One of Norway’s most legendary bands, (that you might be forgiven for never having heard of them, Right? Right) anyway Norway has a good history of knocking out some fantastic bands and a lot of them have been mentioned here on RPM. Backstreet Girls, Turbonegro, Gluecifer, Good Bad the Zugly, Razorbats, and of course Mayhem.
Well, these punk/hardcore veterans are fronted by Billy Cockroach, one of the first vocalists of Mayhem he performed on the 1987 album “Deathcrush” under the moniker of Messiah and they offer us well-aged vintage punk rock full of cheerful aggression and infectious tunes. throwing in Mayhem is a bit of a red herring because its nothing like Deathcrush this is polished positively glistening in the production stakes compared to that Black Metal demo.
‘Songs about Blunt Knives and Deep Love’, has only taken 22 bloody long years to reach our ears kinda puts Axel to shame with his Chinese Democracy. They’re being heralded as one of Norway’s most legendary bands, it basically consists of new recordings of old hits as well as a handful of new tracks and a cover of Mountain Goat’s “Going to Georgia”. It started out as an idea from producer Hugo Alvarstein (The Good the Bad and the Zugly, Raga Rockers, etc…) Who suggested the band go rehearse their best songs from the 1990s then call him up and he’d take em into his studio and get them recorded and give the songs the justice they deserve. To be fair he’s clearly a man of his word and has recorded one hell of an album..
The band started out as far back as 1994, building a loyal fan base and a reputation of being a riotous live band along the way. Compared to the bands two previous offerings this one is the dog’s bollocks and one that should rightly exalt them to the top table of punk rock.
Having honed the tunes by sharing the stage with acts like The Toy Dolls, Discharge, UK Subs, The Exploited, Cock Sparrer, Anti-Nowhere League, Vice Squad and GBH through the years, now it’s about time they put their hat in the ring with a bunch of songs that justified their boast of being up there with the best of them.
The album begins with a cover, ‘Going To Georgia’ and it drops its music bombs right square in the middle of the speakers with it’s spoken/sung verses holding up rather well over a musical backdrop that just crackles along with a joy and sound of a band just killing it doing something they love for the love. ‘You Have A Bun’ is a breath of fresh air as it has plenty of bounce and whilst the vocals are aggressive (often quite shouty) what did you think he was going to sound like? Ian Gillan? that’s the thing its aggressive as fuck but it sounds content and dare I say it – Happy at the same time, oh and the production is great and really lifts the songs.
‘Fantasyland’ has a little bit of Thin Lizzy in those dueling guitars on the intro. I did a little momentary gasp on the intro of the piraty ‘Three Wishes’ as I thought we were getting some h ho ho shanty music but worry not me hearties it was only a false intro. Still, it’s quite piraty its the good end of piraty.
‘On An Island’ is just a banger with its head down its one foot in the Motorhead camp and the other, say, Argy Bargy – Imagine that? To be fair the middle part of the album isn’t fucking about and gets stuck in like The Adicts on a good day. ‘Facts On The Wall’ is Ramones rapid with a dumb yet happy melody and ripping solo this is shaping up to be an excellent record. ‘Necktie Party’ has a bit of a Crass vibe about it. These boys and these songs would go down a storm at somewhere like Rebellion Festival.
A lot of the pace and tempo of the songs remind me of a Norweigan Sham 69 and none more so that ‘Do It Again’ which is one of the highlights of the record on the breakdown it’s like vintage high jinx Damned who always threw in some cool off the wall melodies in fact there are plenty of influences I am feeling here more than ripping off a band they dance to their own tunes and just let their influences just bleed through..
With twelve songs on offer, I would highly recommend you at least give these cats the benefit of doubt and check em out and once you do that I’m sure you’ll be convinced. Great album I’m glad has seen the light of day and hope it’s given the band the energy and drive to do it all again except to say next time don’t leave it so fucking long. – Buy it!
Well, we certainly didn’t stand still in the last seven days as we brought you reviews from a range of artist old and new with The Lemonheads starting things off with the second studio album of cover versions entitled ‘Varshons 2‘. As Evan Dando and Co, head out on a UK tour this week to promote the record RPM gave it the thumbs up as Dando led the band through some pretty diverse waters. Westerberg, Cave and the Eagles all made it onto the record which as an aside came out in a scented banana yellow version as well.
It was also a week that saw two live albums hit the death decks at RPM with Metallica lending a ‘Helping Hand’ Where they released a double album with proceeds going to a most admirable cause and helping the most vulnerable in society a real genuine act of kindness that doesn’t get the exposure it truly deserves as the rock stars are often castigated for their excesses but seldom praised when they do reach out with a simple yet effective act of kindness. So a huge well done from us at RPM as Johnny H gets stuck into the double slice of vinyl trouble.
The second of our live reviews came when Martin gave The Godfather a good seeing to with their fantastic ‘This Is War’ the once over. describing it as, “Loud Sharp and Beautiful”, is about as close a summery as you can get. It’s fair to say that it damn near captures the current line up right at the top of their game. It’s certainly raw it’s certainly loud and no question it has the Godfathers roaring on all cylinders and has you wondering why all live albums can’t sound this good. Essential listening no doubt about it.
We also brought you a summary of this years Gathering from North Wales as Mike Peters and the Alarm romped through a huge chunk of their back catalogue over two nights with plenty of special guests that included original Alarm Guitar player Dave Sharp, from Texas Ryan Hamilton and 80’s pop rockers Mark Shaws then Jerico. This year’s festivities weren’t without incident as the PA went down twice but it didn’t deter PEters who climbed into the audience with his acoustic guitar and un mic’d got the audience singing along and making the most out of a potentially bad situation and making it a memorable evening no doubt about it. Gathering twenty-Seven was again a privilege to attend and I can’t wait for 2020 and number twenty Eight.
We also brought you The Spangles album launch show from way up North otherwise known as Harrogate as Ben Hughes had an equally splendid evening with an immensely talented band playing one hell of a debut album. I for one hope there is a lot more to come from these three guys because their album was easily one of 2018 best releases.
As far as news goes we joined the rock world in wishing Bernie Torme a speedy recovery from his hospitalization from double Pneumonia and hope he’s back to full health as soon as possible. The same for our Australian friend Hayden McGoogan from The Black Heart Breakers who also found himself in Hospital this past week – Get yourselves fit and health please gents and I’m sure I speak for all the writers at RPM in wishing you both speedy full recoveries.
There was also some superb festival news as The Dead Boys were announced as headliners for this year’s Rebellion Festival in Blackpool along with Walter Lure who will be playing L.A.M.F. at the festival and across the channel in Belgium Sjock Festival announced a raft of superb bands added to this years festival including RPM favourites The Hip Priests and Barstool Preachers who play alongside The Hives, Hellacopters, Electric Frankenstein, the Briefs and Gluecifer. To be fair news wise last week was a bumper week for great rock n roll news.
Anyway, that was last week on RPM and as we are always looking forward here’s what you can expect this coming week on the website. We’ve got a couple of bumper interviews with the likes of Slyder from Last Great Dreamers as they announce a lot of dates for 2019 in what appears to be a hugely busy year for the band. Also, we have a monster interview with “Demons” Matheus Carlsson which should see your Friday seem a lot more enjoyable as we spoke about the past present and future of the band in what also looks like a great year for the band.
As for album reviews we’re once again scouring the globe for great bands and we’ve certainly got those coming at you with the debut long player from ‘Wet Dreams’ reviewed today by Johnny H and there is also the long-awaited long player from Jim Jones & the Righteous Mind’ coming later this week as ‘CollectiV’ has certainly been entertaining RPM HQ and what will be one of the years top albums no question about that. We also look back on some significant happenings this coming week in punk, rock and pop music history so keep it RPM folks for all your turbocharged Rock n Roll!
A unique band with an unrivaled catalogue of singles a clutch of albums that are the top of any garage punk chart and the constant rebirth and pursuit of recognition The Hip Priests are relentless in their pursuit of the next-best song they seem to effortlessly write and release 45’s play memorable sporadic shows and on the verge of releasing a brand new album. Maybe the stars have aligned and finally 2019 will see an industry wake up and public catch on to what they’re about. How could I resist not slinging a few questions at Lee and Austin about what’s coming and whats been happening in the world of The Hip Priests (which usually is quite a lot)…
A new album? What made you decide to get back into the studio to record a full-length album?
OZ– In all honesty, there weren’t really any plans to do one, we were gonna carry on churning out the 7 inches. But I’ve never been totally happy with any of the albums we’ve done, either the Recording or the mixing has always been rushed and I wanted to do one album I’d be properly proud of where everything was right. So I mentioned it to Lee when we were playing in the US last year and twisted his arm until he Agreed haha.
Lee- I’d sworn I wouldn’t do one but then, yeah, Oz persuaded me. Part of it, too was that we had yet another person then fuck off (Joe Blow) and, in my/our own odd twisted way, we then think we need to go and show everyone again. I’m forever saying I’ve had enough n part of that is we just hit a point where it was evident, despite our ‘successes’ that we’d hit some bullshit Rocknroll glass ceiling.
Can you reveal the title?
Oz– We could but we’re gonna keep it under wraps for now until we know how it’s gonna be released.
Lee– Nah – I’m gonna piss Austin off and tell you (I’m sure that it’s been mentioned online anyway). It’s going to be called ‘Stand for Nothing’. I first heard it as a negative/pessimistic expression but then realised how amazingly it also tied into the Malcolm X Quote ‘A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything’. It then gave it that potential duality of meaning and then I just loved it and resisted changing it. Most people will likely just read it as another ‘Oh the Priests are pretending to be all nihilistic again’ thing anyway.
How many songs will be on it? Did you get a label yet mate?
Oz– The plan is that there’s gonna be 10 songs on the CD and 11 on the vinyl. As you know mate, we were on the verge of signing with SPV Steamhammer at the end of last year and actually had a draft contract but in true rock n roll cliché style, that all went to shit and we’ve since been looking for another label to release it. Ideally, it will come out on a bigger label that can sort us some PR and better distribution, as that’s what we’ve needed for a few years but we’ll see. If not we’ll do it the usual way I guess…..
Lee – As Oz said, we recorded 14 so ones gone towards a single and two have been left aside for the moment. We’re still trying to sort out who’s definitely doing it.
How did the writing process go? how do The Hip Priests work? from inception to recording?
Oz– Slightly different to usual in that Lee actually recorded rough demos of the songs this time and sent them round to the rest of us, which made it a quicker process to learn them. We then knocked them around in rehearsal until they sounded right and went in and recorded them. We also did the album over three-weekend sessions this time rather than one long, painful week of recording which was way better for everyone’s sanity! In typical Priests style though we did end up squeezing in an extra tune a couple of days before the last session just to get another 7” down!
Lee– Yeah, I bought some cheap as little Boss recorder and did rough as fuck demos with me just playing a couple of tracks of guitar and doing a couple of tracks of vocals. I guess it helped with also deciding what we’d work on and what we perhaps wouldn’t. The album started to give ideas of second guitar parts here and there. I guess the main thing that’s different on this album is the writing itself in that I’ve taken on different subject matters and characters even on this one. I really didn’t want to do another album that primarily about my fabricated ego, getting fucked up and/or fucking.
You’ve gone from a four-piece to five what was the reasoning behind this move? What have the two new boys brought to the band? Introduce us and let us know a bit about them?
Oz– We’ve talked about getting another guitarist for a long time just to fill out the sound. In smaller venues we’d get away with it through sheer volume but when we played some bigger festival shows it was noticeable in places that it was lacking an extra guitar. Mike had been pestering us for a while to join and as some of the ideas Lee had for the new album were needing a bigger sound, we decided to give him a shot. Having just auditioned drummers and found Des we couldn’t really be arsed with auditioning again for a guitarist so we just told Mike to come down and if it worked he was in, simple as that. It does sound fuckin huge now too and Mike’s got the rhythm side of things nailed. I guess what they’ve brought to the band, as well as their playing, is some new enthusiasm cos the rest of us are pretty jaded haha.
Playing shows sporadically around shit island to a rabid audience of people who actually “get it” must make up for those that don’t get it? Are people afraid of the Hip Priests? Songs like the last 12″ (‘No Time’) left the listener in no doubt about how you view what’s going on here in 2018 is the album going to be songs of a similar vein?
Oz– Haha, I’d rather play to a bigger rabid audience, to be honest, but garage/punk ain’t ever been a big hit in the UK really has it? Rather than being scared of us, I think most people are still oblivious to us as, despite everything we’ve done, we’re still kinda under the radar to most people. The album’s a perfect mix I think, there’s some similar stuff on the state of the UK as well as tunes about wasting yr life playing this stuff, surviving as a band for over 10 years, the narcissism of social media……just no songs about fucking.
Lee– I still think people here especially don’t get us and we’ve never been welcomed into any of the Island’s nepotistic ‘punk rock’ scenes or it’s middle-aged seaside specials. We still exist totally under the radar – and because we’ve always been committed to the idea that we’d never beg or brown nose anyone it’s been a hindrance. But then again, how many other UK underground punk or whatever fucking bands are on their 24th 7” single, 4th album and get invited onto bills with the Hellacopters, etc. “Hey, boys – you can come to Holland all expenses paid and play with RFTC, The Turks and the Hellacopters or play with The Anti Nowhere League in some bogging seaside town?”. Haha. As regards ‘No Time’ being a prelude to the new album. Yeah – I guess it was in a way. It’s pretty fucking dark in many places. I’ve always been socially and politically aware but it wasn’t something I’d really allowed to come into my writing, bar just expressing anger and admittedly worthless negativity but then I got to the point where I simply couldn’t stop it. I could have rattled off 14 songs about the state of the UK but chose to kinda make it snapshots of other things too, none of them very cheery though! Hahaha. From the sociopathic psychos that you might find in any town (actually written the day after meeting some scary bloke in le Pub early this year) to Mainstream brainwashing media, Zombie Social Media, broken relationships, woeful self-medication, etc I imagine it’s sounding like a laugh a minute!
You’ve played with some immense bands over the last few years and taken your blitzkrieg to mainland Europe – is there a different take on what you do over in Europe is there less judgment of a band like The Hip Priests?
Oz– They just understand rock n’ roll better in Europe and support live music in a way that the UK doesn’t. Some of the festival lineups we’ve played on have been ridiculous in terms of bands we love (The Hellacopters, Zeke, RFTC, New Bomb Turks and Nashville Pussy all on the same bill!) and that would never happen in the UK. In fact, you’d be lucky to ever get The Hellacopters or the Turks back in the UK.
The album will be out in early 2019 are there any other plans you can reveal that are being incubated? Tours? Singles?
Oz– A lot depends on who releases it at the moment but there should be another 7” before the end of the year to keep you going and we have a couple of other spare tracks from the album sessions too. We’re working on a run of shows in the UK with Scumbag Millionaire in early 19 too but waiting to see what happens album wise before we confirm it.
Lee – Can I say the word ‘retirement’ again?
The Spasm Gang are a supportive bunch and when the band release a new record they tend to be limited numbers that get hoovered up straight away and when they become available on sites like Discogs they fetch silly money the rabid bunch are around several hundred strong what are the plans to expand that mentalist club and what exclusive goodies have you got in the pipeline for the album.
Oz – Yes, they’re a loveable bunch of nutters and obsessive collectors, pretty much like the band members! There’s actually 200 out there, from Australia to Brazil and everywhere in between, which is pretty amazing for a little band like us. Weirdly enough, we’ve never really pushed it so it’s organically just grown through word of mouth. Yeah, we always do an exclusive SG version of every release for members only, there’ll be one for the album but no idea what it will be yet.
Lee – You liar – I told you my mental new hair-brained idea for the album giveaway in the van the other day! I’m not saying here though! Yeah, the Spasm Gang fucking rule. The loyalty some of them have and effort they make for our little fucking group is sincerely humbling – even for a massive arsehole like me Haha. When people travel around the world to see you it’s pretty mind-blowing…
Lee you write all or most of the material now must be a great time to be Lee Love with such horrible so and so’s in charge of powerful countries and so many people breaking cover with right-wing agendas and racist views it’s like shooting fish in a barrel for you, isn’t it? Would you like to write with anyone else? if you had the chance who would you look to for a helping hand not that you need it obviously but as a vanity project?
Lee- As I said, I could easily have written a whole album on how fucked up, scary, unfair, inequitable and more this nation and the rest of the world is starting to look but tried very hard not to.. I’ve never felt so fucking angry and depressed about it, how much worse it might get and what my son might have to fucking contend with. For this band to have overnight become some kind of agitprop band would have been a step too far.
As regards writing with someone else? I don’t know. Mind you, Oz wrote some lyrics on this one which I then adapted and made fit some tunes and it wasn’t long ago we did the Motherfucking Motherfuckers thing with our Bitch Queen boys but that more turned out that Harry rattled of half the tunes ‘n’ I did the others. Maybe the Priests are my vanity project Haha! It’s what happens somewhere between my ludicrous ego clashing with my crushing self-doubt. Actually, I’ve written a few super Aussieproto punk things recently which I might keep aside for something else for some fun. Perhaps I might sing ‘em too as I did a couple on the MFMFers. I don’t know, many days I just wanna stop and try to be ‘normal’ whatever the fuck that’s meant to mean.
Having played some superb festivals over the last few years and touring with your European boyfriends in Bitch Queens who else is doing it for you musically?
Oz – The Scumbag Millionaire album that’s about to drop is a scorcher for sure and Bitch Queens have a new one on the way too. Grindhouse from Aus are the best garage/punk band I’ve heard in a long, long time andhopefully, they’ll make it over here next year so we can hook up for some shows. I just got the Powerline Sneakers album (ex Bored!) which is fuckin great too.
Lee – I still listen to the same old Scandi/garage/rock ‘n’ roll shit I always did. Grindhouse are my biggest faves in a while – alongside all our mate’s bands like the Queens, Flash House, Rotten Foxes, Deathtraps etc.
Is this the best record you’ve ever made?
Oz – Without a doubt. Best songs, best playing, best production.
Lee – Yes. Everything else we’ve done there’s maybe a tune or lyrics that make me cringe a little. The lyrics on these I’d happily publish. It sounds like us still but I/we tried hard to change things a bit and fuck with arrangements, the usual kind of guitar parts, etc. I hope it’s noticeable! Haha
Who will be the first Hip Priest to record a solo record
Oz – Hopefully, nobody’s that much of a dickhead
Lee – Cheers! That’ll be me then. Haha
Right, it was time to let these two go about their business and with all that news in mind maybe its time to start getting excited about the new album when its released in early 2019. Easily one of the most prolific bands to release records anywhere and the UK should be proud to have them. when they play check em out when they release a record buy it you won’t be disappointed I promise you and if the last single is anything to go by they are getting better and better maybe they’ve gone through puberty and are growing into well-rounded adults… Nah they’re still the filthy – rude – foul mouthed garage punk rock and rollers they ever were its just they know what they’re doing now either that or they do a good job trying. God bless the Hip Priests!