Jsntgm 012 Higgins++ – Commercial Brake CD

£7.00

Comes in a CD jewel case with full colour album booklet.
Artwork by Andy Higgins.

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1. Intro (Commercial Break) 01:23
2. Rockstarz 03:57
3. Who Gives You The Right? 03:39
4. In The Middle Of Things 02:34
5. A Different Pair Of Hands 04:33
6. Am I Listening? 02:42
7. Slow Down 03:05
8. Up Here 04:13
9. Eagles Wings 02:50

released April 23, 2005


REVIEWS

www.sleazegrinder.com
So, Higgins is a bloke (and when I say bloke, I mean he’s English) who went and recorded “Commercial Brake” without the rest of his band. No plus-pluses in sight. Maybe he doesn’t even have a band, I dunno, but here it’s just him and his chugging punk rock guitar, charging through a selection of gritty, glammy, old-school punk tunes. The songs themselves are fuckin’ great, really. Snot rockers like opener “Rockstarz” and “Am I listening?” are catchy and punchy, like The Hunns if there was only one Hunn, and this record would be a powerhouse”¦if it was finished. I am sure that everybody- his mom, his girlfriend, the record company- tried to convince Higgins to find a cat or two to play with, maybe even just a drum machine or something. Stubborn fucker shoulda listened. As it is now, it’s just weirding me out. I love rock and roll, but I swear, I hate performance art.

Web Review
Higgins ++ as it seems is a one man band. Andy Higgins plays distorted powerchords and sings about how fucked up today`s commercial music business is. That`s right, I agree with that message. I also have to admit that the idea of a punked up traditional singer songwriter instrumentalisation with guitar and voice is indeed interesting. It`s just that to me Higgin`s songs ain`t good enough to overbridge the lack of rhythm and drive. I dig the idea but I got bored after the second song.

(Peter Thorsson) SKRUTT Fanzine http://surf.to/skrutt
I believe that its Andy who holds in this record label himself with good bands like Sick 56 who do this. Higgins++ plays a musik which is filled by himself and a electric guitar. As early Billy Bragg when he was punkier and really politic. Really sharp to put himself on stage and do songs for himself only on guitar and vocals. This guy have listened a lot to Clash, SLF and other early 77-punkgroups I think before he started with this. Really , really nice.(EIGHT) 10/10-03

Lowcut Fanzine
I thought I’d hate this very anti-capitalistic politically charged album (check out the Crass-like layout) with only Andy Higgins on vocals and electric guitar but it’s actually not bad. Like a raw ’77 punk version of Billy Bragg Mr. Higgins plays and sings his guts out on the CD’s 9 tracks. Okay, I did found it a bit monotonous that each song starts with an ‘evil’ real radio/TV commercial, but if you think Lowcut spends too much time on garagepunk, action rock or psychobilly, you might wanna try this release which couldn’t be more different than the label’s Z/28 album.

Trash Compactor
The album starts with a fake radio show intro, including samples of pop artists. Quite funny, but I found it somewhat annoying having to listen to it every time I put the cd in. Then Higgins++ breaks into the first song with a punk guitar and angry lyrics. A look into the inlay is enough to have my suspicions confirmed: Andy Higgins is the one and only band member. No drums, no bass, only one angry man and his guitar. Higgins++ sounds like a punk version of Billy Bragg to me. Did I say punk? Okay, let me explain: I´m not talking about the kind of punk you might find on MTV. When I say punk I mean the old, political British style of punk. His guitar play and song writing remind me of old Stiff Little Fingers punk classics. He sings as if he gurgles with nails. I would call it punk rock if the man had a band. But what would this man need a band for? His style of singing and his guitar play kick you right in the face, so who needs drums and basses? I really dig this kind of “urbane folk punk”. Okay, I don´t think I could listen to this all day, but guys like Higgins++ show us all that there is still some honesty in music bizz. (pep)

Lowcut Fanzine
I thought I’d hate this very anti-capitalistic politically charged album (check out the Crass-like layout) with only Andy Higgins on vocals and electric guitar but it’s actually not bad. Like a raw ’77 punk version of Billy Bragg Mr. Higgins plays and sings his guts out on the CD’s 9 tracks. Okay, I did found it a bit monotonous that each song starts with an ‘evil’ real radio/TV commercial, but if you think Lowcut spends too much time on garagepunk, action rock or psychobilly, you might wanna try this release which couldn’t be more different than the label’s Z/28 album.

Punk and Oi in the UK
One man (Andy Higgins) and his guitar intercut with clips from adverts (not the band, although he would probably go down well supporting TV Smith). There’s some really good songs here, but I can’t help thinking and I bet I’m not the first to say that what this needs is a band, listening to the songs I keep expecting the bass and drums to kick in at any second. 9 tracks that deserve a good listening to. Ian

FULL MOON FANZINE “(Vol 8 “no. 1) via e-mail
The reason that there is no review for Higgins++ in this issue is that I thought it was awful.

Mass Movement #14
Oi Higgins, who stole your band ? What we have here is nine tracks of Andy Higgins on his own, singing his punk rock songs with nothing but an amped up electric guitar for accompaniment. In short “Commercial Brake” sounds like Rancid unplugged, or something. Some of the songs are broken up with radio clips and lyrically, tracks like “Who gives you the right” and “Rockstarz” are crammed full of passionate, angry words, but after a while you start to really want some drums and bass to kick I to help ram the message home. Sure it’s raw and mercilessly stripped down, but isn’t really exciting enough to warrant more than one listen.

Suspect Device #40
Andy Higgins who runs JSNTGM Records has embarked on a some sort of electric guitar punk poetry here. It’s just Andy, his guitar plugged into an amp and his lyrics together in a recording studio. I have to say it’s quite good, and quite a hard thing to do I would think. The words/lyrics all have something to say especially “Rockstarz” and the clips between tracks from TV commercials all help to make the point. Can’t say much more than that really. If you are up for something a bit different then get this. JSNTGM PO BOX 1025, Blackpool, FY30FA

Codeye #12
This is brought to you by ERASE TODAY’s main man Andy Higgins, and the lyrics are up to his usual high standards. Regular CODEYE readers will know we rather like ERASE TODAY, so this was always going to be a winner. This is in no way easy listening, Andy plays his way through 9 beefed up solo tracks with a political edge

Everlong #4
Higgins ++ is one man band Mark (Andy ed) Higgins ex of Blackpool’s ERASE TODAY sounding like a grizzled Billy Bragg when he used to think he was still a one man Clash. The 9 tracks are all good stuff, but I particularly like the very effective cut up ads mixed with laughter interspersed between the tracks, adding to the anti capitalist feel, this is also reflected in a pretty thought provoking sleeve. After a couple of listens it’s quite endearing and well worth the six quid asking price if you fancy a change from your standard punk fayre.

Total Annihilation (#2)
Oh “so this is the singer from Blackpool’s ERASE TODAY gone solo on a Billy Bragg/Attila the Stockbroker kinda style ,except unfortunately without the same kind of charisma ,I don’t know “there’s some good stuff going on here – good lyrics well thought out political sentiment and great imagery on the cover “but musically this doesn’t work for me “it seems to fall a bit flat and come across kind of weak. If the same songs were recorded by a whole band “I think they would have worked a whole lot better ,sorry ! “I persisted listening to this all the way through, but when the tambourine kicks in in the last song “that just killed off my last vestiges of hope for this “give the man a band

Barbie’s Dead (#11)
The 3rd of this trio of fine offerings on this label. This is head honcho ANDY HIGGINS alone with his guitar and giving it the Billy Bragg treatment. No frills, not folk this is just damn good punk alone. 9 tracks, fine tunes, lyrics with a social conscience and that’s all we need really is it not ? Send off for all the JSNTGM releases is my advice. All differ in style but all share the benefit of quality.

Bald Cactus #12 Sept 2003
Andy Higgins’ (ERASE TODAY) solo project in which that unique voice you can’t really mistake for anyone else, sings over just Andy’s electric guitar. And each song song is divided by lots of advert sample nicked off the TV, all designed to make you think about consumerism, capitalism and it’s effect on the world’s rich / poor divide. It’s god thought provoking stuff and musically ? Well it’s OK if you like acoustic stuff like Robb Johnson, but for me its seems just begging for the drums to kick it into life in places. It’s omly a minor quibble. I do like it but like I say, every so often you expect someone to shout “1-2-3-4″ and then bam! (6/10) JSNTGM PO BOX 1025 Blackpool FY3 0FA.

Toxic Stress #18 (Sept 2003)
Anyone remember a band from the early 90’s called Erase Today ? Well this geezer used to be in them, he also runs the label now too, now it seems that being in a band and running a label aint enough for him so he’s written a few songs, picked up the electric guitar and recorded this CD, all by himself too, now solo guitarists who do this kind of thing aint my thing at all, but at least here Higgins puts some much needed effort into it with some good guitaring style and his style of vocals aint bad either, doesn’t sound one dimensional and boring like you would expect. The lyrics are of a personal / political nature, and the first track “Rockstarz” is about the best track on here and very, very apt in today’s world.

Reasons to Believe #9 (Sept 2003)
Solo from one Andy Higgins formerly of the band Erase Today (who stickered every square mile of the UK about a decade ago) samples from radio and TV give way to guitar and vocal “proper songs you can hear the words to, political and personal at the same time. I keep expecting the drums and bass to kick in like an ERASE TODAY with the drums and bas erased (ha ha – funny pun). It’s got a Jake Burns / Frankie Stubbs feel to it I guess. Respect is due but I just don’t like stuff without drums .. some of you lot might though. (SN) JSNTGM “PO BOX 1025 “Blackpool FY3 0FA “UK www.jsntgm.com

Razorcake
Dude, you need, at the very least, a drummer something awful. Once you achieve that benchmark, we’ll talk about the songs. -Jimmy Alvarado (JSNTGM)

www.Savagemagazine.com
This is some seriously strange stuff. Starts out with several minutes of radiospots and then goes into some kinda protest-type British punk. This guy plays guitar and sings and I have no interest in this kinda stuff. I don’t wanna listen to it..sorry Mr Higgins this is defnitely not my cup o’ tea. (Thomas) JSNTGM Pobox 1025, Blackpool, FY30FA, UK www.jsntgm.com

NO BRAINS FANZINE http://www.nobrainszine.tsx.org
Higgins – sounds like a band, but it’s actually one man punk band – Andy Higgins. This is the first time I hear something like this and I’m sorry, but I can’t say I dig it. I really miss the rest of band. There is no energy and no power in this. It’s just one guy playing his punk songs on guitar with commercial breaks in between. Maybe this would sound good with a band, but like this it just sounds empty. Punk is not hippy music for singer songwriters. Sorry, but definitely not my cup of tea.

Inside Kowledge Magazine “¦”¦.
I keep wondering when the bass and drums hit in, but they don’t. As a one man project Andy Higgins tries to show his talents, but with lousy lyrics and layout,.. it’s not very original is it, Higgins ??

REAL ART MAGAZINE http://www.realart.narod.ru/7.htm
This is a sole album of Andy Higgins – guitar and vocal. It sounds like a recording of some good punk band but without bass and drums. Are you frightened? Very good melodies, brilliant skills of playing and texts from the first face telling about life in the modern world (with not very radical critics of the established system). Basically, the majority of songs are potential hits. In Russia, they are proud because of their love to the WORD, there is a special musical direction – author´s song. The singer spits to 90 % on the contents of his songs and plays the songs on same three – four chords (strictly on an acoustic guitar!). In 60-70-80´s all of them chanted opposition songs of the protest, so-called ” Hymns of intellectual”. Now in a list of topics there are only household sketches, humorous themes and eternal love travails. I advice you to find and listen to Vladimir Vysotsky! And if Andy Higgins without a bass and drums is not interesting for you – then go on drum´n´bass party and do not take in head to say about your intelligence and revolutionary thinking.

Summer Of Hate
ANDY HIGGINS plays electric guitar and sings. There’s nothing else on this CD. No band, no drums, no nothing except a million samples of TV commercials between songs. Ok already, we get the message – Capitalism=Bad. Saving The World=Good. Though the songs aren’t awful – they’re kinda punk rock – I miss a backing band. I was never a BILLY BRAGG fan, and even if ANDY HIGGINS has a bit more energy this isn’t much better than BRAGG. I lost interest pretty fast. Actually I just couldn’t wait ’till the CD was over. Didn’t like the vocals. I’m not sure, but if this was recorded by a band I think I would have liked it a little bit more. What happened to FOUR LETTER WORD? The lyrics are obviously on the left side, but not as in your face PC as the tired (but true) slogans on the cover. Military forces get more money than starving children, and all that. I love early DISCHARGE and MOB 47, who said the same thing some 20 years ago, but they did it in style. Boring. Thank god the new Colt custom gun shop catalogue arrived today. Mmm, that 1911 A1 looks good. Superior stopping power too. The possibility of life’s destruction. Nothing beats the classics.

Part Time Punk Zine
The first thing that struck me about this release (and the Z/28 one) is the neat presentation and design, which along with the other stuff Andy (ez-Erase Today, JGNTGM label boss and Higgins++) put me in mind of the way Fast Products put stuff together. It’s cleverly done. Moving on to the music, this begins with a collage which made me think of the Pistols “Some Product” LP and carried the themes of the sleeve etc well. This is one man and his guitar and I suppose an obvious comparison is Billy Bragg, though Higgins++ sound is more Jake Burns on his own, before he lost his edge. “Rockstarz” is a precise parody of that sort of behaviour, replete with HM guitar solo. A lot of thought has gone into this release and like the best Bragg stuff (well I “Life’s A Riot” was an ace), it switches from political to personal to romantic effortlessly. If only some of the generic “Pop Punk” bands put as much in. A true Punk release and a very worthwhile effort.

Kerrang (Rae Alexandra)
Under produced political punk from one punk and his guitar. (KKK) Higgins ++ is a solo project, but it most definitely shouldn’t be. Andy Higgins “the man behind the music “may be blessed with the quintessential punk vocal, but as he snarls and spits his way through these nine tracks accompanied only by an electric guitar, you’re left desperately wondering why he didn’t get a band to back him up properly. Higgins has got plenty to say “about politics and the vacuity of popular culture among other things “and he does so intelligently, but anthems like “Am I Listening ?” done in this stripped down format become an exercise in frustration. You want drums, you want bass, you want more guitar “but most of all you want the quality material here to be done justice. And it never will be without a full band.

Punk Information (Willy Adanoy)
JSNTGM (Just Say No To Government Music) founder, Andy Higgins pulls out his electric guitar and lays down 8 politically charged tunes with just that guitar and his voice. One of the first things you learn about Andy is his conviction. He frets about the speed of life, the loss of cherished independent record stores due to the large corporate stores and an uncertain future. Don’t expect love songs here. Andy is pissed and he’s letting you know it. The power in his guitar playing really hits you in the face. It took me a couple of songs to realize that there was no bass and drums. I found myself inserting the rhythm section into the songs myself. It detracted somewhat from my enjoyment of the album. I would love to hear this album with full instrumentation because Andy has a lot to say and the songs would benefit from a fuller sound. But just maybe, he intended it to be as stark as his lyrics.

Robin Duke – The Blackpool Evening Gazette
It’s sort of a fusion between Billy Bragg, Johnny Roten and John Otway “with the added attraction of samples from TV jingles and advertising commercials and a miscellany of other inputs. Recorded at Preston’s West Orange studios, Higgins ++ rails against the machine “whether that’s Rockstarz, multi-national corporations or failed relationships. It’s available via JSNTGM.com and local record shops “just so long as they haven’t listened to the lyrics of Rockstarz.

ARTCORE Fanzine #18
This is our old pal Andy Higgins formerly of ERASE TODAY, alone with his electric guitar, all Billy Bragg like, expounding his dislike for the status quo mixed with his more introspective material. This is very much what ERASE TODAY were doing, just without the Bass and Drums, which you can’t help expecting to hear kick in at any moment. The whole thing is intelligent and well conceptualised, and it’s angry, bitter and cynical to a world full ofblank consumerism and empty celebrity fuelled by those globalised corporations, and he comes across like Jake Burns of early STIFF LITTLE FINGERS, grinding his axe in more ways than one. To top it off theres samples from TV and radio sarcastically spliced together, and a realistic crackling vinyl effect all ironically slapped together on this symbol of corporate plastic domination; the Compact Disc. If you like to think, while you drink, while you drive “cop a load of this upside your head. (4/5)

FRACTURE Fanzine #23
This cover has the best album I’ve seen all year and it immediately gets to the point regarding the album’s lyrical message. Basically this is JSNTGM’s Andy Higgins doing everything (guitar and vocals) and it is a very unique release. Bespattered with random commercial sound bites and media snippets, the release manages to retain interest and grips you with its intensity even though it is just a bloke singing over a simple and simplistic guitar. Definitely not easy listening and definitely a bit weird, this is certainly not the record for everybody ,but if you like a challenge and want something that is not just the same ols same old : something that will make you think, then this is well worth picking up, and as I said, worth it for the cover alone! (DM)

Format

Compact Disc, Digital Album

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