Last Years Youth

Subculture zine — Issue 3

3

Concrete Bollocks

Concrete Bollocks

How and when did Concrete Bollocks form?

Ralph: Concrete Bollocks formed from the ashes of Antisocial with me originally on bass, Jack on guitar and Edd on drums. Antisocial wasn’t active enough anymore so the three of us decided to carry on making music and we wanted to mess with other sounds. I had a few songs lying around that I really wanted to get out there and Jack had some good riffs too so we tried to then find a singer – within half an hour we had our friend Ron, he did it for a bit but he didn’t show up enough so when it came to recording we had all the instruments down but no vocals. We got fed up with trying to find people to sing so I just got on and wrote some lyrics and did the vocals. I was playing guitar in Certified at the time so we got their singer Sean to play bass for a few jams, he had played bass in Braindance and The Vile before so his influences worked for the short time he was around. He helped write the song “Better Britain?” So when it came to our first gig, Tezz from Glasgow Oi band Half Charge stepped in on bass and did a fantastic job – we didn’t think he’d want to travel from Glasgow to Blackpool to practise but he’s fine with it so we got our friend Liam in on 2nd guitar and became a 5 piece. I’m the only member from Derby, we are based all over really.

Your sound is rooted in UK82, but there’s also obvious nods to No Future-esque Oi! as well as bands like Discharge and Chaos UK. What bands do you feel have the biggest influence on your songwriting, musically and lyrically?

Musically i would say to begin with Ultraviolent, Blitz, One Way System and Crux. We really like those UK bands that crossed over the Oi! sounds and hardcore punk sounds at that time with their half punk, half skin lineups. So No Future and Riot City stuff is a huge ingredient. We also really love European Oi! like Nabat, Komintern Sect and Trotskids. We also like the various different sounds from America like Negative Approach, Poison Idea and Koward (they’re not 80s but we love their sound) as well as your usual stuff like Business, 4 Skins, Exploited, English Dogs, GBH and Motörhead. At least from my personal writing perspective that is where I’d say our ideas come from, as well as the 2 you listed

Concrete Bollocks

Speaking of the above smattering of styles, which scene do you feel CB is a part of in your locale?

I don’t really know because in the short time we’ve been about and the gigs we played they have been diverse audience-wise and there’s been a mix band wise as well, but that was the intention of doing this band… we just wanna rock up anywhere and play punk. There are always people in the audience that just like the fast dirty stuff but they also like something catchy. We like to do a bit of something for everyone. Also, I haven’t got the talent to just write songs in one genre. Personally, I just do whatever I’m feeling like at the time. Like Lemmy used to say wherever his band played no matter what the crowd was he would say “we are Motörhead and we play rock ‘n’ roll”. Well we don’t say that but we kind of do the same thing, except with punk rock.

What are your thoughts on the state of the current Oi! scene at home and abroad, and how does it compare to the more general punk scene?

Abroad definitely has a more active scene. In the UK it tends to be the same handful of bands that keep it all going. Much respect to those older bands and I’m very lucky to have seen so many, but it gets repetitive and we rely too much on old names and reforms. Places inEurope from what I’ve seen just do such a good job, they just seem to bring out new bands all the time that make really good sound with a constantly growing audience. Especially France in the past 5 years I’ve notice – Rixe would be a prime example. They really are a defining band of this time. We have been doing our best to connect with that sort of stuff and try putting good current European bands on here like Bomber 80, Tchernobyl and Squellette. All those bands absolutely nailed it and audiences started going off, small but before the pandemic we were getting good numbers are our gigs(4Q productions in Derby) They’re definitely more dedicated and lifers, I really wish we could have the same way here. But I’ve been lucky enough to see and play with some great bands during my time in Sheffield and where i live now in Derby – Leeds and London seem to get some decent events with good European bands coming over too obviously. Canada and USA have been catching on though, there has been this brilliant new but authentic sound going on with various forms of punk and Oi! bands all over the world that I’ve really liked and have even taken influence from. The bands are definitely more stripped down in their sounds but very punchy with loads of cool little hooks and stuff. A weird kind of new/old sound which in a way is still only just taking off here.

You’ve primarily played in England but also undertook an Irish tour last year. What have been the highlights of live gigs for you so far, and was there a noticeable difference on both sides of the Irish sea?

Yes Ireland definitely had a younger audience than England, but the numbers where about the same. The audience in Galway was very young which we were definitely pleased to see. Hopefully those kids will now be making bands.

Which current bands the world over do you guys particularly rate/recommend checking out?

Phane, we played with them last year with Discharge and they were just amazing and are a top bunch of lads. I’ve been listening to Further Charge, Mes and the Terribles and I really recommend you listen to Bootlicker. Those are bands who have releases on my shopping list, anyway. Rat Cage’s new LP is good as well, I’ve just bought that finally.

Concrete Bollocks

Situation permitting, where would you most like to gig?

Canada, USA, Italy or France. But at this time a gig absolutely anywhere on the map would be worth playing to us.

What’s your discography to date, and how can people get a hold of releases? Any new ones in the works?

So far we have the Disasters of War EP out on Contra, and a couple more songs you can listen to on our Bandcamp page. We were in the process of getting more stuff written and recorded but COVID situation got in the way. But we are honoured to be on a tribute compilation to Nabat with some other great bands soon to keep an eye out for that. At the moment with our own material we are unsure what to do as we will be undergoing some lineup changes sadly due to unlucky circumstances. We’re also unsure about whether to do another EP or an album. But we’re excited about getting what we’ve got written recorded.

Any final comments?

Thanks Mike for the interview, sorry it took so long and I hope to see any readers of this at the gigs when this stuff blows over.

Savage Beat

Savage Beat

When and where did Savage Beat form?

Savage Beat started in 2016 with Rogier on Bass, Marko on Vocals, Lionn on Drums and Steven and Paul on guitars. Over the past years we’ve had some changes in the line-up Paul left and was replaced by Jeroen who left after a year and now we have Jim playing rhythm guitar. All of us have been in numerous bands in the past including Heroes & Zeros, The Works, The Shining, Wanderlust, the Lords of Altamont and tons more.

Since your initial 12″ EP was released a few years ago, you guys seem to have toured quite extensively. Was this the plan right off the bat from forming the band, or something that has snowballed?

The original plan was just to write a few songs and record them for shits and giggles. Those recordings turned into Trench Warfare and we’re initially released as a 6 songs 12″ on Evil has Landed from France and on cd by Rebellion records from Holland. Two other tracks of the same session were released on the all dutch compilation lp Oi Ain’t Dead 7 on Rebellion. Since then the original 12″ was/is very poorly available/distributed so Rebellion stepped up together with Longshot/LSM-vinyl to re-release the full session as an 8 song LP. We just got those in and the look fabulous.

We played around 50 shows over the past few years in Holland, Germany, France, Serbia, USA and Canada. I wouldn’t call it extensively but we were able to play some great gigs with great bands. Opening for Cock Sparrer in Serbia certainly comes to mind as a absolute highlight. Next to that we were lucky enough to do ten shows with the awesome Death Ridge Boys in the USA and Canada last year and opening for bands like Radio Birdman, Peter and the Test Tube Babies, Angelic Upstarts, Bonecrusher, Suede Razors and more. Not too bad haha.

How would you describe your sound? As a band that doesn’t appear to be skinheads, was it intentional or not that you’ve ended up with an Oi! related style?

Well the initial idea was to write some oi/punk styled songs because that is something we all have been listening too since our early teens. Some of the early songs have a more Oi feel but in general it is just some nasty rock & roll that owes as much to the Cockney Rejects as it does to Radio Birdman, the Hellacopters, Blitz, the MC5, old KBD punk, Motörhead, the Dictators, Slaughter and the Dogs and what not.

Savage Beat

You’ve toured in both Europe and North America – which do you prefer? Are there any noticeable differences in the crowd?

We’ve done some weekend tours in Europe and a 10 day tour in North America. I’d say in Europe we tend to take better care of bands with food, sleeping places, drinks and money. Playing the US and Canada was a dream come true though. As for wild crowd we’ve had our share in Serbia, Germany and especially in France! Paris rocks! (Cheers to Squelette and the BSC) The USA was great as well although we were virtually unknown when we went over. However it was a great time with fantastic people and we made a lot of friends!

What bands would you say are prime influences for Savage Beat, and what are your favourite contemporary bands?

As mentioned before we all love tons of old great bands. Anything in between Cock Sparrer and the Stooges is ok in our book. As for contemporay bands I’d say the following bands are more than worth anybody’s time…Death Ridge Boys, Squelette, Suede Razors, Hard Wax, The Reapers, No Heart, Tommy and the Commies, The Establishment, Concrete Elite, Complete Loss, Les Lullies, Rixe, Black Mambas, No Class, Royal Hounds, Chubby and the Gang, Live by the Sword, Pressure Pact and tons more. There’s tons of cool shit coming out all the time. Just take your time and find it.

Prior to the band, which other bands have members played in?

Members have been in The Works, The Shining, Wanderlust, Heroes and Zeroes, Soberesponse, Vitamin X, The Lords of Altamont, The Kickers and tons more!

How is the skinhead and punk scene in Amsterdam? Any bands/pubs/record shops you could recommend for visitors?

There’s still some punks and skins left although the city has been heavily gentrified the last years. Visitors should always go and have a beer at the famous Maloe Melo, OCCII, the minds, Checkpoint Charly, Soundgarden or Garage Noord.

Savage Beat

What does the future hold for you guys – where would you like to play most that you haven’t been able to yet?

We’d love to play everywhere. We were supposed to leave for tour this April/May but there is some virus 😕 We are recording new songs for various projects at the moment and hope to release a new LP later this year and one or two splits and/or comps. Wouldn’t mind playing Victoria again with your new band!

Any final comments?

Thanks for the interview Mike! Hope we’ll meet again some time for a drink and a gig!

DJ Scene – Dion Garcia

Hi, can you tell us a little about yourself – who you are, where you’re from, where you spin records?

I’m Dion Garcia. I was born and raised in California and have lived in San Francisco for 25 years. Prior to the current pandemic, I was playing out about 6-8 times a year, so not too often. Guesting at club nights mostly, but also taking on gigs at some neighborhood spots which are usually a blast. Since the pandemic, I have been doing a couple of times a month at a club in San Francisco, trying to help friends sustain some business while clubs are shut down due to the pandemic.

Where did your love of music come from?

My father was a musician, playing in Garage and Latino rock bands in the 60s and early 70s. His first popular band was called “The Misfits”, believe it or not. They were a Fresno, California, Garage band that existed for a couple of years in the mid-60s. After my mother passed away in 1972, I stayed with my dad in a poor Mexican community called Calwa in Southern Fresno. It was a mix of working-class families and farmworkers. I was immersed in the “oldies”, since old Soul and Doo-Wop were very popular in the Mexican-American community. I later moved in for a few years with my mother’s side of the family, who were into Country & Western, and Bluegrass. Quite a contrast, but it reflected the cultural divide. My father later opened a night club in Fresno named after him, Sluggo’s. It was a live music club catering to the Mexican-American community in Fresno. I worked there for quite a while, and it got pretty crazy. We had some pretty big names in the California Mexican American musical community play there.

What got you into collecting?

I bought several 45s when I was pretty young, the first being The Stylistics “Break Up To Make Up”. My father actually bought it for me because it came out not too long after my mother’s passing and it reminded him of her. The first LP I bought was in 1976 at a Sears Roebuck store in Fresno. I was 8 years old and had saved enough money to buy Queen’s “A Night At The Opera”. So I always had records, but it was innate. I didn’t really go out of my way to start looking for vintage records until about 25 years ago. Before then, I just had records, after that, I collected (casually).

How did you get into DJing?

I didn’t get into DJing until the late 90s. I can attribute my DJing to one of my oldest friends, Rick Kendrick of The InCiters. I had some records, he had some records, and we’d each take a turntable and run records at places around San Francisco. Being a Tour Manager for bands by trade, I ended up managing their European tours and Rick and I would perform at Soul dos throughout Europe before and/or after the band played. We did some great all-nighters throughout Europe.

How would you describe the soul scene in San Francisco?

San Francisco has long had a soul scene. I remember going to Mod Soul clubs here in San Francisco back in ’84. People like Kirk Harper and many others really kept the torch burning for Soul going back to the early 80s. Currently, Kirk is still (pre-pandemic) doing Sweater Funk, and there are others like Michael Saretsky and Miles Ake who do a monthly for the Alcatraz Soul Club. The fellas at the Silver & Black Soul Club in Oakland is a great night. Also in Oakland, Rene Lopez’s “Suavacito Souldies” is a killer night of smooth sides and low rides. Finally, I can’t forget Dr. Scott and Maya, who have put on many different clubs and events for years. There are several others, some small, some big, but nothing is huge. These cats have some serious spins, whether it’s Northern, Modern, Boogie, Funk, Low Rider and Latin. I hope it comes back after the pandemic.

How long have you been doing the 7-Inch Soul show on SomaFM? How did that all come about?

I started that in April of 2014. SomaFM started on La Playa in 1999 and has been in the streaming music business since then. That’s pretty remarkable since streaming technology was in its infancy at that point. It came about by chance as a friend of mine – Jason Dryg – had been working there for about a year or two when he mentioned me to the owner, Rusty. Jason knew that I had been recording 45s to digital just for my own use since January 28th, 2005 (I have a date on each recording file), and by 2014, I had amassed quite a few recorded files. Rusty showed some interest, we met, and 7 Inch Soul was born. We are currently in discussion about more content, so hopefully, we’ll have news, soon.

What were some of the more memorable moments when touring around and DJing?

There were lots of great and odd memories that went along with touring and playing records. Collectively, it was great to go hang out with locals after the gigs. We’d end up in dodgy neighborhoods in places like Bordeaux, or Paris, Barcelona etc. But we were always treated to incredible hospitality. With The InCiters, it would be 27 shows in 30 days or something like that, so it all kind of blurred together. My most memorable local show was at a pub called The Mad Dog In The Fog, a local hangout for the Skinheads and Suedeheads around here at the time. A friend who worked there kicked a guy out… he was loaded, belligerent and stole a friend’s phone (we found out the next day). After I did my set, I went outside for a smoke, heard something like a branch breaking on a tree, then about a foot away from me a body fell and bounced off of the sidewalk. I felt the breeze as it landed next to me. The guy who got kicked out had somehow got on the roof of the building (maybe 10 meters high) and fell off and nearly killed me. Cops saw it, came to help, then had to run across the street to break up a fight. That dude then got up and limped off, with several cracked vertebrae (found that out when my friend picked up her phone from the hospital).

When COVID lockdowns first started happening, you started doing live sets on Facebook. What brought this about? What kind of reception has it had?

As of today, I started doing that on Saturday at 7:30pm Pacific, 33 weeks ago in early April. I’m social by nature, and by early April I was starting to feel like I wanted to connect with people, otherwise I’d lose my shit. Live Streaming on Facebook gave me an opportunity to interact with people in some form, and it’s been therapeutic. I don’t know that I’ll be doing it much longer, but I still feel great after doing it every Saturday. I see people’s names and comments in real-time and it makes me want to grab ‘em and hug ‘em. It makes me happy, and I get some incredible messages conveying thanks for making a couple of other people happy.

Reggae or Soul?

I swing back and forth. They’re both such huge things, I feel like I know nothing about either. But their existence is life-sustaining to me.

Top 5 tracks?

That changes every couple of weeks, sometimes a matter of days. Top tracks that are on my mind right now are:
Vernon Garrett – Drowning In The Sea Of Love
Chuck Carbo & The Soul Finders – Can I Be Your Squeeze
Keith Rowe – Groovy Situation
Night Owls – Whatcha’ See Is Whatcha’ Get
Bubaza – Ice Breaker (just released)
That’ll change soon, but you’ve captured a moment in time!

Last words?

Be thankful for what you’ve got. Always.

Reviews


Bootlicker – How To Love Life EP

2020 Neon Taste Records
Bootlicker - How To Love Life
Bootlicker - How To Love Life

Kamloops-based wrecking crew Bootlicker are back with another raging 45, with their hybrid of UK82, D-beat and Oi! It kicks off with “How To Love Life” – a 2-minute stormer with that classic d-beat, yet filled with hooks reminiscent of the faster Major Accident classics. This gives way to “False Power” an absolute UK82 anthem instantly bringing to mind Broken Bones and GBH. Up next is “Shot At Dawn” a blunt and straight for it D-beat/hardcore tune with some really cool time signatures. “Uniforms” is maybe my favourite tune, a total d-beat verse that gives way to a short and sweet street punk chorus that instantly bring One Way System to mind. “Dismantle” keeps up the pace, and they finish with the tormented “Calm Mind”, that clocks in at 2:40 which must be a record for these guys. Really great release, get one while you can.

- Mike


Death Ridge Boys – Fooled Again EP

2019 Blackwater
Death Ridge Boys - Fooled Again
Death Ridge Boys - Fooled Again

Another single from Portlands finest – and the first actual physical record I’ve been sent to review! Cheers boys. Fooled Again is a proper anthemic tune, and unlike a lot of their other stuff doesn’t have any rock inflictions – It’s musically somewhere between the singalong classics of Warzone (think “sound of revolution” especially) and their established Blitz-via-USHC sound. Catchy and hard, with the biting social commentary lyrics that if you follow the band at all, you’ve come to expect. “Situations” is a minute and a half scorcher, classic hardcore punk with a very catchy chorus, definite Slapshot vibe albeit a less polished, more punk than hardcore feel. Really enjoyed this single, look forward to seeing what they do next.

- Mike


Still Defiant – Till The End

2020 Usque Ad Mortem
Still Defiant - Till The End
Still Defiant - Till The End

A newer band from Germany – the broad region of Lower Saxony as far as I can tell. You can tell what these lot are about right from the first few notes, namely ’80s and ’90s European Oi! The rocking title track “Til The End” is a beauty, equal parts early Vanilla Muffins and The Cliches, very rock n roll based. “Go Your Way” is wicked catchy and more uptempo, and not to harp on about this but it’s VERY, very Vanilla Muffins sounding which I love…I can tell this tune will be in my head all day now. The final tune of this EP “Work Like A Dog” has a very different feel but is maybe my favourite of the bunch – high energy, more jangly guitar and big hooks. This tune reminds me of a hybrid of The Headliners and Gatan’s Lag. All told, this is a great batch of tunes and I’ll definitely be following these from here on out!

- Mike


True Grit – Men Of Valour

2014 Clockwork Firm
True Grit - Men Of Valour
True Grit - Men Of Valour

So while this is nowhere near a NEW release – I feel like this band, and especially this single, never got its due. True Grit was a band from Toronto, Canada active from (don’t quote me on this) around 2010-2015 or thereabouts. While they absolutely did have some Oi! stompers (just listen to “Scum On The Run”), they predominantly played their own brand of skinhead music that I can only think to class as Canadiana – uptempo punk beats and moderately distorted guitars, understated yet very catchy bass lines, and most noticeably very melodic, VERY Canadian vocals with lyrics that could be pulled from “Heritage Minute” (if you fellow Canadian’s reading this remember that show!) “Shoemaker” is a mid-paced, nostalgic feeling anthem and an ode to the singer’s grandfather as far as I can tell – I remember hearing this song and being hooked. “Triggerman” is slightly more upbeat both in tempo and general feel, and tells the tale of a Canadian WW2 story – it’s a great tune, but the standout for this single is definitely “Shoemaker” for me….and probably my favourite song from a Canadian skinhead band in the last 10 years. If you didn’t hear these guys the first time round, check them out – they didn’t have many releases, but this single and 2 splits are definitely worth tracking down.

- Mike


Intimidation – Demo 2020

2020 self released
Intimidation - Demo 2020
Intimidation - Demo 2020

An Oi! outfit from “NY/NJ/MA” on the east coast of the US of A. Assumingly named after The Bruisers tune, these guys are very much what you’d expect, although less ploddy. In recent memory comes to mind the Canadian hardcore-gone-oi band HIRED GOONS, I’d be surprised if INTIMIDATION didn’t also have members who have played in hardcore bands. “Credible Threat” is a mid paced stomper out the gate, complete with the obligitory “Oi!” chant part, which gives way to the very early 80s USHC “Isolation” which also includes the ol’ “Oi Oi Oi” chant…a good tune though, very reminiscent of early Slapshot. Third tune and i’d have to say my favourite is the theme song if you will, “Intimidation”. It’s got a quick verse with a good hook that then drops to a slower beat for the chorus with a catchy lead part – if you were to listen to just one song on this demo, this would be the one to measure them by. “Four Generations” is another slow stomper, it’s got a good Roi Pearce-era LAST RESORT feel though which I enjoyed. They finish off with an OPPRESSED cover being “Ultra Violence” – they do it well, but no different to the original version and fair to say it’s a very overdone song so it’s hard to get excited about. On the whole though, it’s a strong demo.

- Mike


Force Majeure – Encore Debout

2020 Primator Crew
Force Majeure - Encore Debout
Force Majeure - Encore Debout

3rd release from this Montreal, QC based Oi! band. Their previous stuff was straight Templars worship – and while this isn’t NOT Templars worship it is a progression – the thing that’s noticeable immediately is the addition of a very good bass player. Also a higher recording quality, although it’s layer after layer of guitar and vocals which is something you either are or aren’t a fan of. It kicks off with “L’appat du gain”, a mid paced number which sounds like their earlier stuff but with a blistering bass line all throughout the song which really is the focal point for me. Next is the EP title “Encore Debout” – a fast, quite hardcore song showcasing some members roots in that scene with a catchy chorus. “Les Vraies Affaires” is another mid paced bouncer, and to me sounds almost exactly like fellow Quebecois band ULTRA RAZZIA which isn’t a bad thing. The record closes with the same feeling as it opened in the last song “Noirceur”, although it’s got a bit more a hook. It’s nothing new per se, but it’s a solid record that I’d imagine will have equal draw to both the skins and hardcore kids.

- Mike


Beton Arme – Au Bord Du Grouffre

2020 Primator Crew
Béton Armé - Au Bord Du Gouffre
Béton Armé - Au Bord Du Gouffre

Another new release from a young Montreal band – considering it’s been a few years since their demo it’s fair to say this has been an anticipated follow-up – and it doesn’t disappoint. Great 80’s French-style Oi! very reminiscent of Snix, Tolbiac’s Toads and early Komintern Sect. It kicks off with the title track and it’s away with the same energy as their demo. Second track “Mythomane” has some cool off-time signatures with the vocals which I enjoyed, the vocals are snotty as fuck and throaty for the slight melodies of the choruses. “Crucifiés” starts with some good high hat work into a tight and tough riff with an anthemic feel to it. This short but sweet EP finishes with what I’d say is the strongest song “La Vie”. It’s got slightly cleaner vocals and a bit of a rockier feel which is new for these guys and I’d love to hear them build on it. Quality release well worth checking out, a record for the punks and skins alike.

- Mike


Rogue Trooper – Class Decline

2018 Rebellion
Rogue Trooper - Class Decline
Rogue Trooper - Class Decline

Here is another review of a release that is not so “new” – but again, like True Grit I feel like this band didn’t fully get their due at the time of release. They hail from a small mill-turned-university town in Massachusetts called Northampton – while there is a heavy dose of hardcore in their sound, it’s also worth noting that hardcore and skinhead are very intertwined historically in the New England area, and the east coast of the states in general. While in many instances (especially outside the USA) bands like this may comprise of hardcore kids momentarily dipping their toes in, this feels very authentic. I’d done a record trade with singer Cole for their “Boots On The Ground” EP, so was primed for this long player by the time I’d received it. It kicks off with “The Squeeze” a short punchy hardcore tune that reminds me of a catchier ANTIDOTE. Next up is a re-record from their demo in “Army Of One” which is hook filled and even has a singy back up in the chorus that accompanies Cole’s barking vocals which are both gruff and clear. Title track “Class Decline” is another mid paced stomper with some biting social commentary. “Where Are The Townies” is one of my favourites and a very relatable theme to my hometown of Victoria BC – small towns become gentrified and locals get the push. This song has a proper epic sounding bridge as well, dipping into a street rock sound. “Tough Shit” is very much the most typical Oi! tune on this one, with a chorus that’s reminiscent of bands like Condemned 84 as well as Wretched Ones. “Structural Steel” is another slower tune and an ode to the building site – and is the one song in which Cole strays from his bark, in the sing-along outro which has a good hook. “Head Against The Wall” has more of a mid ’80s hardcore feel, almost Dischords records sounding though not soft (or pretentious!) The album closes out with my personal favourite “Rebel Without A Job” , definitely their most dynamic tune. The verse is very early NYHC going into a very The Business style chorus, then bizarrely into a very catchy, very Dag Nasty sounding outro – all with some classic Oi! lyrics. Great record and a band I’d love to see release more material if they get it together again.

- Mike