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Spotlight On Pirates Press Records Part 1

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As the label name indicates, the folks at Pirates Press Records do things differently. Not only do they seek out excellent music to release, they also love to thrill vinyl fans by making liberal use of colored vinyl and all sorts of quirky cool packaging, making each and every record a collectible. In Part 1 of our Pirates Press Records spotlight we look at some of the imprint's recent releases on vinyl. In Part 2 we'll delve into the label's fondness for flexi-discs.

Crim - Sense Excuses
(7" 45-RPM EP on ultra-clear with black smoke vinyl, picture sleeve, lyrics insert and digital download code)
This band is from Catalonia, the autonomous region of Spain that has recently been seeking independence. The four piece plays speedy punk rock and they sing in Catalan which gives the music all the more bite. The EP's A-side features two band originals, "Sense Excuses" and "Mai Vam Ser Especials" and both songs are made for fast dancing, and it is fun too to try and sing along in Catalan. On the B-side the guys pay tribute to a couple of their influences with a scathing cover of Turbonegro's "Prince of the Rodeo" and Cock Sparrer's "Watch Your Back," both of which are sung in English.

Booze & Glory - "London Skinhead Crew"
(12" 45-RPM die cut single)

Booze & Glory have gotten an amazing 10 million YouTube views of their video for this song and Pirates Press have come up with just about the coolest piece of vinyl ever to commemorate the milestone. One side holds the original punk version of the song while the other features the cut redone as ska. Since there is only one song on each side of the 12-incher, that leaves plenty of room for London Skinhead Crew to be die-cut in large block letters into the outer portion of the disc, making the package a real eye-grabber. To top it off, the groove in the vinyl plays from the inside out!

The Old Firm Casuals - (Self-titled)
(12" 45-RPM EP on clear vinyl with black silk screen design on Side B)

Here's another really arty collectible holding four early cuts from this Oi! band that features the well-traveled Lars Frederiksen (Rancid) on guitar and vocals. The anthemic signature song "Old Firm (DMS)" opens the offering; the frenetic "Lone Wolf," the quite possibly Who-influenced "Apocalypse Coming" and the guitar maelstrom of "Casual" round out this collection of vintage material.

Stomper 98 - Althergebracht
(12" LP on clear vinyl with black smoke and blood red splatter, embossed gatefold sleeve)
This German Oi! band has been rockin' hard for 20-years and you therefore might expect this release to be a celebratory compilation, but Althergebracht (the title in English would be Traditional) is all new music. The album gets started with "Skinhead," a cut that channels the fury of a back alley beat down before moving on with "Wir Folgen Den Rufen" which sounds a lot like American west coast punk rock, perhaps due in part to the fact that Rancid's Lars Frederiksen is also a member of this band. As you can guess from song titles like "Freiheit," "Agenda der Angst" and "Diese Nacht," the songs here are sung in German (lyrics, also in German, are printed inside the gatefold sleeve) but non German-speaking fans will have no problem moshing and stomping along to this high-energy thrill fest that's being hailed as the band's best record ever.

Monster Squad - Depression
(12" 45-RPM LP with insert and digital download code)

This five-piece Bay Area hardcore band has been around for a little over 20-years but they haven't, until now, offered any new recordings for a decade. Fans needn't worry that singer Phil Geck has lost his ability to scream his vocals though; he's in fine raspy form as the band thrashes away behind him on "Fall and Burn," "Lion's Blood" which also features great bass runs from Justin Peach, and the pub-rocking punk of "Withheld Forgiveness." The guys back off the thrash for the lengthy, guitar showcasing intro to closing cut "Endless War" before appropriately bringing the thunder as the song gains intensity. True to the album title, this set of songs lives on the dark side, but listeners will be anything but depressed by record's end.

The Filaments - Look to the Skies
(12" LP on red in clear color-in-color with mustard and black splatter vinyl, lyric insert, digital download code)
This band's amalgam of punk and ska will find favor with fans of bands like the Clash and Rancid, and fans of 2 Tone bands like the Specials and Madness will especially enjoy dance cuts like "Rip-Off World" and "Underdogs." Most of the album though is punchy yet melodic punk rock, and the set closes with the powerful double punch of "The Verge" and "Killing Machine." This veteran British band has been around long enough to have broken up once and then reform nearly 10-years ago, and they play out live to a fervent fan base often, but mostly just in Europe. At least U.S.-based fans can enjoy this endlessly fun record.

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