Volunteering when you are 4 double Jameson’s into a double-figure session down the Pub to review an album is probably not the way to do things. However, yours truly did just that with regards to Stiff Richards’ “State of Mind” album. Two days after my drunken endeavours the WeTransfer file arrived. “Please be good” I hoped. Have you ever, from the opening notes of a record from a band you have absolutely no knowledge of, known instinctively that you’re gonna love every single one of the songs? Again, that’s what happened to yours truly. “Point of You” kicks in with top quality jangly guitar before the rest of the band cotton on and let rip. Almost immediately, I was singing along, all right shouting along, at the idiot box with “What’s the point of you?!” For those of you wondering why I had the Television on whilst listening to music, I have the subtitles on whilst using the home Gym, gotta burn those Jameson Calories off somehow and being annoyed at the News helps. It’s almost like the guitarist came into the rehearsal studio with a whole bunch of riffs, started playing them and the rest of the band automatically knew what was expected of them, with the bassist on “Glass” Peter Hooking things up in the manner of Joy Division’s “Dance To The Radio” but not. “Got It To Go” sounds like Rod Stewart and the Faces have rediscovered their swing or gin. The songs are loose, tight and explosive all at the same.  

The nine tracks on offer come and go in less than 30 minutes leaving me gasping for more, the fast pace does easy up towards the tail end of the album allowing me to catch my breath but not enough that I need to lie down. 

I resisted the temptation to discover more about Stiff Richards whilst writing this as I didn’t want to be influenced or swayed by anyone or anything else. I did get it into my mind that they must be Australasia as the singer sometimes hinted at Rob Younger, either that or he was a fan of Radio Birdman and The New Christs. Turns out that the band are Australian residing in Rye which is just outside of Melbourne and consist of Wolfgang Buckley on vocals with Arron Mawson and Tim Garrard on guitars, Raf Heale on Bass and finally Lochie Cavigan on drums.  

“State of Mind” from Stiff Richards is available right now from the aptly titled Legless Records. UK label Drunken Sailor Records will also have copies available in December/January.

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Author: Armitage Smith
 

 

FEATURING STEPHEN EGERTON (DESCENDENTS/ALL) AND TODD BEENE (LUCERO, CHUCK RAGAN)

TAKEN FROM UPCOMING COLLABORATIVE ALBUM: BUDDIES II: STILL BUDDIES VIA XTRA MILE RECORDINGS ON FRIDAY 13 NOVEMBER 2020

RECORDED, MIXED AND MASTERED ENTIRELY BY FRANK TURNER

THE FOLLOW-UP TO 2011’s ‘BUDDIES’ AVAILABLE ON VINYL/CD/DIGITAL
– PRE-ORDER HERE

Ten years ago, the two acclaimed musicians hung out, drank whisky and wrote & recorded an album together called Buddies – a lighthearted hang between friends that became a hit with fans of both artists. Fast forward a decade and the pair are still buddies, so they decided to write a follow-up.

As with the original, Buddies II: Still Buddies was written in just one day, although this time, however, Turner and Snodgrass had to do it over the Internet due to lockdown. With more time on their hands than usual, they were able to flesh out the album, musically, and recruit other buddies – Stephen Egerton (Descendents/ALL) on drums and Todd Beene (Lucero, Chuck Ragan, Glossary) on pedal steel – for added instrumentation. The result is a funny, warm and at times poignant album that’s part talk show, part music.

Touching upon themes such as Jon having children, their travels across the U.S., name-checking other songwriter “buddies” like they did on the original LP and more, the album is a charming and playful reflection on a friendship 10 years on. From the punk-turned-country of the album’s lead single, “Bad Times Good Vibes” to referencing George Carlin’s infamous “Saving The Planet” on “The Fleas,” Buddies II: Still Buddies also stands as the first album Turner has recorded, mixed and mastered entirely on his own.

“Lockdown has been such a blow to the music industry, and such a drag that we were all looking for things to do. Jon and I have been buddies a long time, and I noticed the 10-year anniversary of our collaborative album was coming up. Technology is such that we were able to reprise the writing method remotely, and indeed it turns out we’ve got a lot better at it in the intervening decade. I’m really, really proud of the record.” 

And Snodgrass adds: “BUDDIES II was somehow even more fun to make. It even sounds better too! Frank mixed it & we enlisted Todd Beene & Stephen Egerton. So yeah, 2 more buddies. It’s twice as good, imo. I can’t wait until 2030! It’s gonna be three times better & we’re gonna do it at sea!!”

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Frank Turner

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Jon Snodgrass

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In a year that has been beyond miserable for the world, this has been one of those gleams of light that I have looked forward to since it was first announced back in 2019. Some will dismiss this release without ever listening which is a crying shame. The Dogs D’amour changed not just my musical world but my world in general with the release of ‘In the Dynamite Jet Saloon’ way back in the day. They were the first band that I ever really felt like were my own. In looking at those early full length albums, the band released another monster in ‘Errol Flynn.’ There was a tiny bit of a break before the band returned with ‘Straight’ which included a change in the producer chair with Rik Browde replacing Mark Dearnley. There were subtle differences in the production, and the album contained many classic songs. For whatever reason though, ‘Straight’ has always been my least favorite in the run from Dynamite to ‘More Unchartered Heights of Disgrace.’ With that in mind, I was really interested to see what the current line-up would do with these songs as they have recently released two stellar brand new albums in ‘In Vino Veritas’ and ‘Jack  O Byte Bluesy Vol 1.’ With the line up on the version 30 years ago, there was always a cool danger element that everything was about to go sideways at any moment, but the band kept it together. There was a special chemistry that cannot be replicated, but this is truly not about trying to replicate that. This current collection of Dogs has developed their own chemistry that is magic in its own right. They have become extremely tight musically with all of the members contributing to the writing on the new releases.

When I initially received this for review, it was the unmastered version in alphabetical order, but the mastered version arrived soon after so I am basing my review on it. I am a creature of habit so when I added it to the computer and iPod, I put the album in its original running order. (Sorry Tyla) On an interesting note, this is the first Dogs D’amour album to have no acoustic guitars on it which may surprise fans of the original album and the band in general. The initial two guitar notes and ‘for what you are about to receive’ line from Tyla may sound familiar, but this version of ‘Cardboard Town’ is built much more on a groove that gets the body moving with the piano enjoying a healthy spot in the mix as well. The band is extremely tight here with Gary Pennick delivering a fine solo that sets the table for what is to come next. One of my favorite Dogs songs is ‘Kiss My Heart Goodbye’ which sounds excellent here. The acoustic guitars at the beginning are replaced with some electric notes that give it a different feel. Tyla has really been delivering some great vocals over the past several years. He really sounds like no one else, and there is no doubt he is channeling these songs from deep inside his soul. Simon adds some great fills on the drums here as well. ‘Lie in this Land’ does not include the old vocal quip at the beginning. This version feels a little more controlled on the guitars in the mix with Simon and Matty (bass) giving it a tight beat. I would say this version feels a little more rock n roll than the original with both the old version and this one being great versions. The guitar solo works well within the context of the song. I don’t ever feel like Pinnick is trying to be Jo Dog. They are two very different players who I don’t ever compare.

Turning to ‘You Can’t Burn the Devil,’ the band turns it into a moody electric song that contains some great drum work by Simon. I don’t always notice the drums right away, but his work here jumps right out at the listener. The pace builds a bit as the song goes, and I have to say this is my much preferred version of this song. ‘Gypsy Blood’ comes shooting out of the speakers like a cannon shot and showcases a group of guys who are totally in sync. Jamie Turnbull has done a great job in the producer chair and mixing this one as each member sounds amazing in the mix. ‘Empty World’ has been transformed from a sullen journey about heartbreak into a much more up tempo song musically. It captures that Dogs magic where a classic lonely lyric feels positive and optimistic when juxtaposed against the music. Something that should stand out here is that these Dogs were never concerned about going into the studio and cranking out a note to note same version as the original to get around record company rights. The record sounds fresh and awesome.

Flipping the digital files over for side 2, the band deliver a noisy romp through ‘Back on the Juice.’ When I initially listened to the unmastered version of the record, this was the first song I heard and was a little iffy on how it was sounding. The finished product sounds great with an extremely busy mix as it is one of those songs that really doesn’t seem to contain any quiet moments. Simon again kills it on the drums, and the piano work is great. One of my favorites from the original album was ‘Evil’ which never seems to get as much love as some of the others here. A fully electrified version sounds even better with Tyla once again on fire with his vocals. I want to also mention the other guys deliver great backing vocals across the album with this being just one example. Tyla re-recorded ‘Victims of Success’ about 8-9 years ago when he released a new version of ‘In the Dynamite Jet Saloon’ which ultimately failed to deliver. I would put that down to several reasons with one of them being that this was not the band recording that version. The original is a song that is ingrained in my DNA. I loved the extra backing vocals on the original and how it rocks after the intro. This version follows its own line of tricks and stands equally on its own even if it paces itself a little different.

Coming up to our final quarter post, we start with one of perhaps the songs that never resonated much with me on the original in ‘Flying Solo.’ For me, there was always just something that never quite connected. This version finds a cool bluesy groove that works much better for me. The way the piano is sprinkled into the mix adds a lot to the song. James and Simon really deliver great performances across this album and form a great rhythm section. I remember an old interview in Kerrang around the time ‘Straight’ was released where Tyla mentioned they redid ‘Heroine’ at the request of Browde because he loved the song. This was another song that was added to the new version of ‘In the Dynamite Jet Saloon’ and just left me kind of flat. This has historically been one of those songs that I like but came into this wishing it would have been left off for ‘Lady Nicotine.’ Tyla reckons this is the best performance and version of the song yet, and, quite honestly, I think he is right. It takes cues from the original version back in about 1988 (god I feel old) but gives the song a very different approach. I think I will leave it at that, and let everyone experience it on their own. Wrapping up the album is another one of my favorites from the original- ‘Chiva.’ This version takes the song to another level with Matty’s bass propelling listeners to move. It shaves about a minute off the original and ends my original running order of the album on an incredible high point.

I am generally not one to advocate re-recording albums because you will never capture the nostalgia factor that we as fans have for the original recordings. I think that even applies to situations where we are hearing a 5th generation dubbed cassette (remember those?) of something that has considerable sound issues. In this situation, I mentioned that the original ‘Straight’ was my weaker link in those earlier albums, but I also want to stress that it was and still is a great album. The Dogs on that record put out several very special records which is why we still play the crap out of them today. This version as a whole has grabbed me more than the last version did 30 years ago. The production seems a little more dense here where the production on the original had a different feel. I have not been able to stop playing this one since I received it, and it is one of those experiences where I don’t want to have to just listen to a few songs, I want to hear it from start to finish. I am not sure what the track order on the actual CD will be but look forward to seeing if it is the traditional or alphabetical. Now, I am going to hit play again and just keep rocking here.

‘Straight Up 2020’ is released soon.

Buy ‘Straighten Up’ Here

Tyla’s Art Tavern / Bandcamp

 

Author: Gerald Stansbury

Rainy Days & Mondays is about right round these parts so to banish away any blues here are a few of the videos we’ve enjoyed recently.  First up is Manchesters We Three Kings with their ‘Savoir Fair’.

Web:Official Website /Listen:Spotify / iTunes / Bandcamp / Soundcloud /Social:Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube

Second up is this banger Hot Off the press from Continental Lovers ‘Tattered Star’ The story of a washed-up has-been glam rock mess….played by Joe ‘Desglose’ Maddox Bandcamp /  Facebook / Twitter

 

Just in case you didn’t know – The Wildhearts are releasing a brand new live album.  Reviewed Here
It gets an official release in December for those who didn’t know.
“Ginger gave me two instructions: “Loud guitars and loud crowd”….I didn’t have a choice in either as that’s what was captured during the recording” – Live album producer Dave Draper

At a time when we are craving live shows more than ever, Round Records presents  ‘The Wildhearts – 30 Year Itch’, recorded live during the band’s ‘The Renaissance Men’ and ‘Diagnosis’ tours during 2019.

The 17-track album showcases the incendiary energy that has made The Wildhearts one of the best loved UK live rock acts of the last thirty years. A perfect moment in time, thirty years from the band first playing live, that shows a band still at the height of their powers, bristling with energy as they deliver classic tracks such as ‘Caffeine Bomb’, ‘Suckerpunch’, ‘Let Em Go’, ‘Vanilla Radio’ and ‘I Wanna Go Where The People Go’.

Ginger says, “There are a few authorised bootleg live albums of The Wildhearts doing the rounds, but as soon as Danny rejoined the band I knew I had to capture the classic Wildhearts line up on record. There were a few reasons for this, the main one being that we’re still alive, which is a situation that could change at any second with this group.

I also wanted people to hear how insanely powerful The Wildhearts are as a live band. Pounding drums, chainsaw bass and bombastic guitar riffs, all underpinning harmony vocals and huge anthemic songs that every member of the audience sings like a football crowd. 
It’s a surprisingly emotional blend of noise, passion and unity.

As far as I’m concerned this is a classic album by a unique band playing timeless songs that don’t fit into any established genre. Is it rock? Is it punk? Who cares, it’s The Wildhearts.”

Although the release date of the album was set pre Covid, the albums Imminent release will give the fans a little taste of what they can’t have with the current situation.

Mastered once again by maestro Dave Draper, this double album captures the band’s balls out performance that still kicks the ass of crowds up and down the country, 30 years since they started!

Dave explains “Never Outdrunk, Never Outsung‘ was my first adventure into the world of working with The Wildhearts. I carried a lot of pressure on my shoulders to make sure it was as close to the experience of actually being in the crowd. Judging on what the feedback has been since it came out, I can say I think it worked out just fine.

So when the time came around to make another live album for the boys, myself and Elliot Vaughan once again jumped in the car and captured a few shows from The Renaissance Men and Diagnosis tours of 2019.

When it came to the mixing, like on ‘Never Outdrunk…’, it was really good to hear older tracks having a new lease of life and power from the boys…. the two songs from ‘Endless Nameless’ that have made this new album are highlights for me and I’m sure many of you will agree. Timeless songs with all you mad bastards singing your hearts out on. What’s not to like? Ginger gave me two instructions: “Loud guitars and loud crowd”….I didn’t have a choice in either as that’s what was captured during the recording, Thank you for making my job a lot easier, guys!”

The album will be released commercially on the 4th December 2020. The commercial release also features an exclusive limited edition coloured vinyl version and also a CD version with 4 exclusive postcards, that will only ever be available with this version.

Buy ’30 Year Itch’ Here

WARRIOR SOUL have released a music video for Alice Cooper’s ‘Elected‘, the song taken from the forthcoming covers album ‘Cocaine And Other Good Stuff‘, which will be out on November 13th, 2020 via Livewire/Cargo Records UK.

 

 

 

Kory Clarke – “We wanted to make a record that was not about all the crap we are all living in, as it seems like a well worn path for . So, I had to think out of the box“.

The album was recorded all over the western world (Edinburgh – Scotland, Newcastle – England, Copenhagen – Denmark, L.A. – USA, NYC- USA, Chicago – USA, Detroit – USA, Sheffield – UK, Costa Blanca – Torrevieja – Spain) in home studios.

The idea for a covers album started when mainman Kory Clarke was contacted by legendary rock photographer, Alex Ruffini‘s brother, enquiring if Warrior Soul would record a cover of a KISS song, which was Alex Ruffini‘s favourite band, for a tribute in aid of Cancer Research. Warrior Soul recorded ‘Cold Gin‘. Once the band started recording, it sounded really positive and they decided to assemble a complete record of covers ranging from Motörhead to KC and the Sunshine Band.

Kory Clarke – “I contacted many of the musicians who have played with Warrior Soul recently and asked if they wanted to be part of it – everyone was very much up for it and ready to go. We called John Dryland at Livewire/Cargo Records, and he said ‘of course, go for it‘, the irony of recording ‘Good Times Roll’ during a global pandemic really works as you can hear the sneer of sarcasm right through every chorus!

Warrior Soul / Facebook

It seems like every review is beginning with the statement of since Covid, lockdown , isolation and social distancing etc.  The only part of our industry left standing is writing and recording – be it full-band recordings or stripped back solo albums or long lost but conveniently found demo recordings.  Well, here’s one for you that’s most definitely stripped bare and coming from a place of reflection, and whilst recorded in LA its heart belongs in industrial North West as Rossi pens thirteen brand new songs and one deconstructed classic cover. As far as solo acoustic recordings go this one isn’t one dimensional and Rossi calls on the support from his friends to help with vocals, percussion and hell, pretty much the whole shooting match. Sometimes less is most definitely more and proof that good things can come out of bad situations.

Let’s get the cover out of the way first.  ‘Jet’ by Wings is the tune and the original is a sprightly electric affair with a lot of gusto and brash rock and roll. Rossi takes it in a totally different direction with just Piano and some subtle strings for accompaniment oh and some lush backing vocals perhaps being the icing on the cake.  It’s gentle and totally owned by Rossi and the nylon string solo comes from the same place the Faces got their ballads from.  Very nice indeed.

Right, Back to the Album. It starts with a big old jumbo acoustic strum with Rossi turning in a very decent lead vocal on the title track and opener to be fair.  The chorus is a good old sing-along and joined by some timely cello strings and bass. With a smart fuzzed electric solo. It sets the tone for what’s to come perfectly – understated but grande if that makes sense? If you thought this was going to be a cock o the walk punk rock record then you best look away now or embrace this album for what it is – I’ll give the game away right here and say this is excellent, unexpected but flipping excellent.

The arrangments sound fairly simple with a really clean and unfussy production and the songs stripped pretty bare. Although there are a lot of performers helping out on the album it’s a really uncluttered sound.  The thing you notice straight away is how strong Mick’s voice is.  Weathered and strained at times which only goes to make the songs more appealing. ‘Sing with Angels’ reminds me of Frankie Miller with those big chords. A theme and style that runs throughout the album.  ‘Shout It Out Loud’ is a great example with the addition of a really cool Ronnie Lane like bass runs and I’m sure many will be singing along before the chorus has even finished.  Uplifting and feel-good music right there.

I love the dream-like feel of ‘Some Day’ with the fade in fade out of the electric guitar. ‘Big Lights Big City’ has a great blend with the strings.  I think that ‘Hang On’ has an epic feel to it and whilst it’s in line with the rest of the album in as much as there are no crashing drums and its predominantly acoustic guitar and tracked vocals with backing vocals a plenty its a really uplifting feel to it.

Having been really impressed with the album so far ‘Butterfly’ is the first to feature drums and therefore mixing the arrangments it’s a new texture and one that perhaps was needed and in doing so it has created something of a panoramic soundtrack with the added strings.  It might not be my favourite song on the album but it is really impressive tune. As we near the end of the album ‘Stranded’ sounds like Steve Marriott has entered the recording.

We reach the end and the album signs off ‘My Culprit’ easily the most dramatic track on the album and the most “Rock” like song with a dramatic edge to the music it has to be said this is an extremely strong collection of tunes and an album that Mick Rossi should be super proud of.  It’s not an album I was expecting but one I’m glad he’s made and love to arrangments. It’s an album I think will have longevity and will get better and better like a fine wine. Cheers.

 

 

Pick up a copy Here

 

OK.  With the last knockings of October upon us and as we turn back the clocks through Halloween and career into November it seems only fair that we mop up all the late entries into the October singles Club.  Thank us later but for now, check out these worthy entries. 

Yard Of Blondes – ‘Do You Need More?’ (Golden Robot / Die Laughing Records)  These LA Rockers knock out the third single off their much anticipated new album With a big modern-sounding record it actually has a riff that wouldn’t feel out of place on a Queens Of Stone Age record and saying that the use of double-tracking the vocals are an idea QOTSA run with quite often.  To be fair it’s a decent track and the album is worth checking out on the strength of this one and it’s nice to see some decent alternative rock music being made.  Check it out Here

Follow Yard Of Blondes Website / Twitter / Instagram / Facebook

 

 

Chuck Norris Experiment – ‘Kill The Night’ (Transubstans Records / Ghost Highway Records) It’s loud, it’s brash and it’s in your face.  CNE unveil the first track off their new album that should be with us in early 2020.  With a pounding riff and wah infested solo its a great tune. ‘Kill The Night’ is a banger as the kids would say and on the back of their super cool 5″ split with Sonny Vincent these are good times for CNE fans.

Stream here: SPOTIFY / BANDCAMP

 

 

 

Mr. Teenage – ‘Automatic Love’ (Anti Fade Records)  Melbourne four-piece Mr. Teenage deliver punchy rock’n’roll with a bit of snotty power pop. They’ve been causing a stir back home playing with Australian legends the Cosmic Psychos and press darlings Amyl and The Sniffers.  It’s not hard to see how that’s come about on the strength of these tunes.  I’ve got a lot of time for the excellent ‘Waste Of Time’  and the Dolls tinged ‘the Loser’  these cats might have been born 40 years too late but when you hear a great EP it’s timeless.  This rough around the edges power pop is most welcome round these parts.  Mr. Teenager can come again. Single of the week? You bet it is. Pick up a copy here

 

AVALANCHE – ‘Get Back’ (X Ray Records) Sydney hard rockers Avalanche are set to release their new single ‘Get Back (To F*ckwit City)’ via X-Ray Records on 16th November. ‘Get Back (To F*ckwit City)’ is the follow up to their recent single.

Avalanche are 4 misfits from Sydney’s west, playing electrifying, DC inspired hard rock. Get Back (To F*ckwit City) is a raw, punchy and anthemic ode to the band’s hometown and the people which reside in it. Its old-school by the nu school and it was practically recorded live in the studio with no fills, no-frills, Lets Rock, stripped-back approach. Horns up and lets Rock!

Pre-order/pre-save ‘Get Back (To F*ckwit City)’ HERE

 

Lemon Drop Gang – ‘Bubble Yum’ (Rum Bar Records)  Lemon Drop Gang hails from Tucson Arizona, home of some of the most unusual music in the USA. High energy burners mixed with haunting tales of psychotic love make their debut album, ‘I’m Not The One’, a complete experience in any deranged mind.  I’ll have whatever these guys are on.

 

Silverjet – ‘Everybody Used To Love You’ (Self Release) With a feature coming up this trio releases a video for the track ‘Everybody Used To Love You’.  With big riffs being the name of the game check it out.

 

The Sinclairs featuring Paul-Ronney Angel – ‘Halloween Wings’ (Cleopatra Records) You want a record of the week? Look no further than this ghoulishly good track from the most in-demand drummer in lockdown and the king of Gypsy, bop n roll. ‘Halloween Wings’ is a barrel full of rock and roll with a spooktacular edge to it with some mightily fine six-string work courtesy of Billy Shinbone.

The album will drive you batty and let’s make no bones about the guest slot from Paul Ronney you shouldn’t pass this one by its spooktacular.  Check it out Here

 

 

 

Card Reader – “Mental Scars (feat. Ryan Beebe)  The song is available for FREE download on Bandcamp until 11/10 (‘Mental Scars’ EP release date). Card Reader is a pop-punk band from Long Island, NY. A quartet consisting of guitarist/vocalist Tom Petito, drummer Rob Cigliano, guitarist Marc Lambert and bassist/vocalist Matt Sullivan. The group is getting ready to launch their first EP release “Mental Scars” on Tuesday, November 10th.

Card Reader has forged ahead to provide fans with more music in 2020. This time with the added experience and vocal presence from their new bassist Matt Sullivan. They attacked writing their new EP with the goal of reinforcing positivity and pushing the boundaries of their sound.

 

The 69 Cats – ‘Hollywoods Bleeding’ (Cleopatra Records) Jyrki 69 & Danny B. Harvey’s gothabilly supergroup, The 69 Cats, return with The Damned’s Rat Scabies & Kim Nekroman for a wild and infectious new single, a cover of Post Malone’s ‘Hollywood’s Bleeding!’ Check out the video and prepare for the full album in early 2021. Rat must be trying to break some world record for being the busiest drummer on the planet. With Jyrki putting on his best ’80s Iggy Pop voice it’s a winner from me.  To be fair its worked really well and is a bit ghoultastic.

▪ Remastered 30th Anniversary Edition Double LP & Bookback CD

In the late ’80s to early ’90s there was an explosion of alternative music coming out of the US of A and some climbed to the top of the pile but they weren’t necessarily the best bands out there.  Sure the early ’80s had the Husker Du’s and Replacements to trail blaze but of the late decade bands, I remember having a mixtape sent to me that had a lofi song from a bunch of punks called The Lemonheads the track as it goes was ‘I Don’t Wanna’ and it was easily the best track on the tape out of about 40 bands I didn’t take a great deal of notice until I heard ‘Lick’ and loved it along with the fantastic cover of ‘Luka’ but these records weren’t easy to track down in a small city in the UK.  I remember seeing an interview with Evan Dando and being impressed with his slacker credentials and good looks.  It must have been around the time of Lovey when they signed to a major and heading out to pick it up and loving it and the next two and a half major-label albums should have seen them trade against the likes of Nirvana and Pearl Jam because out of the three The Lemonheads threw up the best records for my ears.

Fast forward thirty fuckin’ years and the Re-Release of ‘Lovey’ in a big book like format with an impressive bound bunch of liner notes and a lavish reproduction of an 8 track session the band did in Australia for Triple J. but more of that later.

‘Lovey’ saw the band step back and trade in some of that feedback and rage for a gentler acoustic approach or mash-up as songs like the jangly ‘Half The Time’ saw Dando mix up the alternative punk with a power-pop more melodic set of songs with much more thought out vocals. Covering Gram Parsons and Big Star sort of set out the path he was taking.  Maybe with one eye on the prize of international stardom and chart success whilst remaining true to his musical roots.

What’s not to like about the radio-friendly ‘Year of The Rat’ or the beautiful ‘Ride With Me’ there was always a fragility or a vulnerability to Dando’s voice and he used it to great effect from ‘Lovey’ on in. ‘Stove’ was always a live classic and more in keeping with what was to come with the smash album ‘Shame About Ray’ but this was certainly the forerunner.

 

They still had an edge and could kick out the jams when they wanted as they proved on the next few tracks ‘Come Downstairs’ and ‘Left For Dead’.  It was then the wonderful take of Gram Parsons ‘Brass Buttons’ which they nailed by the way.

Worth a reissue on vinyl with a big book type set up?  Sure it is what are the odds of ‘Shame About Ray’ getting the anniversary treatment along the same lines as this which would be very nice but, the real jewel here is the inclusion of the ‘Live At The Wireless’ sessions.  Let’s face it The Lemonheads were always good on record but live they were awesome and this session is perfectly captured from the ‘Lick’ era opener of ‘Come Back D.A’ and the cover of Big Star ‘Nighttime’ and the misspelled download of ‘Year Of The Cat  -Rat’ but the pick of the songs is the epic ‘Ride With Me’ followed up with a raucous ‘Die Right Now’. As much as I loved the Taang!! records they really hit their stride when they hit paydirt and that boys and girls started with ‘Lovey’ and even after 30 years its stood the test of time and remains a fantastic album

 

Deluxe CD Bookback – Pre-order linkHere

Deluxe 2xLP out today 24th October 2020 (Record Store Day) 

Four years on since ‘Smash Hits’, any fans will be relieved to know that little has changed in the dayglo world of Helen Love. No introspective, bleak dramas or unwelcome ballads. If anything, this album is more in your face, relentlessly upbeat and frenetic. The usual lyrical suspects are here; Ramones, glitter pop, radios and plastic.

 

In the current climate, this is quite a relief. No mention of the ‘real’ world, you can lose yourself in Helen’s bold, primary colour land. ‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand’ (not that one) is jubilant; “I’m in love and it feels so good”. I’m glad someone’s happy! It’s a rarity nowadays. Single ‘Debbie Takes Control Of The Radio’ comes on like a bubblegum Sputnik, complete with ‘Pump It Up’ sample. ‘Jackie’ has a riff to make Johnny Ramone smile, ‘Dead In My Head’ has a suitably Buzzcocks intro, while ‘Sandra Dee’ waxes lyrical about Ms Newton John.

 

‘Power Of The Music’ is like a kids’ birthday party full of those lovely old E numbers, on a trampoline. And it references ‘Shout It Out Loud’. ‘Star’ is equally nuts; “we love the way you dance in your plastic pants like a New York Doll”. ‘You Wear Your Hair Long’; “like Joey Ramone”. Obviously. What else were you expecting? ‘On My Own’ condenses a Duncan Reid album into one song.

 

Helen Love clearly makes music because she loves it. It won’t win over doubters, or Radiohead fans, but that’s not the point. If you want an escape from grim reality, this is what the doctor ordered.

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Author: Martin Chamarette