Nevermind Bob Harris infamously declaring the New York Dolls as “mock rock”, in the run-up to tonight when asking Mrs H if she wanted to come along with me she took one listen to ‘Pocket Venus’ by tonight’s headliners and promptly declared the music to be too “plinky plonk” for her taste.
I mean c’mon, Bobby cunting Crush this most certainly is not. So, let me expand a little to avoid any possible further confusion.
Henri Herbert & The Fury is the three-piece outfit that the piano playing phenomenon (whose name forms the basis of the band) put together after the Jim Jones Revue disbanded in 2014, and since then he’s been channelling his influences of Jerry Lee Lewis, Hank Williams, Tom Waits and Otis Spann into an infectious mix of all the genres these guys specialised in. Got it? Good, now perhaps we can begin properly.
Opening up tonight’s show is Red Light Syndrome a guitar based four piece formed around the songwriting talents of ex-This System Kills guitarist Craigy (Two Tins) Rees. Playing their second show to date the most immediate thing that hits me when the band kicks off with ‘Still Nothing Yet’ is just how much they have gelled as a unit since their slightly nervous debut (which I also caught) just a few weeks earlier. Craigy appears much more at ease with his still new dual role as frontman and guitarist and proudly sporting a Husker Du baseball hat he wears his influences, well, on his head actually. To sum up, the band’s sound though you have to look a little wider than Minnesota’s finest to the likes of The Lemonheads and perhaps even Midway Still and Leatherface, as they are certainly on the more melodic side of the fence when it comes to the songwriting.
Its when Craigy feels at ease enough to joke with the audience that the true protentional of the band fully shines through though and in their self-dubbed ”emo” song ‘Train Wreck’ they have a song just waiting to become a scene favourite. Closing out proceedings with the seemingly apt ‘Heartburn’ (an earlier consumed fishcake was also playing havoc with my digestive system) this was a performance that stuck in my head for all the right reasons.
Returning to The Dollshouse after playing “the gig of the tour” last time around, Henri Herbert & The Fury are in no mood for messing around tonight demanding the already bustling crowd to enjoy the night as a rock ‘n’ roll show should be and not as a spectator sport, and I must admit I’m immediately swept up in the furore generated by the band. In fact, it isn’t until they hit the slightly slower and broodier strut of ‘Bad Blood’ midway into their set that I suddenly remember I’m actually supposed to be reviewing tonight and haven’t noted a single song. Oops, but I guess you understand this is exciting stuff you can’t stand still to, right?
Back in the review zone then and the covers of ‘Milkshake Mademoiselle’ and (the main set ending) ‘Fire’ are perhaps two of the most defining moments from tonight’s set as it takes a real special talent to make songs by Jerry Lee Lewis and Jimi Hendrix sound like your own, something the hugely talented Herbert and his Furies do with every bead of sweat they generate here tonight.
Returning for no less than five (or maybe it was six) encores it’s simply impossible to stand still when Henri Herbert & The Fury are in town, and at times tonight it’s like the BBC have brought ‘Strictly’ all the to the Valleys for a one-off rock ‘n’ roll dance off, all I’m missing is my regular dancing partner.
Originally announced for the Fleece this sold out in the blink of an eye so was moved to the much bigger SWX which also sold out in the blink of the other eye. Tonight The Californians are joined in the Westcountry by opening band of punks and four siblings from Hastings that make up Made Of Ace. Its remarkable that four siblings actually like the same music for a start because my brothers hate punk rock and I’ve got six of them and whilst the band sound like they really know what they’re doing and play well. Whether they are suffering a poor mix or what but I’m just not feeling it and they seem to lack a standout song – something to really remember them by which was a shame.
Next up was the three piece; Grade 2. Hailing from the Isle Of wight and breaking with the order of the day as none of these are related (as far as I know) anyway, again, a bit of a muddy mix for their Oi! punk rock. Grade 2 like openers Made Of Ace had energy but didn’t have a stand out track that I would find myself humming on the way home or enough to entice me to the merch stall. I don’t want to be negative but tonight’s headliners could never be accused of not owning a catchy tune that sticks in your head for ages something the openers don’t quite have yet anyway.
Right, Tin hat on. The Interrupters seem to be riding the crest of a wave currently and receiving all sorts of accolades from all quarters for their most excellent new album and their live shows. Tonight a bulging – expectant crowd waited to see what these four likable Californians had to offer and over the next hour and fifteen. They duly obliged to entertain albeit in a scripted razz-matazz sort of way with the wacky encore not encore and bursts of Motley Crue, Rancid and Green Day tunes but let’s not get ahead of ourselves quite yet.
The band took to the stage and in the first five numbers, they pretty much blew away most of the audience judging by the number of bouncing souls wedged into the club tonight. The sound was no longer muddy and in fact was crisp and crystal clear (hell, maybe too crisp and clear) and Aimee has a voice as good live as on the records. ‘A Friend Like Me’, ‘By My Side’, ‘She’s Kerosene’, ‘Take Back The Power’ and ‘She Got Arrested’ were energetic but were they about to peak early blowing a stack of their finest too early? There’s no way a band can maintain this high – can they?
To be fair much like Green Day the band are very slick and rehearsed and seemingly without spontaneity as Kevin’s banter sounds like he’s said it every night of the tour just changed the town or am I being a bit unfair? I don’t have a problem with their happy smiling faces God knows we need something to make us smile these days and The Interrupters have got a lot to smile about. I might well be being a tad over critical because the music was excellent and you can’t help being swept along with the happiness and humbleness of the band’s approach. I guess not every band wings it and isn’t gnarly burnt out punks with a chip on their shoulder because none of those could ever be tagged on The Interrupters that’s for sure they seem to be heading to the same place as Green Day and I’m happy with that because the more bands shifting records and selling out concert halls can only be a good thing for the scene as a whole no doubt about that. (Thats not the first time No Doubt has been mentioned either tonight)
I did enjoy the Operation Ivy cover midset and ending with ‘Family’ seems genuine (Hell 3/4 of this band are related) they seem like such good, warm people; I wish them every success and having Tim Armstrongs influence and guiding hand is a masterstroke because the guy oozes talent and someone who knows how to pen a hook and chorus.
Now, if their next album has as many good tunes and an upbeat catchy feeling they will go overground and we won’t be seeing the likes of them in a venue under 2000 capacity that’s for sure. I do hope that happens because The Interrupters are onto something and about 1800 people leave SWX beaming and mumbling along to one or other of their many songs it’s why they are blowing up right now and also why they’re bossing decent size venues everywhere. They may be slick, polished and just so up and happy in times as weird as these I’ll bet on these four cracking this crazy business right open on this evidence and they’ll have worked hard and put the miles in to deserve it. Maybe its time for this cranky old hack to suck it up and just enjoy the moment and not worry about anything other than the seventy minutes the band are on stage because as far as entertainment goes The Interrupters have got it and as we look for younger bands to break through maybe these guys are going to start a fire under a scene desperate for young blood to give everyone a lift. Mr. Grumpy over and out
Rock City Angels released one of my favorite albums ever in ‘Young Man’s Blues’ back in 1988. It is 15 songs of rocking bliss that real favourite apart from their contemporaries by mixing so many different influences from southern rock to the blues to some danceable rhythms with Bobby Durango’s (RIP) unmistakable vocals laid over the top. Geffen Records even indulged the band by letting them put 15 songs on their debut album instead of the industry standard 10 at the time. Possible reasons for this vary, but I subscribe to the theory that Geffen did not want this band out there competing with Guns ‘N Roses moving forward at the time. If you do some googling, you can find this theory discussed out on the internet. The band made one video for ‘Deep Inside Your Heart’ and was then put on tour for about the next 4 years even though you would struggle to find the album in the stores at that point. ‘Young Man’s Blues’ received a ton of plays back when it was released by me and continues to add more to that total every year. ‘Southern Vision’ presents the second collection (‘Midnight Confessions’ being the first) of demos the band was working on for Geffen Records for their second album that never got to be recorded for them.
If you are already a fan of the band, it goes without saying that this album is recommended as we get to hear more from Durango and crew, but these songs are also clearly some rough and ready demos as opposed to studio quality recordings. What immediately stands out in the recordings though is the passion this band had for the music, and it is criminal that we will never get the finished versions of these songs. ‘Going Fast Slow’ gets this started with a solid straight ahead hard rocking beat with Durango’s drawl in full effect. The guitar riff is catchy with the solo begging for air guitar participation. Drums welcome us to the boogie of the title track with its bluesy guitar riff finding the band taking elements from ‘Young Man’s Blues’ and pushing the sounds even further. The smooth sounding chorus fits perfectly with a great Durango ad lib kick starting the killer guitar solo. A huge guitar riff rings in ‘Lower East Side’ and features the band at their “heaviest” really with the song recalling an assertive hair band song, but this still drips with passion even if the sonic quality drops a little bit here. Some love and tenderness clearly went into making the quality of these recordings as good as they are, but this one shows its rough edges more than some of the others. ‘I Confess’ doesn’t connect with me as much and could have been one of the tracks that would have missed the second album if I was choosing from the demo collections.
‘All Our Tomorrows’ features a nice guitar riff and provides a catchy midtempo anthem that could have ultimately been pushed as a 3rd or 4th single from the album back in the day. I could have seen them adding some additional instrumentation in the studio to the album version, but this would have been terrific as a live song as is. Acoustic guitar introduces rocker ‘Lost Generation’ where the band indulge their hard rock side on the verses and contrast it with an excellent chorus that sticks long after the album is done playing. This would have likely been a live staple and an album favorite. My favorite part is actually how they use the bridge to transition over to the guitar solo. Changing gears completely, the band slows down with ‘Dark End of the Street’ capturing the spirit of Lynyrd Skynyrd at Muscle Shoals Studio. This track is simply magical in its feel. A finished version could have included some gospel style backing vocals, piano, and/ or horns, but that might actually have caused it to lose this spirit. ‘Saving Grace’ moves back into some rocking blues with some catchy guitar picking and Durango sounding excellent.
Our stretch run begins with ‘Halfway to Heaven’ where the band show they had quality catchy hard rock songs spilling out of the speakers at this point. Give this one a real studio recording and it would have been another standout on the second album. Where a lot of the hair bands of the day lost their footing with the emergence of grunge and alternative, the Rock City Angels might have actually been able to carve out a whole other identity that would have carried them through because of their roots. The quick tempo of ‘Take Me’ sounds better and better with repeated listens, and it definitely would have benefitted from a proper recording. It would have been a deep album track that I would have loved which excels due to its simplicity and fun. ‘The World of Today’ is a slow rocker that has some ballad qualities but carries more musical weight and power. The guitar work is awesome with this one capturing a 70’s rock feeling. Closer ‘New Hope for the Dead’ is ironically titled given the passing of Durango several years ago. This sleazy rocker highlight showcases what a special band this was, and the final shout by Durango at the end causes me to both smile and feel sad as it is the perfect last thing to hear.
Let’s be honest, these types of releases can be obvious cash-ins by people who have the tapes and take advantage of the circumstances. ‘Southern Vision’ sounds excellent given the time period and what was likely available to the band. The label has clearly taken measures to make this a worthwhile release for the fans of the band. Geffen Records did some phenomenal work with artists around this time, but that clearly didn’t happen with these guys for whatever the reason was. The passing of time has only continued to heighten my love for the ‘Young Man’s Blues’ album, and ‘Southern Vision’ provides evidence that the band was writing excellent songs that deserved to be properly done. If you are a fan of the band, this cannot be recommended enough. The world lost a star when Durango left us.
It’s getting closer to Christmas, you’ve done zero shopping and you’ve got zero money. Don’t worry if you got the pre-Christmas’s blues, RPM is here to wash away those troubles and make you forget all about Saint Nick and his pesky elves, bah humbug, let’s have some outlaw country!
First up Reno’s finest outlaw Leroy Vergil will take his Christmas stash and blow it all up his nose if this video from Hellbound Glory is to be believed.
Whether you’re familiar with The Auteurs or his vast body of solo material, Luke Haines is certainly a challenge to categorise. The 90s enfant terrible/arsehole (according to his two autobiographies, ‘Bad Vibes’ and ‘Post Everything’); an accidental pop star with Black Box Recorder; a more laid back broadcaster on his current Tuesday slot on Boogaloo Radio, spinning ‘righteous’ tunes.
One thing’s for sure, though; he commits fully to his own peculiar vision. With tonight being a rare live performance, promising ‘After Murder Park’ and ‘Baader Meinhof’ in full, it’s pleasing to find The 100 Club full. In black, velvet jacket, fedora and violet shirt, he takes to the stage with a rhythm section apparently poached from Gaz Coombes. And it needs to be a fine rhythm section when undertaking the grooves of ‘Baader Meinhof’. As a trio, shorn of the tablas, the album as a live spectacle is sleazier, Haines clearly relishing a return to electric guitar. “The feedback I don’t mind, but I’ve gotta be slightly in tune”. For what is, essentially, a cult album to a fictional film, there are a lot of people here who know all the words. ‘Meet Me At The Airport’ and ‘There’s Gonna Be An Accident’ are stand-out songs tonight.
And so, to The Auteurs’ darkest moment. For me, ‘After Murder Park’ is the album that ‘Dog, Man, Star’ threatened to be; bleak, haunting and beautiful. I love them both, but when heard live, these songs have the edge. The only major change being when Haines forgets the running order, so ‘Married To A Lazy Lover’ is a song late. But, what a song. The three-piece brings out the garage rock elements of some songs; obviously, minus the cello, it’s going to sound different. And it highlights what a strong set of songs these are.
Haines is in a jovial mood, recounting how Steve Albini disliked ‘Land Lovers’; “it sounds like The Police!”. He introduces ‘Unsolved Child Murder’ as akin to if Bowie were playing ‘Low’, and was announcing the “hit single”. As Haines has said before, to make music expecting success would be to miss the point. He is rightly proud of these songs.
Obligatory encore time brings ‘Lou Reed, Lou Reed’ and ‘Cerne Abbas Man’ from ‘New York In The 70s’, before a clattering run through ‘Lenny Valentino’. Given that it’s about five years since Haines’ last electric gig, he may not be in a rush to return, but I hope it’s reminded him of how good it can feel. Righteous indeed.
King Pizza serves up a tasty helping of scuzzy punk rock n roll in the shape of Glass Slipper from Brooklyn Noo Yawk – of course they are. Clearly, the big cheese on their block Glass Slipper doesn’t muck about and knock out a tasty rapid sloppy punk rockin’ sound. It’s uncomplicated and unfussy they do what they have to then get the fuck out of there. Like other Noo Yawk punks before them, they know melody and they know to keep things brief.
It’s not all crash bang wallop mind you as ‘Best Friend’ will testify in all its prog length three minutes compared to the rest of the songs that are a trim minute, minute and a half in length. Get the picture? sure you do. It’s warm and fuzzy just like the Stooges were the solo on ‘Best Friend’ that takes the tune home is frenzied and played as their life depends on it and I do like that – I like it a lot. ‘Deadbeat’ is performed and sung like they know it and live it and have a head full of Dead Boys and Damned Damned Damned swimming around in their heads.
We love some trashy Rock and Roll and Glass Slipper fits the bill perfectly. Its got that authentic garage rock n roll vibe to the recording and the songs sound like they’ve been fermenting in a rotting bucket for decades with just enough decay on the guitars to hold it together long enough to capture the chaos on tape ‘Treat Me Right’ captures this perfectly. ‘Throw It Away’ sounds like it’s been rolling in the Bowery dirt of the ’70s and has only now found its home its a great song like Richard Hell offered it up to Thunders and got chased out of the Heartbreakers only to offer it to Stiv instead. ‘Wire Children’ is the bastard child of Lux and his Cramps on even cheaper speed.
What only one song left? and its a slowey? How did this happen I’m gonna have to play it again. ‘Beneath The Skin’ is VU on the opening then a couple of notices on the snare and hell is unleashed as the grinding stomp takes this sucker home. What a fine uncomplicated record. I love it when a band like Glass Slipper turns up without any baggage or pretentions and just kicks out the jams like they love what they do and live it like there’s no tomorrow. Fill yer boots folks!
In a week that was overshadowed and pretty much dominated by one thing and that was the sad and sudden passing of the incredible talent that was Pete Shelley. It seems everyone throughout social media had a picture and/or a nice touching story about meeting or working with Pete who passed away at the age of 63 at home in Estonia of a suspected Heart Attack.
It was warming to see that even the BBC found it fitting to round off the day’s news with the reporting of his passing. It seemed that only when passing many people realise what an impact someone has on pop culture. Sure Pete was never a style icon but man could he write a bittersweet song he spoke to the lovestruck teen who wasn’t part of the cool club and outsiders everywhere were affected as well as many up and coming musicians who fitted the remit of his songs bands who later took his influence and turned it into something all together bigger. BAnds such as Nirvana who took Buzzcocks on tour to audiences they could only dream of pulling which gave them a new lease of life. Bands such as Green Day wouldn’t, in turn, have made the music they did if it wasn’t for Pete and his tunes – in fact, he wrote dozens of them quite literally he was the undisputed king of punk rock 45’s enjoying numerous forays into the top 40 as well as the soundtrack to many a film and tv advert looking for a catchy, snappy immediate tune Shelly had em by the bucketload.
As recently as this past summer Buzzcocks were easily one of the standout bands from the Rebellion festival weekend where they understood that having seventy minutes to play it was a case of 1-2-3-4 hit after hit which they usually delivered at ear-splitting volumes. Taken way to early Pete’s passing is monumental and a real loss to fans globally and our thoughts go out to his bandmates, crew and family at what must be a very difficult time. Rest In Peace Pete Shelley.
How I first got to hear about black metallers Zeal & Ardor harks back to a spare half hour I had at Hellfest back in July of this year. Having tried unsuccessfully to get a mate a Baroness T Shirt in the main arena merch tent (they had them on display but no one was actually selling them) and with one eye on the clock before Backyard Babies were due on stage over at the Warzone, I just happened to notice a huge crowd gathered both inside and (with almost as many) outside the Valley stage. What the hell were all these people so interested in? I couldn’t quite make out who the band were already onstage, but there looked like a load of monks up on stage and boy oh boy were they conjuring up some unique sounds.
A quick leaf through my laminated and colour coded weekend planner revealed it was someone called Zeal & Ardor and I have to admit I was intrigued by the mix of soul/blues/rock and umm black metal. With me also wanting Backyard Babies to finally pull their fucking fingers out and deliver a career defining performance playing, as they were, alongside the likes of Gluecifer and The Hellacopters I rather foolishly left the feverish swamp-like atmosphere of the Valley after just a couple of songs and instead watched a once great Scando rock band (now long past their sell by date) dial in yet another lacklustre live show.
Lesson learned I picked up a vinyl copy of the band’s ‘Stranger Fruit’ on my return to the UK and I really started to regret that fateful Sunday Hellfest band selection even more, as with each additional musical twist and turn that the record threw at me I started to imagine how this must have all sounded in front of that enormous Hellfest crowd, better still how it might sound in a club, and that ladies and gentlemen is when (through the power of the interweb) I discovered the band would be back in the UK in November/December playing just such intimate venues and tickets were duly snapped up for what might be the most leftfield gig I’ve been to in quite some time.
Long since sold out I arrive at The Fleece early knowing that you gotta be “in it to win it” when the place is packed to the rafters and I’m glad I made the effort as later on, I get to fully experience the effect of the Zeal & Ardor show complete with their own minimalist lighting rig and stage set up completely devoid of any amplification – Yngwie Mamlsteen this most certainly is not.
Up first though I get to spend half an hour in the company of Blackpool based progressive alt-rockers Blanket and trust me when I say their sounds are every bit as bleak as walking down the North Shore in the pissing rain in late November. The quartet’s largely instrumental set drawn from both new tracks and songs from their ‘How To Let Go’ LP is certainly expertly delivered and with the front five or six rows loving every 6/8 drumbeat driven minute of it, I kind of feel a little bit left out, because I just I don’t get this type of music at all and thankfully I probably never will.
By the time Zeal & Ardor take to the stage at the stupidly early time of 8:45 The Fleece is the fullest I’ve seen it in many a long year, and thankfully at this moment in time the amount of waxed facial hair present is at a very low level, although this is also one of the most diverse crowds I’ve ever seen assembled for what is still essentially a black metal band, and these guys most certainly know the band they’ve come to see singing along and going suitably apeshit in all the right places. I must admit I have never seen a reaction quite like this to any headliner in this venue before and I’ve seen quite a few big names headlining this place over the years I can tell you.
Kicking off with ‘Sacrilegium I’ which with its trip-hop beats pulsing you really do have to pinch yourself to remind you this is not actually at a Tricky show, bathed in red light and dry ice 6 hooded and silhouetted figures take to the stage and off we go on a 75 minute showcase of some of the most exciting and challenging metal music out there right now.
Zeal & Ardor simply let their music do the talking and its not until about halfway into their set just before they launch in ‘Blood In The River’ that frontman Manuel Gagneux takes a breathe and addresses the crowd. Sometimes that really is the right thing to do though as here it helps retain that certain level of mystery about the band, not unlike say Ghost, who at times I must admit Zeal & Ardor do kind of remind me of, even if they sound nothing like them (okay granted ‘Ship On Fire’ may well do in places).
All the favourites (you’ve possibly yet to hear) are played tonight and tracks like ‘Gravediggers Chant’, ‘Servants’, ‘Row Row’ and my personal favourite ‘Don’t You Dare’ don’t so much blend genres as torch the fucking rule book on genres and I’m just waiting for someone to try and label this band as “the next big thing”, because these guys and gal offer so much more than that. I really do fear mainstream attention might just dilute the absolute genius of what Zeal & Ardor are truly all about. I mean remember what happened to Celtic Frost all those years ago?
Finishing their set with a 3 song encore with the mayhemic gospel chant of ‘Baphomet’ the noise the crowd makes in response to what has just gone before must have had the recently moved in dinky flat owners nearby on the phone to Bristol City Council in double quick time fearing a mini earthquake had just taken place, and they wouldn’t have been too far off the mark either as Zeal & Ardor really are a true musical force of nature….GENIUS!!!!!
Seeing as its the last roundup of 45’s in 2018 we check out some recently released singles as well as look forward to some about to hit the shelves of virtual stores (mainly) and gawp at some videos made. here goes.
First off you might have gathered already here at RPM that there are bands we believe in wholeheartedly and right at the top of that list is without doubt shit islands darlings of the underground The Hip Priests. They have a brand new album in the bag ready to unleash on us mear mortals early in 2019 and I’ve been reliably informed that it is going to blow us away so when they said they had a split recorded and ready for release how could we turn down a sneak peek at the masters of garage punk rock n fucking roll and their awesome new split featuring a pretty impressive Satanic Overlords.
The Hip Priests/The Satanic Overlords – Split (Gods Candy Records)
with their usual promised exclusive for the Spasm Gang issue this blindingly good EP kicks off with ‘Press Darlings’ and as far as I can hear its a profanity-free bundle of pure energy and a chorus that you will just want to shout back at Von Cruz when you catch them live. The bulked-up duel guitar attack of Silent Mike and Austin Smith is a real force here and at a time when Shit Island is crying out for bands to rise up and rally, the Hip Priests are front – centre. I’d go over the top with these guys as long as ‘The Nihilist Twist’ was playing from the circling choppers. Now its fair to say when they’ve done splits before they’ve not shied away from a challenge as bands like the mighty Dwarves have accompanied them. I have to say these two songs from The Satanic Overlords give The Priests as close a run for their money than any predecessor has as their superb take on ‘Beat My Guest’ is a killer and the delivery is pure proto-punk that would raise an eyebrow from Handsome Dick if he were to hear this bad boy.
V8 Interceptor – Steamin (self Release) Well next up we have a video shot in a caravan. Awesome? Fuckin’ right it is in a mobile home for God’s sake – enjoy
Andy McCoy – Soul Satisfaction (Ainoa Productions Oy)
Its been a while since we’ve had any new music from the most talented guitar slinger of a generation and it was this time last year when he released his one track Christmas single so this is a most welcome CD to emerge from Finland. My only complaint about this is a four-song CD single for the price of an album is a bit of a sting but on inspection the fourth track ‘Wild Kingdom’ is listed as being a non album track which would suggest that the sheriff has an album all wrapped up and ready to go which is exciting and by the sounds of these songs its certainly going to please the purists amongst us who want to hear the king of the six-string knock out something along the lines of ‘Too Much Too Soon’ or ‘Building On Tradition’ and not Grease Helmet. The lead track is a rocker with a whole bunch of that McCoy magic built around a rolling riff and a big groove with his unmistakable drawl capping off a fine tune. Now ‘Gimme Time’ starts off with some super cool sax and then a gentle paced song that is a step in the right direction – great song! ‘Bible And A Gun’ is a honky-tonk romp as is the non album track of ‘Wild Talk’ plenty of bluster and a rollicking piano laying the foundation for McCoy to do his thing. Welcome back Andy we’ve missed you now get this album done we need it! Facebook
CJ Ramone – Christmas Lullaby (Fat Wreck Chords) With a month full of big hitters CJ is in great company and with the first and only festive 45. Two track one being a cover of The Kinks ‘Father Christmas’ and the other being the lead track ‘Christmas Lullaby’ being a classic Ramones lite Crimbo tune the only thing its missing is some sleigh bells oh wait, hang on – there they are. Well done CJ for taking this on. In a world that’s gone to shit and left fights right on every turn the festive tunes seem to have dried up until now. Its warm and fuzzy and a little bit of festive fuzz from CJ. His rework of the Kinks tune is more what you’d expect from a former Ramone bruda.
Alvin Gibbs & the Disobedient Servants – Ghost Train (Time & Matter Records) An album that has really got us excited here at RPM is the soon to be released long player from UK Subs four stringer Alvin Gibbs. Alvin has put together a two-track taster from the album in the shape of a traditional two-track seven-inch record with amazing artwork from Gaye Advert this features a plethora of special guests that would be a veritable whos who of punk rock n roll and on the one side you have the fantastic ‘Ghost Train’ which is Alvin looking at mortality because lets face it, none of us are getting any younger it sounds like the finest bit of punk rock n roll Iggy never wrote. It would have fitted in on his Brick by Brick album with its meandering rhythm it’s a real grower that you’ll find yourself humming long after the song has finished. Make some room for the flip side as ‘Clumbsy Fingers’ is spectacular and has Alvin’s motoring bass line that really attacks your core. Now if Guns n Rose were to announce a new single and they played this on the radio there would be a collective wetting of gentlemen’s undercrackers and the magazines would be clamoring over themselves to tell you how good it is so with a bonkers solo from the one and only Brian James to boot it falls to me to tell you that if there are any left you really do need to pick one up – Pronto! Buy Alvin Gibbs Here
Young Skulls – Bomb Train Blues’ (Slovenly Records) With a swirling organ and a frantic beat Young Skulls have got this garage punk rock n roll thing off to a tee and with the opener ‘Bomb Train Blues’ they scream and howl their way into my brain with relative ease because this is excellent. Continuing the locomotive theme (and I thought it was Christmas) on the B Side is a slower but none the less agressive menacing ‘We’re Gone’ its wreckless and exciting as it pounds towards its natural death They’re not fucking about here kids there are no festive jingle bells or chestnuts roasting on an open fire just raw vital garage punk rock. check em out Bandcamp
The Troubled Bones – Broken Biscuits EP (Self Release) Its a longish story why its taken this one so long to get onto RPM but its here now and that’s all that counts. Leading the way is the brooding slow burn of ‘Broken Biscuits’ with its hand jive rhythm it’s walking a path previously trodden (more recently) by the likes of Jim Jones and at times the Urban Voodoo Machine Trouble Bones understands what it takes to make good music and do it with aplomb. With their roots in a blues-based voodoo swamp rock thang, there are traces of the Cramps in this and ‘Ma Cherie’ is a great number with its waft of European chic there is a certain Joie de vivre to proceedings and a most enjoyable EP it is too. Check out them Troubled Bones at the link and tell em RPM sent you facebook
Ditchbanger Demos (Self Release) I daren’t not give these gents a few words after contacting us as one look of their artwork it could be my ditch they’re diggin’. Coming out of the big smoke this three-piece aren’t fucking about with a thrashing punk rock n roll that isn’t taking any prisoners and from the off ‘Light A Fire (Under YOur Ass) is like the classic Uncle Sam heaven or Hollywood album in delivery. Sure its a demo but who gives a fuck eh? I like it – I like it a lot and it might be the heartwarming sound of three mates kicking out the jams and being their own biggest fans its a beautiful thing. ‘Moosehead’ is like old school speedrock just like Zeke and before you can blink its gone but fear not because they save the best til last and ‘Pure Hell’ is unleashed. Great stuff look forward to hearing what’s coming next. Bandcamp
How about a video to break things up a little? Well, you’re getting it anyway. here goes…Radar State with ‘Strays’ from their soon to be released long player coming out in January 2019
The Blankz – (Its A) Breakdown (Slope Records) Power Poppin’ punk rockin’ this is a great tune from Arizonians its got a huge new wave synth right through its DNA its gonna’ make you pogo pogo from start to finish with its simple lyrics especially on the B Side ‘You’re Not My Friend Anymore’ its happy go lucky but I’ll be friends with The Blankz if they’re asking they play music I love and do it oh so well and a band that will certainly be on the RPM radar from now on. Simpe no fuss punk rock new wave – love it! Bandcamp
Baby Blue / Triple Junk – ‘Rock N Roll Or What?’ I always love it when a record crops up and I don’t know why or how it got to circle my orbit and stick around but I am grateful it has and this certainly fits that category. Hailing from Tokyo Baby Blue deliver power pop goodness in the shape of two tracks with the first being a straight-ahead rocker in the shape of ‘I Don’t Wanna Be Your Sorry’ with a great hook on the chorus whilst the second offering is a more laid back ‘I Can’t Let You Go’ a classic slower number that’ll let you wave your lighters in the air whilst slow dancing. flip it over and Triple Junk turn up the amps with the perfect accompaniment. Playing classic power pop and playing it really well. ‘Tax’ being the pick of the two it reminds me of The Breakdowns and Classic Cheap trick now there’s big shoes to fill. Bandcamp
Well, that’s your starting eleven for the festive campaign. Some to get excited over and some to hunt down but hopefully, I’ve made it easier for you to find your new favourite band so click on the links and check em out see you all in 2019 keep it RPM for all your 45’s.
Featuring tracks taken from their albums ‘Rise’ and ‘Monolith’ and originally only out on CD Easy Action from the UK have taken the original recordings and given them an overhaul and pressed it on vinyl for the first time.
With dark imagery you might be forgiven for presuming that Amebix are part of the Norweigan black metal community but you would be wide of the mark for that impression firstly because you can actually read the bands name on their logo and secondly they have more in common with early post-punk and crust punk of Crass but I’m sure the band did influence some of the bigger names in Black Metal.
The record begins with some haunting sounds before the band breaks out and ‘Arise’ sounds like it is risen up through the bowels of Hell and the band charge headlong into the set. ‘Largactyl’ rages about a medication used to treat schizophrenia of which I believe at least one member of Amebix suffered with back in the day. With what would amount to inside knowledge of such things the song is a terrifying journey as it thrashes along at a raging pace. “Its only Paranoia” rages Rob Miller.
Its a fairly dark affair and a live show from Amebix would have been an intense affair back in the mid-eighties when there wasn’t a great deal to shout about but the band captured that dark underbelly of life really well as music isn’t always about girls and cars. The sleeve notes by The Baron explains well where the band were at and describes the times as well as anyone. Amebix was a hardcore band they influenced others and walked their own path that reflected in their music.
It’s great that Easy Action releases such diverse music and with a distance between this recording and its vinyl release the songs often have a menace that no doubt influenced and was influenced by the likes of Venom and Voivod and no doubt Motorhead as the Godfathers of crossover punk and metal. ‘Axeman’ is as dark as it gets and I did smile hearing the crowd in Slovenia being asked to shout ‘Axeman’.
Investigate something dark and dank from the corner of crust punk and metal crossover where two worlds collided and it was captured and preserved for your listening displeasure here