mind that in the context, this is solid production wise. The amps may sound crackly, but this is probably the desired effect. Jaunty, fun and full of country twang; Black Lips don't stray far from the comfort zone. Nevertheless, this is my second favourite album of the month with song titles such as How Do You Tell a Child That Someone Has Died? one cannot help but feel that Black Lips deserve the respect they have attained, despite not capturing their blistering live show on CD.
The Flatliners - Great Awake
Release Date: September 4th 2007 Label: Fat Wreck Chords Genre: Pop Rock
The Flatliners would make fabulous chemists. They're very formulaic. The Great Awake is typical of Fat Wreck Chords releases of yesterday, today and tomorrow. The production crew has done a great job on these guys, and half the marketing is done already. They border on the 'emo' sound of today with some half-hearted screams thrown in here and there. I am going to be brutally honest. I would rather listen to Fall Out Boy as a traditional punk listener.
Fat Mike does a good job at making sure that nearly every band on Fat Wreck has the same guitar tone on their releases. It's hopeless and I honestly can't find a positive statement to make about this album. They've toured with fellow-formulaic-prodigies Bad Religion and Anti Flag and it shows. They'll sell more albums than I ever will and they may only be 19 or maybe 20 on average age, but they sound atrociously influenced by what sells today. I won't even apologise for my disgust at this band so obviously hired to sell records for Fat Wreck.