Reviews

Ben Marshall

Vaxine Frontal Lobotomy LP

An absolute cracker of a debut from NYC’s own VAXINE, taking the decrepit old corpse of UK82 and injecting a vital dose of arse-kicking into it. No wheels are being reinvented here, but when it sounds like this, why would you want to?  Fans of the snottier end of UK82, yer CHAOS UKs, yer PARTISANS, yer EXPLOITEDS, etc. will find a lot to like here, as track after track stomps along with a sneer and a pleasantly stateside fury, with no wasted energy.

La Llama La Llama cassette

Was extremely ready to hate this, as the cover art had a strong whiff of the eggier end of punk about it, and I was prepared to mentally file this in the dustbin of history along with all those other poorly-dressed oddballs who can’t write tunes—however, how wrong I was (someone should come up with an idiom about not judging covers)! This is a tidy little cracker of a debut; scuzzy, taut garage rock that genuinely sounds like it was recorded in an actual garage. Songs fizz and whip past at a rate of knots, and never stay around too long to stay boring. Really good.

Crise Lonxe EP

Look, I’m sure this lot are a lovely bunch of lads, polite to their mum and always getting their round in and such, so I hesitate to go in two-footed on this, but you sometimes just have to ask, “what’s the point?” Is the world crying out for more MOR Oi! in name alone? What is the inherent desire to add cod-ska inflections on songs that do not require them? Will I remember any of this record a mere fifteen minutes after it finishes? Signs don’t look good! Not particularly worth any of your time, to be honest.

Sikm Sikm demo cassette

Demo tape from these ATL ass-kickers, comprised of DINOS BOYS and HEARTATTACKS alumni, channelling French Oi!, US hardcore, the best parts of UK82, and general menace and violence. Music to boot down doors to. A bonus and unexpected RADIO BIRDMAN cover rounds this tape off nicely. Cannot wait to see what’s next.

No Time Suffer No Fool 12″

Felt like a kid at bloody Christmas when I saw this one fall through the metaphorical letterbox, as I basically played their last release with such frequency and at such volume that it was like I was conducting siege warfare against my own head. For the ill-educated or the ignorant, Pittsburgh’s very own NO TIME has returned from their hiatus with a 12” filled with belters. From the opening mid-tempo stomp of the intro, immediately into the thunderous bass of “Never Wrong,” it’s a hot, steaming slice of bootboy rock’n’frigging roll. Music to kick in a bus stop window to.

Fearless Veterans / Offensiva split EP

Tedious, apolitical “anti-PC” posturing aside (tell you what would actually shock me, would be this mob producing anything approaching original), this is your run-of-the-mill Euro Oi! which you have undoubtedly heard a thousand times before, and almost certainly done better. Miss it like it’s jury service.

Rejestracja Juz Nie Ma Nic LP reissue

Reissued live 1986 recording of Polish punk legends REJESTRACJA. Fiercely political, at a time and a place where that could get you in more than a bit of bother, it’s an interesting time capsule for a scene that often gets overlooked in the dusty annals of punk’s desire to navel-gaze and sniff its own farts. Musically, I have to say, not quite for me—some of its more “musically progressive” elements come across a bit noodly, but I think that some of the comparisons to DEAD KENNEDYS or MDC aren’t too far off the mark, either. A fun exploration through the punk history books nonetheless.

Orreaga 778 Live and Loud!! 2xLP

A live(!) double LP(!!) (from Euskaran herberts ORREAGA 778 here, which with an eye-watering twenty-track length(!!!), is presumably the gift no one actually asked for. My natural resilience to live recordings aside (THIN LIZZY obviously the exception that proves the rule), it is, in spite of itself, a lot of fun, spanning their near two decades of existence. It’s mixed surprisingly well, although perhaps I would have enjoyed it sounding more like it was recorded in a bin. Probably not one for anyone but mega-fans and completists, though.

Fuerza Bruta Contra 12″

Talk about nominative determinism—straight out the gate, this record is like a dry slap round the chops, wasting no time in shoving down your throat eight new tracks of a Spanish-language, Oi!-flavoured hardcore assault on the senses. A tantalising mix of gang-shouted choruses, a touch of street punk-style “woah-oh!”s too are ticking several boxes, and it really must be noted that, for want of a better phrase, this drummer certainly knows how to twat them pots. Nestle this gently among other modern classics like the CHISEL or NO TIME. Run, don’t walk for this one.

Reckless Upstarts We Walk Alone LP

Canadian flat cap botherers RECKLESS UPSTARTS land with their debut LP of meat-and-potatoes shorthaired rock’n’roll. Opening track nails their politics to the mast by clearly stating their unequivocal SHARP-ness, which I will always appreciate. As for the record itself, it’s more tuneful than I expected, clearly pitching at the more anthemic end of the Oi! spectrum. However, toward the arse end of the record, there’s a totally inexplicable and absolutely honking rendition of the MAXINE NIGHTINGALE classic “Back Where We Started” which made me pull a face that I last did when I accidentally trod in dog shit, and quite frankly, if I wasn’t a prison abolitionist, I’d be calling for a custodial sentence. That being said, while it’s certainly not going to be a bona fide classic by any stretch, it’s perfectly fine and I’m sure it’ll make some lads in sambas and West Ham scarves happy enough.

Civilian Civilian demo cassette

Extremely promising demo from this Baltimore outfit, packing earworm riffs, larynx-lacerating vocals, and an intoxicating blend of hardcore sensibilities and some of the Second Empire Justice BLITZ worship so oft-used by nous amis across the channel in France. Really great stuff and cannot wait for more.

Mad Brother Ward & the Abrasives All Bad All the Time LP

If I were a crueller chap, I might have simply pointed out the nominative determinism in releasing an old man punk record with the title they’ve chosen, but it is a new year after all, and new leaves are to be turned over! It is bad though, that’s undeniable. I’m always wary of records that have the phrase “punk rock” liberally plastered all over their press release; almost exclusively used by shoe companies or people who used to own a skateboard when they are talking about how they are disrupting the cloud-based systems industry. It is, how the kids say, giving “calls themselves ‘procurement rockstar’ in LinkedIn bio.” Linguistics aside, this record basically sounds how it looks. Four old blokes making old bloke music, nothing earth-shattering or vital here by any stretch. Not worth your time.

Atturri Atturri LP

Having first been exposed to Euskaran rockers ATTURRI on the fantastic Kaosa Euskal Herrian LP, it’s nice to see a full-length from the Basque bruisers. Short but sweet, with seven tracks of thunderous bass lines, soaring guitars, and righteous anger courtesy of perfectly orchestrated gang vox. Hoping to see more!

Mess Under Attack LP

Unless you’ve been sat under a relatively soundproof rock for the past few years, you’ve already heard of MESS by now; hot off the heels of two unbelievably good 12”s, a split with fellow bruisers the CHISEL, and now their first full-length has dropped into the eager hands of yours truly and all other discerning herbets. This is sheer, unabashed BLITZ-worship, and I love it. From the opener “Stay Strong,” a driving anthemic instrumental which is so indebted to ROSE OF VICTORY that Nidge and Mackie wouldn’t be called mad asking for royalties, this record is packed to the rafters with nostalgia-inducing tunes to spill your beer to. It’s a love letter to mid-tempo UK82, but with enough nous to make it sound fresh in ’24. Marble-gargling vocals, hooks and guitar tone redolent of anything off No Future. Genuinely as near to perfect as can be, vital.

Coupe Gorge Silence de Mort LP

Brest-based Oi!-tinged hardcore types COUPE GORGE return five years after their last mini LP, with a full album of a more mature, assured sound. Comprising various alumni from CUIR and SYNDROME 81, they’ve inherited some of the spartan and sparse sound of their other projects but injected more of a hardcore sensibility that shines through. Definitely more hardcore than Oi! (conspicuous lack of saxophones for our friends from La République), but for those who enjoy LIONS LAW or BATTLE RUINS (for example), there’s a lot of fun to be had.

Crossczech Partie Bez Ví​t​ě​zů LP

Prague SHARP skins released the follow-up to their debut a full decade later, so clearly not one for rushing into things. Forgive me for being a critical Christopher here, but one might have fairly assumed if you’ve taken a full ten years to work on a sequel to your first LP, you might have used some of that time to become better? However, this is much the same from this bunch, a relatively nondescript blend of watered-down Oi!, street punk, and some absolutely terrible ska. Perfect for after seven to twelve pilsners so you don’t really care what it sounds like. Despite all this, I will give them enormous credit for being openly left-wing in a scene where weirdo loser flag-botherers are getting more prominent and need stamping out.

Puffer Iron Hand EP

Roachleg, like Mendeku Diskak, is rapidly becoming a kind of Motown-esque hit factory for Shit I Like. This release by PUFFER is no different. Another hard-as-fook release from these Montreal rockers, with all the fun of the fair. Riffs? They’ve got them coming out their arse, mate. Tunes? Knee deep in them, son. “Sister Marie” in particular is so full of swagger and a sense of fun that is often so sorely lacking, I had to listen to it about five times. Essential purchase, and I cannot wait to see what they do next.

À Cran / Ad Vitam split EP

Fun split of two songs apiece for Montreal punkers and Parisien skins. AD VITAM’s half is more North American in its approach to Oi!, with the kind of skeletal, no-frills jangle guitar tone of early TEMPLARS and some straight rockin’ riffs. If you didn’t know the provenance of À CRAN, then the tell-tale skronk of sax haunting the split like Banquo’s ghost will answer your question easily. Fans of SQUELETTE and BROMURE will find plenty to enjoy.

Oil! The Glory of Honour LP reissue

Not funny enough to be a good joke, not good enough to be taken seriously. Bollocks then, bollocks now. What a waste of plastic to repress this to vinyl when it could have been made into something useful, like a Happy Meal toy or a petrol station football.

Battery March Futur Pour Eux EP

Enjoyably knockabout Oi!-infused street punk from this band of Boston bruisers. Unfairly compared to DEATH RIDGE BOYS (Oi! for people who hate Oi!) in the accompanying blurb, this release fits nicely within the pantheon of American Oi!, replete with obligatory TEMPLARS-adjacent gruff vocals (without wandering into caricature territory). A surprise French number is also welcome, yet perhaps thankfully lacking the accursed saxophone by which our comrades from La République are inexplicably enamoured.

War Effort Path to Glory EP

Some pretty fuming hardcore, with more than a slight nod to Stoke’s favourite scruffbags DISCHARGE. A veritable who’s who of contemporary hardcore with alumni from LOST LEGION, CIDADÃO, and FUERZA BRUTA, which should be enough to whet your whistle. Furious and scuzzy raging against the dying of the light. Good gear.

Collaps Bully the Bully EP

Another co-sign from the veritable hit factory that is Mendeku Diskak—this reissue of the Berlin-based COLLAPS is perhaps not quite their bread and butter, but is an interesting prospect. Comprised of a variety of Berlin scene vets, this is an intoxicating mix of D-beat, hardcore, Oi!, and good old-fashioned P-U-N-K punk. Snotty, cerebral, abrasive, it’s good stuff, baby. Give it a go.

Béton Armé Second Souffle EP

Don’t think it is an exaggeration to say that this is one of my favourite bands still going, up there with MESS, FUERZA BRUTA and CASTILLO; they are the real deal. It seems a little reductive making the comparison merely owing to their shared Francophile nature, but this really does feel like a spiritual cousin to a RIXE EP—earworm choruses, buzzsaw guitars, and gang vox designed to be yelled while covered in lager. Extremely worth a spin.

Ultra Razzia Jusqu’au Bout de la Nuit LP

Very little warms the cockles of this cynical old herbert more than a good ol’ fashioned slab of Francophone Oi!, and ULTRA RAZZIA has done so in spades. Not quite as brickwall as broader scene contemporaries FORCE MAJEURE or FUERZA BRUTA, instead a slighter darker take on the genre, without fully slipping into the type of glacial post-punkery that has snuck in round the fringes. Certainly on the heavier end of the scale for Oi!, with riffs like treacle and bass that could cause a hazard to shipping, but never quite losing that “get your mate in a headlock” sing-along chorus that keeps us coming back for more. Keep it coming.

Sympos More Sympos EP

What an absolute joy this was to discover. From the most un-Oi!-like choppy, angular guitar stabs to the distinctly Waterfordian accent, I was immediately shaken from the malaise that a thousand crappy “Oi! in name alone” releases that are farted out by labels that should know better will sink you into. As indebted to the first-wave ’77 mob and anorak-clad post-punkers as traditional skinhead fare, it’s undoubtedly more musically complex than one might expect. However, the lyrical content, with tongue embedded firmly in cheek, covers topics as broad as “fighting down the pub,” “drinking down the pub,” and “car insurance”—it’s a lot of fun crammed into its all-too-brief runtime.

Wired Up A Little Somethin’ EP

I’ve always had a fondness for daft yobbo music; the harder end of glam, the sort of garish dopey nonsense for people like yours truly that consider Noddy Holder as sort of totemic figure in their life. “Take your brain out” tunes. So I was encouraged to see a release from a band called WIRED UP, clearly taking inspiration from the HECTOR classic. The opening promised so much, swaggering hard glam being the name of the game, but like so much contemporary bootboy-adjacent music, the vocals emulated a cartoon bullfrog and immediately cast me into an existential crisis for the next 45 minutes. Lyrically, it isn’t much better, with one tune in particular focussing on that noirest of bêtes for skinheads, People Who Aren’t Proper Skinheads. Which is all well and good, except that I heard a presumably grown adult using the word “cosplay” and immediately turned the fucking thing off for good. Still, nice to hear a BRONSKI BEAT mention in 2023.

Dry Sockets Dry Sockets demo cassette

Deary me. For the first fifteen seconds of this demo, I genuinely held out hope that this wasn’t complete and utter horseshit, and then, sadly, like watching Harry Maguire trying to defend a simple one-on-one, the inevitable happened when the vocals kicked in. I’m not sure if it is possible to die of secondhand embarrassment, but if I do cark it in the next week, I’m sure listening to this record will be referenced in the post-mortem. Like if Tom DeLonge swapped the big shorts for jeans that actually fit and read the adolescent poetry of a complete arsehole. Would genuinely rather suffer from dry socket than listen to this total bollocks ever again.

Daltonz Hier, Demain, Maintenant LP

La République has always been a bastion of Oi!, and while the current crop of current cropheads waving the tri-colour are doing a lot to drag the genre in the direction of more spartan, post-punk influences, it’s nice to see grizzled vets DALTONZ steadfastly sticking to the old ways and sounding great twenty years in. Firmly in the tradition of the COCKNEY REJECTS or 4 SKINS, it’s eight solid tracks of full-fat, 100% not-from-concentrate skinhead rock’n’roll, and it sounds great. Vive La Oi! Vive Les DALTONZ!

The Buzzers Behind / Incoming 7″

The BUZZERS with two mercifully short tunes here on this 7”. Band bops along at a decent pace, but for some reason the singer has chosen to adopt the voice of some kind of street-smart crow, perhaps wearing a bowler hat, smoking a cigar, and saying “what’s the big idea?” It’s a shame really, because it truly is passable for what constitutes modern Oi!—has a bit less studio shimmer and is not un-TEMPLARS-like in places, too.

Hotza Demo EP

Once again I find myself researching the mineral content of the water supply in Euskara, because this region has once again produced a near-instant classic. Eight minutes of heat over four blistering tracks from Bilbao with this release, which doesn’t let up for the entire time. Scratching that traditional French Oi! itch you didn’t think you had, ticking the same boxes that RIXE and IENA did, this is just the tonic for those tired of milquetoast, by-the-numbers Euro bollocks. Rumbling bass that sounds like tank warfare, over tight and taught guitar lines giving you that brickwall sound that is sorely lacking these days. A suitably raucous 4 SKINS cover rounds it off, and back on repeat it goes. Excellent stuff.

Sordid Ship Vague Digitale 12″

Avast ye landlubbers and hoist the mainsail, because here comes a 12” of seemingly entirely nautical-themed street punk(?)—while it doesn’t semantically make sense, it turns out that it also doesn’t make for very good music, either! It’s extraordinarily generic; I could see it nestling gently at 4:00 pm on the Breton leg of La Tour Warped or whatever, but I’m not even sure the band themselves would be able to recognise these tunes if they heard them in the wild. One for skateboard owners.

Aggressive Combat Aggressive Combat LP

Spanish Oi! stalwarts AGGRESSIVE COMBAT return, and if you like your Euro Oi! to sound like Euro Oi!, then hold onto yer Sambas and camo shorts, because do I have the band for you! More on the hard rockin’ end of the Oi! spectrum, with a few guitar solo flourishes to dance across the factory-rhythmic drums, it’s a bit too polished for me. Some classic silly vox, with matey on vocals sounding like he’s doing his best impression of a scary monster rather than expressing working class solidarity, talking about drinking beer, inexplicably finding Andy Capp endearing, or any number of Euro skin activities.

Crucified Class Promo Tape ’23 cassette

Much like fellow pissed-off punks SAVAGEHEADS, CRUCIFIED CLASS managed to Frankenstein the best from US hardcore and UK82 on this cassette brimming with bile. The pogo-friendly hooks of anything off a Riot City comp, twinned with the unhinged bark and aggression of Stateside hardcore to dizzying effect. A real good time.

Waste The Next Century is Almost Over EP

Dutch hardcore types wind back the years with a remontada release a mere 40 years after their debut, which is a level of lackadaisicalness to which one can only tip your bonnet. The tunes sound broadly how you would expect a band who made their debut in ‘82 would sound. A nice nostalgia trip around the musical tropes of the time—a dash of anarcho here, a pinch of Oi! there. A real Bombay mix of second-wave punk and a pleasant enough way to spend your time, but if they waited another 40 years for a release, I wouldn’t exactly be calling for them to pull their finger out.

Lost Legion Bridging Electricity 10″

Three brawny bruisers of the harder end of Oi!-influenced hardcore here, with luminaries from FUERZA BRUTA, among others. Gravel-gargling vocals and a sound that suggests ARMS RACE having a go at (saxophone-less) French Oi!—add a leftfield GO-GO’S cover into the mix, and you have a very promising first release.

Claymore Crime Pays! LP

You know those stories you read in the papers? The ones about people who wake up after a traumatic incident and they speak in an accent they’ve never had before? Seems rare, right? Well, I can only assume that matey who sings in CLAYMORE has had this happen to him, because there is no earthly reason why anyone would pick to sound like this—every new syllable reveals new wonders as they are approached and attacked in untold and unpredictable ways. One minute it sounds like TOM WAITS doing a prank call as a British person, the next like Tim Armstrong being startled by a cold toilet seat. Truly, genuinely unbelievable. If the music wasn’t so by-the-books and unremarkable it might make this record interesting. However, it isn’t, so it’s not.

Inhalators Inhalators LP

Some straight-up punk rockin’ out of Poland here from INHALATORS. It bops along at a nice canter with some classic-sounding RAMONES-y buzzsaw riffs, and has a very slick and modern studio sheen to it which perhaps belies some of the more puerile nose-thumbing lyrics, which even the most ardent teenage edgelord would dislocate their retinas rolling their eyes at. All in all, it seems extraordinarily radio-friendly, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them mid-afternoon at a big Euro fest.

Crime 84 Kidnapped demo ​​cassette

Some real rocker shit from out of Jakarta here; UK82-influenced pogo mayhem to shake yer mullet to. Driving drums for the dis-rocker in your life, barked vocals, and guitars that rattle along at a rate of knots. If you like the SKEPTIX, ULTRA VIOLENT, or even GBH, you’ll find something to like here.

Bricks Bricks demo cassette

Stone me, what an early Chrimbo present this was for yours truly! Four tracks of raging Indonesian Oi! boiled down to the bones of what makes the genre so much fun. Rough around the edges, aggy, unhinged, and as direct as a steel toecap to the spuds, it’s all you’d want from a demo. A promise of good things to come. Fans of RIXE will not be disappointed.

Motosierras Nene de Barna EP

Alright mates, I’m not going to mince my words here, this is truly complete and utter shite. Four dads who clearly are old enough to know better writing plodding, mewling, anodyne bollocks for the benefit of absolutely no one. Where they get the sheer brass neck to try and compare this to the RAMONES or MOTÖRHEAD is beyond yours truly, because the only thing I can even begin to suggest they have in common is that they all own guitars. Avoid this like diphtheria.

Castillo Promo Tape cassette

Of the incredibly rich and fulsome Mendeku Diskak back catalogue, CASTILLO is certainly one of my favourites. First formed as a lockdown project, the now fully-formed band follow off the back of their debut with a promo tape that acts as an amuse-bouche for the future, and if this is anything to go by, what a tasty treat we have in store. Chiming, anthemic guitars, barked furious vocals à la NEW YORK HOUNDS, and even a riff on the second half that sounds like nos amis en RIXE produced it, and there’s very little higher praise for the contemporary crophead.

Kaleko Urdangak Bizirik LP

Those who have had the misfortune to read any of my missives here in previous editions know how fond I am of boot boys from the Basque country, and it’s a genuine mystery and delight to me why this particular corner of Europe generates so many great skinhead bands. Here’s another one for you; KALEKO URDANGAK makes anthemic, skinhead rock‘n’roll. Sadly not blessed with a working knowledge of Euskera, I can’t vouch for lyrical content, but in dedicating their record to Basque political prisoners, and releasing an unashamedly Basque record, it’s at least small-p political in nature. Musically, it has a bit more studio polish than I prefer, but the tunes are uplifting enough to penetrate even the most cynical of dickheads (me). Really great stuff.

Monster Squad I Love Punk EP

What a frigging racket…and that’s a good thing to me, baby! A celebration of 25 years in existence, this record is a fun little excursion down memory lane for those familiar with MONSTER SQUAD. Street punk with hardcore tinges played at breakneck speed, sticking around just long enough to not become irritating. Songs taking on Nazis and celebrating brotherhood and unity, it’s all good gear. A fun time for under fifteen minutes.

Excluded Legion of War LP

A hefty hunk of Mexican street punk here from the fellas in EXCLUDED on their fourth release, a pleasingly quixotic mix of Oi! and hardcore both in English and Spanish. It took me a while to get fully into this, and while they don’t quite grab me in the way that their contemporaries and compatriots MESS do, for a take on the genre it’s a lot of fun. Gang vox, ramshackle riffs that feel like they could derail at any point, and drums that sound like someone knocking the absolute shite out of some bin lids, it’s an enjoyable way to spend your time.

Ultra Sect Echoes From the Past 12″

San Fransiscan Oi! outfit ULTRA SECT returns with another collection of rough-as-yer-like tunes, albeit ones in which they are pretending to be vikings or Normans or Visigoths or what have you, which is absolutely one of my least favourite contemporary Oi! tropes (although it is microscopically less annoying than people who’ve never been singing about the pub or football). Topic analysis aside, it’s pretty good stuff, a decent take on modern Oi! albeit a subcategory of it for which I don’t particularly care.

V/A Paris on Oi! LP

A compilation by some of the leading lights in “La Ville-Lumière,” aimed at capturing a snapshot of its particularly vibrant and thriving Oi! scene following the pandemic. A noble cause, and one that I back, because it really is a cracker. BROMURE, SQUELETTE, and CRAN will all be familiar to those keeping an eye on the scene, but uncovering treats like RECIDIVE and CONTUSION is always a treat. Fair warning, it is French Oi!, so please don’t be startled by liberal applications of saxophone, but it’s a price worth paying for a dip into one of the better scenes in Euro-land.

Savageheads Service to Your Country LP

As my dear friends in the Guinness marketing department will oft remind me, good things come to those who wait, and this is a very good thing indeed. Coming hot off the heels of their solitary release eight(!) years ago, a SAVAGEHEADS full-length finally lands, and fuck me sideways lads, it’s a total bloody belter. Thirteen tracks of raging UK82-in-‘22 pogo joy and the perfect soundtrack for cheap cider and solvent abuse. Snotty, amphetamine-rapid riffs, sneered vocals sticking two fingers up to every establishment of which you can think, and pounding drums that feel like the heartbeat of an anxiety attack. People will compare this to yer ABRASIVE WHEELS, yer SKEPTIX, yer PARTISANS, etc., but this is just a really fucking good record and one you should nick your nan’s pension to get…it’s just that good.

Form Rank Form Rank cassette

Some beefy, American-style Oi! here, if that’s the sort of thing that floats yer boat; some nice lumpen riffs and a really quite spectacularly Neanderthal “ugh” that reaches in and tickles you on the old amygdala are enjoyable enough. The vocals lurch dangerously close to Tim Armstrong-style anglophilia, which is enough to bring me out in a cold sweat. Some inexplicable saxophone dotted about, which I thought was exclusively the purview of our mates sur la continent, so hearing it here has the same disorientating effect as seeing your teacher in the supermarket on the weekend. Perfectly fine stuff here lads, keep at it.

Battalion Zośka / Fatal Blow split EP

Oh good, more BATTALION ZOŚKA, this time teaming up with UK Oi! outfit FATAL BLOW on a split release. The FATAL BLOW side is perfectly serviceable, workmanlike Oi! with a firm left-wing bent as you’d expect from the OPPRESSED alumni, taking on embarrassing Fred Perry botherers the Proud Boys and the rapidly spiralling unhoused epidemic. Then comes BATTALION ZOŚKA, and I wish they wouldn’t. More dull-as-dishwater shite, and the interpolation of Millwall chant cements it.

Battalion Zośka New Blood CD

About halfway through this album, I found myself beginning to laugh, not from joy or elation, but from the growing realisation that this was one of the shittest things I’ve ever heard. A doff of the old chapeau to BATTALION ZOŚKA for creating something for which literally no one was asking, a plodding retread of a plodding retread of street punk with a needless studio sheen and zero heart. I’m sure if you’ve ever worn a flat cap to a show, or own a skateboard, you’ll think this is good. You’d be wrong, but you would think that. Avoid this like the bubonic plague.

Contusion Haine et Souffrance 12″

Band name in Old English-style font? Inexplicable medieval woodcut imagery as cover art? Vocals that can only sound like that as the result of smoking two packs of Gitanes a day? That’s French Oi! baby, and this is very much that. CONTUSION emerges from the same Parisian scene that birthed FACTION S and OUTREAU, and indeed they share many of the same members, as well as a penchant for rough-as-yer-like Oi!—gang vocals, thundering bass, good-time mid-tempo skinhead rock’n’roll all present and accounted for, just how you like it. Nothing earth-shattering here, but we’ll leave that for the longhairs and prog fans.

Syndrome 81 Prisons Imaginaires LP

SYNDROME 81 stands apart from the majority of their contemporaries in the Oi! scene, taking as much inspiration from latter-era BLITZ or even ROSE OF VICTORY as they do CAMERA SILENS or TROTSKIDS. This darker, solemn take on the genre with touches and flourishes of deathrock and post-punk is a bit of a palate cleanser compared to some of the more tedious caricatures that the Sambas-and-camo-shorts mob farts out semi-regularly, and on their debut full-length they sound tighter and more fully-realised then ever before. Punchy and anthemic, this has the potential to be one of the best releases of the year.

Blessure Ekaitza / Sabaté 7″

More Basque Country brilliance on BLESSURE’s debut release here, with the Bilbao quartet channelling a classic French Oi! sound on this bilingual 7”. There’s touches of CAMERA SILENS and R.A.S. and even more contemporary skinhead chanteurs like RIXE, too. A real good time.

Denim No Remorse LP

Let DENIM take you for a Viennese whirl with this slab of pure Neanderthal stomp. Eight tracks of Oi!-infused hardcore, stripped of all frills and designed to get your brain in a full nelson and not let go ‘til it’s finished. Reminiscent of a rougher HAMMER AND THE NAILS in places too, all piss and vinegar. Utilitarian guitars and bass support an increasingly furious set of vocals which at times seems like matey has taken personal offense to something I’ve done. Good stuff.

Aŕesi Aŕesi cassette

I’m not sure what’s in the water of the Bay of Biscay, but Bermeo has once again produced another belter of a band in AŔESI. If you like you like their fellow compatriots STA. CRUZ or REVERTT, you’ll be on board with this—good ol’ fashioned skinhead rock’n’roll and catchy as fuck. Excited for more from this mob.

Brux One for You EP

Coming across like a slightly rougher, hairier-arsed SYNDROME 81, the Badalona Boot Boys of BRUX firmly take up shop in between the first and second BLITZ albums for this, their first release proper. Frontman Juanma uses his vocals less like an instrument and more like a siege weapon, and the post-punk meets Oi! (pOi!st-punk?) stylings add a sense of creeping dread to accompany the aggro. Owners of the tape can probably skip this one, but highly recommended nonetheless.

Puffer Live and Die in the City Demo 2022 cassette

Montreal’s PUFFER lands here with a slab of lumpen punk’n’roll which offers a little more nuance and intrigue than your usual troglodyte Oi!-tinged hardcore. Vocals are reminiscent of NO TIME, and sound not too dissimilar to what I’d imagine it’d be like if a rottweiler learned to sing. Interestingly, there’s a bit of groove here with the tambourine flourishes and guitar solos, a bit like if MC5 cut their hair and had a wash. Good stuff(er) from PUFFER.

No-Heads Concrete & Steel / New Normal 7″

A new release from Richmond’s NO-HEADS coming four years after their first, and perhaps you could have waited another four years, lads, because this isn’t for me. By-the-numbers, plodding UK82 worship with none of the grit that makes it endearing. Gruff vocals veer dangerously into RANCID territory and deliver absolutely nothing of substance. NO-HEADS? No tunes, more like.

V/A Chaos in Basque Country LP

Another dip into the thriving Euskaran punk ‘n’ Oi! scene, taking inspiration from the classic Chaos En France series this time. Those who are already familiar with bona fide Basque hit factory Mendeku Diskak will know luminaries like the mighty STA. CRUZ, IRMO, and REVERTT who are all stand-outs, but the rousing gang vocal choruses of TAXTERS (like REICH ORGASM in their pomp) and the feral stylings of ATTURRI are also a treat. Not much to discover if you’ve already heard the excellent Kaosa Euskal Herrian LP from a while back, but a great intro to one of the more interesting scenes going at the minute.

Roughed Up King and Council EP

Clandestine, channel-straddling Oi! outfit ROUGHED UP announce themselves with a cracker of a release here. Terrace-friendly chants waging class war, all delivered in an accent that in another life would have been selling two pounds of pears in a brown paper bag at Bethnal Green market. Plenty of joyful guitar-led choruses replete with a little glammy flourish, not dissimilar to the CHISEL at their most anthemic, too. One to keep an eye on.

Thatcher’s Snatch Wapping Dispute EP

From its tongue-firmly-in-cheek EXPLOITED rip-off sleeve, down to its carved-into-a-school-desk naughty schoolboy name, the fellas from THATCHER’S SNATCH indulge in a form of worship of ’80s UK culture like they’ve got caught drinking Carling Black Label on Top of the Pops by Bruno Brookes. Normally this kind of carry-on has the whiff of a Kenny Everett skit rather than something to take seriously, but here’s the thing, right; it’s actually properly fucking good. Tackling targets as disparate as Antipodean egg-chaser turned professional bigot Israel Folau and striking printworkers in ’80s Wapping, it packs a rhetorical wallop in its eight minutes; and that’s not to speak of its lightning turbo-charged UK82, like if MENACE or ENGLISH DOGS had stuck their fingers in a plug socket.

Blitz Second Empire Justice LP reissue

It’s funny revisiting this record so closely to Voice of a Generation, because if I hadn’t been blessed with the prior knowledge that this was by the same band, I would have bet my next paycheck that this was two very different outfits, and I’d be on the beans on toast for the next month. Stating the bleeding obvious: it doesn’t sound anything like their debut full-length, for better or for worse. Gone is the gruff bellow, in comes a skeletal and sparse croon. No more buzzsaw guitars and thunderous bass, in comes razor-sharp guitar lines and bin-lid snare. A magpie approach to the nascent post-punk scene, a JOY DIVISION riff here, an ECHO AND THE BUNNYMEN riff here, and a sprinkling of the CURE and FIELDS OF THE NEPHILIM here for a light seasoning of goth, it’s a strange beast. It’ll never top the debut for me, and it’s definitely an acquired taste, but perhaps you are less of a curmudgeon than me and this is the BLITZ album for you.

Blitz Voice of a Generation LP reissue

Look, I’m not here to tell you how to live your life. If you want to not eat your greens or avoid looking both ways before crossing the road, that’s on you largely, and given the natural truculence and stick-it-up-yer-bollocks mentality of the punk community, it’s likely to be met with resistance at best and open hostility most likely. That being said, if you haven’t listened to this record, I am going to tell you to go and listen to it right now. From the opening drum salvo and the first time Nidge’s guitar cuts through, it grabs you by the lapels and doesn’t let up. Unlike many of their contemporaries in the Oi! scene that was coagulating round Bushell, et al., BLITZ doesn’t have the same panto “don’t mind if I do, missus,” end-of-the-pier approach to street violence and class politics that came to define the scene in postcard caricature fashion. Undoubtedly you’ve heard this LP a billion times before, and a reissue’s a reissue’s a reissue, but if at the very least it’s stopped you and made you go back and try and capture that lightning-in-a-bottle sensational you got the first time you dropped that needle on the record for the first time, then it’s job done as far as yours truly is concerned.

The Chisel Retaliation LP

It’s grim up north, and few articulate this better than the CHISEL’s seasider songsmith Cal Graham. Over a blistering 30-minute debut, ably backed by a motley crew of London punk luminaries, his stentorian vocals explore the crushing mundanity of working class life; from small-town bullies, post-Thatcherite social decay, and police brutality. However, despite sounding like he’s permanently just had his pint spilled, there’s a relentless defiance, and sense of solidarity that runs throughout Retaliation like a stick of Blackpool rock, twinned with the kind of soaring guitars and thunderous drums that would make BLITZ or the PARTISANS proud; it’s a joyous affair. An uneasy truce between the best bits of Oi!, UK82, even a dash of anarcho and hardcore too, the CHISEL’s debut occupies the same space as that moment after a last-minute winner hits the back of the net and the ecstatic embrace immediately following could quite easily become a headlock; vim and vigour, piss and vinegar. An instant classic.

The Bench / The Bois split EP

Another in the Inflame singles series, this time pairing Russia’s very own the BENCH with the BOIS all the way from the Lion City. Not much in the way of anything earth-shattering here—the BENCH suffers from that over-produced clean sound that a lot of modern European Oi! also does, the sort of thing you’d see shortly after doors at Rebellion. Serviceable, but I’ve already forgotten the tune approximately 30 seconds after stopping listening to it. The BOIS offer something slightly different, having decided to pursue a more mod-type sound, which while not completely awful, basically does just sound like landfill indie, as if the ORDINARY BOYS or the RIFLES sang about racial unity rather than the seaside.

Pressure Pact Discography cassette

Lads, I dunno about you lot, but I’m absolutely sick to bastard death of having to think. Leave that to the boffins in the white coats, send your brain on a holiday, and stick this tape on. Compiling the recorded output of this Dutch Oi!/hardcore mob to date, it’s a frantic mess of ferociously barked vocals, creepy-crawl riffs, and a rhythm section as taut as you like. It’ll bore straight through your skull and give you chimp brain a tickle; you’ll be unlocking your inner Neanderthal and sticking your head through a brick wall by track three. An abso-bloody-lute belter.

Sta. Cruz Asedio Constante EP

Some good old-fashioned, hairy-arsed, short-haired rock’n’roll from the hit factory that is Mendeku Diskak. Bizkaian mob STA. CRUZ aren’t here to reinvent the wheel, but instead just to make a very fucking good wheel actually. Good time riffs by way of ROSE TATTOO or NO CLASS meet gravel-gargling vocals, but really what caught my attention were the surprisingly intricate bass lines and drumming, just enough to keep it interesting without being a flash bastard about it. All done in about ten minutes, keep em wanting more.

Kronstadt Quai de l’Ouest LP

Lille punks KRONSTADT return for their second LP, bringing with them a more expansive, melodic sound and ambition along with them. Like their compatriots LITOVSK and SYNDROME 81 I suppose it is ostensibly Oi!-adjacent, but there’s a not insignificant dose of post-punk sheen on this release; a lot of the rough edges have been knocked off which is where, unfortunately, I find a lot of the charm. It’s perfectly good enough, serviceable punk but just slightly too polished for yours truly.

Violent Way All Talk EP

From the ashes of the ELITE emerges VIOLENT WAY, refreshed and renewed to give the world a kicking. Some classic meat and potatoes Oi! from these Buffalo upstarts, and if you are a real American Oi! fan you’ll love this; willing to bet a couple of quid that these fellas had FORCED REALITY and TEMPLARS written on their pencil case at school.

Contempt Contempt LP

Do bootboys get the blues? A question that has eluded cropheaded philosophers for millennia, and CONTEMPT is here to offer some evidence in favour. Eschewing traditional Oi! fare of good-time lager-soaked bonhomie or explicit threats of steel-toecap-to-skull interfacing, it’s a more nuanced, cerebral take on the genre. This is also reflected in the tunes, soaring guitars, and dare I even suggest it, metal influences, showing a broader horizon than your usual Oi! records. That being said, it does retain the sort of grit and menace you’d associate, and a decent sprinkling of actual “Oi!”s to placate old farts like myself.

Castillo Faded Memories 12″

I greet each new Mendeku Diskak with a fervour matched only by a kid knowing they’ve got a pair of Copa Mundials wrapped neath the auld tannenbaum on Crimbo morn; they simply do not miss. This 12″ from CASTILLO is another in a long list of belters. Another sensational project from Alex Zambrano, the mastermind behind COMBAT FORCE and REPEAT OFFENDER, dancing merrily between sheer lumpen heft and melodic riffs you can imagine a binman whistling. It’s got hints of the ROYAL HOUNDS, the vocals especially sounded like you’ve spilled their pint, as well as RIXE and MESS, too; it’s a stomper from start to finish. Please sir, I want some more.

Béton Armé Au Bord Du Gouffre EP

More great Oi! from the fine city of Montreal; not sure what they’re putting on their chips over there (cheese curds and gravy aside) but there’s been a steady stream of brilliant Oi! records which have been in near constant rotation for yours truly. It’s Oi! sung in French so certain parallels are naturally drawn with scene stalwarts RIXE, but I’d say this has more of a classic French feel, fans of the Chaos En France series will enjoy this thoroughly. And how fucking nice is it to hear some actual “Oi!”s in the chorus again? Fewer camo shorts and more “Oi!s” please, cheers.

Liberty and Justice Pressure LP

Streetrock ain’t dead! In their debut LP, Texan sorts LIBERTY AND JUSTICE have quietly released one of the records of the year. Taking inspiration from classic Oi! like the TEMPLARS and even the 4-SKINS, as well as dabbling in NEGATIVE APPROACH-style hardcore too, it’s actually a lot more expansive than your ten a penny plastic gangsters doing cosplay about the pub. Solidarity and anti-racism is the name of the game here, and collaborations with local ska/cumbia outfit LOS SKARNALES and Houston rapper FAT TONY are both highlights. Sledgehammer vocals and fist-in-the-air anthems all underwritten by a thunderous rhythm section, too. Completely took me by surprise, but undoubtedly a future genre classic.

Tchernobyl Consumé Par Le Feu EP

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose! Another week and another cracker of a French-speaking Oi! record for me to tuck into, this time from the perennially great scène Parisienne. While the Anglophone world may be slacking, these upstarts have been adding their spin on that classic French sound everyone loves (unless you are a cloth-eared bastard). Both lumpen and leaden while simultaneously whipping along at decent pace, it’s a great little record, and doesn’t stay around long enough to offend either.

Dead Hero / Ultra Razzia split LP

Another split from Primator Crew, this time bringing Montreal scrappers ULTRA RAZZIA and Bogotán mob DEAD HERO together on wax for the first time. The former’s side of the split is characterised by their signature sparse but muscular take on Oi! More in common with some of their more hardcore contemporaries, but if LIONS LAW or BROMURE are your type of thing, you’ll find something to enjoy here. DEAD HERO’s side offers a more of a lighter touch, but is perhaps even more fun. It’s a real love letter to a type of punk many of us fell in love with first; it’s safety pins on a school blazer, think maybe VICE SQUAD out on the piss with COCK SPARRER and you’re in the right ballpark, ’77-in-’82 fun times for all.

Béton Armé / Ultra Razzia Demo 2018 / Demo 2017 split LP

Two of the hardest contemporary Québécois Oi! bands join forces for this split LP. Bringing together on wax both of their respective demo tapes and sprinkling them with a bit of studio remastering magique to give them a bit of brawn. BÉTON ARMÉ’s side of the split is in keeping with the fine tradition of francophone Oi! (sans saxophone), replete with buzzsaw guitars that if you told me had been transported directly from 1985, I’d believe you. ULTRA RAZZIA takes a slightly rougher, more punk-tinged approach, in keeping with more modern offerings like COUPE GORGE or TRAITRE. It also includes a joyous French-language cover of BLITZ’s “Razors in the Night,” which is almost worth the cost alone.

Brux Guerra Mental cassette

Mate. In four short tracks, BRUX has created one of the releases of the year. Pairing PMS 84-style UK82 chaos in parts, with SYNDROME 81 skeletal post-punk and a hint of Second Empire Justice BLITZ overdriven claustrophobia in others. There’s also some good-time skinhead rock’n’roll baby, courtesy of a few taut RIXE-style bangers replete with swaggering riffs that the sainted LOBBY LOYDE would be proud to have in his tight, denim-clad back pocket. All tied together with some ferocious vocals that assault the senses like prime-era ARMS RACE. Belting.

The Chisel Enough Said flexi EP

If there’s one thing you can categorically say about the CHISEL, it’s that they have not been sat about with their collective thumbs up their arse over the past year. Onto their third release proper, and still yet to have an actual live gig, they are undoubtedly a prolific mob. Comprising various elements of CHUBBY AND THE GANG, ARMS RACE, and the LOWEST FORM, it’s a proper who’s who of UKHC. They are also, very clearly, pissed-off. Pissed-off at muggy little cunts, at racists, at the Murdoch press, at divide and rule. It seethes with righteous Lancastrian fury courtesy of Cal Graham’s vocals which are akin to a lump hammer to the side of the head. Their sound is beefier than previous releases too, certainly more in common with that classic OI! sound we all know and love, even going as far as to record on the same piano that “Plastic Gangsters” was, as I am reliably informed. Rounded off with a joyful cover of the BUSINESS’ “Harry May.” Six minutes of flexi fun. Up the Weetabix skins!

Pressure Pact Scared Off the Streets LP

PRESSURE PACT’s latest is a unrefined slab of Neanderthal primitive hardcore, taking in BOSTON STRANGLER and NEGATIVE FX-style hardcore and a hint of NABAT-style European Oi!, which grabs you by yer throat and refuses to let go. Unrefined, atavistic troglodyte hop for the close-cropped creepy-crawlers of the world. It’s claustrophobic and violent, with drums being beaten as if they owe someone money. If you want complexity, read a book. If you want your head smashed in by some absolutely belting hardcore then give this a go.

V/A Kaosa Euskal Herrian 2xLP

Taking inspiration from the classique Chaos En France series, this compilation of some of the leading lights in the incredibly healthy Basque Oi! and punk scene is a genuine joy to explore. Sung mostly in Euskara with a few potted exceptions, it’s a truly unique document of a clearly vibrant and overlooked community. Some of the names such as CUERO and REVERTT may be familiar to those of you who, like me, think the sun shines out of the fantastic Mendeku Diskak’s arse, but perhaps the most rewarding part is uncovering some of the lesser-known bands, too. BLESSURE has the speed and sneer of RIXE, whereas TEARS & BEERS can craft an ale-spilling chorus to rival BATTLE RUINS any day of the week. It’s not all boots and braces for any of you long-haired scruffs out there, though; GADAFISTE BROTHERS are pure bubblegum RAMONES-worship power pop as well. Extremely worth your time!

Mess Intercity 12″

If you like BLITZ (which you fucking well better had like), you’ll like this, simple as, end of. No pissing about, it’s about as perfect a slice of UK82 skiiiiinhead rock’n’roll as you are likely to find. Anthemic, euphoric, and bleach-stained as they come, could have easily booted its way onto a No Future release. One that will be in heavy rotation chez yours truly for the foreseeable future.

Cuero Cabezabota 12″

More Basque brutality from the boys from Bilbao. Four tracks of blackened Oi! with bile-curdling vocals, as tough as the leather from which they take their name and hard as Bizkaian iron. Pounding drums and robust industrial riffs are a solid chassis on which to build this twelve minutes of fury. Will make you want to kick down buildings.

V/A A Country Fit for Heroes, Volume 2 LP reissue

Another musical dose of twelve-hole Doc Martens shoe leather up the hoop for those of us who never stopped fighting Maggie Thatcher. The follow-up to the much-beloved first volume in the series is actually an improvement, should you dare to believe it. The untouchable CRIMINAL DAMAGE’s “Criminal Crew” is a perfect slice of rowdy bovver, ON PAROLE offers some choppy Hiberian aggro, and Cwmbran legends IMPACT’s “Storm Trooper Tactics” is a taut and frantic polemic against the follies of joining the army. Really does not come highly recommended enough, save up your pocket money for this one.

V/A A Country Fit for Heroes LP reissue

Reissue of one of the seminal UK82 compilations; time to dust off the donkey jacket and the “Coal Not Dole” badge. Some of these names will inevitably be known to you, having been scrawled onto school books and pencil cases since time immemorial, but this compilation assembles some of the lesser-celebrated names of the UK scene, too. It’s an uneasy truce between skins, punks, and their scruffier anarcho cousins to dizzying effect. DISTORTION, CRUX, and the VIOLATORS are the stars of the show for this installment; a great document of the time and some real gems uncovered.

Ultra-Violent Crime…For…Revenge EP reissue

Perhaps the definitive UK82 release, a final effort before disbanding and setting off on their merry (separate) ways; this is three tracks of buzzsaw guitar ferocity, larynx-shredding vocals from Ade Bailey, and drums that sound like an air raid. Tight, furious and no pissing about. Get your boots and your bally on, it’s a classic for a reason.

Vis Vires The Fight Goes On LP

Never personally understood the fascination with some skins in pretending to be a Viking warrior (it was shit, lads! You couldn’t even get Wi-Fi or a decent lamb tikka bhuna!), and this record is unlikely to convince me, really. From its opening salvo of audio library sword-clashing, to its tough-guy vocals singing of victory, pride, and storms, it’s a quaintly macho record, more in common with MANOWAR than its Oi! labelling, all IRON MAIDEN wailing guitars and not enough grit. If you liked that BATTLE RUINS record, or think you’re from eighth-century UppÁ¥kra, this may be for you.

The Templars Reconquista Volume II LP

Another root around in the catacombs for the TEMPLARS with the second volume of their Reconquista series. Taking in various odds and ends from their storied career to date, including a lot of early stuff that has been out of print for a minute, so definitely one for completists and obsessives. A handful of covers including a relatively played-straight version of a ROLLING STONES number add a bit of light and shade to the proceedings too, but realistically one for the megafans.

The Templars Clockwork Orange Horror Show 12″ reissue

Viddy this me droogies, everyone’s favourite ecclesiastical skinhead rockers are back with another reissue of their 1995 EP. This particular release waltzes along the well-ploughed furrow of fascination with A Clockwork Orange, and it’s all you’ve come to expect from a TEMPLARS release, really: flanger turned up to the max, sandpaper-gruff vocals, and short but sweet tunes about being a naughty boy and having a ruck. Two covers of MAJOR ACCIDENT and ANGELIC UPSTARTS give an indication as to the influences. Worth a go if you don’t already own a copy.

The Adicts Smart Alex LP reissue

Another ADICTS reissue from Puke n Vomit, this time their 1985 LP Smart Alex. This LP marks a bit of a turning point for Monkey and the lads, as they began to sand off some of the rougher edges and incorporate more new wave elements. Unfortunately, along with those rougher edges, they lost a lot of their charm, and this album feels a bit pointless and anaemic rather than anthemic. A lot of plodding MOR nonsense makes up the filler on this album which really drags in parts. Not a particularly stand-out record by any stretch, and I would suggest broadly for completists only.

The Adicts The Sound of Music LP reissue

The clown princes of clockwork punx are back…in reissue form! For the longest time, I actively avoided engaging with any of these droogy bands for the simple reason that the fans got on my tits to an almost cosmic degree—crystalised by one legendarily punishing pisshead at a COCK SPARRER show in Leeds, replete with plastic bowler hat and jockstrap. I, quite naturally, assumed it was annoying joke music for dickheads. Was I wrong in that assumption? To a certain extent, yes. While there is space for some joke music on The Sound of Music with a paean to Chinese takeaways, it’s an enjoyable camp romp through the poppier side of UK82, like the BLOOD and PETER AND THE TEST TUBE BABIES had a scrap in a circus tent.

Newtown Neurotics Kick Out! LP

In the years immediately following World War II, Clement Attlee’s Labour government passed the New Towns Act 1946. It was emblematic of the Attlee ministry, typified by a series of post-war rebuilding projects including the establishment of the welfare state and the nationalisation of large swathes of industry. One of these post-war “new towns” was Harlow, home of the NEWTOWN NEUROTICS. It’s perhaps the perfect place for a band like them to be from; a living monument to the last great socialist government projects, now left to rot by a Thatcherite systematic dismantling of society. This compilation contains NEWTOWN NEUROTICS’ first six singles, and tracks their movement from bop-along ’77 acolytes to the nakedly political polemicists they became. Steve Drewett’s BILLY BRAGG-esque syllabic contortions are the perfect vehicle for his three-minute manifestos railing against the injustices of the increasingly fascist society in which he found himself. Stand out tracks like “Kick Out The Tories” and “Fools” still remain sadly relevant and resonant, but it’s the version of “Mindless Violence / Andy Is a Corporatist” with ATTILA THE STOCKBROKER from the Son of Oi! comp which stays with you. The follies of being a far-right skin, and one perhaps for all the silly boys at the shows wearing their naughty merch thinking they’re a big man. An utterly vital record.

Bullshit Detectör Bullshit cassette EP

A total lack of any frills, bells or whistles from these Texan Oi! types on this three track EP. Stripped back to the literal bare essentials, and then some more, BULLSHIT DETECTÖR takes an incredibly minimalist approach to their songwriting, clearly seeing anything more than three chords and shouting as petit bourgeois decadence; a viewpoint to which I have some sympathy. Larynx-lacerating vocals put me in mind of that CRIMINAL tape from a couple of years ago, and at fewer than seven minutes in length it doesn’t stick about long enough to get tiresome. That said though, if anyone can prove that any of the three songs included on this EP are different from each other in any demonstrable way, they’ve earned my respect and a firm handshake from yours truly because I certainly can’t tell the difference between any of them.

Barry Rolfe Look the Business / Molly Molly 7″

Tough-as-yer-like hobnail boot glam rock stomper from Baz on the A side here; I have a real fondness for this type of proto-punk bovver boy throwaway rubbish from this era, all pomp and bluster and latent menace. A paean to being a top dresser from a time when any kicking you’d receive on the terraces was likely to be administered by someone with a feather cut and bellbottoms. Scuzzy, mean and very silly. The B-side is a slightly different tempo, a slinky and saucy number replete with slide guitar, to suit the lyrical content; the joys of getting your leg over.

Nabat 1981 Laida Bologna Demo LP

This is the real stuff. At a time when a significant strain of European Oi! is milquetoast panto shite made by scruffy chancers in trainers, it’s nice to be reminded of what made it so exhilarating. This recently-rediscovered demo from 1981 represents some of the earliest recordings of the legendary Italian band and it’s truly great. It’s NABAT at their rawest, route one, kick-you-in-the-bollocks punk. Short, sharp and to the point like a jab to the kidneys; it’s the scuzzy and antisocial Oi! we all have come to love, all while they are seemingly having a complete laugh with their mates while doing so. A belter.

The Clinch Basecamp LP

Melbourne streetpunk/Oi! types the CLINCH return with an album full of pint-spilling, get-yer-mate-in-a-headlock-at-last-orders anthems which completely took me by surprise. It has all the hallmarks of a classic album of the genre replete with full-throated gang vocal choruses and soaring no-nonsense riffs that touch upon ROSE TATTOO or COLOURED BALLS at their rock’n’rolliest in parts. So far, so streetpunk. However beneath this beer-battered exterior lay some unexpectedly nuanced and thoughtful lyrics, far far beyond the usual fare for your garden variety streetpunk. Stand out track “Basecamp” has a chorus that is so catchy I’ll end up humming it for years to come. Well worth a spin, good on ya lads.

Force Majeure Encore Debout EP

More brickwall francophone Oi! from LAST CRUSADE and ULTRA RAZZIA alumni, this latest FORCE MAJEURE offering continues their celebratory blend of the classic French Oi! sound with TEMPLARS-style good time skinhead rock’n’roll. Stripped back of frills like a cutdown Lambretta, it still provides all the fun of the fair that one would come to expect. Fans of REICH ORGASM and NABAT will have a lot to enjoy here, as I did.

Off the Clock For You 12″

Another release from the fertile and verdant Vic City Skins mob, and with members who’ve done time with big hitters such as NO HEART and LAST CRUSADE among its ranks, there’s little surprise that OFF THE CLOCK deliver some classic hard-as-nails Oi! with hardcore influences that packs a steel toe cap kick to the knackers. Vocals are as rough as a badger’s arse, but just about stay on the right side of tolerability, and the riffs are as no-nonsense as they come. Music to have a pint spilled on you to.

Zone Infinie Dégats EP

Saint-Étienne-based rock urbain outfit ZONE INFINIE is back with a new EP of soaring melodic streetpunk. Like their contemporaries SYNDROME 81 and LITOVSK, their post-punk flourishes temper the gruffness one normally associates with the scruffy bastards in streetpunk, and these nuances only help to add some light and shade to the proceedings. It’s a pleasantly mixed bag, especially for a genre that can lend itself to one-notedness too, with cacophonous drums and spartan guitarlines accompanying the more recognisably streetpunky vocals too. Worth a go.

Denim Ski Mask Justice EP

Wallop! This demo from a duo of Austrian recalcitrants ticks a lot of boxes for me—namely, it’s short, sharp and almost entirely lacks any fucking about whatsoever. Raw enough to cause salmonella, this is hard-as-nails Oi! stripped back to its component parts. Full of menace and the threat of aggro kicking off at any point, barely concealed within three songs that say all they need to in fewer than two minutes. Listen to this! You have been warned.

Lion’s Law The Pain, The Blood, and The Sword LP

The latest full-length from Parisien Oi! stalwarts LION’S LAW; the venerable Wattie at the helm as is de rigueur for most contemporary French skinhead bands worth their sel, and backed by a motley crew of skins and punks they serve up a thoroughly modern take on Oi! Dabbling as much in E-TOWN CONCRETE style hardcore as it does KOMINTERN SECT style oi! traditionnel, it’s varied enough to stop it being one note as so many releases can be these days. Vocals in both English and French are reminiscent of MOTÖRHEAD in parts, a suitably gruff accompaniment to the rugged riffs ’n’ rhythm underpinning the whole thing. Decent stuff.

The Young Ones Cream of the Crop LP

Alas, not a posthumous release from Rik Mayall (more’s the pity!), this is instead a Dutch outfit seemingly attempting to revive the “glory days” of Oi and breathe life into the sort of dated shite beloved of the haunted ghouls still going to Rebellion Festival in 2020. It sounds like bad COCKNEY REJECTS karaoke, retreading some already very well-trodden tracks. Hoxton Tom didn’t wear trainers mate.

Fuerza Bruta Verdugo CD reissue

I don’t know about you lot, but I, for one, am sick to bastard death of this trend of anaemic pop punk dressed in a cheapo relco button-down, creases from the packet still visible, being passed off as skinhead music just because the lyrics mention “the pub.” Thankfully, there are bands like FUERZA BRUTA kicking the teeth out of establishment with their unique blend of back to basics hardcore-tinged (proper) Oi. Blunt-force riffs, furious vocals, all underwritten by a rhythm section as tight as properly-laced derby boot. Vital stuff.

Savage Beat Trench Warfare EP reissue

The Deadly Dutchmen SAVAGE BEAT are back with a reissue (including two added tracks) of their debut 12″ of extremely fun bootboy rock’n’roll. Reminiscent in parts of ROSE TATTOO or turbo-charged SLADE, all with a glam stomp running through the middle of this record like a stick of Blackpool rock. Daft yobbo music for people who don’t take themselves too seriously.

Bromure / Squelette Aux Bon Amis split EP

Two of the finest contemporary Oi! bands from la Ville Lumière join forces for this split EP. There’s some real firepower behind these two, consisting of various members of the formidable Bastille Skinhead Crew as well as RIXE, LIONS LAW and MARABOOTS between them. SQUELETTE’s side presents a more rough ’n’ ready approach to Oi!, with fists-in-the-air gang vocals and pleasantly lumpen riffs; whereas as soon as BROMURE’s tracks start we get the reassuringly gallic saxophone lick, and are treated to some fine Oi! in the vein of CAMERA SILENS or WARRIOR KIDS. Great stuff.

The Elite Reason for My Sin EP

Debut outing from this new Buffalo trio, which starts promisingly with a BLITZ-esque riff but soon devolves into some bog-standard Oi!-tinged hardcore. It does whip along at a rate of some knots and there’s enough of a germ at the centre to suggest they might do something decent in the future. Fans of the BRASS and NO TIME may find something to like in this short EP, but sadly likely to be the last time I think about it.

Faz Waltz Rebel Kicks LP

I don’t know what’s in the water in Italy, but they’ve been responsible for some of the finest cuts of pure bovver glam in the vein of peak-era SWEET (R.I.P. Steve Priest) or T. REX in recent memory. Like fellow compatriots GIUDA, FAZ WALTZ are of the particular school of thought that music peaked in about 1974, clearly worship at the altar of His Sainted Majesty Noddy Holder, and wholeheartedly believe that too much thinking gets in the way of having a good time; and this could not be more evident in their latest effort. Eleven tracks of defiant, hip-swingin’, foot-stompin’ glitter boogie aimed squarely at your pleasure centres. Do yourself a favour, put on your best clobber, switch off your brain and have a good old mirror strut for the next half hour or so. You won’t regret it.

Lebel Passe Á  l’Assaut! EP

FrancOi!phone rage from Montreal. Rough and raw, but with skeletal basslines that don’t sound dissimilar to the spartan noise of Lille’s TRAITRE or Brest’s SYNDROME 81 in parts. Short and to the point, like a proper haircut, and at under a tight ten minutes it doesn’t outlast its welcome either. Just the right side of unpolished, too. Worth your time.

Rough Cuts Nobody’s Fool LP

Sadly, not the latter-era SLADE ripper, Nobody’s Fool is instead the debut from Torontonian outfit ROUGH CUTS which delivers BISHOP’S GREEN and DROPKICK MURPHYS-esque street punk devoid of any real grit or menace. Admittedly, there are a few tracks to which you can bounce along in your adidas sambas and camo shorts should you be one of these modern Oi! types, and they seem to have their head broadly screwed on (small r) right politically-speaking, but some of the lyrics fit about as well as a new pair of 8-hole Docs and the vocals sound like a cartoon bullfrog. Not only this, but one of the riffs is lifted directly from GREEN DAY and they commit the cardinal sin of writing a punk song about an MLS team. Perfectly serviceable, but not essential.

The Chisel Deconstructive Surgery EP

Here we, Here we, Here we fucking go; the CHISEL boys are here to kick your head in and neck your pint while doing so. Lightning fast, convulsing with an anger that only growing up in Blackpool can give you, this blistering EP stomps from track to track with a palpable sense of malice and righteous fury. Class warfare, the sad decline of the seaside town and the great British tradition of a pint and a fight are all covered, and backed with thunderous drums, hefty bass and riotous guitars. One of the best of the year so far.

Lvger Fvll Villain LP

Have you ever wondered what it’d sound like if HIGH ON FIRE’s Matt Pike decided to stop dicking about and get into full MOTÖRHEAD worship instead? Me neither, and as it turns out it’s a question that probably should remain unanswered; in the ether. LVGER’s debut full-length only clocks in at six songs but feels about six years; with several tracks pushing an agonising four minutes in length, the sheer lack of urgency or any self-control really begins to drag at stages. While the riffs are undoubtedly robust, there’s more than a little of the bootcut jean about this record and it’s hard to ignore. Not for me.

V/A Oi! L’Album Volume 2 LP

Libertoi, égalioi, fraternitoi! Nearly ten years after the first installment, Nantes-based label Une Vie Pour Rien has put out a second course of delicious Oi! morsels from the francophone world. Absolutely zero fucking about here, as the first track from parisian stalwarts BROMURE is straight in with the saxophone, because is it really French Oi! without it? Stand-out tunes from ULTRA RAZZIA, BOGAN, and COUPE-GORGE follow, and if you like your riffs hard as nails, your vocals gruff, and your saxophone inexplicably present, then this is the comp for you. Marchons! Marchons!

The Templars 1118-1312 LP

Grab yer Beauséant and yer cuirass, it’s only the bleedin’ TEMPLARS! The Lords of the Sword, for it is they, are back in reissue form. Pressing one of their finest cuts to 12″, half a dozen gruff skinhead rock’n’rollers from the mean streets of Long Island. At this stage, if you’re not on board with the TEMPLARS, this reissue is unlikely to change your mind, but who needs you anyway then, mate? “Skins & Punks” is an obvious highlight, as are some of the more tuneful numbers toward the end of Side B, but nothing sticks around too long as to become boring (anything more than twelve tracks is prog, lads). One for completists sure, but if you haven’t already heard this, you’d be well-advised to part with some hard-earned cash for it.

Traitre Discographie LP+EP

Lille’s TRAITRE, on face value, seems to plough a well-trodden furrow in the field of Oi!: a heady mix of rough n’ ready NABAT-style riffs and gang vocal “woah-oh”s in the vein of their compatriots, the venerable WARRIOR KIDS and REICH ORGASM. There is, however, a certain melancholy that beats at the heart of this record, and almost touches upon Second Empire Justice-era BLITZ territory at points. Ennui and anger pulse throughout this record. Existential Oi! for the thinking skinhead; even boot boys get the blues. Well worth a spin.

Bent Out of Shape Demo 2020 CD

First release from this streetpunk outfit hailing from the Netherlands, and with any luck it will be their last. Workmanlike riffs twinned with anaemic attempts at barked vocals, laced with a series of increasingly cringe-inducing film quotes; so far so modern streetpunk. Vague and indirect small “p” political lyrics railing against authority and lying politicians, not to mention the prerequisite football tune, and it’s nothing we haven’t heard one thousand times before. One to miss.

No Class Don’t You Worry About Us! EP

About as subtle as a cricket bat to the bollocks, Footscray’s finest are back with a four-pack of beer-soaked bootboy bangers, hairy-arsed rock’n’roll and glam stompers. Opener “1981” comes across as a snottier ROSE TATTOO, swiftly followed by “Don’t You Worry About Us,” a defiant arms-’round-the-shoulder anthem reminiscent of an antipodean FACES with its knees up piano accompaniment. With “Knuckle Dragger” we have a revved up ’77 rocker channeling the sneer of COCKNEY REJECTS albeit at twice the speed, leading into “Every Now And Then” which is total “Runnin’ Riot”-era COCK SPARRER rip-off territory and there’s no higher compliment. Fans of “having a laugh with your mates” will not be disappointed.