Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Tough- Obey The Ramones

Let's go back to that list! You know, the one I keep inside my little Dee Dee brain of bands that HAVE TO release new material on a regular basis in order for me to remain happy? Yeah! That one. Well if you scan it close to the top, you'll see the name of a band from Piacenza. Since 2007, Tough has been providing an alternative and standing out against the often watered down predictability of the third wave to bring back the spirit of a simple message. This is a message started in 1974 by Dee Dee, Joey, Johnny, and Tommy. To keep rock 'n' roll simple, passionate, and delivered with a swift punch of intensity. This is what punk rock is about, that's what Tough does extremely well, and heart has been filled with a little more hope ever since the day I discovered them because that's what I believe in. After an amazing last release of their LP "Four", Tough is back with a 7" holding a title the band has used as a philosophy since day one of their formation that I also live by called "Obey The Ramones".  

The songs were recorded on January 23rd-26th and recently mixed by Cristiano Sanzeri at Giardini Sonori Studio in Piacenza, IT. Producer credits go to Tough and mastering was done by Alessandro Vanara. Overall sound quality is fantastic and probably the best I've ever heard them have. This studio does good work! Why does that cover kick so much ass, you ask? Well it's because Riccardo Bucchioni, the bad ass of punk rock art designed it. This imagery with a vintage feel in the lettering and a cat you don't want to fuck with started out as a shirt design(you can order it here) and I think it most definitely worked out great as cover art too. Adding into all this coolness is our beloved and talented Andrea Manges who did the layout. He's always got an eye to place everything just right without any unnecessary clutter like he did for "Four" and this time is no different. Official release is happening by means of self release from the band themselves on this coming Friday, July 11th in Bergamo, Italy at the first time summer edition of the best punk rock party in the world which is the Monster Zero Mash. If you cannot make it, an order can be placed through my favorite European distro, Striped. This is a pressing of 300 pieces on black vinyl. Digital only can be purchased through Tough's bandcamp on the release date where all songs are also streaming in full.

Staying within tradition, they are delivering four songs that are down stroked to perfection and metronomically accurate, this time clocking in at just a touch under six minutes. They deliver a lot in a short amount of time like a live performance of the Ramones and I love that! Side A is the romantic one starting out with the track leaked ahead of the release, "Love Me Tonight", a powerful and beautifully melodic punk rock song that fully displays the enormous reach Chris Polecat possesses as a songwriter. He can put more emotion in a few words with his strong and lovely vocal tone than many others who need dozens to accomplish the same effect. It is a definite sign of a man who has been doing this for nearly two decades since Stinking Polecats, always advancing. Next up is "Mary Lou", with the lead sang by Stefan Eno who is just as established in tenure and a wonderful presence as well. It's the most pop sounding out of the four and is just a sweet song about a girl named Mary Lou he wants to know. I smile every time I hear it. Moving into side B is where you will find the meanness Tough is just so damn good at. "I Don't Like You" is pretty self explanatory lyrically and like a bolt of lightning with Biso's fast, tight, and super humanly skilled drumming leading the pace. Maybe he is bionic, I don't know but I do know that he is one of the best drummers around in the scene right now. I also really like Stefanino's growling backing vocals in this one. That song runs you over in less than a minute and a half, then it's time for the last track called "Too Ramone To Die". This one has a crazy back story. Some months back, the guys went out to London to play a show with The Griswalds and during their set, some random idiot ran up on the stage and jabbed Chris right in the eye with his microphone, leaving a huge fucking bruise/cut/indentation on my best friend's face and what did he do? He kept playing because he is in fact, too Ramone to die. This is a song that's true to life!

I could paint my love for these guys with ten thousand more words but I think the music really speaks for itself, so go stream the songs and add this gem of a 7" to your collection. Also I want to say that this particular release is always going to hold a special place in my heart with it being the last recording session Stefan Eno participated on before leaving the band. I'm always gonna be grateful for what he brought to Tough with his incredible spirit and it was a dream come true to see this particular formation on stage in person last summer. Thank you so much, Stefanino. Things are continuing with the new lineup including Robi Tuono who is also from Mega and Drawing Dead, a couple other great bands I've previously written for. He is a fabulous replacement and the guys are not missing a beat since he joined so make sure to get yourselves down to that Monster Zero Mash to see them on Friday(view event details here) if you have the means to do so. With the likes of The Manges, The Mugwumps, The Bat Bites, The Nuts, and The Apers just to name off a little more of the roster for the weekend, it's bound to be a cool time. Check out their just launched website to stay tuned with all of their social networking, discography, and upcoming news. Go Tough go!!

Tough is...
Chris Polecat- Vocals, Bass
Stefan Eno- Guitar, Vocals
Biso- Drums 

Tracks 1,3, and 4 written by Chris Polecat. Track 2 co-written by Stefan Eno and Chris Polecat.

Side A
1. Love Me Tonight
2. Mary Lou
Side B
3. I Don't Like You
4. Too Ramone To Die

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