Seb Byford (guitar/vocals) and Tom Witts (drums) formed Naked Six while still at school to a backdrop of fog and mist on the North Yorkshire moors. The self-proclaimed grunge/schizoid blues band have been on our rock ‘n’ roll radar for a number of years following gigs with the likes of The Virginmarys and The Temperance Movement. Originally a York based band they recently relocated to Manchester, following the release of their debut EP ‘No Compromise’. They then roped in Tom’s cousin Callum to play bass, and now the three piece band are ready to take on the world with their debut album ‘Lost Art Of Conversation’.
They may be a long way from Seattle and a generation after the Grunge movement, but that same feeling of isolation, working class struggle and small town angst is omnipresent in their sound and high energy live performance.
Naked Six specialise in 2 chord/2 minute blasts of high energy angst, delivered with the passion of newbies who have something to prove and yet the confidence of seasoned pros. A top notch production job courtesy of Thomas Mitchener (Gallows/Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes ) only helps to capture their live energy. Urgent beats, buzzsaw guitars and vocals are spat with the aggro nonchalance of young punks who have something to say. And yeah, Naked Six do have something to say, lyrically they touch on highly topical subjects; our reliance on social media and mental health for starters.
The likes of ‘Song Of The City’, ‘Split’ and ‘Sticky Gum’ are their bread and butter. Coming on like The Vines meets The Virginmarys, this is the sound of a Naked Six gig captured on wax for all to experience. Elsewhere, if you had told me ‘Poison Apple’ was a lost Nirvana outtake, I would’ve tipped my hat in agreement. From the erratic spiky guitars to the spooky Cobain/Grohl style vocal harmonies, its quality stuff.
They take things down for a more 90s art rock, tripped-out vibe with ‘The Change’. Offbeat drums and effect-ridden guitars bring to mind the sonic sound of Perry Farrell’s side project Porno For Pyros, as the band take the listener on a trip to another plane.
Bouncy, distorted bass and jagged guitars introduce first single ‘Gimme Something’, a song that confirms the Foo Fighters meets Royal Blood comparisons I have used in the past. A confident and cocksure sound, and one that’s tried and tested.
While Naked Six promote a grungy, garage rock sound, there are hints that this band has the potential to be so much more when they think outside the box (or garage in this case!). The album is bookended by a couple of surprise tracks that confirm this for me. Album opener ‘21st Century Brawl’ is an atmospheric art piece, coming on like Jane’s Addiction in their prime, as Seb reels off descriptive lyrics, almost spoken word, over an alt rock backdrop of groovy bass and guitar harmonics. In complete contrast the introspective album closer ‘Outside Looking In’ showcases what this band is truly capable of. As they have proven in the past with ‘Broken Fairytale’, Seb Byford has a knack for penning heartfelt balladry as much as he does angst driven rock. The sentiment is real, as he delivers his most fragile, yet strongest vocal of the album over understated piano chords and atmospheric saxophone breaks. A winning combination that only helps accentuate the overall emotion of the song.
With lyrics that deal in social commentary, questioning our attachment to our screens, our actions and motives, and music that harks back to a time when the alternative was mainstream, edgy and downright essential, Naked Six seem to be on to a winner. ‘Lost Art Of Conversation’ is a modern rock record that is exciting, authentic and comes at the perfect time.
Times they are a changing, and while this album was of course written pre-lockdown, I can’t help but think the lost art of conversation is something a great deal of us are re-learning right now due to isolation and social media being our only form of communication.
“This is the dawn of a new age…” announces the singer in the title track. I wonder, did Seb Byford know how true those words would ring just a few months later?
Well, we’ve reached that time of year again where the writers of RPM were forced into the voting both given a blunt pencil and forced to vote for their album of the year. Unlike a certain General Election result this time I don’t think people were too disappointed with the final result and by a landslide rock and Roll won.
Interestingly this years winner didn’t win any single writers vote but featured very heavily throughout the writers lists more than any other artist or artists so its a fair cop guv and, to be honest, had the live show count been anything to go by it was a landslide and another good year all around. With writers coming from several continents and five different countries there might be a few miles between us but we all have some things in common and one of those is a love for Rock and Roll. I’m sure had it been a Top 20 people would have still had a headache as to what to put in. Don’t let anyone tell you that it’s been a shit year for new music as there were plenty of records released and many of them reviewed on RPM Online and with over 50 albums getting a mention from the team of writers (that’s just their top 10!).
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank not only all the artists who’ve released new records in 2019 and to all the excellent press departments and Labels especially the independent ones who’ve worked tirelessly to bring us the music and obviously to the songwriters and musicians whose work we’ve had many many hours of enjoyment listening to and raving about you know who you are many of whom it’s been a pleasure to get to know throughout the year.
What we’ll do is give the top ten a rundown in reverse order then each individual writers ten albums in no particular order so here goes.
So congratulations to all the bands who made the RPM Online top ten. Especially Michael Monroe for taking top spot in the hotly contested category as well as all the ones that didn’t there were dozens and dozens of albums released in 2019 that we reviewed. We managed to catch up with a few of the bands who made it onto the pages of RPM Online in 2019 to find out what made it onto their turntables this year and to find out any highlights they might have had. Here is some beginning with Jeff from The Brothers Steve…
Jeff Whalen (Guitar /Vocals – The Brothers Steve)
“I don’t think I listened to any records that came out in 2019! So I picked my top 5 records that were new to me in 2019!”
Tiny Tim—God Bless Tiny Tim
The Beagles—Here Come the Beagles
White Reaper—The World’s Best American Band
The Speedies—You Need Pop
Rich Jones Guitarist (Michael Monroe/Black Halos) –
Pup – Morbid Stuff
The Wildhearts – Renaissance Men
Jeff Rosenstock – Thanks, Sorry! / Sorry, Thanks!
Berlin Blackouts – Nastygram Sedition
The Menzingers – Hello Exile
BEST RE-ISSUE: The Replacements – Dead Man’s Pop
Duncan Reid – Duncan Reid & The Big Heads
Starcrawler – ‘Devour You’ (especially the track No More Pennies)
2 Albums which spoke to my Country Side:
The long Ryders – ‘Psychedelic Country Soul’ (especially Greenville)
Kim Lenz – S’lowly Speeding’
Not an album but the single ‘Fire Ready Aim’ by Green Day which was superb
And The Baby shakes ‘Cause a Scene’ (especially the title track)
As for Highlights, there were Many highlights of 2019 especially Rebellion which went superbly for us and I’m really looking forward to the release of our new album early 2020 as well as playing the Kubix Festival.
Steve Coulter – (Drums) The Brothers Steve
The Gold—T’he Gold’
The Armoires – ‘Zibaldone’
The Cutthroat Brothers – ‘Taste For Evil’
The Coolies – ‘Uh Oh! It’s…The Coolies’
The New Pornographers – ‘In The Morse Code Of Brake Lights’
As for the highlights of 2019 it has to be making the Brothers Steve ‘#1’ & The Go All The Ways as well as writing about music ‘Go All The Way A Literary Appreciation Of Power Pop!
Lee Love (The Hip Priests)
Clowns – ‘Nature/Nurture’
TV Crime – ‘Metal Town’
Bitch Queens – ‘City Of Class’
The Drippers – ‘Action Rock’
Schizophonics – ‘People In The Sky’
Melchior Quitt (Bitch Queens)
Clowns – ‘Nature / Nature’
Amyl & The Sniffers – ‘Amyl & The Sniffers’
The Hip Priests – ‘Stand For Nothing’
Saint Agnes – ‘Welcome To Silvertown’
The Schizophonics – ‘People In The Sky’
As for the Highlight of 2019, There are several. Two for Bitch Queens were to put out our brand new album ‘City Of Class’ and to finish our new recording studio to keep on doin’ what we are doin’ far away from the big business.
The Best event this year was Sjock. “What could be better than hanging out with my boys from The Hip Priests and seeing the best Action Rock bands from all around the world! I am looking forward to touring with Bitch Queens in Europe next year and to record a shitload of new singles and split 7“ And of course, there are two of the probably best records 2020 in the pipeline – The Good, the Bad & the Zugly and Kvelertak. 2020 is gonna be good!
Mathius Engelbrekt Carlsson – “Demons” –
All right. My top picks for 2019.
Jeff Dahl – ‘Electric Junk’
Guitar Wolf – ‘Love & Jett’
Amyl & The Sniffers – ‘Amyl & The Sniffers’
The Hip Priests – ‘Stand for Nothing’
Bitch Queens – ‘City of Class’
The Drippers – ‘Action Rock’
Dead Furies – ‘Stay Gold Ponyboy’
“One of few highlights of 2019 was getting ‘Kiss Off’ off the ground. This has been one of those years. For music it has been a great year though and especially for Rock’n’Roll.
Next year it’s the 25th anniversary for “DEMONS” and we hope that we can tour as much as possible starting with Japan in January. A new record will be out as well as some old stuff. Hopefully our first unreleased album and possibly a Demonology II. See you on the other side.”
Ho Ho Ho!, Nothing Christmassy about this bunch of records except to say I’d be one happy chappy if these were hanging in my stocking come the big day. It’s always quality before quantity here at RPM Singles round-up. As we welcome back old friends and applaud like a bunch of performing seals when the music hits the airwaves… With an immense array of talent on offer we bring you the pick of the new releases because we’re like that and its the season to give, give, give…
Motherfuckin’ Motherfuckers – ‘Trillion Dollar Man’ (Lux Noise Records) Its always a pretty good bet that as soon as I get things in order to write up a compilation of new singles and videos that are about to drop Those Lovely Hip Priests boys appear as if by magic (either its coincidence or they have my house tapped) but hang on before you get carried away this is only half of the Hip Priests together with half of Bitch Queens under the umbrella of Motherfuckin’ Motherfuckers (never a more appropriate name eh?)
Following on from that glorious cacophony of noise that was the debut mini-album ‘Trillion Dollar Man’ is the fearless foursome back for more with a two-minute one-second rip ride of unadulterated punk rock and roll. from the intro tape to the snot fueled solo it hits you like a speedball if you flip it over side two is more of the same. Too much drugs, too much booze, too many amps and guitars will ki… Never be enough! we live in tough time kids so when you have a band put together as a bet that can turn up and knock these out then things aren’t all bad proving once again that they can go toe to toe with the greats and channelling their inner Motorhead, MC5, early Hellacopters you get the idea where these punks are coming from. Just buy it for fuck’s sake you know you want to. Click here and let em know your order before they all go, which they will. Then you’ll still be uncool and not even have the new Motherfuckin’ Motherfucker single in your possession either. Oh and they cover D4 as well it’s almost as if D4 knew one day it would happen and some bunch of ne’er-do-wells would turn it up and kick out the jams on their classic and bring it to a whole new generation of rock n rollas. so, what are you waiting for?
The Black Halos – Geisterbahn ii (Yeah Right! Records) A band that shouldn’t need an introduction but we’re giving them one anyway. Hailing from Vancouver and been in some sort of semi-hibernation until now. Seemingly out of nowhere this old/new single drops. the A-side is something familiar to those who pay attention as it was released a while back when they played the Black Heart in London and some shows in Spain a few years ago but the single was delayed due to one thing or another until now. the band has been writing new songs back in Canada and we are about to hear the benefits of that. Original members Billy Hopeless, Rich Jones, and Jay Millette have reunited and are joined by the rhythm section of Danni Action and John Kerns on these new recordings. These songs mixed by long-time collaborator Jack Endino C’mon folks it’s a banger from the off. Its got the wonderful vocal delivery from Billy (who else?) and a vibrant workout from a band who sound like they love to crank it up and get on with their business. I for one can’t wait for the album next year it’s going to be special and on the evidence of these samplers one, you should be interested in no question. Recorded back in Berlin by RDO TV Mork and features Rags n CC Voltage (they don’t need an introduction here do they?) just buy it! Bandcamp
THE ILLICITS ‘Left Behind / Born Slippy’ (Creation 23) The elephant in the room here is these cats have only bagged themselves a guest slot from the one and only Steve ‘Fuckin’Jones! Yeah, that’s right the lonely Boys strapped on his Les Paul and threw down a riff on ‘Left Behind’. What’s it like then you ask. Well its a pretty decent noise to be fair as is their take on ‘Born Slippy’. Terrace punk would be a fair description somewhere between the pub rock of early britpop and Jonesys Professionals these guys have a swagger cutting through their record and its impressive, maybe the time is right for some real guitar bands to kick out the jams once again and give this industry a good fuckin’ shakin’. Get on it here
Märvel – ‘Marvellous’ (The Sign) Märvels debut EP “Märvellous” claimed to be recorded in 2002 for the American label New York Powerhitters during the bands exchange semester in Colorado. Märvel returned to Sweden before the songs got a release, and the EP never got to see the light of day… Until now! After the success of their ‘Guilty Pleasures’ album, the barons of rock have re-recorded their “lost EP”. After seventeen years of making albums and touring, the band has a long tradition of writing hits while constantly developing their sound which has enabled them to re-record an almost twenty year old EP and make it sound as if it was written yesterday. ‘Märvellous’ will officially be released January 24th through The Sign Records. go check it out.
Rotten Mind – Burn For You (Lövely Records) the first single taken from Rotten Minds upcoming album Rat City Dog Boy. “Burn For You” is a melody-driven, upbeat punk anthem clocking in at just under two minutes. Despite its relatively short length, it manages to capture the essence of Rotten Mind; defiant lyrics sung from the heart, accompanied by a fast drum beat and poisonous guitar melodies drenched in reverb, creating a thick yet vibrant soundscape. It’s a captivating track with a somewhat uplifting atmosphere, and yet there’s something melancholic lurking in the shadows.
Combining elements of 77’punk, post-punk and garage rock, Swedish indie- force Rotten Mind are back with their fourth full length album. With Rat City Dog Boy, Rotten Mind returns to their musical roots while embracing new influences to create an album that sounds both fresh and vintage, making Rotting Mind appealing to old-school punks as well as newfound lovers of the scene
The Doghunters – Hitchhiker (Tonzonen Records) Taken from the German Bands soon to be released album ‘Splitter Phaser Naked’. Some smooth indie rock that’s well recorded and delivered and is a bit of a grower to be fair. Bandcamp
Autogramm – ‘Bad Day’ (Self Release) Again Autogramm deliver some quality synth-driven power pop. Its got a great infectious hook on the chorus but carries a serious message. The fact that all profits go to a great worthy cause, of course, we’re going to champion this single. Check out the video below and make a donation or pick up a physical single – you know it makes sense.
All proceeds from digital sales will be donated to World Federation For Mental Health Save “Bad Day” to your preferred music service: https://orcd.co/badday Donate to The World Federation for Mental Health: https://wfmh.global
Gun – Rock The Casbah (Silver Lining Records) Lifted from their album ‘R3loaded’ this is a pretty impressive cover to be fair. Gun seem to get it (whatever it is) their take on this Clash Classic is available for you to see as well as hear below so click away kids Facebook
Bitch Queens, The Lombego Surfers, Nicole Bernegger, Luc Montini – Gimme Shelter (Lux Noise Records) – An extremely limited edition of only 100 red records here, all for a good cause the charity ‘Save Free Spaces’ sees this collaboration cover the stones classic not once but twice!
Whilst the fast side sort of whizzes through its got a suitably dirty guitar sound that is befitting such a classic, upping the tempo misses the dirty dangerous groove that the original delivered but hey its a cover so why try to reproduce the original right? right! Saying that its the slower version that grabbed my attention and boy do they nail such an iconic tune. Nicole Berneggers vocals are exceptional to be fair and well worth checking out if you haven’t already. Bandcamp
Stevie R Pearce & The Hooligans – ‘Rush Of Blood To The Head’ (Cargo Records) With a new album recorded live in Blackpool entitled ‘Give Me Everything’ ‘Rush Of Blood’ is a brand new track to follow on from last years studio album. You want loud guitars and Rockin’ tunes with a heap of attitude then Stevie and his bunch of Hooligans are your boys just ask Jizzy Pearl and Kory Clarke they know a thing or two about guitar players. reunited with two of the Black Bullets players Stevie has got Carl and Lance in to rock out as his new Hooligans a line up completed by Richard Jones. Stevie recons it’s the lightest of the new songs they’ve written but the chorus is a keeper and couldn’t be ignored he’s not wrong it’ll lodge itself in your noggin’ and you’ll be humming it all bloody day long. It’s gritty yet polished and if this is the lightest he’s come up with then I’m intrigued – Top tune make no mistake about that, America listen up – This could and probably should rule the FM airwaves. Facebook
The Electric Shakes – 2019 EP (self Released) Why not treat yourself to some of the digital records you know, flac or mp3. so it’s not something you can put in a jukebox but these four tracks sure do rock and fuckin’ roll. From the garage fuzz of the catchy ‘Phoney High’ Electric Shakes have got it going on. this Bournemouth three-piece make a wonderful noise and a cautionary tale about cheap narcotics. ‘Rye And Dry’ ups the tempo with some lovely Poison Ivy stylings on that six-string whilst the rhythm section holds down the backbeat to the chorus that’s like a rush of adrenaline. Cool stuff. Probably my pick of the four tracks on offer would be the spikey ‘Hound Dog’ with its distorted riff-a-rama that takes you to the holin’ chorus. Oh wait don’t jump the gun because they saved the best till last as ‘Trash’ is one angry motherfucker as it rallies against the modern world and the disdain poured onto the people at the bottom of the ladder and the homeless or those who just struggle. Good on you Electric Shakes this is a band we like and will support, a band with a moral compass and a bunch of top tunes to boot give them a shout folks and get behind them they rock. Pick up the EP Here
The Zeros – ‘In The Spotlight’ (Munster Records) The Zeros are back baby and this December sees the first new music in God knows how long (over twenty years). It’s Released on Munster Records outta Spain and this slice of Rock and Roll shows that Javier Escovedo has lost none of his spark and these two blistering tunes are full of energy and are as vibrant as anything their contemporaries can put out in 2019. I hear rumours of an album and If these tunes are an indication of what we could expect from a long-player in 2020 then bring it on brothers because these tunes are fantastic. Sleazy Rock n Roll from the heart with some wicked lead breaks mixed with some howling harmonica on the lead track whilst ‘Nowhere To Run’ has boundless energy mixed with plenty of snotty rock n roll. Welcome back boys we’ve missed ya!
THE CHERRY DOLLS – State Of Mine (Bread And Butter Records) with a brand new record Australias Cherry Dolls rock up with something that has a hint of The Strokes mixed with something darker from the origins of The Stooges for sure. ‘State Of Mind’ is a fuzzed up slice of Rock and Roll that we love around these parts and this is a welcome addition to our singles club. Go check them out on Bandcamp and Facebook and tell em RPM Sent You!
Tom Baker and the Snakes- ‘Cancel It’ (Rum Bar Records) It’s always a rockin good day when a Rum Bar Records record drops through the ether. It’s like the quality stamp of approval you don’t even need to ask who it is because chances are its gonna lodge itself in your noggin and take root. The fact its Tom Baker backed by The Snakes is something of an afterthought. (God knows who? Tom Baker has never made a bad record either) lifted from ‘Dirty Snakes’ its an absolute throwback rocker think Georgia Sats kicking it out with Mellencamp when he turned up the amps. Its a corker and in a few weeks the full album will be released Facebook
Tensheds – Goldtooth (Tensheds Music) taken from the soon to be released album ‘Deathrow Disco’ the more observant of you might notice the keyboard player from a certain Jim Jones & The Righteous Minds. This has been described as a cross between Jerry Lee and Lady Gaga but its more White Stripes with a great big dirty Rhodes organ instead of a guitar it’s like James Leg has a UK based twin but with a more style and better hair. Facebook
Beat Hotel – Feel It (Occultation Recordings) The first single off this Brighton based bands self-titled mini album with a great sense of songwriting with great lyrics and well worked arrangments it’s a great slab of noisy pop taking chunks of influence from the alternative scene of the 80s with bands like the Bunnymen and Teenage fanclub clearly having some influence as well as a most welcome dash of Jesus & Mary Chain. Great song and I look forward to hearing the full minialbum. Keep up with Beat Hotel Facebook | Bandcamp | YouTube | Twitter | Soundcloud | Spotify | Vinyl order | Press contact
Pist – Fools Gave Chase (APF Records) As we’re such a broad church here is the latest offering from those heavy as a 10000 tonne boulder Pist are in the club with the rifftastic ‘Fools Gave Chase’ in all its non-single length glory. Taken from the album ‘Hailz’ Available Here
Grande Royale / Liar Thief Bandit – Split (The Sign Records) Action Rockers strap yourself in for a royale showdown as Liar Thief Bandit lay down the challenge with some classic Action Rock riff-a-rama as they offer up ‘Virtue As A Vice’ whilst fellow Action rockers Grande Royale announce that they were ‘Saved By Rock ‘n’ Roll’ its limited to only 300 pieces its an easy chorus to remember Saved by rock n roll wohoho! so get out your tennis racket and play along and don’t spare the sweatbands