Again its another week and another bunch of brand new, hot off the press singles. A few debutants and some seasoned vets of these pages get covered. I’m always impressed by the quality of some bands and labels and the lengths they go to to make the little records and this bunch of singles we’ve gotten hold of is no exception. If there was a prize for record of the week, month, the year there was only ever going to be one winner and that honour goes to the new one from The Black Halos. So good it is and so passionate that we drafted in Rich Rags to put pen to paper and pour his thoughts over the page on the release. It’s fair to say he does justice and some to such an awesome song. Now I’ll step aside so you can check out this weeks 7″ singles…
The Black Halos – ‘Ain’t No Good Time To Say Goodbye’ (Yeah Right! Records) Vancouver, Canada’s punk heroes The Black Halos pen impassioned tribute single for inspiration, legend and friend, SNFU’s Mr. Chi Pig.
After the critically lauded 2019 single “Geisterbahn II” and the sold-out shows that followed, many people were hoping that the new line-up of the Halos would continue as a going concern. And for now, it is. At its rock ‘n’ roll heart are the original members, frontman Billy Hopeless and the guitar team of Rich Jones and Jay Millette, joined by pals John Kerns (Age Of Electric) and Danni Action (ACIIDZ) on bass and drums respectively.
When the world’s plans changed due to the pandemic, traditional ways of creating and working had to change along with it.
This single was recorded in isolation. And you couldn’t tell if ya tried. Its rich deep sound and empathetic interplay of guitars, the ragged and street-sure confidence of the rhythm section… well… it all gives a supportive encouraging shoulder for Billy’s aching anthemic send-off. Like the friends who embrace you while still donning their knuckledusters.
The boys surely have his back on this one.
The storied public life and works of Mr. Chi Pig (Earth Name: Ken Chinn) started with the formation of SNFU in Edmonton, Alberta in Canada in the ‘80s. I personally was from a couple of hours south, so let me impart to you the influence and huge amount of PMA that their explosive early existence created. The shockwave was thus… You (yes YOU!) too can come from a city trapped within the mind-numbing cotton wool of hundreds of kilometres of prairie boredom and tragedy and still stand up, be counted and heard. He and his band let ya know you could reach out and connect… you just had to be willing to work. Hard.
Many amazing songs came from the greatest titled albums (“Something Green And Leafy This Way Comes” anyone?). From the “get yer hands off the waitress, asshole!” hardcore skirmish of “She’s Not On The Menu” to the achingly beautiful “Painful Reminder”, they showed everyone you don’t need to be a one-trick kid. Just yourself. Your humour, your heart, your anger… they all can have a chance. Get on that road and let ‘em live.
So I think it’s fitting this song was written and recorded by The Black Halos. The bleeding sunsets they themselves chased lit fires and branded hearts and minds across North America and Europe. All along the miles of matchbook stages, hotel beds and floors… looking at the same neon lights blinking through the drapes that SNFU had.
There’s a family-like connection in that, and it shows.
Billy and Ken were close friends, seeing each other regularly in Vancouver over the years. Hopeless’s love and pain are evident in the song’s lyrics. “If you’re hearing these words, one of us ain’t alive”… writing after the fact a common knowledge or pact they both carried. That whoever remained would surely remember. “I never wanted to sing these words…” pouring out of his perfectly poised poison heart.
He does sing them, though.
The great singers are obituary writers in their own way. They take the thoughts and feelings we didn’t say or find hard to share, no matter how difficult to face, and make sense of them for us. Billy has taken his personal loss and made it into something universal that we can all carry with us to help us through our own experience.
All of this is guided by the perfect touch of Rich Jones’ late-night beer-light to guide us songwriting. This is one of the very best and most emotionally realised works of their long partnership.
Getting better after all this time. Still inspired and inspiring.
The excellent cover of SNFU’s “Rusty Rake” rounds this off nicely, taking their song and giving it a respectful and energised spin back home.
I’ll leave you with the words of Billy Hopeless himself…
“Just know this; whether you cry or smile when you think of him, it’s because he reached you. And you should never let go of that.”
All proceeds of the single will be going to the Chi Pig Mural Fund, for a tribute to be displayed in Edmonton, Canada.
Author: Rich Ragany
In true Halos style and a touch of class, they have pledged to donate all profits from the sale of vinyl and digital copies of the single to the Chi Pig Mural fund and as such, the songs will not be available on any streaming services. You know what to do, you good people, you always do. Pick it up Here
Adam West – ‘Hi-Ball’ 7″ EP (Savage Magic Records) Savage Magic Records is turning 10! …and what better way to bookend the first ten years than to release an Adam West record! Their first release was the live Adam West EP ‘Merci, Bon Soir!’. Ten years and over 50 records later, They dish up this little gem.
These three tracks were originally intended to make up half of a split 10″ EP on Munster Records in Spain, but something happened (as things often do) and this entire recording session from 1998 was shelved and remained unreleased in any form until now. Celebrating ten years of doing the record label, Savage Magic wanted to do something special with one of their all-time favorite bands.so here it is kids – Adam West’s “Hi-Ball” EP! The opening track is a high octane rocket ride that’s running on pure adrenaline and is of the finest vintage and being left for a decade to ferment has done it no harm as it sounds like it was penned yesterday and fired onto the wax or bludgeoned by a hefty les paul. ‘Hi-Ball’ might be a blast but the bass line of utter filthy proportions on ‘For All I Care’ is a real rush and as the song rattles along its nasty and snarling like a rabid dog. Adam West and Savage Magic you spoil us with these tunes. If these two weren’t enough there is a third, ‘Something Wicked’ is a rolling riff of gargantuan proportions and it’s making my tweeters and woofers rattle like some old man’s dentures. If this isn’t a slice of supreme Rock and Roll of the action kind then I don’t know what is. Awesome!
Pre-order it now Here but be quick they’re limited in colour and quantity
Manne Olander Following – ‘The Misanthrope EP’ (Savage Magic Records) First solo effort from Deadheads frontman. Some classic garage rock anyone? Manne Olander comes outta the blocks like his backside is on fire and only gets more intense as the track unfolds. The EP only gets better as the second track ‘Dystopia’ has plenty of thump from the lower end as the bass absolutely rattles my speakers. Flip this bad boy over and there’s a stonking Rocker ‘Backstabber’. Uncompromising Loud Rock and Roll just the way it should be. Outlaws dancing with the devil and playing all the best tunes. Oh and Manne Plays everything himself! let that sink in as you spin his single!
Very limited number here – 100 on solid red wax, 100 on white wax, 100 on black wax. Buy It Here
Guerrilla Teens – ‘Mad Love’ (self Release) Well, fuck all for an age then all of a sudden you put ’em on lockdown and they want to monkey around making new music. Recorded remotely our new favourite noisemakers from the mean streets of Portland, Guerrilla Teens are back in the house and this time they’re bringing some ‘Mad Love’ and of course, it’s a fuckin’ banger, what did you expect?
Catchy, sharp and shorter than an orangutang not one more track but two. How about some snotty Steve Jones inspired punk rock and roll riffage entitled ‘Gateway’? what a tune this is. Possibly the best this fledgling band have offered thus far. I only hope some fair-minded label picks these up and when they don’t have to social distance they get into a studio and record an album full of these songs. It’ll be in my top ten for the year no question about that. Go pick em up without delay – Here
The Lurkers – ‘Fits You Like A Glove’ (Damaged Goods Records) Yeah you read that right it’s the fuckin’ Lurkers! Stride, Moore, Esso are back swinging with this catchy little ditty. With a great big dirty riff with plenty of Chugg all the way to that chorus with its understated melody. We might be a bit early here but we couldn’t wait in giving you the heads up. The B Side ‘ When You Are Borderline’ is a bruising encounter from the thuggish riff to the chorus it means business and is pretty damn good. The A-Side is taken from the new long-player ‘Sex Crazy’ oh didn’t I mention there’s a new long-player? Well, there is and if its got better songs than the b side which is exclusive to this single then I can’t wait to get an ear full. Catchy and a bit nasty – perfect! Limited to 500 copies on Yellow vinyl keep your eyes peeled Facebook
Young Francis Hi-Fi – ‘I Wanna Hold You Tight (Tonight)’ (Self Release) Young Brighton punks kicking up a bit of a storm on this up-tempo Banger. They claim to pen two-minute pop songs about love and getting high, well, it is what it is and these guys have the chops with a confident melodic slice of energy which we like a lot round these parts and I guess they walk the walk as well as talk the talk seeing as its less than two minutes long, about Love but we can’t corroborate if they were high when recording so two out of three ain’t bad. To add some context here this Berlin-born Brighton based punk hooked up with those Rotten Foxes which might be why we love it so much and probably why we can confirm that their mission statements must be true and he does indeed love to get high and if it wasn’t for The Black Halos this would be our pick of the pile no doubt about that. – now can we have an album full of songs like this, please? thank you kindly. Check it out Here Social media – Facebook / Instagram / Twitter
The Jailbirds – ‘Dull My Brain’ (Golden Robot Records) Some classic hard rockin riff-a-rama from Canadian Hard rockin trio. With big riffs, big hooks and big vocals The Jailbirds turn the clock back to cock rock o’clock. Man this band sound like they were born several decades too late and had this been the late ’80s they’d be contenders with the big boys. Warrant and Dokken or on a technical side Mr Big fans should be all over this.
The Slackers – ‘Nobody’s Listening / Sleep Outside’ (Pirates Press Records) The Slackers are a band that shouldn’t need any introduction. They fuse the best elements of Ska and reggae. Here they release two brand new songs that showcase what they’re all about and should put a big fat smile across your face. To be fair they’re poignant and send out a timely message when they are so desperately needed. Evoking a sense of nostalgia and sending a message to your feet to not stand still and whilst you’re taking in the lyrics (and Grinning from ear to ear) remember to dance like there’s no tomorrow oh, that sax break on ‘Nobody’s Listening’ is awesome. Check it out. Facebook
Borracho with Jake Starr – ‘Borracho with Jake Starr’ (Savage Magic Records) In the not too distant past well 2015 to be exact at the Strange Magic Showcase Night #1 in Pomona, Jake Starr took the stage with Borracho and knock out two amazing versions of Adam West classics. I’m reliable informed it sounded incredible, So much so that plans were made about getting these two songs recorded in the studio and releasing a 7-inch. Lo and behold, and almost five years later it is actually happening!
‘Sixth Son of a Seventh Son’ from Adam West’s 2002 single of the same name, and ‘Bulletproof’ from Adam West’s 2005 album ‘Power to the People’ are reconstructed Borracho-style! Again super limited amounts of this available with 100 on solid purple wax, 100 on solid green wax, 105 on traditional black wax. The A-side is loud and fair play to Borracho they are fucking loud even when the volume is on low its LOUD! Stoner Rock whatever you’d call it a good tune will always be a good tune and this is proof no matter how its reimagined it’s still a banger As for ‘Bulletproof’ it sounds like something Lemmy would have recorded around ’79 – heavy fuckers . Available Here
Nekrokraft – ‘Witches Funeral / Return of the Kvlt’ (The Sign Records) From Ska to classic Black Metal complete with church organ intro anyone who knows me knows I’m quite partial to a bit of Black Metal and the likes of Venom and Midnight will always have a space in my Black Heart and classic noisemakers like early Mayhem and Hellhammer too. so, Nerokraft (top name obviously) manage to cram in as many cliches as possible from the gruff scary vocals to the double bass thump and spooky scooby doo intro I only hope they wear Monks robes to the supermarket and corpse paint 24/7 and their favourite tipple is a vintage bottle of virgins blood. Anyway, the first track even ends with a clap of thunder so far plays to that whilst ‘Return’ has a thrashing metal riff that goes for broke and is easily the pick of the two on offer here. this Swedish five-piece have re-recorded these tunes and still thrash like satanic mofos so job done. Horns up motherfuckers Nekrocraft are in da house and it’s rather splendid and I’m delighted that they resisted going into Danni Filth territory with the vocals. Nice one gents Facebook
Throwing Stuff – ‘ACIYHAB’ (TNS Records) With a take on the classic Black Flag artwork Throwing Stuff are here to raise some money for Black Lives Matter UK and Food Not Bombs Myanmar so we’re always going to get behind good causes through music. The band themselves will match the donations which is a fantastic gesture. The single was recorded across the locked down cities of Manchester, UK, and Yangon, Myanmar, where vocalist Ben now lives.ACIYHAB, which stands for “all coppers inside your head are bastards”, is about how police forces serve to both consciously and unconsciously control those considered a “threat” to the status quo. In your face punk rock is the order of the day and it should be supported. Buy Here Facebook / Twitter
Volcanova – ‘Super Duper Van’ (The Sign Records) With their stoner heavy fuzzed-out rock riffs Volcanova Its the third single taken from their debut album ‘Radical Waves’ its got a big harmonic chorus wrapped up in an even bigger riff that is true to its fuzzed-out roots and God damn it I hear a cowbell! Never will there be a point where I don’t smile upon hearing a song with a cowbell in it and this is no exception. These Icelandic Rockers are cool as a polar bear sitting on an ice cube and they know it. Wear those Kaftans with pride gents you deserve it.