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.
Not Just your regular summer, no sir, this one is hot! and its only getting hotter!
Whilst May was relatively quiet (slang) June was positively bristling with releases and live shows for the RPM crew and the beginning of the festival season was open. But we couldn’t mention June 2018 without a few tributes to fallen comrades in Rock and Roll.
Firstly, Heavy Drapes frontman Garry Alexander Borland passed away the first week after returning from Holland after a really successful show at Rebellion over there. Garry’s passing was a huge shock to people close to him obviously but his passing was also felt in the wider alternative community with his band on the verge of much bigger and better things what with the up and coming decent billing at Rebellion UK and their debut album ready to go so its only right we record this moment and pay tribute to Garry. May he rest in peace.
Another sad passing was that of DJ Fontana who was Elvis Presley’s drummer for many a year, Dominic Joseph Fontana was responsible for laying down the backbeat on almost 500 songs with the king which is no mean feat and a really impressive CV by any standard also it’s only right we recognise his contribution to music. Rest in Peace DJ.
Sadly a third influential musician passed away in June this year, none other than Nick Knox the second but longest-serving Cramps drummer. Nick joined the band from the Electric Eels and occupied the drum stool from 1977-1991, Knox toured with the band and appeared on some of the Cramps’ best recordings, ‘Songs The Lord Taught Us‘, ‘Psychedelic Jungle’ and ‘A Date With Elvis’. Rest In Peace Nick Knox the man behind Lux and the man behind the shades.
Sadly the fourth person to pass away in June was none other than West coast punk rock legend Steve Soto of The Adolescents. Steve was originally the bass player in Agent Orange back in ’79 he then served as bass player in the Adolescents until passing. the most recent album ‘Cropduster‘ being his final piece of work and easily one of 2018 finest albums. The band went on to tour the summer around Europe with stand-in player and dedicated the set each night to Steve where they had a backdrop replacing the band’s logo and replacing it with SOTO at Rebellion in August Tony Reflex dedicated the show to his bandmate in a touching speech and subsequent performance that was electric and memorable, Rest In Peace Steve 54 is way too young.
Right hopefully onto much happier matters for the month of June 2018. With Festival season in full swing Fraser headed to Download and watched The Bronx, The Hives and Turbonegro show the festivals other acts how Rock and Roll was meant to be delivered to the people. elsewhere it seemed like the world and his Mrs were off to see the Rolling Stones play some enormadome or should that be a field?
IT might have cost the GDP of some countries to get close enough to see the band measure up to the size of a subbutteo player but it has to be said nobody was disappointed in either the performance or the setlist the band was knocking out on this leg of the tour. Jagger was ever his peter pan like self careering from one side of the huge stage to the other like he was a child with more energy than most performers more than half his age and some.
Nev decided he’d bowl darn London way and take in what Camden Rocks had to offer. Basically, all the pubs of any note and the dive bars, as well as the more famous landmarks such as Dingwalls, Electric Ballroom etc throw, open their doors to live Rock and Roll for the day and if you have a wristband and there’s room at the inn then uh, you’re in! Just wear some comfortable shoes and a stage planner. You might just happen across your favourite new band or someone you’ve been meaning to catch and hey presto there they are. (Deep Breath time) This year Nev caught The Ramonas at the Dublin Castle – Dirty Thrills at The Underworld Talia Dean in Brew Dog then back to the underworld for Sonic Boom Six and some knees up skanking ska which went down rather well with Nev. It wouldn’t have been right had our roving scribe not caught Urban Voodoo Machine down at the lock where the place to be was indeed Dingwalls then to finish off a marathon of live entertainment it was Camden Assembly for some Ryan Hamilton & The Traitors before the Rifles was a curtain call for Mr Brooks but he wasn’t banking on bumping into Paul-Ronny Angel either so his night wasn’t quite over!
Ben went to Rambling Man Fair and enjoyed the performances of such heavyweight rockers as The Cult and also managed to catch RPM favourites Jim Jones and The Righteous Mind as well as the real mock rockers Steel Panth..Nah I can’t type it sorry folks I’d be doing RPM a disservice even mentioning them. anyway, Ben also managed to take in the large club gig of the month that was the triple-headed Britrock Must Be Destroyed touring carnival that featured a rotating line up of Reef, The Wildhearts, and Terrorvision. there were multiple dates to be fair and it was decided on the day how the running order would play out. I reckon each band made new fans on the night as reports were coming in of all three raising each others game and an excellent way to tour. The night Ben had in Leeds also saw Dodgy added to the lineup.
Our intrepid European correspondent or one of them Craggy got to see Repetitor live at Kabinet Muz, Brno I said Craggy got to see Repetitor in Brno…oh forget it he enjoyed it anyway said it was one of his highlights of the year to be fair.
Now with a sharp intake of breath June was positively overflowing with album releases that would bother top tens come the end of the year. Just a few of those contenders has to be The Interrupters with their ‘Fight The Good Fight’ that saw them leap up the rankings with a fantastic collection of tunes that was shaking up not just fans of the bands previous two albums but new music fans who heard one of the many potential hits on the radio or tv with the album set to just keep on selling and selling we are looking at the next big thing as they won’t be playing clubs for much longer.
Getting Tim Armstrong in to produce the record is a great move as the guy oozes class and knows his way around a ska-punk record and if he had a hand in any of the songwriting or arranging then boy pat yourselves on the back because the infectious ‘A Friend Like Me’, ‘Shes Kerosene’ and the awesome ‘Got Each Other’ are three reasons why this record will deservedly be in many ends of year top 3’s and rightly so..
Elsewhere June saw the release of London Towns Portuguese legends The Parkinson’s return with the LP ‘The Shape Of Nothing To Come’ that confirmed that these gentlemen still had it and it was a fine return to the fold in every way. Now expanded to a five piece you can take the boys out of punk rock but you can’t ever take the punk rock out of the boys and that boys and girls is a fact. the Parkinsons still have the chops.
Another couple of worthy mentions in the albums released in June has to be Smash Fashion and their ‘Rompus Pompous’. Which has gone down a right storm at RPM as they’ve really hit their stride on this one and joioning them would have to be Nottingham’s The Speedways with the fantastic slice of power pop that is ‘Just Another Regular Summer’ the brains behind the idea to write an album was Matt former guitarist of The Breakdowns he’s since formed a band after the success of the record and has played a number of shows and next year they’ve already planned some shows in Spain and London. It really is power pop perfection and a record we highly recommend.
The old school shouldn’t be forgotten either because June was also the month when the phrase you can’t teach an old dog new tricks was debunked because The Uk Subs once again released a new album ‘Subversions’ of some of their favourite songs by other people – sure a cover album. there might well be some you could see coming but there are others on the album that you would never have seen coming.
Over in NYC the birthplace of hardcore and home to some of the best bands around Madball made a new record they put out in June 2018 and the brutal ‘For The Cause’ was unleashed on the world and immediately felt at home with the RPM crew.
Finally a mention of records released in June this time for the magnificent London power poppin’ punk rockin’ Los Pepe who released their long playing Greatest Hits on Snap Records! it came with a CD of the album and they also got to knock out a single this month as well which was nice. Don’t get me started on singles that appeared this month because ther were plenty with my pick of the pack coming from the Randy Savages who were ‘Guilty Of Nuthin’ .
Another week rolls by and we head towards Christmas but there are no mince pies or sherry being overindulged round here when there are records to review and Shows to see and last week was no exception as RPM brought you a diverse bunch on the live front as well as on the death decks.
Sadly the last seven days saw another rock n roller pass on to the next life and we said goodbye to Peter Blast. I had the pleasure of reviewing several of his albums and spoke to him in the last twelve months. On behalf of everyone here at RPM I’d like to offer our condolences to his family and friends and raise a glass to his memory.
We also brought you an interview with Phil Privilege from the awesome kings of power punk n pop Cyanide Pills with an amazing trail of singles and albums as part of their repertoire Phil told us they were on the way to deliver the next long player as well as answer a few of our questions about the band, Catch up with it here
As for the coming week, we continue with Bens California Dreaming road trip where he visits some pretty amazing places as he skips across the USA. we also caught a few amazing live shows and bring you some fantastic records by some well-known people as well as some of the finest new performers current kicking up a storm on record players and concert halls around the planet. Remember to stick with RPM for all your alternative news and reviews. As Lux used to say “Stay Sick” www.rpmonline.co.uk its a rock n roll revolution!
I think it is important to start with the disclaimer that Smash Fashion has a history of being hit and miss with me. I went into this album expecting that relationship to be more of the same, especially after the video for ‘Runs in the Family’ did nothing for me, but I am happy to say that song seems to be the exception as I have found much to enjoy here.
‘Can’t Take you Anywhere” features a glitter inspired glam guitar riff circa ’77 to start the album on a great note. Roger Deering channels a voice from a bygone era in his vocals, and Smash Fashion immediately made me sit up and pay more attention back on my first listen to this album. With a chorus that sticks like molasses, this would have been my first video from the album. Up next, ‘Soft as a Rock’ continues the hot streak with a jangly guitar riff by Lloyd Stuart Casson leading into a nearly 6 minute epic song. Scarlet Rowe (bass) and Repo Kauppila (drums) provide a tight rhythm section that allows some great starts and stops with Kauppila providing some great drum fills. The musical coda at the end sets up some future jams for the band with a great solo by Casson closing the song. The title track features a slinky beat that explodes into another dimension for the chorus, which has made the song much more enjoyable for me. It provides some great dynamics and builds anticipation throughout the song with the guitar solo being an extra surprise on your first few listens as it appears right before the final chorus.
Harmonica and a blues riff welcome ‘Wolves of Wonderland.’ I have to say one of the amazing things about Smash Fashion is they can take a 5 minute song and make it seem as short as a 3 minute single. The extended solo section here providing another great musical avenue to explore in the live setting. ‘Teenage Demon’ struts out of the speaker like an adrenalin laden T.Rex with spoken word voices giving the song additional texture. This song suffers a bit from not having a more immediate hook as it does take some patient to get its hooks into the brain. Musically, the band channels the glitter glam era exceptionally well with the slow strutting ‘Proper Way to Eat a Muffin’ delivering the goods musically, but the lyrics are just a little too silly for me. It is a fine line sometimes and different for all of us. As I mentioned at the beginning, ‘Runs in the Family’ just does not connect with me at all. It has improved a bit with repeated listens, and I have to say that I enjoy the final ¾ of the song more than the beginning.
Slowing things down a little bit, ‘Tender was the Hook’ serves up a great chorus with Deering twisting his voice around the great beat by Rowe and Kauppila. This song channels the 70’s with perhaps some sprinkles of Nikki Sudden and Dave Kusworth added for good measure. The rock and roll infused ‘Ugly Thugly’ finds Casson letting loose on the guitar with Deering supplying another catchy chorus that would make Bolan and Bowie proud. ‘Gentle Hand’ begins with an awesome guitar riff and features a great hook by Deering. This would be one of my future singles/ videos if I was marketing the album as it hits hard and direct. This is another of my favorites and reminds me of the brilliant and just dissolved Dr. Boogie. The soft ‘Smiles and Daggers’ brings the album to a close with some very nice piano work. It provides something completely different from everything that comes before it. I have not found myself going specifically to it for a listen but do enjoy ending each listen of the album with it as it really winds things down nicely since it builds to an epic rock finish.
Smash Fashion have delivered an album that has made me much more of a fan of the band as the only real stumble for me comes in the middle of the album. They start and finish strong though. If you are looking for some cool rock and roll that will leave your room covered in sequins, glitter, and satin; Smash Fashion will hit the sweet spot for you.