Altrincham’s finest purveyors of ‘Prunge’ Horsemeat return with another head wrecking blast of scorching tunery to clear your eardrums and open up the floodgates of hard hitting three pronged action says Wayne AF Carey…
The fourth release from Altrincham trio Horsemeat is another raging beast with a classic thundering dirty grunge riff that hits hard. “Manchester’s finest charged with disorderly conduct” says Bert (or Rob) in distorted Fall like style spoken word over a crunching rage of drums and bass that don’t fuck about, with thundering momentum that builds like it’s predecessors. It’s got that ‘Ding’ (Salford Steve Albini) Archer trademark production all over the fucker. As they say: “The song hazily re-tells the story of an outsider that strays into a privileged area and is met with horror and disdain from people who preach love and acceptance, but practice hate and division. “Rusted” churns out a grunge riff so hard that it refuses to leave any heads unshaken, before descending into an abstract verse where the tale unfurls.” They’re not wrong and they’re ready to hit the live scene with anticipation. Watch this space…
Bert Genovese – Guitar / Vocals
Rob Jenkinson – Bass / Vocals
Lewis Kirk – Drums
Johnny Mafia return with an album of tightly-wound sonic blasts and infectious hooks on Sentimental.
The French quartet Johnny Mafia first hit our radar in 2018 with the release of their second album, Princes de l’Amour. The album was full of dense angular post-punk garage and was a sign of the strength of the French scene, alongside bands like Escobar. In their own ways, these bands were harnessing the drive of early grunge, bypassing the muscular form to hit straight into the bloodstream. On their new album, Sentimental, they’ve doubled down and ramped up the adrenalin to produce an album of great pop hooks buried within their sound, rearing their heads throughout to really grab you and throw you into the record.
They kick it off with that riotous intensity on the chaotic Split Tongue, paranoic swirling and pounding rhythms that bring them close to Bristol fuzz-psych merchants Turbowolf, brimming with bombastic energy. Recent single I’m Sentimental drips in early Sonic Youth fervour, more spacious reverb-drenched guitars giving way to forceful choruses that really rage. The video is a perfect representation of their Sugar Kane horrorshow.
Songs such as Phone Booth continue in that mould, but the band know full well the power they hold to shift up a few gears and let their poppier sensibilities take hold. New single Trevor Philippe is the perfect example and one of the highlights of the record. By letting the guitars chime instead of engulf, they allow the bass throughout the verses to dance and dictate the pace. The choruses hit and the band have a song that Rivers Cuomo still wishes he could write. Refused keeps it going, the band bouncing effortlessly between light and dark, marrying heaviness with crystalline sonics, the vocals always sliding over the top.
The band know exactly how and when to let up off the gas to stay on track. They drop back on Problem and let the song sway more without losing any of the vehemence. Love Me Love Me adds a perfect dose of the classic quiet-loud dynamic in pure Pixies style and No More Toes brings a slacker vibe to the melodies, but they refuse to pull any of their punches and ensure that they don’t brake too much. It’s something that they don’t employ fully until they reach the end of the record with On My Knees, signing off with a respite from the pandemonium.
Sentimental is an authentic rollercoaster of a record. It twists and turns, rises and drops you flailing into the next breakneck curve. Johnny Mafia are a band going from strength to strength, a pure joy to see and listen to. If the success they’re enjoying in France can spread, and they really deserve it to, they could hit some dizzying heights.
Warish hail from San Diego and their new album has a dirty overdriven sound mashing punk, metal and psychedelic influences. Like skateboards, it’s very West Coast says Nathan Brown
Warish are dirty sounding. Really dirty. The core of raw overdriven guitar and fat buzzy distorted bass dominate the sound. The drums often fight to make themselves heard over this valve rich frenzy, and you can hear that the drummer ain’t pulling his punches. It’s that crashing cymbal and snare that’s making your head jerk uncontrollably back and forth. You get the feeling they sit around listening to records by L7, Mudhoney, Fudgetunnel (on their faster tunes) Nirvana, Motorhead, Black Sabbath and of course Black Flag. Like a rebellious teenager essential listening list.
The vocals careen like an out of control skateboard from laid back and floating over the top to a raspy, screechy horror sound – like an overdriven voicebox.
While there is a clear grunge and punk influence, something about the rhythmic workarounds of the riffs makes Warish feel more rooted in the bluesy late 60’s/early 70’s garage tradition with a bit of psychedelia thrown in for good (complete with chorus). Mixing that with the rawness of punk produces something about them that just sounds West Coast. After all, California is pretty much famous for hardcore, skateboarding and hippies.
Warish have come up with an album that is a perfect groove for carving up the seafront on your longboard with the sun blazing. And like a cruise on your longboard, the album has twists and turns but you get more if you lose yourself in the whole experience rather than individual segments.
There is a lot of rhythmic bluesy driving proto-punk here as they scoot their skateboard, with a dirty garage sound to boot. As they rush downhill, they take on a punkier attack. When they slow to take a corner, they throw up sludgy stoner rock with super distorted leads and vocals hovering just below the surface, or floaty psychedelia.
Why the skateboard analogies you wonder? Oh, I forgot to mention. We have a star in our midst. Guitar and vocals are handled by one Riley Hawk. A pro-skater no less. Oh, and son of the legendary Tony Hawk. He’s joined the family business.
There’s always been space for this rocking driving garagey grungey sound but its stripped-back nature makes it difficult to come up with something that truly stands out. There is probably a band not dissimilar to this in most major towns or cities, but they don’t get the exposure. The “son of Tony Hawk” label on the Press Release makes them instantly sellable. For all you folks working hard on your ultra distorted bass sound, they’ve seized that slot. Them’s the breaks. I’m not saying this doesn’t make Warish good. Far from it, they’re enjoyable. Time will tell if they are also memorable.
Def Robot return with their 12th album in two years and it’s a blast of a mixed up style of genres to prove there is still life in their endless tunes. Wayne Carey does the usual DR style track by track explanation with the enigmatic Paul Taylor straight outta Kendal…
“Explores the events surrounding the assassination of JFK including rumours and speculation about his private life – which may have contributed to his death.”
A spiky punk number that romps through Americana with some great riffs. A proper anthem that gets better with every listen. Fuckin’ great guitar solo towards the end.
On My Way.
“An atmospheric road trip on a foreign substance. On the way to somewhere unsure – home? A loved one? Death?”
This goes all film noir, an atmospheric moody number that chills the senses with it’s downtempo picturesque druggy swagger. Dark as fuck.
“2021 feels like there’s just too much going on to take in. Sometimes I wanna just get away from everything, take a deep breath and relax!”
An early Floydesque intro that goes all Gary Numan on the ears. A futuristic rocker with a nice psych feel flowing throughout. Spacey!
Rise Of Robot.
“Mechanisation and advances in technology have been incredible for the human race. But is there a danger of it all going too far? Are we losing touch with nature and what we are?”
A proper dirty riff kicks off with this Nine Inch Nails sounding piece of industrial hip hop which shows the diverse range and talent of Taylor and Hancox’s songwriting.
Kiss The Disco.
“Even if you aren’t a fan of dancing or letting go on the dance floor, we all miss the kind of places we went to that held friends, merriment, socialising and dancing. A love song to one of the things we haven’t been able to do for a long time.”
A proper upbeat number that goes all Wonderstuff on us and cheers you right up! The lyrics are funny as fuck. “A thousand days without dancing, I’ll bust some moves” A proper party tune about the longing for hitting the clubs once more.
“A dig at the consumerist and capitalist world that we live in. There will always be part of the world that suffers in the face of this way of living.”
This reminds me of the scene from Human Traffic when John Simms is working the shop floor at a clothing store and they’re all serving like robots under a sweaty slathering pervert. Some great guitar and bass is the crux of this three minute catchy bastard.
“A song from David and written by his youthful band back in the day ‘Tim’. God knows what he’s on about. I’ll have to ask…”
Hancox does a mad minute of punk attitude that hits the target. Mad…
They Shoot Horses.
Based on the old film of the same name which covers the events of a dance marathon. Was first recorded with Kerosene. Recorded again from scratch for the ol robot.
They now enter Pixies territory on this stand out track. A proper grunge prototype tune that harks back to the Bossanova sound that we all know and love. Excellent.
Better Than Me.
“A tale of superiority in a friendship/partnership. Sarcastically commenting on the Alpha role but at the same time accepting and maybe even enjoying being the ‘weaker’ one.”
A proper rock stomper with an excellent riff that ramps it up big time. A really rocked up glam number that sounds fuckin’ top. Exciting and relevant with some great drumming in there and some top notch guitar skills.
End Of An Era.
“Instrumental electronic beat experiment, that may or may not become another song in future…”
Fuckin’ ell! They’ve gone trip hop now. There’s no end to the sounds these guys produce. A small step into electronica that works.
Place I Call Home.
“We’ve been going back to a few songs on the last 2 albums, re-recording and getting a fresh take on them. Here’s one that originally appeared on the album Play This When We’re Gone”
Guitar skills at the forefront from the start. A total rework as mentioned above. Cracking chorus and a tune full of ideas that just work. Another anthem that I can’t wait to see performed live. Tune.
On My Mind.
“A love tale of regret. An apology for going through a tough time and somewhat neglecting those that care for you. It’s not necessarily intentional. Just circumstance.”
Fuckin’ voilins? Oh yes. There’s no end to their talents. Paul Taylor turns into a hybrid of Nick Cave with a Worzel Gummidge head of Richard Hawley screwed in. Magic.
The Last Cuss.
“This was originally on the album You Will Not Be Discovered and was sung by David. We’ve completely re-recorded it with Chris Willcocks on drums and Paul on vocals.”
A stab at recreating Smashing Pumpkins at their prime without the whining voice of Billy Corgan. A proper nod back to nineties intelligent grunge that has smatters of Black Francis running throughout. A great track that resonates and a perfect ending to another great album.
I don’t know what Taylor and Hancox are on but I’ll pre order some now if they let me know. Another album that you can’t categorise. They pilfer and plunder from the rich vaults of great music and use it to their advantage and it’s fuckin’ great stuff. The question now is, how the fuck are they going to sort a set list out when they hit the live circuit? We await with anticipation…
The latest offering from rhythmic rockers Bitterman is dark and heavy drawing on grunge and everything that has come since Tony Iommi first reinvented the sound of the electric guitar.
Bitterman inhabit the punk rock wasteland where grunge meets metal. It’s a little scary around here with dark skies, looming clouds and vengeful eyes watching you from the shadows. And the cover pic sits perfectly with this slightly oppressive underbelly – a deserted street with shadow invading the glare of the street lights. It’s the things you can’t see that are the worry.
Bitterman take an existential ponder over the meaning of life while exorcising their anguish and morbidity. Songs about planning your own death and the end of the world start to make sense sat alongside a song about sleep deprivation. Being awake when all others are asleep leads to dark thoughts. Oh yes, this certainly is an abysm (noun. an abyss. “the abysm from which nightmares crawl”)
In truth, they are all very nice chaps, mainstays of the Portsmouth punk scene, highly talented, involved with various Portsmouth bands including Hack Job and The SLM. They can often be found at Portsmouth Punk Promotions DIY gigs in the area either playing, running the sound desk, or videoing proceedings for CBRG.tv. In guitarist Dave Sloan they have a talented engineer and producer.
The opening number of the 5 tracks, Ants, featured in the taster video above, is the lightest of the tracks, very much in grunge territory but there is always metal looming close.
The Bitterman sound is occasionally discordant but for the most part driving. Some of the heaviness is rooted in Sabbath (I mean, isn’t everything heavy worth a shit?). Not only in the guitar which delves Iommi tones on some of the damped downstrokes but occasionally there’s a little of Ozzy’s off-kilter deadpan in the vocals.
If you were looking for the For Fans Of recommendation I’d include The Melvins, Helmet and Prong for the rhythmic approach with the guitars alternately chugging and thrashing. Add in Alice in Chains, System Of A Down and maybe a little Machine Head and you’re probably in the right territory.
The Battery Farm are back with a new video after the brilliant Excellent Public Speaker. Another track lifted from the Endless Unstoppable Pain EP (reviewed here) which ended up lifting number two spot in our singles of the year.
“A Little Nothing Man sounds sinister and builds into another raging number with a tribal drumbeat that flies into a rage of vocals and furious noise” is what I said and I’m not wrong. This one sees Ben Corry walking around North Manchester like a lost soul. The streets are empty and look all lockdown sinister as he heads off towards a monument and lays himself to rest his weary legs. A simple yet effective scene that obviously holds some significance. A fitting scene for a fitting slice of North Manc prunge. I interviewed Ben late last year and he explained where the band are at right now and the years of graft gone into eventually finding the niche that has morphed in The Battery Farm. Expect a punishing debut album some time soon. Full interview here.
The Battery Farm are:
Ben Corry: Vocals/Guitar, Dominic Corry: Guitar, Paul Worrall: Bass, Sam Parkinson: Drums
Self release [Release date 01.12.20] With their first gig in 5 months, with no rehearsals, a new drummer in Kev Hickman and just their own frisson to feed the adrenalin for a live stream, Catfish join the ranks of bands … Continue reading →
Horsemeat gallop into 2021 on fiery hooves with some more colossus ‘Prunge’ hot on the heels of The Battery Farm who are firmly holding those reigns in The Grand National of a blazing new scene that’s hitting the ears of LTW’s Wayne AF Carey…
Jibber Jabber is the new single from Altrincham trio, Horsemeat. Recorded at 6db Studios by “The Steve Albini of Salford”, Simon “Ding” Archer, Jibber Jabber is a fuzzed up dirge that depicts the suburban sprawl and modern cookie cutter living. Where close proximity
forces unwanted interactions, claustrophobia, and nihilistic thoughts. Jibber Jabber crawls out of the mire left by the band’s previous track, Opulence, with a swagger that’s dripping in sludge and repressed anger. It’s also titled after a common phrase used by Mr T from The A Team and packs a similar punch!
What they said! Where Opulence was a blast of fuck off punk that clocked in at a minute, this is just a pure throbbing rock beast that builds in momentum, verges on metal and sounds damn right dirty as ever. Some lovely classic stop start moments, pummeling drums and a guitar solo that doesn’t sound like they’re wanking one off. If this is what we’re heading for this year you’re all in for one massive fuckin’ treat! A great start to hopefully a great year of pent up shit that’s been building from 2020…
Bert Genovese – Guitar / Vocals
Rob Jenkinson – Bass / Vocals
Lewis Kirk – Drums
The Battery Farm have arrived to batter 2021 into submission with their unique brand of scuzz grunge punk I’ve decided to label ‘Prunge’. After witnessing some great bands over the last few years in the Manchester area including Cold Water Swimmers, Stepford Wives, Tinfoils and Horsemeat to name a few, the sheer unique punk as fuck rage of The Battery Farm are taking the reigns on that gallop out of this fucker of a virus through to the other side. Not giving a fuck about being cool of becoming your latest indie star, they come across to me like the spirit of the punk grunge underground of the early 90’s. Outsiders looking in yet thrilling the alternative throng with their explosive debut EP Endless Unstoppable Pain, with was easily one of the best debuts at the tail end of the dreaded 2020. Ones to watch that will blow you away meant I had to chat with Ben Corry about their rise…
LTW: “Alright Ben! Congratulations on hitting number two spot in our best tracks of 2020! How do you feel about that?”
Ben: “Thank you very much! I feel amazing to be honest. For it to happen now after 15 years of being in bands it’s great. It’s a vindication for all we’ve been doing. With The Battery Farm we’ve found our voice to the extent we haven’t before. It feels really fuckin’ good is the short answer.”
“You’ve sort of crept up on me slowly but surely. North Manchester bands are coming up with some clever stuff lately. You’re standing apart with a punk grunge blast of anger. Where do you differ from the indie landfill?”
“I think where we differ is we’re not self conscious. We’re not afraid to look fuckin’ silly or be sincere. I sometimes think there’s a lack of sincerity and a real pretentiousness amongst bands trying to be cool or whatever. We’re journeymen. I’ve gone bald and got a belly. I’m not a hot young teen or anything like that. We just accept who we are which makes us stand apart. We have fuckin’ fun and try and cover everything with it. We have concept and like creating our own little universe. It’s liberating having not to meet the normal expectations. That’s where we’re refreshing and stand apart. We’re not afraid anymore and it’s a beautiful thing”
“You sort of remind me of the scene I was involved in during the early 90’s, a small underground pocket of punk grunge bands playing the tiny venues. We just stood against all the average indie coming out in our own little pool. A load of like minded people who were into loud fuck off music”
“I’m not going to slag off the average indie because if it makes them happy that’s fine. I don’t actually care if certain bands don’t want to have fun and wit in their music if that’s what they want. I used to be all big bully bollocks and angry about all that stuff around 2005, but no, I’m fine, I don’t care. I’ll do what I wanna do”
“It’s like your track off the EP, Excellent Public Speaker hit the music scene with a fuck off blast of anger, a killer bass line that melts into fury over Boris and his clowns. A lockdown bitchslap at a plastic Trump”
“It’s weird really. That was the last song we had written before lockdown and we actually got to play it live. The timing was so brilliant. It’s our favourite track on the EP and we’re glad you picked that one for your best of track. We just wanted to lash out in support of the forgotten generation of kids and people. Parents who have taken it for granted and now it’s all public cuts, a climate crisis, proceeded by an international health crisis. The Battery Farm is all about a look at the world, a scream at the world”
“How was last your last gig at Yes with Cold Water Swimmers, San Pedro Collective and Heavy Salad in December?”
“We’ve known CWS and Heavy Salad for a while, plus Leon The Pig Farmer was on too. Top lad. On the day it was a really good set. We couldn’t do it as a full set so I did it acoustic which is not really my thing live. It turned out well and it was nice to put a bit of a spin on the songs like Maggot Line which I started as a stuttering Sweet Jane rip off. I was pretty pleased and it ended being a really good day”
“We’re all looking forward to your debut album at Louder Than War. How’s that panning out and do you reckon you can get Steve Albini on board or ‘Ding’ Archer?”
“I’d love either of those to be honest. At the moment we’re going back into the studio in January. There’s no plans for an album yet. We’re gonna do another EP first. We’re using Dave Jones at Red City at the moment in Shudehill. It’ll be out in the middle of the year. Album wise, tentatively we’re gonna re-record some old songs like 97/91 and Crude Oil Water. I’m not saying we definitely will have one but my intention is to hopefully have an album out by the end of this year at the latest.”
“This pandemic is a fucker as you know. Have you got any plans for gigs coming up?”
“We’ve got something coming up with Deco Records soon with The 99 Degree who’ve I’ve know for years, The Pagans S.O.H. are on. They’re fuckin’ quality. Some of the things you’ve said about standing out and bands being different, I don’t think anyone does what they do with a frontman like Marcus as a vocalist. We just don’t know what the fuck is going on yet. We’re just planning what we can. All of us are just building from the ground up at the moment.”
“So Ben, what are the bands influences at the moment and where do you get your style from?”
“Well, we were asked this question the other day and Dom (guitarist and brother) was trying to be abstract by saying “Drills from the street” and I was seeing where he was coming from, but in terms of actually songwriting it’s a bedrock of The Smiths, Elvis, Leonard Cohen, The Manics. In terms of the songs we’ve been writing, the bands that sort of embolden us, that make us do what we’re doing so we don’t look like charlatans, are bands like Strange Bones, Sleaford Mods, Witch Fever, Idles. This sort of wave from the last three or four years that are really vital and honest and innovative. Punk bands, and that’s not to say we are hitching our wagons riding on any coat tails. I fuckin’ feel like we’ve got an original voice and something important to say. Those are the bands that make us feel like we could fuckin’ say it and not look fuckin’ stupid. In short without going on, those are the bands that make us want to do it in the first place. People who have a powerful presence like Sinatra and Scott Walker. Even Neil Sedaka. I love people that can draw you through them without trying hard to do it. It’s really important to have a wealth of listening and not be a philistine and cut yourself off from things by trying to be cool.”
“If we’re all going to die, what would you like to do before fucking off?”
“Ha Ha! I see what you’ve done there! What would I like to do before I FUUCCK Off… There are so many things. If I was dying and I’d completely accepted it and there was no Covid or anything like that. I would like… Do you know what? I’m gonna give you a really lame answer. Just spend it in the house with my wife and my cats and my son. Just something not out of the ordinary. And savour it. Just a boring mundane dad. That’s more rock and roll than trying too hard. It’s the Warhol thing of finding joy in the mundane. A bit like Poor Little Rich Girl the film. I’d go down that route and I’d be happy with it”
Two North Mancs having a proper chat about life, music and the strength of the scene at the moment. If you get the chance to check out any band this year live you need to put The Battery Farm at the top of your list. Stunning and powerful…
The Battery Farm are:
Ben Corry: Vocals/Guitar, Dominic Corry: Guitar, Paul Worrall: Bass, Sam Parkinson: Drums
What a strange year we’ve all had with this Covid business destroying our normal life. No gigs, donning masks, lockdowns, tiers and tears, yet shitloads of amazing music. This time round I thought I’d feature 20 of the best tunes of the year voted by our LTW writers with videos, then drop in the playlist of almost 9 hours of great tracks. You may agree or disagree yet it’s the most eclectic bunch of almost 150 tracks that got us all going. It was impossible to do them in any proper order yet the top 10 tracks were voted for more than once, with Bob Vylan breaking the record for most votes this year, with the incendiary We Live Here. If this doesn’t keep you going over this weird festive period I’ll be surprised as fuck…
1. Bob Vylan: We Live Here.
2. The Battery Farm: Excellent Public Speaker.
3. Micko & The Mellotronics: Psychedelic Shirt.
4. The Lovely Eggs: Long Stem Carnation.
5. Sault: Wildfires.
6. Fontaines DC: A Hero’s Death.
7. Gorillaz: Aries.
8. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard: Automation.
9. Dead Sheeran: Flytippin’.
10. Def Robot: I Am The Weapon.
11. The Cool Greenhouse: Alexa.
12. Strange Bones ft Bob Vylan: Menace.
13. Nancy: 7ft Tall Post-Suicidal Feel Good Blues.
14. Miley Cyrus: Midnight Sky.
15. Working Mens Club: John Cooper Clarke.
16. Wreckless Eric & Amy Rigby: Vote That Fucker Out.
17. Kylie Minogue: Say Something.
18. Yard Act: Fixer Upper.
19. Bee Bee Sea: Daily Jobs.
20. The Lathums: I See You Ghost.
Special thanks to all the contributors: John Robb, Nigel Carr, Melanie Smith, Naomi Dryden-Smith, Ged Babey, Nathan Whittle, Neil Hodge, Iain Key, Dan Volohov, Paul Grace, Audrey Golden, Keith Goldhanger, Gordon Rutherford, Ian Canty, Martin Mathews, Tim Cooper, Gus Ironside, Andy Brown and Paul Clarke.
Words by Wayne Carey, Reviews Editor for Louder Than War. His author profile is here