R i f f R a f f

Managed to dig up a few gems this month while digging through the crates, so to speak, and it seems all our bands are from the other side of the pond, so
let’s hoist a pint or two whilst we talk about our English brethren, shall we?

First off, our lads The Paddingtons sing like they’ve just stepped out of the local pub, after a few rounds and maybe a scuffle or two, as
is probably the normal practice for a bunch of young punks from Hull, a town noted for its football but not a heck of a lot else. Hence, the brash and youthful energy that emanates from their latest single “50 To A Pound” will make fans of The Libertines realize they’re a chip off the
ol’ block, catchy hooks and smarmy attitude in check. “Against You Me” is a final flip o’ the bird to all those they’ve tried to appease in the past, as they snarl, “I’m sick and tired of that look on your face/you better leave, get out of my space.” The guitars buzz and jerk back and forth, like the glasses swinging in their arms, suds and bodies spilling out into the street. Boys will be boys, as they say. (Poptones Records, www.poptones.co.uk).

Actually, come to think of it, The Ordinary Boys sing about that very thing on a single that marries the skanking fun of Madness and the pogo-friendly pop of The Buzzcocks. Hailing from Brighton, these guys weren’t even old enough
to witness the first or second wave of ska and punk during its heyday, but somehow they’ve managed to attract the attention of The Moz
(ripping their name from one of his classic songs), Paul Weller (who likes them so much he’s taken them on as touring mates) and ex-Specials leader Terry Hall (from whom they’ve revived the classic “Little Bitch” and turned it into a punter’s anthem in their live sets). This most recent outing reflects their on-going fascination with all things two-tone, even getting a guest “toast” from Rankin’ Junior, and it definitely makes you want to pick it up, pick it up, pick it up. Then you can get down to their version of The Ramones’ “The KKK Took My Baby Away” (with nice organ flourishes and sing-along choruses) and wait for the day when they hop overseas and do some proper gigs on this side of the Atlantic. (B-Unique Records, www.b-uniquerecords.com).

Coincidentally, that’s just what The Subways will be doing this month, a young trio from Welwyn Garden City who in a relatively short time have managed to get the British music press’ knickers in a twist. Having just released their debut fulllength, the first batch of 7 inches has given us
music fans something to listen for. “Oh Yeah” is a three-minute powderkeg of plucky bass, rollicking drums and slashing guitar, all sounding twenties. With a lyrical nod to the ironies of being young, this is a tune to smash and crash around to. The B-side is a melancholic number entitled “I Am Young” also singing the praises of youthful ignorance, just without the smash and maybe a bit more swing, if that makes any sense. (City Pavement Records, no address given).

Lastly, we travel to Newcastle Upon Tyneb and the home of Maximo Park, who derived their name from either the Social Realism film
movement or a Cuban general, but definitely not a recreation spot in St. Petersburg, Florida, no matter what you may google. On a recent single, “Graffiti” b/w “Hammer Horror”, smart, tightlywound pop songs with a sense of urgency are sung by an eclectic front-man with a penchant for early XTC and The Stranglers. The whole thing comes off sounding unique despite the bleak pictures painted by difficult relationships and the grim realities of Northern life. While not always finding the bright side, Maximo Park still manage bring one to you if you’re lucky. (Warp Records, www.warprecords.com).

Toodle-pip, readers!