FOR A LATE PENNSYLTUCKY ANARCHIST – REMEMBERING ERIK PETERSEN IN 7 SONGS

by Chris Jarvis

Content warning: mentions police violence, state violence, alcoholism

July 14 is a day of mourning and remembrance for the punk community. Two years ago on that date, the folk-punk pioneer Erik Petersen passed away. Founding member and frontman of the iconic Mischief Brew, Erik Petersen was one of the most gifted songwriters of his generation. His music will long be remembered for its infectiousness, its unique storytelling, its wit, its rawness and its inflammatory radicalism.

Two years on, we remember Erik Petersen through seven of his greatest songs.Continue Reading

JAKE & THE JELLYFISH – LONG IN WINTERS ALBUM REVIEW

by Sara Harrington

An acoustic bar cuts the silence as a rowdy ‘1, 2, 3, 4’ heralds in the full band and an anthemic pop punk belter: the start of something new for punks of the folk persuasion; Jake & The Jellyfish – Long In Winters. Released 26 January 2018 with a gloriously green vinyl available on Invisible Llama Musicthis album sees an evolution of sound from this newly re-outfitted 5 piece (sometimes 6), as 2 new members, Derek and Omar, grace the line up. The album revels in raucous, melodic sing-alongs which you can’t help but join in with, even though you don’t know the words yet. But trust me, you will.

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MUSIC THAT MATTERS – ICYMI: STÖJ SNAK INTERVIEW WITH NIELS SØRENSON

by Sara Harrington

Part of  a series exploring great music from the DIY music scene that you may have missed.

Hi Niels, thanks so much for letting me bother you with lots of questions! How are you doing today?

No worries. My pleasure. I’m pretty good today – currently in an airport, waiting for a plane to Copenhagen where I’m going to visit an old friend and see a Guns ‘n’ Roses show. Ten year old me is stoked.

So, I’m pretty late to the game and only just stumbled across you and your musical endeavours – Can you tell me a bit about ‘Stöj Snak’ and how it started and who is involved?

Stöj Snak is a ScreamerSongwriter band from Denmark. I started Stöj Snak as an acoustic solo act around 4 years ago – basically just me recording songs in my apartment as a hobby project. It was never meant for anyone to hear.

Since then the band has grown to a four piece with drums, washboard, upright bass and other trash instruments but the attitude towards the music is still very much the same – we do everything ourselves and because it’s fun. It’s basically the antithesis to Guns ‘n’ Roses.Continue Reading

MAKE PUNK VENUES PERIOD ACCESSIBLE

by Sara Harrington

CW​: graphic imagery, menstruation

Wads of tissue swaddle the gushed gusset of my soon to be late underwear. DIY panty-lining for a DIY punk show. Tissue becomes currency as it is discovered that none of the loos in the entire venue have any – my stash acquired from the Wetherspoons further down the road. No cubicle provides the menstrual cup removing privacy of an old fashioned door. Instead, makeshift curtains swathe the space between yourself and a sorry stranger as the feat of dealing with your period in a space that assumes you do not have one trickles down your hand in all its bloody glory.

Do not have your period at a punk gig.

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BLOOD, SWEAT, AND FEARS – EFFICIENT PACKING FOR TOUR

by Sara Harrington

CW​: In-depth descriptions of experiences of the menstrual cycle.

Writer’s note: For further reading I highly recommend this article by Allison Crutchfield of ‘Waxahatchee’ and ‘PS Eliot’ fame – reading it helped dispel my fears that being a woman in a band and having different needs are totally legit.

How To Pack For Tour:

Bring knickers for at least every day, have spares just in case of period mishaps. Outfits need to be nice but functional for sweating through on stage. Nothing too girly, you don’t want to draw attention to yourself. Socks – same rule as the knickers, no spares. Have pyjama bottoms, you cannot sleep in pants, it’s too weird for girls to do. De-pot all your toiletries so as to not take up too much space in your bag. Do not take up too much space. Face wash, toner, moisturiser, deodorant bar, tiny shower gel, toothpaste, dry shampoo. Do not be high maintenance. A flannel is needed for the face wash – it cannot be taken off with anything else and face wipes break you out. Flannels will get wet so hang these on a DIY clothes line erected in the van. Bring the pill. Continue Reading

THE 20 BEST RADICAL MUSIC RELEASES OF 2016

By Chris Jarvis

Yes, yes, we all know that 2016 has been an unmitigated cluster-fuck, with rising fascism, worsening humanitarian crises and intensifying conflict. In moments of darkness, many of us turn to the arts world – especially music – for comfort, for release, for explanation. With David Bowie, Prince, George Michael, Glenn Frey, Paul Kantner, Maurice White, George Martin, Phife Dawg, Erik Petersen, Leonard Cohen, Nick Menza, Greg Lake, Sharon Jones, and too many others all having passed away, many have found music to have also fallen on dark times.

That notwithstanding, 2016 has been a year of some undeniably and uniquely brilliant music too, especially music that espouses messages of a better world, of political analysis, of radical alternatives. Here are the 20 best of those radical releases from the past year.

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WOMEN AND PUNK: SHAPING THE GENRE 40 YEARS ON

by Chris Jarvis

Last week, Music That Matters looked at the 40th anniversary of punk and how our understanding of its history is typically one which erases the efforts and achievements of women musicians and people of colour. Today, the scene is often still seen as a male and white space, with punk shows frequently having male dominated crowds queuing up to see white men thrashing on guitars in shabby venues.

But it looks like things are changing. 2016 feels like it is becoming a rebirth of women in punk, and critically, as if it is women of colour who often are leading the way. More women are touring, more are getting bigger stages and longer sets, and more are getting the media coverage that they deserve. Among the nostalgic reflection, this year, dozens of punk albums will be released. Some will become instant classics, others will fade from memory as quickly as they came. Here are 10 bands leading the British punk scene this year, and the women that are making them shape the future of the genre.Continue Reading

PUNK AND ERASURE: 40 YEARS LATER

by Chris Jarvis

Anniversaries are strange things. Almost exclusively, they consist of rose-tinted, uncritical and nostalgic assessments of whatever they seek to commemorate. 2016, forty years since the ‘birth’ of punk, appears no different. Expect Union Jacks, safety pins galore and excessive images of John Lydon in BBC sanctioned documentaries. Expect descriptions of how important Malcolm Mclaren was to punk’s success, claims that New Rose was without contention the first punk rock single and a neat lineage where pub rock became punk – a very British phenomenon.

Inadequate as such histories are, they are demonstrative of the problem we have with understanding punk as a cultural occurrence. Debate rages amongst fans about whether punk was ever grassroots, whether it was ever political, whether any of the anti-establishment ethos was ever genuine, or instead fabricated by an astute record industry seeking to find the new zeitgeist. Adherents to either theory will read selectively into the evidence and ignore anything which would disprove their dogma.Continue Reading

REVOLUTIONARY MUSIC – AN INTERVIEW WITH MATT OF DEAD CITY RIOT

by Chris Jarvis

Describing themselves as “more than simply a group of musicians” and as “part of an ever growing, international, revolutionary movement continuously moving towards freedom, justice and peace, Dead City Riot are one of Bristol based Riot Ska Records’ greatest imports. Blending hardcore, ska and reggae, DCR’s imagery, sound and lyrics ooze their political values and beliefs. A brief look at their Facebook page is illustrative of this, with its “Refugees Welcome” images, calls to celebrate International Workers Day and the description of their genre as “revolutionary music”.Continue Reading

TOGETHER WE CAN BE MORE – AN INTERVIEW WITH CHRIS OF LUVDUMP

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by Chris Jarvis

Luvdump came kicking and skanking out of Bury St Edmunds in 2007, bringing to life their aggressive mix of melodic punk rock and ska-core. 2013 saw the release of their second full length album, Age of Austerity, alongside their relocation to the North West, where they have made their home ever since. A regular on the UK ska and punk circuit, Luvdump have continuously maintained a political current to their music, lifestyles and lyrics, with the social conscience of the band seeping through almost every song.Continue Reading

NOT YOUR PUNK – AN INTERVIEW WITH NIKOLAI JONES OF KING PRAWN

By Chris Jarvis

In 1993, a new icon was born. King Prawn’s incendiary sound emerged from London, and paved the way for countless other bands on a burgeoning and ever developing scene. Over the next decade, they would lay waste to notions of genre as album after album would reinvent punk, ska, hip-hop and hardcore blazing a trail for many others to follow. Sonic Boom Six, Random Hand, The King Blues all built upon the legacy of King Prawn. So diverse and innovative, they coined their own label to define their music – Wildstyle, and their rebel rousing songs combined with their flagrant disregard for musical convention led to comparisons with American rap-metal pioneers Rage Against the Machine.Continue Reading

MAINTAIN AND RESIST – AN INTERVIEW WITH IAIN OF AUTONOMADS

By Chris Jarvis

Bringing together anarcho punk aesthetics and lyrical themes with dub and ska sounds, Manchester based Autonomads are the ultimate sound clash. Their releases move seamlessly between genres. 2012 EP No Man’s Land exemplifies this at their best, drifting from aggressive growls of ‘No more GMP, get out of our city!’ to the bouncy ska singalongs like Supermarket Sweep, before toning down for mellow moments such as Dubbing Up the Downfall, no song sounding suddenly discordant or out of place. Throughout all of their music is an obvious and explicit political underpinning. On Conditions of the Working Class, they declare ‘our oppression’s still the same, as it used to be’ and on their anti-green washing anthem 2000BP they make clear ‘ethics for profit, that’s treason’.

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SOUNDTRACK OF THE REVOLUTION – AN INTERVIEW WITH SPUD OF LOBSTER

by Chris Jarvis

The Midlands have been for many years a breeding ground for the very best talents on the UK ska scene. In the 1980s, it was the pioneering sounds of Coventry’s two-tone bands – The Specials and The Selecter that led the way. Nowadays, Birmingham has a lively and burgeoning scene of acts that are fusing traditional reggae and dub music with the energy and raw anger of punk and hip-hop. Building on the reggae vibes of Brummie legends such as Steel Pulse and UB40, Lobster and their peers have built a sound and a scene that brings together the many traditions of these musical legacies. Throughout this, they have maintained a focus on politics and conscious lyricism. Because of this, we decided to talk with Lobster’s frontman Spud about his and the band’s outlook and the implications this has for their music as part of our series Music That Matters.
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STRENGTH IN NUMBERS – THE OWL SANCTUARY’S NEW DAWN

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by Chris Jarvis

Last night, I saw Capdown at The Owl Sanctuary for the second time in two years. Amidst the circle pits, the skanking, the stage dives, the crowdsurfing, the singalongs, introducing Capdown’s Strength in Numbers, gaffer of The Owl Sanctuary, Dan, announced that although its current Cattle Market Street venue will be closing its doors this Sunday, they have just landed a deal to re-open at a location elsewhere in the city.Continue Reading

IN TRANSITION – AN INTERVIEW WITH JOSH CHANDLER MORRIS OF HOPE IN HIGH WATER

by Chris Jarvis

For years, Josh Chandler Morris was known as the energetic frontman of skacore band Anti-Vigilante, whose powerful stage presence, piercing sax segments and fast paced vocals thrilled crowds across the country including on tours with veterans of the ska scene such as King Prawn and Inner Terrestrials. Nowadays, Josh has teamed up with Carly Slade to form Hope in High Water, a two piece acoustic folk band, whose focus is much mellower and whose lyrics are less focussed on the political issues that Anti-Vigilante were well known for. But because of Josh’s background, The Norwich Radical decided to discuss with Josh his political outlook, how it interplays with his musical outputs and why his most recent outfit has decided to steer away from the politics as part of our series Music That Matters.Continue Reading

BASTARD COPPERS: AN INTERVIEW WITH JON FAWKES OF THE FILAMENTS

By Chris Jarvis

Bouncing onto the scene in the early 2000s, The Filaments’ fusion of ska and dub with a street punk reminiscent of the second wave of punk in 1982 made them stand out on the burgeoning circuit of the time. More stripped down and raw than contemporaries such as Capdown, The Filaments offered something more primal than the rest of the scene. Their sound has since been replicated and developed by younger acts, Faintest Idea being the most notable.

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SOMETHING MORE – AN INTERVIEW WITH DABS FROM NEW TOWN KINGS

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by Chris Jarvis

Hailing from Colchester, eight piece ska band New Town Kings offer a rounded sound drawing influences from across the history of ska and reggae music. Since 2007, they have been sharing stages with some of the bigger names in the scene, from Reel Big Fish to Gentleman’s Dub Club and from The Skints to The Aggrolites. Next week, they will be playing on the same bill as Zion Train and Mungo’s Hi-Fi. The long and varied list of acts New Town Kings have played with demonstrates the diversity in their sound – blending traditional ska, two-tone and reggae with hints of ska punk and the odd hip-hop vibe. Although not necessarily known for their political music, and more so instead for their strong and energetic live performances, New Town Kings recordings, whether it be News Stand, La La World or Change are steeped in political undertones. For this reason, I interviewed frontman Dabs Bonner to discuss his and the band’s political outlook, the relationship it has to their music and how he views it in a wider political context as part of our series Music That Matters.

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HUMAN PROBLEMS, HUMAN SOLUTIONS – AN INTERVIEW WITH BABAR LUCK

by Chris Jarvis

In underground music circles, Babar Luck is something of a legend. For more than twenty years, he has been a staple feature of the UK punk scene, blending and smashing genres along the way. Starting as the bassist of seminal London band King Prawn, notorious for their eclectic influences which drew upon hardcore, reggae, metal, punk and hip-hop, Babar has gone on to have an illustrious solo folk career, as well as working on new bands such as East End Trinity and collaborative projects The Babylon Whackers and Suicide Bid, while providing guest vocals for friends and comrades in the scene such as Sonic Boom Six and Random Hand. Babar Luck’s musical outputs have been beyond any doubt, inhumanly prolific.Continue Reading

THE COMMUNITY, OPPORTUNITIES AND LIMITATIONS OF PUNK – AN INTERVIEW WITH FAINTEST IDEA

by Chris Jarvis

Faintest Idea are a street punk influenced ska band hailing from the Norfolk coastal town of King’s Lynn known for their energetic live shows, filled with singalongs, skanking and rivalling horns. The lyrical content of their music, as with much of the underground ska-punk scene, is littered with radical and anarcho politics. Through a series of questions, The Norwich Radical tried to tease out the reasons behind their politics, the relationship it has to their music, and how they see their role in a wider political context as part of a new series – Music That Matters. Continue Reading

JOOLS HOLLAND AND THE DEATH OF LIVE MUSIC

by Mike Vinti

On Wednesday, Later…With Jools Holland returned to our screens for its 47th series. Featuring Foals, Disclosure and My Morning Jacket among others, it was an entertaining, if safe, start to the show’s latest run.  Later… is the flagship programme for BBC Music and much of the British music scene generally, and has always hosted a mix of established and up and coming artists. However, recently its bookings have become predictable, their performances lacklustre and the show itself stale. Continue Reading