The Wildhearts are riding on the crest of a wave right now. ‘Renaissance Men’, their first album in 10 years is an absolute monster, it’s currently at number 11 in the album charts and at least 3 of these 8 dates to promote it are already sold out.

It’s not just a good time to be a Wildheart either; it’s a good time to be a Wildhearts fan. With a sizeable chunk of the back catalogue getting re-mastered and re-issued on deluxe vinyl and the promise of plenty more dates this year, it is also an expensive time to be a Wildhearts fan, but we wouldn’t want it any other way would we? In 2019, there is more interest and more excitement about this band than I can ever remember.

Re-united and re-invigorated, the classic line-up of The Wildhearts is back, but are they back for good? Only time will tell. While this current wave of excitement could open doors and see great opportunities for a band who, let’s face it, have certainly paid their dues, I keep getting this niggling feeling that it could all go drastically tits up at any moment. So let’s enjoy it while it lasts.

Talking of things going tits up… fuckin’ Towers Of London are back! Where the hell did that come from?  The original line-up that recorded the most excellent debut album ‘Blood, Sweat & Towers’ and then proceeded to burn out in a blaze of arrests and fisticuffs, are back together. There’s new music on the way too, they have unfinished business to attend to. What a time to be a rock ‘n’ roll fan!

Donny Tourette and the boys take to the stage with air raid sirens blaring and fire straight into ‘I’m A Rat’. It sounds fuckin’ ace! Dressed in matching black boiler suits and shorn of the gravity-defying hair of ten years ago, they may look a bit different, but with a newly reinstated The Rev delivering cool licks and a bare-chested Snell bashing seven shades of shit out of his kit, the band are on fire and looking like they really mean it.

While Donny’s nonchalant punk attitude is more Gallagher than Iggy, the delivery is still fantastic. ‘Beaujolais’ is punked-up to the max goodness, and newbie ‘Get Yourself Out Of Here’ with its chanting chorus and sleazy delivery is full of the right kind of attitude, it promises much for the new album.

A blistering version of ‘Fuck It Up’ surely silences any non-believers in the room and ends a high energy set from a band that is truly back to their best form.

While Towers Of London are not the fucked up kids of yesteryear, they have matured, learned a few things, but still have that edginess I desire from sleazy punk rock. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, no one can deny they were spot on tonight.

Whether they’ve got the new songs to rival the likes of the fantastic ‘Air Guitar’ or ‘On A Noose’ we will see, but I for one can’t wait to find out. Bring on new music, headline gigs and world domination then.

Now, if someone could please explain the appeal of Massive Wagons I would be most grateful, as I don’t get them at all. I’ve tried, but they are just not for me. A band fronted by a diminutive Game Of Thrones extra who sounds like Biff Byford, backed by a band who look like they scan your shopping in Aldi, call me fussy but…

Joking aside, in a live setting I can’t really fault them. They have energy, I’ll give them that much. Baz is an animated frontman and a loveable character, who can work a crowd and The Wildhearts crowd seems to love them. But that’s not enough. It would probably be ok if they had the songs, but for me, Massive Wagons just don’t have the songs, pure and simple.

I’ve seen them live several times now and my opinion hasn’t changed. I’m afraid to say I head for the bar not long into their set. Most Massive Wagons reviews I’ve read are positive, with many citing them ‘retro’. Me, I cite them ‘dated’. And in my defence I present their closing song ‘Fee, Fi, Fo, Fum’ as evidence, the cheesiest song I’ve heard in many years, and on that note I rest my case.

In all my years of seeing Wildhearts live shows, I can honestly say I have never seen a bad one, come to think of it I have never seen even an average live performance from Ginger and co, whatever the line-up has been.

Tonight is no exception, in fact tonight is probably the best I have seen them. It’s up there with the hot and sweaty Bristol Bierkeller show of ’94, its as heavy and loud as Edinburgh and Glasgow were in 2004, and it’s even as euphoric as the Chutzpah! show in Leeds 10 years ago.

From the moment Ginger cranks out that opening riff to ‘Dislocated’, the place goes nuts. Such a great response to a new song. A relentless cacophony of riffs and melodies that has the pit bouncing as one, signaling that this brand new song is already classed as a fan favourite.

It leads perfectly into ‘Everlone’, ‘Vanilla Radio’ and ‘Suckerpunch’ all delivered in quick succession, leaving no time to talk or even breathe. Going with the theme of ‘Renaissance Men’ it is a well chosen, heavy set of songs tonight. Mixing it up nicely, there are a few surprises in amongst the usual live favourites. ‘The Revolution Will Be Televised’ and ‘Jackson Whites’ are especially awesome and even ‘Urge’, which I imagined would be a disjointed mess, actually sounds amazing.

Bearing in mind that most people have only had ‘Renaissance Men’ in their ears for a week, the new songs get a great response. ‘Let ‘em Go’ was always going to go down well, it’s got a stadium-sized chorus that is up there with their finest hits. But it is ’Diagnosis’ that probably gets the best response of the whole night. What a fucking tune live! The way they build that AC/DC style riff to gain momentum, before releasing that main hook on an unsuspecting crowd, who in turn go absolutely bat-shit crazy for it. It’s a great feeling being right in the middle of the chaos for the duration. Like being a teenager discovering live music for the first time, all over again.

The band seems truly invigorated and on fire. Ginger and CJ’s vocals are spot on and the pair are full of energy, bashing out riffs and jumping in unison, giving photographers every opportunity to capture that elusive jump shot.

With bassist Danny McCormack now fit enough to make it through a whole set without needing his stool is a big, big thing. The loveable Geordie with a big heart and an even bigger bass sound just brings something special to The Wildhearts and it’s a joy to see him back where he belongs.

Post encore, the band mime through a version of ‘The Renaissance Men’ which is being videoed for a commercial single release on each night of the tour. Bit weird for all concerned, but the show doesn’t suffer or lose momentum.

A five-song encore is pretty good value at any show and with the likes of ‘Mazel  Tov Cocktail’, ‘My Baby Is A Headfuck’ and ‘I Wanna Go Where The People Go’  rounding the evening off nicely, who could ask for more?

 

Where The Wildhearts go from here is anyone’s guess, but my advice is to go out of your way, sell your children or steal money if you have to, but whatever you do, do not miss The Wildhearts live right now, as they are on top of their game.

 

Buy Renaissance Men HERE

Author: Ben Hughes

Photographs: Neil Vary

Glam slammin’ this Monday morning.  slap on a scarf for the trip into work or put some glitter in your pocket.  Here are a few tunes to help the day go quicker and put a smile on your face and make your heart beat faster. Even Shit Island is wearing sun cream today so why not put some sunshine music on as you skive off and sit in the garden.

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Next up with a brand new record just released on Pink Vinyl we delve into the bands back catalogue to pull out this epic video… Enjoy! Hammered Satin

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finally Giuda rock up with their Space Walk to celebrate their review going up this past week from Martin who witnessed their performance at the 100 Club.

As far as soundtracks go this was a no brainer for me.  Having seen the film and always been a huge Bators fan in this day and age I’ll take anything on offer and Danny Garcia did such a great job I can’t imagine a Stiv fan not wanting a piece of this. I know its been a long time coming but its finally here and just ahead of the video or DVD release April saw a RSD special with the soundtrack hitting certain shelves (mainly) through America I know at first I couldn’t get my paws on it over here on Shit Island but thankfully I managed to score a copy off the internet and not too soon the Red 12″ record sort of landed on my mat.

 

Featuring twelve cuts from the likes of Deadbeat Poets, The B-Girls, Lustkillers and Jimmy Zero to name a few its a quick smile at the cover art with Stiv van surfing and the needle drops.  Side one kicks off with the wonderful Deadbeat Poets ‘The Stiv Bators Ghost Tour’ then the wonderful B Girls and ‘Mystery’ before Stivs track ‘Don’t Go Away’ that was previously released on the Easy Action album released a few years ago of the work Stiv was working on before he passed.  I can only presume this is from the very same sessions so would feature Neil X on guitar but I can’t say for sure as there aren’t any credits on offer here it’s just your basic sleeve with tracklist a few thank yous and a nice Red slab of vinyl.

I love the Lustkillers and ‘Revenge’ is an excellent track taken from ‘That which Does Not kill Us’ It’s uncanny that two people could sound so alike and play similar kinds of music but I love it and think ‘Revenge’ is such a good tune. Next up and one that made this a must-have was Stiv performing ‘Evil Boy’ live in Berkely Sq back in 1980. Club Wow performing ‘Nights Are So Long’ is another great cut even if I am more familiar with the Michael Monroe version which he did so well this is a top tune and brings a really strong side one to a finish. Jimmy Zero from the Dead Boys, Jeff West from The Testors I guess it all fits together with Deadbeat Poets with Frank Secich and this (club Wow)  Jimmy Zero and Stiv its a big family at times but it’s not all at the same time.  These songs are such killer songs It breaks my heart to think that only a (relatively) small number of people get to hear them and exposure is minimal especially in today’s quick as a flash musical climate.  I’m always really excited to hear about films like ‘Stiv’ and records like this coming out in the hope that these bands and artists have a lasting legacy and who knows some kids might dig it again and we see a resurgence in some great music.

Anyway, flip it over and side two is more of the same great songs starting with the dark and brooding ‘Paris’ from Jimmy Zero followed by the fantastic ‘You Don’t Go Away’ from Alpha Kitty whilst The Stiv Bators Ghost Tour are back for a second bite with the excellent ‘Room Full Of Strangers’. Danny Fury rocks up with ‘Dark Star’ from his band Tango Pirates before the soundtrack is signed off with ‘To Feel You’ The Primadonna Reeds pure Noo Yawk cool like you didn’t already know that.

 

All in all there is so much good music on offer here and as far as soundtrack records go it might not be the Ghostbusters soundtrack but its got an abundance of great songs by great bands for a great cause and if you have any sort of love for Stiv and his legacy then you need to snap this up pretty quickly before they’re all gone and you won’t be able to find one for love nor money.  Get out of here!

Buy Stiv Vinyl Here or CD Here

Order The DVD of the film Here

Author: Dom Daley

ROCK’N’GROWL RECORDS, a division of ROCK’N’GROWL PROMOTION have announced the release of a digital Rock/Metal Sampler ‘RAWKAHOLIC Volume 1‘ with 15 exclusive – unreleased studio and live tracks for June 2019. The first three bands to be announced are SYTERIAAIRFORCE and DESOLATION ANGELS.

 

#1 SYTERIA featuring Jax Chambers from the legendary Girlschool is a four piece UK rock band formed in 2015. Syteria Facebook

#2 AIRFORCE is an original, classic rock band from London who formed in 1987 and was
a major force within the early NWOBHM scene. Airforce Facebook 

#3 DESOLATION ANGELS was formed in 1981 and are a NWOBHM Band with colossal ‘HEAVY ROCK RIFFING’ from London England UK! Desolation Angels are ‘Classic Rock’ but with a modern and contemporary twist! Desolation Angels Facebook

There will be a further twelve bands to come

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Based on the notion that there is not enough true rock ‘n’ roll in the sprawling capital of Berlin (if anyone wants to prove them wrong, then contact us), Bella Wreck are a garage sensation doing their best to correct that unforgivable wrong. With this reissue of their 2014 self-titled debut album, they are giving us another chance to indulge in this raucous sensation, and with a few new tracks to boot.

Bella Wreck aren’t afraid to pin their colours to the mast and leave no doubt as to what inspirations are driving this party. The album builds on the classic garage rock ‘n’ roll sounds, mixing a bit of Radio Birdman with a bit of Nomads and finding time for New York Dolls along the way – listen to ‘Untold Fury’ and ‘Trash’ and you could be right back there with Thunders et al. They give it their own shine though and it’s fair to say that this album is fantastically enigmatic.

The high level of song writing is on display from the first moment with opener ‘Can’t You See’, and happily it doesn’t stop there. The album is littered with fantastic hooks and catchy choruses, and energy abounds, whether it’s the intensity of ‘Vienna’ or the cool of ‘Fear Me’. Songs such as ‘1000 Years’ and ‘Fun’ have a confident swagger, whereas ‘Run’ and ‘Fight’ change up the mood a bit with pop hooks and superb melodies.

This self-titled record is worthy of a reissue and, hopefully, a much bigger audience. Simply put, if you like garage rock and punk, you will love this.

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Author: Craggy Collyde

 

 

The Darts simply don’t live in this world. Their world is this magical place where the nuggets of the 60’s took over the world in every way, shape, and form. Walls are seemingly made of red velvet, and gold accents adorn everything. When you get closer though, you start to see and feel the grit. On their third album, the Darts further their garage rocking sound with some new shades and colors that at times have me thinking of Bratmobile and, at other times, have me thinking back to Nicole Laurenne (vocals, organ) and Christina Nunez’ (bass, vocals) old band the Love Me Nots. If you have enjoyed the Darts so far, this album is a must buy, and, if you don’t know the Darts, start your education here. Rikki Styxx continues to pound the drums while Meliza Jackson makes her studio debut on guitar with both of them also providing backing vocals.

‘Breakup Makeup’ starts things with a frantic beat and Nicole’s vocals getting plenty of room in the mix in the verses. The vocal pattern in the chorus and music remind me of ‘Time Warp’ from ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ if it had been played by the Dwarves. The shouted backing vocals recall the bands that all seemed to be signed to Estrus Records back in the day. The pogo beat of ‘My Way’ demonstrates another of Laurenne’s vocal strengths as she sounds like she has been doing this since she came into the world. This at times has an almost hip hop feel through the verses with Jackson’s guitar cutting through the mix perfectly as Nunez and Styxx are perfectly in unison together. The band slow the tempo with the groovy mid paced ‘Don’t Hold My Hand’ sounding like it should have been a hit from 50 plus years ago, except it brings in some additional noise and power. The backing vocals under the fuzz come straight from the school of the Ronettes. This is superb, timeless songwriting by all involved.

With the title track inspired by a back and forth with a person who messaged the band more than a time or two, the rhythm section lays down a beat that still catches me off guard with every listen.  The music takes on a suitable creepiness feel with the spoken word type vocals adding even more texture to the album.  The chorus features a mix of seductive and disgusted vocals which really creates a cool back and forth. This would be the scene where this person gets thrown back out of the Darts world because he simply couldn’t handle it. A riff by Jackson opens up ‘Break Your Mind’ which actually reminds me of the Love Me Nots’ debut from back in the day. The organ sounds great here as it overlays with the rhythm section.  Something that should be noted is you cannot sit still when this album is playing. Even as I sit typing, my feet are moving with the beat, and I keep wanting to air guitar the riff here. Wrapping up the first half of the album is the slower ‘Love You to Death’ where Nunez’ bass is from another dimension. The beginning of the song actually makes me think of grunge legends Green River. The drums carry some additional power in the mix, and the vocal effects create a very different sound.  Coming in at close to 5 minutes, this is an epic in the world of the Darts.

Side 2 finds the band continuing their sonic mastery. ‘New Boy’ gets us back to bouncing off the world with the organ and guitar cutting back and forth over the rhythm section. They waste no time here as they plant an infectious chorus in our heads. The guitar and organ each get their own moments to shine before they throw the chorus at us again for good measure. ‘Thin Line’ starts with Styxx laying down the gauntlet as the band barrels through a nuggets rocker with another sticky chorus that demands replays. The break for the organ here works perfectly. Turning down the dark street you know you should have avoided brings us to the cool ‘Phantom.’ I love Laurenne’s vocals here as her voice sits just under the top of the mix. It rises in the mix at the chorus but so does everything else which just makes it even more powerful. In an album of favorites, this one currently holds the title for me. It has a groove that stirs the soul and makes us feel alive.

The defiant ‘I Ain’t Crying’ punches us in the face with the beat threatening to explode right out of the speakers. Nunez’ bass adds a lot of oomph here with the breakdown in the song giving everyone a second to shine even further. ‘Japan’ opens up with a classic nod to the Far East in terms of the beat, and this song simply needs to be on the radio at maximum volume. In that world of the Darts I mentioned, this is the kind of radio they get every day instead of the manufactured crap we get peddled at us on a daily basis that has no heart and soul. This chorus might as well be an immediate transfer to your long-term memory. Closing the album with ‘Where’s the Rain,’ the band follow a similar pattern to the first half with a slower number that rumbles through the speaker, but this song has an entirely separate feel  in every other way.

No runts in this litter, no weak links… This is a high-quality album that takes doses of the Nuggets era and yanks them forward with bits and pieces from what has come before to create another great album in the discography of the Darts. This world should belong to them. We would all be better off if it did. Check back in December to see just how I rate this one, but it stands tall as an album of the year contender for me.

Buy I Like You But Not Like That Here

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Author: Gerald Stansbury

 

 

 

 

“It is impossible to achieve the aim without suffering” – John G Bennett (Philosopher 1897-1974)

 

Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes describe ‘End Of Suffering’ as their third and most important record, and they are not wrong. Following the success of their first two albums (‘Blossoms’ and ‘Modern Ruin’ were recorded back to back just 8 months apart) the band hit the studio in London during the record-breaking heat wave of 2018, with the intention of taking their time to create the biggest and best album they could.

To help achieve this, they roped in famed producer Cam Blackwood (Jack Savoretti/George Ezra) and the legendary mixing talents of Alan Moulder (NIN/QOTSA) to help turn their blood, sweat, and tears into something truly special.

 

The title ‘End Of Suffering’ comes from the Buddhist mantra for finding enlightenment, and the themes of this album document Frank’s struggles for the last 2 years. First single ‘Crowbar’ may have lulled fans into a false sense of security that this album was going to be choc-a-bloc with primal, fist-pumping anthems of empowerment’, but it’s safe to say Frank and songwriting partner/guitarist Dean Richardson have worked hard to take The Rattlesnakes to the next level. I believe their songwriting has matured beyond any of their previous work.

At the heart of this album is the song ‘Anxiety’, a highlight at the recent intimate shows. With a hard-hitting video and relatable lyrics, it’s a song that has already touched the hearts and souls of many fans. Dean’s lone, haunting guitar riff sets the tone for Frank to open up more than he ever has before. ‘Anxiety’ is an anthem for unity, a song to raise your hands to and stamp your feet along to.

You see, Frank Carter is a man who cares, and understands he is in a unique position where he can make a difference to people’s lives through his music. And if the message he gives out prevents just one person from shutting themselves off from the world, making them realise that they are not alone and that it is ok to not be ok, then his job is done.

 

Heavy talk aside, ‘End Of Suffering’ is introspective and puts out a positive message.  It is not a punk album, nor is it an indie album. ‘End Of Suffering’ is a modern rock record that perfectly bridges the gap between Gallows and Pure Love, much more successfully than either of their two previous albums did.

While the hardcore influence of Gallows that was still present throughout the first two albums is now all but a distant memory, ‘End Of Suffering’ is no less intense for it. Opener ‘A Butterfly Can’t Love A Spider’ sets the intensity levels high from the word go. Riding on a formidable, pulsating beat and brooding vocals that build to a soaring crescendo, as Dean bashes out a dirty riff. “When I’m high, I’m in Heaven, when I’m low I’m in Hell” sings Frank, and we believe every word.

The band then fire into the skulking beast that is ‘Tyrant Lizard King’. Featuring a cool, desert rock riff and a chorus that slithers from the speakers like a snake ready to inject its venom straight into the soul, it captivates and enraptures. A trademark off the wall solo from a certain Tom Morello fits the feel of the song perfectly. This tune is guaranteed to be a mainstay of The Rattlesnakes live set for years to come. 2 songs in, and it’s safe to say the band has taken things up a notch or two.

“I’m a punk rock renegade” drawls Frank on the opening line of the space age, indie punk hybrid ‘Kitty Sucker, before launching into another anthemic, high energy chorus that matches the intensity of Gallows at their finest.

With the likes of ‘Little Devil’ with its QOTSA feel and the regimental beats and high energy, post-punk vibes of ‘Heartbreaker’, The Rattlesnakes offer enough to satisfy all the cravings their fans desire. They even explore Portishead territory on the downbeat electronica soaked ‘Angel Wings’, a song that creates beautiful and cinematic imagery, if you just take the time to close your eyes and take it in.

The emotive closing title track offers yet more with acoustic guitars, a piano refrain and a recording of Frank’s four year old daughter laughing as the song fades out on singular ivory notes. “I’ll be waiting…even if I’m gone” Frank assures the listener in a near broken voice.

 

Between sorrow and beauty, where love and hate collide, the deeply personal ‘End Of Suffering’ could be the album to rocket Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes into stadiums around the world. It has already been stated elsewhere that this is their ‘The Holy Bible’, that this could be their ‘In Utero’. The difference being…this album offers hope where the others only gave despair.

Funnily enough, the opening quote of this review was taken from the introduction of the U.S. mix of ‘She Is Suffering’ by the Manic Street Preachers. How’s that for a tenuous link, pop pickers!

 

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Buy End Of Suffering Here 

Author: Ben Hughes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fat Mike NOFX.  Yeah, right now you sit up and pay attention well come a little closer because this is not NOFX it doesn’t sound like NOFX even if Fat Mike is Cokie The Clown. This is dark in a very late night and I shouldn’t drink whiskey and do blow kinda way’ oh, and listen to Tom Waits. More like E from Eels than NOFX and that’s a good thing.  Sure he could have clowned around and down a dumb punk record and made a mint off the back of it but he hasn’t he’s gone for the piano and miserable vocal angle.

 

‘Bathtub’ is almost three minutes of one sad voice and a sparse piano and to be fair ‘Fair Leather Friends’ is more of the same if not a little more uptempo (steady on punk rocker not that uptempo) and it has a cello and some hi-hat and snare and if you must know its endearing and really fuckin’ good.  Why wouldn’t it be?

If you think E and Tom Waits you won’t be far off the mood of the record it has been said it’s not a happy record (they got that right) but it is a very good record.  It shows Fat Mike has hidden depths and can indeed turn his hand to writing some great dark melancholy music there are some great arrangments like ‘Swing And A Miss’ and he looks inside the dark corners of his mind to dig up songs like ‘Down With The Ship’ and the grande Harpsichord led ‘Negative Reel’  the album has ten tracks, the album also features a who’s who of A-list talent that assisted him throughout the recording sessions. Danny Lohner (Nine Inch Nails) produced ‘You’re Welcome’;  Travis Barker played drums and Dizzy Reed of Guns N’ Roses contributed keyboards! Baz (a French musician), who Fat Mike collaborated heavily with on the album has to take some credit for what is a really impressive record but for being so different from what I was expecting.  The pop melodies that make up ‘That Time I Killed My Mom’ well I did say it was dark!.  its all wrapped up in a really fine piece of Cover art painted by the talented Natalia Fabia.

‘Fuck You All’ is like Fat Mike doing his best Cranford Nix and it builds to the most upbeat song on the record (musically that is I can’t mislead you into thinking ‘Fuck You All’ is upbeat).

So Fat Mike exposes his soul and releases an absolute winner. Ten tracks, dark, simple (ish), excellent!  My final words have to be – buy it, just for the autobiographical ‘Punk Rock Saved My Life’ epic!  If you want to hear NOFX then go do so this most certainly isn’t and I’m good with that because this is the business.

 

Buy You’re Welcome Here

Author: Dom Daley