Floridian Freeloaders like to rock.  Make no mistake in that their twin-guitar attack is 70s centric and a celebration of who they are and what it is that made them pick up instruments and rock the fuck out!

They do things old school and have an old school touring schedule that’s had them frequenting the roadhouses, truck stops and Waffle Houses of the South. They’ve earned their stripes and have done it the hard way they pride themselves on their irresistible attraction (allegedly), and can’t pass a woman sitting alone at the bar without trying their luck…(so their biog says)

Sadly, all bullshit. Freeloader is four old-timers from the Boston music scene who have recombined in endless band permutations. Nat Freedberg is the singer, songwriter and guitarist. Jim Janota is the drummer (Nat and Jim played together in the Upper Crust), Charles Hansen is the lead guitar player, and Jim Haggerty plays bass. Damn, they had me sold.

Freedberg released a solo album last February called ‘Better Late Than Never’. It shows how prolific he is and with this coming out hot on its heels he is overflowing with tunes. But this Freeloader is more “Rock” with capital R Nat felt he needed a vehicle for these harder tunes so hence we have this band and this record.

There are two covers on the record, ‘Rag Doll’  A Four Seasons number, and Billy Preston’s funk classic “Will It Go Round In Circles,” which the band took and Rocked the shit out of. That leaves eight originals…  Nat only had seven. So its believed he wrote ‘Ten Songs Make an Album’  the day before it was due to be recorded.

Of the Ten songs, its strictly in Bon era DC territory with a clean overdriven guitar played loudly with a melodic tone its sharp and very clean distortion if you know what I mean there’s no way you could say this was swampy muddy sounding rock and roll that’s for sure.

‘Nobody Gives A Fuck’ is melodic in a Thin Lizzy ballpark as it stomps through the verse towards the chorus it’s timeless in a PAt Todd kinda way and I like that. Man, ‘Rag Doll’ sounds good they’ve really taken ownership of this one and given it a real bad boy boogie.  It might have the worst title on the record (hell the worst title I’ve seen all year but) ‘Chick A Boom Boom’ has a great riff and the solo would make Angus blush.  the only tune I’m not so sure of is the Scottishness of ‘The Highland Fling’ its almost piraty and the lyrics aren’t for me.

Thank God for ‘Round In Circles’ and we’re back on track with a neat groove the band are rocking again which only leaves the Jags or Cars kinda skank on ‘Ten Songs Make An Album’.  Now where is the party because I’ve got the tunes. Bloody Freeloaders.

Buy The Path Of Least Resistance Here

Author: Dom Daley

Where do I start? First time I came across Riskee and the Ridicule was when a link to a video appeared in my inbox, interesting Hmm, then an email from a cracking PR company we deal with and a simple do you fancy reviewing the LP? “Absolutely”! Said lp duly arrived in my inbox. But being a stream you lose a little bit. I’m sure most of us that review are a bit old school and streams in fairness have nowhere the power and intensity of a CD let alone the vinyl offering which opens the sound right up.


So after dragging in the different format and putting the  CD into the machine the first thing that hits me is the power and intensity of “Accelerate” what a fckin tune, fusing punk, hip hop and just a little bit of a grime edge, at times reminding me of  The Dead Formats, listen to the guitar sound wow!!


Next up the rant overlaying” KABOOM” is everything you look for in punk music the message ripping out from the speakers, like Akala on Crystal Meth!!! All the time, that intense guitar noise hitting you full on, you can’t help but smile. You can just see the venues exploding and the temperature rising and rising, this is as hot and sweaty as it gets!!


Nothing can maintain the intensity and we go all Wonk Unit like with Our time before the bars spit out and you’re up and bouncing around again, Christ this is a tasty LP. Then before we have time to breathe we’re into Body Bag your Scene pretty apt because this is crossing genres all over the place, tearing Hip Hop and Punk a new sound, Body bagging the scene indeed, killing it stone fckin dead in reality. This is probably my fave on the LP, there’s a little bit of Ice T’s Body- Count sitting within this one.


Next up Black White and Grey, has a hell of an act to follow and it just doesn’t bother it changes the feel there and then, picking at you, all the time that intensity holding back constantly threatening to explode not as in your face as its predecessor. In the dark we dwell again hints at something just a little bit different, putting drug use into perspective the story ripping out of the speakers, painting an inner city picture we all know too well.


Sellout really belongs on every body’s stereo, again painting a vivid picture of the state of the nation, and by now you need a rest, I can’t wait to catch these guys live promoting this LP.


Millwall Brick/Glasgow Kiss takes you right back in time to a time when proper geezers looked after their own, a terrace anthem in its own right.


Burning through Sex. Cut your teeth (another top tune) and for old times sake there really is no let up this is a blinding lp and before we know it we’re into D.I.Y closing the LP down


This is rapidly growing into one of my favourite new releases of the year!! A top tip for LP of the year, music just doesn’t get better.

Buy Body Bag Your Scene Here


author: Nev Brooks

Two venues? Two gigs? at the same time! No I didn’t split myself in two it’s the thing I love about Womanby Street in Cardiff, now the pressures off and developers have been sent packing it really has become a vibrant hub of the Underground music scene, catering for all musical tastes and the atmosphere. Sense of belonging and camaraderie in the crowds lurking outside three venues, all within 50 feet of each other, on both sides of the road, shows what happens when you get things right.

Walking towards Clwb Ifor Bach for another superb offering from our friends at Pity my Brain (you really should keep up to speed with their offerings, they never disappoint and always put on gigs with integrity) I picked up the sound of a band starting up in the Moon Club, I know that voice! So took a quick detour to be confronted with Red Light Syndrome, now you might well ask who? But take it from me these guys are a band that are really coming together. I’ve caught them twice over the last month and what is starting to come together is a sound grounded in Husker Du, tipping a nod towards Jawbreaker but all the time showing a Lemonheads grasp on pop sensibilities. Craigy Rees is starting to build in confidence as a front-man and Dean on Guitar is bringing the noise with a gorgeous punk rock edge to the sound. The too short set to an ever-increasing crowd drawn in from the outside is met with a more than appreciative response.



Nipping back across the road to Clwb Ifor Bach and we catch the start of Tribeless , its always a pleasure to catch a young band on the up but bringing their own sound into what could be classed as classic rock, with a leaning towards the alternative. (Listening to the single post the night there’s a definite hint towards prime time Evanescence) and in front-woman Lydia McDonald they have a genuine star in the making.


Next up we have Bottlekids and a band I’ve been looking to check out for a while Joe Grogan, front -man of the mighty Graveyard Johnnys side project and right from the start that un-mistakable vocal hits you and your off that punk rock underpinned sound drags you out of your seat and draws you right in to the moment. With a new EP due, available to pre-order on the nite, or here (https://bottlekids.bigcartel.com) and a touring schedule that is rapidly filling up they’re in the exchange in Bristol alongside Riskee and the ridicule and the Mighty King Prawn, (what a triple header) October 18th. I would suggest you jump on board pretty quickly! These guys aren’t hanging around.


Time is absolutely flying by tonight, and with an early curfew, we’re into the headliners Hands off Gretel before we fully have time to cool down from Bottlekids onslaught.

The music-press I have to say are for once right in tune with a band and a rapidly growing following and everything is in place for Hands off Gretel to explode out of the alternative underground and hit those bigger arena’s. They have the image and with the addition of Becky Baldwin on Bass we have a twin focus a counterpoint to frontwoman Lauren Tate, people in the know might have caught her with Triaxis? If not why not?


From the opening chords the crowd are up for it and worth noting tonight, in what is usually a heavy male-oriented audience I would have put the ratio at almost 50/50 great to see and with none of the behaviors that have crept into some of the larger venues and audiences. With Hands off Gretel, you can’t help but make comparisons to some of the bands that exploded out of Seattle at the peak of grunge, but it’s tighter, been brought up to date and not just sung but presented by Lauren and the band. I think the image, the attention to detail, the sound and most importantly the potential for crossover into the mainstream is huge. I’d love to see them on a stage with the likes of Garbage.


As the set moved on you could feel the band picking up on the crowd’s energy and shifting through the gears, in turn driving the crowd on, the Mosh pit got bigger and bigger and by three tracks from the end had spilled onto the stage!!

Tracks like SASS, My Toy, Kiss me Girl and Punk Rock leveled the place and again way too quickly they were gone. But on finishing the set the band joined the crowd, taking photo’s, chatting and spending time with the fans, nothing was too much trouble, remember this was a sell out crowd too!!


Now the last time I though a band was on the verge of hitting the big time was a band called Estrons, and they blwdi split up. So this time I’ll hold my thoughts, but catch Hands off Gretel now, before they move from the smaller more intimate surroundings, everything’s in place for world domination.

Author: Nev Brooks

The Empty Page returns with a powerful new single, “He’s Very Good At Swimming”
A song that Kel (singer, bassist and lyricist) tells us is written about the injustice of victim blaming.
To write something so challenging… and tough and vulnerable and honest… is truly courageous. I love The Empty Page’s refusal to turn their back on darkness… crafting it into something that can be shared and dealt with. Something so beautiful and scathing makes people feel less alone.
That, I believe, can be so important.
The song is as close to art soundscape yet direct confrontation, dissonance and pure- purpose-gorgeous melody as I have ever heard in my life.
Taking something harrowing and brutal and meeting it head on fearlessly like that… it’s stunning work.
That whole band winds together down a path where most would find themselves lost.
I’m gonna say it. The word. Important. We are lucky artists like this exist.
Yes, as I said, it’s a challenging piece. But if you play this blaring through your speakers and then don’t feel like you are two inches taller and stronger… your mind clearer… then I’m not sure we can hang out.
Crystalline arpeggiated guitars that stand right up to scream along with powerful melodies and some of the best play-in-the-moment drums. What a special band this is.
Manchester has given us another great band. Support ‘em. They aren’t gonna let you down.
Author: Rich Ragany

Kevin Michael “GG” Allin was born Jesus Christ Allin on August 29, 1956. One of the most divisive members of the punk rock community he courted controversy wherever and whenever he could.  Love him or loathe him he certainly left an impression on the punk rock scene in the 80s and early ’90s.  Passing away on this day back in 93 is possibly one of the least surprising things to have happened in punk rock.  Let’s face it GG was never going to grow old and after promising to take his own life on stage as part of his act many times he sort of quietly slid off his mortal coil in tragic circumstances. Playing his last ever show in NYC the club turned off the power after a couple of songs which caused Allin to trash what wasn’t already trashed and then roaming the street almost naked covered in blood and shit the performer ended up partying at a friends house where he took a lethal Heroin overdose and never woke up being pronounced the morning after by paramedics exactly where he laid down the night before.

I guess whilst it wasn’t a surprise to hear the news it’s still a shame to hear about anyone passing away under such tragic circumstances.  Allin was fairly prolific throughout his career and moving from his early more glam roots he passed through punk, hardcore and country as well as spoken words performances Allin was no slouch when it came to what he considered art.

Even in death, the Allin circus continued when he was laid to rest his open casket was videotaped and he can be seen wearing a jock strap accompanied by a bottle of booze whilst friends posed with his corpse, placing drugs and whiskey into his mouth. As the funeral ended, his brother Merle put a pair of headphones on Allin.  plugged them into a cassette player which had a copy of The Suicide Sessions on it.

The film ‘Hated’ features the footage of that final performance and chaos that went on after.  Sadly GG’s grave was frequently vandalised urinated on, cigarette butts left as well as feces and alcohol left by so-called fans, an act that was greatly discouraged by his mother Arleta. His tombstone has since been removed because of this.

Musically he was a Beatles fan and that was reflected in his early songs other bands that greatly influenced him were the likes of Alice Cooper, the Stooges and Kiss.  when he put the Jabbers together.

Allin became popular when ROIR released a cassette-only ‘Hated in the Nation’  containing tracks from the Jabbers, the Scumfucs and Cedar Street Sluts. All unavailable elsewhere.  The tape also featured recordings with the likes of J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr. on lead guitar and  Mark Kramer on bass. The most famous person to work with GG would have to be none other than Dee Dee Ramone who toured with the band as part of the Murder Junkies.

It wasn’t until the mid ’80s that he began to spiral out of control as his commercial career failed to take off he took full advantage of his underground personal and the myths began to appear (remember kids this is pre-internet) Allin was already making record designed to offend and provoke and he certainly achieved that with titles and collaborations to cause outrage (which they certainly did) the subject matter was attacking gay people, promoting drug use and his fascination with serial killers like Gacy led him to go visit the guy in prison. Live he couldn’t finish a set either because the fans stopped it or the police and/or venue interrupted him for his behavior. 

There was nothing big or clever about his behavior from the mid-’80s as he tried to stir up a hornet’s nest at every opportunity by saying repulsive comments about women, children, and boasting of his antics.  The music had long since stopped being relevant and instead he’d turned into a parody of himself and covered in ones own blood and poop began to fade into history and be a figure of fun that people would poke fun at and goad on to carry out his threat of killing himself on stage. In 91 he recorded with Antiseen what he described as his best album that most closely connected with himself.

If you’ve never heard him or fancy seeing what all the fuss was about then I suggest you check out ‘Hated’ it sure is an extreme ride and one you won’t forget in a hurry. I hope finally after such a chaotic life GG found his peace and afterlife and he can finally rest in peace.

you can pick up his records on the net but this company Aggronautix make a whole bunch of GG related collectibles as well as other bands and iconic figures in punk you really should check them out.


Also passing on this day back in ’81 a guy named Robert “Bob” Davis better known as Chuck Wagon from the punk band the Dickies. Chuck was a talented multi-instrumentalist who played Drums, Bass, Rhythm Guitars, keyboards and Saxophone. He will be best remembered for their iconic debut record  ‘The Incredible Shrinking Dickies’.  He also returned to the band to record its follow up ‘Dawn Of The Dickies’ as well as playing a few tracks on the third album which came out after his untimely suicide. suffering from depression after the breakup of his relationship Wagon returned after a show with the band and shot himself with a rifle this was 1981 and he was only twenty Five years young.  Rest in peace Bob.


Finally today former Gun Club guitarist Rob Graves also known as Rob Ritter.  Rob died of a Heroin Overdose on this day in ’90.  Rob played with the Gun Club, 45 Grave as well as a bunch of other lesser known bands like The Bags and. Graves played on Gun Clubs early 80s ‘Fires Of Love’ and ‘Miami’ as well as 45 Grave ‘Sleep In Safety’. Gun Club will always be remembered as the vehicle used by Jeffrey Lee Pierce but 45 Graves were part of the art Goth Rock scene with their striking images and this outlandish video for ‘Party Time’.  Its believed that Hole and Courtney Love dedicated ‘Pretty On The Inside’ to Rob when it came out.


I was lucky to catch Ryan Hamilton & the Harlequin Ghosts on one of the seven dates on their ‘This is the Sound UK Tour’. After the release of the first album under their new name, ‘This is the Sound’, in May fans were looking forward to hearing songs from the new album as well as the band’s classic hits.


Arriving at the Borderline at about 7:15 pm just in time to grab a drink and watch the support, Dexy, at 7:30. I was sad to see so few people had turned up early to see him with a good acoustic set to warm up ready for Ryan Hamilton. It’s crazy to think 10 years ago on the same day I was off to Wembley to see the Jonas Brothers surrounded by thousands of screaming under 15 year old girls for my first ever gig and here I am now in the borderline with about 20-30 people, mainly men over the age of 30.  Although it is on the rare occasion of attending a concert with my Dad that I was not the only millennial at the gig!


Ryan Hamilton and The Harlequin Ghosts dressed up in suits and in high spirits came onto the stage and opened the set with Smarter from the album ‘The Devil’s in the Detail’ and Mamacita from the new album ‘This is the Sound’ with the venue considerably more packed out for the main act. The combination of the small venue, Ryan’s interaction with the crowd and the rest of the band’s enthusiasm made the gig a more intimate and friendly experience for all the fans in the room, who knew every word to every song. It felt as though the band were part of the crowd as Ryan had banter with the crowd as we took selfies with the band from the front, and drank wine straight from the bottle after his trip to spoons earlier in the day, really embracing the British culture. For my first and probably last gig at the borderline as it is, unfortunately, closing down it was definitely a memorable one.

As the set reached an end the band closed with ‘Freak Flag’, which was clearly a fan favourite as the crowd sang at the top of their lungs, as well as the title track from the new album ‘This is the Sound’ before leaving the stage. As they came back to stage for an encore with classics such as ‘I’m so glad’ and ‘Ode to The Idiots’. After the band finished they went straight to the merch stand to meet their fans and sign CDs and records.

Author: Holly Lancaster







Billy Liar has been threatening this album for such a long time having teased us for years with songs and electric acoustic shows (that makes sense to me) His music is a ball of energy his lyrics are uplifting and you want to follow and listen intently and the pay off is hearing a bunch of songs that aren’t throw away –  that really means something Billy Liar in a just world would be a household name such is his talent.

The production is big the songs sound well fed and ready to blow your speakers. The beauty is when you see one guy and his acoustic guitar you can imagine exactly how these would sound recorded well with a bang on production and hey presto here it is.  Exactly how I imagined it – treated with the respect these tunes deserve and not over-egged.

‘The View From Here’ is sparkling its a ball of energy and is absolutely spot on for not being too long or too short and for not going overboard with the instruments.  The energy is from the tempo and the fire in those guitar strings.  the songs tell a story of living on Shit Island in 2019 yet as bleak as it gets these songs are uplifting ‘Independent People’ nails it with a melancholy wrapped in some fine lyrics then to follow it on with ‘Noose’ is a beautiful thing.

The charm and ragged beauty is a fine balancing act that Billy manages with consummate ease. If you want uptempo punk rock and roll then ‘Change’ will service your needs with a rapid beat it’s on fire. My biggest criticism is its only eleven songs and it’s over in under thirty minutes.  But I love me some acoustic punk rock played with soul and passion and Billy has both in spades.  I guess I can always take a deep breath and get back in there for some more but make sure you make it all the way through to get the full experience. ‘Less Vegas’ is a beautiful perspective and a wonderful way to end a thoroughly charming and quite exceptional album.


USA Sales Here

UK/Europe/ROW Here


Author: Dom Daley

“Elvis was a hero to most, but he never meant shit to me…most of my heroes ain’t appeared on no stamp”. Chuck D, quoted from the inlay of ‘Generation Terrorists’ by The Manic Street Preachers back in 1992. That quote has always resonated with me. My heroes have always been the underdogs, they have never got the rewards or the worldwide acclaim they so rightly deserve. And one such artist happens to be Donnie Vie, the former singer of Chicago power-pop legends Enuff Z’Nuff.

Now Enuff Z’Nuff was a band out of time. Due to their garish, day-glo get up and pretty boy looks they were lumped into the hair metal scene when they blasted out of Chicago in 1989, and they could never shake that tag. But if you ignore the 80’s production and get past the squealing, dive bomb solos of original guitarist Derek Frigo, their early albums still stand the test of time where many others fail. Good songwriting is good songwriting whatever the production, and I can’t help feeling that if Donnie and songwriting partner/bassist Chip Z’Nuff had met in another place, at another time, they could’ve been household names.

You see Donnie & Chip were my generation’s Lennon & McCartney, and I don’t say that lightly, for me their back catalogue speaks for itself. But while they struggled on, releasing quality album after album, alas it was not meant to be. In-band fighting, addiction and being fucked over by record labels is a familiar rock ‘n’ roll story, and Enuff Z’Nuff had it all and threw it all away. Band members came and went, some died (R.I.P. Derek Frigo and drummer Ricky Parent). And while Chip still keeps the Enuff Z’Nuff peace flag flying, Donnie has long since washed his hands and carved out a solo career, vowing never return to his past band.


‘Beautiful Things’ is his first album in 4 years, and follows a period of time the singer has taken to physically and spiritually rebuild. Not helped by recent hospitalisation and the PledgeMusic debacle, the album has been delayed until now.

The influence of The Beatles has always been at the forefront of Donnie’s writing. Catchy, pop-tastic melodies and instant choruses have been a trademark since ‘New Thing’ and ‘Baby Loves You’ were all over MTV. And those influences are all over ‘Beautiful Things’, the man just can’t help himself.

Whether it’s the hazy, lazy title track that opens the album with dreamy, layered vocal harmonies, and Paul Gilbert’s trademark guitar licks, the acoustic-led ‘Breaking Me Down’ with its building, euphoric chorus, or the piano-led love letter to a lost love that closes the album, the ghost of the Fab Four presides over everything he does. There is much to enjoy from the ten tracks on offer and to be honest there is not a bad track on it. Prepare for goosebump moments ahead, there will be plenty.


The introspective ‘I Could Save The World with its ringing chords, haunting vocal harmonies and uplifting  feel, was the first taste of this album late last year and promised much. It’s got Jellyfish legend Roger Joseph Manning Jr on it for starters! If there was ever a song to whet people’s appetite, then this was it. “All I wanna do is bring the good shit back” the man sings with such passion I believe his every word, and am with him every step of the way. What a tune.

Expectations were high from the moment I heard this song and Donnie has sure delivered. ‘Beautiful Things’ is an album full of passion, sentiment and good, good feeling. The songwriting is top notch, the production crystal clear and the performance is stellar.

All these songs stand up against the man’s extensive back catalogue. ‘Plain Jane’ is pure EZN fodder. The way the melody builds to yet another Lennon-esque chorus that Liam Gallagher would die to have penned. And I have to mention the uplifting ‘Whatever’. A perfect 3 minute pop song in the tradition of old school rock ‘n’ roll. It sounds like a vintage Beatles classic, the old 50’s inspired Beatles that cut their teeth playing bars in Germany. Everything is perfect about this song, the vocal delivery is spot on, the sentiment of the retrospective lyricism, and the production, it’s so retro I hear it in black and white!  An instant classic and a welcome addition to the man’s back catalogue.


Donnie Vie has battled his own demons and come out the other side stronger and better for it. The distinctive, raspy vocals are as good as ever and the art of a catchy chorus has not been lost.

While it’s sad Chip and Donnie may never reunite as Enuff Z’Nuff, life goes on and Donnie has crafted an album that retains everything his former band delivered and more, while still sounding fresh, vibrant and current.

I can safely say ‘Beautiful Things’ is the best album Donnie Vie has released as a solo singer and probably the strongest set of songs since the release of Enuff Z’Nuff’s classic ‘Strength’ back in 1991. For me, this is one of the essential releases of the year.


Buy Beautiful Things Here


Author: Ben Hughes





Steve Soto died peacefully in his sleep on this day twelve months ago at the age of 54.
Steve first burst onto the scene way back in ’79 as a founding member of  Agent Orange. Then moving on to  Adolescents a year later playing bass guitar in both bands.
Just before he passed away the band had released their latest album  ‘Cropduster’ and were heading out on tour to support that record when he passed peacefully in his sleep.  I caught their emotional performance at Rebellion Festival where they paid tribute to their recently departed comrade in what turned out to be one of the festival’s highlights where the band paid an emotional set dedicated to Steve one I’m sure he’d have been proud of.
Soto also enjoyed being a member of Legal Weapon, Joyride, Manic Hispanic and the punk supergroup 22 Jacks. he also had his own band, Steve Soto and the Twisted Hearts and in 2001 he joined Punk Rock Karaoke to play sets filled with punk rock classics where members of the audience would get up and perform. 

Adolescents were one of the main punk acts to emerge from Orange County at the turn of the ’80s and the iconic debut album (blue yeah that one) sold well all over the USA and further afield.  Soto appears on over thirty records (inc Compilations and live albums and always had a smile whilst playing his Bass.  Last years ‘Cropduster’ album was one of the best punk rock record to get released in 2018 and Steve passed away just before the band played Rebellion Festival in the UK where the set was dedicated to him and their iconic logo simply read ‘Soto’ – Rest in peace big guy – a punk rock legend.