KILLER HEARTS – Skintight Electric

The debut EP from Killer Hearts provided a quick jolt of retro brilliance back in 2019. Taking the trashiness of the New York Dolls debut, the sheer drive of Dictators’ proto punk noise and a bit of extra oomph, its four songs were a fast and sweaty treat. The end mix made the lead guitars seem razor sharp, and the way the vocals seemed half buried in noise often made it hard to pick out the finer points of any lyrical concerns, but all things considered it was a great tribute to the world of 1970s proto-punks and hardened Stooges wannabes.

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It may come some nine years after The Riverboat Gamblers’ last full length album, and a lengthy five years since the release of their last 7” single, but this comeback disc from the Texan punks is everything fans could hope for. Not only does it capture the band combating a selection of great riffs at full pelt, but it comprises material that even a non-fan would recognise a mile off. It’s a win-win on all fronts.

As more than hinted at by the title, this release features the Gamblers turning their hands to covers by the legendary Ramones and the just as legendary Motorhead. Two bands that seem quite different, and yet, are great bedfellows due to their love of speed and simple, direct riffs.

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When you think about Canadian punk, there are a few names that instantly spring to mind. NoMeansNo and D.O.A. are the most famous of punk’s first wave; Comeback Kid and Cancer Bats are among the top tier of the twenty first century crop. Whilst Propagandhi are arguably the most famous exponent of Canadian punk in the 90s, The Black Halos made an impact in Vancouver between 1993-2009 – enough to get signed to the then very much in vogue Sub Pop label and to work with legendary producer Jack Endino.

The Black Halos looked more towards Johnny Thunders, New York Dolls and The Stooges for their core influences – something which, during that period, was very much a sidestep from the usual Ramones or hardcore influences dominant in the punk scene. The love for trashy rock so obviously helped guitarist Rich Jones become a natural fit with Ginger Wildheart’s band upon his relocation to the UK after the band’s split.

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Formed at the tail end of 2017, Hembree And The Satan Sisters was borne from frontman Zachary M. Hembree’s desires to record more punk oriented material. Teaming up with ex-members of Guff and Burns Like Fire, The Satan Sisters finds Hembree (ex Nuclear Blast signings Toro) opting for speed and crunch over traditional heaviness and their debut release is…immense. Packing nine tracks in under twenty minutes, the EP format suits the band extremely well, allowing their music to greet the listener with a genuine sucker punch.

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THE PEAWEES – Dead End City

Formed in the mid 90s as a punk outfit, The Peawees quickly established themselves as a band to look out for on the European scene. Over the next few years, they became musically stronger and eventually injected their sound with some good old rock ‘n’ roll attitude. A firm fan favourite, their third album ‘Dead End City’ was issued on Stardumb Records in 2001. The first pressing sold out in record time; a second pressing sold out very quickly and a vinyl reissue on Stardumb featuring bonus tracks was snapped up by eager fans, always keen for a Peawees fix. Although considered one of the band’s very best albums and a European punk classic, it took until 2019 for the album to gain a CD reissue and a US release…

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