5 posts categorized "Punk"

March 29, 2021


COLESMITHEY.COMPunk 101: The band from Derry.

"Are teenage dreams so hard to beat?
Every time she walks down the street
Another girl in the neighborhood
Wish she was mine, she looks so good"

Even if The Undertones had only written “Teenage Kicks,” the band would stand as one of the most important Punk groups responsible for energizing international culture and music. Hell, the song's been covered by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, not to mention Nouvelle Vague's great version. And still the hits kept coming. "Mars Bar" is the ultimate non-commercial song about how a candy bar can keep you going when you're knee deep in shit of any political/societal strife.

The Undertones - Teenage Kicks watch for free or download video

"My Cousin Kevin" is a hard slag on every golden boy destined for oblivion. "Here Comes The Summer" is a joyful romp about the one season that promises anything and everything. I could go on but you need to listen to The Undertones records for yourself. 

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With significant on-screen assistance from legendary BBC Radio DJ John Peel, Irish documentarian Tom Collins packs every necessary punch into a lively 72 minute documentary.  

Review: The Undertones - Singles 1978 - 1983 | Vinyl Chapters

From 1975 to 1983, The Undertones held their own alongside Punk heavyweights such as The Sex Pistols, The Ramones, Blondie, Johnny Thunders, and The Clash. What musical excitement.

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That The Undertones’ sparkling brand of radio-ready power pop was created in the midst of Northern Ireland’s Troubles, which lasted from the ‘60s into the late ‘90s, is a testament to the group’s deceptive maturity despite their young ages.

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In the '70s, New York City was beset with garbage piling up in the streets and CIA-introduced heroin, but Derry, Northern Ireland was steel trap of military occupation. Bombings, shootings and guns stuck in kids’ faces everyday prompted The Undertones’ rebellion of musical sweetness. To watch this great documentary is to get a sense of how five young Irish musicians (Feargal Sharkey, John O'Neill, Damian O'Neill, Michael Bradley, and Bill Doherty) declared their freedom and individuality with infectious original songs about teenage angst. Contrary to the misconception that Punk was about kids who couldn't play their instruments, shouting unintelligible crap, bands such as X-Ray Spex, The Damned, Billy Idol, The Buzzcocks, and The Undertones made joyful pop that made you want to dance, fuck, and hang out with your pals. 

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The band’s lead singer Feargal Sharkey’s irrepressible tenor voice cuts through every song with an urgent passion that cannot be denied. Sharkey has an amazing voice that he puts to fierce fun-loving purpose. It’s sad that Feargal is interviewed alone while other bandmates share the luxury of each other’s presence in some sequences. Such is the fallout from the band’s inevitable breakup amid personal and social pressures. Nostalgic and bittersweet joy emanate from a labor of love movie that will get your heart pumping and your feet tapping. The band from Derry is unforgettable. 

4 Stars

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March 06, 2019


MadeThe industrial city of Sheffield, England was the birthplace for the electronic pop explosion of cool post punk bands such as "Vice Versa," "The Human League," "Heaven 17," "ABC,” and "Cabaret Voltaire." Slick style and a rejection of cultural limitations at hand, these daring musicians created a utopian attitude of romanticized clarity and precision. 

Songs pulse, heat up, and grow on an international level in a bastion of fearless creativity. Here is an essential chapter of musical history brought to relevant life and context in fun documentary.   

In this enthusiastic, if brief (it clocks in at only 52 minutes), documentary filmmaker Eve Wood charts the lineage of musicians whose music inspired modern-day bands such as "Stereolab," "Ladytron," and "Peaches."

Made In Sheffield

Through insightful interviews with band members (such as Phil Oakey of The Human League), and rare live performance footage, "Made In Sheffield" fills an essential period that linked Punk to the British New Wave with bands intent on destroying rock music. Interview subjects such as the late John Peel, The Human League’s Phil Oakey and Ian Craig Marsh, and music critic Andy Gill shed light on the indispensable influence of Sheffield’s electronic music scene. This thrilling documentary is an important film for any serious music lover to learn about the origins of a time and place where musical creativity ran wild.

Not rated. 52 mins.Four Stars


Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

This website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon. Thanks a lot pal!

Cole Smithey on Patreon

April 08, 2012


Hit So HardThe rough-and-tumble story of “Hole” drummer Patty Schemel’s rapid rise to rock-star fame, and equally rapid decline due to addiction, makes for an affecting documentary.

Inculcated in the crucible of Kurt Cobain’s and Courtney Love’s magical sphere of musical creativity, red-haired lesbian drummer Patty Schemel had the chops to propel Love’s grunge band Hole through multiple recordings and huge stadium rock shows all over the world. Patty’s addictive personality — informed by her parents’ alcoholism — was bound to fall prey to the mass quantities of booze and drugs that came with the territory. The death of Kurt Cobain, and Hole’s bass player Kristen Pfaff were dark omens.

Hit So Hard – The Life and Near Death of Patty Schemel – Alex Donald's  Multiverse

Director/editor P. David Ebersole packs this vibrant film with a treasure trove of archive live performance footage, home movies, and personal photographs to document stages of Patty’s time with Hole. Rare home movie footage of Kurt Cobain goes a long way toward establishing the family-like atmosphere in Carnation, Washington, where Patty lived with the young couple and their baby. Ebersole shuffles together interview sessions with Patty that were separated by several years. The filmmaker plays a neat editorial trick when he reveals the dates the sessions were recorded as a late-film reveal.

Hit So Hard' Follows Patty Schemel, Drummer for Hole - The New York Times

The documentary gets into minor trouble with text graphics of messages and quotes that periodically come across various parts of the screen in various sizes and fonts. The effect is distracting rather than informing. Nonetheless, “Hit So hard” is a candid and heartfelt look at one woman’s struggles in the music business. Patty Schemel definitely hits hard.

Not Rated. 101 mins.

3 Stars

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

This website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon.

Cole Smithey on Patreon

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