As we spend our days playing through our LP collections, looking back at stuff we haven’t played in a while, how about looking at things in a different way? How about exploring a style previously unheard? How about diving in and just trying something different? Well for yours truly this really rips up the rule book, “It’s Karma it’s Kool.”

 

Now this baby appeared in my inbox after one of those do you fancy giving our band a listen conversations that you have over the inter-web and whatever Social Media platform you choose to frequent. As the opening intro to “Our love is an amplifier” eases its way out of the speakers you are instantly drawn to the pop sensibilities that permeate throughout, this is undeniably catchy as Fuck, and you find yourself tapping along to it as the lyrics bounce around your brain. Now as I listen I keep thinking it’s treading a path that another band I reviewed took me down, that Band was a Brighton band called World Secret. I mean when you introduce the phrase “pop” you are looking across all sorts of era’s and all sorts of styles, this LP is very much a pop LP for now, lets not go down Brit pop or power pop or indie pop route, lets call it well crafted music that’s going to appeal across the board.

 

As I sit listening I’m drawn back to the sixties at times, I feel the ghost of Syd Barrett will be up there smiling, there’s definitely more than a hint of psychedelia, maybe a hint of Alternative country (especially on “I woke up in Hollywood” the title track that contains some gorgeous harmonies) definitely the seventies with an updated version of the Byrds sound, that can be pulled out right the way through. We have a band I feel that have their influences grounded in the past but not afraid to play around with it, update it, while at the same time creating something that is defiantly different.

 

James Styring on vocals at time’s hit’s that classic Michael Stipe sound without copying, at times moving into Counting Crows arena size sound. This LP is an LP that washes over you, hints at lots of times spent immersed in music, crossing genres but at all times keeping your interest.

 

There’s some gorgeous guitar work on “The girl who gave you everything”, it weaves it way throughout, drawing in your focus. There’s a real homage to the previously hinted at 60’s psychedelia in “New Age Eve” but not from where you expect, the almost early ska type guitar run sets the scene before the vocals lead you into a brass section led element that twists and turns the music into all sorts of directions.

 

If your not smiling by this point as you listen your way through, there’s something seriously wrong, you really need to be sat in the sunshine, preferably with mates (remember guys no more than 6 at this time) with this LP setting the scene and creating the environment.

 

There’s a return to that alt country feel with “Ghosts of Rome” before probably my favourite track on the LP “Battle of Burnt out Bliss”, it just holds you, and draws you in the flamenco guitar giving some real colour to the sound.

 

AS the band themselves say “IT’S KARMA IT’S COOL throws away the rulebook, scribbles all over the blueprints, and forges their own path. Deliciously deceiving, their melodies will wiggle their way into the empty crevices in your brain and never leave.”

 

Too quickly we’re into the final track “Sunflowers” This is an LP that could form the soundtrack to your summer, its meant to be played with friends, outside and I’m sure the band would sound fantastic on a festival stage (maybe next year) let yourself get drawn into the band, remember “It’s Karma it’s Kool”.

 

Dare to be different, don’t follow the masses!!!!

Bandcamp

Buy ‘Woke Up In Hollywood’ – Here

Author: Nev Brooks

 

 

 

 

 

Always a safe bet that you need to check out a release when it carries the Rum Bar Records logo and this album serves as another example of a great release. The Hi-End have released an excellent album based in classic rock n roll values with some cool additives that make this highly recommended. The band themselves feature members from other current Boston bands as well as an old favorite of mine the B-Movie Rats who should be familiar to many of our readers.

The opening guitar on ‘Looking for Some Kicks’ immediately provides an idea of what is to come. The attitude fueled vocals of Johnny Carlevale take us through the verse to serve up a catchy chorus with some tasteful backing vocals. The guitar interplay of Curt Flozcak and Bruno Giordano works perfectly. This is prime rock n roll. ‘Nervous Breakdown’ skates along a catchy guitar riff and provides some female backing vocals to go with the band’s own backing vocals. This is a winning formula all the time in my book. This is classic rock n roll with an emphasis on the roll. The guitar solo pops out of the speakers and brings us back for another run through the huge chorus. The band continue the party on ‘Perfect Company’ which immediately puts a smile on my face each and every time it plays. The band add some hand claps and howling here for this compact rocker.

Anthony Giordano (bass) and Scott Sugarman (drums) work perfectly as a rhythm team on this album with ‘It’s a Long Way Down’ shining a perfect example. The guitars dart in and around the beat with Carlevale laying down another great vocal. The group backing vocals add that little bit extra when they finally arrive. It took me a few listens to suddenly realize that this album will have your body moving without you even being aware of it. ‘Get in Touch’ provides a great mid tempo beat with excellent lead guitar work. The hook is mighty here, and I still find myself on repeated listens finding my favorite song changing as I work my way through the album with whichever one is currently playing taking the lead. The first side of the album ends with ‘Identity Riot’ offering yet another great hook that plants itself in your brain with a very brief breakdown that is probably a lot of fun live as I could see them extend it a bit in that setting before the big scream.

‘Feed My Need’ rumbles out of the gate to start the second half of the album and unleashes a chorus with a catchy groove and vocal hook. One constant that comes to the surface on this album is how awesome it would be to see them live. Sugarman shines on the drums here and gives the song everything it needs. The guitar solo is like the blood red cherry on the top. Next up is ‘One Day at a Time’ which reminds me of an older song in its feel, but I cannot place it. At almost five minutes, this is easily the longest song on the album. The song has a mellower feel with a great chorus. ‘Blood Red Lips’ increases the tempo with a down and dirty beat that again transforms into a great vocal hook. This is an album that oozes heart and soul with each song feeling like an old friend that you have been missing who suddenly arrives.

Starting the final quarter, ‘The Way She Moves Me’ motors along in fine fashion with the guitar work that leads the pre-chorus into the chorus being a highlight for me. This album hits the same sweet spot for me that the full length by the Poison Boys did last year in that it is one great song after another with a foot firmly planted in the spirit of rock n roll. ‘To Be Alive’ adds some piano to the mix with Carlevale laying down a great vocal. The song almost has more of a haunting feel due to the guitar riff running through the song and is another great example of the variety across the album. Album closer ‘A Way of Life’ roars to life feeling like a more restrained ‘Ace of Spades’ and serves as a great lyrical nod to Motorhead. It serves as a nice way to close out the album and get you in the mood to start it all over again.

If you like rock n roll with hooks, heart, soul, charisma, and more, this album comes highly recommended. There is nothing current about it, but there is also nothing that feels dated about it either. This is timeless music that makes us feel better and provides an escape from whatever we are facing. As we reach the midway point of the year, I am quite certain this album ends up being high on my year end list, and I anticipate staying in regular rotation for years to come.

‘Class Kicks’ is available now.

Bandcamp

Website

Facebook

Author: Gerald Stansbury

 

 

 

Earlier this week this all new nine track album from Portland Oregon’s Lovesores hit me completely out of the blue like some virtual hammer blow to the head, for three very differing reasons.

Firstly, cranking this baby up via Bandcamp I noticed I somehow totally missed their 2018 Thee Slayer Hippy produced ‘Gods of Ancient Grease’ album, yup I know that’s an epic fail on my part, especially as I had everything the band had released up to that point.

Then secondly, I check in with the band’s singer Scott Drake on Facebook only to see him sharing the news that Lovesores had split up and ‘Bats From Planet Skull’ would be their last record. Unless it made the band millionaires, then, and only then might they do one more…but only one!

Finally, there’s the all-important music that these guys produce. This is music that makes me recall a time when music lovers and musicians alike weren’t hell bent on being part of some here today gone today scene and we just went to gigs irrespective of genres simply because we loved the bands. Remember those halcyon days? Well opener ‘Some For Tomorrow (Some For Tonight)’ is a classic example of this – it’s like someone has just taken the stiletto sharp street spirit of The Cramps and the spit and sawdust savagery of Nashville Pussy put them in a blender alongside generous helpings of The Humpers back catalogue and the result immediately has me bouncing off the walls. Something that shows no signs of letting up for album’s twenty something minutes run time.

Highlights? Well, each of the nine tracks is a cold-blooded punk rock ‘n’ roll killer, but if I were forced to single out a few tunes of particular note then I would have to say that the nine pint swagger of ‘Belle In The Belfry’ (think Harrington Saints minus the hardcore influence and you won’t be too far away) coupled with insanely catchy ‘Bishop Of Worms’ which cleverly twists Smokey Robinson into the type of horn driven punk rock stomper that RFTC once excelled in writing, are immediate stand outs.

In some ways ‘Bats From Planet Skull’ reminds me of Spermbirds awesome ‘Go To Hell And Turn Left’ from just last year. That LP also appeared out of nowhere and blew all comers out of the water, and believe when I say it will take a lot to top this record for sheer unbridled low-slung guitar rock ‘n’ roll joy in 2020. Oh, and whilst I remember in ‘Hot Pants’ the band have penned perhaps the unintentional anthem for this summer, should we ever be allowed out of ours houses that is.

‘Bats From Planet Skull’ is available digitally right now via the Bandcamp link at the bottom of this review. It’s also up as a “name your price” download, so even if you are struggling for cash right now you can still get to hear this fantastic blast of punk rock music at a budget to suit you.

Go fill your Chelsea boots brothers and sisters and don’t forget to tell Scott that RPM sent you. Let’s make Lovesores millionaires so he then has to get the band back together for one more record, because the joyous racket that the Lovesores make is just sooooooo damn fine!!!

Bandcamp

Facebook

Author: Johnny Hayward

 

I always love happening across a band who just gets it.  The Night Screams are one of those bands.  ‘In Motion’ is a right banger full of snotty punk rock played with conviction and passion they sound like they live it like they love it and right from the off just crush it.

 

Hailing from Brooklyn The Night Screams strip it back and from those thunders licks that fire the first volley on opener ‘Love Is A Sham’ it says everything you need to know in the first sub two minutes.  With song titles like ‘Rip It Up’ I guess you don’t need to be a member of MENSA to work out what’s going down. Crash – Bang – Wallop and Screeeeam.  Ave it!

‘A Song’ is my pick of the pops.  It’s a bit more contemporary and who doesn’t love a bit of floor tom thumping? Perhaps a bit more restrained than the previous and is that a Xylophone I hear plonking in the background?  Not as immediate as my Jersey favs Crazy And The Brain who always represents with killer Xylophone tonking but this is a welcome addition none the less.  Punk as fuck is one of them innit?  ‘Morning Sun’ is a totally different beast with a more menacing tempo and howling guitar chime carrying the lead over the purposeful groove – good stuff.  To wind it up they finish with the punchy ‘Ain’t Dead Yet’ showing they are much more than just some snotty punks.  A great introduction to the band and punk certainly Aint Dead Yet with bands as good as this cropping up above the lockdown parapet and long may it continue. Interesting to see what they come up with next.

 

Bandcamp

Facebook

Author: Dom Daley

Philly punks Trash Knife has put together a collection of trashy lo-Fi punk rock that enters the cranium via the ear and buries itself in the part of the brain that experts would designate as the pleasure zone. Tell me that ‘No Ones Dancing’ doesn’t cause involuntary twitches at the very least.

It’s not rocket science being performed here its punk rock n roll with a tonne of melody trashy guitars clashing with the drums that are taking a good hiding and some vocals that range from the softly whispered ear caressing to the fuck you and the horse you rode in on screams and shouts. The songs are between a minute or two long and that’s it.  wham bang ‘The Party Party’ to bass rumbling pogo of ‘Struggletown Freakout’ via the Damned like hands in pocket shuffle of ‘I’m Down’ this record is an explosion of colour and sound.  Like I said it might not be breaking any new ground but the path they take is well worn and they walk the walk so damn well.

 

Go throw yourself around to ‘Kill your Selfie’ and if anyone asks you to turn it down flip em the bird and let em know you’re playing Trash Knife for fuck’s sake!

If you’ve got a short attention span and like to have a soundtrack whilst you break things then hey jump on board this, no doubt about it. It’s perfect for a frenzied attack.  Who said punk was dead? Trash Knife ‘Ep/Ep’ get it.

 

FDH Website

Bandcamp

Author: Dom Daley

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