When Ginna Rhodes and Ben Marsden from The Main Grains announced they would be forming a little punk rock outfit with The Idol Dead frontman Polly, I don’t think anyone expected too much to come from it. When they subsequently announced a Pledge-funded album and recording sessions with the one and only Dave Draper (Ginger, Ryan Hamilton etc) ears pricked up…maybe they were serious after all. And left to their own devices, it’s amazing what these three have conjured up.

We all pledged without hearing a single note. Why would we put our faith in these 3 loveable Northern herberts? Your guess is as good as mine, but now it’s time to see if The Spangles can deliver.


Ok, first things first. Let’s try to establish a few facts; this is a covers album right? I mean, I seem to know all these tunes already, so it must be. These choruses are already embedded in my DNA it seems, how is that possible?

So if it’s not a covers album, I wanna know how they managed to distill everything I love about the rock n’ roll world into 12 songs? In just under 30 minutes, you’ll hear nods to more 70’s punk and 90’s Britrock legends than you can shake a stick at.

This album is so new I don’t have any info on it, who knows who wrote these glorious slabs of punked-up power pop, and I can only hazard a guess as to who sings what. While Polly is playing bass, Ginna and Ben stick to what they do best and I think the lead vocals are shared out between all three by the sound of it.


Opener ‘Growing Up’ starts strong, like The Yo-Yos jamming with Sorry and the Sinatras, a great chorus but it’s just a taster of what’s to come. The following ‘The Only One’ is surely the greatest song Rivers Cuomo never wrote and the essence of what this band is capable of. A wall of riffage and a chorus so upbeat it will give instant goosebumps and put a smile on the face of the grumpiest fucker in town. You’ll wonder how you ever managed without it in your life.

Powerful, punk-pop goodness follows with ‘One Good Reason’ and ‘Dirty Pictures’, The Spangles do trashy so well. ‘POTUS’ is dumb-ass punk rock, ‘Here We Go Again’ is The Soho Roses and album closer ‘Ramone’ is a burst of fury with a glorious gang vocal refrain that name-checks as many Ramones songs as possible. I name these three songs now, as these are the average songs on the album, and by ‘average’, I mean in the context of this album. As the songs on this album are of a very high standard indeed.

‘Back On The Meds Again’, with its ‘Nita Nitro’ intro, comes on like a classic Wildhearts B side and we all know what a good place that is to be, right? A snotty verse leads to another killer, gang vocal chorus backed by a wall of fat guitars.

‘I Don’t Wanna Go’ sounds like The Buzzcocks meets The Soho Roses. An instant sugar buzz with a euphoric chorus most bands could only dream of. You’ll be singing along to those “whoa-whoa” vocals and the following chorus again and again, believe me.

‘Get Over Yourself’ again, has a massive chorus. With its indie beats and killer riff, it comes on like classic Terrorvision. This song could be a dancefloor filler in rock clubs across the country, make no mistake.

But it’s ‘Hold My Hand’ that is in contention for song of the year. Damn this is sublime power pop. It’s Weezer meets Redd Kross meets Silver Sun. It’s up there man, more infectious than Herpes and twice as fun. On a par with The Interrupters ‘She’s Kerosene’ for song of the year for me.


Not officially released until February, ‘#Sweet AF’ is already a strong contender for next year’s album of the year lists. And considering we have highly anticipated albums from The Wildhearts and Michael Monroe to look forward to, they are in good company.

The surprise, feel-good album of the year with more potential hits than any band should be allowed to possess. They may have started with sweet fuck all, but their debut album is sweet as fuck! Is it too soon to suggest The Spangles could be your new favourite band?

Author: Ben Hughes


Ben Hughes.

A decade of Eureka Machines. I don’t think Chris Catalyst ever dreamed his “silly little band” as he calls it, would still be around in 2018, let alone celebrating their 10th anniversary and the recent release of their 5th album ‘Victories’. But here we are, they may not be doing it full time these days, but they are still here and still releasing quality albums, and what better way to celebrate than with a short run of live dates. Not London though, why travel to stupid London when we have the best venues up North, which also means the boys can be home in time for tea and biscuits before bed each night.

The Fulford Arms is the first of just three dates the band will play this year, a bit of a letdown for those who live farther afield yes, but hell, a fan will get on a bus, a plane or a train to see their favourite band if they really want to. Me… I just walked here!


Of course, Eureka Machines don’t do these gigs on their own, they bring their mates along for the ride. So, as well as fellow Leeds band The Idol Dead here to back them up, they also have Manchester three-piece The Empty Page to open the evening.

Kelli, dressed in Day-Glo tie die, her bleached-out hair in bunches, smiles, and giggles for the entire set. A stark contrast to the dark and brooding alt-rock her band The Empty Page deliver. Their debut album ‘Unfolding’ takes the best parts of The Pixies and Veruca Salt and adds a heady dose of Northern charm. Live, it comes across as well as on record. The strong, visceral vocals cut through the mix, as she slams out deep, pulsating bass lines. To her side, the animated Giz weaves sonically seductive guitar lines as strangely quiet drummer Jim keeps a solid beat behind the duo.

The melodic suss of Robert Smith and the raw, chaotic power of Daisy Chainsaw make the likes of ‘Deeply Unlovable’ a killer tune full of angst and prove The Empty Page are a band with a fire in their collective belly.

Kelli introduces new song ‘He’s Good At Swimming’ as a story based on a high profile rape case, that’s topical right now, right? It’s a haunting and mesmerising tune that the singer delivers with passion and it bodes well for a release in the near future. The Empty Page goes down well tonight.


A few observations about The Idol Dead: They have more people on stage setting up their gear than Metallica, they have the most impressive merch on the table and they have a strong set of songs that can compete with the headliners.

Like Eureka Machines they have been around for a decade now, even Chris Catalyst later jokes from the stage that singer Polly “has his bus pass now”.  He may look like a pound shop Billy Idol at first glance, but the barefooted singer is a great frontman with charisma to match and has all the right rock star moves to front a band with the caliber of The Idol Dead.

Opener ‘Summer That Never Was’ is full on buzzsaw guitars and euphoric gang vocals and ‘Black Dog Down’ is a killer highlight from their latest album that sounds ace live. These dudes remind me of Hull herberts Rich Rags, those scruffy bastards had some top tunes with a metallic punk edge and they were also ace live. It’s no surprise then that The Idol Dead’s most recent album ‘Tension & Release’ made my albums of the year list last year.

The singer uses every inch of the stage available to him, whether that be standing on the monitors up front or holding up the low ceiling. Between songs, the singer and guitarist KC joke and slag each other off, it seems they have a bit of a comedy double act going on. Behind them, drummer Nish adds much-needed backing vocals.

This band is pros make no mistake, they channel the energy of their songs with a confidence and conviction of a stadium-sized outfit and should be playing larger venues to larger audiences more frequently than they currently do.


A Eureka Machines gig is always a high energy night of fun and frolics, that is a given. And now with 5 albums to pull material from, the band are spoilt for choice when choosing a set list.

Dressed in the customary black shirts, white ties & creepers combo, Leeds finest sons launch straight into ‘Champion The Underdog’ and continue with a relentless barrage of hits that should’ve been, fan favorites, deep cuts and comedy capers from the always entertaining  Chris Catalyst.

While the cramped confines of The Fulford Arms stage make for a truly intimate experience, Chris Catalyst still makes full use of his space and even manages a few trademark jumps without banging his head on the ceiling or bumping into bassist Pete or guitarist Davros. Behind them, drummer Wayne Insane keeps time with frantic precision and a look of immense concentration on his face.

New songs ‘Little Victories’ and ‘Misery’ fit perfectly in a set rammed with ridiculously catchy anthems to sing your heart out to. ‘These Are The People Who Live In My House’ is glorious and ‘Affluenza’ remains my favourite Eureka moment. But there are many highlights to savor;  the sentiment of newbie ‘My Rock n Roll Is Dead’, the epic harmony vocals and intensity of ‘Scream Eureka’, and the pogo-inducing closer ‘Zero Hero’ are up there, as is Johnny Cash’s ‘Fulsom Prison Blues’ which is given the high energy Eureka treatment.

It’s hot and it’s sweaty, Chris sticks plectrums to his forehead and takes phone selfies for those down the front. The only thing even remotely close to disappointment is not witnessing a Stevie Ray Vaughan style smooth-as-you-like guitar switch when Chris breaks a string mid-song, but you can’t have perfection every night, right?

Always engaging with his fan base, Chris thanks the crowd for coming, for supporting underground bands. Always humble, always entertaining and always on fire Eureka Machines played like they had never been away.


It says something about the state of the music industry today that these 3 bands do their thing part-time. 25 years ago it would be unheard of that bands of this caliber would have day jobs, but the struggle is real people. Times have changed for good, there are no record deals, and bands don’t make money selling albums anymore. Bands like this survive by selling merch at gigs and it’s up to us punters to keep them alive and touring.

Support DIY bands, go to gigs, buy a t-shirt and a CD or these bands will disappear for good and that really would be a crying shame.


Pictures by Neil Vary.

Buy Eureka Machines Here