New Music of the Day – CXXXVIII: My Disregards – GagReflex

15317760_10157898760760344_2035805026323065951_nAn enigma wrapped in a riddle wrapped in a conundrum wrapped in a fucking loud noise! A four-legged, melodic punk beast that not only brings a level of musical intricacy and detail to the genre but who pepper their lyrics with a much needed dose of social commentary.

It has always struck me that whilst reactionary music seems to grow out of disenfranchisement, social decay and tension – folk revivalists, New York punk, hip-hop, rave, first wave grunge etc, that with our world spiralling into war, corporate greed, nationalism and fear, there are no bands creating an alternate soundtrack for such dark times. Well, maybe there is after all and what better band to form the central hub of an angry but intelligent and questioning musical awakening.

 
(Also look out for fellow shouty two-piece punks Nick and Melia from Ghost of The Avalanche in cameo roles.)

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Body Snatchers EP – Ghost of The Avalanche (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

10968536_1011962645487553_4781770879883456765_nA concerted effort to keep the work area tidy has resulted in me unearthing a pile of records that I should have got around to reviewing a long time ago. One of which was this wonderful salvo of vocal tirades and crunchy punk sounds from two–piece West Country punks Ghost Of The Avalanche. As well as having a cool name, releasing this on vinyl (nice) and having a less is more attitude towards band member recruitment, they also do a neat line in moving the punk genre forward.

Many people’s image of todays punk is Mohican sporting, bondage trousered dinosaurs hanging around their old watering holes discussing the logistics of going to Rebellion this year or whether The Stranglers were a real punk band. GOTA, however provide a new lease of life for those stuck in such scenarios.

Two, short, shouty tracks intersperse a couple of more realised efforts that contain all the aggression and swagger you expect but also some unexpected melody that reminds you that early punk had it’s roots in a scruffy pop sensibility. But that was then and this is now and despite the similarities, it is the differences that sell the music. Fat, distorted bass lines, pounding drums and often a guttural musical primal scream that borders on grunge help create something familiar yet unique. It is also a transitional record, especially when compared to this year’s This Is Earth EP where some of the ideas and attitudes that flavour Body Snatchers are allowed to blossom.

On a final note, if Monkey Knife Fight is the best 35 seconds of ranting social commentary I have ever heard, I’ll eat my No Means No records.

Services and Solutions – Downard (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

1948157_729853637037278_68522259969019402_nIf proof were needed that we live in a post-genre world then look no further than Downard. Although often found on live bills with spikey 2-piece punk bands such as Ghost of The Avalanche and Gag Reflex, I guess that is more to do with their loud and uncompromising nature than any real generic brotherhood. Although they share some of the hallmarks of such snotty, in your face punk bands, it is where they take that core idea that really sets them apart from the pack.

It is not just their sound – one of high end bass pushed through distorted guitar amps, thunderous and skittering drum onslaughts and vocals processed through effects pedals until the words just become eerie, distorted and dystopian soundscapes – but their very approach to song writing itself. Whilst many of the bands that they share the stage with still seem fixated with the raw, directness and aggression of say, No Means No, Downard are one theoretical version of that band pushed further down the jazz-punk path, through trippy psychedelia, proggy changes of dynamics and then skipping merrily back again possibly whilst holding hands with The Pop Group.

Some records benefit from analysing the songs, breaking down the music or exploring the band ethos, Downard are best viewed as an art-space, a musical instillation or just an interesting idea. And as ideas go it’s pretty damn original.

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