THE GENTS – Chop The Rot EP

Taking the grubbiness of classic Mudhoney and injected it with the spirit of old school punk and a pinch of early Motorhead, German punk ‘n’ roll trio The Gents whip up a speed driven storm on their 2022 EP ‘Chop The Rot’. Although speed is often the key to bringing a genuine excitement to their material, also a great pleasure to be had when hearing the band approaching most of their work at full volume. This results in the kind of release that would appeal to a broad spectrum of punk fans.

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At the time of this release, it may well have been fifteen years since Electric Frankenstein gave the world a full length album of self-penned, brand new material, but the band have kept themselves more than busy. In that time, they’ve released a bunch of singles (including an excellent cover of Alice Cooper’s ‘Under My Wheels’) and also lent their talents to a plethora of split releases, including discs shared with The Hip Priests, Kung Fu Killers and The Bordells. Making it somewhat easier to catch up with their sporadic recording style, a lot of singles and EP tracks have also been reissued on EF full length comps by Ghost Highway Records, further helping to maintain the band’s presence.

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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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