Ryan Hamilton shoots to thrill at the halfway point in his 1221 Project
How can it be June already?
Back in January 2021, Texan singer/songwriter announced his 1221 project, his intent to release a new song a month for the duration of the year. This month’s track, ‘Shots Fired’ sees us reaching the halfway point with a floor-stomping rocker.
What was the inspiration behind this latest track?
This song is about getting used. I’ve had some TOXIC relationships in my life… as lots of people have. So I got a feeling this song is gonna resonate with lots of folks. When you stay in a poisonous relationship, simply because there’s a singular good thing… whether it’s sex, or not feeling alone… whatever it may be. We ignore the abundance of reasons we should GET OUT, and stick around anyway. Why do we do that? This song is about that.
With half of 1221 already done, are you able to share anything about the remaining six months of releases yet to come?
From here on in, everything is rock n roll. I can’t wait to share the rest.
On the cover image for ‘Shots Fired’, you appear to be the victim of said shots – what’s happening there?
I wanted an image that portrayed a man being used. I’ll let you decide just HOW he might have been used 😉
Hamilton was recently heralded by Spin magazine as one of the ‘Best Lesser-Known Artists of the Last 35 Years’.
RYAN HAMILTON RELEASES “Shots Fired” 12 JUNE 2021, VIA WICKED COOL
Warped – ‘Match Fit’ (Golden Robot Records) Hailing from Geelong Australia, Warped are a 3-piece band that have been around the traps for 30 years and are highly respected scene veterans. ‘Match Fit’ is a right banger in the garage rock mould that those Stooges knocked out many moons ago that seems to have been embraced down under. ‘Match Fit’ is a bruising grinding slice of chaotic rock and roll that’s delivered to great effect by Warped who clearly know the score when pumping out loud uncompromising rock n roll in a similar vein to the likes of Bored and Asteroid B612. Out via Golden Robot Records, available on all digital platforms.
Steve Conte – ‘Recovery Doll’ (Wicked Cool Records) New music from the super talented Conte out on May 28 on Wicked Cool Records. This is Conte’s follow up to the rockin ‘Gimme Gimme Rockaway’. It features Conte’s 11 year old son, Zia, on backing vocals, the track has Conte’s brother, John on bass and Charley Drayton (The Replacements, Keith Richards’ X-Pensive Winos, Divinyls) on drums. The b-side is a demo of ‘Rock and Rye Queen,’ a track off of his ‘Steve Conte NYC’ album. Of course, it’s quality we wouldn’t expect anything less than exceptional here. I love the groove and vibe brought to the party by Drayton who added the Roll to the Keith Richards Expensive Winos Rock. It goes without saying this is a must buy single.
Kris Rodgers And The Dirty Gems – ‘I Can Still Feel It’ (Wicked Cool Records) Portland, Maine’s Kris Rodgers and the Dirty Gems Releasing Wicked Cool Records Label Debut ‘Still Dirty’ on July 23. The first single lifted from the record is the horn-heavy rootin tootin rock and roller that shows the very talented Rodgers who has busied himself in the past performing with the likes of RPM favourites Scott Sorry, Bullet Proof Lovers, and Kurt Baker. ITs a real blast of summer sunshine and we can all get excited for the summer when we have tunes like this to blast out. ‘Still Dirty’ Album Pre-Save link: Here
Velvet Insane feat Dregen & Nicke Andersson – ‘Backstreet Liberace’ (Wild Kingdom Records) Swedish rockers Velvet Insane goes wam bam glam and turns the clock back to 1973 in the new music video for “Backstreet Liberace” and with guest appearances from Dregen and Nicke Andersson of The Hellacopters. With a big sing-a-long chorus, Sulo has really captured the mood on this one. From the low horn honk to the rampaging keys its a real feel good banger.
If this is an indication as to where the album is going then bring it on – Great stuff. the upcoming album “Rock ‘n’ Roll Glitter Suit”is out soon!
City Saints – ‘Evil Conduct’ feat Han (Sunny Bastards Records) Oi Oi! A trio of tracks from another Swedish entry it’s like Eurovision but with decent tunes this weekend. City Saints pay tribute on this EP to Evil Conduct. With 3 tracks. One original and two covers it’s loud and proud (as you’d expect) The band mixes up rock and roll and some proper punk rock. It’s pretty much perfect Oi! and ‘Home Sweet Home’ (no not the Motley Crue tune) is respectfully delivered and justice is served by City Saints it also features Han from Evil Conduct. Facebook
Poison Boys – ‘Can’t Get You Out Of My Mind’ The third single from our upcoming second full length, “Don’t You Turn on Me,” out Summer 2021.
This is the anthemic Rock and Roll from these Chicago punk rock n rollers. It’s for everyone who’s ever had a missed connection and couldn’t shake the feeling that it could have gone better. Its a thumping tune and an indication of whats to come when this album drops its time to get excited kids – the world needs more bands as good as Poison Boys. A catchy hit brought to you by rock n roll punks the Poison Boys.
You Filthy Dog – ‘Dreamboats Annonymous’ Solo project from Liam Hill is like a welcome ray of power pop sunshine and from the opening salvo of ‘Face The Wave’ your attention is immediately grabbed. An excellent constructed tune that ebbs and flows wonderfully. With a hint of Wildhearts and a chorus that’s more Ash and that indie kid pop melodic goodness. ‘Loved’ is another melodic chunk of loveliness that’s pure summer sunshine.
The mood drops and becomes more sullen and dreamy on ‘Bitter Days’, halfway through it gets decidedly louder with a crescendo of goodness to go with the grandness it envokes – great stuff! Variety, beauty, melody everything you want when being introduced to a new band. A top EP to be fair and well worth checking out Here
SHLUG – ‘The Scent Of Roy Keane‘ (Disobedient Records) What a lovely noise this is from that thumping bass line to the qwerky chorus its a thrash, bang, wallop, and all in the best possible way for this Cardiff lot. The curious title is explained away by vocalist Ellis Acton-Dyer: “Written in a point of adolescence, ‘The Scent Of Roy Keane‘ tackles masculinity along with the question – what really turns a boy into a man? Is it through protein shakes? Or is it by pissing all over the seat? Either way, you decide. Just get the conversation going.” Another introduction to a new exciting band who makes a wonderful noise – check it out! Here
GOB PATROL – ‘Bad Vibes’ (Riot Records)inspired by bands such as Black Flag, GBH, and The Germs, Gob Patrol stay true to the genre it’s like a step back in time but its delivered with aplomb, and who doesn’t love the gurgling bass and a vocal spat out in true Dwayne Peters fashion. Gob Patrol knows what they’re about and delivers for anybody looking for a slice of retro punk 82 style. Facebook
“Little babies in bathrooms getting high…” So begins the fifth single of Hamilton’s 1221 project in an arrestingly ‘did I just hear that right?’ moment.
But before you’re shocked by such imagery, let Hamilton provide some context.
“This song was a gift from my friend, fellow Texas-based artist and all round great guy, Bob Schneider. He’s a true artist, and has a real gift as a songwriter. The lyrics are about how we often revert back to being babies throughout our lives. Bob and I have been friends for a lot of years. He was the first music friend who made me feel like it was ok to be 100% myself. A kindred spirit, and a fellow weirdo. I’m am forever thankful for Bob’s kindness, support, and friendship. I’ve always looked up to him as a songwriter. So, when he sent me this incredible track for ‘1221’, I was honored. Not only is ‘Babies’ a killer song, melodically… I found the lyrics deeply interesting, and powerful.”
Hamilton has already treated us to a brace of choice covers on what – month-by-month – is bringing us his next album. But this Bob Schneider song isn’t actually a cover?…
“This isn’t a cover, no. This is actually a song Bob has never recorded for an album. For him to trust me with his song, and be proud of the version I created is a VERY big deal to me.”
We’re assuming that’s (younger) you on the single’s cover art – what exactly is happening there?…
“I found a box of old photos, and this one really stood out to me. It’s all a bit odd. But I was a weird kid! Haha. Yeah. That’s me on the cover. The photo seems to really fit the vibe, and the off-kilter lyrical content of ‘Babies’.”
With UK producer Dave Draper once again at the helm, ‘Babies’ is evocative of the Country vibe central to Hamilton’s 2020 chart topping EP ‘Incommunicado’ (also Draper produced). A certain twang may be customary with a singer/songwriter from Texas, but how does a producer from deepest Worcestershire tune into that Americana sound so well?
“It’s strange how good Dave is when it comes to Country and Americana. He’ll go from producing the Wildhearts to dropping Cliff Richard lyrics to referencing Hank Williams. He’s like a mad scientist! Not only do I love working with him, I think he’s the best Producer out there right now.”
Expanding on the theme, Hamilton enthuses: “I love that the UK’s Americana scene is thriving. It’s humbling to have become embraced within it. The folks at Americana UK are super supportive and I was thrilled to be invited to play Maverick Festival last year. Here’s hoping that can go ahead now in September. Everything crossed.”
Hamilton was recently heralded by Spin magazine as one of the ‘Best Lesser-Known Artists of the Last 35 Years’.
RYAN HAMILTON RELEASES “Babies” 12 MAY 2021, VIA WICKED COOL
He cried More More More. Once again this month we just had to open the singles club due to some of our favourite bands knocking out a 7″.
We begin with a single reviewed by Kenny Kendrick…
Madysin Hatter – Wild & Strange (Self Release)
The latest single from New Jersey rocker Madysin Hatter is called Wild & Strange. It’s a heady mix of 80s sleaze, rap & pop. Madysin has a unique voice and the song really showcases her talent. She has assembled an all star cast on the song, Tyler Bryant (frontman of Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown), Frank Ferrer (of Guns N’ Roses), Rob Bailey (David Johansen), and Brett Bass (Gregg Allman). The song was co-written by Madysin Hatter and Rob Bailey, who also produced. Wild & Strange is a strong track and the accompanying video is a lot of fun with Madysin showing off her kickboxing skills!
Madysin has built up a strong reputation in the US and has played live with such luminaries as Winger, Faster Pussycat, Tom Keifer and Lita Ford to name a few. After checking out some live performances online, it’s obvious that Madysin is a formidable force live. After playing Wild & Strange a few times, it’s been stuck in my head all day! I’ll look forward to hearing more from Madysin Hatter, and hopefully, she can grace some stages in the UK when the madness of the pandemic is over.
Madysin Hatter is definitely an artist to keep an eye on!
“Wild & Strange” is available on all digital & streaming platforms. Here www.MadysinHatter.com / Facebook
Los Pepes – ‘Want You Back’ (Self Release) Coming out on various coloured variants it’s Londons very own music machine Los Pepe. Man, I love this band never less than 100% they manage to capture their Rock and Roll like a rocket in a bottle they have awesome melodies and a sharp sense of arrangement and usually at Ramones levels of speed and drive.
‘Want You Back’ has added harmonica as it motors along with crisp riff-a-rama and a great big hook its terrific. ‘Never Get It Right’ turns it up a notch or two as Ban and the boys just nail it. It’s like they’ve shaved off a little of the early Damned attitude. Adding a third track just for luck is the massive sing a long of ‘Tell Me’. Another thoroughly enjoyable trio from Los Pepes and it only helps whet my appetite for another album so come on guys get it on. Pick it up Here
Prima Donna – ‘Atomic Love’ (Wicked Cool Records) Christmas single aside it seems like an age since we had a record from the awesome Prima Donna. The wait is over as ‘Atomic Love’ comes exploding out of the distance and the radio-friendly handclapping singalong comes bursting out of the speakers. Sure it’s cool, Sure it’s stylish, sure it’s great. From those handclaps to the slide solo its an awesome 7″ and if there was a top of the pops this was made to be on the show. Preston knows that a perfect single is 3:10 seconds which is why ‘Atomic Love’ is exactly that and you’ll be singing along before the final chorus. The flip side is a bright and breezy cover of Gene Pitney’s ‘He’s A Rebel’ Perfect. Buy Here
BBQT/ Appaloosa – ‘Jump Outs / Nod Out’ – ‘Seasons Of Change’(No Front Teeth Records) Glam Stomping Punk Rockin Rock and Roll from Austins BBQT. Its trash tastic as ‘Jump Outs’ is like the perfect tribute to the Dolls and everything that followed. A new band on me is Appaloosa who also ploughs a glam trashy punk rock furrow and I like it a lot. Perhaps it’s a close runner up to BBQT but it’s the width of an eyeliner stroke in it. 100% of proceeds earned from both bands on Bandcamp from this release will go directly to the Sex Workers Outreach Project (www.swopbehindbars.org). Another great single pick it up here
Black River Delta – ‘Californian Sun’ (Sofaburn Records) Black River Delta is blues-rock band originating from Bollnäs, Sweden. The foursome have released two studio albums – Devil on the Loose (2016) and Vol. II (2018), and are poised to drop their latest heavy-hitting full-length effort Shakin’ this spring. I’m hearing the likes of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and even some INXS, especially in the voice. A fairly refreshing take on modern blues and rock. Check em out on their Bandcamp Page
Beastwood – The Long Road To Ho (Coffin & Bolt Records) Possibly the most disturbing sleeve I’ve seen in a long time but then I clicked play and after the big rolling guitar lick and solid rhythm the gravel and whisky vocals kicked in and off we went on some dirty greasy hard rockin tip and I fuckin liked it. ‘Electric Gangbang’ is a dirty rockin noise that certainly had my attention. Can anyone come? I’ll bring a bottle.
I’m not going to Salt Lake City by the Dwarves springs to mind every time I hear the place and that’s where Rock and Roll gave birth to these degenerates. Not all bad then. All four tracks are loud and proud I’d imagine its SG’s and Rickenbackers all the way with these guys and the engineer left the session with a banging headache because these have to have been recorded loudly. Quality check it out Here
The Flaming Sideburns – ‘A Song For Robert’ (Svart Records) A fitting tribute to Strings from The Flaming Sideburns. Lifted from their brand new album released later this week its a really fitting tribute and a great tune long overdue from The Flaming Sideburns its been a while but it’s great to have them back. (Album review coming this week) get on it Here
Teenage Fanclub – ‘In Our Dreams’ (PeMe And Murge) From the forthcoming album ‘Endless Arcade’ with its 60s dreamy verse and fuzzy guitar break it’s always a good day for the Fannies to be making records. The video was filmed in Motherwell – not something you hear every day when discussing pop videos. Pre Order it Here
Poison Heart – Sailors Stories’ (Heavy Medication Records) Poison Heart delivers two new songs, their first new material since 2018’s “Heart of Black City” album. Only 150 copies pressed so will sell out its a classic slice of garage Rock and Roll with some hard rockin guitar stylings. With a new six stringer on board the two new tracks rock like fuck as these Warsaw boys show that Poland can rock out with the best of them. ‘Good Times’ could just about be the size of it as Poison Heart have the chops to step up to the plate and take on Europes finest and head further afield on this evidence. Really strong single offering can’t wait to hear more.
Hot Laundry – ‘Shake Slide Twist’ (Die Laughing Records) Rock and Roll with attitude and a tonne of energy. The 12 bar of ‘Shake’ is infectious as San Francisco based Garage Rockers HOT LAUNDRY released their new EP ‘Shake Slide Twist’ I didn’t see that solo coming but I love it. To be fair all four tracks are bangers whilst ‘What Would I Do’ is more measured and more akin to The grooves The Bellrays get into. There is variety throughout the four tracks on offer with ‘Glitter And Gold’ which has a real swagger about it. Quality EP check it out
Danko Jones – ‘Flaunt It’ (SPV Records) Motormouth Danko Jones always seems to have a plan and on his social media he’s generally spot on as he is with his band and their Rock and Roll. ‘Flaunt It’ is a top tune lifted from their new album due late summer ‘Power Trio’. If this is a taste of what we can expect then bring it on what a rocket ride rip-snorting track it is. turn it up and Rock!
Millie Manders and The Shutup – ‘Broken Record’ (, taken from their debut album ‘Telling Truths, Breaking Ties’ released in August of last year. Its a break-up tune with attitude Millie has a thoroughly engaging powerful voice and who doesn’t love some saxophone with their rock and roll? It’s released to coincide with the bands run of shows starting this summer that was originally pencilled in for last year. Facebook
the latest single in Ryan Hamilton’s 1221 album project
With a 2021 launch schedule to rival even Elon Musk, April 12 sees Texan singer/songwriter Ryan Hamilton release his very own ‘Satellite’. This comes as the fourth single of Hamilton’s 1221 project, in which he brings us twelve new songs, – an album-in-progress – one every month across the year of 2021.
April brings us a cover of ‘Satellite’ by late nineties shoegazing/ alternative rock band Catherine Wheel. For many, this could be an introduction to a group who had all the makings of eclipsing the likes of My Bloody Valentine and a certain Thom Yorke fronted combo back in the day. So what brought a band from Great Yarmouth, UK to the attention of the Texan?:
“I think it was 1997. Radiohead’s ‘Ok Computer’ was EVERYWHERE. But right behind those guys, was a band called Catherine Wheel, and an album called ‘Adam & Eve’. That album was BIG! here. In all the music magazines. I think maybe they get left out of the discussion because Radiohead was just THAT HUGE. But they deserve so much more attention, respect etc. They were – are – an incredible, and influential band.”
Hamilton’s 1221 project kicked off in January 2021 with a cover of another 90s lost treasure, the Spin Doctors ‘How Could You Want Him…’, garnering much public praise from the band. Which begs the question – have any of Catherine Wheel heard your version of ‘Satellite’ yet?:
“They actually have. I was able to get in touch with the guys from the band, and have struck up friendships with Brian and Dave. They all love the cover! Which, of course, feels amazing. I think I also get some extra cred with our tour manager Pam, who is the biggest Iron Maiden fan there is. It blew my mind to discover that Catherine Wheel’s front man Rob is the cousin of Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson”.
Featuring another lush production from stalwart collaborator Dave Draper, Hamilton’s ‘Satellite’ sounds like a certified radio hit – 90s panache firmly intact, with a very ‘now’ sonic wrap.
The single’s art is another striking image, Hamilton festooned in guitars looking like some kind of musical satellite about to get beamed into space…
“I had this idea about being surrounded by several different guitars… with no idea if it would actually work. But it turned out great! Side note: Having that many guitars strapped to you at once is REALLY HEAVY. I could barely move! Haha.”
Further ‘hardware’ features in the accompanying video. With echoes of ET’s ultimate quest – it finds Hamilton seemingly searching for a signal from the great beyond, roaming an empty field with a satellite dish and boombox in tow.
“For this video, I wanted to do something really simple, and “Satellite” related. I love simple, effective videos. I’m having fun coming up with original concepts for the visuals on this project. Thankfully, with each new release, people have been responding in a really positive and great way.”
Hamilton was recently heralded by Spin magazine as one of the ‘Best Lesser-Known Artists of the Last 35 Years’.
OK, so April is well underway and we pay a visit to the singles club as we’ve ad a few belters that need to be spun. Its like London busses, when you wait for ages a whole bunch turn up at once well. The Singles Club is like that.
Chubby & The Gang – ‘Lightning Don’t Strike Twice’ (Partisan Records) London punks Chubby & The Gang are back with a no-holds-barred thunder in a bottle of pub Rockin blues based punk rock. Picture a bit of slide for a prelude before a quick drum roll that’s like a fumble around the back of the disco before the two litres of bow kicks in and its onto the dance floor with your mates because the DJ is playing Sham 69. Chubbys not fucking about with his gang as they knock out an infectious couple of minutes of noise that just burrows down inside your ear and stays put. Can’t wait for the new album? This will have to do…for now. Chubby ain’t going to lose on this evidence he’s a winner and I don’t think he should ever have doubted it. We’ll run the news with the video later in the week along with links for where you can get your grubby mitts on this bad boy!
The Lancasters – ‘Scallywag’ (Fuzzy Cracklins Presents (CA)) Italian rock and rollers release a new video for the single ‘Scallywag’. ‘Scallywag’ talks about the lies that people accept as words of truth, superstitions and other inaccuracies perpetuated by the media, the internet, and other scallywags. From the video, you can hear the band have an ear for the likes of The Kinks and a bit of Dave Edmunds and even some McCartney going on here. With a decent tune the band aren’t to be confused with the Oi! band of the same name. This is a good time slice of rock and roll – enjoy it! Grab it here
Dinosaur Jr. ‘Garden’ (Jagjaruwar) A second taster of the wizardly trio’s new album, ‘Sweep It Into Space’ (co-produced by the band and the inimitable Kurt Vile), ahead of it landing in a few weeks’ time. This time out it’s ‘Garden’ getting an airing, which ranks among the finest Lou contributions to a Dinosaur Jr. record, a soaring, breezy ballad with soft guitar filigree that builds into a wholesome song that never gets out of hand and remains a heartfelt charming song and another great reason to preorder the album. Lou sings on two of the songs off the new album with ‘Garden’ being one of his strongest offerings to date. check out the video here. Excited much?
Ravagers – ‘Down The Road’ (Spaghetty Town Records) Another new track from the much anticipated long player (due September) from Baltimore’s finest. Ravagers wisely used their downtime to decamp to record in Atlanta with Tuk Smith and Dan Dixon where they used their collective skills to hone the Ravagers into the lean fighting machine that we hear today on this single.
The song has a polished edge that wasn’t present on previous offerings and maybe that’s what they needed making them more assessable to the masses. This has a great hook on the chorus and is short but oh so sweet more aggressive than ‘Nasty Night’ but its the second slice of Rock and Roll and a sidestep from the previous release which makes a mouth-watering proposition for the new album. Its littered with rock and roll diamonds glistening with every lick and pounding drum beat. Get an earful of this and get September in yer diary as Ravagers new album month.
Atomic Eater / Kool & The Gang Bangers – ‘Split’ (Helvetes Kitchen/No Front Teeth) It was a no brainer that this slice of Scandi Punk would come out on NFT its the perfect fit, to be fair it’s lo-fi not no-fi with some added drum machine action to accompany the swirling synths. They have a sound that’s a perfect fit for NFT Records and behind that scratching guitar that’s driving this hypnotic tune from start to finish is a really good song. As for Kool & The Gang Bangers, it’s again a lo-fi extravaganza of abrasive guitars and crash band wallop then they were gone. You know where to go for this split if not then head over to Bandcamp. It’s short but oh so sweet!
DeeCRACKS – ‘Lost In The Middle’ (Pirates Press) A most excellent song from Europes finest. Its not as rapid as I was expecting and slowing down the attack has ‘Lost In The Middle’ coming across as more Rocket From the Crypt rather than The Ramones and its a really good tune for it. Pick up the album here
Venomous Pinks – ‘Based On A True Story’ (Self Released) Tracks taken from the bands Bridge City Sessions. Arizona punk rockin trio sound fantastic like the Ramones meets L7 with a whole bunch of attitude that seems like it’s well suited to the live session arena and seeing as they have a liking for TSOL in their press kit it was a no brainer for me.
Head over to iTunesHere or SpotifyHere and save this cracker. The lead track is indeed a take on the Joan Jett track but they amp it right up and give the original a damn good run for its money.
The Automatics – ‘Shine Everlasting’ It’s an uplifting track taken from the album’ A Grand Swandive Into The Void’ The band host an impressive back catalogue of old school punk n roll with catchy powerpop hooks and ‘Shine Everlasting’ is a great example of what they can deliver. check out the video and their impressive back-catalogue over on www.theautomatics.co.uk. they’ve been around for several decades and some and were regulars back in the day at venues like The Marquee Club when it was on Wardour street
HUMAN FAILURE – ‘Barbed Wire State’ (Riot Records) Of course they’re punk as fuck – with a name like human Failure and singing about barbed wire states it’s like 82 never happened. But from the bass rumble and caustic riff its howling feedback and raw vocals is always a winner.
The bands upcoming ‘Urchin EP’ begins with a flat-out hardcore that’s done in the blink of an eye or 30 seconds, starting the EP with a bang and giving a taste of what’s to come. It then opens up to more melodic and metal flavours and ends with driving hardcore punk. Check out these Australian noise bringers Here
Jesse Malin – ‘The Way We Used To Roll’ (Wicked Cool Records) Saving the best till last here’s the new one from the inimitable Jesse Malin Available now on Wicked Cool Records Here
A laid back mid-period Stones like number sees Malin not waiting on a friend but forging ahead on his own. Some great interplay going on here with a fantastic arrangement bring on a new album we need it! ‘Time Runner’ is another with that Jesse Malin swagger going on upbeat and thoroughly enjoyable over and over again.
Lusitanian Ghosts – ‘For the Wicked’ (European Phonographic) Lusitanian Ghosts return with their latest single ‘For The Wicked’, The band is led by singer-songwriter and producer Neil Leyton and Swedish guitarist, singer and multi-instrumentalist Micke Ghost, with a cast of musical associates. We were blown away by the album last year and this single is more of the same with the use of their Portuguese chordophone instruments. ‘For The Wicked’ speaks to a lost and apathetic society.
It has a sense of melancholia as the track builds gradually to an anthemic finale. Providing calm in a world which is certainly not calm. It’s a confident record that oozes charm and class.
Prima Donna – ‘Gimme Christmas’ (Wicked Cool Records) Now one of the coolest and best bands over there on the West coast have just rocked up and made us feel all festive with their sleazy Rock and Roller Crimbo tune. I don’t want to hear that sleigh bells aren’t cool because we all know they are really and as these bad boys wind the clocks back to a time when these sort of things really mattered and people wanted to hear what bands had for the festive fun. ‘Gimme Christmas’ is a stomper whilst ‘Misletow Blues’ is a horn honkin twelve-bar booze-up where Alvin Stardust and Shakey are invited to compare the office disco and these bangers are gonna be on loop and you’ll all bloody well enjoy yourselves. Of course you will it’s fantastic. Prima Donna win again!
Rich Ragany & The Digressions – ‘December In My Heart’ (self Release) Pour yourself another eggnog and strap on some mistletoe and tinsel because Rags and the gang have gone and nicked bits from the Christmas goodies past and knocked up a warm n fuzzy tune for the festive season. If you have an office party slip this on and watch the girls from Accounts throw themselves around Health &Safeties handbags with festive abandon. Socially distanced dancing of course the best festive number thus far and unless Mayhem does ‘Little Donkey’ this will be the festive pick at HQ’s party.
Guerrilla Teens – ‘Faux King’s Guillotine (Self Release) they just can’t stop monkeying around. some sleazy garage punk n roll sees the Teens knock out ‘Faux King’s Guillotine’ for our listening pleasure and the best place to pick it up would be on the first Friday of every month from our mutual friends at Bandcamp and whilst you’re there get the album as well. If you don’t you must be bananas.
Fist pumping and with a fantastic rolling riff around a great lyric “remove the head and the body will die”. indeed. Release the hounds or else
Dirty Fences – ‘Garbageman’ (Greenway Records) What a headrush. Dirty Fences do that to you, Chasing into the distance with a hot melody played through the medium of some dirty power pop with a decent dollop of Garage and attitude thrown in for good measure. the B Side is even better, ‘Sometimes Sunshine’ is like Elvis Costello and the Attractions sped up hammering out a melody you feel like you’ve heard before but regardless it’s damn good and you know it and so do they. New York has never sounded so cool if only the Strokes could have sounded this good
Shadows Of Night – ‘Wild Man’ (Wicked Cool Records) oh hell yeah, shake it, baby, as Shadows Of Night are garage rock to the bone with the swirling keys and backbeat and a whole cave of reverb on the guitar as they shout to the devil on ‘wild Man’. This is retro enough to come with a scratch and sniff Afghan Coat whiff. The workout of ‘I Ain’t Got You’ is splendid from the freak-out solo to the keys it’s a blinder and of the highest order and knocks spots of a certain Boston band’s take on this. If only Tyler and Perry could be this authentic.
Dead Dirty Dinosaurs – ‘Bad Timing’ (Riot Records / Golden Robot Records) ‘Bad Timing’ is the latest single from the Dead Dirty Dinosaurs and the third release with the force that is Riot Records and their parent company Golden Robot Records. Bad Timing is a very decent dirty understated riff with great production that helps the song as you focus on the melody and that dirty low-down riff. Pre-order/pre-save Bad TimingHERE
Hells Ditch – ‘The Likes Of Us’ Laying down some modern American sounding indie post-punk rock the likes of Menzingers and not a million miles from the Americana of Gaslight Anthem but the punkier end. The one thing I was surprised at was these guys are from Lincoln and not Boston. They have the potential to be a big noise on the scene over on this sound of the pond.
Radio Days – ‘I Gotta Love’ (snap Records) Power Pop with a bit of edge sees Radio Days knock out a classic slice of Rock and Roll with a cool riff and lick and harmonies that hit you right in the heart. A backbeat the love to use and the perfect partner for the Subways or More Kicks. You even get a free pin badge with this slice of Milanese magic.
Rod Hamdallah – ‘Crawling Back’ (Hound Gawd! Records) Atlantas Swampy Garage Rock played like they’ve just crawled out of the ’50s and have landed on the ’60s shoreline. With a great melody that does what the geeta does, it’s retro rock n roll at its finest with a good hook on the chorus. Sure you could dance to it and wig out on the solo. as for the instrumental on the B side? Perfect for a 7″ b side I guess all weird and mystical for a band from Georgia. Always worth checking out.
Automatics – ‘Octonary’ (Blank Generation Records) Limited pressing on white vinyl this record sees the Pistols Steve Jones and the Legend that is Johnny Thunders guest appearance email email@example.com for details of how to order your copy. The songs of real interest are obviously ‘Wild One’ featuring Thunders iconic guitar tone wailing in on the solo and the track ‘Peace On Earth’ for the equally iconic tones of Steve Jones.
The Octonary EP features 4 previously unreleased tracks by the Automatics and is a limited edition release of 300 only on 7″ white vinyl, and comes housed in a luxury sleeve with 4-page lyrics and info booklet. The purpose of the EP is to promote the EIGHT albums of unreleased Automatics material that is now ready to download and stream on most platforms. For a cheeky peek at the Jonesy influenced ‘Peace On Earth’ open the video. Well worth having in your collection that’s a no brainer.
The Bloodshots – ‘No Way Out’ (Golden Robot Records). What time is it? It’s cock Rock O’Clock kids. Big chorus’s big guitars Big drums and big attitude. Who said cock rock was dead? Well, it ain’t, The Bloodshots are proving that. Gang Vocals big enough for Two Dokken albums and guitar soloing like there’s no tomorrow. Check it out, kids. I’m only disappointed they haven’t all got cowboy boots on and big hair I feel somewhat let down. Never mind turn it up and lets rock. Sharing the stage with the likes of Danko Jones can only be a good thing as the band evolves.
The Cavemen – ‘Euthanise Me’ (Slovenly Recordings) Oh baby it’s always a good day when an email drops from Slovenly and it contains the words The Cavemen and you can see it contains new music. Damn, I love this band of reprobates. They play perfect trash and bash rock and Roll and ‘Euthanise Me’ is a four-track EP that just nails it. From the sonic explosion of the title track and all its trashy sing along beauty. If that wasn’t trashy enough then get a load of the raw delights that is ‘Eat Your Heart & Wear Your Face’. As close as you can get to ‘Raw Power’ without melting in the heat generated. They’ve also got time to give you a ‘Nightmare’ as they OD on the 50s Rock and Roll. Hang on a minute, ‘Over You’ is a slower groove and an absolute peach of a track with a banging melody. and those guitars are like you’ve just wiped your ears with an angle grinder. Brilliant! Single of the week? Fuckin’ right it is. Facebook
Bitch Queens / Delilahs ’77 – Split (Lux Noise Records) Boom! Bitch Queens have been a band I’ve loved since I very first heard them and over those years they’ve managed to get better and better with each new record and live they are one of the best hard rockin bands out there. This split is yet more proof that they just kick ass and take no prisoners. A classic attack and takedown of a classic tune. Bitch Queens absolutely own it – brilliant!
For all you collectors out there its available in several highly collectable colours. As for Delilahs, it’s a Misfits mashup and to be quite honest the ‘fits haven’t sounded this good for – oh God I don’t know how long – fantastic version. The classic ‘Some Kinda Hate’ is totally owned. These two have form for sharing splits and this is a worthy addition to anyone’s punk rock 7′ collection. Of course I’m saying Buy It! Here
The Hangmen – ‘Thunderhead / She Walks’ (Acetate Records) It’s not every day you get a treat like this. The Hangmen covering Gun Club – wow! What a storming take on the Jefferey Lee Pierce Gun Club number. Blood and thunder with the slippy slide guitar and crash bang wallop its a really good take on a great song. Small talks about his love of Gun Club and pours his heart out in this cover.
As for she walks its got swagger and some awesome ivory tinkling going on, Hell it’s The Hangmen just go get it!
IT might only be a digital release through Acetate and Bandcamp but I’d love to hear more make it happen Brian. Get it Here
Jesse Malin – ‘Ameri’Ka’ (Wicked Cool Records) Laid back Malin knocks out the best single he’s penned in a while. Troubadour or bard of NYC its got great lyrics and in the darkness there seems a hope and a look to the future going on. Tough times call for tough songs and this is a beauty. But then I’m always going to say that sure I’d love to hear the guy rock out but I also love the guys more roots American vibe and this is the latter – and very good it is too.
Vacuum – ‘Fixated’ (Wanda Records) Some usual suspects from the London Punk Scene drop a two-track slice of toxic punk rock with a heap of melody and a chorus you can jump around to and sing along at the same time. Uh, Ha Fixated alright.
The B side is like the sound of some punk keying your car door then kicking your speaker cone in. It’s snotty it’s brash its an open wound you just want to scratch and I love the breakdown and solo.
The Dirts – ‘#2’ (Self Release) Five songs in under ten minutes, what’s not to like? No-fi, Tick. The spirit of The Stooges and the Damned coursing through this is just about perfect. Where do I pay my money? opener ‘Zero Boys’ is trashy as fuck but ‘Inside My Head’ takes it to the next level. The vocals are barely audible but the guitar is throwing out the licks life his life depends on it.
Recorded at home (if your home is a cell with no windows then cool! and Helvete which is just about right. Satans doorbell would be the ideal place to hang this one. This EP absolutely rips and only gets better. ‘Nowhere To Go’ is bursting with energy but ‘Homicide Eyes’ is plain Evil. Get some at the link pop pickers its a Garage punk fire fest and I love it.
Drive-By Truckers – ‘The New OK’ ( ATO Records) Patterson Hood pens the hard-hitting title track from the new Truckers album and shoots a video during the recent Portland unrest. Hood is residing in the Portland area and asks the question is the New OK OK? and hits the spot. Always astute lyrics but these strike a chord with so many right-minded people around the world and we stand side by side. Everyone should have the right to peacefully protest and everyone should respect that and Hood shoots a hard-hitting video to accompany the track. Top tune from a top band check it out.
The False Positives – ‘Favourite Things’ (self Release) When the sleeve has albums strewn over a floor and I spy such classics as The Damneds debut, Motorhead, DMZ, Nick Lowe and The Flamin Groovies I just knew this was going to be a winner and low and behold it is. A vibrant Rockin’ slab of Power poppin goodness. Two and a half minutes of Swirling Garage organs and tasty distorted licks with a solid chorus and do wap harmonies to complete the job and a lead vocal that reminds me of the late great Nikki Sudden. Very nice work indeed.
Continental Lovers – ‘Out Of My Head’ (Self Release) Glam bang Thank you, man. Trashy Rock ‘n’ Roll with a delightful smudge of glitter and attitude.
The shuffle on the verse leading to the chorus is great and the arrangement is quality. It’s a rapid burst of energy and quite possibly the best thing Joe has penned to date be it as a Breakdown or any other project he’s been involved in. It’s a top tune and if this is just a taste of what’s to come then bring it on as Continental Lovers have a bright future. Buy ‘Out Of My Head’ Here
Baby Shakes – ‘Singles’ (Dimple Discs) Glam stomping Rock ‘n’ Retro Roll. Two Undertones-related records get the Noo Yawk makeover and to be fair they turn in a pretty faultless pair of beauties. ‘Sweet N Sour’ is a stomper that was originally released by Damian O’Neill on his solo record a few years back but my pick of the pair is ‘Really Really’ a song written by drummer Billy Doherty that could be found on the B side of the 1979 hit ‘Get Over You’ which they absolutely nail.
Bipolar – ‘Bipolar EP’ (Slovenly Recordings) Thinking about how to describe Bipolar whilst the EP is playing then gancing down at the press release and seeing them described as SCREAMERS finger-banging THE DICKIES while THE SPITS egg them on I knew I couldn’t beat that so I’m using it. Bipolar is the twisted creation of Pouya and Obash, two Iranians living in Brooklyn.
Think SCREAMERS finger-banging THE DICKIES while THE SPITS egg them on – Pouya has already done time on keys with The Spits.
Of course its crude, Lo-Fi noisy and hell of a lot of fun. ‘Virus’ sounds like a twisted punk rock Motorhead on the wrong meds. As for ‘Fist Fight’ it sounds like what went on before during and after they pressed record. Its uncomplicated, dark punk rock blasts from people who truly get it. Go find em if you dare. Top EP.
Jakob Mind – ‘Watch The City Burn’ (Lövely Records) Rotten Mind singer/vocalist Jakob Arvidsson’s newly established solo project unveils the first track and its the sprightly ‘Watch The City Burn’ and bloody good it is too. It’s the first glimpse of what will be a new album early 2021 and Jakob promises songs from straight-up punk rock to a more Roky Erickson vibe so what’s not to like there? ‘Watch The City Burn’ sounds like he plays everything and a bit DIY but in the best possible way. Great song, great vibe and one to look out for. Pencil it in your diaries folks April 2021. Facebook / Instagram
I See Vultures – ‘Neversafe’ (Self Release) Something of a Gallows tip or post-punk hardcore – a little less in your face maybe but coming from the same place are these Brit hooligans I see Vultures. drawing from the At The Drive-In, Rage Against The Machine pool. Its Big vocals full of harmony that’s quite proggy sounding against the rough lead vocal but swirling guitars is the name of the game before they build up into that Rage groove. It’s glossy and rough in equal measures. Check them out for yourself in the youtube video below.
Atomic Eater – ‘Broken Earth’ (Self Release) Another off the Lo-Fi conveyor belt. Swedens Atomic Eater goes for the electronic garage punk with a Bontempi keyboard to lead you into the dense verse /chorus thump. Imagine if the early Buzzcocks used synths and riffed on Tubeway Army vibes then you’d be in the right ballpark. ‘Nightshift’ is another uptempo punch to the throat and one you’ll be toe-tapping along to but pick it up quickly because it’s over with in the blink of an eye. Crazy scandi punks.
Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard – 30,000 Megabucks (Self Release) Riff it up boyos Its like a prime time slab of boogie-woogie on the intro like Angus was born in Brecon. It’s a double denim stomp off. When times are tough and you’re looking for a little ray of sunshine in strut four lads with electric guitars and a pocket full of top tunes. Get on it now my 70s inspired rock and rollas turn the amps up and play your rock and roll. This tune is majestic like the band riding over the rainbow throwing out fistfuls of magic stardust that cheer up the people via the medium of rock, I didn’t know it was possible to smile like a Cheshire cat for three and a half minutes but I do now – Buy It!
IF Kurt Baker is a new name on you then I suggest you sit up, Pay attention and get your purse at the ready. How could you not agree with that statement? It doesn’t matter what guise Baker releases music under be it solo or Combo or whatever the guy can do no wrong. He has a fine ear and knows exactly what is required to make a sumptuous ear caressing tune.
What began as noises emanating from a Maine basement is poised to be the soundtrack to a pandemic as Kurt Baker gets back to his roots on this rocking new album.
“The idea for the Combo was always to be a band that showcased my more Garage/Pub Rock/Punk side, while the U.S. group is firmly rooted in Rock/Pop/Power Pop,” explains Baker. Counting those two albums with the Combo, ‘After Party’ is the artist’s sixth full-length record, in addition to his previous work with Pop/Punk band The Leftovers.
After heavy airplay on Little Steven’s Underground Garage and touring in Europe and the U.S. It seemed that the wider world was in on our little Rock and Roll secret that’s been cooking for a while over there.
Wyatt Funderburk, who produced, engineered and mixed the record, also played guitars and co-wrote all the songs with Kurt. The pair previously collaborated on songs for many of Kurt’s releases before he moved to Spain. “The fact that the songs came to us so easily, after such a long time not working together, made me realise how special this collaboration is,” Kurt recalls.
Keyboardist Kris Rodgers is now a successful Wicked Cool recording artist in his own right. The recent single “She Likes To Party” by Kris Rodgers and The Dirty Gems follows up “Every Little Crack,” which Stevie Van Zandt declared the number one Coolest Song Of The Year for 2018. “Kris shines with his vocals on ‘Wandering Eyes’ and piano on ‘A Song And A Drink.’”
Also on guitars is Geoff Palmer, well known to Underground Garage listeners with his band The Connection, who’ve received Coolest Song honors multiple times. “His guitar playing is just so Geoff and he makes sure you know that.”
Craig Sala, who has played with everyone from John Entwistle to Captain Kangaroo, rounds out the group on drums. “He tracked all the songs in a couple hours – a few in just one take.”
Most of the album was recorded in the basement of Kurt’s parents’ house in Portland last year. Funderburk tracked drums and finishing touches in his Nashville studio. “The best thing about these sessions was when we were all together singing into the same microphone, each of us doing our vocal parts, with Wyatt coaching us like Brian Wilson during a Pet Sounds session,” Kurt recalls.
Kurt rode out the terrifying early months of the pandemic in his Madrid apartment, amidst the epicenter of the first wave in Spain, where restrictions were serious. “Even when I’d go for a five-minute walk to the grocery store, the police would stop me to question what I was doing and what I was going to buy! It was a bit surreal. One thing that saved me during the lockdown was that each day Wyatt would send me a new mix of the record. This kept me positive and excited.”
The record opens up with ‘New Direction’ Nah he’s not gone death metal or techno, however, I’m sure if he did then he’d pull it off and make it most listenable. Anyway where was I? oh yeah, ‘New Direction’ immediately lockdown doesn’t quite seem so bad after all. The keys are light behind the big backing vocals and meandering guitar licks its classic power pop. Had Cheap Trick opened their new album they’d be back playing enormadomes. The middle breakdown is cool with the spoken words just smile and chew your bubblegum with a bit of attitude.
‘I Like Her A Lot’ has a bit of punch like Baker had been playing some Green Day perhaps for inspiration. The song motors along and sounds fresh as. You’ll be singing along before the first play is over. It’s a shame chart music isn’t full of songs like this anymore. If the kids only put down their game consoles and played some sunshine Rock and Roll maybe the world would be a better place, there would be more parties that for sure. Love the hook on the chorus and they nail those backing vocals. ‘Wandering Eyes’ is a killer track.
Baker drops a line in the inspiration pond and pulls out a staple from the fab four songbook for the light ‘Waiting For You’. We then build it back up with the new wave tones of ‘Good’ sure Costello looms large here but its shaping up to be such a great record so far and we’re only half way through and we’ve ventured through several of the power pop subgenres and done it with that seal of quality that comes with a Kurt Baker record.
The record continues to ebb and flows really nicely from the easier listening of ‘Used To Think’ with its doo wap diddy BVs through the synth-heavy ‘Keep Dreaming’ to the harder rockin Ramones meets Green Day vibe of ‘She Don’t Really Love You Dude’. ‘A Song And A Drink’ is a strange one something of a jazzy barroom number with a really dreamy vibe but an impressive vocal from Gina Brown to bring this one home and something that sits nicely on this record but not something I’d generally gravitate towards but hey, there’s a first time for everything.
To close this record off Baker pays tribute to Single Bullet Theory and it leaves you filled with hope at the end of the record and no matter if you’re feeling lousy this will pick you up as it builds and builds and confirms Kurt Baker as something of a power-pop genius and once again hes crafted along with the help of some supremely talented friends and musicians that ever clud indeed has a silver lining and ‘After Party’ is a lockdown tonic we should all take a swig of. Get on it!
Strange… when I was assigned this album to review, I was vaguely familiar with the band and went to check out a couple of the early songs released from the album. I wasn’t blown away by them at the time. With that said, I approached the album with some apprehension, even knowing the members of the band have a wealth of greatness among them. It turns out I was either in the wrong frame of mind to hear the early songs, or they did not necessarily immediately translate in the video format to me. At the end of the day, this has become a very enjoyable album for me, which sounds fresh, even if it channels its sound from the glorious nuggets of the past.
Perhaps the difference in how this album came to life for me is the brilliance of opening song ‘Coat-Tailer,’ which I had missed on YouTube. The tasteful group vocals that open it with the classic feeling rock n roll guitar that is buoyed by the piano perfectly set the table for the album. The harmonies are outstanding, and there are multiple lines in the song that will get stuck in the listener’s brain. The guitar solo by Elliot Easton is right on the spot. Second song ‘Remember Days Like These’ features Ringo Starr and is a song that I have a feeling I will like more down the line. It has been a slow grower so far and really reminds me more of something Phil Spector would have produced. The band gets right back into the classic rock n roll vibe with ‘Well, Look at You’ featuring some great horns and a killer chorus. Wally Palmar’s smooth vocals are perfect for this music. They continue to mix things up with the bluesy ‘Jonathan Harker’s Journal.’ The sound effect laden intro suits the opening guitar perfectly. The rhythm work of Clem Burke (drums) and Andy Babiuk (bass) is razor tight and establishes an awesome groove. The vocal work here is awesome as well, especially throughout the chorus.
The up tempo ‘Sometimes Shit Happens for a Reason’ once again takes us back to a classic rock feel with a song that should feature on a cool indie romantic comedy. This song reminds me of everyone from John Cafferty to the rocking side of the Texas Tornados to the light hearted side of Bruce Springsteen such as ‘Glory Days.’ At this stage, this is probably my favorite song on the album. Follow up song ‘The Best That I Can’ keeps the rocking going but suffers in the shadow of the previous song for my tastes. Each member gets a chance to show off their musical chops here. Much like ‘Remember Days Like These,’ I think this one will benefit as the album gets more and more plays in the time to come. ‘If I Could Change Your Mind’ roars in as another nuggets style rocker that features more brilliant vocals by Palmar. This is another brilliant slice of poptopia that should receive a ton of plays on Little Steven’s Underground Garage.
‘Come On and Try It’ was one of the songs I heard before listening to the album, and it still really does not grab me. I think part of it is that refrain of ‘nah nah nah nah’ just feels repetitive in this rocker. In the context of the album, I like it better, but this is not likely to be a song that I seek out to play on its own. The ballad ‘The World as we Know It, Moves on’ definitely works better for me as a great change of pace song with some tasteful backing vocals in the chorus. It is also one that does not overstay its welcome either. ‘The Haunting of the Tin Soldier’ settles into a midtempo feel which features some great drum work by Burke but still one of the ones that doesn’t fully grab my soul.
The closing group of the album starts with the attitude filled ‘Death by Insomnia.’ The harmonica work here adds a great feel to the song with the slow bluesy groove designed to get the body moving. This is another one of my early favorites from the album. ‘The World’s Gone Insane’ was another song I heard on YouTube prior to the album, and I like it much more here. The rocking tempo serves to get the album in full rock n roll mode again with a classic feeling riff. The chorus is simple but hooky. I cannot see it ever being my favorite on the album, but it is one I look forward to hearing when I play the album. The closer ‘Indigo Dusk of the Night’ is also the longest song on the album with its acoustic introduction immediately different from everything else on the album. The lyrics paint a picture that you can experience throughout all of your senses. Musically, this one could sit on the Beatles ‘White Album’ and really makes a great finale to the album. The added instrumentation as the song moves forward is terrific, and I imagine it will sound even better on headphones. The closing of a door then ends the record.
This album really provided me with a nice surprise and hit that nuggets sweet spot while still sounding current and fresh. I am very glad that I did not let the first song or two I heard ahead of the full album form my impression of the whole record. This album will be receiving a lot of plays, and I anticipate several songs from the album will make their way onto monthly playlists of mine in the future.