Screamer – Highway Of Heroes

Get the high tops out. Spray the jeans on. Get the falsetto in. Screamer are here to take you back, with a US Bay Area and NWOBHM taste, the mix a little rudimentary to invite us in, the galloping feel just what’s needed, no more; ‘Ride On‘ has ridden by almost before you remember to enjoy it, doubled guitars play hard, but hang on, that chorus in ‘Out Of The Dark‘, it’s pure KISS; wonderful adulteration.

But the synchronised riffing driving ‘Rider Of Death‘, unmistakably 80’s Metallic, but even here there’s a backline that emphasises groove, although the Teutonic Titan ‘Halo‘ stamps all over that.

Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be? That’s the way it is here, the music you remember with a modern twist, they lean into it, the sharp edges aren’t so serrated, they’re not afraid to be seen as softer melodicists; what’s soft, this pins you to the wall and encases you in a whirling maelstrom of hair and sweat.

Wonderful Metal, wonderfully done.

Out On The Sign Records

Remedy Rating: 4/5 Old Treatments Done Now

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Joker

This is a dangerous movie. All those people getting upset about the use of Gary Glitter’s ‘Rock N Roll (Part2)‘ and desperate to talk about what this movie says about the incel movement have a point. Part of that point is to ignore the danger of this movie by desperately talking about something else. This is not really a movie. It’s a heightened documentary, a mise en scene. As Joker, Arthur tells us ‘everybody’s awful’, so this is a manifesto, a call to arms, tantamount to a bombmaker’s manual. As Thatcher told us, there is no such thing as society, there are just individuals; of course she made sure that the disenfranchised were serviced with north sea oil money through benefit payments, which sustained, until Cameron and Osborne took the ideological opportunity of austerity to cut those benefits. And the turbo capitalism, the 1% taking money that belongs to the 99%, became more noticeable.

And why wouldn’t we take our slice? What niceties, morals, social fabric now exists to prevent it? We are more connected than ever before by social media; on Twitter we can reply to a President and he’ll retweet it, we are connected. And totally alone. EM Forster asked us to ‘only connect’, he could barely have conceived of an artificial online world where we are constantly told that our food, activities, views matter. We are the centre of everything and nothing. We create our own perception. This is the age of post truth, fake news, nothing exists until you name it. You create your existence. And your morals.

Joker‘ has a 15 certificate. That’s because they don’t legislate for dangerous ideas. Its almost an anti movie. Yes, we see Arthur abused, physically and mentally early on, yes we see his discoveries which harm him in the world he has to live in. But in becoming Joker, is this a descent? In this world of care in the community the haves, the 1%, would say so and yet, as the killings begin, he can breathe, he moves towards the light, beauty enters his life. There is so little to grab onto in this film, we are never sure what is real, but that’s never stylistically showcased, that’s why when he connects with his neighbour, whether in ‘reality’ or his ‘reality’ or when he laughs along to a Chaplin Movie in whatever ‘reality’, these are the weakest parts of the piece, as if Warner Bros grabbed director Todd Phillips back to filmic expectation; this is such a brave movie that those moments of something to hold onto seem like comfort.

And will Joaquin Phoenix win the Oscar? This performance is far more important than a bauble celebrating the moneymaking of established films, his is an anti-performance, it’s almost as if we’re eavesdropping on a documentary. The casting of De Niro as Letterman-like talkshow host Murray Franklin has echoes of ‘King Of Comedy‘, De Niro’s mental illness as Rupert Pupkin difficult to watch; remenber what I wrote earlier about comfortable filmic ‘reality’ breaking in? The Franklin show is part of the ‘reality’ Arthur creates for himself, he watched it for years, was desperate to make that his reality and does, very distinctly.

The film takes place against the background of society breaking down, litter is building up and danger stalks the streets. There is no such thing as society and people are just waiting for an iconic figure to legitimise public protest; Arthur despatches 3 nasty gents attached to Wayne industries; clown masks start to pop up, Art knows ‘people are starting to notice’. The Batman stuff is woven in, he meets young Bruce, but it has nothing to do with DC characters really, they have broken out of the ‘Marvel Universe’ hackneyed idea, this is such a simple idea, such breathtaking chutzpah, it should be celebrated. And does this change the perceived view of the Joker? He’s a psychopath with a will to kill, he hurts people. Hang on, whose perception is this? Oh, that would be Batman, the protector of big business and big money ‘trickling down’ and Commissioner Gordon, protector of a Police force which protects the big money. Who protects the others, the forgotten, the ones who feel they have no voice? In the UK, they voted in a referendum to leave the EU because that was a way to have a say against a Government who absolutely protected the 1%. In Gotham? They reach out and take it.

Does this film legitimise violent attacks in a UK where verbal and physical attacks are legitimsied through Brexit discontent? Absolutely not. In my perception. Does it show us how turbo capitalism has utterly failed us and that we need to fight against that? Absolutely. In my perception.

And that perception thing is so dangerous, isn’t it? Tell us a joke;

Knock knock.
Who’s there?
The 99%.
The 99% who?
The 99% who are about to take it all away from you. Now give us your wallet…

Out From Warner Bros

Remedy Rating : 5/5 Avoid Those Meds

Manchester Malcontent

Storm v Steelers

Stormshelter, Saturday 18th October 2019

Mercurial. It describes us. Our mood changeable, a lack of ideas and excitement upfront last time out, quite ghastly at times, certainly frustrating, but against these perennial combatants? We won when we clashed last. The feeling of a team is important, not just the players, the belief but also the gameplan; this seems to have been lacking recently.
Is that at Finner’s feet? Or can the team not execute it? Is that at Finner’s feet? You can see where I’m going with this…

Close from the off, at ’em. Handbags early as they crowded us, one of theirs pushed over by a ref; ole! Then a kerfuffle, the puck loose, it’s in!

1-0!

Hang on, Steelers squealing, a look by the refs, killed it!

1-0!

Early on Simmonds bundling it in. Steelers squealing…Good defensive coverage but we lost it and they were on us, going close twice. Working hard in attack, close call, Grewel with a speculative shot, hang on, it’s on target

2-0!

4 minutes in! But then Gagnon sits, PK, kept a cool head, they were turning the screw though, but we…

3-0!

Just put one in on the pirouette, Hope getting better weekly. 11 minutes gone…They came at us again, we were steadfast, we went up once, screen in front of Kantor, shot, touch from Zach Sullivan

4-0!

Is this nirvana? Smells like Storm are In It.

And then they went and drlve one home.

4-1.

And a PK,

4-2.

Hmmm. More of a battle coming up. But a PP with 1 min to go, thanks! We rushed a little, but its nicely set up.
Can’t argue with that period;

‘Well, I can, That was crap!
But we scored 4 goals and kept a good shape at the back.
Yeah, fair point…

Nice attack from the off, PP time, but nothing achieved. They wound up nicely, we couldn’t get it away, close calls, lot of pressure, building, kerfuffle in their paint, PP! Pressure off, but we showed nothing in the 2 minutes. They were showing the better moves, but we had another chance. Don’t get too excited now it’s another PP, one in which we struggled again to put anything together, handbags, Gagnon laughing as he tusseled with DeLuca.

And then Thompson skated up and slammed it home; simple.

5-2!

Ah, 2+2 PK. Precision defensive stickwork, but another, 3 on 5. Come on lads…Ginn glorious. One down. Two down! What heart, hope we broke the Steelers’. A PP, deserved, nothing from it, so we’ll have another, nothing doing.

From a moribund start, we showed heart and scored. Not bad at all…
Close, then Steelers got angry, another PP, we had a good go, but no dice. And then a P to K, we were on the front skate, nicking the puck, gorgeous move, ding! Killed with style. So another would be no problem, would it? Bodies in the way, killed another.
Free flowing hockey broke out, until D Phillips showed his anger by grabbing a Storm player’s face. He got 2 minutes. We got 2 too. They got another. 5 on 3…

Hughesman waiting, slamed it in!
6-2!

And that was that. Perfection almost, sharp and tough in attack, not afraid to shoot, sticks in near our net, bodies in the way. A team who battled, showed no fear and had a killer instinct. Wonderful to watch. The joy of Six…

Remedy Rating: 5/5 Perfect Patient

Kadavar – For The Dead Travel Fast

They’ve finally gone all in. This occultish album is a development in subject matter and whizzing wind atmos too, ethereal vocals bringing ‘The End‘ to us at the beginning, summoning the bludgeon of ‘The Devil’s Master‘, rather ordinary, actually but ‘Evil Forces‘ raises the interest on martial riffs and nice flanged solo, there’s grand guignol in the dramatic introduction of ‘Children Of The Night‘, more Vincent Price than ‘Hostel‘, a fright tease of 70’s proportions.

They do spit ‘Poison‘ with overwrought vocals and nasty fuzzed-up bass, but it shows a lovely proggy underbelly too and they earn the right to make ‘Saturnales‘ a calm and mournful reflection and then a slowly unfolding ‘Long Forgotten Song‘ to take us home.

Kadaver do nothing new, in fact the age of it is the point. They also don’t innovate in it as much as, say, Vintage Caravan. They were one of the first of the new breed of Psyche bangers, but they don’t half risk being lost in the crush.

Out On Nuclear Blast

Remedy Rating: 3/5 Expected Results

4th Labyrinth – Better

Bleeps and woozy organ greet us, this is what we want, but a basic classic rocking curveball comes from ‘This Is Rock N Roll‘, although perhaps the tirle could have been a clue, followed by an Indie Americana type ‘Better‘, piping synth adding strangeness, alnist taking over the verse, but this still uses the form,

‘Your Symphony‘ though; basic Rock? New style Prog? That sudden Rothery type guitar solo springing up. Deceptive. Sparks neurotic Dance stuff into early 80’s US Rock with New Wave touches, ‘This Feeling‘ hits the spot; ‘I’m A Hunter‘ gently stops and starts, lazily adds extra tempo without leaving a softer rock feel.

This is a lot more accessible than previous album ‘Quattro Stagioni‘ and to make songs interesting within rigid parameters is difficult, impressive too. surely these Cambridge cuties deserve your interest; Better than the last album, Better than lots of others too.

Out Independently

Remedy Rating: 4/5 Picking The Right Treatments

Beyond Imagination

Lots of bands want to race to the 80’s, you know, a simpler time when people were pushed out of jobs, the NHS began to fall apart, miners who were just defending their jobs were physically and emotionally attacked by a brutal govt. At least the AOR was good, even reaching the charts and this Swedish sound is patterned beautifully after it.

‘Traces Of Laughter‘ is a bouncy Hall & Oates mixed with West Coast offer, all clipped brass and brilliance, sputtering 80’s synth and smooth guitar solo also there, ‘Driving Along The Coast‘ is an obvious big riff thing, which is all we need, but then it drops out for a jazzy sax solo. And then ‘Courage At Heart‘ has an 80’s sheen and a pleasant synth parp, with a current Chicago sound, can’t be bad.

It’s taken them 7 years to get here, but by gum it’s worth it. They take you down on the bedroom vocals of ‘Love Of My Youth‘ a cool lope, horns blazing, for ‘I Can’t Find Enough Reasons‘ and Yacht Rock scion Jay Graydon is even here, unfortunately on a mawkish George Benson sounding smooth ‘Say Is This Love‘, but then ‘Stay With Me Tonight‘ is a JB with Al Jarreau lustrous lovely too, that sax gently caressing this time.

This is as good as 80’s AOR lookbacks get, in fact if heard it around ’86, I reckon I’d have loved it just as much. That’s an amazing feat.

Out Independently

Remedy Rating: 5/5 Perfect Patient

Starcrawler – Devour You

Didn’t think much of the debut, ordinary alt Indie Rock which was pumped up by media column inches, the old razzle dazzle. This has more of the debut, New Wave Lene Lovitch keening in Arrow De Wilde’s delivery for otherwise tentative opener ‘Lizzy‘, it’s entirely expected to hear a Glam backing for ‘Bet My Brains‘, even more to hear an aimlessly catchy chorus, but a laidback Runaways Rock makes ‘You Dig Yours‘ a treat.

There’s more here, a development. But when listening 3 tracks went by without really registering, for all the new moments of Americana on ‘Hollywood Ending‘, Rockabilly sirening guitar ‘Born Asleep‘, even a little Country Rock touch in ‘No More Pennies‘ aren’t sustained. The opening out from their first album must be celebrated as it never should be simply expected, but the songs don’t hang around long enough.

Starcrawler have an ethos of dispisability which dips into the New Wave of bands like Cheap Trick, ironically still well remembered and loved; they do this with the feel of a semiotic exercise, hit those notes, you’ll have a listening agreement with perhaps notalgia attached.

This doesn’t sound as cynical as the first album, that musical development is great to see; perhaps next time there’ll be some songs which lodge in your consciousness too.

Out On Rough Trade

Remedy Rating : 3/5 Read The Instructions