Bootleg Booze Records is a label from Arvika, Sweden and is run by a couple of cool dudes who love rock n roll. They have released an extensive catalogue of releases throughout the years on high quality vinyl pressings including coloured and special edition vinyl releases for their “singles club”. Always well worth your money, I strongly recommend this label as they are in it for the right reasons; a pure love of great music. For the most part, the crux of releases are from Scandinavian bands but a few bands outside of the region sneak into the roster and deliver the goods. Here’s my take on the swag they’ve sent me over the last year or 2 that was to be in issue #15 of Long Gone Loser but seeing as there is no issue #15, just an anthology in book form, I have put them here for you.
THE ACCIDENTS – “Stigmata Rock ‘n’ Rolli” (Bootleg booze)
I first heard the Accidents years ago and thought they were amusing, crazy, and cool and it’s funny how nothing changes but the shoes. This 6 tracker of punk meets 50’s rock n roll is a real fun mix. These guys are a riot and I think they’d be a hoot to see live. The only beef I have with this record is the guitars are a bit grating to the ears so I need to fuck with the equalizer a bit so it doesn’t hurt my sensitive half deaf ears too much. Still though, it’s punk rock and it’s great. This is kinda like drunk punk without the drunks and it’s sure to get the kids dancing. One of the tracks, “Lonely Street”, sounds remotely like The Undertones “Teenage Kicks” but alas, it wasn’t to be but instead, it’s a great love song that sounds like it could be on the soundtrack for a punk rock version of The Wanderers (if such a thing was ever made). Think of the Powder Monkeys meets 50’s rock ‘n’ roll and that’s about the best description I can give you. Sounds crazy but that’s what I am hearing. The vocals do remind me a lot of the late Tim Hemensley (R.I.P.) so maybe that’s why I am thinking that. Either way, this 10” record is a lot of fun and is 6 tracks you’ll wanna keep. Enjoy!
BACKYARD BABIES – “Fuck off And Die” (Bootleg Booze)
That last self-titled album from the Backyard Babies was a fuckin’ killer! I loved it. And this here, the first 7” single from the album is a taster of what that album was all about; the Backyard Babies returning to their punk rock n roll roots and delivering the goods. Great songs, great anthemic chorus’, an awesome mix of tattoos, angst and Social Distortion meets the Ramones. “Fuck Off & Die” is simply awesome! The flip has another track from the album called “Zoe Is A Weirdo” which is a classic ballsy number followed by the slower re-working of “Saved By The Bell”, played differently here in a stripped down piano version starring GNR’s Dizzy Reed. Well fancy that, eh? The Backyard Babies are one of my favourite bands and if you’re a fan, you own this already. If not, you should. Yep, rock!
FOUR FLAMINGOS – “Mad Evil Woman” (Bootleg Booze)
One great record label, two sides of hot pink vinyl, three tracks, four flamingos all bandied together on this 7” slab. The A side was a great ass kickin’ punk tune that seemed it was over not long after it started. Quick and to the point. The flip had 2 tunes, the first, “No Rules”, was alright and whilst not the best thing you’ll hear all year, it wasn’t bad. The A side was still better though. The second and final track, “Since I Met You”, was a slower number and I quite digged it. I think it’s still too early to know what I think of the Four Flamingos at this point in time. I like it but am not sure of how much. Need to hear more first and then I can make an informed decision. So far, so good.
MID-LIFE CRISIS – “Cranked Up Really High” (Bootleg Booze)
I loved the first Midlife Crisis 7” single and was stoked when this turned up in the mail. On lovely gold vinyl, this 4 track slab or punk rock featuring the all-star line-up of Urrke T (Mary Slim), Dregen (Backyard Babies), Mans (The Maggots) and Robert (Hellacopters), was always gonna be killer – regardless if the songs were good or not. That line-up alone should get mouths drooling. There’s no originals, it’s just 4 guys getting together and playing killer punk covers from the late 70’s. They are all smokin’ versions too! Just real good solid punk rock with a great sound and excellent playing. Here we cop Slaughter & The Dogs, PF Commando, The Outsiders and The Menace. I had never heard some of these originals so the good thing about this single is, like the first one, it got me searching out the original bands. That’s a good sign. This is really great! I love the title track, it’s a balltearer and well worth the bucks alone. Awesome!
VARIOUS ARTISTS – “BLACK RADIO vs. THE RULING CLASS” (Bootleg Booze)
A split 7” featuring 2 ass-kicking motor punk rock n roll bands. The UK’s Black Radio (who I think are fuckin’ tops) deliver 2 speed punk thrashers in the vein of Zeke, Speedealer, Peter Pan Speedrock, etc. and their songs just shred like a motherfucker. I am all about this band. Guts, power, brutality, rock n roll! This is the shit, baby! The Ruling Class are from Sweden and I hadn’t heard their tunes before I heard this 7” and my verdict? Similar style, powerful thrash punk rock n roll like Motorhead meets The Peepshows and Puffball. You dig the sound, I do too. I really need to hear more from these guys. Great stuff! This is a must have record for anyone who digs the genre known as ‘Motorpunk’. Lovin’ it!
VARIOUS ARTISTS – “Bootleg Series Vol. 1 – Up North / Down Under” (Bootleg Booze)
When this LP arrived in the mail, I was pretty darn excited. Behind the awesome Dirty Donny cover art, you will find a comp of Aussie and Swedish bands dishing up exclusive tracks. The problem for me is that when I turn the record over and read the bands featured on here, unfortunately my professional tact is thrown out the window and my personal problems surface. There are 2 bands on here featuring a guitarist I don’t particularly like who happens to play in both. Hey, if he acted like a mate to you but was busy fucking your (now ex-) girlfriend, you’d hate him too. So I figured, how can I review this? Well, I am gonna take the easy way out and just fail to mention his bands. This guy doesn’t deserve any exposure cos he’s an asshole, to put it mildly, and it caused a lot of shit for me in my personal life. I won’t cause disrespect to the other bands on the comp though as they’re all awesome and should be spoken about, so here goes…
First of all, I found it interesting that this comp has a few songs by Aussie bands who have already broken up. But I digress, let’s start with side A, shall we. The album kicks off with a killer track called “Good Times Gone” by The Specimens, a band who I do miss dearly. I used to see these cats all the time. Great songs and great playing. They were always a good time. Tramp I have never heard before but their track was most rockin’. I will definitely search out more from them. The Leadfinger track, “Swept Back”, was exactly what I expected, which was melodic and tops. I love his work. I think he has grown in leaps and bounds as a song writer over the years and his work continues to improve. I have featured his stuff many times on the LGL Rock Show so if you’ve been listening in, you’ve been hearing it. One of my fave tunes on here was definitely The Deadbeats song, “Gets Me By”. It was just so catchy and cool and I was singing along bigtime. It’s reminiscent of the mid-80’s Waterfront Records era of Australian rock n roll with bands like the Spunkbubbles, The Eastern Dark, etc. Top tune and probably my pick of the bunch. Seriously, get into it! Sator seem to have been around for a long time now and it was good to hear that their punk n roll is still kickin’ ass! Their stuff aint so easy to find here in Ozland though so I had forgotten all about them until this comp turned up so thanks for that! And finally, the last band, well, no disrespect to the other 3 but your guitarist can go fuck himself!
Onto Side B and we start with one of my favourite bunch of Swede’s, The Sewergrooves. Their track “Easy To Pretend” was a tasty treat. I really like these cats and feel they put out quality records, just it doesn’t seem like anyone buys them. A shame. These guys are really on it and their guitarist is a shred master. The Sure-Fire Midnights were a bunch of hot chicks from Melbourne who I think have broken up now which is a shame cos their track, “Over The Edge” is a real rocker, kinda like a more rock n roll, less punk version of the Lunachicks. Rio Grande were a new band to my ears and their track, “Eye For Eye” started off sounding like 70’s Iron Maiden but once the female vocals started, those similarities ended. Still, the song was like a blend of 70’s rock n roll and punk. A really good tune and I hope to hear more from them. The Screwtop Detonators were from Melbourne but sadly, have since called it a day. One of my fave Melbourne bands, these guys always delivered but then it all just fell apart and that was that. A damn shame. Great guys and fellow Wildhearts fans as well. Their song, “We Want You” follows their tradition of power pop punk n roll and if you’re hip to these guys, you know what you’re getting. I miss this band. These cats were awesome and you should check out their full length on Off The Hip. What’s a comp of bands from Sweden without including “Demons”? Exactly! So they are featured here with a track called “The Leeches (I’m Getting Out)” and of course, it rules. The bridge and chorus sounds a lot like the New Bomb Turks so that’s a winner in my books. This side of the album ends with a tune by a band that has that piece of shit guitarist so again, no disrespect to the other band members but you ain’t getting the time of day on this site!
So there ya go, besides those 2 tracks I don’t bother with, every single song is a winner on this compilation. Well worth the cash and it’s on glorious vinyl so the artwork looks fantastic. Excellent liner notes from i-94 Bar’s Craig Regan and Sweden’s own rock legend, Dave Champion. Bootleg Booze have been consistently putting out great records and this is another they can chalk up as a win. Although, the Aussie band selection could have been improved and honestly, I would have given the record space to 2 other bands who are a lot better and would have me favouring the whole goddamn record. Examples for next time: Mustang, The Darkest Heartstrings (although they sadly broke-up too but hot damn they were good), Johnny Casino & The Secrets, Bored!, The Meanies, The Onyas, The Hits, Killerbirds, Tigernauts, Wrong Turn, The Dollyrocker Movement, The Blacklist, The Spazzys, Russian Roulettes, etc. to name a few. Just sayin’.
And here are a couple releases from new local Melbourne label, Bro Fidelity.
FIRE WITCH – “Critter / Kritta / I Spit Lies” (Bro Fidelity / We Empty Rooms)
I remember when Muscle Car played a gig with Fire Witch years ago at the Green Room and I remember them being really fucking loud. And they had no guitarists, just bass players and a drummer. It was intense yet you couldn’t turn away. But then, I never heard of them again. Now, god knows how many years later, this turned up in the mail. Nice! I put it on and was taken on an almost 50 minute jam through 4 tracks (which is really just 2 tracks anyway). These are impromptu jams of psychedelic stoner rock ala Om and Boris. The CD’s booklet says the track, “I Spit Lies” comes complete with lyrics written by Hard-Ons guitarist, Blackie, although I must be deaf cos I didn’t hear a single word throughout the 31 minute jam. I think I’m going senile. The second song, “Critter / Kritta”, is a different style 2-part jam and has more of a funky rhythm to it. This is one weird band and not exactly how I remember them but it was a long time ago. For those who dig psychedelic instrumental jams and lots of bass guitars, this is your band! Right here, Fire Witch. You heard it! Limited to 500 copies only in cool hand packaged cardboard sleeve. Way cool? Way!
HOTEL WRECKING CITY TRADERS – “Somer / Wantok” (Bro Fidelity)
The HWCT seem like they never stop playing. Like seriously, if you live in Melbourne, you are no doubt familiar with their name if not their style of instrumental noise, pounding drums and riffs. They seem to play like 2000 gigs per month around the city of Melbourne. I know, it sounds crazy but it’s true. The only band that I know that seem to play more often than they do is another Melbourne band, Sin City, but I am sure the HWCT are giving them a good run for their money. ANYWAY, this 7” serves up 2 tracks of a bassless rummage and my fave of the 2 was ‘Wantok’ as I felt it had a bit more of a tune to it. Sometimes I wonder just when you hit the point in your musical career or there being nowhere else to go but these guys have driven past that and somehow manage to keep making it work, time and time again. For a 2 piece chicken feed of brothers, the HWCT aren’t stopping anytime soon as it appears the possibilities for psychedelic noise are endless. I like the cover too, looks pretty swish with the gold stamped logo on the front n stuff. Definitely for fans of SUNN O))), Monarch, Boris, Desert Sessions, Grey Dayturas, and the entire Southern Lord back-catalogue. Limited to 300 copies so get in quick if 2 piece stoner jams is your kink.