Is this Power Pop?

A question that is often all caps shouted across screens by keyboard warriors defending their record collection decisions.

Power Pop. A holy grail whose contents are loudly proclaimed obvious (depending who ya ask) and essential.  Apparently sacred (yet neverendingly argued) since the storied days of Peter Case losing his Nerves to then lace up his Plimsouls. Somehow important yet almost impossible to achieve… one wrong move, a drink too far, a chord eschewing a jangle and you’re “just rock n roll”.

Or so it seems…

The Speedways. The members languidly lean on the bars of darkened London pubs or float like spectres in corners of Some Weird Sin and Garageland gigs. Striped shirts and leather jackets. Dirty street-tamed Chucks and scuffed Thunders boots carry them from one late night heartache to another.

They are true believers who take their turn on stage with hearts outshining the Cheap Trick badges.

Heart.

How do you capture it? How do you?

This album is a stellar example of doing just that. It is the emotion, the essence of love (lost and yearned for) that makes special songs, damn the torpedoes and neat classifications.

This is their second full-length album and the growth since ‘Just Another Regular Summer’ is apparent right off the opening track. ‘This Ain’t A Radio Sound’ opens with a playful ‘80’s Cars ‘Heartbeat City’ keyboard that is somehow right at home alongside the dirty street jangle of Mauro Venegas’ guitars. Then Matthew Julian saunters in, his vocals accomplishing a feat in common with that of my favourite singers. It is instantly recognisable. Equal parts world-weary and up to the fight. Like how Phil Lynott would somehow whisper your thoughts back to you. At once like a friend and someone you wish you had the nerve to approach. A very rare and special dichotomy that gains trust from the listener. People will say you’re born with that. I can see here that you can earn it.

‘The Day I Call You Mine’ shakes off the skinny tie and gets tough. And sweet. The rhythm section of Kris Hood and Adrian Alfonso are like a modern day Mike Joyce and Andy Rourke of The Smiths. Taking the gorgeous songcraft and walking it home like schoolyard best friend bodyguards. In fact, every melody and arpeggiated chord on this long-player is kept safe in their scrappy hands.

“Daydreaming’ opens with razor-sharp back alley chords and a streetwise snarl that has me all of a sudden thinking, “Is this ROCK N ROLL???”

Speaking of that… ‘Your Brown Eyes Look So Blue’ comes dangerously close to sounding like a forgotten outtake from the soundtrack to “Grease”. High School dancing itself right to the edge of the parking lot of kitsch to puke, but teetering there and miraculously feeling much better, thank you! It was a close one boys, but then again, some imminent peril makes albums and nights out exciting.

The track order on this album has a great arch to it. The way it builds to a cinematic centrepiece starting from the dreamy fade into focus intro of ‘This Is About A Girl Who Loves The Sun’. It builds wonderfully into widescreen guitar pop. The song takes you off the dusty and noisy summer city streets and into the cinema to catch your breath and “to stop taking it out on yourself” as Matthew reminds you in the lyrics.

The exuberance of ‘Number Seven’ kicks the cinema doors wide open and the sunlight comes streaming through. We’re in The Speedways’ neighbourhood now, and there’s a place they know that’s perfect for an afternoon drink. Matthew puts his arm around you on the walk and lets ya know that you’ll get by… it doesn’t matter who believes you.

Another standout track is the band next door sound of ‘Empty Pages’. Effortlessly cool and just the right riff for just the right lyrics (“On Halloween I couldn’t hide”… who hasn’t felt that way? Vulnerable and surrounded by Pound Shop devils and clowns) The song is the sound of hanging out. Pure and simple.

The whole set does an excellent job of establishing a recognisable sound while crossing gang lines into territories that may feel like defection. The early Petty and almost ‘50s stomp intro of ‘Had Enough This Time’ giving way to a sun shower of cascading guitar shimmer and a riff that steps right off a beach to join in? Really? It works. Really well.

The album closer, the rather magnificently titled ‘In A World Without Love It’s Hard To Stay Young’, is a perfect bookend. A pocket symphony of guitars that shine like the afternoon sun reflected off a Camaro’s dashboard. Its harmonies sonically answer Julian’s proclamation, “I thought I was the only one to feel this way, until…” with the easy embrace of a close pal.

No. You’re not the only one who does, Matthew. You just have a timeless way of expressing it. Your band is right there with you bringing these songs into brilliant focus as well.

Pretty happy that a band like this exists, making albums to this calibre.

It sounds awfully good with a cold one or a double too!

OH! Power Pop?

I ain’t getting’ into that! Whaddya think, I’m crazy?

 

Buy Beluga Records Here / Speedways Bandcamp Vinyl Here

Author: Rich Ragany

Bandcamp is the place to go to pre-order your very own copy of the brand new Speedways album ‘Radio Sounds’.  Look out over this weekend as we have the one and only Rich Ragany taking care of the review for RPM of one of this summers best, most hotly anticipated albums.  You don’t even need to put on your PPE to venture out to pre-order just do it from your house.  You can also pre-order a digital copy from Beluga in Sweden

Radio Sounds LP promo clip

Radio Sounds streams on various streams tomorrow.. and you'll also be able to pre-order your copy of the album from our bandcamp page..Here's a teaser

Posted by The Speedways on Thursday, 18 June 2020

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Singer/songwriter Lucy Ellis, formerly of Aussie punk legends The Spazzys, relocated to London in 2015 and put together The Rats with Johnny Throttle guitarist Joe Tolosa, Animal Cannibal bassist Mike Cannibal and Three Tumbitas drummer Manu. And if the collection of band names mentioned in the previous sentence doesn’t whet your appetite, you should leave the building right now!

Following their 2018 self-titled debut album, Lucy & The Rats return with their sophomore record ‘Got Lucky’. An album that promises 12 tracks of delightful power pop, transporting you back to the golden age of Phil Spector girl groups as much as the sweat and grime of CBGB’S or The Marquee.

 

The word ‘Punk’ is flung about nonchalantly by reviewers to describe any band that has aggression and 3 chord distorted guitars to their sound. I put my hand up for being guilty for it too, but I wouldn’t use it to describe this London based four piece. As with the likes of RPM faves The Speedways and The Role Models, their sound is rooted firmly in a late 70’s/early 80’s new wave/power pop place, where clean, ringing guitars, sweet vocals and instant hooks reside. You see, there’s a heart-warming familiarity to their sound that stays with you long after the record has stopped spinning.

If you dig the debut, then you’ll love this album too, as its business as usual for this 4 piece. Opener ‘September’ builds on a sweet vocal over jangly guitars, which lead to a lush, harmony-filled chorus elevating the song to another level. 60’s inspired “woah-woah” backing vocals give a high energy, euphoric feel that will have you singing along before the first chorus ends.

Memories of first hearing the likes of Redd Kross and Teenage Fanclub come to mind as much as Blondie and The Go-Go’s for me. This is such a happy-go-lucky record that will brighten up the dreariest of days and do its upmost to cheer up those with a broken heart. The songwriting shines through, and it’s fair to say the fine art of a catchy chorus and clever use of song dynamics is not lost on these guys.

Next up they deliver ‘Real Thing’ which I can excitedly describe as The Shangri-Las doing Ramones. With twangy guitar riffs and cool vocalisin’, it’s a hook-laden sound of the summer, designed to blast from your radio and sing at the top of your voice.

Two tracks in and I’m already sold, I guarantee you will be too. The more punky ‘Pinch Myself’ sees the band ramp up the aggression. Urgent drums, gang vocals and guitars turned up to 11 sees the Rats channel the NY sound of Blondie and Ramones to the max.

Quirky lyrics and heartfelt sentiment takes us into Kirsty MacColl territory on the likes of ‘Time To Time’ and ‘Lucky’ as layered, sweet vocal harmonies and reverb drenched guitars gel perfectly.

‘Get Down’ has that classic 60’s Phil Spector feel. The drum beat, the percussion and the little guitar riff, the way the song builds is perfectly executed. The stops before the verses, the sultry vocal delivery, it all gels to make a perfect pop ditty that would’ve hit the top of the hit parade back in the day pop pickers.

 

Featuring more potential radio hits than you can shake a stick at, ‘Got Lucky’ is song after song, with not a bad track on offer and it’s highly enjoyable from start to finish. If your heart misses a beat at the mention of The Go-Go’s, or if you get all dreamy and misty-eyed at the sound of Blondie, or maybe you just miss the simplicity of a 3 chord Ramones pop song, then you could do no better than dig into what Lucy & The Rats have to offer. Dirty Water Records do it again delivering a great product from a fantastic band you need in your life right now. Hit the link below and buy the record, you won’t regret it.

Buy ‘Got Lucky’ Here

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Author: Ben Hughes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas / Bronco – Split (Lux Noise Records / SIXTEENTIMES MUSIC) CHRISTMAS team up with Swiss heavy-stoner boys BRONCO to deliver you some super delicious sound from the underground. This one comes out on limited colour vinyl and the super saucy sleeve. Bronco dish up ‘Cowboy’ and what a heavy riff-a-rama slice of noise it is.  No prisoners at all as for Christmas? well, ‘Candy Me’ is a belter. Crisp riffs and crushing drums is exactly how Turbonegro wish they sounded in 2020.  Having Max Motherfucker blow you a kiss at the end is better than a stick in the eye.  Hardcore heaven with a cheeky picture on that artwork very cheeky indeed. Very limited numbers so snooze you lose.

Buy Here

 

L.A. Guns – ‘Let You Down’ (Frontiers) After the excellent return to form last years ‘The Devil You Know’ this sees the guns shifting gears to something a lot less turbocharged.  Recording in isolation the band saw fit to get this out for the fans to hear whilst they work on the follow-up Looks like that rich seam they are on is set to continue. Clocking in over five and a half minutes it ebbs and flows nicely something this line up is never set to do is let you down.  check it out Here

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

 

 

 

The Speedways – ‘This Ain’t A Radio Sound’ (Snap Records) Second single from the upcoming album ‘Radio Sounds’ (eta June 2020) sees The Speedways add some stardust via a liberal sprinkling of Keyboards. The verse is light and the perfect foil to the chorus and the dreamy solo.  Bv’s and handclaps the Speedways go straight to the top of the Power pop class no question. To add the cover is timewarp tastic.  Diggin’ deep and throwing a real curveball shows that Matt and the boys have no boundaries and are fearless in their execution.  Should be heard on the wireless all summer all over the land and some.  Can’t wait for the album now on the strength of this.
includes our cover of the Billy Ocean classic.

Buy Here

 

Chesty Malone and the Slice ’em Ups – ‘The Fine Art of Choking’ (Quarantine Version) (self Release) The lockdown seems to have galvanised a lot of bands and has got the old creative juices flowing and Chesty Malone are no exception.  Looking for a soundtrack to get those exercises done well here you go ‘The Fine Art Of Choking’ is that soundtrack. A little more laid back (if I might be so bold) than the usual fair from these Noo Yawk City maniacs but fear not my punk rockin’ friends it’s a bonafide fuckin’ banger.  If you really want to push yourself then ‘State Violence/State Control’ is more in your face punk rock kicking and screaming but what else would you expect if you cover a Discharge song.  Wonderful noise as always maybe we should quarantine these punk rockers more often.  Love the solo on this. Buy Here

 

Matty James Cassidy – ‘4x4x1’ (Self Release) Hold on a cotton-picking minute! Matty James Cassidy has lassoed in a few of his bandmates to play on these four countrified blues numbers as the band rip it up on the barnyard ‘The Race Is On’ and capture the mood perfectly.  Next up they twist the Stones ‘Dear Doctor’ into a much lighter beast and take ownership of this classic and do it justice. ‘How Come’ is a real belter and the arrangement is excellent and adds a much-needed chink o flight in these dark times. Everybody loves a bit of boogie woogie on the old joanna and some clean guitar breaks right? Yehaw!

To take this excellent EP home Matty goes for the acoustic ‘Old Shoes’ and an end must come which is a shame because this is a really excellent collection.  Great stuff.  Buy Here

 

Pabst – ‘Hell’ (Ketchup Tracks / The Orchard) Berlin’s Pabst have released the video for brand-new single ‘Hell’, a song that openly confronts the darker emotions and what a banger it is too.  After supporting the likes of Husker Du’s Bob Mould Pabst are set to release their new album  ‘Deuce Ex Machina’ mid-June and if this is an indication of what to expect then its something to look forward to and get in on the pre-orders. A fantastic song from a really talented band who write great hooks and use everything at their disposal call it post-punk, indie pop, whatever they clearly know how to write great tunes and ‘Hell’ is another. Pre-order the album HERE.  Facebook

Fontains DC – ‘A Hero’s Death’ (Partisan Records)   Barely a year since their debut ‘Dogrel’ earned them a spot as one of the most acclaimed new bands of 2019, Dublin’s Fontaines D.C. will return with ‘A Hero’s Death’  the LP in a couple of months. A glimpse under the curtain as to what to expect is the video for the title track of the new album right here.

Pre-order / Pre-save the album: Here

Purchase / Stream the single: Here

Michael Des Barres – ‘Anarchy In The UK’ (Wicked Cool Records) fronted the bands Silverhead and Power Station.  The latter played the Live Aid festival in 1985.  Michael is currently a DJ in Little Steven’s Underground Garage and yup you’ve read that right This release is a cover of The Sex Pistols’ ‘Anarchy in the UK’, which was produced and arranged by Stevie Van Zandt.  If you’re expecting a snarly slice of Des Barres punk rock then I suggest you step away from the speakers now.  This one got strings and swing and whilst I’m not really convinced if he just tried to copy the original we’d all be laughing like we did when Mutley Crue and Megadeth had a go at being the Pistols.     The B-side is an original, which features Genya Ravan on co-lead vocals. and that’s much more appealing. Facebook Buy Here

 

Hot Nuns – ‘Rude, Dumb & Anxious’ (Loyal Blood Records) Norwegian power punk rock duo Hot Nuns, featuring members of Blood Command are back with a new EP titled “Rude, Dumb & Anxious” it features four new tracks including a cover of The Boys’ “First Time”.

The duo comments on the album. “The record is four tracks of stripped-down punk rock. Its only drums, bass, and our vocals. We have a rule that if we can’t play it live we can’t put in on record either. So there is no cheating here. Not trying to be pretentious, but we try to make music the same way Lars Von Trier made Dogville. No fancy extra layers needed to get the story across. The lyrics are mostly about sad losers longing for love except for the title track ‘Rude, Dumb & Anxious’ which is about people who will say whatever about stuff they don’t know just to fit in and look good.”  So the proof is always in the pudding as they say.  The opening track comes on like a thunder blast of melodic aggression not to dissimilar to something Therapy? might write (with some obvious sound differences second cousins if you like). ‘I Love You Still’ is more of the same a groovy adjit pop tune played by post-punk rockers. they’re not the first to go with the overdriven bass and drums but they do fill a room and its surprisingly listenable that’s for sure. The track I was looking forward to hearing most was how they’d interpret the Boys cover and to be fair they do a sterling job and one I’m sure the writers would be proud of but then again it’s such a classic it’s hard to fuck up even if that’s what you were trying to do. To wrap it up the title track is a right banger as well so top marks from me for this EP.  great effort! Facebook

FRND CRCL – ‘Deception’ (FCMedia) New Joirsee pop-punkers go for broke on their new album and pay homage to the genre rather than reinvent it.  This is taken from their second album and like I say does a grand job in a Blink or all American rejects style.  Nothing new but really well done.  It’s bright and upbeat and ebbs and flows nicely.  Layered with acoustic guitars n all sorts so a lot going on when it’s loud it’s loud and when it’s building it does so rather well to be fair. More punk than pop to be fair Website / Facebook you can buy the album Here

 

 

 

 

Thee MVPs – ‘A Song For The Councillor’ (Eesy Records) A song about how we should probably get together more often. Sardonic verses, a damn catchy chorus (even if it is wordless) a shreddy middle 8, a motown bassline followed by a heavy chug riff in the bridge, a little bit of everything this record offers all in one tune, something the psych heads can shake it too, the dads with a night off can crowdsurf too, goths can throw shapes too and the skaters and crust punks can throw fists too (all common sightings at any MVPs gigs). Lyrically speaking it’s Funeral Part 2 without the name, a Spiritual Successor which is also spiritual with the words without getting too Rainbow Rhythms. I think this tune is ringing through a bit clearer during this pandemic if you ask me, everyone really should talk to each other more. In memory of Uncle Will, who served in the Desert Rats in WW2, who we all called Councillor when he arrived at the pub after he’d ridden his bike two miles into town and put his bets on for the day, he passed at 96, he only packed in the cycling 6 months prior. Gravesend’s Harry Dean Stanton. The Second Single from the First LP from Thee MVPs and the First LP from Eeasy Records.

SHIT TINNIES – ‘Town’  (Riot Records) Shit Tinnies you that’s their name Shit Tinnies haha is there such a thing?  They’re a whirlwind of punk rock, ska, hip-hop and everything in between but here it’s more basic and street punk. Exploding onto the Sydney scene in early 2019, Of course they’re Australian where else on the planet is it called a tinnie? To be fair they play a fairly standard punk sound clearly influenced by the likes of Rancid on this evidence and others like some of the Brit Oi! bands who’ve seen a resurgence in recent years it’s great to hear young ones taking on board the sounds and turning it into something new and trying to keep things fresh  will also get the metal fans on board with those crunching riffs Facebook     Buy Here

 

 

DESTRENDS – ‘Wasteland EP’ (Bread & Butter Records)

Jessie Wagner – ‘Over And Over’ (Wicked Cool Records) Sweet sweet soul music from Jesse with some cool brass and some blues that would make joe Perry blush when he’s honkin’ for bobo.  The horn section adds some polish to a really cool tune. It’s soulful and street cool all in one and like she’s shaken her moneymaker and danced with Kravitz and played her Bellrays albums over and over. To add another texture the laid back ‘Put Off Saying Goodbye’ is soulful and her velvet-smooth vocals against the violin is wonderful and the fact she resists breaking out on the tail end of this is great to hear.  A really impressive introduction to a very talented performer  I can’t wait to hear more.

Buy Here

 

The Zipheads &  The Nosebleed – ‘Banrobber’ / ‘Train In Vain’ (The Strummer Foundation)  both popular stalwarts of the DIY punk scene have teamed up with the Joe Strummer Foundation to release a song each from The Clash’s back catalogue in their own raucous styles, raising money to provide opportunities to musicians and support to projects around the world that create empowerment through music. What’s not to like a great worthwhile cause and two fantastic songs.  Worth a couple of quid of anyone’s money if you can support it at these tough times then grab yourself a couple of top covers in exchange

Buy the songs Here

 

 

 

 

Goldie Dawn – S/T (Drunken Sailor Records) ‘Gone With The Wind’ is the sound of about a dozen awesome bands rolled into one bubblegum blowing snotty slice of rock and roll. So it’s not the catchiest record you’ll ever hear but its pretty damned good for an introduction especially when the engine gets warmed up after a couple of minutes and they channel their inner Brain James. ‘Crime’ will certainly clean out any hearing problems with the feedback before we roll off round the block on a badass hotrod of attitude punk rock n roll. Love the riff as it scuffs off the rock-solid rhythm like the bastard child of Ziggy era Bowie.  but wait the best is yet to come as ‘What’s Inside (Never Dies)’ and what a Heartbreakers joy ride this is. So yup its got handclaps and a Walter Meets Johnny guitar lick coursing through its veins and I’m always a sucker for some of that.  top tune. But it’s not ending there because the band does ease back a little as we ride out into the sunset with ‘It’s Nothing To Me’.  Bookmark Goldie Dawn or whatever it is the kids do these days I’m expecting great things if this is what they can offer us. Buy Here

 

Percy – ‘Will Of The People’ (Ten Foot Records) The track comes from their new album ‘Seaside Donkeys’. The album is a work that represents the gritty realism of the 2020s and that is extremely relevant to a country and planet on the brink of unchartered waters. Will Of The People is a fine slice of punk rock with gritted teeth this song sums up living on Shit Island for many people. Buy Here

Cement Shoes – ‘A Love Story Of Drugs & Rock & Roll & Drugs’ (Drunken Sailor Records) After they’ve finished fuckin’ round with the universal fanfare its heads down and hit go but don’t just hit it SMASH The Fucker! ‘Smashed On Glass’ is like a punch in the face using an elephants hoof on the end of a jackhammer.  A marvelous slam of punk rock but it doesn’t end there because ‘Knocked Into The Reptile Enclosure’ sounds exactly how you’d feel if you were.  Terrifying wild frantic and a little metal.  But wait, there’s more but this time it’s a little more melodic and restrained. ‘Going Off The Grid’ is like a psychedelic hardcore Black Sabbath jammin’ with The Fall.  Fucked up?  You bet but I like it to be fair I like it a lot. Cement shoes kick right off – great stuff and right fuckin’ noisy!

Buy Here

 

Acid Blood –  ‘Waste No Time’  ( JanML/MvL) Swedish punk band Acid Blood have a brand new video out for the track “Waste No Time”, taken from the LP ‘Acid Blood’). The video was directed by Nicklas Viberg and shot at the old blues bar Droskan in the bands hometown of Umeå.  Like a steamtrain that can’t stop fueled by Motorhead riffs and a tonne of attitude.  Acid Blood are right on it like Graham Bonnett but better, much better.

 

 

To kick off the year why not follow our recommendations on streaming services.  All the bands are either heading out on tour early 2020, released albums late 2019 or got records ready to drop which we’ve been lucky enough to hear and by lending a helping hand we’re offering you the chance to hear what we’re hearing on our players at RPM Towers.  Go fill yer boots guys n gals and let em know who sent you.

 

Here we go, kids, its the first Rainy Days & Mondays feature of 2020 and we begin with a brand new video from Anti Flag just before they release their new album ’20/20 Vision’ later this week.

 

If you’ve followed the path of Rock n Rolla Tommy Ray closely over the last few years you would know that the man from The Cry has done good and made a solo record full of Rock and Roll. Check out the first video ‘Good Luv Gone South’

Finally to ease the new year in we have the power pop goodness from Mansion Harlots

Finally to wrap it up try this banger from the Speedways.

 

Some of the writers managed to send in their list of the top ten live shows they went to in 2019.  they attended hundreds of shows all over the place via trains, planes and automobiles.  On another day I’m sure these lists would change many times over.  RPM Online supports Rock and Roll and loves a live show and as you browse through the lists there are many genres covered as well as some familiar suspects there are many new entries this year.  We’d love to take this opportunity to thank all the bands who toured and played shows all over the UK and continue to do so, All the festivals that supported independent music from Rebellion Festivals and Camden Rocks to Steelhouse Festival in South Wales and all the festivals around Europe and wider thank you.  Continue to look after independent Rock and Roll and help it thrive and reach a wider audience if you want to get involved get in touch we always welcome fresh eyes and ears to spread the word: rpmonlinetcb@yahoo.com

 

 

Leigh Fuge 


John Mayer –  02 Arena London

Ryan Roxie –  The Asylum, Birmingham

Michael Monroe –  The Fleece, Bristol

The Cult –  University Great Hall, Cardiff

Kenny Wayne Shepherd –  City Hall, Salisbury

Kiss –  The Arena, Birmingham

Alice Cooper –  Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff

Paul Gilbert –  The Fleece, Bristol

The Wildhearts  – The Tramshed, Cardiff

FM & The Quireboys  – The Globe, Cardiff

Nev Brooks 
Pulled Apart By Horses – Newport Le Pub (Reviewed Here)

Primal Scream –  Great Hall Cardiff

Alice Cooper, MC50, The Stranglers – Motorpoint Arena Cardiff

Nick Cave – Millenium Centre Cardiff

Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Bar Stool Preachers – O2 Bristol

The Hip Priests, DC Spectres, Deathtraps – Le Pub Newport

The Wildhearts, Towers Of London – SWX Bristol

Wonk Unit – Drogonfly Pontypool

Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes – Sin City Swansea

Holy Holy – Tramshed Cardiff

 

 Gareth Hooper
Duncan Reid, Cyanide Pills, Bruno – Louisiana Bristol

Ginger & The Sinners – St John’s church Cardiff

Clowns, BBSC – The Exchange Bristol

Amyl And The Sniffers – Louisiana Bristol

Rich Ragany & The Digressions, The Speedways, More Kicks, The Spangles – The Blackheart London

The Wildhearts, Janus Stark – Komedia Bath

The Hip Priests – Le Pub Newport

Bar Stool Preachers, Rich Ragany & The Digressions – Clwb Ifor Bach Cardiff

Jim Jones & The Righteous Mind – Jacs Aberdare

The Stray Cats, Selector, The Living End – Hammersmith Eventime London

Johnny Hayward
Bar Stool Preachers, Rich Ragany & The Digressions, Social Experiment –  Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff (Reviewed Here)

The Hip Priests, Rotten Foxes, Flash House, Glitter Piss –  The Pipeline, Brighton

Rebellion Festival 2019 – Winter Gardens, Blackpool

Jim Jones & The Righteous Minds, Heavy Flames, Deathtraps –  Jacs, Aberdare

Death By Unga Bunga, Seek Warmth –  Hy Brasil, Bristol

Dboy, The Vega Bodegas, Nigel –  Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff

The Stray Cats, The Selector, The Living End –  Hammersmith Apollo, London

Grave Pleasures – The Fleece, Bristol

Pulled Apart By Horses, Baba Naga, Dactyl Terra –  Le Pub, Newport

Clowns, Broken Bones Gentleman’s Club, Glug – The Exchange, Bristol

Fraser Munro
Adam Ant – St Davids Hall Cardiff

Kiss – Kiss Kruise, Miami

Michael Monroe, Electric Eel Shock – The Fleece, Briatol

The Hip Priests – The Drippers, Deathtraps – JT Soar, Nottingham

Alice Cooper, MC50, Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff

Turbonecro, The Hip Priests – The Chameleon, Nottingham

Dboy – Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff

The Damned – KK’s Steel Mill. Wolverhampton

Skidrow, Backyard Babies – The Forum, London

the Wildhearts, Towers Of London – Tramshed, Cardiff

Ben Hughes
Michael Monroe – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds (Reviewed Here)

Duff McKagan/Shooter Jennings – Academy 3, Manchester

The Wildhearts – Stylus, Leeds

Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

Low Cut Connie – The Fulford Arms, York

Amyl & The Sniffers – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

Ryan Hamilton Songs & Stories Show – Bloomfield Square, Otley

Tyla’s Dogs D’amour – The Fulford Arms, York

Levellers – The Minack Theatre, Cornwall

Hands Off Gretel – The Fulford Arms, York

Nigel Taylor 

The Stray Cats – O2, Birmingham

Saint Agnes – Plymouth Junction, Plymouth

The Wildhearts – Cavern, Exeter

Motörgoblin (Orange Goblin plays Motörhead) – St Moritz Club, London

Ginger Wildheart – St Johns Church, Cardiff

Queensryche – Islington Assembly Hall, London

Mother Vulture – End of the World Festival, Plymouth

Uriah Heep – Steelhouse Festival, Wales

Cradle of Filth – London Palladium, London

Ghost – Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff

Blaze Bayley – The Junction, Plymouth

Dom Daley
Rebellion Festival – Winter Gardens, Blackpool (Reviewed Here)

The Damned – London Palladium, London

Michael Monroe, Electric Eel Shock – The Fleece, Bristol

Duncan Reid &The Big Heads, Cyanide Pills, Bruno – Louisiana, Bristol

Amyl & The Sniffers – Lousiana, Bristol

Ginger & The Sinners – St Johns Church, Cardiff

Clowns – The Exchange, Bristol

Rich Ragany & The Digressions, The Speedways, More Kicks, The Spangles – Black Heart Camden, London

New Model Army – Tramshed, Cardiff

The Wonder Stuff – O2, Bristol

What’s the prerequisite for a great record then? Catchy hooks, killer riffs, meaningful lyrics and some snazzy cover art are high on my wants, needs and hopefuls list. Well, ‘Just Another Regular Summer’ by The Speedways ticks all the boxes, as it has all those things and more.

We like this album so much we have reviewed it twice! Well, sort of. Released last year, ‘Just Another Regular Summer’ is a concept album of sorts, about a summer romance, written and recorded by one dude called Matt Julian. Matt used to be in Nottingham band The Breakdowns, until they broke down. With his new project The Speedways, he took that same pop suss and magnified it tenfold, recording all instruments by himself and made an album that sounds like it was recorded live in the studio in just one take.

This new re-mastered edition is presented for the first time on CD for the US market with 5 additional tracks to savour and very cool artwork, again by the uber talented Josh Clark.

 

So let’s cover the album for those who are yet to catch up. Someone recently told me ‘Just Another Regular Summer’ is the best album Elvis Costello never made, and that’s as good a place to begin as any. But if I bandy about names such as The Replacements, Ramones and Tom Petty, and if I drop in gone but not forgotten gems like The Soho Roses and The Exploding Hearts, then you get an idea of the record sleeves Matt Julian has been fingering for inspiration. Yeah, we are talking low-slung, guitar driven power pop of the highest order.

The thing about The Speedways is that they have potential hit singles in their arsenal… massive hits. ‘Seen Better Days’ is the perfect 3 minute pop single, full of a youthful innocence that takes you back to summer daze creating mixtapes to send to the girl of your dreams. ‘In Common With You’ hits you right in the feels, as dampened chords lead to an emotive and yearning chorus. The sort of tune Tuk Smith was smashing out of the ball park before his Biters signed with a major label.

On the title track, Matt Julian takes us on a tube train ride to Holloway Road to reminisce about the girl with glitter in her hair. The pop-tastic melody is as familiar as the tale of heartbreak we have all experienced at some point in our life. Matt has the ability to draw the listener in with his descriptive storytelling, as we clench hands and eat ice cream on the bench with the couple and hope their love will last…at least until the record stops spinning!

Elsewhere ‘That’ll Be The Day The Earth Stood Still’ is an upbeat and glorious slice of Spector-lite pop and The 50’s guitar twang of ‘One Kiss Can Lead To Another’ has an instant familiarity, as does the warming vocal harmonies.

 

Included on this US version are both tracks from their recent 7” single release. The single mix of ‘Seen Better Days’ hardly differs from the album version to these ears, but the flipside is worth the entry fee alone. Pop fact: Kirsty MacColl’s ‘They Don’t Know’ was made popular by Tracy Ullman in 1983 and was only kept off the number one spot by Culture Club’s ‘Karma Chameleon’. That’s the version I know best and so do you, just admit it! They tackle the track to great effect; a perfectly crafted pop song about teenage love that fits the album concept like a crushed velvet glove.

The addition of rough acoustic demos of ‘Just Another Regular Summer’, ‘Reunion In The Rain’, and ‘Seen Better Days’ present the songs in their rawest form, all dirt under the fingernails goodness, proving a good song is a good song even in its unpolished form.

 

Choc-a-bloc with bubblegum induced choruses ‘Just Another Regular Summer’ is a tale of love and heartbreak, set to a soundtrack of youth.

The Speedways were intended as a one-album project, done and dusted. And that would’ve been a crying shame, as these songs are too good to go unnoticed. I’m happy to report the project has grown to a fully-fledged band since the initial release. So, joining Matt are Mauro Venegas on guitar, Adrian Alfonaso on bass and Los Pepes tub-thumper Kris Hood. They have been sporadically gigging and are currently recording The Speedways album number 2. We await the follow up with baited breath, but for now, this expanded edition CD is well worth seeking out to tide you over.

Buy the Deluxe Edition Here

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Author: Ben Hughes

 

 

 

 

 

Wow, every month I start to see what’s out there in the 45 rpm section and wonder why there aren’t any being released or, I wait until the Hip Priests have a single out; which is normally once a month to be fair.  Then I get to thinking, man, there aren’t enough I’m going to have to hold ’em over till next month.  Then as if by magic, poof,  a bunch of 45s lands either on the doormat or through the email. 

This month threw up exceptionally high-quality singles and most pleasing there were many made of wax. you know 7″ round things which I love so without further waffle here’s Julys releases…

 

 

SUSPECT PARTS ‘You Know I Can’t Say No’ b​/​w ‘Song For Sadie’ (17 Television)  “An Apocalypse Pop super group with ex and current members of The Briefs, Clorox Girls. More Kicks, Radio Dead Ones, Maniac and Red Dons. Here on their brand new single “You Know I Can’t Say No” they combine late 70’s California beach punk and power pop with 60’s garage and bubblegum. It’s a cotton candy-meets-razorblade concoction that goes down surprisingly smooth”. That’s what they said in the press blurb and it’s hard to disagree.  Man their long player blew me away and this is more of the same.  When rock and roll is in the hands of experts who really really really know what they’re doing then it’s as easy as 1-2-3.  Suspect Parts – Record of the month?  Too right it is.

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Rotten Foxes – ‘Arrive, Raise Hell, Leave’ (Self Release) Brighton’s Rotten Foxes make a ‘fuck off noise’.  They play hard and fast and loose and take no prisoners at all. I can’t possibly include the video but I’m sure that’s not where you dip your chocolate biscuit. Its a killer tune and you should be all over this brief exert from the band.  ‘Make Me Pretty’ is a cry for help but not even Jim could fix that (Too Soon?) ‘Over The Ropes’ is Exploited meets Motorhead meets Stone Cold Steve Austin – Hell yeah! chug a six-pack n’ lay the smack down and count to three.  Killer tune. Rotten Foxes have Rotten hair cuts and perished denim shorts but their Rock and Roll are as Action Rock as anyone.  Loud, hard and fast – Get in there!  Uncompromising in your face punk as fuck Ave It!  I think I love Rotten Foxes – Get em because we hear they won’t be around for long Here

 

 

The Speedways – ‘Seen Better Days’​/’​They Don’t Know’ –  Facebook

‘Seen Better days’ gets a new singles mix and aren’t the last band this month to feature a synth running riot over some awesome power pop. It’s no secret how much I love The Speedways and including live favourite ‘They Don’t Know’ is a beautiful thing. That’s exactly how you take on a pop classic, play it like you love it and own it like you wrote it.  A Stunning rendition of a stunning slab of perfect pop.  Buy it!

 

 

 

 

Duncan Reid & The Big Heads – ‘Kellys Gone Insane’ (Crocodile Records) Having the original debut solo record reissued with bells and whistles and new tracks recorded around the time (obviously) it makes perfect sense to release a single to promote it, just like Duncan would have done in those olden days when bands made singles to promote their LP.  ‘Kellys Gone Insane’ is a belter of a tune I know it and you should too.  If you don’t then here’s your chance to pick up a copy. It has two tunes on the B side ‘Pretty Little Rachel’ and ‘Baby Baby’  neither have been on record before so for less than ten pounds whats not to want to own? The lead track first came out seven years ago! Wow, time flys but one thing remains timeless and thats top Rock and Roll and Duncan Reid plays Top Rock and Roll ‘Kellys Gone Insane’ will drive you insane its catchy as hell and will lodge itself in your head – honest!

Buy it Here

 

Kurt Baker Combo – (I Can’t Help) Falling In Love With You (Wicked Cool Records)  Its Kurt Baker Combo they don’t do bad songs so it was a no brainer that we were going to love this one. When we got the slightest whiff of a new single and once again wicked Cool has snapped up a great band.

Its great from the opening lead break and throbbing bass line to the snare slap and that’s before Kurt comes in with his new wave drawl. With a great big hook ‘n’ riff and those woohoo! backing vocals, of course, this is a ray of sunshine and another excellent track from KBC.  those key stabs remind me of Hot Hot Heat as well which is always welcome – so what’s not to love?

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The Hives – I’m Alive/Good Samaritan (Disques Hives)  Hooray the Hives are back on wax.  Always one of the best rock and roll bands out there on the live front and to be fair they’ve managed to pen the odd banger or two.  ‘Good Samaritan’ is classic Hives. With that rapid riff and drum beat with Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist leading the charge, it’s got a killer chorus. it’s great to have the band back sounding fresh and ready for the attack.

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Budokan – C’Mon Daddy (Bandcamp) I loved their long player ‘Spin A Little Gold’ and once again these Canadian purveyors of Power Pop have delivered the goods with this classic slab of rock and roll.  It’s just a fantastic pop tune played with loud rock and roll guitars.  It’s got a great hook and it grooves like a good un.  The album came out back in 2012 so I can only presume they’ve been having such a groovy time they lost track of the time between releases who knows.  Let’s hope there is a long player on the way folks because these guys are great. Play it loud! Bandcamp

 

 

 

The first video single this month is from South Korean band Bursters with ‘Barriers’ its released as a double A-side single “Barriers / Hero”.  Driving metal riffs mixed with instantly memorable melodies and screamed vocals. The band mix the very best of metal with explosive live performances born from consistent touring across Korea. the bband hit the UK this coming week to support the single. K Rock is in the house.

 

Kettle of Kites – Orchids (Unsigned) Taken from the bands soon to be released album this eco-warrior tune is a haunting new cut that offers a reflection on the blurring of fiction and reality as Earth stands on the precipice of environmental disaster. Deep stuff for a 45. But something different for us here at RPM singles round up so why not get involved and check em out –Facebook

 

 

 

 

 

 

Automatic – ‘Calling It’ (Stones Throw Records) synth punks Automatic take it one step beyond Tubeway Army.  The band hail from the underground scene of Los Angeles where they met this is our first taste of the LA new wavers so join us as we catch up with ‘Calling It’ video

Follow Automatic:
Instagram / Spotify

Continuing the theme of new bands on us and ones with new video singles out here are Project Revise with ‘Just a Story’.

Next up we have Swedish Metalheads Narnia and their new single ‘You Are The Air That I Breathe’ – Facebook 

Genya Ravan ‘Don’t Go Into The Bathroom’ (Rumbar Records) When I first heard this I thought it was an odd title but in the context of the lyrics, Genya makes perfect sense.  I mean I went there once and was horrified that there was no stall door for a start but her ode to CBGB is a fine tune.  Genya headed up CBGB Records at the behest of Hilly himself so when she sings the lyrics take notice this force of nature is a pioneer and for that she gets our Kudos.  Facebook

 

 

The Empty Page – ‘He’s Very Good At Swimming’.  After Rags reviewed this on its release here’s the accompanying video for your viewing pleasure.

Autogramm – ‘Bad Day’ (Jarama 45 RPM Records)  Canadian power-pop signed to a Spanish label singing Ramones Classic in Spanish now beat that.  With an ear-splitting synth leading the charge on this throwback new wave no wave. It’s unoriginal yet nobody else I can think of is doing it these days so totally original that is until you hit their cover of The Ramones ‘I Wanna Be Sedated’ but in Spanish of course. Didn’t see that one coming wow.  Mind blown right there.  you just have to hear it if you’re a fan of Da Brudas and power pop then you have to check it out.  Whilst I’m here these guys are heading to Europe and playing a bunch of shows and they’re not ducking the UK they have a couple of shows lined up here too so my advice is to check em out if you can – Website Bandcamp

Hardship Anchors / Death Lottery – Split (Freetime Boyz Entertainment Worldwide Inc.) Yeah you know we love to hear new bands and when they reach out with music we’re not familiar with its a beautiful thing.  Sneaking under the fence at the 11th hour is this split 7″ all the way from Ft Lauderdale.  Pressed on marbled vinyl and blood splattered sleeve with free stickers I’m in all ready before the needle drops. Death Lottery kick it off with an uncompromising wah infused slab of garage punk with wild and reckless solos on opener ‘Cease + Desist’ and it just takes off from there.  ‘Trespassin’ is up next and sounding like a really lo-fi misfits horror track its a great track brief and to the point much like all three of their contributions.  As for Hardship Anchors, theirs is a slightly less chaotic contribution that doesn’t sound like its driven on adrenalin and has more of an early Replacements vibe happening Evan Dando when he way young hungry and fueled on punk.  the final track ‘Fake’ has a bit of Buzzcocks going on which is always welcome round here.  Check em out on their Bandcamp page and pick it up.

 

The Kopek Millionaire (Johny skullknuckles) – Hey Mikki (self Release) Bandcamp When you’re waiting around for your band to get their shit together and you have the means why not fuck around with a classic slab of pop music. Johny gives this 80s pop classic a right roughing up I’m sure you’ll agree.  Toni Basil would no doubt be blushing at the compliment paid by Johny who calls it a cover of a cover and a silly one at that.  Not that we agree because we love some sloppy rock and roll.  Well done Sir now get that band sorted and lets have the new record.

 

 

 

Beechwood – ‘I Know It’s Not Right’ (Alive Natural Sound) Ok we have to sign off somewhere so why not sign off with a direct line of heritage handed down from Johnny Thunders in the shape of Beechwood.  They have that NYC cool and Gordon Lawrence sure knows how to channel his thoughts into his music.  Regaling a dark time in his life through the song Lawrence said he was happy with the outcome of such a dark experience explaining how he was in such bad shape when he wrote the song, he described himself as broken but he was still able to believe that things would get better; and this was a reminder of that dark time. It’s haunting but mourish and Lawrence certainly has charm and charisma in his songwriting, Not an instant single for sure but one you should check out.

The band are about to embark on a quick tour of Europe with a couple of UK dates added.

FOR MORE INFO ON BEECHWOOD go Here

 

Every month we will try to promote the bands who grace the pages of RPM Online and ask that if you do follow us on Spotify then please where possible try and support the bands by picking up their physical music as well as just streaming.  We appreciate its a great way to discover new music but bands make better records and earn more from you buying their physical products.

Support us and the bands by sharing this page on social media and following the playlist on Spotify

This month we’ve either reviewed – seen or reported on new music heading our way from some of our favourite artists and this month is no exception beginning with Manchester The Empty Page who has a new track out that we feature this month.

Then Poison Boys have just released their blistering debut album we reviewed here but the album isn’t on Spotify yet so we delved into their back catalogue for this months playlist. But buy the album its a belter (Here).

We also welcome back The Hives with their new single.

The living end were awesome supporting the mighty Stray Cats recently so we included one off their last studio album.

One of my favourite albums this year has been the much-anticipated solo record from Billy Liar.  One of my favourite tracks off the album is added to our playlist – simple – beautiful – ‘Independent People’ is awesome and one of the best tunes this month.

Supporting Billy at his album launch is Rich Ragany & The Digressions so why not include the fantastic ‘Your Distance’ from the superb ‘…Like We’ll Never Make It…’

There are also some superb tunes on our playlist from the likes of Duncan Reid, Joey Cape, Razorbats and more.  go check us out and spread the word.

 

Spotify Playlist