The Best Of The Best

according to the team at RPM Online

 

It’s gotten to the time of year when everyone seems to be putting the past twelve months in order and creating their lists or best of and we read on social media that it’s been a bit of a rubbish year for new releases etc. Now we know that’s not quite true and bands and solo artists have been making good use of lockdown and releasing some pretty impressive albums and singles be it virtually or remotely or when possible in an actual studio.

Here at RPM Online, we pride ourselves on bringing you the best of those releases from far-flung places and the darkest recesses of the Rock and Roll world and this is where the talented bunch of writers get to reveal what is at the top of their lists for 2020.

I’d personally like to thank the writers for the hard work and dedication during such a difficult year for everyone and first and foremost would like to thank them for their efforts in bringing such talented writing to everyone’s attention.  the one thing that stands out is whilst we all champion alternative music it’s generally a very diverse pool we dive in for our musical highs yet there are many common threads.  I’d also like to thank the PR that send through the countless emails and the ones who do an outstanding job above and beyond for the bands to make this past year work and not totally collapse as well as the labels who release a lot of these albums at great personal expense thank you one and all and the biggest thank you goes to those of you who’ve taken the time in real life to check in on us be it a daily read or the occasional glance thank.  so without further delay please check out our end of year list from Best Albums, Best EP, Best Single, Best Reissue, Best music-related Book, and yes live concert (there were plenty in the first few months honest)

Enjoy –

 

 

Craggy

Albums of 2020

Levellers – ‘Peace’ (On The Fiddle Recordings)

Bob Mould – ‘Blue Hearts’ (Merge Records)

Kathleen Edwards – ‘Total Freedom’ (Dualtone)

Soul Asylum – ‘Hurry up and Wait’ (Blue Elan Records)

Craggy Collyde – ‘Wrapped up in Ribbons’ (Break Me Records)

Warner E Hodges – ‘Just Feels Right’ (JCPL)

Pete Berwick – ‘Too Cow to Punk’ (Self Release)

Dark Rags – ‘Suburbia’ (Backstab Records)

Parketový Lev – ‘Parketový Lev’ (Papagájův Hlasatel Records)

Rabbit Slow – ‘Coming Waves’ (Self Release)

 

 

Nev Brooks

Albums of 2020

Bob Vylan – ‘We live Here’ (Self Release)

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

Humanist – ‘Humanist’ (Self Release)

Suzie Stapleton – ‘We Are The Plague’ (Negative Prophet Records)

Mark Lanegan – ‘Straight songs of Sorrow’ (Heavenly)

Duncan Reid and the Bigheads – ‘Don’t Blame yourself’ (Lbh Records)

Psychedelic Furs – ‘Made of Rain’ (Cooking Vinyl)

Asaf Avidan – ‘Agnorisis’ (Telmavar Records)

Me and that Man – ‘New Songs, Same shit vol 1’ (Napalm Records)

Nick Cave – ‘Idiots Prayer’ (Bad Seed LTD)

Dystopian Future Movies – ‘Inviolate’ (Lasairfhiona Records)

The Levellers – ‘Peace’ (On The Fiddle Recordings)

Ryan Hamilton and the Harlequin Ghosts – ‘Nowhere To Go But Everywhere’ (Wicked Cool Records)

The Cravats – ‘Hoorahland’ (Sef Release)

Sault – ‘Untitled (Black is)’ (Forever Living Originals)

Bill Fisher – ‘Mass Hypnosis and the Dark Triad’ (Septaphonic Records)

Stay voiceless – ‘Lies to Tell Your Children’ (GMC)

The Dowling Poole – ‘See You See Me’ (Self Release)

Jehnny Beth – ‘To love is To Live’ (20L07 Records)

The Strokes – ‘The New Abnormal’ (RCA Cult Records)

 

Top 5 e.ps

 

Bar Stool Preachers – ‘Soundtrack to your Apocalypse’ (Pirates Press Records)

Jesse Malin – ‘Ameri’ka’ (Wicked Cool Records)

Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard – ‘Non Stop e.p.’ (Communion Records)

The Damned – ‘Rockfield sessions’ (Spinefarm Records)

Paul Ronney Angel – ‘Seven Spanish Angels’ (Self Release)

 

Top 5 Re-issues / Boxsets

 

Twin Temple – ‘Present Their Signature Sound (Satanic Doo Wop)’ (Rise Above Records)

New Model Army – ‘Carnival’ (Attack Attack Records)

David Bowie – ‘Metrobolist’ (Parlophone)

Rolling Stones – ‘Goats Head Soup’ (Rolling Stones Records)

Prince – ‘Sign Of The Times’ (NPG Records, Warner Records, The Prince Estate)

 

 

 

Dom Daley

Albums of 2020

Stiff Richards – ‘State Of Mind’ (Legless Records/Drunken Sailor Records)

Chubby & The Gang – ‘Speed Kills’ (Partisan Records)

Mud City Manglers – ‘Give Me The Hammer’ (Beluga Records)

Wayne Hussey & The Divine – ‘Live At The Bridge’ (Eyes Wide Shut Records)-

Thee acid tongue – ‘Snake Rattle And Roll (Bear Beach Records)

Bob Mould – ‘Blur Hearts’ (Merge Records)

Bob Vylan – ‘We Live Here’ (Self Release)

Marylin Manson – ‘We Are Chaos’ (Lorna Vista)

Cabbage – ‘Amanita Pantherina’ (Brassica Records)

Deathtrap – ‘Stole Your Rock and Roll’ (Spirit Of Disaster)

Lovesores – ‘Bats From Planet Skull’ (Self Release)

Wyldlife – ‘Year Of The Snake’ (Wicked Cool Records)

Duncan Reid & The Bigheads – ‘Don’t Blame Yourself’ (Lbh Records)

The Good The Bad And The Zugly – ‘Algorithm And Blues’ (Fysisk Format)

Midnight – ‘Rebirth By Blasphemy’ (Metal Blade Records)

Tommy Ray  – ‘First Hits Free’ (Cool Cat Music)

Mick Rossi – ‘All The Saints & All The Souls’ (TJM Records)

The Hip Priests – ‘Solid Gold Easy Option’ (Speedo Wax Records)

Chuck Prophet – ‘The Land That Time Forgot’ (Yup Rock)

Bruce Springsteen – ‘Letter To You’ (Columbia Records)

 

Single of the year

The Black Halos -‘ Ain’t No Time To Say Goodbye’ (Self Release)

Rock ‘n’ Roll Manifesto vol 1(Stamp Out Disco)

Jesse Malin – ‘Todd Youth’ (Wicked Cool Records)

 

Reissue / Boxset

The Boys – ‘The Safari years’ (Cherry Red Records)

Motochrist – ‘Greatest Hits’ (Dr Wu Records)

New Model Army – ‘Carnival’ (Attack Attack)

Buzzcocks – ‘Sell You Everything’ (Cherry Red Records)

Keith Richards – ‘ Live At The Hollywood Palladium’ (Virgin America)

Coloursound – ‘Coloursound’ (The Great North Western Recording Company)

Manic Street Preachers – ‘Gold Against The Soul’ (Sony Music)

 

 

Music-related Books of the Year

Alvin Gibbs – ‘Diminished Responsibility Volume 1’ (Tome & Metre Publishing)

‘Clang!’ (Smiley drops a few) – Steve ‘Smiley’ Barnard (GTP)

‘What Makes The Monkey Dance’ – Chuck Prophet & Green On Red – Stevie Simkin (Jaw Bone)

 

Best E.P. 

Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard – ‘Non Stop’ (Communion Records)

Bar stool preachers. – ‘Soundtrack To The Apocolypse’ (Pirates Press Records)

Chesty Malone and the Slice ‘Em Ups – ‘Covered In Blood! Quarantine Covers’

 

 

Live show of the year

Bar stool preachers – Bristol, Rough Trade

Mike Peters – Gathering – Llandudno North Wales

The Bellrays – le Pub, Newport

The Wildhearts – Cardiff, Tramshed

The Interrupters – Cardiff, Tramshed

 

2021 wishes?  I’d love to see an end to restrictions (stating the obvious I know) but it would be smart to see the Proposed Vive Le Rock show take place with Michael Monroe fronting the Lords Of The New Church and live shows becoming a thing again.  Other than that Stay Safe and look out for each other.

 

Dan Kasm

Albums Of 2020

Bambara – ‘Stray‘ (Wharf Cat Records)
…Trail Of Dead – ‘X The Godless Void and Other Stories’ (Dine Alone Records)
Airborne Toxic Event – ‘Hollywood Park’ (Rounder Records)
Bdrmm – ‘Bdrmm’ (Sonic Cathedral)
Zombeaches – ‘Zombeaches’ (Self Release)
The Blinders – ‘Fantasies of the Stay at Home Psychopath’ (Modern Sky Music)
Neonic Sundrive – ‘Lies Paradise’ (Self Release)
The Wildhearts – ’30 Year Itch’ (Round Records)
Neil Young – ‘Homegrown’ (Reprise Records)
Reissues / Boxsets
The Guilty Hearts – ‘The Guilty Hearts’ (Voodoo Rhythm Records)
Anna Calvi – ‘Hunted’ (Domino Records)
Virgin Suicides – ‘ost’ (Parlophone)
Neil Young – ‘After the Gold Rush’ 50th anniversary (Reprise Records)
Iggy & the Stooges – ‘You Think You’re Bad Man’ (Cherry Red Records)
EPs
Eyesore & the Jinx – ‘The Exile Parlour’ (Eggy Records)
Grow Rich – ‘Frantic Semantic’ (Self Release)
The Lotts – ‘We Are The Lotts’ (Self Release)
The Mysterines – ‘Love’s Not Enough’ (Self Release)
Various Artists – ‘Not Psycho Enough?’ Cosmic Psychos Tribute (Dull City Records)
Singles
The Dry Retch – ‘12000 Miles From New’
Murmur – ‘Shame’ (Self Release)
Salt The Snail – ‘Junkyard Cat’ (Self Release)
Psychedelic Furs – ‘Don’t Believe’ (Cooking Vinyl)
Silverbacks – ‘Drool’ (Nice Swan Records)
Music-related Books of the Year
Dave Haslam – ‘Looking for Love – Courtney Love in Liverpool’
Justin Quirk – ‘Ain’t Nothin’ But A Good Time – The Rise & Fall of Glam Metal’ (Unbound Digital)
Mikel Jollett – ‘Hollywood Park’ (Sceptre)
Gigs
The Wildhearts, Backyard Babies – Manchester Ritz
The Dry Retch, Tio Rico – Liverpool Outpost
Mysterines, Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard –  Liverpool Jimmys
2021
I’m hopeful for the new year that I will get some normality in order to attend the inaugural event of the new Futurama festival as well as 2000 Trees, HRH Sleaze & Psych as well as numerous other gigs and events. Like a lot of people the past 9 months has put things in perspective, grab things with both hands and tick off ‘bucket list’ life events instead putting them off.

 

Fraser Munro

Albums Of 2020

Scumbag Millionaire – ‘Poor and Infamous’ (Suburban Records)

The good, The Bad And The Zugly – ‘Algorithm & Blues’ (Fysisk Format)

Beat City Tubeworks – ‘Top Rock’ (The Sign Records)

Mud City Manglers – ‘Give Me The Hammer’ (Beluga Records, Spaghetty Town Records, Ghost Highway Records)

Supersuckers – ‘Play That Rock ‘N’ Roll’ (Acetate Records)

Christmas – ‘Hot Nights In Saint Vandal’ (TNS Records)

DBOY – ‘New Records In Human Power’ (Dine Alone Records)

Hank Von Hell – ‘Dead’ (Sony Music)

Kvelertak – ‘Splid’ (Rise Records)

ACDC – ‘Power Up’ (Columbia)

The Wildhearts – ’30 Year Itch’ (Round Records)

 

Reissues / Boxset

Black Halos – FFTS Demos & Rarities (Bandcamp)

The Hip Priests – Solid Gold Easy Option (Speedowax Records)

Midnight Evils – Straight ‘Til Morning (Sweet Ohm Ramalama)

 

 

Gigs

Undertones et al – Minehead

Wildhearts / Backyard Babies – Cardiff

Wildhearts / Backyard Babies – London

Guida – Bristol

Showaddywaddy – Swansea

 

 

Johnny Hayward

Albums Of The Year 2020

Aerial Salad – ‘Dirt Mall’ (Plasterer/Roach Industries)

Henrik Palm – ‘Poverty Metal’ (Svart Records)

The Wildhearts – ‘30 Year Itch’ (Round Records)

Mondo Generator – ‘Fuck It’ (Heavy Psych Records)

Then Comes Silence – ‘Machine’ (Oblivion/SPV, Metropolis Records)

Midnight – ‘Rebirth By Blasphemy’ (Metal Blade Records)

Kvelertak – ‘Splid’ (Rise Records/World Records)

The Dowling Poole – ‘See You See Me’ (369 Music)

Lovesores – ‘Bats From Planet Skull’ (Self Released)

Dirt Box Disco – ‘TV Sex Show’ (Avenue Recordz)

Division Of Laura Lee – ‘Apartment’ (Welfare Sounds)

Spunk Volcano & The Eruptions – ‘Barry Milner Is Thick’ (Avenue Recordz)

Stay Voiceless – ‘Lies To Tell Your Children’ (GMC)

Deathtraps – Stole Your Rock ‘N’ Roll (Spirit Of Disaster)

Scumbag Millionaire – ‘Poor and Infamous’ (Suburban Records)

HMLTD – ‘The West Is Dead’ (Lucky Number)

The Hip Priests – Solid Gold Easy Option (Speedo Wax Records)

The Speedways – ‘Radio Sounds’ (Alien Snatch Records, Snap!! Records/Hurrah Musica and Beluga Records)

Marilyn Manson – ‘We Are Chaos’ (Lorna Vista)

Mariachi El Bronx – Musica Muerta Volumes 1&2 (White Drugs)

 

EPs

The Bar Stool Preachers – ‘State Of Emergency’ (Pirate’s Press)

Lickerish Quartet – ‘Threesome Vol 1’ (Lickerish Quartet/Label Logic)

The Wildhearts – ‘30 Year Itch’ (Encores) (Round Records)

Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard – ‘The Non Stop EP’ (Communion Records)

Bob Vylan – ‘We Live Here’ (Venn Records)

 

 

Reissues / Boxset

UFO – ‘Strangers In The Night’ (Super Deluxe) (Chrysalis)

Def Leppard – ‘The Early Years’ (Mercury)

Bob Mould – ‘Distortion’ (Demon)

Keith Richards & The X-pensive Winos – ‘Live At The Hollywood Palladium’ (Mindless Records)

Black Sabbath – ‘Paranoid’ (50th Anniversary) (Sanctuary Records)

 

Music-related Books of the Year

Alvin Gibbs – ‘Diminished Responsibility Volume 1’ (Tome & Metre Publishing)

Rob Halford – ‘Confess’ (Headline)

Reuben Archer – ‘Rock N Rollercoaster Ride’ (Toxic Arrow)

 

Live Gigs

The Bar Stool Preachers – Rough Trade, Bristol – 6th March 2020

Great British Alternative Weekend – Butlins Minehead – 28th February – 1st March 2020

Bad Sam – Le Pub, Newport – 14th February 2020

Giuda – Louisiana, Bristol – 18th January 2020

The Bellrays – Le Pub, Newport – 17th January 2020

Wonk Unit – Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff – 11th January 2020

 

Bandcamp Discovery

Guerrilla Teens

 

Best Single

The Hip Priests – ‘Zero Fucks Given’​/’​Social Hand Grenade’ (Shitpark Records)

 

Most Looking Forward to in 2021

Going to a gig.

 

 

 

Ben Hughes

Albums of 2020

Butch Walker – ‘American Love Story’ (Ruby Red Records)

Ryan Hamilton & The Harlequin Ghosts – ‘Nowhere To Go But Everywhere’ (Wicked Cool Records)

Wyldlife – ‘Year Of The Snake’ (Wicked Cool Records)

Baby Chaos – ‘Ape Confronts Cosmos’ (Three Hands Records)

Dangereens – ‘Tough Luck’ (Alien Snatch Records)

Hellbound Glory – ‘Pure Scum’ (BCR Los Angeles)

Hello Operator – ‘S/T’ (Self Release)

Me And That Man – ‘New Man, New Songs, Same Shit’ (Napalm Records)

Low Cut Connie – ‘Private Lives’ (Contender Records)

The Speedways – ‘Radio Sounds’ (Alien Snatch Records, Beluga Records, Snap Records, Hurrah Records)

 

EPs

The Lickerish Quartet – ‘Threesome Vol. 1’ (Label Logic)

Saint Agnes – ‘The Family Strange’ (Death Or Glory Gang Records)

Junkyard – ‘Rome Is Burning’ (Acetate Records)

Hands Off Gretel – ‘The Angry EP’ (Puke Pop Records)

The Future Shape Of Sound – ‘It’s Gone All Wrong’ (Self Release)

 

Reissues / Boxset

Diamond Dogs – ‘Too Much Is Always Better Than Not Enough’ (Wild Kingdom Records)

Diamond Dogs – ‘Weekend Monster’ (Wild Kingdom Records)

Diamond Dogs – The Atlantic Juice’ (Wild Kingdom Records)

 

Gigs 

The Wildhearts/Backyard Babies/CKY – 02 Academy, Newcastle

Jesse Malin – Headrow House, Leeds

 

Livestreams

Jesse Malin – The Fine Art Of Self-Distancing

Baby Chaos

Low Cut Connie – Tough Cookies

 

Gerald Stansbury

Albums

Soraia – ‘Dig Your Roots’ (Wicked Cool Recotrds)

Massive Wagons – ‘House of Noise’ (Earache Records)

Ward Davis – ‘Black Cats and Crows’ (LLC)

Karen Jonas –  ‘The Southwest Sky and Other Dreams’ (Self Release)

Brooke Brown – ‘Troubled Heart’ (Self Release)

The Nude Party – ‘Midnight Manor’ (New West Records)

Vulvarine –  ‘Unleashed’ (Self Release)

Dangereens – ‘Tough Luck’ (Alian Snatch)

The Rumours – ‘Suck It’ (Self Release)

Lucifer Star Machine  – ‘The Devil’s Breath’ (The Sign Records)

Gareth Leach – ‘Trigger’ (Self Release)

Steve Earle & the Dukes –  ‘Ghosts of West Virginia’ (New West Records)

Randy Rogers and Wade Bowen – ‘Hold my Beer Volume 2’  (Lil Buddy Tunes)

Tyla – ‘Isolation Crossing Collection’ (King Outlaw Records)

Low Cut Connie – ‘Private Lives’ (Contender Records)

D.L. Marble – ‘One Line at a Time’ (Self Release)

Reckless Kelly  – ‘American Jackpot/ American Girls’ (No Big Deal Records)

Givvi Flynn –  ‘Tomboy’ (Self Release)

Armored Saint – ‘Punching the Sky’ (Metal Blade Records)

Butch Walker ‘American Love Song’ (Ruby Red Production)

 

Single of the Year 

Charlotte Leigh – ‘Life’

 

EP of the Year

Quinn the Brain – ‘Wide Open’

 

Reissue of the Year

Def Leppard ‘The Early Years’

 

Gareth ‘Hotshot’ Hooper

Albums 

Duncan Reid And The Bigheads – ‘Don’t Blame Yourself’ (Little Big Head Records)

The Network – ‘money money 2020 part 2 we told ya so’ (Warner Records)

Billie Joe Armstrong – ‘No Fun Mondays’ (Warner Records)

Green day- ‘Father Of All Motherfuckers’ (Warner Records)

Deathtraps – ‘Stole Your Rock’n’Roll’ (Spirit Of Disaster)

The Damned – ‘The Rockfield files’ (Spinefarm Records)

Stop worrying and love the bomb – ‘Fake Nature’

 

Gigs

The Bellrays – Le Pub Newport

The Wildhearts  / Backyard Babies – Cardiff Tramshed

Reissues / Boxset

Iggy and the stooge – ‘From KO to chaos’

The Boys – ‘On Safari’

Johnny Thunders – ‘Que sera Sera Resurrected’

Buzzcocks – ‘Sell You Everything’ (Cherry Red Records)

Buzzcocks – ‘Late For The Train’ (Cherry Red Records)

 

Music-related Books of the Year

Alvin Gibbs – ‘Diminished Responsibility Volume 1’ (Tome & Metre Publishing)

Joe Strummer – ‘Redemption Song’

The Replacements – ‘All Over But The Shouting’

Gaz Tidey

Albums of the Year

Butch Walker – ‘American Love Story’ (Red Ruby Production)

Larkin Poe – ‘Self Made Man’ (Tricki Woo Records)

Lamb Of God – ‘Lamb Of God’ (Epic)

Bob Vylan – ‘We Live Here’ (Venn Records)

Ryan Hamilton & the Harlequin Ghosts – ‘Nowhere To Go But Everywhere’ (Wicked Cool Records)

Onslaught – ‘Generation Antichrist’ (AFM Records)

Baby Chaos – ‘Ape Confronts Cosmos’ (Three Hands Records)

C.J. Wildheart – ‘Siege’ (Devilspit)

Foxy Shazam – ‘Burn’ (EEEOOOAH Records)

Kvelertak – ‘Splid’ (Rise Records)

Tairrie B. – ‘Feminenergy’ (Self Release)

Cro-Mags – ‘In The Beginning’ (Mission Two Entertainment)

Mommy Sez No – ‘The Dwellers Below’ (Self Release)

EPs of the Year

The Lickerish Quartet – ‘Threesome Vol. 1’ (Label Logic)

Chesty Malone and the Slice ‘Em Ups – ‘Covered In Blood! Quarantine Covers’ (Self Release)

American Hi-fi – ‘Anywhere Else But Here’ (Rude Records)

Tyla’s Dogs D’Amour – ‘The Powder Dry EP’ (King Outlaw Records)

Chris Catalyst – ‘Acoustic Machines’ (Self Release)

Singles of the Year

Tyla’s Dogs D’Amour – ‘Superhuman’ (King Outlaw)

Jesse Malin – ‘Todd Youth’ (Wicked Cool Records)

Royal Blood – ‘Trouble’s Coming’ (Warner Records)

Reissue/Boxset of the Year

Sigue Sigue Sputnik – ‘Flaunt It’ 4CD Deluxe Capacity Wallet  (Cherry Red Records)

Music-related Books of the Year

Pete Paphides – ‘Broken Greek’ (Quercus)

Rob Halford – ‘Confess’ (Headline Publishing)

Justin Quirk – ‘Nothin’ But A Good Time’ (Unbound Digital)

There you have it a fine selection of music you’re likely to find anywhere as diverse as you like yet common threads woven throughout.  It would be a boring place if we all liked the same records that’s for sure and I’m sure there are records released we’ve forgotten about in the deluge.  Don’t let anyone tell you that there were no good albums released during the pandemic because we know by looking at the list that there were plenty & plenty of reissues and Boxsets that were released during 2020.

Onwards and upwards we move into 2021 and we hope to bring you more new albums to fill yer airwaves and a return of the live show and festivals.  We need em and so does the industry.  So raise a glass to days gone by and to a better future when we can all meet again and watch our favourite bands.  Be good and stay safe RPM Online looks forward to a great 2021!

In the wake of Coronavirus many albums being released are cited as “an album of the times” or “the soundtrack to lockdown”, yet most were written and recorded before lockdown was even a thing. It seems some musicians are just clued in to the right frequency for the times. One such band is Brighton folk heroes the Levellers.

Now, Levellers have been releasing “an album of the times” since their first album ‘A Weapon Called The Word’ was released on an unsuspecting world in 1990. Taking their name from the political movement, the band have always been outspoken with their left-wing political views and voicing change with their lyrics and in interviews.

They outgrew their humble, crusty beginnings, headlined Glastonbury in 1994 and even bothered the charts a few years later with the likes of ‘Just The One’ and ‘What A Beautiful Day’. The mid nineties saw the band go it alone, becoming independent with their own self-contained headquarters called The Metway. There they have their offices, where they run the fan club, it houses a rehearsal space and recording studio. And they continue to be self-sufficient to this day with their On The Fiddle record label.

 

While ‘Peace’ is their first new studio album in 8 years, the band has not been sitting on their laurels. 2008’s ‘We The Collective’ saw the band re-imagine an album of their songs acoustically, with an orchestra at Abbey Road. They continue to tour extensively and host their own Beautiful Days Festival. The recent deluxe vinyl reissues of their discography have kept fans content in the lead up to album number 11.

And album number 11 is a throwback to what the band does best. Produced by long time collaborator Sean Lakeman, ‘Peace’ sees the band in fine form, delivering the perfect mix of Celtic, guitar-driven anthems and folk-tinged balladry.

3 singles have whetted the fans appetites over the past months in lockdown. Opener and first single ‘Food Roof Family’ is an energised burst of noise, with driving bass and frantic fiddle and the same thought provoking lyricism that captures the same vibe as their early recordings. An instant anthem. With its retro keyboard refrain ‘Generation Fear’ sees a different, edgy direction. Still bold, brazen and relevant in 2020, it will surely become a future live favourite, guaranteed to get your inner crusty bouncing. ‘Calling Out’ sees guitarist Simon Friend take to the mic for a raspy tale of escaping the rat race. All 3 have their own merits but are very much Levellers in sound and feel.

Friend appears for lead vocals on several occasions, as he has done in the past. The emotive ‘Four Boys Lost’ is a sea shanty recalling the tragic tale of sailors lost at sea. ‘The Men Who Would Be King’ is raucous, punk fuelled noise-mongery, and for the first time he duets with singer Mark Chadwick on the marvellous ‘Albion and Phoenix’. The latter references the bands beginnings, Albion being a hill in Brighton and The Phoenix is the squat they used to hang out at. Full of choppy riffs and melodious fiddle, the juxtaposition of Chadwick and Friend’s vocals work perfectly on a song of reflection and sentimentality.

Elsewhere, the likes of Chadwick’s ‘Born That Way’ with its Clash-lite riff and fiddle refrain, along with Friend’s upbeat stomper ‘Our New Day’ show the more commercial mid-nineties Levellers along with the more poignant traditional laments of ‘Ghost In The Water’ and album closer ‘Our Future’.

 

 

Choc-a-bloc with their trademark observational lyricism and Celtic punk vibes, ‘Peace’ preaches a message of hope, which is nothing new for this band, but in these trying times the message seems just as relevant, if not more so than it was in the early nineties. They may be older, wiser and not the angry young punks they once were, but the Levellers still have something to say and in the current political and social climate, ‘Peace’ could well be the perfect soundtrack to our times.

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Buy ‘Peace’ Here

Author: Ben Hughes

 

 

 

 

 

Adding a little ray of sunshine as lockdowns are ignored across the western world how about we get lost in some great rock n roll music? This Monday we bring you one from the fantastic Low Cut Connie from their new album ‘Private Lives’ we bring the title track.

 

 

One taken off the bands forthcoming album ‘Peace’ Levellers dream up an amazing video for ‘Our New Day’ well the first interview piece is original, enjoy.

Finally a new track from The Blinders album  ‘Fantasies Of A Stay At Home Psychopath’. Out next month.  You can however, Pre-order it Here – check out ‘Mule Track’ which reminds me of classic Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, any way enjoy. Facebook

And now for something completely different.  Death By Unga Bunga.  If you don’t like these and it doesn’t put a smile on yer kisser then check for a pulse. DBUB Here

It’s been a couple of years since my last visit to a gig in Blackwood, and for yours truly more is the shame with it being a simple 20minute drive away. The last band I caught over there were the Meat Puppets doing their first ever Welsh gig at the short lived Velvet Coalmine Festivals.

 

At the time I was stunned that more bands aren’t booked in and it becomes part of a natural gig itinery, being probably the best middle sized venue within a 30mile radius. The sound system is immense, the lay out spot on and access is so easy, makes you wonder who is actually doing the booking it could be a real gem and reignite the valleys music scene.

 

But on to tonight, opening up the show a couple of acoustic acts and first up Maelor Hughes a new artist for me, and to be fair a real surprise. When it comes to acoustica, I like it to grab my attention, to be a bit different, and the voice has to hold you and become the primary instrument, there’s nowhere to hide in this setting. Maelor Hughes certainly has that, the voice weaves around the guitar, each, taking its turn and the songwriting and lyrics of a travelling musician show real depths and understanding of the lifestyle and sacrifices to be made. Tracks like Morning Sun, Lullabies and Cards dealt stood out for me in a set with each song as strong as the next.

 

Now I have to say I’m beginning to think that the shall we say “not” regular gig goers are really beginning to piss me off at gigs, especially the ones that talk over an artist on stage, it’s even worse when as the music rises in depth and intensity they take it as a given to speak louder, “Really sorry you idiot if the music is getting in the way of your nite out!!!!!”

 

Second up a guy I caught on the last Levellers tour, Sean McGowan, bringing a very different style of acoustic performance, now if I was a rap fan and down with the kids I’d even say vocally there’s a lot in line with “Spitting bars” there’s an edge vocally, but a real sense of fun and identity and again doing something really different with the genre.

 

The crowd in fairness were there for both opening acts and with it being a sell out you could feel the atmosphere rise before the main act hit the stage and the Levellers were on fire tonight, opening up with the double shot of Liberty Song and Fifteen Years, they proceeded to raise the roof and bring the party, and the crowd responded accordingly. There was no let up through the night the sweat was dripping down the walls and it just got hotter and hotter as the night moved on. Levelling the land was well represented but there was also other snapshots of a band taken throughout their career, stand outs for me had to be the opener’s alongside stunning versions of The Game, Cholera Well, Riverflow, and a stunning One Way, absolutely one of those gigs where time flew and before you knew it we were at the end of the set, coming back with a jaw dropping encore of Another Mans cause, Carry me and the nights closer Beautiful Day, you couldn’t really have asked for more. Going back to where I started this review I just don’t get why this venue isn’t used more often there are so many bands out there who would really benefit from such a fantastic sound system and the experience of playing in this size venue.

Author: Nev Brooks

 

 


After their incredible performance at the London Palladium last month, Levellers have now announced UK and European tour dates for 2020.

Still going strong after 30 years in the game, they have long been, and still are, one of the best live bands around and they will be returning next year with a brand new studio album, alongside an extensive tour taking in double nights at some of their favourite towns and cities.

Over the years, Brighton folk-rock band Levellers have worn many masks; most self-made, some imposed upon them. But while their status has evolved over the decades, the basic humanity underpinning their music has remained constant.

Tickets on sale 8th November at 10am and will be available HERE.

LEVELLERS 2020 UK TOUR
FEBRUARY
12        Bury St Edmunds, The Apex
13        Bury St Edmunds, The Apex
14        Falmouth, Princess Pavilion
15        Falmouth, Princess Pavillion
26        Brecon, Theatre Brycheiniog
27        Port Talbot, Princess Theatre
28        Blackwood, Miners Institute
29        Llandudno, Venue Cymru

MARCH
01        Liverpool, Grand Central
19        Guildford, G Live
20        Norwich, Uea
21        Margate, Dreamland

APRIL
29        Sheffield, Leadmill
30        Coventry, Empire

MAY
01        Holmfirth, Picturedrome
02        Holmfirth, Picturedrome
13        Hastings, White Rock Theatre
14        Frome, Cheese & Grain
15        Aylesbury, Waterside Theatre
16        Southampton, O2 Guildhall

OCTOBER
07        Eindhoven, Effenaar (Nl)
08        Amsterdam, Paradiso (Nl)
09        Koln Gloria, (De)
10        St Niklaas, Casino (Be)
11        Depot, Leuven (Be)

NOVEMBER
04        York, Barbican
05        Dundee, Fat Sams
06        Stirling, Albert Halls
07        Edinburgh, Liquid Rooms
08        Aberdeen, Lemon Tree
18        St Albans, Arena
19        Scunthorpe, The Baths Hall
20        Manchester, Albert Hall
21        Manchester, Albert Hall

DECEMBER
03        Lancaster, Town Hall
04        Nottingham, Rock City
05        Nottingham, Rock City