We love Rock and Roll here at RPM and because you’re reading this I guess its fair to assume you love a bit of Rock and Roll as well. Keep reading fellow Rockers because  by the sounds of it we’re in good company on the evidence of this long-player.  Local Drag clearly loves Rock and Roll as well because they ooze the stuff.

From the opening chords of ‘Can’t Probably Wait’ I have that feeling that I’m listening to greatness and this is a record I’m going to fall head over heels in love with.  Its dirty power pop with some added Replacements and American indie rock (Husker Du)  thrown in for good measure  (I don’t reference those giants lightly either).  The chorus of ‘Pot Holes’ is subtle; maybe understated but fuck me man its killer and I love the harmonic riff and solo on the fade-out, it’s simple but so so effective.  Then to follow it up with some bubblegum riff-a-rama of ‘500 Hours Free’ which has a touch of The Posies with its loud guitar pop crashing through it is excellent and I can’t Ignore the Boys-inspired chord progression.

‘Double Bird’ has some Westerberg at the core of its DNA and that’s always a good thing. Simple acoustic strumming with great double-tracking vocals simple yet so effective.  To follow that with the runaway train of ‘Trash Bones’ with its bluster and melodic crash-bang-wallop this is proving to be a record that’s covered all bases and one I’m gonna be investing a lot of time in over the coming weeks maybe months.  Damn, they even have a tune about beer! fuck it I’m in.

‘Water Wings’ kicks up a shit storm of loud power pop and the penultimate track ‘Metal Gear Winter’ is like Classic Teenage Fanclub and their self-titled album closer ‘Local Drag’ is one of the best songs on an already outstanding record.  Lets not fanny about here I can throw a dozen superlatives about the songs on this record when I could sum all that waffle up by telling you to just get it! Don’t mess about wondering if you should take a chance get an ear full of anything off this record and you’ll be convinced that you’ve made the right choice.  Carry on loving music by buying Local Drags and Shit is definitely looking Up!

Starburst Records 

Author: Dom Daley

Hot Suede are another of those bands that randomly come to my attention and send me scrambling to learn more about them. This time it wasn’t Facebook though, but, instead, it was a compilation CD from a print magazine that made me sit up and take notice. Hot Suede does not want to be put in a box as they bring together a multitude of influences that really establish their own identity. It also perfectly sets the stage for them to continue to explore their sound in the future. If you enjoy rock music (which I gather you do since you are reading this), I suggest you keep reading or pop over to their Bandcamp page and listen while I talk about this one. Hot Suede hail from Kansas City which has possibly worked to their advantage in creating their own sound on their debut album. To be fair, the only other band that immediately comes to mind from the past couple of decades for me is the awesome Paw.

Perhaps the ’70s are the best place to start as Hot Suede clearly pull the foundation of their sound from a time when rock did not have a million subgenres in different puddles of water but was instead one big ocean. They then add in some power and crunch of a band like Queens of the Stone Age to create something new and fresh while also feeling very familiar. ‘Roll a Bone’ features a cool groove that immediately make Brett Southard (drums) and Chad Toney’s (bass) impact felt right at the beginning. Bobby W. Topaz’ vocals are powerful and assertive with a clear tone that has many dimensions. Add in some clever guitar work by Doug Nelson and Scott Reed, you have a song that captures the attention but does not overwhelm you with a chorus. It is instead subtle and insidious as the song will be there in your brain later… trust me. ‘The Otherside’ incorporates a hooky chorus that is again not over the top but extremely effective. The hard rocking beat and guitar riff working perfectly in unison. There is a breakdown in the middle of the song which serves to ram the hook in even deeper. ‘Forget About You’ was the song that made me dig deeper as the band takes a hard-driving beat that lets Topaz propel the song with some nice vocal transitions with a razor sharp hook that reminds me a bit of Brother Cane without the southern influence.

The bluesy hard beat of ‘Get What You Came For’ provides an awesome take on modern rock but would also sound at home on a classic rock station between Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. There is a great tone to the guitars throughout the album with the band also benefitting from a great mix that really lets everyone be heard. The quiet intro guitar riff of ‘Watch Me Burn’ turns into a rocker that provides some bounce as it picks up steam, but it is made more powerful by working back in the quiet guitar riff again after its first run through the chorus. A jangly riff brings us ‘Make It Harder’ with Topaz trying to entice every female listening with his crooning in full effect. It provides a much different musical slice to end the first half of the record but just as effective at planting hooks in us that we will be humming and singing in no time.

‘Got It Made’ turns up the speed to start the back half of the record with a sound reminiscent of Queens of the Stone Age set against a more traditional rock chorus that is simple and very effective. Next up is ‘Interlude’ which contains some backward vocals and twisting musical notes over its minute long existence. It sets the change for ‘Tell Me’ very well as the song really feels different from the first half of the record. The beat by Southard and Toney is awesome with the guitars embracing something moodier, perhaps a bit of Pink Floyd. I don’t know if the record would have flowed the same without the change that the ‘Interlude’ brings.

‘Occasional Lover’ finds the band bringing forth much more of a Queen influence. The band settles into a great groove and unleashes an outstanding chorus. At six minutes, this one would struggle on traditional radio but is one of my favorites from the album. The breakdown in the middle of the song allows everything to come to a halt before it builds back up for the end where I wish it would have had one more chorus. ‘The Trail’ reminds me a bit more of 90’s rockers like Tonic or Naked who borrowed elements of grunge, college rock, and classic rock to create catchy songs that people could quickly pick up and sing, but they also add some Pearl Jam inspired musical goodness with the instrumental break. Closing out the album, Hot Suede bring forth ‘Good Maroon’ which runs under 2 minutes and serves as a nice acoustic based outro for the album.

Hot Suede make a very favorable debut here that will get plenty of plays from me this year, and I look forward to hearing what they do next. They bring plenty of variety to the table here so they can continue to branch out in the future. Give the album a sample on their Bandcamp page and don’t be surprised if the songs keep pulling you back.

‘Hot Suede’ is available now

Bandcamp

Website

 

Author: Gerald Stansbury

What an enjoyable record this was.  When something new and unannounced lands in the inbox and you’ve never heard of them or have a clue what to expect but download it anyway and find something that’s quite dark yet has a sense of uplifting joy it’s a great thing. Well, that just happened with Nadir and ‘Collecting Misery’.  I guess if I had to describe Nadir I’d say in general this three-piece from Queens would make for a great touring partner if Against Me! we’re to ask me (not that they will but hey).

Its got that big wide open space guitar rage but with some great passionate vocals from Robbie Swartwood who usually plays four strings in ‘Off With Their Heads’. The real draw for me was that bass sound, man its superb courtesy of Mike Foti it’s a real growling snarling thump he’s got going on and it drives some really good tunes.

From the get-go they are pounding it with ‘Doomed From The Start’ with infectious post-punk rage. The band carries forward the uptempo punk rock tunes through the opening few tracks with ‘Buried Above Ground’ is the best example of their harder songs.  the subject matter might be a bit heavy duty and it certainly fits the tone of the record until the title track pops up halfway through with its acoustic strum.  The beauty of the song is its bittersweet melody but you half expect it to break out and the band resists the temptation which is great and there’s an Americana feel maybe on another day you could hear someone like Brian Fallon crooning to this had he grown up on the UK Subs rather than Springsteen.  The melody is part of the same movement that brought us Beach Slang when they play quietly.

The album really finds its feet in the middle section with ‘Early Graves’ hitting it hard with its military beat thumping away behind that Bass thump for the albums high point. To be fair there are no lulls in this eight-track album and ‘Born To Die Alone’ is another gentler story they tell which really helps the flow of the album in stopping it getting boring or one dimensional.  To close off proceedings they pick it back up for one final Hoorah! as ‘Back Home’ is leaving the circle unbroken and you can easily press repeat and do it all again.  Overall a really strong record and an admirable cause. If Bad Religion or Against Me! are ever your thing then I recommend you check this out pronto.  You won’t regret it.

All profits from the sale of this record go to Save.org you can buy it Here

Author: Dom Daley

Forty years into his career as the number one 4-string plank spanker on the UK punk rock scene you can perhaps forgive Alvin Gibbs the “self indulgence” (his words, not mine) of a solo record. I mean he’s worked with some of the biggest names on the scene during that time, plus he’s also penned some absolutely amazing songs along the way too… and the musician’s modesty aside, I for one was straight out the blocks to order my copy when the pre-order for ‘Your Disobedient Servant’ went live on the T&M Records website just after Xmas. So, why all the rush of anticipation I hear you ask?

Well, the best place to start is with the guest list of musicians that Alvin has assembled to help him make this record. It reads like a veritable who’s who drawn from his expansive career and boasts the likes of Brian James, Mick Rossi, Timo Kaltio and James Stevenson amongst the names eager to offer up their services as Disobedient Servants. It was only the name of Iggy Pop that for me was the real glaring omission, but then when I first got to hear ‘Ghost Train’ the lead single from the album, I had to double-take. Could my jug-likes be deceiving me? That is surely Iggy crooning his way through this belting ‘Instinct’ like rocker, but no…it’s actually Alvin Gibbs, and what a great voice he has too. ‘Clumsy Fingers’ the flipside of that mega limited and long since sold out 7” also proved to be a fun time piece of Iggy influenced garage punk, and these two tracks alone were enough to convince me that this was certainly no vanity project and Alvin Gibbs was possibly about to do a Keef and release a solo album fans of his day job band would be clambering to hear too.

With Alvin having also released one of the best books about being in a rock ‘n’ roll band, the awesome ‘Neighbourhood Threat’ (recently re-released as ‘Some Weird Sin’) written about his time spent playing bass for Iggy Pop. It kinda feels eu natural for ‘Your Disobedient Servant’ to kick off with ‘Arterial Pressure’ a (just shy of 2 minutes long) barnstormer of a track written about how Alvin got to know Joey Ramone through Mr Osterberg.

Next up is the aforementioned ‘Ghost Train’ which here perfectly segues into the equally Iggy -like strut of ‘Dumb’, and right here we have as near a perfect opening 1-2-3 to any album I’ve heard in many a long year. Seriously folks if these tracks were on a new Iggy record the mainstream music media would be spunking their chinos over them.

‘Camden Gigolo’ takes things down an anthemic gear or two before ‘Clumsy Fingers’ speeds off in a frenzy of glam tinged punk rock guitar complete with few week’s road dirt under those nails.

Not unlike Glen Matlock’s excellent ‘Good To Go’ album from the tail end of 2018, where ‘Your Disobedient Servant’ really excels is when it throws you a curveball and in side one closer ‘Heaven And The Angels’ Alvin delivers a menacing slice of southern fried psycho-drama that challenges the listener with each new listen twisting and turning itself into your very soul.

Flipping the record over and side two kicks off with perhaps the most UK Subs like track on ‘Your Disobedient Servant’, the riotous ‘Back To Mayhem’ a track that simply fizzes with raw energy, that’s before the more subtle slide driven ‘Polemic’ takes you on a fascinating trip through what influenced Alvin to get into the music business in the first place.

It’s here that for me the LP flips from the overarching influences of Iggy and garage punk to that of one drawn from the likes of Mott and Bowie with ‘No!’ hinting at latter day Hunter and ‘Desperate Dave Is Dead’ doffing its baker boy cap to one of the young dudes passed all to soon. ‘I’m Not Crying Now’ too has more than just a little bit of cracked acting going on within its grooves, whilst album closer ‘Deep As Our Skin’ hints at just how great Cheap And Nasty might have been if Alvin had been given more a role in front of the microphone.

Having been lucky enough to get a good few preview listens of ‘Your Disobedient Servant’ the immediate thing that leapt out at me was just how much this sounds like a band, not a solo record. So kudos indeed to the real heartbeat of The Disobedient Servants; guitarist Steve Crittall, drummer Jamie Oliver and of course Alvin himself for making this one hell of a riotous rock ‘n’ roll record….and one I just can’t wait to get my finished vinyl copy of.

As I mentioned in the intro to this review ‘Your Disobedient Servant’ is available to pre-order right now via T&M Records on LP/CD and via Bandcamp for the download (the links are below). If you are after the LP/CD combo you best make sure you snap one up sharpish as when those red and white splatter babies are gone they really will be gone. So, trust me when I say, ‘Your Disobedient Servant’ is one record you really do not want to be without.

 

Buy It Here

Bandcamp

Author:Johnny Hayward