Following the recent news of an upcoming ‘best of’ package and vinyl re-issues of four classic albums, Sweden’s finest purveyors of glam slam boogie the Diamond Dogs are back with a new long-player of brand new music to whet the appetite.
It seems you can’t keep a good band down, and four years after they called it quits, following the tragic death of saxophonist Magic Gunnarsson, original members Sulo and keyboard player Henrik “Honk” Widen decided it was time to get the band back together. Joining the duo are long-serving guitarist Lars Karlsson, fellow guitarist Martin Thomander, bassist Stefan Bellnas and Thomas Broman on the drums.
While a revolving door of band members has come and gone over the years, the sound remains the same. Let’s just say, if you dig the cool as you like vintage rock ‘n’ roll of The Faces meets The Stones, then grab a Jack & Coke, drop the needle and sit back and enjoy!
Now, when I say new music, all is not quite as it seems. If you were to purchase this album on vinyl then you could say side A is Diamond Dogs originals; recalling their rock ‘n’ roll roots. And then side B is their own tribute to Soul legend Sam Cooke; six cover versions of classic cuts from the Soul singer, reinterpreted in their own classic style.
While their last few studio albums have been a bit patchy, this is a banger of an album from start to finish. Their trademark rock ‘n’ roll shuffles bring to mind a golden age of early 70’s British rock. Anyone from The Stones, Slade and Quo comes to mind at any given moment. You know the score.
Opening song ‘Recall Rock ‘n’ Roll’ sets the bar high from the off and sees singer Sulo in introspective mood as the band fire on all cylinders behind him. “Let’s turn back time and make it roll!” he suggests before blasting into a euphoric chorus. The likes of ‘Valentina (Queen Of Broken Hearts)’ and ‘Heavy Swing’ have that classic Sulo chorus refrains in abundance. High energy rock ‘n’ roll, with a tinkling of the ivories and key changes that takes it up nicely to the climax. No one does Mott meets The Faces better.
There’s a hint of sadness to the soulful balladry that ‘Singin’ With Elvis’ brings to the table. Sulo reminisces about times gone by and the ghosts of the past. “I walk down the street where we all used to meet, but it was all dark and quiet” he sings in an almost broken rasp. Swathes of Hammond organ and great, Stones inspired backing harmonies make this essential Dogs material.
The uber-cool ‘There Is A Fire Down There’ has a Black Crowes swagger, with trademark killer backing vocals and a wild n’ crazy slide guitar solo. No one does rock ‘n’ roll rapture quite like the Diamond Dogs do these days.
The album is split down the middle by ‘Soul Folks’, a re-recording of a Sulo original that first appeared on his album ‘Hear Me Out’. Sulo’s own tribute to his soul hero that actually comes across like an Exile-era Stones outtake. Cracking stuff indeed.
Now, the Sam Cooke side of things includes a bunch of guests. First up, we have Quireboys frontman Spike lending his gravelly tones to the good time rock ‘n’ roll of ‘Good Times’. Handclaps, sax and heavenly, female backing vocals bring the soul and help get the party started.
The good time boogie of ‘Don’t Fight it, Feel It’ and the 12 bar blues stomp of ‘Somebody Have Mercy’ are delivered in fine Diamond Dogs style, you wouldn’t even guess they were old Soul songs on first listen.
They breathe new life into ‘Keep Movin’ On’. Faster and more uplifting, that killer chorus introduces a song that sounds like it has always been in your head. Hellacopters main man Nicke Andersson adds his dulcet tones to this banger.
Thunder frontman Danny Bowes duets with Sulo on ‘Nothing Can Change This Love’. With the lyrical sentiment and the sparse musicianship, it retains the soulful feel of the original, but it’s given the Diamond Dogs treatment. A rendition that sounds like it was recorded 50 years ago, not six months ago.
‘Sugar Dumpling’ closes the album and is my favourite of these cover versions. Featuring Swedish rapper Papa Dee, they take to another level entirely. To me, it comes on like The Dave Clarke Five meets The Archies, classic 60’s pop and a surprise finale. What a tune!
‘Recall Rock ‘n’ Roll And The Magic Soul’ will not only satisfy Diamond Dogs fan who have been craving more material, it will also remind those who forgot exactly why we missed them in the first place.
Ok, so it may not be an album full of original material. But as the title suggests, this new album is a throwback to the roots and the influences of what made Diamond Dogs one of Sweden’s greatest musical exports. And that is something we should all celebrate.
Want a second round of Singles in August? Damn right. So many 45s and video singles coming out how could we not update you on whats hot.
Scumbag Millionaire / The Drippers – Split (Lux Noise) Two of the hottest bands on the Scandi Action Rock scene have teamed up for a split which is never going to be a bad thing. arch your back plug in your air SG and drink some beer because ‘Let Go’ rips like fuck from the howl of feedback its off like a dragster. Top tune to be fair and the band justify exactly why they are one of the best exponents of the scene currently. As for The Drippers, their track is ‘Långgattan’ Don’t worry little Englanders the lyrics are in English and the track is absolutely blistering. This is a shining example of how to do a split. Two bands kicking the shit out of two songs. Simple. Lux Noise know their shit – Buy it!
The Gotham Rockets – Blast Off (Rum Bar Records) Oh Yeah man how cool is it to hear a bunch of tunes dripping with sleazy Lowe East Side grease and dirt all over their horn honkin’ low slung rock and roll. If we were to mention such cool bands as The Devil Dogs, The Waldos, Jack Black, The Pristeens, Simon and the Bar Sinisters, and The Fleshtones then you get the picture. This is cool all-girl bv’s tambourine shaking twelve-bar shmoozing Rock and Roll and we dig it. ‘What’s Done Is Done’ has lashings of super sexy saxophone and we love that. ‘Rip this Night’ is a familar rolling of that stone known as the hand jive rhythm and to close off this bad boy ‘Nothing But A Man’ is hip shakin’ detroit rock and roll its got the beating heart of the MC5. Well done to Rum Bar for again pulling up some brothers and letting them ride the crazy train to a wider audience of Brothers and sisters who just get it. Join in and blast this bad boy off! Facebook
Reverend & The Makers – ‘Elastic Fantastic’ (Cooking Vinyl) New song ‘Elastic Fantastic’ is taken from the ‘Best of Reverend & The Makers’ double vinyl, double CD and digital download album. ‘Elastic Fantastic’ is one of two new track featured on this best-of album. the video is shot by multi BAFTA-nominated director Chris Shepherd. It features Rich Westley from The Moonlandingz and can be pre-ordered Here
Dogmatics – ‘Summertime’ (RumBar Records) It’s been 30 years since Boston’s legendary Rock n’ Rollers the Dogmatics has recorded new music together and this is the taster for what’s to come. later this fall there is gonna be a long-player that’s hitting the shelves.
Its cool Rock and Roll boys and girls and although its a cover its got style and a whole bunch of swagger and a fair indicator that these cats have still got it. Click the link and sample it for yourselves. If this is the appetiser then bring on the main course it’s gonna be great!
Sweet Knives – I Don’t Wanna Die 2×7″ (Big Neck Records) Rather than wait for the inspiration to do a full album Fat Neck convinced Alicja and gang to do a special Double 7″ with a Gatefold Cover! Alicja has already created 2 videos for this release and they just completed a tour with the songs laced in throughout the set.
Synth Rock, with soulful vocals that have guitar hooks and ripping lyrics striking like a cobra attack! isn’t a million miles away from what I’m hearing. ‘U Don’t Mind’ is like a rough house Buzzcocks tribute. Besides I can’t remember the last time I picked up a double 7″ single how cool is that?
Synth New Wave call it what you like but the four songs on offer are really impressive with ‘Some People’ stealing the show with its dark riff and futuristic synth parps. Check it out for yourselves at the link
Chuck Norris Experiment – Back It Up (self Release) Taken from their new record ‘Shortcuts’ our friends CNE do what they do best and that’s rock hard and do it on their own terms this one is brief and to the point. They’ve even shot a promo video for it where they flex their muscle. Its always good to hear some new music from Swedens premier hard rockers. Go check it out
MARK SULTAN “Filthy Rat” EP – (Slovenly Recordings) Garage rocker Mark Sultan has one cool 7″ single out on Slovenly. I love how they framed this single “Monsieur Sultan makes autobiographical on the suave and sparse “Filthy Rat,” switching gears from slow to GO! on the swinging flip “Heart Attack,” harmonizing with his own bad self over a classic teenpunk shuffle beat with the unmistakable goldenthroat that all the crazed kids the world over swoon for”. How can one better that? One can’t so just pop along to his Bandcamp page and check this shit out for yourselves ya crazy punks.
Tyla’s Dogs D’Amour – Devils Flynn – (King Outlaw Records) CD and vinyl edition signed and numbered by Tyla
In Celebration of 30 years of the ‘Graveyard of Empty Bottles’. 2019 Dynamite versions of both ‘Errol Flynn’ and ‘Comfort of the Devil’ by Tyla’s Dogs D’amour. Features Si, Gaz, Matty and Scotty, and T. When I heard about the reworking I was a bit skeptical as to why seeing as the original was and still is one of the finest recordings I’ve ever heard and then I actually gave it a listen and low and behold, whilst it’s not to be compared with the original (Its not a competition) its something of an accompaniment and is different enough to warrant a rework and to be fair sound bloody good, No scrap that it sounds fantastic. Like Gerald penned in his review recently, I would certainly concur with his fine words. It’s great to see Tyla back on 7″ plastic that’s for sure and this is a worthy addition to the collection. Buy Here
Indonesian Junk – City Lights (Rum Bar Records) The first track to be released from the band’s forthcoming new album ‘Spiderbites’ is another tip-top slab of sleazy low slung Rock and Roll. Straight out of Milwaukee this Rockin’ trio have been cutting tunes on Rum Bar Records for a number of years and the one constant (or rather One Of the constants) is the quality of the tunage they keep maintaining. Its loud guitars, cool hooks, melodies, and just all-round great songs. What more can you want from your Rock and Rollers these days?
You can be sensible and pre-order the album Here because as night follows day if this is an indication of what’s to come then this is gonna be a good un and you can take that to the bank – Stone Cold Fact!
Sinner – Last Exit Hell (AFM Records) The first song from the new album is released on video ahead of the album coming out in September “Santa Muerte” is out 13th September Order here: https://shop.afm-records.de/sinner/
Hawk Eyes – Smokes (Drakkar Entertainment) With a track taken from the album “Advice” which hits the streets next week out September 6, 2019 Order: Here Comes out via a video single this slice of hard rock will have many a bedroom rocka reaching for the tennis racket an mirror
Bankrupt – Come Back Joe Strummer This snappy track from Hungarian Bankrupt is a tribute to Punk Legend Joe Strummer (obviously) with some Eastern European ska-punk in full effect. check it out then pick it up Here
Tarja ‘Tears In Rain’ (Ear Music) Tarja release the single ‘Tears In Rain’ from their album that’s released this week. Some heavy harmonies and classic rock riffage leads the way for this Heavy Rockin outfit. Pre-order “In The Raw”: Here Get the single “Tears In Rain” here: Here
Riskee & The Ridicule – Cut Your Teeth (Bomber Music) Fresh from Rebellion Festival Riskee & The Ridicule are back with some in your face grime n punk taken from the album ‘Body Bag Your Scene’.
Black Income – Loaded Gun (Tubeit)
Taken from their brand new album ‘Unsound’ Black Income is available Here Their dark brooding Hard Rock is something of a throwback to some classic 80’s hard rock but twisted with new techniques and a modern feel check out ‘Loaded Gun’ – Website Here
Automatic _ Too Much Money (Stone Throws Records) Straight outta LA’s DIY scene this three-piece low – Fi post punkers are doing their bit for sleazy pop punk with this catchy ’45. More instant than ‘Calling It’ ‘Too Much Money’ is like a late ’70s early ’80s throwback when anything goes and as long as it sounds cool its punk rock. from the tin-pot snare hits to the constant bass throb and those Sonic youth spoken vocals this is addictive like sugar pop but dark inside. The band are heading to the UK and Europe as part of their Winter tour. If I had to offer a comparison it would have to be Suicide now go check em out Here at these social media outlets. Bandcamp | Instagram | Facebook
Johnny Moped – Hey Belinda (Damaged Goods) Out on Red vinyl to coincide with the band’s Rebellion appearance is ‘Hey Belinda’ taken from their ‘Lurrigate Your Mind’ ita slab of stone-cold solid punky pub Rock and the production is rather splendid and offers a fine-tune an air of sheen and polish. It’s backed by an old but gold tune that’s been given an update and again the production is rather splendid and lends itself to ‘Hiawatha’ Making this limited edition 7″ blood red single isn’t a bad purchase punk rockers in fact it would be a bloody good one Get it Here
Diamond Dogs – Recall Rock and Roll (Sound Pollution) Classic good time barroom honkin’ Rock and Roll. Sulo and the boys are back in the ring taking some hefty swings with this barnstormer PArt classic Bowie and part classic Mott The Hoople but all Diamond Dogs. Taken from their forthcoming long-player ‘Recall Rock ‘n’ Roll and the Magic Soul’: Here
The Electric Shakes – Phoney Highs (Self Release) This South Coast three-piece have brought the volume. Always finish on a high they say so what better way to round up this 45 rpm jaunt. Are you sure there’s only three of em? Sounds like a batallion of riff-a-rama throwing shapes and rockin’ the fuck out. ‘Phoney Highs’ is no-nonsense rock and roll played through some sturdy amps and harnessing (just) extreme volume for the sake of playing dirty Rock and Roll. Call it Garage Rock or Action Rock with a touch of ’70s hard rock thrown in with the odd bullet belt (please tell me these boys wear bullet belts?) If they don’t they should. the second track is the cowbell thumping riff n roll ‘Hound Dog’ and its barking at the moon stuff. What a fine pair of tunes and if you love Rock and Roll like we do here at RPM HQ then this is totally up your alley. Strutting like a rock and roll peacock this is excellent and the way to close the door on this months round-up and get this party started. Lets Rock! Bandcamp
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This month we’ve either reviewed – seen or reported on new music heading our way from some of our favourite artists and this month is no exception beginning with Manchester The Empty Page who has a new track out that we feature this month.
Then Poison Boys have just released their blistering debut album we reviewed here but the album isn’t on Spotify yet so we delved into their back catalogue for this months playlist. But buy the album its a belter (Here).
We also welcome back The Hives with their new single.
The living end were awesome supporting the mighty Stray Cats recently so we included one off their last studio album.
One of my favourite albums this year has been the much-anticipated solo record from Billy Liar. One of my favourite tracks off the album is added to our playlist – simple – beautiful – ‘Independent People’ is awesome and one of the best tunes this month.
Supporting Billy at his album launch is Rich Ragany & The Digressions so why not include the fantastic ‘Your Distance’ from the superb ‘…Like We’ll Never Make It…’
There are also some superb tunes on our playlist from the likes of Duncan Reid, Joey Cape, Razorbats and more. go check us out and spread the word.
David Bowie took ‘Diamond Dogs’ out on tour around shit Island on this day back in 1974. The cover art features Bowie as a striking half-man, half-dog grotesque painted by Belgian artist Guy Peellaert. It was controversial as the full painting clearly showed the hybrid’s genitalia. A few copies of this original cover made their way into circulation at the time of release but hey anything goes in 2019 so if you want to see the originally intended artwork then here it is!
That was the ’70s and any excuse to show a bit of Bowie is good enough for us. Moving into the Naughties and on this day Velvet Revolver released a fine debut album ‘Contraband’ which spawned the hits ‘Fall To Pieces’ and ‘Slither’. the band made up of Slash, Matt Sorum and Duff McKagan, along with Scott Weiland and Dave Kushner.
Formed in 2002 when Slash and Duff played a benefit concert for Randy Castillo, who died of cancer. Stone Temple Pilots had split up, so the Guns N Roses pair pulled in Scott Weiland as lead singer although it was rumoured that Marc from Peckham Cowboys was also auditioned the line up was completed by Sorum (also in GnR) and second guitarist Dave Kushner.
During the recording of the album, Weiland was ordered by the court to attend rehab and as part of the deal, he was able to record at several hours at a time in order to complete the album.
Whilst on the subject of high maintenance band members on this day in ’69 the Stones officially parted company with Brian Jones who said he was leaving the band to play his “kind of music” his departure was barely a month old before he was found dead in his pool.
Finally Happy Birthdays to Greg Ginn – Born today in 1954 in Arizona. Ginn also owns the independent record label, SST, originally begun as an electronics company called Solid State Tuners when he was only 12 years old. Don’t know if its a well-known fact but Ginn is the older brother of artist Raymond Ginn, who is better known using by the name Raymond Pettibon (He of the OFF! album covers and the iconic Black Flag four-bar logo)
Another iconic musician who pioneered the new romantic scene Happy Birthday Nick Rhodes (born today in 1962) who came to prominence out of the post-punk scene that morphed into new romantics playing keyboards or synths in Duran Duran.
Born Nicholas James Bates who helped start the band in the late ’70s in Birmingham whilst DJing at the Rum Runner club in the city center. It was there he met the other members of the band who were also employed at the club. Rhodes went on to international superstardom with Duran. He also had a successful career with Arcadia which he formed with LeBon and Roger Taylor whilst the other two went off to Rock out with Power Station and the duranies went on hietus.
Rhodes always the artier one went on to become an accomplished photographer as well as several successful side projects but he always came back to Duran Duran. Happy Birthdays Greg and Nick.
RELOAD, REWIND & RECALL ROCK N ROLL – Swedish glam boogie blue-eyed soul rockers DIAMOND DOGS are back to set things straight!
After the loss of saxophone player and longtime band member Magic Gunnarsson (who died in a drowning accident 2014) Sulo and the rest of DIAMOND DOGS called it a day. They released the album “Quitters & Complainers” in 2015 and went on a farewell tour ending in Oviedo in October together with Iggy Pop.
Since then Sulo’s been releasing 3 solo albums, working with Chris Spedding, Paul Young, The Crunch and the rest of the members been busy with other projects. During this time a lot of DIAMOND DOGS gig requests been dropping in from all over the world and when they found out that 4 of the 10 previous studio albums been out of stock for a long time and wasn’t available as download they started to make a plan.
Sulo & Honk (Henrik Widen), the remaining original members thought it was time to set things straight and release “that” compilation they’ve been talking about for many years. One thing led to another and soon they had a plan and even some new tracks to blend up the compilation with.
“RECALL ROCK & ROLL” (Cargo Records) will be a double album including 30 tracks. 25 old and 5 brand new songs. At the same time, Cargo Records will re-release 4 previous albums on Vinyl/CD & download.
The albums are: “As your greens turn brown”, “Too much is always better than not enough”, “That’s the juice I’m on” and the split album “Atlantic Crossover” with legendary US Punk rock singer Jeff Dahl.
“RECALL ROCK & ROLL” will be released in September/October and DIAMOND DOGS planning to tour Europe.
DIAMOND DOGS 2019 are:
Sulo – Lead vocals
Lars Karlsson – Guitars
Martin Thomander (ex Electric Boys) – Guitar, Backing vocals
Henrik “Honk” Widen – Keys, Backing vocals
Stefan Bellnäs – Bass
Thomas Broman (ex Glenn Hughes) – Drums
DIAMOND DOGS have over the years delivered countless hard rockin’ shows worldwide, they have also been on tour sharing stage with: Nazareth, Ian Hunter, The Damned, Hanoi Rocks, The Cult, Sensational Alex Harvey Band, The Quireboys, Dan Baird, among others.
Members of Diamond Dogs also have associations with such fine artists as The Hellacopters, Johnny Thunders, The Solution, The Dogs D’amour, The Nomads, Lisa & the Lips, Ian Hunter and The Crunch.
With a brand new year just begun and these cats all being in the news it seems only fair to ease you back to work with some good time rock n roll courtesy of Diamond Dogs who have announced some pretty exciting news for 2019 so here you go enjoy…
Heading out on tour this month Gene Loves Jezebel will see us reach for the silk shirt and guyliner and maybe some hair dye to complete the look for when we go see them play this classic amongst others…
Finally, RPM will be taking in a show or two from Radkey over the next week or two so Shit island isn’t quite so shit this month enjoy.
Considering his epic catalogue of releases I don’t think I can recall sulo ever making a “Bad” record luckily this very ambitious release can also be added to the ever impressive list. Diamond Dogs, The Crunch or Solo he has his distinct vocal and can easily flip-flop between styles sure they’re all Rock and Roll but this is a far gentler side of his work. Especially the ‘Nightshift’ side as it might suggest. Piano acoustic guitars duets its fairly standard arrangments for sure but the quality of the songs shines through. ‘Time To Alight’ is a wonderful and simple piano and guitar song with sparse backing vocals. I think its fair to say that if Sulo wanted to create a soundtrack to the dead of night then he has achieved that with some to spare. It’s gentle and soft in places and its personified in the albums title track with some beautiful piano rolls that sort of put a full stop on proceedings.
Sulo has always had great musicians working with him to compliment his writing and this is no exception. I love the swirling organ that stabs through the bleakness like on ‘I Swear To God I Don’t Believe’ I love the grandness of the backing vocals. Considering this collection has twenty seven songs it ebbs and flows wonderfully I know it won’t please everyone but if you want the guys gentler balladeering side then it’s here and if you want the Rock and Roll that’s present too the only thing missing is the punkier side but that’s why he does the Crunch I guess. Sure I think its fair to say you will be drawn to one CD over the other be it the darker melancholy side or the more uptempo and light side, me I’m somewhere in between as I think the best songs are on ‘Nightshift’ I do love it when he delves into that whole Faces groove but here its not quite that simple as ‘Brilliant Outsiders’ has got its country honk going on. If you ever liked someone like Chuck Prophet then you need to check this out – lap steel, duets, country honk Sulo has arranged for a whole record of players to duet with him from Stockholm to Florida and Nashville to London and everywhere between have lent a helping hand. He’s even managed to rope in the UK finest Country Band Los Pacaminos to back him up. So it would seem you can also add this style to his ever-bulging portfolio. It’s not quite the stretch you might think but the songs are authentic and sound like they’ve been brought from a good place and a happiness and Joie de vivre captured within.
‘Bring Down The Angels’ is fantastic and the band lives it up on ‘God Damned Jesus’ did somebody mention Mellencamp meets Waits meets Waylon? Oh, it was me. Well, that’s the ballpark we’re playing in here. I think its no good thinking you’re going to hear the Diamond Dogs or Crunch because that’s not going to happen you have to keep an open mind and just let the music flow. whilst it might have been an experiment too far for a lot of people for many others I’m sure an appreciation for the guy’s songwriting talent will win them over. Me – I’m happy to hear whatever Sulo throws my way I think he’s a talent we should champion no matter what style he delivers next. If you don’t raise a smile by the end of ‘A Song For Every Train’ then I feel sorry for you.