Ryan Hamilton & the Harlequin Ghosts, slowing things down for their new video release ‘Won’t Stop Now’. It’s a song of quiet defiance giving thanks for all the good that music can bring, despite everything the world likes to throw at us. Facebook
‘Won’t Stop Now’ was written during the aftermath of some unspeakably cruel online bullying, which got so bad, Ryan had to get the authorities involved. Native Texan, singer/songwriter Hamilton, thought it fitting that the track be released around the US holiday of Thanksgiving (November 28), given the song’s subject matter.
“The video features footage from the past 10 years of my life”, says Hamilton. “Former bands. Former relationships. I am so thankful for this life and the incredible power music has to get us through the most difficult times”.
The track is taken from the critically acclaimed 2019 album, ‘This Is The Sound’, released on Wicked Cool, the label run by Little Steven/Steven van Zandt (a long time supporter and co-writer of former single ‘Mamacita’).
Renowned for their killer live shows, whilst the band look forward to bigger tours and festival appearances in the UK and Europe during 2020, they recently announced their inaugural ‘Holiday Hoedown’ Christmas show, MFN, Nottingham, on December 14. With the intention of making this an annual event, the band have pledged their support to Notts based homeless charity ‘Emmanuel House’ and will be collecting donations of essential items at the show for distribution to local homeless people.
“The UK – and Nottingham in particular has been amazing in its support of our band”, says Hamilton, “this event seemed like the perfect opportunity to give something back to the community”.
The ‘Holiday Hoedown’ will take place at MFN, Shipley Gate, Nottingham on Saturday 14 December.
The very first, of hopefully many, UK Christmas shows is happening December 14th, in Nottingham, at MFN! This is gonna be one hell of a party. Lots of fun surprises, and we seriously can’t wait! Tickets are available, but going fast! Don’t miss your chance to attend the first UK Holiday Hoedown!
As far as cover versions go I think its fair to say I didn’t see this one coming did you? Prima Dona unleash their inner teeny-bop with their take on ‘Cruel Summer’
Just incase that’s left you feeling slightly queazy why not cleanse your pallet with something by the Damned seeing as all roads today lead to the London Palladium for the night of a 1000 Horrors where the Damned will be playing one of their most audacious sets yet at the famous theatre. a fan-made video this time for one of the bands finest tunes never to make an album – please enjoy ‘Limit Club’
Finally seeing as this past week has been mostly about the live shows we’ve been to and with The Cult turning in one of their best live performances to date enjoy this slice of slick Rock that was taken from the film soundtrack ‘Gone In 60 Seconds’
Another month another visit to the jukebox to see what sevens are spinning round the RPM Jukebox. this month sees a mixed bag with some of our favorites knocking out 45s and some welcome new bands dipping their toes in the water. We love a 45 and this month sees some tasty singles. In no particular order this lot are well worth checking out.
Tyla’s Dogs D’Amour – ‘(Everybody Needs) A Friend’ (King Outlaw Records) What a reet little corker this is. Not expecting a tune this good to come from camp Tyla but hey, here it is, its a gentle rock and roller with all those vital ingredients that were required in the 80s and beyond. It’s got the sloppy rock n roll edge you know you want to hear when Tylas familiar vocal comes in. ruffle your hair (if you can) get out of bed put this on and you’re good to go. It’s backed by live renditions of ‘111’ with the band firing on all cylinders and you also get an exceptional atmospheric live take on the epic ‘Bullet Proof Poet’ part acoustic part electric but it melts into ‘Angel’ to create a pretty epic eight minutes that makes this worth the price of a pint any day of the week. Still got it , still relevant, still rockin’? Absofuckinlutely! don’t ever doubt it! Pick it up Here
Suicide Generation – Prisoner Of Love (Surfin ‘Ki Records/ Family Spree/Spaghetty Town Records/Wanda Records) Another day another absolute killer record from Suicide Generation. This time they’ve got some seriously good labels to share the love around with each label having its own coloured vinyl. Three tracks of classic Suicide Generation it’s wild, loud and a whole lot of fun in the tradition of Garage Punks from The Stooges to the Damneds debut via channeling some Lux interior Suicide Generation are an explosion of the finest noise currently making exciting records that you would be foolish to ignore.
Razorbats – White Trash Radio Another slice of Prime Norweigan Rock and Roll with their usual mix of HArd Rock some classic Rock and a generous slice of power pop a melody and hook to die for Razorbats always deliver and this one is a beauty. An instant hook on the chorus that you can sing along to and a breakdown that sounds like Had the Police been a ’70s inspired glam Rock outfit then they might have penned this bad boy.
Don’t be daft it’s one single do yourself a favour and go discover your new favourite band from Norway – you can thank me later and if this is a taste of what’s to come then I can’t wait for the next album on this form it will be a real contender. Facebook
Paradise Alley/Plastic Tears – Class of ’92 (Self Release) Turning back the clock Paradise Alley look back all (Plastic) teary-eyed at ’92. It’s a romping glam slammer and these two bands have teamed up to make what might just be the best song for both bands to be fair. Call it nostalgia call it some old rockers just not wanting to go quietly into the night but whatever the reason for the regrouping of Paradise Alley songs like this makes it worthwhile. Sounding like 69 Eyes used to sound isn’t a bad place to hitch your wagon and anyone can join in on the chorus.
Available as a CD from the band for the handsome price of £3 so hit em up glamsters and pull on those cowboy boots n backcomb your hair its time to get rockin’
Lauren Tate – What About The Kids (Trash Queen Records) Second single taken off her debut album Lauren Tate heads off in a differnet direction that will have fans purring at her new direction and diversity. Check out the new album details on her website Here
Los Pepes – Automatic / Here Comes The Darkness (Wanda and Beluga Records) Los Pepes have joined Beluga Records for a guest 7inch record, to support there euro tour. Still the loudest powerpop band on earth…the Motörhead of powerpop! No hit wonder 60s and 70s garage pop melodies drowning in a wall of punk rock guitar. With four new tracks on this 7″.
‘Automatic’ is the best song The Hellacopters never wrote. Man has Ben ever written a duff track? Of course he hasn’t and this EP is another blinder Catchy, Melodic, loud and smack bang on the money. They’ve even had time to nip back to the 1960s and nick a Small Faces inspired tune ‘Here Comes The Darkness’ but thats not to say this is Rock and Roll isn’t up to scratch because it isn’t its a splash of fury, 12 bar at breakneck speed wham, bang, thank you, man! and ‘your Justice’ is pure Los Pepes coasting on a wave of everything they’re great at. Another essential single from London’s finest.
Baby Shakes – Cause A Scene (Surfin ‘Ki Records) Features a previously unreleased B side of the Teenage Head track ‘Tearin’ Me Apart’ available in several coloured records this Garage punk rock and roll banger is available Here With a Racey rockin drum beat on the intro its more poppwer than power pop but its sickly sweet and a beautiful thing and well worth checking out. Baby Shakes always do Rock and Roll with a tonne of melody and attitude and the solo is bitchin as they say in some rock and roll quarters.
Fast Eddy – Toofer One (Spaghetty Town Records/Boulevard Trash) You want Rock and Roll with loud guitars then Spaghetty Town have unopened another cracker in the shape of Fast Eddy. Having your EP Produced and endorsed by Tuk from Biters is something to wear on your denim cut off. Coming outta Denver these four (named after their Drug Dealer) they’ve been weaned on the best stuff money can buy no not drugs I mean Rock and Roll. From the power-pop with loud guitars of ‘Hurricane Alley’ its got all the vital ingredients to sustain life from the kickin harmonies on the pre-chorus to the solos and guitar licks that cover the tune its all killer no filler. ‘Milwaukee’ is a distant relative of the Faces if they were born stateside and they saved the best til last as ‘Lost’ is the best tune of the month pure 100% Rock and Roll with energy aplenty its just sunshine on a 45. Awesome
The Gotham Rockets – Blast Off (Rum Bar Records/Murry Sounds) When you name check being past as members of The Devil Dogs, The Fleshtones, Jack Black, The Prissteens, Simon & The Bar Sinisters, The Swingin’ Neckbreakers, The Trash Mavericks, and The Waldos, Of course, RPM is gonna be interested in what you have to offer. From the awesome horn honkin’ on ‘What’s Done Is Done’ via the bad boy boogie of ‘Bad With Girls’ this is the bomb. ‘Rip this Night’ is a slice of classic heads down and jive talk and duck walk as we hand jive through the next three minutes of rock and roll. What a great slice of rock and roll and with added sax appeal its gotta come highly recommended and we endorse it 100%
The Empty Hearts – Coat Tailer (Wicked Cool Records) Just another Cool as tune from these power-pop giants. ‘Coat Tailer’ is a sprightly humdinger with some great harmonies and sharp solos but theres enough bit in that guitar riff and its got Clem Burke on the drum kit. It’s great to have them back making new music and they’ve found the perfect label for their well-rounded sound.
The B Side is a light Beatles esque tune with more great vocals as it just sort of reminds me of walking through a park kicking leaves carefree. The Empty Hearts doing what they do best writing great power pop – Result.
Available on glow in the dark vinyl – Cool. Buy it Here
45 Rally – Bigly (Rum Bar Records) Switzerland’s garage rock sensations 45 RALLY have taken all of their song titles from presidential tweets. But in keeping up with their Swiss heritage, they have decided to remain politically neutral. The music here, a combination of Bubble Gum, Garage Rock, Country and Punk was created for everyone’s listening pleasure. So to all of our Conservative, Liberal and Moderate fans, it’s time to unite! Grab your earbuds, some chocolate and hit the slopes with TWEETS FOR MY SWEET by 45 RALLY! With an equally swing yer pants video this is happy garage for sure.
Screamer – Halo (the Sign Records) Heavy Fuckin’ Metal! make no bones about it folk Screamer aren’t nu metal or Death Metal they just rock like a steam train. Fist pumpin’, Denim, and leather-clad, long-haired, metalheads. think Tank think Motorhead think Tysondog think real metal. Screamer do no frills metal and its Rockin’. with a new album that has a man with wings on a horse al thats missing is some fire and a weapon like a mace or a hammer and they’d be all in. The album is due this month and its called ‘Highway Of Halos’ get on it.
Right Hand Left Hand – Chacabuco (Bubblewrap Collective) clocking in at the most unsingle like length of a couple of seconds under seven minutes and two minutes elapse before former Estrons singer Taliesyn Kallstrom joins the party. Post-Rock duo Right Hand Left Hand are back with a brand new album. Following on from their self-titled, Welsh Music Prize-nominated second album, their third offering, ‘Zone Rouge’, tells the story of humanity’s contempt for the earth beneath us, the air above us and the people around us. Layers of guitars and driving drums are the order of the day married with ambient space in between call it art rock or post-punk indie but one thing it does is build and build.
’Chacabuco’ is available to buy and stream digitally on 27th September. The album will follow on 15th November 2019. It will be available digitally, on CD, and on limited edition double clear vinyl. They launch the album with a show at Clwb Ifor Bach in Cardiff on the 13th of November, more info here: https://www.facebook.com/events/400022130707013/?ti=cl
Alice Cooper – The Breadcrumbs EP (earMUSIC) 12″ six tracks from the Coop singing about Iggy and The MC5 how can this possibly not have RPM salivating at the sight and sound? ‘Detroit City 2020’ sounds good – Sure its modern Alice Cooper but there is more of the old school garage rocker in this and out of all his contemporaries I can’t think of any that are still out there doing it night after night and delivering the good and managing to still churn out new music that is relevant and bloody good. If you were impressed with the opener then hold onto your bobblehead because ‘Go Man Go’ is having it big time. A good tempo with a lotta rhythm and some blazing guitar work. Sure it helps when you can call on yer mates like Wayne Kramer and drag ou tof them such great performances this was always going to be a winner. He gets his funk on on ‘Your Mama won’t Like Me’ and those horns are quality. I’ll admit I’m not so fussed on the lackluster ‘Devil With A Blue Dress On’ but the bar is raised on the finale of ‘Sister Anne’. So all in all a mighty fine way to round off this singles club and with it being a 12″ long ‘un the Coop might just have taken it on the home straight.
Jesse Malin’s transition from snotty frontman for NY punks D Generation to acoustic troubadour has been a natural progression over the last 15 years. The long and winding road has seen him release 7 solo albums, collaborating with the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Ryan Adams and Brian Fallon along the way.
Critically praised, yet commercially ignored (hey, aren’t all the best songwriters? Ginger,Tyla and Butch Walker, here’s looking at you!). His live shows, whether solo or with a band, can be an immersive experience full of storytelling, comedy and crowd interaction. Jesse Malin continues to tell tales of dreamers, schemers, hustlers and dealers. These are his songs about the characters from his native New York and stories about those he meets on the road.
Jesse’s latest album ‘Sunset Kids’ is a collaboration with country legend Lucinda Williams, who Malin met by chance in a club. They discussed making an album together after she invited him to Tom Petty’s final concert. During the writing and recording Jesse lost his father, his good friend Todd Youth and even the engineer of the album Davis Bianco.
Opener ‘Meet Me At The End Of The World Again’ is a re-recording of the lead track from 2017’s ‘Meet Me At The End Of The World’ EP. This version benefits from Lucinda’s lush production and masterful guidance. The verse, sung in Jesse’s lower register with the addition of warm bass and a tinkling of the ivories, comes on like prime Lou Reed. It lends itself well as a great build to the infectious chorus full of lush, gang vocals. It’s a laid back, lazy sounding slice of retro rock ‘n’ roll, the kind that only a New York resident could produce. This is Jesse walking on the wildside and that’s about as rock ‘n’ roll as you can get.
Next up, the countrified ‘Room 13’ is a reflective ode to spending time in hotel rooms (Jesse has been known to book himself into hotels to write songs in isolation, with no distractions). This is prime Malin songwriting, featuring Lucinda’s lush vocal harmonies and twangy countrified guitars, the sparse instrumentation creates space and atmosphere that only adds to the laid back, signature melodies Jesse creates.
There’s a nice ebb and flow to the album, from the upbeat to the downbeat. Reflective, acoustic laments like ‘When You’re Young’ and ‘Revelations’ rub (leather) shoulders with funky 70’s groovers such as ‘Do You Really Wanna Know’ and the overly cool ‘Dead On’, 2 tunes that deserve to be jammed out by cool cats in smoky bars, while whores hustle and hustlers whore around them.
The upbeat ‘Chemical Heart’ has the same feel as his version of The Hold Steady’s ‘You Can Make Them Like You’ from the excellent ‘On Your Sleeve’ covers album. Nice stabs of Hammond give this song a quirky burst of energy. It’s one of the coolest on offer, along with ‘Strangers and Thieves’, co-written by Billy Joe Armstrong as part of their Rodeo Queens side project. A euphoric, countrified rock ‘n’ roll blast if ever there was one. Lucinda’s lush backing vocals add depth, great percussion and twangy guitars give a Stonesy ‘All Down The Line’ feel. A much needed dose of urgency.
Jesse’s tales of working class guys, lost love and dreaming of breaking out of the rat race have been popular themes with the guy since D Generation burst onto MTV with ‘No Way Out’, and although the production may have changed, the message is still the same. As he suggests in ‘Shining On’, you gotta keep on, keeping on. “Call me a cab for the last plane to tomorrow” he asks on ‘Promises’ and ‘Grey Skies Look So Blue’ floats along on a summer breeze as Jesse dreams about packing his bags and getting away.
When an artist goes through tumultuous times, when a songwriter experiences heartache or pain, and truly has something to write about, THAT is when they are at their best. Like much of Jesse’s solo work, ‘Sunset Kids’ is a reflective body of work, full of heartfelt tenderness and cool rock ‘n’ roll, but for whatever reason it resonates so much more than his past albums. And with the help of Lucinda Williams, he may well have made the album of his career.
Is life getting you down? Are you sick to death of politics, with the tangerine presidents and bumbling buffoons bullshitting their way to power. Are you exasperated by the fact that Miley Cyrus was the most rock ‘n’ roll thing at Glastonbury, or maybe you’re just disappointed that the dragon show didn’t end the way you wanted it to?
Whatever the reason, whatever the dilemma, you probably just need a dose of power pop to lift your spirits, and LA ‘s finest exponents The Dollyrots are just what the doctor ordered.
Kelly Ogden and Luis Cabezas have been delivering high energy, bubblegum punk pop, choc-a-bloc with buzzsaw guitars and catchy choruses, for nigh on 20 years now. After a stint on Joan Jett’s Blackheart Records roster, the duo has continued to release their material independently, funding through the likes of Kickstarter and the now defunct PledgeMusic platform. ‘Daydream Explosion’ is their 7th long player, recorded and released with the help of Little Steven’s ever cool Wicked Cool Records label.
There’s something instantly satisfying about a Dollyrots record. Whether it’s the way their sound takes you back to a time when things were a lot simpler or the fact that every song sounds like it could soundtrack any turn of the century teen movie, from ‘10 Things I Hate About You’ to the highly entertaining Josie & The Pussycats movie. (Yeah, I’ll admit to liking both of those movies).
From high energy opener ‘Animal’ to the closing ode to their daughter ‘Daisy’s Song’, the husband and wife team (and whoever plays drums this time) deliver sickly sweet pop ditties with guitars slung low, turned up to 11 and always with a smile on their face.
‘Everything’ is a high energy burst of noise that could’ve fitted in nicely on Ginger Wildheart’s ill-fated Hey! Hello! project. It will urge you to shout “awesome” and suck a lollipop ( I’m on the way to the shop to grab a pack of Chupa Chups as you read this!). A great build up and a fantastic chorus makes this song a perfect single, job done. Elsewhere, shouty cheerleader anthem ‘In Your Face’ is part Transvision Vamp and part Tony Basil, and I’ll take that sound any day of the week. And ‘Naked’ with its helium-induced chorus and cleverly placed handclaps is as kitsch as you can get. Aly & AJ’s ‘Potential Breakup Song’, anyone? A guilty pleasure indeed.
Mixing up the sounds of The Runaways and Ramones with Green Day and kids Saturday morning TV, The Dollyrots have the knack of making you forget about your daily woes and escape to a world where you party hard to punk-pop anthems all day, while scoffing pick-a-mix and chugging on cherry coke.
Ever present we have Kelly’s helium-induced vocals, Luis’s fuzzy riffs, a handful of melodic hooks and killer bubblegum choruses to die for. Highlights for me are ‘Flippy In My Red Dress’, a song that takes things down, coming on like The Creepshow and veering into rockabilly territory. And ‘I Know How To Party’, an instant earworm I just can’t shake. A proper party anthem if ever there was one. I dare you to press play and not have an overwhelming desire to strip to your pants and dance like no one is watching. Or maybe that’s just me!
Let’s get one thing straight. ‘Daydream Explosion’ is not going to change your life, but the Dollyrots are not claiming it will. What they do promise is escapism from this crazy world we live in with their euphoric, catchy tunes. Maybe you can lose yourself for 40 minutes and return time and time again when you need a pick me up. And in that respect, Kelly and Luis have succeeded in spades.
Yeah, a Dollyrots album is the best legal high you could spend your hard earned on right now. And as ever, it comes on rather lush marbled vinyl that looks good enough to eat, what’s not to like here?
The Coolies. are Kim Shattuck, Melanie Vammen, & Palmyra Delran! This is their debut six-track EP coming out on Wicked Cool Records Today. All proceeds go to The ALS Association Golden West Chapter to find a cure for ALS! It feels great to donate, and it feels great to shake that COOLIE! you can pre-order it now from Here . Some advice is Don’t snooze, don’t lose! Get it now!
You’ll notice it comes with a cool 3D cover complete with 3D glasses but its limited. Kim Of the Muffs takes the bulk of the songwriting and its fair to say the band sounds like you’d imagine from the Scooby-doo artwork and the teardrop guitars its power-pop with a psychedelic garage edge. opening with a real toe-tapper in ‘Uh oh!’ they’ve really nailed that early Blondie rock n roll with some sweet harmonies. That’s pretty much the drill for what follows ‘Ignoramus’ more of the same whilst ‘Pathetica’ kicks back with some cool Harmonica think Dylan laid back kinda vibe.
‘Blueberry Crumble’ will have you hungry for some whacked out Garage with that Scooby-Doo Theremin courtesy of Stevie Van Zandt. Probably my favourite on offer here. They veer off into some countrified honk for ‘Glad I Met You’ before closing the whole shebang with the perfect pop of ‘Yeah I Don’t Know’. It’s brief it’s sharp it’s perfectly delivered and its god a whole bunch of cool cred points for the tunes. But be quick to pick one up if not buy a download it’s worth it.
Ok Ok settle down for a minute and take it all in. After signing a new record deal with Wicked Cool Records Ryan Hamilton & his HArlequin Ghosts have just dipped their toes into the choppy waters of Rock and Roll and after hooking up with Legend Mike Peters and his latest version of the Alarm and hitting concert halls of the United Kingdom does he announce that the new album is imminent and so is another round of headline dates to coincide with the record. these are certainly exciting times from Hamilton and we wanted to share the news and throw some questions at the main man so make yourself comfortable and read some words we put together – Ladies and Gentlemen Ryan Hamilton…
So Signing to wicked Cool must be a really cool move for you personally. How did it come about? did you pester them or was it Stevie hunting you down?
It’s been AMAZING. We found the perfect home with Wicked Cool. They heard a song called “Fuck You Brain” that Ginger Wildheart and I did together. After that, they started digging around and discovered our album “The Devil’s in the Detail”. Stevie Van Zandt then LITERALLY added HALF the album to his radio station. I didn’t even know that was allowed! Haha. After those 5 or 6 songs went into rotation on his station, our relationship with Stevie and the Label grew into something special… and even though I SWORE I wasn’t going to sign another record deal, I am so thankful that we did.
What noticeable difference have you experienced working for a label like WCR? is it less stressful or more stressful are the pressures the same?
Haha. BOTH! It’s been a big adjustment for me. I got VERY used to doing things on my own. So, to hand the baton to someone else and trust them to handle it… especially when you’ve been burned by Labels in the past, was a difficult adjustment. But they’ve been great about it, and I feel like we have a perfect balance now. They handle everything, but we are included in the discussion and decision process along the way. It’s rare to find a label like this. We seriously hit the jackpot.
I take it this album was recorded differently to the last studio record. No large country houses visited in Scotland here? or were there?
Haha. This album was different, yeah. Stevie Van Zandt worked on every demo with me/us. We even co-wrote a song together (Mamacita). How cool is that?! After the pre-production w/ Stevie, and whipping the songs into shape. I flew over to the UK to do the actual tracking/recording at Dave Draper’s Tower Studios. Other than a few guitar and vocal over dubs that were recorded at my home studio in Texas, the album was recorded at Tower Studios in Pershore, UK.
With a stable line up in the amazing Harlequin Ghosts. what qualities do the individuals bring? Heres your chance to big up the boys (and Girl) in the band (when I say Stable I mean…you know what I mean right?)
We are all VERY different. An oddball group of talented weirdos coming together to make something I truly feel is uniquely wonderful. Mickey is a truly incredible drummer. Rob is a truly incredible bass player. (I think they’re the best rhythm section around today… Period). Carol has the voice of an angel and makes me sound WAY better than I should, at every show. Haha. Amazing keyboard player, too! Dave is like a mad scientist on guitar. The dude is genius. So genius in fact… that it makes him pretty weird… But I love that. I’m a weirdo. We’re all weirdos. Outcasts and nerds that thankfully found each other. A British band full of crazy talented people, fronted by a Texan. Gotta love it.
Has it been easier to write for this record?
I don’t really know how to answer that question. Haha. It’s always the same for me. I’ve never been able to just sit down and go, “I’m gonna write a song”. I have to wait for them to come to me. When they arrive, seemingly out of nowhere, I have to grab them before they evaporate. This group of songs is the 12 best, from about 30 ideas/songs that I captured during the last couple of years. It’s without a doubt the best songs I’ve ever written. But I chalk that up to the legendary help/guidance I had on this album.
Tell us about a few of the tracks? I’ve been lucky enough to hear it and I felt it was a louder record than your previous records. Would that be a fair point? (Is Laney to blame bringing his Glam rock roots to the table) Some big riffs happening like the opening of ‘Mamacita’. This record sounds like it was made with a lot of laughs and if it’s possible for a record to smile then this is positively grinning would that be fair?
You nailed it! Haha. Mickey and Rob are old school Metal loving dudes. I can’t stand that music. True! Haha. But we’ve learned to embrace those differences, and this album is the sound of those different tastes, upbringings etc… coming together in a totally organic way.
Songs like “Mamacita” and “Get Down” are prime examples of us not overthinking anything, and just letting the songs happen. It’s WAY more fun when you operate that way… and like you pointed out, you can totally tell we’re having a lot of fun on this album.
The flip side of that coin: Songs like “This is the Sound”, “Feels Like Falling in Love” and “All Fall Down”… I let myself go deeper and darker than I ever have lyrically. Again, no overthinking… no trying too hard… just knocking proverbial walls down, and letting it happen. I think you can feel that realness on this album. Both on the darker, more serious songs… and on the fun ones.
I love some of the songs like ‘Feel Like Falling In Love’, ‘Far Cry’, then a change of gears on ‘All Fall Down’ you guys really hit the groove here, the record has mass appeal for sure touching on some great classic alternative bands like Soul Asylum on the title track (hope you’re good with the comparison? then you get a twist with ‘GirlvsMonsters’ with its pedal steel and brushes on the snare is some really good country rock, then ‘Same Page’ goes toe to toe with the likes of a Mellencamp and that’s a compliment (style wise) I hear a lot of great bands touching these songs but the album flows totally in a Ryan Hamilton & The Harlequin Ghosts way and the personality of the band shines through. That’s why I wonder if its been the easiest album you’ve written?
Oh, wow. Love those references. Thank you! I don’t know if it was the easiest, but it was definitely the most I’ve ever pushed myself to just let the songs happen how they were going to happen. No forcing anything. Just let it happen.
Tell us about a few of the songs. I’ve mentioned a few but we could talk about all of them here. Do you have any particular ones that stand out or you’d like to explain?
I know it’s not a single or even the best song on the album, but “Won’t Stop Now” is the most personal song I’ve ever written or recorded. So much so, that I almost left it off the album. I struggled to make it through a take without crying… and I have no shame in admitting that. But, leaving the song off the album felt like it would be going against everything this album is about. Ya know? Also… I’m not one to pick favorites… but there’s something magical about the song “This is the Sound”. I got a feeling about that one.
Is it easy recording a record with you living in different countries? how did the recording compare to previous albums?
It would be impossible without modern technology. In fact, this band wouldn’t exist without it. We’ve gotten into a routine that makes it work. I record the demos at home and send em over. Then after the songs are whipped into shape, we all go into the studio together. I guess that’s become our routine. Maybe it should be more complicated… but it’s not. Haha
You close the record off with the big ballad ‘Won’t Stop Now’ with cello and violins and something of a duet I know you mentioned it earlier but whats the song about?
The song is the most personal song I’ve ever written. It references the most difficult times in my musical life. Previous bands… related struggles… bullying… mental health issues…. and how difficult it sometimes is to find the strength to carry on.
One of my all time favourite bands is The Alarm I’ve seen them over 200 times in all sorts of line ups and form, you seemed to strike up a bond with Mike and the band on the last tour how did that tour come about?
I have SO MUCH love for Mike, Jules and that whole crew. Would love to play more shows with The Alarm. I’ve been welcomed into that family, and I feel very thankful for it. We shared a radio plugger, Tony. He was working our new single, and The Alarm’s new single at the same time. Long story short: Mike liked our music, and seemed interested in us supporting them. I mentioned it to Stevie, and he just picked up the phone and called Mike! Haha. Seriously. After that phone call, we made it happen… and haven’t looked back. I’ve learned A LOT from Mike . More than he realizes. From showing me different guitar tunings to play with… to sharing gear etc… To other things like amazing stories from back in the day.
What was it about the band you enjoyed?
He and Jules are such inspiring people. For a long list of reasons which I know you are aware of. I love them both very much.
Playing the Gathering as a two-piece you seemed to go down well in front of what can sometimes be described as a tough crowd. Over that weekend they are (in the most part) there to see and hear the Alarm and nobody else yet a lot of people were in early to catch your set.
Mike and Jules have worked hard over the years to get to where they are today and had immense self-belief and motivation to achieve the model cottage industry in the ever-changing music business. Is there anything, in particular, you got from being in their company that you can use going forward? you seemed to get along really really well and I hope it is a touring partnership that can continue in the future. He and Jules are such inspiring people. For a long list of reasons which I know you are aware of. I love them both very much.
You have some tour dates to support the new record in the UK. Are there plans for more touring later in the year possibly? What about North America does Wicked Cool have plans for you seeing as The Boss has a new album coming out it would make sense to maybe tour the world with the Springsteen gang? What are the chances?
We are touring SO MUCH this year. There are lots and lots of plans… most of which I’m not allowed to talk about… yet. Haha. But, for now… we’re currently on tour in America, and we have a UK Tour next month! Bring it on… all of it.
Catch you soon Ryan and I wish you and the band all the success with this new record.
Thanks so much!
There you go, folks, a few words from Ryan about the new record and what’s gone on and going on. Pick up the new record Here
Follow Ryan Hamilton & The Harlequin Ghosts on Facebook HERE
Texan singer/songwriter Ryan Hamilton has been on our rock ‘n’ roll radar for a good few years now. We at RPM have been following his power pop goodness since the days of People On Vacation and ‘Hell Of A Day’. So, we were pleasantly surprised and overly pleased when the artists formally known as Ryan Hamilton & the Traitors only went and bagged a record deal with the uber cool garage rock label Wicked Cool Records, owned by the legendary Little Steven.
Joining a label that has released albums by RPM faves such as Prima Donna, Kurt Baker and Wyldlife probably excites us as much as it does them, and being mentored by a NY legend who champions so many cool underground artists can only be good news for Ryan Hamilton & the Harlequin Ghosts.
So, a name change, an image upgrade and a debut album usher in exciting times for Ryan and his UK based band of bruthas (and 1 sista). Following the most excellent ‘Bottoms Up/Straight Up’ pink vinyl 7 incher, the band now release their highly anticipated debut long player.
‘This Is The Sound’ follows on where the ‘Traitors Club: Year 1’ EP left us in 2018. And what is clearly evident is that the fine art of a catchy chorus is never lost on Ryan Hamilton. Yep, this album, like his past work, is littered with power pop goodness, quirky vocals, positive energy and an overall message of hope, something that is hard to come by in 2019.
The band starts strong with opening single ‘Mamacita’. With a Little Steven penned chorus, this is a classic sounding earworm that will have you singing the chorus on first listen and long into the night. Gloriously addictive and happy go lucky; you would be forgiven for thinking the band has shot their proverbial load prematurely with their strongest effort. But fear not power pop pickers, as ‘Mamacita’ is just a taster and not even close to being the best song on this album.
Like I said, this album has a very positive energy and you can bet your bottom dollar that in these trying times, Ryan will be there for you to raise your hopes. Whether he’s urging you, in pure David Lee Roth style, to “raise a glass and then kiss my ass”, or professing to “bustin’ through ceilings and love you like a superhero” on the brilliant and bouncy ‘Let You Go’, Ryan Hamilton & the Harlequin Ghosts will be with you every step of the way.
‘Bottoms Up (Here’s To Goodbye)’ is a high energy toast to going down with the ship. Full of 90’s Brit Rock vibes and Silver Sun soaked melodies. The band is firing on all cylinders in an effort to remind you all of the good times and promise more of the same ahead. A killer hook and summery vibes, this is a song to wear shades and down cocktails to.
The anthemic title track delivers the kind of euphoric, turn of the Century pop punk goodness the likes of American Hi-Fi gave us. Mickey’s urgent beats help bring the message to the fore, as it builds to a sublime chorus. The feel good themes of the album summed up in 3 minutes and 15 seconds.
You can take the boy out of Texas, but you can’t take Texas out of the boy! Fort Worth resident Ryan Hamilton’s roots are still all over this album. The goodtime rock ‘n’ roll of ‘Get Down’ is a bar room boogie that will have you shakin’ and a groovin’ and downing them beers. While ‘All Fall Down’ has shades of Tom Petty storytelling, while ‘Girl vs Monster’, with its mournful slide guitar and tinkling of the ivories, is full of country twang.
There’s a very fine line between cheesy and genius when it comes to radio-friendly sentimental balladry, but these guys have it nailed, hands down. The beautiful chorus in ‘So Gone’ really hits in the feels. A mixtape worthy song that will urge you to tightly squeeze the hand of the one you love and never let go. And ‘Feels Like Falling In Love’ has hit single stamped all over it, with Donnie Vie like vibes and hazy, lazy backing vocals, for me, its one of the strongest songs on offer.
The album closes on a reflective note with the piano led ‘Won’t Stop Now’. A heartfelt, haunting dittie, full of church hall echo, soaring vocal harmonies and strings that take it up to an ethereal plane.
If you are the sort of person that relies on music to get you through the day, let me introduce you to Ryan Hamilton & The Harlequin Ghosts. They have crafted an album of masterful songs that are guaranteed to lift your spirits, make you smile and reach for the play button the second the disc stops spinning.
‘This Is The Sound’ is a very strong album and expect to see it riding high on End of the Year lists six months down the line and with the backing of Wicked Cool Records who knows what the future holds.