PANSY DIVISION – Quite Contrary

pansy divisionDuring the peak of American pop-punk in the 90s, around the time that Green Day made the jump to a major label and set upon a road to megastardom, their one-time label mates Pansy Division released their first full-length. ‘Undressed’ brought pop-punk greatness and the band used their art to spread love and understanding of gay culture, often with with a huge sense of humour. Over the next fifteen years, this out and proud stance, combined with more musical talent than some of their peers (trying hard not to point too much at Pounded Clown here) gained Pansy Division a loyal following. 2016’s ‘Quite Contrary’ – their ninth album, released via the legendary Alternative Tentacles label – breaks a seven year recording silence with some of their best original material to date and a fantastic cover tune.

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IRON MAIDEN – No Prayer For The Dying

maiden 90As the 1990s dawned and Iron Maiden entered their second decade as recording artists, their eighth studio album presented the band’s first real misfire. Sure, 1981’s ‘Killers’ may have used of a lot of leftover material but it had a lot of heart, but ‘No Prayer For The Dying’ (released in October 1990) is the first Maiden release that could be considered bad. Maybe that’s harsh. To put it another way: it is one of those albums which sounds solid enough at first, but dig a little deeper and repeated listens show it to be generally unremarkable. And obviously, compared to Maiden’s previous heights – following a decade where the band could barely put a foot wrong – that’s not so good. Since its predecessor ‘Seventh Son of a Seventh Son’ offered especially memorable material in ‘Infinite Dreams’, ‘Can I Play With Madness’ and ‘The Evil That Men Do’, it didn’t seem like too much of a leap of faith to expect ‘No Prayer…’ to deliver a similar standard of goods, but most of the album sounds genuinely flat by comparison with any of its forebears.

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CATTLE – Nature’s Champion

cattle2016Cattle’s debut EP was a short and sharp burst of angular noise rock that really stood out among the many great releases of 2013.  With such a forthright approach, their musical arrangements were truly impressive, but best of all was the overriding bass sound, which came with so much overdrive it made JJ Burnel’s efforts sound small and made the Melvins more grinding affairs seem non-committal. Not long after that EP, various band members returned to their co-existing noise-rock outfit Super Luxury…and it seemed that Cattle might have been just a one-off experiment. But what an experiment it was!

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Melvins drummer to release 12 sided vinyl

The Melvins have never done things by halves. They’re known for unexpected collaborations, albums that are almost audio art projects as much as conventional releases and highly prolific output.

Drummer Dale Crover’s next project is so insane, it makes the Melvins 8-track cartridge where no two copies were identical seem like a bankable affair. Introducing the twelve sided vinyl!

Full details and instructional video below.


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IAN HUNTER & THE RANT BAND – Fingers Crossed


Following the first run of Mott The Hoople reunion shows in 2009, Ian Hunter took time out to write new material. The Hoople gigs seemed to energise the legendary singer songwriter, as 2012’s ‘When I’m President’ (recorded with The Rant Band) contained some of his best material for some time. From the catchy pop-rock of the title track – complete with trademark tongue in cheek lyric – to the thoughtful ‘Black Tears’, the straight up rock of ‘Fatally Flawed’ and the brilliant 70s throwback and Hoople inspired ‘Comfortable (Flying Scotsman)’, the album was – and still is – a superb record. An album worthy of filing next to his 1975 solo debut and the much-loved ‘You’re Never Alone With a Schizophrenic’.

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