VARIOUS ARTISTS – Socks On Records And Friends Volume 3

Ever since its launch as a not for profit label in 2021, Socks On Records has always conveyed a sense of community spirit. Members of Das Kapitans may well have been the instigators of Socks On and their band is the label’s most prolific act, but everyone who encounters the label becomes a member of their extended family. There’s no one-upmanship; no hierarchy – just a gathering of friends on a mission to make and share good music, DIY style.

This release really extends the Socks On ethos of sharing music in an altruistic way. It brings together over thirty tracks from various names who might not be familiar, and all monies earned from downloads will be donated to CPSL MIND, a mental health charity in Peterborough.

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The thirteenth release from Das Kapitans (2022’s ‘Debut’) marked a turning point for the band. Not only was it the first release where all of the band members played on all tracks, but the album appeared to have a much more confident and bigger sound. Bigger didn’t necessarily mean more commercial, of course, and on numbers like ‘That’ll Do Pig’ and ‘Big Muff’, their combination of post punk anger and Mudhoney-esque energy sounded absolutely furious. It was the kind of album that captured the band’s raw essence perfectly. If that didn’t help to build their fan base via enthusiastic word of mouth via the internet, nothing would. Not that Das Kapitans are in it for the fame and fortune; as founders of the Socks On record label, their commitment to the ideals of a musical collective and keeping things DIY is solid, and the music comes above everything else.

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Released in November 2022 with no hint of promotion, this surprise split release from Get The Fuck Outta Dodge and Das Kapitans is a treat for fans of either band. With a shared label and a shared goal in terms of noise-making, these musical friends have much in common, but scratch beneath the surface and it’s obvious that each band comes with their own very clear musical identity. Das Kapitans mix punk with a lot of very 90s indie rock influences, whilst Dodge play a particularly ferocious brand of lo-fi hardcore. On this split, they’ve chosen to record each others’ material, leading to an experiment that captures both acts in a typically raw mood, but at the same time, adds something new to their world of noise.

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For those who were paying attention to the UK indie rock/punk underground during those periods of pandemic lockdown during 2020 and ’21, the name Das Kapitans will be a familiar one. As the world slowly ground to a halt, the band went into recording overdrive by releasing twelve albums’ worth of material at a rate that would’ve made Guided By Voices man Robert Pollard seem lazy.

Their 2022 release ‘Debut’, then, isn’t a debut in the true sense; nor does it mean that the band consider their dozen lo-fi Bandcamp releases in anyway unofficial or unimportant. The title comes from the fact that it’s actually the first Das Kapitans disc to be recorded “properly”, with far more care – and with all of the band members present at all times. This gives the album an extra level of professionalism, but those who’ve already taken the time to explore the band’s rapidly assembled catalogue and fallen for its ragged and noisy charms needn’t worry about this being too polished. Yes, in many ways, the material sounds better, but it never really loses any of the band’s rough and ready spirit, and the expected big riffs are still at the forefront of the best material.

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