Having already played a part in what will inevitably be one of RPM Online’s albums of the year for 2019 (The Hip Priests’ ‘Stand For Nothing’ in case you have been living under a rock these past six months) Mike McKinnon, or “Silent Mike” as he was known during his time in Da Priests, is right now carving out a musical path that involves just him and an acoustic guitar.
Yup the man of normally few words (hence his old stage name) is back brothers and sisters and guess what? He’s just self released his debut 11 track solo album.
Recorded by Mike at his home studio during the months immediately after his departure from The Hip Priests ‘Self Titled’ is both inwardly reflective, and as the man says himself, “a far cry from what he’s ever done before.”
Spoken word opener ‘Arrogance/Ignorance’ sets the tone perfectly, and sums up Mike’s mission statement in just forty five seconds. Not an easy feat by any stretch of the imagination, but sometimes less really is more.
‘You Picked the Right Time’ is the track Mike initially previewed via social media so I guess he already realises this is perhaps his ace card, it’s a tune that stands out from the pack and I for one would love to hear this one afforded a full studio makeover, perhaps even with a backing band.
Vocally Mike reminds me at times of both Ken Stringfellow and Billie Joe Armstrong so he’s certainly no slouch in this department, it’s just that for me, it took a few listens to get fully acclimatised to his rather unique style – one which tends to see him singing more towards the top end of his register. Once I was in however the likes of ‘Save Myself’ and ‘We’re Not Okay’ really are hook laden blasts of acoustic pop, with Mike even out swearing his old band mates during the latter.
When McKinnon steps down an octave or two vocally like his does on the excellent ‘Disaster Slide’, the sombre ‘Your Goddam Face’ and the verses of the introspective ‘Taking Forever’ there is an extra dimension to his storytelling and his use of double tracked vocals is something that really does make his songs stand out. With rumours circulating that Mike will be touring this record later in the year it will be really interesting to see what he does with these tracks in the live environment, and maybe that band idea I suggested above isn’t such a bonkers one after all?
Before all that though there’s the not so insignificant matter of getting ‘Self Titled’ out there on the streets, which it is already via the usual streaming platforms and via Mike’s Bandcamp page. The plan being to then release this hugely impressive debut set of songs as a CD along with a tie-in 7” sometime later in 2019 something I’d love to see not least because these tracks are crying out to be properly housed within the awesome Jay Millette drawn cover art (textured sleeve a must).
Mike McKinnon is one of those characters punk rock throws up from time to time that makes you stop and think about life and sometimes it’s just the simplicity of a man and an acoustic guitar that does this best.
Go on – hit the links below and tell Mike RPM sent you
It’s officially summer here in the UK so what better way to celebrate a wet and muggy Sunday afternoon than to head off in the direction of Nottingham for a matinee show that promises to be something very special indeed. The Chameleon in the city center is, of course, the ideal venue for a rare visit to the UK from Turbonecro with the venue packed to the rafters and already doubling up as a sauna long before a single note is even played.
With local hardcore broken blues outfit Bloody Head filling the upstairs gig room with the head-splitting sonic assaults, they like to call songs things can only get more claustrophobic as the doom sludge button is duly turned up to 11. Hypnotic yet at times psychotic their singer is one of those frontmen who really has no boundaries and a half hour spent in the company of Bloody Head leaves me feeling how I imagine Anthony Joshua must be feeling this afternoon, bruised and very battered indeed.
With Vain’s ‘Secrets’ blasting out of the PA the all new supercharged version of The Hip Priests is chomping at the bit ready show the locals exactly why they aren’t going to be UK’s best kept punk rock secret (ouch) for very much longer. There’s barely room to sweat down the front as the Priests kick straight into ‘Motherfucker Superior’ and the whole place goes suitably nuts. I hear through the RPM grapevine that a similar thing happened the day before during the band’s Camden Rocks slot and with rave reviews across the board for the band’s fourth album ‘Stand For Nothing’, packed out gigs and the continued growth of the band’s Spasm Gang membership, maybe just maybe the band’s seemingly endless battle with the general apathy of the UK might just about to be coming to an end.
Of this afternoon’s setlist every track is an A Grade classic, from the old faves of ‘Zero Fucks Given’ and ‘Sonic Reproducer’ to newer cuts like ‘Welcome to Shit Island’ (complete with a hilarious version of the English national anthem intro), ‘Deja F.U.’ and ‘Cheers To Me’ it’s impossible not to get all emotional just like Priest stalwart Lee Love and crack a smile or two at just how fucking amazing his band is sounding right now.
Forget Dom declaring the Hip Priests are a tsunami of noise, they are a motherfucking tornado of energy and we the hapless punters are being sucked up into the (brown) eye of their musical storm. ‘Stand For Nothing’ is not only one of the best albums you will hear anywhere this year The Hip Priests are also one of the best live bands out there right now too. So if you’ve not heard or seen either of them you know what you have to do. Right?
With the current version of Turbonegro getting some pretty harsh (in my honest opinion) reviews from some factions of their fanbase who perhaps would prefer to see the band go back to their pre-Tony Sylvester sound at all costs, I can’t help but wonder “where the hell they all were today?” I’m amazed that the Midlands division of the blue denim brigade aren’t queuing rank and file around the block at the prospect of finally seeing Turbonecro playing live in the UK, perhaps there was a more important patch swap on or something?
All joking aside for those of us keen enough to drive 3 hours each way to sample some pre-Apocalyptic Rock in the company of Vegard H (guitar) Carlos C (drums), Harri F (vocals) and Bingo C (bass) it really is a chance to witness the roots of Turbonegro, and go back to a time when they simply wanted to be the most obnoxious band in Oslo, long before the sailor hats came along.
Bathed in feedback opener ‘Hush, Earthling’ and early single ‘Route Zero’ are both loose feeling white noise blasts that have Harri stalking the front few rows glaring them down with his stone-cold stare. It’s the short sharp shocks of ‘Clenched Teeth’ and ‘Librium Love’ from ‘Hot Cars’ where the hardcore roots of TRBNGR shine brightest though and I’m mindful just how much of a massive impact these guys made on the likes of bands like Christmas who carry on the Death Punk tradition to this day – albeit with their own subtle twist to the formula.
Blasting through (I think) 17 songs in just over half an hour the likes of ‘Timebomb’ and a straight to the point version of ‘I Got Erection’ whizz by in a sweaty blur whilst I’m pretty sure set closer ‘Prima Moffe’ also manages to segue into an overdriven segment of ‘Get It On’ at some point too.
Heading out into the late afternoon sunshine (see I told you it was summer here in the UK) and a few pounds lighter thanks to my punk rock sweat bath I really hope that this debut visit by Turbonecro to the UK doesn’t prove to be their only visit because whilst their mission statement might read No denim, No glam, No sailor, No fun they most certainly are whole lot of the latter and 24 hours on my ears are still ringing away almost to reinforce that point.
With The Camden Rocks Festival this weekend coming it seems only fair for RPM to look at a few more of the bands to watch over the weekend. with Camden still clinging onto its identity as a varied and embracing community and this festival growing year on year as a unique festival that embraces all genres of music from Rock to punk to indie to grunge to power pop to Action rock and beyond.
We’ve looked at the bands over the two days and Nev gave a list of his ones to watch over the two days. Here I’d like to throw a few more bands into the mix some will clash and others are headlining but they all rock so I’ll start on Saturday and the Dublin Castle.
First up how about trying Sick Love hailing from Dublin this four-piece kick off at 14.00 with their loud guitar-based rock they’re in good company playing alongside the likes of The Hip Priests I’m sure songs like ‘Soccer Mum’ will go down a storm
Also playing The Dublin Castle at 17.00 are Pet Needs who’s video we showed last week. Alternative punks based in Colchester (what where?) With a bunch of highly energetic songs in their Arsenal The Dublin Castle seems like it’s going to take some stopping as it stakes its claim as the place to be let’s just hope they have the air conditioning on they might just need it.
As Nev wrote about The Hip Priests in his briefing we won’t mention them again except to say we recently saw their set in Newport and they were devastating so if its Explosive uncompromising Garage Rock and Fucking Roll you crave then 19.00 is the time – The Dublin Castle is the place and The Hip Priests are the band.
Moving over to Kolis at the lounge you have a choice to make. Rich Ragany And The Digressions will be shaking it up and playing songs from their excellent ‘…Like We’ll Never Make It…’ but like the Hip Priests, Nev recommended them previously. Rags and his Digressions hit the Kolis stage at 19.00 but following them at 20.00 are the East Coast rockers The Sweet Things Having just released their debut long player we reviewed last week (Here) Such a cool timeless slice of Rock and Roll, these cats are laying down tunes in the time-honoured style of Primal Scream -that Black Crowes debut and a dash of the Stones for sure, Hell, they borrow from the good and great and one listen to ‘Borrowed Shoes’ you’ll draw your own comparisons but you won’t deny that they have a slice of magic under their belts. It will be great to hear what they do live and I’m sure the joint will be jumping when they perform. One not to miss me thinks.
Heading over to the Monarch there are a couple of sets we think you might like to catch firstly at 14.00 in the afternoon The Wild Things will be doing their thing. their thing being rock and roll with plenty of hooks as played out on their debut album ‘You’re Really Something’ which travels through the acoustic pop of ‘Better Off Alone’ the upbeat title track the power pop of ‘Loaded Gun’ this guitar band offer something different and in Sydney Rae White they have great vocals besides people might recognise her from Netflix / BBC show ‘Uncle’ but her band have variety and a bunch of great songs.
Another band to watch I’d certainly recommend Glen Matlock headlining @ Fest not only because he has a whole bunch of great songs at his disposal and always plays a blinder but he has a fantastic band featuring Chris Musto, Earl Slick and Jim Lowe. His album ‘Good To Go’ was one of the best albums last year and with this line up those excellent songs will come to life and I’m sure will make for a worthy headliner.
There are enough choices to send your head spinning on Saturday along with Nev’s recommendations this little bunch should make a mess of peoples laminated stage times and venues there are a few playing Sunday that I’d like to give a mention to. from The Underworld Headliners The Wonder Stuff who I recently caught in Cardiff now with Malc Trecce back in the line up and a new album being recorded they stormed through a greatest hits set and I’m sure there will be more of the same in store for The Underworld and hearing those classics in a tight Underworld club will sound fantastic and something not to be missed at 20.45 on Sunday night. Mark Gemini Thwaite, Malc Treece, Pete Howard, Erica Nockalls and of course Milo now make up the Wonder Stuff and with plenty off ‘Hup’, ‘eight Legged Groove Machine’ and ‘Never Loved Elvis’ making up a chunk of the set they’ve clearly still got it and worthy headliners on the Sunday.
If you’re quick you should be able to make that Wonderstuff set from the Electric Ballroom where Ash get on with their set at 19.00 and again they have a new release to promote in the shape of their 7″ singles set so expect a greatest hits performance there which will more than put you in the mood for Milo and co.
If hearing Ash perform ‘Kunk Fu’ and The Stuffies blasting out ‘On The Ropes’ isn’t your thing and you want to get down and get with some glam stomping rock and roll then the place to be will have to be The Lyttleton Arms for Last Great Dreamers who hit the stage at 20.00. Again they have a recent album to promote and a great live band, if it’s your choice to take in some ‘Dreamers’ then I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed as ’13th Floor Renegades’ was head and shoulders their best record to date and the band have been constantly on the road this year so will be match fit and up for the challenge of tearing the house down.
A resurgent Towers of London will be shaking their collective shit from 17.30 at Fest if their showing on the recent Wildhearts tour is anything to go by then Fest is in for a treat. Resplendent in their black boiler suits and buoyed by the feedback the band will be looking to hit the ground running and have the potential to steal the show. Expect plenty from that debut album that served them so well on the recent tour as well as some new songs that also sounded great.
16.00 at The Monarch you’ll catch The Pearl Hearts Two women that sound like a fuckin’ bomber full of dynamite as they rain down their garage heavy blues. It only needs two to sound like a bomb gone off as ‘Different Kinda Girl’ testifies. what better way to spend tea time in Camden Town?
Before you catch the Pearl Hearts why not head over to Kolis for Youth Illusion. Mid Afternoon or 14.00 to be precise will see these London homies play their brand of punk rock on their home patch. Melodic punk is the order and they do it rather well and Kolis will be a heaving mass of sweaty bodies I’m sure of that as the band knock out songs like ‘Better Off’.
Finally, if punk rock isn’t your thing then Dingwalls Canalside is the place to be at 14.30 to catch The Silver Bayonets and their anthemic rock proving that Camden Rock Festival is unique in its presentation and in its roster of bands with plenty of established battle hardened bands that make up the headliners in the larger venues as well as securing some big bands to play smaller venues that you might not get the chance to see them play in such surroundings ordinarily which makes for an interesting and memorable weekend. But the real magic will no doubt lie in discovering your new favourite band or checking out one of RPM Online recommendations and digging who we’ve thrown light on because they’ve impressed us either previously live or on record. Let us know what you thought and spread the word especially of the lesser known bands its the lifeblood of the underground and how bands survive and grow. Have a good one and I hope there aren’t too many clashes and if you do see any of the bands here or as part of Nev’s ones to watch let ’em know we sent you and most importantly support the bands and pick up their merch and music. Oh and wear comfortable shoes!
This one has long been on the list of must-attend no excuses shows. Regardless of what else might be on a few miles away as tonight Matthew the hills are alive with the sound of music. But, there was only one place RPM Online was going to be. With all due respect to other venues in the region and other events taking place this was the only Rodeo we were interested in.
First up – Red Light Syndrome. Ably led by Craigy Rees on vocals and guitar this four-piece are somewhere between Husker du, Lemonheads and early Soul Asylum and to be fair they have crafted some really excellent songs that on first listen sound epic. Opening with ‘Stop’ the quality and passion were evident. In their brief set, they managed to impress those clued up people wise enough to come to see all the bands on offer and it’s obvious they have an understanding of the music that inspired them to put these chords together and write music. Bands like The Replacements spring to mind – sure it’s early in proceedings to lay such mammoth role models upon them but if you’re going to aspire to anyone it might as well be the best in the genre. The excellent ‘See Things Through’ was a highlight much like the closing ‘6 Feet Bellow’ and ‘Heartburn’ what a great opener.
Deathtraps. what can I say about the band who I’ve seen more than my own kids recently – everywhere I go they seem to be as well (not that I’m complaining mind), getting on the bill of some great shows lately and every time I see them they improve on the last time to be fair. (Regardless of that being the night before in this case but you know what I mean) With a decent crowd in front of them, they get to work on demolishing some of their finest tunes (and a few new ones to boot). To be fair the band are hot (not in that way) – na, make that red hot at the moment and playing all these shows are turning people onto their uncompromising Action Rock and Roll as they hammer it home. It’s good that Both Fraser and VJ share vocal duties to mix it up as they motor through the setlist lurching from the bulldozer punk rock not quite as speedy as a Zeke more your Rocket From The Crypt with some of the chord-heavy chops like the outstanding ‘Cool Kids’ which again sounds excellent. I can assure you that Rock and Roll isn’t anywhere near dead with bands like this knocking it out and playing plenty of shows with a variety of bands will win them an ever-increasing following. More of the same next time, please (which I’m sure won’t be far away).
DC Spectres are on next and a twist on the Rock and Roll melon man with their garage fuzz fix high on the menu. With the heat in the venue meaning the walls are perspiring its nice to relax with some Psych fuzzed up surf punk (if there’s such a genre). Imagine The Fuzztones jamming on The Cramps inspired by those Stooges and your somewhere in the same ballpark. As the set got going they really hit their groove and for about ten minutes they were on fire until the dreaded technical hitch sidelined them briefly. Those damned guitar string breaks and the momentum is halted. By the time the band have regrouped and got going again, there wasn’t enough time to regain the same momentum I do think they did enough in half an hour to impress the ever crowd that had gathered and joined them on their journey. The highlights were ‘Later Than You Think’ and a new song I believe was called ‘I Gotta Know’ Which was most excellent. I look forward to seeing them again and what they come up with to follow up the excellent ‘Vibrations’ album.
So, onto tonight’s headliners The Hip Priests. what can possibly be said that hasn’t already been splurged over the internet about our favourite east Midlands fuck ups? Now with brand new six-stringer Ben in situ? I took my place and waited for the sonic solution to all this turmoil around us in society. As I waited to have my hearing interfered with by an hour of the finest Rock and Fucking Roll I was pleased that there was a good turnout considering everything else that was happening in a ten-mile radius of the ‘Port these boys deserve it for always playing South Wales even when South Wales hasn’t turned out in force – maybe the tide is turning and these fucking boys finally get the kudos they thoroughly deserve.
Anyway. tonight begins with a tsunami of sound washing over the attendees but with no lifevests needed as we were all going down together this latest incarnation of the Hip Priests sounds absofuckin’lutely huge! I kid you not. With their best album under their belts, they have every reason to attack these shows with a cocksure swagger (not that it’s stopped them before mind) but this time seems different – if they could bottle this it would be lethal. I’ve said it many times before and I’ll keep on saying it – when you see some bands getting great tour slots and people falling over the sound of some plodding rock like its the second coming of The Stones or the New Stooges has finally arrived it’s one of those scratch your head times as to how can’t others see or hear what you hear. ‘Stand For Nothing’ is the finest loud record recorded by any band on Shit Island in a decade – no question about it. Whilst their audience is slowly growing I can’t believe it’s not exploding.
Anyway, with the dual lead guitar swinging on either side of the stage the band aren’t fucking about and get on with the job of leathering the shit out of the new album. Sparks fly and song after song spills forth from their instruments. from the minute ‘Motherfucker Superior’ attacks you it’s like your being chased down by a pack of rabid dogs such is the ferocity of this current line up.
It’s great to hear some fresh new songs sprinkled throughout the set as ‘Stand For Nothing’, ‘Shit Island’ and ‘Social Hand Grenade’ blend in seamlessly much like the new youf on guitar. With Oz and Ben things seem like they are pushing each other with each song to be better than the last one and they’re rising to the challenge and it seems to have worked superbly well. Weaving in and out of the songs new and old. ‘Deja FU’ and then ‘Cheers To Me’ was a particular high point in the set which only left ‘Sonic Reproducer’ of in the main set.
The audience felt it and I’m sure the band felt it there was something a little different tonight something a bit special was happening and when Von Cruz offered an extra number be it Iggy or Hip Priest original it was the original Hip Priests song that got a louder cheer surely it was a sign? I don’t know what for but I’m sure Lee Love was seen smiling which must be a sign so get out of here and get excited because when the Hip Priests come to your town – which they will do then you make sure you’re there and you’re ready – now, people of Shit Island and further afield what are you going to stand For? Stand for Rock and Fucking Roll and Stand for The Hip Fucking Priests who’s time is now, Right Now!
We got in touch with Mick from Grindhouse when we saw they were going to go on an overseas excursion and we wanted to get up to speed with what they had planned and for the uninitiated, it was a chance for Mick to set out the Grindhouse stall so to speak. Here with the chatter that matters about all things down under and Grindhouse is Mick ‘Two Fingers’ Simpson.
Its always been a hotbed of Punk Rock and Roll down under – sure it might have taken a while for us snobs in the Northern Hemisphere to cotton on to some of the bands but the UK can’t get enough of Australian bands at the moment and the trail blazed by the likes of Radio Birdman, The Saints, Cosmic Psycos and Rose Tattoo has recently been reignited by the likes of Amyl & The Sniffers, Grindhouse, The Chats (to name just a few – I Could go on) all making a dent in the scene halfway around the world. We wanted to get a hold of Grindhouse and see what’s up so we contacted Mick to get the inside track on all things Grindhouse.
G’day Mick. You say you were listening to bootleg albums of your rock and roll heroes hoping one day to imitate them. who and what albums were Grindhouse listening to in the back of that XD?
Ah I see you have done your homework, yeah I grew up on a lot of Australian independent rock kind of by accident. Not that I’m an old fucker but we didn’t have the internet back then so it was a case of finding bands by word of mouth or stumbling across them on peoples stereos at parties or riding around in cars looking for cheap booze and good times. That’s where I discovered Radio Birdman( Radios appear), The Saints, Tumbleweed( Galactaphonic) and Aasteriod B6182. Then wed go out on a Saturday night with a fake ID and watching these bands in the flesh. Ok now I feel a little older ha, ha
Tell us a brief history of the band where did you guys meet?
We all grew up in a seaside city called Wollongong but ended up in Melbourne, our drummer had unprotected sex and had to leave the band. We all warned him but he didn’t listen.
The nucleus of the band came from another garage band called the Wardens but I wanted an avenue to really play punk rock, sing about dirty shit and not give a fuck, that’s how Grindhouse came about.
You say you’re interested in vintage porn and Mosrite guitars. when you say vintage porn what are we talking here? John Holmes? and the guitars why the Mosrites?
Fuck me I probably wrote that when I first started the band and totally forgot to be honest. Pony plays a 64 Mosrite Ventures that sounds nasty as cat shit but very cool and I used to have a great vintage 70,s porn mag collection in the 90,s so maybe its art imitating life.
What does Melbourne make of Grindhouse? will you be welcomed back after your European excursion like prodigal sons or will they close the borders and pretend they’re out so you cant get back in?
We have a loyal bunch of misfits, part-time alcoholics, fare evaders, bum sniffers, serial masturbaters, Lube lovers, weed smokers, vintage porn collectors, speed creeps, and sex freaks we lovingly call Grindhouse fans and that’s just the members of the band.
Hopefully we just clear customs without a strip search( happy for a pat-down), other than that anything else is a bonus.
I’ve always loved me some Australian rock and roll but at the moment there seems to be a real demand for it over here in the UK. We recently had the Chats over as well as Cosmic Psycos and Amyl And The Sniffers and Radio Birdman always manage to play London or at least for the past few years. You guys are coming so what can or should we expect?
Its definitely taken off in the UK lately which is great, I think mainland Europe has always been the main staple of o/s touring for Australian bands so its great for bands to have the UK as another option. Historically the UK has always had a strong connection with Australian music from The Saints to The Birthday Party so its no real surprise. As for the mentioned bands, Birdman will always be Birdman but the next generation of younger bands coming through is great even for us as it creates interest in Aussie Independent bands. Amyl and the sniffers are a great live show, the Psychos seem to just find another gear and get better with age and The Chats just supported Iggy Pop in Melbourne so am I jealous? You better fucking believe it.
Any other recommendations you could tip us off with. Who would Grindhouse like to drag around Australia with them?
I love a band from Melbourne called Stiff Richards who id call the best garage band in Australia at the moment other than Grindhouse, there,s also a great Ramones inspired garage doo-wop band from Adelaide called Jullitte seizure and the tremor dolls who we love too.
Its been a year since ‘Can I Drive Your Commodore?’ came out. Are we near a follow-up? Tell us about any new music?
We have a plan to record a new album later this year with a working title of “ Sex, Punk, Power” and well be testing some of the new songs on the road which will be cool.
The titles on the record made me instantly smile and from those titles, I was buzzin’ to hear the songs and I knew exactly how they were going to sound. What’s the best title you’ve come up with so far? and why don’t more bands sing about Cheese and their love for friends like Gary? Isn’t shit cocaine dangerous? and is the Australian Car industry really dead?
I’ve always loved ‘Wild sex and machine guns” on our first album as its about a woman I worked with who loved those two things which cracked me up. Our titles are inspired by growing up in the suburbs of 80,s Australia so a lot of people connect to the songs. We don’t make cars in Australia anymore and we also have a lot of shit cocaine in this country so I’ve been told.
As for Peter Russel Clarkle, every band should have a song about a celebrity chef who loves tasty cheese.
Are you guys in shape now ready for a hot and sweaty tour of Europe? Can we have a bunch of shows in the UK, please
I don’t know if were hot but were sweaty and ready, id love to do the Uk so fingers crossed we can get there sooner than later. We have a band we love from Nottingham called The Hip Priests who wed love to do it with plus the beer in the UK is always ice cold.(it’s actually fucken very tasty).
Mick did say that they were looking to coming to Shit Island sometime next year hopefully with a brand new album under the hood so its our (and your) duty to demand it and make it happen by showing bands like Grindhouse that the UK loves them and wants to bring them here for some live dates.
Sjock announces yet more bill busting acts for 2019. Belgium’s longest running festival sees Sjock confirm a raft of headline acts for 2019. going since 1976 This year has The Hellacopters, The Briefs, The Hip Priests, Electric Frankenstein, The Hives, Gluecifer and The Barstool Preachers just to name a few and all for 80Euro at Tickets
FRIDAY! NEW NAMES! TICKETS ON SALE!Let's go!!The Hellacopters SWEGluecifer NORThe Barstool Preachers UKGrindhouse AUSThe Hip Priests UKBaby Shakes USCrackups BEHeathen Apostles USThe Bloodstrings GERPrince Beastly BETickets are on sale from now on! https://www.ticketjes.be/en/Buy/StartWizard?eventId=14See all info on our website!www.sjock.comSJOCK Festival 4412-13-14 july 2019www.sjock.com
The next wave of artists for Camden Rocks Festival 2019 is here! The multi-talented punk and folk singer-songwriter Frank Turner is joined by hitmakers The Wonder Stuff, Random Hand, Discharge, Richie Ramone, The Professionals, Eliza And The Bear, Sonic Boom Six, Area 11, Spunge, Shvpes and ninety other phenomenal bands across indie, rock, punk and metal announced.
They join the first wave of acts that includes Ash, Ratboy, New Model Army, Wheatus, Carl Barat, Ginger Wildheart, Milkteeth, Pretty Vicious, Raging Speedhorn, Angelic Upstarts, The Virginmarys, The Last Internationale, Bang Bang Romeo, Rews and many more.
This year Camden Rocks Festival is a two day event for the first time! Bringing you 400 artists across twenty grassroot venues in Camden Town.
Get out your microscopes and open up a spreadsheet to map out your days. If you were to ask us here obviously the star attractions of The Wonderstuff and Ash will have their fans but watching The Hip Priests, The Spangles or Rich Ragany & The Digressions is where the gold dust is. We’ll be doing our bit on the run-up to the event when we know venues and band times and let you know where we’ll be heading.
It’s been 5 long years since The Hip Priests’ last studio album, but as some wise old sage once said “good things to those who hate”.
During that time events have certainly seen the UK become a more divisive place to live and as such ‘Stand For Nothing’ has never felt like a more perfectly timed record. It’s one the band said they’d never release but now felt compelled to, plus it’s also one that contains not a single song about the old in out … a true first in Priests terms.
But wait just a minute, because I’m getting ahead of myself here and forgetting you just might be someone discovering The Hip Priests for the very first time, sat there all comfy on your toilet (I mean where else would you read about the Hip Priests?) thinking that in those intervening 5 years the band’s core trio of bassist Lee Love, guitarist Austin Rocket and vocalist Nathan Von Cruz must have been hidden away on some tropical island paradise recording a masterpiece in studio fuckery with Muff Flange. Well, you’d of course be very wrong indeed, because during the past 5 years what The Hip Priests have actually been doing is working their arses off by relentlessly touring (with the likes of Zeke, The Dwarves and The Bitch Queens) whilst releasing a bazillion independently funded and released limited edition 7” singles. Whilst in the process of doing all this they also managed to lose 2 drummers (before arriving at current sticksman D.P. Bomber), decided to turbocharge their sound via the addition of a second guitarist (via the enigmatic Silent Mike – who has subsequently moved on to pastures new), and then came within a hair’s breadth of finally getting themselves signed to a major label. Something that would ultimately come to nothing when the A&R guy signing them was “let go” by the label.
Phew! That potted history reads like a draft film script doesn’t it, but this boys and girls is the harsh reality of being in a proper rock ‘n’ roll band, one that is driven to succeed at all costs.
So, after all that does ‘Stand For Nothing’ live up to my heady expectations as the record to propel them into 2019 as the number one independent rock band on the UK scene?
Well, it takes exactly one line of the album’s blistering opener ‘Welcome To Shit Island’ to answer this conundrum as Nathan Von Cruz venomously spits out “Small minds, dumb pricks – drop a bomb on this isle of shit” and I can immediately feel myself grinning from ear to ear whilst punching the air with absolute joy. YES! Someone is finally not afraid to speak the truth and there really is no time like right now (excuse the pun) to celebrate it. In fact, all joking aside if ever there was a sign that The Hip Priests were evolving into a much bigger and angrier sounding beast than ever before it was that 10 minute epic (which curiously doesn’t make the final track listing here) that well and truly pissed the line in the sand regarding the band’s musical ambitions.
The expansion of sound that was so evident during the horn-driven ‘No Time (Like Right Now)’ is thankfully driven headlong into this album too and the aforementioned addition of a second guitarist gives tracks like the stunning ‘Losers Of The Faith’ (which I must admit is my favourite track here) and the glorious one-finger piano-driven ‘Stand For Nothing’ an additional melodic edge, something that just might have been missing from previous Priests’ records where the band chose to simply bulldozer you into aural ecstasy.
Fear not though fellow Spasm Gangbangers because that old school Priests sound is still very much here in abundance during tracks like the caustic ‘Social Hand Grenade’, and the thundering album closer ‘Rock N Roll Leper’ plus let’s not forget the already firmly established live favourite ‘Cheers To Me’. It’s just that this time around I’m finding myself going back to the likes of the pounding ‘Deja F.U.’ and the dare I say it the “gothic sounding” ‘How Do You Get Off?’ (is that a hint of Farfisa I here in there lads?) time and time again as The Hip Priests truly spread their musical wings…sonically speaking of course.
What also really stands out on this record are the lyrics, and on the vinyl only track ‘U Okay Hun’ we get to rejoice in Lee Love’s lightning fast take on the world of the vacuous self-centred fucks that litter social media, a track which is without doubt one of his finest moments yet, and he’s written quite a few of those that’s for sure.
At the start of this review I stated that ‘Stand For Nothing’ contained no tracks about sex, which will be a total shock to any Priests fan’s moral system I know, but for those of you hankering for the ‘Saints Of Excess’ of old there’s still ‘Last Train Wrecks’ to look forward to, a glorious tale of self-destruction that comes complete with an intro from Happy Tom and actually revolves around some of the very people who will no doubt be rushing to buy their copy of this album when it goes on pre-sale on Feb 4th via the various labels involved and linked below.
Look, in ‘Stand For Nothing’ The Hip Priests have written one of, if not THE most important garage punk albums of 2019. Buy it now (via the links below) and help the band save Shit Island from forever falling into the sea of musical mediocrity. Essential!
There is no time folks – The Hip Priests are ready – Are You?
With the vinyl away at the pressing plant and the CD’s in hand it’s looking like mid/late Feb for this much anticipated new release from Shit Islands leading noise makers brand new album ‘Stand For Nothing’ to hit the shops.
RPM can exclusively bring you the artwork for the record as well as some details of a special limited edition available only to Spasm Gang members. The SG version is on red/yellow splatter and will come in handmade red velvet sleeve with extras, my advice would be – jump on board with the Spasm Gang and get in on the limited editions and other exclusive offers. Join Here As well as the front cover artwork the reverse is here along with the full tracklist that includes exclusive vinyl only song that isn’t included on the CD version.
What looks like being the bands busiest year so far is quickly filling up with tour dates – those already announced to coincide with the album’s launch around Europe are included on this poster. What will undoubtedly be one of the years finest records from one of the best bands anywhere we suggest you don’t snooze on these dates either they won’t be around forever you know, the time to ‘Stand For Nothing’ is upon us are you with us or against us? What are you standing for? Facebook
“October The trees are stripped bare of all they wear but what do I care”
We’re building up a head of steam as RPM goes live and one of the first thing Craggy does is pick up the cowpunk noisemakers Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band and their ‘Poor Until Payday’ album (Oh yeah the one he didn’t review) That aside October saw Fraser jet off to warmer climates before chasing the Damned around the country and flying to Holland for Helldorado. But more of that later.
Several of us bought ‘Speed’ no not the drug but the fantastic new album from Swedish action rockers Scumbag Millionaires it is a thoroughbred non-stop wall of noise a turbocharged ride of exciting punked up Rock n Fuckin’ Roll and it deservedly got a rave review round here.
Whilst we’re on the subject of new records it seemed pretty much everyone picked up a copy of the Primal Scream‘Memphis Recordings’ and most scratched their heads wondering how the band ditched these swinging versions for the more straight rock versions that made the commercial release but we’re glad it did see the light of day that’s for sure.
Bringing up exciting new bands a promo for ‘You Say I’m Too Much’ by Estrons flew into our emails and proceeded to work its way around the review team as those that did hear it wanted to review it but the one pulling the lucky straw was Johnny Hayward who rushed out and picked up a copy and a ticket to see them live on the strength of the record that blew him away. One of the reasons why we do this is because we are music fans and discovering new bands and albums still gives us a buzz when it happens and especially when it’s this good.Certainly a potential album of the year right there.
Other notable releases this month were the magnificent Virginmarys‘Northern Sun Sessions’ and ‘Master Volume’ from the Dirty Nil. We also got stuck into a couple of fantastic interviews – firstly Gerald got Tyla to sit down long enough to tell us all about his new album as well as more in-depth responses to some burning questions Gerald wanted to ask someone he greatly admired it was the perfect time to get the exclusive lowdown on the new ‘In Vino Veritas‘ album that was due out in November which we were lucky enough to review first I do believe. As it goes Gerald also picked up the honour of reviewing that to which he gave it a glowing report and one that will certainly be near the top of his end of year list for best album.
Another album we got to review first and another that would easily be a contender for album of the year and that’s the debut solo album from Role Model frontman Rich Ragany. ‘…Like We’ll Never Make It…’ is a beautiful, skillful master class in songwriting and showed another side to the guy we call Rags and we were the first to ask the question of how this guy isn’t everywhere? How he’s not on the cover of music mags? Seriously it’s a weird business sometimes but we get it and so do others such has been the response from people who’ve taken the time to sit down and listen. Anyway, Released via pledge it gets its CD birth in the new year with a release show that will sell out fast and it has a supporting cast that makes me blush thinking how good it’s going to be and RPM will be there too.
I also got to interview one of my favourite players the one and only Alvin Gibbs. We chatted about his forthcoming album as well as his time with Iggy and Cheap and Nasty and found out about Alvin having a degree in History which isn’t something most musical artists can boast as well as a few choice stories about his love of the Subs as well as his book Neighbourhood threat (now entitled ‘Some Weird Sin’) having a makeover with a new chapter and title and a book I can’t recommend highly enough. It really is one of the finest books about touring and being in a band out there and absolutely captivating read and one you won’t want to put down.
Also if that wasn’t enough we also got the lowdown on The Hip Priests new album and it was exclusively revealed that the new album that’ll hit the shops in the new year will be called…Nah click the link and read it yourself. As well as the new album we spoke about playing in a band on shit island and about the expansion to a five-piece.
We could go on and on about all the great records released in October this year but we’d run out of time and we need to review the live shows we took in. So Fraser made sure I mentioned his Kiss Kruise and the fact that he finally got to meet Vinnie Vincent but knowing the kiss set up I can’t see if its Vinnie or if he sent his mother instead with a note explaining.
There were so many shows in October Johnny went gig crazy taking in a diverse range of genres from the Canadian thrash-punks Voivod who RRRRooooared into Cardiff and put on a fantastic display then he headed East to Newport Rock City when he spent a rather splendid evening with Ancient Shapes where he declared the evening to be such a success that it was one of the best gigs he’d been to all year and the only thing missing was the sold out sign on the door.
We also took in Classic rock when Leigh Fuge went to the Tramshed to see Glen Hughes where he was suitably impressed whilst Nev went across the river to see the finest in Americana done acoustically by none other than Chuck Prophet who was supported on the night by Jesse Malin a firm favourite of the team here. It was certainly all happening out West meanwhile in old London town Armitage happened upon a show where The Dirty Strangers followed a magnificent performance by Rich Ragany and the digressions but The headliners from Los Angeles The Brutalists made it a memorable evenings entertainment guvnor.
Sadly October wasn’t all wine and roses as we got the news that Biters were going on an indefinite Hiatus but Tuk later revealed he was heading into the studio to record a solo album which we look forward to in 2019. however, the real tragedy unfolded in California as the news swept social media that Our friend and incredible musician Todd (Youth) Schofield lost his life. It was one of those news stories you hoped was fake news and just an internet trolls mischief but it was later confirmed by his good friend Skye Vaughan-Jayne. Todd will be really missed by a lot of people most notably his daughters and close friends. Todd was a gent we had the pleasure of meeting several times when he toured the UK as part of Jesse Malin’s band and also when out with Chelsea Smiles. When Johnny was the head honcho at Uber Rock he had the pleasure of interviewing the guy who was very supportive of an alternative website championing rock n roll and for all the records he played on we salute you, Mr Youth, you will never be forgotten.
Before the month was out we still found time to review some fine records most notably Martins breakdown of the new Nicotine Pretty EP ‘Real Life Glories’ whilst Dom forensically picked through the charred remains of Deathtraps ‘Gotta Get Some’ and I even managed to take in a couple of their live shows where the songs came to life and were subsequently throttled to death through the medium of garage punk rock n roll it wasn’t pretty but I liked it – no I fuckin’ loved it! – great stuff!
Gerald flew in his Prophets Of Addiction album review which again impressed us at HQ whilst Ben was mightily Impressed with King Brothers and their wild Garage beats. There was even time for Jeff Dahl to drop by with a new mini album in tow which he recorded in Sweden with the excellent Demons. It was next month when I got to put some questions about his work and plans.