Rory Gallagher’s most successful albums are his live ones, such as “Live! In Europe” and “Irish Tour ’74”. He was an artist that came alive when onstage and this album covers a previously undocumented live period.
This 20 songs, previously unreleased, set is culled from an early 1977 tour across the UK in support of his then-latest album ‘Calling Card’. Featuring fantastic live versions of tracks from that album as well as songs from the 1975 ‘Against The Grain’ album and other career favourites. This new album has been mastered at Abbey Road. The cover painting is by a young Irish graffiti artist Vincent Zara who has stenciled Rory’s image across his home country.
This new album has been mixed from the original multi track tapes from the Rory archive, which were recorded by the Rolling Stones and Jethro Tull’s mobile studios and mastered at Abbey Road.
Rory Gallagher’s most popular albums have always been his live ones, such as ‘Live! In Europe’, ‘Irish Tour ’74’ and Stage Struck. He was an artist that came alive when onstage and this album covers a previously undocumented live period. “The whole concert was taped on the Jethro Tull Maison Rouge mobile by the way, and from where I was standing that concert on record would surpass the classic “Live in Europe” album. And that’s saying a lot.” Brian Harrigan Melody Maker – 1977, Hammersmith Odeon, London.
If ever there was a “musician’s musician” then that accolade surely belongs to Rory Gallagher. Renowned for his blistering live performances and highly respected for his dedication to his craft, he died in 1995, aged just 47, yet his reputation has continued to flourish in the years since. Indeed, some of rock’s most seminal figures, from Jimi Hendrix to Eric Clapton, Queen’s Brian May to The Smiths’ Johnny Marr, have cited him as an influence. Rory remains a touchstone for all would-be guitar heroes in the 21st Century.
To coincide with the release of their critically acclaimed new studio album “Soul On Fire”, The Last Internationale are thrilled to launch a brand new video for the title track.
In addition, off the back of a very successful run of UK dates as special guests to The Cult and Rival Sons, the duo is excited to announce a full European and UK headline tour in February /March 2020. The band will hit the road and bring their explosive and intense live performances across the country.
The title track “Soul On Fire” further showcases The Last Internationale wide range of musical skills. The single is a lot more than an interesting take on a ballad: it’s a rock song with heavy blues influences, that changes continuously and yet it never loses itself thanks to the deep, warm and fiery voice of Delila Paz.
The band comments: “We wrote the Soul On Fire album after our escape from the major label system. It was a low point for us, where almost everyone we worked with (or called us “family”) had abandoned us. We had to make that dreaded decision of whether to quit or continue the long battle that seemed more impossible than ever. Although our physical and mental health was quickly deteriorating, we reminded ourselves that there are people in the world who are much worse off than us and that we are actually in a very fortunate position where we can continue to use our voices to uplift people and expose injustice.
What appeared to be a tragedy instantly turned into a blessing and an opportunity to trust ourselves and once again embrace the DIY spirit that this band is about. The video for “Soul On Fire” was shot by us and a few friends and was edited and directed by us. The NYC running scenes are essentially documentary footage, as Delila was still very ill at the time. Running in NYC woke up our soul and fed our fighting spirit.”
The studio record follows their critically acclaimed debut album “We Will Reign” released in 2014, and it bears five years of human struggles within a thankless industry. Self-produced in the Estudios de Bandeira in Portugal, “Soul On Fire” features twelve powerfully intense rock driven -tracks and sees Joey Castillo (Queens of The Stone Age) on drums. “Soul On Fire” showcases the band’s song-writing evolution towards a more complex, full-bodied sound; it truly reflects the band’s musical and personal growth. The new record is a window on the band’s newly found awareness: on one hand the topics remain consistent, creating a harmonious transition between “We Will Reign” and “Soul On Fire”, on the other hand the soundscape has dramatically changed. Where previously the sound was round and clean, now it is gritty, rough around the edges and heavy. Musically, the album displays the development of their raw craftsmanship into an intense, intricate and truthful sonic dimension. With “Soul On Fire” the controversy, the fight and struggle are brought to life through the music as well as the lyrics.
Album executive producer Tom Morello (Rage Against The Machine, Audioslave, Prophets Of Rage) says: “The Last Internationale are one of my favourites in the next wave of rebel rockers. They’re raw and real and mix East Village rock sensibilities with Battleship Potemkin firepower.”
UK/European Headline Tour – March 2020
Fri 21stFeb – Le Fuzz’Yon, La Roche Sur Yon (France)
Sat 22ndFeb – Le 106, Rouen (France)
Sun 23rdFeb – L’Antonnoir, Besançon (France)
Tue 25thFeb – 1999 Club, Paris (France)
Wed 26thFeb – La Laiterie, Strasbourg (France)
Wed 4thMar – Das Bett Club, Frankfurt AM Main (Germany)
Thu 5thMar – Clubcann, Stuttgart (Germany)
Fri 6thMar – E-Werk Club, Erlangen (Germany)
Sat 7thMar – Eventall Aiport Obertraubling, Regensburg (Germany)
Sun 8thMar – Spectrum Club, Augsburg (Germany)
Tue 10thMar – Futurum Music Bar, Prague (Czech Republic)
Thu 12thMar – Das Badehaus Club, Berlin (Germany)
Fri 13thMar – Grünspan, Hamburg (Germany)
Sat 14thMar – Kulturzentrum Faust, Hannover (Germany)
Sun 15thMar – Die Kantine Club, Köln (Germany)
Tue 17thMar – 100 Club, London (UK)
Wed 18thMar – Hare & Hounds, Birmingham (UK)
Thu 19thMar – Exchange, Bristol (UK)
Sat 21stMar – Night People, Manchester (UK)
Sun 22ndMar – Stereo, Glasgow (UK)
“Soul On Fire” is released today and can be purchased and listened to via links below:
UK/Europe physical: https://thelastinternationaleukeurostore.bigcartel.com
Worldwide physical: https://thelastinternationale.bigcartel.com
The Last Internationale are Delila Paz (bass and lead vocals and Edgey Pires (guitar)
Political punk icons, Anti-Flag,release their brand-new album, 20/20 Vision, this week.
They’ve been raging against the machine for over two decades and releasing music, touring, organizing, and repeat since the early ’90s. With ’20/20 Vision’ the Pittsburgh, PA based band prove that they have plenty of vitriol left. With the fascistic hate-mongering of the Trump administration at large and seemingly out of control ’20/20 Vision’ is the sound of the times we find ourselves living in. It’s an album intended to explicitly address the here and now.
I generally tend to like a lot of Anti Flag records or to be fair I’ve pretty much liked them all but for some reason when I last caught them live I thought I’d fallen out of love with their passion and delivery (I know that could have been me seeing as the rest of the audience was going nuts) but when this new opus came in for review I filed it away not in any great rush to review. Then, when it came time to give it a spin and hearing Trump on a newsreel kick things off I kinda sat up and paid attention. It might not have been opener ‘Hate Conquers All’ that lit a fire but it did send up the flag that 20/20 Vision was where they were going to take another stand against fascism, racism, and champion good against evil such as the leader of the western world and it was time to get behind them.
The second track ‘It Went Off Like A Bomb’ which took things quite literally. Sure its Anto Flag doing Anti Flag but its got boundless energyand there is a fire raging inside to be fair. I guess dealing with the here and now certainly has its subject matter globally to rage over but the deeper you get into the record the better it gets. The title track is blistering. But it does get better and better as they freewheel downhill towards the Clashtastic ‘Don’t Let The Bastards Get You Down’ what a great thumping bassline and sing-along chorus that is everything I love about Anti Flag. In fact, to be fair this is the best the band has sounded for quite a while maybe as strong as they’ve sounded in a decade it’s that good.
It’s still accessible for mass appeal and veers close to modern Green Day at times the two draws from the same well so its to be expected. As the record rolls on the variety is a great flow from the spikey punk to the more laid back acoustic ‘Un American’ which couldn’t be more American sounding if Mellencamp and Springsteen sang gang vocals. Then to close it off we have the brass infused ‘Resistance Frequencies’ that has all the triumph and gusto of a band who know its winning with this record that’s exuding confidence and great tunes. Where do I sign up to join the resistance – I’m in!
‘HIGH RISK BEHAVIOUR’ OUT MARCH 27 VIA BARGAIN BIN RECORDS/COOKING VINYL AUSTRALIA
To mark this momentous occasion the band have released an eye-watering new video for their new single ‘The Clap’, take it in below on an empty stomach.
This is the closest you’ll ever hear The Chats get to write a love song (that is unless you are talking about their love of beer). A cautionary tale about a root gone wrong (direct quote), and an STI that just wouldn’t leave. The Clap features guitarist Pricey on vocal duties and is taken from the forthcoming album.
The Chats have the cops to thank for the title of their debut album, ‘High Risk Behaviour’.
If they didn’t keep hassling drummer Matt Boggis about skating in places he shouldn’t – and giving him tickets listing that as the offence – who knows what idiotic title the self-proclaimed “dropkick drongos from the Sunshine Coast of Australia” would have come up with.
And yet it’s the perfect name for an album that does not fuck around. An album that sounds like Aussie greats the Cosmic Psychos downing beers with The Saints before doing shots with the Buzzcocks and then spewing it all up behind the kebab van. An album that’s over in 28 blistering, funny, sweaty, unforgettable minutes, with half of its 14 songs failing to reach the two-minute mark. Some might call the Queensland trio lazy. Singer-bassist Eamon Sandwith sees it differently.
“I don’t want to make the songs boring, so I just keep them short and sweet,” shrugs the man whose mullet became an international talking point following the success of 2017 viral hit “Smoko”. “We try not to think about it or complicate it too much. You don’t want to force it or the song’s going to turn out crap.”
Since forming in their mate’s bong shed in 2016 while still at high school, that attitude has taken The Chats – completed by guitarist Josh Price, who once wrote a song called How Many Do You Do? in which he boasted of doing 52 “dingers” in a night – from the sleepy coastal village of Coolum (located roughly two hours north of Brisbane) to venues around the world. Their fanbase includes Dave Grohl, who loved the video for Smoko so much he showed it to Josh Homme, who then asked the trio to support Queens of the Stone Age on their 2018 Australian tour. Iggy Pop is also a card-carrying member of The Chats’ fan club, requesting that they support him in Australia in early 2019 and peppering them with questions like, “What’s a smoko?” and “What’s a dart?”
The rest of 2019 was spent taking the world by storm armed with nothing more than guitars, drums, shorts, shirts and thongs (or, if it was a formal occasion, sandals and socks). Shows across Australia and the UK were sold out, and they performed their first gigs in America (the LA show was attended by Homme, Grohl and Arctic Monkeys’ frontman Alex Turner). The band capped off the year with a return visit to Britain, selling out venues such as London’s 2,300-capacity 02 Forum.
Suffice it to say, life has changed a fair bit for The Chats over the past two years.
“Well, I don’t have to work at the supermarket anymore,” says Sandwith.
That he does not. In fact, Sandwith and his mates have been too busy touring, writing songs and, when their gigs took them to Victoria, dropping into engineer Billy Gardner’s studio in the coastal city of Geelong for a day of recording. That they chose this piecemeal approach explains why the album took 18 months to finish – a luxury considering 2017 EP Get This In Ya took four hours to record one hungover afternoon.
“If we’d just done a week and slogged it out we could have had an album before now but we just kept going in there and making newer and better songs so it’s hard to put a stop on it,” says Sandwith.
The sessions were fast. “Some of the songs were first-take and we were like, ‘That’s good, whatever’,” says Sandwith. “We’re really not perfectionists.”
Remarkably, they still found time to experiment with exotic instruments such as… a tambourine.
The end product is an album that buzzes like an out-of-control chainsaw, propelled by Sandwith’s spoken-spit-sung vocals, their three-chords-is-one-too-many approach, and an exacting combination of youth, vigour and drunkenness. But don’t mistake simple for stupid – if it was easy to make songs this short, this catchy and this downright brilliant, everyone would be doing it.
“I think they’re good songs,” says Sandwith. “And at the end of the day, if I like it then fuck it, who cares if other people do?”
Despite being the subject of a record label bidding war, The Chats are releasing High Risk Behaviour on their own label, Bargain Bin Records. It’s indicative of a band that have embraced DIY culture since day one, to the point where Sandwith used to spend his days at the post office sending out merch orders.
“We thought, if we just do it ourselves we don’t have to worry about getting swindled,” says Sandwith. “We’ve always done it our way.”
Their determination to do things “our way” extends to their music, which is why ‘High Risk Behaviour’ delivers everything you’ve come to love from The Chats – only more of it – and confirms their status as Queensland’s greatest ever export (apart from Bundy Rum).
“I just want people to have a good time,” says Sandwith of the album. “I want them to dance around and have a beer and enjoy it. We don’t make songs for people to look at in a fucking emotional or intellectual way. We just make songs for people to jump around and have fun too.”
Special release to raise money for wildlife injured in the Australian bushfires. All proceeds will go to Wildlife Victoria.
This digital download of ‘Thylacine’ includes a bonus, previously unreleased track ‘Song of Murray’s Brigade’, an adaptation of a 1940 poem by Australian bush poet Banjo Paterson. Purchase Here
Suzie said about this fundraiser, “ I have been completely heartbroken watching the destruction caused by the fires in Australia. I’ve created a special release to raise money for Wildlife Victoria to help injured and displaced wildlife.
This digital release of ‘Thylacine’ includes an exclusive, previously unreleased bonus track called ‘Song of Murray’s Brigade’ which is an adaptation of a 1940 poem by Australian bush poet Banjo Paterson. It was recorded at the same time as ‘Song of Artesian Water’ (another adaptation of Paterson’s poetry) though hasn’t been available to purchase previously. The song is stripped back with acoustic guitar and Gareth Skinner on cello.
Many of the species that have been affected by these fires were already threatened or endangered due to factors such as habitat loss from land clearing for agriculture and urban development, invasive species, and pressures from extreme heat caused by climate change and ongoing drought. These fires pose a huge threat for their ongoing survival, but we still have a chance to help and ensure that they don’t end up in the history books next to the thylacine (now extinct).
The cost for both tracks is £5, though you can pay as much as you want. 100% of proceeds will go to Wildlife Victoria. This release will be available for a limited time. Every little bit helps”.
Suzie Stapleton – vocals & guitar
Gavin Jay – bass
Jim Macaulay – drums
Gareth Skinner – cello
If rock is dead, someone forgot to tell Tuk Smith. He flies the flag for the genre in the same way as today’s rock idols have. So it is only fitting he open for some of them – Mötley Crüe, Def Leppard and Joan Jett will ‘introduce’ Tuk Smith &The Restless Hearts via their upcoming stadium tour.
After cutting his teeth — among many other things — for nine years as the frontman for the Atlanta rock band Biters, Tuk’s solo debut sees him further expanding the reaches of his musical vision into an album that unifies multiple musical styles. Tuk’s debut album, Lookin’ for Love, Ready for War,showcases the versatility of his songwriting. From instantly infectious anthems to intricately arranged rockers and Americana-tinged ballads the album favors dedication over debauchery. In many ways it’s a musical homecoming for Smith that shows that though he’s covered with battle scars from perfecting his craft, he’s come out on the other side with an amazing collection of songs.
Produced by the legendary Rob Cavallo (Green Day, Eric Clapton, My Chemical Romance) explains “People that really like honest-to-god Rock and Roll – this is the kind of stuff they’ll love. If you are a Tom Petty fan or aBruce Springsteen fan, if you like really great old-fashioned American Rock and Roll then I believe you’ll like Tuk’s music because it’s cut from that same cloth. It’s original and it is it’s own thing, I think he’s the real deal!” “What Kinda Love,” is an instantly infectious anthem that unifies Tuk’s love of rock, punk and glam into a unique amalgam of what’s missing from today’s musical landscape. “What Kinda Love” has Joan-Jett-meets-John Mellencamp grandeur and is part of a collection of songs that are a testament to the fact that you don’t need to follow trends in order to create art that fosters a connection with your audience.
Tuk produced and wrote the video, of which he explains “I think when people first hear the song they might not get its meaning right away. I wanted to create a narrative in the video that helped complement the lyrics. Having full creative vision as an artist is as rewarding as it is daunting. If something doesn’t pan out right there is no one to blame but yourself, but it’s the best feeling when your vision becomes reality. I had so many close friends and family act, be extras, and work on videos with me. I’m so lucky to have such a pool of talent and characters to pull from.”
Mötley Crüe, Def Leppard, Joan Jett – introducing Tuk Smith & The Restless Hearts tour dates
Sunday, June 21 SAN ANTONIO, TX Alamodome
Tuesday, June 23 KANSAS CITY, MO Kauffman Stadium
Thursday, June 25 ST. LOUIS, MO Busch Stadium
Saturday, June 27 MINNEAPOLIS, MN U.S. Bank Stadium
Monday, June 29 NASHVILLE, TN Nissan Stadium
Thursday, July 2 CINCINNATI, OH Great American Ballpark*
Friday, July 3 CLEVELAND, OH FirstEnergy Stadium
Tuesday, July 7 MIAMI, FL Hard Rock Stadium
Thursday, July 9 ORLANDO, FL Camping World Stadium
Saturday, July 11 CHARLOTTE, NC Bank of America Stadium
Tuesday, July 14 ARLINGTON, TX Globe Life Field
Wednesday, July 15 HOUSTON, TX Minute Maid Park
Sunday, July 19 SAN FRANCISCO, CA Oracle Park
Thursday, July 23 SAN DIEGO, CA Petco Park
Saturday, July 25 PHOENIX, AZ State Farm Stadium
Sunday, August 9 ATLANTA, GA SunTrust Park
Tuesday, August 11 HERSHEY, PA Hersheypark Stadium
Thursday, August 13 BUFFALO, NY New Era Field
Saturday, August 15 PHILADELPHIA, PA Citizens Bank Park
Sunday, August 16 PITTSBURGH, PA PNC Park
Tuesday, August 18 MILWAUKEE, WI Miller Park
Thursday, August 20 DETROIT, MI Comerica Park
Saturday, August 22 WASHINGTON DC Nationals Park
Sunday, August 23 FLUSHING, NY Citi Field
Tuesday, August 25 BOSTON, MA Fenway Park
Friday, August 28 CHICAGO, IL Wrigley Field
Sunday, August 30 DENVER, CO Coors Field
Wednesday, September 2 SEATTLE, WA T-Mobile Park
Saturday, September 5 LOS ANGELES, CA SoFi Stadium
*pre-sales begin January 13 and general on-sales begin January 17
Thee Hypnotics have announced a run of UK and European dates for spring 2020. The legendary testifiers will top the bill at the Fuzzville Festival in Alicante in Spain, which will be preceded by warm-up gigs in the UK including a headline show at The Dome in London.
Thee Hypnotics reunited in 2018 after a 20-year hiatus to play sold-out dates across the UK and Europe in support of the career-spanning and re-mastered vinyl boxset, Righteously Recharged. The successful year culminated in a string of rapturously received shows with former tour buddies Mudhoney that found Thee Hypnotics at the top of their game.
And now they’re back for more undiluted action with the classic line-up of co-founders Jim Jones (vocals) and Ray Hanson (guitar), with Phil Smith (drums) and Jeremy Cottingham (bass). Still harbouring an intense belief in assaultive rock’n’roll as liberation and delivering their sonic payload with a savage intensity, this influential and legendary group will bear witness once again.
“We’ve had so many people asking for more shows that it really felt like a case of unfinished business,” says frontman Jim Jones. “But more than that, it was great to be playing together again after all that time. The chemistry was still there.”
“Even though the chemicals are firmly in the past!” adds guitarist Ray Hanson. “But we’re going to be cooking up some real highs on this tour.”
Tickets for all the shows are available via Thee Hypnotics’ website at theehypnotics.com
When I first discovered Supersuckers back in 1999 (yup I admit I was a tad late to the game) via their inspirational ‘The Evil Powers of Rock N Roll’ album I really did believe that Eddie Spaghetti and the boys were like something approaching the second coming. They were an integral part of a hugely important and influential underground scene, and along with bands like Backyard Babies, Turbonegro, Toilet Boys, Nashville Pussy and Gluecifer, Supersuckers became one of those “go to bands” for those of us eager for a dose of proper punk rock ‘n’ roll music.
Fast forward two decades and after many ups and downs all the way Supersuckers are still thankfully very much a going concern. Granted frontman/bassist Eddie Spaghetti is the only remaining member from that ‘Evil Powers’ album, but just being able to write that is a huge positive in itself given his battle with stage 3 throat cancer just a few years ago. Standing alongside Eddie since his return have been Marty Chandler on guitar and Chris Von Streicher and on 7th February 2020 they unleash their 13th studio album in the shape of ‘Play That Rock ‘N’ Roll’.
Those familiar with Supersuckers’ past two records (2015’s ‘Holding The Bag’ and 2018’s ‘Suck It’) might be wondering which path the band have wandered down to record ‘Play That Rock ‘N’ Roll’ given that the trio are as equally at home writing country tinged laments as they are penning skin shredding punk rock anthems, and when you also discover that this album was recorded in Willie Nelson’s Texas studio you of course might be forgiven for assuming it would be very much a set of songs soaked in Southern influences. But hold your horses right there folks because ‘Play That Rock ‘N’ Roll’ is very much a rock ‘n’ roll record, albeit its one that at times sees something of a shift in the Supersuckers sound that I for one was certainly not expecting.
So, of the dozen tracks included here two are cover versions. First up is a rocked-up version of Allen Toussaint’s boogie-tastic ‘A Certain Girl’ and then there’s a faithful retelling of Michael Monroe’s ‘Dead Jail Or Rock N Roll’. It’s the ten originals where the real sonic surprises lie though. Take lead lyric video and album opener ‘Ain’t Gonna Stop (Until I Stop It)’ for example, this track (along with ‘Deceptive Expectation’) really do sound so much like outtakes from ‘Tattooed Beat Messiah’ that I’m scouring the accompanying PR sheet half expecting to find a Manning co-write, and these new song writing influences don’t stop there either, as both ‘You Ain’t The Boss of Me’ and ‘That’s A Thing’ make me wonder if Mike Chapman and Nicky Chinn might have somehow been tempted out of retirement for one last throw of the dice, and these tracks alone almost have me half tempted to dub this album ‘The Evil Powers of (other people’s) Rock N Roll’.
The Supersuckers sound of old is still very much still alive and well though, especially in the shape of the hook laden ‘Getting Into Each Other Pants’ and the furious ‘Bringing It Back’, whilst the swaggering ‘Play That Rock ‘N’ Roll’ sounds like its fallen straight off a New Orleans bar stool. Elsewhere ‘Last Time Again’ bears all the hallmarks of the sonic overload I saw the band deliver live at Helldorado back in 2018, leaving the heavy as hell duo of ‘Die Alone’ and ‘Ain’t No Day’ to walk a line somewhere in between ‘Going Blind’ and ‘Metropolis’ in the deeper cut album track department.
Whilst ‘Play That Rock ‘N’ Roll’ might not be the career-defining album I was so hoping for its still very much a fresh shot in the arm to a Supersuckers sound that some less clued-in people are still to discover, and who knows perhaps the tip of the hat to ‘Tiger Feet’ that is ‘That’s A Thing’ might just be what’s needed to deliver the mainstream success the band so justly deserve.
Humanist is the Music of Rob Marshall featuring the vocals of Mark Lanegan (Queens Of The Stone Age), Dave Gahan (Depeche Mode), Mark Gardener (Ride), Carl Hancock Rux (David Holmes, Portishead), John Robb (The Membranes), Joel Cadbury (UNKLE), Ilse Maria, Ron Sexsmith and Jim Jones (The Jim Jones Revue, Thee Hypnotics).
Humanist, the expansive and ambitious project orchestrated by guitarist and producer Rob Marshall, is announced today alongside the album’s new single “Shock Collar”, featuring iconic Depeche Mode singer Dave Gahan. The self-titled debut album will be released via Ignition Records on Feb 21st. Pre-order the album on CD / LP / digital HERE.
Humanist will also tour through the UK in 2020 with the following live dates announced so far.
March 23rd – The Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham
March 24th – The Lexington, London
March 25th – Sheffield Picture House, Sheffield
March 26th – Nice N Sleazy, Glasgow
March 27th – Riverside 2, Newcastle
March 28th – Soup Kitchen, Manchester
March 29th – Prince Albert, Brighton
It seems like forever when the pre-orders for the new Beach Slang album went up and even with the postage costing more than the record shipped from the States to the UK didn’t put me off ordering my copy but release day saw the download forwarded on whilst the record hit the post office. A few things first. Beach Slang seems to now be just James Alex and with the elephant in the room being Replacement shaped it seemed like the perfect thing to do in getting Tommy Stinson on board to play bass on the album. Perfect! I ain’t complaining one bit more power to you James – fill yer boots son and just hurry up. I’m not snobby when it comes to my Rock and Roll life’s too short for that shit and loving The Mats as I do having some upstart come along wanting to emulate his heroes is always a goer for me – good luck to him and the more success and publicity the better maybe that time in the ’80s can be regained in the roaring ’20s.
I’ve loved their ramshackle live performances I’ve been lucky enough to see them twice and both whilst not being anywhere near a religious experience they were excellent shows. The lineup changes could derail any band but with it more or less resembling the work of one man it doesn’t really matter Alex is the CEO, Head Honcho, and the chief bottle washer so that’s fine. Over the last five years, the world has turned and people have come and gone but Beach Slang has kinda just got on with it. There has been no great leap forward nor has there been a big sea change in the style it is what it is and that sometimes is exactly what you want. Right now I want Rock and Roll and I want it loud, chaotic, a little sloppy and in your face. open the faders and let ‘All The Kids In LA’ introduce itself before ‘Let It Ride’ takes over “Rock ‘n’ roll’s my favorite sin/Man, I don’t know if I’m good at it/But I’m too in love or dumb to quit” alleluia praise the Lord Lets get it on.
‘Bam Rang Rang’ rocks out. Unashamed and full of bluster I’ve got the horns in the air and one foot on my imaginary monitor Tonight my friends I’m playing second tennis racket to James Alex and riffing off the one and only Tommy Stinson and I’m loving it. Critics come one come all fill yer boots on calling out whats inspired Beach Slang I care not a jot I just want to get my fix and this is doing nicely. ‘Tommy In The ’80s’ is the first time full throttle has been relaxed. However its not about Stinson but Alex did explain himself here, “I figured if Westerberg could write about Alex Chilton, for all those right reasons, I could write something about Tommy Keene for all the same ones,” sooo there you go it is what it is and I’m cool with it even if Alex goes full hog on his minimalist lyrics (something of a theme on the album) I’m really enjoying what I’m hearing. When the acoustic guitars are out with those lush strings for ‘Nobody Say Nothing’ its time to take stock and a few deep breaths.
I would say that some of the finesse of previous albums has been sacrificed for volume and dare I say it a more meaty assault on the senses like on ‘Stiff’ which lacks any finer points and is going for bludgeoning the listener over the head with guitars rather than stroking your ear.
Maybe James Alex has reached the crossroads and it’s here where he draws a line in the sand and its time for people to decide which side they want to be on. Always attracting the haters it’s something of an occupational Hazzard. Fuck ’em, do what makes you happy James and if it’s good enough (and this certainly is) people will jump on board. I’m saying bring on the haters I’ll just twist the dial a little more and drown them out with the riff-a-rama of ‘Born To Raise Hell’ and if that doesn’t work ‘Sticky Thumbs’ will.
C’mon, if you love Rock ‘n’ Roll, how can you not smile during ‘Kicking Over Bottles’ and tell yourself “Hell Yeah!”. We all rise for ‘Bar No One’ as Alex signs off with a bleak and dark ode to death. It might not be their best work but it is a head and shoulders above most of what will come out in 2020 and we’ve barely opened the doors on this decade and already a marker has been laid down.
I’m hoping this one will grow and grow as the year unfolds and I keep coming back to it, (I’m loving it already). James, you just keep being you and keep making records whether it be Quiet or Beach Slang I’ll take it over and over again.
My advice – Listen to it at volume and on a good pair of headphones it’ll be the gift that keeps giving and a maverick like James Alex should be cherished and encouraged to keep on keeping on because Rock and Roll need bands like Beach Slang and songwriters like James Alex.