A lot can change over the course of three years. The debut full length by the Glam Skanks rocked my musical world with its mix of 70’s glam and glitter influences mixed with classic rock, hard rock, and a healthy dose of attitude. After living with the album for quite some time, it became the first review I ever wrote so it carries that special memory with me as well. Since that time, charismatic vocalist Ali Cat left the band during the end of the touring cycle for the album with her replacement Vanessa McNiel joining, and the band continuing to tour. I was shocked at the change because I feel Ali just has “it,” that star quality that so few possess. Vanessa had huge shoes to fill for my musical taste, and I had totally unfounded concerns in my head soon after the change that this would be the end of that special musical connection I felt with the band. My hunch is the members spent the time touring and discovering that they have a great chemistry with Vanessa as well, whose excellence I will champion throughout this piece. Another key change in the world involved the presidency here in the United States and several things that have come to be due to current policies. Lyrically, there have been some changes where the band have some songs spell out exactly how they feel. With ‘Glitter City,’ some of the lyrics dealt more with interpersonal relationships and the bad things that can happen to people when they treat others poorly (‘Karma’ and ‘Bad Bitch’ for example); the band has successfully addressed much larger social issues on this album. The Glam Skanks have come forward to remind us that not only are they one of the best up and coming bands, but they are also one of the best bands period.

A gradual fade in introduces ‘No Way to Live’ which carries with it some AC/DC edge in the verses combined with some 70’s glam accents on the end of the chorus that really give the song more character and a Glam Skanks stamp on it. Veronica stands tall as one of my favorite guitarists as she lays down the riff and resists the urge to overplay on songs. This lead song immediately told me that things would be a little different than their debut. While I have heard their lead single from the album many times, I did my best to black it out while listening to the album.  Vanessa gets some open verses to highlight and make her voice known. Her voice fits the band perfectly, and you will be singing along with her by the last chorus. ‘How Do You Sleep at Night?’ features a great riff by Veronica with a nice groove being laid down by Millie (bass) and Jessica (drums). Sound-wise, the band has perhaps channeled more 70’s rock than glam on the album, but this is quite simply timeless in its execution. The chorus on this one is not complicated, but it has enough to become addictive without feeling repetitive. Vanessa uses a combination of power and a lighter touch in her vocal as she encourages the listener to pay attention and take action in the world. Another awesome riff and groove feature in ‘Push and Pull Me (like you do)’ features one of my favorite hooks on the album and provides a great showcase for Veronica to lay down a great guitar solo.

‘Anything in Between’ follows and is another hard rock gem with the band expertly explaining why gender norms are not necessary and up to each person. This is another great chorus that immediately demands to be sung while the guitar riff is part Aerosmith, part NWOBHM (think Def Leppard and not Diamond Head), and pure excellence. ‘Jurassic Snark’ comes from the same musical well as ‘Karma’ from their debut with the slow hard burning blues putting the emphasis on the power. It provides a great close to the first half of the album as each musician gets to shine on this one.

First single/ video ‘Time Warp Woman’ opens the second half of the album, and, while it took a couple listens for me, this is another great hard rock song with another anthem for a chorus. I love that beat that Millie and Jessica lay down with the piano in the mix really highlighting that this song comes from the ’70s by way of today. It is a brilliant melding of musical worlds. The vocals in the bridge are a highlight from the album, even if I wish it stretched out a bit more, as well with the band showing yet another side to their sound. The band then change gears with a slower early Alice Cooper vibe giving way to a sizzling performance by Vanessa on the vocals where her tone and feel recall a big ballad approach. This combination with some tasteful backing vocals give the song a unique approach. It also continues to show that the Glam Skanks are not going to be boxed into any categories. They showed incredible diversity on ‘Glitter City’ and have continued to show they do not want to make songs that all sound alike, but they also all have this common DNA which let’s us know that we are listening to the Glam Skanks. Their albums become a journey where you do not want to just listen to a song or two, you want to hear them all because they all bring something different to the experience. The band bring together decades of rock n roll with the ‘Spirit of Rock n Roll’ recalling many trailblazers from the past, similar to ’29 x the Pain’ by the Wildhearts. The guitar solo comes from the spirit of Chuck Berry with the band also musically recalling everyone from the likes of David Bowie, T.Rex, and Suzie Quatro.

The last two songs go deeper lyrically with today’s social media dominated world being address in ‘Who’s Watching Who?’ where the band questions our goldfish bowl type approach to life. The bluesy groove fits the song perfectly with the pre-chorus setting up a great hook. Veronica lays down another great solo which is short on the album but could be a great opportunity for an extended one live. Final track ‘Land of the Free’ features spoken word style vocals as the current story of the southern border of the United States is told. The band brings many elements to the table here with the initial samples at the beginning and the chorus of voices near the end of the song being joined by some punk spirit that reminds us of how varied and deep the Skanks are in their approach. The closing sample again reminding us of our civic responsibilities to do what needs to be done.

‘Glitter City’ was a landmark debut for me, and I was honestly afraid this album was doomed to fail when the change in singers happened. I have seen drummers come and go in the band more frequently than Spinal Tap, so those changes have not rattled me. The musical combination of Veronica and Millie is quite simply magical. Ali brought with her strengths and contributions which will always be amazing; Vanessa has demonstrated that she fits the band equally well with her own unique abilities. The old adage that a sophomore slump is to be expected because of the length of time artists have to create their debut versus the follow up can be thrown out the door here. The Glam Skanks have continued to grow and develop as artists while creating 10 new songs that do not copy what they did before but instead also provide them with 10 more songs that can be used in the live setting to highlight their diversity. In a year with so many great albums being released this summer, it takes a lot to take up musical residency on my system, but this one has joined the rotation with the likes of the Wildhearts, Poison Boys, Dogs D’amour, Darts, Geoff Palmer, and the Sweet Things. Rock n roll is truly alive and well.

‘Anything in Between’ is available now.

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Author: Gerald Stansbury

 

 

 

This month on RPM we have plenty of awesome albums to review as well as celebrating important players who’ve had an impact on us all.

 

We’ve put together another playlist championing some of the records we’ve covered or will be covering as well as tipping the hat to some of our brothers who’ve passed away and people we won’t forget and if it makes you go investigate a back catalogue or discover new music then Awesome! that’s our job done.  Tell your friends – tell us – buy music and keep Rock and Roll Evil oh and stay sick!

Californian Singer-songwriter Jordan Jones has a record coming out via those good people at Beluga Records (Swe) and Spaghetty Town Records (USA) here is the first track taken from it and if it’s on those two labels then that’s good enough for us. 

Coming this week we have the fantastic new long player from The Satanic Overlords Of Rock And Roll reviewed by Gerald the record will be available from Savage Magic Records – Get in touch and let em know who sent you!

Whilst there is some fantastic new music coming at you this month we also tip the hat and pay tribute to some of our musical heroes who are no longer with us – the brilliant Nick Marsh, Stiv Bator and Dee Dee Ramone, Ronnie Lane and Roky Ericson who passed this month. Lives well worth celebrating I’m sure you’ll agree. What better way to remember them than to indulge in their music.

Back to new records released one of the best albums to hit the shops in June and a shift of gears from the day job, Duff McKagan released ‘Tenderness’ this month and Ben reviewed it for RPM. Whilst he rightly noted it won’t sell like GnR it’s right up there with the likes of Izzy Stradlin and the JuJu Hounds for quality so we’ve picked the title track to go in our playlist but think you should check out the whole record.

We also carried an interview with Birchy from Black Bombers who of course aren’t on Spotify neither are Gunfire Dance (both would be on our playlist if they were) so we’ve included another band he plays with currently and The Godfathers and their classic ‘Birth School Work Death’.

 

Back to the newer bands you might not have come across yet and for your listening pleasure, we have the stunning new album from The Sweet Things reviewed on RPM so we include one of the best songs on the album.  Coming up we have the review of Dangers Of Love have a listen in our playlist then order the record – you know it makes sense.  There is also a choice cut from the Bat!  June seems like a good minth to review a few compilation albums so we give you the tribute to Dead Moon out on Ghost Highway Records and it seemed like as good an opportunity to play one of the original tunes so we included Dead Moon ‘Walking On My Grave’.  Seeing as this week marks the passing of Stiv Bator and also the release on DVD of the movie ‘Stiv’ we’ve put ‘A Million Miles Away’ in this month.

With the sad news of the passing of Roky Erickson, we thought it would be fitting to include one of our favourite tracks from the guy so ‘If You Have Ghosts’ makes the cut  Rest In Peace Roky!

Before we sign off we thought we’d leave you with another banger and one to watch out for.  From the Spaghetty Town compilation record, we include RMBLR  and their epic tune ‘Next Time’ so until next time go check out some Rock and Roll via our playlist but better than that we hope you discover a new favourite band and go search out the record and support Rock and Roll buy buying off the bands and labels who are keeping Rock and Roll alive. Over and out.

So click the Spotify link give us a follow and spread the word.  Maybe we’ve missed someone you think should be making our playlist why not get in touch on social media or email us at rpmonlinetcb@yahoo.com

 

Hey, Ho Lets Go! Geoff Palmer has got this power pop punk rock off to a tee.  He’s nailed the melodic Ramones melodies for that 50’s feel and the playing is street tough, not brawling but tough enough to wear a leather jacket after dark kinda tough.

Sixteen tracks of hard luck no luck tough love boy meets girl falls in love falls outa love has a beer hangs out with his buddies you know the drill. One thing I have to say is this record sounds like it was recorded on a lot of laughs and was such a fun record to make I can’t believe this was a hard job pulling these tunes out of the band at all – Hell I might be way off but that’s what these tunes are singing to me.

‘I Like Murder Too’ (oh that love song) has a touch of The Dwarves about it.  I could certainly hear Blag wagging his finger to this one in some flea pit out on the road somewhere.  What separates it is the acoustic guitar underneath the buzzing electric guitar riff but those backing vocals are top notch.

‘Got The Skinny’ is time honoured and the loud overdriven guitars sound great doesn’t it.  ‘We Can’t Do It’ is way over there in Beach Boys territory on the intro – No seriously but fear not the distortion pedal is pressed and away we go its 16ths on the hi-hat and woohoo! the end.

‘Everything Is Cool’ hell yeah! and so it is.  great riff, great fun lets go!  When you’re onto a good thing don’t stop don’t try and be cool or be hip just keep rolling and so ‘All The Hits’ scratches that pop-punk itch. When we hit ‘Paper Heart’ Palmer introduces some keys and jolly nice they are too.  Adding another colour to the pallet whilst its just a slower pace its a great piece of songwriting sure it won’t see him inducted to the Hall Of Fame but it will put a smile on someones face when they spin this record loudly on their stereo on a Friday night and that’s just the point isn’t it.  One piece at a time – we’ll get there in good time.

‘Donut’ is a cool tune and ‘Make It’ is a great way to wind down the record from the arrangement to the melody its borrowed a bit from the 80’s new wave of the Cars and alternative Westerberg in his later Replacements days. Which just leave a couple of tracks with one being ‘Punker Than You’ which is as you’d expect but the finale is acoustic – slide guitar and a rocking horse upbeat stroll like a long lost Exploding Hearts track.  Get Geoff Palmer on tour with Shit Islands The Speedways and together they can conquer the world I guarantee it (maybe)

Much Like Brad Marino these talented so and so’s make up the songwriting duo of garage rock faves The Connection or Geoff is also one-third of pop-punk darlings The Guts,  punk rockers, power-poppers, and garage rockers this is one you can feast on whenever – it’s like a little ray of East Coast sunshine.

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Author: Dom Daley

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