The Beltones


The Beltones Cheap Trinkets LP reissue

I was in Portland during West Coast travels in 2001, the year this album was first released on TKO Records. I ended up at the infamous Satyricon club, a decadent ruckus glory shithole that showcased some of the best punk, grunge, and garage bands of the ’90s and early ’00s. The BELTONES happened to be playing that night, and though a lot of the details are hazy, I remember them striking a strong, memorable chord and leaving an impression in me as being no-nonsense, honest punks. Listening to this reissue confirmed those opaque memories. Bill McFadden’s vocals don’t so much have a range, but rather fluctuate between a gruff growl to a loud shout to accentuate and emphasize. Like a sped-up STIFF LITTLE FINGERS with the politics being more personal, the BELTONES had their own sound, mixing street punk with flavors of Jamaican music, soul, and Oi!, that more than held its own in the punk landscape of the time. With their catalogue being difficult-to-impossible to find on digital platforms and the original vinyl mostly out-of-print, having their capstone album back on vinyl is both a welcoming reminisce and positive optimism of being able to crank these tunes again.