The Punk Archive aims to be the only blog you'll ever need for reviews and news on the punk, ska, reggae and alternative music scenes. We will review music from the past, present, and future, looking at CD, vinyl, mp3 and hitting as many gigs as we can handle, as well as keeping you in the loop with the goings-on in our scene and interviewing as many bands as we can. Please enjoy the blog and feel free to send any comments or feedback to us via email to thepunkarchive@hotmail.co.uk , or by visiting our Twitter at www.twitter.com/thepunkarchive , or our Facebook at www.facebook.com/thepunkarchive. You can also find us on Instagram: just search for @thepunkarchive.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Interview: Radio Alcatraz

We caught up with Andy from London rockers Radio Alcatraz to talk influences, new album and more...

The Punk Archive: Hey man, introduce yourselves to our readers?
Andy: We're a four-piece post-hardcore band based in London.

The Punk Archive: You worked with plenty of famous bands and artists on It's All Coming Up Roses, from Anti-Flag to Jamie Lenman. What was the inspiration behind that, and how was it?
Andy: Whilst making the new record we had this crazy idea of including some of the guys who have inspired us musically as a band. Never did we think we could actually pull it off based on a few emails and demos sent out: simply asking if they'd like to be involved! We feel truly honoured they were all so excited by it. They're all great guys, who just love to be involved in music regardless of popularity or success.

The Punk Archive: Clearly your lyrics and content are highly emotive and politically charged. Are you hoping your music makes a difference?
Andy: Yeah, the lyrics are quite intense. There's some ideas in there that can certainly challenge your perception of various subjects. As far as making a difference...I think I speak for all of us when I say we're not so misguided to think we could ever do something of that scale. We're just four music fans who like to keep it tense.


The Punk Archive: How was the reaction to your first album? Do you feel your sound has changed since then, and why?
Andy: The reaction to the first record was fantastic, and we still really love the lo-fi edge that record has. Our sound has definitely evolved, as all bands' will over time. I think we definitely went for a more focused sound on the new album, but without losing the intensity...and the riffs.

The Punk Archive: What's next for Radio Alcatraz?
Andy: We'll be playing some shows towards the end of the year in support of the new record, and will announce them soon.  The writing and demoing never stops, and I think it's generally what we have the most fun doing, just writing new songs. You can expect to hear new music hopefully around spring next year...

Nightmare Festival 2014: Preview

Ahead of this weekend's Nightmare Festival in Camden, our Editor Dan picks out his top five bands to see across the day over and above those on The Punk Archive Stage...


1. Colt 45
Certainly one of our favourite bands here at The Punk Archive, this Cumbrian three-piece have really been making 2014 their year. We've seen the release of The Tide Is Turning, as well a triumphant sets at Camden Rocks and Download festivals. Live, they're a truly unmissable proposition, with the raw punk energy they create mixing perfectly with retro rock'n'roll. Flying the flag for UK street-punk'n'roll, Colt 45 are not to be missed.

2. Elliot Minor
Following a hiatus, these pop-emo-rockers have returned with a bit of a bang, playing a handful of shows to sold-out audiences. Their catchy, classically-tinged pop-emo tracks are a brilliant throwback to the time of massive fringes and eyeshadow, and actually came a bit before their time with bands such as Set It Off now playing similar stuff; but this doesn't hide the fact that they're a bit of an addictive band. They'll deliver some massive choruses and a true party atmosphere.

3. Attention Thieves
Do you like aggressive, driving rock music with a sharp edge? Do you like gritty, raw vocals with a melodic polish? Do you like energetic tracks with catchy choruses? Attention Thieves are for you. All of the above and more, these guys are absolutely incredible live and will certainly liven up your afternoon...

4. Crazy Arm
A band that, whenever I see them on a festival line-up, I go and see regardless of any clashes. Brilliantly anthemic protest-punk, this Plymouth quartet are a stunning live act who I guarantee will leave you speechless with a combination of on-point lyrics, gritty authenticity and a good helping of a  grass-roots punk'n'roll style. Brilliant.

5. InME
One of those bands that once you hear them again you realise just how good they were. Overgrown Eden was an album which I grew up with, and to hear tracks such as Firefly, Neptune and Underdose live will be a brilliant throw back. Still pulsing with an unstoppable energy, these guys remain the best thing to come out of Brentwood...


Don't miss the incredible line-up on The Punk Archive Stage at The Good Mixer, too...



Head to http://nightmarecamden.com for information, tickets and more...

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

The Stiff Joints: Double EP Review

Artist: The Stiff Joints
Titles: Rowdy and Stoned / Circus On Repeat
Formats Reviewed: MP3
Formats Released: 2012 & 2014
Reviewed By: Millie Manders

The Stiff Joints are a 10 piece ska band from Kidderminster with punk roots, and I am well late to the party on this one. Currently in the process of recording their third EP these guys have been tearing England a new one since 2009 and have fans at the BBC and across the pond at Incognito Magazine in the US, not to mention the sweaty ones skanking at their gigs!

I first heard of these guys in the summer having narrowly missed their set at BoomTown Fair and therefore having to endure people regaling how great they were while I huffed about my poor awareness of their existence.

I have since made it a mission to acquaint myself with their particular brand of two-tone so I can let you guys in on it before their third instalment and their upcoming gig on 7th November at Hootanany's in Brixton: one of my favourite venues for roots music in London and free before 10pm! (I highly recommend that if you are in the area, you get your butts down there).

Rowdy & Stoned, a six-track EP and The Stiff Joints' debut record was released at the end of 2012; with five original tracks and one cover, this is a party from start to finish.  

Opening with Procrastination Wide, the influences of The Specials and The Clash are instantly recognisable in the bouncy guitars,  thick English accented vocals and well placed keys and brass.  It's hard and fast.

Rowdy and Stoned hits in with a minor key skagasm before dropping back into melancholy reggae.  The trumpets throughout this EP are epic and the whole feel of the track is very much synonymous with the title: it sounds a little bit drunk. It's rhythmic and yet has a slight off-kilter feel to it.  Cleverly executed and definitely a track to get you on your feet.

I have two favourite tracks on Rowdy & Stoned. The first is K-Hole. A piss take of their home town, it makes light of the local crazies, getting stoned and the general Kidderminster ‘delights’. A clever breakdown spelling out the town name and some awesome BV's top this track off for bouncy, hilarious awesomeness.

The second favourite is their cover of Back In Black by AC/DC. The original is awesome, so a ska version as far as I am concerned is a two-tone Christmas present with a jade green bow on it. Absolutely brilliant.

Circus On Repeat, the latest musical gift from the madness that is The Stiff Joints is another seven tracks of sunshine and hilarity.  

On first listen I was instantly hooked by CAM. A story of hangovers and imaginary girlfriends this track will have you lol’ing all the way to the dance floor with your monkey boots on. Pineapple Sunday is just as addictive, calling on the listener to treat life like the sweet fruit with ice cream on top regardless of bitter happenings. 


The Stiff Joints have several very good things going for them and I am going to happily list them here:

  • They talk about everyday annoyances with a large dollop of humour and make them seem like the funniest thing on the planet
  • Lead vocalist George Payton has an awesome voice (the kind of deep, manly voice that is very pleasing to the ear: ladies go wild), singing in their colloquial accent without sounding contrived
  • The brass section is full, varied and KICK ASS
  • Their music is full of smiles: you can actually hear how much fun they are having when creating both collections of songs
  • The production is polished enough to be professional but “live” sounding enough to still keep that intimate, all-out-party feel

This is a band I cannot wait to see live. The energy feels genuine and I have been drawn into their  feel-good orgy of skankthems completely.  To say I am excited about a third studio outing from these boys is an understatement. More!! MORE I SAY!

An attribute not stated on my little list is The Stiff Joint’s ability to lend theatrics to their songs.  Title track to Circus On Repeat sounds like it has taken inspiration straight from the clown entry in The Hippodrome big top and mashed it with ska.

It's trippy, fun and ever-so-slightly freaky: half way between dancing elephants and spinning pub walls with its dark drunken topic and colourful and creative melodies, up-stoke guitars, four-to-the-floor beats and funked-up bass.

Again; if you are London based and about on the 7th November I implore you to get down to Hootanany's in Brixton. A similar vibe to The Fleece in Bristol, free before 10pm and great atmosphere as well as being hailed as the top spot for roots music in London Town.

For now go have a listen to these two beasts of EP goodness and check out their facebook page and links here:

Interview: Lancaster

We caught up with Anth from Spanish rockers Lancaster following our review of their album...


The Punk Archive: How did all you meet? 
Anth: We met in different ways, coincidence and internet made the rest.

The Punk Archive: Are you classically trained musicians or self taught? 
Anth: I think we all are self-taught, well at least I am.  

The Punk Archive: Do you have any rituals before you begin writing/composing your pieces? 
Anth: Well, we just like to know what we are going to do, so until we get a few ideas we don't try to write. 

The Punk Archive: Where does the inspiration for your songs come from?
Anth: From the people, from the dark side of the humanity, our songs are songs to relate to.

The Punk Archive: There is so much depth within your lyrics, what did you all have to endure during your life travels to write such a powerful EP?
Anth: Too many deceptions, life is just a constant battle against yourself, sometimes you win, and some other times you lose, but the point is if it was worthy, you have to know where you are and where do you want to go, when and how! Life, it's just a plan and sometimes we get lost, but, keep it up man, we are young!

The Punk Archive: Who would your dream gig be with and why?
Anth: Young Guns, because they are our main influence, we admire them and it would like an accomplished dream.

The Punk Archive: Now that Journeys is slated for release in November 2014, is there anything that you would have changed concerning the final product? 
Anth: I would say no, but maybe some little things yes, like some parts in songs.

The Punk Archive: All artists experience a creative block in one way or another. How do you contend 
with yours? (Either collectively or individually)
Anth: Yes, during the writing of Journeys we had many ‘creative blocks’, the thing is to realize you are blocked and give yourself time to get more ideas or just time to think about other things.

The Punk Archive: Where do you see Lancaster ten years from now in the music industry? 
Anth: I don't really know, and it's something that scares me, I can't see my life without trying to get known with my band so I hope we still working on it, and if it's possible with a bigger fan base supporting us to make a living of music. But you know, it's hard, very, very hard.

The Punk Archive: If you had a super power what would it be? 

Anth: The power of being viral. We make this for the people but if we can't get them, it won't work, so I think it would be the perfect super-power for us. At least to accomplish our goals.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Misgivings: Delete History

Artist: Misgivings
Title: Delete History
Format Reviewed: MP3
Format Released: 3rd November 2014
Reviewed By: Adam DT


Well, this is another punk rock EP. I mean, let's not beat around the bush here, Rise Against put out their first album in 2001 and Anti-Flag did the same way back in 1996. God knows neither of those bands invented a genre, but they were at least part of a kind of punk revival scene that gave rise to some excellent music, some seminal albums and some of the sweatiest gigs of all time. Delete History, the debut EP by Portsmouth punk merchants Misgivings, isn't just influenced by this period of punk revival, it is a grainy photo copy of it, repackaged for the millionth time and released for potential global indifference.
To be honest, my issue with this EP is that it just doesn't jump out at you. The song writing is passable but nothing special, the guitars are washed in a rather nondescript distortion that tends to loose definition in the overall noise and, after a fist full of listens, I can pick neither my favourite nor my least favourite song. I would like to reference some stand out moments, some notable performances or memorable lyrics, but sadly nothing really springs to mind. To be honest, it's just not very exciting. 
There are two sides to every argument though, and I feel like putting this EP down for its lack of originality would be missing the point a bit. I suspect that Misgivings are a band that shouldn't be entirely judged until they have been seen live. Their press release tells of their formation in a Hamburg squat, of beer fuelled gigs at toilet venues and of hangover-laden touring, and I'm prepared to bet that some of those shows were great fun to be at. The DIY nature of the recording (with its simplistic production and home-grown/honest sound) hints unsubtly at how Misgivings might come across live, which I'm sure was the intention. The vocals may not be great, but they are gravelly, boisterous and belted out with unquestionable resolve, and whilst this band might not be pushing the envelope musically they do sound tight. Moreover, for a d├ębut release it is at least fairly impressive to have a well realised sound spread across six songs and twenty-one minutes. There may not be any flashes of genius yet, but it is all perfectly listenable. There is unquestionably potential here, albeit in amongst the rather over hashed punk rock aggression.

Amaranthe: Massive Addictive

Artist: Amaranthe
Title: Massive Addictive
Format Reviewed: MP3
Format Released: 20th October 2014
Reviewed By: Katherine Tabb


Pop songs are defined by their simple format which is shown through hooks, repeated choruses and short length. Amaranthe have used these elements in their latest album Massive Addictive and they don't shy away from this fact. Their blend of melodic metal and EDM may leave some metal fans reeling, but there's no denying how well they've made it work.
The album kicks off with Dynamite, which is an appropriate title with its explosive mix of techno and heavy riffs. It acts as a brilliant introduction to what Amaranthe are all about, and those pop hooks successfully make it an overall catchy tune. It is followed by the first single on the album, Drop Dead Cynical. The technique of a repetitive chorus is clearer here, and this track leans slightly more away from the metal side of Amaranthe than Dynamite did. It's another good track if you're not looking for something particularly deep, and it does allow some room to showcase their new screamer, Henrik Englund Wilhelmsson. 
Title track, Massive Addictive, is sold as the anthemic song of the album. This track really hits the nail on the head in terms of blending EDM with metal, the two styles really compliment each other in this format. All three vocalists are given a chance to shine with Elise Ryd and Jake E showing how well they can work together. It's cleverly written and becomes one of the best tracks on the album, however, while you can hear the anthemic influences it would be difficult to dub this track an 'anthem'. 
True introduces a slower side to Amaranthe, written with the intention of having a deeper impact than the rest of the songs. It fits somewhere inbetween picturing lighters being brought up during a live show and trying too hard to be a power ballad. Nevertheless, it is worth checking out and does give some insight into the thought that has gone into each track. Over And Done does a lot better as a slow, emotional song with Jake E's melodic vocals and the build up into more powerful instrumentals works very well. 
One of the downsides of the album is that the pop techniques can get a little too much. While the stand out tracks do provide breaks from this, the repetitive choruses and hooks become heavy and take some of the edge away from the overall talent that has been pumped into it. 
Despite this it is a good album, with clever writing and a lot of confidence. Amaranthe succeed in taking EDM, pop and metal and creating something that sounds as if these genres were made to played in this way.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Live: Kids In Glass Houses

Headliner: Kids In Glass Houses
Support: Save Your Breath
Where: Institute, Birmingham
When: 20th October
Reviewed By: Jamie Kerr

We've all known for quite some time that this day was coming. Back in February 2014 Kids In Glass Houses announced that 'this is the end’ and would be performing a final tour in October. Eight months have passed in that time and I have to say, I haven't really given the fact they were splitting up much thought, as bands come and go a lot more frequently these bands. It was only on the drive up to Birmingham that I started to reflect on all the occasions I had seen KIGH before (this was to be the tenth time….). Whilst I was never a mega fan, I was an avid listener of Smart Casual and Dirt, both of which had some massive singalongs and catchy hooks that I would challenge any of their haters to deny. I'm not usually one for listening to a band I'm seeing that evening on the journey to the venue, but for some reason I felt compelled to on this occasion. 


Joining KIGH on their farewell tour is fellow Welsh pop-punk boyos Save Your Breath. As they came bouncing out to the theme tune to The Walking Dead, I was expecting a raw and high energy performance based on the last time I saw them. Unfortunately they failed to really deliver anything memorable, which may have been down to the fact that the whole crowd were only really there for the headline act. I couldn't help but feel sorry for them as there was next to no crowd participation as much as they did try. Even fan favourites Stay Young and Nothing Worth Having Comes Easy were known by very few in this audience. It was a shame for them because there was nothing wrong with their set, it was just never going to strike a chord with the crowd tonight.
After a short interval the lights drop for KIGH, who have also opted for an entrance song. I was at first puzzled why they had chosen Edith Piaf’s Non, Je ne regrette rien, but a quick Google search revealed the English translation to be No, I regret nothing. A nice touch but something that I feel may have been wasted on many of the crowd. 
Predictably their set opens with Artbreaker I, which it has done so many times in the past. Always a strong first song but something about it seems rather fitting on this tour considering the opening lyric is 'This is not the way we planned it'. I'm not one for looking for hidden metaphors in music but it seems there may well be a few in this performance.
Their set continues through their impressive back catalogue of hits including Undercover Lover, Give Me What I Want, Easy Tiger, Sunshine and Dance All Night amongst many others. A set heavily reliant on the strengths of Smart Casual and Dirt, it was good to hear the Boys of Summer-esque Diamonds Days and Animals making it on to the setlist showing that the less popular In Gold Blood was also a strong album. However there was a clear lack of interest as they played Drive from their most recent release Peace, further evidence that I wasn't the only one here wanting to see them perform their earlier songs.
One of the standout songs was the acoustic rendition of Raise Hell which shows off the true strength of Aled's vocals. This song is always a personal highlight as it was one of the first that made me want to hear more.
The set soon draws to a close on Artbreaker II before the inevitable encore. Peace is well received considering it's one of their last releases but it's Youngblood (Let It Out) and Saturday which most of us want to hear. Unsurprisingly their encore finishes with Matters At All which always disappoints me as there are far better songs they could end with. However it seems like the perfect closing song as final lyric, 'goodnightrings out for the final time in Birmingham.
As I make my way out of the Institute I feel somewhat disappointed by tonights performance. Whilst the setlist was strong and they were musically tight, it came across as quite rushed and lacklustre. It seems to me like there has been some sort of fall out or clash of egos between them which is evident by the lack of on stage chemistry. This has been fairly obvious from their performances earlier this year: they don't seem like they enjoy playing together as much as they used to. It looked like they were all there to take it in one last time for themselves, rather than share their final tour as a band. It's a shame to see a band go out like this, especially one that I feel had a few more years left in them yet.