Day 3 – San Francisco: seafood and drinking with the locals

The ride from the airport to Fisherman’s Wharf takes maybe 40 minutes. Packed like sardines, our taxi is full, there is no air con and it’s what you might call uncomfortable. We travel through some pretty rough looking areas, as we spy hammered bums staggering through the streets clutching their worldly belongings in one hand and a brown paper bag with god only knows what in the other. Groups of Hispanics and Africans hang on street corners, pimps, drug dealers or maybe even worse. Holy crap! Is this San Francisco? I don’t want to be staying here.

Luckily, our hotel is situated just off the much nicer Fisherman’s Wharf and we waste no time exploring the tourist areas. Bars, shacks and shops offer everything from the exotic to the less so exotic. Shops sell high class art, others sell tacky tat, some a combination of both. If you love seafood this is the place to be, its everywhere and it all looks and smells amazing. From fresh lobster and crab to bread bowls of clam chowder, it’s a seafood lover’s dream.

After eating, we stray from the tourist area and find an Irish bar for beer, whiskey and local company. We get talking to a regular; Phil, a self-confessed alcoholic  who loves to talk, oh how he loves to talk! He repeats himself with stories of hunting, his kids and the local area. I get stuck with him and Sedd a couple of locals, one with a strong NY accent. The alcohol and the conversation flows and by the end of the evening Paisley Park now seems a long, long’ time ago.

 

Day 4 – Bikes, bums and glorious sea views

 

As this is a rock ‘n’ roll road trip the plan was to catch as many bands as we could on our travels. After weeks of searching listings, it seems that anyone we wanted to see either had just played or were playing after we left, so we decided San Fransico would be the full-on tourist trip.

Today, as part of our holiday package we have electric bikes hired for a day of exploration. This I would highly recommend if you are coming to San Francisco for the first time. We plan a route that took us through Haight-Ashbury, the centre of the 60’s hippie movement, down through lush green parks, over sandy beaches and through dense forestry and over a coastal path to the Golden Gate Bridge.

 

Thank god for electric bikes! The steep roads are unforgiving and the journey up and over to Haights-Ashbury is a long one that takes in the sights and sounds of the city in a way you just cannot experience by taxi or tram.

What we didn’t take into account was that it was Sunday morning and most of the shops in Haights-Ashbury are shut! The thrift stores, tattoo shops and even the world famous Ben & Jerry’s ice cream parlour are not open yet. But the bohemian vibe is omnipresent. Bums and aging hippies still shuffle about minding their own business, as the morning Californian sun rises above the buildings. At the street junctions, you can get great views down over the vast city and take in the magnitude of the bustling city that seems to be in a time warp. I don’t think much has changed here since the 60’s. Not much development, take away the modern cars and many areas could still be a scene from ‘Bullitt’

The homeless here are seemingly invisible to passers-by. As we stop at a park entrance to take pictures, one guy in his twenties with a massive beard and his entire belongings (including an ancient skateboard) in a bag over his shoulder, shuffles past. Sedd greets him with a “Hey!, how ya Doing?”, he walks past us with no reply. As we walk across the road he turns and asks us what we wanted, seemingly puzzled, maybe even fearful that someone actually interacted with him.

Further along the street, another guy in a massive parker (bearing in mind its probably 25 degrees by now) has his filthy jeans half-mast, the legs of the jeans flapping around on the floor. A weird fashion statement maybe, I then realised these jeans were actually acting as his shoes!

 

We rode through Golden Gate park, a 1000 acre public park that stretches from Haights- Ashbury down to the coast. If museums and Japanese tea gardens are your thing, spend time here. It’s a massive relief that it’s all downhill from here and freewheeling not only cools us down but gives a break from the peddling. We check out the Dutch windmills before heading along the coast with stunning views of the pacific to our left, before reaching the Camera Obscura, it’s not even open yet as its still only 10.40am and we have already done so much.

The chain has come off my bike and become jammed. With no tools and my hands now covered in oil, a passer-by cyclist offers some help. Our new elderly friend Bob is a local, who cycles this coastal road every weekend. He offers to cycle with us and basically, he becomes a free tour guide as he takes the best route through the various coastal paths towards the Golden Gate Bridge, giving us information and facts as we go.

Cycling across Golden Gate Bridge is an experience in itself. It’s a free for all as tourists with various cycling ability wobble about trying to check out the views, take pictures and not crash into each other or the irate professional local cyclists who zoom past, shouting at Japanese tourists to get out of the way. We cycle onto Sausalito for lunch and ice cream. We check out the rock balancing guy Bill Dan before catching the ferry back to San Francisco.

After a well-needed chill at the hotel, we head out to explore China Town for the evening. After walking for seemingly miles and not really finding anywhere to eat, a quick look on Trip Advisor, we find a cool little restaurant right on the edge of China Town where I have the best Chinese meal I have ever had.

We walk back through the streets of sleazy clubs and topless bars. We find a tiny Blues club, like a sort of Speakeasy, where older guys who never made it play endless jams of the same song, probably on a daily basis. One beer is quite enough and after a full day cycling, we are ready to drop.

 

Day 5 – Escape from Alcatraz to Lost Boys territory, Monterey and beyond

 

Our last half day in San Francisco starts with a visit to the world famous windy road of Lombard Street before catching the ferry to Alcatraz. The audio tour is great, with the headphones on a heavily accented gentleman leads you through the gloomy penitentiary step by step. Real accounts from past inmates and wardens as well as background noise and effects really take you back to those times, as they recount stories and breakout attempts, the murders and the rigours of daily life in the once escape-proof prison on a rock in San Francisco Bay.

I love San Francisco and am sad to leave so soon to be honest. The roads are busy and parking is ridiculous, the best way to explore is definitely by bike. But you should also take a tram grab a bowl of clam chowder and take a pocket full of quarters to spend in the Mechanical Museum. I think I could live here.

 

We get an Uber to the airport to pick up a silver convertible Ford Mustang that will be our transport for the rest of the trip! We say our goodbyes to San Francisco as we take the Pacific Highway down towards Monterey for the next part of our adventure.

The stunning scenery and coastal views as we drive, just put in mind the game Grand Theft Auto, if you have ever played San Andreas then you will know why. As we reach Santa Cruz, we head to Santa Cruz Boardwalk where they filmed the classic opening scenes from The Lost Boys. With it being out of season, the amusement park and roller coaster are closed, which at first is disappointing, but we are still able to walk through it and take photos. The desolate nature seems quite fitting as the sun sets in the sky behind the seemingly abandoned roller coaster.

Remember the scene where they hang from the bridge and taunt Michael to join them?  That railroad bridge is right there, behind the amusement park! We go and stand on it for photos like a real couple of fanboys. Is the car park to the left where they did that first kill on the security guard? it sure looks like it.

As we head back to the car, I see something moving in the bushes, I get closer to check out what I presume is a butterfly, to see a real live hummingbird! No one told me they were here in the wild for all to see, that was unexpected.

As the sun sets over the coastal views on the Pacific Highway drive to Monterey, again GTA flashbacks fill my mind as they will time and again on this trip. Every now and again, I get the urge to grab the wheel, veer off the highway and drive across the acres of farmland looking for hidden adventures. But I don’t, this is real life, not a game, this is the larger than life reality of California and we are finally living it.

We reach the hotel, drop our bags and find a local seafood restaurant where we dine on crab curry and exotic tasting cocktails.

 

Day 6 – Trippy jellyfish, the white sands of Carmel and LA baby!

 

There’s not much rock ‘n’ rolling to be done in Monterey, so it’s another tourist morning before heading down towards LA. After tucking into the biggest omelette I have ever seen while watching cormorants dive for their own breakfast in the crystal clear waters of Monterey Bay, we head over to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Although expensive, it’s well worth a visit. Massive tanks take you to the underwater world in the largest Aquarium in the world. The jellyfish room is out of this world as crazy-colored, alien looking creatures you never knew existed bob about in front of your eyes. Hypnotising and quite trippy, it’s better than TV!

We find a second-hand record store to grab a bunch of random CDs for the road trip down to LA and onto Vegas. Our soundtrack will now be a mix of The Eagles, The Byrds, Tom Petty, Sheryl Crowe and Prince & The NPG.

We do the 17-mile drive which goes through the famous Pebble Beach golf course, with windy roads, through dense forestry with plenty of vista points to take in the stunning, picturesque views that no camera can truly capture.

The next stop is Carmel, where the sun beats down on amazing white, sandy beaches that stretch for miles. Duran Duran probably filmed a video here back in the 80’s no doubt. This small, coastal town has a completely different vibe to San Francisco. Chilled and relaxed, the cars, the building and the people tell me there is a lot of money in Carmel. Ye Olde English style shops are hidden amongst the coffee shops and restaurants and overpriced boutiques.

We grab a bite to eat and head back on the highway for LA.

 

It’s close to midnight by the time we drive up Sunset Boulevard towards the hotel. The strip is teaming with life, does it ever sleep I wonder? Too late and too tired to explore, the most we manage is a beer at a western themed bar across the road, where a dude dressed as a cowboy asks us for ID. Inside, drunken middle-aged men perform karaoke to a room packed with students and middle-aged couples, served by the beautiful people behind the round bar in the center. In the corner, a bucking bronco is in full swing, a group watch and laugh as a guy tries his best to hang on time and again. Welcome to LA!

Author : Ben Hughes

 

Dwane Peters and his US Bombs are still out there making music and dropping audio bombs on us as I type.  Always a pleasure and never a chore to find out that Dwayne has got some music ready to drop and when we found out the details of ‘Road Case’ we were excited and when it hit the death decks of HQ and hearing those crisp guitars hit the speakers we raised a smile that soon became a grin that soon became as broad as the Californian sun.

So yeah Dwayne has got a gruff razor gargling vocal style but man does his band The US Bombs peddle a blast of old-school punk rock n roll.  Imagine Social Distortion hadn’t gone folky and mix that with a healthy dose of Rancid around the time they were singing about Olympia and their roots were radical well the US Bombs sound like that then as well and still do.  The songs are melodic and always like the best must attend house party in town, just take ‘Something TO Believe In’ you can imagine singing and swiggin’ along to that bad boy and then the arrangement of ‘Never Them’ is excellent from the swirling organ and acoustic holding the base of the song to task whilst those electric guitars roll on. again another winner fro the US Bombs.

sure they aren’t going to win any prizes for originality but they keep it real and do exactly what you want them to and keep it tight and loyal to the Bombs and what they’re all about. the album just flows nicely as the songs are all pretty decent with some real highs and some quite commercial sounds like ‘Refugee’ which could be a hit for sure after the long intro the song bursts into life after about ninety seconds (almost punk rock prog).

‘Kill Kill Kill’ get a bit funky like the theme tune on the Jimmy Kimmel show or something similar its a curveball with the fiddle playing like Peters has gone all Mellencamp for three minutes and the jazz saxophone will really mess with your head.  ‘Barracuda Baby’ is a sleazy grinding number with Peters almost whispering into your speakers which is a little disconcerting but hey I’ll try most things once.

US Bombs are always a band that is tight and packed with the most excellent players (even if they are on almost thirty members) which is always going to help and when their albums crop up packed with a dozen tunes I refuse to imagine a time when it won’t be thoroughly enjoyable listen and ‘Road Case’ is no exception from the opener right through to the final hoorah of the wheezing accordion driven ‘Needles’,  it’s a winner.  God bless Dwayne Peters and God bless The US Bombs you guys rock.

Buy Road Case Here

Slope Records

Author : Dom Daley

Indonesian Junk return with a new EP of three originals and one cover. They hail from Wisconsin here in the United States and have put out a couple albums as well as past singles, a live album and an EP. This EP is not a bad place to get started if you want to get a taste of the band. Drawing inspiration from the likes of the Heartbreakers and those early bands from New York back on the 70’s with a healthy dollop of powerpop hooks, Indonesian Junk carves out their own identity to sound fresh and inspiring.

Lead track ‘When I Find You’ roars out of the speaker and finds Daniel James crooning over a cool guitar riff, and he then lays down a killer solo for good measure. This is straight forward rock designed to clear your head and celebrate life for a few minutes… assuming you are not the one he is going to beat up when he finds you. I’m always surprised more bands don’t cover early KISS songs with the excellent cover of ‘C’mon and Love Me’ sounding like they were the ones who wrote it with the attitude spilling out of James’ vocals throughout the song. Mike Mattner pounds the drums into submission, and Johnny Cyanide (bass) provides some excellent backing vocals. As the song fades out, the riff for ‘Detroit Rock City’ bubbles up for a moment and leaves me wishing the band had gone ahead and covered it too.

‘I Could Die’ opens with some nice work by Mattner to set up a midtempo song that features a slow subtle guitar riff. Unfortunately, this song lets the momentum of the first two tracks slip, and I have caught my mind wandering on this song each time I have played the EP. I think I would connect with it more in the context of an album’s worth of material. The band grab my attention back every time with the big swaggering riff and beat of ‘See the Light.’ My favorite song on the EP, this one channels all that is great with sleazy sounding rock and roll with James serving as a conduit for the likes of Thunders, Berry, and even some McCoy.

Indonesian Junk will hopefully get exposed to some new fans with this one as the EP represents a really cost effective way to start your collection if you are not already a fan. While it is not perfect, it does represent their sound really well overall with the band specializing in primal, punky, hook filled rock and roll, which their record label (Rum Bar) seem to have some innate ability to find and deliver to us.

‘Darkness Calling’ is available Here.

Bandcamp

Facebook

Website

 

Author: Gerald Stansbury

 

Do you love The Dwarves? Do you love punk rock? The people at God’s Candy Records do and so should you.

He Who’s back, balls out and rocking with album number four, “The Good, The Bad, and The Brutal” and guess what – half the tunes have “good” in the title and the other half have “bad” in the title…… and they’re all great!!!

Masks on, balls out, let’s go.

Side one kicks off in sick-as-fuck pop-punk style with “A Good Problem” and “Bad Day”. Maybe my favourite two tracks on offer here and both about being pissed off! In fact my 9-year-old has had “Bad Day” on repeat for the last couple of weeks. Target audience bull’s eye!

You know what to expect from the slab of plastic and you get exactly what you need to make your life that little bit better for at least 30 minutes anyway. Not a million miles away from Blag and the mothership and not too far from the likes of NOFX and the gang.

Trundling along merrily, there’s not a stinker in the pack; all twelve tunes are as hooky as fuck. “Bad Means Good” is another stand out punky-poppy workout, while  “Good Guys Of the Wild West” launches you into a Spaghetti Western barn dance bounce-along, proving that punk rock needs more “Yippee-ki-yays”.

‘Bad Decisions” has the sound of an extra fucked up Tom Waits, while “Good Gestapo” makes you chuckle. No ones is trying to re-invent the wheel here. Let’s face it, HeWho’s been writing and playing punk rock for almost 30 years with the Dwarves – subtle he is not!

Buy The Good The Bad And The Brutal

Seeing as there isn’t a video for the album here enjoy this kids! it one of his best

Author:Fraser Munro

Day 2 (A Trip To Paisley Park)

This is where the whole idea of our road trip began and why we have travelled to the much cooler climate of Minneapolis before heading over to sunny California. Sorry residents of Minneapolis, but if it wasn’t for Prince we would not have even thought to come to see your city on this trip. We have come on a musical pilgrimage to connect, to gain some sort of higher understanding.  To see and to draw in the energy of the space where Prince created his whole musical world, this seemingly unreachable place (to us UK residents anyway), this Mecca, where he lived and where he ultimately died.

We don’t really know what to expect. During the 30-minute car journey, we both agree that we are expecting it to be an unprofessional setup. Very probably a badly organised and rushed exhibition, with a tour guide who probably isn’t even a fan. This is what we were prepared for and that was fine the experience, we were hoping, was going to be enough to satisfy our needs.

Paisley Park is situated on what looks to be nothing more than an industrial estate, so much so I expect to see a Screwfix around every bend. You can see the building as you approach from the highway. The large, angular and quite plain looking white building, built back in 1986, is not hidden away as you would expect the reclusive singer to have it.

 

No phones or cameras are allowed inside the Paisley Park complex. No filming or touching of the items on display is allowed. And that is the way it should be, it keeps the experience intimate and very personal, just the way I imagine he would have wanted it.

We booked a VIP tour, it was expensive, but fuck it, how often will I get to do something like this? This is what this trip is all about, all or nothing, when in Rome and all that! There are 12 people in our group and our tour guide is way more knowledgeable than we could have imagined. Straight from the off you can tell this is the real deal, informative and interesting, the guides know their shit, and the people at Paisley Park know how to put together a tour.

We are led to The Atrium, the entrance hall to Paisley Park. There is an ornate marble floor, in the centre, the iconic Love symbol, where our guide informs us is the spot where he recorded famous interviews with Oprah and Mel B (YouTube it). Above to our right is a balcony where his pet doves are housed in cages. Directly above us, a miniature replica of Paisley Park which contains Prince’s remains. We are given a minute of silence to pay our respects, deep in our own thoughts. And if that experience doesn’t move you emotionally and spiritually, then nothing will. It’s already the trippiest day of my life and we haven’t even got going yet.

 

We are then given some time to explore the various rooms that lead off from The Atrium. From here there are several rooms themed to different eras of Prince’s career. From ‘Dirty Mind’ and ‘Controversy’ with his original Madcat Telecaster, lyric sheets and demo cassettes on display, onto stage costumes from ‘Lovesexy’ and ‘Sign O The Times’ Tours. Although some rooms have been themed, many have been left just as they were the day he died. In his office, papers and lyric sheets are scattered on the desks and a suitcase sits by his desk, as if awaiting their owners return, this just seems to bring home how real this all is.

There’s a video editing suite with a sofa, where he would sit with dancers and watch hours upon hours of concert footage, improving the routines and the shows, ironing out the errors. A kitchen area with a TV where he would sit and watch basketball matches.

 

We are then led through a rabbit warren of various studios and soundspaces, every one ‘wired for sound’. This guided tour includes a photo opportunity next to the piano from his final ‘Piano & a Microphone’ Tour, next to it, one of his blue cloud guitars. Even cooler, while we wait for everyone to take their turn doing photos, we get to play table tennis on the actual table Prince used in his own precious down time. Even the ping pong balls have the Love symbol logo on.

In this large, wooden floored main recording studio, behind glass we peer at the mixing desk, all equipment just as he left it, down to the iconic Lynn drum machine that he used to get that signature sound from ‘1999’ until ‘Sign O’ The Times’. In this very room he recorded ‘Diamonds & Pearls’ and ‘Lovesexy’. The songs that have been recorded in this room, the legends that have joined him here, if only these walls could talk…

We learn he was recording a jazz album at the time of his death to be released on Blue Note Records. We then get the opportunity to hear one of the unreleased tracks from it, an instrumental. While listening through massive studio speakers, we get to take it the reality that the last thing he did before he died was to play and record in this very room.

 

The Purple Rain room is situated in what used to be the dance rehearsal studio, where he would choreograph and perfect the dance routines for hours and hours before each tour. The wall of mirrors is still there and the rails where the curtains once hung still visible. Here is housed the iconic artifacts from the 1984 film. The purple Honda motorbike, the white cloud guitar and the purple jacket from the film’s finale. We stare, we process and try and capture these images in our memories for eternity.

The corridors leading off are adorned with murals and paintings commissioned by the man himself, all left exactly as they were when Paisley Park was a working studio. We walk past his awards, there’s the Grammys, the MTV Music Awards and the Brit awards, all housed behind glass and all out on display. Through a window can be seen his beloved tour bus from the 90’s, parked up and covered in leaves. Probably not moved for years, forgotten like some ancient relic that has not yet been assigned to the rock ‘n’ roll graveyard.

 

We are then led into what is the grand finale, so to speak. The main soundstage, the room where Prince held many gigs and events. The ‘Rave Unto The Year 2000’ concert DVD was filmed here, as well as many of his promo videos. In this room, on several raised stages are more stage costumes and guitars from the last 10 years of his life. The matching suits and Stratocasters from the ‘Musicology’ period, including the red suit and strat he played at the Monterey Jazz Festival, it’s all here. Even two of the cars he could regularly be seen driving around town are parked in here, a purple Plymouth Prowler and a sky blue Bentley Continental, it truly is a fanboys wet dream and I freakin’ love it all!

Leading from this is the nightclub where Prince hosted parties well into the night. We are led to one of the private seating areas and our host tells us stories of how he would sometimes appear from the stairs behind and how he would get up and DJ and sometimes he would invite people to go watch a movie with him at the local cinema.

 

You could spend a small fortune in the merch shop, I went for a mug and a set of plectrums, Sedd bought a baseball shirt and an NPG pin. We learn from our guide that there is an underpass across the road where fans have adorned the walls with messages and tributes in graffiti. We have enough time to go in search. This Mecca, seemingly hidden from the world, is a secret place to go and think, contemplate or grieve, take photos or simply just read the messages of love from fans. Someone has even left a marker so you can add to the tributes…we do.

 

It’s the perfect end to an experience that exceeded all expectations, and even if the plane goes down on our flight to San Francisco later today, I will raise a smile and think to myself “yeah, it was all worth it”. Although it’s goodbye to Paisley Park and Minneapolis, there will always be a piece of it in my heart now. Our brothers would have loved this, goodbye Minneapolis…hello San Francisco!

 

Author: Ben Hughes

These weeks Monday morning video selections are all culled from some of this weeks revies starting with today’s album review the fantastic Nikki Hill performing a Chuck Classic. view away those Monday mornings. blues.

Next up, Later this week we review the brand new album from Californian punk legends the US Bombs. until then we’ll leave you with this classic.

Finally this week we bring you the brand new album that features Honest John Plain so its only fair that we round up this week three videos with a classic released on the same label as this weeks review.  Take it away John…

Talk about nice timing for an album. Nikki Hill delivers a rock and roll album that is raw, vital, infused with blues and soul, and in need of being heard. Hill grew up in Durham, North Carolina and transitioned from singing in church to lending her vocals to other performers passing through town. Her development would take her to St. Louis where her confidence grew, which combined with her independent streak has gifted us with a hard hitting artist that can go from smooth soul to AC/DC in her live shows, which she is doing about 200 nights per year. ‘Feline Roots’ showcases a variety of sounds across these 10 wonderful songs that are going to take up residence on your stereo.

Hill wastes no time in showing she means business with the opening guitar riff of ‘Get Down, Crawl’ setting the speakers on fire as Hill sings over a hard driving bluesy beat. The bass (Nick Gaitan) and drum (Marty Dodson) work here immediately stand out as well. This is an opening number that immediately grabs the listener by the neck and says you’re not going anywhere. Hill sings with a healthy swagger that showcases the confidence she has developed. ‘Don’t Be the Sucker’ storms in on a bluesy electric guitar riff that is part vintage Rolling Stones, part Dylan, and part garage rock. Hill’s vocals hit that magic spot and pop in the live sounding mix. The chorus allows her a brief acapella spot to showcase her melody. The guitar solo makes me aware that my feet are tapping, and I am playing some air guitar. Pounding on the drums leads us into a killer vocal by Hill at the start of ‘Just Can’t Trust You.’ The guitar riffs slice and dice as Hill offers a great vocal over the pounding beat. The chorus simply melts into your brain. Closing my eyes, the sound of the album really lends itself to sounding like we are capturing an incredibly special live show, kind of like ‘Live at the Star Club’ by Jerry Lee Lewis.

Mixing things up completely, ‘Can’t Love You Back’ features a reggae beat and has grown on me with every listen. Hill showcases some dynamic versatility that really speaks to what a great singer she is. Matt Hill showcases some nice riffs throughout this one as well with Laura Chavez laying down guitar as well. ‘Holler Out Loud’ ushers in the end of the first half of the record with Hill displaying some soul and channeling the magical spirit of rock and roll. This is another chorus that gets stuck in the brain with some great electric guitar licks that falls somewhere between the blues greats, Chuck Berry, and Johnny Thunders.

‘Poisoning the Well’ gets the second half started with Hill and the drums introducing the song with some similar vocal phrasing to ‘War Pigs’ by Black Sabbath before the rest of the band comes in on the back half of the verse. Hill is not rewriting the rulebook here or laying new ground. She is standing proud though on what has come before and asserting herself as a member of rock and roll royalty. There is a fire in these songs that just touches the soul with the guitar solo being just one example within this song. The pause before that last chorus is explosive and gets my adrenaline pumping every time. ‘Take the Ride (It Don’t Matter)’ continues to power the train down the tracks with urgency, passion, and some awesome layered backing vocals on the chorus for maximum effect. The slow electric guitar strum of ‘Tell the Next World’ immediately turns into a bluesy rock and roll boogie with Hill sounding like an angel who is perfectly within her element. Repeated listens really reveal just how special this album is and how lucky we are to be able to experience this.

The slow bluesy beat of ‘Might Get Killed Tonight’ gets the body moving and grooving. The hook is a little more subtle, but it just wraps itself around your brain a little bit more with each listen. Wrapping the album up way too soon is the pulsating ‘The Fire That’s in Me.’ This really serves as the perfect closer with the up-tempo beat allowing Hill to show off how she can nail those AC/DC covers live. Hill simply nails the vocals each and every time. The band is on fire with everyone feeding off one another for the perfect finale to this special album.

Nikki Hill may be a new name to many, but I don’t see how anyone could leave a show or listen to an album without immediately realizing that your musical world has been missing a vital ingredient. With a voice that can sound like velvet or coarse sandpaper, Hill is already a star; we all just need to hear her. This is one of those end of the year albums that makes you tear up your list of the best albums of the year because you realize you now have to start all over again to sort everything. Simply put, ‘Feline Roots’ showcases Nikki Hill as an artist that pours every ounce of her soul and spirit into her songs and performances. Highly, highly recommended.

‘Feline Roots’ is available here

Website

Facebook

Author: Gerald Stansbury

 

 

Its been a while and a troubled beginning for nicotine Pretty but finally, they seem settled and have a brand new EP released and a decent support slot with the Quireboys in Cardiff. With a short space of time in which to impress the rather packed room the band get down to business and start kicking out the jams and it’s not long before the audience responded favorably to these south Wales hooligan rockers with their junked up take on punk rock n roll.  They hit the audience with the tunes from their EP and a cover of The Stones. They sounded tight and had a decent mix which is always a help for a band warming up any audience.  They have to be happy with how their songs went down tonight with a mainly middle-aged rock audience who to be fair looked like they loved it even Ginge knocking out his best Johnny Thunders solo during ‘Dead Flowers’ was well received and by the time they hit ‘Who’s Gonna Save My Soul?’ they could have gone on.

The Quireboys. I’ve lost count as to how many times I’ve had the pleasure over the years going right back to their appearance in Swansea as the Queerboys I’ve seen them support Guns N Roses, Malmsteen, Aerosmith.  I’ve seen them take on the old school Reading Festival and win Donnington and smash it as well as dozens of times in venues big and small including the Dominion Theatre the Town and Country club and the last time they played the Globe there could only have been 40 people there which was a shock but tonight it must be fairly close to capacity which always baffles me how that happens but to be fair they always put in the miles and clearly aren’t afraid of hard work and with Spike, Guy, Keith and Paul being mainstays for quite some time they work well together and when they’re in the groove they are still a match for anyone on any stage.

spike declares them to play Rock and Roll and when they do they can be awesome and tonight early doors we get the classics ‘Misled’ and ‘There She Goes Again’ which take me right back to when going to a show was exciting and hearing a band rocking out was an absolute pleasure tonight was no difference but and not wanting to be critical I could do without the Blues numbers from ‘White Trash Blues’ whilst they were clearly going down well it’s just not my cup of tea at all and thankfully its ‘Mona Lisa Smiles’ that brings me back on track and ‘This Is Rock And Roll’ has the band purring once again as thankfully the blues workouts are put to bed.

‘One For The Road’ was dedicated to fallen bandmates Paul Hornby and Michael Lee which was a nice touch and from there on in it was The best of the Quireboys sounding as fresh as the carnation on Spikes Lapel. ‘Hey, You’, Sweet Mary Ann’ 7 O’Clock’ followed by a fantastic rendition of ‘I Don’t Love You Anymore’ and then to bring the curtain down on a fine evening with a fantastic live band we were all invited to a ‘Sex Party’.

Another night spent in the company of a mighty fine band who continue to make records and stay relevant because Rock and Roll is timeless and like Spike says this is Rock and Roll and I certainly wouldn’t disagree with that.

 

Nicotine Pretty Picture kind permission from Kevin Conrad Pick Photographers

Buy The Quireboys Here

Author:Dom Daley

Another week rolls by and we head towards Christmas but there are no mince pies or sherry being overindulged round here when there are records to review and Shows to see and last week was no exception as RPM brought you a diverse bunch on the live front as well as on the death decks.

 

Sadly the last seven days saw another rock n roller pass on to the next life and we said goodbye to Peter Blast.  I had the pleasure of reviewing several of his albums and spoke to him in the last twelve months.  On behalf of everyone here at RPM I’d like to offer our condolences to his family and friends and raise a glass to his memory.

 

We also brought you an interview with Phil Privilege from the  awesome kings of power punk n pop Cyanide Pills with an amazing trail of singles and albums as part of their repertoire Phil told us they were on the way to deliver the next long player as well as answer a few of our questions about the band, Catch up with it here

 

We also had some pretty diverse live reviews from the likes of hard rockin’ Junkyard Cowboy Junkies and a doubleheader from He Who Cannot Be Named and the Awesome Hip Priests. But our bread and butter has to be our album reviews and with Black Friday RSD releases in thin supply some of our favourite labels did manage to put out some quality must have records in the shape of MC5. UK Subs ‘Sub Mission’ got its first pressing on record  and we again scoured the four corners of the globe to bring you the likes of Civic from Australia, X Darlings from Switzerland, Paris’ Youth Avoiders and Californias Smash Fashion to name a few.

As for the coming week, we continue with Bens California Dreaming road trip where he visits some pretty amazing places as he skips across the USA. we also caught a few amazing live shows and bring you some fantastic records by some well-known people as well as some of the finest new performers current kicking up a storm on record players and concert halls around the planet. Remember to stick with RPM for all your alternative news and reviews. As Lux used to say “Stay Sick” www.rpmonline.co.uk its a rock n roll revolution!

 

 

 

True story.  I happened to be in New York just before Christmas having decided to take the trip because I’d had heart surgery and died a couple of times so to celebrate being fixed we took in the big apple and on the day we flew home I read that EF was playing an instore in Bloomingdales so grabbed a cab and set off only to arrive at the wrong store so missed the show and had to head back home having not seen the band on their home turf and failed to pick up some shirts and a book as well so epic fail on my part.  Anyway fast forward a few years and when RPM kicked off there were a bunch of bands I was looking forward to covering and Electric Frankenstein was one of them so when I read that Sal was looking for submissions for a brand new ‘Fistful Of Rock And Roll’ it seemed like the perfect time to reach out and grab a quick chat. Heres what went down…

Firstly you’ve got a whole bunch of great bands ready for the next compilation album.  Why now for a new release?  Was there a particular song or band you heard that made you want to put this together?

Well, why now is because suddenly it is 10 years already after volume 13 of “A Fistful of Rock & Roll” came out and I was seeing that there is a whole new generation of bands that are playing and recording now that were influenced by the bands on the first Fistful of Rock series. There were so many new bands and really great sounding bands, not only from the US and the UK , but from all over the world.

Actually, there was a group of 8 new bands that made me say, “Oh wow, I really need to document all the new bands since the first series!”. And those bands are Black Gremlin ( Italy ), Flash House (UK), Liberty Slaves (UK). Scum Bag Millionaire ( Sweden ), Bitch Queens ( Switzerland ), Detroit Sound ( Norway ), and Night Birds ( USA ). I didn’t want all these new bands to disappear without some cheerleading support that can go out worldwide. The first series sparked a global movement for High Energy / Punk Rock & Roll, which is also called Action Rock. For a few years things seemed quiet for Rock & Roll music, but then in the last year all the best of the original generation that moved the bar up for real Rock & Roll started doing reunion shows and at the same time all new bands started appearing. The new bands are really great bands that have moved the bar even further.

 

You’ve obviously been inundated with some fantastic responses too, any particular favourites?

Ha, so, so many bands, over 300 so far! Besides the 8 bands above, I have been listening to great bands like: King Mastino, Idol Lips, The Innocent, Temporal Sluts and others from Italy; Iron Lizards from France; Black Actress, Red Hot Rebellion, Hell’s Engine, Killer Hearts, Thee Perfect Gentlemen, Focke Wolves, Lovesores, Poison Boys, The Cops from USA; Dumbell, Black Sheriff, Christmas, Stacy Crowne from Germany; Stingray from Norway; Chuck Norris Experiment, from Sweden; Hard Action from Finland; Columbian Neckties from Denmark; Savage Beat, Dirty Denims from Netherlands;The Hip Priests, Motherfuckin Motherfuckers, Deathtraps from UK, Turbocoopers, Los Burros from Argentina, Deadvikings, Jet Boys from Japan, Tracy Lords from Hong Kong, The Sick Things from Montreal, Dead Furies from Estonia; Poison Heart from Poland; Aberration, East Coast Low from Australia, and so many more!

 

enough for a few compilations then?

More is always welcome, I want to document ALL the best of the new Rock & Roll bands. So far I am completing the first 6 volumes. I will put out the first 3, then 3 volumes at a time after that. Like the first series, which was 13 volumes, I aim to do another 13 volumes or more, as many as are necessary.

 

What About Electric Frankenstein?  When can we hear some new music from your band?

I added an unreleased EF song on the comp, never fear, ha. We have written enough new songs for at least 3 albums work of music. Soon as we complete a batch so we can demo them for labels, we wish to get things rolling again.

There was an announcement that the band is going to tour in 2019 to celebrate twenty years of ‘How To Make A Monster’ wow where does the time go? it seems like only yesterday.  It has been great to see Gluecifer back playing that would be a cool line up I’m sure you could make that happen.  Anyway, where do these tour plans extend to?  Can the UK expect any dates? you mentioned our good friends The Hip Priests who also have an album early next year that would be a superb match up.

Everything is in the early planning stages. EF is ready to tour, we were in Japan in October 2017 and toured with The Adolescents on the east coast this past June. We should be touring in Europe this coming July, hopefully. We are looking into the UK for August or so. Hip Priests are always our number one choice for the UK and now all our new band friends as well.  Fingers crossed that it all happens.

 

The artwork is iconic and instantly recognizable with the band and seeing the pin badges and patches as well as the show posters it must be hugely satisfying to see people pick up on this all the time and the amount of bands who want to be a part of the Fistful comps is quite incredible there’s always been a lot of love and respect for you guys.  We like to keep an ear to the ground but the response you get is amazing so much to keep up with you must be blown away?

Well, it’s the bands that impress me. About myself, I must have good taste, ha hah, because I always pick the best song by each band. I have always been a person that is personable and friendly and sincere, so in other words, I am not an asshole towards other people and other bands, so it is very satisfying that I can work with so many bands worldwide. I feel that I have done the right thing and stepped up to the plate to make this great accomplishment, not just with A Fistful of Rock & Roll but with Electric Frankenstein as well.

The bands back catalogue is impressive are there any plans for an anniversary Make a monster with bonus cuts or live shows etc?  what about any more spare parts releases to bring us up to date? apart from the split with thee eviltones, the world needs EF.

There is a “More Spare Parts” album available digitally only on iTunes and elsewhere that is fairly recent. I am more concerned with recording all the new songs that we have archived to make as big a musical statement as we did with all our early albums.

So there you have it folks keep an eye out for some EF music and tour dates in 2019 both would be most welcome I’m sure you’ll agree and when the new compilation is released my advice would be to get right on it there are some fantastic bands that we know of and would highly recommend for your listening pleasure besides it would be our pleasure to keep you informed of any news from the Electric Frankenstein camp.  Thanks to Sal for giving RPM the time of day and we look forward to the next time.

 

Buy Electric Frankenstein Here

EF Website

Author : Dom Daley