I love me some Replacements,The Get Up Kids and Gaslight Anthem certainly had their moments as did Downtown Struts well you can add New Junk City to that list maybe not at the pinnacle with The Replacements but up there with The struts and Gaslight anthem this Atlanta quartet has gone and made an album about aging and how to stay young at heart and they’ve gone and managed to capture that spirit within the tracks on this album. ‘Losing Side’ has a great tempo and I love the rage in the guitar that kicks in on top of that thumping bass line. There is certainly a hint of Minor threat and the alt-punk scene in this bands DNA and equal amounts of Americana or roots folk if you like not Guthrie folk but inner city folk.
The band certainly has a lot of energy to burn and from the opening salvo of ‘Useless Friends’ that energy is apparent. I remember a time when the likes of Buffalo Tom had some of this spirit and there are touches of that scene here too. Take ‘Come Tomorrow’ for instance with its melodic vocals and jangling guitars playing over the solid rhythm. It’s stirring stuff.
I guess what I’m trying to say is they draw their inspiration from many places but manage to mold it into a very listenable and coherent record that had some real high points and to be fair no particular low points. Even the obvious slow song ‘In Our Blood’ is good with its puffed out chest it’s almost got one foot in the Goo Goo Dolls camp (not modern Dolls but when they still had great tunes).
Good effort all round me thinks I’ll have to go and give that debut album a listen now.
For the sixth year running, The Urban Voodoo Machine bring their unique brand of ‘bourbon-soaked, gypsy blues bop n stroll’ to Bedford town. While their full, 12th annual ‘Gypsy Hotel’ extravaganza takes place in London the following evening, they have brought as much variety and colour as possible tonight. We are in the more intimate Holy Molys room in the venue, which, while surprising, actually suits the band better. Yes, all eight of them, plus guests.
And warming up the audience tonight is the local, honey-throated Adrian Stranik, of The Broadway Twisters, with an acoustic set, ably assisted by Long John Laundry on harmonica. A fitting start to proceedings.
If you’re even vaguely aware of The Urban Voodoo Machine, you’ll know that they don’t do half-measures. So saying, the delightful Trixie Tassels brings her burlesque show to, shall we say, increase the temperature somewhat. More of that later.
Taking to the stage in their customary, somber procession, The Urban Voodoo Machine are the definition of entertainment, for the more discerning, primal palette. Their ‘Theme’ is followed by ‘High Jeopardy Thing’ and the pounding ‘Cheers For The Tears’, but their setlists are always up for improvisation. It is clear from early on that these more intimate surroundings work to the band’s advantage. Hence, their no.1 rule, ‘Shut the fuck up’, is more or less adhered to by the audience. Certainly more so than in previous years, which helps no end during the quieter songs.
‘Fallen Brothers’ feels more celebratory tonight than in the last couple of years. Rob Skipper and Nick Marsh could never be forgotten, naturally, but this line up is certainly establishing itself and carrying on their fine work. There is a sense of fun and mischief tonight. Paul-Ronney Angel picks someone from the crowd as “drinks roadie” for the evening, climbs the speakers and, falling forward, is carried to the bar and back, mic in hand. It was that kind of night.
Between all that, there was ‘Crazy Maria’, ‘Pipe And Slippers Man’, ‘Train Wreck’, ‘While We Were All Asleep’ and ‘Help Me, Jesus’. A two-hour set which seemed to fly by. And Ms. Tassels returned to provide a suitable finale, leading the band through the crowd whilst fire-eating. Seriously, what more could you want? It is always an unforgettable night with The Urban Voodoo Machine, which is why we keep coming back. See you next time. Cheers!
let me present Ginge Knievil’s Top of the Pops 2018. Here, we have the cream of underground punk, glam, garage, power pop and rock ‘n’ roll. In the name of charity, bands have come together from Wales, England, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Norway, Sweden, USA and Japan.
Mental Health Matters Wales is a charity that’s very close to his heart. They’ve helped him in times of crisis and were imperative to his recovery. 100% of the proceeds of the 2 disc set with go directly to Mental Health Matters Wales.
We decided here at RPM to catch u with our favourite bipolar rock and rolla and have a quick impromptu chat about the CD and his own band here’s what words were said –
Where did you get the idea to do these comps?
There were two key factors that spurred the decision to make it happen. I received some support from Mental Health Matters Wales after hitting a crisis point with my Bipolar Disorder in July this year. It left me thinking “how on earth can I repay those guys?” They were essential in my recovery and they do it all for free. I’d reviewed a load of bands in 2018 and so the idea of merging the two seemed like an awesome idea. I guess the idea was born through the love of a good mixtape too. You must have been blown away when the calibre of bands started offering songs to you to get on these comps? Definitely. I sent out blanket emails, not expecting a response at all, and then I was suddenly inundated with offers! I had to keep things based on my last 12 months worth of reviews due to the amount of interest. Any particular favourites? I genuinely love all 42 bands that have donated a track so picking a favourite would be impossible. I was totally over the moon with the Ten Benson track. Chris Teckkam went over and above and delved into the archive and pulled out an exclusive version of “Tits” that was recorded live at The Garage in London. He got the track mastered especially for the comp and everything. I’m just totally thrilled that all the bands were willing to put their name to this little project. I sat back the other day and looked at the tracklisting and went “whoa!” – there are bands from Wales, England, Norway, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Japan and the USA. The fact that they’ve all come together to support a little charity in my community is pretty special.
Who would you hope gets their shit together with a new record that you can then include? Are The Hellacopters recording any time soon?! Hahahahaha. Maybe down the line you and Sal can get together and have a “fistful of top of the pops transatlantic comp” tours? Hahaha.
It was great news when Sal announced the return of his comps. I discovered a load of great bands from the first time around. Whilst the TOTP comp is for charity, hopefully, people will discover their new favourite band in the process. Double bubble, if you like. It’s funny you should say about a tour because more than one person has said what an awesome festival it would be. I don’t think I’m the man to make that happen though! There seems to be a lot of love at the moment for Rock and Roll with loud guitars. Is it about time for a resurgence? Me and you know that there’s always been great rock ‘n’ roll if you scratch the surface. Part of me wants to keep them all to ourselves, mind! Hahaha. I guess it’s kind of baffling how bands like The Hip Priests haven’t been picked up a larger label with some clout behind them. The amount they’ve achieved on their own terms is staggering. I say this without meaning disrespect to the smaller labels; their input is integral for getting good quality rock ‘n’ roll out there. I think it only takes one label to take a punt. It’s a no-brainer in my eyes. All the hard work has already been done.
What next is in the pipeline?
I’ll see how this one sells and then maybe have a look at future releases. I quite like the idea of “Top of the Power Pops.” I’ll ask the postmistress for her take on things when I turn up at the Post Office with a shed load of CDs just before Christmas! She’ll know the answer!! Hahahaha.
As for Nicotine Pretty you’ve had a decent response for the new EP and a few shows lined up. What have you got planned over the coming months?
The response was not something we expected. Nothing is taken for granted, but when good review after good review started pouring in, we were obviously more than happy. There are shows with The Quireboys and Eddie and the Hot Rods up next and then we’ll have a little look at things in the New Year.
Have you enough material for the debut long player ready to go?
All of these songs have been floating around for two years so yeah, there’s more than enough for a long player in reserve. I quite like the EP route though. It’s short, sharp and in your face. The idea was for a series of EP’s on CD and then a vinyl compilation at the end. That still may be achievable… if we don’t self-destruct! Hahaha.
There must have been a time when you thought this band was over before it begun? Without a doubt. People who know the history, know the history. There’s no need for me to repeat things. The band has been stop/start but somehow we’ve kept things going. There were several points where I thought that this bunch of tracks wouldn’t get a physical release. I still call it “The EP That Should Never Have Been.” Things are a bit hazy as we lived and breathed the recording process for a few months to get things the best we could. We did it though and we’re so, so proud of it.
Does being in a band improve your playing and songwriting? Or did the downtime give you a focus on writing the best songs you could and improve your playing / songwriting?
I only really picked up a sixstring with some purpose when Nicotine Pretty started so I guess my playing must’ve improved. I used to play a bit in ‘95 or something but always used Richey Edwards volume levels. I’ve had a few bass gigs over the years but never writing, playing and singing. Things started off really sedate when I hooked up with Lew to start Nicotine Pretty. We few essentially a poor man’s Dogs D’Amour on Valium. Things have since evolved and I like to think my playing has too. My aim is to be Grade 8 Johnny Thunders!
How do you prefer to write? Alone or bouncing off someone else? When you write and take it to the band do the songs change a great deal?
I’m more of aloner at this point in time. When I take things to the band, bits change and arrangements alter but things don’t deviate too much. Lew has a hand in songwriting too but we’ve yet to write together. It’s probably for the best as I value our friendship!!
The sophomore album from Derby glam rockers The Struts has been a long time coming. It’s 4 years since their debut ‘Everybody Wants’ hit the shelves and the last few years has seen the band come a long way. They took the sharp move of relocating to the US in 2015 and have toured hard there ever since, building a fan base opening for the likes of Gn’R, The Stones, The Who and then touring with The Foo Fighters, winning over a hoard of new, young fans along the way.
With the imminent release of the Queen biopic ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, it seems the perfect time to release an album that draws on the flamboyancy, the theatrics and the drama of that classic band. Love em or loathe em, The Struts are a band full of ambition, emotion and killer choruses that cannot be ignored.
First up, it appears someone had the bright idea to bookend the album with two versions of ‘Body Talks’ which seems slightly odd, especially as the more popular version with Kesha on vocals is tagged on at the end, yet the epic ‘Ashes (part 2)’ seems like a more natural album closer. Why not just go all out and put the Kesha version as the album opener and bin the original version? They are pretty similar anyway and the two singers voices work well together. Don’t just slip it on the end hoping hardcore Struts fans won’t notice, but Kesha fans will be drawn in by its inclusion. Embrace the pop collaboration record company bigwigs, you normally do!
“Hey you, don’t you know who I think I am?’ Shouts singer Luke Spiller in the opening line of recent single ‘Primadonna Like Me’. You want your rock ‘n’ roll stars confident and cocksure, with attitude to match? Spiller has it all in spades. It rides on an overly familiar Stones riff that has been used more times than I’ve had hot dinners, but if Primal Scream and The Dandy Warhols can get away with it, then why not The Struts too? It’s a proper glam stomper that struts (sorry) like all big hits should. Delivered from the crotch, Spiller’s trademark rolling of the r’s, and the “do ya wanna” refrain make it a winner, a song that has ‘big hit’ stamped all over it.
Describing The Struts without referencing Queen is like eating a doughnut without licking your lips, nigh on impossible to do! Yet they don’t actually sound like a carbon copy, it’s more in the vocals and the delivery, rather than the songwriting. I mean, the falsetto vocals and glam stomp of ‘In Love with a Camera’ puts them somewhere between The Darkness and Foxy Shazam which ain’t a bad place to be. But the likes of ‘Fire (part 1)’ and ‘Tatler Magazine’ are as Queen as you can get. The former, produced by Butch Walker, builds to an epic, euphoric chorus, accentuated with layers of vocal harmonies. The latter contains all the pomp and circumstance you would expect from a band that cites Queen as a major influence and a band who want fame, fortune and the whole shebang.
Obligatory ballad ‘Somebody New’ is designed to make the girls swoon and shed a tear. Ironically, it was written by the singer while he was taking a dump! Not so much lighters in the air, as Febreeze methinks, I could live without this tune, to be honest.
Elsewhere, and in complete contrast, they take a chance and get all ‘Hot Space’ on ‘Who I Am’ and they actually pull it off in effortless fashion. The 70’s Rod Stewart meets Scissor Sisters pumping disco vibes are perfect for Spiller’s Freddie-esque delivery. It’s an album highlight.
I must admit I rolled my eyes at the balladic intro of ‘Ashes (Part 2)’, but it actually builds to an epic Queen style stomper with a classy harmonised solo to boot and even a nod to The Who as it reaches its climax. As I said earlier, it feels like the natural album closer.
‘Young & Dangerous’ is an album that’s rich in rock ‘n’ roll nostalgia, harking back to a time when rock music WAS pop music. Yet, it has a glossy, contemporary feel. Their glam-tinged, pop rock anthems resonate with the youth of today and now they have made waves in the US, I’m sure they will set their sights on the UK and the rest of the world.
There’s a lot of talk recently about where all the rock stars are, where are the new GnR, the AC/DC for the next generation, where are the future stadium headliners? Well, like them or not The Struts are leading the pack as contenders, they are the poster boys for a new generation of rock music lovers who need larger than life characters to look up to. And Luke Spiller is a man who was born to do this, will you deny him his place amongst the stars?
Placebo celebrate 20 years of their iconic album “Without You I’m Nothing” with the launch of new fan-site featuring new interviews and exclusive content
October 2018 marks the 20th anniversary of Placebo’s iconic second album Without You I’m Nothing. In celebration, the band have launched a fan-site which not only brings together classic live performance footage and photographs from the era, but exclusive new content and new interviews as well. Importantly, it has been created as a place for fans to share and contribute their own photos and memories of what the album means to them.
There is also the chance for fans to win one of two 12” Without You I’m Nothing (ft. David Bowie) vinyl singles and one of five Without You I’m Nothingheavyweight vinyl albums, simply by tagging a post on Twitter or Instagram with #WYIN20.
Bringing the rock in Rock ‘n’ Roll Mike Christie has decided to go it alone and he’s turned up the amps and got his head down and rocked like fuck! This debut mini-album is vibrant and hard rocking. Its got edge and attitude and of course loud guitars.
‘Last Goodbye’ will have you answering his S.O.S and turn up the speakers as the album opens up with a rush of energy that’ll get your blood pumping for sure. ‘Pray For Rain’ hurries in next on the back of a stonking riff as we charge into some classic guitar stomper that draws a line on the side of a Billy Duffy and Steve Jones in as much as its a clean overdriven slab of rock that will have you clench fist punching towards the chorus and the solo beyond that. The sound is rich and big but retains an edge right the way to its final thudding end.
The only downside would be there are only six tracks on this version with a possible seventh being considered for a European release If you like loud guitars then this will give you your fill no question about it. It’s in the same ballpark as Junkyard and Jetboy whilst its also got elements of Duane Peters Gunfight with that clean rock n roll guitar style but its a rich production that does nothing to gloss over Mikes punk rock roots but it’s got a huge sound that will fill any room.
‘One Side Love’ is the first to ease back and conserve some energy as christie sings his socks off and the dueling vocals works a treat before the solo just soars to round off a great track.
‘Don’t Mind Bleeding’ ups the ante again as we hurtle toward the finish line that is punctuated by the whiplash rocker of ‘Come On Down’ which is a great way of ending this introduction to Mike Christie’s debut release to bear his name in bright lights and a barnstorming release it is too. Rock and Roll aren’t even in the emergency room never mind a life support machine as long as cats like Mike Christie are busy making records – check it out – its a rocker!
It seems like yesterday that I made the decision to avoid John Lydon and PIL and instead make my way to catch Ryan Hamilton at 2018’s Camden Rocks. Since then a lot of things have changed for the band without even thinking about the name change (when I caught them they were Ryan Hamilton and the Traitors). I suppose the most important change being the band no longer have to put their material out themselves, they have been signed to Wicked Cool Records. For those in the know, this is the Garage Rock label founded by “Little Steven” Van Zandt in 2005. The label evolved out of Van Zandt’s weekly syndicated radio show Little Steven’s Underground Garage, in fairness Van Zandt recognized that some brilliant rock music just wasn’t getting the push it needed and he was the right guy to do it.
When you consider the label also has on its roster among others Steve Conte, The Dollyrots, Wyldlife, Prima Donna it has some serious street cred and what better place for Hamilton to ply his trade.
The first thing I noticed when the band hit the stage was the sharp suits, the second thing I noticed was that the sound had gone up a gear, they rocked!!! Tracks moved away from the alternative country feel, sped up hit hard and the between song banter talked about the Little Steven influence and how great he was to work with.
This performance as Ryan pointed out was just one within a run of dates that will be the last solo tour for a while, they’ve already picked up some serious support slots for next year and that’s all after time spent in the studio recording the new LP. If the new single performed tonight “Bottom’s up, (here’s to goodbye)”bought tonight on 7” pink vinyl available here
is anything to go by it will be a blinder. Tracks like “Be Kind Rewind”, “We should never have moved to LA”, “Karaoke with no crowd” and “Gulf of Mexico” just breathed, the band let loose, enjoying the feeling of being let loose. The stories, crowd banter and impromptu song “Sorry Chloe” showed a side of Ryan that wasn’t there in Camden, confident, excited and looking forward to what’s coming up. The cover than ended the set tonight I think shows that confidence, the B-side to the new single a rocked out, funked up version of Paula Abdul’s “Straight up”. The future is very definitely golden.
Whilst the world and his wife seem to be getting their collective knickers in a twist over Download lineups and Kiss tour dates the real news has just snook out there in plain sight.
Its fuckin’ true brothers and sisters Jones, Cook, Idol and James are doing this and there is a live show booked. I know there was a collective dribble at RPMHQ earlier when the news dropped and we keep our fingers crossed that this goes well and is the start of something good and they bring this to the UK as well as who knows – some recordings and tunes but for the moment we won’t get ahead of ourselves we’ll just wait for this to pass.
If there is anyone in the city of angels attending this bad boy that would like to make some friend over this side of the pond please get in touch your services are very much required
Well hello and thanks for checking in. Your Monday just got a whole lot better as Stiv Bator hits the screen. Seeing as it would have been Stiv’s birthday last week it seems only fair that we air this classic and I make no apology for the shitty quality of the footage. R,I.P Stiv we miss ya
No Monday morning middle finger would be complete without this classic single from the mighty Wonk Unit and RPM would like to offer our congratulations to Alex and his wife on the birth of their Daughter.
Power poppin’ synth rockin, of course, they’re Canadian – isn’t that the epicenter of the power pop world? It sure as shit seems like it. With their second offering this Vancouver Trio. There’s some right retro synth action on the go in the style of classic Japan or maybe the first album from Duran Duran but wait those guys rocked – sure maybe they did it differently but where else are you going to hear some real synths with plenty of punch and right up front in the mix?
‘Jessica Don’t Like Rock And Roll’ is up first and as I shake my head and wonder why hasn’t anyone taken her to one side and had a word. How can this be? surely if your standing front center at the rock and roll show something terrible must have happened and in true 80’s style, we’re left wondering did she or didn’t she? Maybe on the next record, we’ll find out. The poor girl.
With songs about love and bars and girls and rock n roll, it’s all in there folks – time to get lost in some good time power pop for half an hour as Autogramm take control. ‘Bummer Party’ is like the distant relative to some early Duran and even touches of classic Numan.
‘Sea Of Regret’ If it were to be sung by Debbie Harry it’d be a smash hit or have been should I say. ‘Wandering eyes’ gets a little proggy for my taste but it does make you want to watch ‘The Warriors’ and wander around with a bandana around your wrist and on top of one of your Reebok hi-tops. Settle down folks don’t panic ‘Cool Kids Radio’ could easily be the title track to some high school teen flick or on the radio as some kid whos part werewolf is riding around on top of a van roof with this blasting out.
‘Small Town’ is a bit mod like in its delivery with a jarring guitar and punchy beat it’s a bright number with great harmonies but its the final fling of a really good record and ‘Peter Pan’ swoops in with a cool bass line and a refreshing new wave sound not heard for a while and to wrap this punchy bad boy up ‘I Wanna Be Whipped’ could have been penned by Blag Dahlia such is its infectious melody or an unearthed Dee Dee song that the Ramones never got to use either way its like a cool summer breeze of an album and a great pick me up if your feeling down. Nice one Autogramm I like it. New wave is back in town and it goes by the name Autogramm.