This month on RPM we have plenty of awesome albums to review as well as celebrating important players who’ve had an impact on us all.
We’ve put together another playlist championing some of the records we’ve covered or will be covering as well as tipping the hat to some of our brothers who’ve passed away and people we won’t forget and if it makes you go investigate a back catalogue or discover new music then Awesome! that’s our job done. Tell your friends – tell us – buy music and keep Rock and Roll Evil oh and stay sick!
Californian Singer-songwriter Jordan Jones has a record coming out via those good people at Beluga Records (Swe) and Spaghetty Town Records (USA) here is the first track taken from it and if it’s on those two labels then that’s good enough for us.
Coming this week we have the fantastic new long player from The Satanic Overlords Of Rock And Roll reviewed by Gerald the record will be available from Savage Magic Records – Get in touch and let em know who sent you!
Whilst there is some fantastic new music coming at you this month we also tip the hat and pay tribute to some of our musical heroes who are no longer with us – the brilliant Nick Marsh, Stiv Bator and Dee Dee Ramone, Ronnie Lane and Roky Ericson who passed this month. Lives well worth celebrating I’m sure you’ll agree. What better way to remember them than to indulge in their music.
Back to new records released one of the best albums to hit the shops in June and a shift of gears from the day job, Duff McKagan released ‘Tenderness’ this month and Ben reviewed it for RPM. Whilst he rightly noted it won’t sell like GnR it’s right up there with the likes of Izzy Stradlin and the JuJu Hounds for quality so we’ve picked the title track to go in our playlist but think you should check out the whole record.
We also carried an interview with Birchy from Black Bombers who of course aren’t on Spotify neither are Gunfire Dance (both would be on our playlist if they were) so we’ve included another band he plays with currently and The Godfathers and their classic ‘Birth School Work Death’.
Back to the newer bands you might not have come across yet and for your listening pleasure, we have the stunning new album from The Sweet Things reviewed on RPM so we include one of the best songs on the album. Coming up we have the review of Dangers Of Love have a listen in our playlist then order the record – you know it makes sense. There is also a choice cut from the Bat! June seems like a good minth to review a few compilation albums so we give you the tribute to Dead Moon out on Ghost Highway Records and it seemed like as good an opportunity to play one of the original tunes so we included Dead Moon ‘Walking On My Grave’. Seeing as this week marks the passing of Stiv Bator and also the release on DVD of the movie ‘Stiv’ we’ve put ‘A Million Miles Away’ in this month.
With the sad news of the passing of Roky Erickson, we thought it would be fitting to include one of our favourite tracks from the guy so ‘If You Have Ghosts’ makes the cut Rest In Peace Roky!
Before we sign off we thought we’d leave you with another banger and one to watch out for. From the Spaghetty Town compilation record, we include RMBLR and their epic tune ‘Next Time’ so until next time go check out some Rock and Roll via our playlist but better than that we hope you discover a new favourite band and go search out the record and support Rock and Roll buy buying off the bands and labels who are keeping Rock and Roll alive. Over and out.
So click the Spotify link give us a follow and spread the word. Maybe we’ve missed someone you think should be making our playlist why not get in touch on social media or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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!
To say I have been looking forward to this album would be a massive understatement, their early singles over the past two years should have been blasting on every rock radio station in the world, and these guys should already be huge from the likes of ‘Love to Leave’ and ‘Slather.’ To be clear, my anticipation for the album would have made it easy to be disappointed in it, but my faith has been rewarded with an album that could very easily be my album of the year and is sure to be one that will remain in constant rotation for years to come. The Sweet Things have distilled the essence of rock n roll’s primal ingredients and then added their own secret spices to make it all their own. Comparison points definitely include the Rolling Stones and Guns N’ Roses, but those are not the only ones, for example, as I would say the spirit of Chuck Berry is essential to the band as well.
Lead video ‘Liquor Lightning’ kicks off the album in fine style as we hear the sound of bottles clinking together before a riff that encompasses the shambolic spirit of something like the Black Crowes ‘Thick n Thin’ gives way to Dave Tierney frantically spilling the words from the first verse over the riff in a race to the finish line. Everything then falls perfectly in time as the band is in fine form with the addition of some excellent piano work included behind them to give the song even more flavor. The reprieve in the pre-chorus provides even more urgency to the chorus as the horns explode in the background. The guitar solo is razor sharp and captures the Chuck Berry spirit before the band slam the chorus at us again. If someone asks for a song in the spirit of rock n roll, this can be it. Follow up ‘Dead or Worse’ slows the beat a bit and features some excellent harmonica work. Sam Hariss (also bass) provides the first verse on this one with his rasp being a perfect fit, similar to Izzy’s vocals in GN’R. The production gives the music plenty of space with Tierney taking over for the second verse before they combine vocals at the end. I hate to think how many times I have heard the live version of this on YouTube. The excitement and the vibe have translated over to the vinyl in remarkable fashion.
The title track takes us on a mid tempo journey with a timeless classic rock epic that immediately grabbed me with the band again receiving support from piano, horns, and some harmonica. Simply put, I do not understand how fans of early Black Crowes, Dogs D’amour, Quireboys, Faces, Rolling Stones could not be drawn in with this song. I have this urge to lift a glass in the air and singalong with this one every time it plays. Another of the early release songs follows with ‘Almost Faded’ being another perfect rock n roll song with some horn work that would do 80’s era Hanoi Rocks proud. It is not a stretch to think Tierney (also guitar), Hariss, Lorne Behrman (guitar/ vocals), and Darren Fried (drums) had a cryptic meeting with someone down at the crossroads to come up with this album. The time that has gone into creating these songs and this album has paid dividends. If you are not singing along with ‘Almost Faded,’ I really do not know what to tell you other than your rock n roll spirit is apparently dead. Hyperbole? Give it a listen and find out for yourself. Wrapping up the first half of the album is ‘Dr. Crazy Girl’ whose guitar riff slowly builds before the song starts moving and conjuring the spirit of the New York Dolls. While perhaps not as monumental as the first four songs, this one keeps the momentum going nicely.
Flipping the record over introduces the classic rock infused ‘Drained.’ Again the band has really thrown in all the bells and whistles…. Okay, maybe it is all the horns and piano to create something really special that will still kick butt in the live setting without them. The chorus begs for a singalong from all of us listening. ‘Coke’n’ has been one they have played live which was originally done by Izzy Stradlin back on his 2002 ‘On Down the Road’ album and fits the Sweet Things like it was written with them in mind. The groove is timeless and shows in terms of the songwriting the heart and soul that Izzy provided GN’R. This is another one just made for blasting out the windows wherever you are as everyone around you should be listening to it too. ‘Through the Cracks of the City’ is another I am familiar with as the band originally released it a couple years ago and have played it live. The hook simply sticks to you and does not shake loose, and the guitar riffs throughout the song are awesome.
‘Fix to Kick’ brings us to the final stretch of the album with the band making another timeless riff look effortless. The Sweet Things simply rawk in all the right ways with this being another classic chorus that they smartly do not use to overwhelm the music. It falls right in line with the music in the mix, giving it a great live feel. This has future single written all over it. Finale ‘Feed My Dog’ slows things down a touch with another slow burner that does not waste one second of its five minutes. The guitar licks are perfectly done and the extended musical section in the song gives me chills before the vocals come back to wrap up the album.
I wrote in another piece here on the site how several huge albums have come out in May between the Wildhearts, the Darts, Glam Skanks, and the Sweet Things. I only have the Glam Skanks yet to hear, but every album in that group has simply killed. This stands tall as an Album of the Year contender and beyond that really as the album is simply a timeless piece of art and a testament to the band. World dominance should be next for them as long as you give this a listen, buy it, and then let your friends, acquaintances, and even your enemies know about it as everyone needs this rock n roll in their lives.
Buy ‘In Borrowed Shoes On Borrowed Time’ Here
Author: Gerald Stansbury
As part of one of my son’s activities at school, I was recently in a theater filled with elementary school age children and parents watching the new kids’ movie ‘Ugly Dolls.’ It obviously would not be a movie I would be watching if my wife and I didn’t have children, but the time as a family is priceless. I am sometimes amazed by how much I know about Peppa the Pig, the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and the like. I have seen Thomas the Train and the Cat in the Hat get eclipsed over time with these other shows and movie characters.
I have lamented the lack of importance and value of music in today’s world. There seem to be fewer and fewer well-known bands and artists creating a legacy and leaving an imprint than in previous generations. Over the years, music has been a powerful tool for people from a personal level to a societal level. It has provided comfort to us when needed to help us in our times of need as well as been a soundtrack for great moments. It has courted the ire of the powers that be due to its ability to unite people behind a common goal It has been condemned as a tool of a devil and the inspiration for teenage debauchery. I love going back through time and discovering old music. Time machines do not exist, but there is something magical about losing myself in old songs and imagining life at that time, whether it is Louis Armstrong and the Hot Five, Chuck Berry, Janis Joplin, or another artist. I love knowing what was happening at the time, what inspired the songs, and information about the artists. Those artists have also transcended time and continue to be widely known.
I do not see music resonating with as many people the same way today though. Music has become an inessential afterthought to the mainstream in many ways. With the internet, we have lost some of the iconic moments such as what it meant to be on the cover of Rolling Stone, being the musical artist on Saturday Night Live, having a video world premier on MTV, etc. These were significant things in our culture in the past. Musical genre did not matter as there were stars in seemingly every genre who would cross lines in terms of popularity. For example, I did not listen to country but knew who the artists were. In the 80’s, I was mainly a metal head, but my seeds of listening to everything were also planted at that time. I was listening to oldies as well as bands like Jesus and Mary Chain, INXS, and NWA. I didn’t realize at the time just how costly this form of salvation would cost me in the years to come. I even got an electric guitar around the age of 14 and had to come to grips with a hard truth- I have not one ounce of musical talent anywhere in my body. It did not stop me though from creating my own rock band in my head, writing songs (lyrics), and imagining giving interviews. After all, I had read that was what Joe Elliot of Def Leppard had done when he was younger.
I wasn’t thinking about any of this when the movie started the other night. I was wondering how loud all the kids would be during the movie, how bad the storm was outside, which way to go if one of my kids needed to go to the bathroom, and a hundred other thoughts. We sat through what seemed like 20 previews before ‘Ugly Dolls’ finally started. Almost immediately, we had the main character starting to sing a song and then other characters were contributing lines to the song. While I will say the poppy genre didn’t do it for me, I appreciated that it began with a song. Pretty soon, we had another song and then another.
Each song propelled the narrative in a way to engage the kids’ attention. My mind began to go down other avenues now where I thought about so many of the other animated movies and the songs that are attached to them. I have never been unfortunate enough to sit through ‘Frozen,’ but I know the hook from ‘Let It Go’ like it has been cut into my brain with a rusty nail. I can still hear the ‘Thomas the Train’ theme in my head. Just think of all the music in ‘Shrek,’ it is one of the reasons I really liked the movie. When ‘Trolls’ was recently released, both of my kids loved the music and wanted the soundtrack so they could sing along. If they hear any of the songs from the movie, they are dancing, singing, and letting me know it is from ‘Trolls.’ With all this flooding my mind, I started wondering where we are losing our passion for music and our willingness to support the artists. Kids obviously still love music. On a side note, one of my favorite scenes from ‘The Hangover’ is when Stu sings his short song while the tiger passes out from the roofies.
Twice per week, my son has a music class where he is exposed to different musical instruments and songs. They learn to sing songs, and some of them perform for us during the school year. I remember doing the same thing when I was in elementary school and thinking ‘Silver Bells’ was the best Christmas song in the world. I can’t tell you why; there was just something about it at that time. Band was important, even at that age to many students as they were already playing instruments, even if it wasn’t always what they wanted to be doing. Now, we have education budgets under fire with the arts being one of the first to always be on the cutting board. Perhaps, that was the same in the ’80s, and it just wasn’t part of my world at the time as I was too busy in sports to think about trying to play music. I can’t help but think though that it is part of where music as a cultural phenomena is struggling. It is being minimized, and that message is making it down to the kids.
Another possible factor is truly ironic to me. We have too much music which truly spreads popularity across so many artists that there are fewer and fewer icons. For those of us that love music, we are constantly discovering new bands and artists from all over the world. Within a day, I may discover several bands that I love such as the Dead Furies from Estonia or the Fadeaways from Japan. I might not have ever heard of these bands though back before the Internet. I am incredibly happy to have found them because I love the music. It can start to spread us thin though because there are only so many hours in a day. This month I find myself extremely excited that there are four new releases released I have been anticipating- the Darts, the Wildhearts, the Sweet Things, and the Glam Skanks. I imagine there will be someone else that suddenly appears which will also connect with me. How do I find the time to listen to all of them? Seriously, I am open to ideas on this one as the Darts and Wildhearts are already on constant rotation.
As the final song in ‘Ugly Dolls’ set up the final scene where the doll’s dream of being with a child is realized, I was pulled out of my thoughts and back to the hustle and bustle of getting out of the theater. I ultimately have hope that kids today will help us rediscover music and get it back to where it belongs in society. There is something to be said about people being able to remember more through the power of music such as recent studies of patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s have revealed.
I don’t think the platform to truly demonstrate the power of music has found itself again yet. Print magazines have sadly continued to disappear with the decline of book stores making that even more prevalent. We have wonderful music sites like this one, but we need to be in front of more people. We can be an excellent conduit for new music to the people who try and say there is no great music being made. It is being made, and it can be found all around the globe. It just takes a little more digging because it is not in heavy rotation on MTV or all over magazines at the check stands. People also do not have the record stores to lose themselves in and discover a hidden gem. The music is out there though. Let’s each make sure that we remember to tell others what music means to us, what music moves us, and why we need it in our lives.
Author: Gerald Stansbury