The self-titled album from Lusitanian Ghosts is a rock ‘n’ roll experience of a different kind. The Deluxe Edition was released late last year and has just made its way to my door. This musical collective features Neil Leyton, who will be well known to many of the readers here, having previously worked with a wide range of rockers from The Dogs D’amour to Ginger. He also, of course, has his own glittering career, which has also seen contributions from rock royalty such as the Backyard Babies. Leyton is a man of many talents, and I personally remember him from the much-missed Changes One record label days, where we used to have the odd chat over email. A lot of time has passed since then and I must admit to having fallen out of the loop for a while. And from what I can gather this is his first full album of original material since 2010’s The Betrayal of the Self. As I have said, however, this is a collective and more than the work of one man – and with it comes an entirely new sound, interestingly making use of traditional chordophone instruments: guitar-like, stringed instruments which also includes the lutes or lyres that we may often see accompanying Shakespeare plays. The group includes Micke Ghost, João Sousa, Omiri, O Gajo, members of Primitive Reason and other artists.
This new Portuguese musical project utilises these instruments in a more modern way, mixing a blend of traditional and rock ‘n’ roll sounds. It’s an inspiring, folk/rock mix which needs to be heard to be understood. The album kicks off with a short acoustic folk affair, with the breezy ‘A Long Time Ago…’, which sets out the attitude of the album before heading into the more rocking ‘The World’. While I’m hesitant to draw a lazy comparison to Santana, this opening of this song certainly bears that resemblance, particularly with the fat, smooth tone of the electric guitar over the acoustic arrangement. The album itself doesn’t bear out the comparison. Being such a creative project, the Lusitanian Ghosts album takes many twists and turns while always maintaining a very singular thread throughout – a constant traditional sound underlying it. The light indie sounds of the flowing ‘Trailer Park Memories’, or the rousing chorus of ‘Past Laurels’ with its singalong of ‘we are the truth to power’, mark for an exciting and thoroughly enjoyable album. While personally other highlights include ‘Godspeed to You’, the Bowie-esque ‘Memories of a Once Familiar Future’ or the great ‘Our Own Light’, there is no filler here, as every song serves to support the next. Interestingly, alongside the album is a release of a documentary which explores the history of these wonderful traditional instruments which are used to craft this most interesting of records. Watching that is the next thing on my to-do list. Meanwhile, listening to this, it is certainly good to have Leyton back recording, and with such strong material.
Picture the scene; You’re the guitar player in a cool punk n roll band with a member of The Wildhearts, you release a well-received mini-album, a couple of singles, do a bunch of great support gigs with cool bands, even some great headline shows of your own. Things are looking up. Then The Wildhearts reform, your singer/bass player goes back to said band (quite rightly) to take on the world and record one of the greatest rock albums of the last decade, leaving your little band in hiatus. The drummer and guitar player form a cool as fuck pop-punk band called The Spangles and you’re left twiddling your bleedin’ thumbs until they’ve got it all out of their system.
Well, we may not have The Main Grains anymore, but that loveable rogue JJ Watt is back from the ashes with a new band and he’s only gone and roped in the likes of Kory Clarke and Tracii Guns to guest on his new project The City Kids (no, not the long gone, Cardiff based glam legends, how many times do I have to tell ya?!)
Joining JJ are guitarist Dennis Post (Warrior Soul/Flush The Fashion), Berty Burton (Tigertailz) and Dave Sanders (Falling Red). The City Kids follow the recent single release ‘Best Of You’ with their debut album ‘Things That Never Were’. Self-produced and mastered by the legend that is Dave Draper, ‘Things That Never Were’ is a collection of songs and ideas penned by the guitar player when he was still in The Main Grains. In fact, the overly catchy ‘You Get Nothing’ was a live favourite in their set.
You could say The City Kids sound is no real departure from JJ’s previous band. If anything the sound is rawer, the vocals dirtier, but the melody is still prevalent throughout. This is gritty rock ‘n’ roll with a sound that sits somewhere between Social Distortion and The Yo-Yos.
‘Best Of You’ opens the album in style with a Ramones style “one-two-free-four” count in and a blistering guitar lick. Dirty biker rock is the order of the day, JJ’s vocals as gritty as the guitars are dirty. Fat, ringing power chords fill the verse as it powers to an anthemic and upbeat chorus. A sonic guitar solo that would make Dregen proud and a Wildhearts styled mid-song breakdown gives you a hint where these guys are coming from and where the rest of the album will be taking us.
It’s no surprise the aforementioned ‘You Get Nothing’ was a Main Grains live staple. That chorus refrain is a banger, and hearing a recorded version finally does it justice. At 2 minutes 30 seconds, it’s over in a flash leaving the listener crying out for more.
And much more they give us. Mid-paced rockers such as ‘Before You Fall’ and ‘All I Want’ are all well and good, the latter taken to another level with some blistering fretwork courtesy of LA Guns guitar slinger Tracii Guns. Elsewhere, ‘No More Heroes’ is a catchy, radio-friendly slice of power pop with a punky edge, think The Replacements meets Social Distortion for reference here.
There are a couple of true standout tracks. ‘Rats’ is a killer, trashy ride featuring Billy Tee and Alex Holmes from The Suicide Notes. Their delivery adds a certain sleaziness that gives an edgy, Faster Pussycat meets Backyard Babies feel. The guitars are slung around the knees, the gang vocals spat with venom. This one is a whole lotta fun, as is album closer ‘Round And (A) Round’. A song that was co-written with Warrior Soul legend Kory Clarke and features the man himself sharing lead vocals with JJ, along with those The Suicide Notes dudes, yet again adding gang vocal goodness for the chorus. This is a killer, no-frills anthem. Upbeat, punk and belligerent just as you would expect. Kory’s unmistakable raspy vocals are on fine form and it pretty much sums up the whole feel of the album.
If you like your music, loud, proud and raw as fuck, if you like your rock with some dirt under the fingernails and extra power under the hood, then you could do no better than check out this new long-player from The City Kids.
The limited-edition 2 CD version of ‘Things That Never Were’ sold out in just 5 hours, but you can pre-order the extremely unlimited standard CD from the link below right now.
In these strange times you can always rely on the RPM singles club to come up with a full basket of tasty Easter treats from the 7″ department of some of the best independent labels (and some major ones too) We have a slimmed download this month for obvious reasons but a pandemic won’t stop the rock, no sir. Let me introduce some of our picks from recent releases and ones about to come out from New York to Europe and everywhere in between check out these pretty pieces of plastic that came our way…
Watts – ‘Seventeen’ (Rum Bar Records) You want Rock and Roll in these tough times? sure you do what about FREE Rock and Roll? Hell Yeah! Well, hit up the link and download yourself some stonking foot-stomping bullshit-free Rock and Roll courtesy of those dudes Watts and rum Bar Records. It’s got keif Richards riff-a-rama on the guitar and those rasping hard-living vocals wrapped around a shitgrinning rocker get on it already. ‘When The Party Ends’ is a more ‘morning after’ feel but it’s an absolute belter oozing Rock n Roll. Hit the link and grab it now and let the good times enter your life Here Record of the week? Hell Yeah! not because it’s free but because it’s so damn good. Watts and Rum Bar are a match made in heaven and this is as good as it gets, timeless and class.
Sin City – Hold On (self Release) Holed up in Alicante Spain Two Cavemen recorded a couple of bluesy American classics in the shape of ‘Hold On’ and ‘Broken Hearted Man’ obviously being quarantined has seen them open their beat-up soul. Recorded with one mic, an acoustic guitar, an electric piano, a tambourine and whatever else they could find lying around the house. So plug it in, turn it up and let Sin City and their Mojo Machine get to work on ya! hit the link for the Bandcamp page Here Hell they’ve even worked out how to press record on their phone to shoot a video. It’s taken from a download album that’s rather tasty to be fair showing their not just drunken marauding animals who like fast n loose they can chill out and plonk da blues. Check it out Here
The Dollyrots – ‘Make Me Hot’ (Wicked Cool Records) With a cracking chorus The Dollyrots have got themselves a banger of a seven inch single. ‘Make Me Hot’ is a blast of power pop that should be heard across the globe this summer blazing from radios everywhere. flip it over for a rip ride cover of Lisa Loeb ‘Stay (I Miss You)’ in all its unashamed glory pop music rocked up. This will sell out no doubt as the band go from strength to strength with a hugely confident single. Buy Here
Mickey Leigh – ‘It Felt Like Love’ (Wicked Cool Records) If you want a distraction from the global pandemic it seems Wicked Cool has happened upon one antidote for the self-isolation blues and that’s by releasing a bunch of wicked cool singles. Mickey Leigh being one such 45. If your wondering who is he well, let me introduce you to Joey Ramones brother who has a wonderful slice of rock and roll with the A-side that reminds me of Stiv Bators solo era. A wonderful track that has a great hook on the chorus as the song just chugs along effortlessly. Keep digging though because the B Side is a real vibrant cracker ‘Trouble Man’ motors along. His brother would be proud of these tunes and the playing is fitting and really impressive, I like this a lot. Buy Here
Primo! – ‘Machine’ (Anti-Fade & Upset The Rhythm) Jangly Power Pop courtesy of Melbournes Primo! lifted off their album ‘Songi’ which will be released later this month. Check out their hotrod video now
Electric Frankenstein / Scumbag Millionaire (Ghost Highway Records) If ever there were two bands best suited to do a split single then these two would certainly be contenders. USA v Europe yet bonded by a love of loud guitars and some Garage Punk Rock n Roll attitude. EF contribute the riff-a-rama of ‘One Step Away’ with its bruising riff its classic EF then on the flipside you have the brutal and rapid riffs of Scumbag Millionaire ‘Strike Me Down’ its reminiscent of when Hellacopters broke onto the scene with the same vocal style and crash bang wallop of the verses colliding with the chorus and then smash – we’re into the soaring solo. Winner by a country mile!
Twisted Wheel – ‘I Am Immune’ (The Orchard Music (on behalf of Independent) Taken from their brand new album ‘Satisfying The Ritual’ Your left in no doubt that this is a right banger folks. Check it out and pre-order the album Here why don’t you?
Bloodshot Bill – ‘Its The Out Of This World Sounds Of…Vol 2’ (Ghost Highway Records) 1950 rockabilly inspired rock and roll just like The Cramps used to mess with your brain and some. ‘It’s A..Aa,a.Aaaggghhh!’ B Movie rock n roll from Bloodshot Bill its certainly out there from another planet ‘Moon Rocketing’ then ’50 Megaton’ sparse and authentic but totally fucked up and wonderful. Then you have the acoustic ‘Be My Satellite’ sounds like it was recorded on moonshine round an old wireless in the woods. Its got whistling n all so whats not to like. this is what makes the wonderful world of Rock and Roll so entertaining. Facebook
The Dahlmanns / Tommy & The Rockets – ‘Scandinavian Affair’ (Beluga Records/Ghost Highway Records) Yes through times of adversity you can always rely on some people to keep the spirits high. Another great team up in splitsville as One side is the Dahlmanns with the power-pop piano lead of ‘Part Girl’ it’s like an early ray of sunshine on a cloudy day. Music that should be on the radio playlists everywhere but isn’t but don’t let that get you down just let this ray of sunshine into your life. Then you have Tommy & his rockts turning the amps up for another slice of power pop but from another angle. ‘you Don’t Know What You Do’ again like The Dahlmanns they just ooze classy power pop and if you ever had a hankering for something pop but with guitars then Tommy & the gang are for you. Pick it up from Beluga or Ghost Highway before they’re all gone. Buy Here
The Cocktail Slippers – Nighttrain (Wicked Cool Records) Oslo Norway isn’t the place I thought would throw up some cool street power pop not a million miles from Blondie rockin out had you said Queens then I’d have assumed it present and correct. Its got the swagger of the lower east side These ladies have got themselves a catchy glam rockin slice of power pop.Buy the track Here / Facebook
Aborted Tortoise – Scale Model Subsistence Vendor (Goodbye Boozy Records)
Their new EP, ‘Scale Model Subsistence Vendor’, is one that backs this up once again. Arriving via cult-adored Italian punk label Goodbye Boozy Records, the EP brings together another four tunes bursting with energy. Moulding rock with heavy punk It’s sharp and succinct, ‘Making A Mint’ is frantic and will get yer blood pumping then ‘Factory’ is more laid back (really? Laid back?) ok, its not so rapid on the verse and sounds like its hanging on by a thread as the guitars chop away its got Pavement meets the Dead Kennedys running through its blood stream but so much more going on besides. Perth Australia has never sounded so inviting. Flip it over for the frantic ‘Violent Consumer’ before ‘Plastic Orgasm’ takes this EP home with its sharp romp to the finish line. Aborted Tortoise make it sound easy but being this good isn’t easy. Cracking EP from the artwork to the noise in the grooves buy it! . Bandcamp
Wyldlife -‘Automatic’ (Wicked Cool Records) I’ve not had the pleasure yet of hearing the new long player but have had a couple of glimpses through the window so to speak and of course I’ve loved what I’ve heard, why wouldn’t I? I’ve always loved Wyldlife and on hearing the new single ‘Automatic’ I can fanboy swoon once again and tell everybody I know that the album is coming. With the loud guitars and understated melody, it’s exactly what I wanted to hear in these dark times. A band who are nailing it every time and this new Wicked Cool Record is going to blow away the opposition – great tune – simple buy it! Inspired by a mutual love of Jesus And Mary Chain with a friend this is Rock and Roll Year of the snake be damned it’s the year of Wyldlife get on it pop pickers it’ll brighten up your social isolation Facebook
The BD3 – ‘Snowfake’ (Dischordia Records) Bradford ner do wells The BD3s have a double-sided single out and with the understated menace ‘Snowfake’ cruises along with a lovely slice of post-punk edge with a rasping buzzsaw guitar and spoken/chanted vocal jarring away its got some of the Fall happening its the audio equivalent of being poked in the chest and told whats what. Much like Greater Manchesters Cabbage The BD3 have carved out their own niche and they sit comfortably in there or should that be uncomfortable? the other tune on offer is the raging ‘Sypharus’ with a wicked riff and jarring lyrics its post punk for the 21st century and on this introduction, it sounds bloody good. Facebook
SHVPES – Lions Den (Spinefarm) Ahead of a decent UK tour and new record these rockers knock out another interesting video for ‘Lions Den’ Keep up to date Here
Tyla’s Dogs D’Amour – ‘Lightnin’ Bar Blues’ (King Outlaw Records) Tough times currently can be made easier by some sweet tunes and Tyla and his Dogs D’Amour have covered the classic Hanoi Rocks ‘Lightnin’ Bar Blues’ Tyla style.
Its all for a good cause don’t you know. Get on over to the Bandcamp page and drop a virtual quid in the box and own this most wonderful take of a wonderful song. Originally Hanoi put the track on their ‘Oriental Beat’ album but this take on a classic is very different but totally Tyla (if you know what I mean). Pour yourself some ripple wine and turn it up. You know it makes sense now what are you waiting for? Fark Orf if you’d be so kind and click Here
L.A. Guns – ‘Crawl’ (Golden Robot Records) Having recently signed to Golden Robot Records part of the Golden Robot Global Entertainment Group, the legendary L.A. Guns are set to release their new single ‘Crawl’ on April 20th. ‘Crawl’Pre-Order / pre-save: https://smarturl.it/LAGuns-Crawl Not to be confused with the other band called L.A. Guns of course. Not really having a clue where I stand on this name game but as far as songs go this one is alright and sounds like you’d expect L.A. Guns to sound but don’t think its the Phil Lewis vocals because it’s not this one is Kurt Frohlich on vocals. With a very 80s sounding track ‘Crawl’ is turning back the clock for all you cock rockers. Facebook / Instagram / Label link
Johny Skullknuckles – This City (Self Release) Free music? Johny Skullknuckles is giving away a tune? Today just got a lot better. We love free music and we love Johny Skullknuckles and we love ‘This City’ as it drifts in on an acoustic strum and meanders toward the chorus with just a bass drum and occasional snare and acoustic (and a voice or two) Skullknuckles opens his heart about his town and how time moves on and places change and not always for the better. Cheer up Johny you’ve still got yer memories and the ability to write proper rock and roll tunes keep it up and we look forward to your next offering already. Get it Here kids you know it makes sense.
Brassick – ‘They Say’ (TNS Records)Brassick seem to have been around for an age and when they used to turn up and play Slugfest they always turned in a thoroughly convincing and passionate set and when I’ve seen them at Rebellion the same. I did wonder what they would be like on record and don’t quite know how I managed to avoid it thus far and to be fair this is a belter. You get taken on a roller coaster of a journey from the bass rumble that will loosen any fillings to the soaring chorus. To the Buy the track Here ahead of the album release later this month.
It’s fair to say that Empty Friend walk you down a well trodden path, but this grunge tour de force are very much more than “tonight Matthew I want to be signed to Sub Pop records”.
With deep cuts such as “Draw The Line” which shows elements of Mother Love Bone and “Neon”, which any hardened Soundgarden fan would been pleased to have happened upon on the last album release.
The band is dabbling in a genre that people can be quick to ridicule, but they are holding their own, showing the virtues of the sound with original takes and being a lot more than a walk down memory lane.
This EP is a solid release with opener “You Are Not The Sun” being the only number verging on pedestrian. I have played the EP several times this week, the band’s divergent alt-rock sound would fit the bill to various stoner rock events such as DesertFest etc and I am looking forward to catching them live at some point.
Originally released as a compilation album featuring five-tracks from New Yorks Electric Frankenstein and the equally wonderful Crash Street Kids alongside The Thing and Kathedral. what you have here is an EP of the Electric Frankenstein tracks plus the addition of ‘EF Theme’ making it a tasty six-track EP. It’s got the same artwork as the original comp but the track running order has been rearranged.
The street-tough Action Rock of ‘Lie To Me’ gets this party started was it really twenty years ago? Wow, time flies when you’re having fun. A year after their classic ‘How To Make A Monster’ and a most fertive period for the band who really were prolific around that period and flying the flag for punk attitude hard rock I’m not even sure we had a name for it back then and split it into sub-genres of a genre of Rock and Roll. Damn, it loud guitared Rock and Roll isn’t it however you want to carve it up. Anyway EF always stayed true to their original sound and blueprint and pushed on regardless of who fell by the wayside or sold out because EF never sold out nor did they stray and go with the trends. the one thing ‘the Dawn..’ sounds is fresh and as vibrant as it ever did.
Electric Frankenstein always kept it simple knocking out high energy guitar-driven songs with snotty attitude steeped in the history of the likes of the Dead Boys and the MC5 and even some early hard rock to create a monster wall of noise. This collection gives a pretty decent introduction to those who might not have crossed paths with the band before, which is fine it’s better late than never. ‘One Last Show’ is as macho as it gets using volume and power like a lightning rod when out looking for trouble. ‘Ruin you’ is my pick of the pops with its dirty riff and snarling lyrics that are barked out sounding like a life choice of gargling razorblades and washing them down with some paint stripper but still managing to do it with style. Top tune.
The final offering on this six of the best is one that goes right back to the heart of EF and from the birth of the band as ‘EF Theme’ originally picked off the debut album ‘The Time Is Now’ back in the midst of time or 1985 to you and me is sewn onto the end of this collection. It’s still a belter of a tune like Alice Cooper band in the backseat with a wasted Wayne Kramer controlling the radio riding shotgun to Kojak whos at the wheel a real Frankenstein party right there but there’s a bit of them all in the DNA of Electric Frankenstein and that’s the beauty of the kings of Action Rock. It’s a great EP to own seeing as a lot of their records are as expensive as hell on the second-hand market and as some get reissued and gobbled up its nice to see places like Ghost Highway respecting the rock and breathing new life into solid gold like this – As if it needs saying but go get it, kids, you won’t regret it.
Berlin power-trio PABST share video for new single Skyline and announce new album ‘Deuce Ex Machina’
Berlin power-trio Pabst are today sharing the video for brand-new single Skyline, a track that was born from their frustrations with living in a city that is being rapidly gentrified. In what they describe as a “post-grunge hymn” on which their rage is manifested in a muddy, fuzzed-out wall of distortion, they bemoan being priced out of their own town, and condemn homelessness, greed and profit. Pabst, being three of a dying breed of non-riches in their city, are watching the development of theirs and other cities in disbelief, with Skyline erupting into its hook, “This city is no place for losers like us.” The band explains further.
“Although more than half of the world’s population lives in cities (and the trend is rising), they seem to be becoming more and more hostile places as they increasingly develop into “locations”. Especially in Berlin, where we come from, we have noticed vast changes in this direction in recent years. High fluctuation determines the cityscape and the housing market, with more and more furnished apartments being built. If you want to live somewhere, you often have to compete with hundreds. Houses classified as dilapidated will be demolished or fully renovated (’cause otherwise the price will not rise).
Nobody who owns the apartments really lives in them: students live there who stay in the city for a comparatively short time, tourists stay there for whom the apartments are converted into holiday homes, and above all; for people who can afford it. Everyone else has to move out of the city to where it’s boring and cheap. You know that, it’s nothing new. And, of course, this affects not only living space, but also the rest of the infrastructure. Many clubs and other cultural venues have to close because their rental contracts are passed on to the highest bidder, or because of a few residents who seemingly realized too late that the city apartment is not a country house by the lake.”
After releasing the critically acclaimed debut album ‘Chlorine’, playing too many gigs to count, supporting the likes of Bob Mould (Hüsker Dü) and Kadavar on tour – as well as making over 30 festival appearances in 2019 alone – Pabst return in 2020 with the announcement of their new album Deuce Ex Machina for release June 19. Lead single Ibuprofen was accompanied by visuals reminiscent of classic ’90s MTV music videos with pastel-grunge scenes, directed by Constantin Timm. Watch IbuprofenHERE.
When we were running Uber Rock at its peak, we used to get literally hundreds of new albums to download and review a week. So, how did we pick out what fitted best with our readership and most of all our dedicated team of writers, who let’s remember were effectively working for free? Well I found the best way to weed out the real crackers was via a technique I used to call “lucky track number seven”. It was something I’d used for years when test driving albums, ever since CDs were invented in fact, in so much that the first track of any new album I would play would be track seven. My twisted logic being that in the age of thirteen/fourteen track albums if a record could blow you away half way through then…it must be a great record.
So why am I telling you this? Well it’s through this technique I first discovered Swedish goth outfit Then Comes Silence. It was back in early 2016 that I first heard their third independently released album, ‘Nyctophilian’, (well it was track seven ‘Animals’ actually) and it immediately impressed the hell out of me sounding not unlike Sisters of Mercy might sound if; 1) they had a drummer, and 2) they actually still put out records.
Fast forward to 2017 and the band were snapped up by Nuclear Blast for the release of their awesome ‘Blood’ album and I for one thought that with the surge in popularity at the time of bands like Ghost that the arena stages of the world were just a hit single away for the band, and let’s face it that album had about six or seven tunes that could have been HUGE hits given the right exposure and a little bit of help from Lady Luck.
Which kind of brings us bang up to date, albeit for the fact that ‘Monster’ the band’s first for the Oblivion/SPV, Metropolis Records alliance still sees the band without that illusive mainstream breakthrough.
I’ll admit for this one I didn’t start with track seven, and in many ways, I actually wish I had, because it did initially take me a few spins to get under the skin of ‘Machine’, yet rather spookily it was ‘W.O.O.O.U.’ (the lucky seventh track on the album) that finally got me pressing the repeat button, and now I just can’t stop playing this gloriously dark thirteen tracker.
The pop hooks of ‘Blood’ are still present it’s just they take a little longer to become earworms, with the likes of ‘Dark End’ and the simply magnificent ‘Ritual’ (featuring True Moon’s Karolina Engdahl on guest vocals) initially half-masking their infectious charms in the shadows before finally getting around to sinking their teeth into your neck come chorus time. There’s an almost Mission goes industrial feel to ‘I Gave You Everything’ something Wayne and Co have tried to do on so many occasions and, in my opinion, have never quite pulled off, but here Then Come Silence do it with ease. ‘Apocalypse Flare’ likewise is possibly the best Mission song The Mission have never actually written.
In many ways Then Comes Silence are like Stockholm’s answer to Helsinki’s Grave Pleasures both bands painting a post-apocalyptic soundscape that melds together elements of goth and electronica for the next generation of khol-eyed musical vampires to fall in love with, and in the outstanding ‘Glass’ they could very well have their very own ‘Love Like Blood’.
‘Machine’ is the almost near perfect soundtrack for 2020 – please don’t let it pass you by, because it’s a simply stunning record that truly ‘Cuts Inside’.
The wealth of artists on the ever-growing roster of Chicago based label Bloodshot Records is something to behold. Over the past 25 years, they have been championing American roots music, the sort of bands that maintain a DIY punk ethic, whether they be country, soul or garage rock based. The likes of Banditos, The Yawpers, Barrence Whitfield And The Savages, as well as Laura Jane Grace and Sarah Shook, have all graced our pages. And their latest release is the debut album from a 6 piece bunch of shaggy haired 20-somethings that wear matching boiler suits and go by the name of Rookie.
Rookie are a 6 piece band who formed in 2017 from the ashes of local acts such as Joe Bordenaro And The Late Bloomers and the fantastically titled Yoko And The Oh Nos. They emerged from a grassroots, Midwestern DIY scene, seemingly out of time with their retro ‘cosmic’ country-styled rock ‘n’ roll music. With three guitar player in their ranks and a drummer (Joe Bordenaro) who shares lead vocals with guitarist Max Loebman, they evoke a classic period of American rock ‘n’ roll, seemingly untainted by modern technology or social media.
Opener ‘Hold On Tight’ evokes 70’s rock radio from the opening chords and high registered hollering. Simple rifforama and blistering lead guitar solos give a high energy introduction to a band that seems far more clued in than their years suggest.
The lazy, hazy groove of ‘I Can’t Have You, But I Want You’ is prime Americana as much as Neil Young or The Allman Brothers in their prime. Sweet, full vocal harmonies flow through the chorus as slide guitar takes precedence. Likewise, closing track ‘E Jam’ is an excuse for the guitarists to shine and break out the extended solos like no one’s watching.
One thing’s for sure, Rookie go a long way to remind music fans about the glory of the guitar solo. And I don’t mean the widdly, over-played 80’s rock solo, I mean back when men were men and rock music did just what it said on the tin!
Rookie are the perfect soundtrack to any highway cruise. Just roll the top down, turn the radio up and light the doobie in your hand. Take ‘Fake Grass’ for example. It has an instantly satisfying melody you will swear you know already. A tinkling of the ivories and some gently weeping guitars give an Exile-era Stones feel. A sense of yearning is accomplished by the time they reach the first chorus and all your woes will be forgotten (at least until it finishes). Classic Americana with a Southern rock twist; they come on like The Band meets Skynyrd on a dusty highway, which surely ain’t a bad place to be. Glorious.
They veer into indie pop territory momentarily too. Recent single ‘Sunglasses’ flows along like a summer breeze, without a care in the world. With clean guitar tones and sweet acoustics, it has quirky, hippie-fied feel, reminding this reviewer of BMX Bandits or even The Thrills. Instrumental ‘Introduction II’ comes on like a lost 70’s Aerosmith studio jam, with solos aplenty, before the band segues into ‘One Way Ticket’, a tune choc-a-bloc with Hammond and finger-picked guitar.
Seemingly untainted by the last 40 years of music, Rookie are a band rooted in the past. There are no Grunge, R&B or rap influences here. They don’t deal in Nu Metal, Ska or even punk rock. Hell no, I wager Rookie don’t even own iPhones! They play no frills rock ‘n’ roll from a different time, hats off to em, I’ll raise a glass to that!
Channeling the pop sensibilities of Cheap Trick, the riffage of Thin Lizzy and laid back, west coast Americana vibes, Rookie have succeeded in delivering a debut album steeped in 70’s rock nostalgia, yet still sounding remarkably fresh.
“We assure you, this was filmed ages ago, before any quarantine! No monkeys were harmed. No viruses spread. Not even a vegetarian was offended. Stay safe, rejoice responsibly and see ya down the line. DP.”
…exclaim Dirty Power, who in times of gig cancellations and uncertainty throughout both the music industry and the world, have taken the opportunity to send out some digital cheer, releasing earlier than expected their latest track ‘Oh God’, newcomer to the bands 2018 EP ‘Notions’.
Influenced by gloriously timeless ‘legacy acts’; Dublin based hard-rock trio Dirty Power are driven by an independent D.I.Y. punk ethic, in everything from the writing, recording and release process, to approaching performing and touring. They stick to doing what they want to do, and do it their own way. Dirty Power is an ever evolving collective of musicians, and OH GOD is their 2020, gorilla reincarnation.
Think Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Audioslave and Rage Against The Machine, all in one giant melting pot of influence yet creative originality. Having taken to the stage internationally, the live scene is where Dirty Power’s music really comes alive, but since the unfortunate cancellation of their recent London show (curated by Camden Rocks) due to the worldwide pandemic, amongst other engagements, Dirty Power have taken to the net to dish out one giant “clean elbow wave” in the form of ‘Oh God’. And rest assured, when the live scene is back in action, so will Dirty Power be… Expect ‘Fist-pumping, cathartic, mosh-pit-rock for the mind’ and ‘Heavy rock riffs, big grooves, with tricky solos and sing-along choruses’.
‘Oh God’ – Available to download via BandCamp ONLY: Here
If you want an album that marries pop sensible melodies with some Britpop (I’m well aware they’re Australian) with a twist think Pulp with their Lou Reid angle and some dark topics there is a warmth yet isolated feel to the record it’s like classic Babybird married to some post-punk alternative leanings like Echo and the Bunnymen. Probably a love of Bowies’ darker albums and a pop collection consisting of bands like the Byrds and Teardrop Explodes and Icicle Works. I love ‘Asteroids’ its jangly guitar and sweeping vocals it’s a real throwback to the mid-80s alternative scene where there was darkness amidst all the lovely melodies and nice chord changes. Its a theme I’m taken back to time and again throughout the record it’s like RVG have visited the history of dark pop and inhaled it all to create their own thing.
The single ‘I Used To Love You’ is straight forward look back at love that just went, gone cold and final. There is something that draws you in and whether it be the melody or the arrangments in their uncluttered recording its an easy listen – uncomplicated but enjoyable as you look into the soul of a writer bearing theirs and enjoying what you hear.
None of the songs outstay their welcome and then you arrive at the final destination ‘Photograph’ in all its seven-plus minutes of sparse guitar and voice with the late addition of some floor toms and cymbals before finally opening out towards the end.
A really nice sounding record with some really good songs from a band who have a firm grip on what they do and do it so well. I really enjoyed playing that and all the memories it evoked of times long gone. I love some nostalgia and when it’s done so well its a bonus.