The good folk at Runnin’ Blue are putting on a Rock and Roll show in London Town at The Lounge in Archway. The last two shows by Warner E Hodges were sell-outs so to avoid disappointment you can book a ticket at the links provided.
The Warner E Hodges Band are set to play at The Lounge in Archway and this time they have Mudlow in tow and the fantastic talent that is Sarah Vista who has been reviewed in RPM (Here) Some tickets remain and can be purchased Here
Today sees the release of the new Michael Monroe single “One Man Gang” from the brand new album out Oct 18th.
The track also features the punk rock legend, Captain Sensible ( The Damned ) as a special guest playing the lead guitar on this one. If you’re into authentic, high-energy Rock’n’Roll you’re gonna dig this one!
Written by Rich Jones. The track features Michael Monroe – lead vocal, Rich Jones & Steve Conte – guitars & vocals, Sami Yaffa -bass, Karl Rockfist – drums, The Captain – guitar solo. ‘One Man Gang’ was also produced by the band.
New album – Glasto appearances – and now an interview with Ben at RPM it’s all happening for Ulysses at the moment check out this cheeky Interview on everything Ulysses.
The new album ‘On Safari’ is a bit of a monster, well-done sir! It has been getting a great response from fans and critics alike, are you surprised at all the positive feedback?
Relieved probably! I didn’t really have any expectation of how it would go down other than I knew people who already like us would have to get their heads around it as it’s a different animal than ‘Law And Order’ and I hoped they would eventually consider it as good, if not hopefully better. Every album we do is different though, we don’t write music to order, we just do what we do and if anyone whatsoever at all likes it, it’s a bonus!
I think I referenced everyone from Kiss and ELO to Supergrass and Super Furry Animals in my review. You have a lot of classic 60’s and 70’s influences going on but there’s a bit of disco and new wave going on, you seem to have branched out your sound more than ever this time?
We were listening to a lot of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers anyway and then he died so were listening to them even more! The Cars we’ve always loved, just feeling the late 70s / turn of the 80s thing really, the English end too, Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson, etc. ‘Doctors And Nurses’ chorus popped in my head fairly fully formed, I heard it a bit more Grange Hill theme tune, we kept some of that but it also turned into a full-blown Disco smash, maybe I was listening to too much Bee Gees. I did personally stop worrying about being stuck in one or two styles and just did what I used to do which is just do whatever I want and not worry about it.
What song on the new album are you most proud of?
‘Calendar Street’ was a beast – I’m proud to have finally tamed it, I dreamed the Medieval intro and that helped finish it off. I think ‘Bad Tattoo’ is the best overall song in terms of songwriting and conciseness, although I felt uncomfortable with how ‘serious’ it was to begin with. ‘Situation Man’ is a personal victory/breakthrough, it’s a step in a different direction. We’re proud of all of them though really.
How do you approach songwriting?
Just things or a part of a song pop in my head to being with, fairly fully formed. I usually sing something into my phone or grab a guitar or piano and then figure it out and play that into my phone. Then I’ll bash out a rough demo of it where I can throw down some other ideas / parts at it. Takes a while to craft it into a final version, sometimes playing it with the band and doing a band demo of it is when it finally all comes together / Denny and Shane will put their stamp on it etc. There’s no real formula. Lyrics I find the hardest to finish, but I probably enjoy writing lyrics more these days so that’s getting easier.
Have you ever written a song, only to be told it was just a rip off of something else and then scrapped it?
Only by myself. Once when I presented a song to the band they all laughed, but then it turned out to be one of our best and most popular songs – who’s laughing now eh?
The weirdest is when you get a review saying a song sounds like a song by someone you’ve never even heard of.
Like many bands in today’s musical climate, am I right in saying Ulysses is not a full-time thing for you guys. Band members have full-time jobs and families to feed. In that respect, is touring and promoting a new album an easy thing to workaround for you?
It is difficult, but I feel we’ve got to a point where I consider us lucky – we can do the band fairly legitimately and with a degree of success but basically alongside our normal lives with families and jobs, etc – I’d say that was pretty cool really. I think there are too many models in music these days in my opinion, I don’t think you can be model for that corporate shit and be an edgy Punk musician, sorry. I blame Vice magazine, or maybe it’s not their fault, it’s just symptomatic. Music should be made by suburban weirdo outsiders, not rich kids who grew up seriously good looking.
Let’s talk about the fantastic cover art by Caitlin Mattisson. How did that come about?
We had Howlin Rain and friends in common on Instagram and I just immediately loved her work, so I sent her a message and we cut a deal. I wanted something celestial – turned out perfect! Would love to work with her again.
It looks like a page from an adult colouring book. Maybe a second pressing of the vinyl is in order, the cover on matt paper and some free crayons?
We’ve sold half of the vinyl already but alas all the money is going to into the big black hole of debt. Maybe if someone could stump up the money we could do a ‘Ulysses band members’ scratch n’ sniff version?
You recently played multiple sets at the Glastonbury festival. How was that experience?
It was great thanks, probably not as glamorous as it sounds. We played 4 of the smaller stages, so it mostly working out how were going to get our gear from one stage to another etc! It was really lovely though, great people everywhere we went pretty much – one of the best. We also met Steve Frost from The Young Ones / Who’s Line Is it Anyway etc when we played the Theatre And Circus Backstage Stage – he was a total dude.
Who was the best artist you saw that weekend?
We clashed with The Cure which was the only band I really wanted to see alas. By fate, we shared a bill on the Acoustic Stage Backstage with Marla and David Celia, a Canadian / German acoustic duo/couple, and they were fantastic. Great to hang out with too and we’ve stayed in touch, hopefully, do something with them next year. And of course our good friends Magic Bus who were the perfect hippy festival band on the Croissant Neuf stage.
You have toured and shared stages with many bands over the years, who is the nicest musician you have met?
Hmm the nicest. Well apart from the above, Marc Ford was a big hero for me, he was great, very sarcastic though. We drank a lot! Scott Holiday from Rival Sons is a pal and top guy. Richard Thompson was lovely, he had sandals and socks on too. Probably the nicest was either Bobby Conn who I’m a huge fan of (the most humble should-be-a-massive-star mega-talent around) but we fell out as I don’t like cats, or Michael Tyack from Circulus who I don’t think gets enough credit for helping bring in this current wave of Medieval and Pagan influenced culture around at the moment. Oh and also Ed Bazalgette from The Vapors who not only is a magnificent guitar player, he is also a very lovely fella.
I have to say though that as far as I can remember everyone we’ve played with or met has generally been pretty lovely company. There’s a few who have been hard work but they probably have conditions etc.
We have a really wonderful network of DIY and indie label bands that we play with and are friends with and love. I would liken it to a modern version of CBGBs – its lots of disparate and stylistically quite different bands thrown together by basically all having very limited outlets / opportunities, but appreciating each others’ talents and weirdness. That’s what the ‘Indie’ scene is these days for me.
The worst celebrity encounter though was Barry Wom when me and Shane Ulysses went to see The Rutles play in Bristol a few years ago. We went to talk to him after the show about Patto the great 70s band he was in, and he literally just completely blanked us and turned around and carried on drinking his pint with a handle. Pretty cool though.
If you could have one of your heroes guest on your next album, who would you choose and what instrument would you get them to play?
It would have to be Paul McCartney and he’d be on drums, sorry Shane. Or maybe Lindsey Buckingham on whatever he wants, if he’s feeling better.
When people think of Luke Smyth, what do they most associate you as being?
Hairy, like Jeff Lynne crossed with Marc Bolan, like a bearded Marc Bolan basically. Possibly a bit of a weird pervert? You tell me!
RPM: What was your first guitar, and what song did you first learn on it?
LS: God… Um first guitar was my older brother’s I think, and I could play along to the melody of Beatles records by ear when I was about 5, which is kind of weird now I think about it.
What do you think was the best year for music in your lifetime?
I thoroughly enjoyed 1993 and 1995, but during 1997/98 I worked in an independent record shop and there was a phenomenal amount of good albums that came out in that period, Air, Spiritualized, Super Furry Animals, Pavement, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Supergrass, Beck, PJ Harvey, The Make Up, Massive Attack, Primal Scream, an endless list.
If you could have a billboard anywhere in the world, where would you have it and what would it say?
In the middle of the Sahara desert, and to quote The Heads “Everyone knows we got nowhere”.
If you could go back to your 20 year old self, what 3 pieces of advice would you give?
Oh just the usual: make love to as many women as possible, travel about a bit, and stop worrying about everything so much for God’s sake. There’s definitely a few people I would advise myself to avoid.
And finally, if you could have a drink with anyone, alive or dead, who would it be and what would you drink?
If it was a man I would share a drink of Peyote and magic mushroom tea with Paul McCartney, or if it was a lady I would share some kind of bedroom enhancing beverage with Winona Ryder, or maybe late ‘70s Dolly Parton, I’m not fussy.
Cheap Gunslingers introduce themselves as a band quite nicely on their debut album which prefers to ignore the past 40 years and channel a blend of glam, the Ramones, and ’77 punk to great effect. Many, many years ago, Jeff Dahl put out a series of compilations call the ‘Ultra Underground’ that would have served as a perfect place to find the Cheap Gunslingers. I did a quick review of Sal Canzonieri’s new ‘A Fistful More of Rock and Roll’ series as that would be another great place for these Gunslingers to be but did not see them listed on any of the upcoming volumes yet. Their songs are filled with trashy, fuzzy, addictive, familiar hooks that musically do not offer a lot of surprises, but the album is downright fun.
‘Record Store’ gets the party started with a beat and structure that reminds me of Joan Jett’s version of ‘Roadrunner,’ but the production is much more aligned with the early Ramones’ albums. The Chuck Berry infused guitars riffs cut with a nice touch of distortion added for some extra crunch. The chorus is simple and leads to some badly out of tune backup singing by me as I write this. It really serves as an ideal lead track for the album as it immediately pulls the listener in and leaves you wanting to know what they will do next. They maintain the momentum with ‘Good Time’ delivering just what the title says. Some tasteful ‘oohs’ in the background of the chorus provide another reason that this one sticks in the brain. ‘Defective’ serves up some straight ahead rock n roll but doesn’t hit the same heights with me that most of the other songs here do. ‘Three Chords’ comes in with the rhythm section laying down the beat, and the guitar solo serves up some well placed distortion. The hook is not fancy but works well and is designed for crowd participation. The first half of the album comes quickly to a close with ‘Run Girl’ bringing back the ‘oooh’s’ for backing vocals before the chorus gets stuck in your brain like gum on your shoe. The break in the back half of the song really helps provide some dynamics to the song to take it to the next level.
‘Junky Friends’ was the first song I heard by the Cheap Gunslingers when I was seeing if I wanted to review the album, and it initially left me flat. It was enough to tell that the band were in my musical wheelhouse (or at least one of them), and I was curious enough to want to hear the whole album. With all that said, this song has continued to grow on me, and I really like it within the concept of the album. The opening riff and beat reminding me more of someone like the Heartbreakers with a similar production quality. It packs a little more punch than some of the other songs here. I have no doubt that I would prefer to hear this song live. ‘Please Kill Me’ brings a cool blues groove and one of the best choruses on the album. If the band make another video for the album, this would be my recommendation with the guitar riffs getting plenty of room in the mix here as well.
The band slow the beat down for ‘Water Table Line’ with the ‘Darklands’ era by Jesus and Mary Chain coming to mind musically (‘April Skies’) with perhaps some Velvet Underground type feel in the vocals. The biggest obstacle on this one is the song can feel a little monotonous due to its length at four and a half minutes. The extended guitar solo is very well done, but they could have trimmed this song down a bit elsewhere. ‘Off the Rails’ gets us back up at full speed and hits the sweet spot, bringing to mind Little Richard, Chuck Berry by way of Izzy Stradlin through a transistor radio. This one sits with my other favorites from the album and will be finding its way into my playlists for an extended period of time. Wrapping up the album is ‘Bars of the Song’ where the band incorporate elements of a 50’s rock ballad. This confessional is perfectly placed with the vocals dripping sincerity and bringing the album to a solid close.
Cheap Gunslingers could have easily come from decades ago, and I would not have been surprised if someone had told me this album was a re-release from the end of the 70’s or beginning of the 80’s. This album leaves me wanting to hear more from the band in the future as this clearly sets up expectations for them to deliver in the future. When this album hits the mark, which it does far more than it misses, it is a rocking good time and should be welcomed by a lot of people who love rock n roll.
So another record of new(ish) music from Mike Peters and his new version of the Alarm hits the shops this week with a little help from a few of the people in his very impressive address book. The album is connected to last years album that came out in two parts. Confused you will be. If you think you’ve heard some of these before then you’d be right as they’ve been around for a while and avid Alarm disciples will have heard a lot of these over the last few years.
Life isn’t as simple as a band writing enough songs for a record. They can write and record quickly and release music almost straight away through the many available platforms that now exist. The MPO has always (since the original Alarm ceased to exist post Brixton) been ahead of the curve as far as independent cottage industries go. A personal touch that was different and exciting and it certainly helped keep in touch with the fan base, that hardcore that was always loyal to team Peters. Today the MPO is a different beast altogether they’ve certainly grown and become a well-oiled machine and through sheer hard work have grown the Alarm name and managed to keep it relevant in an ever-changing industry.
Influenced by his well documented off-field tribulations Peters is a force of nature and his pursuit of making music is enduring and endearing – his passion for his art is second to none and has evolved as a writer, kept a few musicians close and having such talented players like Smiley and James Stevenson by his side Peters is still able to pen some really impressive Rock and Roll (although I do think the sound lack that punch that Craig Adams always brought to proceedings live and on record).
I’m glad Peters still writes new material but have to admit to not always being keen on his latter work I do own every single release he’s ever put out so I always find it difficult to write a review for an Alarm record, a band I’ve seen in many guises (well into triple numbers over the years). Call me a fanboy (I’m not bothered but can a guy in his 50s be a fanboy?) I can also admit when I find some of his lyric wordy and a bit cliched whilst at other times I find his lyrics uplifting and beautiful – warm and sincere. At the end of the day he’s human and it would be a little odd if I liked everything he ever wrote and he got it right every time.
Well, ‘Sigma’ kicks off in fine fashion with ‘Blood Red Viral Black’ which features fellow coloursound comrade Billy Duffy (of the Cult parish) The song is a good opener and certainly benefits from Duffy’s fretwork (I wish he’d write more song in this vein) I loved Coloursound and it worked really well.
Always dogged by the poundshop U2 tag something that really used to bug me, but, as I’ve got older there are certainly elements of Peters songwriting where their paths do cross. maybe ‘Brighter Than The Sun’ would be one such tune. ‘Time’ is classic modern Alarm and uses the familiar bass line that he got a lot of success with on songs like ‘Rain In The SummerTime’. ‘Psalms’ begins with a simple ‘Stand By Me’ guitar strum on the acoustic and builds gently.
‘Equals’ has a guest spot from original Alarm member Dave Sharp that will please some. Then ‘Love and Understanding’ which sound familiar like ‘Strength’ for the Jet Age. Is self-plagiarism a thing? I do like ‘Prisoners’ and first impressions are it’s a little different.
As far as love songs go ‘Heroine’ is Peters hitting paydirt with some of his better lyrics and the way the song builds is excellent and its a song I’ve always liked. It sounds sincere and is one of the records shining lights.
Before the album signs off with ‘Two Rivers’, ‘Armageddon In The Morning’ is a bit of a throwback to Peters and his Poets days its a seven-minute journey that builds well and the acoustic and harmonica works really well with smileys rhythm. Again Peters touches on moments throughout his history (intentional or not but you can deffo sing ‘Blaze Of Glory’ over parts) and this one works really well and makes for a great song as it passes quickly.
‘Two Rivers’ is stripped back to piano-driven reprise, fans who’ve seen the band live will be familiar with this set closer but not in this form an excellent way to sign off ‘Sigma’.
I’m not sure how many new fans will buy into ‘Sigma’ and being so familiar with a lot of the songs I find it hard to call as a whole new new record (if you know what I mean) I guess ‘Sigma’ is the final part of a several year journey for The Peters family and something they found themselves working through.
I still believe and still wish all the best for The Alarm and would love them to grab some headlines for their music and work their way into a larger audiences heart, they still have the talent and that unwavering belief in what they do and I fully support that they’re not some nostalgia trip – they’re not one of those has been bands who can’t let go. They make new music and by and large deliver time after time after time. Doing things their way against the odds in the face of adversity that would have sunk most mortals.
Buy ‘Sigma’ and start a voyage of discovery and don’t be put off by the size of the back catalogue because there is so much on offer that is right up there with the best of em. Go the Alarm
Here’s “Love Me (A Stalker’s Song)” the brand new video and 3rd single taken from the latest Lester Greenowski’s release “Out Of Tune, Out Of Key” (Tornado Ride Records). The song is available on any major digital store and on all the main streaming services.
IDLES today announce a short tour for December – including their biggest headlining date yet on Saturday, 7th December at London’s Alexandra Palace.
Tue 3 Dec Glasgow, Barrowland Ballroom
Wed 4 Dec Manchester, Academy
Thu 5 Dec Leeds, O2 Academy
Sat 7 Dec London, Alexandra Palace
Tickets will go on sale this Friday 28th June at 9:30 AM BST but fans can gain access to artist pre-sale on Wednesday 26th June 9:30 AM BST by signing up at https://www.idlesband.com
Tickets will go on sale this Friday 28th June at 9:30 AM BST but fans can gain access to artist pre-sale on Wednesday 26th June 9:30 AM BST by signing up at https://www.idlesband.com
With their last shows selling out in minutes IDLES wanted to give as many fans as possible an opportunity to acquire tickets to celebrate what has been an incredible year. Tickets will be limited to 4 per person.
The band will also be working with Big Green Coach to provide a return coach service for fans to travel safely to and from the Alexandra Palace show. There will be services ran from Bristol, Bournemouth, Reading, Southampton and Swindon and tickets will be available direct from: https://www.biggreencoach.co.uk/idles
The band’s latest release “Mercedes Marxist” is currently A-listed at 6 Music and will be released physically on August 2nd as a 7″. The single will include another new song on its B-side, entitled “I Dream Guillotine.” Both tracks were written and recorded during the band’s sessions for “Joy as an Act of Resistance.” and pre-orders are available HERE.
Bath based power pop loons Ulysses have been delivering quirky, glam-slam slices of noise for many years now. With more facial hair than a cave full of cavemen and a wardrobe half-inched from Huggy Bear, they have produced 3 albums of vintage noise steeped equally in both 70’s nostalgia and Brit Pop goodness. You see, these fun loving chaps owe as much to the likes of Super Furry Animals and Supergrass as they do to heroes like Bowie and Bolan. And it’s a good mix of influences that shine through to make their fourth long player ‘On Safari’ a fantastic ride from start to finish.
Check out the cover art by the wonderful Caitlin Mattisson for starters. Lions, giant snakes and a hot medieval babe with 8 arms and a broadsword….fair play, I’m sold on that alone! Let’s hope the music is up to it too.
And of course it is, Ulysses does not disappoint. Opener ‘Looking For A Guru’ sets the scene with a glitter-coated, platform boot stomp. What sounds like a sitar introduces the song that rides on a catchy refrain over big beats, handclaps and Paul Stanley helium vocals. It’s more 70’s than a packet of Spangles and twice as sweet. A glorious album opener.
The following funky, yet spunky ‘Doctors And Nurses’ out-foxes Foxy Shazam. Sirens wail and sweet vocals harmonise the intro. Tongue-in-cheek lyricism and double-entendres are rife. Its disco groove shouts Scissor Sisters, while its wailing guitar outro shouts Kiss, what’s not to like here? A total contrast to the opener, yet still in tune with their retro sound.
These boys have a handful of singles on offer for you too. “For those about to rock…for those about to roll’ drawls the singer over sloppy, cool riffs and cowbell accompaniment on the fantastic ‘Bad Tattoo’. The following ‘Dragons’ is full of instant, quirky melodies and fuzzy guitars, coming on like the perfect mash-up of Weezer and the Super Furries. Whether it’s actually about dragons is debatable, what’s not debatable is that it was the perfect single choice.
They veer into classic sounding 60’s pop territory and make it sound so effortless. ‘This Useless Love’ has Beach Boys/Everly Brothers vibes and ‘She’ is a glorious slab of 60’s pop with urgent beats, killer vocal harmonies and ripping guitar solos, coming on like Kula Shaker at their finest.
The trippy, prog fest that is ‘Situation Man’ is out there maaan! A full on Hammond organ jam out and elsewhere, ‘Fuzzy Lion’ mixes up a ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ drum beat with Silver Sun vocalisin’ in the most sublime of ways.
‘Let’s Move’ prove that Giuda and Biters aren’t the only cool cats to channel Thin Lizzy and Slade all in one double denim-clad 3-minute pop hit or two. Even the reggae-infused mid-section breakdown can’t detract from their ability to create songs that should be on 7 inch and riding high in the hit parade, pop pickers. Killer tuneage!
It’s no surprise that singer Luke Smyth has seemingly morphed into a young Jeff Lynne. Check out the likes of ‘Married Woman’ and the eccentricity of closer ‘Calendar Street’ with its immense ELO layered harmonies climax. I even had to YouTube and Google ‘Why Aren’t These People My Friends’ just to be sure, as I feel like I should already know it… I don’t and it’s ace!
It may be raining outside, but Ulysses bring the sunshine to your stereo with their new long player ‘On Safari’. I didn’t think they made the sort of drugs that could inspire this sort of music anymore, maybe I’m wrong, or maybe it’s just the Bath water (sic). But Ulysses has created a trippy, hippie-fied, love-fest of an album. A soundtrack to the summer we have yet to experience. And certainly one of the most entertaining albums you will hear this year.
You wait a while for one then a few come together isn’t that whats always said? It seemed like that waiting for a new Waterboys record and no it’s not ‘The whole of the moon’ or ‘fisherman’s blues’ revisited. This is Mike Scott kicking over quite a few genres in one go from rockin’ out (the title Track and opener) to a bit of post-punk (London Mick) to some smooth pop (Right Side Of Heartbreak) to …ah wait n see.
Rewind to the opener and some raw reckless rock n roll and not for a while have I been this excited to hear what Scott has come up with and this is excellent. As is ‘London Mick’ as Scott regales us with tales of The Clash and Mick Jones. Vibrant and a fine piece of writing and as always Scott has a great tale to tell.
‘In My Time On Earth’ is Dylan if Dylan could still sing. An achingly beautiful song that builds but not to such grande epic proportions but to a gentle raised voice rather than a shout. This album ebbs and flows and the epic ‘Ladbroke Grove Symphony’ is classic Waterboys with a great arrangement then, you’re hit by the funk of ‘Take Me There I Will Follow You’ and from the scratches and backing vocals and Rap, this is a departure and one hell of a curveball nothing new for the Waterboys as there have been dalliances with different genres on previous albums ‘If I Was Your Boyfriend’ off the last album was slightly funky in a Stones ‘Miss You’ kinda way.. I’m not saying I’m against taking a departure – he’s not the first to mix things up but I don’t think I like the song regardless – there I’ve said it. I can pass on this one.
The curveballs keep coming as we go down synth wormholes that again lose me momentarily. To be fair the second half of this record seems to have fallen off a cliff for me which is a real disappointment as it started out oh so well. No, I’m quite partial to a bit of Beck and Eels and I can get it when a songwriter wants to push back some boundaries and I get the Prince thing but first and foremost the songs have to draw you in an so far that’s not happening. Sure the first half of the record was an easy reel in for me but I’ struggling right through side two up until the melancholy ‘Piper At The Gates of Dawn’ all ten minutes of it. Much like the last studio album, I felt a little out of step and it never did really click with me not even the Scatman tune.
There is a CD version with a bonus disc where Scott really gets to fuck with the listener. ‘Where The Action Is’ get the full Primal Scream treatment and I did raise a smirk on ‘London Mick’ with the introduction – I won’t Spoil it for you. In fact, the whole second Cd is a homage to symbol or Prince maybe the Celtic Prince as Scott will call himself in future as he vanishes in a puff of experimental smoke as this will truly test his fanbase who might be looking for him to grow older gracefully that doesn’t sound like it happening any day soon and I salute Scott for that.