Open your mind and just let the music do the talking.  That’s how I approached this album of covers from the Skids but it had to meet certain criteria before being considered for inclusion on this album and to be fair, they only bloody well pulled it off!

Veteran punk rock outfit Skids have returned with a powerful new studio album that pays tribute to the band’s hometown venue, the historic Kinema Ballroom in Dunfermline, Scotland. Both a live venue as well as a traditional dance club, the Kinema became a musical and cultural epicenter for the youth in Scotland’s Fife province, especially during the late ‘70s, early ‘80s punk rock movement. It would also become the home venue for Skids who played numerous shows at the Kinema as both a support act for such legendary bands as The Clash as well as the headliners for multiple sold-out events.

Now, Skids take a walk down memory lane, performing songs by the bands who influenced them in those early years. ‘Songs From A Haunted Ballroom’ includes versions of tracks by The Clash, The Adverts, Ultravox, Sex Pistols, and Magazine PLUS new versions of their own early hits “Into The Valley” and “The Saints Are Coming!” so laying themselves open by covering some iconic punk tunes.  Let battle commence.

The first single from the album, a supercharged version of Ultravox’s ‘Young Savage’ is an eyebrow-raising moment because it’s both vibrant and has boundless energy. Then it’s one of those peek through your fingers moments as they take on ‘Complete Control’ and again I breathe a sigh of relief because they manage to stay on the right side of the cover version style and don’t do it cabaret style.  Capturing a good sound on those guitar crunches that was Jones and Strummers style and Jobson does a convincing job on the vocals.  Purists will no doubt be all over this complaining about one thing or another but I think they do a sterling job and pay tribute rather well.

 

As I relax a bit more it makes sense they do ‘Gary Gilmore’s Eyes’ it’s more Skids style and again it’s really well done. They even manage an energetic take on Rockpiles ‘Heart Of The City’  so its not quite there but to even take on such a top tune deserves some kudos.

 

What this record does do is send your mind back to what seems like better times when music was pouring out of every nook and cranny of the UK and everyone seemed to be indulging in pop culture in one way or another.  I guess they were simpler times with fewer distractions for young people’s time and energy.  I just hope Jobson will wear the Glove when they play ‘Rock On’ Live.  Cool song and a cool respectful take. One of the best versions here is ‘violence’ (never have too much cowbell), not enough bands sound like Mott The Hoople anymore.

 

Some of the best tunes here are indeed the lesser-known covers or ones you weren’t expecting  ’35mm Dreams’ springs to mind and to be fair the guitar sound captured on ‘Submission’ is most worthy then laying it side by side with ‘New York Groove’ is a great idea and two very different genres collide.

 

It’s hard to fuck up a cover of Iggys ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’ such is the majesty of the track and Skids manage to avoid any embarrassment but making it a CD-only track is a little puzzling considering the vinyl revival going on.I guess it seems only fair that the band includes two of their most famous tunes as part of this look back at what made the band sound like they did and ‘Saints Are Coming’ is still a fantastic song as is ‘Into The Valley’ and fond memories of school discos come flooding back.  This only leaves the final track which again is a CD-only affair with Vinyl lovers.  ‘Christmas In Fyfe’ is their very Scottish affair and maybe one vinyl lovers won’t mind being omitted but don’t let that distract you from what is a really good album.  On the back of the acoustic record which again I really enjoyed this will also nestle in nicely in my collection – Check it out and remember your own memories of when new bands and sounds were hitting your ears on a daily basis.  Ah, the memories thanks skids this was a real tonic!

 

Pre-order the CD & vinyl: Here

Pre-order/pre-save the digital: https://orcd.co/skids_songs_from_a_haunted_ballroom

Author: Dom Daley

The first new album in 20 years is finally here. Those fine people at Dead Beat Records made it happen.  It features guests John Easdale, Rikk Agnew and Paul Roessler.  Eleven songs with a veritable Melting pot of styles is what’s on offer, so turn up the stereo,  sit back pour a cold one and lets go.
‘Ain’t It Summer’ sounds like Cheap Trick and the first thing that stands out apart from Paul Roesslers swirling keys are the layers and layers of harmonies on what is effectively the smash hit of the summer that never happened. it really is like a cool summer evening with the saxophone blasting out in the distance but not quite what I was expecting but ‘Fast Fucked & Furious’ is the rocket ride I was expecting.  Maybe they fucked up the running order I dunno.  Mayers vocals are as sharp and rockin’ as they ever were as he takes this sucker home but not before the guitars get set to melt their fretboards on the solo and from there on in the song is out of control.
Chillin’ or kicking back slightly ‘Bad Vacation’ has got a great hook with the riff and vocals working in tandem on the verse and when the sax joins in I’m sold – I love that setup and this is turning out to be a great tune. ‘We Are The Ones (We’ve Been Waiting For)’ is like a rouged up slice of power pop with the opening riff sounding like Neil Young and Crazy Horse jamming on a Wildhearts track.  Seriously it’s got those ingredients in the DNA.
We have some Rikk Agnew going on on ‘The Rejected’ as the boys fire up the Rock and Roll hotrod and take it out for a spin with a cool melody and vocals from Geoff Yeaton as well as his fantastic saxophone. I think when they wrote ‘Rumblin’ Train’ the title kinda wrote itself because the beefed rhythm section is like the sound of a freight train steaming down the track barely in control and its not Casey Jones honking on the rip chord tootin’ as it speeds down the track its a wide-eyed Frank Meyer with the devil’s horns raised high screaming for all he’s worth ably flanked by Duff as he rips out the guitar licks – great stuff.
They turn up the smooth old school classic rock for ‘Let Me Out’ in contrast ‘One More Drink’ is a punk rockin’ power poppin’ drop of nectar from the Gods of Rock and Roll.  It’s the more you play the better it gets kinda record.  Stick with it kids and the rewards start to filter through one by one.  You can stomp your feet to ‘Warzone’ which might well be the weakest track on offer here but it has some sparkling guitar licks and saxophone honkin’ which saves the cliches that otherwise might have gotten overwhelming. The record is closed off with ‘Switchblade Knights’ where they introduce some proper Ian McLagan boogie piano for good measure and sign off a bloody decent record.
In places, it soars like a phoenix from the ashes of what they used to be.  It never drops below an excellent record and when it does veer into a little cliched territory its got a saving grace that gives the song a free pass be it the vocal, a guitar break or saxophone honk – The world is a better place with bands like the Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs in it releasing records and making a worthwhile noise.  Now do yourself a favour and go get it because when they’re gone you’ll regret it but I hope it isn’t another couple of decades until the next one.
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Author: Dom Daley

While he will always be known as the guy who replaced Izzy in Guns n’ Roses, Gilby Clarke has always been much more than just the Ronnie Wood to Slash’s Keef. When he left Guns n’ Roses in 1994 he went on to release arguably the best solo album by any member of the band with ‘Pawnshop Guitars’, proving he was always more than just a hired hand.

Gilby went on to release 4 quality solo albums in the late 90’s/early 00’s to much critical acclaim, yet little commercial success. The following years have seen the singer play with Slash’s Snakepit, Heart and MC5, as well as fronting the Rock Star Supernova project.

Now, 20 years after his last solo offering ‘Sawg’, Gilby returns with his new album ‘The Gospel Truth’. It was self-produced, written and laid down at his LA recording studio Redrum Recording, before lockdown was even a thing.

 

The thing I like about a Gilby Clarke album is you know what you are going to get. Let’s be honest here, he ain’t reinventing the wheel with his low-slung rock n’ roll tunes, but he has never claimed to. Gilby is just having fun writing and recording top quality tunes influenced by his heroes, pure and simple.

And the essence of loud guitars and rock n’ roll is evident from the off on the opening title track. With a killer, driving bassline, a cool ramshackle riff and those unmistakable raspy vocals, its low-slung rock n’ roll at its finest, delivered in the same vein as ‘Cure Me… or Kill Me…’ from that classic debut album. The cool female backing vocals add some soul to the rock n’ roll goodness here, which only helps to make a cracking opener.

‘Wayfarer’ follows, probably my current favourite song. Overly cool bass, handclaps and organ take us down a bluesy, well-travelled road. Again, some great backing harmonies that give a west coast vibe, you will keep returning to this one, believe me.

Motley Crue legend Nikki Sixx and Jane’s Addiction drummer Steven Perkins add their respective talents to ‘Tightwad’, a solid enough punky rocker where, funnily enough the bass is not as prominent or as cool as in the opening one-two.

Elsewhere, ‘Violation’ is full of punky attitude and NY garage rock goodness. A New York Dolls kinda riff gives way to honkytonk piano accompaniment to create a backstreet anthem that gets better the more you crank it. Funnily enough, this works just as well with ‘Rock N Roll Is Getting Louder’, where the killer bass groove returns. Add cowbell, a lyrical theme of motorcycles and guitars, then shake it but don’t stir it, and you have an instant classic Gilby track.

 

The warm production is perfect for the laid-back groove of ‘Rusted and Busted’. Again, a slow burner that benefits from repeated plays. Overdriven power chords, handclaps and that unmistakable vocal drawl, blend together in harmony, what’s not to like here? Closer ‘She Won’t Fight Fair’ is a goodtime glam stomper. A cool riff and powerhouse drums drive the song along towards an anthemic chorus with just a hint of Adam and The Ants in the backing vocal department if I’m not mistaken.

 

‘The Gospel Truth’ is a solid return to form from Gilby Clarke. No cover versions, no ballads, just 10 killer, groove heavy rock songs, influenced by the songwriter’s love of English bands like The Faces and The Stones. Sure, it ain’t no ‘Pawnshop Guitars’, but it is a fine collection of effortlessly cool songs, delivered with the fire and passion of a road worn rock n’ roll veteran with nothing to prove and much still to give.

 

Buy Here

Author: Ben Hughes

 In times like these we need bands like Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band. This fact is not lost on the band itself, and so now here we are with their latest album ‘Dance Songs for Hard Times’. If ever music can be the cure for anything, the Rev is here to deliver.

The band aren’t kidding when they declare these to be dance songs. The Rev’s bellowing voice (stronger here than ever before) and blues craftsmanship, backed up by the endless charm of Breezy’s washboard and backing vocals, and Max’s Senteney’s drum rhythm, are as solid as always. This album, however, really is brimming with bluesy, party numbers.

From the driving opener of ‘Ways and Means’, straight into the swinging ‘Rattle Can’, this record is crying out to be enjoyed loud. The rockabilly of ‘Too Cool to Dance’ perhaps symbolizes the carefree nature of this release more than any other song on the album – “we may not get another chance/please don’t tell me you’re too cool dance.” It really is a breath of fresh air in these tough and uncertain times. It just makes me sad that we really can’t get out there to dance.

The record still leans heavily on its traditional influences, and songs such as ‘No Tellin’ When’ carry the timeless and haunting sound that is so integral to folk & blues storytelling, whereas ‘Come Down Angels’ closes out the album with a raucous riot of gospel.

Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band is a band that just keeps improving – technically and creatively – without ever straying from the elements that make them easily one of the best blues bands of modern times. I fell in love with them upon listening to ‘Between the Ditches’ in 2012 and have rejoiced in everything they’ve released since; however, listening to ‘Dance Songs for Hard Times’ comes closest to that feeling of utter joy I experienced the first time around.

Buy Here

Author: Craggy Collyde

If you like your rock in a mysterious ceremonial circle with a load of other rocks then ‘Vertigo’, the new album from Savonian occultists, Jess and the Ancient Ones, is for you.

 

The follow-up to previous album, ‘The Horse & Other Weird Tales’, ‘Vertigo’ may be seemingly simpler-titled but it is certainly not a simple rock record. This eight-track curio from the Finnish psych rock outfit is one of those rare albums that comprises solely of deep cuts, yet is strangely essential and vibrant.

 

The band’s previous brand of twin-guitar-led metal has mutated into organ-drenched heavy psych oddity rock that feels almost as old and certainly as ominous as the hooded figure that listeners will surely see in the corners of their eyes when listening to this audio excursion into ghostlore.

 

Wrapped in suitably jolly artwork – a crude, vintage photograph of a tornado laying waste to some mortals – ‘Vertigo’ features haunting, brooding tracks that could be the soundtrack to episodes of Hammer House of Horror, hauntings, or night terrors – possibly all three… and possibly within the same song.

 

Pop culture permeates the grooves at various intervals here: ‘Talking Board’ points its planchette in the direction of The Exorcist via the infamous “Captain Howdy” dialogue; ‘Summer Tripping Man’ steals a ‘Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb’ sample to great effect; while ‘Love Zombi’ could accompany an action montage in an episode of Space: 1999.

 

This is folk horror rock, not to be mistaken with folk rock; in fact, situated towards the end of the album is a pair of tracks – ‘Born To Kill’ and ‘What’s On Your Mind’ – that threaten to rock out in a more familiar fashion. They only threaten it, mind; normal for this band is still as off-kilter as the most curious thing you’ll see, and be troubled by, all year.

 

Recreating a soulful garage psychedelia from the late Sixties was the aim of Jess and the Ancient Ones on this album and, yes, the band members’ aim is true… even if they have paired those desired sounds with occult rock sonics of a certain vintage that are sure to give those of us from the haunted generation scare flashbacks and cold sweats.

 

The recreation of a bygone era’s sound and folklore exhibited here is quite remarkable, it has to be noted; inspiration found on woodcut, the ritual and ceremony faithfully recreated. This is the lysergic doom album that you were looking for. In the corner of your room. At 2am. It’ll be there again tonight. Watching. As you sleep. Fucking hell. Facebook / Bandcamp

Buy ‘Vertigo’ Here

Author: Gaz Tidey

 

Irish rockers Trucker Diablo’s latest release presents us with a much more muscular sound to their brand of Celtic tinged pop/hard rock, with a vibe not dissimilar to Black Stone Cherry et al they have really upped their game with a strong album of catchy, upbeat and  sometimes mindless (‘Rock Kids of the 80s’ particularly) tunes that will sound great at your socially distanced summer BBQ.

Opening track BTKOR has a nice fist-pumping, head-banging groove and lyrics about big trucks and beer. What more could you possibly want? ‘I Am Still Alive’ has a fine chugging riff and a Celtic feel that wouldn’t go amiss on a Ricky Warwick solo album. Don’t Hold onto Hate is another decent slab of pop-rock with another catchy chorus which is reminiscent of Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons and has some great twin lead guitar work.

Other highlights include the punky ‘Insects’ and the punchy ‘Slow Dance’ with a riff that reminiscent of the Eagles classic ‘Life in the Fast Lane’. There are some throw away tracks like ‘The Edge of Tonight’ which sounds like a lackluster Nickleback B side. ‘Woodstock to Vietnam’ is a story of two friends from the 60s who follow different paths in life, more impressive guitar work gives the track some substance. The album closes with ‘Bury the Ocean’ which has a Maidenesque jig.

Trucker Diablo aren’t looking to change the world with their knuckleheaded beer and party style of New Wave of Classic Rock. They just want to have a good time and for everyone else to do the same. Get down the front and bang your head. Easy.

Buy Trucker Diablo Here

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Author: Kenny Kendrick

 

Woah! I wasn’t expecting that.

When the needle dropped and you get that initial feeling as you sit back and relax,  It was less than 20 seconds in and I was gripping the armrests and holding on for dear life as ‘Action Delivery’ handed me my ears ringing on a platter of feedback, wah! and a thunderous rhythm all wrapped in a majestic pop tune with melody and hooks galore.

I had no time to recover because ‘Friday Night Forever’ sent me over the edge.  Punky as fuck but in a HArd rockin’ sort of way, these jolly seamen don’t hold anything back in reserve and you get a shot right across the bow as the volume is relentless and the energy captured in these grooves is infectious, exciting and exactly what the noise doctors ordered.  Never mind ingesting bats full of mutating viruses this is my poison of choice and consumed in large quantities is most advisable to help get you through all the real life tribulations.

 

‘Blame It On Me’ is awesome, like the Hives jamming on some Turbo with an unhealthy amount of punk rock blaring through your ears. It’s like a violent headwind that’s out of control.  Then to serve up a steady dose of DC with added woo hoos! sees ‘The Thirst Song’ boogie and swing like a good un – they must know they’ve written a corker here and it must have been hard to record through such a ten-mile wide grin across their faces. I’m delighted they’ve still got a thirst and raise a glass in celebration of such an exciting record.

 

The Boatsmen have hinted at greatness but narrowly avoided it in the past or held back for one reason or another but now is their moment to shine and like a blazing sun they are right on the button. ‘Saved By Rock’ be fucked, they’ve picked up the flag and are carrying it to the top of the mountain triumphant in the knowledge that the Boatsmen are serving up a one-stop Rockin treat and covering all bases of loud in your face good time rock and roll that is this album.

 

It’s relentless in its quality and tune after tune it’s a twist and turn to emphasise how damn good these songs are. Just don’t get me started on ‘Even The Good Times Were Bad’ it’s like bottled lightning and ‘I Don’t Wanna Lose This Time’ is more restrained in comparison but then they up the ante again with the drinking song ‘When I’m Drunk’.

 

Put the beer down you might spill it as ‘Big Waves’ roll around and it’s a chance for us all to raise another glass and sing along. We get our groove on for ‘Clap Canon’ and some cock-rock and roll with a little tip to the 70’s glam stomp of a T Rex and Sweet. I hope you caught your breath as ‘Take Your Money’ is rapid and like a runaway train speeding toward the buffers without a care in the world.

 

It’s not all hard Rockin and Rollin and party party party.  ‘Better Man’ is a laid back brooding, grinding song that paints a darker atmosphere but no lesser quality, that’s a given and the harmonica is an awesome addition to the texture of the record. The temptation to throw in as many puns or going overboard, seamen and piraty themes is difficult but let’s let the music do the talking because, trust me here me hearties, these tunes are superb as is the whole albums feel, attitude and playing.  The Boatsmen ‘Versus The Boatsmen’ is going to be one of the albums of the year no question about it. so hoist the sails and get out there and purchase a copy because I wouldn’t want you to miss out – land ahoy! me hearties Boatsmen ahead.

 

PREORDER NOW!!
Ghost Highway Records / Spaghetty Town Facebook / Bandcamp

Author: Dom Daley

NEW MODEL ARMY FOUNDER SINGER/SONGWRITER
ANNOUNCES RELEASE OF BRAND-NEW SOLO ALBUM
‘SURROUNDED’
OUT MAY 28th
PRE-ORDER HERE

On May 28th, 2021, Justin Sullivan steps out from New Model Army to release his second solo album, eighteen years after the first. Surrounded is a collection of sixteen new songs, written in the first weeks of the 2020 lockdown. These songs are again guitar-vocal compositions highlighting Sullivan’s love of storytelling, wide open landscapes and powerful atmospheres.

Mostly recorded at home, the album also features contributions from many other musicians including Jon Thorne on bass (Lamb) on harp Tom Moth (Florence and the Machine – and brother of NMA bassist Ceri Monger), plus string arrangements from composer friends Tobias Unterberg, Henning Nügel and Shir-Ran Yinon. Also featured are the current members of New Model Army. The album was mixed by Lee Smith at Greenmount Studios in Leeds, co-producer and mixer of New Model Army’s recent albums, including 2019’s From Here – their highest charting album to date globally.

Justin Sullivan says, “Under the circumstances, it wasn’t particularly surprising that this was the moment to make another solo record and the songs came thick and fast in the first few weeks of the lockdown. There is not so much about ‘what’s happening in the World’. As with ‘Navigating by the Stars’, which was written in the aftermath of 9/11, I wanted to write about other things – some well-known stories, some less well-known, a few autobiographical and more a landscape of the imagination than social comment.

“I’m grateful for all the many musical contributions I received from friends that help create all the different atmospheres and places; it’s a long album, but it seems that all the songs belonged together in one collection. I hope people enjoy it.”

Surrounded will become available on multiple formats such as CD Hardcover Media Book, Heavyweight Double Vinyl Gatefold and Digital and is available for pre-order as of now: Here

Today also sees the release of ‘Amundsen’, the very first single from Surrounded which gives an emotional first insight into this very personal album.

Justin Sullivan about ‘Amundsen’: “The stories of polar (and in particular Antarctic) adventurers at the beginning of the 20th Century have long been a fascination. On my first solo record, ‘Ocean Rising’ is, in part, the story of Ernest Shackleton’s epic voyage from Elephant Island to South Georgia. The final race to reach the South Pole between Robert Scott and Roald Amundsen is another fascinating tale.

“Being raised in England, Scott and his ‘noble, tragic’ failure is a story written large in national mythology but the other man, a truly remarkable explorer, is rarely acknowledged. The battle over who gets to tell which version of a story is very relevant in these times of ‘culture wars’, but the song is more a simple study of the man himself; I hope I have done him justice.”

‘Amundsen’ is now available as stream and digital download: Here

The single is also accompanied by an official music video which can be found on the official New Model Army YouTube channel: Here

The release of Surrounded will also see the re-release of Sullivan’s only previous solo album from 2003, Navigating by the Stars, released on CD but unavailable for many years. Described by The Independent as having “the warm organic quality of Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks”, the audio of this new version has not been altered but carries two additional tracks. These are ‘Sooner or Later’, which first appeared on a B-side in 2003, and ‘The Wreck of The Essex’, a song written and recorded later that same year that has laid dormant ever since but for a few live performances.

Navigating by the Stars will become available digitally and for the first time ever on vinyl. In addition, Justin Sullivan’s stunning debut album comes in a CD Digisleeve Edition with an expanded booklet as part of a Ltd. CD Box-Set Edition of Surrounded, followed by a standalone release later this year.

If 2019 was the year the music world once again woke up to The Wildhearts, then 2020 really should have been the year that they cemented their position as the very best seven-legged live band the UK has to offer.

 

Luckily for me The Wildhearts were one of the last bands I got to see live before the world was consumed by the Covid-19 pandemic, and now when I think back to that amazing Friday night headline slot at Butlin’s Punk & Alternative Weekend – where playing to a largely partisan audience they made so many new friends – I take one look at the track listing of ’30 Year Itch’ (the band’s soon to be released double live album) and I must admit I can’t help get a little robot chubby on at the prospect of hearing the band delivering the goods once again…albeit right here in my living room.

 

Consisting of 17 tracks spanning the length and breadth of the band’s (almost) three-decade long career – and thankfully avoiding some of the perhaps more obvious tracks – this album was recorded across both The Renaissance Men and Diagnosis tours undertaken by the band in 2019 and achieves what every great live album sets out to achieve by making you feel like you are right back in the audience stage front and centre (don’t worry though as other crowd positions are available if the pit is a bit too rough for you). Plus choosing to work once again with the wizard that is Dave Draper really does add plenty of sonic salt ‘n’ shake to proceedings, making this one of the most remarkable sounding live albums I’ve heard since Exit_International’s ‘Live At Le Pub’.  Anyone spot the connection?

 

From the furry boxing glove opener that is ‘Dislocated’ through to the set closing – best song ever with a music video filmed on a flatbed truck – ‘I Wanna Go Where The People Go’ there is hardly a second to catch your breath as riff after motherfucking riff hit you from every direction, and whilst ‘Let ‘Em Go’ might not be in my list of all-time favourite Wildhearts’ songs it’s impossible not to be swept along in the moment and I suddenly find myself singing along at the top of my voice.

 

Highlights? Well hearing the likes of the sublimely brutal ‘Urge’ and err anthemic ‘Anthem’ live is most welcome in my house, whilst the huge singalongs that are ‘Sick Of Drugs’ and ‘Vanilla Radio’ are just designed to have you bouncing down the street when you plug this sucker into your in-car stereo system.  Of the deeper cuts aired here ‘The Revolution Will Be Televised’ and ‘The Jackson Whites’ perfectly capture the band’s latter years, whilst in ‘Diagnosis’ (which seems to be  everyone’s favourite song from 2019’s ‘Renaissance Men’ album) the guys have written perhaps their most ‘Earth V’s’ era sounding song in many a long year, and thus perhaps unintentionally brings them sonically full circle.

 

Whatever you may think about this point though in this current rich vein of form The Wildhearts really are a 30-year itch you can’t help but scratch, and what more, if you were lucky enough to pre-order this bad boy from the band’s website you should have also have received a bonus 4 track CD of tracks not included on the album including a blistering ‘Top Of The World’ plus a pogotastic ‘Shame On You’ before ‘Nothing Changes But The Shoes’ and ‘My Baby Is A Headfuck’ sends yours truly ambling off down memory lane via two tracks that still sound as awesome as they did when they first got me into The Wildhearts all those years ago.

 

‘30 Year Itch’ is truly amazing stuff! Make sure you are in on the celebrations when the double album goes back on sale via the band’s website soon.

Buy ’30 Year Itch’ Here

Author: Johnny Hayward

It’s all gone a bit Bob Mould bonkers this last month what with the post Husker Du reissues and Box set bonanza and this here new album. Solo album number fourteen if I’m not mistaken has seen him go from the darkness of ‘Black Sheets Of Rain’ to his last offering ‘Sunshine Rock’ covering just about everything in between the polar opposites.

‘Blue Hearts’ see that sunshine hidden behind some pretty dark clouds from the crackle of the opening acoustic Mould certainly does wear his heart on his sleeve as he pulls no punches.  Government, Climate change its a sad portrait he paints but one that can’t be denied or refuted. From there on the guitars are turned up to eleven and the ‘Next Generation’ crashes in.

Sure it’s familiar territory but I kinda like it when Bob Mould is raging against the machine.  Like being hit on the temple by a wrecking ball, Mould gives his guitar one hell of a seeing to as he doesn’t go gently into the night.  But wait it gets darker, ‘American Crisis’ is as angry as I can remember him Husker Du and Sugar included. Regan Bush and now Trump there seems to be an ever lasting conveyor belt of shit rolling through the white house doors and Sub two and a half minutes punk rock with a dark melodic chorus is the only thing that can save us. It’s crushing.  Pausing momentarily in the middle for breath (Not).

Fourteen songs mean its not anywhere near prog lengths for each number as one crashes into the other like a stormy sea its wave after wave as your senses get pummeled with each track devouring the last but there is respite with acoustic guitars being abused on ‘Forcast Of Rain’  even with its church organ sarcastically filing ever corner of darkness with more darkness its bleak and depressing but it isn’t if you know what I mean.

I don’t know if I should admit to being pleased that Mould is pissed off or disappointed with the wider world because it brings out the beast in his songwriting and this has been the case here.  He voices his disappointment at the state of the US at religion at the fact that man in the western world doesn’t seem to learn from its mistakes and as he roars “never thought I’d see this bullshit again” yet here he is. It’s fair to say Trump won’t ever see Mould wearing one of his trucker caps nor waving a patriotic flag at a rally any day soon.

‘When You Left’ sounds like a one-take number as Bob tries to break his voice it does mellow (did I just say mellow) I mean ease up a little on the next couple of tracks maybe Bob thought we needed to catch out breath and he’d be right.

I bet Bob’s guitar amps all go to eleven, it sounds like they do and it must be exhilarating to listen to the playback in a good studio as he wrestles to control the feedback on ‘Baby Needs A Cookie’.

The fact that this came out the same day Idles released their new album I think it’s safe to say that alternative guitar music is in safe hands.  Men who give a shit are standing on a mountain raging against the pricks and I like it.

It might be brand new but I already love it.  Don’t ask me in a month I love it here and now and it’s just what I need to hear every time I turn on the news I’m disappointed and I find myself shouting at the interviewers to hold the politician’s feet a little closer to the fire and I wish one day the powers that be will tell the truth or be a little honest or humble but until then I’m getting behind people like Bob Mould because they can turn that rage into something quite beautiful.  ‘Blue Hearts’ is Bob Mould doing what he excels at just at the right time. Anger is an energy and energy is something Bob Mould has in spades – come to think of it anger is something he’s pretty bloody good at as well – Exquisite record.

Buy Bob Mould Here

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Author: Dom Daley