Johnny Hayward.

Every now and then a record comes along that makes you feel so alive and excited that you just want to tell everyone how amazing it is. ‘You Say I’m Too Much, I Say You’re Not Enough’ the debut album from Welsh rockers Estrons is just such a record.

 

Released back at the start of October, (I’m guessing) to tie in with the band having just supported Garbage here in the UK. Shirley Manson and gang are as good a place as any to start when trying to describe what Estrons do, because just like when that late ‘90s grunge supergroup got it bang on the button with their particular brand of spiky agitpop Estrons do pretty much the same, albeit with a new Millennium twist all of their own.

 

Take lead track (and debut single) ‘Lilac’ for example, this track kicks off with the type of off-kilter guitar intro that Franz Ferdinand used to maximum effect to make them enormodome headliners before singer Tali enters proceedings and the track literally explodes into 2 minutes and 37 seconds of youthful vigour, and watch out because this track cuts – it’s that sharp. It actually reminds me of the first time I played ‘Nevermind’ whilst working in Our Price, and a punter stormed up to the counter barely seconds into ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ and asked me to turn it down.  After I refused, he walked out yelling at me that it was a racket and the band would never be heard of again.

 

Just like that now infamous album ‘You Say I’m Too Much, I Say You’re Not Enough’ is also chock full of “go fuck yourself” moments for you to use and abuse at your pleasure, with the pulsating ‘Make A Man’ and the infectious ‘Body’ having the potential to be huge global hits, if those things actually still existed or mattered in an industry that seems only too happy to replicate the human centipede by regurgitating the same shit over and over again.

 

Whilst I’m getting all anal it has to be said that ex-Fudge Tunnel man Alex Newport (who co-produces here with Steffan Pringle) really has managed to capture a clarity of both vision and sound within the grooves of the album’s ever so subtler moments, and on the likes of ‘Aliens’, ‘Cameras’ and ‘Strangers’ the music kind of takes the back seat to the hugely impressive vocals of the enigmatic Tali who whisks you off on a Debbie Harry meets Aimee Echo masterclass in how to effortlessly deliver a pop tune brimming with attitude.

 

That Estrons don’t really sound like anything else out there right now is hugely commendable in my book and coupled with the fact that they have also just added to their line up man-machine Adam Thomas (ex-Exit_International) on drums makes for the prospect of this record being turned into a total sonic attack on the senses if you are lucky enough to actually get a ticket to see them live.

 

Gimme gimme gimme gimme more Estrons – these guys deserve to be bloody huge!!!!

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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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Dom Daley.

I have several versions of this including the original release from the early 80’s that has more clicks and jumps than any record should have, then I got the CD version in the 90’s – I’ve also got a cassette of it somewhere. When the hipsters jumped on RSD I tend to have a sideways glance at what being released and then sigh at the amount of shit that passes for a new release or the turgid boring procession of tripe that gets reissued or remastered but every now and then something pops up that makes my heart skip a beat. When I saw Jungle were doing this one how the fuck could I resist not owning another copy?  This time all these years later without the self-inflicted bumps and knocks and as I drop the needle into the groove its not long before I get that euphoric rush of adrenalin as Johnny introduces ‘Chinese Rocks’ to the rowdy audience at one of Londons most salubrious haunts and then before you know it we’re balls deep into one of the finest bands ever to grace the earth and leave a footprint or should that be footnote on the history of rock and roll?

Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers ruled and don’t let anyone tell you different – sure they were sloppy – sure they were drug-addled – sure they were rude – sure they thought their shit was chocolate but isn’t that what we wanted from our Rock and Roll bands?  I wish they were still with us and took a little more care of their lives but fuck me the music they left behind is as good as it gets no scratch that its better than 99.9% other bands and this release proves that and besides it has the added bonus of hearing the mid-song banter as Thunders really lets those Limeys have it both spiteful barrels and both sets are here for your listening pleasure.

I have a cassette with this on one side and L.A.M.F on the other and that’s about as perfect as it gets and if my house went up in smoke I think I’d be inclined to rescue that combo because whilst everything I own goes up in smoke I’d still have what amounts to a solid gold bar of Rock and Roll that pretty much reached a new high in perfect music.  Listening to the sheer power behind ‘Let Go’ as Thunders and Lure exchange riffs its mesmeric and don’t get me started on Nolan’s groove; the guy had swing and style but man did he hit those drums so hard and with a passion that goes straight to your heart and breaks it clean in two.

“kids go home, your boring the shit out of me.  You boring Motherfuckers.  Should have gone to Birmingham they know how to rock up there”  Ha Ha Thunders always had his finger on the pulse and hearing Lure sing Cant’ Keep My Cock In You’ is still, at my age – hilarious.

You know what, for all the bashing RSD takes and a lot of it totally justified. The original idea was great and having records like this see the light of day again makes all the gripes worth it.  Jungle has always had Thunders back and continues to do so and preserving this document of when Giant walked the earth makes everything alright and having this expanded with both the sets in place is magnificent. If you own a copy of L.A.M.F and not this then you shouldn’t need me to tell you what you need to do next.

 

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Ben Hughes.

Eric Martin, the voice of Mr. Big. The last time I saw this guy live would’ve been a Mr. Big show in 1991 I reckon, at Newport Centre with The Throbs supporting.  Now that was a mismatch of two bands for a tour if ever there was one. One of the biggest commercial rock bands of the time with a bunch of sleazy New York miscreants with a love of the New York Dolls and Alice Cooper. Damn, I loved The Throbs, but that’s another story.

Mr. Big was a massive band then, you can’t deny the power of ‘To Be With You’ as a hit single. And while times have changed, this is an intimate gig for a singer/songwriter who can still pull the crowds with his band and as a solo artist.

 

I wasn’t even going to go to this gig, but somehow, in some crazy turn of events, my best buddy Matt managed to blag the support slot tonight at The Brudenell in Leeds.

Now, Matt was the frontman of a Britpop-era band from Grimsby called Twist, who “coulda been contenders, Charlie!” They had the looks, they lived the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle, but more importantly they had the songs, good songs that stand the test of time to this day. Imagine jangly Americana influenced Britpop, coming on like Love or The Byrds, fuelled by too much weed, good speed and spot-on vocal harmonies. The only band I can remember who was doing that at the time was The Montrose Avenue. Sadly for them, it wasn’t to be and as with so many great bands, they split before their time.

Giving up music for 20 years, Matt is back with his former band member and songwriting partner Paul Gorry, making music in the band The Badrocks, whose sound is more influenced by the dark countrified tales of Alabama 3 and Nick Cave. Matt is now in the process of testing these songs out in a live environment.

Now Matt will tell you himself he is no guitar player, but when you have great songs, a proper good voice and the conviction to perform to your best, it’s amazing what you can pull off.

Mixing up his recent countrified influenced songs such as the drug-fuelled opener ‘All I Want’ and recent single ‘Watching Me’ with older choice Twist cuts such as ‘Charlie’s Girl’ and ‘The Pin-Down Song’ it seems to go down a treat. The crowd knows none of the material of course, but interestingly they are not talking to each other, they are actually listening, and each song gets a great response with polite applause.

Ok, I’m slightly biased of course as I have watched him write and re-work these songs over the past 12 months, but after seeing the crowd response tonight; I would say I’m not the only one who thinks he has something good going on.

 

Eric Martin is a man who definitely has something good going on. Mr Big still pull the crowds on a regular basis, he himself is big in Japan and he still looks way younger than his years. Whatever it is he’s taking, I want some of that!

This intimate acoustic tour sees him joining up with guitarist David Cotterill from the metal band Demon. A strange collaboration you may think, but actually, the pair complements each other perfectly. The duo both play guitar and David provides backing vocals in a set that covers Martin’s solo material and of course the hits of Mr Big.

You could call Eric Martin an elder statesman of rock ‘n’ roll these days. He regales us with stories and jokes about his travels from back in the day (or even last week) between songs, as he sips on his beer and gets David to tune his guitar.

I am unfamiliar with the solo material, to be honest, but the likes of ‘Fragile’ and newbie ‘Back In Blue’ sound mighty good to these ears. We are here for the Mr Big hits though and he does not disappoint. ‘Green Tinted Sixties Mind’ goes down as well as you would expect, even if he does forget a verse, and ‘Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy’ (minus any drills) is a personal highlight.

As an introduction to ‘Shine’ (from the Richie Kotzen era of Mr Big), Eric tells us about playing a gig in Richie’s hometown and how he rang him up, as there is actually a statue erected in his honour there!

Each night on this tour, the duo are joined for several songs by guitar player Simon Kaviani and some female vocals courtesy of Mel Tem, who even gets to sing a verse on ‘that’ song, you know the one, right? There are covers too. I forgot that Mr Big covered ’30 Days in the Hole’ it’s a great choice of cover, as is Cat Stevens ‘Wild World’, a song that is perfectly complemented by Eric’s voice.

 

To be fair, it’s a great set and Eric Martin is much more entertaining than I thought he would be. Humble, down to earth and quite amusing for a 57-year-old American rock star. Seriously though, he still has the voice and the energy of a man half his age and the songs are a testament to his legacy. The crowd came to hear the hits and I feel they got far more than they expected.

Buy Eric Martin Here

 

Ben Hughes.

Japanese garage rock legends King Brothers are probably one of the greatest live bands you could ever clap your eyes on, their incendiary live shows are legendary.  Hell, they have even been banned from venues in Osaka. Yet tonight, in York’s finest music venue, they play to less than 30 people.

Even my 19-year-old son couldn’t entice his gig going buddies away from their TV’s and computer screens on a Monday night. It’s a damn shame, but it’s their loss because King Brothers played like their lives depended on it as I’m sure they do every night.

 

More of that later, as we have two very fine bands to check out before we get some Japandemonium going. Opening tonight are Manchester based scuzzy blues trio Bones Shake. Now, these guys are mighty special, a guitar and drum set up with a difference. They immediately come on like The Cramps meets The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, it’s raw and sleazy, just the way I like my rock ‘n’ roll.

Dressed head to toe in black with a mop of unkempt hair, singer David cuts an imposing figure. He struts the stage and howls his lyrics to all who will listen. Part Nick Cave, part Stiv Bators, he has the moves and his band have the grooves. With an interesting style, a mix of fingerpicking and slide, guitarist Andy brings the blues to their gritty primal sound, as drummer Davey keeps it all together with frantic beats. It’s not long before the sweat is literally dripping from the guitarist’s arms as he jams out riff after riff. The set culminates with the singer in the crowd, on the floor gyrating like he is having a seizure.

Their primal brand of garage rock goodness is bluesy and ballsy in equal measures, and they enthrall from start to finish. You should certainly be checking them out, I know I will.

Tonight’s the night of the three-piece band it seems. The mysterious Black Mekon hail from Birmingham, they wear superhero masks and dress in matching black shirts. Up front, you have a pair of Mekons, the singer, who is a leftie and plays a right-handed strung guitar upside down, (if you catch my drift), and the guitarist, who just plays the damn thing normally! The drummer has a massive beard and dresses like an extra from Peaky Blinders…he doesn’t need a mask.

The songs are short, sharp and quirky. They sound like a 50’s rock ‘n’ roll band with the erratic moves of Franz Ferdinand. Although I’m unfamiliar with their songs, I sure do dig their grooves, there is something mesmerising about this unusual trio. The back catalogue beckons methinks.

 

“York people, we are King Bruthaaas from Japaaan!! “ Shouts frontman  Keizo from the stage for the first of many times as an introduction prior to his band laying waste to The Fulford Arms. Dressed in black suits and ties the trio play like men possessed in a show with no let up from start to finish.

There may not be many people here tonight, but King Brothers play like they are destroying a stadium crowd. 2 guitars, 2 voices and a shit-kicker of a drummer who plays the first song with a Jason Vorhees mask on.

They play a host of garage rock classics from their back catalogue and choice cuts from excellent new LP ‘Wasteland’. Including a killer version of ‘No Thanks’ with audience participation, even though we have no idea what Keizo is trying to get us to sing.

It’s not long before guitarist Marya is in the crowd. In fact, the band spends as much time in the crowd as they do on stage. They are drenched with sweat after only a few songs. Someone places a beer by each member; they don’t touch a drop as they are in the zone, too busy rocking the fuck out!

It culminates with Keizo helping drummer Taichi drag his kit onto the dance floor while Marya removes his shirt, and gets a ton of distortion from his guitar on stage. He then takes over vocals as the band bash out an intense punk fuelled jam. Marya shakes and screams like an extra from ‘Train To Busan’. He ends up crowd surfing around the whole venue, which was pretty impressive considering there were 30 people here!

A high energy, chaotic show with enough insanity to appease even the most hardcore of gig-goers. The King Brothers should be high on everyone’s list to catch live. Tonight, it was 6 quid for 3 excellent bands, that’s value for money any day of the week, but I’m still left with the question “Where were you York?”.

 

 

Buy King Brothers Here

Wasteland review Here

Photo credit to Martin Frank

Leigh Fuge.

We all know Billy Idol, he’s the peroxide hair, curled lip punk rocker who made a successful transition to 80s mega-stardom. Idol brings the attitude and snarl of his punk background and combines it with some pop sensibilities to give us the arsenal of anthems we all know and love. I’ve always had a soft spot for Billy Idol.

Vital Idol was a best of album, putting all his best-known bangers into one place. Here we have the “Revitalized” version of the best of. This time, the tracks are framed in a new way. Remixed by some of the world’s top electronic music producers.

So, what happens when you take the punk rock stomp and 80s pomp of Billy Idol, chop it up and make it more electronic-focused? Well…

White Wedding kicks off proceedings, but initially, I can only think of one word to describe this new take on the track. It rhymes with white but starts with a different letter.

Straight into ‘Dancing with Myself’ we’re welcomed with a pulsing synth line over Idol’s trademark snarl. This feels more Ibiza 1998 than LA 1987 to me.

Eyes Without a Face made me wish I was a head without ears.

Rebel Yell with its new dubstep style leanings is about as revitalized and exciting as an Osmond’s reunion tour.

There are so many great songs on this album, but the new treatment has certainly made them as thunderous as a damp rag. From the strange 90s style ambient house leanings of Flesh for Fantasy to a modern EDM pop style take on Hot In The City, this album is making no great impact.

While I am not a fan of electronic music in general, I can appreciate a good remix when I hear one. It all feels a bit dated and contrived and even with some big hitters like Moby and Paul Oakenfold in the frame, it still does not revitalize this track listing.

Revitalized? I think not. This is more a case of the vital signs fading. Come on Billy, let’s get those guitars turned back up to 10 and get the place rocking again.

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In a week when RPM brought you interviews Live Reviews and album Reviews from far and wide, we scoured the globe to bring you bands and releases that matter so you don’t have to do the hard work. Sit back skive off and enjoy.

 

As far as interviews go we went to Vienna for Reverend Backflash Swansea for Jack Jones out of Trampolene who head out on tour this month all over the UK.  we also brought you the words of Jeff Dahl and what his plans are for 2019. Right there are three reasons to keep it RPM for all the chatter that matters in the same week as well! Damn, how good was that?

If those interviews weren’t enough we also brought you album reviews from legends like Glen Matlock who released a new record with some help from the likes of Slim Jim Phantom and Earl Slick. If that wasn’t enough to make you good to go then we also brought you music from Australia in the shape of the excellent Black Heart Breakers, Noo Yawk City in the shape of The Erotics and obviously it wouldn’t be right if Canada didn’t wade in with a new record from a band with immense potential and a bunch of tunes you’d expect from a band who have been around the block a few times in the shape of Sick Things whose album is just getting the vinyl treatment from Gods Candy Records.

 

We might have been a bit stingy on the live front this past week but we did venture to Vienna for some TV Smith and finish the week wiping the sweat and maybe a tear or two from one’s cheek as Jonny Cola And The A-Grades said hello goodbye and thanks for the ride which was a great place to check out for the week.

Now. This week we’ve already brought you Rich Jones and Paul Collins interviews and we have some killer live reviews from the likes of King Brothers and Eric Martin as well as plenty of albums we crack open from Dave Kusworth, Palmyra Delran and Estrons as well as a classic reissue that’s coming on RSD Black Friday that people shouldn’t miss.

 

Not too shabby on the old rock and roll front there I’m sure you’ll agree? Remember to keep it RPM and don’t let anyone tell you there isn’t any rock and roll anymore because we know and you know that’s just bull shit right? Right! If you think you have what it takes to join our band of scribes then drop us a line at rpmonlinetcb@yahoo.com and introduce yourself – we don’t bite and are quite a welcoming bunch.  thanks and as Lux said – stay sick!

Gerald Stansbury.

Sometimes bands just appear that hit the right boxes at the right time, and I have to say the Bitterlicks did that for me. On the surface, this band from Tampere, Finland hit a similar sweet spot to the Hellacopters but have some different ingredients in the mix that really give them a different twist. These guys have no issue mixing classic rock, country, and blues into their punk n roll original formula. This creates a lot of diversity on this seven-song EP/ mini album and sets them up very well for the future as I anticipate they will be playing a few of these songs long into their career.

‘Snake in the Grass’ serves as a solid opener with its urgent beat (Simo Stenman) and catchy guitar riff by Raffe leading into the first verse where Juha Pöllänen reminds me of Nicke Andersson circa the ‘High Visibility’ album. The urgency and simplicity in the chorus compel the listener to start singing along quickly. The band slows things down a touch with ‘We’re on Fire.’ This comes across as some solid 70’s influenced hard rock with a well-picked guitar riff coming from the same musical ocean as the Hellacopters, Heavy Tiger, etc. The midtempo pace serves this song extremely well.

The band launches back into some high energy punk n roll with ‘Until We Meet Again’ which flies by in under two and half speed filled minutes. The bass breakdown by Samuli Pyykkönen sets up the guitar solo perfectly. The chorus is once again simple with the song title repeated a few times but doesn’t seem repetitious due to the lightning pace. The rolling beat of ‘Who?’ provides something very different and gets my feet moving each time it plays. The wordy chorus gets some added oomph with the additional vocals providing an initial hook that becomes stronger with repeated listens as the full chorus gets stuck in your head.

My favorite song here remains ‘Long Cold Winter’ after multiple listens with its opening line of ‘the last time I saw the sun rock n roll was still cool’ being an ace opening line. The chorus is loaded with a killer hook and reminds me musically of something Michael Monroe would do. The guitar solo is quick and simply slays. ‘Stay Close Enough’ is the initial video from the band and feels very nostalgic with its basic hook falling a little short of the classy song that immediately precedes it. Ironically though, this was the song that made me want to take a deeper listen, so it served its purpose well and speaks highly of the band that it gets swallowed up by the other songs here. ‘Grains of Sand’ closes the album with a blend of Johnny Cash, Social Distortion, and some current rockabilly influences. The chorus provides a great hook, and I could actually see this as their standard exit song as the country influences really add something different here. It also feels like a closer as opposed to a song that was just randomly placed at the end.

The Bitterlicks have served up a very enjoyable debut with these seven songs providing a wide spectrum of ideas for their future. They have clearly spent some time developing their own identity and working on their songs. I am not sure if this mini album will crack my Top 20 of this very strong year, but I would definitely rank ‘Long Cold Winter’ as one of my favourite songs of the year. My hunch tells me that this mini album will remain in my rotation for a long time.

‘Benzo Blues’ is available now.

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Yup its wet as outside and most people are heading out the door to earn a crust to buy more records and go to more gigs – well the sensible ones are so we have  a couple of new tunes to help you on your way into the big wide world this Monday morning.

Reviewed coming on RPM this week are the impressive Estrons and their album ‘You Say I’m Too Much I Say I’m Not Enough

Next up are Jonny Cola who we reviewed last week with their awesome ‘Halo’ video.  Gone but not forgotten round these parts – Enjoy! Could have should have – didn’t. you know the drill folks

To finish off this weeks offerings we reviewed these Canadians this past week and think they deserve to reach a much wider audience and as you splash through the puddles to work why not have some great rock n roll ringing in your ears.

 

Dom Daley.
So when is it a good time to look back on a recording catalogue thas rich with quality yet seemingly something of an unknown quality to the general music buying population?  Right here right now I guess.  Dave Kusworth is something of an enigma in the music world he still writing and recording and making music but modern technology and social media tools have somewhat bypassed the guy and he will happily carry on in his own inimitable way creating music for his dedicated fanbase to feast upon and he’s teamed up with the good people at Easy Action Records to put together an amazing double album that spans his career and showcases just what a talent he has.
this record begins with the band he formed with the sadly passed Nikki Sudden who wrote this song whilst on acid and it was Kusworth that stole the music from the barracudas and changed the title which kinda makes it as good a place to start as any as the guitars jangle along to the uptempo beat.  Next its ‘Shame For The Angels’ from the EP of the same name that I love. Great lyrics an interesting story about what happened to the tapes of this allegedly.  Rock and Roll pirates and vagabonds to the end.
The Bounty Hunters are up next and with Glen, David and Alan  Kusworth rocked things up to a “Happy” pitch and songs like ‘Threads’ led the way in boozy rock and roll and could or possibly should have seen these guys become as popular as The Quireboys and The Dogs D’Amour. Over the next side and some The Bounty hunters rock and roll like their lives depended upon it ending up with ‘Riches To Rags’ which sort of seems quite fitting.
The second record in this collection sees a solo recording of ‘Next Tuesday’ that is taken from the fantastic ‘All The Heartbreak Stories’ and is a beautiful melancholic wander through the mind of Kusworth.
His tenure with the Tenderhooks are up next and the loose version of ‘All I’ve Got Left’ is fantastic and whilst I tend to lose the thread(no pun intended) as to what he was calling the band at the time and what album this one or that one is off because as long as the title contains the words Dave Kusworth – I’m in.  bounty Hunters or Dave Kusworth Band who knows or to be honest who really cares ‘Paint And Sugar’ is a pretty simple song and it mixes up perfectly the whole Keith and Johnny vibe with his more Waterboys tinged side.  To be fair to Kusworth having his output condensed down into twenty songs seems a bit of a headache for whoever contrived this and not a project I’d have liked bestowed upon me.  Sudden had a boxed set and I’m thinking this could easily have been the case because for every reason there is for including the rocking and excellent freak out of ‘Someone Else’s Shoes’ there must be another ten tracks you could have snook in but for consistency and variety this collection could always be considered a starting point eh?
The World Of Dave Kusworth can often be a magical and terrifying adventure and judging by the soundtrack on offer from Easy Action one that should be grasped at with both hands but the best thing is this being Vol 1 & 2 suggests there is more to come so watch this space.  Fantastic talent – fantastic legacy – Buy it!