It’s a heatwave

with Summer just around the corner, the (dis) United Kingdom was warming up nicely surprisingly  May was a rather quiet month for the scribes at RPM well before RPM but you get my gist. Ben was getting his head around The Future Shape Of Sound and their ‘Showdown Gospel’.  Whilst we’re on the subject of the Gypsy Hotel it might be the right time to mention that Urban Voodoo Machine also released a record this month which happened to be a compilation record entitled ’15 Shots From The Urban Voodoo Machine’ which wrapped their singles and bits and bobs up very nicely into the one package and it seemed like the best idea to then go out and tour the record.  I also got to see them once again and same as before and the time before that etc etc they were absolutely awesome and never fail to play the most entertaining live show out there. 

whilst we’re on the subject of records released in May 2018 I have to mention a few of my personal favourites that put out great records firstly a man who should need any introductions but I’m going to anyway – James Williamson & The Pink Hearts. featuring (The Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs) and Petra Haden (Haden Triplets) with the fantastic ‘Behind The Shade’. also I have to note that Kevin K also put out his something like 95th solo album ‘Too Much too Sun’ I might jest about how many records the guy has released but he’s a phenomenon and deserves respect for the amount of time and effort he puts into his music and I love it when he does release his next CD and even if he says no more, trust me he will.

Also in the pre-summer rush, those cool cats from Burbank California Prima Donna saw fit to release ‘S/T’ and much like Urban Voodoo Machine they can do no wrong in my eyes and have never made a bad record. Kevin Preston leads the band into their Fourth Long Player this time coming out on the excellent Wicked Cool Records now a four piece line up ‘4 Real’ was released as the lead single from the album.

Also casting our minds back to May, Beach Slang released their long-awaited Quiet Slang altar ego that featured a whole long player full of orchestrated tunes entitled ‘Everything Matters But No one Is Listening’. James Alex is one talented guy and going from alternative rocker to string arrangements and softly delivered tunes such as the amazing ‘Dirty Cigarettes’ is no easy step. Fantastic record and not only one of this month’s highlights but one of the years highlights.

On the live front, there were a few tours that went out most notably the doubleheader that was Zeke and The Hip Priests tearing it up across the UK which Fraser noted as one of his years’ highlights.

However, it has to be noted he (Fraser Munro) also managed to see Steps play Waddon Road which is Cheltenham Towns football ground the same month he saw Zeke and the Hip Priests so maybe Zeke affected his head or he bumped it whilst on the good ship Thekla? Maybe he didn’t and he’s really a massive steps fan as he also is rumored to have a picture of Ian Watkins on his wall lets hope its the real H and not some imposter – you decide.

 

On that bombshell maybe its best we leave May and quickly delve into June.  I’ll leave you with two of the finest albums of 2018 in the shape of ’15 shots’ from the magnificent Urban Voodoo Machine and Quiet Slang’s ‘Everything Matters’.

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Dom Daley.

A debut album that took fifty-one years to make?  No, it’s not Axl Rose and his follow up to the last Guns n Roses album.  Coming out of New Jersey in the mid 60’s and having a hit with the album opener ‘Open Up Your Door’ it’s really taken over half a decade to finally release this album which has to be some long game they were playing and the McWherter brothers would be all over this for their Guinness book.

I guess the question most of us are thinking is is it dated? Well considering in many places its considered cool and hip to be “Retro”  but fifty-one years is mental!

 

Judging by the songs I find it a bit mad to be fair because the opener is quality and then one after another the songs hit you and whilst they use organs and handclaps aplenty and the melodies are often quite “Hip” they also sound quite fresh to be fair.’Action Woman’ is great and full of vibrancy ‘Hurt By Love’ does have a keyboard break that would make Ray Manzarek blush.

to be fair they are rockin’ out on the likes of ‘Dig We Must’ the Chesterfield Kings and Fuzztones have done extremely well plying their trade from the same pool as this.  ‘Once Upon A Smile’ sounds fantastic and the playing is exceptional and gives me goosebumps.  for the final two tracks, we have original versions of ‘Nasty’ which to be fair does sound dated and the album closer is ‘You Can Make It’ complete with church bells chiming out is pure 60’s gold dust.  with great sleeve notes from Lenny Kaye this album is a triumph and its easy to see how Steve Van Zandt is such a superfan its a brilliant story but would be pure Hollywood if it wasn’t for some great music which has prevailed through all these years so all I can do is tell you that if you like a bit of Garage rock n roll then you simply have to check this out it’ll make you smile and warm the cockles of your heart.  Just hear the Lions roar its a beautiful thing.

 

Buy Here

Dom Daley.

 

Always a bonus to make it onto one of the planets coolest labels means that you must be doing something right.  Right? Right!  working with the Muffs and Little Steven and getting the queen of rock Debbie Harry to sing on your record makes your music pretty desirable in my book and on ‘Come Spy With Me’ she works her way through a bazzilion genres from Gospel bubblegum vocals with trashy guitar licks ‘I’m Satisfied’ through power pop and punk rock and surf there has to be something in here for every conceivable taste and the bottom line is the songs are terrific,  Exceptionally played and delivered.  There are guest appearances from the likes of Debby Harry, Steve Van Zandt, Genya Raven, Members of the Pogues, Plimsoles, The Fuzztones and of course Paul Collins.  Now if your looking for a good reason to investigate this slab of power pop then surely I’ve just given you half a dozen, haven’t I?

Look at the artwork and whos on it and then the song titles and it’s not difficult to see where this little ray of sunshine is heading.  From the Swirling Keyboards on ‘Walk Away’ to the more punchy ‘I Thought You Were Going To Kill Yourself’ to the Shangri la of ‘Tragedy Ann’ Hell there’s even time for the one and only Handsome Dick Manitoba to make an appearance on ‘Ballad Of Madface And The Baby’.

Spread out over twelve songs I love this record it’s easy listening of the finest order and there are songs for every mood and every occasion – to pick a favorite is nigh on impossible but I do love the Handsome dick tune and possibly the Happy birthday one with Debbie Harry on wait…its like Palmyra has managed to graft a small piece of each artists DNA into the music yet create something that doesn’t scream each either which is really clever and skillful.  Wait, ‘Kill Yourself’ is probably my favourite and that doesn’t have any special guests on it so maybe it doesn’t really matter because the bottom line is this album is great and my advice is to go investigate.

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