With 2019 quickly rolling downhill towards 2020 and with Halloween just around the corner and Shit Island still under Tory rule heres a playlist to take you away from the humdrum of real-life and to take a peek at whats on the RPM turntables and MP3 players this month.

Alice Cooper is in the house with Go Man Go taken from his excellent EP ‘The Breadcrumbs EP’ and how could we not include Jim Jones & The Righteous Mind so get down and get with it as ‘Shazam’ is in the house on the virtual player.

Also on the live front we’ve caught up with the awesome Cyanide Pills who are ‘Still Bored’. this month we’ve got an exclusive interview we recently did with Spunk Volcano so it seems right we should include ‘Shit Excuse’ from ‘Double Bastard’.  It seems that every man and his dog is attending one of The Cult winter tour dates so why not play ‘New York City’ from the 30th Anniversary ‘Sonic Temple’.

Hands up if you’re heading to one of the Black Flag dates around the UK this month?  We are so ‘My War’ is on the list. Pulled Apart By Horses rode into Newport and left a mark so ‘The Big What If’ is on the list.

As for new albums we’ve reviewed how about a few new ones starting off with Pardon Us with the opening track on their debut album ‘Wait’ ‘check out ‘Beyond The Valley Of The Wolves’. The Hangmen are back with ‘Cactusville’ as are Starcrawler who we’ve included with the excellent rock and rolla ‘No More Pennies’, Bitch Queens bring ‘Superboy’ and their brothers from different mother are back with a new single.  The Hip Priests ‘I Hate The City’ from their recent split but fear not pop pickers they have another single on the way this month we’ve heard it and its a no brainer kids all killer and no filler was written for them.

As we say goodbye to Barrie Masters we’ve included Eddie And The Hot Rods cover of ‘Once Bitten Twice Shy’.  Since they’re having a movie made about them we think it’s apt that we include the awesome Redd Kross with ‘Motorboat’ on this months playlist.  turn it up baby because Charger make the paylist with ‘Victim’ from their self titled record. Cockroach Clan released their new/old record so why not sample some Norweigan punk rock whilst youre here.

It wouldn’t seem right not to have a Wildhearts tune in our playlist seeing as they have a new mini-album out this month and are playing the UK again so heres ‘A Song About Drinking’.  Supporting them on this round of dates are Janus Stark who also have a headliner at the hope & Anchor so with news of their new album released last week heres one from them for good measure – We can’t play you anything new but trust us when we say it’s going to be worth the wait so to keep you going heres ‘Every Little Thing Counts’.  It only seems fair we offer up some Shitbaby Mammals with the opener from their record ‘Heart On My Sleeve’.  To wrap up this months playlist heres some Black Star Riders with the second track from their new album and title track ‘Another State Of Grace’. So until next month…

The Hangmen release records when they want to release records. The Hangmen don’t seem to have a mapped out plan to their rock and Roll and it would seem have a more organic approach, a natural approach to what they do.  The one thing that shines like a beacon is when they do decide its time to put out a record its always quality and well worth the wait.

‘Cactusville’ is the group’s new record their first since 2012 and builds on ‘East Of Western’ with subtle string and harmonies in their arrangements. It still has their hallmark country-infused punk style and attitude, The Hangmen have penned a record that singer and guitarist Bryan Small describes as “A fully realized effort.”

It’s dark at times but, its also glorious technicolour,  Small’s songwriting stands in contrast from his Los Angeles peers, choosing to chronicle outlaw folklore and broken romances, The Hangmen are in the house and whilst keeping their identity and the style that fans love they have finally returned with newly found urgency.

Being unhappy with aspects of the last studio album Smalls was determined to wright what he saw as the previous records wrongs and then The Hangmen went on what Small called a ‘forced hiatus’, prompting longtime bassist Angelique Congleton to ask if the band existed or would even resume.

Small felt sufficient time had passed and began writing but with no plan in mind, who knows how long it might take him to follow it up. Thankfully Smalls must have been inspired and the music began to flow. Congleton kept active with her chef position while Small continued spending time with his family.

‘Cactusville’ might be slightly darker and the songs more measured than ‘East Of Western’ it might be partly due to the revolving door of band members this time new drummer Jorge E. Disguster takes the stool along with Smalls and longtime six string companion Jimmy James.

“I know we’ve had a lot of lineups since that first record back in ’86 but I believe in the songs, still play some of those tracks. Looking back to when I first saw Jimmy James play, I loved how simple yet powerful he was. I knew he was the right guitarist for me. Angelique has been with me since ‘Metallic I.O.U.’ came out and I’m grateful because playing in a band is never really easy, and I wouldn’t say The Hangmen are what people would consider a full-time thing. We don’t really have the infrastructure that other groups do. Social media is dominating and of course every band uses it but for me, it’s like pulling teeth to use. Jorge is interested in doing that and Acetate has done more for us than Capitol Records ever did back in the day, that experience ended up being such a joke,”.

Here and now the record starts with the title track and with a laid back groove it’s a sonic masterclass sounding like Smalls has indeed put previous production foibles to bed and moved on with a bright and roomy opener.  With a lead guitar that sits on top of the mix giving it a real air of quality and you’ll stop what you’re doing to check out who and what your hearing. ‘Looking For Blood’ is more upbeat with a swagger in the rhythm and its got handclaps so I’m all in.

Some of the guitar work on this record is exceptional.  Not in the fact they’re doing anything groundbreaking but they sound like a pair of guitarists who just click and feed off each other.  ‘Man In Blacks Hand’ has got a cool as guitar lick and its the sound of a writer who knows what he’s after and what he’s steeped in and should rightfully be proud of these songs marrying a great lick to a recognisable sound isn’t an easy thing in 2019 but this is 100% Hangmen but it does sound fresh at the same time.  Those country-tinged phrasings come to the fore on ‘Nobody’s Girl’ and the subtle strings fill the sound making it sound huge but Smalls snarl trading off the guitar lick is great and by the time you hit the chorus you should be nodding like a dog.

Never wanting to overstay their welcome The Hangmen keep it to a super solid nine tracks on ‘Cactusville’ with ‘Cold Memory Blues’ is the lap steel countrified inner city blues that Smalls writes so well. It’s widescreen Rock and Roll alright and is the cover artwork in music. ‘Don’t Count Me Out’ is a beautiful song with some fantastic harmonies and exceptional arrangments.  A record that just keeps on giving play after play it goes through the gears but remains totally The Hangmen old fans will be delighted with the songwriting quality and new fans will be wondering how they’ve been so late to the party.  Take a trip on the dark side of the Hollywood tracks where the Hangmen dwell just out of sight from the glitz and fake glamour this is where the real beauty lies. The album closer is the acoustic-driven ‘Don’t Look Back’ thats heartbreaking in delivery as Smalls croons with his trusty acoustic before being joined by the rest of the band. Who then weave and meander through over six minutes of what it’s fair to describe as an epic journey with some stunning guitar breaks.

‘Cactusville’ is pretty much exactly what I wanted to hear on a new Hangmen record and they bloody well nailed it. Hopefully, this will light a fire under Smalls songwriting timeline and we won’t have to wait so long between records and it would be awesome if the band would come to the UK.  I’d be there, would you? Stunning new album buy it!

Buy Cactusville Here

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Author: Dom Daley

The L.A. underground Rock legend’s 7th studio album
“It’s The Hangmen he wanted to kill… we got run out of Cactusville,” laments Bryan Small on the album’s title track of The Hangmen’s seventh album. Flanked by longtime members Jimmy James (guitar), Angelique Congleton (bass) and newcomer Jorge Disguster (drums), Small recollects the harrowing tale of a gig in Tuscon promoting their major label debut. “It was such a formative trip for us as a young band. There was death, drugs, booze, guns, girls and rock n’ roll… and we met some new friends along the way.”
2019 marks the release of Cactusville and another chapter of The Hangmen legend continues. Small has taken his brand of songwriting to another level, putting him in an artistic class with the likes of Tom Petty and Neil Young as purveyors of honest and simple songwriting.
Side 2 of the LP features the Best Western Players, Bryan Small’s countrified side project. In the same vein as Neil Young’s “American Stars and Bars,” the songs take on a different feel, with vocal harmonies and haunting pedal steel echoing throughout. It’s familiar territory for Small, who grew up in rural Montana before making his way to Los Angeles. “The ‘country’ side of The Hangmen has been there from the start, it stems from the love of Gun Club, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, etc.,” explains Small, “the Best Western Players were brought in to realize the songs as they were conceived.”
The Hangmen will join Acetate Records label mates the Supersuckers on a rare East Coast US tour in September. Additional dates TBA.
THE HANGMEN w/ Supersuckers (unless otherwise denoted *)
  • 08/23 Los Angeles, CA @ Redwood Bar Record Release Party *
  • 09/02 Atlanta, GA @ The Earl
  • 09/04 Greenville, SC @ Radio Room
  • 09/05 Durham, NC @ Motorco Music Hall
  • 09/06 Wilmington, NC @ Reggie’s 42nd St. Tavern
  • 09/07 Asheville, NC @ The Grey Eagle
  • 09/08 Nashville, TN @ Little Harpeth Brewing
  • 09/10 Richmond, VA @ The Camel
  • 09/11 Washington DC @ City Winery
  • 09/12 Harrisburg, PA @ 10th St. Stage
  • 09/14 Harrisonburg, VA @ The Golden Pony
  • 09/15 Pittsburgh, PA @ Hard Rock Cafe
  • 09/16 Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom
  • 09/18 Portland, ME @ Geno’s Rock Club
  • 09/19 Hampton Beach, NH @ Wally’s
  • 09/20 Cambridge, MA @ Middle East
  • 09/21 Amityville, NY @ Amityville Music Hall
  • 09/22 Brooklyn, NY @ El Cortez
Cactusville Pre-sale – Here

Ben Hughes

 

I wear my Junkyard t-shirt with pride. I saw them back in the day and I saw them last year at Hull Hair Metal Heaven, albeit with a 26-year gap. Now I get to see them do an actual headline set at my local venue, just a short walk from my house, 27 years since first seeing them open for The Almighty.

Over here as support to Blackberry Smoke by personal request of singer Charlie Starr shows the respect these Hollywood veterans have in certain circles and rightly so. Lumped in with the late 80’s glam scene, they were always more Steve Earl than Motley Crue. Times may have changed, styles may have changed but Junkyard will always be Junkyard. Bowing to no trends or fads, they play rock ‘n’ roll like they always have, honest songs with dirty riffs and sleazy vocals that get under the fingernails and refuse to budge.

 

First up we have The Jokers. I’ve not seen or heard The Jokers before tonight and to be fair the Northern band were highly impressive. I guess you could put them right in the Classic Rock category, think Bad Company meets Shortino-era Quiet Riot. You can’t knock their energy and enthusiasm for starters and I think they turned it up to 11, maybe a bit too loud for the sparse turnout at Fibbers tonight.

Singer Wane Parry looks like a young Dave King in his Fastway days with Bolans’ corkscrew hair and what a damn fine set of pipes he has. Diminutive guitarist Paul Hurst is a poundshop Warner E Hodges and an excellent player who gives his all, pulling off massive riffs and licks aplenty. Several times he downs his Les Paul and comes out into the audience to beckon people to come to the front. He partly succeeded by pulling forward some birds who were probably wives and girlfriends of the band to be honest.

They played like the room was packed and they deserve bigger audiences. If they play in your town I strongly urge you to go see them.

 

Vintage Trouble’s ‘Run Like The River’ blats from the PA as an introduction for Junkyard’s set tonight. With the cover of last year’s excellent ‘High Water’ album emblazoned on the screens behind them, they launch straight into ‘Life Sentence’. It’s been the opener every time I have seen them, no wonder, it’s a killer introduction. “That’s my life, that’s my way…that’s my life sentence”  shouts Roach as he swings his mic stand around the stage, no truer words have been sung with such conviction.

Dressed in their obligatory matching denim cut-offs, Junkyard are a gang who wear their colours proudly on their backs and their brand of biker blues is for real. The raw, punk rock delivery of David Roach is the perfect match for the bluesy twin guitars of Jimmy James and Tim Mosher. Uber cool Quireboys bassist Gary Ivin, standing in for the absent Todd Muscat, is a fine replacement and keeps a perfect rhythm with original drummer Pat Muzingo.

New songs such as ‘Faded’ and the punky ‘W.F.L.W.F.’ fit perfectly with the old standards and it’s as great to hear these new songs live as it is the classics. The ever cool ‘Back On The Streets’ and the bluesy ‘Long Way Home’ are played early and sound sublime.  

Jimmy James breaks a string midway through ‘Blooze’, so as the pair of guitarists dart off stage together to re-string (they didn’t even bring a spare?), the rhythm section keeps the song going, bassist Gaz keeps the rumbling bassline jamming stage front as David returns with an extended vocal rap. A fine rock ‘n’ roll moment to savor.

‘Hands Off’ remains one of my favourite Junkyard songs and tonight, as Tim picks those classic chords and Jimmy rips out that bluesy lead, it sends shivers up the back of my spine.

Of course, they close with the obligatory ‘Hollywood’ their biggest hit, but not their greatest song by far.

 

No encore’s, no surprises and a no-frills approach that delivered just what you expect from a Junkyard show. There is talk of them returning to these shores in the not so distant future, and while I’m sure the packed out shows with Blackberry Smoke have been rewarding for the band, I do hope the not so packed club shows don’t put them off coming back for more. Until they return, I still wear my Junkyard t-shirt with pride.

Buy Junkyard Here

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