Dom Daley,

Always nice to have some Taurus Trakker on the player and this their fourth long player is possibly their most accomplished piece thus far. It gets Mick Jones (yeah he of the Clash) to handle the production as they proceed to groove and shake the listener with their hypnotic bluesy punk rock ‘n’ roll.  Inextricably linked with Ladbrook Grove and the surrounding part of West LondonTaurus Trakker follow on from what Jones and his old band used to knock out from this part of the Capital.  For those joining us for the first time, a brief introduction would be this;  these cats ply a trade in blues-based rock ‘n’ roll that has a heap of groove and swing and they write songs that would get your heart pumping if you were to happen upon them in some late night bar on the wrong side of town and there is an honesty with their lyrics that tell tales from the streets that they walk upon and social and economic ideals that are honest and worthy.

 

Whilst it’s still the same loose rock ‘n’ roll vibe happening its clear they are tighter as a unit and the production is a lot sharper on this album compared to previous offerings as well.  Having had their studio taken away by property developers in their part of town and then the fire at Grenfell Tower Taurus and their sense of community came to the fore with a lot of who they are bleeds into what they do and if you’re looking for the sound of West London and Ladbrook Grove then Taurus Trakker are it.

 

I think maybe one thing Mick Jones has been able to get the band to do is shorten the songs and tighten them up and reach a climax rather than jam them out into a lot longer which helps with the impact of the tunes. ‘Vibe On Me’ is a good example of this.  Taurus has always been a band I like to hear what singer Martin is saying and regardless of what he’s saying I’m paying attention God he might be reading out the terms and conditions of his railcard but I want to know about it.

I love the raw energy and spirit of ‘Letter To Elvis’ and its a step or hip shake in the right direction even if the content saddens me because Martins right you know. Its a progression from the last ‘Death Coaching’ album and possibly contains their finest work to date (it is in my opinion anyway)

Their mashing up of the blues with punk rock attitude has them rocking with a unique vibe and songs like ‘To Much Sugar’ demonstrate this perfectly well and the heavy blues of ‘Uncool Jack’ will also underline this theory.  Having said all that if these guys were from New York or Chicago you wouldn’t bat an eyelid and would say how cool their vibes are and their gritty working-class rock n roll is in the moment and catches the spirit of community and Taurus Trakker is the sound of people who are proud of where they come from and where their roots lock them into.  Check out ‘All Shook Up Again In W10’ its got a bunch of great tunes and you’d be a fool to pass up this invitation to check em out.

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Martin Chamarette. 

When I heard that one of my all-time favourite bands were reforming for a one-off gig, this was my early Christmas present to myself. Like most of the bands that I love and attempt to champion, Jonny Cola And The A-Grades were doomed to obscurity. I did warn them; “if I love you, there’s no hope”. Though this is not entirely my fault; the public is not known for their great taste.

Twenty years earlier, and they could have been on a par with Suede and Pulp, deservedly so. Their album ‘Spitfire’ is still one of the best I’ve ever heard, so I headed to Paper Dress Vintage with great excitement. The boutique come venue suits their unique brand of glam pop anthems well.

I was relieved to get there in time to see the support set by Sister Witch. Theirs is a darker mood, but complements the atmosphere. Lux Lyall is ethereal and enchanting upfront, while David Ryder Prangley is still masterful with a sleazy riff. That’s another album I need to get.

And so, The A Grades take to the stage, launching into ‘Wronghead’, and Jonny reaches the mic just in time, to a round of applause. Boys, you have been missed. Classic, lost single ‘Marlborough Road’ follows, and I lose track of the set list and embrace this special moment. The small room is packed, everyone knows the words, and my few photos are wobbly as the floor is shaking.

Highlights? They possess so many great tunes, but hearing ‘Halo’ one more time is fantastic, while ‘Ripples’ threatens to make my eyeshadow run. Just something in my eye. Jonny is clearly a little shocked at the warmth of their reception. But all of us here know; this was a special band. ‘Straight To Video’ is epic. I’d have loved them to have played ‘Spitfire’ in its entirety, but it’s all good. Jonny refuses to end the set with a slightly wobbly ‘The Party’s Over’, so we get a rare airing of ‘Disappearing Act’. One early sign of Christmas that I can forgive is Jonny’s Santa hat for encore ‘All I Want For Christmas Is An Action Man’.

And tonight, for me, was like Christmas and birthday rolled into one. A bittersweet farewell, but one to treasure.

On such a spectacular sign off how could it be that RPM had two people at the venue  – both with notebooks and pencils in hand Role Models Rich Ragany was also in attendance and had this to say about the return of Jonny Cola & The A Grades

 

Rich Ragany. 

Reunions and farewells are cuttin’ onions and church bells. Ring, ring, ringing away and forcing tears, representing the death knell of some glorious, glamorous misspent youth or past. Jonny Cola & The A-Grades never seemed too interested in that schlocky nonsense. They always seemed more about the here and now, giving Saturday night’s cracked actors a cracked pavement to amble down. Romantic, lust filled and knowing there may be some suffering tomorrow. But it’s worth it. It always was, and Friday reminded me of that.

Alice Cooper met up with Jarvis Cocker and Lou Reed. Bought something unmentionable from Elliot Easton and, hey… does anyone have David’s number? Not Jones’… he never answers. I mean Johansen’s… To say there is an eclectic mix of influences present in the band’s music is an understatement. They proudly flaunted that on the night. Wonderfully, I never thought once of anyone else but The A-Grades. Doing without trying. Cool.
There. I said it. The good ones never try.
With each member an excellent player (making the ranks of such wonderfully ongoing concerns as Simon Drowner’s Desperate Journalist and Mauro Venegas in The Speedways), you never got a sense of overplaying. Just bright, shimmering, slutty entanglements on the exact right side of falling apart, letting us know we in the audience were as well. If we want to be.

And Jonny. Jonny, please. What an engaging performance. Sly smile worn warm… and real. I was moved
The songs and legacy of the band are not relegated to reunions to cast your mind back. This show was a reminder of the songs that should remain part of our soundtracks.
Those weekends were great, sure. So was this one.
Well played boys.

*Footnote RPM has copies of their final single ‘Blow Up’ on white vinyl available just email us with a sob story and we might open the vault and sell you one*

When a good friend of mine had planned a trip to Vienna to watch TV Smith, it was a no-brainer when he asked if I’d like to join him. Vienna is a little over an hour away from my home in the Czech Republic, and I assume due to the differences in economies many touring acts stop at Vienna rather than here.

I’d never seen the Adverts main man on stage in any form, and to be honest, he’d fallen off my radar for a while so I was intrigued to know what this would be like, and in a venue, I’d never been to before – the Chelsea Club. My friend had informed me that his most recent album ‘Land of the Overdose’ was excellent, so I didn’t let the ‘Chelsea’ nature of the club (the Wi-Fi was Stamford Bridge so it was no accident) put me off.

We entered the club to the sounds of Austrian ska polka ensemble Skolka. Not being a big ska fan myself, I was surprised when I was being unwittingly attracted by their vibrant energy. Before I knew it, I was buying CDs from the groups, enigmatic singer, while my friends were buying T-shirts. Fair play, they were fantastic and absolutely won me over. All that brass and dancing went down a storm and we were a little apprehensive about how one man with his acoustic was going to follow that.

Luckily, the crowd who had fully enjoyed that show remained in the tightly packed, smoky club to witness TV Smith take to the stage. Again, I can admit being a bit ignorant on the Smith front, but I’d recently heard the song ‘Replay’ (from the 2014 album ‘I Delete’) somewhere and loved it. However, it wasn’t until he pulled it out early on in his set that I remembered it was him! It had been lost somewhere to the back of my mind. Truly though, it is a fantastic song and it was immediately obvious that this one guy with a guitar was going toe to toe with an 8-person strong band full of brass.

TV Smith shines with energy, and to prove it he must’ve played for around two hours that night, playing pretty much the new album entirely, alongside numbers cherry-picked from his extensive back catalogue. A party from the off, songs such as the title track of the aforementioned ‘I Delete’ really got the crowd going but of course many will know him for the Adverts songs which he held on to until the end, particularly ‘Gary Gilmore’s Eyes’ and ‘Bored Teenagers’. A fantastic night all round, and well worth a trip across the border.

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Dom Daley.

Montreal, QC-based rock band Sick Things recently released a video for their single, ‘Sick Things’ which coincidentally is the name of the band and the album and the single so even the dumbest Rock and Rolla can remember that can’t they?  sure they can (it worked for me) and if they tune in they are sure in for a treat.  Released earlier this summer on CD this is about to get a spanking new release on wax from the good people at Gods Candy Record and on hearing this for the first time I had to congratulate the label for its good choice yet again.

 

You see the more you dig into to new music hitting the office desk (so to speak) the more patterns seem to appear and right here right now Canada is winning any race for the best straight up power pop rock n roll bands currently releasing music anywhere on the planet.  Damn, there must be something in the water right now because every time I turn on the stereo and play a Canadian band they are killing me with the tunes and Sick Things are no exception and the latest release to hit the death decks that get a toe tap and nod of approval from RPM HQ.

‘Take The Head From The Crown’ doesn’t hang about and goes straight for the kill with a foot stomper as the guitars wail and the floorboards shake this is happening, folks.  Cutting its teeth on 70’s classics like early Kiss, Cheap Trick and a healthy dose of duelling Thin Lizzy like guitars there isn’t much time to shoot the breeze and waffle because drum roll after soaring solo this is good stuff.  Before you have time to wipe the dribble of your chin ‘Boogalooser’ is shaking its backside like the finest show off wanna be guitar slinger in town this is how Biters started I’m sure of it.

It doesn’t stop there – this is no flash in the pan because if anything this record is getting stronger if anything by the time we reach ‘I Got News For You’ the riffs are getting sharper and we’re burning rubber towards Hellacopters territory maybe with a little less attitude but in the same ballpark.  Thank fuck the acoustic guitars come out for ‘We Got It Figured Out’ but only briefly were in for a classic acoustic layered rocker and who doesn’t love those BV’s?

This record is really consistent from start to finish and its quality is relentless I just hope they windmilled their way through the recordings and drank plenty of beer and are living the dream because the likes of Lynott opened up this path for others to follow and whilst the trail is still there we need bands to earn their stripes and pass through the door marked Stage ahead because the bright lights are shining and those electric guitars won’t duel themselves.

It’s got the energy and swing of that debut Black Crowes album and the attitude of prime Thin Lizzy with the melody of Cheap Trick and they even remembered the cowbell – what’s not to like for fuck’s sake this record is as much fun as is legally possible and I’m thinking you should go get some.  Eleven slices of prime good time with extra slices of solo on top – buy it!

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Dom Daley.

Australian rock and rollers are back in their corner taking another swing

Australia has got a fine pedigree for making top-notch punk rock n roll from the saints through Radio Birdman and more recently The Chats, Amyl & The Sniffers and who can ignore Main Street Brats and Living End and Cosmic Psychos.  Well kids add Black Heart Breakers to that list as their coming of age release is with us.  Rotting Out might only have six tunes on it but they are the best the band have written so far and show a quality of songwriting they’ve not displayed thus far and I’m somebody who liked what they’ve done before when I say liked I loved it.

Having knuckled down and earned their stripes by playing shows with the likes of Radio Birdman this Sydney four-piece have stepped up a notch and deserve your ears for what amasses to six songs in sixteen minutes and within those sixteen minutes, they capture some real genuine magic.  They marry some classic influences and make something that isn’t just a copy but have moulded their influences into something they can claim to be their own which isn’t something that every band achieves and isn’t easy to do.

‘Why Not Me’ starts with a thunderous bass and floor tom work out that harnesses some pace and aggression as we hurtle to the gang vocals that the likes of the Living End have made a living off.  The production is sharp and sympathetic to the passion that is obvious to anyone listening.  It’s great to hear a band firing on all cylinders straight out of the blocks and if this slab of punk rock and roll is an indication of what’s to come then play on!

The band has made no secrets of loving the Ramones and to be honest there might not be enough bands out there that hold dear the melodies that Da Brothers used to hack out but Black Heart Breakers understand this and thrive off it. ‘Melody’ might be about a young lady but if she’s listening then she’s gonna be one happy lady because this is excellent. The playing is noticeably better than anything they’ve done before as ‘Angels Take Me’ has some sumptuous basslines rolling through its melodic sub-three minutes of punk rock.

Had someone like Green Day released ‘Save Me’ people would be drooling over it and the gang vocals I bet are great live and having one converse foot firmly planted in Dee Dee’s lyric book it’s all good now let’s go Hey Ho!. But the best is coming over the horizon as ‘Burning Out’ introduces a horn section and as I raise an eyebrow as soon as the first toots hit my speakers I’m sold.  This is the finest few minutes that Hayden and the boys have had so far.  What a song! The breakdown is Clash-tastic and I mean that as a badge of honour and in no way a bad thing.  Fantastic track.

To take this mini album home ‘Giving Up’ is a laid-back tune about friendship that builds and builds sure it’s been done a million times but if the song works then do it and this works a treat.  I love the rolling drums on the build-up to the chorus and the solo is on fire! Tres bien boys tres bien.  One of the most rounded and best mini albums I’ve heard all year. Check out Black Heart Breakers because the world needs youngsters like these they make old men like me fall in love with music over and over again. Cheers!

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Ben Hughes.

London’s trashiest exponents of gutter-level rock ‘n’ roll return with their sophomore long player ‘Last Suicide’, the follow-up to their 2017 debut ‘First Suicide’.  Known for their incendiary and unpredictable live shows, the band has endured a few line-up changes in their short career, but the core songwriting duo of Sebastian Melmoth (vocals) and Vince Suicide (guitar) remain. While their first album line-up was an unusual 3 guitar attack with no bass, they now return to the more traditional format with new bassist Gema German and drummer May Mansur on board for the ride. Does this new 2 boy/2 girl line-up force a change in direction? Are Suicide Generation the new punk rock Abba? Read on to find out the gory details.

 

Recorded over a 3 day period by producer Patrice Picard, ‘Last Suicide’ is 11 slices of furious punk rock fury, delivered with reckless abandon. Beware, this ain’t no USA pop punk folks, this isn’t even Scandinavian scuzz. Recorded on the finest analog gear they could beg, borrow or steal, this is a lo-fi rebel yell, the primitive noise of a band that can barely keep it together and sounds all the more magnificent for it. With comparisons to Pussy Galore and GG Allin, you can sort of guess where this band is coming from, right?

Opener ‘Hypnotise Me’ is as raw as you like. Kicking in at Ramones speed with guitars set to stun, they take no prisoners. Melmoth spitting bile and venom for just over a minute and a half of chaos and musical deconstruction.

‘Trapped in This Place’ with its “don’t bring me down” refrain and cool surf rock solo is pure Rezillos meets Dead Kennedys goodness. Elsewhere ‘Hole In Her Head’ has a cool as you like riff, it’s a stop/start tune that barely gets going before its trashy demise like they are just practicing a riff or a song idea.

The deranged and menacing ‘You Gonna Burn’ is a highlight. ‘When I Think About You’ is a 50’s rock ‘n’ roll mash up taken down to gutter level and ‘Talk Trash’ rides on an overly familiar 50s rock ‘n’ roll progression with fiery vocalisin’ and an as always energetic delivery. They even veer into goth territory with the Cramps meets Christian Death vibes of ‘You Must Be A Witch’. Now, that I truly dig!

 

You can just tell from the off that this band does not give one fuck, they will do it on their terms and give the middle finger to all who question their motives. ‘Last Suicide’ is not an album to play to your mum, it doesn’t contain songs fit for a Spotify playlist, you can’t split lines of speed on a playlist anyway, you need a record cover for that, right? Well, don’t worry folks, coz Suicide Generation got all your rock ‘n’ roll needs covered. This is an album to put on at 2 in the morning when you’re off your tits on whatever, with a smile on your face and a bottle in your hand.

 

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Here at RPM we sure do love our Rock and Roll and we also love our Bobbleheads or to be precise throbbleheads so when we see those awesome peeps at Aggronautix release a new one we can’t help ourselves and feel compelled to recommend them to you.  what a lovely Christmas present this would make.
PRE-ORDER NOW – SHIPPING DECEMBER 2018
Limited to 1000 hand-numbered figures
LIMITED EDITION OF 1000 — PRE-ORDER NOW — SHIPPING DECEMBER 2018

Bob Casale, one of the 5 essential gears in the original Devo Fab 5, gets honored posthumously with this hand-numbered, limited edition, sculpted figure of 1,000 units. Bob is outfitted for devolved action with his “Duty Now for the Future” era helmet and protective pads circa 1979 and his classic Devo Tee and 3-D glasses.

This year marks legendary Devo’s 40th-anniversary release of their iconic debut record, “Are We Not Men?, We Are Devo!” Commemorate Bob 2 (and his famous facial mole) by stepping up and becoming one of the few Throbblehead owning members of the Devolutionary Army.

NOTE: For customers outside of the US, your order will take an average of 3-4 weeks to reach you via economy shipping, which does not have tracking. If tracking is needed, you can upgrade to priority shipping at an additional cost but must email us for details.

Dom Daley.

Hello Noo Yawk.  Hello, Sleazy underbelly where the fuck have you been?  Those pesky kids the Erotics have if nothing else stayed true to their sleazy rock and fuckin roll nonstop party for God knows how long and on this evidence they’re digging their heels in and not budging any day soon – Thank fuck for that says RPM.

They’ve toured Europe even managed to visit us here on Shit Island and the one constant is their mixture of Glam rock and punk and being Stuck between Venus and Mars doesn’t sound like a bad place to be if this is the soundtrack.  Maybe releasing mini albums or EP’s is the way to go as you could possibly manage one every six months or so and that would mean the public can’t forget you so easily if there is a constant carpet bombing of music hitting the virtual shelves.

‘Stop Drop Roll’ is a solid slice of sleazy rock n roll Mike Trash makes sure these sleazy boys are on top of their game as the riff chugs to its natural conclusion and business is good and there’s just enough time to take a generous slug of Jack before ‘Nice Things’ continues the party.  It’s following a long list of rock n roll al a Faster Pussycats debut maybe without the finesse perhaps and more an east coast street attitude teetering down the street at four AM.  But you can have nice things Mike honest you can just keep doing what you do.

Yup you guessed it ‘Venus Mars’ heads off into another trashy universe upon a big riff that shows they were paying attention when Alice Cooper was knocking out big riffs and there’s a little Gene Kiss in there as well methinks.

the boys in the band kicks back a little then and head off into a dusty last chance saloon for the one that starts off slowly but when the band all kick in the ladies will love waving their lighters in the air to this. But with their tongue firmly in their cheek Trash announces its the best damn song of the night and who am I to argue.

‘Dismember’ has more than a toe into Kiss riff territory as we head into the home straight and show the likes of Wednesday 13 how to play the horror punk shit properly which only leaves their take on the classic Misfits ‘Skulls’ – Not the most adventurous cover you’ll ever hear but a good stab at a classic song and I guess confirmation of whose side these punks are on.  Always a lot of fun and never taking themselves to seriously The Erotics deliver another mini album that should satisfy any ghouls out there looking for a soundtrack to a sleazy party.  Crack open another can and turn it up.

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A Radio edit of the Joe Strummer and Mick Jones composition ‘U.S. North,’ is being serviced exclusively to radio for the first time as of 14th December through Ignition Records. The full ten-minute version of ‘U.S. North,’ the longest Strummer/Jones song ever recorded, is available on ‘Joe Strummer 001,’ the first compilation to span Joe Strummer’s career outside of his recordings with The Clash.
‘U.S. North’ was originally recorded, but not used in the movie, directed by Robert Frank (‘The Americans’ photographic book) and Rudy Wurlitzer, ’Candy Mountain’.
‘U.S. North’ was recorded at Redan Recorders Studios, just behind Whiteley’s in Queensway West London, in October 1986. Talking in 1987 Joe said: “Mick came forward with an amazing tune. It was funded by Canadian money, the last thing we should have done was call it ‘U.S. North.’” This was a very productive and globe-trotting four months for Joe which saw him re-unite with Mick Jones on 26th June (Mick’s birthday), co-write 5 songs, co-produce (London), mix (New York) the Big Audio Dynamite album ‘No. 10, Upping Street,’ film ‘Straight To Hell’ in Spain and work on the soundtrack to ‘Straight To Hell’ also at Redan Studios.
‘U.S. North’ features – Joe Strummer: Vocals, Guitar, Mick Jones: Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Greg Roberts: Drums, Dan Donovan: Keyboards, Felippe Gonzales: Bongos, Xavier Solano: Agogo and strings by The Radio Futura Philharmonic Orchestra, Madrid.
’Joe Strummer 001’ comprises favourites from Joe’s recordings with the 101ers, The Mescaleros, his solo albums, soundtrack work plus 12 previously unreleased songs including: ‘Czechoslovak Song/Where Is England’ an early demo of ‘This Is England,’ ‘Rose Of Erin’ from the 1993 Sara Driver film ‘When Pigs Fly’ and ‘London Is Burning’ one of the last songs Joe recorded. Reviewed on RPM Here
’Joe Strummer 001’ is available on: Ltd Edition Super Deluxe Box Set with 3 x LP, 7” and 12” Vinyl, Deluxe Double CD and Cassette (IGN53BOX), Deluxe Double CD with A4 Book (IGNCD53X), Double CD (IGNCD53), Heavyweight Vinyl Box Set (IGNLP53X) and Digital download from:Here
The archiving of this material and compiling of ‘Joe Strummer 001’ was overseen by Joe’s widow Lucinda Tait and compilation producer and art director Robert Gordon McHarg III. All tracks were restored and mastered by Grammy Award winner Peter J. Moore at the E. Room in Toronto Canada.

Johnny Hayward.

With RPM barely a month old there is obviously a huge stash of great music already released in 2018 that we’d never had the chance to share with you guys, until now!

The bizarrely named Death By Unga Bunga and their fifth studio album ‘So Far So Good So Cool’ is about as perfect a place as any to start though as having just wowed audiences across the UK in support of Irish rockers Ash we thought it was about time you also discovered why this 5 piece from Norway were handpicked by Tim Wheeler and Co out of relative obscurity to secure such a prestigious slot.

Originally released back in April of this year I first got to hear about the band when a Facebook mate of mine sent me a link to the total nerdgasm that is the video to their track ‘Into The Night ‘with a note that simply said “this is your new favourite band.”

Well that infectious slab of powerpop was certainly enough to grab my attention and the fact that the band also just happened to look like the bastard sons of Biff Malibu only helped to increase my interest. The real game changer happened just before ‘So Far So Good So Cool’ was finally due to hit the streets though when the guys dropped the second video from the record, the superb ‘Soldier’, a song so catchy I just had to get my shots at my local rock ‘n’ roll doctor and experience the full majesty of Death By Unga Bunga.

Having lived with this record (it’s also out on CD and download) for nearly six months there is rarely a day that goes by when ‘So Far So Good So Cool’ isn’t actually on my stereo, as the 11 tracker (note 2 tracks are quirky incidental interludes) is simply one of the best powerpop records you will hear anywhere this year.

With a particular penchant for writing instantly memorable 3:30 minute pop/rock tunes just like say Cheap Trick, Thin Lizzy, The Knack and yes, their UK touring buddies Ash what Death By Unga Bunga do ever so well is make their own particular brand of powerpop sound totally unique to them, something I haven’t really felt since the heady days of when Scandinavia was seducing my eardrums at an alarming rate with genre defining bands such as Gluecifer, Division of Laura Lee and Randy.

It’s simply impossible to pick a stand out track amongst the 9 equally brilliant tracks captured within the all killer no filler grooves of ‘So Far So Good So Cool’ but ‘Boys’ really is up there with the very best hard rock tracks released this year and in ‘So Cool’ the Bunga boys give Turbonegro a lesson in how to use synths without having to sound like Van Halen circa ‘1984’.

‘So Far So Good So Cool’ is quite simply essential listening for anyone who has albums by the likes of Fuzzbubble, Sugarbomb and The Semantics within their collection. I’m just gutted I didn’t get a chance hear this record played live.

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