Make No Mistake I’ve got a lot of time for London Rockers Neon Animal and their first album had moments where they showed confidence and played like they had it going on and they could certainly be the next big thing and wouldn’t just be one of those bands where only a few remembered the name let alone any of their songs.

Album number two is here and ‘Make No Mistake’ is something of a giant leap for me and that hype and confidence might just be about to be realised and they now have the songs to go with the look and they are talking the talk and walking the walk.

There’s more to this record than being posers who site influences from the downright cool to the downright premier league of recording artists. It’s not a record of garagy punk rock there’s more going on here and the new Neon Animal is certainly a different beast this time around. It might well be heavier, dirtier, broader than the debut and throughout the albums nine new tracks its a more confident more expansive record that explores the time-honoured subject matter of sex, the drugs and the rock ’n’ roll. Sure it’s decadent but it’s quality.

Opening with a really strong track in the shape of ‘Rock and Roll War’ its a statement of intent and has the energy to make you sit up and listen. That heavier tag is evident on ‘Let’s Make The World Rock’ with its simple chorus and biting riff its the breakdown and into that thumping bass riff and solo that lifts this into something quite exciting and Rock and Roll needs that.  Sure its got some garage Rock and Roll going on but it’s mixed with a punk rock bass and hard-rocking riff and it blends really well. There a polished edge to this record but its also rolling on a dirty stage floor and a great example of that is ‘Rock and Roll Suicide’ it’s restrained and is a really well-written song.  Sure it’s not reinventing the wheel or anything but so what that’s for others because Neon Animal are about the here and now and we need some bands to just kick out the jams and ‘Rock and Roll Suicide’ is a real highlight, something you should be hearing on the radio in the middle of the day if there was any justice.

The band get their groove on with a straight-up groove rocker with ‘I Can Tell You Love Me’ man they make me blush it’s like overhearing a dirty conversation between two lusty teens and the mix of sleazy funk and rock is infectious,  You won’t be hearing this on any radio station I know that!

The band introduce some big acoustic guitars for the sunshine of ‘Hello L.A’ a top-down get the beers in the fridge kinda Bowie influenced number. Something quite different from the rest of the louder songs but a very nice sidestep into something altogether more ’70s glam and who isn’t down with that?

The album closes with the dark ‘Broken Mirror’ it’s like a Soho late-night mini-opera from a bygone era as it twists and turns another quite different sidestep that is excellent and adds another flavour to this record that is growing and growing the more I play it.  Had it been all riff-ola crash bang wallop then it would have been missing that x-factor but the gear shifts and twists and turns elevate this to something quite special.  Neon Animal might just have arrived and have the tunes to mess with the big boys and throw a big sleazy-glam-garage-rock ripple in the stale pool of Rock and Roll ‘Make No Mistake’ is one hell of a statement piece and I give it my full support.  Get on it kids this is most excellent.

 

Buy ‘Make No Mistake’ Here

Author: Dom Daley

 

Since their 2018 masterpiece ‘Here Come…’ Tommy and the gang have been knocking out their impressive Hooligan pop.  I like that, I like that a lot and I like Tommy & The Commies a lot as well and they play Hooligan pop for sure, its a perfect genre for their sound and captures what it is they do to a tee.

‘Hurtin’ 4 Certain’ is their time capsule to the global lockdown and kicks the shit outta any blues one might have for normal life being put into quarantine for the time being.  The opening track whilst the inevitable comparisons to Buzzcocks and The Jam ring out and so they should there is a real vintage Undertones clang happening here as well.  It’s like Tommy has slipped on some magical snorkel jacket and in the pocket there’s a magical mixtape to those that paved the way back in the ’70s & ’80s. but if you’re going to start your EP off with intent then ‘Hurtin 4 Certain’ is a bloody barnstormer.

‘Impulse Action’ is a snotty pogo with a chorus you want to punch the air too and lace up your martins and turn up the volume this is a blast.  From the Gatlin gun guitar chords being churned out the gang vocals are easy to remember and a lot of fun. ‘Power On Standby’ has a bit of a mod vibe about it imagine walking into a house party in Brighton in the ’60s and these goons are holding court in the backroom and ‘Power On Standby’ is churning the room as sweaty bodies cut loose.  Great stuff! This EP is shaking off any cobwebs or misery a pandemic can leave after three months.

Finally taking this bad boy home is the juddering riffola of ‘One Arch Town’ and I’m hearing early gen X going on as the song unfolds towards the chorus it’s a beautiful thing hearing a bunch of hooligans kick up a shit storm of Rock and Roll like this.  sure it’s nothing new and it’s not groundbreaking but you know what?  Sometimes, it’s nice to just kick out the jams motherfuckers and this hooligan pop lark has got me a buzzin’  Check em out they deserve that much at least.

 

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Author: Dom Daley

“If you’re to believe what you read, today’s San Francisco is under siege by predatory tech nerds and drones, plutocrats, wiz kids and opportunistic real estate developers. People have reacted in different ways to this onslaught. The Occupy Movement for one. You may have heard of people laying down in front of google buses in protest or smashing google glasses on the sidewalk.

There’s also the path of art… In 2012, I released Temple Beautiful – an open love letter to San Francisco and its history and characters. After two years of performing the songs across the U.S and the globe, in late 2013, my band and I delivered the 12 song cycle Temple Beautiful with a string octet (scored and conducted by Brad Jones) in our hometown of San Francisco.

We had one chance to get it right. And this film is a document of the twists and turns in the road that brought us to that one-night-only sold-out performance at the Great American Music Hall (Itself a former bordello and a deco SF institution).

The songs performed that night include characters like Willie Mays, martyred supervisor Harvey Milk, Cain & Abel porn kings Jim & Artie Mitchell, mythic oddball “Red Man,” preacher/Svengali Jim Jones, politician-turned assassin Dan White, and Emperor Norton, with cameos by Laffing Sal, Carol Doda, Bill Graham, and Fatty Arbuckle. Locations also play a key role, including the Castro and Mission Districts. One song is devoted to the White Night Riots, sparked by the light sentence received by the assassination of Milk and Mayor Moscone.

Some will have you believe that technology is the new culture. Then again, how can technology equate culture? Can Rock and Roll build community? Can songs connect people to the world? These are the questions explored in Strings In The Temple.”

– Chuck Prophet

That’s the background sorted and with a new imminent studio album, ‘The Land Time Forgot’ (review very soon) the former Green on Red man is still the hot ticket and as productive as ever making music that relevant and above all bloody good. Yep Roc has made available as a digital download this epic and quite beautiful performance containing some exquisite songs and overall performance. Chuck is one of those rare talents that never turned in a bad record.  Sure some are a class apart like ‘Brother Aldo’ from his solo offerings or ‘Here Comes The Snakes’ from the old band but this is an accompanying piece for the album ‘Proper’ and with bells and whistles or should that be with strings and bells?

The title track is a honky tonkin’ Rock and Roll thing of beauty from the dirty slide guitar to the T rextasy strings and the handclaps and xylophone makes it something really special and sounds like the best of times being had by everyone and the fiddle players are really taking this home and from the generous round of applause, this audience is really witnessing something special.  In direct contrast, a pin could be heard dropping on ‘Museum Of Broken Hearts’.

 

You get to appreciate just what a talent Prophet is on records like this as he turns his hand to several styles yet always maintains the Chuck Prophet vibe and whoever rallied the troops and did the arrangments here has really elevated this set to the next level.  ‘White Night Big City’ is a cocky strut and can only be outdone by the impeccable cover of ‘Shake Some Action’ who’d have thought such an awesome Rock and Roll track would sound so cool with strings holding down the lead. Genius!

To wrap this bad boy up the softly sung balladeer that is Chuck Prophet leaves us with ‘No Other Love’ and I get lost in the moment as the strings wrap themselves around the slide guitar as Chuck hushes his lyrics the listener’s way and its not a tear in my eye just a spec of dust, honest. All that is left is the audience to give a huge round of applause before the record is done.  Simply brilliant stuff and now I can’t wait for the new studio album which is coming so very very soon.  Ladies and gentlemen get yerself some Chuck Prophet and do it now! You don’t need to take my word for it because Yup Roc has made the performance available on youtube (check it out below)

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Author: Dom Daley

The story of the RATBOYS goes back to the summer of 2008. In epic Def Lepard and Guns N Roses lengths of recording breaks, The Ratboys have taken their time between albums to let the first one breathe haha!

Truth is the band fell apart and it took them until 2017 for Vincenzo and Eric St John to reboot the RATBOYS. With little success at first until finally in early 2019 guitar slinger James and new drummer Reno entered the pictures.

Within a couple of weeks the sophomore album “Click” was recorded and, like the first album, it was mixed by the one and only Pierre Vervloesem. Proceedings get underway with their homage to the one and only Ramones with ‘Everybody Loves The Ramones’ which is a fair statement and using ever Ramoneclone trick in the book voila! a song is born. The retro crunch of ‘Swimming With The Sharks’ is more of the same to be fair with familiar Ramone like melodies its uptempo but with a mixture of Sweet glam thrown in for good measure which is the MO for the album I guess with various degrees of separation from the likes of The Heartbreakers and other sleazy Rock and Rollas thrown into the mix at various junctures.

 

‘Listen Closely To Your Heart’ has that johnny and Walter trade-off going on which is never a bad thing at all. The band change gears throughout the album with songs like ‘Summer School girl’ being more power pop and laid back it adds the classic power-pop jangle whilst ‘Stand Up And Fight’ is straight outta The Boys songbook with added attitude and a bit of a kick.

After a brief venture through Motor City territory, we end up at ‘The Golden Age Of Trash’ and one of the best tracks on the album as the band stray off the power-pop path and take a trip through the mid ’70s Mott like glam which makes for a really good tune.  They introduce a swirling keyboard to proceedings on penultimate track ‘Leave Me No Choice’.

Whilst it doesn’t break new ground its a really solid album blending all the components I love from power pop to punk rock to ’70s glam its great to hear bands like the Ratboys kick out the jams and I hope they continue to evolve and hope its not another decade or two before they follow this one up.

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Buy ‘Click’ Here / Rum Bar Records Bandcamp 

Author: Dom Daley

 

Wow-what a fantastic record.  That’s it I could leave the review right there that’s all you need to know.  It’s nothing new – they’re not reinventing the wheel – just cruising around with the hood down supping on a few beers with the best eight-track sitting in their retro rocket-fueled hot rod.  Dead Furies just play Rock and Roll and play it loud and loose and that’s all you need to know. Oh Yeah, incase you need it spelling out they write Great Songs!

 

Ok, so its not really all you need to know but you get the picture.  I’m not really up on what’s hot and what’s not in in Tallinn, Estonia but I do know that it has one of Europes finest Rock and Roller bands out there making Solid Gold Rock and Roll right here right now. They mix up some classic ’70s rock n Roll and stand it next to some Classic Rock n Roll from the likes of Iggy or the Stones and the whole Scandi scene and let it all melt into one. What’s not to like on the blistering ‘Good God Damn’ it’s like Bolan Jammin with Iggy – everybody on your feet because this pre-chorus needs a standing ovation its that good.  If I had to reward a tune ‘Tune of the month’ then this is it. Then, to follow it up with a slab of Motorhead inspired heads down Action Rock of ‘Holy Nothing’ these boys are having it and strutting their stuff like a Rock and Roll peacock and looking good doing it as well.

From the Stooges piano on the title track its feel-good Rock and Roll and seeing as Rockin is their business then I should declare right here right now that business is not just good its awesome.  With more than their fair share of excellent songs, this record should, in a just world, see the band kick open plenty of doors and hear ‘Stay Gold’ blasting out of bedroom all over this globe.  But they’ll have to work hard for it and tour the guts out of this record just to make a tiny dent I guess.  It deserves to be heard because they don’t just have one or two good ideas they have a record bursting with very good songs.

‘Death Of A Comedian’ is coolness personified cruising along towards the understated chorus and we go again. There are fourteen tracks on this album so they’ve shoed in plenty of bang for your bucks. ‘A couple OF Winos’ could be about a few people I know and from the heavy lick it cools down into a good groove for the verse this should appeal to classic old school rockers for its arrangement but its got style and is nestled in well in the middle of the record next to the MC5 hip shake of ‘Sweet Lovin’ Body’ with a great chorus and maybe candidate for my favourite track on the album.

Oh, wait, ‘The More things Change’ howls in on a cool as fuck saxophone honk wearing an old Bowie jacket and a little heavy eye makeup.  Such a good song.  ‘(I’m Not Gonna) Go Down’ is straight out of the early Hellacopters and Total 13 handbook and why the fuck not?  ‘Same Same But Different’ reminds me of The Heartbreakers ‘I Wanna Be Loved’ but it’s same same but different- you’ll get it.  As we head into the homestraight the boys just cut loose with rockers ‘Cowboys And Indians’ before taking you up a side street for the closer ‘I Get A  Kick From You’.  I get akick from hearing records this good and would happily endorse this bad boy there is a lot of music and it has variety yet keeps its identity and they’re not afraid to tread outside their comfort zone now and again either.

try it!

 

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Author: Dom Daley

Seeing as we’re at the movies today we indulged in a couple of releases firstly the Cleopatra double of Johnny Thunders ‘Madrid Memory’ that’s a special edition audio Cd and DVD is taken from when Johnny played Spain in 94 at La Edad De Oro with his band of capable players Sylvain, Rath, and Nolan (not a bad bunch to have playing with you I’m sure you’ll agree)

Firstly this seventeen track show isn’t surround sound crystal clear quality some might expect and the mix right from the start goes from bootleg quality to poor desk mix as Raths bass thumps through the mix on pipeline maybe its an idea to get in the mood first by downing a bottle of jager and jumpin’ up and down just for old times sake.

Right sorted, we can begin. slamming into a chaotic ‘Personality Crisis’ the mix doesn’t improve much but that was always part of the reason we got into this pirate Rock and Roll and then thunders vocals booms into the mix over the skin tight beat of Nolan who really was the glue that held it all together and I guess Thunders knew that – as out of it he might have got Jerry always held it together and it was always a credible sound coming from the band Rath and Nolan were a formidable rhythm section and by the time they ripped into ‘Junkie Business’ they were firing on all cylinders.  Hearing Johnnys guitar wail out of tune might be funny now and quite endearing looking back but fuck me Johnny sort it out fella.

The set is excellent and the inclusion of Sylvains ’14th Street Beat’ is most welcome.  Having three Dolls playing or three Heartbreakers, either way, it still excites me and my God I wish I paid more attention to what was happening in front of me at the time and I had taken more notice when seeing these guys play all those years ago.  When this band were in sync they were breathtaking and when they were a little sloppy (cough cough) (‘Don’t Mess With Cupid’) they were exhilarating and the air of danger was evident – real Rock and Roll played by real Rock and Rollers God I miss them.

To finish off there are four tracks of Johnny playing with an unnamed flamenco player and rehearsals were clearly not on the agenda and the car crash makes me smile unlike the amount of reverb Johnny has on his vocal ‘Eve Of Destruction’ makes this worth buying on its own.  Not just for the shambles but when Johnny’s voice cracks its hilarious and Johnny acknowledging that it can only get better shows he wasn’t a total fuck up – God bless him. things do improve (slightly) for ‘Diary Of A Lover’ I emphasize Slightly. as for the echo on the closer ‘Memory’ maybe it’s not reverb and Johnny has left the building.  God loves a trier and trying with flamenco was admirable one of the weirder recording no question about that.  Completists will be all over this – the curious will also check it out. Like or loath all the posthumous releases at times they are bloody good and this is no exception.  As for the video, the intro being left in shows its age with the presenter yapping for four minutes whilst the camera roams the room it’s a bit weird.

As for the video performance Man, this line up would have been something had they gotten into the studio and Jerry looks dashing in his hat bullfighting get up as does Johnny.  So the picture quality isn’t 4K but who’d want to see what Syl is wearing in 4K anyway it looks like he just left his painting and decorating crew round the corner whilst he held down this moonlighting job with his old pals.  Listen it is what it is and considering its been saved from a mid 80s tv recording in Spain I’ll take it every day of the week.  Bollocks to smooth transitions between the songs when Rock and Rollers looked this cool even when they were off their tits isn’t something everyone could do.  God bless the three Heartbreakers here for they inherited the earth or something like that. I hope they keep uncovering shit like this for the next twenty years I’ll never ever get tired of it – Just buy it!

Buy Madrid Memory Here

Author: Dom Daley

 

Room 37 the Mysterious Death Of Johnny Thunders (MVD Visual)  We all know what happened but really nobody knows what happened. Well, Johnny knew but he can’t say.

The movie begins with ‘Alone In A Crowd’ blasting as Johnny turns up saddlebags n all wandering into St Peters Guest House room 37.  The film portrays Johnny as a shaking jittering jaundice junkie on his last legs.  whilst he’s talking business with Sylvain on the blower then taking his medicine.  the bar band is none other than Kevin Preston then playing on the jukebox is Walter Lure wow it’s making me smile as I nerd out. Johnny telling his own story about why he was in New Orleans stressing he’s clean then getting up to play ‘Born To Lose’ yeah right. The collapse n all that follows is weird and about to get a whole lot weirder.  Leo Ramsey does a decent enough job as Johnny but how accurate this is we’ll never know.

Johnny looks unwell from either the comedown or leukemia (most probably both) we’ll never get the truth the Police fucked that up in their investigation but the shamanic beast that follows Johnny through his jibbering last days is hard as is his wheezing sweating shaking demise.  It’s sad to see and for a fan, a massive fan to think he spent his last days alone suffering in pain and traumatized and when he was robbed it’s tough to take.  I believe Johnny had good intentions when he went to New Orleans and knew he was ill.  Johnny took the secrets to his grave of what happened in his final days/hours sadly we’ll never know the truth – the whole truth and whilst films like this keep the memory of Johnny alive for us its far fetched and a sad dramatisation of his last days.

 

The throw away comments like too much junkie business’ are a bit cringy when he’s trying to buy some methadone in his dreams it portrays well his state of mind and how troubled he might have been the studio hallucinations are disturbing and quite a good horror jump scare. The vomiting isn’t nice and the tone is dark as fuck as he vanishes down that wormhole inside the hospital those scenes are disturbed.  All I can think of is poor Johnny I just wanted to hug the guy.  I still find myself thinking he was way too young and illness or not he went way too young and in such tragic circumstances.

 

The film seemed keen to push the leukemia angle and Johnny carries himself around on pure momentum and a will not to die rather than being able to move and walk normally.  It’s certainly a trip of a movie at times really hard viewing it doesn’t really offer much in a way of explaining what really happened just gives a very dark drug-addled view as to what could have happened.  Poor Johnny I miss the guy’s music but felt after watching this that I’d rather he was still alive and well more than anything.  His friend Iris is the main character who spent time with him before his death before his horrible tragic death.  This isn’t a film to put a smile across your face that’s for sure, you won’t remember him because of his music if this were your introduction to the world of JT – Me I’d take Looking For Johnny and remember his fantastic musical legacy.  No matter how he finally passed away New Orleans was his resting place and a dark horror flick that passes for entertainment makes me sad, poor Johnny he never got the justice he deserved.  I’m not even sure I enjoyed the film perhaps I’ll watch it again when it doesn’t leave me so cold.

Buy Room 37 Here 

Author: Dom Daley