I think it is important to start with the disclaimer that Smash Fashion has a history of being hit and miss with me. I went into this album expecting that relationship to be more of the same, especially after the video for ‘Runs in the Family’ did nothing for me, but I am happy to say that song seems to be the exception as I have found much to enjoy here.

‘Can’t Take you Anywhere” features a glitter inspired glam guitar riff circa ’77 to start the album on a great note. Roger Deering channels a voice from a bygone era in his vocals, and Smash Fashion immediately made me sit up and pay more attention back on my first listen to this album. With a chorus that sticks like molasses, this would have been my first video from the album. Up next, ‘Soft as a Rock’ continues the hot streak with a jangly guitar riff by Lloyd Stuart Casson leading into a nearly 6 minute epic song. Scarlet Rowe (bass) and Repo Kauppila (drums) provide a tight rhythm section that allows some great starts and stops with Kauppila providing some great drum fills. The musical coda at the end sets up some future jams for the band with a great solo by Casson closing the song. The title track features a slinky beat that explodes into another dimension for the chorus, which has made the song much more enjoyable for me. It provides some great dynamics and builds anticipation throughout the song with the guitar solo being an extra surprise on your first few listens as it appears right before the final chorus.

Harmonica and a blues riff welcome ‘Wolves of Wonderland.’ I have to say one of the amazing things about Smash Fashion is they can take a 5 minute song and make it seem as short as a 3 minute single. The extended solo section here providing another great musical avenue to explore in the live setting. ‘Teenage Demon’ struts out of the speaker like an adrenalin laden T.Rex with spoken word voices giving the song additional texture. This song suffers a bit from not having a more immediate hook as it does take some patient to get its hooks into the brain. Musically, the band channels the glitter glam era exceptionally well with the slow strutting ‘Proper Way to Eat a Muffin’ delivering the goods musically, but the lyrics are just a little too silly for me. It is a fine line sometimes and different for all of us. As I mentioned at the beginning, ‘Runs in the Family’ just does not connect with me at all. It has improved a bit with repeated listens, and I have to say that I enjoy the final ¾ of the song more than the beginning.

Slowing things down a little bit, ‘Tender was the Hook’ serves up a great chorus with Deering twisting his voice around the great beat by Rowe and Kauppila. This song channels the 70’s with perhaps some sprinkles of Nikki Sudden and Dave Kusworth added for good measure. The rock and roll infused ‘Ugly Thugly’ finds Casson letting loose on the guitar with Deering supplying another catchy chorus that would make Bolan and Bowie proud. ‘Gentle Hand’ begins with an awesome guitar riff and features a great hook by Deering. This would be one of my future singles/ videos if I was marketing the album as it hits hard and direct. This is another of my favorites and reminds me of the brilliant and just dissolved Dr. Boogie. The soft ‘Smiles and Daggers’ brings the album to a close with some very nice piano work. It provides something completely different from everything that comes before it. I have not found myself going specifically to it for a listen but do enjoy ending each listen of the album with it as it really winds things down nicely since it builds to an epic rock finish.

Smash Fashion have delivered an album that has made me much more of a fan of the band as the only real stumble for me comes in the middle of the album. They start and finish strong though. If you are looking for some cool rock and roll that will leave your room covered in sequins, glitter, and satin; Smash Fashion will hit the sweet spot for you.

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Author: Gerald Stansbury

 

 

 

Johnny Hayward.

Sick Of It All album reviews kind of write themselves these days with a large proportion of them either falling into the “this is no ‘Scratch The Surface’” or “it’s their best record in decades” camps, with journos being awarded extra special brownie points if they can actually manage to squeeze them both in. For yours truly it’s more of a case of how much of a battering I feel like I’ve had after each new record, because since the release of ‘Death To Tyrants’ back in 2006 I don’t think the band has put a foot wrong release wise.

That’s 12 years of almost non-stop musical perfection encompassing five studio albums, a 30th anniversary EP and God knows how many sweat soaked sold out shows worldwide. ‘Wake The Sleeping Dragon’ then (album number 5 of this winning streak and album number 12 overall from the band) is exactly what I have come to expect from Messrs Koller, Majidi and Setari, just 17 blasts of brutal hardcore at its very best.

You can try and dissect ‘Wake The Sleeping Dragon’ all you want but ultimately the Sick Of It All sound really is their trademark with no ballads, no jazz fusion interludes and not one of the songs breaking the 2 minutes and 40 seconds mark, so there’s also no “shock horror” clickbait headline to accompany this review. ‘Wake The Sleeping Dragon’ is simply the sound of the masters of the genre relishing every single second of their day job and in the process they deliver steamrolling anthems like ‘That Crazy White Boy Shit’, ‘Bad Hombres’ alongside the album’s incendiary title track, each one meticulously designed to make you lose your shirt and your mind in a frenzied mosh pit when the Sick Of It All guys come to a town near you very soon.

Having never been afraid to hold back when it comes to their lyrics, the pick of the bunch here is ‘Robert Moses Was A Racist’, a 1 minute 28 explosion of rage directed at the legacy of New York City’s “master builder” whilst in ‘Beef Between Vegans’ there is a timely nod towards the bigger discussion point of the moment, no not fucking Brexshit, but the world’s ever diminishing resources.

Short, sharp and always on point ‘Wake The Sleeping Dragon’ doesn’t so much as raise the bar for hardcore release worldwide as take a flamethrower to the bar and let the rest of the scene dance around the ashes Sick Of It All leave behind. I fucking love this album and I’m pretty sure you will too.

This is one release destined for the playlist at Daley’s Pumphouse gym that’s for sure.

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Craggy Collyde

Fertile Hump are a Polish rock ‘n’ roll trio blending a fine mix of blues and garage into something quite special. Emerging from the ashes of previous band, the Stubs, guitarist Tomek Szkiela formed Fertile Hump in 2015 with guitarist/vocalist Magda Kramer and drummer Maciek Misiewicz and the Warsaw-based group have been prolific ever since.

Having caught them at Brno’s excellent Kabinet Muz club earlier this year and picking up a vinyl copy of their 2016 album Dead Heart, I have been eagerly awaiting new material and a return visit. Kiss Kiss or Bang Bang is their second full album and largely builds on the same sound as Dead Heart, only adding a little colour here and there.

Dead Heart was a straightforward, stripped down album of bluesy rock ‘n’ roll which was built around great song writing and the glorious harmonies of Kramer and Szkiela. Thankfully, the same can be said this time round. In both albums there is something hauntingly magical about the songs, held up by a production beautiful in its simplicity. The dual vocals and loose guitar work are backed up with Misiewicz’s punchy rhythm.

The way the vocals play off of each other is an enjoyable element of the album, used fully in songs such as Yeah Right but remaining a dominant feature throughout. While songs such as the opening title song and Old Soul capture the style that was present in Dead Heart, songs such as It Feels So Good, Lost and Lonely and Vultures add a few extra layers to the record.

Simply put, Fertile Hump are an incredibly enjoyable band, producing music which, while based on a simple formula, offers a sound which is particularly theirs. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang takes their previous work and builds on it subtly enough to produce a consistently superb record.

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At last, the most anticipated punk rock record of the last few years is finally out.

Heavy Drapes were the brightest burning meteorites in the U.K. punk scene; a band that soared from playing to twenty-odd people in Bathgate in Scotland to the main stage of Rebellion, the biggest punk festival in the world in little over 24 months.

The sudden death of frontman and motormouth Garry Borland was the only thing that could have possibly stopped them and that tragic event has seen the best band in the U.K. dissolve before the release of this, their long-awaited debut album.

Thankfully, the surviving band members and producer Mark Freegard have made sure that the legacy of Garry lives on. He lived and breathed this band and this is exactly how he would have wanted it. Garry spent every waking hour in the pursuit of his dream- the dream that Heavy Drapes would release the best album that they possibly could. It was a long time in the making; that was Garry, it had to be perfect.

These ten songs stand tall and proud; Heavy Drapes took a very simple formula and gave it a towering, enigmatic makeover. Dangerous, glamorous, sexy and soaring, all of the things that punk rock generally isn’t in the modern world. Heavy Drapes have crafted an album that truly doesn’t have a dull moment on it- these songs do not need to be fawned over; they need to be played, loud, proud and indignant, just like Garry.

 

 

Yup, for those who have to go back to work this morning we apologise. To show we care about you we’d like to offer you three crackers for your viewing pleasure this morning and to shake away any of the weekends overindulgences.

Last week was resignations left right and centre for our right wing politics of me Government so we’d like to show what side of the fence we’re on, (well me anyway seeing as I’m choosing the videos). First up they were subjected to this weekends interview questions the one and only Cyanide Pills with the fantastic ‘Government’.

Second up this morning is the larger than life frontman of the Mighty Wah! the one and only Pete Wylie with his pop tune dedicated to the one and only Iron lady ‘The Day That Margaret Thatcher Died’

Finally bringing up the rear (cheeky) are one of the rising stars of the UK alternative scene the amazing Bar Stool Preachers with ‘Grazie Governo’ taken from their second album of the same name. Anyway, only a few more days til the weekend folks.  Keep it RPM!

I get it you love Biters and you have a soft spot for the likes of The Cars and Cheap Trick and they all have more great songs than they don’t, well, Kurt Baker is like that as well. He doesn’t do bad songs simple as that – original or covers.  He doesn’t write bad tunes, in fact, he writes awesome tunes and this is the proof. He writes great tunes -pop tunes even but he plays them with loud guitars and that’s a lethal combination.

 

Hey, you Eureka Machines fans and you Costello fans get on this and check it out (you can thank me later) ‘Emma Stone’ has a melody and hook that’s just so listenable you can’t stay still it’s infectious and should have a government health warning.

 

He doesn’t change tack much at all (but why would you?) ‘What’s That Got To Do With Rock And Roll’ is a groovin’ slab of T-rex and some 70’s glam slam a go-go but don’t bother looking for imperfections because there aren’t any its just good time Rock ‘n’ Roll and its all about the good time and the party in your head whilst the songs are spinning  and Baker is so good at it.  Damn, there’s even time to sound like Thin Fuckin’ Lizzy on the excellent ‘On The Run’.

Thinks go Costello overload on the laid back ‘Since You’ve Been On My Mind’ its got a certain Joe Jackson about it too.  There’s even time this October to throw in a Christmas song but because its Kurt Baker I’m giving him a pass and it’s perfectly acceptable because when Bakers singing it’s like every day is Christmas such are the power pop gifts being dished out.  I know some of you will be scratching your noggins as this looks familiar well it does and it doesn’t this is the first time it’s had a vinyl release for the first time thanks to Ghost Highway and with some bonus material for all you audiophiles who just want your music on Wax or not at all.

By the time this album reaches the end we’ve got ourselves some synth-pop that’s right, some tasty new wave to put a cherry on the icing on the cake. ‘High Fidelity’ indeed!

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Author: Dom Daley

Nev Brooks

Sunday afternoon in the big smoke followed by an evening in a venue that I have to say was a new one on me, but the chance to drift along and listen to some rarities and slow sad waltzes, that you knew were going to be delivered perfectly by Margo Timmins and family just couldn’t be missed.

 

I caught the cowboy junkies first live with a certain Ryan Adams guesting back in the Royal Albert Hall and they absolutely stunned me, and since then I’ve been an avid follower of their brand of Blues/Folk/country/Americana, truth be told its music that hooks into an emotional space and just holds you there.

 

On arrival at the theatre I couldn’t help but notice the cast list for a new play being show from Martin McDonagh (Three Billboards outside Ebbing Missouri) called a Very Very Very dark matter what caught my eye was Tom Waits, the ongoing Narrator and a certain Phil Daniels in an extended role, if you fancy checking out some reviews, which I did it might appeal, the premise is suitably dark and almost certainly insane.

 

With a ban on photos, (they were very protective of the said plays set) all I can say is that it provided a macabre backdrop to the nights proceedings.

 

No support act and two sets with an intermission, meant we got straight into the proceedings with the opening set focusing in on the new LP “All that Reckoning” opening up with the title track “All that reckoning” you were instantly caught up lets lay it out there Margo Timmins is probably one of the best female vocalists currently touring across any genre, watching her entranced in the music, feeling every note it was a really special performance, I have to at this point comment on the sound tonight it was incredible, you could hear a pin drop we could hear the vocalist draw breath, it was unreal. Tracks that stood out in this set for me probably the opening number, “Southern Rain,” “The things we do to each other” and the only nod to the past in this section “cause cheap is how I feel”.

 

The second set was simply sublime, heavy raw blues at times, acoustic Americana at others, while dipping in and out of an alternative country base.

Picking out tracks two of the covers, “Powderfinger”(Neil Young) and “Sweet Jane”,(from the velvet underground!!!) it nailed you to the seat with its intensity, while “Misguided Angel” that closed the set left you drifting wanting much more, the solitary song from the new LP, “shining teeth” deserves a special mention it sat so well in this set.

 

Then before you know it the band are gone, or almost gone coming back to cover Bowie’s “Five Years” which was jaw dropping and Patsy Cline’s ‘Walking after midnight” both given the Cowboy Junkies treatment.

 

 

Playing just under an hour set one and an hour and thirty minutes (almost) set two, it genuinely felt like 5 minutes each, I love nights where you just end up lost in the music!!

 

You can buy “All that reckoning” here

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Seven days in Rock and Roll can be a long time or if you like us then it’ll fly by.  With some exclusive interviews and a whole lot of records reviewed we hope we’ve at least shone a little light into a corner of the entertainment world we think houses the best of the best and having the likes of Rich Jones give an interview with some snippets about the new Michael Monroe album revealed ‘One Man Gang’ is now out of the bag and having the likes of Nasty Suicide and Captain Sensible playing on the record 2019 is shaping up nicely or as someone here at HQ said “that’s album of the year sorted for 2019”.

We also brought you Paul Collins interview who is the self declared king of power pop although I did get a call in to HQ saying that wasn’t quite true as Rags now holds that title but I’m not getting involved in that debate but we did announce that Rich Ragany is holding an album launch in London Town in January and the line up is a very impressive set of bands that shouldn’t be missed details can be found on RPM online News section.

There were live reviews from Japanese Garage legends King Brothers as well as acoustic platinum seller Eric Martin and on Friday we brought you a review of The Feelgood Band playing in London which rounded up a pretty diverse bunch from around the globe I’m sure you’ll agree?

For our bread and butter album reviews, we had some old new um very old and one turkey so a festive collection of records were covered by a crack team of scribes.  We previewed Black Friday RSD must own – Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers ‘DTK’ as well as newcomers Estrons that went down extremely well here.  We took a trip to New York for Palmyra Delran and her doppelgangers and whilst we were there Beechwood were heading out the door to Europe for a tour but left us their new long player which is also an impressive second album this year from the three-piece.  The Turkey well we couldn’t sit Idol let Billy off without mentioning his revisited best-of collection that has been given the dance remix treatment which could have worked but cutting edge it isn’t.  90’s dated Ibiza dance off it might have been but disappointing is what it is and we can only bring you the truth here at RPM even though we love William Broad we’re excited for Generation Sex but not his new collection of remixes. There were the likes of the excellent Bitterlicks and Dave Kusworth records reviewed before they hit the shops as well as Thomas Silvers much anticipated solo album.

 

Not wanting to finish on a downer we look forward to the coming week where you have to keep it RPM online because we’re bringing you The Hip Priests and He Who Cannot Be Named live and where else are you getting that and Junkyard bookending Cowboy Junkies?  Nowhere that’s where. Also, we have albums from Honest John Plain, Australians Civic, New York Sick OF It All and Europeans like Youth Avoiders and Fertile Hump.  So remember to keep it RPM online and as Lux would say Stay Sick.

 

 

One of the good things about RPM is we know a thing or two about music and what hot and whats not.  when we started this site there were a bunch of bands in our crosshairs that we knew we wanted to get behind and one of them at the top of this list were Cyanide Pills.  Phil was happy to sit in the comfy chair whilst we threw a bunch of words in his direction and he was kind enough to make some sense of them and respond.  Now if you’re not familiar with his band then my advice is don’t hang about just as soon as you’ve read this here interview check em out. Now read our little chat. Buy Cyanide Pills Here

Tell us a little history of the band.  Who started it and where?

Time is a little hazy! We have been together over ten years now I reckon. Me and Chris Wrist (drums) got the band together, we both worked as cloakroom attendants in a nightclub/venue. I Think it was seeing the Briefs in the club and thought they were the best thing in years, they liked all the stuff we did, so it inspired us to go out and scrape together a bunch of misfits with the same mindset.

You’ve played sporadically around the UK  and played steadily on mainland Europe.  Is it difficult getting around the UK and picking up bookings? Can I hereby formally invite you to play in South Wales when you’re next out and about.

We would love to come and play! We played the UK all the time when we started, then we bumped into a bloke called Paul and he said “you lot would enjoy Europe and I’ll drive” so off we went, it’s good to get paid, fed and housed, they treat bands well over the water, Punk is alive and well so we keep going back, it’s Good to travel and meet different sorts. We should play the UK more often I must admit. 

I’ve seen the band play at Rebellion year on year and have a decent slot this past year and a really good crowd are people finally hearing about the band or something else at play?

We have always had a great time at Rebellion, we play the warmup show at the Tache as well, when it comes to attendance I’m not sure? I guess word spreads. We just do what we do and hope folk like it. 

 

Your three albums, a live 10″ and a whole bunch of singles deep into this business what’s next?  Anything on the immediate Horizon?

We are working on album number 4. Never had a plan, but we are lucky boys having a label and all. It’s good to be asked to do more stuff, cheers Ian Damaged!

You recently did the pink single as part of Damaged Goods Birthday celebrations who chose the single and why?

We have done a cover of the Glitter Bands ‘Just for you’ We like those glam bands from back in the day and originally wanted to do a Sweet number but chose the Glitter Band, a band you could say have suffered for the later crimes of a front man they kicked out in 73. So it’s our little homage to Rossall, Shephard and the others, they could write a fucking good tune.

 

Live the band is a ball of energy and the songs come thick and fast any specific shows spring to mind that told you that you were onto something with this rock n roll lark?

We judge everything as we did as kids in the crowd, what we liked to see in a band, keep it short, don’t talk bollocks between songs, keep playing the music. Move! And wear some decent clobber. The people who come make the best shows, the band is just a part of it.

Who writes the lyrics in the band?  I’ve always loved the lyrics and think that Cyanide Pills are one of the sharpest bands in the UK over the last decade some of the lyrics are superb.  There are the obvious ones like ‘Stop And Search’, the awesome ‘Up Against The Wall’ and ‘Government’ and the storytelling like ‘Johnny Thunders Lived In Leeds’ but its the fine use of the English language on ‘Suicide Bomber’, ‘Formica’ that really paints great pictures mentally.   Is there a favourite lyric you’ve squeezed into a song?

Cheers! I (Phil) writes the words, I try to put a bit of effort in. For some people it’s all about the words, for others it’s not a big deal. To be honest, if a tune is good I could quite happily listen to someone shout the word shit over and over again. Don’t think about it too much although we do try and write the odd soppy love song which hopefully annoys the more macho types.

The bands sound has evolved from the first album to still bored.  It’s still instantly recognisably Cyanide Pills but you were more adventurous would that be fair? The last album was more power pop than previous records but songs like ‘Lock Up’ sounded great alongside ‘sit tight’ and ‘Dance With You’.  What about releasing singles that aren’t on the albums with exclusive B Sides its a real throwback to some classic bands from the 70’s and 80’s who’d do that.

Has it evolved?

I think it has

That wasn’t the plan. I’m with you on the singles thing, I’m more a fan of 45s than albums. We do have a tradition of putting a crap song on each side of an album, purposely done of course! usually a bit experimental or whatever, but it has to be a bit crap, I guess it comes from listening to Dickies albums as a kid. Also cramming in as many songs as possible, value for money and all that! Quantity over quality that’s what we always say.

Who influences you in your writing?  What are your favourite singles and albums?  Who else would you like to take out on the road with Cyanide Pills that would make for a great night out?

It’s pop songs, Buzzcocks singles, SLF singles, Generation X, Nick Lowe, Glam, 

early Exploited, Jonathan Richman, Dr Feelgood, The boys, two-tone, Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters  ..fucking loads, it’s one big jukebox. On the road, we have had the pleasure of supporting some of the bands who made us who we are. Long may it continue. 

Finally, the floor is yours anything you’d like to plug or support?

Visit www.cyanidepills.com it has a list of shows we are doing, come along and see us if you’re nearby, if you like it we have records for sale in pretty colours. They sound the same as us live but without all the mistakes. Oh, and we have a nice range of clobber as well, if you need a the full makeover!

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I had a quick glance at the cover then checked what the band looked like then dropped the needle (so to speak) I can’t help myself sometimes and before a note has been played I’ve already started judging a band. Hard rock isn’t really my bag and macho lyrics don’t move me so when HQ offered me The Lazys I already had my review covered and then I changed tack and thought I’d leave all my misconceptions at the door and go in with something of an open mind so here goes.

The production is bright and really compliments the hard Rock and Roll on offer the attitude seems genuine and they might just live it as they talk it. Sure the lyrics don’t always fly with me but hell the groove they hit is good – just take ‘Half Past Blues’ damn, it rocks.

The band has an ear for a commercial edge which works really well on ‘Nothing But Trouble’ and the guitar work is certainly an asset and it’s crisp and enjoyable and the chorus has enough to make it to the radio. Certainly, that edge is carried through to the harder hitting ‘One’s Too Many’ which has a strong tempo and is an old-school hard-rocker and again the playing is passionate and that comes through even if the lyrics are a little generic. There had to be a slower smokey number in here somewhere and tucked away towards the latter stages ‘Somebody’s Daughter’ hits that mark.  It has a gentle introduction then builds towards the chorus then returns back.  Singer Leon Harrison can really belt them out and has a strong vocal and is a real asset whether he’s singing softly (as he does here) or he’s really cutting loose like ‘Nothing But Trouble’.  There is even time for the band to break out the big 80’s acoustic guitars on closer ‘Young Modern Lightning’ and commercial radio will be all over this as its sunsets on the record and the imagery within the song – it might not be my usual style but I can’t say I dislike this at all.  I might not be investing in a beard and long hair any day soon but if you do like loud guitars and like a whiskey with your ballsy Rock then I’d suggest The Lazys might well be a band you should reach out and grab. Following on from fellow Australians who Rock hard like AC/DC and Rose Tattoo you can in the future add The Lazys to the roster as they have the sound and the songs.

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Author: Seb Boyd