Category Archives: 45s

45 Reviews: The Dickies / Jack Ellister / Hater

Album: “I Dig Go-Go Girls” / “When an Old Cricketer leaves the Crease” / "Four Tries Down"

Artist: The Dickies / Jack Ellister / Hater

Label: Slope / Fruits de Mer / Fire

Release Date: August 09, 2019

“I Dig Go-Go Girls” (Slope: www.sloperecords.com)  / “When an Old Cricketer leaves the Crease” (Fruits de mer: www.fruitsdemerrecords.com) / “Four Tries Down “(Fire: www.firerecords.com)

BY JONATHAN LEVITT

I rarely get a chance to review 7” records these days, so when these three recently showed up I was beyond excited.

No need to rehash The Dickies’ long and storied punk history, but on this slab they decided to cover Cheap Trick’s “I Dig Go-Go Girls” and the results are stunning. This song, in The Dickies’ hands, rips and snorts with an aggression that is about as perfect a slab of summer as you can get. The vocals are bitchin with an extra bite courtesy of Monkey from The Addicts.  The infectious nature of a Cheap trick tune is amplified to stratospheric heights and buffed to perfection with a punk sheen.

B-side “The Dreaded Pigasaurus”, a Dickies original, is no slouch to its A-side brother. It’s a storming anthem replete with saxophone and what sounds like Hammond B3, stretched over a menacing throbbing bass line. Leonard Phillips vocals provide just the right dose of pop-punk to the proceedings that transported me back to the 1980’s. Short, sharp shock, just what the doctor ordered!

***

On Jack Ellister’s latest 7” he tackles two rather disparate tunes. The A-side, “When an Old Cricketer Leaves the Crease,” by the late British icon Roy Harper, is a nostalgic number that Ellister tackles, strikingly capturing the original’s somber beauty. Ellister’s voice, along with his old Polish piano, are as much a perfect combination as were Harper and his guitar when he first recorded it. Stunning!

The B-side sees Ellister turn his sights to Black Sabbath. Here his take on the super heavy “Supernaut” is to give the track a decidedly narco-haze and sing in an almost Mark E. Smith acid snarl. Every thud of the drums, drone of the bass, and wailing of the synthesizer is simply spectacular. A killer cover that sees Ellister not only inhabit the track, but modernize and push its boundaries a tad further.

Fruits de Mer have done it once again. Get this 7” from your local shop on colored vinyl with a fold-out poster.

***

Meanwhile, Malmo, Sweden, outfit Hater will drop their new single next month (September 6, to be precise) and it’s a lovely slice of pop that, to this reviewers’ ears, recalls elements of ‘90s era Tanya Donnelly and Lush, with a smidgen of Broadcast thrown in for good measure. Those may be the touchstones to convey to people what they’re in store for, but that’s not meant to say the band lacks creativity; in fact, it’s just the opposite. Side A’s  “Four Tries Down” is a mighty seductive slab of pop that is clear, effective, and memorable; it combines so many elements hitting sweet spots in my brain—from the deep female vocals at the opening, to the beat and catchy melody—that I played it over and over and over… okay, you get the message. The flipside’s “It’s a Mess” is another addictive gem. The understated vocals that border on whispers are seductively dreamy and left me under the singer’s pied-piper like spell. Me wants more!

***

DOWNLOAD: We here at BLURT recommend physical therapy, but if you must go digital, download all 6tracks from these two singles direct from the labels or the artists’ websites so they are guaranteed to get your dough!

 

THE BLANKZ- It’s a Breakdown 7”

Album: It's A Breakdown 7"

Artist: THE BLANKZ

Label: Slope

Release Date: January 04, 2019

www.sloperecords.com

BY JONATHAN LEVITT

As Clay Davis in the Wire says “SHEEEEEEEEEEEEEET”! This is one incredible slab ‘o’ wax from the packaging to the short sharp and shock songs. The Blankz are from Phoenix and if you haven’t heard of them, don’t pay that no mind because I’m here to tell y’all this right here is some impressive music coming out of the Southwest that you need to take heed of. Taking subtle cues from Social Distortion’s Mike Ness with a dash of Rocket from the Crypt, the band come out guns a blazing on the title track “It’s a Breakdown”.  With lyrics like “Hang myself or Hang around” you know they ain’t messing around. It’s a joyful slab of pop punk yet it has some interesting subtext lurking just beneath the surface. The organ is a welcome addition and works really well in giving the tune a retro and more sophisticated feel. “You’re Not My Friend Anymore” is a slightly weaker tune but still packs a punch and shows just how talented the band is and how they’ve mastered the pop-punk genre. The production is excellent on these two tunes and makes me look forward to a full record when that day comes. I must also mention the 3-D packaging the glasses, the sticker and the deluxe sleeve. Most LP’s these days don’t put in as much effort so kudos to label and band for giving us a deluxe collectible for my own vinyl porn collection.

DOWNLOAD: “It’s a Breakdown” “You’re Not My Friend Anymore”

 

WICK AND THE TRICKS – Not Enough EP

Album: Not Enough EP

Artist: Wick and the Tricks

Label: Black Site Records

Release Date: October 13, 2017

http://black-site.org

BY DANNY R. PHILLIPS

I was given this record by none other than L. Ron Drunkard of Kansas City based punks Red Kate.  After Red Kate’s show at The Rendezvous in St. Joseph, MO, L. Ron slipped me a copy with the reassurance that my liking of Wick & The Tricks was virtually guaranteed.  Guaranteed?

When I am given a guarantee of anything, my natural response is to instantly doubt them.  Cynicism runs deep in me so, as I put the needle down on Wick & the Tricks’ 7-inch EP, Not Enough (Black Site), I was positive that I would not be blown away.  I could not have been more wrong.  The four songs that make up Not Enough show a band fully steeped in rock ‘n’ roll, glam and southern California early ‘80s punk rock.  The sounds blasting through the late 1970s speakers in my living room, came on like a tidal wave.  The drums of JoJo Tornado are rapid fire, the voice of Wick Trick is angry but telling, spitting words with a fury and determination unseen today, while the blistering guitar of Chris Stallion, coupled with Jane Asylum’s raunchy bottom end is the icing on the fucking cake.

“Yr so Bad” opens the festivities like a kick in the teeth.  Johnny Thunders influenced riff drives the tune that is as catchy, glamorous or in your face as anything ever cranked out by ‘70s giants T. Rex.

“Kansas City Bang Bang” is aggressive punk rock at its sleaziest while “Tough As Nails” sounds like Marilyn Manson in the middle of an orgy with the members of X and Fear.

Over just four songs, Wick & the Tricks have gotten my attention.  While some of their influences may be easy to put a finger on (The Ramones, Slade, Iggy and The Stooges, the aforementioned T. Rex), there is something lying within the grooves that I can’t quite put in place.  Maybe it is something hidden, something that will be sussed out, to be polished, something to be revealed when there is a full album to spin.

Until then, Wick and the Tricks’ Not Enough is just that: not enough.

 

 

Check them out on Facebook, Bandcamp, or at black-site.org.