I had the pleasure of reviewing the original unearthed Sleazy glam rock n rollers many years ago after these tapes had been unearthed and dusted down from the bowels of some DC studio. Sure there is a healthy mid to late ’70s Stones going on but these cats did a great line in sleazy Rock and roll not a million miles from the Lords and Hanoi as well as a few another top tier Punk n Rollers.
I’ll confess to not playing this CD for a while and when this cropped up with bonus songs I gave it another spin and wondered why the hell I’ve not pulled this out from time to time to go for a spin. Songs like ‘True Romance’ were a match for early Dogs D’Amour and the Lords meets Hanoi jonesing on the Mid to late ’70s Stones still sounds exciting.
The Factory burned like a roman candle, then disappeared into the night. The Washington D.C. opened for Iggy Pop, The Ramones, Public Image, Ltd. and Johnny Thunders, in the late ’80s and gained a lot of fans.
Led by Vance Bockis it was Unfortunate that outside influences got the best of them and The Factory broke up in 1992 without formally releasing anything more than a track on a compilation LP. Until this that is. To be fair ‘Ecstacy’ is perfect Lords meets Hanoi from that James jangle crossed with the saxophone its a great tune.
Growing up in DC, Acetate Records president Rick Ballard was a fan of the band and he held on to their demo for the last 20 years. He recently found the band online and immediately contacted them to discuss a release – the master tapes were located, cleaned up and mastered.
‘That Girl That I Want’ is a belter. Pure sleazy Punk n roll with some top horn honking over a great Thunders like rolling riff. The band gets a little funky on ‘Love To Dance’ which could have easily fallen off The Second Lords Album But the band really excels when they cut loose and just strut their stuff. The last two tracks being excellent cases to ram home my point especially ‘Six Feet Down’ with its dirty riff but it ain’t over quite yet as the bonus material that’s been unearthed is a trio of live tracks kicking off with a belting take on the Dolls classic ‘Chatterbox’ when a band gets it they just get it and effortlessly sizzle. ‘Sweet Jane’ is the perfect LES anthem for these DC rockers to pour into the speakers and a jolly fine job they do of it as well. Then to wind it all up they throw in a live rendition of their own ‘Misfortunate Son’ wrapping up a really awesome thirteen. If any of the bands I’ve mentioned in the same company as The Factory then you should down tools and clock in and give this long lost band a new lease of life and this really impressive record a second chance. You know what to do kids…I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – Buy it!
Way too much of a good time is being consumed in Kentucky and I’d imagine the bands name comes from the hangover they have the following morning or what it would feel like you’ve just been hit with. Loud, Fast, Wild and reckless cowpunk Hard Rock is the name of the game and hammered home it is too. From the sprightly opener, it just gets more wild from the awesome screaming ‘Hookers And Hot Sauce’ through the Confident cock of the walk ‘Black Sheep’ which sounds like Rockpile if they were from the US of A and drove pick up trucks and loved BIG Amps and overdrive.
Sure there are lumps of Supersuckers meets, Johnny Cash and some lush Les paul guitar breaks some prime time early DC and plenty of boogie-woogie going on. ITs no holds barred from the anthemic ‘Everybodys Drunk’ through the Un PC ‘Fighting Words’ like fast n furious Jason and The Scorchers but they head back into old school cowpunk with a cheeky grin on ‘Mamas Doing Meth Again’ with a splendid lap steel break to make it all ok, I Think?
With Blane taking a break from Nashville Pussy this seems like the right time to kick back and just rock the fuck out ‘Rode Hard’ is a blast and Scott Luallen vocals are superb pure oil and gasoline rip-snorting vocals and if its respite you’re looking for then this isn’t the album – it’s relentless rockabilly with hard rock guitars and cotton-picking rhythms that sound like they’ve just napalmed the valley and gone home to down some more moonshine. I would, however, like to see a line dance to ‘Hell In My Hand’ so long as they promise to turn it up for a romp through ‘Ain’t Worth Killing’. ‘Cookin The Corn’ is a real stomper before they kiss this record goodbye I kept waiting for it to go full throttle but it doesn’t but hey ho that’s cool, there’s one last hurrah in the shape of ‘The Way It Is’. Crack open a six-pack and sit on the porch and shout at passing cars – it’ll be a hoot! Nine Pound Hammer is back in the saddle and these ones bucking and kicking like a slapped mule. like what Mike Ness wanted to do with his solo albums but forgot to stop in Kentucky and drink some moonshine.
Looks like the good people at Acetate are loading all the NPH albums up on their Bandcamp page for digital rock and rollers everywhere.
Christmas/Stacy Crowne – ‘Split’ (Self Release) Christmas kick off with ‘Generation Mild’ to go toe to toe with Stacy Crowne and their ‘Master Manchine’ and what a battle this is. Energetic, uncompromising and thoroughly enjoyable. Christmas have stepped up and have been regularly turning in some of Hardcores finest tunes globally and I genuinely believe that. So Stacy Crowne step up with a hard-rockin’ windmilling catchy slab of power.
There are 45 copies made. They are hand-cut vinyl, each copy was cut separately by Oslo Vinylfreseri, the small vinyl company of Howie B (Ex-Bloodlights). The cover has been screen printed by Max Motherfucker and Annika Zech in two colours. Each record is hand-numbered, on the vinyl and on the sleeve. For those who like to go in deeper and have that little extra, they’ve made 12 wooden boxes with a screen-printed top. This release is 100% DIY and also 100% handmade! and you can get your mucky paws on a copy by clicking the link Here
Slaves To Fashion – ‘Garden Of Chains ( Independent) It can’t all be power pop and sweet singles. This the sixth single from the concept album “The History of Heavy Metal” celebrates GRUNGE from the early 1990’s – the genre that changed the world of heavy music almost overnight. Norwegian band SLAVES TO FASHION continues to honour 50 years of heavy metal. In 2020 the band is releasing a new song every month that is inspired by and pays tribute to the different time periods and subgenres of heavy metal. All the songs will become the concept album “The History of Heavy Metal”.
This is absolutely the sound of Grunge they’re tipping the hat to check out the video below.
Paul –Ronney Angel – ‘One Ghost Town’ (Gypsy Hotel Records) Out on all digital platforms (as well as a limited-edition CD EP which has 3 tracks not available online) Whistling like prime time Rodger Whittaker Paul-Ronney rides up to this One Ghost Town with a gentle acoustic ode to modern times. With his fine penchant for melodramatic landscape painting tunes this is up there with his best. Its got that last town knackered pit pony stroll into town mood but lyrically it’s not pretty, but what it is – is spot on and succinct with what’s going on on the COVID- 19 strewn street we walk upon, some haters intent on taking the piss out of everyone and the man on the street, the little man needing a hand up but is used as a stepping stone instead and Angel has got it spot on with his observations. My advice, Get it! Get it now Here
The Hawkins – ‘Hilow’ (The Sign Records) Well if it’s not the single cover of the year then COVID -19 has taken my brain, trashed it and replaced it with a never-ending loop of Matt Handcocks, Boris and Trumps best bullshits. Something alluring and fascinating going on here as well as repulsing and terrifying. It’s got the energy of punk and the power to rock the press release says the song is great for the early morning workout but one look at the artwork and you will run faster and further than Forest Gump just keep running kids. All you hipsters out there can save the streaming links here.
Young Planetary – ‘Locations I Can’t Place’ (Hidden Home Records) You can pick up the EP Here it features six new songs and the final track is featured in the video below. for fans of taking back Sunday, its got a top slick production for sure and as we always love a great cause we had to get behind this one so dig deep if you can.
All proceeds from the new single will be donated to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Supersuckers – ‘Coattail rider’ (Acetate Records) Eddie has kept himself busy during the lockdown and has released a few class digital bits here and there and now this Countrified bad boy YeHaw! If that’s not good enough how about a good time cowpunk ‘Mudhead’. It’s a full band shindig and its a fuckin’ banger! There’s never an excuse needed to promote some Supersuckers and this is proof that the world needs bands like this and people like Eddie making music regardless of the genre be it solo acoustic or full tilt punk rockin’ or this hybrid cowpunk country stuff the guys a master and this is a masterclass. Pick up a copy here
Muck & The Mires – ‘Take Me Back To Planet Earth’ (Rum Bar Records) Fuzzed out full gonzo garage rock complete with the splendid organ wheeze but this has got a whole lot of balls in the mix as the guitar solo will testify Brothers & Sisters. This has got swing as well as the ability to shake your action pronto!
from the upcoming EP by Muck and the Mires on Rumbar Records . The release will feature six fresh tracks all written and recorded while the band has been off the road self-isolating. Muck and the Mires anxiously await their next visit to your hometown, but in the meantime, the band cordially invites you to join them on a video rocket trip through their hometown of Boston and into the far reaches of the galaxy. “Take Me Back To Planet Earth” EP will be available in the fall so prepare for lift off! Pick it up here kids
Hot on the heels of Junes summer sizzlers we had a bunch of other contenders for inclusion. So, it only seemed fair to reconvene the Singles Club this weekend and hit the 45 RPM switch and drop the needle for some new singles from the superb to the very good through the downright weird or catchy but none dull or not worth inclusion. Welcome one and all round two of the June singles Club…
The Sensible Gray Cells – ‘So Long’ (Damaged Goods) This bad boy dropped out of nowhere. I knew they were recording a follow up to the magnificent debut album and then a scuppered tour then this. Fuckin’ champion it is too. A rollicking Who like anthem (handclaps as well) ‘So Long’ is a belter Welcome back gents, I can’t wait to hear the album now. In direct contrast, the humour of the characters involved asks a very pertinent question on the B Side and they’re right. What is the fuckin point of any of em? Never mind just Andrew. Damned fans should be all over this and if its a good representation of the long-player then bring it on I can’t fuckin’ wait. Facebook / Pre Orders Here
Chuck Norris Experiment / Sator – ‘Split’ (Ghost Highway Records) Not heard from CNE in a while and I love a bit of Sator and what they offer so was pleased to see they did a split on the most excellent Ghost Highway Records. Opening up is a right sharp shooting ‘Turning Me Inside Out’ from CNE. Its tight, loud, and fast! everything you want from one of the finest Swedish exports currently making noise. Then a second more laid back groove as ‘One Hand On The Hip’ is a sleazy example of the versatility of the band who can easily excel in the full-tilt rockers as well as chilling with the acoustics and now it seems keeping it short and sweet as well. As for the Sator offering ‘Feathered Remedy’ is up first and the band give it some wellie and it sounds like a runaway steam train rattling down a hill with a great chorus. Wrapping up this bad boy is ‘A Song For You’ which is a glamorous romp in all its sub one minute glory. Buy it before they’re all gone its a banger. CNE Facebook
Spaghetti & Mayer- ‘Shits Fucked’ (Acetate Records) Eddie Spaghetti & Frank Meyer from the awesome Supersuckers and Street Walkin’ Cheetahs respectively put on their shit kickers and kick some shit. Its got a stolen Stooges riff, some rollicking’ barroom piano and a bunch of profanities what’s not to like? It’s a veritable top rock n roll tune by numbers and hits the spot. Only available from Acetate Records direct download it’s the best buck-fifty you’ll spend this pandemic that’s for sure. Get on it kids and turn it up! Now, how about a whole long-player from the two imagine if that were a goer and it sounded as good as this track? Fuck me sideways I’ll take some of that
Jerry Lehane – ‘Kiss My Tattoo’ (Rumbar Records) Taken from his EP Dogmatics man Jerry Lehane releases this mighty fine slice of energetic rock and roll with the emphasis on Rock! from the gutsy solo to the punchy tempo this is like listening to a gang of brothers cruising towards a rumble knowing they will get the job done. Excellent single and well worth checking out. Get on it Here
Dirty Streets – ‘On The Way’ (Alive Records) Like a throwback to a time when long hair and bellbottoms were the thang and three-piece bands were where it’s at. Dirty Streets jam their thang and lean heavily on the dirty blues from Cream to Led Zep and the likes of Free especially on ‘Can’t Go Back’ from its classic guitar break its like Humble Pie and paul Kosoff never roamed the earth. they hit their groove and stay on it. from the hushed laid back summer tune ‘On The Way’ through the hedonistic rock out of ‘Can’t Go Back’ to the jig is up White boy blues of ‘Walk A Mile In My Shoes’ which for me is the pick of the three and quite reminiscent of a certain Georgia Brotherhood band who shook their money maker. The album is eagerly anticipated and is available next month. Website / Facebook
Brian Ray – ‘I Ain’t Superstitious’ / ‘Spell Breaker’ (Wicked Cool Records) Gia Ciambotti take a bow lady. Why did you ask? well take a listen to that voice she can sing the living hell out of that song. whilst its a cover of a classic the vocals take it to another level. that and the neon green and black splatter on that wax. The flip side features the Wicked Cool recording artist Michael Des Barres. Spell Breaker is a cool smouldering track again a great vocal performance from Des Barres on a slab of dark pop-rock with added sparkle on that production of the co written song between Barres and Ray.
The Owen Guns – ‘Fuck Cyclists’ (Riot Records) Australian Hardcore Punk act THE OWEN GUNS have released their first single & video ‘F**k Cyclists’for Riot Records (Part of the Golden Robot Global Entertainment Group). ‘F**k Cyclists’ is a short blast of punk rock born out of the frustration of frequently being stuck behind cyclists on narrow country roads. Straight to the point, it pulls no punches.
THE OWEN GUNS would like to point out that they don’t condone acts of violence towards those Lycra clad irritants, no matter how tempting.
The Rellies – ‘Isabella Is Annoying’ (Damaged Goods Records) The Rellies are brothers and songwriters Ryan (13yo) guitar and vocals and Riley (11yo) Bass and Vocals as well as Jarlath (11) on drums and Aiden (12) on guitar. All met in Sydney’s infamous suburb of Kings Cross. What were these young ones doing in such an area? Learning music of course – ha ha. The band has been playing together for around three years. Songwriters Ryan and Riley like to argue a lot at rehearsal but actually love nothing more than to grab their vintage guitars and play songs by their favourite band, The Beatles. Aiden & Jarlath seem happy to do whatever. The Rellies play a mix of indie, garage-punk and rock.
Their greatest achievement is becoming part of the Damaged Goods family and playing live at Sydney venues like The Oxford Arts Factory and El Rocco. Don’t question Damaged Goods Records for they’ve released Cyanide Pills and Thee Spivs previously so they know what they’re doing besides when this enters your head you’ll be annoying everyone you know with the sound of The Rellies.
Fur – ‘Grow Up’ Like a mash-up of Weezer, Green Day and the anti folk club ruled by the likes of Crazy & The Brains this is twisted pop at its finest.
Fontaines D.C. – ‘I Don’t Belong’ (Partisan Records)“I Don’t Belong” taken from the forthcoming album out 31st July on Partisan Records. Pre-order / Pre-save the album: Here
Jailbirds – Watery Grave’ (Golden Robot Records) Drawing their influences from the obvious (Sabbath) and the not so obvious Jailbirds are loud and they play ROCK! They come from Canada and its big riffs, big vocals and big production on this new single. Check out the video below.
Tom Wardle – ‘Secrets’ Power-Pop tastic. Big hook, Big solos & bigger production but sadly no big hair. Tom had praise from high places Namely Rolling Stone Magazine for his last single ‘Jacqueline’ and on this evidence that’s not going to stop any time soon. This power-pop rocker just gets bigger as the song motors along. The recipe isn’t a secret it’s just born out of hard work and talent (obviously) The only downside is the inspiration behind the song. The least said about the tricky trees the better but at least Tom supports his local team which we can get behind. check out the video and
THE HANGMEN are back this 2020 for a European Tour, the first European tour in seven years to present the excellent new records ‘Cactusville‘ released last year on Acetate Records. , The band hit France, Portugal and Spain this time, save the dates you lucky Europeans maybe next time for us poor people on shit Island.
8/3 PARIS – FR | LE KLUB
19/3 RENNES – FR | MONDO BIZARRO
20/3 LORIENT – FR | LE GALION
21/3 BORDEAUX – FR | TBC
22/3 BIARRITZ – FR | TBC
24/3 CORUÑA – SP | FORUM CELTIUM
25/3 OPORTO – PT | FERRO BAR
26/3 MADRID – SP | WURLIZTER BALLROOM
27/3 CASTELLON – SP | JAPAN ROCK
28/3 BENIDORM – SP | FUZZVILLE FESTIVAL
29/3 GRANADA – SP | LEMON ROCK
31/3 SEVILLA – SP | SALA X
1/4 VALLADOLID – SP | PORTA CAELI
2/4 ARRASATE – SP | GAZTETXEA
3/4 BURGOS – SP | SOHHO
4/4 PAMPLONA – SP | FONROCK FESTIVAL
5/4 BARCELONA – SP | ROCKSOUND
LA veterans Junkyard follow up their excellent 2017 comeback album ‘High Water’ with the release of a ‘new’ album entitled ‘Old Habits Die Hard’. Now, this album contains long lost songs recorded back in ’92 and features original members David Roach, guitarists Brian Baker and Chris Gates, bassist Todd Muscat and drummer Pat Muzingo.
These songs have actually been previously available and Junkyard diehards will probably already own the albums ‘Joker’ and ‘XXX’ that the band self-released and were selling over 10 years ago.
This collection of songs were slated to be released as the follow up to 1991’s ‘Sixes, Sevens and Nines’, but of course Grunge happened, the music scene changed, the band were dropped by Geffen and the proposed album shelved. It’s a familiar story that rings true with so many bands from that era.
Presented here in all their glory are the handpicked gems from those sessions, released for the first time on vinyl.
While ‘Sixes. Sevens and Nines’ followed a more laid back, country rock direction, with the likes of the MTV friendly ‘All The Time In The World’ and ‘Misery Loves Company’, the band found themselves trying to deliver hits for their record label, but still remaining true to their punk rock roots and write the songs they wanted to play. Those sessions provided an album that harks back to their first album and ultimately the sound the band continues with to this day.
‘Old Habits Die Hard’ is pretty much as you would expect, it doesn’t stray from what Junkyard were doing at the time. Hard, bluesy rock with a southern twist and a sleazy delivery.
That trademark bluesy swagger is evident from the off. The likes of opener ‘Pushed You Too Far’ and ‘Fall To Pieces’ are prime Junkyard. It’s all spit and sawdust, engine oil and cheap whiskey, as Gates and Baker trade dirty riffs and southern licks while vocalist David Roach spits lyrics like a punk rock Vince Neil in his prime.
At times the band comes close to repeating themselves. The bloozy ‘Blue Sin’ is pretty much a rewrite of ‘Long Way Home’ from the debut album and ‘Take Me Home’ is very similar to ‘Blooze’ the opener of that very same album. But I’m nit-picking, as they certainly didn’t struggle to deliver the singles the record company demanded. ‘Tried & True’ could’ve been the strong single contender. Heartfelt, full of sentiment, but with that bluesy Junkyard swagger still intact. Baker and Gates’ howling leads and fat riffs don’t disappoint. Again, ‘Holdin’ On’ is more evidence of that. A great melodic verse that leads to a catchy chorus, with nice gang backing vocals thrown in for good measure. It’s a song that would’ve been pure MTV fodder back in the day and it still holds up all these years later.
With its instantly hook-ridden chorus and metal riffage ‘I Come Crawling’ is the band taking the bull by the horns and delivering the goods. Elsewhere, the acoustic and countrified ‘Hanging Around’ is Junkyard doing their laid back balladry thang, which they always did with style and substance.
It’s interesting to note that Junkyard never actually split up and have been touring sporadically for their entire career. And while I feel ‘Old Habits Die Hard’ is not as strong an album as ‘High Water’, it’s a snapshot of where the band were heading during the Grunge years and proves they still had the songs when the record company ditched them for plaid and goatees.
This collection of songs do not sound dated or out of time because Junkyard were never part of that whole scene anyway. They continue to do what they have always done, play low down and dirty rock ‘n’ roll with attitude, because they are doing it to please nobody but themselves. As they say, old habits really do die hard.
The Hangmen release records when they want to release records. The Hangmen don’t seem to have a mapped out plan to their rock and Roll and it would seem have a more organic approach, a natural approach to what they do. The one thing that shines like a beacon is when they do decide its time to put out a record its always quality and well worth the wait.
‘Cactusville’ is the group’s new record their first since 2012 and builds on ‘East Of Western’ with subtle string and harmonies in their arrangements. It still has their hallmark country-infused punk style and attitude, The Hangmen have penned a record that singer and guitarist Bryan Small describes as “A fully realized effort.”
It’s dark at times but, its also glorious technicolour, Small’s songwriting stands in contrast from his Los Angeles peers, choosing to chronicle outlaw folklore and broken romances, The Hangmen are in the house and whilst keeping their identity and the style that fans love they have finally returned with newly found urgency.
Being unhappy with aspects of the last studio album Smalls was determined to wright what he saw as the previous records wrongs and then The Hangmen went on what Small called a ‘forced hiatus’, prompting longtime bassist Angelique Congleton to ask if the band existed or would even resume.
Small felt sufficient time had passed and began writing but with no plan in mind, who knows how long it might take him to follow it up. Thankfully Smalls must have been inspired and the music began to flow. Congleton kept active with her chef position while Small continued spending time with his family.
‘Cactusville’ might be slightly darker and the songs more measured than ‘East Of Western’ it might be partly due to the revolving door of band members this time new drummer Jorge E. Disguster takes the stool along with Smalls and longtime six string companion Jimmy James.
“I know we’ve had a lot of lineups since that first record back in ’86 but I believe in the songs, still play some of those tracks. Looking back to when I first saw Jimmy James play, I loved how simple yet powerful he was. I knew he was the right guitarist for me. Angelique has been with me since ‘Metallic I.O.U.’ came out and I’m grateful because playing in a band is never really easy, and I wouldn’t say The Hangmen are what people would consider a full-time thing. We don’t really have the infrastructure that other groups do. Social media is dominating and of course every band uses it but for me, it’s like pulling teeth to use. Jorge is interested in doing that and Acetate has done more for us than Capitol Records ever did back in the day, that experience ended up being such a joke,”.
Here and now the record starts with the title track and with a laid back groove it’s a sonic masterclass sounding like Smalls has indeed put previous production foibles to bed and moved on with a bright and roomy opener. With a lead guitar that sits on top of the mix giving it a real air of quality and you’ll stop what you’re doing to check out who and what your hearing. ‘Looking For Blood’ is more upbeat with a swagger in the rhythm and its got handclaps so I’m all in.
Some of the guitar work on this record is exceptional. Not in the fact they’re doing anything groundbreaking but they sound like a pair of guitarists who just click and feed off each other. ‘Man In Blacks Hand’ has got a cool as guitar lick and its the sound of a writer who knows what he’s after and what he’s steeped in and should rightfully be proud of these songs marrying a great lick to a recognisable sound isn’t an easy thing in 2019 but this is 100% Hangmen but it does sound fresh at the same time. Those country-tinged phrasings come to the fore on ‘Nobody’s Girl’ and the subtle strings fill the sound making it sound huge but Smalls snarl trading off the guitar lick is great and by the time you hit the chorus you should be nodding like a dog.
Never wanting to overstay their welcome The Hangmen keep it to a super solid nine tracks on ‘Cactusville’ with ‘Cold Memory Blues’ is the lap steel countrified inner city blues that Smalls writes so well. It’s widescreen Rock and Roll alright and is the cover artwork in music. ‘Don’t Count Me Out’ is a beautiful song with some fantastic harmonies and exceptional arrangments. A record that just keeps on giving play after play it goes through the gears but remains totally The Hangmen old fans will be delighted with the songwriting quality and new fans will be wondering how they’ve been so late to the party. Take a trip on the dark side of the Hollywood tracks where the Hangmen dwell just out of sight from the glitz and fake glamour this is where the real beauty lies. The album closer is the acoustic-driven ‘Don’t Look Back’ thats heartbreaking in delivery as Smalls croons with his trusty acoustic before being joined by the rest of the band. Who then weave and meander through over six minutes of what it’s fair to describe as an epic journey with some stunning guitar breaks.
‘Cactusville’ is pretty much exactly what I wanted to hear on a new Hangmen record and they bloody well nailed it. Hopefully, this will light a fire under Smalls songwriting timeline and we won’t have to wait so long between records and it would be awesome if the band would come to the UK. I’d be there, would you? Stunning new album buy it!
Acetate Records unleashes Junkyard’s previously unreleased 1992 album “Old Habits Die Hard” on November 22!
“Junkyard is not a band from the 80s. Junkyard is not a band from the 90s. Junkyard is pure kick-ass bar-hopping motorcycle-ridin’ rock n roll that seems as relevant today as when they first started.” – Riki Rachtman
Junkyard opens the vault and blows the dust off a killer collection of recordings slated as the follow up to 1991’s “Sixes, Sevens and Nines.” Guitarist Brian Baker’s (Bad Religion, Minor Threat) opening riff serves up the concoction of raucous, bittersweet, bloozy rock that follows. Loose and tight in good measure, with stomping beats and dual guitars zigzagging around David Roach’s raspy howl… make no bones about it – this band could play.
The strut and swagger of “Pushed You Too Far” and the soulful “Tried & True” are balanced by the slow, dirge of “Blue Sin” and the melancholic duet “Hangin’ Around With My Dreams.” “Old Habits” recalls everything from Sticky Fingers-era Stones and ZZ Top to the Ramones and Lynyrd Skynyrd (who they toured with in ’91). More than anything else, though, it sounds like Junkyard.
Back in 1992, Junkyard was a well-oiled machine, their previous two releases performed well, they had multiple videos in rotation on MTV, and successful club and arena tours under their belt. Looking to infuse more of their musical sensibilities into their third effort, they began writing and recording and in a short few months, they had compiled over 20 songs. The new material reflected more of their alt/punk roots, which wasn’t much of a directional change considering their strong punk pedigree.
But the major label’s rush to jump on the next “popular music trend” quickly led to Junkyards demise. “At this point, Nirvana’s “Nevermind” album had been out a few months and we all kinda knew which way the wind was blowing,” singer David Roach recalls, “we didn’t really ‘officially’ break up as a band, it was as simple as the party’s over.” So, with zero fanfare, the band members signed their release paperwork from Geffen (a whopping 2 page fax), gathered their gear and parted ways… the tapes were left to gather dust in the vaults.
Twenty years later, Geffen re-released the first two Junkyard albums and once again, the band was in demand. Tours of Japan and Europe followed, including a headlining slot at Serie Z Festival in Spain, and the band started writing again. In early 2017, Junkyard released “High Water”, their first full-length album in 26 years on LA indie, Acetate Records. The album peaked at 24 on Billboard’s Hard Rock Charts and Junkyard once again played to packed houses across America and Europe. With the band back in form, it seemed like the right time to dust of the tapes.
“Old Habits Die Hard” pretty well summarizes where the band was at the time,” Roach continues, “The addition of Tim Mosher (yes, way back then) brought another element to what Chris Gates and I had been doing. So it was the hard rock, blues, southern thing plus some more melodic and punk which was also a natural course considering where we came from.”
“During the months we recorded these songs we were in various stages of dealing with Geffen. Trying to write a single, but also trying to not care and write for ourselves. The songs indicate the direction we were ultimately not able to take until all these years later.”
“Old Habit’s Die Hard” will be released via streaming, CD and ‘Beer’ colored vinyl on November 22, 2019. A limited number of signed LPs will also be available via acetate.com.
A limited number of signed LPs will also be available!
2. Pushed You Too Far
3. Out Cold
4. Tried & True
5. Fall To Pieces
6. Blue Sin
7. Holdin’ On
9. I Come Crawling
10. Hangin’ Around
11. Take Me Home
12. One Foot In The Grave
The L.A. underground Rock legend’s 7th studio album
“It’s The Hangmen he wanted to kill… we got run out of Cactusville,” laments Bryan Small on the album’s title track of The Hangmen’s seventh album. Flanked by longtime members Jimmy James (guitar), Angelique Congleton (bass) and newcomer Jorge Disguster (drums), Small recollects the harrowing tale of a gig in Tuscon promoting their major label debut. “It was such a formative trip for us as a young band. There was death, drugs, booze, guns, girls and rock n’ roll… and we met some new friends along the way.”
2019 marks the release of Cactusville and another chapter of The Hangmen legend continues. Small has taken his brand of songwriting to another level, putting him in an artistic class with the likes of Tom Petty and Neil Young as purveyors of honest and simple songwriting.
Side 2 of the LP features the Best Western Players, Bryan Small’s countrified side project. In the same vein as Neil Young’s “American Stars and Bars,” the songs take on a different feel, with vocal harmonies and haunting pedal steel echoing throughout. It’s familiar territory for Small, who grew up in rural Montana before making his way to Los Angeles. “The ‘country’ side of The Hangmen has been there from the start, it stems from the love of Gun Club, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, etc.,” explains Small, “the Best Western Players were brought in to realize the songs as they were conceived.”
The Hangmen will join Acetate Records label mates the Supersuckers on a rare East Coast US tour in September. Additional dates TBA.
THE HANGMEN w/ Supersuckers (unless otherwise denoted *)
08/23 Los Angeles, CA @ Redwood Bar Record Release Party *
I wear my Junkyard t-shirt with pride. I saw them back in the day and I saw them last year at Hull Hair Metal Heaven, albeit with a 26-year gap. Now I get to see them do an actual headline set at my local venue, just a short walk from my house, 27 years since first seeing them open for The Almighty.
Over here as support to Blackberry Smoke by personal request of singer Charlie Starr shows the respect these Hollywood veterans have in certain circles and rightly so. Lumped in with the late 80’s glam scene, they were always more Steve Earl than Motley Crue. Times may have changed, styles may have changed but Junkyard will always be Junkyard. Bowing to no trends or fads, they play rock ‘n’ roll like they always have, honest songs with dirty riffs and sleazy vocals that get under the fingernails and refuse to budge.
First up we have The Jokers. I’ve not seen or heard The Jokers before tonight and to be fair the Northern band were highly impressive. I guess you could put them right in the Classic Rock category, think Bad Company meets Shortino-era Quiet Riot. You can’t knock their energy and enthusiasm for starters and I think they turned it up to 11, maybe a bit too loud for the sparse turnout at Fibbers tonight.
Singer Wane Parry looks like a young Dave King in his Fastway days with Bolans’ corkscrew hair and what a damn fine set of pipes he has. Diminutive guitarist Paul Hurst is a poundshop Warner E Hodges and an excellent player who gives his all, pulling off massive riffs and licks aplenty. Several times he downs his Les Paul and comes out into the audience to beckon people to come to the front. He partly succeeded by pulling forward some birds who were probably wives and girlfriends of the band to be honest.
They played like the room was packed and they deserve bigger audiences. If they play in your town I strongly urge you to go see them.
Vintage Trouble’s ‘Run Like The River’ blats from the PA as an introduction for Junkyard’s set tonight. With the cover of last year’s excellent ‘High Water’ album emblazoned on the screens behind them, they launch straight into ‘Life Sentence’. It’s been the opener every time I have seen them, no wonder, it’s a killer introduction. “That’s my life, that’s my way…that’s my life sentence” shouts Roach as he swings his mic stand around the stage, no truer words have been sung with such conviction.
Dressed in their obligatory matching denim cut-offs, Junkyard are a gang who wear their colours proudly on their backs and their brand of biker blues is for real. The raw, punk rock delivery of David Roach is the perfect match for the bluesy twin guitars of Jimmy James and Tim Mosher. Uber cool Quireboys bassist Gary Ivin, standing in for the absent Todd Muscat, is a fine replacement and keeps a perfect rhythm with original drummer Pat Muzingo.
New songs such as ‘Faded’ and the punky ‘W.F.L.W.F.’ fit perfectly with the old standards and it’s as great to hear these new songs live as it is the classics. The ever cool ‘Back On The Streets’ and the bluesy ‘Long Way Home’ are played early and sound sublime.
Jimmy James breaks a string midway through ‘Blooze’, so as the pair of guitarists dart off stage together to re-string (they didn’t even bring a spare?), the rhythm section keeps the song going, bassist Gaz keeps the rumbling bassline jamming stage front as David returns with an extended vocal rap. A fine rock ‘n’ roll moment to savor.
‘Hands Off’ remains one of my favourite Junkyard songs and tonight, as Tim picks those classic chords and Jimmy rips out that bluesy lead, it sends shivers up the back of my spine.
Of course, they close with the obligatory ‘Hollywood’ their biggest hit, but not their greatest song by far.
No encore’s, no surprises and a no-frills approach that delivered just what you expect from a Junkyard show. There is talk of them returning to these shores in the not so distant future, and while I’m sure the packed out shows with Blackberry Smoke have been rewarding for the band, I do hope the not so packed club shows don’t put them off coming back for more. Until they return, I still wear my Junkyard t-shirt with pride.