The Scrags are a Stockholm-based five-piece influenced by everything from The Stooges, Velvet Underground, Suicide, Modern Lovers to Black Flag… and it shows. It’s a nice mix for Anything, an album largely recorded “live on tape” to capture the band’s raw stage sound.
Anything‘s second song, “Never Looking Back,” is the one that really kicks the album into full gear and gets five stars for its punk drawl and scampering guitar work within a garage rock atmosphere. “Instead Of” excels at combining a Doors ramble with Iggy Pop versatility. Top notch eccentricity — too bad it’s not longer. The bass finally stands out a bit in “Whole Again” — and more so in the ’80s post-punk sounding “Televise My Eyes” — but it should appear high in the mix more often on Anything. The guitar sound and vocal combo is the key here though. By the end of the album, you realize there are no slackers on the album. In fact, one of the best songs is the early-Rolling Stones meets Velvet Underground quickie called “Invasion Troopers.” Pure ’60s garage rock bliss made for modern times.
Listeners who love vintage punk flavor with Iggy Pop attitude should pick this up and spin it regularly. However, Anythingreally can be fun for anyone.
Self Released (CD)
Think of Will Dailey as an up-and-coming Don McLean or Paul Simon; a gifted singer-songwriter with enough of an ear to build his compositions in the studio with the right talent behind him. “It Already Would Have Not Worked Out By Now” is the bright star of this self-released CD, complete with catchy acoustic guitar and witty word play. Another standout is “Middle Child,” which makes guitar and viola eccentrically hum together.
There are a few missteps. “Bad Behavior” is an odd choice, with its attempt to recreate a falsetto dance charm in the chorus. It starts out with a nice Paul Simon groove then sinks quickly into a bad attempt at late-’70s Bee Gees. Not every songwriter is perfect, I guess. Sorry, Will.
Dailey is in-tune to an era (1970s) when singer-songwriters were the true stars of popular music — he then reshapes the structure of a song for the 21st Century. Go to www.willdailey.com for more information. Keep your radar on him.
Avenger were more or less typical of many New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) bands — spectacular loud ‘n’ proud guitar riffs with an often shoddy production sound — except Avenger arrived a few years too late to the party. Shame, because Avenger were as good as any from that glorified time period. They merely got overlooked and/or passed over.
Straight out of Newcastle, England. Avenger were driven by a very strong rhythm section (Mick Moore on bass and Gary Young on drums) and a guitar player who knew how to riff in a viscously metallic manner (Les Cheetham). Vocalist Ian Swift then joined to complete the band’s core sound.
Blood Sports is the outcome of this lineup. Swift’s vocals are better than what the studio engineer gave him (too many effects). In fact, his Bruce Bruce-influenced style — when left raw — was a perfect match for Avenger. The lead track “Enforcer” is a brilliant NWOBHM artifact and other songs follow suit. Visiting the albums some 30 years later, makes for a fun ride.
This Dissonance edition disc is worth picking up for the addition of the demo version of “Enforcer” alone. This version of the song is quite possibly better than the one released on the 1984 album — Swift’s vocals are not over-polished in the mix and the band is in its full-steam-ahead metal mode. Classic metal.
Note: After a few break-ups, vocalist Ian Swift continues the band today. Follow them on Facebook, if interested,