Top Sounds - E

ELMERHASSEL - Self Analysis {Boss Tuneage} Second half of the ELMERHASSEL story and a half that sees the support of local football team, Ipswich Town, go into overdrive. This one has 18 tracks and includes the ‘John Wark’ album from 1995, the ‘Pride In Ipswich’ 7", a couple of compilation tracks and the previously unreleased first demo recorded back in 1991. It’s probably a slightly more complex sound on the ‘John Wark’ album (if you don’t know, he played for Ipswich and was a bit of a favourite) but it’s still laden with great songs. There are two versions of ‘Ipswich (Get That Goal)’ and highlight is probably the blazing and slightly abrasive ‘Apology And Explanation’ and the hypnotic ‘Listen Up’. The unreleased demo sounds really strong too with ‘New Religion’ being particularly urgent. As said below, this for me is the weaker of the two compilations although it probably contains the songs with stronger structures and greater depth. Both discs work well together and offer an impressive legacy of one of the most underrated bands Ipswich ever produced. (04.08.15)

ELMERHASSEL - Entertainment Value {Boss Tuneage} All too often, ELMERHASSEL is, in my eyes, the forgotten band of the early 90s Punk scene in my hometown of Ipswich. Why, I’m not sure; I have all of the records that this and a second compilation (above) contain, and I always enjoyed them live. Anyway, this is a 23-track compilation of the band’s earliest output, comprising the ‘Honour Your Partners’ mini album from 1992, the ‘Almost At One’ 7" from ‘93 and the minor classic that is the ‘Billyous’ album from ‘94. It’s rounded out with a couple of comp tracks too. The band had a sound that fused elements of SUPERCHUNK, LEMONHEADS and a vague, melodic DC sound which was coupled with witty and clever lyrics courtesy of guitarist/vocalist Clive Watling (who also writes some sleeve notes). Most of my favourites are on here - ‘Almost At One’, ‘Safeish’, a fun cover of ‘Big Yellow Taxi’, ‘Dehydration’ , ‘Tea And Sympathy’, lots of great songs. The songs still sound vital, clever and fresh today - some 20 years on - and that’s no doubt been aided by a full remastering. For me, this is the pick of the two retrospectives. (04.08.15)

EL ESCAPADO - The Getaway {Stik Man} Dunno why, but this didn’t quite hit me like I had hoped. The band includes Abe Mesaris on vocals, who used to be in the rather fantastic CARRY-ONS but for some reason, the NOFX-esque rapid style riffing meets semi-shouted/ growled DILLINGER FOUR-esque vocals just fell a bit flat. Kinda oddly I kept hearing something approaching CIV too, probably due to some of the backing vocals. It’s not all bad; highlights ‘Battle With The Bottle’ and closer ‘The Getaway’ held the attention while the excellent ‘The Eagle Is Watching’ stole the disc with a memorable chorus and set of lyrics that probed and questioned. Those three tracks would’ve made a killer 7". It’s notable too that these three tracks pivoted around stellar choruses. Sadly, the remaining four tracks here just seemed a bit run-of-the-mill. Not bad but not outstandingly good either - just competent. (19.01.16)

ENEMY, THE - Collection {Westworld} Reissue of the compilation Captain Oi! released some 20 years ago. I’ve always had a lot of time for this band outta Derby, UK. While many of their (more successful) UK82 contemporaries did generic thrashy Punk, these fellas brought in some finely tuned songwriting and some excellent melodic guitar work, bringing to mind STIFF LITTLE FINGERS, second album PARTISANS and a hint of their Derby town-mates, ANTI-PASTI. This totals 22 tracks and includes the ‘50,000 Dead’ self-released EP from 1981 and their entire Fall Out Records output: the 1982 singles ‘Fallen Hero’, ‘Punks Alive’ and ‘Last Rites’ and the 1983 album ‘Gateway To Hell’. The album, although slightly muddy (as was a lot of the era), is a cracker laden with songs that should’ve got the band more recognition that they did, check ‘Warcry’, ‘States Prison’, ‘Prisoner Of War’, opener ‘Black Days’, the dramatic ‘Murder On The Street’ or the reworked ‘50,000 Dead’. Of the singles it’s ‘Fallen Hero’ that’s the most immediate and impressive. If you know your stuff, you may remember it from the second ‘Punk And Disorderly’ comp. Packaging’s a bit sparse though, with just the original covers reprinted. No lyrics, no notes about the original releases or what songs appeared where. Musically though, this is a welcome reprise for one of the great unsung UK82 bands. (28.01.17)

EPIC PROBLEM - ‘11 - ‘14 {Boss Tuneage/ Pumpkin/ Savage Amusement} This band must get pissed off with constant reminders that the guitarist, Mackie, was in BLITZ. Shit... there’s another. This ain’t no BLITZ revisionism though. This is impassioned Punk Rock fusing RANCID with SNUFF and a dollop of HOT WATER MUSIC to create something that is genuinely convincing and entertaining. My big grizzle about this is that, although it is obviously a compilation of material recorded during the years in the title, there is no suggestion which of the 17 tracks were recorded when, or released on what. We do get told it has been remastered - but that’s it. Band members ain’t even credited. As for the music, each track is ripping but the opening six tracks pretty much steal the disc with ‘Sink’ being the disc highlight with some fantastic MISFITS-esque ‘wooh’ vocals (as stated below in fact!) while ‘Deny’ has a killer chorus. Elsewhere, ‘Have It All’ highlights the HWM vibe while ‘Short Circuit’ roars outta the speakers with bile flying and closer ‘Nihilistic Army’ rules like only a blazing TURBONEGRO tribute should. If a bit more thought could’ve gone into the graphics, I’m sure the music would’ve carried even more weight given some placement and perspective. (08.03.16)

EPIC PROBLEM - Lines {Rebel Sound} 4-track EP from this new British band that includes Mackie outta BLITZ among its members. Don’t expect another ‘All Out Attack’ though; this is more akin to HOT WATER MUSIC structures but fused with a SOCIAL DISTORTION penchant for big guitars and bigger choruses. Of the four tracks, not one is a duffer be it the anthemic, title-track opener, the LEATHERFACE-tinged ‘Deny’, ‘Sink’ that incorporates MISFITS wo-woah backing vocals, a boisterous riff and steam rolling rhythm section to claim the EP’s best track or closer which could be considered the most BLITZ-like track here without actually sounding like them. A truly cracking EP that promotes EPIC PROBLEM to the premiership of current UK bands. Interesting sleeve too that’s a bit of a pastiche on some of FUCKED UP’s art work. Bilious, raucous and totally rocking stuff. (11.05.15)

ESE - All In {Sudden Death} I know zero about this lot apart from the fact they’re a four-piece and, judging by their names and album artwork, are of Hispanic origins. What you get is a dozen tracks of raucous, attitude-laced Punk Rock ‘n’ Roll that fuses the HC elements of RF7 with the Garage goo of ZEROS but cranked out with a relentlessness that matches ANNIHILATION TIME! Highlights include opener ‘Badass Fatass’, ‘Pissed Off’ which mirrors POISON IDEA in its belligerent nihilism and ‘The Difference’ that could easily be a prime-time MOTORHEAD outtake. Elsewhere there are covers of ‘Guacamole’ by TEXAS TORNADOS and a spirited blast through NAKED RAYGUN’s ‘Got New Dreams’. Certainly seems these guys like to party and I’m sure they’d enjoy a tour with THE HIP PRIESTS if the opportunity arose. One for all the boozers, rockers and reprobates. (25.01.16)

EXTERMINATORS - Product Of America {Slope} Latest in line of US HC supergroups (although the origins run back to the late 70s), this time featuring drummer Don Bolles (GERMS), bassist Cris Kirkwood (MEAT PUPPETS), the crazed vocal of Johnny Macho (founder who also played bass in FEEDERZ) and guitarist Buzzy Murder. Unlike the snappy HC of OFF! or the bruising aggression of DEAD ENDING, this is much more sneering, snide and entrenched in nasty Garage Punk Rock. You get 16 tracks kicking off with ‘I Hate You’ that sets the writhing cantankerous tone perfectly. From there each track is a thrilling ride into Macho’s bizarre world of loathing, sex and sarcastic politics. Highlights? ‘Cream Of My Dream’ is a ringer for DEAD BOYS complete with a great Stiv-esque vocal, the careering ‘First And Last’, the nihilism of ‘I Don’t Give A Fuck’, the ramalama Punk riffage of ‘Just Like Your Mom’ and the thudding rhythm of ‘Death Blow’ with its refrain of "Church plus State equals hate," while the acidic title track recalls the twisted genius of FEEDERZ. This is a thrilling album to hear at this point in time, especially given the new President (non)Elect of America. There are no niceties for radio play here, nor any shiny happy Pop Punk tunes for ‘the kids’. Nope, this is noxious, raging Punk that’s sarcastic in the right way, unapologetic and loud-mouthed. Gimme...  (12.05.17)

EXTERNAL MENACE - Off The Rails (Violated} Live recording of this underrated Scottish band, taken from what was possibly the band’s last ever gig at the Rebellion Festival, Blackpool 2015. You get ten tracks that fly by in a matter of 21 minutes, fusing UK SUBS and SATANS RATS 70s UK style Punk with more brutal early 80s Punk a’la PARTISANS ‘Time Was Right’ era and even a few DISCHARGE-ian guitar bursts. Highlights? ‘No Uniform’ that highlights those DISCHARGE guitar bursts, ‘No Views’ that’s a quirky 70s-esque Punk blast and ‘Political Poverty’ that’s a bruising take on the band’s late 70s demo track while closer ‘Someday’ includes a guest vocal slot from VIOLENT SOCIETY’s Pat Society. It’s ‘Shoot To Kill’ that takes disc highlight though with some great guitar lines and pointed anti-drug message. As live albums go, it’s a decent document of a band that deserves more attention but, given the duration of the disc, it seems a bit odd that Violated has chosen to seemingly chop some of the in between song banter; noticeable cuts can be heard - especially during the earlier half of the disc. Old fans need this, newer fans should find this a good starter for ten. (21.06.16)


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