RPM Online Album Of The Year

Well, we’ve reached that time of year again where the writers of RPM were forced into the voting both given a blunt pencil and forced to vote for their album of the year.  Unlike a certain General Election result this time I don’t think people were too disappointed with the final result and by a landslide rock and Roll won.

 

Interestingly this years winner didn’t win any single writers vote but featured very heavily throughout the writers lists more than any other artist or artists so its a fair cop guv and, to be honest, had the live show count been anything to go by it was a landslide and another good year all around. With writers coming from several continents and five different countries there might be a few miles between us but we all have some things in common and one of those is a love for Rock and Roll. I’m sure had it been a Top 20 people would have still had a headache as to what to put in.  Don’t let anyone tell you that it’s been a shit year for new music as there were plenty of records released and many of them reviewed on RPM Online and with over 50 albums getting a mention from the team of writers (that’s just their top 10!).

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank not only all the artists who’ve released new records in 2019 and to all the excellent press departments and Labels especially the independent ones who’ve worked tirelessly to bring us the music and obviously to the songwriters and musicians whose work we’ve had many many hours of enjoyment listening to and raving about you know who you are many of whom it’s been a pleasure to get to know throughout the year.

What we’ll do is give the top ten a rundown in reverse order then each individual writers ten albums in no particular order so here goes.

Number 10

Duff McKagan – ‘Tenderness’ (UMC)

Review 

 

Number 9

Jim Jone & The Righteous Mind – ‘Collectiv’ (MaSonic Records)

Review

 

Number 8

Jesse Malin – ‘Sunset Kids’ (Wicked Cool Records)

Review

 

Number 7

Redd Kross – ‘Beyond The Door’ (Merge Records)

Review 

 

Number 6

Rich Ragany & The Digressions – ‘…Like We’ll Never Make It!…'(Glunk Records)

Review

 

Number 5

Andy McCoy – ’21st Century Rocks’ (Ainoa Productions)

Review

 

 

Number 4

Hunt Sales Memorial – ‘Get Your Shit Together’ ( Big Legal Mess Records)

Review

 

Number 3 

The Hip Priests – ‘Stand For Nothing’ (several independent labels)

Review 

 

Number 2

The Wildhearts – ‘Renaissance Men’ (Graphite Records)

Review 

 

Number 1

Michael Monroe – ‘One Man Gang’ (Silver Lining Music)

Review 

 

 

So congratulations to all the bands who made the RPM Online top ten.  Especially Michael Monroe for taking top spot in the hotly contested category as well as all the ones that didn’t there were dozens and dozens of albums released in 2019 that we reviewed.  We managed to catch up with a few of the bands who made it onto the pages of RPM Online in 2019 to find out what made it onto their turntables this year and to find out any highlights they might have had.  Here is some beginning with Jeff from The Brothers Steve…

 

Jeff Whalen (Guitar /Vocals – The Brothers Steve)

“I don’t think I listened to any records that came out in 2019!  So I picked my top 5 records that were new to me in 2019!”

 Tiny TimGod Bless Tiny Tim
The BeaglesHere Come the Beagles
White ReaperThe World’s Best American Band
The SpeediesYou Need Pop
The MillenniumBegin
Rich Jones Guitarist (Michael Monroe/Black Halos)
Pup – Morbid Stuff
The Wildhearts – Renaissance Men
Jeff Rosenstock – Thanks, Sorry! / Sorry, Thanks!
Berlin Blackouts – Nastygram Sedition
The Menzingers – Hello Exile
BEST RE-ISSUE: The Replacements – Dead Man’s Pop
Duncan Reid – Duncan Reid & The Big Heads
Starcrawler – ‘Devour You’ (especially the track No More Pennies)
2 Albums which spoke to my Country Side:
The long Ryders – ‘Psychedelic Country Soul’ (especially Greenville)
Kim Lenz – S’lowly Speeding’
Not an album but the single ‘Fire Ready Aim’ by Green Day which was superb
And The Baby shakes  ‘Cause a Scene’  (especially the title track)
As for Highlights, there were Many highlights of 2019 especially Rebellion which went superbly for us and I’m really looking forward to the release of our new album early 2020 as well as playing the Kubix Festival.
Steve Coulter – (Drums) The Brothers Steve 
The Gold—T’he Gold’
The Armoires – ‘Zibaldone’
The Cutthroat Brothers – ‘Taste For Evil’
The Coolies – ‘Uh Oh! It’s…The Coolies’
The New Pornographers – ‘In The Morse Code Of Brake Lights’
As for the highlights of 2019 it has to be making the Brothers Steve ‘#1’ & The Go All The Ways as well as writing about music ‘Go All The Way A Literary Appreciation Of Power Pop!

Lee Love (The Hip Priests)

Clowns – ‘Nature/Nurture’

TV Crime – ‘Metal Town’

Bitch Queens – ‘City Of Class’

The Drippers – ‘Action Rock’

Schizophonics – ‘People In The Sky’

 

Melchior Quitt (Bitch Queens)

Clowns – ‘Nature / Nature’

Amyl & The Sniffers – ‘Amyl & The Sniffers’

The Hip Priests – ‘Stand For Nothing’

Saint Agnes – ‘Welcome To Silvertown’

The Schizophonics – ‘People In The Sky’

As for the Highlight of 2019, There are several. Two for Bitch Queens were to put out our brand new album ‘City Of Class’ and to finish our new recording studio to keep on doin’ what we are doin’ far away from the big business.

The Best event this year was Sjock. “What could be better than hanging out with my boys from The Hip Priests and seeing the best Action Rock bands from all around the world! I am looking forward to touring with Bitch Queens in Europe next year and to record a shitload of new singles and split 7“ And of course, there are two of the probably best records 2020 in the pipeline – The Good, the Bad & the Zugly and Kvelertak. 2020 is gonna be good!

Mathius Engelbrekt Carlsson – “Demons”  – 
 All right. My top picks for 2019.
Jeff Dahl – ‘Electric Junk’
Guitar Wolf – ‘Love & Jett’
Amyl & The Sniffers – ‘Amyl & The Sniffers’
The Hip Priests – ‘Stand for Nothing’
Bitch Queens – ‘City of Class’
The Drippers – ‘Action Rock’
Dead Furies – ‘Stay Gold Ponyboy’
“One of few highlights of 2019 was getting ‘Kiss Off’ off the ground. This has been one of those years. For music it has been a great year though and especially for Rock’n’Roll.
Next year it’s the 25th anniversary for “DEMONS” and we hope that we can tour as much as possible starting with Japan in January. A new record will be out as well as some old stuff. Hopefully our first unreleased album and possibly a Demonology II. See you on the other side.”

With summer fading fast its time to cwtch u to your stereo or however you currently listen to your music and check out the RPM Spotify Playlist to hear who are the movers and shakers at RPM Towers.  From the albums, we’ve reviewed and are reviewing and the shows we’re attending to the interviews we have coming up.  Here is a playlist to accompany your reading.

 

This month we feature the following bands who have new albums or are playing live shows.

Hollywood Brats, Andy McCoy, The Bar Stool Preachers, Cock Sparrer, Jim Jones and the Righteous Minds, Duff McKagan, Jesse Malin, Queen Zee, Subhumans, Black Star Riders, Strung Out, Dead Shed Jokers, Pardon Us, Paradise Alley, Dead Furies, The Chuck Norris Experiment, TSAR, New Model Army, Ginger Wildheart

Jesse Malin’s transition from snotty frontman for NY punks D Generation to acoustic troubadour has been a natural progression over the last 15 years. The long and winding road has seen him release 7 solo albums, collaborating with the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Ryan Adams and Brian Fallon along the way.

Critically praised, yet commercially ignored (hey, aren’t all the best songwriters? Ginger,Tyla and Butch Walker, here’s looking at you!). His live shows, whether solo or with a band, can be an immersive experience full of storytelling, comedy and crowd interaction. Jesse Malin continues to tell tales of dreamers, schemers, hustlers and dealers. These are his songs about the characters from his native New York and stories about those he meets on the road.

Jesse’s latest album ‘Sunset Kids’ is a collaboration with country legend Lucinda Williams, who Malin met by chance in a club. They discussed making an album together after she invited him to Tom Petty’s final concert.  During the writing and recording Jesse lost his father, his good friend Todd Youth and even the engineer of the album Davis Bianco.

 

Opener ‘Meet Me At The End Of The World Again’ is a re-recording of the lead track from 2017’s ‘Meet Me At The End Of The World’ EP. This version benefits from Lucinda’s lush production and masterful guidance. The verse, sung in Jesse’s lower register with the addition of warm bass and a tinkling of the ivories, comes on like prime Lou Reed. It lends itself well as a great build to the infectious chorus full of lush, gang vocals. It’s a laid back, lazy sounding slice of retro rock ‘n’ roll, the kind that only a New York resident could produce. This is Jesse walking on the wildside and that’s about as rock ‘n’ roll as you can get.

Next up, the countrified ‘Room 13’ is a reflective ode to spending time in hotel rooms (Jesse has been known to book himself into hotels to write songs in isolation, with no distractions). This is prime Malin songwriting, featuring Lucinda’s lush vocal harmonies and twangy countrified guitars, the sparse instrumentation creates space and atmosphere that only adds to the laid back, signature melodies Jesse creates.

 

There’s a nice ebb and flow to the album, from the upbeat to the downbeat. Reflective, acoustic laments like ‘When You’re Young’ and ‘Revelations’ rub (leather) shoulders with funky 70’s groovers such as ‘Do You Really Wanna Know’ and the overly cool ‘Dead On’, 2 tunes that deserve to be jammed out by cool cats in smoky bars, while whores hustle and hustlers whore around them.

The upbeat ‘Chemical Heart’ has the same feel as his version of The Hold Steady’s ‘You Can Make Them Like You’ from the excellent ‘On Your Sleeve’ covers album. Nice stabs of Hammond give this song a quirky burst of energy. It’s one of the coolest on offer, along with ‘Strangers and Thieves’, co-written by Billy Joe Armstrong as part of their Rodeo Queens side project. A euphoric, countrified rock ‘n’ roll blast if ever there was one. Lucinda’s lush backing vocals add depth, great percussion and twangy guitars give a Stonesy ‘All Down The Line’ feel. A much needed dose of urgency.

Jesse’s tales of working class guys, lost love and dreaming of breaking out of the rat race have been popular themes with the guy since D Generation burst onto MTV with ‘No Way Out’, and although the production may have changed, the message is still the same. As he suggests in ‘Shining On’, you gotta keep on, keeping on. “Call me a cab for the last plane to tomorrow” he asks on ‘Promises’ and ‘Grey Skies Look So Blue’ floats along on a summer breeze as Jesse dreams about packing his bags and getting away.

 

 

When an artist goes through tumultuous times, when a songwriter experiences heartache or pain, and truly has something to write about, THAT is when they are at their best. Like much of Jesse’s solo work, ‘Sunset Kids’ is a reflective body of work, full of heartfelt tenderness and cool rock ‘n’ roll, but for whatever reason it resonates so much more than his past albums. And with the help of Lucinda Williams, he may well have made the album of his career.

Author: Ben Hughes

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First up is a new video from Guitar player Samantha Fish and a track ‘Bulletproof’ taken from her ‘Kill Or Be Killed’ album due in September

 

Next up we’ve got the brand new video from Black Star Riders ‘Ain’t The End Of The World’ taken from their forthcoming new long player ‘Another State Of Grace’.

We end up with this fantastic collaboration from Jesse Malin and Lucinda Williams from his soon to be released album ‘Sunset Kids’ due for release at the end of August.

Dom Daley.

When a term gets hijacked and used for bad things or at least if I were to say retro many would already have turned off but if I were to say T Rex, 60’s pop and walking on the darker side of the road inspired Noo Yawk Rock and Rollers from the shady recesses of the lower east side who tap into some of musics historic veins and draw inspiration then it means the same thing right? To me it does but not to others it would seem but when I drop a track from the new Beechwood record I hear ghosts from some of my favorites drifting through the laid back chilled out airwaves.  T Rex, for example, is all over ‘Bigot In My Bedroom’ and as good as Marc was he wasn’t Noo Yawk cool though was he as he strutted around Barnes and Roehampton.

‘Over On Everyone’ has a fantastic melody that could have been written by a pop-savvy Boys rather than their boys in the bar style and had hung out in the lofts with Andy and co. Beechwood ooze style and a laid-back class on this record (their second in less than a year) Clearly these cats can rock out and I wouldn’t mind betting Keith and Mick features heavily in their collection but so would The Beach Boys and the Everleys as some of the melodies are forged in the past.  Take ‘Nero’ and its biting guitar riff that shows a doff of the cap to Ron Asheton and his Stooges for sure and me not being a fan of the instrumental I love this and its groove.

There is a darkness that hits upon the likes of the Jesus And Mary Chain on ‘I Found You Out’ from the roaring chords to the hushed tones on the lead vocals to the clean picked guitar lick its certainly got style and substance and then as it crashes to its conclusion its followed up with the 60’s pop of ‘Up And Down’ and before we’re done here the beautiful ‘I Don’t Blame You Anymore’ is a killer tucked away nicely at the death and it kinda falls into the country-tinged drink up its time to go home of ‘Our Love Was Worth The Heartbreak’ that sounds like the Dolls jammin with Keith n mick and shooting the breeze with Bukowski whilst he’s observing these barflies.

Another day another great band falls out of the club and onto my ever-expanding list of bands to keep an eye on, on the basis of them making great records that look good and sound better.  Get yourselves some Beechwood I’m serious you be glad you did.  Remember kids you snooze you looze!

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BEECHWOOD upcoming European tour dates :
November 13 @ Merleyn — Nijmegen, NL
November 14 @ Paard — Den Haag, NL
November 15 @ Patronaat — Haarlem, NL
November 16 @ Q Factory — Amsterdam, NL
November 17 @ Espace B — Paris, FR
November 18 @ Kesaco — Puymirol, FR
November 19 @ Stereolux — Nantes, FR
November 21 @ Blah Blah — Torino, IT
November 22 @ Arci Taun — Findenza, IT
November 23 @ Cox 18 — Milano, IT
November 24 @ Super Bock Under fest — Lausanne, CH
November 27 @ Les Pavillons Sauvages — Toulouse, FR
November 28 @ Amperage — Grenoble, FR
November 29 @ Le 106 — Rouen, FR
November 30 @ La Bulle Cafe — Lille, FR
December 1 @ La Grange à Musique — Creil, FR
December 2 @ Le Galion — Lorient, FR

 Nev Brooks.

When this gig flashed up on my watching list, the juices really started to flow, I mean an essential part of the great Green on Red (Chuck Prophet) that I have vague recollections of catching way back in the day at the reading festival in 1989 when it returned, taken over by The Mean Fiddler group.

 

Add into the mix probably my favourite live artist at the moment Jesse Malin part of the superb D-Generation and more to the point an incredible live act on his own, electric or acoustic. Tickets were booked instantly,

 

But enough of the waffle, arriving at the venue I have to say, parking was a bit of a nightmare, be warned, (it’s a venue I’m going to watch out for in the future) Hey Ho! The joys of driving everywhere!! Moving upstairs I did a bit of a double take, a seated gig? Hmm, and then we’re into it with Jesse Malin and I have to say what a set, even though shortened to 50 mins, we had a sample from the new LP, scheduled for release mid 2019 (my little life, meet me at the end of the world) an awesome cover of the Pogues classic,” If I should fall from grace with god”, a great collection from the St Marks social LP-love it to Life, including all the way from Moscow and an absolutely blinding “Burning the Bowery” were I to say none of the audience remained sitting would be more than fair.

 

The songs from New York before the war just keep getting stronger and tonight we had “The year that I was born” and a track that stopped me cold “Turn up the mains”. Without going track for track, we had his whole career represented, from The fine art of self destruction, through to the Outsiders with Glitter in the gutter getting a more than welcome representation.

 

With such an outstanding catalogue the music itself was always going to be top drawer, but what came across tonight was Jesse Malin the storyteller, if you get chance to catch this tour anywhere don’t miss, but also what should also hit you is why isn’t this guy huge!! I suppose a damning inditement on the malaise that the mainstream music world is currently investing it’s time in.

 

Now you’ve probably guessed I’m a bit of a Jesse Malin fan and his set was my main reason for travelling over tonight, but I was 100% in the minority the audience were here to catch Chuck Prophet so strapping in, not really knowing what to expect from a solo Chuck I entered the set with an open mind.

 

Struggling with a virus I have to say what a set followed from Chuck, and what a vocalist Stephanie Finch is, a perfect foil from that swamp blues drawl, splitting vocal duties her voice very much came across with hints of early Marianne Faithful, that innocence embedded in pop sensibilities, while also giving a nod to that world weary Americana style. This was part of a series of Americana gigs being promoted by the Hen and Chicken after all.

 

As a singer/songwriter Chuck Prophet is faultless, but the track that caught me was a track by the McCoys from 1965, re-interpreted by David Bowie on the Hunky Dory LP-Sorrow, stripped down, slowed up and re-interpreted as an Americana classic. Other tracks that stuck with me, were “Bad year for Rock and Roll, The left hand and the right hand, doubter out of Jesus” and the Bob Dylan cover “Abandoned Love”.  Again what hits you are the stories between songs, holding the audience enthralled, these two have toured together for years, hit the same audiences and made the same connections and what came across to me was the link both had to a fledgling Ryan Adams and again the though flits across my mind, they should be standing alongside him on the much larger venues.

 

As an aside, I picked up a vinyl copy of Glitter in the Gutter, one I was missing and ended in a conversation with Jesse, and what a humble guy, wrapped up in music, grounded and focused.

 

Pick up the Jesse Malin back catalogue here

Pick up the Chuck Prophet here

 

That week went quickly.  No sooner did we bring you the finest alternative album reviews but we also ushered in some welcome reviews from the best live bands breezing through the United Kingdom.

You had Canadian rockers The Dirty Nil turning up their master volume last weekend and we also went loco over power-pop royalty Paul Collins and his new album Out Of My Head.  If those two didn’t tickle your fancy then you should try out some UK hardcore in the shape of Welsh upstarts Social Experiment and their stunning debut ‘Rumours of Our Demise Are Not Greatly Exaggerated’.

We brought you Commies who played with Tommy, Some Italians who just rock like fuck in the shape of some Peawees, German sleazy rock n rollers in the shape of Hell Nation Army. and as the week drew to a close we took on board The Virginmarys new record that is a must hear any day of the week.

We also got to have a chat with Alvin Gibbs and get the low down on his soon to be released debut solo album and the UK Subs bass player also had some amusing tales about his band and what he spends his time doing when not on stage.

All that was last week when we also announced details of some great tours and shows and new records being released.

 

To prove that we should be the bookmark site for all the best reviews, news and interviews over the coming seven days we’ve got exclusive reviews and interviews that you won’t find anywhere on the internet beginning today when we have Tyla spilling the beans about his new record and over the next seven days. Reviews from Deathtraps, Nicotene Pretty, King Brothers, and Bottle Rockets but we also go balls deep into some fantastic live show reviews from the likes of Glenn Hughes and Jesse Malin to name two so you know where to go and click when you’re skiving in work – Oh and Nev just gave you his tips on the shakers and movers in the 2018 ska/punk scene with a few just about to head out around the UK if you’re quick there might still be tickets left for The Interrupters / Bar Stool Preachers Tour.  So skive a bit more with us and keep up to date with what’s what.  As Lux used to say – Stay Sick! Luv

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