This has been a really strange review for me, it’s, in fact, the second review I’ve written for it, I scrapped the first thinking it just didn’t fit. Not easy this reviewing lark!!! I mean come on I loved the Beat, love Ska, have very definite reggae roots but something wasn’t fitting with this LP. Maybe before I heard it I had too fixed a perception of what it was going to sound like, maybe it ticked too many of my boxes and I just ran out of things to say? Who knows, but here we go the second stab.
Opener ‘Rebel Down’ skanks out of the speakers, Ska with a great punk edge, I can imagine the band opening with this baby and sending a venue mad. Next up “Tattoo King “slows things down with a more traditional Ska beat, grounded in the dancehall as does next up “When I call Your Name”. There’s almost a Lovers Rock lilt to “Girl and Boy”, yeah it holds on to that Ska underpinning but drifts across the reggae genres. I suppose I was expected more of the excitement generated by the beat, but let’s be honest musicians tend to gravitate towards their roots or influences.
Next up “Be As One” picks up the pace, but feels restrained, almost held back, but again definitely a track I can see in the live arena really exploding getting the place moving. Next up “Wrong Shoes” again skanks nicely but has that feeling of restraint, something being held back. There’s a pattern developing here!! “Original Rudegirl Sound” again Skanks out of the speakers but doesn’t explode in the way it could. live I think this would be stunning, I just wish it didn’t feel so held back. “Why Oh Why” again hits almost a Lovers Rock vibe, only the horns hinting at its underpinning, I sound like a broken record this would sound great exploding off the stage, the dual vocals countering each other could give it a real edge. “Ska to the Beat” strays into Madness territory, but with a more traditional feel, this could almost have come out of the sixties dancehall sound in Jamaica.
Next up “Dirty little Liar” again hits that traditional Ska sound and in all honesty prior to next up “Way of Life” the LP had begun to lose me, this to me is probably the stand out track on the LP, it kicks some serious ass, skankin’ as it should but then we drift with “Way I love you” and “Woulda Coulda Shoulda”.
Now if you’ve read this far you’d probably think, well is it a good LP or not? Truth is I’m really not sure what I think. As a traditional Ska LP, it ticks every box, live I can really see it sending a venue into a frenzy, as the band did at this year’s Rebellion Festival. But for me something’s not quite right it feels restrained, almost lacking in confidence, not quite sure of its place or time, almost held back, let the fucker explode!!!! This could be immense. I suppose that’s why I’ve written this twice, live it would be absolutely immense but on LP it hasn’t quite done it for me.
“Didn’t we have a luvuly time the day we went to Blackpool, Kiss me quick and Lets Rock Like Fuck!”
August. All roads lead to Blackpool, for it’s time to head into the Winter Gardens for the UK’s finest alternative extravaganza and catch an awesome line up at this year’s Rebellion Festival. However you look at it this year was one of the finest line-ups ever at the festival and RPM scribes were in attendance for plenty of giggles, wobbles and plenty of old and new favourites. I wouldn’t know where to start to sum it up and do justice to the bands who played, however, there were a couple of outstanding performances at this year’s festival most notably Michael Monroe who stole the show with the Sunday night headline in the Opera House.
There were so many other high points so many great bands and looking back there are so many memories that I’ll never have again. As the year unfolded and I look back bands and people that I’ll never see again which makes me grateful to have had these moments however brief in the first place.
There were a few mentions I need to make as I mentioned the performance from Michael Monroe. sure its no secret I think the guy is the best in the business and an incredible talent and has never had the credit he deserved by wider audiences but those who get it just get it and can see that the guy and his band ooze class and he has a back catalogue so full of great songs its one of life’s mysteries how he’s not selling out stadiums and sitting on a pile of platinum records globally but hey life ain’t like that and he just gets on with it and does it with a smile and a wink as he and his band rocks like Fuck! at least now Rebellion knows this as well.
TSOL rocked like fuck – Pizzatramp turned up like fuck (well except Dan) – Clowns blew my mind – Neville Staples skanked like teenagers and considering we stood on the side of the stage to take them in for a song or two we ended up staying for the whole set and loving every minute of it – The Adolescents did Soto proud with an awesome heartfelt performance and all power to them for having the balls to turn up and play and not cancel. The Briefs showed that not all Americans are stupid – Buzzcocks were once again worthy headliners knocking out over an hour of power pop buzzsaw classics. Bar Stool Preachers were also worthy headliners and with their new album in tow, they showed a lot of established bands with decades under their belts how to rock the house and do it with a smile an outstanding and memorable performance.
Idles told it as it is and their assessment of the Tories was spot on. We danced with The DeRellas and pogoed with the Cyanide Pills. We boogied with The Boys who did two sets on two stages and ripped it up on both possibly with the Acoustic taking first prize maybe because it was a little different but the songs sounded so good acoustic. All in all, Rebellion was once again the highlight of the festival season and as far as the UK goes still the best there is beside where else are you going to chat with Supla and see his action figure – you should try it sometime you’d enjoy it. To be fair Rebellion has so much going on besides the bands its championing alternative culture in so many ways and they also had Mr. Lydon trying to be so controversial but only making himself look like a silly billy as a result but even his bizarre words can’t damped what was a massively enjoyable four days and we’re proud to be a small part of championing them because its a platform that’s pretty much free from the clutches of the big circus-like festivals that charge a fortune and treat the fans like customers in a supermarket and only want your cash because that could never be leveled at Rebellion that’s for sure and we’ll be back next August if they’ll have us to do it all again If they’ll have us that is.
But this was only the first weekend of August and this budget-busting month was barely alive and already there was so much going on.
Ben managed to take in The Wildhearts acoustic performance in York where all the hits were stripped bare. Before we could even get over Rebellion it was back to South Wales where we had a date with some Big heads oh and Duncan Reid who turned in a spectacular performance on a night that decided it was going to rain like when Noah built his ark, in fact, it was rumoured that Duncan had to swim back to the Severn Bridge where his band had hired a bigger boat but it didn’t matter to the hardy souls who braved some water falling from the sky because there was rockin’ and rollin’ to take care of.
To kick back a little Leigh Fuge took a leisurely stroll through Hyde Park and happened upon one of his guitar-slinging heroes – none other than old slow hand Eric Clapton kicking up a bluesy stink in Hyde Park along with some other six string slingers (you say that after a few bottles of house red at British Summertime Events prices) namely Carlos Santana and Gary Clark Jr. it really was the Cream (sorry couldn’t resist it) of old-school blues guitarists.(who said we aren’t a broad church here at RPM?) Leigh had to tick this one off his must-see list and was glad he did as the bluesmen certainly delivered. He also took in Maiden in Birmingham he said this about it, “Even after 40 something years of rocking, this band seem to improve with age like a fine wine. While they may not be to everyone’s taste, this year’s Legacy of the Beast tour was one of the highlights of my year. I’ve seen the band 14 times now and this one felt like something very special.” Who said we’re not a braod church?
As far as album releases in the month of August go – There was Idles releasing their ‘Joy As An Act Of Resistance’ which went down rather well at RPM. there were also albums released by some old friends that were more than welcome making a return to our turntables namely Mr Walter Lure who managed to put out a new album with the Waldos for the first time in 24 years! has it really been 24 years? My God, I feel old but ‘Wacka Lacka Boom Pop A Loom Bam Boo’ yeah that’s right it is called ‘Wacka Lacka Boom Pop A Loom Bam Boo’ but its Waldo and its rock n roll just accept it and move on. Ian McNabb also put out his latest long player this month with ‘Our Future In Space’ rocking out like he promised he would. There were also notable releases from The Ringleaders with their superb effort ‘Bi-Coastal Blasphemy’ and if that wasn’t enough Lovesores released ‘Gods Of Ancient Grease’. Craggy was outside his local record shop at half eight in the morning to purchase his copes of The Dahlmanns ‘American Heartbeat’ and Fertile Hump ‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang’ in August as well he hasn’t stopped playing them since. sneaking in through the back door right at the last minute of August was a fantastic record that I was shocked to hear but in a good way and the more I played it the more I liked it and to be fair its been easily one of the highlights of the year. Oh yeah, The Brutalists with their debut long player ‘The Brutalists‘. go check it out its a belter.
As far as singles go those 45 RPM releases saw the wonderful Damaged Goods celebrate being in existence for 30 years by releasing a whole bunch of cool singles and the first one being those wonderful chaps Cyanide Pills and their take of the Glitter Band single and what a job they did on ‘Just For You’ which we picked up at Rebellion along with a new 7″ from TSOL and The Briefs ‘Kids Laugh At You’ but I have to mention TV Crime as well because their single ‘Hooligans’ was pure earworm and once it was in the old noggin I couldn’t shake it. Fantastic stuff. Hopefully, 2019 will see them release a long player we can hear never mind shitty attitude – killer tunes sort it out gents, thank you kindly.
In a nutshell that was the briefest glimpse into our August. On to September…
Saturday the 13th of May 2017 is long since etched into my musical memory banks, largely because it was on this date that, after a short run of UK gigs, Exit_International played (what for now could very well be) their final show in front of a “Sold Out” crowd at their spiritual home of Le Pub in Newport.
I was there, but then again where else would I have been, having religiously followed the band since I first experienced them live in Cardiff supporting The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster all the way back in 2009. In the following years, I must have seen them a good dozen or so times before they eventually split in 2015 when singer/bass batterer Scott Lee Andrews decided the time was right to emigrate to Australia.
So, with the chance to see Scott along with his fellow bass brute Fudge and human metronome Adam back on a UK stage delivering all the best tracks no one other than the most clued-in got to hear from their duo of genre-busting albums, it meant that I along with about another hundred lovers of musical alchemy found ourselves crammed into Le Pub’s now infamous old top floor loft space location – you know the one with the perma-sticky floor, sweat-stained walls and hilarious Queen cartoon drawing above the stairs down to the main entrance.
The most impressive thing about this thirteen track official live release then (which is available to pre-order exclusively via Undergroove’s Bandcamp page linked below) is that it somehow captures all of the above, largely thanks to a savagely brutal Dave Draper mix. This cacophony of sound is almost guaranteed to put your fucking windows through as the band’s “I’ve got a dick like an elephants’ trunk” pissabout intro segues straight into the savage grind of ‘Glory Horn’ before that, in turn, mutates straight into the band’s unofficial dogging anthem ‘Sex W/Strangers’.
Exit_International has never sounded better than they do right here, playing without any pressure on them, well nothing other than to satisfy the filthy cunts (Scott’s description not mine) rammed onto the dancefloor and who scream and go suitably bonkers in all the right places. How we all never ended up crashing down into the ground floor bar of Le Pub during the insanity that accompanied ‘Chainsaw Song’ that night still beggar’s belief. It’s all captured here for you though, in all its wall to wall stomach quivering bass overdriven bastardry, to either baste yourself in the band’s crazy magic juices all over again or maybe just sit agog wondering just what the hell you missed out on first time around.
Of course, in a perfect world ‘Sherman Fang’ would have been number one in the UK hit parade for a month of Sundays, but let’s face it folks the world is not perfect, it’s fucked and that’s what makes Exit_International the most perfect soundtrack for your daily routine.
I’m going to break with reviewing traditions at this point and not single out the other highlights contained within ‘Live At Le Pub’ simply because just owning this release is going to be the highlight of anyone’s record collection. Go buy yourself a copy and who knows, perhaps one day we might just get to see these mercurial fucks live once again?
With the sun turning Shit Island a lighter shade of brown due to a lack of rainfall on Englands not so Green and pleasant land it was only Rock and Roll that could save us and in marched Hey Honcho & The Aftermaths with their absolute banger ‘Chico Purito!’ In a nutshell it’s everything that is great about wild and reckless garage punk others Might call it Action Rock. Hey Honcho are the newly crowned kings of Spain and boy can they wield those guitars. They make a real pretty noise let me guarantee you that and we love that off the hook shit here at RPM. Click on the links and let some sunshine into your lives and say hello to the boys and tell em RPM sent you. Now July just got a little bit hotter!
On the live front, Leigh took a trip no not like that he went to Birmingham to catch Lenny Kravitz raise vibrations at the NEC and rated Lenny as a guy who still has the chops and on his way back he caught Richie Kotzen rock the Thekla in Bristol for another highlight on the live front.
Other notable releases were those belonging to dragSTER who released a new long player via Louder Than war label entitled ‘Anti Everything’ which saw fi and the boys unleash their most brutal offering yet. they seemed focussed and really up for it on this release and certainly one of July’s better albums.
Twin Flame Radio is perhaps better known as Bam (he of the Dogs D’Amour and Wildhearts) and Share Ross (Vixen) released their debut album and what a little bobby dazzler this one was and took us by surprise especially Bams voice which wouldn’t look out of place alongside a youthful Ian Hunter or perhaps Robin Zander as Bam belted out a bevy of beauties taking half the vocal duties a real 70’s glam rock vibe happening here.
There was one massive release as far as a lot of the team RPM were banking on that was released (just in time for Rebellion) for Bar Stool Preachers and that was the follow up to ‘Blatant Propaganda’ debut the much anticipated follow up ‘Grazie Governo‘. Not that there was any doubt but it lived up to all expectations and Nev Brooks commented that it was the high point of the year let alone Month which is some accolade. To be fair Nev had this to say about BSP,”So where do I start, how about next year the Bar Stool Preachers exploding to the next level, playing to ever-growing crowds these guys are the real deal and destined for ever bigger things, they have the potential to worm their way into every household” (in the nicest possible way that is)
July being a pretty lean month compared to some others – this album really impressed with the quality and passion put into the songs it’s there for all to hear.
Other impressive releases go to the Italian punk rock n rollers Idol Lips who put out ‘Street Value’ on the ever impressive Wanda Records label. There was however an impressive bag of singles that landed on the RPM turntable notably More Kicks with their impressive power pop melodies and seven-inch debut ‘Its A Drag’ and of course it wouldn’t be right if we didn’t mention The Hip Priests and their split with Scandinavians Scumbag Millionaire. There was also noticeable singles from across the pond by some of our favourites in Wyldlife who put out ‘C’mon Christine’ and their pals in Ravagers who released the awesome ‘Drowning In Blood’. To be fair that’s not a bad month, is it?
Sadly July also said goodbye to Alan Longmuir who was the bass player in the Bay City Rollers Alan died after a short illness but his legacy lives on as girls and boys of a certain age won’t ever forget the tartan and the awesome haircuts. Rest In Peace Alan.
When Ginna Rhodes and Ben Marsden from The Main Grains announced they would be forming a little punk rock outfit with The Idol Dead frontman Polly, I don’t think anyone expected too much to come from it. When they subsequently announced a Pledge-funded album and recording sessions with the one and only Dave Draper (Ginger, Ryan Hamilton etc) ears pricked up…maybe they were serious after all. And left to their own devices, it’s amazing what these three have conjured up.
We all pledged without hearing a single note. Why would we put our faith in these 3 loveable Northern herberts? Your guess is as good as mine, but now it’s time to see if The Spangles can deliver.
Ok, first things first. Let’s try to establish a few facts; this is a covers album right? I mean, I seem to know all these tunes already, so it must be. These choruses are already embedded in my DNA it seems, how is that possible?
So if it’s not a covers album, I wanna know how they managed to distill everything I love about the rock n’ roll world into 12 songs? In just under 30 minutes, you’ll hear nods to more 70’s punk and 90’s Britrock legends than you can shake a stick at.
This album is so new I don’t have any info on it, who knows who wrote these glorious slabs of punked-up power pop, and I can only hazard a guess as to who sings what. While Polly is playing bass, Ginna and Ben stick to what they do best and I think the lead vocals are shared out between all three by the sound of it.
Opener ‘Growing Up’ starts strong, like The Yo-Yos jamming with Sorry and the Sinatras, a great chorus but it’s just a taster of what’s to come. The following ‘The Only One’ is surely the greatest song Rivers Cuomo never wrote and the essence of what this band is capable of. A wall of riffage and a chorus so upbeat it will give instant goosebumps and put a smile on the face of the grumpiest fucker in town. You’ll wonder how you ever managed without it in your life.
Powerful, punk-pop goodness follows with ‘One Good Reason’ and ‘Dirty Pictures’, The Spangles do trashy so well. ‘POTUS’ is dumb-ass punk rock, ‘Here We Go Again’ is The Soho Roses and album closer ‘Ramone’ is a burst of fury with a glorious gang vocal refrain that name-checks as many Ramones songs as possible. I name these three songs now, as these are the average songs on the album, and by ‘average’, I mean in the context of this album. As the songs on this album are of a very high standard indeed.
‘Back On The Meds Again’, with its ‘Nita Nitro’ intro, comes on like a classic Wildhearts B side and we all know what a good place that is to be, right? A snotty verse leads to another killer, gang vocal chorus backed by a wall of fat guitars.
‘I Don’t Wanna Go’ sounds like The Buzzcocks meets The Soho Roses. An instant sugar buzz with a euphoric chorus most bands could only dream of. You’ll be singing along to those “whoa-whoa” vocals and the following chorus again and again, believe me.
‘Get Over Yourself’ again, has a massive chorus. With its indie beats and killer riff, it comes on like classic Terrorvision. This song could be a dancefloor filler in rock clubs across the country, make no mistake.
But it’s ‘Hold My Hand’ that is in contention for song of the year. Damn this is sublime power pop. It’s Weezer meets Redd Kross meets Silver Sun. It’s up there man, more infectious than Herpes and twice as fun. On a par with The Interrupters ‘She’s Kerosene’ for song of the year for me.
Not officially released until February, ‘#Sweet AF’ is already a strong contender for next year’s album of the year lists. And considering we have highly anticipated albums from The Wildhearts and Michael Monroe to look forward to, they are in good company.
The surprise, feel-good album of the year with more potential hits than any band should be allowed to possess. They may have started with sweet fuck all, but their debut album is sweet as fuck! Is it too soon to suggest The Spangles could be your new favourite band?
With Christmas just around the corner, this week’s Rainy Days & Mondays has been brought to you by Gerald who wanted to shine a little cheer into the darkest corners of your life. First up he selected ‘You’re A Doll’ from Montreal’s Pale Lips.
Next up is a video from former Hardcore Superstar Thomas Silver.
Last up is Wien Austria own Reverend Backflash and their single ‘Fuckaround’. Enjoy folks and happy holiday
Not Just your regular summer, no sir, this one is hot! and its only getting hotter!
Whilst May was relatively quiet (slang) June was positively bristling with releases and live shows for the RPM crew and the beginning of the festival season was open. But we couldn’t mention June 2018 without a few tributes to fallen comrades in Rock and Roll.
Firstly, Heavy Drapes frontman Garry Alexander Borland passed away the first week after returning from Holland after a really successful show at Rebellion over there. Garry’s passing was a huge shock to people close to him obviously but his passing was also felt in the wider alternative community with his band on the verge of much bigger and better things what with the up and coming decent billing at Rebellion UK and their debut album ready to go so its only right we record this moment and pay tribute to Garry. May he rest in peace.
Another sad passing was that of DJ Fontana who was Elvis Presley’s drummer for many a year, Dominic Joseph Fontana was responsible for laying down the backbeat on almost 500 songs with the king which is no mean feat and a really impressive CV by any standard also it’s only right we recognise his contribution to music. Rest in Peace DJ.
Sadly a third influential musician passed away in June this year, none other than Nick Knox the second but longest-serving Cramps drummer. Nick joined the band from the Electric Eels and occupied the drum stool from 1977-1991, Knox toured with the band and appeared on some of the Cramps’ best recordings, ‘Songs The Lord Taught Us‘, ‘Psychedelic Jungle’ and ‘A Date With Elvis’. Rest In Peace Nick Knox the man behind Lux and the man behind the shades.
Sadly the fourth person to pass away in June was none other than West coast punk rock legend Steve Soto of The Adolescents. Steve was originally the bass player in Agent Orange back in ’79 he then served as bass player in the Adolescents until passing. the most recent album ‘Cropduster‘ being his final piece of work and easily one of 2018 finest albums. The band went on to tour the summer around Europe with stand-in player and dedicated the set each night to Steve where they had a backdrop replacing the band’s logo and replacing it with SOTO at Rebellion in August Tony Reflex dedicated the show to his bandmate in a touching speech and subsequent performance that was electric and memorable, Rest In Peace Steve 54 is way too young.
Right hopefully onto much happier matters for the month of June 2018. With Festival season in full swing Fraser headed to Download and watched The Bronx, The Hives and Turbonegro show the festivals other acts how Rock and Roll was meant to be delivered to the people. elsewhere it seemed like the world and his Mrs were off to see the Rolling Stones play some enormadome or should that be a field?
IT might have cost the GDP of some countries to get close enough to see the band measure up to the size of a subbutteo player but it has to be said nobody was disappointed in either the performance or the setlist the band was knocking out on this leg of the tour. Jagger was ever his peter pan like self careering from one side of the huge stage to the other like he was a child with more energy than most performers more than half his age and some.
Nev decided he’d bowl darn London way and take in what Camden Rocks had to offer. Basically, all the pubs of any note and the dive bars, as well as the more famous landmarks such as Dingwalls, Electric Ballroom etc throw, open their doors to live Rock and Roll for the day and if you have a wristband and there’s room at the inn then uh, you’re in! Just wear some comfortable shoes and a stage planner. You might just happen across your favourite new band or someone you’ve been meaning to catch and hey presto there they are. (Deep Breath time) This year Nev caught The Ramonas at the Dublin Castle – Dirty Thrills at The Underworld Talia Dean in Brew Dog then back to the underworld for Sonic Boom Six and some knees up skanking ska which went down rather well with Nev. It wouldn’t have been right had our roving scribe not caught Urban Voodoo Machine down at the lock where the place to be was indeed Dingwalls then to finish off a marathon of live entertainment it was Camden Assembly for some Ryan Hamilton & The Traitors before the Rifles was a curtain call for Mr Brooks but he wasn’t banking on bumping into Paul-Ronny Angel either so his night wasn’t quite over!
Ben went to Rambling Man Fair and enjoyed the performances of such heavyweight rockers as The Cult and also managed to catch RPM favourites Jim Jones and The Righteous Mind as well as the real mock rockers Steel Panth..Nah I can’t type it sorry folks I’d be doing RPM a disservice even mentioning them. anyway, Ben also managed to take in the large club gig of the month that was the triple-headed Britrock Must Be Destroyed touring carnival that featured a rotating line up of Reef, The Wildhearts, and Terrorvision. there were multiple dates to be fair and it was decided on the day how the running order would play out. I reckon each band made new fans on the night as reports were coming in of all three raising each others game and an excellent way to tour. The night Ben had in Leeds also saw Dodgy added to the lineup.
Our intrepid European correspondent or one of them Craggy got to see Repetitor live at Kabinet Muz, Brno I said Craggy got to see Repetitor in Brno…oh forget it he enjoyed it anyway said it was one of his highlights of the year to be fair.
Now with a sharp intake of breath June was positively overflowing with album releases that would bother top tens come the end of the year. Just a few of those contenders has to be The Interrupters with their ‘Fight The Good Fight’ that saw them leap up the rankings with a fantastic collection of tunes that was shaking up not just fans of the bands previous two albums but new music fans who heard one of the many potential hits on the radio or tv with the album set to just keep on selling and selling we are looking at the next big thing as they won’t be playing clubs for much longer.
Getting Tim Armstrong in to produce the record is a great move as the guy oozes class and knows his way around a ska-punk record and if he had a hand in any of the songwriting or arranging then boy pat yourselves on the back because the infectious ‘A Friend Like Me’, ‘Shes Kerosene’ and the awesome ‘Got Each Other’ are three reasons why this record will deservedly be in many ends of year top 3’s and rightly so..
Elsewhere June saw the release of London Towns Portuguese legends The Parkinson’s return with the LP ‘The Shape Of Nothing To Come’ that confirmed that these gentlemen still had it and it was a fine return to the fold in every way. Now expanded to a five piece you can take the boys out of punk rock but you can’t ever take the punk rock out of the boys and that boys and girls is a fact. the Parkinsons still have the chops.
Another couple of worthy mentions in the albums released in June has to be Smash Fashion and their ‘Rompus Pompous’. Which has gone down a right storm at RPM as they’ve really hit their stride on this one and joioning them would have to be Nottingham’s The Speedways with the fantastic slice of power pop that is ‘Just Another Regular Summer’ the brains behind the idea to write an album was Matt former guitarist of The Breakdowns he’s since formed a band after the success of the record and has played a number of shows and next year they’ve already planned some shows in Spain and London. It really is power pop perfection and a record we highly recommend.
The old school shouldn’t be forgotten either because June was also the month when the phrase you can’t teach an old dog new tricks was debunked because The Uk Subs once again released a new album ‘Subversions’ of some of their favourite songs by other people – sure a cover album. there might well be some you could see coming but there are others on the album that you would never have seen coming.
Over in NYC the birthplace of hardcore and home to some of the best bands around Madball made a new record they put out in June 2018 and the brutal ‘For The Cause’ was unleashed on the world and immediately felt at home with the RPM crew.
Finally a mention of records released in June this time for the magnificent London power poppin’ punk rockin’ Los Pepe who released their long playing Greatest Hits on Snap Records! it came with a CD of the album and they also got to knock out a single this month as well which was nice. Don’t get me started on singles that appeared this month because ther were plenty with my pick of the pack coming from the Randy Savages who were ‘Guilty Of Nuthin’ .
There are some shows that when they get announced you just know you’re going to be there for some reason you follow the star and on this occasion that star led us all the way to London Towns Lexington for the only date from Seattle’s The Briefs. Now I’d already seen them this year at Rebellion in the confines of the Empress Ballroom and as much of a great night that was I wanted to see them in some club surrounded by fellow punkers all after the same rush of energy and boy when the line up was announced expectations went through the roof.
I first saw the band support the Misfits way back in 2007 but for the life of me can’t remember a great deal about it (bloody apple juice) so this time sober I made the long journey expecting entertainment from a super strong undercard that featured former Role Model Sulli and More Kicks who opened at the eye-popping half seven would anyone else show up?
Of course they would, the place quickly filled as the band knocked out their power pop goodies with frontman Sulli leading this three-piece through an entertaining and excellent set of sharp, catchy and most excellent tunes. I don’t know the names of most of the songs as their only offerings so far in the 7″ single ‘Its A Drag’ but they duly perform that and the audience showed their appreciation for what was excellently crafted tunes. ‘She’s A Reaction’, ‘Tearing It Down and ‘ Blame It On The Satellite’ stood out for me. So far so good as tonight was already hitting the high expectations. I also appreciated the brief Buzzcocks lyric thrown in to respect to the passing of Pete Shelley that week, whose influence is there in the music of More Kicks for sure – nice touch Sulli. So, More Kicks, Remember the name we’ll be featuring them in 2019 when they will have new records and live shows already pencilled in. Sulli, Marco and Kris that was top notch.
Next up were Miscalculations from London Town and I must say live, that cold almost Brutalist sound isn’t there as the band sped through their set that was bright and warm sounding, and in all honesty – just fantastic. opening with ‘The Inaudible Pitch’ off their first record The band were on fire and seemed well up for this. With that cold brutalist sound not being there it was down to the songs to just do their thing and as the band peeled off one after the other with only spoken word tape playing between them they gave a masterclass of punk with a Buzzcocks like ferocity to the performance that punchy basslines sounded huge in the room tonight with Mauros Les Paul really cutting through the songs iy sounded like he’d gone to battle swinging a mace but his chosen weapon was his guitar. ‘Live With Myself’ also from the debut album followed and by the time ‘Severing The Spine Of Confidence’ was played I was sold – this was excellent. Picking a favourite tonight was impossible but ‘Writers Block’ and ‘Invisible Uniform’ would come pretty close. It was a set you just didn’t want to end and it looked like the band were having the best of time as well. That won’t be the last time I encounter Miscalculations live that’s for sure. Two down just the main course to go! Follow That you Briefs.
With very little room left in the Lexington to find some oxygen, The Briefs took the stage on this chilly Sunday night to a rapturous reception and after the intro, it was straight down to business as ‘Stuck On You’ started the body slamming and pogoing right from the off. Strap yourselves in folks it might get a little turbulent but the soundtrack on this journey is off the hook. Now, this is where bands like The Briefs work best – a tight club full of sweaty smiling faces singing along with every word a band and its audience as one getting down to some seriously good Rock ‘n’ Roll.
The Briefs are just one of those bands who have numerous albums packed to the gills with catchy songs that just get inside your head and stay put, it makes sense that live it doesn’t really matter what they play then because you just know that it’s going to be good, no. Not good but great. ‘My Baby Is A communist’, ‘Rotten Love’, ‘Silvia’ followed by ‘We Americans’ now tell me how that isn’t pretty fuckin’ awesome as an opening four songs? You wouldn’t want to follow a band like The Briefs how can you especially on this kinda form. The only way it is possible to maintain this level of enjoyment is to knock out a new song and tonight that’s exactly what The Briefs do and the new song is the recent singles B Side ‘She’s The Rat’.
We also, at this point get informed that a new Briefs album is in the can and the good people at Damaged Goods are releasing it early 2019! How d’ya like that folks? A new Briefs album early in 2019. who was it said Rock n Roll guitar music is dead? Send that moron round to the Lexington and tell these three bands and this audience that. then watch as they get laughed out of the club by the capacity crowd who are soaking up the guitar music on show tonight.
‘Run The Other Way’ then ‘Silver Bullets’ get the audience fist punching as the buzz kill pace of prime time Ramones is hammered out kill- Die-Kill-Die not exactly seasons greetings but fuck it this awesome. ‘Destroy The USA’ from ‘Sex Objects’ get aired then there’s time for the new singles A-side ‘Kids Laugh At You’. A quick look at the stopwatch and there’s still time for a few more as long as their fast and short – noted and duly obliged. Then we’re well into the home straight and very soon this will all be over, I was lost in a moment of some punk rock bliss that I didn’t notice really that the end was in sight as the band troop off stage for a quick rub down before the encores and out you go.
After the Briefest (sorry) time the band was back on stage and strapped in ready to take this thing home. It was to be kicked down the road in spectacular fashion with a hattrick of tunes that would be a match for any punk rock bands best set moment let alone just the encore. ‘Killed By Ants’ led us into the final furlong then it was ‘New Pair Of Shoes’ before the inevitable ending of the mighty ‘Poor And Weird’ and then it was done.
My high expectations were realised and three bands totally killed it. Three very different bands but all with strands of the same DNA and did punk rock ‘n’ power poppin’ Rock and Roll justice. Tonight with one of the best shows of the year no doubt about it and even a week later I’m still buzzin’ – That’s the evil powers of Rock and Roll right there, now when can we do all this again? Pretty Please.
Pictures marked Zigpix are published with the kind permission of the owner all other pics RPM Online.
with Summer just around the corner, the (dis) United Kingdom was warming up nicely surprisingly May was a rather quiet month for the scribes at RPM well before RPM but you get my gist. Ben was getting his head around The Future Shape Of Sound and their ‘Showdown Gospel’. Whilst we’re on the subject of the Gypsy Hotel it might be the right time to mention that Urban Voodoo Machine also released a record this month which happened to be a compilation record entitled ’15 Shots From The Urban Voodoo Machine’ which wrapped their singles and bits and bobs up very nicely into the one package and it seemed like the best idea to then go out and tour the record. I also got to see them once again and same as before and the time before that etc etc they were absolutely awesome and never fail to play the most entertaining live show out there.
whilst we’re on the subject of records released in May 2018 I have to mention a few of my personal favourites that put out great records firstly a man who should need any introductions but I’m going to anyway – James Williamson & The Pink Hearts. featuring (The Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs) and Petra Haden (Haden Triplets) with the fantastic ‘Behind The Shade’. also I have to note that Kevin K also put out his something like 95th solo album ‘Too Much too Sun’ I might jest about how many records the guy has released but he’s a phenomenon and deserves respect for the amount of time and effort he puts into his music and I love it when he does release his next CD and even if he says no more, trust me he will.
Also in the pre-summer rush, those cool cats from Burbank California Prima Donna saw fit to release ‘S/T’ and much like Urban Voodoo Machine they can do no wrong in my eyes and have never made a bad record. Kevin Preston leads the band into their Fourth Long Player this time coming out on the excellent Wicked Cool Records now a four piece line up ‘4 Real’ was released as the lead single from the album.
Also casting our minds back to May, Beach Slang released their long-awaited Quiet Slang altar ego that featured a whole long player full of orchestrated tunes entitled ‘Everything Matters But No one Is Listening’. James Alex is one talented guy and going from alternative rocker to string arrangements and softly delivered tunes such as the amazing ‘Dirty Cigarettes’ is no easy step. Fantastic record and not only one of this month’s highlights but one of the years highlights.
On the live front, there were a few tours that went out most notably the doubleheader that was Zeke and The Hip Priests tearing it up across the UK which Fraser noted as one of his years’ highlights.
However, it has to be noted he (Fraser Munro) also managed to see Steps play Waddon Road which is Cheltenham Towns football ground the same month he saw Zeke and the Hip Priests so maybe Zeke affected his head or he bumped it whilst on the good ship Thekla? Maybe he didn’t and he’s really a massive steps fan as he also is rumored to have a picture of Ian Watkins on his wall lets hope its the real H and not some imposter – you decide.
On that bombshell maybe its best we leave May and quickly delve into June. I’ll leave you with two of the finest albums of 2018 in the shape of ’15 shots’ from the magnificent Urban Voodoo Machine and Quiet Slang’s ‘Everything Matters’.
‘Screams in the wind’ is the English translation for opener ‘Gritos en el Viento’ to give it its proper title. You would be forgiven for thinking this band aren’t from these shores but think again all is not what it seems. For this seven-piece ensemble is indeed from these shores as well as the USA.
So this CD is split into two parts or Acts with Act 1 opening with the Exotic siesta inducing ‘Gritos en el Viento’ and as its an instrumental its very much a sit back dim the lights and let the music take you on a journey through dusty winding paths and give yourself over to the music and you’ll be fine. (I must resist from saying it reminds me of Comic Strip presents when they did Fistful Of Travellers Cheques) but to hear Rik speaking over this wouldn’t be that much of a stretch as the wind swirls and birds circle is it a mirage? Pass the wine.
Sure it’s not your conventional punk rock or garage either but something of an enigma maybe timeless pop created from a time when swirling organs and sharp bass lines were used from the artist’s pallet along with some timely horn stabs and lush classical nylon guitars Horse Feathers has the lot.
‘Two Tales’ is a more sprightly romp through its winding melodies as the instruments battle for space but manage to find their way it’s like a spaghetti Western film score soundtrack for some art flick in black and white as the spoken words of ‘Silver Screen’ make it an obvious place to pitch your wagon. It could and possibly should be the score for a Morricone flick or bonus material on some silent Western the playing is excellent and there are dashes of excellent Americana and the Spanish guitar and horn on ‘Asesinato (pts 1 & 2)’ is dreamlike when the spoken words drift in its like someone is whispering into your ear slightly unnerving but rather enjoyable and when the Cello kicks in its majestic sounding. At times it’s like a Jeffrey Lee Pierce project especially on songs like Part 2 of the aforementioned track and maybe the dark ‘Dorothy Hamilton’ even if the melody is upbeat I’m reminded of some of the more twisted parts on the Damneds Black Album.
spread out over ten tracks this is most definitely a journey you need to give yourself over to – clear your mind and indulge yourself you might find it plucks away on your heartstrings out on that dusty road or are you suffering sunstroke as ‘Honeymoon Killers’ picks away at that Spanish guitar before a word is softly spoken. Horse Feathers won’t be for everyone I know that and if you don’t give it a chance then it will simply waft over your head much like that cigar smoke that wafting out the door of that there saloon.