The Pit

The Pit – 07/04/06

It’s April already and we’ve had our first real day of sunshine in 2006. To celebrate this momentus and rare occurance, we’re going to throw your way some new indie, punk, metal and hardcore to dine out on whilst the inevitable rain comes pouring down. Move the valuables out of the room, turn the volume up and get to rocking, because The Pit is unleashing some brilliant stuff for you!

Dee Massey has been rampaging around Camden to:

DIRTY PRETTY THINGS – Bang Bang You’re Dead (single)
(Vertigo Records)

Raising from the ashes of The Libertines, Carl Barat and drummer Gary Powell are here to wipe the smug grin off Pete Doherty’s face with their debut single BANG BANG YOU’RE DEAD. Produced by Dave Sardy ( Jet/Oasis/Dandy Warhols) it’s the perfect appetizer for their album ( set for release on May 8th) Jumping off with a mournful New Orleans-esque fanfare, the tracks bounces along – with Barat’s wonderfully familiar vocals swinging along with the thumping drums. There’s no denying the single has the same jaunty swagger and the same wonderfully addictive chorus as some Libertines tracks, which leads to the question – can Dirty Pretty Things ever shake off the Libertines mantle, and more pointedly – do they want? With a ready made loyal fan base already in place what more could they ask for? But with 3 ex Libertines in the race now, what of the fourth? I’d recommend putting your money on the dark horse in this race. Ex Libertine bassist John Hassell’s and his as yet unsigned band YETI have just finished a hard slog in the studio – what this space for their debut , they could yet come out on top.

FALLOUT BOY – Dance Dance( single)

I can’t quite take Fallout Boy seriously now I’ve seen the pictures of guitarist Pete Wentz’s ‘Little Pete’ floating about online, but nevertheless the pop punk pranksters from Chicago demand our attention with their second single Dance Dance. Basically if you liked ‘Sugar We’re Going Down’ you’re going to like Dance Dance; it’s cut from the same cloth, an upbeat anthemic ditty with sing-along choruses, which wheedles it’s way into your head. Some clever little person’s coined the word ‘Mainstr-emo’ and that’s what this is : emo for the masses. Glorious guitars, tambourines meshed with anxious tones coupled with angst ridden lyrics – Fall Out Boy have hit on a successful formula and this rough and tumble single is another notch in their belt ( just keep that belt done up next time Pete..).

THE FADES – Caca / Fruitmachine(single)

The Fades describes themselves as ‘punk soul rockers’ – and they may have hit the nail on the head. CACA bounces out of the stalls with a racing bass, coupled with pulsating drums and jagged guitars. Vocals are almost spoken but it’s the chorus that hits you squarely between the eyes with its contemptuous, in-your-face turns. Ultimately this offering is accessible punk; racing along, twisting and turning with new intensity, there’s a sense of urgency which carries the tracks along. B side Fruit Machine is reminiscent of The Clash, production is raw and unpolished, edgy vocals coupled with dirty guitars – in a world of super slick production and vocals auto tuned to hell The Fades have a real’ sound that’s a breathe of fresh air, and this London based four piece are anything but generic. If you’re sick of of the sugar coated American punk pop and overly produced indie – then THE FADES could be the perfect antidote.

FIZZGIG – Fizzgig
(Self Released)

The self titled mini album from Cincinnati upstarts FIZZGIG is bursting with up-tempo beats, easy on the ear choruses coupled with heavy guitars and endearing melodic lyrics. Tracks seem familiar after only a few listens, there’s nothing overly original or different to make them stand out from the legions of same same pop punk bands out there which is a shame, because ultimately this is a really likeable and talented four piece, who sound like a cross between Weezer and Smashing Pumpkins. But despite the lack of originality, kudos to FIZZGIG for recording and producing this album off their own back and on their own label. With the current love affair with punk tinged power pop this guys will be successful but here’s hoping their next release have a little more of their own identity stamped on it.

THE ORGAN- Brother
(Too Pure Records)

With a name like THE ORGAN you’d be forgiven assuming this was a full on grunt-rock outfit, and so it’s a pleasant surprise to find a wonderfully talented quintet of girls behind the name. Hailing from Vancouver, THE ORGAN’s debut UK single ‘Brother‘ paves the way for their album ‘GRAB THAT GUN’, which touches down this week. Tinged with a light melancholy, the track is a simple arrangement, but starkly beautiful. The vocals courtesy, of Kate Sketch, have a tragic air of vulnerability to them. But this isn’t cry-into-your-pillow emo, rather it’s an almost folk meshed indie, and The Smiths’ and The Cure’s influence wheedles it’s way through the track. THE ORGAN prove to be an unexpected treat, their atmospheric, poignant take on life is both charming and uplifting.

Alex Gosman has been pestering neighbours with:

THE DEAD PETS – The Revenge Of The Village Idiots
(10 Past 10)

If you like loud, fast, chaotic rock n’ roll, then you ought to like the Dead Pets – it’s that simple. Imagine Motorhead brawling with Madness for the last can of super-strength cider in the fridge; a mix of buzzsaw guitar and brash horns that’s guaranteed to get any self-respecting punk rock fan dancing. Smart, and often side-splittingly funny, ‘Village Idiots’ sees the band taking issue with the tabloid mentality (‘If It Sells, It Sells’), drug addiction (‘Mother’s Ruin’) and debt problems (‘Never Never’) with no shortage of tunes or charisma. They’re probably playing near you soon; you know what to do.

BACKYARD BABIES – People Like People Like People Like Us
(Century Media)

The colourful Swedish rockers have returned with another helping of Stockholm-via-Sunset-Strip rock n’ roll, and boy, does this one taste good. Hellacopters main man Nicke Andersson is on production duties; and there are echoes of his band on the swaggering riffs of ‘Cockblocker Blues’ and the soulful ‘Roads‘. For the most part, though, it’s bubblegum sleaze punk anthems of the highest order, with the chorus of ‘Dysfunctional Professional’ sure to lodge itself in your brain within first listen. A life affirming record that is best enjoyed with the volume cranked up and the booze flowing freely.

DARKEST HOUR – So Sedated, So Secure

The term ‘metalcore’ is fast becoming a dirty word, largely due to the legions of bands peddling plagiarised Iron Maiden riffs over a horribly over-produced approximation of hardcore. So be grateful for the existence of Darkest Hour, a band who inject some much needed intensity and integrity into the genre. This re-release of their second album (from 2001) hits home with the force of a fully grown tiger chasing a wounded wildebeest; with all the speed, roaring and shredding you could wish for. The two bonus tracks are highly worthwhile, but the real surprise lies in what follows you’ll have to discover that for yourself, though!

(Too Pure)

Welsh trio Mclusky were never really afforded the recognition they deserved, despite three excellent albums and some frenetic live shows. Finding themselves in a scene awash with Strokes clones, they took a raw garage punk sound and twisted into bizarre new shapes, topping it off with a dark, often-sarcastic sense of humour. Songs like ‘Joy‘ and ‘To Hell With Good Intentions’ rock in a Sonic Youth/Pixies manner, with a shot of small-town rage thrown in for good measure, and there are doubtlessly many more treats to be found on the b-sides and rarities CDs (available as part of a limited edition 3CD set). Sadly, they split up last year; but here’s your chance to catch up on what you might have missed.

SICK OF IT ALL – Death To Tyrants
(Abacus/Century Media)

The legendary New York hardcore stalwarts have been in the game for twenty years now, and ‘Death To Tyrants’ is proof enough that they’ve lost none of the righteous fury and urgency that made classics like ‘Scratch The Surface’ so compelling. There’s no showing off here; just track after track of fast, furious, no-frills hardcore, with potential future live favourites in the likes of ‘Die Alone’ and the heavyweight riffing of ‘Uprising Nation’. There are many younger bands out there who’ve taken inspiration from Sick Of It All‘s legacy, but on ‘Death To Tyrants‘, Lou Koller’s crew have struck a hefty blow for the old guard.

Ryan Bird has been schmoozing alongside celebs with:

(Metal Blade)

Chances are that whether they realise it or not, everyone has either seen or heard Cannibal Corpse at some point in their futile lives. Though they made a little-known appearance in the Jim Carrey classic ‘Ace Ventura’, the aptly titled ‘Kill’ is yet another mainstream-loathing and delightfully disgusting masterpiece from one of death metal’s longest serving legends. Let the bloodbath begin.

FACEDOWNINSHIT – Nothing Positive, Only Negative

Hailing from Greensboro, North Carolina; Facedowninshit melds the ethos of hardcore and punk, the sincerity of blues and a forceful urgency to create their own unique brand of southern fried dirt metal. With latest opus ‘NPON‘, the trio have delivered the type of honesty that resonates in every word, every riff, and through every last drum beat. Pure sludge brilliance.

LAMB OF GOD – New American Gospel
(Epic Records)

If you were unfortunate or just plain stupid enough to miss Lamb of God’s now infamous Metal Blade / Prosthetic released debut ‘New American Gospel’, then on April 17th comes to chance to redeem yourself. Re-packaged with 4 bonus tracks including the fan favourite rarity ‘Nippon‘, this was to be the album that would lay down the foundations for modern day metal as we know it.

SOILENT GREEN – Confrontation

Much like fellow underground royalty Eyehategod (of whom they share six-stringer Brian Patton), New Orleans’ sludge-metal masters Soilent Green are undoubtedly one of heavy metal’s most criminally unsung heroes. Hailed as one of the genre’s “top 10 most important bands” by US super-mag Rolling Stone, ‘Confrontation‘ is possibly the most devastating and intensely focussed album of their career.

SYLOSIS – Casting Shadows EP
(Self Released)

Within 12 months, chances are that any self-respecting metalhead will know the name Sylosis. The Reading based quintet are one of the UK scene’s fastest rising and most talented prospects; currently attracting various major label interest with a blistering concoction of classic and contemporary metal ferocity. Beat the rush and pick up a copy of their forthcoming ‘Casting Shadows’ EP to discover the UK’s next breakthrough sensation.

James Sherry is polluting the air with:

HERESY – Face Up To It!
(Boss Tuneage Retro Series)

From the mid to late eighties, Heresy were the absolute kings of the UK hardcore scene. They were blindingly fast and heavy, yet their short and viciously sharp songs were infected with enough buzzing riffs and melodic hooks to keep you coming back for more. In short, they wrote good songs! Their live shows were heroically high energy affairs, with each member high jumping around the stage as each track exploded into life. They only ever recorded one full length LP, reissued here with twelve bonus tracks recorded in rehearsal. The album’s original recording was plagued with problems and the band were never happy with the thin, tinny sound they got from the studio but had no money left and no other choice than to go with what they had. The songs themselves, however, made it all worth it and the album still did well on release. Thankfully, this reissue has been completely remastered and ‘Face Up To It!’ finally has the punchy sound it deserves. A must for fans of real hardcore.

THE HORROR – The Fear, The Terror, The Horror
(Violent Change)

Talking of real hardcore, let me introduce you to the sheer raw power of The Horror. Fuck all of that metal shit masquerading as hardcore, this is the real deal. Fast, pissed off and utterly direct, The Horror plug into the roots of hardcore, feeding off the power of seminal bands like SSD, Void, Negative Approach, DRI etc and spewing them back into the present in a wave of bile and hate. This is vicious stuff. Their second full album and just as short and razor sharp as before. They’ve certainly not fucked with the formula and stick to what they do best.

PENTAGRAM – First Daze Here Too

When Black Sabbath single-handily created heavy metal back in 1970 with their dark, morbidly black debut album, greasy haired teens the world over filled their lungs full of thick dope smoke and took their cue to take rock music in a much heavier, darker direction. Pentagram hailed from Washington DC and throughout the seventies created some of the best and most influential doom rock, combining those classic Tony Iommi riffs with the heavy blues of the Groundhogs and The Who and the obscure, twisted heavy rock of Sir Lord Baltimore and Captain Beyond. Although the band came very close to success throughout the seventies, that big record deal never came their way and it wasn’t until the eighties that they finally started releasing records. But their seventies material is the best and Relapse have done the right thing and expanded on their previous demo collection with this double CD of primal rock grooves. Unmissable.

VARIOUS – Creative Outlaws

In many respects, the art of the compilation album is dead. Destroyed by endless record label samplers, magazine giveaways and thoughtless cash-ins, to find one with some love and passion put into it is rare. Anyone old enough to remember the joy of compiling a compilation tape for a friend will be able to relate to this. Hours were spent selecting and compiling, sometimes working to a theme, sometimes just selecting your choice tunes of the week. Well, ‘Creative Outlaws’ has that vibe. Created from American Underground music recorded between 1962 and 1970, ‘Creative Outlaws’ is the perfect title for this collection of freaks and misfits, ranging from the blasting rock of Hendrix and MC5 to the weirdy-beardy lunacy of Captain Beefheart and The Fugs, this is a truly challenging romp through the American Underground when the times they were a changing. A true piece of history.

MOTORPSYCHO – Black Hole/Blank Canvas

Although this is their first album in three years, usually prolific Norwegian art-rockers Motorpsycho have not been lazy in their absence. ‘Black Hole/Blank Canvas’ is a double album of sprawling moods, sounds and styles. Mixing indie, post-punk, stoner rock and Krautrock to stunning effect, this is constantly challenging and absolutely never boring! Songs like ‘No Evil’ ride that difficult divide between experimentation and melody, making sure the songs still have enough hooks in them to keep reeling you in like wet flappy fish whilst never resorting to the obvious or retracing their steps. Great stuff. Highly recommended.