Over the years the term ‘punk’ has thrown up a lot of debate. What is it? How long did it last? Can anything post -1976 even be called punk at all? My personal and long standing view is that punk is about doing what you wanted on your own terms, more of a philosophy than a definable style. The first rule of punk is that there are no rules. And as Spam Javelin’s new album amply demonstrates, this is as true today as it was back in 1976.

Many of the 1976 bands that broke the punk scene went on to serve the corporate purse, but thankfully they were followed by those with a much harder sound and more politically charged lyrics, who stayed mostly independent and true to the original punk ethos. Spam Javelin fall firmly into that second category, describing themselves as ‘a sub-hardcore band from Wales.’ Their politics and attitude take me back to the halcyon days of CRASS and Conflict, though this lot are way more musical. The early hardcore punk bands might have been big on statements, attitude and noise, but they were largely short on tunes.

Children of The Shoe

‘The Three Chords of The Apocalypse’ is jammed to the hilt with high energy and the politics and protest is there in shovel loads. It fronts up xenophobia, keyboard warriors, Covid 19, the shallowness of society, vacuousness of material obsession, and vintage band Tee shirts worn as fashion statements by the clueless. They have taken a long, hard look at the world around them and found it badly wanting. Delve into the lyrics and you’ll also discover a dark humour, with America in their sights for refusing them entry when they arrived to tour. If you want the back story you’ll have to give the album a listen.

Spam Javelin

This album is a high octane racket, an aural assault of guttural vocals over tight, short tunes. With a classic 3 piece line-up of vocalist/guitar (Neil Crud), bass (Tracey Howarth) and drums (Llion Broadbent), it doesn’t need anything more to get the job done. It’s 15 Songs in just over 25 minutes and in Crud’s words, ‘we hope you enjoy (or hate) it…’ which as any self respecting punk will tell you, is exactly as it should be. I loved it and Spam Javelin are on my list of go-to gigs when live music is back up and running.

SJ

Fuck You

‘The Three Chords Of The Apocalypse’ is the follow up to 2019’s ‘The Crack Whores Of
Betws Garmon’. It’s available on New album – vinyl – CD – download from Link 2 Wales Records (Cat No – L2W 026)


Release Date – January 2021

Auto-Pilot – Live in Germany

Today I’m laying the seven questions on Adrian Collier, the man behind the electro powerhouse that is Auto-Pilot. The new album ‘Freak Electric’ was reviewed here a few months back when it was released, we loved it. I’ve wanted to catch up with Adrian ever since.

There have been several Auto-Pilot albums and I was hooked in a few years ago by the 80’s-inspired album “8-Zero” but that was the tip of the iceberg as Adrian’s music encompasses much of the electronic genre.

Artificial – (8-Zero, Flicknife) 2015

1. Please tell us who Adrian Collier is and how Auto-Pilot came to be.

I’m from Barnsley with an obsession for good music, I just love listening and creating sounds. I’ve been a musician since the late 70’s when I was a little kid in secondary school. I started on trumpet at 11 and by 13 I’d moved on to the bass guitar (was a shit trumpet player btw).

I dabbled with 6 strings until discovering the synthesizer in the mid 80’s. Fast forward to the late 90’s, I was playing bass in a band called the Fokker Pilots, great band but struggled to get noticed (don’t we all).  I had a bunch of electronic tracks I’d made on the Atari ST so I hit on the idea of forming a support project for our gigs (called Auto-Pilot) which would be mostly synth driven (as opposed to electro/rock). It gathered a lot of attention very quickly including label interest so, with two other Fokkers we ran with it, no brainer really.

2.Looking around at bands & artists that have emerged over the last decade, if you were starting out now who, if anyone, would be influencing you?

I’m drawn to bands that just doing their own thing regardless of what’s ‘the in thing at the moment’, there’s a lot out there. Off the top of my head, ‘The Ocillation’ float my boat, I like what they do.

Casio Days Video –(Freak Electric, Broque 2020)

3.What would your answer be if a major label came knocking and why?

Yes, because they have muscle in the industry and push through with a publicity machine that indies can only dream of. It would mean more exposure but I’d resist the expenses as much as possible because that trap door is lethal.

4.On the basis of what you now know through your experiences in & around the music scene, what advice would you give to your teenage self as you were just starting out?

Party less, work harder, even the smallest of success is hard gained, there’s nothing in the music business that’s a sure thing, take nothing for granted and grab every opportunity with both hands.

5.  Given that there have been massive changes in the whole infrastructure of the music industry over the last two decades, what are the challenges for independent artists?

I think most changes are like a double edged sword. The internet is a very powerful tool but it is also over populated with people doing and wanting the same thing. Standing out and being noticed is hard but then again it always has been.

Streaming media services have turned the industry upside down, it’s easier to get your music out there but its killing the industry. Gary Numan recently said he had a song with over a million plays that earned him about 37 quid.. Certainly challenging for any new artist so the hard copy and merch at gigs is essential (says me who always forgets to bring em).

7 Questions for Adrian Collier of Electronic powerhouse Auto-Pilot
Adrian Collier

6.  If you could collaborate with any musicianthroughout history who would it be and why?

Captain Beefheart because I’d hope that whatever was cooking inside his head would rub off on me in some way. Also Mick Karn, the bass player from Japan would have to be up there too. Just a massive fan and such an opportunity would have been amazing.

7. What’s next for Auto-Pilot? Any post-pandemic live shows or podcasts planned?

I have a few tracks finished but with no real plan as yet, this pandemic is great for studio work but I’m not thinking of anything live. I’d like to release another album with Broque, it’s a cool label, lovely peeps. Would love to do another  ‘Atlantic Machine’ type thing.

My New Friend – (The Atlantic Machine, Broque 2012)

Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/theAutoPilot

Reverbnation – https://www.reverbnation.com/theautopilot

Website – www.auto-pilot.co.uk

Spotify – https://open.spotify.com/artist/2qc6R0I0drrxDIrJKp5Ccv?si=l1gbFyXEQfGpYyjzNZiHMA

Tameside slacker three-piece Dead Captain deliver a new single on Forest Den Records. This is the follow up tune to their previous, finger on the pulse and poke you in the eye lyrical observations about lockdown, single ‘This Weird Holiday.’

It’s another incredibly astute observation of modern life, an ode to the obsessive oversharing and bewildering outrage at whatever the days hot topics dictate. The song tells the story of fictional Instagram influencer, CryBoy83 @CryBoy83 #CryBoy83, as he experiences yet another existential meltdown.

It’s the kind of tune to spin with your favourite recreative poison to hand. A late night lounge, psychedelic, slacker rock ballad for perpetually perplexed grumpy gits like myself!

Available to stream and download on all your favourite digital platforms from February 9 2021

Bandcamp

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Sammy D

Holy Shit! I need to hear this live, remember live music? Yes that! I can imagine this as the live set opener, it’s highly sinister intro, some serious anticipation and BAM! It delivers, straight into some blistering in your face raucous guitars but coupled with some great melody makes this another winner in my book. I know many of us loved the Purge films, now love the tune that should’ve been on the soundtrack. Maybe on the next movie then!

We’re a big fan of Lee Pequeur’s work all the way back to his days with his alt-power trio Solanoid, he has been one of the most interesting guitar player, songwriters and now producers that I’ve heard for a long time. This is the second single from the forthcoming album, the amazingly named, “Use Your Delusion”, the first was the colossus ‘Tank Gun Soldier’, if these songs are anything to go by this will be an unmissable record. Check Tank Gun Soldier here on Spotify

Release date 30/01/20

Also check out our interview with Lee from last year here

SJ

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We’re on a a bit of a darkwave tip this week. Kind of fits with the wider world we live in at the moment.

Getting down with some large Mancunian vibes this week. Old & new, obscure & famous.

Week #2 of the Spotify playlist.

Kaboom

These are the tunes that have us kicking in the metaphorical bus shelter this week!

Distance to Zero want to take you on a journey. It’s a journey in time and sounds. A trip that starts back somewhere between 10 mins before Punk Rock started its slow and painful death and the very moment Post Punk became an actual written about entity … If you want that as a date then it lays sometime in 1978. An important time in British music history and there’s nobody better qualified as a tour guide than S.J.Collier. He has been involved in the scene since those very early days and seen just about every band of note since then right up to this crazy year of 2020. Once the bass player in the much vaulted SupaJamma this musician has been around the MANC’ scene in various bands and set ups since he should have still been going to school every day. Fortunately for us his education was supplemented by every drum beat, guitar riff and bass loop recorded or played live in that 40 odd year period.

Pilot Error

Distance From Zero is mainly put and held together by Simon Collier and has been an ongoing work of the heart these last few years with only the real world/work/other projects and moving from Manchester down to Cornwall getting in the way of it being released earlier. Full time collaborator and life partner  Donna-Marie Stevens co-writes, plays keys and adds her highly infectious, melodic vocals to the sound whilst guest musicians Stephen Wilson Jnr along with Andy Clegg add some guitars and Dan Adams brings the live drums. Wilson is also cited as producer.”Pilot Error” really is set in today’s world with a socialist political message shouted out loud and clear. There is no subtlety here, songs like “The Truth Behind The Lies” “Don’t Wrong the Rights” and “Shame on You” are as clear as any attack on Boris and the Tories I’ve heard by the most visceral Facebook poster or Tweeter. But the sound track to the rants and the rants themselves can be traced right back to Lydon and P.i.L. , Wire, Swell Maps, Magazine, The Pop Group… In fact, throw a net over any list of decent band between ’78 and ’88 including the Pixies and there are trace elements within this album, finishing off with a dollop of early 80’s Killing Joke in “Saved the Day”.

Shame on You

For those who know Simon as part of the Red Sided Garter Snakes, the John Lever ( The Chameleons) led project that featured his old mate Dave Fielding from the same band on guitar duties, “Found Again” was Simon’s contribution tune-wise. Well “Found Again” is Here Again on this album. Only it’s much more of a bleak affair than the finished version on the Red Sided Garter Snakes 1st album “Endless Sea.” Starker with a more desperate sounding vocal, taking this song back to those Post Punk days and it feels just right within this collection of tunes.

Found Again

There are also more modern beats and sounds inside this golden envelope of sound such as “What’s it Worth?” with a jaunty bassline and hip hop beat to drive it along nicely. A song that sounds like it’s about one or two people from the music business I have met. “ HEY! HEY! HEY! It’s all about you!”

What’s it Worth?

It’s also a grower. I was slightly ambivalent on first listen. Was there something I was missing? There was something I was missing. Third play in, it really started to grab me by the balls and has gone on to capture something deep within me. As an old man now, I also was around back in 1978 and grew up on those brilliant bands over the following decades. The more I listened the more those emotions and feelings returned as little bits of previously hidden magic unfurled themselves to my ears.. How all this translates to today’s world of music I really don’t know. I’m no judge of relevance in these times, but it feels like it has some. In these strange days of Covid and right wing politics it feels like it has a place and a time here and now, so maybe the delay has been good for this album. Timing in music and comedy is everything they tell me… My generation certainly have something to take from this album. The younger generations will hopefully pick out some of the bands that they grew up with who also borrowed from the world’s greatest music library that this album has plundered from and make their own.. Or maybe it is the next new/old thing.. Now that would be a story worthy of far better wordsmiths than myself .

Gaz Top, on the day Lockdown part 2 was announced x

Candyman

i.tunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/pilot-error/1533342198?fbclid=IwAR1tsAyy0GtgLEsWv8X6ozbnPkFQo52INyaDhkVLPi351fVaWloJot4w9Uw

Spotify – https://open.spotify.com/album/4v2X1RE8Nv8Th2TpbVgBR4

Twitter – https://twitter.com/DistanceFromZe1

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/distancefromzero

youtube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYoDS0F278h2N01T4h_HHkg

Label – http://www.stereokillrecordings.com/

We thought we’d start a weekly playlist of what we’ve heard & liked on Spotify. Starting with bands & artists we’ve already written about.

Kaboom Box #1

If anyone would like to make suggestions about anything to share please do message us, always happy to hear new tunes from new acts.

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/5VhRDxsSvLMYZnyDOEvIwr

Nice one, SJ.