Gerald Stansbury

Wow… I mean… just wow. This album is a wonderful and tremendous addition to a Dogs D’amour discography that began with ‘The State We’re In’ 35 years ago. There will be those that may refuse to give this a chance, and that is really unfortunate for them. I would consider this the first proper album under the Dogs D’amour name by Tyla, Gary, Matty, and Simon even though they have been recording together for several years now. This album is truly made to feel like a Dogs D’amour album as opposed to a Tyla solo album or the Tyla J Pallas Band. It is not a secret that the last two new studio albums ‘When Bastards Go to Hell’ and ‘Let Sleeping Dogs’ were not everyone’s cup of tea, a bottle of jack…. or maybe I should now say bottle of red. Those albums really reflect a different moment in time where this feels much more like the follow up to ‘Happy Ever After’ in terms of style, sound, and approach. For me, this love affair started back at ‘In the Dynamite Jet Saloon’ which remains my favorite album of all time. The band was refreshing among the wave of hair metal bands that often blended together thanks to the other influences they incorporated such as the Stones, Faces, Hanoi Rocks, etc. Tyla’s lyrics were much more relatable to people like me who would try our best only to find out that sometimes the bad guys win despite our best efforts. Albums such as ‘Errol Flynn’ and ‘More Unchartered Heights of Disgrace’ are part of my DNA at this point. Over the years, Tyla has released a tremendous number of solo albums and projects as well as a couple of albums with Spike from the Quireboys. There has always been a difference between that work and Dogs D’amour albums which is partially where the lines got blurred in my mind on ‘Let Sleeping Dogs’ and ‘When Bastards Go to Hell.’ What we have here though is an album that has its very own identity but captures a true band effort and sounds like a Dogs D’amour album…. A damn awesome one too.

Getting the album started is a stomping version of ‘111,’ which will be familiar from Tyla’s solo work. This version though packs more venom and punch. This is a great opener along the lines of ‘Drunk Like Me’ and ‘What’s Happening Here.’ The guitars burn sharply in the mix with the outside production evident at the outset. The album transitions to the gorgeous ‘Black Confetti.’ The use of the saxophones here is perfectly placed, and the way they arrive after a brief pause at the beginning of the song is sublime. This is not your typical single by any Dogs D’amour incarnation and all the better for it. This is an opportunity for these Dogs to flex some musical chops and create a magical moment. For those of us that pledged, we got to hear just a bit of the up-tempo ‘Bloodline’ that rocks in a similar manner to ‘What You Do’ and ‘Lie in This Land.’ The bass by Matty has some added pop in the mix which really stands out at the beginning of the song. Tyla sounds sensational here. He would never win on any of those reality singing shows, but his vocals have always been more about character, heart, soul, and distilled from the finest blend of rock n roll spirits. I will take that everytime. I really love the guitar solo here by Gary as well.

‘Bottle of Red’ stands out as a future standard in the live show where everyone is singing along at the top of their lungs. Lyrically, I would say that it is like the uplifting cousin of ‘Satellite Kid’ as the music creates much more of a ‘Singin’ vibe from ‘Happy Ever After.’ The band adds some awesome saxophone here which creates some additional depth in the music. A Tyla spoken word ad-lib at the end is another very nice touch. I should mention again here that the mix and production on this album is excellent and truly showcases how great these songs are. Since I am reviewing the vinyl version, the midtempo ‘Everything to Me’ represents the end of Side One. Matty’s bass lines get a chance to stand out here as well as the tasteful guitar lines by Gary and Tyla. With a strong vocal hook carried by Tyla already in the chorus, the band adds some background ‘ooh Sha la la’s’ for good measure. What really stands out is just how happy Tyla sounds as these two songs feel like celebrations. Something I have not mentioned is that this album steers clear of the traditional ballads and acoustic numbers. This is a rock album through and through.

Flipping the record over, the uniquely titled ‘Chicago Typewriter’ begins with gunshots and sirens. Musically, this is a hard blues number driven incredibly well by Simon (drums) and Matty (bass) so that Gary and Tyla can add some great bluesy riffs to the mix which are complemented by a simple and highly addictive vocal hook. In some ways, this song recalls the best of where Tyla had gone on ‘Let Sleeping Dogs’ or ‘When Bastards Go to Hell’ but with a much more listener-friendly production style and mix. It provides a great rocking start to the second half of the record. The single in waiting ‘I Don’t Love Anyone’ follows with its tasteful piano and saxophone sounding amazing in the mix. This song should come with a warning label or two as I can’t help but find myself smiling when it plays and singing along. The loving message shows that even though good guys don’t win all the time; they can win from time to time so let’s take a few minutes to celebrate finding the love of our lives while we can. Up next is the title track ‘In Vino Veritas’ where the band brings in some more tasteful saxophone as Tyla tells us a tale as only he can. This is one song where I do wonder if these gentlemen revisiting Tyla’s ‘Nocturnal Nomad’ album recently added some new ingredients that had never really been on a Dogs’ record in the past. Lyrically, this song feels more like the characters and stories from that album as opposed to the characters we met in ‘Hurricane’ or ‘Baby Glass.’

As we approach the end of the vinyl version, ‘Monster’ slithers and struts out on a biting sustained blues riff. Over the course of these songs, the band really explores multiple musical avenues and back alleys with ‘Monster’ creating an awesome groove with added harmonica and organ. I love the guitar riffs and licks throughout this one with it becoming more and more of a favorite with multiple listens with a wonderful howl added at the end for good measure. ‘Movie Star’ serves as an epic finale that brings everything together over the course of its nearly 5 minutes. There are multiple vocal hooks that can kill at a long distance, great guitar work, rocking piano, and a great beat. The extended musical outro is not to be missed as the song eventually slows down for one last vocal before we hear the arm raise and the vinyl come to a stop.

Some people may approach this album with reservations, but I would urge you to check them at the door. This album exceeds every expectation I had and makes me hope that we don’t have to wait too long before we get a follow up from these guys based on how awesome this is. Tyla’s Dogs D’amour acknowledge the long history of the Dogs in many ways but more importantly, add to the band’s magical history with an album that can stand proudly with every record from their past. With two additional songs ‘Empire’ and ‘Fuck Off Devil’ added to the CD and download versions of the album, there really is no reason to not check out this album. Quite simply, this is a magical record.

‘In Vino Veritas’ is unleashed November 16th

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That week went quickly.  No sooner did we bring you the finest alternative album reviews but we also ushered in some welcome reviews from the best live bands breezing through the United Kingdom.

You had Canadian rockers The Dirty Nil turning up their master volume last weekend and we also went loco over power-pop royalty Paul Collins and his new album Out Of My Head.  If those two didn’t tickle your fancy then you should try out some UK hardcore in the shape of Welsh upstarts Social Experiment and their stunning debut ‘Rumours of Our Demise Are Not Greatly Exaggerated’.

We brought you Commies who played with Tommy, Some Italians who just rock like fuck in the shape of some Peawees, German sleazy rock n rollers in the shape of Hell Nation Army. and as the week drew to a close we took on board The Virginmarys new record that is a must hear any day of the week.

We also got to have a chat with Alvin Gibbs and get the low down on his soon to be released debut solo album and the UK Subs bass player also had some amusing tales about his band and what he spends his time doing when not on stage.

All that was last week when we also announced details of some great tours and shows and new records being released.

 

To prove that we should be the bookmark site for all the best reviews, news and interviews over the coming seven days we’ve got exclusive reviews and interviews that you won’t find anywhere on the internet beginning today when we have Tyla spilling the beans about his new record and over the next seven days. Reviews from Deathtraps, Nicotene Pretty, King Brothers, and Bottle Rockets but we also go balls deep into some fantastic live show reviews from the likes of Glenn Hughes and Jesse Malin to name two so you know where to go and click when you’re skiving in work – Oh and Nev just gave you his tips on the shakers and movers in the 2018 ska/punk scene with a few just about to head out around the UK if you’re quick there might still be tickets left for The Interrupters / Bar Stool Preachers Tour.  So skive a bit more with us and keep up to date with what’s what.  As Lux used to say – Stay Sick! Luv

RPM Online

Turbocharged Rock and Roll writing.

Gerald Stansbury.

November sees the release of the awesome new album by Tyla’S Dogs D’amour ‘In Vino Veritas’ which finds the band using Pledge Music platform for the first time. For those familiar with Tyla though, he has been utilizing a similar since the mid 90’s when the brilliant solo album ‘Nocturnal Nomad’ first appeared. These Dogs D’amour include Tyla(vocals/ guitar), Gary Pennick (guitar), Matty James (bass), and Simon Hanson (drums) who have taken elements from the band’s releases over the past 35 years and added some new ingredients into the mix. It has proven to be an album that has me completely reassessing my favorite albums of 2018 as the 10 song version has been on repeat since first getting a chance to hear it. Tyla was kind enough to spend some time answering questions for us here at RPM Online.

Thank you Tyla for taking some time to speak to us here at RPM Online. I would say you have a lot happening right now but honestly, I don’t know if I could recall a time when there was not a lot happening with you.

Let’s start with the brilliant brand new album ‘In Vino Veritas’ which comes out in November via Pledge Music. What can you tell us about this album?

Well, I think that’s for the listener to decide, isn’t it? All I can say is  I had penciled out a few ideas ‘ere n there and so we went into the studio for a few days and laid down the bedrock…that’s when ideas transpose into either nowt or wondrous spirits that will last forever. We then built upon that over a period of weeks adding bits ‘ere and bits there and Bob’s yer Uncle, Fanny’s yer Aunt. Plus we only gave the Vinyl version out to reviewers so there are 2 more songs on the CD edition, not forgettin’ the limited edition double CD version with a whole CD of covers that inspired me from childhood.

You have essentially been making albums in a very similar fashion to Pledge Music since the 90’s starting with ‘Nocturnal Nomad.’ How has the process been with them making this one?

Yep, I’ve been releasing music on my own label ‘King Outlaw’ for almost 20 years now.  Pledge has given us the chance to reach more people which it has indeed done, some new and some old fans who had just lost touch, so not only are they Pledging but now they have discovered my Art Tavern and so are catching up. I wish I’d have done it ages ago, which I nearly did with Spike about a decade ago. I’m sure we shall do another one in the future. The only problem I have is keeping to deadlines and even when I manage it, some gremlins get in the works..but people are getting used to me so while on one hand people think I’ve got minions working away like Amazon others know it’s mainly just me and things take time…especially having to sign and number by Sharpie pen over  1600 CDs last week and about 400 Vinyl next week…me and my big ideas eh? I even did auditions for people to do my signature but no one passed the test…mad that eh? I even considered getting a stamp made..…I must say though I’m glad my name isn’t Baron Von Dribbling Mountbatten the Third eh?

‘Black Confetti’ was an amazing song when I first heard the stripped-down acoustic version on ‘Balancing the Ships of Honour.’ I love how the saxophone enters the song after that brief pause at the beginning. How did this new band version come together?

I actually wrote it on electric guitar and drum machine and sent it to Si, who put ‘real’ drums on it, then we lost the take somewhere in cyber world. I knew it was a good un, and sure enough, I was right.

I love that you guys have also released a four-song EP with the classic unreleased b-sides to make this feel much more like an event and a record release from the past. How did it come to be?

We recorded over 17 songs in the studio, so it was simply a matter of waste not want not. There’ll be another EP to follow after the album as well.

‘Bottle of Red’ has a sense of joy that runs through it which kind of reminds me of a happy ‘Satellite Kid.’ What was it like recording that one, as you also have an acoustic version on the EP?

When we started recording it was just me and Si, next day Matty came into the mix and then the following day Gaz landed.

At the very end of ‘Monster,’ there is a howl that brought a smile to my face as it recalls previous albums and songs like ‘Errol Flynn.’ Was that a spontaneous thing in the studio, or did someone suggest it?

Just Spontaneous .. people do suggest things to me… usually ending in …Off.

(laughing at end of the previous answer) This album really delivers the rock without any traditional ballads or acoustic numbers. ‘Movie Star’ makes a great closer with the guitar work and then the final slow down with the piano for the final words. How did you guys decide on the songs that made the album and the running order?

Well, I’d have said ‘I don’t Love anyone’ and  ‘In Vino ‘ were Ballads…maybe even Black Confetti. We all listen to and put ideas forward initially ‘Movie Star’ was going to be the opener and ‘111’ last.

This set of the Dogs has played with you as a solo act, as the Tyla J. Pallas Band, and now Tyla’s Dogs D’Amour. From an outside perspective, it looks like you guys are fully in tune with one another. What has the process been like with Matty, Gary, and Simon in really forming a band?

Simon has been playing drums for or rather with me since 1996. As I said it’s usually him and me go into the studio and knock out about 10-20 songs in a few hours. Then Gaz came along in about 2010, he played in The Dogs tour when Dave T, Timmo and Danny Fury were on board. Matty wrote to me asking if his band could support…I said ok, then me and Gaz did some solo acoustic gigs and that’s where we met Matty this time he was on acoustic. I liked him and we all got on so I’d ask him to support us, then we could never get a bass player and I said you’re always gonna be opening, do you want to play in the band with us?  Simple as that.

Several spots on the album include some amazing saxophone work as I mentioned regarding ‘Black Confetti.’ Who played it on the album? Did you already know all the spots where you wanted it, or did he add any that you had not anticipated?

Yeah, when we did a gig last year in Newcastle we were about to do ‘Drunk Like me’ and I jokingly said ..”is there anyone out there who can play saxophone?”…and this bloke jumps out from the packed crowd with a sax in his case. Once we had worked out what key it was (in as we use weird tunings) we blasted it out. I remembered and Gaz got in touch with him and he came and did the bits… He can make one sax sound like a brass section and his name is Ian Douglas.

I know there are a couple dates on the calendar before the end of the year. What are the long-term touring plans for this album?

Yeah, by the time we had finished the recording and decided on a release date all the venues we wanted to play were booked up. We are gonna do a few here and there next year including two festival headliners. We have some European dates in the pipeline like the usual Spanish tour which is always great fun… and  I’m planning a few Canadian solo acoustic shows. It would also be splendid to get back over to Japan as I’ve not been there since 1995! 

Your artwork has been indelibly connected with your music over the years thanks to all of the album and single artwork we have seen. One of the rare exceptions has been the live CD/ DVD with Tyla’s Dogs D’amour that was recently released. Why did you go with a photograph for that one?

I see lots of great Photos and thought it would be cool for a change.. if I could get a good one of us all playing together that would be a cover too…so all you budding snappers get your wide angles out for the lads!

As a fan over the years, we have seen your artistic talents spread across a variety of mediums from paintings on canvas to guitars and bottles as well as spoken word albums and books. Are there other mediums you want to try?

Yes, I’m planning on moving into a bit of sculpture. I’ve had the clay in the cupboard for a while and I know exactly what I’m gonna sculpt. I’m being tutored by me Missus Lady Jane as she is a ‘proper ‘ artist in her own right and often tells me that I ‘get away with murder’ in my style of drawing. I mean can you imagine if we all had massive hands…haha!! haha!!

At some point in the past, there were rumors that you had thought about doing some sort of country and western album. Is that still something being considered, or has it ever really been considered?

Yes it’s on my to do list, but please let me just get my speed death metal acoustic album out of the way first eh? haha!!

In this day and age of social media, you have largely abstained from it all with only brief dalliances on Facebook or My Space. I remember you once saying that you never wanted to meet Charles Bukowski because of the risks you run meeting people that you have respected or admired for fear of it going wrong. Obviously, we see examples of that happening today on Social Media where fans can stop following an artist over a different opinion. What do you see as the benefits of this digital age?

The digital age has given everyone a chance to have a bash at what they like, be it good or bad. You don’t need to rely on a record deal to make an album anymore … you just need some ‘friends…or fiends’ and yer away. Simon (Hanson) and Ginger Baker did a drum show once and out of all the 100’s of young drummers that were there only two  had ever done real live gigs. This is young drummers who all had millions of hits and followers but had never actually played outside of their bedrooms till this day. How mad is that?

What are 3 things you would tell yourself if you could travel back in time 35 years to the start of the Dogs?

One.  Don’t take that box of 25 Vinyl, the  Finnish ‘State We’re in’version down to the record and tape exchange because I didn’t like the mix or the cover and flog the lot for a fiver. Then to find out they would be worth a grand each less than five years later. haha!! 25 grand haha!!

Two.  In 1991 don’t smash up that 1957 J2OO Gibson acoustic as that is also worth 25K now.

and Three..Don’t put 50K on a horse that missed the photo finish and got involved in an oil painting!

‘See its not the principle its the Money.’ -Tommy Cooper.

You have lived in several countries and traveled all over the world. Are there countries where you would still like to live?

 Yep, and I’m ere..Edinburgh, Scotland.   

Any final words to fans here?

Thanks ever so for supporting me all these years and letting me be able to live this life of Reilly while I scratch my beard and look up to the sky pretending I’m contemplating the meaning of life and composing yet another song in Eb and oh yeah your order is in the post…honest Guv!

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Pictures 3,5,6 courtesy of Neil Vary Gig Photography