So, you’re stuck inside twiddling your thumbs, you’ve watched everything on Netflix and eaten all the banana bread. What’s even worse is that Record Store Day has been postponed and you have some surplus cash to spend on records.
Fear not music lovers, for we at RPM have scoured the Interweb for our pick of the coolest EP’s around (and a few 7 inchers and digital delights for good measure). So what are you waiting for? Get reading, hit those links and panic buy like there’s no tomorrow!
Johnny Jetson – ‘Love Me For My Car’ / ‘Knocked Out’ (Minnie Apple Records) These are the first singles off the upcoming album ‘Make Your Move’ on Minnie-Apple Records from Johnny Jetson. If you’re wondering where he’s been then don’t he’s back in the saddle and ripping it up with a new record and music that bears his heart and soul and the former Tattooed Millionaire and Space Age Playboy might like to blow his own trumpet with his past achievements but in the here and now Has Jetson got the chops? does he cut the mustard? Hell yeah! Kids fear not Jetson has got the swagger and doesn’t stray far from his roots, ‘Love Me For My Car’ is full of the spirit of 70s glam Bolan style you can imagine him sliding on his knees to play the solo and its got handclaps so what’s not to like? as for ‘Knocked Out’ its a tougher beast with some street-tough rock and roll motoring along. ‘Make Your Move’ album is reviewed soon on RPM and fans of scuzzy Dirty Rock and Roll won’t be disappointed Jetson delivers the good – Simple as that! Facebook / Bandcamp / Twitter / Spotify / Youtube (Author: DD)
The Hÿss – ‘Extraterrestrial’ (Self Release) released through their own Bandcamp page you can stream the title track here: Bandcamp They take on some spooktacular topics like aliens and UFO’s which is a bit of a giveaway from the artwork but it does contain five tunes of the fuzzy Stoner variety. At times heavy as fuck and others quite psychedelic. I do like ‘Disco Frankenstein’ but could live without the keyboards swirling. They hit the heavy groove on ‘In Shadows’ and when it gets going its got some good energy. The guitars are turned up for the last two tunes as they get right into their groove and rock more metallic than Stoner if I’m being honest but it’s not a bad introduction and I’m sure post-pandemic hearing these in a crowded room would be much more appealing. Facebook / Instagram
The Urban Voodoo Machine – ‘Living In Fear’ (Gypsy Hotel Records) Always with their finger on the pulse UVM hit the nail on the head once again and like some Bop n stroll gypsy rockin’ Nostradamus Paul – Ronney Angel penned this bad boy before Covid – 19 was even a thing and it was meant in an ideal world to come out to coincide with some tour dates but this not being an ideal world it is what it is. Regardless, it’s a banger all ragged rock and roll ‘Living In Fear’ is another prime slice of life the Urban Voodoo Machine way with astute observations of how the worlds gone wrong with its references to recent Great British scandals like Windrush (“they’re shipping them back”) and Grenfell (“it’s hard to sleep in a plastic tower”). But now with the current climate, bandleader Paul-Ronney Angel says of the release “Living in fear . . . wow, never in my wildest imagination did I expect to live through something like this – talking about literally the whole world LIVING IN FEAR!” He ain’t wrong kids you should listen to him. Check em out on Facebook
Hands Off Gretel – ‘The Angry EP’ (Puke Pop Records) You’ve probably read the reviews and the comparisons lauded on Barnsley based grunge rockers Hands Off Gretel. A glorious, day-glo hot pot of riot grrl goodness, everyone from L7, Hole and even a ‘punk rock Pink’ has been referenced in regards to this four piece, and rightly so. Last year’s sophomore album ‘I Want The World’ exceeded all expectations, and following keyboard warriors ongoing online hate aimed at outspoken singer Lauren Tate, and her ongoing campaign to bring awareness to the way women are treated at gigs, (that includes performers as well as punters, so good for her!) they have had publicity in all the right places for all the wrong reasons.
But Hands Off Gretel are the real deal and this three track blast of angst-driven noise only helps to hit the message home. Opener ‘She Thinks She’s Punk Rock n Roll’ is a live favourite that has been crying out for the recorded treatment for a while now. A deliriously catchy hook, schizophrenic vocal delivery and pure, raw power make this an essential listen in 2020. Spiky, guitar-driven goodness.
‘Don’t Touch’ is all skulking bass, buzzsaw guitars and cool-as-you-like vocal interplay. The 90’s riot grrl influences to the fore and maybe more edginess than the band have shown up until now.
On ‘Bigger Than Me’ Sean Bonn’s grunge influenced guitars marry perfectly with Lauren’s sultry vocals, before breaking into a sludge-driven monster that is raw and untamed.
While it lacks the instant melodies of their previous singles, ‘The Angry EP’ makes up for it with sheer unadulterated, angry punk rock power. Clocking in at just under 10 minutes, ‘The Angry EP’ is a short, sharp shock, a middle finger raised to the naysayers, from one of the most colourful and exciting bands on the UK club circuit right now. The perfect cure for teenage angst if you ask me. Facebook
Saint Agnes – ‘The Family Strange’ (Death Or Glory Gang Records) Talking of teenage angst leads us nicely onto Saint Agnes, who follow up the release of their 2019 debut album ‘Welcome To Silvertown’ with an EP that could be the soundtrack for outcasts and degenerates the world over.
Lead by singer Kitty Austin and guitarist Jon Tuffnell, Saint Agnes claim “murderous sibling rivalry and wild rebellion” and with ‘The Family Strange’ they go a long way to shake the Dead Weather comparisons.‘Daughter Of Lucifer’ opens, all break beats, fat, fuzzy guitars and chanting vocals. Dark, sinister and a real slap in the face. Kitty’s “this is my family” refrain delivered with attitude. There’s a ‘Firestarter’ quality to this track, as in its pretty intense.
‘And They All Fall Down’ is like Gwen Stefani having a knife fight with Jack White. Sultry vocals build with the ‘I got a bigger gang than you’ refrain, delivered with a cocksure arrogance, in a good way. Playground chants, helium-induced almost rapped vocals, this is a killer tune that sees the band reach new levels, make no mistake. ‘Brother’ mixes up modern beats, scratchy, repetitive guitars and crazy ass vocals. But it’s ‘The Meanest Little Kid In Town’ that is the curve ball here. Swathes of hammond and electronic, hushed, effect-ridden vocals take it into Billie Eilish meets Garbage territory. This is dark pop music, and it works, it works really well.
Saint Agnes claim to like Satan, witches, B movies and leather. They look cool and the videos back it up. In their heads they exist in a Russ Meyers/Tarantino alternative reality. But in reality they come from the night-time, neon city wasteland we call London town and they sound like a gang ready to take on the world. Facebook
The Future Shape Of Sound – ‘It’s Gone All Wrong – Live EP’ (Gypsy Hotel Records) London based collective The Future Shape Of Sound deliver a live EP to soothe our isolated souls and remind us what we are missing. Lead by Captain Future (aka Alex McGowan) and a host of cool cats, their heady mix of primitive, gospel-tinged blues is perfect for the live sweaty venues (remember those?).
“It’s all gone wrong!” shouts Captain Future as he leads his band into opener ‘Gone All Wrong’. The lead vocals of the newest diva on the block Debbralee Wells steal the show on these choice cuts from their debut long player ‘Shakedown Gospel’. Replacing the departed Sister Cookie was going to be no easy feat, but she takes it in her stride, sharing the mic with Fay Francis.
The captain incites crowd interaction as the band blast into a high energy, gospel-tinged ‘Rise Up’, the full 3 piece backing harmonies that take us to church. Then, the groove heavy ‘Number One’ skulks along, with female vocals it sounds like a completely different beast to the album version.
Closer ‘Toe The Line’ goes a long way to capture the feel of a high energy rock ‘n’ soul show.
If you are missing your live music fix, if you desire to expel more energy than a walk around the block will suffice, then turn the volume up, hit play and get transported to a sweaty night in London town. You can literally feel the sweat, taste the whiskey and get up and dance to the sound of live rock ‘n’ roll music like they used to do back before Coronavirus changed the world as we know it. Dance like no one’s watching…The captain insists! Facebook
Jaeko – ‘How You Living?’ (self-released) Jaeko may be an unfamiliar name to most, but this young chap happens to be the eldest offspring of a certain Ginger Wildheart. Following on from his bands Alive With Eyes and JAW$, Jake has re branded himself as a solo artist going by the name of Jaeko.
Don’t expect a baby Wildhearts here, the sound of Jaeko is a more leftfield, sound of the streets. New single ‘How You Living?’ is a funky, punky trip full of gang vocals and guitars. Coming on like a Rage against Sugar Ray or something, but lacking the full power of either. It’s decent for sure, but nowhere near as good as his previous release ‘Cold Dark Killer’, a perfect mix of Bloc Party and Jamie T, with the added rawness and attitude that neither of those named artists posses.
Again, ‘Sometimes’ is a strong track, radio friendly and cinematic. Jake’s vocals a perfect match. Elsewhere, ‘Colder Than The Sea’ shifts between cool bass and noisy guitar breaks with vocals that show a confidence and maturity.
I’m sure if Ginger gave his son any advice it was to do what you want to do, be your own man and not to bow to what you think people expect of you, and I reckon Jaeko is proof of just that.
An artist to watch in the future.
Jay Allen And The Archcriminals – ‘Little Daggers’ (Rum Bar Records) Now we head over the pond to the ever cool Rum Bar Records for the new EP from Boston garage punks Jay Allen and The Archcriminals. If you know Run Bar, you know what you’re gonna get here. ‘Little Daggers’ opens with a dirty, low slung riff and strung out vocals. This is the sound of rock ‘n’ roll that resides on the street and in the bars. Dirty and dangerous, coming on like The Dictators meets Uncle Sam.
‘Beautiful Chaos’ is more commercial pop/punk with cool backing harmonies, bouncy yet still raw and edgy. Jay Allen’s vocals cut through nicely in ‘Big Lie’, a definite Replacements vibe going on here which is always a bonus.
Hit the link to download this cool EP for free, that‘s no money whatsoever for some cool new sounds! What do you have to lose? Facebook
Jesse Malin – ‘Backstabbers’ (Wicked Cool Records) Recorded during the sessions for last year’s critically acclaimed ‘Sunset Kids’ album, ‘Backstabbers’ is the new single from our favourite New York troubadour Jesse Malin. The introspective, upbeat tune follows the same path as ‘Meet Me At The End Of The World’. It’s an autobiographical tale of leaving a small town for the big lights of the city, searching for something. Lucinda Williams and Tom Overby’s warm production bring out the best out of Jesse’s songwriting yet again.
Sweet acoustic guitar, keys and lush vocals make the added cover of Tom Petty’s ‘Crawling Back To You’ as the b side an essential purchase. The lyrics are delivered with the sentiment I imagine they were written with. If you don’t feel the goosebumps rise, you must be dead inside.
Jesse can currently be seen every Saturday night hosting ‘The Fine Art Of Self- Distancing’, playing songs and telling stories from his apartment in New York. If you’re a lover of live rock ‘n’ roll music, it’s the best thing on the internet right now, and this single is the perfect addition. Facebook
Alvin Gibbs And the Disobedient Servants – ‘History EP’ (Time & Matter Records) Following last year’s critically acclaimed ‘Your Disobedient Servant’ album, UK Subs bassist Alvin Gibbs returns with a new four track EP spilt over two 7 inchers. Recorded at Perry Vale studios in South London last year with ex-Vibrators bassist Pat Collier co-producing, Gibbs is ably assisted by fellow Subs drummer Jamie Oliver and Ruts DC guitar slinger Leigh Heggarty.
Ringing guitar chords introduce first track ‘History’ before Gibbs graces us with his low slung bass rumble and Iggy-like tones. A gang vocal chorus and sneering lead vocals seal the deal and its business as usual. There’s 40 years of punk rock history in every breath ladies and gentlemen.
The punk rock intensity of the rhythm sections day job comes through in ‘Pavlovian’, the overly cool ‘If Only’ sees the singer channel his inner Dave Vanian, as Heggerty’s high speed power chords match the frantic beats.
Haggerty then takes lead vocals for his self-penned ‘Bad About You’. A power pop melody shines through and there’s a cool little guitar hook going on.
With a handful of songs coming on like ‘Instinct’ era Iggy, it’s a no brainer what you need to do next right? This EP is available to pre order right now as a double 7” pack, one white and one black, housed in a lavish gatefold sleeve with artwork from ex-The Adverts man Gaye Black. Facebook
Ken Fox & Knock You Out – ‘S/T’ (Rum Bar Records) Yet another little gem from the Rum Bar roster is this new mini album from The Fleshtones bassist Ken Fox. His latest single is a blistering cover of The Pink Fairies classic ‘Do It’ which can be found smack bang in the middle of this recently released 5 track blast of garage rock goodness.
Lead track ‘One Less Step’ is a radio friendly single, full of power pop chops and handclaps. If you dig the sound of The Fleshtones or The Plimsouls, you won’t go far wrong with this record.
New single ‘Do It’ is a cover of the Pink Fairies classic released back in 1971 I believe. This version stays true to the garage rock roots, “It’s rock n roll!” shouts the singer in between the “d-d-d-d-do it!” stutterin’ goodness. A nice wah-wah infused guitar solo and cool gang vocals give it punk rock credentials. Yeah, it’s better than the Rollins Band version, fair play.
‘Love Is The Grave’ is a groover that could get the dead dancing. So instant and catchy you would swear it’s a cover…it’s not. A great, upbeat melody and a catchy chorus will remind us all that good times are just around the corner, it’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face. As is closer ‘Stranded (In The Heat). A full horn section, handclaps and a nice Thunders-esque low slung transport the listener to 70’s New York, which is a good way to bow out.
The BD3 – ‘Snowfake/Sypharus’ (Self-released) Going pretty much full circle, we end where we began in North Yorkshire. The BD3 are Yorkshire’s very own Peaky Binders, a trio of ne’er do wells with beards, tattoos and thrift store suits who deal in dark, punky rock ‘n’ roll. Led by the vivacious Ed Stones, they follow up last year’s ‘The Sick Of It’ 7 incher with a new double A side single.
Recorded in Keighley and mixed by legendary producer Dave Draper, these two tracks follow the same rock ‘n’ roll path The BD3 have been travelling for many years. Coming on like The Damned meets The Cramps with a good dose of The Blockheads thrown in for good measure. Clever lyrical interplay and a cool, dark punky vibe make ‘Snowfake’ a song of our times. Good use of space and fiery vocals delivered with intensity. “I don’t wanna live forever” sings our man Ed, as a dampened riff surges and drums crash around him.
‘Sypharus’ marries the dark, intensity of Joy Division with the craziness of The Cramps. Ed’s psycho ward vocals wail over fuzzy guitars and urgent beats that’ll make you either want to dance like no one’s watching or bang your head against the wall, making this a song that begs for the repeat button. Facebook
Author: Ben Hughes