We all remember a time when hard rockin’ guys walked the earth and MTV was happy to have programmes dedicated to genres of rock outside of Led Zep or AC/DC and then Grunge was alleged to have almost made a whole scene extinct apart from a few outposts that kept the faith well, 2019 and some of those people who remained true to their roots have come crawling out of the ashes of the past and are once again proud to drape a scarf over their mic stand and wear their attire like they were born to rock rather than some work clothes and sneakers like they’ve just walked in from working on their car.  Babylon Shakes are one of those bands – no not work clothes and oily clothes but a band who remember when Tyler and Perry rocked or when Faster Pussycat had the strut on Sunset Blvd.

 

Without a hint of irony, ‘Exile To The Velveteen Lounge’ can and will be compared to that Debut Faster Pussycat album or pre MTV Aerosmith because that’s where they are coming from or strutting from.  Take the second song ‘Sunset Striptease’ its certainly got that sleazy Joe Perry riff happening and the song is a rollicking good time and the fact they are happy to hit that cowbell like its going out of fashion is marvellous. It’s sleazy, loud and a bloody good time and it keeps it rock n rolling and not falling into that cheesy metal field.  I think the fact they are wearing their influences on their sleeves and its stretching back into the ’70s for inspiration rather than the 80’s makes this record authentic and above all the songs whilst often have cliched lyrics are pretty decent.

 

The production is big but it’s not Bon Jovi big and they keep it real without the temptation to add studio trickery or lush keyboards ‘No Pictures Please’ could be The Sweet and it’s impossible not to reference classic Faster Pussycat on songs like ‘Velveteen Liberteen’ and possibly add to that a hint of the Dogs D’Amour swagger.

Similar themes crop up throughout the rest of this album and they don’t stray from their tried and tested comfort zone and there’s nothing wrong with that being a loud sleazy Rock ‘n’ Roll band is alright with us and I thought I’d got away without there being the big soft ballad but then ‘Star In Your Eye’ crawled out of the speakers like it’s 7 am and they’ve just got in. It’s a decent arrangement but I’m not convinced it was needed but hey that’s one opinion.

Leaving just ‘Motel Lights’ to rock this bad boy home and with a great rumbling bass line, it certainly does that. I like Babylon Shakes and this album is a very decent affair now if they along with label mates the Prophets Of Addiction can kickstart more bands to follow suit then we might be in for a resurgence of a genre people said was gone forever but we know better folks and on this evidence so do Babylon Kicks.  Good Work fellas good work!

Buy Exile To The Velveteen Lounge Here

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Author: Dom Daley

On this day in 1979 Simon John Ritchie otherwise known as Sid Vicious passed away On the evening of 1 February 1979, a small group of friends, including Jerry Only and Howie Pyro, gathered to celebrate Vicious having made bail at a friend’s Manhattan apartment.

Sid was clean, having been on a  methadone program during his time at Rikers Island, but at the dinner gathering,  photographer Peter Kodick, deliver him heroin. He had apparently spent hours during the party looking toward the future, planning an album he would record to get his life and career back on track should he be acquitted. Sid played Max’s along with a stellar line up including Mick Jones, Steve Dior, Matlock (who he replaced in the Pistols) Jerry Nolan to name a few who he played with or made plans to help him record this solo album he had planned. Sadly none of those pans would come to fruition as Sid overdosed at midnight, but everyone present worked together to get him up and walking around to revive him Sid died in the night and was discovered dead by his mother, Anne Beverley, early the next morning. Aged just 21.  still to this day its such a sad story to tell and a waste.  RIP Sid.

Sid Vicious died of a heroin overdose in New York City. There had been a party to celebrate Vicious’ release on $50,000 (£29,412) bail pending his trial for the murder of his former girlfriend, Nancy Spungen, the previous October. Party guests, said that Vicious had taken heroin at midnight. An autopsy confirmed that Vicious died from an accumulation of fluid in the lungs that was consistent with heroin overdose. A syringe, spoon and heroin residue were discovered near the body.

The Specials were at No.1 on the UK singles chart with ‘The Special A.K.A. Live E.P’. The lead track ‘Too Much Too Young’ was the shortest song to reach No.1 on the UK singles chart in the 1980s that also happened on this very day in 1980.

On this very day in 1978 Van Halen signed a record deal with Warner Brothers.  Seems as good a time as any to play this then…

 

Oh and it was on February 2nd 1949 that the first ever 45 RPM record was released.  How about that for a fact?

 

It’s been 5 long years since The Hip Priests’ last studio album, but as some wise old sage once said “good things to those who hate”.

During that time events have certainly seen the UK become a more divisive place to live and as such ‘Stand For Nothing’ has never felt like a more perfectly timed record. It’s one the band said they’d never release but now felt compelled to, plus it’s also one that contains not a single song about the old in out … a true first in Priests terms.

But wait just a minute, because I’m getting ahead of myself here and forgetting you just might be someone discovering The Hip Priests for the very first time, sat there all comfy on your toilet (I mean where else would you read about the Hip Priests?) thinking that in those intervening 5 years the band’s core trio of bassist Lee Love, guitarist Austin Rocket and vocalist Nathan Von Cruz must have been hidden away on some tropical island paradise recording a masterpiece in studio fuckery with Muff Flange. Well, you’d of course be very wrong indeed, because during the past 5 years what The Hip Priests have actually been doing is working their arses off by relentlessly touring (with the likes of Zeke, The Dwarves and The Bitch Queens) whilst releasing a bazillion independently funded and released limited edition 7” singles. Whilst in the process of doing all this they also managed to lose 2 drummers (before arriving at current sticksman D.P. Bomber), decided to turbocharge their sound via the addition of a second guitarist (via the enigmatic Silent Mike – who has subsequently moved on to pastures new), and then came within a hair’s breadth of finally getting themselves signed to a major label. Something that would ultimately come to nothing when the A&R guy signing them was “let go” by the label.

Phew! That potted history reads like a draft film script doesn’t it, but this boys and girls is the harsh reality of being in a proper rock ‘n’ roll band, one that is driven to succeed at all costs.

So, after all that does ‘Stand For Nothing’ live up to my heady expectations as the record to propel them into 2019 as the number one independent rock band on the UK scene?

Well, it takes exactly one line of the album’s blistering opener ‘Welcome To Shit Island’ to answer this conundrum as Nathan Von Cruz venomously spits out “Small minds, dumb pricks – drop a bomb on this isle of shit” and I can immediately feel myself grinning from ear to ear whilst punching the air with absolute joy. YES! Someone is finally not afraid to speak the truth and there really is no time like right now (excuse the pun) to celebrate it. In fact, all joking aside if ever there was a sign that The Hip Priests were evolving into a much bigger and angrier sounding beast than ever before it was that 10 minute epic (which curiously doesn’t make the final track listing here) that well and truly pissed the line in the sand regarding the band’s musical ambitions.

The expansion of sound that was so evident during the horn-driven ‘No Time (Like Right Now)’ is thankfully driven headlong into this album too and the aforementioned addition of a second guitarist gives tracks like the stunning ‘Losers Of The Faith’ (which I must admit is my favourite track here) and the glorious one-finger piano-driven ‘Stand For Nothing’ an additional melodic edge, something that just might have been missing from previous Priests’ records where the band chose to simply bulldozer you into aural ecstasy.

Fear not though fellow Spasm Gangbangers because that old school Priests sound is still very much here in abundance during tracks like the caustic ‘Social Hand Grenade’, and the thundering album closer ‘Rock N Roll Leper’ plus let’s not forget the already firmly established live favourite ‘Cheers To Me’. It’s just that this time around I’m finding myself going back to the likes of the pounding ‘Deja F.U.’ and the dare I say it the “gothic sounding” ‘How Do You Get Off?’ (is that a hint of Farfisa I here in there lads?) time and time again as The Hip Priests truly spread their musical wings…sonically speaking of course.

What also really stands out on this record are the lyrics, and on the vinyl only track ‘U Okay Hun’ we get to rejoice in Lee Love’s lightning fast take on the world of the vacuous self-centred fucks that litter social media, a track which is without doubt one of his finest moments yet, and he’s written quite a few of those that’s for sure.

At the start of this review I stated that ‘Stand For Nothing’ contained no tracks about sex, which will be a total shock to any Priests fan’s moral system I know, but for those of you hankering for the ‘Saints Of Excess’ of old there’s still ‘Last Train Wrecks’ to look forward to, a glorious tale of self-destruction that comes complete with an intro from Happy Tom and actually revolves around some of the very people who will no doubt be rushing to buy their copy of this album when it goes on pre-sale on Feb 4th via the various labels involved and linked below.

Look, in ‘Stand For Nothing’ The Hip Priests have written one of, if not THE most important garage punk albums of 2019. Buy it now (via the links below) and help the band save Shit Island from forever falling into the sea of musical mediocrity.  Essential!

Spasm Gang

Buy Music Here

Author: Johnny Hayward

Burning Shed has announced the ‘Cries And Whispers’, the long-awaited follow-up to A Foreign Place’ (2015), the hugely successful biography of iconic British new wave innovators Japan by author Anthony Reynolds.  It is being made available as a limited deluxe hardback first edition from Burning Shed.

Detailing the fascinating musical adventures of David Sylvian, Richard Barbieri, Rob Dean, Steve Jansen and Mick Karn from the time following the band’s split in December 1982 until 1991, the book takes in David Sylvian’s work for his first three solo albums, The Dolphin Brothers, Dali’s Car with Bauhaus vocalist Peter Murphy, the brilliant but ill-feted album they released under the name Rain Tree Crow, and more.

The book also explores David Sylvian’s collaborations with Holger Czukay and Ryuichi Sakamoto, the latter of which resulted in their epic ‘Forbidden Colours’, which featured on the soundtrack album of the hit film ‘Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence’.

‘A Foreign Place’ was the first serious book on Japan. It was translated into Japanese and published in Japan, where it held at number one on the Japanese Amazon Pop Music Biography chart for four weeks. It has sold over 4000 copies to date, including the Japanese edition, without any external distribution.

Both books include previously unpublished photographs, including many from the private archives of the band members themselves.

‘Cries and Whispers’ also features a cover by renowned graphic designer Carl Glover, plus contributions from Bill Nelson, Johnny Marr, Simon Raymonde (Cocteau Twins/Bella Union), Ivo Watts-Russell (4AD Records), Bill Bruford (King Crimson), Martin Fry (ABC), Paul Morley (NME/ ZTT Records), Thomas Dolby and the late Colin Vearncombe (Black), among others.

Initially, a glam rock-inspired band, their sound and stylised visual appearance led to an unintentional association with the early-1980s New Romantic scene. The band split just as they were beginning to experience commercial success in the UK and abroad. They were unquestionably one of the most influential and innovative pop groups of the 1970s and 1980s.

“Is it shameful to be 40 something and still have a ‘favourite band’?  If so, colour me shamed.  Japan are my favourite band and as a fan I wanted to write and publish books on them that would enrapture and delight the fan in me. I hope I’ve done so, matching Style with content and mystery with beauty,” says author Anthony Reynolds.

Apart from ‘A Foreign Place’ and ‘Cries and Whispers’, Anthony Reynolds has published biographies on Leonard Cohen (a bestseller), Scott Walker and The Walker Brothers, and Jeff Buckley. He has also published two collections of poetry. To date, his books have been translated into 12 languages.

In 212 pages, this 210 x 210mm square, hardback book is cloth-bound with a gold and silver foil debos and features approximately 260 pictures. All copies of ‘Cries and Whispers’ come with a postcard signed by the author. Both Japan books are available exclusively through Burning Shed.

Japan books; Here

“This compelling account of the solo careers of Japan’s ex-members has clearly been a labour of love: Reynolds has sourced an amazing selection of personal photos, eyewitness accounts and technical details… The research here is exemplary” – The Wire

“Anthony Reynolds has clearly put forth the most far-reaching and insightful publications about Japan and its members published to date” – Big Takeover Magazine

On ‘A Foreign Place’:
“Favourite thing I read over Christmas was Anthony Reynolds’ wonderful book on Japan (the
band, not the country). Older Suede types will remember Anthony from his band Jack – an early Suede fave”
 – Mat Osman (Suede)

“A fascinating story – Classic Pop

“This is the big red book the defiant dons of delicacy deserve” – Prog Magazine

“Written with an enthusiasm that never flags”  Goldmine

“Anthony Reynolds’ biography is the first book to treat Japan’s career seriously and at length” – The Wire

* David Sylvian – vocals, guitars, keyboards
* Mick Karn – bass guitars, saxophone, backing vocals (died 2011)
* Steve Jansen – drums, percussion, keyboards
* Richard Barbieri – keyboards, synthesisers
* Rob Dean – guitars, backing vocals

Japan’s biggest UK album was ‘Tin Drum’ (1981), which featured hit singles ‘The Art of Parties’, ‘Visions of China’, ‘Ghosts’, and ‘Cantonese Boy’.

Japan achieved nine UK Top 40 hits in the early 1980s, most notably the ethereal oddity ‘Ghosts’, which reached No. 5 in 1982, and scoring a UK Top 5 with the 1983 live album ‘Oil on Canvas’.

Album launch show for Rich Ragany & The Digressions you say?Camden Town you say? The Spangles, The Speedways and More Kicks on the same bill for less than a tenner?  Fuck me sideways I’ll have some of that.

It might be dryruary or whatever you want to call it, people might be feeling the post-Christmas pinch and the weather might be a bit baltic outside but worry not this is the Black Heart and as we all know it’s like a Rock ‘n’ Roll sauna upstairs and tonight it didn’t disappoint again.

First up tonight, The Spangles.  kicking off tonight’s proceedings with their first soiree into London Town and I think it’s fair to say that I can speak on behalf of those here present they certainly didn’t leave anything behind as they knocked out tune after tune from their rather spiffin’ debut album ‘Sweet FA’.  With some quality cheeky banter and beaming smiles, the top tunes kept coming. It was the perfect way to get this show underway. In thirty sweaty minutes, they showed that Rock ‘n’ Roll is in good hands and songs like ‘The Only One’, ‘Dirty Pictures’ and ‘Hold My Hand’ ensured that we’re in safe hands and on this evidence this might be the first visit to the Capital but it won’t be the last time these three talented guys hit London and I’m sure on the evidence of their performance and the quality of the music The Spangles are a tasty proposition and they will undoubtedly go from strength to strength.

Next up were those power poppin’ rock ‘n’ rollers The Speedways. Off the back of their debut album, they’ve been getting some decent column inches for a stunning piece of crafted power pop that is ‘Just Another Regular Summer’. This was my first time seeing the band live and with a rougher edge to the songs and some played faster it seemed to add to what are already really good songs. I think it worked really well having Mauro Venegas on lead guitar to buffer off Matt and his style of playing and it added to the sound of the songs.  The band looked and sounded superb again much like The Spangles you would be forgiven for thinking they’d been a band for years.  ‘Seen Better Days’ reminded me of Stiv around the ‘Disconnected’ era and live without the keyboards and that rougher edge they really hit the spot. If you wanted to hear the definition of powerful pop songs then this was it. ‘In Common with You’ was better than the recorded version sped up and sounded really good.  Playing the album pretty much in sequence up until they threw in a faultless rendition of ‘They Don’t Know’ yeah that’s right the Kirsty MacColl number Tonight The Speedways took ownership and totally nailed it. The second band down and another band with a rosy future and capable of great things. I only hope they make more music together as they have a rosy future on the strength of a performance like that. Excellent!

We reach the halfway point of tonight’s proceedings and up next is the three-piece pop melodies of More Kicks. They might not have made it to an album launch of their own yet but their debut three-track single was excellent and if that’s the shape of things to come then let’s get it on.  There are no airs and graces on display tonight,  no egos jostling for the top spot just good time, honest Rock ‘n’ Roll played by people who clearly love what they’re doing and who walk the walk as well as talk the talk.  More Kicks have got it all to prove and right from the off seem intent on letting the punters see what they have in their locker and again like the previous two bands they didn’t disappoint.

After seeing their last performance that was with The Briefs up at the Lexington I thought they took this one up a notch and they seemed to wring out a little more energy which was a fantastic achievement for a band brimming with the stuff.  Again, More Kicks blast out hook after hook and melody after catchy lyric with the likes of songs as strong as opener ‘Young Enough’  it seemed like no biggie to just plug in and play confident that the tunes will stand up on their own and like Ali walking to the centre of the ring and doing the Ali shuffle followed by a knock out blow  More Kicks must know these songs are so strong? They’ve not just got the one outstanding tune but a whole bloody set of them. Songs like ‘What A Mess’ are just wonderful live so full of energy and life if you could bottle this you’d be loaded.

Sulli is a great frontman, so enthusiastic and full of good energy with songs like ‘Shes A Reaction’ they can slow things down (a little) so it’s not all crash bang wallop! but beauty in such strong melodies, as well as a little dash of chaos, makes for the perfect power pop.  Exploding Hearts, Stiv doing his power pop or The Boys these are all lined into the DNA of More Kicks as much as the charm and style of The Fab Four or the Kinks. oh and they’ve got the tunes as well trust me. By the time they play ‘Blame It On The Satellite’ – they’ve got it all going on and tonight they might just have stolen the show so far. A magnificent performance and if you can catch them I urge you to do so because you’re in for a right treat. Oh, and after the next single release can we have that album please guys?

Right, How the fuck do you follow that? Well, I guess one way is to pump classic Rod the mod over the PA as your intro tape then head straight into the title track of that brand new album. That’s one way of keeping this train on track as this six-piece set off as they meant to go on – there was no time for mucking about there was music to play and the audience seemed intent on having the best of times as the Digressions seemed duly obliged to deliver. ‘That World’  was dispatched and the band seemed to settle back and just clicked from Gaff’s empathetic lead guitar breaks to Kit Swings searing vocals. Andy (Brook) knew when to fill in and when to ease back on the keyboards it was a delight to hear such an accomplished set delivered by such a talented band. The rhythm section of Simon and Ricky locked everything down which left the room for  Rags to lead everyone down his ‘Story Highway’ as songs like ‘Lose With Me’ took on a life of their own and sounded huge.

‘Scotty Thompson’ had swagger and it must have been great for the band to hear people singing back on tracks like ‘Later Than It Is’ considering it has only been available to pledgers thus far but it seems people have really taken to this side of Rags music and it might be less of a good time party band that Role Models is  but that doesn’t mean its not about a good time because this is the best of times folks, make no mistake. Hearing the fourth band tonight with a new record in hand and just available it was a real pleasure. Considering the quality on offer I think it’s staggering it’s in the Black Heart and not somewhere five times the size such has been the standard on show. (maybe next time)

There was just about time for a Digressions take on Tom Petty’s ‘Listen To Her Heart’ before a really great version of ‘Easy’ before they ended the set with a spectacular ‘Your Distance’. That was too quick the set just flew by but before the curtain was drawn on a brilliant nights entertainment ol’ Rags was on stage alone lapping up the applause from the audience as he led them through an impromptu ‘Born To Lose’.  Johnny would have been proud of that one that’s for sure!

We came we saw we conquered – Four bands just kicked Camden’s backside make no mistake about that.  Four bands that deserve fantastic futures and every column inch of praise for writing and performing music that matters and doing it to such high standards – Goodnight Black Heart it’s been emotional. But oh so good can we do it again sometime?

Rich Ragany & The Digressions is available Here

More Kicks available Here

The Speedways available Here

The Spangles available Here

 

Author: Dom Daley

 

My listening with Jetboy goes back to the time of their debut ‘Feel the Shake’ back in 1988, one of my Forgotten Classic Albums. Sadly, this album was ready to be released on Elektra Records first who then changed their mind, and the band eventually ended up with MCA Records releasing a slightly adjusted version of the album. Their follow up ‘Damned Nation’ was also a winner in my book. After that, there were plenty of releases with older material and demos but no new music until about 2010 when they snuck out an EP. ‘Born to Fly’ represents their real third album. Coming 29 years after ‘Damned Nation’ which just makes me feel old. I am happy to say that the wait has been worth it with the band crafting another overall winner for me.

When the first two songs for this album, I must admit I was concerned as the title track did not initially grab me, and album opener ‘Beating the Odds’ has still not really fully grabbed me. The album starts with ‘Beating the Odds’ appearing almost at full speed when the needle drops as if someone forgot to hit the “record” button when the band started playing. I like the heavy guitar riff, but the song just feels a little too one dimensional. I will give this one some time though because the title track which follows also felt a little disappointing when I first heard it. After a few listens though, something just clicked and this one just completely gelled in my soul from the lyrics to the great guitar work by Billy Rowe and Fernie Rod. Mickey Finn stood out back in the ’80s with his huge mohawk setting him apart from everyone else in this genre back in the day visually, but vocally his voice drips with sincerity, attitude, the blues, and heart. He has tremendous ability to go where the song needs him to go. The title track’s chorus is a little understated which is what I believe initially disappointed me, but it serves the song so much better in the end by being less immediate. The part that follows the second chorus showcases a simple hook and then Finn hits the stratosphere on a note before the guitar solo that is pure magic.

‘Old Dog New Tricks’ takes a cool blues riff and beat with some harmonica added to create a powerful straight-ahead rocker where the band explores some slightly different textures between the verses and the choruses that make it pop. The rhythm team of Eric Stacy (bass, formerly Faster Pussycat) and Al Serrato (drums) are vital for Jetboy as they truly lay down an excellent foundation for the songs. Changing gears with the full-blown acoustic based rocker ‘The Way That You Move Me,’ the band bring in some female backing vocals to showcase a new dimension to their sound with a song that should be getting played on every stereo this summer. New single/ video ‘Brokenhearted Daydream’ provides a great hook whose only fault is there is a brief line in there that sounds just like a line in the title track. This is pure rock n roll with more outstanding guitar work with riffs inspired by the legends such as Chuck Berry. Closing out the first half of the album is the bluesy ‘Inspiration from Desperation.’ The groove is fantastic, and the chorus becomes quite hypnotic.

The band provide a slightly lighter touch with ‘All Over Again’ and contrast it with a rougher chorus to really nice effect. Lyrically, Jetboy always set themselves apart from their peers with some really thoughtful moments combined with lyrics about cars, music, girls, the blues which avoided the clichés of the time. Rowe and Rod provide awesome guitar licks and riffs through the fun ‘She’ where we can all feel a little guilty about our dreams of being a rock star as we sing along to the music. The sample referencing Instagram is perfectly placed, and the song should feature plenty of crowd participation live. Follow up ‘A Little Bit Easy’ might as well be permanently stamped into the live sets now as that deft guitar riff lays on top of a great beat with Finn delivering a perfect performance. The guitar solo inspires some air guitar moves.

Melodic midtempo ‘Every Time I Go’ shows yet another side of the band with plenty of space in the mix for the vocals to shine and the simple hook leaves a huge mark in the soul. This is another highlight for me. Some bluesy guitar lines introduce ‘Smoky Ebony’ with Finn sounding as excellent as he ever has in his career. This one also includes some nicely placed female backing vocals and really allows Rowe and Rod to shine as the intensity builds throughout the song. Ironically, this might have been the curveball I would have used to open the album. Closer ‘Party Time’ takes a timeless riff with similar pacing to the title track to remind us that life is entirely too short for all the little crap that we let stress us and affect us. It ends the album on an awesome high note and makes it very easy to reach over and play the whole thing over again.

Jetboy showcase that great music is simply great music regardless of when it is made. While I might struggle right now to fully get the opener of the album, this album is packed with great songs that deserves a wide audience. Similar to their first two, that audience might not find this album, but these songs should each get plenty of space in the band’s live sets as these songs are as great as those on the early albums. I am thankful the band recognized that we did not want to live on nostalgia. We want to see them continue to develop and give us new songs to learn. You were ‘Born to Fly,’ and you were born to give this album a listen.

‘Born to Fly’ is available Here

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Author: Gerald Stansbury

Call it what you like but Weezer have always done things outside of the box and this new record is certainly that. Sort of an appetizer for the new Black Album that’s about to drop this is a ten-track pop record of some fairly big hitters from yesteryear and Weezer have only gone and covered them with immaculate attention to detail and I very much doubt not a single tongue in cheek anywhere during the recording nor the selection for this record.

I’m sure there are plenty out there who will fondly look back on school discos where they first heard these tunes or TOTP shows where the likes of ‘Take On Me’ was on every week for half a year and even without MTV there was no escape but Rivers has excelled in his pop detail here and like Marmite this will divide opinion no question about it.

Me, It’s nice to hear his voice and such passion in pop classics but I’m sure once the (Real) new album drops this will enter the curio shelf and won’t ever get played again until someone reminds me of the time when Weezer did a pop Covers album.

‘Sweet Dreams’ is an immaculate pop tune and whether you dissect it like Marylin Manson did and make it your own or you pay homage to it Weezer style there is no denying its a slice of classically written pop from Dave Stewart and I’m sure he’ll appreciate the royalties kerching kerching! One of the most covered modern pop songs isn’t really a stretch for Rivers and co.

Now I must admit to never listening to A-Ha and always found Morten Hackets voice excruciatingly annoying and nothing has changed all these years later. Yuck! ‘Happy Together’ sees Weezer take a trip back into the ’60s and a grande take on this hall of fame number and its played with the same amount of gusto and pomp as the original.  I see a pattern emerging.

Aha (no not another Scandinavian cover but something with a bit of guitar on it. ‘Paranoid’ by Sabbath has a sickly sweet take I just hope they wore fringe satin jackets during the recording and consumed whisky whilst laying down the tracks. It wouldn’t be right if they didn’t – good effort though. We stay in the Midlands for a pomp rock version of ‘Mr Blue Sky’ which isn’t that much of a stretch if I’m being honest and if I were to guess that Rivers Cuomo has the entire ELO collection and no doubt is proud of it too.

‘No Scrubs is a song performed by TLC and was number one in about a bazillion countries which is no surprise and it now seems that since it was made public that Weezer covered it Chilli from TLC has given it her seal of approval (oh shucks thanks I’m sure) and has made it known that she wants to perform the track with the band.  Wow didn’t see that coming. Next up is a cover of Jacksons ‘Billie Jean’ whatever next?  It’s starting to wear thin now oh thank God there is only one more to go.  What started off as a hoot has worn thin please let it stop and get on with some original Weezer songs pleaseeeee?

Thankfully this circus is brought to an end with a set-closing performance of ‘Stand By Me’ which to be fair is again immaculately sung by Rivers and rocked up (if that’s really a thing) but it isn’t so much mirrored the original but twisted Weezer style and that’s fine by me.  ITs a great pop song pretty much like a lot of this but please can we have the real new album now please? Now that’s what I call music… Not that this isn’t its just not something you are going to listen to for long and is like a bit of a novelty.  so if you too are curious then check it out but be warned you might find yourself out looking for a DeLorean to go find some leg warmers and skinny tie. Oh and Teal is such a lovely colour. there end on a good point.

 

 

Buy Teal Here

Pssst, I need to tell you about this new album that most of the world will sadly never hear, but you need to give it one as this retro rock eases back the tempo for the most part and reminds us of days gone by when the sound of the jukebox was prevalent. Rich Hope combines some classic blues and rock with a healthy heaping of heart and soul to create an enjoyable sound that perfectly compliments his vocals. He creates some great moments here and does a wonderful job of crafting an album that has a natural ebb and flow.

Things get started with the upbeat ‘It Come Alive’ which rises like a classic garage Nugget from the past and has really served to set the tone for the album with every listen. The wailing chorus contains a shot of adrenaline and the musical race to the finish smokes. While it might be a risky to place a cover so close to the beginning of an album, Hope takes the Flamin’ Groovies’ ‘Golden Clouds’ and makes it sound like his own. The guitar work is outstanding, and it leads into a groove infused number designed to make the body move. I want to also highlight how well this album is mixed as the instruments are largely given space to be heard and showcase the players. ‘Creepstone’ contains a catchy blues shuffle that again calls back to the Nugget days with some subtle instrumentation providing extra sizzle to the verses. It is the beat that serves as the killer hook here.

‘La Iguana’ expands the sound of the record even further with its slow blues beat highlighting some really solid vocals. I love the psychedelic elements that are brought into this one as you can close your eyes and simply get lost in the song for all 5 minutes each time. The addition of the horns only enhances what a great song this is. Closing out the first half of the record by turning back up the tempo a bit with ‘Blow Away’ makes both songs even stronger. This one should be on every 1970’s jukebox back in the day with outstanding horns and a catchy and big chorus designed to leave a hook in the listener as you flip the record over to take in the magical back half of the album.

‘5 Cents a Dance’ provides some up tempo fun to get our blood going again with the organ pumping some garage rocking melodies into our heads. This was not one of the more immediate songs for me, but it works its way into my soul a little bit more with every listen. ‘Some Kind of Love’ opens with a cool bass riff and again makes great use of the horns, including a horn solo that jumps out of the speaker. Hope’s vocals fit this song like a glove, and the hook is so insidious that you don’t even realize it is there until well after the album is finished.

Up next, ‘Paranoia Blues’ once again finds us exploring a different texture with the street blues approach constantly creating an image in my mind where Hope is set up on the street with a few players spilling out the wisdom of a 1,000 lifetimes through a vintage storytelling style that could be lifted from the beginning of humans creating music. ‘Runnin’ Shoes’ is then what happens when the scene suddenly shifts due to the sudden movement of someone running down the street with the guitar leading into a high energy number including handclaps, compulsory hip shaking, and some great scream and shout vocals. It highlights a unique element of the album as it gives way to the slower, deserves to be a future classic, ‘Heartbreaker.’ The trio of songs that end this album are incredibly strong and are my overall favourites from the record. ‘Heartbreaker’ could have been on the radio back in the day, and programmers would not have batted an eye at the nearly 5 minutes running time. While this one should get a run on satellite radio, the impact to the mainstream cannot be captured in the same way. There is some great pedal steel guitar work here, and the instrumental close to the song provides a great conclusion to the song and the album.

Rich Hope may have spent 10 years between releases, but he has made the wait worth it for his fans and made me a fan in the process. If you are looking for some real, organic music made by people who feel the music in every inch of their soul (and why wouldn’t you?), this album provides a great listening experience each time. I found that it really clicked with me when I was able to just spend a little bit of extra time with it.

‘I’m All Yours’ is available now.

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Author: Gerald Stansbury

PKEW PKEW PKEW Announce New Album ‘OPTIMAL LIFESTYLES’  which will be Released 1st March 2019 via Big Scary Monsters (UK) and Dine Alone Records (US/Canada) also a run of tour dates with hotly tipped LA Punks  Spanish Love Songs have been released. Final news is to let fans know what to expect the band have been streaming lead single ‘I Don’t Matter At All’ (streamed below)

‘I Don’t Matter At All’. Much like the album itself, is a giant leap forward for Warne’s songwriting, pulling inspiration from The Hold Steady, of course, but leaning deeper into the retro-rock feel of bands like The Strokes and Japandroids, too.

“Is this good or is this bad?” ponders Warne of the lifestyle Pkew sings about. “It’s fun to live like an idiot, but it’s probably bad, also. We’re all constantly wondering if we’ve ruined our lives forever or not, being in a band.”

Song-by-song, Optimal Lifestyles lays out a journal of the sort of living Warne speaks of, but this isn’t a jokey, bro-ish shrug-off of his circumstances, and neither is Pkew’s purely self-indulgent self-destruction. It’s an acceptance of the circular futility of life in Toronto, increasingly marked by hellishly-accelerated rent increases and unfeeling gentrification.

More than anything, this record is about trying to cope with a city, an industry, and a world that increasingly doesn’t seem to give a shit about people—only money. So Pkew Pkew Pkew cope by calling out the bullshit.

Pkew Pkew Pkew’s central thesis is that things might get fucked up from time to time, but there’s still value in trying. Warne testifies that though it’s a Sisyphean, almost masochistic, struggle to be in a band in 2018, it’s better than the alternative, like joining the vulgar charade that is the fraudulently-earnest, vapid hugging-crowd at beige adult parties, where no one is really happy, but everyone pretends to be.

Warne and the rest of Pkew are honest about where they’re at in life, and over time, one comes to realize that their sardonic wit cloaks a quiet optimism.

“There’s always something better, and it makes sense to try for it,” Warne says. “That’s the shitty and good part: you still do it, cause otherwise, you’ve given up.”

May 2019 UK Tour Dates w/ Spanish Love Songs:

07.05.19 – Brighton – The Hope & Ruin
08.05.19 – Manchester – Soup Kitchen
09.05.19 – Birmingham – The Flapper
10.05.19 – Bristol – The Exchange
11.05.19 – London – New Cross Inn

Peter Doherty & The Puta Madres release their eponymously titled debut album on Friday 26th April though Strap Originals/Cargo Records. A single, mixed by Cenzo Townshend, ‘Who’s Been Having You Over’is available now when you preorder the album from: Here

‘Peter Doherty & The Puta Madres’ will be available on Vinyl in a gatefold sleeve (SOLP1), CD (SOCD1), Cassette (SOCASS1), Deluxe CD (SOCD1X) & Deluxe Vinyl (SOLP1X) (including live album and film)and digital download.
 
The full track-listing is:
  • All At Sea
  • Who’s Been Having You Over
  • Paradise Is Under Your Nose
  • Narcissistic Teen Makes First XI
  • Someone Else To Be
  • The Steam
  • Travelling Tinker
  • Lamentable Ballad of Gascony Avenue
  • A Fool There Was
  • Shoreleave
  • Punk Buck Bonafide
‘Peter Doherty & The Puta Madres’ was recorded live to beautifully capture the essence and spirit of the Puta Madres at a family home overlooking a fishing village in Étretat Normandy, over 4 days last summer and mixed at Urchin Studios (East London). The album is engineered by Dan Cox (Laura Marling, Thurston Moore, Florence & The Machine)and produced by Jai Stanley (longtime friend and manager).
 
‘Peter Doherty & The Puta Madres’ is a devastatingly intimate portrait of love, loss, being lost, happiness, tragedy, addiction and the power of the human soul to transcend its darker levels. All the songs from the album were road-tested over the last 18 months across Europe at Festivals and headline shows.
 
Songs include the reflective ‘All At Sea,’ the raw ‘Punk Buck Bonafide,’ the upbeat and playful ‘Shoreleave,’ the joyous hymn of liberation ‘Paradise Is Under Your Nose’ and ‘Who’s Been Having You Over’ with dialogue from the 1948 film adaption of Graham Greene’s ‘Brighton Rock’ and the cheeky poke at his own notoriety…or is it? “You so rock ’n’roll.”
 
As previously announced Peter is currently on a sold-out solo tour of the UK, followed by six shows, the ‘Who’s Been Having You Over Tour,’ with The Puta Madres in February:

FEBRUARY(Peter Doherty & The Puta Madres)
Wednesday  13th  York – Fibbers 
Thursday  14th  Margate – Fort Road Yard SOLD OUT
Friday  15th  Derby – The Venue
Saturday  16th  Northwich – The Plaza
Monday  18th  Swindon – Level 3 
Tuesday  19th  Swansea – Sin City
 
Tickets are available from albionrooms.com/live

 

PHOTO-CREDIT-Thibault-Leveque