music scotland

Edinburgh record label Stranded Records recently released a giant, in every sense, with their compilation album "Conform or Die" A huge beating heart of 52 tracks, bringing life, and gifting to the world, its offerings of punk rock. Released in the year of the 60th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, no coincidence here, the album reaches out to dedicate itself to "those who died and those who suffer through war". These sentiments continue to echo within every song here. Nihilistic, brutal but always honest and to the point has long been the backbone of punk music. Conform or Die changes none of that pattern, skilfully allowing the ragged tributes to weave from song to song. Never losing the edge and never compromising the reason. Some of the finest, from a healthy, flourishing and well respected punk scene, bring their songs like wreaths of poppy, and lay them at the memorial of the lost and the forgotten in war. The Swellbellies, never tame and never meek, only happy in the company of the hardcore punk they were born to play, and now also firmly established as the favoured snarling darlings of Europe, pay tribute with the loud and belligerent "trust" If vocalist Needles ever lost his voice then you could bet on evolution reversing itself for moments, just to cure him! Threats, huge favourites now as gigs get bigger and compliments fuller, offer up "Genocide" for the cause. Shock Nagasaki, deservedly securing opening track with the brilliant "1968" are never forgotten as the album rolls on. Larry, founder member and the guvnor of Stranded Records, time served in all things punk, also the driving force behind this release, brings his band Square Peg along and they donate "Hiroshima" to the tributes. Every song uncovers moments and gems and a pride to contribute to this excellent album! And still they come....Uncle Fester. Arthritic Foot Soldiers. Shock Nagasaki again, with a cool audacity to open disc 2 also!! The Zips. Critikill, they're all here, and paying tribute. Joined as one and sticking together as always. To anyone who has NEVER had punk rock touch their lives, be aware that Conform or Die is the custom made vehicle for them to climb into and discover new things! It could be a fast dangerous ride with corners taken at speed, but the arms of this close knit movement are never far away to protect their own. Stranded Records, through this album, manage to touch other nations without ever stepping off their own soil! Sentiment. Passion. Belief. Raw Truth and Anger are the skilfully added secret ingredients. its a feeling you can FEEL. The strength born when Malcolm Mclaren laid the first brick of this foundation, is still there and still worthy. Laid bare, Conform or Die is a perverted romantic. No slush, but plenty sentiment. wide open and bleeding armies of songs and thats how it wants to be remembered! this album ridicules the "punk is dead" mentality so fondly thrown by those who wouldn't know punk if it passed them down Leith..twice! This album shows us punk has never been healthier, never even consulted a doctor thanks very much. its walking your streets, its being everything you need it to be. It demands respect...but hands it back too. It takes lifes instructions and throws them away! Conform or Die may not convert you to punk, or make you change your mind, but it will squat in your head...and maybe stay forever!! So reach out and take the hand it offers you...come inside...then feel special that it gave you the chance! Stranded Records gave the life to Conform or Die. Responsible also for adding a flavour and tempting strangers in to eat awhile! If you only buy one punk compilation ever...make it this one!!
Nothing to lose but your ignorance and nothing to gain but a knowledge. its all there and its all powerful. Today is the first day of the best of your record collection!

alan baillie

nihilism on the prowl This is a fucking huge 56 track double CD collection on the Stranded Records label outta Edinburgh in Scotland. Conform Or Die marks the 60th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and features 2 tracks each from some of the more contemporary outfits that are making anti-war statements in the current punk climate, both here in the UK and abroad. We get off to a decisive start with Shock Nagasaki from New York. They come swaggering through the mushroom cloud with a juicy Pistolian grind as they lurch through ‘1968’ and ‘Shock Nagasaki‘. Followed closely by Telford’s Assert, who seem to improve every time I hear em! These Shropshire vets are dynamic on record, producing crunchy, addictive hardcore but with enough hooks and attitude to get em caught up in the most blinkered punk audio net. The Don’t Cares however let the hallowed name down badly, by playing shouty, faceless crud that sealed their mediocre fate. The Threats from Dalkeith in Scotland keep up their high octane Scots presence with 2 midpaced rockers called ‘Genocide’ and ‘State Of Shock‘. I’ve never quite got the fascination for Demob, coz they sound weak on ‘What Your Fighting For’ and ‘One More Man Is Dead’ ain’t much better. Nervous Tension from Nottingham brings the quality control back up with Sherwood Forest’s answer to the Subhumans during ‘In The Sky’s Above Baghdad’ and ‘Shoot To Kill’. The Offkuts were a mumbling bloody r’n’b mess that even a 70’s guitar solo couldn’t rescue. Pilger were also pretty dull unless you wear baggy jeans and trainers and live in Southampton. Sticking with the South coast, Intent seemed intent on keeping it hardcore by numbers…boring! The Zips from Glasgow appear way outta place on here, with their almost Indie sounding anthem ‘Not In Our Name’, but bear with em, coz these vets grow on ya! Critikill sound about as vital as a bunch of nondescript X-factor fiascos. Valdez who conjure up visions of the magic circle, slow things down to a grinding riff before jumping into yet another sawdust vocal and a one dimensional hardcore workout. Label honcho Larry and compiler of this 2 disc package sings in the Square Peg who give us the brooding ‘Hiroshima’ that manages to create atmosphere with its neat theme tune. Militaristic drumming leads in Blok 1A who come from the Netherlands, but that’s about as exotic as it gets coz these never Landers dish out another humdrum thrash sweat fest. In fact ‘Texas Idiot’ by Arthritic Foot Soldiers sounds pretty good put alongside some of the more shitty bands on this comp. Welsh punks Picture Frame Seduction continue their 2nd rate GBH fixation during ‘Sex War’, but manage to redeem themselves on the slow burning suburban nightmare of ‘Disaffected‘. Assassins from Scotland were a neat surprise, producing some attractive arrangements on ‘Dehumanisation’ which was only spoilt by a fucking dire vocal. Their other track ‘Simply Me‘, suffered badly from the same fate. So do yourselves a favour lads, and 'take out' the singer coz he‘s holding you back! Feedback penetrates our airspace as Manc punks 3CR give us probably their best number ‘Oldham’s Burning’, which is gritty, energetic and memorable. ‘Cover up’ on the other hand was pedestrian! Dead In A Ditch fail to live up to their grisly name coz their singer sounds like a baboon let loose for the day. However on ‘Uzi Boy Blues’, things improve drastically. Welsh punks In The Shit give us a full on jackhammer job with ‘A World Of Shit’, which has an early Discharge feel, same goes for ‘Revenge’. One Car Pile Up sum up everything I used to hate about pop punk, and hearing this kinda crud again just reignites my contempt. Uncle Fester from Blackpool have a shitty name, but thankfully that’s where the crap ends, as they deliver the rather good ‘Idiot’ with its sarcy vocal and neat guitar work, plus that great idiotic chorus. ‘Time Bomb‘ didn’t match its predecessor. Swellbelly’s seem to be another outfit on a learning curve as they progress onto bigger and better things during this moody midpaced stomper called ‘Trust’. It contains a chant you’ll be singing along to in the most strangest of places. UK Deathcharge have a fucking great scuzzy guitar sound that is a welcome inclusion to this compilation. And along with their snotty Rejects styled vocals, warrants further investigation. Submachine from Pittsburgh, USA were fat, old gun toting rednecks in the early 90’s and their new found 21st century conscience don’t really suit them. So thank gawd they ain’t changed their broken nosed sound one little bit. Shatterhand from Scotland get a lotta column space in those squeaky clean PC zines, and their pissed off gritty approach does have its moments, but it just don’t sound authentic to me somehow? The Isle of Wight’s Capo Regime was a blast from the past when punk was unfashionable, and they still seem in a rush to make the last ferry home gawd bless em. ‘Psychosis’ is their best track. Lastly Bakers Dozen from Edinburgh kept the unacceptable band name department on high alert. So it was a resounding relief to hear they don’t sound half as naff as their hideous name suggests. In fact they play well thought out street punk tunes akin to Lower Class Brats and close this 28 band CD package on a high

pete dont care

punk 4 life

This compilation 'Conform Or Die' has 56 tracks, 2 by each of the 28 bands on this double CD. Mostly lesser known bands which is great because I always like hearing bands I haven't heard before. There are even 2 tracks by my old band 3CR, one sung by me (Cover Up) and one by Nobby (Oldham's Burning) my predecessor.Some of the other bands on the CD are Shock Nagasaki, The Threats, Valdez, The Zips, The Square Peg, Arthritic Foot Soldiers (A favourite band of mine), Picture Frame Seduction, Swellbellys, Dead In A Ditch, Shatterhand, Capo Regime, One Car Pile Up and In The Shit. That's just a slice of the bands covered on the CD and there are plenty more. With there being so much on the CD there is bound to be some stuff that you aren't keen on but with 2 hours 25 minutes of music there is plenty you will like. Good value.
Tim Davies

Suspect Device (Zine)

Where do i start with this one? A huge double compilation CD from the mighty Stranded Records that features among others Southampton's finest in the shape of Pilger and Intent! This a compunkilation alright with a great mix of bands from across the great punk divide as i call it... Try this lot for size; Shock Nagasaki, Assert, The Dontcares, The Threats, Demob, Nervous Tension, Offkuts, Pilger, Intent, The Zips, Critikill, Valdez, The Square Peg, Blok 1A, Arthritic Foot Soldiers, Picture Frame Seduction, Assassins,3CR, Dead In A Ditch, In The Shit, One Car Pile Up, Uncle Fester, Swellbellys, U.K. Deatcharge, Submachine, Shatterhand, Capo Regime, and Bakers Dozen. Two tracks from each band with all their contact info included and some great cover artwork to go with it all.
This is now surely the compilation CD to end all compilation CD's in the age of the Internet. One to own, play to death and get into punk in all it'sglorious forms!


Music Reviews#19 A cracking two disc compilation consisting of 28 bands with two tracks each (that’s 56 tracks by the way), bands such as Assert, Valdez, In the Shit and One Car Pile Up add some quality to this comp plus it’s pays remembrance to the victims of the Hiroshema bombings which happened 60 years ago, so all in all a good compilation for a good cause.